Psychedelics are making a comeback. In particular, psilocybin mushrooms are generating a lot of buzz lately as consumers, investors, and scientists alike eye the therapeutic potential of shrooms.
Coming in hot behind the burgeoning cannabis industry, could we be on the verge of a psilocybin market?
And if so, is CBD no longer the golden child of the natural wellness movement?
Let's take a closer look.
Shrooms, or "magic mushrooms," refer to the mushrooms that contain the psychoactive compound psilocybin. Psychedelic substances like psilocybin have been used for centuries by indigenous cultures for healing and spiritual purposes.
When consumed, shrooms produce powerful psychedelic effects — like changes in perception, mood, and cognition. The trip typically lasts around six hours.
After decades of regulatory barriers, the therapeutic potential of psychedelics is finally being re-explored by the scientific community.
A growing body of research suggests that psilocybin has the potential to treat a range of mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, and addiction.(1)
This renaissance of psychedelic research has the nation's attention — and investors are taking note. In the last few years, we've seen the birth of several psychedelic-focused startups and a surge in investment dollars.(2)
Some cities are even decriminalizing psilocybin — like Denver, Oakland, and Washington, DC. The state of Oregon has taken it a step further with the passing of Measure 109, which will make psilocybin therapy legally available to adults 21+ by 2023.(3)
With the laws rapidly evolving, it's not hard to imagine a future in which psilocybin mushrooms are as prevalent in the cultural and political spheres as cannabis is today.
A recent study by Brightfield Group found that one of the biggest reasons people consume magic mushrooms is for mental health reasons.(4)
Shroom users report that mental health is their #1 stressor, with millennials often reporting using mushrooms to combat PTSD and Gen Xers saying they use it for depression.
Recreational and spiritual use is another big reason for shroom popularity. But as the stigma around psychedelics dissipates, it's psilocybin's potential for mental health that’s really gaining traction.
And it looks like more people are interested in trying shrooms than ever before. A whopping 20% of non-mushroom eaters say they will "definitely" use it once legal, and an additional 21% are considering it.(4)
Cannabis use is more common across psilocybin users than the average person, with 35% of surveyed mushroom users also reporting cannabis use in the past year.(4)
This is possibly because both substances can alter perception and have mood-boosting effects. For example, both can induce feelings of relaxation and euphoria.(5) Though, psilocybin typically has more intense effects.
Any companies that’re hoping to jump into the psilocybin market would be wise to consider tapping into the market of cannabis consumers.
Is CBD's star beginning to fade? Not so fast. While CBD may not be the new kid on the block, it's still got a lot going for it.
CBD's non-psychoactive properties make it a more attractive option for those who want the benefits of cannabis without the high.
But why would magic mushroom users opt for CBD over high-THC cannabis? There are plenty of reasons:
Those using psilocybin mushrooms may not want to increase the intensity of their psychedelic trip.
Unlike THC, CBD has no addiction potential.
CBD can be used more regularly (daily, throughout the day, etc.) since it doesn't produce intoxication.
CBD may reduce nausea and anxiety that mushrooms can cause.
So, it's not hard to see how cannabis, CBD, and shrooms could complement each other quite nicely.
Are we on the cusp of a psychedelic revolution? Only time will tell.
As the public becomes more aware of the therapeutic potential of psilocybin, we might see an increase in demand for magic mushrooms. And potentially continued changes in the legal landscape of psychedelics.
And with cannabis users more likely to use psilocybin mushrooms, it's possible we'll see markets colliding in the near future.
Daniel, J, et al. (2018). Clinical potential of psilocybin as a treatment for mental health conditions. The mental health clinician. https://doi.org/10.9740/mhc.2017.01.024
Sullivan, M. (2022). VC money keeps flowing into psychedelics-based mental health. Fast Company. https://www.fastcompany.com/90720911/mindstate-psychedelics
Acker, L. (2022). How soon will it be before Oregonians can access legal therapeutic psilocybin? The Register Guard. https://www.registerguard.com/story/news/2022/01/22/when-can-oregonians-access-legal-therapeutic-psilocybin-measure-109/6589291001
(2021). Understanding the Psilocybin Consumer. Brightfield Group. https://www.evergi.com/thank-you/understanding-psilocybin-consumers-report
Grey, K. (2020). Mushrooms and Cannabis: How They Compare and Interact. Healthline, https://www.healthline.com/health/substance-use/shrooms-and-weed
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