This article was originally published on Cannabis.net and appears here with permission.
A funny thing happened on the way to Fort Lauderdale having Biblical flooding after the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference in Miami, with the airport closed for 48 hours, Cannabis.net got to stick around and cover the psychedelics show that follows the Benzinga cannabis show by one day.
The great part of this one-day show for us was that we got to sit through 8 hours of speakers and presentations since we were neophytes on the subject of “where psychedelics are legally, medically, etc”. Instead of staying in the hallways and meeting people like a cannabis show, this show we decided to be students and sit through every presentation. It was one of best “learning” days we ever had, this time around, we got to be the student and listen and learn.
Let’s cover some the basics readers might have just like we had walking into the Psychedelics show.
Are psychedelics legal? – No, not at the Federal level, but Oregon and Colorado have legalized some psychedelics, and Quebec (Yes, we said Quebec!) has approved medical payments and use for some psychedelics. Vancouver, BC has decriminalized some psychedelics like mushrooms for personal use only. Well, aren’t some “psychedelics” legal then? Yes and no, but that leads us to the next question.
What defines a psychedelic? This is up for some debate within the industry as what are the “must haves” in order to officially be a psychedelic, but you may have heard of Ketamine and MDMA (ecstasy if you are old enough) as being in the news, and around you in your life. These drugs are considered psychedelics by some and not by others in the industry. Hallucinate or not, you will be hearing alot about the serotonin 2A receptor (5-HT2AR) as the industry advances, as that is the brain area psychedelics work with the most.
Ketamine is a drug being used to help people with depression and anxiety, and it is has been, and is, completely legal at all levels, as in state and Federal. VA insurance programs approve payments and reimburses clinics for veterans who are prescribed ketamine sessions. This was the first honeypot for the psychedelics industry, set up ketamine clinics next to VA hospitals. Early investors and VC funds rushed into this model, but it appears to have cooled off by now with some early entrants bankrupt and closing clinics without notice. MDMA is right behind ketamine for mainstream medical use with PTSD, so clinics that dispense both may have a future, especially by the right veterans’ hospitals.
Ketamine and MDMA are the closest thing to revenue generating positive cash-flow type deals going on in the psychedelic space right now. Mushrooms, LSD, and psilocybin generate headlines and clicks but we are a long way from Federal legalization for these psychedelics. Medical use could be on the horizon in the same way cannabis has rolled out with a dichotomy in state and Federal laws. Some states may legalize medical use like cannabis, but changes to Federal law are a long time away.
Are psychedelics Weed 2.0? No, yes, kind of. No, it is not a blueprint of cannabis legalization history and pathways, but as they say, “history may not repeat, but it does rhyme”. There are some similarities between the two industries in trying to create revenue and get legitimacy. For example, the cannabis industry loophole around …