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About The Guest
Matt Stang was an Owner and Operator of the High Times for 17 years prior to its sale to a private equity fund, and during that time he helped legalize Cannabis in multiple states, launched the Cannabis Cup in America, and helped build the legal cannabis industry. For almost 20 years he has met and interacted with all corners of the cannabis community.
As one of the most connected people in the Alternative Drug space he helped found DELIC 3 years ago as the first psychedelic corporation. His expertise in business includes marketing, branding, business development, and product viability.
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- 00:00 — Intro
- 03:26 — Matt Stang’s origin story
- 07:39 — The history of the illegality of drugs
- 22:05 — Applications of illegal/grey substances
- 28:15 — Drugs’ effects on creativity
- 32:01 — Building Delic Holdings
- 34:14 — Early adoption
- 35:58 — Medical adoption of psychedelics
- 41:04 — Growing Delic from scratch
- 44:26 — Where do people connect with Matt Stang?
- 45:44 — What was the biggest challenge Matt Stang had to overcome?
- 48:17 — Matt Stang’s mentor
- 49:18 — Matt Stang’s book or podcast recommendation
- 50:23 — What would Matt Stang tell his 20-year-old self
- 50:35 — What does success mean to Matt Stang?
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What is the Success Story Podcast?
On this podcast, you’ll find interviews, Q&A, keynote presentations & conversations on sales, marketing, business, startups, and entrepreneurship.
The podcast is hosted by entrepreneur, business executive, author, educator & speaker, Scott D. Clary.
Scott will discuss some of the lessons he’s learned over his own career, as well as have candid interviews with execs, celebrities, notable figures, and politicians. All who have achieved success through both wins and losses, to learn more about their life, their ideas, and insights.
He sits down with leaders and mentors and unpacks their stories to help pass those lessons on to others through both experiences and tactical strategies for business professionals, entrepreneurs, and everyone in between.
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Machine Generated Transcript
people, psilocybin, psychedelic, cannabis, substances, drugs, delic, ketamine, building, brain, podcast, fda, treatment, company, clinics, micro dosing, life, pandemic, business, folks
Scott D Clary, Matt Stang
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Scott D Clary 00:36
Welcome to success story, the most useful podcast in the world. I’m your host Scott D. Clary. The success story podcast is part of the HubSpot podcast network, as well as the blue wire Podcast Network. Now the HubSpot Podcast Network has incredible shows like The mahr tech podcast hosted by Benjamin Shapiro. The Mar tech podcast is all about maximum value in 30 minutes or less. The Mar tech podcast share stories from world class marketers who use technology to generate growth and achieve business and career success on your lunch break. If you like any of these topics, you’re going to love the mark tech podcast. Some of the topics are zeroing in on the ideal product price point. Identifying loyalty plays for smart marketers, finding the line between sales and marketing and SAS extending the lifetime value of your customer. If these are topics that are interesting to you, go check out the mahr tech podcast hosted by Ben Shapiro. Wherever you get your podcasts Today, my guest is Matt Stan. He is the CEO of delich Holdings, previous Adela he was an owner and operator of High Times for almost 17 years. The position that he had at High Times was instrumental in legalizing cannabis in multiple states and launched the Cannabis Cup in America after interacting with the cannabis community for two decades. He helped found Delic in 2019 as one of his first psychedelic wellness corporations. He shapes the company’s vision and path using his expertise in branding, marketing, business development and product viability. what delich is doing is incredible. They’re leading psychedelic wellness. They are a platform, they’re committed to bringing science back benefits to all and reframing the psychedelic conversation. The company owns and operates an umbrella of related businesses, including the trusted media and ecommerce platforms like reality sandwich and Delic radio, Delic labs, the only licensed entity by Health Canada, to exclusively focus on research and development of psilocybin vaporization technology. They also own meet del at the premier psychedelic wellness event, and they own ketamine infusion centers, all across the country. So what do we speak about? Well, ultimately, Matt just gave me a rundown about why he chose to go into psychedelics probably based on his experience going into cannabis and why he wants to enable people to use substances that can actually help them better themselves and better their lives. He speaks about why some of these substances were were illegal in the first place, and why he is on a mission to help people get access to these substances through education and actual clinics that can help people live a better life with some of the some of the various substances that are classified as psychedelics. We spoke about everything from psilocybin to ketamine to LSD, MDMA, and how all of these different things can impact a certain part of your life in a different way in a in a positive way, if done properly. So a lot of interesting lessons on building a company in an industry that is not even entirely legal yet. So some great lessons. There are some really interesting insights on how to use psychedelics and some of the results that they can give people for depression and mental health and well being are absolutely incredible. Let’s jump right into it. This is Matt Stang, CEO of Delic holdings.
