Molecules From the Healing Gods
January 16, 1991. That was the day that the first fighter aircraft were launched from Saudi Arabia, as well as off of U.S. and British aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf, to commence the shock-and-awe bombing runs of Operation Desert Storm. The U.S.-led offensive against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq continued all night, and for many days later, as coalition forces pounded targets in and around Baghdad as the world watched the events transpire in television footage transmitted live via satellite.
But why am I bringing up this nugget of military history? Well, it’s because on January 16, 1991, I was about one week away from graduating from the U.S. Army Airborne School at Ft. Benning, Georgia. Now, as you might imagine, I was admittedly terrified at the prospects of being sent over to Iraq to jump into a hot war zone after only being in the Army for a little more than six months. Yet that is where I thought I was headed.
Of course, my fellow Airborne infantry and special operations cohorts were all quite boastful and outwardly courageous at the prospect of getting into the fight for our country. After all, we had volunteered for one of the most dangerous jobs in the U.S. military, and we were being trained well in the serious business of killing. Yet underneath our tough exterior, we were all downright scared (or at least I know I was, and I knew my mates in the unit were too, because they admitted as much over many nervous rounds of beers).
One evening that week, a group of soldiers including yours truly were talking to one of the Airborne School instructors, also known as a “Black Hat.” This man had been in the Army many years and was a veteran of many combat missions. We were all excited and being boisterous about the possibility of jumping into Iraq, saying things like we are going to, “Kick Saddam’s ass and kill all of his elite Republican Guard.”
Well, after several minutes of this chatter, the Black Hat had heard enough, and with a calm yet commanding voice, he looked at us with an intense gaze and said something chilling that I shall never forget: “Guys, please don’t wish for combat. It will ruin your life.”
Fortunately, I was not sent into Iraq, and I did not have to suffer any of the trauma and life-ruining post-traumatic stress of war. Yet I was one of the lucky ones. Many of my friends and fellow soldiers were sent into harm’s way during that campaign, and a few didn’t make it back. And many that did make it back outwardly unscathed, later had to grapple with the remnants of deep psychological wounds that, in many ways, did, in profound ways, ruin their lives.
This was particularly true of the post-9/11 wars in Afghanistan and again in Iraq, only those wars lasted far longer and took a much, much greater toll on so many men and women of the armed forces.
According a 2013 study by the Veteran’s Administration, from 1999 to 2010, about 22 veterans died by suicide every day. That’s about one ruined and extinguished life every 65 minutes. And thousands more veterans, men and women just like me only not as lucky, have struggled mightily with post-traumatic stress syndrome, or PTSD.
Of course, PTSD is an extreme form of stress. And while war-related PTSD is serious, the number of afflicted pales in comparison to the estimated 40 million American adults who suffer from anxiety, and the 17 million or so who experienced at least one major episode of depression. According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America, in 2017 approximately 6.7% of American adults 18 or older, or about 17.3 million, grappled with this debilitating depression condition.
Now, statistics are one thing, but when it comes to anxiety, depression, alcoholism and addiction, and even PTSD, the numbers are somewhat shallow.
In fact, I am willing to bet that if you are reading this, you likely know a family member, close friend, professional colleague, or someone you are otherwise acquainted with who has suffered from these or other mental disorders. And if you are unlucky enough, perhaps you are the one grappling with your own inner demons.
If you know someone like this, or if that someone is you, then you know that help is hard to find. Sure, there are many good counselors, and many well-meaning doctors out there. Yet the tools they have to treat these ailments are severely lacking in both efficacy and permanence. In fact, the results are so dismal that all the medical profession can really do at this juncture is give patients daily medication designed to mask the physical symptoms.
Yet, what if there were a safe form of treatment that could really “reboot” the human brain and allow it to be more receptive to discarding the anxiety, depression and trauma that so many of us suffer from?
Well, there is such a treatment, and the substances used in these treatments have been known to humans for thousands of years. These substances are called psychedelics, and with the help of modern science, they are poised to become one of the most promising treatments on the mental health front in years.
Psychedelics are a class of hallucinogenic drugs whose primary effect is to trigger non-ordinary states of consciousness (known sometimes as “trips”) via serotonin 2A receptor agonism. This causes specific psychological, visual and auditory changes, and often a substantially altered state of consciousness.
Classical psychedelics, the psychedelics with the largest scientific and cultural influence, are mescaline, LSD, DMT and psilocybin.
It is the latter of these, psilocybin, that we are most interested in here, because synthetic psilocybin molecules, or what I call “Molecules From The Healing Gods,” are manufactured in the laboratory and designed for clinical therapeutic use are one of the most interesting, and most investable, trends in biotechnology.
