New Deadline: Apply for Vital Psychedelic Training by January 14th!  

PT364 – Burning Man, Psychedelic Maturity, and Radical Hope

In this episode, David interviews Jamie Wheal: author of the global bestseller, Stealing Fire: How Silicon Valley, Navy SEALs, and Maverick Scientists Are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work, and most recently, Recapture the Rapture: Rethinking God, Sex and Death In a World That’s Lost Its Mind.

Wheal believes that in our current culture, we’ve over-fetishized our feelings and jumped too often at selfish psychedelic insights and short-term novelty instead of real long-term growth and maturity – that one’s constant search for freedom can become a prison in itself. As such, he founded the Flow Genome Project, an organization dedicated to human performance research and training, with a different attitude than we’re used to seeing: in their words, “ecstasis without the crave,” “catharsis without the cringe,” and “communitas without the cults.” 

He discusses Burning Man and what makes it so life-changing for people; the sliding scale of psychedelics and the need to regularly do a hard reset of our brains; neuroplasticity; his issues with virtual reality; what Hanukkah has to do with psychedelics; eschatothesia; permaculture and sustainability; and radical hope- the belief in an unknown future that one commits to nonetheless, even in the face of certain doom.

Notable Quotes

“Burning Man is, I think, arguably the most potent transformation engine ever assembled on this planet. I don’t think at any point in history have you ever had that many people – 70 to 80 thousand humans – gathered together at one time, all so concretely and coherently in a mind-blown and open state.”

“The relentless pursuit of freedom becomes a prison house of its own. So you’re not free; you’re actually incapable of committing to anything of lasting value, and therefore, because you have nothing of lasting value to ballast yourself or to justify sacrificing or trade offs, you’re forever seeking the new and the novel. And that just becomes a hamster wheel straight into the Hell realms. So I would say that the freedom of no escape, the freedom of finding your hill to die, the place to take your stand is a non-negotiable part of manhood.”

“Most of us are seeking fucking sugar high joy: distractions, diversions, novelties, quick fixes. And that’s the wrong kind of joy. That is not going to work. But deep, true, abiding joy – ‘We’re all dead men walking,’ ‘Today is a good day to die,’ [attitude], like Leonidas and Thermopylae …It’s that level of out-of-fucks, non-bargaining commitment that gets us access to the joy on the other side of all the facts.”


Jamie Wheal substack Researchers Share First Findings on Burners’ Transformative Experiences Prosocial correlates of transformative experiences at secular multi-day mass gatherings

Psychedelics Today: Erik Davis – High Weirdness: Drugs, Esoterica, and Visionary Experience in the Seventies

The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires, by Tim Wu Eschatology

Radical Hope: Ethics in the Face of Cultural Devastation, by Jonathan Lear Talmud “Do not be daunted by the enormity…” quote

Psychedelics Today: Wade Davis – Ayahuasca and a New Hope for Colombia “The Biggest Little Farm”

Gaviotas: A Village to Reinvent the World, by Alan Weisman

Wendell Berry’s “Be joyful though you have considered all the facts” quote

PT363 – Cannabis and Psilocybin: The Complications of Legality Inside an Endless Drug War

In this episode, Joe interviews Reggie Harris: Advisory Board member of Decriminalize Nature and Founder of Oakland Hyphae, which organizes events like the Hyphae Cup (previously the Psilocybin Cup), and performs psilocybin potency testing through Hyphae Labs. 

As Harris is an activist with over a decade of political campaign experience and over a decade in the cannabis industry, this conversation focuses largely on his concerns over the burgeoning psychedelic industry not learning from the mistakes of a failing (at least in California) cannabis industry, as well as one of the key principles of Psychedelics Today: the need to end the drug war immediately and allow the people who got us here to once again live their lives freely. 

He discusses mycology, what a hypha is, and psilocybin potency; how an Eminem song changed his life; why he thinks Oregon is legalizing psilocybin much too quickly; why he thinks we should decriminalize now (and legalize later); the overbearing burden of cannabis industry taxes and how legacy operators are switching to psilocybin; the stories of Kole and Seth Rosenberg; why Mike Tyson is one of the most important influencers in psychedelics; and why “Fuck around and find out” has become a bit of a personal mantra for him and so many others looking to advance our quickly evolving psychedelic space.

Notable Quotes

“I think [that] all we’ve got to do is catch the right politician with drugs, and then the right political parties will start hollering: ‘End the DEA!’ I’m waiting on it. I never thought I’d hear these people start saying ‘Defund the FBI,’ so I think there’s hope.”

“I’d much rather try to hold the wall for a year or two or even five more years and give legacy operators a chance to get their business together, to get their paperwork together, to save up some money, to get their infrastructure together; so that when the wall does come down, they’ve either built something that somebody can buy for a fair price, or they can actually compete. I just want to give people like myself a fair shot at something that they’ve all helped build.”

“I watched a lot of the cultivation decisions being made and crafted and I watched who was making the decisions. I think Oregon is going to be a cautionary tale that the rest of the country uses, again, as to why you don’t want to legalize quickly.”

“You see prices on the street at an all time low, but you still see the people who try to operate within the legalized framework being crushed by being taxed through the nose. You can’t write anything off, you get taxed through the nose, you can’t really bank [any money], you’ve got to pay extra expense because of the nature of your business, and a lot of people make it hard to stand up. It’s funny – as I watch the cannabis industry; in 2018, when they legalized, everybody wanted to play by the rules. Everybody wanted to comply. And so, they cut a lot of the brokers off that they dealt with [and] a lot of relationships were altered because people wanted to go legal. But then when they tried to play around in the legal space for a year, year and a half, and they realized that they were being taxed into oblivion, people opened that back door right on up.”


Hyphae Labs

Oakland Hyphae Substack

Reggie Harris Linktree Can Psychedelics and Capitalism Co-Exist? 3 Things I Learned at the Oakland Psychedelic Conference Hyphae Mycologist with a Microscope: Alan Rockefeller William Padilla Brown Wants To Save The Planet With Mushrooms

YouTube: Eminem- My Fault Breckenridge City Colorado Legalizes Marijuana

Psychedelics Today: PT324 – Amanda Reiman, Ph.D., MSW – Web3, NFTs, Cryptocurrencies, and A Deeper Relationship With Plants OS ep 49 – Kilindi Iyi – The Mushroom and our trans-human future (Joe’s interview with Kilindi Iy from his first podcast) Aaron Rodgers Defends Ayahuasca, Says He May Be ‘Called’ to Take the Psychedelic Again Will Smith Comes Out of the Psychedelic Closet Dave Chappelle’s Marijuana And Psychedelics Parties Don’t Concern Local Sheriff NBA Will Not Randomly Test Players For Marijuana Again This Season Law enforcement took more stuff from people than burglars did last year We Own The Night

The Cannabis Connection podcast: Dave Hodges- Church of Ambrosia & Zide Door 3/11/2022 Uncle Ben’s Mushroom Tek Guide: Fruiting, Colonization Time & Yield

PT319 – Kole – Activism and Trust: A Cautionary Tale From Someone Who Got Caught

Psychedelics Today: PT351 – Seth Rosenberg – The Trauma In Being Arrested and The Injustice of the Drug War

YouTube: Willy’s World

Psychedelics Today: PT236 – Dr. Carl Hart – Drugs: Honesty, Responsibility, and Logic

Psychedelics Today: PT348 – Steve DeAngelo – Cannabis and Psychedelics: Industry, Consciousness, Justice, and Joy California Cannabis Growers Are Suing the State Over Legal Loophole for Large Marijuana Farms Natural Medicine Health Act of 2022 Colorado Psychedelics Legalization And Psilocybin Therapy Measure Qualifies For November Ballot

Psychedelics Today: Addressing Abuse in Psychedelic Spaces

PT362 – Psychedelic Storytelling: Transforming Out Loud

In this episode, Victoria interviews Cory Firth: Chief Storyteller at the Nikean Foundation, one of the world’s leading charities funding psychedelic research and advancing education.

Rick Doblin has famously said that while the FDA responds to data, it’s stories that most resonate with people, and the current direction of the Nikean Foundation is rooted in that idea – that there is a massive population of “psychedelic seekers” who could likely benefit greatly from the psychedelic experience, but who just need to hear that one special story that inspires them to take the leap towards change. While the efficacy of psychedelics and psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy is proven over and over again in study after study, most people don’t connect with that data – it’s the nuance and human connection in personal stories that cut through the “drugs are bad” media bias, and Firth believes that as more people share their transformational tales – who “transform out loud” – society can really change for the better. 

He discusses the value of storytelling in affecting change on multiple levels; the idea of integration as an ongoing practice; the wisdom gained through trauma; and the trust and vulnerability required to be able to share a powerful story. And to practice what they preach, he and Victoria share their own personal stories of healing with the help of psychedelics. We hope they’re stories that someone out there needs to hear.

The Nikean Foundation is aiming to build the largest collection of transformational stories, and they want to hear yours. You can join in by sharing your story at their website, or by sharing the site with a friend. You can submit now, but they officially launch this storytelling project next week, on October 14 at Horizons NYC, where Victoria, Kyle, and David will be! If you haven’t bought a ticket yet, use code PSYCHEDELICSTODAY-NY-17 at checkout to receive 17% off, and when you’re there, come say hello!

Notable Quotes

“Everybody who gets into psychedelics in a transformational way does so because of a friend or a colleague or someone in their family that tells them a story about how they were able to experience them and find some healing potential. …One of the main ways people get into this is through stories. How can we put a little gasoline on that fire and see how it can evolve?”

“You can’t change someone’s mind unless you show them how you changed yours.”

“My goal, eventually, is to have enough stories where someone who’s seeking something can come to the site and see another story of someone who looks like them, in their position – but in the future, where the potential has been reached. They see the potential in themselves. They see the potential of the transformational mechanisms of psychedelics, and they’ve gone through it, and now they see that it’s possible for them.”

Links The Nikean Foundation

Psychedelics Today: PT342 – Spencer Hawkswell – The Right to Psilocybin in Canada: TheraPsil’s Charter Challenge (Tim Ferriss) MDMA-Assisted Therapy for PTSD Psychedelic Integration List- Mental Health Support Practitioners by Location

How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us about Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence, by Michael Pollan Where the Psychedelic Revolution Is Headed, According to the Guy Who (Arguably) Started It (Rick Doblin’s discussed quote is here) Psilocybin Therapy Offered Cancer Patient Thomas Hartle More Than He Could Have Asked For David Nutt’s Drug Harm Ranking scale.

