She talks about graduating college and going straight to Esalen, where she had little concern over therapy or integration, and how, after 20 years of ayahuasca experiences, she learned to see psychedelic-assisted therapy and ceremonial, transformational experiences as very different things. She discusses her ayahuasca journeys; a surprising MDMA experience; what having an ongoing relationship with the spirit of ayahuasca means; Ann Shulgin’s concerns over going through death’s door while in a journey; what true integration is; how psychedelics can help prepare for death, and more.
And she talks about her new book, Swimming in the Sacred, which collects the stories, unique perspectives, and wisdom of 15 female elders who have been working in the underground for at least 15 years each, and how their experience has led to a somatic-based intuition and ‘know it in their bones’ feeling that so many new practitioners and facilitators need – and can only come with time.
“I kind of want to say to the newly-hatched psychedelic therapists: ‘Well, get this experience,’ but it’s very hard. And they’re not going to wait six years before practicing, so there’s such a need for them, and I can’t, in every podcast, (I mean, you’ll laugh at this), I can’t say, ‘Go do a lot of drugs,’ right? I’m trying to be more elegant about this, but that’s part of the elder women’s experience, is they really know the territory.”
“I know you’ve done a real apprenticeship, and I really respect that. And, yes, it’s very hard to find them, but that is the way people learn. So, what’s the best way to become a psychedelic therapist? It’s to be a patient with someone who’s a very experienced psychedelic therapist.”
“My priority was to work on myself and to grow and evolve. And so I always think of integration as part of a whole life: it’s not something that happens in a couple of sessions. But after these experiences, then what do we do with our lives and how do we live a more integrated life? And how do our lives unfold?”
In this episode, Alexa interviews Chase Hudson: Founder of HempLucid, a premium CBD wellness brand.
Hudson discusses his journey from being a firefighter to becoming involved in the cannabis and hemp industry, the origins of HempLucid, the restrictions they faced, and their current genetics and flagship water soluble tincture. He talks about the benefits of CBD and cannabis used in conjunction with psychedelic therapy – especially ketamine-assisted therapy, which he gives to his employees as a benefit. And he talks about Lamar Odom and the documentary he executive produced, “Lamar Odom Reborn,” which chronicles how Odom came back from rock bottom through high dose CBD, iboga, and ketamine therapy.
He also discusses the idea of cannabis as a gateway drug to healing; the need for insurance to cover psychedelic therapy; the changing landscape of Utah from religious ideology to psychedelics; ketamine as the bridge between old and new models of healthcare, and more. And they talk about their own journeys a lot, with Hudson telling the story of his powerful and life-changing ibogaine treatment, and Alexa sharing stories from her tragic car accident and recovery, as well as the ketamine sessions she recently began. The conversation ultimately becomes one about the need for education and conversation to help us all climb out from decades of drug war propaganda.
“We do a lot with kids with seizures. I also do a lot of work with children with autism, and we’ve seen great results over the years. We’ve been in business seven years, so we’ve been fortunate to just see the impact and the change that happens within people personally, but then also within their family. And it’s been the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.”
“There’s this whole frontier that is going to open up here. I mean, it’s opening now, but it’s going to be accelerated as this old guard starts to collapse. We’re living in a time where Babylon is really falling. These pillars of what reality has been structured on are failing because it’s been built on a bed of lies. Our government, our financial system, our healthcare system, our media: these structures of the matrix, essentially, are failing. And as it fails, there has to be something to kind of transition people into the new world, and that new world is everything that we’ve discussed and are doing. And it’s exciting to see, but as Terence McKenna says: we’re in the birth canal for sure, and there’s going to be blood, it’s going to be hard. But we’ll make it out, and humanity will turn into something beautiful on the other side of this.”
In this episode, recorded in-person at Psychedelic Science 2023, Kyle interviews Senator for the Mexican Green Party, Alejandra Lagunes.
Lagunes is the first Senator in Mexico to promote the use of psychedelics, and has been organizing open parliaments to foster collaboration between researchers, scientists, politicians, and Indigenous people, culminating in a groundbreaking decriminalization initiative to decriminalize psilocybin and psilocin from list 1 to list 3 (meaning they could be prescribed), create a new chapter for entheogens (and move mushrooms there), build an economically beneficial framework for Indigenous people, protect ancestor knowledge by law, and make big bioconservation moves with changes to environmental laws.
