About Our Guest- Dan Engle – Integrative Psychedelics
Dr. Dan Engle is a psychiatrist with a clinical practice that combines aspects of regenerative medicine, psychedelic research, integrative spirituality, and peak performance.
His medical degree is from the University of Texas at San Antonio. His psychiatry residency degree is from the University of Colorado in Denver, and his child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship degree is from Oregon Health & Science University. Dr. Engle is an international consultant to several global healing centers facilitating the use of long-standing indigenous plant medicines for healing and awakening. He is the Founder and Medical Director of Kuya Institute for Transformational Medicine in Austin, Texas; Full Spectrum Medicine, a psychedelic integration and educational platform; and Thank You Life, a non-profit funding stream supporting access to psychedelic therapies. Dr. Engle is the author of The Concussion Repair Manual: A Practical Guide to Recovering from Traumatic Brain Injuries, as well as his new book, A Dose of Hope: A Story of MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy.
Full Podcast Transcription
Dan Engle 00:00
Psilocybin goes back up to a million years in the fossil record and was probably something, if you looked at the stoned ape theory or hypothesis by Dennis & Terence McKenna, maybe psilocybin was even part of what helped us evolve.
Diva Nagula 00:25
Welcome to another episode of From Doctor to Patient. Today, I have the pleasure of hosting Dr. Dan Engle. Dr. Dan Engle lectures and consults globally and as a medical director of the Revive Treatment Centers of America, as well as medical advisor to Onnit Labs, the True Rest Float Centers, and several international treatment centers using indigenous plant medicines for healing and recovery. He published his first book, the concussion repair manual in October of 2017, which has received praise from countless figures in the medical arena, who works with leaders in various industries. And his clinical practice combines functional medicine, integrative psychiatry, neurocognitive restoration, and peak performance methods. And Dr. Dan is also a friend and mentor to me. So I\’ve been very excited for this podcast. So welcome. Dr. Dan, how are you today?
Dan Engle 01:36
I\’m great. diva. Great to be with you, man.
Diva Nagula 01:39
I\’ve been really excited to podcast for a while. So thanks for being on here today.
Dan Engle 01:45
Diva Nagula 01:46
It\’s really interesting how your career it has taken a change just like kind of mine has. And you initially started out as a practicing clinical psychiatrist, correct?
Dan Engle 01:57
Yes. After I finished my last fellowship, I did a couple of fellowships, one in forensics and one in child psych and then ran an integrative psych clinic for about maybe two and a half years or so. Until I was going through a life transition and divorce and kind of re-reflection on where my life was going in my practice. I was calling in something for sure. I didn\’t really know what I was calling in. But around that time I was introduced to an underground ayahuasca circle. And that changed everything.
Diva Nagula 02:33
Where was this circle of Iosco was it in the jungle?
Dan Engle 02:38
No, I hadn\’t met yet moved down to the jungle. This was up in the Pacific Northwest.
Diva Nagula 02:44
And this kind of transformed your role as a healer, I would imagine?
Dan Engle 02:49
100% from a first person perspective, because I learned more about myself in one weekend with ayahuasca than I had in one decade of psychotherapy. And I was just amazed at the transformational experience that happened in a relatively short period of time and everything that I learned and gotten in touch with about myself. And, you know, our backgrounds in psychiatry and the study of the mind and that deep experience. And like Stan Grof says, you know, we need to have a felt sense, or an experiential spirituality, not just an intellectual one. And the experience of that trancendental process was so transformative for my worldview, that I knew I wanted to learn more about it. So fairly short order, closed my practice, moved out of Portland, down to an ashram for two years, and then eventually moved on to the jungle, to really just immerse deeply in the study of Amazonian shamanism.
Diva Nagula 04:01
And you came out with so much to offer and then you\’ve changed your whole way of practicing medicine and also formulated different protocols for healing purposes. And so it\’s really interesting how it parallels what I\’ve gone through. I mean, I had my first psychedelic experience just a year and a half ago. And in fact, I\’m actually going to go to the jungle a month from now and experience my first ayahuasca ceremony.
