On today’s episode of the Flex Diet Podcast, I’m talking to Rebekah Senanayake about the use of psychedelics and the compounds found in ayahuasca. Rebekah is a Ph.D. candidate in cultural anthropology and a psychedelic researcher interested in the relationship between culture, altered states of consciousness and health.
This podcast is brought to you by the Physiologic Flexibility Certification course. In the course, I talk about the body’s homeostatic regulators and how you can train them. If you’re looking for a way to be robust, resilient, and anti-fragile, while also looking for true longevity gains and advanced recovery, get on the waitlist to be notified when the course opens March 20, 2023.
Listen to hear:
[7:15] Intro to Rebekah’s research on medicinal plants in Peru
- [11:48] Differences and similarities with LSD and ayahuasca
- [18:57] First steps in finding a guide
- [22:44] What to consider
- [24:28] Dr. Mike’s experience
- [31:42] Ayahuasca’s components
- [42:26] Advice for people new to the experience
- [50:35] The brewing process
- [54:52] What it would take to move toward legalization
Connect with Rebekah:
Rebekah’s research is interested in the relationship between culture, altered states of consciousness and health. She is currently investigating altered states of consciousness and ego dissolution.
Dr. Mike T Nelson
Dr. Mike T Nelson
PhD, MSME, CISSN, CSCS Carrick Institute Adjunct Professor Dr. Mike T. Nelson has spent 18 years of his life learning how the human body works, specifically focusing on how to properly condition it to burn fat and become stronger, more flexible, and healthier. He’s has a PhD in Exercise Physiology, a BA in Natural Science, and an MS in Biomechanics. He’s an adjunct professor and a member of the American College of Sports Medicine. He’s been called in to share his techniques with top government agencies. The techniques he’s developed and the results Mike gets for his clients have been featured in international magazines, in scientific publications, and on websites across the globe.
- PhD in Exercise Physiology
- BA in Natural Science
- MS in Biomechanics
- Adjunct Professor in Human
- Performance for Carrick Institute for Functional Neurology
- Adjunct Professor and Member of American College of Sports Medicine
- Instructor at Broadview University
- Professional Nutritional
- Member of the American Society for Nutrition
- Professional Sports Nutrition
- Member of the International Society for Sports Nutrition
- Professional NSCA Member
[00:00:00] Dr Mike T Nelson: Welcome back to the Flex Diet Podcast. I’m your host, Dr. Mike T. Nelson. On this podcast, we talk about all things to increase muscle performance and improve body composition, all in a flexible approach without destroying your health. And today we’ve got a little bit of an off topic, but I find this area of research to be super fascinating.
And I’ll alternatively be giving a talk on this topic at the International Society of Sports Nutrition in Florida coming up mid-June of this year, 2023. And we’re talking about the use of psychedelics, and in this case a little bit more on the compounds DMT that is found in the plant medicine ayahuasca.
And before we get into that, I wanted to let you know that the Phys Flex Cert will open up again on March 20th of this year. If you’re looking for ways to increase true longevity all while being more resilient, anti-fragile, or do advanced recovery work such as maybe you’re doing some crazy breath work like holotropic breathing.
Definitely can be a psychedelic experience in and of itself, or you’re just doing non psychedelic work. Simple recovery, breathing better, breathing mechanics, why you should do real high intensity interval training, zone two, cardio cold water, sauna pH changes. All that stuff is actually in the physiologic flexibility certification.
You might be wondering how the heck are all those things. It turns out all those things can alter what are called the homeostatic regulators. So the four main ones in the body are temperature, pH, fuel systems, and then breathing, which is oxygen and carbon dioxide. And it’s my biased belief that if you target those systems in a specific way, that you will get increased performance also, and that’ll translate into better longevity and just being generally much harder to kill.
So this is the level two to the Flex Diet certification. We’re taking the ideas instead of being metabolically flexible, which is a good idea, but we’re expanding that concept of flexibility out to you as an entire human organism. So if you need more information on that check out the phys flex information@ physiologicflexibility.com.
You can get on the wait list there to get all the information. I’ll have fast action bonus items also. So go to physiolgicflexibility.com and as mentioned today, this one is a little bit off topic, although you can find some links to information that I’ve discussed about this before. And of course, the standard caveat is none of this is medical advice.
Please. Out information from your physician. By all means, please do your research. Do your homework. None of this is to be taken lightly. And as of this recording the compounds we are going to discuss, at least in the US are scheduled illegal drugs. So take that into consideration. Today we’re talking with Rebecca.
You can find information on her. Most likely is gonna be on Twitter. It’s at b e k plants. That is a B E K P L A N T S. And she has a wealth of knowledge in this area. She is currently a PhD in cultural anthropology looking at field work in the Peruvian jungle. When we talked to her, that’s exactly where she was.
Previous to this we talk about this in the podcast also. She was looking at different states of altered consciousness for her master’s work. And she actually has a background in fitness and has done some stuff in that area. So really super knowledgeable in both from the academic side and also the experiential side, which I find is a really fascinating blend.
So in those podcasts we talk about the use of psychedelics for various different things. And in this one in particular, we talk a little bit more about DMT and a plant called Aya. So Ayahuasca itself isn’t necessarily a single plant, as you’ll learn, it’s a combination of different plants and even different, what they call ad mixtures that can be added to it.
So if you’re interested in these compounds or what they may be beneficial for potential pros and definitely potential cons, I think you’ll really enjoy this podcast and huge thanks to Rebecca for her time. I really enjoyed this conversation and if you want to learn more from her, I would highly check out her Twitter.
You can go on there and find a list to a lot of the other things that she has written, and I think you will enjoy it. So here is this podcast with Rebecca.
[00:05:29] Dr Mike T Nelson:
Welcome back to the Flex Diet Podcast.
And Rebecca, thank you so much for being on the podcast today. I really appreciate it.
[00:05:36] Rebekah Senanayake: Yeah, thanks Mike for having me. I’m
[00:05:37] Dr Mike T Nelson: really looking forward to it. Yeah. And as I, I called that you were in Costa Rica, but you’re actually down in Peru instead and it’s quite warm and possibly rainy there, you said.
[00:05:50] Rebekah Senanayake: Yeah, we’re just in the rainy season now, so we are lucky to catch a break with the rain, but it’s good for the plants and everything. Everything’s growing well. But yeah, as for other things, it’s a bit difficult to do stuff these
[00:06:01] Dr Mike T Nelson: days, . And I would imagine Peru is similar to Costa Rica, where the rainy season, when it rains it, I’ve never seen so much rain in my life.
I was in Costa Rica when it was the rainy season and I thought they were kidding. And I think they got at sometimes a couple inches per hour or something insane. It was pretty crazy to see.
[00:06:23] Rebekah Senanayake: Yeah, I’ve definitely been in some where I’m staying right now, the rainy season’s not too bad, but in deeper parts of the jungle.
Oh my gosh. It feels like the world’s ending is all I can say. Like it, it really feels like the world’s gonna end . Yeah. Yeah. The storms are
[00:06:38] Dr Mike T Nelson: pretty big. Yeah. I found it was fun to watch if I was inside in a nice, safe place and I didn’t have to go anywhere. We got caught one time. Yeah. Not too far away from where we were staying, and we were trying to get up this path in the jungle that hadn’t had any like tiles or anything on it yet.
And the rain turned the path, like this clay type dirt that’s super slippery. Yeah, we had to crab block our way out of the jungle .
