In particular, we seed projects and research related to advocacy, and contexts for societal use and understanding. We’re very interested in things not listed here, too.
Again, we want to fund projects that cannot practically get funding elsewhere. We’re particularly interested in early stage projects that don’t need much capital - so that we help you get to the stage where you can raise more money from others, once your project is further progressed. We can only fund projects that are completely legal, thanks for understanding.
Please note, no guarantee that we’ll fund things on this page, but we are certainly interested in all of these ideas.
Broadly, the things we currently view as most important for the progress in legal/safe/convenient availability and societal understanding of psychedelic/MDMA therapy are: the smooth FDA approval of MDMA and/or psilocybin, concrete political victories (e.g. ballot initiatives, state legislature, federal policy), the development of contexts in which people might safely use psychedelics for personal growth, and improvements in the strength and breadth of support of these things amongst potential voters.
We’re particularly excited about funding new projects, or funding people to work on ideas (e.g. as a stipend).
We love funding people who are just starting or haven’t chosen an idea yet. We’d rather fund a brand new project with a potentially scalable idea for an important problem, than a far along project for something that isn’t scalable or is a less important problem. E.g. if you’re interested in one of our priority ideas, but haven’t started, please apply!
General attributes we like to see
Scalability. If your project wanted to 100x its level of yearly impact, by what factor would the costs of running your project increase? Some examples of things that are typically quite scalable: research, information, media, websites, franchise type organizations.
Impact. We want to fund projects that have a small, but real, chance of accelerating the availability of legal psychedelic therapy by multiple years. We want to maximize our impact per $. We measure impact like expected value and are happy to fund things with a tiny chance of a massive positive impact.
Neglectedness. We’re particularly interested in organizations that aren’t able to easily raise funds from other donors.
Meet potential collaborators
Want to explore working on one of these and meet potential collaborators who are highly capable and interested in the same ideas? See meet collaborators on this page.
Making More Policy Change Possible
If a politican has policies that people deem as not sensible, then they’ll be rejected by the media and generally the people, too. We’d like to make it so that drug policy improvement is viewed as highly sensible and popular for politicians. This will happen eventually, but we’d like to do it sooner, to protect human rights.
Similarly, people don’t like to vote for things that they perceive their political party (or their friends, or their peers) don’t support. We think that people might under-estimate the degree of support for drug decriminalization amongst certain sets of their peers, and we’d like to fix that.
Is there anything impactful and cost efficient that can be done?
Would it lead to polarization/pushback and make it worse?
How much would it cost to be confident of results?
What is the time frame of some concrete outcome?
Recruiting and Organizing Active Support for Decriminalization
Things that recruit and organize people to be active supporters (active as in attending “Marches, teach-ins, phone banks; voting with the movement; persuading others e.g. friends and relatives; acting independently to advance the cause within their social and professional spheres.”)
Strategic analysis of what the core challenges are for progress in this field, what the best policy is for dealing with that, and what the right plan is.
Research to help us figure out what the most effective ways are for us to use our funding to accelerate progress here (for example, how important is decriminalization as a step towards the availability of safe/convenient/legal psychedelic therapy for anyone who would like to use it?).
How can we prevent these issues from becoming polarized? What can we learn from other issues that were once bipartisan and then became partisan, or from other issues that have remained bipartisan? This seems important to us.
How could these things be safely and beneficially integrated into society? What are the options, and what are the criteria by which we might want to rate/choose options, and what are the pros and cons of the options?
Policy analysis on what the effects of different variants of decriminalization are likely to be on important outcomes in the US. Done in time to help improve the policy choices of any 2020 ballot initiatives.
And policy analysis on what the reasonable best for humanity/USA drug policy is likely to be based on a set of criteria, and what the benefits and downsides to people of that policy are.
Polling and messaging to understand which framings of decriminalization people prefer.
USA State Level Decriminalization Initiatives
A US state level ballot initiative (a thing where voters can vote to pass a state law) that decriminalizes the use, possession and social distribution of personal quantities of drugs. To protect human rights and reduce incarceration. Great if they can include things that boost public health, e.g. investment in actually effective addiction treatment. Starting with polling and messaging work to validate that it has good odds of winning and identify the right framing. We may be interested in providing small seed grants to non-established but thoughtful and well-intentioned groups pursuing this.
If a good team was running something like this, would there be enough later-stage funder support? (We suspect yes but aren’t certain)
Would it accelerate progress, by “getting the ball rolling” / showing it’s possible?
Would it pass?
Would it work well, if it passes, with overall positive benefits?
City-Level Decriminalization Initiatives
A US city level ballot initiative (a thing where voters can vote to pass a state law) that decriminalizes the use, possession and social distribution of personal quantities of drugs. To protect human rights and reduce incarceration.
