Cannabis Science & Technology - June 2022

Cannabis Science & Technology - June 2022

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Page 14 of 31 | Psychedelics: New Frontiers in Alternative Medicine 15 Anticipating Legalization: Making Psilocybin Accessible B Y D E A N H A R R I S A S SOMEONE WHO remembers the psychedelic times of the 1960s, psych- edelics such as psilocybin have come a long way from Dr. Timothy Leary's mantra of "turn on, tune in, and drop out." Today, psilocybin is being studied seriously for therapeu- tic applications at top medical schools, often with the support of the US government. For example, the study of psilocybin to help advance mental wellness is being conducted at Johns Hopkins Medical School (depression, anxi- ety, smoking cessation); Yale University is doing a study on major depressive disorder; Harvard Uni- versity is studying clinical depression; the Univer- sity of Texas at Austin is studying depression and anxiety); and New York University is studying sub- stance abuse and PTSD (1–5). This is by no means a comprehensive list. Important research on psil- ocybin is taking place now at many universities throughout the world. This increase of research activity also coincides with an increasing shift towards the legalization or decriminalization of psilocybin both inside and out- side of the US. Legalization typically considers four primary touch points: possession, sale, transport, and cultivation. These factors vary by locality and are changing so frequently that listing them here will render them out of date from the time this pa- per was written until the time it is published. That being said, legal psilocybin probably is coming soon to a market near you. Think of how quickly canna- bis became legal once a few states passed legisla- tion. With so many benefits of psilocybin being re- searched, one can assume that the legalization of psilocybin should happen even faster. It is logical to envision states and indeed countries where psilo- cybin sales and even psilocybin tourism becomes a significant part of the local economy. Once psilocybin is accepted legally and med- ically for wellness programs, it's then important to consider where it will be cultivated, how it will be processed, and in what forms it will be offered. Currently, most psilocybin is available on the black or grey markets. With a lack of oversight and regu- latory guidance, consumers have little to no trans- parency into what they are using, its origin, and how it is processed. Proper dosage is also a major question mark in the space as consumers wonder how much they are taking and how much psilocy- bin they should take. This dosage question is es- sential because given a positive or negative experi- ence with psilocybin, consumers will want to know how much they have used. Since psilocybin is in the early stages of legal commercialization on a production-level scale, there is a unique opportunity to establish the prod- uct ecosystem carefully and correctly. Fundamen- tal to any attempt to create markets for a prod- uct is an understanding what consumers want. That is the very definition of marketing. Given this Image credit: contentdealer/ feature

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