Psychedelics in the Middle East with Haya Al-Hejailan
Today we bring on Haya Al-Hejailan to talk about the rise of psychedelic therapy, with an emphasis on psilocybin therapy, in the Middle East. We discuss the different laws in different countries, the state of research, current and future projects, some lead players in the field, potential worries and more.
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0:11 What is going on everyone? This is the mushroom revival podcast. Thank you for streaming in and tuning in for another episode. I'm your host, Alex Dora. And I love to dive in and get into the mystical, wonderful world of fungi and mushrooms, bring on guests from all around the world to geek out with us and have a wonderful time. So we have HYAH to talk about psychedelics in the Middle East. And hi, how you doing? Hey, Alex, how are you? Thanks for having me on. I'm really excited to be to be here. I'm super excited to talk to you, not only about psychedelics, but also music and a million other topics as well. So, who are you? What are you doing? 0:57 Yeah, who? Introduce yourself to all the listeners around the world. Okay, so, my name is Hal Whelan. I'm, I'm a psychedelic Integration Specialist. I'm a wellbeing practitioner, a positive psychologist and a musician. And I, I live in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. That's where I call home. And my my journey with psychedelics has taken me all over the world. It started when I was an undergraduate at Claremont McKenna College in California. So coming up on 10 years, actually, and I'd be happy to happy to chat some more about that, too. As we as we converse today. 1:43 I'm guessing California is where you got introduced to psychedelics? Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, it's a very psychedelic place. Mostly. What did you were you offered some in school? Or like, what was your first introduction to psychedelics? So my first introduction, was through a lecture titled, The psychedelic renaissance that James Fadiman was giving at my university or at my college. And prior to that, I was very much educated by the war on drugs, propaganda. So to me, all drugs were bad. And psychedelics were also drugs. So, I happened to there is a part of me. This is my sophomore year of college. So a part of me was really curious, because I saw that all these really intelligent kids around me and my school, were experimenting with drugs. And I thought to myself, like, I mean, I, what I was told that drugs are bad, and everyone who takes drugs is going to end up under a bridge or 2:51 in a really bad situation, why is it that these really smart kids are are experimenting with it? And how come they're still doing pretty well. So So I started looking, just looking into drugs generally, doing some nerding out researching. I have I have ADHD, so I tend to get hyper fixated or hyper focused on a topic. And 3:16 it's the both a superpower and, and the disadvantage at times. But yeah, I mean, I, my, my interest in drugs started when I was actually 12 years old, because around that time, there were people around me who were using drugs, but they weren't using it in a very healthy way. And I mean, 3:34 it really further served the war on drug propaganda that I was being educated with. So yeah, so my interest back then was just like, what, what are drugs in general, and I would read into it. But then for many years, after that, I didn't really I didn't really think about the topic. It just thought that that was something that I needed to avoid completely. And around my sophomore year of college, that's when I started. 4:00 Well, my, my, my freshman year of college is when I actually first started acknowledging mental health as a as something that was important and something that existed. And that took me to, to the, to the offices of clinical psychologists and psychiatrists to kind of figure out what was going on with me at the time, and I was prescribed a number of pharmaceuticals, and none of them really worked. So I was, I was really frustrated with with that, with that aspect of the Mental Health 4:38 complex, let's say, or the or the field in general. So, so I started I started hearing about like, psychedelics and for some reason, the image that kept coming up coming up in my head was Mario, Super Mario and that mushroom. So why is it that when he eats that mushroom, he becomes big and he becomes 5:00 All Powerful. So I started looking into start kind of looking into that. I was listening to a lot of psychedelic music at the time, like, Oh, gee, and it just it was, we're going to talk about music some more later. But that was I mean, that was an introduction, an introduction to me, for me into altered states of consciousness through music. So yeah, so I, when Fadiman came to give that lecture, I was completely 5:28 flabbergasted, I was completely, like my jaw had dropped to the floor, because I didn't know that there was an entire history, and there is so much science behind psychedelics, and that there is so much potential for psychedelics to actually heal. And as I mentioned, I was completely disappointed and distrustful of the pharmaceutical industry. So to me, hearing that there is something natural or probably more natural, more sustainable, that actually really helped you get to the core root of, of your ailments or your illnesses, as opposed to just slapping a bandaid and treating the symptoms. To me. That was 6:09 that was really interesting. And coincidentally, at that time, I was switching from switching majors from government and international relations to psychology. And it just so happened that this was very much in this was aligned with the trajectory that I wanted my life to take at the time, which is I wanted to become a therapist at the time, things have changed since that. Yeah. And to me at the time, I also thought to myself, like there's no way I'm going to be sitting in a in an office with a client or with a patient and look, there's no way I can look at them and tell them, Hey, I know that there's something out there that could really, really help you. But I can't offer it to you or I can't, you know, I can't guide you to it, because it's illegal, because of completely unscientific reasons. So because of because of, you know, 99.9% because of dogmatic reasons. So yeah, so I decided back then that I was going to dedicate my my life and my career to fight intimidated to fight to this fight, which is to make psychedelic medicine and psychedelic science and psychedelic therapies, accessible and available to all those who need it. 7:19 Yeah. 7:21 What deterred you from wanting to become a therapist, 7:26 um, 7:28 I think I'm at a place in my life where a few years back I think I would have made a fantastic therapist, my when I was in college, my room, I had this headset nice couch so that people would just come and sit on and we'll just chat and chat and chat. I think 7:45 I'm just going through a period in my life where I, I want to be a bit a bit more detached for my own sake. And for the sake of those I work with. What I meant to say is that, I mean, a few years back, that I was I was overly empathetic. And that was that was to my detriment. 8:05 And I think I've burnt out to be very honest with you, there's something called empathy, burnout, but what I'm learning, what I'm learning is that compassion is empathy is not the way to go if you want to, if you want to be sustainable, it's compassion. It's being able to be with someone but from where you sit, not not trying to 8:27 not disadvantage in both yourself and disempowering them by experiencing their emotions for themselves. So I think that at the point where I'm at right now in life, I think I probably would be, I'm better off doing something that's a bit more macro rather than micro meaning, getting involved with, with organizing policy, policy, advising on public policy and things of that sort. And maybe in the future once I've I've had some more life experience and I'm in a different place in my life, I will entertain the thoughts of becoming a therapist again. 