PT266 – Jerry B. Brown, Ph.D. – Psychedelics: Past, Present, and Future

October 12, 2021

In this episode, Kyle interviews anthropologist, author, ethnomycologist, and now co-designer of a new Psychedelics Today course, Jerry B. Brown, Ph.D.

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In this episode, Kyle interviews anthropologist, author, ethnomycologist, and now co-designer of a new Psychedelics Today course, Jerry B. Brown, Ph.D.

Like this episode, the course he worked on with Kyle is called “Psychedelics: Past, Present, and Future,” and this podcast serves as a brief overview of what the course goes much further into, from the landmark psychedelic events that brought us here, to the current models of psychedelic-assisted therapy, to the many career avenues that have opened up (and will continue to open up) as a result of this renaissance. 

Brown discusses Albert Hofmann’s synthesis of LSD, Stan Grof’s first psilocybin experience, the Nixon administration and the beginnings of the drug war, Roland Griffiths and Walter Pahnke (and Rick Doblin’s follow-up research), the early end-of-life cancer and psilocybin study, the creation of the Mystical Experience Questionnaire, and how Gordon Watson’s betrayal of María Sabina mirrors a lot of what’s going on today between Indigenous tradition and the Western money grab.

He talks about the concerns over Compass Pathways and patent law, how legalization often follows medicalization, how Portugal has handled the drug war, why we need to know our history, and the importance of recognizing the different ways of knowing. And he gives a very detailed description of his life-changing psilocybin journey many years ago that led to the discovery of his soul’s code.

If you want to learn much more, Psychedelics: Past, Present, and Future begins on October 26th! More info at Psychedeliceducationcenter.com.

Notable Quotes

“There’s a difference between standing on the shoulders of giants and crushing the people who have gone before us.”

“I was completely blown away by this Jungian synchronicity; this meaningful coincidence of a mental, psychedelic experience and something physical that happened in the world. How could they possibly be connected? But they were obviously connected. And this is the way I found what James Hillman (the psychologist) called my soul’s code.” 

“That magic and that resacralization of life’s experience that people talk about; this is a real deal. I mean, if you think about it, many of the founders of the field had transformative, transformational psychedelic experiences that took them from where they were in one part of their life and brought them into working on psychedelics.” 

“In both trials, the intensity of the mystical experience described by patients correlated to the degree to which their depression and anxiety decreased. I mean, let’s just think about what this means: We have white-coated shamans in a clinical laboratory administering a synthetic psychedelic to predictably occasion a mystical experience, which turns out to be the key to healing. This is amazing and brings psychedelics back to its shamanic roots.” 



The Psychedelic Gospels Facebook

Psychedelics Today: Jerry and Julie Brown – Healing Through Mystical Experience

Psychedelics Today: Psychedelics: Past, Present, and Future course

Chacruna.net: María Sabina, Mushrooms, and Colonial Extractivism

Cnn.com: Report: Aide says Nixon’s war on drugs targeted blacks, hippies

The Soul’s Code: In Search of Character and Calling, by James Hillman

Maps.org: Pahnke’s “Good Friday Experiment”: A Long-Term Follow-up and Methodological Critique

Csp.org (Council on Spiritual Practices)

Vice.com: Can a Company Patent the Basic Components of Psychedelic Therapy?

Stealing Fire: How Silicon Valley, the Navy SEALs, and Maverick Scientists Are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work, by Steven Kotler and Jamie Wheal

About Jerry B. Brown, Ph.D.

Jerry B. Brown, Ph.D., is an anthropologist, author, and ethnomycologist. He is a Founding Professor of Anthropology at Florida International University (FIU) in Miami, where he teaches an online course on “Psychedelics and Culture.” He also co-created the “Psychedelics: Past, Present, and Future” course for us. Professor Brown teaches and writes on psychedelics and religion as well as on psychedelic therapy. He is coauthor (with Julie Brown, LMHC, an integrative psychotherapist and also his wife) of The Psychedelic Gospels: The Secret History of Hallucinogens in Christianity, 2016.

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