Episode 03 Natalie Lyla Ginsberg: Healing Intergenerational Trauma

Natalie Ginsberg serves as the Global Impact Officer at MAPS, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies
Natalie Ginsberg (MSW) serves as the Global Impact Officer at the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), a nonprofit that carries out pioneering research into the role that psychedelics can play in treating mental health conditions. Through her work, Natalie raises awareness of the therapeutic uses of psychedelics, and she is particularly interested in the potential for psychedelics to heal intergenerational trauma.
As GIO, she works for the responsible integration of psychedelics into mainstream culture, to help “set the setting” for an ethical global movement. Natalie joined MAPS in 2014, founding the Policy & Advocacy department, and serving as its director for 5 years.  She also initiated and co-developed MAPS’ Health Equity program. Before joining MAPS in 2014, Natalie worked as a Policy Fellow at the Drug Policy Alliance, where she helped legalize medical cannabis in her home state of New York, and worked to end New York’s race-based marijuana arrests. Natalie currently lives in Los Angeles, CA. She received her B.A. in history from Yale College, and her master’s of social work (M.S.W.) from Columbia University.  She is also a co-founder of the Jewish Psychedelic Summit.
 
In this episode, you’ll hear from Natalie Ginsberg on:
 
  • (00:22:56) Intergenerational and collective trauma. She describes the different ways that trauma can impact individuals, families, and communities. Plus, she explains how psychedelic therapy and communal plant-medicine ceremonies can help people process and heal from historical, ancestral, and collective trauma.
 
  • (00:39:52) Respecting ancient traditions and indigenous communities. Natalie highlights the need for psychedelic pharmaceutical companies to develop relationships of reciprocity and connection with the communities that have used plant medicine for thousands of years.
 
  • (00:43:45) Building better business models. Tonya talks about the social and environmental advantages of becoming a B-Corp, and Natalie describes how MAPS’ regenerative financing model aligns with its status as a nonprofit.
 
  • (00:52:26) MDMA and PTSD. With FDA approval expected next year, Natalie refers to the results of MAPS’ clinical trials, which show that two-thirds of people with chronic treatment-resistant post-traumatic stress disorder were no longer classified as suffering from PTSD after three MDMA-assisted therapy sessions.
 
  • (01:06:48) Psilocybin and the mystical experience scale. Natalie points out that studies show a correlation between the intensity of the spiritual experiences felt by participants in psilocybin research trials and the subsequent positive impact on their mental health.
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Show Transcript 

00:04

Hi, welcome to the Rainbo podcast. I'm your host, Tonya Papanikolov. Rainbo and I are on a mission to upgrade humanity with fungi and expand the collective conscious. This podcast builds a virtual mycelial network of bold, open minded thinkers and seekers. I chat with experts, thought leaders, healers, scientists, entrepreneurs, spiritual teachers, activists, and dreamers. These are stories of healing, human potential and expansion, tune in route and expand and journey with us.

 

00:47

Hey, friends, I'm thrilled to introduce you to today's guest, Natalie Ginsburg, who's an incredibly inspiring woman and friend, who's doing really powerful and important work in the psychedelic space. Natalie is the Global Impact officer at maps, which I think is probably the coolest job title I've ever heard anybody having. And she just has such a an incredibly unique perspective and a really valued voice in this space, and experience. And so I'm so excited to introduce her and for you all to become familiar with who she is, what she's doing, who maps are and what they're doing. So Natalie received her BA in history from Yale College and her Master's of Social Work from Columbia University. She is particularly inspired by psychedelics, potential role in healing, intergenerational trauma and conflict, and for inspiring, innovative community driven solutions. And we talk about what this means. In the episode, Natalie founded the policy and advocacy department at maps, and served as its director for five years. And she also initiated and helped develop maps is health equity program. Before joining maps in 2014, Natalie worked as a policy fellow at the Drug Policy Alliance, where she helped legalized medical cannabis in her home state of New York. And she worked to end New York's race based marijuana arrests. So she's doing important work. And we talk about a lot of things. In this episode, we get into plant medicines as a gateway for healing and the expansion of consciousness. But we also talk about how people and ideas can be gateways for us too, because Natalie was actually a gateway person that I met in 2017, who really opened my mind to a path, it was just one of those little drops and breadcrumbs that the universe gives you. And I instantly knew I wanted to know her more. And so we get into her path and what she's doing. And we talk about preserving and honoring cultures and communities where plant medicine traditions come from. We talk about the current psychedelic movement and where we're at, we talk about the work that maps is doing. And we touch on something really cool, called the mystical experience scale. And I'm going to have to dive into this deeper in another episode. But I just love this concept so much what the mystical experience scale is, is basically a questionnaire. It's an unvalidated self-report measure that's been used to measure mystical type experiences in the study of hallucinogens. But it's really commonly reported with sacred mushrooms with psilocybin magic mushrooms. And it is this profound mystical experience is a profound state of connection with the universe, an experience of profound beauty of profound belonging, and ultimately, a really deep experience of love. And so I, I've, you know, been very attracted to these mystical experiences for many, many years. And really, we'll get into this maybe someday, which was, you know, my one of my first experiences back in 2014, or 15, that really got me into my dharmic path was a mystical experience through breathwork. And so I am so profoundly grateful for these mystical experiences and really encourage people to get into these states, whether it's through a daily meditation practice, and you know, or a breathwork practice or yoga or a lucid dream or getting into altered states. through so many different ways. It doesn't have to be a hallucinogenic, although that's definitely a faster correct way to get there. But there's so many day to day practices that we can do and commit to ourselves. And the key is really showing up not necessarily looking for that or expecting that. But allowing yourself to be surprised and delighted when you do find that, which usually comes when you don't really expect it. So we get into a lot. And there's a lot more to talk about in all of these topics. But let's get into today's episode.

 

05:29

I hope you love it. Hello, Natalie, I'm so happy and grateful to be here having this conversation with you today. So thank you so much for being here.

 

05:48

Thank you so much for inviting me. I'm so excited to be on your podcast and to be in virtual space with you. It's been a while but it's really nice to see you

 

05:58

likewise. So I just wanted to introduce you and then let you take it away. But So Natalie is the Global Impact officer at maps, the Multidisciplinary Association of psychedelic for Psychedelic Studies, and my understanding is that you've been there for seven

 

06:16

plus years. Yeah, eight years in August. Oh, my goodness. Wow. Then a minute.