[00:07:05] Rebekah Senanayake: Oh no. It sounds like an experience
[00:07:07] Dr Mike T Nelson: though. Yeah, definitely. Definitely one remember for sure. . And what are you doing down in Peru for the people listening in?
[00:07:15] Rebekah Senanayake: Yeah, so I’m here for one year as part of my doctoral research. I’m a PhD candidate in cultural anthropology. So I’m here for one year investigating the world of medicinal plants, specifically alter states of consciousness. And what I mean by altered states consciousness is predominantly psychedelics but also different consciousnesses that are that are separate from the every.
And that’s quite common in the medical the traditional medical system here. So I’m here for a year investigating their practices and what the function of these altered states of consciousness are in improving Amazon communities.
[00:07:48] Dr Mike T Nelson: Very cool. Is the goal at the end to have it be more of a qualitative type study?
Are you just writing up your experience and what you found? Or is there a quantitative portion to it or a mix of both?
[00:08:02] Rebekah Senanayake: Yeah, so predominantly qualitative. I’m doing it the quality ways, so I’m doing participant observation, which means participating in day-to-day life, as well as medicinal plant ceremonies.
I take notes on my own experiences, but I also do interviews, so with other participants my scores, which are the practitioners and also apprentices just to get an idea of what’s going on and a bigger picture thing. And after that I’ll do my analysis when I get back to New Zealand. But yeah, for the study it’s predominantly qualitative.
My masters I did in psychology and I also looked at psychedelics and I looked at experiences of ego dissolution across classical psychedelics. And for that one, that was a mainly quantitative study. So it’s nice to have two different variations and ways of looking at psychedelics, and psych art research.
[00:08:47] Dr Mike T Nelson: Very cool. And what did you find in your master’s research?
[00:08:50] Rebekah Senanayake: It was a great project, actually, . So I looked at experiences of ego dissolution and to do that, I looked at, firstly, when you look at current literature on ego dissolution or eager death, it doesn’t really specify what parts of the ego is dying or being dissolved.
So what I did was I did some research firstly into the different parts of the self in psychological research. And then I developed I put together a questionnaire Relating to the different parts of the self and ask people to fill this out based on their most profound psychedelic experiences.
So talking about like the different parts of the self as in the part of the self that is the self-identity, like who you identify with, who your story, your narrative you tell yourself. And then there’s also the part of itself that’s a very physical embodied experience. So I looked at Ayahuasca, DMT LSD and psilocybin magic mushrooms.
And just to, I’ll do a two sentence summary of my findings. Yeah. So basically what I found was experiences with AO Oscar and dmt very strong ego dissolution that was generally pretty high. And they were quite similar in the parts of the south that they dissolved. And with Alice and magic mushrooms, the, The extent of which the ego was dissolved overall was a bit lower, but very similar once again.
And the parts of the south that they dissolved also very similar. So that was quite an, that was quite an interesting finding for me. And also what was interesting is I asked people to tell me about their most profound experience. And I also asked them to tell me about their dosage just to get an indication of what effect the dosage has on people’s experience.
And I actually didn’t find a significant result with dosage having an effect on people’s perceptions of an experience that classified as perhaps profound or one of ego dissolution, which was quite interesting and something that I’d say would need a little bit more research on because that’s quite contradictory to a lot of psychedelic findings these days.
[00:10:43] Dr Mike T Nelson: Do you think part of the dosage is different? People maybe have. Different sensitivities to different drugs. Like we know caffeine has different metabolism. We know all sorts of drugs. Like the metabolism isn’t exactly linear between a group of people. So I would assume the act of compounds and psychedelics may follow that also.
[00:11:04] Rebekah Senanayake: It would be. And that would be a great follow up study. That would be I suppose the next step in this would be to look at that. Yeah, look at how people are interacting with it, with other lifestyle things and their general metabolism and and yeah. But that was quite an interesting finding.
I had about 600 participants, so Oh wow. Quite a few. That’s a lot. Yeah. I had more than I expected. But what, but that was nice for a quantitative study cuz that means I can actually, I can look at the data, I’m like, okay, these numbers are telling me what 600 people are trying to tell me.
[00:11:29] Dr Mike T Nelson: Sure.
Yeah. And how would you describe the difference for people who don’t have any experience between, say in your study, for example, L s D and Ayahuasca. They’re both psychedelic compounds, if you look at the research and you know what people have reported, they seem to report similar, but yet different effects.
[00:11:48] Rebekah Senanayake: A hundred percent. Yeah. Similar but different is yeah. And I suppose I’ve spent a bit of time in the psychedelic field, so for me they’re quite different actually. And I’d say the main difference is perhaps even the set and setting. So for, I suppose for the listeners who haven’t come across that in the psychedelic literature, the set and setting is pretty much the set within yourself and how you feel when you go into an experience your life.
If you have I don’t know, problems with your relationship or if you’re going through a major life change, like moving cities or things like that. And then the setting is the environment. So with ayahuasca in general, and this is out, out of all of the psychedelics, I would say that ayahuasca is probably the one that captures my interest the most.
And that’s because of the setting. So it’s generally used very ceremonially and you would have a guide. So a myo is what they call them, improves who would lead the ceremony, and you have certain chance and everything that they will sing. And it there’s a distinct opening of the space.
There’s a distinct closing of the space. It’s almost a container in which the experience is held. Whereas the way that LSD has developed, it hasn’t been developed in a ceremonial context often. You, you come across a lot of LSD at, say, festivals or Parties, but now you’re also seeing it in psychedelic therapy, which is perhaps a little bit more ritualistic.
So I’d say that’s maybe the main difference. And as part of my master’s research as well, and actually haven’t gotten around to analyzing this half of the data, I had sufficient data to submit my thesis. But so I have this as well, I did 30 in-depth interviews. So one hour to one and a half hours with people’s most profound experiences.
And a thing that kept coming up is that people were able to let go when they felt safe in their environment. So they were able to let go of their body. Like they were able to have that part of their ego dissolved. So like the body sensations being like okay, my body’s feeling a bit funny now, but that’s okay.
Like I feel safe, I can let go of this. I’m not being anxious about my body being outta sorts. I can just relax and let the experience happen. And they told me they felt safe when their physical environment was good. And so for me, I wonder okay, so does the aka ceremonial context, having a professional guide the space who’s very experienced.
does that help the people maybe relax their bodies? Does that help them have a profound experience? Does that help them maybe travel a bit further than say an experience that doesn’t have that,
[00:14:01] Dr Mike T Nelson: yeah. Yeah. I, and it’s I’ve only done Ayahuasca a couple times, and it was in Costa Rica.
I was in a very, I would say, traditional setting. It depended on where you do it and who does it. It’s always a little bit different. I don’t have any experience with other places, but it was very interesting to me about how much time they put into the set setting. And we did it with the same person.
, but in two different locations. And the first time it was in a room overlooking the jungle. There’s this kind of infinity pool into the backside of the room. Which was all open. This complete jungle was all up on a cliff. And I remember that the guide. She put this guy named Rob just kneeling at the, this entrance and she’s okay, your job is to guard the entrance.
And I’m looking at this guy and I’m thinking, what This makes no sense. Who’s gonna crawl through the jungle up over this infinity pool to, come into our space? This makes no sense. And then after about a couple hours and four glasses later, I remember lying there going, I’m so glad that Rob guy is there.
He’s doing a great job. This is awesome. Oh, all of a sudden knowing that he was there, I had no idea what he was doing. I just felt like he should be there. And I felt safer for having him there, which was very odd to say the least .
