a story for the psychedelic movement
Learie was twenty eight when she founded her psychedelic business. She called it Gaia Health.

For more than a decade the renaissance in psychedelics had been the center of her life. She was sure it was her calling.
Ever since Learie was a little
girl she felt that she lived in
a troubled world. Even in
her youth she was aware
not just of war abroad and
violence at home but apathy,
disconnectedness and
inequity.

This is a world in pain.
Ever since Learie was a little girl she felt that she lived in a troubled world. Even in her youth she was aware not just of war abroad and violence at home but apathy, disconnectedness and inequity.

This is a world in pain.
Learie first took LSD when she
was a senior in high school, with
two friends in a field under an oak
tree. The world disintegrated, along
with her sense of self, into billions
of bodies dancing on threads at the
hem of Shiva's robe. The great deity rattled and twirled, spinning as the
stars, woven into a dance of eternity.
How can we live in so much pain
when the universe is dancing?

Learie witnessed her father's death.
She met her future child. She cried
over the beauty of the sunset.
She cried again over the fact that
she had let herself miss so many.

All the while she had
not left the oak tree.
Learie first took LSD when she was a senior in high school, with two friends in a field under an oak tree. The world disintegrated, along with her sense of self, into billions of bodies dancing on threads at the hem of Shiva's robe. The great deity rattled and twirled, spinning as the stars, woven into a dance of eternity. How can we live in so much pain when the universe is dancing?

Learie witnessed her father's death. She met her future child. She cried over the beauty of the sunset. She cried again over the fact that she had let herself miss so many.

All the while she had not left the oak tree.
After that experience Learie gave
the first real hug of her life. It was the
I see you; your pain, your aspirations,
your fear. In this moment I hold you
exactly as you are, imperfect, perfect.


The hug was with her father, who was
grateful but couldn't understand why
she was crying and why she seemed
to squeeze so hard.

After that experience Learie gave the first real hug of her life. It was the I see you; your pain, your aspirations, your fear. In this moment I hold you exactly as you are, imperfect, perfect.

The hug was with her father, who was grateful but couldn't understand why she was crying and why she seemed to squeeze so hard.
Learie was not the first person to believe that, in some way, psychedelics could help the world. In fact she wasn't even the thousandth. That's the funny thing about psychedelics - you come to them your own way, broken down, opened up, turned on. You become aware that there is more than meets the senses - something out there, profound, eternal, waiting for you to look. You come to understand, you are not alone. Thousands of people are on this path, maybe more.

Learie discovered a whole new community. It was filled with extraordinary people striving to bring a measure of healing to the world.
Learie was not the first person to believe that, in some way, psychedelics could help the world. In fact she wasn't even the thousandth. That's the funny thing about psychedelics - you come to them your own way, broken down, opened up, turned on. You become aware that there is more than meets the senses - something out there, profound, eternal, waiting for you to look. You come to understand, you are not alone. Thousands of people are on this path, maybe more.

Learie discovered a whole new community. It was filled with extraordinary people striving to bring a measure of healing to the world.
Learie called her business Gaia Health. By this point the landscape of psychedelics had shifted. There were new medical frameworks for MDMA and psilocybin, federal sanctioning of psychedelic use that, just a few years earlier, was unimaginable. City by city, state-by-state, decriminalization and legalization initiatives were underway. At the root of it all was a seismic change in public opinion. Psychedelics had made their way back from the cultural periphery.

Learie was not a therapist. She was a marketer; a storyteller. But she was passionate and charismatic. She painted a vision. People bought in. Learie found a team of therapists with years of experience as psychedelic guides.

Her plan was simple - to build clinics for psychedelic treatment, from intake and preparation, through psychedelic experiences themselves to the work of integration: the process of making meaning of what happened and applying the lessons to your life. Gaia's clinics were going to be beautiful - sun-lit, plant-filled. They would be sanctuaries of contemplation, introspection and healing.
In those early days Learie barely slept. She would lay awake, the troubles of the world seeping through the curtains of her mind like sirens passing on the street.
Learie called her business Gaia Health. By this point the landscape of psychedelics had shifted. There were new medical frameworks for MDMA and psilocybin, federal sanctioning of psychedelic use that, just a few years earlier, was unimaginable. City by city, state by state, decriminalization and legalization initiatives were underway. At the root of it all was a seismic change in public opinion. Psychedelics had made their way back from the cultural periphery.

