The History of Psychedelics (Part 1 of 2)
Due to their counterculture connotations and rigid legal status, psychedelics were once considered a highly stigmatized topic.
Over the last decade however, a steady stream of groundbreaking research has proven that these powerful substances have the potential to safely treat a wide range of diseases.
Today, attitudes toward the industry have changed, and capital is flowing—resulting in a market that analysts predict could eventually be worth $100 billion.
The graphic above from Tryp Therapeutics is the first in a two-part series that explores how psychedelics have evolved over the last 6,000 years.
From Ancient Antidote to Breakthrough Medicine
Before we dive into the history of psychedelics, it’s important to understand what they are and how they work.
Psychedelics are drugs that alter cognitive processes and produce hallucinogenic effects. Broadly speaking, there are two categories that psychedelic substances fall into: entheogens, and synthetic drugs. Entheogenic psychedelics are derived from plants, while synthetic psychedelics are created in a laboratory.
Here are some of the most well known psychedelic substances explained:
Certain psychedelics work by binding to serotonin receptors in the brain which produces psychoactive effects. Research suggests that when this happens, the structure of the brain changes—such as the number of connections between neutrons. This means that psychedelics could have the potential to rewire or repair circuits in the brain, hence their reputation for having healing powers.
While the science behind these mind-altering plants is only now beginning to become clear, they have in fact been used in rituals and ceremonies for thousands of years.
As a result, psychedelic substances have been hugely influential in shaping certain cultures and religions dating back to 4,000 BC. These cultures, particularly in the Americas, learned how to utilize psychoactive plants and mushrooms for medicinal purposes or to reach an altered state of consciousness.
|4000 BC||First cave paintings of psilocybin||Europe, North Africa|
|3780-3660 BC||Evidence of ceremonial use of peyote by indigenous cultures||North and South America|
|1300-1521 AD||Evidence of the Aztecs consuming mushrooms which they referred to as the “flesh of the Gods”.||Central America|
|1500 AD||Catholic texts refer to peyote use as “witchcraft”.||Europe
With that being said, evidence of how psychedelics were used in ancient times is often anecdotal, and therefore widely debated.
The Prohibition Era
In the 1800s, scientists and psychiatrists began discovering new kinds of drugs such as psilocybin and subsequently became advocates of psychedelic medicine. Unfortunately, uncontrolled drug use for recreational purposes led to governments across the world debating their legal status, and clamping down on restrictions.
|1897||Arthur Heffter isolates mescaline from the peyote cactus for the first time.||Germany|
|1901||Jean Dybowsky and Edouard Landrin isolate ibogaine.||France|
|1912||Anton Kollisch created MDMA as a by-product while trying to synthesize another substance.||Germany|
|1938||Albert Hofmann synthesizes LSD.||Switzerland
|1958||Albert Hofmann discovers psilocybin.||Switzerland
|1962||Calvin Stevens synthesizes ketamine.||U.S.|
|1966||California criminalizes the possession, sale, and manufacture of LSD.||U.S.
|1968||Staggers-Dodd bill passes, making possession of psilocybin and other psychedelic substances illegal. ||U.S.
|1971||The UN publishes the Convention on Psychotropic Substances stating that psychedelics including LSD, DMT, and MDMA are now controlled substances.||Global
|1971||The U.S. Controlled Substances Act comes into effect, moving most major psychedelic drugs to Schedule I status. ||U.S.|
|1971||UK passes Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, placing controls on most known psychedelics.||UK|
Within decades, the recreational use of psychedelics undermined promising medical discoveries, and put the future of the industry into question, eventually triggering the War on Drugs.
An Industry, Reborn
With these strict legal changes around the world, the psychedelics industry became largely inactive. But today, an explosion of unprecedented research findings surrounding the therapeutic potential of psychedelics has triggered many countries to reassess their decision to criminalize.
Now, the industry is back, and bigger than ever before. In Part 2 of The History of Psychedelics, we’ll dive into The Psychedelics Renaissance the industry is currently experiencing and discuss the exciting future of this promising sector.
Every Cannabis Product In One Graphic
The cannabis industry is growing by billions every year. This graphic provides an overview of cannabis products and ranks their popularity.
Every Cannabis Product In One Graphic
There are few markets experiencing growth quite like cannabis, which in 2020 had an additional 7,000 products hit dispensary shelves compared to the year prior. However, for novice cannabis consumers and investors, the different products and their uses can be overwhelming.
This sponsored graphic by Tenacious Labs provides an overview of cannabis products, and is part of a multi-part series that covers different factors affecting the future of cannabis.
Let’s break down cannabis products on the market today.
First, is cannabis flower, which is the ingestible part of the cannabis plant and is the most popular way to consume. It is cultivated, harvested, dried, and cured, as part of the preparation process before making its way to the end consumer. Due to its popularity, it also represents the largest component of the U.S. legal market.
In 2021, some $10.9 billion in dried herb or “buds” were purchased. In addition, pre-rolls generated $2.2 billion, which are pre-rolled products prepared by dispensaries. The psychoactive effects from consuming flower are felt almost instantly, which remains a key appeal.