She discusses her personal journey with depression, anxiety, and a life-saving ayahuasca journey; how Covid uncovered a crisis in meaning and an openness to talk about mental health; the need for accessibility and safety in psychedelics against challenges in politics and policy implementation; our mental health crisis and the need for innovation, education, and overcoming stigma; the influence of US drug control policies on international regulations; the power of storytelling; and why we need to go back to our origins.
“The world means to go back to the beginning, to the point of beginning. And I like to think that this psychedelic revolution or renaissance is actually going back to the beginning, to the essence. And that space: you have to talk about environment, you have to talk about the planet, you have to talk about ancestors and their relationship with the planet and with the community. …The revolution is going back to that space, outside and inside. It’s like going back to the origin.”
“The medicine is as important as the places they grow in. The medicine is in the ecosystem. You have heard about the mycelium. You can grow a mushroom in your house. That’s great. But the mycelium in those places: it’s for them, the medicine. The rain, the thunder, and the earth, the soil where the mushrooms are grown: it’s the medicine. So we have to protect those areas.”
“You know what I think all the countries should do? The World Health Organization (the WHO) has these lists of substances, and as countries, we can ask our governments to ask for a revision of those lists. So we have to start. Like, there are many ways we have to work the decriminalization. I mean, the psychedelics shouldn’t be in that list, and they are in an international list. So my question is why governments aren’t moving that list?”
In this episode, Joe interviews Stéphane Lasme, a former professional basketball player from Gabon who is now a partner at SteddeCapital, a private markets investment platform investing long-term capital into U.S.- and Africa-based opportunities across sports ownership, infrastructure, technology and plant medicine.
Lasme speaks of his childhood, growing up in Gabon with more traditional Catholic values while journeying deep into the jungle to visit his Grandmother every summer. It was there that he embraced the cultural aspect of Gabon and community, and first learned of iboga, which he had a profound experience with at age 12, and would later revisit in his basketball days. He discusses the drive and passion that led him to become the first person from Gabon to play in the NBA, and the subsequent pressure, stress, cultural differences, and “ok, what now?” moments that came at the end. He talks about Gabonese traditions; how iboga improved his stress relief and mental focus; how embracing yoga and Buddhist methods of self-discovery improved his life; scientific reductionism vs. the magic of mystery and trying to define an experience; and more.
While Gabon allows for the export of iboga, Lasme’s goal is to build a lab and treatment center in Gabon and share the power of Gabonese culture with people – so they can experience the medicine in its own country, with its traditional rituals and music. He has begun the fundraising process, and through his investment and facilitation work, is working to get African athletes to invest back into Africa and make Gabon a major destination for iboga.
“Deep inside, I wanted to be the first basketball player from Gabon to get drafted in the NBA. I never advertised this as a kid. I never advertised it to anyone. Even while I was at UMass, I never talked about it. But I know there is a relation between me going through that culture, that traditional experience, and me deciding to be that person. That’s why I say ‘me deciding who I want to be’; I think there is a big connection. And I can’t tell you or explain to you where the connection started, what triggered me thinking that way, but I just know it’s connected.”
“We have to believe in ourselves. Our stuff here, whatever we have in Gabon, is actually the shit. It’s actually the stuff that’s going to help everyone. Everyone is going to run towards us to look for solutions, so we should be prepared. We should be working on a better environment for people to come and just witness what kind of a great thing that we have going on in Gabon. This is the motivation I have today: really building this company, building this network, this ecosystem, this network of people in the states and in Gabon around this plant. That’s the main thing that motivates me.”
He talks about how an early interest in lucid dreaming sent him down a psychedelic path, and how, as his interest in mushrooms has grown, he’s watched the culture shift from a narrative of mycophobia to one of appreciation and interest. With FreshCap Mushrooms and The Mushroom Show, he aims to provide much needed education around this vast and mysterious world of fungi.
He talks about the thriving psilocybin scene in Jamaica, and how, through filming a documentary there, he learned how much communities still don’t know about mushrooms, how much tourism supports the country, and how much of a special vibe Jamaica has for psilocybin retreats.
