- The Washington Times
Sunday, September 19, 2021

Monday is National Psychedelic Day, and the co-founder of a new mood-enhancing beverage says he has just the thing to celebrate the occasion.

But Toronto attorney Keith Stein says don’t expect a “melt-your-face kind of trip” from drinking Psychedelic Water — a mixture of damiana leaf, kava root and green tea leaf extract. Though “psychedelic,” the drink is not hallucinogenic.

It’s also completely legal and available in the U.S.

“This is about mental health and wellness. It has nothing to do with tripping. I hope people aren’t looking for that sort of thing with it because they will be disappointed,” Mr. Stein said.

Psychedelic Water is marketed as a mood enhancer, “like a glass of wine,” that also acts an aphrodisiac for some.

Mr. Stein believes psychedelics are on the cusp of something big. He is far from alone in thinking so: Wall Street and Big Pharma reportedly are looking at psychoactive goods as a new frontier where fortunes and medical breakthroughs can be made.

Executives at big tech firms have reported “microdosing” — ingesting tiny amounts of psychoactive products — to sharpen their focus and boost their imagination.

What’s more, several jurisdictions around the U.S. have decriminalized psychoactive substances such as “magic” mushrooms amid growing medical evidence of their potential benefit in treating certain emotional and psychological ailments. However, the federal government still outlaws those substances.

“I’m a lawyer, and whatever I do has to be lawful,” said Mr. Stein, who works for Dentons, one of the world’s largest law firms. “And what we’re trying to do is far removed from the hardcore hallucinogenics. My question was, How do I create the world’s first psychedelic brand?”

He spent six months with a New York University food science researcher in developing Psychedelic Water’s recipe, which involved “identifying some active ingredients” such as the root of the leafy green kava plant, which has long been used in Polynesian ceremonies, Mr. Stein said.

Psychedelic Water has made a splash. An initial run of 50,000 cans sold out in two weeks, and the Toronto-based company has amped up production in California so that it can roll out 500,000 cans.

“This is a start, the ball is rolling,” Mr. Stein said. “Young females have embraced it for anxiety. The next step is in three to six months to start working with lobbyists and politicians where we can promote change and the status of psychedelics.”

He points to how the public has come to accept marijuana and cannabis-based products. Cannabis products lacking marijuana’s psychoactive substance are sold throughout the country, while almost three-quarters of the states have legalized medicinal pot and more than a third have legalized recreational pot. Marijuana remains a banned substance under federal law.

“We are entering a period of greater enlightenment about drugs all around,” Mr. Stein said. “And I believe the therapeutic and non-recreational benefits are even more profound with psychedelics than those associated with the cannabis sector.”

“It feels like in five years or so psychedelics will coming into their own,” he said. “One of the things we are trying to accomplish is a demystifying of psychedelics so that one day you will walk into a 7-Eleven or Whole Foods or a gas station, and there it will be.”

• James Varney can be reached at jvarney@washingtontimes.com.

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