Can Psychedelics Support Women's Health?

Published 22 July 2021


As the psychedelic drug market rapidly expands – it’s expected to reach $6.85bn by 2027, from $2.1bn in 2019 (Data Bridge Market Research, 2020) – start-up Eastra Health is pioneering psychedelic-derived medicines for women. The Toronto-based biotech is betting that low-dose formulations targeting the serotonin system can address mental and physical challenges related to menopause and PMS.

Can Psychedelics Support Women's Health?

Eastra Health

While most research around psychedelics focuses on treating disorders including depression, PTSD and addiction, Eastra is exploring how microdosed 2C-B could enhance wellbeing for women specifically. “For too long, mood disorders related to PMS and menopause have been ignored by Western medicine,” Eastra chief executive Jeremy Weate told Stylus. 

“Psychedelics are possibly one of the biggest healthcare disruptors of our generation,” believes Eastra co-founder Pamela Hadfield, who previously co-founded medical cannabis patient platform HelloMD.

In North America, this disruption is being fuelled by dramatically evolving laws and attitudes. Last year, Oregon state voters approved a measure to legalise psilocybin therapy and “magic mushroom” growers, starting in 2023. Eight other states are considering legalising or at least decriminalising select psychedelic substances, and seven US cities have already done so, including Denver and Washington DC. Canada has approved 27 organisations to conduct psilocybin research, including Numinus, a publicly traded company focused on psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy.

Still, psychedelics aren’t likely to follow cannabis’s rapid path to mainstream use seen across North America. Larger doses can deliver a “powerful, consequential and risky experience that demands careful preparation,” writes US journalist Michael Pollan, warning against similar approaches to the two types of drugs.

See our report What Women Want for more on brands addressing long-overlooked women’s health issues, and our Three-Minute Trend video for more on the menopause opportunity. Also see our posts on psychedelic mental health treatments and retreats, as well as Top Five Wellness Travel Trends 2021.