PODCAST & BLOG

PODCAST & BLOG

Ana Verzone was on the show years ago and she is now back this week to talk about psychedelics and spirituality. We explore the differences between recreational use versus spiritual purposes, the science behind their use, and the benefits of gaining spiritual insight.

Ana Verzone is a Master Life Coach, Altered States Guide, and host of the Rebel Buddhist™ podcast. She is devoted to helping yogis and wanna-be Buddhas create an {unconventional} life of true freedom – inside and out.

We cover: 

  • Why people seek psychedelics for spiritual or mental health (11:33)
  • The difference between recreational use and intentional use (12:17)
  • What qualifies someone to guide someone on psychedelic experiences (15:23)
  • Integration is important following a psychedelic spiritual experience (19:57)
  • Who psychedelics is appropriate for and some reasons that support their use (33:04)
  • Ana answers, “Do you have to do the “hard work” to really get the benefit or spiritual insight?” (32:41)

Resources:
Ana’s website
There are 4 Spots left for The Daring Way™ Retreat!

Book recommendations:
You know how I love a good personal development book, right? I’ve compiled a list of book recommendations, as mentioned in past episodes. Check out these amazing book recommendations here. Happy reading!

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Ana Verzone is a Master Life Coach, Altered States Guide, and host of the Rebel Buddhist™ podcast. She is devoted to helping yogis and wanna-be Buddhas create an {unconventional} life of true freedom – inside and out. She has over 21 years of experience as a nurse, midwife, and professor. Ana received a Doctorate in Nursing, two Master's Degrees, a degree in Clinical Psychology, certification in Applied Positive Psychology, and a post-doctorate in Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing from Johns Hopkins University. She has also completed fellowships in psychedelic-assisted therapy. Finally, Ana has been a mentor to adventurous women like you for over 23 years.

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SHOW TRANSCRIPT  

Andrea  00:00
Over the pandemic, I think like most of us, I started experiencing just low energy and sluggishness so, in the beginning of this year, I decided that I would start drinking AG1 ever a day because I wanted to pay attention and see if it helped. And to be honest, I was skeptical that it would taste good and work, because it's this really beautiful bright green, it looks super healthy. But to be honest, it has a mildly sweet taste. That's like the perfect amount of sweet, it's not too sweet, because then that would be kind of gross, and actually taste really good, and I look forward to having it every day. Your subscription comes with a year's supply an entire year, a year supply of vitamin D, which is so important to add in when we don't get as much sunlight as we probably should. Vitamin D was a huge game changer for me in terms of my energy and my sluggishness. Right now it's time to reclaim your health and your immune system with convenient daily nutrition. All it is, is one scoop in water, I make sure the water is really cold, and sometimes I put ice in it, and to make it easy Athletic Greens is going to give you a free one year supply of immune supporting vitamin D and five free travel packs with your first purchase. I know I bring mine with me in those fun little travel packs when I go away, and I'm not at home, all you have to do is visit AthleticGreens.com/noise. Again, that's AthleticGreens.com/noise to take ownership over your health and pick up the ultimate daily nutritional insurance.

Ana  01:34
We use the analogy of if I cut myself and I have the right set and setting meaning I clean the wound the wound edges are approximated maybe I have an expert look at it, make sure I don't need stitches, the body will naturally heal. And it's the same with the psyche. If we provide the right set and setting and expert guiding right then the psyche will bring to the forefront what needs to be healed, right? And that's not always a pleasant mystical experience, just FYI. Like sometimes it's these challenging experiences that are actually the most productive.

Andrea  02:13
You're listening to Make Some Noise Podcast episode number 464 with guest Ana Verzone.

Welcome to Make Some Noise Podcast, your guide for strategies, tools and insight to empower yourself. I'm your host, Andrea Owen, global speaker, entrepreneur, life coach since 2007, and author of three books that have been translated into 18 languages and are available in 22 countries. Each week, I'll bring you a guest or a lesson that will help you maximize unshakable confidence, master resilience and make some noise in your life. Are you ready? Let's go.

