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4 Lessons The Emerging Psychedelics Industry Can Learn from The Cannabis Boom

October 20, 2020 10:41 am
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By Evan Nison, NisonCo PR.

We’ve worked with more than 125 cannabis businesses on PR since 2013; here are some of the lessons emerging psychedelic companies can learn from them.

There are many parallels between the emerging medicinal psychedelics industry and that of medical cannabis. Both are psychoactive, historically taboo, and packed with healing potential. Another parallel? America’s growing acceptance of both cannabis and psychedelics use. 

Even the U.S. government is supportive of the new market: Last month the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) invested nearly $27 million to develop a new class of psychedelic-inspired pharmaceuticals

As psychedelic decriminalization and medical trials gain traction, there may be no better place to look for future market insight than within the slightly senior cannabis market. Here are three lessons the emerging psychedelics industry can learn from the cannabis industry.

Focus on fundamentals, not a quick buck. 

Even though these are both exciting and (potentially) fast-growing industries, most investors solely looking to make a quick buck will fail. Cannabis and psychedelics both are heavily regulated and require a long term strategy to build brand presence and trust. Consumers want brand connection, which takes time to build. They don’t want to be overly marketed to with half-fledged products or ideas. Building a company off of excitement and ideas without spreadsheets and well thought-out plans is a very easy way to burn through a lot of cash and investors. 

Social justice and policy reform must play a key role. 

Another consumer similarity between the cannabis and psychedelic industry lies in the historic hampering of research, due to controlled substance scheduling. When attempting to sell a product or service that was once illegal, any attention that can be called to the legitimization of the substance is essential. In order to survive, you must advocate and work together to fight for your existence. 

Keep in mind that other companies in your industry are not your competitors. The enemy is the collective laws and regulations that are preventing you all from succeeding. 

Don’t forget you’re fighting a stigma.  

The psychedelic industry is in a precarious middleground position, and one the cannabis industry is familiar with: attempting to  normalize and propel psychedelic acceptance while nearly 400,000 people were arrested for nonnarcotic drug sale and possession in 2018 alone. Because of this, the social justice interest must always be at the front-and-center of any psychedelic company’s platform to inspire long-term brand trust in addition to social equity. 

Those in psychedelics can also learn from some of the successful PR and coalition building tactics cannabis reform has used to fight stigma such as looking for opportunities to work with well established institutions. For example, bringing attention to the existence of the John Hopkins’ Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research or to the fact that the FDA is close to approving an experimental psilocybin pharmaceutical treatment for depression helps consumers to associate psychedelic medicine with institutions they recognize and respect.

It’s also good to put “untraditional allies” or those that the public may not assume would be on your side, out in front. For example, doctors and drug rehabilitation specialists could make excellent spokespeople to help further de-stigmatize psychedelic use.

The cannabis industry has also met great success with the use of celebrity endorsements to bolster normalization. This technique may seem basic, but it should not be undervalued in stigma-attached markets such as that of psychedelics public relations.

Consumer connection is key

Psychedelics and their users, have been stigmatized similarly to cannabis. Initial market leaders for cannabis primarily targeted consumers who were already open to the idea of normalized cannabis use, and psychedelics will likely follow a similar trajectory. Being able to find the initially interested consumer using things like Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a huge boon in this regard, as it helps drive targeted audiences. Once you have the consumers attention, you must develop trust and a connection with them. 

In Conclusion

By learning from the experiences of the cannabis industry and reform movement, the psychedelics industry can avoid mistakes and go further by taking advantage of lessons learned. In particular, remember to always put people first and enjoy the trip.

Read the original Article on NisonCo.

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