And he discusses much more: why lion’s mane should help with concussions and TBIs; indications mushrooms could heal, from long Covid to paralysis; concerns over over-medicalization; why Terence McKennas’ ideas weren’t as crazy as many thought; visiting mushroom shops in Canada; the secret language of mushrooms; where psychedelic people can start to learn about functional mushrooms; and why, if he could embody any mushroom, it’d be cordyceps.
“We draw these arbitrary lines as human beings between: psychedelic mushrooms are over here, functional mushrooms are over here, and poisonous mushrooms are over here. But the mushrooms don’t do that. It’s just a spectrum where they’re creating all these crazy compounds for all these different reasons and they just happen to interact with our bodies in different ways.”
“It’s not just that they change your consciousness or make you see colors or make you laugh or whatever; they do seem to have this ability to dig out very specific things or show you things in a different way that can have really profound impacts on your life afterwards. And that’s something I think we still haven’t figured out, is like: how the hell did mushrooms do that? How do they know how to find exactly what you might need to be dealing with? Not always, but they have this ability to be like, ‘Hey, here’s something you haven’t thought about in 20 years. This is important. You should look at this.’ I still can’t get over how amazing that is and how that works.”
“I thought, ‘Okay, the reason why people are going down here is just because they forgot to make it illegal and it just provided this weird niche opportunity in the world for people to go and experience mushrooms.’ But it’s way more than that. Jamaica is a very special, magical place. …The fact that they grow there, it’s just a vibe. It’s a whole thing, and I can see why. I can see why people would want to go there for psilocybin therapy or the psilocybin retreat experience, just because number one: it takes you away from your normal kind of day-to-day life, but there is something special about sitting in front of the ocean as the sun is going down in a beautiful location and feeling that profound impact of mushrooms at the same time. It’s a very special place.”
In this episode, Joe interviews Oliver Carlin, Founder of Curative Mushrooms, a grow kit solution company designed to produce mushrooms of one’s choosing within 30 days with little effort and no growing experience.
Carlin tells his personal story of 20 years in the Navy to a 7g psilocybin journey and the work of perfecting these grow bags; how a grow bag works; how easy it can be to grow your own mushrooms; the advantages of growing your own mushrooms vs. buying them; the legalities of grow kits and how he has been able to do this; steps growers can take to reduce their legal risks; the variety of people benefitting from mushrooms (especially in the veteran community); and how growing your own mushrooms seems to make the experience more curated and special.
Curative Mushrooms recently hired someone to create new strains for them every month, they do bimonthly live Q&As for people interested in growing, and they ship a bonus mycology book with each kit that shows how to study spores. They offer growing kits for Lion’s Mane, Turkey Tail, and Shiitake mushrooms, but his most popular option is the “All-in-One Happy Mushrooms for Sad People” kit.
“I do believe there’s always going to be a market for growers, because it’s just fun. And you can create your own strains of mushrooms if you really get into it. I mean, you can even name strains after yourself. And plus, isn’t it cool to grow your own, because now you have super fresh mushrooms, you know exactly what it is, how fresh, it’s going to be the most potent because you just grew it, and I’ll be honest, when you grow your own, it feels like the mushrooms were, like, grown specifically for you. I don’t know, there’s something special about them.”
“I didn’t take mushrooms because I was specifically doing it to overcome depression or anything like that. The reason I took mushrooms was: it was like answering questions about the world that I’ve always wanted to know. I’ve always had a problem with everything I’ve been told, and this was my opportunity to finally get some type of an answer for things that I didn’t understand. And that was my reason. And it completely changed my life.”
In this episode, Alexa interviews Rachel Clark: Education Manager for DanceSafe, a public health nonprofit specializing in serving people who use drugs and their communities.
As we move into the prime festival season, more people are going to be doing drugs, and the importance of harm reduction and drug testing becomes even more central to the experience. She discusses the complications of drug testing and how it’s more of an act of ruling substances out rather than determining purity; the fentanyl problem and its surrounding myths; how to identify and treat an overdose (and what not to do); Philadelphia’s struggles with Xylazine highlighting the problem with regional cross contamination; and DanceSafe’s “We Love Consent” and “Healing is Power” campaigns, which aim to open up the dialogue of true harm reduction and safe spaces outside of the substance alone.
