In this episode, Joe interviews Portland, OR-based licensed marriage and family therapist, ketamine-assisted therapist at Rainfall Medicine, lead educator at InnerTrek, and speaker at our upcoming Convergence conference: Gina Gratza, MS, LMFT.
She talks about how she decided she wanted to become a therapist and when she knew psychedelics were the next step; meeting Rick Doblin at Burning Man; the efficacy of MDMA being used in conjunction with traditional therapy; how the self-compassion of MDMA gives her tremendous hope for its use in treating eating disorders; how non-ordinary states of consciousness teach us the wiseness (and uniqueness) of our inner healer; and her healthy concerns for how Oregon handles psilocybin legality: InnerTrek will be graduating some of the first licensed facilitators in Oregon and they should be certified by summer, but with OHA-approved service centers and manufacturers still up in the air, what happens next?
She and Joe also discuss how non-ordinary states of consciousness teach us the wiseness (and uniqueness) of our inner healers; the need for therapists to continuously do their own work; the idea of a psilocybin-licensed facility doubling as a music venue; David Nutt’s drug harm scale; Kylea Taylor; “The Trialogues”; archetypes of Burning Man; and how in psilocybin-assisted therapy, we can only do so much before the spirit of the mushroom ultimately takes over.
“There’s a strength in the empathic attunement that’s happening in the heart space that’s coming forward, so it’s not just talk therapy. There’s a connection happening. And we are creatures of love and belonging and connection, and when we feel that with another human being [and it’s] authentic – that is a very powerful force. We don’t have to compare it, but it’s just as powerful as medicine.”
“I hope to never be a master of any domain. I know that the juiciness of this life and this existence is continuing to stay open to learning and growing and evolving, and for me, that’s coming back to humility: I’ll never know everything, especially when it comes to the realm of altered states of consciousness. We’re trying to understand life in this state of consciousness, let alone bringing in altered states and the many different dimensions at which things can come through to you, and the uniqueness of everyone’s experience.”
“This is what we humans are able to do: Here are the measures, here are the ways in which we’re training. And then there’s the spirit of the mushroom. There’s what we are going to bring and then there is going to be what the mushroom brings: …the mycelium network, the earth, the nature; like a total other force that is beyond our ability to really know or read what will move through that.”
In this episode, David interviews two people from different sides of Vital: clinical psychologist, adjunct professor, Co-Founder of the Psychedelics R2R nonprofit, and Vital instructor, Dr. Dominique Morisano, CPsych (the teacher); and writer, psychedelic-assisted medicine facilitator, integration coach, and Women On Psychedelics Co-Founder, Jessika Lagarde (the student).
With the 2023-24 edition of Vital set to begin in April and applications closing at the end of February, we thought it would be interesting to relaunch Vital Psychedelic Conversations, but with the spin of speaking to both instructors and students to hear their different perspectives on retreats, facilitation, psychedelic education, the quickly advancing psychedelic space, and of course, Vital itself.
Morisano and Lagarde mostly discuss experience: how it’s gained, how it changes perspectives and methodologies, how one decides they’ve experienced enough to be able to know the terrain enough to help others, the importance of knowing when a patient needs a facilitator/therapist who has had the same life experience, and knowing when one’s own skills and limitations means a patient would be better off seeing someone else. And they discuss safety, the importance of being trauma-informed (and what does that mean, really?), and the puzzling cases when facilitators haven’t had their own psychedelic experience but feel the need to use psychedelics to help others.
And of course, they talk about Vital: the joy in joining together in community with people they’ve only known virtually; how interesting these retreats are compared to others due to the level of the participants’ experience; how partnering up and taking turns as the sitter and experiencer shows how little of a difference there is between student and teacher; and how many people have reported the most impactful part of the retreats was not their own experience, but being there for someone else.
