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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: Page 4
Jun 20, 2023

In this episode, David interviews Frederick Barrett, Ph.D.: cognitive neuroscientist, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and now, Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelic & Consciousness Research.

With today’s news, Barrett officially takes over for the legendary Roland Griffiths, who has been in the role since the Center’s launch in 2019, and who will continue on as a member of the leadership team while dealing with the Stage 4 cancer diagnosis he has been remarkably candid about in recent interviews. 

Dr. Barrett has been conducting research at Johns Hopkins for a decade, authoring or co-authoring some of the first studies on psilocybin’s enduring effects, and receiving the first federally funded human psychedelic research grant from the NIH since the 70s. He discusses the work and importance of Roland Griffiths; the history of the Center and current research he’s most excited about; the mystery of consciousness; and the power and sacredness of music: how we all use music to regulate our emotions, and how he wants to explore the brain mechanisms behind that connection.

www.psychedelicstoday.com

Jun 16, 2023

In this edition of Psychedelics Weekly, Joe and Kyle dedicate the entire episode to one of their biggest passions: breathwork and the power of breath in reaching non-ordinary states of consciousness.

What many listeners may not know is that Psychedelics Today was created because of the lack of attention being paid to breathwork, transpersonal psychology, and the work of Stanislav Grof, so this episode serves as a deep dive into all the facets of our fascinating ability to reach psychedelic states simply by breathing in specific ways.

They discuss the history of breathwork; the various methods (box breathing, alternate nostril breathing, rebirthing breathwork, the Wim Hof method, Holotropic and Transpersonal breathwork, etc.); early and most powerful experiences; why Joe recommends becoming familiar with breathwork before a first psychedelic experience; how a breathwork practice can help enhance psychedelic experiences; and one of the most amazing things about breathwork: that it can give people a sense of agency they may never have felt before – that they can produce these experiences and insights with nothing but their own bodies.

If you've been curious about breathwork, this episode is a great starting point to learn more. 

www.psychedelicstoday.com

Jun 13, 2023

In this episode, Kyle interviews Liana Gillooly: Strategic Initiatives Officer at MAPS, Board Chair & Founder of the non-profit, North Star, and Advisor to Chacruna’s Indigenous Reciprocity Initiative.

While she talks about updates in MAPS’ world and how to manage and scale a rapidly growing industry while trying to change a system from the inside, she mostly talks about what she, the rest of MAPS, and a lot of the psychedelic space in general are most excited about right now: Psychedelic Science 2023, the largest psychedelic conference in history, beginning next week in Denver. 

She discusses the growth of the conference; why they chose Denver as a location; and how programming has changed over the years to embrace the multiplicity of identities inside the psychedelic space, including much more business content, a culture stage that focuses on how psychedelics interact with the mainstream, various programs put on by community partners, pre- and post- workshops covering an array of topics, and an area they’re calling Deep Space, which was designed to help attendees get out of their heads and more into their bodies. 

If you were thinking of attending, this episode should serve as a great inspiration to finally buy a ticket. When you do, be sure to use code PT15 to get 15% off your purchase, and when you’re there, visit us at booth 834 Wednesday through Friday. Joe is hosting a Psychedelic Morning Show with Anne Philippi on Thursday and Friday, and we’re partnering with Lounge CashoM, an all-inclusive environment designed to be a decompression space from that big conference energy. Email hello@cashom.org for more info, and head to the show notes page for more details about afterparties.

www.psychedelicstoday.com

Jun 6, 2023

In this episode, David interviews Alex Belser, Ph.D.: clinical scientist; author; licensed psychologist; Co-Investigator for a psilocybin and OCD study at Yale University; and co-creator of the EMBARK approach, a new model of psychedelic-assisted therapy that focuses on six clinical domains that typically arise during psychedelic experiences.

He is also one of the editors of "Queering Psychedelics: From Oppression to Liberation in Psychedelic Medicine," the new anthology from Chacruna featuring 38 essays from queer authors and allies looking at the heteronormative aspects of psychedelic culture and psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, self-acceptance, psychedelics and pleasure, and ways the queer community can become allies with other groups. As they serendipitously recorded this episode on June 1, it only made sense to celebrate Pride Month by releasing it now, as well as launching a giveaway, where you can win one of five copies of "Queering Psychedelics." 

