The Psychedelic Podcast by Third Wave
The Genesis of Microdosing: Creativity, Problem-Solving, and Other Feats of Mental Magic
James Fadiman, Ph.D.
James Fadiman, Ph.D. almost needs no introduction. An early pioneer of psychedelic research, a lifelong proponent of microdosing, and a prolific writer and educator, Jim played a pivotal role in reigniting the conversation around psychedelics in the US and beyond with the publication of his 2011 book, The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide. In this wide-ranging podcast, Jim chats candidly with Paul Austin about everything from the early years of psychedelic research and the immeasurable benefits of microdosing, to the business of psychedelics, the power of citizen science, and the foundation of our personal identities.
Given his 42-page CV, it’s pretty hard to sum up James Fadiman, Ph.D.’s career in a paragraph. But it’s fair to say that he’s considered one of the foremost authorities on psychedelics and their use. One of the earliest psychedelic researchers, whose work was shut down by the federal government in the 1960s, Jim played a pivotal role in reigniting the conversation around psychedelics in the US and beyond with the publication of his 2011 book, The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide. He is also a huge contributor to the science of microdosing, responsible for the popular “Fadiman regimen”. His most recent book, Your Symphony of Selves, explores how to harmonize our “multiple selves” to find acceptance and forgiveness.
This live 6-week transformational group program will guide you through the ins and outs of using microdosing and intentional ceremony as tools for accelerated growth.
You’ll get coaching, an opportunity to connect with a like-minded community, and a foundation to ground your new insights, connections, and perspectives to improve the quality of your life.
Registration closes on March 3 at midnight! Our group size is limited to 50 people, so if this interests you, be sure to sign up here by midnight on March 3.
This episode is brought to you by Mindbloom, a mental health and wellbeing company on a mission to help people expand their human potential by increasing access to effective science-backed treatments for anxiety and depression, starting with guided ketamine therapy. Mindbloom partners with licensed psychiatric clinicians to help their clients get the most out of treatment through technology, content, and hospitality-inspired client experiences. Third Wave’s viewers can get $50 off with the code “thirdwave is here.”
- Psychedelics as a shifting point: Why it’s hard to close your mind once it’s open.
- Living a dual life: Graduate student by day, psychonaut by night.
- Running with the “psychedelic trinity”: Timothy Leary, Richard Alpert, and Ken Kesey.
- The Menlo Park experiments: Microdosing LSD to unlock creativity.
- Why science still struggles to measure the true impact of psychedelic use.
- Using microdosing to reestablish physical and emotional equilibrium.
- Lyme disease, migraines, and PMS: How citizen science is helping to track the myriad benefits of microdosing.
- 30 million and counting: Psychedelic use in the US remains alive and well.
- Different models for the commercialization of psychedelics.
- Why patenting plant medicines seems akin to patenting water.
- Confronting the different versions of ourselves: A path to acceptance and forgiveness.
- The critical role of psychedelic integration.
0:00:01.0 Paul Austin: Well, Jim, I just wanna welcome you officially to the podcast. We’ll have an intro before this, but I think here live as I’m connecting with you, thank you for joining us. I think this has been a long time coming and it’s nice to finally sit down with you and record something publicly.
0:00:16.0 James Fadiman: Well, I’ve been seeing some of the podcasts you’ve been doing and I thought, “Well, I’d like to be one of those guys.”
0:00:24.3 PA: And our listeners, if they haven’t heard of you already, just by way of introduction, Jim Fadiman, Dr. Jim Fadiman, author of The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide, what I would call an OG of the psychedelic space, your first Psilocybin experience was with Richard Alpert in 1962. And you were influential and instrumental in the ’60s in terms of some of the initial research carried out. And then you kicked this all back off, or were an important part of kicking all of this back off, when you published The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide in 2011 and then was on the Tim Ferriss podcast in 2015. So I think that’s enough from me on background and context and I just want to thank you for joining us.
0:01:11.7 JF: Well, as I think your introduction suggests, I’ve been thinking about some of this stuff a long time.
0:01:20.2 PA: And I was reading through your CV before we started today, your biography that you have, and one thing that stuck out from that biography, which we’ll tie into this new book that you wrote, is this sense of once you have a psychedelic experience, you can’t go back to the sense of separation. Once we wake up through these experiences, we recognize that we are part of everything around us, and that has really informed your entire philosophy, your career philosophy, your life philosophy. Everything within it is that sense of interconnectedness.
0:02:03.0 JF: It’s true that my career or life game, or whatever we wanna call it, was totally reorganized in 1962 when I had some, several psychedelic experiences and like any mind-opening experience, it’s very hard to close it. And there was a system in Europe called a Wanderjahr, a wandering year, and it was something that you were supposed to do during the college years, and the reason was to get out of whatever your city or country was and see that there was a lot of other possibilities and also a lot of amazing places. So the psychedelics, in a sense, ramped that up a level in terms of there are places beyond normal awareness that we’re also unaware of. Once you’ve seen them, you don’t recall the details and you don’t recall the vividness, but you know that you were somewhere, and you know that that area of consciousness, wherever you were, exists, and that is the shifting point for many people whose lives I followed, and I’m certainly one of them. And I’ve done a lot of curious things in my life, but it all rotates around that larger awareness.
0:03:33.8 PA: Well, I’d love if you could bring our listeners back into that time period, 1962 to 1967, so when you first started to, had your first Psilocybin experience to when you received the letter from the federal government saying, “Hey, we gotta shut this down.” What was that five years like for you? How were you involved, who were you connecting with, who were you doing research with? Just what’s the feeling in those five years in the mid-60s?
0:04:05.7 JF: I was leading very much a dual life. I had returned from a year in Europe very grudgingly, because I got a letter from my draft board, this was during Vietnam, and they said, “We would love to see you and we have a career opportunity for you that if we offer it you, you can’t turn it down.” And I thought, “I really don’t wanna go to Vietnam. I don’t wanna kill people I don’t even know and I’m gonna be really lousy at it.” So I was seeing that I was basically gonna become a ward of the government on a VA hospital and it just felt like a bad life choice.
0:04:45.8 JF: Well, below that, not one that I wanted either, was graduate school. And during Vietnam, there were various ways you got exemptions and one was graduate school. So I had been accepted to Stanford and I told them I’d been accepted a year earlier. And I told them, “I’ve realized what a fantastic opportunity it was. I’d really love it if you would reinstate my acceptance.” And they said, “How about if we reinstate your acceptance but take away your scholarship?” And I said, “That would be terrific.”
0:05:20.8 JF: So on one level, I was a graduate student in an incredibly conventional psychology school, highly ranked, and at the same time, I had just recently experienced, for the first time, with Richard Alpert, a Psilocybin experience, which was much less than a total mystical experience but enough to say, “Wait a moment, psychology doesn’t know very much.” So that was my day time. My night time job was partly starting to read things like The Tibetan Book of the Dead, which looked like it was talking about what interested me, and at the same time, I was working with a group in Menlo Park, who were affiliated, who had permission from the federal government to run, basically, a psychedelic clinic where they gave high dose single sessions for either therapeutic or personal benefit.