 

06:23

That's incredible. I want to hear all about the journey. I know you started. When I met you, you were leading the policy. Well, you've kind of started that chapter of the whole organization, right?

 

06:34

I did. Yeah. I when I joined maps in 2014. Our founder Rick Doblin was really the only one working on policy explicitly, though, of course, all of the research, you know, had political implications. But Rick, you know, had done his PhD in policy and is like very cognizant of how deeply intertwined policy and research and science are, unfortunately, in many ways, so yeah, when I got to maps, he asked me to help build their policy work because I had been at the Drug Policy Alliance before that working on marijuana, decriminalization? And actually, when Rick asked me to join maps, which, you know, as you mentioned, is a psychedelic research organization. We've been around since 1986. And our main focus is developing MDMA assisted therapy to treat PTSD through the FDA process. But we've also always been committed to public education and drug policy reform. So that that balance has been key. But so when I got two maps,

 

07:44

I'm also just curious, like how, you know, I love asking people about their origin story. And like, you know, this idea that we're all on this kind of hero's, our own hero's journey of what brings us into the work that we're doing. So I'd love to learn about how you even got started with the policy work initially in New York. And what led you to this line of work.

 

08:08

I'll say, it's definitely kind of a windy road in some ways, and just generally being really open and following my gut, my intuition, my curiosity, I heart like what was drawing my attention really helped. But, yeah, I had always been engaged in work around racial justice, and which kind of quickly led me to issues around mass incarceration. So I'd say that was something that was present I, in college, I interned for the Brooklyn da 's office, because the district attorney's office which like prosecutes people because I actually wanted to be a public defender, so I was like, Okay, let me see. The other side before I'm a public defender, that'll be useful. And it was so frustrating, it was in 2000, like 10, I guess, 2010 must have been and you know, at this summer internship, we would get dozens and dozens of cases of literally teenage black kids arrested for like crumbs of marijuana. And, you know, I meeting my Yale friends to smoke weed outside the after my internship was done like by the river, and it was just really, really jarring. So that was, I think, what first really opened me up to seeing how drug policy was such a massive driver of racism and trauma and a lot of lot of issues in our whole world over actually but at the time, I think I was just really looking in New York. But fast forward a bit. I graduated college and I actually got drawn to social work school, which was a lot of people actually tried to discourage me from which It's really shameful, I think looking back on that, and I see why you know, and our culture where social workers are really not paid very well. And it's mostly a female profession. And so I think there's like kind of people, there's not as much prestige. But anyways, social work is incredible. I really love it because it's about like understanding systems and policies and history and how that impacts individuals Health and Family Health. And while a lot of other kinds of therapy are a bit more focused just on like, what's in front of you things.

 

10:37

So, in social work school, I actually at that point did feel like I wanted to, I thought I wanted to be a therapist. So I the first year in social work school, I my like field placement was as a guidance counsellor at a middle school in the South Bronx. That was in one of the poorest zip codes in New York. And there's a work I worked with kids that were experiencing a lot of trauma. And that summer, I worked at an alternative sentencing court for people arrested for prostitution. So it was see as working with communities that experience a lot of trauma. And a lot of systemic trauma was when I started to call it like trauma. From how, you know, the police were treating that like my fifth-grade kids coming to school, like how literally a police officer would throw them against a wall for like no reason, just walking to, you know, now it's probably the one. So just like levels of that kind of trauma. And then there's intergenerational trauma and cultural trauma. And I was just, for me, doing that work as a therapist, as social worker, helped me quickly see that the source of so much trauma, what were these greater issues. So that did kind of inspire me to look back to kind of get into the policy work, of doing systemic change work, and seeing that as a way of like, helping stem a bit of the tide of all of this kind of trauma that ends up in individuals. And then kind of on the same zip, and I was told it was a little windy. And then on the same track, I was also so frustrated by how therapy was so focused on reducing symptoms, and you know, not getting to the root source. And then I was at Drug Policy Alliance reading about psychedelic therapy. And I was like, wait, what, you know, there are three sessions of something that people no longer have addiction anymore, they say and like in social work, school, we're being taught, there's nothing that cures addiction, you just have to you know, it's either sobriety fully, or you like you have to done so that was really striking to me. And I got really drawn to psychedelic therapy and advocacy and research. Like, what is this that could both help the individual with healing, which I didn't mean to, you know, like, that is so fundamental, but it helps them by like, kind of getting to the root source of things. So it actually helps in a deeper way. And oftentimes, but to be clear, not replacing, you know, people who go through psychedelic therapy, definitely are encouraged to continue talk therapy and other things ongoing after it's not by any stretch, a replacement, but it's something that could really help. Yeah, so that and then the policy implications of that, and how, if these drugs that were told there have no medical value, and are super dangerous, are actually quite healing and quite safe in a lot of ways in the right context, like, what does that mean for how our society and culture and laws are dealing?

 

13:53

It's, it's really fascinating to me, because the work that you're doing it's root level work in like two really critical ways, right? Because you have the actual effects and impacts of the psychedelics on some of these, like really big traumas on an individual level, and a collective level. But like starting with that individual, but also the policy work that coincides with that, because you're kind of trying to create systems on top of broken systems. Right, and but you can't do one without the other. And both are so foundational to change. But what is the experience, like for you and the Maps team around creating new systems in a framework that is so broken and hurting and traumatic for so many folks?