“Do you know the terrain? Let’s say you’ve taken ketamine once, and you’re doing six sessions of ketamine with a client. Do you really know what they’re going to be experiencing, and can you have had the full range of experience? …How do we define this? I can tell you: You have a hundred psychedelic experiences; most likely you’re going to have a different experience each time, and a different connection to inner/outer terrain or different realms or different ways of thinking and being. So when is enough enough? When did you learn your lesson? When did you gain the experience necessary to navigate someone [else’s experience]?” -Dominique “You learn a lot about yourself as well, I find at the end of a day. Every journey is also a journey for the facilitator, and we are constantly mirrors to each other, so it’s very interesting work to do in that sense as well, because your own inner work is continuously being done.” -Jessika “It’s never the same. Two sessions are never the same, and even how you show up on that day for that session, or set and setting; all of that influences [the experience], so we have to constantly be placing ourselves between being a student [and being] a teacher sometimes, but never put ourselves in the spot that we think, ‘Okay, now I know everything. Yeah, I’m done.’” -Jessika
“How do you develop wisdom? The way to develop wisdom is through experience, and often, pain.” -Dominique
In this episode, David interviews Raad Seraj: host of Minority Trip Report, a podcast for underrepresented views in psychedelics and mental health, and founder of Mission Club, an education and investment platform.
Seraj tells his story of growing up in Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia and eventually finding himself in Canada, and how the discomfort and rage he felt as a result of class and xenophobia affected him. He talks about the idea behind his podcast, Minority Trip Report, and how, while they need to be heard, underrepresented and BIPOC voices aren’t a monolith. And he talks about the incestuous and gatekeeping nature of venture capital and the complications of actually turning investments into lasting business. With Mission club (which is partnering with Microdose), he aims to create opportunities for people who don’t have a ton of money to invest in early stage companies in this space, to help the dreamers who don’t necessarily fit the bill for traditional VC.
And he discusses much more: David Chalmers’ theory of “The Extended Mind”; the problems with having one idea of mental health and summarizing complicated minds into little boxes; how we are made up of different selves and how psychedelics can help us to acknowledge and integrate our minority selves; the differences between anger and rage and how 5-MeO-DMT helped him shed his rage; how we can use technology, culture, and capital together to amplify what exists and build what doesn’t; the three places that have transformed him the most; and initiating a bus-wide Cyndi Lauper sing-along while on tour with Finger Eleven as a host for Much Music.
“If you talk about mental health and healing: all healing is the reintegration of the narrative landscape – the autobiographical story. But the problem is; when you only have one type of story, one type of autobiographical narrative that gets to be heard, that gets to be embedded, that gets to be shared, that gets to go viral; and from that, you build courses and infrastructure and definitions of what mental health is and then you sort of impose it on the rest of the world – that is a problem because mental health is ultimately about being a human being, and we are multipolar beings and we are forced to be summarized in very small ways, whether by society or by systems.”
“You have a part that is elevated above the body and the mind and the consciousness, and seeing and observing yourself and your truest nature and your truest needs and wants and desires and so on, and I think with people who are on the margins (again, whether you’re Jewish, whether you’re bisexual, whether you’re a person of color, whether you’re an immigrant, or whatever), the parts that you suppress the most all of a sudden find light. They can be seen; that’s where the light gets in. And then that temporary visibility of all of a sudden seeing that part of you without judgment, and being almost agnostic to those parts, is powerful.”
“I recognized very early on [that] there was class. Race came after. Race is a 400-year-old concept. Class is a permanent part of any human society, but class is so much more insidious. We don’t talk about it.”
“At the surface of everything, whether it’s culture, politics, music, tech: it’s all bullshit. There’s a thin sheen of garbage. You have to dig a little deeper to find the true stuff.”
In this week’s episode, Joe is joined by Kyle, calling in from The Atman Retreat in Jamaica, where he’s running the fourth of five retreats offered through our Vital program.
They first discuss some news: Oregon Senator Elizabeth Steiner introducing a bill (SB-303) to essentially override many of the recommendations of the Oregon Health Authority, especially around client data – which would be provided to government agencies instead of staying private (which the people voted for); a reparations proposal in San Francisco recognizing the harms of the drug war; GOP lawmakers in Missouri and New Hampshire proposing bills for psilocybin therapy and psychedelics legalization (respectively); and Canada’s Apex Labs being granted approval for a take-home psilocybin microdosing trial.
