Americans’ fascination with psychedelics is greater than ever despite the fact that federal authorities still ban most substances in this space. An increasing number of companies have focused on drug discovery, research and medical applications of psychedelics as interest continues to spike. As the social stigma surrounding psychedelics slowly fades away, Psychedelic Water is using legal ingredients that aim to open up conversations and shine a light on the many benefits of psychedelic substances.
The Toronto-based company has US headquarters in Delaware and is setting the bar high when it comes to alternative beverages. Their non-alcoholic psychedelic beverage comes in four flavors, sold in 12-ounce cans, and features kava, damiana leaf extract and green tea leaf extract. The trio of ingredients is designed to replicate the euphoria-inducing effects of psychedelics, without the hallucinations.
“We’ve seen a lot of growth on the pharma and research side of psychedelics, but we wanted to do something that was more on the consumer side of the business,” said Pankaj Gogia, CEO of Psychedelic Water. “Getting this product to the market helps get the general public to start caring and trying to understand more about psychedelics.”
A Clean and Healthy Buzz
Branded as an alternative to alcohol for consumers who are sober-curious, the vegan and non-GMO beverage combines a stimulating buzz with a soothing calm to sharpen focus while reducing anxiety, Gogia said, thanks to a meticulously crafted blend of three FDA-compliant compounds. Kava, which comes from the piper methysticum plant in the South Pacific, is a popular relaxant that residents of Tonga and the Marquesas Islands have enjoyed for generations. The compounds found in the plant produce much of the same effects as alcohol, making users feel calm and happy. Kava is also thought to relieve pain, prevent seizures and relax muscles.
Damiana, a wild shrub that grows in parts of Mexico, Central America and the West Indies, was historically thought to be an aphrodisiac and is now widely used as a natural stimulant for mood support and improved mental and physical stamina. Green tea is loaded with healthy antioxidants which help improve brain function, assist with weight loss, protect against cancer and lower the risk of heart disease.
Together, the ingredients produce “a clean and healthy” buzz that’s Kosher, non-alcoholic, free of added sugars, and low calorie, said Brandon Samuel, Psychedelic Water’s director of operations who played a key role in formulating the beverage.
“We wanted something approachable that could be sold as a health and wellness product,” Samuel said. “These are ingredients that provide proven health benefits but also tangible effects that won’t mess you up in the same way alcohol does.”
Samuel emphasized that the product is not only for psychedelic diehards looking to find the closest legal equivalent to shrooms, LSD and Ketamine.
Some people enjoy Psychedelic Water as a mid-day pick-me-up. Its mood-elevating effects can put you in a good headspace, and the infusion of naturally-derived caffeine helps fend off the dreaded three o’clock slump. Psychedelic Water is truly perfect for people engaged in creative or stressful work where energy and a positive mentality are essential. Others consume Psychedelic Water socially, at a party or before going out to loosen up without experiencing the intoxicating effects of alcohol. The drink is ideal for the sober and “sober curious” who may be searching for alcohol-free alternatives. Psychedelic Water works as a nightcap, too: a cross between a relaxing glass of wine and a hit from a joint, just without the mental fuzziness or next-day hangover.
“It helps people loosen up and excite their senses without the mental inhibition,” he explained.
Rapid Growth Since 2021 Launch
The company’s holographic silver-colored cans with “PSYCHEDELIC” written in giant capital letters are impossible to miss on the shelves of over 500 brick-and-mortar stores across the US. Psychedelic Water also sells its four flavors—Blackberry + Yuzu, Hibiscus + Lime, Oolong + Orange Blossom and Prickly Pear—on a number of popular online platforms, including Amazon and Walmart.
It’s not uncommon for beverage companies to go all-in for years, if not decades, just to achieve that kind of retail footprint. Yet Psychedelic Water managed to do so in less than 18 months.
The brand’s product development team spent six months crafting a simple yet powerful formula before the company officially launched in February 2021. An initial supply of 50,000 cans, expected to last at least three months, sold out in just two weeks, Gogia said. The success continued from there as Psychedelic Water partnered with TikTok influencers and #psychedelicwater now boasts over 16 million views on the platform.
The end of last year saw Psychedelic Water land in retail chains Erewhon and Foxtrot. This past March, clothing brand Urban Outfitters started selling the beverage in 130 locations, before bringing it to all 550 U.S locations in July following a strong growth in sales.
Gogia says his company has no plans to stop expanding its retail and e-commerce presence. It’s all part of a mission to spread what he calls “the gospel of psychedelics.”
“We’re helping to destigmatize these substances,” he said. “We’re waking people up to the ways they can benefit both body and mind.”