Harm Reduction

Transcript: Inside the Campaign to Legalize Psilocybin Therapy in Oregon – Tom and Sheri Eckert

The Third Wave · September 28th, 2020

Please enjoy this transcript of our interview with Tom and Sheri Eckert.

While Psilocybin has been decriminalized in Denver, Oakland, and Santa Cruz, it has yet to gain legal status as a therapeutic aid. Tom and Sheri Eckert aim to change that. As seasoned psychotherapists and founders of the Oregon Psilocybin Society, the husband-and-wife team architected the Psilocybin Service Initiative of Oregon (Yes on 109), a statewide ballot initiative campaign to legalize Psilocybin-assisted therapy.

In this podcast transcript they chat with Paul F. Austin, founder of Third Wave, about their vision to make Psilocybin therapy available not just for people with particular mental health diagnoses, but for the general public (with some exceptions).

Highlights include:

  • The Psilocybin Service Initiative, IP 34, and the campaign to legalize Psilocybin therapy in Oregon.
  • Paving the way for smart, safe, and facilitated psychedelic therapy.
  • Shifting how people are treated for mental health issues and addiction.
  • Expanding Psilocybin’s accessibility to the general public.
  • Why IP 34 wants to license facilitators to develop their own organic extractions.
  • Adopting a community-based framework focused on competence, best practices, and ethics.
  • Melding ancient wisdom to modern medicine to create a new culture.
  • The critical role of education to destigmatize psychedelic use.

00:00 Paul Austin: In today’s episode, we have psychotherapists, Tom and Sheri Eckert, founders of the Oregon Psilocybin Society, and the co-creators of the Psilocybin Service Initiative, PSI 2020, a ballot petition that they created for the 2020 election in Oregon. Stay tuned to hear more about legal Psilocybin therapy in Oregon.

[music]

00:22 PA: Welcome to The Third Wave Podcast. I’m your host, Paul Austin, here to bring you cutting edge interviews with leading scientists, entrepreneurs, and medical professionals who are exploring how we can integrate psychedelics in an intentional and responsible way for both healing and transformation. It is my honor and privilege to bring you these episodes as you get deeper and deeper into why these medicines are so critical to the future of humanity. So let’s go and let’s see what we can explore and learn together in this incredibly important time.

01:00 PA: Hey listener, we have great news. Third Wave is rolling out another microdosing experience program, a live six-week group coaching program that uses microdosing and intentional ceremony as tools for accelerated growth. We guide you through two weeks of preparation, a breakthrough ceremony, and four weeks of microdosing to elevate your mood, reduce your anxiety, and help you feel a deeper sense of connection to those around you. Spots for the program are limited to 50 people and our next cohort begins Sunday, October 4th. If you’re interested in more details, go to our home page, click “academy” and click “microdosing experience“. We’ve also linked to it in the show notes of this episode.

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02:25 PA: Today’s episode is with Tom and Sheri Eckert, who are both psychotherapists in the state of Oregon. They founded the Oregon Psilocybin Society, and the main goal of the Oregon Psilocybin Society is to bring Psilocybin services to Oregon. The Eckert’s pursuit of this goal is spearheaded by their work in the Psilocybin Service Initiative, also called IP 34, which has now collected enough signatures to be put on the ballot for the 2020 election. So that means the state of Oregon will vote on whether or not they will legalize Psilocybin therapy, which is incredibly, incredibly exciting and so, so important.

03:05 PA: Psilocybin is decriminalized in Denver, Oakland, and Santa Cruz, but decriminalization has a much different framework than legal Psilocybin therapy. And so we recorded this podcast, I believe, back in May, it was quite some time ago, as a way to help build awareness. Because of COVID, they… “They” meaning the Oregon Psilocybin Society, Tom and Sheri, IP 34, had to move from collecting signatures in person to doing it all online.

