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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 5
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

Mar 24, 2023

In this episode of Psychedelics Weekly, Joe and Kyle are back at it, talking about news and what's going on at Psychedelics Today (applications for Vital close this Sunday, March 26, and we've just announced a new neuroscience course!).

Following up on last week's news that Field Trip Health had closed five clinics, they start with more unfortunate news: that Field Trip is laying off a lot of people, Ronan Levy has resigned as the CEO, trading has been suspended, and the company has obtained CCAA Protection (which, through the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act, essentially allows a struggling company a chance to restructure its finances to avoid bankruptcy, all through a formal Plan of Arrangement). And in similar news, all Ketamine Wellness Centers (an Arizona company recently acquired by Delic Holdings) would be closing immediately, with employees let go with little warning or explanation. These stories (and Synthesis Institute’s downfall) highlight the sad reality many of us in the psychedelic space forget: that just because a business is heart-centered and psychedelic-minded, it's still a business, and businesses need to be profitable to survive. 

Next, they cover Melissa Lavasani and the Psychedelic Medicine Coalition creating the Psychedelic Medicine PAC (Political Action Committee) to get more government funding behind psychedelic research. Members of PMC went to D.C. last week, presenting a psychedelic briefing to begin the process of educating legislators about the realities of plant medicines and psychedelic-assisted therapy (and Joe was there). 

And they discuss more: concerns over Australia's recent about-face on MDMA and psilocybin being used legally; a recent study where researchers used EEG and fMRI together to record what is happening in the brain while under the influence of DMT (and we should probably have Manesh Girn on again to explain it better than we could); and an interview with Eric Andre at SXSW where, in about 2 minutes, he brilliantly shines a light on drug exceptionalism, the lies of the drug war, and the need for more education on psychedelics – all to a bewildered reporter who didn't seem prepared to talk to Eric Andre (we are- please come on the podcast!).

www.psychedelicstoday.com

Mar 21, 2023

In this episode, Joe interviews the Co-Founder and CEO of Beckley Retreats, Neil Markey. 

Markey describes Beckley Retreats as comprehensive well-being programs, and talks about the importance of holistic wellness – that, while the retreats are centered around two group psilocybin experiences, the true benefits come from complementary factors: the four weeks of online prep and community building before the retreat, the six days in Jamaica surrounding the experiences, the six weeks of integration work after, and the depth of connections people find in the new community they may not have realized they needed so badly. He breaks down the details of the retreats and what they look for in facilitators, and tells a few success stories that really highlight how trauma, opposing ideas, and an infatuation with material objects and amassing wealth can all get in the way of real relationships and meaning. 

Beckley Retreats is currently working on two new projects: an observational study with Heroic Hearts and Imperial College London on using psilocybin for-traumatic brain injury, and a study with Bennet Zelner and the University of Maryland to bring executives through a retreat to see how it affects leadership and decision-making: can they prove that these types of experiences lead to more heart-centered leaders?

www.psychedelicstoday.com

 

Mar 17, 2023

In this episode of Psychedelics Weekly, Joe and Kyle join up once again to discuss the news and articles they found the most interesting this week. 

They start with the business news everyone is talking about: Field Trip Health & Wellness closing 5 of their clinics due to financial struggles (a deficit of $48.7 million since their inception and a net loss of $6.9 million reported for the last quarter), little confidence they'd be able to receive more funding, and the changing landscape of ketamine telehealth now that the Covid Public Health Emergency should finally come to an end in May. They also highlight an article dissecting the collapse of Synthesis Institute and the lessons to be learned, with both stories really showing just how new and unstable psychedelic business still is, and how the allure of first-mover advantage can be a dangerous gamble.

They also discuss four drug reform bills introduced in Vermont: two of which would decriminalize simple possession of all drugs, making a "personal use supply of drugs” a civil offense with a $50 fine; one removing penalties for using or selling psilocybin; and the last decriminalizing certain psychedelic plants and fungi. 

