455. Field Tripping: Psychedelic Entrepreneurship & the Journey of Waking Up w/ Ronan Levy

Ronan Levy

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

My guest today, Ronan Levy, is the co-founder of Field Trip Health, the world's largest provider of psychedelic-assisted therapies, with twelve incredible clinics across the globe providing truly life-changing modern treatments.

A pioneer in the cannabis and psychedelics industry, Ronan Levy has inspired millions of people to find healing and inspiration through elevated states of consciousness. His work and entrepreneurial endeavors have been featured in The New York Times, CNBC, Nature, Bloomberg, Forbes, Fast Company, The Economist, Report on Business, Robb Report and more. He is a Co-Founder and the  Executive Chairman of Field Trip Health Ltd. (NASDAQ: FTRP; TSX: FTRP),  the largest global provider of psychedelic-assisted therapies, co-author of The Trip Journal (Libra Publishing) and The Ketamine Breakthrough (Hay House; Spring 2023), host of the podcast Field Tripping: Epic Trips in Psychedelics, and Executive Producer on the forthcoming documentary Ordinary Trip.

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

My guest today, Ronan Levy, is the co-founder of Field Trip Health, the world's largest provider of psychedelic-assisted therapies, with twelve incredible clinics across the globe providing truly life-changing modern treatments.

We talk about his journey into psychedelic therapy (and swap tales of our own medicine journeys), go deep on the neurological benefits involved, hash out the complexities of providing these modalities in safe and legal settings, and preview his upcoming documentary, Ordinary Trip.

As upside-down as the world seems to be right now, it's truly inspiring to meet people like Ronan who are doing such impactful work, and to see the evolution of alternative therapies like the ones we discuss here. 

Whether you’re just psychedelic-curious or a well-traveled psychonaut, this dialogue has a lot to offer. And for those of you who find yourself inspired by Ronan's story and are interested in a journey of your own, visit lukestorey.com/FieldTrip to find out how to take advantage of their cutting-edge therapies.

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

00:04:32 — The Trip Journal
  • The Trip Journal by Ronan Levy
  • Importance of integration and understanding
  • Honoring the psychonaut journey
  • Fear and letting go 
00:19:03 — Ronan’s Personal Journey 
  • Kidnapping of his brother
  • Failed kidnapping of George Bush Sr.
  • Leaving his work as a lawyer
  • Opening a cash-for-gold store
  • Getting into the cannabis industry 
  • How To Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan
  • Ronan’s first mushroom trip
  • Power in empathy and self-awareness
00:38:56 — Launching Field Trip
  • Finding freedom in Jamaica 
  • Fundraising and scaling 
  • A harrowing first ketamine experience 
  • Canada vs. US regulation 
  • Curating the experience 
  • Integration as a lifelong process
  • Describing a typical ketamine journey
  • How psychedelics change your brain
  • The Case Against Reality by Donald Hoffman
  • Exploring at-home ketamine therapy 
  • Luke and Ronan swap concert experiences 
01:20:47 — Ordinary Trip (Documentary)
  • Mission behind the project 
  • Tripping around the world
  • Magnitude of 5-MeO-DMT
  • The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk M.D.
  • The funniest cosmic joke of all time
01:44:10 — The Future of Psychedelic Therapy

More about this episode.

Watch on YouTube.

Ronan Levy: [00:00:06] People forget about this. In our world of immediate gratification is that if you make a 1% change right now, it doesn't look very different, but over time, 1% really leads to a very different path.

Luke Storey: [00:00:24] I'm Luke Storey and I'm thrilled to welcome you to this week's special Friday episode. It's number 455: Field Tripping, Psychedelic Entrepreneurship, and the Journey of Waking Up with Ronan Levy. Get your freshly baked show notes, links, and transcripts for this one at lukestorey.com/ronan. 

Here's a little taste of the topics covered today: an innovative new workbook called The Trip Journal: The Essential Psychedelic Tool; the importance of integrating transcendent experience, whether by psychedelic medicines, breathwork, meditation, or even Yoga; how our guests co-founded Field Trip Health-- the world's largest global provider of psychedelic-assisted therapies; the book The Ketamine Breakthrough; how Ronan transitioned from corporate lawyer to CEO of a psychedelic therapy company; his personal experience with psychedelic therapy and the different benefits people are experiencing with ketamine at home and clinically in one on one and group therapy sessions; the complexities of people with mental illness diagnoses using psychedelic therapy; how Ronan sees companies like his evolving the way we think about the mental health industry. 

And then finally, we talk about RE-104 field trips new drug that's currently in development. So if you're just psychedelic, curious, or well-traveled psychonauts, this dialog has a lot to offer today. And for those of you who find yourself inspired by Ronan's journey and are interested in a journey of your own, here's what to do. Go to lukestorey.com/fieldtrip to find out how to take advantage of their cutting-edge therapies. 

Now, before we take off on this trip, take note that we'll be back next Tuesday with unlocking the mysteries of hair loss and all methods of restoration for men and women with Dr. Alan Bauman. Really excited for that episode as someone whose hairline is receding way faster than I would prefer. So make sure to tune in for that one as well. 

And by the way, if you'd like me to email you next week's episode and every other episode to follow, we can make that happen. I'll do my part if you do yours. All you need to do is visit lukestorey.com/newsletter and enter your name and email. That's how the magic happens, guys. Once you're on the list, you'll be the first to know when new episodes are published and all the valuable resources from every show will be waiting in your inbox every week. Again, that's lukestorey.com/newsletter. 

All right, enough said. Let's get ready to rumble with a man doing much impactful work in the world of mental health and personal growth, Mr. Ronan Levy on the Life Stylist Podcast. All right, Ronan Levy, let's make a podcast.

Ronan Levy: [00:03:00] Let's do it.

Luke Storey: [00:03:01] Shall we?

Ronan Levy: [00:03:01] I'm ready.

Luke Storey: [00:03:02] So you live in Toronto?

Ronan Levy: [00:03:05] I live in Toronto. Yes.

Luke Storey: [00:03:06] And you're visiting us folks here in Austin? Yeah.

Ronan Levy: [00:03:08] Yeah, I'm coming down to the great city of Austin, where it is much hotter than Toronto. It's refreshing to come to the warmth, but a little overwhelming. I'm not going to lie.

Luke Storey: [00:03:20] And what are you doing here on this trip?

Ronan Levy: [00:03:22] Coming down to record podcasts. I'm recording with you. I recorded with Lauren and Michael over at the Skinny Confidential, I'm recording with Joe Palatucci. We're supposed to record with Jamie Wheeler, but he decided to up and go to Europe instead. So I'm not going to judge him for that.

Luke Storey: [00:03:37] Oh, cool.

Ronan Levy: [00:03:39] And then having dinner with one of our big investors in Field Trip.

Luke Storey: [00:03:41] Awesome, man. Awesome. I was waiting for you to say and Joe Rogan.

Ronan Levy: [00:03:45] I tried.

Luke Storey: [00:03:47] I'm always bummed when a talent comes to town and they record on my podcast, and they also do Joe Rogan. That happened with Gabor Mate. Actually, we did one on Zoom because he lives in Canada. He wasn't going to be here. And we get on Zoom and I'm like, "Hey, how's it going?" He goes, "Where are you?" "I'm in Austin." He's like, "Oh, I'm coming there tomorrow." I'm like, "Really?" And then he comes here and does Joe Rogan, and I'm like, "Dah--

Ronan Levy: [00:04:11] What are you going to do?

Luke Storey: [00:04:11] What are you going to do?

Ronan Levy: [00:04:12] Joe Rogan is the center of gravity, man. It's hard to fight that center of gravity sometimes, but it's also good to exist in his orbit and benefit from the flow that comes from it.

Luke Storey: [00:04:23] Yeah, totally. The more popular his podcast gets, the more popular podcast in general gets. 

Ronan Levy: [00:04:29] That's true.

Luke Storey: [00:04:30] More power to him. Tell us about your new workbook, The Trip Journal.

Ronan Levy: [00:04:37] Yeah. So the Trip Journal was born as a concept a couple of years ago. We launched Field Trip, which is our publicly traded psychedelic-assisted therapy company. We've got 12 clinics across the world right now. And then Denver decided to decriminalize psychedelics and we realized that we knew psychedelics were having a moment, but that was going to accelerate it. And there would be all these people around the world thinking, oh, psychedelics are now legal in Denver, I'm going to start doing psychedelics. 

And we realized that we had developed all of these incredible tools and protocols to really maximize the positive experience of a psychedelic journey, and we need to find a platform to try and get it out to people. So if you're new to psychedelics, you're not going in uninformed. You're not just going to take mushrooms or MDMA or whatever and see what happens. You've got a process. You've got an understanding. 

And so we wanted to build an app. And then Matt Gray, I don't know if you know Matt, he started a company called Herb, one of the biggest cannabis-based media platforms out there, he was like, "Why don't you do an analog version before you build an app?" So we started doing an analog version, just a journal inspired by the five-minute journal, which was started by a couple of friends of mine for psychedelic integration, just a really simple workbook to help people who are anywhere on their journey with psychedelics, to integrate properly and prepare properly, and do the work properly, or not properly, because that implies as right and wrong, but leveraging the best wisdom and understanding of all the people in the Field Trip ecosystem because we've got really great people together.

And so myself, and Corey Harrison put together the Trip Journal and then we connected with Tucker Max, another Austin person who has a publishing company. I love the idea. So The Trip Journal was born and published through Libra Press and got great feedback.

Luke Storey: [00:06:34] That's awesome.

Ronan Levy: [00:06:35] Put a lot of effort into making it beautiful. It all goes into set and setting. It's very thoughtful, but it's also designed to be a very beautiful experience as well and using it.

Luke Storey: [00:06:44] That's really cool. Yeah, it's so important. We were just having a conversation with my prior guest, Dr. Nicole Lapera, and she's not a big advocate of psychedelics or plant medicines, although she's not opposed but is not her lane exactly. But without even knowing really all that much about this field, she described, without even using the word integration, how important it is to have a framework of understanding, and we were exploring the phenomenon of people that have these tremendous transcendent experiences yet emerge as the same person.

I don't know, every time I've had one of these experiences, something about me and my life changes dramatically, really. But I think that's it. Is like having a tool, having a framework, having an understanding of what you're doing in there in the space. So that sounds really cool.

With The Trip Journal, out of curiosity, I'm not shitting on it if you didn't do this, but I find any time I'm going into an experience with something new that is novel like we were talking about 2CB, which I've experienced a couple of times, I'm always on Google reading possible side effects, interactions, what to eat, not eat, like how long it lasts, where it comes from. I'm just someone who wants to know a lot about it. Did you guys have to include any information like that as somebody prepares for it?

Ronan Levy: [00:08:19] We've provided a framework for preparation. We don't go deep into each psychedelic. We did that for a number of reasons. One, that would be an encyclopedia in and of itself to do that work. And that's not what we're trying to build. We're also trying to navigate because Field Trip is a publicly traded company and what we can and can't say had to be a little bit delicately massaged in terms of not advocating for illegal drug use. So we didn't do that, but-- 

Luke Storey: [00:08:48] This is how you make acid in your bathtub.

Ronan Levy: [00:08:50] Exactly. Exactly. So we didn't do that, but that's part of the process. It's important that people feel comfortable. I'm a person who likes to go in blindly. I'll do a little bit of research and be like, I know enough. And then there are other people, my wife is a perfect example, who likes to go deep and understand everything and read everything. And it depends where you are and who you are. It wouldn't be appropriate for me, I think, to go that deep unless I felt called to go that deep on something. 

So it really depends but a lot of the whole psychedelic journey is trusting your intuition and leaning into what feels right for you. So you go in with the right ecosystem around you for the experience.