03:35 PA: And so we recorded this podcast, we talked about the initiative, we talked about the importance of the container for legal Psilocybin therapy, we talked about the particulars around how therapy would work. So who could do it, who couldn’t do it, who could get access to it, what the cost would be. We talked about some of the controversy that arose between Dr. Bronner’s and the OPS and some of the decrim advocates ’cause there are so many different sort of people who are now coming into the space, and more than anything, had a chance to really connect at a heart level with Tom and Sheri, who are both kind, kind, beautiful souls who are doing such important work in the state of Oregon.

04:13 PA: Folks, if we can legalize Psilocybin therapy in a state like Oregon, then there’s no reason why we can’t take that same model, prove its success in a legal framework, and then apply it to states like New York or Illinois or Washington or California or Hawaii or other countries even. So making sure that this gets passed, that awareness is raised about it, is so fundamental to giving people the access that they need to fucking heal, ’cause mushrooms heal. They really do. Okay, without any further ado, I bring you Tom and Sheri Eckert of the Oregon Psilocybin Society.

04:51 PA: Hey listeners, and welcome back to the podcast. I’m sitting virtually across from Tom and Sheri Eckert of the Oregon Psilocybin therapy campaign. Tom and Sheri, thanks so much for joining.

05:02 Tom Eckert: Hey, it’s our pleasure, thank you.

05:03 Sheri Eckert: Yeah, we’re very full of gratitude to be on with you, Paul.

05:05 PA: It’s quite an initiative that you all have taken on, and I know you’ve been working on it for quite some time. I would just like to start with a little bit of the origin story. How did this come about, what inspired your work with IP 34 and this initiative?

05:19 TE: Yeah, it has been kind of a long improbable journey at this point. It’s great to be in the place we’re at, looking at the possibility of moving this into a state-wide program to legalize access to Psilocybin therapy. Looking back in the rear view, it all started because we’re therapists and we’re interested in healing and growth and self-development and also psychedelics.

05:39 TE: And back in what, 2015, we started really tuning into the research that was happening. Specifically, I remember with the article that came out in The New Yorker with Michael Pollan, a precursor to his great book. The article was called The Trip Treatment, yeah, and it gave this wide angle view of what was happening in psychedelic research, which back then wasn’t really widely reported on, and it really struck us. And of course, it’s Michael Pollan writing, so he conveyed the emotional, profound effects of the treatment that was happening.

06:14 TE: So Sheri and I, our angle on therapy has always been what is personal transformation all about? We believe that it doesn’t come from the outside, it really is an inner healer type process. So our outlook, I think, always dovetailed with psychedelic philosophy and the how that happens, but of course, psychedelics bring a layer to therapeutic gain that we had never seen. We understood that from personal experience, but to see it represented in the science was really inspiring.

06:48 SE: I think that as therapists, we know our goal, when sitting with clients, is to help them discover their own inner therapist, and because they do their own healing. We don’t heal others; they heal themselves. And so psychedelics and all of the clinical studies that have shown how psychedelics work to help individuals get to that inner therapist really quickly has been really inspiring to Tom and I. And like you said, in 2015, we knew that this was gonna be a shift in the way that people were treated for mental health issues and addiction crisis. And we were very ambitious, I think, to help find a way to get this type of novel treatment into the general public that is safe for them, that is safe for the facilitators.

07:46 TE: And the key thing about the research, speaking of the inner healer, that’s balanced with careful facilitation. So it’s a really interesting model that the therapeutic facilitation of this experience is pretty much a hands-off thing. But it involves preparation and assessment to make sure there are no contraindications, to make sure that this is the right fit because psychedelics really aren’t for everybody in terms of healing and growth. There’s an art to that, and it’s this humanistic approach to facilitation where you are guiding, but not directive, in a directive fashion. And there’s a way to do that to really optimize and maximize benefits and really take care of all the potential risks. And those risks are real, but when you put it in a therapeutic container, it really mitigates and optimizes. And so that was really exciting to us to create a framework to allow that to happen and bring that into the culture in such a way that it’s really hard to argue against when you understand what this is.

08:51 SE: One of the things about our start that I find to be really special to both Tom and I is that we actually consulted Psilocybin, we consulted the mushroom. We sat and asked: What are the main things that need to be inside of a community-based framework that will help us to achieve the goal of helping people help themselves? And it was really a wonderful thing to be able to, in unity, sit down and put out that basic outline that took, eventually, a whole year to actually draft.

