Psychedelics Today

A show discussing the important academic and other research in the field of Psychedelics. We discuss how psychedelics relate to human potential and healing.
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Now displaying: August, 2019
Aug 27, 2019

In this episode, Joe and Kyle sit down to have a conversation about the 39th Annual Telluride Mushroom Festival, Healing the Mind, Healing the Planet. Joe attended the conference and heard from many amazing speakers.

3 Key Points:

  1. Joe attended The 39th Annual Telluride Mushroom Festival last weekend, a festival and conference that celebrates all things fungal and brings together a cohort of enthusiasts, experts, and scientists.
  2. There was a lot of talk on the topic of microdosing. Opinions ranged from the feeling that there isn't enough valid data to prove that microdosing is effective, to some testimony on how microdosing has helped relieve cluster headaches or help with traumatic brain injuries.
  3. There was some exciting news on innovative ways that mushrooms can be used medically to help fight disease or agriculturally to fight insects without using pesticides.

Support the show

Navigating Psychedelics

Trip Journal                                               Integration Workbook

Show Notes

  • The Telluride Mushroom Festival took place August 14th - 18th
  • This festival is is a placeholder Psychedelic conference
    • In the mycology world, the psychedelic topic isn't typically included in events

Attendees and Talks

  • Brick Bunyard, who runs psychedelic magazine
  • Tradd Cotter of Mushroom Mountain, an excitable mycologist
  • Larry Evans of Blue Portal
  • Teresa Egbert of Herbal Visionz, a Psychedelic enthusiast
  • Peter Hendrix and Sara Lappan spoke on a study for using psychedelics to curb cocaine use
  • David Nichols, chemist, was pretty optimistic about where the psychedelic movement is heading
    • He gave a super scientific talk around receptor sites and LSD

Music and Psychedelics

  • Joe says that there is a long history of music and psychedelics
  • Kyle mentions a podcast he listened to about someone bringing in their own music for a Ketamine therapy session

Psychedelic Therapy

  • There was someone at the conference that said psychedelic therapists should have psychedelic experiences and should be open about it
    • It was an interesting conversation at the conference
    • Joe says, “you don't need PTSD to treat someone with PTSD, it's not the most important factor. The most important factor is safety.”

Scientist Conference

  • Joe mentions a conference coming up in the fall in New Orleans that is a Scientist only conference
    • If a scientist has published serious, quantitative data they are invited
    • It'll be the first gathering of its kind where there is finally enough data


  • David Nichols shared his opinion on microdosing, that there isn't real data on it and that importance should be put toward medical uses
  • Folks in the audience were making claims about microdosing for migraines and traumatic brain injuries, etc
    • Are people taking sub-perceptual doses or a threshold dose?
  • Joe says a macro dose is a dose you can see (maybe the size of an ant), micro dose is something you need a microscope to see
    • The majority of people microdosing aren't educating themselves on dose size

Interesting Moments from the Conference

  • Joe was surprised was how charismatic Tradd Cotter was
    • Tradd has plans to do mushroom retreats in Jamaica
  • The most exciting news is a new method of pulling out the antibiotic resistant ‘stuff’ in a person, culturing it out and introducing it to sterilized/colonized grain bag and then reintroducing it to the person so they aren't antibiotic resistant anymore
    • This would be a mushroom bi-product that fights disease in humans in less than 24 hours
    • This same model could be used in cancer treatments or even agricultural applications, using mushrooms to fight disease or bugs that kill plants, etc
  • There were mushroom foraging walks and mushroom identification tables at the festival
  • Vendors included mushroom kombucha, mushroom jerky, festival clothing, etc
    • There was a guy from outside of Arizona who casts real psilocybin mushrooms and makes detailed metal jewelry out of them
  • The town is small and surrounded by super tall mountains, and the festival is dispersed around the town
    • It's a small festival and a great way to make connections
  • “This is where you quit your job and dedicate your life to mushrooms” - Tradd Cotter
    • Mushroom farming is one of the few businesses you can start with under $5,000



About Kyle

Kyle’s interest in exploring non-ordinary states of consciousness began when he was 16-years-old when he suffered a traumatic snowboarding accident. Waking up after having a near-death experience changed Kyle’s life. Since then, Kyle has earned his B.A. in Transpersonal Psychology, where he studied the healing potential of non-ordinary states of consciousness by exploring shamanism, plant medicine, Holotropic Breathwork, and the roots/benefits of psychedelic psychotherapy. Kyle has co-taught two college-level courses. One of the courses Kyle created as a capstone project, “Stanislav Grof’s Psychology of Extraordinary Experiences,” and the other one which he co-created, “The History of Psychedelics.”

