Update: This concludes the live portion of the IAmA, but we will follow up to more questions over the next few days so feel free to keep the conversation going. Thank you everyone and good luck Jesse with your race!

My short bio: My name is Jesse Gould and I am a former army ranger. Currently, I am at mile 20 of a 100 mile ultramarathon called Keys100. I run a foundation for veterans with PTSD called Heroic Hearts Project (https://www.heroicheartsproject.org/keys100/) that helps the learn and access psychedelic therapy with ayahuasca. Today I will be joined by the world's leading experts from the field of psychedelic science & ayahuasca medicine practice. Ask us anything! I am just running a major storm but for now... let's get it started!

My Proof: https://photos.app.goo.gl/SToA53DbPWgk6bmA3

Live video Update from the race Update from Mile 30

Special thanks to the naturopathic medical student organization, ERA - Entheogenic Research Awareness, who are currently planning the first ever psychedelic medicine conference at a medical school next year, at SCNM in Tempe, AZ - the Southwest Conference of Entheogenic Medicine. Find them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=entheogenic%20research%20awareness


1) MARIYA GARNET is an ayahuasquera and sound healer with over 10 years of experience. Having begun doing plant dietas in Peruvian Amazon in 2008, Mariya moved to Peru and dedicated herself full time to shamanic apprenticeship and healing work. Having built and ran a retreat in the Amazon, Mariya has worked with thousands of people following both her native Siberian shamanic tradition and Amazonian vegetalismo path. These days Mariya spends most of her time in Canada dedicating herself to her family, Shamanic Sound Healing work and online counselling focused on psychological preparation and integration of the ayahuasca medicine.

Sat, May 19th @ 11am-1pm EST

Website: https://www.ayaceremony.com/ Proof: https://photos.app.goo.gl/8FdTvoUhdkdkqWdM2

2) BRYCE MONTGOMERY is the Associate Director of Communications at Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) and also serves as a volunteer for their Zendo harm reduction project which applies the therapeutic principles and practices developed in their research settings to alternative real-world applications where users of psychedelic drugs can benefit from the support, guidance, and nurturance of well trained and caring staff.

Sat, May 19th @ 1pm-3pm EST

Website: https://www.maps.org/news/multimedia-library/6112-the-addictive-podcast-psychedelic-therapy-with-bryce-montgomery Proof: https://photos.app.goo.gl/xpTotjbrHuY1Fvqw1

3) SHIMA ESPAHBODI, PhD is trained in both clinical sciences and psychotherapeutic approaches. She is co-founder with Dr Robin Carhart-Harris of the new charity GLOBAL PSYCHEDELIC RESEARCH launching on 9/20 (http://www.globalpsychedelicresearch.org). She worked as a scientist at the University of Oxford prior to returning to the Peruvian Amazon to work alongside indigenous curanderos learning about Ayahuasca's therapeutic potential. She has an integral/holistic approach to psychotherapy encompassing work with clients struggling with symptoms diagnosed as Bipolar, PTSD, CPTSD, Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), depression, anxiety, and other issues. She is interested the relationship between chronic pain, depression and anxiety with patients who suffer from chronic disease and how plant medicines can be used to resolve these issues.

Website: http://www.globalpsychedelicresearch.org/ Proof: https://photos.app.goo.gl/fzHt67omsJ34KOEk2

Sat, May 19th @ 3pm-4.30pm EST

4) JOE TAFUR, MD - For the last decade, family physician Dr. Joe Tafur, author of "The Fellowship of the River", has been exploring the role of spiritual healing in modern healthcare. At Nihue Rao Centro Espiritual - an ayahuasca healing centre in the Amazon jungle of Peru, Dr. Tafur supervised traditional education for allopathic (Western) medical students. He is now developing new educational programs for Modern Spirit. Dr. Tafur currently works part-time as a family physician in the United States and continues as a medical consultant to Nihue Rao Centro Espiritual.

Website: https://soltara.co/joe-tafur/ Proof: https://photos.app.goo.gl/Q89jXoNU5LGB0noo1

Sat, May 19th @ 4.30pm-6pm EST

Comments: 1029 • Responses: 36  • Date: 

CraigingtonTheCrate730 karma

What is the worst outcome you have ever seen from psychedelics? If someone has a bad trip, how often do you see them learn from it and come away stronger, instead of just making their lives seem worse? I've done shrooms and lsd a few times and always had great trips, but have friends that had bad trips and seem pretty haunted by the bad trips even still.

