Solidarity Fridays – Week 15

In today’s Solidarity Fridays episode, Joe and Kyle sit down and talk about various topics in the news.

They first discuss Rise Wellness (a company focused on teaching people how to microdose psilocybin)’s recent merger with CannaGlobal and Sansero Life Sciences to become CannaGlobal Wellness, and why many smaller companies are merging, and why Canada may be a hot new destination point for these companies. Joe suggests a new idea of helping people microdose through the use of a transdermal patch. 

They talk about psychology today and the idea of no theory being complete without including all perspectives (including psychedelic perspectives), the concept of re-phrasing “what’s wrong with you?” to “what has happened to you?”, a recent student’s theory that schizophrenia may actually be a protection mechanism, Amsterdam-based psilocybin-retreat company Synthesis’ recent $2.75 million funding towards developing an end-to-end professional wellness & therapy platform, and what that means to the community- are these companies focusing on the drug as the crux, or the full therapy picture?

Lastly, they talk about the death of Elijah McClain from a 500-milligram injection of ketamine, using thoughts from past guest and regular administrator of ketamine to patients, Dr. Alex Belser. They talk about how ketamine can be necessary, but how it has unfortunately been used as a weapon for chemical restraint against people of color, which brings about larger questions on whether people should be allowed to hurt themselves or not- what role do physicians, therapists and police officers ultimately have in people’s freedom to do what they want with their bodies? 

And just as a reminder, Psychedelics Today is currently offering a course developed by Kyle and Dr. Ido Cohen called Psychedelics and The Shadow: The Shadow Side of Psychedelia. And the next round of Navigating Psychedelics for Clinicians and Therapists will be starting in September, with a new self-paced option. 

Notable Quotes

On William James: “As soon as he found out about other states of consciousness other than the normal waking state, he’s saying that no theory for how the world works is complete unless we include all perspectives. So, like, what is the American constitution when you’re on nitrous or on LCD? What is appropriate political idealogy, given all of these things? Essentially, he’s saying that we’re going to keep developing new tools to understand the universe, and every time we have one of these new tools, it kind of expands the scope of what we need in our theories for how the world works. …Psychedelic states, shamanic states- how do we include that into our worldview to have a complete scientific framework? I think it’s just a never-ending process, and a fun one.” -Joe

“Even the people that I’ve worked with [who] are really really struggling, and I’ve seen medication work really well for them at times, I always come back to: ‘what has this person been through? Do they actually have this thing that science and probably psychiatry would label as a disease?’ …Some of the trauma stuff that’s coming out, the neuroscience, some of the somatics- it’s all kind of merging. And with the help of psychedelics, I’m feeling more optimistic that maybe the field will go into more of a growth, healing-oriented route vs. this pathology [of] ‘sick.’” -Kyle

“With these clinics that are popping up- are you exclusively focusing on the psychedelic experience, or are you trying to focus on the therapeutic relationship, the report, the container, the trust that’s developed over time, and really developing that relationship with the client? There’s tons of research that suggests that a therapeutic relationship is the one factor in getting better in therapy. So, as money is coming into this space and more of these clinics are popping up, are you creating a center around therapy, and really thinking about how to bring wellness and work with people in this space, or are just focusing it exclusively on the substance, thinking that’s the change?” -Kyle


CannaGlobal, Sansero Life Sciences and Rise Wellness Merge

Synthesis Raises US$2.75M to Develop End-to-End Professional Platform for Psychedelic Wellness & Therapy

Alex Belser’s thoughts on ketamine as a chemical restraint

Is Ketamine the new police weapon against black lives?

Psychedelics and The Shadow: The Shadow Side of Psychedelia

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Navigating Psychedelics

Jesse Gould and Keith Abraham – Heroic Hearts Project: Connecting Veterans to Psychedelic Treatment

In today’s episode, Joe interviews Jesse Gould, founder and president of the Heroic Hearts Project, a nonprofit organization that connects military veterans to ayahuasca retreats, and Keith Abraham, head of the newly created Heroic Hearts UK branch.

They discuss the similarities of their military pasts and post-combat struggles, and how they both took part in ayahuasca ceremonies at Peru’s La Medicina, where they eventually met. They note the need to create the UK branch came from the realization that UK vets simply weren’t getting as much attention as those in the US.

They talk about the unlikely allyship of Crispin Blunt, member of Parliament and co-chair of the All Party Parliamentory Group for Drug Policy Reform, the consideration of using psilocybin in future work as a less intense ayahuasca alternative, current microbiome studies and the excitement around new data vs. the “death by survey” complications when working with people in need, and how helpful a military mindset can be in these situations.

They share some success stories but talk about how far we need to go in helping veterans come back to society, and how much we’d benefit from a more ceremonial acceptance of the passage from one way of life to another. The corporate 9-5 world can be tough for anyone, but ultimately, finding a purpose and connecting to a community is what’s most important toward these veterans reintegrating back to their “pre-army” lives.