Kyle completed his M.S. in clinical mental health counseling with an emphasis in somatic psychology. Kyle’s clinical background in mental health consists of working with at-risk teenagers in crisis and with individuals experiencing an early-episode of psychosis. Kyle also facilitates Transpersonal Breathwork workshops.

About Joe

Joe studied philosophy in New Hampshire, where he earned his B.A.. After stumbling upon the work of Stanislav Grof during his undergraduate years, Joe began participating in Holotropic Breathwork workshops in Vermont in 2003. Joe helped facilitate Holotropic and Transpersonal Breathwork workshops while he spent his time in New England. He is now working in the software industry as well as hosting a few podcasts. Joe now coordinates Dreamshadow Transpersonal Breathwork workshops, in Breckenridge, Colorado.

Aug 20, 2019



In this episode, Kyle interviews Daniel Shankin, Founder of Tam Integration. They cover topics including the Psilocybin Summit, child rearing, and integration practice.

3 Key Points:

  1. The Psilocybin Summit is an online conference on the myth, magic and science of psychedelic mushrooms.
  2. Psychedelic Integration is really a form of reparenting ourselves. We need to learn to ask ourselves how we can connect deeply without becoming codependent.
  3. Child rearing is an important topic. Nurturing a child with care and love is similar to the way we use psychedelics, meditation and yoga for healing.

Support the show

Navigating Psychedelics

Trip Journal                                              Integration Workbook

Show Notes

About Daniel

  • Daniel came up in the psychedelic space in the 90’s
    • Recreational use turned into therapeutic use
    • He explains that as enlightenment called to him, it also called him to do shadow work
    • He said the transformational work began in his 20’s
  • He said there was no community so he used Ram Dass books to help with integration
  • Daniel says that psychedelics made him feel a deeper sense of life, more responsibility in his role on earth, feel more connected, etc.
    • His calling from these feelings led him to practice yoga, open a studio, provide trainings and more
    • “People gain so much by being heard” - Daniel

Child Rearing

  • Daniel mentions talking to his wife about conscious child raising
  • The conversation is about how to heal, not just talking about how to raise ourselves so we need less healing
    • “How do I raise a baby with as little trauma as possible?” - Daniel
  • Grof talks about the birth process in his books but kind of stops talking about trauma after the baby is out
  • The baby is designed to be held by the mother, and to put that child in a box with other children in boxes without parents, in a cold and sterile environment is a horrible idea
  • We project our own anti-social tendencies onto babies
    • A baby is meant to have constant connection and attention, and when we give a baby neglect, we wonder why they have addiction, depression, etc.
  • Psychedelic Integration is really a form of reparenting ourselves
  • “How much deep connection can you offer and can you stand? How can I connect deeply without becoming codependent?” - Daniel

Attachment and Healing

  • As a yoga teacher for 20 years, he has found that there is a type of reparenting, that it is helping people to learn to help themselves
  • “Caring for people is a good thing to practice, one of our greatest problems is self-centeredness” - Daniel
  • Money isn't the problem, "my money" is the problem
  • Samskara is a subtle tendency of the mind (like an eroded river)
    • The tendency to prove that we exist, or to prove that we are right, is something that the ego promotes
    • It takes energy to tame the ego and recondition ourselves
    • “Am I trying to prove that I exist in order to feel loved?” If our needs are met and we feel safe and loved, we don't need to prove ourselves
  • We tend to look for the quickest and easiest way possible for the least amount of suffering, we look for the quick fix, but there is a lot of work to be done typically
  • It's important to introduce a meditation practice into a psychedelic practice
  • Babies will cry into an endless void because they don't understand time, just like in breathwork or psychedelic sessions, where time is distorted

