SXSW 2022

Who owns the future of psychedelics?


Psychedelics are going mainstream. MDMA and psilocybin are “breakthrough therapies” close to FDA approval, and companies are flooding in to capitalize on what could become a $100B market, backed by a massive onrush of investment.
With innovation in mental healthcare stagnant for decades, and the need for new therapies more pressing than ever, surely the commercialization of psychedelic therapies is a force for good? Or will the “psychedelics renaissance” repeat the mistakes of the current pharmaceutical-centered approach, and squander an opportunity to reimagine mental healthcare? Will psychedelics ultimately be broadly transformative, or instead entrench existing systems?
As tensions flare in the emerging psychedelics space, we discuss ways it might grow into an equitable ecosystem.

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  1. Navigating the different opportunities and obstacles of medicalization, legalization, and decriminalization will shape how the space develops.
  2. A patent land grab risks restricting access to psychedelics, repeating the problems of big pharma, and negating the traditional use of many compounds.
  3. We can build a transformative ecosystem around psychedelics that integrates social, economic, and cultural factors and supports mental health.



Emily Chan, Communications Strategist, Calyx Law

Meta Information:

  • Event: SXSW
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: Culture
  • Track 2 Health & MedTech
  • Level: Intermediate

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