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Psychedelics Today

Psychedelics Today is the planetary leader in psychedelic education, media, and advocacy. Covering up-to-the-minute developments and diving deep into crucial topics bridging the scientific, academic, philosophical, societal, and cultural, Psychedelics Today is leading the discussion in this rapidly evolving ecosystem.
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Now displaying: October, 2023
Oct 31, 2023

In this episode, David interviews Alexander Beiner: an Executive Director of Breaking Convention; writer of The Bigger Picture substack; and author of The Bigger Picture: How Psychedelics Can Help Us Make Sense of the World.

He tells his personal story and how his first psychedelic experience felt like a homecoming; discusses his Rebel Wisdom media platform, where, through interviews, he tried to make sense of social upheavals and conflicts through a more flexible, psychedelic way of thinking; and digs deep into the Greek concepts of Moloch and Kairos: how Moloch represents the winner-take-all, race to the bottom, sacrifice-your-values-to-appease-the-system game playing we all get stuck in, and Kairos represents the openness that comes from psychedelics – the transitional, seize-the-moment opportunities we need to take advantage of. And he discusses much more: the power of dialectic inquiry; the corporatization of psychedelics and how we’re really in a psychedelic enlightenment; how the medicalization of psychedelics is like a Trojan horse; and the concept of technology (and specifically the internet) mirroring the switching between realms that we think is so rare in psychedelics – aren’t we doing that every time we look at our phones? 

Beiner was recently part of Imperial College London’s initial trials on intravenous, extended-state DMT, testing correct dosages and speeds for the pump. He describes the details of the study, how he thought they were messing with him at first, and what he saw in his experiences: an outer space-like world of gigantic planet-like entities, and how a massive Spider Queen entity taught him about intimacy and how our metaphysical and personal worlds aren’t separate at all.

Click here to head to the show notes page.

Oct 27, 2023

In this episode, Alexa interviews Dom Farnan: Founder of DotConnect; author of the best seller, “Now Here: A Journey from Toxic Boss to Conscious Connector”; and Founder and Chief Consciousness Connector of DoseConnect™, a first-of-its-kind company blending organizational strategy, systems thinking, and talent acquisition in the psychedelic space.

Farnan shares her personal journey with psychedelics, discussing her experiences with psilocybin, ayahuasca, and 5-MeO-DMT, and how the last few years of her life have been focused on slowing down and integrating those experiences. She discusses the current state of the psychedelic industry, including downsizing and company closures, but also opportunities from networking, community engagement, and volunteering. She believes that while options may not be clear now, they will be there in the future, and may be jobs we never anticipated. So get to know companies now, and pay close attention with good discernment – not everything is as it appears.

She discusses her experiences with mentors and coaches; how psychedelic journeys and integration build onto each other; the importance of journaling; the need for patience as the industry grows; her book and the concept of conscious leadership over toxic leadership; and the beauty of embracing the openness we experience after a psychedelic experience: Can we use what we’ve learned to reprogram what we’re taught about life, invest in ourselves, let go of dissenting and limiting voices, and truly redefine what success (and happiness) means to us?

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Oct 24, 2023

In this episode, Kyle interviews author of Recapture the Rapture: Rethinking God, Sex and Death In a World That’s Lost Its Mind; speaker; and Founder of the Flow Genome Project, which researches and trains on improved human performance.

This episode – the last of the many recorded at Psychedelic Science 2023 – may ruffle some feathers, as Wheal is very outspoken and opinionated, focusing on what he spoke about at the conference: the pitfalls of the psychedelic movement. While his outlook is negative, he speaks with humor, and these shadow aspects are issues we need to be talking about: how the nature of capitalism and returning profits to shareholders affects the concept of set and setting; how easy it is to prescribe ketamine and the puppy mill clinics popping up everywhere; how innovators are racing to the bottom to get ahead; the designer drug epidemic likely leading us to a Prozac Nation 2.0; digital narcissism, Instagram “Shamans,” and the dangers of cults; chemists trying to take the experience out of the drug; the overuse of psychedelics creating super egos; and much more.

While he believes the hype and excitement of the psychedelic renaissance is leading us towards a trough of dissolution and that people aren’t turning their amazing experiences into net positives anywhere near enough, he believes that fewer people using psychedelics less often and more intensely – with initiatory practices, intentions, integration, and honest self-reflection – will help us all climb out of our egos and move towards a healthier society. There is hope, but we need to honestly look at all the shadow aspects in order to move towards it.