Belser talks about the concurrent emergence of the psychedelic and queer communities; the need to research the effects of transphobia and homophobia in psychedelic work (as well as the internalized phobias often realized during an experience); why it’s more important than ever to talk about the psychedelic space’s dark past with conversion therapy; why the Mystical Experiences Questionnaire needs to be updated; the idea of queer people being boundary walkers; recreating the Good Friday Experiment, the immense importance of long-form interviews and other forms of qualitative research, the power of love and community, and the question: how does anyone not want to change after a powerful psychedelic experience?

www.psychedelicstoday.com

Jun 2, 2023

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.

www.psychedelicstoday.com

May 30, 2023

In this episode, Joe interviews the Co-Founders of Enosis Therapeutics: researcher and scientist, Agnieszka Sekula; and psychiatrist, clinical advisor to the Australian Psychedelic Society, and leading Australian advocate for psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, Dr. Prash P. 

Enosis Therapeutics is a medtech startup that began with the question: how can we use VR – with or without psychedelics – to improve mental health outcomes? They feel that the biggest problem with powerful psychedelic experiences is that, once you’re back in reality, it’s oddly difficult to remember the insights and new ideas that were so clear during the experience, and even harder to make connections that lead to concrete change. They believe that the immersive nature of VR and the novelty of unique VR environments creates a sense of presence that can’t be recreated otherwise – a liminal, in-between state that’s just different enough to allow the patient to feel like they’re back in that non-ordinary state, and therefore more able to anchor their experience and begin to find connections and more clearly understand newfound insights. 

This all happens by the user essentially creating nonlinear, abstract, multi-sensory VR paintings while describing what they remembered; allowing them to revisit these worlds later, bring in therapists (or anyone else) to work inside these environments, and hear their own voice describing what happened, thereby creating a mental map that can be worked with in completely unique ways. 

They talk about the conflict between new technologies and traditionalists; the problems with moving away from psychoanalysis and not treating psychotherapy as a process; how VR could improve the efficacy of therapy (and improve therapists’ lives); how it could replace models of repeated dosage; how VR could generate analytics to actually quantify success in mental health treatment; and how (whether psychedelics are used or not) culture needs to bring the psychedelic way of thinking to mental health.

www.psychedelicstoday.com

May 26, 2023

In this episode of Psychedelics Weekly, Kyle and David meet up to talk news, but end up mostly having a discussion about the numerous challenges facing the rapidly growing industry of psychedelic therapists, guides, and facilitators.

That discussion comes from the article, “Psychedelic workers of the world, unite!”, which breaks down the shortcomings and risks of an industry many are flocking to without realizing what they’ll likely have to deal with: unprecedented legal and financial risks, burnout, misalignment with management, transference and countertransference, and what happens when one finds themselves in the middle of a genuine emergency? While these issues could be found in any industry, a big reason why they seem so prevalent and dangerous in the psychedelic world is our lack of elders and passed-down experience – and the faster this all grows, the more we need that guidance. 

And for news, they talk about Ohio State making history as the first U.S. University to receive a license to grow psilocybin mushrooms; a new study showing that LSD enhanced learning, exploratory thinking, and sensitivity to feedback; and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) funding $1.5 million to research the efficacy of psychedelics for substance use disorder – which spurs a conversation about research, funding, and the idea that maybe we’re spending too much time and money on neuroscience.

www.psychedelicstoday.com

May 23, 2023

In this episode, Joe interviews Priyanka Wali, MD: board-certified practicing physician in Internal Medicine, MAPS-trained psychedelic facilitator, comedian, and co-host (with Sean Hayes of "Will & Grace" fame) of the HypochondriActor podcast, where they discuss interesting medical issues in a funny (and hopefully uplifting) way. 

She talks about recognizing and protecting the humanity of healthcare professionals, and how medical school is creating a cycle of hurt people trying to help other hurt people. She believes we need to become more holistic, especially in embracing Indigenous ways of thinking, as their frameworks may be the only way to explain phenomena with which Western science can’t come to terms.  

They talk a lot about ancient psychedelic use: the use of a soma described in the Rigveda; Egyptian culture and mushrooms observed in statues; Plato; the work of Brian Muraresku and Graham Hancock; and Vedic chants, Kashmiri Bhajans, and how singing (especially in a group) can be especially healing to the nervous system. And as Wali experienced first-hand the Kashmiri Pandit genocide of 1990, she discusses how much colonialism has changed cultures, and how much our cycles of oppression relate to our collective inability to experience pain and fear.  