And they look at a research study aiming to learn more about people's lives after they've been involved in a clinical trial, Time Magazine's article about psychedelics and couples therapy, and a study that found that while 64% of survey respondents said at-home ketamine helped their symptoms, 55% (and 58% of Millennials) said they used more than the recommended dose – either by accident or on purpose.

www.psychedelicstoday.com

Mar 16, 2023

In this episode, David hosts another Vital Psychedelic Conversation, this time with Bennet Zelner, Ph.D.: Vital instructor who teaches economics at the University of Maryland Smith School of Business; and Giles Hayward: Vital student and Co-Founder of Woven Science (a company backing and building psychedelic and wellness tech companies) and El Puente, which focuses on Indigenous biocultural preservation.

Zelner believes that the traditional capitalist system we’ve grown accustomed to is an extractive and predatory one directly in opposition to a natural system we should be striving to emulate – one that circulates resources and exits largely in equilibrium with its different parts. His concept of the Pollination Approach (or regenerative economics) is about developing economic structures that are capable of balance: where communities are built to directly benefit each other and where businesses are structured to share resources and capital to all involved. In a hyper-individualistic system where loneliness and never feeling good enough are key drivers of depression, anxiety, and trauma, how could we not benefit from feeling more connected to each other, our communities, and the businesses that exist within them? 

They talk about different ways the pollination approach could be applied; how psychedelics disrupt these broken systems; how we can make these treatments affordable; and why we should be focusing on the delivery and integration of substances rather than creating new ones. And since Hayward is about to graduate from Vital’s inaugural run, he shares his feelings on the program and how it fell into this concept of regenerative economics. 

The application deadline for this year’s Vital has been extended to March 26, but that will be the last extension. So if you’re interested, now is the time to apply!

www.psychedelicstoday.com

Mar 14, 2023

In this episode, Joe interviews Graham Hancock: legendary bestselling author and writer and presenter of the new Netflix docuseries, "Ancient Apocalypse," where he travels the world looking for evidence of lost civilizations likely much more advanced than historians previously believed.

Hancock talks about his early books and how ayahuasca influenced his writing; the similarities in cave art and the common link of altered states of consciousness; how integral non-ordinary states of consciousness likely were to early religion (especially Christianity); how much the annihilation of religious traditions has hidden history; why his and Rupert Sheldrake's Tedx talks were originally taken offline; new understandings of Neanderthals' intelligence and creativity; the Quetzalcóatl; and the concept of the Younger Dryas impact hypothesis: could there have been an advanced civilization 12,800 years ago that we're just starting to comprehend? Could it have been Atlantis? 

He discusses the conflict with mystery and archaeology's obsession with scientism and materialist reductionism – that we keep trying to force everything into little boxes of approved science and have lost our imaginations and openness to possibility, especially when you realize how often narratives are built based on interpretations of data rather than facts (since the farther back we go, evidence becomes harder to come by). He believes science needs humility, a willingness to listen to Indigenous history, and a much more open mind when it comes to altered states of consciousness: “I'm convinced we're missing something important from our past, and if we don't look for it, we won't find it.”

Hancock has just announced that he will be a speaker at UK's Breaking Convention, April 20 - 22 at the University of Exeter, and some of the PT team will be there too! To save 10% off tickets, use code PSYCHTODAYBC10 at checkout.

www.psychedelicstoday.com

Mar 10, 2023

In this episode of Psychedelics Weekly, David is joined by Kyle, who is finally home after a lot of traveling, to talk shop and dig into the articles they found the most interesting this week. 

They begin with the news that Paul Stamets now has a species of mushroom named after him (Psilocybe stametsii), then take a look at a recent self-report study called “Prevalence and associations of challenging, difficult or distressing experiences using classic psychedelics,” which aimed to collect data on just how many psychedelic users (in this study, anyone who had ever tried a psychedelic) felt that they had had a challenging or difficult experience. They discuss the results and highlight some interesting data: that LSD was the most commonly associated substance, that smoking cannabis was one of the most commonly reported interventions, and of course, the question of whether or not these experiences were beneficial. 

