Psychedelic Therapy And Treatment: Harnessing The Power Of Plant Medicine With Trevor Millar

The Most Important Conversations | Trevor Millar | Plant Medicine

Exploring the therapeutic potential of psychedelics has emerged as a groundbreaking avenue in the realm of mental health treatment, offering new perspectives and possibilities for profound healing experiences. This is where our guest today sits at the helm of, using the power of psychedelics for people suffering from PTSD to addiction and more. Chad Lefevre interviews Trevor Millar, a social entrepreneur and owner of Liberty Root Therapy Ltd., serving those called to experience the healing properties of African plant medicine Tabernanthe Iboga and its derivatives. In this episode, Trevor shares his journey into the space of psychedelic therapies and treatments and how he found his way into ibogaine and the things it can do for addiction, trauma, and depression. Trevor also talks about the current mental health crisis, helping military veterans, and the benefits of incorporating mindfulness exercises into our lives. The pharmaceutical industry has so far been unable to provide the right solutions to many of our mental health problems. It is time we start changing the conversation and the belief structure around the power of plant medicine. Let this conversation with Trevor enlighten you of the potential they hold for our future health.

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Psychedelic Therapy And Treatment: Harnessing The Power Of Plant Medicine With Trevor Millar

I’m excited to have Trevor Millar with us. Trevor, thanks for being on the show.

I’m thrilled to be here, Chad. Thank you.

One of the things that I wanted to start off with in terms of our conversation is getting a little bit of your background in terms of how you got into the space that you’re in around plant medicine, psychedelics, psychedelic therapies, and treatments for people suffering from PTSD to addiction, to all of these kinds of things. Tell us a little bit about your journey and how you got to this point, and then we’ll take it from there.

I’ll go way back with full disclosure. I had early experiences with psychedelics that were positive. I first tried LSD when I was fourteen years old. It was available. I grew up in the Reagan era of “Say no to drugs.” I thought for sure I was going to say no to drugs my whole life. Now I say “Maybe to drugs.” I tried LSD and knew nothing about the therapeutic potential of said substance. I remember walking with my buddies one time when we were all on it. I said, “This is what adults have forgotten that has made the world screwed up.” Therapeutic intuition was coming through.

Fast forward, I grew up in Ontario near Toronto. I moved out West to Whistler in ‘96. I moved to Vancouver shortly after that. I had a few times where I did psychedelics. It’s not like I was doing them all the time. In Vancouver, I ran into a shop called The Urban Shaman, which sold legal entheogenic substances on a commercial drive in Vancouver. There was a neat community around that shop while it was operating. That’s where I first heard of Iboga and Ibogaine.

The Most Important Conversations | Trevor Millar | Plant Medicine

On a parallel track at this point, it was after 9/11. It was the catalyst. I was 23 years old. I was distraught with the state of the world after 9/11. For various reasons, I started to see what I could do to start giving back. I realized the media had turned me and everybody else into a passive yet obsessive observer of all things. This was before the internet. I would read three newspapers every day. I would get super pissed off at the state of the world. I would shake my fist in disgust. Thankfully, it dawned upon me that that was not a healthy way to live.

On one hand, I got rid of all media. I went on a complete media fast for about three years. At the same time, I said, “What can I do to try and make the world a better place?” It’s putting your money where your mouth is kind of thing. I was new to Vancouver at the time, and Vancouver has a Downtown Eastside neighborhood, the poorest postal code in Canada, abject poverty, and a high rate of drug use.

I have always had a fascination with that neighborhood from the first time I heard about it to the first time I saw it. I thought I would do what I could to see if there was anything I could do to help that neighborhood. I knew I had no qualifications, but I thought maybe that was a benefit that would enable me to find a unique way to help.

It turns out, over many years, it did. I started going down to the Downtown Eastside. I started looking at different ways that I might be able to help out down there. I did some volunteering and built a bit of a network. It turned into about a ten-year networking and research project. In 2009, through a conversation with a woman who’s a bit of a legend on the Downtown Eastside as a social activist, I was talking to her, looking at different ways I might be able to help.

We couldn’t think of many things in that conversation, but the whole time I was speaking to her, there was a binder on the wall behind her that said “Ibogaine” on it. In the last few minutes of that conversation, I said, “What about Ibogaine?” She said, “I have people calling me for that all the time. There was an Ibogaine provider on the Sunshine Coast. It had shut down but their website was still up. Her number was on the website. That’s somebody you should call if you were looking for a bit of information.”

