Bad Boy Running

Ep 522 | The LSD 50k & How I Use Psychedelics To Battle Depression - Sarah Siskind

December 17, 2023
Bad Boy Running
Ep 522 | The LSD 50k & How I Use Psychedelics To Battle Depression - Sarah Siskind
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers
Ever wonder what it's like to run a 50k race on LSD? We sat down with Sarah Siskind, a professional comedian and psychedelic advocate, who shares her extraordinary experiences of doing just that. Not once, but twice! Combining a hearty dose of humor and genuine human insight, Sarah walks us through the unique challenges of these experiences, all while shedding light on the stigma surrounding psychedelics.

Our conversation takes us beyond just running under the influence of LSD. Together, we explore the broader sphere of psychedelics and their potential benefits for mental health. From treating conditions such as PTSD, anxiety, and depression, to enhancing perception and connection during physical activities, we examine the fascinating impact of psychedelics. However, we also stress the importance of context, safety, and responsible use. It's about understanding and respecting these substances, not advocating reckless behavior.

In our chat, we touch on the complex issue of drug use in the US, discussing organizations like Dance Safe and the Zendo Project that offer drug testing and peer support. We even entertain the idea of an "acid division" in races! While we add a dash of humor throughout our conversation, we never lose sight of the very human aspect of our discussion. Sarah opens up about her personal battles with depression and the role psychedelics played in her journey to find joy. Join us for a fascinating, informative, and thought-provoking discussion that might just change the way you view psychedelics.

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Speaker 1:

Hello, dude banners. I've just finished this next interview. It's amazing. Not only do we talk about running 50k on LSD, but actually this interview really goes into a lot more depth to do with the history of psychedelics, to do with Sarah's experience of overcoming depression by using psychedelics as well, and really going into how they're defined, how they're different to each other, what the experience is like. There's just lots and lots of things. She is an expert in this field. She's also a professional comedian and, yeah, you're just going to be intrigued about this the whole way through. It's a fantastic interview, so take it away, nick. They're bad, they're boys and occasionally they talk about running.

Speaker 2:

Yes, it's the Bad Boy Running Podcast with your hosts Jody Rainsford and David Heller.

Speaker 1:

So, dude banners, we always ask you for you to recommend either topics or for people's for us to interview, and we've never really done a proper. There's been a few people along the years that have we've mentioned that we know are involved in drugs or have linked to drugs, but we've never actually done a proper episode with someone who has done a full ultra on drugs until our next guest was suggested, having done a LSD 50k, which, if you're going to do a race on drugs, lsd is the one I'm most intrigued about, to hear about how it goes. But more than that, she's also a comedian, a science comedian, a drugs comedian and many things in between. So I'm fascinated about this next guest. Thanks so much for coming to the podcast, the wonderful Sarah Siskin.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and the crowd goes wild. The only edit I would say to that intro is that I've run it twice, so I've done it last year, this year and four years ago.

Speaker 1:

So the burning man experiences.

Speaker 2:

Well, the first time it was like a walking on the moon, because it was like one small step for this druggy, one giant leap forward for the generation of psychonauts. The first time was like I was, like you know, very worried about it and I had done like a practice run, like I had like talked to the doctor, like I took it very seriously because I never had the doctor, I know that comes in gay, not my doctor, but a doctor, friend of mine about who's like into psychedelics. So obviously like, yeah, I would not talk to my doctor about this venture Anyway, and I'd done like a practice run where I did half a tab and half marathon and so I kind of knew what I was getting into. But I was still nervous the second year. The second time that I ran it most recently, so like two months ago I was really nervous, even though I'd done it before. Here's the big change the second time there are two big changes. The first one is that a lot of other people were doing it because they'd seen my video and so that was interesting. And the second reason it was different is because I was very nervous because I had I was going to propose to my boyfriend the next day and I had to get down on one knee and I was worried about being really sore and not being able to do that.

Speaker 1:

We've both proposed at the end of alchers.

Speaker 2:

Oh yeah, Well, so I didn't want to do it at the very end, because you know, but I do a tripping ball.

Speaker 1:

See you next time.

Speaker 2:

I'd be like. Did I propose to the right person?

Speaker 1:

Well, should we rewind it? Because I haven't. I don't truly understand the how drugs are in America Because I mean, I've been to Colorado, where there are drugs on sales in Colorado Sprint or Manatee Springs, but not in Colorado Springs. I know that marijuana is legalized in some places and there's obviously a huge adoption in the psyche of some individuals with people like Huntress Thompson, but how, when it comes to things like psychedelics, like, do you feel comfortable just talking about it wherever you go? Is it just seen as being something that's accepted in cities or like what is American?

Speaker 2:

relationship with drugs these days. Yeah, it's a great question, Because the reason you were like, oh, you talked with your doctor about psychedelics and I was like, no, not my doctor is because I actually had talked to a psychiatrist and had told him that I found psychedelics useful for treating depression and he immediately diagnosed me with having a what's it called substance use disorder that's the new word for addiction now and I, you know, tried to assuage him. I was like no, no, no, no, no, no, no, like I have. Only I haven't done it consistently. It doesn't interfere with my life and you know all the diagnostic criteria against having a disorder. But I was barred from using, from trying, different pharmaceuticals. I was like, yeah, like it was horrible. It took years working within that clinic to meet a new psychiatrist and to tell them like the context in which I was using psychedelics was very intentional and does not have any of the diagnostic criteria of a substance use disorder. I also, you know my parents were extraordinarily unhappy about my public discussions of psychedelics. So there's certainly. I act like publicly as if there's no stigma, because I'm trying to reduce the stigma. I'm trying to do what essentially gay people did in like the early 2000s, where there was just a lot of like public outing and part of that was to de-stigmatize homosexuality. And though you know that's it's, you know there's huge I'm not making moral equivalencies here Like that's its own struggle but it's a great tactic for de-stigmatization. So I would say you know like America is certainly progressing rapidly legally, academically and medically towards the acceptance of psychedelics as well. As you know, recreationally has always been safe, it's always been good, but in those other fields it's increasing. I will say in England, for you guys across the pond, there's a lot of really great academic work being done by, as you know, like Robin Carhart Harris at Imperial College London. I haven't seen as much legal momentum as there is.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, oh, is that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, well done. I am a big, big fan. They did the largest citizen science study on microdosing that has ever been done, fascinating study. I won't bore you with the details, but just suffice it to say, yeah, be super proud. You're proud of London Anyway they never asked me.

