An Urgent Plea to Users of Psychedelics: Let’s Consider a More Ethical Menu of Plants and Compounds

Extraction of Kambo frog poison near Iquitos, Peru. (Photo: Pawel Bienkowski / Alamy)

“Do as little as needed, not as much as possible.”

Henk Kraaijenhof 
Coach of Merlene Joyce “Queen of the Track” Ottey, who won 23 combined medals at the Olympic games and world championships.

[This post can also be reached and shared via tim.blog/conservation.]

This is a blog post I wish I didn’t need to write.

I have personally invested years and millions of dollars into nonprofit psychedelic research around the world (one example in the UK, one in the US, and one in NZ) because (A) I believe it has the potential to revolutionize the treatment of mental health and addiction, which the results of studies seem to thus far confirm, and (B) I’m a case study. Psychedelics have saved my life several times over, including helping me to heal from childhood abuse.

So, it’s with a very heavy heart that I’ve come to accept several sad truths. 

Chief among them is this: Most natural sources of psychedelics simply cannot withstand ever-increasing global demand. Many plant and animal species are already endangered or near extinction.

To have a hope of stemming the tide, we need to revise our psychedelic “menu,” and that’s what this post is about. It aims to offer options that are eco-friendly instead of eco-destructive and ethical instead of inadvertently abusive. If enough people make a few simple switches, I believe we can mitigate and possibly reverse the trend of ecological damage.

Given the slope of popularity growth, if we don’t reconsider our sources, I’d wager that we extinguish at least a handful of critical species within the next 3–5 years. There are also questions of animal abuse, and while some practices are ethically justifiable for small indigenous populations, they are catastrophic if expanded to even tens of thousands of people. It is inviting disaster to copy and paste from a tribe in the Amazon—as just one example—to NYC, LA, London, Sydney, or any other large city. It’s very easy to go from taking one tree to taking a forest or to go from grabbing one toad to extirpating an entire species.

So let’s make some changes.

Over the last decade, I’ve acquired enough familiarity with these medicines, and spent enough time (i.e., many hundreds of hours, if not thousands) with both scientists and indigenous practitioners to feel that I can speak with decent confidence to their therapeutic applications and interchangeability (or lack thereof).

That said, I am by no means the world’s top expert. Even though drafts of this piece were proofread by biochemists, ethnobotanists, and guides/facilitators with hundreds of sessions with different compounds, this post will no doubt contain typos and mistakes. Those are mine alone, as I also made final edits after receiving revisions. I will aim to improve this post over time as I get feedback.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: These plants and compounds are illegal in many countries, and even possession can carry severe criminal penalties. None of this post constitutes medical advice or should be construed as a recommendation to use psychedelics. There are serious legal, psychological, and physical risks. Psychedelics are not for everyone—they can exacerbate certain emotional problems and there have been, in very rare cases, fatalities. This article is simply an attempt at harm-reduction through education, as I know many people will use psychedelics, regardless.

AND ONE MORE NOTE: Please don’t make the all-too-common mistake of assuming that “all-natural” means safer; the deadly poisons strychnine and hemlock are derived from plants, and some psychedelic plants (e.g., datura, brugmansia) and animals are well-respected among indigenous peoples for their ability to kill. Similarly, don’t assume that synthetic psychoactive agents are automatically less effective or therapeutic than natural products. Many of us—present company included—wouldn’t have survived childbirth or childhood without synthetics. There are pros and cons to both, places for both, and responsible and irresponsible ways to use both. 

Now, on to the list…

– Peyote. Instead of peyote, which is nearly extinct and can take decades to regrow, consider using huachuma/San Pedro cactus (Echinopsis pachanoi), which is more easily regenerated, faster growing, and more widespread in distribution. In my opinion, unless you are a long-standing member of the Native American Church (NAC) or indigenous groups that have used peyote for generations, you shouldn’t consider peyote as an option. Leave the few remaining plants for the Native populations who revere and need it most.

To more fully understand the plight of the indigenous who treat this as a sacrament, please read this piece from the LA Times: “Why are some Native Americans fighting efforts to decriminalize peyote?

Options like San Pedro largely avoid the ecological, ethical, and cultural challenges of peyote. Synthetic mescaline is also an outstanding substitute. It’s easy to forget that, in some respects, the psychedelic movement in the English-speaking world was catalyzed by The Doors of Perception by Aldous Huxley, who eloquently wrote about his experience of beauty on synthetic mescaline.

Iboga/ibogaine. Unless you are an opiate addict, please consider other compounds and treatments. As is the case with peyote, wild-harvested and farmed iboga are both at the breaking point. For the chemically inclined, ibogaine can be extracted and semi-synthesized from the far less threatened Voacanga africana tree, as I learned in Hamilton Morris’ excellent episode on Iboga/Ibogaine in Season Three of Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia.

Iboga/ibogaine is also one of the few psychedelics with real cardiac risk and associated fatalities, so you should always have a cardiac screening, a cardiac specialist, cardiac monitoring, and related meds on site. Iboga can be a life-saver, but I think of it as a last resort for those who are otherwise likely to die of overdose.

– 5-MeO-DMT (aka “Toad”). Request synthetic instead of animal-sourced. 5-MeO-DMT is commonly extracted from the venom glands of the Sonoran Desert toad, a species now under multiple threats. One solution is straightforward: synthetic 5-MeO-DMT, the chemistry of which is both affordable and scalable. Why put an at-risk species in the gristmill?

From the Wikipedia page for the Sonoran Desert toad (aka Colorado River toad)

In California, I. alvarius has been designated as “endangered,” and possession of this toad is illegal. “It is unlawful to capture, collect, intentionally kill or injure, possess, purchase, propagate, sell, transport, import or export any native reptile or amphibian, or part thereof….”

In New Mexico, this toad is listed as “threatened” and taking I. alvarius is unlawful in that state.

For those who would like to more visually understand why toad-derived 5-MeO-DMT is a bad idea, I highly recommend watching A Brief History of 5-MeO-DMT by chemist and filmmaker Hamilton Morris, who has extensively studied the compound, its history, and its means of production. For me, the most important part of this presentation begins at 12:45 (click here to begin at 12:45). To get the gist in <5 minutes, I suggest watching 60 seconds here, then watching another three minutes starting around 17:00.

A few additional factors to consider:

– ~20–30% of people who inhale “toad” appear to be “thrashers” and thrash about uncontrollably. For video footage of one such person, see the first two minutes of this. It is not rare.

– For many people, I believe the 5-MeO-DMT experience of ~5–20 minutes provides less “workspace” for therapeutic exploration, and recall of insight, than other options like psilocybin (as found in psilocybe or “magic” mushrooms), LSD, etc. Granted, there are counterexamples, but that’s my general perspective, as well as my personal experience.

– I’ve seen experienced psychonauts (e.g., 50+ ayahuasca experiences) get knocked loose by 5-MeO-DMT, and it’s taken them significant time, in some cases weeks, to return to some semblance of baseline. Even if you choose synthetic, know that you cannot predict which card you’re going to pull from the deck.

– From a seasoned guide: “The vast majority of experienced practitioners (not that I can speak for them all) would say 5-MeO is actually contra-indicated for people struggling with anxiety and trauma…. In most cases, it is used more for spiritual growth and consciousness expansion, which is valuable but could be considered a luxury.”

– From Hamilton Morris via SMS on indigenous use: “There is absolutely no evidence of B. alvarius smoking before the publication of Ken Nelson’s pamphlet [in 1983], the evidence for any form of indigenous use of B. alvarius is highly speculative and I find none of it convincing. B. alvarius is the only species that has been found to contain 5-MeO-DMT. The smoking of B. alvarius venom among Seri people appears to be a modern practice that is almost universally attributed to outside influences.”

Now, to be clear: there are very interesting and valuable applications of 5-MeO-DMT, perhaps for another post. I know people who credit it for saving their lives. That said, I consider it required in close to zero cases. In the rare cases where it is required, synthetic would still be the ethical choice.

Postscript addition — Below is a note from a draft proofreader and friend, who is also a facilitator in Peru with vast experience across compounds and hundreds of people:

“THANK YOU, I feel the same way and advise against the experience 90% of the time. Little lasting value for most, high-risk. Many close friends who are more experienced than I have become unhinged for weeks or months. If you think you can assert your opinion even more strongly without sounding like a preacher, please do.”

Kambo. Simply put, please don’t consider this.

Before we dive in, a quick note in response to comments on this post — I am well aware that kambo is *not* a psychedelic in any classical sense. Nonetheless, it is often incorrectly viewed that way, and it is frequently incorporated into the menu of people who do and administer psychedelics. There is a tremendous amount of overlap. Personally, I’ve never met a non-indigenous user or provider of kambo who isn’t also a user or provider of psychedelics (hence this post is “An Urgent Plea to Users of Psychedelics”). Furthermore, this post is more broadly about making ethical choices amongst psychoactives. For all of these reasons and more, I’m including it in this list.

I find it impossible to endorse kambo, given the most common methods used to gather the secretions from the giant leaf frog (Phyllomedusa bicolor), possible side effects (including associated fatalities), and more attractive alternatives. If you think the frogs are released unharmed, as I’ve seen written repeatedly, imagine doing the below to another animal, like a dog or a cat. Many practitioners will put the frogs over or near an open flame, as these methods are explicitly intended to induce stress and prompt release of the skin secretions. Yes, there are a few tribes with less aggressive methods, but the below photo is not an outlier. You can easily find dozens of similar photos online.

Extraction of Kambo frog poison near Iquitos, Peru. (Photo: Pawel Bienkowski / Alamy)

If we have other options, is this really what we want “expanded consciousness” or “evolved consciousness” to involve?

