Denver-based writer and licensed addiction counselor trained in psychedelic-assisted therapy
This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs. Or is it? Can drugs long labeled as problematic be used as therapeutic aids? Kevin Franciotti is a Denver-based writer and licensed addiction counselor trained in psychedelic-assisted therapy. He discusses an increasing amount of research indicating that some substances can be beneficial in the treatment of depression, opioid addiction, PTSD, and other brain disorders. Several states have passed laws, or are considering licensing and regulating naturally occurring psychedelic compounds, to be grown, bought, possessed, and used without legal complications. Kevin Franciotti can be contacted at https://www.kevinfranciotticounseling.com and for Psychedelics in Recovery go to https://www.psychedelicsinrecovery.org.
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Mike: Welcome everybody. This is Avoiding the Addiction Affliction, brought to you by Westwords Consulting and the Kenosha Substance Use Coalition. I'm Mike McGowan.
Mike: You know, the same chemical that is used by anesthesiologist to medicate you through surgery? Ehhh. It can cause your death if it isn't used without knowledge.
Mike: There's a lot of drugs that we've heard a lot about. And some of them have a reputation that may be undeserved. Can a chemical that is used recreationally also be used in therapy? Well, it seems so. And my guest today, Kevin Franciotti, is a Denver-based writer, licensed addiction counselor, trained in psychedelic assisted therapy.
Mike: That's what we're gonna talk about today. Psychedelic assisted therapy. Welcome, Kevin.
Kevin: Good morning, Mike. Thanks for having me.
Mike: Did I get your last name right? I didn't even ask you before we started.
Kevin: Close enough. Kevin Franciotti
Mike: Fran-che-otti! I missed the accent. Kevin, let's start with this. You live in Colorado, right?
Mike: What is Colorado's Proposition 122?
Kevin: So Proposition 122, also known as the Natural Medicine Health Act, was a, a ballot initiative that passed in the November midterm elections by a moderate margin, but a determined one. Just over 51% of the voters approved it. So over, you know, well over a million people voted for it.
Kevin: Over a million people also voted against it. So it was a very tight margin that it passed, but essentially it did two things. It decriminalized five so-called natural medicines. These are psychoactive compounds that are derived from naturally occurring plant and fungi sources. Namely psilocybin, the active ingredient in so-called magic mushrooms.
Kevin: Ibogaine derived from the central African shrub iboga. D.M.T. Five M.E.O. D.M.T. Mescaline excluding when it's derived from the peyote cactus. So it needs to become from alternate sources like the San Pedro cactus, which is more abundant. So that is what they consider the personal use and possession laws.
Kevin: So it is no longer a criminal offense to possess, cultivate, consume, transport, or giveaway for free these natural compounds. And the secondary component to it is that it also began the process of developing regulated access. So it has tasked the Natural Medicine Advisory Board that was appointed by the governor's office to implement rules designed for licensure with facilitators and facilities to initially administer psilocybin.
Kevin: And then after a couple of years, they have the opportunity to develop similar rules for regulated access to the other compounds.
Mike: Why those five?
Kevin: I think a lot of it has to do with with politics, right? With focus groups and running more modest initiatives, first on the local level to see what is kind of palatable to run a campaign.
Kevin: So when there's deliberate choices to go against the so-called synthetic psychedelics like L.S.D. L.S.D. Has that, you know, cultural baggage that weighs a lot more heavily in the cultural context. So the idea of potentially legalizing L.S.D. is not quite there yet on the voter's support.
Kevin: That's actually a similar strategy that was done with the resurgence in the clinical research starting about 25, 30 years ago, they made an intentional decision to focus on psilocybin because the colloquial understanding did not have that cultural baggage. And, and hardly anybody even knew how to pronounce psilocybin like they do now as it's much more widely known.
Mike: Well, you know numerous groups, including the group I contacted you with psychedelics in recovery have long advocated for at least more research regarding these substances. How are these different than current medicated assisted therapies? What do they do differently than like for instance with opiate withdrawal, Suboxone and Methadone?
