4 Celebrities Who Have Started Foundations To Support Psychedelics

These celebrities started foundations to support psychedelics and associated therapies, transforming the view of plant medicine.
These influential people started foundations to support psychedelics. Image is of a triumphant, raised fist, with a purple-tinted background showing a group of cheering fans on the left, and a group of paparazzi on the right, with a clear path to a set of stairs ahead. There are neon-looking wavy lines in the air following the direction of the pathway.
Author: Katharine Chan, MSc, BSc, PMP
By Katharine Chan, MSc, BSc, PMP
June 14, 2023(Updated: July 10, 2023)

Celebrities can have an impact on the way we view the world and make big and small decisions. For instance, after the James Bond movies came out, some of us probably began ordering our martinis to be “shaken, not stirred”. We wanted to emulate Agent 007’s coolness factor. Aside from a drink order, a celebrity’s influence can affect the public’s political views. 

A control group experiment analyzed data from over 500 respondents. The experimental group was given accurate information about celebrity support for political parties and the control group was not. The study showed that celebrity political activity can indeed influence some citizens’ views of political parties.

There is a growing body of research that shows the benefits of psychedelic therapy; however, most psychedelics are still illegal in the United States. Here are 4 influential people who have started foundations to support psychedelics and advocate for psychedelics therapy, aiming to transform the view of plant medicine.

Catherine Oxenberg Fosters Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy

Catherine Oxenberg is an award-winning American actress who is best known for playing Amanda Carrington on the primetime series Dynasty. She is an activist and philanthropist, supporting causes such as human trafficking, disaster relief and protecting women’s and children’s rights. 

Catherine is the author of the book “Captive: A Mother’s Crusade to Save Her Daughter from a Terrifying Cult”. The book shares the true story of a cult leader and sexual predator who manipulated hundreds of young women including her daughter, India. India and her family suffered severe trauma through the experience. Although many sexual abuse survivors are able to recover from psychological trauma through standard treatment, some are unable to recover and take back their lives.

Catherine co-founded The Catherine Oxenberg Foundation (COF) with her daughter to support sexual trauma survivors suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Specifically, the foundation offers a scholarship program called HEALIX IMMERSION that provides sexual assault survivors with psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy in a retreat setting including professional administration and monitoring. 

In the US, the HEALIX IMMERSION program is the first of its kind. The COF’s mission is to make psychedelic therapy available to as many deserving survivors as possible. Currently, the program facilitates Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP); however, they plan to include other psychedelic therapies in addition to ketamine when legalized in the US.

Mike Sinyard Supports Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies

At 24 years old, Mike Sinyard started Specialized Bicycle Components, an American company that manufactures bicycles and cycling components. His company was making approximately $18 million within the first four years. He led the company as the CEO for 48 years before retiring in 2022.

In 2019, Mike founded Project New Day which helps expand access to safe and legal psychedelic-assisted therapies. Specifically, it provides grants and social investing to “maximize the impact of programs that progress psychedelic treatments and community support”.

Project New Way consists of a multi-disciplinary community of health specialists, researchers and clinicians who share a common goal to increase the responsible and legal use of psychedelic substances. 

These foundations who support psychedelics are transforming the view of plant medicine. Image is a pattern of Hollywood stars with a colourful, psychedelic pattern overlaying it. There are a couple of magnifying glasses over that, with a group of applauding hands on either side.

Mike talks about Santa Cruz’s decriminalization of natural psychedelics and the mission of Project New Way in an article published on Pinkbike.com:

“Santa Cruz’s decriminalization is a clear indicator that we are at a tipping point regarding the acceptance of psychedelics as a means to reverse the tide of addiction and other health epidemics sweeping our society. One day soon there will be clinicians in every city in the country implementing proven practices involving psychedelic medicines to help liberate people from the grip of addiction. Project New Day is here to accelerate this effort to heal suffering at the individual and societal level.

Drug addiction, including the opioid crisis, is the biggest threat to our society today. It’s estimated that 133 people are dying from opioids in America every day! Current approaches to helping people who are hooked aren’t working well enough; however, scientific studies are showing that treatments combining psychedelic medicines and human interaction do make a difference.”

Melissa Etheridge’s Foundation Advances Psychedelic Research

Melissa Etheridge is a Grammy-winning singer-songwriter who is one of America’s favorite rock stars for over two decades. She founded the non-profit organization, Etheridge Foundation after she and her family suffered a devastating and tragic loss. 

