There has never been a more exciting – or bewildering – time in the world of psychedelics. What just a few years ago was an obscure corner of clinical and neuroscientific research has blossomed into a vibrant scientific field, yielding promising new treatments and important insights about the mind and brain. That research has already spawned an entirely new industry, with hundreds of startups, all with different ideas of how best to commercialize psychedelics. (A handful of these companies have already gone public, with billion-dollar valuations.) FDA approval of MDMA and psilocybin may be only a few short years away. Since 2018, upwards of a dozen universities – including Johns Hopkins, NYU, Berkeley, Yale, and Harvard – have launched research centers dedicated to studying psychedelics, all funded by private philanthropy. But then in October 2021, the National Institute of Health (NIH) made its first substantial grant for a psychedelic drug trial in more than fifty years to John Hopkins, for a study of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy for tobacco addiction. If proof of the promise and legitimacy of psychedelic research were still needed, it has arrived. Things are moving so quickly on so many different fronts — research, business, policy and culture — that keeping up with developments in the field has become challenging. Which is precisely why, on behalf of the Berkeley Center for the Science of Psychedelics, we’re delighted to welcome you to our twice-weekly newsletter, The Microdose.