“You’re looking for red flags and not green lights. You’re not looking for confirmation that something is in your substance, you’re looking for a red flag about whether something is obviously or potentially not what you expected.” “The three major symptoms of opioid overdose are very, very slow, shallow, and or stopped breathing, reduced or absent consciousness, and pinpoint/constricted pupils. And I want everyone to understand that the cause of opioid overdose is when your respiration, your breathing slows to the point that your tissues are not being oxygenated and perfused and your heart stops. That is the sequence. …If people understood that this is about a lack of oxygen because your breathing is too slow, I think that the public understanding of fentanyl overdose and opioid overdose would change a lot, because that, in and of itself, gives you a lot of information when you’re looking at someone and evaluating if an opioid could be involved.”
“Always communicate the limitations of what you know. Assume that you are missing information, because you are. And when you are reporting on something that you witnessed, share only what you saw and what you did, including timelines. This is a major, major note for anybody, especially people who work in EMS, because there have been a lot of very well-intentioned folks who have ended up spreading misinformation like wildfire by saying things as certainties instead of sharing observations.”
Planning on hitting a festival this summer? You’re not alone. With COVID restrictions and cancellations now a thing of the past, many music lovers are heading back into the wild and hitting summer concerts and festivals all around the world with renewed energy, making up for lost time with their psychedelic communities and their favorite artists.
But with the freedom and joy that comes along with dancing, hugging, and partying with thousands of strangers until the sun comes up, also comes the potential for mishaps, and at worst, serious harm to you and your friends.
Gathered from our team at Psychedelics Today – who have decades of festival experience between them – here are some tips to help you stay safe and get the most out of your party time during this psychedelic summer.
Pre-Purchase Your Substances and Test Them
In 2023, there is no excuse for having to resort to taking whatever substances you can get your hands on at a festival. While it’s possible (and likely!) you’ll be offered psychedelics at festivals, never take anything from someone you don’t know. Should you choose to take psychedelics (or any other substances), acquire them ahead of time from sources you trust and test them before consuming any. Groups like DanceSafe, Qtests, Bunk Police, and Test Kit Plus offer a wide variety of regent testing kits to give you a better understanding of what is (and isn’t) in your substances, including fentanyl. And if you’re in Canada, you can send a sample of your substance to getyourdrugstested.com for a free analysis. You can also browse their results catalog to get a sense of what’s going around in your area, and what the lab results reveal. Many festivals partner with harm reduction groups to provide substance testing on-site, so if you can’t test ahead of time, check to see if your festival offers on-site testing – and use it.
Plan Your Transportation Ahead
Figuring out how you’re getting to – and perhaps, more importantly – from the festival grounds ahead of time is crucial. This may include public transportation, shuttle services, or carpooling, so determine which option suits your needs and budget. Assign a designated driver, don’t get in a vehicle with someone who might be intoxicated, don’t drive if you’ve been consuming, and avoid walking or biking on poorly lit roads or paths. And when in doubt, call your parents – even if you’re 35, chances are they’ll be happy to give you a safe ride home (and they might even make you breakfast).
Get Familiar With the Festival Grounds
Upon arriving at the festival, get a map of the grounds and familiarize yourself with its layout. Locate important areas such as the first aid tent, water stations, restrooms, camping area, and stages. Knowing where these facilities are will save you time and effort when you need them most. Pay attention to emergency exit points as well, ensuring you have a plan in case of an emergency.
Pack Smart: Essentials for a Comfortable Experience
Preparing a well-thought-out festival survival kit will make your experience much more enjoyable. Some essential items to consider packing include:
Energy bars or nutrient-dense snacks: these will provide quick bursts of energy to keep you going during long sets.
Toiletries: pack travel-sized toiletries to keep your body clean. Wet wipes, hand sanitizer, mouthwash, and tissues are particularly useful in festival environments where you can get real grimy, real fast.
Changes of clothes and socks: staying fresh and dry is crucial in preventing discomfort, blisters, and skin irritation.
SPF protection: apply sunscreen liberally to protect your skin from harmful UV rays.
Pain relievers: bring some over-the-counter pain relievers like Advil or Tylenol in case of headaches or injuries.
Upset stomach relief: bring TUMS or Pepto in case of heartburn or indigestion.
Phone charger or battery pack: keep your phone charged at all times to stay connected with friends and have access to emergency services if needed.