PT361 – Mycology and Evolutionary Genomics

In this episode, Joe interviews Jason Slot, Ph.D.: Associate Professor of Mycology and Evolutionary Genomics at Ohio State University, and founding member and scientific advisor to the Entheome Foundation, which has the goal of publishing 200+ fungal genomes by 2023 – starting with all the psilocybin-producing species.  

Slot talks about evolutionary genomics and his process: how he looks for interesting gene clusters in the genomes of different fungi to hypothesize what these clusters could be responsible for, how different species interact, and how these genes and species have evolved over time. He discusses the state of mycology in 2022 and the booming interest in functional mushrooms; the regulations around psilocybin and how they all relate to the dispensing of mushrooms; the weirdest things he’s seen in the complicated process of mushroom reproduction; substrate supplementation (with different enzymes, tryptophans, or even DMT); and just how much there still is to discover in the world of mushrooms and other possible plant medicines. 

He also discusses illumina high throughput sequencing; tetrapolar mating systems; Paul Stamets’ P-Value scale and the hayflick limit; mushroom parasexuality; horizontal gene transfer; and a lot of other scientific aspects of the unique studies of a mycologist. If you’re interested in psilocybin-producing mushrooms and want to explore mycology more deeply, this episode serves as a great introduction.

Notable Quotes

“It’s a small field, but I think that it’s growing. I think we have a lot more interest coming in because the growth of gourmet and medicinal mushrooms is just ridiculous. It’s a huge industry in the making.”

“I do crazy evolutionary analyses with all the fungal genomes I can get my hands on, and then find something interesting in the evolutionary history, and then I find an organism that’s got that particular gene or gene cluster that I’m interested in. It gives rise to interesting hypotheses.”

“They’re organisms with their own existences. We tend to think of a mushroom as a tool for therapy, or we think of a mushroom as a product or something like that. But these are organisms with their own rights to exist and thrive as they would.”


Ohio State University: Center for Psychedelic Drug Research & Education

Entheome: The Entheogen Genome Project

Psychedelics Today: Brian Pace and Jason Slot – Neurochemical Ecology, and the Evolution of Psilocybin Mushrooms Illumina High Throughput Sequencing Nanopore DNA sequencing Penis Envy Mushrooms Review: The Shocking Truth Behind The World’s Most Psychedelic Shroom Parasexual cycle (Paul Stamets) Biotransformation of tryptamine derivatives in mycelial cultures of Psilocybe Horizontal gene transfer What Is the Stamets P Value® System? Hayflick limit

Convention on Biological Diversity: About the Nagoya Protocol

PT360 – Kanna: Love and Wholeness Through Nature’s Alternative to MDMA

In this episode, Joe interviews Stephanie Wang: Founder and CEO of KA! Empathogenics, which has created the first-ever empathogenic supplement chew with the primary ingredient of kanna. 

Similar to our exploration of kratom with Oliver Grundmann, Ph.D., this episode dives deep into a plant rarely talked about in psychedelic circles: kanna (or Sceletium tortuosum), a succulent native to South Africa. As a natural serotonin reuptake inhibitor and serotonin releasing agent, kanna’s effects sound very similar to those of MDMA (heart-opening, feeling surrounded by love and wanting to connect, an increase in energy, hunger suppression), but with a lot more: sleep improvement, a decrease in gut inflammation, increased focus and awareness, and a feeling of brain recalibration and true homeostasis (and it’s legal!). KA!’s first product is their kanna chew: a healthy, pH-neutral snack with no sugar, preservatives, caffeine, or artificial sweeteners, made with the intention to “restore full spectrum aliveness for all human beings.” 

Wang breaks down the science behind why kanna works, its history with the Khoisan people of South Africa, her first kanna plant ceremony, contraindications and what pairs well with it, how you should take it and how long it can last, and why she chose KA! as the name for her company. She and Joe also talk about their shared past with Evolver, the complexity in the simple question: “How are you?”, the care needed when making comparisons, society’s move towards self-directed healing and more natural foods, and the question of whether or not every modern culture is truly ready for psychedelics and natural plant medicines.

Notable Quotes

“It was amazing to experience kanna in a ceremonial setting where it was incredibly expansive and heart-opening. That’s literally how it feels: You just feel this oneness and you feel enormous love. You feel everything around you is love, everyone is love. And what it also had an effect on is how we were relating to each other in that setting. So imagine that you’re in a place where nothing matters. Nobody cares what you look like, where you came from, what job you have, how much money you make, what social strata [you’re in]; nobody cares. All you care about is meeting each other in that heart-centered space, in a very human and intimate space.”

“One out of five Americans (at least) suffer from some kind of mental health issue. …[Something] you talk about a lot in your show is this wholeness: we are far more than just our minds. We are bodies, we are hearts, we are spirit as well. So really looking at that as a whole is tremendously important, and kanna is one of those amazing plants that starts to connect you to that understanding.”

“What we look for a lot, in terms of our own healing, is in nature already. And instead of trying to tease out, ‘Okay, here’s the active component and let’s just isolate this, patent this, etc. and then make a drug, and then…’ – that’s, to me, an old model, actually. And what happens is then… the wholeness is lost. …There’s a reason why this particular plant evolved this way and has all these properties.”

Links (KA Empathogenics)

Facebook: Evolver Boston (for a piece of Joe’s history) Khoisan people Lost Khoisan Tribe (and kanna usage)

Psychedelics Today: The Intertwined Prohibitionist Histories of Psychedelics and Kratom This Legal Supplement Made Me Roll Like I’d Taken MDMA

NIDA: What are MDMA’s effects on the brain? Revised estimates for the number of human and bacteria cells in the body What is kA rating?

PT359 – Art, Philosophy, Sexuality, and “Psychedelics Tonight”

In this episode, Joe interviews Sawyer Hurwitz: filmmaker, producer, editor, and augmented reality collage artist who releases animated art under the name, “Psychotronic Solutions.”

He is also the director and lead editor of something we’re quite proud of here at Psychedelics Today: our new TV show, “Psychedelics Tonight”; a series of 30-minute episodes hosted by Joe and Kyle exploring lesser-explored psychedelic compounds, presented through ALTRD.TV. Episode 1, “Investigating Iboga – The African Plant with Sacred Roots,” premiered last night, and a new episode will air each Monday through October at 6 p.m. PST. Since this podcast was recorded while the show was still being filmed, they don’t go into it much, but we will be having more in-depth discussion after season 1 finishes, and want to know what you think! To watch for free, click the link in our bio or head to ALTRD.TV and search for Psychedelics Tonight. 

Hurwitz discusses his past of feeling almost addicted to LSD exploration; his art and how LSD helped him overcome the classic artist’s restrictive “I’m not good enough” paradigm; Sarajoy Marsh’s Trauma-informed, Brain-sensitive Yoga being used in prisons to essentially create wellness communities; psychedelics and creativity; Nietzsche’s notion of Apollonian and Dionysian forces; entropy and negentropy; the relationship between psychological unwinding and sexuality and his realization (during a psychedelic experience) that he was queer; and how artists can differentiate themselves in a world where art is more readily available than ever.

Notable Quotes

“[LSD] helped me relinquish the idea that I am creating and that I am anything, and instead, just succumb to the process and engage with the medium in the way that one would a lover. And again, maybe that’s too heady or silly, but just being present with the art is what I think allows it to reach its fullest blossom, and just trusting the fact that I’m doing the best I can.” 

“I think that love on a spectrum and sexuality on a spectrum is so much more chaotic than the firm binary that we’ve put [faith] into for so long. And again, if psychedelics are something that open up your perspectives, it allows you to sort of break models that you’ve been born into and raised with. And for a lot of people, that’s discovering that their experience (wherever it falls on that spectrum) is maybe outside of what we’ve been calling the norm for a long time, as opposed to necessarily what is the norm. I suspect that the norm is that the experience of love and sexuality is so, so, so, so much more diverse than we’ve been characterizing it as for a very long time.” 

“I think that a lot of the drive for art comes from a need to communicate love and connection, and in a lot of ways, that connection is the experience of God. And I think that, in a sense, art comes from almost a divine place in that regard, and psychedelics are also a tool for us experiencing that. Again, I’m not a religious person by any means, but psychedelic experiences are often spiritual experiences, and I think it’s because they touch on the same thing: what it means to live in oneness with the world.” 


Psychedelics Tonight

Instagram: @psychotronicsolutions

Psychedelics Today: PT311 – William Leonard Pickard – LSD, Fentanyl, Prison, and the Greatest Gift of All: The Natural Mind Trauma-informed, brain-sensitive yoga training

Be Here Now, by Ram Dass

The Way of the Psychonaut Vol. 2: Encyclopedia for Inner Journeys, by Stanislav Grof, MD, PhD

YouTube: Let’s Talk: Psychedelics and Queer Identity (a Psychedelics Today webinar) Eros and Thanatos: Freud’s two fundamental drives

The Birth of Tragedy and Other Writings, by Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche Negentropy

Screenshot from the opening of the animation, “Weird Trip.” Check out the full piece and more at

PT358 – Contexts of Use: Exploring the Various Paradigms of Psychedelics

In this episode, Kyle interviews Clinical Psychologist, past guest, and Founder of the Psychedelic Society of Vermont, Dr. Rick Barnett, Psy.D.

This episode was recorded live in front of a small audience at the Railyard Apothecary in Burlington, VT, shortly after the Psychedelic Science & Spirituality Summit, which Joe and Kyle attended (hosted by Barnett’s Psychedelic Society of Vermont). They reflect a bit on the conference (perhaps the best one Kyle has attended) and Kyle’s history in Vermont, but most of their conversation revolves around exploring  the various contexts of use around psychedelics – how our current paradigm of a heavy focus on medicalization and treatment of disorders misses a huge portion of real-world use: self-improvement, ceremonial, celebratory/recreational, and to even help with addictions. 

They discuss MAPS and MDMA use for PTSD; psilocybin for end-of-life depression and alcohol use disorder; ibogaine for getting off opiates; Chris Bache, high dose LSD sessions, and preparing for death; how dietas are better preparation for an experience than what most studies call for; Jon Dennis’ fight for religious use of psychedelics; decriminalization vs. legalization; how psychedelics helped Barnett connect with the spiritual and communal aspect of 12-step programs; the beauty and pitfalls of celebratory/recreational use; and how there’s really no wrong door when it comes to how one uses psychedelics (as long as it’s safe and respectful).