She had what was a sales funnel. People are calling all the time looking for Ibogaine. I said, “Let me follow that thread.” She would forward me all those phone calls from then on. I did treat a couple of people right away. I saw pretty quickly that I didn’t know what I was doing. Thankfully, nobody got hurt through that process.

In 2012, I got a call from that same woman. She said, “Did you know there was an Ibogaine providers conference in town, or there is a providers conference in town?” I was like, “I did not.” She said, “I put your name on the list as a provider. You should go down.” I went down to the Global Ibogaine Therapy Alliance conference. When I went in there, the first person I met was the guy running the conference, Jonathan Dickinson, who is my business partner in this current venture. That’s where we met.

At that conference, I met a former business partner. He’s a guy who knew what he was doing with Ibogaine and was keen to work with it. I had this sales funnel still. We said, “Let’s see what we can do to help people out.” We treated three people together to start. It was two brothers and one of the brother’s girlfriends all addicted to heroin. The treatments went well. We looked at each other and said, “There’s a need for this in the Vancouver region. Let’s set up a business.”

We set up my first business, Liberty Root Therapy Limited. We formed that in 2012, and it operated until 2017. We treated about 200 people at that time. It’s mostly for opioid use disorder. We did treat some pro bono patients from the Downtown Eastside as well with a lot of support on the front and back end. I was able to legally do all of that.

Ibogaine was listed as a natural health product in Canada. That gave me this unique window of opportunity to work with Ibogaine. A natural health product shouldn’t be potentially dangerous. Health Canada eventually realized their mistake. Thankfully, they didn’t make it illegal. Instead, they put it on the prescription drug list. It was put on the prescription drug list, but because it hasn’t gone through phase 1, 2, and 3 clinical trials, it’s still not available as a prescription. It’s still in this no-go zone. I haven’t been able to legally work with Ibogaine in Canada since then.

I’ll take two steps back and tell people what Ibogaine is. It’s the dark course of the world of plant medicine because it is potentially dangerous. It puts people on a long trip. It’s a 24- to 36-hour-long journey. It comes from the Iboga plant. The Iboga plant has been used ceremonially for centuries in West African countries like Gabon. Tradition has grown up around the use of that plant medicine. Ibogaine is one active alkaloid in that plant.

In 1962, somebody who was addicted to heroin, a man by the name of Howard Lotsof, was in New York City. His chemist buddy said, “You should try this Ibogaine stuff that I’ve had sitting in my freezer for a little while.” He said, “Sure.” He tried it. He didn’t know what he was getting into. He went on this incredibly powerful journey. He came out of it and said, “I’m not going to do that again.” It dawned on him. He’s like, “I haven’t wanted heroin the whole time I’ve been on this, nor do I want it now.” That’s when its anti-addictive properties were discovered. Howard became a champion for trying to get the word out on what he discovered as a “cure” for heroin addiction.

In looking at the Downtown Eastside, where there’s a high rate of heroin addiction, it all of a sudden made sense to put two and two together. We should see what we could do to help people in Vancouver with Ibogaine. In 2017, Health Canada changed the regulatory status of it. I haven’t been able to work with it legally in Canada since. I have tried to apply it through the Special Access Drug program a couple of times, but it doesn’t even have enough studies behind it yet. Although we’re close to getting permission through that Special Access Drug program.

Through that work, I was asked to be on the Board of Directors of MAPS Canada. MAPS is the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. In Canada, there is a small little Canadian branch. I served as chair of the board for about three years. Through that, I was introduced to Rick Doblin, who started MAPS, which is in the US. He started the US Maps, which has taken MDMA through the clinical trial process. MDMA should be a prescription for PTSD within a couple of years because of his work.

He called me one day. He said, “I have this lovely couple in my living room, Amber and Marcus Capone. They have started a nonprofit called VETS Incorporated, which is sending US Special Forces veterans for Ibogaine treatments. I figured you guys should know each other.” From that point forward, Amber was diligent in giving me a call every couple of months.

It became clear after a while that she was looking for another Ibogaine provider to work with. I needed to be operating in a country where it was legal to do so. I started looking for places where I might be able to operate legally. I ended up in Tijuana. I have been running this company, Ambio Life Sciences, which is a Canadian-based company with a subsidiary in Mexico. We’ve been providing this treatment mostly to a lot of US Special Forces vets. We still have a house for detoxes.