Matt Stang 04:05
Well, thank you so much, Scott. What is my superhero origin story? You know, I was, I was in a lab when I was 16. And I got bit by a radioactive spider. And these crazy things happen this one before. Sorry, that’s I think that’s a different story. Yeah, my my origin story. In this business, I would say runs through cannabis. I was an owner and operator of a company called High Times for about 17 years before selling it to a private equity group. So where did that begin? It began with me writing a senior thesis in college about marijuana legalization in a time of terror, because it was 2001 and looking at how the criminalization and the drug war around cannabis was a not only a major social issue, but also an economic issue and looking at, you know, trying to take away the tax money. The, you know, the add tax money from the taxation of cannabis, as we’ve seen, it’s pretty massive, and take away from the cost of fighting the drug war. And so I wrote a 70 page thesis on how we could convince the other side of the aisle at that point. And, you know, the broad majority of the, the left wing and the vast majority of the right wing by giving people an economic incentive to change, a messed up set of rules. And I created that wrote it, when for a quote from the General Counsel of High Times New through someone and the read the thesis and said, I’d love to have you come in and intern at the company. And that was it for me, I left, you know, graduated from college started and High Times, well, days later, and worked my way up from an internship to owning part of it and operating company. And so that was my, my origin story, I’ve been a true believer in changing the illegal nature of certain substances. I think that there’s a major disconnect between a country that promotes liberty and freedom and then gels people for going after their best life. So, you know, for me, cannabis was the first piece the gateway drug, as they say, and psychedelics are what’s next. Right? And, and I think the science has really got their, you know, we we formed this company, my wife and I have had three little over three years ago now. And, you know, when we created it, it was, it was really that the supposition that the tipping point was coming for psychedelics, the way it had come for cannabis. And three and a half years ago, when we formed it, you know, that wasn’t very obvious to a lot of people. I think today, it really is. And that just comes down to simple facts, right? You just look at the science and you look at the the, the mental health pandemic that’s sweeping behind the actual pandemic, and the fact that we just don’t have good mechanisms for helping people with mental health disorders. And that’s how I get here today is the CEO of Delta Corp and co founder with my wife, and you know, I think my origin story is, is just always tilting it, these windmills, really trying to change things that are fundamentally wrong and in society, and I think you can do really great things by changing things and also be economically successful. Now, why,
Scott D Clary 08:17
why would say, some of these treatments or, or some of the things you’re working on with Ella Corp, and even like the the mindset of the government, when you first were starting in cannabis, why are some of these tea that for people that don’t really know the history? Why are some of these botanicals what’s I don’t even know the proper terminology. So maybe correct me, but why are these some of these items illegal in the first place?
Matt Stang 08:42
Wow, how long do you have? Because that’s a very Yeah, I mean, you know, some of this stuff dates back to Harry Anslinger. And his his 1930s wore on mostly brown, mostly Mexican folks bringing in marijuana. There’s also you know, the the latter day drug warriors which which really results from Richard Nixon and his unhappiness with the protest movement against Vietnam and you know, utilizing essentially, you know, the the structures that were in place already there were already laws against it, but no one had spent time and energy really enforcing it the way that the war on drugs and so the war on drugs, as we know, it really happened in the Nixon administration. It started obviously long before then. A friend of mine wrote a 450 page book on this so it there’s a lot to talk about. But you know, if you want the the the like, Hey, I’m just driving to a 711 and back and I only kind of when you’re that. It’s basically you know, there’s been a lot of incentives a lot alignment for jailing folks who are marginalized, who are trying to get their own voice. And you can’t do that in this country, for them being marginalized and trying to get their own voice, but what you can do is criminalize behavior that is easy to spot, and then go and arrest them all. So you look at how they took down the Black Panthers, you look at how they took down a lot of the new left kind of hippie Vanguard folks, and it really comes down to, you know, they can’t get them for free speech, but they can get them for drugs, because they’re gonna wind up smoking a joint. And that’s a pretty easy way to throw him in jail for five years. And so, yeah, there’s, there’s a lot of that is underlying the war on drugs. And that’s, I think, what makes it so incredibly wrong, you know, you look at prohibition and how it started. And what it did, it built a criminal class, and it built it a total new world of people who were just, you know, everybody was breaking the law during Prohibition, because everybody wanted to drink, not everybody, but you know, 50 60% of the population became law breakers. And then all of these places where drinking happened became their own gambling halls, or houses of ill repute, or vice halls, or whatever you want to call them. And that all came from, you know, taking something that was regulated and pretty good. Okay, and then slamming it out and putting it in the hands of criminals who could now make 1015 30 times their money on bringing this product in. Right, and that that same misalignment that created you know, all of the gangsterism and the Cosa Nostra and all these other things is the same thing that happened with the war on drugs, you you take things that people want, and that the the underlying issue is that people people want these drugs, right. The reason that Miami in 1980, had had 11 times the cash running through its federal bank that all the other federal banks in America did is because people were buying the cocaine right there. There’s