Hey, everyone, welcome to another episode of the podcast. I am so glad that you're here. I had covid you guys for the first time, and it's been a few weeks, but I really feel like my voice is totally back to normal. During the interview, it was pre-covid. So it'll be its normal state. But right now, it's still having a hard time coming back and I guess it just takes a lot of rest and time, and lots of water and all of those things that we know that we're supposed to do.

I am excited to bring you ana Verzone. She is someone who I've known forever and has been on the show a long, long time ago, Definitely in the first 100 episodes. I can't remember what number exactly. And I hesitate to put the link in the show notes because I'm like, oh my god. I was still I was still getting my podcast host feet wet and I get a little like, ugh, with those first 100 episodes. Hadn't really you know, found my expertise in in this in this arena. But anyway, it's fine. It's fine, right? We all we all have our first time about stuff like that. And another thing I've noticing, post-covid My brain isn't all the way with me. I'm still having a hard time finding the right words. I'm still finding it hard to just have a cohesive thought and all those things. So it was my first time with covid. It was my first time. So I'm being gentle with myself.

Y'all there are still I think two spots left in our September retreat headed out to Asheville, North Carolina doing the Daring Way curriculum. If you want to join us head on over to AndreaOwen.com/retreat. All the information is there for you so you can grab one of those last few spots.

And let me tell you a little bit about our guest today. Ana Verzone is a master life coach altered states guide and host of The Rebel Buddhist Podcast. She is devoted to helping Yogi's and wannabe Buddha's create an unconventional life of true freedom inside and out. She has over 21 years of experience as a nurse midwife and professor. Honor received a doctorate in nursing to Master's degree a degree in clinical psychology certification in applied positive psychology and a post doctorate in psychiatric mental health nursing from Johns Hopkins University. She has also completed fellowships in psychedelic assisted therapy. And finally, Ana has been a mentor to adventurous women like you for over 23 years. So without further ado, here is Ana.

Ana, welcome back.

Ana  05:55
Thank you. I know it's been a minute.

Andrea  05:59
Okay, so I was looking because I'm like, I know I've had her on before. When was it? You were episode 37 and now we're in well into the four hundreds,

Ana  06:08
Holy crap.

Andrea  06:10
You were like, top 50. Like that's how far we go back. Oh, I should have had you on sooner. But now, here we are. Here we are. And I'm excited about the topic because you and I probably said this in the first episode that you were on that I think out of all of my colleagues, I think you have the most certifications and degrees and trainings of anyone.

Ana  06:36
Yeah, that could show how deeply embedded impostor syndrome has been in my life. But yeah.

Andrea  06:42
You are the consummate student. Your bio is so long, and I love that about you. And so we went back and forth like, well, what do you want to come on and talk about because there's so many different topics that you are an expert on. So we settled on psychedelics and spirituality.

So okay, you know what I'm selfishly curious about, what brought you here, like, what made you like, wake up one morning be like, you know, what I want to I want to train and learn and get certified in this particular work.

Ana  07:12
Yeah, I love that question because I've actually been interested in psychedelics for decades, right? Like, my first experience with psychedelics was when I was 15. I did LSD when I was 15 and it really changed my life. And I had, in the sense that at a very young age, I had an experience where I realized the way I perceive the world might not be how it actually was, and that how my perceptions went through a bunch of filters, and how there was more than what I was capable of seeing at the time. And just kind of, you know, when you're that impressionable of an age, and are told that, like the world as you see, it may not be as it really is and you continue to question that for the rest of your life. I mean, I am a life coach, right? Sort of like, this is what we do. We're like, hey, how you think about things may not be how it actually is, and it doesn't have to stay that way.

