The Big Problem With “Plant Medicines”: Part 2

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Last week, in this already somewhat controversial article, I gave you a thorough explanation and argument behind my conviction that when it comes to the ever-expanding and increasingly popular world of plant medicines, not only do the “cons outweigh the pros,” but when you're recreationally partaking of these type of compounds and chemicals that significantly alter your state of consciousness (particularly in a casual setting with plant medicines traditionally used for witchcraft, the occult, spiritual divination, etc, usually without medical oversight), or “divining” with the spirit world via the use of such compounds, you are opening yourself up to influence from a spiritual world that threatens to land you in a very dark place indeed.

In other words, when it comes to plant medicines, we aren't just talking about the equivalent of drinking too much coffee or having a bit too much pre-workout kratom or chomping on an extra piece of nicotine gum or socially lubricating an evening with an extra glass of wine. Instead, substances such as LSD, psilocybin, peyote, mescaline, or any other highly effective and typically hallucinogenic or psychedelic consciousness-altering compound that I named in Part 1 have great potential to open you up to a deep, dark, spiritual world in which there is a battle for your very soul.

So if you didn't yet read Part 1, please, please do.

Of course, there are several unanswered questions and considerations that I need to address here in Part 2, namely: microdosing with plant medicines, the “responsible” use of marijuana, the bigger, glaring issue that many of these types of vices bring up, and a special project I'll be working on that I'd like to invite you to be a part of.

So, let's dive in.


What About Microdosing?

Microdosing, which I discuss in detail in this podcast interview with James Fadiman, involves taking a very small, “sub-perceptual” dose of a psychedelic hallucinogen.

I've done it, lots, and it works fantastically.

For example, 1/10th of a “trip dose” of LSD can give you 6-8 hours of clean focus with zero crash and incredible amounts of positive energy for work, workouts, etc.

A tiny dose of psilocybin (e.g. an eighth of a gram or so) can amplify the senses, make colors more bright, enhance visual, auditory, olfactory, and sensory perception, and notably increase creativity for art, writing, music, etc.

A small capsule of wachuma cactus extract can produce a “heart-opening” effect that increases sociability, empathy, confidence, etc., without the toxic side effects of the alcohol that many people would normally use to achieve the same effect.

Microdosing continues to show great potential for cognitive and executive performance, as demonstrated in impressive research published as recently as last week (at the time of this writing).

So yeah, microdosing is pretty nifty.

But here's the problem, and here's what I've been thinking a lot about lately…

…if we all decide that microdosing is efficacious, relatively harmless, and—most notably—does not shift one's state of consciousness to an extent that one is journeying, hallucinating, or in any other state of psychedelic “enlightenment” or stupor, then that means we would also tend to agree that these compounds should be available to the masses and widely accessible due to their purported benefits.

Problem is, if you make widely available and endorse the usage of minuscule doses of any compound that has traditionally been used in sorcery, witchcraft, occult magic, or any other pharmakia-esque activities I described in Part 1 of this series, then, in my opinion, you risk opening the door quite wide for abuse potential.

Someone can very easily “accidentally” (or perhaps, simply for the sake of “curiosity”) take just a touch too much LSD, psilocybin, ketamine, wachuma, and find themselves thrust into a state in which they are susceptible to dark spiritual influences. There's also great potential that frequent use of such compounds could result in a “gateway effect,” leading the user to experiment with a wider variety of microdosing compounds in increasingly higher dosages until they suddenly find themselves signing up for an Ayahuasca retreat in Peru.

So just because you and I might be responsible enough to have a pantry full of tiny doses of hallucinogens that we use with great care, there's a very great risk that these compounds can get into the wrong hands or lead to drug abuse. Yes, yes, yes, I know that one could kill themselves with the caffeine in coffee too, and possibly even experience a psychotropic effect from coffee, but it's far, far more difficult to do this with coffee than with, say, LSD. A few extra coffee beans in my morning french brew won't leave me laid out on the floor with my tongue lagging out my mouth.

As my friend Paul Risse notes in his book The Psychedelic Christian, there is certainly a possibility that God's original intent for such compounds is indeed for enhanced sensory perception, sex, hunting, creativity, productivity, focus, etc., but I'm personally wrestling with the idea that whether—similar to heftier use of plant medicines—the cons of endorsing microdosing compounds and encouraging unfettered and eventually legal access to them outweigh the pros.

