This interview was originally produced as a podcast episode. We strongly encourage you to listen to the audio, which includes emotion and emphasis that’s not on the page. Transcripts are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting in print.
0:01 Lorna: Hello beautiful visionaries of EntheoNation. This is Lorna Liana for yet another episode and today we are here with Rick Doblin who’s the founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, otherwise known as MAPS.
0:16 He received his doctorate in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government where he wrote his dissertation on the regulation of the medical uses of psychedelics and marijuana. Rick studied with Dr. Stanislav Grof and was among the first to be certified as a Holotropic Breathwork practitioner. His professional is to become a legally licensed psychedelic therapist. Now Rick is at the forefront of modern day psychedelic research and the battle for legalization. So he’s going to share with us what he and his organization MAPS has been doing and researching in this frontier. So welcome to our show Rick.
0:55 Rick: Thank you for having me on. This is a great opportunity. Thank you. I’m just recovering from a cold.
1:01 Lorna: Not a problem at all. I’m so grateful to have you here on the show. I’d love to ask you to share with us what was your visionary journey like that led you to start MAPS and the work that you’re doing right now?
1:15 Rick: Yeah. That’s a tricky question and I will try to respond in a pretty succinct way. So basically I was born in the United States in 1953, you know shortly after World War 2. And I have a lot of Israeli relatives, Jewish relatives some killed in the Holocaust. So as I was being raised, I was being raised in a sort of cocoon of safety in the United States but educated about the Holocaust and it was just terrifying. So I kind of have second generation trauma you could say from learning about it. And then as I got older, I was involved in the Cuban missile crisis, involved meaning just a young child when it happened. And this whole idea of the arms race of the Soviet Union which a lot of people don’t really think about much today but the idea that we were building up all this weapons and we could have kind of universal holocaust it was you know terrifying to a young kid. And then I was sort of walking into the face of the Vietnam War. I was the last year of the lottery so I was still a draft. And so all of these things started making me look at cultural insanity and the way in which people divide themselves from others and identify in narrow ways with their religion or their nationality or their racial group or their socio-economic status or their gender or different things and the sort of demonized or fearful of the other. And I was inspired by Martin Luther King and Tolstoy and others on non-violence and decided on resisting to draft and going to jail and being a force, I hope for more peaceful approaches to solving conflict.
3:07 But this whole time I was scared of psychedelics and really felt that the education I’ve been given was that they made you permanently crazy in certain ways LSD was terribly dangerous. But I was still very politically involved and I came across some writings of Albert Einstein who talked about the splitting of the atom has changed everything except our mode of thinking and hence we drift towards unparalleled catastrophe. What mankind shall require is a whole new mode of thinking if we are to survive.
3:40 So I started thinking that this new mode of thinking is really the sort of mystical unitive state that we understand that we’re really at heart all bound similar to each other, all part of the same web of life. And then if you can steal that and know that then you’re likely to be less prejudice and more accepting and less willing to resort to violence. So that was kind of my political growth as I became a draft resister and prepared I thought to go to jail.
4:09 Then when I went to college I first started trying psychedelics and I found that what I have been taught about them really was completely wrong. They are dangerous for sure, but that they also have incredible potential to bring the unconscious to the forefront. To bring things that people have suppressed and also to help us feel our connections. And people have used these drugs for thousands of years for that exact purpose. And this was 1971-72 that I was coming on to these realizations. But that was after the backlash and the crackdown against the 60s and all these drugs have been criminalized. And the research had been shut down all over the world in this big overreaction against this sort of connection between the people that were using psychedelics and the social turmoil, the protest against the Vietnam War, the environmental movement, the civil rights movements, the woman rights movements, a lot people who really did get inspired by their psychedelic experiences to challenge the status quo. So as I started realizing all of these and wanted to get involved and realizing that the research was shut down and then thinking that because I was draft resister, was anticipating going to jail I could never become licensed doctor or lawyer or anything that would be brave at it because I have this criminal record.
5:33 I thought, well the most important thing I could do is to try to bring back psychedelic research and bring back psychedelics and fight the drug war and try to take these technologies of the sacred, these technologies of healing and bring them back into being the mainstream part of our society. So at age 18 in 1972 was really when I had the initial vision that this is what I wanted to do for my life.
6:01 I recently have turned 61 and I see that after all of these years things are actually starting to develop in that direction and I think that our culture in general, you know, too much, too fast, too soon with the emerging consciousness that the psychedelics can bring in the 60s that the culture wasn’t ready for.