Would it accelerate progress / get the ball rolling by showing it’s possible?
Is there a city where it can win?
Would state police make it moot?
Would it be a good way to test out benefits of decrim? (e.g. public health benefits)
A Legal International MDMA Retreat
A treatment center in a country where MDMA is legal - and if there aren’t any countries where this is possible today, then doing the groundwork so that it’s possible and legal in a year or two. Done only in a way that is extremely high quality, extremely safe, and set up to fully maximize the benefits. To enable people around the world to get access to the beneficial uses of MDMA therapy - for PTSD, couples counseling, etc. (Note - A friend suggested to us that it might be legal in Antarctica or other places that aren’t officially countries.)
Is there a place where this could be legal today (or with a few years of work/lobbying)?
Is there some unknown risk of doing this?
Additional List of Things We Might Like to Fund
Any smart individuals with lots of ideas and a determination to solve these issues who need funding support to get something off the ground
For-profit models for interest lobbying organizations where the founders and directors make money if they succeed in making policy progress (to be able to afford to recruit more top talent).
Report on why certain movements (e.g. gay marriage, marijuana, alcohol prohibition, new medical treatments, ending slavery, nuclear power) win and don’t win in various places. The goal being so that we know a) what will be most impactful to fund and b) people know what might be most impactful to work on. What are the best versions of this that already exist, that have been done by others? Is there a cheaper and easier way for us to get the same insights?
Cost-efficient research on psychedelics to help healthy people, e.g. for saving marriages, improving problem solving for work challenges/innovation, helping people be even happier, etc.
A voters guide for people to easily identify which candidates support better drug policies. Should be really easy to use and share. Probably could spread amongst the pro-marijuana community.
Things that highlight the bi-partisan nature of these causes. We know many conservatives and many liberals who all support ending the drug war and improving therapuetic access to psychedelics.
Cost-effective ways to boost the number of therapists that will be available when MDMA is FDA approved. We’ve heard this will be a key bottleneck.
Research on what the most impactful things to fund in this field are. For example, research on what the bottlenecks are to lots of people having safe, legal and convenient access to psychedelic experiences. We’re trying to maximize our impact per dollar, in part by funding things that others aren’t willing to fund.
A US state level ballot initiative (a thing where voters can vote to pass a state law) that makes it legal to operate a psychedelic center. To enable safe, legal and convenient access to the benefits. We’ve become more skeptical of this idea, and would need to see what benefits it offers above and beyond eventual FDA approval of MDMA and psilocybin. We’re more bullish on broad all-drug decriminalization. Could it pass? Would it work ok, if it passed? Would it negatively impact any other psychedelic / drug policy efforts? Is there some unknown risk? Would the project be able to raise the rest of the funding needed for the ballot initiative?
A psychedelic center based internationally in a country where it’s already legal (e.g. possibly truffles in Netherlands). To allow people to use psychedelics and potentially generate profit to fund other non-profits. Ideally with specific tracks for specific medical conditions (e.g. depression, anxiety, alcohol dependence, obesity, etc) and non-medical conditions (e.g. family or relationship conflict, career change courage, etc). Could it be run safely and legally? What are the risks? How much money could something like this make? What sustainable benefits could it have beyond other existing centers/retreats?
High-quality polling that presidential candidates can use to see an accurate view of what people’s positions are on drug decriminalization, how to talk about drug policy and marijuana legalization etc. So that they might run on those platforms. Likely using a firm that politicians already respect and focusing on getting them to read and act based on the results. Perhaps also a similar project aimed at the biggest newspaper editors in the US - to help update their views on people’s opinions on drug policy so that they accurately understand the public’s opinions and how those opinions are trending.
Cost-efficient messaging research that helps any ballot initiative all-drug decriminalization projects know the best ways to message their work. See this for inspiration.
Research on the theory and strategy of how to make all substance decriminalization and improved public health for drug users best succeed in the short run
A project to organize professionals that support all-drug decrim (and perhaps psychedelic therapy, also). For example, nurses, doctors, police and sheriffs, faith leaders, and business leaders. So that these people can help future media campaigns. Ideally including some people who are anti-drug, but that still support decriminalization due to public health benefits, for example. Definitely including people of all political opinions.
A payment merchant that helps any business doing legal trade in the psychedelic or drug space to easily accept payments. For example, companies that do legal truffle retreats in the Netherlands.
Field building and co-ordination stuff around all-drug decrim: e.g. possibly student clubs, local gatherings, popular media, etc. See this post
Something related to the right to try act, that makes it practical for terminally ill people to safely access MDMA and/or psychedelic therapy.
Scalable things like research, information, media, websites, franchise type organizations. Even things like YouTube channels.