09:28 PA: So a couple things are coming up for me. I think the first point of clarification is a lot of people have been hearing about FDA breakthrough, approval status for Psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression and major depressive disorder. We’ve seen that. I think COMPASS Pathways is for treatment-resistant depression, Usona is for major depressive disorder. We’ve also seen decriminalization movements of Psilocybin and general plant medicines in places like Denver and Oakland and Santa Cruz, and potentially dozens more cities in the next year or so. In terms of IP 34 and some of the specifics of it, how is it different and how is it similar to those two movements that we’ve seen developing concurrently?

10:07 TE: We really preach a unity message in terms of that there’s one psychedelic movement with different levels that reach a potential outcome in the culture. And so on the FDA level, you have the moving through a process of approval to bring psychedelics into a medical frame. We all owe the researchers and the teams and the supporters a huge debt of gratitude. We wouldn’t be having this conversation if it wasn’t for the heroic efforts of the scientists, as well as the supporters, it’s all privately funded, to put us in a position to even be talking about how to integrate psychedelics into the culture. So that’s hugely important, and we support it wholeheartedly.

10:50 TE: Coming down a level into the state-wide therapeutic approach that’s happening in Oregon that we’re spearheading, we think that is an important movement in the direction of accessibility because what we’re doing is we’re saying Psilocybin therapy has shown to have an excellent safety track record. Okay? And with proper assessment and screening and preparation, this is a modality that is hugely beneficial, not just for people with particular mental health diagnoses, but for the general public, with some exceptions. So if we bring in… Basically, an inspiration for us was to bring this into a frame that could help as many people as possible. And so through a state-wide initiative, we’re not beholden to the same restrictions that the FDA process imposes. And so we wanna be very responsible with that attention and do this in a way that’s safe and smart, intelligent and optimizes the experience. But at the same time, widen the tent or open the tent up to more people who can benefit because our whole country has issues, obviously, and mental health is a huge problem. And especially in Oregon, we have some of the highest rates, if not the highest rate of mental illness in the country. So we’re trying to bring real change and real healing to Oregon, and I think that starts a template.

12:30 SE: I love the way that we see the psychedelic movement as a whole, and the different components within it. And we know that each one serves different purposes. And so, as Tom was sharing, the FDA breakthrough status, if it passes and it becomes available to the public, it’s going to be to a very small percentage who have a specific diagnosis, is what we’re saying. And so, what we want to do is to… Basically, as Tom shared, to expand the accessibility. But to do it in such a way that’s compatible to and paralleled with the clinical trials, so that we are following the safety, and the standard practices, and the ethics, and all of the things that they have so rigorously established in the clinical studies.

13:25 TE: And a regulatory backstop is really important, in the sense of how do you deal with malpractice abuses that happen? This provides a way to bring competency to the space, that we think is very important. Now, going down to the decriminalization level, here in Oregon, there’s actually an interesting potential on the horizon. So there’s not only our statewide initiative, but there is a statewide initiative to create more access to addiction services, and also decriminalizing all drugs across the board in small amounts, kinda like Portugal. So what we have in Oregon is this kind of two pronged drug policy reform agenda. Separate campaigns, but we’ll be on the ballot, hopefully, this November. And so you have legalized access to carefully provided Psilocybin assisted therapy, as well as a baseline of decriminalization across the board, that really cuts the legs out from the failed drug war.

14:24 SE: A change in its drug policy so it’s drug policy reform, Portugal style, but it moves further. It also makes sure to ensure that there’s care and a recovery access, for people who might otherwise wind up in jail, when they really need to be in therapy.

14:42 TE: All of this is part of the bigger picture of moving toward a public health-based approach to drug use. And that’s what makes sense. And I think that’s what the country is looking for, and I think Oregon’s the tip of the spear, but just the beginning.