[00:15:18] Rebekah Senanayake: . Interesting. Yeah. Yeah. Also, I’d almost when you were talking about that, I always want to add one other thing on it almost.
I feel like the ceremony almost starts even when they start cooking the brew. Cuz that’s when. They start. Cuz the cooking, the brew in itself is quite a ritualistic experience. Yes. Of protection and making sure that the visions are good and how they collect the vine. So it’s got a lot of it’s got a lot of intention.
It’s got a lot of thought behind it, I would say. Like it’s quite a particular practice. Yeah. But your story of Rob’s quite funny, I have to say. I’m glad that it felt good for you in the end, .
[00:15:49] Dr Mike T Nelson: Yeah. It was one of those things where I chose to do with a group of friends who we had known was very small ceremony.
. And even after we got, we went on the trip specifically and got there, my wife came with me and we both did it along with six other people the first time. And I remember telling her, I’m like, we went over a day beforehand we did combo the day before. Met the shaman who’s gonna do the ceremony that night.
And I remember telling her, I’m like, okay, so if I meet this person and I still don’t have a good vibe, I’m like, Here’s all my money. Like I’m out , so like even up to the point of, going through with it, I still was like, ah, I don’t know. And then you meet the person and you’re like, oh yeah, it just seems like everything’s, going on.
You just, it’s a weird thing where you just trust your gut feeling at that point. Which is, as someone who’s very more on the science side, that’s, is it intuition? Is it your subconscious, , who knows what’s actually going on at that point, but it was just cause it’s so foreign, you don’t have a lot of, at least idea, a lot of reference going into it.
, you’re just kinda, trusting that person that everything goes well per se.
[00:16:53] Rebekah Senanayake: , you’re putting a lot of confidence in them. And yeah, I think that’s why it’s important to really I don’t know who you’re drinking with and get, if you get that good feeling, then yeah. I’ve had that feeling too.
And it, it’s funny you can’t quite put a finger on it, but I’d say it’s your intuition. You can just feel when something’s right and when something’s a little bit off,
[00:17:08] Dr Mike T Nelson: do you think that’s intuitive thing where at some level we understand that set in setting are important and that your brain is just scanning to make sure that portion is.
[00:17:21] Rebekah Senanayake: I’d almost wanna say, if we wanna get scientific about it, I wonder how if our brain’s just working in very minute specific ways. So if it’s just picking up little things, say in the environment that aren’t quite aren’t quite right, like technical details. , yeah, we wanna get scientific, that’s how I sometimes like to hypothesize about intuition.
If it’s just my brain picking up on little minute details in my environment, it’s okay, that’s not really, that doesn’t really fit with what I believe to be correct or what I believe to be best for me. So yeah, I have no specific answer on what intuition is. For me it’s a feeling and yeah.
Yeah, and it’s really important to make sure you drink with someone that’s good and safe. I’ve spent about eight years over the last eight years doing Work in the Amazon. So I’ve come across a fair few people who practice and you come across some characters and then you come across some absolutely amazing amazing practitioners.
[00:18:14] Dr Mike T Nelson: How would you have, if someone is interested, especially if they’re traveling to a foreign country, any thoughts about best practices of how do you find someone that is good because it is a very foreign thing. I got lucky that Yeah. The people we went with, I knew them and they had gone there the year before and I just trusted them.
I knew that they were very particular about what they were doing. And, both times everything worked out fine, but I’ve heard some horror stories of people just, going off a price and, oh, this looks like a nice pamphlet and traveling to Peru or Costa Rica or wherever, and It didn’t go well.
[00:18:54] Rebekah Senanayake: Yeah I’ve heard these stories too, and. There’s a few parts to that as well. Firstly, for the individual themselves, I think it’s important to do your own research on what Ayaka is. If you’re on medications, what medications to be aware of before drinking aka. So SSRIs are generally not a good idea.
They don’t really work well with aka, but of course you have to consult your doctor and make sure it’s okay to go off them. So making sure like physically your body’s okay to receive iOS, that’s, that to me is the first step. Okay. Am I putting anything in my body that won’t react well just on a chemical level?
And secondly have a blog, so I’ve been writing about my experiences in the Amazon. And soon I’ll do a post just about a few places of recommendation that I’ve come across, just cause I have people asking me like, okay, I wanna go to brew. Sure. Where can I drink? Again I’ve drunk at this stage, I’ve drunk with about 15 ish, 15 to 20 different people.
Yeah. And out of that I have three that I recommend . Yeah. So
[00:19:47] Dr Mike T Nelson: promise this is a lot .
[00:19:49] Rebekah Senanayake: Yeah. And I’m not recommend, the reason I’m not recommending the others, some of them I would say are unsafe, but then some of them I would say just it’s the difference between going to a, an average doctor and a specialist.
So if you really want a good job done, you go to the best specialist you can find, so that would be my recommendation. Someone who does their job really well. And there are some people here who are absolutely phenomenal at what they do. And also for people who perhaps I don’t know if you don’t end up reading the recommendations it’s good to talk to people, who have experience in the field or I don’t know who you can get a personal recommendation from, I’d say is the best way to go.
So just start asking around and say, oh, okay, I’m interested in this. Do you know anyone or do you know anyone who might know anyone? I find to be the way, best way. The way that I met the current maestro that I’m working with, I’ve been working with him for eight years. And it was because I was living in the city, in the jungle for about nine months.
And originally the first the first month or so, a lot of people like, Hey, I know this guy. He does ceremonies. I was like, oh, doesn’t feel right. And it was quite touristic almost. And after about four months, I went to a local fair in a nearby village. I met a guy from Ecuador and he was like, oh there’s a guy, he lives out in Lamas, which is a small town.
I was like, he does some ceremonies if you’re impressed to just come and you can try him out, see how you feel. And I was like, okay, sure. And he’s very local. He works mainly with locals and I got a great feeling about him. And, but that took me some time. Like I had to stay in this place for a while. I had to let all the touristic people go.
And then after a while I was like, okay I’m learning who the locals are drinking with. . Yeah. So that was my process and that’s how I met the other maestro, who I’ll be working with in August as well. It was. I just got to know the local people and then it was through word of mouth in that way.
Oh, okay, this guy’s pretty good and yeah, you might wanna go check this out. Yeah.
[00:21:32] Dr Mike T Nelson: No, that’s great. And do you recommend, especially for people who are newer, usually smaller ceremonies as opposed to large? I’ve heard, yeah, people have good experience with both small and large, but just again, based on my very limited experience, I remember the first year, like halfway through the ceremony thinking, oh, I’m so glad I love all the people I’m here with.
And that there’s no dickheads. This is so nice. . I like, at that point, I had this vision of being with, 40 or 50 other people and just having this weird, visceral response of ew. And then being so grateful that I was in the space that I was in. And again, this is just my bias
[00:22:14] Rebekah Senanayake: point of view.
I completely feel you with that. For me, my preference, and actually this would be a recommendation and quite a strong recommendation, I would say is probably 15 is probably the maximum you wanna be drinking with. 15 to 20 is the absolute maximum. So the ceremonies I usually participate in here are around 12 people.
And it’s a lot of work, it’s a lot of work for the maestro. Oh yeah. To navigate, if you’re navigating 50 people’s experiences, my god, that’s a lot of work. Say if it’s a good maestro, somewhere around 20 is probably their limit. To do a really good job. And you’ve also gotta think like with the, my story here, I was talking with him recently.
