Psychedelics are about to go mainstream, but the field is riddled with myths and misconceptions. For instance, did you know that one of the primary target markets will be senior citizens and housewives? The best psychedelics haven't even been invented yet, and microdosing might be overrated.
Below are some highlights from a recent Other Life podcast, The Psychedelic Century with Brom Rector.
Senior Citizens and Housewives on LSD
Justin Murphy: What do you know about psychedelics that other people don't?
Brom Rector: Just a couple weeks ago, there was an article in Good Housekeeping magazine of all places... [laughs] that was talking about the benefits of psychedelics for mental health.
Justin Murphy: Teen Vogue? [laughs]
Brom Rector: Teen Vogue's probably next I'm sure, but I mean, Good Housekeeping magazine, it's targeted at women over the age of 55 that are primarily in the Midwest. This is as mainstream as it gets...
Justin Murphy: [laughs] They're doing a shit ton of LSD [laughs].
Brom Rector: [laughs] Dude, they are! They are. The Housewives of Milwaukee are tripping balls.
Justin Murphy: It used to be Xanax now. Now they're all tripping balls.
Brom Rector: It sounds funny when you say it that way but psychedelics are really going after, at least at this stage in the psychedelic revolution, it's a mental health play and the largest consumers of antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications are actually senior citizens.
The best psychedelics haven't been invented yet
Brom Rector: If you read the Empath Ventures fund memo, one of the statements in there is: The most popular psychedelic 10 years from now probably hasn't been invented yet. That catches a lot of people by surprise. But the truth is that most of the psychedelics that we're familiar with, like LSD and MDMA, those were created in labs by humans, right? A lot of people think of them as just, "Oh, they've existed forever," but they're not naturally occurring substances. They were invented before we had personal computers, before we understood the things about the brain that we understand today.
LSD was invented in 1943 and it's kind of like saying the cars that they invented in 1943, that's still the best car today, right? It's kind of silly.
Why microdosing may be overrated
Brom Rector: The data suggest that microdosing is maybe not as effective as some people would like you to believe. The data around macrodosing, the large doses—one, two, three large doses of psilocybin, LSD, MDMA—all that data is every strong. All the studies agree with each other that it's super effective.
The studies that are on microdosing, super mixed. Some of the studies suggest that it actually makes people worse at tasks that they thinks it's making them better at [laughs].
You got to also answer the question... Psychedelics are drugs that stimulate your serotonin system. And if you're stimulating your serotonin system on a regular basis, eventually your body is probably going to start producing less of its own serotonin, and that could cause some problems. And this is not something that's unique to psychedelics. You hear about guys that inject testosterone or take prohormones, right? What's the thing that you always hear? Their balls shrink. And the reason their balls shrink is 'cause their body stops producing its own testosterone.
And so you've got to wonder, in the long run, is hammering your serotonin system with the 5-HT2A agonist on a daily basis... Even if you take a couple of days off in between, I don't know how good that is. We talked about the risks with the heart valves. I don't know how safe microdosing is in the long term.
This is the kind of thing where we need more studies and we need more data. It's certainly possible that some of these novel psychedelic molecules will end up being better for microdosing, but yeah, I think we just don't know.
Justin Murphy: The psychedelic guy comes in and pours cold water on my love for microdosing!
Brom Rector: Any time [ laughs]. When you're taking a substance that makes you happy, that stimulates your serotonin system, you're going to think it's working for you, 'cause it feels good, right?
I've met people with a straight face that tell me they microdose cocaine and it works for them. Right?