The Giant leaf frog population is currently stable, and while rapid increases in demand could easily change that status, my first concern here is animal abuse. Once again, I don’t object to indigenous peoples using this frog sparingly for their own use. Such groups are small and, in some respects, have fewer options available to them for certain conditions. If you’re reading this, you have more ethical alternatives easily within reach. Frogs are also probably the most at-risk group of animals threatened by both climate change and chytrid fungi, yet another reason not to stress or harm them.

For the ailments I’ve seen anecdotally relieved by kambo—depression, alcohol abuse, autoimmune disorders, and others—most Westerners have access to other compounds and approaches that may well provide relief without involving animal abuse.

Consider legal ketamine—even a single dose—for acute depression and suicidal ideation as well as chronic pain; read about psilocybin for depression and the impressive results coming out of Johns Hopkins; look at New York University’s compelling research related to psilocybin for alcohol use disorder (here, here, and here), and consider the following book for thoughts on ayahuasca and autoimmune disorders: The Fellowship of the River: A Medical Doctor’s Exploration into Traditional Amazonian Plant Medicine.

If you really want a purgative/emetic (i.e., something to make you vomit), there are dozens, hundreds, or thousands of plant options (e.g., yawar panga—use sparingly and under supervision), particularly those rich in saponins. But it need not sound exotic. I’ve experienced purges with various types of ginger in the Upper Amazon. And, yes, it is remarkable how great you feel after stopping the continual vomiting, which can last for hours. Is it therapeutic or simply relief after-the-fact? And is it worthwhile? For most, I would suggest not.

In this list, kambo is also the most prone to what I might call “Instagram porn,” since the process literally leaves burn marks on the skin. It makes for a great story, and people will often do it for the arm photo, the likes, the comments, and the follows. I understand the appeal, but I’d also like people to consider the consequences of perpetuating this practice on social media. Good stories sometimes = bad karma.

To that point, and this might be one of the more important paragraphs in this entire piece…

I encourage everyone to ask themselves an uncomfortable question, which I continually ask myself: If you couldn’t tell anyone about your experience or put it on Instagram or social, would you still do it? Are you really doing this for healing or expansion, or are you doing this for a story you can share later? If the latter, consider hitting pause or stop so you can reconsider your plans. 

Measure twice and cut once. And maybe, just maybe, consider keeping this part of your life private. In a world of vanishing privacy, keeping these experiences for you, your family, and your closest loved ones can foster a sense of sacredness that is increasingly rare.

MY CONCLUSIONS FOR NOW (PLUS ADDITIONAL NOTES)

These concluding notes, all a work in progress, are split into the following: Overall, On Plants, On Animals, On Synthetics, On Hybrid Approaches.

Overall:

Rather than asking some version of “How can I have the most powerful/helpful experience possible [without regard for environmental consequences]?,” I suggest we all first ask ourselves, “Is this an ethical tool that could really help me to improve?”

There are many excellent options that will give you a solid “yes” to the latter.

Even if the alternatives I propose are somehow, say, 80% as effective as the threatened all-natural options (I don’t think they are less effective), they are still easily effective and versatile enough for 99.999% of people. This includes “oldies” like psilocybe mushrooms or LSD, which are are reliably powerful and—icing on the cake—have excellent safety data.

But excellent safety data doesn’t mean you should take anything lightly — even tried-and-true classics like LSD can knock you loose or untethered well beyond your session. In fact, in all my volunteering for the Zendo Project at various festivals, nearly 100% of the most completely disassembled cases I met in the crisis tents were there after high-dose LSD; not all were back-to-normal 24 or 48 hours later. It’s critical to have well-trained supervision and pre-scheduled post-care (e.g., a psychedelic-familiar therapist for integration) with any of these compounds. Put the safety nets in place beforehand, not when you’re in free-fall.

Now, perhaps not using toad-derived 5-MeO-DMT means three sessions of something else instead of two sessions, but… who cares? Perhaps not using kambo means taking a few weeks to find another modality. That’s fine if you’re playing the long game. Sometimes, slow is smooth and smooth is fast. Invest in sustainability and you will be rewarded; I’m confident in this. Conversely, beware of the new thing, the cool discovery. It’s a hard temptation to resist, but remember: good stories sometimes = bad karma.

Start small, start conservative, and ask more questions than you think necessary. If you are seeking to know thy self, ensure you first know thine medicine.

On Plants:

Choose species that grow well, grow widely, and grow quickly. Simply eliminate from your consideration any slow-growing or rare species like peyote. Focus instead on readily available and easily cultivated species like psilocybe mushrooms, San Pedro cactus, ayahuasca (both vine and shrub), etc.. Peyote can take decades to grow; mushrooms can take weeks to grow. Filter your options by environmental impact first.

Next, you can filter by psychological and physical safety. Of the above-mentioned three, mushrooms and San Pedro are generally better tolerated than, and also more sustainable than, ayahuasca. There are many cases of people losing sight of shore after ayahuasca and needing to get put back together over weeks and months. One of my close and experienced friends ended up living in a tent for more than a year after severe “ontological shock” in South America. The below excerpt from a review study will give you the gist:

“The operations of the paleo-mammalian brain are also directly relevant to explaining what Gallimore and Luke (2016) note as a a powerful shock of the DMT [or DMT-containing ayahuasca] experience caused by an unshakeable feeling of authenticity that makes it impossible for the individual to deny the reality of the experience, nor dismiss it as an hallucination, in spite of its bizarre nature. For many, there is an absolute certainty regarding the reality of the DMT experience that clashes so powerfully with people’s most basic assumptions regarding reality that it produces a state of ‘ontological shock’ (Mack, 1999) regarding the ultimate nature of reality.”

What happens when alternate realities become hyperreal compared to your normal waking reality? It’s a special breed of profound confusion. Becoming unmoored with ayahuasca happens, and it can take a while to “process.”

I say this as a true believer in the therapeutic value of ayahuasca, and I say this as someone with a fair number of repetitions, but I also say this as someone who has been destabilized for extended periods after a few of them. If you spend enough nights with the “vine of the dead” (literally one translation of ayahuasca from the Quechuan roots), you will sooner or later get strapped to the front of the ice-breaker. It could be your first outing, or it could be two years in, but everyone eventually gets tumbled and humbled. I do not consider it low-risk.

So, treat ayahuasca as a big gun. It’s safer to start — and perhaps continue — with other things.

Next, let’s discuss collection mentality. No single indigenous population uses all psychedelics under the sun, and we don’t need to, either. If you could only use psilocybe mushrooms for the rest of your life, you could continue to cultivate that relationship, develop deep skills, and unfurl profound layers of learning and meaning until your dying breath. The depth is there, if you commit to the exploration. There is no need to stamp the psychedelic passport with every plant or animal, and there are many reasons not to. Narrow and deep beats broad and shallow every time.

If you believe in plant spirits, and you want to connect with and learn from them, simply ensure the plants you choose aren’t threatened or endangered. That makes you a steward of these plants, which I wholeheartedly support. To choose threatened options makes you a willfully damaging consumer at best and a destroyer of these plants at worst. There are many unthreatened plants that indigenous populations consider powerful, including those that North American and South American traditions regard as master plants and teacher plants (e.g., tobacco). Do your homework and you can find them. Here is one excellent book to start with. If you’re unwilling to do the homework, I implore you to find your recreation outside of natural psychedelics. It’s simply too easy to do damage otherwise, both to nature and yourself.

On Animals:

Please don’t consider animals. Revisit the photo at the top of this post as well as Hamilton’s video. There are too many ethical and ecological reasons why this should be off the menu, and there are plenty of other powerful options.

Sure, it’s tempting to say “But the XYZ tribe harvest by hand and do this ethically,” and there might be such cases, but 1) this doesn’t scale for high demand, which 2) results in people using unethical methods who claim to use ethical methods, and 3) if you’re not personally watching the process and taking it from the hand of the person who harvested, you’re taking someone else’s word for it (and if you’re buying services in the US, Europe, etc., many people’s words for it). For me, these are instant disqualifiers.

If the vast majority of indigenous traditions could survive and develop deep spiritual practices without psychedelic toads, frogs, etc., you can too.

On Synthetics:

In the psychedelic communities, it’s common to hear people embrace plants and animals as “medicine” and dismiss anything synthesized as “chemicals.” I think this is largely an artificial distinction, and there are both terrible and great options for different purposes within each group. For instance, I have not found any compound better for treatment-resistant PTSD than MDMA-assisted psychotherapy (even though I don’t technically consider MDMA a psychedelic), and research supports this.

There is an argument to be made that synthetics are sometimes both safer and more effective than all-natural compounds for many therapeutic purposes. Some advantages include consistent potency, precise dosing, and (in many cases, like 5-MeO-DMT), scalability. The synthetic pantheon also offers an incredible spectrum of wonders. It’s sometimes said that two beings created psychedelics: God and Alexander “Sasha” Shulgin. Sasha co-wrote PiHKAL and TiHKAL, which are encyclopedias of chemical delights for every imaginable purpose, including synthesis steps and trip reports for nearly every compound. Sasha was a serious scientist deeply concerned with, and knowledgeable about, safety and effectiveness. Both of his books are treasures.

HOWEVER, SAFETY ALERT: Because these compounds are mostly illegal and unregulated, knowing your source and purity is paramount for safety. MDMA and MDA are often misrepresented or laced with other dangerous drugs, including things that don’t appear to make sense, such as fentanyl. Extremely high-risk drugs like 25i-NBOMe are often sold as LSD. I would strongly suggest that anyone venturing into psychedelics consider purchasing testing kits from DanceSafe, an outstanding 501(c)(3) public health organization.

It’s also worth noting that synthetics are not automatically environmentally friendly. Sources and process do matter, just as they would for natural psychedelics, and there are related environmental crises: deforestation in Cambodia by those seeking MDMA precursors; illegal dumping of solvents, acids, and so on by black-market chemists; and more.