Then, Kyle gives us an update on his very busy last few months, running Vital retreats: breathwork in Costa Rica, breathwork and cannabis in Colorado, and psilocybin in Amsterdam and Jamaica. He talks about the retreats themselves, the five components of breathwork, the idea of safety and “brave spaces,” the power of community and being witnessed, the concept of focusing on technique over the substance, what students have been saying, and finally: how the five elements relate to Vital, psychedelic therapy, seasons, and the process of growth. Reminder that applications for Vital’s 2023 edition (beginning in April) close at the end of February, so if you’re curious, head to the site to learn more or attend an upcoming Q+A here!
For this week’s episode, we had plans for a guest to join Joe to talk about some legal battles, but as seems to be the norm this time of year, sickness postponed that conversation to a future date. With David taking some much-deserved time off and Kyle in Jamaica on a Vital retreat, this Psychedelics Weekly is a rarity: just Joe, monologuing the news.
It’s probably best to just listen and head to the links to follow along, but some highlights this week are: Prince Harry coming out of the psychedelic closet; Virginia lawmakers proposing the legalization of psilocybin; psychedelics legislation already in plans for nearly a dozen states in 2023; NBC news recognizing the need psychedelic therapists, facilitators, and education; the WHO aiming to rename 5-MeO-DMT to Mebufotenin; and Roland Griffiths creating The Roland R. Griffiths, Ph.D. Professorship Fund to ensure his work continues to be recognized after he passes.
He also talks about Convergence, and you should know that prices increase on January 16, so don’t wait any longer! Check back next week for more news and, *fingers-crossed* a co-host – hopefully Kyle calling in to tell us all about the retreat!
In this week’s episode, Joe and David meet up to talk about Vital, Convergence, and the latest news:
-Tryp Therapeutics and Mass General signing a letter of intent for a Phase 2 clinical trial investigating the effects of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy for the treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome – interesting because it further highlights the likely effect of psychedelics on the brain-gut connection and that psychotherapy is involved;
-New York lawmakers pre-filing a bill to legalize DMT, ibogaine, mescaline, psilocybin and psilocyn (and remove them from the state’s banned substances list) for 2023;
-New York’s first cannabis dispensary finally opening on December 29;
-British Columbia responding to their opioid crisis (the latest data reports 14k deaths since 2016) by beginning a Portugal-like decriminalization model, allowing people 18 years and older to carry a combined 2.5 grams of drugs (heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, methamphetamine and even MDMA);
and finally, an interesting but confusing (maybe a follow-up is necessary) article showing that what we’re learning about ketamine could lead towards a better understanding of psychosis and schizophrenia.
In this week’s episode, Joe and Kyle are together again before Kyle sets off for a 2-month road trip centered around Vital retreats, where we hope he’ll be able to report in from live while in Jamaica.
In this episode, David interviews published researcher, social entrepreneur, and internationally recognized Indigenous rights activist: Sutton King, MPH.
In New York City alone, 180,000 people identify as Indigenous, Native American, or Alaskan Native, and this community is facing a disproportionate prevalence of mental health disparities, poverty, suicide, and PTSD due to intergenerational trauma from attempted genocide, forced relocation, and the erasure of culture and identity via boarding schools. Her purpose has become to bring light to what Indigenous people are facing due to being forced to live under a reductionist, individualistic Western approach that is in direct opposition to their worldview.
She talks about growing up being instilled with the importance of ancestry and tradition; why she moved to New York; how psychedelics helped her move through the trauma she felt in herself and saw so commonly in her family tree; and capitalism: how we need to move away from our private ownership, profit-maximalist, extractive model into a steward mentality inspired by the Indigenous voices and principles that have been silenced for so long.
“One of the principles that I always was taught is that Indigenous peoples were always taught to be humble and not to be proud and not to be loud. But I have always felt like that was a way to keep us stagnant, to keep us complacent. So I would say I’m definitely a disruptor of this generation.”
“We are dealing with a burden of poverty, we’re dealing with so much chronic morbidity and mortality, as well and our chronic health. There is a number of different issues that we’re facing as Indigenous peoples. However, I’d also like to highlight how resilient we are as well. To be able to survive genocide, forced relocation, boarding school, and the poor socioeconomic status that many of us face [and] our families face, but continue to be a voice for our communities; continue to be on the front lines, advocating for missing and murdered, advocating for the protection of our land and demanding land back – I see a resurgence.”