I was like, okay, tell me about your ceremonies. What’s the maximum you’d have? He was thinking, oh, maybe 15, but he was like, with newcomers in this space, I probably have a maximum of maybe 10 newcomers in this space at any given time. Because for the newcomers it’s a lot more work.
Like they, they’re new to the space. There’s a lot more work that the, my stress to do just to, clean their bodies, check their bodies, make sure they’re okay. Yeah so I’d say if it’s a tourist retreat and they’re doing 50 ceremonies and everyone’s new, at 50 people per ceremony and everyone’s new I’d really question the level of care that you’re perhaps getting, yeah, I’d question the level of care and how much healing you would actually be able to get from
[00:23:23] Dr Mike T Nelson: that space.
And in the ceremonies you’re doing, do they typically have assistance or people that help with it, or is there just the main. Teacher there? Or does it vary?
[00:23:34] Rebekah Senanayake: Yeah so as part of my field work for now, I’m staying with the Maro in Lamas. And I’ll be here for a few months and then I’ll go to Culper and work with another Maro.
So with the Maro here in Lamas, he has one assistant that helps out before he used to work alone, so it was just him. And he’s very capable. He’s got 40 years of experience. He’s very capable even to work by himself, but but his assistant is also learning, so it’s like an apprenticeship for his assistant as well to help out and to gain some experience.
And with the other maestro that I’ll be working with in Culpa He as well. He is very good at what he does, and he can have the ceremonies alone, but he might have two or three students that are sitting in the space and they might help with the chanting and it’s their way of practicing, but also his way of having a little bit of extra help because it is also a lot of work.
I’m sure you would’ve experienced that in your ceremonies. I sit there sometimes going you are really doing a great job. This is very heavy work that you’re doing and you’re doing it very well. So I think it’s also nice for them to have a bit of extra
[00:24:28] Dr Mike T Nelson: help. Yeah. I think my estimation going in was like, oh yeah, you have the ceremony, each person drinks however much a mountain.
Hey, just lay down and whatever happens. And the shaman goes to sleep halfway through the ceremony or whatever. And it was like not like that at all. The first ceremony that I did, all the stuff I had was it was really late and delayed for some reason. Okay. And. I got, which was in some way a blessing because I got to see everybody go through everything, just basically being stone cold sober the most of the night.
And I remember we went up one by one, and so you got your first dose. And I remember just kneeling there and the shaman’s, doing some chanting and there’s music and I could see the reaction of people going around based on, the first person who, got served. And then she starts having a reaction.
And then the person next to her does, and then the person next to her does 10 minutes later and I’m just sitting there like going, oh man, here comes a wave. Oh crap. Oh crap. And then nothing happened. It’s oh, that’s weird. And so she comes around again, she’s do you want another dose?
I’m like, sure, whatever. And it was interesting to see the person across from me I think she had two cups and she had a crazy experience where if you ever heard the sound of someone choking on their own vomit, it’s a very visceral reaction. And so that’s what started happening to her. And, everyone went over there and helped her.
And, everything turned out to be good. But that was the start of the ceremony and the shaman’s holding her going, come back to your body. Come back to your body. And I’m watching this going, oh my God. What did I sign up for? What am I doing? , , and then to see the guy next to me was just, lying down like taking a nap.
I’m like, that’s weird. And so she comes by to him and she’s are you doing okay? And he is ah, And she’s do you want any more? And he is no, . I’m like, oh, he’s going through some shit too. But he looks completely different than the other person,
So it was just fascinating to see just the whole mirror of different responses all happening at different times, some of ’em happening at the same time. And that ceremony was interesting also because I think she had seven assistance there. And I think there was only like eight of us, and I remember her saying beforehand that she felt like she needed extra people to support us.
A lot of ’em were people assisting in app apprenticing and that kind of stuff. And then the second ceremony we did was a year later and it. Like super quiet, like no one made a peep the whole night. It was just the two people. And she’s yeah, I think this one will be a little bit more relaxed.
It was, I don’t know if it was just fascinating to see both ends of the spectrum from, in theory the same shaman, it’s the same, the same place where they get the ayahuasca from, which I know we’ll talk about can be also variable in and of itself, but I was just kinda shocked by the profound difference in things that were the same, but yet very different experience too.
[00:27:41] Rebekah Senanayake: Yeah. It’s fascinating. ,
[00:27:45] Dr Mike T Nelson: do you feel that there’s a lot of my hypothesis, which I have nothing to base this on, is you could be in a very similar set and setting similar, teacher shaman, whatever word you wanna use, associated with a guide. And have a similar ayahuasca, at least the preparation, the location of where it comes from.
I have this feeling that you could have a very radically different experience. Also at the same time. It just, to me, it feels like there’s an inherent kind of variability in it that’s hard to pin down on. .
[00:28:20] Rebekah Senanayake: Yeah. I would I would somewhat agree. Yeah. The experience it changes and I, perhaps it’s the environment at the time, it’s what’s happening.
Yeah. I’ve, but also on, I don’t it’s a, that’s a tricky question. Yeah. But I’ll just say the experience changes and it’s almost like the plant shows you what it needs to show you at that time, and that might change ceremony to ceremony. I’ve had a few ceremonies where we’ve drunk a few days in a row.
The most I’ve done is four days in a row, but we recently did three days in a row, which was quite interesting. To also see the buildup because we are keeping our diet really clean. Did one ceremony, then the next night we drank again, and the next night we drank again. Same brew, same people, same location.
And each experience scaffolded on the next one.
[00:29:05] Dr Mike T Nelson: And correct me if I’m wrong, but what is the half-life of the D M t by the second night, I would assume that most of it would be excreted by your body, or is there some gradual buildup if you’re doing it kinda like three nights in a row?
[00:29:20] Rebekah Senanayake: Yeah, so that’s an interesting question, which I actually started looking into recently, was the half ak. It’s quite it’s quite small. It’s only a few hours. But. I’m a bit, I’m a bit skeptical about the current research on it. I feel like there needs to be a bit more, and I feel like that the current research is perhaps more D M T only focus, whereas you’ve gotta remember the BREW has a lot of other compounds in it, and often you’ll have other plants as part of the brew.
There’s also the concept of a deta, which is a diet you do. So that starts pretty much after the first ceremony and you’ll keep a clean diet. You won’t have salt, you won’t have sugar. There might be some other food restrictions. The reason you don’t have salt is because that cuts the mt in your body.
[00:30:00] Dr Mike T Nelson: Interesting. So it cuts the halflife or it causes you to break it down sooner.
[00:30:05] Rebekah Senanayake: I think it causes you to break it down sooner. Yeah so for instance, you might do a diet of 10 days and with the 10 days you’re keeping no salt in your body. But you’re doing ceremonies this whole time, so it gets stronger and stronger as you continue the diet.
Or you might do one month, or you might do three months or six months depending on if you’re apprenticing or not. Yeah. And in my personal experience, this is what I’ve been looking into recently with my research is the different theaters and how it works with the Iowa. Cause that’s quite an important concept here.
And the reason they do the theater is they keep the plant in the body. So it’s really get to know the plant to really be able to feel it. And in my experiences with this, it’s definitely the not having the salt and sugar, especially the salt. It’s it makes the following ceremony much stronger and one after that exponentially stronger.
