In this episode of the podcast, Joe interviews Josh Hardman, the Founder and Editor of Psilocybin Alpha, a news website and weekly newsletter covering the psychedelic space with a focus on emerging companies and drug development.
Hardman discusses how the juxtaposition of the studies coming out of Imperial College London and the way hippie culture intersected with various political movements made him want to create Psilocybin Alpha. He talks about his early anonymous days and how the 2020 US election jumpstarted the site, especially due to the passing of Oregon’s Measure 109 and people suddenly showing a lot of interest in psychedelic stocks.
And they talk about a lot more, as this podcast is very topic-to-topic conversational in the way you’d imagine a podcast between two people neck deep in psychedelic happenings may be: why the UK is so conservative when it comes to drug policy; Brexit; cryptocurrency, decentralized finance (DeFi), and decentralized health (“De-health”?); overuse of Sonoran desert toads and over-harvesting of iboga (why aren’t LSD and psilocybin good enough?); data collection and data privacy; patent thicketing; integration as a new recurring-revenue model; psychedelics and VR; investor obsession with derivatives and analogs; and 2022 seeing the likely consolidation of many for-profit companies in the psychedelic space.
“The point at which it went from just being kind of a side project to me to being ‘I should work on this full time’ was the November 2020 elections in the US. I remember I sat here up to like 5am in the UK, watching the results to see measure 109 in Oregon (obviously) and the DC ballot initiative to decriminalize. I think that was the point, to me, where I saw not just traffic to the website go up thousands of percent overnight, but also the types of people that were reading Psilocybin Alpha went from weed investors and crypto investors to therapists and people who were seeking therapy, emailing me. Hundreds of emails the next day saying, ‘I want to get involved in this. I’ve been working in psychiatry or psychotherapy for 30 years and I want to understand this new modality.’”
“Why are people depressed? I think a lot of people are depressed because something acute happened to them or because maybe they do need to go inside and work some stuff out internally, but, me being a student of sociology and political economy, I’m more inclined to think a lot of people are depressed because of their material situation: their job or their home life, economic realities in America, lack of health insurance. These things are all external. So I have some concern with how much we can really solve whilst in a system that makes people so upset and miserable.”
“The reason psychedelic companies are so disruptive to the healthcare system is because something like Prozac is chronically dosed. It’s like almost a recurring revenue model. It’s a subscription model. And obviously psychedelics can potentially not cure someone but put them into remission (at least clinically) in two or three sessions. So you could say that if a company is able to capture the integration part of the treatment arc as well, that’s where they start getting their recurring revenue.”
“I think people are concerned about investing in another psilocybin company. So if you can take a derivative, an analog, or a new chemical entity entirely (even if it’s very similar to psilocybin); to the investor or to the untrained eye, it’s new. It’s novel, and it’s going to get a patent, so therefore it must have some value. I think that might be a big story in 2022, when we start realizing that a lot of these supposedly new chemical entities either start failing in preclinical work or in Phase 1 work or they’re just not that remarkably different.”
What Technology Wants, by Kevin Kelly (Joe called it “What Technology Does”)
Psychedelics Today: PT244 – Mark Haberstroh – Mushrooms, Retreat Centers, and Safety (the person who has been to more retreats than anyone Joe knows)
About Josh Hardman
Founder and Editor of Psilocybin Alpha, an online resource and weekly newsletter covering the psychedelics space with a focus on drug development efforts.
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