Psychedelics Are The Hot Conference Topic

It wasn’t that long ago when psychedelics emerged as a potentially better natural plant-based medicine for treating such things as treatment-resistant depression (TRD), into what is now a billion-dollar juggernaut of an industry. 

Then an even curiouser thing happened. Around 2015, organizers of more and more conferences about cannabis—and some that were not about cannabis at all—began inviting psychedelic speakers or otherwise acknowledging their contribution to new medical therapeutic discoveries. People were curious. Intrigued. Wanted psychedelics leaders to join in the discussions.


– On January 23 at the 2019 World Economic Forum, psychedelics were featured in a panel with the eminent Robert Carhart-Harris, head of the Centre for Psychedelic Research, Division of Brain Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London. He spoke about “The New Science of Psychedelics.”

– Psychedelics discussions have found their way into TedX talks since 2016—reportedly 11 such talks as of July 2021.

– The 2019 SXSW show featured a session on psychedelics with Michael Pollan, “Exploring the Frontiers of Psychedelics,” and a meetup about psychedelics. Now there are six psychedelics sessions planned as part of a two-day summit at the 2022 SXSW. One of which our Executive Editor Debra Borchardt is moderating titled “The Psychedelic Investment Opportunity.” Joining her are  Ronan Levy, founder of Field Trip Health (NASDAQ: FTRP), Daniel Goldberg of Palo Santo VC Fund, and Gregg Peterson of Bexson Biomedical.

– The three-day May, 2022 Cannabis Science and Technology conference added a whole conference track on psychedelics, with 11 sessions.

– The international annual BioHacker Summit featuring world experts on human well-being, performance and health, held each year since 2016 examining such issues as building a personal life extension strategy and how to biohack yourself to optimal wellness, featured Robin Carhart-Harris in 2018 for their first session on psychedelics.

– Psychedelics even had a presence at one of the world’s largest trade shows, the 2022 Consumer Electronics Show, which gave Tripp PsyAssist the CES 2022 Innovation Award for their virtual reality tool that can be used in psychedelics therapy.

Business investors are more interested in the industry than ever before. They want more. And business conferences are giving it to them.

One of those investor conferences is Microdose Media’s Psychedelic Capital, held nearly every month since June 2020, which covers the top companies, latest IPOs, opportunities, and insights into the psychedelic industry. Microdose held one of the largest worldwide virtual conferences for the emerging psychedelic medicine industry in April 2020.

In January 2021, a high-level business investor discussion on psychedelics, “A New Era for Psychedelic Medicine,” was one of the science talks sponsored by SALT, a New York venture group that organizes global thought leadership and networking forums moderated by SALT Chairman Anthony Scaramucci. SALT talks have featured such notables as Presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton, movie stars, ambassadors, prime ministers, innovative business developers, and more. Movers and shakers pay attention to any topic discussed here.

There is a growing host of conferences both large and small dedicated to the psychedelics business, such as the annual Interdisciplinary Conference on Psychedelic Research; the Cannadelic Miami conference on February 5 and 6 in Miami, billed as the first cannabis and psychedelics event; and another big psychedelics conference planned for 2023—Psychedelic Science, June 19-23 in Denver, Colorado. 

Adding to the public meeting and conference movement, mention of psychedelics continues in the pages of such well-respected national and international publications such as The Economist, Forbes, Wall Street Journal, The NY Times and other respected business and lifestyle publications, some of whom can’t help from including tongue-in-cheek headlines (The Economist: “Investors hope psychedelics are the new cannabis. Are they high?”) just to demonstrate they are still somewhat skeptical.

Dave Hodes

David Hodes is a business journalist based in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. He has contributed feature articles to several cannabis and psychedelics publications, as well as general business/lifestyle publications, on a variety of topics. Hodes was selected as 2018 Journalist of the Year by Americans for Safe Access. He is a member of the National Press Club, and the deputy booking agent for the National Press Club Headliners Committee.

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