[00:30:48] Dr Mike T Nelson: Interesting. So maybe it is prolonging. The halflife thing. Cause like you said, the only studies I’ve seen looked at the halflife of just D M T. I haven’t seen any, maybe there are studies that have looked at halflife of the other compounds, which, you could theorize if those are staying elevated longer and you’re, supplying more D M T, maybe your activation of it is gonna be potentially quite different too.
[00:31:14] Rebekah Senanayake: Exactly. And I think this is just an area where we need to have a little bit more a little bit more research, as we develop into this field. Just a few more studies need to be done on this.
[00:31:25] Dr Mike T Nelson: Ever. People listening here may not be familiar with ayahuasca. Can you give a basic breakdown of what exactly is ayahuasca in terms of components?
And then maybe what are some common like ad mixtures that they may add to the quote unquote traditional ayahuasca in my little air quotes here.
[00:31:42] Rebekah Senanayake: Yeah. So pretty much Ayahuasca is a brew. It’s a tea. As Mike, it’s definitely, tea is probably not the best way to describe it.
[00:31:50] Dr Mike T Nelson: wouldn’t describe it as tea, but
[00:31:51] Rebekah Senanayake: yes, , it’s a beverage. You consume it beverage. There, we, yeah. Yeah. . So it consists of the vine, the awas. And it consists of chacruna leaves. And I’m talking about the brew specifically in Caru. In some parts of the jungle, you don’t come across shaks. They might use another plant.
So the sine has what’s called an M a O inhibitor, and the leagues have high quantit of d mt. So with D M T, if you just drink D M T, you won’t have effect. And that’s because our bodies processed d mt super, super quickly. You can smoke D M T. That’s quite a common way of ingesting it, or you can also take it intravenously.
But if you’re taking in liquid form, your body will process it too quick. So that’s where the inhibitor comes into play with the AOS cine. And it’s fascinating because you need to have these in specific quantities for this to be a bruise that actually causes an effect in your body. With the AOS cine itself there with the myro with now he says there are nine different types of the vine.
So that’s also another factor that’s taken into consideration. And I asked most of Myosis as well, just cause everyone has a different everyone has something new to add. But what I’ve come across is perhaps there are three or four that I use commonly, and the most common one is called C, which is sky awasa.
And that’s identifiable by a yellowish tint. And as for other admix mixtures Shak and Ayahuasca, that’s the base level. Ayahuasca. There’s some people who don’t add anything else to that, and that’s all they wanna drink with. And that’s that’s their brew. There are other people who might add, let’s say what have we put in the most recent brew?
We put the leaves of towe, which is in English. It’s detour. So the flower, but we put the leaves of that in the brew and that’s meant to help with the visions. Some people say that’s used for black magic or stuff like that, but I think it depends how you use it with the leaves of the flower.
It’s just for extra visions. I have a plant here that I like to put in the brew. It’s called one Bea, be How? It’s a little, it’s a little shrub. Again, you put in five leaves of that into the brew, and that also helps with visions. And perhaps having slightly softer, but slightly more Slightly more, how would I put it?
Heartfelt experiences. ,
[00:34:00] Dr Mike T Nelson: less ass kicking .
[00:34:02] Rebekah Senanayake: Yeah, less ass kicking. Li a little bit softer. , you’ve got a range of different ad mixtures that you can put in the brew. But like I said, some people prefer to keep really simple and just have the aru it, and I’ve had these bruises and they’re still absolutely phenomenal.
It’s also a good idea to ask the maestro that you’re drinking with, what sort of iosk are they using, what they’re putting in the brew, just so you know. And so you have a point of reference. There’s also, there was also a really interesting study done, I think it was in 2021 and it was by Hal Halek Kasek, and she’s based in Estonia and her colleagues and they analyzed a hundred plus ACA brew from Europe and Brazil.
And they did a chemical composition analysis to work out what’s actually in the bruise. . And pretty much in some of the European brews, they found a lot of things that aren’t meant to be an awa brew. And I’m not talking about admix mixtures. I’m talking about things like psilocybin things that are essentially just trying to give people an effect that they haven’t really signed up for.
You’re here to drink ayahuasca and you’re not here to take mushrooms. So it’s quite important to know where your bruise coming from and what you’re actually putting into your body. I would say.
[00:35:08] Dr Mike T Nelson: Yeah, that’s one thing I found is that it’s so variable. The shaman we went to uses primarily dme, which is from the Church of DME and my understanding is historically they just kinda use the shrub and the vine and they have their own, seven day process of making it, et cetera. Which Uhhuh , which to me was a little bit more reassuring because like you said, it’s variable from one area to the next. And I also have this other hypothesis, which could be completely wrong, that there’s almost, when more tourists get into it, there’s almost the expectation of, I’m supposed to purge, I’m supposed to do these type of things.
And I’ve often wondered if they add other ad mixtures or tobacco or who knows whatever to it to make sure. People get what they wanted to experience. But again, that’s, I don’t have any data to base that on .
[00:36:05] Rebekah Senanayake: I’ve definitely come across my fair share of people like foreign people here who are drinking ayahuasca.
And some people will come to me and say, Hey, Vic, like I haven’t had an experience. Then I’ll ask it, Hey, so what happened in the ceremony last night? And they’re like, oh, like I had all these feelings in my body, but like I and I vomited a bit, like there weren’t any visuals.
I was like, okay. That’s interesting. So you still had some sort of experience, didn’t you? Yeah. And I’ve found maybe with Aoki getting more popular people who have a perception of what the experience should look like. So maybe, okay, I’m gonna go in and I’m gonna have all these visions and I’m gonna see all these colors and everything.
But I’ve met Maros here who don’t have visions, and that’s not part of their experience with Aoki. They work. Purely on a sensational basis. That’s just not how their body interacts with the plant. So I think there’s a lot of misconception around that. If you if you’re having massive visuals, that’s great, but also that’s not necessarily a standard, like you’ve got mys working, you’ve been working for years, you have very little visions, and they’re working just on how they feel and how the bodies feel and stuff like that.
So I think there’s a lot of misconceptions and people go in with ideas and they want to have this type of experience. And yeah I do also, I mean with the European rules and that study, I would say people are probably putting in other things just to ensure people getting their money’s work or, stuff like that.
But whether that’s actually beneficial in healing is another question.
[00:37:24] Dr Mike T Nelson: Yeah. And it was very different. Like the first year, my wife was there also, and I think she had two glasses and. Her main goal was working on some digestion stuff and some other things she had going on. So she didn’t really have any visions, but her digestion was noticeably better the next day and she felt a lot more in her stomach and rumbling.
And again, it’s always hard to say what that’s related to. And when I was there, gentleman kept coming back and cuz it was pretty far into the evening, I had three glasses already. And I’m still like the only person who’s upright, like kneeling, just looking around and she’s looking at me. She’s what?
What’s going on? I said, I don’t know, I don’t feel anything. She’s really? So she comes back, gives me a fourth glass, I lay down and I think maybe I should close my eyes and, do some breath breathing work or whatever. She comes back about, eh, it was maybe a half hour, 40 minutes later.
It’s hard to tell time. And she’s any visions, anything going on? I was like, eh, not really. She’s and she comes back with a fifth glass. And I remember asking her, I’m like, was this a good idea? She’s oh, you’ll be fine. And she’s no visions. I’m like, no. And I remember drinking the fifth glass and her just staring at me going, interesting.
And as I’m drinking it, all of a sudden I was on a dock that like fell apart below me and I was on a beach in South Padre Island just drinking coffee with my wife, like getting ready to go kiteboarding. And it was so weird that it literally happened like as fast as I was drinking the last glass, which again, probably not from that glass.
