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:
- Epigenetic testing is a bio-hack for boosting cognitive function and harnessing our creativity and ultimate human potential.
- 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.
- 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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- 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
- 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
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.
In this episode, Kyle joins in conversation with Dr. Sam Gandy. During the show, they cover topics including the implications psychedelics have for human well-being and the biosphere at large at a time of growing disconnection.
3 Key Points:
- There have been a lot of recent threats to our planet and its survival if we continue on our current path of unsustainability. Feeling connected to nature increases the human desire to take care of and heal nature.
- There has been an inverse correlation with our connectedness to nature and our connection with technology. Getting out in nature, as well as using psychedelics in nature, both help increase our connectedness to nature.
- There has been a rise in cutting edge research that reveals the capacity of psychedelic substances to enhance human-nature connection, which Sam shares snippets of throughout the episode.
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- Sam has a PhD in Ecological Science from the University of Aberdeen and a Masters in Entomology from Imperial College London
- He has a lifelong interest in nature and wildlife and has conducted research in areas all over the world
- He is a Scientific Assistant to the Director at the Beckley Foundation
- He is a collaborator with the Psychedelic Research Group at the Imperial College of London
- Sam’s interest in psychedelics began in London when it was legal to buy mushrooms
- He was ‘anti-drug’ until he discovered psychedelics and began to explore consciousness and a love for nature
- His background in Ecology (the science of interconnection) has combined with the Psychedelic field
- Sam is interested in the capacity of psychedelics to increase human-nature connection and relatedness
- There is a huge threat that our planet won’t survive past this century if we continue on our path of destruction
- Remedying our nature disconnect is something really important if we want to survive
- This nature disconnection is inversely proportional from our technological connection
- We cant live without nature
- We have to make room for all the other life going on, not just the life that directly serves humans, like crops and livestock
- There is an increasing awareness of the need for nature connection
- Sam mentions about humanity’s screen addiction, it raises our cortisol levels and there are many consequences such as psychological and physiological effects
- “Contentment is the enemy of invention”
- Psychedelics and the internet are growing alongside each other
- Timothy Leary would say the internet is the psychedelics of the future in terms of connection
- The internet is playing a pivotal role in access to information in this psychedelic renaissance
- “Technology is not good or bad, it’s about how its used, the intent behind it” – Sam
- Sam thinks that the first step that took us away from nature is when we started farming, we became less hunter-gatherer minded and stepped away from the wild environment
- At that point we started living in large groups (creating cities)
- Then there was the division of labor and urbanization
- Cities and technology are the main reasons for our disconnect with nature
- “Long term sustainability would be one of the chief governing principles of how things are ran” – Sam
Psychedelics and Nature
- There is something radical about psychedelics, they can convert the skeptics into appreciating nature
- The ego dissolution character of psychedelics are a key component in feeling connected to nature
- The default mode network (where the ego resides) becomes relaxed and dissolved, and when that happens there is a breakdown of perceived boundaries between self and others/nature
- That dissolution of boundaries is a key component in the psychedelic experience
- “When you feel part of it, it changes fundamentally how you relate to it” – Sam
- One’s knowledge of nature is a very weak predictor of one’s concern for nature
- There isn’t research of the use of psychedelics in natural settings yet, Sam hopes that as we research psychedelics more (in clinical settings) the research can evolve into studying their use in nature
- With psilocybin, most people have claimed to have a long-term fleeting change in their connectedness to nature, that the feeling of connection doesn’t go away after the trip is over, it lasts for weeks, months, even the rest of their life
Rigid Egos and Nature Disconnection
- Psilocybin decreases blood flow to the default mode network
- “When we are destroying our own homes (our bodies and nature) are we falling out of love with our self?” – Kyle
- When we dissolve the ego, we increase connection, to ourselves, to others and to nature
Future in Psychedelics
- We are going to see the rise of Psychedelic Therapy
- We are going to see Psychedelic groups and communities on the rise
- From those groups, we will see projects and initiatives develop, which could bring decriminalization, integration circles, etc.
- Sam believes the rise of depression and anxiety are a cause of our disconnection to nature, and he believes there is a lot of personal healing to be had if we get back into nature and actually play a role in healing nature too
- Instead of trying to save the world just for our children and our children’s children, we need to look at this planet as if we were to reincarnate and come back to this planet, so we should want to look after this physical plane to make it better for future installments of ourselves
Get Connected with Nature
- The direct, physical sensory experience with nature alone is well known to increase our connectedness with it
- Sam suggest listeners to get out in nature and do anything! Boating, gardening, bee keeping, a walk in the woods, whatever
- Sam really likes the art of Japanese Forest Bathing, which is about mindfulness and taking in nature, maybe combining it with breathwork exercises, etc.
- The more mindful you feel, the more connected to nature you are, and vice versa
- Nature connection is just a single facet of the psychedelic experience, and Sam hopes for more research on this facet in the future
- We have a decent amount of research on psychedelics effect on people with depression, PTSD, etc, but Sam hints toward some future research on the effects of psychedelics on the healthy-normal population
- Make time for nature in whatever way works for you
- 2 hours of nature time a week are profoundly beneficial for health
About Dr. Sam Gandy
Dr. Sam Gandy works on the cutting edge of psychedelic research, as Scientific Assistant to the Director of the Beckley Foundation, and as a collaborator with the Psychedelic Research Group at Imperial College London. Sam has a lifelong love of nature and wildlife, and a PhD in ecological science from the University of Aberdeen. He has been fortunate enough to conduct field research in various parts of the world including the UK, Kefalonia, Almeria, Texas, the Peruvian Amazon, Vietnam and Ethiopia. Outside his work in the psychedelic field he has written papers, book chapters, articles and spoken at conferences and festivals on psychedelics and he is fascinated by their potential to benefit human lives.
