Payton Nyquvest, Founder of Numinus ketamine clinics, joins The Psychedelic Podcast to discuss psychedelic industry missteps, opportunities, & the future of communal healing.
Embracing disruptions and learning from failures are essential in the trailblazing space of psychedelics.
Encouraging industry resiliency, Payton Nyquvest, Founder, Chair, & CEO of Numinus, joins Paul F. Austin to discuss how to conquer setbacks on the path to revolutionizing mental health. Payton believes successful psychedelic leaders must adapt to real-world needs, embrace challenges, and gain conscious insights from direct experiences. Only then can innovators and practitioners create a lasting impact on the world.
Payton Nyquvest is the Founder, Chair, & Chief Executive Officer of Numinus, which empowers people to heal and be well through the development and delivery of innovative mental health care and access to safe, evidence-based, psychedelic-assisted therapies. He has a deep understanding of the psychedelic industry from its infancy, driven by life-saving personal experiences with multiple modalities.
At Numinus, Payton guides strategy, innovation, research, and expansion. He also supports marketing and capital-markets functions.
In the past year, Payton has raised more than $70 million for Numinus. Various media outlets, including CTV, Forbes, and the New York Times, have quoted him extensively.
Along with healthcare innovation, Payton brings over 15 years of investment and retail banking experience with some of Canada’s leading independent investment firms, including Jordan Capital Markets, Canaccord Financial, and Mackie Research Capital. In these and other roles, Payton has raised more than $100 million.
This episode is brought to you by Numinus, a mental health company bringing safe, evidence-based psychedelic-assisted therapies to people in need. They have clinics in the US and Canada, providing mental health treatments such as: ketamine-assisted therapy, talk therapy and virtual mindfulness programs and practitioner training. Numinus is a leader in psychedelic-assisted therapy, both through research and in practice where approved by governing bodies. Learn more at www.numinus.com.
This podcast is brought to you by Third Wave’s Mushroom Grow Kit. The biggest problem for anyone starting to explore the magical world of mushrooms is consistent access from reputable sources. That’s why we’ve been working on a simple, elegant (and legal!) solution for the past several months. Third Wave Mushroom Grow Kit and Course has the tools you need to grow mushrooms along with an in-depth guide to finding spores.
Looking for an aligned retreat, clinic, therapist or coach? Our directory features trusted and vetted providers from around the world. Find psychedelic support or apply to join Third Wave’s Directory today.
0:00:00.7 Paul Austin: Welcome back to The Psychedelic Podcast by Third Wave. Today, I'm speaking with Payton Nyquvest, the Co-founder and CEO of Numinus Wellness.
0:00:13.5 Payton Nyquvest: Unfortunately, we have a healthcare system at the moment that does not prioritize self-care for practitioners, it doesn't. And as most of us know who've been through psychedelic work before, that self-care for practitioners is absolutely paramount. And if it's not encouraged and inspired, bad things are going to happen to people who are being facilitated by people who have not been able to do their own work and their own self-care.
0:00:47.4 Paul Austin: Welcome to the Psychedelic Podcast by Third Wave, audio mycelium, connecting you to the luminaries and thought leaders of the psychedelic renaissance. We bring you illuminating conversations with scientists, therapists, entrepreneurs, coaches, doctors, and shamanic practitioners, exploring how we can best use psychedelic medicine to accelerate personal healing, peak performance and collective transformation.
Third Wave is grateful to Numinus a mental health company, bringing safe evidence-based psychedelic-assisted therapies to people in need.
Numinus, has joined us as a partner. They have clinics in the US and Canada where they provide mental health treatments such as Ketamine-assisted therapy, talk therapy, as well as virtual mindfulness programs and practitioner training. Numinus is a leader in psychedelic-assisted therapy, both through research and in practice where approved by governing bodies. They've also created a music as medicine program where they partner with leading ambient musicians to foster a community of individuals seeking mindfulness and alignment. Numinus has been advocating for greater access to psychedelic therapy for years, and we're proud to partner with them as they continue to push the envelope. You can learn more at Numinus.com.
0:02:13.0 Paul Austin: Hey listeners, I am so excited to have Payton Nyquvest on the show today. Payton is the Founder, Chair and Chief Executive Officer of Numinus, a company that empowers people to heal and be well through the development and delivery of innovative mental health care, as well as access to safe, evidence-based psychedelic-assisted therapies. Payton has a breadth of leadership experience, is a recognized innovator and visionary in mental health care and at Numinus he guides teams leading strategy innovation research and clinic network expansion. Payton is also a dear friend of mine, someone that I've known since 2018. We had him on the podcast about four years ago, and we brought him back now that he's had a chance to really build out Numinus to talk about the state of the current psychedelic industry, to talk about the importance of leaders in this field having their own deep psychedelic experience, we talked about the way investment has rolled in and why it's very imbalanced overall, and we hear a little bit more about just Payton's story as CEO, what was Numinus in 2019 compared to what it has become now, and that story in itself is riveting. Payton raised over $70 million. Numinus is now running multiple clinics in several locations, and they're really doing important and integrative work in the psychedelic space. Alright, that's it for now. Let's go ahead and dive into this episode with Payton Nyquvest. I hope you enjoy our conversation together.
0:03:47.3 Paul Austin: Hey listeners, welcome back to The Psychedelic podcast. Today we have another special guest, Payton Nyquvest, who is the CEO of Numinus. Payton, it's good to have you back on the show.
0:03:58.4 Payton Nyquvest: It's good to be back. It's good to be back. Good to see you.
