This psychedelic renaissance is growing in tandem with the quickest technological advances in the history of mankind. New technologies can be leveraged to increase patient access and change the way that psychedelics are delivered to improve outcomes. To keep up with the changing landscape of medicine, the psychedelic industry will have to grow with technological advances, not against them.

Companies of all types are utilizing advanced technology to further their work. Drug research and development teams are utilizing artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) to make the scientific process more efficient. Biotech company – Mydecine – has partnered with the University of Alberta to accelerate its drug development timeline using AI/ML. This allows them to run potential novel compounds through a computer system that judges the potential of the drug– saving the time and money of doing this manually. 

Technologies such as the ones being leveraged by Mydecine are increasing the chances of a new, highly-effective drug being developed, and saving investors millions of dollars in the process. Efficiency is the name of the game in healthcare and pharmaceuticals. In the fast-paced society that we live in, people expect quick solutions to their problems. Psychedelic drug development is not a particularly quick process, so technology that helps fastrack it will help improve investor confidence and provide life-changing mental health treatments quicker than ever before.

Technology is also being utilized to increase access to treatment. Companies are developing software to increase the availability of psychedelic treatment and integration resources and drive down costs. Software platforms, such as Mindleap and Psychedelic Finder (launching soon), are important technologies being developed within the psychedelic space. We live in a technological world. Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, people have increasingly been seeking services through digital platforms. Developing these platforms for the specific needs of the psychedelic space is crucial for connecting people to the resources that are available to them.

Technologies such as Mindleap help people access psychedelic experts who are otherwise difficult to reach because plant medicine treatment is still largely an underground business. Psychedelic finder will also connect people to psychedelic services to help them heal with psychedelics and integrate their experience.

The psychedelic treatment model has unique needs that can’t be fully met by tools developed for traditional therapy. Applications like Mindleap and Psydelic Finder are being developed to connect people to psychedelic practitioners and integrations tools by centralizing information that is otherwise difficult to locate. In addition to tools connecting people to treatment, technology is being leveraged to improve the outcome of psychedelic experiences– virtual reality is one of those technologies.

In June, Enosis therapeutics partnered with the Swinburne University of Technology to do the first study on the utilization of VR in the psychedelic experience– the results were positive. Though many people have questioned whether or not VR would increase the probability of a “bad trip,” it appears that it may be a useful tool to provide psychedelic therapy. Enosis recently teamed up with Ovid clinic– a ketamine treatment center in Berlin– to start integrating VR into psychedelic therapy. 

VR could be utilized to play with the ‘set and setting.’ There are different schools of thought on what that ‘ideal’ set and setting for psychedelic treatment is, but everyone agrees that it plays an integral part in the healing process. Virtual reality could increase the ability of therapists to customize the environment for each patient’s needs. Some companies are betting on this idea, and have seen success this year.

Virtual reality is taking the common psychedelic experience that ‘reality is a simulation’ to a whole new level. A tech startup by the name of Tripp is creating calming virtual worlds that the company has coined the ‘mindful metaverse.’ The current products offered by trip are ‘psychedelic inspired,’ however, it focuses on non-psychedelic mindfulness practices to support mental health. In 2021, the company acquired Psyassist– another VR company focused on offering products to help therapists treat mental health issues. PsyAssist is committed to integrating its products into the future of psychedelic therapy to give patients support before, during, and after their experience. Tripp has made quite a name for itself as one of the top technology companies in the psychedelic industry.

VR technology could also be used to hold group psychedelic ceremonies while cutting costs by allowing people to participate from the comfort of their own homes. Virtual reality could open up the possibility for patients to gain access to psychedelic therapy from anywhere in the world. People could join a group psychedelic session without having to travel to a physical location– something that is going to be sparse for the next 5-10 years. This model, however, will only work once it is legal for at-home psychedelic therapy. Currently, that is available for ketamine treatment, but, will not be available for other psychedelic compounds for some time.

The foundations for new technologies to be integrated into psychedelic therapy are being set by companies like Enosis and Tripp. While access to psychedelics may come slowly, technology is not going to stop growing exponentially. While companies continue to push for legalization and FDA approval of psychedelics, the industry must keep up with technological advancements that could help increase the benefits of treatment.