For regular listeners, this episode may be a bit introductory, but it may also be a great episode to share with your friends who are starting to become interested in this exciting new world. Do you want to attend a live recording and ask the guest questions? Keep an eye on our events page for the next one!

Notable Quotes

“How do we integrate the science that’s happening (the research) with what’s already happening out there in communities? There are people using psychedelics in ceremonial use, [for] celebration, [and] for recreation, and I want to integrate it all, because there’s no wrong door here, I think.”

“That’s a highlight for me: how psychedelics can change our minds; not so much in terms of treating depression or PTSD or addiction, but really challenging us to see ourselves and the world differently, whether we have a psychiatric condition or not.”

“I think we need to embrace all paths, and that’s why I also think decriminalization may not go far enough for some people. That’s an argument out there. I believe in decriminalization, I believe in legalization. Again, there’s no wrong door here. We can medicalize, we can decriminalize, we can legalize, ‘recreationalize,’ buy LSD in Walmart, whatever. I think that having the broadest mind possible and recognizing that there are potential benefits and keeping safety top of mind [is key].”

“I was lucky enough to get really sick from alcohol and wind up in the hospital and eventually wind up in rehab. And I’ve said this publicly before: I don’t think I would have been receptive to the message of recovery in a 12-step based program, which has a lot of spiritually associated with it and there’s a tremendous amount of fellowship and community that comes with 12-step programs. And I had a sense of that because of my LSD use before I got sober. So coming into recovery knowing what I knew, having experienced what I experienced; it was a little bit easier for me to be receptive to that community, that fellowship, that message of spirituality, of surrender, of honesty and openness, willingness – all the principles in a 12-step program.”

Links Psychedelics Tonight

Psychedelics Today: PT326– Dr. Rick Barnett, Psy.D – Addiction, Recovery, and Competency in Psychedelic Therapy

Psychedelics Today: Kyle and Joe – Contexts of Psychedelic Use

The Psychedelic Renaissance: Reassessing the Role of Psychedelic Drugs in 21st Century Psychiatry and Society, by Dr. Ben Sessa

Psychedelics Today: PT229 – Dr. Matthew Johnson – What is Consciousness? MDMA-Assisted Therapy for PTSD

Pubmed: Why MDMA therapy for alcohol use disorder? And why now? Ibogaine

Psychedelics Today: PT294 – Andrew Tatarsky, Ph.D. & Juliana Mulligan – Vital Psychedelic Conversations (good episode about ibogaine) Hallucinogenic Drug Psilocybin Eases Existential Anxiety in People With Life-Threatening Cancer Magic mushroom compound performs as well as antidepressant in small study Comorbid Patterns with Alcohol Use Disorders research After Six-Decade Hiatus, Experimental Psychedelic Therapy Returns to the V.A. Psychedelics and Eating Disorders A New Way To Quit? Psychedelic Therapy Offers Promise For Smoking Cessation Johns Hopkins Receives Grant for Psilocybin Research in Smoking Cessation

Psychedelics Today: Chris Bache – LSD and the Mind of the Universe: Diamonds from Heaven

LSD and the Mind of the Universe: Diamonds from Heaven, by Christopher M. Bache

Psychedelics Today: PT293 – Stanislav & Brigitte Grof – The Evolution of Breathwork and The Psychology of the Future

LSD: Doorway to the Numinous: The Groundbreaking Psychedelic Research Into Realms of the Human Unconscious, by Stanislav Grof Vermont Governor Vetoes Bill On Safe Drug Consumption Sites And Harm Reduction

Psychedelics Today: Oregon, Measure 109, and Community Access: The Final Vote H.R.1308 – Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993

The Road to Eleusis: Unveiling the Secret of the Mysteries, by R. Gordon Wasson, Albert Hofmann, and Carl A. P. Ruck Mescaline

Mescaline: A Global History of the First Psychedelic, by Mike Jay Bill Wilson, LSD and the Secret Psychedelic History of Alcoholics Anonymous

A picture of Kyle and Dr. Barnett from the live event

PT357 – Precision Psychiatry, Ketabon, and The Stress Response System

In this episode, David interviews drug developer, clinical psychiatrist, and Chief Medical Officer at HMNC Brain Health; Dr. Hans Eriksson. 

Eriksson discusses the complexity of the human brain and his fascination with the ability for simple biological interventions to affect really profound disorders – that while psychotherapy and community can have a major effect, sometimes a simple chemical can fix everything. HMNC Brain Health is currently in Phase 2 trials for Ketabon, a ketamine-esque prolonged-release oral capsule which early studies show does not include any dissociation – something a lot of people do not want. And, as a lot of current medicine is guess work, they have also created a blood test (and are working on other predictive diagnostic tests) to identify specific common markers to show who will most likely respond to specific interventions. This work is firmly rooted in the idea of precision psychiatry, with the theory that there will be far fewer patients with treatment-resistant depression if their physicians are able to see which treatments will actually work for them ahead of time. 

He fully explains the stress response system and Vasopressin system, discussing the likely links between stress response dysfunction and depression; and goes into much more: his thoughts on Compass Pathways’ phase 2 data; the famous Escitalopram vs. psilocybin study; how much of progress can be attributed to psychotherapy vs. the compound itself; why it makes sense to study a new compound on top of SSRIs rather than on its own; AI and machine learning; and how science is truly beginning to come to terms with the fact that all systems in the body are connected.

Notable Quotes

“I was really fascinated by the understanding that on one level, this extremely complex system of the human brain (probably the most complex system in the known universe) can find some of the explanations regarding its functioning in chemicals [and] in compounds of different sorts interacting with targets, receptors, transporters, etc.; and that this can have a profound effect on how we feel and think. And this link between, on one hand, basic biology, and on the other hand, this complex emotional world that is being a human, is so fascinating.”

“If someone comes into the hospital after a car accident and needs a blood transfusion, no one would ever think the thought that: ‘We take any blood we have in storage.’ They would check what blood [type] you have. …But still, in psychiatry, when someone comes in with a severe depression, we hand out an SSRI typically as the first-line treatment. But think: if you could have a tool that could say, ‘Okay, but you belong to the 30% that has a very good likelihood of responding very well to a medicine that corrects your stress response system,’ that could lead to [a] much shorter path from the interaction with the healthcare [provider] to actually overcoming the depression.”

“One area that I expect to be developing quite a lot in [the] coming years is to understand how the brain is affected by things that are ongoing in other parts of our bodies; for instance, things such as peripheral inflammation: Does that affect the brain? The composition of the gut microbiome in our guts: What effect does that have on the brain? I think we are probably moving into an era where we see the brain not only as an isolated world swimming around in the cerebrospinal fluid protected by the blood-brain barrier, but actually as more of a dynamic part in our bodies.”

Links COMPASS Pathways announces further positive results from groundbreaking phase IIb trial of investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy for treatment-resistant depression Trial of Psilocybin versus Escitalopram for Depression

Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry

Psychedelics Today: Amanda Feilding – The Beckley Foundation: Changing Minds through Psychedelic Research The Vasopressin System: Physiology and Clinical Strategies

YouTube: Amanda Feilding on Trepanation The Google engineer who thinks the company’s AI has come to life

PT356 – Investing in Psychedelics and The Rush to Improve on the Classics

In this episode, Joe interviews Brom Rector: podcaster and founder of Empath Ventures, a venture capital fund that invests in psychedelic medicine startups.

Rector talks about which companies he sees succeeding, which companies are set up to fail, which he is investing in, and why the current crash in psychedelic business (where everything was once over-hyped and now we’re being overly skeptical) is a good thing. He believes that with the current focus on medicalization, the psychedelic community is being ignorant over just how big of an industry will exist outside of that paradigm, and finds it interesting how many people are focused on creating new compounds: How can anyone really improve on the classic psychedelics? 

Other than a focus on the business side of psychedelics, this was recorded in-person, and the conversation goes to a lot of other places: the theory of psychedelics damaging heart valves; the connection between Oprah, MDMA, and Mormons in UTAH; Xanax as a psychedelic security blanket; why so many psychedelic-friendly people love microdosing but have never had a deep experience; logical positivism and why “evidence-based” sounds pretentious; the DSM-5; Colorado Initiative 58; the power in branding and the emergence of high-end packaging; Mike Tyson; Compass Pathways; Christian Angermayer’s leaked memo; ibogaine; Dr. Zee and the next generation of Shulgins, other ways of knowing; and much, much more (just look at how many links there are). 

Notable Quotes

“The tech, future-y, optimist version of me that likes the idea of progress and experimentation at all costs loves it, but it’s also like: mushrooms have been around for like 2,000 years. In business, in order to succeed, you need to improve on something, and usually not just an incremental improvement either – you need to make a big improvement, otherwise no one really cares. Can you imagine what a 10x improvement over psilocybin would be? I can’t really imagine that.”

“You see all these …sketchy Canadian companies, and a lot of them are just making the slightest modifications to these molecules, calling them something new, sending out a bunch of press releases, raising money for investors; and is that – this bullshit thing started by this random company, going to replace psilocybin? I don’t think so.” 

“I’ve heard a lot of different companies talking about trip-stoppers as a big business plan, and I don’t know, dude. It’s interesting; the thing to me (and this is just my personal gut reaction about this) is in my experience, the moments immediately following when I thought I wanted the trip to stop is when I learned the lesson.”

“I think that they may realize eventually that this IP stuff may be helpful for them to achieve dominance in the pharma space, but it’s not going to prevent people from growing their own mushrooms, [or] people from seeking decriminalized care under Measure 109 or [in] Denver. …People are just kind of being willfully ignorant of how big this non-FDA market for psychedelics is going to be, I think. And maybe the people at Atai think that they can stop it by lobbying or something, but I don’t think they think they can do that. The people are going to speak, and the people want shrooms.” 


Apple podcasts: ”Brom Podcast” (formerly “The Integration Conversation”

Brom Podcast: 35: Sam Banister – The Art and Science of Designing Novel Psychedelic Compounds

Psylo: Psychedelic-inspired medicine to treat mental illness Do Psychedelics Carry A Heart Risk? Is MDMA Neurotoxic? Numinus to Acquire Novamind, Creating the North American Industry Leader in Psychedelic Therapy and Research Psychedelic Bulletin: MINDCURE – A Canary in the Psychedelic Coal Mine?

