psilocybin Tag

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Psilocybin: Magic Mushrooms and Perspective

In the plant medicine world, there are currently a lot of studies and a lot of work happening– also politically to make it legal– about psilocybin. This chemical occurs in what we tend to call magic mushrooms

 

Magic Mushrooms and Religion?

People have been eating magic mushrooms maybe since before religion. Some people even theorize that religion comes out of psychedelic experiences that people had including experiences on mushrooms. Potentially, people ate mushrooms and had spiritual experiences which later were the foundation for religion. 

 

Which, for me, is quite credible because everything is built on people’s experiences, just what kind of experiences were they? Probably vast and varied. 

 

Deeper Spiritual and Reality Experiences

What kind of experiences are people having on magic mushrooms? How can they create something like religion as a possibility or theorize about such a thing? 

 

Well, I’d say people are probably having pretty deep spiritual experiences where they are getting access to parts of themself, reality, or maybe other people’s psyches that they normally don’t have access to. That creates a somewhat reverential stance. 

 

What’s interesting about psilocybin, ayahuasca, or any of these more traditional plant medicines, is that the experience is organized enough that it produces some of what you see in the shamanic cultures. These rituals, ways of being, and sacred parts of a tribal community using psilocybin and psychedelics as possibly a fundamental experience that creates religion. It means that those experiences are organized enough that they produce something like a religion. 

 

Tapping into Transcendence

I don’t just mean people are worshipping “the mushroom”. I mean that they tap into something like the transcendent moral good. 

 

Wow. Could you imagine that you could be walking through the forest, you see this ugly, slimy mushroom, fungus, you eat it and suddenly you have an understanding of the moral good in a way that you didn’t before? 

 

That’s very weird. That’s very strange. How does that occur nowadays? 

 

Psilocybin and Revelations in Our Lives

I don’t think it’s uncommon that somebody might eat psilocybin mushrooms and realize that they’ve been a total schmuck in their relationship for a very long time. They’ve been a total asshole and they’ve been unaware of it. 

 

Why would it be that you would eat a fungus growing out of the ground and then that fungus, when you ingest it, looks at you and tells you, you know, you’ve been a real asshole…and you go, “You know what? It’s the truth.” 

 

I hadn’t really seen it that way for the last 10 years. That’s kind of unbelievable. You have these really mysterious and powerful living plants that when you ingest them give you access to things you just don’t have access to in your everyday life most of the time.

 

I think of the potential in the future of addiction and mental health recovery, because plant medicine gives you access definitely to parts of yourself–possibly to parts of the universe–that we don’t know about. 

 

There’s so much potential and so much power in learning how to navigate those spaces, but then it’s only going to work out if we do it with proper set and setting…And if we’re patient about it. If we have a reverential attitude towards something that may be sacred.

 

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Ayahuasca: An Opportunity for Healing?

One of the most popular plant medicine experiences–and it’s just kind of out–is Ayahuasca. It’s a South American brew, a tea, that has hallucinogenic properties largely coming from DMT–a compound produced in certain plants. The Ayahuasca vine allows the DMT to pass the blood-brain barrier. 

 

Using Ayahuasca is a seven-hour experience. They call it psychedelic, but these are loose categories. 

 

Ayahuasca vs. Other Psychedelics 

 

I mean, there’s a difference in the psychedelic experience of psilocybin and Ayahuasca. I would say that the Ayahuasca experience can be a lot more metaphysical. It’s a lot less predictable, deeper, and stronger in ways that aren’t easy to articulate. We’re talking about complicated complex phenomenological experiences, but people have been using Ayahuasca for healing for a long time.

 

Traditionally shamans used Ayahuasca to be able to diagnose the diseases and problems of people in the tribes so that the tribe’s people wouldn’t drink it. The shamans would drink it, so they could see in the spiritual realm where others were broken. Then the shamans help them heal–usually with song and medicine rattles, sometimes potions, and things like that. 

 

As of late, people have been drinking Ayahuasca to see…maybe for a lot of reasons. 

 

But, you know, the healing context to experience the brokenness for themselves and begin to heal in those spaces while actively on Ayahuasca, as well as do the integration work afterwards, is complicated. 

 

So, it’s an interesting thing to think about like I’ve talked about in previous videos, the sort of realms, like the realm of the imaginary or the archetypal realm, and even an angelic realm–who knows what these realms are and where they are. 

 

But when you drink Ayahuasca, you get access to those dimensions of being whether they’re being produced by the brain or they actually exist somewhere…You’re there. 