14:57 PA: So when we go and look at how Oregon is the tip of the spear, right? The first state to be doing something that’s this comprehensive. There’s obviously the decrim movement for all of California, but that is different. We’ll set that aside, because it doesn’t come with the same sort of emphasis on the therapeutic approach, if you will. And you know with, for example, COMPASS and Usona, what they’re looking at, from an FDA approval process is, from what I understand, prescription by a medical professional, a psychiatrist, for a specific clinical condition, and that the medicine Psilocybin is synthetic, right? That it’s basically a molecule.

15:41 PA: In terms of those specifics with your campaign and your initiative, is it a synthetic, is it the whole mushroom? And then with MAPS, with a lot of the clinical research that they’ve done at NYU on Psilocybin, it’s been two therapists for every one patient. And we know that the scalability of that is limited. So, a couple of years ago, I started a retreat center in the Netherlands, called Synthesis. And so, what we did with Synthesis is we did group settings, where it was 15 people with about five facilitators. So I’d just be curious to hear, one, whole plant versus molecule. And then two, how are you thinking about the therapeutic approach, in terms of facilitators, the people who are actually going to…

16:29 SE: Let’s start out with just what therapeutic is. It’s not only for treating mental health or addiction issues. Therapeutic can be your personal development as a human being, that is a part of the therapeutic process, personal growth and development. So we have to make sure that we understand what that word in and of itself means, first. And then, in regards to our initiative, we were very careful to… We understand that the FDA, in order to run clinical trials, have to have very strict guidelines to do that, in order to prove what they’re trying to prove. In Oregon, what we have done is we have just basically ensured that the natural mushroom can be used, if that is the desire of the facilitator. Also, that it’s okay if somebody wants to synthesize, or just maybe extract the natural molecules. And so, it’s a variety of ways that can take place, but I think the most important thing is that we did protect the ability to use nature’s natural fungi.

17:42 TE: We put a clause in there that basically says that the Oregon Health Authority, which is the health authority here, can’t mandate exclusive use of synthetic. The natural mushroom, natural organic extracts will always be in the mix. And I foresee that is where it’s going, for a variety of reasons. One is that another clause in the language really puts the brakes on kind of corporate pharma intrusion in Oregon. We’ll see how it plays out, but I think what I foresee is facilitators and therapy centers creating their own product to standard, so you can… There’s a few different licenses involved to become licensed as a service center, we call like a therapy center. You can become licensed as a facilitator. We can talk more about that, what that entails. It’s not locked up in hospitals, it’s not just doctors, that kind of thing. Also, as a producer. So you can hold more than one license. So I would imagine that a treatment center like Synthesis would hold all those licenses, and develop their own organic… And we kinda see behind the scenes some of the technology that’s being developed with regard to organic extraction, and really cleaning up the questions around dosage, and things like that, without going synthetic. So that’s the horizon I see in Oregon, at least.

19:00 SE: I like to point out that everybody has a different way of wanting to receive this type of therapy, this type of care, right? Some people have… Want to approach it from a very clinical standpoint. They want to make sure that they’re in an environment that feels clinical to them, it feels like… This, it feels safe, this is the container for me. And others might want to have a different kind of more sacred spiritual type of environment. And the initiative allows for the service centers to determine their aesthetics to their clients, and I think that’s really important because again, individuals feel safe in different environments.

19:47 TE: The regs are really around safety and best practice standards, but that can look like a lot of different things, so there’s kind of an open marketplace and there should be. This is what it means to run a statewide campaign rather than just preaching to the choir, psychedelic folks. We’re trying to meet the needs of a big potential market, for lack of a better term, people who are looking for healing and new options for mental health care as well as personal growth.

20:18 SE: But because we put these limitations on how many service centers can be owned and how many production centers can be owned, we see this more as a community-based initiative, so that rather than being… People often think, well, if the OHAs involved then this is a state thing, but it’s not. A state will issue the licenses. People do need to have training in order to become a licensed facilitator or a licensed service center or a licensed production center. Tom can go into all the reasons why, but I think that by limiting what can happen commercially, the commodification of the medicine itself and expanding the way that services can take place is a perfect kind of blend.

