Psychedelics will see a boom much like cannabis. Here’s how entrepreneurs can stay ahead of the curve.

Psilocybin mushrooms. Anitram/Shutterstock
  • The psychedelics industry is growing as more institutions research their benefits and organisations invest in treatments.
  • Entrepreneurs looking to break into this burgeoning field should consider services targeting psychedelic research and development, like marketing, event planning, legal services, or content creation.
  • There’s also plenty of room to volunteer for organisations like Chacruna, ICEERs, and The Chaikuni Institute to get a sense of what’s already out there.
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According to experts in the burgeoning psychedelics space, the market is heating up for known substances like LSD, psilocybin (“magic mushrooms”), MDMA, and others.

Data from top institutions like Johns Hopkins University and New York University helped accelerate the acceptance of psychedelics, and books like Michael Pollan’s “How to Change Your Mind,” which chronicles the writer’s experience with and research into substances like LSD and psilocybin, topped The New York Times bestseller list.

These findings and public acceptance fuelled a slow but growing trend of legislative change. In May 2019, Denver, Colorado, took the first step by decriminalizing psilocybin.Oakland, California, followed suit the next month, decriminalizing mushrooms and other psychedelic plants.

By November 2019, nearly 100 similar movements were underway in cities across the country. Decriminalization efforts were supported by substantial backers, including the $US1 million donation from Dr. Bronner’s Soap company in April 2020.

Business Insider spoke with top business and medical minds in the space, including Bruce Linton, a tech and cannabis veteran who’s now a board member for Toronto-based psychedelic therapy company Mindmed. The venture is also backed by investor and Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary.

Mindmed, which joined the Canadian NEO Exchange in March 2020, raised $US24 million ahead of its IPO. The company has piqued interest with trials related to adult ADHD, as well as developing a neutralizer to lessen the “trip” associated with LSD treatments.

“What I was interested in was the poor regulations that had made these things psychedelics rather than neuro-medicines,” Linton said.

Meanwhile, Champignon Brands appointed as CEO Dr. Roger McIntyre, a prominent Toronto-based professor and head of the Mood Disorders Psychopharmacology Unit at the University Health Network.

These two experts agree: A growing avenue of opportunity for entrepreneurs in psychedelics is developing.

The opportunity in psychedelics lies in research and services

Launching a psychedelics venture is likely easier today than just a few years ago, said Shlomi Raz, CEO and chairman at Eleusis Therapeutics. “It is likely far easier than [when] we started in 2013, given much more awareness amongst investors, prospective employees, [and] stakeholders,” he explained.

Shelby Hartman, editor-in-chief and cofounder of psychedelics media company DoubleBlind, added that entrepreneurs are circling the market, especially after the cannabis boom. She noted opportunities in businesses setting themselves up to serve the burgeoning space , such as marketing, public relations, event planning, legal services, social media, design, and content creation.

That said, Hartman said that at this time psychedelics services should probably just be a part of your offerings.

“At this stage, I don’t think there’s enough money or companies in the space needing those services, though, that someone could sustain a business on solely psychedelic clients,” she explained.

Mindmed’s Linton highlighted the entrepreneurial potential in science and research.

“I think there’s an opportunity for a lot of science that has been worked on for many decades to become potentially commercialized,” said Linton. He added that opportunity exists in more allowable substances, like psychedelic truffles, as well as in still largely illicit substances.

If you’re a passionate early adopter, volunteer

With present opportunities limited to research and services, other passionate early adopters to the psychedelics space can get ahead of the curve by networking and building expertise.

According to DoubleBlind’s Hartman, those seeking to make psychedelics inclusive should consider Chacruna, ICEERs, and The Chaikuni Institute. Hartman credited each for “diversifying the voices in the psychedelic movement and upholding reverence for the indigenous use of plant medicines.” She went on to mention grassroots organisations, such as Decriminalize Nature, Decriminalize California, and SPORE, that could use the help of passionate individuals to help overturn anti-psychedelic legislation.

While there’s time for the market to develop, many see a bright future not too far away.