04/21/13 James Fademan

Psychedelic Science 2013 X2 James Fademan author Pschedelic Explorers Guide, Maria Mangini nurse practitioner & Diana Slaterly psychonaut, Tom Kingsly Brown Univ Calif Sand Diego

Program: 
Century of Lies
Date: 
Sunday, April 21, 2013
Guest: 
James Fademan
Organization: 
MAPS
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Century of Lies / April 21, 2013

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DEAN BECKER: The failure of Drug War is glaringly obvious to judges, cops, wardens, prosecutors and millions more. Now calling for decriminalization, legalization, the end of prohibition. Let us investigate the Century of Lies.

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DEAN BECKER: OK my friends. If I seem a little groggy or even a little grouchy there’s reason for it. I’m still in Oakland attending the Psychedelic Science 2013 Conference. I got 4 hours sleep after I built the Cultural Baggage show. I’m up to build this one but I’m maybe grouchy because I can’t get back to the conference right away. It’s going on for several more days. I’d like to capture more video for the Unvarnished Truth. But here we go, again, from the Psychedelic Science 2013 Conference.

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JAMES FADIMEN: I’m James Fadiman. I teach at Sofia University and I’m an independent researcher. I have a book out called “The Psychedelic Explorers Guide – Safe, Therapeutic and Sacred Journeys.” I’m doing several kinds of research at the moment.

I’m finding out from many people about micro-dosing which is very, very low doses of a number of psychedelics and how they affect very normal behavior. This is nothing that disrupts your day. The is really …They turn out to be a kind of alshockra energizer. We’re looking at that.

Also there are some specific conditions like depression and Parkinson’s and I can’t say that we have anything exciting at this moment except we’re exploring an area which Albert Hoffman in the last 20 years of his life (he lived to be 102) recommended when people took walks in nature. This is very, very, very low doses of LSD.

I’ve also done in the past created problem solving for people in hard science who are using these materials to work on extremely difficult, high-tech, very physical material problems with a great deal of success. There’s research that we did a long time and the government decided that all research was not interesting enough so they stopped it all.

DEAN BECKER: Ironically today marks 70 years since Albert Hoffman’s discovery of LSD.

JAMES FADIMEN: That’s right. Today is known in the peculiar little psychedelic world as “Bicycle Day.” A professor in northern Illinois, Tom Roberts, created “Bicycle Day” as a holiday to celebrate this particular discovery which has actually revolutionized brain science from its early, early days.

They discovered that serotonin came only from the initial explorations with LSD. Most of the antidepressants and antianxiety psychotics are really dealing with issues around serotonin. LSD indirectly has more of an effect on culture than is generally understood.

DEAN BECKER: You mentioned micro-doses of various psychedelics. Where in the United States is that a problem? How is that done?

JAMES FADIMEN: It’s not a problem because a micro-dose is also called a sub-perceptual dose meaning it’s below the threshold where you have any visual changes. This means it doesn’t interrupt your day.

Albert Hoffman said it was the most under-researched area and he felt that if it had been researched more thoroughly we would not have been so excited by Ritalin and Adderall and those kinds of stimulants which have a great many side effects most of which you don’t want to have.

What we’re finding and I’m simply doing kind of anthroprological surveys and I ask people, “Have you ever used these things as a micro-dose?” What we’re finding is a number of people have been exploring this and are sending me reports where they systematically try these every three days and then report what they are finding out.

What they are finding out is that they can notice not a difference in the perceptual world – things don’t flicker and as someone wrote, “Pop Tart signs do not become amazingly interesting.” – but what they do notice is that they are kinder, they are somewhat more effective, they are more focused, they eat slightly healthier. If they are going to the gym they do one more set of reps. It’s a small improvement but what people basically report is that they like those days.

At the end of the day sometimes you say, “God, that was really a good day.” That’s the general impression so far. This is very preliminary. I probably have 100 reports but they are from around the country and a few from overseas. We’re really exploring an area which has been under-researched that seems to be very promising and has no effect on the culture. It’s not disturbing anyone.

