Legal psychedelics are becoming more mainstream. Oregon has legalised psilocybin. Australia has legalised both psilocybin and MDMA for therapeutic use.
New studies on a range of psychedelics are coming out as more researchers study their possibilities.
There is a general hype around the industry that for many years has been shunned by the mainstream.
However, there is a problem that is clearly evident in the early examples of where psychedelics are legal.
We need to talk about the cost of legal psychedelics
After the initial excitement from Australia and Oregon of one or more psychedelics becoming legal, there follows some shock and bemusement when the cost becomes apparent.
Explanations for such a high cost have been broken down. The drugs are expected to cost between $1,000 to $2,000.
The high cost of the drugs is since legally these drugs are rarely produced due to the lack of market.
If psychedelic assisted therapy becomes popular, there is hope that this cost will be reduced as they produce more.
The cost on the black market remains vastly cheaper for these drugs on the black market, however. Whether legal psychedelics can reach such a level is an unknown.
We have seen the difficulty of cannabis trying to supplant the traditional black market due to the costs associated with legal production.
Much of the predicted cost though in Australia is from the two psychiatrists who are present during the therapy. Previous clinical trials involving psychedelics had an estimated cost for the therapists of $20,000.
The role of the therapist is crucial, but with the market being so niche, more training is required and there remain very few who are trained.
Oregon – the test bed for legal psilocybin
Psilocybin has been legal in Oregon since January 1st 2023, but the drug remains very hard to legally come by.
However, they have defended their prices, stating that to offer these services legally is by extension costly.
The mark-up for legal psychedelics is considerably higher than what one would traditionally pay on the black market.
This is before it is noted that psilocybin grows naturally via magic mushrooms in the wild and can be picked for free when you know what you are looking for.
Massachusetts has proposed to place a cost cap on MDMA therapy in their bill, but this is yet to be approved.
Where does this leave legal psychedelics?
Much praise should be given to those who have fought for decades for legal psychedelics.
Although the battle has been hard, there is clear progress being made and the future looks bright for the industry.
There are always going to be teething issues as both nation states, governments, and businesses figure out how best to handle what remains a controversial topic.
The industry also remains very niche currently, but this is expected to change in the coming years.
Two main issues related to cost for legal psychedelics remain currently and will need to be tackled.
Firstly is the production of the drugs. Until there is more demand, more nations willing to allow production, cost is going to remain high and this ultimately will lead people to the black market.
The second barrier is related to the cost of the therapist. Unless a change is made, legal psychedelic assisted therapy will remain only available to people of wealth.