Plant Medicine Podcast with Dr. Lynn Marie Morski podcast

Plant Medicine Podcast with Dr. Lynn Marie Morski

Lynn Marie Morski, MD, Esq.

Curious about the possible therapeutic benefits of plant and psychedelic medicines? The Plant Medicine Podcast with Dr. Lynn Marie Morski has you covered with the latest in scientific research, medical practices, and legal developments involving these substances and their incredible therapeutic potential. Covering the full range of plant/psychedelic/entheogenic therapies, including CBD, cannabis/marijuana, MDMA, psilocybin, ketamine, LSD, ayahuasca, ibogaine and more, this podcast serves as an auditory encyclopedia of information for anyone interested in learning about the safe, therapeutic uses of these medicines.

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    Psychedelics and Breathwork with Kyle Buller

    43:58

    This episode of the Plant Medicine Podcast features a conversation with Kyle Buller on psychedelics and breathwork. Kyle is co-founder and host of the Psychedelics Today podcast and he has studied breathwork since October 2010 with Lenny and Elizabeth Gibson of Dreamshadow Transpersonal Breathwork. Kyle earned his BA in transpersonal psychology from Burlington College where he focused on the healthing potential of non-ordinary states of consciousness, exploring topics such as shamanism, reiki, plant medicine, and holotropic breathwork. He has also earned an MS in clinical mental health counseling with emphasis in somatic psychology and has since worked with at-risk teens in crisis and individuals experiencing an early episode of psychosis. Kyle opens this discussion by providing a basic definition of breathwork and sharing his own journey with this modality. He discusses how breathwork can refer to a wide variety of practices, but what unites these disparate techniques is utilizing the breath to induce specific physiological states and experiences. The holotropic style of breathwork has roots in transpersonal psychology and the work of Stanislav Grof and it is this modality which is often compared to psychedelic experiences. Kyle discusses how holotropic breathwork can be an incredibly powerful practice for trauma-healing and inducing visceral experiences—similar to the classical psychedelics. He recounts his own experiences with this practice, describing how he was able to relive the experience of being born in the state conditioned by the method of breathing. Due to the synergy with the psychedelic experience, Kyle mentions that there is a lot of potential for breathwork to help individuals integrate or prepare for psychedelic experiences, as well as being a powerful tool for clinicians involved in psychedelic-psychotherapy to better understand the non-ordinary states of consciousness their patients will be experiencing.  Because of the wide variety of breathwork techniques, Kyle discusses the possibilities of tailoring practices to the specific experiences of a client. Everyone has a unique “window of tolerance” depending on their background and constitution, and some people will benefit more from techniques which downregulate the nervous system and allow for peace and relaxation, while others may find more value in techniques which are highly stimulating and provide deeper, emotionally complex experiences that allow for self-exploration.   In this episode: What breathwork is an how it relates to psychedelics The origins of holotropic breathwork and Stanislav Grof’s transpersonal framework Breathwork vs meditation How to use breathwork to integrate and prepare for psychedelic experiences The effects of different types of breathing on the nervous system   Quotes: “[Breathwork] offered a really great tool for training, for understanding how to sit with people in non-ordinary states of consciousness.”  [8:49] “Some breathing techniques, like these more deeply cathartic techniques, they’re bringing up a lot of emotional memory and people are starting to work through a lot of somatic sensations, they are working through trauma.” [13:38] “We really need to look at somebody’s whole picture, where they’re at, how they could potentially benefit, look at their nervous system, attune to that, and really think about what they could tolerate, what’s going on in somebody’s psyche.” [30:29] “The breath is this flexible tool, it’s a vehicle—we can help to regulate our nervous system with it and explore it.” [39:38]   Links: Psychedelics Today Psychedelics Today Education Center SettingSun Wellness Dreamshadow Transpersonal Breathwork Psychedelic Medicine Association Porangui
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    Avoiding the Pitfalls of Psychedelic Medicine with Matthew Johnson, PhD

