Psychedelic Therapy Cruise – or why to followup on your crazy ideas

by bsrubin on December 10, 2012

Pursue your Ideas

I had a crazy idea recently.  Psychedelic Therapy Cruise.

Instead of shoving it down – I followed up.

I hope to do two things with this blog post:

  • Encourage us to take small steps to chasing down those ‘crazy’ ideas.
  • Share what I’ve learned about this interesting business opportunity in the hopes someone will run with it!

Psychedelic Therapy Cruise

Psychedelic drugs (MDMA, LSD, Psychedelic Mushrooms) have been demonized in the last 50 years of cultural, scientific, and medical dialogue.  And yet they have clear therapeutic benefits if used in the right set and setting (psychedelic therapy overview, Multidisciplinary Approach for Psychedelic Studies – MAPS).

I’m also familiar with and enamored by the concept of a Seastead.  Set up shop in the middle of the ocean and no one is your daddy.  The Seasteading Institute is looking to make this more actionable – which will facilitate rapid experimentation in government and social structures.

In DMT: The Spirit Molecule – Rick Strassman lays out a beautiful vision for a psychedelic center.

“Such a center would exist in a beautiful natural setting but would possess all the required medical facilities for emergency backup.  There would be examples of exquisite art and architecture that could provide inspiration for those participating in the research protocols.  Research scientists and staff would possess psychotherapy, psychedelic, and spiritual training and would work under medical direction.  Protocols would occur in the fields of psychotherapy, creativity, spirituality, and the dying process.  There would be studies, too, of the being-contact phenomenon and its relationship to parallel universes and dark matter.”

My heart soared upon reading this – such a place would have the potential to massively improve lives and enhance our understanding of the universe.

Suddenly Seasteads popped into my head.  Why not create a psychedelic seastead?  Don’t wait for the permission of national governments – which may be slow in coming or never arrive.  JFDI.

Take the Immediate Next Step

I’d bet if you are reading this blog that you have crazy ideas like this all the time.  They pop into our heads at seemingly inexplicable moments.  Most are efficiently and ruthlessly culled.  Same for me.  But this time I didn’t cull the idea.  I had just read The Click Moment and asked myself a simple question – ‘what would be the immediate next step in pursuing this idea?’  And I jotted down a note – ‘see if anyone has thought about this before.’

Quick Google search: Randy Hencken is the Director of Communications at the Seasteading institute.  He was previously the Director of Communications for MAPS!


I’m sure you’ve heard this one before: ‘Create a seastead to conduct research, therapy, and spiritual work with psychedelic substances.’  This idea occurred to me recently and all I can find is a speculative blog post and a paragraph in the Seasteading Beta Book.  I’m an entrepreneur looking for my next gig (started Zeo - consumer sleep management company) and I’m not afraid of a challenge.  Is someone already working on this?  Anything I should read/look at?  Is this an idea that you or someone has thought through the implications on and it’s a terrible idea?  Let me know.”


I faced pretty massive internal resistance to writing this email.  This was a crazy idea!  What can of worms was I opening?  Would he answer?
Pressed Send.
Time commitment thus far <2 hours.

Business Opportunity

Fast-forward to a month later – I’ve had conversations with Randy (wealth of knowledge and a great guy) and others he suggested at MAPS.  I’ve also spoken with a few therapists interested in working with psychedelics in a legal setting.

Key learnings:

  • PTSD + MDMA therapy is the best target intervention
    • Most clinical research
    • Most demand (up to 8% of population will experience PTSD)
    • Most positive press (example Time article) and awareness
    • MDMA has the best safety/ease-of-use profile among psychedelic drugs
  • Cruise ship in international waters would be the easiest low-cost (relative term) Seastead option
  • This is likely to be legal/non-objectionable to nation-states as long as it’s clear drugs aren’t being trafficked back to port.  Maybe don’t pull into port in particularly prohibitive nations (USA, China) and favor Canada, Europe
  • If done well (medically and legally) would gather substantial support from key communities around PTSD, psychedelic research, psychotherapy.

Time commitment thus far – ~10 hours.

I condensed the proposed business model into a Lean Canvas – check it out below.

For now I’ve decided not to pursue this.  I think it’s an excellent opportunity for the right entrepreneur – but I’ve gotten too excited about productivity recently and am focusing my efforts there.  I truly hope someone runs with this and I’m happy to help if I can!  Pursue those crazy ideas – they may turn into real value in the world…


  • Kevin Vogelsang

    Sign me up. However, I will say that sitting in nature must be possible (whether it’s moved to the ship/seastead or achieved by docking on some island).

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