 

14:44

Thank you for this beautiful question. That's really a challenge all the time and something one of our principles is be the bridge. And so we're really committed to navigating these new ways in these alliances. stones. But, you know, it does force you sometimes to work in certain parameters. And you know, one example that's coming up for me is for our PTSD research, the gold standard for PTSD, the scale measure is called as called the cap score. And that's used around the US and globally also. But I think primarily in the US, it's really the ultimate way of that the medical establishment determines whether you have PTSD or not. So for our clinical trials, that is our baseline measure that the FDA bases their decisions off of, and you know, when we talk about two thirds of people no longer qualify for PTSD after a trial, we're referencing the cap scores. And the cap scores are a series of questions that asked about a wide range of symptoms, because PTSD is actually a cluster of all different symptoms, and some people have some symptoms and not the other. So this score kind of like plots people about how many symptoms they have. So you know, this is just imperfect, everything is imperfect to measure something of this nature, like diagnoses can often even be really harmful sometimes. So I bring that up, because the gap score is imperfect. And, you know, ideally, we would look at a lot of other different measures and endpoints that were more robust that were capturing a lot of other elements as well. So I feel like that as an example, we, in order to get this MDMA, through this system through the FDA, we have to rely on this endpoint that they established. But that does mean like limiting in some way, the scope of what we're addressing and talking about because we know, you know, MDMA therapy can help in so many other different ways, there's really a lot to explore, there's also a lot that maybe someone would no longer technically qualify on the cap score, but still be struggling. And we really want to capture that also, you know, just because they don't officially on the cap score qualify for PTSD. Does that mean? Okay, great. That's it, you're, you know, you're going to uncheck the box. No. So we, then it's, you know, on us to create these extra systems to do this, what else can we do for support? What else can we do for tracking what not like? So all of that work, which we are committed to, also is, you know, expensive, and we're nonprofit, and most entities that are developing psychedelics, or any drugs into medicine are, you know, have raised hundreds and millions, if not billions of dollars to do this work? So there's just a lot of that's just one example. And I, you know, see have more come up later. But there's a lot of like that dance of how do we not compromise our values? And what we're trying to do? And how do we also work with what it is here to try to make change within it. And you know, we work with people from a wide range of political ideologies, which, you know, we don't necessarily align with a lot of maybe what some of these folks are working for, but trying to find how they kind of that middle ground that doesn't compromise. Yeah. All right. Yeah.

 

18:25

Wow, well, thank you for that answer. That's really interesting to hear and learn about that cap score.

 

18:33

I actually have, I don't know, I know, you have a lot of questions. So maybe we can keep going. Another cool example of that, that you can let me know if I can speak about later, is our our structure of like the public benefit Corp that all fully owned by the nonprofit and our like regenerative financing arrays, and all of that, like trying to kind of Yes, but do it a bit differently.

 

18:54

I would love to chat about that. Yeah, let's save that for a little bit. But one other thing I wanted to ask you about was this, so you know, I was reading all about you and you know, kind of know you and actually, maybe I'll share this story with our audience for a little bit of context, which is just that I met you in 20, at the end of 2017, through a mutual friend and was so I was saying to Natalie before we started recording about how plant medicine is a gateway for so many of us. And when I met you, I was at this really critical point. I was doing my healing work and seeing was a holistic practitioner and still am but had a lot of clients and I met you and our mutual friend told me about what you did and I was I was honestly mind blown. Truly. So I just want to share that in the ways that plant medicines can be gateways people and ideas can really transform our realm of possibility around what healing looks like. And that you never know who who's going to hear this conversation. Or like whose presence you touch, or who you touch via your presence and the work that you do in the mission that you're on. And the ripple effects that go into those little seeds that drop into our mind and open them and form a piece of what we're here to do and seeing that path a little bit clearer. So I just wanted to share that.

 

20:36

Right, and so grateful that you shared that I can't tell you how much that is meaningful for me. Because I mean, for so many reasons, it was so inspiring for me to meet you, as well. And because I so much of my, my work, my what I love to do is to like to connect people to like, facilitate important conversations, because I believe exactly what you're saying that that can happen so easily. So I'm really grateful that you're sharing that with your audience as well. Because I think people often underestimate themselves that way and underestimate what one conversation with someone can do at a dinner party at work. And not really lean into that. And I've once I once had early on in my career colleague who, who no longer works with us who is not the kind that is I will say, he said to me something like, what are you doing, when you're at this event, you're just going there breathing air to talk to people or something as a gadget. That's exactly what I'm doing. I'm going to just talk to all these amazing people and learn from them. And they learn from me, and then we, you know, can build community together and build change in the world. That's like exactly how I. And I'm lucky that I've been in a position that allowed me to do that and get paid for that in some ways, which is extra lucky and special. But community building is so key and having, you know, just being open to new ideas, new people, and having space for those kinds of connections, for me is some of the most magical parts of applied.

 

22:18

Absolutely, I so, so agree. So one thing I wanted to touch on and ask you about was this, you know, how part of your inspiration around the role of psychedelics in healing, intergenerational trauma, and conflict and for inspiring, innovative community driven solutions? Can you tell us a bit about that? And what that means, like this intergenerational trauma and conflict? Where is that, like, how are psychedelics helping this?

 

22:51

Unfortunately, that's everywhere. I

 

22:53

would say, I do know where it is. It is everywhere. Yeah.

 