And the company at the tip of this curative spear is Cybin Inc. (NYSE:CYBN).
Cybin is a publicly traded life sciences company focused on psychedelic drug development, delivery mechanisms, improved novel compounds and protocols that target psychiatric and neurological diseases. The shares were just uplisted to the New York Stock Exchange from the “pink sheets,” a big promotion to legitimacy from the investing community.
The company’s mission is to promote and progress psychedelic therapeutics by utilizing proprietary drug discovery platforms, innovative drug delivery systems, novel formulation approaches and treatment regimens for psychiatric disorders.
According to Cybin CEO Doug Drysdale: “We are focused on addressing the mental health crisis and transforming the treatment landscape. To do that, we are combining technology and our scientific expertise to pair novel psychedelic molecules with controllable drug delivery systems, aimed at improving outcomes for patients.”
In June, I spoke with Doug and with Cybin Co-Founder, Executive Chairman and President, Eric So, via video conference about the company (isn’t that the way most meetings are held in COVID America these days?). Although neither knew this at the time, I already knew all about the financials and what the company did. In this call, I was really just trying to size up their personalities to see if I could get a read on their focus and commitment to this venture.
Well, both gents passed my “authenticity test” with high marks, and if you are a reader of my publications, you know that I am a man who values authenticity and sincerity in corporate management quite a bit — perhaps more so than many of my colleagues. Of course, authenticity is one thing, but results, along with the promise of real opportunity for investors, is what I am most concerned about.
Here, Cybin and the psylocibin-assisted therapy they are involved with shows very promising results. In addition to being used by non-traditional medical practitioners for thousands of years, there have been many recent studies showing the efficacy of modern, clinical psylocibin-assisted therapy.
I go into far more detail about the recent positive clinical trial results, as well as much greater detail on Cybin the company, and the potential investment opportunity in this stock for those who are interested in getting in on an emerging biotech company on the bleeding edge of treating the gargantuan problems of mental health and addiction issues.
If you are interested in this subject, and I think we all should be, then I invite you to download my free special report, “Cybin: Molecules From The Healing Gods.”
I am very proud of how this free special report turned out, and I am also privileged to present to you a company that I suspect can help millions around the world overcome some of the most-difficult medical issues in society today. So, check out the free special report today. I suspect that after you read it, you’ll be as interested in this subject as I am.
ETF Talk: Invest in the Capitalist Side of China with This ETF
China has been a hot place to invest for many years.
The country’s economy is still developing rapidly, as has been the trend for quite some time as the big money tries to seek out the next big thing that could produce huge returns. Of course, we’re talking about an exchange-traded fund (ETF), so we’re looking for consistent returns, not the next boom-or-bust penny stock.
There is a plethora of China-related funds out there. However, some investors may experience trepidation about investing in the country, in part because of the authoritarian leadership of its Communist Party, which owns some or all of many companies and could potentially be capricious. One possible way to avoid some of those effects is by using WisdomTree China ex-State-Owned Enterprises Fund (CXSE).
CXSE allows investors to avoid state-owned Chinese companies and thus exclude those enterprises whose fortunes could be especially sensitive to government decisions. Since the fund’s creation in 2012, it has averaged about a 13.5% return annually.
It has struggled in the last year, particularly in July after Chinese regulators cracked down on some for-profit education stocks. Indeed, a precipitous drop in just the last month now has left its one-year performance at just a 9% increase. Yet in my view, this is a temporary pullback, and one that represents a good value opportunity in this sector.
Chart courtesy of StockCharts.com
Assets under management total $1 billion, while CXSE pays a yield of 0.70% and has a reasonable expense ratio at 0.32%. The fund’s top holdings include some of the biggest and best Chinese companies. These include Tencent Holdings, 11.49%; Alibaba Group Holding, 7.14%; Meituan Dianping Class B shares, 4.85%; JD.com Inc. ADR (JD), 3.12%; and Wuxi Biologics Cayman Inc., 2.86%. There are 172 holdings in total.
WisdomTree China ex-State-Owned Enterprises Fund (CXSE) uses a novel strategy to appeal to investors who prefer to avoid undue governmental influence to the degree that is possible in China. Interested investors may wish to conduct further research to consider whether CXSE is right for their portfolios.
As always, I am happy to answer any of your questions about ETFs, so do not hesitate to send me an email. You just may see your question answered in a future ETF Talk.