Learie was not a therapist. She was a marketer; a storyteller. But she was passionate and charismatic. She painted a vision. People bought in. Learie found a team of therapists with years of experience as psychedelic guides.

Her plan was simple - to build clinics for psychedelic treatment, from intake and preparation, through psychedelic experiences themselves to the work of integration: the process of making meaning of what happened and applying the lessons to your life. Gaia's clinics were going to be beautiful - sun-lit, plant-filled. They would be sanctuaries of contemplation, introspection and healing.
In those early days Learie barely slept. She would lay awake, the troubles of the world seeping through the curtains of her mind like sirens passing on the street.
Other nights it was the thrum of possibility that kept her awake. Here she was on a frontier of systemic change, building with each heavy brick a bridge to a better world. Gaia Health was going to bring psychedelic medicine to humanity.

When business planning overwhelmed her Learie would go to that place in her mind; one illuminated with hope for what the world could be.
Gaia Business Planning:
Vision

When a patient walks into Gaia Health she will feel that she belongs. The feeling will be a sense of comfort; of being loved and held; of safety. If Gaia lives up to its potential then these patients will carry that feeling with them when they leave. Gaia will be a sanctuary.

Someday we will have a treatment center in every city. In smaller towns we will have outposts, ensuring that everyone who could benefit from sacred medicine will have access to it.

If we become known for anything it will be for our care and compassion for the people whom we treat.


Over coffee a friend asked her why her plan included scale. Why wasn't one clinic enough – a place where Learie could watch the healing transformation take place, patient by patient? What could be more satisfying than that?

Learie was taken aback. Wasn't it obvious? Psychedelic medicine was achieving breakthroughs in everything from addiction to depression to PTSD. We are a sick society. These are our symptoms. We are afflicted with a disease: a lack of empathy.

Yes, she could build one clinic. She would help to treat dozens of patients. She would get to see them heal. It would be a wonderful life. A part of her longed for that – for change lived out on a very human scale. But this is the age of climate catastrophe, systemic racism and endless war. It is not a time for small ideas. It is not a moment for incremental change. Learie could build one clinic, or she could build one thousand. She could treat hundreds, or she could treat millions. Learie didn't understand how her friend could be skeptical of that.
Tilda Publishing
When she let down her guard, Learie would be overwhelmed by the urgency – the desperation – of the moment. Her hope in a psychedelic future was her shield, her armor. She felt positioned to do something about it – to not be a passive observer in human kind's collective downward spiral. Learie felt called. She believed she barely had a choice.
Learie argued that large scaled solutions for psychedelic treatment were inevitable. Psychedelic treatment was providing breakthrough outcomes in mental health. There were billions of dollars on the line for the company that could become a "go-to" solution. The global market for anti-depressants alone was $15 billion. That number only scratched the surface.
Corporations already were forming, venture capital was arriving and the gears of commerce beginning to creak to life. All this begged the question: if not Learie, who? This was going to happen. It was happening. What more could the community hope for than to have one of its own at the helm; someone who shared their values and ethics, who genuinely believed in the possibilities of psychedelics for cultural transformation?
We are going to build a better world, she told her friend. It will be our own utopia. We will call it Pala.

She did not mention it – in fact, she rarely acknowledged it to herself – but there was something intoxicating in the pull toward psychedelic grandeur. With her business credentials and insider status in the psychedelic community she felt uniquely qualified to bear the movement's standard – no, it's burden – at this time.
Tilda Publishing
Gaia Health Investor Pitch Deck
It felt surreal when the first investor handed her a check. $200,000. Access to his network. Learie couldn't help but focus on how sweaty her hands were, and how loudly her heart was beating.

Before she knew it she had raised $2 million and Gaia was breaking ground.
Tilda Publishing
The first patient of Gaia Health was a woman Learie's own age. She had been a victim of sexual assault. Three months later Learie received a letter.
Dear Learie,

For the first time in over 10 years what was
a prison of gray walls now seems to have
a window. Light is streaming in, warming
my face, warming my body, telling me that
I am loved. On the other side of that window
is the life I could have been living all along.