DEAN BECKER: We have the culture war I think still exists. It started in the 60s. It started with Timothy Leary’s misbehavior and it just started an avalanche. Your response?

JAMES FADIMEN: Tim Leary gets more credit for the 60s backlash than he deserves and Ken Kesey gets less credit than he deserves. Basically in the 60s many, many people said to the government, “We really don’t like the institutions. We don’t like the education institution. We really don’t like the idea of going to war and killing people we don’t even know for reasons we never understood. We don’t like the banking system. We don’t like the whole financial system. We’d like to tear it all down.”

The people in power said, “You know, that doesn’t please me.”

Particularly when the banker comes home and it’s his children who are saying that to him. So there was a tremendous backlash where all these values were not crushed but they were kind of pushed out of sight. What we don’t recall is out of that same 60s melyer came the ecology movement, the feminist movement, much of civil rights…

DEAN BECKER: even the gay rights…

JAMES FADIMEN: and the gay rights movement all really arose and were fueled…and certainly the antiwar movement was fueled by these same people. What’s now happening is there is a much stronger and more sophisticated use of this same energy and there isn’t the same resistance because - and I give you the U.S. government figure here – since LSD became illegal 24 million Americans have taken it. That figure goes up 600,000 a year every year that I can track without interruption whether there’s lots of good publicity or bad publicity.

There’s a general feeling aside from the 40 or 50 million Americans who smoke marijuana. So we’re no longer in a situation like the 60s where the people in power can make claims that say marijuana is terrible and frightening and have almost anyone believe them.

DEAN BECKER: To kind of wrap it up here we have this situation again kind of tying into the Tim Leary/Ken Kesey situation where there were stories …Art Linkletter’s daughter threw herself out of a window on LSD and a couple other people did some crazy stuff but the situation of these few people were used as justification for decades.

JAMES FADIMEN: What we’re finding is that when we actually looked at that - and I actually knew Art Linkletter’s family – there were a lot of other variables that weren’t talked about and when you take something that is as powerful as a psychedelic with no brains at all and no understanding and not training and no awareness that you need to be very careful of who you’re with and where you are these substances and setting (as it’s called) matter.

It’s not true when you take an aspirin but it’s very true when you take a psychedelic and it turns out that if you take it in what we would call a safe, secure setting with people you trust, with people who know what they are doing the amount of danger or damage has been statistically insignificant.

It’s a little bit like how many people crash when the designated driver is the one who is driving and everyone else is drunk. The answer is almost no one. I’m kind of a right wing psychedelic person in that I feel that know a lot and if they’re taking a serious trip – and many of these trips are life changing – that they use a guide just as they would if they were going to Africa and wanting to meet wild animals. They don’t just run out of their hotel and hope that an animal will not kill them.

So we’re dealing really with a question of enlightened safety might be a way of saying this as the new goal of the people who are working and doing research with these substances.

DEAN BECKER: Any websites that you’d like to point folks towards or closing thoughts?

JAMES FADIMEN: Closing thoughts are, again, the question is if a psychedelic is an important substance and in part of my research over 90% of people having it once felt it was the single most important experience of their lives. Those people took it in a safe, secure setting. If it’s that possibly important why not do it right?

The fact that it is illegal makes it difficult but for some reason 24 million Americans decided that the government might not know everything about their own health and, as I say, the marijuana situation in the states is pretty obvious that 20 states think it’s medically acceptable and other states it’s 5 to 10 years for that which helps you medically.

We’re clearly at a crux of changing point and it’s a pleasure to be able to talk to one of my favorite stations.

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DEAN BECKER: What I found to be so common amongst these doctors and scientists and others who have used these psychedelic drugs is their intelligence, their memory, their ability to function and thrive in a modern society.

Like I said earlier I’m doing this on the fly and wanting to get back to the conference. I had an occasion to talk to a couple of women about this situation and I set it up for a video shoot and I’m not even sure how well it’s going to work for that but I hope that it works out well for this radio program.