So over the decades, I've always had personal interest in it. And then, as I got more into mental health, I would start to become more aware of how many of my patients had, because I'm a psychiatric nurse practitioner, as well had an existential crisis at the core of a lot of their suffering, sort of like, why am I here? Why me? Like, why am I important in this world? What is my purpose? And as I started exploring, some of the research, you know, I'm a practicing Buddhist so I've been meditating since 1993. And a lot of actually, Buddhist practitioners have a long history with psychedelics. And I started kind of diving down that rabbit hole and realize that Stan Grof was married to Roshi Joan, who's a Zen Roshi, and I was discovering wow, you know, psychedelics actually have had a big role in mental health for a very long time before they were made illegal. And then I sort of saw on the horizon that they were going to become legalized for mental health at some point, because they were so effective and because we're really failing, you know, our mental health patients right now. And I decided, you know, I want to be at the leading edge of this. I want to start getting trained in this so that I can bring this to people as soon as it's available. And there's also other countries that I've gone to and lead retreats in where it is legal, and states where some are legalized and whatnot.

And so, but my personal interests really goes back to the use of psychedelics as in entheogens. So psychedelics are a class of psychoactive substances that can change our perception our mood our cognitive processes, they affect our senses, the way we think, our sense of time and emotions. But in entheogens are a substance that are typically of plant origin that are taken to produce a non-ordinary state of consciousness for religious or spiritual purposes. And that's where I was like, wow, that is where I really find my own personal interest lying because there's so much potential there. And a whole lot of history in many different land-based cultures, indigenous cultures, with the use of psychedelics for spiritual purposes.

Andrea  10:43
I didn't realize there was categories and subcategories, like I thought it was just like, you know, all psychedelics like LSD, ecstasy, Ayahuasca, mushrooms, like I thought it was all just like, piled in together. But from what you're saying, it's not that simple.

Ana  11:02
Yeah, and I mean, you know, there's also atypical psychedelics like, you know, MDMA is kind of thrown in there, but it's not a classical, psychedelic, MDMA or ecstasy right? Some people felt that cannabis wasn't a true psychedelic, but now we're seeing it does have psychedelic properties. So yeah, there are different categories, but mostly, like with the entheogenic application, it's more what's your intention with okay, and is it for spiritual purposes.

Andrea  11:33
Okay, so yeah, like, let's talk about mental health for a little bit. Like what do people typically, maybe it's two questions like a) what do people typically seek out psychedelics for, and like, okay, minus 15 year olds doing it in 1993, like, at a punk concert, or whatever, versus like people who, you know, that are into personal development? Like, what are they actually looking for when they make the decision to do that? And the second part of the question or separate question, is it mostly for mental health, like they're looking for some kind of solution to a mental health challenge they have?

Ana  12:17
Hmm. Yeah. So you know, the research that was done in the earlier decades, you know, like in the 60s, in particular, and early 70s, and even into the 50s. In some countries, like, it was really helping us gain insight into how the brain works. It was like, how are we basically mimicking psychosis, and can this information help us treat it, for example. But then, as some people may or may not know, the research got kind of cavalier, a bit cowboyish, and then made illegal at one point. But there was a strong body of research that showed great benefit with specific psychedelics and specific context for things like treatment resistant depression, addiction, like substance use disorders. And so there is a difference between recreational use and intentional use.

So when you are participating in recreational use, you often don't have control over the purity of what you're getting. I mean, there are organizations now like Dance Safe, which have kits that you can order to help test if your products actually tainted with anything are contaminated with anything. But recreational use we don't have as much control over the dosing over the purity and over the environment, right? Oftentimes, when you hear about these bad trips, it's in this context of a poorly controlled environment, social stressors going on.

And so in an intentional use, there's a very different environment where, you know, it's not the goal isn't to just have a good time. And I want to say there's nothing wrong with wanting to have a good time. Like there's no judgement about that. But in terms of what is intentional use… So in terms of ketamine, for example, that has been approved by the FDA for treatment resistant depression, and some of this…

Andrea  14:25
I thought that was a horse tranquilizer… For human use…

Ana  14:28
I mean, you know, when I was an ER nurse we used it for conscious sedation for resetting bones and things like that. And so when I heard about it being used for mental health, I was like, really? But what was interesting was when they were using it for conscious sedation people would notice people with depression would notice an improvement in symptoms. And so that's what's kind of happening right now. Like the research with psychedelics has to choose a very sympathetic population, right? So right now we're veterans with PTSD as well as end of life studies. And so people are like, okay, we have a high sympathy for those populations we’ll let psychedelics be studied in those populations. But as the research has been so promising, it's now expanding out to depression and anxiety.