Beckett, Melissa’s 21-year-old son died from causes related to opioid addiction in May 2020. The conventional treatments for substance use disorder that Beckett received were not effective for him.

Through grief, Melissa was able to channel her loss into a determination. She wanted to change the way addiction treatment is offered, increase the availability and access to transformative plant medicine treatment resources and improve solutions that address the root causes of opioid use disorder in a holistic manner, including spiritual, mental and emotional aspects. Specifically, the mission of the Etheridge Foundation is to “support groundbreaking scientific research into effective new treatments for opioid use disorder”.

Tim Ferriss Backs Psychedelic Studies and Journalism

Tim Ferriss is an American entrepreneur, technology investor/advisor, and the author of the best-selling self-help books including The 4-Hour Work Week and Tool of Titans. His podcast The Tim Ferriss Show has over 900 million episodes downloaded. 

He is an avid supporter and advocate for psychedelic therapy and research. He has published numerous content about psychedelics on his website. For instance, he’s written about his thoughts on for-profit psychedelic startup companies and the ethical use of psychedelics and interviewed guests such as Michael Pollan, Dr. Gabor Maté and Paul Stamets on his podcast.

He is a co-founding backer for Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine — Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research and Imperial College London — Centre for Psychedelic Research

Tim financially backed a study published in 2022 conducted by Johns Hopkins University that showed the enduring effectiveness of psilocybin in the treatment of depression compared to traditional methods.

In 2021, he contributed over $800,000 through his Saisei Foundation to create The Ferriss — UC Berkeley Psychedelic Journalism Fellowship for early and mid-career journalists. The fellowship aims to help journalists develop the appropriate knowledge to report news on the rapidly growing and complex field of psychedelic research. 

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Caitlin Giddings. (2020, February 4). A New Nonprofit Wants to Take Psychedelic Therapy Mainstream. Outside Online. Retrieved from https://www.outsideonline.com/health/wellness/project-new-day-psychedelic-therapy-ptsd/

Etheridge Foundation. (2023). About the Etheridge Foundation. The Etheridge Foundation. Retrieved from https://www.etheridgefoundation.org/about-etheridge-foundation

Ferriss, T. (2022, March 22). Causes — The Blog of Author Tim Ferriss. The Blog of Author Tim Ferriss. Retrieved from https://tim.blog/about/causes/

Nownes, A. J. (2012). An Experimental Investigation of the Effects of Celebrity Support for Political Parties in the United States. American Politics Research, 40(3), 476–500. https://doi.org/10.1177/1532673×11429371

Oxenberg, C. (2023). Oxenberg Foundation — Catherine oxenberg. The Catherine Oxenberg Foundation (COF). Retrieved from https://catherineoxenberg.com/foundation/

Project New Way. (2022). Our Focus — Grants, Seed Investments, and Programs. Project New Day. Retrieved from https://projectnewday.foundation/our-focus/

published, W. J. (2022, March 17). Mike Sinyard steps down as Specialized CEO. Cyclingnews.com. Retrieved from https://www.cyclingnews.com/news/mike-sinyard-steps-down-as-specialized-ceo/

Schuster-Bruce, D. C. (2022, February 20). Psychoactive ingredient in “magic” mushrooms may treat depression for much longer than traditional antidepressants when combined with therapy, study backed by Tim Ferriss finds. Business Insider. Retrieved from https://www.businessinsider.com/magic-mushroom-depression-mental-health-treatment-psilocybin-therapy-tim-ferriss-2022-2

Telvick, M. (2021, September 14). Tim Ferriss Gift Creates Journalism Fellowships at Berkeley’s new Center for Science of Psychedelics. UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Retrieved from https://journalism.berkeley.edu/tim-ferriss-gift/

The content provided is for educational and informational purposes only and should be a substitute for medical or other professional advice. Articles are based on personal opinions, research, and experiences of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Psychedelic Support.

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Author: Katharine Chan, MSc, BSc, PMP
Katharine Chan, MSc, BSc, PMP
Katharine has over 15 years of experience working in British Columbia's healthcare system, leading patient safety incident investigations, quality and systems improvement projects, and change management initiatives within mental health, emergency health services, and women's health. She has published in scientific journals and co-authored health research books. Her bylines include Verywell Mind, CBC Parents, Family Education, Mamamia Australia, HuffPost Canada, and CafeMom. Check out her books at Sum (心,♡) on Sleeve.

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