no, there’s no question that people were buying weed. They were buying all of these substances, because people fundamentally like to alter themselves. And I think if you look at it at a high level, you know, kids start when they’re young. Look at the marketing for sugary cereals, sugary cereals are one of you know, sugar is probably the quickest acting narcotic substance known to man. And it really changes your state immediately. And once it goes away, you want more of it. And you look at coffee, you know, 60% of the population drinks every morning. It’s a drug. Right? So it’s just it what we’ve done is created this odd situation where a bunch of drugs are legal, fortune 500 companies, with great marketing and on every shelf everywhere, and then other ones are pushed in the back and you go to jail if you touch it and get people still want it. So, you know, I think fundamentally, what we see is that things are changing, right? The cannabis changes are quicker than I even thought possible. You know, when I first lobbied for the first state for legalization when we put up you know, all this stuff for safer that marijuana is safer than alcohol, which it is and you know, that message caught and they won the the initiative in Colorado and it became legal and people went and saw this is not breaking the country apart. It’s not causing crime to rise, it’s actually just getting a bunch of more tax dollars. And now people don’t have to step into illegal areas to do that. And so they’re not exposed to negative illegal kind of things. So I think that same presupposition and the same path that’s been trailed, it’s been blazes, you know, the same thing that we’re looking at, in psychedelics. There’s a something in New Hampshire today that’s going through to try to decriminalize psychedelics for all people, New Jersey, decriminalized magic mushrooms. You know, it’s just been places that I grew up in New York, going across to New Jersey, 20 years ago, it was the place that if you had the smallest amount of pot on you, you’re gonna go to jail for two years, right? It was like, total police state. Now it’s fully legal. And they’re, they’re embracing psychedelics as well. So I think, you know, this, this change is happening and it’s it’s a sea change in how people see stuff. And I think a lot of it comes from just the the scientific consensus around what these novel compounds can do. So you’re seeing, you know, a lot of a lot of action and heat around all these different compounds. The, you know, psilocybin is in phase three clinical trials with the FDA, MDMA is in phase three clinical trials. We Adeleke have the largest chain of ketamine clinics in America, so you can go and the only FDA cleared substance that has that psychedelic effect that allows people to really, you know, turn off their default mode network and change their mind. And we think it’s just a sea change in how people work with mental health. Because you know,
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Matt Stang 16:41
There’s too many people who are depressed, anxious, PTSD, whatever you want to call it, and people want to change it and they have, you know, what do they have, they have benzodiazepine, and other anti anxiety medications that have horrible side effects and are addictive as hell. Or they have antidepressants that make you feel like you’re in a fog that over half the time they don’t work. People have depressive, relapses, they have to change drugs every couple of months, there’s, you know, I feel like they’re, they’re just stuck in this haze, they can’t be up or down, you know, all this stuff. It’s, it’s just, it doesn’t. It’s a broken system, right. And I think we have a technology at hand that the science shows actually has curative properties and 60 70% of people, it’s not a panacea, it’s not a it’s not going to fix the world immediately. It’s not everyone’s not going to be saved. But it’s just getting it out there and letting you know, 60 70% of people get better, and not have to be stuck on a site, you know, a constant pill from a pharmaceutical company that doesn’t really fix them, but keeps them from spiraling worse. Not a great answer, you know, some people are gonna still need that there’s some people who who psychedelic medicine won’t work for. So I’m not going to be unrealistic. It’s just, there’s a large, and I would say, more than a majority of people for whom this will be helpful. And people are seeing that. And you know, what I’ve seen in my origin story is that a lot of this comes down to your friend, your, your cousin, your aunt, your nephew, your niece telling you, hey, this helped me and then that touches 40 5070 People who that person is close to. And that’s what what happened with cannabis when we launched the first medical marijuana magazine 18 years ago, and really pushed that narrative that the science was there, even though here’s the thing with cannabis, you couldn’t even do this work, you have to do it like around the edges, because of the the only way you can get a licensed cannabis product to try was through the DEA from the University of Mississippi. The weed is like 4% THC, and it looks like dirt. So and to get that it would take four years of applications to maybe qualify for getting a small amount of it. So you know, a lot of the work that we were basing it on was just doctors and folks who were stepping outside of the normal medical procedure because they saw what was happening to their their patients at medical marijuana places and seeing tumors shrink and seizure staff and all of these things and they were like, Well fuck if this works, we got to like we we can’t wait for the government to allow us to do this work. Right. And so that’s, that’s where it came from. And with psychedelics, the nice thing is these substances are available for the scientists to do their work. So there’s there’s an incredible amount of data pouring out every every month or two, showing efficacy showing how it can help with different things you know, looking at Social Anxiety and microdosing that’s, like, I would say 30% of the population has some form of social anxiety, or just uncomfortable, and especially after the pandemic, I think most people are a little uncomfortable in crowds now,
Scott D Clary 20:15
more than ever, more than more than ever, it’s not easy. Like, that’s the meant the mental health concerns coming out of the pandemic or, you know, exponentially increased pre pandemic. So this is needed more than ever, for sure, for sure.