Mindfulness of Enthusiasm

  • Enthusiastic consent is where you can press someone into giving you consent
  • Are they enthusiastic about engaging with you? If not, then don't
    • Learn how to gauge enthusiasm

Psilocybin Summit

  • September 19-22, 2019
  • The 920 Coalition is doing for psilocybin what 420 is doing for cannabis
  • There has never been a conference that is just psilocybin, and never fully online and live
    • It allows people to attend a conference from home
    • There is no venue to pay for, no tickets for travel, making it more accessible
    • The goal is to get as much traditional information as possible
  • Daniel says he's not advocating psychedelics, he is advocating meditation for those who use psychedelics
    • Daniel hopes that with this conference, that he didn't choose the speakers to just spit facts, hopefully this is heart and mind education that helps people feel like there is something possible in their lives that makes them feel greater, and that may or may not include psilocybin

Coaching vs. Therapy

  • Some people do not need therapy, they need coaching and accountability
  • We live in a world where our context does not always work to serve us
    • How do we change our context to better serve us?



Tam Integration

The Psilocybin Summit

About Daniel Shankin

After a profound and intense awakening experience in 1998, Daniel dove deep into his yoga and meditation practice to stabilize his realization in his body and the world. He began teaching in 2002, and took over leadership of his neighborhood yoga studio in 2004. He’s directed several teacher training programs and taught on the faculty of even more. Daniel ‘Sitaram Das’ Shankin has dedicated his life to the cultivation of clarity, resilience, and heart. With the recognition that our true nature is vast and generous, wise, he strives to serve his clients in finding their own innate goodness and boundless strength. He currently offers leadership coaching with a heavy emphasis on mindfulness and somatics, and is based in Marin County. You can visit his website and learn more about coaching opportunities at

Aug 13, 2019

In this episode, Kyle sits down to chat with Greg Kieser, Founder of think-tank, and author of Dear Machine, a book written as a letter to a future super-intelligent entity. Topics covered include blockchain, AI, money, Psychedelic Investments and how psychedelics can help humanity prepare for the emergence of super-intelligent entities.

3 Key Points:

  1. Blockchain offers an enormous amount of opportunity, by taking data that would otherwise be protected by government or big corporations, and making it accessible to the general population for a more accessible information source.
  2. Money is this interesting concept, that we are storing our time, our energy and our goods in a piece of paper. Psychedelics can help with this, be rewiring the way we think about money and the overall exchange for goods and services.
  3. Psilocybin is a cure, its use does not need to be continued for it to work, so Compass Pathways is highly incentivized to continue to heal new people, which is what we want, healing at scale.

Support the show

Navigating Psychedelics

Trip Journal                                               Integration Workbook

Show Notes

About Greg

  • Greg worked at a foundation in NYC aimed at reducing the rate of poverty
  • He started an angel investment firm/think tank,
  • He wrote the book, Dear Machine, a letter to a future, super-intelligent entity

Looking to the Past

  • Our nutrition narrowed when we became farmers
    • “The truth is, we can't go back to where we came from, we have to go to a new place, so how do we do that?” - Greg
    • There is such difficulty with people living in clusters (cities) and transporting all of the food in from the country
    • It's important for the psyche to get back to nature and even taking on a hobby as simple as gardening can be so healing
    • Children’s immune system has been shown to become stronger when living on farms and playing with animals and in the dirt
  • Psychedelics are helpful in understanding how interconnected everything is

Integration of Technology

  • Blockchains have the capacity to take data and pull it into a place where we have more control over it (can't be bought or sold)
  • When we combine our knowledge of technology with psychedelics, we will really start to progress as a species

Block Chain

  • The creator of Bitcoin created BlockChain, which is a type of database that lives out on the internet that no one can own
    • It offers an enormous amount of opportunity, by taking data that would otherwise be protected by government or big corporations, and making it accessible to the general population for a more accessible information source
  • Greg mentions a block chain that will be a regeneration of land
    • Maybe all the members donate $50 to the block chain, and those members then can follow the progress of a pond or the growth of a tree, etc
    • Its a good example of a block chain being used for good


