PT340 – Joost Breeksema – The Interdisciplinary Conference on Psychedelic Research (ICPR) & The Patient Perspective

In this episode, David interviews Joost Breeksema: philosopher, researcher, and Executive Director of the OPEN Foundation, which manages the Interdisciplinary Conference on Psychedelic Research (ICPR) – Europe’s longest-running conference on psychedelics.

He discusses the use of psychedelics in consciousness research; his concerns over psychedelic infrastructure scaling too quickly and people not being adequately trained; drug policy in the Netherlands, coffee shops, and the interesting loophole with psychedelic truffles; how harm reduction approaches actually work; and finding the proper balance between hype and hope. And he asks some interesting questions: How is research influenced by researchers consulting for psychedelic companies? Are there potential business models outside shareholder-profit models? Are there better ways to design psychedelic studies?

And of course, he talks a lot about this year’s ICPR conference, which is taking place at the Philharmonie Haarlem (just outside Amsterdam) from September 22nd to the 24th. Two big parts of this year’s conference are discussing how science, ethics, and business interact with highly scientific academic research, and looking at clinical perspectives in comparison to patient perspectives (as patients are not represented anywhere near enough). This year, they added an extra day before the conference (the 21st) dedicated more to business-oriented matters, as well as having workshops on music, breathwork, and psychotherapy and psychedelics. Joe, Kyle, and Johanna will be there, and after recording this podcast, it sure sounds like David will be too. 

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Notable Quotes

“One of the areas that [is] most intriguing about psychedelic treatments is that they confront people with their own existence, with their place in the universe, with how they relate to themselves and to others; and that’s something, I think, as you said beautifully; it’s something that distinguishes psychedelic treatments from basically all conventional treatments.”

“Since the 70s in the Netherlands, we’ve pioneered harm reduction approaches. This has worked really well for people consuming more addictive substances [like] heroin, cocaine, [and] crack cocaine. We’ve always had a very pragmatic, public health-oriented view. We’ve never criminalized drug use or drug users, and as a result, we have, I think, probably the lowest prevalence of heroin users in all of Europe.”

“I think one of the key reasons for decriminalizing drug use is that it would de-marginalize people. This is the foundation of our drug policy for over 40 years. This was one of the key insights that they had when they formulated our drug policy, is that it’s not drug use per se that leads to more harmful drug use; it’s being marginalized and being criminalized that puts people quite literally to the margins.”

“I am personally convinced that in order to be an effective therapist, you need to have experience with the substance that you’re prescribing. You need to understand the terrain that patients are navigating through. …[But] if you’re a novice in psychedelic therapy, is having one experience enough? And if not, how many is enough? And do you need to have a difficult experience as well? If you have three positive experiences that go in a specific direction, do you run the risk of imposing your own experience on how you interpret patient experiences? And if that’s not the case, then how do you make sure that you stay open-minded and you don’t impose your own value system or your own way of understanding the world on patients?”


The day before the conference: Psychedelic Science, Ethics & Business

ICPR Workshop: Psychotherapy With Psychedelics

ICPR Workshop: Breathwork as Psychedelic Therapy

ICPR workshop: Music For/As Psychedelic Therapy Joost Breeksema First Images from the James Webb Space Telescope Drug Laws In The Netherlands Ayahuasca Legal status in Netherlands (2018)

Drug Use for Grown-Ups: Chasing Liberty in the Land of Fear, by Carl L. Hart NJ begins considering rules for marijuana consumption lounges Netherlands Coffee Shop Policy

YouTube: Jamie Wheal – Pitfalls & Potentials of the Psychedelic Renaissance | Awakened Futures Summit 2019

From Research To Reality Conference

Psychedelics Today: PTSF 41 (with Mendel Kaelen of Wavepaths)

”Descending the Mountain” documentary

“How to Change Your Mind”: Netflix Series Psychedelic Participant Advocacy Network

About Joost Breeksema

Joost Breeksema is the executive director of the OPEN Foundation. Founded in 2007, the Amsterdam-based non-profit organization has been on the forefront, advocating for psychedelic research and therapies. He also directs the organization of the Interdisciplinary Conference on Psychedelic Research (ICPR); Europe’s longest-running conference on psychedelics, which will return to Amsterdam from 21 to 24, September 2022. ICPR focuses on high-quality scientific psychedelic research, therapeutic innovations, and critical engagement around ethics, policy, the psychedelic industry boom, and more. Joost is a philosopher and qualitative researcher. For his Ph.D. at the Department of Psychiatry (UMCG), he interviews patients about their treatment experiences with ketamine, psilocybin, and MDMA, aiming to deepen our understanding of the therapeutic mechanisms and the role of setting and support. Underlying all his work is a deep-seated belief in the scientifically-grounded, responsible, and ethical integration of psychedelics that respects the multiplicity of other, non-medical approaches. He advocates for critical, collaborative, open, and transparent approaches in science and beyond.

