MindMed sets milestone in finding psychedelic cure for opioid addiction

The company has come up with a derivative of ibogaine, a psychoactive substance from an African shrub.

The World Health Organization estimates that around 115,000 people across the globe died from opioid overdoses in 2017. smartstock/Getty Images

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Mind Medicine (MindMed) Inc. believes that addiction is a brain disease.

Rather than simply address the symptoms, the company focused on medicines derived from psychedelics wants to get to the root of the problem.

This is where its ongoing development of a cure for opioid addiction comes in.

MindMed has come up with its proprietary derivative of ibogaine, a psychoactive substance found in an African forest shrub.

Called 18-MC, the compound is touted to potentially cure the dysregulation of the brain’s pleasure or reward centre, which causes addiction.

In a media release Tuesday (January 4), MindMed announced that it is moving into the next phase of its clinical trial for the ibogaine derivative.

The company revealed that it has completed Phase 1 in December 2021.

“This is an exciting milestone, and we look forward to announcing the results of our Phase 1 study in the coming months,” CEO and director Robert Barrow said.

Barrow noted that while ibogaine has been “used and studied as a treatment for opioid addiction, its efficacy, while promising, has been overshadowed by significant safety concerns”.

“Our proprietary molecule, 18-MC, has indicated an encouraging safety profile and preclinical efficacy data setting the stage for our Phase 2a proof-of-concept study in individuals undergoing opioid withdrawal,” Barrow said.

The MindMed executive added that the company expects to initiate the next phase of the study in early 2022.

The Phase 1 study was done in Perth, Australia.

MindMed’s 18-MC is said to be designed to cure without producing hallucinogenic effects and potential risks.

The publicly-listed firm’s parent company is based in Vancouver.

The World Health Organization notes online that opioids are commonly used for the treatment of pain.

Opioids include medicines like morphine, fentanyl and tramadol.

However, WHO states that the non-medical use and abuse of opioids can lead to dependence, various health problems, and death.

The world body estimates that about 115,000 people died of opioid overdose in 2017.

The Canadian province of British Columbia has been battling drug overdoses, a crisis largely blamed on opioids.

For the first nine months of 2021, a total of 1,534 deaths have been recorded in B.C.

The number represents a 24 percent increase over the 1,240 deaths recorded between January and September 2020.

The potent opioid fentanyl and its analogues have been detected in 84 percent of all illicit drug toxicity deaths in B.C. in 2021.

Follow Carlito Pablo on Twitter at @carlitopablo

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