0:06:22.3 JF: And so I became their psychologist as they were really discovering how best to give high dose sessions. And they developed the living room music, eye shades, all of that was developed by this group in the early ’60s. So that was my dual life, and I was probably the only graduate student in psychology who wore a coat and tie whenever I went to campus. The hippie world was just starting to happen and people were quite relaxed, and I wanted to look as straight and as nerdy as I possibly could so they wouldn’t find out what I was doing. So that dance went through graduate school.
0:07:09.1 JF: So on the one hand, we were really designing just beautiful clinical ways of working with psychedelics, I was meeting incredible people, and I was keeping my graduate school going, out of, basically, protection. So by the time, fortunately, by the time the federal government sent not us a letter, but all the research projects in the United States, there were about 60 projects, and they all said, “As of the date of this letter, your research exemption, your exemption to use these materials, is cancelled.” So overnight, all the research but one location in the United States closed down.
0:07:54.8 JF: By that time, I had my PhD and I was approaching the age in which the draft would not [unclear speech] And I had also covered my bases with the new rules, which is you were exempt if you were married. So I’m not saying that I got married to avoid the draft, but it didn’t hurt. [chuckle] So culturally, I was not an outlaw like Kesey, where… And I did know those people very well, I was not a kind of radical kind of visionary or visible visionary like Tim Leary became. I was running this kinda quiet life of learning about and understanding more about consciousness and more about psychedelics, as I pursued what was… What looked like, certainly on the outside, a fairly conventional life.
0:08:55.7 PA: And that had some parallels with what Leary and Alpert we’re doing at Harvard, but it sounds like you stuck pretty close to the track of keeping those separate. Everything you were doing with psychedelics was fully legal and accepted, regulated to some degree, whereas Leary and Alpert, from what I remember, got in a little bit of trouble because of the way that they were doing the trials and the psychedelics, and how they were enrolling graduate students, and there was less bifurcation or separation with what they were up to.
0:09:31.7 JF: Well, in a funny way, and this is the kind of world of the academics that we don’t talk about, one of the things that happened is Tim Leary was a lecturer, and in the academic world, that’s below every other position. Dick Alpert was an assistant professor, which is still fairly low in the game. Psychologists and other… Basically, academicians thrive off of the work they get from graduate students. So it’s, imagine, you have this low-cost or no-cost slave group who does your work and you get to be on their publications because you’ve helped them and you’ve been teaching. It’s not a bad system. Well, what happened at Harvard in the social relations department, that’s kinda psychology without mice and rats, all the graduate students or almost all the graduate students were gravitating towards the work that Tim and Dick were doing.
0:10:32.4 JF: Now, in the academic world, you’re not allowed to say that. You’re not allowed to say, we’re really mad at you because I don’t have graduate students, and you have too many. But it may color your opinion when they also are doing work that freaks you out. So it was, in a sense, almost a necessity for Harvard to do something about it. And they fired Tim because he wasn’t showing up for classes, totally justified. Firing Dick Alpert was a little more chancy. And both of them then became culturally much more visible. In a sense, Harvard gave them a national platform, which they didn’t have before.
0:11:26.3 JF: And there is something with a growing anti-establishment class who were against the war, who wanted ecology, who wanted women to be treated like people, who wanted people of all colors to be treated like people, all these people who were rising up as a counter-culture. And here was this… These very literate, very charming guys who had been fired by the most prestigious old line establishment institution in the country. So it was made for them to become famous. And they, as we know, went in very different ways.
0:12:14.1 PA: Very different ways. [chuckle] Yeah. Richard Alpert turned into Ram Dass. He went off to India and got a new name, and came back as a spiritual guru and teacher. And Timothy Leary got arrested and dealt with jail time, and went to Algeria, and was with the Black Panthers, and it was quite a… They followed very different paths in many ways.
0:12:37.2 JF: Rather different pathways. And just to put it into… Just imagine the context today, Tim Leary was arrested crossing the border from Mexico because his daughter had, on a little thing around her neck, the equivalent of a single joint. For that, Tim was given a multi-year sentence, and the fact that he then escapes from prison and has all these amazing adventures is an extraordinary tale in itself. But when we go back to the beginning, what you understand is, when the federal government doesn’t like you, they find a way. And with Dick Alpert, he became basically a disciple of a spiritual teacher, and the culture didn’t have much of a place for that either, but it wasn’t breaking obvious laws, so he was also seducing a lot of that same young generation, but to do different things.
0:13:53.0 JF: And the third person of that trinity would be Ken Kesey, who had no respectability at all. He was a novelist, my God, and charismatic and charming and smart, and he was discovering psychedelics and basically saying, “Hey, everybody, I’ve just discovered something wonderful. Why don’t you try it and it may screw up your consciousness, but that’s your problem.” Tim Leary was always saying, “Be careful, use set in the setting. Understand what you’re doing.” Ken basically has a phrase, and I’m quoting him now, is, “As I went along the road, I tore up the fence posts as I went.” So he was a true social radical and was in a sense the West Coast version of what Tim and Dick were on the East Cost. It was a very interesting time in the culture [unclear speech] what we say.
0:15:00.2 PA: And all three of them have become legends in their own right, Ken Kesey for One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and then Tom Wolfe wrote the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, which was probably the best non-fiction creative writing overview of Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters and all the things that were going on with Hell’s Angels. There’s a lot of funny, crazy stuff within that. Timothy Leary, with everything that he got into, and then obviously Ram Dass became his own thing, and what I’m hearing within that is all three were charismatic.
0:15:39.0 PA: All three had slightly different angles through which they pointed people, and there was a deep thirst for the knowledge that they were offering in the ’60s, and I think that also intersects with what you were doing with the specific research on psychedelics for creativity and problem-solving, which I think is fascinating because most of the research that we know about and most of the research going on today is for mental health, and for appropriate reasons. What was the interest in the research that you were doing? Was it fairly easy to find subjects? Was there a lot of excitement about what you were up to, or was it a little more ho-hum, sort of quiet, underneath the surface with what you were up to?
0:16:33.3 JF: The little group in Menlo Park, the outside members were Willis Harman, who was a Professor of Electrical Engineering at Stanford, another professor at Stanford in design engineering, and pretty much me. But that put us into the intellectual scientific community, and some of the people who got involved in the creativity research, very few, had also already had a high dose psychedelic experience. So when we put out the proposal and remember, no internet, that if you were a scientist and you had a problem that you had spent at least three months on and failed, you could join this creativity study, and all we promised was the chances of having an extremely creative day, period.
0:17:36.0 JF: I’m not sure how we got the first few people in, but after that, it was word of mouth from the scientific community, and what began to happen is one member of a research group would take our creativity study, and then other people from that group would say, “Can I get in?” because what they were observing is that their colleague was doing better work. And in the scientific… And what was remarkable about the creativity study is the odds were that it shouldn’t have worked. With what we know about psychedelics in those days, it was highly likely that people would basically lose interest in scientific problems and go tripping along wherever their consciousness took them.