Andrea  15:19
I've seen some of the studies on it, I've looked for them, actually. Yeah, there's a lot.

Ana  15:23
There's actually really great potential with, for example, like neurodegenerative diseases, and because of the potential for psychedelics for neuroplasticity, like growing, you know, new neuronal connections, which is amazing that many things can do that. And with autism, even and so many amazing potential benefits. So people come, you know, for many reasons. My clients often come with more of an existential crisis or intention of wanting to find but, you know, what is their purpose on this planet? Like, why am I here? Like even if, you know, you, like I've had clients even who are like surgeons, or midwives, or coaches, and they feel like yes, I kind of have an idea of what I'm supposed to be doing. But it doesn't feel like my doesn't feel like mine, like my unique purpose and that can actually create a lot of existential angst for people, right? And more than we're willing to admit, as a culture. We have no rites of passage, for example, that in the West that many cultures do. You know, the rite of passage is getting your license or getting to drink alcohol. It's really this is this is our rites of passage.

Yeah, so when you are in an intentional setting, you many of you may have heard of like set and setting. So that's the mindset of the client coming in the mindset of the practitioner or the guide, what they're bringing to the table, what their expectations are, what their fears or anxieties might be. And then the setting, you know, if you've looked at most of the psychedelic research settings, they're very home like environments. They're not like in a very clinical sterile environment. They try to make it as homey as possible and comfortable. It's a controlled environment. Like with my clients, I'll be like, is there anything in the room that might be triggering, let's move it, let's change it. We want it to be a really safe space for clients, right. And then we also want to think about the skill set of the guide. So now we've gone beyond setting and realized, hey, there's also the skill set of the guide that can handle when challenging experiences come up, or that can read a client's experience because some people may not be talking, but be struggling and being able to pick up on that and awareness of the different medicines. So that's the next thing. Like is the substance the correct substance. So different psychedelics have different qualities.

So I think the future of it's going to be well, what's your intention and which medicine is suitable for that. Like psilocybin is lends itself really well to existential crises, which is why it's one of my favorites. You know the research at Johns Hopkins, where I did my post doctorate program is showing really great results with existential crises in people with terminal diagnoses or end of life. And we can see how this applies to people without terminal diagnoses. Like, don't we all have existential…

Andrea  18:21
Yeah. Right into midlife, and you do you haven't had one yet? But we'll see.

Ana  18:27
Right. And then and then the dosing matters. Like, what dose is that? Is that appropriate for the intention. You know, for example, the ketamine-assisted therapy doses, those are relatively low so that you are able to talk during it and have a therapy session during it versus a full on psychedelic experience that's very internal.

Andrea  18:47
Right. So the psilocybin that's mushrooms, correct?

Ana  19:19
Right. And I know that's a very broad term shrooms. Yeah, yes, that there's lots of different kinds of mushrooms. My experience… I've never done any kind of hallucinogenic, like LSD or MDMA, and I'm to be honest, because I'm an addict I'm glad that I didn't, especially ecstasy, like, I think I really would have fallen in love with that a little bit too much. I did mushrooms in the early 90s, mid 90s, and I had really great experiences with it. Some of the best times I had with friends were on mushrooms. I have no idea where we got them. You know, I was a teenager, well, yeah, it was like an older teenager and but honestly, like, but I understand… I love what you're talking about, like get a kit that tells you what you're getting where you can test it or do it in the right setting if you have the resources and the means to do that, because you could be getting anything really I don't know. Are there bad mushrooms? Like could you…does such a thing exist?

Ana  19:57
Yeah, so I think that's a really good question. And, you know, with mushrooms, they should be prepared correctly, because if they're dried inappropriately, you can have toxic molds on them. But there's also different types of mushrooms like, you know, somebody who's psychedelic naive, could take in big mushroom with a cap and be fine and other ones where there's so much more potent. So you do want to know, like, well, what kind is this? You know, what can I expect? And how much should I take? Like, that's ideal, right?

