Will Psychedelic Medicine be tiny or huge by 2030?
Meet Christian Angermayer, chief executive of Atai Life Sciences.He is on a mission to develop psychedelic medicines that revolutionise mental health treatment.
And meet Amy, she has depression which has worsened after a tough relationship break-up.
In this article, I predict how huge psychedelic medicines will be by 2030 on a scale of 1 to 10 based on looking at:
- The technology needed
- The companies making it happen
- What's to love
- jobs that will be hired.
Psychedelic medicines will be huge if the three major technology challenges are solved.
Mind Altering technology that safely treats mental health will be SOLVED by 2030.
Today Amy's mental health is treated with antidepressants.
Christian's vision is to transform treatment by developing new drugs that harness the three chemical compounds found in psychedelics: These are Tryptamines that are found in magic mushrooms, Phenethylamines in Ketamine and ecstasy's MDMA, and Lysergamides in LSD and Ayahuasca.
These all stimulate in slightly different ways the serotonin 5-HT receptor
which is the part of Amy's brain that regulates her feelings of well being and sensual perception. Christian and his fellow psychedelic medicine pioneers are showing promising results with a potential treatment for severe migraines using Tryptamines found in magic mushrooms a treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder using Phenethylamines that's in ecstasy anxiety and depression.
Therapy with Psychedelics
Effectively combining therapy with these psychedelic drugs will be solved by 2030.
Today, Amy has a psychiatrist with who she has been attending conventional therapy sessions with.
Christian's companies are developing centres with licensed psychedelic therapists for Amy to visit. The session starts with administering the psychedelic medicine to Amy. She is then encouraged to talk through with the therapist old and new thoughts.
Although the mechanisms in the brain are not fully understood, the medicine enables Amy's brain to suppress what's called her 'default brain network'.
By doing so she more easily can let go of hurtful memories and rigid patterns of thought. And open up to fresh ideas about her past and future and create new ways of thinking.
There is a growing number of therapists around the world approved to offer these treatments. In Montreal, for example, a clinic offers Ketamine-based psychotherapy to overcome treatment-resistant depression.
Using Microdosing - taking small doses daily - will be SOLVED by 2030.
With psychedelics, a problem has been the fact that the amounts taken can cause hallucinogenic effects that people don't like. Researchers are investigating the optimum tiny but effective dosage including what quantity to take each time, how many times a day, and in what form.
There has been a world of underground biohackers for years self-microdosing ... such as Serge Faguet who you see here and many others in Silicon Valley.
But it's now moved into the laboratory with brain scans tracking the impact of small doses with companies such as MindMed microdosing LSD in clinical trials for Adult ADHD.
Psychedelic Medicine will be huge if there are unicorns - startup companies that have a valuation of more than a billion dollars and when there's plenty of big established companies.
Atai Life Sciences
Christian's company, ATAI Life Sciences, is a unicorn valued at more than 2 billion dollars. Christian became a millionaire in his 20s selling a company he co-founded with the original patents for genetic RNA technology. Christian got into psychedelics when he tried some on a boat trip with friends in 2014 saying "“It was the single most meaningful thing I’ve ever done or experienced in my life. Nothing has ever come close to it.” He also said it even caused him afterwards to call his parents to say he loved them with newfound conviction. He's a collector of psychedelic art. Who knew there was such a thing? And he's friends with the maverick tech billionaire Peter Thiel who recently invested $125 million into Christian's company. His bio company, Atai, invests in psychedelic medicine companies with trials underway for depression by Perception Neuroscience, opiate addiction by DemeRx, anxiety disorder by Gabaand PTSD by EmpathBio.
MindMed is a unicorn. The CEO of this company, JR Rahn considers psychedelics as "the most important paradigm shift in mental health".
Mindmed have a database of 10 years worth of human safety data on MDMA and LSD. His pipelines includes treatments for cluster headaches and adult ADHD.
Ekaterina Malievskaia is a co-founder and Christian is an investor.
She has shown promising results for depression with a psilocybin-based drug, an active compound in magic mushrooms that is administered in a therapy room set up in their treatment centre in Atlanta in the US.
There’s plenty of multinational companies that are active including Abbvie and Johnson and Johnson.
AbbVie bought Allergan which has a novel psychedelic based drug for major depressive disorder.
Johnson & Johnson developed an FDA approved ketamine-based nasal spray treatment, Spravato, that's available now for severe depression showing it delivers results quickly.
For psychedelic medicines to be huge, they need to be as huge and loved as treatments like paracetamol which get 5-star levels of love today.
By 2030, people will be giving psychedelic medicines 5-star ratings because they are such an effective mental health treatment.
Today, although there is a range of 'traditional' drug treatments available to Amy, many are not that effective. Christian's pipeline of treatments will have matured by 2030. Successfully treating a broad range of mental health conditions with Amy experiencing dramatic results far quicker than anything possible today
but some treatments being expensive and some not.
No side effects
3 stars for No Side Effects.
On the plus side, Christian's medicines come without many of the side effects considered undesirable with non-medicinal psychedelics such as hallucinating when under the influence.
However, it is likely that even the medically approved drugs will sometimes have side effects including nausea.
World peace is perhaps not what you were expecting to see here but it's getting a 4 stars for it. Let me explain.
The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, known as MAPS, led by Amy Emerson, kicked off a study in 2019.
It brings together Israelis and Palestinians to take ayahuasca and work with negotiation experts to process their respective traumas.
The idea is that finding common ground in their experiences will help coax political reconciliation between the warring factions.
Christian has pledged $250,000 to the initiative saying "I'm not all about money. I'm about peace too."
It gets 2 stars for favourable regulation.
Governments are loosening up psychedelic regulation but it's moving slowly in many places.
Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, the US congresswoman proposed legislation in 2019 to make it easier to obtain psychedelic substances for scientific research arguing it would help veterans with PTSD but it was rejected by the House.
More favourable countries for research include Canada and Jamaica.
If air taxis are going to be huge there will be lots of jobs hired and fired.
Old fashioned therapists that don't move with the times will be Fired.
On the hired side, there are several job openings shown on LinkedIn that Christian's companies are hiring for.
They are across multiple job functions including: in psychiatrists, neuorologists, data engineers, and machine learning specialists. It's well worth looking at LinkedIn if you're interested in getting a job in the air taxi sector.
Helping you make good career decisions is a big reason why I'm doing this Life in 2030 channel. Jobs in fast growing new sectors like psychedelic medicines are exciting and more secure than in older sectors.
Jobs in the psychedelic medicine industry are all around the world. Christian's companies has many vacancies including in Berlin. MindMed is headquartered in New York. Compass Pathways is in the UK.
You could set up some job alerts for these companies. It's easy to do on LinkedIn and click to have a look at my 'Finding great jobs for life in 2030' video. Because there's plenty of jobs being hired and fired, from a Jobs point of view, psychedelic medicine is at the Huge end of the scale.