Author & journalist Michelle Janikian joins myself & DJ Murakami for a fascinating discussion on psychedelic culture, past and present. Michelle has written for various publications including Playboy Magazine and Merry Jane focusing on drug policy, trends, education and aspects of psychedelic culture. She also released her first book, Your Psilocybin Mushroom Companion: An Informative, Easy-to-Use Guide to Understanding Magic Mushrooms in 2019.
With the current resurgence in psychedelic culture taking place throughout the world, so many voices are popping up - some that highlight certain agendas above others - but what´s important is not to fall back into petty debates about what one perceives as the "right way forward". Psychedelics have a long, colourful, yet mysterious history and for those of us fascinated by the questions they raise, cheerful conversations are vitally important. DJ & I only scratched the surface here, but thoroughly enjoyed this chat and look forward to what Michelle has coming out in her next articles.
We hope you enjoy listening to this conversation and we look forward to having Michelle back again to continue the discussion.
Be sure to check out Michelle´s new book and articles on all the social and streaming platforms.
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the way I think of the psychedelics is they are catalysts to the imagination. They were back 100,000 years ago. The imagination, which was just this glimmering, this iridescence on the surface of eight cognition waas under the influence of reciprocal feedback of self reflection that is created by watching your watching your own.
Hey, guys, welcome to another ever side of the emptiness lab. Our guest today is the author and journalist Michelle Genic In shows what I'll describe as a cultural commentator comes the reemergence of psychedelic awareness and popular culture here. Work. It's been featured in Playboy magazine, Double Blind Psychedelics Today, Mary Jane, just to name a few. Recently, her first book, Your Psilocybin Mushroom Companion, was released through Ulysses Press. So in this chat we'll discuss topics reading to contemporary psychedelic research, different trends, education and personal anecdotes about how these substances are such unique tool for expanding the awareness of our own being in this world Media and I've got some great guests coming up for the in this lab podcasts, so make sure Teoh subscribe Teoh respective channels and let us know what you think of these conversations as well. Instagram's always there. Good place to track us down. And also, if you could leave five star review in the appropriate boxes of your podcast player, that's really gonna help us. Podcast gets contraction. Allow these conversations to spread out to those willing and curious enough to listen. So enjoy this check guys with Michelle Janicki in the show. Welcome to the podcast.
Yeah, thanks so much for having me. It's
really cool to Teoh. Speak to a journalist and someone who's maybe, yeah, on the front line of of reporting on a lot of these new developments really in there in the psychedelic space. Maybe we could just start off by asking, How did you get into this? Ah, Journalistic. Rome. Have you always been a writer or journalist or someone researching or writing about drugs and psychedelics?
Yeah, that's a good question. I've always wanted to be a writer. Ah, And so writing and reading were always a passion of mine. And separately, as a teen and young adult, psychedelics and cannabis were becoming passions of mine as well. And, um, it kind of just sort of happened as thes things do. I was reporting first on cannabis within a. The United States and Mexico on legalization at first, and then it really moved into more of, like the health benefits of cannabis and CVD and looking into different things, like CBT for arthritis and aging and pain. And and it just kind of naturally progressed with the mainstream interest in psychedelics. Thought there was more interest in writing about other substances outside of cannabis. And so my experience lent itself really naturally, too. Then writing about, you know, benefits of mushrooms and ketamine and MGM A and all these other sorts of things. And now it's become a specialty of mine and really lucky to do this full time and to have people reach out to me like I'd love for you to investigate like this weird little nations like until it culture. And I can just do that as a career. It's amazing. The bus thing it's Yeah, it's
just reading some of your stuff. One thing on the right that I really find interesting and appreciate a lot is you're bringing the experience into it, your own personal experience into it as well, which for something like psychedelic and drug research, I think is so critical and so important for for telling a story rather than from sort of a neutral, skeptic, skeptical point of view that you actually bring a lot of your own experience into it as well, in the way that you writing that comes through in your writing as well.
Oh, cool, yeah, you know, I try to also bring some skepticism, but ah, it's kind of like a tradition in this community for researchers and writers alike. Teoh Teoh to really, like, fully immerse themselves in this culture. And so, like the using the substances into passing them on themselves like, you know, the shoulder wins over Hoffman. But all the writers like Huxley and all these people you know, they were. That's it's kind of Ah, yeah, like a classic tradition. At this point, I'm lucky, too, to be able to do it. There's a lot of like, you know, it's not always legal and stuff, Um, and so sometimes a you know, just things still like Think about worry about in but arms. It's great. I mean, thank you. I I, uh I do want Teoh make sure to include, and not only my own point of view, but I really try to include a lot of other user experiences rather than just maybe, like what the researchers air saying or what happens in clinical trials. I really had to reach out to just like, for lack of a better word, you know, drug users out there just doing the thing. And they've developed their own rich fools or ways of, you know, staying safe and to spread that knowledge. And, um, and to also talk to, like underground researchers, underground therapists. I'm trying to bring that a little bit more into my work because there are so many points of view to the psychedelic Renaissance, um, specifically and the mainstream media can kind of get just not stuck. But you know, it's most acceptable to talk to the clinical researchers. But, you know, they're only doing what they're doing because of all the people that came before them. And so I want to just try to give everyone a voice when I can. For sure.
Um, Michelle, do you feel that, like, as a advocate and spokesperson, is there pressure to present psychedelics in a certain way, like through the medical trials as a medicine and you don't hear so much about the the mysticism, the the mystery, the spiritual side through the research. I know there's a study on the the spiritual aspect of it, but I feel like the advocates are kind of scarred from the sixties. Approach a counterculture, So they're doing it in a very smart way. Top down. Do you feel that pressure t kind of not alienate the lay people?