Notable Quotes

“Ayahuasca changed everything. I came out of that jungle a very different person. I wouldn’t say that I had a 400% healing experience, but I had that massive, massive, massive catalyst where I knew that my life had to change. And it has. And from there, in the year since, when I got myself together, I started realizing, ‘you know what? I’m in a good place. How can I introduce UK veterans to the experience that I’ve had, because I see that as vitally important?’ And then I was introduced to Jesse, and it turned out that the organization that I thought I wanted to create had already been created perfectly.” -Keith Abraham

“My sons actually in the same unit as I was (in the parachute regiment.) When I left the parachute regiment and went for my ayahuasca experience in Peru, I then came back, and my son was looking at me like, “wait, you’re a grizzly old war veteran, and now you’re talking about, like ‘everything is connected, and love and peace and harmony’ um… this is… strange.’’ He’s gotten really used to it now, but yea, it’s wonderful that these plant medicines can do these things for us. [We have] such strong minds and characters, and this ingrained training as well, but it can be overwhelmed in a good way.” -Keith Abraham

“One of the things we teach through Heroic Hearts, especially in the integration process, is: it’s fine to maintain your warrior- that warrior spirit, that warrior soul. But now you need to learn to use that energy and use that strength towards other means. You might be done with the fighting for now, but that doesn’t mean you’re set out to pasture and done with society. There’s a lot of different ways you can use that energy. …How can you continue to be a warrior, just on a different trajectory?” -Jesse Gould


Heroic Hearts Project Website

Heroic Hearts Project UK Website

Heroic Hearts Facebook group

Heroic Hearts Twitter

Heroic Hearts Instagram

La Medicina

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About Jesse Gould

Jesse Gould is Founder and President of the Heroic Hearts Project, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit pioneering psychedelic therapies for military veterans. After being deployed in Afghanistan three times, he founded the Heroic Hearts Project in 2017 to spearhead the acceptance and use of ayahuasca therapy as a means of addressing the current mental health crisis among veterans. The Heroic Hearts Project has raised over $150,000 in scholarships from donors including Dr. Bronner’s and partnered with the world’s leading ayahuasca treatment centers, as well as sponsoring psychiatric applications with the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Georgia. Jesse helps shape treatment programs and spreads awareness of plant medicine as a therapeutic method. He has spoken globally about psychedelics and mental health, and received accolades including being recognized as one of the Social Entrepreneurs To Watch For In 2020 by Cause Artist. Driven by a mission to help military veterans struggling with mental trauma, he is best known for his own inspiring battle with PTSD and his recovery through ayahuasca therapy. Jesse’s work can be seen and heard at NY Times, Breaking Convention, San Francisco Psychedelic Liberty Summit, People of Purchase, The Freq, Psychedelics Today Podcast, Kyle Kingsbury Podcast, Cause Artist, WAMU 88.5 and The GrowthOp.

About Keith Abraham

Keith Abraham served 9 years as a member of The Parachute Regiment, fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Throughout the latter years of his military service and during this time working for an investment bank, Keith began experiencing severe symptoms of anxiety and depression. After exhausting the majority of services and options offered by the NHS and military charities without much success, Keith realized a new approach was needed. His profound experiences with ayahuasca and psilocybin convinced him of the vital role plant medicines have to offer those suffering from PTSD, brain injuries and mental ill-health.

Solidarity Fridays – Week 14

In today’s Solidarity Fridays episode, Joe and Kyle sit down and talk about various topics in the news.

They first discuss the duality of how Covid-19 affects different people, and how much of a privilege it is to be able to reconnect with family in new ways and use this time to grow spiritually while so many are out of work and struggling to get by. 

They discuss a recent tweet from @Shroomstreet concerning psychedelic stocks and the money being invested in this emerging market, and concerns that some of these unknown companies could be fake or following the “exit scam” model of holding onto investor money and then closing up shop. How many of these companies are in it for the right reasons, and what does this all mean on a grand scale?

They talk about recent reports of psychedelic retreats in excess of $10,000 and the various aspects surrounding these prices, from the cost of education and the need for physicians and therapists to make a living while helping others, to the idea of “pay what you can” and taking a hit financially if it means helping the local community or those really in need without the finances to be able to participate in these retreats. Is pastoral counseling or group therapy the best way to help the most people? 

And lastly, they talk about Oregon’s progress in getting legal psilocybin therapy on the ballot in November and the benefits of legality, most importantly towards the ability to report abusive sitters under a framework that would completely remove them from this field.

Notable quotes

“The Newtonian-Cartesian paradigm is just so focused on the how- on the mechanics of ‘how does a psychedelic work? Oh, ok, it can treat this. How does it treat this?’ vs. thinking about the idea of final cause and thinking about the why- why do these things exist? What is its purpose, and what is the potential implication here, on a bigger level, than just thinking about this how and thinking ‘this thing does this thing and that’s all we’re really worried about,’ not thinking about that overarching why- like, what is the purpose here?” -Kyle

“I think everybody really should be able to access healing eventually. I think people shouldn’t be starving to death either, but people are still starving to death. I remember Kwasi (Adusei, in Solidarity Fridays week 10) at one point was like, ‘should we bring psychedelics to minority communities for healing?’ Well, why not bring regular mental health services first? Let’s start with clean water, as opposed to ‘let’s give them a road that they didn’t want.’ What’s the cheapest, lowest-hanging fruit that’s going to give the best reward?” -Joe

“Education programs probably would be really helpful. And I think that’s how we fit in. It’s a philosophy thing that could be helpful for both recreationalists and people providing therapeutic experiences, and the experiencers themselves too. It helps to have some education before you go to see God.” -Joe

“I think states should be experimenting with different ways of going forward. Yes, I want everything to be decriminalized- I want everything to be legal, really- personally. I don’t think therapeutic use should be the only use-case. But it’s certainly a lot better than what we’ve got now.” -Joe


Shroomstreet’s tweet: Why do you think Psychedelic stocks continue to bleed?

Regulated psychedelic mushrooms are one step closer to being on the ballet in Oregon in November

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Navigating Psychedelics