Each day since that journey the window has
been growing. Some day it may be big enough for me to climb through.

Three months ago I breathed deeply for
perhaps the first time in my life.

It is not enough to say thank you. This wasn't a favor. It wasn't even a gift. It was a blessing. There is grace in my life today.

I think you'll know what I mean when I say "everything is." It is. It is. But you made this, and this has changed my life.

With love and admiration,
-Dee


Dear Learie,

For the first time in over 10 years what was a prison of gray walls now seems to have a window. Light is streaming in, warming my face, warming my body, telling me that I am loved. On the other side of that window is the life I could have been living all along.

Each day since that journey the window has been growing. Some day it may be big enough for me to climb through.

Three months ago I breathed deeply for perhaps the first time in my life.

It is not enough to say thank you. This wasn't a favor. It wasn't even a gift. It was a blessing. There is grace in my life today.

I think you'll know what I mean when I say "everything is". It is. It is. But you made this, and this has changed my life.

With love and admiration,
-Dee


Dear Learie,

For the first time
in over 10 years
what was a
prison of gray
walls now seems
to have a window.
Light is streaming
in, warming my face, warming my body, telling me that I am loved. On the other side of that window is the
life I could have been living all along.

Each day since that journey the window
has been growing. Some day it may be big enough for me to climb through.

Three months ago I breathed deeply for perhaps the first time
in my life.

It is not enough to say thank you. This wasn't a favor. It wasn't even a gift. It was a blessing. There is grace in my life today.

I think you'll know what I mean when I say "everything is". It is. It is. But you made this, and this has changed my life.

With love and admiration,
-Dee


It doesn't appear that there is such a thing as a flashback from LSD. But for a moment, as Learie put the letter down, she felt as though she was again at hem of Shiva's robe, a body among billions of bodies among billions of stars, swaying in a cosmic dance. I am living my purpose in this world.
Gaia Health was successful from the start. When her clinic in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, developed a waiting list of a year Learie decided to build a second one across the bridge. By this point she had proven her "concept" enough to raise a second round of funding. This time it was $7 million. She moved quickly to expand - Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Austin, and Denver.

In her whole life Learie had never felt so charged. Each moment was on fire with possibility. People everywhere needed psychedelic medicine. Gaia Health was bringing it to them.
Tilda Publishing
PSYCHEDELIC STARTUPS FORM AT MIND-BLOWING RATE
In the span of two months four competitors launched across the country; Eleusian, Somatiq, Cosmosis and Project OM.

Each one was founded by newcomers - psychedelic outsiders with business credentials and strong financial backing - who saw tremendous economic opportunity in the psychedelic sphere.
Business Analysis: Psychedelic Medicine
Learie was startled when advertisements started appearing across town promoting services like hers at a fraction of the price.

How was this possible? Here were sleek ads plastering New York City subways promising to provide the treatments Gaia offered at a substantially lower price.

Learie felt a chill, the depth of which she could not place. It was bigger than her business.
It quickly became clear that Gaia had a problem. As the competition grew the waitlist halved and then halved again. In some markets it completely went away. For the first time since its first days, Gaia had empty treatment rooms during peak hours. The company was nowhere near to meeting its projected growth rate. To make matters worse, with expansion plans in motion across five cities Learie already needed to raise more funds.
It would be an understatement to say her investors were concerned. Nearly $10 million had gone into Gaia Health. Some of them had seen it purely as a prudent bet – new mental health treatment complete with desirable cultural cache; disruptive technology with high growth potential.

Other investors believed Gaia to be a sound business idea, but above all were attracted to its potential impact. Nearly all of the company's investors had family or friends suffering from addiction or depression, anxiety or trauma-related symptoms. They were people of means who set out to use their wealth, and the wealth entrusted to them by others, to catalyze positive change in the world.

What could be more impactful than a transformation in mental health, unlocking human potential to live full, meaningful lives?

But the impact investors, like their peers, had a mandate to their own investors – the companies, funds and foundations who pooled resources with them expecting a return. Impact is only an idea if the company is not profitable. Impact may be the soul, but profit is the heartbeat.