And then one of my intentions was, am I going in the right direction with my life? Am I doing the things that I should? And then I got stuck there for what literally felt like forever. If you watched a V h S loop of a tape. , I could tell I was watching myself and I could feel the experience, but I knew when it was gonna end and would just start over again.
Wow. And it was almost like, oh, here’s where you should go and you should probably practice being present more often. So here’s , two years of of practicing being present. And so I was telling a buddy about this afterwards and he is oh, you were stuck in the eternal, now I’m like the eternal, now there’s like names for this stuff.
I didn’t know what was going on , but to me it was, I was a docent setting and everything makes a difference. But it was also fascinating how everyone has a different experience and you definitely get the impression of, I don’t wanna say controlling it, but at least the groups that we did it with, it seemed like what they set their intention to like back to sudden setting.
It definitely seemed like they were. Moved in that direction. Although the responses, like I said, were dramatically different from one person to the next, also
[00:40:24] Rebekah Senanayake: . Yeah. I’ve come across that as well. It reminds me of when I first drank Iowa, I think it was a group of 10 people, and I was drinking the smallest.
I started by drinking the smallest drops. Like honestly, like I’m talking like drops little bits of high whiskey. And I’d have very intense experiences. And the guy next to me is drinking two full cups and he’s he’s not really having experience. So that was quite funny to see that
And yeah, and then there’s another man there who’s, he’s also not having an experience. Yeah, I suppose everyone’s just a bit different that way. Hey,
[00:40:56] Dr Mike T Nelson: Yeah. And the interesting part is, so we go back the next year, different location same ayahuasca, same person, and do the ceremony. I go up there and she’s oh yeah, I remember you from last year.
This large glass is for you. I’m like, oh crap, okay, , whatever, and I remember lying back down and my question that year was, how do I decide what to do. Last year was I feel like I’m going in the right direction. How do I decide between projects, and what stuff to do?
And within the first half hour, it’s oh, maybe you should just work on projects that you love doing. It’s oh, so obvious , and then it was almost like, okay, can I get off the train? Now? It’s I have the answer, but you just, you can’t really disbar the train at that
[00:41:39] Rebekah Senanayake: point.
Either one trained off the trains off what you’ve said, you
[00:41:42] Dr Mike T Nelson: said. Yeah. Which my question related to that is, When you’re going through an experience for people who are newer, any sort of, I guess wisdom. I wouldn’t say not necessarily trying to control it, but my thoughts are, at least what I told myself was just work on your breathing.
So breathing is the one thing I can probably control. And then when I got stuck in the eternal, now the first year, my thought was, okay, it has to end at some point and when the sun comes up, everything will be fine. And as weird as it was, as soon as the sun like came up over the side of the jungle was like, oh, I was like perfectly fine.
Which was pretty bizarre to say the least.
[00:42:26] Rebekah Senanayake: I think that’s great advice as well. If you are, if Yeah, if you wanna just remembering that it’s an experience as well, for me, my, my tips for I suppose, beginners going into the space is just checking in where you are at within yourself before you enter the space.
It will all come up in the ceremony and just know that’s part of the ceremony. And having confidence in who you’re drinking with, once again, like I, I’d come back to that is probably for me is the most important part, is feeling comfortable but also confident in their abilities to hold that space and to navigate the iOS realms.
Going back to your breathing’s, always a good idea. Something that I’ve been taught and each myro is different, but this seems to be quite consistent with the maestros that I’m working with is the sit up straight in the, so that really helps you. Yeah. So with the that I’m working with now, Don’t even think about lying
[00:43:15] Dr Mike T Nelson: down , really?
You can lie.
[00:43:17] Rebekah Senanayake: Interesting. Yeah. Don’t even think about it. That’s out of the question. You can lie down maybe at the very end when everything, there’s that little bit of silence and the ceremony hasn’t quite ended, but the process is mainly done. You can lie down a little bit there. You can get away with it.
But if you try it before, there’s no way he’ll let you. Huh. And yeah, his reasoning behind that is once you start to lie down, then you start to lose consciousness. So the whole point is to sit up straight in a meditative pose sit up comfortably, make sure you’ve got like a good cushion and you’ve got enough blankets and, jump in your eye if you feel cold.
But just to keep your focus in the ceremony. And for me, that helps me. And if I’m honest, that’s probably the biggest thing I’ve learned from my lu is to stay really focused. So just closing your eyes, keeping your keeping your focus on your experience. . But yeah. Nice and straight. Nice and solid on the ground.
Yeah. And that, that’s that’s a constant recommendation from not really recommendation, a requirement, from the posters that I’m working with, yeah. I’d say there’s no leeway with that one . But like I said, everyone’s a bit different. Some people will let you lie down but now that I’ve been drinking with the Smokey for quite a while and actually it’s my preference, like I find that it helps our work a lot better in me.
Yeah, I feel more, I don’t wanna say in control, but I feel more but I do feel more in control. I feel more capable, I feel stronger in my experience, it’s not taking over me. I’m still very present with what’s happening.
[00:44:38] Dr Mike T Nelson: How would you describe the experience? Because at least for me, going in.
I was under the impression that, oh man, if I drink five glasses, I’m gonna be so incapacitated that I’m gonna be able to do nothing. And it was a very odd sensation of, yep, I’m definitely seeing stuff. Yep. I’m definitely somewhere else. But I remember at one point I had to get up to use the bathroom and a friend of mine, I asked her before the ceremony, I said, Hey, you’ve done this a bunch of times what’s your best advice?
And she’s if you need to use the bathroom, just get up and use the bathroom. And I’m like, what the hell kind of advice is that? This is like advice. And I remember lying there, having this debate with myself for 20 minutes about should I get up and use the bathroom, should I not? I don’t know if I can walk, I don’t know if I can stand, And it was a very weird sensation of definitely being very wobbly. Like I would not want to be operating any machinery or doing anything intensive. But yet still having more. Motor control than what I would expect for basically being suited out of my mind, , if that makes any sense. I don’t know if there’s any other way to explain that or if that’s a similar experience to what other people have or if there’s something chemically going on related to that where it didn’t feel like it impacted the motor portion nearly as much as I would’ve assumed.
[00:46:04] Rebekah Senanayake: I’ve definitely seen some people who haven’t been able, like they need a bit of help to get up. Oh, definitely. Yes. And that’s their experience. And there’s nothing to judge or it’s just how it affects different people. But yeah, for me as well, I think like even with the sitting up straight and like getting up to go to the bathroom it reminds you in your body as well, it reminds you that you are still, you and you’re having an experience.
Yeah. Yeah. I’m sorry. Forgot what your question was
[00:46:30] Dr Mike T Nelson: At the time. I just didn’t know if there’s something where, my assumption was that if you would’ve explained that state of consciousness to me, my assumption would’ve been, I would’ve been completely like flatlined, like no motor control at all.
My motor control was affected, but not to the degree that I thought, like I could slowly get up, I could make my way to the bathroom, I could come back, I could lay down again. It wasn’t the same for everybody. There was a couple people that, they had some issues moving for sure, but most of the people, again, limited experience, they were able to get up on their own power, go to the bathroom.
Lay back down again, which I thought was an interesting thing where it seems to affect the sensory portion, at least in my case, substantially more than the motor portion. .
[00:47:14] Rebekah Senanayake: I also just thought of another recommendation perhaps for newbies in the space. Oh, yeah. Yeah. Is that, remember, you can always take more.
