Episode 41: What Does It All Ketamine?

Ketamine is one of the most versatile drugs on Earth, an amazing anesthetic that can relieve pain without the same risk of respiratory failure as opioids (nothing against them, of course.) Overwhelming evidence also suggests ketamine can rapidly reverse suicidal thoughts, making it a potent treatment for PTSD and treatment-resistant depression. 

Last year, a specialized blend of ketamine called esketamine was approved by the FDA to treat depression, the first new major depression drug in more than 30 years, but its use has proven controversial. Meanwhile, dozens of clinics are popping up across North America, offering off-label use of ketamine to treat a wide range of issues. 

Yet, somehow ketamine is most often conflated with recreational use because it can give an ecstatic, lucid, out-of-body trip known as a dissociative hallucination. According to several surveys, including one published in the journal Consciousness and Cognition, ketamine has the highest semantic similarity to a near-death experience. What is it about this intriguing drug that makes it so popular, both clinically and elsewhere?

Our guest is Dr. Erica Zelfand, an integrative and functional medicine physician, who has written about how to get the most of ketamine therapy.

You can follow Dr. Erica Zelfand on Facebook and learn more at

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Producers: Christopher Moraff, Troy Farah, Zachary Siegel
Co-producer: Garrett Farah
Music: Glass Boy / Pictures of the Floating World
Image: louise stockton / edit: Troy Farah
Two clarifications we want to make: In the intro, we say that “no other drug will make you feel like you died and left your body.” We mean *compared to ketamine.* So there’s no room for confusion, we obviously weren’t implying ketamine is the only drug that is like a near-death experience, ketamine is simply the closest, and this semantic similarity is based on a number of surveys, which are not necessarily fully reliable as they are self-reported.

Second, around the 44:00 mark, we used Compass Pathways as an example of a company that is doing psychedelic research, but didn’t mean to also imply that they are opening ketamine clinics. Many psychedelic research companies, including Mind Medicine Inc, Mindbloom, and Field Trip Health, are going this route, but so far Compass is focused solely on psilocybin. We care deeply about accuracy at Narcotica, so this is just for clarity’s sake.

Episode 35: Holding Space — The Values of Trip Sitting

Magic mushrooms are having a bit of a moment. Some scientists are bending over backgrounds investing in psilocybin research, which is getting huge accolades from the FDA, while a decriminalization movement is slowly sweeping the nation. At least two towns have made psilocybin arrests the cops’ lowest priority.

But how do you prevent a mushroom trip from going sour? In this episode with author Michelle Janikian we enter the world of tripsitting, or watching over someone while they take powerful psychedelic drugs, in this case psilocybin mushrooms. Janikian is the author of the new book, “YOUR PSILOCYBIN MUSHROOM COMPANION: An Informative, Easy-to-Use Guide to Understanding Magic Mushrooms.”

**As with all our episodes, this is not medical or legal advice, it’s just a brief intro to the topic, please do your own homework and be safe.

Follow Michelle on Twitter:

Order “Your Psilocybin Companion” here:

Some excerpts from the book:

Extra resources:

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Tell your friends about us!

Producers: Christopher Moraff, Troy Farah, Zachary Siegel 

Music: Glass Boy / Min Y Llan

Photo: Psilocybe tampanensis via Wikipedia / Edit Troy Farah


Episode 17: Using DMT To Contact Aliens

Psychedelic drugs are weird, but DMT has to be one of the weirdest. Best known as the principle psychoactive ingredient in ayahuasca, this drug, N,N-Dimethyltryptamine, occurs naturally in many plants and animals. Troy Farah interviews Andrew Gallimore, a computational neurobiologist, pharmacologist and DMT enthusiast, and author of the new book ‘Alien Information Theory.’ With a healthy dose of skepticism, they discuss hyperspace realms and building a machine that makes DMT trips last for hours on end.

DMT is commonly called the quote ’Spirit molecule’ because while tons of psychedelics offer spiritual insight, DMT is in a category all its own. It can allegedly transport you to another dimension, where you will be greeted by vibrating, chattering ‘machine elves,’ as Terrence McKenna commonly called them. The experience is nothing short of life-changing, yet only lasts about 15 minutes. Are they aliens, spiritual beings or just hallucinations? We’ll let you decide.

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Find Andrew on Twitter or

Producers: Christopher Moraff, Troy Farah, Zachary Siegel
Co-Producer: Aaron Ferguson
Music: Glass Boy and Aaron Ferguson
Image Credit: Wikipedia / Composite by Troy Farah