Dan Engle 04:29
Diva Nagula 04:29
Yea, so I guess, yeah, some I\’m looking forward to that and seeing what kind of insight that I get some of the things that you do now is fantastic. And I\’d love to just have you talk about some of the things you\’re doing in your realm in terms of helping others heal either mental and physical disease that they\’ve been plagued with for many years,
Dan Engle 04:48
There\’s a wide tapestry or list of things I\’m currently involved in and all of them are under the umbrella of transformational medicine. And what does it look like as we move into this next phase of evolutionary medical care? Moving away from… let me clarify that it\’s not just moving away from allopathic medicine because allopathic medicine has its place. Right when I drove off a pier, landed on a sandbar and broke my neck. I didn\’t go see my homeopath or my acupuncturist, you know, I went straight to the ER, via EMS to get stabilized, wore a halo for three months and allopathic care has its place in the ER in the OR, and triage medicine and acute care management, we\’re really good at that. But we\’re pretty lousy in allopathic care with preventative care and with chronic care. And so every discipline has its sacred place at the table. And so what does it look like as we evolve from allopathic care through functional medicine, now into transformational medicine, where we actually have tools to support people\’s conscious awakening experience into a more embodied presence of true self full authenticity, growing in psychic empowerment, resiliency, and switched on to what our Dharma is or what we\’re here to do like the sacred work. And ideally, we do that in a way that teaches people how to fish and not just gives them fish. And that\’s essentially what these medicines do. They help heal the core issues that are stimulating the primary five psychiatric epidemics right now, depression, anxiety, PTSD, addiction and pain. And with these medicines, when they\’re used therapeutically, and really excellent container with supreme facilitation, the healing is transformational. And it\’s extraordinarily effective and exponentially better than the standard of care.
Diva Nagula 07:03
And just for our reference that to our listeners, we\’re really referencing medicines as psychedelic medicines right then.
Dan Engle 07:09
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Thanks for that designation. And this kind of nomenclature is clear and it\’s important. And you and I were raised our generation, we were raised with the whole war on drugs. And many of the medicines that I speak about in regards to the psychedelics were classified as drugs, because of the popular media at the time, and the fact that in the early 70s, the Nixon administration was freaked out about everything that was going on in the Vietnam era. And the revolution that was happening was growing at a cultural level. And LSD was the poster child of the wrongness, and the dangers of transcendental states, and should be known to many people were using psychedelics recklessly, and without reverence and without deep therapeutic intent. And that\’s not to say that recreational usage doesn\’t also have its place. But if we\’re talking about shifting the healing paradigm, and expanding the trajectory of where medicine is going, we\’re speaking about medicines in a therapeutic context, not just the recreational. And so as all of this starts to expand, what we\’re going to see and what you and I are a part of, and our field is growing into is establishing these protocols and right practices and new standards of care for efficacy and excellence with psychedelics in transformational process, and putting those protocols into a clinical format, where people actually have the opportunity to go to established clinics, with trained providers, and have a transformational process be worked through the arc of experience from soup to nuts, so to speak, right. So the onboarding preparation is excellent, the experience is excellent. And integration on the other side is excellent. And when we have those protocols, and as clinics established, we\’re gonna see a complete revolution in mental health care.
Diva Nagula 09:20
And I totally agree with you, and I\’m looking forward to seeing this transformation occurred in a legal sense, as currently some of these reflected Tillich medicines are in clinical trials, and I believe, MDMA, which isn\’t your traditional psychedelic medicine, but it has some properties of psychedelics, and it is currently in phase three trials. And psilocybin, which is your magic mushroom is currently I believe in phase two trials. So we should be seeing these medicines get through the categories of clinical trials and become legalized. I don\’t have a guesstimate but do you have any kind of a timeline in terms of when you anticipate the Two medicines becoming approved by the FDA for regular use.
Dan Engle 10:03
Well, I\’ve heard friends that know Rick Doblin the head of maps, who\’s supporting the MDMA, phase three trials and the expanded access rollout of MDMA supported psychotherapy that\’s happening now. It\’s just happening on a really small, slow scale. I\’ve heard friends of Rick say that Rick\’s been saying that it\’s going to be legal in two years, for about the last 10 years. So the summary statement, when you get asked is like, oh, this should be another couple of years! I\’m expecting that that still about this case, because expanded access is already happening. And what they\’re doing is essentially proven safety efficacy at scale. As this gets rolled out into more and more centers, and when the feds see that it\’s done well, and efficacy rates are excellent, then it\’s just gonna make sense at the public health crisis right now, the amount of depression and PTSD, especially in the war veteran community, and I\’m just amazed in stupefied, that the VA system hasn\’t jumped on board, because the amount of money they spend per veteran on PTSD related treatments is astonishing. somewhere like 10 billion year.
Diva Nagula 11:23
You were telling me I think it was you or do some research affirming that usage of MDMA, with PTSD. There\’s like an astonishing like 80%, like cure rate, is that correct?
