Stream of Consciousness
By Armin Khayatian & Colin Ball
Stream of ConsciousnessSep 04, 2020
Therapsil: Legal access to psilocybin in Canada for the first time since 1974
TheraPsil is a non-profit coalition of healthcare professionals, patients, and advocates dedicated to obtaining legal access to psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy for Canadians. On August 4th, 2020, four individuals grappling with end-of-life distress who were supported by TheraPsil in their application for a Section 56 exemption to the Canadian Drugs and Substances Act were approved! This was the first time that a personal application for psilocybin therapy was approved in Canada since it was made illegal in 1974. In today's episode, we interview Spencer Hawkswell, TheraPsil's Chief Executive Officer, and discuss everything from the organization's inception through to the scientific, moral, and legal arguments in favor of expanding access to psilocybin in Canada. Our conversation includes tactical tips for grassroots activists, discussions of what's on the horizon for their organization, as well as calls-to-action and information for advocates and patients in palliative care.
Links to additional topics we discussed:
- Find out if you qualify for TheraPsil's support: https://therapsil.ca/patients/
- Read more about the scientific, moral, and legal arguments in favour of access: https://therapsil.ca/reasoning/
- Dig into the academic research TheraPsil has compiled informing their reasoning: https://therapsil.ca/bibliography/
- Learn more about Section 56 exemptions: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/health-concerns/controlled-substances-precursor-chemicals/exemptions.html
- Read a Canadian Member of Parliament's letter addressed to the Minister of Health on this topic: https://therapsil.ca/letter-from-marcus-powlowski-to-minister-patty-hajdu/#more-999
- Watch the full video testimonials from patients like Thomas and Laurie on their YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCG7KAXDjoNH2i05KGW3vmsw
Dennis McKenna: Ethnopharmacologist, Author, Founder, and Advisor
Dr. Dennis McKenna is a visionary ethnopharmacologist, research pharmacognosist, university lecturer, repeat author, non-profit founder, and advisor. He has received post-doctoral research fellowships in the Laboratory of Clinical Pharmacology, the National Institute of Mental Health, and in the Department of Neurology at Stanford University School of Medicine. He is also a founding board member of the Heffter Research Institute, and was a key investigator on the Hoasca Project, the first biomedical investigation of ayahuasca. In this episode we talk about everything from the mytho-poetic psychedelic adventures of his youth through to his current work at the McKenna Academy of Natural Philosophy where he “explores modern and traditional practices, ideas, and technologies that foster the understanding of nature, consciousness, the cosmos and their interweavings with humanity.”
Links to additional topics we discussed:
- Dennis MeKenna’s original thesis on Amazonian hallucinogenic plants: https://open.library.ubc.ca/cIRcle/collections/ubctheses/831/items/1.0096656
- The Shaman and the Scientist Documentary that features his fieldwork exploring the potential of indigenous plant-based medicine in the Amazon: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/tsats
- Videos and blog posts detailing the McKenna Academy’s first Mystery School retreat at Willka T’ika: https://willkatika.com/sound-meditation-not-sound-healing/, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9VJ0yIila8&feature=youtu.be
Ronan Levy: Founder of Field Trip Health
On today’s episode, we interview Ronan Levy, the Founder & Executive Chairman of Field Trip Psychedelics. Field Trip Health, the first of the verticals Ronan is involved in, is a pioneer in the psychedelic therapy space, working to make psychedelic therapies more effective, safe, and accessible to all. Prior to Field Trip Health, Ronan worked to expand access to therapeutic medical cannabis, ultimately driving a multi-million dollar exit that defined the clinic vertical. We explore Ronan’s background in law, entrepreneurship, and cannabis before reaching forward into the future of both Field Trip and the broader psychedelic industry.
- 04:00: Ronan’s background (i.e., corporate lawyer and entrepreneur turned medical cannabis pioneer ‘bringing darkness to light’ and securing an 8-figure exit)
- 24:40: Why did he leave his senior leadership role at Aurora Cannabis post-acquisition?
- 29:20: What sparked his interest in psychedelics as an industry?
- 34:20: What is Field Trip Psychedelics and how did it come to be?
- 40:17: Why are Field Trip Health’s clinics starting with Ketamine as their first therapeutic agent and how does it compare to ‘traditional psychedelics’?
- 46:00: How Field Trip’s offering will evolve and why they’re so focused on engendering the trust of the medical community.
- 51:05: Deep-dive into Ronan’s point of view on differences in jurisdiction and geography prioritization as it pertains to strategy.
- 56:00: Considerations when building and scaling psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy clinics (in Toronto and New York).
- 59:10: An overview of Field Trip’s multi-disciplinary team, gaps in the talent market, and the ensuing implications.
- 1:05:50: COVID-19’s impact on their product roadmap
- 1:07:17: Field Trip’s funding to date (~$12M CAD), the impact of cannabis industry turbulence, and psychedelic industry financing more broadly.
- 1:16:00: A discussion about the similarities, differences, and false similarities between the cannabis and psychedelic industries.
- 1:24:45: How Ronan recommends getting up to speed on the psychedelic industry.
- 1:29:07: The self-perpetuating nature of psychedelics, notions of moral authority, and why the psychedelic pandora’s box is now open (in more countries than one)
- 1:39:30: What Ronan’s excited about, why he wants to change the world, and how Field Trip is positioned to do so :)
Psychedelic Tourism: An Interview with the Founder & CEO of Atman Retreat
The Psychedelic Renaissance Explained
In our first episode we introduce ourselves, the podcast, and help you understand this so-called ‘Psychedelic Renaissance’. We synthesized over 7000 years of history to explain how cave paintings of mushroom-wielding shaman have led to FDA approved research, millions in VC funding, and an emerging early-stage industry. If you want to dive deeper into some of the leading academic research we referenced you should start with the work at Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelic & Consciousness Research [https://hopkinspsychedelic.org/publications] and Imperial College’s Center for Psychedelic Research [https://www.imperial.ac.uk/psychedelic-research-centre/research/].
Additional resources discussed in the episode include:
- MAPS: Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies [https://maps.org/about/mission]
- What the Dormouse Said: How the Sixties Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry by John Markoff [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/What_the_Dormouse_Said]
- Other great timelines that helped inform our research included those by Psychedelic Times [https://psychedelictimes.com/psychedelic-timeline/] and Psychedelic Science Review [https://psychedelicreview.com/timelines/cultural-events/]
We’d love to read your feedback and answer any additional questions that you may have; email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow-us on Twitter (@arminkhaya & @colinrball) to continue the discussion. Copyright 2020. All Rights Reserved.