Even the traditional use of popular microdosing drugs for, say, the organic and ancestral activity of hunting, also traditionally involves taking enough of a dose to be able to “divine with the gods” about when and where exactly to hunt or what to hunt for, which seems to present the same problems I brought up in Part 1 of this article: a great potential for negative spiritual influences, which should be especially concerning to a Christian or to anyone else who doesn't want to be subjected to potential for demonic influence or idolatry. To hear or see what I mean, listen to Glenn Shepard's lecture The Harpy's Gift and the Jaguaror read a similar summary of his thoughts here. Now, in the past, I've (while hunting) taken microdoses of psilocybin and used traditional hunting medicines such as hapé and sananga, and found that they do indeed result in a notable increase in sensory perception. But I'm struggling with the idea that they also have been used by many cultures to commune with the gods, so now I'm on the fence about even these seemingly “harmless” compounds. There's definitely something that seems spiritually edgy about them.

To be frank, I haven't yet decided if I'm going to “swear off” microdosing.

But I'm certainly questioning—especially with all the other productivity, creativity, or sensory-enhancing compounds that are available out there, such as coffee, kratom, ketones, “done-for-you” blends (like Qualia, Alpha Brain, or Nootopia), or nicotine—whether microdosing with traditional psychedelics is worth the risk. Just because I might be able to get away with responsible usage doesn't mean everybody will, which reminds me of the Bible passage in Romans 14:13-23 about being careful not to cause others to “stumble”:

“Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” 

So since there is indeed potential that my use and endorsement of microdosing might cause others to “stumble” in this fashion, I'm praying about this one and I'd also welcome your own comments and feedback about microdosing in the comments section below. I'm currently in information gathering, feedback, and counsel mode on this. I am not necessarily opposed to a touch of psilocybin, hapé, and sananga before a hunt, or a light snort of ketamine or pull on a THC vape pen before, say, a deep tissue massage or a lovemaking session—so long as such practices don't lead to misuse and abuse of the compounds that you keep on hand for such activities.

But, in the meantime, I'm proceeding with great caution around any kind of “recreational” microdosing with any compound that has traditionally been used as a psychedelic or hallucinogen, while continuing to ask myself the question, “What if everybody had this in their pantry?”. For that reason, any plant medicines that I have not thrown out that still remain under the roof of my house for the purposes of microdosing, sex, etc. have been relocated to a locked safe, very similar to guns, ammunition, weapons, etc., and I think that we do need to approach these type of compounds with a great deal more respect than we traditionally have.


What About Marijuana?

Next, there's marijuana, and when it comes to marijuana, I'm increasingly beginning to agree with my previous podcast guest Doug Wilson, author of Devoured by Cannabis: Weed, Liberty, and Legalization, who joined me for the episode “Devoured By Cannabis: Weed, Liberty, Legalization (& Whether Christians Should Smoke Marijuana) With Pastor Doug Wilson”

meaning that like microdosing, despite there being ways to use marijuana quite responsibly, there is also great potential for abuse. Despite cannabis not strictly being something that has been used originally and historically for, say, witchcraft or sorcery or occult magic, it still troubles my spirit that I can't swing a dead cat by the tail here in Washington state without hitting some cannabis clinic where just about anybody can waltz in and buy enough weed to quite quickly and effectively shifting them into a psychotic, hallucinogenic state. 

Like microdosing, I'm questioning whether the cons outweigh the pros.

See, if we decide marijuana is OK because it can be used responsibly, and we decide to give everyone unfettered access, there are a lot of people who will misuse it. For example, Washington and Colorado approved recreational marijuana use in 2012, and proof of the negative impact of legalization has consistently been pouring in ever since. These states are experiencing more marijuana use, more youth marijuana use, more illegal marijuana trafficking, more crime, more homelessness, more traffic fatalities, more ER admissions, and more addiction to pot since they legalized it. They are also spending four times the amount of revenue that pot sales have generated to deal with these consequences of legalization, not to mention risking many young folks experiencing brain damage, memory and cognitive impairment, and psychosis that arises when a human brain is exposed to chronic cannabis use.

