Currents 039: Alexander Beiner on Psychedelic Turf Wars

Alexander Beiner & Jim have a wide-ranging talk about Beiner’s recent essay “Who’s in Charge of Psilocybin?”. They discuss the state of play regarding psilocybin’s legality, its effectiveness in therapeutic contexts, therapeutic versus personal-growth uses, the value and limitations of clinical trials, metaphors for psychedelics risk, the differences between synthesized and natural-grown psilocybin, COMPASS Pathways’ big patent grab and its threat to psilocybin access, the battle for narrative control around psychedelics, money-on-money return as an engine of Game A, psychedelic sensemaking, psychedelics as a Game B psychotechnology, an LSD-fuelled skiing trip, an idea for a business, and much more.

Alexander Beiner is a writer, facilitator and cultural commentator. As a co-founder of Rebel Wisdom, he leads on Rebel Wisdom’s written content and live experiences, and is particularly focused in finding new ways of having in-person conversations around the most essential and challenging ideas. He is also one of the directors of Breaking Convention, Europe’s largest conference on psychedelic science and culture. His work on psychedelic culture has been published in the 2016 book Neurotransmissions, as well as The Guardian. He also writes fiction and plays traditional Irish music.