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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: February, 2024
Feb 27, 2024

In this episode, Joe interviews Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris: founder and head of the Centre for Psychedelic Research at Imperial College London, founding director of the Neuroscape Psychedelics Division at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and founder of the Carhart-Harris Lab.

A legendary researcher, he talks about his psychedelic origins: studying Freud, Jung, and eventually Stan Grof and depth psychology to try and better understand the unconscious. He discusses the growth of psychedelics and the cultural shifts he’s noticed (especially in the U.S.), as well as what he’s working on today: researching the influence of psychedelics on set and setting by studying experiences in both enriched and unenriched environments.

He also talks about:

  • Plasticity: how he defines it, how it relates to critical reopening periods, and how it’s a fundamental thing that transcends the metrics we use to measure it
  • Early LSD studies, the nervousness surrounding he and David Nutt dosing Ben Sessa, and the youthful energy that kept them going
  • How plasticity could be exploited to help relieve chronic pain
  • The potential of psychedelics to help with fibromyalgia and anorexia
  • How psychedelic-assisted therapy brought care back to health care

and more!

UCSF is seeking survey volunteers, so if you’ve had more than three experiences with ketamine, MDMA, and psilocybin (must have experiences with all three) and want to contribute, do so here.

Click here to head to the show notes page

Feb 23, 2024

In this episode, Joe interviews Alyssa Gursky, LPC: artist, research associate and study therapist at the Social Neuroscience and Psychotherapy (SNaP) lab, and founder of Psychedelic Art Therapy LLC, which pioneers ketamine-assisted art therapy.

She talks about her first mushroom experience and how her art and creative process instantly felt different – how the judgment and concern about where the art was going disappeared and was replaced by a freedom; a return to a more childlike way of being, where all that mattered was the fun of the creative process, and expressing her inner world in art. They realized how much the creative process related to true embodiment and the ability to be fully present, and how healing it can be to simply be with other people and create art. 

She talks about:

  • The power of being seen in a group, and how the bravery of one person can completely shift the group dynamic
  • The need for mentorship in the psychedelic space
  • The comfort and freedom found in affinity groups
  • The inspiring lives of Genesis P-Orridge and avant-garde filmmaker, Alejandro Jodorowsky
  • Rick Rubin’s ability to treat creativity as a spiritual act
  • and how attending a live wrestling event aligns with non-ordinary states.

Gursky is launching a virtual education and support group this March for anyone who wants to integrate art into client work or their own process. Visit her instagram for details.

Click here to head to the show notes page

Feb 20, 2024

In this episode, Joe interviews Matthew ‘Whiz’ Buckley: former decorated US Navy F/A-18 Hornet fighter pilot and now, founder and CEO of No Fallen Heroes Foundation, a non-profit focused on healing veterans and first responders with psychedelic-assisted therapy.

Buckley met Joe in D.C. while they were both campaigning for psychedelic therapy to any lawmaker they could speak with. He talks about how the government is spending a fortune on the military, but not paying the total cost, since so much of that is externalized onto the soldiers themselves. He points out how many of them care more about making money than saving lives, and how we need “We the people” moments to wake them up or remove them from office.

He discusses:

  • His time in the Navy and his transition back to civilian life, coming to terms with trauma and realizing how much was physical (including tinnitus)
  • His life-changing experiences under ibogaine and 5-MeO-DMT with the Mission Within
  • How we should be teaching veterans about various mental health options (including psychedelic-assisted therapy) as part of their transition process
  • The signing of the National Defense Authorization Act and the disappointing amount of money reserved for psychedelic research: Was it all just lip service?
  • The complications that arise when trying to get benefits from the VA while also trying to move on: When honesty about mental health isn’t incentivized, when do you tell the truth?
  • His experience operating legally in Colorado and how he plans to stay on top of Governor Desantis to bring psychedelics to Florida

and more!

Click here to head to the show notes page

Feb 16, 2024

In this episode, David interviews Saga Briggs: freelance journalist and author of "How to Change Your Body: The Science of Interoception and Healing Through Connection to Yourself and Others."

A collection of interviews, peer-reviewed research, and personal story; the book dives deep into the mind-body connection, how to become more embodied, and our need for social connection – which factors into mental and physical health far more than most of us realize. The nod to Michael Pollan’s book is also a challenge: Have we been focusing too much on our minds and now it’s time to pay more attention to our bodies? How much of the benefit of psychedelic experiences is related to truly experiencing our bodies?

She discusses:

  • How neuroscience is starting to look more at brain-body interactions, and the psychedelic space’s growing interest in somatics
  • The minimal and narrative selves: Do psychedelics make the minimal self traverse over the narrative self?
  • Flexible switching and applying interoception to a social context
  • Her concept of a ‘possibility space’ and new ways of perceiving
  • The benefit of adding embodiment practices to psychedelic assisted therapy – especially during preparation and integration

and more!