Dan Engle 11:35
Yeah, 83% cure rate and phase one trials. And the phase two trials with using different therapeutics stacked on MDMA, like how you\’re using it second therapeutically, whether using inter internal family systems, or somatic experiencing, or comi, or a variety of others, maybe down to like 68%. So if you just split the difference, you\’re in the mid 70s, which is five or six times better than the standard of care. And because that\’s for cure rate, that\’s not improvement rate, right? That\’s people after two to three sessions with MDMA, supportive psychotherapy, no longer meaning criteria for PTSD at all, much less the standard of care, which is like 20 to 30% improvement rate.
Diva Nagula 12:26
What is the standard of care?
Dan Engle 12:28
Usually two things CBT and psychopharmacology. And that\’s usually polypharmacy. So two to three different psychiatric medications stacked on with cognitive behavioral therapy, is maybe 20 to 35% improvement rate, kind of depending on the studies you\’re looking at, and where they\’re doing it, and how the CBT is being rolled out, etc. So it\’s orders of magnitude better. And so it\’s just gonna make sense that this gets rolled out slowly so that the feds feel comfortable, and that we build the standards of care and excellence in onboarding process for the clients and the clinicians. Like how do you train clinicians to do this work really well?
Diva Nagula 13:14
Dan Engle 13:15
So all of this is slowly getting implemented?
Diva Nagula 13:18
And are we at a risk at all for ruining this second so to speak enlightenment that we\’re seeing right now? Because obviously, you kind of alluded to this awakening that happened in you know, as we were growing up in the 70s, and it kind of got crushed by the Nixon administration. And I\’m fearful that another incident might happen, where there\’ll be a kibosh placed on on psychedelics. I mean, I\’m hoping that this isn\’t the case.
Dan Engle 13:47
Yeah, I kind of laugh at that question, because it reminds me of what Stan Grof told Michael myth ofor. So Michael & Annie Mythoefer were the clinicians who ran phase one MDMA trials, and that had those astonishing cure rates of 83% after two-three sessions, as phase two rolled out and now that these trainings are happening, I went to a training with Michael and Annie amazing clinicians and super good humans. And Michael left us at the end of that training with this quote from Stan, which is essentially Stan said, \”the data is good, we\’re doing good work, don\’t fuck it up.\” And you know, if you know Stan Grof, he\’s like, legendary in the space. So to get it straight from the, the legends mouth so to speak of, yes, we\’re on track and don\’t fuck it up because we don\’t want to mess up the trajectory that we\’re on. So that means everybody that\’s involved, be mindful. play smart. Don\’t do things super outside the box. Be responsible. Not only if for the clinicians being facilitators, but also for the clients being participants, because once a participant now, as a participant, I have the opportunity, like if I\’m receiving treatment, as a participant, now I have the opportunity to be an ambassador, and to actually be a spokesperson for the right use of these medicines and these technologies, so to encourage people to be using responsibly if they are using them on their own, because I think that\’s going to be if something goes south, it\’s going to be a high profile person using something recreationally and something going wrong. Or it\’s going to be a clinician or a facilitator of a high profile person, doing something therapeutically and something going wrong. And if that happens, then that\’s just going to give all the skeptics and doubters more.
Diva Nagula 16:53
There\’s so much underground usage of these medications. And they\’re in a spiritual setting, you know, in a circle or whatnot. And some of these facilitators and guys are just very Cavalier, they\’re just placing people on medications without having an understanding of their own medications that they\’ve been taking for many years without understanding the pharmacology of these medications. And that\’s what scares me and I really feared that what you alluded to is that this utilization, where someone as a high profile person is going to have an issue where they\’re put on medicines that they shouldn\’t have been placed on because the guy didn\’t understand the pharmacology and the interactions, and something lethal may happen. And that\’s what\’s imminent, I\’m afraid.
Dan Engle 17:43
Yeah, hopefully… chaos happens, right? There\’s a take at least a 10% chaos factor in the universe. So even if you take care of all of the confounding variables, something may still go haywire.
Diva Nagula 18:40
Dan Engle 18:02
And, ideally, the data is so compelling, and the numbers are so strong, that it\’s going to well surpass and essentially overshadow any of the detriments that the benefits will show so much consistent, positive effect when used well, that from a cost benefit, risk benefit kind of analysis, it\’s so supremely high in the likelihood of benefit, that we would be silly to not approve it.