“When you look at that skyline of that concrete jungle in New York City, I love to remind folks that it was the Mohawk ironworkers who risked their lives on that skyline, to be able to create the world we see around us. The paths that we walk today [and] the rivers that flow have always been used by the Indigenous peoples who came before us.”
“When we think about the economy and this market, it’s not capital that creates economic growth; it’s people. And it’s not this reductionist, individualistic behavior that’s centered at the core of economic good; it’s reciprocity, and being able to make sure that we have a market and an economy that’s inclusive; that’s bringing in all voices, that’s also considering all voices, all of the different parts of the ecosystem – not to silo people, but to bring everyone together, I think, will be the opportunity of a lifetime to really be able to really enact change.”
As the psychedelic movement expands, with surmounting research serving to change the tide of public opinion, more people are seeking out psychedelics as modalities for healing and self-exploration. Whether in the context of psychedelic-assisted therapy, plant medicine ceremonies, or recreational use, the modern Western psychedelic discourse has long been interwoven with the concept of “set and setting.”
But in contemporary psychedelic culture, the term is no longer sufficient as a harm reduction mantra. How can it be updated to better serve today’s journeyers?
A Brief History of Set and Setting
“Set and setting” refer to many factors which extend beyond the psychoactive effects of a given substance, playing a vital role in shaping psychedelic experiences. Typically, “set” refers to the mindset of a psychedelic explorer and “setting” refers to the context in which a substance is taken.
However, there has been little development of which variables fall under the umbrella of set and setting since its conception in the 1960s. There are significant factors that shape a psychedelic experience – both acutely and in the long term – which aren’t fully captured by set and setting alone.
The concept of set and setting has become something of a harm reduction mantra interwoven with the emergent field of psychedelic-assisted therapy and psychedelic research at large, used to describe the ways in which factors that extend beyond the substance itself can impact and shape its effects. Accordingly, it’s been an impactful linguistic tool that therapists, researchers and explorers have looked to for guidance on curating a container for an experience with medicine.
“Set” commonly refers to an individual’s mindset, including both immediate and long-range states of mind. A person’s immediate set is related to their state of mind before a psychedelic session, including everything from intentions, fears, hopes, and expectations about the session. However, their long-range set might include enduring personality traits, personal history and formative life experiences, social identities, and mental health history.
“Setting” commonly refers to the container of the experience, which includes the physical and social environment within which a substance is ingested, factoring into account when and where it will take place. Thus, setting may include aspects such as music, whether it takes place outdoors or indoors, the decor/props in the session room, as well as the relationships between others present.
The concept of set and setting does not exist independently of culture, with the sociocultural context of set including, but not limited to, race, economic status, strength of relationships with others, and the individual’s access to and relationship with nature.
Timothy Leary, 1960s counterculture icon and ex-Harvard lecturer in clinical psychology, is generally given credit for popularizing the concept of set and setting through his emphasis on the importance of both in shaping psychedelic experiences.
In the cult classic, The Psychedelic Experience, Leary together with his colleagues Ralph Metzner and Richard Alpert reflected, “Of course, the drug dose does not produce the transcendent experience. It merely acts as a chemical key – it opens the mind, frees the nervous system of its ordinary patterns and structures. The nature of the experience depends almost entirely on set and setting.”
To a large extent, the notion of set and setting within Western culture has been shaped and inspired by the ways in which Indigenous cultures around the world ingest psychoactive plant medicines in contexts bound by ritual, ceremonial objects, music, relationship with the land, and cosmological interpretive frameworks.
Compared with Indigenous cultures, Western culture has a bias against the use of psychoactive substances, and despite evidence that the peoples of Europe once used psychoactive plants ritualistically, such traditions have been long forgotten. Cultural frameworks determine the lens through which psychedelic experience is interpreted, and the lack of a cultural context, beyond that of prohibition, within which to make sense of psychedelics in the global North has produced a need for the ongoing formulation of set and setting.
More recently, Ido Hartogsohn, assistant professor at the program for Science, Technology & Society at Bar-llan University, has been conducting research on set and setting, exploring the ways in which psychedelic experiences are shaped by society and culture. In 2017, Hartogsohn published a paper outlining the history of set and setting, pointing out that although the term is often credited to Leary, its roots extend further back.
