PT331 – Julie Zukof & Dr. Michelle Weiner – Psychedelic Women, Coaching, and Ketamine For Fibromyalgia

In this episode, Joe interviews Julie Zukof: Head of Strategic Partnerships for Nue Life and the creator of Psychedelic Women, and Michelle Weiner: a double board-certified Doctor specializing in integrative pain management, using cannabis, ketamine, and other holistic modalities to get to the root cause of chronic pain.

Weiner tells of how her pain-management methods changed as her patients told her about the healing power of cannabis and ketamine, and how she was even more inspired by learning how much chronic pain is a result of fight-or-flight trauma reactions and resulting learned behavior. She discusses the central sensitization of fibromyalgia; ketamine infusions and dose discovery; the differences between how therapists and coaches are viewed (and the need for both); session music and trusting the facilitator in their music choice; and the importance of preparing for a ketamine experience through meditation and/or breathwork. 

And they talk about Psychedelic Women, which was just founded in January as a result of Zukof realizing how much women were a minority in the psychedelic space. She talks about why we need more women in psychedelia; women’s natural inclination to connect and support each other; and how medicine should mirror that – where people from all methodologies can work together for the betterment of the patient. Psychedelic Women is in the process of updating from a speaker series to a more community-based platform. If you want to become a part of the community, sign up at their waitlist today!

Notable Quotes

“Personally, the coaches and the therapists that I use (my nurse practitioners) are mainly women. And I don’t know if that’s because they gravitate towards this field or because patients gravitate towards them, but there’s that nurturing, innate property of being a woman that also is special and unique and we can use to our advantage in that sense.” -Michelle

“I think people are under the impression that psychedelics are always meant to be enjoyable. And while ketamine oftentimes is enjoyable, sometimes it’s meant to be part of a healing journey.” -Julie

“I credit Dustin [Robinson] for bringing us on and featuring the group at Soho House, and something he said was, ‘It’s not that I don’t want to feature women on the panel, I just need more women in the space to feature them.’ And I think that’s an excellent point. And if we can help do something about that, then I think we’re winning.” -Julie

“There’s so many other people that are involved in making this experience more effective for people. It’s not just the medicine and the doctor and the therapist and the coach. …It’s so nice to see because this is really how medicine should be. It shouldn’t be everybody in their own box like with other physicians. …This whole group is really bringing people together that have certain talents and passions and saying: ‘We can work together.’” -Michelle

Links Julie Zukof Dustin Robinson Presents Psychedelic Women Panel, Part of the Monthly Psychedelic Series at Soho Beach House Miami on Jan. 17 Pain Reprocessing Therapy Reduces Pain Perception, Disability in Chronic Back Pain

Psychedelics Today: PTSF 41 (with Mendel Kaelen of Wavepaths)

“Psychedelics & Pain Symposium” event by REMAP Therapeutics (this event is tomorrow!)

Stanford Psychedelic Science Group

UC San Diego: Psychedelics and Health Research Initiative

About Julie Zukof

Julie Zukof is the creator of Psychedelic Women, a speaker series and influential community. Over her eighteen year career in NYC, Julie has created, innovated, marketed, and grown wellness brands by working at prestigious innovation firms and then starting her own consultancy. Julie is now Head of Strategic Partnerships for Nue Life, the leading mental wellness company in at-home ketamine treatments.



Instagram / Linkedin


About Dr. Michelle Weiner, DO MPH

Dr. Michelle Weiner is double board-certified in Interventional Pain Medicine and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and a partner in private practice at Spine and Wellness Centers of America. She is a member of Florida’s Medical Cannabis Advisory Committee, vice president of Mr. Psychedelic Law, a not-for-profit with the mission of responsible legal reform of psilocybin, and a clinical advisor for Iter Investments, a venture capital firm focused on supporting emerging companies within the psychedelic ecosystem of behavioral and mental health. Dr. Weiner’s research focuses on using cannabis as a substitute for opioids in chronic pain patients and cannabis’s effect on seniors with chronic pain, as well as comparing psychedelic v psycholytic doses of ketamine for chronic pain and depression. Her unique approach of personalized and preventative medicine focuses on empowering her patients to cultivate health using cannabis and ketamine-assisted psychotherapy as a catalyst to identify the root cause of one’s suffering, optimizing their quality of life.

