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Review of the Psychedelic Industry in 2023: A Year of Toil, Torment, and Triumph

2023— the year that everyone in the psychedelic industry prepared for takeoff. Well, theoretical (but probable) take off. And, just a few weeks before…



2023— the year that everyone in the psychedelic industry prepared for takeoff. Well, theoretical (but probable) take off. And, just a few weeks before 2023 came to an end, MAPS announced that it had submitted its much anticipated New Drug Application (NDA) to the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). 

You’ll probably be sick of hearing about MAPS and its MDMA program by the end of our 2023 Psychedelic Industry Report. However, we can’t properly assess 2023 without mentioning it. And, mentioning it a lot. Even if the drug is approved for the treatment of PTSD, there won’t be another psychedelic drug ready for commercialization for another four years or more. So, the short-term growth of the industry depends greatly on this one not-so-little FDA approval. It is no wonder that the psychedelic industry has been celebrating every step of the FDA approval process so fervently. 

We’ll take a much deeper look at what MAPS did this year, and its industry-wide effects later in the report. For now, the most important thing to know is that this affects all areas of the industry. The positive progress of this treatment through the FDA process signals to other psychedelic drug development companies that there is hope for their own drugs to become pharmaceutical treatments. The positive clinical trial results built further confidence among the public and governing bodies concerning MDMA, and psychedelics in general, as a legitimate medical treatment. This boost in confidence was largely facilitated by the acceptance of these results by the mainstream media. And, that has resulted in an influx of new decriminalization and legalization efforts by cities, states, and countries around the world. The promise of high demand for psychedelic treatment then incites companies to begin preparing to offer supply in return. And lastly, investors see the value in an industry that is increasingly active across the board. Despite what you may think of the term, ‘trickle down’ appears to be the most accurate description of how the industry is developing— with the success of MAPS handing down positive benefits for everyone else in the industry. 

It is important to acknowledge, however, that while the overall trajectory of the industry is promising, it is facing some serious obstacles. That was never more apparent than in 2023. The previous year ended with many companies declaring that they were undergoing changes to reduce cash burn and (hopefully) weather the economic storm. Some companies did this successfully, while others will not quite make it to the promised pot of gold at the end of the psychedelic rainbow. 

Our full 2023 Psychedelic Industry report will be available for PRO Members next week. Make sure to stay tuned for data, insights, and analysis that will help sharpen the picture of what happened within the industry this year, and what it means for the future of psychedelics. In the meantime, here are the top highlights of 2023!

2023 Highlights

  • Australia legalized MDMA & Psilocybin for medical use, with the program beginning July 1st. Although these treatments are legal, access remains highly limited.
  • Positive coverage of the psychedelic industry continued from major outlets such as the New York Times, New York Post, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and more.
  • Over 12,000 people gathered in Denver, Colorado, at the Psychedelic Science Conference, put on my MAPS, to celebrate psychedelics and prepare for the pending commercialization of MDMA.
  • Psychedelic companies, especially those that went public prematurely, struggled to keep ketamine clinics open, and many were shut down. 
  • Focus shifts from research to commercialization for MAPS and other companies hoping to get in on the ground floor of MDMA-assisted therapy.
  • AMA developed a billing code for psychedelic-assisted therapy, which went into effect in early 2024.
  • City-level decriminalization efforts continued to sweep across the US.
  • Congress approved funding for psychedelic research as part of the VA budget for 2024.
  • Search Traffic for psychedelic topics dropped significantly in 2023, with some major websites seeing up to an 80% drop in viewership.
  • This year saw the biggest acquisitions in the history of the industry, with the purchase of Mindset Pharma by Otsuka and Small Pharma by Cybin.

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