Ketamine: psychedelics meet hyper-capitalism

Jules Evans
12 min readFeb 3

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Ketamine clinics are booming across the US. According to psychedelic fund PsyMed, there were around 20 ketamine clinics in 2019. By the end of last year, there were reportedly over 600 independent ketamine clinics, as well as chains like Mindbloom, Field Trip and Delic with multiple clinics and home delivery services. Since the pandemic began, ketamine start-ups have reported rapid growth: in 2022, Field Trip reported 200% yearly growth, Mindbloom reported 420% employee growth, and Delic says its net assets grew 500% in a year. Profits from ketamine grew from $8.3 million in 2017 to $185 million in 2022, according to this video report from the WSJ. Marketwatch estimates the global ketamine market will grow from $132 million in 2021 to $3.8 billion by 2027.

There is an M&A boom in the market as well — Irwin Naturals has bought 18 ketamine clinics in the last two years and their CEO says they have ‘over 100 targets in their pipeline’. The pace of deals and start-ups is dizzying — in August 2022, Braxia Scientific entered the ketamine market with the acquisition of KetaMD. This week, it sold to Irwin for $30 million.

Ketamine companies are riding the wave of psychedelic hype. There’s so much excitement about psilocybin therapy, but it’s been slow to get FDA approval. Meanwhile, people are desperate for relief from mental and physical health problems, and investors are impatient for returns. Ketamine already has FDA approval as an anaesthetic. Any US medical provider can apparently offer it off-label for whatever condition they want, from depression and anxiety to OCD and eating disorders, to alcoholism, drug addiction, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, self-esteem issues, self-actualization…you name it!

Dylan Beynon, who founded Mindbloom in 2018, says (here) that the company is now ‘massively scaling out our platform to bring ketamine to every single person in the US who needs them for every single indication that psychedelics could help people for.’ To help this ‘massive scaling out’, Mindbloom gave the drug-formerly-known-as-horse-tranquilizer a full makeover. It hired several

Jules Evans

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