At the same time, I'm a bit torn on this issue because I think cannabis is absolutely wonderful for purposes such as relaxation, creativity, sleep, massage therapy, mobility work, and acute or chronic pain. I've used it responsibly and effectively for all those purposes. But despite me benefitting from and enjoying cannabis responsibly myself, I'm not convinced widespread legality and access is such a good idea. The modern, high-TCH variants of weed found in most cannabis shops are very, very difficult to use responsibly. Like microdosing, I'm now considering whether the cons outweigh the pros when it comes to marijuana.

Look, if you want to grow normal cannabis in your backyard or basement—a natural plant that is a far cry from the ultra-concentrated THC cookies, candies, and vape pens at the average cannabis shop—I think that's probably fine, just as long as you can use responsibly, are hyper-aware of any exposure to children or teens, and are not causing others to “stumble” by getting high. But I don't think it's good for society to have a recreational cannabis dispensary on every corner. People just don't seem to be responsible enough. For example, I can sit around a campfire smoking a cigar with my buddies, and remain in a fully lucid state. The same can't be said if we're passing a joint around the campfire. There's bound to be a least one person in that campfire group who winds up getting high, dissociated, psychotic, addicted, or dependent and in a state that is a far cry from the sober and alert state that a responsible, Christlike human being should be in.

So similar to getting a prescription for, say, pain meds, I think you should probably have a prescription to freely buy marijuana—or grow your own and use it responsibly. Furthermore, I think if you grow it, it shouldn't be grown for average, everyday, recreational use, but rather as something you might use small amounts of at night for relaxation or sleep or small amounts of during the day for pain management if you've been injured or have some kind of disease that causes chronic pain or perhaps before a lovemaking session as it does notably enhance a sexual experience.

Ultimately, now that I've reoriented my perspective on compounds that can alter your state of consciousness to the extent that you're entering a deep and dark spiritual world (marijuana doesn't have to, but it can), I'm just not convinced that endorsing unfettered access to weed is something I can get behind.  

And of course, similar to microdosing, there is great potential for weed to serve as a gateway drug to other, more problematic compounds, such as when the recreational cannabis user hears about combining it with just a *touch* of acid, or ketamine, or ecstasy. Just a little bit won't hurt, and it'll make the experience better, right? But we all know what can happen next. 

So in addition to welcoming your thoughts on microdosing, I also fully welcome your thoughts on marijuana in the comments section below, because frankly, I'm still wrestling with and praying about the proper decision on this one. In the meantime, like microdosing, I've stopped using marijuana (aside from pure CBD), not necessarily because I'm convinced it's evil, but rather because I view it as a vice, an attachment, and a potential item I could be “in bondage” to. I just want to check myself and make sure I'm not dependent on it, and the best way to do that is to simply stop using it, in my opinion. I'll expound on that shortly below.

Finally, when it comes to “responsible use of plant medicine,” I realize that I've said before, as Genesis 1:31 also says, God made all things good. But God also lays out clear guidelines in the Bible for how to interact with elements of His creation. God made men and women beautiful and attractive to each other. But that doesn't mean we should sleep with as many partners as possible so that we can experience all of God's goodness. Instead, God clearly implies (as I describe in great detail here) that we should be in a loving, committed relationship with one partner. God made honey, too—and then warned us that consuming too much of it was a sin of gluttony that would leave us sick and vomiting. God made ergot (rich in LSD-like chemicals), magic mushrooms, psychedelic cacti, and “intelligent” plant stems and vines like ayahuasca too. But He also commanded us to avoid any pharmakia, witchcraft, sorcery, occult activities, divination, and anything that these compounds have traditionally been used for.

The fact that there's a great big warning sign from God on this stuff tells me that we need to be very, very careful indeed with promoting and extolling the virtues of these plants for recreational and spiritual activity. What do you think?


Didn't Early Christians Use Entheogens?

If you have read my friend Brian Muraresku's book The Immortality Key, then you're no doubt familiar with the now popular idea that that the sacraments used in the early Church for Eucharist, and the wine used for other religious gatherings and celebrations, was “not just wine”, but rather, a psychedelic brew of a variety of spices, herbs and entheogens. The idea here is that even before the birth of Jesus, the Ancient Greeks found salvation through their sacraments, with sacred beverages routinely consumed as part of the so-called Ancient Mysteries, which were elaborate rites that led initiates who engaged with plant medicines to the brink of death. People from Athens and Rome often flocked to the spiritual capital of Eleusis, where a holy beer promised to unleash heavenly visions for two thousand years. Others drank the holy wine of Dionysus to become “one with the god”. Beginning in the 1970s, renegade scholars claimed this beer and wine – which were the original sacraments of Western civilization – were indeed spiked with mind-altering drugs. The constantly advancing fields of archaeobotany and archaeochemistry have hinted at the enduring use of hallucinogenic drinks in antiquity, and in Brian's book he describes how the Eucharist of the earliest Christians could have been, in fact, a psychedelic Eucharist.

