A few years ago, with the legalization of cannabis in Canada and other countries, chemists rushed to isolate active compounds from the plant, synthesize new cannabinoid derivatives and formulate new preparations for the delivery of these active compounds. As a result, patent and trademark offices were flooded with new applications protecting such inventions and products.
Today, while research into cannabis remains strong, there is now a focus on the active compounds found in ‘magic mushrooms’, particularly the compound psilocybin. While psilocybin remains illegal in Canada (and other jurisdictions), the potential benefits of psilocybin and its derivatives for the treatment of mental health disorders is spurring a significant amount of research in the hopes that one day these compounds will be legalized. In fact, last year Health Canada authorized a publicly traded Canadian company to legally extract psilocybin from mushrooms to standardize the company’s extraction process. Health authorities in various countries, such as the US and Canada, have allowed clinical trials to move forward involving psilocybin therapy for treatment-resistant depression.
This article will provide a general overview of the types of intellectual property available to protect innovation in the mushroom space. A follow-up article will provide an in-depth review of strategies for patenting new psilocybin derivatives and potential formulations for delivery.