06/30/13 Rob Kampia

Rob Kampia, Dir of Marijuana Policy Project, David Nichols re DMT, Dr. James Fadiman & Dr. Tom Kingsley Brown

Program: 
Century of Lies
Date: 
Sunday, June 30, 2013
Guest: 
Rob Kampia
Organization: 
Marijuana Policy Project (MPP)
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Transcript

Century of Lies / June 30, 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: Thank you, my friends, for joining us on this edition of Century of Lies. We’ve got a great show lined up for you today. We’ve got some reports coming out of Oakland and the Psychedelic 2013 Conference. We’ve also got a segment from Dallas/Ft. Worth NORML featuring the head of the Marijuana Policy Project, Mr. Rob Kampia.

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DEAN BECKER: We’re here in Ft. Worth at the DFW NORML gathering. I’m honored to have with us Mr. Rob Kampia, the head of the Marijuana Policy Project. How are you doing, Rob?

ROB KAMPIA: Good. Thank you for having me.

DEAN BECKER: It’s good to see you again. Progress in regards to the understanding about marijuana, cannabis is really expanding on a daily basis isn’t it?

ROB KAMPIA: Yes, the American people are understanding more and more that marijuana is safer than alcohol, for example, and no one’s ever overdosed on it.

DEAN BECKER: Right. The politicians, even in Texas, are starting to dabble a bit in changing these laws. They didn’t make any progress this legislative session but the idea is starting to take hold.

ROB KAMPIA: Well, there actually was a little bit of progress because there was the pseudo decriminalization bill that was heard in the House Criminal Justice Committee. It was amended, unfortunately, to make it worse but it did pass out of the committee with a 6-3 vote which is very difficult to do in any Texas legislative committee.

Unfortunately since legislation is adjourned for the year it means starting over again which will be January of 2015.

DEAN BECKER: Let’s hope by then the flow of information becomes sufficient to awaken these Texas politicians.

ROB KAMPIA: Yeah, it’s going to have to come from the ground up. We’re considering hiring a lobbying firm in Austin so that we’ll have a real firm mastering the lobbying campaign in the 2015 session but that won’t be any good if there aren’t people from all around the state agitating their legislators in their home districts.

It was really clear to me when I testified before the Texas Legislature a couple months ago that there were legislators who wanted to do more but they felt constrained because they were worried that their constituents were going to be angry with them. In fact it’s the first time that I’ve ever testified anywhere where the legislators said right at the hearing in front of the TV cameras that he wanted to know how he could sell this to his constituents. He’s asking me for advice to take home with him so he could not get his butt kicked by constituents at the town hall forums that he’ll be having during the next year and one-half.

DEAN BECKER: I think he might be surprised at the support that he would actually gather here in Texas.

The truth of it is (it’s been over 10 years now) that a Scripps-Howard poll was conducted on Texas residents and I think it was 75 perhaps 76% were in favor of medical marijuana. Those politicians just need to smell the roses.

ROB KAMPIA: That’s right. That number that came out about 10 years ago there’s also been other polling that has shown that the support for medical marijuana is always in the 70s in Texas specifically.

Also there’s a higher level of support for legalization and decriminalization in Texas than what I think a lot of people would guess. I think we have a shot at really moving legislation in a big way in the 2015 session.

DEAN BECKER: Now the Marijuana Policy Project is not just focused in Texas. You guys have a national organization. You have been instrumental in helping bring about changes in many of the United States. Let’s talk about some of those efforts.

ROB KAMPIA: We’ve had 4 huge victories recently. The biggest one was legalizing marijuana in Colorado in November. That’s the first time that anyone had done that in the history of the world. That was obviously a huge one.

Then we’ve just had 3 victories in 3 state legislatures. One was passing a medical marijuana bill in Illinois. Another was passing a medical marijuana bill in New Hampshire and the third was decriminalizing marijuana possession in Vermont. The governor of Vermont just signed the bill right as this conference was starting. That was a nice little shot in the arm.

DEAN BECKER: I’ve been wondering and wasn’t it just yesterday that Maine considered legalization outright? Didn’t make it but it was voted on.

ROB KAMPIA: Right, the Maine House of Representatives fell 3 votes short of legalizing marijuana. The vote was something like 71 – 67. That was with us not even having a lobbying firm there. We had a legislator who is deeply committed to the cause and was serving as the lobbyist essentially and my organization has one full-time employee who has been roaming the halls in Augusta.

Without spending any money on TV ads or radio ads or lobbying firms or pressure tactics the thing almost passed and that gives us the feeling that if we could almost get it through the legislature with almost no money then we can actually pass a ballot initiative in Maine. So Maine is on the docket for legalization.