6:23 The other big thing at that time of course was going to the moon and the whole idea of seeing the earth from space and getting a sense of the whole earth. All that was part of that consciousness. And so I think what’s happened over the last 40 years plus is that the culture has matured in a lot of different ways. We have a much better attitude towards death, towards birth, towards spirituality, towards yoga, towards meditation where seeing Ayahuasca strength throughout the western world and a lot of people being inspired by it. And a lot of people they had early psychedelic experiences in their younger years are now retiring, baby boomers are retiring and then often made major contributions to the world. Most of them have given up their psychedelics, some looked back on it fondly. So I think that the world itself is now ready and prime for the psychedelics and at the same time we really see a rise of fundamentalism a retreat from this globalization.
7:31 I think the antidote to fundamentalism is mysticism. And there’s a lot of different ways for people to experience it. I don’t mean to imply that psychedelics are the only way, they’re certainly not. People can get to these experiences all different ways. But I do believe that psychedelics are one of the historically most powerful catalyst that people have used for thousands of years and as a culture what we desperately need to do is to throw off the shackles of prohibition and learn to use wisely the potential of these non-ordinary states of consciousness because it’s really not about the drugs. It’s about the state of consciousness, it’s about what we learn what happens during those states. And I think we all, every night go to sleep and we all have dreams and there’s this rise in to consciousness of unconscious material and it’s a natural phenomena. And a lot of us get a deep emotions, insights, various benefits from paying attention to dreams.
8:39 I think we should think of psychedelics as just as natural as dreaming where they bring out what’s within us already and that we should learn how to respond to that, how to integrate it. and I think the killings that we recently just saw in Paris of people that were so fragile in their fundamentalism that they couldn’t even tolerate any kind of cartoons that would mock or calm the question they rigidly believes that that kind of thinking is actually problems of billions and billions of people, not the murderous aspect of it. But just that the idea that the other is to be feared and then we need to hold on rigidly to certain ideas. And so I think that this movement towards global spirituality is really what we’re wrestling with on a large scale. I think the integration of psychedelics into culture can play a major role in the healing process to help us deal with the challenges of today.
9:39 Lorna: Hmmm… Wow, that’s really profound. I love what you just said around the antidote to fundamentalism is mysticism. That’s fantastic. So what takes you to the work of MAPS, if you could share with us when did you launch MAPS and what does MAPS actually hope to do, what’s your vision and mission with this organization?
10:03 Rick: So I had this idea of what I wanted to do when I was 18 in 1972 but I was really not prepared. And for me, I was overdeveloped intellectually but underdeveloped emotionally and spiritually. And so I started working to bring myself into battle because I felt as a larger culture we are overdeveloped technologically. I mean, the fact that we’re talking, we’re seeing each other, we’re separated by a whole continent, you know it’s a miracle. It’s incredible.
10:36 The development that technology has gone to and will go to. And yet our emotional and spiritual capacity to deal with the technology really isn’t there. So I spent a ten-year process, and of course still on it, trying to get balanced enough where I could work in the world focusing on psychedelics. And so in 1982 I went back to college where I dropped out after my first semester and went to a seminar at Esalen Institute and there was Stan Grof and some people there came by and talked about MDMA which was still legal. And I was wow this is really an interesting idea. There’s psychedelics that are legal, there’s this underground psychedelic therapy movement that I didn’t even know about. And so I started paying more and more attention to it and I thought unfortunately this drug MDMA is already being sold as ecstasy in public settings. It began as a therapy drug. It escaped in the public settings, recreational settings. And it was the Nancy Raegan just saying no. Escalation on the war on drugs. So it’s clear that there’s going to be a crackdown against ecstasy. And so I started trying to educate various people, prepare for the crackdown. I felt that I woke up to LSD a little bit too late after the crackdown had happened on the backlash and here I was worrying about MDMA before the backlash.
12:06 So I started a non-profit organization in ‘84 to defend the MDMA when the inevitable repression came down. And shortly after that the DEA did move to criminalize, we sued the DEA and the administrative law judge Fordson tried to protect the therapeutic use. We actually wanted the administrative law judge context but then the administrator of the DEA overruled the judge and said ‘no, we’re going to criminalize MDMA and stop all the therapeutic use. And we sued in the appeals court, we won and then we won again. And eventually we lost. And so I realize that in our culture at that time in the middle 80s and even still now that science really and medicine were the only way that I could see practically to work through the cultures’ fears and try to bring back these substances into some legal context. And then if we want to talk about medical marijuana and marijuana legalization that did begin with the medicalization of marijuana. So that was my intuition and in 1986 that I started MAPS which was basically designed as a non-profit pharmaceutical company trying to take drugs that were off patent.