Speaker 1:

They never asked me to get involved in that study. Well, we'll go in back then to, because I have read about how psychedelics can potentially help with depression. How did that come about for you, like? Was that a chance combination, or was this something that was known at the time that you could sort out?

Speaker 2:

So the first time I tried psychedelics was recreationally and I was maybe 26, maybe 25, and I went into a bouncy house, as one does, which is one of those like inflatable houses when bounces around and and I sat in the corner and observe people.

Speaker 1:

Had you taken the drugs at this stage, or you?

Speaker 2:

Yes, somehow the psychedelics precipitated me being inside a bouncy castle.

Speaker 1:

But a literal bouncy car Also there was just let's go right. So the first time with did a friend suggest to you? Did you go to it like, took us through that first occasion.

Speaker 2:

So the first occasion and actually was when I was, I think it was like 23 I had not yet experienced clinical depression and this was the purely recreational experience I went to a festival. I was given the opportunity and I said why not I? Because it was a festival. There was this bouncy house and when I was inside and I was observing people, I had a thought about game theory like a mathematical paradigm about how people behave with objectives, and I kept like it was such an interesting thought that I had and it was about how people were bouncing in the house and it was sort of like that scene in a beautiful mind. When Russell Crowe is like seeing he has this like game theory epiphany, it was like this beautiful moment. And a year later but for a year so I have a beautiful experience but for a year I was talking with a game theoretician who was doing his PhD in math at NYU and I ran by him this random theory I came up with and he said that's actually quite an insightful theory about game theory and I that was the first inkling that I was like, oh wait, a second, you don't just have dumb thoughts while on psychedelics that aren't valuable, and it reached me because of the validation of this person with traditional success that was like intellectually this has merit and that would led the ground, the sort of like groundwork for me later to realize like they can actually have therapeutic benefits, experiencing that personally before I started reading about the studies about it. So that was like step one.

Speaker 1:

Was that LSD? Was that mushrooms? Is that?

Speaker 2:

So the the next couple of years I experienced like very severe major depressive disorder, and I don't respond well to SSRIs. I do recommend people try pharmaceuticals because they've been studied longer. Ssris are not as effective as we think they are, unfortunately, but they're still good to try. Anyway, they did not work for me, and so I was interested in trying psychedelics, and the first one that I tried in like a major way was MDMA, and I was at Burning man in 2018 and I was very depressed and I was horrified that depression would follow me here into this festival, and so I wanted I manifested MDMA. I was like I'd love to try some. I've heard, I've read that it is useful for trauma. You know my beautiful for depression and a guy entered into my life, as they do, who claimed to be a Russian shaman, red flag number one. What did he look like? What was the dress? This Russian shaman?

Speaker 1:

Obviously a vest with no shirt underneath.

Speaker 2:

Like a fur vest, no shirt underneath. I'm visualizing the guy from the Capitol riots that deed.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I'm visualizing the guy from the Capitol riots.

Speaker 2:

Yes, pretty much without the hat, but like close enough, yeah, maybe somehow, like he made that guy look low key, anyway. So he gave me what long story short. He gave me what he claimed was MDMA, which I took and turned out to be a fentanyl and PCP. And after taking this concoction I passed out. I was paralyzed for about 10 hours, was taken to the hospital yes, there is a hospital, a burning man. I had to be like picked up by paramedics and you know I was trying to tell them like I'm an upstanding citizen, you know I never do this kind of study and they were like, what do you do for a living? And I was like I'm a stand up comedian, I promise I usually can stand up. And so they were like carrying me like a rag doll to the hospital bed. And we found out later it was fentanyl and PCP because they found the guy, the Russian shaman, who had given it to me because he had also taken it, and he was also taken to the hospital.

Speaker 1:

So it wasn't intent. He also had basically made the same mistake he thought it was MDMA.

Speaker 2:

As a matter of fact, he had taken more and was catatonic and had to be defibrillated or like there's a type of sternal rub that is like so intense that leaves scars on your chest, and he was in much worse shape than I was. Oh my God, I just had this moment where I was like, oh, what I thought was malice was actually ignorance, and a lot, a lot of death and harm that comes out of illegal drugs really is due to ignorance. And I really became passionate in educating people about this. And it really was a post-traumatic growth situation where I found this like holy calling of educating people about psychedelics. And so I started my show Drug Test, which is an educational show about psychedelics and other drugs, to truly get people to test their supplies, read about like the interesting protocols for taking psychedelics, like learn which one works for them, you know, like really like not abstinence based education at all, like truly the kind of drug education you should have gotten in high school.

Speaker 1:

And would festivals in the US? Are there free drug tests and stuff like that, for example?

Speaker 2:

Great question. So a lot of them I'm not sure all of them, but a lot of them have a group called Dance Safe at the festival where they will test a tiny little bit of whatever drug you come there with and they'll tell you very quickly if this is the substance you were sold or not. And I have a kit. They're like super cheap. Recommend it, it'll save your life, truly truly. I am an upstanding citizen. I almost died from a fentanyl overdose by a kit DanceSafecom. They've got kits, they're amazing. And there's a really great institution called the Zendo Project. The Zendo Project is I volunteer there. It's a peer to peer support system. So we're trained, we know how to sit with people who are having difficult psychedelic experiences, but also any kind of like psychiatric, psychological experiences, to be present with you and it is very therapeutic. So, and they're also at a lot of festivals.