Yeah, I feel a lot of pressure. Ah, a lot of these things definitely. And honestly, when I was writing the book Ah, you're still aside and mushroom companion and, you know, tripping occasional. It's resurged. I would feel the pressure a lot like when I would come out of a journey or like in a journey, because I felt the pressure of the scientific community A to not like, be too reckless and controversial and Tween. You know, people in the scientific community can sometimes they think a little dangerous because they think that maybe I am encouraging people to do drugs. And I'm not like I am just a youngish person who's grown up in this world where everyone is is that I know have already been using these things and sometimes in dangerous ways. And so I just really want to keep you safe. I realize they're already doing it like how can we give people tools? To do this more safely is like a huge part of my mission. But I have to be so careful with how I say things. And then people think I'm not being careful and sometimes and it's a lot of pressure actually like. But the pressure to to speak toe laypeople is the one that I'm like the most passionate about. I think and toe like to really connect and resonate with the because the readers are going to be like just cycle knots or people that are curious or people that try this a few years to go or back in college. And they're like, Wait, maybe they're still a place for mushrooms in my life in my fifties or sixties or something like that and and I really I'm really speaking of those people. The medical community is great and there my experts sometimes and they're doing so much and it's it's not a binary, it's not us verse them, But I really, um I try to take the pressure from the just the normal people out there used saying that wanted you so better or safely as, like, my main motivator because, I mean, they're the people that that's what I'm speaking for. Yeah, I'm not a researcher, right? Like, I only have an undergrad degree. I'm not like, you know. So anyway,
I just want to say the voice you have, though I I love it. I was actually getting I got, like, a little emotional reading your blogged about your, um, retreat. You went on And how vulnerable you were reporting your true feelings about how you had this, like, imposter syndrome. And we're questioning yourself. I mean, I think you're doing it the right way. It was just raw truth of experience, and that was a beautiful journey. Um, reading that block, people should check it out. I think it was in Playboy.
Yeah, it was an article in Playboy. It was in a print issue, the pleasure issue last year. But it's also upon the website, and yeah. Yeah. Thank you. That means a lot. I'm going to start tearing up. That was a hard one to both right and just experience, but, uh, thanks Yeah,
yeah, there's I think there's a danger of off, sort of creating more hierarchies when it comes to talking about psychedelics like That's why because you say journalists there, one voice authors there, one voice and then But in these these musicians. And then there's these athletes. And then there's poets and artists and really sort of speaks to the fact that psychedelics and never psychedelics have being used throughout time, throughout history and certainly in contemporary time by everybody by the lay people, you know by there. And I think, one of the myths that's that's really sort of being dispelled by people like yourself when you're writing in the contemporary sort of realm. That we're now is the fact that everybody uses these substances and they're actually not. They're not sort of in the realm off hippies anymore, or people who are, you know, maybe sort of on the edge of society or who are who are certainly working in count countercultural realms. They're just everyday people, and I think to have to sort of to flatten this hierarchy of who gets to speak about it, I think is really important as well that it's not just the medical people. I think it's I think it's really important that the medical voice is prominent quite right now because we're in almost in this liminal phase, where we're awareness off off drugs and of psychedelics is sort of still coming into public consciousness again. The revival hasn't fully isn't fully fledged yet, so I think that there's an important of having a sort of a a very sort of, ah, modest scientific, you know, Johns Hopkins kind of voice to it as well. But it also not discounting people like yourself with your own story and certainly a lot of the work that D. J and I do as well as provide a voice for for guys to ah, interested in exploring these things and who are struggling with certain issues of being a guy in contemporary society and using it for physical exploration and so on and so forth.
Yeah, that's really cool. I think the work you guys are doing is really cool, because there needs to be like, uh, psychedelics and cannabis can almost be a really feminine thing just because they make you really in touch with your emotions and reflective and and we can just view that culturally asked them and even know like the buying. It is totally innocent, like whatever. But like just having Ah, the more thoughtful male perspective is is important right out off anything. Um, and I think that's it's really cool. And what I also wanted to speak to like this everyone is his idea because that's one of the most was one of the most exciting things about reporting on cannabis. Like 45 years ago. Ah was being able to highlight these voices that or using cannabis that are not your typical stoner, right? It's not like some buildings head skateboarding t picture like what after like weird stigma, a stereotype that we all still kind of have around cannabis and psychedelic users like or just drop because there's General like, but they're these kind of like lazy, dropout people in culture and that that's their illegal because it's inherently wrong and makes you like a bad person or something. But what we're finding with cannabis, um, psychedelics is it's like can be so much the opposite of that. It can really like make people more engaged in their own wellness in their communities and their families more balanced, emotionally more able to be reflective on when their emotions are out of balance and things like that and how they're such a guest social conscious to to the psychedelic experience where you realize, like its behavior of mine effects the people around me in a negative way. And then you come out of the trip wanting to change that. And there's just like so much and people so like with cannabis to it was like a fun thing Teoh to report on, like, you know, Grandma's using cannabis for arthritis or just like all these different, really productive members of society that you wouldn't normally associate with a drug user. Ah, that you know, smokes weed after work, and it's like you did. It's not an either, or you're not a drug user or a productive member of society. You can be both, um, and it's been a really fun time in the culture of the highlight that and now it's like move from cannabis like we're starting to accept that in the mainstream culture, with cannabis, not everywhere, and there's still a lot of work to dio. But it's also been fun. Teoh to do it with psychedelics to to try to change this stigma. And But then there's all these. Like other stigmas you run into like. Then there's the plant medicine people and so on. Lee natural psychedelics are OK and that their becomes all these other and first on my whole deal is to just like I want to just break all those barriers and just, like try to help people be open and understanding all types of substance. Use less judgmental, the less judgmental we are drug users, the last dangerous situations will put themselves in by using, you know, secretively and all these kinds of things and in the reckless city and impulsively. And so, um yeah, it's just like one small step on elevating a whole culture, but it's a fun and really meaningful work Teoh to be a big part of. So,
yeah, it's like, who are we to, ah, tell people these chemicals are more sacred? Ah, than others? Air. You can only alter your consciousness in this certain way. It sounds like you have the libertarian view of people Have the freedom to experiment, Aziz, long as they're not hurting, uh, others. And I like that and I'd like Teoh. I'd be interested. What is your view on, um, cannabis? Do you consider that a psychedelic? Do you group it in together?