Look, I think Brian's research does support the idea that pagan worship rituals that included hallucinogens were a bigger part of the Greek culture than we perhaps realize. There was a lot of the type of pharmakia I discuss in Part 1 of this series going on in the context of idolatry and worship.

It's also possible that, even amongst the forefathers of the early Christians, that wine wasn't just our modern day fermented grape juice. For example, have you ever wondered how, in Genesis 19, Lot’s daughters were able to give him “wine” that was powerful enough to cause him to blackout and have sex with his own daughters two nights in a row. Fact is, ancient fermentation processes typically didn’t yield wine as potent as we have today, and Lot and his daughters had just fled Sodom, so it’s doubtful they had an entire barrel of vino with them in voluminous enough amounts to get Lot that drunk. So, if Lot didn’t drink a half-gallon of wine two nights in a row, there certainly could have been something else in it.

In The Immortality Key, it is also described how the early Christians written to in 1 Corinthians 11:30 had “fallen asleep” and “died” because they drank too much from a communion cup that had hallucinogens. I have always thought that Paul was implying they died because of their irreverence toward God and the holy communion ceremony, because Paul makes references to intentionally handing believers over to physical death due to their sins in passages such as 1 Corinthians 5:3. However, that said, it is possible that Paul was chiding the Corinthians because they were experimenting with forbidden pharmakia. But that obviously doesn't mean it's cool for people to take drugs at church, and instead means just the opposite: Paul was pointing out that this is a very dangerous practice indeed. As a matter of fact, if any early church did begin to mix pharmakia with their worship of Jesus, it would have been the Corinthians! They were an absolute mess!

Paul's statement that “the sacrifices of the pagans are offered to demons and not to God” in 1 Corinthians 10:20-21 is another section where Paul is talking about Communion, this time contrasting it with the pagan feasts. In this passage, Paul mentions the “cup” of the Lord vs. the cup of demons, which is the cup used to worship pagan gods. I certainly wouldn't be surprised if there were mind-altering substances in the “cup of demons.” Paul could have been very well aware of the ancient use of drugs in both Christian and pagan practices. But as you can hopefully see, what I'm getting at is this: just because early Christians used drugs (and it appears the more mischievous ones like the Corinthians may have), that doesn't green-light pharmakia for all Christians for the rest of all time. All it means is that early Christians were sinful, just like us modern day Christians.

One other thing to consider here: if the wine given to Jesus as he was being led to the Cross contained “gall,” which some have argued is a narcotic, then you should notice that Jesus refused to drink it (Matthew 27:34). Considering Jesus didn't seem to frown upon wine, it's quite interesting that he turned down this particular variety. Just food for thought.


The “Bigger Issue”

Now all of this needs to be considered in the light of a bigger issue: namely, the glaring fact that any of these so-called “vices“—whether helpful, harmful, or neutral; whether safe for the soul because of their inherent difficulty of achieving an altered state of consciousness; or whether dangerous and sinful for the soul due to their ease of achieving an altered state of consciousness—reflect an attachment in life that we may have chosen to place more trust in than God.

Here's what I mean: drinking coffee is not a sin.

But waking up in the morning and feeling as though you cannot achieve any objective that God has called you to without a hefty dose of your precious caffeine reflects a deeper underlying issue: an attachment (or, possibly an addiction) that is displaying you cannot fully trust God for all that you need. You cannot do all things through Christ who strengthens you. You need the help of coffee. If that's your current relationship with coffee, you likely need to “reset” that relationship until you get to the point where you drink coffee because you enjoy it, but you can ultimately take it or leave it.