  • Money is this interesting concept, that we are storing our time, our energy and our goods in a piece of paper
    • Psychedelics can help with this, be rewiring the way we think about money and the overall exchange for goods and services


  • AI is going to get more and more powerful and corporations and governments are going to want to get their hands on AI for more power
    • In Dear Machine, Greg wrote about a super aware machine that helps us to make super intelligent decisions based on what food to eat (based on our microbes, our genetics, what is the most sustainable for the environment, etc)\
    • Greg fears that the government will try to take control of it and have its own agenda, but he thinks that with super awareness for decision making, that good will win
  • Kyle mentions that the Western mind is so obsessed with Apocalypse
  • AI and Superintelligence are going to accelerate whatever systems we already have in place
    • If it happened right now, it would look ugly
    • But, if we create a world that appreciates interconnectedness and the diversity and complexity of our minds and our bodies, then we will be in a much better place
    • Psychedelics have a huge role to play, it allows us to appreciate things, it helps get our ego out of the way, it helps us break addiction
  • Monoculturization has led to a lot of bad things
  • “Don't try to change the system, just make a new system” - Buckminster Fuller
  • Human well being and environmental stability are two metrics that we need to work on

Interest in Psychedelics

  • Greg's interest in psychedelics began when we was invited to Psilocybin ceremonies
    • He said it just ‘clicks’
    • “You really don't understand what psychedelics are until you take them” - Greg
    • He then began to invest in psychedelics, microbiomes, agriculture, etc

Compass Pathways

  • The main problem with the health system is that we get into the idea of patenting molecules
    • Psilocybin is a molecule that can't be patented, so he's not worried
  • Greg wants to see psilocybin use at a larger scale, so the medical model is a great way to get there
  • As a part of Compass Pathway’s program, in order to be a therapist and provide the therapy, you have to go through the therapy yourself
  • Psilocybin is a cure, its use does not need to be continued for it to work, so Compass is highly incentivized to continue to heal new people, which is what we want, healing at scale

Looking Ahead

  • Greg is most excited to see healing from opioid addiction
    • Alcohol and tobacco fall under that in his hopes for healing
  • Greg is also really excited about the microbiome and the gut connection to the rest of the body
    • There was an Autism study that gave people with Autism a microbe transplant from healthy people and after 2 years there has been a remission of symptoms
      Microbiome Reddit 

Dear Machine: A Letter to a Super-Aware/Intelligent Machine (SAIM)

About Greg Kieser

Greg Kieser is founder of, a Brooklyn-based think-tank and angel investment firm dedicated to increasing humanity's readiness for the emergence of superintelligent entities through the study and spread of "supersystemic" perspectives and innovations. Kieser, whose university and independent studies of complex systems science form the operating thesis of the company, founded after more than a decade overseeing a portfolio of technology initiatives at an NYC-based poverty-fighting foundation. His work at the foundation was driven by a complex set of metrics for measuring the impact of investments on the economic, physical and mental well-being of low-income New Yorkers. Dear Machine, and to a greater extent the company, unites his unique skills and knowledge in technology, social investing and complex systems science.

Aug 6, 2019

In this episode, Joe interviews Dr. David Nichols, American Pharmacologist and Chemist. Dr. Nichols has made many contributions to the psychedelic space and is recognized as one of the foremost experts for his outstanding efforts in medicinal chemistry of hallucinogens.

3 Key Points:

  1. Dr. David Nichols is the founder of The Heffter Research Institute, which promotes research of the highest scientific quality with the classic hallucinogens and psychedelics in order to contribute to a greater understanding of the mind leading to the improvement of the human condition, and to alleviate suffering.
  2. Dr. Nichols has a strong opposition toward the DMT/pineal gland theory. The assumption is that DMT is released during birth and death, but Dr. Nichols presents opposing arguments as to why it isn't true.
  3. David doesn't believe in the research of microdosing psychedelics. He believes there are many other diseases and disorders that research money could be put toward discovering drugs for than the potential for heightened creativity with microdosing.

