In The News

Santa Barbara’s Psychedelic Surge Riding a Wave of Medical Promise, Magic Mushrooms and Other Hallucinogens Have Gone Mainstream

By Ethan A. Stewart | November 17, 2022
Microdose psilocybin capsules and a vial of microdose LSD. The LSD is mixed with niacin to modulate the bioavailability of the drugs and prevent the user from consuming any more than the prescribed 10 micrograms. Labor Day weekend was hot this year throughout California. Historically hot. In the name of survival, many thousands of Golden Staters flocked to the beach. I was no exception and found myself on the shoreline with an extended group of friends and acquaintances, all of us firmly in our middle age, coupled up, and raising young families.

Fund seeks to clear doubts about investing in psychedelic stocks in the Caribbean


By David Fox, Business Editor | Sep 7th, 2021
Asset managers professionals, angel VCs and others interested in learning and networking with industry advocates have been invited to participate in a lunchtime webinar on Thursday to explore investing in psychedelic technology.

The $60-million Conscious Fund invests in global early-stage ventures in psychedelic medicine, helping deliver better outcomes for mental health, addiction and pain.

Bermuda has been included as part of its Caribbean outreach, as the fund seeks investors through this webinar.

Martin Ball’s Modern Psychedelics
Santa Barbara–Raised Professor Comes Home to Discuss Entheogens and Healing

By Ethan Stewart | Thu Feb 22, 2018
It was a lovely June evening back in 2016, warm with not a single sign of gloom in sight. Paul Simon was onstage at the Santa Barbara Bowl, his sold-out crowd hanging onto every word and greatest hit.

As the last notes of “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” floated in the air, the pint-sized troubadour began waxing poetic about a recent psychedelic experience he had had with a shaman. Simon was palpably giddy as he detailed his inner voyage while using ayahuasca, a powerful psychedelic vine from the Amazon. He even wrote a song about it, “Spirit Voices,” which he was about to play.

Dr. Richard L. Miller on the Potentials and Pitfalls of Psychedelics
Are They a Shortcut to Enlightenment and Mutant Healing Powers?

By Ethan Stewart | Thu June 14, 2018
Neurologists and psychologists have long believed that we humans are only using a fraction of our brain’s potential. With more than 50 years’ experience as a clinical psychologist, Dr. Richard L. Miller is one of the more well-versed professionals who share this opinion. He distinguishes himself from the mainstream, however, with a fairly major ​— ​and controversial ​— ​“other shoe” to this view: He believes psychedelics are a critical tool to unlocking the brain’s potential.

“Absolutely, yes, psychedelic medicine is a tool,” Miller explained. “They unlock parts of the mind that, heretofore, we are unable to access. It is a tool for wisdom and a tool for looking deep inside yourself and searching out fear.”

Do You Speak Ayahuasca?
Exploring the Sacred Plant Revival with Dr. Rachel Harris

By Nancy Rodriguez | Wed May 20, 2019
Doing psychedelics is so hot right now. From the Op-Ed pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post to social-media health icons and that wealthy uncle with a later-life crisis, more people are talking about expanding their minds with psychoactive substances than perhaps at any other time in modern history. More to the point, these folks aren’t interested in getting high; instead, they are seeking the reported mental-health benefits of using psilocybin (think magic mushrooms), MDMA (think ecstasy), LSD (think acid), kambo (the poison of the giant monkey frog), and ayahuasca under the care of a trained guide or therapist. The party line on psychedelics is no longer “Tune in, turn on, and drop out.” Now it’s something along the lines of “Tune in, turn on, and become more productive and creative while suffering from less anxiety, depression, and existential dread.”

Arguably the most potent — and mysterious — of these substances is ayahuasca, a sacred tea popular with the indigenous people of the Amazon Basin. It is a powerful medicine in many shamanistic cultures, painstakingly brewed from a combination of macerated Banisteriopsis caapi vine and the chacruna shrub.

Life Changing Stories & Music With Sacred Medicine – Perspectives on How You Can Awaken Your Creativity and Authentic Self

By EdHat Santa Barbara | July 20, 2019
EntheoMedicine presents Yoga Master / Entheogen Facilitator Joël Brierre, music performer / composer / storyteller Tony Moss and anthropologist / author Jerry B. Brown, PhD. as they share their stories of profound healing, self-discovery and transformation using Psychedelics and Entheogens. It will also include live music composed by Tony Moss. The event is open to the public and will take place at Unity of Santa Barbara at 227 E. Arrellaga St. on Saturday, July 20th, 2019, from 6:30 to 9:30PM.