I did it until recently, and I have been exploring this in my work a little lately. That cannabis. It's very psychedelic. I think it's like a really manageable psychedelic medicine. It's short acting. It's not as strong, but ah, you know, it's very not very common toe have, like the visual change but the emotional change and like the the cause for self reflection on and the new the perspective shift that, you know, smoking high THC cannabis they're using hot it initially cannabis where you do get, like an elevated experience. I think that you do get a perspective shift, and I realized that it's very much a part of more my like day today. Delicate spiritual practice where it's like I could have a really stressful today, and you really you could told people what love or something, and I can go smoke. Some cannabis is under the day and and reflect on that, and it might make me feel bad. It's not like a good trip will feel a little ashamed, and I really shouldn't. He yelled at him like that odor like whatever. But I can use that, like, instead of like saying That's a bad cannabis tripping cannabis gives me anxiety and stopping to use cannabis. I, like lean into that discomfort, and it's like, Oh, actually, I could it. Maybe next time I'll do this or I should apologize for this person. Or sometimes it's not being too hard on myself, like I'm not really like the easier myself. I'm still doing a lot like be grateful for the things I have, not the things I don't know, Whatever it's, it's overlapping My my new meditation practice to not that I spoken meditate, but that the skills that I'm learning when I'm learning how to meditate or actually like, really useful not just for the psychedelic experience but like for navigating cannabis experiences and using the new perspective, Teoh, like integrating it right like these things we talk about psychedelics, to using it to be sort of a better person. You don't have to do like a really deep journey with cannabis. I think for it to be psychedelic. I am this new level where and I think like setting, setting affects your cannabis experience. How you use cannabis intentionally or in a ceremony. There's a lot of different avenues. I think we're cannabis to be more accepted by the psychedelic community and practiced. There's a lot there. I do think
shall one of the, I guess, reading between the lines and some of some of your articles that I've read its this idea of of psychedelics being predominantly tools off wellness or seeking wellness, whether that's wellness in terms of healing, send traumas or wellness in terms off enhancing someone's spiritually practice. And I think I'd like to get your thoughts on this idea. Do you think we're too focused on this idea of what wellness is in the way that we can sort of categorize wellness instead of actually, I mean the way that that that I am certainly with DJs? Well, we we try and understand that the psychedelics has a tool for illuminating the entire spectrum of human experience and that could that could mean wellness. And it could mean performance related issues to do with physicality, for example. But it could also mean ways that we deal with, you know, tougher parts of our of our past where our shadow side or certain certain grief that's being unresolved or on on mitt in ah, in our past. So So I'd like to get your your thoughts on the way that you think in a way that we could. Language is a really important thing, like we were talking about psychedelics, I think and and I think, for people who may be new to this realm or or we're interested in pursuing this this that may be not to have too many expectations, mother, than just sort of have an idea of looking at psychedelics is the sort of open source off consciousness expansion year. Do you have any thoughts on that?
Ah, la. I think that we can kind of, like, get stuck in this place where it's only acceptable to use psychedelics. Like if you're trying to achieve wellness in a way like that, well, this can even be achieved at all that it's not this, like ongoing process, right, that because that it's more of a realistic way to look at it. Uh, it was hard for me at first getting back into psychedelics because I can deal with a lot of like depression and anxiety and stuff. And so I really did want it to help in those ways. But I think when we make that the goal that you know, I'm gonna take mushrooms, um, this, like, be gas dose. And afterwards I'm going to be totally healed and a better person. I think that's the wrong way to go about it, because I think that people come out of a trip and a lot of shadow stuff comes up and they don't know what to do with it. And it's like challenging Or, you know, they're not totally, you know, their social anxiety isn't gone or the depression still there. And it can, I think, that could make people feel worse coming out of psychedelic experience. It's like when you because I have a lot of just tryingto, um because you just you, when you have too many expectations, you could make yourself feel bad. Uh, even words unintentionally. And it's a big, um, kind of psychedelic navigations skill that they've been talking about since the sixties like tune with you. Larry talks about this thought. You know, going in with expectations is really the wrong way to do it, Um, and that's gonna affect your whole set. And if you're someone who always has a lot of expectations and always finds himself being disappointed like that same cycle is going to continue in the psychedelic experience, it's not a totally different thing. Um, at the same time, though, psychedelics can help, um, people be more reflective and more open and more understanding, more forgiving of themselves and other people in their pasts, and you can go in with intentions. But I wrote about this a little in that Playboy article. We were just talking about that. You know, uh, when you said too many intentions for a psychedelic journey, or like you have really complicated intentions and you want to just change the whole world with this one journey like that's kind of arrested you for a challenging experience, which I didn't fully realize going in. And it was like, Ah, you know, I'm gonna be all these things the next day, and it's like although it's just so much bigger and harder and more work than that. But when you go in with smaller and more simple intentions, just like to love yourself or forgive yourself for, you know, just more just like straightforward, simple or more things that reflect openness to any experience and acceptance. Like so Then I went into my last journey on that, um, at that retreat, just thinking, like, teach me. I'm listening just giving the mushrooms all the agency, like instead of trying to control everything and use it all for this, like, really specific path myself. That's when I got the most out of them. That's when they showed me, um, the most like self healing in this. I kind of hard to explain with words way because it wasn't very intellectual is very much like a feeling. Um, and I think that that's kind of a balance that you have to find if you want a use psychedelics for wellness, that it can help, Um, and you can form certain practices and do certain things. Teoh Teoh, you know, make the benefit as as much as possible. But in a way, you really have to trust yourself and the process. Ah, in this kind of hard to explain way where you can make wellness the goal. But you can't control the whole situation too strongly to achieve that goal. It's It's kind of an elusive thing. You just have to be very open to whatever confidence and and eventually it's going to help you get better if you want it to you. But it's it's complicated.
Michelle in that going back to that article, uh, I guess you would have what people call a bad trip in the beginning. Uh, and then I think you took double the dose at the end and had a great experience. What do you think there is such thing as a bad trip. Do you think they should just double the dose?