Matt Stang 20:28
No, I was just thinking, your book? Sorry. No, I just think, you know, there’s so much opportunity to help people and shift their, their perspective and their life. And I think it’s, it’s really heartening to see, you know, I get I get from my team, I get emails every day from people who have gone into our clinics, and, you know, talking about how it’s changed their life, or what a veteran in yesterday who said, you know, he felt like change, and he couldn’t believe that he’s, he’s able to be up and awake and with his family and not have these racing thoughts. And this is like, you know, PTSD, right. He served his country, and, and has a great deal of PTSD and anxiety. And he hasn’t felt free of it in six years. And he said this, today, he was at at one of our clinics two days ago. And today, yesterday, was the first day he’s felt that in six or seven years, you know, feeling that change in people is, is pretty amazing. And I think the more of that that happens, the more that amplifies that words, the more people whose lives are touched by the more people won’t stand for, you know, all this stuff being pushed into a closet. And that’s what’s happened with cannabis, you have, you know, now 93% of the population supports medical marijuana, where when I started, it was like, 22%. So it’s, it’s probably the greatest sea change in in American politics that I’ve seen in 60 something percent portfolio division now. So it’s, it’s ahead of any political party. So you know, I think, I think you’ll see over the next couple of years as people get treated, and as people get better, through these medicines, you’re going to see similar story, where you can’t like you can be is, whatever political side you happen to be on. But if you’re your kid, or your niece or your, your friend’s kid, and they’re like, suicidal, and then they’re not, and then you’re like, How the fuck did that change? And it’s like, oh, well, they went and did a ketamine therapy, or they went and did psilocybin therapy. You can’t argue there’s no argument. You’re just like, wow, that okay, I’ll, I’ll store that away. Because if I hear about someone else with that kind of issue, I’ll make sure they go do that.
Scott D Clary 23:01
I just want to take a second and thank the sponsor of today’s episode. HubSpot. Now, if you’re tired of slowing down your teams with clunky software, processes and marketing it’s difficult to scale. HubSpot is here to help you and your business grow better. With collaboration tools, and built in SEO optimizations. HubSpot CRM platform is tailor made to help you scale your marketing with ease, integrated calendars, tasks and commenting help hybrid teams stay connected. While automated SEO recommendations intuitively optimize your web page content for increased organic traffic. Ditch the difficult and dial up your marketing with tools that are easy to use, and easy to scale. Learn how your business can grow firstname.lastname@example.org Yeah, can you can you walk through? So you mentioned a few things psilocybin ketamine micro dosing, people that are new to this, they don’t understand what this industry is all about. Everybody gets cannabis you speak about cannabis, there’s no no one is confused, but a lot of these items people may have not heard of before. So what what are some of the substances? What are some of the applications? What are some of the things that that fall under the umbrella of psychedelic wellness? And just like walk through them because I want to understand like, what some of these things can actually be used for what they what? And I know that a lot of the stuff is not like FDA approved, right? Their studies, but it’s ongoing. But anecdotally, like what some of the stuff be used for?