Luke Storey: [00:09:31] That's so true, that's so important. I think that's part of the psychonaut's journey of maturation, is really learning how to heed the calls and to honor when it's not a hell yeah. That could be interesting. That sounds maybe nice. That's a no. And that's been my experience of just I just know when I'm supposed to be sitting somewhere like I get an invite, I feel into it, sleep on it, ponder it a little. And there's a very specific flavor to that within my nervous system and my intuition says, "Luke, you were supposed to be there."

Ronan Levy: [00:10:13] Totally. I feel like it's one of the things that has gotten lost in our modern society is tapping into our intuition. And it came up quite a bit in the conversation. I just had with Joe Touchy, which I was recording with right before I came here, which is just trusting that innate feeling, which is-- we talk about knowledge and data a lot these days, which is facts and information, facts and information. 

But God, whatever in the universe created our bodies, also gave us intuition and emotion. And the process of integrating or the process of understanding is taking facts and data information. You don't want to ignore that that's relevant, but integrating it with your emotions, your intuition. Sometimes the facts and data say yes and your emotions say no. And so you need to take that and put that together. 

I feel like in our world these days, people are just like the data of what's happened in the past because all data is retrospective it can't be prospective, is what we entirely rely on, and there's value in that. Listen, modern science and medicine has got us really far. We are on average living a lot longer than we did 100 years ago. So we can't ignore the value in the process that has happened, but it's come at the displacement of the other side of it. 

And I think what we're seeing with the psychedelic experience in the psychedelic movement is people trying to tap back into that intuition and be more honest about it and be okay with being like, "That's not feeling right about this," and that's cool. And that's really something that I think everybody needs to get behind a little bit more.

Luke Storey: [00:12:02] Yeah, that's so true. It's a yin-yang, feminine masculine thing. The analytical mind can only take you so far as can your intuition and emotions. If I led my life by just how things feel, which is something we see socially and politically, one side of the spectrum is very fact-based, like these are the stats on this issue and then the other side is like, I just want to do what feels good.

And I think somewhere in the middle there maybe is a true degree of intelligence that can move us forward. And it's definitely true, I think in this case.

Ronan Levy: [00:12:41] That's exactly right. And it goes from intelligence and knowing. And this is part of the experience that just came out of the documentary we just made is the understanding, I guess, of going from knowing which is in your mind to awareness, which is almost an embodied knowing. It just goes deeper. Anyone who's done therapy has probably had the experience where you have the exact same conversation over and over again being like, oh fuck, I thought I dealt with that issue already and it can feel like that. 

But then every once in a while, you have the same conversation and something clicks, you're like, oh, I get it a little bit more. Now it feels a little bit more meaningful. And now I can start to shift my life a little bit more to let that in. You talk about having transcendent experiences where nothing is the same after one of those moments. 

For me, I found that it's been eye-opening. But it was funny. It was an exercise that just happened recently. And going through the doc, my wife's friends asked her how has Ronan changed. And the answer was, "Outwardly, I'm not sure anyone would notice a change, but inwardly I feel like a very different person." And I think we need to be okay with that because one of the things that I think people fear around psychedelic experiences is I'm going to do a ketamine experience, a field trip health, I'm going to go do ayahuasca in Peru, I'm going to do a mushroom, whatever it is. 

And I'm like, I'm scared that I'm going to grow my hair long, break up with my partner, quit my job, and move to Peru. That may be the case if that's truly who you are. But odds are it's just going to be subtle. It's just going to be a very subtle shift. And what's really cool about it, and people forget about this in our world of immediate gratification is that if you make a 1% change right now, it doesn't look very different, but over time, 1% really leads to a very different path. And so I think we just need to all have patience around that and not worry about what changes today, because I think in six months, a year, two or three years, you will be like, oh yeah, everything did change, but not so immediately.

Luke Storey: [00:14:49] That's a really good analogy. Like the ship, that adjusts its rudder, however many degrees, but over the course of a long journey, it's on a different continent now than it would have been had it not set that minute change in that trajectory.

Ronan Levy: [00:15:06] That's exactly right.

Luke Storey: [00:15:06] I think it's the part of us. The part of us that's afraid, like, oh, I'm going to lose who I am is actually the part of us that is not truly who we are. That's always the resistance and not just the psychedelic experience, but any kind of experience that requires one to exert courage and walk into the unknown. It could be a totally sober therapy session or whatever it is.  

It's like I noticed that any time I'm going into a ceremony or something, the part of me that's afraid of it is not actually my higher self that wants to evolve. It's the part of me that is clinging to these constructs of my personality, call it ego, intellect, whatever. Not that there's anything wrong with those parts of one's personhood because you need that to be in a body and being a person and doing a podcast.

But the funny thing is, is that in my experience, the more that that construct is dismantled, the more improvements I actually see in my day-to-day life, the less identified I am with that the classical ego death. And I'm sure we're going to talk about 5-MeO-DMT because anyone that's had that experience-- if you mention that to me, we're going to talk about it for 4 hours because it's just so fucking otherworldly.

But in a situation like that, you're talking about the extreme dissolution of everything that you think you are. And the fear in that moment is that if I truly let go into this void or into the awfulness that I will disappear and I will cease to exist. And then it wears off and there you are again, for me, biting my fingernails again and being neurotic just like I was in the first place. 

But maybe I feel a little more kinship with the divine. Or maybe I'm finding access to a deeper level of compassion or love for myself and for others. Or maybe I'm able to resist temptations and avoid falling into certain patterns that have been deleterious to my life and such.

Ronan Levy: [00:17:14] That's exactly it. It's like you come back and everywhere you turn, you're still yourself. But if you don't have that feeling in your stomach right before, whether it's a psychedelic experience or even a therapy session or a meditation to some degree, you're not really, this is something I've had to learn letting it in.

The word that often gets used, at least in my construct of what that feeling is, is dread, the sense that who you are is not where you're going to be. And your ego doesn't like that. Your ego has played a very important role getting you here. It keeps you safe, it keeps you identified. It's there to define Luke. It's there to define who Ronan is. It plays a role and it doesn't like change. 

But if we're going to in a situation where you're going to change, you're going to have that feeling. And if you don't have that feeling, then you're not fully immersed on all levels of what's about to happen because you should be afraid. 

You are literally going into the unknown. There's that old expression, the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. It's true, but it's not so much fear. It's the unknown. All fear comes from the unknown, the unknowing of what's about to happen. And so if you know what's about to happen, you've already made the shift. It's the things around the corner, things you can't see that are coming, that are always positive, depending on the perspective you bring to it, that create real change.

And when you let that in, when you receive that, that's when things start to happen. But it's scary. It should be scary because it's a change. It's unknown. And all that's real. All of that is real and that's good and that's okay.

Luke Storey: [00:19:03] What led you to go from being a lawyer to starting this company in this space? For context, I pulled a Tarantino on this conversation, started at the end or the middle or somewhere. But I'm trying to get myself to be more spontaneous because when I formulate my manuscript, it's always very thoughtful the way that I do it. Believe it or not, listeners. There's always a very specific structure to it. And sometimes I deviate from that, but I want to learn how to deviate even more and just trust the process. 

But sitting here with you, imagining you, I don't know what law you practice, but you're a lawyer, maybe you hear about psychedelics or you've done them in college or high school and you found some value in it, like where does the idea land and actually become actionable where you started to do something with this idea?

Ronan Levy: [00:19:56] So I was a corporate lawyer, classic corporate lawyer. My path to becoming a lawyer was growing up, my parents split up at a very young age, and I spent a lot of time surrounded by lawyers because their divorce was very acrimonious and got into some interesting stuff, kidnapping George Bush Senior. I'm happy to go into it, but there's--

Luke Storey: [00:20:19] No, no, backup. You get to skim over that.

Ronan Levy: [00:20:22] All right. Yeah. So my parents split up when I was two. It was back in the early '80s when-- you can actually read about it in the Globe and Mail, which is the Canadian equivalent of The Wall Street Journal. Back in the good old days where you can mention everybody's name and air their dirty laundry, even children and all that stuff. But it was a pretty acrimonious divorce.

Luke Storey: [00:20:43] Does acrimonious mean contentious, litigious? Is that--

Ronan Levy: [00:20:47] Litigious, angry, dangerous, yeah, a lot of negative feelings. And so at one point when I was still an infant and I guess my parents had split up, my dad had kidnaped my brother-- I want to use the language of my mom. I wasn't there, but that's the perspective that seems accurate. So he kidnaped my brother and they had to go get him back from Las Vegas with the FBI and all that stuff. So that kind of acrimony, and then--

Luke Storey: [00:21:18] Oh, shit.

Ronan Levy: [00:21:18] Yeah, and then when I was seven, my family and I went to Expo 86. And at the time my grandfather's company was the third-largest steel and metals recycling company in Canada. So he was very wealthy and so when we were at age six, it was my mom, my brother, and I and my maternal grandparents. And we were staying in the presidential suite at whatever hotel we were staying at. 

And I remember going to the actual Expo 86, which is the World's Fair. And on the drive there, we got cut off by a limousine procession. And we asked the taxi driver, "What's going on?" And he said, oh, George Bush senior, who was just then George Bush, because he was vice president of the US at the time, was coming to Vancouver for Expo. Cool. We go to Expo. We come back that night to find out we've been kicked out of our room because George Bush is now staying in a presidential suite at the hotel.

All right. Whatever, we move into two other nice rooms, whatever. Apparently, my dad had decided this was a good time to potentially get my brother and I back. And so he had hired two people to take us.

Luke Storey: [00:22:32] A county hunter-kidnapper types?

Ronan Levy: [00:22:34] Yeah. I don't think they are ruthless types, but to grab us. And again, it was a time and era where privacy wasn't such a thing. So you could call a hotel and say like, "Hey, what room is Luke Storey in?" And they would tell you. So these people called apparently a few days in advance to find out what room we were in, they were told it was the presidential suite.

Luke Storey: [00:22:56] Oh, it's getting good.

Ronan Levy: [00:22:57] So when they decided to make their move to try and capture us, there was the Secret Service and a whole bunch of people right at the presidential suite. So they got taken down and shipped off. So nothing happened. In terms of an actual break-in, nothing happened to us. But it happened while we were at the expo and we came back and there were police everywhere and FBI everywhere and RCMP everywhere. And that was the environment that I grew up in. And so that's why for many years thereafter there were a lot of lawyers in and around my household. 

And I remember being a kid, not having a dad present. One of the lawyers, they were in our house, sat down and played video games with me. And he was a nice guy, and I didn't really have that male role model. And so I remember saying to my mom, I was about five, "I want to be a lawyer when I grow up." And if you're a Jewish kid in a traditional household and you say you want to be a lawyer, you're never allowed to forget that fact.

And so through high school in the university, I was always on a path, a trajectory to becoming a lawyer, not really having any clue what's involved with being a lawyer. I just thought you got paid a lot of money and can buy a big house and a fancy car and it sounds like a very worthwhile profession. I did that, I get to my first day of law school and I look around, I'm like, "Oh shit."

Everyone is super lovely and I still have great friends. But I was like, these aren't my people. This is not who I am or what I want to be. I'm much more contrarian, I'm much more creative. I like experimenting and pushing limits. And that's not what lawyers do. And so I spent a few years practicing law, slowly worked my way out of the legal profession. I usually call it my descent into hell because I went from being a corporate lawyer, which has some prestige. But most people are like, "Yeah, corporate law."

And then I was a pharmaceuticals company lawyer and then I was a media lawyer, and then I worked for an online dating company. And then I quit that and I decided I was going to be an entrepreneur at that point. I had always been somewhat entrepreneurial and having side hustles throughout, and it was finally my time. It was like 2010, 2011  App Mania was happening, create an app, become rich, all that kind of stuff.