0:18:26.4 JF: But when you have a lower dose, in this case, we were using either 200 milligrams of Mescaline or 100 micrograms of LSD, about equivalent, and they were very, very fixated on solving their problem. These were people who had a very low failure rate in their life, and we were basically saying, this problem has to bother you so that you’re intellectually interested and you’re emotionally attached. So the way the day worked is like in the clinical studies today, in the morning, people would get, in this case, the dose I mentioned, and then they would also have eye shades and earphones and a place to lie down. And for a couple of hours we said, “Whatever your consciousness takes you, have a good time, and when we get you up from this, we will offer you a little lunch, and then you are able to work on your problems.”
0:19:30.7 JF: And people had brought in basically large pads of paper. Someone brought in, I think, a hand calculator, which they found pointless, ’cause their mind was going too fast for that, and they basically worked on their problems until we stopped them late in the afternoon. Then we had the, we did this in groups of four, and then they would chat with each other about what they were doing. They would either, they would go home with a sitter, and what we saw is almost all of them continued on the problems until 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning. That was how it worked.
0:20:10.7 JF: And out of that, someone, I think a journalist, actually, went over our records, and it was 48 problems, 44 solutions. And early on, once we realized that, by God, this was actually working, we asked people to bring in two problems, because I remember we had someone who looked at the problem and he said, “Oh, I got it,” and then he had the afternoon. Pretty much we tried to get him going again. I believe he did, but we realized when you are a senior scientist and you’re working on a problem, in some way, you have enough information to solve the problem, you just don’t know where to put it or how to hold enough of it at once, and one of the things about psychedelics is you simply are able to hold more complexity at a given time.
0:21:08.2 JF: You also can do some interesting mental magic, and the one that I love is someone was working on circuit design, and when you deal with a circuit, there are resistors and capacitors and wiring and switches and so forth, and what he was doing is he would build in his mind a circuit, and then in his mind, he would run electricity through it, and in his mind, he would watch it to see where it failed. Then he would design another circuit in his mind, making changes to the place where it was deficient, and continued working that way until he solved the problem. Now, what’s really wonderful about that is what in his mind was able to generate literally electricity that obeyed all the laws of physics, and he could actually see where his imaginary creation was not working.
0:22:09.4 PA: Why is that? For our listeners, ’cause I have a sense of it, but from your perspective, why is it that that was so, you said 48 problems, 44 solutions. Why was that what you were doing specifically so helpful? What do psychedelics do that you think act as that breakthrough?
0:22:32.3 JF: Well, the nice thing is, now that it’s 40-50 years later, and I can tell you that we don’t have the faintest idea how psychedelics work, but we have a lot more vocabulary and we have a lot more fantasies that very distinguished neuroscientists have come up with, which is it might work this way, and if you read the literature, they say there’s a particular receptor in the brain and it grabs on to LSD or Mescaline, and then the connection between that and the experiment I told you about with electricity is very hard to make. It’s the same people who say, “Oh, yeah, dreams. We know what part of the brain they come in,” and I say, “Does that able to distinguish between a happy dream, a sexual dream, and a nightmare?” And they say, “Well, no.” I say, “Well, I’m not interested.”
0:23:30.6 JF: So we know very little about how psychedelics work. What we do know is they seem to make the body and the brain work better, and that is a remarkable statement to make. Now, if you have a high enough dose and you say, “Well, I don’t know about my body working better ’cause all I wanted to do was lie down and listen to music.” You say well, at a lower dose that’s because your body also was saying there’s so much going on visually and intellectually and spiritually inside that the part of you that uses for balance is offline for a while.
0:24:10.3 JF: So what happens to the mind, or to the brain, perhaps, is some circuits go offline and some parts of the brain seem to go online more than usual, and in a sense, you’ve all seen here is the brain not on LSD, and it has a few colored lines. Here is the brain on LSD, and it has a lot of colored lines. So when I look at that and I think, wow, we know that psychedelics make colored lines. But that’s being silly, but then if I say to the neuroscientists, “This particular neuron that you’re talking about that LSD adheres to, are there more of those in the brain where you’ve done 99.9% of your studies or in the gut?” And there’s this momentary pause where they wish I would go away, and some of them change the subject, but some of them say, “In the gut.” And I say “Have you measured anything in the gut?” “No.” And that’s ’cause it’s hard to measure that, okay?
0:25:25.0 JF: So you have to watch out in science because there’s a tendency for them to go where they can measure, which may or may not be where the action is. And if you think about it, if you take a microgram of LSD, let’s just say 1 microgram, ’cause we know that has almost no effect for anybody, where does it go? Every cell of the body, okay. How many molecules of LSD are in one millionth of a gram, okay? I asked a scientist friend of mine, and the number, I love it because the number blows me away, ’cause I can’t conceive it, it’s 1.54 quadrillion molecules. That’s a lot. Okay, and just for your audience, I want you to know that your host just kinda looked at me, like are you kidding me, man?
0:26:26.8 JF: So if you run that by the number of cells in the body, there’s lots of molecules for every cell in the body. So the notion that it only affects the brain is a very immature kind of science. It’s kind of saying, “Here’s an area we can look at,” and that’s great, but when you say, “That’s where it’s happening,” that’s just speculation.
0:26:51.7 PA: Especially as we learn more about the gut-brain connection, ’cause we even know, I think it’s 90% of serotonin is produced in the gut, and that there’s mirror receptors within both the gut and the brain. And this is something that often comes up as it relates to microdosing, where people go, “Well, you’re taking a sub-perceptible dose, and you’re not feeling anything, so clearly, if you’re not feeling anything, it’s not having any sort of effect.” And what you and I both know from talking with many, many folks is even at that microdosing, sub-perceptible level, there seems to be some sort of holistic effect going on with decision-making and with motivation and with energy and with a few other things, so there’s just a lot of things that we don’t know still, as you said before.
0:27:41.4 JF: Well, most of what happens inside our body and brain, we have no feeling for. Some large percentage of the people in the United States have a lower level of vitamin D than is good for them. And if you raise people’s vitamin D, their health gets better, they have no experience of, “Whoa, I just took 10000 units of D and I’m much better,” no, but after a few months of vitamin D, certain physical problems seem to be less and so forth. So we’re very used to the idea that when you take a substance, it affects the body, and then the body being in a better state behaves different, okay? So microdosing… And here’s the only problem I have with the people who have psychedelic experience, who then look at microdosing, is they think if macrodosing blows the top of your mind off and you see God and you realize you’re immortal and all those kind of things, microdosing is probably a small bit of that, it’s kind of like instead of the symphony orchestra, it’s one violin.
0:28:56.1 JF: And the answer is, it’s not, is the experience of microdosing is different, as if it were a different substance. And maybe an image that works for me is it’s the difference between the FM dial and the AM dial. They’re just different. They both are radio frequencies, one is longer, one is shorter. But there’s different things you can do with FM that you can’t do with AM, and vice versa. And so when people microdose and have incredibly shifts, incredible shifts in physical issues, physical changes, say migraine headaches, they don’t necessarily have a feeling experience, because that is in the parts of the body that are being helped or recalibrated.
0:29:48.5 PA: And there are people as well, we had talked about this, who, they’ll have shingles and they’ll start microdosing, and all of a sudden their shingles will disappear, or they’ve had Lyme disease for many years, and they start microdosing, and all of a sudden the Lyme disease goes away, so there’s a lot of the physical stuff that seems to tie to inflammation. And what we know, going back to the brain-gut conversation, is psychedelics are anti-inflammatory, and so there might be something going on then as it relates to, “Well, what is microdosing doing to help lower overall inflammation in the body so that it can heal itself?” ‘Cause ultimately that’s where a lot of this efficacy lies.