Media training guides (e.g. videos or text) aimed at leaders in the drug and psychedelic space. E.g. youtube videos and blog posts teaching them how to be influential and get messages across.
Something that makes it so that anyone who gets insurer covered rehab or drug abuse treatment gets highly effective evidence-based treatment (if they want it). Perhaps this could be a for-profit that sells to health insurers.
Things that help reduce or prevent drug addiction.
Things that make the drug use that is already happening safer.
Things that can reduce the number of drug overdoses.
Things that progress drug policy.
Things that progress the availability of psychedelic therapy.
Things that progress society to a better (more benefits with less risks) relationship with all drugs, incl alcohol, tobacco etc.
Advertising campaigns designed to win votes for all-drug decrim
Research (btw, when we use the word “research” in each of these ideas, that might mean medical research giving a substance to people at a university, or it might mean manually finding psychedelic users to talk to, or it might mean doing an online survey, or it might mean talking to experts and compiling their opinions, etc - there are lots of different levels of research that may be helpful) on psychedelic or MDMA therapy for treating obesity
Audiobook release on Audible, iTunes, etc of Handbook for the Therapeutic Use of LSD: Individual and Group Procedures (1959), and ideally a self-published re-release of the book on Amazon/Kindle/etc. And/or a modern version of that book, focused on psilocybin, based on extensive interviews with past and present researchers.
Video (animated, perhaps?) versions of key points from Handbook for the Therapeutic Use of LSD: Individual and Group Procedures (1959), perhaps separate ones aimed at participants and guides? Same thing also for the LSD Psychotherapy book by Grof
Research (likely online survey for cost-efficiency) on psychedelic or MDMA therapy for treating insomnia
Research (likely online survey for cost-efficiency) on psychedelic or MDMA therapy for treating tinnitus
Research on what the most effective ways to help drug users who want to stop using their substances would be. Including research on what the right ways to measure that are (percentage of people who could benefit from treatment who seek treatment, percentage of people who seek treatment who succeed, and cost?). So that for the decriminalization initiatives that happen, there’s some guidance on what the best ways to improve the public health would be if drug users aren’t put in jail.
Video versions of this “entheo manual” and/or a documentary with a chance of getting onto Netflix of a legally done experience like this, e.g. perhaps in the Netherlands
Capital-efficient documentary either of a psychedelic or MDMA therapy process, or perhaps of Michael Pollan’s book? We’d like one that plans to get onto Netflix. Though a Netflix original would be even better (let us know if you have ideas on how a Netflix original could happen)
Research on psychedelics and problem solving and/or innovation, e.g. the modern version of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychedelics_in_problem-solving_experiment
Advertising campaigns for big ($10mm+) funding drives for research and field building
Policy and general research on what the most effective strategy is for reducing the number of opioid overdoses by 10x within a few years is. Especially ideal if these solutions can be built into possible decriminalization ballot initiatives
Research on psychedelics to help people make behavior changes that they’re struggling with. More notes here. How cheaply could legal and informative research be conducted?
Anything that will improve the benefits of drug decrim and make implementation of any initiatives as safe and smooth as possible
Mass media or documentaries or other content aimed at large audiences showcasing the people working on psychedelics - especially the researchers
Anything that helps people from key groups like the military, the media, the business community, the churches, labor groups, the civil service, the educational establishment, and the courts, be more exposed to the concept of decriminalization, and/or psychedelic/MDMA therapy
Things that help legal psychedelic societies run or improve (perhaps a virtual conference to bring together 2 leaders from each society with their peers from around the world in mini-groups? or an in person gathering?)
The “start here” for the psychedelic world / a guide aimed at people who want to understand or become involved in the space. It should have a very user friendly interface
Data mining or manual research project that mines reddit and erowid and other sources of trip reports to identify the most promising medical and non-medical benefits for each substance, as well as to identify the most promising research chemicals for various beneficial and medical uses. Perhaps presented as a journal article and/or a user friendly report and/or a user friendly website
Things related to safe contexts for psychedelic use. For example, that might mean funding things in the Netherlands related to legal truffles. Perhaps things around finding facilitators, safety professionals and trip sitters, eg for groups, families, couples etc. We’ll double check with lawyers to confirm this is legal, before funding.
A series of short videos that people can share with friends and relatives to help them become more optimistic and understanding around psychedelic therapy. Ideally they’d be constructed by someone conducting a bunch of practice conversations with people, then grouping people into similar opinion buckets, and then testing out various approaches 1-1 to see what makes people more open to the therapeutic promise of psychedelics, and then once they’ve found the things that work, turning those into short videos. These videos would be used by people who support psychedelic movements to send to family and friends that they want to be more aware. They’d also be used by people who support the research to help them learn more effective ways for them to talk about this research when they’re having their own conversations with others who are anti-psychedelic medicine.