    23:17

    In this episode of the Plant Medicine Podcast, Matt Johnson, PhD returns for the final installment to discuss his recent paper “Consciousness, Religion, and Gurus: Pitfalls of Psychedelic Medicine.” Dr. Johnson is the associate director at the Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research at Johns Hopkins University, where he also works as a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences. He has published widely in the field of psychedelic science and has guided over one hundred psychedelic experiences. In 2019 Dr. Johnson was the president of the psychopharmacology division of the American Psychological Association, and he currently serves as the president of the International Society for the Research on Psychedelics. In his paper, Dr. Johnson explores some concerns around certain norms which have developed in psychedelic therapy, and how these could have potential negative effects. Dr. Johnson raises two main concerns in this conversation. The first is how therapists, guides, and scientific researchers could advance various spiritual or religious beliefs within the therapeutic context or offer metaphysical interpretations of psychedelic experiences beyond what the client suggests.  The second concern involves how psychedelic medicine is presented, both on a cultural level and even materially within therapeutic settings. For example, Dr. Johnson suggests that it is inappropriate to have statues of the Buddha displayed in clinical settings, unless this is something requested by the client. He suggests that if psychedelic therapy embraces a certain “New Age” aesthetic wholesale, it could dissuade people who don’t identify with the subculture from taking advantage of these therapies, especially as these medicines become more widely accessible.  Additionally, Dr. Johnson points out that not all patients would have the same associations with the Buddha statue in the example, and that the inclusion of any particular religious iconography should be something chosen proactively by the client, rather than assumed by the therapist. Dr. Johnson concludes this conversation by again stressing a client-centered approach to psychedelic therapy, suggesting that this approach is best suited to circumvent these concerning pitfalls.   In this episode: The issue with psychedelic therapists or guides bringing their own metaphysical beliefs into the psychedelic experience or its interpretation How the current culture around psychedelic medicine subtly presents these therapies as being for specific kinds of people How a client-centered approach from humanistic psychology can present an effective framework for psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy   Quotes: “I think it’s critical that therapists—and scientists at this research phase we’re at now—be client-centered in terms of the therapeutic approach. In other words, not making any assumptions for the participants, for the patients, about what the interpretation of these experiences should be.” [4:36] “You’re there to support them, you’re there to let them lead. If there’s any metaphysical meaning to be made, they are in the driver’s seat. You’re there to create a safe container, to care for their wellbeing, and to allow them to have their experience.” [11:08] “It’s not that you’re denying any of this stuff—it very well may be that any of these people’s framework is ground truth—it’s just not your role to say and we don’t need to.” [15:06]   Links: Center for Psychedelic & Consciousness Research at Johns Hopkins (contribute to survey research here) Dr. Johnson’s Paper: Consciousness, Religion, and Gurus: Pitfalls of Psychedelic Medicine Psychedelic Medicine Association Porangui
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    Exploring DMT Entities with Matthew Johnson, PhD

