The psychedelic industry stretches beyond clinical trials and individual experimentation with drugs. Hence, there is an entire industry booming with new technology, education, and information. As such, the industry has expanded into a broad range of categories, subsequently creating many new opportunities for people to get involved. From conducting or participating in scientific research to creating a psychedelic brand, the industry is ripe for expansion. Accordingly, we’ve done the research and covered valuable topics for you to consider before diving in.
What You’ll Learn
- Reasons to Get Involved—Discover the many reasons why the industry is enticing so many professionals and newcomers alike.
- Attending Psychedelic Events—Grow your network and expand your knowledge at an educational or interactive event.
- The Psychedelic Market—Explore the various industry verticals that are taking a psychedelic approach.
- Jobs to Consider—Learn about the detailed positions available in multiple fields of interest.
- Volunteering—Find out how and where to volunteer to gain insight and make an impact.
Reasons to Get Involved
There are many reasons people choose to work in the psychedelic industry. Knowing which one is right for you is the first step. Thus, identifying your reasons for getting involved with this burgeoning new industry can illuminate many opportunities for you to choose from.
There has been a significant shift in the mindset around psychedelic use. For example, acclaimed neuroscientist Dr. Adie Wilson-Poe has spent her medical career focusing on the use of cannabis in place of opioids. Her research shows how cannabis can replace opioids for pain management. There is potential for major scientific breakthroughs with cannabis, especially with legalization and decriminalization ramping up globally. Consequently, officials are reevaluating previously held beliefs about other drugs and their potential therapeutic benefits. In addition, medical research will strengthen the argument for more evidence-based uses of psychedelics as medicine.
In 2019, two major U.S. cities—Denver, CO and Oakland, CA—decriminalized the possession and consumption of psilocybin mushrooms. Equally important, clinical trials are taking place with ketamine, MDMA, and ayahuasca to study therapeutic benefits. New users are experimenting with microdosing psychedelics for the first time. Consequently, the stigma around psychedelics is decreasing as more and more people are seeing the benefits of psychedelic medicine.
Pioneering a New Industry
Whether you are a cannabis crusader or an experienced psychonaut, entering a new space can be rewarding. Also, it can be a launchpad to a new career path. You can begin by volunteering in your chosen area to gain a deeper understanding of how far it has come and where it’s heading. In addition, develop an area of expertise and hone your skills in this area. As new professionals enter the space, you will have a leg up on the competition, providing more opportunities. This can lead, for example, to a position in education, where you could end up speaking as an expert on a particular subject matter at events and seminars.
Attend Psychedelic Events
Attending conferences, events, and seminars is a simple way to expand your network. It’s a way to meet new people you’d like to work with or learn from. In addition, organized gatherings provide places to find inspiration for your endeavors. Think of these events as an educational tool for adding new information to your toolkit. Moreover, you can find a few workshops that will align with your ideals as well.
Delic Corp (the same people who own and operate Reality Sandwich) is hosting a psychedelic wellness summit called Meet Delic in Los Angeles, CA, in May 2021. According to the site, “Delic is the first-ever psychedelic wellness brand dedicated to public education and to destigmatizing the psychedelic conversation for a mainstream audience. Delic builds creative platforms to have civil discourse about psychedelic culture.”
Meet Delic will host appearances by scientists, researchers, educators, authors, and medical professionals who are experts in their fields. The two-day event will feature an Art Dome with interactive experiences and music. In addition, the Tech Dome will allow guests to have a virtual psychedelic experience and explore sensory shift technology, and the Networking Dome will be a space to learn about starting a psychedelic business.
The Psychedelic Industry
The psychedelic market includes typical sectors such as therapy and clinical trials, in addition to investment, volunteering, publishing, or creating your own start-up. With so many categories, there is something for everyone that wants to get involved.