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MARIA MANGINI: I’m Maria Mangini. I’m a family nurse midwife. I’m the director of the nurse practitioner program here in Oakland. I teach a very diverse group of students. I’m a student of community health with an emphasis on drugs and drug policy.

DEAN BECKER: Alright and Diana introduce yourself.

DIANA SLATERLY: I’m Diana Slaterly. I study psychedelics and language. I did a PhD on that topic. I’m also a practicing psychonaut. The War on Drugs really irks me so a lot of attention is going on that right now.

DEAN BECKER: Diana, tell us what a psychonaut is.

DIANA SLATERLY: A psychonaut is a soul sailor. That’s the etymology of the word. Pschi is the old Greek word for mind, soul, spirit sometimes, breath sometimes all combined. Naut is nautice or navigator or sailor in Greek so we’re soul sailors.

We go out and explore on the great ocean of the soul and come back and tell our stories as best we can. A particular thing I’m studying is the difficulty – sometimes it’s called the ineffability or the unspeakability of a psychedelic experience. The linguistic phenomena that people encounter there sometimes our means for them to bring their story back as they come back sometimes with new languages, new scripts, new ideas about languages. That’s what I’m going to be talking about tomorrow.

DEAN BECKER: Maria, we’re here at the MAPS conference. What will you be presenting?

MARIA MANGINI: Tomorrow I’m actually the moderator for the Interdisciplinary Tracts so I’ve been very interested in the way that these tracts have been determined, the speakers were selected in the venues in which they’re presenting were selected.

On Monday the organization which Diana and I both members of the board is presenting a day-long workshop called “Narrating the Transformative Event.” It’s about the narrative characteristics of the psychedelic experience experienced specifically by women.

DEAN BECKER: Let’s talk about that. For men it may be a more macho, forthright experience. Is it more introspective for women?

MARIA MANGINI: I think that individuals have the experience that they have. I think that it’s equally possible of any gender to have similar experience depending on where they are in their own spiritual development, personal development and the setting and matrix in which they have that experience.

What is very obvious is the roles of women in this program of research and the ways in which they are recognized for the kinds of science that are more likely to be engaged in are very, very different from those that men fulfill.

DEAN BECKER: The U.S. government has begun allowing certain studies to be conducted but in many cases they have delayed or stalled any such research. What is your thoughts there, Diana?

DIANA SLATERLY: The answer to almost all those questions is “follow the money.” If you follow the money on drug questions it leads back to “big pharma.” There’s a huge, huge drug lobby and there’s a huge alcohol lobby and there’s a huge tobacco lobby so this is why things are so skewed. There’s enormous vested interest that want to keep these provenly more harmful drugs free and open on the market and essentially keep other ones out because they have countercultural effects and they cause people to actually ask questions, think for themselves.

That’s the normal way of looking at it but I think it’s mostly to do with fear – all kinds of fear – fear of social unrest, fear of losing control in a personal sense, fear of meeting your shadow, all those kinds of things.

MARIA MANGINI: And a specific fear which has sort of characterized drug regulation and drug condemnation throughout the history of this country beginning with alcohol prohibition which is xenophobic kind of thing where the specific consciousness altering behavior of certain social groups were reprehended by society as a whole as a way of achieving control for a group that perceived itself as socially dominant.

If you look at alcohol prohibition it was a contest between native born, rural teetotal, Anglo-Saxons and immigrant, urban, catholic, Jewish, eastern European, southern European, Irish drinkers. It was a cultural war very similar to the one we’re having now about who would have control of the society.

If you look at the Harrison Narcotics Act which was the first real and big drug law to be passed in 1917 it had a tremendous fallout of unexpected consequences because people thought …the first laws against opiates were actually passed against opium smoking because it was the Chinese and it was after the railroads were complete and the Chinese laborers were no longer needed and they were perceived to be a threat to the job security of native born Americans.

When the Harrison Narcotics Act was passed in 1917 it was a tremendous worldwide foreign policy initiative having to do with opium having to go on in the Far East which I think we’re still in the fallout today in relations with China.