They then talk about Synthesis Institute closing its doors, the possible hope Synthesis could have, and the sadness in this – when businesses fail, it’s easy to look at numbers and profit margins and be dismissive, but we forget the people involved; not just at Synthesis, but the hundreds of would-be students. 

And lastly, they look at an article about a California-based startup called the Reality Center, which uses a combination of pulsing lights, sounds, and vibrations to create a drug-free but seemingly very psychedelic experience, reminding us yet again that you do not need a substance to achieve  non-ordinary states of consciousness.

www.psychedelicstoday.com

Mar 9, 2023

In this episode of Vital Psychedelic Conversations, David interviews Vital instructor, Dr. Devon Christie: Senior Lead of Psychedelic Programs at Numinus, MAPS-certified MDMA therapist, and now four-time guest; and Vital student, Emefa Boamah: coach, facilitator, and trauma-informed intuitive guide specializing in embodiment. 

We've all heard the trope, "It's all in your mind," but it's also in your heart, soul, community, support system, and body - the focus of this episode. Christie and Boamah dive deep into the various aspects of the relationship between non-ordinary states and our bodies: ways to embody our bodies more; how the body is a fundamental source of truth; the benefit of checking in with one's body after an experience (to validate or disprove what may have come up); the importance of movement and rest; the different bodies we inhabit (physical, emotional, energetic, mental, and spiritual); and ways to accept (and eventually love) our bodies in a society that's always working to make us hate them – is self-love the ultimate act of defiance?

They also discuss the post-experience plasticity in everything, and the challenge of preparing an experiencer for something we can't know; how facilitators and practitioners need to track their own subconscious feelings and reactions; the concept of embodied inquiry; the necessity of remaining curious and humble; and the idea of using integrative practices to find ways to become the person you want to be – the person you may have seen glimpses of in non-ordinary states. 

And as this year's edition comes to an end, Boamah reflects on her experiences with Vital, particularly the communal aspects of the retreat and how healing it was to literally be lifted up by her companions. Head to the show notes to see a video showcasing some of the Vital experience, and if you're curious about whether Vital is right for you, please come to an upcoming Q+A. Applications close March 19!

www.psychedelicstoday.com

 

Mar 7, 2023

In this episode, in celebration of International Women’s Day, Victoria interviews Tracey Tee: co-founder and CEO of Band of Mothers Media, co-producer and co-host of the Band of Mothers podcast, and founder of Moms on Mushrooms, an online educational community for psychedelic-curious moms outside the prying eyes of social media.

With similar histories of womb trauma, self discovery, and body reconnection, Victoria and Tracey discuss the complications of motherhood, substance use and embracing psychedelics in a broken culture, in which engaging with small, approved coping mechanisms is fine – where the “wine mom” archetype and numbing yourself with medications is celebrated, but where we don’t often talk about how challenging motherhood can really be, and the lasting mental, physical, and spiritual impacts of birth, loss, and grief. Tracey’s goal with Moms on Mushrooms is to bring mothers together for personal growth, healing, and most of all, for the safe, supportive container that so many women considering plant medicine need.

She tells her story of creating and performing “The Pump and Dump Show” and the psychedelic journeys that led her to creating M.O.M., and discusses much more: how those large dose journeys reconnected her with her body; how microdosing has helped her feel more vulnerable, honest, and in tune with her daughter; how psychedelics can help parents realize where problematic core beliefs came from; how teaching children the ways of the world forces parents to confront and reaffirm what they truly believe; and the challenges mothers face in even talking about wanting to try psychedelics.

If you’re a mother and this episode resonates with you, check out Tee’s Microdosing 101 (for moms) course or join the Moms on Mushrooms community for $4.44 a month.

www.psychedelicstoday.com

Mar 3, 2023

In this episode, Psychedelics Weekly is back after a brief hiatus (everyone was either traveling or sick last week!), with the OG PT team: Joe and Kyle. 