0:04:02.1 Paul Austin: So good to see you. Always good to see you. So about four years ago, I came up to Vancouver with a business partner at the time. We sat down... It was just when you were starting Numinus. We sat down with you and your co-founder at the time, COO Stacey Wallin, we had a beautiful conversation about sort of your why, right? The story of why you're involved in the space, why you started Numinus, we heard Stacey's story as well. And so what I would encourage listeners, if you wanna hear the more origin story of why Payton is doing this work with Numinus, that would be a great episode to check out. Today, I'd really love to focus our conversation on what's happened in these last three and a half years for Numinus, where we find ourselves in the psychedelic space in a really interesting moment as several companies are starting to go bankrupt and several more will go bankrupt, how Numinus has developed, where you sort of found your lane in the psychedelic space now that you've had a chance to raise significant capital, acquire some ketamine clinics, do some research. Payton, I would say you've done probably the best job of branding, well I mean, it's second to Third Wave, but I would say probably just wait till you see the new brand that we have coming out, it's gonna be pretty epic, so.
0:05:16.0 Payton Nyquvest: Well, we got our new one coming... Well, not new, new but...
0:05:19.9 Paul Austin: You have another new one?
0:05:21.0 Payton Nyquvest: Well, not new, new but we're 2.0-ing the current one, coming up pretty quick here too, so yeah.
0:05:27.8 Paul Austin: Amazing. And recently, Third Wave has started, we've started to explore our partnership with Numinus. So amplifying their clinics, we had Reid Robinson on, the Chief Clinical Officer, Payton we now have on the podcast, we'll also interview one more core team member. And Payton what I love about both of our approaches is we're in it for the long term, we really see the 30 to 40 to 50 year vision, and we are spending capital in such a way that actually facilitates and allows for that expansion. So just sort of as like a brief context for the listeners, tell us a little bit about Numinus, what's the mission of Numinus, what's the vision of Numinus and what are some of your core values as an organization?
0:06:15.6 Payton Nyquvest: Yeah, I think for us since the very, very beginning was knowing that there's going to really be a great need for a lot of collaboration and a lot of learning in the space. Numinus, what it always wanted to be was this sort of conduit or helping bridge a lot of the amazing clinical research that was happening and kinda deep ancestral use of psychedelics into a form that could be, the word accessible is like a bit of an easily tossed around word, but what does this really look like in the real world on the ground for people who are looking to get access to psychedelic therapy but always and kinda coming, not just from my own experience, but from all of our team members experience, knowing that, yes, psychedelic therapy is coming and it's going to be made available. And really that's for us, sort of just the tip of the iceberg in regards to what needs to be created to actually support that work, whether that be preparation, integration, ongoing care, community support, education, all of those pieces really being extremely necessary and probably the most so at the moment is training.
0:07:42.6 Payton Nyquvest: We're at a point right now where we're greatly, greatly under-resourced in regards to practitioners and people who are actually able to offer this work, and I think that's obviously at the moment most highlighted by the MAPS work where there's about 1500 MAPS trained therapists at the moment, and of those 1500, probably the vast majority still don't have the full training, and they're now a year out from FDA approval, and by our math, there's gonna be a need for at least, I'd say 50 to 60,000 therapists trained in a very, very short period of time. And so that's really always been the lens that we've come to the space from, and probably most relevant and maybe important for right now is we've always said we need to get to a sustainable model as quickly as possible as well. And for us it was, we would rather run two clinics extremely well than 100 clinics that are on the sort of never, never program to being able to be sustainable.
0:08:58.4 Payton Nyquvest: And I think unfortunately, we're... Fortunately for us, that was the path that we took and unfortunately as a... It's weird to call it an industry, but as a movement at the moment, we're sort of seeing the ramifications of that. And my... But what I continue to see, and I think what we're really gonna see sort of now going forward is a real focus on what's actually necessary, what are our best practices, how do we really focus on best outcomes for what we're committing to, and knowing what we're committing to, I think is important. Lots of people use psychedelics for lots of different reasons. I think as a call it clinic service provider, what is the thing that we're committing to and how are we ensuring that that is being successful? And that kind of... For us, it's a super exciting time and with lots of regulation change happening, MAPS being as close as they are with MDMA, it's a really exciting time, and I think we've hopefully come back to what's really important. I just saw some numbers the other day, but in the last three years, I think almost $2.7 billion came into the psychedelic industry.
0:10:30.2 Paul Austin: Wow, $2.7 billion? Holy shit.
0:10:31.7 Payton Nyquvest: Yeah. And I think of that amount, $2.6 billion of it went to drug development, which is just like such a... It's an absurd number to be honest. We're developing all these novel compounds and stuff like that, meanwhile we've got some really, really good ones that still aren't in any kind of legal accessible model, I mean some starting to but we gotta get back to being just focused on what's necessary and what's needed. And Mother Nature has done a pretty good job of drug development here over the last couple of million years, so I think we could probably be cool with that for a little bit before trying to think we know better, so.
0:11:24.4 Paul Austin: All these next generation things, right? And I think that speaks a little bit to what you've been up to at Numinus, which I wanna dive deeper into. And I'm glad you even mentioned that number, $2.7 billion has been invested in the psychedelic "industry," 2.6 of that has gone to drug development. I think that the asterisk on that is, there's not a quite a bit of money that's gone into like let's say MAPS that has gone into this other program... I forget the non-profit, but it's out of San Francisco that's run by Joe Green and all those folks as well, that they sort of redistributed it to help with training. So the for profit model has sort of absorbed... 'Cause training coaches is... And I say this as someone who we've now trained about 140 coaches. We're looking at it sort of a rhythm of 150 coaches a year, it's not really an investable model, I think because training is so fractalized, whereas with drug development, the upside from a venture capitalist perspective or a general investment perspective is, if you get this approved, you figure out the health insurance, you can potentially have a monopoly of sorts, which is an interesting conversation. I even talked about this with Reid, 'cause we were talking about Spravato and we were talking about Spravato versus generic ketamine and the role of health insurance.
