PTSF78 – Navigating the Vast Psychedelic Space: Where Do You Fit In?

In this week’s Solidarity Fridays episode, Joe and Kyle sit down and tackle a question we are often asked at Psychedelics Today: “How do I get involved in the psychedelic field?” 

While Kyle wrote a pretty helpful blog about this a few years back, they dig in deeper this time, really highlighting the various paths one could take, from the more obvious roles we typically see (therapists, clinicians, guides, trip-sitters, scientists, researchers, and journalists) to the less-discussed (politicians, marketers, artists, accountants, SEO experts, social media consultants, and more). It’s really about figuring out what skills you have and what you could bring to the emerging field, what solutions you could find answers to, and what’s realistic based on your experience, age, geography, willingness to learn, and degree to which psychedelics are involved. And would you still want to take that path if they weren’t? Could your path simply be doing what you’re good at for a company involved in psychedelics? 

They discuss the benefits of volunteering, attending any event you can (to both learn and network), and even just starting a club and letting the power of community steer your direction. And they touch on a bit more: how some educational programs don’t allow the underground to participate, how body shame affects the body, and how somatic energy and bodywork can be enhanced by psychedelics. Hopefully this podcast helps you take your first step down a new and exciting journey!

Notable Quotes

“Models should improve over time, and you can contribute to us collectively evolving our models. And what is this relationship, long-term, that we’re trying to culture here between psychedelics and the human race? I think there’s a lot. How do we go ahead and manifest that mindset that might save the world from ecological collapse, [and] re-enable families to be healthy systems again? …There’s plenty of issues out there. You’ve just got to pick a couple or one or two and just really go for it. There’s no way any of us as individuals are going to take on every issue out there. Revel a little bit in your limited scope.” -Joe

“There are going to be limits to primate knowledge. This kind of brain is going to only go so far, so when we’re dealing with these really strange frontiers like psychedelics, we should just respect that. The mystery might just keep on going.” -Joe

“You can get involved in the psychedelic space. There’s plenty of room for everybody. This is going to be a really, really big space as things come more online, more states have legal access, more countries have legal access, [and] things are approved by the FDA. There’s going to be room for probably everybody who’s listening to this podcast today and more. So stay tuned, figure out where you want to go, get a nice foundation, and see if you can make some progress.” -Joe


Psychedelics Today: Psychedelics: Past, Present, Future – Webinar

Students for Sensible Drug Policy

Transform: Drug Policy Foundation (LEAP)

Mind Apps: Multistate Theory and Tools for Mind Design, by Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. (Soren Peterson’s sound chair)

Psychedelics Today: Navigating Your Way Through the Psychedelic Field: How to Get Involved

Psychedelics Today: PT259 – Dr. Devon Christie and Will Siu, MD, DPhil – The Mind-Body Connection, MDMA, and Chronic Pain (I think this the quote Joe was talking about)

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PT263 – Michelle Janikian – 920: The Magic Mushroom Holiday

In this episode, Joe and Kyle decided to celebrate 9/20 by sitting down with friend, writer, Editor in Chief of the blog, and past Solidarity Friday member, Michelle Janikian. 

Before Michelle was part of the PT team, she was one of our more popular podcast guests (in a very mushroom-heavy episode), and the writer of Your Psilocybin Mushroom Companion, a safety-focused and informative guidebook highlighting the many ways mushrooms can be used. So it made perfect sense to spend the mushroom holiday episode checking in with her and talking some psilocybin. She talks about what inspired her to write the book, the importance of learning how to trip and fostering a relationship with mushrooms, how using mushrooms solely for personal healing feels self-centered and a bit boring, the common opinion of many psychonauts that you need to do a large dose for your first time, the concept of mushrooms as tricksters who may be trying to hurt you, the joy of foraging, how much we all tend to romanticize Indigenous culture and perceived wisdom, and the value of being honest with yourself about what you want out of a psychedelic experience and developing your own rituals.

And she talks about what’s been biggest in her life recently: the time she spent living in the house she was raised in as her parents prepared it to be sold, and how doing mushrooms there after all these years not only made her feel reconnected to the house and its surrounding woods in a special way, but also gave her a ton of new gratitude for what her parents did to provide that for her. She feels much closer to her parents now and wants to have a mushroom or MDMA session with them- something many of us could benefit greatly from.

If you want to win a free signed copy of Your Psilocybin Mushroom Companion and a whole host of other great mushroom and psychedelic-themed stuff, make sure to enter our huge 920 giveaway before it ends tonight at midnight! Happy Holidays!

Notable Quotes

 “I feel like when folks only make their psychedelic work about healing, it seems a bit self-centered. It does feel a bit like if you make it all about yourself and healing your problems, …to the plant and the rest of the universe, [that] kind of seems a bit petty, perhaps. Not to be rude- we all deserve to heal ourselves, but I think that when we go in with just an intention to do that, we’re putting blinders on, …and we are not going to be able to see the rest of what’s going on here. It’s bigger than you.”

“Mushrooms are tricksters. We have to be a bit careful as a culture, welcoming mushrooms in. I mean, sure, let’s do it, they’re fun- they’re the life of the party. They should absolutely be part of our culture. But giving them so much responsibility, like healing mental illness of the world, for me, I don’t know if that’s actually the best idea, as someone who communicates and listens to them quite often.” 

