Journalist Don Lattin

Over the past 40 years, author Don Lattin has been writing about the beneficial uses of psychedelic drugs. In his new book, “Changing Our Minds: Psychedelic Sacraments and the New Psychotherapy,” the former San Francisco Chronicle religion writer shares stories of neuroscientists, volunteer research subjects and others searching for safe uses of psychedelics. He also recounts his own search for an alternative treatment for depression, which took him from Switzerland to a South American jungle.

Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (Mentioned on Air)

Don Lattin on ‘Changing Our Minds’ About Psychedelic Drugs 10 April,2017Michael Krasny

Guests:
Don Lattin, freelance journalist, and former religion writer for the San Francisco Chronicle; author "Changing Our Minds: Psychedelic Sacraments and the New Psychotherapy" and "The Harvard Psychedelic Club"

  • Noelle

    Let’s hope Jeff Sessions is to busy to go after psychedelics. I hear he wants to revive The War on Drugs. That worked out so well the 1st time around.

    • geraldfnord

      I think you’re mistaking official goals for the actual ones. For example, the new Administration are very keen to give the police as much licence as possible, and the ‘War’ on [Some] Drugs was in that respect a stunning success.

      Much as in the case of torture, even though good community/police relations are actually better for preventing crime, a ‘frisk or shoot at will’ policy in darker neighbourhoods much more butch (as opposed to actually being effectively tough) and so is what these guys’ base have hired them to do: strut and fret, signifying manhood.

      • William – SF

        And a President looks Presidential after ordering 50+ bombs tossed into the air …with an 1-hour advance warning given to the Russians. The Russians kept the Amerikans on the phone as long as they could to give their Syrian guy and his pilots the real news.

      • Kevin Skipper

        Well put. It’s a throwback to pre-Emancipation times in which plantation owners and managers directed their overseers to innovate new ways of instilling fear and intimidating captive populations. The whole idea is to get slaves cowering, fighting and snitching on one another. Just show em the bullwhip. Lashings (or night-sticking) should, for a competent overseer, be a last resort.

    • Kevin Skipper

      I worked wonders to lay the groundwork to justify gentrification by way of tech-media-driven ethnic cleansing campaigns.

    • William – SF

      Opiate Pharmas totally down with going after …anybody else but them.

      • Noelle

        exactly.

  • Kevin Skipper

    MK IVY.

    • Noelle

      what?

      • Kevin Skipper

        Mind Kontrol by Inferential Verification by Yes-men.

  • Kevin Skipper

    Are there any non-synthetic psychedelics that were developed or utilized inside western culture? Seems that our patriarchal mindset is specifically against mind-expansion in any way shape or form. We know that psychedelics (entheogens, in particular) are not only associated with ancient cultures but have been a handle by which colonizing forces have sought to suppress the rituals, practices and spiritual wellness of a given people.

    Is there anything to be said of the decisive shift that has allowed the West’s, post-colonization shift in the way that they treat such substances? Seems like when there’s a fight for land, these ‘drugs’ are a threat to ‘our’ way of life and the safety of everyone that ‘we’ hold dear. When the fighting is over, the settlers are situated and the indigenous people have been displaced, ‘we’ fall back in love with the, culture, food, music and plants that they ‘left behind.’

  • Ben Rawner

    Certain people are predisposed to increased mental health issues, particularly to exposure to psycodelics. Have scientists found ways to identify those that could be harmed by this kind of psychotherapy?

  • Fay Nissenbaum

    LSD is an *active* drug. Sitting still in a psychologist’s office is the very definition of a bum trip.

    Do you use doses short of the amount needed to produce actual hallucinations?
    Robin Williams committed suicide on a combination of remeron and serroquel. A dear friend on the exact same combination tried to commit suicide. AVOID THEM IN COMBINATION! Do SSRIs have long term studies? Psychedelics can only be safer.