Perhaps you’ve had a valuable psychedelic experience that shifted your perspective, and you want to become a trained psychedelic therapist to help others on their journeys. Trained professionals can provide a sense of safety and comfort for first-time users of psychedelic medicine. Having a dedicated safe space can allow patients to fully immerse themselves in the experience. The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) offers an MDMA Therapy Training Program which, according to their website, includes “curriculum based on decades of clinical experience.”
If you are interested in trying psychedelic therapy for yourself, there are many options available. The California Center for Psychedelic Therapy offers ketamine-assisted psychotherapy to treat a variety of conditions, including anxiety, depression, PTSD, and OCD. To work with psilocybin mushrooms, you can train with COMPASS Pathways to become a therapist or apply for sessions. The center uses a synthetic form of psilocybin, called COMP 360, which, according to their website, was “created by experts in the fields of psychology, psychiatry, and psychedelic therapy research, and approved by the FDA”.
The Beckley Foundation is located in Oxford, UK, and its focus is twofold. According to their website, their primary aims are:
- To scientifically investigate the effects of psychoactive substances on the brain and consciousness in order to harness their potential benefits and minimize their potential harms; learn more about consciousness and brain function; and discover and explore new avenues for the treatment of illnesses.
- To achieve evidence-based changes in global drug policies in order to reduce the harms brought about by the unintended negative consequences of current drug policies; and develop improved policies based on health, harm reduction, cost-effectiveness, and human rights.
Their scientific program directs research to include clinical trials on substances such as cannabis, MDMA, LSDA, psilocybin, DMT, and 5-MeO-DMT. The purpose of this research is to better understand how these substances impact the brain, as well as to explore the idea of consciousness itself.
Psychedelics have been the subject of many studies. Much of this information is available to the public online. A plethora of research papers on topics such as treating alcoholism with LSD, and MDMA-assisted psychotherapy are available through multiple data bases including National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) and Atai Life Science. If you are intrigued by science and want to learn how psychedelics may help you, enrolling in a clinical trial is a potential next step.
One way to learn more about the organizations performing research is to sign up for a clinical trial. During a clinical trial, researchers will administer specific doses of psychedelics first to animals, and then to humans. There are multiple phases of research. The purpose of clinical trials is to ensure the safety of the drug through evidence-based research.
Many organizations are performing clinical trials. By getting involved, you will learn more about the substances being studied and the organizations studying them. For example, the Johns Hopkins University Center for Psychedelics & Consciousness Research is studying many types of behavior and brain function with the use of psilocybin.
Treatment-resistant depression, PTSD, mood disorders, and addiction are only a few of the conditions being studied. To learn more about how clinical trials work, visit clinicaltrials.gov. This site details the many types of psychedelics being researched, and explains how to enroll or volunteer within organizations conducting the clinical trials.
For those looking to invest money into the field of psychedelics, the Canadian stock market is a good place to start. The Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE) is anticipating early-stage investment for psychedelic mushroom companies. One report suggests a $7 billion value by 2027. Richard Carlton, CEO of the CSE, has held conversations with investors and companies alike who are already interested in the investment space.
Champignon Brands is a company on the CSE. They currently focus on organic, non-GMO medicinal mushroom blends. These include reishi, lion’s mane, and Cordyceps. They will be creating a synthesized form of psilocybin within the first three months of laboratory testing. Their aim is to create pharmaceutical-grade psilocybin for clinical use.
If there is a particular study or research project you find intriguing, most organizations are happy to take direct investment. Donations support their staff and the cost of clinical trials.
For those attracted to the culture surrounding psychedelics, there are many options for creating new brands, art, and merchandise that support psychedelic consciousness. Alternative Intelligence is one example of an apparel company that uses psychedelic artwork. They offer hats and clothing featuring elements like sacred geometry and otherworldly beings.
Explore brands that are doing what you like and get inspired to create your own. Search for psychedelic wellness products, merchandise, record labels, homewares, and more. Be careful to ensure that any endeavor you take on is legal where you live, as well as where you intend to sell or promote.
