Inside the arms race to develop new psychedelic drugs

By The Big Story

For decades psychedelics have been illegal, taboo and largely considered the domain of ‘hippies.’ But over the past decade, more and more research has been done into the therapeutic potential of drugs like psilocybin, ketamine and MDMA, among others. Now, a host of start-ups are attempting to cash in on the trend.

John Semley is a Canadian writer and researcher who wrote about the race to engineer new psychedelic drugs for Wired magazine. He joins us on The Big Story to outline the major players in the nascent industry, discuss their aims, and break down the tensions between the original underground psychonauts and the new breed of corporate chemists.

“People who have psychedelic experiences talk about these profound experiences of love, connectedness and peace, and these values that seem totally counterintuitive to the cutthroat corporate world as we know it,” he said.

So what is the next frontier of psychedelic exploration? Is this just snake oil, or the start of a pharmaceutical revolution? And ultimately, who stands to profit the most here?

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