Ah, so the community likes to say there are no bad trips, right? There's just challenging experiences. And you can use those those you can even use the most to learn about yourself and your shadow and things you want to change and and I definitely agree to an extent. And I think does can actually also play a part which maybe I'll talk about that after, But I think the only bad trip experiences, um, or bad trips that I think exists are ones that are totally kind of unprepared for, like someone takes mushrooms really spontaneously at a party not knowing what they're getting into, and then they don't like it. And they spend the whole trip. Just wishing it was over, like that is, I think a bad trip. Um, and you condone you can get into that. You can have it challenging experience when you prepare for everything really well. And like, I was in a ceremony and all these things and I still had it really challenging, like, wasn't all bliss, you know, type experience. But I did get a lot of lessons. It's stuff from it as well. Um, so I think bad trips are I think it's just speaks to how important preparation is and knowing what you're getting into in the psychedelic experience. And Andi, most people, I think, Do you take that pretty seriously? Because it has been like community wisdom for a while now, toe, you know, do your home or agreed a little bit about the experience picked the does test your substances. These things are pretty getting normalized in the community. But I mean, yeah, challenging trips definitely still happen, and you really just got to go with it. It's part of you gotta dislike, really stupid, and it can still teach you a lot. But you know, dose is a funny thing with mushrooms, specifically because I do not feel like on lower doses of mushrooms, I can have more challenging experiences than higher one. Sometimes I'm not going to high, but like sometimes in the 1.5 to 2.5 range of mushrooms of like strong psilocybin mushrooms, like it can kind of just keep me in this, like, shadowy place where I'm, like, kind of just stuck in a swamp of all my negativity where, like, you go above 34 grams like, but still maybe less than five around there. And it can kind of, like, elevate me above my problems to this place of like, Oh, it's still a human like, What were you so worried about? I don't know. It might just be my mindset and stuff, too, I don't know, but I have heard from other people that sometimes lower doses are more intellectual, you know, and you kind of get, um, stuck intellectualizing things a little. And that can lead to some anxiety for some folks, or higher doses can be just less intellectual and more in the body, and it could be a little more blissful. But it really everyone's different, so it's hard to tell someone. Oh, just take four grams and it'll be fine because that's just not how it works, right? Like so. But for me, yeah, I am starting to. But, you know, and then every mushrooms different and stuff, too. So you get really used to one batch and then you get into a batch of That's totally difference. It's hard, but there's definitely something there had take you out
for that. And I was thinking, like, Maybe it's the the default mode network is still somewhat on and the ego, and you can get in those, uh, thought rationale loops. And when you go past that barrier just dissolves and you don't have the choice, right? So But I think same Lina's bad trips that, um, area might be good toe work through some things.
Yeah, and Stanislaw Growth said that too. He has a more about Estephe in his book on LSD. Psychotherapy. He has the whole thing on that, and how that that lower does experience is really good for a second, because a lot of stuff can come up and you can start to process it. You know, like with a therapist, when you're on your own, it could be harder, right? You get stuck in the negative thought loops in your legs, I don't know, but it's really interesting. There's, I think, like you're saying there's definitely benefits to both Experience is, and I wouldn't recommend if you've never tried mushrooms and you're listening to this to start high, like in the book. I recommend people do. You start alot just to get a feel for the experience, and then you, once you like, kind of know what mushrooms were like. I think then it then go up to a full eighth. But in the book, I say, You know, I know it's pretty common for people to start with a full 3.5 grams, but I say maybe try a little lower, you know, practice of your navigation skills, letting go you're setting, setting and then go higher. If you're still curious about what a deeper experience could be like, it's, I think it's more like a safety thing personally, but
one of the one of the realms that D. J and I are working with is doing research on micro dicing in terms of physical performance and physical sensitivity and awareness. Bodily awareness. Um, what's your I know you write about in your guide about microdot icing, and but what's your what's your experience? Because you're very much especially some perceptual doses. You're very much, um, if you're doing if you are very much practicing bodily awareness or physical practice, it's it could be a very, very powerful tool were found. Teoh actually enhance the experience. So I don't know whether you have any experiences from the physical side or what What your experiences are from from my tradition. Do you have any experience from certain protocols that you have bean looking at certain effects at all?
You know, that's interesting. Um, so I have tried my credo. Shing, I tried, um, the Fatima nine protocols override took, you know, a microfiche l'm every fourth day or third day, so I would take two days off and then another micro dose. But I couldn't office to do that very longer. It's too much micro justice. Ah, even though it's sub perceptual. And it wasn't like tripping, um, they do really affect me and I can find it hard to concentrate. And so I, ah, couldn't really do it for work. Like, you know, I was reading all these articles about people being really productive and then slow stay in all the stuff. But for me, I'm already a very open and emotional and kind of intuitive person. And and I know a lot of people use micro doses for that reason, and I kind of feel like, if it's like a bell curve like micro doses sent me, like off a little too far and looks like a little too open and emotional. And it was hard to focus, and I really just wanted to, like, go out into the woods instead of, like, do anything else. Um and so I like micro doses. I've never, um, tried it for really, you know, doing physical, really being in my body more than, like going to the park and hiking or, you know, and I think that's really interesting. And I would love to explore more. I think what you guys are doing is really interesting, um, in, like, athletic performance and stuff or just like, yeah, I'm, uh I'm really curious to learn more about your practices for me, I've always been more like a mind thing. I'm a writer. All my work is creative and comes from my ability to think, which is, like a lot of pressure, but micro doses they I like I'm just occasionally, um, for like, for creativity and for, you know, being in touch with nature, Um, and and thinking of things from a new point of view. But to be like, totally honest with you guys, I'm more of a macro dose person. Ah, and I I can kind of like, go to the like I'll be like, are up in a secret that's today. And then I'll just be like, man, this is really making me itch to do like a hired US experience. But, um, I'm just sensitive to Microsoft. Did it is often as other people do, I don't know. Ah, I have heard. So when I was reporting on cannabis, um, there was a lot of people athletes to wanted to talk about how the cannabis and high THC experience and like running and all these like physical activities together, we're like, really kind of spiritually a and ah, great for you like getting in the flow, stayed with exercise. And so, um, I know a little bit more about that than I even do about little side, unlike rejoicing End and that I think so. It's it's interesting to me, but I don't have much personal experience.