OPEN Foundation socials: InstagramFacebook / Twitter / Linkedin

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PT339 – Kim Dudine – Cannabis: The Gateway Drug to Unity Consciousness

In this episode, Joe interviews Kim Dudine: Chief of Staff at OpenNest Labs and Director of Membership and Strategy at Trailblazers Presents, a curated community of cannabis and psychedelics leaders working together to shape the future of these industries and their surrounding culture. 

If you’re someone who doesn’t view cannabis as a tool as useful and powerful as classic psychedelics, Dudine may change your perspective. She sees cannabis as an accessible, playful energy that meets you where you are, provides a pattern interruption, tells you what to work on (from the anxiety many people feel when smoking cannabis), and reminds us of our interconnectedness through the frequency of unity consciousness. When you smoke with someone, your energetic fields merge, and no matter how society and life has programmed you, cannabis has the capacity to easily unify the conversation – something Dudine feels is extremely important in a culture so heavily focused on individualism. 

She talks about the importance of embodying the spirit of cannabis; the power of infusing it with gratitude and a “show me” attitude before a smoke; the frequencies she feels from psilocybin; breathwork and the inner healer; how we place so much importance on productivity and intellect but not on humility and heart intelligence; and asks the question: Are mushrooms more advanced and intelligent than we are?

Trailblazers Presents’ next event is an all-day gathering next week, July 27th, at Tribeca 360 in New York City. If you’d like to attend, use code TBFRIENDS at checkout for 25% off!

Notable Quotes

“I’m in no ‘rush’ to heal, but I am in this very expedited path to be of service, and I know that in order to be of service, we have to be able to serve ourselves first. And that’s really what psychedelics has supported me on the past couple of years, is just helping to illuminate so many shadows in my psyche, helping me to understand that my brain is a beautiful computer, but a computer nonetheless, and can be programmed for good or bad. So psychedelics has really helped me rewire a lot of things towards love and towards trust and towards surrender and towards really connecting to the true benevolence of life.” 

“A lot of people just associate cannabis with enhancing a movie or enhancing a meal or just bringing in some more playfulness or laughter (which is medicine all in of itself and is all well and good). And like all other plant medicines, cannabis is kind of this really intelligent plant that will work with you and meet you where you are. And it’s, for me, truly just as powerful as psychedelics – if you have that intention of using that way.” 

“A massive download that I’ve got is that the next phase of our evolution is realizing the heart intelligence. We’ve focused so much on the logical, linear mind, but we don’t even pay homage to the fact that there’s neurons in our heart and that our hearts have these massive electromagnetic fields that can change the energy of a room. So just by walking into a room and feeling gratitude and kindness in your heart, you can be the tide that rises all boats – if you’re willing to embody this beautiful gift that we’ve been given from these plants.” 

“It’s so important to realize that the external projections of violence and suffering we’re seeing is because we haven’t looked at the violence and suffering in our inner dialogue. …Truly, the biggest gift we can give to this planet is to heal ourselves, because then we’re not contributing to this massive cloud of projecting our shit onto the world.”


Trailblazers NYC: Tribeca 360 / July 27th, 2022

OpenNest Labs

How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us about Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence, by Michael Pollan

Psychedelics Today: PT325 – Philip Wolf – Cannabis: The Early Days of Legality, Elevated Dining, and the Need for Education

Psychedelics Today: Psychedelic Cannabis: Using the Plant for Healing Trauma, by Sean Lawlor Carlos “Los” Arias, J.D.

About Kim Dudine

Kim Dudine is Chief of Staff at OpenNest Labs, a venture capital studio that incubates and accelerates cannabis brands. She is also Director of Membership and Strategy at Trailblazers Presents, a curated community of cannabis and psychedelics leaders united by a shared ethos to advance both industries with thought leadership and the power of community. Kim was an International Business Development professional specializing in clean energy and natural resources management prior to joining OpenNest/Trailblazers. She is also a writer and an energy healer, at

Socials: Instagram / Instagram (The Frequency Evolutuion)
Trailblazers Presents socials: Instagram / Twitter


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PT338 – Melissa Lavasani – The Power of Storytelling, The Preservation of Peyote, and “How to Change Your Mind”

In this episode, Joe interviews Melissa Lavasani, Founder and Executive Director of the Psychedelic Medicine Coalition (of which Joe is a board member). 