13:21 MDMA was invented in 1912 by Merck. LSD was invented in 1938 by Sandoz. Mescaline was first synthesized in, I think it was like 1896. These are all drugs psilocybin mushrooms. Psilocybin was synthesized in the 50’s. So all these drugs are in the public domain. They’re not something that can be patented the way the pharmaceutical companies like to do it. And at the same time because the federal government which squirts most scientific research, a lot of scientific research was also deeply involved in the war on drugs, there was no federal money. Actually the last time that the National Institute on Mental Health funded psychedelic research was in 1966. They were big funders in the 50s and 60s. So support from the government wasn’t going to be happening, support from the pharmaceutical companies weren’t going to be happening. And the major foundations were running the other way. And so MAPS was started as a non-profit pharmaceutical company that would be able to give people tax reductions for supporting research. At that time I didn’t realize how complicated it was, how expensive it would turn out to be. But it just felt like science and medicine were the opening wedge into the culture. And so now it’s almost 29 years since MAPS was started. We are making a lot of progress with our work with MDMA for post-traumatic stress disorder. From war related trauma, childhood sexual abuse, accidents, and natural disasters.
15:01 There’s a renaissance in psychedelic research. There’s more psychedelic research now than in any time in the last 40 years. They have two research institutes doing tremendous work with psilocybin for end of life, for alcoholism, for tobacco addiction, for spirituality. We see also this coming together of science and religion in ways that are historic and have, I would say healed the split that began with Copernicus and Galileo when the church was just like you’re burn like burnout at the stake as found in some of the Copernican theories. And so there was this kind of truce of science and religion staying away from each other. And now I think we’re coming together. We’re seeing great studies of meditators who had taken on psilocybin and talk about mistful experiences. So there’s a whole realm of psychedelic neuroscience and psychedelic spirituality and psychedelic medicine. It’s happening in laboratories all over the world and we’re now as of the summer of 2015 coming up we’re going to be finishing with called phase two research which is pilot studies into MDMA for PTSD. And Hefter is finishing their work with psilocybin for end of life. And so we’re going to be presenting all these data to FDA as part of the quest to get permission for the phase three studies that was really going to be required. And so I think that the long efforts of MAPS began in 86, I was the only employee of MAPS for the first 7 years. Now we got 14 people working and studies all over the world. Got about a two-million dollar budget that’s going up to 3 million dollars. We’re in dire need of more donations if people want to support MAPS.org because we are succeeding actually in our pilot studies and that means that we need to scale up. But I think the basic thought that the healing potential of these drugs is something that people will have compassion for but then it goes well beyond that and what we’re trying to do is build these tools into legal context as basically fundamental human rights. That we talked about the freedom of speech I mean here it is, if you and I are having this conversation in other countries, you might be in jail because we’re talking about illegal drugs. And we’re talking about mysticism rather than fundamentalism. And so the fact that we have this freedom of speech is something incredibly precious to be honored and respected but at the same time you know the freedom of the press, the freedom of distributing these. But underneath the freedom of speech and this freedom of press is the freedom of thought. We have this ability to explore our own ideas and our own consciousness and psychedelics are a part of that. So I think future generations and more and more people now will understand the struggle to bring psychedelics, to bring a religious use of ayahuasca, the religious use of Kaiyote, the religious use of psilocybin mushrooms, all of these things into a legal context is part of a core human rights struggle in order to promote the freedom of thought, the freedom of religion and that the war on drugs and prohibition is one of the most massive violations of human rights and racism, prejudice and just terribly counterproductive.
18:53 So I think the broader mission here is really to try and to look back at the foundations of western culture. And when we do that, we learn about the Eleusinian mysteries which for the longest run mystery ceremonies in the history of the world. The foundations of a Greek thought, Greek western thought and ran for about 2000 years and ended in 396 wiped out by the Catholic Church that wanted to be an intermediary between people and god whereas the Eleusinian mysteries involved a psychedelic drug and people have this ecstatic experience of union and that lasted them and educated them for the rest of their lives. There’s a book by Albert Hoffmann and Gordon Wasson and Carl Ruck about the Eleusis. And so in a sense we’re trying to build a new Eleusis that people in the western cultures and all over the world would be able to access these states of consciousness beyond just treating an illness. I mean medicine is about treating a diagnosable condition and that is really very important but we’re all sort of spiritually sick and we all need to grow and we have these crises as we age at different parts of the life cycle. So I think this idea of psychedelics for the growth process for healthy people facing challenges that we all face just as human beings and dealing with life and dealing with death and dealing with growth and maturation. That the work that we’re trying to do is to open the door through medicine, help people understand that we can develop context, and this is what I worked on at Harvard and my PhD on, how do we regulate the medical use so we can develop context where the risks have more than outweigh by the benefits. And once we can do that then we can start expanding throughout the society throughout the legal and regulatory system to get to a point where people’s basic human rights to explore their consciousness and their spirituality are respected.