They discuss the psychological impact of living through major catastrophes; the special and hard-to-describe feeling of returning to your home (especially in a world changed by colonization and constant conflict); the sad case of Ignaz Semmelweis and hand washing; ghosts of Japan’s 2011 tsunami, the concept of ‘future primitive,’ and more.

www.psychedelicstoday.com

May 19, 2023

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.

www.psychedelicstoday.com

May 16, 2023

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.

www.psychedelicstoday.com

May 12, 2023

In this episode of Psychedelics Weekly, Joe and temporary-Colorado-resident Kyle once again record in-person, discussing how psychedelics could change business, the drug war and safe supply, and more. 

They cover: 

-a Rolling Stone profile on David Bronner, who makes the case for multi-stakeholder capitalism; where businesses are accountable to their workers, customers, the environment, and surrounding Indigenous communities instead of just investors – an idea more people would likely align with after a psychedelic experience; 

-The first psilocybin service center in Oregon (EPIC Healing Eugene) finally receiving their license via the Oregon Health Authority;

-A man who saw his color blindness improve for four months after a 5g mushroom experience;

-Delaware officially legalizing recreational cannabis; 

-The opening of 'The Drugs Store' in Vancouver, British Columbia: a mobile store selling drugs illegally as a response to the opioid epidemic and constant influx of untested and laced drugs – the "inevitable result of the government doing nothing" towards offering a safe supply; 

-and a survey from the CDC showing that cannabis use among teenagers has declined since legal dispensaries began opening, disproving one of the most common prohibitionist arguments that legalization would only increase use. 

And of course, these topics bring on a lot of conversation: how businesses need to be more reflective on how they're operating; concern over if too much regulation is nerfing the world; the human cost of the drug war and the ever-escalating amount of ODs and drug poisoning cases; HPPD and the need for research around psychedelics and vision/perception; why we will always need both clinical access and the recreational underground, and more.

www.psychedelicstoday.com

May 9, 2023

In this episode, Joe interviews Erica Rex: award-winning journalist, past guest and writer, and participant in one of the first ever clinical trials using psilocybin to treat cancer-related depression; and Mona Sobhani, Ph.D.: cognitive neuroscientist and the author of "Proof of Spiritual Phenomena: A Neuroscientist’s Discovery of the Ineffable Mysteries of the Universe."

As Rex discovered the power of psychedelics through a clinical trial, she discusses a huge problem she discovered: that researchers are not preparing participants enough for the ontological shock they may go through in trying to match unexplainable happenings to a rigid framework (or match the normal to a framework that has suddenly shifted) – that while patients have support at the clinic, it all disappears when they return to normal life. She believes that all too often, researchers are doing only what is necessary to be able to continue to receive funding, push drugs through the FDA, and prescribe a pill. 

And as psychedelics changed Sobhani from very constrained scientific thinking to being very open to new ideas about consciousness and spirituality, she learned that many scientists had similar stories, and that coming out of the psychedelic closet is sometimes the best thing to do to normalize these ways of healing. 

They discuss the challenges of newcomers trying to explain their experience without having the necessary language; how we still don't truly understand mental illness; how the DSM just clusters symptoms to fit 'disorders' into a box; how society has started pathologizing anything we find unpleasant (which of course, is a part of being human); Gary Fisher’s research on using LSD and psilocybin for schizophrenic children, why science needs to combine consciousness research and psychedelics research, and more.

www.psychedelicstoday.com

May 5, 2023

In this episode of Psychedelics Weekly, Joe and Kyle record in-person again, discussing psychedelics and parenthood, sports, music, and more. 

They cover:

-an Elle (!) article about how mushrooms are becoming the new ‘Cali sober,’ with more and more people starting to microdose – including parents; 

-ESPN's documentary, "Peace of Mind," highlighting the rise of psychedelic use among athletes, including retired NHL player, Riley Cote;

-An article discussing how interest in psychedelics has skyrocketed in Oregon since the passing of Measure 109, and how over-regulation and the glacial speed of the government is only driving the growth of the black market; 

-An essay attempting to define what it is that leads people to describe music as psychedelic (with several recommendations from Joe); 

-DMT aficionados using AI to create and catalog depictions of the entities they've seen;

and more!

