A modern psychedelic revolution is underway. After the cannabis legalization floodgates opened and stigmas associated with medical marijuana in particular lessened, a renewed interest in entheogens as medicine emerged.
The last two years have seen a boom in the number of psychedelic companies working to transform the face of healthcare, with more trials than ever being conducted on everything from psilocybin to DMT treating a wide range of disorders and diseases.
At November’s Wonderland psychedelic business conference, many of the sector’s best and brightest descended on Miami to share their progress, learn from one another, and showcase the latest developments in this rapidly emerging space.
Presented by Microdose, the first annual event attracted nearly 2,000 entrepreneurs, thought leaders, and investors for two days of engaging panels, captivating activations, and networking opportunities.
Held at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, the multi-faceted agenda covered a wide range of topics.
Speakers touched on psychedelic therapies for everything from addiction to PTSD, the current landscape for investors, cutting-edge scientific discoveries, and the state of political reform.
A workshop covering the ways in which entheogens can improve your sex life brought a standing-room-only crowd to the venue’s green room, with an overflow crowd jetting out into the hall.
Boxer Mike Tyson and former NHL player Daniel Carcillo spoke to a packed auditorium about their personal successes with psychedelics as a way to cope with the physical and psychological traumas they have endured in their professional and personal lives.
Tyson, who admitted to smoking the venom of the Bufo alvarius toad 60 times over the last few years, credits entheogens with making him a better person but insisted his presence in the space is bigger than him. The revelation went viral after the former world champ told the crowd he “died” during his first toad experience.
“I’m very proud to be here today to share my opinion about the medicine that made me who I am, but this is all about the universe – this is nothing about me,” Tyson told Cannabis & Tech Today.
When asked how people can support the psychedelic medicine space, Tyson said:
“Don’t take my word for it – just do it,” encouraging everyone to try entheogens for themselves.
Cutting-Edge Research and Development On Display
The rapid pace of scientific discovery in the psychedelic realm was a hot topic at the Wonderland conference with several publicly traded companies and organizations presenting their latest progress.
At an early morning press conference, members of Cybin’s leadership team provided updates on the creation of a novel psilocybin analog. The drug, currently called CYB003, is meant to mimic the magic mushroom experience but with shorter onset and duration times, something the company believes will make the medicine more accessible.
The company plans to enter clinical trials of CYB003 in 2022.
“I’m amazed by the progress actually,” Cybin CEO Doug Drysdale told Cannabis & Tech Today. “From the discovery of a molecule to an IND filing with the FDA would maybe take three years typically. We’re going to get there in about 15 months, which is tremendous.”
Dr. Joe Tucker, CEO of Enveric Biosciences, spoke on the “Next-Level Psychedelics” panel, sharing the multitude of ways his company is looking to expand the potential of entheogen-based therapies.
“We have actually started looking for non-hallucinogenic molecules, ones that would have that same profound ability to rewire the brain but without the visual and auditory hallucinations.”
Rick Doblin, the founder of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), shared his insights on the state of the industry alongside CEO Amy Emerson in a conversation with Microdose founder Patrick Moher.
When asked about the intersection of sacred medicine and pharmaceutical capitalism, Doblin insisted there is room for all interpretations as long as people are healing.
“You can have clinical-based treatments at the same time as religious use. I think there will be a parallel,” Doblin said, referencing a Brazilian study in which ayahuasca was administered in a hospital setting to patients with depression with remarkable success.
“Medicine is covered by insurance, religion is not,” Doblin pointed out.
Microdose Awards Highlight Best and Brightest
One of the highlights of the Wonderland event was the announcement of the winners of the first annual Microdose awards.
The awards honor the outstanding achievements of both individuals and organizations from across the psychedelic space in a wide range of categories.
Winners included Paul Stamets (Public Figure of the Year), Robin Carhart-Harris (Academic of the Year), Mojo Microdose by Gwella (Consumer Product of the Year), and Cybin (Company of the Year).
Writer Michael Pollan, whose works on psychedelic plant medicine have garnered international praise, received two accolades: Author of the Year as well as the Industry Pioneer Lifetime Achievement award.
“The public has recognized and appreciated Michael’s first-person quest to learn what psychedelic medicines had to teach him about not only the mind but also his mind, and specifically about the nature of spiritual experience,” said Moher.
Microdose Planning More In-Person Events, Online Programming Continues
The success of the inaugural Wonderland conference has organizers already looking ahead to plan the next iteration. Doblin, who had initially shied away from the idea of participating in a psychedelic business conference, was astounded at the turnout.
“What surprised me is how many people came [to Wonderland] from all over the world!” he said. “It’s been an incredible opportunity.”
For those looking to engage with Microdose before the next conference is announced, the platform’s popular monthly Psychedelic Capital series is a great way to learn about the booming space virtually. Archived programming is also available online.