• Warrior Monk

Warrior Monk Conversations 010: The Future of Plant Medicine with Dr. Lynn Marie Morski

Updated: Jun 29, 2020

Dr. Lynn Marie Morski is a physician, attorney, and lifelong quitter. In this episode she shares her story—growing up with an uber strict, right-wing father but gave her freedom to make decisions for herself, learning dance as a kid, studying multimedia in graduate school, pivoting to medical school to financially secure her future, becoming an attorney, and making the decision to stop living in fear which led her to discovering plant medicine.

Dr. Morski also talks about the medicinal benefits of Ayahuasca, CBD, Creatine, Kambo, Ketamine, LSD, Mescaline, and Psilocybin.

Dr. Lynn Marie Morski is a Mayo Clinic-trained physician in family medicine with specialty training in sports medicine. After graduation from sports medicine fellowship, Dr. Morski began work as a physician at the Veterans Administration, and then later began law school at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, CA, where she graduated as valedictorian in December 2014. She was admitted to the California Bar in June 2015.

She wrote the book Quitting by Design and also hosts the podcast Quit Happens.

Connect with Dr. Lynn Marie Morski on Instagram @lynnmariemorski and on her website: quittingbydesign.com

Intro and Outro Music: Hearts on Fire by Immersive Music

Connect with me for inspiring and educational content on Instagram @warriormonk and Facebook: facebook.com/thewarriormonk

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The repository of Warrior Monk Conversations podcast episodes are found here: www.thewarriormonk.me

#wellbeing #plantmedicine #quithappens #lynnmariemorski #quittingbydesign #poonachamachaiah #mentalhealth #wellness #resilience #medicine #quitting


Warrior Monk Conversations 010: The Future of Plant Medicine with Dr. Lynn Marie Morski, MD, Esq.

Welcome to Warrior Monk Conversations, a treasure trove of inspirational discussions in personal and professional development.

I am Poonacha Machaiah. Join me on this journey where I have immersive conversations with the most thought-provoking leaders and everyday heroes from our communities to inspire, educate, and empower you to build resilience and reach your highest potential. Join me on this mission to create a positive societal shift to the compassionate transformation of humankind.

Dr. Lynn Marie Morski is a Mayo Clinic-trained physician in family medicine with specialty training in sports medicine. After graduation from sports medicine fellowship, Dr. Morski began work as a physician at the Veterans Administration and then later began law school at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, where she graduated as valedictorian in December 2014. Prior to writing her first book Quitting by Design and beginning her first podcast Quit Happens, she was an adjunct professor of health law, worked in nonpartisan election reform, and served as co-founder, chief medical officer and in-house legal counsel for MedRepublic. She's also the founder of PlantMedicine.org and host of the Plant Medicine Podcast. She made it her mission to help educate her fellow physicians on the plant medicines and entheogens that could bring life-changing relief to their patients.

Poonacha: Hi, Lynn Marie.

Lynn: Hi, Poonacha!

Poonacha: I'm looking forward to the podcast today.

Lynn: Likewise, my friend.

Poonacha: And I am going to just get straight down to it, right? So let's start with “QUIT until the life you want is yours.”

Lynn: Yes.

Poonacha: Tell us, tell me, how'd it all start? What was, this is your favorite quote, and I see it on your website, so give me the backstory. Let's unpack it.

Lynn: Let’s unpack it. I have always used, whether or not I was thinking about it as such, but I've always used quitting or specifically, strategic quitting, as I call it now, as the way to carve out the life that I currently lead, it's not traditional at all, none of the white picket fence, family, normal job, none of those have ever been in my future, but I made it from Southern Illinois to San Diego and lots of things in between, and lots of career moves, because I had no problem quitting anything that wasn't working for me and quitting strategically. I wasn't giving up, but I knew when something was just, I had tried it, I'd given it its fair shot, maybe it was for me at some point, didn't serve me, I moved on. And through that, I've been able to do just a myriad of things. But at some point, I was listening to a podcast called Freakonomics, and they had an episode called The Upside of Quitting, and they were talking about it as a concept. Like, I never sat around and thought like, ‘Oh, I'm really good at quitting.’ It's just not a thing that,

Poonacha: Uh-huh, I know that. It’s sort of not a thing. (both laugh)

Lynn: It’s not a thing, right? And so at that point, I'm listening to this episode, and they're talking about these different economic concepts regarding quitting. There's, like, sunk cost fallacy and opportunity costs. I was like, ‘oh, this is a thing.’ And so, Law School graduation came around, and I was asked to give a speech, and I thought, ‘what would be useful?’ And I said, I'm going to tell the graduating class about quitting because so many lawyers are unhappy. We know this. So many people in many careers are unhappy, but lawyers seemingly, most specifically, you know, they have to work so many hours to get their billable hours in, and it's hard work, and a lot of them are, you know, arguing for living, like, it's a stressful field.

And so I gave my speech on quitting, and people loved it, and it kind of caught on from there, like a podcast, saw the video and picked it up. And I started realizing like, ‘this is, this is a thing,’ and, everybody's told to live their best life, but, you know, there's a million and one Health self-help books on that, how many books are there on how to quit the life that isn't the best and do it strategically? And so, that's where I was like, ‘this, I think is is where I'm called to insert my, insert my years of just personal experience’ but then combined with, like, I picked up some of those concepts from Freakonomics, and, and so that's what led me to write the book.