But the other thing I want to emphasize that that you sort of mentioned here, that's different in the intentional setting, is the integration. Like, what's the situation after the psychedelic experience because you can have a very powerful experience but is it changing how you act in day to day life? Is it changing how you show up in relationships? Is it changing how you run your business, how you raise your kids, how you treat yourself when you have a hard time? And that is, I think, where we see a lot of great benefit with this structure. Like, you know how I do not…a lot of people email me and they're like, can I just come…I don't want to do your whole six month program, I just want to have a guided trip. And I'm like, no, because…

Andrea  21:19
It sounds like you just want to get high, like come on, like you want to safely get high.

Ana  21:25
Well, and some people think that that's all they need. Like I just want to have an amazing experience because of all my problems. Llike I watched this one Ayahuasca documentary, and this guy who did regular Ayahuasca retreats, you know, he came back from one the cameras are like, following him to his house and he's like, oh, my gosh, was amazing. He's talking to his wife. He's like, oh, babe, I had the most amazing experience, oh, this is just gonna change everything. And he goes into another room, and they kind of pan to his wife, and she rolls her eyes and she's like, I've heard that before. Like, yeah, it's like, he was on a retreat. Yeah, yeah, yeah. You have these amazing experiences but if you don't have like an integration coach or an integration therapists, like guiding you, it's probably not going to make it into your day to day life and that’s when we get people wanting to go on experience after experience after experience after experience and then that is more of an escape, right? That's kind of a don't want to deal with life.

Like I've had clients who have a history of alcohol use disorder and they've been questioning like, well, should I do psychedelics? And like, is this not a good idea for me? And what I'll say is, I screen very carefully, I work with their sponsor, and it's very clear, like, this is on my terms, like, I'm telling them, like, how we're going to do this. And I know very well, just because of my experience, like, are you wanting to do this again or, you know, now just to get high and escape or is this a step in the healing? Because, like, if you're like, my opinion, is my personal experience, as well as like, if you have a, an psychedelic experience that's integrated most of the studies show you need one, two, maybe three and that's it. Like, and if you're actually integrating, and that doesn't mean you can't do it more often, if you want, but you shouldn’t need to.

Andrea  23:30
You shouldn’t need to. Okay, there was, um, I watch, we really liked David Letterman's show, I think it's on Netflix, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction and he had Will Smith on I think in the last season and I don't know, Will Smith might have written about this in his book. I haven't read it yet. But he talks about going and on Ayahuasca retreats, and he went 15 times. And I was like, why? Like, that was my first that came out of my mouth. And I'm like, what, did you not get the previous 14 times that you, or do you just have like so much money, you're like, you know what, I am gonna go do this. And hang because I want to run away from my life.

And, but I get what he's saying, because I think I probably talked about this on the podcast before, a couple of years ago, or maybe it was over covid. I can't remember. There was a documentary where they were tight. It must have been a different documentary than you were talking about. But they were they were documenting some people who had gone on some Ayahuasca retreats, most of them had a great experience. I think there might have been like one person who was having a struggle. But I saw that and I was, and then I started thinking about doing it myself and I'm like, I want to go and have this like magical spiritual experience. Like I want to go do this. And I was talking to one of my friends who's also in recovery. And then I realized shortly after, and I'm like, you know what, it must have been over COVID Because that's when my mental health took a shit. I told her, I think I just want to get high. I think I just want to run away from my life. And so now all this time later, and I've looked into it, obviously I'm having you in the show, I'm still looking into it and talking to people who are in recovery, who have used psychedelics for trauma healing, and I can honestly say now that I'm leaning way more on the side of, and I like to say that like three times max of yes, people in recovery can do it.

So what I always just say, I would be looking for some, like spiritual healing, because there's still some stuff. And I would also be lying if I said, like, oh, I don't care at all that I get a chance to, like, run away from my feelings for a little bit. But I also know that like, I might think I'm running away from my feelings, but I'm probably running straight into the belly of the beast. So it’s all of those things. It's all of those things. I just have to be incredibly honest with myself about my intentions.

