Snaxshot #40: Legal Psychedelics
PSYCH! Just kidding, or are we?
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Psilly rabbit, trips are just for INC.
Millennials’ appeal of kava
Spoonful of News
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Of Mushroom and Men 🍄
Every time I think of a Trix commercial, it makes me feel sorry for the rabbit, who by the way, now goes by the name of Cinnabun. The kids taunt said rabbit over and over, just when one thinks it finally outsmarted the kids, they end up snatching the bowl from it while reprimanding, "Silly rabbit! Trix are for kids!" FUCK YOU KIDS. However, this serves as a perfect analogy, and point of entry to our conversation today, on legal and illegal psychedelics, more on that soon.
Recall back to October 2020, our issue on Magic Mushrooms in which we broke down the shroom boom that was happening in CPG, particularly in food and beverage. We were bullish on more cities allowing for decriminalization of psilocybin, and shortly after, Oregon became the first state to both decriminalize and legalize for therapeutic use, with Washington, DC following suit as well as Somerville, Cambridge and Northampton, MA. Things to look out for in 2022, Michigan and Washington state, who have recently introduced bills, and all eyes will be on California —regarding SB-519, a bill that would legalize personal possession of psychedelics like MDMA, LSD and psilocybin as well as the California Psilocybin initiative, that would legalize any licensed retail business to sell psilocybin products.
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We also told you to keep an eye on the likes of Compass Pathways (would later IPO) as well as MindMed and the government’s investment in therapeutic psilocybin studies at John Hopkin’s (first time in over 50 years) which brings me to the point I want us to consider —is the reason why we are being primed to be resold an inherent human experience, behind what’s driving this movement towards deregulation… in pro of corporations?
Consider our relationship to mushrooms is as old as civilization itself, we used to worship them, honor them and in many ways they are embedded deep in our cultural DNA, at times I could say, possibly too deep, maybe even forgotten. The Egyptians used to see them as totems of immortality, in southern Mexico, the Mazatecas viewed them as holy children, ndi xijtho “little ones that sprout” —they believe mushrooms are a gift sent to them by chikon naii chaon to help heal “ills that afflict us” —some have even studied the role of psychedelics in the Old Testament, consider this extensive research piece, cleverly titled, “Getting high with the most High: Entheogens** in the Old Testament” wherein the authors entertain hypothesis that most of the texts pertaining to the life of Moses involved psychoactives, (manna as a psychedelic?!) considering that in arid areas of the Sinai peninsula, as well as Southern Israel, grow two plants containing the same psychoactive molecules found in plants from which Ayahuasca is prepared. Whether you believe in neurotheology (spiritual experiences source from brain triggered by exogenous or endogenous chemicals) or theonuerology (where entities from transcendent realms communicate via the brain) one cannot deny, thousands of years later, mushrooms continue to shape our human experience.
**Entheogens are psychoactive substances that induce alterations in perception, mood, consciousness, cognition**
Psilly, Psilly Rabbit 🐇
In “Con la boca abierta hacia el Señor” (With Mouth Open to the Lord) an exquisite recount of partaking in a Oaxacan mushroom celebration, chef Guiseppe Lacorazza for GULA, shares his learnings with the reader —one of them being that according to Mixteca beliefs, mushrooms are not hallucinogenic because they don’t generate hallucinations, instead they amplify the spectrum of how we perceive the world around us. He notes that sacred mushroom rituals were even documented in Codice Vindobonensis, an accordion-folded pre-Columbian piece of Mixtec writing.
“The consumption of sacred mushrooms predates our identity, who are we to judge it? We are inept in trying to comprehend drugs and hypocritical while judging them, what’s clear is that drugs and humans go hand in hand, transversing through time.”
Multiple times I’ve expressed sentiments around Goopification and commodification of wellness, our generation growing up so disconnected from what nurtures that we are content being resold inherent human experience at a premium. It seems that within every new generation, our ties to this earth become increasingly severed, we boast about terraforming Mars while we silently kill our current home, we allow for corporations to impart guilt unto us for our individual consumption to offload responsibility for their massive negative externalities, what was once considered healing and connective tissues to “everything” has become sanctioned and prohibited.
If the 50s and 60s saw an exploration into psychedelics (hello Ram Dass) the beginning of the 70s saw regulation quickly ensue, the Convention on Psychotropic Substances came into play—an international treaty developed in by the United Nations to prohibit the production, distribution, and consumption of psilocybin mushrooms and other psychedelic substances, almost 180 countries were quick to adapt these measures. The US was the first country to seriously enforce this, through the passage of Controlled Substances Act, which lists psilocybin and psilocin alongside heroin as Schedule I drugs, meaning that they have a high potential for abuse and “no accepted medical use”, according to the federal government.