Speaker 1:

And just to remind me, it's fentanyl, because we is that the same as oxytocin.

Speaker 2:

No, so are you thinking of OxyCosin?

Speaker 1:

So OxyCosin Sorry, I just had a baby of Oxy. Everything, yeah, is that? Is that a full? You had a baby.

Speaker 2:

Very impressive, what a medical miracle.

Speaker 1:

A miracle Anyway.

Speaker 2:

OxyCosin is the love drug that your brain releases.

Speaker 1:

Yes, oxycosin, is that? Is fentanyl the same as that, or?

Speaker 2:

it is like OxyCosin times a million in terms of potency. So OxyCosin is a pharmaceutical drug, a legal pharmaceutical drug for pain management that works on the exact same receptors as fentanyl, which is also used by doctors but anesthesiologists who know how to dose it, because the amount of fentanyl that will kill you is like hard to see with the eye, like it's a couple of grains, and so it's why it's super dangerous for people to use. However, it works on very like almost exactly the same receptor system as OxyCosin, so there's a lot of similarities. It's the same family.

Speaker 1:

And I guess if you're a dealer, then if it is that toxic it's probably very, very financially just a good business model to ship, because you can get a huge amount from a small dose Right.

Speaker 2:

That's exactly right. There's another benefit, which is that it doesn't stay in your system as long, so like a kind of as opposed to like morphine, so like and I want to caution you and your audience from this type of thinking, which is that, ooh, that's a bad drug. Ooh, psychedelics, that's a good drug. Every drug has its application. I had a surgery a couple of years ago and I didn't want to have fentanyl because I told the anesthesiologists I was like I almost died because of fentanyl and he said sit down, let me talk to you about this. Fentanyl is one of the greatest drugs I have ever encountered and proceeded to tell me how it had reduced the price of surgery for everybody involved, how it is so it, like it leaves your system. So, unlike morphine that leaves you groggy for a really long time, it actually leaves your system. So like people are like less inclined to want to continue. The sort of opioid high Like. It is a miracle drug on a lot of different levels. If you have the equipment to properly handle it and if you're using it in a context, that is a good context, which is a situation in which you really need to not be aware of physical pain and pain. Sometimes you need to feel like we're all we're runners here, like this is why we don't take, you know, ibuprofen constantly during a run. Like you do need to feel pain or you'll hurt yourself, right?

Speaker 1:

So psychedelics like you know, skipping ahead to the actual race.

Speaker 2:

Psychedelics are a bizarre choice to take while running, because they actually increase proprioception, which is your sense of yourself and what you're feeling. That's what we were talking before we came on.

Speaker 1:

We were like wouldn't that make every pain really amplified? The answer is yes. The answer is yes.

Speaker 2:

But it also makes you enjoy things and make you feel better. It also makes you enjoy things and makes you feel united with the cosmos, and that can trump pain. Also, it didn't it didn't enhance the sense of pain, but what that did is that and because I wasn't trying to run for time or anything, I decided while running I was like I'm going to grapevine, I'm going to run backwards, and I would just do it as soon as I started feeling much stiffness in my hamstrings, which I've never done before, and I promise you I had no soreness the next day. This is the one miracle of running on LSD is that I had no soreness the next day.

Speaker 1:

But everything I mean my time was terrible.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, for the 50 K. I think it was like five and a half hours or six hours even. It was really bad.

Speaker 1:

I mean, that's, that's a perfectly acceptable time. But going back to the this comedy routine you did to do with drugs then, because that that in itself is can be quite isolating for an audience. How, how well, how well receptive, how well received was that and what is a typical bit of content in there?

Speaker 2:

Oh boy, you're asking me to do my set now Dish.

Speaker 1:

Well, not the set, because I mean asking a comedian like say something funny. Obviously is is unfair, but I mean, was it very educational? Was it more kind of shocking or like, how does it go down with audiences?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so well, I will say I get self selected. You know, the people who see me are usually already interested in drugs, but there's actually a fair amount of people in my audience who've never tried to say gadelic. They're just kind of like interested in the science. It's kind of nerdy stuff I will make jokes about, like the history of medical innovations, medical psychiatric innovations, because people don't realize how accidental and insane like drug discovery is. Like truly, truly. 150 years ago, if you had like a wet cough, your doctor might be like oh yes, you have ghosts in your blood and you should do cocaine about it.

Speaker 1:

Here's one dram of cocaine and we were like OK, that's one, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2:

Like people were drinking latinum. Latinum was like a cure, all that. People would just like drink all the time. That is literally heroin plus alcohol, Like that's what that is. And then in the 1950s, like if you were like kind of down because you know, if you're a housewife and you didn't want to do the housework, you could just see doctor feel good and he would give you more pep, which was straight up meth. Like people don't realize how in the 50s all these fucking housewives were met out of their minds, Like so like we put you know brand names on drugs.

Speaker 1:

That wasn't music better.

Speaker 2:

Well, that's because math helps with music. I think Psychedelics do, and that would be the Beatles, your people. So thank you for bringing those into the world. But yeah, we put these fancy labels like Adderall, Ritalin on drugs, but their psychoactive parts are remarkably similar to stimulants that are amphetamines. And we kind of do this thing as a society where we put meth in a tuxedo and now it's Adderall.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, absolutely, and I think especially in probably more so in America than elsewhere as well, actually just because of the power of the pharmaceuticals and also the power of Nixon's rampage against drugs. And so you've had you've ended this comedy set, but you mentioned what happened with your depression then, because at that stage you hadn't had an opportunity to actually attempt to try and remedy it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, oh my gosh, they're so unbelievably helpful. So, while running the first time on LSD, running at 50K, and it's the first time I've ever done anything like this it's like 7am, the sun, it's still kind of hazy from the sunrise and I'm running past this camp it's like mile 12 or something at this point and I'm running past this camp at Burning man that is spanking themed and somebody's been up late that night the night before spanking away and they're still outside getting spanked. And I make eye contact with one of the spankies, the person getting spanked, and I look at them and I'm like that's weird, that's crazy. And he looks at me and he's seeing that I'm running an ultramarathon at 7am. He doesn't even know that I'm on acid, but he's making eye contact with me, being like that's crazy. But we were both so blissed out, he from getting spanked, me from running an ultramarathon on acid. It was this moment of mutual acknowledgement, of follow your bliss wherever that takes you, even if it means you're doing these crazy things. And it was such a beautiful kinship and I truly felt a profound sense of joy. Profound joy was not a concept I had felt before. Joy was fleeting and superficial and not important. But this was something true and honestly it led me on the path of getting tools from psychedelics that would help me respond to my depression. I don't think you ever truly kick it your brain. You might have a difference in the neurochemicals in your brain and maybe you don't experience depression, but most people I know they still experience depression. They just have really good tools, internal tools, for fighting it.