9:05 It's funny I'm I'm kind of in the same boat where it's always been on the horizon for me, it seems like something in the way future but I have the same 9:15 sentiments about it of I'm terrified of having empathy burnout because I feel like I'm, I have a strength of being able to 9:26 go to really deep places with people and like hold space and be really empathetic, but after a while, I do get burnt out. And I really admire I have tons of therapists friends, and they're able to take on many clients a day and talk about you know, really really deep and traumatic things and able to you know, have skip at the end of the day and you know, have a smile on their face and like do live their life you know, and and travel all the time and do all this stuff, and talking with them and how they do it. 10:00 And just like their techniques of how they can be open, but also have boundaries, and that perfect balance of just holding a really solid space. I am really interested in learning how to do that. 10:15 And especially with psychedelic medicine as well, it's like, traditional talk therapy is enough, but if the therapists themselves are micro dosing while the patient is macro dosing, 10:28 I mean, like, that's a whole nother level of, of keeping your boundaries and, you know, I feel like you're able to go to a much deeper place, but at the same time, how do you protect yourself from empathy? Burnout? 10:42 I'm really fascinated by that. I think maybe in five or 10 years, that will be my my path. But but in the meantime for you, what has it been like in Saudi Arabia with drug policy and even just talking about it, you know, you're talking about your, your childhood, with the war on drugs being 11:04 pretty much the only conversation around but I listened to your to another interview with you. And you said, pretty much over time, it's gotten a lot better, and people are more welcome, welcoming about it. Yeah, what of what has been your experience with the whole 11:21 kind of energy towards psychedelics in Saudi Arabia. So people are very receptive, much to my surprise, and this has just become the case in the last three years. I want to say, prior to that, it was a very difficult conversation. And I knew that this was becoming more accepted here. When three, three things had happened. The first was that I went to a conference in Kuwait that was put on by the Middle East Psychological Association, or MIPA. And I was speaking very openly about my area of interest or my area of 12:00 the area that I'm focusing on, which is psychedelic science. And I was met mostly with mostly in a positive 12:10 with a positive attitude. Most of who I spoke to clinical psychologist, psychotherapist, were very 12:18 open to having this conversation with me. And the conversation would go like, Oh, I've heard about ayahuasca I heard about this thing or that thing. And it sounds really promising. And I only had one person that that trip, really say something negative. And, 12:37 and 12:39 later in that, 12:42 that kind of at that conference, there was a lecture or a keynote speaker who spoke about the future of mental health care. His name is Dr. Mohamed Sweden. He's a very well known psychiatrist in the country of Kuwait. It's a it's a small 13:02 nation that's very close to Saudi Arabia. 13:06 And yeah, so his, his presentation was on the future of mental health care. And he prefaced a few slides saying that this is a new area of, of researchers an area of research that has been revived. And it's an area of research that I personally am very, very supportive of, and he presses the clicker, and there's, there's on the screen, it says, ketamine assisted therapy, and I'm just over the moon, I was so excited. And I was like, this is the first time I hear someone speaking about psychedelics openly in the Middle East. And he clicks some more and more slides on ketamine assisted therapy clicks again, and there is a slide on psilocybin assisted psychotherapy. Wow. And yeah, that was really that was major for me. Even the person who had made that negative remark was in the in the room when this presentation was was happening. And I remember turning back to them and saying, look, you see, this is science. 14:04 This is actual like, this is the future of mental health care in many ways. So that was one of the first incidences. The second one was that I was I worked for a startup at the time. This was three years ago before I left for my masters. And 14:19 the startup was like a positive psychology coaching startup. And I came across documents that I am not really at liberty to discuss too openly, because of confidentiality and things of that sort. But the documents suggested that people high up in governmental positions. 14:41 Were aware of what psychedelic assisted psychotherapy and MDMA assisted therapy were. So that was, that was also big, that was a big victory for me. And then there was a third 14:54 incident that happened, which was I went to a bookstore here, this is Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 20 15:00 19 And I see on on the shelf of bestsellers, Michael Pollan's how to change your mind. There's Wow books on psychedelics, they're being sold 15:14 at a major bookstore in Saudi Arabia. So that was, that was really, I mean, these three events were really what changed everything for me. And so much has happened since. 15:25 So also to, to I'm dying, I'm think I got lost in the excitement. So just to make sure I'm on track. So to respond to your question on how is the energy around psychedelics, you're very hopeful, very positive, slow, though, I have to say it's really slow. In January of 2022, there was an article that came out, and a major 15:47 news outlets here in south in Saudi Arabia, it's called the shotgun onslaught, or the translation is Middle Eastern. 15:57 Middle East, I guess that's the translation. I don't know what it's called in. It's actually called chuckle LSAT in English. So it's a it's a huge news outlet here. And the the article was titled, 16:10 magic mushrooms for the treatment of mental illnesses. And as an ALEC, and it's really funny what they were they called the magic mushrooms and Arabic and footless Sati, which in Arabic sounds really funny. 16:26 Magical fungi or something like that? So So yeah, so I mean, there were there were, there was the major news outlets, writing about magic mushrooms in Arabic, the discourse was happening in that language, which was really, I mean, this is a language that's spoken by about 40 million people around the world have probably under estimating the numbers. So it's really it was really promising to see that this conversation was happening. Six months after that news article came out. 17:03 I did an interview or five months, I did an interview with another major news outlet called Arab news in which I spoke about the future of psychedelic treatment in Saudi Arabia. And yeah, it was, it was received very, very positively. The, 17:23 I mean, the fact that I was able to talk about it openly, that was a major victory for for the, for the, for the psychedelic for the field of psychedelic science. Yeah. So and that really circulated and made its way around. And I was getting a lot of messages from people who are asking me, who were asking me, how can we get involved, that was really exciting seeing that there was so much so much energy that people were had and were willing to give to the, to the cause, let's say. And then there were some heartbreaking messages of people telling me, you know, detailing to me their journey with mental health, and how they're really looking, 18:05 looking at psychedelic therapy as either as a last resort or as their last hope so, and these are people who I had to really, you know, had to tell them that it's not available currently, but it will be available soon. So just hold on to that hope. 18:22 There is actually ketamine assisted therapy or ketamine therapy is administered in the Middle East. There is a clinic in Kuwait, Dr. Mohammad Sweden, the same person that I mentioned the psychiatrist and AT Clinic Atomy major clinic here, Habib hospital, they apparently offer ketamine therapy, but someone was telling me, I was talking to someone at a party, and they were telling me basically, that they were thinking of doing ketamine therapy, but it was going to cost them around 60,000 rounds, which is something it's close to like $15,000. So it's not very accessible. That individual opted for electro electro AECT electric shock therapy, which is unfortunate, because psychedelics are probably more effective and less damaging. Yeah. And I know in the last, 19:19 what, 23 years, I think it was 1999 that 19:25 women in Saudi Arabia could get national IDs and then it wasn't, I think five years ago when women can drive in Saudi Arabia. So as a woman talking about psychedelic drugs, which are very illegal, and most of the time it's what two to 10 years in prison with with lashings or with things and oh, that's actually more doesn't happen anymore. Okay. 19:52 I was I heard many different things, some websites where like, you're pretty much gonna get the death penalty no matter what kind of 20:00 Drag, other ones were a little more lenient. But I guess it's been changing. But as a woman talking about these topics, like, do you? Have you ever feared for your safety? Or is it getting better over time? Or do you feel pretty comfortable 20:16 with talking about these these sites? So the big difference is that I'm not talking about psychedelic drugs. I'm talking about psychedelic therapy and psychedelic science. Okay, so yeah, so yeah, was I scared? Or Was I nervous? Absolutely. When I first when I first started talking about psychedelics openly, which was 2018, four years ago, that's around the same time the women were given the right to drive. 