PsychedeRx is a scripted narrative podcast with an innovative sound design that explores an enthralling story of an improbable drug class, as old as humankind itself, banished into exile, yet comes back soaring like a Phoenix from the ashes to save mankind's affiliction with mental health disorders. While many will refer to the psychedelic renaissance, this one of a kind audio documentary series of 10 episodes explores the stories with a neutral view to provide the listener with a clear understanding of what the therapeutic potential of psychedelics might be. PsychedeRx is brought to you by SKRAPS Studio, an organization founded by Arun Sridhar & JoJo Platt, to disseminate factual stories of science, scientists and innovations. All information pertaining to the podcast can be found at www.skrapspodcast.com/psychedeRx
Bonus Episode No.3: What's a trip really like?
If you’ve listened to the PsychedRx series, or ever contemplated experiencing psychedelics, you’ve probably asked yourself what a trip is really like. Well, I’d very much like to tell you what it’s like, but it’s much like trying to describe an exact shade of purple velvet. It’s deep, rich, bright, dark, it changes as the light shifts. When you touch it, everything changes. It’s different in the morning than it is at night. It’s simultaneously warm and cool, comforting and challenging, but it’s something you can’t fully appreciate or describe without seeing it in person.
For additional exploration and examination, we’ve engaged a first-rate scientist and psychonaut of sorts to help us understand, as best we can…
With that, we’d like to thank Juan for sharing his experiences and perspectives with us. We’d also like to thank all of our participants for their time, dedication, talent, and insights. Finally, we’d like to thank each of you for taking this journey with us.
Bonus Episode No.2: Building a perfect life (or Not)
This is JoJo, your friend and co-host of SKRAPS.
I grew up around construction. Tradesmen and experts at the crafts of building and repairing homes were omnipresent in my childhood. From a very young age, I knew more about framing than I did about Barbie dolls. I was comfortable in the world of power tools and knew the importance of “measure twice, cut once” before I knew my multiplication tables.
Any contractor worth his or her salt will tell you that a sound foundation is the most important thing you need in any structure. A compromised foundation will compromise everything that you build on top.
People have foundations, too. Our education, our family, our upbringing, our experiences and support systems all contribute to building our own foundations. Even with a solid foundation, it can become cracked when the earth below us shifts or when external forces push us too hard. Theses cracks and shifts are sometimes the cause of immense pain - pain so deep that no amount of paint and putty and window dressings can fix the real problem. Oh, we can try and DIY our way out of it - watch a few episodes of “Flip or Flop”, dress up our homes and ourselves, but the cracks remain. And the cracks eventually get bigger.
Sometimes, not often, but sometimes, we can find the tools to fix the cracks and bring the foundation back to a sound a solid state. But all too often, we lack the proper tools and skills and the pressures are just too much. The foundation finally gives way and our structures come tumbling down.
Why am I speaking in construction metaphors? To demonstrate to you that our tool kit is inadequate. That the chaos and destruction of unaddressed mental health issues are ruinous and that they need a shopping spree at Home Depot. If we can expand our mental health tool kit to include tools like psychedelic medicines, maybe we can salvage a few more homes.
Thank you Lindsay for sharing your story of your journey with Justin and for inspiring us to support meaningful research that can give us more, better, and different tools.
Bonus Episode No.1: Psychedelics: When is it a bad idea?
Over the ten episodes in this series, it’s clear that we are enthusiastic about the future of psychedelic medicines. There are so many potential applications for responsible, physician-assisted therapies that it almost seems as though psychedelics are a silver bullet, or a little black dress - perfect for any occasion and applicable to myriad diseases and conditions.
Not to contradict ourselves, but there are definitely situations in which psychedelic medicines are not only ineffective, but ill-advised or flat out a bad idea. We hope to provide responsible and balanced information to our listeners and believe that we have done so. The PTSD episode, you heard from the leaders of Heroic Hearts and Heroic Hearts UK about their non-negotiable exclusion criteria. But the same way you heard emotional personal stories about their success, we thought it imperative to share with you a story about why not everyone and not everything can be helped with psychedelic medicines and why responsible use is the only possible solution.
We give our special thanks to Dr. Erika Ross for sharing the story that changed her life. This one is for Kreg.