21:08 TE: We created a framework that isn’t driven by corporate influence, it’s not driven by the state per se. That’s the spirit of what we’re trying to do. Like Sheri said, a community-based framework where we can help each other to heal with an emphasis on competence, practice standards and ethics. But otherwise, well, including that, bringing in the spirit of the psychedelic movement that’s been developing since way back in the ’50s, and of course, has ancient roots in ceremonial use, the ’60s were kind of a blip on the radar in a bigger story. And that story has always emphasized care and structure, that’s what we wanna bring to Oregon in a fashion that makes sense in our era.

21:53 SE: I think also when you really do your research about how psychedelic medicines have been used in indigenous cultures, there’s always been structure. They use the medicine with purpose, with intention, and we can see that at least people here in North America are really desirous to kind of enter into that spirit of the ancient wisdom and the sense of sacredness that you can get. And we see them flocking to other places where it’s legal to get these services and so our goal is to be able to create our own culture. Something that resonates with us, that is inclusive of its ancient sacred use and what we know to be true in terms of the research and what the clinical researchers are establishing. And so it’s us trying to form a right of passage, in a sense, for us Westerners, so to say. When we hold on to that spirit of what this initiative is about, it becomes clear that it’s not to exclude anything. We’re simply trying to create our own way to access this experience in our environment, legally.

23:18 PA: One word that comes up for me is the word integration. Whenever we’re looking at creating balance between opposites, what has come up in our conversation is like both modern science driven by what research has been done by John Hopkins as well as the indigenous practices that have been going on for thousands and thousands of years. To create best practices, we have to both honor this sort of ancestral heritage and the tools that we have available to us in 2020. The other thing that comes up is, even when we look at the legal model that you’re developing, it takes elements from that FDA, the therapeutic care. There needs to be structure, there needs to be licensing, there needs to be some of these things and we need people to be able to grow their own medicine, we need to de-commodify substances, we need to ensure that people can charge a fair price for the service they provide from an energetic perspective. But that they’re not manipulating or over corporatizing some of these things, ’cause that ultimately just extracts a lot of the healing potential from these substances when they’re used within that container, in that sense.

24:25 SE: Yeah, you’re absolutely right. There’s a lot of underground work already being done with mushrooms, with Psilocybin, and what we really hope as therapists is to see people who are currently licensed as therapists doing the work to be able to legally do this as well as those who aren’t licensed but are doing the work to get the appropriate training so that they are competent, as Tom shared, to perform these services and to do so with accountability. And we think that’s important, which is why the OHA part of it is really important to have. If a person doesn’t feel safe right now and they’re getting underground care, they have no one they can go to and say something happened, and…

25:17 TE: This is especially important being that this opens up a very psychologically vulnerable space, as we know. For those of us that have explored it, yeah, I think that competence… And by the way, when we talk about competence and bringing different skills to this, it’s not based on prior credentialing, it’s not… You’re not competent just because you have an MD or something like that. This is a new space. And so this is one of those steps we took that was kind of a big step, was to create standalone licensure for Psilocybin facilitation, unique set of skills. If you have the heart and discipline to get in this work, this is the avenue, and it’s not about having already holding a bunch of degrees.

26:12 PA: And that’s interesting and that’s very unique because we’ve seen with programs like at CIIS that you have to be a clinical licensed professional, for example, to become and get the degree for psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy. Can you go a little bit deeper into that? What’s the structure of that? Who can enroll? Who will be able to enroll in something like this? What sort of training are they going through? Because obviously, someone who goes through a professional training for becoming a licensed therapist, the training they go through is like learning how to hold space and learning to mirror and learning how to guide that process of going inwards. So someone who might just have no context whatsoever isn’t gonna have the same level of… They’re not gonna start from the same baseline, essentially. So how are you approaching that context?

