Predicting a wave of psychedelic legalization over the coming decade, Oregon-based start-up Silo Wellness has reportedly developed a magic mushroom nasal spray focused on delivering exact, controlled psychedelic microdoses via an easy inhaler. New Atlas contacted Silo Wellness founder and CEO Mike Arnold to learn more about how this bold product actually works.
Grassroots psychedelic activism
Alongside the rapidly progressing psychedelic science movement, with researchers rigorously exploring the medical and therapeutic uses of previously taboo psychoactive compounds, is a growing grassroots movement to decriminalize some of these substances. Across 2019 a number of different local jurisdictions in the United States began the first stages of decriminalizing psychedelic substances.
The movement ostensibly started with the passing of a ballot initiative in the City and County of Denver back in March. The publicly voted initiative essentially decriminalized the personal use and possession of magic mushrooms. Following that landmark moment, a number of other cities in the country have pushed forward similar measures.
The long game here is looking toward the 2020 US elections and getting a variety of measures on state ballots. There is debate among activists, however, over how broad a push there should be for recreational legalization. A proposed 2020 ballot measure filed in California is proposing full retail legalization of psilocybin magic mushrooms, while the current measure proposed in Oregon is not looking at commercial sales but instead focusing on legalizing therapeutic uses in licensed facilities.
Motivated by the explosive growth of business in the cannabis industry, as recreational legalization spreads across America, some entrepreneurs are looking at psilocybin as the next prospective drug to hit the broader market. One Denver-based company called Strava, for example, has already begun developing tea and coffee products infused with microdoses of psilocybin.
These products may not be legal right now, but many are preparing for legalization, readying commercial products to serve the whims of every kind of recreational consumer.
Why develop a magic mushroom nasal spray?
Silo Wellness is one of those aforementioned entrepreneurial start-ups, and it is working to develop a magic mushroom-based nasal spray. The idea behind the product is to offer people a way into the psychedelic experience using a controlled delivery device that can offer consistent regulated microdoses.
“We solved the age-old problem with plant- and fungus-based medicine: How do you know how much is a dose?” explains Michael Hartman, an experienced pharma product developer working with Silo Wellness. “How do you avoid taking too much, like the cannabis edibles dilemma? We also managed to solve one of the common complaints of some mushroom users: taste and upset stomach.”
The CEO and founder of Silo Wellness is former criminal attorney Mike Arnold, who left his law industry job to start a marijuana growing company back in 2016. After a life-changing magic mushroom experience in 2018, Arnold saw a hurdle in the movement to bring psychedelics into the mainstream. His first magic mushroom experience was fortunately one guided by a knowledgeable physician, who could offer a controlled dose, but what if that guided experience wasn’t available to someone?
Arnold saw the solution to the problem as a controlled nasal spray that administered a metered, fast-acting dose of magic mushrooms in a way that could ease less experienced individuals into the psychedelic experience.
The nasal spray being developed is not pure psilocybin, but instead, Arnold tells New Atlas is a, “full myco-spectrum extract of Jamaican magic mushrooms in an aqueous solution.”
The two factors the company is focusing its current research on are uptake speed and bioavailability. Arnold suggests the benefits of dosing through a nasal spray are a faster onset, reducing the delay in effect and decreasing the risk of consuming too much, and a reduction in some of the unpleasant nauseous effects of digesting mushrooms in the gut.
“We believe that the nasal track has greater bioavailability and faster uptake speed than going through the gut,” Arnold tells New Atlas. “Once the product is more widely available to the public, specific dosing will be disclosed; but, currently, one dose in each nostril has the biomass equivalent of no more than 0.1 grams. We are targeting a sub-psychedelic dose right now with a small psychedelic dose anticipated soon.”
The product is currently being developed in Jamaica, one of the only countries in the world where magic mushrooms are completely legal. Arnold suggests dose-ranging studies are underway in the island nation, and the company is initially focusing on a producing a product aimed at microdose-levels of magic mushrooms.
Of course, what constitutes a microdose in the world of psychedelic compounds?