Medical cannabis legalization is a fait accompli in thirty-three states and counting and eleven states have legalized recreational marijuana, suggesting a brighter horizon for other restricted plant medicines as well. Enter psychedelic mushrooms, otherwise known as Psilocybe spp., and Susan Chapelle, co-CEO of the newly-launched Havn Life, a company dedicated to developing a range of standardized, quality-controlled psilocybin products to be used by researchers.
Chapelle (whose bio includes being the first female steel rigger in North America, a two-time elected politician, and boasts years spent lobbying for health policy change), launched Havn Life as part of a larger mission to build evidence-informed natural healthcare products that help people manage their own healthcare.
Developing a reliable, safe, standardized supply of psilocybin, which does not currently exist, is a central part of this broader vision. “A concern that all companies must grapple with as we look to the future of psychedelic medicines is the future of the supply chain,” Chappelle explains. “Havn Life is developing two labs in the South Campus of The University of British Columbia (UBC), where we will develop methodology for growing and extracting Psilocybe spp. These compounds will be available to academics studying psychedelics until policy becomes informed by evidence, and the market opens up to these compounds as approved medication.” But Susan Chapelle and her team do not intend to stop there, she states. “Havn Life is diversified and looking at other psychoactive compounds for use in Natural Health products to get to market using evidence-informed formulations derived from fungus and plants.”
Havn Life’s supply development won’t only benefit their own bottom line, however. “Havn Life is developing a reliable and safe supply chain of psychedelic compounds,” Chapelle says, “an essential component that will enable other companies to move to human clinical trials.” When I asked about the ways in which Havn Life is navigating the regulatory landscape as part of this endeavor, Chapelle informed me that “psilocybin is currently scheduled as a restricted compound by most governments. It is a controlled compound in Canada; however, both animal and human trials can be conducted through an application process to Health Canada. There is still a hangover effect from the ‘war on drugs,’ but ultimately the regulators must absorb the evidence from five decades of clinical research, most of which is peer-reviewed and published.”
Chapelle is unfazed regarding other potential obstacles to realizing her team’s vision for Havn Life. “The amount of collective knowledge and the fact that we are all trailblazers that have worked in nascent industries such as cannabis, technology, and formulations is such an incredible benefit. We have an ability to look at obstacles as challenges to be solved.” With the partnership with the University of British Columbia firmly in place and a diverse team of dedicated professionals, Havn Life’s mission appears anything but impossible. “Civilization has been enjoying mushrooms in both cultural ceremonies and for recreational purposes for eternity,” Chapelle asserts. “Access to a safe, properly dosed, standardized drug supply is long overdue.”