The above issues are largely byproducts of the “war on drugs” and an unregulated illicit drug trade, which I believe is best addressed by responsible legalization, regulation, and taxation of these compounds. This is one of the many reasons for my strong support of Phase Three trials like this.

On Hybrid Approaches:

One of the weaknesses of synthetics isn’t that they’re synthetic; it’s that they’re often administered or taken without a meaningful container.

I believe much of the efficacy of natural compounds comes from the setup and setting of ritualized administration. This is true for ayahuasca circles with singing and “doctoring,” the shared experience and suffering of various purges, and dozens more. Speaking from personal experience, this “medicine” of bonding and belonging has been just as powerful as the plants I’ve come to know and love.

What if we incorporated some of the best practices—the most meaning-imbued aspects—of the traditional with the reliability of synthetics?

If you think that’s heresy and that you shouldn’t combine old practices with the new, first think back to the ceremonies you’ve seen. It’s likely they’re highly syncretic already, blending elements from multiple influences. Sage smudging and mushrooms, for instance? Those are not classically combined in the same room. There are a million examples. It’s even true for “traditional” ayahuasca ceremonies in the jungles of South America, where you might find a combination of animism, Christianity, and shamanic tools like the ubiquitous “Agua de Florida.” Guess what the last is? It is literally “Florida Water,” a unisex cologne first manufactured in… the US! So why not experiment with new combinations that are environmentally and ethically calibrated for the time and ecological reality in which we live? The mixing and matching and blending of psychedelics and formats has been constant for millennia, and there is no one right or fixed way to do things.  What is “right” can and does change over time. 

LAST WORDS

In the pursuit of healing or expanded consciousness, I would like to suggest that we all take the Hippocratic Oath: First, do no harm. 

Alas, causing no harm is nearly impossible, unless you grow your own materials. So let us consider a modern Psychonaut’s Oath: First, do the least harm possible.

In my mind, that is the only approach that isn’t hypocritical. If you’re contributing to (or condoning) unnecessary harm in order to facilitate your own spiritual journey, it is not highly evolved. It is mercenary.

If we truly care for Mother Nature, the best thing we can do is the least necessary, not the most possible. Perhaps we should seek the least exotic treatment that will do the job, not the most exotic treatment that nature can provide. There are plenty of great options.

I still think there is time to right the ship, but it requires us to start taking action now. Once plants or animals are gone, they are gone. This is time-sensitive.

So, to try and sum it up, here are the steps I’d advise for the vast majority of people entering this space:

1) First, filter your choices for minimal ecological impact.
If there were a 100-fold or 1,000-fold increase in demand over the next 3-5 years for what you’ve chosen (very possible), could it still be ethically sourced? What might the unintended consequences be?
2) Filter for safety, both physical and psychological.
3) Work with a well-trained professional.
Do they do a medical screening? Do they ask about medications? If not, I’d pass. I understand that will exclude most indigenous experiences, and I remain confident in this recommendation for novices and many intermediates. How have they handled redline cases where people have freaked out or had really bad responses? If they say it’s never happened, I’d pass. They are likely too inexperienced or being dishonest. Do they call themselves a “shaman”? That’s a pass for me. I’ll spend time with ayahuasqueros, curanderas, Roadmen, etc., but I’m very skeptical of “shamans,” and the best practitioners I know are equally skeptical. It is simply not a word I hear used by the best to describe themselves.
4) Ensure you have found, tested, and booked a therapist the days after your experience, someone prepared to help you integrate and put yourself back together, if needed. I encourage people to have a therapist in addition to a facilitator. This therapist should be someone willing to get calls at odd times. Why two? I dislike single points of failure. Even the best facilitators have emergencies and can be unavailable or need to fly out unexpectedly; this happens, and I’ve seen it happen.
5) If a synthetic, ensure you test it.
6) Start small. Take much less than you think you can handle. You can always take more, but you can’t unhit the golf ball once you smash it.

Sounds like a lot of work, right? It is. I think you should take this as seriously as choosing a neurosurgeon for a serious operation. That might seem ridiculous, but do 100 or 200 sessions and you’ll see a wide spectrum of things that can go partially or fully sideways. It’ll make most people real believers in pre-flight checklists.

Now, back to choosing a more ethical menu of plants and compounds…

There will always be powerful forces pulling us towards the wrong reasons, so it requires effort to ensure we’re doing things for the right reasons. I’m in there with you. These things require constant self-inquiry, ego-checks, and uncomfortable reminders.

The future of these healing tools is literally in our hands.  It’s up to each of us to do our part, and together, we can do a lot of good.

Thank you for reading.

Tim

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AFTERWORD:

For those who would like to go further and support preservation, I am offering a $50,000 challenge grant to the nonprofit Amazon Conservation Team (ACT), which works in partnership with indigenous groups to protect ancestral rainforests, shamanic traditions, and tribal knowledge (botanical, linguistic, and otherwise). They have partnered with over 55 South American tribes to map and improve management of over 80 million acres of ancestral rainforests.

I will match up to $50,000 USD in donations made to ACT before 5 p.m. PT this Thursday, February 25, 2021. In other words, whatever you collectively donate by 5 p.m. PT this Thursday, up to a maximum of $50K, I will then match and donate. Even if you can only donate $5, every dollar matters and adds up! A few dollars can mean a lot when multiplied by a community of thousands or tens of thousands. This is also not all-or-nothing. If you all donate $20K, I’ll match $20K. $30K, $30K. I’d love to hit the maximum, if possible, and it would make a beautifully round $100K to ACT ($50K from you all, and $50K from me). 

Once the deadline has passed, I will work with the President of ACT, Mark Plotkin, to add up all donations to ACT between publication of this blog post and the deadline. That will be the number (up to a max of $50K) that I double by matching.

Just click here (Amazon Conservation Team homepage, direct donation page) to learn more and consider donating.

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 600 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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116 Replies to “An Urgent Plea to Users of Psychedelics: Let’s Consider a More Ethical Menu of Plants and Compounds”

  1. Thank you Tim for these much needed words on the responsible and ethical use of these potent medicines. As you say, any practices that necessitate animal abuse or put entire species at risk of extinction are inherently antithetical to healing or consciousness expansion.

    How could we ingest substances in the name of healing or bodies, minds, or spirits, and simultaneously cause unnecessary harm to the animal and plant species around us? To perpetuate the exploitative and destructive mindset of separation in the name of reconnection, reconciliation, and healing is incredibly ironic.

      1. I’m imagining myself dab DMT with Tim and Hamilton while slappin the Hang.. haha. Honestly though, when Ram Dass passed away I realized how important these guys are to this initiative..

        (I’m sure protecting these plants would be much easier if legality wasn’t always the focus.. using a blockchain to trace chain of custody could help with the “fear” of consuming a substance with a questionable origin story!)

  2. Tim, I learned about psychedelics from the body of work of yours and your interviewees and, like you, I implore people to do their research and make their own informed and aligned decisions whether and what compounds to use. Now there is this blog post to point to for us to make better decisions.

    Thank you for articulating my dismay from observing how these experiences turn into gimmicks and fads and for guiding those who are serious and reverent to this work towards more harmonious ways.

  3. If you have a garden, grow your own medicine, take cuttings of what you grow & give them away. All of our problems can be solved in a garden.

  4. Well said. How can we say we are doing this for growth at the expense of another be it plant or animals suffering. More than even we need balance and kindness. Our experiences should never come at the expense of others

  5. Thank you, Tim. From my vantage point, this might have been the most mature and impactful post that you have written. I will surely share with my relevant circles.

  6. Hey Tim, what a wonderful piece, and I appreciate that you put nature first! I work with climate change and would love to see you covering more of that topic in the show, particularly with the US rejoining Paris Agreement, the whole discussion on Green New Deal and the compounded effect of Covid-19 on [green] recovery. Some names for consideration: Christiana Figueres, Greta Thunberg, Al Gore, Sir David Attenborough and Naomi Klein… among many other great voices of Earth defenders. Thanks for considering it!

  7. Has Cane Toad toxin ever been studied? It’s also in the bufo family and excretes toxins from its glands. It happens to be a wildly invasive species down in Florida as well. If a potentially beneficial psychedelic experience could be extracted from its poison there might be a situation where it’s harvest and use could positively impact a particular environment or ecosystem.

    Just a thought!

  8. Thank you Tim for this sobering message! I’m in Australia and and volunteer for Mind Medicine Australia. Facebook will no longer let me share even the link to your website never mind this specific blog, due to political wrangling between our Government and FB, but I’ve encouraged people to google your website with this blog currently on the home page. Any chance you could leave this one on your home page for a little longer than usual to give us Aussies more time to spread the word and easily find it?

    1. Thank you very much for the comment, Melissa. This is an interesting issue re: Facebook that I haven’t heard before. To remedy this, we are creating the short link tim.blog/conservation to point to this post shortly, and you can then share that URL. Much easier to remember and type 🙂

      1. could also create a short link and hide the target, maybe to mitigate the blocking. a 307 redirect vs a 301. just some options.

      2. Awesome, thank you!

        Our Government decided it was time Facebook paid for Australian news content and moved to legislate it, to which Facebook promptly blocked access to news media both domestic and international on all Australian Facebook pages. Lots of other content got caught up in this – could not see how a link from your site counted as news media but nothing I tried worked. Very frustrating.

        Apparently Facebook are lifting the ban but it hasn’t taken effect yet, the usual link still not sharable to would be great to have a short link

        https://www.theguardian.com/media/2021/feb/23/facebook-reverses-australia-news-ban-after-government-makes-media-code-amendments

  9. By definition, to me anyway, a good life is one in which you give more back to the world than you consume, and the totality of your actions over its course result in an overall increase in general well being rather than a diminishment when you exit. This article is a great example of using what you got towards these goals. In a word, maturity.