Poonacha: You know, when I listened to you, when you're explaining to me, I think it's, as an entrepreneur, I would say, it's pivoting.

Lynn: Yes.

Poonacha: Right? I look at every, every point, we pivot,

Lynn: Yes.

Poonacha: And we kind of learn and say, ‘okay, this is sunk cost, and now, we're going to pivot’ because you learn enough from what it is.

Lynn: Yes.

Poonacha: I'm fascinated by your journey, and I really think you're like a renaissance woman, right? So, I mean, I, literally, I don't know where to start. But you said you started your career life as a professional designer, right?

Lynn: I was a multimedia designer, yes.

Poonacha: Wow. And then, medicine.

Lynn: And then, medicine. (laughs) Yeah, coming out of the field.

Poonacha: And then, law.

Lynn: And then, law.

Poonacha: I'm like, how do you kind of keep---it's very tenacious, right? Because these are not degrees you do a one-year course in. You actually go, and medicine especially. What is your secret? How do you kind of do these different things, and you do it so well? It's not like---you taught, you learned, you started basically being in professional law, then you started teaching law. It's not like, you just, like, 'okay, I took an online course, I got a law degree, and then, I moved on.' So there is a secret here. So what is that? How do you get through these things?

Lynn: Ooh, I think there are two different secrets. One is probably a more shameful secret, but I'll start with the other one.

Poonacha: Right. (both laugh)

Lynn: Because there's getting through, and then, there's ‘what to you’, as you described, it was excelling. To me, is maybe not as---we'll explain that later. Getting through is 'what is your why?' Why are you doing this? Like at the time I decided to go to medicine and make a pivot, as you would call it, from multimedia. There were a lot of factors. I didn't plan to be a multimedia designer. I wanted to be a video editor, but I was living in St. Louis, and video editing of music videos, which is---

Poonacha: So now, I know where you got those video editing skills for your annual video.

Lynn: Yes.

Poonacha: There you go.

Lynn: Yes, yes, exactly.

Poonacha: Okay.

Lynn: Yeah, my entire undergrad was in video production.

Poonacha: Okay.

Lynn: So I finished the undergrad, and I wanted to be a music video editor, but, like, aside from Nelly, nobody in St. Louis is making music videos at this time. This is like 1998 or something. I'm going to tell you how old I am there. But, at that point, I was like, 'what am I going to do?' And the place I was interning said, "If you can learn multimedia in two weeks, you'll be hired as a multimedia designer." And so, I spent two weeks just learning what I could, and then, I got hired. And then, I went into grad school for multimedia to get better at it, but I never got better. And so, I was bad at multimedia, and it's really hard to enjoy something where you're just constantly hitting your head against the wall. And so, at the ripe age of 21, halfway through grad school, I have this, like, crisis of 'what do I do now?' Because as a type A, you know, achiever type, type-A-achiever-type, we always have a plan.

Poonacha: Right.

Lynn: We know what's next.

Poonacha: Right.

Lynn: And suddenly, I didn't know what was next, and it was like, 'was my entire undergrad for nothing? What do I do? Oh, my gosh.' So I went to the drawing board and, like, what, put every career down possible, and at the time, my swing dance partner was a urology resident, and my brother, somewhere around that same time, had a phone call with me, and he said, like, "our parents don't have any retirement that I know of." And he's like, "I'm working at the Weston, and you're not making any money in multimedia." Like, "What are we going to do?"

Poonacha: Right.

Lynn: And so, I had to factor in, like, must find job with secure financial future, and I did all the calculations and picked sports medicine doctor as the next thing I was going to do, but, like, there were very many parts of that decision that were strangely made. Like, that's a 10-year---I mean, I didn't have pre-med requisites. I had to do pre-med, and then, med school, and then, residency, and fellowship, and that was a quarter million dollars in student loans. That was a massive decision to make, but like you said, 'how do you get through it? It's what, ‘What is your why?’ Like, right then, I was struggling financially, and we struggled financially my entire life, and my ‘why’ was like, 'No more of this.' And that was, that was my, and, like, there's other, you know, things that seemed cool about sports medicine, but, like, that was my main ‘whys’. It's like, ‘doesn't matter if I have to put my head down for 10 years. This is my way out of,’ you know, ‘not abject poverty but financial struggles.’

Poonacha: Right.

Lynn: And with that, I mean, and medicine was extremely hard. I did my residency at the Mayo Clinic. It was call every third night. The 80 hour weeks, I was struggling so much and though, because I didn't enjoy medicine, which I'm sure we'll get to later. But, like, it was like, ‘When you get out of this, you have a job with the future, and you won't be struggling.’ And that's the first answer. But the second about excelling, is that you know—I mean, this is the one that I think is more of a dirty secret—but, like, you know the low-hanging fruit and the ways to get at it.

Poonacha: Right.

Lynn: For example, I went to the Mayo Clinic for residency, which sounds super fancy.

Poonacha: Right. Right, that really sounds, it is super fancy.