And they have larger discussions about the drug war, how famous athletes are opening people's minds to psychedelics, how strict regulation in psychedelic legislation can create more harm, how we need to collaborate more in the psychedelic space, the concept of a DMT 'hyper-slap,' and the problem of psychedelic exceptionalism and thinking your drug is good while others are bad.

www.psychedelicstoday.com

May 2, 2023

In this episode, David interviews two founding members of Fireside Project: activist, healing justice practitioner, musician, and Chief Ambassador, Hanifa Nayo Washington; and lawyer, aspiring researcher, and Executive Director, Joshua White, Esq.

Fireside Project was created after White volunteered for a help line for years and realized a few things: that follow-up calls made a big difference; that the state of mental health in the U.S. was a disaster (he was talking to some of the same people for years); and that while psychedelics were becoming popular, they would likely only be accessible to the wealthy. Alongside Washington, they realized the most effective thing they could do would be creating a free help line where people could call for peer support during a psychedelic experience, and receive support in integrating that experience afterward. They’ve focused on finding volunteers who may be marginalized or who have been persecuted from the war on drugs, but most importantly, have real experience and true compassion (rather than letters after their name proving their credentials). They are on track to receive 10,000 calls over their first two years.

They discuss Fireside’s Burning Man origin story; the serendipity they’ve seen in the organization’s beginnings and so many calls; where the name came from; how they prepare volunteers; what true equity looks like; and how, while it’s a common challenge for therapists and facilitators to hold back and not try to fix a problem, that may be even more important here.

Fireside Project takes calls every day from 11am – 11pm PST, and while there is an app you can download, they recommend saving their number in your phone for when you need it (62-FIRESIDE). And to destroy the notion of being afraid to ask for help, they encourage everyone to share their stories on social media: the times that you’ve used Fireside Project or the times you had a challenging experience and wish you had known about them. Many newcomers have no idea this support exists, and it could truly be life-changing for them.

www.psychedelicstoday.com

Apr 28, 2023

In this episode of Psychedelics Weekly, David speaks with Kyle, who recorded at Joe’s place while he was away at Trailblazers in NYC. 

They talk about David’s trip to the UK last week for Breaking Convention, then discuss a recent Vice article about looking outside the binary and confined thinking of Western medicine and embracing the underground – that there are cheaper and more accessible peer support models and affinity groups for everyone, but in going underground, we need to be careful that more accessible models aren’t dangerous or re-traumatizing. While businesses are competing to make headway in the psychedelic space, nobody is controlling all of it, which leads to both possibility and risk. 

They cover SB23-290, the bill Senate President Steve Fenberg created to establish a regulatory framework for psilocybin access and administration in Colorado in lieu of the advisory board that should have been put in place as part of Prop 122. They break down the positives and negatives of this framework, and ask: how much do these committees who are passing legislation really know about psilocybin? 

And they briefly discuss an article on what MDMA therapy may look like when MAPS hopefully gets approval via the FDA early next year, Rick Doblin’s speech at Breaking Convention, and his concept of society eventually having “net zero trauma.”

www.psychedelicstoday.com

Apr 25, 2023

In this episode, Joe interviews Deborah Parrish Snyder: ecologist, Director and VP of the Institute of Ecotechnics, and Co-owner and CEO of Synergetic Press, which has published over 40 books on ethnobotany, psychedelics, biospherics, and social and ecological justice. 

Straddling the line between ecology, psychedelics, and psyche, she discusses the many projects of the Institute: Biosphere 2, the large-scale closed ecological system she helped design in 1986; London's "October Gallery," a man-made city biome project that could be a model for other cities; their "Eden in Iraq" wastewater project; and the Heraclitus, an 82-foot ship which has sailed 270k miles around the earth, studying different cultures, mapping coral reefs, and more, and will soon be setting sail again after being rebuilt for the last decade.  

She talks about where we're at as a society in regards to the environment: how we're in a period of consequences and it's easy to feel hopeless, but much of the youth are "solutionists" who don't want to hear apologies, and instead, want to do something about it. She believes that while schools don't teach ecology, it's never too late to learn, and non-ordinary states of consciousness could help people remember our connection to nature, care about our planet, and find the others who feel the same way. Consider pairing your self-exploration with improving the world around you: what can you do to turn your perfect, overly fertilized lawn into a regenerative landscape instead?

www.psychedelicstoday.com

Apr 21, 2023

In this episode of Psychedelics Weekly, Joe and Kyle once again record in person, diving into novel compounds, changing opinions, Bicycle Day, and more. 