0:12:56.4 Paul Austin: And there's certainly upside to getting these molecules FDA approved, even the basic ones like psilocybin and MDMA because it helps with potentially insurance, it helps with changing overall mindset around the substance, and like you said, we've under-invested in, let's say the structure. And so much of the healing of psychedelics is about the community, it's about the person-to-person interactions, it's about the being with rather than just like basically adapting something to a pharmaceutical model, which I think is unfortunately where a lot of the money has gone in the psychedelic space. And to land all of this we've seen now, I mean, just in the last month, Synthesis went bankrupt, Field Trip is very clearly gonna probably go bankrupt, Ketamine Wellness Centers went bankrupt. It'd be interesting to see what... I think Haven Life stopped operations, there were a few others that have also stopped. What are your sort of thoughts and reflections just on what's gone down over the last month or so, and what are you doing at Numinus? I think we talked about this offline, we're like, we know this is gonna happen. We've been intentional then about how we're both spending cash in such a way, but how are you looking at this from a CEO sort of business perspective?
0:14:14.4 Payton Nyquvest: Sure, sure. I think unfortunately, the thing that we're seeing right now, not unfortunately, but I think we're in this place of money, resources, can't buy experience and time. And I think that's probably the thing that we're seeing the most at the moment, and I think there was a lot of money that came into the space with a lot of groups who I don't think were poor-intentioned, I think they genuinely wanted to do well by people and, but I think that that really kinda shifted the sort of experience paradigm a little bit. And with that, you saw a lot of money going towards things that... If anybody who is sort of within the psychedelic know-how was watching a lot of this going, like none of this really makes a lot of sense based off of our own personal experience with what worked for us and even for myself as a CEO, I... There was a lot of times where I really had to refer to my own experience as like this, I know this to be true because it was true for me, and hopefully that can be true for other people. And I think with that, we saw a lot of people, again, who good intentions, limited to no experience or know-how within psychedelics, maybe pharmaceutical background or ex-cannabis background or any of these kinds of things, and then going like, "Okay, well, how can I kinda cookie cutter this into this other model?" And keep feeling like, "Okay, well, clearly I can because people are giving me a lot of money."
0:16:12.5 Payton Nyquvest: And that only reaffirmed probably some bad practices or uninformed practices, I would say. So all to say, I do think we're at this point, and I think... I'm extremely fortunate for the people that I get to work with at Numinus, and you mentioned people like Reid who, Reid's been working with Ketamine since 2010, they've been doing clinical trials with psychedelics for a very, very long time, and we just have this amazing group of people that has been deeply kinda ingrained in this work for a long time. And so we've been able to rely on their experience and expertise in regards to moving us through this, and now, as I said before, I think at this very exciting place of the wind, I would say, in regards to regulation change, FDA approval, all those kinds of things feels very much in the sails at the moment, and the sort of like noise has left, which I think is really, really good. Because what we continue to see on the client side is the need and the interest and the momentum only continues to build for people looking for these kinds of services, and hopefully what's gonna come through this consolidation period is like, as I said, best practices that are really focused on what are the needs of the people who are looking for this kind of support.
0:17:43.5 Paul Austin: So let's talk a little bit about that. We mentioned how in 2019 we did a conversation with you and the former COO Stacey Wallin at Numinus. We heard a lot about your personal story, but this was literally, like you had just I think a few weeks before that rolled out your first brand, it was super nice and it was super new. And there was a clear alignment between our missions, our visions, what we wanna do out in the world. Tell us a little bit about the story of Numinus over the last three and a half years from the nascent new Numinus, and maybe even within that, what would be interesting Payton is, what has Numinus become? And was there a discrepancy between what it's become and what you thought it was going to be? And I'd be curious to hear any reflections you have on that.
0:18:34.1 Payton Nyquvest: I take very little credit for this, but I think one of the things I'm most proud of about Numinus is like, if I think back four or five years ago when we first started, I feel like we've really become the thing that we really set out and stuck to. And we took a lot of criticism a couple of years ago for not going more into drug development and for not spending more money on marketing and flashy brands and all of that kind of stuff. And we didn't do that because again, myself and the people who work with us all had these personal experiences that were sort of like our guiding point in regards to what we were committing to and now fast forward to where we are today, those same people that were sort of giving us a bunch of judgment are now calling us saying how did we know and all this kind of stuff. And so I would say we've really stepped into the thing that I was hoping that we could potentially become.
0:19:42.1 Payton Nyquvest: And that's not to say we're done, I'd still say we're in the very early stages of still what we need to do, but for us, again, that focus of what are all of the things that need to be created in order to really support psychedelic therapy well, knowing that as you said, this is a very long-term vantage point that we take in regards to what we're hoping to build and not forgetting... The thing that I think Numinus has always done a very good job of is we've continued to stay really focused on what are the needs of the people that are coming through our doors, and what are the needs of the people who are reaching out to us? And while psychedelics is most certainly a part of that, a lot of people just need help. A lot of people just need a therapist, a lot of people just need some community, a lot of people... Like, that's where we sort of continue to stay anchored in, is how do we build this really strong community and give people support and help lead them towards psychedelic therapy if that fits for them.