So I left to start a company with a friend of mine doing something tech. It flopped. I ended up opening a Cash for Gold store just by circumstance because I had nothing else to do. It was not anywhere on my aspiration list.

Luke Storey: [00:25:25] What does that entail?

Ronan Levy: [00:25:27] So it entails having a location where people bring their old jewelry and sell it to you.

Luke Storey: [00:25:32] Oh, wow.

Ronan Levy: [00:25:32] It was cash for gold places all around the world. And it's a great way to look--

Luke Storey: [00:25:36] Yeah. Now that you mention I've definitely driven by them on a number of occasions. It's like pawnshop energy.

Ronan Levy: [00:25:42] That's exactly right. And so I had no aspiration to be that, but I had nothing else to do and it was a circumstance where my mom was at a job that may have been ending and she was not in a position to retire. So I looked at the opportunity which got brought to me by a friend of mine, and I was like, "I don't want to do this, but my mom needs a job, so maybe I can start this business, learn something if it gives my mom a job, even if I don't make any money, it's a win." All right, let's do it. So we started. We still operate. We have three locations in and around the Toronto area.

Luke Storey: [00:25:42] Sounds like a good business because I'm imagining you're giving people a little less than market for their gold. And then that gold is worth whatever it's worth.

Ronan Levy: [00:26:23] Yeah, and I didn't feel bad about it. It's not exactly the classiest, most exciting profession, but it's an industry fraught like the pawnshop industry with just scummy people. So trying to do it with some degree of credibility and honesty was an opportunity to shift the dynamic in that space. And so we did that. And so that was like in the last--

Luke Storey: [00:26:44] Sorry to interrupt, but in your defense, if I have some gold in the house right now and I'm like, shit, I need five grand. I got these old earrings, inherited from my grandma. I'd be happy if your cash-for-gold stores down the street. Do you know what I'm saying?

Ronan Levy: [00:27:01] It's exactly right. Listen, the majority of people who come to us, not the majority, a decent number, are in hard times and they're looking to liquidate stuff. And so on the one hand, it's nice to provide them with liquidity and give them cash so they can pay their bills. On the other hand, you feel terrible profiting in that model, but that's the way it goes. 

We always tried to do it in a way that's credible because you can walk into some of these places and you can put the earring on and a guy will look at you. I know, because I did the groundwork to figure out how to run this business. And you'd walk into stores and you'd put something down worth like 1,000 bucks that I knew was worth $1,000 because I did the research and they give you 100 bucks for it.

Luke Storey: [00:27:38] And really taking advantage of someone that's in hard times.

Ronan Levy: [00:27:42] Or uninformed. I was informed so I could be like, no. And then watch them go from 100 bucks to like 800 bucks for a $1,000 piece of jewelry. And you're like, "That's scummy." Like, just people treat people fairly. And so that's how we did it. And it was cool. It was a great experience. I got connected to some amazing people just by virtue of being an entrepreneur and all that stuff, but it never paid my bills. 

And so I went back to just doing legal work, freelance legal work, and eventually got connected to the people who would become my business partners in the cannabis industry, doing some legal work for them. And they didn't really want to get into the cannabis industry, but there was regulations changing in Canada, so they had a list of ideas of things they wanted to pursue. And I basically said, I don't think any of them are good ideas. 

And then as I was putting on my coat to leave, they're like, Well, there's this one other idea that's in the cannabis space, but cannabis, it seems so sketchy. And I'm like, guys, look at my path. Like cannabis. Legal cannabis in Canada is probably going to be the most credible and legitimate thing I've done in my career. So if you guys aren't going to do this and I'm going to do this, I'd never really used cannabis. I'd smoked pot a handful of times. I wasn't a cannabis person. But as an entrepreneur, you rarely get the opportunity where a multibillion-dollar market goes from illegal to legal literally overnight. And I'm like, "How can you guys pass up this opportunity?"

And so I cajoled them for a little while. We started what became the largest network of cannabis-specialized medical clinics in Canada. We helped about a quarter million Canadians access the medical cannabis system, and through that process, it really opened my eyes to plant medicine. Up to that point, I was like, plant medicine. It's like if people want to get high, cool, but don't call that medicine. And then I saw what happened and it genuinely changed people's lives for the positive, people who are genuinely suffering. 

And I was like, oh, maybe this is medicine. And so we spent a few years in the cannabis industry. We had a great time. We sold to Aurora Cannabis. I spent a couple of years with Aurora growing into one of the largest cannabis producers globally, and then we left and it was time to do something new because we're entrepreneurs. And literally, the first conversation coming out of that was with someone who was doing something in psychedelics, and I'm like, wait, wait. Psychedelics are a thing. 

And she pointed me to a few things Michael Pollan had just published How to Change Your Mind. Maps had just been granted breakthrough therapy designation for their MDMA-assisted trial. And interestingly, this was the thing that really changed my mind, there were about four or five online stores selling psilocybin in Canada, openly not hidden, not dark web. You could go on the website, order mushrooms, and they'd be shipped to your house just openly. And at that moment, I realized that the global zeitgeist had changed, that psychedelics were coming and the rest of the world just had to catch up to this awareness. 

And I had spent a lot of time working with meditation and reflection and coaching and therapy. And then in that first conversation, Judy Blume Stock, she runs a company called Diamond Therapeutics, said a single psilocybin-assisted therapy session is like ten years of therapy in an afternoon. And I was like, Even if that's a gross exaggeration, if there's any truth to that whatsoever, there's no greater impact I can have on the world than helping to try and bring that to more people. 

And so that's how it all started. I'd never tried psychedelics at that point, really. So a couple of weeks later we went out, we bought a gram of mushrooms. Each bite down on our couches in the office and had our first psychedelic experience.

Luke Storey: [00:31:16] Really?

Ronan Levy: [00:31:17] Yeah. So that's a very long-winded way of how did I go from lawyer to psychedelic entrepreneur.

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I remember when we first met that at that point you didn't have that much direct experience with a bunch of different psychedelics. I think even when we first talked and you were already in business doing the Field Trip with the ketamine and all that, and I remember thinking, Oh, that's interesting. He's going to have an interesting ride, which now you have. And we'll get into that with your documentary and all this stuff. I'm like, oh, he's going all in now. It's just what I have done.

Earlier in life, very unintentionally, at the time I didn't think about it a lot, but I couldn't count the number of times that I did LSD or mushrooms when I was a kid. So I guess it was a lot. But there was a huge long break. But I think I've been prudent in my frequency, but also pretty committed to the path over the past three or four years or whatever it's been. So, yeah, I thought that was interesting that you had this business and we're still putting your toe in the water.

So what was that first journey like when you all sat in the office or laid down in the office and took one gram? Because it's interesting, because one gram, I don't think I would want to do one gram. You know what I mean? Generally speaking, I want a microdose that's imperceivable or I want to just do the full thing. The only time I've had positive experiences taking one gram of mushrooms is just out in nature with people that I really enjoy and trust and feel very comfortable with. 

And I'm just interfacing with nature. And it's a museum dose, we're like, I wouldn't want to drive a car, but I'm not totally driven. But it's that in-between space can get very purgatorial because you're not all the way there, but you're not all the way here. It's wonky.

Ronan Levy: [00:34:59] Purgatory is much worse than hell, in my opinion. So yeah, my friend Hudge, who is one of the founders of the five-minute journal, was our coach in terms of how to do it. And he suggested one gram. So you're not going too deep, but you're going to get a good taste of it. And that first experience showed me the potential. 

The data was there, the information was there. Going back to that thing about integrating knowledge and awareness or intuition and data, the key things that happen were I took the dose, and within about, I don't know, 45 minutes, I realized that the anxiety that I had always carried in my life, just low-grade anxiety, was gone for a little while, and I never realized I'd been carrying anxiety because it was always just there and all of a sudden it was gone. I'm like, Oh, that's nice. That's a really pleasant experience. 

And then the giggles kicked in, and we laughed as hard as I think I laughed for a long time. I just walked into the room at one point after going to the bathroom and that was enough to send us into stitches. And then the other thing that showed me the power of these experiences was we had just left Aurora, and it was a little bit tenuous, they weren't so happy with us on the terms we left on. And we had thought we had acted super maturely and taken the high road and didn't really understand why they were kind of like that. 

And during the psychedelic experience, I put myself in their shoes and the truest sense of empathy and I'm like, Oh, I get it. I get why they're pissed off. I wouldn't have done anything different. We still took the right path, but I get their emotion now and I'm like, Wow, that's power. That level of empathy, people need to experience that. If you want to solve the world's problems, that level of empathy is going to be a good start to doing that. And if mushrooms or psychedelic experiences can open that up to a lot of people, that's going to be world-changing.

Luke Storey: [00:37:07] Wow. God. So many situations come to mind, as you say that where I've spontaneously acknowledged how fucked up my behavior was. I'm not saying that yours was, but you could see their point. Yeah, just laying there, having the experience, and then think of someone or a situation and just realize, "Oh, my God. I was so wrong. I was so out of line, and even in many cases, making psychic or energetic amends to that person's soul and in many cases coming out of it and actually making direct amends and going, Oh, man, wow, I didn't know that I was in such a depth of error. My bad.

But you know that I think that level of self-awareness that can be achieved, I don't know. You get it in other ways, but sometimes it just smacks you in the face in an experience like that where it's undeniable and you just know, man, I got to fix this or stop doing that in the future, whatever it is.

Ronan Levy: [00:38:17] Or just even understand. Like at the end of the day, I still look back and said what we did was perfectly legit. And it's one of the big lessons I've had to learn in my personal growth story, which is you may be angry at something I did, but I didn't make you angry. So you got to accept responsibility for your own emotions, but just be like, Oh, I see the connection of dots that I didn't see before for how you got to that place.

And it's like, I don't have anything to apologize for. I can say I'm sorry that you're angry. I'm not sorry for what I did. But I understand your perspective a lot more now.

Luke Storey: [00:38:54] Yeah, yeah, yeah. That's good. That's good. So what was the launch of the Field Trip? Did you guys go rent a space and figure out that ketamine was the most viable and legal and safe route? How did you cobble together the first iteration of your enterprise here?

Ronan Levy: [00:39:16] Yeah. So I was committed to the cause and everybody was like, What are you going to do? It's all illegal. It's not like cannabis. And I'm like, "I don't know, we're going to figure it out." Because I knew and my soul was just like, "This is what you got to do, Ronan." So we spent a lot of time just thinking, exploring, and we happen to across two valuable pieces of information, which one was in Jamaica. Psilocybin and LSD are not illegal. And we had good relationships in Jamaica because there's a lot of cannabis-related work happening in Jamaica. No surprises.

Luke Storey: [00:39:49] Let's not stereotype Rastas now.

Ronan Levy: [00:39:54] And then we learned how ketamine was being used as a psychedelic, sort of like, Let's do both. And so we opened up a research facility that does cultivation research on psilocybin, producing mushrooms at the University of West Indies in Jamaica, still operates, doing some really cool stuff there. And then we decided to open up ketamine clinics and we had experience running medical clinics because that's what we were doing in the cannabis industry. 

And so we opened our first Field Trip health location in Toronto in March of 2020, so about a week before the pandemic. Shut everything down.

Luke Storey: [00:40:27] That's pretty recent.

Ronan Levy: [00:40:27] Yeah.

Luke Storey: [00:40:28] God, the timing of that. And you guys pulled through. You survived.

Ronan Levy: [00:40:32] We did. We got to be lucky to be good. And you got to be good to be lucky. And we were lucky because we had planned to do financing about six months later. And then COVID happened and the broader markets were down 40%. Like everyone was losing money hand over fist if you had any investments. 

