Psychedelics Today

By Psychedelics Today

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Description

A show discussing the important academic and other research in the field of Psychedelics. We discuss how psychedelics relate to human potential and healing.

Episode Date
PT240 - Ralph Blumenthal - Alien Abductions and The Believer
01:30:02

In this episode, Michelle and Joe interview Ralph Blumenthal, 45-year New York Times contributor and author of The Believer: Alien Encounters, Hard Science, and the Passion of John Mack (which inspired one of our more popular recent blogs).

They talk about John Mack: legendary Harvard professor who did breathwork with Stan Grof at Esalen and became interested in the mystery of alien abduction, which led him to write 2 bestselling books, appear on Oprah (who is probably an alien*), become a pioneer in the world of alien abductions, and die while immersed in afterlife studies, only to reportedly visit friends later on. Mack's notoriety came from trusting the stories he was hearing, trying to help people make sense of it all, and taking a big interest in how these experiences seemed to transform so many of the abductees. Sounds a lot like powerful psychedelic experiences and integration work leading towards growth, doesn't it?

So sit back, pause that X-Files episode, light one up on this high holiday, and get really deep into the world of aliens. Learn about the government's secret Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, the Ariel school incident, Avi Loeb’s Oumuamua theory, out-of-body experiences, shapeshifters, and more! Ponder how Blumenthal "accidentally" leaves questions unanswered about the government experimenting with DMT as a way of communicating with aliens. Contemplate why the government is suddenly so forthcoming with UFO data. Think about how today is 420 and this is episode 240...

The truth is out there, folks. 

*This viewpoint is not that of Psychedelics Today, but merely of this high Show Notes writer.

Notable Quotes

On Mack doing breathwork with Stan Grof: “He was awakened to a different world, a spiritual world, a world of other realities than the one he was familiar with, and as I say in my book, he said, ‘Stan Grof opened up my psyche and the UFOs flew in.’” 

“It’s no spoiler to say that my book does not provide the answer to the mystery of alien abduction, and I acknowledge that. I shed some light on it, perhaps, and what I like to say is that at least I’m comfortable saying that I know what it isn’t. It’s not mental illness, it’s not hoaxes (by and large), it’s not fabrication, it’s not the delusion of crowds. It’s something else. It’s something that is very real to a lot of people from different walks of life [and] different ages, and there really is no good explanation for what has happened to these people.” 

“What do you say about the 2-year old children who tell these stories? You know, ‘Little man fly me up in the sky.’ ‘I go up in the sky.’ These 2-year-old kids: have they read UFO books? Are they influenced by UFO movies?”

“Skeptics have not taken the time to read the literature. They don’t know the cases. So all they can do is say, ‘Ah, that’s ridiculous.’ Of course it’s ridiculous! We all agree it’s ridiculous. We all agree it’s not possible. ...We all agree that these stories that people are telling are not possible in our reality. They’re completely crazy. And yet, there’s no easy way to explain them away.”

Links

Ralphblumenthal.com

The Believer: Alien Encounters, Hard Science, and the Passion of John Mack, by Ralph Blumenthal

NYtimes.com: Glowing Auras and ‘Black Money’: The Pentagon’s Mysterious U.F.O. Program

NYtimes.com: 2 Navy Airmen and an Object That ‘Accelerated Like Nothing I’ve Ever Seen’

NYtimes.com: On the Trail of a Secret Pentagon U.F.O. Program

NYtimes.com: Navy Reports Describe Encounters With Unexplained Flying Objects

Psychedelics Today: What do Alien Abduction and Psychedelic Experiences have in Common? Let Dr. John E. Mack’s Work Explain

Defense.gov: Establishment of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force

UFOinsight.com: The Still Unexplained 1994 Ariel School UFO Alien Encounter

Cnet.com: Harvard's Avi Loeb more sure than ever we were visited by alien spacecraft

Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth, by Avi Loeb

Thephenomenonfilm.com

Whitley Strieber’s Dreamland Podcast: The Stirring, Heartbreaking and Inspiring Story of Heroic Close Encounter Investigator Dr. John Mack

Dancing Naked in the Mind Field, by Kary Mullis

Marijuana Reconsidered, by Lester Grinspoon

Seti.org


About Ralph Blumenthal

Ralph Blumenthal was a reporter for The New York Times from 1964 to 2009, and has written seven books based on investigative crime reporting and cultural history. His latest book The Believer: Alien Encounters, Hard Science, and the Passion of John Mack was published by High Road Books of the University of New Mexico Press on March 15, 2021. It’s the first biography of Pulitzer Prize-winning Harvard Psychiatrist John E. Mack (1929-2004) who risked an esteemed career to investigate stupefying accounts of human abductions by aliens. Vanity Fair excerpted the work-in-progress in 2013.

Support the show

Navigating Psychedelics

 

Apr 20, 2021
PTSF55 - Creativity, Group Ceremony, and Astral Projection
54:11

In this week's Solidarity Fridays episode, Kyle, Joe, and Michelle start out with what's turning out to be a weekly legalization update (what a time to be alive!), this week highlighting New Mexico and Virginia's recent legalization of cannabis and Maine representative Anne Perry filing a bill to decriminalize the possession of all drugs. Vacationland, indeed! 

They then talk about a recent study that proved scientifically that psilocybin increases creativity, and another that analyzed changes in personality after ceremonial group ayahuasca use, which, based on self-report assessments filled out by both participants and informants alike, showed a reduction in neuroticism among participants. This leads to a conversation about the benefits of group work and the importance of more research being done on ceremonial ayahuasca use. 

They then discuss Vice's recent recovering of the long-lost page 25 from the CIA's report on astral projection, why this was something conspiracy theorists have been clamoring for, and how the self-knowledge aspects of the report relate to psychedelics (other than astral projection being really freaking trippy, man). And they talk about Navigating Psychedelics (which has its next round coming up on May 20th) and remind us that although that’s the one they talk about the most, there are actually several other courses at psychedeliceducationcenter.com worth checking out. Maybe there’ll be one about astral projection soon? This guy sure hopes so.

Notable Quotes

“It’s nice to see that Virginia is authorizing home grow (up to 4 plants per household) beginning July 1st. I see all these other states being able to offer this besides New Jersey, so… F. U., New Jersey.” -Kyle, who lives in New Jersey

“Human creativity kind of got us here. Human creativity can get us out, and psychedelics can play a huge role in that, if we figure out how to leverage it properly. Let’s not use this stuff to help us get more oil out of the ground or pump more freshwater into single-use plastic bottles. Let’s use it to solve this crisis.” -Joe

“Our culture is set up in this weird way that it’s constantly making us feel bad and that we’re not doing enough. So when we can all be really vulnerable and honest and open in a group, whether it’s with psychedelics or not, it’s so important.” -Michelle

“We can take an analytic approach and tear it apart and try to get to the core of ‘What is this?’  but all humans have this access to this other realm through breathwork, through meditation, through psychedelics, through near-death experiences. And if you’ve ever had that experience, how do you deny it?” -Kyle

Links

Marijuanamoment.net: Maine Lawmakers File Bill To Decriminalize Possession Of All Drugs

Marijuanamoment.net: New Mexico Governor Signs Marijuana Legalization Bill, Making State Third To Enact Reform Within Days

Marijuanamoment.net: Virginia Lawmakers Approve Governor’s Marijuana Amendment To Speed Up Legalization

Shout out to Marijuana Moment!

CBS New York: New Jersey Marijuana: Lawmakers Eye Bill Allowing Adults To Grow Pot At Home

Nature.com: Spontaneous and deliberate creative cognition during and after psilocybin exposure

Dni.gov: Global Trends 2040: A More Contested World

Nature.com: Examining changes in personality following shamanic ceremonial use of ayahuasca

The Exploration of Naturalistically used Ayahuasca and 5-MeO-DMT, by Malin Vedøy Uthaug

Frontiersin.org: Psychedelic Communitas: Intersubjective Experience During Psychedelic Group Sessions Predicts Enduring Changes in Psychological Wellbeing and Social Connectedness

Soltara.co: Announcing a New Ayahuasca Research Study Partnership

Vice.com: Found: Page 25 of the CIA’s Gateway Report on Astral Projection

Journeys Out of the Body: The Classic Work on Out-of-Body Experience, by Robert A. Monroe

The Men Who Stare at Goats, by Jon Ronson


Support the show!

Navigating Psychedelics

 

Apr 16, 2021
PT239 - Richie Ogulnick - Ibogaine, Unicity, and Beneficence
01:01:50

In this episode, Joe interviews returning guest Richie Ogulnick, a facilitator/guide who has been helping clients through ibogaine experiences for 26 years. 

Ogulnick talks about how ibogaine works, why he prefers working with the whole plant (iboga), why the flood doses he used to recommend weren't as effective, and the importance of allowing his clients to spend as much time as they want on intention-setting before their session. And of course, he talks about the session itself, which usually tends to be a gradual slide into a 15 to 30-hour waking dream state of deep exploration, followed by the slow process of coming out of it, making sense of it, and starting to work towards integrating what was learned.

He also talks about LSD, the work of Bhagwan Shri Rajneesh (Osho), an instance of someone who had no experience with iboga (and why), methodologies and experience, and tells a story of a time in NYC, watching someone shoot up heroin while explaining their experience to him as a way for him to better understand addiction and an addict's search for a feeling of peace.

Notable Quotes

“Very often, people ask me if they should bring a tape recorder with them, and I say, ‘Well, just make sure that it’s a voice-activated tape recorder, because you may say a few words and then 15 hours later, you may finish the sentence.’”

“Unlike other psychoactives, it’s interesting- it’s almost like you’re introduced to a new language, and 6 months, 8 months later, people are sharing with me that their intentions have finally all been worked through and they’re maybe considering doing another session in 6 months or a year. Whereas, with other psychoactives, you can very comfortably do ayahuasca once a week, once a month, for months or years. People tend to do iboga maybe 2 to 4 times in a lifetime.” 

“Psychedelics or iboga or meditation- methods won’t get us to that beneficence. What methods tend to do is allow us to crawl back to ourselves and say, ‘I’ve accumulated all of these experiences through this methodology, but I can’t go any further. I have to let go of this method’ and then the beneficence really happens. So it’s running at the arrogance of adulthood until you crawl back to yourself and you say, ‘I surrender.’”

“The cool thing about setting intentions is not so much the content but the impetus. You create the pilgrimage to go deep within, irrespective of what you really explore.”

Links

Ibeginagain.org

His last appearance on the podcast: Richie Ogulnick – Ibogaine Uses and Addiction-Interruption Therapy


About Richie Ogulnick

Richie Ogulnick is a long time Ibogaine provider and enthusiast Over the course of fifteen and a half years, he conducted about 750 sessions, including addiction-interruption treatments. He spent the next several years referring close to 1,000 more people to other ibogaine providers. During that time, he also trained doctors and ex-addicts who opened ibogaine centers throughout the world. Richie feels a pull to focus again on the more therapeutic and psycho-spiritual treatments where he is able to offer his expertise in ibogaine treatment along with his knowledge of reintegration with individuals who are looking to deepen and enrich their life experience.

Support the show

Navigating Psychedelics

 

Apr 13, 2021
PTSF54 - Theft, Patents, and Ethical Psychedelic Companies
56:35

In this week's Solidarity Fridays episode, everyone's back and so is the news.

They cover California Senator Scott Wiener's SB 519 bill to decriminalize psychedelics statewide (which is the first time a decriminalize bill has been put through and passed by lawmakers instead of ballot initiatives), a 3rd Massachusetts city decriminalizing psychedelics, an article pointing out how the various flaws in our capitalistic world also thrive in the psychedelic world, and a TIME magazine article on ibogaine and Marcus and Amber Capone's VETS organization (that curiously didn't mention Marcus' 5-MeO-DMT use or iboga's endangered status).

But there are 2 big articles that lead to the most discussion this week: first, Psymposia's article about Third Wave's Paul Austin stealing provider information (possibly including Kyle's) from Psychedelic.support and MAPS and the ethics of doing something like this, and second, Vice's article examining patents and ethics within the psychedelic world. How can companies be profitable while also being ethical? How can a company grow within a capitalistic society without falling into the greed traps of our Western ways?

And although he doesn't call it out, this episode features the return of this show notes writer's favorite PT segment, Joe's Paranoid Update- this time about the chaos that could ensue if the Colorado River dries up.

Notable Quotes

“We can work on ourselves, but does that ultimately heal the society when these systemic issues are at play which continue to make us sick? It just feels like this endless feedback loop. ...If we’re just focused on our individuation and not actually engaging and participating in the community, in the society, then what are we doing the work for? Are we just doing it for our individual selves?” -Kyle 

“Representation matters so much and it affects people’s self-esteem and self-worth when they don’t have it there, because they don’t think that that’s ever going to be a possibility for them. It just felt so good to be able to put that article out there and to represent some different types of people in this space and highlight their really important and often overlooked work. And we’re going to continue to do it.” -Michelle 

“It really is just this cool new therapy for the affluent class [that] Compass [Pathways] wants, and that’s how you make the most money. But I think that if you were an ethical psychedelic company, that wouldn’t be the goal. That wouldn’t be the mission, and you wouldn’t dress it up all in this B.S. language.” -Michelle

“I do feel like we’re in the middle of something really powerful and it can either really change everything or... not. I just hope that we, as a community, keep our eye on the prize, which is like- it’s more than psychedelics. It’s cultural change, societal change.” -Michelle

Links

Marijuanamoment.net: California Senators Approve Bill To Legalize Possession Of Psychedelics Like LSD, MDMA And Psilocybin

Masslive.com: Northampton City Council votes in support of decriminalizing psychedelic drugs

Psymposia.com: The Third Wave’s Paul Austin Has Been Accused of Stealing Information For His Psychedelic Provider Directory

Womenonpsychedelics.org: Why Psychedelics (Alone) Won't Heal Us

Theancestorproject.com: Psychedelic Anti-Racism: The Workbook

How to Be an Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi

Time.com: Inside Ibogaine, One of the Most Promising and Perilous Psychedelics for Addiction

Vetsolutions.org

Psychedelicstoday.com: Comparing 18-MC vs. Ibogaine for the Treatment of Substance Use Disorder

Vice.com: Is it Possible to Create an Ethical Psychedelics Company?

The Water Knife, by Paolo Bacigalupi

Wikipedia.org: Colorado River Compact

Psychedelicstoday.com: PT221 – Bennet Zelner – The Pollination Approach

Mt. Tam Psychedelic Integration Jam


Support the show!

Navigating Psychedelics

 

Apr 09, 2021
PT238 - Kile Ortigo - Integration and Existential Exploration
01:15:16

In this episode, Joe and Kyle interview Palo Alto-based Ph.D., author, clinical psychologist, and "integration specialist," Kile Ortigo.

From what he's learned at his time at the Grady Trauma Project, the National Center for PTSD, VA work, hospice work, and his own practice, he talks about the flaws of active intervention models of therapy and why what can be most healing for someone is often just letting them be and bearing witness to their experience. And he talks about burnout in healthcare, secondary trauma, common factors that help in all therapy techniques, Jung, "Altered States," and what we might derive from the popularity of Marvel movies.

And he talks about his book, Beyond the Narrow Life: A Guide For Psychedelic Integration and Existential Exploration, and integration: what it actually means, the basics of how he works with clients, if it'd be possible to create some sort of integration measurement, the importance of being flexible when intention-setting, how the psychedelic journey relates to Campbells' idea of the hero's journey, and the importance of movies like "Joker."

Notable Quotes

“I think that’s one of the downsides of working in any sort of big, large, complex system- is that the metrics that you’re being evaluated on are how many patients you’re seeing a day or a week, not necessarily: are they improving?”

“We need to loosen our attachments on active interventions sometimes and realize that just bearing witness- being present in a mental way can be what’s most healing.” 

“Mythology is being created, I would say, at a very rapid pace these days, and it’s being communicated in a much higher scale. And that’s primarily through our science fiction, I think, because it’s previewing some of these challenges that are here right now and we knew they were coming, but we haven’t been paying attention to them and we need to. ‘Black Mirror’ is important.”

“There have always been multiple stories that need to be told, including counter stories to our dominant narratives (our hero’s journey). And that’s why a film like ‘Joker’ from last year was so incredibly important. We needed to hear the story of the shadow and why we need to pay attention to the shadow, and not from a place of judgment or antagonism, but of compassion.”

Links

Existentialexploration.org

Beyond the Narrow Life: A Guide For Psychedelic Integration and Existential Exploration, by Kile M. Ortigo, Ph.D.

Psychedelic.support

Project New Day

Gradytraumaproject.com

Psychedelics Today: PTSF 34 (with Craig Heacock)


About Kile Ortigo

Kile M. Ortigo, Ph.D., is an award-winning clinical psychologist and founder of the Center for Existential Exploration, which supports people exploring profound questions about identity, meaning, life transitions, and psychospiritual development. He also serves on advisory boards of Psychedelic Support, an online training and clinician directory for legal, psychedelic-informed care, and Project New Day, a non-profit organization providing harm reduction resources for people using psychedelics in their addiction recovery process. He received his PhD from Emory University and is a certified psychedelic therapist trained at CIIS and mentored by Dr. Bill Richards (who wrote the foreword to his second book, Beyond the Narrow Life). For several years, Dr. Ortigo worked at the National Center for PTSD (NC-PTSD) where he collaborated on technology development and implementation projects, ranging from apps like Mindfulness Coach to online programs like webSTAIR. With colleagues at NC-PTSD, NYU, and Harvard, Dr. Ortigo coauthored Treating Survivors of Child Abuse & Interpersonal Trauma: STAIR Narrative Therapy (2nd Edition), which was released in June 2020.

Support the show

Navigating Psychedelics

 

Apr 06, 2021
PTSF53 - Psychedelics and Creativity, with Laura Dawn
01:18:53

In this week's Solidarity Fridays episode, technical difficulties lead to a week off from the gang reviewing the news, and instead, Joe interviews microdose & mindset mentor, entrepreneur, author, public speaker, retreat leader, and voice of the Psychedelic Leadership podcast, Laura Dawn.

Dawn talks about her path from Montreal to building a retreat center by a volcanic hot spring in Hawaii, only to see that dream end with the volcano's eruption. But due to an ayahuasca experience that fed her a song and the lyrics, "Trust in the great unknown," she did exactly that and followed her heart towards coming out of the psychedelic closet and beginning teaching people the ways of microdosing and ways to inspire creative thinking. 

They talk a lot about creativity: how to define it, misconceptions about learning and practicing creativity, the 4 Ps of creativity, the concept of convergent/divergent thinking and cognitive fluidity, the 5 stages of creativity, flow state, peak performance, and her framework of preparation, practice, and psychedelics towards a more open and creative mind.

Notable Quotes

“When we think about creativity and creative thinking, we can start to understand this as a range of cognitive processes that can best be described as a dynamic fluid movement between multiple states of mind, and of course that’s where psychedelics really come in.”

“By creating a conceptual framework, we can teach ourselves. It’s almost like uploading a neurological program in the mind, which then allows you to perceive reality differently, and you can train yourself how to perceive in that way by taking that framework and that understanding into the psychedelic space.”

“Think about creativity and creating not for the thing in and of itself. ...It’s not about the thing. When people are afraid to create, take the leap for the act of flying through the air, not because you think you’re going to stick the landing.”

“I think everything comes down to intention. There is very much so this quality of focusing on peak performance from a place of like, the drill sergeant and the whip, and ‘I’m not good enough, I need to get over there and be better,’ and I think it’s easy to fall down that road. But then there’s also another aspect that we can choose to relate to it differently, of like: how much can I expand what I believe is possible to create with my life on this planet while I’m alive?”

Links

Livefreelaurad.com

Instagram

Flowgenomeproject.com

Stealing Fire: How Silicon Valley, the Navy SEALs, and Maverick Scientists Are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work, by Steven Kotler & Jamie Wheal

21 Lessons for the 21st Century, by Yuval Noah Harari

The Neuroscience of Creativity, by Anna Abraham

Researchgate.net: The 4P’s Creativity Model and its application in different fields

Psychedelic Leadership podcast: This is Your brain on Psychedelics, with Psychedelic Neuroscientist Manesh Girn

James Taylor’s Five Stages of the Creative Process

Philosophical Baby: What Children's Minds Tell Us About Truth, Love, and the Meaning of Life, by Alison Gopnik

Pubmed.gov: Updating the dynamic framework of thought: Creativity and psychedelics

Hopkinsmedicine.org: Single Dose of Hallucinogen May Create Lasting Personality Change

Patañjali’s quote

Unlimitedsciences.org


Support the show!

Navigating Psychedelics

 

Apr 02, 2021
PT237 - Dena Justice - Finding the Frequency of Safety
01:37:33

In this episode, Joe interviews Dena Justice, who uses her unprecedented 4th appearance on Psychedelics Today to not talk a whole lot about neuro-linguistic programming or ways to beat anxiety. Instead, she blasts out of the psychedelic closet and opens up like few guests have before, taking us on the harrowing and life-changing journey of the last 6 years of her growth.

She talks about how her first MDMA experience made her realize how many limiting beliefs, insecurities, and issues with never feeling safe all came from childhood abuse and could be traced back to one specific morning. She discusses the "ages and stages of Dena," and getting to know her childhood self, Little Dena, and how Little Dena, her 15-year-old self, and her future self influence her today. And she talks about the breakthroughs and realizations from each subsequent experience (MDMA, LSD, and ayahuasca), and how each was just another step leading to her year of "energy and life cleanup," culminating in the most profound psychedelic experience of her life, where she found the frequency of safety she'd been seeking her whole life. 

The first few minutes of this episode feel tense and you may be cautious to continue, but stick with it- like many beneficial psychedelic experiences, you may have to go through some rough stuff to get to the gold, but in the end, it's worth it. This one's pretty powerful.  

Notable Quotes

“This whole morning as a 4-year-old is ingrained in my memory. I remember what I was wearing, I remember the way my Mom looked, I remember the sunlight streaming into the living room through our front windows. ...And I’m standing at the top of the flight of the stairs, screaming at her and sobbing because she’s not hearing me. And in that moment, I created an entire set of beliefs that literally ran my show until 3 months ago.”

“I look at what I’ve done since I started really utilizing psychedelics intentionally, and my whole life changed. In the last 5 years, my whole life is completely different than where I was in November of 2015, and I don’t look at the person in the mirror and recognize her anymore the way I was familiar with myself before. I’m like, ‘Where did this woman come from? She’s pretty amazing.’”

“I literally saw all of this energy moving and I traveled up one thread of this energy to a point of light, and I articulated it so clearly- I said, 'Wow. I found the frequency of safety. I can see it and I can feel it in my entire being, and this is what I’ve been seeking my entire life.'"

“Everybody who has trauma should be able to experience this kind of healing. Everybody should get to feel this free from the past that has tormented them.”

Links

Ecstaticcollective.com

Spotify: Koan- When The Silence Is... (“When the Silence Is Speaking- Blue Mix” is her song)

Her past Psychedelics Today appearances:

PT218 – Dena Justice – How to Beat Anxiety

Dena Justice – Using Neuro Linguistic Programming to Create Change in the Unconscious Mind

Dena Justice – Neuro Linguistic Programming and Non-ordinary States of Consciousness


About Dena Justice

Dena’s training as a facilitator, educator, trainer, mentor, and coach started at age 7 when she took her first social-emotional training program. That started years of training in conflict management and mediation, leadership, communication, facilitation, and more. By 15, she was facilitating personal development courses.

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Navigating Psychedelics

 

Mar 30, 2021
PTSF52 - Start Low, Go Slow
01:23:59

In this week's Solidarity Fridays episode, Kyle, Joe, and Michelle start out by reflecting on the awesome conversation with Dr. Carl Hart from earlier in the week and everything it made them think about concerning the drug war, society's framing of addiction, how different drugs have been vilified in different eras, privilege, and how greed is keeping the truth from us.

They then launch into the articles, which really run the gamut: Nebraska's governor saying cannabis will kill your children, the Biden administration asking staffers to resign over past cannabis use (What? A politician LIED TO US?!), a study from 2008 showing no statistical difference between SSRI and placebo effects (notable because it mirrors findings from the recent microdosing study they keep discussing), and an opinion piece on the healing power of mushrooms. They then talk about an interesting study where researchers are looking to predict who will do best with psychedelic-assisted therapy, and who might have a really challenging experience. Could you always predict that? Or is it just about getting to know a patient, supporting them, and titrating the dose, hence the title?

And since there aren't enough links on this page: If you've been looking to take the Navigating Psychedelics for Clinicians and Therapists live course you keep hearing about, new dates are up, so now is the time! And if you want a free copy of Dr. Carl Hart's amazing book, Drug Use for Grown-Ups, we're giving away 5, thanks to Penguin Random House, so make sure to enter the giveaway!

Notable Quotes

"Why are we only concerned about someone’s psychological well-being when it has to do with drugs?” -Michelle

“Heroin was killing a lot of Black men in the 70s and no one cared. And now that it’s killing all these white people with opioids and all this middle-class stuff, all of a sudden, we care. And we want harm-reduction and we want laws and we want drug-checking. But no one gave a fuck 40 years ago.” -Michelle

“So we had the war on drugs and ‘drugs are bad.’ ‘Weed, psychedelics- they’ll make you go crazy.’ And now we have that part of the drug war sort of ending and we’re legalizing them and we’re making money off of them, so all of a sudden, we’ve gone from one untruth which is 'all drugs are bad’ to this kind of other untruth which is like, ‘Weed and psychedelics: they’ll save your life, they’re great, everyone should use them!’ It’s like, fuck, dude, where was the middle? Where was the neutral? Where was the actual truth?” -Michelle

“How do we catch medicine up to the state of science? Medicine seems to be 10 to 30 years behind science, often. ...Sorry doctors- I don’t mean to insult you, but it’s your field, it’s not you as an individual. If you’re listening to this show, clearly you’re ahead of the curve.” -Joe

“Just thinking about how transpersonal came out of the humanistic movement because they needed something new, we’re at a new point where like, how do we incorporate and integrate a lot of this neuroscience, the somatics, the transpersonal, the depth, and what could a new field look like? ...What would that look like to create a new branch of psychology that really incorporates and integrates a lot of this stuff, and the impact that psychedelics have had on this? What type of theories and frameworks do we need, moving forward, as psychedelics become more integrated into the culture and into the medical realm? Do we need to bring psyche back a little bit with the psychedelics, to really help give a framework or some context to some of these transpersonal and numinous experiences?” -Kyle 

Links

Hilary Agro’s tweet

Narconomics: How to Run a Drug Cartel, by Tom Wainwright

Hightimes.com: Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts Says Marijuana Will ‘Kill Your Children’

Norml.org: Marijuana Regulation and Teen Use Rates

Rollingstone.com: Evanston, Illinois Will Use Weed Tax to Fund Nation’s First Government Reparations Program

Thedailybeast.com: Biden White House Sandbags Staffers, Sidelines Dozens for Pot Use

Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov: Initial Severity and Antidepressant Benefits: A Meta-Analysis of Data Submitted to the Food and Drug Administration

The Emperor's New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth, by Irving Kirsch, PhD

Chemistryworld.com: LSD: cultural revolution and medical advances

Bdnews24.com: Can magic mushrooms heal us?

Talkbusiness.net: Alice Walton’s Whole Health Institute will build a new medical school in Bentonville

Scienceblog.com: Predicting Who May Do Best With Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy

Pubs.acs.org: Predicting Reactions to Psychedelic Drugs: A Systematic Review of States and Traits Related to Acute Drug Effects

Psychedelics Today: Kyle Buller and Joe Moore – A Clinical Approach to Trauma Resolution Utilizing Breathwork


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Navigating Psychedelics

 

Mar 26, 2021
PT236 - Dr. Carl Hart - Drugs: Honesty, Responsibility, and Logic
01:49:27

If you're a regular listener of Psychedelics Today, you know how much Joe loved Dr. Carl Hart's newest book and testament to responsible, out-of-the-closet drug use: Drug Use for Grown-Ups: Chasing Liberty in the Land of Fear. In this episode, Joe and Kyle get to sit down and talk with the man himself for nearly 2 hours. This one's in the "can't miss" department, folks. 

Hart's main points echo many of ours: that the drug war is doing exactly what those in power created it for, that drug exceptionalism is wrong and only seeing one path towards progress is limiting, that our job is to use facts and logic to battle inaccuracies and people clearly pushing a false narrative, and that drugs can be fun and coming out of the closet about responsible drug use only opens up the dialogue more (and in the interest of that, this show notes writer is high right now). 

They also discuss how scientists rationalize their work within the drug war, the frustrating inaction from drug policy organizations around coming out of the drug closet, opinion-makers and their relationship to the rest of society, what needs to be done to help Brazil, how decriminalization doesn't stop problematic policy and police, the treatment industry's misaligned focus on drugs over environment, incorrect assumptions about heroin, and the importance of safe supplies and testing your drugs.  

Notable Quotes

“I’m always thinking that all I have to do is make this argument logically, and then people will fall in line. That’s naive as fuck, as I’m discovering. But that’s the world in which I live, and I love that world because I can’t live in an illogical world.”

“If the treatment provider is focused on the so-called drug of the person who’s having a problem ...they’ve already lost.”

High Price was a book that was kind of comfortable for progressives and conservatives as well- it’s an up-from-slavery book, you know? A poor, Black boy from the hood done well, ‘We feel good about ourselves and our society. See? It can happen to you!’ kind of story. Whereas this book is like, ‘Fuck that. We want our rights.’”

“When these people say that they are worried about drug addiction or what I’m saying might increase drug addiction, that’s some bullshit distraction. If you’re really worried about the negative effects of drug addiction, you would make sure everybody in your society is working. You’d make sure they all have health care. You’d make sure that basic needs were handled. Because if you did those things, you don’t have to worry about drug addiction.”

“The way they portray heroin in the movies sometimes, it’s upsetting because they portray it like people are deadening their emotions and feelings. It’s like, no, shit, you take heroin to feel.”

“When politicians or whoever are out here saying that they care about the opioid crises and they’re not talking about drug-checking, you can stop listening to them because those people are idiots or they think you are an idiot, but in any case, there’s no reason to listen to those people.”

Links

Drcarlhart.com

Drug Use for Grown-Ups: Chasing Liberty in the Land of Fear, by Dr. Carl L. Hart

Nytimes.com: When Getting High Is a Hobby, Not a Habit

Hightimes.com: Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts Says Marijuana Will ‘Kill Your Children’


About Dr. Carl Hart

Dr. Carl L. Hart is the Ziff Professor of Psychology in the Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry at Columbia University. He is also a Research Scientist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. Professor Hart has published numerous scientific and popular articles in the area of neuropsychopharmacology and is co-author of the textbook Drugs, Society and Human Behavior (with Charles Ksir). His book High Price was the 2014 winner of the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award.

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Mar 23, 2021
PTSF51 - Miracle Cures, Money, and Standing on the Shoulders of Giants
01:10:21

In this week's Solidarity Fridays episode, Kyle, Joe, and Michelle first discuss an article from Salon.com that illustrates the flaws behind psychedelics being continually hailed as a miracle cure: has everyone just replaced the oft-criticized model of selling a “miracle” pill with selling the narrative that a few psychedelic sessions can cure anything? And inspired by Lenny Gibson, they point out that this rabid focus on medicalization is a direct result of these substances being made illegal in the first place. What would things look like if that had never happened?

They then cover the developing drama between Compass Pathways and seemingly anyone compassionate and not making money from Compass Pathways' seedy behavior, represented this week by Tim Ferriss and David Bronner. The latest update includes Compass co-founder Christian Angermayer calling Ferriss' millions in donations a "drop in the ocean" in an odd donations-measuring contest, an email sent to investors saying competitors will never be able to bring a product to market due to the (absurd) patents they've filed (which Angermayer actually defended), and co-founder and CEO George Goldsmith mobilizing opposition to Oregon's Measure 109.

This, not surprisingly, leads to a discussion about the competition between corporations, the race for patents, the drug war, how companies overestimate costs of drug-research and potential loss, how so little of the money being made is going to the Indigenous cultures we got all of this knowledge from, and more fun stuff in the endless mire of bullshit we have to wade through as a result of the drug war and greed.

Notable Quotes

“The only reason why we need to get this medicalized is because we made it illegal and we put it on a scheduling system. So, to make it official and legit and to deschedule it to make it into a medicine, we have to go through FDA-approval. ...What if it was never made illegal to begin with?” -Kyle (inspired by Lenny Gibson)

“I really don’t believe in the antibiotic of psychiatry. You really have to actively work on changing the way you think and behave and react and all these things, and it’s a lot of hard work. Mushrooms make it more fun, but it’s a lot of hard work.” -Michelle

“We’re not trying to be the enemy, but please be open to critique and understand where we’re coming from. In the same way a white male in America needs to understand American history and Imperialism and the crazy shit we’ve done, medicine should also try to own that a little bit. Like, why don’t certain communities trust you? Why don’t you get the results that the data says you should?” -Joe

“This is not just about decrim. This is about restoring our rights as citizens of the world, regaining autonomy over our bodies, [and] improving science.” -Joe

Links

Salon.com: Why mental health researchers are studying psychedelics all wrong

Psychedelicstoday.com: Dimitri Mugianis- Iboga, Psychedelic gas-lighting, and Structural Criticism

Drugged: The Science and Culture Behind Psychotropic Drugs, by Richard J. Miller

Saving Normal: An Insider's Revolt against Out-of-Control Psychiatric Diagnosis, DSM-5, Big Pharma, and the Medicalization of Ordinary Life, by Allen Frances

Vice.com: The Race to Patent Psychedelics Is Just Getting Started

Drbronner.com: Sounding the Alarm on Compass’s Interference with Oregon’s Psilocybin Therapy Program

Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future, by Peter Thiel

Tim Ferriss: Some Thoughts on For-Profit Psychedelic Startups and Companies

Tim Ferriss’ tweet/Christian Angermayer’s reply

Vice.com: Investors Are Debating Who Should Own the Future of Psychedelics

Pubs.acs.org: Ethical Concerns about Psilocybin Intellectual Property

Ohchr.org: Article 31 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the World Indigenous Nations (WIN) Games

Narrative Medicine: The Use of History and Story in the Healing Process, by Lewis Mehl-Madrona

Psychedelicstoday.com: Psychedelic Capitalism and Other Myths: Is the Joke On Us?


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Mar 19, 2021
PT235 - The Entheo Society of Washington - Dismantling Power Systems Through Decriminalization
01:13:51

In this episode, Joe interviews the most guests he's ever had on at once- 5 people from the Entheo Society of Washington: Leo Russell (Executive Director), Monique Bridges (Head of the Female Battalion and Head Guardian of the Santo Daime Ayahuasca Church), Malika Lamont (Director of VOCAL Washington), Tatiana (a lot of day-to-day duties that sound like project management), and Solana Booth (promoter and teacher of traditional Native American healing techniques and modalities).  

The Entheo Society of Washington is a 501c3 organization and sister agency to Decriminalize Nature Seattle that is working to create community and treatment centers and eventually a movie about the underground psychedelic culture in the Pacific Northwest (in addition to their obvious fight for the decriminalization of entheogens). Their larger, more socially-focused goals are to encourage people to reconnect to the earth, accept our emotions more, hold space for healing and encourage others to do the same, see the economy around legal cannabis and psychedelics become much fairer, and their biggest goals: to help the most marginalized people receive care without being criminalized, and to dismantle the very systems of power that keep marginalizing them.

Notable Quotes

“I consider the first wave of the psychedelic movement to be very masculine-oriented. So for me, just my personal opinion- the second wave just feels much more diverse, and I see a lot more women leading, and I’m excited about these women. I have lots of curiosity about them. ...how they’ve come up and how they found their voice. We’ve never seen women before lead in grassroots psychedelic political efforts. We’ve never seen that in human history. So I just want to celebrate these women. I want to help the ones that are behind a mountain and lift them up.” -Leo Russell

“What is extremely attractive about decriminalization of psychedelics is that we know that the most potential is there to be able to help people heal from the issues that have impacted them through systemic violence. However, we can’t stop there, because just to heal somebody to throw them back into a harmful system is not enough. We need to dismantle the systems.” -Malika Lamont

“I do believe that there’s also a shift in general towards not criminalizing people for any kind of substance use. I think that that is a very real, attainable goal. It’s coming, and I really believe that." -Tatiana

“I really don’t like it when people say ‘use psychedelics’ when they’re talking about mushrooms or talking about plant medicines, because we don’t use people. Like, I’m not going to ‘use’ my sister Leo when I’m in a conversation with her. I’m going to partner with her and listen and look at her face (if I can see her) and be with her in that moment. So, I’m not going to use any plants; I’m going to go into the medicine, I’m going to ask permission.” -Solana Booth

“With all of the talk of being gentle and reaching higher consciousness and being cognizant of the healing properties of these plants, I think that we also cannot lose focus that trauma out of context can look like culture. Trauma out of context can look like personality or be perceived as weakness.” -Malika Lamont

Links

Entheosocietywa.org

Decrimnatureseattle.org

Defender.org: VOCAL Washington


About the Entheo Society of Washington

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Mar 16, 2021
PTSF50 - Microdosing and the Placebo Effect, with Balázs Szigeti and David Erritzoe
01:07:50

In last week's Solidarity Fridays episode, Kyle, Joe, and Michelle talked a lot about a landmark new trial to study microdosing and the placebo effect. And this week (the big SF50!), they're joined by 2 key members of that very trial, lead researcher Balázs Szigeti and principal investigator David Erritzoe. 

Szigeti and Erritzoe explain all the factors of the trial in great detail: how participants blinded themselves and the complications with capsule weight (and burping?), what substances participants took, how they were able to track which participants were in which group, what "breaking blind" meant specific to this trial, how they essentially used cognitive performance tests as a control, how depression factored in (or didn't), why they specifically chose people with experience in psychedelics, and why this study mimics real-life microdosing so perfectly.

And they talk about the fascinating results: that while across the board, people scored better and felt better after microdosing for 4 weeks, the people who thought they were microdosing did too, and nearly as much. 

They're working on future editions of the trial- one that will likely be much longer in duration and work through the new psychedelic app, Mydelica, and one that will be more traditionally placed in a lab, where they can study the neuroscience present (or maybe not so present) in microdosing.

Notable Quotes

“If you really simplify it, you can say that ...in a way, the guess was [a] 10 times better predictor of some of these acute outcomes than was the actual condition- what they actually took.” -David Erritzoe  

“I’m not trying to invalidate your experience by saying, “This is placebo,” but I’m saying it could be, because that’s what the trial actually came up with. But it doesn’t mean that those experiences are not real, it’s just that a lot of those effects come from a combination of hoping, believing, expecting things to become better, and then your mind [does] magical tricks. And that’s the beauty of placebo, in particular when it comes to mental health and well-being.” -David Erritzoe

“Based on our data, there is no question that people do better after microdosing. It is just that people feel equally better after they have taken a placebo.” -Balázs Szigeti

“I was in a panel recently about microdosing where the people kept asking, ‘Oh, but what are the mechanisms?’ ‘How is it that microdosing works?’ And I’m like, ‘Let’s maybe start by seeing whether it works.’ It’s only so interesting to find out how something works if it works.” -David Erritzoe

Links

Selfblinding-microdose.org

Elifesciences.org: Self-blinding citizen science to explore psychedelic microdosing

Szigeti and Erritzoe’s last appearance on Psychedelics Today

Mydelica.com


About Balázs Szigeti, PhD

Dr. Balazs Szigeti has studied theoretical physics at Imperial College, but turned towards neuroscience for his PhD studies at the University of Edinburgh. His main work is about the behavioural neuroscience of invertebrates, but he has a diverse scientific portfolio that includes computational neuroscience and driving forward the OpenWorm open science initiative. Balazs is also the editor of the Dose of Science blog that is published in collaboration with the Drugreporter website. Dose of Science discusses and critically assesses scientific studies about recreational drugs. Recently Balazs has started a collaboration with the Global Drug Survey to quantitatively compare the dose of recreational users of various drugs with the scientific literature.

About David Erritzoe, PhD

Dr. David Erritzoe is qualified as a medical doctor from Copenhagen University Medical School and currently holds an Academic Clinical Lectureship in Psychiatry at Imperial College London. Alongside his clinical training in medicine/psychiatry, David has been involved in psychopharmacological research, using brain-imaging techniques such as PET and MRI. He has conducted post-doc imaging research in the neurobiology of addictions and major depression. Together with Prof Nutt and Dr Carhart-Harris he is also investigating the neurobiology and therapeutic potential of MDMA and classic psychedelics.

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Mar 12, 2021
PT234 - Christopher Solomon - Salvia as a Therapist
01:24:38

In this episode, with his recent salvia experience in mind, Kyle interviews creator of the salvia pipe, and somatic salvia guide working to bring mindfulness to salvia use, Christopher Solomon.

To many of us, the word "salvia" conjures up images of one or both of the following: smoking salvia with friends and having a panicked, out-of-body experience that (rightfully) scared us away from ever doing it again, or watching Youtube videos of people filming themselves doing the same. Solomon's goal is to reframe salvia's reputation from one of confusion and panic back to how it's known to the Mazatec people who discovered its power: as a loving, empathetic healer. 

