I took two grams of mushrooms before heading out into the forest.
It was around 5:30 a.m. and the cool, morning rains were just starting to fade and transition into the warm blanket of an orange peel sunrise.
The bird songs were oddly melodic, my water jug was full, and it didnt take long for me to start melting into my surroundings.
The fruit of the staghorn sumac was glowing, and I could taste the sun-brewed staghorn tea that Id make this summer. I could even smell the raw wildflower honey and sprigs of mint that I always use to liven up the extract.
If youve never had it before, its very similar to lemonade. But up here in North Country, we dont grow lemons. And staghorn sumac is so hearty, it mocks the harsh winters and wet springs.
Im pretty sure that if an atom bomb landed squarely in the middle of Lake Champlain, the only thing remaining would be roaches and Staghorns.
I actually thought about this quite a bit on my journey.
Propped up against the withered white bark of an old yellow birch tree and gazing at all the beauty God created, I got lost in those Staghorn fruits, hypnotized by the intricacies of their soft, fuzzy clusters and geometric shapes.
And I started thinking about how this particular tree, which is littered all over the Adirondacks, is also common in the Middle East.
Culturally, these worlds couldnt be more different. Yet, here we are two complete universes separated by dirt, water, and politics but feasting upon the same fruit without any thought of physical distance or climatic diversity.
Disconnected by language, culture, and war but completely connected by nature.
Not to get all treehugger on you, but that experience really made me want to share a cup of sumac tea, with some like-minded Persians at a corner cafe in Tehran.
Yes, as you can imagine, it was a pleasant journey.
But these days, magic mushrooms are no longer being sought out solely by folks like me who simply enjoy a pleasant, psychedelic experience. Theyre being used to treat mental illness and with great success.
Last year, you may have seen the segment that 60 Minutes produced, which focused on psychedelic medicines.
During that segment, the world learned about a new treatment for smoking addiction that boasted an 86% success rate.
For the sake of comparison, the most successful pharmaceutical currently on the market enjoys a 35% success rate. If success," is what you want to call it.
The fact is, this country has a very serious mental illness and drug addiction crisis. And its going to get worse.
As reported by the Washington Post, the coronavirus pandemic is pushing America into a mental health crisis:
Nearly half of Americans report the coronavirus crisis is harming their mental health, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll. A federal emergency hotline for people in emotional distress registered a more than 1,000 percent increase in April compared with the same time last year. Last month, roughly 20,000 people texted that hotline, run by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Online therapy company Talkspace reported, a 65% jump in clients since mid-February. Text messages and transcribed therapy sessions collected anonymously by the company show coronavirus-related anxiety dominating patients concerns.
If we dont do something about it now, people are going to be suffering from these mental-health impacts for years to come, said Paul Gionfriddo, president of the advocacy group Mental Health America. That could further harm the economy as stress and anxiety debilitate some workers and further strain the medical system as people go to emergency rooms with panic attacks, overdoses and depression, he said.
Just as the country took drastic steps to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed by infections, experts say, it needs to brace for the coming wave of behavioral health needs.
Not to sound crass, but the reality is that theres never been a better time to bring to market new and potentially better treatments for mental illness. Certainly the FDA thinks so, as it has fast-tracked a number of new psychedelic medicines for clinical trials. And more are coming.
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This is great news for those who do suffer from mental illness and addiction.
And its also great news for investors.
You see, in addition to the hundreds of studies that suggest there are some very real benefits to treating mental illness and addiction with psychedelics
And in addition to new psychedelics decriminalization bills being introduced, debated, and yes, passed
And in addition to an overall loosening of stigmas regarding illegal drugs around the world
Perhaps the most well-known is entrepreneur Peter Thiel, who happens to boast a net worth of $2.3 billion.
Thiel recently ponied up big time to get a piece of ATAI Life Sciences, which is a biotech company developing psychedelic medicines for a variety of mental health issues.
Other stinking-rich investors who have recently put up their own millions in the psychedelics space include former CEO of Canopy Growth Corporation Bruce Linton (who amassed more than $200 million during his time with the company) and Shark Tank celebrity investor Kevin OLeary, who boasts a net worth of about $400 million.
There are more, but those are probably the most well-known and have no problem with people knowing about their investments in the psychedelics space.
Others arent so public, and I know some of them.
From elite family offices to high rollers in Silicon Valley, a lot of cash is starting to pour into this space. And when the rich folks start showing up to these parties, you know something big is about to go down.
Ill have more on this burgeoning opportunity in the coming weeks.
To a new way of life and a new generation of wealth...
@JeffSiegel on Twitter
Jeff is the founder and managing editor of Green Chip Stocks, a private investment community that capitalizes on opportunities in alternative energy, organic food markets, legal cannabis, and socially responsible investing. He has been a featured guest on Fox, CNBC, and Bloomberg Asia, and is the author of the best-selling book, Investing in Renewable Energy: Making Money on Green Chip Stocks. For more on Jeff, go to his editor's page.
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