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The Psychonauts

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A science podcast that trips into the realm of psychedelic psychiatry, as hallucinogenic mushrooms go on trial in South Africa.

A science podcast that trips into the realm of psychedelic psychiatry, as hallucinogenic mushrooms go on trial in South Africa.
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South Africa


A science podcast that trips into the realm of psychedelic psychiatry, as hallucinogenic mushrooms go on trial in South Africa.








Psychonauts Episode 6: 'Bad' Trips & Bogeymen

One of the oldest myths about psychedelics is that playing with them is like a game of Russian roulette: for every few fun trips, there’s a bad one loaded in the chamber and waiting to flip you into a kind of madness. The truth is far less ghoulish, although there’s still a lot of mystique surrounding these substances in popular culture: because psychedelics have been forced underground for nearly five decades, there’s too little research to get a true reading of just how often people have...

Duration: 00:47:23

Psychonauts Voice Diary 3 - a PechaKucha talk

Voice Diary 3: The Psychonauts on the PechaKucha platform. South Africa's Constitution upholds our right to healthcare. Given how unaffordable and inaccessible mental health treatment is in South Africa, having access to a treatment like psilocybin-assisted therapy becomes a Constitutional one. Early findings from clinical trials show that psilocybin may be more effective for treating some mood disorders and addictions than current methods. But psilocybin is currently illegal in South...

Duration: 00:09:25

The Psychonaut Voice Diary 2 - a model for bringing psilocybin assisted therapy to South Africa

A voice diary insert that lays out how the South African public health care system could roll out this form of therapy to the communities most in need of mental health support.

Duration: 00:13:30

The Psychonauts Episode 5 - Hacking Consciousness

Physical movement, like running, is to the body what meditation is to the brain, it makes us fit, agile, healthy, and strong. When used together with psychedelics, these can create a trilogy of practices that bring on the flow state, pull us back to the present, and soften of self. In conversation with Adrian Baker, host of the podcast Hacking Consciousness. Adrian shares his own years of meditation and exploring consciousness through psychedelics, with a good dose of science and reason.

Duration: 01:04:10

The Psychonauts Voice Diary 1

A voice diary insert to keep everyone up to speed with behind-the-scenes podcast developments.

Duration: 00:03:46

Psychonauts Episode 4 - Bottom of the Bottle

As recently as the 1960s, the hallucinogen LSD showed promise in treating alcoholism and heroin addiction. But then the moral panic at the Flower Power generation got psychedelics frogmarched into the shadowy company of a suite of illicit drugs. For four decades, research stopped. But now scientists are back at the drawing board, testing to see if psychedelics can put the brakes on certain addictive spirals. In this episode, a man in his mid-50s goes down the rabbit hole, in search of the...

Duration: 00:49:43

Psychonauts Episode 3 - Shellshocked

A traumatic event can be like an emotional sledgehammer to the brain, rewiring your nervous system, so it’s always revving in the red. It could leave you permanently edgy, your startle response on a tripwire. You’ll be quick to rage. You might struggle to concentrate or sleep. You’ll become listless and depressed. You might have flashbacks, or suppress those fossil-like memories. You might sink into the bottle, cut yourself off from others, or worse. But early efforts to treat...

Duration: 00:44:48

Psychonauts Episode 1 - Tripping the Blues

Some neuroscientists are confirming what their colleagues were discovering in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s: that a few deep psychedelic ‘trips’, supported by conventional psychotherapy methods, may be able to unlock some crippling mood disorders and addictions. But because psychedelics are illegal everywhere, the growing movement of people in South Africa who are using them therapeutically must rely on an underground movement of traditional healers and ‘journey guides’.

Duration: 00:36:53

Psychonauts Episode 2 - The Drug Den

The police arrived at a suburban home, near Cape Town, in the early hours of a Sunday morning, shortly before Christmas in 2014. They thought they’d stumbled upon a drug den or some kind of sex ring. Instead, they found a odd sort of traditional healer, who looked more like a suburban grandmother than a drug kingpin, and she was minding a group of psychedelic night-trippers. This launched an upcoming bid in the South African courts to have hallucinogenic mushrooms taken off a list of...

Duration: 00:29:05

Psychonauts Welcome - An introduction of sorts

Cape Town-based science writer Leonie Joubert introduces The Psychonauts, and explains why she's departed from her usual written form of storytelling.

Duration: 00:10:28