Sunglasses: shield your eyes from the sun and prevent eye strain caused by bright lights or lasers during performances.
Set Your Intention
Just like you might with a ceremony, or guided psychedelic journey, ask yourself what you’re hoping to achieve before you dose. Is it a greater connection with your friends and community? Is it a deeper exploration of your inner mind and heart? Is it appreciation for the musicians, artists, or to experience the music more intensely? Or is it simply celebration, unwinding, and feeling good? Whatever it is, big or small, it’s ok! Just try to define it, and go into your experience knowing what you hope to achieve. It also helps to tell your friends what your plan is for the evening or weekend (both the substances you plan to consume and your goals). Added transparency can help you with your psychedelic integration, but can also help mitigate any potential harms, if your friends are watching your back and know your consumption plans.
Stay with Your Friends: Safety in Numbers
Attending a festival with good friends is not only more fun, but helps keep you safe. Try to make sure you always have a sightline to your friends in the crowd, but develop a plan to find each other in case you get separated (which can happen easily). Pre-designate a central meeting point to wait for your friends if you get separated, just in case there’s no cell service or one of your devices dies. If you’re attending alone, consider joining or creating a meet-up group to connect with other people, so you’ll have at least a few festival friends. Whatever you do, don’t leave the event with strangers – even if they seem nice, or you’re hoping to hook up – you really don’t know who you’re going home with. Grab that number, and hit up the person in a few days instead.
Hydrate: The Key to Beat the Heat
Summer festivals often take place under the scorching sun, and staying hydrated is paramount to keep the good times flowing. Dehydration can occur a lot more easily than you might think, and can lead to fatigue, dizziness, and even heatstroke – a potentially life-threatening condition. Make it a priority to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Carry a refillable water bottle and take advantage of water stations if available at the festival grounds, and consider bringing electrolyte-rich drinks, or drink powders to replenish essential minerals lost through sweat. Pro tip: Bring an extra bottle cap with you. Refillable water stations aren’t always available and venues usually sell water bottles without caps. Being able to seal your water can make all the difference in the world.
Take Breaks From the Dance Floor
When you’re really feeling the vibe, it’s tempting to dance non-stop. However, it’s crucial to give your body regular breaks. Even though you might feel like you have the stamina to go all day or night, dancing for hours on end can exhaust you physically and mentally – and you might not realize it until it’s too late. Take short breaks between sets in shaded areas to rest and recharge. Find a spot where you can sit down and relax while enjoying the music from a distance. Taking regular breaks will pay off – it ensures that you can last throughout the festival without feeling completely drained by the end of the first day.
Pace Your Consumption
And speaking of completely wrecking yourself the first day – you don’t want to be that guy. You the one we mean – the guy who’s rolling around naked in the mud a couple of hours after the gates open. Not only is it not a great look, but if you go too hard, too fast, you could spend the rest of the weekend feeling like shit in your tent and miss out on all the great acts you wanted to see. Finally getting to that big event you’ve been waiting for feels incredible, and the urge to go completely off the rails is real (we’ve all been there!) but the best festivals are a marathon – never a sprint.
Remember to Eat
Amidst all the sets and activities, it can be easy to forget about eating, especially when substances are involved that suppress appetite. And sometimes, eating is inconvenient – vendors might run out of food before the event ends, or pricing for simple snacks or bottled water can cost a lot. However, proper nutrition is essential for maintaining your energy levels. Try to pack a variety of portable snacks like granola bars, nuts, dried fruit, or energy bars. Incorporate water-rich foods into your diet, like watermelon, oranges, or berries to help you stay hydrated while providing essential vitamins and minerals. And if you eat from the food carts, look for options that offer a balance of proteins, carbohydrates, and vegetables to keep your energy levels stable.
Remember: This Too Shall Pass
Sometimes, the combination of psychedelics and an intense festival environment can be extremely overwhelming. Should you find yourself in an uncomfortable headspace, surround yourself with people you trust, breathe through the emotions, and just remember – it won’t last forever. If a friend is going through a tough time, sit with them, let them know you’re there for them, and remain calm, and hold space. However, there is a difference between a challenging psychedelic experience, and a serious medical issue, so ALWAYS keep a watchful eye out for signs of drug toxicity in yourself and others (nausea, difficulty breathing, chest pain, dizziness, etc.) and seek out medical attention if necessary. When in doubt, a trip to the medical tent is never a bad idea.