When the act actually passed which said it was not the normal practice of medicine for a physician to give opium to an addict simply for the purpose of keeping an addict comfortable what they discovered was the great majority of people who used opiates in this country were ex-soldiers like veterans from the Civil War and forward who had existing terrible wounds and around that same time the hypodermic syringe was invented so people could inject morphine.

The other group was rural women who were teetotalers but who drank these opiate-containing potions like women’s tonics and suddenly their supplies were cut off. That created tremendous social disruption.

The laws against cocaine were passed during the 1920s which like the 60s was a period of great social license largely on the back of complaints of what the effects of cocaine would have on blacks in the rural south. They were going to rape white women and do terrible things and you couldn’t stop them with a large caliber gun. These things are all in the public record. They’ve been written up by the NIDA and in published records of that time.

The law in 1937 that passed against cannabis was passed at the time when alcohol prohibition was ending. Harry Anslinger had a whole stable of prohibition agents that were going to be out of work in about 5 minutes and they inflated this whole local weed thing. The word marijuana was never used except starting at that time and it was this xenophobic idea of the Mexicans and how they were going to do this local weed thing and go crazy and act stupid.

The reprehension of psychedelics that happened in the 1960s was about people like me that we were going to become poor citizens, bad parents, unemployable, resist the draft, oppose the government. We wore funny clothes, grew our hair long – that was a xenophobic act as much as it was anything.

Richard Nixon said that Timothy Leary was the most dangerous man in America in the midst of the Viet Nam war.

DEAN BECKER: I promised ya’ll a short interview so Maria if you will kind of summarize what you’re bringing to this conference and what you hope will result from that you may pass along to others.

DIANA SLATERLY: I would just like to see more people come out of the closet. It’s that simple. Tell their stories. Tell the truth about what their psychedelic experience has been – good, bad, ugly, whatever. Talk about it. Fess up to it.

Especially there’s a lot of people in high positions in this country right now who are psychedelic people and can’t say so or they don’t think they can say so. There’s very good reasons in many cases but the more we come out of the closet the better off we are. As Lorenzo Harris said, “The closet is getting really crowded.”

I want to just return for 30 seconds to the drug war thing. It’s really in recent times…Michelle Alexander’s book on this topic really talks about 90% of the problem. The psychedelic is a very niche issue in the overall War on Drugs thing. It is a class issue. It is a race issue and it’s a money issue.

The other side of the money thing is that with psychedelics nobody is going to make any big money from them because everybody can grow their own mushrooms or pot and these things aren’t patentable anymore.

DEAN BECKER: Maria, any closing thoughts you’d like to relay here?

MARIA MANGINI: I’d like to say that Diana and I belong to the board of directors of an organization called the Women’s Visionary Congress. We with Annie Oak started this organization because we saw there was a disparity of how women were represented in this program research.

Annie and Carolyn Garcia, who was one of the original members of the board, went to the fest for Doctor Hoffman’s birthday and there were 79 speakers invited and only 4 were women. That seemed to be such a disproportionate number that Annie came back to this country and decided that she was going to found an organization in which there would be 25 speakers and 2 or 3 of them would be men. That is our organization.

We are in our eighth year now. We’re going to have our annual meeting June 14th through the 16th in Petaluma, California. It’s a very interesting group.

DEAN BECKER: We’ve been speaking with Maria Mangini and Diana Slaterly. Ladies, thank you so much.

DIANA SLATERLY: Thank you.

MARIA MANGINI: You’re welcome.

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DEAN BECKER: We have one more segment to share with you here on the Century of Lies. I think I’m going to build a couple of 420 reports Monday and Tuesday and have them posted so you producers or editors or whoever collects this things please be aware that by Tuesday I will have the rest of the week posted.

Here, one more time, from the Psychedelics Science 2013 Conference…

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TOM KINGSLY BROWN: I’m Tom Kingsly Brown. I’m doing research with MAPS and I’m also working at the University of California in San Diego.