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(music)

This is his quest
His bid for glory
No matter the truth
He'll change his story
He's George Bush's clone
He's bad to the bone
He’ll bring us health, wealth and wisdom
He’s our next President
Rick Perry

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DAVID NICHOLS: My name is David Nichols. I’m the moderator on the DMT-Nexus forum. The DMT-Nexus is an online community focused on exploring DMT, Ayahuasca and other entheogens. We feel that taking a harm reduction approach in combination with seeking to expand the amount of collaboration going on in underground and non-sanctioned or more informal research context is a frequently overlooked manner in engaging with these plants and compounds that can be beneficial both to the community as well as sanctioned researchers by creating essentially road maps for a lot of anecdotal and subjective experiences and phenomena.

When it comes to Ayahuasca something that we’ve become aware of over the past year or two is that in addition to Ayahuasca vines being sold in color schemes of say yellow, red, black and grey Ayahuasca and frequently those are referred to as yellow, grey and black copy in many cases grey or black Ayahuasca may not be vines from the Banisteriopsis genus.

This is particularly interesting and raises certain concerns from a harm reduction standpoint because our analysis of these vines was unable to match any of the compounds contained in them with any compounds in the National Institute of Standards and Technology database therefor we are a bit of a loss as to what might be in these vines and there are also a number of subjective reports related to these vines that claim while they are very similar to harmine alkaloids they also have certain subjective differences and are at least one of them is traditionally prepared in a very different way raising questions both as to the nature of the alkaloids in them or if they’re non-alkaloids the compounds present and also their effects and the safety or at least the safety of those profile compounds.

When it comes to the vines I think that there is a decent amount or at least there is some ethnography and some historical literature to indicate that perhaps these have long histories of use and may at least within some certain ritual or some other context be generally safe but we don’t really know.

One of the things that I think is really important to emphasize is within the global marketplace of ethno-botanical vendors there have been increasing instances of vendors knowingly selling plants that are not what are being advertised. That is to say in the case of Ayahuasca vines at least a couple vendors claim that the reason they were selling alicia anisopetala as copy Ayahuasca vine was because people would recognize it and it would sell better.

That’s the kind of thing where as interesting as the whole range of potential DMT plants with regards to Ayahuasca plants are the potential issues stemming from intential mislabeling and marketing and commericializing this experience in an atmosphere of prohibitionist propaganda and restrictive knowledge is one that creates complete disparity as far as the information flow.

Ayahuasca vines or at least the Banisteriopsis contain harmine alkaloids which are reverse inhibitors of monoaminoxidase which is a subset of monoaminoxidase inhibitors.

Essentially that means that they are antidepressants but the way that they interact with certain physiological components of the body they don’t inhibit the MAO enzyme which breaks down DMT to the same degree that full MAO (like pharmaceutical) highs would meaning that they’re considered to be to some degree less risk from certain chemicals found in food such as tyramine.

The point, I guess, being that with Ayahuasca they’re fairly gentle and relatively safe and they don’t produce the same sort of effect as isolated DMT which is the other component frequently talked about in Ayahuasca. It’s really interesting because in industrial context there’s been a real focus on the DMT component of Ayahuasca but the center and all these other groups emphasize that Banisteriopsis is copy and the related vines the Ayahuasca vines are viewed as the power and the DMT add mixtures is viewed as the light.

With that I think there is a lot to be said about the very gentle and therapeutic potential effects of harmine alkaloids especially with some of the research that came out of the Ayahuasca project years ago showing potential for serotonin receptor site upregulation following Ayahuasca cerimoneys or Ayahuasca injestion.

One of the things in regards to DMT is that even though it’s such a potent psychedelic compound that it feels (for lack of a better word) organic. It feels natural. It feels almost like going Home with a capital H. Where in talking to people throughout the community it seems like one of the frequent phenomena of DMT experience is a feeling of déjà vu and a feeling of knowing the place and knowing the space that you’re in which is usually reported with being accompanied with a number of emotional feelings ranging from love to awe to just complete and utter serenity.

I think that the fact that here you can take this molecule and isolate it from a plant and vaporize it outside of what is viewed as a traditional context or an established ritual context and still with appropriate care to set and setting there seems to be so much potential for benefit and so much potential experiences that I think are central to the human experience that it almost seems that to some extent creating a dichotomy between something that’s in a plant that’s natural and something that gets pulled from a plant that’s somehow unnatural is something that I think we need to be really cautious about and that would bear, should bear a lot of examination before we come to that sort of judgment.

Our website is http://dmt-nexus.me

I think that with all of the talk about entities and the nature of the DMT experience and whether it’s real I would like to suggest that the important question is not whether it’s real or not because we can no more prove that the DMT experience is real than we can prove waking reality or sleeping consciousness is real.

I think the really important questions that we need to ask is if these compounds can generate these states and if these states seem to be allowing us to experience things that we claim better us or we claim allow for these sort of transcendental experiences then I think the important question is what can we do with this not so much what is it but how does this affect us and how can we put the way that it affect us into use and meaning in our daily lives.

