Psychedelics got a boost this week with #psilocybin trending on Twitter. This was mostly due to the debut of Michael Pollan’s How to Change your Mind docuseries on Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX). Amongst the virtual congrats and high fives, someone was quick to point out that this doesn’t necessarily mean that mainstream sentiment behind psychedelics has reach a turning point.
Initially, Google Trends wasn’t revealing any change but sometimes the results take some time to show up. Let’s look at the most recent data.
So, searches for psilocybin the chemical compound now show a significant increase based on the month’s average. We need to consider the weekend effect, where people sit down to watch more Netflix. The docuseries is in the top ten so there’s a positive feedback loop at play as well.
Let’s look at an over lay of the search terms Psilocybin vs psilocybin. Let me explain. The blue bar and line are interest over time for the search term Psilocybin as in the chemical compound. The red bar and line are interest over time for the topic “psilocybin”, and surrounding terms like “psilocybe cubensis”, “how to grow psilocybin mushrooms” etc. The search slaps them together and averages them out. We can see that search for these terms has risen. We think this is a positive trend, and public sentiment is improving – just not at the pace we would like.
The media response has been very positive for the Pollan series, with outlets from the Sydney Morning Herald to the Wall Street Journal with some good things to say.
The rest of this article will show some more data from Google Trends, with a little bit of commentary. We’ll keep looking at this over the next year. We’d like to see if we can get some sustained growth in interest, as well as peaks when some news develops.
Look at these other rising subtopics that surround psilocybin as a search term. Sentiment is improving in subtopics; this is always a good sign that the public are refining their searches. Fantastic fungi, also on Netflix is getting sympathy views as well.
The related queries also tell us that more people are willing to try mushrooms and ingest psilocybin. There are two paths being carved out: medicinal and leisure. The approval process will cover medicinal uses.
There is a possibility that increased leisurely use by the public may develop into a media backlash if psychedelics become associated with any unsavory or controversial incidents. We’ll monitor this as well as it’s a potential headwind on psychedelic adoption and sentiment.
Interest in the antidepressant Fluoxetine has grown. In case you’re not familiar – the drug belongs to a group of medicines known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). We think this increase correlates with recent media coverage of results from psychedelics studies suggesting that they may serve as an alternative to SSRIs.
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