So if you’re feeling like a little bit, I don’t know if you’re feeling like, okay, I’m a bit nervous. And maybe you prefer to take a little bit less at the start, remember, that’s completely fine as well. You can take a little bit less and you can always top up. So you can always just see how you feel and say, an hour goes past and, oh, actually I could deal with a bit more.
You can always ask more. So that’s a, that’s another thing which I find with some people can put in at ease a little bit is, okay, let’s have a taste. Let’s see how this feels hour or so later. Okay. Yeah, I could do a little bit more. And that’s also completely fine. Yeah. There was another recommendation that I thought of, but I, oh, yeah.
And also keeping your water close is always a good idea as well. Yeah. So in the, in my last ceremony, I went through about three liters of water. It was crazy. I, yeah. Yeah. It really helps. It really helps the, I was to work, I loves water. And if you’re feeling nauseous, drink some water, it will help.
Anything in the ceremony, just take the water nearby. Yeah, that’s something that really helps me. It’s always make sure I’ve got a nice full bottle next to me in
[00:48:18] Dr Mike T Nelson: a good ceremony. Interesting. Last two questions as we wrap up. , do you think the D M T in Ayahuasca is different or has different effects because of all the different plants, the different sourcing, et cetera, compared to, I’m sure you’ve seen, some of Vroman’s work where they just did iv D M T do you think there’s a difference between the two? And if so, what would that difference be?
[00:48:44] Rebekah Senanayake: Yeah, this is also an area that I think needs more research, but these are my current thinkings on it. Is. So this line of thought was inspired by perhaps a few years ago when I was working in the jungle with the NICE store and I was asking about some plants and we were having our usual conversation about the jungle.
And he tells me, he’s okay, you know what I ask his interesting because it’s with the Jauna that you can see, so you can see the spirit of the plant. So let’s go back to what we were talking about earlier. Shak is the plant that contains the dmt. So I almost wonder if there’s something about the way the DMT interacts, maybe interacts with the DMT and the other plant.
We’ve gotta remember the living plants do have some amount of DMT in them, whether it’s higher, low concentrations. So I do wonder if it’s a UNA or perhaps something in the DMT Brew that allows you to see the different parts of the plant and maybe their essences or be able to feel them a bit better.
I would say my understanding of. And crystal form, orga form is where it’s extracted into a leaf. It’s very different from the Aoki experience. It’s super, super different. It’s, yeah, it’s largely different. I would say Aoki is a lot more healing in a therapeutic sense. I would be more likely to depending on what someone needed, actually I would always be more likely to recommend something like I was over this dmt.
Cause there seems to be, I don’t know, DMT blasts you off into another dimension and you come back and yeah, you have some good feelings. But iOS seems to be a little bit more grounded, like it seems to be doing the healing, like the work as well. That’s not saying you don’t have to do it yourself after the ceremony, but you things be a little more grounding in that
[00:50:21] Dr Mike T Nelson: experience.
Interesting. And I would assume you think there’s a difference between. The standard blends of ayahuasca used versus, I guess what they call pca, which is just a straight chemical D M T and an m A I inhibitor. ,
[00:50:35] Rebekah Senanayake: I’ve participated in enough cooking ceremonies to know how much thought and care goes into the brew itself to know that it is incredibly different.
More recently actually, we’ve had, so with the aas that we’ve been drinking here we made this back in November and we cooked so much of aas, oh my gosh. We had liters, , big a cooking week. . Yeah. Cuz there was a buying, growing. And it had been, it was 15 years old, it was ready to be cooked and okay, we’re gonna put all of the vine.
So seven days later we’ve got god knows, I think maybe eight liters. We managed to cook. And I’m not talking. Like when you were talking about your ceremonies, you mentioned it’s the di brew. So from what I understand with the di brew, it’s usually a lot more diluted which makes sense if you were drinking four or five cups.
But with the doses, with the , maybe 30 millimeters is a decent dose. Oh wow. Yeah. And it’s very unlikely that, someone might ask for more, but it’s, in the ceremonies I’ve been with people are usually pretty happy . Yeah. Like you don’t really get many people wanting more after that. So yeah, we cooked at Ayahuasca and it was good and we drank it.
The visions weren’t very strong and the maestro said to me, Hey, G, you know what? Let’s cook again. Let’s make some more ak. So about a month ago we did another three days of cooking, and this time we only got about, I’d say three liters out of room, 2.5 maybe. And with this we put in the other plants, we put cowe, we put in one besa be how the plant was talking about before all the plants provisions.
And we mix the two brews together. And it was super interesting because I, and at this point I’ve participated in, I’d say around 120 hundred 30 ish ceremonies. Wow. So I’ve done my fair share of pwa not a great amount like the Mostro, I’ve participated my fair amount. And it was interesting for me cuz I could distinctly see the difference between the two brews.
Oh, sorry. The chickens are going up in the background. But anyway, that’s alright. I could see the difference in the two brews. Like I, I could see the other plants in this brewer and I was like, oh, okay. Yeah. More visions coming in. This is coming from this plant. But it’s not super intense because we’ll mix the other group.
Yeah. So that was a very interesting
[00:52:35] Dr Mike T Nelson: experience to have. It’s almost beer making or making alcohol or wine. Anything that has a very complex chemical breakdown. Even coffee, depending on who you talk to, you just look at all the different, yeah, wine is grapes, but where the grapes grown, what is the condition?
And you could argue wine is more simple because there’s really the only a couple main ingredients in it where, ayahuasca has, vines from different areas, different amounts. I’m sure the growing season affects it. The brewing method. Yeah. Like you said, you start combining it with other things and you start combining ayahuasca brews together and
[00:53:13] Rebekah Senanayake: I think the, I think when you see the beer, I think beer is a great example for this, cuz if you look into artisanal beer, that’s a fantastic example. And people who are very experienced with drinking beer, they can taste the subtle differences, yeah. You had a. A different hawk. Okay. This is the, I’m not exp I’m not super experienced with beer, I have no real idea about how it’s made, but I imagine it’s it’s quite a specific procedure.
In that study I was referring to earlier, the one with the different chemical composition analysis, I also did an analysis of the different compounds in the vine in different regions of Brazil. So urban and rural areas. And yeah, they found a difference in the concentrations of the chemical compounds as well, which is quite interesting.
So you’ve got a lot of variation into what creates for brew, which then creates the experience. And then you’ve got the effective maestro and the other participants in the physical location. So it’s a very complex picture that comes together to facilitate someone’s
[00:54:05] Dr Mike T Nelson: experience. And last question, do you think because of all the complexities I know maps and other organizations are looking to get at least in the US legalization approval possibly for M D M A?
For P T S D , potentially psilocybin for depression, Do you think Ayahuasca would be much farther down on that list? Because the scientific process in general tends to be very reductionistic and it might be harder to replicate it. And to actually pinpoint as to the, even just the simple mechanism of action across it.
[00:54:42] Rebekah Senanayake: This is great question. And yeah. Thanks for I suppose bringing this question into this conversation this is what I would like to see with aco. So iosco we’ve talked about quite extensively right now is it’s ceremony, it’s a cultural practice, right? What I would like to see with ayahuasca is still the cultural exchange.
So somehow to keep this relationship with the indigenous quote, whether that’s people coming to the Amazon and actually spending time with them, but if that’s maybe not in your means, whether it’s them going to different places and holding ceremonies, but keeping that cultural connection. I personally, another part of my project as well is looking into ontology, so different ways of perceiving the world.
