Investors may be eyeing psychedelics as the next big trend in health care. That is according to leaders in the medical psychedelics field, who say there’s a serious growing interest from established backers who have traditionally stayed away from companies that deal with substances that are illegal in the US. Once that interest manifests into investment – and a few asset managers begin to put money into medical psychedelic companies – Shlomi Raz, founder and CEO of medical psychedelic company Eleusis, said at The Economics of Psychedelic Investing conference last week that he expects the rest to quickly follow. “Once the lead steer moves into this space, you’ll see the whole herd moving in,” he says. JR Rahn, founder of MindMed – a company that develops psychedelic-based medication – says that the barriers to entry for medical psychedelics are even higher than they are for cannabis. That is because medical psychedelic companies are looking to have their products approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. In MindMed’s case, the company is pushing to get FDA approval for a compound called 18-MC, which would effectively remove the hallucinogenic properties from ibogaine, a psychedelic West African drug, while preserving its medical properties. 18-MC must undergo a series of clinical trials before being approved by the FDA to address opioid abuse disorder. “It’s a very different industry [from cannabis],” Rahn says, noting the strenuous clinical testing. Beyond addressing the opioid crisis, Rahn says that he thinks he would want to look into addressing the teen vaping crisis as well. Raz said at the conference that he and his company was inspired by the example of GW Pharmaceuticals and its development of Epidiolex. “That is where we’re coming from,” Raz says. “To take a stigmatised drug and make it a valuable medicine, develop it just like any other life science company.” Eleusis has, through clinical trials, tested low doses of LSD for its effects on inflammation associated with ageing, which would have deep implications for Alzheimer’s. Several cities in the US have already decriminalised psychedelic mushrooms, and though the topic of adult use came up at the conference, the companies present seemed more focused on treatment and testing rather than getting involved in policy changes. Because psychedelics are such powerful compounds, Florian Brand, co-founder and CEO of ATAI Life Sciences, a biotech company that develops psychedelic medicine for mental health purposes, says that in general he is quite sceptical of legalisation for adult use. There’s no shortage of investment interest in the psychedelic space right now. Almost everybody who’s been participating in the cannabis industry is looking at it Ronan Levy, co-founder of Field Trip Ventures “We’re focused on getting better treatment for patients, not so much what could be happening from a policy perspective in 12 years,” Brand says. But still there seems to be much interest in the psychedelic field from those coming from cannabis, where traditionally, there is a heavier focus on policy changes to allow for adult use. Business Insider previously reported on Field Trip Ventures, a psychedelics-focused VC firm founded by those who came from the cannabis sector. “There’s no shortage of investment interest in the psychedelic space right now,” Ronan Levy, co-founder of Field Trip Ventures, said last year. “Almost everybody who’s been participating in the cannabis industry is looking at it.” The investor base for companies creating psychedelic drugs, according to Brand, can generally be categorised into three groups for ATAI Life Sciences. There are the visionaries, those who “believe there is something there that deserves to be backed”. The second group is the “momentum investors”, the group that is looking for the next big trend. And finally, and most recently, there is now serious interest from more traditional biotech and pharmaceutical investors who were so far staying far away from the psychedelic field. Interest from the third group is very recent, Brand says, really only seriously picking up within the last month. Raz says that he put a lot of his own assets into establishing Eleusis and other early investors into the company were either individual investors or family offices. But, Raz says, he expects the opportunity for these sort of backers – who are not traditional life science investors – to play a crucial role in companies like his is closing very quickly as interest from more established financiers pick up. The article originally appeared on Business Insider .