0:30:28.0 JF: Well, again, let’s look at microdosing and look at some of the other kinds of changes people report. And when you’re doing research, one of the problems with conventional research is you try and narrow your field as much as possible, you want to eliminate extraneous variables and you wanna say, “I want it so tight that the only reason that a person behaves differently is ’cause they’ve had a microdose.” When you’re doing citizen research where you don’t control anything and people tell you what’s happening for them, a lot of other variables appear. So someone writes me, and this could be one of maybe 30, 40 people, and they say, “I’m a student in such and such, and I was taking microdoses to help me in school, and I’m able to focus better, and the proof is my grades are up, and I don’t feel anxious when I’m in class, I’m starting to share,” all the things that the person took it for.
0:31:30.6 JF: And then I say, “Are there any other changes you’ve noticed?” And they say, “Oh, yeah, I’m drinking less coffee, smoking less dope, using less alcohol, less tobacco, huh, and I’m not noticing it, I just have no interest.” Or, and again, very common, “I’m eating better.” Now, that’s an interesting one, because that was of zero interest to them, and they’re not only eating better, they’re sleeping better, and they say, “You know, I’ve gone back to meditation.” Okay, so these are all changes that are quite common, that are unrelated to the intention of the person, and those are much more interesting, because a lot of the things that people in science do to belittle each other are about what you’re actually asked about.
0:32:31.6 PA: It’s very hard to say when someone says, “I’m eating better,” to say that had anything to do with their intention, because it didn’t. So it probably was related to the fact that they were… Whatever they were… Using a microdose. And that’s a very different way of looking at it. So when you use citizen science, you basically come up with all possibilities that you didn’t think of. For instance, you mentioned Lyme disease. Now, Lyme disease… By the way it’s a bacterial disease, and the bacteria are very smart. They don’t… Nothing takes them really out of the body, and they can attack any system. It’s a terrible disease.
0:33:17.9 JF: There are what are called Learned Lyme doctors, LLMDs, and they work with people who have Lyme, and they do as good a job as they can. None of them that I know of yet are using microdosing. But people who are in the outside world and have Lyme and would try anything, a few have tried microdosing, and have found that it was, among many other things they’re doing, much more helpful than the other things. Not the only thing they’re using. That wouldn’t come in a research study because you’d never wanna take the time, energy and money for a very… For a disease which is very complicated and for which there’s nothing in the prior psychedelic literature that says it’s even plausible that a microdose would affect it. That’s the ones I love, which is the ones that it makes no sense at all from conventional science, because that’s how conventional science gets changed.
0:34:24.2 PA: And that’s how you’ve been sort of this under the radar person who has significantly, I think, influenced the way that we not only think about science, the way that we think about psychology, the way that we think about psychedelics. Even as an example of this, Jim, with the research that you did in the ’60s at the intersection of psychedelics and creativity, psychedelics… Everyone knows Steve Jobs says LSD was one of the three most influential things that he ever did, but there is a significant correlation between that increase in psychedelic use and the computer revolution that came after. The best example of this is Douglas Engelbart, who credits his psychedelic use for helping to invent the sort of beginnings of the modern computer interface.
0:35:11.8 PA: So I think there’s also this, with what you kicked off in the ’60s and helped to inspire this incredible computer revolution and everything going on in Silicon Valley, and then you were like… You had to shut things down for 50 years or so. You kinda closed the books in the ’60s, and it wasn’t until 2011 when you published The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide, where you kinda opened up this new Pandora’s box and this new concept of, well, what if we don’t need to totally alter our state of consciousness to have some of these benefits? What if there’s truth in just microdoses of it done consistently?
0:35:52.0 JF: What’s really fascinating is the number of psychedelic researchers who have absolutely have no interest in looking at microdosing, because they were very much the way I was. Microdosing is not exciting. It’s kinda boring. People just kinda get better. And you don’t need a lot of equipment, you don’t need a special room, you don’t need trained therapists. In other words, it’s no… It’s not very fun. And the people who… And it’s really exciting when you’re with someone who’s never had a psychedelic and they have a serious problem, say, and we do have these studies, they’re dying, they’ve been chronically depressed for 20 years, they’ve been unable to stop smoking two packs a day for 20 years, and they’ve tried six different things, they’re what’s called treatment-resistant depression, which doesn’t mean it’s their fault, it means that the medications that we have out there haven’t worked, and within one day, a huge amount of that all goes away, and they spend three hours crying with joy, one hour crying with fear and horror at things in their past, you get to help them, you get to, in a sense, love them, and they feel your caring. That’s really exciting.
0:37:25.3 JF: Now, fortunately, because I’m not… I’m an independent researcher, which means I’m not affiliated with anybody, which also means I don’t have any review boards, I was able to do things differently, and I found out that when you can’t give psychedelics to people and they’re out in the culture, then you can ask people how they’re doing. And every once in a while, when I would give a talk, and let’s say there’s 500 people in the room, and I would say, How many… And I would say, How many of you [unclear speech] psychedelics, and usually everybody but one poor guy whose date brought him. But so it’s a kind of… It’s us, psychedelic people, talking, which means you can simply carry… You can convey more information more easily.
0:38:18.6 JF: And I say to them, How many of you are going to be in a legal study in the next year, and maybe 1 hand out of the 500 goes up. And I said, How many of you are gonna be taking a psychedelic in the next year? And about three quarters, at least, their hands go up. So there’s a world out there of experience that the research world has only begun to touch into. And if this was two years ago, I would say they’re not touching into it at all, but now they’ve learned, you can do surveys. Surveys have an inherent positive bias [unclear speech]. This is a survey about psychedelic use. Who is going to fill it out? It’s gonna take 40 minutes. Who’s gonna fill it out? Someone who didn’t… Who had psychedelics and it didn’t work very well, or they love psychedelics.
0:39:13.8 JF: Okay, so you get a very strong positive bias in all surveys, including the ones we’ve done, and we have a couple of thousand people, but you get information, you get information from the positive user group. So there’s one other little… I gave you the quadrillion number, which is my new favorite, but my old favorite was, what’s the number of people who’ve taken psychedelics? LSD, just LSD, not psychedelics, just LSD, since it was illegal to do so in the United States? And the answer is about 30 million. Thirty million people since it was illegal have had a major psychedelic experience, not necessarily beneficial, not useful, but that’s what they’ve had.
0:40:03.5 JF: Now, if we then look at literacy, if we take people, imagine a chart and most literate on the top and least literate on the bottom, where would the majority of the LSD takers be? And they’re in the top 50% of literacy. So what you have in the scientific, educated, literate subculture of the United States, a very large percentage of them have already had psychedelics. So as the government gradually lets go of laws that didn’t make sense scientifically, for a lot of people, that’s not gonna make much difference, because they’re already using psychedelics in a way that’s clearly been safe.