Matt Stang 24:34
For sure. So I mean, that is a big part of this, right? So as a company, we are only doing things that are fully legal and FDA approved. So we’re we’re running clinics that do ketamine, which is the one substance that is FDA approved. We have 13 clinics around the country where people can go in and get a treatment. What does that look like? That’s a you come in You get an intravenous solution of ketamine for an hour and a half for mental disorders or four hours for pain disorders. And you sit there and and it, it is, unlike anything I’ve ever seen and you you basically disassociate from yourself, you feel people have described it as feeling like floating or like, like you’re out, almost out of your body. And when you’re done with the experience, people report an almost immediate sense of anxiety going away. Spinning thoughts, racing thoughts, depression. So it’s really kind of incredible. So that’s, that’s ketamine. That’s the one thing that’s there. Now, you’re asking you about the rest of the stuff I’m talking about. And that’s, that is still outside of the scope of what’s allowed in this country. Actually, three days ago, Canada, we have a lab in Canada that has a license for psilocybin and cannabis. So Canada just allowed for doctors to write recommendations to patients to utilize the psychedelic substances. And Health Canada will give an exemption if someone is in major crisis or not long to live, or, you know, they’ve created a whole new setup just started this week. So we’ll see how it plays out. But they’re allowing, because of the breakthrough nature of these therapies, they’re allowing people to not wait the time it takes for approval, because they see low incidence of abuse and also very low incidence of, of actual negative side effects other than, you know, the classic bad trip where you feel kind of crazy. But that a lot of times for people with these disorders helps, right? Because you’re going into an experience, and you’re processing through something like a traumatic stress. And it can be really scary inside of it. But then when you come back, you come back with this sense of connection. So sorry, back to your your main question, what are these next I can walk through kind of the substances that exist right now, and what they’re being used for, and where so top of mind, just because of the science would be psilocybin. You know, we have multiple high high level programs. One’s at Johns Hopkins, one’s at NYU, one’s at Imperial College of London. These are major research institutions doing work around psychedelic therapy, and psilocybin was the original one that people really focused on because it’s low incidence of abuse, low side effects and has really strong results. So right now, there’s a company called compass pathways, that is a large public company that’s based around psilocybin therapy, they’re in phase three clinical trials with their synthesize psilocybin, and they’ve been setting it for depression, and mood disorders. And then they have some phase two trials around other things. I think they’re doing smoking cessation, it’s, you know, end of life care. But what is it do you take a you take a dose, it lasts four to six hours, your, your default mode network, which is the central processing core of your brain that you use to make sure the door is closed, or the ovens off or, you know, just kind of keeps you looking both ways when you cross the street that shuts off. And new neural pathways are built. So they’ve done a bunch of brain scans and parts of your brain that don’t fire for years or decades, things from childhood, fire in random different patterns. What does that do? It creates these psychedelic experiences. The resulting experience, usually, now this is not always because it’s very different for people, but there there seems to be a commonality of feeling, a feeling of connection, a feeling of all or, or a sense that you are part of something bigger, almost a psycho spiritual moment, and then, you know, a sense that things will be okay. Right. And a lot of this comes down to people’s brain thinking things aren’t going to be okay. They’re in fight or flight, they’re in a sense that they’re under attack, even if they’re just sitting there doing nothing. And that I think, is a big part of this. You know, psychedelic revolution is allowing people to get outside of their brain a little bit and kind of quiet down this default mode network that is overactive in people with mental and mood disorders. So what else is there? Yeah, please.
Scott D Clary 29:56
No, no, I was gonna say the only the only other question I had was so you have kind of means psilocybin. And then, I guess the there’s so many other strange applications that I feel I’ve heard of. But obviously there’s these are not FDA approved by any means. But that, like shutting off that that system, does that allow for more creativity or because you always now hear stories of CEOs micro dosing, to help them with their creativity or their productivity, does that fall under that same mechanism? Or is that something? Is that something different?
Matt Stang 30:32
Yes, at the micro dose is, is, at least as the scientist, I’m not a scientist. So I don’t want to
Scott D Clary 30:40
know, I know, there’s a lot of caveats. And I know you’re publicly traded, I don’t want to get you in trouble. I just, I just find it super interesting. So yeah, perfectly fine.
Matt Stang 30:47
And I would say like the the explanation that’s been given to me by scientists, is that the sub perceptual dose the micro dose, it acts completely differently on the brain as a macro dose, a perceptual dose. And so what it’s doing is it’s, it’s stimulating, kind of blood flow and, and a little bit greater awareness and empathy and just kind of pushing people to be a little bit more connected with themselves and a little less, you know, distant from their, their environment themselves, they lock in there a little bit more focus. And, you know, I think there’s been a huge push in micro dosing mushrooms are the ones that that is the main thing. But still, LSD has also been a big, you know, and I know folks are developing, there’s one company and phase two, a clinical trials with psilocybin microdose. And another company and phase two clinical trials first, LSD micro dosing, so I know, they’ve had enough success to make it through a whole round of FDA testing, and it’s, it’s noticeably working, it’s just, you know, this is going to take another two or three years to get out there. There’s also, you know, folks doing off site kind of places, there’s Jamaica allows for psilocybin. So there’s a bunch of psilocybin resorts there, obviously, with COVID. So difficult. Amsterdam allows for psilocybin products to be sold. So there’s people doing Amsterdam, psilocybin and micro dosing products. So that’s, you know, it’s around right now, there’s clearly a lot of people doing this. And then obviously, the kind of West Coast Silicon Valley, folks, it’s been pretty ingrained in this society there. For the last couple of years that micro dosing is part of the kind of that biohacking mindset. And you know, I think, I think it’s it’s an incredibly powerful substance to help change people that way. I think when you’re asking about the creativity side, what I’ve seen on the science is that the macro dose is the one that really shuts down the default mode, and opens up the other brain neurons and can, it has proven to regrow neurons in scientific testing doesn’t mean it will do so every time in your brain. But you know, the, the underlying suggestion is that using these psychedelic novel compounds, to both turn off your your default mode, open up the rest of your brain, and then regrow neuron connections in your brain so you can perform at a better or higher level. Right. And that’s what people are really looking at. Amazing.