Speaker 1:

And so would you say then that moment of joy? Because if we were to contrast yourself with someone who wouldn't be aware that they've had a depression or don't see themselves as being depressive, would you say that prior to that moment, it's that your life had been lacking joy, or that the chemicals are making you feel that you weren't? Or was that experience at a higher level to most people's joy, and that it took you to that level that then changed your outlook on everything else?

Speaker 2:

I certainly had joy while being depressed and prior to being depressed. I temporarily I kind of sometimes operate under a bipolar 2 diagnosis, which is because my episodic, my depression is rather episodic, like it usually is very, very, very intense, but for only like five days, that doesn't. I fall between the cracks of diagnoses, and diagnoses are very strict because they are essentially mandated by insurance codes so that you can receive a certain pharmaceutical, and that really drives a lot of like the categories we have, as in America, about mental disorders. I operate sometimes under major depressive, sometimes under manic depressive, depending on the drugs that suit me. In general, mood stabilizers suit me far better than SSRIs. So long winded answer to your question I had certainly experienced joy. It just was that I, in those moments of depression, it was truly like I couldn't remember joy. It just didn't penetrate, there was no light penetrating the darkness and I thought it would last forever, which is another hallmark of depression. So truly the difference is just simply now I remember, because those moments of joy I've experienced were so profound that they are like light piercing through the darkness.

Speaker 1:

Is it profound or is it just that visualization of that guy being spanked with such joyous to say you just can't get out? Even I've got that burnt into my mind and I haven't seen it.

Speaker 2:

If you have never seen somebody getting profoundly spanked before that's a shame. No, I think you can find God in a porter potty if you look hard enough. Like truly, that is. To me, the lesson of psychedelics was like I had expected people who found peace to have this religious sacredness about it. But I am not a sacred person as a comedian, it's just not my temperament. And what psychedelics taught me is that I could find profundity and meaning in the silliest things. But they're silly, but they still mean so much. Those two things are not diametrically opposed, and so for me, that's what really drove my show and my career as a psychedelic comedian. That career was this sense of like we can talk about the profundity of psychedelic healing and enlightenment without sounding like a sanctimonious asshole.

Speaker 1:

And say no if you were to start to kind of enter a depressive episode? Is it that this awareness of joy means that you never get dragged down too deep? Effectively, it's almost like a buoyancy aid that you can hold on to.

Speaker 2:

That's one thing For sure. It's one of like so many tools. It's sort of like speaking of Marial England. Have you ever read the classic of literature Harry Potter?

Speaker 1:

I have, yes, the first four, not the fifth. Fifth is getting too heavy on me.

Speaker 2:

I think OK, I think this is in the third. You know the patronus, like where you think of a happy thought and then you do a spell and it comes out as an animal that will prevent dementors from attacking him. That is truly the metaphor of my life, like if depression is a dementor that sucks the joy out of your face, then, like, psychedelics have helped me experience profound joy in the form of a patronus that then wards off the dementor, like truly the greatest visual metaphor for my psychedelic healing. Actually, and there's another. Ok, there's another. I'm a huge Harry Potter fan. There's like another Harry Potter metaphor from the third book, book three of Our Lord. Do you remember when I can't believe I'm making this? Ok, you can cut this later if it's stupid. Do you remember in book three when, like Harry, is having his soul sucked by a dementor and he sees what he thinks is his father?

Speaker 1:

Yes.

Speaker 2:

Coming and doing a patronus and saving him, and then later, and his family. Yes, he realizes he uses a time turner to go back in time and to try to meet his father, the father who had saved him. And he's waiting in the woods for the father to come out and save past Harry. And it is only then that he realizes oh my God, I didn't see my father. I saw me in the future, like you know, casting this life saving patronus, and that is also a great visual metaphor for healing. You expect somebody else to come along with this. Like you know, authoritative, big daddy energy that is going to save you, but it's always yourself.

Speaker 1:

It's always yourself, big daddy. The Adam Sandler film that kind of.

Speaker 2:

No, we're talking.

Speaker 1:

No, ok, eternal father.

Speaker 2:

Like you know, just like an authoritative energy, but it's like you always have to save yourself. At the end of the day, nobody else is going to save you, and weird.

Speaker 1:

Do you do you find, then, because has is it that one moment that has created that, or are you finding you're needing to having to constantly like is there is this an ongoing relationship with psychedelics to help with depression, or is that now just something you do for pleasure? And you, you feel that you've got that awareness of joy enough that even without any future drugs, you'd still be fine.