It's It's, I mean, certainly on and off the record. D. J and I have encountered a lot of a lot of athletes who are who are currently exploring micro dicing and having very profound results, often in training, just because it's for that sensitivity, that bodily awareness that that remembrance, that muscle memory, that reactivity and sensitivity that allows thes athletes so that when they do come to performing their certain sport or fight if they're martial artist, that they actually actually almost have that enhance memory and that they say they report that just having that some perceptual dose during training can actually really provide some sort of triggers to to a sort of a sensitivity that's always being there. But maybe this, or just not not so aware of during the normal kind of training. So it's being a It's been a really interesting process. I don't know where they D. J. You want to talk a little bit more about about the kind of reason what we've heard from professional athletes, a lot of them and martial arts fighting is pattern recognition and just reading the other person and quickly integrating it. And it's interesting because I think a lot of people are using that as a supplement because it's not tested for in these sports. And THC is, you know, that could be risky. So I think a lot of people are saying this is available. It's in aid and it's spreading. So when we are able to, uh, study it in performance or even allow it as a performance A. Because I think it's harmless at that dose should be just like another plant. Uh, ergonomic. I don't know. I would be really interesting to see.
Yeah, we should talk for a story. I should start thinking about this more. That's cool. I think this is really interesting. It's not surprising, right? Like the way of Micro does can make people more intuitive and in tune other people's emotions. Morton pathetic. You hear that a lot when people used it for, like depression and stuff, so it's like it makes sense. It's really interesting. Yeah,
learning skills. There's that neural plasticity and the new genesis there's there's a story there somewhere. Definitely.
Yeah, yeah, let me give this more thought. Call you guys back all interview.
Yeah, but the bodily said the body said he has, like, potential to be more flexible and not just a flexibility realm as well. Like this flexible in terms of the decision making process, especially in high performance sport. We're even for sport or even for non sports. Like, for example, yoga or something that involves a lot of breath control, that sensitivity as well. So it's, um it is an interesting realm, and it's a very under studied realm, which is why D. J and I. So you excited about the work that we're doing, the people that we're we're working with, and just to be able to combine it with, you know, to add physicality to the spiritual, to the mystic side to the healing side there, you know there's so many different elements with that's like it psychedelics consort of they can acts in this non specific way that they can act in ways that enhance so much of what's there or so much of what we're missing. Andi, I think it's an interesting realm. And, yeah, be called to talk more about that year.
Yes, for sure. Very collaborative. These plans, like visited mushrooms. They, very much from the meeting halfway to where you're on, like to help you get to that next level. And I think that's one of the best things about them. There are gonna be so many more applications. I think that in the mainstream culture, like right now with the mythical the crisis and you know, the opioid crisis and stuff. There's a lot of focus on psychedelics tra mental health. But there's like so many other avenues that I think are so what are the exploring and mental health is really at the basic. If it's a picture of mental helps, always there and everything. I was kind of work, you know, like So um, there's a lot. There's a lot of interesting stuff. Um, the ad look forward to it as well. Yeah,
about practical uses. I personally had ah opiate addiction when I was younger. Um, and I had a large my first still assignment experience. I would say it, like, cured me of it. But it was the start of the thread that I kind of pulled myself out with it. Just it showed me, um, a reality of what could be and kind of gave me the strength. Um, And I know you had some issues with some drug addiction passed, I believe. Could you talk about how psychedelics was a tool or our little helper? Ah, in that scenario and how you see it being used for clinical therapeutic uses in the future,
Yeah, yeah, eso My journey also isn't as it's not as black and white us like one much. Your journey cured my opioid abuse problem, But, um, I think that, um I mean, they can definitely help and and there is research into this, um, this is one of the fields that people are looking into because the psychedelic experience can really help you look at your life from a new point of view in yourself and your behaviors. And, um, and a lot of people come out of it realizing things that are like actually poisoning them or holding them back for me. Lately, my psychedelic experience has been showing me that My anxiety is actually the main thing that's holding me back that, like when I avoid social situation, skins and certain things, guess it's easier to just maybe go smoke weed and watch public's then toe like go to a podcast or like whatever it is, um, that that I'm actually hurting myself in holding myself back. And I'm the main thing that it's holding myself back like there's no one else. There's no like, Yeah, there's some circumstances and stuff I've endured like that makes my journey feel different or harder or easier than someone else's. But like I think one of the main thing psychedelics tell us is that like essentially, everything is in order control. It could be really hard thing to accept, but like every like are we have so much more agency than we give ourselves credit for. And one of the main lessons I've keep getting cause I often get the same license ready. Different journeys is that like everything is, it is a choice in my life, like I'm constantly making choices and I cannot take responsibility for my choices. It's very easy human thing to be like God, I didn't have a choice. I had to do it. But, like actually like everything we do is in our control and and that includes my anxiety. That includes my depression, the way I can abuse certain substances or whatever I'm doing. That's not super healthy, like that's all my doing, the way I can feel isolated, like that's my doing. I'm staying home instead of going out like all these things like That's not the culture right now That's a weird one. But before that, the dumb pick I waas still staying until much because it was easy here and I should have been going out water and engaging the community, because that is when I feel the most fulfilled and expert. It's exciting if it's overwhelming and it's like so I think that when the psychedelic experience, it can teach us these really kind of root things, and that can help people with addiction that can help people with eating disorders. It can help people with oppression, um, or it can help people without these clinical things that are still struggling with stuff. You know, we always talk about it clinically, but like you cannot have clinical anxiety and still stress about something too much and psychedelics. Can you see that and take a step back and be like, Well, maybe what if I tried this instead? And, um, yeah, I know it's a complicated one, Um, for sure, I think also, with addiction especially and eating disorders and other similar things. This, like there's a lot of a lot of those have the root and trauma and psychedelics. It's pretty well known, can really help people process their trauma and not let it be projected and control their lives so much. And I think that's a big part of what psychedelics teach guys and psychedelic therapy is trying to show is that, um, we can break these cycles, whether it's addiction or whatever or, you know, that are rooted in childhood trauma. Or, you know, just just be ashamed as a child over certain things, that stuff that, uh, we can actually go in and start Teoh, heal those things and move on instead of letting them control our behavior and our reactions to things. And it's really powerful. It's hard work. You have to really be open toe viewing all that painful stuff in the back, in your mind. But it can be really worse. It, um, and certain people it'll need more, you know, professional support, because their stuff might be harder. But but psychedelics are really I mean, another big lesson that they love to teach us is that we have that power within ourselves. Thio, Thio ticket yield ourselves essentially to make new choices and Teoh make better choices. I guess, in a way, ones that benefit us more and it's just it's just really is a lifelong journey. I feel like I'm very much an act, one of my healing turning It could be hard to talk about. It would be fun to talk about 20 years on wars happened, but, uh, yeah,
I think that I think that's really well said that that's that agency of choice again. And I think that's that's one of the the big differences or the big advantages with psychedelics over some of these Mawr common prescription medicines that they don't. They don't really allow us this agency of choice and see that in fact, we have their power to face these traumas and face these attachments ourselves and there's no there's no golden pill in what we're doing. But we're almost We're almost given this open window. And this opportunity to see water is that we need to do ourselves. And then from that, if we can sort of work, you know, again with with good integration practices, which I'd like to ask you about the sick that we can actually take a little, a little more control over the choices that we have in our own lives. A supposed to sort of seeking this this panacea, if you like off healing and, you know, in a in a few grams of mushrooms. But one of the let's talk to you in your book. Um, it was really interesting part about integration course integration. It's such a such an important part of the psychedelic process. Maybe even maybe, maybe it is the psychedelic process. You know, we have this experience and we get all of these downloads, and we were presented with all these leaks in our conscious awareness and then suddenly were left flat the next day thinking Oh, shit. What now? So So I think maybe I can ask you what? What? What can we expect of a psychedelic journey like? Do we Do we Do we have to have expectations off what it is. Or is it? Is it really important to have certain people or sit ups around us that can help us kind of navigate the space of uncertainty after the psychedelic experience?