Lynn: It is super fancy. (Lynn laughs)

Poonacha: Let's not kid each other, right? It doesn't matter who you are, and how much of you you thought, when you got into Mayo Clinic, then you got into Mayo Clinic.

Lynn: Thanks, Poonacha. (Poonacha laughs) But, like, out of all those things, I was family medicine, and family medicine is the least competitive of all these specialties. So, like, if you're going to get, you know, if you're like a neurosurgeon resident at Mayo Clinic, that's one thing. I was family medicine. That program eventually shut down. Like, it was not some super prestigious program, but it looks really good, right?

Poonacha: Right.

Lynn: And then, like, with law school, you were saying, “How did you get to be a professor?” I just kept asking the school I went to, like, “Do you need somebody?” And then, my mentor happened to quit. And so, she just kind of, like, put me in the role. So it's a whole lot of just, like, tenacious, kind of going after a thing that, you know, I wasn't a law professor at Harvard, you know, like, I feel kind of, I've never shared that in a podcast, but it's like, you know, there's ways to build your resume without going straight for, like, the highest, and that's kind of, you know-

Poonacha: No, I appreciate your candid honesty, but in no ways, it's still an achievement, right? People, to go through 1-3 years and actually go back, and, from my perspective, I think, excel, doesn't matter what it’d say, right? So in these moments, is there a time when you decided that, after medicine, you worked with the Veterans Administration, is that right?

Lynn: Yes.

Poonacha: And then, take me to the time or a day or a moment when you thought that ‘I'm done.’

Lynn: Oh, that was before I finished fellowship.

Poonacha: Okay.

Lynn: It was somewhere in, maybe, August or October of 2008. And my fellowship went---this is sports medicine fellowship.

Poonacha: Right.

Lynn: I have waited nine years to get here. I've done pre-med, med school, residency, struggling every moment but thinking, ‘the light at the end of the tunnel is sports medicine fellowship.’ This is what I write in my book, “Check how long that tunnel is and how bright that light is. Because”

Poonacha: Nine years.

Lynn: Yeah. “If you are going that far,” and 250, you know, thousand dollars in debt for this idea at the end of the tunnel, “You better be sure that light is bright.” And I thought I had shadowed sports medicine. I thought I knew what it was going to be like, and I got to it, and it wasn't like that. I thought it's going to be just exciting. You know, you're in the games, and I'm like, ‘Oh, I guess it should have occurred to me, I don't love watching sports”, like, that should have been the first clue, but I really thought I could make it into dance medicine because I'm a dancer. And said, people told me if you do sports medicine, you could transfer into dance. I do not, to this day, know of a full time dance physician. It's usually a volunteer position. And so, when I started realizing these things, and then, I was just having no social life because these games take up all your night, and the clinic took all my day. I thought, ‘I've made a massive mistake.’

And I went to my fellowship director. I said, “I don't know what I'm going to do, but I don't want to do sports medicine.” And he said, “Well, finish the fellowship.” And I said, “I will.” And he said, “We'll send you to fewer games,” like, if the team toured, I didn't tour with them. I gave up, essentially, everybody else's dream job. I was the sports med, one of the sports med docs for the University of Arizona. Like, if they got into a bowl game, everybody went, and everybody was so excited, and I was excited to not go because I was just miserable doing it.

And this was another crisis because here I am 10 years after my first crisis, and I'm like, ‘I made the wrong choice 10 years ago.’ And I can either do what I think a lot of people do, is just stay with it and say, ‘This is what I trained for. I'm going to do this for life,’ or they can do what I chose to do, which was decide ‘what are the parts of this job that give me the most stress? And what are the parts that I never want to do again? And what's left? And how can I make a career out of that?’

Poonacha: Wow. You know, I, the more I listen to you, I think there's a lot of my own life which I cannot go back to, right? Growing up in India, you pretty much what---it’s either, is, like, your choices are doctor, lawyer, engineer, and if you don't do that, you don't really fit in. And I had my own fair share of trying to figure this out, and especially where I am today, is my dad even told me, like, when I started changing jobs, my dad was like, “Are you really that bad?” Like, “Do they just fire you from every job?” Like, he just wasn't even---being a police officer, having worked 30 years in one job, it is completely alien to him that somebody quits or moves after five years.

Lynn: Yeah.

Poonacha: And, I was, you know, at Nortel, top of my game, and I went to join a different company, and he was like, “Why? Why do you do that?” I see it. I think this is, I think what's, I think a key takeaway here is that, you know, like, nine years, almost 10 years, and then after that investment, to have the guts to go back and say, ‘You know what? No, it's just not for me. I need to do something else.’ But there's a theme, which I'm kind of, listening to you, is that, dance.

Lynn: Oh, yeah. (chuckles)

Poonacha: Tell me. I know you're an amazing dancer. You're a Bolly Beau I'm a terrible Bollywood dancer, but you're an amazing Bollywood dancer. And, Aamir Khan, if you're listening, Lynn Marie is your biggest fan. (Lynn laughs) And after that, Hrithik Roshan. So, you know, you just take a number, kind a thing.

Lynn: Right, because there’s selection.

Poonacha: (chuckles) The list goes on. And you are probably more Bollywood and Indian-knowledged than most Indians are. You---I see henna on your hand, and you are your own henna artist. So obviously, no kidding, you really don't do anything well. (both laugh) What's your story with dance? How did it start? Like, I'm sure there was, early days, and it continued.