Kevin: That's a great question. And I mean, among the myriad of differences that we could go on and on about, I think to precisely focus on the efficacy towards something like opiate use disorder. You know, buprenorphine is a partial opiate agonist. Methadone is a full opiate agonist that used to be referred to as pro-agonist therapy.
Kevin: So it would help a person struggling with opiate use disorder to whether it be oxycodone or heroin, to kind of transfer their physical dependency onto a more stable, reliable, pure administered dose that they could then overcome the psychological dependencies. But when you look at the pharmacology of it, it is acting on the opiate receptor.
Kevin: So you're not going to go through withdrawal, you're still going to remain physically dependent, which as we've seen from research has cut the mortality rate in half for people who suffer from opiate use disorder. So it's a very, very. It's the gold standard, right? Of medication or treatments really for opioid use disorder, but it doesn't work for everybody.
Kevin: It, it actually didn't work for me. I was never able to kind of stabilize on the, the maintenance dose that they're referring to this therapeutic as I really used it when I couldn't get other things. And my ultimate goal was to not be on anything. So I eventually turned to the plant derived medicine known as Ibogaine because in 1962 there was a heroin addict, a self-described junkie and film student living in New York City named Howard Lotsof, who just by way of his interest in drugs, unsuspectingly, ingested ibogaine after a friend offered it to him.
Kevin: A couple of days later, he realized that he hadn't used any heroin. He did not experience withdrawal, and he had no craving to use again. So when it decades later, I was learning more about the history of ibogaine and it seemed like the type of breakthrough treatment for me to receive a detox type of intervention from my opiate use disorder, as well as cultivating a incredibly profound and transformative phenomenological state that lasted, you know, well through the night into even the next day.
Kevin: You, you're not gonna get that from a methadone or a buprenorphine.
Mike: Had you tried some of the other therapies?
Kevin: I had tried well, when you say tried, we know how in addiction treatment, especially when you're a young person, it's not typically done willfully, right? So when, when I, I tried, it was a judge telling me, Hey, if you don't "try", we're gonna lock you up.
Kevin: And so it's hardly a choice when presented in that manner, but, in my awareness of the arrogance that I had at the time, I also wasn't in a position to have the luxury of choice, right? I had a, a felony charge being levied to me. I was a college dropout and I was living with my parents and completely unemployable.
Kevin: So I, thankfully I was able to kind of see the, the forest for the trees, even though I wasn't interested in abstinence. So the arrest compelled me to go to a traditional abstinence based 30 day inpatient program that was based on the 12 steps. It was a facility that actually didn't really encourage people to remain on psychiatric medication or medication assisted therapy like buprenorphine, methadone.
Kevin: They weren't as militant opposed as many of the other facilities were, but I didn't really qualify for specific. So to make a long story short, I did try that so-called traditional model. And when I returned within a couple of weeks, I had relapsed. And unlike the proper way that ought to be intervened on.
Kevin: A doctor didn't tell me about buprenorphine. I had to learn about it from my peers on the street, and it was actually a fellow attendee of a 12 step meeting who recommended I look into it and I consider getting on it. And that's what actually encouraged me to follow up with my outpatient program at the time to seek the prescription.
Mike: But when you took the ibogaine describe it. Tell us what happened.
Kevin: So I had to fly to Mexico because ibogaine is a Schedule One compound, and it has been since the Controlled Substance Act of the early 1970s. And so in the late eighties, early nineties, these clinics started to appear in predominantly Central America.
Kevin: And, and a couple in Europe and Canada. So about a year after I had left the rehab that I went to, I had, I had relapsed, like I said, within weeks. So another 10 months of just a devastating resurgence in the worst behaviors associated with my opiate use. Led to a loving intervention with my mother.
Kevin: And she asked me, "You know, you seem sick." Like, "What could we do to help?" I was able to just overcome my resistance and say, I've been using, I don't know how to stop. And I think ibogaine might help because rehab sure didn't do it the last time, so why bother giving it another go? She thought about it and decided, okay, so a week later I had known about a clinic through an old college friend of mine, and you have to keep in mind that given the context that I was traveling to, I had to get on a plane.