That's interesting. I think, um, you can do certain things to help navigate the posts I could up the spirit. And I think there I think that having expectations about the trip is one thing, and that can be, you know, both beneficial. So you're prepared, but a little damaging because you have all these expectations. But I think having being prepared then for what is possible, the next few days in the next few weeks is also important and maybe can get overlooked because, um, I always a little bit in my but at the end of integration chapter is like what to expect post psychedelic experience? Because I don't think people talk about it so much, and it is kind of like it could be this very wrongness of emotion. It could be a confusing time. You hear a lot about afterglow in the media and, like Michael Paul and talked a lot about in his book How to change your mind, and that's definitely also a really saying where you can feel really great and almost likes and energize. And it's almost like a manicure, like all these things. And that could be really helpful for certain people till to make change. Just like to start going to the gym to stop doing this or whatever, but but I think what's also very common is to feel kind of confused, to feel kind of lost that seat if kind of overwhelmed with your downloads. If you have a lot of them and they are very like, you have to change your whole frickin lad. It's like that super stressful, because it's like I can't leave my partner and my job and I can't like, What am I going to do? You are, you know, these air kind of common examples. But I think then that's where the integration process can come to help. And that's also where maybe, um, doing psychedelics in a ceremonial way or in a retreat or with a guy that gives your kind of afraid that you're gonna feel kind of lost at sea. Then maybe you want to seek out some extra support um, because extra support not only for the journey like some kind of trip sister is is a good way to reduce harm. But toe have support and police for the next that week after that month after the day after. Ah, it can be a confusing time, and it can also be a time where you really need Teoh to do a lot of reflection. Get in touch with your South. And so there's all these practices that we recommend in the community like Yetagun patient. If you had a practice journaling, you know, maybe going to a group and sharing these kinds of things can help you feel a little less alone and confused just talking about it at all and find community to talk about your experience if you don't have any access to that which now does all online, so there's no excuse. There's all these, like virtual integration circles, but also just like I think people find a lot of, um support and repeating other people's trip reports going through a road vaults. This kind of thing can really just help you feel a little less alone in your experience. If it was really intense but it's going to take a lot of just kind of mining through, and maybe some journaling and processing just reflecting. I think going up into nature and blocking it reflecting can help people a lot on which one of these lessons needs to be enacted right now. What needs to be done, what can not, what can wait but like what's going to be a longer process? How do you hold more patients and compassion for yourself in this process? And I think a big part of it is just yet knowing it could be a little weeded and Harry those next few days. So you're not, you know, expecting an afterglow and getting a depression and being like, What's from with me? Oh, no, Like I'm even more damage than I thought. Psychedelics don't even work on me, right? Like I just feel like there's all these possible ways to make people feel even worse. And just so also be, I suppose, like, um, how we tell people to be a been to the psychedelic experience, no matter what it is, just got to accept. You got to be open, I think, to the post psychedelic experience and so, like all of life experiences. And, you know, to just deal with one at a time and do your best and, um, to not resist. Ah, that as well. It could be hard. It's a hard thing, and everyone's journey so individual. And so we talk of really broad it. It's Ah, it can be difficult for people to still even find comfort, I think. But you gotta trust yourself. I guess it's the main thing. It's hard.
Yeah, I certainly certainly record after my first. I'll ask you retreat coming back in just feeling completely empty and just completely shattered and completely disillusioned and sort of wondering why, Um, my my sort of new revelations, if you like, couldn't sort of fit back into this reality that I was entering back in, and I was completely unprepared for this whole integration phase. And, you know, I learned subsequently to that. The preparation Post Post retreated is just as important, if not more than your preparation prior to it to an experience anyway, inserts. So I've certainly lead to surround myself with yeah, with good people with nature and really developed my own practice is my own personal practices of off listening, finding compassion, finding peace in silence and solitude and, you know, writing, which I, of course, is my main practice. But yeah, I already like that part. And you stressed the importance off off having certain practices that you can rely on and then even be the same practices everyone else that they can certainly just be practices that in some waken can bring that ceremonial feeling back to your day to day life. And that could be something as simple as lighting a candle at night or just having a small, small little altar at home with the stone on it or something, you know?
Definitely. Definitely. I think it alters a good one. Yeah. Ah, it's such a I think it's a super common experience, your one coming back from an Iowa security tree and not Teoh. Uh, you know, say anything bad about retreat centers, but I do think that they just don't have the ability. Teoh really support everyone afterwards, right? And that can just It's just a technical problem right now that that I think the creation of these psychedelic integration circles and societies and places around the U. S. And Europe and I know that having one in London they can really That's the reaction to this this new phenomenon. People coming back from a treats being like, What do I do now? Oh, um, and so those air definitely really helpful. Places to go meet community If no one in your circle is very open to the psychedelic experience thinks she sounds crazy Person talking about your I'll ask a journey like you don't find someone who will understand it'll it'll be helpful for sure
of this. I want to ask a question that I would probably ask if we were all getting a drink somewhere. Um, what the hell do you think is going on with these substances like we've we've used the language. Um, they like they taught us their helpers, their teachers. Do you have the materialistic view of how we're interacting with them? Do you think there's a plant intelligence or do you even think that viewing it that way in the placebo sense might actually be helpful? Like, how do you How do they How are they in your story? What kind of characters are these? These plants?