He talks about his first time smoking salvia after meditating and meeting a female entity, the differences between smoking, chewing leaves, and drinking a tincture, virtual salvia sessions, why you should smoke tiny amounts of salvia repetitively rather than 50x bong hits, why so many people feel like they’re zippers while on salvia, and his thoughts (and salvia's) on if salvia should be smoked or not. And he lists out all the unique feelings that salvia can bring to the table if it's approached with mindfulness, trust, and respect. “The more respectfully and cautiously and mindfully one approaches salvia, the more rewards she gives.”   

Notable Quotes

“Aside from the fact that I was taken aback at seeing this entity, what was also amazing with it was the sense of emotion and love that was coming from this being. There was a very genuine, caring, telepathic connection that I had with this being that was made out of colorful, almost magnetic-looking lines.” 

“When we think of transformation or transformative experiences, we think about these big, explosive, cathartic things, like, ‘Oh my gosh, my entire life flashed before my eyes and I could understand everything, and boom! I had this big transformation, and now I’m healed.' And that can happen, but the real transformations happen in small, bite-sized moments that can be integrated, like taking that small sip of air- getting that one deep breath in if you haven’t had a deep breath in a long time.”

“Maybe we’re experiencing the zipper because we go so deep within our bodies that we’re actually getting taken into the felt experience of our DNA replicating.”

“If you’re trying to make decisions in your life and you’re waffling back and forth and making lists of pros and cons and debating with yourself and then getting guidance from other people and you’re not sure where to go- you bring those questions to salvia, and she very quickly gets straight to the heart of the matter.”

Links

Salviahealings.com

Salviapipe.com

Psychedelics Today: Does Salvia Divinorum Have Therapeutic Potential?

Psychedelics Today: Peter H. Addy PhD – Salvia: Research and Therapeutic Use

Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge, by Jeremy Narby


About Christopher Solomon

Christopher Solomon is a somatic Salvia guide, teacher, and inventor of a pipe that aids in the mindful exploration of Salvia Divinorum. Incorporating lessons learned directly from Salvia and as a student of somatic psychotherapy, Christopher is pioneering techniques to use Salvia as a therapeutic tool for guided self-healing, meditation, and introspection. Christopher lectures about the proper, intentional, and therapeutic use of Salvia, offering a blend of scientific, esoteric, and therapeutic perspectives. He also cultivates a medicinal Salvia garden for use in his therapeutic practice with clients. His main goal is to teach people how to use Salvia for themselves in a manner that is supportive, informative, and empowering. He has a B.A in Psychology from the University of Texas at Dallas, and received his training in somatic psychotherapy from the Hakomi Institute of California.

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Mar 09, 2021
PTSF49 - MDMA For Alcoholism, The Placebo Effect, and Ceremonial Magicians
01:27:41

In today’s Solidarity Fridays episode, Kyle, Joe, and Michelle once again meet through the airwaves to discuss recent news articles and see where that takes them. 

They first talk about a North Wales police boss who wants to give prisoners controlled amounts of cannabis as a way to combat violence and drug addiction and how that questions the notion of prisoners being expected to suffer. Then, they head to "Missurah," where a bill was just introduced to remove their established provision against Schedule I substances, expanding eligibility and getting them closer to how other states use 2018's federal Right to Try Act to help people with terminal and life-threatening illnesses.

They then talk about a study that showed significant reduction in alcohol consumption after MDMA use and why the sense of connection that MDMA fosters could be the reason, a self-blinding microdosing study that proved the power of the placebo (and expectation) effect and what that might mean for regular microdosers, and a listener email highlighting the importance of establishing the idea that rituals and ceremonies don’t have to have a Shaman, healer, or some other person in an all-knowing, leadership role.

Other topics covered: how to make therapy cheaper, whether or not a lot of letters after someone's name matters, learning survival skills, Paul Stamets, NASA, and astromycology, Zapatistas, Star Trek: Discovery, and Pauly Shore (but only a little- hopefully more next week).

Notable Quotes

“I feel like they’re getting a little out of hand sometimes with how we sell these treatments. In press releases or on websites for retreat centers, it’s like: 'Cure everything that’s ever been wrong with you in one week!' and 'Addiction no more!' -all this kind of stuff. ...It’s not as sexy to sell a mushroom retreat as like: 'Start this new relationship with mushrooms and work on it every day for the rest of your life!” That’s not going to sell.” -Michelle

“How essential is it that the therapist is even in the room? Can’t you just be somewhere really safe with a volunteer sitter or somebody that doesn’t have a huge student debt to pay off? Is the conversation being steered in a particular direction because of incentives like graduate degrees, licensure, etc? ...If I can consume $30 of street MDMA and not have to pay 12 grand, and I can just go to my medicare-covered therapist a few times before and after, that’s a way cheaper proposition.” -Joe

“There’s a lot of great healers in the world that would be really amazing at doing a lot of this stuff, but could they afford their degree? The answer is probably no, and so they don’t get to even be at the table to make any of these decisions.” -Kyle 

“We can say microdosing is all a placebo effect, but I think there’s something more interesting here on the power of the expectation effect, and how we’re almost manifesting our own mood change.” -Michelle

“You don’t need a Shaman there, I think, for a spiritual experience. ...You don’t need someone in a seat of power. I also feel like Shamans and healers- they’re fascinating and they’re a deep part of human history, but so is the desire for power. ...You don’t have to get stuck in that ‘I’m nobody, the Shaman has all the power, and I need you for learning' [narrative].” -Michelle

Links

Bbc.com: Police boss wants cannabis trial for prisoners

Marijuanamoment.net: Missouri Bill Would Add MDMA, Psilocybin Mushrooms And LSD To Right-To-Try Law

Independent.co.uk: Taking MDMA could help to treat alcoholism, study suggests

Dr. Ben Sessa’s appearance on Psychedelics Today

Elifesciences.org: Self-blinding citizen science to explore psychedelic microdosing

Drweil.com: Is The Placebo Effect Real?

Nature.com: Positive expectations predict improved mental-health outcomes linked to psychedelic microdosing

Paulstamets.com: Astromycology funded by NASA, Science Fiction becomes Science Fact

Nasa.gov: Making Soil for Space Habitats by Seeding Asteroids with Fungi

Damer.com (Dr. Bruce Damer)

Mehl-madrona.com (author Lewis Mehl-Madrona)

Psychedelicstoday.com: Online Psychedelic Community Options to Ride Out the Rest of Covid-19

Free Psychedelics Today Event: On Dreams, the Feminine and the Practice of Psychotherapy: An Interview with Maria Papaspyrou (with Kyle and Johanna Hilla)


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Mar 05, 2021
PT233 - JR Rahn of MindMed
01:14:10

In this episode, Joe interviews the founder and CEO of MindMed, JR Rahn.

This one's a bit different and plays out perhaps unsurprisingly, as Joe's well-established talking points against the drug war and DEA, legalize-everything stance, and all-inclusive focus on the many branches of drug-use (medical/therapeutic use, religious use, celebration/partying, inner work and exploration, and creative problem-solving) meet an addict businessman whose life was saved by psychedelics and who doesn't want to talk about the battle but instead wants to push forward, all-in on the method he thinks will get people in need the medicine that could save them the fastest: not putting so much effort towards state-by-state decriminalization and demonizing the DEA, but instead, working with them towards medicalization, and telling them what we want by passing measures that allocate more capital and resources towards infrastructure that will help people. 

Rahn talks about what MindMed is working on: the first approved commercial drug trial studying the effects of microdosing LSD on adult ADHD, and their more long-term plan, developing a trip-neutralizing drug that would be a safer option than Xanax for ending a challenging trip and getting people back to stability. He also discusses the importance of scalability and lowering healthcare costs, changing anecdotal evidence into real science, and his life-saving (and cheaper) hope of patients being able to work with therapists in their homes rather than in expensive, anxiety-increasing medical environments. 

Notable Quotes

“As a society, we need to prioritize treatment and we don’t. ...It’s just completely illogical to me that, as a society, we stare it in its face every day and we blame the opioid crisis and we blame drug addiction for our crime and all these things, yet, as a society, we don’t allocate the resources necessary to solve it.”

“I think there’s that Forbes article where I was like, ‘Oh, I want nothing to do with the decrim people.’ I definitely said that, but that’s not really what I meant. What I meant was: if we’re going to make psychedelics into a medicine, and we’re going to make it scalable and accessible, I think we should be having a federal conversation about it, and to me, the most efficient pathway to do that is the FDA. And I’m concerned that we’re going to go through this process of state-by-state legalization that happened in the cannabis days and we’re going to get some pretty unsavory people involved in this community ...and I’m just concerned that, if it happens in that manner, it becomes a political battle, and it doesn’t become: How do we help people? How do we get medicine to folks that are in need?”

“If we’re going to get people willing to healing themselves and get over the stigma, I think it’s important to have the feature of: ‘Look, we have the emergency stop button. Your therapist can press it if they need to when they feel that you’ve reached a point that is not good anymore.’ And I think that, ultimately (and we’ll have to study this), it might make the experience even more therapeutic. ...They should be walking into a cocoon and we’re taking care of them. They should not be walking into [a room] or sitting on their couch, going, ‘Holy shit, am I going to die?’”

“I’d love to get to the point where we have destigmatized these substances enough in society that people value them for what they are, and I think we will be a much better society when we get to that point, but I don’t think we can do it all at once. People tried that- didn’t work. I would just hate to watch the potential for so many people that are actually suffering from mental health and addiction [to] not get access to this treatment because we went too fast.” 

“Psychedelicstoday.com: best podcast in psychedelics.”

Links

Mindmed.co

Newswire.ca: MindMed Expands Psychedelic Microdosing Division, Adds Groundbreaking Study Evaluating LSD Microdosing Through Next-Gen Digital Clinical Markers

Mindmed.co: MindMed Develops LSD Neutralizer Technology To Shorten and Stop LSD Trips

Forbes.com: This New York City Pharma Startup Wants To Turn LSD Into An FDA-Approved Medicine For Anxiety Disorder (the notorious "Forbes article")

Rahn’s Twitter follow-up (scroll up to read the full convo)

ADHD Nation: Children, Doctors, Big Pharma, and the Making of an American Epidemic, by Alan Schwarz

Psychcongress.com: Suicide Risk Elevated After Psychiatric Hospital Stay

Drugabuse.gov: Benzodiazepines and Opioids (increased risk by combining them)


About JR Rahn

JR is a former Silicon Valley tech executive who realized that
transformational solutions to mental illness and addiction might lie in psychedelic medicines. He spent 2 years researching and began personally investing in psychedelic research through his investment company. JR partnered with drug development veteran Stephen Hurst to start MindMed in 2019, assembling a leading clinical drug discovery and development team with vast experience conducting clinical trials and research on drug candidates derived from psychedelics. Before starting MindMed, JR worked in market expansion and operations at Uber.

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Mar 02, 2021
PTSF48 - Decriminalization, Embracing the Mystical, and a Plea for More Ethical Exploration
01:10:06

In today’s Solidarity Fridays episode, Kyle and Joe are joined once again from Mexico by Michelle Janikian, and let's take a moment to do what wasn't done last week: welcome Michelle to the podcast, as she will be joining the guys on SFs for the foreseeable future, and possibly on other podcasts soon as well. Welcome to the revolution, Michelle!

As you’d expect, they discuss the news: Norway's plan to decriminalize personal drug use based on recommendations from the U.N. and W.H.O. and why that may be related to Norway's high rate of drug-related deaths (or maybe even a high suicide rate), a new bill in California to not only decriminalize psychedelics (including MDMA and LSD, and excluding peyote) but expunge records as well, a new Massachusetts bill to decriminalize all drugs and study psychedelics, a study where researchers achieved real-time communication with lucid dreamers, and Alex Jones' (likely true) claim that government officials regularly use DMT to communicate with freaking aliens.

The most-discussed articles though, are Vice's post about how psychedelic therapy needs to embrace the mystical side of things, and Tim Ferriss' recent blog, pleading people to follow more ethical, safer, and more environmentally-friendly paths in their explorations of different medicines. They also talk about Ferriss' concept of a minimum effective dose, the progress of cannabis legalization in Mexico, using caution with frameworks, Pascal's Wager, how the idea of a psychedelic community is becoming antiquated, and whether or not Kyle is regularly astral projecting without realizing it. 

Notable Quotes

“This concept of political capital- you only have so many ‘politics tokens’ to put in the machine, and being a politician, you kind of have to play the game of not only influencing what you and your constituency want but [also] ‘how do I get re-elected too?’ It’s not spending political capital to be anti-drug in most states. [To] be a really hardcore prohibitionist, you actually gain political capital in a lot of ways. But putting your neck on the line for something like this is quite risky for a politician, so, good on ya!” -Joe

“It just doesn’t fit into that narrative where it’s like: ‘Can psychedelics revolutionize mental health?’ Yes, but not just help people and cure, heal- we have to change the way we think about the human experience and we have to let in so many other weird, unworldly experiences to really, fully-- like, yea, it’s going to revolutionize mental health. It’s going to revolutionize everything if we really integrate it and take all aspects of it into consideration. But that’s really hard for doctors and these psychiatrists in-training to really do- they just want a new medication to help their patients. Do they really want to like, rethink reality? [sarcastically:] That’s just for weirdos like us.” -Michelle

“Sometimes when I’m in conversations with other clinicians and it’s so pathology-oriented, I’m like, do we need to keep continuing that language? Could there be other ways of viewing and seeing this? How [can] psychedelics- or not even psychedelics- just extraordinary experiences in general help shift our view of what it means to be human? What does it mean to be well in the world? Do I always need to be sick when I come to a mental health professional? Do I always need some sort of diagnosis? I think these are the questions that my exceptional experiences have made me think about- traditional systems and how they’ve really shifted over the years.” -Kyle

“The dream world, to me, has always been so fascinating, because it’s like the natural psychedelic everyone has every night. Dreams are so weird. There’s no psychedelic that really touches how weird dreams are. And yet we go to that place every night.” -Michelle

Links

Bloomberg.com: Norway to Decriminalize Personal Drug Use in ‘Historic’ Shift

Msn.com: New California bill would decriminalize psychedelics, expunge criminal records

Marijuanamoment.net: New Massachusetts Bills Would Decriminalize All Drugs And Study Regulated Sales of Psychedelics

Playboy.com Viva la Cannabis? Not so Fast (Michelle’s article)

Tim Ferriss’ blog: An Urgent Plea to Users of Psychedelics: Let’s Consider a More Ethical Menu of Plants and Compounds

Academia.edu: DMT Research From 1956 to the End of Time, by Andrew R. Gallimore and David P. Luke

Wikipedia.org: Pascal’s Wager

Vice.com: Psychedelic Therapy Needs to Confront the Mystical

Psychologyconcepts.com: The Fallacy of Misplaced Concreteness (Kyle was right, Joe had it wrong)

Newatlas.com: Scientists establish freaky two-way communications with lucid dreamers

Cell.com: Real-time dialogue between experimenters and dreamers during REM sleep (the actual study)

Youtube: Qualia Research Institute’s video (that’s causing debate in the facebook group)

Matthew Segall’s appearance on Psychedelics Today

Marijuanamoment.net: Alex Jones Says Secret Government Program Uses Psychedelics To Communicate With Aliens

Alien Information Theory: Psychedelic Drug Technologies and the Cosmic Game, by Andrew R. Gallimore

Recursion, by Blake Crouch


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Feb 26, 2021
PT232 - Dr. Ryan Westrum - Who We Are Without Medicine
01:06:21

In this episode, Kyle interviews clinical psychologist focusing on sexual trauma, health, and identity, and author of The Psychedelics Integration Handbook, Dr. Ryan Westrum.

Westrums' biggest focus and conversation with clients right now in our age of Covid concerns who we are without medicine- how we fill the liminal states between our sessions or rituals. He talks a lot about the work people can do on their own now: learning to listen to our inner healers, honing and sharpening what we already know, stretching ourselves, listening to the different parts of our intuition (our physical bodies, emotional hearts, and cognitive thinking) and realigning when one is out of sync, and maybe the most important lesson: embracing the idea that self-work doesn't have to be built on trials and tribulations, and often, challenging ourselves to use our hands and practicing something we know we're good at or getting back into a long-forgotten hobby can be just as effective towards growth and feeling better about ourselves. 

He also talks about solitude, how to use technology the right way and not fall into false engagement, what safety means to people in today's climate, the importance of tethering yourself to trustworthy allies, how psychedelics and his work with sexuality converge, and how to embrace the wonder and beauty of what we discover through psychedelics in everyday life.

Notable Quotes

“We have to consciously watch what we’re consuming, being prudently aware of this mindful consumption rather than this inappropriate consuming of information when we don’t even know why we just touched our phone or why we just engaged in learning more. Without sounding blasphemous (because I love the internet), what’s it for? What are we doing it for? ...How often are you getting lost in people you don’t even know? And how often are you reaching out to people that could actually be there for you? And it leads to psychedelic medicine work- are you leaning on the people that could actually support you?” 

“What is the higher level of intention we’re living? If we are going to take the challenge to dive into medicine work by ourselves, we should still be constructing something that’s higher level, and to speak volumes of motivating the purpose of why we’re doing it. If you’re just doing it to do it because you think that’s the next thing, I’d ask you: what are you doing in your life away from the medicine?” 

“Some of the most amazing transcendences are personal, and without being disrespectful to the medicine, do we need it to evoke that? Is that a state of being that we can find within ourselves through evocative breathing, through a great song, sexual pleasure with your partner, whatever? There’s other avenues. That’s what that leads me to, is the plethora of opportunity outside of taking psilocybin or doing an ayahuasca ceremony- [the] plethora of experiential experiences that are very evocative towards healing.”

“Without going into hours of conversation, even in couples, people are unaware of what they can share, unaware of entering into what they want to ask for. And that’s where the intersection of psychedelics happens, is it gives them this embodied expression of: ‘This is genuinely who I am, sexually, emotionally, spiritually,’ and it’s quite beautiful.”

Links

Healingsoulsllc.com

The Psychedelics Integration Handbook, by Ph.D. Ryan Westrum

His last appearance on the podcast

Thelightphone.com


About Dr. Ryan Westrum

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Feb 23, 2021
PTSF47 - Covid, Ketamine, and Human Rights
01:12:45

In today’s Solidarity Fridays episode, Kyle and Joe are joined from Mexico by freelance journalist (who has been featured here several times) and writer of Your Psilocybin Mushroom Companion, Michelle Janikian. They first get into an email from a listener in Costa Rica highlighting a problem Michelle has seen in Mexico (and that mirrors last week's discussion about ayahuasca gatherings): expats' disregard for Covid safety protocols showing an egotistical disrespect for the communities that have welcomed them.

The episode then shifts to a bit of a callback to the early days of solidarity, with fewer philosophical ponderings and a whole lot of articles (just scroll down to view the wall of links). From ketamine reducing suicidality (and is ketamine a cure-all silver bullet or just an overhyped respite?) to a Rick Strassman-backed study of DMT for stroke patients, to a college in Jamaica opening a Field-Trip backed psilocybin lab, to Vermont and New Jersey's progress on decriminalization bills, to a discussion on if drug laws violate human rights, to extremely mainstream Vogue and Rolling Stone both reporting on psychedelics, this episode has it all. And yes, it does also include anti-government and drug war rants from Joe, so it's truly a complete episode. 

And if you forgot, the next round of Navigating Psychedelics for Clinicians and Therapists goes live on 3/11, the new, cheaper, student-focused version of Navigating Psychedelics starts on March 2nd, and our giveaway to win 2 Sasha Shulgin books ends today, so smash that link to win! 

Notable Quotes

“If we are at home working with psychedelics because we can’t do group work, I think it’s still really important to be talking about it with other like-minded folks, because when we don’t have any community and we just are using psychedelics, it can get a little delusional. ...We can still take psychedelics, but we have to live in reality.” -Michelle 

“Everybody’s saying psychedelic integration is important [and it] makes me roll my eyes. Like, yea, true, but how many times do we have to say it? I guess ‘until everyone’s doing it’ is the answer.” -Joe

“A lot of my anxiety and depression stems from an existential, spiritual root, and a lot of my experiences with breathwork or psychedelics in the past would get me there and provide that deep level of insight of: ‘I have a choice here.’ And it allowed me to change my relationship (or at least provide insight on how I could change my relationship to that), but then coming back to do the work was the challenge. Like, ‘Oh shit, I need to actually change this. And how do I do that?’” -Kyle

“Ok, Federal government: what can you do to win my trust back? And I don’t know what the answer is, honestly. I don’t think I will, at large, ever really trust the US Federal government. I don’t really hold out hope that I’ll trust them again in my lifetime because they’ve shown to be a corrupt, gross, crony, capitalist system that does not care about human well-being.” -Joe (big shock)

Links

Michellejanikian.com

Michelle's last appearance on Psychedelics Today

This Week in Virology podcast

Esperanzamazateca.com: Donate to help the people of Huautla de Jimenez

Newatlas.com: Regular oral doses of ketamine significantly reduce suicidal thoughts

Notion.so: Contemplating the complexities of being in relationship with substances

Proactiveinvestors.com: Algernon targeting psychedelic drug DMT for stroke program

Iflscience.com: Psychedelic Drug DMT To Be Trialed On Stroke Victims

Playboy.com: Can Microdosing Make You a Better Athlete?

Iflscience.com: “Spirit Molecule” DMT Keeps Cells Alive When Oxygen Levels Are Low

Vogue.com: Could the Embrace of Psychedelics Lead to a Mental-Health Revolution?

Rollingstone.com: Will the Federal Government Finally Embrace the Psychedelic Revolution?

Marijuanamoment.net: New Vermont Bill Would Decriminalize Psychedelics And Kratom (from last year)

Vtdigger.org: Lawmakers, prosecutor say it’s time for Vermont to decriminalize drugs (update)

Our.Today: UWI opens Caribbean’s first ‘magic mushroom’ lab in Jamaica

Psych.prohibitionpartners.com: St. Vincent and the Grenadines Launch Psychedelics Initiative

Theatlantic.com: Do Psychedelic Drug Laws Violate Human Rights?


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Feb 19, 2021
PT231 - Dr. Hassan Tetteh - Human Care Over Health Care
01:09:34

In this episode, Kyle interviews board-certified heart and lung transplant surgeon and author, most recently of The Art of Human Care, Dr. Hassan Tetteh.

Tetteh talks about his book, a "manifesto of sorts" about what human care is in relation to what we traditionally see in standard health care and how the model is rooted in empathy and listening, and was inspired greatly by both his near-death experience with bacterial meningitis (and seeing what it was like to be a helpless patient) and his work with transcendental meditation (which has helped him deal with past trauma and connect him more with the here and now).

He talks about his Human Care "LEARN" framework, an amazing "Death Over Dinner" experience where he and randomly-assigned strangers contemplated 3 simple (but not so simple) questions over dinner, how he sees death as a doctor and as someone who came close to death himself, how to discover what a patient's purpose is, and why he's excited about psychedelics becoming medicines.

Notable Quotes

“I’ve told this to my colleagues- I said, ‘I think everyone in healthcare should have an experience where they feel like they almost died as part of their educational experience,’ because sometimes, it takes that empathy to really identify and relate to some of the patients that you’re taking care of, but more importantly, I think gives you this real deep sense ...of gratitude, and this longing desire to ask yourself, always: ‘Why did that happen?’”

“I think death, in its natural form, is absolutely something that’s going to happen. It’s just the way we’re designed. We have a beginning, we have a middle, and we have an end. And I think it’s our duty and our responsibility, in my opinion, to make your life as meaningful as possible while you’re here, so that in your death, your music continues to play, so to speak. Bob Marley, to me, is never going to die.” 

“A lot of patients will come to seek medical attention with a so-called complaint or an issue, and it turns out that if you do take that time (like you said) to listen and empathize and sort of understand what their now is, you’ll realize, ‘Hey wait a minute, they’re not really here for the problem they told me about. They’re seeking something else.’”

“If you give someone a minute or two, they’ll tell you a lot. But you know what you have to do in that whole time? Don’t interrupt them.” 

“We don’t have the monopoly on the best healthcare, because no, that’s been done for ages, well before we came into existence.” 

Links

Doctortetteh.com

Twitter

Facebook

The Art of Human Care, by Hassan A. Tetteh

Bluezones.com


About Dr. Hassan Tetteh

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Feb 16, 2021
PTSF 46 - Patents, Prohibition, Health, and Happiness
01:02:12

In today’s Solidarity Fridays episode, Kyle and Joe cover several news stories, including the University of Wisconsin-Madison creating a Psychoactive Pharmaceutical Investigation masters program, a non-profit called the Healing Advocacy Fund being created to implement therapeutic-use psilocybin in Oregon, legislature in Hawaii filing a new bill to legalize therapeutic-use psilocybin and psilocin (and remove them from their Schedule I controlled substances list), Cambridge, Massachusetts joining its neighbor, Somerville, in decriminalizing entheogenic plants, and the biggest story: Compass Pathways attempting to patent such common aspects of psilocybin-assisted therapy as soft furniture, muted colors, and providing "reassuring physical contact." This leads to a discussion on patents and what companies are really trying to do with this behavior. 

They then discuss why mescaline isn't researched more, why psychedelic exceptionalism is a problem, Dr. Carl Hart, The Weeknd, and one of everyone's favorite topics: the drug war and why it sucks.

And they let us know that seats for the next round of Navigating Psychedelics for Clinicians and Therapists (beginning March 11th) are about half full (so sign up!), the panel discussion on "Light Years" with director Colin Thompson is happening tonight (so hurry up and register for it!), Mind Bending, Mind Mending - A Series Exploring How Psychedelics Affect the Brain premieres on February 22nd with the first edition on Ketamine and featuring Kyle and Dr. Melanie Blair Pincus, and a new, cheaper, student-focused version of Navigating Psychedelics has been created and begins on March 2nd. 

Notable Quotes

“Are we in a little bit of a fantasy land when we’re trying to separate ourselves from the rest of drug culture? Big portions of psychedelic culture overlap with other portions of other drug cultures. And we’re not mutually exclusive. We’re prosecuted and surveilled by the same government agencies. Prohibition hits us all really hard.” -Joe

“I think that’s how a lot of politicians win votes, is by being ‘tough on drugs’ when we should be tough on the drug war.” -Joe

“What does it really cost to end the drug war? What do we save by ending the drug war? It’s probably actually better for culture to end the drug war than to medicalize psychedelics. It’s going to be cheaper, we’re going to have a lot of our citizenry back, we’re going to have less felons, ...much less racist culture, all of that. I know this is Psychedelics Today and once in a while, I feel like I’m going, “This is Drug War Today!’ but this is just a thing that keeps coming back to me, and I think it’s important that we examine our cultural baggage around our traditions. Should we really be demonizing people who use PCP? I don’t think so.” -Joe

Links

Vice.com: Can a Company Patent the Basic Components of Psychedelic Therapy?

Psychedelicstoday.com: End of the Road - Navigating Psychedelics and Patent Law

Dmtx.org

University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Psychoactive Pharmaceutical Investigation, MS program

Opb.org: New nonprofit aims to advise on creation of Oregon’s psilocybin-assisted therapy system

Healingadvocacyfund.org

Marijuanamoment.net: Hawaii Could Legalize Psychedelic Mushroom Therapy Under New Senate Bill

Benzinga.com: Boston Suburb Votes To Decriminalize Natural Psychedelics

Fieldtripping.fm podcast: #13: The Best Kind of Counter-Culture: Drug Using Criminal Rick Doblin, Pt. 1

Mescaline: A Global History of the First Psychedelic, by Mike Jay

Drug Use for Grown-Ups: Chasing Liberty in the Land of Fear, by Dr. Carl L. Hart

Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs, by Johann Hari


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Feb 12, 2021
PT230 - Penny White of NeonMind Biosciences
01:10:02

In this episode, Joe interviews Vancouver-based serial entrepreneur, co-founder, president, and CEO of Better Plant Sciences Inc., and founder and CEO of NeonMind Biosciences, Penny White. 

White works to take companies public, and was running Better Plant Sciences before creating NeonMind as a subsidiary, largely inspired by Michael Pollan and research by scientists at the University of British Columbia who were looking to treat addiction with CBD.  Now that NeonMind has successfully gone public (which just happened at the end of December), her goals with the company are to develop a protocol around using psilocybin to tackle obesity (they're in pre-clinical trials now and have 5 patents filed), to work more with medicinal mushrooms and sell products with proven health claims (they sell mushroom coffees now), and eventually get into work involving drug addiction and preventing the effects of Alzheimer's- also likely with psilocybin. 

This podcast feels like a meeting of 2 minds fully immersed in the psychedelic world having a bit of a check-in about where we find ourselves at the beginning of 2021. Among other topics, they talk about NeonMind's path, taking companies public, how cannabis and psilocybin are regulated in Canada, the benefits of being able to prescribe psilocybin, the worries of oversaturation in Oregon, and the complications of trying to make legal cannabis businesses work in federally-illegal land.

Notable Quotes

“It’s cool for younger people who are coming of age and having money for the first time and deciding what to do with it, and people that are just interested in promoting things they believe in. It’s an opportunity for people to say: ‘I love the idea of psychedelics becoming legal or becoming available as drugs to help humanity, and so I’m going to buy some of this stock.’ It’s empowering in a way.”

“We may end up doing some compound work. We may end up looking at other mushrooms and maybe combining more than just one compound- psilocybin maybe being the key compound. So we’re still at the early stages of what we’re doing, but by no means would we ever have any kind of monopoly on the use of psilocybin. I mean, it’s a plant, right?” 

“There’s a lot of people who really very religiously rely on the advice of their doctor, and for them, health is going to your doctor and doing what your doctor says. And so, a lot of people won’t have access to alternative medicines unless they’re prescribed by their doctor. I think those people are going to benefit the most from a drug that contains psilocybin that can be prescribed.” 

“I’m still very, very interested in drug addiction and how psychedelics can help people get off drugs, and so, if I come across any companies that are focused on this, any clinical work- if I can get involved in that or help in any way, to be a co-sponsor, something like that- that would be something I’d be really interested in.” 

Links

NeonMind.com

NeonMindbiosciences.com

Betterplantsciences.com

Finance.yahoo.com: NeonMind Announces Closing of Oversubscribed Initial Public Offering and Exercise in Full of the Agent's Over-Allotment Option

Dosed


About Penny White

Penny is a serial entrepreneur with over two decades of experience building companies. She was recognized in PROFIT Magazine's W100 most successful entrepreneurs and her private company was included in PROFIT 500 Fastest-Growing companies in 2015 and 2016. She is also Co-founder, President and CEO of Better Plant Sciences Inc. (CSE: PLNT, OTCQB: VEGGF). She was an initial officer and director for 2 years at Merus Labs Inc. (TSX: MSL), a speciality pharmaceutical company focused on acquiring and optimizing legacy and growth products, which was acquired by Norgine B.V. for $342 million in 2017.

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Feb 09, 2021
PTSF 45
01:06:01

In today’s Solidarity Fridays episode, Kyle and Joe first talk about some great news stories pushing forward the psychedelic movement: Massachusetts General Hospital creating the Center for Neuroscience of Psychedelics with backing from Atai Life Sciences, Florida pushing forward a bill to establish a legal therapeutic-use psilocybin model similar to Oregon's (with a task force responsible for studying psilocybin), Connecticut pushing forward their own much simpler bill to establish their own psilocybin-studying task force, and a recent study using fMRI to examine brain connectivity that found that under the influence of LSD, the relationship between anatomy and brain structure on brain function (similar to phrenology) weakens, thereby allowing the brain to explore other functional connectivity patterns. 

They then dive into the hot and oddly polarizing topic of ayahuasca centers continuing to hold ceremonies with as many as 80 people and 3 sessions a week during a time when people should be doing their best to avoid large groups for the hopeful eradication of the constant thorn in our side known as Covid-19. Even for centers testing people before allowing entry, tests aren't 100% accurate, and that only really addresses people's time at the center and not the travel and interactions afterward. When considering risk management and harm reduction, do people attending these events really need to do this now? Could talk therapy or breathwork over the internet (or taking LSD or psilocybin safely with a trusted friend) be a temporary tide over until gathering in large groups is safe again? What's ethical here?

And they let us know about what's going on at Psychedelics Today: the next round of Navigating Psychedelics for Clinicians and Therapists (beginning March 11th (yea, 311!)), a giveaway to win 2 Sasha Shulgin books, a "Light Years" panel discussion on February 12th with director, Colin Thompson, 2 new class offerings, a project to help religious leaders learn more about psychedelics, and a new, cheaper, student-focused version of Navigating Psychedelics, which begins on March 2nd. 

Notable Quotes

“A lot of people fear that folks like you and I and the psychedelic culture at large might destroy this whole medicalization thing by perhaps being too wreckless, making regulators nervous. But I think because a huge money company like Atai and Mass General are working on this (and there’s so many other big institutions), that this is the kind of ballast that would resist any kind of backslide into a deepening of the drug war. ...This is a nice way to say, ‘Ok, we can’t really go backwards from here.’” -Joe

“Politics is regularly about gambling: ‘What is going to be politically popular, possibly make a big difference, or get me re-elected?’ And it’s kind of a weird political calculus that people have to make. The fact that politicians in these states are willing to put their name on the line and say, ‘Hey, I believe in this. I think you should too’- that’s a pretty big deal. They’re spending their political capital. Whereas years ago, it would have been maybe, ‘Let’s stop the Iraq war,’ now, it’s: ‘Let’s get these people treatment with psilocybin’ and that’s really cool progress.” -Joe

“When you’re talking about magical thinking and ‘The spirit of ayahuasca’s going to protect me,’ well, I guess we have to look back into history- did shamanistic beliefs help protect a lot of Indigenous people that fell ill from a lot of the European sicknesses and disease that came over in the early years? ... A lot of people died from illness being transmitted within those communities.” -Kyle 

“Does your organization have a contact tracing plan? Even if you have a contact tracing plan and testing, that doesn’t mean that people aren’t going to die as a result of you doing this” -Joe

Links

Bostonglobe.com: Mass General to conduct research on how psychedelics affect the brain

Marijuanamoment.net: Psychedelic Mushroom Bills Filed In Florida And Connecticut As Movement Expands To Multiple States

Psypost.org: Neuroscience study indicates that LSD “frees” brain activity from anatomical constraints

Sciencedirect.com: LSD alters dynamic integration and segregation in the human brain

Mindmatters.ai: Why Pioneer Neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield Said the Mind is More Than the Brain

Brainpickings.org: William James on Consciousness and the Four Features of Transcendent Experiences

Entheonation.com: What Are the Coronavirus Risks with Ayahuasca Ceremonies?

Thedailybeast.com: Drug Ritual is ‘Biologically Explosive’ During COVID. Some Devotees Don't Care.

Psychedelics Today giveaway: PiHKAL: A Chemical Love Story and TiHKAL: The Continuation, by Sasha & Ann Shulgin

Psychedelics Today: “Light Years” panel discussion with director, Colin Thompson

Psychedelics Today: Connecting Clergy


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Feb 05, 2021
PT229 - Dr. Matthew Johnson - What is Consciousness?
01:12:11

In this episode, Kyle and Joe interview Dr. Matthew Johnson: Professor at Johns Hopkins, writer of the recent paper, "Consciousness, Religion, and Gurus: Pitfalls of Psychedelic Medicine," and researcher (with others) on several trials through Johns Hopkins involving psilocybin: for smoking cessation, anorexia, mood and effects of early-stage Alzheimer's, opioid addiction, post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome, co-morbid alcoholism with depression, and soon, LSD for chronic pain. 

Johnson talks about his paper, which largely deals with the ambiguity of the term "consciousness" and how it applies to David Chalmers' hard problem, and asks many philosophical questions: What is consciousness? What is phenomenal consciousness? Are things that seem like you actually similar? Do they have similar experiences or agency? How would you even know? If you built a robot that displays perfectly human-like qualities similar to yours and appears to have agency and experience, does it? Can you prove that it doesn't? 

They also talk about how clinicians and investigators bringing their own religious and spiritual frameworks to psychedelic and breathwork sessions can create unnecessary expectations and narratives and make many people think the experience isn't for them, the theory that the default mode network decoupling just makes you feel not quite yourself and that this action can be observed with other non-psychedelic drugs, access consciousness, how it’s ok to feel things that can’t be proven scientifically, shamans, gurus, and the idea of enlightenment, the nuance in everything, and the beneficial sense of ownership people feel after getting through a challenging psychedelic session.

Notable Quotes

“It may very well be that the default mode network is a key or one of the keys that explains quintessential psychedelic effects, although it’s also possible that it’s not so special- that it explains maybe some of the effects sometimes, and that these aren’t so quintessentially psychedelic.” 

“You don’t have to pretend like you have the answers. I don’t know, frankly, I think we’d all be better off if physicians had more humility. …There’s a whole lot about the human body we don’t know.”

“Whether we’re talking about a Richard Dawkins style- you know, kind of a hard atheist who might be inclined to be of the spaghetti monster variety-appreciating person, or whether it be [a] Muslim- like, do we want a statue of a Buddha to tell either of those people that ‘this is not for you’ if they’re incredibly suffering from end-of-life anxiety, if they’re suffering from a decades-long addiction, if they’re depressed and are at risk of suicide? I don’t know, it just seems like we really need to think: how is this going to play out in the world and how are we really going to help people? Do we really want someone to think, ‘Oh no, this stuff is for hippies or new age folks’? They might be a political conservative, they might be a veteran, they might be someone who would never touch an illicit drug in their life. Do we want those types of people saying, ‘This is not for me’? I just see these as human experiences.”

“One of the reasons why psychedelics and probably breathwork can be so effective is that people are doing their own heavy lifting. ...At least in the type of work that [I do in] clinical research with psychedelics, people come out feeling they have done (rightfully so) the heavy lifting. It’s not like, ‘Oh, I took some pill, and thanks to Pfizer, who was able to figure out a way to manipulate my serotonin system, I’m feeling better. Thanks to Doc So-and-so who knew that I needed Lexapro rather than Prozac.’ It’s like, ‘No, you faced your own demons, dude. You did the hard work. You cried your heart out about that thing you did you don’t feel good about and you came out with a laundry list of what you need to fix with your life, and with this renewed sense because you feel like you’ve earned it.’”  

Links

"Consciousness, Religion, and Gurus: Pitfalls of Psychedelic Medicine," by Matthew W. Johnson

The Hard Problem of Consciousness explanation

Hopkinspsychedelic.org

Clinicaltrials.gov


About Dr. Matthew Johnson

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Feb 02, 2021
PTSF 44 (with Colin Thompson, director of "Light Years")
01:13:34

In today’s Solidarity Fridays episode, Kyle (or "Jimmy New Jersey")'s spot is taken by Vermont-based filmmaker Colin Thompson, and Joe interviews him about his newest movie, "Light Years," released in 2019 with help from Free Association (Channing Tatum's production company). 

Thompson, a very sarcastic and down-to-earth writer and director, talks about his past films, the trials and tribulations of making a movie and trying to sell it, how Free Association got involved, Phish, Rickie Lee Jones, and the importance of good music to film, how a heroic dose of mushrooms and a sunrise hike helped him complete the movie, why there aren't more psychedelic films, and how it came to be that he ended up playing nearly every part in a movie that he originally didn't want to be in at all. 

“Light Years” is summarized on imdb.com as: "A thirty-something man goes on an annual cosmic vision quest to visit a dead friend. But a stick gets stuck in the spokes of his psychedelia and in every face, friends and family alike, his own looks back at him. All but his dead friend." You can buy or rent Light Years on Amazon.

Notable Quotes

“I wanted to make 'Superbad,' but on mushrooms.”

“There is a lot of hysteria, obviously, in tripping your nards off, but also, with the waves and the troughs of a trip, it’s a lot like the conflict resolution that you want with every scene in a movie that you’re just kind of bouncing in and out of. And anything that doesn’t have that kind of conflict gets left on the editing room floor. So you always want that push and pull.”

“It was up on top of that mountain in Malibu where the line from the movie came to me, because it was my mantra of however many hours as I was walking and the sun was coming up and I was losing my fucking marbles. But in those peaceful valleys, I kept saying to myself- I was like: ‘When it’s not scary, it’s fun. When it’s not scary, it’s fun. When it’s not scary, it’s fun.’ As with life.”

“We did this little kind of animated short. It’s longer than it feels. It’s on the lightyearsmovie.com page. If you scroll down a little bit, it’s called “I was not supposed to be in this movie.” And there you see me. And I do an explanation on how this all came to be. It’s like a lengthy trailer and a disclaimer, that is much like the last almost 38 years of my life: one lengthy disclaimer.”

Links

Lightyearsmovie.com

Loser’s Crown Productions

Buy or rent "Light Years" on Amazon

Imdb.com: "Malibu Road"

Imdb.com: "Crystal Fairy & the Magical Cactus"

Tripintolove.com: Watch “Debbie & Doug Drop Acid in the Desert”

Bandcamp.com: the range of light wilderness 


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Jan 29, 2021
PT228 - Deborah Snyder from Synergetic Press
01:17:12

In this episode, Joe interviews Director of ecological think tank The Institute of Ecotechnics, and publisher and CEO of Synergetic Press, Deborah Snyder.

Snyder talks about her past- meeting people from the Institute of Ecotechnics at a conference about the solar system, time working with Richard Evans Schultes, participating in a traveling theatre company, and the early days of the Heraclitus (a research ship built for a 2-year expedition through the Amazon, which is now being rebuilt to soon visit and chronicle remote coastal cultures). She also discusses Biosphere 2, ecotechnics (the discipline of relating the technosphere to the biosphere), regenerative agriculture, and the idea of natural capital- assigning economic (or other) value to an ecosystem as a way of both identifying keys to ecological longevity and increasing corporate or governmetal interest in the environment. 