Psychedelics Today: PT233 – JR Rahn of MindMed – LSD, ADHD, and Decriminalization

Psychedelics Today: The Teafaerie – Psychedelic Emergenc(y), Shamanism, 5-MeO-DMT and more! Drugs and the Meaning of Life

YouTube: Alex Jones – Magellan is a lot cooler than Justin Bieber Logical positivism Election 2022: Colorado psychedelic legalization and decriminalization guide

Twitter: Zeus’ post (LSD atomizer, not a DMT pen)

Apple Podcasts: Hotboxin With Mike Tyson

Psychedelics Today: PT351 – Seth Rosenberg – The Trauma In Being Arrested and The Injustice of the Drug War Legal status of ibogaine by country

Twitter: Depressed panda meme

YouTube: Linton Kwesi Johnson – Inglan Is a Bitch

How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us about Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence, by Michael Pollan Investors Are Debating Who Should Own the Future of Psychedelics

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

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

The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants: Ethnopharmacology and Its Applications, by Christian Rätsch

PT355 – The Drug War, Caregiving, and Blue Sky Thinking

In this episode, David interviews Ifetayo Harvey: Social media manager for Caring Across Generations and Founder of the People of Color Psychedelic Collective (POCPC), which educates and builds community for people of color who are interested in psychedelics and ending the drug war.

She talks about her childhood and what it was like to have her father be arrested and sent to jail for selling cannabis; her realization of our history of systemic racism and law enforcement’s disproportionate targeting of Black people; why she wanted to try psychedelics; her first mushroom experience; and her path to MAPS, Drug Policy Alliance, living in New York, putting on a conference; and finally, entering the world of caregiving. 

She discusses how too often race is talked around (instead of about); what we can learn from the pitfalls of legal cannabis and the ongoing opioid crisis; drug war reparations; New York’s cannabis social equity programs; and the importance of centering society around care and caregiving. They talk a lot about “blue sky thinking,” and how a lot of problems exist largely because we’ve grown comfortable in complicity and simply haven’t come together to say: “We want this to change.” 

Notable Quotes

“It was overwhelmingly beautiful, being in nature. And I just felt like I saw a different side of life, a different side of my imagination and my mind. For a long time, I would say all of high school, I identified strongly with atheism. …I grew up around a lot of Christian folks, and spirituality; I knew existed because my mom was spiritual. But I didn’t feel that. When I took mushrooms, I felt that a lot more, and I’m like, ‘Whoa, there’s no denying this.’”

“There was a panel on race and I just remember going there and being really excited, being like ‘Hmm, what are we going to talk about?’ and then leaving feeling really deflated because it seemed like everyone on the panel was too cautious about talking about it. When it came to talking about race, everyone was talking around the issue instead of talking directly to it, and that kind of stuff makes me uncomfortable, because who does it serve to not talk directly about race? And who does it hurt?”

“What I hope happens is that people start to realize we do have a say-so in how things play out. We can come together as people who care, people who have aligned values, and say, ‘We want to organize around this, we want to build power around this.’ …There’s this tendency to just be passive and just say, ‘Oh well, the people with the money are going to do what they want to do and hey, there’s nothing we can do about it.’ …I hope that more people come together and realize that you can have an impact. You can have power in this.”

“In this time that we’re in with COVID, monkeypox, wars happening, climate change; hope feels like a discipline. And that can feel hard at times, but also, it reminds us that we have to work towards something.”


People of Color Psychedelic Collective Children of Incarcerated Parents Bear the Weight of the War on Drugs

Ted Talk: Kimberlé Crenshaw- The urgency of intersectionality

YouTube: “Dismantling Patriarchy in Psychedelics” panel How I got one of NJ’s first 11 cannabis dispensary licenses Stop-and-Frisk Data NYC Cops Told to Let People Smoke Weed in Public (Where it’s Allowed)

PT354 – Psilocybe, Microdosing, and Multigenerational Mycology

In this episode, Joe interviews Laura Guzmán-Dávalos: 40-year veteran mycologist at the University of Guadalajara, Mexico; and daughter of Gaston Guzman, who most consider the world authority on the genus, Psilocybe. 

Much of Guzmán-Dávalos’ work revolves around collecting and documenting fungal specimens in and around Mexico, with an overarching goal of better understanding the interactions of different mushroom species. Even though many species were discovered in Mexico, the country seems to be a bit behind in terms of documented real-world evidence, so she’s speaking with microdosers to learn more about their habits, while also studying how alkaloids are involved in the effects of psilocybin. Additionally, one of her Ph.D. students is researching the use of mushrooms among different cultures in Oaxaca, and Guzmán-Dávalos believes they will uncover many differences and solid evidence to help lay the groundwork for legalization. 

She talks about ethnomycology and what she does as a mycologist; Psilocybe and psilocybin-containing mushrooms; what basidium is; functional mushrooms and how the mushroom hype has made her life a lot busier; and brings up a good point: With all the discussion about new companies isolating the drug and removing the psychedelic experience, have we considered how similar that concept is to microdosing?

Notable Quotes

“I am excited that normal people are looking to mushrooms because of [the hype around them] …because [there] was a time that they were forgotten. So it’s very good that normal people [are looking at] mushrooms again. But [they need] to be careful that not all mushrooms function or serve for everything.”

On her father, Gaston Guzman: “I am very, very grateful [for] him. I. He introduced me [to] this life, because it’s not work – It’s a life. And I love it.”

Links Laura Guzman-Davalos’s research Laura Guzman-Davalos UdeG has the most important mycological collection in Western Mexico

Telluride Mushroom Festival Keynote Speaker: Laura Guzman-Davalos Basidium

PT353 – Psychedelics and Creativity

In this episode, Kyle interviews three past guests: author, microdosing enthusiast, and legendary researcher, Dr. James Fadiman; ecologist, researcher, and science writer focusing on psychedelics’ capacity to influence nature connectedness, Dr. Sam Gandy; and professor, writer, researcher, and Co-Founder and Director of Breaking Convention, Dr. David Luke

Gandy and Luke recently co-wrote a paper called “Psychedelics as potential catalysts of scientific creativity and insight,” and Gandy reached out to have us set up a conversation with Fadiman, since he was one of the early voices behind the concept of psychedelics for creativity. And this podcast is that conversation: less of a Kyle-lead interview and more of three people picking Fadiman’s mind. 

He talks about his 1966 paper on creative problem-solving and how his research team established its protocol with real-world experience, and then the three of them discuss much more: the differences between artistic and scientific creativity; how the psychedelic experience is similar to dreaming and the hypnagogic state; microdosing; why Indigenous cultures who say ayahuasca spoke to them are likely accurate; DMT entity encounters and problem-solving; society’s lost interest in divination; pluralistic perspectivism; why the West’s scientism obsession hurts research; how science has too few mystics and too many technicians; “pseudo-delics”; and the serotonin/depression conundrum.

Notable Quotes

“What the paper brings back is that altered states [are] part of the human condition.” -James

“One of the aspects of creativity is allowing us to adapt to a changing environment, to a changing world. So, any potential avenues at all; even if the promise of creativity isn’t guaranteed (it doesn’t need to be guaranteed) – even if there’s the possibility of harnessing or enhancing creativity somewhere; even the mere possibility, I think, makes this area worthy of exploration.” -Sam

On new compounds that take the psychedelic experience out of the substance (sarcastically): “I’m already ready for the next iteration of that, which is: they’re coming up with a substance which you can take which will eliminate the problem of pleasure during sex, …because all of the complications of relationships don’t come from the sexual act, they come from the emotional issues around it. So we can eliminate [the pleasure].” -James

“We’re at the edge of a couple of other possible revolutions. The revolution in mental health that you don’t have to be depressed and that you don’t have to take antidepressants is a major shift; and that it can come from a natural substance that you can grow in your closet; these are huge shifts. Again, what do Indigenous people do when they need a medication? They go out and find where it grows. We are returning to that, but at the level of a large civilization. That’s massive. We’re also taking in what we’ve talked about: a lot of experiences and a lot of parts of consciousness that science has prevented us from looking at for quite a while due to its dominance. And when a culture falls apart, into the cracks come all of these alternatives that have been denied. So that’s where we are, and it’s a wonderful time.” -James



Psychedelics Today: PT275 – James Fadiman, Ph.D. – Transpersonal Psychology, Microdosing, and Your Symphony of Selves Sam Gandy

Psychedelics Today: PT292 – Sam Gandy – Vital Psychedelic Conversations David Luke

Psychedelics Today: PT296 – Dr. David Luke – Vital Psychedelic Conversations

Sagepub: Psychedelics as potential catalysts of scientific creativity and insight

Sagepub: Psychedelic Agents in Creative Problem-Solving: A Pilot Study (1966) Saudi Arabia starts shift to green fuel production, builds $5B hydrogen plant

What is a pluralistic perspective?

Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures, by Merlin Sheldrake Zener cards

Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer Hypnagogia August Kekulé quote

On Beyond Zebra! By Dr. Seuss No evidence that depression is caused by low serotonin levels, finds comprehensive review

PT352 – HOLOS: Returning to Wholeness Through Nature and Community

In this episode, Joe interviews Alex Enchin & Ian-Michael Hébert, MA; Co-Founders of HOLOS, a company building hospitality wellness centers with a strong focus on community, reconnection to nature, and a return to wholeness. 

HOLOS is currently running retreats in Costa Rica, where they’re in the process of building out their dream wellness center on a very biodiverse 200-acre piece of land complete with 2 km of waterfalls and swimming holes, that, when finished, will have a self-sustaining farm, glamping setup, center for group work, dining hall, and most importantly, 30 lots that are being filled out by various wellness practitioners to round out a surrounding community of support. The idea behind HOLOS is that profound healing can be accomplished in the most beautiful of places with or without psychedelics – that nature’s psychedelic beauty can help visitors return to a wholeness they have likely forgotten. They want to be the place where the biggest psychedelic figureheads visit to relax, commune, and do their own work; to then spread that energy to their individual communities. And, as there isn’t much of an entry point to psychedelic medicine, their next step is to develop a boutique hotel-like wellness center for those who may not yet be ready for a psychedelic experience; to either prepare them for the next step, or to show that nature and community may be all they really need.   

They talk about our need for community and how HOLOS was born; viewing wellness centers and scalability differently; their relationship with Stan Grof and how a canyon can help people experience the perinatal matrices viscerally; consciousness; transpersonal psychology; nondualism; how viewing Mount Denali can be a psychedelic experience; what “returning to wholeness” really means; and Joe’s realization that the vision behind Psychedelics Today is in line with that of HOLOS: to bring back the attitude and energy of Esalen.