    26:13

    In this episode of the Plant Medicine Podcast, Matt Johnson, PhD returns to discuss previous survey research he conducted regarding DMT entities. Dr. Johnson is the associate director at the Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research at Johns Hopkins University, where he also works as a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences. He has published widely in the field of psychedelic science and has guided over one hundred psychedelic experiences. In 2019 Dr. Johnson was the president of the psychopharmacology division of the American Psychological Association, and he currently serves as the president of the International Society for the Research on Psychedelics. In this conversation, Dr. Johnson shares findings from his 2020 publication of survey research which investigates peoples’ experiences with DMT entities. To preface these findings, however, Dr. Johnson first lays the groundwork by explaining the limitations of scientific investigation into these kinds of psychic phenomena. He explains that science is unable to answer questions of whether or not DMT entities are ultimately real, or what the fundamental nature of these experiences is. It can, however, employ rigorous methods for analyzing reports of entity encounters in order to document common features of these experiences and the types of effects they can have on individuals. In the survey, around twenty five hundred respondents shared their experiences of encountering an entity during a DMT experience. From the data collected, Dr. Johnson shares some of the common features of these entities. The beings are typically perceived as benevolent though there was a wide variety of ways the entities were conceptualized, ranging from aliens and machine elves to spirits and angels. Often participants believed the entities revealed metaphysical realities and the presence of these beings was frequently accompanied by extrasensory phenomena such as telepathic communication. Due to the dramatic nature of these experiences, Dr. Johnson’s research found some lasting impacts as reported by respondents, and he concludes by briefly discussing the effects of entity encounters on religious belief.    In this episode: What questions science can and can’t answer, and the boundaries good scientific research has to take when investigating something such as DMT entities The findings of Dr. Johnson’s survey research—some general trends regarding the qualities of entities described Effects of entity encounters on religious belief   Quotes: “My bet is that if people believe that there’s some sort of reality to these disincarnated entities—that it’s not just in their mind—there are certain people that can hold that experience in a positive way that might benefit them… and probably some of these over 2,000 folks, there’s probably some people that—again, aside from whether we know it’s true or not—believing in things that no one else can prove are there is probably a bad thing.” [12:38] “The machine elf thing, I mean, that was Terrence McKenna’s trip. And he described it—and I think he was very honest that that was his experience—and I think people who’ve heard his experience, a good number of them have had machine elf experiences because they heard Terrence McKenna’s experience.” [16:17] “Before the experience, 28% of these people identified as atheist, and then after the encounter that dropped to 10%.” [20:53]   Links: Center for Psychedelic & Consciousness Research at Johns Hopkins (contribute to survey research here) Dr. Johnson’s DMT Entity Study: Survey of Entity Encounter Experiences Occasioned by Inhaled N,N-Dimethyltryptamine: Phenomenology, Interpretation, and Enduring Effects Psychedelic Medicine Association Porangui
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    The Latest Research on Psilocybin for Depression with Matthew Johnson, PhD

    30:58

    In this episode of the Plant Medicine Podcast, Matt Johnson, PhD joins to discuss the latest research of psilocybin as a treatment for depression. Dr. Johnson is the associate director at the Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research at Johns Hopkins University, where he also works as a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences. He has published widely in the field of psychedelic science and has guided over one hundred psychedelic experiences. In 2019 Dr. Johnson was the president of the psychopharmacology division of the American Psychological Association, and he currently serves as the president of the International Society for the Research on Psychedelics. In this conversation, Dr. Johnson shares findings from his recent study in psilocybin treatment for depression and summarizes other major studies investigating this psychedelic’s clinical applications. First, however, he discusses ongoing survey research he is conducting at the Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Studies. The Psychedelic Change Survey for Anxiety, Depression, or PTSD is seeking volunteers who have intentionally used psychedelics (ayahuasca, mushrooms, LSD) or MDMA to treat these mental health conditions to collect data on the efficacy of these interventions. Dr. Johnson and his team are interested in collecting a variety of responses, so you are encouraged to participate to share your experiences with these substances and whether they provided beneficial results, led to negative outcomes, or anything in between. Dr. Johnson also spends some time discussing study design, as psilocybin research has begun to move into more sophisticated forms of clinical research. He describes the function of a randomized clinical trial such as his own study, and details the double-blind double-dummy setup of the recent psilocybin study at NYU. In his study, Dr. Johnson’s participants were randomly selected for the immediate treatment group or the delayed treatment group, which served as a control. All participants were provided with two sessions of psilocybin assisted psychotherapy, and the data showed that there were large reductions in depression following treatment and these results remained statistically significant at follow ups. In the NYU study, Dr. Johnson describes that participants were given either a genuine psilocybin treatment followed by a placebo antidepressant to take regularly, or they were given a placebo in place of psilocybin followed by an approved antidepressant. This large study is particularly interesting as it directly compares psilocybin treatment for depression with traditional pharmaceuticals used to treat this condition. Here again, Dr. Johnson reports that the psilocybin treatment showed extremely promising results.    In this episode: Conditions for participating in Dr. Johnson’s current survey research   How Dr. Johnson designs his studies and chooses how he analyzes the data collected The results of the first randomized study examining the use of psilocybin for depression How the preparation process for psilocybin-assisted therapy may be clinically useful as a standalone treatment   Quotes: “We and the group at NYU published larger studies with a high dose of psilocybin and found these very large reductions in both depression and anxiety in cancer patients, so that sorta paved the way for, hey if this works in cancer patients let’s look more broadly.” [19:42] “I kind of view psychedelic therapy as sort of having everything we know about general psychotherapeutic processes under a magnifying glass.” [23:12] “I think it’s fallen out of fashion, but if we just had people laying on couches all day with therapists they’ve developed a relationship with—if that was more of a thing, even without psychedelics or placebo psychedelics, that has real benefit.” [28:30]   Links: Center for Psychedelic & Consciousness Research at Johns Hopkins (contribute to survey research here) Dr. Johnson’s Recent Study: Effects of Psilocybin-Assisted Therapy on Major Depressive Disorder: A Randomized Clinical Trial NYU Psilocybin Study: Rapid and sustained symptom reduction following psilocybin treatment for anxiety and depression in patients with life-threatening cancer: a randomized controlled trial Psychedelic Medicine Association Porangui
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    People of Color and Psychedelics with Ifetayo Harvey & Mary Sanders, LCSW