0:20:51.3 Payton Nyquvest: And a lot of our clients might never do psychedelic therapy, and that doesn't mean that they can't continue to engage with us, and I think that's probably... I think psychedelics are one of a couple of key things that are creating this sort of paradigm shift in regards to healing and healthcare, and that's kind of where we've stayed focused on, is psychedelics being very much at the core of our commitment to helping create that paradigm shift, but they're not the only thing. And we see that a lot with people who have transformational experiences with psychedelics. There's a need for this much larger sort of structure in regards to how they're orienting themselves in the world, how they're approaching their relationships going forward, all those kinds of things. And I think Ketamine's sort of been this interesting I would say like first look at that, where we've... Especially in the US, you've seen people mailing Ketamine to people's houses and all this kind of stuff, and we continue to rip the lids off the boxes for everybody, but then we're not giving them any tools in regards to like, "Here's what you do now." And if that can happen with Ketamine, I think exponentially more so when we start to think about other psychedelic compounds as well, and so I think that's been a pretty tough learning for a lot of people in the space too.
0:22:24.8 Paul Austin: And you've mentioned... Sorry, you've alluded to these pillars of infrastructure for psychedelic therapy, I'd love to just get into the brass tacks of those...
0:22:33.3 Payton Nyquvest: Yes.
0:22:34.5 Paul Austin: What do you see as the pillars of infrastructure for psychedelic therapy?
0:22:39.1 Payton Nyquvest: Training, community, I would say a diversity of services, like the word holistic, again, is a little bit of a muddied term too, but I think it's really appropriate, like a holistic care model and collaboration really. And I think probably those four things in particular are really, really integral to what we're building, and I think with that as well, a pathway to giving back or reciprocity also being a really key component of that as well. And that kinda obviously trickles into all of the things I mentioned, but in particular around community where a lot of people, similar to what you see in AA communities, where people go through these experiences and they wanna figure out, "How can I continue to stay engaged with this on some level because it's actually keeping me engaged to my own personal work and the commitment that I have to my own personal work too?"
0:23:47.7 Payton Nyquvest: And we were talking a little bit before about how do we scale training knowing that we need not only significantly, significantly more trained therapists, but also clinical staff, integration coaches, preparation. There's just, there's a lot that still needs to be created, and I think as an industry, a lot of the time we get very tunnel visioned on this kind of like 1% of people that would be in the sort of psychedelic know. And if you're in the psychedelic know, typically, you're very swung towards having a deep understanding, there's a noesis there that the other 99% of people have no idea what we're talking about. And I think we forget that as a movement a lot of the time, and I think we need to have a little bit more of a compassionate voice or an open voice to a lot of people who are really just trying to grasp this concept for the very very first time.
0:24:55.1 Paul Austin: Yeah, I wrote down psychedelic literacy, right? It's almost like how do we... And that's that I often think about is, how do we go from 1% to even just 10% of folks who understand the territory of non-dual states, 'cause I think what we're speaking to as well is like psychedelics are one of the modalities you mentioned of this paradigm shift that Numinus is looking at, and you've really built a lot around psychedelics, but there's also TMS, there's also other aspects around somatic work and embodiment work, there are breath work, and even group ketamine work, for example, all are playing a role as well. And to hopefully, Jules Evans also calls it a static literacy where how can we become more familiar with these peak states, peak experiences, if you will, because they can be so healing and transformative when they have containment. I think that's the key, the containment is important and the community in that containment helps it to actually stabilize, so it's not just, I got high as fuck and had all these insights and then my life fell apart afterwards or whatever.
0:26:09.6 Payton Nyquvest: Well, I mean, you've brought up something interesting around this idea like peak state. And I think, you think about even... We're talking about the last time we filmed the podcast, which was four years ago, we had this little thing called a pandemic that happened in between then and now as well, which we've all been now through a collective peak state. And you didn't need psychedelics to feel that and we see this even with our training, we have a fundamentals training course which if anybody is interested in getting a deeper education on I would say psychedelic healing, it's a really, really great course, but with that, we have a lot of practitioners who join that course who might never offer psychedelic therapy, who say that just because of the way that we're speaking and because of the education and talking about this paradigm shift in regards to healthcare, they see huge applications to just their regular mental health offerings that they're giving to their clients with this mindset shift around healing and in particular around peak states. We've all been through this sort of like collective, I would say, fairly psychedelic sort of experience, and how do we help move people through this and knowing that, again, regardless of whether you're talking about anxiety, depression, suicidality, substance abuse, all these numbers are going exponentially higher up based because of what we've all been through collectively.
0:27:49.1 Paul Austin: And I love that reframe around COVID being a collective peak state. When I often think of peak experiences or peak state, I think of bliss, joy, ecstasy, but the peak state of fear, paranoia, anxiety, death, that can be just as powerful and transformative as we know from psychedelics, 'cause sometimes psychedelic experiences are not pleasant to go through.
0:28:14.4 Payton Nyquvest: That's right. That's right.
0:28:18.4 Paul Austin: Okay. One of the cooler things that you're working on, and I don't know where this is landing now, but there was a feature I believe in the New York Times about it maybe a year ago or so, where we have a lot of companies in the, let's say, biotech psychedelic space that are really looking at, let's say, polymorphs of psilocybin or they're looking at next generation psychedelic drugs or Field Trip had their FT-104, very synthetic, bringing it through FDA approval. You've been doing some interesting kind of drug development-ish stuff working with the natural mushroom, and I'd love if you could just talk a little bit about what that program is, what the intention of that program is, what progress and momentum that you've made with it? It's not something that you mentioned in the four pillars necessarily, or not the four pillars, but training, community, diversity of services, holistic model, collaboration, reciprocity, but what about the drugs, Payton?