20:45 Yeah, I mean, it was it was, I was nervous. And I was told to be careful. And I was told I was gonna go to jail. But I very, 20:56 have a very, I'm very stubborn. So I, and I know I'm very, what's the word? 21:04 I have a lot of conviction in what I believe is right or true. And I think that healing is a very basic human right. So I won't, I would, at the time, I was willing to, I was willing to suffer whatever consequences as long as that meant, I get to live with integrity, and I get to fight for, for what I think is right, what I believe is right. So yeah, so I mean, since then, I I left to the UK to for my master's I have I completed a Masters of Science in Applied positive psychology and coaching psychology, also focusing on psychedelic science. And so I have a lot more credibility and credentials. When talking about psychedelics now than than I did. Back then back then what I had 21:52 was a bachelor's degree in psychology and a senior thesis on the clinical applications of psychedelics. So that's, I mean, I still was very competent with that. I'm a lot more competent today. I've been professionally involved in the field since 2018. So So yeah, I have a lot more experience, I'm a lot more 22:17 let's say, careful, I'm I'm less enthusiastic or or I'm not as overzealous as I was when I first started. Because I'm, I have the capacity to think in a more nuanced manner. Now that I've had more time and more experience in the field. So my, the way that I I speak about this topic is very different today than it was four years ago, four years ago was a bit more hype, let's say. Whereas nowadays, it's more, I'd like to think that I'm a lot more level headed and a lot less biased when I speak about psychedelic science or psychotherapy. 22:55 And you, you recently started the Arab psychedelic society. Are you mainly focused on Saudi Arabia at this point? Or pretty much all countries in the Arab world? Or the Middle East? Or, you know, SWANA region? 23:13 Or are you seeing certain countries more along than others that you want to focus on? First, to kind of like, open the door, so to speak for for the rest of the Arab world? 23:29 So I mean, just to tie this, back to our to the last question, before the interview that I did with Arab news, I was really, really worried about putting together an Arab psychedelic society. But that has been, that's been something that I've been thinking about for a very, very long time. So once the interview was published, that's when I took it as a green light to to put together a psychedelic society, I might, we might change it to an association, just because society raises more eyebrows than than an association. So the Arab psychedelic society, 24:05 reflected in the name is open to all Arabs. And it's not it doesn't just focus on Saudi, there's an 24:13 a bit of a spin off of that, that I've created with some people here, which is the Saudi psychedelic network. But we've just had a few meetings really, and we've worked on. 24:24 Together, we worked on a presentation that a clinical pharmacist was going to present at a competition of clinical pharmacy competition, unfortunately. 24:37 I mean, that was great for us to build a community and to collaborate, but unfortunately, that presentation did not pass, but there's always next year. So we're, we're optimistic. As for the Arab psychedelic society, it's or it's open to everyone in the Middle East and North and North Africa, the MENA region, or what we nowadays call the SWANA region, Southwest Asia and North Africa or the Arab world. 25:00 Yeah. 25:01 So So yeah, so it's it's open to everyone the goal is to really 25:07 the goal is to have a platform where we can highlight the work the Arabs are doing in the fields. There's there's a lot more of us than I was thinking but we're just so spread out there's you know, someone in Florida chemists in Florida, there's a neuroscientist in Colorado, there is 25:27 there a bunch of people here in the Middle East to clinical psychologists based in Dube was educated in, in the UK. So there's, there's a lot of a lot of us doing, you know, doing this kind of work, but we're spread around, we're spread around. There's also a psychiatrist is Egyptian, in, in the UK, also Newcastle upon not mistaken. But this is a platform where we can really highlight and celebrates Arabs that are doing this work. So I don't know if you've had a chance to look at the the page. But there's, 26:03 there's a few posts about 26:06 a few different individuals who are doing amazing work. And this is just for people to be aware of, you know, what's what's going on in this in the region in the space. And to connect, because we're, this is we have to really 26:24 plan this fully intended here. But we really need to expand the mycelial network if we want to, if we want to do anything that's going to be sustainable, and that's going to be impactful. And we also have I mean, there's we have a vision and a mission and grill goals, smaller goals, which I'm happy to discuss real quick. So the the vision is to bridge the gap between Arab communities and psychedelic science by promoting psychedelic research in the Arab world, and working towards establishing a psychedelic research center and clinic in the region. So my my goal personally is to, or my my ultimate goal would be to establish a clinic and a research center here. I also would like to give a shout out to Seema Brasil who helped me put together this document. She's a wonderful clinical psychologist based in debate. And she, she's a mycologist. So I think it would be great to put her in touch also with the podcast, I think she would be Yeah. Oh, absolutely. Yes, Tim. So but yeah, so our, our goal is to have that, so to have the clinic and research center open somewhere. I personally think that Saudi Arabia is a very good candidate for that for numerous reasons, which I'm happy to expand on. But just to go back to what we're what our mission is, it's we're, we're a platform that hopes to encourage collaboration, 27:50 and to create more access by by 27:57 educating the public on what psychedelics are. So psychoeducation is a really big one that's 28:04 in Saudi and in the Middle East, I think we're really going to have to start with psychoeducation, before we even think about researcher, or clinics. 28:13 And yeah, so these are some of the points that we're we're 28:17 hoping to accomplish, encouraged research in the future, education before research, so to establish a mentorship program on Connect experienced professionals, mentors, to other professionals interested in the field. So two mentees. And that's something that's inspired by work that I do with these, with SPD, which is Students for Sensible DP sorry, drug policy. 28:47 I'm currently a mentor with them. And I'm hoping to be able to expand that to the Middle East to what are some of the other points we have here. So professional development or so we want to create an avenue, an official avenue to connect, collect donations, and to apply for grants and research for research and professional training. I really hope I mean, but in my in my colleague, Seema, are really hoping that we can create scholarship programs to encourage individuals in the region to get more involved in the field. And yeah, and really, education is something that we're very much focused on or we're very, we're trying to drill the point of education. psychoeducation is really the foundation. And another point that we want to do that's that's, that is based on education is we want to create more access or accessibility by translating research papers and educational documents from English to Arabic. So So that's in a nutshell, that's who we are. And, I mean, the the journey ahead of us is going to be very long, but there's a code 30:00 But I heard Rick Doblin say, in a podcast, and it really, it really really resonated with me even if even if we don't accomplish these goals in our lifetime, at least I, on my on my deathbed, I'll know that, you know, I've dedicated my life to trying to accomplish it. But I'm quite proud, I'm quite optimistic that we will accomplish these goals. 30:26 And one of the ways that you, excuse me are spreading that mycelium is through this group called the psychedelic Renaissance, which is making a documentary. How is that project going? So we actually got called out not long ago for using the term psychedelic Renaissance. And that's interesting, because our team is mostly we're mostly people of color people of different like, several marginalized identities. 