Or, for example, if you're responsible and not causing others to fall into addiction or sin, then eating a marijuana edible or taking a hit on a cannabis vape pen to help get you through a bout of insomnia and sleepless nights may not be a moral downfall per se. But, for example, there was a period of time during which I personally convinced myself that I couldn't get a good night of sleep without such a strategy. I wasn't trusting God to deal with my racing thoughts and worries, and I wasn't asking Him to give me a good night of sleep. I was simply dosing, escaping, and “passing out” asleep, without ever asking myself why I would need to sledgehammer myself to sleep at night, nor whether God was keeping me awake so that He could speak clearly to me in the still, small silence, or keeping me awake so that I could use that time to do a much-needed bout of soul-seeking, self-examination, and prayer.

See, as I've written many times elsewhere, you must constantly question yourself and examine your day to determine if any attachments in life are weighing you down, keeping you chained in bondage to a compound, chemical, tool, or toy, and distracting you from listening to God, trusting God and growing your relationship with Him.

Your body.

Your biohacks.

Money.

Drugs and supplements and microdoses.

Energy drinks.

Nicotine gum.

Kratom.

Food.

Knowledge. Podcasts. Books.

The social media feed and email and direct messages hourly check-in.

Your precious calendar you do such a good job staying on top of.

I'm not saying you must give any of these things up. But I am saying that you must be willing to do so, and furthermore, you must do so, if you have grown so dependent on that vice or attachment that you place more trust in it than you do God, and it has, therefore, become your idol. 

As Anthony De Mello says in his book Awareness and as I write more about here, you should be able to say to any attachment in your life:

“I really do not need you to be happy. I’m only deluding myself in the belief that without you I will not be happy. But I really don’t need you for my happiness; I can be happy without you. You are not my happiness, you are not my joy.”

Or, especially if your attachments are focused upon achievement, power, fame, money, etc., which in highly driven people can inevitably create FOMO, stress, and distraction from more impactful activities, you can say, as author Arthur Brooks writes in his excellent book From Strength to Strength:

This is not evil, but it will not bring me the happiness and peace I seek, and I simply don't have the time to make it my goal. I choose to detach myself from this desire.”

In Buddhism, a practical guide exists for dealing with such troublesome attachments, and it is based on four “noble truths”: 1) Life is suffering, due to chronic dissatisfaction; 2) The cause of this suffering is craving, desire, and attachment for worldly things; 3) Suffering can be defeated by eliminating this craving, desire, and attachment; 4) The way to eliminate craving, desire and attachment is by following the Noble Eightfold Path of Buddhism.

While I do agree that the suffering we all experience in life, and our subsequent addiction to attachments, often begins with cravings and desires, I beg to differ with the solution presented in point #4 above. Instead, I firmly believe that the only way to permanently release attachments is to fill that eternal craving and desire in your soul with the only thing eternal that exists—namely, God. I tell you more about how to do that here

As C.S. Lewis says in The Weight Of Glory,

“…the things in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them, it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things are good images of what we desire, but if they are mistaken for the thing itself, they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers. For they are not the thing itself.” 

This is why I've said in the past that when a man goes to porn, he is looking for something to fill that eternal, gnawing hole in his soul. He is looking for God, and only God can fill a God-shaped hole in a soul. The porn might temporarily do that job of fulfillment, but only God can do it permanently.

The same can be said for a late-night trip to the refrigerator to binge on ice cream, a never-ending quest to achieve the perfect body or a return after return to seeking the “wisdom” of plant medicine. When engaged in such activities, we are seeking to soothe our souls with some kind of idol that has great potential to scar our souls. Other far less morally awful activities, such as climbing a beautiful, epic peak; making hot, sweet love with your spouse; or plunging into an icy cold lake, don't necessarily scar our soul, and they carry with them far less spiritual risk, but yet, apart from God, even these noble pursuits will ultimately be unfulfilling or become attachments and idols. But with God, they became all the more magical and fulfilling because God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him, particularly when we are engaged in pleasurable activities that follow God's law and allow us to love God and love others.

I can tell you for a fact that once I made the decision to forego plant medicines, God opened the door to a whole lot of other stuff that I hadn't realized had become idols. I was in bondage to a lot of vices. So I began asking myself constantly…

…do I need that morning stretch session or workout so much my day gets crappy without it?

…am I reaching for a piece of nicotine gum because I need true energy, or because I've become a slave in bondage to nicotine?

…am I grabbing an energy drink because I've become dependent on it, and why can't I just have a glass of water instead?