0:40:52.4 JF: Number of deaths due to an overdose of psychedelics, now we’ve got 50 years, zero. Number of deaths of people who had psychedelics and other things in their bodies who drove into a tree, sure, there’s some. And there was a wonderful study out of Canada, where there was a person who took a 5 times too much overdose…
0:41:20.2 PA: Of LSD?
0:41:20.9 JF: Of LSD.
0:41:21.2 PA: Okay.
0:41:21.4 JF: Another person who took up a 50 times overdose, and another person who took… Now, that’s not on purpose, a 500 times overdose. And I’m reading this article and I’m just hoping it’s gonna be not terrible. The 500 person was out of it, like in a coma practically for three or four days. No residual problems of any sort and they had a long-term mental illness and it was gone and it’s been gone now for years, similar for the 50 and the 5, just had nothing special. So it turns out that psychedelics, at least LSD, are just physically extraordinarily safe, and 30 million people have taken them. So as we’re doing the research, what we’re finding is the research has allowed the commercial side of humanity, which some people think looks like greed, to sweep into the psychedelic research space, and that’s actually what’s happening now.
0:42:38.4 JF: Before, you had Tim Leary and and Dick Alpert talking in night clubs to a couple hundred students, you had Kesey doing amazingly fun things, but you didn’t have major companies that were setting up to give psychedelics to millions and millions of people, and that’s where we are now, and it’s another kind of remarkable. And I have no idea how it’s going to work out after the first wave, which will work out badly.
0:43:12.5 PA: You think so?
0:43:14.3 JF: Well…
0:43:15.0 PA: First wave of… You mean the commercialization and sort of…
0:43:18.9 JF: Yeah, first wave of commercial psychedelic companies will be predominantly companies whose interest is in making a lot of money from their existence, not from their product. Meaning, their stock will be worth a lot. And right now, I watch about five psychedelic companies’ stocks, ranging from having actual permission to use psychedelics and doing research to I don’t have anything, I just made it up.
0:43:56.3 PA: That sounds about right.
0:44:00.5 JF: And they’re all doing quite well, okay. So those of us in your audience who watch the Marijuana stocks go whee and then go woo. Here we are again, only with the Marijuana stocks, they bought and sold Marijuana. With the psychedelics stocks, it’s all promises at the moment. But when you have a huge number of companies coming into the psychedelic space, a few of them are very, very good, but since none of them can have any… None of them are selling anything. It’s a kind of bizarre time where you’re clearly selling the sizzle because you’re not even allowed to own steak. It’s kinda like if you ordered a Trump steak and they sent you a hat.
0:44:52.7 PA: Well, and what I can’t get past is the patenting and the IP. I go back to… There’s sort of this back and forth between COMPASS and Usona, COMPASS Pathways and Usona right now, where COMPASS Pathways is attempting to patent anything and everything as it relates to taking Psilocybin, and Usona has published the Open Source synthesis to just say, “Here, this is how you make Psilocybin. Let’s just roll it out generically.”
0:45:20.2 PA: And so, when it comes to biotech companies and pharmaceutical companies, in the past they’ve normally been able to profit off of this because they have certain names and trademarks for the drugs that they’re developing, but with all of the thing that’s going on right now, it doesn’t feel like there actually will be a lot of money in the drug development part because all of it will also be produced generically, meaning the substance itself will be very, very inexpensive.
0:45:44.6 JF: Well, the way it’s working, and this is not unrealistic, the government says, if you can’t patent the drug, and you do all this research, which costs millions and millions of dollars, and you’re the only one who’s done the research for, let’s say, COMPASS, which has the right to do research on a particular kind of depression. And since they’re gonna find out, no surprise, it helps, ’cause that research has already been done, but they’re gonna do it really correctly and the right number of people, and the right number of levels, and so forth, the government says, “Well, you get a few years as if you have a patent.” And this is the same thing MAPS has done with MDMA, is they will have… I think it’s five years where they will be the ones allowed to set up clinics and to give treatments and so forth. Even though the drug itself can’t be patented, the way to use it can be. And so that’s the model that all of these companies are using.
0:46:52.0 JF: And COMPASS is almost amusing because their last patent application was over a thousand pages and their prior applications were basically shut down and thrown out because lawyers who look at these things kind of said to the patent office, “We don’t think that these suggestions of what is patentable are really true.” But again, that’s a kind of insider’s business game, and my guess is, with COMPASS having maybe a thousand things they’re saying they want to patent, the patent officers may give them three, and they’ll be thrilled, but as you see, that has nothing to do with the benefits of psychedelics for humanity. It’s all about business. And those are just separate things, and it’s not surprising that people who do business are in the psychedelic space, because the need for the benefits of psychedelics have never been greater.
0:48:03.9 PA: Yeah. And this is an interesting chicken or the egg situation because, as you mentioned before, we’ve already had 30 million Americans who have used psychedelics, who have done so illegally, who have found… Not all of them have found benefit, but a significant portion of them have found benefit. And a lot of what’s prevented further conversation and dialogue and awareness is just the fact that these are still illegal, so it’s been very difficult to come out of the closet, so to say, around it. But now, because of all the research and all the clinical trials, and all the FDA approval, there’s this infrastructure being built on which psychedelics could become integrated into psychiatry and other mainstream institutions.
0:48:44.6 PA: And what I think we both agree on is that that might be a helpful stepping stone, but ultimately, as more and more people work with these in a responsible and safe way, the path is towards freedom, the path is towards open source, the path is towards decentralization, the path is towards everything that I think you inspired in the ’60s through that initial psychedelic research which is, how do we build systems and technology that allow us to be as free as possible, and it’s hard to build fences around that.
0:49:16.3 JF: Well, let’s say in the ’60s, among all the things we didn’t understand anything about was business, and if someone had said to us in the ’60s, “You know what you’re doing is setting up the possibility of certain companies controlling the use of these drugs in the culture,” we all would have been just amazed at the idea. For us, it would have been like, “Hey, somebody is trying to patent water.” But the fact is some of these are synthetic chemicals. LSD is derived from a natural source but there’s a lot of steps and so forth. And of course, there are natural versions of most of the other [unclear speech].
0:50:04.3 JF: So one of the things that is… Another curious thing in the business model is mushrooms don’t know they’re illegal and mushrooms keep growing. And probably one of the fastest-growing businesses in the United States is mushroom kits, because you can order… In every state but four in the United States, you can order what’s called a spore print, which is when a mushroom says, “I have done my little sexual whatever I do and now I’m putting out the equivalent of my little eggs, which are spores.” They actually form a little picture pattern, a little circular pattern, and that each mushroom has a spore print that looks a little different from other spore prints, but the same species of mushrooms look alike.
0:51:00.0 JF: And if you go online and you [unclear speech] spore prints, you will find that there are what are called spore print collectors who say what they wanna do is look at all these beautiful spore prints. And then you also find people who are selling mushroom kits and they say, “You can use these for any kind of mushroom.” And then of course, on YouTube, there’s endless descriptions of how to grow specifically psychedelic mushrooms. So that is a way of dealing with the question of who will control the supply. So it looks like there are two major suppliers. One will be the new pharmaceutical people and the other will be nature.