Kevin: Which also meant that I probably shouldn't travel with any illegal narcotics or any syringes. So I went with a full leap of faith, having used hours before I left my house to the airport. So I arrived at the clinic in a state of early withdrawal, and basically they went through the initial physical safety and screening procedures to make sure that I could tolerate the drug knowing that there is specific and unique impacts on the cardiac rhythm of the heart to make sure that you can tolerate the effects of it.
Kevin: So when the medicine was administered to me and I received what was referred to as a flood dose of ibogaine. Meaning it's a dose high enough in order to attenuate withdrawal and facilitate this peak experience. So one of the first things that I noticed about an hour after taking it was I heard this weird buzzing sound that I thought was like from landscaping equipment outside, which seemed to not make sense giving it was 11 o'clock at night in this little community in Baja California. And when I was reminded that that was one of the first signals that the medicine is about to take effect, it was almost instantaneously after that that I've made that connection that I felt this eruption of physical euphoria just emanating from the center of my chest and permeating throughout the rest of my body, while also simultaneously my vision being kind of catapulted through this like wormhole in my mind's eye.
Kevin: Into a sort of oscilloscope of outer space, and I kind of remained there for the next 10, 11 hours while feeling like I knew that my body was in withdrawal, but I didn't care because I was so interested in what was going on in my vision, and I felt so much better as a result of the physical effects.
Mike: Were you aware at the time?
Kevin: I was roughly aware of the time ibogaine is referred to as an Oneirophrenic. It means that it induces a waking dream state. So unlike a dissociative like ketamine where you're really detaching from your perceptual awareness, or even a psychedelic like L.S.D. or psilocybin, where there's profound time dilation effects.
Kevin: Almost the moment that I would open my eyes, I would completely recognize my surroundings. I could look at a clock and understand the passage of time. It was really only when my eyes were closed that I was completely captivated and immersed in this experience.
Mike: And then when it wore off, how long did it take to wear off? And then what did you experience in the after effects?
Kevin: So Ibogaine is known as like a three stage kind of effect. In the first acute stage, you have these visions, you have this powerful physical effect, and then when those peak effects start to subside, you're very much in a prolonged afterglow where you're emotionally sensitive, you're continuing to kind of reflect on the profundity of what you just came down from.
Kevin: But I also was thrust right back into opiate withdrawal. For whatever reason, the protocols at this clinic may have dictated that I not receive a booster. I'm not entirely sure to this day. So, as you can see, you know, going to a clinic in Mexico with looser regulations, it might exist a little bit differently from clinic to clinic, in particularly when regulations, if and when they come in the United States.
Kevin: So in any event because I was in this withdrawal phase, and I was incredibly emotionally sensitive. I was flooded with feelings of guilt and shame and remorse and regret, and all of these things that as a active addict, I spent day in and day out attempting to avoid, right? Because if I were able to feel those things, I would probably stop, but it's a hell of a lot easier to get your next fix than it is to allow yourself to feel these deeply, deeply painful things and, and process it.
Kevin: So I spent the entire day really by myself confronted with the worst aspects of the behavior that I had been engaged in.
Mike: You mentioned well, was, well for, was somebody there to assist you in those feelings?
Kevin: So not entirely. I really got very minimal check-ins. It was mainly to prioritize my physical safety and my health.
Kevin: I was fed, I was given water, but I was, I was told that facing these feelings is going to be where I find the motivation to change and whether or not people agree with that approach. I know not all clinics would agree with that. Me, myself, as a psychotherapist, I certainly wouldn't approach a vulnerable person in that state with just kind of leaving them to fend for themselves.
Kevin: It proved profoundly humbling.
Mike: Yeah. You, you mentioned intense euphoria. How attractive is that then for somebody who's addicted to another substance? Did you find yourself wanting to go back to that?
Kevin: Ibogaine is a very powerful experience and using it for as an opiate detox type of treatment is really not the kind of thing that I wanna repeat, right?