But there are a couple of stocks, mine medicine, mine Med, and what was called Champignon brands at the time, they were up 200% whereas everybody else was down 40%. So all these investment banks started calling us, being like, Hey, you guys want to raise money? It's a great time to raise money for psychedelic stocks. And we're like, "Not really."

But we didn't know if there is going to be an economy a year down the road. It was really the early days of the pandemic. We had no line of sight about what was happening, and so we decided to raise some money, and that sustained us and helped us open the next 11 locations and all the other cool work we've done, like building the app and all that stuff.

Luke Storey: [00:41:29] Wow. And so by the time your first location had opened, had you had a therapeutic ketamine experience yourself?

Ronan Levy: [00:41:37] Nope. It took about a year, a year and a half afterward, I went to our Santa Monica location and had my first experience with ketamine, which was actually pretty dark. I'm going to say it wasn't the most--

Luke Storey: [00:41:51] You weren't giggling about going to the bathroom.

Ronan Levy: [00:41:53] I was not giggling about going to the bathroom, I was just so funny, so good.

Luke Storey: [00:42:00] Yeah. Ketamine is triphy. No pun intended, but I've had some experiences where I'm in there going, I don't know if I totally like this, and just breathing and going. I know it doesn't last that long. So whatever this is will end, thankfully. Not like some other very long-acting type of psychedelics and stuff. But so you had a bit of a harrowing journey?

Ronan Levy: [00:42:26] I felt like I was at the center of the source, like the universe or whatever you want to call it. And it was undulating and it was alive. It's like, oh, this is what eternity feels like. And it's alive. Like after you die, it's just not nothingness. You go back to whatever this thing is, which was beautiful. 

But then I got this distinct sense that you can be a liver cell in eternity, which is you're alive, but it's not necessarily the most fulfilling experience. And it felt like limbo being like, God, I would hate to be a liver cell and the liver of eternity. And just a lot of discomforts associated with that. It wasn't scary. It wasn't sad. It was just like, I don't like the feeling of it. 

And then as I started to come back, I realized how much gratitude I had for this life right here, that for all the highs and lows and difficulties and stress and pandemics and all that stuff, it's a really amazing experience to get to be human. And it's such a privilege that we should enjoy it. And that was what I took out of the experience. So even though the experience was unpleasant, I guess for lack of a better term, I came out of it with a deep gratitude for everything that we get to experience in life. 

Like my favorite author, Tom Robbins, says, Give me life all of life, the miserable as well as the superb. And it sounds like a great statement of like, yeah, that's a great way to live. And this really embodied that for me.

Luke Storey: [00:44:02] Wow. And did you go through the whole Field Trip protocol? Or was that just a one-off experience where you're like, "Hey, we got this location, I'm going to go in and see what Academy feels like?"

Ronan Levy: [00:44:14] It was just a one-off, or typical protocol involves six sessions and three integration sessions over the course of a few weeks. And so I wasn't in LA that long. I was just in for a few days. But I wanted to have an experience and I couldn't do it in Toronto because the regulations in Toronto are different and because I'm not treatment-resistant and depression or anxiety or physicians there can't prescribe. In the US, it's a lot more liberal. So are clinicians there are more comfortable treating people who are just dealing with life.

Luke Storey: [00:44:44] That's so funny how the different countries have just random perspectives on regulation, because isn't in Canada isn't clinical-DMT almost legal or legal. I hear things out of care, I haven't been to Vancouver in a very long time, but I pictured the whole city has just been a total open-air drug market and all drugs are legal like Amsterdam, but worse.

And then they're like, well, there's this nuance in the law about you going and participating in ketamine therapy because you don't have the proper diagnosis. It's just weird.

Ronan Levy: [00:45:19] Yeah, it's less of a legal issue and more of a medical issue. So in the US, you have boards that oversee physicians and qualify them and give them licenses to practice medicine. In Canada, they're called colleges. In the US, the boards are like, go forth and use your medical judgment. In Canada and at least in Ontario, they're like, no doctors. Here are the rules you're going to play by, and this is how you have to do things. And if you don't do it, then we're going to censure you or take away your license. 

And so it's less of a legal issue. But from a legal perspective, Canada is very liberal. No one gets prosecuted for psychedelics. In Toronto, a psilocybin mushroom dispensary just open just around the corner from our office, openly selling mushrooms to people who walk in off the street. 5-MeO-DMT, your favorite is unregulated in Canada, so it's perfectly legal to use and get access to from chemical suppliers. So we're very open-minded when it comes to this stuff.

Luke Storey: [00:46:19] That's amazing.

Ronan Levy: [00:46:20] It's funny story too. So right after that conversation with Judy Blume Stock and she pointed me to this online store, all of these online stores selling mushrooms, one of them got shut down. And if you imagine that happening in the US, it's probably like DEA, guns blazing take down. In Canada, Health Canada sent them a letter saying, "You're selling an unauthorized medicine without permission. Please stop." And so the store is like, "Okay."

Luke Storey: [00:46:45] That's very polite.

Ronan Levy: [00:46:47] Very Canadian, very Canadian experience.

Luke Storey: [00:46:49] A polite letter. Dear Madam, sir.

Ronan Levy: [00:46:52] Yes. Exactly.

Luke Storey: [00:46:52] If you wouldn't mind, he wouldn't be too troubled. Could you stop breaking the law, please?

Ronan Levy: [00:46:57] Yes.

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A friend of mine who, undoubtedly listen to this episode because he always sends me texts about the episodes named David Keller out in Los Angeles. We had been buddies in the context of being recovering addicts, and I left the reservation and started exploring these realms with great success. And so he was observing that and following in my footsteps and getting medicine, curious. And I said, I don't know, maybe you should start with like ketamine therapy with a therapist so you don't go off the rails and do anything stupid. 

And so I don't remember, I might have even told him. I think I did tell him. David, if you're listening, tell me what the real story is. Because sometimes I make up the story if I don't really remember. As I remember, I told him about Field Trip and he signed up and did all the pre-intake sessions and did the seven or whatever sessions and all the integration, all the things like he followed the whole program. And change his life.

Ronan Levy: [00:49:59] It's awesome.

Luke Storey: [00:50:00] Yeah, reported that everyone that worked there was amazing, esthetically, the space was beautiful super vibey, very comfortable, safe, everything was totally chill and it was an absolute home run. So kudos to you. What else went into the curating and designing of the set, the setting? How do the therapists work? How do they get trained? How does the whole thing come together?

Ronan Levy: [00:50:28] Yeah, So I take no credit whatsoever for the beautiful design of all of our clinics. The esthetics are amazing, not too dissimilar from the vibe you've got going on here. To be quite honest, we really focused on trying to make it feel like home. You want to feel at ease, you want to feel comfortable. You don't want fluorescent lights and frenetic energy. And so Schuyler, the designer, just designed beautiful spaces and broad. I call it a bohemian chic feel to each one, but they're super comfortable. 

It's always been the case, at least in my experience, that people who are into psychedelic therapies and psychedelics, they bring the right openness and welcomeness, I think as a therapist in general, you probably bring that vibe. But people in the psychedelic space also bring a lot of warmth, acceptance, loving, welcoming wherever you are on your journey. 

So finding the right people has never been hard. All of our therapists have some degree of training, whether they went to the California Institute for Integral Studies, where I've trained with maps or we offer internal training now. They've all got some degree of psychedelic-assisted therapy experience before they come to work with us. And so it's been easy to cultivate that vibe and it's a very thoughtful process, but it's also like if you just want someone to feel comfortable in at home, it's not such a hard thing to do. 

Be welcoming. You offer them tea or coffee or water. You have them take a seat, relax, and check in on them. It's almost basic human decency that gets lost, I think, quite a bit in the medical profession. And that's what's it like and deep focus on integration. So there's a lot of ketamine infusion centers where they give you ketamine through an IV and you go there and then you go home and that's treating in ketamine like an anti-depressant. We like to treat it like a psychedelic, so we give it intramuscularly. So it's not as low and slow. It's a fast onset and it's a deep trip because we want you to have those psychedelic experiences.

Luke Storey: [00:52:26] Like we're talking about ooh, my palms start sweating a little bit. I'm like, ooh, sudden, deep ketamine, that makes me nervous.

Ronan Levy: [00:52:35] Yeah. So in some ways, for me, my ketamine experience is probably the most analogous to 5-MeO. When you do intramuscular, it's coming fast and you're going deep.

Luke Storey: [00:52:50] How many milligrams, if you happen to know, are we talking here?

Ronan Levy: [00:52:54] So when I did it, I think I had 85 milligrams intramuscular.

Luke Storey: [00:52:59] I bet that's pretty deep.

Ronan Levy: [00:53:00] Yeah. So it depends on the form.

Luke Storey: [00:53:02] Because if you do like it, I have a huge jar of them. I go through them very slowly. I think the last batch lasted me three years because I really do it very infrequently. Yeah. I hardly at all actually but the turkeys I have I think are 100 milligrams and because it melts so slowly, it's almost like not strong enough for me if I just do a meditation before bed or something I'm like, ah, my kick in a little stronger, but not too strong because I've made the mistake of being less than thoughtful and gone a little deeper than I intended to. And I'm just at home by myself and it wasn't the vibe, it was a little off-putting, to say the least.

Ronan Levy: [00:53:41] Yeah. So with sublingual, you're getting about 40% bioavailability. So if you take 100 milligram Choker, you're getting about 40 milligrams of katamine. With intramuscular, you're getting about 98%. So you're getting a full shebang.

Luke Storey: [00:53:56] So someone trained a member of your staff or a therapist or whatever is administering this, and then is there a playlist I'm asked, or are you talking to the therapist?

Ronan Levy: [00:54:09] No, it's exactly like you describe. So it's a doctor or a nurse practitioner who will administer it, get headphones on that look not too dissimilar to this eye mask, or weighted blanket. We have these amazing zero-gravity chairs and the playlist could be wave paths. It could be curated by the therapist. It's something that we're leaning a lot more into, including in our app now, for people who are doing it on our own, we want to take those amazing musical experiences and make them available to whomever, wherever they're doing it. 

And you go inward and most people you can talk, most people choose not to. And then it's about 45 minutes to an hour and you're out of it. And there's a brief half hour to unload whatever came up, because we want to document that, because that awareness, much like dreams, often starts to dissipate with time. So we want to capture what came up for you and you do that maybe twice in a week. And then after every two sessions, you do an integration therapy session. 

So we take all the information, awareness, and things you share coming out of the experience, and then you go into an integration therapy session and the therapist takes that and whatever else has come up in your prep if you're coming in. Because whatever you're dealing with anxiety, the therapist is prepared. And it's that conversation so they know you a bit. They're not going to know you as well as if you've had a lifelong relationship with a therapist but they have enough information to just guide you through, okay, what's going on. And that's really the integration process.

I think we do more integration than anybody, but integration is a lifelong process, and that's what's so exciting for me. And so that's what's shifting within Field Trip right now is really leaning into it being a lifestyle decision. When your eyes are open, the eyes never tire of seeing, and awareness never tires of being aware. And so when you open yourself up to these experiences, that 1% shift, even if it's just like I'm going to do this more and I want to explore this more, that's a decision that sticks with you for life. 

And so we want to support people with that, whether it leads to them eating better, meditating, going to the gym, ending a relationship, whatever it is, it's like you're now on that path and we want you to stay on the path. Because I truly believe that's the most important path, that personal growth, that self-awareness, that exploration we live on this planet. We are in this life. 

The only thing we can say with certainty is that we get to experience it. So why not experience all of it as much as we can and take whatever we can from those experiences? And I think psychedelics really opened people up to starting that journey or continuing on that journey as well.