He explains how members of the Club des Hashischins, translated as “Club of the Hashish Eaters,” a Parisian group dedicated to exploring psychoactive-induced experiences in the 1840s, gave emphasis to what he calls factors beyond the substance itself. When Timothy Leary began his research with psilocybin in 1960, he exchanged letters with English author Aldous Huxley, who shared an excerpt written by one of the club’s members, Théophile Gautier, in which Gautier explores the necessity of preparation and going into a hashish experience with a “tranquil frame of mind and body.”
In addition, Hartogsohn suggests that having a better understanding of set and setting could serve as a form of harm reduction as well as benefit enhancement, highlighting that “the discourse on set and setting had remained largely underdeveloped over the years.”
An Expanded Vision: Set, Setting, and Support
Considering the growing mainstream emergence of psychedelics, set and setting alone is no longer sufficient as a harm reduction mantra, nor is it sufficient as a guidepost for the benefit maximization of psychedelic therapy and research. We argue that as a matter of public health, this mantra must evolve into “set, setting and support.”
Despite the undeniable healing benefits of psychedelics, media discourse around them is sometimes dressed in sensationalist language, serving to construct psychedelics as miracle cures for all mental health problems. This premise is misleading and does not highlight the innumerable challenges that present themselves around the psychedelic experience.
One evident challenge that may emerge, is that of the psychedelic experience itself. Even when set and setting are controlled, there is no guarantee that challenging content and situations will not present themselves.
“Sometimes active journeyers can find themselves in unsound decision-making states. Having the support of a peer, trip sitter, or facilitator, during an experience can help the explorer navigate their inner state and make adjustments to the setting for maximum comfort and safety,” says Hanifa Nayo Washington, co-founder and Chief of Strategy at Fireside Project, a psychedelic peer support line that provides free, live phone support to individuals actively tripping or looking to process past experiences.
As psychedelic researcher and transpersonal psychologist Stanislav Grof says, psychedelics can be “non-specific amplifiers of mental or psychic processes.” That is, they have the ability to amplify content which is latent in the psyche, bringing up thoughts, emotions, and sense impressions that we were previously unconscious of.
Another challenge that may emerge after the experience relates to the fact that healing is often a messy, non-linear process in which things sometimes get worse before they get better. Anecdotally, there appears a common point of contention around individuals’ expectations going into an experience versus the actual outcome. No doubt, having forms of support already integrated into the process can make such moments of difficulty easier.
Beyond this, the aftermath of a psychedelic experience can also be destabilizing, as the non-ordinary states of consciousness they elicit serve to catapult us beyond the bounds of our everyday perceptions. In part, it is this very disruption in our normative flow of consciousness that enables psychedelics to be so healing, however, it can also be a simultaneously scary process as we find the foundations of our worldviews and belief systems turned on their heads.
“Psychedelic experiences can invite tremendous dysregulation in the body, mind, and spirit system,” Washington says. “Enlisting post-journey support in the immediate days, weeks, and months that follow a psychedelic experience can significantly ease the process of self-regulating to a ‘new normal’.”
What Can You Do To Seek Support?
Seeking avenues of support is a way to enhance psychedelic preparation, journeys, and integration, with support taking many different forms. One type of support, which may seem more self-evident, is that of socially-based, community support at the interpersonal level.
Despite the fact that psychedelics can elicit feelings of connection and oneness, some who use psychedelics may find themselves feeling alienated and misunderstood. For years, prohibitionist, zero-tolerance policies served to demonize psychedelic substances and those who used them, resulting in a lingering stigma and sense of shame associated with their use. This is especially true for individuals from communities of color who have long faced the impact of the discriminatory enforcement of drug laws, with the war on drugs producing profoundly unequal outcomes across racial groups.
Additionally, spiritual and mystical-type experiences have long been ridiculed and pathologized in Western culture, as they often include elements that are not culturally accepted as objectively real, sometimes resulting in those who have profound transpersonal experiences being dismissed or labeled as “crazy.”
Following a deep spiritual or transpersonal experience in which an individual disconnects from their ego, once they begin folding back into themselves there are layers of their identity or their lives that they may leave behind. This letting go of behaviors and parts of the psyche that are no longer of service can be conceived of as a type of “psychedelic shedding.” Omar Thomas, Founder of Jamaica’s Diaspora Psychedelic Society, CEO of Jamaican Organics and Psychedelics Today Advisory Board member, first formulated the notion of “shedding” in the context of psychedelic integration.
