Language and Societies

ANT/LIN 5320 at Wayne State University

Psychedelic Therapies: Elucidating Deception with Discourse Analysis of Big Pharma

Psychedelic Therapies: Elucidating Deception with Discourse Analysis of Big Pharma

Michael Drasher

Clinical evidence of the medicinal benefit of psychedelic drugs has been known since the 1950’s.  Because psychedelic drugs became associated with the revolutionary movement of the 1960’s the US government’s discourse concerning psychedelics became politicized and dishonest as the drugs were classified as schedule 1 drugs. In this research discourse analysis is used to unveil how just as the US government’s discourse concerning psychedelics was used to secure political control, now pharmaceutical companies are doing the same to manipulate the lucrative industry at the expense of mental health patients. How is it that the discourse concerning psychedelic medicine has so drastically shifted from declaring war on their use to becoming the savior of future mental health therapies?  With the psychedelic therapy industry expected to exceed $6.7 billion by 2027 it becomes clear that the driving force shaping psychedelic discourse is money. One must ask, “Who or what may possess the power and capital capable of manipulating this discourse in recent years and why?”  Other fields of medicine such as insulin therapy offer analogous comparisons with striking revelations pointing toward the source of this power: Eli Lilly, a pharmaceutical company with a market cap of $291 Billion in 2022. Eli Lilly is a major manufacturer of insulin; the injustices continually perpetuated by its exploitative practices has rendered insulin inaccessible killing many Americans inciting widespread protests.  In addition to being a leading producer of insulin, Eli Lilly is among the top three pharmaceutical companies competing for domination of psychedelic therapies. Due to lobbying power the discourse of the US government and pharmaceutical investors are increasingly interconnected.  This research employs discourse analysis to elucidate how Eli Lilly uses its power and strategies of deceit, censorship and hedging to shape not only the US government’s discourse regarding psychedelics but public consciousness.

April 20, 2022 - Posted by | abstract


  1. I have heard about the growing movement to learn about the medicinal benefits of psychedelics but have not heard much about the big companies involved. this would be interesting to learn more about.

    Comment by Lily | April 21, 2022 | Reply

  2. I agree Lily, I hadn’t considered the economic or financial aspect of the psychedelic medicine debate. Sounds very interesting Michael, I look forward to reading your final product!

    Comment by Patience | April 23, 2022 | Reply

  3. While I was aware that some psychedelics had healing properties, I was completely unaware that pharmaceutical companies were starting to look into this. Given the downright evil practices of the insulin company that you mentioned, it would be terrible if they were able to gain control of another area of medicine as well.

    Comment by Casey Carter | April 28, 2022 | Reply

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