Breaking Convention Series: Dr. Torsten Passie – The Science of Microdosing Psychedelics


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In this episode, Kyle sits down with Dr. Torsten Passie, Professor of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy with the Hanover Medical School in Germany. In the show, they cover a range of topics on Dr. Passie’s studies on microdosing.

Dr. Torsten Passie will be taking part in a special panel dedicated to microdosing at Breaking Convention 2019 (August 16-18, Greenwich, London), also featuring Amanda Fielding of the Beckley Foundation, Dr David Erritzoe of Imperial College, London, Dr Devin Turhune (Goldsmiths), and Dimitris Liokaftos, exploring myriad aspects of microdosing, including its effects, unknowns, and media representation presented by BC director Nikki Wyrd. Find out more about Breaking Convention: https://www.breakingconvention.co.uk/

3 Key Points:

  1. Psychedelic research in the University setting died off after 2004, but is finally seeing an increase as the psychedelic revolution continues to grow.
  2. There is very little to no documentation of doctors doing self-experimenting with psychedelic drugs. It’s becoming popular for therapists to use the substances used on their patients, more common to do the self-work before doing the work on others.
  3. Even if microdosing does not produce any significant effects and it is all placebo, the trend is a new way to introduce it into our society.

The Science of Microdosing Psychedelics


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Show Notes

About Dr. Passie

  • Dr. Passie has been researching psychedelics for 25 years
    • He specializes in the therapeutic use of psychedelic drugs
    • He has found difficulties in researching psychedelics during prohibition
  • Dr. Passie had a mystical experience before using psychedelics and then became interested in psychedelic use
  • He had grown up as an atheist, a materialist, and his experience required him to change his psychological state
    • His perception of reality was irritated and he had to see a therapist to integrate this experience
    • He said that this was frustrating because he was young and still in search for his identity
  • Through all of this, he decided to study medicine and become a psychedelic doctor
    • He became very conscious that he was on the right track

Research Studies

  • The researchers were the only ones doing studies on psychedelic states, there wasn’t much happening at the Universities
    • He did studies with cannabis, ketamine and even laughing gas
    • The research then was on how cannabinoids can help with psychosis
    • They were not successful with that, but it came to be that CBD was a neuroleptic and an anti-psychotic
  • Research pretty much stopped after 2004 due to new laws and the cost of the research
    • Dr. Passie does mention that in the past 10 years research has really taken off again and that we are really seeing the renaissance of psychedelic culture
  • In most of the literature of doctors doing self-experimenting, there is very little to no documentation of doctors doing self-experimenting with psychedelic drugs
    • Kyle mentions that MAPS has included into their training protocol to allow for therapists to have self-experiments with the substances that they are using on patients
    • Kyle also mentions he can’t imagine trying to hold space in breathwork without having had his own experiences with breathwork
    • Dr. Passie says that the history of self-experimentation with psychedelics has shown that the participants can become ‘gurus’ and lose their objectivity, he uses Timothy Leary as an example
    • But with only a few times of self-experimentation, maybe 2-4 times, he doesn’t see risks

HPPD

  • Hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD) is a disorder in which a person has flashbacks of visual hallucinations or distortions experienced during a previous hallucinogenic drug experience
  • Dr. Passie thinks there is a selection bias in what is published about HPPD
    • Its more common to have a study published that talks about an adverse effect of LSD than a benefit of it
  • Hundreds of thousands of studies were conducted in the 50’s, and no one claimed that this phenomenon came up
    • And now one person has conducted a study, claiming that this phenomena exists
  • Dr. Passie says that this pattern happens among people who are prone to anxiety and who are dissociative
    • He says that most subjects that claim to experience HPPD, have experienced visuals even before ever taking LSD

Microdosing

  • It has been known to not have any effects from 15-20 micrograms of LSD
    • 20-50 micrograms of LSD is considered mini-dosing, where you can feel some type of effects from it, but not as much as the full dose
  • Dr. Passie says it is strange for people to claim to have increased cognition during microdosing based on conventional data that shows that LSD produces poor cognitive function
    • He thinks that whatever the effects are of LSD at a high dose, that the effects at a low dose are the same, just less, not completely different effects
  • He believes that there is some placebo effect with microdosing
  • In terms of the microdosing trend, Dr. Passie is critical about the productivity factor, he does believe in the creativity factor though
    • The flow state may also be increased with microdosing
    • He claims that in his own experience with microdosing, he doesn’t experience the flow state, in fact he experiences a feeling of agitation