Suddenly Gaia appeared at risk not only of not generating a return on the investment but of failing altogether.
Tilda Publishing
Learie felt small as she stood in front of her investors. She felt like she had been pretending: a girl play-acting the part of businesswoman. When she asked for more money they told her to speak up.

Gaia had to adapt. Grow or die. At this moment it was that simple. The notion of psychedelic treatment had become a market reality, a market that had already segmented: lower prices to meet mass demand, higher prices to provide a boutique service. Gaia was stuck in the middle. It was losing on both sides.

Her investors presented Learie with a series of demands.
Required Competitive Adjustments: Gaia Health
Learie did not answer them right away.
Tilda Publishing
Learie sat in her study at home. Her husband brought her tea. She said she didn't want to talk.

It seemed clear that turning down her investors meant the end of Gaia. This would mean facing everyone she loved - her husband, her family, her friends and mentors - and telling them that she had failed. What's more, the company now employed more than sixty people, all of whom counted on her for their livelihoods and those of their families. More than a dozen
employees had told her this was the best job they'd ever had,
doing the most rewarding work that they could think of.

On the walls around her were dozens of letters from patients
of Gaia Health - people like Dee, in pain and darkness, who
through their psychedelic treatment had seen a little light.
These were people she would never meet - folks from
across the country, with life stories she would never
know, who took the time to find her and write her
only to say thanks.
Learie sat in her study at home. Her husband
brought her tea. She said she didn't want to talk.

It seemed clear that turning down her investors meant the end of Gaia. This would mean facing everyone she loved - her husband, her family,
her friends and mentors - and telling them that
she had failed. What's more, the company now
employed more than sixty people, all of whom counted on her for their livelihoods and those
of their families. More than a dozen
employees had told her this was the
best job they'd ever had, doing the most
rewarding work that they could
think of.
On the walls around her were dozens of letters from patients of Gaia Health - people like Dee, in pain and darkness, who through their psychedelic treatment had seen a little light. These were people she would never meet - folks from across the country, with life stories she would
never know, who took the time to find her and write her only to say thanks.
Learie sat in her study at home. Her husband brought her tea. She said she didn't want to talk.
On the walls around her were dozens of letters from patients of Gaia Health - people like Dee, in pain and darkness, who through their psychedelic treatment had seen a little light. These were people she would never meet - folks from across the country, with life stories she would never know, who took the time to find her and write her only to say thanks.
It seemed clear that turning down her investors meant the end of Gaia. This would mean facing everyone she loved - her husband, her family, her friends and mentors - and telling them that she had failed. What's more, the company now employed more than sixty people, all of whom counted on her for their livelihoods and those of their families.
More than a dozen
employees had told her
this was the best job
they'd ever had,
doing the most
rewarding work that
they could think of.
I remembered how beautiful it was, everything around me, every moment. I wondered how I could have ever forgotten that

I feel I have been wearing a weighted vest and yesterday I threw it off

I saw my mother, now deceased. I felt what it was to be her - to love your child so much and so poorly, how guilty she must have felt. I told her that I forgive her

You have changed my life. I cannot express how much this means

Learie started crying.

What other option did she have? Abandoning this path meant abandoning these people - her employees, her patients and everyone in all of their lives touched by the work done at Gaia Health. And abandoning them to what? To clinics backed by Big Business. To private equity-powered healthcare. And, inevitably, to the clutches of Big Pharma.

Learie did not know her competitors personally. All of them had backgrounds in finance or consulting. She didn't trust them - their intentions and motivations, their principles and ethics. If Gaia were to fold, what would be left? What hope remains for psychedelic transformation - for true systemic change - in a world of profit-seeking psychedelic clinics run by MBAs?

Learie had to decide: she could relinquish another thirty percent of ownership to investors or she could risk total failure.
In the morning Learie made up her mind.

On a pad of paper she set out writing all the ways Gaia would adapt to meet this moment. She wrote in pencil. She erased often. By the afternoon she was ready to present to her investors.
Gaia Health: Adaptation Plan
Her changes worked.