Weheroichearts509 karma

Mariya Garnet, Ayahuasquera

Personally all the ayahuasca ceremonies I have attended or conducted have not resulted in anything so serious and it is because we do screen people for potential mental illness, history of psychosis, medication and supplements interactions. Working slowly with an experienced facilitator is the key to safe work. I don't want to go into all scary scenarios of the worst possibilities, but yes, strong plants and substances can trigger psychosis and latent mental illness. "Shrooms" are sacred plants and medicine, which are being misused even sometimes with the best intentions.

Joe Tafur, MD

I have seen some pretty bad outcomes. I myself work within a shamanic context with advanced healers, our work is based in Peru, where we use ayahuasca in a ceremonial context. Within that expertise it is possible to help people through difficult experiences, and help them beyond those experiences

Shima Espahbodi, PhD

I think each case needs to be looked at individually - what was the experience of the 'bad trip' ? What did you see, hear, feel, experience? What i have seen is that often when people talk about/have bad trips they are referring to experiences of troublesome, unconscious memories for which they had no preparation or support. Hence my earlier point about unpredictability and importance of having trusting, experienced healers/facilitators. Some say there is no such thing as a bad trip, and those 'journeys' which are difficult are doing the deep work needed to face ones shadow, surrender and release what is not serving you. The 'worst' outcome i know of was somebody who took lsd recreationally and during the journey many repressed memories of deeply traumatic childhood events came flooding to conscious awareness. these memories had been buried for many years until the trip. It was a kind of re-traumatisation as this person had no idea this would happen and consequently needed medical attention. Unconscious memories, emotions, and fears can often be released during psychedelic journeys - that is why preparation, integration and context is very important

pitselehh152 karma

This is word for word the same reply you gave to a different question

Weheroichearts375 karma

Heroic Hearts Project

This was an honest mistake by our team when we erroneously copy pasted Mariya's answer to another question too. We coordinate responses from Jesse on the road and our guests and sometimes "the wrong window" mistakes do happen. Our sincere apologies, this was not Mariya posting the same answer twice

kidhumbeats144 karma

Are you saying that people with history of mental illness are excluded from attending these ceremonies?

PTSD has been a recognized mental illness since 1980. So it seems like a lot of Heroic Hearts Project participants would run into problems during screening?

Weheroichearts214 karma

Heroic Hearts Project

People with a history of psychosis are not able to participate in ayahuasca ceremonies. PTSD does not generally fall under that spectrum and many people were able to successfully address their trauma with ayahuasca and psychedelics in general

Weheroichearts4 karma

Dr. Joe Tafur

I have seen some pretty bad outcomes, I work within a shamanic contexts with advanced healers, our work is based in Peru, where we use ayahuasca in a ceremonial context, within that expertise it is possible to help people through difficult experiences, and help them beyond those experiences

Exdiv197 karma

So everyone is running the ultra? Is anyone under the influence of any of these substances for the run?

Weheroichearts282 karma

Jesse Gould

It all happens without anyone going anywhere. For now I’m running all by my lonesome and everyone else are in comfy computer chairs

Rasta_Lance153 karma

I’m studying public health in school right now and I really believe psychedelics are the future for mental health treatment. How would you suggest volunteering or getting an internship at an organization studying psychedelic use? I really want some experience in this field and would love to be a real researcher in this area one day. Also what organizations would you recommend looking into? Thanks in advance!

Weheroichearts100 karma

Yuriy from Heroic Hearts Project

Such internships are in popular demand nowadays among grad students! We actually will be opening an internship at our organization soon. We definitely could use some help with our community outreach work. If you're interested in applying, please send me an email at [email protected] and we can discuss

Reaching out directly to researchers and asking thoughtful and specific questions about their research is always a good idea too.

Update from Yuriy: I would like to clarify that my suggestion of a communications & outreach internship does not imply that I encourage grad school scientists to do marketing for us. Heroic Hearts Project itself does not have research internships and I wanted to simply offer and share what we do have at the moment for those interested in helping out our project. Please do check Bryce's response below for a lot more direction on the topic of scientific research internships. Sorry for the confusion

Poof_Wonder24 karma

What kind of degree path/s would be desirable to get these internships?

