So what question pops up in my mind is, how do you see drugs like MDMA or Methylphenidate in relation to enhancement? Is it morally ok for you, that some people get the chance to use these drugs for mood enhancement or enhancement in their performance and some don’t get the chance to do it? (question about justice and the legal systems differing through states)
Zappy: As always in society people with resources generally tend to get access to things first, then they become available for the masses. It’s unfortunate that this is the case, but since millions of people are now having these positive experiences with Psychedelics it will translate into the people with less resources getting access to them sooner.
Should it be free to use for everyone; young to old, mentally unavailable to mentally healthy, etc.? (question in relation to harm and safety for the individual being)
Zappy: I believe it should be available to everyone, it says in the constitution that we have the inalienable right to pursue happiness. It is unfair for the government to declare certain substances legal and others illegal, especially when these catalyst could be the difference between life and death for an individual. Libertarians and people who follow common sense understand that this is a choice of an individual, not something that affects other people in the society, and for this reason if people are struggling with addiction or depression they should have the human rights to access these catalysts. The beautiful thing about Psychedelics is for the most part they are very inexpensive, psilocybin and Ketamine cost just pennies and can do more for patients then pharmaceutical drugs or traditional talk therapy
What do you think about the recreational purpose on the psyche of a human with psychedelic drugs - is it enhancement? Is it harmful? Or do you see psychedelic drugs as harmful as other (legal) substances such as antibiotics or psychotropic drugs? Or do you think enhancement is only harmful when it’s used on body functions?
Zappy: Psychedelics have shown to be very low risk and in most cases and With low risk for addiction. Master healing plants like Ayahuasca, Ibogaine, and San Pedro are the opposite of addictive, they are very intense journeys that people have to go through, and are not eager to go through them on a regular basis. In the case of Ketamine Dr. Brooks in New York who’s done more than 10,000 treatments stated that no one that ever came in for depression ever became addicted to Ketamine. Obviously if someone is abusing drugs and you give them a bottle Ketamine they are going to use it as fast as they. Because the experience itself is intense most people who go through it have a strong reference for what it is and appreciation for how it’s making them feel and are not prone to try to over use the catalyst.
Can enhancement be negative intended? For example, someone has a bad experience with a substance like a ego death and never wants to try it again. His life chances now for the better, because he stops with old habits and realizes what he should chance in his life. Can you accept this negative attempt for a better life as morally ok? It causes harm, but for a good purpose (thinking about utilitarism). Should it be legal, to harm people, when there is a chance that it could improve their life?
Zappy: Most of the people that we treat in the Ketamine clinics we are associated with who have an intense what you might call bad trip, the next day admit that it was there most valuable session because they were able to look at some thing from a 3 party perspective and when they come back out of it it does not have the same electric charge on it. Typically if someone has an intense experience but is guided properly and helped with integration those seemingly difficult journeys turn out to be life-changing events.
@Warren: How do you handle the law in the United States with it? Did you get an exceptional deal for using Ketamin? Does it differ from state to state? (I’m really curious about this, because unfortunately in Europe, it’s really hard to start such a program because of all the laws.)
Warren: Ketamine is an FDA approved anesthetic and listed as an ‘Essential Medicine’ by the WHO, and absolutely legal in all 50 states and most of the world. When used to treat a mood disorder, it is considered an ‘off label use,’ which is a common practice in the United States. In terms of the legality of the fund and the treatment, we do not make any medical decisions. We are just willing to help pay for treatment if the person is approved by the Doctor.
Do you also intend to focus on research chemicals in the future? (This question is aligned to circumvent the law, because most of the time new substances are found earlier than the law to ristrict them)
Zappy: We think people should have the inalienable right to use whatever catalyst they want/need. If the government can arbitrarily dedicate a location like Las Vegas where someone can become addicted to gambling, substances, sex, etc. they need to make sure that there are places people can go to use things like psychedelics to unhook them from those developed addictions . making any energy illegal is against our human right. We need to make sure that people of all races and cultures have the same access to this type of treatment without bias. Currently there is a racial barrier to using psychedelics where a minority who has a bad experience could be shot by the police or put in a mental institution for the rest of their life, while a Caucasian individual who has a bad experience would be sent to counseling and supported by their entire community. For this reason we need to have places where people can have these sessions without judgment or bias
How do you handle people, who only use your program to use drugs legally, nevermind their intention?
Warren: Of course the patients are screened by the Dr. so we have not run into a case of anyone using the medicine to skirt the law. All of the treatments are done in the clinic, under the supervision of a Dr. and staff. I’ve been asked similar questions regarding recreational use for patients outside of the program and it’s pretty clear that using Ketamine for this purpose would be a very inefficient way to have an altered state experience. If people are lying about having suicidal thoughts, feeling horribly depressed, or suffering from PTSD, well I guess that’s possible. I’m fairly certain that I’ve not run into that. People that I’ve met that have found ketamine and are interested in treatments are usually suffering pretty badly.
Zappy: This is typically not a problem in clinical settings, there are much cheaper ways For people to access street drugs if they want to rather than paying a premium to be in a clinical setting.
What conclusion do you draw from your program? What has it showed to you about humans, which you never thought of before?
Warren: The first conclusion is that Ketamine is highly effective for treating PTSD, depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation. When administered properly, it saves lives.
Secondly, what this program has taught me, and actually what these past 4 years of working as an advocate for Ketamine has taught me, is that trauma is trauma. Regardless of the source or the subjective severity. Everyone’s pain is their own and it doesn’t warrant comparison. Obviously, when you’re talking about a combat veteran who has seen war, it is easy for me to understand the source of their PTSD. There are many other people whose traumas may not be as easy for me to understand, yet they still manifest in horrific symptoms. It is beyond me to compare peoples traumas and how those traumas may be affecting their lives. You can not judge humans by looking at their lives and trying to assess their happiness through your filters. I’ve seen people whose lives looked perfect from my view, die by suicide.
Zappy: I’ve learned that we all have some level of trauma or PTSD regardless of what Socio economic status we have or what our light in life is. These days if you watch television news for even 10 minutes you probably have PTSD. Since we have these Katalyst Seville bill to us we need to be able to access them immediately, for this reason we’ve started the mind army which is fighting for the constitutional right to go inside your own mind. Human beings are natural explorers we explore the New World we explore the west, we explored outer space, you cannot tell us that we can’t go inside our own minds to explore for answers and healing.
If you have some interesting, scientific literature in your field, I would love to hear about it! Maybe you can share the title of a book/article/website etc. with me or get in contact with me.
Warren: There is an incredible article in Nature Magazine that shows the findings of a Chinese Study on Ketamine and it’s efficacy for depression. The interesting finding is that there is an organ in the brain called the Lateral Habenula and it asks as recorder for all of the stressors a person encounters throughout their entire life. When it gets overloaded it goes into this ‘High Burst’ mode that shuts down the Dopamine production in your Ventral Tegmental area. Basically, if you are not getting Dopamine, you are really not happy. The Ketamine can reverse that ‘High Burst’ Mode, and give you back your dopamine back. When you see patients suddenly get their dopamine back, their lives change instantly. This can happen after their first ketamine treatment. We have seen people that have been bedridden for years, get their first treatment, and the next day get a phone call with them telling us that they’ve decided to paint their house, or reorganize their kitchen.