26:56 SE: Well, in the initiative, we open the doors for people who wanna get licensed as a facilitator to apply for that upon… They have to be over 21, they have… The education requirement is a high school diploma. In addition to that, though, is this extensive training that will be developed that will prepare them just exactly as you say, to be competent in this specific discipline. And so it might be that someone comes into the field wanting with no education in psychology or psychiatry, and they really wanna do this. I suspect that there will be more required of them in terms of training, and there will be ethics that basically state if this is… If somebody’s coming to you and it’s outside of what your competency level is, you need to refer to someone to whom it is within their competency. The training aspect of it is really critical and it’s what’s going to make this really work so that everyone is getting the same type of treatment with the same type of intelligence and knowledge about what they’re going into. But also realizing they may not have all of the skill sets that it takes to address somebody with perhaps, let’s say suicidality or clinical depression that might need to come to someone, licensed professional therapist like Tom or like all of us who are practicing therapy as a profession.

28:39 TE: So the key thing is that it’ll be an intensive training program, and we’re developing criteria to advise the Oregon Health Authority on. It’s ultimately up to the Oregon Health Authority to set those criteria into place, and they will be listening to an advisory board. That advisory board will be eventually appointed by the Oregon Health Authority, but we’ve moved forward with developing a prototype board. And you might recognize some of the names on that board, including Robin Carhart-Harris and…

29:07 SE: Haden.

29:07 TE: Mark Haden and Paul Stamets, he’s more on the production side. Françoise Bourzat who wrote the great book, Consciousness Medicine. So really…

29:16 SE: And Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris who has been the big…

29:20 TE: He’s the Head of the Center for Psychedelic Studies at Imperial College in London.

29:24 SE: Yeah, and he’s… They’ve been doing all of those amazing studies that are really helping us to understand how the brain works and what’s going on. So it’s a really great board of advisors that are gonna work preemptively to…

29:38 TE: That’s actually an active board, it’s not a name-only board. We are meeting and developing training criteria. And those folks were chosen, with the exception of Paul, who we’re working with on the production side of things, of course. Who better to go to than Paul for that? But with Robin and Françoise and Mark and ourselves, we are working on… Well, we went to them specifically because of their experience and knowledge and wisdom pertaining to training. And so we are trying to develop the intelligentsia around training, specifically, because I really see that as the beating heart of this whole initiative. The whole point is to create access and competency so that we can move this forward into the culture in an intelligent way that doesn’t exclude anyone and opens up this healing in such a way that mitigates the risks. There’s a lot of moving parts to that, but essentially, that’s what it is. Sometimes, it gets overtalked and it’s just… We gotta remember that this is about bringing psychedelic therapy to our culture in a smart way.

30:43 SE: Just to re-emphasize what Tom touched on, risk is important; there are risks. So while it’s open to anyone, they do have to go through a risk assessment. They do have to be evaluated for contraindications. Harm reduction is an extremely big part of the training. Being able to provide safety is obviously very, very, very important. It’s top, top in importance. We wanna make sure that, as Paul stated at one of the conferences that we spoke with him at, this is a very strong, powerful medicine for healing. And because of the vulnerability that people have when they are experiencing Psilocybin, there needs to be structure around it. Another thing that’s happening in our initiative is that once the initiative passes, the Oregon Health Authority is charged with creating an advisory board to help them. And so that’s what this advisory board is we’re hoping to see, show them and model for them, and even see some of the people we get on.

31:49 TE: Yeah, we hope that just moves into the program. [chuckle] At some point, we let go and it starts to become its thing. But we’re trying to set it up such that the right people are there to help this along, and we’re succeeding in that. Getting a lot of good input as to how to move forward in the best possible way.

32:13 PA: Well, and a lot of what you’re talking about are really systems of education. We’ve had research on psychedelics since the ’50s and ’60s. We’ve been using psychedelics for potentially tens of thousands of years, meaning we have a, again, sort of a built-in evolutionary relationship with these substances. And yet, in 2020, the biggest gap, still, to mainstream adoption of psychedelic medicine is simply stigma and ignorance around the proper and responsible use of them. And that’s one reason why even with Third Wave and some of our work, we focus so much on microdosing as a topic. Less because of the maybe clinical and therapeutic, and more just from behavioral psychology perspective, that it’s easier to facilitate adoption because people, ultimately, make emotional decisions and then afterwards, rationalize it with clinical research.