Support the show

Navigating Psychedelics

Trip Journal                                              Integration Workbook

Show Notes

About David

  • When he was a kid he was into pyrotechnics
  • He synthesized a lot of MDMA for MAPS
  • He is the founding President of Heffter Research Institute
  • He was introduced to psychedelics before he went to graduate school
  • David's work was never interrupted during the drug war because he wasn't doing any clinical work
  • He proposed the study for MDMA testing on rats for a micro-dialysis of chemicals being released from the brain

David’s History of Substances

  • David attended a meeting at the Esalon Institute
    • He met Rick Doblin, a young kid at the time, who was enthusiastic about MDMA and Marijuana
    • Rick decided he wanted to develop MDMA as a drug, and asked David to make it with him
  • Then David met Rick Strassman, who asked him to make DMT
    • So he made the DMT and then DMT Spirit Molecule came out as a result
  • David made the first batch of psilocybin for John Hopkins
  • “The only way to use these substances, is to use the medical model.” - David


  • David doesn't agree with microdosing, he thinks its all just a big hype
  • He says that there is a huge placebo effect with microdosing
    • He says there isn't a lot of proven results and literature to make him believe in it
  • He thinks that there are far too many other things to research and create drugs to cure (like eating disorders for example) vs. just heightening creativity with microdosing
  • David edited Torsten Passie’s book, The Science of Microdosing Psychedelics


  • Rick Strassman’s DMT hypothesis is that upon birth and death, the Pineal gland produces DMT, which produces an outer-body experience
    • David says that the pineal gland is too small, it's only 180mg
    • It produces 25 micrograms of melatonin in 24 hours, so there is no way for it to produce 25 milligrams of DMT, the amount needed for a DMT trip

Heffter Origins

  • Heffter Research Institute was David’s idea
  • Arthur Heffter was a scientist with a PhD in Pharmacology and Chemistry
    • He was one of the most well respected Scientists in Germany
    • He got samples of Peyote, and knew there were alkaloids in it, and he separated all the alkaloids, and took each alkaloid himself to find out that mescaline was the active component in Peyote
    • He was the expert who invented hair tests to find out if people were suffering from lead poisoning

Heffter Research Institute

  • The effects that they discovered from Psilocybin blew them away
  • They knew LSD had powerful effects, but they weren't expecting to find the therapeutic benefits that they did with Psilocybin
    • Psilocybin has a great timeline too, LSD is really long lasting, and 5-MEO-DMT is super short and really powerful
    • Psilocybin is great for use in therapy because of the time it allows for integration

GMP Psilocybin Patent

  • Joe mentions the patent of GMP Psilocybin and asks if there are other ways to make psilocybin
    • David says that he believes there are other ways to make Psilocybin
  • The cost of psilocybin is trivial in comparison to the cost of therapy, David doesn't think that the drug itself will have a monopoly



About Dr. David Nichols

Dr. Nichols originally conceived of a privately funded Institute as the most effective mechanism for bringing research on psychedelic agents into the modern era of neuroscience. This vision led to the founding of the Heffter Research Institute in 1993. He is currently an Adjunct Professor at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, NC, where he continues his research. The focus of his graduate training, beginning in 1969, and of much of his research subsequent to receiving his doctorate in 1973 has been the investigation of the relationship between molecular structure and the action of psychedelic agents and other substances that modify behavioral states. His research has been continuously funded by government agencies for more three decades. He consults for the pharmaceutical industry and has served on numerous committees and government research review groups. Widely published in the scientific literature and internationally recognized for his research on centrally active drugs, he has studied all of the major classes of psychedelic agents, including LSD and other lysergic acid derivatives, psilocybin and the tryptamines, and phenethylamines related to mescaline. Among scientists, he is recognized as one of the foremost experts on the medicinal chemistry of hallucinogens. His high standards and more than four decades of research experience set the tone to ensure that rigorous methods and quality science are pursued by the Institute.