Speaking of psychedelic shops, Reality Sandwich just launched its very own online store featuring psychedelic clothing and accessories. The same tasty makers of delicious doses of information are now providing psychedelic wares to uplift your fashion journey.
If you have information to share with the world, there are many ways to get your message out there. Reach out to podcast hosts that feature psychedelic enthusiasts, and talk about your personal experiences.
Start a blog and write about your psychedelic journeys. Launch a YouTube channel and interview persons with interesting perspectives on out-of-body experiences, spirituality, or psychedelics. The topics are endless.
Cannabis Content Writer
Many publications are shifting their focus to highlight cannabis education and information sharing. Popular sites include Ganjapreneur, Dope Magazine, Northwest Leaf, High Times, Broccoli, and MG Retailer. Cannabis companies seek out talented writers to develop their brand voice and manage their content marketing. You might also reach out to cannabis companies via their social media channels and inquire about writing captions for Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter profiles.
Ketamine Content Writer
With so many clinics popping up across the US, there is an increased demand for research writers to document the progress with patients. Additionally, many medical facilities host blogs on their website that could benefit from updated ketamine content. Research clinics in your area and reach out to them to inquire about open positions. They may not even know they needed this type of content until you offer it to them.
General Psychedelic Content Writer
There is always room for more writers on the subject of psychedelics. A personal point of view is valuable for those who are about to embark on their first psychedelic journey. Accordingly, reviews of products and services are needed to highlight quality providers. Promoting positive experiences with ceremonies, clinics, and circles will help others find them. So use your voice to elevate the communities that are working hard to promote the safe use of psychedelics.
In addition, if you would like to have your work published on our site, sign up for the Reality Sandwich Contributor Network for an opportunity to write on various topics of psychedelic interest.
Create a Start-Up
Is there an idea you haven’t seen come to life yet? Create your own business and help expand the psychedelic industry further. First, begin by writing down your ideas to create a business plan. Then determine what you are planning to provide. If it is a service, include all of the relevant offerings and create a pricing model. If it’s a product, source the materials you’ll need and make a prototype. Reach out to like-minded individuals who may be partners to you on your journey.
Join a Community
There are several unique psychedelic communities where you can meet other people with similar interests. For example, Meow Wolf is an art collective that provides an immersive art experience. It is a psychedelic playground for all ages, with music, videos, and visually enthralling art all around you. It’s a place to play and explore new art and ideas. Additionally, an integration circles is a place to develop community. It’s a safe space to talk about a recent psychedelic experience or prepare for an upcoming one. If you’ve had a challenging trip, it’s a place to talk through it. Psychedelia Integration is an L.A.-based integration circle that “aims to provide accurate information about mindful and safe preparation, engagement, and integration of entheogenic experiences,” according to their website.
Jobs to Consider
There are many jobs that you may never have considered in the psychedelic industry. For example, did you know you can get paid to roll joints and deliver cannabis? Read on to learn more.
Cannabis legalization is sweeping the United States, creating thousands of jobs related to growing, manufacturing, and selling of cannabis and cannabis-infused goods. A mix of medical and adult-use recreational cannabis products are sold in over 40 states, with sales expected to surpass $15 billion in 2020. Canada and Uruguay have fully legalized cannabis within the medical and adult-use markets. Worldwide, 44 countries have legalized medical marijuana programs. There are plenty of ways to search for cannabis jobs near you. 420 Careers is a site that focuses solely on cannabis employers and job seekers. In addition, traditional platforms such as LinkedIn and Indeed feature cannabis-specific jobs in states with legal programs.
Cultivation and Harvest
Large-scale cannabis production requires skilled farmers with knowledge of the unique nature of the cannabis plant and the growing cycle. Typically, such a farm will have a master grower with assistants that are responsible for monitoring the light conditions, moisture levels, pH balance, and soil conditions of various strains of plants. Additional team members are required during harvest to oversee the bucking, hanging, drying, curing, and trimming of all finished flowers.