Notable Quotes

“We’re a place where people can come home: home to themselves, home to an understanding of our relational nature as human beings, and a place where people can reconnect to nature. …HOLOS was inspired by Stan Grof’s work and the holotropic paradigm, and the returning to wholeness. …The idea is: What is it like when we actually land there, inside of being whole, and recognizing ourselves as a fractal aspect of a greater universal pattern?” -Ian-Michael

“I lived in a condo in Toronto for a bunch of years, and I just don’t believe we’re meant to live like that. Whether I go down to HOLOS for a week or for a month, walking barefoot in the jungle and touching the dirt; it does something. It charges you. It invigorates you. Every time I leave there and come back to North America, I just feel alive and invigorated, and I really believe that’s our natural state.” -Alex 

“People are looking for something to be a part of. …We’re really trying to design and build HOLOS as not just a place that you come once a year or a couple times a year or once every 24 months, but really, something that you can be a part of on an ongoing basis. …We want to have the psychology shift from ‘HOLOS is a place that I go’ to ‘It’s something that I’m a part of.’” -Alex

“There’s an intergenerational reality that we live inside of, of acquired knowledge or knowledge that is transferred over time, and if we don’t start thinking about our cultures that way; where we have the opportunity to grow a body of knowledge or awareness about a particular ecology or particular healing modalities – if we don’t start thinking of that longer-term context of passing down knowledge, then we’re really a short-lived society.” -Ian-Michael


Psychedelics Today: PT293 – Stanislav & Brigitte Grof – The Evolution of Breathwork and The Psychology of the Future Canada’s British Columbia to temporarily decriminalize some drug possession to tackle abuse problem The Perinatal Matrices According to Grof Tony Bossis

Benzinga Psychedelics Capital Conference (April 19, 2022)

Erik Davis – High Weirdness: Drugs, Esoterica, and Visionary Experience in the Seventies

Psychedelics Today: PT302 – Dr. Adele Lafrance – Vital Psychedelic Conversations The Love Project

The Institute of Noetic Sciences Dr Peter Sjöstedt-Hughes Nondualism

Psychedelics Today: PT282 – Rabbi Zac Kamenetz & The Rev. Hunt Priest – Judaism, Christianity, and Embracing Psychedelics

Psychedelics Today: PTSF 35 (with Brian Muraresku)

Psychedelics Today: Aaron Orsini – How LSD Helped Bridge the ASD Neurotypical Divide

The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness, and Healing in a Toxic Culture, by Gabor Maté Michael Murphy Reflects on Esalen’s Past and Future

Track Two: Russian-American Program John Allen

PT351 – The Trauma In Being Arrested and The Injustice of the Drug War

In this episode, Joe interviews Seth Rosenberg: Washington DC-based mycologist and anti-drug war advocate who worked on DC’s decriminalization Initiative 81.

This episode is a companion piece to the Kole and William Leonard Pickard episodes, as Rosenberg has his own traumatic arrest story. He believes that it was his arrogance in posting pictures online about how to grow mushrooms that initially flagged him, and then an internet purchase of legal mescaline-containing plants that somehow led to 11 armed SWAT agents knocking on his door while he was cooking for his family. He tells his story, detailing the financial and emotional impact created from being arrested for legal activity, and asks some powerful questions: Why did they choose to arrest him in this way? With such an obvious case of injustice, why did nobody reach out and help him? And with charges later considerably lessened, are arrests like this done just to scare brazen people into fearful compliance?  

They also talk about the beginnings of (and racism in) the drug war; the fundamental problem with the “grow, gather, give” concept of the decrim movement; Dr. Carl Hart; why biotech companies racing to create new compounds likely won’t last; IV ketamine and concerns over ketamine being overhyped; the factor of spirituality in the psychedelic experience (and psychiatry’s disinterest in it); the fluidity of morality over time; the unintended segregation within the psychedelic space; and the very scary reality that no one can ever really hide anything from the government.

Notable Quotes

“My arrest with 11 people coming in for a mailed package of cactus, with machine guns, with a child in the house, could have been a traffic stop. I could have been called downstairs to sign for the package. There were a number of options that could have happened, but instead, they chose to wait for my daughter to be there and come in with machine guns.”

“The thing that bothers me the most about the decrim movement …is the ‘grow, gather, give’ model, which sounds great and it sounds very community-based, but the truth is: the grower, the gatherer, and the giver are one person. Everyone else is taking. And that’s a very risky person to be, as I found out. …There’s this idea that we’re all going to get together and do this thing, but once you follow the ideas out more logically, they don’t really seem to carry water.” 

“I don’t think anybody has any idea what being arrested is until you have been arrested. I mean, I get emotional just thinking about it. It’s incredibly traumatic. You can think, ‘Oh yeah, I can deal with that,’ and maybe if what happened is you got arrested at a DUI stop and it’s just a big hassle, fine – that’s one thing. But whatever you think your reaction is going to be when 11 SWAT guys bust in your door; you have absolutely no idea.”

“They know everything. They are paying attention to everything. They have seen all of your Facebook posts, they have seen all of your Reddit posts. If you are posting about drug use, they already know who you are. …They knew more than I ever imagined that they would know. They know everything. There is no privacy. Once they have decided you are a subject of interest; everything, everything, everything is in the open. That’s it. It’s done. And it’s in the open basically forever.”


Linkedin Washington, D.C., Initiative 81, Entheogenic Plants and Fungus Measure (2020)

Psychedelics Today: PT338 – Melissa Lavasani – The Power of Storytelling, The Preservation of Peyote, and “How to Change Your Mind”

Psychedelics Today: PT319 – Kole – Activism and Trust: A Cautionary Tale From Someone Who Got Caught

Psychedelics Today: PT311 – William Leonard Pickard – LSD, Fentanyl, Prison, and the Greatest Gift of All: The Natural Mind

The Mycological Association of Washington Albert Garcia-Romeu, Ph.D.

This Is Your Mind on Plants, by Michael Pollan

Drug Use for Grown-Ups: Chasing Liberty in the Land of Fear, by Dr. Carl L. Hart

Psychedelics Today: PT236 – Dr. Carl Hart – Drugs: Honesty, Responsibility, and Logic

Chasing the Scream: The Inspiration for the Feature Film the United States vs. Billie Holiday, by Johann Hari

Psychedelics Today: Psychedelics and Religious Liberty in the United States Pegasus spyware

PT350 – Psilocybin and Accessing the “Off” Switch For Nociplastic Pain

In this episode, David interviews Jim Gilligan: Interim CEO and Chief Scientific Officer of Tryp Therapeutics, a biotech company researching new compounds and delivery mechanisms for the treatment of eating disorders and nociplastic pain (fibromyalgia, phantom limb syndrome, complex regional pain syndrome). 

Gilligan discusses how nociplastic pain (and likely, eating disorders) seem to be caused by a switch staying on inside the patient’s brain, and wonders why psilocybin seems to be the key to accessing that switch. Tryp wants to understand this better, and is currently running exploratory studies with oral psilocybin to collect enough data to move forward with their next step; the development (and bringing to market) of TRP-8803: a novel delivery mechanism for psilocybin that he believes will allow clinicians to know when the psychedelic experience will kick in, control how long it lasts, end the experience if the patient needs it, or extend it if they believe the patient will benefit. He views the substance and experience from a different angle, considering the set and setting for the molecule itself: How can research studies be set up to give the molecule the absolute best chance to prove that it works on its own?

He also talks about how the neural network seems to hold onto memories (whether they’re accessible or not); the therapy factor and ways to manage long-term efficacy; Prader-Willi syndrome and hypothalamic obesity; the unfortunate necessity of patents to the companies spending millions trying to bring a drug to market; and why, in the newly-risky world of psychedelic stocks, he believes Tryp is a safe bet.

Notable Quotes

“There is an initial benefit that you derive from the administration of a psychedelic, but how do you maintain that durability? Even if you have been successful in changing the switch, I think the therapist is going to be important to make sure that switch stays turned off.”

“They see this even in patients with Alzheimer’s; that they may not remember their children’s names, but you put on a Frank Sinatra song and they know all the lyrics. So that neural network is still there. We know that that switch is in there. We know that there’s something that has to be changed. It’s: How do you get to it? And that comes back to the power of the psychedelics and knowing that it does have an effect on neural networks, and how do you create the environment, how do you create a situation where you can capitalize on that?”

“I’m really passionate about this. I think that [from] my nearly forty years of working in this field, I just see tremendous potential here. And it’s up to people like myself and others in the industry to deliver that potential to the patients.”

Links Tryp Therapeutics Announces $2,000,000 Financing and Changes in Management, Board of Directors

Psychedelics Today: PT283 – Greg McKee – Nociplastic Pain and Psychedelics Daniel Clauw, M.D.

Psychedelics Today: PT245 – Robin Carhart-Harris – Psychedelics, Entropy, and Plasticity Prader-Willi syndrome Jennifer L Miller, M.D.

Pubmed: Hypothalamic obesity: causes, consequences, treatment

PT349 – Slowing Down, The Ethics of Touch, and The Value of Preparation

In this episode, Joe interviews transformational coach and guide, Brenna Gebauer; in-person from her parents’ RV at this year’s Lightning in a Bottle festival. Facilitator, past guest, and friend, Mark Haberstroh stops in as well. 

Gebauer discusses her realization that everything that psychedelics show us is already within us; how to hold ethical spaces and establish accountability in underground, unregulated communities; touch in therapy and how to truthfully establish consent; the importance of slowing down; how Oregon’s impending legal psilocybin model is moving too fast for facilitators to truly get the training and (legal) experience they likely need; and the under-discussed value of preparing for the psychedelic experience, which is often where the transformation truly begins. 

In this very conversational talk, we get much more of Joe than usual, with Haberstroh jumping in from time to time as well, resulting in a Solidarity Fridays-esque episode (should we bring those back?) touching on many topics: Vipassana meditation, the hegelian dialectic; fusion therapy; Robert Anton Wilson and reality tunnels; Octavio Rettig and Gerry Sandoval; using the word “medicine” instead of “substance” or “drug”; the community that comes from our Navigating Psychedelics course (that’s where everyone met); why different communities need to share their techniques and knowledge with each other; and the necessity of conflict in progress – how can we open up opportunities for fair dialogue instead of just worrying about “winning” an argument?

Notable Quotes

“Everything that psychedelics show you is already inside of you.”

“There’s so many tools that [veterans] can start using on a day-to-day basis that are going to set the stages for these major journeys to be more transformative. And I think those tiny habits in general are where a lot of these big changes happen – tiny habits that are done consistently.” 