Luke Storey: [00:56:54] With ketamine, it's such an interesting substance because I'm just trying to put together what actual therapeutic benefits of it would be, because having done it myself, it's more just like a meditation tool. It's a deeper meditation, a little bit of space here, jump in the hyperbaric chamber. Listen to Joe Dispenzo, when I just want to reset and go quantum, enter that void space for a bit, and whatever.

But I haven't had experiences where say I'm working through a traumatic experience in my childhood or I'm not really like working on things or unraveling things in the same sense that I have with such effectiveness with something like ayahuasca or psilocybin, where I'm in there and man, I'm putting the pieces of my life together. There's a puzzle that's being disassembled and then assembled, and there's much more cognition involved in what's happening in there, versus ketamine, just being diffuse and interesting and trippy and a little bit psychedelic.

But then I come out and I'm like, "What just happened?" So is the therapeutic value in it giving your consciousness space to explore and breathe? How does it actually work to affect change in negative patterns or ways of thinking or being in your life? It's so mysterious to me in that way.

Ronan Levy: [00:58:26] All of it is mysterious. The brain and consciousness, it's all going to be somewhat mysterious. You're right. It's not like a psilocybin or ayahuasca journey where you realize, Oh, I have so much anger still towards my mother for this thing. It's going to be more. It just takes you offline for a little while. And I think it gives you the space for a little while to let all that other stuff come up. 

So in a psilocybin journey, it punches you in the face, it's right there and you're going to deal with it. With ketamine, it creates the space to let it bubble up on a different time frame. That seems to be what's happening on the consciousness level. Some people have very clear ketamine, psychedelic experiences, just like psilocybin. 

My experience is more like yours, where it's like nothing crystal concrete comes out, but it gives you space, you come out of it and you just feel a little bit more at ease. You feel like you've given yourself a break from self-criticism, self-doubt, the self-talk, and that can be a lot. And then in that window, and that's why we're so focused on the timing of your sessions in those couple of days afterward when you do a session with your therapist, more bubbles to the surface, more come into the conscious mind instead of being buried in the subconscious or unconscious.

And then there's just the pure neurological stuff, which we see after the ketamine experience. It's not just ketamine. We've seen it with psilocybin now as well. Your brain actually starts to go into a process called synaptic genesis. So the cells and the connections between neurons start to regrow a process that was once thought impossible. Like when something dies in your brain, it's dead. 

Now, your brain actually starts to regrow new neural connections. So you not only have the emotional consciousness processing, your brain is actually starting to physically heal itself as well.

Luke Storey: [01:00:11] Wow. Very cool.

Ronan Levy: [01:00:13] That is very.

Luke Storey: [01:00:13] That's the thing because even though it's a bit nebulous, it's widely reported that people have diminished sense of depression and anxiety. It's doing something to your brain in your consciousness. It's just strange in that you're not actually getting to see the mechanics of how it works as the observer and participant like you are with some of the other medicines. But my friend David came on and was like, "Dude, I have no anxiety anymore. I'm good, I'm happy."

Ronan Levy: [01:00:41] That's awesome.

Luke Storey: [01:00:41] And what was really freaky about his situation and I do not advise this generally at all because I think it's very unique. But after those experiences and this is someone, as I said, who was a former self-diagnosed addict and alcoholic, after his ketamine therapy, he and this is true to this day and this is at least two years ago, I think that he did this. 

He is able to recreationally have a drink every once in a while, have some weed in the house, smoke weed every once in a while, and is not drawn to it in any habitual, addictive way. Now, I'm not going to try that myself. I don't need to find that out because if I'm wrong, it's going to be a real problem. 

But that was profound to me because he couldn't even point to, oh, well, I worked on my mother thing and my core wound in this and that. It was just like something happened to his brain and he went through the whole thing and then seemed to lose that part of him that felt the need to habituate toward other substances. 

And again, maybe you could prove me wrong, or have a different experience. But I think that's very rare, and I wouldn't advise that people try to do that. But I just found that very interesting as someone who's worked with a lot of recovering addicts and alcoholics and I'd be hard-pressed to think of anyone that was a legitimate addict or alcoholic and then is now able to control it. Like once you cross a certain threshold with that, you're a lifer. 

And total abstinence is going to be the only way that you can keep your shit together. That's the pretty much universal experience of people that share my past.

Ronan Levy: [01:02:31] I've never had challenges with addiction, so I can't really comment. The only insight I can offer is that this is the experience that I've had in the journey since making the documentary Ordinary Trip and all that stuff. I don't know why this reference is being called up, but I'm sure growing up you remember having a Commodore 64 with the old disk drive and all that stuff. And every once in a while that disk wouldn't work and it just sit there and spin, and spin and spin and spin and spin. And the program would never load with the world having iPhones, the spinning wheel of death that every once in a while shows up. 

That's what the patterns we get into, the narratives we tell ourselves, just get looped and looped and looped and looped and psychedelics. I think I'm quoting Michael Pollan here, but it's like a controlled delete. It's just like resetting the system so you don't have to get stuck into those stories. And every once in a while, addiction may be different, but as soon as you break out of that story, you've broken out of that story. And I think that's really the powerful thing. 

What I've come to is so much of our experience is just the stories we tell ourselves. I'm successful. I'm a failure. I've told myself consciously or unconsciously, I'm a total failure almost my entire life. It doesn't matter what means of objective success you can point to in my life, I don't feel like I've ever done enough. I don't feel like I'm ever good enough. That's just a story I tell myself. 

And if you're an addict, it's somewhat and maybe different because it can actually affect the receptors in your brain and actually change the physical structure. So it is different a little bit, maybe a lot. I won't even say a little bit, but when you change those stories, literally everything changes. Like nothing has to be the same. You can create a whole new narrative, a whole new level of experience. 

I'm a big fan of Donald Hoffman. I don't know if you've read the book. It's a book called The Case Against Reality. I love going deep into the consciousness conversation, and his whole point is like, our experience of reality bears no resemblance to actual reality. It's just how we interpret it. It's what our brains do with it and the interface we use to experience it. And so if you change the program, your experience with it totally changes as well.

Luke Storey: [01:04:56] It's like changing the film that's going through a projector or it makes me think of Wayne Dyer, the thing he said, when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. It's like really, that is really the key to life. And I've been experiencing that. I've been going through a pretty big transition in the last couple of weeks or so. And I've really been seeing that phenomenon play out. It's like because I'm going through something challenging, like an initiation of sorts. And I won't go so far. I say a dark night of the soul, but pretty fucking close, a little closer than I would prefer to that.

And even when I'm in it and I'm feeling really dysregulated and uncomfortable, it's like even though I know it's just how I'm perceiving the situation, coloring it with a brush of negativity and suffering that it's only that way because I'm seeing it that way, it doesn't mean that I'm able to totally stop it and transmute that perspective. 

But at least during it, I know that it's just my perspective that is causing the suffering. It's not the actual situation. It's like how I'm responding to it, how I'm holding it, how I'm framing it, how I'm viewing it, how I'm in a relationship to reality at the moment. It's not the objective reality that's the problem. It's just that I'm seeing it from a victim's perspective or whatever the case may be.

So it really is, you really do create your own reality. It's difficult sometimes to exert control over the reality that you're creating, even when you know that's what you're doing.

Ronan Levy: [01:06:31] Yeah. 

Luke Storey: [01:06:33] The inertia of creating a negative experience and the habituation of creating a negative experience is a lot to work through sometimes.

Ronan Levy: [01:06:41] 100%. One of the things that help me in those moments, you're right, pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. Is remembering that those feelings are information and they're trying to tell you something. What that is, should be determined. But if you remember that being like something's up and as uncomfortable as it is, our default instinct as humanity is to pick up our fucking phone and distract ourselves these days.

But if you're just like, Why am I feeling this? What is my body or the universe or whatever you want to call it, trying to tell me right now? Gives you a lot more permission to be like, okay, I'm just going to feel this. And eventually, something percolates up. And sometimes, I just ate poorly the other day sometimes you don't drink anymore, but if you've had a drink, you're like, Oh, yeah it's nothing other than that you're poisoning yourself.
So just do it if you want to, but just recognize that that's what you're doing. Sometimes it can be as simple as that, and sometimes it can be the universe mocking you, saying, Hey, man, it's time to wake up. It's time to wake up and deal with this thing that you've been avoiding for a long time. And so it's like, okay, now I'm going to just be aware and open up and find out what I'm being told right now.

Luke Storey: [01:08:08] What's up with the at-home ketamine therapy sessions?

Ronan Levy: [01:08:12] So it's something we're launching right now. The truth is, we want to be able to reach as many people as possible. And there's a spectrum, which is you can have the most high touchpoint hands-on, also the most expensive experience. 

But we don't want to make that the only thing that people have access to. We want to say like, "Well, that's not available. Maybe you're not close enough to one of our Field Trip health centers, or maybe it's too expensive for you, but you should still have access to high-quality care and support, even if it's not that model.

And so we've recently launched an at-home ketamine offering, and we're actually innovating on it right now, which I can't share too much about it, but it's going to be the most innovative psychedelic-assisted therapy program, I think available because it's going to be so flexible and give you access to a whole bunch of different modalities that no one else offers right now. It's one of those things we can uniquely do at Field Trip because we both have spaces, but we can also ship it to your house. 

So we're seeing great results. The results are not as good as the in-person experience, but they're more flexible. And so can be much more self-guided and people can lean a little bit more into their own schedules or their own journey, more so than our structured environment in clinics. So I'm excited about it. I think it's going to reach a lot of people. There's a double-edged sword that people can abuse it when you give flexibility, people can take advantage of that. But I think we've modeled it in a way that we can keep people safe and thoughtful while at the same time giving flexibility.

Luke Storey: [01:09:50] Awesome. Yeah, I'm chuckling because I find it so bizarre that there are, and no judgment, but just I literally don't get it that people take ketamine recreationally for fun. I just don't get it. And they like, go out in public and stand up like they walk around or dance. I'm just like, Oh my God. I remember the first time someone, a doctor gave me one of those trophies, and maybe it wasn't the first time I tried it, but the first few times and I remember I was going to go out to my hyperbaric chamber in my house in LA, which was, I don't know, 20 steps in the backyard or something like that. 

And I put it in my mouth and I was like, I got to get out there. And then I did a couple of things and maybe 10 or 15 minutes went by and then I went to walk out there and I'm like hanging on to the railing and just dizzy. I felt like the bad part of being drunk. Being drunk can be awesome, but there's always a shitty part to it for sure. That felt like just the shitty part of alcohol without any of the euphoria. So I learned my lesson and I remember thinking, Dude, kids like, snort huge rails of ketamine and go party and stuff.

And are cruising around in a keyhole. So I'm sure it could be extremely dangerous if not done with some care. Again, you guys are sending it to someone and there's a framework for them to do it safely and there's intentionality behind it. But it is still baffling to me that someone would misuse something that to me is like so gnarly if it's not done with that level of care and consideration.

Ronan Levy: [01:11:25] Yeah. Same thing. I don't get it either. Truthfully, I don't get it with any psychedelics. I couldn't imagine taking mushrooms and going to a festival or LSD. That's just not my jam. But--`

Luke Storey: [01:11:37] Dude, I went and saw Roger Waters the other night, and when I booked the tickets, I bought Alyson and I, she wasn't even that familiar with who he was. I was like, Pink Floyd's like, Oh, yeah, I remember Pink Floyd. Yeah. But I'm super into Pink Floyd. And so I probably I, would say I sprung for the best seats I've ever, like, pretty expensive. And I was like, I'm probably never going to see this guy again. I've never seen him. 