    48:52

    In this episode of the Plant Medicine Podcast, Ifetayo Harvey & Mary Sanders, LCSW join to discuss people of color and psychedelics. Ifetayo is a writer, advocate and speaker who founded the People of Color Psychedelic Collective. She has also previously worked with both MAPS and the Drug Policy Alliance. Mary Sanders is a licensed clinical social worker whose work focuses on addressing trauma in communities of color and marginalized populations. She is a founding board member at the People of Color Psychedelic Collective and is a trained psychedelic-assisted psychotherapist from both CIIS and MAPS. Mary is also certified in trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy and is currently enrolled at the somatic experiencing trauma institute. This conversation with Ifetayo and Mary touches on many of the important topics in the intersection of the unique experiences of people of color and the use of psychedelic medicines. One immediate concern which has begun to be discussed more openly is that of POC representation in psychedelic spaces. Ifetayo and Mary both discuss this issue, mentioning how representation is especially crucial for something as vulnerable as psychedelic experiences, where facilitators are responsible for navigating a wide range of emotions which naturally arise in a ceremony or therapeutic setting. Having someone from one's own community in these spaces can facilitate healing, as there is less anxiety around needing to explain specific experiences or trauma. Despite these shortcomings of representation, psychedelic medicines have a lot of potential to provide healing for people of color in particular. Ifetayo and Mary discuss the experience of intergenerational trauma in communities of color and how psychedelics are able to shed light on this phenomenon. Ifetayo shares powerful experiences from the first People of Color Psychedelic Collective retreat before the pandemic and explains her own coming to consciousness of the brutality of slavery and Jim Crow and how dysfunctional behaviors which perpetrate intergenerational trauma originally developed as survival mechanisms for the black Americans who lived under these racist systems.  Mary also emphasizes that psychedelic healing for people of color needs to emphasize building community and creating strong interpersonal bonds. While the individual experiences provided by plant medicines are incredibly beneficial, the healing will be even more profound if it can be processed and integrated collectively, as people of color aren’t only healing individual ailments, but collective traumas rooted in shared histories of oppression.     In this episode: The unique needs of POC not typically addressed in psychedelic ceremonies or integration circles The disconnect between the Western therapeutic paradigm of healing individuals vs the more communal approaches to healing in traditional black cultures and how to bridge this gap How People of Color Psychedelic Collective creates community and fosters opportunities for people of color involved with psychedelics The intersection of intergenerational trauma and psychedelic healing for people of color   Quotes: “Taking a medicine is a vulnerable state, where we have to be cautious: am I going to be minimized, are my visions going to be acknowledged and held with support and love and care?” [8:27] “Healing is relational and it’s so important that we not only do the work in the therapy space but that we’re out and about with our friends and our family and our community members, especially our community members that have similar life experiences and histories.” [19:24] “There’s a very very strong stigma around addiction [and] overdose because our communities have been harmed in so many ways by policing and bad drug policies.” [25:22] “I think it’s really about uplifting the people who are already doing the work and then also supporting the folks who want to do the work, like providing them with resources, education, mentorship. Things like that will help usher in a new generation of [POC] healers, practitioners, leaders.” [39:35]   Links: People of Color Psychedelic Collective Mary Sanders’ EmPATH Center Drug Policy Alliance Dr. Carl Hart’s Webpage National Harm Reduction Coalition Darren Springer’s Webpage Fruiting Bodies Collective Psychedelic Medicine Association Porangui
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    Can Ayahuasca Help Promote Palestinian-Israeli Reconciliation? With Dr. Leor Roseman & Antwan Saca