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Ana  29:28
I was just thinking wouldn't it be funny if with our coaching programs we were like and you have to do our mastermind 15 times. Like people would be like what's wrong with it that I have to do it 15 times.

Andrea  29:42
Isn't the point so I get better and I don't have to do this anymore? Like yeah.

Ana  29:47
I just want to clarify and I want to I so want to make this clear to everyone. I don't believe that psychedelics are necessary for spiritual growth. They are not for everyone, and you don't need that. Like I've been meditating since 1993, oh my God, that's like, almost 30 years now, and it's like, I've met meditation practitioners, you know, I've had Tibetan teachers, and I've met people who have gotten there without anything. And here's what I do now. So I like to describe psychedelics like this. So our brain is sort of a fresh snow hill and we're born with this fresh hill of snow, and we start taking a sled ride down the hill, like we make all these decisions, we choose our thoughts, we go down different paths down the snow hill, but eventually, we start taking the same path a little more frequently and then eventually, some of them are deeper grooves, such that if we're in our sled, and we're trying to go down a different way, we're going to eventually, like, go into the deeper groove again. It's like, it's so hard to take a different path, even if we want to. But psychedelics are like a fresh snowfall. They fill in those grooves, and help make taking a different path, a different perspective, different choices, a bit easier because of having provided that fresh snowfall.

And they also provide like, so the way I really see it was spiritual practice. Is there is no shortcut to anything, y'all. We've figured that out by now. Right? Can we all agree 400, whatever episodes, shortcuts, anything. And so psychedelics sort of provide a glimpse of the top of the mountain. It’s like a helicopter ride to the top of the mountain, so that you can see the view and you go, oh, this is what it's for. This is why I get on my cushion and meditate. This is why I prioritize getting good sleep. This is why I make my mental health so important, because this is what's possible. And when you see it and have, like, visceral experience of it, and know it's true, because you feel it as a knowing not as like you're watching a movie, and maybe it's true. It's like this is so true. That makes the commitment to your daily spiritual practice, to your personal growth, that much easier to commit to. And so I think, you know, the escape to that can be beneficial in the sense of it isn't escaped, but like you said, it's running into the belly of the beast of truth. And you get there and you see the truth and that can be so powerful.

Andrea  32:32
And you said it much more lovingly than I did. Same same.

Ana  32:39
Yeah, exactly.

Andrea  32:41
Tell us about the quote unquote, hard work that you talk about, where you can really get the benefits or, you know, have that spiritual insight that you talk about, like, what else is there probably talking about, like, after you use psychedelics, or even during the experience of psychedelics like, what else needs to happen?

Ana  33:04
Yeah, so we're not, you know? Well, I think what this is lending itself to in terms of the process to integration, right? So this is why if you look at all of the psychedelic research, or most of the psychedelic research, it's a medicine session. So the psychedelics are often called medicine. So the medicine session, and then three integration sessions, and then another medicine session and three integration sessions, and then maybe a third. The only ones where they've been shown that maybe just one is necessary, as with end of life clients with end of life anxiety, and just one episode can really help to alleviate that. But that so I think that really goes to show and any patient that's been through a psychedelic study will say, this is not a panacea. Like you still need to go to therapy or get coached or have that integration. You still need to make those difficult decisions and have those challenging conversations in your life and take those risks.

And, you know, for me, for my form of spiritual practice, like meditation is a big part of it, going on retreat is a big part of it. So prioritizing that. So during a psychedelic session, some people might have ideas of because of their recreational experience well, like so I'll be running around on the beach like so on if we're doing it in Hawaii. Am I running around on a beach and like swimming naked with dolphins and stuff? And it's like, first of all no. That’s not what's happening. It's a very safe environment. You know, usually people have an eye mask, they're listening to music, they have a blanket. And it's a very internal experience. And I may ask questions, because we will have done significant preparation and screening ahead of time.