Gaia was back to increasing market share. She reminded herself to reframe: Gaia was back to delivering amazing patient outcomes.

She had expected these adjustments to be successful. Learie was shocked, however, to see how quickly her competitors caught up. In fact, three months after her rollout Eleusian and Cosmosis cut their prices by an additional 25%. Both also accelerated their own expansions, each opening on average four clinics per month across the country. The pace of change was simply astounding.
The more she learned about what her competitors were doing the more skeptical Learie became. Eleusian in particular seemed to be ruthless in their appetite for growth. They already had the most competitive rates, even after Gaia's changes, and Learie couldn't imagine how they had cut their prices so much yet again.

She got some idea of it when a friend texted her a photo from a recruiting poster pinned up on the bulletin board of an assisted living facility.
Eleusian was early to recognize that the pool of therapists qualified to do psychedelic-assisted treatment was drying up. Rapid market growth also meant that the non-therapist "facilitator" guides were in high demand. The scarcity of credentialed facilitators - a role formerly played by members of the underground psychedelic movement - created a bottleneck that was slowing expansion and growth across the industry.

Elusian's lawyers were the first to exploit the gray areas in the guidelines governing the medical use of psychedelics, including who had to be present and when. There were too few regulators to provide meaningful oversight. Eleusian risked a slap on the wrist for poor protocol. It was
well worth for the market share they gained.
The vast majority of psychedelic clinics were small. But this was changing quickly. Scores of therapists and healers had built small clinics across the country, pooling resources to make it work, improving their patients' lives. Here a spirit of collaboration thrived. These founders were often deeply committed to equitable access. They treated and employed an extraordinarily diverse range of people. They did terrific work. And nearly all of them were at risk of failing.

It was impossible for these clinics to compete with the large companies. They did not have economies of scale. They did not have the marketing budgets. Many lacked business experience altogether.
The times were tough indeed. Owners of local psychedelic medicine clinics were struggling to compete with players that could spend more on marketing per city than the clinic could earn in a whole year. It wasn't a question of values, integrity, or authenticity. It was a question of reach. In the Internet age the high-growth psychedelic medicine startups had turned their businesses into brands. They had assembled armies of influencers and celebrity endorsements. Project OM had just formalized an exclusive partnership with Goop.

The companies used their resources to snatch the megaphone. In doing so they took control of the narrative. Not knowing any differently, patients, eager to receive the much-hyped breakthrough treatments, responded by flocking to their clinics in droves.
Tilda Publishing
Learie finally ceded to investor pressure to bring on a Chief Technical Officer. The competition to bring technological advancements to psychedelic treatment was heating up. Everyone laughed when the CTO introduced a "different kind of mobile integration."
Automating integration, the new CTO explained, did the most in the way of cost savings, as this process helped to free up not only time but beds. Essential to its success was creating among patients the notion that a digital community was equally valid and meaningful as a "tangible" one.

Post session every Gaia patient would receive a handwritten note from their guide. Gaia would build a forum - Tree of Life - for patients to swap stories and support one another post-treatment. The company would screen live video calls with leading influencers in health & wellness.
Community, it was becoming clear, was easier to fabricate than to facilitate. The digital solution was cost effective. As time went on it appeared to be successful, too. The company rarely received complaints about their integration protocol.
Some in the psychedelic community accused Learie of conducting treatment on a "dose and run" basis. One particularly hurtful note read: You're lining them up like cows, milking them and kicking them out on the street. Folks kept saying what people really craved were community and belonging. What the market said was that they wanted psychedelics.

Gaia did not market it as such, but it was clear that the cultural perception of psychedelics was as something of a "miracle drug" – a practical "cure-all" for the fissures that may form throughout folks' lives.
It was such an American idea – a society obsessed with a "just one pill" solution. One pill for the body you want. One pill for your mind.

In the beginning, Learie was sure that the real work began after the psychedelic treatment - Integration with a capital "I". But this was hard to facilitate. It was even harder to monetize. Gaia was still grappling with how to do it when they were overwhelmed with demand for the psychedelic treatment itself. That was straightforward. People genuinely seemed to be helped. The economics were incredible.
As Eleusian anticipated, the rapidly increasing number of psychedelic treatment providers put tremendous strain on regulators. Lines grayed around what exactly qualified as prerequisites for treatment; depression or "general malaise"? PTSD or challenging, possibly traumatic experiences? Alcoholism or a few too many hangovers?

