For those who don’t know him, Kevin O’Leary is a Canadian market analyst, TV pundit, and passionate investor. Perhaps O’Leary is best known as a panelist on the Canadian business startups show “Dragon’s Den”.
Today, Kevin O’Leary is a major investor in and bullish proponent for psychedelic drugs.
O’Leary makes no attempt to hide his conservative inclinations. This comes out loud-and-clear when O’Leary recently interviewed JR Rahn, former Uber executive and now CEO of MindMed Inc (CAN:MMED / US:MMEDF).
“…when I was first approached by one of your board members over a year ago to get involved in MindMed I said absolutely no way. I don't want anything to do with recreational drugs. I never got invested in cannabis for that reason it's a Schedule one narcotic -- still is federally [in the United States].”
No, to cannabis. Yes, to psychedelic drugs – as an investment opportunity. Why?
O’Leary revealed his thinking here in two parts.
“I'm an investor in many, many companies in Silicon Valley. In Boston and Texas…Florida -- you name it -- young engineers (and I and I'm not endorsing this by any means, but it's anecdotal data) have been microdosing LSD, you know, reportedly doing this and getting some very interesting positive outcomes about productivity.”
“It has the potential to become ground-breaking medicine…Research that actually started in the early 60s was shut down because a lot of the psychedelics became illegal. But now the promise of perhaps fixing huge problems like drug addiction, opioid addiction, alcoholism, depression, ADD, all of these metrics.” [emphasis mine]
This conservative investor put aside his biases against these drugs (for recreational use) and saw two things.
- “Microdosing” of psychedelics (non-psychoactive dosages) has the potential to enhance health and performance. Biohacking. No difference, in principle, to a morning cup of coffee.
- The Mental Health Crisis.
- Large treatment markets.
- Poor existing treatment options.
- Spectacular results in clinical trials with psychedelic drugs.
Mental health services is a $225 billion treatment market in the United States alone, according to Statista.
Kevin O’Leary is not some do-gooder out to change the world. He wants to make money – and the more the better.
Psychedelic drugs do have the potential to change the world, providing effective treatment options for mental health disorders that afflict more than 1 billion people. O’Leary has nothing against that.
But when Kevin O’Leary looks at psychedelic drugs, he doesn’t see a better world full of happier people.
He sees unicorns.