They start by dissecting a very recent controversy around The Church of Psilomethoxin and whether the sacrament they label as psilomethoxin – supposedly created by adding 5-MeO-DMT to the substrate of cultivated Psilocybe mushrooms – actually contains any psilomethoxin in it. Usona Institute published a paper last week reporting on their analysis of a sample they allegedly collected from the Church, which only showed what we’d see in a sample of a typical psilocybin-containing mushroom. While the Church has issues with Usona’s data collection, analytical methods, and motives, they also reiterate a main component of the church: that their "claims to the existence of Psilomethoxin, at this time, are solely based on faith," and bolstered by their “own direct experiences with the Sacrament.” It’s a very interesting story that touches on faith, consent, personal safety, and the harms of the drug war, which Joe covered extensively in a Twitter Space last night with Andrew Gallimore and the writer of a very critical article, Mario de la Fuente. 

They also discuss: 

-a Time magazine article about the mystery of Long COVID, and how many believe the anti-inflammatory and neuroplastic benefits of psychedelics could be the answer; 

-how Bicycle Day may soon become more popular than 4/20, likely due to society’s warmer reception to the life-changing effects of psychedelics (as opposed to their propagandized and unmoving beliefs about cannabis); 

-how some analysts believe that seven in 10 ketamine companies will likely face financial challenges as the industry grows too quickly; 

and why Snoop Dogg apparently microwaves blunts before smoking them (and does that actually do anything?).

www.psychedelicstoday.com

Apr 18, 2023

In this episode, on the eve of Bicycle Day, Victoria and Kyle interview two long-standing icons of visionary psychedelic art: Alex and Allyson Grey.

They talk about the LSD trip that saved Alex’s life, connected him to Allyson, inspired his art, and even made him change his name; his decades-in-the-making “Sacred Mirrors” project of 21 7-foot tall pieces depicting the complex layers of human existence; the interconnectedness of life; the history of psychedelic art; how imagination and non-ordinary states help us connect with the divine; and the value of art in conveying the mystical experience.

Alex and Allyson are the Co-Founders of the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors, an interspiritual church/retreat center in upstate New York that, after years of work, is debuting Entheon: an art sanctuary and psychedelic reliquary featuring much of their art and work from favorite artists, a shrine to Tool (who Alex has worked with for most of their career), and a collection of relics from psychedelic legends that includes Albert Hofmann’s glasses, art signed by Stan Grof and the Shulgins, and even Timothy Leary’s ashes. Entheon opens on June 3, on the anniversary of the first acid trip the Greys took together, which gave them a framework for understanding life and an inspiration for art they still follow to this day.

And in honor of Bicycle Day, Alex talks about two pieces dedicated to Albert Hofmann, and continues his Bicycle Day tradition of reading a statement Hofmann made a year before he passed about psychedelics being the “absolute highest importance to consciousness change.” In celebration of Albert Hofmann and the gift he gave us, and with inspiration from the incredibly complex and beautiful art Alex and Allyson create, have a happy, safe, and creative Bicycle Day! 

www.psychedelicstoday.com

Apr 14, 2023

In this episode, Joe interviews Melissa Lavasani: CEO of Washington, DC-based Psychedelic Medicine Coalition and now, President of the brand new Psychedelic Medicine PAC.

She discusses her path to psychedelics, how she ended up running the Initiative 81 campaign (the Entheogenic Plant and Fungus Policy Act of 2020), and how she came to realize that decriminalization efforts can't be the only option we go for – that, like it or not, we live in a system where politics and money are major factors behind any systematic change, and if we want to make any headway, we have to play the game. The Psychedelic Medicine PAC (Political Action Committee) was created to open up federal funding for psychedelic research, as nearly all research today (of which there still isn't enough) is being funded by private companies. They will use donations to support politicians who are on our side and can advance psychedelic progress, who will push for federal funding to get the new and necessary data people who aren't bought in yet need to see. 

They talk about speaking with people from the other side of the aisle at a recent education campaign in DC; how federal funding is neutral money; what she learned from DC's deprioritization of cannabis policing; how personal stories and one-on-one human connection can change minds better than traditional confrontational activism; and the need to get ahead of the inevitable wave of big pharma propaganda they'll bring when they officially step up to the table. She believes the path to helping the most people is advancing science and data through federal funding, and that begins with education and getting more politicians on our side. If you agree, follow them for details about their upcoming event in May, visit their table at Psychedelic Science this June (use PT15 for 15% off tickets), and donate to the PAC or the coalition. 

