On this newest Trade To Black Podcast, TDR Founder Shadd Dales and lead financial writer Benjamin A. Smith spoke with Dr. Ben Sessa, Chief Researcher of Psychedelic Medicine at Awakn Life Sciences Corp. (NEO: AWKN)(OTCMKTS: AWKNF). Dr. Sessa elucidated on a variety of topics including the healing prowess of ketamine assisted therapy, ketamine’s rightful classification as a psychedelic drug, Awakn’s upcoming Phase 3 trial in the NHS system and more.
On the subject of ketamine itself, many people do not realize that the substance is the only approved psychedelic compound approved in conjunction with assisted therapy. Ketamine, including its salts, isomers and salts of isomers, is classified as a Schedule III non-narcotic substance under the Controlled Substances Act in the United States. While most of the acclaimed psychedelic drugs, including psilocybin, are classified as Schedule I narcotics.
Although Schedule III drugs still carry the risk of substance use disorder, it is considered less risky than than Schedule I/II drugs, and medical providers can prescribe them for illnesses, injuries, and mental illness.
And while there is some debate on whether ketamine should be classified as a ‘psychedelic’ as it does not primarily act on 5-HT receptors, Dr. Sessa believes the substance deserves such a designation:
Benjamin A. Smith: In your opinion, should it (ketamine) be considered a psychedelic medicine or something different?
Dr. Ben Sessa: Yes, so that’s a good question Ben. I think the taxonomy of psychedelics is an interesting subject. If you’re going to be really purest about it, you would use the word ‘psychedelic’ with a capital ‘P’ to refer to what we call the tryptamine or serotonergic psychedelics: LSD, psilocybin, LSD and mescaline. But, I would say if we define psychedelics as a drug which enhances psychotherapy by allowing access to repressed memories and feelings through an altered state of consciousness, that opens the door to many other compounds… we give ketamine to people at high dose—trust me, they have a psychedelic experience… we give ketamine to people at high dose—trust me, they have a psychedelic experience.Dr. Ben Sessa, Chief Researcher of Psychedelic Medicine at Awakn Life Sciences
Although ketamine is a glutamatergic modulator and not a psychedelic substance in the classic sense, Dr. Sessa considers it a psychedelic due of its mind-altering characteristics. Thus, he consider pure THC (without the balancing CBD), salvia divinorum (a high efficacy kappa-opioid agonist) to be among the non-classic psychedelic that could also fit the description.
As ketamine produces hallucinations in users, it distorts perceptions of sight and sound and makes the user feel disconnected and not in control. Recreationally, a “Special K” trip is touted as better than that of LSD or PCP because its hallucinatory effects are relatively short in duration, lasting approximately 30 to 60 minutes as opposed to several hours.
Dr. Sessa addresses the use of psychedelics in the U.K. rave scene and how in a sense, it helped influence the industry as it is today.
Click on the embedded link to view the full interview with Awakn’s Chief Researcher of Psychedelic Medicine, Dr. Ben Sessa, in his own words.