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DEAN BECKER: Opening up a can of worms and going fishing for truth. This is the Drug Truth Network, DrugTruth.net

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JAMES FADIMAN: I’m James Fadiman. I teach at Sofia University and I’m an independent researcher. I have a book out called “The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide: Safe, Therapeutic and Sacred Journeys.”

I am doing several kinds of research at the moment finding out from many, many people about micro-dosing which is very, very low doses of a number of psychedelics and how they affect very, very normal behavior. This is nothing that disrupts your day. This is really …they turn out to be a kind of alshockra energizer of some sort.

We’re also looking at specific conditions like Altheimer’s and Parkinson’s and I can’t say that we have anything exciting at this moment except we’re exploring an area which Albert Hofmann in the last 20 years of his life (he lived to 102) recommended when people took walks in nature. It’s a very, very low doses of LSD.

I’ve also in the past created problem solving for people in hard science who are interested in using these materials to work on extremely difficult, high tech, very physical problems with a great deal of success in the research we did. This was done a long time ago 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 Hofmann’s discovery of LSD.

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

The discovery of serotonin came only from the initial explorations with LSD. Most of the antidepressants and antianxiety and antipsychotics are really dealing with issues around serotonin so LSD indirectly has had even more of an effect on world culture than is generally understood.

A micro-dose is also called a sub perceptual dose meaning it’s below the threshold where you have any visual changes which means it doesn’t interrupt your day and Albert Hofmann said it was the most under researched and he felt if it had been researched more thoroughly that we would not have been so excited by Ritalin and Adderall and those kinds of stimulants which had 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 anthropological surveys. 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 a number of people are sending me reports where they systematically try this 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 they are kinder, they are somewhat more effective, they are more focused, they eat slightly healthier, if they are going to the gym they may do one more set of reps.

It’s a small improvement but what people basically report is they like those days. At the end of the day, you know, sometimes you say, “God, that was really a good day.” That’s the general impression so far.

This is very preliminary. I probably have about 100 reports but they are from around the country and a few from overseas. So 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 is not disturbing anyone.

DEAN BECKER: Now we have the cultural war I think still exists. It started in the 60s. It started with Timothy Leary’s misbehavior and it just started an avalanche.

JAMES FADIMAN: 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, many people said to the government, “We really don’t like institutions. We don’t like the education institution. We really don’t like the idea of going to war and killing people that we don’t even know for reasons that 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.

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 came the ecology movement, the women’s movement, the civil rights and the gay rights, and the anti-war movement really rose and certainly was fueled by these same people.

What’s now happening is there’s 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 per year every year without interruption whether there’s lots of good publicity or bad publicity.

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

When you take something that is as powerful as a psychedelic with no brains at all and no understanding and no training and no awareness that you need to be very careful of who you are with and where it is these substances…set and setting matter.

It’s not true when you take an aspirin but it’s very true with 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 a kind of right wing psychedelic person in that I feel that people know a lot and if they are 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 as the new goal of people who are working and doing research with these substances and 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’s illegal makes it difficult but, for some reason, 24 million Americans decided that the government might not know everything about their own health.

The marijuana situation in the states makes it pretty obvious that 20 states think it’s medically acceptable and other states think it’s 5 to 10 years for the 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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Hello. This is Borat. Please tell your children’s to buy my Kasikstans opium and heroin’s. So my children can live long enough, to grow pubis for harvest. Thank you.

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

DEAN BECKER: Dr. Brown, they talk about these psychedelics being Schedule I – dangerous as heroin, cocaine – is there any truth to that?

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

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

It’s something that many people have a very difficult experience with. It’s not something that you can just say, “Yeah, I think I’ll have some Iboga root or I’ll have some Ibogaine today.”

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. It’s not something that’s automatically done for pleasure. People have a very intense experience – sometimes very harrowing experience with Iboga so it’s not something that you would want to do repeatedly.

There are I think 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 or the opiate painkillers. 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 reasons. My sense is that the people who are using it to treat addiction far outnumber the people who are using it for psycho-spiritual purposes at this point and time.

DEAN BECKER: Why do these laws stand? Who is in charge of interpreting the data and why does it continue down this same road?

TOM KINGSLEY BROWN: NIDA and the FDA…back in 1970 they declared a whole slew of psychedelic substances to be Schedule I substances. Ibogaine was put in that list. Who knows why but I think it was really an overreaction to try to squash that psychedelic counter-culture in the 1960s so they put everything they could think of that they knew was hallucinogenic, psychedelic, mind expanding on that list.

In my opinion for now 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.

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 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 are 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.

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DEAN BECKER: Well, I hope you enjoyed this edition of Century of Lies and that you’ll wake up, do your part, stand up, speak up, slap a politician in the face, help to end this drug war.

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