There’s no question that the world is facing a mental health crisis.
A significant component of that crisis involves the 15% of us who suffer from psychological distress.
Psychological distress is a cluster of symptoms including sleep disturbance, anxiety, stress, depression, pain, and gastrointestinal complaints. The incidence of those symptoms continues to grow, particularly with what the general population has endured in the last few years.
Currently, there is no over-the-counter treatment for this condition.
Current treatments may include monitoring, psychotherapy, prescription medications or referral to support services.
There is also huge recognition for this issue globally. US President Joe Biden included the mental health crisis as being a priority of his administration in the State of the Union address and announced a major round of funding to help tackle the reality that more and more people are living with symptoms of anxiety and depression.
It should also be noted that these symptoms are worse in people already dealing with other chronic diseases.
We believe that an effective, proven treatment to ameliorate short-term symptoms of psychological distress has a tremendous upside and tremendous value.
Put simply, a short-term medication can give people the resolve to get on with the business of living, and improve their prospects of finding long-term solutions.
But what would that look like?
We think an over-the-counter medicine is possible. The TGA has allowed CBD at certain doses to be available over-the-counter once registration has been achieved and that allows this treatment to be available to patients without a medical prescription. S3 cannabinoid medicines could generate an estimated $200 million in Australia and much more globally.
We plan to register one of the first affordable cannabinoid S3 medicines, EMD-RX5, which will initially target psychological distress but is poised to expand to adjacent indications.
With a huge network of pharmacies throughout Australia, we think this represents an opportunity to positively benefit the lives of many Australians and is a stepping stone to bigger markets, especially the US, which is actively looking for solutions to this persistent problem.
All of our programs have been designed to meet the requirements of the FDA and other major global regulators.
What this means is that safe, effective over the counter treatments for psychological distress are not possible, but just over the horizon. And with them, comes relief for millions of people around the world.
Dr Michael Winlo is the Managing Director of Emyria.