Greg Kubin thinks that the hippies had it right all along.
“They adopted certain healthy eating practices, veganism. They created the music festival. They used psychedelics, cannabis. They brought a lot of Eastern traditions to the West,” he said.
Many of those ideas have disrupted traditional industries. Kubin is mining this idea to co-found PsyMed Ventures, a $25 million fund for psychedelic medicine and mental health technologies. On this episode of the LA Venture podcast, Kubin discusses the benefits of psychedelic therapy and investing in the space alongside his co-founder Matias Serebrinsky.
“Both Matias and I had, I would say, our own deep experiences with psychedelic medicine [and] had experienced the transformations in our own lives. And were like, ‘This feels like it could be next’,” he said.
The pair delved into research on the topic and met with people who have been investing in psychedelic medicine, like Dina Burkitbayeva, who joined the PsyMed team. One major issue in the space, Kubin said, is that the Controlled Substances Act has discouraged research and funding in the field.
“A lot of the neuroscience and mechanisms of action are still being researched,” he said.
But more tech founders are now eyeing the space as research points to the potential mental health benefits of psychedelic medicine, Kubin said. There is a particular focus on how the synthetic “club drug” MDMA can treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by allowing people to work through traumatic events in a safe, regulated space.
“A really important concept with […] psychedelics is the concept of set and setting—being in the right mindset, and being in a safe and supportive setting,” Kubin said. “This was not well understood in the ‘60s, and is probably one of the biggest reasons why, you know, people were having bad trips and falling out of windows and buildings and having psychotic episodes.”
Many of the companies PsyMed has invested in since launching in 2020 focus on the burgeoning research and development in this space. As more startups explore the different facets of the medical benefits of psychedelics—ranging from drug development companies like Delix Therapeutics and Freedom Biosciences to Journey Clinical, a company that encourages therapists to explore psychedelic therapies—Kubin believes that the practices can provide real help for people.
“There's a psychedelic renaissance happening right now,” Kubin said. “The general movement that I am observing is that there is an increasing number of people that are benefiting in one way or another from psychedelics and or psychedelic therapy.”
dot.LA editorial intern Kristin Snyder contributed to this post.
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