 

Ayahuasca and the Psyche

 

And so, if you think about that, Ayahuasca is giving you access to what we call the realm of the psyche. I don’t limit that to the brain. 

 

I call the realm of the psyche like, “What’s going on in there?” 

 

And you can also maneuver in there, change things, ask for things, and get clarity about what’s in there. And so what Ayahuasca is doing is giving you a kind of access to yourself and maybe to other realms that you normally don’t have. 

 

In that sense, anything can happen. People have reported cancer being cured. Others say their PTSD, depression, and anxiety were cured. In addition, people go from being atheists to believers. 

 

When you get that kind of access anything can happen and that’s what’s phenomenal about Ayahuasca.

 

Dangers of Ayahuasca

 

It’s also what’s dangerous about Ayahuasca…Anything can happen. 

 

You might get access to something that further traumatizes you–that means you might get stuck. It could be painful; you could get PTSD. 

 

So it’s a very deep, powerful experience but it’s one that we should approach with reverence and caution, which is, you know, not the American way.

 

I like to be kind of a voice that says, “Hey, let’s take this slow, let’s figure out what this is. Let’s figure out how to integrate this into our culture in a healthy, reverential way.” 

 

As opposed to: “Hey let’s just go drink this as tea…it’s going to cure everybody.” 

 

Ayahuasca…Moving Forward

 

So it’s a fascinating subject. It breaks into many domains. It’s interesting to think about it in terms of recovery–that you could use this powerful, hallucinogenic brew to heal from a lifelong addiction. 

 

It’s happened many times. I know plenty of people personally that have done that. It’s not addictive. So, there is absolutely no risk in terms of being addicted to Ayahuasca. It’s not an experience a person is going to want to have every day and you know, build a tolerance to it. 

 

So the risk factors are more around PTSD. The benefits are unpredictable but there is certainly a potential.

 

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The Traditional Social Model of Recovery

What to expect in this episode:

 

  1. The form of recovery nearest and dearest to my heart is the traditional social model of recovery
  2. It’s profound, to watch a room full of people, who were previously in active addiction, coming together to talk and help each other
  3. The future will see a mix, of the new, exciting, plnt medicine and medical techniques, with this old, traditional, beautiful social model

 

The Traditional Social Model of Recovery

I would  say the 4th and final, and probably the form of recovery that’s nearest and dearest to my heart, is the Traditional Therapeutic Social Model of Recovery

 

That is really, for me, it reaches me in a deep place. Which is not about science, it’s not all that fascinating it’s about human beings coming together in a thoughtful way to help each other figure out their lives and how to do that together

 

So that includes therapy, that includes groups, that include social support like Alcoholics Anonymous.

 

I’m a huge fan of Alcoholics Anonymous, I think it’s one of the most miraculous things that the United States has produced that is a very American phenomenon. I find it incredible, I could talk about AA all day, I’ll  give a little example:

 

Alcoholics Anonymous

If I go to a meeting on a Saturday night at 10 p.m. maybe somebody asked me to speak or something like that maybe I stumble into a young people’s meeting and the average age there is maybe 19 years old and there are a hundred people in the room in Los Angeles and they talking about their addictions, their problems, their relationships, their recovery in an honest way and they’re talking about their hope for the future may go outside and hang out together or something like that. 37 years old now so

 

I look at these young people on a Saturday night. These are the same people that weeks months or years ago were right the streets selling dope, using dump, doing Lord knows what kind of crime, Lord knows what to themselves, to other people, that are now sitting in a little room on chairs talking deeply and honestly about life

 

with no parents around no judges no counselors no therapist on their own and it sort of epitomizes the social model of recovery – how to become together solve our common problems. There’s something beautiful about that.

 

So, in the future of addiction, I see some mix of those different kinds of camps happening and I see them mixing in ways I couldn’t possibly predict or see.  It’s exciting, it’s it’s scary.

 

What’s exciting about it for me is I think we need to find much more effective ways of dealing with the issues of addiction of the large-scale so it’s exciting as these new ways come in, and hopefully, for me, still at the core is that traditional recovery which is human beings coming together to solve their problems.

 

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Plant Medicine, Ayahuasca, & the Right Relationship Model

What to expect in this episode:

 

  1. Plant Medicine like psilocybin and ayahuasca are a burgeoning underground addiction solution
  2. Much like diet, there is a sliding scale of harm – in food and drug – but most fall into a fuzzy middle
  3. The future will see movement away from the abstinence-based model toward more individual recovery care

 

Plant Medicine, the spectrum of harm, and the Right Relationship Model

Looking at the future of recovery, another phenomenon that we’re experiencing now, it’s underground and it’s on the horizon, at least in the United States. Is using plant medicine to treat addiction.