  • Robert Thomas

    Is it a coincidence that yesterday KQED featured a February 16 conversation with popular novelist Ayelet Waldman in the wake of her non-fiction publication A Really Good Day: How Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage, and My Life, (2017 Knopf) on the City Arts and Lectures program? The program will be repeated Tuesday evening.

    • William – SF

      Surely just an Infinite Jest.

  • Kevin Skipper

    Well, since we’re talking about it, let’s be real. You mention seratonin balance and depression. What do you want to discuss about the chemical structure of LSD, DMT, psylocibin and other alkoloids and their similarity to certain carbon-based pigments such as chlorophyll and, more importantly, Melanin.

    Not to beg the question but do you ever realize that each and every culture familiar with psychedelics are people of color?
    Many are aware that the US government stumbled across LSD in a search for a melanin-substitute to improve the morale, virility and vitality of their soldiers.

    • Robert Thomas

      All of these alkaloids include indole rings as part of their structure but the melanins are much more closely related to melatonin and tryptophan than they are to ergotamine or psilocybin. This seems to indicate that an overabundance is more likely to result in chronic feckless sleepiness (indolence?) than mind expansion.

      Hey! I made a chem joke!

      • Kevin Skipper

        As well as a Social Darwinist faux pas. You’re on a roll!

        Never mind an over abundance as even prodigious amounts are dispersed after 8 hours of decent, melatonin-fueled sleep which roots cultures know, is a naturally expanded mental state. If you really want to say that too much feel-good makes one mellow and perhaps even lazy, I’ll give you that for the sake of argument.

        Perhaps we can question the converse. What about the under-abundance of such compounds? What behaviors or personality traits are brought to the surface when feel-good supplies like melatonin, seratonin and related dopamine start to run low?

        • Robert Thomas

          Oh, I expect the result is just as enervating… stalking the hall between bed, bath and kitchen at all hours, like Lady Macbeth or Madeline Usher, rubbing the pale, bony digits of one’s wan hands to relieve the stain of guilt and moaning at invisible specters to be gone from blind sight.

          • Kevin Skipper

            Not bad. Pretty much spot on.

            Initially and on an acute basis, yes. Long-term deficiencies result more severe emotional disturbances that are known to manifest in higher suggestability, insularity, reduced fecundity and fertility, incest, suicide, and homicidal tendencies. One of the reasons that phototherapy and emmigration are so common in Scandinavia.

  • William – SF

    Reading transcripts of Trump’s interviews is mind altering …sixth grade was a long time ago.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/03/18/trumps-grammar-in-speeches-just-below-6th-grade-level-study-finds/

  • Kevin Skipper

    Please mention that Ayhuasca is two separate plants that grow together, intertwined. One is the active alkaloid similar to DMT or triptamine. The other is an MAOI inhibitor, without which humans cannot metabolize the psychedelic compounds.

    In the case of the active compound, it is found in humans, under regular circumstances, only at the moments of birth and death. Interestingly, they’re present in turkey and chicken (in smaller amounts) at all times in the animal’s life cycles.

    One might imagine that the refinements responsible for Ayhuasca vines growing together are attributed to the same early Central African genetic scientists chat domesticated the chicken from the guinea hen, as well as wheat and rice from the more tropical grasses from which they are derived?

    Skipper News Service: Founded after a Salvia Divinorum/Blue Mushroom/Ayahuasca journey in the Hawaiian Islands. Inspired me to share what is, to me, divine commentary and inspired editorials.

    • William – SF

      Jesus is the cure.

      • Kevin Skipper

        Yeshu is the Cura.

        • William – SF

          Jesus wouldn’t disagree, but his disciples will punish you severely.

          • Kevin Skipper

            His ‘disciples’ are, in fact, apostates. The only thing that they punish is the truth. Their denial is evident in their efforts to designate or distinguish themselves from others who hold a more unified concept of higher power.