Episode 10: Investing in New Frontiers of the Psychedelic Renaissance
New molecules, new IP, new opportunities. How can investors be induced to support the massive, but necessary funds required to support the important and carefully regulated research necessary to bring psychedelic therapies to market. Not to be crass, but if something isn’t going to bring a profit, it’s unlikely to receive much funding, regardless of how much good it might do, certainly not enough to cover the massive costs of bringing a disruptive therapy to market. Companies like Cybin and Bright Minds Bio are looking at modifications to create new IP, improved efficacy, and new delivery mechanisms.
With investment validations now taken care of, we need to address issues around delivery of care. Are we prepared to shift to a model of care that moves from weekly one-hour sessions to intensive, multi-hour sessions that require new paradigms that have never been tried? Before you answer, let us ask you another question: with between 11 and 20 out of every 100 US Veterans suffering from PTSD, how can we afford not to try?
Clara Burtenshaw, co-founder of Neo Kuma Ventures created the first European Fund dedicated to psychedelics shared with us her motivations, both professional and personal, for focusing on this space. We visited with Wavepaths CEO Mendel Kaelen about their founding principles and objectives; we explore Kernel’s entre into the psychedelic research space, and we revisit Doug Drysdale, CEO of Cybin. These are the folks to watch for the future of psychedelic medicines and the healthcare revolution that is coming your way.
It has been our pleasure to bring to you this series - this passion project to understand and share the opportunities, challenges, history, and future of psychedelic medicine.
Arun and JoJo
Episode 9: New Frontiers in Psychedelic Drug Discovery: What, Why & How?
Mushrooms changed the world in the 20th century, some say. Others say, psychedelics are older than humankind. But instead of synthesising molecules and providing it people in a clandestine manner, what if, proper systematic drug discovery and development was done to make psychedelics better?
In this penultimate episode of PsychedeRx, we explore a few more stops before we part ways from this extraordinary project. As we all know, drug trials and molecule development require money and vision and fortitude. So, who exactly is driving the commercialization of psychedelics for responsible clinical use? We’ll hear from Doug Drysdale, CEO of Cybin. as well as Ian McDonald and Gideon Shapiro, CEO and VP of Discovery of Bright Minds Bio respectively. This is not just a hot stock tip, but rather a primer on what the future of the financial side of the psychedelic research and clinical studies. When we said we would cover all aspects of psychedelics in research, we meant it.
Episode 8: New Frontiers in Psychedelics for Addiction and Depression
Zeus gave Sisyphus the eternal punishment of forever rolling a boulder up a hill in the depths of Hades for his crimes of being a trickster and twice cheating death.
“Then I witnessed the torture of Sisyphus, as he wrestled with a huge rock with both hands. Bracing himself and thrusting with hands and feet he pushed the boulder uphill to the top. But every time, as he was about to send it toppling over the crest, its sheer weight turned it back, and once again towards the plain the pitiless rock rolled down. So once more he had to wrestle with the thing and push it up, while the sweat poured from his limbs and the dust rose high above his head. (Odyssey, Book 11:593)”
His tale sounds woefully close to the trials of addiction and depression. Just when you see the light, just when the journey appears as though it will end in success and the completion of a herculean task, life turns that boulder right around and sends you back to the foot of the mountain - only to start the task all over again with nothing more than your corporeal toolkit.
But what if Sisyphus had real tools? Not just his hands and brute strength, but genuine tools like levers and pulleys? What if he had a partner to help him brace the boulder while he lassoed it with the rope that could be manipulated to make the work of one man equal to two? and to mitigate the back-roll?
Depression and addiction, much like PTSD from episode seven, have benefitted little from new discoveries. The tool kits haven’t changed much lately while the rates of incidence climb without check. Is there a way that psychedelics can offer a good old fashioned Craftsman-style revolution? We talk with Celia Morgan (https://psychology.exeter.ac.uk/staff/profile/index.php?web_id=Celia_Morgan), Laurie Higbed (https://theorg.com/org/awakn-life-sciences/org-chart/laurie-higbed ) and others about where the research stands. We’ll walk through the history of psychedlics in addiction and depression, and we’ll hear from people like Mary Ann Dimond with a poignant reminder that these are not problems, not boulders, not numbers, but people who are struggling, people who are loved, and all to often, people who are gone.
Amazing narration, Love how you have tied all those stores across decades. You got my attention right from the beginning when you spoke about the definition of Psychedelics and drug and how words can influence what people think and feel about Psuchedelics. And each episode just got better and better.
Fantastic podcast series
On of the best in-depth podcasts on Psychedelics. What an amazing production. Huge kudos to the producers. The sound design is incredible.