“I’m a firm believer that we heal together. Even if we do it on an individual level, it has a ripple effect on everybody you come in contact with.”  

“The preparation, the journey, and the integration are almost of equal importance. In fact, I have seen people have huge transformations in the preparation process that [were] exceeding their expectations of what they were going to get out of the entire thing, and then the medicine just became a springboard to it. This has not been proven in research, but I believe that when you are intentionally moving in the direction of doing this work, that it’s almost like part of your being starts to know it’s [being] given an invitation to be seen, and those things come to the surface and you can really start addressing them.”  


Psychedelics Today: PT244 – Mark Haberstroh – Mushrooms, Retreat Centers, and Safety

Lightning in a Bottle Festival

Psychedelics Today: PT265 – Jessica Cadoch, MA – Cooperation, Drug Exceptionalism, and 12-step Programs Alan Watts’ “Hang up the phone” quote

Hegelian Dialectics Realty Tunnels

Psychedelics Today: PT322 – Kimberly Juroviesky, Capt., USAF, Retired – Ketamine and Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Psychedelics Today: PT275 – James Fadiman, Ph.D. – Transpersonal Psychology, Microdosing, and Your Symphony of Selves

PT348 – Cannabis and Psychedelics: Industry, Consciousness, Justice, and Joy

In this episode, David interviews globally-recognized cannabis activist, author, entrepreneur, speaker, podcaster, and “father of the legal cannabis industry,” Steve DeAngelo. 

DeAngelo has been there through it all (read his extensive bio) and was integral in the beginning of cannabis legalization in California, playing a role in the passage of Prop 64 (their adult-use law), and co-founding Harborside; one of the first six dispensaries licensed in the US. He looks back and remembers some big wins and losses, and discusses the beginnings of the ideological judgment of drugs and the launching of the drug war; noting his concerns for psychedelics taking the same path cannabis did when it was legalized – where quality products and the people whose work was motivated by love were squeezed out in favor of investor profits. 

He talks about why the DEA is the way that it is; how cannabis feels to many like a (much needed) female energy; the default mode network and the endocannabinoid system; the concept of “the stoner epiphany”; decriminalization; how we’ve removed the divine from everything; and how the lessons psychedelics and cannabis are telling us are slowly changing society into one that cares about the environment and is more open, loving, and empathetic. 

DeAngelo is currently in Jamaica, working to get people (specifically Rastafarians – cannabis pioneers and a massive inspiration to him) involved in the legal cannabis industry, and heading up The Last Prisoner Project, which fights for the release of people in prison for cannabis offenses. While he fully supports the movement of cannabis and psychedelics being used for therapeutic purposes, he envisions a world where they are used as tools for bringing about joy, ecstasy, wonder, and connection – where these amazing gifts aren’t just attributed to “being high,” but are instead a part of normal, every day human experience.

Notable Quotes

“We didn’t know the science and the history. We didn’t even know about María Sabina. We didn’t know about Albert Hofmann. We didn’t know about the industrial uses or the medical uses of cannabis. All that we really knew was that when we ingested cannabis, it helped us be more like the people we really wanted to be, and we figured that if it did that for us, that it would probably do it for other people too. And we had enough faith (and I still do have enough faith) in the heart of human beings to believe that if we’re all really, really trying to be the people that we really, in our innermost hearts want to be; that we’re going to be moving towards that better world that we all really want to live in together.”

“Joy, ecstasy, wonder: these are all necessary and important parts of the human experience and we’ve removed a lot of that. A lot of people think about those parts of the experience as ‘just getting high’ or being recreational, but they’re not really. I mean, what are we here for on this planet if not for those moments of joy and ecstasy and love and connection, where you just feel like everything comes together in a magic, magic moment where you feel alive in a way that you don’t usually feel? How could we deny ourselves those moments or relegate them to the idea of ‘just being high’?” 

“If we recognize the divinity in each other, if we recognize the divinity in all living creatures, if we recognize the divinity in all natural objects in the world; in the rocks, in the water, in the air, in the trees; then we start cultivating the kind of consciousness that we need to really create a new kind of world where those moments of ecstasy and joy and connection aren’t just little things that happen like little blips on the radar screen, but they’re like a constant state for us. I think that’s where we all want to live.”


The Unified Legacy Operators Council (UNLOC INC.)

Radio Free Cannabis podcast

Harborside Cannabis Dispensary Top Nixon adviser reveals the racist reason he started the ‘war on drugs’ decades ago

Psychedelics Today: PT314 – Daniel McQueen, MA – Vital Psychedelic Conversations Remembering Coral Gardens: Rastas Wanted Dead or Alive

PT347 – Rescheduling Psilocybin, Patents and IP, and The Entourage Effect

In this episode, Joe interviews Christopher Koddermann: Co-Founder and Chair of the Board of Directors of the International Therapeutic Psilocybin Rescheduling Initiative (ITPRI).

Under the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, 184 participating countries have to regulate medical and scientific access to drugs by a scheduling system, and although some countries (Jamaica) have sidestepped these regulations by their interpretation of the convention, these provisions have generally made attempts at academic research and clinical trials very time-consuming, overly complicated, and expensive – especially for psilocybin, which clearly should not be a Schedule I drug. Koddermann helped create ITPRI to assist countries in pursuing and securing the rescheduling of psilocybin, first by initiating reviews of its status. He talks about what steps need to be taken to enable easier access to psilocybin, which countries are part of ITPRI and why, and why the US is not a likely candidate.

He discusses patents, IP, and “Psychedelics 2.0,” where companies are patenting new molecules, using IP to create investment interest, and patent-hopping: What should companies be allowed to patent? What is truly novel? He also talks about market exclusivity and patents; ketamine, esketamine, and the case of China attempting to schedule ketamine; Ken Kesey; consumer preferences around natural products vs. synthetic; the early investment hype in psychedelics; and the entourage effect and baeocystin, a compound present in many mushrooms.

Notable Quotes

“It just gets very complicated to do research, and in some cases, the research just doesn’t happen because you have researchers who may be minded to undertake research and look at the requirements and say, ‘Forget it. I don’t have the time or the expertise to deal with the administrative burden. I don’t have the financing to deal with the costs.’ So they go and do something else. …It really gums up the system and slows down the research, and obviously; when you’re slowing down the research, you’re ultimately slowing down the development of therapies for patients.”

“I think the patent system isn’t perfect and probably needs to be looked at in terms of what is really novel and nonobvious and useful (which are the three criteria for awarding patents), because [in] some cases, patents are stifling as opposed to promoting innovation, which is the purpose of the patent system.”

“The science is so early on and when it comes to these analogs, so little is known. Some of these have only been discovered in the last five years, so we’re really at [the] foundation when it comes to understanding what these analogs are doing, and what else is in the mushrooms – there may be other compounds that simply have not been discovered, especially when considering that dry weight is, in best case, 2% of the mass.”


The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, by Tom Wolfe Convention on Psychotropic Substances Australian Government pledges to donate $14.8 Million for Psychedelic Medicine Research Canadian government grants $3 million for psilocybin research ‘Hitting Highs at Rock Bottom’: LSD Treatment for Alcoholism, 1950–1970

Psychedelics Today: PT277 – Ryan Zurrer – Venture Capital, Reciprocity, and the Regenerative Financing Vine Field Trip Receives Notice of Allowance for US Patent Application Covering FT-104 (Isoprocin Glutarate), its Novel Psychedelic Molecule in Development Development Pipeline New Filing Challenges Compass Pathways’ Infamous Patent on Synthetic Psilocybin Consumers Prefer “Natural” More for Preventatives Than for Curatives Baeocystin Studying the Effects of Baeocystin

PT346 – Horizons Northwest, The Psilocybin Services Act, and the Magic in Gathering Together

In this episode, David interviews Kevin Balktick: Founder and Director of Horizons; one of the world’s longest-running psychedelic media, education, and communities – who we all know for their yearly Horizons conference in New York City. 

Fifteen years in, Horizons is making its way West with their first conference outside of NYC; September 15-18 at the Portland Art Museum in Oregon. Balktick talks about what led to the creation of Horizons in 2007, why he seeks out old buildings with history, and why it’s become necessary to have a second conference in Oregon now that the state is about to forever be changed by the Oregon Psilocybin Services Act (aka Measure 109). Onlookers may think it’s about expansion and combating the government, but to him, it’s really about responsibility towards making sure that the community works together (and addresses what needs addressing) to get this pivotal moment right. 

He also talks about Horizons New York (October 12-13 at The New York Academy of Medicine and The Great Hall at The Cooper Union); The Oregon Health Authority; why psilocybin is making the biggest waves in psychedelics; David Nutt’s paper on “Equasy”; Horizons’ scholarship system; how conferences don’t reflect the real demographic of their surrounding communities; and the importance (and life-changing possibilities) of gathering together in three dimensions.

And reminder that we are able to offer discounts on Horizons to ether event! For Horizons Northwest, use code PSYCHEDELICSTODAY-NW-17 at checkout for 17% off, and for Horizons New York, use PSYCHEDELICSTODAY-NY-15 at checkout for 15% off. Joe and Kyle will be at Horizons Northwest and hope to see you!

Notable Quotes

“The venue is kind of part of the message that you can’t necessarily escape, so the selection of venues and the messages they communicate are a big part of the set and setting. Although it would be a lot easier in many ways, I’ve just never desired to have Horizons be at a hotel with the carpet and acoustic tile ceilings and so on and so forth. I’ve always wanted to be in somewhere that has history and has its own kind of character and dignity.”

“I have heard this again and again from people who were not sure whether they really wanted to risk their career by becoming publicly associated with psychedelics and then they went to Horizons or another similar conference and they could suddenly feel the strength and the confidence to do so. …All of those were people who had read journal articles, magazine articles, [and] watched videos galore. It is doing the fundamental human thing and being in a place with other human beings – that’s what really created change in people’s lives, and it was important that those things happened publicly and not at some private event with only a handful of people who are allowed to be there.”

“When someone wants to bring someone to Horizons that is not already a part of this community and may harbor some skepticism; that’s a real relationship of trust, especially when it’s a family member, and someone is kind of implicitly saying, ‘I believe in this and the way you present it so well that I trust my family relationships with this community and with this event and with what’s being said on stage’ – that is the compliment I really, really am deeply honored and humbled to receive.”