Lynn: Yeah, that, it's one of my favorite stories that nobody's ever asked me about, but my mom, I remember this very vividly, she came home, she was working in retail. And apparently, one of my dad's old friends from when my dad used to be a teacher, showed up at, it was like the Macy's equivalent where my mom worked, and she was a dance teacher. And she said to my mom, like, you know, “What do you think about getting your daughter into dance?” And I'm sure she came home and said, “Do you want to do this?” And I was like, “sure,” but I don't remember having any, like, pre-thought about, like, I want to be a dancer, nothing like that.

But the minute they took me, it was done. Like, my mom's favorite story to tell would be like, I would show up, because my mom's compulsively early, so we'd show up way early for my class, and there was a class before of, like, the more advanced kids, and I would watch it, and I had the entire thing memorized.

And so one day, the teacher just waved me in, like, ‘just come on in and perform this with us’, you know, and I just went in and did the routine with them. And, like, starting my second year of dance, when I was eight, they gave me solos, so it was just like, I no longer danced with a class. I was just by myself. And then, I was teaching by 13, and I learned Bollywood dance in medical school ‘cause everybody was Indian, and I loved it. And I was like, ‘Okay, this thing's way better than anything Americans have. Let's do this.’ And salsa dancing, the minute I was 21, I could go to a club. I started salsa dancing, and I was a swing dancer before that. So those are my main dance-

Poonacha: And you also practiced capoeira, right?

Lynn: I trained capoeira for seven years. Yeah.

Poonacha: Yeah, no kidding. So you really kick butt and dance.

Lynn: I try. (laughs) There were a few butts that were actually kicked out, but I try. (Poonacha chuckles)

Poonacha: And I will get back to your Colombia journey, and to Cuba, and for dance, a love for dance.

Lynn: Yeah, a love for dance.

Poonacha: And, you know, your passion and obsession, I guess. So I want to ask you a kind of question. I saw your post about your conversation with your dad.

Lynn: Oh, yeah.

Poonacha: Right? And before we get into the post, what was it like growing up? What was---how was Lynn, when we go back in time and memory lane, Lynn, eight-year old Lynn and 18-year old Lynn? How was, what was it like?

Lynn: So my parents were a combination, my dad, uber strict, right-wing, Rush Limbaugh, super conservative, and Coulter, I read her books, like, I mean, this is a super right-wing household. My mom didn't really, you know, wasn't in politics, but my dad was the one who was very---my dad was a politician, so it was very prevalent. But they were a combination of that was super strict, but outside of, like, things that were---and also, super Catholic. Like, “you better go to church every week this time,” and “you better be voting Republican.” Like, legit! I get a 6AM call on primary day, like, up until I was in college, “Vote for Dubya.” Like, I mean, they’re, like, totally strict, but when it came to making decisions for myself, they never questioned me.

So as long as the decision didn't go against Catholicism or the Republican Party, I could do whatever I wanted to, no matter how crazy it was. Like, I had a fantastic GPA, and I chose to go to a school that required no GPA, essentially, what’s---it was a very strange, sorry, Webster University, but it's a very strange school. You know, I think that, you know, most people with that kind of GPA, their parents would be like, ‘Go get Yale or something.’ Our parents are like, ‘do whatever you want. Do whatever makes you happy.’ Like, they never---even if they questioned it, they didn't question it to me.

And so I, essentially, I think that's what led me to the path of having the ability to strategically quit anything. It’s because I think a lot of people don't quit things because they have to answer to their parents or whatever. What, like you said, when you're, you know, your dad's questioning all of your moves even into adulthood. My parents never question anything. So I just made these moves bravely, didn't, you know, if they weren't going to question me, and I thought they were the great, the best moves ever, ‘Let's do this!’ And so that was what was like growing up, a combination of total freedom and total not freedom.

Poonacha: Wow. You said you grew up in close to St. Louis, Missouri, right?

Lynn: Uh-huh.

Poonacha: And we look at as, especially, a woman who's so accomplished as you are, and you're looking into choices. What are the choices in your life, that when you look back today, think of ‘Wow! That was the most difficult choice,’ and you had to make these radical choices, and one, you made so many different choices, which are kind of difficult from my perspective, but is there something in your life which was a pivotal moment to who making Lynn Murray who she is today? Forget about your studies. What, was there something? Was there a moment in your life which kind of transformed you?

Lynn: Whew! You know, what's funny, and I just, obviously, when you asked this question, I think back through an entire lifetime of like, ‘Okay, is it when I decided to quit medicine or decided to quit this and that?’

Poonacha: Yeah. No, none of those.

Lynn: I swear to you, and this is going to come out on this podcast, but it was sometime in July of 2013. I grew up like, super conservative parents. If they drank, we didn't see it. There were no drugs anywhere around. And, then, I worked for the Veterans Affairs, so I didn't even drink like a glass of wine till I was probably 26. And suddenly, I'm 35, and I've never come in contact with marijuana, cannabis. Nothing! Like, I had nothing! And my neighbor has me over, a new neighbor moved in, and he's offering me some cannabis, and I said, “Well, I can't. I work for the Department of Defense, and they can drug test us.” And he said, “Have they?” I said, “well, not as of yet. I've been there for years,” you know, “but it's a really good job and I didn't want to lose it.” He's like, “just try it,” you know, and I tried it, and it's not like, ‘oh!’ then everything changed! Nothing changed at all. I felt nothing.