    36:15

    In this episode of the Plant Medicine Podcast, Leor Roseman and Antwan Saca join to discuss their recently published paper: Relational Processes in Ayahuasca Groups of Palestinians and Israelis. Leor is a postdoc at the Centre for Psychedelic Research at Imperial College London, where he also received his PhD and masters under the supervision of Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris. Leor has diverse research interests related to psychedelics, ranging from the neuroscientific and therapeutic, to the phenomenological and psychosocial. Antwan is a graduate of the Arab American University of Jenin with a BA in public law and has extensive experience working for justice in Palestine. He has served as the director of programs at Holy Land Trust in Bethlehem and as a program coordinator for Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation. Antwan has also worked as a research assistant for urbanization and geopolitical monitoring at the Applied Research Institute—Jerusalem. In this episode, Leor and Antwan discuss the details of the recent paper they co-authored which deals with impacts of ayahuasca on interpersonal peace building in the context of the Israel-Palestine conflict. The study consists of 31 in-depth interviews with Israelis and Palestinians who’ve participated in joint ayahuasca ceremonies and looks to investigate the impact of this psychedelic experience along three relational themes: unity-based connection, recognition and difference-based connection, and conflict-related revelations. Through open-ended interviews, Leor and Antwan were able to collect qualitative data from participants which allowed research conclusions to arise organically.  In the interviews, participants disclosed experiences of profound political revelations, connection with the land, and empathy for the other. Leor and Antwan stress that the initial motivations of the participants typically had little to do with notions of political peace-building and instead they were most often participating in these psychedelic ceremonies for reasons related to personal growth, so these outcomes arose naturally as a result of the intense interpersonal connections spurred by the psychedelic experience.  Though these ayahuasca ceremonies had significant positive impacts for both the Israelis and the Palestinian participants, Antwan notes the disparity of access to psychedelic healing for Palestinians and emphasizes that the “love for the other” the Palestinian participants experienced through the ayahuasca ceremonies is complicated due to the pervasive political supression and percarity experienced by Palestinians in their day-to-day lives. The study, however, demonstrates that profound experiences of connection through the use of psychedelic medicines are possible even in the context of a deep and traumatic geopolitical conflict. This opens the door for further study of the potential of psychedelics to facilitate conflict resolution and peace-building.   In this episode: How Leor and Antwan developed the idea for this study based on their personal backgrounds Different themes which came up in interviews with the Israelis and Palestinians in the study The moving story of a former Israeli military officer and how he experienced the pain of the Palestinian people during an ayahuasca ceremony How music and prayer in the ceremonies helped to encourage empathy and cultural connection among participants   Quotes: “It’s not questionnaires, it’s not about measuring things, it’s about listening to stories and making meaning out of them.” [13:24] “Because the rituals were participatory and music and prayers were shared, a lot of times these opened up for people the strong connection to the other culture or the other people and that was very meaningful for many people.” [21:34] “A lot of us Palestinians end up in the interviews telling you ‘this is all amazing’ and yet there is the reality, yet we live under this kind of suppression.” [29:11] “Not all people that came to the ceremonies came from the peace camp or from left-leaning camps. They come for psycho-spiritual growth, or even for physical illnesses… And they go there regardless of their politics.” [31:37]   Links: Full Article: Relational Processes in Ayahuasca Groups of Palestinians and Israelis Psychedelic Medicine Association Porangui
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    Psychedelics and Nature: The Symbiotic Relationship with Dr. Sam Gandy