In this episode, Joe and Kyle sit down and chat with Veronica Hernandez and Larry Norris of Decriminalize Nature Oakland. Decriminalize Nature is an educational campaign to inform Oakland residents about the value of entheogenic plants and fungi and propose a resolution to decriminalize our relationship to nature, which just recently had success in doing so.
3 Key Points:
- Decriminalize Nature Oakland is a campaign that just recently found success in decriminalizing psilocybin mushrooms as well as other psychedelic compounds naturally derived from plants or fungi, such as ayahuasca, peyote and DMT.
- The mission behind Decriminalize Nature is to improve human health and well-being by decriminalizing and expanding access to entheogenic plants and fungi through political and community organizing, education and advocacy.
- These decriminalization initiatives are gaining traction across many cities in the US. It’s about connecting to key people in the community and educating them, so they can use their reach to get information about these plants out there, to provide access to people everywhere.
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- Veronica is a clinical psychologist licensed in Peru
- She has been working in the US as a Social Worker Clinician
- She has been combining plant medicines and spirituality back into psychology
- She is currently finishing her PhD at CIIS
- He is in the same PhD program as Veronica
- Him and Veronica are the team that created ERIE
- In between they have taken the time to run Decriminalize Nature Oakland
- In this initiative, they had to convince 8 people of city council to agree to this, in comparison to the Denver Initiative, where they needed thousands of ballot signatures
- This bill included naturally occurring psychedelic compounds, not just mushrooms
- Larry mentions they used the word entheogen instead of psychedelic, as a way to create new conversation around the plant medicines a reduce the stigma
A Win for Plant Medicine
- From where Veronica comes from, Ayahuasca and other plant medicines are national patrimony, state and church can’t touch them
- To be able to bring these to a place where it’s considered schedule 1, Veronica is super inspired about being able to make this happen
- Right now these plants are in a tug of war between money interest of the tax side and the government, and the other side of corporate interest
- The goal now is to educate people on what these plants do, safe practices and develop places and services to hold the space and make these plants available to people
- It’s about connecting to key people in the community and educating them, so they can use their reach to get information about these plants out there
- Starting city by city is typically easier to initiate, to then have a better hold on direct action and education afterward to be able to duplicate on the state level
- They have had 50 different cities from 30 different states reach out to make this happen in their communities
- Veronica says that her first time trying San Pedro, she had felt an immediate connection to the plants
- It became her goal to combine conventional medicine with plant medicines and make it available to everyone
- “To be in touch with something bigger than yourself is one of the most important things” – Veronica
- Although there was no verbiage in the bill, they are being mindful about sustainability of the plants when making them more available with decriminalization
- Synthesis is a better idea for ibogaine, 5-MEO-DMT and other compounds that are naturally derived but also pose a risk to their sustainability with decriminalization
- The landscape just doesn’t allow for synthesis right now, so we start at decriminalization and then hopefully open doors to the route of synthesis to aid in the sustainability of these substances and resources
- Larry’s advice is that instead of spending your money and taking a trip to Denver or Oakland, to stay home and organize this is your own community because it can actually happen
- It starts now and it starts with education
Joe says the most major push-back received in Denver for the decriminalization was the threat of people driving on mushrooms
Veronica Hernandez, is a clinical psychologist and shamanic practitioner from Peru. Since 2006 she has been trained on shamanic facilitation. She received her clinical training at the Institute of Rational-Emotive Therapy, New York, under the supervision of Dr. Albert Ellis. She was assistant professor at the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia and research assistant at the Hospital Psiquiátrico Noguchi de Lima (Peru). In the United States, she worked as a Social Services Clinician at John Muir Health Hospital’s Inpatient Psychiatric Adolescent Unit, California. Currently she is completing her doctoral degree at California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), San Francisco, where she is carrying out research on the healing and transformative benefits of entheogens, especially Ayahuasca.
Larry Norris, MA, PhD Candidate is the co-founder and executive director of ERIE (Entheogenic Research, Integration, and Education) 501(c)(3), a group dedicated to the development of entheogenic research and integration models. Larry is also a co-founder and on the Board of Decriminalize Nature Oakland and helped to co-author the resolution which received an unanimous decision from Oakland City Council. Beginning his studies in cognitive science as an undergrad at the University of Michigan, he is now a PhD candidate in the East-West Psychology department at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) in San Francisco. His dissertation reviews archived ayahuasca experiences to identify transformational archetypes that induce insights hidden within the experiences. As adjunct faculty at CIIS, Larry taught a graduate course called Entheogenic Education: Contemporary Perspectives on Ancient Plant Wisdom in order to discuss the concept of entheogens as educational teachers and cognitive tools. He was also an adjunct faculty at John F. Kennedy University teaching a class titled Paradigms of Consciousness. A dedicated activist and proponent of cognitive liberty, Larry’s efforts are a contribution to not only change the Western legal status of these powerful plants, fungus, and compounds, but also to emphasize the potential sacred nature of entheogens given the right set and setting.