Socials: Instagram 


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PT330 – Dick Simon – Researching Ethnobotanical Efficacy and the Search For New Therapeutic Molecules

In this episode, Joe interviews Co-Founder and CEO of Sensorium Therapeutics, Dick Simon. 

Sensorium Therapeutics was created by professionals from Massachusetts General Hospital who started to wonder: With so many plants with rich, ethnobotanical history, what if we looked to those plants for answers instead of just analyzing the trendy psychedelics so many are focused on now? Why not fully research what already has established efficacy? Their goal is to have the largest collection of psychoactive plants (which they’re calling their Neuro-Natural Library), and use machine learning to figure out exactly which molecules are doing what, to then synthesize new drugs that are safe and effective; eventually bringing these new compounds through the FDA approval process.  

Simon talks about how so much of what we know to be effective and beneficial is based on assumptions or best guesses, and while that doesn’t discredit very real benefits, it does beg the question: Is this all optimized as best as it could be? 

He also discusses how recent advances in neuroscience and technology are catalyzing molecular research; how we can learn about other mental health indications from studying rumination; the benefits and challenges of nutraceuticals; geopolitical conflict resolution; organoids; the necessity of the FDA; why “them” can be a very dangerous word; the challenges of benzodiazepines; Burning Man; and the problem with people needing to be treatment-resistant or seriously ill to gain access to psychedelics. He hopes that what Sensorium Therapeutics learns over the coming years will help bring better medicines to more people.

Notable Quotes

“The goal here is to look at the 500+ plants and fungi and what their component elements are (what’s actually driving that efficacy, or signals of efficacy; signals that they make a difference in a high throughput way), to really assemble massive data. Then, we’re using machine learning to distill all that down to: ‘Alright, we have all this cool information; what does it mean? What does it tell us? And how do we convert that into a drug that helps people?’”

“We operate under a lot of assumptions that are based on experience, but are not based on any controls on the experience. Even something basic like the assumption [that] music and playlists are really important – they’ve been used and they seem to work. We don’t really know if that’s true. …I’m not saying that music and a controlled playlist isn’t absolutely the best answer, but it seems like it’s something we really ought to know an answer to, rather than make assumptions.”

“If I would have told someone ten years ago: “No, no, we’re going to have this company, Sensorium, and it is going to be able to, in a 384-well plate, take a look at groups of neurons growing, and we’ll have sophisticated microscopy to take a look at it, and we’ll be able to do it at a high throughput basis, and we can reliably do it and replicate,’ the question would have been: ‘Alright, what other drugs are you taking? That’s not going to [happen].’ [But] we’re there.” 

“Even questions as to how important the psychedelic effect is to efficacy; the assumption tends to be that somehow or another, the intensity of the experience is related to the efficacy. …There are people now who are looking at: ‘What if you removed the psychedelic effect from psychedelics? Are you still getting the same neuroplasticity, neurogenesis, and much of the effect?’ I don’t know the answer, but I think those that are ideologues on either side of that [are] silly. Let’s figure it out. …Why don’t we find the answer rather than argue for whatever our position is?”


Sensorium Therapeutics Team

Massachusetts General Hospital Center for the Neuroscience of Psychedelics

Ethnopharmacologic Search for Psychoactive Drugs (Vol. 1 & 2): 50 Years of Research, edited by Dennis McKenna

Psychedelics Today: PT245 – Robin Carhart-Harris – Psychedelics, Entropy, and Plasticity Activists Demanding Psilocybin for Terminally Ill Patients Arrested Outside DEA Headquarters

The Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-Sharing

Dick Simon Ted Talk: ”The Most Dangerous Four Letter Word: Them” Rick Perry returns to the Texas Capitol to pitch study of psychedelic drugs for PTSD in veterans

An Intellectual History of Psychology, by Daniel N. Robinson

About Dick Simon

Dick Simon is a serial entrepreneur and leader in advancing psychedelic-assisted therapies. He is the Chairman of the Advisory Council of Center for the Neuroscience of Psychedelics at Massachusetts General Hospital, Co- Founder and Board Member of the Boston Psychedelic Research Group, and on the steering committee for the Psychedelic Science Funders Collaborative. He received his undergraduate degree from Cornell University and his MBA from Harvard Business School. After September 11, 2001, he co-founded and led the YPO Peace Action Network which leverages personal and business relationships, resources, and expertise for conflict resolution on local and global levels. Dick’s work has earned him YPO’s Global Humanitarian Award, Harvard Business School’s Making a Difference Award, inclusion in Real Leaders magazine’s “100 Visionary Leaders” and in the “100 Most Influential People in Psychedelics” list.

