Daniel Carcillo, former NHL player and CEO of WeSana Health Holdings Credit: Submitted.

On Tuesday, Daniel Carcillo’s Chicago-based life sciences company WeSana Health Holdings announced intentions to acquire Toronto-based Psytech for $17 million in an all-stock transaction. WeSana, which Carcillo co-founded in 2020 with cannabis and advertising entrepreneur Chad Bronstein, develops clinical solutions to traumatic brain syndromes through psychedelics, including Ketomine, mescaline, MDMA, and psilocybin.  

Carcillo, a former National Hockey League enforcer, turned brain trauma advocate, said WeSana has various treatments for depression and PTSD progressing through Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approval phases. The acquisition of Psytech enhances WeSana’s treatment delivery platform through a network of onsite clinics, personalization software and online media channels. 

Perhaps as a byproduct of commercial and societal precedents established by cannabis legalization across North America, mushrooms containing psilocybin are gaining mainstream acceptance.

Municipalities ranging from Denver to Oakland and the entire state of Oregon are decriminalizing possession, as New York Times bestselling author Michael Pollan just published his second book journaling his experimentation with the plant. Meanwhile, higher education institutions including Harvard, Johns Hopkins University, and New York University are investing in research and development. 

In part, due to a long history of medical research that preceded the 1960s psychedelic movement, the Federal Drug Administration is able to approve psychedelic pharmaceuticals, a pathways that doesn’t exist for cannabinoids. Johnson & Johnson, for example, has a Ketamine-based antidepressant nasal spray that is FDA approved and on the market. 

“We are just in warmups,” said Carcillo when asked if the psychedelic industry was in the equivalent of the first, second, or third period of a hockey game. “People are just starting to be surprised with all of the good news coming out about psilocybin, mescaline, and cacti which have been used for thousands of years by indiginious people to enhance hunting and coming of age ceremonies, as well as to knock out sickness.”

WeSana, which has 17 employees “based all over”, went public in May via the takeover of a publicly traded Canadian company. Midwest-based cannabis corporations, including Chicago-based Green Thumb Industries, Cresco Labs and Verano Holdings as well as Michigan-based Gage Growth Corp. all went public using this method. In 2021, three psychedelic companies including Peter Thiel-backed Atai Life Sciences have all gone public via U.S. exchanges. 

WeSana co-founder and executive chairman Chad Bronstein also serves as CEO of Chicago-based Fyllo, which has raised tens of millions of dollars over the last two years to develop and roll up technologies focused on marijuana marketing compliance. Notable individual investors in WeSana include former heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson, New York Yankees’ scion George Steinbrennner IV and Grassroots Cannabis cofounder Mitch Kahn. Institutional investors include Canada-based K2 Associates and SOL Global Investments as well as Ambria Capital based in Puerto Rico. 

“There is an incredibly long history of research studies showing the efficacy of these treatments,” said longtime cannabis investor and WeSana shareholder Michael Gruber of Salveo Capital. “These therapies won’t be stymied by state-by-state legislation as there are more protocols in place driven by pharmaceutical drug delivered therapies.”

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Brad Spirrison is a journalist, serial entrepreneur and media ecologist. He lives in Chicago with his son. Interests include music, meditation and Miles Davis.