At the second edition of Benzinga’s Psychedelics Capital Conference, held in sunny Miami, leaders from four major ketamine therapy companies shared their optimistic insights and guidance about the industry.
Revitalist L&W’s Kathryn Walker RVLWF, Jeffrey Becker (Bexson Biomedical), Cory Jones (Healing Maps) and Julia Mirer (Nushama) shared their views in a vital discussion on this non-classical psychedelic, with corporate M&A attorney Benton Bodamer (Dickinson Wright) as moderator.
Ketamine, Aka Your Brain’s Essential Communicator
Walker, a 20-year-old nurse with 12,000 ketamine infusions to her credit, believes we need to close the chapter on the mental health treatments of the last 50 years and open a new book.
Walker highlighted the fact that ketamine, the 50-year-old anesthetic which is federally approved and is a therapy covered by the VA, distinctively works by blocking glutamate receptors and allowing glutamate, “the mother communicator of all of our brain,” to work.
She believes the medical community has become overly specific when it should really keep the knowledge of these brain drugs simple, and foresees the medical space eventually integrating the future system with the traditional one, “because both need to be respected.”
Understanding Where The Real Deal Is
Becker, a long-time ketamine clinical practitioner, said it is important to understand when companies are built on shifting sands, such as happened following the Ryan Haight Act’s waiver extension during the COVID pandemic.
After the recent case of telemedicine and its consequences, he advises investors to really study the legal landscape of this “highly regulated industry,” as well as the implications of ketamine therapy on the practice of medicine.
So things like clinical care and services, working timeframes that are profitable and having a clear understanding of the culture of the end user become paramount and eventually differentiate the companies that make it and those that do not.
Going Fast But Educating Faster
Media specialist Jones believes the power of psychedelics makes recreational use a confrontational topic, and that as a society we still need more education.
For instance, although ketamine has been used for 50 years, it is not widely known by the public.
Nonetheless, Jones noted the interest peak has been so rapid in the past two years that psychedelic-assisted treatments are no longer seen as a last resort by many people. Including those that are young, old, rich, poor, urban, rural, kids looking to help their parents and parents looking out for their kids.
“There’s no one archetype of person, this is an evolving process where people are getting more and more educated about it,” Jones added.
Ketamine As A Learning Platform
Mirer, a physician in the psychedelics space, believes research has lately focused on other psychedelic compounds and not as much on ketamine.
She says it is legal and available and, if researchers create therapy modalities around it, it’s kind of paving the way for the future rollout of other psychedelics. “Because if it works with ketamine, it’s going to work with the other ones as well,” Mirer said.
Mirer also brought attention to the risky practice of microdosing, a topic closely related to telemedicine and yet not usually discussed. Increasing access without increasing education has caused a number of people with anxiety or depression to break their high prescriptions into microdoses, using ketamine as a benzo, which eventually worsens symptoms as ketamine starts to have diminishing returns and resilience drops from regular use.
Photo: Benzinga edit with photo by Yeti studio, Sonis Photography and Ground Picture on Shutterstock.