0:29:22.4 Payton Nyquvest: Yeah, that's been a fascinating journey for us as well. We always saw ourselves collaborating with whomever is going to be the person to bring psychedelic drugs through FDA clinical trials, but we always saw our limitations or really not even really... We didn't wanna get into the IP kind of game. We thought that that was quite a limited viewpoint that was filled with a lot of challenges, but where we focused on was can we produce formulations and API around psilocybin that regardless of which way regulation went, could be something that can provide... One of the big things regulators always look for, again, regardless of pathway, is quality assurance, so can we provide a natural compound that can get through quality assurance and whether you are... There's API there that if you wanna be a drug developer, we can license that API too, or now seeing what's happening in Oregon, Colorado, and up in Canada, and I think we're gonna continue to see this, is just legal medical access to psilocybin and how do we create products that can do that? And a big part of that intention as well is it also gave us the ability to start being able to practice with these compounds, albeit in sort of like a training or a trial sort of model. And we've recently announced that we created a psilocybin tea, which anybody who's familiar with psilocybin would know that psilocybin tea is a pretty good way of getting your mushrooms in you, but we created a...
0:31:19.0 Paul Austin: Why is that?
0:31:21.4 Payton Nyquvest: That you can do things like help manage the nausea a little bit better with psilocybin tea and so...
0:31:29.5 Paul Austin: Put some lemon in there.
0:31:31.2 Payton Nyquvest: More lemon in there. We've even...
0:31:33.4 Paul Austin: Destroys the chitin, I learned about this. Yeah.
0:31:35.3 Payton Nyquvest: That's right, that's right. Well, and even looking at things like cacao and stuff like that too, again, there's a lot of ancestral use of psychedelics with cacao and psilocybin with cacao and things like that, so that's kind of what we looked at. And now we recently announced that we have an experiential training trial with psilocybin and we'll be using our psilocybin tea to be able to do that experiential training trial. So...
0:32:02.5 Paul Austin: Tell us about that. What's the experiential training trial?
0:32:04.8 Payton Nyquvest: Yeah, so for us, and this was something that Rick Doblin and I probably five years ago was really sort of the impetus for us forging a good relationship was that we both felt that experiential training was gonna be extremely necessary. There's different schools of thought as to whether someone needs to have or whether everybody needs to have experiential training. I don't typically like getting in planes with people that have never flown an actual plane before, that's just my personal bias, but how could we start to get people experiential training in this concern of what happens when some of these switches start to get flipped and you've got a whole bunch of people that maybe have done a virtual training or what have you, but have no experiential experience. And there's a lot riding on the first couple of years of when these different compounds become available and it's only gonna take a couple of bad stories, which from what I've continued to see is either people, under-trained people or people where self-care and self-accountability hasn't been prioritized in their sort of path, and that's a huge concern for us at Numinus.
0:33:28.1 Payton Nyquvest: And so what we've always said is, how do we create something that regardless of whether bad stories come out or not, we can still protect and defend how important these compounds can be for people's healing? And I think, unfortunately, we've already seen that there's no shortage of stories of abuse and stuff like that that's happened within psychedelic therapy, and I think we have to, especially as organizations that are maybe a little bit larger or have a bigger presence in the space, there's a level of accountability we have to keep ourselves to, because for any one of those larger organizations that's taking up all of the marketing dollars and things like that, for any of those organizations to have challenging things happen could be extremely detrimental to this whole movement. And so experiential training, I think is a very necessary part of that, we've got to make sure that the practitioners who are working with us in the outset really, really deeply understand this work and are able to translate that to the first clients who will be getting access as well.
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0:36:41.0 Paul Austin: I'm glad you brought this up. So right before we started recording, I had a lecture that I gave to our current cohort of coaches, we have about 40 coaches in our current cohort. It was the second lecture, and the lecture was on safety ethics and integrity. And the way I sort of opened up the lecture and the conversation was talking about how I had gone through a pretty powerful psilocybin MDMA experience about nine months ago in New York with an underground facilitator who's one of the best in the world, and we had known each other when I lived in Williamsburg, we're actually from rival high schools in Michigan, coincidentally. And we have the same name, we both played soccer. It was pretty insane.
0:37:24.8 Paul Austin: I'm like, "Who the fuck is this guy?" So we met for a coffee the day after and I'm like, "Hey look, I've been this operator and CEO of companies for a while, I have done some facilitation with Synthesis, I helped to facilitate the first seven retreats, I've facilitated for some private clients, I facilitated our retreats that we have as part of the training program, etcetera, etcetera." And I asked him, I'm like, "What would be the one piece of advice that you would give to me if I really wanna deep in my facilitation practice?" And he said, "Go do a dieta." So go do a proper dieta, and I actually have that coming up. At the beginning of May, I'm going for 12 days into the Costa Rican jungle and doing a proper Ayahuasca dieta.
0:38:02.3 Payton Nyquvest: Cool. Good for you.
0:38:05.6 Paul Austin: And the reason I opened that up for our students was because I asked the question around, and this has been sort of a common... Even in the last month, I've seen more and more about this on Twitter and articles that have come out about it, which is like, "Should psychedelic therapists have experience with psychedelics themselves?" And I don't know if you remember this, but a couple of years ago, we were on a private Zoom call with a bunch of CEOs in the space. And there were some who were like, "No, we don't really need that." And I said to all of them, I was very clear like, that is a huge breach of integrity more or less to actually have that.
0:38:41.5 Payton Nyquvest: Yep, agreed.