But I think it was the moment that I stopped living in fear of what the Department of Defense could do to me, you know, as my employer. And, so then, I think two months later, I met my first Burning Man, and I had my first LSD experience, because I no longer had these fears of like, ‘I better stay away from all the things that may ever,’ you know. I didn't know what was gonna happen, but I tried cannabis, and nothing bad happened. And I was like, ‘Well, let's try this other thing,’ and the amount of psychotherapeutic effects that these substances have had in my life compared to, you know, I haven't been in therapy too many times, but the times I've gone, nothing earth-shattering had happened, but something earth-shattering happens almost every time I do a legitimate psychedelic ceremony. And so, I'd say it's the decision to stop living in fear and to start experimenting with things that probably changed everything.

Poonacha: I have an acronym for fear, and I call it False Evidence Appearing Real. Right? Fear is, in the moment, it is the biggest mountain to climb, but when you actually go on the top, like, ‘wow. It wasn't that big, was it?’ So let's switch gears now, and this is something both of us talk a lot about, plant medicine and psychedelics. I know you're kind of pioneering with your website, PlantMedicine.org, your podcast. You know, if I have to look---my audience, obviously, is looking at, you know, how, where do we---there’s so much information on the internet, so I want to kind of, maybe, have you provide clarity, right? And when you define plant medicine, how would you define plant medicine?

Lynn: So it's a very tricky term, and when I was trying to name the podcast and the website, I literally put this on Facebook, like “guys, help me out with this” because, and everybody in the, I mean, many people in this arena have the same difficulty because not all the substances I discuss are plants. Some are synthetic, some are fungi, some are frogs. But then, if we call it psychedelics, then, I wasn't as able to talk about cannabis and CBD, and those are beautiful gateways into the rest, like I have said for myself, but they're very healing gateways, and I did not want to exclude those by just talking about psychedelics.

And so, the word entheogen is often used, which is, like, brings you closer to God is something, you know, the definition of, because there's theo and the root there. And so, a lot of people talk about these as like entheogenic medicines, which is probably a more correct term for a lot of these, but for me, it is anything---plant medicine is obviously anything that I'm referring to on the podcast and in the website. Anything from CBD to Ayahuasca to ibogaine that comes from a plant that has healing properties. CBD and cannabis are, like I said, I have them mostly in there for gateway purposes, and because they've also been shown for so long. They have that same stigma that the rest of them do, you know, like nobody's stigmatizing turmeric, but CBD and cannabis still.

So that's why I wanted them to still get exposure, but mostly the plant medicine discussion is around cannabis on up, essentially, as these substances that have properties that can significantly help in a lot of areas, not even just mental health, but mental and spiritual health, which often translates to body health as well. There's a lot of---in fact, they're finding more and more of these substances have neurogenic properties. So that's an actual physical change that you can see in MRIs, for example. So for me, plant medicines are the substances that have those properties. Many have psychedelic properties along with them. You know, something like CBD, not so much, but psilocybin on up.

Poonacha: Sure.

Lynn: There’s definitely some possibilities. But then, like I said, even though they're not plants, I think a lot of people---I think plant medicine is almost kind of the fancy term when people are talking about psychedelics but don't want to come out and say it so much. (Poonacha laughs) You know, ‘cause it's like psychedelics had their 1960s issues,

Poonacha: Right.

Lynn: Whatever. And so it's like, ‘Oh, but this is plant medicine.’

Poonacha: Right.

Lynn: You know, this is, it's a little, the prettier term for it, but it also encompasses LSD, MDMA, ketamine. Ketamine is the one that's legal, and it's saving people all over, and that's, you know,

Poonacha: I always tell people, alcohol has killed more people, right? I mean, if you want to make it a controlled substance, alcohol should be on top of the list as a control.

Lynn: Absolutely.

Poonacha: But I know we won't get into it. The lobbyists are way too strong. But also, say, like, you know, number one most popular psycho-stimulant probably is caffeine.

Lynn: It is!

Poonacha: Right?

Lynn: Yeah!

Poonacha: It is the most abundantly available, and it’s---it takes generations before some of these things enter mainstream. So from a dummy's guide to plant medicine, maybe, if you can give me a one sentence or two sentences, whatever you want, to just walk me through some of these things, which are---and just give me, like, your thoughts and applications from a health, wellness, right? I want to get to the last topic, which I'm very passionate about, is how the work you're doing, how these could be for PTSD for veterans. I mean, 20-22 veterans commit suicide in this great nation. Right? And if you think about it, a lot of them were in opioids, right? A lot of them were on, basically, depressed, mental health crisis. And I think there's an opportunity. We'll get to that. So let's start the first one. 5-MeO-DMT.