Indeed, after that one “big” decision about plant medicine, addiction after addiction, attachment after attachment, and vice after vice slowly began to become revealed to me by God, and I began to target and tackle them one by one.

It wasn't pleasant, and at the same time, it was so, so fulfilling.

For example, I had a string of six nights during which I only slept three to four hours because I decided to take no sleep supplements because I realized I was in bondage to popping pills in order to fall asleep at night. But I can tell you that there was nothing quite so satisfying as that seventh night, on which I finally realized that I could pray myself to sleep. Will I go back to taking sleep supplements? Sure, they have their time and place, but they must be paired with trusting God and having a relationship with God.

For a solid week, after stopping coffee and nicotine gum, I craved caffeine and nicotine all day long so much that I couldn't even walk by the coffeemaker or pantry without getting supremely annoyed. Then, one day, I decided that every time I felt like I “needed” those compounds, I should simply recite the Bible verse “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” This simple saying quieted the longing quite effectively. Now, coming back to caffeine and nicotine after a few weeks off, one small cup of coffee makes me feel like I've jumped into an ice bath, and the nicotine tastes kind of weird and chemically. I don't feel remotely attached to either, though it's unlikely I'll swear either off forever.

Before dinner, for a bit of post-work relaxation, I'd grown dependent on taking an oh-so-tiny hit on a cannabis vape pen. When I realized that, too, was a vice I had become enslaved to, it took nearly two weeks for me to not reach for that imaginary vape pen in my back pocket (which I'd instead locked away in the gun safe in my bedroom closet). Turns out, grabbing the guitar and playing a song was just as fulfilling. When—once I no longer craved it or felt like I needed it—I did come back and take a hit on a vape pen, the tiniest, tiniest hit left me reeling and dizzy, and I realized that this stuff is dangerous and needs to be treated with great respect and responsibility, or simply avoided.

And while there are plenty of amazing resources out there for strategies like those I've described above for breaking attachments, stopping vices, and beating addiction, including B.J. Fogg's book Tiny Habits, Charles Duhigg's book The Power of Habit, Benjamin Hardy's book Willpower Doesn't Work, James Clear's book Atomic Habits, and Ronnie Landis's book The Addiction Free Lifestyle, I truly don't think that any habit-breaking activity will be permanent, fulfilling, or effective…

…until each and every last vice has been replaced by an all-sufficient relationship with Jesus Christ that makes you more whole, fulfilled, and free than you've ever felt in your life.

Finally for a powerful true story example of what astounding things actually occur when the great spirit “big G” God and the message of true, lasting salvation through Jesus Christ enters into a region or population of people rife with shamanism, plant medicine and “little g” gods, you should read the book Spirit of the Rainforest: A Yanomamo Shaman's Story, in which barbaric Amazonian tribes go from raping, pillaging and hacking each other to pieces to loving, giving, sharing, trading violence for forgiveness and repentance, and setting aside drug-induced spirit-seeking for a peace and comfort that comes through the only truly benevolent spirit of Jesus. It's an interesting book.


Summary & What Comes Next: “Viceless”

I've shared with you my current quest to become, in a word, “Viceless,” especially when it comes to plant medicines and any chemicals or compounds that can alter one's state of consciousness while rendering one subject to dark spiritual influences, but also when it comes to just about anything with addictive potential, such as caffeine, nicotine, kratom, nootropics, smart drugs, natural sleep aids, and even pharmaceutical drugs (mostly if they're being used off-label for things like energy or on-label for things like sleep) or even food.

Endocannabinoids, plant medicines, opioids, and the like can easily numb you and make you forget your pain. That's why they're so attractive. They're an easy escape from “the real world”. But God made us to feel both pain and pleasure. He made us to gain in character, resilience, and fortitude from fully experiencing an intense ice bath, a robust sauna session, a stubbed toe, a sleepless night, a broken relationship, or a lost job. You can embrace such experiences and become a better person from them, or you can run away and numb with drugs. But the intense beauty of a natural forest scene as you hike in a fully sober state is far more beautiful than any dissociated shroomy-trip in our heads can provide. 

So embrace the pleasure and embrace the pain. Also, think about how the rapid surge and popularity of plant medicines, opioids, marijuana, and the like seem to be occurring at just about the same time and in rough correlation to the surge in disconnecting ourselves from the beauty and hardship of the analog world so that we can escape into a digital, metaverse world. 