Let’s talk a little bit more about this. I’ve been on this journey exploring the power of psychedelics as a mental health treatment now for at least since 2016 and 2017. I feel like we’re still on the beginning edges of the masses, understanding the true power of this approach. In your case, you’re dealing with a Bogar, Ibogaine, psilocybin, MDMA, or LSD. There’s so much out there in terms of positive things that we’re seeing in the news media about how it can help everything from depression. There’s an exploration in terms of its possible impact on things like dementia and other neurological diseases. You’re talking about PTSD.

What’s your view? While this plant medicine interest is coming up, we are simultaneously approaching a mental health crisis as a society. The likes of which I don’t think we’re prepared for. There are many reasons why I think that could be the case. What are your thoughts on that before we dig in a little bit more to that?

The way the pandemic was handled has messed with people. That, combined with social media and the fact that people aren’t getting out and learning the social skills and interpersonal skills that our generation was or may have been the last generation to get out and play outside without helicopter parents. I see that we are coming up against a mental health crisis.

You look at SSRIs and other psych meds. The number is around one-third of Americans are on medications like that, which aren’t serving anyone. Part of my job is getting people off of that crap because it doesn’t help. Their own data is showing it’s not helping anymore. The placebo effect is getting weaker or the placebo effect is getting stronger, and the medication is getting weaker.

At the same time, thankfully, there is this psychedelic renaissance that’s being called that is incredibly impactful. I live in the realm of what Western science might call a miracle. Even to go back to heroin addiction, I can use Ibogaine to get somebody off of heroin virtually overnight. Western medical science doesn’t acknowledge that yet.

We’re coming close. The State of Kentucky has a big initiative trying to get Ibogaine as part of its coping mechanism for the opioid crisis there, especially working with these veterans to see what, twenty years of deploying and war. We’re in the first time in history that somebody could enlist in the military and be at war for their entire career. We’ve never seen what this does to human beings before. It’s not great, especially when there’s zero support once they’re retired. You’re retired. You go out there. You’re used to fighting. You’re rewarded for your anger and aggression. All of a sudden, that stops and here’s your newborn thing.

It’s not computing. These guys are not getting any support from the VA. The only support they get from Veteran Affairs in Canada and the US is like, “Here, take these psych meds.” They don’t work at all and have suicide labels on them. To me, that’s a non-starter. If you have to put out a product warning, you might have increased odds of wanting to commit suicide even though you’re already depressed. That’s a non-starter, but it’s not a non-starter. It’s an actual label for most of these medications. It’s a dismal situation. Thankfully, these tools are available.

A lot of these guys do feel as though they have post-traumatic stress disorder. In some way, shape, or form, they’re triggered like that. Their nervous system runs like that. Some of the guys don’t feel that. They feel as though they love their job. They were good at their job. They missed their job, and the brotherhood of it all, but yet something is not right. It’s a traumatic brain injury from years of firing 50 caliber weapons and years of being a breach or next to explosives as you’re entering buildings.

Amber had the intuition that it might be something like traumatic brain injury, but she was able to convince Stanford University through Dr. Nolan Williams to do a study on 30 of the guys that we treated through our facility. These were 30 Special Operators. They needed to be Special Forces veterans with traumatic brain injury in order to get into the study. They all went to Stanford prior to coming down here. At Stanford, they did brain scans and a battery of other tests. They came down here for Ibogaine. They went immediately back to Stanford afterward for more brain scans and tests. There was a month follow-up.

The pre-brain scans are showing signs of traumatic brain injury. The post-brain scans show that a lot of that has largely been reversed or healed. Stanford won’t go so far as to say that, but I’ll say it. What they will go so far to say, and this study will be published maybe by the time this episode comes out, but within the next couple of months, it looks as though it’s been accepted into the Journal Nature Medicine, one of the major medical journals.

They ran those brain scans through an AI algorithm that indicated, on average, through those 30 guys. The brain got 1.37 years younger through taking Ibogaine. Nolan Williams is a neurologist and psychiatrist. There is nothing known in neurology that increases the volume of gray matter or white matter in the brain. They’re seeing that after an ibogaine treatment on these guys.