This might relate to one’s job, relationship, identification with a certain religion, sexual identity, or even their gender. When one goes through this shedding process without adequate support, there’s the risk that rather than finding relief from their mental and psychospiritual afflictions, they deepen, due to the many associated implications and consequences of the shedding process.
For example, what happens when someone realizes that the reason for their stress is rooted in their work, but they can’t quit because they won’t be able to support their family otherwise? Or what happens when someone sheds a cis-gendered identity but they’re in a marriage that would fall apart, opening a flurry of difficult, albeit potentially necessary effects?
This shedding process isn’t necessarily a bad one, but it certainly can be without having adequate support present to facilitate and ease the process. Like a butterfly going through its metamorphosis, it needs to be held in a safe container while fragile to emerge on the other side as its fullest and most beautiful expression.
Even today, as psychedelics become increasingly accepted in the mainstream, there is still a residue of stigma that remains. Thus, it is important, when looking for someone to support your journey, to find a non-judgemental, trustworthy person to share the experiences with. For some, this person may materialize in the form of a therapist, counselor, coach, or shamanic guide, while for others it may be a trusted friend or family member.
If support in an individual’s immediate circle is scarce, finding community support could come from connection online or in person with a psychedelic community, many of which offer courses and integration circles. One benefit of finding community online is around connecting with people from a particular social identity group that may not be accessible otherwise. For example, there are now integration circles that cater to individuals who identify as BIPOC, neurodivergent, or queer.
“In preparation for a psychedelic journey, support can look like gathering with a trusted friend, psychedelic facilitator, or support circle, to explore intentions, apprehensions, impressions, and beyond,” Washington says. “This support can increase awareness of one’s inner weather or set. With greater awareness comes the possibility for increased understanding of one’s own needs and knowing.”
Other forms of support include tools and techniques that a psychedelic voyager can draw upon as resources for grounding before, during, and after psychedelic experiences.
No matter the quality of the experience, beyond an intention to reduce the risk of harm, certain practices can be adopted as a way of supporting oneself through moments of discomfort or difficulty, to add a deepened sense of meaning and lasting benefit to the experience. For example, a 2019 study that observed the effects of psychedelics on long-term meditators suggested that the effects of a mindfulness practice may help patients sustain treatment outcomes in the long-term.
One might consider adopting a type of embodiment practice, engaging different aspects of the body in creating deeper self-awareness, balance, and connection. Whether it be a practice rooted somatics or mindfulness, or a more dynamic movement-based practice like yoga or dance, finding ways to become embodied helps to cultivate a deeper relationship with oneself and inner support to fortify your whole being.
Exploring the value of somatic practice, Lauren Taus, therapist practicing Ketamine-assisted Psychotherapy and Founder of Inbodied Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy and Integration Training shares, “Every emotion has a somatic counterpart, a felt sense in the body, which means that developing a daily practice of being in your body and listening to somatic wisdom is essential for healing.”
Support can also manifest by tending to your connection with nature. It can be easy to feel isolated after the depth and intensity of a psychedelic experience, however, the earth and the manifold beings that permeate it can serve as a source of community, providing consistent support through the embodied, knowing you were never alone to begin with.
In our vernacular, we tend to say that we are using psychedelics, but it’s certainly possible that psychedelics are actually using us. When one considers the predictable shift in values developed out of their use, expanding them to the global scale, we can see that not only are psychedelics healing us at the individual level, but are collectively helping to change the course of humanity’s place on earth by allowing us to care more about ourselves, one another, and the earth itself.
As this continues, there will be a never-ending need to increase layers of support for the broader community. Where might you be able to add that missing piece in your community, in your work, or in your personal life? What does it mean for you to evolve beyond set and setting?
In this episode, Joe interviews Zach Leary: host of the MAPS podcast, facilitator at Evo Retreats, author, and of course, son of psychedelic legend, Timothy Leary.