 

So there are some great studies with nicotine and psilocybin which is the psychoactive component in magic mushrooms.

 

They’re also using psilocybin to treat depression, which of often is an underlying condition addiction, there has also been a lot of fanfare about Ayahuasca, which is a powerful psychedelic from South America that was used traditionally for either hundreds or thousands of years.

 

And the thought behind plant medicine is to invoke a spiritual experience and to disrupt the default network of the brain, meaning the patterns of our thinking and feeling, in such a way that people can get a boost in breaking free from addiction. Something gets rewired, you know, in the shorthand.

 

Plant medicine is becoming popular in the underground and so if you go online you’ll find it kind of buried there amongst different ways to deal with addiction, I’ve come across a lot of clients, both successful and unsuccessful, who have either tried or use plant medicine to treat addiction

 

it’s it’s a fascinating area, my own general philosophy on if I’m speaking to a parent or a potential client who’s looking for recovery and looking for help is I don’t have a philosophy it’s whatever works

 

The Future is a Multiplicity of Approaches

 

The way that I think the future of addiction is going to break down is there’s going to be a multiplicity of approaches and in the end, I think the best parallel when looking at the future of addiction is looking at how human beings approach diet. There have been all these diet fads that come and go – everybody is on keto now –  where I think it’s going to go as modern science is getting there, is what specific diet is right for you.

 

so I think we’ll break away a little bit of overtime from an abstinence-base model meaning you can’t use any substances, to understanding your body and your neurochemistry better and specifically what substances in foods does your body and self react well to, and what substances and foods does is it not react well to

 

So I think about it on a spectrum write pretty much everybody knows that processed sugars and saturated fats really aren’t good for anybody hardly ever. You want to stay away from that stuff.

 

On the other side broccoli, celery. all these things we really don’t like,  are pretty much healthy for everybody. So we have the stuff that’s pretty much healthy for everybody and pretty much bad for everybody then there’s a spectrum of the middle

 

That has to do with your own body. For some people red meat, the iron in red meat is good, and for some people, it’s not. Trying to figure that out, I think will happen with drugs eventually is the same kind of approach.

 

The Right Relationship Model

 

I call it the “right relationship model’.

 

Which is pretty much for everybody crack cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin… is not good for your life!

 

And I think we can all pretty much agree on that. But there are a group of substance is over here, in the proper set and setting, that can be good for huge groups of people.

 

The way that I think about that is: there are certain substances that narrow our consciousness, right, when you use methamphetamine – people use it to, like Adderall,  it’s similar to methamphetamine, a stimulant, it helps you focus.

 

The problem with methamphetamine is that it narrows your consciousness! So, you’re actually not that connected to the things around you or the people around you, more important, over time.

 

Heroin narrows our consciousness in a different way, If you’ve ever seen somebody do a large dose of heroin, they just pass out, so it’s not focusing your consciousness, it’s obliterating your consciousness, and you pass out into oblivion. But they have the same general narrowing effect.

 

Alcohol is another substance that is like that, you drink alcohol and it lowers your inhibitions and your consciousness – which is what we appreciate about it – we don’t have to think so much and deal with all those feelings of anxiety.

 

So there’s a group of substance over there that narrow and dim consciousness, that’s why we like them, there’s a group of substances in the middle – people respond differently to marijuana and even wine or something at a smaller dose,

 

Although it dims your consciousness, it maybe connects you a little more, so there’s a little bit of space there in the middle. Which is why I think we have some agreement that they are kind of, KIND OF okay.

 

Plant Medicine | Expanding your Consciousness & Empathy

 

Then you actually have this group of substances, largely in the plant medicine world, but also MDMA, that have the capacity to expand your consciousness and empathy, and it’s real it is very well documented that it actually kind of lets filters down and allows you to have a wider awareness and vision

 

and anybody who’s done MDMA knows you have an incredible amount of empathy on MDMA and you rarely see people fight, you don’t get in a fistfight on the street, on MDMA. They are dancing together with glow sticks, it’s incredible.

 

So I think where it’s going, is into that kind of model were people, meaning people in society as a whole, is figuring out what kind of substances are good for us as a whole, and in what setting, and how we deal with that legally,

 

And what substances are really killing us and separating us?

 

I’m kind of optimistic about that vision, but every vision of the future is problematic. They are huge problems with that vision, just like they’re huge problems with the way we approach drugs and alcohol the abstinence-based model now,

 

It’s more just looking at what’s probable… as to what’s good, I never know what’s good in a complex phenomenon.

 

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