The article “On Psychedelics and/or Entheogens: Drug-Induced Mysticism Revisited” (worth a full read!) highlights this issue when the interviewee quotes:

“We probably could never have produced a society where millions spend hours a day alone before computer screens—while imagining that, via Twitter or whatever, they actually have thousands of “friends”!—if LSD hadn’t softened us up first; the isolation and excess introversion produced in part by psychedelics has effectively broken down the kind of social solidarity we need if we are to maintain our political freedoms and human rights; we are all too happy in our cubicles, or at least afraid to leave them. A friend of mine once said to me, back in the 60’s: “Acid would be great if you could have all that incredible imagery without those feelings”. Bill Gates must have heard his plea; cyberspace reproduces in many ways the hallucinatory content of psychedelics without the accompanying insights…”

So I don't know about you, but I'd rather experience life with my senses fully on board, and not feel as though I need drugs as a crutch to get through life. 

My friend Dr. Zach Bush spoke about this problematic and growing dependency on plant medicines at about the six-minute mark of this recent conversation with Luke Storey, in which he described how we believe we need these exogenous inputs for personal growth, but they’re just showing us something that’s already there if we had only taken the time in the still, small silence to sit with our thoughts—even the painful ones—and to sit with God. Like me, those of us who have made the fatal error of going to plant medicine as the route to enlightenment can come back to others with the cautionary tale that it definitely isn’t the way, and is ultimately as unfulfilling as any other method we might turn to feel good (exercise, diet, supplements, alcohol, golf, food, etc.). There is nothing as fulfilling as the simplicity and freedom found in a belief in Jesus Christ. Sure, plant medicines offer a momentary, temporal escape from the pain, but you don’t need it. The actual solution is permanent and free, and as I said earlier, involves embracing both the pain and the beauty.

So you can pop pills.

Or you can do the work. You can chop wood, carry water, savor the fruits of your labor, and experience life as fully as possible.

So now I have a special challenge for you.

Try it.

Yes, go ahead, just try it.

Try giving it all up and placing your trust in God. Try questioning each and every habit—both positive and negative—that's rooted in your daily existence, and asking yourself whether you've grown so dependent on it that it's taken your attention off the strength, stamina, peace, love, and joy derived from a deeper relationship with your Creator.

Now here's what's important: you don't have to do it all at once. Heck, if you're really dug yourself into a habit hole, then quitting a whole bunch of stuff cold turkey can leave you completely nuked and unable to function at all.

So…start slow.

For example, here's a timeline of what you can implement to eventually, via the grace and power derived from God, become viceless.

-Week one: No microdosing. Also, one day of this week, a 24-hour dinner-to-dinner fast. 
-Week two: Continue no microdosing, but now cut out marijuana, if you've been using it. One fast.
-Week three: Next, cut out nicotine. One fast.
-Week four: Next, kratom. One fast.
-Week five: Next, coffee (sorry!). One fast.
-Week six: Next all stimulants, nootropics, and smart drugs not named above. One fast.
-Week seven: Any sleep supplements you know you're attached to (e.g. CBD, melatonin, herbal relaxants, sleep pharmaceuticals, etc.). One fast.
-Week eight: Three-day water fast.
According to my rough calculations, that's a month-and-a-half timeline to experiment with transforming yourself into a viceless human, or at least, shedding many, many attachments in life that even the health and fitness world seems to be becoming chemically addicted to.
So who's with me?
I'm not saying it's official, but I'm not opposed to even launching this eight-week journey as an official Viceless “challenge” if anyone is interested. My idea is that after finding out “who's in” via the comments section below, or hearing whether any of this resonates with you, I can begin a private Facebook group or some other type of forum for us all to keep each other accountable over eight weeks and complete a daily check-in with our experiences, struggles, sensations, questions, support, tips, and more, all while sharing on social media with a hashtag such as #viceless. However, if I decide to do this, I'm also going to need some help identifying which accountability/tracking platform to use, as I'm a bit of a tech luddite. So I welcome your comments and support below on that also!
I feel like together, we can pull this off, and we can do ourselves and the world a great good by doing so.
Alright, your turn. What do you think? Are you “in” on a Viceless quest? Do you have other thoughts to share on plant medicines, microdosing, marijuana, etc? Leave your questions, comments, and feedback below. I read them all.