The war for psychedelic business was a battle on many fronts. Patient-facing treatment clinics were only one, and by no means the largest. Companies competed to patent new methods of drug synthesis; to create "designer" psychedelics with specific use-cases, treatment duration or effects; to approve microdose formulations as everyday prescription mood stabilizers and cognitive enhancers; to build psychedelic hospices; psychedelic retreat centers; psychedelic rehabilitation centers; to dictate the terms of psychedelic coverage to insurers and even to create new, mental health-specific insurance companies altogether. The Department of Defense was funding companies ranging from PTSD treatment for veterans to immediate trauma-relief battlefield psychedelics, and other "classified" investments.

Despite these changes, the complexity and the pace, Gaia Health endured.
Tilda Publishing
In the back drawer of a cabinet of old papers Learie found her journal from her youth. In it was her account of her first psychedelic experience.
I felt in that moment that there was no "me"; no field, no oak tree. In their place was... everything. Friends, family, relatives, teachers; continents and oceans; sky.

It wasn't the idea of universe. It was the experience, like a hundred thousand waterfalls, infinite times over. When you feel that it is terrifying. It is liberating too. What would the world look like if everyone could share in that experience? How can you feel that and do anything but love?

Tilda Publishing
Learie read at her desk, coffee in hand, her journal perched atop a large stack of reports. Her inbox pinged in the background like a metronome. The words made her sad. They seemed to be speaking to her from another life.

Just as she finished reading an email caught her attention:
San Francisco - Associated Press
Two of the fastest growing companies in mental health announced a merger today, with Silicon Valley-based Eleusian acquiring Chicago-based Project OM.

"For the past three years Project OM has been pioneering psychedelic retreat centers that have built incredible traction with consumers," said Eleusian CEO Kevin Mason.

"They have positioned themselves as a gold standard brand and experience. Project OM is the Lulu lemon of psychedelic medicine. We feel they fit perfectly into our portfolio as we apply our industry-leading pricing model to their system.
Tilda Publishing
The acquisition price was not disclosed but sources close to both companies put it in the ballpark of $70 million.



Below was another email - a forwarded news article from Learie's assistant.

"Just thought you should see this. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. - J"

Psychedelic Medicine Startup & Pharma Giant Partner on "Super Psychedelic"
Fast-growing psychedelic treatment startup Cosmosis has announced an exclusive partnership with Purdue Pharma on the rollout of a new, patented synthetic 5-MeO-DMT nasal spray.
Tilda Publishing
As Learie faced her investors she was filled with mounting dread. They had started to pound the table for an Exit.
By now they had invested over $30 million into Gaia Health. The impact, to those investors seeking it, had clearly been achieved. The company had created "good enough" psychedelic medicine at a massive scale. The market was changing so quickly, with consolidation, innovation and further capitalization. It seemed dangerous to wait much longer.
Deep down Learie always knew this day would come. At this scale there were only two possible next steps: sell to a bigger corporation or go public through an IPO. The one thing she knew was that she would not sell to a global pharmaceutical company - the perpetrators of the opioid epidemic, insulin extortionists, misinformation propagandists, drivers of the prescription drug crisis. Gaia Health was the work of Learie's life. It would not end up in the clutches of Big Pharma.
By now she had been in this fight for eight years. Learie had joined the psychedelic renaissance. It had become an industrial revolution - a revolution in the business of mental health. Gaia had been there all along, riding the wave from abstract idea to global industry – the psychedelic industry.
Learie took a deep breath. She looked at each investor in turn. As calmly as she could manage, she told them no.
Tilda Publishing
Learie wasn't fired. Not exactly. She was removed from her position as CEO, given a $5 million "transition" package, and granted a silent seat on Gaia's board. A new CEO was brought in - a former partner at Goldman Sachs named Christian White. Mr. White had never taken a psychedelic. He had no interest in doing so. He was, however, a master of corporate acquisitions.