Kevin: Not only do I obviously not wanna find myself in that physically dependent state again. I also can't necessarily afford to sacrifice three days of my life to experience and recover from the effects of ibogaine. You will likely not see Ibogaine ever used as a recreational drug. It, it takes a lot of effort to persevere through the experience, but you know, the euphoria component of it it represents the type of compassionate person-centered care that ought to be afforded to anybody in that position, regardless of the behaviors associated with their use. They're still a sick person and we as a society ought to provide them an appealing treatment that people would want to take. So that they could get better. I certainly did not experience that type of compassion in a jail cell.
Kevin: Or even with some of the medical people that I had spoke to that viewed me like a piece of shit taking up space for somebody who actually needed it.
Mike: Yeah. So did it work? Did you find that it, you were no longer attracted to the opiates?
Kevin: So it's, it's complex and it's very individualized. I wouldn't say that it completely cured me, and I think because of the external accountability that I had going on in my life, that what it actually led me to do was embrace the open-mindedness towards adoption of the mainstream approach.
Kevin: I found myself living in a halfway house, going to meetings, and it, and it turned me around to the fact that I ought to consider the 12 steps, right. Six months of my life living in South Florida may not be the death sentence that I had initially feared it to be. And I think I could tolerate it enough to get my life back on track.
Mike: Well, with the heat right now, it may be that death sentence. Right. But so that's the opiate withdrawal part, but these chemicals are also now being used for other brain disorders, P.T.S.D., depression, anxiety. How do you find that people are using them?
Kevin: So one of the first questions you asked was how to compare this to traditional treatments.
Kevin: And what I think makes a key difference in terms of a pharmacotherapy. These are not designed to be daily use medicines. They really couldn't be used because of tolerance effects and all of those other things that I said psychologically. So they, they really are pointing at a different theory of healing that allows people to rely on both the unique pharmacology of these medicines, and we're only really just starting to learn about some of this stuff. Like for example, with M.D.M.A. and being able to overcome the intrinsic symptomatology of P.T.S.D. that makes it resistant to treatment, right? There's a hyper vigilance. There's a distrust of others. The very same people who are supposed to be those that are helping us overcome our trauma are viewed in a lens of distrust and then a refusal to associate any kind of empathy towards oneself when they're in that kind of state. I. So M.D.M.A. really allows people to have a diminished fear response and an increased connection between their prefrontal cortex and their hippocampus where they store these traumatic memories to allow themselves feelings of empathy, to allow themselves trust in their practitioner, and to safely engage and process in tandem with therapy, to recover from their trauma.
Kevin: You're not gonna get that really from S.S.R.I.'S. You're not gonna get that from mood stabilizers or certainly not anxiolytics like benzodiazepines. Those are designed to really allow people to alleviate symptoms, which is fair game for people who want that so that they can go on with their lives if it works for them.
Kevin: Absolutely. But what we're seeing is over time, without really being able to process these experiences, it eventually will catch up to people, although, or they'll start to associate different types of depression or anxiety. So to allow people the direct experience to tap into their subconscious, to really allow these experiences to emerge in a safe and supportive manner really drives long-term outcomes from single, sometimes two or three or no more than a handful of medicinal administrations over a few months.
Mike: You know, it's interesting that you mentioned M.D.M.A., Ecstasy, for those of you that aren't familiar with it. Because during the nineties, late nineties when that was all the rage, right?
Mike: Maybe that's, maybe I should say all the rave. There were reports of people using it in this way, but it got lost. That usage got lost in the whole anti-drug message and you must be getting some of that as well, some blowback. Like, "Hey, wait a minute. How can something that's used recreationally like psilocybin, be used medicinally and therapeutically to treat depression, anxiety, and P.T.S.D.?"
Mike: Is this just a mindset of the war on drugs that we have to be black or white, good or bad?