0:51:45.9 PA: And the stewards of nature, which I think is like a lot of the folks who are interested in the psychedelic space, talk about this pollinator model, where you might have specific individuals or specific churches or specific places within a community, let’s take Oakland, where all of this is decriminalized, for example, where you might have a contact or a friend who says, “Okay, I’ll grow the psychedelic mushrooms and I can’t sell them, I cannot sell them, but if you need Psilocybin mushrooms to heal for depression, for addiction, for whatever other reason, you can come here, we can give them to you and we’ll help you find a sitter, and maybe we’ll do a ceremony or two.” And it feels like that is the natural model, that’s the way that this rolls out within community through nature in a way that remains accessible to everyone.
0:52:34.9 JF: And on the other side, Tim Ferriss recently put out a really wonderful op-ed that said, That’s great for mushrooms, but right now, certain of the natural substances, the plants that make up Ayahuasca and the plant that is Ibogaine, are becoming so popular that we are destroying the… We are basically over-harvesting in a very big way, and that we can turn and… Even more true for Peyote, which is one of the slowest-growing plants we’ve ever, or funguses we’ve ever heard of. A 40-year-old Peyote button is still about the size of a silver dollar, and a 20… An eight or nine-year Peyote button is about the size of a quarter.
0:53:27.3 JF: So what Tim Ferriss is saying, hey, there are synthetics that you can use instead of some of these now endangered plants, and there are also other versions of plants that hold Mescaline, for instance, there’s a cactus, a couple of cactuses that hold a lot of Mescaline. They grow relatively fast and they’re not endangered. So on the one hand, we’re saying nature will balance the psycho-pharmaceuticals, and the other hand, we’re saying, for certain substances, we really want a nice synthetic. So it’s getting complicated.
0:54:03.9 PA: Yeah, it’s complex. And we’ll link to that in the show notes. I think for, like you said, instead of Peyote, look at San Pedro, what he had also said in there is, only look at Iboga for addiction, specific uses. I think he said, there was a bit in there about 5-MeO, how there’s synthetic 5-MeO. And Tim, and I also agree with Tim on this, I don’t really get the fascination and obsession with 5-MeO that we’ve been experiencing and witnessing lately. I’ve never done it myself, only briefly, but I think he offers some wise words of advice about even just using 5-MeO. And then Kambo, which is not psychedelic, but needs to be extracted from a frog, he said to be very mindful about how that is done. So it was a really well-written article, and I love… That could be a whole conversation itself, the role that Tim has played in all of this, he’s sort of like the continuation of what you were doing in the ’60s, just on a social marketing, huge platform, which is phenomenal. Tim is wonderful.
0:55:13.3 JF: Agreed. [chuckle]
0:55:16.2 PA: And yeah. So we have high bandwidth in these conversations. We’ve talked about sort of the… Your first experience with Richard Alpert, leading into the research in the ’60s, we’ve gone into microdosing a little bit. One thing we haven’t discussed yet, which I wanna make sure that we have a chance, is your work outside of the psychedelic space, which might be surprising for our listeners to hear, but you’ve just published a new book called Your Symphony of Selves. I’m getting that correct, I think, right? Yeah? Your Symphony of Selves. And it’s the second book that you’ve published, or the third book? How many books have you published now, Jim?
0:56:00.4 JF: Well, a lot, and they go back into other careers. Yeah, I have a book out on madness, and I have a book on… It has a title which is embarrassing these days, since it says something about the proper… It’s called… It’s really awful, it’s The Proper Study of Man. And that meant, when I wrote it, you could still say that when you really meant humanity or people. So it’s one of those shames, which if I get famous enough, someone is gonna probably sue me for the title.
0:56:37.5 PA: Canceled. Jim Fadiman getting canceled.
0:56:40.9 JF: And that one actually has an invisible subtitle, which is, everything that I ever read in social sciences up to that point that I actually liked. And it’s not a very thick book, but it was used in social science classes and so forth. Some textbook on personality, [unclear speech] books. But for the past, at least 25, 30 years, I’ve been working on the question of why is it that we appear to be not a single self, but a composite. Why is it that there seems to be, in a sense, other versions of ourselves inside ourselves. And a very simple way of saying this is, have you ever argued with yourself? And the answer is, Yeah. Then the… Here’s the question that gets you starting to think about it. Who was the other person arguing? It was not a parental figure, it was probably not an angelic or demonic being that inhabited you. It was likely, and it sounded a lot like you. And sometimes, when you’ve argued with yourself, you actually change sides. The argument convinces you.
0:58:12.9 JF: So we start with that very simple awareness, and then we begin to look at how do people behave, and then you ask, the science question is, what does it look like from the outside? And what it looks like from the outside is that we, when we’re in a good position, we’re kind of mentally feeling okay, we shift into the right self at the right time. And when we’re triggered, which means something upsets us and flips us into a different self, we call that triggered, and that’s switching into the wrong self, usually, such as… And we all have it, we all… Remember the proverbial Thanksgiving. Remember we used to have Thanksgiving, people sat around a table. Now, they… A bunch of screens are sat around a table. But what we all say is, don’t discuss politics at Thanksgiving, because Uncle Abner is… Uncle Abner’s a really strong version of whatever the rest of the family isn’t.
0:59:24.5 JF: And you know if you say to uncle Abner something that will set him off, again, term switching, he won’t be able to prevent himself from becoming unpleasant, ugly, mean and shouting at everyone else, eventually, if you fight back, and we all know that Uncle Abner is basically a nice person and we all like him, okay, so what’s going on? What’s going on is, Abner has a self that is very identified with a political or a social or a moral point of view. And when that is brought into his consciousness, it takes over and he becomes that self.
1:00:06.1 JF: So that’s the basic notion. And it is not a theory, it is simply observations. I happen… All of my selves don’t like theory, because theory is stuff that academicians do to entertain one another. Data, information, examples are much easier. No one has a theory of an apple, because obviously, the apple is more obvious than any theory. So when you start looking at yourself and other people as if they are multiples, you begin to see why people are inconsistent. See, let assume you’re in a relationship, and your beloved is truly wonderful, except now and then. In fact, you can predict what the now and thens might be. So you try not to get them so they’ll be into one of those. Well, what you’re doing is, you’re saying, I see that in my beloved there is an inconsistency, which can be very easily explained as there are simply different selves. And as soon as I do that, I suddenly feel better about my beloved, because most of the time I’m getting the good ones. And I don’t hold the good ones responsible for the ones that are difficult.
1:01:39.7 JF: So what happens, and again, we’re just getting report after report from readers, is I read this book, or I read just a couple of chapters, and I begin to see myself differently, and I begin to forgive myself. One of the other phrases we say is, I don’t know what got into me, or, I can’t believe I did that. I would never do that. And we say all these things about remarkable things we’ve done, and even when we’re doing them, a part of us is saying, oh, my God, are we really gonna do this? Are we gonna… I’m breaking into my girlfriend’s house, and she’s already told me to go away? Is this not incredibly crazy?
1:02:29.1 JF: And the answer is, part of you says, yes, it’s crazy, could we stop? And another part says, I love her. When I break into her bedroom, she’s gonna see how much I love her and she’s gonna totally melt. And the rest of you says, you are so insane. And part of you says, no, I’m not, and you know what happens. Sometimes you back off and you don’t do something really foolish, and sometimes you watch yourself do something foolish and you’re absolutely [unclear speech]. So what we see is people start to forgive the parts of themselves that are disturbed, that are upset, that are violent, that are angry, that are depressed, that have had… So forth. And when you start to forgive yourself, you then start to look at the people around you, and you forgive them. And then you also start to look at parts of them you wouldn’t have thought about.