So that's the other thing. Like we said, psychedelics are not for everyone you have like I believe in appropriate medical and psychiatric screening because there are contraindications. And there's conditions for which they're not going to help. So like, let's not pretend they are. And so but after, so then during the session we're having potentially, sometimes it's very quiet, but sometimes we're having some conversations at certain points in the journey. But really, we're trusting what's known as you know, the inner healing wisdom. So that's a big part of psychedelic guiding, is helping the client trust their inner healing wisdom, and as a guide, not getting all in it and being like, I'm gonna save the day like, the client's inner healing wisdom is what will bring what they need to heal to the forefront. Like we use the analogy of if I cut myself, and I have the right set and setting meaning I clean the wound, the wound edges are approximated, maybe I have an expert look at it, make sure I don't need stitches. The body will naturally heal. And it's the same with the psyche. If we provide the right set and setting and expert guiding, right, then the psyche will bring to the forefront what needs to be healed, right. And that's not always a pleasant mystical experience.

Andrea  36:14
Right. Right. Right, right.

Ana  36:18
It’s the challenging experiences that are actually the most productive. And then so the hard work is the integration after and, you know, in my case, you know, sticking to your meditation practice, even when it feels boring and difficult and challenging. Yeah.

Andrea  36:34
Do you ever come across a case where I'm sure this probably happens, because you know, I had a doctor tell me once that I was medication resistant, when like to antidepressants weren't helping me. I have a feeling it's because I actually had a thyroid issue, and I wasn't actually depressed. But anyway, I know that there are some people who that kind of becomes their quote, unquote, official diagnosis, they are medication resistant, and they walk away feeling so incredibly defeated, like they're broken. And I can assume that for many psychedelics would be kind of a last resort, like this Hail Mary, if you will, because it is I think, for many, especially living in a, in a culture where a lot of these drugs are still illegal in many states it's a little risky. So all I'm all this lead up, my point is like, I'm assuming there are people who are like, okay, if this doesn't work, I don't know what I'm going to do. Like, I feel like this is kind of my last resort. But so do you have people where they walk out of these experiences saying, that was a really fun high, but I don't feel any better. I mean, given that they've done some of the integration, like where it just doesn't really stick, if you will?

Ana  37:49
Yeah. So um, you know, there is a difference between my mental health patients and then the ones coming for the more purpose driven goals in the sense of the treatment approach, right. So when I have clients that have come with the diagnosis of treatment resistant depression, first, I like to remind everyone and everyone listening, like, medications can be lifesaving and amazing and powerful. And they actually don't work very well. Yeah, considering, like, maybe we'll see quality, like quantitative differences in a measurement. But is it clinically relevant? Like, are they actually happier in life? Are they actually like feeling better or are we just looking at points on a scale that statistically significant, right? So they like we are, like I said, In the beginning miserably failing mental health patients with our medication approaches right now. And yes, I have seen clients come for ketamine assisted therapy, because that is what is legal and covered by insurance right now, who very much struggle with coming to into complete remission right?

Andrea  39:06
And by legal and covered by insurance, you mean, just in the United States?

Ana  39:12
In just in the United States. All 50 states got it. So because in some states, you know, maybe it's not covered by insurance, but you could use psilocybin or you could use cannabis, for example. So I have seen clients with that, but you know, I don't think I think we have to remember, in medicine, we generally use this concept of the rule of thirds. Like any treatment, or any patient or client of yours, a third are going to be like, oh my gosh, that was amazing, it solved all my problems. A third are going to be like, that was pretty cool. It didn't help, it didn't make it go away completely, but it was pretty good. And a third are going to be like, not for me, or it didn't do anything. And I think that's true. Anything that works which is beautiful, which is why we have so many different medicines, so many different kinds of practitioners and so that's why I feel like screenings really important because I don't want to tell a patient, hey, this is going to really help if it's not, or I don't think it will. And I just also want to preface if you have the mindset of this better work or, I'm screwed, that is a lot of pressure, right?

Ana  40:22
Right. And it's really important to work on that before actually even having the session. It's like, okay, wait a minute, like, and so, you know, that's why I involve, you know, at least a month of preparation before we even have the medicine session, because we have to talk about all those things. What are our expectations? Because the reality is, they're probably not screwed if it doesn't work, but you know, like, let's talk about that and let's, let's go there. So with the ketamine, yeah, we have preparation sessions. And all that.

