In this episode, Joe interviews MD, attorney, host of the Plant Medicine podcast, and founder of the Psychedelic Medicine Association, Dr. Lynn Marie Morski.
She talks about her time working for the United States Department of Veteran Affairs and how her frustrations with not being able to recommend medicines she knew would help people led to her creating the Plant Medicine podcast, and how realizing that the podcast wasn't reaching enough doctors led to her creating the Psychedelic Medicine Association. She discusses their goal: to bring organizations, corporate entities, lawyers, and practitioners/therapists (really anyone in the medical field responsible for the wellbeing of another) together through forums and newsletters to bridge the enormous gap between those on the cutting edge of new medicines and modalities of healing and the more traditional doctors who don't know nearly enough about this emerging world.
She talks about her podcast and dedicating 4 full episodes to each drug, common misconceptions about doctors and healthcare, what it's like to be both a doctor and a lawyer, doctors who judge patients for using cannabis and the disservice that is, the complications of what comes after the FDA approves a drug, what’s necessary for getting psychedelics more into mainstream culture, and the silver lining that could come from COVID and COVID-related trauma.
“It should not be weighing job security vs. saving veterans’ lives, but that’s really the position a lot of us are put in, and I couldn’t take that anymore, and so I left the VA and made it my mission to undo the years of silence by speaking out a whole lot about it.”
“FDA approval, for example, of MDMA or psilocybin, is just step 1. What do you do when you’ve got a medicine now approved that doctors are afraid to recommend or prescribe because it came out of nowhere? They’re like, ‘Whoa, psychedelics were Schedule I and extremely dangerous and ‘Don’t do drugs!’ and now I’m supposed to be giving it to a patient?’ That is a barrier.”
“We’ve known about the 22 veteran suicides, and somehow, still, things haven’t gotten done in mental health. Maybe because, again, that’s ‘other.’ We have this whole issue with others, right? ‘That’s happening to these other people over here.’ The pandemic is one of the first things in... ever that has happened to everybody. It’s not ‘Oh, only the poor get this.’ Nope. Poor and rich. Tom Hanks got it right off the bat. Everybody’s getting it. Prime Ministers get it. And a lot of people are suffering the same mental health issues from the quarantine and so, it’s no longer where we can say ‘Oh, mental health struggles are for others.’ This has hit everybody. ...The suicide rate is rising for everybody. Mental health issues are rising for everybody. Is this the tipping point where the mental health system looks around and says ‘Ok, our tools aren’t sufficient. Can we start looking at these other modalities, including psychedelics, because we’ve got a second epidemic on our hands here?’”
“It should be absolutely crucial for anybody on the front lines of patient care to know at least the basics of these medicines. We’re not trying to get doctors to all want to do psychedelic medicine at all. That’s not our goal. If people learn about it and get excited and want to get trained and do that? Fantastic. But we just want a basic level of knowledge, and like you said, if just 20% of doctors knew, that’d be great. And then those doctors can talk to their colleagues in other areas. But that’s essentially the way that we’re impressing it on people: ‘This is coming. You, as a professional responsible for other people’s health need to educate yourself on this.’”