Scott D Clary 33:42
Now, as you built this company out, I thought it was interesting that you don’t just have these clinics, you also I see a little bit of a strategy that I think you’re deploying and probably from high times because it seems like you’re building out a media company to support the actual company. And any initiative you take on the future because you have an umbrella of products. I can see your you’re going all over podcasts are going I think you actually have you have like an actual podcast yourself. So you’re building out all these ancillary ancillary products. So walk me through the actual strategy that you use to build Adeleke holdings and why you’re sort of building out reality sandwich, Delic radio Delic labs. What’s another one you have? Delicate, you have all these different things? Yeah.
Matt Stang 34:34
Yeah, we have the largest psychedelic event in America. Last year, meet Delic in Las Vegas, sold out in two days. So why are we doing this? You know, I think I think when you look at the reality of business today, there’s a couple of main level gatekeepers, the Googles and Facebooks of the world that inter mediate your connection to the interested parties or you can have a direct connection. And so we’ve really looked at this as an opportunity to build, you know, a new line company that that has a direct connection to the people who are interested in psychedelic wellness. So we have reality sandwich platform that gets three or 400,000 people a month, we have the largest psychedelic tradeshow in America meet DELIC, we have a delicate radio, the podcast network, and then we have the Delic labs, the the you know, kind of science backing to kind of backup all this stuff we keep talking about, we have PhDs working for us. And what we really looked at is building this ecosystem as a means to, you know, help people understand what mainstream psychedelic wellness looks like. And then if they’re interested, they can come to one of our clinics and try it.
Scott D Clary 35:55
And do you see the do you see the market growing? So you’re in it right now you have the clinic’s, like, walk me through, walk me through the interest in this particular industry? And who is interested right now? Is it people that are younger, that may be early adopters in something new? Or is it people that are older? Like what’s the demographics of people that are starting to really get interested in to psychedelic wellness?
Matt Stang 36:20
Yeah, you know, it is pretty broad range, right? We have, we have folks who are 65, and have been trying different stuff for their whole life, and they see a special or an article and they’re like, Can I finally stop taking five different pills for this? Wow, that would be amazing. And then we have, you know, 22 year olds, who are looking for a way to hack their anxiety. And I think everything in between. So, you know, there’s not a psychographic profile, that is the singular person we’re going after. Because it’s, it’s just such a broad amount of people who have these issues, you know, there’s 51 million people with some mental health disorder in America today. And that was those numbers are from before the pandemic, I would kind of hazard that about half of the population has some form of PTSD or anxiety today, based on what we’ve all gone through for the last two years. So there’s a lot of people. And, you know, people are looking for things that aren’t just taking a pharmaceutical drug every day. I think that’s, that’s the big change that’s been happening over the last couple of years. And, you know, we want to be a big part of helping that change, move forward. Now,
Scott D Clary 37:39
a follow up to that an interesting point on cannabis. So now cannabis is much more popular, but it’s more, a lot of the application can be recreational. Some of the things that you’re mentioning here, are directly replacing drugs that are put out by large organizations by huge organizations that are supposed to combat mental health and well being. So how do you see this playing out? How do you see some of these options? Replacing some drugs? That it’s such an entrenched industry with billions of dollars supporting it? How do you think that we’ll ever get these these I guess, treatments to ever be something that a doctor would prescribe over some, some drug that’s, you know, they’re getting lobbied by all of these, you know, Big Pharma? How do we actually take this and make it so that it’s, it’s the de facto treatment, if it’s just as effective and healthier for the patient?