Horizons Northwest: September 15-18, 2022, Portland Oregon (Use code PSYCHEDELICSTODAY-NW-17 at checkout for 17% off)

Horizons New York: October 12-16, 2022, New York City (Use code PSYCHEDELICSTODAY-NY-15 at checkout to receive 15% off)

Judson Memorial Church

The Portland Art Museum

The New York Academy of Medicine

The Great Hall at The Cooper Union

The Sheri Eckert Foundation The Natural Medicine Health Act Equasy – An overlooked addiction with implications for the current debate on drug harms Scholarships

Psychedelics Today: PT278 – Ayize Jama-Everett, Courtney Watson, Leticia Brown, and Kufikiri Imara – A Table of Our Own “Covid-19, Black Lives, and Psychedelics”

PT345 – Vital Psychedelic Conversations

In this episode, Kyle returns with another edition of Vital Psychedelic Conversations – this time with past guest Steve Thayer: clinical psychologist, Clinical Director of Education & Training at Novamind, and co-host (with Dr. Reid Robison) of the Psychedelic Therapy Frontiers podcast.

He talks a lot about integration and what psychedelic-assisted therapy really means, pointing out that much of integration work is just general good mental hygiene. He talks about how clients need to be open to where the experience takes them, but remember why they sought it out in the first place: What change are they looking for? He gives advice for people looking to enter the field, and points out the difficulties in comparing the efficacy of different types of therapy (as most studies focus on the drug itself). 

He also discusses the main pillars of therapy and the essential domains of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy; his theoretical orientations (parts work, emotion-focused therapy, and acceptance and commitment therapy); the importance of trusting the inner healer (but with some structure); the unique communal aspects of group work; integration challenges he’s run into; mindful awareness; cognitive fusion; the importance of helpers getting help; and how psychedelics make us comfortable with not knowing. 

Notable Quotes

“Everyone gets really excited, in my experience, about the medicine: ‘Can psilocybin cure my depression?’ ‘Can ketamine cure my trauma?’ ‘Can MDMA make me whole again?’ …People come to the doctor for the cure, and they just sort of expect the medicine to do the work. The medicine does a lot of work, but it doesn’t do all the work.”

“We don’t really know what’s going on when you’re in a psychedelic experience. We’ve got our predecessors who worked with this medicine a lot, and we’ve got the ancient traditions that have been using plant medicines and altered states for thousands of years that we can learn from, and then we have a little bit of empirical research here in the modern era; but to say that that gives us the authority to say, ‘Well, we know exactly what’s going on when you take this much of psilocybin or this much of LSD, and this is exactly what you should do to navigate that experience’ would be unbridled hubris.” 

“If you know you want to become a psychedelic-assisted therapist, become a good therapist first. You can get training on the psychedelic medicine later. For me, I’m biased because I am a psychotherapist, [but] I think becoming a really skilled, competent therapist is really going to be the harder thing to do than it is to learn how to work with these medicines.” 

“I’m also well aware that just because I’ve been trained in a Western modern psychotherapeutic approach, that I don’t have any kind of monopoly on the wisdom it takes to heal. …There are plenty of guides who work outside this paradigm that I’ve been licensed within who I would be more than happy to send a loved one to – that I would go to myself because I want to learn from their wisdom. We haven’t cornered the market on that.” 


Psychedelic Therapy Frontiers podcast

Psychedelics Today: PT323 – Dr. Reid Robison & Steve Thayer, Ph.D. – Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy, Therapist Burnout, and LSD for Anxiety

Holotropic Breathwork: A New Approach to Self-Exploration and Therapy, by Stanislav Grof & Christina Grof

Psychedelics Today: PT300 – Dr. Richard C. Schwartz – Vital Psychedelic Conversations

The Tim Ferriss Show: #492: Richard Schwartz — IFS, Psychedelic Experiences Without Drugs, and Finding Inner Peace for Our Many Parts Numinus to Acquire Novamind, Creating the North American Industry Leader in Psychedelic Therapy and Research Frontline KAP You Won’t Feel High After Watching This Video Foundations of KAP course coming soon

PT344 – Epigenetics, Resilience, and Remembering

In this episode, David interviews Susan Beaulieu: Anishinaabe citizen of the Red Lake Nation, Ph.D. student, podcaster, and Extension Educator at the University of Minnesota Extension. She works with Indigenous communities primarily around intergenerational trauma and strengthening community resilience. 

She gives some history of the Red Lake Nation, discussing the impact of boarding schools on their community and how the government attempted to assimilate children to a Western way of life, and how an ayahuasca session made her realize the power (and prevalence) of intergenerational trauma. She talks about how language shapes reality and the risk of losing Indigenous language, how psychedelics could help her community remember its traditions, and the need to insert important aspects of their culture into the healing process and integration work. She wonders: How do they create pathways beyond what is being explored in our current Western model that tribal leaders would be on board with? Does tribal sovereignty mean they have a legal right to try these new medicines? And how do they best keep tradition alive while embracing a whole new paradigm?

She also discusses mind-body medicine and soft belly breathing; the interconnectedness of all of our parts; the importance of truly feeling your “bad” emotions and embracing the flow of energy; how feeling someone else’s healing can be invigorating; and how culture is not just what you do, but how (and why) you do it.

Notable Quotes

“When we think about epigenetics, it’s not just the trauma that gets passed on. Epigenetics is about survival, so it’s also the resilience and the knowledge of our ancestors that gets passed on. So how do we, as Indigenous people, really tap into that again? I think the more that we’re able to heal, the more we’re going to be able to.”

“It’s one thing if a trauma befalls a family within a community that has all of those supports, because the rest of the community is able to come around and help support that family or individual. But when the attack is happening across the entire community and those practices are made illegal and the children are taken, who holds the space?”

“To me, culture isn’t just the activities you do, but it’s how you do the activities that you do.” 

“As sovereign nations, we should have the ability to choose how we heal, when we heal, all of those pieces. And that should not be determined by anybody outside of our community, especially the governments that inflicted the harm in the first place. That really should be up to our communities to decide when and how and all of that, and, resources should be coming to our communities to help us do that. As many resources as went into our communities to try and dismantle and tear our communities apart; just as many resources should go back into helping our communities to be able to access healing in the ways that we see appropriate.”

Links Susan Beaulieu

Remembering Resilience Podcast

The Center For Mind-Body Medicine The Dawes Act “Kill the Indian, and Save the Man”: Capt. Richard H. Pratt on the Education of Native Americans

Psychedelics Today: PT286 – Joe Tafur, MD – Vital Psychedelic Conversations

PT343 – Kratom and Anti-Prohibition: Lessons Learned and Applied

In this episode, Joe interviews Soren Shade: passionate anti-prohibitionist, producer of the third season of “Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia” and his new podcast, and Co-Founder of Top Tree Herbs, a kratom tea company dedicated to educating people about kratom, normalizing its use, and defeating the prohibitionists who want to ban it. 

He tells his story of learning from Dr. Carl Hart at Columbia, discovering kratom, and meeting Hamilton Morris, and tells us all about kratom: how to pronounce it; its legal history (which is also summed up nicely in a blog he wrote for us); its ties to opium overuse and why it’s still political; how people typically use it today vs. how it was consumed traditionally; why people use it; caffeine and kratom as a coffee substitute; and what he and Joe like most about it. 

And he talks about the lessons we can learn from kratom’s path to legality, which came into play recently when the DEA attempted to schedule 4-HO-DiPT, 5-MeO-aMT, 5-MeO-MiPT, DOI, and DOC. This episode was recorded as a lot of attention was being paid to this attempt, after Hamilton Morris had previously sounded the alarm and people were beginning to prepare for a fight. But after only a few months of public comments, the DEA backed down last week, proving that what happened with kratom may not have been a fluke, and we should all be taking notes and applying the lessons learned to future DEA battles.

Notable Quotes

“That’s kind of the bat signal for: ‘Whoa, maybe there’s something interesting here; maybe there’s something that’s not being said’ – when something is getting (without debate) solely bad attention through the typical media-sphere, through news outlets. It’s just: ‘Alright, here’s a plant, everyone’s hating on it. Hmmm… seen that before…’”

“Kratom has the roadmap for how to stop prohibition of a substance that’s announced, and I think that it should have more attention – that people should take more lessons from the one successful instance of overturning a ban and apply it to the bans that are currently ongoing now in regards to psychedelics.”

“I think normalizing drug use and use of traditional plant compounds and trying things in curiosity and talking about something despite there being a possible social stigma are all hard, but things that have to be done in order to get us into a post-prohibitionist paradigm.”

“Many millions of others count on this plant every day, and we’re just trying to keep it out there, keep it available for people and have people not afraid to use it; not lose their job, not lose their kids, not lose their freedom for using it. That’s our mission. And as soon as kratom seems like it’s in a safe position from that, it’s on to the next one until prohibition is just a reprehensible chapter in our history that we look back on and go, ‘Wow, glad we’re not dealing with that anymore.’”


Psychedelics Today: The Intertwined Prohibitionist Histories of Psychedelics and Kratom, by Soren Shade

Kratom Science podcast: 30. Dr. Darshan Singh, University of Science in Malaysia

Psychedelics Today: PT236 – Dr. Carl Hart – Drugs: Honesty, Responsibility, and Logic Eric Eyre of Charleston Gazette-Mail, Charleston, WV Drug Distributors Shipped 20.8 Million Painkillers To West Virginia Town Of 3,000 (Peter Gorman) The Rational Choices of Crack Addicts Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia – “Kratom: The Forbidden Leaf” NEGRO COCAINE “FIENDS” ARE A NEW SOUTHERN MENACE; Murder and Insanity Increasing Among Lower Class Blacks Because They Have Taken to “Sniffing” Since Deprived of Whisky by Prohibition (1914) Thailand legalizes kratom, popular plant-based painkiller This Healthy 27-Year-Old Bodybuilder Died After Using a Common Supplement The Half Life of Caffeine

Hamilton Morris’ tweet about 4-HO-DiPT, 5-MeO-aMT, and 5-MeO-MiPT

Hamilton Morris’ tweet about DOI & DOC

Federal Register comments: Schedules of Controlled Substances: Placement of 2,5-dimethoxy-4-iodoamphetamine (DOI) and 2,5-dimethoxy-4-chloroamphetamine (DOC) in Schedule I

Federal Register comments: Schedules of Controlled Substances: Placement of 4-hydroxy-N,N

Hamilton Morris’ tweet after the DEA backed down David Nutt’s drug harm ranking chart Hamilton Morris

Apple Podcasts: The Hamilton Morris Podcast

How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us about Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence, by Michael Pollan

Psychedelics Today: PT281 – Oliver Grundmann, Ph.D. – A Thorough Exploration of Kratom

PT342 – The Right to Psilocybin in Canada: TheraPsil’s Charter Challenge

In this episode, we introduce a new voice at Psychedelics Today: Director of Corporate Communications, Victoria Dekker, in her first PT podcast; breaking some big news with Spencer Hawkswell, CEO of TheraPsil

Nearly two years ago, TheraPsil helped four Canadians suffering from end-of-life distress access legal psilocybin under a Section 56 exemption. But due to these exemptions expiring and the new Co-Ministers of Health (Jean-Yves Duclos and Carolyn Bennett) having other priorities, these patients and other hopeful patients have lost access to their medicine. So just this week, TheraPsil has backed a charter challenge effectively suing the Canadian government, stating that closing these exemptions violates Canadians’ Section 7 charter rights to “life, liberty and security of person,” and launched a fundraiser to help with this upcoming battle. You can read more and donate at

Hawkswell discusses the creation of TheraPsil and how they help patients through this process; the current (and complicated) ways patients access psilocybin; how Canada’s Special Access Program works; how mirroring cannabis legislation is the best place to start with psilocybin; and TheraPsil’s just-launched Project Solace, where people who have received SAP (or Section 56) access can report back on their experience with both the medicine and the process. 