20:54 So that’s 29 years so far from when MAPS have started. This will take another 20 30 years but I think by 2021 is when we’re hoping to have MDMA approved as a prescription medicine and hopefully psilocybin will be approved by them as well. There’s research even going on now with LSD. The quintessential symbol of the 60s is now being studied. We just finished the first therapeutic study of LSD in over 40 years in Switzerland with LSD for people with anxiety related to end of life issues.
21:34 Lorna: So I’d love to hear some examples. It sounds like there are really promising results from using – you mentioned MDMA for PTSD and then psilocybin for end of life and then many studies around LSD as well. So what are some of the, do you have any personal stories of how these substances, these drugs are actually helping change the lives of some of the test subjects that are participating in these studies?
22:10 Rick: Yeah, there’s a lot of stories actually. One of the- I think more poignant stories is about Rachel Hope, who I think people, if they want to Google her some other time she’s not in a lot of media appearances. She was a woman who had suffered from childhood sexual abuse and was severely traumatized because of that. And she has tried all sorts of therapies. None of them worked. She was depressed, suicidal at times. And she volunteered for our first study of MDMA for post-traumatic stress. And she was able to work through the trauma that she had been suffering from for decades. And now she’s really living a full and vibrant life. And in her testimonial, it started about her brave and lighting up like a Christmas tree and really influenced of MDMA and things that had terrified her before, the trauma that she was able to look at it, accept it and move on. And I think the part of post-traumatic stress disorder is that people, they’re not able to really process the trauma because they’re so scared that they’re not able to really get it out of their minds either. And so what they need to do is really process it at deep level where they’re feeling safe. And then the memory can be reconsolidated in such a way so that it’s an event that happened to them but it’s not a trigger for fear. And so what we find with MDMA, what Rachel found too is that it brings back memories of the trauma that had been too painful. So that it actually enhances your connection to your past. It’s not like you take it you feel ecstasy, you feel great and then it goes away. It’s that you actually remember more but you learn from it and that you realize that you’re looking at it from point of safety and that the trauma that happened to you has molded you but it doesn’t define you and you can move on into the future.
24:19 We had other people that were firefighters that were traumatized by caught in a fire where a bunch of their fellow firefighters were killed. And they were then disabled, unable to work. It was really frightening for them. And so we had several firefighters in our study, under the influence of MDMA were able to look at the fire, remember whole portions of it that they have forgotten but again be able to move on with their lives.
24:49 We’ve had people that war related trauma from Iraq and Afghanistan even from Vietnam. Some terrific stories of people that had been traumatized for decades since Vietnam, who were able, under the influence of MDMA to recognize that time is precious, that that was then, that they can recover from it, and step into their lives again which have sort of been put on hold for 40 years. We have a study right now at Harvard UCLA in Los Angeles for adults in the autism spectrum with social anxiety. And MDMA is helping those people to read body language, to understand their own emotions.
25:33 MDMA stimulates oxytocin and prolactin, which are hormones of love and bonding. They bring connections so that people have been able to improve their social lives as a result of few experiences of MDMA. We’ve had studies that we did with Ayahuasca in the treatment of addiction. That was done in British Columbia. And so it was like a Peruvian shaman went up to British Columbia and worked with first nations people that they had horrible traumatic lives, mediated by Dr. Gabor Mate, a psychiatrist. Helped add a psycho-therapeutic tone to the experiences and they were able to confront their own issues with addiction. There’s people that were addicted to the opiates that have been able to use the drug Ibogaine which is a drug from western Africa which has long history of therapeutic use and people have gotten over addiction. So there’s a whole range of stories about how people have been able to use psychedelic therapy in a way to overcome various struggles and get more engaged in the precious life that they have.