Stretch It Out
Dancing and standing for long periods of time can strain your muscles and lead to discomfort. Take breaks to stretch and release tension. Stretching exercises can improve circulation, prevent muscle cramps, and help you stay flexible. Consider incorporating gentle yoga poses or basic stretching routines into your festival experience to keep you limber and feeling good on the dance floor.
Find Quiet Places: Retreat From the Chaos
Finding moments of tranquility from all the festival stimuli can be crucial for recharging and regaining focus. Seek out quiet places within the festival grounds:
Chill-out areas: many festivals have designated chill-out zones where you can relax and escape the noise. These areas may feature comfortable seating, hammocks, or shaded spaces. Take advantage of these spaces to unwind, socialize with other festival-goers, or simply enjoy a moment of solitude.
Natural surroundings: if the festival grounds allow, explore nearby natural areas. Find a serene spot under a tree, by a lake, or on a hilltop to enjoy some peace and connect with nature. Nature has a calming effect on the mind and can provide a much-needed break from the intensity of the festival atmosphere.
Silent disco or acoustic sets: some festivals offer silent discos or acoustic sets, where you can enjoy music with headphones or experience stripped-down performances. These intimate settings provide a break from the overwhelming sound levels of main stages while still allowing you to enjoy live music.
And for the Love of God – Sleep
Unpopular opinion: acting on the phrase ‘I can sleep when I’m dead’ is, while kind of true, a really great way to ruin your festival experience. Adequate sleep is crucial for recharging your body and mind, so try to establish a sleep routine if you’re on a multi-day trip. Find a quiet and comfortable place to rest, whether it’s in your tent or a designated camping area. Invest in earplugs, an eye mask, some CBD (visit our friends at HempLucid for 10% off all products with code PSYCHEDELICS10) or noise-canceling headphones to create a peaceful sleeping environment, and get some shuteye – even just for a few hours.
What are some of your top tips for staying safe and having a great time at festivals? Join in the conversation on our socials, and tell us how you make the most out of your trips.
In this episode, David interviews Professor Celia Morgan, Ph.D., who holds the Chair of Psychopharmacology and co-leads the Transdisciplinary Psychedelics Group at The University of Exeter.
This was recorded on the dawn of UK’s Breaking Convention conference, where Morgan was speaking about the therapeutic potential of ketamine as well as the danger of people developing a dependence on it. She touches on that topic, but largely discusses her current Phase III Trial for ketamine-assisted therapy for the treatment of severe alcohol use disorder (also called the KARE model (Ketamine for reduction of Alcohol Relapse)), a collaboration with Awakn Life Sciences.
She discusses her other research: studies on mindfulness intervention before and after ketamine, epigenetic changes after ayahuasca use, the antidepressant qualities of ayahuasca, and CBD for cannabis dependence. And she talks about the necessary balance for making treatments amazing but affordable; how connecting with nature during integration is key; how the drug is just a tool, yet we focus on it too much; and how we need studies on how different therapies work with different substances.
“People always focus on the drugs, but it’s more about the people, and as you say, their relationship – what you’re getting from that experience. The drugs themselves are just tools. You can hit someone over the head with a spade, but you can dig an amazing garden. I see the drugs as the spade, basically, but obviously a really unusual spade.”
“Taking a step back from your thoughts and not being over-engaged with everything you’re doing; the ketamine really helps to facilitate that, because they can see how that works. Mindfulness can be really tricky. Mindfulness practice is hard work. So I see this as a big step that makes it work better in that first bit, especially when people are struggling. …Ketamine, to my mind, gives this kind of boost and insight that can help engage them with the therapy going forward.”
In this episode of Psychedelics Weekly, Joe and Kyle are once again able to take advantage of Kyle’s temporary Colorado residency and record together in Joe’s office.
While last week focused on the numerous challenges facing a rapidly growing industry of psychedelic therapists, facilitators, and guides, the topic of therapy itself is put under the microscope this week, as they dissect a New York Times article titled, “Does Therapy Really Work? Let’s Unpack That.” They discuss whether or not therapy is right for everyone, the efficacy of different types of therapy, the role of the therapeutic alliance in treatment outcomes, and how (if it’s even possible) to measure all of these factors.