30:55 And, but I understand the point. So the person that called us out was saying that the psychedelic Renaissance is a colonial term, because it isn't a renaissance and indigenous 31:08 people have been, have continued to use psychedelics, despite the draconian laws that that prevented. 31:19 Despite the war on drugs and the many decades that I've, 31:26 every time I speak about it, I have such a strong emotional reaction thinking about, you know, thinking about how many decades of research we lost out on because of dogma again, just because of dogma, not because of science. And, yeah, but despite the hiatus in psychedelic research, or in psychedelic science, there still was 31:47 flourishing, psychedelic 31:51 world that say in, in the indigenous communities. So So yeah, so instead of psychedelic Renaissance, we're calling our project, the psychedelic psychedelic Chronicles. And I think actually, it's more fitting as the title. Because the project, which is a film, it's a documentary, it's, it started about five years ago, I joined four years ago when you're into the project, and it's 32:21 a project that is very much in collaboration with the psychedelic society of the UK, Anya, my dear friend, and my collaborator, my colleague, she is the one of the directors of the psychedelic society, and she is basically the she's the, the magic woman behind the project. She's the, the maestro, that's their the main person who is the brains and the and the brawn behind it. Yeah, so we call it the psychedelic Chronicles, because we have had the, 32:53 you know, it's, it's really frustrating that it's taking us so long to complete the project. We were hoping to premiere it in 2021, but COVID, and a bunch of different things happened. But the The advantage to having to prolong the process is that we've been able to capture pivotal moments in the, in the, let's say, the, the revival of psychedelic science and psychedelic therapy and research. So yeah, we're chronicling the, the movement, or let's say the, the movement hasn't moved to the mainstream. And we also, we also look at x we explore and we very much respect the indigenous practices that have predated any type of scientific inquiry and that continued to resilient in the face of the war on drugs. So we explore that too. But a big thing that we really focus on is psychedelic science and the research into it. So yeah, and it's it's been, I've had the pleasure of meeting and working with some some really amazing individuals in the field. We've done some work with 34:07 decriminalized Denver, we've gotten to speak with them, interview them in Colorado, we've had some amazing conversations that we've recorded with the 34:21 scientists that Imperial College London, and so on and so forth. Yeah. 34:27 I'm guessing your parents know what you're doing now. Yeah, now they do. Okay. Yeah. Is it a recent thing? Have you had to kind of hide it from them? 34:38 The day after James Fadiman lecture in this was October of 2013. I remember going to my dad and telling him oh my god, this is amazing that like mushrooms or mushrooms are the future and my dad was like, hey, you need to calm down like this. 34:56 Yeah, and to be honest, I mean, at the time 35:00 Um, I was you know, I was a 19 year old, I was very naive, I was, had gone through like an extreme like, hippie. Phase two, I think I was trying to 35:09 relive the the the late 60s in the 2000 10s. But yeah, so. So I don't think I did myself too much. I benefit by by being a total hippie and talking about psychedelics, but that was part of my own professional and personal growth. 35:30 But yeah, I mean, I will give myself credit, because regardless of how much of a hippie I was, at the time, I still was a very brainy hippie and very nerdy. So I was taking all types of classes at the time, brain and behavior. 35:44 I was doing field work and clinical psychology. I was taking all these other side, very scientific based courses, and I was writing papers on psychedelics, I wasn't just, you know, walking barefoot around campus in my tie, tie dye shirt, preaching about the, you know, how amazing LSD and you know, Timothy Leary, were and I mean, LSD is and Timothy Leary was, I mean, I also have just a lot more my capacity to think is a lot more nuanced now than it was back then. And I understand that someone saying, 36:18 Thank God for growth. Yeah, no, I will do the same thing. So yeah. 36:25 Absolutely, yeah. And as my as my mycelial network grew, I was exposed to a lot of different 36:35 opinions and ways of viewing the world that made me realize that, you know, Timothy Leary wasn't the most enlightened person in the world. And, you know, Maria Sabina actually contributed in many ways. And actually, my Maria Sabina had a very tragic 36:53 end to her life because of nuanced issues that, that we are starting to talk about these days, which is great. But also doesn't doesn't make up for for the, for the issues in the space that we need to proactively be tackling. And I talk about when I say that, I mean, looking at certain things from a very euro or Western centric lens and not giving indigenous 37:22 communities and history, it's due credit and due respect, and things of that sort. There's, there's a lot more that we can we can talk about. But before actually before, I'm just gonna pour myself some water here. But yeah, I'm recovering from a cold. So my, my throat was a bit dry and itchy. But But yeah, so something else that I think is, it's a lot more of a conversation that I have these days, as opposed to where I was four years ago, is talking about the shadow side of the set of psychedelics. And this is something that our documentary The psychedelic Chronicles really focuses on. 38:00 And when you say shadow side, do you mean 38:03 confronting your own shadow through psychedelics, or maybe some of the contraindications with people maybe with schizophrenia, or combining it with certain prescription drugs that might have? 38:21 Or maybe people taking too much? Or how do you define the shadow side of psychedelics? So the shadow side is definitely I would say a part of it is confronting your own shadow. But I think about it on a more Yes, on a micro level, and on a macro level, like for example, psychedelic narcissism or spiritual narcissism. That's a shadow side. And that's something that I experienced in my early 20s. And was part of the growth three. 38:49 I thought I was this all knowing enlightened being and I realized that I was just spiritually bypassing a lot of pain. 38:58 altered states of consciousness, let's say, because I want to plead the fifth here. But altered states of consciousness really helped me. 39:07 They helped me to open the door to my healing. And I mean, the door was left ajar, but I also had to do a lot more work to continue opening that door and pushing it and pushing it further. But I thought that what was I mistakenly thought that that little piece that was opened or my metaphors here really failing me, but yeah, I mean, that the little, 39:34 the little bit of light that was coming in through that crack of the door being open, that was, that was just, you know, 1% of the healing journey. 39:44 Or maybe a bit more than that. But yeah, I had a very narrow view back then, because, I mean, I was 1920 21. My prefrontal cortex wasn't fully developed. 39:56 Yeah, maturation happens over time and experience and that's 40:00 That's really what happened. But yeah, so So I had my own. I mean, it's not something I'm very proud of to talk about, but honestly, I think it makes me a better rounded individual and practitioner talking about my own experiences with psychedelic narcissism and spiritual bypassing. So that's, that's one of the and psychedelics can like, can be a bit culty Honestly, when I think back to some of the experiences 1,000% Yeah, 40:26 that's a shadow side. Like, that's definitely a shadow side. Also, there's an amazing, one of my, one of my idols in the in the space. And now as I say, I don't understand if people is that problematic, they may not be idolizing people, but you know, I mean, my role model. Yeah, yeah. One of my role models, Dr. Rosalind Watts from previous she previously was with Imperial College London. And she's actually we've worked with her quite extensively, Anya has sat down with her for many interviews for the psychedelic Chronicles documentary. So she 41:00 had a TED talk from I think I want to say it's from 2016. About there was titled can magic mushrooms cure depression, and it was a phenomenal talk. But what I really respect about about Dr. Watts is that she recently wrote an article looking back and reflecting on that talk that she gave in 2016. And what she and the field has