PT444 – A Glimpse Into the Psychedelic Neuroscience Landscape

September 22, 2023
Featuring: Melanie Pincus, Ph.D. & Manesh Girn, Ph.D.

In this special episode, Melanie Pincus, Ph.D. and Manesh Girn, Ph.D., who joined David in episode 403 to discuss the launch of their new course, essentially interview each other.

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In this special episode, Melanie Pincus, Ph.D. and Manesh Girn, Ph.D., who joined David in episode 403 to discuss the launch of their new course, essentially interview each other.

As the 2nd edition of their popular course, Psychedelic Neuroscience Demystified, begins on November 1, we wanted to give them a chance to highlight some of the aspects of neuroscience students can expect to learn in the course, and what so many people who are interested in psychedelics don’t fully understand: What does neuroplasticity actually entail? Can one predict if a patient is more apt to have an experience with ego dissolution? How does the amygdala relate to mood disorders? When are critical periods of greater plasticity and socialization at their most beneficial? How does neuroplasticity relate to chronic stress?

They also discuss lessons they’ve received from their own journeys; why they created the course; serotonin; psychological flexibility; body-based versions of self vs. memory-based versions; psychedelics and re-encoding memories (and the potential for false memories); how psychedelic therapy is different from standard drug treatments; psychedelics and the default mode network (is the story oversimplified?), and much more. 

For more information on their course, and to sign up, click here!

Notable Quotes

“A major insight from my psychedelic journeys is just how dense and heavy thoughts and mental content can be. And we often feel the need to overanalyze and think about things and get lost in our concepts and internal dialogue as opposed to experiencing things in the moment, as they are, in a more deeper kind of intimate way – having a greater intimate relationship with our senses, with the immediacy of what’s happening. And my psychedelic experiences, whether it’s with psilocybin or 5-MeO-DMT or what have you, have allowed me to glimpse into states where that stuff is just totally removed, and I’m just immersed in the rawness of experience and just how beautifully vibrant and alive and spontaneously intelligent that is, and how superfluous a lot of our thinking really is, and it just weighs us down. I think my journeys have just allowed me to live with greater ease and hold on to my identity and my narratives much more lightly. So I see them, I acknowledge them, but I’m not totally lost in them. I don’t identify strongly with them.” -Manesh

“Perhaps what’s happening is that MDMA induces a super positive mood where you feel really socially connected, really empathogenic with your therapist or whoever’s around you, you feel so safe and supported. And so if challenging traumatic memories come up, there’s this mismatch between the emotional trace of the traumatic memory and the unique state you’re in with the MDMA on board. And so this mismatch drives the memory reconsolidation process so that your traumatic memory is amended with less fear to be more in line with your current way you’re feeling of being so safe and supported.” -Melanie


Psychedelic Neuroscience Demystified: How Psychedelics Alter Consciousness and Produce Therapeutic Effects

Opening Critical Periods with Psychedelics, by Melanie Pincus, Ph.D. & Manesh Girn, Ph.D.(c) Psychedelic-induced mystical experiences: An interdisciplinary discussion and critique

PT403 – Understanding the Brain: Psychedelic Neuroscience Demystified, featuring: Melanie Pincus, Ph.D. & Manesh Girn

PT258 – Manesh Girn – Psychedelics and the Brain: Neuroplasticity and Creativity

The Psychedelic Scientist YouTube

Melanie Pincus-min

In this Episode

Melanie Pincus, Ph.D.

Dr. Melanie Blair Pincus is a neuroscientist, artist, and educator with a passion for crafting experiences that catalyze self-discovery and transformation. Melanie became interested in modalities that spur personal growth and rewire the brain during her Ph.D. in Neuroscience at Emory University, where she studied the legacy of early life stress on the developing brain. She is compelled by both play and non-ordinary states of consciousness as powerful tools that promote flexible brain states for healing and flourishing. In her roles as Chief Scientific Officer for two psychedelic startups, she has designed multi-omics psilocybin research programs with botanical mushrooms to explore the potential of non-ordinary states of consciousness for personal growth. Melanie’s new venture, Syncopy Design Lab, is a research and design agency creating experiences that facilitate deeper states of connectedness to self, others, and the natural world.

Socials: Linkedin

Manesh Girn headshot 2023

Manesh Girn, Ph.D.

Dr. Manesh Girn is a postdoctoral psychedelic neuroscientist currently working at the University of California San Francisco, where he conducts research on the brain mechanisms underlying psychedelic drugs in close collaboration with psychedelic pioneer Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris. Manesh also actively collaborates with a variety of international leaders in psychedelic research on projects spanning neuroscience, mental health, the social sciences, and the humanities. He has been lead or co-author on over twenty scientific publications on psychedelics, brain networks, and related topics. Manesh is also Chief Research Officer at the Canadian psychedelic bioscience company EntheoTech Bioscience, and runs a YouTube channel and Instagram page called The Psychedelic Scientist where he disseminates the latest findings and developments in psychedelic science to a layperson audience.

Socials: Instagram / Twitter