A lot of the reading that I’ve been doing about psychedelics generally, not just Ibogaine, and I don’t know much about Ibogaine. I’m happy that you’re sharing that with us. A lot of what I’ve read has been about psilocybin, LSD, and some of the more traditional classic psychedelics. When we think of psychedelics, there’s an experience that has been researched where when you take psychedelics, in some ways, it’s related to or similar to the experience not maybe in the acute moment that you’re on it, but in terms of the impact on the brain that meditation has. Meditation has been shown to increase the level of gray matter.

It’s over many years. What we’re talking about here is over a short period of time, which is quite remarkable. There’s something for us to look at there, where that brain health, and whether it’s through things like meditation. You’re aware the mindfulness movement has become a huge thing over the last decade. Unfortunately, many things become commodified and oversimplified in many respects. There’s this whole aspect of the work that you’re doing, which is talking about mental health. You’re talking specifically about PTSD. Think about what you said, the fact that the brain can get younger by doing this, and what impact that could have on society.

He presented this data at the MAPS conference. The biggest psychedelic conference ever happened in June of 2023. It ended up being 13,000 people at this conference. He shared the data for the first time. He called it the Benjamin Buttoning of the Brain. It’s actually growing younger. To touch on meditation, it’s one thing to do something like this to have this experience. Hopefully, it’s helpful, but how do you make it last?

The thing that we encourage everybody to get into is, “What does your meditation practice look like? You don’t have one. You should probably have one. You can’t find two minutes to meditate. You should try to find two hours to meditate.” Everybody we work with gets coaching before and after. A lot of that is included. “What are you going to do to take advantage of and integrate all of this?” We do at least two coaching sessions before and at least two coaching sessions afterward to try and get some of that mindfulness, exercise, and eating right incorporated into a person’s life because that’s what’s going to show the long-term benefits.

I’ll talk to you offline after the show a bit about this. There’s an individual who’s working with our organization. He’s working with thousands of military veterans to support different things, whether it’s their lifestyle, health, or whatever the case is. We’re talking about veterans right now, but you start to think about all of the other pockets of society.

For example, one of the guests that we’re interviewing is someone who has been on the cutting edge of machine learning and AI. They are working with organizations like Google and others. He and I were having a conversation and speculating based on what’s going on in the ether of the advances in AI and what that means for society and where we’re headed as a society. While there are a lot of great things that AI is going to be able to crack open for us in terms of expanding our reach as human beings and the impact that we can have in various areas of life, there are also some concerns.

Some of the conversations that we had around AI were about the impact that it’s going to have on the economy, specifically the possibility, depending on who you believe. There’s an estimation that by 2030, we could see, I don’t know if it’d be 20% to 40% unemployment or 20% to 40% of current jobs won’t be needed anymore. Meaning they’ll be needed but humans won’t do it. AI or robots will do it.

We started to look at that from the perspective of mental health. We thought, “What does that mean? What does that mean for our society where people have been conditioned by our environment to get up, get a career, and go to that job every day? We form an identity around that. Can you imagine 20% to 40% of our population no longer having their identity validated every day? What is the impact of that on the human being, brain health, and consciousness?

I was talking to this other gentleman I was mentioning who was working with the veterans. Some of the things that were coming up in that conversation are there are some veterans who have such bad PTSD. These are veterans who’ve gone to war. Imagine people who lose their jobs and ability to make a livelihood and the ripple effect that that can have. We’re going to need more mental health solutions and places to go than ever before to help people transition through change because that’s not something the brain does easily. I’m convinced of that.

The Most Important Conversations | Trevor Millar | Plant Medicine

That’s what you’re talking about with PTSD. It is a dramatic and instantaneous change. People have been in war zones. Suddenly, they’re sitting in their living rooms. They haven’t been there for years in many cases. They still have recollections of bombs going off and the fight or flight. The adrenal glands haven’t learned how to shut off because they’ve always had to be on.

In speaking to this other gentleman, he’s also dealing with veterans. My thinking on all of this is you’re dealing with Ibogaine. How do we start to expand the dialogue around the fact that it’s not just war veterans that we have to start thinking about? You were saying that the pharmaceutical industry is prescribing things that make people want to commit suicide.

We’ve realized we’re headed in the wrong direction, and we’re trying to turn the ship. The work that you’re doing is trying to turn the ship. There are a lot of people who don’t trust psychedelics. There are a lot of people who grew up in the Reagan era and say no to drugs. What are some ways that you are finding in your work that you’re able to start changing the conversation and the belief structure around the power of this plant medicine?