She talks about books she's published or work she's been inspired by from a veritable who's-who of names listeners of this podcast should be familiar with: Dennis McKenna, Wade Davis, William S. Burroughs, Mark Plotkin, Ralph Metzner, John Perry Barlow, and Claudio Naranjo. And she's very excited about a 2-day symposium Synergetic Press will be putting on in May to commemorate the launch of Volume 1 of Sasha Shulgin's course curriculum on the nature of drugs. 

Notable Quotes

“I’m from Illinois. I’m from the rural midwest. All my family are farmers. There is a gulf of understanding about plant medicines and the potential of these medicines in places where people are really desperate for these kinds of tools to help with youth health and mental well-being- good well-being. So, I’m interested in bridging that gulf with the work that we’re doing next, because I think that part of the divide is this physical divide between suburban city and rural country to some degree, which we’ve seen growing over a 50-year period of time.”

“Many of our shoulders on which we stand- we’re losing them. So I feel more necessity, you might say, to capture these voices.”

“In doing anything, it’s very hard to do anything by yourself. You need to find a group of other individuals that have some commonality or ally yourself with other organized groups already to get something of a coalescence of wills to make something happen.” 

Links

Synergeticpress.com

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Youtube

Institute of Ecotechnics

Changing Our Minds: Psychedelic Sacraments and the New Psychotherapy, by Don Lattin

Where The Gods Reign: Plants and Peoples of the Colombian Amazon, by Richard Evans Schultes

Imdb.com: Embrace of the Serpent

White Gold: the Diary of a Rubber Cutter in the Amazon, by John C. Yungjohann

Ayahuasca Reader: Encounters with the Amazon's Sacred Vine, by Luis Eduardo Luna & Steven F. White

Kissthegroundmovie.com

Birth of a Psychedelic Culture, by Ram Das and Ralph Metzner

Wikipedia.org: John Perry Barlow

Spaceshipearthmovie.com

The Revolution We Expected: Cultivating a New Politics of Consciousness, by Claudio Naranjo

Thefarmatsouthmountain.com


About Deborah Snyder

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Navigating Psychedelics

 

Jan 26, 2021
PTSF 43
33:40

In today’s Solidarity Fridays episode, Kyle and Joe cover a crazy story about a man who injected psilocybin tea, only to end up having fungi grow in his blood and put him into organ failure. They question the logistics of this and wonder if it’s ever happened before, but Joe has since found an article reporting that this did happen back in 1985. So as crazy as it seems, it is absolutely possible. Be careful out there, folks.

They then talk about how the current psychedelic rush is diluting the existing culture, and how we should react to it, comparing it to "Eternal September," the Usenet term for when AOL started mailing out internet disks to millions, providing access to Usenet, and how that affected the long-established and tight-knit Usenet community. This leads to a discussion of what tends to happen in the black market when cannabis is legalized, what lawyers will likely be doing in this space, why outlaw behavior is so attractive to people, and how "plant medicines" is too broad of a term to be used for psychedelics. 

They also talk about Dr. Carl Hart's new book, Drug Use for Grown-Ups: Chasing Liberty in the Land of Fear (which you can win from Psychedelics Today), and let us know that seats are already selling quickly for the next round of Navigating Psychedelics for Clinicians and Therapists, which begins on March 11th. Curious about what you're missing? Head to the page and view the growing collection of glowing testimonials to find out! 

Notable Quotes

“Say you have a small music club and you’re used to 20 people coming, or a social club of some kind, and all of a sudden, 20 people get added every day. At a certain point, culture can’t really persist. That original culture’s going to be so diluted that it’s not necessarily a substantial part of the thing anymore. And I was thinking about this in terms of psychedelics, because there’s so much money coming in. If you’ve come in because of Michael Pollan, you’re part of this new wave. There’s some resistance to it- we see a lot of hate directed at Michael Pollan [and] a lot of these businesses. And I kind of get it- the resentment towards newcomers, but how do we balance that? How do we not turn into vicious defenders of our culture, as opposed to emissaries pushing our values in a nice, positive way? ...There’s plenty of room for cultural dissemination. It’s just: how do we do it skillfully without becoming the thing we don’t want to become?” -Joe

“There’s this whole tradition that has nothing to do with psychedelics, necessarily, and it’s quite multicultural. Plants were largely medicine for huge portions of our history- probably the majority of our history as a species. And now, in the last 60 years or whenever this whole trend started, people say ‘plant medicines’ and they really mean psychedelics, but they don’t want to sully their perception of their preferred plant allies by saying ‘psychedelic.’ They want to differentiate themselves because ‘those LSD users and those heroin users are dirty. But we’re clean.’ ...Carl Hart pointed out that calling yourself a psychonaut or any of these terms that we use in the psychedelic world- it’s sort of mental gymnastics that we use to justify our drug use and vilify other people for their drug use.” -Joe

Links

Insider.com: A man injected himself with 'magic' mushrooms and the fungi grew in his blood, which put him into organ failure

Annals of Emergency Medicine: Intravenous mushroom poisoning

Wikipedia.org: Eternal September

Netflix: “Murder Mountain”

Drug Use for Grown-Ups: Chasing Liberty in the Land of Fear, by Dr. Carl L. Hart

Win a copy of Drug Use for Grown-Ups from Psychedelics Today!

Doubleblindmag.com: Somerville, Massachusetts Decriminalizes Naturally Occurring Psychedelics


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Jan 22, 2021
PT227- Dr. Anne Wagner - Couples Therapy, MDMA, and MAPS
01:07:41

In this episode, Joe interviews Dr. Anne Wagner: Toronto-based clinical psychologist, founder of Remedy (a mental health clinic combining therapy with research through their corresponding Remedy Institute), investigator on the MAPS-sponsored trial on cognitive behavioral conjoint therapy for PTSD, and current lead investigator on MAPS' trial of cognitive processing therapy + MDMA for PTSD. 

She talks about working with Candice Monson in 2013, having her first MDMA therapy session with Michael and Annie Mithoefer a year later, her first couples study on PTSD using MDMA, her MAPS training (she's now a trainer in-training), her passion for relational healing, Remedy and what she hopes to accomplish there, and what she'd like to do next: a larger MDMA couples therapy study with hopes of proving its efficacy towards relationship satisfaction improvement to the point of running a study without PTSD being a factor, and a new protocol combining mindfulness-based work with psilocybin. 

They also talk about the idea of personal optimization and how it relates to community, speaking at psychedelic conferences, behavioral accommodation, psychology's struggles with being accepted in a scientific data world, how to measure what makes a therapist good, and the importance of clinicians-in-training going through extremely in-depth training and doing their own work.

Notable Quotes

On trying MDMA with MAPS: “[I] went and had that therapeutic experience for myself, and was convinced in that moment that this is really, really worth pursuing. And it honestly shifted not only the course of my research, but of my career, my personal life, everything.”

On MDMA being used in therapy: “We saw 6 couples go through this protocol, and it was very compelling. Really, as someone who works with PTSD all the time in my clinical practice and in many different trials over the years, it is the thing that’s excited me the most as a clinician and a researcher, and I feel so much hope for the potential future clients who might get to access this.”

“The advice I really give to people is to try to be an expert in something, and it doesn’t have to be psychedelics. ...So, it could be that you are going to be a therapist. Fantastic. Become an amazing therapist. You could be a statistician. We’re going to need those. Become an amazing statistician. We’re going to need great lawyers, or great people who understand policy- all of these things. I really believe in this model of: become an expert in a skillset, and then apply it to psychedelics.”

“Right now, everything’s focused on the drug- this pharma model of: ‘Is it the drug or the placebo? Which one has more effect?’ When really, I think the question needs to be: ‘Should it be the therapy, or the therapy plus the drug? ...Is it the process, or the process amplified?’”

Links

Remedycentre.ca

Remedy Centre instagram

MAPS: Anne Wagner

MAPS: Overview of current CPT+MDMA Pilot Study


About Dr. Anne Wagner

 

 

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Jan 19, 2021
PTSF 42
01:03:43

In today’s Solidarity Fridays episode, Kyle and Joe talk about last week's incident at the US Capitol and point out that the most recognizable figure from the protest calls himself a shaman and promotes the use of psychedelics. 

This leads to a discussion about how we in the psychedelic community like to believe that psychedelics lead to connection, self-actualization, and love, but they can also lead to crazy ideas, an openness to conspiracy theories, and other dark paths. They talk about how they both went down conspiracy rabbit holes for years, but ultimately came to the realization that while it was all interesting and aligned with their distrust of the government, they couldn't prove any of the conspiracies they were spending so much time looking into, and even if they could, would that really better their lives or the community around them? 

They talk about where we’ve arrived as a culture in terms of trust in the government and other authoritarian institutions, how we're dealing with an unending stream of information constantly being thrown at us, how we decide what truth is, how people unintentionally project their own biases on others, how more people should read philosophy, how we're merging with technology and not using our brains like we should be (like critically thinking), and how we need to practice digital hygiene and really reflect on what we're getting out of our time with social media and the neverending cycle of news and opinions that surrounds us. 

Notable Quotes

“[Pyschedelics have] definitely put a lot of interesting ideas and beliefs in my head from time to time, and I’ll sit there and entertain them, but I feel like, at times, psychedelics have really shown me that I really don’t know much about anything.” -Kyle

“The Tim Leary line- ‘Think for yourself and question authority.’ Totally. But, don’t just listen to what some maniacs are saying on the internet. Like, don’t believe what Kyle and I are saying. Verify. This is a cryptocurrency line- don’t trust, verify. ...One of the great things that psychedelics have baked in is that they work. You can have MDMA or DMT or ayahuasca and you can come back and report back. It’s the substance interacting with the psyche and the body- nothing to do with what Kyle and Joe say, hopefully.” -Joe

“I hope everybody continues to do their thing [and] express however they want to express on the internet. But I think there is something about that [idea of] digital hygiene that we just should be aware of. Like, what are you consuming? And is it draining you? Is it motivating you? Is it inspiring you?” -Kyle

“Psychedelics can be used in really whack ways. They can also be used in really amazing ways. So let’s try to be really intentional about how we can use them in amazing ways, and same thing with our standard other technologies.” -Joe

Links

Thesun.co.uk: QAnon ‘shaman’ Jake Angeli first got high aged 11, takes psychedelic cactus & used to go to school dressed as Brad Pitt

Scientificamerican.com: There’s No Good Evidence That Psychedelics Can Change Your Politics or Religion

Robert Forte’s appearance on Pyschedelics Today: The Hidden History of Psychedelics

The Mass Psychology of Fascism, by Wilhelm Reich

R. Buckminster Fuller’s concept of ephemeralization

Principles: Life and Work, by Ray Dalio

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, by Cal Newport

Program or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age, by Douglas Rushkoff

The Smell of Rain on Dust: Grief and Praise, by Martín Prechtel

Youtube: Adam Curtis’ documentary: “HyperNormalisation- A different experience of reality”


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Jan 15, 2021
PT226 - Veronika Gold & Harvey Schwartz from Polaris Insight Center
01:24:59

In this episode, Kyle interviews psychologist and licensed marriage and family therapist, Veronika Gold, and author and clinical psychologist, Harvey Schwartz. They are co-founders (and Gold is the CEO) of Polaris Insight Center in San Francisco, which offers ketamine-assisted psychotherapy. Together, they work as co-therapists, as trainers on ketamine-assisted psychotherapy through Polaris Insight Center, and as investigators in MAPS' Phase 3 MDMA-assisted psychotherapy clinical trial for the treatment of PTSD. 

They talk about their training model, the benefits of co-therapy and how a leader/apprentice co-therapy model is likely the future of therapy training, the importance of doing your own work as a therapist, the arguments for therapists not taking drugs, the subtle hierarchal and approval-seeking games uncovered in training, how working with ketamine today is like raising a teenager, the "mystery and mastery" in therapy, medicine, and psychedelics, and the casualties of the mental health care system and the importance of de-programming patients from the effects of its abuses.

Notable Quotes

“We almost need to create a culture. That’s what we’re trying to do in our training- to create a culture of courage and [fearlessness], honesty about ourselves and about the work, and humility and vulnerability, and to have as much of an egalitarian approach to our patients and clients as possible- for many reasons, but one of the main ones is to, in a way, undo the damage that many of them have had by being in the mental health system for as long as they’ve been in the mental health system, because so much gets laid down in terms of programming about worthlessness or failure or ‘it’s their fault.’ So, I feel like a big part of this model is not just giving the medicine and doing the protocol, but kind of imbuing the person with a whole new worldview about what their struggle means and what their struggle is about. ...It’s almost like de-programming them from the mental health systems’ long-term effect on their sense of self and their identity.” -Harvey Schwartz

“Mastery and mystery both have risks, both have shadows. And I think teaching that is really important so that everybody learns about humility by walking down the center path between these possible errors that we could all make- being too rigid, or being too loosey-goosey.” -Harvey Schwartz

“The clients do report different experiences, even with the same doses of the medicine. And is it just the set and setting, or is it just the music, or is it really the space that we hold that allows the patient’s psyche to go deeper, to go to the inner-healing intelligence, to access things that will be safely held in that space? That maybe this inner-healing intelligence knows that if that something was not welcome or supported, it’s not going to bring it out because it would be re-traumatizing for them?” -Veronika Gold

“Psilocybin’s been on the planet for thousands of years. Iboga, thousands of years. Ayahuasca. These medicines, I feel like, have thousands of interdimensional spiritual support systems between ancestors, and it’s been going on for a long time. Ketamine is like a teenager in the spirit world, I feel like. And so, in a sense, we are really having a chance to impact the morphogenetic field in a greater level than these other things which have been around so long. So all the things we do, every session we have, I think of this. And all of our trainings, we’re kind of adding into this, helping this teenage form of therapy grow up and steward it in the way that we think it should be stewarded from the point of view of serving in the best possible ways, the safest possible ways, and the most expansive possible ways. So it’s kind of existing to be raising a teenager.” -Harvey Schwartz

Links

Polarisinsight.com


About VeronikaGold, LMFT

Veronika Gold, a psychologist from the Czech Republic and a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in California, has expertise in the treatment of anxiety, depression, and PTSD. She is a co-founder and CEO of Polaris Insight Center in San Francisco, clinic providing Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy treatment for depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other mental health issues. She is also a lead trainer in the Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy Training offered by Polaris Insight Center. She is a sub-investigator and a co-therapist at San Francisco Insight and Integration Center, site participating in Phase 3 MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy clinical trial for the treatment of PTSD sponsored by MAPS, and she is an associate supervisor for Phase 2 trial in Europe. Veronika Gold is as well EMDR therapist, consultant, and volunteer facilitator for the EMDR Humanitarian Assistance Program. She is a certified Somatic Experiencing Practitioner and a Realization Process Teacher. Veronika provides Psychedelic Integration Therapy and serves as an article writer, consultant, trainer, and presenter on Psychedelic Assisted Therapies.Dr. Harvey Schwartz

About Dr. Harvey Schwartz

Harvey Schwartz has worked as a licensed Clinical Psychologist in private practice in San Francisco since 1985, and is Co-founder of Polaris Insight Center. He received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Emory University, Atlanta, GA. in 1982.
He has specialized in treating complex PTSD, severe dissociative disorders, survivors of organized abuse experiences, and individuals working on psycho-spiritual development. Harvey has undergone training in psychedelic psychotherapy with the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) and the Ketamine Training Center (KTC), and served as a trainer in two KTC trainings, and currently served as a Sub-Investigator and co-therapist on the MAPS MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy Phase 2/3 Clinical Trials for treatment-resistant PTSD. Harvey is an associate supervisor for the MAPS sponsored clinical trials in Europe.

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Jan 12, 2021
PTSF 41 (with Mendel Kaelen of Wavepaths)
01:09:57

In today’s Solidarity Fridays episode, Kyle takes the week off and Joe jumps into the podcast backlog for his conversation with who he describes as "the world's foremost expert in music for psychedelic sessions," neuroscientist and founder and CEO of Wavepaths, Mendel Kaelen. 

Kaelen talks about his first mushroom experience in a Meow Wolf-like house and his realization of the similarities between psychedelic and musical experiences leading to the creation of Wavepaths. He talks about what Wavepaths has done (experiments in facilitating psychedelic (and healing) experiences through environments specifically designed to create those experiences through music that changes based on the individual and by attending to all senses for a completely immersive experience), what they're doing next (an app that should be released soon to help people do this at home), and what they hope for the future (a mental healthcare system based less on drugs and more on experiences). 

But they mostly talk about the power of music: how music is psychedelic, how listening to music can be an experience itself, and how music can be a healer. For anyone who has ever had a life-changing experience due to music, or has had a rush of overwhelming emotions just from hearing a familiar melody- for anyone who still turns their phone off, puts on headphones and truly listens to music they love rather than just throwing on a computer-generated playlist as background noise, this is the podcast for you.

Notable Quotes

“I always used to say that psychedelic mushrooms were my first introduction into altered states of consciousness, but then at some point, I realized that music actually was.”

“When we project into the future and ask how mental healthcare can be (and maybe should be) revolutionized, in my opinion, it will become more and more experiential. Therapists and facilitators of all sorts will be more and more acknowledging and understanding [of] the importance of experience.” 

“Music itself really can be a psychedelic, in the real meaning of the word ‘psychedelic,’ and this is really the vision of Wavepaths- that experiences can be medicine, and that we can, with the right music in the right moment and with the right framing of the music (it’s not only about the music itself, it’s also about the way the music is approached- the way one listens to the music), that music can become this mind-revealing, soul-revealing agent for change.” 

“Music has this immense potential, but that potential, like the potential in psychedelics, is easily lost if those other variables are not taken seriously. And when it comes to music, it’s really comparable to psychedelic therapy. It really has to do with the same elements, like the capacity to be open to music, to be fully open, to be fully moved by the music itself, and on top of that, to be attentive, to be curious, to be engaged with the unfolding of the experience, the imagery, the thoughts, the feelings, the physical sensations- all of that, and how that is in constant flux and change with the musical experience. And if you attend to that, and are capable to surrender to that, you’re carried on a journey. You’re literally carried on a psychedelic journey inside of yourself in the same way as in a psychedelic therapy context.” 

Links

Wavepaths.com

Meowwolf.com

Simplypsychology.org: Carl Rogers


About Mendel

Mendel Kaelen is a musician and post-doctoral neuroscientist, specializing in the function of music in psychedelic therapy. Mendel’s work focuses on unifying contemporary arts, psychotherapies and intelligent technologies into new models of care-giving. Mendel is founder of Wavepaths, a social venture that revisions mental health care by building meaningful communities and creating accessible psychotherapeutic tools. Wavepaths centers around the concept of art works not as objects but as triggers for experiences, with new experiences posited as the most effective way to bring about positive change in identity.

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Jan 08, 2021
PT225 - Gary Michael Smith, Esq. - Psychedelic Law
01:20:05

In this episode, Joe interviews author of Psychedelica Lex, general counsel to the Peyote Way Church of God, founder and president of the Arizona Cannabis Bar Association, and practicing attorney for nearly 30 years, Gary Michael Smith, Esq. 

Smith talks about what he specializes in- the law and how it relates to psychedelics, and what's happening most in his world right now: people trying to create new religions, people fighting for their religions to be legally permitted to use entheogens, and investors rapidly trying to push psilocybin and MDMA through the FDA as prescribable medications. He also talks about the Peyote Way Church of God, the history of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (often referred to as RFRA), the problems with banks and dealing with money attached to illegalities, the complications of fighting for legal drug use and the importance of having established history with entheogens, the antihero aspects and deification of Timothy Leary, Nixon and the scheduling of cannabis, federal patent law, today's speed of knowledge and the youth’s resistance of what they’re being told, and how there's an argument to be made that many of today's existing religions (Christianity, Judaism and Islam, of note) have a right to use entheogens due to their somewhat newly discovered historical use.

Notable Quotes

“The short story is, I went looking for this book and I couldn’t find it. It didn’t exist. So I figured well, heck, if I’m going to have to pull and do all this research, I might as well assemble it into a book and fill the void. So that’s how the book came about- written because nobody else wrote it.”

“There aren’t really any psychedelic lawyers yet. I’m probably the first one to publicly come out and say that I am. And for good reason: there’s really not a lot of business right now that attracts this. But seeing cannabis unfold over the last decade, as I have- it doesn’t really take a genius to figure out that the law is way behind the curve on this, and lawmakers even more behind the curve, and there’s no shame in trying to catch up, or, Heaven forbid, get ahead.”

“I’m advocating a middle ground position where I think that these companies absolutely have a place, I think that they absolutely can do good (it’s not the tool that’s bad, it’s how you use the tool), so what I’d like to see is both the fostering of this licit market where there are companies that can mass-produce and also give people in the West what they’re comfortable with, which is a Western model of medicine. ...I think as long as there is an across-the-board decriminalization so people can still do freely for themselves, let the medical model grow up next to it. There’s no contradiction as far as I’m concerned.” 

Links

Psychedelicalex.com

Peyoteway.org (Peyote Way Church of God)

Guidant.law/gary-smith

Youtube: Interview with Brad Stoddard on Psychedelica Lex (part 1)

Psychedelics Today: Uniform Model Law on Plants and Fungi Medicines: A Better Path to Reregulation, by Gary Michael Smith, Esq.

Wikipedia.org: Religious Freedom Restoration Act

The Sherbert Test info

Wikipedia.org: Employment Division v. Smith

Wikipedia.org: Federal Analogue Act

Youtube: Nixon being a piece of trash

The Most Dangerous Man in America: Timothy Leary, Richard Nixon and the Hunt for the Fugitive King of LSD, by Bill Minutaglio and Steven L. Davis

Autobiography Of A Yogi, by Paramahansa Yogananda

The Sacred Mushroom and The Cross: A study of the nature and origins of Christianity within the fertility cults of the ancient Near East, by John M. Allegro

The Psychedelic Gospels: The Secret History of Hallucinogens in Christianity, by Jerry and Julie Brown


About Gary Michael Smith, Esq.

 

 

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Jan 05, 2021
PTSF 40
01:03:09

In today’s Solidarity Fridays episode, Kyle and Joe have a discussion about spirituality and spiritual development. 

Joe was rubbed the wrong way by a podcast he recently listened to where a previously very psychedelic-oriented Qabalist said that psychedelics didn't really help with spiritual growth. This leads to a discussion built on many questions: what is spiritual development? What is enlightenment? Does drug-taking always need a set intention based on growth? Do "I need a break from bullshit" or "I want to have fun with my friends" count as intentions? And who are we worried will discredit or judge us for having those be our intentions or keys to spiritual development? 

They also touch on religion and their embedded spiritual goals, the importance and power of the communal aspect of some of these experiences, the community that church brings to people and what's changing as more people move away from religion, hypnosis and the dangers of inaccurate or entirely fabricated "memories," the importance of diversifying your tools for growth, the trouble in trying to define shamanism, the problems with therapists and facilitators bringing their own frameworks into sessions rather than letting clients define their own experience, and the unfortunate passing of the Fungi Academy's Oliver Merivee (fundraiser link below). 

Lastly, they remind us that there are only a few spots left for the upcoming Navigating Psychedelics for Clinicians and Therapists class, which begins on January 8th. If you've been considering taking the class, what better time than the new year to take that step? Time to leave 2020 behind and step into 2021 with purpose! 

Happy New Year!

Notable Quotes

“The thing that had me keep coming back to breathwork is that sense of community. And I think a lot of people start to find their community in these medicine spaces and ayahuasca circles and whatnot, because you’re having an experience together and being able to explore and share that, and sometimes these are so vulnerable and so deep experiences- you’re together with a bunch of strangers and you feel like you just shared things or experienced things that you never really experienced with the closest people in your life. And somehow, that creates a sense of meaning or connection that is hard to find elsewhere. It’s interesting to really kind of view the community or community aspect as part of spirituality, in a sense.” -Kyle

“It’s interesting to hear people have these experiences and then have a facilitator say, ‘Yes, that’s what happened to you.’ How do you know? I don’t know. I’ve had plenty of these past life experiences and I have no idea if that was actually real.” -Kyle

“Of course this is a complicated topic, and really messy. We wouldn’t have this many episodes of the podcast if it wasn’t.” -Joe

Links

DMT and the Soul of Prophecy: A New Science of Spiritual Revelation in the Hebrew Bible, by Rick Strassman

Shamanic Qabalah: A Mystical Path to Uniting the Tree of Life & the Great Work, by Daniel Moler

Tantric Physics I & II (Vol.1: Cave of the Numinous, Vol.2: Sacred Body, Sacred Space), by Craig Williams

Thevenusproject.com

Psychologyconcepts.com: The Fallacy of Misplaced Concreteness

Oliver Merivee (founder of the Fungi Academy)’s Memorial Fundraiser


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Jan 01, 2021
PT224 - Dr. Dan Engle - The Concussion Repair Manual
01:13:53

In this episode, Joe interviews Medical Director of the Kuya Institute for Transformational Medicine, consultant to Onnit Labs, consultant to several international treatment centers, and author of one of Joe's most referenced books, The Concussion Repair Manual, Dr. Dan Engle.

Engle is quite knowledgeable when it comes to concussions and traumatic brain injuries and the brain’s ability to heal. He specializes in psychiatry, neurology, peak performance methods, and healing through regenerative and plant medicines. He talks about the sadly very different stories of his siblings, the factors that affect neurological resiliency, the need for establishing neurological performance baselines for athletes, the science behind CBD being a neuro-protectant, the safety and efficacy of psilocybin, how scaling research can dilute data, the importance of dipping one’s toes into non-ordinary states of consciousness before trying psychedelics, how we seem to have hit a new phase of learning more about preparation, and how not trying to achieve transcendence is suppressing a biological need.

Engle will be opening a new center in the new year, and for now, is offering a free "Integration call" over Zoom every week at 4:30pm MST. You can learn more at fullspectrummedicine.com.

Notable Quotes

“It’s fascinating that, in the midst of this medical movement, we’re seeing both of these fields of medicine, in parallel, gain more and more traction- this being the psychedelic medical arena, which is more psychological-based in nature, and then you have the neurologic concussion repair arena [that's] more hardware, brain-tissue based. So you’ve got, now, software and hardware technologies in two parallel medical paths, both accelerating at the same time, with this intermediary bridge between those two fields, which is the psychedelics.”

“There’s a lot of interest, there’s a huge demand, the data’s very good, and when done well, there can be a pretty significant profit margin. And so, it still comes down to: the primary focus has to be client care and client outcome, not a profit-driven model.”

“When you prepare people well, for sure, you see this magnificent improvement in rates of response, recovery, whether you’re going for healing something like one of those epidemics I mentioned, or just optimization and fulfillment and the radical remembering of our awesomeness and what we’ve come to be a part of. At that point, the whole game has changed. The whole game of life just has changed from scarcity to abundance, from ‘what I have to’ to ‘what I get to,’ from the ‘me, mine and I,’ to the ‘us, the we, and the all.’ This is a shift in consciousness. It’s a shift at the level of the psyche, and psyche means soul, so this is a process where we reconnect with the deeper aspect of our inherent humanity, and no agent on the planet is as consistently predictive to support that process than psychedelics. Near-death experience can do that, but it’s not as easy to control that process.”

“We’re always evolving, individually and collectively, and these psychedelic medicines, when done well- these are sparks. They’re ignitors. They’re catalysts of consciousness.”

Links

Drdanengle.com

Fullspectrummedicine.com

Concussionrepairmanual.com

Revivecenters.com

Spravato info

Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America, by Robert Whitaker

The Biology of Transcendence: A Blueprint of the Human Spirit, by Joseph Chilton Pearce


About Dr. Dan Engle

 

 

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Dec 29, 2020
PTSF 39 (with Jonas and Kristina of the Psychedelic Literacy Fund)
01:17:10

In today’s Christmas episode of Solidarity Friday, Kyle and Joe take a break from the news and instead sit down with Jonas Di Gregorio and Kristina Soriano of the Psychedelic Literacy Fund, a donor-advised fund working to raise money and co-finance the translation and publication of the most important books on psychedelic therapy into a variety of different languages. 

Their first project is both volumes of Stan Grof's The Way of the Psychonaut, which they hope to have translated into German, French, and Italian by July (for Grof's 90th birthday), and they have started a list of future projects, with Christopher Bache's LSD and the Mind of The Universe likely next. They talk about early interactions with Rick Doblin, why they went with a donor-advised fund rather than a crowdfunding model, the synchronicities they saw at early steps in their path, what Grof's work has meant to them, and a possible future goal of setting up a Grof museum in Prague. Kyle and Joe also share stories of their interactions with Grof and how his work (and how little he was being discussed) led to the beginnings of Psychedelics Today 4 years ago. 

If you're feeling some holiday generosity and want to help more people gain the knowledge Grof has brought to so many, please visit Psychedelicliteracy.org and make a donation (or volunteer translation services or suggest future projects).

Lastly, if you celebrate Christmas, Merry Christmas from Psychedelics Today!

Notable Quotes

“We have an inherently global mission. We’re an Italian and a Philippino living in America, trying to translate the work of a Czech psychiatrist.” -Kristina

“For me, it’s his capacity to really connect different fields, from quantum physics to psychiatry, [to the] history of religion- it’s really remarkable. The depth of his knowledge is so wide, and I think it can speak to so many people coming from different fields. I remember as a teenager, sharing the content of the books by Grof with friends that were studying physics and friends who were studying philosophy and friends who were studying psychology, and all of them could find something they could really appreciate.” -Jonas

“A book can be a harm reduction tool. ...Just having a book at the right time can really help you integrate a difficult experience and change the course of your life. Definitely, this has been the case for me. I didn’t know anyone in my community at the time that could really guide me, and these books played that role.” -Jonas

“Especially now, there’s a lot of conversation about diversity- how to increase diversity in the psychedelic community. Maybe the way to do that is literally to speak their language.” -Jonas

“I think the mental health crisis isn’t language-specific. I think it happens everywhere.” -Kristina

Links

Psychedelicliteracy.org

Rsfsocialfinance.org

The Secret Chief Revealed Paperback, by Myron J. Stolaroff

LSD: Doorway to the Numinous: The Groundbreaking Psychedelic Research into Realms of the Human Unconscious, by Stanislav Grof

A Course in Miracles: Foundation for Inner Peace

The Six Pathways of Destiny, by Ralph Metzner

Psychedelics Today: Susan Hess Logeais

Thewayofthepsychonaut.com

Oregonlive.com: One of the architects of Oregon’s bid to legalize psychedelic mushrooms, Sheri Eckert, has died


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Dec 25, 2020
PT223 - Daniel Carcillo - Life After Sports
01:09:32

In this episode, Joe interviews "Car Bomb"- the 9-year NHL veteran, 2-time Stanley Cup winner (as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks), founder of The Chapter Five Foundation (an organization helping athletes transition into post-sports life), and advocate for the healing power of psilocybin, Daniel Carcillo.

Carcillo tells the story of his struggles and depression brought on from post-hockey life transition, 7 diagnosed concussions, and the death of his good friend and fellow player, Steve Montador, who struggled with similar issues before his sudden death in 2015. He talks about the stress of pro sports and the cult-like, team-first attitude in hockey, the hazing athletes experience coming up, the causes and effects of yelling coaches and a "be better" attitude, and how his post-hockey work and speaking out has ostracized him from the community while many people are reaching out to him for help behind the scenes. 

His first hero dose of psilocybin forever changed his life, but it wasn't just psilocybin- he's done a lot in the 5 years since that first ceremony, from neurofeedback, acupuncture, deprivation tanks, and using a gyrostim, to regularly microdosing, taking medicinal mushrooms like lion's mane and reishi, meditating, starting a CBD and supplements company, and growing huge crops of cannabis. He talks about how this has all helped improve his life and his relationships with his family, and what he hopes to do with his Chapter Five Foundation and beyond- researching more into what worked for him and developing a protocol/regiment to help people affected by concussions, post-concussive syndrome, TBIs, CTE, or just those struggling with what to do after sports.

Notable Quotes

“I’m an advocate for everything, for all tiers. I’m an advocate for the Decrim Nature [model] because it’s a lower-tier model to get people this medicine, and then I’m an advocate for the clinical model that people are pushing forward in Oregon, and I’m an advocate for these big pharma/biotech companies coming out and researching. ...You really have to make sure that we’re doing it the right way, and I think a lot of the companies out there are, so I think there’s such an opportunity at the ground floor right now to really get in, and if you have something that’s proven, that’s worked (like we do), then I really, really just feel so passionately about furthering that type of research, to again, get millions of people this type of treatment and this type of option.”

“It’s still kind of unbelievable when I begin to talk about it, kind of what I’ve set in motion, but I believe in it so much and I’m still really in awe of what this medicine has done for me. We have one life to live. How do I help the most people that I can?”

“I just had to adjust my whole perspective and thinking and how I spoke to myself, changing the negative motivation to positive. But it’s constant work, because I’m just so used to being yelled at and then [being negative towards myself]. It’s definitely one of the biggest shifts that I’ve had, and I had that shift- that was at 2 and a half months after that big ceremony. That’s where I knew- that’s what really convinced me, and I’ll never forget this: I was driving out to my plants and they were about, I don’t know, 3 feet tall, and we were about 2 and a half months in, and I was like, ‘Wow Dan, really good job.’ I had this voice say that and I was like, ‘What the hell was that? Where did that come from?’ I’ve never done that, ever, and I was like ‘Ohhh man, something happened. Something shifted.’”

Links

Danielcarcillo.com

Chapter5foundation.com

Madeplanthealth.com (his CBD and supplement company)

Twitter

Instagram

Psymposia.com: Chicago could become largest city to Decriminalize Entheogenic Plants

Yahoo Sports: NHL pins Steve Montador's fatal brain injuries on his ‘own lack of due care’

US Patent 6630507: The US Government's Cannabis Patent

Parkinsonsnewstoday.com: Silo Pharma Plans Phase 2B Trial Testing Low-dose Psychedelics in Parkinson’s

Gyrostim.com

Del Jolly’s Psychedelics Today episode (lots of concussion and TBI talk)


About Daniel Carcillo

Daniel Carcillo is a two time Stanley Cup Champion and played 9 seasons in the National Hockey League. Daniel experienced emotional, sexual and physical trauma within hockey's culture and battled mental health and addiction issues during and post career. When he retired in 2015, after sustaining 7 concussions and due to Post Concussion Syndrome, he founded Chapter 5 Foundation, a charitable organization that helps athletes transition into life after the game. Daniel struggled with PCS symptoms like light sensitivity, slurred speech, insomnia, headaches and head pressure, impulse control issues, anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts and traditional treatments did not work. Daniel brought forth the Decriminalize Nature resolution to the city of Chicago, sits on the Decriminalize Nature National Advisory Board & the board of the Heroic Hearts Project, a registered 501(c)(3) non profit that connects military veterans struggling with mental trauma to ayahuasca therapy retreats. Daniel has recently founded Made Therapeutics, a life sciences company that is researching loading and maintenance doses of psilocybin to treat traumatic brain injury, Post Concussion Syndrome, migraines and TBI related anxiety, depression and PTSD. Daniel and Made Therapeutics will be working towards validating the first novel care option for TBI survivors through Health Canada (IMPD) and FDA (IND) clinical trials, with Pre-IMPD & Pre-IND meetings set to establish a pathway forward to fast track status for traumatic brain injury.

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Dec 22, 2020
PTSF 38
01:02:49

In today’s Solidarity Fridays episode, Kyle and Joe talk about what they've been up to in the last few weeks: doing drugs!

Kyle first tells us about his recent experiments with revisiting salvia (which is legal in his state) and how different the experiences were from his young-and-dumb experiments as a teenager- how smaller doses in more ceremonial settings with years of experience in breathwork-inspired non-ordinary states of consciousness helped him see salvia differently. He talks about feeling like he just met the spirit of salvia, and the first message was to "respect the plants." He may be seeing her again.

And Joe talks in-depth about his experience last Friday with his first intermuscular ketamine injection- the setting, the music (Sigur Rós- good call, Joe), the dose and timing, and what he heard and felt (and didn't) in his ultimately anxiety-relieving, body-dissolving time in an empty void. Like Kyle, he's now even more open to and supportive of ketamine after the experience.

And they also talk about a new ibogaine analog that was recently created called tabernanthalog (or TBG), of which a single injection helped against heroin use relapse in mice for 14 days and doesn't stimulate the brain's reward centers. And they talk about the good that could come from the drug-designing technique used to create it, called function-oriented synthesis. 

Notable Quotes

“Some people tell me they like 1.2 mg/kg. Some people even like to go as high as 2. I think 2 mg/kg is essentially like, they could harvest all your organs and you wouldn’t notice one bit. Based on how high and dissociated I was, they probably could have done it to me- if they made it quick, like 5 minutes. I probably would have been fine.” -Joe

“The way I always framed it before going in was: this is an experience of consciousness without identity, without ego, without anything, really. And I didn’t really feel like there was anything there that was me. The idea of 'Joe' felt like a weird thing, a weird silly thing. There was just, like, I and ego and one consciousness, so it wasn’t like a Hindu, bliss consciousness thing; it was like me, as an entity, experiencing… something. Like empty void.” -Joe

“This experience was really just fascinating, like how rapidly my consciousness changed. It wasn’t a hurried, frenetic thing like DMT. It was like, “Oh, nope. You’re just here. You’re chilling. You’re not going anywhere.” -Joe

“The MAPs protocol is going to be very expensive. Psychedelic Therapy is already very expensive. So, if we could have a drug that would be safe for somebody to take at home, alone, I think of course we should do that. Not everything is cured through the psychedelic experience. Though a lot of things can be, it’s not the case that everything needs to be.” -Joe

Links

Sagewisdom.org (Dan Siebert’s site)

Wikipedia: Legal status of Salvia divinorum in the United States

Youtube: Twig Harper: Has anyone enjoyed smoking Salvia?

Salviahealings.com (Christopher Solomon’s site)

Psychedelics Today: Dr. Peter Addy- Salvia: Research and Therapeutic Use

Naloxone info

Ketamine Bladder Syndrome info

Sigur Rós on Spotify (this guy thinks this is their best album)

Sciencemag.org: Chemists re-engineer a psychedelic to treat depression and addiction in rodents

Nature.com: A non-hallucinogenic psychedelic analogue with therapeutic potential


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Dec 18, 2020
PT222 - Dr. Thomas of Clarity Psychiatry
01:13:38

In this episode, Joe interviews Dr. Thomas of Clarity Psychiatry in Boulder, Colorado.

Thomas first discusses what he initially looks for in patients (low-lying fruit like a vitamin D deficiency or poor diet) and what he recommends for boosting immunity and improving overall health, then this becomes a bit of an "everything you ever wanted to know about ketamine and ketamine-assisted therapy" podcast.

He talks about the range in treatment methods across conventional models and what you could expect to experience in relation to dose, experience, and price, and how he likes to use ketamine in his practice. And he talks about the dependence that can come from more conventional "get dripped" methods, the variation of doses and subsequent effects on most people vs. more sensitive people, ways to calibrate a patient to give them the best (and safest) possible experience, the missed opportunities of models that don't spend as much time on the experience and integration, why he believes so strongly in the efficacy and safety of ketamine (especially when compared to other psychedelics), and why how he'd like to see breathwork be used more in conjunction with both psychedelic and traditional therapies.

Notable Quotes

“In the worldview of the way I was trained, the whole point of ketamine therapy is not to get somebody hooked on ketamine for the rest of their life. It’s to give them enough corrective expanded experiences of healing and of their own inherent wholeness that they don’t need the ketamine- that whatever was off-balance is coming right.”

“I’d like to maybe reframe the word ‘dissociative.’ With ketamine, chemically, in the ketamine state, we are becoming less and less in tune with outside sensory input. We are dissociating with ourselves as a body, temporarily, to some degree. And we are associating with ourselves as something other than body. And there’s some real- I’m just going to go ahead and use the word- there’s some real magic in that possibly. There’s some real healing potential.”

“One of the final common pathways, shall we say, of any medicine or technique that can induce a non-ordinary state is temporarily softening the ruminative negative self-narrative that’s so characteristic of human suffering and mental illness. And how you achieve that state, in some ways, is potentially not even that important. ...Holotropic breathwork, or what I call journey breathwork, in any of its forms, absolutely can soften that egoic function and give people access to the parts of themselves that are bigger than that negative self-narrative, and just to bask in the juiciness of what’s possible when that happens. ...And I think from a pragmatic standpoint, if we were to use breathwork as [an] interim integration tool between sessions, could we get away with maybe slightly decreasing the frequency of the more expensive psychedelic sessions? Might there be societal value in that while still retaining the efficacy and the self-learning and the insights and all the good stuff that goes along with that?”

Links

Claritypsychiatry.com


About Dr. Thomas

Dr. Thomas graduated from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.  He completed his medical school training at Emory University School of Medicine. He then went on to complete his post graduate psychiatric residency training at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

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Dec 15, 2020
PTSF 37
45:44

In today’s Solidarity Fridays episode, Kyle and Joe sit down and discuss several topics in the news. 