Six months later Gaia Health was acquired by Roche Pharmaceuticals for $410 million. Gaia's "exit" spurred a series of purchases by major pharmaceutical companies. It was the outcome psychedelic medicine investors had been dreaming of. Many people became very wealthy. Learie was one of them. For her remaining 12.7% equity, she received $52 million. Learie was relieved of her position on the board.
Tilda Publishing
Learie left the office for the last time. She felt like she was waking up. Cold air hit her in the face. The city came alive with sound.

She thought of Gaia. The company she left behind was very different from the company she started. The magnitude of that difference was only beginning to set in.

Gaia Health would provide psychedelic treatment to thousands of people this year. Purportedly this would be to treat their depression, anxiety, addiction, OCD or PTSD. But in truth Learie knew how loose those qualification requirements really were. They hadn't started out that way, of course. But, like the early days of medical marijuana, the "market" adjusted to the gatekeeping of treatment. A whole ecosystem developed of service providers eager to extract a toll by providing entry. It was easy to get a referral for psychedelic treatment.

"Preparation" for Gaia's patients was conducted through a series of beautiful, explanatory videos. A Gaia algorithm cross-referenced a patient's survey answers with their health records to better tailor the session. Though it was not public yet, Learie knew that Gaia was piloting an AI software that would conduct predictive behavioral modeling based on the patient's internet browsing history and keyword indexing of text messages and emails.
THE GAIA APP
THE GAIA APP
This "cutting edge customization capability" was the holy grail among the major companies. It was part of what made the Gaia purchase so appealing for Roche, as it was clear that patients were so eager for psychedelic treatment that they would waive nearly all their privacy rights away. This information, paired with the patient's synced health data on the Gaia App, offered the company nearly unparalleled insight into their customers. Gaia used this to determine the ideal moments to promote future treatments and affiliate products to patients. The company lead the industry in its rate of return customers and affiliate sales.

When a patient left the treatment session they immediately entered into the Automated Integration Protocol (AIP). AIP drew on the pooled data of thousands of post-psychedelic experiences to provide patients with the perfect message to help facilitate behavioral changes in their lives.

Gaia partnered with gyms, yoga studios, food delivery services and health, wellness and mindfulness apps to offer patients "life change" discounts beginning immediately after treatment and continuing through the entire AIP. Gaia received a referral commission for every sale.
AUTOMATED INTEGRATION PROTOCOL (AIP)
In the future, Gaia Health would offer a new suite of designer psychedelics tailored to specific uses and treatment durations. This would build off the success of synthetic 5-MeO-DMT nasal spray – branded "Mistical" – which could give patients "full dose" psychedelic experiences and still have them in and out of the clinic in under one hour.

Experiments would test whether patients could receive a psychedelic with a sleeping pill overnight, waking up with a mental health breakthrough that was blissfully "trip free." This would be timed to roll out with a delivery model based around in-home treatment.
Tilda Publishing
Gaia was a thriving company. Gaia, Learie had come to realize, was a monster. How had this happened? The company seemed to have taken on a life of its own, acting in self preservation. Gaia had swerved out of her control, maybe out of anyone's. There were too many forces at work on it now; complex systems, layers and layers of incentives. Gaia, Learie came to recognize, had developed an ego of its own. There is no medicine strong enough to blow a corporation's mind.
Tilda Publishing
Learie went back, that same day, to the field where the oak tree still stood; older now, a little stooped. She brought with her three things: her journal from her youth, the page of the Financial Times announcing the Gaia acquisition, and 200 micrograms of LSD.

At some point, somewhere, some hours later, Learie rolled over on her back. Above her the leaves of the oak tree rustled in the breeze, swaying softly to some unheard song. Not swaying. Dancing.

Learie fumbled to the last page of her childhood journal. There, on the yellowing liner of the back cover, she scrawled the thought that had carried through her trip:

What would I have done if I had known that this would happen?
Tilda Publishing
What vision do you hold in your heart for a psychedelic future?

What will you do now, while you can, to see that it is realized?
We can look around today and see many psychedelic business models. But what we really need are psychedelic models for business - business that defines new standards for integrity, equity and ethics; business reimagined with a technicolor glow.
If you believe that future is possible,
it's time to make it real…

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