22:56

Yeah. So this concept of intergenerational trauma, or collective trauma, historical trauma, they're all kind of similar. And overlapping. Is this concept of having trauma that's passed down through generations. That Well, yeah, actually, you know, I'll distinguish. So intergenerational trauma can be either through direct lineage like from a grandparent or a parent or something. There's literally Dr. Rachel Yehuda, who's actually a MDMA researcher, also with maps. But she was a pioneer and intergenerational trauma research. And she demonstrated that the grandchildren of Holocaust survivor’s epigenetics were actually impacted by the trauma from the Holocaust. And then, you know, even behaviorally, it's quite like, you know, we understand that the way your parents are raised impacts how they parent you impacts how you, you know, are raised so we really can understand those patterns. So intergenerational trauma kind of is this concept of stepping back a little bit beyond your individual life experience, but it's part of it to better understand your life experience. And then intergenerational trauma starts to intersect with, you know, collective, and cultural and historical trauma when it's also experienced on a mass community scale. At length for years, you know, generations and generations. You know, today in the US, if a black man is, you know, pulled over speeding by the cops, they quite possibly could have a terrified reactions literally fearing for their life, because there have been instances where police just shoot, you know, an unarmed black man for you know, in this situation like that. And like the like living life with that level of fear of safety is an experience of trauma of constant trauma. Like no, that doesn't end that's not a discrete trauma. So that kind of experience being passed down for gender aerations is another kind of form of intergenerational trauma. You know, as a Jewish person, I suspect one of the reasons I've always kind of been drawn to this kind of work and justice work, I can understand as part of my intergenerational trauma, you know, of 1000s of years of Jews being persecuted and murdered and expelled from where we're living and never feeling safe in one place. So I because I always wonder when I was young, like, I was so drawn to like, what's going wrong in the US who's, you know, where's there injustice here, and, and now, as I've gotten older, I am examining and exploring how that's connected to, you know, the intergenerational and collective trauma that lives within me of having those feelings in the past and, you know, ongoing, they're still presented Semitism. So there's that piece. And then the reason psychedelics, to me are such exciting tools in the toolbox for exploring all of this, are there many reasons but one, I, people have visions and processes of these things. So like, this stuff is just coming out, whether we're asking for it or not. And I think that's something really, really powerful to honor, people report all different kinds of historical visions, whether it's from family members, or from Ancestry that they didn't know about, or maybe even another culture that feels that's connected in a really interesting way. So that comes up, then there's also a piece that, you know, depending on the plant medicine experience, some ceremonies are held in community and encircle. And when we're dealing with collective trauma histories, it can be quite powerful to have this kind of group shared space for processing and, and holding what's coming up. So that's something that I've just seen happen in a really powerful way. But something when you also asked about, you know, intergenerational trauma and conflict, a lot of you know, hypotheses and theories I have around so much political trauma, I see is really grounded and intergenerational historical trauma. For example, I do work in Israel and Palestine and understanding a lot of Israeli policy that makes me deeply devastated to, I understand it as coming from this place of trauma, hyper vigilance, and feeling lack of safety, a feeling that, you know, no, everyone wants to kill all the Jews, everyone wants Israel not to exist. And so all of that kind of, you know, hyper vigilance. And, yeah, really profound lack of safety, can inspire some really violent, dangerous, fucked up reactions. So I use that as an example. But that, of course, exists everywhere around the world and similar kinds of contexts. And that's just how one of the ways I have understood understanding what's contributing to some of these policies that are causing a lot of conflict and harm. And then certainly, of course, you know, in that same experience, I don't I can't even mention that context. Without mentioning, of course, the deep intergenerational and collective trauma experienced by Palestinians, you know, throughout this occupation, and last many years,

 

28:41

in your experience with this work, and maybe some of the integration that might follow with, let's say, a plant medicine, experience or healing. For somebody who's specifically looking for support in this type of intergenerational trauma? Have we made any progress with any other research or modalities to support this? That you know of?

 

29:10

Yeah, I think there's a lot more and more, you know, over the last eight years of my work on this, I've seen it really open up around these conversations, I've seen these terms used a lot more. I remember a while ago, we were talking about like intersectional, trauma different, like there's just stuff merging, so And of course, not only with psychedelics, you know, there's a lot of beautiful work around this without psychedelics as well. But I think it would be, you know, it's up to people individually to kind of explore what aspects of that that work they want to do, you know, if there's kind of individual family work, I think finding therapists that have understanding of ancestry and intergenerational trauma is helpful just for those conversations. I think it also can really help in general to be with therapy. because that shares a cultural understanding or shares in ethnicity, you know, of course, doesn't have to be like perfect, like exactly the same or something, but people that could understand different elements of, you know, of cultural trauma that maybe you might not be recognizing or also that therapists don't then perpetuate cultural trauma with microaggressions, and other things in those kind of vulnerable conversations. But I would say also, for folks that are seeking kind of collective trauma, healing around certain cultural identities to seek out those communities, there's so many beautiful communities blossoming even in the psychedelic world, like I just saw an Arab psychedelic society was just founded. And, you know, that was sort of just yesterday, there's so many different groups. You know, I co-founded the Jewish psychedelic Summit, there's just like, dozens of communities developing often for reasons like this saying, like we want, how do we all gather to have these conversations of like how to best support processes for collective healing in our community? And, of course, there's never going to be one answer or something like that. But I think it's really important to build community. So if you can't find other folks like that, like how to start finding maybe one other person and kind of building that out. Because, yeah, a lot of this work is really deep and heavy. And I really think it makes a big difference to have some kind of community and, and going to this deepness, like thing of just holding generations of trauma that way, so yeah, and I guess, okay, sorry, one. One last thing that was an interesting process was trying to draw your family tree that to the best of your abilities. Of course, we don't all know all of our stories or lineages, but just drawing it like kind of with circle and lines, like you, your parents, grandparents, and then tracing kind of trauma through, like, you know, if something happened to your grandmother, and like seeing how that, you know, it would be like a strong line to your mom, and maybe a little bit less strong line to you. And just kind of painting that picture can be quite impactful for you as an individual to kind of sit with that and see like, Oh, my great grandmother survived this pogrom, like, how did that impact her how she raised her children and how they did that. So that's a really interesting way of chasing intergenerational trauma on the individual level. Yeah, I'll maybe I'll stop for there. I could speak about this stuff for a long time.

 

32:41

Thank you, thank you for sharing that and adding so much context and just educating on this in such a powerful way. I would love for you to tell us a little bit about, you know, we're at this, like, boom of, you know, a psychedelic Renaissance or this time in history where we're, yeah, making such progress. From a scientific perspective. And I think, as you said, just working within the framework that we currently have, and the systems that we have to move forward these medicines, and yet, there's a millennia of history around these plant medicines, right? You know, this better than most and, and so where did we start? Can you speak to maybe some of the traditional uses from indigenous cultures around some of the more well recognized plant medicines, psilocybin and ayahuasca pod? I'm sure there's, there's so many.

