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Psychedelics take you out of your usual frame and disconnect you from your default state – Dennis McKenna.

Almost a year ago, I asked the great Alexandre Tannous to connect with Dennis McKenna to interview him for the Disrupt Everything podcast. I saw that they both collaborated on various programs and symposia. In a pleasant and friendly way, Alexandre agreed and introduced us via email; I want to thank Dennis for his phenomenal presentation of me.

I met Dennis by knowing his brother’s stride, Terence McKenna, a philosopher, wise, mystic and responsible, along with his brother, for introducing the world to the Psilocybe cubensis and DMT mushrooms directly from the Amazon in the 1980s. One of Terence’s most significant works is the book Food of the Gods. Being more prolonged and extensive, Dennis’s work and career are worthy of one of our world’s incredible talents and disruptors.

“Natural psychoactive substances are our best teachers.”

Who is Dennis McKenna

Ethnopharmacologist, founding member of the Heffter Research Institute. He was focused on the study of natural hallucinogens. He received his PhD in 1984 from the University of British Columbia for his research with Ayahuasca and oo-koo-he, two indigenous medicines from the Amazon. Also, he studied at the Helicon Foundation (San Diego), the Laboratory of Clinical Pharmacology at NIMH, and the Department of Neurology at Stanford. He worked at Shaman Pharmaceuticals as Director of Ethnopharmacology, later joining Aveda Corporation as a Senior Investigator.

There is much evidence that we are not wise.”

Dennis McKenna on Ayahuasca and psychedelics

He later was a Professor of Ethnopharmacology, Botanical Medicines and Plants at the Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota. He also participated fundamentally in the Huasca project and organized and presented the ESPD50 symposium. His latest project is the McKenna Academy, a non-profit organization on Natural Philosophy.

What we think we know is only a small side of reality.”

Del Jolly Intro – Unlimited Sciences

As I mentioned earlier, before interviewing Dennis McKenna for the introduction to this episode, I asked Del Jolly from Unlimited Sciences – the psychedelic research collective – to give us more information about their work and research, why it is essential and the impact of psychedelics and psilocybin on society, mental illness and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Dennis McKenna – Disrupt Everything podcast.

Four days with ayahuasca are equivalent to 14 years of psychotherapy.”

Dennis McKenna podcast interview on psychedelics wisdom


Interview with the great sage of medicinal plants and visionary of consciousness, Dennis McKenna, on psychedelics, ethnopharmacology, healing of mental illness, ethnobotanical findings, ancient medicines, Ayahuasca as the great teacher, the significant impact of psilocybin, as well as about exploring the Amazon with Terence McKenna in the 80s. Also, on advice on ceremonies and their correct performance and personal recommendations to lead a good life. It is an interview divided into three parts…

First, Dell Jolly from Unlimited Sciences and the importance of psychedelics as a tool for well-being and health. Second, in November, the first part of the conversation with Dennis – we stopped due to an emergency from a friend and neighbour (a significant anecdote that luckily left in a false alarm). And thirdly, in the second and last part of our conversation, held in January, in this one, also recorded from Miami, I was accompanied by the athlete and biohacker Luis Enrique Palomares.

Psychedelics are analogous to near-death experiences.”

Psychotherapy should focus on shamanism and ceremonialism.”

Index of contents

  1. Life milestones.
  2. The highlight of exploring the Amazon with his brother Terence.
  3. The most natural and healthy hallucinogens.
  4. Consciousness and human evolution.
  5. The journey and history with Ayahuasca.
  6. First psychedelic experience.
  7. Reflections on ethnopharmacology and significant conclusions.
  8. Essential life lessons.
  9. Other medicinal plants that we must know.
  10. The McKenna Academy.
  11. The craziest “trip”.
  12. A formula for living well.
  13. Contemplative techniques.
  14. Dennis’s morning routine.
  15. About set and setting, ceremonies and psychedelic experiences.
  16. Recommended books.
  17. Tips for psychedelic beginners.
  18. Counselling experienced psychonauts.

Podcast Notes

List of links and resources mentioned in the interview with Dennis McKenna:

I am quite optimistic that in terms of evolution, the most interesting times and the biggest changes happen because of chaos.” – Dennis McKenna.

Listen, download, subscribe

Listen and subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Ivoox, Castbox FM, Player FM or RSS. You can even access the video channel and view the web series… Also, you can listen to the podcast here.

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You can also listen directly from the Disrupt Everything podcast series homepage.

Photo credit: Psymposia.