And he tells the story of Thomas Hartle, the first patient to be granted legal access to psilocybin through TheraPsil’s efforts, and how he has once again begun the battle to gain access to the medicine that changed his life. Hawkswell believes that through this charter challenge (of which Hartle is the main plaintiff), politicians are going to show their true colors. Will they waste millions in taxpayer dollars fighting against the citizens they’re supposed to represent, or will they do the right thing?

Notable Quotes

“I’ve been trying to get a doctor for the last probably six months here in Vancouver. So now we’ve got end-of-life patients looking for a new doctor who’s trained with psilocybin and/or willing to support those exemptions. It becomes an absolute nightmare. And the unfortunate truth is that for many patients, they will die before they find a doctor who’s able to support them.”

“It is a right in Canada to have that access, whether patients are going to grow it [on] their own or whether we’re going to make regulations so that companies can produce it. …The only people in the way of that medicine getting into the hands of the patients who need it are our policymakers and the bureaucrats in Health Canada. So they can do the right thing, or they can be told to do the right thing by the courts.”

“The CAMH; that is an amazing grant [and] I’m so happy It’s been approved by the government, but it’s to see whether or not we can remove the psychedelic effects of psilocybin. It’s to see whether or not there’s something in psilocybin that is just this miracle kind of fix-the-depression [compound]. And to me, as a psychonaut, someone who’s spoken with (at this point) hundreds of patients who have been through therapy legally with psilocybin; the journey is the good part. It is the journey. It is the mind-altering psychedelic experience which makes you do the work that you need to do in order to heal. It is the fear; it is the bad trip; it is the dragon you encounter; it’s the deep, dark basement that you don’t want to go into; it’s the tears that you have to experience. It is the journey, and it just feels so right in my soul that that should be the case.”

“Thomas is someone who was given psilocybin in 2020. The exemption is only good for a year, and the Minister took that away from him. And it’s why he is going to be the lead plaintiff on the charter challenge. This is a person in Canada – a Canadian hero – who legalized psilocybin for himself and other Canadians, who is now being told: ‘You do not have the right to your medicine. You do not get it again.’ …It’s amazing to see that side of him come out again – the fighter wanting to change the laws in Canada, because he’s back on the case. He’s still fighting his cancer, and he’s now fighting the Minister of Health, and he’s going to legalize psilocybin for everybody in Canada and change so many lives. It’s a beautiful thing.”

Links Dr. Bruce Tobin 4 palliative Canadians approved for end of life psilocybin therapy through section 56(1)- first legal medical exemptions for psilocybin in Canada since 1970s Subsection 56(1) class exemption for patients, practitioners and pharmacists prescribing and providing controlled substances in Canada

Psychedelics Today: Canada’s SAP Expansion Signals a Step Forward for Psychedelics Health Canada denies health care practitioners access to psilocybin for training purposes Biden Administration Plans For Legal Psychedelic Therapies With Two Years Toronto’s CAMH gets 1st federal grant to study magic mushrooms as treatment for depression Canadian government grants $3 million for psilocybin research Project Solace

Havn Life Sciences “Never Doubt That a Small Group…” quote The Honourable Patty Hajdu, MP The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, MP The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, MP Health Canada’s special access programs: Request a drug

PT341 – Racism, Trauma, Research, and Psychedelics

In this episode, David interviews Monnica Williams, Ph.D.: licensed clinical psychologist, Associate Professor at the School of Psychology at the University of Ottawa, Clinical Director of the Behavioral Wellness Clinic in Connecticut, and fairly regular conference speaker. 

In this in-person conversation recorded at the From Research to Reality conference (which she co-founded), she discusses her primary focus: the mental health impact communities of color face as a result of racism (both active and intergenerational); and what therapists, clinicians, and especially researchers need to do to make mental healthcare more accessible and more attractive to them. Between triggering language in informed consent paperwork, the fact that the tools for measuring trauma weren’t developed with racism in mind, and the personal biases of therapists (and defensive walls they often erect around racial issues), there is a lot of work to be done – and it all starts with education and open conversation.

Williams talks about why she moved to Canada; the differences in race relations she’s noticed between Canada and the US; why therapists need to be extra careful when dealing with race and psychedelics; internalized racism; the drug war and its intentions; and courses and readings she recommends for learning about anti-racism and for building up the stamina necessary for dealing with the inevitable backlash that comes from trying to help people. She is currently working towards a study on microsoding and racial trauma, a study on MDMA for PTSD due to traumatic immigration experiences, and she’s seeking expanded access to psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy for people dealing with racial trauma.

Notable Quotes

“For some strange reason, when it comes to racism, it’s almost like this automatic defense system comes up and it’s almost like the weapons come out and the therapists are like, ‘Well, how do you know that was racism?’ and “Well, could they have meant something else?’ Or they’re like, ‘Well, what does this really mean about you?’ This is not the direction the conversation should be going if you want the person to feel understood and if you want the person to feel safe, but it’s almost like an automatic reaction that people have that’s counter-therapeutic.” 

“You can’t do good therapy with Black and Brown people in America if you don’t have some rudimentary understanding and appreciation of the traumatic history that we’ve experienced. And that’s doubly so, doing psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy.” 

“I think that the fact that so many people of color feel a little reluctant to get mental healthcare is because most of us kind of know that most therapists don’t really understand [us] and the process may be counter-therapeutic. And I think oftentimes, people of color are often looked down upon, and there may be this idea that ‘Well, they just don’t really understand.’ Well, no, I think they do understand, and that’s why they don’t want to come for therapy, because they’ve already had bad experiences in other aspects of healthcare and they don’t see any reason why it would be any different in mental health.” 

Links blog: Culturally Speaking: Challenging assumptions about culture, race, and mental health New England OCD Institute

Psychedelics Today: Exploring Race-Based Traumatic Stress and MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy – Dr. Monnica Williams and Dr. Will Siu A clinical scale for the assessment of racial trauma

Psychedelics Today: Natalie Ginsberg – Psychedelic Policy and Advocacy Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment Course: Diversity, Culture and Social Justice in Psychedelics

The Cognitive Behaviour Therapist: Being an anti-racist clinician Racial justice allyship requires civil courage: A behavioral prescription for moral growth and change

PT340 – The Interdisciplinary Conference on Psychedelic Research (ICPR) & The Patient Perspective

In this episode, David interviews Joost Breeksema: philosopher, researcher, and Executive Director of the OPEN Foundation, which manages the Interdisciplinary Conference on Psychedelic Research (ICPR) – Europe’s longest-running conference on psychedelics.

He discusses the use of psychedelics in consciousness research; his concerns over psychedelic infrastructure scaling too quickly and people not being adequately trained; drug policy in the Netherlands, coffee shops, and the interesting loophole with psychedelic truffles; how harm reduction approaches actually work; and finding the proper balance between hype and hope. And he asks some interesting questions: How is research influenced by researchers consulting for psychedelic companies? Are there potential business models outside shareholder-profit models? Are there better ways to design psychedelic studies?

And of course, he talks a lot about this year’s ICPR conference, which is taking place at the Philharmonie Haarlem (just outside Amsterdam) from September 22nd to the 24th. Two big parts of this year’s conference are discussing how science, ethics, and business interact with highly scientific academic research, and looking at clinical perspectives in comparison to patient perspectives (as patients are not represented anywhere near enough). This year, they added an extra day before the conference (the 21st) dedicated more to business-oriented matters, as well as having workshops on music, breathwork, and psychotherapy and psychedelics. Joe, Kyle, and Johanna will be there, and after recording this podcast, it sure sounds like David will be too. 

When signing up, use code TODAY150 at checkout for 150€ off!

Notable Quotes

“One of the areas that [is] most intriguing about psychedelic treatments is that they confront people with their own existence, with their place in the universe, with how they relate to themselves and to others; and that’s something, I think, as you said beautifully; it’s something that distinguishes psychedelic treatments from basically all conventional treatments.”

“Since the 70s in the Netherlands, we’ve pioneered harm reduction approaches. This has worked really well for people consuming more addictive substances [like] heroin, cocaine, [and] crack cocaine. We’ve always had a very pragmatic, public health-oriented view. We’ve never criminalized drug use or drug users, and as a result, we have, I think, probably the lowest prevalence of heroin users in all of Europe.”

“I think one of the key reasons for decriminalizing drug use is that it would de-marginalize people. This is the foundation of our drug policy for over 40 years. This was one of the key insights that they had when they formulated our drug policy, is that it’s not drug use per se that leads to more harmful drug use; it’s being marginalized and being criminalized that puts people quite literally to the margins.”

“I am personally convinced that in order to be an effective therapist, you need to have experience with the substance that you’re prescribing. You need to understand the terrain that patients are navigating through. …[But] if you’re a novice in psychedelic therapy, is having one experience enough? And if not, how many is enough? And do you need to have a difficult experience as well? If you have three positive experiences that go in a specific direction, do you run the risk of imposing your own experience on how you interpret patient experiences? And if that’s not the case, then how do you make sure that you stay open-minded and you don’t impose your own value system or your own way of understanding the world on patients?”


The day before the conference: Psychedelic Science, Ethics & Business

ICPR Workshop: Psychotherapy With Psychedelics

ICPR Workshop: Breathwork as Psychedelic Therapy

ICPR workshop: Music For/As Psychedelic Therapy Joost Breeksema