2. Cartridges, Concentrates, and Extracts
Cannabis concentrates are a growing category which have taken the market by storm in recent years. They come in various forms including raw concentrates, cartridges, and extracts. Preparing them involves removing impurities form the plant, leaving only the desired compounds such as cannabinoids and terpenes.
This highly concentrated form of cannabis results in THC levels of 80-90%, compared to the 10-20% range most commonly found in dry herb flower. Raw concentrates hit $2.2 billion in U.S. legal sales in 2021. And cartridges, which are products intended to be vaped and are typically paired with a battery accessory, were worth $5.1 billion.
The appeals associated with concentrates include a higher dose which results in stronger effects, plus a more discrete experience given they have little to no smell.
Next, are edibles, where the THC is metabolized by the liver and consumed through infused food and drinks. This leads to an different experience relative to inhaling. For example, the euphoric or psychoactive effects typically last much longer and can take 1-2 hours to kick in.
The legal U.S. edibles market is growing fast. It recorded revenues of $2.3 billion in 2021 but is expected to reach a value of $8.5 billion by 2027. These growth prospects have not gone unnoticed, in fact, the alcohol industry is betting big on cannabis. As of late, waves of investments and acquisitions are occurring targeting cannabis-infused beverages.
A key driver of growth comes from the health conscious consumer who may want to avoid the smoking process altogether.
4. Topicals and Others
Last are topicals and other products. Topicals are CBD-infused non-psychoactive products like lotions, balms, and oils. These are gaining notoriety for their wellness properties including the relief of pain, soreness, and inflammation. However, the market remains relatively modest, with a market value of $200 million. Furthermore, the topicals market appeals to those not interested in any psychoactive effects, and is particularly popular amongst women and pet owners.
Other products include papers, pipes, batteries, and all other accessories, which also provide notable revenues and opportunities.
Measuring Market Share of Cannabis Products
With all these products in mind, let’s take a look at market share. Although edibles, vapes, and concentrates have risen tremendously in value over the years, flower still remains number one, representing 43% of legal sales, followed by cartridges at 20.3% market share.
|Product||Market Share (%)||Market Value ($B)|
Seasonality also plays a role in cannabis consumption. Since dry flower tends to be consumed outdoors, the data shows that it loses market share during the cold winter months.
The Next Chapter
Cannabis products have come a long way from their early days when variety was considered a choice between an indica or sativa strain. As the industry develops and more money is injected into the space, we should see product innovation accelerate even further.
Visualizing the Evolution of the Global Meat Market
The global meat market will be worth $1.8 trillion by 2040, but how much of that will plant-based alternatives and cultured meat command?
The Evolution of the Global Meat Market
In the last decade, there has been an undeniable shift in consumers’ preferences when it comes to eating meat.
This is partly due to the wide availability of meat replacement options combined with growing awareness of their health benefits and lower impact on the environment compared to conventional meat.
In this infographic from CULT Food Science (CSE: CULT), we examine how meat consumption is expected to evolve over the next two decades. Let’s dive in.
Taking a Bite out of Meat’s Market Share
The COVID-19 pandemic triggered a massive turning point for the meat industry, and it will continue to evolve dramatically over the next 20 years. Taking inflation into account, the global meat market is expected to grow overall by roughly 3% by 2040 as a result of population growth.
However, as consumption shifts, conventional meat supply is expected to decline by more than 33% according to Kearney. These products will be replaced by innovative meat alternatives, some of which have yet to hit the mass market.
- Novel vegan meat replacement: These are meat alternatives products made from plants that resemble the taste and texture of meat.
- Cultured meat: Also referred to as clean, cultivated, or lab grown meats, cultured meat is a genuine meat product that is produced by cultivating animal cells in a controlled environment without the need to harm animals.
Aside from new meat replacements, biotech will also transform adjacent industries like dairy, eggs, and fish.
The Future of Food?
Meat replacements and cultured meat could overtake the conventional meat market, with cultured meats reigning supreme overall with a 41% annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2025 and 2040.
New technologies for cultivating non-animal based protein will provide one-third of the global meat supply due to an increase in commercial competitiveness and consumers becoming more accepting of these kinds of products.
Meanwhile, conventional meat will make up just 40% of all global meat supply by 2040, compared to 90% in 2025. For this very reason, conventional meat producers are investing a significant amount of capital in meat alternative companies so they can avoid disruption.
Invest in the Revolution
The changing tides in the industry have sparked a variety of undeniable opportunities:
- Regulatory approvals: Singapore is the first country to legalize cultured meat for consumers, and many more will no doubt follow behind in the coming years.
- Lower production costs: Cultured meat and dairy have made quantum leaps in reducing production costs.
- Changing consumer ethics: Consumers are demanding a more ethical approach to factory farming and cultured and plant-based alternative products are becoming a more accepted solution.
CULT Food Science (CSE: CULT) is a cutting edge investment platform advancing the future of food. The first-of-its-kind in North America, CULT aims to provide unprecedented exposure to the most innovative start-up, private or early stage lab grown food companies around the world.
Will you be part of the revolution?
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