  10. Im surprised to see such an article posted by Tim. Specifically to Kambo. Under the International union of conservations data base of endangered species, the phllyomedusa bicolor is listed “least concerned”. If you would have done further research you would have found that fatalities from Kambo sessions is actually due to untrained practitioners using too much water trying to induce a purge and casting them into a state of hypnatremia. Has nothing to do with Kambo. And if you had done further research you would see that Kambo has been studies for over 40 years with ground breaking work and research by nobel prize nominated scientist leading to over 70 Kambo patents by us pharmaceutical companies. Ive seen countless people not just feel better but actually get their lives back from Kambo. I’ve always liked your work, but it is very disappointing to see someone such as yourself put out one of these click bait articles when you usually do such due diligence on your research.

    1. I’ve never read any of your stuff and only read this piece because a friend forwarded it to me because of the uniformed information it contains about Kambo. I can agree with some of your points about these other sacred medicines and the lack of responsibility that is happening with their sourcing, but your stance on Kambo shows that due diligence wasn’t applied when researching and writing about it. Which makes me wonder what the real intent is behind the rest of the article. One of your points you make is asking people to do their own due diligence on knowing where and how their medicines are sourced and harvested, yet you didn’t do that with your own article. I do agree that people interested in Kambo need to make sure they only work with a qualified practitioner for safety reasons and to be assured that the medicine they’re being treated with has been ethically sourced. The Matses have a symbiotic relationship with the frogs and have a great deal of reverence for them and collect their medicine from them with great care. They only take the top layer of secretions and the point of tying the frogs serves two purposes. First it allows them evenly collect top layer of secretion in a manner that doesn’t harm the frogs and second the strings leave small markings on the frogs where they are tied that fade away within 3 months. If a frog comes down out of the tree and the tribesmen still see any sign of the string mark they send the frog back into the trees and don’t collect from it. There are two organizations that I know of who source their Kambo sticks directly from the Matses. That is Kambo International and the IAKP. I wouldn’t work with a practitioner unless they’ve been trained by one of those two organizations and get their medicine from them. I’m grateful Jason Fellows made the points he did about safety and hyponatremia. Kambo isn’t dangerous, excessive water consumption and being monitored by an unqualified practitioner is what’s dangerous. One last thing I’d like to say is that Kambo is not a psychedelic and I wish people would stop grouping it with psychedelics.

      1. Thank you for your comment. If the demand for kambo increases 10-fold, how does sourcing change? What if increases 100-fold? What does it look like if demand increases 1,000-fold or more?

  11. Thank you for this post. I hope it reaches the spiritual community. After spending almost a year in Bali I saw how kambo was a must-do among plenty of yogis. With this I’m not putting all yogis in the same bag, nor claiming those that call themselves spiritual are hypocrites – I call myself spiritual and for sure I’m making plenty of mistakes in my life. But I do think it’s a community that it’s increasingly being tainted by a few uninformed who prioritize the pose, social media and being “hype” over real connections and wholeness, which is what spirituality is to me, and where nature and animals are key elements. Also, I am from Peru and this touches me deeply, both from a conservation point of view and for the respect of our indigenous people. Much gratitude for this post Tim.

  12. You continue to impress, Tim. I’ve followed you for years and independently have had a similar trajectory of personal growth (though very different in the details, of course). I am warmed to see you increasingly use your platform for growth and healing of the collective. Unbridled indulgence and use of resources is a societal ill that we need to address. It’s always a good reminder that being “spiritually woke” does not inherently come with a perfected moral compass. Assessing how our actions cause suffering and striving towards right behavior is a skill that needs developing, like any other. Thanks for this post, and the ACT match.

  13. May you discover the power of the focus of your consciousness in an infinite, subjective, abundant reality. The universe has the ability provide you an abundance of anything that you focus upon, including an abundance of worry and lack. Independent objective reality is an illusion.

  14. I have no experience of using psychedelics and appreciate this comment is more than a little idealistic.

    I am a trained practitioner in Internal Family Systems and take this opportunity refer to the recent podcast with IFS creator Richard Schwartz (#492).

    I am aware of IFS being used increasingly to facilitate psychedelic healing experiences, but also of the fact that the IFS process alone can, as Dr Schwartz covered whilst on Tim’s show, simulate “psychedelic experiences without drugs” as per the title of the episode.

    As underpins the entire theory of IFS, we have absolutely everything we need to heal within us, without disturbing our fellow beings on the planet.

    Thanks Tim for hosting such a great show and for all your work

  15. I so blown away that you covered this topic Tim! I’m so grateful you have used your voice to speak up for important issues, and to speak up for the voiceless. The psychedelics and plant medicine movement has definitely become a trendy one, and more and more people are doing it, and doing it more often then needed for “status”. I have shared this to my plant medicine groups, and hope that this article plants some seeds, and poses some important questions for people to sit with.

  16. Thank you for this thoughtful and thought-provoking piece, Tim. I hope your message is heard far and wide.

    Living in Washington, DC, where an initiative to decriminalize psychedelics passed in the November 2020 elections, I fear these master soul guides will be taken for granted and used unconsciously by a culture steeped in consumerism.

    As well as the medicines you mentioned, I fear for Ayahuasca. With micro-dosing growing in popularity, I feel over-harvesting is a real threat to Ayahuasca’s existence. 100+ year old vines are already being harvested to meet the demands of the growing psychedelic culture in the US and Europe.

    I often meditate on the Quechua word, “Ayni,” translated as sacred reciprocity, especially with plant and animal medicines. What are we giving back to these sacred beings in gratitude for the healing they give us? Are we hungry ghosts who only know how to consume?

    What gives me some hope is that these plants want to remind us of our ability to communicate with plants and nature. They taught me how to converse with plants and receive their teachings without necessarily consuming them. They have also taught me to become a grateful steward of land and life. In becoming an herbal medicine student and community gardener, I am now immersed in the plant mystery school.

    Thank you for this this nudge to speak up for the lives of this natural medicine keepers and their Indigenous stewards.

    BTW, how do we let you know what we donated to Amazon Conservation Team?

    1. Thanks so much for the thoughtful comment, Jen.

      Regarding ayahuasca, I did speak with an ethnobotanist about this before publishing. Ayahuasca is widely grown and can be farmed, but there are certainly sustainability concerns. We must also keep in mind that the brew contains at least two plants, most commonly the ayahuasca vine and chacruna/psychotria viridis shrub, so it’s not just the vine that can suffer from overharvesting. These are all plants we need to keep an eye on, and bad practices and bad actors do exist.

      For donations to the ACT, I’ll simply look at all donations made from time of publication to the deadline. I know the people who run ACT, trust them, and they will provide me with numbers.

      Thank you,

      Tim

  17. 3 points:

    Is Ayahuasca sustainable? It faces the same pressures as Iboga with long maturation times and with the ever growing surge of inner adventurers, wild harvested will not last. Just ask kahpi.net and chacruna.net

    Kambo. I am not one the diehards believing it is the cure to all ills, nor do I partake anymore (10 times is enough). But, the animals are not always mistreated. The strong em’ up and make em’ sweat seems to be a tradition in Peru (Matses) mainly and when I visited the Yawanawa in Brazil (they call it Kapün) it was a calm affair with the little guy or gal being held in a hand and treated with dignity, no prodding, poking, or hard scraping.

    Toad/5-MeO-DMT. This is of the most interest to me since I have been visiting the desert for 5 years now. I will provide a much more detailed look at this in a future article to what I believe is a better solution than just switching to synthetic or not doing it. It has equally profound effects on lasting growth for many as the danger cases mentioned here.

    I will say some of us still believe nature is the world’s best chemist and is guiding us. We must do something to support these animals as there land is being encroached upon and colonized. And there are many ways to work with this medicine, the extreme and distressing outcomes have more to do with poor facilitation and support than the medicine. Low doses are key.

    To be continued…

    1. Love this SO much Charles. Several individuals in my community work closely with the Seri tribe in México. Working in collaboration with them in traditional and sustainable use has provided a lifeline to this lineage and tribe who are fighting poverty and to keep their traditions alive. The Netherlands based company Vaiiga is an example of a company that has done significant research into sustainable and ethical sourcing of medicine. I believe that abstinence may indeed be less powerful than the mindful support of carefully vetted experiences. We already know that the same annoying IG ego posts can be leveraged into virtue signaling, and virtue signaling can be transmuted from obnoxious cancel culture to a powerful movement. Humans are wired for certain behaviors; we can judge them or we can understand them and use them as tools to grow in a direction that benefits us all

  18. Thanks for this. I recently discovered psychedelics for my own severe depression and anxiety and am now shouting their virtues from the rooftops. You may consider getting in touch with [Link removed by moderator] as he’s the only non- psych doctor I know of taking this so seriously.

  19. Tim, thank you so much for writing this. I believe that this piece is particularly timely given that California lawmakers introduced a bill last week to decriminalize a wide-array of organic and synthetic psychedelics for personal and therapeutic use.

    I am a student journalist at CUNY’s Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism and was wondering if you had any time to speak to me for a story that I am working on. My piece attempts to dive further into the implications that this bill would have on the world of psychedelic-assisted therapy.

    Anyway, thank you for being constant source of comfort and inspiration. I am long-time listener of your podcast and a huge fan of your writing. And I agree Gus (who commented below. It would be awesome if you had Hamilton Morris on the podcast again.

    Peace and love,
    Max

    1. Good Luck, maybe a multi-million dollar donation would help get his attention. lol, you’re better off getting a community assessment of the bill or something where you ask everyday individuals.. People want to know about barrier to entry, how will this bill look in real world CA? Are people open to psychedelic treatment facilities in their area in the first place?