Speaker 2:

Great question. So I've talked only psychologically about how they have helped. I have less insight psychiatrically, which is to say how they've affected my brain. There's a lot of good research on this, particularly certain psychedelics or psychedelic adjacent drugs like ketamine. They do change your drug, your chemistry of your brain and here is the basic mechanism how Neuroplasticity is the word. So if your brain is sort of like an embankment, a hill of snow, a lot of the times we get these really deep grooves, like a sled going down the slope, slope and then like making a deep groove. You learn when you have PTSD, when you hear a loud banging sound, that you are unsafe. And that connection between bang and unsafety is so deep that when you later are a civilian and you hear a bang, you don't know how to unlearn the extreme sense of unsafety. Psychedelics help you regrow the snow, essentially so that you don't have such deep neural grooves. So the next time you hear a bang perhaps you think like I wonder if a car back fired, or you just listen to it and you don't immediately associate it with something. That is like the basics of how they work. And that's really great for a number of different psychiatric conditions, because a lot of psychiatric conditions are concerned with fixation, which is to say like OCD, anxiety, depression, trauma. A lot of the times it's because you got a deep connection, a deep groove that you cannot seem to unlearn and are there any grooves, though, that actually are useful grooves, or grooves that should we be getting into, the actual yes, like if you have your hand in the fire, remove it.

Speaker 1:

So is there a danger, though, that those grooves are then unlearned? Yes, okay.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, which is why, for example, you should never take I mean, this is obvious, but you should never take psychedelics and operate heavy machinery because like you really or like drive a car. You know, like drive a car because, like you really need to be operating. There's a philosopher guy who has this concept of system one and system two thinking. System one, you're sort of on autopilot and system two, you're thinking extremely deeply about everything when you're operating a car. You really got to be in system one because you don't want to think deeply about, like a car is coming towards me, should I turn right or should I turn left. You've truly got to just be on autopilot and in your driving, on autopilot and in your nervous system, these are extremely adaptive coping mechanisms. Like, really, really, if you are. Also, if you're in a battle, like if you're in war, if you're a soldier, you should not be taking psychedelics because, frankly, if you hear a boom, you should fucking take cover, because you may not, you probably are not safe. So there are a number of contexts when, when, where these coping mechanisms have oh my god, are they so useful? They're the reason we're alive, you know, like evolution created them for a reason. It's just that social evolution has surpassed physical evolution. We now live in a society where hardly anybody really worries about getting eaten Like that really doesn't happen that much but our nervous systems, our physical nervous system, our primordial, we're still used to like the physical insecurity of like being attacked. And so what psychedelics help with in this time, in this era, is really teaching your nervous, like kind of hacking your own nervous system a little bit, and your own brain to be like okay, listen, your cop. Like your father was like yell, that you so much as a child, but like you're actually safe now, like you are truly safe. Here's a way to find safety and here's how your body can learn that too.

Speaker 1:

Okay, interesting, because my friends recently got on an ayahuasca retreat and that was almost described slightly differently. And it's more that you can. You can witness your trauma without associating it with yourself. So it's almost as if it allows you to process it from a distance without you having to relive it. But I guess that's slightly different.

Speaker 2:

Well, I mean like so that is the basics of how the MDMA PTSD trials work, where it's sort of like the most effective way people have found to treat PTSD is essentially to get people to talk about the trauma that happened. But in order to talk about it, often times people get re traumatized and it's really hard. But traditional therapy was you just tell a story over and over and over again until it loses its power. And they had incredibly high you know what's the word precipitation, just dropout rates. People would drop out because it was so hard. But then, when they added MDMA, what happened is people started feeling safe chemically and so they could get through the story of what happened. Because MDMA lowers the cerebral blood flow to the amygdala, which is your fight or flight response center of the brain.

Speaker 1:

See, I didn't realize. I didn't realize MDMA was kind of regarded as a hallucinogenic.

Speaker 2:

It's that's debatable. I lump it in because if you define psychedelics chemically, then you only have the family of tryptomines, which includes LSD, mushrooms and mescaline and nothing else. If you define psychedelics experientially, like what makes you feel universal sense of connection and similar experiences, then the psychedelics also includes MDMA and ketamine.

Speaker 1:

Interesting. Okay, so this 50k then? Why did you decide that that was the time to experiment with LSD, rather than just doing it and surrounded by beanbags and friends and marshmallows?

Speaker 2:

I had done LSD before. It was just it was early days in my experimentation but I had done it several times and therapeutically I did it because at that point I had a bit of my career underway as like a psychedelic comedian and I felt confident in my abilities to teach about these chemicals and to take them. And also I wanted to very viscerally bust a few myths around drug takers, which is just that they're lazy and that they don't do anything, because most of the time people are like oh, you ran a lot, that's impressive. I have for my show I've had people take an SAT on LSD and I've done the presidential fitness test on MDMA, ketamine and pot and compared results with my sober.

Speaker 1:

How did they compare?

Speaker 2:

Terribly, however, well, no Did you try speed. Well, mdma has an amphetamine component, but it is offset, in my opinion, by the amount of love that you feel You're having Tyson.

Speaker 1:

Thanks, yeah, exactly.

Speaker 2:

I think I probably I would have done better on Adderall, I'm pretty sure but with ketamine, which serves as an anesthesia sometimes. I actually did do better on sit ups and the reason why is because in the video I took of this you can find it on YouTube I said while I'm on ketamine, doing sit ups, I was like it hurts, but it feels like it's hurting somebody else's body.

Speaker 1:

That is a classic dissociative thing to say, could that help with press ups out of interest?

Speaker 2:

What are press ups?

Speaker 1:

Oh, what would they be called in America? It's where you're flat on your front and you push up with your two arms.

Speaker 2:

Oh no, I think that's what it's called in America. I just hadn't heard of that Push ups.

Speaker 1:

maybe they're called in states, maybe.

Speaker 2:

But your chest is fully flat on the floor.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's right. And then you just put, you push your arms and lock them and then back down again.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's interesting that I did push ups while on all those drugs and it certainly did not help with any of those. You know, I know a lot of weight lifters. I'm actually going to be doing a panel in New York in mid January about psychedelics and fitness at the psychedelic assembly, which, for any of your listeners who are interested in psychedelics, psychedelic assembly in New York is like the greatest place ever. It is a 24 seven library work, share and integration space. So cool. Anyway, psychedelics and fitness. So weight lifters will use GHB after a lift to really calm their body down, to really like relax, so that they will reduce the possibility of getting strains. This was information related to me by a fellow drug communicator. I know the Mohawk, who's awesome, who works at DanceSafe, who like lifts and talks about how psychedelics can be used for weightlifting. Joe Rogan talks about how psychedelics are used for, like, martial arts. So it's, there's an interesting world of combining psychedelics and physical fitness.