Matt Stang 38:35
Yeah, I mean, I think it comes down to, you know, patient awareness, right. So it, you know, in the end, people get to really choose their own treatment, right? doctor can tell you, this would be good. But you get to go to a different doctor, if you’re not happy with, you get to decide how to treat yourself. And, you know, I think a lot of this is building awareness and making sure that people understand this as an option. Because once people understand there is an option. A lot of them are, are looking to take it, right, they want to find a way to help themselves without creating all these negative things that the pharmaceutical companies but out, right, and what I’m saying is, it’s not going to take over completely because this doesn’t work. 100% nothing works. 100 If someone tells you something works, 100% their fellowship, right, this is, this is our internal numbers show that 72% of people are markedly improved after one week of treatment. And you know, after six months, that number stays around 72 or 73%. So there’s there’s a lot of people, at least among our sample subset of about 80,000 people that have gone through our clinics that that um, are markedly better. Does that mean that everybody is going to come through this now? I think a lot of this is also going to be going through drug companies, right, the compass the psilocybin Um, business is a billion dollar publicly traded drug company. So if if it gets pushed through FDA, which everyone believes it will then does a Pfizer or Novartis come and buy probably right. So like is is the reality that these large pharmaceutical companies are banks with patents? Does that mean that they go and buy things that are breakthrough therapies? Yeah, that’s their job. You know, I had a friend who helped create GW pharmaceutical, which is the first people to create a pharmaceutical cannabis spray, that was a whole plant extract, and they got bought for seven and a half billion dollars last year, right. So there’s a large drug company, and that’s, that’s the likelihood is that you’re still you’re still gonna be paying pharmaceutical companies money for these treatments. When they get pushed through now, there’s another company maps that is a they’re, you know, a nonprofit that turned into a mutual benefit corporation. And they’re, they’re doing MDMA. So they’re, they’re fairly far along on Phase Three for MDMA. They have specifically said they won’t sell to a drug company. So you know, if you’re doing MDMA therapy, you probably will be supporting further drug legalization because they’re planning on taking the money they make from it and reinvesting it into lobbying for more change to the drug laws. So it’s, it’s really comes down to it and there’s so when you asked me before, what else is there, there’s Ayahuasca DMT. Peyote, you know, there’s the toad, which is a another form of DMT five Meo DMT there’s there’s Ibogaine, which is perhaps the best anti addiction treatment ever. I’ve personally seen two people go, they have it in Mexico, you can go you’re addicted to heroin. You do this treatment for a couple days, you’re not addicted to heroin. Now, the problem is, it doesn’t actually address your psychological urge that drives you to numb yourself to the point of doing heroin. So physical addiction is one thing, your psychosocial mental addiction is a whole nother thing. And you know, it comes down to like, you need something else beyond the Ibogaine if you want to then go and address the, the gap in you that that needs some form of, of dreamstate for most of your life, right? That’s, that comes as well.
Scott D Clary 42:46
Where do you see in, all things are moving in the direction? They’re moving right now at the velocity moving right now? Where do you see both Delic yourself but also the industry in five to 10 years?
Matt Stang 43:00
Sure. Well, I see Delic as the largest chain of psychedelic clinics, you know, moving beyond just ketamine and being there for any novel compounds, I think, having, you know, 100 150 of these around the country and people feeling like there’s a safe, effective, clean, well run reproducible model that they can go to wherever they are, if they need a treatment. I think that’s something that we want to be and have the framework for building as an industry, I think, you know, it’s a dual track, right. There’s, you look at what Oregon did last year, they legalized psilocybin for non FDA medical use. So when I say medical use, they’re, they’re doing in a way that’s outside of FDA framework, and they’re going to allow people to just open clinics for psilocybin treatment early next year. So do I think other states are going to have similar, you know, ballot initiatives? Yeah, I think I think you see, California will probably gear up for one. Some of the other liberal Western states that have ballot initiative modes will have some form of whether it be decriminalization or legalization. You know, we’ve had two dozen municipalities just legalize ethnic genic plants for for any psychedelic substance, you know, so it’s, it’s happening all over the place. So that’s on the one side, and then on the other side, I think there will be 10 You know, say five years from now, it’d be like six or seven psychedelic compounds that will be legal 10 years, it’d be like 1530. So there’ll be a lot of tools in the tool chest and you know, if if one thing works for people 70% of the time the other thing is 68 and 63. Well, you know, you find out by going in and try I’m one of the things and if you’re markedly better, great, and if not, you can go back and try a different one in two months and see if that one will help crack whatever is going on with you. Because the brain is literally the most complicated thing. On a human, right, it’s just we still haven’t cracked it, we still, you know, they’re talking about AI, but they can’t make a computer do anything near what a brain can do. You know, Tesla has been working for five years on having their thing drive itself I have I have a Tesla when it goes, it’s had a bunch of times where I’m in autopilot, and it just acts fucking crazy. Like, what the fuck, but you know, it’s a machine, you can’t, it can’t actually process you know, a human brain sees a cone, they see a car driving, you see all of these different things, and you put it all together, you say, slow down, or speed up. Right. And that’s, that’s a huge processing thing, that no one can really figure out or change right now. So I just think there’s a, there’s a lot to be learned. And, you know, this is part of hacking, how to make the brain really a better tool and stop fighting ourselves with it. Amazing.