Weheroichearts24 karma

Yuriy from Heroic Hearts Project

Psychedelics as a field of investigation and activism is as cross-disciplinary as it gets, by the very nature of such an experience. Therefore, we see people from every single educational path becoming active in this community. Depends on how exactly you want to contribute, you may want to study neuroscience, clinical psychology, or instead you can focus on law or arts. There's work available for every single profession out there. Psychedelic medicines work holistically on the individual and communal level. Therefore, not a single path is left out in terms of being able to contribute

Weheroichearts53 karma

Bryce Montgomery from MAPS

It's exciting to live in a point of time in which careers as psychedelic researchers or psychedelic therapists are more feasible than ever before.

If you have interest in receiving training to become a psychedelic therapist, I suggest that you sign up for emails about the MDMA Therapy Training Program

One great way to get involved with MAPS is to sign up as a volunteer. One of our resources online is specifically for students interested in psychedelics.

Here are three educational articles that may help support your intentions for the future:

I recommend staying aware of any potential opportunities with these other organizations:

Every 3-4 years, MAPS hosts a massive conference called Psychedelic Science, and I've seen how the connections made there have led to spectacular opportunities for aspiring researchers. Sign up for the MAPS Email Newsletter so you can stay caught up with upcoming conferences and events about psychedelics.

KaneHau118 karma

Curious if you have experimented/researched Salvia divinorum?

I'm in my 60's - but during my college years experimented heavily with LSD, shrooms, etc.

Never in my life have I had experiences (along with vivid recall) that I have had in 15 seconds on Salvia divinorum.

Truely disturbing experiences (that required a year of thought and insight to get around)... but wow!

Just curious on any insights you may have.

Weheroichearts57 karma

Mariya Garnet (Ayahuasquera)

Sorry, no insights here as I never worked with Salvia myself.

Velocirapture122796 karma

Mariya, how do you go about "psychologically preparing" someone for a dose of ayahuasca? I've seen documentaries and such where people are taking these substances under the direction of an expert, but as a psychedelic user myself, I am wondering if there are any tangible differences between doing that and simply taking it yourself without aid.

Weheroichearts94 karma

Shima Espahbodi, PhD

Ayahuasca is a sacred plant medicine that is very powerful and unpredictable. it should not be underestimated or taken without the traditional ceremony and an experienced curandero/shamen/ayahuasquero. Psychological preparation is crucial as is cleansing the body of substances that can have potentially lethal reactions with aya. These include pork, alcohol, all recreational drugs, and many prescription drugs that act on the CNS, namely anti-depressants and especially SSRI's can be potentially lethal with aya.

It is important to feel safe and trusting with whom you drink aya in ceremony . Depending on your intentions and what the medicine shows you, you will need to be in an environment where you can be supported and your process facilitated effectively with care

One of the powers of aya is capable of accessing the unconscious and bringing to the fore material, often painful, that has been locked away. this material can be repressed memories, and accompanying emotions. Usually painful ones that were unbearable to be processed at the time. In shamanic perspective this is seen as release of energy, low vibrational that has been stored in the person and affected their lives in some way. Purging is often accompanied and is part of the healing process

Mirrirr59 karma

I find this area very interesting, but I have deep concerns about applying shamanistic biotechnology without a framework - not perhaps as your project does, but as some of the people visiting this sub might be participating.

From my view: A person who has devoted their life to be a shaman is a person who takes on a heavy psychic burden to bring back information necessary for the tribe, and to remain with one foot in another sphere of influence in order to act as a guide. The experiences of a shaman separate them from regular people, and to be a shaman is to exist at once outside the realm of the every day, outside the group or the community, and yet holding keys and sacred knowledge and insight into that very community, intrinsically at one with and suffused with that community and its identity. Not to be taken lightly.

This evolved biotechnology was once a part of all people's lives in some form. After a long absence in the human sphere we see the old ways returning, their power undiminished. Yet without these guides, without the wisdom of ancient ideologies, without rituals that protect our normal consciousness during these journeys, a person is likely doing real damage to their own psyche and consciousness.

My question is for the Ayawaskera:

Buenas tardes.

What steps are you taking to root these treatments in some kind of ideological framework that remains true to the ancient tradition which is your calling? Are you employing ritual and ritual artifacts to shape the experience and protect the minds of those you guide? Are you using any newer techniques?

Finally, do you think that our world would benefit to a return to coming-of-age rituals involving these powerful tools of consciousness for all human beings at a certain age - as we see in indigenous people's communities still in some far corners - to separate them from childhood and prepare them for the dualities we face in adulthood?