First, they congratulate co-founder of Psymposia, President of Adelia, and friend of Psychedelics Today (and first podcast guest) Brett Greene, on Adelia being acquired by CYBIN, for the equivalent of about $15.75 million USD (!!). And they talk about Silo Pharma announcing an upcoming Phase 2B trial testing low-dose psilocybin and LSD on the effects of neurogenesis on patients with Parkinson's disease and how we often forget that psychedelics can help with physical ailments (and not just depression and anxiety), 17 healthcare professionals at TheraPsil being allowed to take psilocybin as part of a training program and the need for therapists and sitters working with psychedelics to have psychedelic experiences themselves before working with others, and rock art evidence of datura being ingested at Pinwheel Cave in California.

And they also discuss a very important article about how to keep the psychedelic renaissance from going off the rails. With so much excitement surrounding psychedelics and so many underground groups and professional organizations doing so much without any centralized control, it's too easy for people to drain their bank accounts, jump ahead of science, and overcommit to an idea, forgetting the very real risks of these substances and everything surrounding them. And if we go too far, it just raises the risk of those in power shutting it all down.

Notable Quotes

“There’s a lot of nervousness around training, I think. Like, what constitutes good training? Not only is a ton of education, but it’s kind of a ton of time. The same way psychoanalysts have to go through psychoanalysis themselves, and therapists have to do therapy themselves, why is it not the case that psychedelic people need to do the same?” -Joe

“I think we need to be having some of these honest conversations even if it goes against our mission here at times of wanting to help get these substances legalized, decriminalized, whatever that track is. And [talking about] the promise of it, sometimes maybe we do get idealistic and say ‘This is going to revolutionize and change the world!’ but I also have to think back to some of my past experiences and be like, ‘Do I want to go through that again? I don’t think so.’ I mean, it pushed me out on the other side and I think made me a stronger person to some degree, but going through what I went through in those early years, it was pretty terrifying.” -Kyle

“Education and caution, I think is the point here, moving forward, and to be really honest with yourself too, especially if you’re in a place [where you’re] educating folks about psychedelics. How can you listen to other people’s stories and hear that maybe they’re not always light and magic- that people do experience a lot of fallout from it at times and things can get worse?” -Kyle 

Links

Businesswire.com: CYBIN Signs Definitive Agreement to Acquire Adelia Therapeutics as Part of its Commitment to Strategic Growth

Brett Greene on Psychedelics Today (our first podcast!)

Parkinsonsnewstoday.com: Silo Pharma Plans Phase 2B Trial Testing Low-dose Psychedelics in Parkinson’s

Therapsil.ca: 17 Canadian Healthcare Professionals Approved to Use Psilocybin for Professional Training

Researchgate.net: Psychedelics in Psychiatry– Keeping the Renaissance From Going Off the Rails

Snopes.com: Death of Diane Linkletter

Drugged: The Science and Culture Behind Psychotropic Drugs, by Richard J. Miller

Pnas.org: Datura quids at Pinwheel Cave, California, provide unambiguous confirmation of the ingestion of hallucinogens at a rock art site

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Dec 11, 2020
PT221 - Bennet Zelner - The Pollination Approach
01:17:18

In this episode, Joe interviews Ph.D., Professor at the University of Maryland focusing on economics and global business studies, Advisory Board Member of the Usona Institute and Synthesis Institute, and co-founder of the Transformative Capital Institute, Bennet Zelner.

Zelner discusses the problems with our current economic, healthcare, therapeutic, and community paradigms- that our prevailing model is one of hyper-individualistic, drug-first action, compounded by a crisis of connection (the epidemic of loneliness we're experiencing), a crisis of extraction (giant corporations replacing local businesses with the bulk of profit being sent outside the community), and a crisis of depletion (decisions about community resources being made by those outside the community). And he talks about how his Transformative Capital Institute aims to facilitate many small changes to lead to large paradigm shifts, centered on his pollination approach- recognizing and encouraging the intrinsic interdependence between individual and community well-being.

He talks about the various projects the Transformative Capital Institute is working on, the way change happens and the complications of creating new paradigms from flawed ones, and how the pollination approach relates to psychedelics: using the newfound window of openness people experience after an experience to connect them with their community systems and surrounding environment- to help heal a person while revitalizing currently-broken systems at the same time.

Notable Quotes

“The pollination approach is rooted in a core, ecological principle, which is that the health of a system and of the elements in a system depends on the continual renewal and recirculation of resources within that system, and that’s the complete opposite of what we have right now.”

“What you’re not seeing is the reduction in subsequent local economic activity that’s going to occur as a result of the few bucks you just saved at Walmart. One of the other projects that I’m working on with a few other folks attempts to quantify that so that people can see what the effects are of spending their money locally vs. spending it at outposts of giant corporations. And I think if we can make that information accessible and comprehensible to people, then we can change behavior without even having to build in some kind of strong form incentive.”

“We’ve been taught by every institution in our society from the time that we are born that we’re not enough, that there’s not enough to go around, and in order to get ahead, we basically need to win at the expense of someone else, who loses. Even once we recognize how fallacious that is intellectually, there’s still a lot of work to be done to eliminate the deep, cognitive imprints in which that type of thinking is enshrined. ...I think that psychedelics-- as I said, they’re tools of personal transformation, so they can help people heal from trauma, etc. But I think they can also help people move into new paradigm ways of thinking and behaving.”

“In terms of shifting to a new paradigm in the healthcare system, I think the key shift needs to be one from a system that is focused on managing disease or managing disease symptoms (which is what we currently have) ...toward a system that’s focused on producing well-being. And I think psychedelics have a big role to play in that type of system.”

Links

MAPS.org: “The Pollination Approach to Delivering Psychedelic-Assisted Mental Healthcare,” by Bennet A. Zelner


About Bennet Zelner

 

 

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Dec 08, 2020
PTSF 36
54:17

In today’s Solidarity Fridays episode, after a short and much-needed break, Kyle and Joe return, but don't really touch on any news. This time, they have a very open conversation largely focused on philosophy and capitalism.

They dive into a lot of philosophical questions: are we reducing the mystical to the medical? Do we understand enough about spirit and somatic energies to measure them? How much are therapists and sitters interpreting mystical experience and assigning meaning to it for others vs. teaching people how to interpret it themselves? What makes a God? Is commodifying the sacred bad? And what makes something sacred other than it being significant? And the classic: What is good? 

They also touch on Harvard School of World Religions' year-long series on psychedelics and the future of religion, the Divine Command Theory, James Kent's DoseNation podcast series, Charles Eisenstein and the concept of deflationary money, the billionaire pledge, triple bottom line thinking and other ways to incentivize employees to make businesses closer to co-ops, and why not all capitalism is bad. Lastly, Joe highly recommends Tom O'Neill and Dan Piepenbring's book, CHAOS: Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret History of the Sixties, which touches on MKUltra, the Phoenix Program, how the government used Charles Manson, and how the drug war was a logical consequence of the paranoia of the U.S.S.R. and communism toppling the USA and capitalism.

Notable Quotes

“Coming from the somatic world, our bodies- I think, sometimes we dismiss that and maybe might call that a little ‘woo woo,’ but how is your body an actual instrument that can help you understand maybe what’s going on? It’s firing a bunch of signals all the time, right? Information is just coming in and we have to try to make sense of it. Is it an appropriate instrument to try to learn how to discern the information that’s coming in? Could we finely tune that?” -Kyle

“It’s helpful to have diagnostic categories, but I think we’re taking the diagnostic categories a little too seriously and making them a little too real. A diagnostic category is not as real as a glass of water in your hand. One’s real concrete, one’s real abstract. Both are helpful at times. Both could be harmful, depending on what you do with the glass.” -Joe

“A lot of folks want to just use psychedelics and escape the world, like the ‘drop out’ thing. Like, ‘I’m just going to be with the spirit world.’ But it’s like, what good is you being with the spirit world if you’re not having any impact on the world world?” -Joe

“Being hubristic enough to say that ‘I have an answer’- that’s where I see the problem. Being willing to engage in conversation with people with a lot more experience with this kind of thing is probably where it’s at. Like, ok, let’s talk to 4-5 economists and see what their opinion is. Maybe talk to some professional ethicists to see what their opinion is. I don’t think anybody is going to have the answer, but by hearing all of those perspectives, we can learn more.” -Joe

Links

Center for the Study of World Religions: Medicalizing Mysticism: Religion in Contemporary Psychedelic Trials (youtube)

Divine Command Theory

Psymposia.com: “Lucy In The Sky With Nazis: Psychedelics and the Right Wing” by Brian Pace, PhD

Sage Journals: Increased nature relatedness and decreased authoritarian political views after psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression

James Kent’s DoseNation podcast

The Myth of Mental Illness: Foundations of a Theory of Personal Conduct, by Thomas S. Szasz

The Giving Pledge turns 10: These billionaires pledged to give away half their wealth, but they soon ran into a problem

CHAOS: Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret History of the Sixties, by Tom O'Neill with Dan Piepenbring

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Dec 04, 2020
PT220 - Susan Hess Logeais - The Way of the Psychonaut
01:11:00

In this episode, Joe interviews writer, director, and producer of the recent documentary, "The Way of the Psychonaut: Stanislav Grof's Journey of Consciousness," Susan Hess Logeais. 

The film, which we streamed and presented a panel for back in October, was co-produced by Stan Grof himself, and tells of his journey from his youth in Nazi-occupied Prague to Esalen to today, with much of Logeais and her theory-affirming life story mixed in. It features interviews with many big names, including Fritjof Capra and Rupert Sheldrake, and full-length interviews can now be found on the film's website; 2 of which are conversations between Grof and legends we've lost recently: Ralph Metzner and Michael Harner. It is Joe's favorite film on Grof and his work.

Logeais talks about making the movie and meeting such big names in the field, wonders how differently children might grow up if quantum physics and a respectful agreement with nature were taught in school, discusses cesarian births and the differences they could create in fear or stress response in comparison to kids born traditionally, and talks about the power of breathwork and its enormous influence on psychedelic-assisted therapy.

Notable Quotes

“When I met Stan and heard him speak and heard what he spoke about- tantric science, mythology, Eastern spiritual traditions, even quantum physics, Shamanic journeywork- there were so many things that he spoke about that I had explored on my own before I met him. And then in the course of making the movie, I realized that he had introduced many of those concepts during his 14 years at Esalen. And so I was resonating with him on a level-- it’s like he was impacting my life before I met him.”

On using MDMA with psychedelics: “Perhaps as an introduction to a psychedelic experience, especially for people who are older, it might not be a bad idea. I know the anxiety that I had occasionally when something was going really fast and very deep. But I agree with you in that the depth and that anxiety passes, and it’s in the learning to get past that anxiety that we develop capacity for reflection and to move away from reactivity. So I think maybe for the first trip, just to say, ‘Ok, this is what you’re in for, and next time we’re not going to do this.’”

“I just want to say how valuable I think Stan’s contribution is, and how proud I am, or how, I guess, grateful I am to have worked with him in the creation of this film. And I’m so glad that you enjoyed it because I wanted to take his theories, his discoveries, his contributions, and make them accessible and interesting so that people could watch it and come away with an understanding that would hopefully inspire them to then go and do the deep work. And I hope people come to the website and visit the live stream archive page so that they can gain a deeper understanding of all these amazing concepts that Stan participated in sharing during his time at Esalen and his ITA conferences.” 

Links

Susanhesslogeais.com

Thewayofthepsychonaut.com

The Way of the Psychonaut facebook

Blackfoot Physics: A Journey Into the Native American Worldview, by F. David Peat

Stangrof.com

Grof-legacy-training.com

Holotropic.com: Grof Transpersonal Training


About Susan Hess Logeais

Susan holds a demonstrated history of working in the entertainment industry. She is skilled in Music Videos, Film, Documentaries, Commercials, and Theatre. She demonstrates strong entrepreneurship professional with a Interdisciplinary Degree focused in Transformational Entertainment and Human Consciousness from Marylhurst University. She is an actress and producer, known for Gone (2012), Not Dead Yet (2009) and The Way of the Psychonaut: Stanislav Grof's Journey of Consciousness (2020).

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Dec 01, 2020
PTSF 35 (with Brian Muraresku)
01:32:13

In today’s Solidarity Fridays episode, the typical Solidarity Fridays format is switched up yet again, this time with Joe interviewing author of best-selling book, The Immortality Key: The Secret History of the Religion with No Name, and recent Joe Rogan Experience guest, Brian Muraresku. Because where do you go after Joe Rogan? Psychedelics Today, of course. 

Muraresku discusses how his fascination with Latin and Greek and the 1978 book, The Road to Eleusis: Unveiling the Secret of the Mysteries (by R. Gordon Wasson, Albert Hofmann, and Carl A. P. Ruck) and its proposal of a psychedelic sacrament of sorts being imbibed at the Rites of Eleusis led him to spend about 12 years searching for evidence to prove it. From the idea of "graveyard beer," to Alcibiades and the profanation of mysteries, to wine parties to interact with the dead called refrigeriums, Muraresku dives deep into his findings: that the wine they drank was, at the least, spiked with herbs and spices to create something very different and likely hallucinogenic, that participants were seeking immortality, a euphoric ecstasy, and communion with both God and the dead, that both the Dionysian Gospel and Christianity are heavily related to the Rites of Eleusis, and that these ceremonies don't appear to have been isolated to Eleusis- that people took what they learned and practiced elsewhere, in what Denise Demetriou refers to as "open-access sanctuaries."

Notable Quotes

“Some of the legacies of this civilization, from democracy and the arts and sciences to literature and philosophy and the very concept of a university- all these inheritances are the things that we associate with the very literate Greeks. And there stands Euelisis at the center of it all. ...And they [the Rites] were seen as so important, so central, so integral to life at the time, that even Cicero, a Roman in the first century B.C.- he referred to Euelisis as ‘the most exceptional and divine thing that Athens ever produced.’ So it wasn’t democracy, the arts, sciences, etc. It was Eleusis.”

“They saw something. The thinking for a long time was that maybe it was a theatrical performance- maybe there was something happening in this temple that has been lost to time. And then that book I mentioned in 1978, The Road to Eleusis, was saying as long as we’re talking about a vision, why can’t it be something that was produced internally? Why couldn’t it be one of these great epiphanic psychedelic visions? And so, as a hypothesis, it makes sense just based on the way people talked about this experience. It was a once in a lifetime experience that essentially erased the fear of death and made these initiates immortals. And weirdly, which is why I picked this up in the first place, it’s very, very similar to the testimony that comes from the volunteers in the Johns Hopkins experiments with psilocybin. It’s again, a once in a lifetime single dose of psilocybin [that] seems to result in these profound, mystical transformations in people; including atheists, who will describe it as among the most meaningful experiences of their lives.”

“I think that there was a historical Jesus, and I think that we have these relatively conflicting accounts of what he was and what the message was in the canonical gospels that have come down to us. But we have these other gospels and this Gnostic literature that didn’t make it in The Bible, and the gospel of Mary Magdalene. And what comes across to me, time and again, are people trying to find ecstasy, people looking for communion with Jesus. And again, you don’t have to look off into all this esoteric stuff just to focus on the very simple proposition that the Eucharist is an immortality potion, plain and simple.”

Links

TheImmortalityKey.com

The Road to Eleusis: Unveiling the Secret of the Mysteries, by R. Gordon Wasson, Albert Hofmann, and Carl A. P. Ruck

Wikipedia.org: Diagoras of Melos (additional Alcibiades/“profanation the mysteries” info

R. Gordon Wasson’s 1957 Life magazine article

The Dionysian Gospel: The Fourth Gospel and Euripides, by Dennis R. MacDonald

Youtube: Joe Rogan Experience #1543 - Brian Muraresku & Graham Hancock

Youtube: His recent appearance on CNN

The Immortality Key on Audible

About Brian Muraresku

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Nov 27, 2020
PT219 - Tania de Jong - Mind Medicine Australia
01:12:48

In this episode, Kyle and Joe interview singer, speaker, social entrepreneur, and founder of numerous charities and organizations, Tania de Jong. 

What brings de Jong to Psychedelics Today are her most recent and most psychedelically-inclined undertakings: co-finding Mind Medicine Australia and submitting an application to Australia's Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) to reschedule psilocybin from Schedule 9 ("prohibited substances") to Schedule 8 ("controlled medicines"), the results of which should be decided in February.

She talks about her Tim Ferriss and Michael Pollan-inspired psychedelic journey, the healing power and science behind singing with other people, session playlist construction, and the numerous accomplishments of Mind Medicine Australia and their biggest goal: setting up a center of emerging mental health therapies to look at research and development, manufacturing, and economic modeling to ensure these medicines can be widely accepted and an industry can be correctly and efficiently built around them in Australia. And she talks a lot about the isolation and fear behind Covid-19 and the effects we're seeing now, the effects future generations will see, and why this could be the crisis we need to catalyze psychedelics more into the healing mainstream.

Notable Quotes

“It became really obvious that Australia didn’t really have an ecosystem to bring these medicines to the wider community. ...And so we thought, well, the best thing we could do to help the millions of people in Australia who were suffering (let alone the rest of the world) is to set up a charity that would make sure that these medicines became accessible, affordable, [and] available to people, no matter where they were, what their background was- if they were screened and screened to be appropriate, that they would have access to these medicines in medically-controlled environments. They wouldn’t get to take the medicines home, but they’d get to actually heal, and that would be the greatest gift we could possibly give.”

“The only indicator here has been about Covid deaths and Covid cases- that’s what gets reported on. But an actual fact- the cure is proving to be far worse than the illness itself, and what we’re seeing is that there will be far more deaths of despair and deaths from mental illnesses and domestic violence and the trauma that our younger generations are going to face potentially for their whole lives that will lead to addiction and other mental illnesses, and no one’s counting those costs yet. But when they do, those figures are going to blow any Covid deaths and lasting illness out of the water.”

“We had an epidemic of loneliness and social isolation well before this crisis, and what this has done is just made that far worse. ...People are experiencing [an] enormous sense of isolation and separateness and this is why these medicines are so important, because as we all know, they create this sense of connection and oneness, and a sense that we’re part of everything, [and] everything is part of us. That’s a wonderfully comforting understanding to have and it makes being alone easier to bear when you feel that sense of gratitude and unity and that sense of expanded consciousness.” 

Links

Taniadejong.com

Mindmedicineaustralia.org

Mind Medicine Australia: 2021 International Summit on Psychedelic Therapies for Mental Illness info

Her TEDx Talk: “How singing together changes the brain”

“The Trip Treatment,” by Michael Pollan

Mindmedicineaustralia.org: Certificate in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies

Their press release about submitting application for rescheduling of psilocybin and MDMA

Mind Medicine Australia: Youtube

Their animated video: “Everyone should have access to psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy"


About Tania de Jong

 

 

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Nov 24, 2020
PTSF 34 (with Craig Heacock)
01:10:32

In today’s Solidarity Fridays episode, the typical Solidarity Fridays format is switched up again, this time with Joe interviewing podcast host and psychiatrist specializing in ketamine-assisted psychotherapy, Craig Heacock. 

Will Hall's 2 recent SF episodes spurred a lot of conversation, and led to Heacock reaching out to Psychedelics Today to counter some of Hall's points, and stand up a bit on behalf of psychiatry. He feels that while psychiatry isn't perfect, saying to replace it isn't helpful, and doesn't feel that anyone in psychiatry is saying a pill will fix anything, but rather, that if psychedelics can help people get in touch with buried trauma (something that typically takes a lot of time and relationship/trust-building and often still doesn't work), then shouldn't we not only be treating them like medicine, but also learning as much as we possibly can about them? 

He points out some of the most obvious flaws with our model of psychiatry (and how we deal with mental health in general), discusses the barriers stopping physicians from learning more about ketamine, looks at the "spiritual emergency vs. psychotic break" argument from a different perspective, talks about what he sees in his practice and how much ketamine has helped his clients, and really brings home one of Will Hall's main points from a different perspective- while Hall talked about how science isn't always the answer because of how much nuance there is from person to person, he points out the amount of nuance in how mental health physicians treat clients, how clients arrived at their mental state in the first place, and how differently they respond, both with or without psychedelics.  

Whether you felt Will Hall brought a lot of interesting ideas to the table or hated those episodes, this is the yin to those episodes' yang.

Notable Quotes

“I think a lot of psychiatrists are just trying to keep their head above water, which, I think, they would much more enjoyably keep their head above water if they would use ketamine in their practices.”

“We may never understand the mind-brain connection fully, but don’t we want to try?”

“We’re finding with ayahuasca work (a lot of psychedelic work) that some people are going to these sessions and their conscious brain is saying ‘oh yea, there’s no trauma,’ and we’re finding out that there’s some serious trauma that’s just underneath the surface. And again, if we don’t know that, how can we get to the roots of anything? ...Almost like we use a CT scan to see what’s happening in your innermost self, it’d be interesting to think of using psychedelics as sort of a psychological diagnostic tool to say: 'Is there trauma in there?'”

“When Will is saying, ‘Why are we trying to address trauma with a pill?’ I don’t think any of us are. I don’t think anybody on the MAPS study or I don’t know, people in the psilocybin studies- I really don’t think anybody is thinking, 'Ooo we’re going to fix PTSD with psilocybin!' or 'We’re going to fix trauma with this 150 mg MDMA capsule!’ Nobody’s thinking that. What we’re thinking is: this is a catalyst, [and] resources are limited. ...We need to get in there quickly and get working on this, and that’s what’s so exciting to me about psychedelics coming online with mental health, is that we can get down to business quickly and not have to spend so much time trying to get past these defenses.”

“Capitalism is messy and psychiatry is messy and psychedelics are messy and people are messy, and isn’t that ok? Can’t we just accept that and not default to this sort of pan-negativism and finger-pointing and blaming? Because, again, we’re all on the same team. We want the same thing. We want people to thrive and we want to dial down psychological despair as much as we can.”

Links

Craigheacockmd.com

Back From the Abyss podcast

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Nov 20, 2020
PT218 - Dena Justice - How to Beat Anxiety
01:04:58

In this episode, Joe interviews Psychedelics Today's first 3-time guest, Dena Justice of the Ecstatic Collective. 

They discuss the ins and outs of something we're all too familiar with: anxiety. They talk about how Western society's lack of community and focus on doing things yourself (and not asking for help) mixed with a weird pride in being overworked and stressed has created a world where we all deal with daily anxiety, and deal with it differently. She first became addicted to exercise, but realized that learning to slow down, ignoring FOMO and embracing JOMO (the joy of missing out), having fewer goals in favor of more accomplishment, embracing play as a way of finding flow state, celebrating accomplishments instead of failures, and tuning her frequency towards happiness has helped her change her life drastically for the better.

She talks about more ways to combat anxiety, and her new program where you can sign up for these kinds of tips and tricks to be emailed to you on a regular basis (sign up here). She is also offering a valuable discounted bundle of courses in partnership with Psychedelics Today, which includes 2 Ecstatic Collective courses and 2 Psychedelics Today courses.

Notable Quotes

“The best thing you can do is learn to be uncomfortable.”

“Talking about playful things is just tapping into the inner child inside of us, giving ourselves permission to play. Go to the playground. Ignore the sign that says ‘this playspace is designated for 12-year-olds and under.’ F that! Your tax dollars paid for that playground. Go play on that playground!”

“Look at all these non-ordinary states of consciousness and how they tie in here- meditation, breathwork, exercise, early childhood (because that’s pure receptivity), psychedelics, every single orgasm. ...Every single one of these things is putting us in flow state. It’s bringing us to the present moment, where anxiety cannot exist because we’re in the present. Anxiety is fear of the future, depression is being caught up on the past. ...but when we’re in the present, all of that goes away.” 

“Email is a tool for efficiency, not necessarily effectiveness. What’s effective? Real communication. I think a lot of anxiety comes from the lack of true communication these days. ...7% of what our communication is is the actual words we say to each other. 55% is our physiology and 38% is our tonality. That means we’re losing 93% of our communication when we put it in an email or a text message or on social media.”

Links

Ecstaticcollective.com

Sign up for anxiety-reduction emails

Her last appearance on Psychedelics Today

Her appearance before that

Kompan playground equipment

Marco Polo app


About Dena Justice

As a master manifester, Dena has created a beautiful life for herself. She been financially responsible since age 15 including putting herself through college, two masters degrees and purchasing her own home in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has made over $1M in her life through a fulfilling career as a facilitator, educator, trainer, mentor and coach working with thousands of people across the country. She loved her career, yet hit a point where she felt empty. Near the top of her career ladder, she was a classic case of a high performer and leader hitting burnout. She chose a powerful pivot out of her J-O-B and into her own business. Now, she helps other high performers who have hit burnout and are scared to admit they’ve hit a plateau or a wall. She helps them get the eff out of their own way and move to the next level to increase their impact so they feel fulfilled and inspired again, as well as helping them create more wealth and the relationships they want in their lives. She helps people experience new levels of success, increase/improve focus and performance, abolish FOMO, evolve communication skills, develop transformational leadership skills, create amazing relationships, increase financial abundance and live life on their own terms.

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Nov 17, 2020
PTSF 33
01:07:16

In today’s Solidarity Fridays episode, Joe and Kyle review all of the big wins from the U.S. election, from Oregon decriminalizing drug possession and legalizing psilocybin therapy, to 4 states legalizing cannabis use for adults, to the most surprising (in terms of how far this movement has come), Washington D.C. decriminalizing plant medicines with an overwhelming 76% of voters in favor.

And they talk about the other side of this good- how Oregon memes show just how little the majority of people understand, how there are still huge issues with stigma, drug exceptionalism, and labeling, how liability and the rules of healthcare get in the way of compassion and humane treatment, and how those same issues will unfortunately extend into psychedelics.

They also do a brief deep dive into breathwork- its history, its various versions, its building blocks (accelerated breathing, evocative music, focused bodywork, group process, and safety), and the risks and likely loss in benefit in attempting to do this kind of work online.

And, lastly, exciting news: the next round of the live, 8-week (CE-approved) version of  Navigating Psychedelics for Clinicians and Therapists will be starting up on January 7th, so sign up now!

Notable Quotes

“I remember just watching all of this stuff come in on election night and just thinking, ‘Wow, it feels like plants have really won the election here.’ ...All of the initiatives that were up there passed during this election cycle, which is pretty phenomenal and a huge kind of shift.” -Kyle

“These different institutions have different rules, different liabilities. Like, a VA doc is probably going to be a lot more protected than a private practice doc, but the VA doc is going to be on a lot tighter regulations on what they can do, just based on the healthcare system they’re in. It’s a complicated deal. I don’t envy doctors for having to be in that situation. It’s really not an easy job. And I know they’re doing the best they can; it’s just, you know, their rules get in the way of their compassion and interest in healing people sometimes.” -Joe

“I had and still have a ferocious case of ADD that’s never been diagnosed. I’ve been extraordinarily productive if I ever needed to use something like Adderall. It works great. But there’s so much stigma around saying something like that in the psychedelic world. We’re often a little too judgy, is kind of my position. ...There’s cases when it’s appropriate, there’s cases when it’s not appropriate, and as long as there’s informed consent and decent education, it should be up to the individuals, and we should stay the fuck out of people’s business.” -Joe

On breathwork: “It’s my favorite. It’s something I’ve been doing for so long that it’s my most comfortable, somehow least scary method of going inside and doing inner work, because I know I have this safe cultural container- a safe container with people I trust and love, and it’s always helpful and amazing. Even if I don’t get the experience I want, just being there in community is still medicine enough.” -Joe

Links

Psychedelics Today: Recapping the Biggest Wins in Drug Laws and Policies in the 2020 U.S. Elections

Psychedelics Today: Tom and Sheri Eckert - Oregon Psilocybin Therapy Initiative

Psychedelics Today: What is Transpersonal Breathwork?

Firesideproject.org: Psychedelic Peer Support Line

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Nov 13, 2020
PT217 - Erika Dyck - Canadian Psychedelic History
01:12:34

In this episode, Joe interviews Ph.D., Professor at the University of Saskatchewan, and author specializing in the history of psychedelics and their relation to the medical industry, Erika Dyck.

Dyck talks about her interest in Canadian history and specifically Saskatchewan, which was the first jurisdiction in North America to elect a socialist government. She talks about how it was clear in the early days of governmental support that they were reaching out to people with bold ideas, leading to Humphry Osmand coming there in 1951 to commence research that he felt was being stifled in London.

They talk extensively about the work of Osmand and Abram Hoffer, early experiments with giving staff in mental hospitals LSD to encourage empathy toward patients, a hospital architect taking LSD and learning that tiled, checkerboard-esque floors may be a challenge to patients with depth perception issues, a “Hollywood hospital” where wealthy film stars were flown to deal with addiction largely in secret, the concept of having patients write out an autobiography before a medicine session in order to reflect back on their life afterward, Osmond's participation in a peyote ceremony and his subsequent report, why the Timothy Leary model of dropping out of the scientific/academic world isn't helpful, why time passed and changed public opinion have led to old research coming to light, and why it's more important to talk to people who aren't sold on psychedelics yet instead of those who are already bought in and live in our psychedelic bubble.

Notable Quotes

“Even people like Humphry Osmond or Abram Hoffer who were on the frontlines of that psychedelic heyday in the 1950s- they were quite careful (and obviously they were sort of practiced at this), but they were quite careful about how I might characterize their work with psychedelics, and they insisted that what they were doing was not unethical, they did not have money from the C.I.A., they had lots of checks and balances, and they were clearly responding to that very heavy reputation and characterization of psychedelics. And I reflect on that every once in a while, and wonder, ‘what would they would say today?’”

On Osmond and peyote: “It was the question of whether or not these chemicals and these rituals using chemicals should be allowed more broadly. And I think that the federal government in Canada was thinking that, again, this white-coated British guy would walk in and behave like the colonialist that they expected him to be, and come out and say ‘these are rotten ceremonies,’ but that was absolutely not who Humphry Osmond was. He participated fully. He chewed the buttons, he threw up, he participated in the feast afterwards, he participated in the drumming circle. ...So Osmond then made a statement (and he’s published about this in a variety of different places) saying this was an absolutely beautiful ceremony, it was absolutely sacred, it should be protected, it should be promoted, [and] people should be given access to peyote so that they continue this sacred ceremony. And the Canadian government was not impressed with this reaction.”

“Our governments are addicted to the war on drugs.”

“I think that part of what the psychedelic world needs to do, in my humble opinion, is to reach out and seek these kinds of bridges and these alliances, because I think that there’s a risk that we can just convince ourselves that psychedelics are good and that it won’t actually break through the psychedelic bubble, if you will, to convince regulators that in fact, there is real merit here. There’s still a sense that-- even just saying LSD- I gave a presentation last week to a group of retired physicians and these are people with medical training and who’ve spent their careers doing medical education and medical work, clinical work. And they’re like ‘oh, but LSD, that’s the one that fries your brain, right?’ I mean, these were disproven studies in the 70s, and yet it’s very interesting that that characterization is so strong.”

Links

Twitter

Chacruna.net: Women in psychedelics

Mescaline: A Global History of the First Psychedelic, by Mike Jay

The Seasteading Institute


About Erika Dyck

Erika Dyck is a professor and Canada Research Chair in the Department of History at the University of Saskatchewan. Her work focuses on 20th century medical history, especially the history of psychedelics, psychiatry, eugenics and population control. Her books include Psychedelic Psychiatry: LSD from Clinic to Campus (2008); Facing Eugenics: Reproduction, Sterilization, and the Politics of Choice (2013); Managing Madness: Weyburn Mental Hospital and the Transformation of Psychiatric Care in Canada(2017); and she is editor of A Culture’s Catalyst: Historical Encounters with Peyote and the Native American Church in Canada (2016) and co-editor of Psychedelic Prophets: The Letters of Aldous Huxley and Humphry Osmond (2018). She is a guest editor at the Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines. You can email her at Erika.dyck@usask.ca. 

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Nov 10, 2020
PTSF 32 (with Will Hall)
01:32:54

In today’s Solidarity Fridays episode, Joe and Kyle continue their conversation from last week with Will Hall: therapist, host of the Madness Radio podcast, author of Outside Mental Health: Voices and Visions of Madness, and previous psychiatric patient diagnosed with schizophrenia.

This week, Hall compares how the medical industry treats those seeking therapy and growth vs. how they treat the homeless and victims of sexual abuse, how the framework for mental disorders disrespects the individual, neoliberalism and why capitalism and the free market shouldn’t be the answer for everything, Grof's focus on etiology and why his model of spiritual emergence is problematic, the future of psychedelic advertising in a world where anything that can be sold will be sold, and the 3 biggest factors towards successful therapy.

And he focuses a lot on what we should be doing: creating and promoting individualized medicines and healing techniques over mass-produced Band-aid medicine, not reducing a difficult psychedelic experience to biology and instead focusing on getting to the root of what is causing the issue and working through it, not solely researching the effects of drugs, and most importantly, researching how people have bettered themselves without drugs- if the long-lasting effects of psychedelics and integration work are the catalyst for change, how can we get to those effects and integrations without the drug?

Notable Quotes

“Drugs are drugs. I don’t believe in psychedelic exceptionalism. I don’t believe in psychiatric drug exceptionalism. Drugs are drugs. There’s no exceptionalism for drugs. If they change your consciousness, they’re getting you high in one way or another, and that is what is either beneficial or nonbeneficial to you, based on your experience.”

“The people who are having successful treatment with MDMA psychotherapy- they aren’t just reporting ‘oh, my depression is down;’ they’re reporting all these wonderful benefits of MDMA. Why should we wait until you have a diagnosis of PTSD to give access to MDMA [to someone] if they want to experience those benefits as well? The people who are having the experiences of psychedelics are not having the experiences of disease-treatment, they’re having the experiences of psychedelics, which can be, for many people, very positive. So why are we gate-keeping the access? And if we don’t gate-keep the access, then we have to admit that, actually, it’s not a disease treatment; it’s actually something that many people find beneficial and some people don’t.”

“What is the commitment? Is the commitment to get psychedelic drugs accessible at all costs? And we’re going to lie, cheat, and steal our way to get there? Or is the commitment to trust that truth is the way? And if we just stick with the truth, that is how we change society?”

“I think you’re onto it. I mean, this is the key thing- psychedelics, in the best of contexts, is the pathway towards that. So why not study that? Why not research that? Why not invest the resources to exploring how we can create contexts for that which you’ve just described- create more spaces in society for successful encounters and engagements with openness, deeper relatedness, developing more trust, learning to communicate better, learning to form better community bonds, learning to develop our loyalties for each other, overcome our traumas together, tell our stories, overcome our shame, find ways that we can accept each other and support each other? That’s what we should be researching. That’s what we should be investigating, not psychedelic treatments that might have the effect of this, because this is what we’re really after.”

Links

Willhall.net

Madness Radio

Outsidementalhealth.com (info on his book, Outside Mental Health: Voices and Visions of Madness)

The Heart and Soul of Change Project

Dreamshadow.com: Holotropic Breathwork, Personal Development, and Transpersonal Education

About Will Hall

Will is a counselor and facilitator working with individuals, couples, families and groups via phone and web video (Zoom). He has taught and consulted on mental health, trauma, psychosis, medications, domestic violence, conflict resolution, and organizational development in more than 30 countries, and has been widely featured in the media for his advocacy efforts around mental health care. His work and learning arose from his experiences of recovery from madness, and today he is passionate about new visions of mind and what it means to be human.


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Nov 06, 2020
PT216 - Dr. Lynn Marie Morski - The Psychedelic Medicine Association
01:06:13

In this episode, Joe interviews MD, attorney, host of the Plant Medicine podcast, and founder of the Psychedelic Medicine Association, Dr. Lynn Marie Morski.

She talks about her time working for the United States Department of Veteran Affairs and how her frustrations with not being able to recommend medicines she knew would help people led to her creating the Plant Medicine podcast, and how realizing that the podcast wasn't reaching enough doctors led to her creating the Psychedelic Medicine Association. She discusses their goal: to bring organizations, corporate entities, lawyers, and practitioners/therapists (really anyone in the medical field responsible for the wellbeing of another) together through forums and newsletters to bridge the enormous gap between those on the cutting edge of new medicines and modalities of healing and the more traditional doctors who don't know nearly enough about this emerging world.

She talks about her podcast and dedicating 4 full episodes to each drug, common misconceptions about doctors and healthcare, what it's like to be both a doctor and a lawyer, doctors who judge patients for using cannabis and the disservice that is, the complications of what comes after the FDA approves a drug, what’s necessary for getting psychedelics more into mainstream culture, and the silver lining that could come from COVID and COVID-related trauma.

Notable Quotes

“It should not be weighing job security vs. saving veterans’ lives, but that’s really the position a lot of us are put in, and I couldn’t take that anymore, and so I left the VA and made it my mission to undo the years of silence by speaking out a whole lot about it.”

“FDA approval, for example, of MDMA or psilocybin, is just step 1. What do you do when you’ve got a medicine now approved that doctors are afraid to recommend or prescribe because it came out of nowhere? They’re like, ‘Whoa, psychedelics were Schedule I and extremely dangerous and ‘Don’t do drugs!’ and now I’m supposed to be giving it to a patient?’ That is a barrier.”

“We’ve known about the 22 veteran suicides, and somehow, still, things haven’t gotten done in mental health. Maybe because, again, that’s ‘other.’ We have this whole issue with others, right? ‘That’s happening to these other people over here.’ The pandemic is one of the first things in... ever that has happened to everybody. It’s not ‘Oh, only the poor get this.’ Nope. Poor and rich. Tom Hanks got it right off the bat. Everybody’s getting it. Prime Ministers get it. And a lot of people are suffering the same mental health issues from the quarantine and so, it’s no longer where we can say ‘Oh, mental health struggles are for others.’ This has hit everybody. ...The suicide rate is rising for everybody. Mental health issues are rising for everybody. Is this the tipping point where the mental health system looks around and says ‘Ok, our tools aren’t sufficient. Can we start looking at these other modalities, including psychedelics, because we’ve got a second epidemic on our hands here?’”

“It should be absolutely crucial for anybody on the front lines of patient care to know at least the basics of these medicines. We’re not trying to get doctors to all want to do psychedelic medicine at all. That’s not our goal. If people learn about it and get excited and want to get trained and do that? Fantastic. But we just want a basic level of knowledge, and like you said, if just 20% of doctors knew, that’d be great. And then those doctors can talk to their colleagues in other areas. But that’s essentially the way that we’re impressing it on people: ‘This is coming. You, as a professional responsible for other people’s health need to educate yourself on this.’”

Links

Psychedelicmedicineassociation.org

Psychedelic Medicine Association twitter

Plantmedicine.org

Plant Medicine Podcast: Antidepressants and Psychedelics with Clinical Pharmacist Ben Malcolm, PharmD

Plant Medicine Podcast: Microdosing Q&A with James Fadiman

Plant Medicine instagram

Psychedelics Today: Spiritual Emergence or Psychosis course

North Star Ethics Pledge

The Conscious Fund

Plant Parenthood podcast with Dr. Lynn Marie Morski


About Dr. Lynn Marie Morski

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Nov 03, 2020
PT Solidarity Fridays - Episode 31 (with Will Hall)
59:21

In today’s Solidarity Fridays episode, Joe and Kyle switch things up and take a break from news stories. Instead, they interview therapist, host of the Madness Radio podcast, author of Outside Mental Health: Voices and Visions of Madness, and previous psychiatric patient diagnosed with schizophrenia, Will Hall.

Hall says a lot that will challenge your ideas about the power of psychedelics and the progress of psychedelic medicine. From the idea of either/or thinking creating a legal/illegal paradigm, to the basic limitations of science, to the the near religious worship of neuroscience, to William James' idea of "medical materialism" and reducing the complexities of the human mind to simple biology, he points out the various flaws in psychedelic medicine and how psychedelic crusaders have ignored placebo results and focused on the power of a drug or the numbers behind a study over the power of therapy, the benefits of community and the mystery of consciousness and its differentiation from science. 

Notable Quotes

“If you end war-on-drugs prohibition in a context of heavily corrupted science, pharmaceutical company corruption, people that don’t have access to basic healthcare, they don’t have the basic context to be able to make smart choices, and you combine that with the profit motive in neoliberalism, then you’re going to have to really be very careful about how you do it, or else you’re going to have some very negative consequences. And this is a problem with any legalization.”

“We haven’t really had enough of a nuanced conversation about the war on drugs issue, because again, there has been such a strong-- I want to call it zealotry- this is an incredibly dedicated group of people who have been doing this for 30, 40, 50 years to get psychedelics into the hands of as many people as possible because they took LSD, they saw God, it saved their marriage, it completely revolutionized their trauma history- they’re true believers. And they’ve been pushing and pushing and pushing, but unfortunately, that doesn’t make for good public policy or good science if you’re just on a crusade. And I think that’s the big part of the problem that we’re facing right now.”

“Consciousness is like gravity. Consciousness is actually intrinsic to reality. Everything has consciousness. The more complicated the part of reality is (like, the human brain is very complicated), the more rich and complex consciousness becomes, and you get this self-awareness kind of thing. But the idea that consciousness is somehow located in the physiology of the brain and therefore ‘we’re going to study the physiology of the brain to explain consciousness’ is completely a leap of logic that has driven neuroscience for the last 40, 50 years since the real takeoff, and it’s been driven by pharma profits.” 