          • Kevin Skipper

            Jesus would most likely encourage his followers to read, more closely, the writing posted by the Romans by whose hand he was crucified! Everything that so-called Christians read was published by murderers.

          • William – SF

            Amen. The Interested, The Self-Choosen, The Ruling Junta, …Jesus would have thrown them all out of the temple, and then ordered the temple destroyed.

  • Kevin Skipper

    Opioids and Alkaloids as related to Micro-carbon and Melanin. Go!

    • Kevin Skipper

      Easy answer!

  • Kevin Skipper

    Melanin as it relates to higher consciousness. GO!

    • Kevin Skipper

      C’mon!!!

  • Kevin Skipper

    Higher consciousness and Melanin as they have to do with Colonization. GO!

    • Kevin Skipper

      Exactly.

  • Kevin Skipper

    Melanated people as they relate to the West’s schizophrenic relationship with its own past. GO!

    • Kevin Skipper

      Yep.

  • Noelle

    Terrence McKenna posited a theory of our co-evolutions with psychedelic plants.

    • Kevin Skipper

      Be what means does McKenna designate the term ‘our?’ Who is ‘we?’

      • Noelle

        humankind.

        • Kevin Skipper

          Humankind’s development, especially as related to climate-sensitive organisms like plants, is highly variable. Colonization, and perhaps, capitalism, show that there is much to be said for the idea that some of ‘our’ behavior and development developed as a function of proximity to these life forms while other’s behavior and perceptions are shaped around the LACK of access or distance from the same. Interesting that even as we witness the gross polarities born of this discrepancy, ‘we’ seek to conflate these experiences as the same.

          • Kevin Skipper

            Even now, a supposedly expanded psychedelic pundit isn’t prepared to discuss the ACTUAL chemical structure of these compounds OR the fact that they are, themselves analogous to materials that we humans produce in out own bodies and brains. To me, this is a sign of a willfully abbreviated understanding of an integral set of rituals. It all became clear when he said that he didn’t understand the Amazon chants at the Ayhuasca ceremony.

            I fell less judgmental and more concerned that this fragmented, Westernized approach to these compounds and their administration not only limits their effectiveness but renders them hazardous to the uninitiated.

          • William – SF

            Where’s Michael Pemulis when you need him?

      • Noelle

        I saw him talking about his theories at Esalen in 1993.

        • Kevin Skipper

          Esalen. Nice. Been wanting to do some work over there but I can’t get over that whole ‘Common Ground’ demographic. Homogenous and derivative, it smacks of other liberal social-programming campaigns to which I frequently make reference. As I write this, I’m realizing that there’s occasion to expand my own mind and review these impressions.

          Not easy though. Have had some super-weird experiences with them and the whole CIIS/Common Ground cult…

          • Noelle

            Esalen is worth going to, one of my favorite places. People from all over the world go there. Open your mind to the possibilities! However, it’s closed until June. Big Sur bridge from the north sliding into the canyon and closed(temporary bridge will open in Sept). So this summer the only way to get to Esalen is from the south.

          • Kevin Skipper

            I’ve hear it’s great. I figure I’ll check it out as soon as my attitude is straight.

      • Noelle

        you might like his writings. also his recorded talks very unique. Probably can find them in Pacifica archives or KPFA.

  • Kevin Skipper

    Plant-based compounds as they have to do with astronomy and geophysics as they relate to the West’s suppressed genetic memory. Genetic memory as it has to do with ongoing power. Ongoing power as it has to to with addiction, depression and colonization. GO!

    Don’t be scared.

    • Kevin Skipper

      Uh HUH.

  • Noelle

    Guided psychedelic experiences are the best idea, instead of our culture’s chaotic make up your own experience.