    41:56

    This episode of the Plant Medicine Podcast welcomes Dr. Sam Gandy to discuss the symbiotic relationship between psychedelic experiences and connection with nature. Dr. Gandy holds a PhD in ecological science from the University of Aberdeen and has conducted field research across the globe. He currently works as a research assistant at the Synthesis Institute and as a senior science writer at Wavepaths. He is also a collaborator with the Centre for Psychedelic Research at Imperial College London and was previously a scientific assistant to the director of the Beckley Foundation.  In this conversation, Dr. Gandy shares insights from his research into psychedelics and nature relatedness with special emphasis on his 2020 publication “The Potential Synergistic Effects between Psychedelic Administration and Nature Contact for the Improvement of Mental Health” (linked below). Dr. Gandy discusses the numerous overlaps between the experience of nature relatedness—the personal sense of being connected with the natural world—and the experiences induced by psychedelic substances. These overlaps cover a range of domains and all work to promote wellbeing. For example, Dr. Gandy reports that neuroticism decreases both as a result of positive psychedelic experiences and from spending quality time in nature. As high neuroticism can correlate with mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety, interventions that can impact this trait have significant therapeutic potential.  In addition to specific overlaps between the psychedelic experience and nature relatedness, Dr. Gandy also discusses how psychedelics and psilocybin in particular seem to increase a sense of nature relatedness. Considering these overlapping benefits and the symbiotic relationship between psychedelics and nature relatedness, Dr. Gandy provides some speculations for how nature can be more intentionally integrated into psychedelic therapies and ceremonies to maximize the therapeutic benefits of both. He mentions that even something as small as decorating a clinical setting with artwork depicting nature can have positive impacts for patients undergoing psychedelic psychotherapy in the space.   In this episode: Eudaimonic vs hedonic well being The neurobiological and psychological overlaps between nature relatedness and the psychedelic experience How both psychedelics and nature relatedness promote mindfulness and experiences of awe Ideas for combining psychedelic therapy and experiences of nature to enhance health benefits   Quotes: “Nature connectedness is a mediator for some of the benefits to cognition and mood obtained from actually spending time in nature, having contact with nature.” [6:57] “There was a study published last year by a Finnish research group and one of the most common after effects of psychedelic mystical experiences they found was this sustained, positive shift in peoples’ relationship to nature.” [17:35] “Psilocybin has this capacity to facilitate this fairly robust, rapid, but most importantly sustained increase in nature relatedness. And the really mysterious and interesting thing is that it can do this even when it's administered in a clinical setting.” [22:47] “The restorative effect of nature obviously benefits both the person having the therapy and the therapist, and it potentially allows for the outdoor nature-based setting to become part of the therapy itself.” [31:00] “If you’re going to do any kind of psychedelic nature connection, nature immersion therapy, it’s very important to have a cozy, secure structure that people have got as a safe place.” [35:31]   Links: Dr. Gandy on Twitter Dr. Gandy’s 2020 article The Potential Synergistic Effects between Psychedelic Administration and Nature Contact for the Improvement of Mental Health Dr. Gandy’s 2019 article From Egoism to Ecoism: Psychedelics Increase Nature Relatedness in a State-Mediated and Context-Dependent Manner Psychedelic Medicine Association Porangui
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    Kratom: Research Findings and Methods of Use with Dr. Oliver Grundmann