learned since and she spoke about how she she spoke about how she was mistaken at the time to have 41:36 maybe over 41:38 to have been a bit over overly hyped about the promise of psychedelics. And since and this is something that I have experienced myself, since she has given that talk in 2016. She's had a lot more experiences where she saw how psychedelics can really, things can really go wrong with psychedelic therapy. Yeah, psychedelic 41:58 in research, and it's just it doesn't mean that I mean, it's not. We shouldn't throw out the baby with the bathwater. Is that the expression? Yeah, pretty good. Yeah. 42:13 I hope so many weird. There's so many weird phrases in English, like raining cats and dogs. And that's a whole other rabbit hole that I don't want to get into. But yeah, keep going. Dogs rabbit hole. 42:25 Yeah. 42:27 But I'm personally I'm a big fan of the English, English language. But yeah, I like these expressions. But anyway, so I'll try not to digress too much as I as I tend to do. But yeah, so, um, what Dr. Rosalind was, the point that she was getting to is that I mean, there's still so much promise in the field of psychedelic science, but there's so much more that we don't know, than there is that we know. And, of course, we don't know that we don't know, that's also that's a whole other other worlds who, but, but I think we're starting to become a lot more humble and a lot more, a lot more aware of how much we don't know, and how much time it's going to take for us to really, 43:14 to uncover, you know, to uncover the many depths of psychedelic science, and it's going to take a lot of time and a lot of trial and error, unfortunately, but that's how it is with science, right? For us to really understand how to optimally use psychedelics in, in, in our, you know, in our, 43:37 in our goal to heal as many people as possible, and you know, what the, what the caveats are, what the what the dangers are, the risks are and how to properly mitigate these risks. So, there's, there's so much more to learn. But it's a great time to be alive right now in the field. That's probably the most the most exciting time since the since the 50s. And 60s. Yeah, though, it is a really interesting topic that I've been actually trying to grapple with for the last two, three years. And I don't have an answer. I don't know if I ever will, maybe I will. But I'm, I'm becoming okay with not ever having an answer. But it's this idea of 44:23 trying to juggle and balance between wanting people to be starry eyed, and you want to spread the message about whether it's psychedelics, or mushrooms or whatever it is. And you want to pump people up with these, you know, like, they're going to save the world. They're going to, you know, blah, blah, blah, and you you want to tell the stories that are are sexy, and they're in pacing, and they like, they make people feel really good. But are they entirely true? No. Yeah, right. And like, they're not entirely true, and that's not really reality. And so people go 45:00 through this cycle, kind of what we're we're talking about people being starry eyed and like, kind of like this spiritual narcissism and they they just kind of spiritually bypass the truth for something that feels better. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Like I, I used to study micro remediation, which is the study of like how to clean up toxic waste in the environment with with mushrooms and fungi. Most of that and most people talking about it is complete bullshit. 45:29 Like it's just complete, like, 45:32 bypassing of like, the gritty, the nitty gritty truth of, of how do you actually do it? And instead, it's like, yeah, you just throw mycelium on it, and it, it, it magically cleans it up. And it's like, snap of the fingers, which most people are doing with psychedelics, as well as like, yeah, just eat a bunch of mushrooms, and you'll be fine. And it's like, Nah, you know, like, 45:56 not exactly true. So I don't know if you have any insight on this, of how do you balance between staying really grounded and true to science and true to that shadow, while also 46:11 trying to be enticing and sexy, and, you know, like, trying to get people really excited for kind of the people that don't know much about psychedelics. Yeah, so, I mean, I think one of the reasons why so there's two issues in the space, right, there was the demonization of psychedelics, which is a result of the war on drugs and the the unfortunate series of events that happened in the late 60s and things of that sort. 46:40 So there's the demon of demonization and the vilification of psychedelics. But then on the other hand, there's also the 46:50 the glorifying of psychedelics, which is what we're talking about right now. So, so how can we make sure that we bust myths, while not creating more myths in a sentence, right. So, I mean, I think it's really important, very difficult, but also very, very important to be as biased, as unbiased as possible and 47:09 to try to I'm, I have a problem with saying this, but I'm gonna say it to be as scientific as possible when educating people on psychedelics, the reason why I have an issue with it is because I think that sometimes being overly scientific can be that can be that can have colonial under undertones, and also that can be very rigid. And I mean, there's, I'm a very scientific person I, but I do believe and I believe that there are things that science isn't. 47:44 Our science today isn't able to explain yet. But still, yeah, still, it's still scientific. It's just we haven't gotten into that language yet. Yeah, most people have been brainwashed through the colonial framework, and the only way to communicate them and communicate with them effectively for most people is through the scientific method. Unfortunately, this is just where most people are at most Joe schmoes and people at home if if if someone in a white lab coat is telling them with a peer reviewed scientific paper, it's just more trustworthy. And that's just where we're at in this conversation at this stage in human evolution. Absolutely. Fortunately, but yeah, I hear what you're saying. I feel the same way. Yeah, I mean, in my texts also, like thinking about like, 48:36 oh, come coming. 48:40 Can you hear me? 48:42 Yeah, you're good. Can you hear me? Okay, great. Great. Cut for a second, but we're, we're fine. Okay. 48:52 Going on to music. Switching gears entirely. We're talking about Maria Sabina, and we're talking about, you know, kind of the indigenous wisdom that needs to be acknowledged. And I think one thing that Maria Sabina is really well known for are her medicine songs. And a lot of you know, indigenous medicine, people work with music and these medicines songs in in collaboration in ceremony, and it helps to guide 49:26 the space and as a musician myself, I've always been fascinated. It kind of seems like the same. 49:35 The same thing but a different tool and how to get to an altered state right. And I don't know if you are able to access Altered States while playing music I for one, 49:47 totally am and I know a lot of musicians talk about it if like when they get into that flow state of when they're like, improving or playing something and they just, they get into a flow, you know, and they get into 50:00 an altered state where it is very psychedelic. And I'm just curious for you how, how do these two worlds collide? Okay, I have a lot to say on this topic. I want to start with, with a with a news article that I came across four years ago, was in Time Magazine. And it was written by someone who later became my professor when I did my master's. So the article was on positive 50:30 linguistic or, or 50:33 book, or terms that have positive meanings that are unique to different languages. So, for example, the term that really caught my my eye, and I thought about getting a tattooed on my body. It's not I'm I have, I don't have any tattoos. And I'm 50:53 actually kind of glad that I didn't get a lot of the ideas I had tattooed. But if I were to get a tattoo, if I if I do end up getting a tattoo, it will be of the Arabic word thought up. So it's spelled T AR, AB and what it means. And there's no equivalence in the western context of, of this word. So what thought of means it's the state of ecstasy, that one enters through music. So it's this altered state of consciousness that one is one finds through music, and I find that very beautiful. And that's something that I've experienced many, many times before. 