Diva Nagula 18:40
Right? I mean, we have so many side effects that are detrimental to people\’s health on a daily basis, with medications that have been approved by the Big Pharma. So, you know, look at it in that perspective, you know, you\’re gonna have things that go south, but obviously, with the benefit, the cost benefit ratio, and, and the overall improvement in people\’s well being I mean, we\’re talking, you know, such a high percentage of cure rate for PTSD. I mean, you don\’t see that with with any medicines that are currently out there that are reported by Big Pharma. So let\’s just, it\’s kind of the way it is. Another thing that I wanted to discuss most of my viewers or listeners, I\’m sorry, are really not as when it comes to psychedelics, and you have this really great tiered system that you often explain about how you should progress from one psychedelic to the next. And would you mind explaining that in a little bit of detail and kind of going over reviewing what each medicine does, and what the requirements are before you invest in the next year?
Dan Engle 19:44
Yeah, happy to talk about that. When I think of the psychedelics that are commonly discussed, researched, reported today, there are the big 10 and if we put those into a stratified hierarchy, then it\’s kind of like going into the gym. And some of my friends are just beasts in the gym. And to be honest, I haven\’t been in gym in a long time, my workouts are varied. And they\’re usually in nature, but they\’re not in the gym. So, because I don\’t have experience in there. And because most of those guys are huge compared to my size, I\’m not going to just get under the squat rack and try and crush 300 pounds on my first day, and if I do that, I\’m probably going to get injured. Right. So similarly, people don\’t have any experience in working with transcendent states and psychedelic states that I wouldn\’t start with a level three protocol straight away. So if we look at hierarchy, then hierarchy also just means sacred order. And if we think about the the medicines that are the easiest to usually navigate from the experience side, as well as the facilitation side, they\’re all pretty safe. The likelihood of success is pretty high. And the likelihood of something really squirrelly happening or a bad trip is fairly low. Then the level one medicines, the first entry of the hierarchy, low dose LSD, because high dose LSD is a completely different beast, low dose LSD, psilocybin, MDMA, Ketamine, Cannabis. Level two, and these are medicines that have been held in hundreds, if not 1000s of years of tradition, and require a degree of training to be able to expertly facilitate. So as opposed to being a sitter, level two really require excellence in the facilitation. And these are medicines like ayahuasca, San Pedro cactus, and peyote. And then Level Three medicines have more risk, both physiologically and psychologically. And this is ibogaine, or iboga. iboga being the whole plant, ibogaine being the primary extract, and DMT, DMT is not so much dangerous, physically, but it can be psychologically, if people aren\’t ready to have that size of an experience. It\’s fairly short, but it\’s really big. And nothing is going to encourage the ego to die as much as DMT compared to all the other medicines, or in comparison to something like a near death experience, right? There\’s a huge experience of the ego being transported or catapulted out of the body. And some people if they go straight to DMT, because it\’s getting so much press, now, they can have a really big freakout, have a bad trip. And that can leave a psychological scar, or even a tear in the psychic field, if we want to describe it that way. That needs a fair bit of time to repair. So if we just look at each of those medicines, there\’s five in level one, three, in level two, and two, in level three, there\’s escalating requirement really to know what people are getting into and to have some training. So people ask me, because I get this question fairly often, I want to have an experience, where should I start? And I typically say, well, do you have any kind of meditation practice? Have you ever floated? And have you ever been in a really scary situation? And how did you deal with it? And if they say, no, I don\’t have a meditation experience. I\’ve never been in a float tank. And yeah, I freaked out once when you know, X, Y or Z happened, then that\’s the place to start actually, at ground zero. Start with some kind of meditation practice, get in the float tank a half a dozen times, because that\’s going to start to allow some of that subconscious material to come up to the surface, and see how you work with scary situations. How do you self regulate? Do you have a breathwork practice? Are you willing to go into the like Joseph Campbell said in the cave that we fear lies the treasure that we seek? Are you willing to go into the cave? And what do you think is gonna happen when you get in there? When it\’s scary, lonely, dark, and you feel like you\’re all alone? How are you going to deal with that? Because that\’s what could happen. It\’s not what always happens, but it\’s what could happen. So people need to prepare and get like training under their belt. So start with ground zero. And then once that\’s solidified, and people have prepared and they feel ready, and they\’ve kind of been assessed for readiness, and it seems like that\’s the case. Great, then explore level one. And ideally, do that with a sitter, at minimum. But even better than that would be a trained facilitator, explore level one, get some of those under your belt and then consider level two and then hints that are level three.