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Oct 20, 2023

In this episode, David interviews psychiatrist, main researcher behind the first US Phase II trial of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, and Senior Medical Director at MAPS Public Benefit Corporation: Dr. Michael Mithoefer; and Research Group Lead at the University of Zurich, and Principal Clinical Biomarker Lead at Boehringer Ingelheim, Katrin Preller, Ph.D.

Mithoefer, Preller (and David) are speakers at the upcoming Psychedelic Medicine – Israel, which will now take place July 28 - 31, 2024, in Tel Aviv. They discuss the conference and their current research: Preller's neuroimaging and work with psilocybin for alcohol use disorder, and Mithoefer (likely) being extremely close to seeing the FDA approve MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. He talks about how the therapeutic protocols for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy were created, what it's like to be so close to legalization, and how the next challenges will be accessibility and not minimizing therapy in favor of faster turnover. 

They discuss neuroplasticity and whether or not it actually translates into something in humans; the concept of performing brain scans before a psychedelic experience to look for trauma biomarkers (and how this could actually result in savings over time); the excitement of seeing clinical work and neuroscience progressing in parallel; why integration frameworks need to be individualized; and the importance of embracing different therapeutic approaches.

Click here to head to the show notes page.

Oct 17, 2023

In this episode, Melanie Pincus, Ph.D. and Manesh Girn, Ph.D. once again take over hosting duties, this time interviewing Gül Dölen, MD, Ph.D.: Associate professor of Neuroscience and Neurology at the Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, and head of the Dölen lab.

Dölen largely researches the neuroscience behind social behaviors and is most known for her work in establishing how psychedelics reopen critical periods of learning, and that the true benefit of psychedelics could be in learning how best to reopen those critical periods, how long they’re open for, and which therapeutic frameworks and integration practices could best take advantage of them. Her most recent research was giving MDMA to otherwise very asocial (and violent) octopuses to prove that a drastically different species would exhibit typical MDMA-inspired prosocial behavior. And, after discovering that all the classic psychedelics worked to reopen critical periods – that psychedelics are apparently the master key to opening these periods – she’s now researching why, through the PHATHOM project (Psychedelic Healing: Adjunct Therapy Harnessing Opened Malleability).

You will likely learn a ton in this episode: why critical periods close as we get older and what may impede them from opening more often; how plasticity and metaplasticity relate to each other and why increased neuroplasticity isn’t always a good thing; how the length of different psychedelic experiences relates to efficacy; why the different results of MAPS’ and Compass Pathways’ studies show the importance of therapy; how autism could be related to critical periods; why repeated psychedelic use may make it harder for one’s brain to reset; and how important context is in the ability to reopen critical periods – especially around social learning.

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Oct 13, 2023

In this episode, Joe interviews Federico Seragnoli: coordinator of the ALPS Foundation, psychologist who works with patients undergoing compassionate use treatments with psychedelics, and Founder of the ALPS Conference.

This year, the ALPS Conference (which stands for Awareness Lectures on Psychedelic Science) takes place Oct. 27 – 29 at the Bâtiment des Forces Motrices in Geneva – a prime location for a conference due to Switzerland’s legality around psychedelics, where any citizen can apply for psilocybin or LSD therapy if they fall into the category of ‘treatment-resistant.’ Seragnoli discusses how the conference was originally inspired by an article on the MAPS blog about how to be a psychedelic researcher; and talks about its humble beginnings, its new location, and why it’s moved across the country each year. The conference features names like Rick Doblin and Michael Mithoefer, but he’s most excited about the smaller size of the event and the panel discussions, which gives attendees a chance to ask questions and hear some real conversations. 

He discusses the vibrant field of psychedelic therapy and research in Switzerland; the importance of compassionate use and the criteria physicians need to be able to use it; the impact of students creating psychedelic associations at their universities; and Seragnoli’s new research: seeing if there is a link between cognitive science and a conceptualization of science – if you can model consciousness off neuroscience, can you model it off how you feel?

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Oct 12, 2023

In this episode, Johanna interviews Jungian analyst-in-training, writer, researcher, 5Rhythms® teacher, and Vital graduate: Mackenzie Amara; and Vital instructor, clinical psychologist, and creator of our new course, “Illuminating the Hidden Self: Navigating the Jungian Shadow with Psychedelics“: Dr. Ido Cohen.

This sequel to their fascinating discussion about shadow work earlier this year focuses on dreams, as Amara, while dreaming that she was having an acid trip and coming to the realization that dreams and LSD may be sending her to the same place, is researching the similarities between the odd worlds of dreams and psychedelic experiences: Is it the same place? Do the dreams we have after psychedelic experiences continue those visions and ‘Aha!’ moments? Can they answer questions for us (the concept of “sleep on it”)? Does dream analysis result in a greater feeling of integration? Can we use the dreams we have before experiences to help guide the experience itself?