Speaker 1:

Interesting and I just thinking for someone at home who maybe hasn't tried LSD how would you describe what it's like to take it?

Speaker 2:

Great question. So you get two people in a room who've tried LSD and you get three different experiences. Everybody can have different experiences, but here are some classic hallmarks. If you have ever had a really good experience in church or temple where you felt really connected, like to the people around you and to the world at large, there's an element of that of like meaningfulness and connection. That's a really big hallmark. There is a sense that is like alcohol. In just like your, I don't feel quite myself. I feel a little bit different. There's a little bit of that. If you have ever for me nicotine, I think that's a really important thing. Like you know, for me, nicotine, like I feel like my heart rate slightly increases, I get a little bit sweaty in my fingers, like when I smoke a cigarette, like there's tiny bit of that with a physical sensation of it. But there are some absolutely difficult things to relay which are kind of the most famous ones, which are the visual hallucinations, which are mostly like what we call visualizations, because you don't usually see like an embodied leprechaun in front of you. It's more like you just see the walls are breathing or colors are flowing into each other and it is not jarring Like it is not. It doesn't freak you out, it's actually quite beautiful. You're enhancing your perception. Like you can hear better, you can see more clearly. Things are just much more interesting. Everything just kind of takes your interest, and the most, the hardest thing to explain is when you look at a tree. Instead of saying, oh, that's a tree, you look at a tree and you say, oh, like green, big brown trunk, like leaves, that's a tree. It's like you don't impose onto things which you already assume they are. You kind of take them in as they are, a little bit more.

Speaker 1:

So then, when you thought of like doing a 50k, what were you, given how that changes your perception of things, what were you expecting before you did the first 50k?

Speaker 2:

The experience would be like oh, I also just thought of a very I'm sorry, I thought of a very good quote for the last, but I should have mentioned for your previous question, Describing psychedelics is always hard. There's a great quote that is like writing about music is like dancing about architecture. If that's the case, then describing psychedelics with words is like wrestling about astrophysics. It's hard to do. Okay, so your next question is about the 50k.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so what were you expecting the experience to be like?

Speaker 2:

So I'd run a 50k before. That was very hilly and one of the reasons why everybody loses their 50k virginity at Burning man is because the elevation gain of the 50k at Burning man is approximately three inches and it is just that little bump that tracks your tag in your bib Like that's literally the elevation gain. It is crazy. So it's great because when you're super tired you don't even have to think about where your feet are, like on like a trail. They just you know it's the same. It's so easy. It's also great because of the support and so I wasn't worried too much about the 50k. People worry about the heat, but it's done very early in the morning, so you're fine. I also had done that thing where you know when, like you've run longer distances, you look back on a 50k and you're like that's nothing, and then you actually run it and you're like, oh shit, I forgot yeah yeah, yeah. That happened to me, like a couple weeks ago On a Friday, I got called to do the New York Marathon on a Sunday to guide an autistic runner this great program called Achilles, where you like guide runners and I, you know, I've run all these old marathon. So I was like, yeah, sure, no problem, Like I'll be there, it'll be fun. So show up and to guide this runner. And firstly, they tell me he's running a three hour marathon, which they didn't tell me on the phone. I'm like guys, I can't just like suddenly be an incredible runner. And then you know, and then two like I actually run the thing, and I was like, oh shit, I forgot. Like man, I'm gonna, I'm gonna die, and I really I ran a good race but I I was not walking for like the next day and the day after that was rough.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, we marathon's are hard and 50 K is basically a marathon that you then tack on eight, eight K. So yeah, and yeah, talk us, talk us through it. Then how did you decide the dosage and what actually happened? And there's there's miles.

Speaker 2:

Oh God, it was such a great experience. Just thinking about it fills me with joy. So, at about five miles, in the sun is setting, I'm feeling good and I've decided okay, I am going to go through with it. And so I take a tab of acid, and it's one tab 100 micrograms, that's your standard dose. And I didn't do less because I wanted it to feel it and I didn't do more because I knew that my metabolism and the context would probably enhance the experience of 100 micrograms. And I put on my tongue and I felt like this is like an important moment I need to share with somebody. And so this guy was running near me and I just like stuck out my tongue and I had an acid tab on it. And he was like, is that? Oh my God, how you look horrible.

Speaker 1:

I'll see you already running when you, when you take the tab.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I took, because I wasn't sure I was like I wanted to get a couple of miles in to see how I felt psychologically and I felt so excited and then I felt it kick in approximately not too long later, maybe five miles, no, yeah, maybe like 30 to 45 minutes later. And the way I knew is because I went into the porta potty and I was like, oh, I am not normal, Because when you're running sometimes it's hard to tell. Sometimes when you're tripping, it's good to have something normal to look at so you can tell just how like strange your consciousness is.

Speaker 1:

But the problem at.

Speaker 2:

Burning man is. Everything is weird. So you're like you know, you're like tripping. And you're like, okay, am I tripping, or is that person really on stilts and covered in green body glitter? And then you're like, I don't know.

Speaker 1:

I think it's kind of normal.