Kevin: I mean, the elephant in the room, in the conversation around psychedelics because they've been in Schedule One for so long, is the war on drugs. And, and as we know, the war on drugs was really never about targeting the harmful, scientific qualities of these medicines. It is not a science-based policy. It is a policy based on systemic racism and the oppression of specific groups of people. When you look at the history, this isn't a theory this is a fact. And we've even seen, you know interviews from like members of the Nixon administration, John Ehrlichman talking to Harper's Magazine about how it was never about the drugs, it was about the people.
Kevin: So these are, these laws were used to control people and the excitement with the interest in it to this in these days is encouraging of course, but it does, it is important for people to understand how these drugs were targeted and illegalized in the first place because we are in a position where we need more research, we need, we have to understand so much more about these compounds, their risk profiles, the safety considerations, what they're actually doing to the brain, but without, you know, government funding, without significant resources going into conduct expensive research. We won't know the answers to these questions, and it's due to the fact that these drugs have been demonized on a political and legal level for so long that we don't have this research. She talked about M.D.M.A., also known as Ecstasy, right? M.D.M.A. came around right after the initial backlash against L.S.D. and associated compounds.
Kevin: M.D.M.A. had this like grace period of emergence in the underground sort of therapy movement of people, you know, largely in the West Coast and, and facilitating couples therapy under the colloquial name Adam is how they referred to it before it started to hit the Texas rave scene and move around the country in the eighties.
Kevin: But when you look at the war on drug scare tactics, the same types of playbook was employed for Ecstasy with propaganda, with shoddy research. You see that to this day with things like fentanyl, we see, you know, members of law enforcement claiming to go into an overdose reaction simply from looking at a baggie of fentanyl.
Kevin: And we know that this is nonsense. You can't overdose from something that you don't deliberately or accidentally actually put into your body. You can't just get that from touching it. So we have the same type of discourse to this day around another demonized class of compounds. So, in addition to the excitement that we're reforming the laws we're, we're experiencing breakthrough moments in the science with psychedelics.
Kevin: We have to constantly remain vigilant about what's happening with the discourse around fentanyl and the overdose crisis in this country, because many of the same sort of propagandistic techniques apply.
Mike: Yeah, about nine of them just hit my head as you said that I remember the, "Be careful you don't let your kids lick stickers because the stickers are have L.S.D. on them" and "Don't let 'em go into McDonald's ball pit because there's needles in there." And same, same sort of thing.
Mike: Well, I did wanna ask you though, I was watching, I think I told you when we were, before we started, I was watching an E.S.P.N. special and they had athletes who had been through a lot of trauma on their bodies and psychological trauma as well. And they were participating in a psychedelic assisted therapy in Jamaica.
Mike: And one of the things that struck me about that was all of the athletes were given the same dosage. So they even made a point of saying, here's how much it is, and they showed them all drinking the same concoction. I'm a bigger guy than my kids are, right? My daughter especially.
Mike: How do you determine dosage and or is that part of what the research needs to do is how, how are we going to determine what levels are beneficial and what levels are not?
Kevin: And that is a fantastic question. And I mean, one of the things that we haven't really discussed is how some of these so-called natural medicines have, you know cultural lineage in various indigenous practices throughout the world.
Kevin: Iboga has a venerated use by, by the Bwiti people in Gabon. You have the mushroom so-called cults in northern Mexico. And so there's, there's a myriad of lineages where they explored things like that. But in the sort of westernized, medicalized kind of approach, we need to go through F.D.A. clinical trials.
Kevin: So we need to set up, you know, randomized control trials, comparing it to a placebo group. And it's not exactly guesswork, but we, we need to approve a protocol. We need to come up with a comparison group. So like the maps sponsored M.D.M.A. trials would look at a higher dose, would look at a medium dose and would use an.
Kevin: A so-called inactive placebo at a dose too low to necessarily achieve any effect. So I didn't unfortunately, get a chance to see that, that E.S.P.N. documentary, but part of me wonders whether, there is sometimes a reason to standardize a dose and perhaps for an intervention designed at more of a neurological condition.