  • Kevin Skipper

    Mention the word ‘Spirit.’ Just once. I DARE you! 😉

    • William – SF

      ..and combine it with “animal” and I’m …

      • Kevin Skipper

        Redundant terms. Anti-expansion. Humans ARE a spirit animal. Our bodies and brains are the collective result of all evolutionary processes. We’re still dealing with the fact that those in power maintain a highly conflicted relationship with their humanity, the signs of it, and their place in its history. Darkness, sensitivity, intuition, expansion, fluidity.

        The half-baked approach to mind-expanding compounds is yet another sign of this condition.

        • William – SF

          So you’re saying real estate developer’s spirit animal is cockroach?

          • Kevin Skipper

            Sure, if you see the cockroach’s spirit animal as human sanitation worker, janitor and recycler.
            If you want to know about spirit animals, watch Bojack Horseman.
            According to them, developer’s spirit animal is the honeybee, the quintessential builder. The funds by which they are paid are managed by Lions, Tigers, Sharks and Hippo’s. Keystone predation.

          • William – SF

            Now that’s a trip!

          • Kevin Skipper

            You’re telling me! Check it out on Netflix. Will Arnet and Aaron Paul went crazy! Amy Sedaris, Lisa Kudrow, Fred Savage, Margot Martindale and Paul F. Tompkins and other voices make it one of the most cutting looks as Hollywood hypocrisy since Arrested Development.

  • Fay Nissenbaum

    Don, you haven’t made a single distinction between the different psychedelic drugs.

    • Noelle

      Probably he does in his book.

      • Kevin Skipper

        I don’t believe that to be necessarily true. Though enthusiastic and experienced, Lattin is not a scientist. I don’t believe that he actually knows the subtle or practical differences between the organisms of which these compounds are a product.
        One cannot understand depression without understanding Seratonin. Seratonin to sunlight. Sunlight to Melanin. Melanin to Melatonin. Melatonin to sleep. Sleep to well-being. Dreaming to astral travel. Astral travel to spiritual power. Spiritual power to genetic memory. Genetic memory to heritage. Heritage to colonization, etc.

        He’s a religion writer for The Chronicle. Good guy. Certainly smart and well-intentioned. It’s his informational platform that kills him. Drugs can help fuel our journey but when the trip is over, we’re back where we started. The diligent meditative practitioner is driven from within. There’s really no chemical cure for dogma.

  • Dr Sook

    Naive journalists with personal experience poorly serve public health interest.
    There are highly individualized factors that should guide sound clinical practice- broad anecdotal opinions are foolish.
    Ketamine infusion centers are sprouting like JiffyLubes.
    The Market distorts wise humble judgment.
    Few MDs are knowledgeable shaman.

    • Kevin Skipper

      He’s an enthusiastic student explorer. Gotta give him that, at least.

Host

Michael Krasny

Michael Krasny, PhD, has been in broadcast journalism since 1983. He was with ABC in both radio and television and migrated to public broadcasting in 1993. He has been Professor of English at San Francisco State University and also taught at Stanford, the University of San Francisco and the University of California, as well as in the Fulbright International Institutes. A veteran interviewer for the nationally broadcast City Arts and Lectures, he is the author of a number of books, including “Off Mike: A Memoir of Talk Radio and Literary Life” (Stanford University Press) “Spiritual Envy” (New World); “Sound Ideas” (with M.E. Sokolik/ McGraw-Hill); “Let There Be Laughter” (Harper-Collins) as well as the twenty-four lecture series in DVD, audio and book, “Short Story Masterpieces” (The Teaching Company). He has interviewed many of the world’s leading political, cultural, literary, science and technology figures, as well as major figures from the world of entertainment. He is the recipient of many awards and honors including the S.Y. Agnon Medal for Intellectual Achievement; The Eugene Block Award for Human Rights Journalism; the James Madison Freedom of Information Award; the Excellence in Journalism Award from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association; Career Achievement Award from the Society of Professional Journalists and an award from the Radio and Television News Directors Association. He holds a B.A. (cum laude) and M.A. from Ohio University and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin.

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