You’re talking about AI and if a whole bunch of people are all of a sudden unemployed and can’t find that meaning. One of the good things that psychedelics are good for is those times of transition. Whether it’s from puberty to adulthood, as you would get initiated in the jungles of Africa and if you were part of a bouy community, or whether it’s a soldier moving from being a soldier to a civilian, or it’s a professional athlete who we’ve worked with, moving from being a professional athlete to not anymore. These are effective aspects of a solution in that regard.

How do you change the tone? I’ve been professionally involved in the world of psychedelics since 2012. I can’t believe how much the conversation has changed in those years. It was obscure what I was doing. My mom is a Western-trained nurse practitioner. When I first told her that I set up a house in White Rock, BC, giving psychedelics to people, there was a knee-jerk reaction there.

One of the things that helped change her mind, and it’s the same thing that helps change most minds or a lot of minds, especially the more conservative minds, is the data. I got co-published in a medical journal and another one with incredible results. In Frontiers in Pain Management, we had another article posted. This Stanford study is coming out. There’s so much research being done around the world on all these different psychedelics. I think that helps.

The other neat thing that I have the privilege of being involved in is I’m not treating hippies. The hippies have been sold on this. You don’t need to convince the Grateful Dead fans that psychedelics have purpose and meaning and are useful. I’m working with conservative soldiers and politicians. I’m a friend of former Texas governor Rick Perry, who is a staunch conservative and very proudly so.

Marcus Luttrell is a lone survivor. Mark Wahlberg played him in the movie Lone Survivor. He was the sole survivor of that incredible Operation Red Wings. He showed up at the governor’s house. It’s a funny story. Marcus and the governor met on Coronado Island at the Navy base there. Marcus toured him around. The governor said, “You’re from Texas. If you’re ever in Austin near the governor’s mansion, say hello.”

He says it to lots of people, but Marcus is the only one who shows up one day. He moved in for a couple of years to try and deal with his PTSD. Marcus eventually came down and took Ibogaine. The governor saw the transformation virtually overnight in Marcus, and he was sold. He was all the way on board. He’s now a huge proponent of that. That’s happening more. Ironically, there’s more political action on the conservative side now to try and make these substances available to veterans in particular, but for anybody suffering from these ailments.

The tune is changing. The tune has changed a lot since I’ve been involved. It’s happening more. There are more shows like this and conversations because the data and personal experiences are undeniable. The rate of success is incredibly high that you can’t turn away from it. You have to take a look at it. If you’re rational at all, we won’t catch everybody, but we don’t need everybody. We need key players, and we’re getting those.

The data is undeniable. The first experiences are undeniable. The rate of success is so incredibly high that you just can’t turn away from it.

If we take Thomas Shillings’s work at face value, we need about 13% of the population to get on board, and we’ll hit that infamous tipping point. It’s good to hear that this is not like many things in society. Why do things always get politicized? You talk about being rational. If we’re rational at all and we look at the data.

As humans, we tend to entrap ourselves in what we’re right about and what we believe we’re right about as an ideology. We’re interested in building bridges. I don’t care if someone is Liberal or Conservative. I’m interested in what’s going to make humanity thrive. That’s the perspective we need to take. I’m glad to hear that because it shouldn’t matter if you’re a Conservative or a Liberal. This works.

It’s bad how divisive our culture has become on everything. Many of our institutions are captured. The mainstream media is completely captured and 100%, all the time, trying to divide us. This nonprofit that we work with has incorporated. The website is ThatSolutions.org. They had an annual gala on November 11th, 2023 which is Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Remembrance Day, depending on where you’re from. They did a big gala every year in San Diego.

The mainstream media is completely captured, and, 100%, they try all the time to divide us.

In 2022, the theme color was purple. It’s what happens when you take the blue and red, and you mix them. You get purple. We had Rick Doblin, the founder of MAPS, on stage. He’s an affirmed left-leaning human being on stage with Rick Perry, the governor. It takes two wings to fly. This is a great field for the potential of bringing people together.

Let me back up a little bit. You’re working with Ibogaine. I know you used to work with and have worked with the other psychedelics, the classic ones as well. Because Iboga is much stronger and more potent, it’s what’s required to help these soldiers dealing with PTSD crack open their minds to a new potential and get them out of the addictive loop that they’re in with the trauma.

