Ditch Weed for Shrooms? – Israeli Startups Shifiting Gears to Psychedelic Research and Monetization

October 4, 2023 · Cannabis.net

What The Israelis Are Currently Studying In The Psychedelic Field

For several decades now, Israel has been a global leader when it comes to scientific marijuana research. It was also Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, an Israeli chemist, who was responsible for first isolating THC and labeling it as the primary psychoactive compound in the plant back in 1965.

Israel is far more advanced compared to any country in the world when it comes to cannabis research, even the US. That’s because the federal government still classifies marijuana as a Schedule I substance, which provides massive obstacles and restrictions for scientific and medical research. Meanwhile, Israel has a progressive regulatory approach to the medical use of marijuana. Much of what we know about marijuana, we owe to Israel.

And now that the USA is experiencing a psychedelic revolution, Israel isn’t far behind in psychedelic research, either.

Here’s what Israel has been studying on the psychedelic front.

Israel Company Tests Psychedelic-Based Nasal Spray For PTSD Treatment

I24news.tv discusses the case of Madrigal Mental Care, an Israeli startup that is focused on studying psilocybin, ketamine, and ecstasy. Or Doek, who sits on the advisory board of the Madrigal Mental Care Facility, explains the need to come up with effective post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) medications. “It may sound crazy, but today there is not reatmetn for post traumatic stress disorder. The most commonly prescribed medications, which are FDA approved, are antidepressants, and in some cases neuroleptics. They treat the symptoms, but not the cause, which is the traumatic event,” he tells the news site.

Doek, a clinical psychologist who specializes in PTSD, currently works at the Soroka Hospital located in Be’er Sheva. He resides in a community in close proximity to the Gaza Strip, just as David Gabbay does. Gabbay is the founder of Madrigal Mental Care.

“I have lived for more than 20 years in a kibbutz near the Gaza Strip, an area that has been under rocket fire for 30 years. I know a lot of people, children and elderly people who suffer from post-traumatic stress, depression, and psychological disorders. That’s why I created this startup. I’m convinced that psychedelics can do what other substances can’t,” Gabbay explained.

Gabbay’s work has led him to come up with a technology, with a patent from Ben Gurion University, that enables psychedelics to be delivered nasally to the brain through a spray. The effects of the spray are immediate. They go on to explain that the nasal spray only uses a minuscule amount of psychedelics, which means that the patient will not get high or experience hallucinations.

Madrigal Mental Care has effectively demonstrated that its product is non-toxic, and they are on track test it on humans by early next year. Should its use be widespread and successful, it could allow more people to benefit from safe treatment for PTSD and possibly other psychological disorders without worrying about side effects.

Israeli Startup Studies Frog-Based Psychedelics For Severe Pain

Nextage Therapeutics, an Israeli startup focused on researching potential treatments for brain disease using psychedelics combined with technology, may soon have breakthrough findings.

According to AllIsrael News, Nextage Therapeutics has set itself apart from other medical startups because of the very source of their psychedelics: the Colorado River frog, which secretes the 5-MeO-DMT substance and contains tryptamine. Tryptamine is a hallucinogen found in animals as well as various plants and fungi, and contains valuable therapeutic properties.

Nextage Therapeutics sees the possibility of developing psychedelic and cannabinoid-based medications for treating pain, particularly fibromyalgia and endometriosis, which affect millions of people. That said, the mentioned psychedelic substances can pose harm when taken without proper supervision.

Abraham Dreazen, Nextage Therapeutics CEO, is interested in developing psychoactive-based medications and brain treatment that will only treat the illness without the possibly dangerous side effects that come with taking these psychedelics recreationally. “Psychedelic substances are not addictive, but they still pose risks, and a psychedelic experience must be accompanied by comprehensive and supervised treatment. It’s not trivial. You can’t just casually take ecstasy. There’s a thorough process involved,” says Dreazen.

Dreazen hopes that the FDA will approve their medications swiftly.

Israel Biotech Company Develops Alcohol Substitute Out Of Psychedelics

In December 2022, an Israeli biotech firm called Clearmind announced that they were successful in acquiring a USPTO patent for its proprietary product, MEAI, which was developed to be a substitute for alcohol. MEAI is derived from psychedelics; it’s described as a new psychoactive molecule, that induces euphoria and seeks to help treat alcohol use disorder.

Alcohol use disorder and alcohol addiction continues to ravage societies. In the United States alone, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states that a staggering 29.5 million people aged 12 and up suffer from alcohol use disorder.

“This patent is excellent news as we continue to strengthen and extend the protection around our innovative compounds, reflecting the growing US recognition of our innovative portfolio,” explains Clearmind’s CEO, Dr. Adi Zuloff-Shani. “It’s a tremendous boost, as the US is one of the biggest markets for alcohol substitutes.”

Nicholas Kadysh, who was previously an executive for Red Bull Canada, was appointed as special advisor for the regulatory development of MEAI before the patent was granted. “This positive momentum confirms the value of the innovative R&D approach that underpins our business strategy. It strengthens our prospects for a new large market, different from the pharma market and with short-term potential for considerable revenue generation,” explains Zuloff-Shani.


These are just some of the many things happening on the ground in Israel. No doubt, they are working fast and efficiently when it comes to developing psychedelic-based medications for ailments that are difficult to treat. (Full Story)

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