26:49 Lorna: What is the basis for criminalization of these drugs? Because from my understanding, a number of these drugs are considered to be schedule one are not the fatality rate is extremely low compared to some of the other substances out there in the market that are available in any drug- supermarket, drug store and corner store or so. Let’s take MDMA as an example. Why on earth is it illegal?
27:23 Rick: Well there’s a lot of- complex factors, but basically the war on drugs is about a hundred years old or so. All these drugs in the late 1890’s, early 1900’s are illegal, some of this drugs that we make doesn’t even exist till 1912 when MDMA was first- and LSD in ‘38 and ‘43 when it was really discovered. But the war on drugs began as a racist operation against the Chinese in the United States when they’ve come over to build the railroads and they were successful, they’ve built the railroads and then now they’re competing for other jobs with Americans and so they tended to use opium and other people didn’t. So the first laws against drugs were against the Chinese use of opium. And it was not to protect the Chinese, it’s a racist situation.
28:22 Marijuana was criminalized in the 30’s in the middle of the depression after the end of alcohol prohibition we had all these people that had jobs doing prohibition agents for alcohol, we found that of course that didn’t work in the 20’s. And shortly after that marijuana became illegal. Marijuana was used in the middle of depression again by Mexicans in Wax that was again a racist situation. If you looked at some testimonies in congress by Harry Anslinger who criminalized marijuana, it was incredibly racist. So we then moved into the 60’s where marijuana becomes widespread, psychedelics were being used a lot and they are associated with people that are challenging status quo. And so the ramp up of war and drugs was there, not so much racist but it became a political overlay against people who are challenging status quo. The Beatles talked about make love not war. Give peace a chance and they are extremely identified with LSD.
29:26 So all of that ended up overlaying political repression on the back of racist repression and then you get people making money off of psychedelic – off of the criminalization off of the drug work is a vast underground – because if any of all of this economic reasons by a lot of people in order to keep it in play. And then you have the whole classic situation of politicians’ demonizing the others and just displacing people’s fears so the problem are now drugs. There’s this other things that we need police.
There’s always comes a way for governments to demonstrate their raw power and so prohibits certain things. All of this gets wrapped up into the 80’s where we have Nancy Reagan and Ronald Reagan in the incredible escalation of the drug war that they did also for political purposes and that’s when MDMA came to the public attention in the midst of this escalation of the drug war and I think the core thing that you way into is it’s not scientific, it’s not related to the risks of these drugs, which drugs are criminal. It’s got a whole other political, racist aspect too. And that’s one of the reasons why the war on drugs is such a violation of human rights.
30:41 Lorna: You know I’m really glad that you brought that up. Because in my experience and in my travels, I do encounter a lot of the belief, the mainstream belief system or paradigm that’s out, that’s being perpetuated by these powers, these governments is that the reason why these drugs are legal is because they’re bad for you. And so it’s really great to just rip the veil of that fallacy because it really isn’t true when you looked at the deep underline reasons as to why drugs are illegal and especially when you start looking at the economic incentives around this, I mean just keeping the DEA in operation and employed. That’s a lot jobs right here, so we got to give them some reason to wake up in the morning I guess, but yes. So being able to determine – sorry?
31:37 Rick: I mean, it’s the prison guards, the prison, the industrial complex, but I think we have to be careful and not to feel the other way. And to say that drugs have no risks. Basically what it does is says that these drugs are illegal because they’re dangerous and they have no benefits. And so it would be a mistake for us to say that these drugs have tremendous benefits and no risks. There are risks. Ending the war on drugs, moving to a close prohibition world is not going to solve all the drug problems. In fact, what psychedelics that we’re talking about, they open up the doorways to the unconscious. And that there are always going to be challenges, and there’s always going to be difficult experiences that if people have a problematic setting, their attitude toward it, the context they’re doing it in isn’t supportive then people can end up worse off.
32:29 Lorna: Yes, that’s very, very true. In an ideal world, with the legalization of psychedelics and marijuana, I don’t know if you would consider marijuana to be a psychedelic medicine but in an ideal world, how would we be able to fully benefit from the therapeutic potentials of these drugs and yet be able to be aware or educated about the appropriate and proper use, safe use of these things so that we can minimize negative experiences and for the trauma.
33:07 Rick: I think that’s a whole other half hour of answer.
33:12 Lorna: Wow. Okay.
