A show discussing the important academic and other research in the field of Psychedelics. We discuss how psychedelics relate to human potential and healing.
PT233 - JR Rahn of MindMed
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.”
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PTSF48 - Decriminalization, Embracing the Mystical, and a Plea for More Ethical Exploration
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 Decri
PT232 - Dr. Ryan Westrum - Who We Are Without Medicine
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.”
The Psychedelics Integration Handbook, by Ph.D. Ryan Westrum
His last appearance on the podcast
About Dr. Ryan Westrum
Support the show Patreon Leave us a review on Facebook or iTunes Share us with your friends Join our Facebook group - Psychedelics Today group – Find the others and create community. Navigating Psychedelics
PTSF47 - Covid, Ketamine, and Human Rights
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)
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?
PT231 - Dr. Hassan Tetteh - Human Care Over Health Care
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.”
The Art of Human Care, by Hassan A. Tetteh
About Dr. Hassan Tetteh
Support the show Patreon Leave us a review on Facebook or iTunes Share us with your friends Join our Facebook group - Psychedelics Today group – Find the others and create community. Navigating Psychedelics
PTSF 46 - Patents, Prohibition, Health, and Happiness
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
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
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
Support the show! Patreon Leave us a review on Facebook or iTunes Share us with your friends Join our Facebook group - Psychedelics Today group – Find the
Good talks in an interesting and important field
I really like the podcast and listen to most of its episodes!
I like the people and the backgrounds that are being discussed. Keep up the work. Thank you for doing this!