51:33 And, yeah, so. So music is very much that's that's a great way to enter an altered state of consciousness. You spoke about flow state, you spoke about a child's the chanting and Icaros and things of that sort. 51:48 And so Mendel Kaelin who is a very well known researcher that does research into psychedelics and music, he has a quote that I really, really like, and really resonated with me. So he said that, he thought that his first experience with an altered state of consciousness was through psilocybin, but in actuality, it was through music. And this is this, this is the same researcher who wrote extensively on and did a lot of research on music in the context of psychedelic therapy. There's the paper and amazing paper he has that's titled 52:28 music and psychedelic therapy, the music as the Hidden therapist, essentially, I don't know if I'm, I'm probably not getting the the title of the study, correct to the to the word, but that's what it says. It's called music, the hidden therapist in the context of psychedelic therapy. So yeah, there's, it's a very fascinating field, or sub subcategory of this field of psychedelic science. And when I had, I had the, I had the the privilege of sifting through parts A, B, and C of the end of the maps, MDMA assisted 53:07 therapy training, thanks to Natalie Ginsburg, who is an amazing woman doing great work in this field. But when I sat through these trainings, there was quite a bit of talk on, on, you know, the importance of music and in different settings. Also, I've heard some of the 53:28 some of the, the most esteemed researchers and practitioners in the field talk about how psychedelic or music in the context of psychedelic therapy is going to be an area that will be 53:42 hugely studied and researched in the future. But we gotta wait for you know, we gotta wait for for things to happen step by step. Chris, we're talking about the criminalization, medicalization things of that sort. And then we'll get to that I really, that's something that also as part of the Arab psychedelic society, I really hope to push people who are thinking about doing 54:04 in a specialized in, in music therapy, like, write a thesis on music therapy, in the context of psychedelics in the Middle East, or in the era, culture and Arab cultures. Because, you know, for me as an Arab, if I were sitting in the ceremony is probably very different for me to be listening to something in my own language than to be listening to, you know, something that's, that's sung in, let's say, in a, in a language that's native to the Amazon, not to say, not to take away or diminished from from from, you know, how important that is or how, 54:38 how worthy of respect and appreciation that is to but I'm just talking about, in my own context, I probably would be, I probably would be more receptive to songs or chants in Arabic, then I would be to something that's that's sung in another language. And I know I'm not alone in this and I mean, I would really love to come 55:00 Dr research in that in that part in that department, but there's I'm involved with quite a bit, so I really need to 55:08 make sure I'm taking 55:12 bites that are there's the pizza bites, let's say that are chewable, and it's well, yeah, yeah. Yeah. So it's interesting as well, because I know, the Persian scale is, is really popular around in the Arab world, and in terms of music, the scale, and, you know, in different countries, they have different, like, quarter notes, you know, I haven't taken music theory in so many years, so 55:45 I'm probably butchering the exact names for these. But also like, 55:50 Yeah, or like, the, even just like the style of beats, or just like, the, the tone of the instruments, or this, they even just the type of instruments use, you know, what I mean? 56:03 The feeling of, you know, I, I always thought it was fascinating, different countries, like, if there is a lot of trauma or suffering in a place, you know, you have more blues influence, or just like, there's this undertone of, 56:19 there's a deeper feeling of sadness, which can turn into something beautiful, you know, and, and different countries, like, for example, like, Colombia is a lot faster pace than like Peruvian music, typically. 56:39 And it's like, how, how do you turn your suffering into music? And it's either like, slower or faster, let's party. 56:47 Like, and it's interesting, like, so, you know, if you're from different regions, like, how does that influence you on on a soul level, you know? 56:58 Yeah, I would love to, to see more research into music, and music therapy, especially in collaboration with with psychedelics. 57:08 I've, when my, my grandma got 57:15 Alzheimer's, and we were trying to play music for her from like her childhood, because there's a lot of research that if you play older music, 57:25 at apparently part of the brain that remembers music is similar to, to the start of where Alzheimer's starts, you start to lose your memory. And so it's a technique that they use in like Alzheimer's homes, 57:41 to help people regain some of their memories. 57:46 And so I think it'd be interesting as well to maybe, like, 57:51 yeah, it is especially Yeah, I hear a lot in psychology people like tuning out certain years of their life, if they have, you know, 58:00 if they were maybe sexually abused when they're seven, you know, to nine, and this ages seven to nine, they just block out, you know, and it's just a gap in their timeline. If you played music, you know, similar to that timeline, would that help, like recover in a safe setting 58:19 those memories to work through them? Like in a safe space? Yeah, I don't know. Yeah, there's, that's really, that's really interesting. Thank you for sharing that. It makes me think it also 58:31 makes me think about a video I saw not long ago, or a documentary about using music to help stroke patients or people survive strokes, regain motor skills and things of that sort. And it's amazing to see how they're really impaired in every aspect of their life of their lives. But then you play a track or you you know, have them sit at a piano and they're not as good as new in a sense. So it's really fascinating. There's a lot to there's a lot to be said I mean there's a lot to to be explored in that in that region to it. 59:06 Yeah, it's really exciting. Yeah, I is I just saw an article about they were noticed I can't remember what national park but there they were noticing that bears would sit and just look out into nature, like they would find a really scenic view and like sit against a log and just look out into like a sunset or something or like a beautiful lake and just like sit there and and they were like yeah, they're actually just enjoying the peace like there's no extra motive behind just enjoying the scenery. And I was just reading an article as well. They were they were saying how, you know, most birds they have song for a reason, right? To say hey, like a threat is coming or, you know, a meeting call or something. There's like there's a there's a reason 1:00:00 Uh, beneath the song, and they're finding out that a lot of birds and whales, and all these animals are actually like, producing music and art just like us just to, just for the beauty of it and just to produce it, or at least that's our understanding. 1:00:19 And it's, yeah, it 1:00:23 it's, it's another part of it as another thing that science can't touch of like, what is art? What is beauty? Why do we do the things that we do? I'm getting a little metaphysical here, but 1:00:35 I'm loving this. Yeah, I don't know. It's, it's really cool. And I, I was just talking to someone about, you know, interweaving, you know, dreaming, and psychedelics, and like, all these, all these things that we don't really talk about, that are 1:00:52 probably mostly untouched by science, or will be very hard for us to calculate and measure, but I think, can have huge implications to psychedelic healing that 1:01:05 most people aren't talking about, and I really appreciate what you're saying about talking about the shadow. It's another thing that not a lot of people are talking about. And can we speed up that that kind of life cycle that we're talking about of like, I think most people should go through some small phase of psychedelic narcissism and, and, you know, the hippie phase and whatever, just to just to feel it, what it's like, so they have empathy, and, you know, 1:01:35 yeah, you got to build up an ego to destroy it. Yeah. So I, but can we shorten that time period for people 1:01:43 and make make those, that lifecycle you know, shorter, but also, you know, on a, on a more macro level, like something, something else that 1:01:52 that is, 1:01:54 there's a few things I feel like I really need to touch on before, you know, before we completely close the door on, please the topic of the shadow side of psychedelics, but on a more macro level, so thinking about like psychedelic capitalism, that's something that we're really gonna have to be, 1:02:11 we're gonna have to pay a lot of attention to and be very 1:02:16 discerning with who we're talking to, and their motives and things of that sort. 1:02:21 Yeah, so that's something else like psychedelic capitalism, how that 1:02:27 can 1:02:29 attract some very shady individuals, and how people at mass can be really harmed by by these individuals. 