They also discuss:
-a study showing that ketamine was more effective than ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) for patients with treatment-resistant depression;
-the potential benefits of the LSD analog, Br-LSD, in treating people with major depressive disorders, cluster headaches, and more;
-Ireland’s Health Service Executive launching the Safer Nightlife program, which will partner with music festivals this summer to establish on-site drug testing;
-the U.S. slowly beginning to legalize fentanyl test strips, which, for some reason, are illegal in many parts of the country;
and much more!
See you next week, and if you’re in the NYC area, make sure to check out “Tales of Transformation,” an in-person event Thursday, June 8 at the Athenæum, moderated by David, and featuring Ifetayo Harvey, Juliana Mulligan, and Raad Seraj.
In this episode of Psychedelics Weekly, Joe and Kyle are both on the road, so David and Alexa take the helm.
They cover news stories about:
-a man in Colorado facing a Class 3 drug felony for giving people psilocybin mushrooms in exchange for monetary donations – pointing out the bold (or stupid?) stances some are taking to highlight the absurdity of legislation that allows possession and donation as long as no money changes hands;
-a study showing what many of us have felt ourselves: that the day after psilocybin-assisted therapy, depressed patients had a stronger brain response to music and saw improvements in the ability to find pleasure in previously empty activities;
-a trip report from a psychedelically-naive 50-year old, showing the power and beauty of MDMA-assisted therapy;
-the New Hampshire state Senate continuing to be behind the times and voting down House Bill 639, which would have created a legal recreational cannabis framework for the state;
-a video where people on the street in Oregon were asked how much they thought psilocybin therapy would cost, showing a drastic misalignment between public perception and reality;
and a local TV news feature touring Rose City Laboratories, the first licensed psilocybin testing lab in Oregon.
And in conversation, they talk about some of the lesser-discussed (and often dismissed) tools like CBD, THC patches, and very low-dose edibles; the problem with drug dealers and harm reduction; the power of music in guiding a psychedelic experience (and in living a pleasurable life); and the importance of dosing and listening to your body to know what’s right for you.
In this episode, Joe interviews Nick Kadysh: Founder and CEO of PharmAla Biotech and member of the board of directors for The Canadian Psychedelic Businesses Association.
PharmAla Biotech is a Toronto-based Life Sciences company with two focuses: contracting with manufacturers to provide researchers with GMP MDMA (created under Good Manufacturing Practice regulations), and creating and researching novel analogs of MDMA. And just today, they announced that Health Canada has authorized them (and their distribution partner, Shaman Pharma) to supply their LaNeo™ MDMA for the treatment of a patient under Canada’s Special Access Program – the first time this has happened in Canada.
He discusses the creation of PharmAla and why their model changed from primarily researching analogs to manufacturing; why they’re operating out of Canada and using manufacturers instead of running the lab themselves; the excitement around Australia’s recent about-face on MDMA and psilocybin-assisted therapy; the bureaucracy of U.S. drug policy and how much a broken supply chain affects the whole industry; bad IP and companies filing rapid fire patents; why creating new analogs of MDMA is so important; and why the psychedelic space needs to bring culture along with us.
He also talks about Spravato, cannabis and risks of cancer, THC nasal sprays, and research he’s most excited about: that MDMA seems to alleviate dyskinesia caused from Parkinson’s disease, and that MDMA could improve social anxiety in people with autism. He’s aiming to run a clinical trial and believes they have developed a safe MDMA analog that the autistic community will respond to very well.
“I don’t want to give the impression that we think that MDMA is unsafe. In the case of PTSD-assisted psychotherapy the way that it’s being presented by MAPS, I think it’s remarkably safe. But, you know, better is still possible.”
“If you told me that you have a brand new drug that was developed in a lab that nobody has ever seen or tried or tested before, and let’s call it drug A. And then you have drug B, which is derived from a mushroom, that people have been consuming regularly for the past 5,000 years and no one’s died. And you’re asking me which one is safer? It’s the mushroom, man. It’s not even a question.”
“We owe it to ourselves in this industry to take the population along for the ride. This is why I think safety is so important, because if you’re working on safety, people like that. People trust that. That’s what happened last time: there was the counterculture and the culture, and the culture won, and we’re still paying for it today. So let’s bring the culture along.”