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The Psychonauts


South African science writer Leonie Joubert trips into the strange new world of psychedelic psychiatry, ahead of hallucinogenic mushrooms going on trial in South Africa in 2018.

Popular episodes

The Psychonauts Thank You Plant Medicine global campaign

Jan 8 • 20:40

The Psychonauts Episode 9 - Clusterf*ck

Feb 20 • 42:11
For some people, depression can be a terminal illness.
American novelist David Foster Wallace was one of its victims. He died of depression in September 2008. A few years before that, he wrote something beautiful that might help a well person better understand the peculiar kind of hell that depression is. He said that a depressed person doesn’t choose this end because they...

The Psychonauts Voice Diary 7 Kalk Bay Books

Oct 10 • 01:20:54
Kalk Bay Books is an independent bookstore outside Cape Town that regularly invites authors to speak about their latest book projects. This month, they hosted science writer Leonie Joubert to speak about her podcast The Psychonauts, a serialised audio-book project which she's release chapter by chapter as the book unfolds. Leonie sat in conversation with medical doctor Ren...

Psychonauts Episode 8 - Going Gonzo

Sep 25 • 44:44
In South Africa, the underground psilocybin community is relatively new, and from the outside might look more like a religious group than a collective of therapists. These journey guides work by a set of principles for how to facilitate journeys, which, for the most part, try to manage the risks that come with deep-dose sessions. They draw on tried-and-tested shamanic trad...

Psychonauts Episode 7 - The Octopus's Garden

Sep 4 • 45:20
Human beings are hardwired to ruminate, leading to depression, anxiety, and addictive rituals.
Boosting our emotional wellbeing with techniques like mindfulness and meditation is a bit like good oral hygiene: we need to brush and floss and visit the dentist regularly. But every now and then, we might need something a bit more drastic, like root canal. That’s where a psyche...

Psychonauts Voice Diary 6 - Legislation

Aug 22 • 17:50

Psychonauts Voice Diary 5 - Accessing psychedelic medicine in South Africa

May 28 • 15:35
Many South Africans are seeking out psychedelic medicine and retreats, even though it's illegal. In the interests of harm reduction, this Voice Diary looks at how to put medical support in place for those who decide to try this therapy process through the underground community. And it considers how the medical community can prepare itself for when this form of medicine bec...

Psychonauts Voice Diary 4 - Ibogaine

Mar 6 • 14:47
The South African government has already opened the door for psychedelic-assisted therapy: in 2016, it allowed the potent psychedelic, ibogaine, to be prescribed as a medicine. If one psychedelic is legal for medical use, why not all of them? This short voice diary considers what this means for the legal challenge to decriminalise psilocybin mushrooms here in South Africa ...

Psychonauts Episode 6 - 'Bad' Trips & Bogeymen

Dec 22 • 47:24
One of the oldest myths about psychedelics is that playing with them is like a game of Russian roulette: for every few fun trips, there’s a bad one loaded in the chamber and waiting to flip you into a kind of madness.
The truth is far less ghoulish, although there’s still a lot of mystique surrounding these substances in popular culture: because psychedelics have been fo...

Psychonauts Voice Diary 3 - a PechaKucha talk

Nov 8 • 09:25
Voice Diary 3: The Psychonauts on the PechaKucha platform.
South Africa's Constitution upholds our right to healthcare. Given how unaffordable and inaccessible mental health treatment is in South Africa, having access to a treatment like psilocybin-assisted therapy becomes a Constitutional one.
Early findings from clinical trials show that psilocybin may be more effective f...

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