Psychedelics are closer now than they have ever been to the mainstream. The scientific progress made in just the last few years has generated considerable attention in financial markets and the media. Not too long ago we were “riding the green wave” as cannabis was legalized in Canada and across a number of US states. Now we’re on to the “mush rush.”’ 

Will the psychedelic sector follow the same trajectory as its green cousin or are we set for a whole new trip? 

Psychedelics and cannabis have one primary commonality; they’re both illicit substances on the road to becoming legal, and along the way creating a virtually new market overnight. But when you start to examine how each sector is developing, some similarities remain while in many cases they are taking a completely separate trajectory

Cannabis has always been treated less harshly than it’s psychedelic counterparts in the eyes of the law. It has a long history of illicit recreational and self-medical use in many communities without widespread problems beyond their illegal status. When the first jurisdictions in the US – California and Colorado – began to create legal frameworks for use, the rules were always pretty relaxed. See a doctor, get a card, go to a dispensary. Celebrations of this new status and more widespread recreational use followed with varying levels of regulation across states and countries. Getting stoned is now straight forward: go to a store, buy some weed, enjoy it in the comfort of your home. 

Psychedelics, on the other hand, have taken a slower and more scientifically rigorous path to renewed social acceptance. While decriminalization movements are popping up excitingly quickly, legalization is taking a slower, more thoughtful approach. Leading the pack in the psych space are organizations like Compass, MindMed, Tryp Therapeutics, MAPS and Cybin. All of them are going through the process of lengthy and costly clinical trials in order to secure approvals from Health Canada or the FDA for pharmaceutical use of their substances. In Oregon, where voters passed an initiative to legalize psychedelic use, they’ve put in place a two year window before new laws come into effect. Once psychedelics are accessible in the state, it will be under strict guidelines of licensed facilities, practitioners and observation of users. 

The structured and rigorous pharmaceutical path to market for psychedelics requires and has attracted serious interest from scientists, healthcare professionals, and researchers from  around the world for the potential to develop revolutionary therapeutic breakthroughs in patient care for a wide range of diseases.  A winning team combines financial pros who raise patient capital for the long haul, researchers who understand the scientific literature inside and out, and seasoned drug developers who have brought drugs to market before. 

One stand out company, Tryp Therapeutics, has built a team with the ingredients to be successful in the clinic, with the FDA,and the larger pharma companies they seek to partner with. Their executive team has over 100 years of experience with clinical trials, pharmaceuticals, R&D, formulation, manufacturing and corporate finance. The company is led by CEO, Dr. James Kuo, a medical doctor who also holds an MBA from Wharton, and has worked in pharmaceuticals for over 20 years. 

Recently, Tryp attracted heavyweight academic researcher and psychedelic expert, Dr. Robin Carthart-Harris to lead their scientific advisory board. Dr. Carhart-Harris heads one of the world’s leading psychedelic research centres at the Imperial College of London, and is a top global voice for the advancement of psychedelics. 

Tryp’s executive team, board of directors, and advisors have the requisite cross functional drug development experience to be successful in this burgeoning sector. . Perhaps most importantly, they’ve gone through the process of bringing drugs through the FDA and to market successfully, something very few companies can say. 

An industry beating team is only half the battle, a successful strategy is just as important for success.

Tryp is laser focused on  a number of indications and other diseases with high unmet medical needs that nobody else is really focusing on in the sector. They also do not plan on going through lengthy and costly Phase 3 trials, but rather are focused on partnering or licensing their assets after successful Phase 2 trails. This strategy is a welcome distinction from the dozens of company’s chasing the same indications, and helps derisk Tryp in the process by not needing tens of millions of dollars to realize revenue or success..   

All in all the psychedelics industry is only similar to cannabis in one real way. They are both medicinal drugs that in the last 15 years have moved out of the shadows. Their organizational structures, their uses, their regulatory compliance practices are all substantially different. Cannabis’ journey into the mainstream has been a wild ride where many stories being told by the players involved didn’t exactly pan out. The psychedelic industry, for the most part, is taking a slower more deliberate approach and that should be a comfort. The regulations around psychedelics are going to be one of the macro elements that drive success–it forces companies to operate more methodically and meticulously. Now it is up to these new organizations to do the work and reap the rewards.  


This article was written in partnership Tryp Therapeutics. The content is promotional and does not necessarily reflect our opinions, however we only work with companies who we believe to be credible contributors to the psychedelic sector.