Nonprofit Chronicles

Journalism about foundations, nonprofits and their impact

Many startup companies developing psychedelic medicines are struggling to raise money these days. Not Gilgamesh Pharmaceuticals. Founded in 2019, Gilgamesh raised $39m in December. Its original investors came back for the Series B round. It participated in the Y Combinator accelerator for startups. Its founder, Jonathan Sporn, who I met briefly at a party during …

Continue reading

Late in 2018, while researching a story about philanthropy and psychedelic medicine for the Chronicle of Philanthropy, I drove up to Baltimore to visit Roland Griffiths, a professor in the departments of psychiatry and neuroscience at Johns Hopkins. Griffiths was then and remains today one of the world’s leading researchers of psychedelics. Our conversation was …

Continue reading

I’ve neglected this blog all fall as I write less about philanthropy and more about psychedelics. It is no longer “Nonprofit Chronicles” except in name. I am hoping to start a new website/blog at my old URL, marcgunther.com, but haven’t been able to begin that daunting task. If anyone reading this knows a web designer …

Continue reading

As a young philanthropist who supports research into psychedelic medicines, Cody Swift is nothing if not hands-on. He has experimented with psychedelics.He has guided clients through trips as part of clinical trials at Johns Hopkins University. He has published in an academic journal. Most important, he has donated millions of dollars. His donations are poised …

Continue reading

The more I learn about psychedelic drugs, the more I realize how much work lies ahead for researchers who are studying these medicines. Last week, I watched How to Change Your Mind, the four-hour Netflix adaptation of Michael Pollan’s book, which explores the history and healing potential of four drugs: LSD, psilocybin (the active ingredient …

Continue reading

Mescaline, a psychoactive alkaloid found in the peyote cactus native to Mexico and the southwestern U.S., is the oldest known psychedelic. It has been used for thousands of years by Indigenous peoples–and was a favorite drug of elders of the psychedelic world, including the writer Aldous Huxley, the poet Allen Ginsberg and the legendary chemist Alexander “Sasha” …

Continue reading

It’s crazy hard to quit smoking. More than half of adult smokers try to quit in any given year, according to the most recent data from the CDC, and fewer than one in ten succeed. Nicotine patches, nicotine gums, nicotine lozenges, medicines like varenicline, cognitive behavioral therapy–nothing works especially well. This is why some scientists are …

Continue reading

Some $2-billion was invested in the above-ground psychedelics “industry” last year. That’s stunning when you stop and think about it. Most psychedelic drugs — LSD, psilocybin, MDMA — remain not merely illegal but Schedule 1 substances, according to the DEA. That means that they have “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for …

Continue reading

In 1976, Alexander “Sasha” Shulgin, a brilliant and eccentric chemist who concocted hundreds of psychoactive drugs in a home-based laboratory in the hills of Berkeley, California, cooked up a batch of MDMA, the drug that later became known as Ecstasy or Molly. He then tried some, as was his habit. He loved it. “I feel absolutely …

Continue reading