“You can create all kinds of things just through suggestion, just through expectation, just through placebo, and yet in the psychedelic science research, all that’s kind of put aside and they’re playing the same neuroscience game of thinking that we are pursuing and understanding of the biology of consciousness, which we’re not. And of course, it’s a gold rush.”

“We’re trying to describe this incredibly rich mysterious thing- human consciousness. Nobody even knows how to define it. The people who have been studying it for decades can’t even settle on a definition. You settle on a definition of gravity. You can settle on a definition of chemical reactions, because that’s the nature of that kind of science, but this is a field of science- psychology, which is so mysterious and so complicated, they can’t even agree on what it is that they’re studying. And now we’ve gone from this model that’s basically a steam engine model- there’s chemicals that are going through and they’re connecting and they’re flowing in different places. And that’s sort of antiquated, so now we have a computer model, which is about circuitry, networks, connectivity, pathways, and it’s just another cartoonish metaphor for something that we fundamentally don’t understand.”

“The fact that the marvel and the awe of what human consciousness is, what the human experience is, what the mystery is, that is so awakened for many people when we have a psychedelic experience- your mind is blown by how incredible, awesome, beautiful the mystery is, and then to take that and then go into graduate school and cut up mice and have this cartoonish, mechanistic version of what that consciousness is, seems to me like a real betrayal of what I think is the best of the psychedelic experience. 

“Under capitalism, under for-profit healthcare system, under corporate-driven science, science has become a politicized and profit-driven racket. All of those researchers are playing a game of ‘How do we get press releases that get media hits and clicks that’s going to help our grant possibilities?” and it always comes with ‘Well, we have this promising new discovery- the default mode network is a promising new discovery. We need more research about this.’ And what we need to do is we need to really really rethink our entire orientation to science in a capitalist society.” 

“I think that once MDMA becomes available and more widespread, we’re going to see the efficacy go down. It’s not going to help everybody. It’s going to be another thing that some people try and some people, it helps them, but it didn’t really quite do it and then they have to kind of go back and they do more and then they lose the magic of the MDMA and then we’re back on the treadmill. We went from antidepressants to MDMA, and then what’s the next drug? There’s no drug solution to these problems, folks. We have to change our society. ...Until we actually look at social changes, we’re not ever really going to solve these so-called mental health problems. But that’s not the kind of thing you want to talk about at a MAPS-sponsored conference, because it’s a buzzkill. It just bums everybody out. People want to have their careers, they want to have their focus, their advocacy, their crusade, their excitement, and their community of other people who are excited.”

“I’m not sure that psychedelics should even be in the realm of medicine or science because of the way in which our society has so limited and made narrow those endeavors- the idea that medicine is separate from spirituality or that science is about reproducible results when the whole universe is based on uniqueness and novelty and the unexpected and synchronicity, I think that trying to squeeze them into those frameworks is not going to work.”

Links

Willhall.net

Madness Radio

Outsidementalhealth.com (info on his book, Outside Mental Health: Voices and Visions of Madness)

The Freedom Center

Mcgill.ca: The placebo effect and psychedelic drugs: tripping on nothing?


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Oct 30, 2020
PT215 - Cultivating Connections - The Power of Rituals
51:43

In this episode, Joe interviews Ryan and Rory of Cultivating Connections, a Vermont-based nonprofit and podcast dedicated to fostering deeper connections between themselves and the members of their ritual, as well as promoting the idea of intentioned rituals, answering questions and giving advice on creating your own ritual, and eventually, hosting larger group rituals.

They talk about how Ryan's depression and Rory's heroin and crack addiction (and eventual overdose) and experience with ayahuasca led them to realize that their biggest problem was disconnection, and through sharing a joint in the woods and talking openly, they realized they could help each other by continuing to embrace that connection with each other. They discuss the weekly ritual that blossomed from that: the different things they've tried, the specific details of what they do, and the big moments that made them believe that what they were doing was helping them grow and change. 

While they admit that they wouldn't be where they are today without psychedelics, psychedelics or other drugs (they use cannabis) are not necessary: ultimately, it's the intention and dedicated practice that matters most. Being vulnerable, accepting yourself and others, opening up and sharing, remaining consistent and steadfast, trusting the process, and most importantly, embracing their fear is what has helped them the most. And the biggest thing they've learned is the power of staring into each member's eyes for as long as possible, which has given them deeper connections than they thought they could have.

Notable Quotes

“You can say, ‘I want to experience something in a psychedelic experience. I want to face my fears.’ But what you say is not what you get. If you create a structure that you come to every week, where everyone has this unwritten, unspoken bond- that you know the intention is to get deeper into your psyche- into your unconscious, and confront the shit that you need to deal with, then every week you go there, you can’t avoid it.” -Ryan

“I’d say the most intense experiences of my life have been these weekly sessions the past 22 weeks. And it’s also been the most transformative time of my life. So I think there’s a lot to be said about the intensity of what you’re feeling and how you can use that. If it’s not in the right setting, it can become traumatic. But if you’re in a setting where you’re supported and you can grow with it, then it becomes a transformative experience.” -Ryan

“For us, it’s really about doing these things with intention in our group setting and our community setting, with the intention of connecting and facing fear. Really, I think the big thing that we focus on is not looking at fear as a negative thing. Fear is not something that we should repress, it’s something that we should let in- we should accept, and we should find value in. But if you repress your fear, you end up manifesting it.” -Ryan

Links

Cultivatingconnectionsvt.com

Cultivating Connections Podcast

Facebook

Instagram

Collective-evolution.com: Eye Gazing: Science Reveals How It Affects Our Communication


About Ryan and Rory

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Oct 27, 2020
PT Solidarity Fridays - Episode 30
01:22:36

In today’s Solidarity Fridays episode, Joe and Kyle sit down and discuss some very scientific (read: hard to understand) articles. First, they talk about one on Salvinorin A and its interactions with a different receptor than other psychedelics (kappa opioid receptors) and what that could mean, and a related article from Wired- a first-hand account of taking salvia as part of a brain-imaging study at Johns Hopkins University. The biggest takeaway from these can be summed up in researcher Manoj Doss's closing quote: "Not only does this tell me how little we understand psychedelics, it also tells me how little we understand how to study them.”

They then review a recent double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study on LSD, which showed results we expect to see, but the full details haven't been released yet. This leads to a discussion about intergenerational trauma and researchers finding that children of Holocaust survivors often display more trauma-related behavior than their parents, commonality between people of Irish and German decent (due to shared traumatic histories), the idea of "group soul," how the lymphatic system works within the brain to remove toxins and how this and the blood-brain barrier can be affected by a concussion, and the effects caesarian sections have both on an individual person as well as in higher concentrations of people per country. Do countries with more C-sections produce more traumatized people?

Lastly, they talk about how psychedelics opening up people's brains and thought processes could possibly lead toward more conspiratorial thinking, which leads to discussion about QAnon, Alan Moore, a crazy story about 9/11 from Kyle, and the very idea of truth: what is your personal criteria for something being true? What do any of us really know?

And one last reminder- October 28th is the premiere of the new 15-week online course offering called An Introduction to Philosophy and Psychedelics with Lenny Gibson, so if you're considering taking it, now is the time to sign up!

Notable Quotes

“Do we always need to seek ego death to have profound healing in psychedelic experiences? Could it be more gentle at times?” -Kyle

“There seems to be this trend in the scientific world to say, ‘ok cool, our data suggests that this model of the world and how things are working is true, therefore this model is true’ and kind of sticking to your guns on that, and I think because we finally have our tools back where we can examine the psyche after decades of prohibition, that maybe let’s not rush- like, let’s keep them hypotheses, and perhaps we can be more fluid when new hypotheses come out about the world and the mind and the brain and these things. Perhaps that’ll help us not necessarily have to live in a certain paradigm for a super long time and we can be a little bit more paradigm-fluid maybe, or model-agnostic, and just kind of shift around as new data comes to light.” -Joe

“What’s truth and how do you know what is true? ….How can you validate that that is true? And what do you know to be true in your world? It’s a hard thing to really understand. When I think about it, I think the only true thing that I know is this present moment.” -Kyle

“It’s interesting. How do we know more? How does knowledge work? Epistemology, metaphysics-  these are massive questions, and as much as I appreciate science, I feel like science could benefit a lot from being philosophy-aware. Like, what are we really doing? What kind of metaphysics and epistemology underlies our go-forward here? Is there data to suggest that mind and brain aren’t the same thing? Yes, there is, including [from] top neurologists like Karl Pribram and others. Mind does not equal brain. And how do we transcend that and go forward? I know this is not what the establishment wants us to be saying, if we want to talk about conspiracies. Just look at scientism vs. philosophy and the humanist traditions- really, quite a battle that’s been going on for a long time, probably since the time of Newton or before.” -Joe 

Links

The Physicist and the Philosopher: Einstein, Bergson, and the Debate that Changed Our Understanding of Time, by Jimena Canales

Wired.com: This Is My Brain on Salvia

Nature.com: The Acute Effects of the Atypical Dissociative Hallucinogen Salvinorin A on Functional Connectivity in the Human Brain

Psychedelics Today: Does Salvia Divinorum Have Therapeutic Potential? By Michelle Janikian

Nature.com: Acute dose-dependent effects of lysergic acid diethylamide in a double-blind placebo-controlled study in healthy subjects

Psychedelicreview.com: Ketanserin info

Statista.com: Cesarean sections - Statistics & Facts

Different Doorway: Adventures of a Caesarean Born, by Jane B. English

The Concussion Repair Manual : A Practical Guide to Recovering from Traumatic Brain Injuries, by Dan Engle

Nih.gov: Brain cleaning system uses lymphatic vessels

Resonancescience.org (Resonance Science Foundation)

Nytimes.com: Cleve Backster: He talked to plants. And they talked back.


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Oct 23, 2020
PT214 - Dr. Michael Sapiro - Engaged Spirituality: Bringing the Mystical Into the Ordinary
01:15:12

In this episode, Kyle interviews Doctor of Psychology, faculty member at Esalen Institute, Fellow at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, Dharma teacher, and former Buddhist monk, Dr. Michael Sapiro.

Sapiro talks about his recent travel pilgrimage to the northeast US, living in a camper with his dog and spending a lot of time in the woods working on himself and his connection with others. He talks about the "ways of knowing" that is taught at Esalen Institute, where people ask their cognitive brain about an important decision, then ask their body, their intuition, and even their ancestors and/or spirit guides, paying attention to their reaction to each interaction. He talks about methods to deal with body reactions, breathwork, the importance of self-talk, metaphors, cutting karma so you aren't perpetuating old ancestral wounds, the concept of post-traumatic growth, the difference between selfishness and self-focus, and knowing when to be passively working on yourself or actively engaging with and helping others. 

They discuss how to fuse your normal self with your mystical self and make the mystical ordinary- through action, being self-aware, staying calm, staying open-hearted, and always thinking of what can be done next to improve yourself and the health of others. This is a bit of a feel-good episode: in a hectic, stressful time, it's a reminder of the importance of checking in with yourself, taking care of yourself, and allowing yourself to just be. 

Notable Quotes

“One of the things nature and the mystery taught me in my retreat, was to slow down and feel the presence of the mystery in a strand of a spider web. And I’m not being hyperbolic- I would slow down on a walk and see this spider web and just be with it for a while. What can I learn? What can I soak in? How can I be with it? And then I would take that into conversations when I met people. So that’s one practical way of bringing the wisdom of the forest into our daily lives.”

“How beautiful that we have this access to deep knowledge of the universe through us, but we have to be quiet. We have to be quiet to hear the whispers of the heart. And when you become quiet, the whispers of the heart become louder and they start filling you in. Then you have to start believing it.”

“What I learned in the forest and when I was doing my own healing work, is that the mystical states are actually ordinary- profoundly ordinary states of greeting the world [presently]- through my eyes, through my being, through being quiet when I’m agitated. ...Making the mystical states ordinary is a verb. It’s turning mysticism into an action, and that comes out through our speech, eye-gazing, through the way we listen, [and] the way we show up for ourselves and other people.”

“Selfishness is doing a behavior that negatively impacts other people on purpose. ...Being self-focused is different. It’s ok that we have time being self-focused. ...You have to discern the difference. Because it’s not selfish to take care of the vessel that your consciousness is housed in. It’s important so you have good health to contribute to others’ health. It’s important because you’re precious and you matter. You don’t have to be selfish to take care of yourself, so let yourself off a little bit. Because a lot of people say ‘I feel selfish when I take care of myself.’ That’s not fair actually. That’s not fair. If you’re being selfish, call yourself out on it and change your behavior. If you’re just taking care of yourself out of self-love, because you know your health will positively impact other people’s (because we’re interdependent), then it’s really important you do take time to be self-focused.”

Links

Michaelsapiro.com

Instagram

Down, Play, or Walk Away: How my dog socialized me to be wiser and kinder during Covid-19, by Michael Sapiro, PsyD

The Self-Care Vow: Turning the Bodhisattva's Gaze Inward, by Michael Sapiro, PsyD

His last appearance on Psychedelics Today


About Dr. Michael Sapiro

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Oct 20, 2020
PT Solidarity Fridays - Episode 29
50:39

In today’s Solidarity Fridays episode, Joe and Kyle sit down and discuss a recent segment on CNN highlighting Brian Muraresku's book, The Immortality Key: The Secret History of the Religion with No Name, about the role psychedelics have likely played in the origin of religion and western civilization. They talk about psychedelics throughout history, like the Eleusinian Mysteries, soma use in Hindu scriptures, therianthropy and the idea of psychedelics leading towards these human-animal hybrid visions, and even the idea that Moses was huffing acacia or some other type of mind-altering plant available in that area at the time. Does it matter to the movement if all of this is historically accurate? And why do we romanticize ancient psychedelic use so much?

They then spend some time on a very important but unpleasant topic: accountability for misconduct in the psychedelic space. With no well-known Yelp-like website to review facilitators or retreat centers, and abuse (or at least unethical relationships) seeming to be very common in the therapeutic world, what's the best way to handle abuse and abusers? In the legal therapeutic world, there are at least licensing boards to contact or police to reach out to (since nothing illegal would be tied to the victim). Is the answer ex-communication? Restorative justice? Some sort of mediator? Filming everything for the protection of both sides? Whatever the ideas, the conversation needs to continue and louder voices need to be a part of it. 

They review some other news stories, Kyle lets us know that he's been taking ketamine-assisted psychotherapy training at Polaris Insights center and Alex Grey just followed him on Twitter, and Joe introduces a possible new Solidarity Fridays segment, "Joe's Paranoid Update." And reminder- An Introduction to Philosophy and Psychedelics with Lenny Gibson begins October 28th. Sign up now! 

Notable Quotes

“I didn’t really grow up very religious, so I’m curious- the people that did and may not understand this indigenous kind of perspective of using plants to alter consciousness and have some sort of relationship with the universe- I wonder how that came off to them, seeing this on CNN.” -Kyle

“What is it about that that is so intriguing to us at times? I know for myself, looking at a lot of Indigenous cultures or ancient traditions helped me kind of provide a framework for understanding some of these experiences that maybe western traditions kind of have but don’t really have. Maybe I found more comfort in these traditions, but to say they have all the answers because they were possibly doing some of this stuff, I think could get a little tricky at times. Like, why do we want to romanticize the past so much?” -Kyle

“I think Dimitri Mugianis mentioned this to us: what kind of movement is it that would cover up rape to achieve its ends, and serious sexual misconduct? And victims have been told: ‘If you out this rape, this is bad for the movement, so please don’t do it.’ Are you fucking kidding me? No. Absolutely not. If someone raped you, [that’s] not ok.” -Joe

“We’re not waiting on the FDA to get our ethics together. Ethics can happen right now.” -Joe

Links

Psychedelics Today: Veronika Gold – Methods of Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy

Forbes.com: Apple iOS 14: Brilliant New Security And Privacy Features You Can Use Now

Cnn.com: Did hallucinogens play role in origin of religion?

The Immortality Key: The Secret History of the Religion with No Name, by Brian C. Muraresku

DMT & the Soul of Prophecy A New Science of Spiritual Revelation in the Hebrew Bible, by Rick Strassman

Ancient-origins.net: The Dogon’s Extraordinary Knowledge of the Cosmos and the Cult of Nommo

The Science of the Dogon: Decoding the African Mystery Tradition, by Laird Scranton

Wayne State University: Poison Center warns of effects after Ann Arbor decriminalizes psychedelic substances

Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town, by Jon Krakauer

MAPS’ statement on Richard Yensen

Horizons’ statement on Neal M. Goldsmith

Now open: Bipolar and Magic Mushrooms Study

Bipolar and Psychedelics: An Investigation into the Potential and Risks, by Michelle Janikian


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Oct 16, 2020
PT213 - Dr. Matt Brown - Osteopathy and Exploring Energy
01:10:35

In this episode, Joe speaks with Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, Psychiatrist (specializing in the treatment of OCD), and Psychedelics Today Advisory Board member, Dr. Matt Brown.

Brown talks about osteopathic medicine and his thoughts on energy: how the principle of osteopathic medicine is that "mind, body, spirit" and the things we interact with contribute to what makes up a person, and by shifting things within each body system (neurological or respiratory, for example), change can be made, just like the way small postural shifts can lead to a decrease in pain or anxiety and how smiling can fool your brain into feeling happier. With bodywork emerging as such a powerful tool and breathwork facilitators learning interventions to help clients work through stuck energy, there is clearly a huge connection between the different energies in our bodies and how they affect us, but how much do we really perceive these shifts, and how do we measure these energies and create usable data out of it all?  

They also discuss other new methods of psychedelic healing, like the Integratron, light machines like the Lucia Lucia N°03, and Soren Peterson's sound table, and what it might look like if people used these and other non-drug methods in addition to a small amount of psychedelics- could that take away a lot of people's fear? And they talk about Stan Grof, Dr. Christopher M. Bache's LSD and the Mind of the Universe, Elon Musk's Neuralink, and why people should watch and read more sci-fi.

Notable Quotes

“We’re talking about the study of consciousness, which I am fully confident we are not going to find out way past my death. But that’s ok, and actually, I find that somewhat exciting, because this is a really hard problem that humanity has been working on forever, and if we can even push the ripple of the movement in a slightly different direction for a positive change, that’s an amazing feat when you think about the totality of the universe and how huge it is and how small we are.”

“I think that what we might do, is, over time, try to figure out ways of having very, very specific, reliably repeatable experiences mediated through the combination of [a] psychedelic and some sort of a technology, that neither the drug by itself would cause, nor the technology by itself would cause, but if you combined the two, you could have something. What that would be, I don’t know, but it kind of feels a little bit like Total Recall. And then on the opposite side of that, with more the natural medicines, there’s this constant exploration of like, ‘ok, well, what is this broader universe all about and how is nature interconnected with everything else?’ And so, they’d be used for different purposes. So then when you think about it, when you’re talking about the ‘medicines coming from the earth’ so to speak, vs. like, the synthesized version, it’s like, ‘Do you want the blue pill or the red pill?’”

“He [Dr. Christopher M. Bache] does have that eye about him, of people that have gone really, really deep. ...There’s just a thing- I don’t know how to explain it- it’s like a different twinkle in the eye, that you can just see in folks that have seen more than, I don’t know, what we’re supposed to see.”

“This is very much a global psychedelic experience going on right now. We are on the biggest trip that we’ve ever had, ever. And this is not going to be fast. ...I’m not sure if we’ve gotten to the point where all the other traumas that we get to be able to be introduced to have all been shown to us yet. I think we’ve gotten some glimpses with that, with the whole George Floyd situation, but I’m not sure what’s still on the horizon before this whole thing ends. And hopefully, just like a psychedelic experience, there’s going to be a dramatic healing and growth that comes out of this. We’ll all find out together, whenever that happens.”

Links

Website: Drmattbrown.com

Meetup.com: Psychedelics and the Future of Psychiatry

His past appearance on Psychedelics Today

LSD and the Mind of the Universe, by Christopher M. Mache

The Integratron

Lucia Light Experience

Lowpromedia.com (Soren Peterson's sound table)

The Way of the Psychonaut Volumes 1 and 2, by Stanislav Grof


About Dr. Matt Brown

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Oct 14, 2020
PTSF 28
59:08

In today’s Solidarity Fridays episode, Joe and Kyle sit down and discuss several items in the news, including Mark Zuckerberg donating $500,000 towards Oregon's Measure 110, national psychiatric associations coming out as in opposition to Oregon's measure 109 due to concerns over medical treatment being determined via a ballot iniative, voters in Mississippi being able to vote on medical cannabis and voters in Arizona, Montana, South Dakota and New Jersey being able to vote on legalization measures (with polling data showing 65% of New Jersey voters likely in favor), Denver's Kole Milner offially pleading guilty in his ongoing psilocybin investigation, a recent study looking into the effects of chronic THC exposure on the 5-HT2A receptors typically studied more with psychedelics and the question on if cannabis is psychedelic or not, the University of Toronto joining forces with Sansero Life Sciences to study the effects of microdosing and smaller doses of psilocybin, NYU Langone teaming up with MindMed to start a clinical training program focusing on psychedelics and psychedelic-assisted therapies (with the eventual goal of establishing a Center for Psychedelic Medicine at NYU Langone Health), and yet another psychedelic company going live on the stock market: Toronto-based Field Trip Health. 

They also issue a correction/update on statements made last week about Oregon's Measures 109 and 110, and talk about why the placebo effect isn't studied more, and how drugs establishing themselves in your personal life story can influence their efficacy. And they discuss some of the positive, community-encouraging COVID-related changes they've seen in their local cities and wonder how many of them can stay when we eventually return to some sort of normalcy. 

And they remind us that there is a new 15-week online course offering called An Introduction to Philosophy and Psychedelics with Lenny Gibson, which begins October 28th, as well as a new CEU and non-CEU Psychedelics in Psychiatry offering developed by "EntheoNurse" C.J. Spotswood. Imagination as Revelation, developed by Kyle and Johanna Hilla-Maria Sopanen, is also available, as well as Navigating Psychedelics and others.  

Notable Quotes

“As we see things decriminalized, it’s not necessarily the case that you’re safe. You can still go to prison, and it’s not a nice place. So, be careful. Please be careful. I’m lucky enough to be blessed with extreme paranoia. Consider what a healthy level of paranoia is for your situation and what you’re up to, and err on the side of caution. The special saying is, ‘Only break one law at a time.’” -Joe

“What I’m really excited about is that in the next year or two, we’re going to have a lot more clinical data on this. Doctors will be a lot more comfortable with it, and this story will keep progressing in really interesting ways that I don’t really think we’re understanding how this is going to look in a couple years yet. Just how much 2020 has changed the movement, it’s going to be really intense over the next couple years.” -Joe

“I think if one thing that comes out of this is, as you say, forced creativity- we’re forced to make some of these changes, and what works, what doesn’t work? If things feel like they’re working in a different way, how do you keep that? Just thinking about coming back to the integration aspect of experiences- if something feels like that is moving in a new direction, how do you continue to follow that without needing to just snap back to what has worked in the past? Food for thought. ...If things start to shift a little bit, could we continue that change, or do we keep feeding a system that feels broken or isn’t helpful in our own evolution?” -Kyle

“22 veteran suicides a day- can we cut that in half through decriminalization initiatives? I don’t think the answer is yes. So like, what are the alternatives? Pharma. Pharma at scale doing what capital does. It might not be pretty but it might be able to save a lot of lives. And the decrim people looking at that as an evil, it’s like, what’s more evil: that happening, or all those people killing themselves because of what your tax dollars had them do? ...Your ideology might feel really pure but there might be a lot of subtext there that you’re missing.” -Joe

Links

Thegreenfund.com: Mark Zuckerberg Makes Donation to Legalize Psilocybin

Marijuanamoment.net: Mark Zuckerberg Supports Drug Decriminalization With Half-Million Dollar Oregon Campaign Donation

Yachatsnews.com: Oregon and national psychiatric associations come out in opposition to Measure 109 on Nov. 3 ballot

Norml.org: New Jersey: Voter Support Solidly in Favor of Marijuana Legalization Ahead of Ballot Initiative Vote

Westword.com: Denver Mushroom Dealer Pleads Guilty in Federal Court

Psychedelicreview.com: THC and the 5-HT2A Receptor: What’s Going On?

Journal of Cannabis Research: Cannabis as entheogen: survey and interview data on the spiritual use of cannabis

Psychedelics Today: Psychedelic Cannabis: Using the Plant for Healing Trauma

Thegrowthop.com: University of Toronto and Sansero Life Sciences join forces to study psychedelic medications

New Advancements in Psychedelic Integration - Mapping the Mind 2020 panel (youtube video)

Fiercehealthcare.com: NYU Langone, MindMed team up to launch training program for psychedelic therapies

Forbes.com: Field Trip Health, Another Psychedelic Therapy Company, Goes Public


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Oct 09, 2020
PT212 - Zoe Helene - Colonization, Coevolution, and Cosmic Sisterhood
02:06:22

In this episode, Joe interviews environmental and cultural activist, founder of advocacy group Cosmic Sister, and purveyor of psychedelic feminism, Zoe Helene. 

In this very open and free-form conversation, Zoe discusses her past corporate life in a male-dominated high tech world leading to a major change in her life and the creation of Cosmic Sister, the concepts of othering people and ableism, the importance of Michael Pollan's concept of coevolution/coextinction, how psychedelics potentiate identity-fluidity (most seen in gender-fluidity), how people usually talk about ayahuasca retreats damaging communities but rarely talk about the ways they benefit Indigenous people, the way Americans have a very fleeting, media-controlled attention span on social issues, how living in a patriarchy affects everyone, and how most men don't think about the ways it affects them.

They spend a lot of time talking about ancestry and colonization: the Mycenean and Minoan civilizations and their use of plant medicines, the tribalism of Greek people, Greek civilizations using plant medicines much more than most people think (not just the rights of Eleusis), the effects of colonization and the roots of cultural appropriation, and 2 tombs recently dug up with Signet rings depicting medicine women likely in an artistic depiction of ergot. 

Notable Quotes

“Colonization goes back and then goes back again, and it goes back again- it’s very complicated. It’s not just decolonizing the United States of America- it’s decolonizing from all the colonizers. Colonizing forces have been on this planet since the beginning of time, in little ways, in medium ways, and in big ways, and it’s still going on.”

“When people want to talk about Venus, I get on their cases about it. Don’t call her Venus. Call her Aphrodite. Don’t call her Venus, because Venus is a terrible version- it’s the patriarchal version by another culture. It’s appropriation. It’s no different from other appropriation that people talk about all the time”

“The idea of ayahuasca centers and ayahuasca tourists quote/unquote ‘going down and taking advantage’- I know there was some of that because there are always going to be bad people and there are also really crass, stupid tourists. There are. But, most people go there as a pilgrimage, and if anything, are guilty of kind of romanticizing the Indigenous people, in this way that they’re very ignorant- a lot of ignorance, where it’s like, ‘Oh, they all want to run around in grass skirts.’ No, they want a cell phone.”

“I hope people hold onto this change. ...It’s not a trend. Anti-racism should not be looked at as another damn trend. It needs to be something we keep working on. We can’t quit. Environment is the same- all the big things. This is, I think, a flaw in our culture that we have this idea- it’s a trait of our specifically American culture, where we are really fickle with news items. ...Remember when the Amazon was burning? It’s still burning, but everybody was devastated by that, as if that was the first time we’d ever seen the destruction of the great Amazon. ...I think, to American culture, and I’ve seen this- is that somewhere in the back of their head, they think it’s done. It’s fixed. ‘That got solved.’ It didn’t. And that’s the same with sexism, it’s the same with racism- all of these big social and environmental issues should not be considered trends.”

Links

Cosmicsister.com

Cosmic Sister Instagram

Smithsonianmag.com: Gold Rings Found in Warrior’s Tomb Connect Two Ancient Greek Cultures

Imdb.com: The Nightingale

Her past appearance on Psychedelics Today


About Zoe Helene

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Navigating Psychedelics

 

Oct 06, 2020
Solidarity Fridays 27
59:30

In today’s Solidarity Fridays episode, Joe and Kyle sit down and dissect 3 recent items in the news.

First, they discuss a 2-year study on 18 older long-term AIDS survivors (OLTAS) with a high degree of demoralization and trauma, in which participants underwent 3 hours of individual psychotherapy, one 8 hour psilocybin session, and 12-15 hours of group therapy. While the study predictably showed improvement in demoralization after a 3-month follow-up, the bigger takeaway is the effectiveness of group therapy and the ability to replace hours of individual therapy, (in this case) cutting therapist time almost in half. With many people struggling to connect with facilitators but finding connection in groups, could group therapy work better to help with healing while also cutting costs? This brings up the concept of AI therapy and what improvements we could see by adding technology to this fairly established clinical model, both in cost and effectiveness.

They next talk about Decriminalize Nature Oregon groups urging voters to vote "no" on the upcoming Oregon Psilocybin Service Measure 109 due to them finding the measure to be highly restrictive and essentially putting these plant medicines behind a paywall, making it even more difficult for those with race and income-based trauma to gain access. They wonder why DN is so opposed to what they see as progress- why not come at the problem from all angles and embrace legality alongside other initiatives, especially in a time when we are likely to see huge spikes in pandemic-related PTSD?

This leads to a discussion of David Bronner of Dr. Bronner pulling funding from DN at a national level (but still supporting local initiatives) and the in-fighting that's seeming to happen everywhere with this battle. And that leads to money and the very common feeling that large donations usually come with ulterior motives. And how do you make sure they don't? Does taking money from someone to further your cause automatically make you a sell out? Or is there only a conflict if you have the contingency of the donor needing some sort of return on investment that affects the end goal?

Notable Quotes

“Let’s just keep experimenting and understanding what we lose when we get a little bit more technical, and perhaps also what we might gain. What would happen if you had your clients wearing a wearable, so you could review how their week actually was in data terms vs. self-reporting? That would be an interesting adjunct. And what happens when you do a full system thing with apps and the wearable being tied to that, to say, 'Alright, hey, you should go meditate for a little bit, [and] right now, because you are spiking' or 'Go do this bio-feedback thing for 5-10 and re-regulate and then go back to your day'?” -Joe

“I think a lot of people that are just starting off, that are looking for some sort of mental health treatment- they’re probably going to want this medical model. Going to a group setting scares the shit out of them. They might not want to go to ayahuasca ceremonies or these spiritually-oriented, self-development groups with people. They might want that one-on-one, individual session, maybe to start off with, until they can build up a little bit of expertise and understand their own inner psyche, where they say, ‘Huh, maybe I can explore different models and different uses of context now.’ But I think that is something that is important to try to explore too- what do the people want that are outside of these inner circles that are more seasoned psychonauts- people that are trying to push for some of these changes and trying to say, ‘Hey, this is the model that we want’? Well, does everyone want that? Is that going to work for everybody?” -Kyle

“There’s no real reason to think that laws stay forever. Laws are flexible. Laws are a pain in the butt. Laws are also amazing sometimes. So consider flexibility when thinking about laws and that citizens can change things. Perhaps we don’t get it right [on the] first try, but let’s get it right iteratively. This is the direction of right, in my mind- what OPS [Oregon Psilocybin Society] is doing.” -Joe

Links

Thelancet.com: Psilocybin-assisted group therapy for demoralized older long-term AIDS survivor men: An open-label safety and feasibility pilot study

Decriminalize Nature's facebook post/press release on Oregon Psilocybin Service Measure 109

Ballotpedia.org: More info on Measure 109

Drbronner.com: Clarifying Our Support of the Decriminalize Nature Movement and Challenges With Its National Leadership


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Navigating Psychedelics

 

Oct 02, 2020
Del Jolly - Psilocybin, Concussions and Unlimited Sciences' Mission
01:08:43

In this episode, Joe interviews Del Jolly: co-founder and Director of psychedelic research nonprofit Unlimited Sciences, previous Business Development Manager at Charlotte's Web, previous Outreach Director for Decriminalize Denver, and member of the Board of Advisors for cannabis nonprofit, The Realm of Caring.

Jolly talks about his path to Unlimited Sciences and its purpose: to collect as much data as possible through an observational research study through Johns Hopkins University, where participants are asked to provide as many details as possible about their psilocybin use. Like "Cannabis moms" Heather Jackson and Paige Figy collecting years of data from cannabis users through The Realm of Caring, Unlimited Sciences aims to do the same with psilocybin. They want data from recreational users as well, and they want to know where these users are, since location often establishes comfort levels (think about how much more relaxed someone would be in a decriminalized area like Denver vs. a country where you could be killed for doing these types of drugs). The goal is to use this data to find trends in all aspects of psilocybin use and figure out where to go next, both in terms of suggested use and legality.

Jolly talks about some athlete friends who are doing a lot, from UFC fighter Rashad Evans speaking on panels, to Blackhawks player Daniel Carcillo and his work with his organization Chapter 5, to Brandi Chastain pledging her brain to the Concussion Foundation. And he talks a lot about concussions and traumatic brain injuries- how female soccer players seem to get the most concussions (and women are more prone in general), how smaller, repetitive hits to the head often cause more damage than being knocked out, and how Marcus Capone of Veterans Exploring Treatment Solutions (VETS) believes it's not PTSD that's leading 22 veterans to commit suicide a day, but more likely post-concussive syndrome. And he talks about his hope for psilocybin to emerge as something that can help these people (and all people) legally. 

Notable Quotes

“If we never stopped studying psilocybin, we’d have about 50 years of research under our belt. Maybe there’s a slight possibility we’d be able to- and I’m not even kidding, help people walk again after being paralyzed.”

“If we want to slap on some dumbass bumper sticker that says ‘Support our troops,’ but then we really don’t, because we don’t want to look at psychedelics as an option or cannabis as an option, that doesn’t seem like supporting the troops. Supporting the troops, to me, means providing as many options as we can to these humans who have sacrificed everything to provide us the luxuries that we have. Can we please reciprocate to some degree and at least research this shit?” 

“Something has to be done to unify to some degree, because at the end of the day, the champions of this are these smaller nonprofits and the community. And the cold hard facts about these nonprofits and community and the veterans of this space- we don’t have the money that big pharma does. We don’t have the power that the political side does and if we don’t unify and have a pretty common goal, we will be crushed in a New York second. ...And realistically, if we just want to cannibalize ourselves by saying who’s ok and who’s not and all that jazz, it’s a waste of effort and it’s just going to speed up the opposition’s position.”

“This is a bipartisan subject in my opinion. Here’s how I see it- there’s not a single person who isn’t going to be affected or could not potentially benefit from the potential of something like psilocybin. Everybody, at least the last I checked, at some point, is going to suffer from depression or anxiety. ...If we would just open the floodgates on research, we’d be able to help these people. So, this is a human issue. This isn’t a red, blue, black, white- this is a humanity issue that we need to just get responsible and realistic about. And the time is now. We have the information. There’s no excuse anymore. There’s no excuse. There’s no excuse not to be exploring and understanding everything we can.”

Links

Unlimitedsciences.org

Unlimited Sciences' Study

Instagram

Realm of Caring

The Nowak Society's PSA

Chapter 5 Foundation

Game Brain: Bennet Omalu, Concussions, and the NFL: How One Doctor Changed Football Forever

VETS: Veterans Exploring Treatment Solutions

Concussion Legacy Foundation

The Beautiful Brain- Audible podcast info

Charlotte's Web


About Del Jolly

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Navigating Psychedelics

 

Sep 29, 2020
Solidarity Fridays - Week 26
57:32

In today’s Solidarity Fridays episode, Joe and Kyle sit down and discuss recent items in the news.

They first discuss an update to last week's Michigan story: that this week, the Ann Arbor city council unanimously voted to decriminalize entheogenic plants. While this is great progress, remember that these substances are still illegal- just decriminalized, and as the saying goes: don't be the low-hanging fruit. This brings up the concept of likening the ability to get these substances to earning (and keeping) a driver's license, and the idea of temporary autonomous zones. 

Next, they talk about the formation of a global group called the Psychedelic Medicine Association (PMA), formed to bridge the gap between the medical establishment, patients, and the industry in general. While there are already organizations doing this to an extent (like the very website you're on right now), most doctors don't have the time needed to really dive in, and shorter sound bites or articles vetted by those in the know could be very beneficial towards their growth in this new (to them) field. 

They also report on a new study pinpointing exactly how psychedelics bind to 5-Ht2a serotonin receptors, which sets the stage for new kinds of antidepressants and antianxiety drugs, could help with cluster headaches, could even help explain HPPD (hallucinogen persisting perception disorder), and leads to a discussion of natural vs. synthetic drugs and the ethics of thinking someone needs to go through the psychedelic experience in order to heal.

Lastly, they discuss Compass Pathways going live on the stock market, starting at $17 a share and hitting $38 within a week, which leads to a discussion on how larger companies sue each other over valuable information but regularly take information from Indigenous people and people who've been working in the underground for years. In order to pay proper respect to plant medicine lineages, should we "take" MDMA, LSD, ketamine, and other synthetic substances as part of a western lineage and categorize them differently?

Notable Quotes

“That’s the vision that I would like to see. More expanded access, less legal presence. Less Empire interfering with the rebels.” -Joe

“Is it the case that people need psychedelic experience? No. I would prefer that more people have psychedelic experience, but I don’t think it’s an ethical obligation for more people to have it, or that ‘oh, in order to deserve healing, you need to go through that potentially tortuous or difficult experience [idea]'. Or joyous experience- it doesn’t have to be bad. There’s a lot there, and just thinking that people have an obligation to have the experience is a little whack to me.” -Joe

“The hard problem of consciousness is still there. What is mind? Where is mind? What is consciousness? Where is consciousness? Really big questions. We know mind appears real. We know consciousness appears real, but what is that? There’s a lot of questions left. Philosophy of mind and neuroscience are not really communicating too regularly. I saw headlines: ‘Oh look! LSD finally solved! We know how it works now!’ Like, yea, kind of, but not really, because we don’t even know what mind or consciousness is. ...Most people are willing to say ‘mind equals brain,’ and use interchangeably. I think that’s pretty common parlance, but I suggest people check it out. Dig in a little bit to philosophy of mind and limitations of neuroscience and mind. I’m not trying to say we shouldn’t do neuroscience- we absolutely should. But, making conclusive statements like, ‘Oh cool, since neuroscience said this, then God isn’t real' [is] kind of a goofy argument.” -Joe

“What it does it look like from a capitalistic point of view? X company develops a patent and then X other company goes over and wants to use that- what usually happens? There’s usually a lawsuit that entails, right? But if X company goes to an indigenous and underground community and extracts information and then they go use that to profit, what really happens there? Not much. The bigger company that has all the money usually will just dominate.” -Kyle

Links

Marijuanamoment.net: City Council Unanimously Votes To Decriminalize Psychedelics In Ann Arbor, Michigan

Wikipedia.org: Temporary Autonomous Zone info

Healtheuropa.eu: Psychedelics Association to Bridge Medical Establishment and Industry Gap

Plantmedicine.org (Dr. Lynn Marie Morski's podcast)

Psychologytoday.com: This Is Your Brain’s 5-HT2A Receptors on LSD or Psilocybin

Narrative Medicine: The Use of  History and Story in the Healing Process by, Lewis Mehl-Madrona

Genengnews.com: Scientists Solve High-Resolution Structure of Psychedelic Drugs Bound to Serotonin Receptors

Realmoney.thestreet.com: Compass Pathways Takes Investors on a Trip to Higher Prices


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Sep 25, 2020
Vanessa LeMaistre - Embracing a Path to Spiritual Discovery
01:10:38

In this episode, Joe interviews shaman, motivational speaker, author, minister, and healer, Vanessa LeMaistre. 

LeMaistre talks about her path towards shamanism: from being told she was different as a child, to traveling to India at 25 and falling in love with yoga and meditating on the Ganges river, to a tarot card reading inspiring her to earn her Master's degree at Naropa University, to trying coca for the first time (without realizing ahead of time that that's what she'd be doing), to training with Michael Harner. Ultimately, what led her towards accepting her fate as a shaman was both healing from the devastating death of her infant son, Kamden, due to a very rare disease, and numerous ayahuasca ceremonies in Peru, where shamans told her that her ancestors were calling to her.

She talks about living with the odd uncertainty of feeling like she should become a shaman, tarot card readers, a neighbor at an ayahuasca ceremony's entity attachment and her interest in getting into entity extraction, her connection to Voodoo and interest in Haitian zombies, microdosing, homelessness and how some countries help each other compared to the U.S., the complications of being a shaman and trying to avoid narcissism, and what her travels have been like for her as a multi-raced woman in a world that is predominately full of white men.

LeMaistre offers spiritual coaching sessions, divination readings, sound bowl healing, motivational talks and spiritual coaching, facilitates healing talking circles (with a focus on diversity and inclusivity), and has started selling "Self-Love candles," which she prays over and sets with intentions. She also donates books and teaches children how to meditate through her non-profit, Kamden's Room, and has started a virtual "Soul Church," which people can attend through her website every Sunday at 1pm PST. 

Notable Quotes

“I’m finally coming to terms with accepting that, ‘You know what? Maybe there is no elder.’ I have been burned by so many people that are ‘spiritual leaders’ who are charlatans or frauds, and they’re posing as something and then they may get threatened by the power I bring, or they’re afraid that I’m going to catch them. I’ve just kind of taken it as: ‘let me learn as much as I can from what I don’t want to be, and accept that maybe there are no elders, and I’m on the verge of becoming an elder myself.’”