Lynn: (laughs) Let’s start right with that. Very often used, so that's one that's, from the, most often, from a Sonoran Desert Toad, and from the parotid I believe one of the parotid gland or another gland of the toad, and it is smoked, and it---what I'm seeing most frequently, it's used, especially, like you said, in veteran populations, is a lot of times, people are doing Ibogaine, which maybe we'll get to, first, and then, 5-MeO after. 5-MeO is said to be the experience that is like a God-oneness experience. Like, it is very short. It's under 20 minutes, but so many people say they met God that day, and these are not religious people.

But they go in and, so, you know, all of this, by the way, disclaimer, none of this is medical advice. None of this is legal advice. Do not try this at home. All the disclaimers, as a doctor and lawyer, come out, but, you know, and also the disclaimer is, you know, what I'm describing, that may be an experience for a lot of people may not be your experience.

Poonacha: Sure.

Lynn: I haven't had that experience with 5-MeO, but, overwhelmingly, people say they meet God. And a lot of times, when it's used in conjunction with Ibogaine, Ibogaine is a very difficult journey, and it's very therapeutic, but you're kind of beat up afterwards sometimes, and then, you do 5-MeO-DMT on the backside of that, and it kind of brings this light back in, and it helps you kind of integrate the things that you saw in the Ibogaine journey but in a in a lighter sense. It kind of takes a little bit of the darkness away.

Poonacha: And what’s the origin of Ibogaine?

Lynn: The origin of Ibogaine?

Poonacha: Right.

Lynn: From the Iboga plant that the Bwiti Tribe uses in ceremony.

Poonacha: Okay. Cool. Ayahuasca.

Lynn: Ayahuasca. My friend. (laughs)

Poonacha: You were in Colombia recently.

Lynn: I was. I was. Ayahuasca is made from a vine and a leaf combined together. It's made into a tea. And that, people, I mean, if, therapeutically, great for releasing trauma, PTSD, obviously, but if you read Dr. Joe Tafur’s The Fellowship of the River, he's a physician who was trained in Ayahuasca administration, if there’s a better way to say it, but in an Amazonian tradition, and he found ways to incorporate the Amazonian diet and Ayahuasca that was helping with things like inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis, ovarian problems. Like, that medicine is a mystery, a beautiful mystery, because it's the one I was telling you, it helps with neurogenesis.

Poonacha: Right.

Lynn: Dr. Dan Engle was on my podcast, and he said he saw an MRI before he started doing Ayahuasca and after, and the neurogenesis, like, he had so many traumatic brain injuries from soccer. It was showing his brain regenerating!

Poonacha: Wow!

Lynn: And so, Ayahuasca got a lot of magical powers.

Poonacha: Again, I guess that it’s potential research.

Lynn: Yes.

Poonacha: I know what---I forget his name right of---I heard USC is doing a lot of royal con. I think a psychotherapist or psychiatrists were doing a lot of work.

Lynn: Yeah. By the way, I just said magical powers because I, that's like a statement, because I love it, but these are not magical powers. There's like a scientific basis for what's happening.

Poonacha: Awesome. CBD.

Lynn: CBD. I think it's the greatest, the hemp, the Farm Bill of 2018 allowing us all to have access to CBD in the US that’s THC-free has been amazing because I think that's going to get a lot of people in to the plant medicine field, tiptoe in. And it can help people with opioid addiction. I mean, it's like, ‘how can that little CBD that you can't even feel help with that?’ It does. They're showing that it helps opioid with pain, migraines. It's great for sleep. So there's so many things---anti-inflammatory. There's a lot of things that it's good for. The biggest thing with CBD is, know what you're getting and make sure that you're getting a high quality product.

Poonacha: Absolutely. So on the back of CBD, Kratom. I think that has a connection with opioids, too, right?

Lynn: Yes. And that's the one I know the least about. Our mutual friend, Sebastian, you better answer those questions. But yes, it does have that property, but there are also some addictive properties as well. So that's one that you have to-

Poonacha: That's from Indonesia. Its supply is from Indonesia. What's the root of kratom?

Lynn: That, I think it’s from Thailand.

Poonacha: Okay. We’ll call Sebastian.

Lynn: Yeah, that’s definitely a Sebastian question. Yes. That's the one that I have, you know, it's the last on the plant medicine list because it's kind of hanging off there, is, you know, it's legal status is up and down. It's, like, bizarrely illegal just in the city of San Diego.

Poonacha: Right.

Lynn: Yeah. So we will eventually get to that one on the podcast.

Poonacha: Awesome. Kambo.

Lynn: Oh, Kambo. The frog poison is a warrior medicine, they say, and you purge. Most people purge. They burn little holes into you. That sounds crazy. But this is what happens. They burn these very small holes. They put the poison in. You become very sick. You probably purged, and then, afterward, it's over, and many people feel clarity.

Poonacha: No, I did it. I felt like, you know, I was like, for five minutes, I was like, ‘Oh, my God! What the hell is happening here?’ (both laugh)

Lynn: ‘What did I get myself to flu?’

Poonacha: ‘Whaaaat?!’ And then, you're right. And then, you kind of feel, like, this rush, and then, you feel like, ‘Wow,’ you know, ‘come for de’---a good detox, I would say. A detox feel.

Lynn: Yeah. That’s what a lot of people say they felt.

Poonacha: That's what I felt when I, awesome. Ketamine.