Speaker 2:

So, like, truly, at Burning man, like it's so crazy, like the night I, the night I proposed to my now fiance we look up in the sky and we see this beautiful art installation, this just gorgeous giant, like, like, like white light sphere. And then we're like, wait, that's the moon. Because we've been at Burning man for like number of days, we'd already have climatized to just everything being weird. So when we saw something normal, we were like, oh, that's a Burning man, anyway, so I take, I take it and, yeah, it just rocks me, like it is, it's hard and it's beautiful and it's wonderful. And, by the way, the next time I run the Ultramarathon, it's like and this is a couple, this is like two months ago I'm, you know, waiting in the athlete village thing and I'm really nervous, you know. And I'm like talking to people and I find out, like, because I'm nervous, because I'm like, oh, I'm going to run again on acid, like I hope it's good the second time, and I find out like I'm one of like 10 people running this thing on acid. And I talked to these other people and I'm like, why are you doing this? And they're like, well, I saw this video of this crazy girl online like she ran it on acid and I thought that looked fun and I was like what that was me. That's crazy and I'm in the middle of the race and I'm running it and I meet this guy and I tell him, like you know, I'm like I I'm so happy so many people are learning from this. And he was like wait a second, did you stick your tongue out at me like four years ago when he ran it the first time? And I was like you're that guy and I'm like you're that girl and we had this like big reunion and now we're like friends on Instagram and we like check in on each other and like it's so great and yeah, and it's funny because, like I want to start with this race. Like there's like the, you get divided by men and women. Like you know, you're number one in men, number one in women. You got your age division. I want the acid division, because I'm pretty sure. I placed first in a female on acid. I know that I wasn't first in male on acid because Bob Hearn, who is an amazing ultra runner, for he like ran, I don't know. I think it was like a four hour, 50 K like, naked, naked and on acid. Truly the greatest man in the world.

Speaker 1:

And what does it because you know, when you go for a marathon, you're, you're often thinking about your nutrition, you're looking at your splits, your body starts to ache and you, you then get that pain that grows like how. How is that experience different?

Speaker 2:

So one, I'm not worried about my splits because time is a construct and the universe is infinity, so splits are relative. So I am like I am eat. I will say I am eating because I know I have to. When you take psychedelic you usually do not feel a strong need to eat. That's another hallmark. But I did have a plan, you know, to like I forget what it was, but to eat like a power bar every like five miles or something like that. And so that's the food question. With the body aching, I mean, the thing is like, yeah, it is aching and like bodies do a pain is part of living and it's not good. It's not something you should like seek out, but it is natural and it's also surmountable. I think it's just kind of like. It's just like how you know when people, when you tell people, david, like you know, I've run like a 50 care or whatever it's like people are like how could you do that? I could never do that. And you're like, yeah, no, we're the same, but I just learned how to overcome, how to push through the pain. It's the same thing with psychedelics, like you know it is you just find that courage to keep going even though you're doing something very unnatural with your body.

Speaker 1:

And so. So actually it doesn't really help with if someone, for example, had never heard a math and before and was thinking this might be an easy way to do it, that that wouldn't be the case.

Speaker 2:

One of this stuff is performance enhancing, but that's not the goal for me. The goal for me was joy, and I achieved that. I got my splits were great and the joy division I truly like I stopped running races many years ago, like I was super big and to like, oh, like, I'm going to take my gels and like you know, you know, fucking body gliding, like I was really into, just like getting a lower and lower PR. And then I got into ultras and that went out the window and it became a very internal journey about pushing my boundaries. Like where haven't I run before? How long could I go? What could I do as a pacer? I'm obsessed with pacing. My friend, julie K Fetz now, who's like this just beyond insane ultra marathon, or she's so inspiring ran Spartaclan this year and last year just amazing, look her up anyway. So I think of different. I have different goals than just time. I think lowering your time is gets really reducted, as for a while, literally, and so for anybody listening who's like interested in like improving their times, that's truly it's not for a short time, it's for a good time. That's the branding for psychedelics and running. I am also, by the way. Oh, but well, I will say they can be useful for other things around performance like, for example, some people use cannabis if they don't eat very well between workouts, like it helps them crave protein. Some people use GHP to calm their bodies down. Some people use psychedelics to get into the warrior mind space, not when they're running, but when they're not running, so they can be performance enhancing outside of while you're performing, but while you're performing. That's a bizarre, weird thing that weirdos like me do.

Speaker 1:

And how many times in that in the 50k would you say you had moments of joy, or is it a near constant feeling of raised happiness?

Speaker 2:

Well, like in the video, there's a moment where I break down crying and it's kind of bittersweet because I gave this like long soliloquy about how like I'm crying you know not because I'm in pain, though that's there but I'm crying because, like, I feel grateful to my parents and it's great because the entire time I had my thumb over the microphone and so none of it was caught. I still incorporate a clip of it. You know, there are moments of I wouldn't say there's any moments where I was down. There were moments where you know it was hard but they were there, was I was connected to a higher sense of meaning in that race that that really drove me and kind of got like snapped, like this most recent one kind of snapped me back into running. Like I kind of took a long time off because I had one really bad sober 100k in New York and now, you know, after this reason, when a birdie man, I think I'm gonna get back into ultra running again because it just you tap into the higher purpose of running, like it's sort of like the. It kind of reminds me of the whirling dervishes in Turkey where it's like these, like you know, Muslim priests would like her and moms, or just like spiritual people would like take a bunch of a bunch of caffeine coffee and spin around in circles, dizzy themselves thinking about God, and that would get them to a higher plane. That, to me, is the same thing I'm tapping into when I take LSD and run a 50 day.

Speaker 1:

I also started.

Speaker 2:

I know I got so many that I just like I've so many thoughts about this, I I really want to do a thing where I here's what I would do if I had lots of time and a good partner in this. I would love to do a running camp or experience in Mexico with the taro mara. So you know the taro mara Most people do, if you don't look them up there Insanely cool running community in Mexico. I would love, because they are right next door to an amazing culture of current arrows mushroom healers in Mexico. I would love. I probably can't do it because, like I'm white and it would be bad, but I would love for, like a local Mexican, to create an experience that could somehow combine these traditions so that you can really tap into that divine. You know running warrior, so that you're either doing mushrooms and you know thinking about running and then running the next day, or running and then taking mushrooms, or doing both at the same time. But I think that could make like a very powerful experience because you would also tap into deep traditions that have been using mushrooms for a really long time, as well as deep traditions of running for a very long time. So I think there's something there and if anyone listening to this is Mexican and is really interested in this, like I would love to talk and set that up somehow.