 

33:46

Yeah, I guess the first thing I think it's really important to, to understand that I think a lot of people don't is that their indigenous communities like the world over have, you know, 1000s and 1000s, more of different plant medicine traditions. You know, some we might define a psychedelic, some might not but so many of the traditions are shamanic. You know, whether or not it's the plant that creates the psychedelic experience or the singing or the, you know, the facilitation. But that is something that colonization and both a globalization and a lot of things is really erased, which is really devastating tragedy that how many traditions have been lost, and then also recognizing how many traditions still exist and are purposely being protected and not shared with all world and I contextualize it that way, because some of the medicines you mentioned, you know, are being really harmed at the Global level. Like you know, you mentioned ayahuasca, which is being really over harvested and I ask it tourism is really A negatively impacting a lot of the communities who have stewarded Ayahuasca. So, you know, there's just a lot of unfortunate impact sometimes on those processes. Ayahuasca is used by a number of different communities around the Amazon. And you, you mentioned peyote. So that's also something that was really important to talk about that it's a very scarce resource in the US there, it's a bit more, growing a little bit more freely in Mexico, but in the US, it's very limited, and each peyote button takes nine years at least to grow. It's very secret. So in the US, it's actually illegal for anyone except the Native American church, to consume peyote and harvest it and I know the peyote has this very, like trendy reputation and they say like, oh, like, it's like the coolest, you know, I don't know, at least I don't know what la someone's like, showed me like, look, here's my like tequila or my peyote souci, again, you know, at a party and I was like, wow, it just felt maybe that just my experience of it. But I think there's a mysterious there's a reverential aspect. I think people understand the power of it, and but people also use it and a lot of folks in the Native American church ask that people do not engage with peyote who are not part of their traditions. And I think in that vein, it's important to note like San Pedro or Washuma also has mescaline, which is the same compound that's in peyote and it grows really freely, there are those tall like phallic looking straight up, cacti, that is something just for people to consider if they're, you know, wanting to explore mescaline to look to San Pedro not to peyote in in Mexico, though, which will also work with peyote and you know, are able to steward more peyote buttons and lands. So there is a bit different of an experience there. But for people in North America and I mean not Mexico is also in North America, but in US and Canada that feels important to acknowledge. And yeah, also just in terms of the different plant medicines in that there's a lot but one other that's coming up for me right now to name is Iboga which was used traditionally in spiritual ceremony and it's a really powerful medicine also that maybe it's less known about a bit in the US and Canada but and when I hear about it, it feels like very disconnected from its roots so it's a Root Bark.

 

37:59

And is maps studying Ibogaine?

 

38:03

Yeah, we've done research with Ibogaine in the past, and we will do it again. But in this current moment, we're not. But we do have plans for, for researching, I became more, it has a lot of potential for treating different substance use issues, treating Parkinson's, there's a lot to explore, but this also needs a lot of intention and care. That's serious, intense medicine.

 

38:36

Yeah, I would imagine maps take such care in the sourcing of your substances and medicines that go into your studies.

 

38:48

You do and often the most sustainable routes are sent out synthetic, which is interesting. And you know, I guess along those lines back with medicine we're talking about, I know that five Mao DMT, or buffo is becoming quite popular from a toad and that's toads are also not doing so well because it's getting popular. So that's also you know, something people really like the drug development companies who are researching and are researching synthetic five MEO DMT. Similarly, you know, MDMA we are deriving in a lab and Ibogaine in our past research, it was observational, so we actually didn't have to source it yet. So that will be a process of sourcing. But yeah, it's really important to understand all of the materials and processes and ethics that go into the creation of these medicines.

 

39:52

I mean, I know that there is not going to be a simple answer for this question, but how do We go about preserving and honoring the cultures and communities that these plant medicines originate in and from.

 

40:15

First and foremost, listening to the communities, you know, going to the communities, learning about communities, understanding what communities ask and share of how to best honor and, and engage. So I think that kind of humbleness and, and willingness to actively learn and go out and understand and not just say, oh, there's no one, no one here at the conference, like, you know, like, how do you make sure there are people at the conference or that you go to people where they are not drag them to your conference, or, but I really think that's key. Because in this space, I do see a lot of folks who are not indigenous thinking of all the different ways of addressing these questions. And, you know, I, that's not going to work. People know what they need more than other people, no for them, you know? So I guess just really at every step of when people are forming companies when people are just like, Who are you talking to? Who's in your inner circle? Who is the feedback you're having? Who has agency who stands to benefit from your company? I co-wrote and co-authored a paper with Dr. Eduardo E. Schenberg and some other awesome folks exploring the Mazatec right to Intellectual Property rights, basically to the ceremonial use and spiritual use of psilocybin. The Mazatec people are from Oaxaca. Maria Sabina was a Mazatac woman who first introduced like, spiritual psychedelic psilocybin to, you know, some white men who then got pretty excited and brought it back to talking about that in the US. So yeah, the paper did explore, like what responsibilities, companies who are now making hundreds of millions of dollars off psilocybin have to be in reciprocity and connection with communities who stewarded this you know, and how these intellectual rights. So I think that that gets really interesting to me, I understand in our current world that at something that doesn't, unfortunately, have enough teeth, you know, I'm I wrote this paper, I co-authored it, because I hoping more people will be engaging that way. But yeah, I think, just really being open to other ways of doing things too, like not doing business as usual. Because business as usual, in our system of capitalism that has, you know, a fiduciary duty to maximize profit before all else that often is misaligned with the indigenous way of doing things that is aligned with protecting the planet and an earthen ecosystem. And that doesn't always Jive it often does not jive. Yeah, either way.

 

43:16

I would love to read that. That paper, where can we find it?

 

43:21

It's an I think the journal is new frontiers. It's called ethical concerns with psilocybin patents.

 

43:29

Okay, I will, I'll find that and make sure it's linked for anybody else who is wanting to read read that and, and go further. And you know, kind of like what you were speaking to just now reminds me of enter the process of getting Rambo to become a B Corp. and kind of like one of those. It's kind of like, what is this? Is this just like another greenwashing thing. But as I actually dove into it, it, it is the only framework I've ever been able to find, that allows your organization to operate as a community, and within a framework of interdependence, where all stakeholders are considered not just shareholders. So you're looking at everything from your supply chain, to the people in the organization, the employees, the community, community that you directly impact community that, you know, does not have access to maybe whatever you're producing or doing or services to the environment and all of these areas. So it's been this really interesting journey of creating context and policies within our organization to actually commit to running the company in a new way.