    36:18

    This episode of the Plant Medicine Podcast features a conversation about kratom with Dr. Oliver Grundmann. Dr. Grundmann earned his bachelors in pharmacy and European pharmacy license from University of Münster in 2004, after which he pursued graduate studies at the University of Florida, where he is now a clinical professor in the College of Pharmacy. His research interests focus on investigating the use of natural products as novel treatments for a variety of physical and mental conditions. Dr. Grundmann is a leading kratom researcher and has published numerous articles on the substance, examining the plant medicine and its use using a variety of methodologies.  In this episode, Dr. Grundmann introduces kratom (scientific name mitragyna speciosa) and discusses its pharmacology and potential as both a medicine and a drug of abuse. The kratom tree is native to southeast Asia and belongs to the same botanical family as the coffee plant. The leaves of the kratom tree contain a wide variety of active alkaloids and they are consumed orally to produce a psychoactive effect.  Dr. Grundmann explains that kratom is unique because the primary alkaloids mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine are opioid agonists, yet the substance does not fit neatly into the opiate category as it lacks certain properties of the classic opioids such as morphine or heroin. For example, respiratory depression is not observed with the use of kratom, while this is a hallmark effect of opioids at high doses—and one of the major dangers associated with the use of these drugs.  Another way in which kratom is unique is that its effects are highly dose dependent. At lower doses, Dr. Grundmann explains, the plant tends to have a more energizing effect, while higher doses lead to a more sedating experience.  In this conversation, Dr. Grundmann also shares insights into kratom use in America based on survey research he has conducted. While scientific research into kratom remains a small field, this type of survey research helps to give insight into the potential kratom has as a plant medicine through data which shows the variety of conditions people are attempting to treat through kratom use.  As kratom consumption increased in the United States and the plant gained notoriety, its use became associated with the treatment of chronic pain and opioid withdrawal. Dr. Grundmann’s research has been showing, however, that users are also turning to kratom for dealing with conditions such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD. These initial findings provide fertile soil for further research into kratom’s potential medicinal applications.   In this episode: The pharmacology of mitragyna speciosa The legality of kratom in the United States The current state of scientific research into the effects of kratom consumption Contraindications for kratom use Potential uses for kratom to treat both mental and physical ailments Various methods for kratom consumption   Quotes: “Just because a substance binds to an opioid receptor doesn’t mean that it shows all of the same properties as, for example, morphine, or oxycodone, or fentanyl, or heroin.” [14:20] “When we talk here one to five grams per dose, three times a day—the potential to develop a use disorder, kratom use disorder, basically, is relatively low. When we talk about really taking high amounts of an extract or also of the powder for example, let’s say above eight grams, ten grams per dose, more frequently—four, five, eight times a day—then there is the potential to develop a dependence on it.” [18:52] “Between 70%–85%… [of] folks were in the range of one to five grams and didn’t have to go above five grams to maintain alleviation of their symptoms for which they are using kratom… That indicates to me that there’s no risk of tolerance up to five grams per dose.” [22:53] “Surprisingly, we had a large group now in the second survey who were using it to treat—self-treat—symptoms of ADHD or PTSD and nothing else aside from that. So it’s really a very diverse population of users that we’re seeing with kratom.” [25:09]   Links: Dr. Grundmann’s Profile at the University of Florida  Dr. Grundmann on LinkedIn Psychedelic Medicine Association Porangui
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    Psychedelics and the LGBTQIA2S+ Community with Dr. Angela Carter

    37:41

    This episode of the Plant Medicine Podcast welcomes Dr. Angela Carter (they/them) to discuss the intersection of the LGBTQIA2S+ community and psychedelics. Dr. Carter is a queer, transgender, and genderqueer naturopathic primary care physician who also works as a midwife, sexual assault examiner, and health equity advocate in Portland, Oregon. They also serve as both the vice-chair and the equity in training subcommittees co-chair of the Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board. In addition to these positions, Dr. Carter serves as the chair of the Transgender Health Program Community Advisory Board at Oregon Health & Science University. They also volunteer with many organizations including the Fireside Project, Black Rock City Emergency Services, and Queerdome. Dr. Carter begins this conversation by sharing exciting new research currently being conducted which involves LGBTQIA2S+ individuals and psychedelic therapies. While this particular area of research remains small, it is growing and the fruits of these studies will be an important step for better understanding how these new therapies can serve gender and sexuality minorities, and help facilitators understand the unique concerns of people in the LGBTQIA2S+ community. Dr. Carter illustrates these types of concerns by discussing the prevalence of gender binaries within psychedelic spaces. They describe how in a clinical setting it is prevalent to have both a male and a female facilitator, but this leaves no room for gender-nonconforming people to guide experiences—something which could be preferable if the patient themselves shares this identity. Dr. Carter also discusses this gender binary in traditional contexts. It is common for ayahuasca ceremonies to provide separate spaces for men and women, again leaving no space for gender-nonconforming people. This reification of the gender binary and the often patriarchal organization of the ayahuasca ceremony can have serious impacts on the set and setting, especially for people in the LGBTQIA2S+ community. Dr. Carter emphasizes the importance of making space for folks in the community so that they are able to receive therapy, attend ceremonies, and participate in integration with others who share similar identities. This shared identity, they emphasize, ensures that LGBTQIA2S+ people don’t feel out of place in contexts that ought to be healing. Dr. Carter closes by discussing how members of the LGBTQIA2S+ community experience disproportionate rates of mental illness, further illustrating the crucial importance of equity in accessing psychedelic medicine.    In this episode: Problems of representation and access for LGBTQIA2S+ individuals in the psychedelic space Current research being done on the intersection between psychedelic therapies and unique issues faced by gender and sexuality minorities Preparations to take before guiding a psychedelic experience for LGBTQIA2S+ people, particularly if you do not come from the community How plant medicines could have unique benefits for the LGBTQIA2S+ community Issues of poverty faced by marginalized peoples and how to support equity of access to emerging psychedelic therapies   Quotes: “For some people that idea of melding, of becoming one and losing all of those unique pieces of themselves, doesn’t fit their paradigm of a spiritual connecting experience.” [10:47] “It’s precious, that centering of our community—to be able to sit with people who just understand.” [19:42] “Psychedelics offer the opportunity for connection of the self to something greater, something outside, a bigger community, spirituality, and really do a huge amount to heal peoples’ relationships with substances.” [25:20] “Marginalized communities have been really impacted, largely, by the war on drugs, which has put millions of people in jail for drug offenses and stolen their ability to make income, stolen their ability to connect with community and we really need to heal that.” [33:34]   Links: Fruiting Bodies Collective Chacruna Institute Queering Psychedelics 2019 Conference Queerdome on Facebook  Portland Psychedelic Society Psychedelic Medicine Association Porangui
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    Psychedelics and Meditation with Nate Macanian