Diva Nagula 24:57
And if say for some of these, these listeners that are listening to this podcast, they\’ve already done their homework and they\’ve done the phase zero, and they\’re ready to embark on the phase one. What can they expect? And what kind of prerequisites should they have completed? Obviously, phase zero involves some prerequisites, but in terms of like getting their mind, right and prepared, what are some prerequisites before embarking on phase one tier medicine.
Dan Engle 25:31
So everything is phase one is fairly safe. physiologically, there\’s no LD50 for LSD, psilocybin, cannabis. There is an LD50 for like a lethal dose for ketamine, but you\’d have to take a truckload. And if you took too much MDMA, there can be cardiovascular risks, like because it bumps your systolic blood pressure and heart rate about 25 points or so per session. So people have to know some of those risks and potential contraindications. And then also, what is the indication that they\’re using for like, what are they going for? Are they only for healing? And if they\’re going for healing? Is that one of the big five? depression, anxiety, PTSD, addiction or pain? And if they\’re not going for healing, are they going for optimization? Those are typically two doorways into medicine work.
Diva Nagula 26:26
Can you clarify what that entails?
Dan Engle 26:29
Yeah. So optimization is essentially helping the worried well go from good to great, because we all have our own neuroses, we\’re all the world walking around with our own ego constructs and ego defenses and the wounds that we carry around be particularly because we just live in a chaotic, crazy culture right now. And it\’s such a fast paced entry into life, particularly now, you and I were at least raised prior to widespread cell phone use and prior to the internet, so we actually had a lot of time in nature, we had a lot of time to be children. But the current generation and the coming generations, they\’re like straight into adulthood pretty quick, with as much access to crazy amounts of information of all sorts on the internet that anybody can get at the click of a button. So it kind of depends on if there\’s the suspicion that Yeah, maybe I don\’t have like crushing depression, or major OCD or generalized anxiety, or phobias, or x, y and z issue that I\’m trying to heal. But there is also the opportunity because we recognize that we\’ve been working with psychedelic and transcendental states since we were banging rocks together 1000s of years ago. And transcendence is one of our core primary needs. If we look at the primary energy systems in the body, the Vedic medicine would describe those chakras or energy centers themselves, or wheel chakra, means wheel of life or like a spinning wheel. And if we look at these different primary centers, these all have primary drives the drive to be safe and to have safety and also to serve the drive to create the drive to exert ourselves and our authentic expression in the world, the desire to love, etc. And in this digit desire to transcend or to have transcendental states, the sum of Jamie Wheal and Steven Kotler in Chasing Fire or Stealing Fire, and The Rise of Superman. We are driven and organized around these transformational experiences. And we\’re not the only mammals that do that, by the way, either. So it\’s not only a human drive, and need. It\’s also a recognition that if we don\’t express that need, then it\’s going to come out in some distorted way. And Joseph Chilton Pearce talked about this in Biology of Transcendence, he\’s like, if we\’re not going for transcendence, at least occasionally, then that repressed drive can come out as violence. It\’s like, wow, okay, that\’s a phenomenal picture and a lens to look at. Not only are these benefits and we have privileged to work with these medicines, because many of our ancestors didn\’t have the opportunity to, but it\’s also part of our DNA. It\’s a part of our blueprint. And so it\’s a healthy expression of a whole human to get out of the usual ego constructs that\’s usually around limitation and scarcity and safety, because the ego goes for safety. It\’s also about being able to step outside of that and get some freedom to drop the ego at the door and then see what wants to happen. What\’s happening subconsciously that I\’m not in touch with or super consciously that I\’m not in touch with so these different entry points, whether it\’s healing or optimization might point in the direction of one or more of a first level medicine to work with.
Diva Nagula 30:11
And so, that\’s my next question. So it can be okay to stay in that first tier, and play with sending these different medicines, because even though they\’re in the same tier, they can give you a different experience. And then, once you\’ve kind of mastered those medicines and feel comfortable, then it would be advisable and acceptable to seek out and go into the phase two tier.
Dan Engle 30:37
Yeah, that\’s been my experience if we want to just play it safe. And that being said, I medically directed, I began center in Mexico for a year, a number of years ago. And we would have people come in as daily heroin users or daily opioid users, because they were addicted to pain medications, and they had never had a psychedelic experience and go straight to Ibogaine. They were at the end of their rope.
Diva Nagula 31:06
This is a different scenario.