Um, you know, I was never a very spiritual person. And I'm not like from California, I don't know from the jersey Like, I don't know, it was hard for me at first, but, oh, man, the more into it, the more I do you think that there there could there could be, like plant spirits or personas, um, or desires or intelligence on their part. Um, you know, it's funny that you ask me this today because I was doing a bunch of reading this morning on Kathleen Harris and work with cannabis and how cannabis can have a persona and how cannabis to her is like a a big sister and how cannabis and her were sister wives to Terence McKenna. She said this in a speech in 2017 which I thought was really interesting if you don't know when you're listening. Kathleen Harrison is an amazing ethnobotanist, but she's also famous to being Terence McKenna's ex wife, Autumn, and she really believes that cannabis has a persona and and I'm starting to feel this. I don't really feel it in my everyday practice, but when I was, um, I was a volunteer out of mushroom retreat, Lis January I was a trip sitter in a ceremonial women's circle for a week in Oaxaca. And um, really, because we're like in ceremony and really just like the whole container was very spiritually and very open. And ah, lot of other women there had very clueless relationships with different plans. Like I watch ska, Rapaille tobacco and all these things that I kind of felt like man, I don't even know, and I thought I was an expert. But, um, I think when you're in ceremony and you're under the influence of these plans, you can start to feel something and you can interpret it in any way that makes you feel. I mean, you can interpret it any way that you want, and if it is bit, benefits you to interpret it in the spiritual way where the cannabis persona is is with you and supporting you, then that's OK. I think you know, I just I don't think there's a right and a wrong. I don't know if it's true or not, like, who knows, right like, But I do feel like cannabis and washers have very strong personalities. The more I start to get to know them on this, like trying to get to the level. I don't know how to put this on the stove, sounding more psycho neurotic than I don't plan to. But I think that that mushrooms to other sex little tricksters I really identify with the persona that I've given them and and they are kind of misfit seekers. And there's something really kind of beautiful and fun and something I really, um, really attached to with that that I don't know if I'm putting the persona on them or they're giving me that persona. It's hard to tell, but I think that that's part of having a spiritual practice with these plants. A lot of people start toe, personify them and see them and use, you know, pronouns like she here they are for a plan and and I think that not really know what I think. I think I'm still learning. I think that plants are amazing and I wouldn't be surprised if they had some kind of intelligence there, like making music and breathing and doing all these other things. I think that it's very possible and they are starting to talk to me, so I don't know that a good it's thank
you. Thank you for brain not being afraid of a little Wu
e Do love my will. Yeah. Okay.
Yeah, I would say. Can we agree? Still, Asaib in is a he is that Is that what it's classified as?
I don't know. I have never gendered. I feel like cannabis is definitely a she But I feel like mushrooms to me are multiple beings, you know? So it's
good being drunk their
whole community got
cactus is a he
I could see that people call him the father. Don't they or no, that's I vote a boga. I think people call the father. Yeah,
I think the grandfather is the But what should Mother San Pedro cactus Interesting. The masculine energy, at least in there. But I Yeah, I agree. The mushroom is you know, for me like you mentioned, it was funny. You just called called Mushroom the Trickster. And that's something that I've come across before. And I've actually felt that trickster energy When when I often feel that sort of that yin yang sensation within meet during a trip that I have that very masculine sort of a male sense of of power and grounding this and maybe I'm sitting around a fire and then they'll just be on my shoulder or just at 1/4 of my eye that that feminine side will be. There will just be kind of reminding me to hang on like, you know, I'm still here as well, you know? And I realize, like, who's talking to me? And I'm talking to myself for, You know, I would like to just think that, you know, maybe they're all just reflections of our own consciousness and just this expanded, universal conscious language that we're tapping into. And maybe that's just within us. Maybe it's best that that's that God within us that we're just looking at and we're maybe it's just easy for us to give them names and t to assign them these different characters out there. But, yeah, I think it's a fun. It's always a fun kind of experience going into these different ceremonies or trips to see what's there and to see how your own sense off, off living go or attachment is going to come up and be shown up in the experience, because it always is right.
Yeah, that's really interesting. The duality thing you know, it's funny you say that because I think that's very much part of, like the mass attack, uh, Mexican indigenous culture here that I've been learning about. They very much view the mushrooms in a like a lot of cultural things in this masculine and feminine duality. And you're supposed to eat the mushrooms in pairs to keep it the duality, you know, equal, Um, when you do a ceremony. And so, yeah, people have definitely been experiencing that for then centuries, right? If it's like this indigenous group has feeling this, so it's it's it's kind of hard to not think that there's something going on when so many people have really similar, like realizations and stuff like that. Like perhaps the mushrooms or the plants air like way smarter than us. And they're just like, Oh, silly humans personifying us, we want nothing to do with personification were way smarter than you, although times
I always love always love listening to Dennis Mechanic cause you always somehow comes back to that story, where with him in Terrence were down there and they discovered all these mushrooms. And then they came out of that experience, realizing that it's like we're not in control of any of this, and I think that was in his early days in his thirties. Now he's probably close to 70 and he's still saying the same thing, you know? So I think he has so much reverence for the for the for the power of this spirit, whatever it is, whether it's something external to us or whether it's something sort of indigenous to our own brain or who knows, I think it's a look. It's a beautiful mystery anyway, and I think the mushroom is is such a whatever we want to call it right. We want to call it a medicine or a teacher or a reflection of our own soul. I think it's Ah, I think it's a It's a It's a very beautiful, powerful sacrament that we can We can bring a lot of reverence and a lot of context to our own sense off, being alive and being human. I think it's something that we don't need toe to always sort of adhere to certain ideas of how we should do it, or or how we should represent the mushroom in ceremony or which traditions we should follow. our or respect or not, but we should. We should just respect their the process off going into Sermanni and hold these whole the beautiful chemicals these substances within in such high regard because, yeah, I mean, I've been such a for me such a such a profound part of my life. And I you know, when I a few years ago went in to my first mushroom ceremonial very carefully planned and organized, and I was just just blown away just by how, how, how powerfully illuminating they were fit for so many different aspects off my life that I was just not aware off. And then and then from there, it's It's always it's always been an important part of the process for me, Teoh to hold these these little teachers in such high regard and not to disrespect them. And I think, yeah, I think your book is a really good representation for people who may be maybe new to this or even people that want This is a good reference guide is approach these things carefully, you know? Sure, have fun with them, approached him with intention to hell or Teoh to illuminate our conscious awareness or creativity. But but But take
it seriously. Yeah, yeah, yeah. That was like, if people take nothing more from the book was hoping they would take that. So excellent. But, you know, um, I wanted to say something else to that, but knowing, forgetting Um oh, that, you know, it's so incredible that there are, like, over 100 50 different species of psilocybin containing mushrooms around the world. That's always that these that that experience lives in a planet in the woods is like It just always blows my mind So beautiful, it's This planet is so amazing. Um, and there's just that there are so many and they're like in every continent, basically, it's really beautiful thing that there can not be some kind of reason for that. Um and like, yeah, I keep thinking about it. I just listen to this Kathleen Harrison talk about cannabis spirituality, and she kept asking like, Who is cannabis and why is it here and now? And this was in 2017 and and now I keep thinking now that psychedelics and mushrooms air becoming such a bigger thing. It's like, who are the mushrooms and what are they doing here right now that it can't just be a coincidence. This, like crazy time in our culture and and the resurgence of mushroom use. It's like gotta this, I don't know. There's something there for sure.