    2. Thank you for the comment, Max, and I’m thrilled you’re engaging with this area as a student journalist. It will be an increasingly exciting, conflict-rich, and complex beat to cover well.

      I am not doing any media at the moment (just writing on my own), but I strongly suggest seeing the LA Times piece linked to in this post, as well as the Indigenous Peyote Conservation Initiative (IPCI). There are also great people working with the Oregon initiatives like Francoise Bourzat and PSFC.co, both of whom understand the subtleties of what you’re exploring and possible longer-term effects of legislation.

      Best of luck!

      Tim

      1. Max/Tim – I was wrong, you at least got some good insights from Tim. Since Tim doesn’t do media much we will have to live with the podcasts!

        Just thinking, A round table with Tim, Hamilton, Francoise, and maybe Michael Pollan would be pretty awesome group to listen in on..

        Also, I have to you read the Toad of The Dawn by Dr. Octavio Hinojosa? it was a great book on the medicine.

        Cheers!

      2. Also as a followup up to “synthetic 5-MeO-DMT”, the chemistry of which is both “affordable and scalable” .. not sure if either of you have tried it yet, but..

        Based on that paper from ACS there’s a single step reaction that uses 5-methoxy tryptamine (Melatonin) with sodium cyanoborohydride (but sodium cyanoborohydride [although it can be prepared easily] involves combining sodium cyanide and borane. not too keen on doing this personally.)

        There’s also two other Routes they used to make synthetic 5-MeO-DMT, but the methods are too complex for me to understand!

        There’s no reputable distributors of this synthetic material, so most people have no other choice but to go to the toad..

        The only other alternative that comes to mind is using MHRB to make NN-DMT – but then we’re talking about a different type of DMT/ extraction process

        Of course this is all theoretical, and only authorized labs should synthesize such chemicals!!

      3. To follow up on sodium borohydride /sodium cyanoborohydride (as reducing agents when synthesizing 5-Meo-DMT):
        Hamilton Morris seems to agree in the new pamphlet that sodium borohydride is typically too strong of a reducing agent to be used in most reductive procedures (and in some cases may not produce the desired carbon nitrogen bond anyway.)

        Sodium cyanoborohydride on the other hand is too expensive and may leave trace impurities… This leaves us with original sodium borohydride as the main reducing agent proposed.

        The barrier to entry however (and the associated risk of using these reducing agents) aren’t worth the personal heath risk. Hamilton intentionally writes in an intellectually esoteric manner to obfuscate the legality of publishing instructions on how to synthesize such compounds. But the truth is, most of us aren’t chemists like Hamilton. Thus, most people will still go to the toad directly!

        Toad sanctuaries where you could use some sort of positive reinforcement to encourage the toad to produce additional gland secretions, and keep them on a well spaced out milking cycle would be a healthy compromise that may even cultivate a more compassionate way of obtaining this matter?
        Ken Nelson even stated, “Fresh venom can easily be collected without harm to the toad.” (Regardless of the decision they later made not to publish additional research on the toad.)

        I simply don’t buy the argument that synthetic is the only way forward, how about we have a bit more respect for the animal we want to get high from, instead of forcing a market for a synthetically created alternative?

        Ultimately I’m of the opinion that even though the synthetic material might be the same chemical structure, most of us aren’t going to know if any trace impurities were left behind during synthesis or where the synthetic material actually came from.

        It seems People would rather focus on designer psychedelics (and potential patents) (The US Patent office/US customs court of Appeal should never had allowed microbes to “patented” by GE in the the first place.
        “You can patent anything that’s alive except for a living human being.” This is laughable.)

        (MAPS anti-patent strategy is excellent, for profit models should be avoided in the therapy space as much as possible.
        I think any for-profit discussions should take a back seat until legalization is fully handled. I’m already sickened by how you can buy overpriced weed at a shop, yet some still sit behind bars for it. the federal status isn’t changing anytime soon folks.

        We’re headed in a similar direction with psychedelics imo. Maybe I’m wrong though and MDMA and Cannabis will eventually pave a new way forward for our approach to medicine and life, sure hope so!!)

        With all this said, im happy with NN-DMT experiences alone. The MHRB straight to base method is something that could be done by average people, I just think people should be aware of what they’re getting themselves into when smoking these substances. (and chain of custody of where it came from) You cant put the toothpaste back in the tube so to speak

  20. Thanks for presenting this opinion, Tim. I would also ask that human rights be factored into the equation for substances that are (still) illegal. Consider how many human lives are negatively affected (to put it mildly) to go from farm to table. Buzz kill, dude.

  21. To piggyback on this excellent article, I wanted to throw in two things for folks to consider:

    1. Impurities (i.e. unwanted/toxic compounds occurring from storage, processing, or additives)

    2. JOMO: The joy of missing out, as opposed to FOMO (the fear of missing out). JOMO takes practice, and it doesn’t mean shutting out the world around you, but over time you’ll realize what a burden is taken off your shoulders if you deliberately choose to “miss out” on things from time to time.

    To sum up and simplify both points: “When in doubt, go without.”

  22. I would like to mention that there are traditions where the kambo frogs aren’t hurt. Since they are not endangered can we support those practitioners who harvest their medicine ethically? I don’t know if I can embed a video but I have one of the frog being harvested at night with no tying. He was put back and continued croaking his mating song.

  23. YES! I also find in my community the natural human desire to be an outlier or a “psychedelic warrior” unafraid of heavy doses or “going deep”. I don’t believe it is practical or possible to ask humans to be different – we will always have parts or people who are called to go into battle or fight.

    Rather than suppress this inclination – I say we lean in. But lean into the warrior archetype as powerful guardians, the plants as our wards, as sacred doors to consciousness. And not to guard against all psychedelics and create an in group and an out group, but rather to always be fighting for the longevity and continued existence of these teachers. Not to dictate use or spread judgment, but to ensure the survival and protection of plants.

    We can answer a call to serve or to endure trials for our own enlightenment, and don our armor – but let’s do it in service to the medicine, in protection of their wisdom. Protection from devastation, protection from reckless abuse that leads to further criminalization. Popular or not, there is room for sanctity AND play, and both can be reverent experiences that do little harm – not just to the sources of the medicines but to the gift of awareness that psychedelics hold, when and if we choose that adventure.

  24. Thank you for speaking to this, Tim. Important reminder to always think about the wider consequences of our actions. On a related note, have you watched the Netflix miniseries Frontera Verde (Green Frontier)? Super relevant to ALL this, told from a new/different perspective. I think you would enjoy it. Be well.

  25. I find this subject very interesting, and I appreciate your concerns. What I struggle with is that you are not suggesting that the slaughter of animals is bad, you are only suggesting that it is bad in this case. Death is death, torture is torture. The treatment of cows/calves is atrocious.

  26. Mushrooms.

    With the proper ritual container / intent, a 5 gram mushroom journey can rival the most intense ayahuasca experience.

    You want purging? Ask for it, and be ready when the mushrooms show you.

  27. Thanks so much for making the case. I look forward to the day when people have access to healers and medicines that will truly help them. It’s heartening to see people in positions of influence use their presence for the good of other beings (…speaking of which: have you ever considered using bookshop.org instead of amazon for your book recommendation links? bookshop raises money for small independent bookstores!)

  28. I am really glad you wrote this post, Tim. I think it’s such an important piece of reading to go with your other content about psychedelics. The way westerners/non indigenous people use these compounds seems very similar to the wild west. This is in terms of who positions themselves as practitioners and medicine carriers (anyone who wants to) and in terms of the lack of integrity in ethical, ecological considerations. Another aspect is the high level of cultural appropriation relating to these compounds and their use. I’m still a massive supporter of psychedelics in the therapeutic settings you promote, but absolutely not in other ways that I have been involved in the past.
    PS. this is such a great line “If you couldn’t tell anyone about your experience or put it on Instagram or social, would you still do it?”

  29. So, youre suggesting someone take a chemical like ketamine, over a natural form medicine like Kambo? I have followed you for years and I have you say you are way off on this blog. The frogs are respected and well taken care of. There is a reason they are not afraid of humans.

    1. I 100% completely agree. I was ASTONISHED that he suggested taking Ketamine over doing Kambo treatments. Makes absolutely zero sense.

  30. Tim, how does it work with the match up donation to ACT? Is there a special link, or are you matching up all donations done through their page?

    1. Hi Luiza,

      Once deadline passed, I will work with the President of ACT, Mark Plotkin, to add up all donations to ACT between publication of this blog post and deadline. That will be the number (up to a max of $50K) that I double by matching.

      Thanks!

      Tim

  31. Thank you for this piece. I’m a researcher from the University of Toronto working with a First Nations group here who are interested in the use of psychedelics for substance use treatment in their community and the cautions around Ayahuasca are right on point.

    Personally, I’ve also been very interested in the potential of the use of tobacco as a psychedelic medicine, but have been struggling to find people working in the area. Do you know people who are working actively in this area?

    1. The book I link to with the word “tobacco” in this post is a great place to start. To be clear, I suggest considering how to work with it *without* ingesting tobacco juice. There are multiple deaths associated with tobacco ingestion in S America.

      To that end, it probably makes more sense to connect with N American First Nations who use ceremonial tobacco, of which there are many. Just required some digging.

      Good luck!

      Tim

  32. Thanks for all this work that you are doing Tim. Here, you advocated against doing least harm as possible to animals. But somewhere, in the 5-bullet emails or something, I read that you wrote about tasting some good steak/beef. I am not saying that we shouldn’t work against saving the frogs from harmful practices, but since you advocated that, shouldn’t you also advocate for vegetarian diet rather than non-vegetarian diet?
    Am I missing any nuances here. Look, I am not an advocate of veganism or even vegetarianism. I just ate an omelet. But mostly I am a vegetarian, because my parents are so. I am asking honestly.
    Also, we are so concerned about the extinction of a species. Why is that? I mean, yes, every life is valuable right. So I am not understanding why exactly that we are concerned about the extinction of a species rather than the welfare of all species? I don’t know.. I don’t even know what I am asking.. I am not very clear-headed about what I am writing right now… So I will leave it here. Anyone can share there opinions.
    Thanks. I appreciate your work.

