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Psychedelic terapy

Psychedelic terapy

The inclusion of psychedelics in therapies


During Prohibition, alcohol was illegal in the US—except with a doctor’s prescription. Many recreationally-known drugs were originally used for therapy, then got popular recreationally, which got them banned, before their eventual return to legalization. It’s happened, for the most part, with marijuana, and is starting to happen with psychedelics.

Including therapy in a psychedelics business model is not only a way to increase total revenue but is, more importantly, a way to actually sell psychedelics. The growth in psychedelic therapy is not about inventing new compounds—many of the popular ones have been known for half a century or more—but finding new ways to sell them. Similar to surrogacy, which can’t legally be bought directly but can be paid for indirectly through intermediaries, psychedelic therapy offers the chance to buy something that’s otherwise not available at any market price.

Product differentiation


Psychedelics have been used in a therapeutic context for years: early LSD users advocated it as a way to help people come to terms with mental issues, and the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous said that LSD induced experiences similar to the spiritual experience that led him to stop drinking. Before it was made illegal, MDMA was popular as a therapy tool as well as a party drug. Part of the cycle for such drugs is that recreational use can happen more frequently than therapeutic use, and can involve larger amounts, so it’s both the use case that contributes the most to consumption and the one that leads to the most abuse. But the therapeutic uses are now returning to the forefront.

By bundling psychedelics with therapy, companies can both increase product differentiation and ensure that it’s not seen as recreation, but as a form of mental health care. Many prospective users of psychedelics are uncomfortable with black-market purchases, or wouldn’t know how to acquire them and ensure that they’re genuine, so psychedelic therapy is also a way to pay a premium to get the original rather than a knockoff. The psychedelics industry has attracted investor attention, both from venture capitalists and from public markets. There are even exchange-traded funds that own baskets of psychedelics-related stocks.