Scott D Clary 46:07
That’s it’s super, super interesting. I want to I want to pivot into some rapid fire just to pull some insights from from your career and the businesses you’ve built. But before before I pivot. Is there any other things that that you wanted to go into that we didn’t go into? And also, most importantly, where did people connect with you? Where do people go find more information about Delic about some of the clinics about some of the the publication or the media that you put together? All the socials, the website all that?
Matt Stang 46:38
Sure. So I don’t think there’s anything that we didn’t talk about, but connect with me Delock corp.com is the top level site with all the information and you can write in and ask any questions you want. Ketamine Wellness Centers is the name of the chain of clinics, que WC ketamine wellness centers. Meet Delic is the name of the event around psychedelic wellness, we got another one already on the books for 2022 in November in Las Vegas. Reality sandwich if you want to learn more about psychedelic compounds, and what you can do reality sandwich.com And you know, love to hear from anyone any questions, you know, I think we love powering this this revolution, we think it’s going to change the world. Amazing. Okay,
Scott D Clary 47:26
let’s do some rapid fire. The biggest challenge that you had to overcome in a professional or personal aspect in your professional personal life, what was that challenge? How did you overcome it?
Matt Stang 47:38
Biggest challenge? Oh, yeah, I remember one time I was. I was running our Cannabis Cup for High Times, and we got a we got a notice. We had an event coming up in three days. And I got a notice from the city of Los Angeles, that they were not going to allow us to do the event. We had it booked and happening that Saturday, it was Wednesday morning. And they said, You can’t do this meant we had about 150 booths and 8000 people showing up on Saturday. And I had to spend about 24 hours straight did not sleep, just calling everyone I knew. And I found a venue in San Bernardino called the National Art Show Math Center, and managed to get them to give us their parking lot to do the event. Got that contracted Thursday night at 8pm. Friday morning had to send the trucks out. And then this was 2011 2012. One of those social media wasn’t super advanced, but we use Facebook and email to let everyone know Hey, sorry, the cops have made it. So we can’t do this event in downtown Los Angeles anymore. We’re now an hour and 10 minutes away in San Bernardino. And somehow we got 2000 More people than we thought we’d get because the the amount of engagement we got from talking about the cops movement making us move it got a ton of social interaction back when you could actually have organic social interaction that like they like now. And I managed to get all the booths and have the tents set up in a new place and people showed up. And we had a rockin event. And so it was a huge challenge and definitely responsible for a couple of these gray hairs here. But we made it through it
Scott D Clary 49:48
pure entrepreneur, just figure it out
Matt Stang 49:52
for years afterwards and we grew to do 30,000 People there so it was fantastic.
Scott D Clary 49:58
Amazing um One person, obviously, there’s been many, but one person has had an impact on your life. Who is that person? What did they teach you?
Matt Stang 50:08
Um, great question. I would say, my mentor at High Times, Michael Kennedy, he was the general counsel who pulled me into becoming an intern and I worked with him for many years till he passed away. And he, he really taught me you know, you never go down, you keep going. You just keep fighting. He was a world renowned legal lion. He had argued before the Supreme Court, he was Timothy Leary’s lawyer and had been Ivanka Trump’s lawyer when she divorced Donald Trump, Donald Trump, and you know, really incredible cider and just, you know, never surrender, never give up. Just keep keep going. Just gotta keep rockin going. Amazing.
Scott D Clary 50:59
A book, podcast, something that you’ve read or listened to other than the stuff that you put out, that you’d recommend people go check out.
Matt Stang 51:09
I really enjoyed Lex Friedman talking to Elon Musk couple of weeks ago, I thought that was a fantastic conversation. That
was a good podcast. Yeah, really, really,
Matt Stang 51:22
you know, Lex is very intellectual. And it’s great to hear all the craziness about Mars, right? Gotta go to the future.
Scott D Clary 51:36
He’s done. He’s actually done three. I think that’s his third one with Elon Musk. I’m not mistaken. But he’s Lex is a great podcaster. He’s a great podcaster because he’s, he just cuts through all the BS. He’s just like a very like analytical person. So it makes for like a really great interviewer because he just asks questions that are just like, there’s no bias in his questions. There’s no There’s he hides nothing. He’s just like, to the point. He’s robotic, but it’s good. It’s
Matt Stang 52:02
just like scientific method. Yeah. Yeah, exactly.
Scott D Clary 52:05
If you could tell your 20 year old self one thing what would it be? Life is pretty awesome. too. Good one. That’s good. And then last question, what does success mean to you?
Matt Stang 52:24
What does success mean? I guess time, success means time. Time to do what you want to do.