Psychedelics: Big Bucks from Micro Doses
What’s the hippest fad in the drug world these days? It’s microdosing, the ingestion of tiny, sub-hallucinogenic amounts of psychedelics to improve mood, physical well-being, and creativity. The practice is increasingly popular with people from all walks of life.
Corporate executives, especially in Silicon Valley, are singing the praises of microdosing psychedelics. Some tech firms in the Bay Area even sponsor “microdose Fridays” (which I’m sure is a lot more fun than Hawaiian shirt Fridays).
An underground economy of small companies devoted to providing LSD, psilocybin, MDMA, mescaline, ketamine, ayahuasca, and other psychedelics to consumers, business leaders, and celebrities has taken root around the country.
Most of these entrepreneurs are skirting the law (depending on their jurisdiction) because psychedelics remain illegal at the federal level. But they’re laying the groundwork for a huge future industry, when restrictions are inevitably lifted.
What’s more, legalization of psychedelics is quickly spreading throughout the country on state and local levels, akin to the dynamic we’re seeing unfold with marijuana, another psychoactive substance that’s illegal at the federal level.
Today’s “psychonauts” (as they sometimes call themselves) haven’t invented the notion of a spiritual journey kick-started by psychedelics. These mind-bending substances have been used in shaman-guided religious ceremonies going back several millennia. What’s old has become new again.
Simply put, in layman’s terms, psychedelics achieve their perception-altering effects by stimulating neural circuits in the brain that use the neurotransmitter serotonin. And what, exactly, is a microdose?
For an example, to initiate an hallucinogenic trip on psilocybin (the psychoactive ingredient in magic mushrooms), the average human would need to take a dose of at least 3.5 grams. A microdose is roughly one-tenth that amount.
Microdosers report greater focus, less anxiety, alleviated depression, more energy, creative insights…the benefits run the gamut, but without the hallucinogenic effects. The downside to a full-blown acid trip, of course, is that you can’t get any real work done.
Microdosing is all the rage nowadays, but the fact is, the practice in modern times has been around since the 1960s. Psychedelics fell victim to the War on Drugs that started in 1971, but now we’re witnessing their rebirth.
Take Silicon Valley. The region didn’t earn that moniker until the early 1970s. Throughout the 1950s and into the mid-1960s, before it became a global tech hub, this Northern California region was mostly comprised of sleepy farms and orchards, with a smattering of nascent technology companies.
It was at these pioneering tech companies (e.g., magnetic tape maker Ampex), where engineers started to partake of psychedelics as part of the burgeoning Timothy Leary-inspired counterculture. Many of these tech geeks microdosed and reported how the practice unleashed inspiration and expedited problem solving.
Many computer engineers back then relied on LSD to help them design circuit chips. This was an era before computer-assisted design, which means engineers needed to maintain a bewildering array of complexities in their heads, in three dimensions. LSD helped with this creative process.
Today, many Silicon Valley leaders credit psychedelics with paving the way for the digital revolution. Psychedelics conflate the tangible with the intangible; they remove the strictures of the ego to bring subconscious intuition to the fore. They represent the ultimate way to “think outside the box.” This melding of science with the ineffable planted the conceptual seeds of the Internet.
Jobs to Gates: Go take a trip…
Does all of this sound a bit hyperbolic to you? I assure you, it’s not. For confirmation, let’s turn to the legendary Steve Jobs, the late great co-founder of Apple (NSDQ: AAPL).
You won’t hear this on CNBC, but it’s a matter of record that Steve Jobs avidly took acid. He often told people that experimenting with LSD was among the most influential experiences of his life.
Jobs once said of his rival, Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) founder Bill Gates: “He’d be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once or gone off to an ashram when he was younger.”
Small wonder that the money-making potential of psychedelics is significant and growing (see chart).
As laws prohibiting psychedelics continue to loosen, we’ll see an explosion in the psychedelics industry of biotech start-ups, initial public offerings, and mergers and acquisitions. According to a recent report from Research and Markets:
“The global psychedelic drugs market remains at an early stage in its life cycle, with most companies currently developing their go-to-market strategy. The market players of psychedelics are involved in the clinical trials of several psychedelic drugs to address mental health, which continues to present significant unmet need.”
The key phrase is “early stage in its life cycle.” That’s the time for investors to act. You need to get into position early, before the rest of the herd has piled into the market and made psychedelics-related investments too pricey.
But where should you look? How can you separate the solid bets from the crap shoots? You need guidance.
That’s why I urge you to read my new book: The Wide World of Weed and Psychedelics. My book is your definitive guide for making money in the thriving cannabis and psychedelics industries. Click here for your free copy.
John Persinos is the editorial director of Investing Daily.