I sat for 100 people, giving them psilocybin journeys. I never wanted to be an underground practitioner of anything. When I was able to work with Ibogaine in Canada, I saw that potential. All the right doors are opened. That was, on one level, easy for me to make it happen. When Ibogaine was rescheduled, I stopped working with it. It is a potentially dangerous substance. You don’t want to hesitate if you need to take somebody to hospital.

Ironically, I switched to a more illegal substance to work with because people were still looking for help. I gave psilocybin to a bunch of people. I have worked with a bunch of psilocybin. Ibogaine is legal. I’m not doing anything underground. That’s one reason why we’re working with Ibogaine. It’s pulling out the big guns. It’s strong. It can get you off heroin virtually overnight, or it can get a person off of heroin virtually overnight. What can it do for you?

Ibogaine is so strong. It can get a person off of heroin virtually overnight.

I did Marcus Luttrell’s podcast. The Team Never Quit podcast. This guy who fell off a mountain five times in Afghanistan through this harrowing adventure says that Ibogaine was the hardest thing he’s ever done. I said, “That’s bad for marketing if Marcus Latrell is saying it’s the hardest thing he’s ever done.” It’s a challenging journey, but it’s incredibly effective.

I was on a panel at a psychedelic conference in Toronto. There was this lovely Ecuadorian shaman-type woman on the panel with me who seemed legit. She was talking about the mushrooms as Los Ninos as the little children. She talked about ayahuasca as the grandmother, which is a common term for ayahuasca. She talked about cactus as peyote or San Pedro as the grandfather. I had heard Iboga referred to as the grandfather before. I looked down the aisle at her and said, “What about Iboga?” She goes, “It’s the master.”

It has some unique qualities. The ability to help somebody overcome an opioid addiction, none of the other psychedelics come even close to that. It seems as though it’s resetting the opioid receptors to an opioid-naive state. People don’t have to go through the painful withdrawals of coming off opiates. They don’t crave or desire it too much afterward.

This thing that we’re discovering with traumatic brain injury is unique. The Stanford study is going to be a groundbreaking study. We don’t know of any of the other psychedelics that we’ve studied that have that power. We’ve seen some changes in the brain and different brain activity when we do studies on brains with things like psilocybin. This neuro-regenerative capacity that Ibogaine seems to be showing is unique so far amongst psychedelics.

That makes me think of that movie that Will Smith did years ago, Concussion. Here’s a good marketing, Trevor. Get the NFL behind this to help people with all of those concussions.

I don’t know if they have the ear of the commissioner, but I’ve treated two NFL guys. One of them was long since retired. He was about 65 years old. He saw some positive benefits. One of them is a lot younger and more recently retired. He saw tremendous benefits. He was suicidal, and that cleared that up for him. I’ve treated three UFC fighters as well. I’m trying to get Dana White’s ears on all of this. Apparently, he is listening. We’re working towards all that.

I feel as though Ibogaine is good at getting people from minus ten to zero. All of these substances are good at getting people from minus ten to zero. They’re also very good at getting people from zero to plus ten. That performance-enhancing aspect of it is going to be sought after once people start realizing that potential. Maybe you don’t have to retire from the UFC before doing this the first time. You do it one time in mid-career and then one time afterward. It’s the same with the NFL and NHL. Being a Canadian, I know there are some hockey players that are interested in this.

We talk about culture wars. We can get this picked up by the culture versus the perception of people that it’s not me. It’s people who have worse problems than me. They separate themselves from it. When you start to realize that it’s neuro-regenerative, we could all use some of that. Let me ask you a question. There are people who have such traumatic PTSD that you can’t even get them to agree to go through treatment. They’re in a weird loop.

I’m speaking specifically of someone on our team in our organization who has a family member. This is the problem that they’re having. The former war veteran has such traumatic PTSD. You can’t force someone onto this. They have to willingly want to go through the treatment. What do you do in a situation like that where they’re terrified of anything and everything? They won’t even do the treatment that’ll help them no longer be in a state of fear and paralysis.

It’s about dangling the right carrots. I faced this from day one of working with Ibogaine. We speak to many parents who want to get their kids off of heroin. If their kid is not ready to get off heroin or fentanyl, there’s not much you can do. It’s important that we have full buy-in. We can’t take that first step unless that patient takes the first step. It is not easy.