Join Yogi and medicine man Joël Brierre on a journey through the depths of consciousness. He will discuss how the 5-MeO-DMT experience relates to Samadhi or enlightenment and what this means for the everyday householder. Joël will share wisdom from the ancient Vedic scriptures that can help prepare the body and mind for this experience, as well as yogic techniques to assist in grounding the experience into your daily life.

Psychedelic Scholar Robert Forte Talks Conspiracy Theories and Consciousness

By Ethan Stewart | April 24, 2018
“LSD didn’t create the anti-war movement in the 1960s. It radicalized it, distracted it, and, ultimately, made a very serious and important movement all but inaccessible to people in the mainstream.” That’s Robert Forte talking recently from his hideaway in the mountains outside Santa Cruz. He is one of our nation’s foremost thought leaders on the topic of entheogens (i.e., psychedelics and spirituality) and a self-described “psychedelic drug scholar,” and, more to the point, he is coming to Santa Barbara to speak this week, bringing with him a big dose of controversial reality.


Psychedelic Scholar Robert Forte Talks Conspiracy Theories and Consciousness

By Ethan Stewart | April 24, 2018
“LSD didn’t create the anti-war movement in the 1960s. It radicalized it, distracted it, and, ultimately, made a very serious and important movement all but inaccessible to people in the mainstream.” That’s Robert Forte talking recently from his hideaway in the mountains outside Santa Cruz. He is one of our nation’s foremost thought leaders on the topic of entheogens (i.e., psychedelics and spirituality) and a self-described “psychedelic drug scholar,” and, more to the point, he is coming to Santa Barbara to speak this week, bringing with him a big dose of controversial reality.

Psychedelics and Entheogens – Preparation, Integration and Transformation with Zach Leary & Tricia Eastman

A four-hour workshop about using entheogenic and psychedelic substances as safely and effectively as possible.
The workshop is designed to help you prepare for and integrate your psychedelic and Entheogenic experiences in a manner that will keep you safe and provide the greatest opportunity for healing, spiritual growth and transformation.

Preparing For the Journey – During this part of the workshop, Psychedelic expert and scion Zach Leary, will share his in-depth knowledge and experience about each of the major Psychedelics and Entheogens. These include 5-Meo-DMT, Psilocybin, LSD, Peyote and Ibogaine, their uses and likely experiences had with each, and appropriate preparation and safety precautions.



by Steven Libowits >>

March 21, 2019

by Steven Libowits

January 17, 2019

by Steven Libowits

April 19, 2018

Encountering Blissful Eternity with EntheoMedicine

Back in 2016, EnthoMedicine founder Jacqueline Lopez not only had no interest or experience with psychedelic substances for medicine or any other uses, she was actively opposed. “I thought people who did this stuff were kind of crazy, probably living on the street because they were hooked on it,” she recalled. “Coming from Brazil, where the U.S. has a strong presence in trying to eliminate those kind of crops, I thought, ‘I would never do such a things, ever!’”

Then her life partner received a diagnosis that he had two types of cancer and at least one would likely be terminal. His health declined and made living their normal life next to impossible, as end-of-life fears produced intolerable anxiety.

Desperate for help, they decided to investigate entheogens – psychedelic medicines that have been proven in clinical settings to create mystical-type experiences that can lead to a spiritual awakening and vast improvements in mental health. Along the way, they discovered that they had friends who experimented with Psilocybin and other substances who weren’t addicts.

“They were just normal people, with regular jobs, very nice and friendly. They didn’t fit the profile I had in my head at all,” Lopez said. “So, I started questioning. And I realized I needed to investigate and read about it, not just believe what I’d heard all my life.”

By summer 2017, they were ready to dive in and traveled to an Indian reservation in northern California, where they could partake of sacrament as part of sacred ceremony. “The result was immediate”, Lopez said.