Kevin: Co-occurring with psychological traits from some of these athletes. They might be interested in standardizing the dose to, you know, rule out the variable if they start to look at follow-up measures to see who of these folks has actually received some brain recovery. Right?
Kevin: You're better able to actually correlate the, the targeted dose of that medicine if you standardize it across the various people that are ingesting it. Dosage is in practice. Dosage will likely be something that is both individualized, but also remains in the framing of the policy that are coming out of it.
Kevin: I know for example, in Oregon, the similar measure that Colorado also followed Measure 109, they have a limit of five grams of dried mushrooms. So you can't administer more than that. But you know there, there is a history of looking at different doses for different effects. There's two classes of the approach to psychedelic assisted therapy.
Kevin: One that was actually modeled more in Europe was the Psycholytic approach, and it was particularly designed for people that struggled with types of neurotic conditions, like obsessive compulsive disorder or severe anxiety and agoraphobia. They would actually use very low doses. That were supposed to be done in conjunction with therapy to help people just kind of slowly peel away the layers of the onion rather than have, you know, an earth shattering experience on a high dose of medicine.
Kevin: You can imagine it was the Americans that chose that, that model of thing, the so-called psychedelic approach.
Mike: Shocking. (laugh)
Mike: But are you using it in your therapy?
Kevin: So I predominantly use ketamine in my practice because it is approved off-label through F.D.A. authorization. So I'm able to be completely above ground, completely in line with my scope of practice as a licensed addiction counselor and allow refer my clients to get medical evaluation, screening and eligibility to prescribe it.
Kevin: It remains to be seen how licensed practitioners will be able to engage with the natural medicine facilitation, especially as it currently exists in the law. As of July 1st the Colorado State legislature passed an implementation bill that has now actually superseded the law of Prop 122.
Kevin: There's some differences there that I'd encourage listeners to look into, but it's a little bit in the weeds for this conversation. But right now what exists is a community healing model. And so it's not really designed to be heavily professionalized or taken over by, you know, certain companies that are gonna look at doing this as, as a psychotherapeutic.
Kevin: That is what we're waiting for, the rules to come out and the licensure tiers.
Mike: Well, when somebody experiences this you know, we live in an age of social media, right? So not that everybody is listening to this podcast, but you can find almost anything through social media. How important is it if you're going to be using some of these substances to address psychological or physiological disorders that you work with a professional rather than a social media influencer?
Kevin: That is the day and age that we're in. You know, the TikTok-ification of pop psychology has made my job very difficult. It suddenly seems that everybody understands the word narcissism and gaslighting, and I can tell you from a trained and educated perspective, they do not understand what those words actually mean.
Kevin: So, you know, when I have someone come into my office, because they saw a Facebook ad about at-home ketamine treatment, and they're looking to me for some kind of endorsement of that approach. I have so much education to do. So, you know, we really have our work cut out for us with harm reduction focused education and, and just, you know, straight facts with teaching children the effects of drugs, the harms of them, how to use them safely, understanding that if they're gonna get exposed to information, from for-profit promotional campaigns on social media, we ought to get ahead of the curve and go directly to them with our experts.
Kevin: So we have not done that in a reasonable and mature way in this country for decades, since the D.A.R.E. generation. So as exciting as these reforms are as exciting, as you know, these headline grabbing articles in the New York Times, we have to understand the way science communication is disseminated to the public and how much nuance get gets lost by the time it targets the end user who's not a drug nerd like me who spent decades trying to study this stuff.
Kevin: We really need to be careful about how we're educating the public and commit as much, if not more resources to doing it as we are trying to firm up our businesses.
Mike: It's interesting because you go into a doctor and my doctor will tell me that people are unsatisfied with a visit unless they walk out of the visit with a prescription.
Mike: So we, you know, sometimes we don't even ask what that drug does. We just take it. And if I get a drug, it comes with this long list of interactions and things I need to be aware of, which, by the way, none of us ever read. And yet we take it without question be because it, it comes from the white coat yeah.