    37:41

    This episode of the Plant Medicine Podcast features a discussion of psychedelics and meditative practices with Nate Macanian. Nate is a meditation teacher and psychedelic guide from New York with a background in cognitive neuroscience. He also creates mindfulness content for leading meditation apps such as Calm, Simple Habit, and Wellness Coach, as well as retreat centers such as Synthesis and Omega Institute.  Nate begins this discussion describing how he was initially exposed to meditation and psychedelics. This first exposure came while Nate was a student at the University of Michigan and his immediate passion for meditation led him to found a student organization to further explore meditative and contemplative practices with his peers. Nate also describes guiding friends through psychedelic experiences in his college arboretum, before he had ever even heard of the idea of trip sitting.  Turning to meditative practices themselves, Nate describes how psychedelics can be incorporated into one’s meditation routine in a variety of ways and for a variety of different forms of meditation. What he stresses, however, is to examine the intention behind bringing plant medicines into the practice. But if they are incorporated mindfully, psychedelics can help bring meditative practices into sharper relief—microdoses help to amplify awareness and reveal the habits of the mind while larger doses work to connect one to layers of experience previously hidden to consciousness. While meditation and psychedelics share certain goals and can both be used for therapeutic ends, there are also differences between them. Nate describes psychedelics as an elevator which takes people directly to a destination, whereas meditation is more like a winding staircase as the practice requires continual effort and consistency to progress. Nate also distinguishes meditation and psychedelic experiences phenomenologically. He stresses that the goal of meditative practices is not to mimic the feeling of a trip. Instead, meditation works to focus the attention on the whole spectrum of human experience, some of which can be boring, tedious, or dull. Psychedelics, on the other hand, provide specific kinds of experiences which are intense and colorful, but these differences are what allow meditative practices and psychedelic journeys to have a symbiotic relationship.    In this episode: Nate’s journey being introduced to mindfulness and psychedelics The importance of intention in meditation Incorporating plant medicines into one’s meditative practices Psychedelics, meditation, and the default mode network in the brain Why set and setting is also important for meditation   Quotes: “If you include a larger dose in your meditation practice, you might find that there are layers that were previously unseen and latent, living under the surface, that start to come up and this is where a lot of shadow work happens.” [14:00] “When the default mode network is off, we have this increased susceptibility to our immediate environment and this is why it's so important to surround yourself with positive people and be in a nice, calm, safe place.” [22:24] “I think there’s absolutely a place for psychedelics to be included in your meditation practice as long as it’s intentional and as long as you feel like your success as a meditator is not attached to your use of any substance.” [26:59] “Meditation as a practice is not about really forcing ourselves to have some experience, but to train our awareness, to become a more whole person, a more fulfilled person, a more loving person.” [33:33]   Links: Nate’s website Psychedelic Medicine Association Porangui

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