0:38:45.0 Paul Austin: And really what it comes down to is psychedelics, what they do is they open up a territory that is unlike anything else, and so to be able to walk that territory and know it well before guiding other people through it is essential. It's not like typical talk therapy, it's much more like climbing a mountain or taking a boat out into the ocean, and you would never follow a leader who hasn't climbed a mountain themselves or who isn't captain of a ship, just like you should never work with someone in psychedelics who hasn't gone to the depths of their own being prior to that. And sort of what you were talking about at the end there is then the accountability of that system is essential, otherwise, we'll see more or less a repeat of what happened in the '60s, which is more or less the whole thing just sort of tips over because there's not enough containment of the powerful peak experience basically.
0:39:38.5 Payton Nyquvest: Yeah. I think two things. And my personal feeling on this is if you are a provider or a therapist, you should have your own psychedelic experience. Some people argue maybe not everybody needs to, I'll leave that for open debate. The one thing I will say, and I always have been and will continue to be very... With a lot of volition talk about this is if you are an executive or someone owning a business or doing professional, creating some kind of professional structure in the psychedelic space, you 1000% absolutely have to have psychedelic experience and you have to have a practice that brings you back to this work and...
0:40:33.7 Paul Austin: Why is that Payton? Why do you think that's important?
0:40:36.4 Payton Nyquvest: 'Cause you're stewarding a huge movement, you're helping steward a huge movement, it's not just a client. Even for myself, we have clients, partners, practitioners, all of those things, and there would be zero way that I would be able to do anything of importance in regards to what we've done with Numinus if I didn't have my own personal experiences, that they've been the guiding star and the reference point for me because a lot of what we're creating, while psychedelics have been used for thousands and thousands and thousands of years, what we're creating is sort of this new iteration of that, there's a newness to it. And we've seen this, we've seen how $100 million and limited to no experiences have led people in very much astray in regards to where should that kind of resources be deployed towards. And we've seen organizations raise $100 million and literally come up with zero, zero, not creating anything that people would take for free.
0:42:00.2 Payton Nyquvest: That is... Imagine being in MAPS' position who's a non-profit who still needs to raise a bunch of money to get MDMA through clinical trials, and $100 million for them would be a complete game changer, and to see $100 million literally, like it would have been more effective for it to get set on fire in an afternoon than it would have been to go through the sort of process that some of these organizations have gone through, right? Meanwhile you have a trail-blazing organization that all of us are here because of that organization, none of us would be here without the work that people like MAPS have been doing, and $100 million would have gotten MAPS all the way through FDA approval and into commercialization. And that, I think, speaks to the need for experience. You have to know what this is and who the people are, and I think we've missed a lot of that.
0:43:04.2 Payton Nyquvest: I think the thing that I feel is missing so much in this space at the moment from an organizational standpoint, is there's no, I would call it elder-ship, there's... People are relying on people for experiences in different facets or aspects of what's being created, but in any community that has been working with these compounds for a very long period of time, there's an elder-ship component to that. And the container might move or change based off of the needs of that community but there's still a rooting and an anchoring in, "This is what's been done before." And we haven't had that voice loud enough over the last couple of years, and I think it's coming now from even now everybody's own experience of trying to go through things and the challenges that have been associated with that.
0:44:07.4 Paul Austin: And you touched on a couple of things which I'll dabble back on, one of which is you mentioned there's a newness to this, and the context of that is we're now living in a globalized society that is connected everywhere as we experienced with COVID and historically psychedelics have only been really in the underground, or if they're not in the underground, they've been sort of localized to indigenous societies, indigenous groups of people, we've never had sort of a broadly accessible psychedelic modality...
0:44:37.8 Payton Nyquvest: Correct.
0:44:38.3 Paul Austin: That anyone and everyone can use, right? And so when you're speaking to that, I think this is where, again, the pillars of infrastructure, the training, the community, the diversity of services, collaboration, reciprocity, all of that, you have to be mindful of and then that also leads into sort what you talked about with there being very little elder-ship or mentorship. There are elders that did work in the '60s and '70s that are still alive today like Stan Grof and James Fadiman, I would even consider Rick Doblin to be part of that ilk. There are several others as well...
0:45:10.3 Payton Nyquvest: Dennis McKenna and...
0:45:11.8 Paul Austin: Dennis McKenna, none of them are business people.
0:45:15.5 Payton Nyquvest: Right. And that's what I mean is there's no elder-ship on that side of like, the building part of some of this, right? Somewhat are you maybe wrecked to a bit of a degree, but from really the front line, right? And, yeah.
0:45:35.5 Paul Austin: And so we're pioneering out into this new space, and it's interesting that we are having this conversation 'cause we are both, what? You're 34, I believe?
0:45:43.5 Payton Nyquvest: 36, 36.
0:45:45.3 Paul Austin: Oh, you're 36? Wow, wow, okay, I'm 32. We're like these...
0:45:48.8 Payton Nyquvest: I feel like we all get a COVID asterisks. There's a linear time asterisks that we're all gonna get, but yeah.
0:45:57.7 Paul Austin: But here we are, two of the people who have actually been in the space for a considerable period of time are still... I'm still CEO, I don't know how much longer I will be CEO, but still running companies and operating and all things considered, we're quite young. I even look at someone like George Goldsmith, he's a little bit older and more experienced.
0:46:19.8 Payton Nyquvest: True.
0:46:20.3 Paul Austin: Florian Brand who's running atai is young, he's probably in his late '30s. And I feel like in this space, we're sort of going out and pioneering informed by our psychedelic experiences, and there's actually a beautiful... We get to make it up as we go along in a way because we're really at the overlap of the sort of "conscious leadership," psychedelic stewardship, defining new business models. One quote that came up in my lecture today comes from this Pala piece that was published a few years ago, which is something along the lines of... Hold on, I have it in my text here, "We can look around today and see many psychedelic business models, but what we really need are psychedelic models for business, business that defines new standards for integrity, equity and ethics, business reimagined with a technicolor glow."