In case you missed it…
Time to ‘Superhydrate’ Your Portfolio
In bodybuilding and fitness circles, we sometimes practice a technique called “superhydration.” This is basically the consumption of one gallon of cold water every day. You see, because the human muscular system is approximately 72% water, the essential liquid is a natural part to aiding in fat loss, workout recovery and the muscle building process.
Yet like all things in life, not all water is created equal. That’s especially true when it comes to specialty, high-performance bottled water sold today. You see, most water is just municipally tapped, put in a cheap plastic bottle with a cheap label, and then sold to us at a big markup.
Then there’s Alkaline88.
As its name suggests, Alkaline88 water refers to the alkaline nature of the product, and its specific pH level. The pH level measures how acidic or alkaline a substance is. Fitness and health experts have determined that alkaline water can neutralize acidity in the body caused by stress, diet and other exogenous influences such as environmental hormesis.
And again, as its name implies, the pH level in Alkaline88 is “8.8.” Now to my palate, this is easily the best-tasting, smoothest and most thirst-satisfying beverage on the market today. This water also is excellent for superhydration, and for use in beverages such as coffee, tea and especially in protein shakes. I use it in my protein shakes, and it makes a huge difference in both taste and texture.
Yet perhaps the best part about drinking Alkaline88 is the fact that owning the company’s stock can also superhydrate your portfolio!
The Alkaline Water Company (WTER) is the maker of Alkaline88, and it is listed on the NASDAQ. Year to date, WTER shares have made quite the splash, starting 2021 at about $1.00, and closing on August 2 at $2.19. That’s a year-to-date gain of 116.8%!
A lot of that gain has come recently, as shares are up about 33% in the past month. So, why the big one-month surge?
Well, it has a lot do with the recent partnership the company entered with one of the biggest, and I do mean BIGGEST, and most successful celebrity athletes/businessmen today, legendary basketball star Shaquille O’Neal.
Now, because I am a fan of Alkaline88, and because I know the company’s management (we had dinner together last night in Dallas, Texas), they invited me to meet “Shaq” and interview him for my podcast, Way of the Renaissance Man. That episode will air soon. Of course, I will provide you with a link to it as soon as it’s ready.
But more importantly, I got to meet Shaq and pick his brain about how he got involved with Alkaline88. I also asked him about how he picks the companies he wants to work with, and how he likes to work. Hint: Shaq is a hands-on guy, and when he gets involved in a deal, he is involved in the details. In fact, it was Shaq who approached the Alkaline88 team to be involved in the company because he tried the water out one day and loved it.
Legendary Shaquille O’Neal makes your fitness-focused editor feel small in comparison.
I must say that although I am not a huge sports guy, I always was a Los Angeles Lakers fan. That’s because I grew up in Los Angeles. When you grow up in LA, the Lakers are basically a religion. So, it was pretty darn cool to sit across from one of the high priests of the Lakers, and have him answer my questions about business, his influences in life and his relationship with Alkaline88.
Now, I have written much more about Alkaline88, including information about why the product is superior to its competitors, and why I like the stock here — especially now that Shaq is the company spokesman. You can read all about it my new, free special report, “Alkaline88: Liquid for An Optimal Body, Optimal Portfolio.”
Your editor interviewing Shaquille O’Neal and Alkaline Water Chairman Aaron Keay.
Finally, one thing I love about what I do is that it allows me to meet, interact with and learn from some of the most interesting, most successful and most excellent people in the world. And the way I look at it, the more knowledge and wisdom I can ascertain from them, the more knowledge and wisdom I can bring to you each week in this publication and in all my newsletters and advisory services.
So, if you are intrigued by Alkaline88, and its most excellent Shaq connection, I invite you to read my special report, and to stay tuned for my full video interview with Shaq on an upcoming episode of the Way of the Renaissance Man podcast.
A Mouth for War
I feel a conquering will down inside me
The strength of many to crush who might stop me
My strength is in number
And my soul lies in every one
The releasing of anger
Can better any medicine under the sun
–Pantera, “Mouth For War”
The heavy rock act was one of the biggest bands of the 1990s, complete with a loyal following (myself included) who loved their driving riffs, syncopated drumbeats and aggressive-yet-thoughtful vocals and lyrics. In the bellicose titled song, “Mouth For War,” the band presents a sort of hardcore self-help approach that lets the world know that it means business, and that nobody is about to stand in the way of its success. I think if more people had this attitude there would be much more resilience and far less “snowflake.”
Wisdom about money, investing and life can be found anywhere. If you have a good quote that you’d like me to share with your fellow readers, send it to me, along with any comments, questions and suggestions you have about my newsletters, seminars or anything else. Click here to ask Jim.
In the name of the best within us,