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Predictions 2023: Legal Cannabis, Amanita Mushrooms & More Psychedelics

Predictions for 2023
Written by Sarah Friedman

Whether you had a good year or not, 2022 is over, and that means moving onto 2023. This year is sure to be full of tons of new talking points. What are my predictions for 2023? From a possible federal cannabis legalization, to the rise of amanita mushrooms and increased psychedelics use, it looks like it’ll be a pretty high-flying year.

How accurate are predictions for 2023?

Well, that’s a question that a person writing a prediction never wants to answer! But in all fairness, it should be answered. Predictions are beliefs about what will happen next, and they’re based on personal views and bias. Everything I’m going to say is related to how I see the world right now in reference to the research I do, the present state of things, and the different trajectories in motion.

However, I have no way of saying what else might happen that could affect any of this. Maybe there will be some massive natural disaster that will throw everything off. Or maybe some drug scandal will go down that lowers interest in a particular compound, or reverses the increasing liberalization of thought on drug acceptance in general. Or maybe something new will come out that will grab our attention, and shift our focus.

Most of all, I don’t get to see behind the scenes. I don’t know what is spoken about in the conference rooms of government buildings, and really, very few reporters are ever privy to such information; because its not meant for the press. I don’t know what companies might have interests that could lead to large government payments; and I don’t know who will take money from who, or for what.

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If all this makes it sound like the idea of predictions is kind of bogus…well, it often is. But sometimes that just means being more realistic about predictions. When the CBD market took off, some writers/publications predicted it would bring in such a large amount of money, that looking back, its sort of funny that they couldn’t see the forest through the trees. That it was a hype that couldn’t last in the end. Same with the current weed industry, which was also predicted to make ridiculous sums, because those predicting didn’t account for the power of the black market, or the stupidity of high taxes.

So not all predictions are good. Some are probably put out only for the press story, or even as a headline meant to grab readers’ attention. But that doesn’t mean all predictions are bad, or that a failed prediction can’t be close, even if not right on. In the spirit of using logic to try to discern this year’s upcoming happenings, here are my personal set of predictions for what to expect in 2023.

Predictions 2023: Cannabis legalization

This year is sure to be full of all kinds of surprises, some coming out of left field. Other things won’t be as shocking; more like the resolution of something that’s a long time coming. Like a recreational cannabis legalization. Technically, the conversation over whether to legalize cannabis federally ended when President Biden pardoned every federal personal use cannabis case that ever was. Not only did this come with a statement about the need to update laws very soon, but it also opened the door to a strange legal reality.

Biden didn’t change the laws, he just let everyone go who had been found guilty of certain crimes, and said people shouldn’t be penalized for this. But that doesn’t stop a new arrest from taking place on the same grounds. One of the things we know about law enforcement in the US, is that so long as it has an opportunity, it’s going to take it. It has yet to be given a legal directive to stop this behavior. Which means even the very day of the pardons, at least some people were probably arrested. And if not that day, the next.

What does it mean when a president pardons sentences with a statement that punishing people for the action is wrong, and then allows such arrests to continue? And what if you’re the guy who gets arrested now for simple possession of something your president just pardoned everyone else for? This could get messy. And though this aspect might be downplayed in the press right now, it sure sounds like it could cause a lot of problems if the laws aren’t updated very, very soon.

If anything, I’m surprised it wasn’t passed under cover of night before 2022 ended. This is no longer something that might happen, now with the pardons, its something that must happen. Does it absolutely have to be 2023? I suppose not. But considering the legal landscape post pardons, the desire of the federal government to access cannabis tax money, and the growing push for legalization from people pretty much everywhere; my prediction is that it’ll be this year, and before the first half is over.

2023 prediction to legalize cannabis
2023 prediction to legalize cannabis

Predictions 2023: Amanita mushrooms and other legal entheogenic plants

This prediction is based on the idea that entheogenic plants (plants that get you high) are gaining popularity; and that some aren’t illegal, making for a quickly-engineered market. Like Amanita mushrooms and salvia. These plants both have hallucinogenic properties, but aren’t listed in any federal drug scheduling, making them legal. Or at least, not illegal. Amanita mushrooms are already popping up, whether advertised confusingly to get magic mushroom users interested, or as products by companies like this one.

The fact that these plants are psychoactive and legal, at a time when psychoactive plants are gaining popularity, makes them the easiest way for sellers to get in on the market. Sure, it means building industries, but we saw how quickly CBD rose up, and ketamine treatments, and the delta-8 industry. If salvia products start getting offered, chances are, people are going to buy them. Amanita mushroom vendors are already increasing.

We see this idea mirrored back in the different legalization and decriminalization measures which have passed, been presented, or are currently working their way through. Colorado became the first state to go ahead and legalize the use of some plants containing compounds like DMT; but for states not ready to go this far yet, there are still the legal options. Colorado’s legalization went a step further than Oregon’s, which only covers magic mushrooms of one kind. How much more liberal will the next one be? And what does this say about what people want?

That people are turning back to plants to get high, just means a step back to old world methods. As acceptance grows, we can expect curiosity and interest in all the options available. Vendors who want to capitalize on this, need to push products. In light of many compounds still being illegal in most places, the obvious answer is to go after what is legal. For this reason, 2023 should see the rise of Amanita mushrooms along with other entheogenic plants like salvia.

Predictions 2023: More psychedelics

The term ‘psychedelics’ is changing. The term technically refers to a specific classing of drugs with hallucinogenic properties; but is also used colloquially as a stand-in for the word ‘hallucinogen’. For example, ketamine isn’t a psychedelic, it’s a dissociative hallucinogen. But it’s often referred to as a psychedelic. In reality, psychedelics comprise only LSD, DMT, psilocybin, and mescaline. Sometimes MDMA gets added in there, but its technically not a psychedelic either.

The world at large is not made of scientists. The idea of where a line is drawn in defining drugs is lost to most people, so if terms get used a certain way in the press (even if meant for simplification) that’s how they get picked up by the public. As such, it has become commonplace to use the word ‘psychedelic’ when speaking of ‘hallucinogens’ which are not psychedelics. When I say more psychedelics, what I really mean, is more hallucinogens.

2023 prediction for increased psychedelics use
2023 prediction for increased psychedelics use

The prediction for 2023 is for increased use of hallucinogenic drugs. The desire for more hallucinogenic substances is once again mirrored by current actions. Like the DEA requesting huge increases in production quotas, from psilocybin to 2-CB, for 2023. The DEA is requesting the production quotas for research purposes, but there’s not much reason to believe this would happen if there wasn’t a future move in the works.

Its not just the DEA pushing for psychedelics; the FDA is too. The DEA is asking for higher production quotas for research and medical purposes, while the FDA pushes for them with its breakthrough therapy status; something it uses to get products to market faster. Not only has the agency given this designation to more than one company’s experimental psilocybin and MDMA drugs; but it also helped design trials with said companies to ensure that outcomes meet regulation. And while passage of a specific drug doesn’t mean a full legalization (a la dronabinol), it does signal that something bigger is on the way.

Whether one of the medications gets legalized this year is hard to say. It might take another year or two to go through the entire approval process. But with the general race going on right now, I certainly don’t rule out the possibility that 2023 could see the first legal psychedelic medicines hit the market.

Conclusion

The start of a new year is exciting because it means looking forward to all new things. Perhaps all of my predictions for 2023 will be right on, and perhaps some will need tweaking. Truth is, we’ll have to wait and see what happens.

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About the author

Sarah Friedman

I look stuff up and and write stuff down, in order to make sense of the world around. And I travel a lot too.

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