 

44:50

Yeah, I think it's when you said is this just another green washy thing? I think something that is confusing with that Have a corpse or B corpse is that sometimes people use it that way. And it doesn't really have necessarily have so many teeth, like you can say your B Corp and function pretty similarly to another kind of company. But the thing people miss is exactly what you said, it's the only framework that allows us to do it other ways. So like, I feel like the B Corp isn't the stamp of this is doing it the right way. But it gives you an open door to do it in a different way. And that's what's so key and so difficult to actually before b corpse, right. So I found it endlessly important and interesting to work from within maps, navigate what it means to be a nonprofit that fully owns a B Corp that's running these massive clinical trials. You know, we just did this, we're working on a big raise where it would be a revenue share. So we're still not giving up any equity. It's still fully owned by the nonprofit. So I think it's absolutely fundamental that people in the psychedelic industry are visioning new ways forwards, I really applaud Rainbo for doing that. It's so exciting. And I'm not surprised knowing you, and the intention with which you're approaching this, of course, you would choose that, but you most people don't even stop to look around and consider that like, this is just how it is not my fault. We have to do it this way, you know, and I'm really scared because we've seen how that approach has been so harmful in the pharmaceutical industry, for you know, looking, looking at people's access to drugs prior to get there, it's not created to serve people, it's created to make money for other people. So that is really concerning. And with this new industry, we have this amazing opportunity to do things differently and set different standards like for our industry, this is what the standard is. And that's one of our goals. VO P Corp B corpse will be a standard and psychedelic pharma industry, which is not standard and pharma. There are very few B Corp pharma companies, so not just one of the ways we are, as you were asking earlier, trying to like work within this system to change the system. And like, you know, if we were starting from scratch, we might build a whole different stuff. And we're trying to move towards that. But in the meantime, seeing how much we can accomplish by kind of trying to reduce the harms of the current system and make change at the same time.

 

47:29

Yeah, okay. That was there's so many things I still want to touch on with you. But will you tell me a little bit more about how you've structured this race? And, you know, it's pretty creative way to go about raising capital. And Maps has done it really intentionally. And I'm sure there's been so much thought, because I know that Rick avoided that for many, many, many years. So can you can you tell us a little bit about that journey so far? Sure.

 

47:57

Yeah, Rick, was really wanting to do this. Like, as he says, purely philanthropically, and you've raised, like 170 million philanthropically, or something crazy. But truthfully, you know, I'm really interested, as I said, and community building and modelling new ways forward. And that's not very sustainable. There aren't many other nonprofits, you could just raise $150 million, you know, not just it took us a while, but, you know, that didn't seem like something that many others could do. And we're at a phase where after raising that much money, we needed to raise another 100 and $50 million, because that's how expensive developing a medicine you know, drug into a medicine is. So, but we were not considering ever, you know, selling equity and giving up ownership or influence in Maps operations so that we would be, you know, prioritizing maximizing profit above all else we that was never a consideration. But we started to explore other alternative ways of financing that would allow us to retain full ownership and our nonprofit approach without, but it also allowed us to bring in more capital and would also allow some of our donors who've been supportive of us all these years to actually be recouping some of their investment and not some more, they will still be making money on their investment. It's so different than philanthropy, you know where we are. So it's a different mindset. But it's basically is structured as a social impact investment, that it's a revenue share. So once we start making sales off of our MDMA, post approval, people who have invested in the vehicle, it's called regenerative financing this vehicle, they will be able to recoup a percentage, a small percentage between four and 6% of the returns, and those returns are actually kept after eight years. So it's not like infinite returns just only a certain timeframe. And once you get your money back from the returns, it drops your percentage drops. That's what I said, there's the range, your percentage drops a bit. And then once you get through 3x, your money, your percentage cuts in half. So it's really not created as this like infinite source of making more and more money off of maps that gets created absolutely to get people return and more a solid return. And then to say, actually, you know, we're happy to that maps is getting to reinvest this money in more research. And we've actually have investments from different like foundations. So it's been an interesting process of approaching the raise. But we've really been working with people, we're very aligned with the maps mission, and are grateful that we are doing things differently. And yeah, so I think things like revenue share, or just exploring other ways of raising capital without giving up equity is just one way of innovating. But then again, you know, you're a B Corp, so if you are setting your terms really clearly about how you operate as a B Corp, then you can raise money based on that. And just and that, that's also a way that it can work. But I'm grateful with maps right now. Not right now. That's not you know, our plan with maps is not to do that.

 

51:27

Yeah, that is truly so innovative in this model. Are there any others that you like? Did you guys make this up? Is this? Yeah, it really goes to show that like, there is a lot of creativity within like ways to raise money, if you're willing to well think outside the box. And, you know, it might take longer. So there is that element of patience, and obviously ensuring that the organization can keep running in between. But that's such a such a fascinating and incredible model. I'm so grateful that an organization like Maps is taking that approach.

 

52:04

Thank you for asking, and thank you for being a benefit Corp. and I look forward to talking more, as you know, we're building different ways of evaluating psychedelic B corpse and all of that. So hopefully, as it an industry will have some B Corp standards. And I think that's how we'll really kind of promote and amplify different ways of doing business.

 

52:26

Yeah. Okay. I would love for you to tell us a bit about the tremendous progress you've made with MDMA that also love to talk about psilocybin really briefly as well, of course, because we love mushrooms so much here. So will you tell us about that? And what does like, you know, you're we're in these phase three clinical studies, what does FDA approval look like? And I'll leave it at that for now. Okay,

 