Also, as a bonus, this episode begins with a mini version of Psychedelics Weekly. Joe and Kyle didn't have enough time to record a full episode, but still wanted to check in and review a few notable stories and highlight our recent Vital graduation ceremony. See you next week!

www.psychedelicstoday.com

Apr 11, 2023

In this episode, Joe lets Court Wing take lead in interviewing two of the leaders behind Clusterbusters: Founder and Executive Director, Bob Wold; and President, Eileen Brewer.

A long-time friend of the show, Court Wing has become our resident expert on chronic pain, writing articles about how psilocybin relieved his chronic pain, and hosting Timothy Furnish, MD & Joel Castellanos, MD in their episode about phantom limb pain. Now he speaks with Clusterbusters, a non-profit dedicated to educating people about the horrors of cluster headaches, funding ongoing research into new treatments, and normalizing the miracle that psilocybin has been to so many sufferers in alleviating their headaches. 

Wold and Brewer discuss their past struggles (Wold is a cluster sufferer and Brewer has migraine disease) and discovering the amazing intervention of psychedelics; the battles they've gone through in spreading this knowledge; how using psychedelics is also helping people work through PTSD; the barriers that legal psilocybin is creating; the concept of schools having a drug education program; the research looking at cluster headaches and other headache diseases; their creation of the Pain And Psychedelics Association, and more. While cluster headache sufferers have a lot to be frustrated about; as psilocybin becomes more mainstream and more and more research is funded, they now have a lot of hope.

www.psychedelicstoday.com

Apr 7, 2023

In this episode of Psychedelics Weekly, Kyle is back in Colorado and in-person with Joe, and they discuss what stood out to them in the news this week:

-A New York Times interview with Roland Griffths, where he talks about his cancer diagnosis and how meditation and psychedelics have helped him prepare for the inevitable end;

-An article on the rising popularity of psychedelics among mothers, and the benefits and risks of moms rejecting alcohol culture in favor of something new (and largely illegal);

-The NBA removing cannabis from its list of banned substances and allowing players to invest in cannabis companies, which follows years of other sports slowly accepting that cannabis is a part of our culture and there’s no need to play the part of “big brother” anymore;

and an article looking at legalization from the perspectives of people who were against recent measures like Prop 122, and how some towns in Colorado and Oregon are looking for ways to prevent the creation of psilocybin service centers from being built in their backyards.

They also go further into the Psychedelic Medicine Coalition’s recently created Political Action Committee and the work they’re doing to educate lawmakers; Harvard Law School hosting webinars comparing psychedelic legislation and the role of psychedelics in Indigenous groups in Europe, Australia, and North America; Arizona’s HB-2486, which would give $30 million in grants to universities and non-profit organizations to conduct psilocybin research; and Rick Doblin’s recent appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience.

www.psychedelicstoday.com

Apr 4, 2023

In this episode, David interviews neuroscientist, artist, and educator, Melanie Pincus, Ph.D.; and Ph.D. candidate in Neuroscience, lead or co-author on over a dozen scientific publications, and regular contributor to PT, Manesh Girn. 

They tell their stories of how they became interested in neuroscience, and stress the importance of staying radically open-minded (or “epistemically naive”) when it comes to how much we can claim we understand about the brain, the mind-body connection, and consciousness itself – that while fMRI and other advances have brought us a long way, there are still a ton of “unknown unknowns,” especially around creativity, decision making, and imagination. They discuss the misconception that we only use 10% of our brains; comparisons between the brain and the universe; society’s misunderstanding of “happy hormones” (dopamine, serotonin, etc.); how chronic stress takes a toll on all parts of the body; how MDMA works with memory processing; and how stacking modalities with the psychedelic experience (like play or activities focused on emotion regulation) can really help with personal goals and growth. 

They have taken their understanding and fascination with neuroscience and applied it to a new course in our Psychedelic Education Center: “Psychedelic Neuroscience Demystified: How Psychedelics Alter Consciousness and Produce Therapeutic Effects“: an 8-week live course with 10 hours of prerecorded material and a built-in community. It was designed with practitioners and clinicians in mind, but with the goal of still being as accessible as possible for anyone who is curious about the neuroscience of psychedelics, and how that knowledge can help with preparation, the journey, integration, and working with a heightened window of neuroplasticity. 