There’s a well-known veteran that we’re going to be treating here. He’s been resistant. Finally, he reaches a breaking point. I have to buy something. All it comes down to is the energy of caring goes a long way with people in that situation. Continue to show that you care, and try to get the right podcast and information in front of that person. Hopefully, at one point, that door will crack open a little bit, and you can slip in with that window of opportunity. It’s dangling all the right carrots, and they eventually decide to take their healing into their own hands.

It’s just dangling all the right carrots and hopefully, they eventually decide to take their healing into their own hands.

I’m thinking of Rick Goblin’s work with MDMA. Are you seeing any movement where Ibogaine in the United States and Canada is going to start to crack open up a little bit so you don’t have to only work in Tijuana? Not that it’s a bad place to work because you’re getting some great stuff done down there, but what are you seeing there? Where are we at in this? What can we do to help move it forward?

That’s the dream. As I mentioned before, there’s an interesting initiative happening in Kentucky. There’s an incredible human being named Brian Hubbard. A bunch of states sued big pharma for their role in the opioid crisis. Kentucky has been allocated something like $500 million over the course of the next eighteen years to use that money toward fighting the opioid crisis.

Brian described himself to me once as a conservative hippie. He understands the value of these medicines. He’s all in on Ibogaine as the potential solution. They’ve already had at least one hearing and one press conference. They’re moving towards another hearing in a couple of months to continue it. They’re going to try and create a private-public partnership towards doing clinical trials around Ibogaine within the State of Kentucky, with their end goal being that Ibogaine will be widely available to help fight the opioid crisis there. That’s a big deal. That’s huge that Brian stepped out on that limb to try and do the right thing in my opinion.

There was a clinical trial for opioid use disorder in Manchester that I heard about that got started. There was a small-scale trial in Spain using Ibogaine to help people come slowly off of methadone. The wheels are in motion towards doing a clinical trial for Ibogaine for the traumatic brain injury indication. What it’s going to come down to is people always assume that big pharma is against this, and you better be worried about big pharma coming down hard on you one day. I don’t think it’s like that. It’s more that the system is rigged against anyone but big pharma taking these drugs through the clinical trial process.

Rick and MAPS have done this. It has taken him since 1983 or 1986. He’s been working on it. He’s one of two nonprofits in history to take a drug through the drug development process. He thought he might be able to do it with $10 million. He’s now up over $100 million on this process. There are a lot of forces necessarily nefariously working against these substances. It is just the system itself. As we see in many of these institutions that we’re living with, the system itself is rigged against getting these out to people properly.

The system itself is rigged against getting plant medicine out to people properly.

There’s hope. There’s a team behind trying to take Ibogaine through the clinical trial process for traumatic brain injuries. It has the highest chance of success out of all, and Kentucky has a high chance of success. Once it’s through the clinical trial process, it’ll be available as a prescription. There’s a whole bunch of different entrepreneurial ways that we’ll be able to get these substances into the people who need them.

It’s the system or the way that we’ve set it up. Many of the systems in our society were created at a time with the level of awareness that we had at the time that they were created and with the intention for why they were created. It’s a classic that we didn’t know what we didn’t know, but now we’re beholden to the system, and we’re entrenched. The challenge is always how to reinvent the system. How do we reinvent the vehicle without breaking it down to the point where it doesn’t no longer function? We have nothing, but we need to transform it while we’re using it. It’s always a challenge.

The systems that we’ve created on any subject, not just this subject, are proving themselves to no longer be able to handle the level of complexity and the changing dynamics of how we’re living life and how we’ve constituted ourselves, even thinking back to when a lot of these systems were created after World War II. The population of the earth was less than half what it is now at that point in time. We’re dealing with an order of magnitude that these systems were never contemplated to handle.

In the case of big pharma, let’s face it, it’s a business. Their interest is not stopping the research but wanting to make sure that they’re not left on the outside looking in, and there’s some way for them to monetize this and get in on the moneymaking opportunity. If they can make money, they’re fine. That’s what it is. What we need to do in an interesting way is find a way to involve big pharma in bringing the solution to market. I’m all about building bridges. I’m not trying to go to war with them about it.

A younger version of me was like, “Burn it all down. It doesn’t work.” I work with psychedelics for a living. I’m a left-leaning human being on many things. At a certain stage, I’m like, “Let’s burn it all down.” I’ve matured in my views, and it’s not like that. The system is working to a certain degree. You don’t want to tinker with it too much and have more people hurt than they need to be. It’s going to take some sober step-by-step moving forward. I see that happening in the right places, thankfully. Kudos to Rick and MAPS because they were trailblazers on this.