Lynn: Ketamine. The only one that is universally legal in the US, very helpful for depression, suicidality, PTSD. I saw somebody—it depends on, and the thing I'd say, you know, before—I just don’t want to give you one or two sentences.

Poonacha: Yeah.

Lynn: I'm just like, let me talk for 20 minutes about it.

Poonacha: No, no, no.

Lynn: But ketamine, the big thing is, there's different administration routes. You can get IV. You can do intramuscular.

Poonacha: Right.

Lynn: And if you're going to go the IV route, just make sure that the clinic you're going to is, let's just say, the least clinical seeming while having all of the safeguards, but there's an element to most of these medicines that is enhanced if you're, if there's like a, you're in a setting with nice music, dimmer lights and not like, ‘Okay, got a bright fluorescent light over you, and there's just beeping of heart monitors in the background,’ like, that, you’re going to want to experience with that. But take care to find a ketamine clinic that puts some intention into the set and setting, and also, they work with you to set an intention for your journeys, and it's not just like, ‘Oh, we're hooking you up. See you in a half hour or whatever.’ Like, that, I think, is the difference between what ketamine could maybe do and what ketamine can really do if you give it the chance.

Poonacha: Here's a question maybe, like, before I go next ones, is, like, how important is the ritual? You probably, It’s like when you take the molecule out of the plant and the shaman, the ritual experience, and put it into like a pill or in a clinical setting, you think you lose some of that integrity?

Lynn: It's a huge discussion going on right now.

Poonacha: Right.

Lynn: It's hard to say that you lose the integrity, but I think everybody agrees there's more about a thing when you do the thing, right?

Poonacha: Absolutely. We don’t want to have terms, but there is something with an X factor there which we can quantify.

Lynn: Right. Which is what's difficult because we want these medicines to be widespread, but how do you widespread an Ayahuasca ceremony?

Poonacha: Absolutely.

Lynn: It's very difficult. So that's, you know, there's so many new challenges that---exciting challenges, but definitely a challenge to figure out because, you know, people, like, ‘Hey, we can synthesize some psilocybin, and we can put these pills out.' Yes, but do you just pop it like you pop your daily antihypertensive and go about your day, or do you set an intention and say, 'I'm going to do this'? Because when you're doing things in ceremony, there's that intention setting, and afterwards, there's integration, and a lot of these are being investigated as modes of therapy.

So it's---yeah, people are microdosing and that kind of thing, but a lot of these heavier hitters in the big doses like MDMA, it's part of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. You have therapy beforehand. You have therapy during. You have therapy after. This is not just an isolated incident.

Poonacha: It’s a process, protocol, and a journey. That's probably what you call a journey, right?

Lynn: Yeah.

Poonacha: Okay. LSD.

Lynn: LSD. Most commonly, I'd say, right now, being used for microdosing. A lot of people use it for microdosing. The science doesn't necessarily support all the things that are claimed to do with microdosing, but it has been shown to help in some instances. And people take---they just had some article out where somebody had accidentally taken like hundreds of times the normal dose, and, first off, nothing bad happened, and secondly, thank goodness! Because it's, again, an issue of purity, as long as there's nothing tainted in there. But, she had, you know, like, pains went away that she'd had forever, and, like, she had all these remarkable things happen. And LSD’s right up there, like, it was my first experience, and it's right up there with a lot of the other ones, where if you do it in the, you know, the proper set and setting, it can really facilitate a lot of insights.

Poonacha: And this is why I think the work you're doing is so important because when you come to plant medicine and psychedelics, the entire research area, having somebody with an MD, which is so important with everything, which, in understanding healthcare, but I also think the thing over here, since you're also a lawyer, you know exactly what is the system, right? And it's so important that PlantMedicine.org is doing, and I’m---that's like my go-to resource right now when I want to get educated. We'll share the page on the show notes. But, you know, really having this curated knowledge, right? So having somebody who's---I can’t think of any other person who's doing the work you're doing and curating---people ask me questions, like, “PlantMedicine.org. Go there. Check it out.”

Lynn: Thank you!

Poonacha: Okay. Two more on the list. Mescaline.

Lynn: Mescaline. They talked about that being the big heart-opener. That and MDMA. But almost more so, that's just what they refer to, and that's one that I have less experience, and fewer people have come to me and have been like, “Mescaline changed my life!” But I see it done well, and it has this kind of communal, very often, it's done in these circles, and when you've got a heart-opener in these ceremonial circles, there is a lot of connection. And so, you know, I know one of your big things is connection and making sure people know they're not, they're never alone. And so, I think that's a great one for---you know, I have friends who if they have like a mastermind and they want to all do a ceremony together, that's what they would do.

Poonacha: Awesome.

Lynn: And I think that's a great setting for that.

Poonacha: And MDMA had a lot of research coming out now, right?

Lynn: Yes.

Poonacha: From a therapeutic and obviously the psychotherapist and things like that. Last one. Psilocybin.

Lynn: Probably my favorite. It’s my favorite because it has DMT in it just like Ayahuasca does. So you can have a lot of the same kind of effects, but psilocybin is gentler in some ways. You know, if Ayahuasca, there's often purging, and psilocybin, you know, and different medicines work for different people, but psilocybin, I've had as many, you know, insights as I have on Ayahuasca in a slightly lighter, I think, feel.