33:01 PA: And so I think the easier you can make it for people to take that first step, the better. And obviously, who better, like Tom mentioned, than Paul Stamets in terms of leading that production? Paul has pioneered what’s now colloquially referred to as the Stamets Stack, which is Psilocybin, lion’s mane and niacin. So I’d just be curious to hear how are you thinking about microdosing within this initiative. Will it be feasible for people to purchase microdosing supplements and use them within a therapeutic context? What’s sort of the context on that with how this is becoming available?

33:31 SE: Well, wouldn’t that be great, Paul, if that were a possibility? Unfortunately, because we are using the clinical research as a grounds for why this initiative should pass, there’s not been enough research on microdosing. And it would be great, I’d love to see the stack be available.

33:53 TE: Yeah, it’s not our focus so much simply because there’s a particular kind of framework and structure that you have to wrap around the macrodose. And of course, there is a lot of science behind it, and we do see the experiential component such as the healing space. That said, I put nothing beyond the mushroom. [chuckle] The very, the microdosing approach may turn out to be highly effective. Certainly, a lot of anecdotal evidence and some evidence coming in, and I hope that continues. The first step, as we’re all collectively working on different angles, is to destigmatize and bring more and more information. Of course, we talked about the risks of the macrodosing. Of course, Psilocybin itself isn’t physiologically risky. It’s not toxic, so we don’t wanna mislead people on that. But when we’re doing big doses with people who are working through big issues, you have a potential for things to go sideways. That’s what we call behavioral toxicity. And that’s why we like to… We talk about keeping this in a container with professionals that know how to handle any situation that may come up, thereby mitigating those kind of risks. Microdosing is a different picture. I see no reason why that train shouldn’t continue. And all the best to people who are working on that issue, but we’re focused on our particular frame.

35:22 PA: Wanna be curious as well how that fits in, whether it’s microdosing, or whether it’s lifestyle changes like diet and exercise and sleep, or whether it’s modalities like breath work or meditation, part of facilitating an effective aftercare or integration period is lifestyle changes. What we know from at least preliminary research and just the effects that we know psychedelics have on the brain like the 5-HT2A receptor, we know that, and Paul has talked about this extensively on the Joe Rogan Podcast and on other things, that microdosing could significantly help with facilitating neuroplasticity and adaptability. So I would just be curious how that starts to play a role, less so in the experiential element because I think the high doses are really necessary for that for people to go totally inwards and to have that healing experience. But more so in the aftercare period as a supporting modality for continued health and flourishing and integration.

36:17 TE: I think it’s a great hypothesis and a great direction. I think that this is why we need to support both bills here in the State of Oregon to decriminalize as well as legalize access to therapy. And with that loosening, we can start to have these conversations and bring them out of just conversations and start thinking about how to create the structures that make the optimal healing experiences possible.

36:42 SE: Yeah, I think it’s important to note that this campaign does not legalize Psilocybin. It’s what it does is it legalizes the ability to use Psilocybin within a certain framework. Outside of that framework, Psilocybin is still illegal. The framework that we have, again, proposed is the therapeutic framework. And so that’s the macrodosing, yeah.

37:04 PA: One thing that’s probably coming up for a lot of people is pushback. Pharmaceutical companies or anti-drug people or anyone who is sort of is “against drug policy or the legal,” which seems to be fewer and fewer people every day. But I’d just be curious, have you faced any sort of pushback? Have you faced any sort of major resistance? What’s sort of been maybe a negative response, if there has been any, whatsoever?

37:31 TE: There’s been no financed opposition to our campaign as of yet, and we hope that it stays that way. It would be hard to absorb serious opposition, but I don’t think that it’s on the radar at that level. And there hasn’t really been much opposition even just from leaders in the community or whatnot, so we’re cruising along and just making our points in educating the public. That’s our biggest challenge, is to educate the state regarding what this is and what this isn’t. So the opposition, if there is any, just in general out there and the folks that haven’t gotten onboard yet, are generally based on lack of understanding. We’ve done some interesting focus groups where we bring in people and have these long discussions and scientifically pull apart how people change their minds and things like that.

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