Plus Three

Plus Three

The Plus Three podcast is Psymposia co-founder Brian Normand, Medicine, Society and Culture Editor, Nese Devenot, Politics and Ecology Editor, Brian Pace, and Managing Editor, David Nickles. Plus Three goes deep into the world of drugs, from local decriminalization and emerging psychedelic corporations to leftist politics and mass incarceration. Each week the team and guests attempt to make sense of the complex connections between drugs, science, capitalism, policy, and culture.

#28 – Qoup At The Qapitol: Q’mon Man

In this episode, we discuss a prominent participant in the bumbling coup attempt of January 6: "QAnon Shaman" Jake Angeli. Along with a coalition of Donald Trump supporters and assorted right wing ideologues, Angeli stormed the Capitol following a speech by Trump. Featuring a dissection of an "Ascension Masterclass" that was hosted on Angeli's now-deleted Star Seed Academy Facebook page, we (once again) wade into the disturbing world of psychedelic authoritarianism.

#27 – The Thought Leader and the Critic

This episode explores the rise of self-styled “thought leaders” within the psychedelic community, using Anand Giridharadas’ book “Winners Take All” as a jumping off point. Although people have been on the conference circuit for years, the recent explosion of capital investments means that there’s an unprecedented potential for money, celebrity, and status in the space.

#26 – Livestream: The Gang Goes Non-Profit

We kicked off the start of our ongoing livestreams with the announcement of Psymposia's 501(c)(3) non-profit status, discussions of corporadelic dynamics, fond memories of helping people learn how to extract psychedelic drugs during an Ivy League University's psychedelic conference, and a whole bunch of back and forth with the audience about the current state (and future) of psychedelia.

#25 – Press Release: Plus Three found to have neuroprotective effects against corporadelic BS

In this episode we explore the myriad of problems that result from media outlets treating corporate press releases as though they're legitimate news sources, rather than advertisements. We examine "science by press release" cases ranging from psychedelic pharmaceutical firms who claim their barely-studied compounds are superior to (and safer than) psilocybin (one of the safest psychoactive compounds in the human pharmacopoeia), to students who claimed Oreos were as addictive as cocaine, to pineal DMT, cold fusion, and more.

#24 – From Mining to Mushrooms

Recorded live at the Capital Psychedelic Summit, hosted virtually in Washington D.C., Russell Hausfeld joins Brian Normand and David Nickles to discuss the infiltration of the psychedelic pharmaceutical industry by companies, investors, and executives from extractive industry. This episode explores the destructive nature of extractive industry and the effects of introducing those dynamics into psychedelia. If the same people destroying Indigenous lands told you they believed in "sacred reciprocity," would you believe them?

#23 – “Grow, Gather, Give” Is an Anti-Capitalist Approach (and That’s a Good Thing)

Recorded live (online) at the Capital Psychedelic Summit in Washington D.C., the Plus Three crew picks up the threads of a recent panel discussion about the effects of corporations and capitalism on the emerging psychedelic landscape. Examining the logic of capitalism, the realities of medicalization, and the need for radical social transformations, we explore philosophies underlying the "Grow, Gather, Give" model, which the Capital Psychedelic Summit organizers explicitly centered for this event.

#22 – Coronavirus Conspiracy Theories in Psychedelia

Terence McKenna once mused, “Conspiracy theory is a kind of epistemological cartoon about reality.” Looking around at the world, things appear awfully cartoonish at the moment. We're joined by Psymposia Senior Writer, Russell Hausfeld, to discuss the propagation of coronavirus conspiracies, recent revelations about QAnon, and the likelihood that some "conspiracy" claims are simply warped articulations of systemic critique. 5G won't give you COVID-19, but it sure will help you download this episode faster.

#21 – American Trip: Ido Hartogsohn

Dr. Ido Hartoghson joins the show to talk about the ideas in his new book, American Trip: Set, Setting, and the Psychedelic Experience in the Twentieth Century  Acknowledging psychedelics as non-specific amplifiers of consciousness, we discuss different historical (and present) paradigms of use in order to interrogate the role of psychedelics within our culture. As we find ourselves staring down a number of existential questions, we must ask ourselves, "What do we hope to achieve through our personal and cultural exposure to psychedelics?”

#20 – The LSD Silo Bust (Everything You Wanted to Know and a Few Things You Didn’t)

In response to the unexpected early release of William Leonard Pickard from prison, we discuss some of the characters and stories surrounding the case. Having served twenty years of a double life sentence for conspiracy to manufacture, distribute, and dispense LSD— charges which he disputes— Pickard has never spoken publicly about the specifics of his case, and some of the drug-media coverage of this story has evidenced glaring omissions. Using court documents, lesser-known first-person accounts, and excerpts from Pickard's book, The Rose of Paracelsus: On Secrets & Sacraments, we call attention to some of the murkier aspects of this story in an attempt to paint a fuller picture of what is, perhaps, the most notorious psychedelic story of the 21st century.


In this episode, we explore the implications of MAPS’ main political strategy: demonstrating affinity for and utility to the police, the military, the far right, and individuals who have repeatedly upheld violent white supremacism. Unpacking a recent article by David Nickles, we examine the “ends justifies the means” logic that has become pervasive in psychedelic research.