0:47:19.7 Paul Austin: And I feel like that is this sort of larger vision and mission of what we are collaborating on creating together, it's like how are we actually... I still believe business is the greatest force for change in the world, whether that's good or bad is often defined by the leader or the stakeholders in it, and so how are we even sort of shifting business in such a way that pays a lot more attention to what I call existential wealth rather than just this sort of very particular financial wealth, because the sort of myopic focus on that has led to a lot of the issues that we currently find ourselves in today.
0:48:01.0 Payton Nyquvest: Yeah. I think this... And within psychedelics, there's a lot of resistance to the term business a lot of the time, but I think if we get down to like what is business or what is a corporation, a corporation is an idea met with needs or an addressable need that has enough momentum attached to it to attract, or enough gravity to attract matter and substance. I think as we think about who's stewarding or who's steering some of those organizations, and you brought up Vintage, and I think it's interesting, you see a lot of young people leading a lot of these organizations, but I would say those young people that I see are deeply committed to what this space is. Just speaking for myself, my mental health journey started when I was 12, and has been really the cornerstone of my life since the age of 12. So while I'm young in Vintage, there's 24 years of really being on a dedicated mental health and spiritual path that has helped guide me, but I'm also young enough and open enough to... I'm fortunate enough to have some amazing elder-ship, all the way from indigenous elders to a board and business advisors and things like that as well.
0:49:39.3 Payton Nyquvest: And I think we're at this moment in time of really needing grounded collaboration, working together, and nothing forges that like a lack of resources to sort of force people to work together. And I think that is what we're really seeing, and that's my intention and hope as helping lead an organization, is how can we continue to steer collaboration so that we can share what's working, what's not working, and I recently made a post about this on social media, but my hope also is that these organizations that have... If the idea hasn't worked, my hope is that those people don't just go away. That experience also needs to be shared, and if they're really, really dedicated to this movement, then they should be very open and committed to sharing what worked and what didn't work with everybody else, so that we can all learn from that experience. And one of the things that... Actually, one of my people that I've been fortunate enough to learn from talks a lot about this idea of competition that we have in the West, there's sort of like three stages of competition in the West.
0:51:03.8 Payton Nyquvest: And it's typically, you identify who you're competing against, and then stage two is the training for the competition, and then stage three is you have the competition and there's a winner and a loser. In particular in the Andes and some of the other indigenous communities, they look at competition is you identify and train for the competition in stage one, stage two is the competition itself. But stage three is whoever is the winner and the loser of the competition, they share with each other why one person succeeded and why one person didn't succeed so that they can bring that experience back to their community, because they continue to remember that while this perceived conflict or this trying of things all needs to be within the context of how do we support our communities in the best way possible?
0:52:06.3 Payton Nyquvest: And that's my hope for also this period of time, is that those organizations where they've been through challenge and again, might not make it through, bring that learning back to the group. And you mentioned we live in a global society at the moment, so most of everything that's happened is public at the moment, and I think... So that's one part of it, but it's also very easy for us to make a lot of assumptions and do a lot of finger pointing of like, "Oh, well, that was bad, or that was whatever." It's all beneficial if that learning gets shared and that we take that learning and do better for it going forward. And I think talking about psychedelic business models, I think that would be a real strong commitment to building psychedelic models of business, would be to encourage and inspire that.
0:53:09.1 Paul Austin: That's a great reflection because Synthesis went bankrupt and I was a founder of that, and there have been a couple of articles that have come out about why it went bankrupt, and your perspective on hearing that from someone like Martijn, who was my co-founder and who more or less ran the company for four years would be really beneficial because at the end of the day, it's like the container that we're all creating, we wanted to be anti-fragile and we wanted to actually grow from disruption, we wanted to grow from failure because that is actually what's gonna create a container that is sustainable, that is successful and that actually can transform the landscape of culture and society. So how we... And even a couple of articles that have been published, they haven't been overly mean. I've had some hit pieces published on me, and these were like nothing compared to that. So continuing to welcome people back, continuing to keep them in the fold, I really like that as sort of like an intention and a landing. There's one other thing that I wanna talk about as it relates to community, which are some of the work that you've been doing over the last year with East Forest.
0:54:17.0 Payton Nyquvest: Yeah.
0:54:17.2 Paul Austin: And I'd love if you could just tell our listeners a little bit about kind of what community you've been building, what the collaboration with East Forest has been like? Yeah, just tell us a little bit about that.
0:54:27.4 Payton Nyquvest: Yeah, thank you. Again, going back to like how do we provide real change in regards to community? And the East Forest events that we had, and I'm very, very grateful for that partnership, but it was this opportunity to create shared experiences that regardless of where you are at on your journey, you could attend. And we had everything from people with deep ceremonial psychedelic experience to no ceremonial psychedelic experience at all, be able to have this shared experience that was... I continue to hear from people who this was probably their first experience like this, and they were sort of like, "I don't really know what to call that, but it was fun and it was healing." And I think this coming back to like healing doesn't have to be hard and it is a lot easier when you have a community that supports it and comes around it. And so that's really what we've been hoping to inspire, is continue to broaden out that community support for one another, and I think that's both on the client level, but also on the practitioner level as well.
