Wesana Health, along with investor and former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson, have launched a collaborative functional beverage line with Jones Soda.
The psychedelic life sciences company Wesana Health, founded by former NHL player Daniel Carcillo, says the new range of craft sodas is focused on supporting mental focus, clarity, and brain health.
Tyson, an investor in Wesana Health, has used a range of psychedelic and nootropic substances to support his own mental health journey.
“This project is especially important to me because so much of my personal growth has resulted from natural therapies,” Tyson said in a statement. “I am grateful that now, because of our partnership with Wesana and Jones Soda, everyone can enjoy these delicious beverages that provide a cool combination of functional, nutritional ingredients with a bold taste and signature Jones twist.”
What are nootropics?
Nootropics include a range of botanicals and substances also called “smart drugs” and even “legal psychedelics.”
They include adaptogens, caffeine, ginseng, and creatine, and they’re aimed at improving overall mental performance.
Nootropics can behave similarly to small doses of psychedelics, a practice called microdosing that has been linked to increased awareness and improved mental clarity.
“We are so pleased to develop this first-of-its kind nootropic supplement alongside Jones Soda and in partnership with Mike,” said Mark Wingertzahn, PhD, Wesana’s chief scientific officer.
“Our proprietary blend of nootropics and adaptogens underscore that physical health starts with taking care of your mental health. Having a healthy mind in a healthy body leads to higher levels of productivity and performance.”
The Jones launch builds on the growing trend of functional beverages.
Earlier this week, Olipop, the three-year-old low-sugar soda alternative that features nine grams of plant-based fiber as well as prebiotics for gut health, announced it had raised $30 million in a Series B funding round. It’s now available in more than 10,000 stores across the U.S.
Musician and “American Idol” judge Katy Perry recently launched De Soi, a line of botanical-based aperitifs aimed at improving mood and mental clarity.
Likewise, Academy Award winner Brad Pitt’s Enroot, a line of James Beard chef-formulated teas includes herbs and botanicals aimed at boosting mood and mental wellbeing.
For the nootropic sodas, Jones worked closely with Tyson and Wesana’s science team to create the products. The launch features two flavors: Tyson’s Punch and Tiger’s Blood. Jones says the flavors are both fruity and crisp and “great complements to the functional nootropic experience.”
“At Jones, we are really excited to be a part of this meaningful project,” said Jones Soda president and CEO, Mark Murray. “Through the use of these naturopathic therapies, Mike Tyson has been able to realize a lifestyle that balances the persona he is known for publicly with his own deeply thoughtful and peaceful nature at home.”
Mental health and healing
Wesana Health has been leading the dialogue around mental health over the past several years. Carcillo suffered from traumatic brain injury as a result of his years playing professional hockey. Psychedelics helped his recovery.
“We are focused on improving neurological health and wellness. We started with post-concussion syndrome psilocybin assisted psychotherapy, and we believe there are other symptoms within the TBI constellation that can be helped by MDMA and by other psychedelics,” Carcillo told Forbes last September after the company announced it was backing research into MDMA for brain health. Wesana is also studying the effects of psilocybin as a potential treatment for TBI-related symptoms.
The Jones announcement comes as the Covid pandemic enters its third year. Already at epidemic levels, mental health issues increased during the pandemic, with 40 percent of adults reporting symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorders—an increase from one in ten prior to the pandemic. Rates of sleep and eating disorders, alcohol consumption and substance use, and chronic conditions all saw increases during the pandemic.
Psychedelics have shown significant promise in treating mental health issues, particularly in the case of treatment-resistant depression, which affects as many as 30 percent of sufferers.
“Everyone thought I was crazy, I bit this guy’s ear off,” Tyson told Reuters about his infamous 1997 fight against Evander Holyfield.
“I did all this stuff, and once I got introduced to the shrooms … my whole life changed,” he said.
“To think where I was – almost suicidal – to this now. Isn’t life a trip, man? It’s amazing medicine, and people don’t look at it from that perspective.”