TREND: MUSHROOMS EMERGE FROM UNDERGROUND
Psilocybin Research, Investment and Legalization Is Heating Up
Back in early 2018, the GWS predicted that “brain-resetting” psilocybin would emerge as a top wellness trend, with growing clinical evidence from major research institutions that magic mushrooms have serious potential benefits for issues ranging from anxiety to addictions.
The research, the investment in psilocybin companies, and a new push for legalization in states across the US are now really ramping up. Larger, more rigorous clinical studies are being funded: Johns Hopkins University recently opened a dedicated $17 million center for psychedelic studies (the world’s largest), Compass Pathways just raised another $80 million to take its global study on psilocybin’s effect on depression into phase 3, and NYU is now working on launching a Center for Psychedelic Medicine. In late 2019, the FDA designated psilocybin a “breakthrough therapy” because the clinical evidence merited speeding up development.
Legalization action is rising in the US: The cities of Oakland, Denver, and Santa Cruz have decriminalized it; Washington D.C. is expected to soon vote on that; while Oregon has full legalization on the November ballot. Big players like Usona Institute, Eleusis and Atai Life Sciences are moving fast, and a wave of psilocybin start-ups like Mind Medicine are raising tens of millions in VC funding. There are so many new models and patents, from Usona Institute and Mindset just announcing new ways to synthesize pharma-grade psilocybin at a large scale to Mota Ventures acquiring Verrian for $14.2 million, a company that uses micro-dosages of psilocybin and dopamine reward dynamics to help people overcome addiction.
With the World Health Organization predicting that COVID-19 will unleash the largest mental health crisis (depression, anxiety, addictions) in modern history—and with early evidence that psilocybin has great potential for these issues—serious magic mushroom research, VC funding, and innovation will be a major story in the year ahead. Yes, there will be endless, frothy statements from the press arguing that “psilocybin is the new cannabis” (it is not, more below), but this is a development that the medical-wellness world needs to pay attention to.
This is from the “Mushrooms Emerge from Underground” trend in the 2018 Global Wellness Trends Report.