1:02:42 In a negative, or, let's say, harmful intention. So there's, I mean, even even individuals who are not shady, but who are naive, who have very good intentions, but what's good intention is going to do you if the outcome is is destructive and devastating. So yeah, something that I feel like I need to share is that I've because this I've heard it more than once actually, 1:03:07 the first instance, instance in which I've heard this was actually very tragic. 1:03:12 It's had to do with someone who had 1:03:17 two experiences with MDMA assisted psychotherapy in an underground setting, the first experience was very helpful. 1:03:26 This individual was saying that they, 1:03:29 this individual was saying, so just give me a second. 1:03:33 Okay, someone was knocking at my door. But yeah, so that individual was saying that they were in remission from complex PTSD after the first experience, but also to say that someone's in remission from complex PTSD. That's a loaded statement, some someone was in remission from PTSD, that would make more sense, but complex PTSD, brings us into talking about issues with development. And I'm digressing here. But anyway, so So this person's first experience with MDMA assisted psychotherapy, in an underground setting was very healing. I believe, I really believed that when they told me that, but they were also a bit evangelical and a bit overzealous, which I recognize from my own experience. So So I was, you know, I was happy that this person had had a very good experience. And I was a bit skeptical about the extent to which they were, quote, unquote, healed or completely free of CPTSD. But I'm sure it was really helpful for them. 1:04:33 And then a few months later, this person came back and was in a very, very bad state, because they had undergone 1:04:45 the same treatment the second time. And it was like a flip of a switch was like going going from having a very good experience. I was very healing to being completely wrapped. It was a very, very, very tragic 1:05:00 Um, situation, this 1:05:03 individual ended up taking their own life and it was just really horrible. 1:05:08 And it's just like, I mean, even people in the in the psychedelic space were really 1:05:14 confused as to what was happening when it was happening from this person was seeking help help from a lot of different professionals, neurologists, psychiatrists, but no one really knew what was happening. 1:05:28 But yeah, so that was I mean, that was really 1:05:32 tragic. And I spoke to a few of my colleagues who had told me that that wasn't an uncommon story, unfortunately. And I heard someone else say recently that they had two experiences with MDMA, first one was very healing. Second one was 1:05:48 completely life altering in a negative way. So I mean, my opinion, honestly, is that I think what happens for these individuals is that too much comes up too soon or too quick. And I mentioned that I do work with with integration. And from an integration perspective, if someone 1:06:11 cannot integrate these, you know, this material that comes up, then they become, 1:06:18 they become fractured, or they become 1:06:21 scattered. So yes, that's something that's really, these are really unfortunate situations, and, you know, part of the, the dark side, the shadow side, and 1:06:32 we need to be more aware of it. And we need to talk about it too, because how are we going to learn? How are we going to prevent this from happening in the future. And also, you know, going back to the macro level, something that I think is very problematic is looking at people from a corporate will come from a corporate 1:06:51 math world, let's say, from the corporate world, trying to market psychedelics, as you know, these healing tools, I mean, these healing panaceas, let's see, I mean, they're tools, they're, they're very powerful tools, but the tool, you can think about it, it's like a surgical tool for the mind or for the psyche, or the soul. When you're working with with surgical tools, you usually would trust a surgeon to work with it, right. It's the same thing with with psychedelics, but it's more complex than that. Because also, I mean, if people are educated properly, then then psychedelics are quite democratic in the sense that people can, it allows people with the proper education, let's say, with the proper preparation, it allows people to take their own healings in their own their own healing in their own hands. So you don't really need to go to a professional but strongly, strongly and highly advised to because then you get to 1:07:47 skip out on a lot of trial and error and get to the good stuff. Let's see. But yeah, but, but we have to be careful because even these professionals really know only know the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the science behind psychedelics. Yeah, and we're still doing research on, you know, 1:08:10 what is the interaction with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, we don't really know. Most people say, just avoid it, but and the research is indicating that it's not good. And it increases manic episodes. But we don't really know or with, you know, women in pregnancy or breastfeeding, we don't really know. 1:08:37 It seems like, yeah, or, you know, we're still collecting data on interactions with prescription drugs. Yeah, we know certain things for sure. But, you know, they're making new prescription drugs every day. 1:08:51 So yeah, there could be some interactions that we don't fully know yet or 1:08:58 Yeah, certain disorders that we just don't we haven't even classified yet or you know, that we don't know that interaction XYZ. So yeah, it is. It is really interesting seeing I'm equally excited about 1:09:19 this was my dilemma that I was talking about. I'm equally excited about seeing the the psychedelic industry growing so much, and people getting interested in it. But at the same time, I'm as equally just 1:09:34 terrified in a way of seeing so many people like either with bad intentions of just wanting doing it for the money or with really good intentions, but just not a lot of professional 1:09:48 training. And so they don't know what to do when someone you know has a quote unquote, psychological break, and they think it's all you know, good vibes, and you know, I just give them mushrooms and 1:10:00 Yeah, play some nice music and it'll be all good. And then they've, you know, someone strips off their clothes and runs up a tree and, you know, wants to run in traffic. And it's like, whoa, like, 1:10:14 Oh my God, I didn't I didn't think that would happen. And maybe maybe they run 100 ceremonies and the 100 ceremonies goes great. And it is to the 101 that they are just like, oh, like, you know. 1:10:27 Yeah. So I, and it's unfortunate that there, isn't 1:10:32 there. Yeah, I'm seeing like certification programs pop up online of like, I'm getting emailed, like, get your psychedelic training certification and no weekend. And it's like, no. 1:10:45 Yeah, so I yeah, I think he's certainly gonna cost you $10,000. Yeah, yeah, I think these conversations are really important to have. And, 1:10:57 in, in addition to, I want people to be excited, and I also want people to, to be safe. 1:11:05 And to be taken care of, and to take care of others. So yeah, yeah, thank you for for bringing all these topics up. I think they're really important. Yeah, no, absolutely. And I'm glad I'm happy to know that more people are talking about about this stuff. I was just making a joke a little earlier about how, you know, someone is clearly having a difficult time and someone who a facilitator, who's spiritually bypassing will say, Oh, that person is descending. No, that person, scientifically speaking, it's having a psychotic break. And we need to treat it as such, or, you know, spiritual emergency or that that stuff that Yeah, I mean, I believe, I mean, from a transpersonal, psychology, psychology perspective, yes, that's, that's possible that the person might be having a spiritual, you know, emergency or emergency. But also, that's, you know, when we see when, when we see something that if something looks like a psychotic break, let's treat it as such, so that we don't run the risk of the person harming themselves even more. But yeah. So So yeah, there's or someone that's having a hard time, you know, saying that it's not, it's not the medicines fault, it's that individuals fault, you know, it's something dark in you or whatever? No, it's bullshit. I mean, it's not, it's not an excuse to demonize the medicine, but it's also not an excuse to place the blame on the individual. It's not helpful for anyone. So I think there seems to be like, there seems to be a bit of something that I appreciate. And I understand as someone who, 1:12:36 who has, you know, had the the, I've had the opportunity to really watch during the psychedelic movement or the field at a time where things were just starting to bloom and blossom and change. I understand why people and I myself was like this earlier. Why, as as a response to the years of prohibition and the years of, you know, war on drug propaganda running the show, I can understand why people can be defensive, myself included, I was very defensive in the past, because, you know, we're fighting really hard to, to undo the damage that the dogma has created. But also, we got to make sure that we're not causing more damage by trying to undo damage. Yeah. 1:13:28 Where can people follow your work? 1:13:30 Um, I will my 1:13:34 I have a few platforms that I use the mainly the Arab psychedelic society would be a great way to, 1:13:41 to, you know, follow the work I'm doing or stay in touch with me. I also, I have 1:13:48 a another page called the pragmatic pragmatic psychologist to pragmatic dot psychologists on Instagram. 