0:55:42.5 Payton Nyquvest: And a part of that was also an effort for us to give back to the practitioners who have been doing this work for a long time. And unfortunately, we have a healthcare system at the moment that does not prioritize self-care for practitioners, it doesn't. And as most of us know who've been through psychedelic work before, that self-care for practitioners is absolutely paramount, and if it's not encouraged and inspired, bad things are going to happen to people who are being facilitated by people who have not been able to do their own work and their own self-care. And so there's been a couple of efforts in regards to continuing to provide these containers of just community support and healing and connection, and we're gonna... The East Forest events were sort of the first expression maybe of that, and obviously just quickly connected to that as well, is also giving people an education and practitioners around the importance of music and ceremony.
0:56:55.7 Payton Nyquvest: And that's very missed at the moment in the sort of like clinical or research application of psychedelics. And if you look at any indigenous use of psychedelics, music and community is always at the cornerstone of those experiences. And music is sort of like the... It's one of the foundational tools of offering these experiences for people and in research, and from what we've seen in clinical practice is it's sort of an afterthought a lot of the time. And we have to bring that education to a lot of folks who are now going to be getting training and having experiences who don't have a lot of traditional or kind of ancestral context for how these different medicines have been used, and music is such a powerful and important tool in regards to offering these different things.
0:57:52.2 Payton Nyquvest: So a couple of different layers to that, but definitely something we're going to continue on and as we hope to continue to inspire community, and with that, giving people touch points so that you don't have to have a psychedelic experience to be involved with these communities, but you can also support people who have had really transformational experiences and hold them in a way with a little bit of compassion and understanding, because while you haven't been through the exact same experience, you've had a glimpse or a taste of it.
0:58:28.6 Paul Austin: So the final note that I wanna end on is just vision. We've talked a lot about how Numinus has developed over these last few years since we first had an interview, what will the next three to four years look like for you as an organization?
0:58:42.2 Payton Nyquvest: Yeah, I think we've spent the last number of years really building a foundational launchpad or platform, and we now feel like we're at a place where we can really grow that now and expand based off of this really strong footing that we've got. And as we look at MDMA probably being something like a year out from approval, psilocybin is on this very interesting regulatory pathway at the moment as well, it's a very exciting time for us to be able to now look at how do we scale intentionally and how do we scale quality, essentially? And that's really what we're very excited about going forward and really basing it off of those five pillars that I mentioned at the beginning of our conversation, that really is what's next for us.
0:59:41.5 Payton Nyquvest: And we wanna create a place where practitioners feel inspired, supported, valued and resourced to be able to do this work because it's very, very different than what people might be currently doing in their clinical practice. And unfortunately for a lot of people who are practitioners who are maybe newer to the space, you just don't know really what you need until you're in it, and we just... We don't have the time, frankly, for a lot of figuring it out for a lot of people, they need resources, they need this community support, they need training, they need models that understand the kind of care and support that practitioners need to be able to offer this work well, and we're very excited and very, very grateful to be just playing a part in that, so it's an exciting time.
1:00:33.8 Paul Austin: It's an exciting time. Payton, I wanna thank you for coming back on the podcast. We've even re-branded, we're now The Psychedelic Podcast, which is fun, and just hearing your story of how integrity, the importance of integrity, utilizing integrity as a guiding post, especially with psychedelics as non-specific amplifiers, with things that aren't integrous, those become incredibly clear, especially as the stage gets bigger. And so with the amount of investment that you've raised and the amount of impact that you have, I think it's really been beautiful to see you hold true in those pillars and stick to your guns, so to say, and witnessing the growth and evolution of Numinus has been super fun. I think this balance, like you said, of community, of training, of holistic model, collaboration and reciprocity, those five pillars for the infrastructure that we need to build is on point. And to not come at it from an exclusive perspective, it's either this or that, but really looking at that both and perspective, how do we create a landscape that's as broad as possible to ensure that as many people as possible can be helped through this current moment in time.
1:01:49.6 Payton Nyquvest: Well, very, very grateful to be for the friendship and collaboration, it's been a fun journey, and I think we're just getting started still, so I appreciate it.
1:02:01.7 Paul Austin: We are just getting started. Okay, do you wanna... Numinus.com is the website, that's N-U-M-I-N-U-S.com. You have a practitioner training that you mentioned, which is virtual from what I believe, we can also link to that in the show notes. Anything else that you wanna put on the map for our audience?
1:02:24.8 Payton Nyquvest: Yeah, the different practitioner trainings, we've got a number of different offerings based off of where you're at on your education journey, so I really encourage people to check that out, and please don't feel like if... It's a great place for people who just wanna get in also a basic understanding of what the space is, you don't have to be a practitioner, you don't have to be interested in being a practitioner, but if you're looking at deepening your education, there's an opportunity for that, and of course, if you're looking for support, go to numinus.com. As a side note, we're very, very proud our last quarterly financials, which again, feels like a weird thing to state in regards to psychedelics, but we did about just under 20,000 appointments for people last quarter. And so it's very busy and active and if you need support, we'd be more than happy for that and yeah, those are the big ones I'd say.
1:03:23.7 Paul Austin: And you have clinics in Utah, you have clinics in Arizona, and then you have the clinic in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal?
1:03:28.9 Payton Nyquvest: Correct, correct. Yeah.
1:03:31.8 Paul Austin: And those are all in the directory, so folks who wanna do, check out more details about the clinics that Numinus is helping to run and operate, check those out in the directory and we'll now go to our IG live.
1:03:41.4 Payton Nyquvest: There we go.
1:03:42.3 Paul Austin: Payton, so I appreciate the recorded podcast, it's a bit more intentional and professional, and we'll be sure to link out to all of those things, and again, I just appreciate you coming on the podcast and sharing your heart with us.
1:03:54.7 Payton Nyquvest: Likewise. Thanks for having me.
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