Click here to head to the show notes page

Feb 13, 2024

In this episode, Joe interviews Steve Rio: psychedelic guide, performance and transformation coach, musician, and co-founder of Enfold, a retreat center in BC, Canada.

While Enfold caters each experience to each client, they largely work with 5-MeO-DMT (which is unregulated in Canada); partly because of its power, and partly because Rio realized how much was missing in terms of safety and process when using the substance. They are trying to fill in the gaps, working with the University Health Network Centre for Mental Health to analyze measurements of mindfulness, DAS tests, the Brief Inventory of Thriving survey, and language used when describing experiences to collect as much qualitative data as possible. He discusses their screening process, why they work with synthetic 5-MeO-DMT, why they encourage everyone to go to a group session, and how 5-MeO seems to bypass psychological processes and largely be related to somatic release.

He talks about:

  • The power of 5-MeO and being humble and honest with yourself: Are you stable enough to handle the dysregulation?
  • 5-MeO bad actors and 'Drive-by 5' people who show up, do the drug, and leave
  • The plight of Sonoran Dessert toads and the need for more data around their declining populations
  • How 5-MeO seems to connect people with a higher power, and the need for the experiencer to find their own context for it
  • The importance of creating a clean and open container for spirituality and meeting the client where they are

and more!

Click here to head to the show notes page.

Feb 9, 2024

In this episode, Joe interviews Ayize Jama-Everett: author, educator, filmmaker, and therapist with a long history of work in substance use and mental health services.

When Jama-Everett was last on the show, “A Table of Our Own” – a film focusing on healing, psychedelics, and bonds within the Black community – was still in its infancy. It’s now complete, and he and others behind the film are touring with it, with showings coming up in Detroit, LA, and Boston. A free follow-up discussion hosted by CIIS’ Center for Psychedelic Therapies and Research is happening Feb. 15, and, from February 15-16 only, the film is available to rent online.

He gives his full origin story: growing up around substance use, how he got into therapy and healing people through journeys, how “A Table of Our Own” came about, and how it was influenced by mushrooms. Then he discusses a lot more, with a much-needed critical eye:

  • His experiences with some notorious bad actors in the facilitation space
  • Decriminalization and how we celebrate small wins while ignoring steps back
  • Drug exceptionalism, the Drug War, and the demonization of crack
  • Power dynamics and the dangerous concept of letting go
  • Why the Black community is so skeptical of psychedelics

And he talks about why it’s so important to meet people where they are – that what works for one person or one community won’t necessarily work for another, and the above-ground, corporatized, overly medicalized model will never work for everyone.

Click here to head to the show notes page

Feb 6, 2024

In this episode, Joe interviews Dr. Peter Grinspoon: primary care physician and cannabis specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital, TedX speaker, certified physician life coach, and author of the new book, Seeing Through the Smoke: A Cannabis Expert Untangles the Truth about Marijuana.

He tells his story of growing up in a house where academics like John Mack and Carl Sagan regularly smoked cannabis, and being inspired by the groundbreaking books of his father, Lester Grinspoon. An outspoken advocate for drug policy reform and embracing different, non-AA paths to recovery, he talks about how he got there: his opiate addiction, fall from medicine, subsequent return, and learning just how deep the stigma against drugs goes, and how much the medical establishment is another arm of the Drug War. Seeing Through the Smoke aims to tell the truth about cannabis, especially on benefits and real and debunked harms. How can we get more physicians and lawmakers on our side if all they know is propaganda?

He discusses:

-The challenge in speaking honestly with physicians about drug use
-Why physicians are in support of researching psychedelics but not cannabis
-Stigmatized language and Drug War vibes in medical software
-The truth about cannabis, schizophrenia, and the risk of drug-induced psychosis
-Portugal and the ‘Rat Park’ model
-The importance of listening to what patients are saying – especially when we don’t have enough good data

and more!

Click here to head to the show notes page.

Feb 2, 2024

In this episode, Joe interviews Dr. Kate Pate: Ph.D. neurophysiologist; Founder and CEO of Coruna Medical; founding board member of the Psychedelic Medicine Association; and Founder of The Way Back, a company that will provide education and coaching services related to military, veteran, and first responder health – often in wilderness settings.

She talks about her introduction to psychedelics through the Heroic Hearts Project, where she later served as an integration coach and director of research, looking at psilocybin for traumatic brain injury symptoms, and how the gut microbiome changes after ingesting ayahuasca. She points out that gut health hasn’t been a focus of research, but it’s now emerging as a key indicator of physical and mental health. So, how do psychedelics, particularly plant-based ones, come into play? Are the long term shifts after an experience related to a change in the bacteria inside of us?

She breaks down what a microbiome is and how it changes based on diet; how inflammation is created and the inflammatory cascade that happens after a head injury; how toxins create a stress response similar to an allergic reaction; the frustrations of vets and the limited resources of the VA; the commonality of substance and alcohol use disorders in people coming home from service; the many nonprofits she’s worked with; and how important it is to increase science funding from the government.

Click here to head to the show notes page

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