In the midst of a global mental health crisis, hundreds of billions in funds are going into addiction therapy. The time is ripe for alternative forms of treatment. Psychedelics could be the answer to treating most patients.
But they’re nothing new.
Psychedelics are entheogens that are either naturally derived from plants (psilocybin, ayahuasca and ibogaine) or synthetically manufactured in the lab (LSD, ketamine and MDMA). They’ve been used to treat mental health issues ranging from anxiety to depression and ADHD. Once favored by the medical community, they took a serious hit with the backlash to 1960s counterculture.
In the U.S., psilocybin is still a Schedule 1 drug, meaning it’s been deemed to have zero medical value. In 2019, three cities voted to decriminalize psilocybin: Oakland and Santa Cruz in California, and Denver. New York and Iowa, meanwhile, have seen proposals either delayed or flatly rejected. The study of psychedelics and their applications in medicine and psychology are still in their infancy, hampered by Schedule 1 narcotics status and the United States’ decades-old War on Drugs. That said, shrooms have shown potential in treating depression, eating disorders and addiction, and they’ve shown promise in combination with psychotherapy.
As marketers, in order to set this industry up for success, it is important to stay within any guidelines that come out for the industry.
Estimated to reach a whopping $6.85 billion worldwide by 2027, according to Data Bridge Market Research, the global market for legal psychedelics represents a genuine Shroom Boom. Key companies operating in this space are either still in startup mode or Series B funding rounds, with whispers that a number of them are set to open on international stock exchanges throughout 2020.
Green Rush (Cannabis) vs. Shroom Boom (Psychedelics)
Similar to plant-based medicines that have been largely stigmatized, the cannabis and psychedelics industries have both required tremendous advocacy to change perceptions. While currently there are no CPG brands in the psychedelics space, one needs to look to cannabis brands for important lessons.
In terms of any marketing and communications for products, using a medical mindset is a must. Medical marijuana is now legal in 33 states, with a few states going as far legalizing recreational use of cannabis as well. As a company in the space, it is imperative to have a solid foundation of research, awareness and education.
For marketing opportunities, such companies have creative needs like mass communication and branding. In order to set this industry up for success as marketers, it is important to stay within any guidelines that come out for the industry. It will be essential never to associate psychedelic medicines with the drug culture. That means staying clear of the notion of being under the influence, and certainly avoiding the impression that you’re appealing to children at all costs.
Currently, it seems companies such as Champaignon have non-psychoactive mushroom subsidiaries, such as a mushroom tea brand. This is wise because they have CPG products and are creating a target audience base that could potentially converge once they are able to create a psychedelic product and already have an organically engaged audience.
Like the cannabis industry, we are going to have to climb over mountains to change public perception of psychedelic use for medicinal purposes because it has been so counterculture for so many years and brought into the underground market.
It will be very exciting to watch the progression that happens in this industry. Advancements in CPG products are a few years away, so being on the forefront will be exciting.