33:14 Rick: It’s a great question, how do we regulate these drugs in such a way so that we really maximize their benefits and acknowledge their risks? And I think that the answer to that is really fairly complicated when we look at what’s going on in our culture with alcohol and tobacco. We should say that those are not great successful examples of how mind altering drugs should be regulated. I don’t think they should be prohibited in obvious reasons. So prohibition doesn’t work. We need- I think the fundamental thing is we need honest drug education and we need people to really understand the risks and the benefits, most people now have been educated in, or as I should say – miseducated by their governments about the risks of these drugs have been told that they are so dangerous that people should go to prison for even sharing them or introducing them to others. But even though the Ayahuasca that’s got this traditional use, there are people that are destabilized by their use of Ayahuasca. It’s a very challenging situation. So I think we need honest drug education, we need the more dangerous the drug is the more important it is to be legal because we want people who have problems with the drugs not to feel stigmatized to come and get support. We need pure drugs, a lot of people are dying from ecstasy that’s not really MDMA, because it’s more dangerous, people die- I just read in the paper the other day that there was an African, Mozambique, I think it was. Fifty-six people also died from beer, a certain kind of beer that have poison on it.
34:55 Lorna: You know what the poison was? They’ve found it to be crocodile bile.
35:01 Rick: Yeah.
35:02 Lorna: That is bizarre. Why would you put that in beer? Unless someone was intentionally trying to kill people. I don’t know,.
35:07 Rick: Yeah, I read that myself so we read the same article. So we’ve got this idea that purity in drugs is got to be one of the fundamental underpinnings of their safe use. We saw the prohibition in the 20’s too, a lot of people made their alcohol incorrectly and people died from different kinds of concentrations that were really unhealthy and in different mixtures. So honest drug education, building a culture that teaches people to respect what these drugs do. They’re very powerful, you need to be able to acknowledge that when difficult experiences happen if to work with them, rather than to try and suppress them. And we need a system of support for people that are getting into trouble with them, with whatever they had. I think we’re not going to solve all the problems with legalization but it will be a lot better for those people that do have problems and there be way more people that experience the benefits.
36:10 Lorna: What about the new classes of drugs that are coming out, the ones that have been highly, that have been synthesized in a lab? I occasionally see articles around different designer drugs, and so what is your take on how to incorporate this new psychedelics into the mix?
36:32 Rick: Yeah, well. Keep in mind that LSD was synthesized in a lab. MDMA was synthesized in a lab, they don’t appear in nature. So I think the fundamental thing I would say, first of is that there’s a Romanic notion that if it comes from a plant, it’s good. And if it’s from a lab, it’s somehow bad. And now we just talked about crocodile bile that comes from crocodile, it comes from nature. But it kills you. So I would say that the question is really – all these new things that are being invented. How do we know what their risks are? We need a certain amount of testing and ideally we would have systems whereby they’re tested for their safety and we understand what they do rather than underground chemist make them and just sell them without knowing really what they are. Like PMMA which is often sold as MDMA influences body temperature in a way more dramatically than MDMA does. And it’s weaker than MDMA so people take it, they think that they really had bad weak MDMA cut with something else. They take more of that and then they overheat and die. So all of these different designer drugs, some can be tremendously useful and some of them can be tremendously dangerous so we need to just really get them into a system of testing where we understand what they are rather than just suppressing it all and having some new things come out that people don’t really know really what it does. We got such good science now, we can evaluate pretty well the risks and benefits of different drugs under different contents.
38:18 Lorna: Fantastic. So we’re about at the end of our interview segment, I would love to leave you with my favorite question to ask visionaries. How have your visionary experiences connected you with your life purpose?
38:33 Rick: A hundred percent. I mean it was really the use of LSD, there’s always a way you could end this. So when I first started doing LSD when I was seventeen years old. My first thought was this feeling of connection, this feeling of openness, this feeling of I would say the reality of the unconscious in this way that the things are connected, I thought that this is doing what my bar mitzvah didn’t do. And this is something that should be more widely legalized and I need more help than just myself, so that’s it. My first early experiences led me to think this is a tool for spiritual growth and personal growth and our society has criminalized it out of their reactionary fear based mistakes and that we need to bring it back.
39:28 Lorna: Fantastic. Thank you so much for sharing with us your stories and your vast research on this topic. How can we be stay in touch with you?
39:37 Rick: MAPS.org we have an email newsletter that comes out free every month and you can find out what we’re doing and you could write at askmaps at maps.org and if there’s questions for me, we have staff who filter them and bring it to me so it’s pretty easy to stay in touch.
39:54 Lorna: Awesome, thank you so much and you have a beautiful day.
Rick: Great, thank you Lorna.