“It was the most spiritual experience of my entire life. I have never seen the veil so thin to where I was getting premonitions, prophecies… It was very enlightening in the sense that I had a big impairment- and I’ll just be transparent here- I had a big impairment on a personal level with accepting my physical experience, and I had a lot of complexities around understanding that I was beautiful. And this night- it showed me who I was, what I need to do, and really started this process of coming into accepting myself as I am.”

“In plant medicine circles too- most of them that I’ve sat in, I’ve always been the only black person, which has been interesting. And even being in the jungle, and having that experience with that person, I was the only female as well, so that was uncomfortable. ...I’ll see ads for “Shamanic drumming- Michael Harner,” but it’s always a person who looks a certain way, and I’ve never seen anyone that looks like me. Well, why not get someone like me? ...I think it’s important for people to see someone who’s multi-raced, who’s diverse, and who’s passionate and an advocate for psychedelics, especially considering, within our community, how many people don’t know what it is.”

Links

Website: vanessasoulxo.com

Instagram

Octavio Rettig and Gerry Sandoval open letter/info


About Vanessa LeMaistre

After going through childhood experiencing a plethora of sexual abuse and dealing with the absence of her father to protect her, she has overcome a tremendous amount of trauma. When she was 25 she was a lost soul who found her way through yoga and traveling to India for spiritual trainings. Later down her journey, she gave birth to a beautiful baby boy who passed away 9-months later. Since then, Vanessa has stepped into her path as a shaman and a holistic healer. She has created a virtual church called Soul Church where people can congregate in community through ritual and conversation.

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Navigating Psychedelics

 

Sep 22, 2020
Solidarity Fridays - Week 25
01:06:18

In today’s Solidarity Fridays episode, Joe and Kyle discuss recent items in the news and dive into cannabis-assisted psychotherapy after Joe recently helped with his first session.

They discuss Compass Pathways' projection that their upcoming stock price could be $14-$16 a share, giving them a possible valuation of as much as $544 million and the problem of having Peter Thiel as one of their leading investors, as it has recently come to surface that he met with white nationalists in 2016 and had good things to say about them. This, in addition to his concerning data-mining company, Palantir Technologies, soon going public puts a lot of the wrong attention and bad press on Compass Pathways.

They talk about UC Berkeley launching a new center for psychedelic science and education with Michael Pollan as one of the co-founders, Decriminalize Nature Ann Arbor putting forth to the city council a resolution to decriminalize entheogenic substances on September 21st, and progress in Washington D.C. and Chicago's decriminalization efforts. They also talk about Dr. Bronner's new "Heal soul!" campaign, which includes new labeling about psychedelic-assisted therapy and a 10% donation of net October sales towards several familiar organizations including: MAPS, Heroic Hearts Project, The Indigenous Peyote Conservation Initiative (IPCI), and Veterans Exploring Treatment Solutions, Inc. (VETS).

Lastly, they talk about cannabis-assisted psychotherapy sessions and how similar they are to both psychedelic and breathwork sessions, how Kyle uses cannabis and somatic work together, and how established worldviews and paradigms can shift through narratives and critical analysis from both sober and psychedelic-assisted thinking.

And finally, the next round of Navigating Psychedelics (beginning September 17th) is now officially sold out, but dates for the next round will be announced soon if you missed your chance. Additionally, there is a new class offering which explores Jungian psychology called Imagination as Revelation, developed by Kyle and Johanna Hilla-Maria Sopanen, and a new class with Lenny Gibson coming in October about the history of western philosophy (info/sign up here). 

Notable Quotes

On cannabis use: “It’s always been very psychedelic to me. The way I work with it is somatically, being able to lie down, incorporate some of the breathing techniques, do movement, do yoga, do some bodywork, and to really work with whatever is coming up in my body that way, maybe play some music... I kind of started developing this naturally over 10+ years just from-- it was like listening to the plant saying ‘this is how I should be used’ in a sense. Like, ‘every time you go do something stupid with me, X might happen.’ So I started getting the message of: use this more consciously. This is a tool for inner exploration.” -Kyle

“It’s this cultural baggage around cannabis. We think ‘oh you smoke it at a Grateful Dead show’ or ‘you watch Cartoon Network late at night while you’re smoking pot.’ You don’t think: ‘Let me close my eyes with intention and journey with it.’ That’s not part of our cultural vision of the plant and our relationship to it. Though, why not? There’s no reason not to. If we can cure or help manage or treat a lot of these things happening in our psyche with cannabis, what kind of miracle is that?” -Joe

“Similar to Robert Anton Wilson’s kind of reality tunnels, you can flip on the Marxist lens, you can flip on the existentialist lens, or modern capitalist lenses just to allow you to get a better picture of what’s happening in front of you. You’re never going to see objective reality but you can get closer and closer and closer. And the more lenses you use, the better you’re going to get. Does a single telescope give you a great idea about a planet? No, but when you have 400, you’re going to have a lot better [idea]. What happens when you throw a satellite out there and you’re able to see from outside the atmosphere?” -Joe

“I guess I come back to narrative a lot. If you’re telling somebody that they are sick and broken, what are they going to think about that, that they’re never going to be able to heal? Is there power in narrative? If you have a more hopeful narrative, can people heal? I’m just thinking about even in breathwork experiences, where I’ve visited narratives that are so embedded in me and then going through a breathwork session, being like ‘holy shit, maybe I don’t actually need to subscribe to that narrative anymore. Maybe that’s something I’ve been holding onto for so long, and maybe I do have the internal power to change.' But most people just say, ‘no, that’s what it is. That’s going to be your lifelong sentence.’ Maybe not. How do we encourage people that they can change?” -Kyle

Links

Investors.com: The First Psychedelic Drug IPO Could Be Worth More Than Half A Billion Dollars

Buzzfeednews.com: Peter Thiel Met With The Racist Fringe As He Went All In On Drumpf

Vox.com: Everything you need to know about Palantir, the secretive company coming for all your data

News.berkeley.edu: UC Berkeley launches new center for psychedelic science and education

Metrotimes.com: Ann Arbor to consider decriminalizing psychoactive mushrooms, plants

Washingtonpost.com: D.C. residents to vote on decriminalization of ‘magic mushrooms’ on November ballot

Psychedelicreview.com: Chicago Follows Oakland, Introduces Resolution to Decriminalize Psychedelic Plants

Dr. Bronner: Support Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies to Heal the Soul!

Dr. Bronner's new "Heal Soul" label


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Navigating Psychedelics

 

Sep 18, 2020
Ash - CBD, Nootropics, and Micro1p
01:18:54

In this episode, Joe interviews Ash: Netherlands-based psychedelic entrepreneur with his hands in many psychedelic spaces- drug manufacturing company Synergy Trading, nootropics company Cerebra Nootropics, and podcast, Shifty Perspective.  

Ash talks about his path from trying San Pedro on a farm, to trying DMT and living on the road and in squats for years, to moving to Belgium from the UK, to finding his way into the world of CBD after a friend recommended it for his epileptic girlfriend at the time. When she went from 12 seizures a day to none within a month of starting regular CBD use, he started a CBD company to sell to consumers at much cheaper prices than had been established, as well as to provide CBD for researchers. He eventually moved to the Netherlands and started a nootropics company, which has started manufacturing Micro1p, the world's first legal lysergamide microdosing product, which uses LSD's active ingredient (available only through their website, and only to specified countries (the U.S. is not one of them)). 

Among other things, they also discuss U.S. state law vs. federal law and the differences between U.S. policy and the UK, big corporations' willingness to lock people up to ensure continued profits, the idea of DMT being used with VR, Daniel McQueen's DMTX extended state DMT-infusion pump, UK harm-reduction group The Loop, his new CBD drink called Galaxy, how much he loved and came to partially fund the recent Dosed documentary, and nootropics and the idea of having a "health-span" instead of a lifespan.

Notable Quotes

“I feel that I want to change the world, and I feel that psychedelics are one of the many great ways of changing humanity for the better, and I’m going to do whatever it takes.”

On corporations funding opposition to alternative medicines: “It’s pretty demoralizing when these billion-dollar industries are just totally stopping it because it’s taking away from their potential profit. ...They’re the biggest cartels in the world, really.”

"I think that the medical and spiritual things kind of actually intertwine. Things like anxiety and depression are crippling society. So many people have horrendous pressure on them from these high-stress lives. It’s exhausting just living- all the pressure from jobs and education. So there’s higher suicide rates [from] people suffering and being over medicated. I think with psychedelics, we can just reduce that massively. I’m not saying we can globally cure depression and anxiety and everyone’s going to be happy, but even if we reduced it by 5%- even by a percent, it would be a huge seismic change in people’s lives and their attitudes, and that kind of goes hand in hand with opening people up, which then brings people together. So by tackling those huge problems, it allows people to talk about their problems. ...And we can actually start to bring people together.”

Links

micro1p.com

Cerebra Nootropics

Synergy Trading (where Galaxy CBD drink will be released)

Shifty Perspective Podcast

The Loop (drug-testing/harm reduction nonprofit)

Psychedelics Today: Daniel McQueen's (DMTX) most recent visit

Psychedelics Today: Tyler Chandler, Nick Meyers and Adrianne: Dosed Movie


About Ash

As an innovative business man with a history working in the CBD industry, Ash likes to get his hands on as many projects that he can handle. He has a firm belief that the products offered by Synergy Trading can help better humanity.

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Navigating Psychedelics

 

Sep 12, 2020
Solidarity Fridays - Week 24
01:01:50

In today's Solidarity Fridays episode, Joe and Kyle discuss several recent items in the news that further the advancement of psychedelics, including: Canadian company Havn Lifescience following Compass Pathways' lead and registering with the Canadian Securities Exchange under the symbol HAVN, Amsterdam-based psychedelic retreat company Synthesis announcing that leading Clinical Psychologist Dr. Rosalind Watts has joined their advisory board (which also includes Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris, who joined in November), European psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy company AWAKN Life Sciences Inc. announcing the launch of its Commercial Clinical Research Division with Professor David Nutt and (past Psychedelics Today guest) Dr. Ben Sessa at the helm, a recent study at the National Center for Biotechnology Information that further proved that psychedelics promote structural and functional neural plasticity, and a new app called "Trip" from Field Trip Psychedelics Inc., which was designed to help people through psychedelic trips, and brings up the very difficult balance of encouraging harm reduction and safety while also essentially promoting dangerous experiences. 

They also discuss a recent article in ScienceAlert, which focused on the similarities between psychedelic trips and religious experiences through 288 people filling out a Mystical Experience Questionnaire, the Good Friday experiments’ roots of this questionnaire, and the important point that not all good data needs to be scientific and collected through clinical trials.

They also talk about books by Louis Cozolino and Rick Strassman, Strassman's DMT-pineal gland hypothesis, whole-plant statistics vs. single-molecule statistics, the idea that LSD could promote life extension, the insensitivity and danger of playing music with historically bad roots during sessions (like playing anti-semitic composer Richard Wagner's works), and the possible similarities between COVID isolation and the concept of nuclear families. 

And they remind us that spots for the next round of Navigating Psychedelics (beginning September 17th) are going quickly- the early class is sold out, but spots remain for group 2, so sign up now! Additionally, there is a new class offering called Imagination as Revelation, developed by Kyle and Johanna Hilla-Maria Sopanen, which explores Jungian psychology.

Notable Quotes

“These competitive forces are going to continue to drop prices, and I think that is optimistic for accessibility, long-term. But, you know, realistically, this comes back to the same question- are psychedelics exclusively in the domain of psychiatry, or do they belong elsewhere? Is peer to peer use ok? I think yes, but how do we, as a culture, kind of land on that? That’s the big question. I think a lot of psychiatrists probably agree that people should just be able to use mushrooms when they want to, or LSD when they want to. Others would be vehemently opposed, but there are people in that field that are on our side of liberation and cognitive liberty and whatnot. So it’s there. It’s coming, I think, and competition plays a part.” - Joe

“If we’re in isolation, we’re probably going to see brain atrophy. If we’re in community, we’re going to see heightened neural activity. And perhaps the brain will come back alive with the heightened neural activity. I remember hearing somebody recently talk about a visit to the actor/singer Jamie Foxx’s house. You know, super rich, right? But he’s got at least 20 people in the house at all times, and perhaps that’s how some high performers do so well- is that they’re just always around folks. ...I’m wondering, are nuclear families toxic? Is the concept of a nuclear family one of the major factors at play here?” -Joe

“You can have a mystical experience. DMT doesn’t necessarily need to be involved at all. Does that take away from the value for you? If so, why? Are you fetishizing DMT? There are a lot of other drugs out there that do amazing things. Your brain is an amazing thing. The human psyche is an amazing thing. Why not fetishize the highest thing, which is psyche and its relation to the universe?” -Joe

Links

Digitaljournal.com: Havn Life Sciences Announces Filing of Final Prospectus and Conditional Approval for Listing on CSE

Synthesis press release: Synthesis Welcomes Leading Clinical Psychologist Dr. Rosalind Watts To The Advisory Board

Yahoo Finance: AWAKN Life Sciences Launches Clinical Research Division with Prof. David Nutt & Dr. Ben Sessa Identifying Suitable Studies Across Europe & North America

Psychedelics Today: Ben Sessa's appearance

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov: Psychedelics Promote Structural and Functional Neural Plasticity

Book recommendation: The Neuroscience of Human Relationships: Attachment And the Developing Social Brain, by Louis Cozolino

GreenEntrepreneur: New App Helps Guide Your Psychedelic Trip

Wavepaths.com

ScienceAlert: Psychedelic 'Trips' Really Are Similar to Religious Experiences in Many Ways

Trippingly.net: The Mystical Experience Questionnaire (MEQ30)

Book recommendation: DMT and the Soul of Prophecy: A New Science of Spiritual Revelation in the Hebrew Bible, by Rick Strassman

Youtube: David Nichols- DMT And The Pineal Gland: Facts vs Fantasy

DailyMail: Meet the scandal-hit son Drumpf is hoping will cost Joe Biden the Presidency


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Sep 10, 2020
Wade Davis - Ayahuasca and a New Hope for Colombia
01:23:55

In this episode, Joe interviews Wade Davis: Ph.D., Professor of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, explorer, ethnobotanist, star of the recent documentary, "El Sendero de la Anaconda," and author of several books, including  bestseller The Serpent and the Rainbow, which was optioned for a movie, starring Bill Pullman and released by Universal Pictures in 1988. His new book, Magdalena: River of Dreams: A Story of Colombia, comes out on September 15th. 

Wade discusses his history with Richard Evans Schultes, the strange phenomenon behind the growth of ayahuasca compared to other more benign plants, how set and setting can shift expectations across generations, how Indigenous people treat plant medicines in comparison to the western world, the difference between ayahuasca and yagé, Haitian zombies, Voodoo, and the mystery of how Indigenous people have been able to identify plants and learn of their combined effects through the plants speaking to them.

He also speaks about his hatred of cocaine and the damage it has caused Colombia and its people from US drug laws and global consumption leading to violence and deforestation for generations. He's working to decouple cocaine from the coca plant (hopefully through some sort of future coca nutraceutical like a chewing gum or tea), encourage people to stop supporting the illicit cocaine market, and to think of Colombia differently than its unfair reputation encourages. Through his new book, which has been called a love letter to Colombia, he hopes to show people that everything they think they know about Colombia is wrong.

Notable Quotes

“This sort of quest for individual health and healing, for individual enlightenment, individual growth- which, at some level, is completely understandable, but it is also a reflection, in good measure, of our own culture of self- the ongoing center of narcissism, the idea that one’s purpose in life is to advance one’s own spiritual path or one’s own destiny... that is, in my experience, very much not what is going on in the traditional reaches of the northwest Amazon, where the plant (the medicine) both originated, but also, where today, it’s taken very much as a collective experience, such that the ritual itself becomes a prayer for the continuity and the wellbeing of the people themselves- where you’d never even think of this in terms of self or i.”

“All of these cultures are fundamentally driven by this idea that they, themselves, are the stewards of the forest- that plants and animals are just people in another dimension of reality, that there’s a transactional relationship between human beings and the natural world so that the hunter is both hunted and the hunter; where you don’t simply go to get meat, you must seek permission to get that meat; where the shaman is less a healer than a nuclear engineer who periodically goes to the very heart of the reactor to reprogram the world.”

“I still am incredibly loyal to that passage in my life, and I find that I’m very proud and happy to say that I wouldn’t write the way I write, I wouldn’t think the way I think, I wouldn’t treat gay people the way I treat gay people, I wouldn’t treat women the way I treat women, I wouldn’t understand the power and resonance of biology- of nature itself, if I hadn’t taken psychedelics.”

“Everybody who uses illicit cocaine, I’m sorry to tell you, has the blood of Colombian people [and] the near destruction of a nation on [their] hands.”

“Everything you’ve ever heard about Colombia is wrong, and this dark cliche that has persisted is completely inaccurate, and an injustice to a people whose miseries have largely been caused by our actions- our prohibition of drugs and our propagating of this war on drugs, and of course our consumption of this horrible drug.”

Links

Website: daviswade.com

Pre-order his new book, Magdalena: River of Dreams (out 9/15)

"El Sendero de la Anaconda" documentary: trailer and info

Recent Rolling Stone article: "The Unraveling of America"


About Wade Davis

Wade Davis is an Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society. Named by the NGS as one of the Explorers for the Millennium, he has been described as “a rare combination of scientist, scholar, poet and passionate defender of all of life’s diversity.” In recent years his work has taken him to East Africa, Borneo, Nepal, Peru, Polynesia, Tibet, Mali, Benin, Togo, New Guinea, Australia, Colombia, Vanuatu, Mongolia and the high Arctic of Nunuvut and Greenland. An ethnographer, writer, photographer, and filmmaker, Davis holds degrees in anthropology and biology and received his Ph.D. in ethnobotany, all from Harvard University. Mostly through the Harvard Botanical Museum, he spent over three years in the Amazon and Andes as a plant explorer, living among fifteen indigenous groups in eight Latin American nations while making some 6000 botanical collections. His work later took him to Haiti to investigate folk preparations implicated in the creation of zombies, an assignment that led to his writing Passage of Darkness (1988) and The Serpent and the Rainbow (1986), an international best seller later released by Universal as a motion picture.

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Sep 08, 2020
Solidarity Fridays - Week 23
53:29

In today's Solidarity Fridays episode, Joe and Kyle discuss recent items in the news.

They cover a new LSD microdose trial to study the effects of 5, 10, or 20 µg on acute pain, seeing how long participants could hold their hands in 37.4° F water. Led by researchers from Maastricht University with help from the Beckley Foundation, this is the first study of its kind since Eric Kast first studied the effects of LSD on acute pain in the 1960s, and could help lead to LSD being prescribed for acute pain over the more standard and very addictive and dangerous opioids. This leads towards the topic of pain in general and our relationship with it- can we figure out how to have pain not affect us the same way by not giving it the same attention we're used to giving it?

They talk about Compass Pathways filing an application with the SEC for a NASDAQ listing, as well as already raising over $80 million towards funding clinical trials for psilocybin-based therapy for treatment-resistant depression, and the ways corporations being tradeable in such a public view is good for everyone: improved market sentiment and opinion towards psychedelic companies, increases in mergers and acquisitions, and a trickle-down monetary effect for other companies in the same sphere. 

And they talk about Mind Medicine Australia applying to reschedule both psilocybin and MDMA from their Schedule 9 category (dealing with prohibited substances) to Schedule 8 (which deals with controlled medicines). If they're successful, they'll be the first country in the world to successfully de-schedule these substances. This leads to a discussion of drug policy work and the drug war, why it's ok for some parties to only focus on one part of the psychedelic renaissance, giving thanks to the people who fought for years to get us to where we are today, and recognizing privilege when trying to keep psychedelics within specific clinical containers to afford job security. 

They also discuss Papadosio's new album, "Microdosio," and remind us that spots for September 17th's early Navigating Psychedelics class are sold out, but spots remain for group 2, so sign up now! Additionally, there is a new class offering called Imagination as Revelation, developed by Kyle and Johanna Hilla-Maria Sopanen.

Notable Quotes

“Why are we concerned about prescribing LSD in this way if somebody can get a huge bottle of benzos or opiates and easily die from those? You can’t really easily die from LSD. You might have a weird time and get in trouble, but you’re not going to die, and you’re not going to get addicted.” -Joe

“It seems, as a culture, we kind of are more ok with the stupors and the depressants- alcohol and opioids and benzos and stuff like that. And some of these other substances that maybe help us perceive things a little bit differently, in another way, are stigmatized. I don’t know, maybe that’s just our relationship with consciousness- that there needs to be a 'right' way of seeing the world.” -Kyle

“If it’s just going to stay within the clinical paradigm, what about the people that can’t get access to it, that are still going to be arrested for these substances? If we’re really thinking about people’s overall wellness and health and life, do we want potential clients- people that are already suffering- then in jail or having part of their rights taken away from them because maybe they were trying to heal? I think it is important for us in the professional world to also speak up about drug policy. And I know it’s scary because it does feel like professional suicide at times, because you want to keep it within that clinical scope so you can feel professional and remain professional, but I don’t know, I just think about people who are trying to heal.” -Kyle

“What do we have in the world for young people to help them with meaning-making? Next to nothing. We’ve got like, angry memes, 4chan, horrifying bullying online, and that’s just a place-holder because there’s no meaning- there’s no context for where you fit into society that makes sense. For an entity as amazing as humans, that’s a big deal. Humans are amazing, and that’s probably something we agree on- a human being is a fascinating, interesting, infinitely powerful thing. Endlessly interesting. So to just say ‘ok, all you’ve got is video games and being an asshole on youtube,’ like, really? Is that what life is? What if you were able to give these people deep, ritualistic initiations into adulthood with 3-5 grams of mushrooms, given they were screened appropriately? What a send-off into adulthood.” -Joe

Links

Newatlas.com: LSD microdose trial for acute pain relief reports “remarkable” results

Beckleyfoundation.org: Can LSD microdosing reduce pain perception?

Liveforlivemusic: Papadosio Releases Eighth Studio Album, ‘Microdosio’

Theseedinvestor.com: Compass Pathways Files For NASDAQ Listing: Psychedelics Game-Changer

Press release: Mind Medicine Australia Submits Australian-First Application for the
Rescheduling of Psilocybin and MDMA

Psychedelics Today Shop


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Sep 04, 2020
Sara Reed - Ketamine Therapy Through a Culturally Responsible Lens
01:06:12

In this episode, Joe and Kyle interview Sara Reed, MS, LMFT, creator of Mind's Eye Health Solutions, and Director of Psychedelic Services at the Behavioral Wellness Clinic in Connecticut.

Reed talks about her path to psychedelics- from graduating with a masters in emerging family therapy and wanting to do research specifically with black Americans, to working with Dr. Monica Williams and eventually MAPS, to being selected as one of the therapists for a phase 3 MDMA-assisted psychotherapy trial (which focused on people of color), to making the transition from practicing with MDMA to ketamine based mostly on one woman with racial trauma and her amazing transformation through ketamine-assisted therapy. 

They talk about her process and practice, from the screening process to building relationships and rapport, trying to determine if ketamine is the right path, what dosing she prefers, and setting expectations; to the post-session check-ins and integration, how she practices everything through a cultural lens and personalizes treatment based on her level of connection, how important it is to know when to intervene and when to be a silent partner, stories of purging and the meaning behind it, the significance of dreams clients have around sessions, and her concerns surrounding emerging online ketamine therapy.  

Sara Reed will be giving a presentation on chacruna.net on September 3rd concerning culturally responsible care with ketamine therapy.

Notable Quotes

“Just as much as we want to emphasize how transformative ketamine can be used as an adjunct to psychotherapy, I think it’s equally as important to emphasize the integration. Because you can have these insights all day long in psychedelic-assisted sessions, but it’s really integrating those experiences and those insights into real practice where I see a lot of the therapeutic work coming in, and the importance of the therapeutic work is to really integrate those insights into practice.” 

“Isn’t that so interesting how, even as therapists, we’re still, in these moments, trying to control the outcome of what happens? I think these moments definitely remind me that I’ve got the skills, and I’ve got the training, and that I also must surrender to the process and check myself about my own process as a therapist.”

“This idea that we have around the healing process- that healing has to be this painful, ‘no pain, no gain’ kind of healing that you have to go through (which, I think in some aspects- absolutely, healing can be painful. It can be challenging). But, joy can also be an important process of healing. And experiencing love can be an important process of healing, or experiencing relief.”

“I’m not trying to be the spokesperson for people of color- for black people, around what diversity, equity and inclusion looks like in this work. And I’m even trying to be mindful about how many talks I do accept, and I’m always trying to refer other folks who have equally valuable perspectives and input around this work within this field to elevate other voices too, because I also think it’s important to value other perspectives. We can’t just be the only folks talking about it, because we’ve got our blind spots too.”

Links

Behavioral Wellness Clinic

mindseyehealth.com

chacruna.net

MAPS' Public Benefit Corporation

MAPS' Facebook

MAPS' Instagram


About Sara Reed, MS, LMFT

Sara received her undergraduate degree in Bioethics and Philosophy from the University of Louisville in Kentucky, and her M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy from Valdosta State University in Georgia. Prior to her move to Connecticut, she worked as a licensed marriage and family therapist associate at the Behavioral Wellness Clinic in Louisville. Sara Reed is a Marriage and Family Therapist at Behavioral Wellness Clinic in Tolland, CT. She is also a Study Therapist on the Psilocybin-Assisted Therapy research study for Major Depression at Yale University. As a socially-minded therapist, Sara works to advance health equity and upward social mobility for Black Americans.

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Sep 01, 2020
Solidarity Fridays - Week 22
01:14:46

In today's Solidarity Fridays episode, Joe and Kyle have, in Joe's words, "a wildly rambling show." They cover topics in the news, including MAPS' recent completion of their Capstone Campaign, a non-profit fundraising effort to fund the final research required to seek FDA approval of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy (through which they raised $30 million from several high-profile names), MindMed's new LSD-MDMA "candy flipping" phase 1 trial set to commence later this year, Representative Earl Blumenauer's (D-OR) fundraising efforts for legal psilocybin and Oregon's ballot initiative becoming a measure that people can vote on in November, and the Usona Institute resuming their previously COVID-halted psilocybin studies.

They then talk about a lot of different things: how to achieve psychedelic states without plants or drugs, Grof's conclusions from 5000 sessions with clients, the dangers of Jim Jones-esque hero worship within communities, the seldom talked about global sacredness of tobacco, how big money coming into psychedelics both hurts and immensely helps the community, the Venus Project and the idea of restarting lives during the COVID life based on what really makes us happy, the impending doom of climate change and the changes we could all be making to help save ourselves, and the western tragedy of always working to become something and never just being. It's largely a conversation about lineage, and making sure to give thanks and respect to the people and history that led to where we are today- not just in the psychedelic sphere, but in all things.

They also remind us that spots for September's Navigating Psychedelics class are going fast, and there's a new class available called Imagination as Revelation, developed by Kyle and Johanna Hilla-Maria Sopanen.

Notable Quotes

“My girlfriend, for some reason, had the Republican National Convention on TV last night, and Ivanka Trump was talking, and talked a lot about addiction and how big of a situation opioid addiction is, which is totally true, but like, with her saying that, to me, what that means is that there’s going to be an increase in funding to the DEA and the drug war, not an increase in funding for treatment. Because typically speaking, that party doesn’t necessarily want to fund treatment; they want to fund prevention, which they see as the drug war. They’ve not noticed yet that their drug war isn’t effective. I’d like to congratulate drugs for winning the war on drugs.” -Joe

“Let’s just cut the shit with the drug war. It’s racist, it’s horrible, it’s killing a lot of people still, there’s tons of political prisoners, still, in jail for cannabis, which in many states is being sold and people are making a killing on. It’s just insane to me that people are going to jail for not hurting anybody.” -Joe

“When we say the ‘psychedelic community,’ what is that? There’s so many different subsets and so many different people with different agendas. You have the folks who might classify themselves as being part of the psychedelic community that go to festivals and raves and they’re really submerged in that art scene, you have the psychedelic community of therapists and psychiatrists and people in the medical model wanting to do that thing, you have the Decrim Nature folks, you have the shamanic lineages. You have all these different little subcategories within a larger generalization of an interest, and everybody’s approaching it differently. People want to see different things happen. How can we come together? ...How do we try to appreciate all different use cases and really respect where people are coming from and that we don’t need to fit it within these ‘this is the only way, this is the only model, and my way is better’ [paradigms]?” -Kyle 

“Whenever I think about the archetype of America and the west, I usually think of the hero. Can we stop playing the hero role and could we start to look back at other archetypes and really appreciate other archetypes? Like, why does everybody have to go out and slay the dragon?” -Kyle

“Are you just getting really expansive and manic and you want that same yacht Usher has? Or do you want a garden and a small home and some sort of a community around you? Both have a certain kind of appeal, but what’s more sustainable? What helps you connect with your family more and the planet more? It’s probably the garden.” -Joe

Links

James "Kiwi" Oroc Fundraiser

Psychedelic Research Fundraising Campaign Attracts $30 Million in Donations in 6 Months, Prepares MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy for FDA Approval

Landmark clinical trial exploring LSD-MDMA combo to begin late 2020

Congressman Raising Money To Legalize Psychedelic Mushroom Therapy

Madison nonprofit furthers research on psychedelic drug and depression

Elon Musk's Neuralink update: How to watch, start time, 'working' device demo


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Aug 28, 2020
Dr. LaMisha Hill - The Fight for Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity
01:15:38

In this episode, Joe interviews Dr. LaMisha Hill, licensed Counseling Psychologist, board member of the Alameda County Psychological Association, and Director of Multicultural Affairs for the Office of Diversity and Outreach at the University of California, San Francisco.

Hill talks about how race and gender of underrepresented people come into play in the psychedelic sphere- in studies, professions, and even in people's consideration of psychedelics as a possible healer for them: how most psychology follows the same well-worn, Euro-centric, fairly western, mostly-for-well-off-college-students paradigm, how even when culture and history are added later on, it's never the center of it, how ignorance (or flat out erasing) of history leads to entire groups of people feeling that they're not welcome in this world, how classicism is a much bigger problem than people make it out to be, and how to most people, there is a certain image that comes to mind when PTSD and trauma are discussed, and it rarely includes historical trauma, human trafficking, sexual violence against women of color and people across the gender spectrum, etc.- it is usually of a white soldier or white victim of sexual violence.

She talks about how we can all improve- having discussions and supporting groups that are doing the right thing, including more people from underrepresented cultures in studies (or even centering the studies around them), living the indigenous culture ideas of "spirit first" and honoring and respecting the magic (and doing so with energy), and most importantly, being an ally: educating yourself about people outside your normal social identities, centering the people you choose to be in alignment with, identifying where you have power and/or a voice, and using your resources for the betterment of the community.

Notable Quotes

“Race is not real. We have been set apart from one another for the purpose of capitalism, colonialism, exploitation and subjugation of a particular community that has roots in colorism and anti-black racism and slavery in our western American culture, and we continue to adopt in other people in the world based on the categories and classifications that we label onto people. So racism has huge effects, but race, in and of itself, is not real. So the opportunity that we have in the landscape of psychedelics, I really think, is towards unity.”

“If you didn’t think about your neighbor, if you showed up from a place of i- that you didn’t come from a place of we, try again. It’s not too late. If you showed up and your website or your narrative around whatever you’re doing in the landscapes of psychedelics doesn’t include honor and recognition for indigenous communities around the world, rewrite it. If you have the ability and the power to actually say ‘hey, we’re engaging in these studies and we did it in the way that studies are always done, and maybe we can actually reframe who we’re centering in this work,’ try again. If you give a talk or a TED talk or go on the next podcast and you’re talking about your particular jam that you love and that’s the thing that you do, but you didn’t give honor and recognition, try again. That’s all. Because in doing so, other people are going to be able to hear themselves- it’s like a drum, it’s like a call- because you have to thump it and let them know that they are invited. They are welcomed.”

“The invitation to practice inclusion- let’s pause and look at the ways that we’re perpetuating structural oppression and non-belonging, and pivot towards strategies and principles of equity. Because when equity becomes structural, it’s not contingent on people doing the right thing. People are always going to need to catch up, examine themselves, learn more, grow. ...Hearts and minds have to grow, but while they’re growing, we can actually pivot policies and practices that are going to bring about equity.”

Links

Twitter

Naming It podcast, with Dr. Bedford Palmer II and Dr. LaMisha Hill


About Dr. LaMisha Hill

LaMisha Hill (pronouns: she, her, hers) is the Director of the MRC. Originally from the Chicago-Land Area, Dr. Hill moved to the west coast to complete a Doctoral degree in Counseling Psychology at the University of Oregon. Dr. Hill holds over 6 years of experience in higher education, and has supported students at two UC campuses. Most recently, she completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Psychology at UC Berkeley’s Counseling and Psychological Services. Prior to moving to the Bay Area, Dr. Hill completed a Pre-Doctoral Internship at the Counseling Center, UC Riverside.
Dr. Hill’s professional experiences include providing direct clinical services to graduate and undergraduate students, engaging in outreach with campus partners, group facilitation, and program development/evaluation. She holds expertise in college student mental health, multicultural counseling, and assessment. Dr. Hill was the recipient of a 2014 UC Berkeley Spot Award, for herservice with The Mentoring Center (an Oakland based non-profit that supports youth of color).
Dr. Hill is passionate about advocacy, education, equity, and mentorship and strives to support students with navigating the complexities of a University system. Professionally, she is dedicated to multiculturalism, diversity, and supporting underrepresented communities. Dr. Hill is honored to join the Office of Diversity and Outreach under the leadership of Dr. Renée Navarro.

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Aug 25, 2020
Solidarity Fridays - Week 21
01:01:28

In today's Solidarity Fridays episode, Joe and Kyle sit down and discuss recent items in the news, including the passing of Tav Sparks; author, therapist, co-director of Grof Transpersonal Training, and creator of "Movie Yoga," and scientist Jordi Riba; one of the early pioneers of ayahuasca research and one of the first ever to bring it into the lab. 

They discuss the ayahuasca episode of the new Netflix docuseries "Unwell," and 2 articles from Marijuana Moment: psychedelic activists in Oakland creating a guideline for plant medicine healing ceremonies and the new initiative to allow for legal use in controlled settings, and 4 state attorney generals and 50 current and former law enforcement officials sending a letter to Congress endorsing a federal marijuana legalization bill after a recent poll showed that 62% of likely voters support it. As Joe says, "It's about time... 20 years ago."

And lastly, they discuss Bright Minds Biosciences' recent tweet claiming that the future is in what they're working on: modifying molecules in psilocybin to reduce trip times from 4-6 hours to 60-90 minutes. While this could be huge for people who can't safely partake in longer trips, and more specifically for sufferers of cluster headaches, they wonder about intention: is this for the betterment of mankind or just for profit and headlines? Isn't sitting with the trip part of the healing? Isn't integration afterward even more important? Is this a new tool/solution, or a band-aid? Is it all of the above? 

This leads to Kyle sharing that a friend of his recently committed suicide, and the reminder that we all need to practice self-care- it's never been more important than it is now in our current disconnected, online, fearful, COVID lives- even the smallest effects of what's going on can take a big psychological toll. Remember to take care of yourselves, folks. 

Notable Quotes

“We just need more and more drugs, but we have to be able to see through this marketing junk so we know how to appropriately contextualize it, and not just fall prey to ‘Oh cool, this is the right drug. This is the best drug, it has the most research behind it.’ Subtext: this just had the most pharma dollars behind it.” -Joe

“Do we really need these fast solutions? I think, on one hand, yes, because some people are definitely going to kill themselves tomorrow. At least 22+ veterans are going to kill themselves tomorrow, which is horrible- and today, and yesterday and every day until we have some sort of good intervention, or the numbers go [down]. It’s really tough. But also, no. Are we just slapping a band-aid on and saying, ‘cool, go get sick again’?” -Joe

“When I think about these quick, band-aid-like substances, like, ‘Oh yes, you can just do your healing.’ Well, this is where the integration comes in. Do you have that support network? Are you living a life that feels like it’s in balance with how you want to live? Are you surrounded by good people? Are you surrounded by that community? Are you taking care of yourself?” -Kyle

“Scary shit, but as a species, we’ll get through it. Individual tragedies don’t usually slow down the machine of human progress. And we’re going to see a continually exciting series of events, I think, for the next 70 years. So I don’t think, you and I, in our lifetime, Kyle, are going to get bored. We might be horrified at times, we might be amazed at times, but we’re going to see slow progress.” -Joe

Links

Tav Sparks' bio and obituary

Jordi Riba's obituary

60 Minutes: Researchers experimenting with psychedelics to treat addiction, depression and anxiety

The dark side of wellness: behind a Netflix series on a murky industry

Daniel Moler's Mothervine

Advocates Unveil Guide For Psychedelic Healing Ceremonies They Hope To Legalize In Oakland

Top State Cops Tell Congress To Legalize Marijuana As New Poll Shows Strong Voter Support

Bright Minds Biosciences's tweet

brightmindsbio.com


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Aug 21, 2020
Jerry and Julie Brown - Healing Through Mystical Experience
01:06:12

In this episode, Joe interviews Jerry and Julie Brown. Jerry (Ph.D.) is an author and activist, who served as founding professor of anthropology at Florida International University in Miami for 42 years. Julie (M.A.) is an author and integrative psychotherapist, who worked with cancer patients with a focus on guided imagery. Together, they are co-authors of The Psychedelic Gospels: The Secret History of Hallucinogens in Christianity.

They talk about their blogpost on Psychedelics Today and inspiring studies: Walter Pahnke’s original psilocybin study at Marsh Chapel and Roland Griffiths’ recent studies at Johns Hopkins and the amazing results at each, Robin Carhart-Harris’ MRI analysis, and some of Julie’s successes using guided imagery to empower 3 cancer clients to heal after conventional cancer treatment was ineffective.

They talk about guided imagery and the body’s ability to heal itself, how mystical states actually help heal people, how disease starts in the mind, Ancient Greece’s psychedelic Rites of Eleusis, and their own personal life-changing psychedelic experiences related to Johns Hopkins’ 5 common elements of mystical experience.

And they talk about their most popular book, The Psychedelic Gospels: The Secret History of Hallucinogens in Christianity, which highlights images of mushrooms and psychedelic art found throughout Christian history (all the way back to Gnostic Gospels), and their possible relationship to the birth of Christianity and the story of Jesus. 

Notable Quotes

“The questions are: Can psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy be used not only to alleviate the psychological anxiety (as we saw at Johns Hopkins) and the depression, but can it also be used to facilitate the physiological healing in cancer patients, as Julie has done through facilitating mystical experiences? That’s a big question. The second one is: in time, are we going to see what today, is long-term costly, clinical psychotherapy of a variety of different modalities, eventually be enhanced by short-term, much more affordable psychedelic psychotherapy?” -Jerry Brown

“In astrophysics, dark matter, which they say makes up most of the universe- it can not be directly detected or seen. It can only be implied through the gravitational effects that it causes. So, in psychology, mystical experience cannot be easily accessed, but it can be reliably created both through psychedelics, and as Julie’s work has shown, through guided imagery. In other words, hidden from ordinary consciousness, mystical experience manifests from the dark matter of the mind to facilitate healing.” -Jerry Brown 

“F. Scott Fitzgerald, the author, said there’s no second acts in American lives, but fortunately, psychedelics is having its second act, and I think if we do it right this time, we can really integrate it into our culture, both in a therapeutic setting, and [also in settings] modeled after the Greek Eleusinian mysteries, where healthy people can go to explore psychedelics for personal growth and for spirituality and creativity.” -Jerry Brown

Links

Psychedelics Today blog: Mystical Experience and Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy: Insights from Guided-Imagery Therapy with Cancer Patients

Website: psychedelicgospels.com

Psychedelic Gospels Facebook

The Psychedelic Gospels: Evidence of Entheogens in Christian Art presentation on Youtube

Email


About Jerry and Julie Brown

Jerry B. Brown, Ph.D., is an anthropologist, author, and activist. From 1972 to 2014, he served as founding professor of anthropology at Florida International University in Miami, where he taught a course on “Hallucinogens and Culture.” Julie M. Brown, M.A., LMHC, is an integrative psychotherapist, who works with cancer patients. They are coauthors of The Psychedelic Gospels: The Secret History of Hallucinogens in Christianity, 2016; “Entheogens in Christian Art: Wasson, Allegro and the Psychedelic Gospels,” Journal of Psychedelic Studies, 2019; and “Mystical Experience and Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy: Insights from Guided Imagery Therapy with Cancer Patients,” Psychedelics Today, May 28, 2020.

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Aug 18, 2020
Solidarity Fridays - Week 20
57:55

In today's Solidarity Fridays episode, Joe and Kyle talk about recent items in the news and dive deep into Stan Grof's work, different types of therapy, and the way touch comes into play in the therapeutic world. 

They first discuss Wisconsin-based non-profit medical research institution, The Usona Institute, and their recently published new method for synthesizing psilocybin, and how great this is for the community. There is a danger to locking away ideas, and new methods of synthesis could lead to monopolization of the market, but publishing their findings means this can be available to all. 