She begins by detailing her dark path to looking for an answer and how microdosing homegrown mushrooms and eventually trying ayahuasca changed her life. While she was blown away at how much better she felt, she really struggled with coming out of the psychedelic closet and becoming a public figure after she was asked to essentially be the figurehead for DC’s Initiative 81 campaign. She thankfully decided that her story as a working mom would change hearts and minds, and once people were actually listening with an open mind, the science was much more easily accepted – proving the power of good storytelling (Initiative 81 was the largest ballot initiative victory in history). 

She talks about the birth of the Psychedelic Medicine Coalition and the group’s goals; her concerns with psychedelics following the same route as the cannabis gold rush; the frustrations of so many people still having a moral opposition to drugs; and the problems with peyote, of which she feels nobody other than Indigenous communities should be using. 

Lavasani (along with many others who have been on the podcast) is featured in Michael Pollan’s “How to Change Your Mind” docuseries on Netflix, which just dropped last week. She discusses why she thinks she was in the mescaline episode, her feelings on being lumped in with groups that don’t agree with her on peyote use, and how the Decriminalize Nature battles have brought all of the conflicts with Indigenous communities and the booming psychedelic renaissance to light. While so many people are in such need, she asks: How do we proceed with psychedelic reform without causing any more damage?

Notable Quotes

“Whenever I have a meeting with somebody, if you start with a story, it kind of breaks down those barriers and then you hit them with the science, and once they’re open to this topic, the science – it’s just the facts. This is not my opinion. These are what the studies are saying. And that has become a really effective method in getting people to understand what psychedelics are about and what the potential is here.”

“There’s so many problems with society and it’s almost overwhelming at times to see everything that’s going wrong. But this is the one thing I think that is going in the right direction and can really change how we interact with each other and how we live our lives day to day.”

“The whole point of all the work that we’re doing is to try to make things better for society and better for humanity, and I think this peyote issue is just so touchy and so complex that if we continue without being in lockstep with Indigenous groups, that this is just going to cause more harm than necessary.”

“People tried to poke holes in our campaign and they weren’t successful. You can’t just say, ‘Oh she was just a burnout that wants to take drugs freely.’ I’m not. I’m a mother, I have two little children that demand so much of my time, I’m a professional, I’ve got two graduate degrees, I’m well-educated, and I’m fully aware and in control of myself. I did drugs to get myself out of a bad situation. I did drugs to save my life. That’s a very powerful statement for people. So the more people (the ‘normal’ people, everyday average Americans) that come out and share their stories, the bigger impact this has.”

Links Legislation Tracker Washington, D.C., Initiative 81, Entheogenic Plants and Fungus Measure (2020)

YouTube: The Joe Rogan Experience #1035 – Paul Stamets Dr. Bronner’s, the Soap Company, Dips into Psychedelics

Psychedelics Today: Kevin Matthews – Decriminalize Denver and the Aim to Decriminalize Psilocybin Mushrooms This D.C. Group Wants To Decriminalize Magic Mushrooms And Some Psychedelic Plants Press Release: Certified Election Results Show Initiative 81 Passed with More Than 76% Support

How to Change Your Mind: Netflix Series Decriminalize Nature Targets Peyote: Drug Reform or Settler Colonialism?

Psychedelics Today: PT333 – Miriam Volat, MS & T. Cody Swift, MFT – Conservation, Peyote, and Indigenous Biocultural Survival

Indigenous Medicine Conservation Fund

Psychedelics Today: PT311 – William Leonard Pickard – LSD, Fentanyl, Prison, and the Greatest Gift of All: The Natural Mind

About Melissa Lavasani

Melissa Lavasani is Founder and Executive Director of Washington, DC-based Psychedelic Medicine Coalition, the first and only member association focusing on advocating for psychedelics at the Federal, State, and local levels of government. Prior to founding Psychedelic Medicine Coalition, Melissa was the proposer of Washington DC’s successful 2020 ballot measure Initiative 81, the Entheogenic Plant and Fungus Policy Act. Inspired by her own experience of using psychedelics to heal her severe postpartum depression, Melissa led the Decriminalize Nature DC campaign to the largest ballot initiative victory in the history of our nation’s capital (76% voted yes). Through Psychedelic Medicine Coalition, Melissa advocates for policies that support research and access to psychedelics at the Federal and State level. Melissa is also a Founding Board Member of the Psychedelics and Healing Initiative at the Global Wellness Institute and on the Advisory Board of Drugs over Dinner.

Psychedelic Medicine Coalition socials: Twitter / Facebook / Linkedin

​Rate, review, and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, or anywhere you like to listen.

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Navigating Psychedelics