Has Yield Growth subsidiary Flourish Mushroom Labs revolutionized the field of psychedelics?

Yield Growth subsidiary Flourish Mushroom Labs appears to have discovered a fundamentally new use for the active compounds in magic mushrooms, i.e. psilocin and its prodrug psilocybin.

On December 10, 2019, Yield Growth Corporation announced that its subsidiary Flourish Mushroom Labs filed a U.S. provisional patent application relating to “methods of using serotonin antagonists, in particular, psychedelic mushroom actives, for weight loss. See Yahoo Finance (emphasis added).

This development is exciting for at least two reasons:

  1. Using active compounds from magic mushrooms as serotonin-2a (i.e., 5HT-2a antagonists) represents an entire new area in psychedelic research.
  2. This departure from the accepted knowledge about psilocybin/psilocin suggests that Flourish Mushroom’s new use of these compounds as 5HT-2a antagonists will likely result in patentable subject matter.  (Inventions that represent a major departure from accepted knowledge are usually considered “non-obvious” during examination at the patent office.)

According to the press release, the Flourish Mushroom Labs patent application pertains to administering psilocin and/or psilocybin to provide an overall weight loss in individuals.  The weight loss is achieved by reducing food cravings, counteracting compulsive overeating, and aiding in improving quality of diet by altering food choices. The application also attempts to claim methods of administering “microdoses” of psilocin/psilocybin to provide weight loss by “increasing metabolism, which, combined with a decrease in food cravings or compulsive overeating, or altering food choices to less calorie dense foods, could result in substantial and beneficial weight loss.” Yield Growth also claims that “the Flourish Mushroom Labs pending patent also covers the use of psilocin/psilocybin in treatment or regulation of diabetes, and regulation of blood glucose and to reduce susceptibility to cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus and other illnesses associated with obesity.”

Yield Growth’s New Approach to Psychedelics as Serotonin Receptor Antagonists.

According to Yield Growth’s press release about Flourish Mushroom Labs Provisional Patent Application, “Psilocin/psilocybin is known as 5-HT2A agonists or partial agonists.”

Psilocin is a known 5HT-2A agonist.  Psilocybin is recognized as an inactive prodrug of psilocin, i.e., neither an agonist or an antagonist.

Yield Growth’s description of Flourish Mushroom’s patent application is as follows: “U.S. PATENT TO USE SEROTONIN ANTAGONISTS FROM PSYCHEDELIC MUSHROOMS FOR WEIGHT LOSS.”

Although neither Yield Growth’s website nor the press release provides detailed information about the technology, the use fo psilocybin/psilocin as a 5HT-2A antagonist represents a significant departure from previous approaches.  To date, all other research has focused on using psilocybin as a prodrug of psilocin, thereby providing psilocin as a 5HT-2A agonist with an increasing number of applications.

This development highlights the tremendous opportunities for making new fundamental breakthroughs in the space.  It will be fascinating to follow Yield Growth and Flourish Mushrooms as they develop this new technology, which seems to defy accepted wisdom about psilocin’s method of action.



3 thoughts on “Has Yield Growth subsidiary Flourish Mushroom Labs revolutionized the field of psychedelics?

  1. Gordo Reply

    I would not be surprised at all to learn that a clinical trial showed psilocybin (psilocin) has the ability to help with weight loss. It is a well known appetite suppressant. Numerous studies have also shown that it can increase heart rate (and blood pressure) so yes this could be considering “boosting metabolism” and of course it takes energy to do that, so I could see how this may also lower blood sugar levels. All of this combined could potentially help obese people and possibly lower diabetes risk (there is some concern about heart valve damage from continuous exposure, however).

    That said, I think the “antagonist” description must be a typo? It doesn’t make any sense. Psilocybin is rapidly metabolized, changing into psilocin, and neither compound is a 5-HT2A/2C/1A antagonist (they are agonists or partial agonists).

    The patent application itself (just based on descriptions I have not seen it) also seems invalid to me and will likely never be approved. I am not a patent law expert, but I am under the impression that you cannot simply patent a naturally occurring substance or even the use of said substance for a specific medical purpose, but rather you must narrow it to some propriety process, technique, invention, or combination. For an example of a “legit” patent application related to psilocybin, see a recent one from Paul Stamets: https://patents.google.com/patent/US20180021326A1/en?q=niacin&inventor=paul+stamets&oq=paul+stamets+niacin

    What new ground does this “Flourish Mushroom Labs” patent application cover? None that I can see. Here is a 2017 patent from Arena Pharmaceuticals that describes pretty much everything mentioned in your article:
    But in this case they have a proprietary derivative drug, not a naturally occurring one. If a company wants exclusive rights, they should create their own analogue like everyone else 😉 or at least some combination concoction like Paul Stamets did.

    • Staff Scientist Post authorReply

      Thanks for your great comments, detailed analysis, and helpful links. From the information available, it is unclear what would make Yield Growth and Flourish Mushroom Labs’s technology patentable (i.e. new and not obvious) beyond work that has previously been disclosed in the field, for example the work by Paul Stamets that you point out. The “antagonist” angle would clearly set them apart given that the entire scientific community has been using psilocybin analogs/derivatives as serotonin agonists. However, to your point, although that use would be completely non-obvious, it also appear rather unbelievable. We will be eager to follow their technology as more information becomes available. Thanks again for your comments. Please keep them coming!

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