Research on if a religious leader wanted to legally integrate a yearly experience into their congregation, what the legal path for them doing this would be, and/or what laws would be easiest to change to enable this to be done in a safe and respectful way
Someone to spend time finding a funder or group of funders that would like to endow a psychedelic research site, or that would like to fund a psychedelic research center. To seek perhaps $2-15mm. This would be very beneficial for the research field.
Anthropological research on past/future societal contexts of psychedelic use
A matching website that helps people find peer groups that they meet with in person, and then travel together with to legal retreats in Amsterdam, and then they come back home and continue to integrate their experiences together. Would want to ensure legality first.
YouTube channel like The Drug Classroom but focused on high quality info on psychedelic therapy
Ways to find guides in Amsterdam that specialize in facilitating for families, friend groups, couples, work groups, any other groups. And/or Amsterdam retreats focused on these groups
A way for people that want to get legal psychedelic therapy eg in the Netherlands to find a provider that suits them. Perhaps they fill out an intake form, and then they can pay $100 in return for getting 3 consultation sessions over video call with 3 different legal providers, and then they can build some trust and then choose the one that seems best to them
Some kind of text message list that any casual supporters can sign up to, to get occasional texts when there’s an important thing for them to support to help the drug decriminalization field (opportunities to staff phone banks or collect signatures, candidates that they can vote for in their elections, tips on persuading others around common family holidays like Christmas, and ideas as to how they can advance decrim in their existing job - eg lawyers taking on pro bono cases, musicians writing songs, celebrities “coming out” about their support, banners of support on Twitter/Instagram/Facebook, store owners putting signs of support on their windows, etc)
Detailed video interviews with trained professional psilocybin and MDMA guides
Something that makes it super easy for anyone to start a successful psychedelic club or society. Whether at university or elsewhere. Involves figuring out key sources of friction for more clubs starting (do we need more motivated organizers? Need to make it easier for organizers to find their first 5 strong members? etc). Maybe a series of podcast interviews or YouTube interviews with the founders/directors of the most successful psychedelic societies would be a good place to start
Generally any scalable funding that helps there be more psychedelic clubs and psychedelic societies. In some cases we’re open to funding individual socieities if it’s a key one-off amount that can’t be sourced elsewhere, though we’d prefer to fund more meta things that can help many psychedelic societies at once, or that can help many new psychedelic societies get started
“Research group to determine and rank the most effective uses of money/resources towards psychedelic mainstreaming, similar to GiveWell charity rankings or 80,000 Hours highest impact careers. It’s possible there are 100X or 1000X more impactful uses of money/resources in this space and no one knows it yet.” (Thanks AN)
Unbiased sites like Examine.com that look at different psychedelic/similar substances and identify, like Examine, both the level of evidence (mostly anecodtal), and the seeming effect sizes, towards various goals/conditions
Generally funding to start unbiased high quality sources of information, whether they’re websites, YouTube channels, or podcasts is interesting to us. We’d like there to be places that anyone can go where they can trust they’re getting unbiased information, not information that’s colored because the author believes the substance should be medically or legally available
High quality video, audio and/or text resources for integration of the most common things from classic Psychedelic and or MDMA experiences
Something that makes it easier for anyone to become amazing guide. Eg aimed at people in the Netherlands. Like the LSD manual from 1959 but more user friendly
Programs to give talks to groups from the military, the media, the business community, the churches, labor groups, the civil service, the educational establishment, and the courts about psychedelic research
People work on ways of unlocking massive research $ from governments and large organizations, e.g. these http://www.healthresearchfunders.org/health-research-funding-organizations/. E.g. Is there someone with the relevant experience that we could support financially, so that they could spend their time fundraising for research from these large institutions?
App designed to boost support for decriminalization perhaps by allowing people to anonymously indicate their support, or other ways of trying to reduce the pluralistic ignorance https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pluralistic_ignorance e.g. where many people may support decriminalization but they assume that others don’t support it, so they hide their support
Research (btw, when we use the word “research” in each of these ideas, that might mean medical research giving a substance to people at a university, or it might mean manually finding psychedelic users to talk to, or it might mean doing an online survey, or it might mean talking to experts and compiling their opinions, etc - there are lots of different levels of research that may be helpful) on microdosing for obesity
Any meta-work designed to progress the availability of psychedelic therapy. e.g. maybe things that help catalogue the problems and people in the field and co-ordinate efforts. We’re happy to fund things that are indirect approaches.
Any ways to get $10mm++ more philanthropic money aimed towards this goal (psychedelic therapy availability to all).