By Roland Sebestyén
Work is underway on a small device that could be a game-changer for those in need of psychedelics to treat their health conditions.
According to a ground-breaking report by Vice, scientists are working on a pharmaceutical device that would provide future psychedelics patients with the recommended dosage of psychedelics, such as DMT and LSD, for the best experience possible.
One company has revealed plans to create a device that would work in a similar way to an insulin pump. The pump could be attached to your stomach after being calibrated to deliver the correct dose, frequency, and intensity of psychedelics like DMT, LSD, or mescaline.
The product, which is under development by California-based Bexson Biomedical, would be designed for medicinal and therapeutic purposes – not for recreation.
Gregg Peterson, the co-found of the California-based Bexson Biomedical, told Vice: “We are actively developing our psychedelic formulations and would like to have them in humans in 2022.
“We’ve got some work to do beforehand, but that would be our target.”
According to Vice’s report, the company has already started developing a wearable device that would administer ketamine through a tiny needle.
Again, the focus is on healing. The plan is to offer pain relief for patients who experience “acute postoperative pain” after surgery or other medical procedures.
It is not an easy task to develop such devices though, the co-founders told the paper.
From the unpredictability of psychedelic substances to the difficulty in nailing down the exact dose needed to give a particular person a particular trip makes the process a little bit longer.
Co-founder Jeffrey Becker said: “When you swallow a bolus dose of something that doesn’t come on for an hour it’s very hard to get the dose right, and people’s liver enzymes are so variable that you can get 300 per cent differences out of a given dose.”
The device will be designed to eliminate the sudden onset of hallucinogenic effects, nausea and vomiting. It would also allow each patient to pre-programme their experience – essentially giving each user control over their own therapy.
Mr Becker added: “We really see [this method of delivery] as substantially increasing the safety and also probably increasing consistency, so that patients can prepare for an event, go in, and it’s going to happen; they know they’re going to get into the space, and it’s not going to be a guessing game about ‘do I drink one cup of this brew or two cups?’
“Our goals are to be much more in control of the dosing. The pump is programmable, so when we’re looking at a different molecule like a psychedelic, where you’re really wanting to get a blood level that’s going to get it into the brain, it’s really just a matter of changing the programming in the pump.”
The medical use of psychedelics in the US remains under-developed after research was largely halted in the mid-twentieth century. However, recent years have seen rising acceptance of psychedelics, with research once again picking up and more jurisdictions considering the decriminalisation of some psychedelic substances.
A growing number of studies have demonstrated the therapeutic potential of substances such as psilocybin – produced by so-called ‘magic’ mushrooms – LSD and DMT. The use of these substances is increasingly being considered as a treatment option for mental health conditions such as depression.
The founders of Bexson Biomedical believe that “definitely some [psychedelics] are going to get approved” given their demonstrated potential to treat mental health conditions.
Becker and Peterson have also revealed that Bexson will be aiming to carry out human trials of their devices in 2022, with potential FDA approval pencilled in for 2025-26.