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This week’s guest is Zach Haigney, the founder and author of The Trip Report. The Trip Report is a fascinating online newsletter that delves into all the little nooks and crannies of the psychedelic world and the psychedelic renaissance.

We discuss medicalization and the different models of psychedelic decriminalization and legalization that are happening around the country and the world. We talk about access and how to make psychedelic medicines accessible to everyone, and some of the different paths forward that states and countries are taking around the world. And we discuss Zach’s own journey from the world of acupuncture to founding The Trip Report

This episode gives a great overview of the current state of the psychedelic renaissance in America and around the world. Hope you enjoy it. 

This episode is brought to you by The Trip Report – a wonderful online newsletter and blog by Zach Haigney about the latest and most exciting psychedelic news and happenings. If you want to be in the know about the psychedelic renaissance, check it out

This episode is also brought to you by Fulcrum Venture Accelerator, the fundraising accelerator for mission-driven entrepreneurs. Every 3 months Fulcrum scours the globe for the most impressive entrepreneurs building impactful companies, and we take them through a 3-month accelerator program focused 100% around helping them close seed financing. Our process has already been used to close more than USD $20 million in seed capital and we’re just getting started. If you or someone you know is creating something impactful and is raising seed capital please visit Fulcrum  to download free resources and get free pitch feedback.

Note: In the late part of this interview I mention Tav Sparks who, unfortunately, passed away shortly after we recorded this episode. If you’re interested to learn more about Tav and his beautiful life and legacy, click here.

Show Notes

07:00 Medicalization – “There’s an irony here, especially with something like psilocybin mushrooms or some of the other plant medicines that literally grow out of the ground, and then we have to go through the whole ordeal of clinical research and drug development and science and regulation.”
10:56 “If we’re looking at a species of plant two thousand years ago it makes complete sense to like put it in your mouth and to see what happens. And so you do that over generations and generations and generations with different plants and you come up with things like Ayurveda or Chinese medicine or Shamanism.”
11:48 “I’m an acupuncturist and I got interested in acupuncture and Chinese medicine 10 years ago.”
13:04 “How do we integrate this mode of healing and medicine into a modern system?” 
13:21 Will: “My experience with psychedelics is a subjective first-person experience and nobody else can have that experience. I can’t adequately describe that experience in words to anybody else or pictures or music. I can try all these different modalities, but it’s personal and I’m the only one that will ever have had that experience.”
15:51 Modes of knowledge. Will: “We have that possibility to be open to other ways of knowing as a culture.”  
18:24 Prohibition paths forward – “It doesn’t seem like it’s possible or likely that governments around the world just lift the prohibition.”
20:05 The absurdity of current drug laws “Putting people in jail for possession of plants is just absurd.”
20:48 Paths towards legalization – Zach talks about the first legal medical marijuana in California in 1996 
22:14 Zach on the marijuana situation in Canada: “My understanding is it’s more like alcohol now – it’s regulated and it’s for sale, you need to be a certain age, but it’s no longer prohibited.”
23:10 Moving towards regulation and legalization – “It’s really complex and, aside from just lifting prohibition, it’s going to be nuanced, it’s going to be gradual. It’s going to be trade-offs that we have to think about and talk about.”
23:54 Will Canada set the model? Will: “It seems that what could happen is Canada to decriminalize everything” 
24:13 Zach talks about decriminalize movements in the US
27:50 The Status in Washington and Oregon “One of my readers suggested we call that a state medicalization.”
29:02 Will about the Canadian access to psilocybin for the end of life: “The psilocybin mushrooms – the patients have to grow them themselves.”
29:59 A little bit about Bruce Tobin – the founder of TheraPsil in Canada
30:41 Will about Rick Doblin: “He said it should be like a driver’s license. You should have a license for mushrooms, a license for LSD, a license for MDMA. If you screw up you lose your license, if you want it back you can appeal.”
34:01 Fear of psychedelics and what to do about it: “The challenge that I have with therapeutic use personally is that you don’t know what’s going to happen, what’s going to come up or how are you going to respond or what you’re going to see, the message you’re going to get. You open yourself up to uncertainty, the unknown possibilities.” 
34:33 “The devil you know versus the devil you don’t know.” 
36:21  Zach speaks about Stephen Ross
37:02 “When I tell people I write about psychedelics, it’s either  “oh, that’s cool”, “oh, interesting”, or “what?! you are a crazy person!””
37:29 Will speaks about the War on Drugs 
38:48 Will about Stan Grof: “Stan is essentially saying that we need to throw out mainstream psychiatry and create a new model of understanding mental health and wellness that’s based on connecting to spirit.” 
41:13 “One of the things I like about the MAPS protocol is they’re encouraging therapists who are training to administer the MDMA therapy to undergo themselves.”
43:28 Will talks about Neurodynamic Breathwork by Michael Stone 
45:37 “There’s a lot of my self-worth wrapped up in the results that I get with my patients.”
50:09 The Pharmaceutical industry – “Pharmaceutical industry is the most hated sector of the economy in public opinion polls. More than cigarettes, firearms, alcohol… People love their cigarettes, firearms, and alcohol, but they hate the pharmaceutical industry.”
52:54 Discussing access to psychedelics and costs – “The marginalized members of our society who (there’s an argument to be made) need it the most right there will just not have access to it. (psychedelics)”
53:19 Take one give one – Zach explains his idea on how to make psychedelic therapy accessible to everyone
55:00 Discussing different models of access “I think the nature of this type of medicine creates the potential that there are more creative solutions than purely fee-for-service.”
59:47 Zach speaks about the Evryman Group
1:03:11 Zach about the issue of money in therapy space: “The idea of exchanging money for a service of healing is uncomfortable for a lot of people, myself included.”
1:05:51 Books: The Power Within by Tav Sparks & The Ethics of Caring by Kylea Taylor
1:06:49 Zach talks about The Trip Report  
1:07:56 Cost of treatment – Will: “If you break your arm, and you need an operation, it shouldn’t bankrupt you.”
1:09:23 “There’s a lot of room for optimism and also a lot of room for skepticism.”