Let me turn to your organization and the organization that’s behind you. They tuned in to this show and they want to come forward. They have a family member, a loved one, or someone who’s dealing with PTSD or addiction. Are you only working with war veterans now? How do they get in touch with you? What does that look like?

We have three facilities. Our website is Ambio.Life. There’s an Apply Now button, and anybody can click it. We have three houses. One house is dedicated to detoxing. Ibogaine is good at detoxing people from opiates. It’s good at helping interrupt addictions to most street drugs like methamphetamines. Kratom is one that’s out there now. It’s opiate-like that people are getting unknowingly addicted to because it’s available at every gas station in the United States. It’s good for alcohol use disorder. You do need to detox off alcohol before taking Ibogaine because the detox itself can be dangerous. We can help facilitate that if need be.

Ibogaine is very good at detoxing people from opiates and at helping interrupt addictions to most street drugs.

We have this one house that can take people in on an individual basis. Those treatments start around $10,000 and go up depending on how long they’re going to need to stay. We have two other houses that do this five-day psychospiritual protocol, as we call it, which is the protocol that we’re running these veterans through. For one, we do tend to put veterans with veterans. They like that brotherhood thing. We’ve got one house that is a vet’s house, but that protocol is five days. We’ll pick people up in San Diego on day one and bring them down. We’re only about half an hour from the airport in San Diego.

On the first day, we do some medical intake. We have incredible chefs who cook for people all week long, have some lunch, and do a circle in preparation for the Ibogaine journey. We’ve been taking people to a traditional Mexican sweat lodge on that first day, which is a great way to kick off the week. We have an incredible elder who runs that for us.

On day two, we do things like breathwork, massage therapy, another circle in preparation, and some one-on-one coaching. We have an onsite therapist that’s there. On that second night, we started working with Ibogaine. That will go through that night into the third day, which is largely a day of recovery and a couple of more days of recovery out the other end. If we pick people up on a Monday, we’ll have them back in San Diego on a Friday with preparatory coaching and integration coaching afterward.

That’s about a five-day stint.

That’s five days. If you’re a veteran or a first responder, that’s $6,350, and if you’re a civilian, that’s $7,350 to come in for that.

Have you had any that have had such traumatic conditions that they relapse and have to come back? What’s been the experience with that?

One of the metaphors I use to describe this work is that I don’t think doing psychedelics is bringing you some missing piece of the puzzle. You do psychedelics, and all of a sudden, you’ve got this piece brought to you that you’ve been missing your whole life and finally, you’re complete. I don’t think it’s like that at all. It’s more like, as we live life, we see life through a filter, almost like a pane of glass. As we suffer traumas and heartache, that glass gets dirty. It gets so dirty that we don’t recognize that it’s even dirty anymore.

Doing substances like this is like cleaning that filter from the inside out. You’re like, “Life is actually awesome.” You’re more attuned to it and have a higher degree of clarity that makes life a lot more livable. When people come back, maybe they didn’t feel as though they got their glasses clean as they needed to the first time, or some more stuff happened. They want that touchup, and they know that this process worked for them. You have some repeat customers and are excited to come back down and spend some more time with us.

We want to be a source of connecting people in your organization who are going through these various types of trauma. Ambio.Life is the website. There’s a form on there that they can fill out. What’s your capacity? Is there a waiting list? What do people have to expect if we put the bird call out?

We’re booked several two months out. If you get in touch now, you could get in by the middle to end of November 2023.

Trevor, this has been tremendous. I know we’ll have you back on again to talk more about this. I’m excited to speak with you offline about some other things that we might be able to do to help out. I’m a big believer in what you’ve always been doing. We didn’t even touch on your work with the dosed film, which now seems like ancient history compared to what you’re doing. We appreciate you taking the time to spend with us and to educate us about the great work that you’re doing with people suffering from massive PTSD and using psychedelics. Nature has provided us with what we need if only we are open to seeing that it’s all there.

Something that I’ve come to realize is we do have all the answers. It’s a matter of willingness to put those answers into play. Hopefully, we figure this out.

The Most Important Conversations | Trevor Millar | Plant Medicine

With people like you helping, I’m optimistic about where we’re going. That’s for sure. I appreciate you taking the time, and we will invite you back for a follow-up conversation. We hope to get involved and help to support your work.

Thanks, Chad. Great chatting.

Thanks so much.

 

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