Combinations

  • In a study, when patients took a microdose first, and then a little while later, they took a different full psychedelic dose, the microdose impacted the experience of the full dose
    • It lessened the effects of the full dose psychedelic

Psychedelics and Sleep

  • Dr. Passie mentions a study where patients were given LSD, both high and low doses, during sleep
    • What was found was that LSD impacts REM sleep patterns
    • The dreams were not altered
    • The REM phases got longer during the beginning of sleep, and then much shorter near the end of sleep
  • It shows that the impact of sleeping patterns brings someone to feel much different the next day

The Microdosing Trend

  • Microdosing has much to be explored yet
  • But even if microdosing does not produce effects, the trend is a new way to introduce it into our society
  • “Microdosing might be a new assimilation process of psychedelics into our culture” – Torsten
  • Instead of the 60’s where we are taking huge doses, we are taking tiny doses as a slow approach to assimilate psychedelics back into society

Links

The Science of Microdosing Psychedelics


About Dr. Torsten Passie

Torsten is a professor of psychiatry and psychotherapy affiliated with Hannover Medical School, and led the Laboratory for Consciousness and Neurocognition. He has conducted clinical research on psychoactive substances and has written several books including The Pharmacology of LSD (2010) and Healing with Entactogens (2012). Between 2012 and 2015 he was visiting professor at Harvard Medical School.

Breaking Convention Series: David Luke – Transpersonal Ecopsychology and Psychedelics




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In this episode, hosts Kyle and Joe sit down with Psychologist, David Luke, Executive Director of Breaking Conventions, a conference on the better understanding of psychedelics. In the episode, they cover research on psychedelics and transpersonal ecopsychology.

3 Key Points:

  1. Transpersonal experiences are super powerful and can be valuable if integrated properly.
  2. Getting access to drugs at affordable prices for research is difficult for the progression of the psychedelic movement. There is a lot of red tape in studying psychedelics.
  3. There is a growing field for mapping altered states of consciousness using science and research.

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Show Notes

About David

  • David is a Psychologist
  • He works at the University of Greenwich
  • He is a co-founder of the Breaking Convention Conference

Breaking Convention

  • August 16-19, 2019 in London England
  • There are over 180 speakers, a variety of workshops, and more
  • David will be speaking about Shamanic perspectives and mapping altered states of consciousness
  • The topic of David’s speech for the conference is Ecodelia: Towards A Transpersonal Ecopsychology Through Psychedelics.

Parapsychology

  • Parapsychology is a study of phenomena that questions what we think we know about science
  • David has conducted pre-cognition experiments with ayahuasca, san pedro, mescaline

Research

  • David says it’s tricky doing this work because there is a serious amount of red tape around psychedelic studies
  • Getting access to the drugs and to get a lab to make them specifically for research is outrageously expensive
  • David says that Compass Pathways is making the research side of things easier
  • He says that he wants the proper research to be done so that it can be available for all those who need it, and for that he supports Compass Pathways, but if they were to pull something like what happened with Esketamine and making an isomer of Ketamine extremely expensive, then he will not support it

Nature and Psychedelics

  • Psychedelics provide a feeling of connectedness with nature
  • People prefer to take psychedelics outside, but overall prefer to have amazing, transformative experiences, which in turn makes them more tuned in to nature

Transpersonal Experience

  • An experience that is genuinely transpersonal can be useful
    • Typically after a transformational experience, people question their sanity, they have cognitive dissonance, their world view just isn’t suitable enough to contain a normal sense of reality anymore
    • Its common for a lot of experiences to need a lot of integration afterward
  • David leads breathwork sessions
  • He sees people who have taken loads of psychedelics come in with skepticism about Breathwork, and then leave having the most transformative experience they’ve ever have
  • There are no limits to the human mind, and there are many ways to get there, and psychedelics are just the more obvious route.” – David
  • We get further and further away from figuring out psychedelics as a whole the more hyper-specialized we become in our individual fields
  • The psychedelic space is a really interesting territory
  • The things that Terrence McKenna would talk about years ago, we are finally starting to explore with science

Links

Otherworlds: Psychedelics and Exceptional Human Experience (Muswell Hill Press)


About David

David is Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Greenwich where he teaches the Psychology of Exceptional Human Experience. He was President of the Parapsychological Association between 2009-2011 and has published more than 100 academic papers on the intersection of transpersonal experiences, anomalous phenomena and altered states of consciousness. He has co-authored/co-edited four books on psychedelics and paranormal experience, directs the Ecology, Cosmos and Consciousness salon at the institute of Ecotechnics, and co-founded Breaking Convention.