They then talk about re-reading Grof and the concept of the body's inner radar bringing forth what the inner healer needs to work on, and the idea that hyperventilation could be the body trying to heal itself. This leads to discussion of Kyle's time at a Soteria-inspired house in Burlington and their method of simply sitting with people and being there through difficult times. They then discuss different types of therapy, from how traditional talk therapy seems to be more of an art form rather than a measurable methodology, to Grof's Fusion Therapy (which is a type of therapy involving touch that may be over the line by today's standards), to new sex therapies that are starting to make headway. The main threads through this discussion are touch: when can touch be used safely, the dangers of touch being perceived as sexual, and the importance of communication and boundary-setting before sessions, and distraction vs. work: when is a participant wanting to talk about things during a session part of the work and important to respect, and when is it simply a distraction and a way to avoid the work?

Lastly, they remind us that seats are still on sale for the 2 new rounds of (now CE-approved) Navigating Psychedelics (beginning on September 17th), "Psychedelics and the Shadow: The Shadow Side of Psychedelia" is on sale, and there is a new class developed with Johanna Hilla-Maria Sopanen called "Imagination as Revelation," focusing on Jungian psychology and how it can be applied to understanding psychedelic experience.

Notable quotes

“A corporation finding a new synthesis and being able to patent that and then kind of locking it away and saying ‘It stays within our corporation and we’re the only ones that can produce this in this way’ doesn’t mean that other people can’t find other ways.” -Kyle

“In holotropic breathwork, Stan [Grof] talks about how if someone doesn’t land by the end of the workshop and get somewhat settled and resolved, a traditional psychiatrist might say ‘ok yes, this is a psychotic break.' And what do we do? You do your normal interventions. So, optimal for the breathwork and psychedelic world would be to have a place where folks could go and be for days to months to settle and kind of reorganize. That’s the model of spiritual emergence, I think, that Stan talks about. You have to have really careful discussions and criteria for: psychotic break? Or possible spiritual emergence? Or, what’s the real difference?” -Joe 

“I definitely saw some magic, by just being with people, not trying to really change their experience.” -Kyle

“I think delaying is really undervalued. You want to do just the right thing at just the right time. Well, what if you do the wrong thing? Why not wait, so you don’t do the wrong thing?” -Joe

Links

Usona Institute Publishes Breakthrough Development in Scalable Psilocybin Synthesis

Direct Phosphorylation of Psilocin Enables Optimized cGMP Kilogram-Scale Manufacture of Psilocybin (scientific breakdown)

Psychedelics Today: "Spiritual Emergence or Psychosis" Webinar

Support the show

Navigating Psychedelics

Aug 14, 2020
Court Wing - Pain and Its Relationship to the Mind
01:30:01

In this episode, Joe interviews Court Wing: early adopter of kettlebell training, earner of a 3rd degree black belt in Ki-Aikido, first certified CrossFit instructor for the NYC Metro area, first certified Z-Health instructor in New York, and former co-founder of CrossFit NYC; one of the world's largest CrossFit gyms. 

Wing was a recent participant of a psilocybin trial in NYC, studying the effects of psilocybin on (mostly treatment-resistant) major depressive disorder. He talks about his struggles with depression and how reading studies about changes in neuroplasticity and neurogenesis made him wonder if his depression could be alleviated, the measures taken and process surrounding the trials, the concerns over receiving a placebo or the psilocybin not working, and post-trial; the amazing transformation he's gone through and the power of his experience, psilocybin, and intention-setting. 

They talk a lot about pain and the ways pain is related to the mind: the concept that depression may be a nociceptive pain, how common back pain may often be somatosensory pain based on emotional trauma creating a neurological link (similar to Grof's COEX system), and the Ki-Aikido phrase: "Your mind is the body made subtle. The body is unrefined mind." How much of pain is emotional, and how much is the body trying to communicate to the mind that a change needs to be made?

Notable Quotes

“I can see, going in now, the difference that intention makes in what you’re seeking from the session. It’s just astonishing that it’s responsive to intent. ...It’s so mindblowing because you’re not just taking this passively.”

“The contrast from before to after made me want to go back and upgrade my scores in those depression assessments because I had no idea how bad it was until it was gone. And it was in less than 8 hours. ...We did a little intention-setting ceremony, and I did a little Shinto type of prayer thing- [an] incantation that I’ve always done since I left Aikido, and they gave it to me and put in this chalice, and I looked down at it, and honestly, I was praying to God or my higher power or the universe (however you want to phrase it). I looked at it and said, ‘I really hope that’s you.’ And it was.”

“I had been in recovery from a profound drinking problem for over 17 years, so there’d been significant hesitation on my part to do this, because there’s a lot of cautioning within that framework- you know: ‘there’s no such thing as a chemical solution to a spiritual problem.’ But, what do you do when the chemistry brings you a spiritual experience?”

“A false picture has been painted of what’s possible here. And when it’s only seen in a recreational context where they use some slightly marginalized, perverse catchphrase like ‘hippies’ or ‘dirty hippies’ or something like that, and use that as a way to blame and shame people for seeking relief, and even worse- to claim that the results they’re bringing back are invalid, I think that’s a crime. I honestly do. If I can bring any of my previous experience and reputation to weigh on the scale of the good that can be caused from this, I’m happy to do it.”

Links

courtwing.com


About Court Wing

Court Wing has been a professional in the performance and rehab space for the last 30 years. Coming from a performing arts background, Court served as a live-in apprentice to the US Chief Instructor for Ki-Aikido for five years, going on to win the gold medal for the International Competitors Division in Japan in 2000 and achieving the rank of 3rd degree black belt.
After a 14 year career in martial arts, he returned to Acting, getting his BFA from the Conservatory of Theatre Arts & Film at Purchase College. At the same time, he was simultaneously pursuing three leading-edge performance certifications. First as an RKC/Strong First kettlebell instructor, eventually going on to be ranked a "Top 10 Instructor" and assisting a closed-course certification of SEAL Team 6 at Virginia Beach. Next he became the first certified CrossFit trainer in NYC, becoming the former co-founder of CrossFit NYC in '04, New York's largest and oldest CF gym. His final certification was as a Z-Health Master Trainer, using the latest interventions in applied neuro-physiology for remarkable improvements in pain, performance, and rehabilitation.

He has also served as the principal designer for the UN's Close Protection fitness assessment and preparation program, and has been featured in the New York Time’s Sunday Routine, Men's Fitness, and USA Today.

Please visit him online at https://courtwing.com

Support the show

Navigating Psychedelics

Aug 11, 2020
Court Wing - Pain and Its Relationship to the Mind

In this episode, Joe interviews Court Wing: early adopter of kettlebell training, earner of a 3rd degree black belt in Ki-Aikido, first certified CrossFit instructor for the NYC Metro area, first certified Z-Health instructor in New York, and Former co-founder of CrossFit NYC; one of the world's largest CrossFit gyms. 

Wing was a recent participant of a psilocybin trial in NYC, studying the effects of psilocybin on (mostly treatment-resistant) major depressive disorder. He talks about his struggles with depression and how reading studies about changes in neuroplasticity and neurogenesis made him wonder if his depression could be alleviated, the measures taken and process surrounding the trials, the concerns over receiving a placebo or the psilocybin not working, and post-trial; the amazing transformation he's gone through and the power of his experience, psilocybin, and intention-setting. 

They talk a lot about pain and the ways pain is related to the mind: the concept that depression may be a nociceptive pain, how common back pain may often be somatosensory pain based on emotional trauma creating a neurological link (similar to Grof's COEX system), and the Ki-Aikido phrase: "Your mind is the body made subtle. The body is unrefined mind." How much of pain is emotional, and how much is the body trying to communicate to the mind that a change needs to be made?

Notable Quotes

“I can see, going in now, the difference that intention makes in what you’re seeking from the session. It’s just astonishing that it’s responsive to intent. ...It’s so mindblowing because you’re not just taking this passively.”

“The contrast from before to after made me want to go back and upgrade my scores in those depression assessments because I had no idea how bad it was until it was gone. And it was in less than 8 hours. ...We did a little intention-setting ceremony, and I did a little Shinto type of prayer thing- [an] incantation that I’ve always done since I left Aikido, and they gave it to me and put in this chalice, and I looked down at it, and honestly, I was praying to God or my higher power or the universe (however you want to phrase it). I looked at it and said, ‘I really hope that’s you.’ And it was.”

“I had been in recovery from a profound drinking problem for over 17 years, so there’d been significant hesitation on my part to do this, because there’s a lot of cautioning within that framework- you know: ‘there’s no such thing as a chemical solution to a spiritual problem.’ But, what do you do when the chemistry brings you a spiritual experience?”

“A false picture has been painted of what’s possible here. And when it’s only seen in a recreational context where they use some slightly marginalized, perverse catchphrase like ‘hippies’ or ‘dirty hippies’ or something like that, and use that as a way to blame and shame people for seeking relief, and even worse- to claim that the results they’re bringing back are invalid, I think that’s a crime. I honestly do. If I can bring any of my previous experience and reputation to weigh on the scale of the good that can be caused from this, I’m happy to do it.”

Links

courtwing.com


About Court Wing

Court Wing has been a professional in the performance and rehab space for the last 30 years. Coming from a performing arts background, Court served as a live-in apprentice to the US Chief Instructor for Ki-Aikido for five years, going on to win the gold medal for the International Competitors Division in Japan in 2000 and achieving the rank of 3rd degree black belt.
After a 14 year career in martial arts, he returned to Acting, getting his BFA from the Conservatory of Theatre Arts & Film at Purchase College. At the same time, he was simultaneously pursuing three leading-edge performance certifications. First as an RKC/Strong First kettlebell instructor, eventually going on to be ranked a "Top 10 Instructor" and assisting a closed-course certification of SEAL Team 6 at Virginia Beach. Next he became the first certified CrossFit trainer in NYC, becoming the former co-founder of CrossFit NYC in '04, New York's largest and oldest CF gym. His final certification was as a Z-Health Master Trainer, using the latest interventions in applied neuro-physiology for remarkable improvements in pain, performance, and rehabilitation.

He has also served as the principal designer for the UN's Close Protection fitness assessment and preparation program, and has been featured in the New York Time’s Sunday Routine, Men's Fitness, and USA Today.

Please visit him online at https://courtwing.com

Support the show

Navigating Psychedelics

Aug 11, 2020
Court Wing - Pain and Its Relationship to the Mind

In this episode, Joe interviews Court Wing: early adopter of kettlebell training, earner of a 3rd degree black belt in Ki-Aikido, first certified CrossFit instructor for the NYC Metro area, first certified Z-Health instructor in New York, and co-founder & co-owner of CrossFit NYC; one of the world's largest CrossFit gyms. 

Wing was a recent participant of a psilocybin trial in NYC, studying the effects of psilocybin on (mostly treatment-resistant) major depressive disorder. He talks about his struggles with depression and how reading studies about changes in neuroplasticity and neurogenesis made him wonder if his depression could be alleviated, the measures taken and process surrounding the trials, the concerns over receiving a placebo or the psilocybin not working, and post-trial; the amazing transformation he's gone through and the power of his experience, psilocybin, and intention-setting. 

They talk a lot about pain and the ways pain is related to the mind: the concept that depression may be a nociceptive pain, how common back pain may often be somatosensory pain based on emotional trauma creating a neurological link (similar to Grof's COEX system), and the Ki-Aikido phrase: "Your mind is the body made subtle. The body is unrefined mind." How much of pain is emotional, and how much is the body trying to communicate to the mind that a change needs to be made?

Notable Quotes

“I can see, going in now, the difference that intention makes in what you’re seeking from the session. It’s just astonishing that it’s responsive to intent. ...It’s so mindblowing because you’re not just taking this passively.”

“The contrast from before to after made me want to go back and upgrade my scores in those depression assessments because I had no idea how bad it was until it was gone. And it was in less than 8 hours. ...We did a little intention-setting ceremony, and I did a little Shinto type of prayer thing- [an] incantation that I’ve always done since I left Aikido, and they gave it to me and put in this chalice, and I looked down at it, and honestly, I was praying to God or my higher power or the universe (however you want to phrase it). I looked at it and said, ‘I really hope that’s you.’ And it was.”

“I had been in recovery from a profound drinking problem for over 17 years, so there’d been significant hesitation on my part to do this, because there’s a lot of cautioning within that framework- you know: ‘there’s no such thing as a chemical solution to a spiritual problem.’ But, what do you do when the chemistry brings you a spiritual experience?”

“A false picture has been painted of what’s possible here. And when it’s only seen in a recreational context where they use some slightly marginalized, perverse catchphrase like ‘hippies’ or ‘dirty hippies’ or something like that, and use that as a way to blame and shame people for seeking relief, and even worse- to claim that the results they’re bringing back are invalid, I think that’s a crime. I honestly do. If I can bring any of my previous experience and reputation to weigh on the scale of the good that can be caused from this, I’m happy to do it.”

Links

courtwing.com


About Court Wing

Court Wing has been a professional in the performance and rehab space for the last 30 years. Coming from a performing arts background, Court served as a live-in apprentice to the US Chief Instructor for Ki-Aikido for five years, going on to win the gold medal for the International Competitors Division in Japan in 2000 and achieving the rank of 3rd degree black belt.
After a 14 year career in martial arts, he returned to Acting, getting his BFA from the Conservatory of Theatre Arts & Film at Purchase College. At the same time, he was simultaneously pursuing three leading-edge performance certifications. First as an RKC/Strong First kettlebell instructor, eventually going on to be ranked a "Top 10 Instructor" and assisting a closed-course certification of SEAL Team 6 at Virginia Beach. Next he became the first certified CrossFit trainer in NYC, becoming the former co-founder of CrossFit NYC in '04, New York's largest and oldest CF gym. His final certification was as a Z-Health Master Trainer, using the latest interventions in applied neuro-physiology for remarkable improvements in pain, performance, and rehabilitation.

He has also served as the principal designer for the UN's Close Protection fitness assessment and preparation program, and has been featured in the New York Time’s Sunday Routine, Men's Fitness, and USA Today.

Please visit him online at https://courtwing.com

Support the show

Navigating Psychedelics

Aug 11, 2020
Court Wing - Pain and Its Relationship to the Mind

In this episode, Joe interviews Court Wing: early adopter of kettlebell training, earner of a 3rd degree black belt in Ki-Aikido, first certified CrossFit instructor for the NYC Metro area, first certified Z-Health instructor in New York, and co-founder & co-owner of CrossFit NYC; one of the world's largest CrossFit gyms. 

Wing was a recent participant of a psilocybin trial in NYC, studying the effects of psilocybin on (mostly treatment-resistant) major depressive disorder. He talks about his struggles with depression and how reading studies about changes in neuroplasticity and neurogenesis made him wonder if his depression could be alleviated, the measures taken and process surrounding the trials, the concerns over receiving a placebo or the psilocybin not working, and post-trial; the amazing transformation he's gone through and the power of his experience, psilocybin, and intention-setting. 

They talk a lot about pain and the ways pain is related to the mind: the concept that depression may be a nociceptive pain, how common back pain may often be somatosensory pain based on emotional trauma creating a neurological link (similar to Grof's COEX system), and the Ki-Aikido phrase: "Your mind is the body made subtle. The body is unrefined mind." How much of pain is emotional, and how much is the body trying to communicate to the mind that a change needs to be made?

Notable Quotes

“I can see, going in now, the difference that intention makes in what you’re seeking from the session. It’s just astonishing that it’s responsive to intent. ...It’s so mindblowing because you’re not just taking this passively.”

“The contrast from before to after made me want to go back and upgrade my scores in those depression assessments because I had no idea how bad it was until it was gone. And it was in less than 8 hours. ...We did a little intention-setting ceremony, and I did a little Shinto type of prayer thing- [an] incantation that I’ve always done since I left Aikido, and they gave it to me and put in this chalice, and I looked down at it, and honestly, I was praying to God or my higher power or the universe (however you want to phrase it). I looked at it and said, ‘I really hope that’s you.’ And it was.”

“I had been in recovery from a profound drinking problem for over 17 years, so there’d been significant hesitation on my part to do this, because there’s a lot of cautioning within that framework- you know: ‘there’s no such thing as a chemical solution to a spiritual problem.’ But, what do you do when the chemistry brings you a spiritual experience?”

“A false picture has been painted of what’s possible here. And when it’s only seen in a recreational context where they use some slightly marginalized, perverse catchphrase like ‘hippies’ or ‘dirty hippies’ or something like that, and use that as a way to blame and shame people for seeking relief, and even worse- to claim that the results they’re bringing back are invalid, I think that’s a crime. I honestly do. If I can bring any of my previous experience and reputation to weigh on the scale of the good that can be caused from this, I’m happy to do it.”

Links

courtwing.com


About Court Wing

Court Wing has been training clients and students in fitness and the martial arts for 30 years.  He began his CrossFit training with Nick Nibbler & Dave Werner of CrossFit North in Seattle, the world's first CrossFit affiliate, in late Winter '03 while on a break from the renowned Acting Conservatory at Purchase College in New York, one of the top three Acting Programs in the US. He returned to train with them that summer and earned his CrossFit Level 1 trainer certificate in July '04 (first certification outside of CFHQ), becoming the NYC Metro area's first certified CrossFit instructor. He began doing workouts in the Central Park that Fall and is the Co-Founder & Co-Owner of CrossFit NYC, the world's largest affiliate, as well as New York's oldest & largest.

Support the show

Navigating Psychedelics

 

Aug 11, 2020
Solidarity Fridays - Week 19
01:04:47

In today's Solidarity Fridays episode, Joe and Kyle sit down and talk about recent items in the news, and dive deep into analyzing 2 articles that are very critical of MAPS' involvement with the police, military, and government. 

They first discuss Canada-based nonprofit TheraPsil's recent win of four people with incurable cancer being granted the ability to use psilocybin for end-of-life therapy, and how this framework could be copied and used in the US through the Right-to-try act, signed into law in 2018.  

They then discuss Dimitri Mugianis's recent article in Salon, which highlighted the long history of psychedelics being used in negative ways, from Vikings presumably using some sort of mushroom to get to a pillaging, "Berserker warrior" mindstate, to the 11th century Nizari Isma'ili State, which reportedly used hashish as a tool for motivation and control, to MKUltra and experiments on Whitey Bulger, to the most recent death of Elijah McLain from a large forced injection of ketamine. And they discuss David Nickles's article in Psymposia, which poses that since MAPS is working to provide treatment to police and soldiers with PTSD, they are essentially in bed with the enemy, and only promoting organizations that create more violence, division, trauma, and PTSD, while treating the perpetrators instead of the victims. 

Both articles are critical of MAPS but neglect to see the importance of diplomacy and working to see eye to eye with people in disagreement for the greater good- that yes, these tools can be used against people, but can also be used by people, with immense benefits. Joe reads a comment sent in by listener Danny McCraken, pointing out that "as the saying goes, ‘only Siths deal in absolutes.’" This leads to more discussion: when and how should ketamine be used for submission? Why do healthy, trained cops need to even get to that point? How much of this is just governments trying to make the costs of war cheaper? Why don't more people see things from all sides?

Lastly, they remind us that on September 17th, 2 new rounds of (now CE-approved) Navigating Psychedelics will be starting up, and there is a new class for sale developed with Johanna Hilla-Maria Sopanen called "Imagination as Revelation," which focuses on Jungian psychology and how it can be applied to understanding psychedelic experience.

 

Notable quotes

“I remember when we chatted with Dr. Katherine MacLean way, way back when we first got it rolling. Something that she said- ‘it’s almost like a birthright for us to try to prepare for death. And do we have to wait to have some sort of end-of-life illness, or can we start trying to prepare a little bit earlier?’ Just really awesome to see that these 4 patients will be able to have an experience and maybe discover things about themselves during their last time here. So congrats TheraPsil for making that work for these folks.” -Kyle

“From the anarchist perspective, this just helps governments, which are typically organizations that have monopolies on power (what anarchists are against, primarily). So any kind of government that’s using tools against people is bad, and these are tools that are being used against people. They’re also being used for people. It’s this weird dichotomy of: these things have such huge healing benefit for so many different types of people, and they can also be used to support things that are against people, like any tool. Like a knife or a gun- it can be used to save a life or take a life.” -Joe 

“Is this what we want? Last episode, we talked a lot about decriminalization vs. legalization, and we didn’t really talk about how that contrasts with medicalization. Do we really want these powerful people in groups telling you when you can and cannot take these things? I think the answer is no. We don’t want that. We want autonomy. We want cognitive liberty. We want to not go to jail for this stuff. We want safe access.” -Joe

“Essentially, the critique is that MAPS is supporting cops (PTSD) and soldiers (PTSD), and as a result, MAPS is supporting violent organizations that are causing more PTSD, and treating the perpetrators vs. treating the victims. I understand why they would write this article, but I think it’s not done in good taste. I think it’s not necessarily aware of the broader implications of these things coming to market and being prescribable and healing a lot of people. But it is helpful in that it says, ‘Look, cops are doing bad stuff. Military has done bad stuff. Should we be supporting it?’ ...How do we balance those two things? ...I think MAPS is almost at the finish line, so I’m going to cheerlead for MAPS to finish [and] cross the line with MDMA, even though they’re kind of pandering to the militarized people who have a monopoly on violence, both inside and outside of the country.” -Joe

Links

4 Palliative Canadians approved for end of life psilocybin therapy

BP will slash oil production by 40% and pour billions into green energy

Salon: How psychedelic drugs are used as a tool of state violence

Psymposia: We Need to Talk About MAPS Supporting The Police, The Military, and Violent White Supremacism

Psychedelics Today- Imagination as Revelation: The Psychedelic Experience in the Light of Jungian Psychology

 

Support the show

Navigating Psychedelics

Aug 07, 2020
John Selby - Professional Guidance Integrating Cannabis and Mindfulness
01:08:33

In today's episode, Joe speaks with spiritual coach, author, and creator of the upcoming High Together app, John Selby. Selby's most recent book is titled Cannabis for Couples: Enhance Intimacy and Elevate Your Relationship.

Selby talks about how he got to where he is today, from signing up for a hypnosis research center at Princeton that turned out to be a secret government NIH psychedelic research center studying if psychedelic states could be induced through hypnosis, to working on the first quantitative EG study of heavy LSD users to determine if it caused permanent damage (that was marred with corrupted data and later found out to have been an MKUltra mind manipulation project), to becoming excommunicated by the Presbyterian church for teaching his youth group yoga and Buddhist meditation, to becoming a therapist, spiritual counselor and author, to his time at Microsoft and Plantronics leading to him wanting to create an app for improving cannabis use.

His High Together app (which should be available soon) works in conjunction with his latest book to help cannabis users focus their attention, augment consciousness, and in the case of couples, improve their relationships. Through short guided sessions, statements of intent, and a strong emphasis on breathwork, his goal is to help regular users aim their attention towards more rewarding ventures, and help new users get through their first cannabis experiences safely and enjoyably (some estimate that 10 million boomer couples will try cannabis for the first time within the next 2-3 years).

Notable Quotes

On leaving Plantronics: “Right when it was time to do the funding and to launch this as their first software product in your headphones, two people on the board- these two old guys- Presbyterian guys- they decided that I was some sort of subterfuge revolutionary trying to undermine American capitalism. And I had to say, ‘I think you’ve got that just about right.’” 

On his High Together App: “It’s everything that I’ve found, as a therapist and spiritual guide, that’s really, really effective for helping people to focus their attention in directions that augment higher consciousness. We can either get stoned, or we can get high, and people don’t realize that really, they have the choice.”

“Most of the people, they really need help in the basics. It’s very scary for most people. If you’re 60 years old and you’ve never basically let go of control of your ego, it’s like ‘WHOA!’ I’m there to help people make it safely and enjoyably through that first 10 minutes, when you actually have the muse of marijuana come in and say ‘Okay, here we go! Let go- there’s nothing you can do about this, so enjoy the ride.’”

“There’s a pretty sober sense of responsibility that we really have a world civilization that can really self destruct if we don’t wake up and act. I think that cannabis and psychedelics are powerful medicines to help us in that direction.”

Links

Website: mindfullyhigh.com

Cannabis for Couples: Enhance Intimacy and Elevate Your Relationship


About John Selby

John is both a fiction and non-fiction author with over thirty published self-help/meditation books plus eleven feature screenplays and half a dozen novels and 40 published folk-jazz songs. John's most recent book is titled Cannabis for Couples: Enhance Intimacy and Elevate Your Relationship. Over the years he has been a cognitive therapist and spiritual counselor, and conducted NIH brain-research studies examining the inner mechanics of mindfulness meditation. John has taught creative writing and publishing strategies, coached authors in book-project development, and ghostwritten over a dozen books for aspiring authors on a wide variety of themes and genres. He now continues with this satisfying work, while also developing a new app-driven approach to mindfulness training and personality growth.

Support the show

Navigating Psychedelics

Aug 04, 2020
Solidarity Fridays - Week 18
01:00:19

In today's Solidarity Fridays episode, Joe and Kyle sit down to discuss recent topics in the news and analyze the ongoing debate of decriminalization vs. legalization. 

They first discuss the story of LSD chemist William Leonard Pickard, who was released from prison on July 27th due mostly to his age, health status and risk for contracting Covid-19, and while it's great that he's out, how it changes nothing about the conspiracy surrounding his arrest ("Halperngate") and the very questionable DEA claims of LSD availability decreasing by 95% after his imprisonment. 

They then talk about Denver mushroom grower Kole Milner, who is facing up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine, and all the complications surrounding state or city legality vs. federal legality, and how anyone in this space should be extremely careful about what personal information they share publicly, regardless of any perceived legal safety. 

This leads to a long discussion about decriminalization vs. legalization: the need for more conversation, what the model might look like for the US, what we can learn from Portugal, how Covid-related economic issues might influence things, the "my drug is better than your drug" issue with advertising, the problem with D.A.R.E.'s "scare you straight" model and the need for truth instead of manipulation, and how advertising and corporate profit incentives may come into play- does legality mean that companies will try to convince more people to use these powerful medicines irresponsibly?

Notable quotes

“It’s a false dichotomy to just say ‘decriminalization vs. legalization.’ As we say, decriminalization doesn’t necessarily mean anything. It can mean something for a municipality or a county or a state but it doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the case for the feds. And as soon as you’re crossing state lines, that’s when they can be really into it. But realistically, the DEA seems to have plenty of power to do whatever they want.” -Joe

“I remember a few years ago, I started making this comment: ‘Oh cool, so you want it to stay illegal so you can have your heady, farm-to-table LSD. Cute, but that’s not really how it works and there’s plenty of people getting hurt as a result of not having these controls in place.’ ...It just takes a couple high schoolers whipping up a shitty lab, or non-safety-oriented people just trying to make a quick buck to get a few people hurt. I want to be a libertarian, but I don’t necessarily trust people’s motives enough to fully be a libertarian. I feel like there needs to be incentive structures in place and regulation in place for a lot of things.” -Joe

“I remember them threatening us: ‘If you do this, we will come and arrest you.’ Like, whoa... What if you had somebody that was like, “Hey, psilocybin mushrooms- these were originally used in ceremonial contexts, they had these kinds of safety mechanisms built in place, and this is what’s going on, here are the risks and dangers, this is why you would want to do it in a situation like this, people are using it to find spiritual growth…” And I don’t know, is that more enticing to people? Like, “Oh. I’m really curious!” But at least when they would practice, hopefully, they’d be like, “Oh yea, remember, they told us to do it in this context” instead of being like “This is an illegal thing, we’re going to get arrested so let’s hide and do it in secrecy and not tell anybody about it because the police chief is going to kick down my door and arrest me and tell me I’m a bad person.” -Kyle

“Let’s just be fact-based. Like, ‘Ok, here are the laws, here’s where it comes from, here’s the history, here are the pluses and minuses, and here are the legal consequences at this point in time.’ I would just like the facts, you know? I don’t need to be manipulated. Because that’s all I felt it was- a manipulation of the truth and a manipulation of us. This is not science-based policy, and I think a lot of us now want science-based policy.” -Joe

Links

Breaking: LSD Chemist William Leonard Pickard to be Released From Prison

Lucid News: LSD Chemist And Psychedelic Icon William Leonard Pickard To Be Released From Prison

Erowid character vault on William Leonard Pickard

Erowid's article on Halperngate

LSD Use Up 56% Since 2015, According To Study by University of Cincinnati

Man Accused of Selling Mushrooms Faces Up to Twenty Years

Al Jazeera youtube stream: Are magic mushrooms going mainstream?

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Navigating Psychedelics

Jul 31, 2020
Lauren Taus - Wellness through Yoga, Meditation and Psychotherapy
01:23:25

In today's episode, Kyle interviews Lauren Taus: yoga instructor with 20 years of experience, host of the Inbodied Life podcast, and psychotherapist specializing in ketamine-assisted psychotherapy. 

Taus talks about growing tired of more traditional therapy and cognitive loops so many people find themselves in through cognitive behavioral therapy leading to her taking a break from therapy altogether, trying psychedelics with her brother, learning of psychedelics being used therapeutically, and coming out of the psychedelic closet to her father (who now works with her).  She speaks about her practice, and the process and importance of building up therapeutic relationships first before introducing any psychedelics.  

She discusses how Covid-19, cannabis legalization and the way our culture is set up are all exacerbating mental health issues and the challenges of fighting through that while trying to better partner with disadvantaged communities, the frustrations around the illegality of certain medicines, the power of ketamine, the concept of spiritual bypassing, what she's doing differently during this disconnected time, harm reduction around psychedelics without a therapist nearby, mindfulness, and the importance of touch and dancing.

Notable Quotes

“Healing happens in relationship, and it happens in relationship with self too. I believe that so many people (and I certainly have been one of them) are walking warzones. The violence that happens inside of an individual heart and mind is far more outrageous than what you’d read in the news, and what you read in the news is a lot. ...With my work, I want to know you, I want to feel you, I want you to feel safe, I want you to feel love, I want you to feel unconditional regard and care. And that doesn’t happen overnight, and that doesn’t happen when you take a pill.”

“When I think about what’s happening with cannabis now, there’s essentially white cartels, and there’s cannabis stores on every block of Venice Beach, and people making lots and lots of money on weed. And then there’s so many black and brown people in prison for smoking a joint. And so the inequity there- what kind of reparations can we do? I like to say you can’t bypass the 'fuck you' on your way to forgiveness. And love is big enough to hold the anger and the rage, and there’s appropriate righteous anger that’s due.”

“People are struggling to be with what is- to welcome the wildlife that courses through their veins, to sit still with their fear and their sadness, and even their joy. I have so many people who try to crush their joy and celebration because they’re afraid of losing it. And they will- it’s going to shift. But can we be in the big wideness of what it is to be human? And in our inability to do so, we create all these different unique and not-so-unique misguided defense mechanisms. All these mechanisms for evasion- flight strategies. They can look like work, they can look like sex and food and drugs and alcohol and running or even meditation. The intention is what informs it a lot- what are you doing? Are you looking to go in, or are you looking to leave?”

“Do your work and remember to play along the way. Joy is an act of resistance.”

Links

Inbodiedlife.com

Instagram

Inbodied Life podcast, featuring Kyle


About Lauren Taus

Lauren Taus graduated summa cum laude from Barnard College at Columbia University in 2004 with a BA in Religion before continuing on to NYU for her Masters in Social Work. Lauren is licensed as a clinical therapist in both New York and California with a specialty in addiction and trauma treatment.
As a clinician, Lauren integrates alternative modalities of treatment into her work. She trained with David Emerson under the supervision of Bessel van der Kolk at The Trauma Institute in Boston in trauma sensitive yoga, and she’s trained by the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) for MDMA assisted psychotherapy for complex PTSD.

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Navigating Psychedelics

Jul 28, 2020
Solidarity Fridays - Week 17
01:03:19

In today's Solidarity Fridays episode, Joe and Kyle sit down and discuss two news stories emerging from Portland, Oregon- first, paramilitary-like federal agents showing up in unmarked cars and arresting protestors, and second, the beating and pepper-spraying of one of those protestors, Christopher David. 

They look at these events from multiple perspectives- what fears are driving the opinions of people who are against these protests? Why does there always seem to be money when it comes to military expenses, but never any money when it comes to the wellbeing of people? How many police officers fully stand behind what they're doing, and how many are simply following orders or deeming certain evils necessary solely to earn their federal pension? 

They analyze systems and better ways forward, like considering a bottom-up approach vs. the standard top-down approach or Ken Wilbur's framework of transcending an old system while including all the lessons from it. They also discuss decriminalization vs. legalization and the importance of regulation, and the massive scale of concepts and systems, like how MKUltra needs to be included when discussing the history of psychology.

They also discuss telehealth and ketamine-assisted psychotherapy and the complications surrounding it right now, from both therapists and clients not wanting to be in an office to the concerns of self-administration at home, to the benefits of self-exploration for those who do feel comfortable and safe engaging on their own. And lastly, they talk about their upcoming Navigating Psychedelics class, which is selling fast and will never be cheaper than it is now.

Notable quotes

“This is illegal, and people seem to forget that it’s illegal. Even if it’s decriminalized in a locality, doesn’t mean the feds can’t come in and shut you down. And that’s why they call me the party pooper.” -Joe

“How many people get into higher systems and institutions with really good intentions [of] wanting to make change, and thinking... “I’m going to change it from the top down.” ...What would a ‘bottom-up’ approach be, and how could we give power back to communities to start to create their own change, instead of thinking that we need to change it from these hierarchical systems? I always come back to Bucky Fuller’s quote about just creating a different system- you don’t change a system by trying to change it, you make a new system that’s obsolete to that old way of being. ...I’m thinking also too, from the somatic lens in therapy- approaching it more cognitively, intellectually- this whole top-down brain approach vs. a body-oriented approach and working with the trauma, working with the body and thinking about, ok, what’s the body? It’s people, it’s communities. How do we start to work that way?” -Kyle

“I just prefer to see government funds spent on stuff like the green new deal to save us from climate change. Or health care for all- those kinds of things. Why spend to put people in jail, when we could have, just like with cannabis, taxable revenue. I don’t want to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Just because it’s not equitable, I don’t think that totally excludes the thing. I’d just like to see less people going to jail, less people being harmed by black market drugs, and more clean appropriate drugs available to the people who want them.” -Joe

“How do we have the money to send these paramilitary agents in but you didn’t have the money to produce personal protection equipment for hospitals? What’s going on here?” -Kyle

Links

U.S. Homeland Security confirms three units sent paramilitary officers to Portland

Navy veteran beaten and pepper-sprayed by federal agents at protest in Portland

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Navigating Psychedelics

Jul 24, 2020
Dr. Malin Vedøy Uthaug - Ayahuasca and 5-MeO-DMT Research
01:20:14

In this episode, Kyle speaks with Imperial College London research assistant and past guest, Dr. Malin Vedøy Uthaug, who just earned her doctorate and published her dissertation on Ayahuasca and 5-MeO-DMT research.

Uthaug discusses how she started working in this field, why Prague is a good place for research, what past research has led to today, how certain factors could predict whether someone would have a more challenging or more mystical experience, how these experiences can treat people with PTSD differently, what dissociation actually means, the differences between vaporized 5-MeO-DMT and intramuscular 5-MeO-DMT injections and how injections typically lead towards better trauma resolution over the "too much too soon" effects of vaporization. They also talk about reactivation (re-experiencing parts of the 5-MeO-DMT experience at a later time) and why it might happen, how it is different from LSD flashbacks, and how expectations, the experience, and the facilitator all come into play. 

They discuss her research and dissertation, which consisted of 2 studies on ayahuasca and 3 on 5-MeO-DMT, focusing on if participants saw improvement in convergent thinking and mental health variables (depression, anxiety and stress), and how her placebo-controlled study revealed that those who received the placebo still saw a marked improvement. This leads to a conclusion that often, context may play a larger role than the medicine- feeling safe and being heard in a ceremonial, community-based setting may be the biggest factor towards healing. 

Notable Quotes

“Once you make the unconscious conscious, then you can learn from it, and [it’s not] so much about resisting anymore. Carl Jung says, ‘what you resist persists,’ and what I think is happening, especially with PTSD, is that you’re kind of just holding this ball underwater and it’s not allowed to float to the surface.”

“You need to feel safe, you need to experience being heard and seen. Psychedelics do help us remember things that we have repressed, but obviously, [they] also make us very vulnerable and things might come up. And having somebody witness that and validate those feelings that are expressed and shown can be incredibly healing for people.”

“What we can learn is to learn to sit with difficult emotions and to not push them aside. ...I learned that there is comfort in the discomfort. I learned that you can basically figure out so many things about yourself if you just sit with yourself for a moment and you stay in that uncomfortable silence.”

Links

The Exploration of Naturalistically used Ayahuasca and 5-MeO-DMT: by Malin Vedøy Uthaug (dissertation)

Imperial College London- Centre for Psychedelic Research

Her past Psychedelics Today appearance, 3/21/2018

Save a Toad, Exploit a Chemist t-shirt


About Dr. Malin Vedøy Uthaug

Malin completed her PhD at the department of Neuropsychology and Psychopharmacology, at the faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience at Maastricht University, The Netherlands. As part of her PhD, she investigated the short-term and long-term effects of Ayahuasca and 5-MeO-DMT in naturalistic settings, while simultaneously initiating several other studies on the psychedelic substance Mescaline and the breathing practice known as Holotropic Breathwork (HB). Malin is currently working as a Postdoctoral researcher at The Centre for Psychedelic Research, at Imperial College London, led by Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris. Here she is investigating the effects of 5-MeO-DMT on mental health related variables, brain activity and consciousness together with Dr. Christopher Timmermann. Besides being a researcher, Malin is also an editor for the ‘Journal of Psychedelics Studies’, a board member of the American podcast-show known as Psychedelics Today, and the co-founder of the Norwegian Association for Psychedelic Science (Norsk Forening for Psykedelisk Vitenskap [NFPV]) whose main aim is to educate the general public as well as researchers, and mental health practitioners in Norway about psychedelics.

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The Exploration of Naturalistically used Ayahuasca and 5-MeO-DMT: by Malin Vedøy Uthaug (dissertation)

Jul 21, 2020
Solidarity Fridays- Week 16
01:06:11

In today’s Solidarity Fridays episode, Joe and Kyle sit down and talk about various topics in the news and dive deep into somatic psychology. 

They first discuss Canadian mushroom life sciences company Cybin Corp's recent collaboration with drug delivery company IntelGenx to create an orally dissolvable film to administer psilocybin in controlled doses. This feels to them like the early days in the expansion of cannabis offerings, and how, for people with difficulty swallowing or pill-phobia, this may be the best option for psilocybin. 

Next, they talk about a recent study of 65 U.S. Special Operations Forces veterans who took Ibogaine on day 1 and 5-MeO-DMT on day 3 (with surrounding processing and integration time) and the amazing results, including most participants rating their psychedelic experiences as one of the top five most personally meaningful and spiritually significant experiences of their lives. Joe brings up a seldom-asked question on whether non-combat veterans should be differentiated from combat veterans in these studies and therapies. 

The last article they look at highlights a study where physicians used a new selective‐dose cannabis inhaler to administer microdoses of THC (either .5mg or 1mg) to patients with great results in decreasing pain without affecting cognitive performance. They talk about their experiences with low dose edibles and how they've seen great benefits from tiny amounts. 

They then discuss many aspects of Kyle's area of expertise (and often not mentioned in-depth on this podcast), Somatic psychology. They talk about how breathwork and a session with a physical therapist led Kyle to this practice, the concept of character armoring, William Reich's idea of neurosis being represented throughout the entire organism, how the western mind focuses on the material body, trying to fix things, and technique, how the smallest muscle quivering during a breathwork session can show where work needs to be done, and the difficulty people have in discussing the body- how it's almost a secret language only learned through experience or their therapist's suggestive questions on whether they're feeling a certain emotion or even seeing a color.

Notable quotes

“Thinking about my early years exploring psychedelics, I was so focused on the mind- the experience was outside of me, the knowledge and the wisdom was in the numinous. And that’s where I was going to find all the answers. ...It wasn’t until I had my first breathwork experience, where it was such a somatic experience- where I was feeling the experience in my body vs. externalizing my experience outside of my body and viewing it more as this thing of novelty- of something I’ve never experienced before. Actually having that experience and feeling it within myself, [I realized] I have felt this before, and it’s inside of me.” -Kyle

“[Bodywork] just reveals how much is not immediately available in the day-to-day consciousness. There’s so much happening- so much stored in our body that we just don’t even really have a handle on it. ...My favorite line (which, I’m starting to feel like I’m cheating) is: “Mind is, at the very least, diffused throughout the body.” -Joe

“As a culture, we’re so body-oriented at times, right? We think about diet, exercise, yoga has turned more into more of an exercise than a lifestyle or practice. ...We’re so focused more on the physical, material body than the emotional body, and that’s something that’s really hard to tap into.” -Kyle

“Try not to set out with some of these goals that ‘we need to change this.’ What does it feel like to just maybe feel some of these things?” -Kyle

Links

Psychedelics For Seniors: A New Sublingual Option

Psychedelic Treatment for Trauma-Related Psychological and Cognitive Impairment Among US Special Operations Forces Veterans

The pharmacokinetics, efficacy, and safety of a novel selective‐dose cannabis inhaler in patients with chronic pain: A randomized, double‐blinded, placebo‐controlled trial

 

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Navigating Psychedelics

Jul 17, 2020
Mike Crowley - Secret Drugs of Buddhism
01:15:32

In today’s episode, Joe interviews Author Mike Crowley to talk about his book, Secret Drugs of Buddhism.