1:03:23.3 JF: I have an older brother who is a professor at San Jose State University, teaches international business, and he and I have a lot of talks about a lot of things, and I have my opinions about his opinions, because many of his opinions are totally wrong, and I’m totally right, just normal. But I really didn’t know what he was like as a teacher, but because he’s been teaching on Zoom this last year, I’ve had a lot more chance to see what he does and how he works with students. And I’ve been a university professor a few times, so I kinda know the game, and there’s a part of him that is so wonderful, that I admire so much, that’s so much better than I have been, and I’ve been a popular teacher and I think I’m pretty good, blah, blah, blah, but it’s given me a way of understanding, not him, but a part of him that I didn’t know. And on the whole, it’s raised my opinion of him in a very nice way. That’s what the book’s about.
1:04:29.5 JF: And because we think that is the way it is, we then said, well, if there are selves, it’s probably visible in a lot of ways, even if the culture has a very strong bias towards not seeing it that way. And so the book has maybe literally a thousand examples from literature, from physics, from neuroscience, from psychology, from religion, where the multiple self is expressed and understood and explained and looked at in different ways. We also look at why don’t we think that way. Partly, we have monotheism, which is the notion that there’s only one way, there’s only one god, which in terms of world religions is just weird. And when you look at the one God of Christianity, you then throw in the archangels and the angels, and by the way, in Christianity, there are nine levels of angels, so it’s not exactly as monotheistic as it sounds, and that turns out to be true even of Judaism, which is about as close to straight monotheism as you can get.
1:05:38.6 JF: So because we are multiple, eventually we need an explanation even in divinity that includes multiplicity. So that’s the book, and while I have been really just trying to explain it, of course, in a way, when you put 25 years into something, there is a certain info commercial to that. So I don’t apologize for it, because the goal was that we wanted a book that was not self-help. I’ve written a self-help book, a wonderful out-of-print self-help book, and like every other self-help book, it says, “Read this book and then you gotta do all this stuff. Make lists, do affirmations, change your eating habits and go out in nature,” but there’s stuff you have to do. It’s like a cookbook. You can’t get any nutrition by reading a cookbook.
1:06:35.3 JF: The wonderful thing about this book, because it’s explanatory and it just reminds you of parts of yourself, it is enough. Simply reading it makes the shift happen because when you shift your knowledge base and the way you look at things, things happen. Meaning, if I take a walk in nature, and I’ve taken a lot of them in this past year all by myself, I’m very aware now of almost every flowering plant in my neighborhood and its cycle. But I know, if I took a walk with a botanist, I would end up knowing a lot more about what I was seeing and I would then be able to see the more, and that’s what we’re doing.
1:07:25.2 PA: And I think it’s perfect. It does, and I think it’s perfect that we’re also talking about this on a psychedelic podcast because, obviously, through, particularly, high dose psychedelic experiences, we come to recognize the truth of this. We come to see some of these disparate selves that we’ve had that we’ve taken on from our dad, that we’ve taken on from our mom, that we’ve taken on from the community that we grew up in, that we took on from our uncle Abner, that we took on whoever else. We see how we are. This is a fundamental truth that I came to when I first started to do higher doses of acid when I was 19 and 20. I was like, “Oh, the self that I had become appears to be elements of my parents and my siblings, and my friends, and my community. I am so interconnected to these folks. I am them and continuing to grow and evolve, and become aware of that.”
1:08:22.0 PA: And so I think having read through it myself, it reminded me, even when we were first talking about internal family systems, some of the language that is used in IFS therapy because we talk about the managers and the fire people, and there’s other folks that are included in that as well.
1:08:41.6 JF: Yeah, well, we’re very fond of IFS. I have a co-author, Jordan Gruber, who did most of the serious scholarship for the book, and the people who have become interested in IFS sometimes are mad at us. The book is nothing but quotes and examples from other systems with a little bit of stuffing in between to make it work and some IFS people have said, “You have stolen from IFS.” And we say, “Well, at least the five times in our index where we quote it, yes, and that IFS didn’t invent selves but it invented a therapeutic method which uses them very well.” And so we’re very fond of IFS, but it seems to have… Because it’s a therapeutic system, when something has healed you, you become… You lose objectivity in the nicest way, is you care about them more. So if I say to people, “Well, yes, there’s several other systems like IFS which use parts,” they say, “I don’t wanna hear about that because I’ve been saved by what I’ve been saved by, and that’s enough,” and that’s true.
1:09:58.5 JF: When you’re drowning and someone pulls you into the boat, you don’t ask their religion. You say, “I am so grateful that you’ve saved my life. That’s enough for me.” So for psychedelics and multiplicity, what I’m seeing is… We have this wonderful new term in psychedelics called integration which is, “What the hell do I do now that I have blown my limits of what I thought I was?” And it turns out that the keystone for successful integration is understanding your selves, because when you’re coming back down from a trip beyond your personal identity, one of the questions is, “Who comes back down into what?” And I remember vividly, the most important psychedelic experience in my life when I was a graduate student, I came back in from being an infinitely terrific being of no dimensions and so forth and I thought, “What on Earth did I come back into what looks like this nerdy first year graduate student in psychology who has zero in the pecking order of changing the world?” It’s hard to think of something much lower, and it was a genuine puzzle of why this thing, this Jim Fadiman, was now getting all of this awareness.
1:11:34.4 JF: Now, what I see as integration, is he could make use of some of those selves. He could be in touch with parts of himself that he hadn’t been before. And also, he could stop a kind of internal doubting. Most of us have an internal doubting self that says, “I’m not lovable.” And where we got it, I’ll leave that for all the various therapies but the chances are, at some point in your life, if you’ve ever been a child, you’ll recognize this, you weren’t loved when you should be. And for some of us, you say, “Well, my mother is having a bad day,” but a number of us say, “My mother is a high being. She outweighs me tenfold. She controls my whole life, she feeds me and when I’m in her arms, I feel wonderful. If she doesn’t love me, it’s my fault.”
1:12:30.8 JF: And you begin to have selves that are not lovable, that believe they’re not lovable. And then when you come back into integrating, those selves need to be brought forth and helped. And that’s where therapy, psychedelic therapy comes in. It’s not working with all the selves. Some of them are just fine, but some of them need help. Just as when you go to the physical therapist, and he says, “Okay, I’m gonna start with a wrist exercise.” And you say, “It’s my ankle.” And he says, “I love wrist exercise, I’m really good at them.” You say, “But I came in ’cause it’s my ankle.” He says, if he’s at all good, he says, “Okay, but your wrist is connected to your ankle.” And I say, “Fine, but let’s start with the ankle and we’ll work up to the wrist, okay?”
1:13:15.8 JF: So when you’re integrating, that ankle needs to be taken care of, but it’s just your ankle. And when you put it into the whole body, then the whole body is gonna work better. And so understanding multiplicity makes integration saner, easier. And when you’re in a group, of course, of people who are sharing this kind of integration puzzlement, a lot of that puzzlement can go away a lot sooner.