David Krantz – Epigenetic Interactions on Substance Effects


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In this episode, Kyle interviews David Krantz, Certified Epigenetic Coach, and an expert in nutritional genomics. In the show, they talk about the effects of substances via the implications on an individual’s genetics.

3 Key Points:

  1. Epigenetic testing is a bio-hack for boosting cognitive function and harnessing our creativity and ultimate human potential.
  2. There has been a lot of research done on genetics and the effects of THC. The body produces cannabinoids that activate the THC receptors internally, which varies from person to person.
  3. Each person should be seen on an individual level, and the more we know about our unique genetics, the more we can understand about our interactions with different substances.

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Show Notes

About David

  • David works with clients on creating optimal epigenetic expression
  • He uses people’s genetics as a guide to look at recommendations for diet, herbs, supplements, etc.
  • He began looking at cannabis for recommendations and found curiosity in psychedelics too
  • Epigenetics studies the effects of the modification of genetics
    • It looks at chemical groups attached to the DNA itself and what happens to them over time

Cannabis and Genetics

  • The most robust area of research on genetics is THC
  • David said he has seen some research on Psilocybin and just very recently that liver enzymes are responsible for LSD interactions
  • It looks at the way people are metabolizing these substances
  • When you ingest something or smoke it, it has a higher impact on the body, edibles are a great example
    • Kyle brings up the curiosity of edibles impact being either physiological or biological
  • Genetics show the body’s cannabinoid levels
    • The body produces cannabinoids that activate the THC receptors internally
    • There are two enzymes that break down cannabinoids in the body, Anandamide and 2AG
  • There is a higher likelihood to use cannabis in a person with lower levels of endocannabinoids
    • This makes some people high-functioning stoners, and others non-functioning stoners
    • The substance is neutral, it’s all about the body and how it reacts to it
  • When the liver breaks down an edible, it makes THC more potent
  • There is speculation that the slow metabolizers have a better chance of passing a drug test because they don’t have a chance to convert 110HTHC to the COOHTHC

Food and Substance Effects

  • Kyle mentions someone who was drinking grapefruit juice everyday for 3 weeks, and it potentiated the effects of Ketamine
  • In order to psilocybin to be converted to psilocin, you need a chemical in your body called alkaline phosphatase
    • Vitamin C deficiency and Vitamin B-6 deficiency all both correlated with alkaline phosphatase deficiency
  • David brings up his experience going keto, it worked really great for him, his energy levels increased, he lost weight, but his wife had a horrible time with keto
    • Then he looked to genetics and it made perfect sense to him as to why it worked for him and why it failed for her
  • Metabolism, biochemistry, genetics, and so many other factors impact a person’s reaction to substances

Gene Type Testing

  • Apeiron
    • David also mentions that with companies like 23 and me, they get their money from selling people’s genetic information
    • He says Apeiron is focused on what you can actually do with the information, not just simply providing the results
  • David says its super valuable for people to know these things about themselves, how to mitigate stress, how the metabolism works, knowing what to eat, knowing vitamin deficiencies, etc.

Psychedelics in the Future of Epigenetics

  • David thinks were going to see that the epigenetics of psychedelics are going to show the ability to overcome trauma
  • When we look at people at an individual level, we all have our own idiosyncrasies and variations
  • “Because there is no such thing as an average human, let’s stop treating people like average humans and start treating them like they are individual people. Let’s stop leaving out the outliers.” – David
  • Taking an individualized approach to the psychedelic space is highly beneficial

Links

Website

Instagram


About David

David Krantz is a certified Epigenetic Coach who specializes in boosting cognitive function and helping clients harness their creative and personal power. As a lifelong musician, David sees the various systems of the body as parts of a complex symphony. And, as a coach, he excels at fine-tuning those parts to create resonant harmonious health. David also serves as Director of Psychoacoustics at Apeiron Center in Asheville, NC where he develops sound-based tools for better mood, energy, and focus. Additionally, he’s an expert in the pharmacogenetics of the endocannabinoid system and has developed a proprietary genetic test for looking at individual response to cannabinoids. A biohacker by training and artist by nature, David enjoys working with others who have a deep passion for enjoying life.