And in Amazon, a very common ontology that you might find is that plants have spirits or that, and plants have spirits and they’re able to act like different tension and they’re able to, they’re not just static objects in our day-to-day life. And I think by being here, and this is from my personal experiences in the Amazon, is yes, the io is healing in itself, but also learning from the culture, from their way of living.
Like having these conversations, spending time actually exchanging is also a nice way to give back because you are exchanging you’re exchanging your knowledge and receiving their knowledge, and there’s there’s a feedback loop happening, but there’s something important about understanding their way of seeing the world, I think.
So the brew is something in itself and the experience, the Aoki experience is something in itself, but actually being in the jungle, being close to nature, getting an insight into how this world looks I think is something very nice to take home. And also, you’ve gotta remember, this is a sensitive practice, right?
Like the indigenous folk of the Amazon, they’ve had their fair share of trouble, to say the least, like rubber boom. You’ve had the destination of so many tribes here. So I think now it’s almost a chance to make sure that these people have have their practices preserved. There’s respect for these practices.
There’s an initiative to keep these practices going. For a while there were people who weren’t learning. There were young people who weren’t interested. Even now, there’s a lot of, there’s like a gap in the knowledge where there’s the old people who know, but people who are younger are going off to university to study or leave the cities leave to go big cities, which I completely understand.
But I wonder if there’s more of a. More of a need for ACA or more of an interest for aki, if that might encourage a trans, like a cultural transmission of this knowledge just to make sure these like practices are preserved going forward. So that’s what I’d like to see. I’d like to see something like that happen is to make sure that the people here are still somehow involved in the process and their space is not lost and their space isn’t taken up by something else.
Because at the end of the day, for me, the Maros and the people leading the ceremonies are incredibly important and their knowledge on how to safely navigate the space, which is also a big deal. It’s psyche right now. It’s how can it safely navigate the space? You’ve gotta remember these people have years and then you’ve got generations of knowledge behind them so they’re not newbies, sort of psychedelic games.
And that’s, those are the people I placed my confidence in for navigating these very sensitive psychedelic
[00:57:40] Dr Mike T Nelson: states. Yeah, that’s one of my. Biggest fear. I think psychedelics potentially becoming legal is definitely a huge movement in the correct direction. But , I also get fearful of just the potential overconfidence of, ah, we’ll figure this stuff out.
It’s eh, you may wanna talk to people who’ve been doing it for hundreds to thousands of years. Like they probably have a lot to teach you about it, , but it’s just this almost egotistical thing of ah, we’ll figure it out. And it, I don’t know that it just takes one bad experience somewhere to have a knee jerk reaction to go the opposite direction and then, oh, they’re all bad and look at this thing that was horrible that happened.
And you’re probably not mentioning the sudden setting what the people did. Yeah. Where they got it from. And to me it’s, oh, even, yeah. It’s just like a scalpel. Orientation. Yeah, it’s, you’re, we went in on SSRIs, which is never gonna be a good thing. So yeah. Yeah. I think of it just like a scalpel.
Like you, if you’re an experienced surgeon, you can probably do a lot of things, save people’s lives. You can do a lot of good stuff. If you’re not and you don’t have any training it’s not gonna end well. It’s gonna be a really horrible thing. And the bigger the effect size something have has, the more potential, I think it has to be helpful.
And then also your risk is generally gonna go up at the same time. So you’re left with, how are they handled? What is the experience of the practitioners, the set and setting, et cetera. So I think there’s a lot we can still learn about that. And hopefully we don’t screw it up. , ,
[00:59:15] Rebekah Senanayake: I, yeah I really liked what you said about the surgeon though, cuz that’s how I feel with every experienced practitioner.
I’m like, okay, I’m going to an experienced surgeon, and that’s the difference between going to. Someone who’s in first year med school and someone who’s an experienced surgeon. And if I’m doing very sensitive things with my psyche, I’m not gonna go to the person who’s just started in first year med school.
I’ve gotta go to the person who’s incredibly experienced at what they do. , . It’s a sensitive process.
[00:59:38] Dr Mike T Nelson: Yeah. Thank you so much for all your time and thank you so much for all your research you’ve done and your continuing research, which is awesome that you’re out there doing that.
Cuz I think the more research we have in this of all types, it’s quantitative, qualitative all of that I think is just definitely gonna be beneficial. And if people wanna find out more about you, I know you’re on Twitter and you’ve got some other places a blog where can they read more about you?
[01:00:02] Rebekah Senanayake: Yeah, so my online identity these days is Beck Plant, so b e k. P L a n ts. So Twitter handle is at Beck Plants Instagram at Beck Plants, and my blog is WordPress dot compl. Thanks for having me, Mike. That was so fun to talk to you. And yeah, thank you .
[01:00:27] Dr Mike T Nelson: Yeah, thank you so much. I really appreciate it.
And have a wonderful day there in Peru. Thank you. And you too, . Thank you.
[01:00:39] Dr Mike T Nelson: Thank you very much for listening to the podcast today. Really, appreciate Huge thanks to Rebecca for all of her time and calling in from literally the jungles of Peru. Highly recommend you check out her information. Best place is Twitter. Go to Twitter at b e k plants. That’s at B E K P L A N T S, and you’ll find a link to all of her wonderful writing and her work.
So huge thanks to her for coming on the podcast and discussing all of the pros and the cons. I think that more topics like this need to be discussed because at least in the US it looks like these compounds or psychedelics in general for specific reasons, will be approved maybe as early as the end of this year, but most likely 2020.
This may include M D M A for PTSD although M D M A is not technically considered a classic psychedelic after that potentially psilocybin for treatment of depression. And once some of these drugs become approved, they may be able to be used under the guide of a physician in an off-label manner.
So I think having discussions like this about the pros and the cons of what is. Is going to be super beneficial. And again, that was the main reason for doing this podcast. And I also just find the compounds in and of themselves to be extremely interesting for various reasons. One of them is they appear to increase neuroplasticity possibly through bdnf brain drive, neurotrophic factor and other things, which I think opens them up for lots of potential future clinical.
The downside is that’s pretty new in the resurgence of research again, so there’s a lot of stuff that we still don’t know as we talked about in the podcast. So if you’re interested in more advanced recovery and how to be anti-fragile and just generally much harder to kill, check out the Physiologic Flexibility certification.
It will be opening up again on March 20th, 2023. Go to physiologic flexibility.com. There’ll be a link below here in your favorite podcast player for all of the information. It’ll be open for exactly one week, and as of now, won’t open again until possibly later this year. So if you’re interested in it, please check it out and you can get.
To the wait list there. Thanks again to Rebecca. Check out her stuff. Greatly appreciate it. If you want more of a kind of research based talk, I’ll be doing a talk on psychedelics at the International Society of Sports Nutrition in Florida, mid-June of this year, 2023. And I also have a link to a previous podcast I.
About my experience with some of these compounds in Costa Rica. As I mentioned, currently in the US these compounds are federally illegal and they are currently not approved for any use that may change in the future. But as of now, that is a current state and none of this is advice for medical use.
Talk to your physician and proceed according. We just wanted to have a discussion about the research and what it potentially shows for the pros and the cons. As always, thank you so much for listening to the podcast. Really appreciate it. We’ve got a lot more great stuff coming up, so stay tuned.
We’ll talk to you all very soon. Thank you so much.
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