DEAN BECKER: They talk about these psychedelics being Schedule I – dangerous as heroin and cocaine – is there any truth to that?

TOM KINGSLY BROWN: No, it’s totally absurd. It’s totally ridiculous and I’ll tell you why. Ibogaine, in particular, which is the psychedelic I am researching. Ibogaine is being used to treat addictions like heroin. It’s Schedule I which, by definition, means that it has no medicinal value and that it has a high potential for abuse. Both of those are patently false.

There’s no potential for abuse with Ibogaine and no one wants to do it more than they really have to. Even in traditional societies and in West Africa they only have that initial experience with Avoca one time. It’s not addictive and it has great therapeutic value.

DEAN BECKER: So if I’m hearing you right you’re saying that it’s not something that you automatically want to repeat. It’s not a physical impulse. It’s for occasional use.

TOM KINGSLY BROWN: It’s for occasional use and it’s something that many people have a difficult experience with. It’s not something that you could just say, “Yeah, I think I’ll have some madoga root today or I’ll have some Obogaine.”

It’s got to be done with a certain intention. It’s not something that anyone would want to do habitually like eating ice cream or snorting cocaine - something that’s done automatically for pleasure. People have a very intense experience, sometimes very harrowing experiences with Ibogaine or iboca so it’s not something that you would want to do repeatedly.

DEAN BECKER: Who would benefit most, who would seek out the use of Ibogaine?

TOM KINGSLY BROWN: There are two basic types of people who would be looking to use Ibogaine. The people that I’m working with are people who are addicted to opiates such as heroin and the opiate painkillers so those people find great value in the use of Ibogaine to help interrupt their addictions.

The other people who would be looking to use Ibogaine are people who are using it for psycho-spiritual experiences. My sense is that the people who are using it to treat addiction far outnumber the people who are using it for psycho-spiritual experiences.

DEAN BECKER: As a novice, one who has never used Ibogaine, the laws against it say that it is as dangerous as heroin and cocaine, Schedule I and you stated that it’s preposterous. Why do these laws stand? Who is in charge of interpreting the data and why does it continue down this same route?

TOM KINGSLY BROWN: NIDA, the FDA…back in 1970 they declared a whole slew of psychedelic substances to be Schedule I substances. Ibogaine was put on that list. Who knows why but I think it was really an overreaction to try to squash that psychedelic counterculture in the late 60s so they put everything they could think of that they knew was hallucinogenic, psychedelic, mind-expanding on that list.

In my opinion for no good reason except if you think about it from the standpoint of trying to keep people from expanding their consciousness with the ultimate intent of keeping people from waking up and realizing what their lives are really about.

DEAN BECKER: We have some say 1,800 people in attendance at this conference. What do you hope to relay or motivate people with your presentation?

TOM KINGSLY BROWN: I would like to show people that there is now good scientific evidence that Ibogaine is very good for at least two things. One of which is to help people detox from opiates so that they have the opportunity to stop using. It eases the withdrawal symptoms and it decreases the cravings for those drugs.

The other thing is that on the long term (this is a 12 month follow up after people have been treated) it does greatly reduce the severity of people’s addictions and also the problems that tend to go along with addictions like psychiatric problems, problems with social functioning and so on. That’s what I really hope to show.

DEAN BECKER: Is there a website you might want to recommend?

TOM KINGSLY BROWN: At this point I would direct people to the MAPS website which is http://maps.org That’s the place where you can find information about the studies that are being done with Ibogaine.

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DEAN BECKER: I thank all these great speakers for the fine interviews at the Psychedelics Science 2013 conference. I want to urge you to tune in to subsequent shows which I hope to capture just as soon as I leave this little recording session.

As always I remind you there is no justification for this drug war. Do your part. Prohibido istac evilesco!

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For the Drug Truth Network, this is Dean Becker asking you to examine our policy of Drug Prohibition.

The Century of Lies.

This show produced at the Pacifica Studios of KPFT, Houston.

Transcript provided by: Jo-D Harrison of www.DrugSense.org