Weheroichearts31 karma

Dr. Joe Tafur

the shaman is a human being, I trained with an indigenous Shipibo shaman, Ricardo Amaringo, for him it is also 2018 and they are trying to incorporate all kinds of things into their life and culture. It is extremely important that we respect traditional culture and draw from ancestral wisdom, I think the way to do this is through dedicated study, under the guidance of experienced practitioners connected to a lineage. The appropriate rituals etc will be dependent on the lineage and people involved, its about people.

ImmaBloodyFiretruck29 karma

Hey Jesse it's that super shaky private from a few lockers down. Im actually foward right now . Super cool to catch you on Reddit mayne.

Fins First

Weheroichearts13 karma

Jesse Gould

Stay safe brother. Hit me up. Rangers lead the way!

BerryMcCockinher33 karma

When you go on an ayahuasca trip/experience, do we all see mother ayahuasca and go to the same relative place? I’m also a fan of Graham Hancock and I’m curious if you’ve heard of him and what you think of him. He’s a psychedelic advocate. Namely ayahuasca

Weheroichearts41 karma

Jesse Gould

The beauty of things like ayahuasca is that it is a very personal thing. It affects everyone differently. It can affect you differently each time you take it. Some blast off to space, some don’t have hallucinations at all, for me it’s often a very physical and at times very unpleasant. But that’s the power in it. Everyone has different mental issues and so it makes sense that something as individualistic as Aya often has success while a lot of SSRIs don’t. And if you do see mother Ayahuasca the appearance varies but generally the feeling of comfort is pretty consistent

CarlPeligro27 karma

What legal barriers do veterans seeking treatment need to hurdle? Is ayahuasca illegal in the United States, or is there some sort of loophole whereby the ingredients used in making it are perfectly legal, but the substance doesn't become illegal until DMT is produced?

Weheroichearts18 karma

Jesse Gould via Video

Sorry, can't type now ;) https://youtu.be/PakRpPWedfI

macthebearded24 karma

Real Ranger or tab ranger?

Weheroichearts32 karma

Jesse Gould

3 combat deployments with 1/75th, ranger tab and was in charge of 30 rock eaters. You tell me. Oh and if you don’t got it get down

DrinkDice23 karma

Do you stare at goats?

Weheroichearts19 karma

Jesse Gould

I did we are good friends now. But the coward wouldn’t run the race with me

blewupmyspot20 karma

Hello! Something like psychadelic research for PTSD sounds great, but how do you hope to get funding? As much science and data there is to prove it actually does help, I really dont see there being a large political movement in support of it. Curious how you all hope to overcome the legal complications as well.

Also there's a great podcast called Reply All where one of the hosts microdosed LSD for a week at work. It was fascinating and might help pass some time on your run (if you listen to anything while you run). https://www.gimletmedia.com/reply-all/44-shine-on-you-crazy-goldman

Weheroichearts43 karma

Jesse Gould

The sentiment towards these drugs is changing rapidly. The MAPS MDMA study just got $20 million for private donors. That’s why I think the veteran cause is so important. If we are able to get to a point where we show these medicines help veterans way more than what’s available that’s huge pressure on our politicians. How can you say you are pro military and ignore a viable treatment while veterans have a ridiculously high suicide rate. This will spill over into the public demanding the same. You are right that there is no economic incentive for companies, but political pressure applied in the right way is a powerful thing

Weheroichearts27 karma

Bryce Montgomery from MAPS

MAPS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and we rely on the generosity of individual donors to achieve our mission. As of now, funding for psychedelic psychotherapy research is not yet available from governments or major non-family foundations.

We have raised $26.2 million of the $26.7 million required to successfully conduct Phase 3 trials required to gain approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy by 2021.

We are thankful for any donor who contributes to our mission, no matter how small or large the gift may be. Some of our largest gifts have been over $1 million. For example, Dr. Bronner's of the "Magic Soaps" fame pledged $5 million to MAPS to support our clinical trials of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD.

MAPS accepts cryptocurrency donations like Bitcoin, which led to the offer and completion of a $4 million matching grant provided by the Pineapple Fund, generating a total of $8 million through traditional currency and cryptocurrency.

To overcome legal complications, we make sure our science is incredibly rigorous. We work with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Institutional Review Boards (IRB), and all other government-required entities that must be involved with clinical trials involving Schedule I substances.

Arodsteezy215 karma

How promising are psychedelics in the treatment of addiction?