In a similar way we are told to believe that corporations extending their “eco friendly” goals every decade to “offset” responsibility and garner PR is beneficial, we have been sold the idea that something that has an extensive history of healing, is suddenly harmful and has no “accepted medical use” —it’s been over 50 years now since that act came into play, and we are now seeing a shift towards reversing that half a century long induced narrative. What’s curious is that it’s also corresponding to a lot of venture money being shoveled into corporations that are being “granted” the ability to embark on “experiments” to see if there is any validation to “such claims” that literally multiple cultures around the world have documented for thousands of years.. companies like Compass Pathways (2016) having raised more than $80 M in 2020 alone, went public ($146 M) by the end of that same year —notable investors include likes of Peter Thiel (owns around 20% of the company) the company is trying to patent things like trip sitting — “providing psilocybin-assisted therapy in a room with soft furniture, muted colors, and a high-resolution sound system while a therapist “provides reassuring physical contact” and “holds the hand, arm, or shoulder”.
Most recently, The Guardian spoke on this, noting ties between these companies and Wall Street, being allowed to operate in a highly regulated space, now the ones able to patent and capitalize from psychedelics way before it is allowed for any one else to do so (legally) —what are the implications of this? What will the commodification of psychedelics look like? I personally hold no answers, but felt an urge to make space for these conversations, considering our damned reputation of putting profits over interests of the people. The use of psychedelics has been stripped from our cultures—only for this sacred experience to be resold to us, piece by piece—
“Could it be the mouth, where God, food and drugs coincide in our bodies? A communion wafer, an oyster and an acid tablet all land on the tongue.” —Guiseppe Lacorazza
Back to Cinnabun’s early dilemma, my only concern is that we might all be being taunted—
“Psilly rabbit… trips are for INC.”
All Kava-d In 🍃
—Kava is a drug made from the ground roots of the plant Piper methysticum, a member of the pepper family, native to the South Pacific and known for its psychoactive properties
—Back in mid 2010s, the US started experiencing a boom in kava bar openings—there are now roughly 100 kava bars across the US and Australia is preparing to allow commercial importation.
—The kava industry is estimated to reach $210 billion by 2026 — its uses include therapeutic adaptations, aside from the beverage.
—Back in 2015, the World Health Organization ruled that kava is safe and not toxic to the liver, previously believed to be.
Psych!—edelic Water 🌀
Kava or piper methysticum (intoxicating pepper) originated in the South Pacific at least 1500 years ago, it is also known as keu, awa, ava and yogana, and has been used in religious, spiritual, and casual gatherings to calm the mind. As mentioned above, the popularity of kava, particularly around mid 2010s, started to pick up in cities like New York City and San Francisco, as kava bars began popping up offering an alternative to bars and coffee shops, for a more tranquil unwinding. As with any popular ingredient, this has led to the rise of RTD kava, yep, canned legal “psychedelics.”
Though it’s trademarked the name psychedelic water™—the brand itself wants you to know it’s psychedelic-adjacent, or as they call it a “mildly psychoactive” non-alcoholic blend developed with food scientists from NYU that features botanical ingredients, including kava root, damiana leaf and green tea leaf extract. Born in Canada, the brand was founded by Keith Stein, with Murda Beatz as one of the founding investor (yeah you read that correctly.) We first reported on their launch last February and since then the company has gone TikTok viral, using Los Angeles as a tasting ground, that same summer, the company had sold out 50,000 cans, in the span of 3 weeks. By September, the company had reported a $1 Million in sales, aiming to reach $5 Million by the end of 2021.
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This week it the company announced their 3 flavors are now available in all Erewhon’s in California (7 in total) though they claimed they were in 150 retailers as of September 2021, and adding 50 new ones each week. Noting this I decided to send some snaxbois on a snaxhunt to test these out, see more here. The brand is part of a new growing category, “psychedelic adjacent” as opposed to merely “functional” and in line with our predictions regarding this growing movement towards “functional unwinding” —coexisting within states simultaneously. They are not the only ones in the space anymore, with brands like Leilo, which Forbes dubbed “first to market kava RTD” though they are claiming NYC as their corner. Since then others have also explored remix, take for example this brand that combines kava + CBD (for fuck’s sake!) or this one offering “sparkling kava.”
As a generation that has seen stress become their biggest enemy, a nightmare of our own making, the rise in alternative beverages that help us counteract that will continue to be on the rise, the minds, they-are-a-changing!
Oracular Spectacular 👁️
Shhhhh! My favorite show is on, “What’s New, You Ask?”
Lili —is a new non-alcoholic sparkling.
Heaped —new single serve coffee.
Bug Bag —based in Poland, and in line with our predictions of pretty insects, a line of bug snacks.
Terps & Co. —Based in New Zealand, non-alcoholic terpene spirits.
CASATERA —Upcoming tequila seltzer brand.
SUNRAY —based in Indonesia, a brand of canned brewed tea.
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Pantry Raiders (NEW) 📸
Pantry Raiders is our new community space, every week we feature #shelfies from our community in hopes of getting to know them better! Want to be featured? Submit your best pantry shots on our Discord!
Spoonful of News 🥄
Sonic hard seltzer will be in most retail shops by end of year because it’s 2022 and coherence is for suckers!
Speaking of hard seltzers, Monster (of the energy drink family) bought CANarchy Craft Brewery Collective to get into the game.
H.V.M.N, ketone supplements, launched this week in Sprouts, The Feed, and Amazon.
What to do this weekend? Stop by Kona Coffee’s GRAND opening, they specialize in serving Hawaiian coffee, located in Chelsea.
Snax Concierge 🛎️
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