1:13:58 I used to post a lot on my personal account, which is now public. It's called Hallo Oscar. 1:14:05 And, 1:14:07 but now, it's actually kind of turned into a music page, to be very honest with you, because they've been amazing. moving more towards music recently. Yeah, I started playing with a band very, very recently. We just got signed by a record label. We're called Sierra actually so nice. Congrats, duck rock music. Thank you. Yeah, I I feel like I could go on for another hour. Honestly, talking about you know, you mentioned a few things. I'll try to keep it short, though, because I am sure I'm sure we both have a lot to get to. But I'd love to continue this conversation at a later time too. But yeah, I mean, talking about bipolar and psychedelics. I have a friend and a colleague, his name is Benjamin Mudge, who looks at he's doing his PhD in psychiatry right now. Are you familiar with him? I just heard of him. Last week. He treats I hear treats bipolar type one bipolar with ayahuasca and is writing a PhD dissertation on it. So there's that there's also there 1:15:00 was a study that was happening at UCSF and San Francisco, if I'm not mistaken, not mistaken. It was called Truman with bipolar. I don't know what happened with that, to be honest, I haven't really kept up. But there's also exciting stuff. I was involved in some research looking at Complex PTSD and MDMA, but looking more specifically at using MDMA to treat borderline personality disorder, which is a, an it's, it's a form of complex PTSD. So there is research has happened there, there's two of my colleagues who are a lot more experienced and a lot more knowledgeable in the field. They've, they're working on a paper and hopefully it will be made public soon. It's Dan Roberts and Richard safe, Minh. So I would really recommend everyone listening to this and who's interested in this topic, keep an eye out for that there. And in terms of psychosis, and schizophrenia, I don't really know too much about it. But I am not a clinical psychologist, I need to preface that. Because I mean, I'm very interested in clinical topics, and I speak very, a lot of my, my, a lot of the discourse I get involved in has a clinical, it's clinical in nature. But yeah, but I personally, I mean, from my own readings, in my own training, I think that, that a lot of psychosis and a lot of psychotic disorders and schizophrenia, they are very much rooted in trauma and childhood trauma specifically. So it would make sense if you treat childhood trauma, or if you treat trauma in general, with psychedelics, it would make sense for psychotic symptoms to, 1:16:48 to also subside or to be treated indirectly. So, so much so much exciting stuff that that's happening. And I really, you know, I'm holding on to the, to the edge of my my seat, as, 1:17:03 as we see. So there's a lot lot more to 1:17:08 a lot more to learn to discover. 1:17:11 Absolutely, yeah. And I'm, I'm excited to see 1:17:16 drug policy and psychedelic medicine policy expand in the Arab world and the work that you do 1:17:25 to have more collaborators take part and I would love to see the younger generation get grants and able to do this research and 1:17:35 and to expand this education in the Middle East and to have people 1:17:42 Yeah, I would love to have to see more research transcribed into Arabic and you know, all the amazing work the work that you're doing, and I can't wait to see the documentary when it when it comes out. Well, thank you so much, Alex, for this conversation and for for giving me the opportunity to talk about, about psychedelics in the Arab world and to raise awareness about this. I'd love it at a later time. I'd really love to connect and learn more about your involvement with music too. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, that that 1:18:15 maybe not a podcast episode maybe maybe I'll do a whole music and mushrooms episode. 1:18:24 That might be interesting. But I'm, I'm working on a my one of my colleagues. So I am an assistant trainer with fluence and I've done some training myself with them. I've trained in psychedelic integration therapy with them. 1:18:40 And I've also done some work, teaching teaching with them and training with them. But anyways, I have a colleague of mine, Sherry Taylor, she's I don't know if you've, you've had the chance to see how to change your mind on Netflix. So episode I watched, like, three quarters of one episode. 1:19:02 Complete. Yeah, I highly recommend the MDMA session or episode. So Sherry Taylor is featured on the episode. She's doing amazing work with MDMA therapy for PTSD. But I had the I had the privilege and the honor of actually meeting her at the Fluence training that I attended in in New York in April, and her and I bonded over our shared interest in music so we 1:19:29 designed a syllabus on music and psychedelic therapy. And that's something we're hoping to to create a course around in the future but in the meantime, we've kind of we haven't been talking about this so much recently, but this is a thank you this is a reminder for me to get back in touch with her but what we did is we created that workshop on psychedelic therapy and music so hopefully not able to amazing but that through fluence Yeah, that's super cool. If you ever have that, that offshoot or that thought 1:20:00 Let's cast that spin off. Let's definitely talk. 1:20:03 Yeah, no, you you definitely like I, 1:20:07 I took a little break from playing music for a little while, and then I'm just starting to get back into it. And it's, it's interesting. I've definitely use music as a therapy tool. And it's it's just it's so amazing it just listening to music, but also dancing to music and then playing music. It's yeah, it's so therapeutic. And I think it's such a gateway to beautiful art altered states as a way is just a creative tool to express and to connect to like, 1:20:41 unfathomable emotions or inexpressible. What's the word? Like you can't communicate it with words ineffable, love, ineffable emotions that you? Yeah, you just can't express it with words. So you have to do it with music or you have to do with painting or you have to do it with something else. And yeah, I I love music so much and 1:21:02 to collaborate with altered states with these with the mushrooms or whatever it is, I think, would be huge for so many people out there. 1:21:13 But yeah, thank you so much. I'll keep you updated on that that podcast and then let me know who the the woman in Dubai was. Yeah, psychologist and I'll definitely reach out to her but everyone check out his work and excited to see all the all the different projects that you got going on in the future. Everyone, wherever you're tuning in from thank you so much for tuning in and tuning in for another episode. We love you so much. And please spread the word. We don't have a Patreon or anything that that you could donate to for this podcast. But we do have a website mushroom revival.com We have a bunch of functional mushroom goodies from gummies to capsules and things like that. And you could use a coupon code pod treat for a surprise discount. I won't tell you how much you're gonna get. And then if you don't want to pay anything, we're doing a giveaway, 1:22:09 a special podcast giveaway so if you're listening 1:22:12 this is the only way that you have access to it and the link is going to be in the bio of the episode so if you want to win some free goodies enter there. And as always, much love and made this force be with you Transcribed by https://otter.ai