PTSF48 – Decriminalization, Embracing the Mystical, and a Plea for More Ethical Exploration

In today’s Solidarity Fridays episode, Kyle and Joe are joined once again from Mexico by Michelle Janikian, and let’s take a moment to do what wasn’t done last week: welcome Michelle to the podcast, as she will be joining the guys on SFs for the foreseeable future, and possibly on other podcasts soon as well. Welcome to the revolution, Michelle!

As you’d expect, they discuss the news: Norway’s plan to decriminalize personal drug use based on recommendations from the U.N. and W.H.O. and why that may be related to Norway’s high rate of drug-related deaths (or maybe even a high suicide rate), a new bill in California to not only decriminalize psychedelics (including MDMA and LSD, and excluding peyote) but expunge records as well, a new Massachusetts bill to decriminalize all drugs and study psychedelics, a study where researchers achieved real-time communication with lucid dreamers, and Alex Jones’ (likely true) claim that government officials regularly use DMT to communicate with freaking aliens.

The most-discussed articles though, are Vice’s post about how psychedelic therapy needs to embrace the mystical side of things, and Tim Ferriss’ recent blog, pleading people to follow more ethical, safer, and more environmentally-friendly paths in their explorations of different medicines. They also talk about Ferriss’ concept of a minimum effective dose, the progress of cannabis legalization in Mexico, using caution with frameworks, Pascal’s Wager, how the idea of a psychedelic community is becoming antiquated, and whether or not Kyle is regularly astral projecting without realizing it. 

Notable Quotes

“This concept of political capital- you only have so many ‘politics tokens’ to put in the machine, and being a politician, you kind of have to play the game of not only influencing what you and your constituency want but [also] ‘how do I get re-elected too?’ It’s not spending political capital to be anti-drug in most states. [To] be a really hardcore prohibitionist, you actually gain political capital in a lot of ways. But putting your neck on the line for something like this is quite risky for a politician, so, good on ya!” -Joe

“It just doesn’t fit into that narrative where it’s like: ‘Can psychedelics revolutionize mental health?’ Yes, but not just help people and cure, heal- we have to change the way we think about the human experience and we have to let in so many other weird, unworldly experiences to really, fully– like, yea, it’s going to revolutionize mental health. It’s going to revolutionize everything if we really integrate it and take all aspects of it into consideration. But that’s really hard for doctors and these psychiatrists in-training to really do- they just want a new medication to help their patients. Do they really want to like, rethink reality? [sarcastically:] That’s just for weirdos like us.” -Michelle

“Sometimes when I’m in conversations with other clinicians and it’s so pathology-oriented, I’m like, do we need to keep continuing that language? Could there be other ways of viewing and seeing this? How [can] psychedelics- or not even psychedelics- just extraordinary experiences in general help shift our view of what it means to be human? What does it mean to be well in the world? Do I always need to be sick when I come to a mental health professional? Do I always need some sort of diagnosis? I think these are the questions that my exceptional experiences have made me think about- traditional systems and how they’ve really shifted over the years.” -Kyle

“The dream world, to me, has always been so fascinating, because it’s like the natural psychedelic everyone has every night. Dreams are so weird. There’s no psychedelic that really touches how weird dreams are. And yet we go to that place every night.” -Michelle

Links Norway to Decriminalize Personal Drug Use in ‘Historic’ Shift New California bill would decriminalize psychedelics, expunge criminal records New Massachusetts Bills Would Decriminalize All Drugs And Study Regulated Sales of Psychedelics Viva la Cannabis? Not so Fast (Michelle’s article)

Tim Ferriss’ blog: An Urgent Plea to Users of Psychedelics: Let’s Consider a More Ethical Menu of Plants and Compounds DMT Research From 1956 to the End of Time, by Andrew R. Gallimore and David P. Luke Pascal’s Wager Psychedelic Therapy Needs to Confront the Mystical The Fallacy of Misplaced Concreteness (Kyle was right, Joe had it wrong) Scientists establish freaky two-way communications with lucid dreamers Real-time dialogue between experimenters and dreamers during REM sleep (the actual study)

Youtube: Qualia Research Institute’s video (that’s causing debate in the facebook group)

Matthew Segall’s appearance on Psychedelics Today Alex Jones Says Secret Government Program Uses Psychedelics To Communicate With Aliens

Alien Information Theory: Psychedelic Drug Technologies and the Cosmic Game, by Andrew R. Gallimore

Recursion, by Blake Crouch

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PT232 – Dr. Ryan Westrum – Who We Are Without Medicine

In this episode, Kyle interviews clinical psychologist focusing on sexual trauma, health, and identity, and author of The Psychedelics Integration Handbook, Dr. Ryan Westrum.

Westrums’ biggest focus and conversation with clients right now in our age of Covid concerns who we are without medicine- how we fill the liminal states between our sessions or rituals. He talks a lot about the work people can do on their own now: learning to listen to our inner healers, honing and sharpening what we already know, stretching ourselves, listening to the different parts of our intuition (our physical bodies, emotional hearts, and cognitive thinking) and realigning when one is out of sync, and maybe the most important lesson: embracing the idea that self-work doesn’t have to be built on trials and tribulations, and often, challenging ourselves to use our hands and practicing something we know we’re good at or getting back into a long-forgotten hobby can be just as effective towards growth and feeling better about ourselves. 

He also talks about solitude, how to use technology the right way and not fall into false engagement, what safety means to people in today’s climate, the importance of tethering yourself to trustworthy allies, how psychedelics and his work with sexuality converge, and how to embrace the wonder and beauty of what we discover through psychedelics in everyday life.