    1. These are great and legitimate questions, actually.

      I do eat meat, but these days, I am eating wild-harvested meat from invasive species like Axis deer in Hawaii. The bullet you saw in 5-Bullet Friday was probably http://www.mauinuivenison.com It’s worth seeing their video on methods and ethos, if you scroll down the page.

      To be sure, there are many other daily decisions that deeply affect the environment, and cattle ranching and grazing is one large reason why the Amazon has been burning. This post was simply intended to focus on the psychedelic considerations, as I think those are under-discussed at the moment.

      Thanks for reading,

      Tim

      1. Thanks for raising this Navaneet J, I was wondering the same. I have a ton of respect for your work Tim, and am really not trying to be patronizing. But I’m curious as to your rationale for the amount of animal products you recommend on the slow carb diet 🤷‍♀️. There aren’t enough invasive species to make it sustainable at scale. You’ve probably addressed this in previous posts or podcasts that I may have missed, and if you could direct me to any such links that’d be great. PS: A couple weeks ago I started experimenting with a mostly plant-based version of the SCD and I’m seeing great results! 🙏

  33. Thank you for sharing Tim. Much needed thoughts around the uses of those tools. It does make for a good internal thought process: how can one truly heal if for that to happen on needs to hurt.
    Keep up the amazing work.

  34. Thank you for your empathy and action, Tim, I have so enjoyed (and continue to enjoy) seeing the shifts in you over the last few years, as you heal and grow. It inspires me to keep going as I wander through my own -sometimes dark and lonely- internal landscapes of healing and transformation. All this to say, I am grateful for you and all that you represent. With love and delight
    Your unofficial mentee and modern troubadour
    Nathan ❤️

  35. Re: synthetics vs. naturals —

    In Robert Pirsig’s book, _Lila_, he tells the story of a colleague at the university who studied Native Americans and one day attended a ceremony of some kind (I’ve forgotten, but it’s in the book). Corn was required for the ritual, and the Indians started opening up some canned corn for the purpose. The professor protested that that was no good, it had to be fresh corn picked from a real plant. The Indians laughed, “Oh, so the white man’s going to tell us how to do it?”

    1. This seems like the same type of gate keeping that a lot of religions leverage.. I think if you approach it with respect you can have life changing experiences. I think sage open access is what it’s all about

  36. 🤍🪶🕊
    Thank you for the work you’re doing. This blog post is incredibly written – balanced, grounded and so, so important.

  37. I own land in the Big Bend area of Tx literally next door to Big Bend National Park in the Chihuahua desert .its in the mountain s.EXTREMELY REMOTE .Id.like to offer it for use if.any researchers etc into peyote or other threatened desert plants that could use a natural,EXTREMELY REMOTE but safe place to grow .its over 100.acres of ravines.flat linestone areas.
    Other parts are more rocky and climb the side of the mountain up 300 ft theres already lots of huge ocotillo ,sotol, at least 20 varieties of natural cacti from the rare ” rock cactus” to purple prickly pear to rainbow to huge clumps of the cactus whose fruit taste like a mix of strawberries and cream kiwi ,horse “crippler” and a ton more .my point is .cacti THRIVE in that region and its one of the most remote regions in the southern United States .anyway just offering if you or any researchers could use a natural environment outside a greenhouse to help propagate any desert species .thanks for the post and the drive to protect wild / natural species.I grew up in Manaus Amazonas where my parents were Baptist missionaries and spent a lot of time in the interior/ jungle as a teenager in the 70 s I had lots of indian friends up.near Tefe and Coari. Once right before we moved back to the states when i was 16 i saw a shaman putting poison dart secretions directly on the skin (rib cage under their arm)of some of the young men in his tribe and asked if he would do the same for me . “(young and dumb i know) and he did.i threw up almost as soon as he dabbed it on my side and for some time afterwords but once past that i had my first experience with psychedelics.when it came time for me to get back to the houseboat my dad used to access the interior.i told him and he wet a towel and wiped the spot where he had put it on me and it seemed like in no time I was back to normal but I digress.If its legal and any researcher etc could use it .im offering my land to be used for a safe .natural protected area to grow peyote or any other endangered desert species of cacti etc for as many years as they need .I live in Charleston SC. Almost 2000 miles from our place in southwest Tx .so there would be complete privacy
    Even from me the landowner

  38. You’ve been an important piece of my life puzzle for several years. This post speaks to some sustainability of some substances I’ve been considering and gives practical, clear guidance. I’ll use this information and share it.

    Thank you from me, others, the frogs and the planet. 🙏

  39. Related to Iboga. Many providers with years of experience tend to think that giving Iboga to heroin addicts may be a waste of Iboga as well. In this case, you are sometimes really just filling a hole and often one that isn’t filled in, as Iboga is far from a magic bullet. Some providers I have met find much more satisfaction in giving Iboga to people who can actually use Iboga to truly transform and heal their lives.

    I also tend to think also that giving Iboga to westerners for healing and transformation is a more efficient use of the plant, than traditional use where they may use hundreds of grams at a time.

    Iboga is a serious cash crop, and the market has been fairly substantial for a couple of decades now. Africa being Africa, there are enough people getting the plants growing enough to meet demand for now.

    I don’t believe people should stop themselves from engaging with one of the most (if not THE most) potent and transformational plant teachers, because of some issues with wild harvesting. Moreover, I think that micro-dosing Tabernanthe Iboga or Tabernanthe Manii is perhaps an even better and more efficient way to make use of these sacred plants.

    Hamilton’s has this idea that 5-MeO and Bufo are the same, but he never met the more experienced people at WBAC who could of set him straight and characterised the attendees as clueless hippies stuck in their ideology that natural is better.

    There are many good reasons that people keep taking bufo, rather than the synthetic. I gave a talk about natural plant based sources at WBAC, but there are as yet, no obvious go to species, but my research is still yet incomplete. I personally will not smoke Bufo OR natural ever again, I am only interested in low dose 5-Me-O around 5mg from plants, and believe this is the magic ticket, as well as oral 5-MeO brews from plants.

    It has been an interesting dance in Australia related to the acacias containing DMT. Some acacia species containing DMT are micro-endemic, meaning they only grow on one small mountain. Yes, there has been some unethical harvesting from these species, but also nothing too damaging YET.

    On the other hand, there have been incidences in Australia of whole stands of more common acacia species being wiped out and in areas around Perth, you can commonly see acacia acuminata which has been ring barked and hacked at, by people who kill the trees who clearly have no idea at all. And there is no easy to educate these people about how to harvest ethically (you can just take the phyllodes or leaves) or with some intelligence!

    But in response to this sort of pressure, the community has really started to step forward, and started to grow these species in larger amounts away from the areas in which they grow. Hamilton would say DMT is DMT, but that is experientially not the case, these species are specific and special plant teachers. All of us see that one day this medicine will be legal, and the sooner that day comes, the more people can be serious about growing and doing all of this much more ethically.

    1. Julian, thank you for this incredibly thoughtful comment. I shall read and reread it to think on several things you brought up.

      Much appreciated!

      Tim

  40. I completely agree with your thoughts about 5-Meo-DMT, Peyote, Wachuma, Ayahuasca and Iboga. I completely DISAGREE (as in STRONGLY DISAGREE) with your thoughts about Kambo. Also, it is inappropriate, imho, to conflate psychedelics like Peyote, Ayahuasca and 5-Meo-DMT with Kambo, as Kambo is NOT an entheogen or psychedelic. I have received Kambo into my body at least 30 times over the last 6 years and am a provider of Kambo treatments and there is nothing else like it, and it is profound and beautiful, and the fears around lethality are flat out ridiculous.

    I do have a strong aversion to 5-MEO-DMT however, and feel that you should have considered using an actual psychedelic substance for your article like the Bufo Toad, because by using a photo of a Kambo frog on an article about psychedelics is flat out WRONG & INACCURATE. But considering that the Bufo Toads are getting over used and depopulated, they would have made a very good choice for this article. Kambo frogs, however, do not make a good choice for this article, as they are not over used, depopulated and aren’t even harmed.

    You have shared a lot of good, important thoughts – including everything you said about Ayahuasca, but your inclusion of Kambo in this post is defamatory.

  41. Tim, I love this and agree with this. And I’ve made some commitments based on reading this. But I do think your characterization of ayahuasca as “readily available and easy to cultivate” may be untrue. From what I’ve read and reports from the jungle, it’s being used at an alarmingly fast rate and it does not grow nearly as fast as it’s being removed. It may not be as bad as peyote, but I do think it’s worth noting as “at risk”.

    1. I checked with ethnobotanist Dr. Mark Plotkin, trained in part by Richard Schultes, about this. The wording I used is his. That said, I agree that we still need to consider the future of ayahuasca and put safeguards in place. Nature certainly does not automatically scale to meet the needs of its most demanding invasive species (humans).

      Thought he believes ayahuasca to be unthreatened in many areas, here is a story Mark also shared with me:

      “A colleague of mine mentioned watching Ingano shamans at a remote airstrip in the Colombian Amazon sadly watching plane loads of their sacred ayahuasca vine departing without knowing where the planes were headed, without their permission, without receiving any compensation and with no effort on the part of the exporters to replant.”

      1. Thanks for the thoughtful response and attention to detail. Without adequate meaning for the characterization you’ve posed (or even the “threat” I’ve posed), it’s hard to know whether we’re on the same page. I suspect we are, relatively speaking.