Yeah. I think there's so much more that we could talk about. Michelle, we haven't even got to there the whole Mexican part of how you got down there and why Why you down there and what you're found down there during your research? Maybe we could have you on again to talk about that. It's a, uh it's such an important question as well as looking at their actual history of these these three substances as well. And what history can teach us about contemporary use in the way that we can approach these these substances as well. So maybe we could we could have ah have a part to at some stage and go deeper into into that. And I could maybe bring in some of my anthropological tails as well. Andi, maybe have a fun discussion about that.
Yeah. Everyone stay tuned for part two. I'm definitely thing has been really fun. You guys are having a good time. This is, um I really appreciate you having me on the show. It's great.
Yeah, This was great. Thank you so much. So I really recommend your book, your psilocybin mushroom companion, and that's available that, uh, at all good online bookstores. I guess Now
it's on Amazon, Barnes and Noble Powell's books. Whatever your preference, you should be able to find it.
And your latest writings, we confined them on your instagram feed or
Yeah, I'm pretty active on Instagram at Michelle. Dr. Nick in and I do have a website to Michelle Janicki and dot Commer. I try to keep updated with my work in the podcast reviews of the book, that kind of thing. So
and can you give us a wee sneaky clue into what you have currently writing about
who, Um, I'm just finishing this really epic and kind of controversial article on psychedelics and bipolar disorder and that will come out soon on psychedelics today. So look out for that. I've been working on this one for a long time and, um, excited for it to hit the world because there's a lot of think, a lot of new ideas in there that, um, I'm really nervous about. So yeah, kids stay tuned.
Yeah, we've got a share ideas and I think it was Terrence that once said that That's the That's the thing that's lacking in modern society. Is people people being afraid to come back to go out on news adventures in these journeys and come back with ideas? I think it's really nice there to have your voice out there. You know, Andi to be sharing your experiences and your ideas. And it was really nice to have a check.
Yes, different kind. Yeah, thank you so much.
Thanks again. See Michelle for that really interesting chat that's so called Teoh talk to people who were not afraid to ask questions and walk the walk with whatever they're interested in. Their Michelle is certainly not becoming voice in the psychedelic space. I totally recommend chicken out here new book your cell aside and mushroom companion and check out some of their articles as well. And I'll link to those in the description below. We'll leave you with a track from the Wave Lord himself. A cure of the dawn. Any dream you wanted. Thanks again for listening. And don't forget to give this five star review It really helps share with your friends, Grandmother. Your alter ego. Take it easy and we'll see you next time.
Do you have the power to dream? Any dream You dream Any dream you wanted? You You You want to try and see something from another point of view for a change? I'm not saying that we should do what they do but limited from another point of view, they would smile it off. You really think it was really cool? Left? Have you never experienced? But on the inside of this game, trouble with you. Westerners you never experience. You never got down to the root of reality. You don't know that State of conference. So? So you're frantically trying to patch everything up and then it all together Screw the universe Upset. It's fixed. You can never do it while rushing around creating trouble. I wonder I wonder what you would do if you have the power to dream. Anything you wanted you wanted You wanted to thank you. Thank you. Agree you wanted. I wonder I wonder what you would do. You have the power to dream Any dream you I agree. Thank you Western educated Hindus think the same way they're now for rushing around patching India up. What's gonna happen? Is there going toe Armel the millions of people in India, and they're going to create a lot of trouble in nation one of these days when they become powerful society. When you read Milton's paradise lost long before Lucifer decided to rebel, the whole of heaven was armed, and he describes the legions of angels with their discussions and gone Fulham's Onda military before who was looking for trouble, who was looking for. I wonder what you would do if you have the power to dream any dream you want. You want you want, you can agree. One that I wonder. I wonder what you would do if you have the power to dream any dream you wanted, you wanted to thank you. Thank you. One. What So the window looks at our Christianity. Thanks. My goodness, my goodness, the eternal self. But in the idea of Christianity, the Godhead is having so far because not only is he incarnated himself, say, a some wretched beggar, but he's incarnated himself as a Christian soul. Believes that in this one short life. He will decide his eternal destiny. And the possibilities of making a mistake are greater. Being allows a beggar possibility involved in the Christian gamble is to fry in hell forever and ever and ever and ever. Even the Avici hell, the bottom of the knowledge only goes on for about one Kalpoe. The everlasting damnation. What an idea! So the Hindu says Bravo. You know God has really done it there on himself. This time I wonder I wonder what you would do if you have the power to dream. Any dream you wanted, you wanted. You wanted. You agree? You wanted. I wonder I wonder what you would do if you have the power to dream. Any dream you wanted, you wanted to thank you. You want what you want?