Speaker 1:

Sam, I'm thinking of you if you're linked to the taro mara, I don't think your company would be allowed on paper, but yeah, we can chat afterwards. And also Chris, chris McDougal, I'm sure he'd link you up with people. He finds that quite fun. And so then do you think then this is something you'd recommend for others to do, and are you going to be doing plenty more in the future?

Speaker 2:

No, I wouldn't recommend it. I would just say you know I did and I had this great experience, but it's probably not for most people and I hope it entertains you if you watch the video and educates you a little bit bust, maybe some few stereotypes, but yeah, I would necessarily recommend it. What was the second part of your question?

Speaker 1:

Oh, just on that, on the video itself, because the it transpires once I started researching you, that you were was equally known for that more than anything else, because of that being the big trigger behind the story. Has that been something that has almost becoming a meme in some ways? Is that has it damaged you? Or is it something that, given that you've gone to Harvard, you're very successful in lots of different fields? Is it? Is it something that in some ways limits people's how much they realize you're capable of or how much you've achieved?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean, this is why I'm my own boss. I haven't fired myself yet for talking about drug use. I have lost one client who I'm very appreciative. Told me why and that it was because they were uncomfortable drug use, which I really do not fault people. I totally understand that. You know we've been told a lot of scary things for decades about this stuff and even if you don't believe it like we still live in that world. So I, you know I don't fault people for being kind of flabbergasted at this video. It was intentionally flamboyant, for sure. But yeah, I mean, I think like it's, it's probably helps more than hurt and I don't see the way it's hurt me because you know I posted it on Reddit and somehow very few I don't think I got any like sexist or mean comments, which is like maybe a first for Reddit. Also, diplo apparently just ran a marathon on acid and so I heard that like renewed interest in the topic, which is great, but it's like it's not 50k but whatever.

Speaker 1:

Amazing and well and for your future then. Do you see yourself doing longer races with this or experimenting in other ways, or do you think you'll just play things by ear?

Speaker 2:

That's a good question. I really want to know what I'm going to do next. I thought about it like I definitely I think I want to do a 100 mile race at some point in my life. I don't necessarily think I'm going to be on drugs for it. I definitely want to experiment with the bounds of psychedelics. I like to do bizarre things on psychedelics that you can't frankly get a grant to study academically or medically and you know I can be my own guinea pig. So I'm really interested in trying different things. What? would be examples of that be, for example Intelligence tests were one, but I could definitely see people being able to study that I wouldn't want to do so. I know people colloquially who've, like, taken certain drugs and gone skydiving, and I'm not particularly interested in that either. I think that's a sort of like a bizarre experience because I feel like going skydiving that's truly just like you know. I mean, you're enhancing a fear. You know situation because you're incapacitated, relatively speaking, I don't know if I would want to do that route. I've done all different kinds of tests, like I did a show on opioids where I put my hand in ice water, which is a classic analgesic or pain test, to see how long I could last on opioids versus sober, and it's incredible how effective opioids are at combatting pain for much of the population, including I am still trying to think about my next stunt, I guess. So if any of your listeners have ideas, please DM me. I am at your disposal. I truly yeah, I haven't. I've tried surfing while on LSD and I think, like I'm not at the one. That's extremely dangerous. I don't recommend it and I could sense that while I was out there. So I I do want it to be safe. To be honest, like I you know skydiving is safe like that. You know the statistics are not good. Surfing actually is much more dangerous. So yeah, I'm really not sure Anybody listening, you know? Please write me with some ideas about what Sarah should do next.

Speaker 1:

Well, if people want to do that, what's the best handles for people to find you?

Speaker 2:

I love all of them. Sarah Rose, siskind, s-i-s-k-i-n-d. On Twitter, on Instagram those are kind of my main haunts these days, but LinkedIn, I don't know where every where I've addicted to social media, so either one of those you found me on Instagram.

Speaker 1:

I'm really I'm quite a powerful stalker, so, but thanks so much for coming on the podcast. It's been really interesting and if there's anything we can do to help you if you need bodies for experiments or all the like I'm sure we can put it out to our audience and find someone willing.

Speaker 2:

So thank you so much. Oh yeah, next time, next time I'm in England, watch out, because I'm going to be bringing mushrooms and suggesting we go for a run.

Speaker 1:

Mate, I'm game, I've. I mean, you wouldn't have, you wouldn't need to bring any with you, let's just put that way. But yeah, when you ever passing through London, we've got spare bedroom and there are experiences to be had, that's for sure.

Speaker 2:

Thank you, I may take you up on that, so beware.

Speaker 1:

I thought this was a story we had to. We had to speak to her just to find out what her experience is like. I've not actually watched the video, yeah. Yeah, I've just read up about her, so I'm going to go and do that now. But also I just thought it's great the fact that the fact that she she clearly is so knowledge about the subject as well. So I thought this would be a good interview to really open people's eyes up to different viewpoints and actually to to understand things better. So, but if you've got any suggestions of future guests, then message me. David at bad boy running calm, try to think of other episodes that would be good to listen to. Kind of linked to this, we did speak to Christopher McDougal about the tower bar and he wrote board to run Sam from ultra X he was. Also he has put on a an ultra race through Copper Canyon where he was talking about, I think, jason slab taking on one of the local tarot minor runners and just how incredibly good he was. We've not really done many other episodes about drugs in running other than, I guess, performance enhancing drugs, where we spoke to the steppin offs who are Russian whistleblowers. We spoke to Rob cola, the ex deputy director of wider, about how the system is. So plenty of episodes there for you to listen to, but, as I say, there's any future guests you'd like me to reach out to and get on the podcast. Message David at bad boy, run calm, or on Instagram. Just message the page and we will see you next time. That's for listening. Bye, bye, bye, bye, bye, bye, bye, bye, bye, bye. Fuck you, buddy.

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