Manufacturing and Production
There are many categories of cannabis products, with sub-categories within. For example, there are smoekable products that include hand-rolled joints, hash extracts, and vaporizer pens. Also, there are edible products that can include anything from gummies and hard candy to baked goods and infused cooking oils. Capsules, sublingual medicines, and tinctures provide discreet consumption. In addition, there are topical products that take the form of balms, lotions, and transdermal patches.
Each of these products begins with the raw plant. Then, depending on the desired result, the plant material will go through various methods of extraction and infusion. Manufacturers highly regulate this type of production. They perform it in laboratories and commercial kitchens certified as safe for cannabis production. Consequently, this manufacturing creates dozens of job roles such as extraction techs, chefs, packaging teams, and inventory specialists.
Sales and Distribution
Cannabis products containing THC may not ship via mail. Therefore, there is distribution which requires people in delivery vehicles to make daily drops to dispensaries and retail locations. Additionally, full-service sales and in-house distribution are common for many cannabis companies, creating more job opportunities for motivated individuals.
Retail stores employ “budtenders” to help educate customers as they navigate a cannabis purchase. Position requirements include passion and enthusiasm for plant medicine, knowledge of various types of cannabis and known effects, and excellent customer service skills.
Each state in the US has its own governing body that oversees cannabis regulation. Their job of these organizations is to define the laws regarding cannabis movement from seed to sale. Rules and regulations are ever-changing in this nascent industry, and a misstep in compliance could lead to termination of cannabis licensure. Therefore, a compliance specialist focuses on ensuring company compliance, including security, inventory tracking, and employee adherence to standard operating procedures.
Ketamine is legally available to veterinarians and medical doctors. It is a medication used most commonly as an anesthetic. It can put a patient into a state of sedation and provide pain relief. However, it has been discovered that ketamine may also provide other benefits, and ketamine clinics are being used for treatment and research.
Ketamine clinics are becoming increasingly popular. Ketamine infusion for depression is common. For this reason, many clinics are hiring nurse practitioners to administer the medicine intravenously. Physician’s assistants, RNs, and PRNs may also find work in ketamine clinics.
Choosing a clinic can be difficult, and thorough research on the doctors, facility, and location should be done beforehand. Look for clinics with several testimonials from past clients to ensure it is a reputable place. Also, read about the procedure and talk to the clinic staff before applying.
Chemistry and Laboratories
The scientific community needs forward-thinking and innovative scientists and researchers to support the movement. Famous pioneers from the past include Alexander Shulgin, dubbed the “godfather of psychedelics” for his breakthrough studies on MDMA and various other chemical psychedelics. Shulgin was a well-versed chemist, pharmacologist, and psychopharmacologist, and authored several pieces of work on his psychedelic studies.
Shulgin spent his life advocating for the safe use of psychedelics, and continued to educate on his experiments synthesizing and testing the effects of psychoactive drugs. He died at the age of 88 in 2014.
Two other famous psychologists who made their mark on the industry were Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert, later known as Ram Dass. They met while attending Harvard, and began to explore the effects of psychotropic substances on the human mind by founding the Harvard Psilocybin Project.
While there are no psychedelics undergraduate programs yet, there are several degrees that will prepare a student for the study of psychedelics in a laboratory setting. For example, organic chemistry, biochemistry, psychology, neuroscience, and various routes as a medical doctor will all lend a hand on your journey. An article by Dr. Andrew Sewell details how to become a psychedelic researcher, with several tips for measurable steps you can take as both an undergraduate and graduate student.
Interning is a great way to get your foot in the door and learn quickly from psychedelic industry leaders. Seek out companies that you align with, and approach them about the possibility of an internship. This shows your interest in their particular area of work, and allows you the opportunity to learn directly from people who inspire you.