  42. Thanks for writing this Tim.

    In Australia we have a problem with people wild harvesting a certain Acacia (wattle) species for making DMT out of the bark (in National Parks etc). More and more just for profit as opposed to any spiritual or health motive. It’s Victorian population is now endangered, in NSW it’s not an endangered species but often part of a “Endangered Ecological Community”. Frustrating as it could be harvested non-lethally, or legally propagated. It would be good if those harvesting got involved in replanting, or just didn’t make money off plundering the bush. I guess like anything else, ethics and sustainability should be guiding our reciprocal relationship with mother nature.

  43. Beautifully and informatively written! Thank you Tim for sharing your experience, well timed research, and for encouraging us to walk “the narrow path”

    Many Blessings,

    Chef Steve

  44. Thank you for writing this Tim! We need people such as you to offer the insight as you have done to preserve the ancient traditions and medicines that have so much to offer yet are prone to being exploited, and abused.

  45. Hi Tim, thank you for this thoughtful post. I wonder if there’s a way to include indigenous communities in the creation of these products? It seems like a great opportunity to share wisdom and resources equitably!

  46. Tim,

    This was such a great read, especially since so many people take psychedelics to feel a connection to nature. The recently founded Plant Medicine Coalition–founded by Melissa Lavasani of DC’s Initiative 81 campaign (i.e. the Entheogenic Plant and Fungus Policy Act of 2020)–is currently lobbying members of Congress seeking $100 million in NIH funds to research the merits of psychedelic and empathogenic plant-based medicines. We are still in the process of developing the core tenets/goals of our organization, but the sustainability of plant medicine species is our highest priority.

    Your reputation on the subject speaks volumes. We are confident that a platform with your reach would help us cast a wide net across every US legislative jurisdiction, ratcheting up pressure on Congress to allocate this funding.

    Given your long history of advocacy in this and adjacent areas, it would be inconsiderate for us to ask for you to give anything more to the cause of drug policy reform, but if this organization sounds like something you’d be willing to promote, we would be absolutely over the moon. Feel free to contact me or anyone at plantmedicinecoalition.org anytime, and thank you for elevating the thoughtfulness of the dialogue in every area you touch!

    Best,
    Charlie

  47. I know little about psychedelics, but REALLY appreciate framing their use in ecological and ethical terms. The spirit of conducting oneself and ones businesses under these mantra (“… not as much as possible,” “least harm possible”) is so important (and so frequently missing from businesses). It makes me sad to see businesses screw over people and the environment, and I hope entrepreneurs who read this blog apply some of these ideals to their businesses too. There’s no humanity in “make as much money as possible.”

  48. Thanks for this article Tim. Only thing I’d like to add: There are way more options for spiritual journeying that involve no substances whatsoever, and they can easily bring you “all the way”. Psychedelics may be helpful, but are entirely optional.

  49. Bravo, this needed to be said. Many people moving toward these medicines as early adopters are also the people who scrutinize their food and beverage brands and labels (i.e. Who made it? Where did it come from? How was it made?), so it’s just a matter of extending the same curiosity and respect. It will also be much easier for everyone to do this when it’s all legal and above ground.

  50. Excellent topic considering the ever increasing desire for chemical substances to primarily alter/shift perceptions.
    I applaud the notation of “First, do no harm” and “First, do the least harm possible.” and highlighting or eco destruction and “animal abuse”.
    Often people consider and adopt “More Ethical” sourcing and behaviors when it affects them or their family personally or when they educate and/or experience the full extent of the cradle-to-grave process of almost all products.
    My hope is that this type of sociocentric highlighting spreads to all areas, especially the sources of our human diet choices.

  51. Thank you for the article Tim. I did do Kambo and Bufo the same day with a shaman in southern California. I tried Bufo before I saw the documentary with Hamilton Morris. It really was life changing. I was told that it wasn’t synthetic. I knew they both came from frogs but I didn’t realize for Kambo they would kill the frogs

  52. This is very informative post! Unfortunately, governments’ are more interested in receiving money from lobby and keep the status quo and not taking risks and upsetting their electorate by talking about such controversial topics.

  53. Hello , We would love to participate and donate. But we are in france, we paye in euros and our bank systematicaly blocks payements with credit cards in dollars. Can you offer another way of payment, stripe or paypal ?

  54. Wow. I am really impressed & pleasantly surprised by the depth & wide, clear span of all you cover in this article. I know you have a wide reach & appreciate you speaking on the ethics of our consumption of these sacred medicines & traditional practices. Thank you. Blessings,

    Marysia Miernowska

  55. Tim: Thank you for this comprehensive post. What stuck with me though is how sickening is the mistreatment of the frog or other animals/beings that may, by the unfortunate circumstance of mankind’s growing knowledge and its globalization, be abused for someone’s “experience”. I am far from a PETA member, but I am sure I share with your community a wish that our other species be treated ethically and with kindness. I want to thank you for emphasizing that – it is important and a responsibility that power not take away our humanity.

  56. Hi Tim, thank you for your hard work and sharing this. Such a great post. I’m writing a book called The Future is Fungi to be published globally in 2022 by Thames and Hudson. I’d love to include this as a contributing piece in the psychedelic section to help spread the message. It would be great if you can email me back on [Moderator: email address withheld here but preserved in intake field] to discuss if interested. Thank you Tim!

  57. Tim – Thank you for this cogent and timely piece – very well done and spot on. I write articles about psychedelics, and I am currently writing a foundational piece on the Psychedelic Renaissance – and stewardship/responsibility will be an essential element in that piece. I will echo your message, and link to this post. Be well…

  58. Cutivate, cultivate, cultivate. Really, or some of these spices and cultivars will go the way of Silphium, pretty much extinct by the reign of Roman Emperor Nero.

    Than you Tim, well put.

  59. Tim, thank you so much for covering this very important subject. Having worked with plant medicine for a while, this has been on my mind every time I see a new famous person endorsing the power of 5-MeO-DMT. There are so many things one can do before they even need to get there, from holotropic breathwork to cleaning your life to exercising to yoga to meditation, to mushrooms and yes maybe even Aya and Wachuma (with respect). Don’t just do it because it’s trendy and it makes for a great story. I’ve continually asked people to approach 5-MeO-DMT with caution and reverence and while I haven’t tried the synthetic version, your words are making me rethink even my own approach. It is impossible to ignore the pain of animals once you’ve felt how deeply we are all connected.

    I love how you’ve approached providing alternatives. People need to learn to work in the subtle spaces of the medicines as well, they don’t need to go to extremes to find healing BUT they need to put in the hard work in preparation (diets, health) and in integration. Mushrooms are a terrific alternatives, easy to grow and the process of growing them can be so rewarding, you infuse them with your love and care and get that back many times over as valuable lessons when used in the proper setting. As little as necessary my friends… 🙏🏻 ❤️

  60. Tim, I never comment on things like this but this piece and the ethical/sustainability debates around the use of these substances is desperately needed, so thank you for raising the issue. Kambo, in particular, I find ethically questionable for those of us, like you say, with alternatives…offsetting ones own suffering by imposing suffering on another being does not seem like a way to evolve to a higher state of consciousness. When I raised this with Kambo practitioners, however, I was met with a defensive wall. Perhaps appealing to those who might be seeking solace in these medicines to think carefully about the practices they are contributing to is the way to go. Moving on from dominant anthropocentric discourses and taking a more ecocentric approach, which doesn’t put humans and our needs above the rest of the natural world, is surely an evolution many are looking for. Thank you again for raising this debate.

  61. Tim thank you so much for this much-needed, incredibly illuminating blog post. I am a student and editor at posthumans.org, a site which seeks to deconstruct the human and adopt a post-Anthropocentric worldview. Posthumanism focuses on treating our home and fellow inhabitants with greater respect; it seeks to give our species a reality check after placing ourselves at the top of the ecological (and self-invented) hierarchy for so long. This post fits perfectly with what philosophical Posthumanism aims to accomplish. I know you have an unfathomable amount of tasks and projects on your plate, but if we could ever be so lucky as to collaborate in the future, please know that it would be an immense honor and privilege to have the opportunity to speak with and learn from you. However, as a long-time reader and listener, please also know that I completely understand if you are unable to respond at this time. Indeed, if it is not a hell yes, I greatly respect your no. 🙂

    In gratitude,
    Matigan

  62. You’ve lost your mind and my respect. Young people follow you and don’t understand the consequences. I don’t doubt the benefits, but under a doctor’s supervision. You need to explain the risks. You may be doing more harm than you know. Many of your followers lack the maturity to understand.

  63. Love the article! Not to be a stickler, but mushrooms are fungi (instead of in the plant kingdom) – I’m sure we’re aware, but it makes for easier writing to lump them in with plants.

    They are, however, deserving of their own kingdom.

  64. Tim, this is an amazingly well-written and educational blog that addresses many counter-intuitive actions in the world’s healing process. I commend you 1000 times over for this specific blog, in addition to all the other work you have been doing. I wish I could take it and send it to those I feel need to be educated more, or perhaps put this in a video format to spread on the internet. I will absolutely refer others and myself back to this article in the years to come. Thank you again for all the wonderful work – It is deeply appreciated.

  65. Hi Tim, regarding Ketamine and Suicide, do you have any experience in this subject with people you may know? With the COVID crisis there are a litany of deaths from suicide due to the lockdowns and drug overdoses. Kids are committing suicide in high numbers. It is a shame that most people have never heard of using ketamine to treat suicide or at least create a bridge to get help. Would appreciate any comments you might have as I am writing a book on the topic at this moment. Regards, Johnathan Edwards

    1. Hey Jonathan, I’m happy to connect you with our head of therapy at Within – we offer in-home psychedelic medicine using ketamine.