With the exception of some commentary on John Oliver's recent piece on psychedelics (which was excellent), they skip the psychedelic news this week in favor of Psychedelics Today news, as a lot has been going on!

In the last few weeks:

Joe sustained a traumatic brain injury and a broken arm;

Joe, Kyle, and Victoria attended PT's first Cannadelic in Miami, where Joe and Kyle moderated or sat on several panels, Kyle and Victoria went and saw Afroman, and we won the Psychedelic Brand of the Year award(!);

Joe experienced a music festival in different ways (completely sober, and somewhat still in a concussion daze) and did some interesting research on psychedelics and post-concussion effects;

Despite Joe and Kyle both getting sick and not being able to attend all of it, the last Vital retreat was an amazing one, capping off a year of incredible content and connection that is only fueling the fire to make this year's Vital even better;

And, due to issues beyond our control with the planned venue and the City of Los Angeles, we had to cancel Convergence.

Phew! As promised, lots going on!

 www.psychedelicstoday.com

 

Mar 2, 2023

In this episode, David interviews Kevin Cannella, LPC: MAPS-trained psychedelic psychotherapist and Co-Founder and Executive Director of Thank You Life, a nonprofit organization working to provide access to psychedelic therapy by eliminating its financial barriers.

Co-Founded by Dr. Dan Engle, Thank You Life is very new and still in the process of officially launching, having just obtained 501(c)(3) status in December and recently gaining its first corporate sponsor in Dr. Bronner's. The nonprofit came from the realization of just how expensive psychedelic-assisted therapy can be, and Cannella wondering: what if there was a fund practitioners could plug into when a patient couldn't pay? While access for the patient is obvious, this model benefits the practitioner as well, which is something not often discussed in the psychedelic space – we focus a lot on how much these services will cost the patient, but rarely on the practitioner deserving to be paid fairly for their time and expertise. 

Cannella tells his story of immersion into a world of ayahuasca, yoga, and vipassana meditation; volunteering at the Temple of the Way of Light, living in Hawaii, then Brazil, and finally, landing at Naropa University, where his passions were finally validated. He discusses looking for signs and learning to trust intuition, ways to increase accessibility outside of a 501(c)(3) model, how it feels to be paid well for your work, and why he only wants to work with practitioners who offer therapy alongside their chosen substance.

Head to their website to donate to the Thank You Life fund, and follow them on socials for details on upcoming launch/fundraising events in April and May.

www.psychedelicstoday.com

 

Feb 28, 2023

In this episode, David interviews Victor Alfonso Cabral, LSW: Director of Policy and Regulatory Affairs at Fluence Training and Licensed Social Worker and practicing psychotherapist in Pennsylvania.

Cabral is currently involved with the film, “We are the Medicine,” which aims to explore the reemergence of plant medicines from the perspective of people of color from all backgrounds and walks of life, with the added factor of a strong hip hop influence. Filmmakers Eric Blackerby and Esteban Serrano want the film to normalize the concept of psychedelics and healing for people of color, but also the notion of men being truly authentic with each other and building each other up with love and support – something that challenges society’s expectations on how men (and more specifically, Black and Brown men) should be in relationships with one another. Head to pictureacolorfulworld.com to donate and sign up for the mailing list for more info on future fundraisers and screenings. 

He begins the episode by reading a powerful poem he read at Horizons NYC, then tells his story: his childhood and his mother’s sacrifices; how trauma caught up to him in college and led to the low point of his life; his subsequent 120-pound weight loss journey and embracing of therapy, how his first psychedelic experience resulted in an awakening of possibility; how he became a social worker and why he felt instantly aligned with the work; how he ended up working for PA Governor Tom Wolf; and how he came to be interviewed by Sway Calloway (who is also an Executive Producer of the film). His story and all of the organizations and efforts he’s been involved with prove that being authentic, following your heart, and building relationships with the right people can lead to growth and positive change in whatever path you choose in this space. 

www.psychedelicstoday.com

 

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