Image Credit: Daniel Greig.
Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Psychedelic Career Day, what is the event? Why is it important for those interested in entering the career of the discipline of psychedelia?
Daniel Greig: The career day is a panel of a bunch of people who are working within the field of psychedelic research and, more broadly, they research with substances traditionally considered either recreational or not useful given the history of drug laws.
So, we do have one panelist focusing on cannabis. But the majority are focused on doing the research or writing about the research in the Psychedelic Rennaissance. It is the reintroduction of psychedelics into research settings.
There will be many jobs opening up in relation to this field of study. It has been rocky trying to do this research over the last 40 or 50 years because of the strict legal restrictions on utilizing a lot of these compounds.
Those have been loosened. The general public has moved to from away from being fearful about psychedelic compounds. The benefits are becoming known about for e.g. DMT, Ketamine, and MDMA.
MDMA has been given breakthrough therapy status by the FDA in the United States, a huge change compared to the approach in the 90s where MDMA was demonized as the rave drug.
The common example of that is where you would see: “This is your brain on drugs. These drugs make holes in your brain.” That is the discourse we have been having to put up with for a long time.
Nowadays, there is less of that and more positive information coming out, more objective information coming out. The objective case is these are positive for wellbeing in a number of ways.
A lot of people and students especially are interested in that. This panel is important for giving people the tools they need to pursue careers in this field within legitimate institutions, within Academia and therapeutic contexts.
This panel is about bringing the information to a bunch of eager and willing people who want to work in this field, making it more possible that they can do that effectively.
Jacobsen: With respect to the panelists who were invited to the one you will be hosting, what will be the things that they will be bringing to that panel in general?
Greig: A lot of these people are new for me to talk to. I am familiar with Ben Sessa’s work. He is a longrunning and published author on the effects of MDMA in psychotherapy.
He even started the Breaking Convention Conference in the United Kingdom. I am really interested to talk to him and see his experience in the field and the things he has been able to get up to in this fairly restricted field up until this point.
David Wilder, he is a blogger. So, a bit more of a casual perspective on what sorts of jobs are available in the field because there are plenty of people interested in psychedelics as a philosophical starting point.
He explores psychedelics, spirituality, technology, and self-development. He does a lot of educational events related to his writing work. That is also an interesting avenue for people to be engaging in this research. What are the implications of psychedelics more generally for our technological society?
Also, Anne Wagner, I am familiar with her work. She is a great speaker and has an excellent perspective on this.
She works out of Ryerson University. She is working on research work with MDMA and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. She is more of an institutional figure, someone with a research and medical background. This is what a lot of people are going to be looking for when having careers of this kind.
Then we also have Trevor Millar who is an entrepreneur. He does his own Ibogaine facilitation as far as I understand. He makes that available to people. It will be interesting to get that perspective as well because there are people looking for legal ways to integrate people into having psychedelic healing, which isn’t quite on the table right now for the widespread population – in typical legal avenues.
We have a little bit of everything here. A good diversity of focus on different areas, different subsets, of psychedelic research. The Ibogaine experience is different from the MDMA experience is different from the cannabis experience.
As a result, there are a lot of different pathways for people to work with those compounds in different ways. We have a good array of voices to look forward to.
Jacobsen: For those with an interest in following through on not necessarily attendance at Psychedelic Career Day, though that will be a valuable venue for them to gather some information as well as meet some of the personalities, what other resources can facilitate their own self-exploration into the psychedelic world?
Greig: I would start with recommending with getting on the mailing list for all of the research institutions that are working on this stuff. You have MAPS Canada. If you give a donation, you will receive information on their research and events they are affiliated with.
That is a good way to keep in the loop. There is also The Beckley Foundation. You can keep up with them for updates on their research and events. they often collaborate with the organization MAPS as well.
They were both major contributors to the Psychedelic Science Conference that happens regularly in California. On top of keeping up to date with these research bodies, it is also important to stay in the know and connected to the community around you.
Whether that means attending conferences in your area that are related to psychedelics, in Toronto, there is more of that happening. I host the Mapping the Mind with Mushrooms Conference every September. It happens at the University of Toronto.
There was a recent one called From Microdosing to Mystical Experiences hosted by the Toronto Psychedelic Society. Those things are a great way to keep in the loop. I know there are similar events in Vancouver because MAPS Canada has their headquarters in Vancouver.
It is a fruitful ground for a lot of educational events and community integration events. If you do not have access to those things, there are more psychedelic societies popping up.
One started in Hamilton, Ontario and another in Toronto, recently. One of the reason this career panel is so widespread and available across the globe is because of the interactive network of psychedelic societies.
Getting involved with that is a good way of linking into the network and fostering ideas about psychedelics, self-exploration in regards to that, and the network is the most important thing, I think.
If you want to do the work in this field, you have to know the people; it is a great way to facilitate the efficacy of the psychedelic movement.
If you are a student at a university and want to be working in this, it is good to be open to the potential professors and supervisors in your area. One of the best resources you have, if you want to be working for psychedelics, is yourself. You as an individual can help bring psychedelic compounds back into the institution by being forward about the backing that we have from empirical research, proposing an independent study or research projects that you can be collaborating on with your supervisors or professors.
That will ultimately be the most helpful thing. It is taking those steps to make things happen.
Jacobsen: The end. Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Daniel.