Mike: And so are we at the beginning of seeing some of this happen with some of the other substances that could really be beneficial? I have people I know who talk about seizure disorder and are waiting, waiting, waiting for some of this stuff to come to our state to treat their kids and seizure disorder because there's been good research in that as well.
Kevin: You know, I was talking to a, a colleague of mine that I do psychedelic training with, and he's a former behavioral pharmacology researcher funded by, you know, the government with F.D.A. approved trials and all of that. And, and he just shared with me anecdotally that, you know, the F.D.A., our institutions of in the National Institutes on Health must be freaking out with these campaigns to facilitate individual ownership of how they choose to receive and sometimes grow their own medicine. And really looking outside of the institutionalized, regulated, perhaps over-regulated models that we've seen. And, you know, if it, if it were not for the pandemic, psychedelics might be the only thing doing this, right?
Kevin: Medical cannabis might have been the only thing doing this, but now as we've seen with the pandemic and some of the missteps by our trusted institutions like the C.D.C., like F.D.A., people are questioning the messaging that they've got. Messaging in terms of mandates and, and we have all sorts of opinions and we'll be researching this for decades.
Kevin: But the fact of the matter is people are, as you said, kind of fed up with going through the hurdles, and we're not even talking about insurance coverage and the cost of all of this stuff. So the appeal for people to do their own research, quote unquote, grow their own medicine, you know, it, it's, it's a dangerous game to be playing, but it is one that I think was inevitable for the way that we've sort of approached the refusal to recognize individual autonomy.
Mike: And lastly, how long lasting are the effects, the insights? Is it drug dependent that only during the time that you're using it? Do you have the insights or does it really open up doors?
Kevin: That is a good question that is still being looked at.
Kevin: We're looking at the pharmacology, we're looking at the effects on the brain. We're looking at animal models to see what's really happening with with the so-called neurogenesis phenomenon. The actual triggering of growth factors that allow the brain to heal itself in some cases, grow new neural pathways.
Kevin: But because we've largely seen these incredibly promising, sometimes breakthrough effects from the research. We also have to keep in mind that because resources were so limited in terms of actually funding these trials, they had to prioritize some of the best therapists, the best protocols, the best approaches.
Kevin: So as we see that move out of the lab and into implementation with, you know, not perhaps as robust training requirements or licensing or even experienced therapists, we will likely see a bit of a drop off in terms of the quality of the therapy that's delivered. But what we have seen from the research has shown incredibly promising interventions from a short term protocol, a few months can give people benefits for a year, sometimes longer than that.
Kevin: Me, for example, with Ibogaine, I did experience a relapse prior to, you know, my fifth year of, of achieving abstinence. I had embraced the abstinence approach for over four years. I had built my life back, I had finished my undergrad. All of these things. And then the kind of stereotypical relapse process that we sometimes witness in abstinence-based circles happen with me.
Kevin: And, and I experienced a pretty devastating relapse for several months that I. Not with Ibogaine, but by self tapering through a detox intervention with Buprenorphine. So that happened, you know, over five years later, and my options were still the same, right? So we're doing this over and over again. We need something new.
Kevin: And that's what the promise of psychedelic assisted therapy has to offer. And I truly hope that it allows us to transform as a society, our relationship towards people who use drugs. And we don't demonize a class of people just because they use a drug that's different than the one that you or I may prefer.
Mike: Wow. Well that is a great summary right there. I'm gonna leave it right there. That's great.
Mike: Kevin, thanks a ton for sharing not only your story, but your, your insights too. This has been fascinating. Maybe we could do another one on "Just say No" and "Reefer Madness" and some of the other messages we've all gotten over the years.
Mike: 'Cause it made, right, it makes it hard to distinguish fact from fiction or propaganda.
Kevin: Exactly. Yeah, exactly.
Mike: Well, you know how this goes. There are links to psychedelics and recovery as well as Kevin's contact information at the end of this podcast. We encourage you to find out more if you're interested.
Mike: We always encourage you to listen in next time. And until next time. Everybody, please stay safe and if you're gonna do your own research make sure it's from a credible source.
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