52:51

sure. So, FDA approval we're looking at next year, which is really exciting, are taking it one step at a time. But so far, we're like beyond in good position. You know, the FDA gave us breakthrough therapy designation, which is a really big deal, basically, like, they don't grant it to very many drugs, like if we were a for profit, and we got that our stock would be through the roof, like that kind of thing. It's basically them saying this is really important, we want to make sure it moves forward as quickly as possible. So in our last phase of data, two thirds of people who had treatment chronic resistant, chronic treatment resistant PTSD, no longer qualified for PTSD after three MDMA therapy sessions and a number of other therapy sessions in between there. And I can talk a little bit about that in a second of like, what a therapy session looks like. Yeah, so we're just basically finishing up this research, and that will determine the FDA approval, this final leg right now. But so far, it's looking good. And we've been training 1000s of therapists, you know, definitely really difficult work, you have to really understand trauma really well and also understand medicine and and how that works. And you know, psychedelic medicine is quite different than other approaches to therapy often. So there's a lot to learn there. But, you know, therapists who've been through the maps training, will then be able to integrate MDMA therapy into their clinics, and it will always be with therapy. It won't be without a therapist at the, you know, at this juncture of because, you know, the systems we've talked about before, but yeah, so that's pretty exciting. Right now, a lot of those MDMA therapists are trained as ketamine therapists. And I think it's maybe important to take a minute to acknowledge that like, a lot of your listeners might see ketamine clinics popping up everywhere. And, you know, that may work for some people, but most of those ketamine clinics don't have therapists. And so I just really want to distinguish between the difference between like a trauma trained therapist who's doing ketamine assisted therapy with you versus going to a place where they inject you with ketamine and you sit for an hour, and they don't really support you through any of the process. And I'm not saying that can't be very helpful to it absolutely can. But ketamine therapy is definitely more effective for addressing struggles with mental health in particular. So that's just important to note, but yeah, so currently a lot, a lot of the places that are doing actual ketamine assisted therapy, I have therapists who are trained in MDMA therapy and are kind of waiting and also trained in psilocybin therapy. And as these medicines get approved, they're going to start adding them to their clinics and their offerings. And psilocybin, you asked about is also on track for FDA approval, it's signed MDMA. But it won't, it'll be following not too far after. Yeah, and the therapy sessions look a bit different than the MDMA therapy sessions. And right now, psilocybin is mostly being researched for depression, and MDMA is being researched for PTSD. And of course, they're both connected. And so many of these things are connected traumas, really the core of so many, if not all, different experiences of mental struggle. Early adverse childhood experience, is like the most leading indication of someone to develop a problematic substance disorder, for example,

 

56:37

I think it's so interesting to kind of, well, you know, I think a few things where it's like, I'm of the belief that there's specific medicine for every individual, and that it doesn't necessarily look like, one needs everything. It I think there's, I had an experience, when I went to Peru once and spoke with, I went to go see a shaman named Doris. And we had this beautiful, we just talked really, and she, she had, she gave me a coca leaf reading, and she kind of was like, you know, this, Ayahuasca is not, you don't need this. This is not like you have mushrooms and your what I see between your relationship there is for you. And I thought that that was so beautiful. And I, you know, I didn't have a ceremony and I just kind of took, I felt it as well, like when she said it, I was like, that really rings true. And I didn't have seen it, you know, as a practitioner, as well, where I see healing as a really individual experience. Well, I mean, not solely, but like when you think about when you think about like this word cure versus this word healing. There's much more personalized medicine that you get in, in a healing paradigm where it's really like, you know, you're not looking at the mass, maybe there's, it's like, you're working with a facilitator. And it's really deep, and it's really personal. And so I just kind of wanted to touch on that piece that sometimes we get drawn to a specific medicine, and it's just really helpful to provide some framework and education around what some of these medicines are offering, and what they're kind of like really well suited for and who,

 

58:31

yeah, I mean, I completely agree with you, that people, everything's different for everyone. And again, back to your question of like, how do we fit in these current systems, like, in our current system, where people are divided into you have PTSD, you have depression did it like we need this drug to treat this disease? And that was created frameworks where we have to be very specific in the drug development process. But certainly, when people just are kind of asking me on a personal level, like what do I recommend or something I you know, I never recommend anything I say like, what are you drawn to like, what is calling you what feels resonant with you? I really believe that we know ourselves best that way and know what's needed. And so, yeah, I mean, you know, there are reasons that MDMA is like particularly helpful with trauma or things and so I don't want to discount that either. You know, psilocybin was really powerful for us spirituality and different elements like that. So just, I think there are things to draw on but ultimately its core that people are drawn themselves and, and I think that is one of the hard things like even with cannabis as people are trying to standardize things and you know that I know that's helpful for some people to have a standard dose but like for me personally with cannabis things can affect me differently all the time, like the strain the location, the mood I'm in, like, I don't know, for me personally, I don't I experience that as very like having to be in touch with myself, I have to know where I'm at and like, kind of keep checking in. And not just, and that's difficult in our society, our society isn't really built for that it's built for, like, efficiency. And here's the answer, and how much do you weigh them out? Like, when you go to an Ayahuasca ceremony, people just like look at you, and how much do they give you a cut, you know, that it's like not. And that is just doesn't fit very well in our culture. And, you know, someday when we were speaking earlier, you were mentioning, you know, Rainbo is a small women lead team and how you are so attuned to like what feels right and doing things on that basis. And that is something that in like, corporate America, there isn't so much space for that, like what feels right, like, what do you do? What's efficient? How do you make an intuitive decision right there? Like that's irrational? And, yeah, and so creating a space where we honor and prioritize intuition. And I think that's just so core. And, you know, of course, not all women are like that, and some men also do that. But in general, I do see like more women able to, to make space for that and honor, the importance of listening to our intuition, listening to the sound of what's around us going slow enough to see and have other people part of the process. Something I think about a lot as the psychedelic industry is taking off, and it's mostly led by white men who maybe are more conscious than the industries they come from, but when they show up here, they're still have this energy of Go, go go, how do we win? How do we, you know, go forward as fast as possible? And, you know, don't really think of a lot of the key questions at the beginning. And I really believe you have to build things with stuff in the DNA from the beginning, like with people try to retro actively fix stuff later on, it's already often too late. I mean, it's better than nothing. But, you know, someone already has a billion-dollar company, and then is like, oh, maybe we should find it indigenous person. Like, that's kind of how, you know, like, there's just, no, that's not helpful, like, in the, in the way that they're, you know, trying to like, you know, really building from the beginning, with intention, I think is really key.

 

1:02:36

Yeah, I, you know, I've seen you on a few panels, and I am, I don't know what the right word is, I guess grateful to have you be such a leading figure in these conversations, and have the awareness that you have, and be leading with your heart and with so much, I mean, yeah, you're trauma informed you have, you're bringing this insight to, to the industry in such a beautiful way. And I am so glad that that is existing, you’re existing.

 

1:03:11

Okay, so that you are existing and existing and building such a beautiful company with amazing product to like, help us evolve and grow forward in this world. I think it's so, so important. And it's something that, you know, people, I am grateful to work at a place like maps, where so many people are really excited and grateful for what we do. But the truth is, like, we're trying to create, you know, this healing so that people do things like what you're doing, like build new companies for the world, like we have better ways like that is really the idea of like, how did these medicines help people grow themselves and CO create, we all need to be working on this better future if we if we have a fair at it, so. So really, it's so inspiring, and great to see you. And I really appreciate you, sharing you.