I will say, from the existential, mystical experience perspective, the rate of quote unquote failures a lot lower, because we have shown many studies show that people that especially psilocybin, at a specific dose, can lead to reliably to a mystical experience. And the studies on spirituality and psilocybin have shown that clients that have had that mystical experience, do show sustained benefits in their spiritual practice, and in their spiritual life, including how others perceive them. Which I think is huge, because so much of this could be like, yeah, I think I'm amazing now. And like in that documentary, the wife was like, yeah, right. But a lot of the more recent studies are actually assessing people's community members, like their friends, and they're like, has this person actually changed. And we're seeing really good results with that, which I think is pretty courageous to include.

Andrea  41:56
And yeah, that's exciting that the research is expanding so much. And I noticed when I looked into it, it seemed to be predominant in a handful of states throughout the United States and there wasn't a whole lot near me, I think there might have been like one at Duke University. But it didn't qualify or something like that. So I'm glad that it's expanding.

This has gone by so fast, and we are out of time. But I wanted to I wanted to ask you, is there any… I wanted to give you one more opportunity, like, is there anything that we didn't touch on where you are like, I cannot walk away from this conversation without saying this one thing?

Ana  42:30
Yes. You know, what I really want to impress on everyone really is, you know, the reason we talk about these things, the reason we do this work is, and we talk about, you know, end of life anxiety, existential anxiety. And the reality is, I think all of us know, at some level, that we're all gonna die. And we don't know when, right? We don't know when we can pretend if we drink our green juice and exercise that we're extending life, but we don't actually know that. Shit happens all the time. And so like, really, I just want to impress that, you know, if you're feeling that if you're having that urgency of like that, that awareness, instead of having it be a depressing thing, or a downer, it's like that can be used to fuel your life to not push it off anymore. Like, if you're interested in this, go exploring, go investigate. If you're wondering these things, the time is now because we don't know when. And there is a balance between planning for the future and fully living in the present and it doesn't mean we chuck out planning for the future, but to really embrace the preciousness of this life, because we have no idea how much longer we're going to be here.

Andrea  43:49
Yeah, I love that. Thank you so much, my dear. This could have been like a three-hour conversation, I'm gonna have to have you back on. All of the links are in the show notes. And to back to Ana's site. Tell everyone where like what's the best place to find you these days.

Ana  44:08
Yeah, well, I'm the host of The Rebel Buddhist Podcast, so you could check that out. And the program I'm talking about is AdventureMastermind.com. So if you want to explore that program, but otherwise yeah, I mean, have a listen to the pod or my name.com AnaVerzone.com has all the things.

Andrea  44:25
All the things, all the topics on all of your certifications.

Ana  44:30
All that kind of stuff.

Andrea  44:33
Well, thank you so much my dear. Listeners, thank you for sharing your time with us and, and sticking with it I value your time so much and I'm so honored that you choose to spend it with my guests and I, yes, I was gonna say me, I'm like trying to get my grammar correct.

Ana  44:50
Yes you…

Andrea  44:53
I guess and I, and remember, it's our life's journey to make ourselves better humans and our life's responsibility to make the world a better place. Bye for now.

Hi there, swinging back by to say one more thing. You know, I'm always giving advice over here on the show and on social media and a couple of those things is that I'm always telling you to ask for what you want be clear about it, and also ask for help. So I am taking a dose of my own medicine and I'm going to do that right now. It would be the absolute best and mean the world to me. If you reviewed and subscribed to this show, Make Some Noise Podcast, on whatever podcast platform of your choice. And even more importantly, it would matter so much if you shared this show. Sharing the show is one of the few ways the podcast can grow and that also gives more women an opportunity to make some noise in their lives. You can do that by taking a screenshot when you're listening on your phone and sharing it in your Instagram or Facebook stories. If you're on Instagram you can tag me @HeyAndreaOwen and I try my best to always re share those and give you a quick thank you DM and also you can tell your friends and family about it. Tell them what you learned, tell them a really awesome guest that you found on the show that you started following. Whatever it is I appreciate so much you sharing about this show.

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