Socials: Instagram / Twitter / Facebook / Linkedin

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PT329 – Dr. Scott Shannon – The Board of Psychedelic Medicine and Therapies

In this bonus episode, Kyle interviews Dr. Scott Shannon: psychiatrist, Founder of Wholeness Center in Fort Collins, CO, and Co-Founder and CEO of the Board of Psychedelic Medicine and Therapies (BPMT); a non-profit public benefit corporation which was recently created to certify healthcare professionals in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy – and which was just in the news last week when they received a $900,000 matching grant from the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation.

Shannon feels that the majority of people who are interested in (and could benefit from) psychedelics would prefer that their experience be as close to a conventional medical setting as possible. And especially with the risks of rogue practitioners, licensing boards want to see predictability, uniformity, regulation, and (perhaps most importantly) that we as a psychedelic culture are placing importance on being accountable and self-governing. He wants to establish a certification process that’s standard enough that which medicine the patient is using will become secondary. 

He discusses what the certification process will likely look like; why uniformity is so important; the challenges of respecting and integrating Indigenous traditions into a medical model that’s drastically different; what people should look for in psychedelic education; and the importance of breaking from a siloed and hierarchical model into one that’s cross-disciplinary, where professionals of all types can work together for the betterment of the patient.

Notable Quotes

“The premise of the certification board is that we’re trying to certify a process …of medication-assisted, psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy that looks at integration [and] prep, that looks at set and setting, that looks at the sacred container of this relationship; and that we build that, and that is the core of it, and the medications become a little bit secondary. We can bring ketamine in, we can bring DMT in, we can bring psilocybin [in], [and] we can bring MDMA in; because these medications, frankly, they’re not really chemically-related or that similar, but what’s similar is the process that patients go through with them.”

“There’s always the question of: ‘How do I get training?’ …The Psychedelic Science Funders Collaborative just did a survey of the field of education and found that there are now over 50 providers of psychedelic education, and four years ago, there might have been a handful. But someone coming [up]: What do they do? ‘How much do I need to study?’ These things are expensive. It’s confusing. So we want to create a clear, professional path [where] someone says: ‘I’m going to step into this and do this as a career. Here’s what I need to do? Good. I can do that.’”

Links (The Board of Psychedelic Medicine and Therapies (BPMT))

BPMT’s press release: Certification Board for Psychedelic Medicine Launches and Receives $900,000 Grant (Wholeness Center)

Psychedelics Today: Dr. Scott Shannon – Ketamine Therapies Johns Hopkins, Yale, and NYU are teaming up to tackle a key bottleneck that will arise as psychedelics come to market

About Dr. Scott Shannon

Scott has been a student of consciousness since his honor’s thesis on that topic at the University of Arizona in the 1970s. Following medical school, MDMA-assisted psychotherapy became a facet of his practice before this medicine was scheduled in 1985. He then completed a Psychiatry residency at a Columbia program in New York. Scott studied cross-cultural psychiatry and completed a child/adolescent psychiatry fellowship at the University of New Mexico. Scott has published four books on holistic and integrative mental health including the first textbook for this field in 2001. He founded Wholeness Center in 2010 with a group of aligned professionals to create innovation in collaborative mental health care.

Scott is a past President of the American Holistic Medical Association and a past President of the American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine. He serves as a site Principal Investigator and therapist for the Phase III trial of MDMA assisted psychotherapy for PTSD sponsored by Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. He has also published numerous articles about his research on cannabidiol (CBD) in mental health. Scott founded the Psychedelic Research and Training Institute (PRATI) to train professionals in ketamine-assisted psychotherapy and deliver clinically relevant studies. Scott co-founded the Board of Psychedelic Medicine and Therapies in 2021 and currently serves as the CEO for this non-profit public benefit corporation. He lectures all over the world to professional groups interested in a deeper look at mental health issues and a paradigm shifting perspective about transformative care.

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