“I started seeing things that showed me all my BS, pointed out the negative stories I’ve been carrying with me since childhood – things like my mom not loving me, because I once heard her say I wasn’t doing well in school. The ego loves to feel victim and then wants to protect you and run the story over and over again. What happened is not something you can easily explain, but you just know – you realized the story is just an imagining. And the real you is a beautiful human being for whom nothing (is intrinsically) wrong. It’s like a big veil is lifted and you see things the way they actually are. And you know in your bones that is truth.”

Back in Santa Barbara, Lopez and her partner wanted to share their discovery with others but run into roadblocks. Or rather, no road at all.

“As a human being, when we experience something profound, we want to share with others since we’re social animals,” she explained. “I felt so compelled to share this wonderful life-opening experience with other people who could benefit – cancer victims, alcoholics, those addicted to substances. These medicines can help people. And there’s lots of research going on right now at the universities [that] shows people at the end of life can get some peace of mind knowing that death is only a transition. But I wasn’t aware of anyone else in town doing these things. I felt completely isolated.”

Lopez checked out the local MeetUp to no avail, and found no other official organizations where the subject was talked about – despite the fact that Santa Barbara had  once been on the forefront of psychedelic research during the heart of the Reagan “Just Say No” era, even hosting the Psychedelics and Spirituality Conference (a.k.a Psychedelic Conference II) at UCSB 35 years ago, where Albert Hofmann, Terence McKenna, Andrew Weil, and other pioneers in the field spoke. An Timothy Leary was in attendance.

After getting guidance from out-of-town organizations, she decided to form one in Santa Barbara herself. Thus was born EntheoMedicine Santa Barbara.

Using her experience as an event organizer when she lived in San Luis Obispo, Lopez did a lot of research and created a bi-monthly series of events where speakers would be invited to discuss relevant topics. The organization made its debut back in March with a talk from Martin W. Ball (who was interviewed in this column), and will continue next Friday, April 27, with Robert Forte, a renowned and experienced entheogenic pioneer who worked with Leary and Stan Grof. He is a former board member of the Albert Hofmann Foundation.

Forte’s talk will explore entheogenic capacity for healing body and mind, take a trip through the vibrant history of psychedelics, and delve into the evidence-based therapeutic, creative, and spiritual potential of entheogens. “I’m only interested in bringing the best speakers on the topics,” Lopez said. “It’s not enough that they’ve published a book. I checked out their videos to make sure they know how to communicate what they know and can be engaging as a speaker. Most people don’t have the time to fool around with mediocre speakers”

Forte had no trouble passing the test, Lopez said. “He’s like a renegade, a rogue who has a true passion for this work. I really like his style.”

The event, will also feature a Q&A session and time for meeting Forte, and networking with organizers and other attendees. Admission is $30 in advance, or $40 at the door. Next up is Dr. Richard Miller, the author of Psychedelic Medicine: The Healing Power of LSD, MDMA, Psilocybin, and Ayahuasca, who will speak on June 16th. Call 669-7226 or visit

Entheo Expert Returns to Town

by Steven Libowits

I really can’t recall how many time shivers ran up and down my spine as I talked with Martin W. Ball last weekend about his upcoming talk at Unity of Santa Barbara this Saturday, March 3, when Ball – one of the world’s leading experts and oponents of entheogenic/psychedelic medicines and an authority on the relationship between entheogenic (which means “generating the divine within”) experience, nondual awakening, and personal transformation – will serve as the first speaker in a planned series from Santa Barbara’s new EnthoeMedicine Salon.


I was dumbstruck by his clarity, lack of pretension, grounded explanations peppered with passion, and his patience when I shared my own stories during 90 mi-minutes phone call with the self-described “Nondual” guy in the psychedelic world,” who in the name of scientific research recently underwent a brain scan while dosing with the powerful psychedelic 5-MeO-DMT, which is found in a wide variety of plant species as well as a toad.

Ball, a Santa Barbara native who later earned his PhD. at UCSB and now teaches religious studies at Southern Oregon University, will discuss how and why psychedelic compounds are both effective medicines and spiritual healing tools, the latter a special focus of his recent books and our phone call.

An extensive Q&A session follows the talk. Tickets are $30 and available at
(Find more info on Ball at, or Santa Barbara’s Entheomedicine
Bellow are painfully truncated excerpts from our conversation.

Q. Lets assume a sizable percentage of my readers, like myself, have little to no experience with psychedelics. What is the most important thing for them to know?