Dan Engle 31:08
Yes, this is a different scenario. But just to give that example, like there are in an emergency situation, it might be advisable for a person to go straight to a level three medicine like Ibogaine, if they\’ve tried everything else for addiction recovery. They keep relapsing. And this is their last ditch effort. In a very specific scenario, it might be advisable to jump levels.
Generally, for the average person to play it safe and to do it, well, this hierarchy works for the vast majority of people.
Diva Nagula 31:50
And you were making a reference, which is a great point regarding opioid dependence in the state we\’re in in the US with the prevalence of opiate abuse and the number of people that have addiction to these medicines and do psychedelics. I know you\’re referencing Ibogaine as a medicine that can be used to heal people that have addiction problems. But the tears below will that can they be utilized in a healing sense for people who have drug dependency and other addiction issues?
Dan Engle 32:19
100% yeah, psilocybin has some really good early data for nicotine dependence. And nicotine dependence is a hard one to kick and some of the early trials, are small trials, but are as good as 80% cure rate as a year after, right. That\’s what a lot of preparation and a couple of experiences working that model I think was stacked with CBT. And to be able to unravel that, that\’s pretty impressive. Ayahyasca has tons of really good data for decades for drug and alcohol dependency. And there\’s a place called Takiwasi, that I think was either started or initially founded or supported by Dennis McKenna, one of the heavies in the field, and they\’ve been doing good work for a long time. And I think globally, Aya is used in many centers specifically in primarily for addiction recovery support. So there are level one medicines, and level two medicines, I\’m sure to think of like anything else in level one. That\’s primarily… LSD has some benefit and some reported usage for Addiction Recovery treatment, however, is not being studied much anymore, because it just got such a bad rap. And peyote has supported many people, particularly in the Native American communities for addiction recovery, but the two primary ones, outside of level three would be psilocybin in level one, and ayahyasca in level two.
Diva Nagula 33:59
And it\’s really interesting that all these medicines that we\’re just discussing, been around except for the some of the synthetic ones, which are ketamine and MDMA, but all the other ones have been around for for generations and generations, and they\’ve been using the indigenous cultures for many years for healing.
Dan Engle 34:17
Mm hmm. 100% Yeah, the synthetics, K, LSD, MDMA, all relatively new in the last 80 years. These are all found and like, developed in between the 30s in the 50s. And then found to be really beneficial for their little niche. So prior to 1900s, yeah, all the other medicines have been used culturally for hundreds if not 1000s of years. And psilocybin goes back up to a million years and the fossil record.
Diva Nagula 34:55
Dan Engle 34:57
And was probably something, if you The Stoned Ape Theory or hypothesis by Dennis & Terence McKenna, maybe psilocybin was even part of what helped us evolve about 200,000 years ago from Homo erectus and Homo sapiens is we had this like, massive increase in brain volume. Whoa, have you experienced? If you just read that you\’re like, Oh, yeah, maybe so… but if you experience psilocybin, you\’re like, Oh, wow. Yeah, that kind of makes sense. Because what it\’s doing to me in the felt experience feels like it\’s expanding my consciousness. And oh, by the way, yes, it also stimulates synaptic genesis, and BDNF, and may even support new neuronal growth, not just improved synaptic connection, but actually the growth of new neurons.
Diva Nagula 35:49
Right and enhance neuroplasticity. Right. So we\’ve seen those kinds of studies with psilocybin as of late, but I\’m sure there are other medicines such ayahuasca that also has some neuroplasticity and changes in brain chemistry, as you just described. Well, this is just fascinating! And, you know, some of these medicines are harmless. And I think there was a study that showed uncompetitive comparison between common substances that are using a daily basis compared to medicine, such as psilocybin, LSD, MDMA, and they\’re all like in this in this bar-graph. and if you look at the graph, if I\’m not mistaken, I can\’t remember the study, but it showed that psilocybin was at the very bottom of the list in terms of the risk that it can cause harm to the person who\’s taking the medicine and people that are around that person. Right.
