South African science writer Leonie Joubert trips into the strange new world of psychedelic psychiatry, ahead of hallucinogenic mushrooms going on trial in South Africa in 2018.
The Psychonauts Thank You Plant Medicine global campaign
On 20 February 2020, people around the world are going to share stories of the healing and transformation that they’ve experienced through the use of psychedelic medicine. It’s a bit like a global ‘coming out’ campaign. South African science writer Leonie Joubert of The Psychonauts speaks with the organisers of the Thank You Plant Medicine global campaign.
The Psychonauts Episode 9 - Clusterf*ck
For some people, depression can be a terminal illness.
American novelist David Foster Wallace was one of its victims. He died of depression in September 2008. A few years before that, he wrote something beautiful that might help a well person better understand the peculiar kind of hell that depression is. He said that a depressed person doesn’t choose this end because they find death suddenly appealing. Someone ends their life, he wrote, in ‘the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise’. The terror of falling from a great height is easier to face than the terror of the fire’s flames.
Chronic pain - whether it’s emotional, or physical - can be so maddening, so crushing, that it’s easier to jump than to burn.
But what if there’s a medicine that’s proven to relieve the pain of depression, and slow down the headlong plummet into suicide? What if it’s shown to be safe, affordable, and easy to administer? But what if that treatment is illegal, and the state won’t kick into gear the legislative changes that could easily bring it to a hospital near you?
Is there scope, in all of this, for civil disobedience? Why should a potentially terminally ill person have to choose between illegally accessing this lifesaving medicine, or a jail term?
The Psychonauts Voice Diary 7 Kalk Bay Books
Kalk Bay Books is an independent bookstore outside Cape Town that regularly invites authors to speak about their latest book projects. This month, they hosted science writer Leonie Joubert to speak about her podcast The Psychonauts, a serialised audio-book project which she's release chapter by chapter as the book unfolds. Leonie sat in conversation with medical doctor Rene Usdin to talk about research in the field of psilocybin-therapy, and the changes of mainstreaming it in South Africa.
Psychonauts Episode 8 - Going Gonzo
In South Africa, the underground psilocybin community is relatively new, and from the outside might look more like a religious group than a collective of therapists. These journey guides work by a set of principles for how to facilitate journeys, which, for the most part, try to manage the risks that come with deep-dose sessions. They draw on tried-and-tested shamanic traditions and some good old-fashioned common sense. But a whole lot of New Age gimmickry has crept in, too, which is a bit off-putting for those wanting a more secular or medical approach.
If we want to mainstream psilocybin-assisted therapy into day-to-day medical practice in traumatised, post-apartheid South Africa, the medical sector will need to draw on the accumulated knowledge of the underground community which is still unregulated, self-taught, and largely answerable only to itself.
Psychonauts Episode 7 - The Octopus's Garden
Human beings are hardwired to ruminate, leading to depression, anxiety, and addictive rituals.
Boosting our emotional wellbeing with techniques like mindfulness and meditation is a bit like good oral hygiene: we need to brush and floss and visit the dentist regularly. But every now and then, we might need something a bit more drastic, like root canal. That’s where a psychedelic session comes in.
Psychonauts Voice Diary 6 - Legislation
A quick update on the status of the podcast after a long silence, and a look at the different legal routes that could see hallucinogenic mushrooms decriminalised or legalised in South Africa. And if, as some argue, we have a constitutional right to access a substance that our laws withhold from us, where is there scope for civil disobedience?
I great podcast about a subject which I feel very passionate about, psychedelic mushrooms. It is informative , open, and not biased. The host had a very pretty and intelligent voice. Thank you for providing this service.
I HIGHLY recommend this podcast, even - perhaps especially - for those not in South Africa. She does a fantastic job sharing scientific information, balanced with real stories of real people whose lives are changed by these medicines, along with Insights on the political legal climate in her country. It's both personal and educational and I look forward to each new episode.
BTW I'm particularly interested in the case of Monica Cromhout, who I heard interviewed on a different podcast. While I know things are in a holding pattern and courts move slowly, I'd like to hear updates of any. Perhaps an interview here, if not proscribed by attorneys etc?
I normally listen using a different podcast App, but added this show to the iTunes App just so I could post this review.
Great Podcast on Psychedelic and Depression!!
Leonie Joubert does an excellent job of covering the subject of the use of psychedelics such as psilcyobin aka magic mushrooms and the treatment of depression. Very well researched and presented.