1:13:47.5 PA: So the million dollar question then is, based on all the conversation that we’ve had up to this point in time on this specific podcast, how, then, can microdosing help with integrating those other selves? Does it help with sort of loving those parts of ourselves that we maybe weren’t as aware of? What’s sort of the balance there?
1:14:11.2 JF: Well, this is my understanding of microdosing. So as [unclear speech] that’s my way of walking around the word theory, but since everybody says, “What do you… How do you think microdosing works?” You have to come up with something. You can’t look dumb. I mean, you can and I do, but that isn’t why you’re on their show. It looks like microdosing puts the entire system into a more harmonious whole, that when there is a disconnection, which is felt as inflammation or pain, or literally physical injury, that’s a… The system is imbalanced. And so if you’re going to balance a system that’s imbalanced, you start where the imbalance is greatest, and then you’re trying to get the body to re-establish better equilibrium.
1:15:09.3 JF: And let me give you an example. One of the things that microdosing seems to help most people, with migraines. Their number of migraines goes down, for many of our… The people we’ve heard from, 60%, 70%, 80%, 90%. Migraines don’t go away, but they mainly go away. Well, migraines, and we don’t understand them fully, we used to have a much better theory that I liked, but it turns out it wasn’t true, there are hormonal shifts in the body that change the blood pressure levels in the brain, perhaps. That shift happens to all of us, and we don’t have migraines, most of us. But for some people, that shift doesn’t work as well, and there are migraines.
1:15:54.4 JF: The parallel which we do understand is pre-menstrual symptoms. When you’re entering your period, that’s a time when hormone levels are shifting and shifting back. And for most women, that shift is, as the body is designed, just fine. But for some women, the shift, every month, causes pain or emotional pain, a kind of, “Don’t you talk to me, I’m on my period and I’m gonna bite your head off.” And what your… What the woman is telling you is, “I’m in a self at the moment, which is not the one you like, and it’s not the one I like either, but the hormones have done this.” Microdosing, again, in the people who’ve written to us, for many, many women simply prevents… The pre-menstrual symptoms just go away, so that they have a period, and big deal. That allows the right self to be there at the right time.
1:17:07.2 JF: And so the body has made a better equilibrium, which allows the mind, then, freer choices. So when someone says to me, “Don’t talk to me, I’m really… I’m too tired, or I’m stressed out,” what they’re saying is, “I’m not gonna respond in the way you want me to, and I know that, because I’m not in that place.” And we say it that way, I’m not in that place. What we’re saying is, You’re not in that self, and it’s a phrase. People say, “Well, how can you call them selves?” And we say… We threw into the book a page of what people call these disconnects, these other aspects, and we had 70 different words that people have used, and we liked selves. It was easier for us to understand. So what we’re seeing with microdosing is, as the system re-establishes a better equilibrium, then you’re more likely to be in the right self at the right time.
1:18:07.9 JF: Now, what do I mean by that right self at the right time? It’s our definition of mental health, which is, let us say that I am someone who loves coding, and I’m in a high tech company, and I get a nice salary and I like the people, and I love coding. And I come home, my children do not want to be with someone who’s thinking about coding. They would like someone who acts and feels like a father. And when I see my wife or my spouse, they also want a part of me that I don’t show at work, because it’s not appropriate. And if I am bringing my work home, that isn’t gonna work either. And years ago in another incarnation, I taught a system, a personal growth system about affirmations, about orienting your mind in ways that were more positive, and one of the little tricks we suggested to people, and it always made me feel a little weird when I mentioned it, this was at a time when it was assumed that women were not working, so it’s a male image, is when you get home and you park the car, before you go in the house there is a body bag that you have hung in your garage near the door in your garage that goes into the house.
1:19:29.7 JF: Before you enter the house, take a few minutes on the body bag and just punch it. Now, what we know physiologically is you’ll be physiologically reducing stress, and when you physiologically reduce stress, you’d also mentally reduce stress. So by the time you enter the house, the person who had a hard day at work and finds their boss awful and doesn’t enjoy their job and didn’t get the raise enters the house [unclear speech]. Who enters the house is the person who’s glad to be home because someone loves them and they have children or pets or whatever, and they can fully be present. That’s what integration is about, and it turns out microdosing simply makes that example much easier.
1:20:21.3 PA: And it’s almost like just the shape shifting, so to speak. Not in a negative way, but just it’s that adaptability, it’s that ability to shift as you need to and to move in and out as you need to, and it’s a beautiful way to explain the full integration of the self and how microdosing can help us to spend more time in the right self, in the right place.
1:20:44.9 JF: Right time. And there are times. And the same, this lovely coder, this mythical coder, when he leaves the house, he doesn’t need to hit the bag hopefully on the way out. But then when he goes to work, he’s happy to be the person that does the work. He is not someone who said, “You know, I really wish I was home and maybe I’ll just call the kids and see how they are at school. I’d like to leave this meeting a little early, if you don’t mind.” That kind of what we call distraction isn’t distraction. It’s the two selves are in discussion of who should be in a sense running the store. So the nice thing about microdosing is it fits, if the notion that we’re multiples is valid, then microdosing should make it easier for that model to be effective, and that’s what we were seeing.
1:21:46.1 PA: Beautiful.
1:21:46.5 JF: In fact, let me just give you one that is a little, I’ve never thought of it this way, but we have lots of reports of people who microdose for depression, okay, and they don’t come to us because they’re first depressed. They come to us because they’ve had five, six, seven different medications over 20 years. And what they say after sometimes one or two microdoses, “I’m back.” What do they mean? They mean the person that I felt I was before depression and medication is back. And one person I know very well, personally, who had 31 years of antidepressants, six months of microdosing and tapering the antidepressants, and what he said is, “Not only I’m back, but I have a full deck of feelings again,” and he said, “And it’s a little awkward because it’s been 31 years since I had that full deck,” and he said, “I now cry more often, and I do embarrass people, but most of it’s crying for pleasure and I don’t mind at all.” So that’s microdosing.
1:22:57.6 PA: Well, Jim, I just wanna thank you again for coming on the podcast, for sharing everything. We’ve been talking almost 90 minutes now, which is I think a record, so I wanted to keep this going.
1:23:12.1 JF: Now, I forget what we call this, not a disclaimer, but we should notice that Paul and I are actually friends, and we go back a few years, and I’ve seen Paul be some selves that I didn’t like at all, and I stopped seeing him for a while. But on the whole, here we are, and it’s such a pleasure to be with you and such a pleasure to feel the good place you’re in, and that we can share it.
1:23:46.2 PA: Yeah, and I love how you put that, because we’ve both had, I’ve had some moments, especially in the public eye, and you’ve always been a mentor and a friend and loved the parts of me that maybe weren’t so attractive and also uplifted the ones that were, so it’s really been an honor to know you these past few years, and we’ve shared a lot of incredible conversations, including this one.
1:24:14.2 JF: Well, as we both stay healthy, we will continue our conversation for a lot more years. So thanks again, Paul.
1:24:21.8 PA: Absolutely, it was great to do this. Thank you so much.