“People who use mushrooms are quite smart, and I think a lot of them are being ignored or not part of this new conversation, and that’s a shame. It shouldn’t be like that. I think a lot of them want nothing to do with this new clinical world either. They’re like, ‘Ehh, you can have that. I have my ritual, and it works for me.’ And I just want people to develop their own rituals and find out what works for them. That’s why I collected so many in one place, so you can kind of pick and choose what’s right to you. Everyone’s different. And in the true ‘think for yourself and question authority’ manner, Your Psilocybin Mushroom Companion: It’ll help you figure it out. I don’t know if you really need everyone else telling you what to do. I think you know what you want to do, you’ve just got to listen.”


Your Psilocybin Mushroom Companion: An Informative, Easy-To-Use Guide to Understanding Magic Mushrooms- From Tips and Trips to Microdosing and Psychedelic Therapy, by Michelle Janikian

Instagram: @michelle.janikian

Twitter: @@m00shian

Facebook: /Michelle.Janikian

Psychedelics Today: Michelle Janikian – Your Psilocybin Mushroom Companion

Plant Teachers: Ayahuasca, Tobacco, and the Pursuit of Knowledge, by Jeremy Narby, with Rafael Chanchari Pizuri

Dances of Ecstasy documentary Amanita virosa (Fr.) Bertill. – Destroying Angel

About Michelle Janikian

Michelle Janikian is a journalist and the author of Your Psilocybin Mushroom Companion (Ulysses Press, 2019), the down-to-earth guide that details everything you need to know about taking magic mushrooms safely and mindfully. Michelle actively covers psychedelic and cannabis education, harm reduction, and research in her work, which has been featured in Playboy, Rolling Stone, High Times, DoubleBlind Mag and others. Currently, she’s the editor-in-chief of Psychedelics Today and an occasional co-host of their podcast. She’s passionate about the healing potential of psychedelic plants and substances, and the legalization and de-stigmatization of all drugs. Find out more about her work on her website or follow her on Instagram (@michelle.janikian), Twitter (@m00shian) and Facebook (@Michelle.Janikian).

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PTSF77 – Progress and Context, with Jesse Gould of the Heroic Hearts Project

In this week’s Solidarity Fridays episode, Joe and Kyle are joined by return guest Jesse Gould: Founder and President of the Heroic Hearts Project, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit helping military veterans find healing through psychedelic-assisted therapy. 

Gould discusses the acceleration of the Heroic Hearts Project over the last few years and the need for UK and Canadian divisions, SB-519’s progress and how its pause can be seen as a good thing, Oregon’s trajectory and how what happens there will be a model to build on, how the container around a drug experience can make all the difference, how silly it is to put psilocybin through the same research ringer we put new drugs through, and his feelings on leaving Afghanistan and the trauma soldiers are already experiencing as a result. 

And he talks about new allies and the many projects they’re involved in, how we need to look at what models haven’t worked and create ones that do, and the biggest challenges he sees right now: 1) creating more long-term, multidisciplinary, integration and community-based models of care, and 2) making sure that if these drugs go the medical, insurance-based route, we take care of the people who often fall through the cracks of those traditional systems. And he reminds us that while small failures are frustrating, it’s important to put things in context: Not every measure will be perfect and not every bill will pass, but slowly, many politicians are changing their minds, and every small step is just that- a stepping stone in the right direction. 

It costs about $4,000 to drastically change 1 veteran’s life through the Heroic Hearts Project, so please donate.  

Notable Quotes

“They have the initial reaction, they have the stigma of ‘those are bad, those are for crazy hippies.’ But when they see what’s going on right now (the science, the people that are actually being helped, especially veteran communities), for politicians; it’s hard for them to ignore. And to their credit, a lot of them will listen to the evidence, listen to what people are saying, listen to their constituents (which is the point of the public servant) and change their mind.” 

“A lot of enthusiasm around psychedelics is that they do a lot of the heavy lifting and they have all the fireworks and all the things that grab our attention, which can oftentimes overshadow all the small details before, after, and throughout that are absolutely essential.”

“The way to really empower voices and the way to make change, I think, is you have to heal trauma first. For people to actually come back, learn from their story, and help others, they need to be helped first. So that’s the first step that we’re trying to help out, because there’s nothing more powerful than a veteran that’s gone through a program, that’s been completely reaffirmed in their life.”

“A lot of the people you see that are dedicating their lives or are advocates, or changing, about-facing on this; it’s because they’ve had personal healing or healing within their family. You’re starting to get other groups (the ones that are looking to make money and all this other kind of stuff) but the core group and the ones that continue to be the loudest voices are still those that saw the light, that saw healing. And so I think that comes with sincerity of trying to push it forward.”


Psychedelics Today: Jesse Gould and Keith Abraham – Heroic Hearts Project: Connecting Veterans to Psychedelic Treatment

Psychedelics Today: Jesse Gould – Healing PTSD Veterans through Ayahuasca Retreat Opportunities

Heroic Hearts Project announces new study with Imperial College London into the physiological and psychological effects of psilocybin on veterans.

Instagram: @ayahuascanow

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 as an Army Ranger 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 $350,000 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. 

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