Wonderland 2022 Hosts Impressive Speaker Lineup

Wonderland took place Nov. 3-5 in Miami.

The 2022 Wonderland psychedelics conference did what the 2021 version could not do because of COVID-19 restrictions: bring more real people together face-to-face to share meaningful dialogue and interpretations of psychedelics, along with providing some of the products and services connected with the study and delivery of psychedelic-assisted therapy.

The conference, which was held Nov. 3-5 in at the Wana Wynwood Convention Center in Miami, tripled its venue size over 2021, added a second stage to host 200 speakers, and included programs extending into Saturday. More than 3,000 attendees were there, along with 66 exhibitors.

This year’s Microdose event, presented by Algernon Pharmaceuticals, featuring an ambitious daily agenda and a host of impressive speakers, highlighted a specific topic for each day to better serve its diverse attendees:

  • Thursday: Culture
  • Friday: Business
  • Saturday: Science

On the first day, the opening session, which focused on the future of psychedelics, featured several big names to kick off the event.

  • Former NBA player Lamar Odom spoke via zoom about how ketamine changed his life by ending his troubles with cocaine addiction and promoted a documentary about his journey, “Lamar Odom: Reborn.”
  • Serial entrepreneur and Shark Tank member Kevin Harrington talking about the opportunities he saw in psychedelics that remind him of a company he took from “a couple million to $7 billion.”
  • Global entrepreneur, futurist, and psychedelics enthusiast Zappy Zapolin moderated a lively discussion that also featured Cybin CEO Doug Drysdale.

Other luminaries at the conference included Christian Angermayer, owner of the private investment firm Apeiron Investment Group, who dicussed how he got into psychedelics investing and a future beyond just medicinal psychedelics. “You have to just go out and talk about it more broadly and good stuff will happen,” he said.

Sean McFarland, a recovering alcoholic who had lived an abusive life before being rescued by psychedelics, made an emotional appeal for expanding access to psychedelics therapy. He now runs a private therapeutic recovery center with the support of boxer Mike Tyson.

Industry visionary Paul Stamets focused on how society and humanity can be changed for the better by psychedelics.

The conference featured several other panels on a broad range of topics, including sex and psychedelics, microdosing, the artists’ role in psychedelic healing, mainstreaming psychedelics, clinical trial developments, ketamine treatments, and how technology is shaping the future of psychedelics.

“I am sort of walking through life in a perpetual state of amazement,” Rick Doblin, founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), told Psychedealia when asked to comment on the show. “You know, I never would have predicted this, that there’d be hundreds of for-profit companies. So I get a great sense of satisfaction and hope and at the same time, I have a bit of a dread about the profit motive and what it’s going to do. So we have to be careful that we don’t become like traditional pharma.”

Doblin was a featured panelist on two different panels.

“This conference is a curious phenomenon,” Robin Carhart-Harris, professor with the Department of Brain Sciences at the Imperial College in London, told Psychedealia. “The first psychedelics conference I went to was in 2006, that included celebrating Albert Hoffman’s 100th birthday, and it was a lovely event with good vibes. This one is different. It has a strong financial aspect.”

Carhart-Harris, who is also Ralph Metzner Distinguished Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry, director the Psychedelics Division, Neuroscape, University of California-San Francisco, spoke on a panel about advances with the lab research into the action of psychedelics.

Zapolin summed up the future of psychedelics presentation by telling the audience that psychedelic medicine is the next trillion-dollar industry. “And there’s not too many times in your life that you’re going to live through the beginning of a trillion-dollar industry, like the automobile, the internet, and cryptocurrency. These are major breakthroughs for society,” he said. “My feeling is that when you have this psychedelic experience, you reconnect to the miracle that is life. And we get very jaded, because we don’t see that miracle in front of us a lot of the time.”

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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