A. Human culture have been using psychedelics for healing, growth, ceremony, and spirituality since the dawn of human history. People just don’t realize that. They think it was invented in the 60’s. Which can’t be further from the truth. an because of that history we can be assured that for the most part they are very safe. Now, it’s finally coming out in clinical trials and medical studies, although most of these drugs are still classify as Schedule 1, meaning a high propensity for abuse, addiction with no medical benefits. That is a lie!None of that is true. They’re safe, with multiple medical applications, not to mention the spiritual ones. cultures around the world have known this for thousands of years. We’re the odd ones out with our modern war on drugs. We’re the ones who are backwards and primitive in disrespecting these medicines that comes from the Earth.

But Western cultures is going thru a psychedelic renaissance. Research was suppressed. but the barrier has now been broken. Medical experts and universities are looking at how these medicines can be used to help people in many ways.

How is taking psychedelics, specially 5-MeO-DEMT, a spiritual experience?

It’s powerful energy and when you consume it, completely and totally overrides your sense of self – the ego.
From the ego perspective, it thinks “I’m dying. IT’s happening.” And that’s scary. But if you can relax into that and trust it, you get beyond the ego. There’s an experience of complete unity with all reality. I’m not religious, but this is where I use the world God. It’s about being of infinite energy, awareness, and consciousness that is all reality – that for me is God. Everything that exists withing reality is this one universal being that basically is acting, pretending to be someone named Martin or Jane. The ego convinces us that we are that person. But it’s a mask, a costume that we’re wearing. When you get beyond that, it becomes immediately obvious.

My interest is how to work with that as a tool, because it’s the ego – the narrative we create about ourselves – that causes 99 percent of our suffering, which dissipates when we realize that literally we are all one. It’s not a new age statement. It’s reality.

Isn’t there a danger in confronting the sense of the ego as the false sense of self? Trauma if you don’t surrender?

My most recent book is about learning how the ego exists and reacts and how to move beyond that, and more importantly, how to integrate the experience. Because the real question is, how are you living moment to moment, day by day? do you focus on what’s present, or are you lost in thought and the conflagrations of your ego?

But don’t ever let anyone talk you into taking psychedelic. If you want it for yourself, if you feel ready, that’s the time to do it. Not because you’re curious, or your friends are doing it, or even to support your lover or partner. Because this is about actualizing your own authenticity and taking responsibility for yourself. It’s a very self-centered practice, not in the egoic way, but in that you are in charge and there will be consequences. Your world view is going to be challenged. Your sense of self is going to be challenged. If you don’t want that, don’t do it. But if you do, find a good practitioner who can help guide you through, which makes a huge difference. And don’t let fear stop you. That’s the primary tool of the ego: to keep things under control.

If it’s such a great experience, why wouldn’t you want to just be on it all the time, and live in that space of nonduality?

Because there’s no sex or chocolate or Game of Thrones. It’s just infinite unity. Which is beautiful and wonderful, and gives you a baseline for understanding your experience of reality. But the joy of reality is the game! the goal of the game isn’t to get out of it and be absorbed in the infinite forever. It’s about being aware that you are the infinite enmeshed in this incredible game where everything you interact with is yourself. And it’s a lot of fun, and it’s scary, and it’s painful, and immensely pleasurable – a whole spectrum of stuff. So, it helps you to know who you are, so you can then move in the game with clarity and grace.

What about issues such as “bad trips” and flashbacks?

The biggest drawback is that it’s illegal. So there are no regulatory systems to ensure that you get treated by someone who knows what they’re doing. These are very powerful tools, and we should be able to do them above-board. Because in the hands of someone inexperienced, you can freak out and have trauma. It’s not common, but it is real.

Speaking of which, how are you able to be so open about these psychedelics given that they are still illegal?

I am a cultural renegade. I’m convinced of their value and benefit, as they’ve only improved and enhanced my life. So, I’m not afraid of the consequences. For a while, I had a sense that they’d come get me some day. But I’m well beyond that now. Truth is more important than my own personal well-being. That’s why I’m very open. I made this my job because with the gay culture just a few years ago, there’s a “coming out” of the psychedelic closet. It’s a human rights issue. People are afraid to be open about it, but it’s changing.