Weheroichearts16 karma

Shima Espahbodi, PhD

Psychedelics are very promising in the treatment of addiction. As they often exert changes in behaviour and thinking that last. They can potentially disrupt entrenched patterns of behaviour allowing a 'reset'. with accompanied psychological/therapeutic support before, during and as integration after the treatment. A few small trials with psilocybin for nicotine and alcohol cessation have reported good results. The majority were smoke free 6 months after follow up

In a small study alcohol cravings and abstinence were still achieved at 9 months post psilocybin treatment with supportive therapy. Important point is that the context during and after the treatments has an influence on outcome

Weheroichearts9 karma

Dr. Joe Tafur

I think there is a lot of promise with psychedleics for addiction, that was noticd early on, the most promise seems to be withing a larger context, like psychedelic assisted therapy or ayahuasca shamanism, by themselves they have not been that consistently helpful

Crewman-Chu11 karma

First, I want to thank you all for the work you do. I just graduated from journalism school (studying strategic communication), and drug policy is one of my chief areas of interest. You're doing a great job, and I look forward to helping your cause(s) in any way I can.

I see a lot of parallels and similarities between issues involving cannabis and psychedelics (e.g., prohibition, propaganda, medicinal use, legalization). Just as people have been lied to and intentionally frightened about cannabis, they have been lied to and intentionally frightened about psychedelics. Just as the government falsely claims that cannabis has no medicinal value and blocks the research to prove otherwise, it does the same with psychedelics. We've made a lot of progress in the fight for sensible cannabis policy, but the fight for psychedelics is just getting warmed up.

What do you think will be different (easier or more difficult) in the fight to research, normalize and legalize psychedelics for responsible and therapeutic use, as opposed to the fight for cannabis?

What have we learned from the history of cannabis prohibition and re-legalization (beginning with California's medical cannabis law in 1996) that we can use in our efforts to combat the fear, misinformation, stigma and prohibition of psychedelics?

This question is mostly for Bryce Montgomery with MAPS, but I'm sure you all have valuable insight! I'm interested in hearing about your communication strategy. Who are your main target audiences? What are the main messages that you try to get across to them, and how do you go about doing that? How do you measure the effectiveness of your communications? Is it more important to target and change the minds of average citizens, politicians or medical/scientific professionals?

Weheroichearts7 karma

Bryce Montgomery from MAPS

Thanks for your question and support of creating evidence-based drug policy!

I think the expansion of medical cannabis has lots of lessons that can help psychedelic medicine become an FDA-approved prescription treatment. One of the reasons medical cannabis succeeded was due to people directly knowing someone who received a therapeutic effect, which slowly reduced stigma on a major scale.

At MAPS, we believe that personal experiences are sometimes the most compelling way to describe our work. I recently filmed interviews with MDMA study participants who overcame treatment-resistant PTSD after receiving MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in MAPS' Phase 2 trials, and I think testimonials like this go a long way toward describing the impact of our research.

Each time mainstream media writes about psychedelic research, new audiences receive positive outlooks and honest education about psychedelics in ways that is a complete opposite of the negative press cycle in the 1960's, and I think this is a major factor towards sensible perspectives about psychedelics. For example, MAPS' MDMA research just received very positive coverage from the New York Times.

As more and more people come out of the psychedelic closet, the stigma surrounding psychedelics will continue to decrease. To help further this idea, we recently launched a campaign celebrating the 75th anniversary of the first-ever intentional LSD experience from Dr. Albert Hofmann on April 19, 1943. We received over 50 public tribute videos about how LSD changed people's lives.

In general, we want to provide honest education about psychedelics to anyone willing to learn. We communicate with the public through digital platforms like our website or social media, and also our physical brochures and tri-annual Bulletin.

I wish you luck in your future work in the drug policy movement! I invite you to seek opportunities with the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) because they are an incredible organization.

VenusFry5 karma

Hello and thanks for your service. Now I’m not great at asking questions so do you have any for me?

Weheroichearts7 karma

Jesse Gould

Have you ever drank baileys from a show?

Rhynovirus3 karma

Question for Dr Tarfur: I’m a US based physician; how can I transition into psychedelic research?

Weheroichearts3 karma

Dr. Joe Tafur

based in the US, you should look for opportunities through maps.org and the heffter.org, they are coordinating most of the psychedelic research in the US, my organization, moderspirit.org, is also about to initiate a trial assisting the MAPS trial

acEightyThrees1 karma

How are you able to do a reddit AMA while running? What if you drop your phone because your hands are all sweaty? I've dropped phones before. It was expensive.

Weheroichearts1 karma

Yuriy from Heroic Hearts Project

Jesse sends me audio messages via WhatsApp and some text messages and I do all the copy-pasting out of a coffee shop here in rainy Toronto, Canada