And then I was actually toying with the idea of taking some mushrooms or something and going all in. And thank God my more intelligent self was like, "Yeah, could go south." And then the minute I walked in there, I remember thinking, Good fucking choice, dude. This would have been hell if you were tripping. I'm with you. That's not my set. And setting the energetics of it, I would be way too vulnerable in a crowd of people and not being able to totally control my environment. 

And then what used to happen when I was younger is I would take a bunch of acids or something. Go see the Grateful Dead usually. And then, I would always forget that the concert was two hours and the acid was nine or 10 hours. I never could get that equation right, I would get out of the concert peaking and everyone's packing up and going home. I'm like, "How do I make this stop?" You can't. Oh, my God.

Ronan Levy: [01:13:02] Yeah, yeah. Different drug, but I was never a Grateful Dead person. And then a couple of years ago myself and a buddy of mine, Brandon Reed, who used to manage the national, we were in LA and we went to see the dad with John Mayer at the Hollywood Bowl, which was a super cool experience. But again, I didn't like the Grateful Dead. And then we smoked a joint and then we listen to it. I'm like, "Now I understand."

Luke Storey: [01:13:26] Now I get it.

Ronan Levy: [01:13:29] So do you need that perspective? 

Luke Storey: [01:13:31] Well, honestly, I think the acid is what made it possible for me to enjoy the Grateful Dead. Because that would be like friends would play it at home. I remember even being a little kid when I first discovered, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath. My uncle had a record collection and he had a couple of Grateful Dead records, and the artwork made it look like it was going to be heavy rock or something with the Skulls and all that, I remember putting it on as a kid and I was like, This sucks. This is so wimpy. Where's the distortion? Like that compared to Jimi Hendrix? Oh my God, it's like grandma's music, but the acid was indeed the missing ingredient.

Ronan Levy: [01:14:07] Speaking of Black Sabbath, I just saw a picture of Ozzy. He's so old right now. It's so weird watching all of these people just age.

Luke Storey: [01:14:17] So are we.

Ronan Levy: [01:14:17] I know, I know. I just went to see Pearl Jam in Toronto, `I was 12 when 10 came out. And it was a very influential album throughout my high school years. In those formative years and in my mind, all those guys are still rocking hard, it's Eddie Vedder swinging from the rafters and dropping 20 feet into the crowd and they look at them like Jesus. They look like grandparents right now. Very much they possibly could be grandparents.

And for me, I find it very hard to reconcile. And on one hand, it's nice they're still alive for so many of their compatriots through that generation or now dead. But it feels really uncomfortable watching these idols of mine age, and I don't know why.

Luke Storey: [01:15:07] What the trick is, is you just got to follow Keith Richards who doesn't age. He lives forever. I love the Keith Richards memes. I forget what they are, but it's like through a nuclear holocaust. There's Keith still chilling, there's a bunch of them. They're classic. 

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I want to ask you a couple more questions here. So with the ketamine therapy and then I want to actually get to where you guys are going and what the possibilities are for other substances in the future. But I'm curious about if someone has a clinical diagnosis of some mental pathology, be it schizophrenia or bipolar, whatever. How do you work with that? 

Is that something that eliminates the possibility of that type of therapy for someone, or do they just need a different type of care? That and then also counter-indications with psychiatric drugs?

Ronan Levy: [01:18:13] Yeah. We don't work with people who have severe bipolar or schizophrenia. I don't know enough about the research, but the basic assumption is that people who are experiencing that are already a little bit disconnected from reality, so to speak. And so the thought is that that can just amplify where they are instead of bringing them closer. There may be research that suggests otherwise. But even if there were, because of the intensity of the case, we're not equipped to provide that emergent care if things go sideways. 

So you won't find a lot of people treating extreme pathologies with psychedelics these days just because there's so much risk involved, both for them and just liability considerations. With the exception of those major cases, there's not a lot of contraindications associated with ketamine-assisted therapy. It's one of the reasons that ketamine is actually fantastic as a more medical treatment, as with most classic psychedelics, there's a strong recommendation that people go off antidepressants if they're on them before using a psychedelic.

I always thought it was because there was something that could interact in a negative way. It's not so much that, it's just because the classic psychedelics work on the serotonin receptors and antidepressants are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. They're working on the same path. And the concern was that the antidepressants would actually blunt the effect of the psychedelic, not that it would exemplify it or exacerbate it. 

Evidence seems to suggest that's not actually the case. There have been a couple of studies that came out that said psilocybin and antidepressants are okay side by side and you still get the same results. But with ketamine, we're confident that that's the case. And so it's why it's one of the nice things. Contraindications with ketamine besides those extreme cases, obviously pregnancy, ketamine, addiction. That's about it, by and large. Uncontrolled high blood pressure because ketamine can cause an intense experience because your blood pressure to spike, which can be problematic. That's about it. 

People think about ketamine as a party drug or a horse tranquilizer. It's actually one of the safest drugs we have. It's been used for 50 years as an anesthetic. If you have children and they have an injury and you take them to the emerge, odds are they're giving them ketamine as an anesthetic as opposed to anything else. It's that safety profile. And it's a very safe drug. Truthfully, most psychedelics are extremely safe when you look at the data.

Luke Storey: [01:20:47] Okay, cool. What about your film, Ordinary Trip? You sent me the sizzle for it a couple of months back and I was like, "Man, this looks fun." When's that coming out? And what was the process of that? Because the sense I got is you were doing an immersive journalism thing, or you're like, Hey, "I'm talking about this. I'm in business in this space. I'm going to travel around and just do all the things. Do all the psychedelics."

And is that the crux of it? Give me the framework of that, some of your experiences. Where does it come out? It looked really intriguing. I was like, if nothing else, is going to be wildly entertaining.

Ronan Levy: [01:21:25] It is. And so I've seen the rough cut at its. So the impetus for that was about five or six years ago, a company called Medmen, the cannabis dispensary.

Luke Storey: [01:21:35] Yes.

Ronan Levy: [01:21:36] They had Spike Jones produce an ad called The New Normal that they were going to run during the Super Bowl. And then the cannabis industry crapped out, the capital markets crapped out, and spending $5 Million on and out of the Super Bowl wasn't meant to be, but it was a beautifully shot ad. It was called The New Normal because it's all about how psychedelics have gone from the normal to the abnormal back to the normal. 

And so Louis Goldberg, who is one of our advisors and our PR like our primary contact, the CSA, which was doing PR, told us like, you've got to do this, you've got to be the new normal for psychedelics. And something I'm passionate about. I'm less passionate about trying to solve depression, anxiety, and these mental health pathologies and more interested in helping people achieve their better selves. 

And it's all part of the same spectrum, but a lot more fluid in terms of helping people on this side, whereas people who are dealing with mental health conditions, it's a lot more medicalized and it just has to be in our current construct. And so I am super passionate about it. And a good friend of mine, Charlie Smith, he's produced a whole bunch of TV shows.

I flipped him a note that day saying, we got to do this because we'd been jamming on different TV shows and movie ideas for a long time, and he's like, Dude, I was literally about to text you the same thing right back but we have to do a documentary called Normal, all about psychedelics for everybody else, because the psychedelic conversation right now is still largely camped in four quadrants, which is extreme mental health cases, hippies, military veterans who have experienced probably the most traumatic things any person can ever experience. 

And Silicon Valley Joe Rogan bro types. And nothing wrong with all of those people, but that's not the other 98% of the population. That's the perimeter of certain groups. So it's like, how do we bring the conversation to the middle? How do we really normalize this and say it's cool to be a soccer mom in Cleveland and still do a psilocybin journey as part of your personal growth? 

And so Ordinary Trip was born. And it really was just me taking my experience as I'm not ordinary. I think many people object to that in the title because if you look at my experience, it looks pretty extraordinary. But in many ways I'm approachable. I deal with everyday problems that most people do. And so I was like, "All right, I'm going to throw myself into it." I've had a handful of psychedelic experiences at this point, probably five, and I'm going to drop in and we're going to record it and I'm going to put it all out there for everybody to see.

And it's been the most meaningful experience of my life. It really has been life-changing. So in Costa Rica, we do a psilocybin journey and a mescaline journey. I don't know if you've worked with mescaline, but it's a beautiful experience.

Luke Storey: [01:24:20] Only in the form of San Pedro and--

Ronan Levy: [01:24:24] Yeah.

Luke Storey: [01:24:25] Because there is like, a synthetic. Going back to Hunter C Thompson vibes, they would be taking mescaline from DOS, and these guys would be taking pharmaceutical mescaline, I think.

Ronan Levy: [01:24:36] Yeah. We did San Pedro. We did a very ceremonial experience in Costa Rica, and then I wanted to show the flip side, so I went to our Field Trip health location in Amsterdam where we do psilocybin-assisted therapy. So you get the polar opposites of experience. And then I went to B.C., a place called the Enfield Institute, where I experienced 5-MeO-DMT for the first time.

Luke Storey: [01:24:57] Where is this place?

Ronan Levy: [01:24:58] It's just off the coast of Vancouver.

Luke Storey: [01:25:00] Okay, because it's unregulated up there.

Ronan Levy: [01:25:02] Yeah. It's legal.

Luke Storey: [01:25:04] So was this BUFO toad or was it the synthetic 5-MeO?

Ronan Levy: [01:25:08] It was synthetic. They just chose to do that because of some of the environmental considerations. 

Luke Storey: [01:25:16] Sure. There's a lot to that whole conversation.

Ronan Levy: [01:25:18] Yeah. Yeah. 

Luke Storey: [01:25:18] And what time frame is that? Is this like every weekend or how long in between?

Ronan Levy: [01:25:26] We started shooting in February in Costa Rica and then we finished up in B.C. in May. So it was over the course of about three months. And then we looped back in and just by fortuitous circumstance, we're getting really ready to do the end takes of revisiting everybody who went through the journey with me at different points and see how their lives have changed and where they are and all that stuff.

And it just so happened the author, Irvine Welsh, who wrote Trainspotting, was going to be in Toronto and he had seen our sizzle and he's like, "Well, I'm in Toronto. Why don't I do 5-MeO-DMT with Ronan and we'll record it?" He's doing a documentary called I think this is Irvine Welsh. We'll record it from our doc, you record it for your doc and it'll be super cool. So it ended just a couple of weeks ago where he and I did 5-MeO-DMT together. 

And the cool thing was, he didn't know there's a difference between DMT and 5-MeO-DMT. And so it was actually his first experience with 5-MeO-DMT and it was such a beautiful experience that he comes out of it. He's perfectly stuck. I'm a flaming mess on 5-MeO-DMT.

Luke Storey: [01:26:31] I remember the seasle man flip.

Ronan Levy: [01:26:36] Anyone who watches the documentary if they don't have second thoughts about do 5-MeO-DMT after watching me, they're not watching the documentary properly, although I will still advocate, it's one of the most beautiful experiences. It's hard to articulate what happens on a 5-MeO experience, but you come out of it. There's just a lightness. It feels like everything is easier for some reason. I don't know how to articulate it properly, but the journey is hard, but the outcome is worthwhile. At least for me. The journey has been really strange.

Luke Storey: [01:27:09] What I actually relate to that not so much in it being hard, intense as all hell, but hard in my experience. Not necessarily. It's in the level of resistance. It's as hard as one resists the experience. But what I have to say about that, in particular, aside from all the supernatural, just totally ineffable magnitude of 5-MeO, I would say my experience of reality is a bit more diffuse. It's like in a positive sense here, but I'm not here. Like I'm not taking all this that serious. There's like a lightness, I think is the word you used.

It's like this is all made up. This is all just pretend I'm playing this game and earth and there's a healthy-- It's not a detachment because it's not that one doesn't care. It's not like a detachment, like nonchalant or you're not invested in your life, but maybe it's just like there's less attachment to the physical material realm. It's there, but it's also not there. Like you said, it's fucking impossible to describe.