Notable Quotes

“We have to consciously watch what we’re consuming, being prudently aware of this mindful consumption rather than this inappropriate consuming of information when we don’t even know why we just touched our phone or why we just engaged in learning more. Without sounding blasphemous (because I love the internet), what’s it for? What are we doing it for? …How often are you getting lost in people you don’t even know? And how often are you reaching out to people that could actually be there for you? And it leads to psychedelic medicine work- are you leaning on the people that could actually support you?” 

“What is the higher level of intention we’re living? If we are going to take the challenge to dive into medicine work by ourselves, we should still be constructing something that’s higher level, and to speak volumes of motivating the purpose of why we’re doing it. If you’re just doing it to do it because you think that’s the next thing, I’d ask you: what are you doing in your life away from the medicine?” 

“Some of the most amazing transcendences are personal, and without being disrespectful to the medicine, do we need it to evoke that? Is that a state of being that we can find within ourselves through evocative breathing, through a great song, sexual pleasure with your partner, whatever? There’s other avenues. That’s what that leads me to, is the plethora of opportunity outside of taking psilocybin or doing an ayahuasca ceremony- [the] plethora of experiential experiences that are very evocative towards healing.”

“Without going into hours of conversation, even in couples, people are unaware of what they can share, unaware of entering into what they want to ask for. And that’s where the intersection of psychedelics happens, is it gives them this embodied expression of: ‘This is genuinely who I am, sexually, emotionally, spiritually,’ and it’s quite beautiful.”


The Psychedelics Integration Handbook, by Ph.D. Ryan Westrum

His last appearance on the podcast

About Dr. Ryan Westrum

Dr. Ryan Westrum, PhD, MA. is a nationally recognized psychedelic
integration expert, author of The Psychedelics Integration Handbook, and Doctor of Clinical Transpersonal Psychology. For more than 15 years, his primary focus has been working with individuals and groups facilitating experiential therapy and integrating psychedelic journeys into healing and personal transformation. Ryan speaks on myriad of topics and leads experiential groups, like dreamwork integration therapy and psychedelic integration groups. The founder of and

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PTSF47 – Covid, Ketamine, and Human Rights

In today’s Solidarity Fridays episode, Kyle and Joe are joined from Mexico by freelance journalist (who has been featured here several times) and writer of Your Psilocybin Mushroom Companion, Michelle Janikian. They first get into an email from a listener in Costa Rica highlighting a problem Michelle has seen in Mexico (and that mirrors last week’s discussion about ayahuasca gatherings): expats’ disregard for Covid safety protocols showing an egotistical disrespect for the communities that have welcomed them.

The episode then shifts to a bit of a callback to the early days of solidarity, with fewer philosophical ponderings and a whole lot of articles (just scroll down to view the wall of links). From ketamine reducing suicidality (and is ketamine a cure-all silver bullet or just an overhyped respite?) to a Rick Strassman-backed study of DMT for stroke patients, to a college in Jamaica opening a Field-Trip backed psilocybin lab, to Vermont and New Jersey’s progress on decriminalization bills, to a discussion on if drug laws violate human rights, to extremely mainstream Vogue and Rolling Stone both reporting on psychedelics, this episode has it all. And yes, it does also include anti-government and drug war rants from Joe, so it’s truly a complete episode. 

And if you forgot, the next round of Navigating Psychedelics for Clinicians and Therapists goes live on 3/11

Notable Quotes

“If we are at home working with psychedelics because we can’t do group work, I think it’s still really important to be talking about it with other like-minded folks, because when we don’t have any community and we just are using psychedelics, it can get a little delusional. …We can still take psychedelics, but we have to live in reality.” -Michelle 

“Everybody’s saying psychedelic integration is important [and it] makes me roll my eyes. Like, yea, true, but how many times do we have to say it? I guess ‘until everyone’s doing it’ is the answer.” -Joe

“A lot of my anxiety and depression stems from an existential, spiritual root, and a lot of my experiences with breathwork or psychedelics in the past would get me there and provide that deep level of insight of: ‘I have a choice here.’ And it allowed me to change my relationship (or at least provide insight on how I could change my relationship to that), but then coming back to do the work was the challenge. Like, ‘Oh shit, I need to actually change this. And how do I do that?’” -Kyle

“Ok, Federal government: what can you do to win my trust back? And I don’t know what the answer is, honestly. I don’t think I will, at large, ever really trust the US Federal government. I don’t really hold out hope that I’ll trust them again in my lifetime because they’ve shown to be a corrupt, gross, crony, capitalist system that does not care about human well-being.” -Joe (big shock)


Michelle’s last appearance on Psychedelics Today

This Week in Virology podcast Donate to help the people of Huautla de Jimenez Regular oral doses of ketamine significantly reduce suicidal thoughts Contemplating the complexities of being in relationship with substances Algernon targeting psychedelic drug DMT for stroke program Psychedelic Drug DMT To Be Trialed On Stroke Victims Can Microdosing Make You a Better Athlete? “Spirit Molecule” DMT Keeps Cells Alive When Oxygen Levels Are Low Could the Embrace of Psychedelics Lead to a Mental-Health Revolution? Will the Federal Government Finally Embrace the Psychedelic Revolution? New Vermont Bill Would Decriminalize Psychedelics And Kratom (from last year) Lawmakers, prosecutor say it’s time for Vermont to decriminalize drugs (update)

Our.Today: UWI opens Caribbean’s first ‘magic mushroom’ lab in Jamaica St. Vincent and the Grenadines Launch Psychedelics Initiative Do Psychedelic Drug Laws Violate Human Rights?

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