Psilocybin Alpha is a company focused on psychedelic stocks, news, company updates, and more. They are currently seeking a content development and growth intern. This position is available for work-from-home, and requires some web development skills. Apply online.
To find an internship, research local companies near you if you want to be involved face-to-face. This might include music festivals, art shows, theater performances, health clinics, or retail. Each internship has a variety of responsibilities, so be sure to ask about the commitments and requirements. In addition, if there is a company outside of your city, reach out to see if they offer any remote internships that you could participate in.
Delic Corp is always looking for new talent, and starting as an intern is a great first step. For example, college-age writers, creative content contributors, illustrators, graphic designers, motion designers, and digital creatives of all types are of particular interest. Send your résumé and letter of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org if interested.
It’s important to note that psychedelics are not widely legal worldwide. However, many places offer specific psychedelic use in ceremony or retreat-like settings. Be sure to do thorough research on legality before embarking on any psychedelic journey.
MycoMeditations is a psilocybin retreat that focuses on creating happier people through group therapy with psilocybin mushrooms. They are located in Jamaica, where the use of psilocybin mushrooms is legal. While they do not refer to their retreats as “ceremonies,” they do encourage group work and connecting with the other participants. Participants join for the preparation of the medicine and integration circle, before and after the sessions. They do not perform any shamanic or new age traditions, but are pleased to offer practices and techniques to help provide the most pleasant experience possible. Additionally, MycoMeditations partners with Magnificent Mushrooms, a local mushroom cultivator.
There are many other therapy centers around the world working with psilocybin mushrooms. To find the right one for you, do some independent research on what is legal and within the realm of possibility for you. Searching online for psilocybin therapy centers will turn up several results. You can even talk to trained therapists before you decide what is best for you. The Psychedelic Support network is home to many non-biased, trained professionals who would be happy to answer any questions you might have.
Some proponents of ayahuasca credit it with providing ten years of therapy condensed into a single session. In Peru, ayahuasca is a fully legal and protected medicine. Under the guidance of the Shipibo people, The Temple of the Way of Light focuses their ayahuasca retreats on healing people. Their 12-day retreats include seven ceremonies, with four Shipibo healers and two experienced facilitators. The Temple’s team of Shipibo healers represent thousands of years of Amazonian healing tradition. Their mission is not only to legitimize ayahuasca healing in the West, but also to uphold respect for Indigenous healing traditions. Integration circles and various workshops are available during the retreat to ensure guests receive as much support as possible.
Much like interning, volunteering is a great way to get your foot in the door and expand your network. Most events, festivals, and seminars are looking for volunteers to help with various avenues of production. You can also volunteer to help fund-raise or perform administrative tasks. In addition, if you are creative and tech-savvy, your web design or writing skills might come in handy.
DanceSafe is a nonprofit public health organization that focuses on safety in the electronic music community. Accordingly, they aim to ensure a safe nightlife and educate on harm reduction. The team at DanceSafe is known for bringing test kits to rave and dance clubs to check the purity of drugs. Furthermore, they neither condone nor condemn drug use, and only want people to make informed decisions about their health.
While decriminalization has begun for certain substances, the cause needs proponents focused on education and political backing. Decriminalize Nature is an organization whose mission is exactly that. According to their site, their goal is “to improve human health and well-being by decriminalizing and expanding access to entheogenic plants and fungi through political and community organizing, education, and advocacy”. You can join the movement by volunteering through their website.
RS Contributing Author: Holly Crawford
Holly is a lover of the written word. She enjoys using language to tell stories about people, products, and ideas. With her roots deeply entrenched in the cannabis industry, she gravitates towards all things psychedelic with open-minded curiosity. If she isn’t musing in one of her journals, you can find her talking to her plants, playing in her gardens, and performing all kinds of kitchen witchery. Holly lives in Oregon with her husband and their three dogs and two cats. You can follow her on Instagram @m_sungreen.