But it's great for---a lot of these medicines are, and especially that one---great for kind of looking back at your whole life because a lot of things will pop up, show you your whole journey, and show you why you were in that spot when you were--why you were like that, why you were supposed to be there, and why things have happened, and really good for people tran---you know, in transition times to like, ‘okay, let's put this, the past in one,’ you know, ‘let's look at the past and see what we can gain from that, but then, let's move to the future.’ It's, it's---I can't say enough good things about psilocybin, hymenogastraceae, none of them, like, very eloquently because I'm just, like, drifting off into my own, like, I---it's, you know, like, it's not, and it's not a thing that I do frequently.

Poonacha: Right.

Lynn: It's, you know, like, with the rest of these, it's something that is best done in ceremony. Psilocybin mixed with cacaos, even, you know, more of a heart-opener. Cacao is a great heart opener. But, yeah, psilocybin is a great kind of second step. If you're going to do CBD and cannabis, you know, as your first kind of gateway, psilocybin is a gentle, friendly next step, I think, for a lot of people.

Poonacha: So the main reason for, one of the main reasons today, besides listening to you and learning, as always, is talking about mental health. And this is a passion area for me. And I believe that this is another crisis, another, I would say, an epidemic of our times, in lieu of Coronavirus as a pandemic, (Lynn chuckles) but I think this is also the most, the least understood which, we tend to kind of over medicate people. But you look at your journey as a clinician and having done all these different modalities, how does this actually help people on the field? Do you have examples from working with veterans or, you know, armed forces? Do you have any use cases or actual practical examples you can share, obviously, confidentially, where you see the profound benefits?

Lynn: I can share non-confidentially because I've had these veterans come on my podcasts.

Poonacha: Okay, there you go.

Lynn: Yeah. So, you know, two use case scenarios. First off, there's a gentleman by the name of Jesse Gould who, thanks to his transformation through Ayahuasca, founded Heroic Hearts Project, which is a group that is dedicated to sending other veterans to go down and get Ayahuasca---healing through Ayahuasca. Because he came back from the service, he was a former Army Ranger, and so many people come back from the service, and you lose that community.

Poonacha: Uh-huh.

Lynn: Like, and the rest of the world isn't speaking the same language you are. And he was going into situations, and he'd have some social anxiety, and just overall in his life, there was nothing specifically wrong, but he just had this feeling of growing depression. And, you know, many of them go to the VA, and there are limited resources there. They might try the medicines. They might not. They might try the therapy. They might not. But a lot of them come to that same thing where they’re just like, ‘I need something else.’ And Jesse had heard about Ayahuasca, and he went down and tried it, and he had such profound healing that he came back and started Heroic Hearts, and now, it sends other people down there.

And, for Ibogaine, 5-MeO-DMT, Marcus Capone. He was a former seal, and his is interesting because it wasn't Just a case of PTSD. In fact, his symptoms, he's like, ‘I know I should have PTSD in theory,’ but that wasn't really what he felt it was, and it turns out most of his symptoms were from traumatic brain injury, TBI. And, he tried so many different things, and finally, he went, and he'd been to like different brain injury centers and tried all these things, but he was at the point where, I had seen his wife, and his wife was like, “He couldn't remember how to put the Christmas lights up,” like, you know, “dad of two, former SEAL couldn't remember basic things.”

He went down. He did Ibogaine/5-MeO, back-to-back, and suddenly, like, this fog lifted, and he says it's still a process. You know, there's still a lot of neurotropic---like neuro-enhancing supplements that he takes, and he still has to do a lot of self-care, but night and day difference. And his wife often posts, like, before and after photos, and he just looks completely different. And he was drinking a lot because of the stress of ‘Why is my brain not working?’ and like after that, it was just like, ‘nope,’ you know, like, everything, fog lifted, the alcohol use decreased, and he was so inspired by his own transformation that he started something called VETS, which is Veterans Exploring Treatment Solutions.

So there's so many vets having healing. There's another one called Veterans of War.

Somebody else healed through Ayahuasca, and he wants to help other vets. Like, so many vets are being transformed by plant medicine, and in such a significant way, that they're feeling called to share with their service men and women, brothers and sisters, that same healing.

Poonacha: Wow. So I guess, on that note, maybe I want to kind of, maybe end this podcast with a thought. Right? And I---the thought is, while you were speaking, is that ‘I'm so glad you're quitting.’ Because every time you quit, you come up with something bigger, better, larger, and I think, really changing the way we think. I think it's an inspiration because listening to you and I think, and people listening to this podcast, is that the tenacity and the passion which you get into anything you do, and excelling in it, and then believing in it, and then also saying, ‘you know what? Until the next thing now.’ I think that's magical. So thank you for everything you do, and more to come.

Lynn: Thank you, Poonacha.

Poonacha: Thank you, Lynn Marie.

Lynn: It's great to be on your show.

Poonacha: Awesome.

Imagine a world where no one ever feels helpless or hopeless. Join me on the Warrior Monk mission to create a positive shift through the compassionate transformation of humankind.

Warrior Monk Conversations 010: The Future of Plant Medicine with Dr. Lynn Marie Morski, MD, Esq

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