The conversation goes a lot of places: the many aspects of Jungian psychology; the fluidity of Indigenous perspectives around visible and invisible worlds; how Jung wrote “The Red Book”; the concept of eros and reclaiming our relationship with aliveness; how nature is in constant equilibrium (as are we); how to build a relationship with your dreams; how to work with symbols in dreams; and much more. Ultimately, this episode is about the clash between the conscious and unconscious, the willed and the incidental, and waking life and other realities, and dream analysis and integration work is really tracking vitality in the human psyche: what is alive in us and how does it want to live out in our beings? What makes us come alive? Can our dreams tell us?

Click here to head to the show notes page.

Oct 10, 2023

In this episode, Joe interviews Louie Schwartzberg: renowned filmmaker known for the award-winning documentary, “Fantastic Fungi”; and now, director of the new film, “Gratitude Revealed.”

He talks about his path to photography and filmmaking and how psychedelics were a huge inspiration – how his techniques of slowing down, speeding up, and zooming in were ways to capture the invisible aspects of reality – that which is “too slow, too fast, too small, and too vast for the human eye,” but is always there. He discusses the premiere of “Fantastic Fungi” and the waves it spread through the psychedelic space; The Louie Channel, his new streaming channel that will feature all his work in 4k and the work of other curated artists and friends; and the clinical trial he’s involved in to see if participants have better results in the treatment of their alcohol use disorder by watching his imagery set to music on an 80-inch screen while on psilocybin – research that hopefully leads to the concept of being able to prescribe images and music to people based on specific criteria. 

He discusses his new film, “Gratitude Revealed,” which explores the power of gratitude: making it a daily practice (and especially a post-psychedelic integration practice), how resilience is one of the best benefits from practicing gratitude, and how easy it is to stop a rumination spiral by simply finding something to be grateful for. He also talks about the blessing of being a photographer and always thinking of beauty; how psychedelics make people more environmentally conscious; tripping with parents; how a shared love of nature could be the bridge between opposing sides; and how the best way to deal with the climate crisis is to start in your own yard.  

You can watch “Gratitude Revealed” now, and then, on October 25th, we’re hosting a Q+A with Louie Schwartzberg on our Navigators platform. head to psychedelicstoday.com/events for details.

Click here to head to the show notes page.

Oct 6, 2023

In this episode, Joe interviews Deborah C. Mash, Ph.D.: neuroscientist; Professor Emerita of Neurology and Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine; and leading researcher in addiction and brain disorders for over 30 years.

She is also the CEO and Founder of DemeRx Inc., a clinical stage drug development company working to advance ibogaine and its active metabolite, noribogaine, for the treatment of opioid use disorder. She talks about the Federal and state complications behind ibogaine research, the need for partnerships between clinics and researchers, what needs to be done to collect much needed Phase II and III ibogaine data, and why this all has to be in partnership with the FDA. 

And she discusses much more: her story of how studying Cocaethylene led to her finding out about ibogaine; ibogaine and QTc-prolongation; deaths related to iboga and the amount of variables that aren’t considered; how the French were essentially using noribogaine in the 1930s; and, as this was recorded at Psychedelic Science 2023, her thoughts on the event and Rick Doblin’s opening statement.

Click here to head to the show notes page.

Oct 3, 2023

In this episode, David interviews Madison Margolin: NY-based, psychedelics and Judaism-focused journalist; host of the Set & Setting podcast; co-founder of DoubleBlind Magazine and the Jewish Psychedelic Summit; and author of the soon-to-be released, Exile & Ecstasy: Growing Up With Ram Dass and Coming of Age in the Jewish Psychedelic Underground.

They explore the relationship between Judaism and psychedelics, with Margolin sharing her experiences growing up in a Hindu-Jewish family; her personal journey with her Jewish identity; and how her use of psychedelics has deepened her life. She talks about the significance of Jewish holidays, and how holiday traditions connect them to nature and themselves in a very psychedelic way; the importance of intentionality; the beauty in dancing through an uncomfortable ayahuasca experience; the Jewish Psychedelic Summit; whether or not ancestors were using substances (and does that matter?), and why being in Israel feels so different – and psychedelic. 

Margolin is an instructor in our new course, “Navigating Psychedelics: Jewish Informed Perspectives,” where she will be leading discussions on setting sacred time and space, particularly focusing on the significance of Shabbat and the energetic frequencies that are at play during certain holidays. The 9-week course begins next week – October 10 – so sign up now

Click here to head to the show notes page

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