Dan Engle 36:44
Yeah, that\’s from the global drug survey, I think it was 2017. And so that\’s a cool study, too, because that\’s in the field. As we know, and we know, in the laboratory, there\’s no LD50, you take too much suicide, and you\’re going to puke it out, or poop it out or get it out. And so it\’s the safest one, or one of the safest ones in the lab. And then in the field, it actually is the least presented to the emergency department with people going through a bad trip even less than like half the number of present to the ER, on a bad trip with psilocybin then with cannabis. With that was notable for me like, and it makes sense to because now the cannabis compared to 10 years ago is so heavy, it\’s so strong. And I think some people are way overshooting the mark, and then have a freak out. And they go to the ER and like, Oh, yeah, you just smoked way too much. What\’s happening more commonly today is people are taking way too much of an edible. And then it\’s on board. And it\’s kind of like stuck there for a while. And it can be like freaky to try and like wrestle with your consciousness when it\’s going to a bad trip for like four hours. And same thing with LSD, which is why if people take too much LSD, it\’s a totally different beast. And the synthetics don\’t have the natural safeguards built in. Because usually, if you take a natural medicine in too high of a dose and that toxic dose, again, you puke it out, poop it out, get it out. And if you take a synthetic too much, then you\’re gonna have to ride it out. Because the natural mechanisms aren\’t typically built in, you can\’t just puke LSD back out, it\’s like on board, and now you\’ve got eight to 10 hours of a bad trip.
Diva Nagula 38:40
So I mean, with your transformational medicine that you\’re doing, I mean, in the utilization of your protocol along with some of these medicines, what kind of transformations are you seeing in individuals that are going through these processes that you put in place
Dan Engle 38:55
Well it\’s nothing short of phenomenal? Because people are waking up into an experience of life that they didn\’t know possible? Yeah. It\’s kind of like, you know, if I\’m raised in the Pacific Northwest, in the winter, and I just I have that as my norm. I lived there for five years, so I just kind of like toggled to that. It\’s going to be dark and dreary and cold and rainy for eight months. That\’s two thirds of the calendar is gonna be fairly not sunny. If that\’s my only reference point, because that\’s where I\’ve grown up and that\’s all I know then okay, I can do with it. But now if I go and I traveled down to Costa Rica, where it\’s pretty much sunny and beautiful all the time, and maybe it varies 30 minutes between winter and summer daylight hours, and it\’s warm and I can get out in the sun and like my vitamin D Levels just shoot through the roof. Now I have a different experience with life, and sunshine and maybe happiness, because seasonal affective disorder is a thing. So it really kind of depends on what our experience of the norm is. If my usual operating system is one of disempowerment, victimization, blame judgment, criticism, internally and outwardly, right, because the most critical people to others are the most critical of themselves, we just do that. That\’s what the ego does. And if that\’s all I know, then it\’s hard to fathom what it\’s going to be like to be content, and peaceful and happy. And in relationship, if I don\’t know what it\’s like to have a safe, secure experience in a relationship. And I\’m working around these, these different fear programs around abandonment, and rejection and inconsistency and potentially intimacy not being a reliable situation, because I wasn\’t modeled that way. And then I have this all of a sudden, like, give any of those examples, and then you put people through fairly efficient. And the time course is different for everybody. But a fairly efficient process, say, a three month or so process, to work through those deep layers to work through those programs and belief structures, get a sense of what the operating system used to be like. And now in reflection, of a process that I can actually engage from a witness perspective, look at my thinking, and then choose how I want to move forward, choose the thoughts and the programs and the the the now clear internal narrative that I\’m wanting to anchor my life around. Now, I might be able to more readily experience safety and security in relationship, more self love, and self worth, and therefore peace and contentment internally, and therefore also more self love and self worth that I can see and others and recognize that we\’re all connected here. And everybody\’s wanted their own kind of thing together. And if I\’ve just taken the lens of this kind of like gray haze of life off. And yeah, maybe in the early stages, there might be a rosy hue and a bit of a psychedelic afterglow. This is where the integration really helps to solidify that peak experience and make it workable. But there\’s a really fundamental shift in a person\’s life that happens at that point. That\’s why I, consistently for myself, and I\’ve seen this with countless friends, family and clients, that there\’s life before medicine and life after medicine. And now, we also know that not only can I experience life in a different way, and potentially in a way that\’s more beautiful and gorgeous and abundant, and inspired and connected than I thought possible. I also now know that I have a tool to be able to continue to utilize throughout the rest of my life that can so that they can continue to help me orient towards truth. The medicines won\’t save us, but what they do is help us orient towards truth. And if I can continue to do that, then now I\’m re-referencing my experience internally. And I know I\’ve got an ally that can continue to support my evolution.
Diva Nagula 43:56
So huge and so beautiful. I want to really discuss your efforts. I mean, you\’ve been instrumental in some of the changes with decriminalization that we\’ve seen over the last few months. Do you anticipate any other areas, states maybe even that are going to decriminalize these medicines?