Ronan Levy: [01:28:39] It is.

Luke Storey: [01:28:40] But anyone can understand a more lightness of being and I would say universally, that's been my experience too.

Ronan Levy: [01:28:47] That's been my experience. And this so the first time when I did in BC, it was just I couldn't articulate what had happened. Just something felt different, a lightness. And people talk, but there's the book, The Body Keeps the Score, and it really felt like there was a cellular reprogramming, like something in my genetics just changed in that moment. I can't tell you why.
When I did it with Irvine, I came out and all of this grief came out of me. My eldest son, Jasper, he's in the process of being diagnosed with epilepsy. And there was tension between my wife and I because just in the way we respond to it, she was feeling a lot of grief around this and I didn't. And so I came out of this experience and all I wanted to do was hold Jasper. Just the thought of like, my baby boy. I just wanted to hold him so much in that moment and all this grief came out and sadness. 

And it wasn't just grief about Jasper. I think it was all the grief I haven't let myself feel. The next day, I was talking with Steph and lying in bed, and she was sharing how she's been grieving about how this diagnosis is going to change the art because he's such a bright light. He's so smart for a six-year-old and he's got such a warm personality.

And it's just like she was grieving all of the ways that what we thought were trajectories were going to change by virtue of this diagnosis. And maybe not, but she was grieving about the possibility of it. And I realized in that moment that I had never grieved really anything because I've for so long lived a life where I won't accept the negative outcome. It's like going back, it goes all the way back to the story of my father and just taking the reins of I never had a protector, so I always had to be the protector from a young age, and I just would not tolerate anything less than an acceptable outcome across anything.

And even starting Field Trip, everyone said, No, no. No one, do it. I'm like, oh, fuck that, we're going to do it. And I worked and I worked and I worked. And eventually, it's just like that hypervigilance and I've been carrying it all along. And what I realized was that because I don't accept a reality in which I would have to grieve, in which Jasper's trajectory would be affected, I would do everything in anything possible to make sure he gets to be everything he wants to be.

And I'm going to take that and I'm going to fucking fix it. Until that becomes a reality. In a reality where nothing goes sideways, you never have to grieve, never have to feel sadness. You never have to feel this negative emotion. It's like that's a world that I won't accept and so I won't feel those feelings. It doesn't mean those feelings don't exist in me. It's just that I deny them and I push them to the side because I won't accept that reality.
And then talking about it was like, oh my God, how much energy have I put into my life working so hard to make sure I never have to feel these emotions? That's exhausting. And it's not the way to live your life. And so that was like a concrete, tangible thing. And here's where, like, my mind was blown. Right after we have this conversation, I was crying a lot as all of this grief and sadness came out. I go to the bathroom and blow my nose, wiping my eyes, and Steph calls to me. She's like, "Oh my God, I just realized something." And I'm like, "What's that?" She's just like, "You never had a dad."

Obviously, I knew that. But the awareness of the impact goes back to the conversation of knowing we're so awareness. The awareness of what that meant to me just came to a whole new degree of realization like, Oh yeah, now I'm really starting to understand how that's affected my life in such a deep and meaningful way. And this is where the universe has a fucking fantastic sense of humor. My dad's name was Irvin, and all of this came full in an experience with a guy named Irvin.

Luke Storey: [01:33:01] That's not even a common name at all either, by the way.

Ronan Levy: [01:33:04] I know. It's one of those moments where you are going to be like, there's got to be some grand orchestra playing somewhere because that shit should not just happen like that.

Luke Storey: [01:33:13] Wow. Wow. Yeah. I've always been a fan of pomegranate, but I had no idea it contained one of the most powerful compounds in the world for mitochondria. It's called Urolithin A and it's incredible for mitophagy. Or more simply, the way your body discards old dysfunctional mitochondria. 

The thing is that you'd have to eat ridiculous amounts of pomegranate to get a clinically effective dose of this Urolithin A. That's why I get mine in a product called Mitopure, available in berry powder, protein powder, and soft gels. Super easy to take and adopt into your daily routine.
Mitopure is a breakthrough post-biotic that activates your body's natural defense against aging. It's also the first product on the market to offer a precise dose of Urolithin A to upgrade mitochondrial function, increase cellular energy and improve muscle strength. 

Mitopure is the result of 10 years of research by scientists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and its clinically proven benefits are available for the first time in the US through Timeline Nutrition. To learn even more about the science of Mitopure, go back and check out Episode 389 with Dr. Chris Rinsch. It's a mitochondria geek out of the highest order of magnitude and helps simplify this complex topic. 

And in the meantime, there is a special offer for you listeners. You can use the promo code LUKE10 to get 10% off any two, four, or 12-month Mitopure plan at timelinenutrition.com. And by the way, I highly suggest the starter pack, which lets you try all three forms of Mitopure. Again, that's timelinenutrition.com. And your code is LUKE10.

What I think is actually the funniest cosmic joke of all time is that whatever the creator is, put the single most powerful key to the universe inside one fucking toad's venom that only exists in this tiny swath of desert that we now call Northern Mexico and southwest of the United States of America. Like any time I've had that experience, even in it, I'm like, "Fucking God is hilarious." You can't make this up. It's the thing. It's the thing. There is nothing like that, at least in this realm for me.

I haven't had a near-death experience or I don't remember my prior lifetime death. So as close as you can get to that, where you experience the awfulness, the totality of consciousness, God hides it in a fucking toad. And it's like, you've got to be kidding me, man. Mushrooms, yeah, not that funny. Toad, hella funny because the mushrooms are everywhere, so there's all different mushrooms that have psychedelic properties, and even the San Pedro cactus, the peyote cactus. 

Any of these things that cannabis, these things we find in nature, it's like, wow, that's interesting that it's over here and it's not over there and elicits these experiences. But with that one, because the experience is of such a magnitude, I just will never not find that totally hilarious.

Ronan Levy: [01:36:55] One of the things I found is like there's no way to describe the onset of 5-MeO-DMT. Its intensity is unlike anything but the last time both times actually there was a deep familiarity with it being like, this is so unknown, yet remarkably familiar. Have you had that experience? I'm curious to know if that was just my experience or whether it's a common experience.

Luke Storey: [01:37:25] Actually, I do know what you mean. And I have that same sense with ayahuasca and 5-MeO-DMT. Like in the depth of that realm, it's this other energetic realm or dimension, and there is a familiarity in there. And this happened actually for me recently where I was in this almost like. Oh, God, it's so hard to articulate. In this particular experience, it was almost like an eternal courtroom. It was like in the Akashic courtroom. 

And I'm in there just as a soul, not a Luke. I'm in there and I'm having conversations with other souls that are present in my life now or that have been present before. And I'm in there as a soul, as what you are when you leave the body. And before you come into another body and I'm in there and my soul knows that realm, but it's a totally different realm than I could ever experience as the person that we call Luke in a physical body. And 5-MeO also has access to a very very similar realm where it's scary, but if you can muster up the courage to stick with it and breathe and stay in there, you realize that it's even more safe than it is being here, back in your body, in your normal waking state. 

That's the familiarity. That's the piece to me is like, it's fucking gnarly at times because you're like in the big leagues, then you're not playing person anymore. It's like a court. Not like anyone's judging anyone, but it's all realness like there's no hiding. I know what it is. Everything is known, and any energies within that field also see and know everything. And that's the Akashic element of it is just like, I think it says in the Bible or somewhere, every hair on your head shall be counted. It's like all records of all time because there really is no time in that space are all known. And whoever I'm in there with, we all know that we all know and there's no one knowing and there's no unseen. Everything is seen and everything is shown.

So there's a familiarity in that. But that's also where the ego goes like, Oh fuck, I don't want them to see this part. I don't want to look at that part, but as I said, if one can really have the fortitude of spirit to breathe through and courageously stay in that realm, you can move mountains in there.

Ronan Levy: [01:40:22] Totally. 

Luke Storey: [01:40:23] I could talk about 5-MeO-DMT all day and, much to the boredom problem, like people listening to my podcast on a regular basis. And again, and I'm going to say this, you can give whatever disclaimers you want. I also and this is totally honest, I don't think that ever and I'm not saying, Oh, I'm special, I can handle it. You can't handle it. I'm just saying these experiences can be so life-altering. 

I truly believe they are not appropriate for all people at all times. It's something one has to arrive at on their own accord and their own discernment and prudence, and something that should be approached with extreme discretion. Extreme discretion. And that's still the way I approach it. But with something like 5-MeO, dude, you're never going to be the same. 

Your life might look the same in terms of the role that you're playing as a persona operating in your life and your family and your job and your house and being a member of society. But as you said, that reset of your DNA, you're never going to be the same.

Ronan Levy: [01:41:30] Yeah.

Luke Storey: [01:41:31] It's a hard reset. It's a complete wiping of the hard drive. And then your software gets reinstalled and you're still you. There's still unique identifier as you as a persona, but what's underneath that has all been rearranged.

Ronan Levy: [01:41:48] That's exactly it. And I agree.

Luke Storey: [01:41:50] And I can't believe you did it until I did it. That's vulnerable, man. That's vulnerable because you don't know what you're going to do. I've heard stories from facilitators, the 5-MeO, where people get naked, do all crazy ass shit to the point where they have to have security detail to keep everyone safe. People can do really weird shit because when your default mode network is offline with that particular substance, you literally don't know what you're doing. You're not there. But yet you still have a body and a voice and you could do all crazy shit.

Ronan Levy: [01:42:27] Part of the purpose for putting it all in camera was to literally let it all hang out. I think in our world, especially in the social media world, we only ever portray one part of us. And so you look at me and on some levels, you look at a guy who's had a lot of success. Like, I went to the University of Choice, and I went to my law school of choice. I worked with a big law firm. Like, I've done a lot of things that on so many metrics look like I should be a weird untouchable is coming to mind. 

But it's like, I got shit, I got stuff. And I wanted people to see that it's all work and it's all a journey and we've all got all of these experiences in us and start being okay with that and let it all hang out, particularly for men, where we're not allowed to express our emotions or feel or emotions or anything along those lines. This is what it looks like. This is the real caricature that is Ronan.

And it's important for people to start putting it out there saying with you, it's every time we share this experience, it's like, Oh yeah, here's Luke. He's got a beautiful house in Austin. He looks in so many ways a pinnacle of success. Yes, he's had rocky ups and downs and all that stuff. But you've got so much going for you.

Luke Storey: [01:42:27] You should have seen me last night. Oh, God. Just working through some shit. Appearances are misleading. Two things I wanted to ask you before we close. One would be, where do you see Field Trip going? Where do you see the industry going in terms of variety of modalities, in terms of decriminalization, legalization you have in the Netherlands? Is that in Amsterdam, you have you guys can work with psilocybin there?

Ronan Levy: [01:44:27] Correct.

Luke Storey: [01:44:28] Where do you see yourself in five years? Am I going to be able to go to downtown Austin to a Field Trip and get an IV of DMT? 

Ronan Levy: [01:44:38] So there's two separate conversations. So one of the things we realized with Field Trip is that not only have we built an incredible experience for psychedelic-assisted therapies, we've really tapped into a much broader conversation of people interested and curious about psychedelics, and there's a lot more psychedelics happening in the quote-unquote underground than in the medical clinics. 

And so we want to lean into that and we want to reach more people and bring more people into the fold. And whether you're coming into one of our clinics, or using our meditations to do your own journey with whatever substance you want, that's cool.

Luke Storey: [01:45:12] Like on your app?

Ronan Levy: [01:45:14] On our app. Exactly.

