Gwyneth Paltrow thinks psychedelics are the next big wellness trend

A bellweather for coming trends.
A bellweather for coming trends.
Image: MediaPunch/Parisa Afsahi
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In a new interview with the New York Times, Goop founder Gwyneth Paltrow described herself as something of a bellwether in the wellness world.

Goop may be notorious for the $66 jade “yoni” egg that cost the company $145,000 in a settlement, but Paltrow pointed out that she has often been ahead of the curve—whether by promoting a gluten-free diet or framing her separation from her husband as a “conscious uncoupling.” Those approaches initially were met with eye-rolls, but were eventually adopted by mainstream pop culture.

“When we talk about something that is incendiary, I always see in six months other people starting to write about it, and 18 months later, businesses popping up around it,” said Paltrow. “It’s always confirmation to me that we’re on the right track.”

“So what’s the next big thing?” asked her interviewer, David Gelles. “What’s the next gluten free or conscious uncoupling?” Paltrow’s answer: “I think how psychedelics affect health and mental health and addiction will come more into the mainstream.”

Indeed that shift is already underway—and not just at Goop.

Within the last year, Michael Pollan—who prompted countless to people consider the consequences of their food choices with his 2006 bestseller The Omnivore’s Dilemma—published a new book entitled How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence. Pollan went on a corresponding tour of the mainstream media, including a New York Times Magazine excerpt, Rolling Stone interview, and NPR Fresh Air episode. And New York Magazine published a handy guide to micro-dosing, whether with LSD, mushrooms, or DMT.

As Quartz’s Olivia Goldhill wrote in 2018, the studies Pollan covered in his book “suggest psychedelics are effective at treating depression (especially among those who are resistant to existing treatments) and addiction, as well as anxiety among late-stage cancer patients.” These results picked up where exploratory trials using psychedelics such as LSD to treat PTSD, alcoholism, and depression had left off decades earlier, when the drugs became politicized and the research was banned. 

Just this week, the US Food and Drug Administration approved a nasal spray application of esketamine, a drug derived from the psychedelic ketamine, as the first antidepressant that is not a variation of Prozac. And in her New York Times interview, Paltrow mentioned ibogaine, a plant-derived psychedelic drug used for medicinal and ritual purposes in Gabon, which has lately been used by some to treat opioid addiction and to aid in therapy, though it’s banned in the US.

For her part, Paltrow said she has never tried psychedelics: “I’m terrified,” she said.

Sounds like the makings of a great first episode for Goop’s new series on Netflix.