Class begins on May 17, and if you sign up before April 12, you can get $100 off!

www.psychedelicstoday.com

Mar 31, 2023

In this episode of Psychedelics Weekly, Joe calls in from Los Angeles to cover the week's news with David. 

They review: 

-Dr. Julie Holland's recent appearance on the The Cannabis Investing Podcast, where she discussed the concept of cannabis being a psychedelic;

-Vancouver Island University in British Columbia, Canada, planning to establish a Psychedelic Research Centre, with a focus on the historical and ethical context of psychedelic substances, using a "two eyed seeing" approach that combines Western-style science with Indigenous perspectives;

-A group of investors creating a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) to purchase real estate for the purposes of psychedelic therapy, which, if used as the collaborative model we imagine it could be, could solve a lot of problems;

-Diplo completing the Los Angeles Marathon in 3 hours and 35 minutes while under a reported 4-5 drops of LSD, and the dismissive spin mainstream media added to the story; 

and a Rolling Stone article focusing on (and somewhat oversimplifying) the conflicts between the medicalization and decriminalization/legalization camps (can we just do both?).

The articles of course lead to much larger discussions: how cannabis has helped David overcome OCD; the need for more transparency and a review system based on abusive behavior in the psychedelic space; the idea of collectivization in therapy models; why we need to agree on ethical foundations; and our general misunderstanding of IP and IP law: was all the criticism of Compass Pathways unwarranted?

www.psychedelicstoday.com

 

Mar 30, 2023

In this episode, David interviews Sunny Strasburg, LMFT: Clinical Director at TRIPP PsyAssist; psychedelic trainer, consultant, therapist, and writer, specializing in EMDR and Internal Family Systems, and offering ketamine-assisted therapy as well as ketamine therapy retreats (often co-led by Dr. Richard Schwartz). 

She talks about her family history with magic, and how the act of calling energy in and out pairs with psychedelic work; how the human experience is made up of contrasts; why we need to embrace the recreational part of psychedelics; how art can be used more in therapy; and how post-experience group integration is the act of creating mythology, recreating the small-community-sitting-by-the-fire archetype – that community we so desperately need. And she discusses ketamine: different ways she uses it; how it pairs perfectly with Internal Family Systems; and how it’s autobiographical medicine, making us an observer and allowing us to separate ourselves from our story.

While passionate about the mystical, magic, and reconnecting to nature, she is also very involved with virtual reality, and she discusses how VR and meditation apps are easing people into non-ordinary states and familiarizing people with breathwork. With the help of pioneering psychedelic DJ, David Starfire, she created PsyAssist, an app with music playlists and voice integration for people to enhance ketamine experiences that don’t otherwise include therapy or integration work. PsyAssist was acquired by VR company, TRIPP, and they’re running a study on people using VR before a psychedelic experience to see if data proves that VR really does reduce the anxiety so many of us feel before taking that big journey. But she reminds us: as we become more connected to technology, VR, and AI, being connected to other human beings will become more and more important.

www.psychedelicstoday.com

Mar 28, 2023

In this episode, Joe interviews Ph.D. student in the Drug Use and Behavior Lab at the University of Alabama Birmingham, Haley Maria Dourron.

She talks mostly about the paper she co-authored last year with Dr. Peter Hendricks and Camilla Strauss: “Self-Entropic Broadening Theory: Toward a New Understanding of Self and Behavior Change Informed by Psychedelics and Psychosis,” which analyzes the long-standing comparisons between the psychedelic state and psychosis, and points out important distinctions between the two – that science should be looking more at the way one processes information and their level of self-focus rather than similarities in outward behavior. She discusses what she calls entropic processing, which is essentially how one’s brain creates novel ideas, relations, and insights based on very loosened mental schemas: with new information being considered in new ways (with no filter), do the connecting pathways that seem like eureka moments actually make sense? 

She discusses the broaden and build theory and the broadening of intentional scope; entropy; chronic LSD use and risk of psychosis; schizophrenia and psychedelics; why science needs to embrace naturalistic research, and more. As of this release date, there are still a few participatory spots left in her current study on the effect of psychedelic experiences on people who have a history of psychosis, so if you had an episode of psychosis at some point and have gone on to use psychedelics, she wants to hear your story. Head to the show notes for the link.

www.psychedelicstoday.com

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