Luke Storey: [01:45:15] Can anyone get the app or only clients of the clinics?

Ronan Levy: [01:45:18] Anyone can get the app.

Luke Storey: [01:45:19] Okay, cool. And we'll put that in the show notes, by the way. And the show notes will be lukestorey.com/ronan, R-O-N-A-N.

Ronan Levy: [01:45:28] Cool. And then where does the future hold? It's happening so fast, but I don't know. So next year we expect MDMA-assisted therapy to be approved by the FDA for the treatment of PTSD. Interestingly, Alberta, a Canadian province, which is as most like Texas in terms of its political views, just announced that they're effectively legalizing all psychedelics for medical purposes.

Luke Storey: [01:45:53] Really?

Ronan Levy: [01:45:54] All psychedelics micro-dosing has to be doctor-supervised, but it doesn't matter what's on the controlled drugs and substances that act in Canada. They're letting you do it. We've got Oregon creating the first market for psilocybin services next year and North America. Colorado is probably going to follow next month in November.

So you're going to see a lot of changes happening and to the point where I don't know if all of them will get legalized, but I think you'll see almost all of them available in some capacity, whether medical or otherwise, probably in the next five years. I feel like LSD has got a bigger hill to climb and still feels a lot more stigmatized than some of the other ones. But we'll get there. Most people realize the war on drugs was a catastrophic failure. So it's time to have a policy shift around that.

Luke Storey: [01:46:43] Epic fail. With LSD and I've not used it intentionally. I haven't used it in over 25 years. But that's a tough one because of the duration, thinking about in a therapeutic setting, it's expensive to hire a qualified trip sitter/therapist to sit there with you for 10 hours while your face is melting off, versus some of these profound yet shorter acting substances that can take you to the same depth of experience. But unless clock time.

Ronan Levy: [01:47:15] Yeah, I agree. I just think most people accept it's time to move on from that policy. And all of these will become accessible in some capacity. And then our job, your job. My job is just to make sure people are doing it intentionally and bringing a degree, people call it reverence. I don't want to impose a spiritual or religious context. I just want to bring deference, bring the discernment of like, yeah, you're in for an experience that's going to be intense on some levels. Use good judgment as you step into that. Get in a car, God willing, and drive drunk because it's a bad idea. 

Taking psychedelics and doing something stupid is also a bad idea. So just bring that level of maturity to the conversation.

Luke Storey: [01:47:59] Psychedelics and making huge life decisions while in the experience or directly afterward about quitting my job and leaving my wife. Man, I met God. It's like, Well, hold up, hold up, let's take a few days. Slow down. 

Something that I find interesting and maybe we can close on. This is something that's being developed that you guys are working on called RE-104. A new drug that's in development, as I understand, some synthetic psilocybin-ish thing. What's up with that?

Ronan Levy: [01:48:31] Yeah. So Field Trip initially started to division field trip health, which is what most people know field trip for, which is our clinics and our app and our technology. And then we had a drug development division. That drug development division is now separate. It's called Reunion Neuroscience trades on the Nasdaq. As you pointed out, with LSD, it's a really long experience. 

And so getting qualified people to take you through that experience, it's going to be expensive. There's no way to slice it. You have qualified, experienced people. They want to get paid for their time. If you need 10, 12, 14, 16 hours, it gets to be expensive. And that's one of the challenges with, I think, really bringing these to the forefront in terms of mental health and medicine. 

Psilocybin is great, but it's still a long experience. You have four, six, eight hours that you're going to be in space. Think about the space and the people and the time. It's going to be expensive. And so we asked the very simple question of could we take all the good things about psilocybin and truncate the experience? 

And just so happens that there's a molecule that Sasha Shulgin created called 4-HO-DiPT, which in the brain works almost exactly like psilocybin. Subjectively it's almost like psilocybin, but the duration of experience is about half of psilocybin.

So we looked at and we're like, well, you got all the upside. What's happening in the brain, the subjective and emotional processing is all the same. But you're in the clinic for half the time, which means you need the space for half the time, which means you need the therapists or the doctors for half the time. And that becomes a much more attractive medicine just because it becomes clinically easier to administer. 

So we just started phase one trials in Australia with it and we hope to get it to market early. Our first indication actually is going to be most likely post-partum depression because it's one of the most under-diagnosed conditions in our society. Obviously, the impact of postpartum depression is far greater than just on the individual because the spouse and the child is affected by it quite deeply as well. And there's no real viable treatment option. The only approved drug for postpartum depression is, I think, a 50-hour infusion. 

So you have to be in a hospital or a clinic for 50 hours away from your baby, not nursing and all that stuff. Not really a good option. With RE -104, what we think will happen is you're going to have something where in the morning or afternoon you can go for a transformative experience. Deal with the postpartum depression, hopefully, and then within a day be back to nursing your baby and back at home and all that stuff. That's really powerful.

Luke Storey: [01:51:03] All right. I like that because while she is nursing the said baby, the baby is going to be getting a microdose probably for a couple of days after. We got to make sure that it's out of the system before that activated charcoal. You could get it out. I have this fantasy that if a baby is intelligently exposed to things like that, it's going to be some sort of superconscious being, because you look at these indigenous cultures in Peru and the Amazon and babies are sitting in ceremonies with their shaman moms, and breastfeeding the whole time and everyone's chilling. 

It's a different context, obviously, because it's a different culture and people have different customs and responsibilities and a totally different way of life. But there's a part of me that says, "Yeah, there's something to that. I don't know what that is, but maybe it'll be revealed."

Ronan Levy: [01:51:54] I see it a lot actually, with kids these days. They just seem to be more attuned and sensitive and aware than I was at that same age. It does feel like we are evolving and the next generation of kids, they're stepping up the game of consciousness.

Luke Storey: [01:52:08] I think so. So yeah, I'm looking forward to having one of those little enlightened beings myself.

Ronan Levy: [01:52:14] There you go.

Luke Storey: [01:52:15] So what's my last question? My last question is, when does the documentary come out and how are we going to be able to see it? Is it still in editing and all that? Is it a way out or what?

Ronan Levy: [01:52:23] Yeah, so we're just finalizing the edit. We're submitting to a whole bunch of film festivals and some of the rules around film festivals is that you can't premiere it except at that film festival. So we just submit it to Sundance, and fingers crossed we get accepted there, and then hopefully if that works out, maybe I'll reality-create that. 

Will be premiering at Sundance in February, fingers crossed, if not there, maybe South by Southwest. So it's unknown, but we'd really like to make a splash at a film festival, so it'll be available once that happens. And then from there, I'm sure we'll cast on Netflix and all that stuff. But all of it is still TBD. But if you go to ordinarytrip.com, you can get a little flavor for it and you can see the sizzle that you've now seen.

Luke Storey: [01:53:03] Yeah, I highly recommend people check that out. It looks really cool. I was like, where's the whole thing? Like it was an effective sizzle because I'm like, I want to watch this.

Ronan Levy: [01:53:10] Perfect.

Luke Storey: [01:53:11] Yeah, that's great. Last question, my friend, is who are three teachers or teachings that have influenced your life in your work that you'd like to share with us?

Ronan Levy: [01:53:20] So Irwin Perlman has been my teacher for the last 15 years, really introduced me to meditation and spirituality, and reality creation. I still work with him every few weeks or every month or so, and it's super powerful and he's the one-- a lot of what I've shared has come through working with him. So if anyone's interested in checking him out, he has a website called theepmaterial, irwinperlmanepmaterial.com.

Tom Robbins, the author Tom Robbins has been such a profound influence on my life. I remember when I was reading Still Life with Woodpecker-- if you haven't read Tom Robbins, you need to read Tom Robbins. It's fantastic. He talks about his first experience with LSD. It was the '60s, but it wasn't at Woodstock. He went to a psychologist's office and took LSD and talks about how it profoundly changed his life.

And actually, it was his work that started to let me have permission to explore drugs because up to that point, it was like drugs are bad. And then it just showed me a different side that they can be used productively. This is well before the cannabis industry. 

But I remember when I was reading Still Life with Woodpecker, he has this one paragraph that explores how can one person be more real than any other person, and just talks about things you do in life and all the things that we're scared of, like people who are afraid to drink Mexican water, to eat what they crave, all this stuff. Those people are inauthentic. 

It's not entirely true. I get it. But it's like authenticity is leaning into all of those things, the things that we think are ugly or uncouth. It's all part of the experience. And I remember sitting up, I was reading it, I sat up in my bed and I was like, "This is the most transformative thing I've ever read." And I was so inspired that I texted a girl that I had a crush on and said, like, "Meet me in New York, we're going on a date."

And so she flew in from Iceland, and I flew in from Toronto, and we spent the weekend together in New York, all inspired by that one passage. And so Tom Robbins is absolutely worth reading. Be warned, his books don't follow normal story arcs. It takes about 50 pages before you understand his writing style. But once you get into it, it's hard to go back to any other authors' after reading Tom Robbins.

And who is a third person? I would just go to a very recent one, I've been reading Yuval Noah Harari with Sapiens and Homo Deus, and I really appreciate the perspective he offers of where we've come from and where we are going and seeing things in a different light. So that would be another book I would highly recommend. 

There's friends and all other people who have had a profound influence on my life, but those are the three that come to mind off the top of my head.

Luke Storey: [01:56:04] Excellent. Thank you, man. I appreciate it.

Ronan Levy: [01:56:07] Of course, thank you.

Luke Storey: [01:56:07] Fun conversation. I knew that this would be a fun spontaneous chat. After being a guest on your podcast I was like, ah, this is going to be easy. It's nice that I'm prepared, but I didn't have to be like, prepared, prepared. I knew we would just have a fun chat. And we have so much in common in our perspective and experience in life. So thank you, man. I really appreciate you joining me and hopefully, some people get out there and get to experience one of the Field Trip clinics, man.

Like I said, my friend, David, had a great experience. I've yet to go to one because I'm already healed and don't need to, but there's one in Austin, and I'd probably do it. I would probably do it just to get an actual more of the traditional experience of ketamine instead of just like, ah, I'm going to do it and meditate and then go to bed. I've never really done it with any structure.

Ronan Levy: [01:56:55] Next time you're in LA, we probably can't do a full course, but we can probably hook you up for a more structured experience.

Luke Storey: [01:57:00] Cool, I'll do it. I'm scared of that, the intramuscular like, all at once.

Ronan Levy: [01:57:05] If you've had 5-MEO, I'm quite confident you'll be okay.

Luke Storey: [01:57:09] I could probably handle it.

Ronan Levy: [01:57:10] Yeah. Exactly.

Luke Storey: [01:57:11] Well, congratulations on your success. Keep up the good work.

Ronan Levy: [01:57:14] Thank you. Thank you for having me. It's been a pleasure.

Luke Storey: [01:57:20] Well, that's it, guys. Thanks for joining me on another trip into the fascinating world of psychedelics. As upside down as the world seems to be right now, it's truly inspiring to meet guys like Ronan, who are doing such impactful work in the world, and to see the evolution of alternative therapies like the ones we discussed. 

And let me say, as someone who struggled with trauma, PTSD, addictions, and mental health issues, it brings me great joy to share information like this with all of you. But man, I can't help but think I wish these innovations in healing were more readily known and accessible 25 years ago when I was experiencing such hopeless suffering. So my prayer is that this one touched you in some way and that we part ways inspire to keep finding our way back to clarity, integrity, and of course, love.

And to learn more about Field Trip and their offerings, visit lukestorey.com/fieldtrip to find out how to take advantage of the cutting-edge therapies discussed in this episode. Until then, hang tight and I'll be back next Tuesday with Alan Baughman on Episode 456, where we'll unlock the mysteries of hair loss and all methods of restoration for both men and women. See you then.



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