 

1:04:01

I have a couple more questions for you. One thing I'm curious about is, I know that maps is doing really great things for more people to have access to it, and that we're going to, you know, we're gonna start probably within the framework of PTSD. Do you see that expanding? And what are the plans there?

 

1:04:19

Yeah, there's a number of other studies with MDMA for people diagnosed with terminal illness. There is a study in couples, there's group therapy for trauma. There's a study with eating disorders, there's study for alcoholism. So in a word, yes, I think there's going be a lot more research. I think, also, trauma, again, is pretty core to a lot of these things. So we'll see how it plays out. But I suspect you know, a lot of folks suffering with eating disorders might also qualify as having PTSD and could maybe do work that Always so that yes, you know, and we're maps is also working for decriminalization and regulation of substances. So people hopefully don't have to have a diagnosis at all to have access to these medicines and safe ways. So that's something brought more broadly that we are working on. But in our medical research space, we're continuing to do other research with MDMA, psilocybin, you know, I will just say this to like, people are listening, I'm like disappointed with how little creativity I'm seeing on psilocybin research, everyone continues to just do psilocybin for depression. And I think there's a lot of other cool stuff to explore. Hopkins has done a really interesting study with psilocybin for smoking cessation and helps chain smokers quit smoking, how cool right and more effective than any other study they found. So far. It's just a small study, but like, there's so much interesting potential. So I would love to see more explored that way. But yeah, I'm not really there's very few other psilocybin studies on the big level being developed right now. I think depression is such a massive market. And it's could be helpful for it. So there's kind of a big push there. But the flip is that psilocybin is being decriminalized in the US, and more and more cities and states and in an Oregon, particular, there's this interesting system created around legal supervised use of psilocybin, that's not therapy. But it's, you know, it's very interesting in between setups, so I am hopeful that more people will have access in different ways. And we need to just be really careful about how we're approaching it and keep people educated, so they can do it safely.

 

1:06:48

You've mentioned psilocybin in this mystical experience scale, which I just love. Will you tell us a bit about that?

 

1:06:57

Sure. So that's a scale that I'm pretty sure it's psychedelic researcher actually developed. And it measures people's experience of spirituality or mystical experience in a psychedelic session. And it's interesting, like in psilocybin research, there's actually a correlation between how like the level of mystical experience and the outcome, that it's helpful, positive correlation. And MDMA, there is not a correlation, actually, you know, some people have great outcomes with no mystical experience in the MDMA session, and sometimes it can help so, so that just to say, you know, it's not always one or the other, but with psilocybin, it does seem to be a piece of what's moving. And many people report really interesting experiences of connection to Planet people, nature, spirit, use all kinds of different words, a lot of after having psychedelic experiences. And, you know, I've many people who's identified as atheist before, maybe say they don't anymore, not necessarily saying that they believe in God or something. But they say like, wow, there's something that feels beyond what I understood before. Yeah. So I think that's a really powerful element of, of the experience that can't be underestimated. And again, with our systems, it's hard to fit that into like, the medical system of healing, like how do you heal your depression? Like go see God? Like, what that doesn't really fit in our society in that way. But I think it's, it's actually really helpful when people can get out of their kind of bubble that they've created and feel connection to this broader universe. I think for some people that can be really healing. And yeah, I also think it's something that's really essential as we're facing this climate crisis not facing we're in a in a climate crisis. How did that we both heal from that and grieve that but also connect more with the earth and figure out kind of next steps forward? I guess.

 

1:09:08

Yeah, absolutely. It's interesting, just because we're this, like, the western world is this newer civilization on earth that has been so disconnected from our, our own tradition, or any type of like, you know, spirituality hasn't existed in in the context here that you find it in, in China or traditional Chinese medicine? I was just speaking with somebody yesterday who has like she was she was telling me about how in Traditional Chinese Medicine TCM there are, there are just words and ways that spirit and body and mind are woven into words. And so it's like it goes so much beyond just referencing you know, healing or medicine. It's part of like the language like actually in the fabric of language. And so it's a Mmm, it's an interesting time we're in where it seems that there is this collective desire to move towards a deeper connection with our spirits and that an understanding that that is such a key part in just the like cross function of every aspect of how we exist. And that there's this like a resurgence and you know, of healing that and connecting with that and recognizing that and the self-awareness of where we fit in, in this space. Amen. Okay, one question I asked all guests this last year, like the second person I've interviewed, so all of you so it is if you had a prayer or a you know, a piece of advice or just words to leave us with, what would it be?

 

1:11:00

Today is we're recording on Friday, which is, you know, that sundown and Shabbat and Jewish tradition and we start wishing people even before sundown, Shabbat Shalom, which means I have a peaceful restful nourishing, Shabbat and Shabbat is really I resonates with me as a practice. It's the holiest day in Jewish practice, and it's every week and the you know, we're supposed to just be instead of do and there's teaching as the feminine divine the Shekinah kind of descends upon the land and there is this like from Friday night to sundown to Saturday night sundown. So, and it's kind of supposed to be a touch point of access for kind of relief, and joy and nourishment each week. So I guess my prayer than that Shabbat vein is that you know, listeners and all beings federal and start with our listeners, find their touch points of grounding and healing that they can continue to return to, in these crazy times and to have access to ways of reducing suffering and exploring joy and in play.

 

1:12:27

I have shivers Thank you. Shabbat Shalom to you.

 

1:12:33

Thank you so much for having me.

 

1:12:35

Thank you so, so much for sharing your wisdom and knowledge and experience with us and for doing this work, and for being just a beacon of light. Thank you. With deep gratitude, thanks for tuning into this episode. If you liked it, hit subscribe and leave us a review that is always very appreciated. Mushrooms transformed my mind and body. And if you're interested in bringing medicinal mushrooms into your life and health journey, check out rainbo.com for our meticulously sourced Canadian fruiting body mushroom tinctures. Until next time, peace and peace out friends.

 

Image by @HadleyRosenbaum