Dan Engle 44:19
100%. So we saw happen last year, here in Denver\’s we decriminalize psilocybin. And then like two weeks later, or maybe a month later, Oakland went and decriminalized all natural medicines, which is great, right? So they\’re kind of platform as decriminalized in nature. And then Chicago, a handful of months ago, went with the same deciminalized nature and Chicago is a huge municipality. Right? So that was that was about as big as Denver going for psilocybin. Because Oakland, was it a populace vote. It was a vote at the City Council. So you only had like 12 people sitting around a table saying, Oh yeah, this would be good. Let\’s go for that. Which is great. And I always get curious, like, what are the people want? And so when Chicago went decrim\’ nature, Oh, geez, that\’s huge. And now there are something like 120 municipalities that have votes coming on the ballot in the next year or so.
Diva Nagula 45:25
Dan Engle 45:27
Yeah, municipalities nationwide. Or it might just be for psilocybin or it could be all the way up to decrim nature could be small little places like Port Townsend went, Port Townsend is pretty progressive and fairly small, like, Oh, yeah, I could see that Berkeley went, you\’re like, Oh, yeah, I could see that. But no, there are other really big municipalities and cities going for it as well. And Oregon has a measure 2020 not just to decrim, but to actually legalize therapeutic use of psilocybin, and that\’s going for statewide ballot vote. And that\’s in Oregon this year. So I think we\’re gonna see a lot of things happen a fairly short order. And this is cool, because Oregon is essentially saying, we want to do what California did for medical cannabis in the 90s. We want to do that for psilocybin. Right now, we don\’t want to wait for the feds, we want to go ahead and see if the state\’s willing to support us, and then see what the feds have to say, because it\’s already going into phase three trials. And there, it\’s the OPS – Oregon psilocybin society – initiative for 2020. And it\’s probably the best, well thought out legal initiative I\’ve seen up to this point.
Diva Nagula 46:53
And it\’s amazing to me to see how there\’s so many municipalities in so many areas that have already initiated the decriminalization. And this is before the feds have actually completed their studies and with psilocybin and MDMA, and they haven\’t even started on researching, and some of the medicines that have been decriminalized in Denver and California. This is just incredible. It just shows the power of these medicines and how much human capacity they have people.
Dan Engle 47:22
Yeah, yeah, I think we\’re gonna see amazing things happen in this arena, in the next handful years, particularly in the next decade. And it\’s such an exciting time to be in the field.
Diva Nagula 47:35
It sure is needed. I\’m sure everyone can attest to this, but you go around on social media, and people are just trolling, and just displaying so much fear and hate, and it\’s just, Oh, my gosh, you just have these people, if they go on a good psychedelic trip, all that goes away. It\’s just so funny how quickly this works.
Dan Engle 48:01
Diva Nagula 48:05
Well, Dan, I know we\’re running close to being out of time. But I really want to thank you for taking the opportunity to talk with me about your experiences and what you\’re doing on the forefront of psychedelic medicine. I really just want to thank you with all your efforts that you\’ve made over the last six months. And that\’s been your hard work, along with a lot of other people that we will definitely see these medicines be on the forefront for prescriptions that will be written by physicians, and I can\’t wait for that to actually happen.
Dan Engle 48:35
I know. Yeah. 100%, I think it\’s a great time to be in the field, great that you\’re one of many who are getting good information out there to the masses. And this is how it\’s also starting as a grassroots campaign, because most of the funding, if not all of the funding for the psychedelics that we\’ve just spoken about is private funding, it\’s not coming government. So this is very much a grassroots movement, because of the opportunity to share information as widely as we have been.
Diva Nagula 49:07
Right. And if people want to reach out to you and talk to you and discuss with you about information regarding psychedelic stories and want to enroll in your protocols for healing, how can they get ahold of you?
Dan Engle 49:23
Best way is a few different websites: DrDanEngle.com & FullSpectrumMedicine.com is our education advocacy platform, and I\’m building a new nonprofit launching a new clinic in Austin this summer called Kuya. That\’s going to be one of the premier transformational medicine centers. We\’re going to go like doors open around August. There\’s some good information about traumatic brain injury recovery in the concussion repair manual if people have experienced any of that stuff. We\’re also going to be doing a transformational medicine masterclass launching later this year that you and I are going to be speaking about in little bit so there\’s a lot moving, a lot shaking.
Diva Nagula 50:11
So exciting. So exciting. Well Dan, thanks so much for being on this podcast was great talking to you. And I look forward to personally working with you in the future.
Dan Engle 50:21
Yeah, likewise Diva, I look forward to it too man!