  66. Tim,

    I have continued to revisit my thoughts on your piece many times this past week since you first published it. I am very grateful for your openness to receiving my (extensive) feedback in that time and for including much of it in the revisions of the piece. And it also feels important for me to share some of what wasn’t included here myself.

    I am genuinely curious regarding your endorsement of consciously hunting wild-game as an ethical solution to factory farming, and yet maintaining a (seemingly) hard stance that ethical harvesting of kambo, for example, should not be an option as “it is not possible at scale.”

    I would love to hear how the company that you buy your wild-harvested venison from would handle the same increase in demand that you ask about regarding kambo: 10x, 100x, 1000x.

    My best guess (of course, I could be wrong) is that they would say that they stand by their ethos so strongly that they will only supply what they can harvest maintaining their commitments and ethical standards, regardless of the demand.

    I personally believe that there are ways – especially with accountability and in council/community – for the majority of us to stand by our principles and not get lost down the back alley of greed and deception, and, with the support of healthy structures as afore mentioned, I trust others to do the same.

    As you well know, I agree that you raise very timely, important, and complex questions that we need to be asking. And although we mirror the collective in (respectfully) having come to some divergent conclusions when asking these hard questions, I believe that our overall value systems in this community are ultimately very similar and that with more time, care, and listening we might reach some truly united fronts about the best way to provide the healing that is so desperately needed to all those who need it.

    And as you mentioned in our exchange the other day, it’s probably important to note that we have differing fundamental orientations of how we believe human beings will act once given certain pieces of information: I stand by my belief that extensively educating people who truly care and trusting them to make the best decisions will lead to them doing so vs offering loopholes that can readily be used as an excuse for poor behavior and lazy decision-making.

    I know you are looking at very large scale numbers (into the tens of millions) as we move forward and your concerns are valid, however I keep coming back to the fact that projections of scaling these sacred (and mystical) medicines is not the same as running numbers for scaling a business: i.e. 1+1 does not always equal 2.

    Every indigenous elder I know will tell you that the medicines that come straight from nature have a consciousness, an intelligence, a spirit, and that they also have desires and dreams for us. They also, of course, have their very real limitations and are clearly at risk of being misused and abused via human error. Additionally, I believe they have the ability to collaborate with us, and this is my invitation: that we find more ways to truly work *together*.

    I may be considered naive by some of our colleagues and peers, but I do believe it is possible for the western clinical models of healing, and age old earth-based methodologies to deeply acknowledge each other’s applications and to create a broader model of care that incorporates both into something fundamentally new and applicable for the times we are in.

    There’s much to say on how this can be done and this is likely not the forum for as detailed a discussion as that deserves, but in the meantime many of us believe that there are applications for these sacred and sensitive medicines that will allow people to commune with them with deep respect and at the same time contribute to their replenishment by being an active participant in contributing to aligned organizations and efforts.

    For example, Bwiti elders of Gabon have been inviting their “lost children” home to work with their ancestral medicine of iboga to help heal the African diaspora. (You can find more about this topic by following The Sabina Project on Instagram. Disclaimer: I have no direct affiliation with this group.)

    So clearly they believe that there are more usages than someone who will die from an overdose otherwise. The elders are also asking for support to plant more iboga there in it’s place of origin. Blessings of the Forest does an amazing job at addressing and supporting this cause: https://www.blessingsoftheforest.org/ (again, no personal affiliation).

    I could go on, and I will leave my further hypothesis’ for the piece I’m writing (partially encouraged by you, so thank you!): in the meantime, my contribution to this discussion is really an appeal from the feminine and the indigenous themselves for us all to continue to sit with the complexities and nuances of how it’s possible to view the topics of ethics and conservation from a more balanced, holistic and omni-considerate view point.

    I also will add that while it seems basic and somewhat obvious to agree that “do no, or little, harm” is a wonderful ideal, the definition of what is harmful and what is helpful is one of life’s great philosophical questions and one which is ultimately much more challenging to pinpoint than it may seem so I would love to experience more people sharing that they don’t ultimately “know” in these cases.

    Personally, what I do “know to be true” is that we are collectively learning and growing, that each of us hold a vantage point that is important, and that the ultimate “truth” is a composition of all of our views so I am grateful for these dialogues and opportunities to further these conversations.

    Thank you for your ever considerate ear, Tim. More will be revealed as we all continue to dig deeper, and open our minds and hearts even more: cheers to many more years of discussion on this ever unfolding path!

    In love and service,

    Maria

  67. Kambo…it isn’t about the purge. It’s about the neuropeptides. We don’t know of another substance that has a similar profile. There is no known substitute for Kambo.

    [Moderator: link removed.]

  68. Hello Tim, thanks for this post. As a member of the NAC, I was very glad to see peyote at the top of the list of medicines not to partake in. Even within the NAC, there is discussion of not having as many ceremonies and only doing so whenever there is a serious need (i.e. doctoring a patient who is near death or struggling with severe addiction). Back in the 1800s and early 1900s, this was the only reason for having a ceremony, but in recent decades there has been more family-oriented ceremonies (birthdays, graduations, general prayer for someone’s child, etc).

    I’d add to your recommendation two things: a) if you do wish to partake in peyote, make sure you are doing so with a Native family (could be NAC or with one of tribes in Mexico, like the Huichol), and b) one can still participate, learn and heal much through participation in NAC-associated ceremonies, like sweat lodges and drum tie singing sessions (which happen multiple times per week in reservations across Oklahoma, Arizona, New Mexico, Montana, etc). In other words, seek an authentic experience and pray to be led in that direction. I see too many folks having hippie-style peyote “ceremonies” in places like Hawaii and California and this has to stop. It is not only an abuse of the plant, but an insult to the Native cultures who have literally shed their blood, sweat and tears to be able to use this sacrament in a legal way today.

    And for some additional indigenous perspective, the elders I have been around talk about the spirit of the peyote being able to doctor someone even by just looking at the medicine or being around people praying and singing peyote songs, so from a Native perspective, one can still “partake” in the spirit of the peyote without ingesting the physical plant. I’ve found that some of the best ceremonies I ever attended were those where I ingested very little medicine, but was more focused and paying attention to the prayers and songs. Same goes for some very powerful sweats and drum sessions where I got strong healing without ingesting any medicine at all. Similarly, I’ve witnessed non-Native visitors coming around NAC ceremonies, eating a lot of medicine, and on the next day recounting how they did not feel anything at all. I’d advise newcomers to the NAC to seek healing first and foremost, and not just some psychedelic journey, vision or “high” feeling. If one focuses on the healing and prayer aspect, the visions and feelings of bliss and joy will naturally follow along with the experience. Intent precedes content, as one elder put it. Thanks Tim and God bless you and your family!

  69. Thanks Tim.

    I’d recommend that people go beyond a DIY test kit and have their medicines spectral analyzed. Local DanceSafe groups offer this for free, and you can also mail in samples for about $100. This may seem cost prohibitive to some, but it’s worth the investment and the intention behind it will no go unrewarded.

    Also, we’ve been using Ketamine assisted therapy in our in-home tele-psychedelic medicine work at Within and are developing a novel protocol using Oxytocin that we are excited will be excellent for trauma. We currently have off the shelf, safe, legal medicines that can occasion healing altered states that have no environmental impact — folks would be wise to look their first.

  70. Interesting and you have some valid points as far as abusing and asking yourself very important questions like “will this help me?” and/or “is there a better alternative?” These medicines can and are being abused. With that being said, kambo has changed many people’s lives including my own and after struggling with a variety of symptoms related to my gut including breast implant illness, candida, parasites, mold, severe inflammation, depression, anxiety, insomnia, borderline suicidal, just to name some and patterns of relationships…kambo has changed my life and not only changed it but saved it. I am also a medical professional and have been in the field for over 20 years so I also know that side of things and how pharmaceuticals are typically produced with ill intention. You can not take the energetics and intentions out of the equation, this is the foundation of healing. If you have big pharma involved most likely you are ingesting a lot of greed, power, and control and definitely not for the greatest benefit of all. So like anything if it is done responsibly and with best intentions there is healing and transformation and I believe Kambo Naturista, where I trained does that. Deyan is very responsible and ethical in his trainings and how the kambo is harvested and it is not done over a fire. People are taught well and interviewed properly to better ensure that the practitioners are in alignment with his teachings. Maybe we need to look at the schools and possibly regulate those so it is done well and with utmost integrity.

  71. If the vast majority of indigenous traditions could survive and develop deep spiritual practices without psychedelic toads, frogs, etc., you can too.

    Love this! I see a lot of friends and acquaintances developing a sort of codependency for mind-altering substances and psychedelics the way that many people develop codependency issues with prescription medicine, drugs and alcohol. I hope there is some type of regulation that happens for psychedelics soon. I have seen many people hurt badly by them, and also many that have benefited. Nonetheless, I hope it gets structured soon.

  72. For those who do not understand the meaning or value of ethics and morality, they are ultimately based only on respect and honour. You decide to whom you are loyal and what you will respect and will honour, and what you will not.

    To make a difference in the world of psychedelic use, it is best to assist others in making the ethical decision by helping them to improve their understanding of why it is important to consider respect for nature in the pursuit of enlightenment.

    Time for this multi-decade long campaign to get real. Psychedelics are not toys (nor particularly good for creating a slave race of workers, or whatever mind control scheme is hot right now) but mistaking them for such has propelled us forward. Let’s get it right, now 🙂

  73. Funny you dont mention MDMA here the sassafras tree and rain forest is being devastated ,sassafras tree root oil is the main ingredient for real MDMA ….it has been almost made extinct down too 1% of it 30 yrs ago …Quinoa is another food made unafordable to indigenous people which was a staple due too western demand …Great Article ,needed to be said …

  74. would love to re write another informative peace on Lsa and Other dmt containing plants that can direct peoples attention to the more abundant and invasive species