Leary was last on the podcast four years ago, so this episode serves as a bit of a check-in and reconnection, and truly goes all over the map. He discusses his relationship with Ram Dass and reconnecting to psychedelics (and himself) after a 13-year spiritually-bankrupt career and not quite understanding his identity outside of his father’s shadow; why the psychedelic facilitation role shouldn’t be standardized; Dave Hodge, Kilindi Iyi, and super high-dose experiences; ancestor work; solo ski trips compared to the Vipassana experience; the ease with which people play Monday Morning Quarterback with the story of his father; floatation tanks and the birth of ketamine; why Ram Dass held a grudge against Dr. Andrew Weil; and critiques of Michael Pollan – how much How to Change Your Mindskipped, how little experience Pollan had before essentially jumpstarting a revolution, and how many people now think they’re ready for a psychedelic experience when they’re likely not.
Leary just recorded with Rick Doblin for the MAPS podcast, he’s finalizing his first book (tentatively titled And Now the Work Begins – Psychedelics in the 21st Century and How to Use Them), and launching an online 8-week course called “Psychedelic Studies Intensive,” which begins February 8. He will also be a guest at our first conference, Convergence (March 30 – April 2).
“I don’t believe that the psychedelic facilitation role or experience should be standardized. There are just so many ways to do it. There’s no one way to do it. Sure, there are some wrong ways to do it, there’s no doubt about that. But it shouldn’t be standardized. It shouldn’t be generic. It shouldn’t be one-size-fits-all. It really doesn’t matter to me if somebody has gone through the MAPS training program or CIIS; that doesn’t make them any more qualified than some of the amazing underground visionaries who are doing healing work as well. …No one psychedelic experience is the same. Why should the facilitation experience be the same?”
“It sort of becomes like a catch 22: If you have to ask if you’re ready for psychedelics… I don’t know, maybe you’re not.”
“If you look at every iteration on the war on drugs; every single one, going back to the late nineteenth century criminalization of opium against Chinese immigrants in the bay area, to African Americans [and] cocaine, to [the] Hispanic population and ‘Reefer Madness’ to white, long-haired, anti-authoritarian hippies dropping LSD, African Americans [and] the crack epidemic – every single time (I mean, this list is endless), it always goes back to a war against people [they] don’t like. And once you do that, you create an inherent system of corruption to fuel that, because it’s a civil war. It’s not a war against the drug. It’s a civil war against behavior [and] against consciousness.”
“This isn’t a political issue. It’s a human rights issue. Like it or not, every single society on the face of the Earth since recorded history has used mind and mood-altering chemicals. And that is never going to change, ever.”
In this week’s episode, Joe and David team up again to discuss what news interested them the most this week: the DA dropping a felony drug charge against a mushroom rabbi in Denver due to the passing of Proposition 122; Numinus Submitting a Clinical Trial Application to Health Canada that would give in-training practitioners the ability to experience psychedelics with their psilocybe-containing EnfiniTea; and a University of Exeter-led trial moving forward with the next step in a study using ketamine for alcohol use disorder (with 2/3 of the money coming from the National Institute for Health and Care Research).
They also review a paper that analyzed the economics of psychedelic-assisted therapies and how insurers come into play; as well as The Journal of the American Medical Association stating that, based on current trajectories compared to cannabis legalization, they believe the majority of states will legalize psychedelics by 2037. So nice to see these continued steps in the right direction!
And if you missed it, we just announced that applications are open for the next edition of Vital. There are incentives to paying in-full by certain dates, so if you missed out on last year’s edition or have been curious, attend one of our upcoming Q+As!
In discussing these articles, much is covered: methylation and genetic memory; addiction; gut biome; cesarian births; how much inequality is built into the “psychedelic renaissance” due to it primarily evolving out of inherently unequal Western societal paradigms; permaculture; new ways to be together; Burning Man; the concept of the nuclear family; the power in working with your hands; creativity; harm reduction and the lack of readily available drug testing kits; and more.
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MAR 30 - APR 2, 2023
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Immerse yourself in the many facets of psychedelics, from advocacy, education, industry, arts, and community. We’ll hear from thought leaders, healers, musicians, and more in this one-of-a-kind venue. Check out the line-up and learn more >
HAMILTON MORRIS • SUTTON KING MYSTIC GRIZZLY • RAFEEKI DR. CARL HART • STEVE DEANGELO