Links


About Mike Crowley

Michael Crowley was born February 26th, 1948 in Cardiff, Wales. He began studying Buddhism with a Tibetan lama in 1966, becoming an upasaka of the Kagyud lineage in 1970. In order to augment his Buddhist studies, he acquainted himself with Sanskrit, Tibetan, and Mandarin Chinese. Mike has lectured at the Museum of Asia and the Pacific, Warsaw, the Jagiellonian University, Cracow, the California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, and at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His work has been published in Fortean Times, Time and Mind: The Journal of Archaeology, Consciousness, and Culture, Psychedelic American, and Psychedelic Press UK. In January 2016, Mike received the R. Gordon Wasson Award for outstanding contributions to the field of entheobotany. He currently serves on the advisory board of the Psychedelic Sangha, a group of psychedelically-inclined Buddhists, based in New York and he teaches at the Dharma Collective in San Francisco.

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Navigating Psychedelics

Jul 14, 2020
Solidarity Fridays - Week 15
01:05:36

In today’s Solidarity Fridays episode, Joe and Kyle sit down and talk about various topics in the news.

They first discuss Rise Wellness (a company focused on teaching people how to microdose psilocybin)'s recent merger with CannaGlobal and Sansero Life Sciences to become CannaGlobal Wellness, and why many smaller companies are merging, and why Canada may be a hot new destination point for these companies. Joe suggests a new idea of helping people microdose through the use of a transdermal patch. 

They talk about psychology today and the idea of no theory being complete without including all perspectives (including psychedelic perspectives), the concept of re-phrasing “what’s wrong with you?” to “what has happened to you?”, a recent student’s theory that schizophrenia may actually be a protection mechanism, Amsterdam-based psilocybin-retreat company Synthesis’ recent $2.75 million funding towards developing an end-to-end professional wellness & therapy platform, and what that means to the community- are these companies focusing on the drug as the crux, or the full therapy picture?

Lastly, they talk about the death of Elijah McClain from a 500-milligram injection of ketamine, using thoughts from past guest and regular administrator of ketamine to patients, Dr. Alex Belser. They talk about how ketamine can be necessary, but how it has unfortunately been used as a weapon for chemical restraint against people of color, which brings about larger questions on whether people should be allowed to hurt themselves or not- what role do physicians, therapists and police officers ultimately have in people’s freedom to do what they want with their bodies? 

And just as a reminder, Psychedelics Today is currently offering a course developed by Kyle and Dr. Ido Cohen called Psychedelics and The Shadow: The Shadow Side of Psychedelia. And the next round of Navigating Psychedelics for Clinicians and Therapists will be starting in September, with a new self-paced option. 

Notable Quotes

On William James: “As soon as he found out about other states of consciousness other than the normal waking state, he’s saying that no theory for how the world works is complete unless we include all perspectives. So, like, what is the American constitution when you’re on nitrous or on LSD? What is appropriate political idealogy, given all of these things? Essentially, he’s saying that we’re going to keep developing new tools to understand the universe, and every time we have one of these new tools, it kind of expands the scope of what we need in our theories for how the world works. ...Psychedelic states, shamanic states- how do we include that into our worldview to have a complete scientific framework? I think it’s just a never-ending process, and a fun one.” -Joe

“Even the people that I’ve worked with [who] are really really struggling, and I’ve seen medication work really well for them at times, I always come back to: ‘what has this person been through? Do they actually have this thing that science and probably psychiatry would label as a disease?’ ...Some of the trauma stuff that’s coming out, the neuroscience, some of the somatics- it’s all kind of merging. And with the help of psychedelics, I’m feeling more optimistic that maybe the field will go into more of a growth, healing-oriented route vs. this pathology [of] ‘sick.’” -Kyle

“With these clinics that are popping up- are you exclusively focusing on the psychedelic experience, or are you trying to focus on the therapeutic relationship, the rapport, the container, the trust that’s developed over time, and really developing that relationship with the client? There’s tons of research that suggests that a therapeutic relationship is the one factor in getting better in therapy. So, as money is coming into this space and more of these clinics are popping up, are you creating a center around therapy, and really thinking about how to bring wellness and work with people in this space, or are just focusing it exclusively on the substance, thinking that’s the change?” -Kyle

Links

CannaGlobal, Sansero Life Sciences and Rise Wellness Merge

Synthesis Raises US$2.75M to Develop End-to-End Professional Platform for Psychedelic Wellness & Therapy

Alex Belser's thoughts on ketamine as a chemical restraint

Is Ketamine the new police weapon against black lives?

Psychedelics and The Shadow: The Shadow Side of Psychedelia

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Navigating Psychedelics

Jul 10, 2020
Jesse Gould and Keith Abraham - Heroic Hearts Project: Connecting Veterans to Psychedelic Treatment
48:56

In today's episode, Joe interviews Jesse Gould, founder and president of the Heroic Hearts Project, a nonprofit organization that connects military veterans to ayahuasca retreats, and Keith Abraham, head of the newly created Heroic Hearts UK branch.

They discuss the similarities of their military pasts and post-combat struggles, and how they both took part in ayahuasca ceremonies at Peru's La Medicina, where they eventually met. They note the need to create the UK branch came from the realization that UK vets simply weren't getting as much attention as those in the US.

They talk about the unlikely allyship of Crispin Blunt, member of Parliament and co-chair of the All Party Parliamentory Group for Drug Policy Reform, the consideration of using psilocybin in future work as a less intense ayahuasca alternative, current microbiome studies and the excitement around new data vs. the "death by survey" complications when working with people in need, and how helpful a military mindset can be in these situations.

They share some success stories but talk about how far we need to go in helping veterans come back to society, and how much we'd benefit from a more ceremonial acceptance of the passage from one way of life to another. The corporate 9-5 world can be tough for anyone, but ultimately, finding a purpose and connecting to a community is what's most important toward these veterans reintegrating back to their "pre-army" lives.

Notable Quotes

“Ayahuasca changed everything. I came out of that jungle a very different person. I wouldn’t say that I had a 400% healing experience, but I had that massive, massive, massive catalyst where I knew that my life had to change. And it has. And from there, in the year since, when I got myself together, I started realizing, ‘you know what? I’m in a good place. How can I introduce UK veterans to the experience that I’ve had, because I see that as vitally important?’ And then I was introduced to Jesse, and it turned out that the organization that I thought I wanted to create had already been created perfectly.” -Keith Abraham

“My sons actually in the same unit as I was (in the parachute regiment.) When I left the parachute regiment and went for my ayahuasca experience in Peru, I then came back, and my son was looking at me like, “wait, you’re a grizzly old war veteran, and now you’re talking about, like ‘everything is connected, and love and peace and harmony’ um... this is… strange.’’ He’s gotten really used to it now, but yea, it’s wonderful that these plant medicines can do these things for us. [We have] such strong minds and characters, and this ingrained training as well, but it can be overwhelmed in a good way.” -Keith Abraham

“One of the things we teach through Heroic Hearts, especially in the integration process, is: it’s fine to maintain your warrior- that warrior spirit, that warrior soul. But now you need to learn to use that energy and use that strength towards other means. You might be done with the fighting for now, but that doesn’t mean you’re set out to pasture and done with society. There’s a lot of different ways you can use that energy. ...How can you continue to be a warrior, just on a different trajectory?” -Jesse Gould

Links

Heroic Hearts Project Website

Heroic Hearts Project UK Website

Heroic Hearts Facebook group

Heroic Hearts Twitter

Heroic Hearts Instagram

La Medicina

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About Jesse Gould

Jesse Gould is Founder and President of the Heroic Hearts Project, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit pioneering psychedelic therapies for military veterans. After being deployed in Afghanistan three times, he founded the Heroic Hearts Project in 2017 to spearhead the acceptance and use of ayahuasca therapy as a means of addressing the current mental health crisis among veterans. The Heroic Hearts Project has raised over $150,000 in scholarships from donors including Dr. Bronner’s and partnered with the world’s leading ayahuasca treatment centers, as well as sponsoring psychiatric applications with the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Georgia. Jesse helps shape treatment programs and spreads awareness of plant medicine as a therapeutic method. He has spoken globally about psychedelics and mental health, and received accolades including being recognized as one of the Social Entrepreneurs To Watch For In 2020 by Cause Artist. Driven by a mission to help military veterans struggling with mental trauma, he is best known for his own inspiring battle with PTSD and his recovery through ayahuasca therapy. Jesse’s work can be seen and heard at NY Times, Breaking Convention, San Francisco Psychedelic Liberty Summit, People of Purchase, The Freq, Psychedelics Today Podcast, Kyle Kingsbury Podcast, Cause Artist, WAMU 88.5 and The GrowthOp.

About Keith Abraham

Keith Abraham served 9 years as a member of The Parachute Regiment, fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Throughout the latter years of his military service and during this time working for an investment bank, Keith began experiencing severe symptoms of anxiety and depression. After exhausting the majority of services and options offered by the NHS and military charities without much success, Keith realized a new approach was needed. His profound experiences with ayahuasca and psilocybin convinced him of the vital role plant medicines have to offer those suffering from PTSD, brain injuries and mental ill-health.

Jul 07, 2020
Solidarity Fridays - Week 14
01:22:35

In today’s Solidarity Fridays episode, Joe and Kyle sit down and talk about various topics in the news.

They first discuss the duality of how Covid-19 affects different people, and how much of a privilege it is to be able to reconnect with family in new ways and use this time to grow spiritually while so many are out of work and struggling to get by. 

They discuss a recent tweet from @Shroomstreet concerning psychedelic stocks and the money being invested in this emerging market, and concerns that some of these unknown companies could be fake or following the “exit scam” model of holding onto investor money and then closing up shop. How many of these companies are in it for the right reasons, and what does this all mean on a grand scale?

They talk about recent reports of psychedelic retreats in excess of $10,000 and the various aspects surrounding these prices, from the cost of education and the need for physicians and therapists to make a living while helping others, to the idea of “pay what you can” and taking a hit financially if it means helping the local community or those really in need without the finances to be able to participate in these retreats. Is pastoral counseling or group therapy the best way to help the most people? 

And lastly, they talk about Oregon’s progress in getting legal psilocybin therapy on the ballot in November and the benefits of legality, most importantly towards the ability to report abusive sitters under a framework that would completely remove them from this field.

Notable quotes

“The Newtonian-Cartesian paradigm is just so focused on the how- on the mechanics of ‘how does a psychedelic work? Oh, ok, it can treat this. How does it treat this?’ vs. thinking about the idea of final cause and thinking about the why- why do these things exist? What is its purpose, and what is the potential implication here, on a bigger level, than just thinking about this how and thinking ‘this thing does this thing and that’s all we’re really worried about,’ not thinking about that overarching why- like, what is the purpose here?” -Kyle

“I think everybody really should be able to access healing eventually. I think people shouldn’t be starving to death either, but people are still starving to death. I remember Kwasi (Adusei, in Solidarity Fridays week 10) at one point was like, ‘should we bring psychedelics to minority communities for healing?’ Well, why not bring regular mental health services first? Let’s start with clean water, as opposed to ‘let’s give them a road that they didn’t want.’ What’s the cheapest, lowest-hanging fruit that’s going to give the best reward?” -Joe

“Education programs probably would be really helpful. And I think that’s how we fit in. It’s a philosophy thing that could be helpful for both recreationalists and people providing therapeutic experiences, and the experiencers themselves too. It helps to have some education before you go to see God.” -Joe

“I think states should be experimenting with different ways of going forward. Yes, I want everything to be decriminalized- I want everything to be legal, really- personally. I don’t think therapeutic use should be the only use-case. But it’s certainly a lot better than what we’ve got now.” -Joe

Links

Shroomstreet's tweet: Why do you think Psychedelic stocks continue to bleed?

Regulated psychedelic mushrooms are one step closer to being on the ballet in Oregon in November

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Navigating Psychedelics

Jul 03, 2020
Peter Hendricks Ph.D. - Psilocybin for Cocaine Use
01:18:49

In this episode, Joe speaks with Peter Hendricks, Ph.D. and Associate Professor at the University of Alabama, currently involved in researching the effects of psilocybin on people dealing with cocaine-related substance use disorder. 

He discusses the details of the pilot trial (following the Johns Hopkins model, with music created by Bill Richards), some early findings and speculations, what music might work best for these sessions, how excited he is to bring these findings to the criminal justice system, and how religion and tribalism come into play when looking at what people get out of these psychedelic experiences.

Hendricks points out that while psilocybin is currently being researched as a treatment for tobacco use (by Matthew Johnson at Johns Hopkins) and alcohol use (by Michael Bogenschutz at NYU), this is the first large study with cocaine and could lead to the first medication for major stimulants. And while there have been many studies on psilocybin in general, they’ve rarely been focused on the people he’s working with, who are often poorer, less educated, often out of work, and usually struggling more than those typically involved in these studies. They also talk about what research of the past has given us data-wise, and how inspirational it has been to the work being done today. 

Notable Quotes

“The participants in our trial- they haven’t read Michael Pollan’s book or others. They’re not in the know. I’ll have to explain to them what the drug is, and the common reaction is, ‘uhh, so you’re going to help me stop getting high by getting me high?’ and I’ll try to explain how the drug might differ from others, from more addictive drugs like cocaine. And as we know, it’s an ineffable experience- it’s a difficult experience to put to words…. I’m honored and I have admiration for our participants because they have the courage to dive into this study conducted at a University by people they’ve never met. It can be a very frightening experience and they say, ‘you know what, I’ve tried everything. At this point, I’m desperate, let’s give it a try.’ I probably couldn’t overstate how much courage it takes for them to do what they do. I don’t know that I could do it myself.” 

“I think for most of the world’s fates, the tenants are that we’re all in this together, and we’re bound by love. And that really might be the message that most people get from psychedelics, but similar to religion, sometimes that message is perverted a bit and what you take from it is, ‘my in-group is what’s most important and I’m going to act to preserve my own tribe, even if it means treating others in an awful, inhumane way…’ Sometimes experiences that are really meant to foster a connection with everybody can go haywire and we have to be aware of that”

“One criticism of some of the studies conducted so far has been, how do we know that psilocybin might have these effects on a sample that isn’t all college-educated or doctorates or who are Professors at Universities who make more than 100,000 dollars per year and live comfortably? How do we know that this experience would have any meaning to somebody who’s making less than 10,000 per year, who has a fifth-grade education, who’s unemployed and homeless? I think in large part, this study might answer that question. If we find an effect, then we can say it appears to also have an effect among those who look different and whose life circumstances are much different than some of the earlier participants.”

Links

Twitter

Heffter Research Institute

 

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About Peter Hendricks PhD

Dr. Hendricks received his doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of South Florida and completed a post-doctoral Fellowship in Drug Abuse Treatment and Services Research at the University of California, San Francisco. His research centers on the development of novel and potentially more effective treatments for substance dependence, with specific areas of focus on tobacco, cocaine, and polysubstance dependence in vulnerable populations.

Jun 30, 2020
Solidarity Fridays - Week 13
01:14:19

In today’s Solidarity Fridays episode, Joe and Kyle sit down to talk about topics in the news including Mindmed’s phase one research into DMT, the intricacies of intravenous or infusion-pump administration, the potential clinical application of DMT, and whether or not mainstream science is ready to handle some transpersonal phenomena like entity encounters that sometimes occur during DMT experiences. They also discuss the projections for the psychedelic drug market and the intentions of the companies entering this space, and a recent tweet from the Drug Policy Alliance discussing how the war on drugs is a tool of racial oppression. 

They dive deep into the war on drugs and racial oppression by discussing how sentencing for crack-cocaine is much harsher than cocaine (while basically the same drug), how NYC’s “stop-and-frisk” program was essentially put in place to put people in jail for cannabis possession, and how Breonna Taylor never would have died if police weren’t looking for drugs. They discuss the tragedy of Elijah McClain and what purpose a lot of police activity really serves, while looking at the “protect ourselves first” fraternity mentality that a lot of these power organizations have and how difficult it can be for a good person to become a whistleblower in those situations. 

They also talk about revisiting philosophy through Lenny Gibson and how beneficial it has been to explore that world as more mature people and see connections to psychology, as well as learning the limitations of scientific explanations when dealing with deep, transpersonal experiences.

Lastly, they mention their excitement in participating in the re-scheduled Philosophy of Psychedelics conference coming up next year in England.

Notable quotes

“I stopped doing research on near-death experiences at some point, where I was just like, ‘I’m sick of reading about [how] these are just physiological reflexes and responses within the brain, maybe the lack of oxygen, or all the different neurochemistry that’s going on within the brain at the time of dying…’ There’s something so interesting about that experience, that no matter how much mechanistic information I have, there’s still something there that eats at me… kind of like this lore… the lore of beauty and life kind of unfolding. It’s oriented towards growth and beauty, and I guess that’s what some of these experiences have really taught me- and it is that lore to grow, evolve, and move towards something. And I think when I try to put some sort of biological explanation to it, it almost halts that and says ‘that experience doesn’t really mean that much.’” -Kyle

“Science has limited capacity to help people with meaning-making.” -Joe

“Do we have enough spiritual literacy? Do we have an inclusive enough cosmology to handle all of these cases? ...Are psychologists willing to call in an exorcist of some kind? Or some sort of priest [who] can handle this kind of thing? …I tend to think shareholders might be a little creeped out if publicly traded companies are talking about spirits and entities. Are we ready for that?” -Joe

“What does it mean that you have to put somebody in prison for 10 years for a non-violent offense, as a cop? Like, you pulled someone over, you found some drugs in their car, and now they go to prison. And their life is essentially ruined. And you made the decision to become a police officer and uphold laws. Like, can you sit with that and be ok with that, as an individual? Why do you think drugs are so bad that locking another person up in a cage for years and years and years is ok? …[They say], ’because they have meth or fentanyl, they are the most dangerous people out there!’ What about the rapists and murderers? What about drunk drivers that could kill 20 kids in one night? Why are you spending time on drug offenses when there are rapists out there? There are tons of untested rape kids at all these police departments across the country.”- Joe

Links

NeonMind Files Patent Application for Therapeutic Use of DMT

Philosophy of Psychedelics conference

MindMed investigating potential benefits of DMT in upcoming Phase 1 clinical trial collaboration

Psychedelic Drugs Market Projected to Reach $6.85 Billion by 2027

Drug Policy Alliance's tweet about the drug war

Aide says Nixon's war on drugs targeted blacks, hippies

Jon Krakauer's "Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town"

2 Million People Want Justice For Elijah McClain And His Story Is Gut-Wrenching

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Navigating Psychedelics

Jun 26, 2020
Byron Metcalf - Making Music For Transpersonal Breathwork Experiences
01:21:16

In this episode, Joe speaks with award-winning musician, producer, transpersonal guide, shamanic practitioner, and certified graduate of Grof Transpersonal Training, Byron Metcalf. 

They discuss Metcalf’s path from being a Nashville-based studio musician (who played on Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler”) to a “midlife correction” of taking a class with Stan Grof and Jacquelyn Small leading to him discovering holotropic breathwork: a whole new world he had never seen before that perfectly suited his musical mind. 

They discuss how Metcalf works with music- from recording and producing to making mixes for sessions, how different types of music work better for different types of sessions, and how important it is to think about the flow of a mix and the transitions and mixing between songs in how it relates to the journey of the people listening- when does up-tempo music work best in comparison to more heart-centered, emotional music? When is more shamanic, percussion-based music more appropriate?

He also talks about the effect of people’s projections in these sessions and a funny story of when he thought he heard Christmas music during a session, using Spotify for session music, streaming vs. downloading, 320kbps vs. 24-bit recordings, creating music sober vs. under the influence, the effectiveness of binaural beats, and co-creating retreats with clients to fit their custom personal and musical needs.  

Notable Quotes

“It just… changed my life. I mean, literally, just like, ‘what is this? How is this even possible to just do some deep breathing and listen to this incredible music?’ ...What it reminded me of was a psychedelic experience. And so I immediately saw the potential in it… And of course… how that model uses music was kind of just a perfect fit for me.”

“You’re doing your own work. The best healers or the best facilitators, therapists, whatever- are the ones who really have done their own work, and in fact, I don’t trust anyone [who] hasn’t.”

“I was really fortunate that Stan would enlist me to do music sometimes at these bigger events- the Insight and Opening where Stan and Jack Kornfield would combine the holotropic breathwork with Vipassana meditation for a week. And it was groups of 200, and so you got 100 people breathing at one time and it’s [a] pretty fantastic energy field as you could imagine. And just seeing- observing what happens for people and to people and through people, still- when I think about it and start describing some of the things that I’ve witnessed and observed and experienced, it almost sounds like [I’m] making this stuff up… It’s like trying to explain a psychedelic experience to someone that’s never had it before… There’s no way you can really convey that. So it has to be experienced.” 

“There’s something higher, bigger- that’s at work here that we want to make contact with and surrender to. So that’s the goal. And sometimes if people are projecting on the music, not liking the music- sometimes changing it would be good. Other times, not. Because maybe it is bringing up a great piece for them. And [they say] “I don’t like this! I don’t like this!” Of course that’s projecting onto the music. What’s going on underneath that?”

Links

http://byronmetcalf.com/

http://holoshamanicstrategies.org/

http://byronmetcalf.bandcamp.com/


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Jun 23, 2020
Solidarity Fridays - Week 12
01:09:45

In today's Solidarity Fridays episode, Joe and Kyle sit down and talk about topics in the news including what psychedelic companies owe to the community (both indigenous people and the underground psychedelic world), psilocybin-like drug alternatives for treating depression and the many reasons newer companies are trying to remove the psychedelic part of the medicine, and Dennis McKenna’s recent appointing to New Wave Holdings’ psychedelic research advisory board and what that says about the current climate of corporations moving into this space.

They discuss the dangers of “sponsored content”-like corporate messages, the malleability of laws and power of lobbyists and interest groups, and how manipulation is faster and quieter than ever before, while many big decisions are being made by people crippled from decades of unseen cultural baggage. And why are companies trying to remove the psychedelic side of medicine? Is it solely for profit, or could it be because there are so many in need that streamlining the process or using these medicines differently than we’re used to in this space would be beneficial to the most people?

Lastly, they talk about the importance of making the right connections and having the right arguments and really asking yourself what you’re trying to do when engaging with those who disagree with you- are you just trying to be right, or are you trying to make a change?

Additionally, Joe shares an important harm reduction story and tip, and gives the news that Psychedelics Today recently surpassed 1 million downloads. Thank you for the support!

Quotes

“Is the only box you can fit in, like ‘I want a career, a home and a family’? And everything else doesn’t matter? Is that it? I think it’s more complicated than that. We’re not just atomic units, like nuclear families. We’re far more interconnected than that, and it’s kind of irresponsible to ignore that.” -Joe

“Big businesses end up creating these systems that we all seem to rely on over time and to some extent, I think we appreciate the convenience. If that crumbled, what would our life look like? Could we tolerate living more locally, doing things on a much smaller scale? ...What would that look like in a world where the government didn’t give huge bailouts to these big companies? Our world would drastically change, and could we shift?” -Kyle

“Maybe a thing to just keep in the back of our minds when we’re hearing all this stuff about new pharma companies is that pharma is not guaranteed money for these people. Pharma is still a gamble. Unless they really nail it, they could go bankrupt in a couple years, or just have earnings way lower than they hoped for. So it’s big money, it’s big bets, and they’re betting on big returns, so they kind of have to go out on a limb and stay stuff like this. But the fact that Forbes put that out- that psilocybin could be toxic- seems irresponsible to me… To me, this kind of looks like sponsored content. Or it’s just like, ‘how do we get these corporations to talk to us and be comfortable, so we have to promise fluff.’ Or, is this organized propaganda?” -Joe

“Some of the people in this space are just getting so nasty that a lot of people are just saying, ‘nah, I’m out, later. I’ll go watch Seinfeld reruns for the next couple years while this shit plays out.’ Are you moving allies away, or are you bringing allies closer to you? Think about that. You want more allies. What’s the best tool? Sweetness. Anger, bitterness, spite- those are things that make people want to go away from you. How effective do you want to be, why do you want to be effective, and what tools are you willing to employ to be effective?” -Joe 

Links

What Do Psychedelic Medicine Companies Owe to the Community?

2nd Gen Psychedelic Drugs For Depression Can Be Safer For Older Adults

New Wave Holdings Corp Appoints Dr. Dennis McKenna to Psychedelic Research Advisory Board

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Jun 19, 2020
Tyler Chandler, Nick Meyers and Adrianne - Dosed Movie: Psychedelics and Mental Health
01:04:38

In this episode, Joe Interviews Dosed filmmakers Tyler Chandler and Nick Meyers, as well as the subject of their documentary, Adrianne. 

Show Notes

Nick and Tyler tell the story of how they went from really knowing very little about the psychedelic healing movement to becoming advocates solely from a panicked call from Adrianne.

Adrianne speaks of her journey from opiate addiction and severe depression to trying mushrooms and eventually learning she needed Iboga and a community around her to really fight her way out of a life she no longer wanted to live.

They touch on the costs of Iboga compared to other rehabilitation methods, the often glazed-over dangers of Iboga, the effectiveness of psilocybin against opioid withdrawal, anxiety in the western world, holotropic breathwork as a safer method towards healing, the power of the Pixar movie, Inside Out, and why it would be beneficial for young viewers to watch Dosed.

Resources

www.dosedmovie.com

Notable Quotes

“I have gotten sober and detoxed many, many, many times and not stayed sober, so obviously while the physical withdrawals are completely excruciating and definitely a big barrier to getting sober, there’s really something more to recovery than that, and that’s that kind of spiritual experience or awakening. And the psychedelic component is really important to that and I feel like that’s what’s contributed to me... not only getting sober but staying sober.” -Adrianne

“The real problem is that… people are forced to make these decisions and take these risks because something that has been known for 40 years to have this wonderful effect on opioid addicts is somehow something that nobody knows about and isn’t legalized.” -Nick Meyers

“No matter how you choose to recover or what you do to get sober and stay sober, having a community around you and staying connected with people is so, so important.” -Adrianne

“I definitely had a lot of discomfort just learning to… be still or be with myself and not have an escape. That’s part of recovery and it’s very uncomfortable. It takes time to get used to that. I was always used to having some kind of coping mechanism that took me out of myself, that just helped me not feel uncomfortable or whatever negative feeling I was feeling. So that’s always a challenge and there’s no shortcuts to that- you do have to just learn to be in your body and feel feelings, which I did not like very much. But, you know, it gets easier over time.” -Adrianne

“Everybody is so scared of just saying... ‘this is something that teens should do’ because nobody wants to have anything bad happen and then have it get traced back to them. But look at the realities of what teens are going through with... the rampant alcohol and other drugs, and… vaping and smoking and all the other vices- prescription medications, everything that’s available. And there’s like, no guidance, no supervision a lot of the time… What we’re doing right now isn’t working. Can I dare say it? It would be better if there were rites of passage with psychedelics in controlled settings with proper set, setting and dose with young people, because it really helps you recontextualize and reframe things in your mind.” -Nick Meyers


About Dosed

After many years of prescription medications failed her, a suicidal woman turns to underground healers to try and overcome her depression, anxiety, and opioid addiction with illegal psychedelic medicine such as magic mushrooms and iboga. Adrianne’s first dose of psilocybin mushrooms catapulted her into an unexpected world of healing where plant medicines are redefining our understanding of mental health and addiction.

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Jun 16, 2020
Solidarity Fridays - Week 11
01:14:15

In today's Solidarity Fridays episode, Joe and Kyle sit down and discuss topics in the media including the usefulness of brain activity scans and the idea that “brain does not equal mind,” how language can shift the social narrative to or away from stigma when describing substance use, and psilocybin testing in mice and when we might see psilocybin start being prescribed.

They spend a lot of time on the questions everyone is asking right now- what changes can we make that will help the most people and give the oppressed what they need? What tangible changes do the oppressed actually want? What should the role of police look like, either compared to or in conjunction with social work or therapy?

They look at these questions with hope, but through a realistic lens- disasters, illness and even global warming always affects the poor and oppressed more than those in power. And historically, people have always shown a natural tendency to want to hold others down. What is the real purpose behind what those in power do (for example, outlawing encrypted texting or arresting someone for doing drugs)? Are they trying to encourage only specific conversations they’re comfortable with? 

Quotes

So what really can we do, and what specifically can those with white privilege do? The answer there is to find where your voice is most effective, and to have those tough conversations. “Find those inarguable points. Don’t let the media steer your narrative. Major media outlets want you to talk about certain things. Don’t do that. Find out what you think is most important and most helpful to discuss with the people you’re around. Where do you have the most influence?” -Joe 

“How can we... shift the narrative there to help people heal instead of… putting them in this lifelong box of ‘you’ll never heal from this because you have this disorder and this disease’? I’m always on the side of healing [rather] than trying to completely pathologize experiences.” -Kyle

“It sounds nice to say that we want to eliminate violence, we want to eliminate racism, we want to eliminate rape- all these really bad things. But how long have those things been with us? At least 14,000 years, I think. What’s it going to really take to totally reprogram the human genome- the human mind- to transition to this ideal? Is it possible? I don’t know... I want to see these police held accountable, I want to see… criminals in the government go to jail. But it’s kind of the nature of these institutions. They have this monopoly on violence that was granted to them a long time ago, and there’s no real recourse. They’ve got way bigger budgets than any of us as individuals or gangs have, much more training, much better gear… I don’t totally see a great path out.” -Joe

Links

Studies of Brain Activity Aren't as Useful as Scientists Thought

Language Matters in the Recovery Movement

Interview: Adam Halberstadt, UC San Diego

Protests Drive DC Psychedelics Decriminalization Signatures As Activists Launch Major Mailer Campaign

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Navigating Psychedelics

 

Jun 12, 2020
Mark Plotkin - Bio-Cultural Conservation of the Amazon
01:01:23

In this episode, Joe speaks with Mark Plotkin, Ph.D., author of The Amazon: What Everyone Needs to Know, and President and co-founder of the Amazon Conservation Team (ACT).

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Navigating Psychedelics


Show Notes 

Plotkin talks about studying under Richard Evans Schultes (“the father of ethnobotany”), biocultural conservation (the main point of the ACT), Covid-19 and the possibilities for cures in the Amazon, how ayahuasca news can always be viewed as both good and bad, how indigenous people often know much more about their environment and plant medicines than we realize, and how not all ayahuasca is created equal.

They mostly talk about the purpose of the ACT- using ethnographic mapping to help indigenous people take control of and protect their own land from their government and mining or logging interests, all while trying to bring a focus on respecting and protecting the environment, culture, and traditions encompassing the Amazon and its many people.

“The race is on. Protect the forests, protect the shamans, protect the frogs, protect the plants, protect the fungi, and let’s learn what these people know before that knowledge disappears because the knowledge is disappearing much faster than the forest itself.”

Resources:

Notable Quotes:

On the ACT: “When we set up the Amazon Conservation team about 25 years ago, the idea was that you had groups like the World Wildlife Fund (where I had been working) that was focused on protecting rainforests, and you had groups like Cultural Survival that was focused on protecting indigenous culture, but they really didn’t talk to each other. And so we wanted to help create a discipline now known as Biocultural Conservation because those of us who work with indigenous cultures (whether it’s in the far north of Canada or it’s in the Amazon) know that there is an inextricable link between traditional shamanic cultures and their environment. And nobody was addressing that.”

“There’s a great saying… that the rainforest holds answers to questions we haven’t even asked. So who knows if the answer to Covid-19 or SARs or the next virus which is coming at some point is in the Amazon, and the answer is- nobody knows, and nobody’s really looking for it. So why not protect this treasure, steward it better, look for these answers, and keep the earth a rich and wonderful place?”

“The medical office of the future, if we get it right, is going to have a physician... a nutritionist... a pet therapist... a music therapist... a dietitian... a shaman... a massage therapist. Because there’s no one person and one way that’s going to embody all aspects of healing at the same time.”

“We all go to the grocery [store and ask]: ‘I want to buy organic stuff.’ How come nobody ever asks where the ayahuasca comes from? Is it harvested sustainably? Was it grown organically? You know how many times I’ve been asked that question? Never. If we’re having raised consciousness, why the hell aren’t we asking these questions?
So my challenge to all of our like-minded colleagues is: Let’s make sure we’re getting this from a sustainable source. Let’s make sure it’s being replanted when it’s harvested. Let’s make sure it’s benefiting tribal communities or peasant communities that are respectful of nature and shamanic processes and things like that because I don’t understand why anybody would go to the grocery store and want to get organic grapes but will buy ayahuasca off the internet without knowing where it came from.”

“The shamans often say everything is connected, which sounds sort of trite- this “butterfly effect.” But here’s proof of that. This whole terrible pandemic is due to our lack of respect for nature.”

“It’s not nice to screw mother nature either, because, you know, mother nature always wins. And thinking that we can get away with this and make a few bucks or eat a few weird dishes and not pay the ultimate price is foolish… It’s us [who are] following our nests... abusing indigenous cultures... abusing forests… and mother nature is ultimately going to have her revenge.”


About Mark J. Plotkin, Ph.D.

Dr. Mark Plotkin is a renowned ethnobotanist who has studied traditional indigenous plant use with elder shamans (traditional healers) of Central and South America for much of the past 30 years. As an ethnobotanist—a scientist who studies how, and why, societies have come to use plants for different purposes—Dr. Plotkin carried out the majority of his research with the Trio Indians of southern Suriname, a small rainforest country in northeastern South America, but has also worked with elder shamans from Mexico to Brazil. Dr. Plotkin has a long history of work with other organizations to promote conservation and awareness of our natural world, having served as Research Associate in Ethnobotanical Conservation at the Botanical Museum of Harvard University; Director of Plant Conservation at the World Wildlife Fund; Vice President of Conservation International; and Research Associate at the Department of Botany of the Smithsonian Institution. Dr. Plotkin is now President and Board member of the Amazon Conservation Team (ACT), a nonprofit organization he co-founded with his fellow conservationist and wife, Liliana Madrigal in 1996, now enjoying over 20 years of successes dedicated to protecting the biological and cultural diversity of the Amazon. ACT has been a member of the United Nations Environment Programme Global 500 Roll of Honour since 2002, and was recognized as using “Best Practices Using Indigenous Knowledge” by UNESCO, the United Nation’s cultural organization.

Jun 09, 2020
Solidarity Fridays - Week 10 with Kwasi Adusei
56:23

In today’s Solidarity Fridays Episode, Kyle and Joe interview Kwasi Adusei, Nurse Practitioner, and board member of Psychedelics Today. In the show, they talk about the root of protesting, privilege, the country’s leadership, the importance of this conversation and ways to support the Black Lives Matter movement.

Show Notes

About Kwasi

  • It's difficult for all groups of people to talk about, not everybody is coming from the same place on this topic
    • Kwasi says it's wonderful to see so many people rising up to fight against injustice
  • These things have been happening for a long time, and it speaks to the history in America
  • Kwasi grew up in The Bronx, and it wasn't uncommon to hear about deaths, gun violence, etc
  • Kwasi went to receive his Doctorate, but reflects on his time in middle school and barely graduating
    • It wasn't because of him and his willingness to learn, it was because of his environment
    • The high school he went to is now shut down because of the low graduation rates

The Perfect Storm

  • Kyle says he wonders why this time in particular, why this is impacting the nation and the world more than anything else going on
    • Kwasi sees it as a two part thing, it's a snowball effect, the anger around these instances continue to grow
    • The other part of it, has a lot to do with the Coronavirus, people are losing their jobs, having trouble paying rent, feeding their family, etc
      • They are losing their outlets to grieve, and they go through it for weeks
      • Then something like this happens and it results in rage 

Making the Right Statement

  • It's important to look to the family of George Floyd, they are angry at the violence coming out of the protests
  • Some people believe that the anger that people are showing when damaging property, is causing the same anger when lives are lost
    • But some people are capitalizing on chaos, burning buildings and bringing destruction, and it takes away from the message of changing the systemic issues, it perpetuates it
    • It brings the spotlight to those who are inviting hate by graffiti-ing, lighting buildings on fire, ec
    • The conversation needs to prove that protests are making a statement 

Poor Leadership

  • We have a President that is enforcing law and order to remove peaceful protesters in a violent way
    • The leadership we have is very important, how crisis is approached is really important
    • “How [as a leader] do you calm the nerves of people, while getting to the root of the problem?” - Kwasi
    • We have a lot of people that support Trump, and he doesn't do the best job at leading and supporting the country in a respectful way, especially in these times
  • Joe mentioned videos out there of undercover cops breaking windows that are ‘bait’ to bring in stronger forces to shut down the protests
  • “We should all be asking ourselves, if I care about the messaging, how do I use my sphere of influence to change things?” - Kwasi
  • There are so many roots to this problem
    • How much are we using to fund the police force versus funding education, community services, public health? 

How to Support 

  • Joe says this platform (Psychedelics Today) is to create a space for people to give back, have an impact, share stories and support movements like this
  • Kwasi says to look locally to give your time, money and support
    • He says look to get involved in local elections, making a small difference in your local community, makes a difference on the larger scale when multiplied
  • Stay informed for yourself and share that information with everyone else
  • People are thinking heavily right now “where are my tax dollars being spent?”
    • Instead of extra funding to the local police force, you can vote for that increase to go toward something else like education 

Having the Conversation

  • Our voice is our vote
  • Many people who listen to the Psychedelics Today podcast are probably privileged
  • The psychedelic movement is (and if not, should be) connected to so many other movements like BLM
    • Psychedelics Today is mainly about social justice, changing the narrative on drug policy, the drug war, psychedelic exceptionalism and access
  • Kwasi says that for those who have acknowledged their privilege, not to just keep themselves in the pillar of ‘because I support the psychedelic movement and its connected to the BLM movement, I've done enough’
    • He encourages becoming an ally of the BLM movement, as well as any other movement

Privilege

  • Being a spiritual and privileged person, you have even more time to sit and process and think about all of this, especially when it's not affecting you
  • It’s difficult to analyze one’s own privilege
    • Kwasi says he went on a medical mission to Ghana, where he was born
    • Going back and seeing what the lifestyle was like there, it shifted a lot in him to understand his own privilege
    • He had the privilege of coming to America, receiving an education, etc
    • Because of his education, he is asking himself how to give back

Making Change through Action

  • If you're going to voice your support, that voice needs follow up with actions
    • Actions like donating to groups, educating yourself on local authority measures, voting, etc
  • Sometimes an organization's agenda isn't always aligned with what the people want
  • Kwasi says that he had a few people randomly venmo him money and it offended him
    • He doesn't want money, he wants change to be made in other ways
    • He says for those looking to help, ask first and see what ways those who have been oppressed want to see the change and be supported
  • “We can all be change makers, and all make a change in this world” - Kwasi

Final Thoughts

  • Kwasi wants to bring mental health into communities of people of color
  • He says email him at kwasiadusei@buffalo.edu

Resources to Support

Reading list

Viewing list

  • 13th: An in-depth look at the prison system in the United States and how it reveals the nation's history of racial inequality.
  • I Am Not Your Negro: Explores the history of racism in the United States through Baldwin’s reminiscences of civil rights leaders Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr., as well as his personal observations of American history.

Ways to take action; Donate to victim funds

  • Official George Floyd Memorial Fund: These funds will also go towards the funeral and burial costs along with the counseling and legal expenses for his loved ones. A portion will go towards the Estate of George Floyd for the benefit and care of his children and their educational fund.

Ways to take action; Donate to organizations

  • The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund: the NAACP Legal Defense works on advancing the goals of racial justice and equality by protecting those that are most vulnerable in society. Their work includes court cases that work for a fairer justice system, increasing graduation rates among African American students, protecting voters across the nation, and decreasing disproportionate incarceration and sentencing rates.
  • Communities United Against Police Brutality: The Minneapolis organization was created “to deal with police brutality on an ongoing basis.” More information can be found here.
  • Campaign Zero: The organization uses data to inform policy solutions that aim to ends police brutality. Their vision is to create a better world by “limiting police interventions, improving community interactions, and ensuring accountability.”

About Kwasi Adusei

Kwasi dedicates his work in the psychedelic movement to altering the stigma in mainstream channels by promoting the science, the healing potential of psychedelics, and civic engagement. Kwasi is a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner and graduated from the University at Buffalo. He is the founder of the Psychedelic Society of Western New York and project manager for Psychonauts of the World, an initiative to share meaningful psychedelic stories, with the ultimate goal of publishing them in a book as an avenue to raise money for psychedelic research. He is also one of the administrators for the Global Psychedelic Network, a conglomerate of psychedelic groups and individuals from around the world. Born in Ghana and raised in the Bronx, New York, Kwasi hopes to bring psychedelic therapy to communities of color.

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Navigating Psychedelics


Jun 05, 2020
Jacob Curtis - Psychedelic Photojournalism in Denver
01:11:54

In this episode, Joe speaks with Jacob Curtis a photojournalist at Denver7, a Denver-based ABC affiliate. 

Curtis covered Alaska’s marijuana legalization in 2014, and as a photojournalist living in Denver, has been at the forefront of the Decriminalize Denver movement, even providing some of the first broadcasted footage of a local mushroom grow. 
Curtis speaks about attending Psychedelic Club meetings and meeting James Casey, wanting to be the person to bring this story to the mainstream, and how these meetings and growing interest from the community were ultimately the incubators for the Decriminalize Denver, and later, Decriminalize Nature and #thankyouplantmedicine movements.