Ask Ben a Podcast Question

110 thoughts on “The Big Problem With “Plant Medicines”: Part 2

  1. Adele says:

    All these micro-dosing benefits: Why not use other approaches to get the same effect?

    Heck, just being in super-good health and fitness, in my experience gives me all the edge I need in all the life and work functions you’ve discussed here. I don’t feel the need for enhancing with added substances.

    Agreed— these substances should not be ubiquitous, esp with kids having access, or anyone unstable to start with.

    Btw, some historians claim that early Christians took mushrooms. I have not looked into it. But seems that anyone hallucinating on hallucinogens will incorporate their own, existing belief system into their experience. But what do I know? You might try researching that.

    Heard about your podcast from Jordan Harbinger’s podcast.

    Kudos for staying in such awesome shape! In my late 60s I’m maintaining excellent health and fitness. Taking substances beyond coffee, tea, chocolate would only be a distraction for me, but that’s just me.

  2. Nic DeSeelhorst says:

    I would love to participate in a viceless challenge and connect with others who are doing the same.

    I have since I was very young had a calling to not drink alcohol or do “drugs” and the message that came with it was to be an example of someone who lives a great, inspiring, fun, exciting, contagious life without those vices. I did not heed the call and lived 15 years using marijuana and alcohol occasionally, but that call never went away.

    The fact that the call remained and I refused to listen, I believe lead to a lot of self deprecating thoughts and distrust in my word to myself. I listened to the call on June 3rd 2022 and amazing things have come ever since then.

    Along with that beautiful calling, I have been very very curious about christianity, jesus, and god. I believe I was gifted with the most amazing loving family. I was given the opportunity find my own answers because my family wasn’t religious. They always told me to ask the right questions, observe many religions, and find my own conclusions. Early on I was exposed to eastern philosophies and resonated with Buddhism, and taoism, because of teachers and early exposure to yoga. I also seem to have a particular distaste and hesitation to western religion because of much of my remembering of curriculum and social perception of its tragic past (crusades, colonialism, LDS practices) so it feels hard for me to embrace or identify with any particular church or community.

    That said I do find myself comforted by the knowing that Jesus was a real person and that he was in fact THE exemplification of what humanity should strive for, and his knowledge, life experiences, and actions created christ consciousness for us to access through these deep knowings; callings; words from god? I truly wonder if everyone has access to this feeling and understanding, and why we need to label it and put parameters on it, and call it a certain religion. Is that why so many people now identify as spiritual and not religious?

  3. Daniel says:

    What the heck Ben. This is a big change of heart, and your explanation failed to meet the seriousness of the matter. At the very least you could have walked us through how you came about making such a change. I understand the bible had some impact on you, but those verses were always there, the church’s stance has been long known.

    I also didn’t like your camp fire analogy? Do you really think nicotine is safer than cannabis??

    Please respond.

  4. Carol says:

    You seem unhinged…… like an egotistical religious fanatic with delusions of grandeur. Just because you read a book, whether it be Pharmakia by Robert A. Orem Jr. or the Bible, whose authorship is questionable and not so easy to fact check, you now proclaim to be the truth bearer on the subject of plant medicines?:

    “I have some very important things to say that I think the world desperately needs to hear right now.” and “Admittedly, I’m partially responsible for fueling this entire movement.”

    Nice that you can now pursue your hobbies of hunting with guns, posting photos of your muscles and sweet hot lovemaking sessions with your wife without opening the portal to demonic possession with hallucinogens. In your case those seem like activities best done soberly.

    Lastly, on whose authority do you deign to approve of the four noble truths and dismiss the eight fold path?

    Yuck.

  5. Amanda Taglioli says:

    So good to hear you share your journey with Christ and put it out there for all to see and hear!
    Beautiful to share our stories
    Trusting our Father is bigger than all our fears and pain, staying in the moment, whether in pain or joy, brings real transformation into becoming more like him.

    Less of me, more of him
    He is sooo Good all the time!

    1. Ben Greenfield says:

      thanks for the comment Amanda

  6. Tricia says:

    Well this is the end for me.
    I had really enjoyed your podcasts and most of your books, but I can no longer follow someone that is so focused on their religious beliefs, and believes their path is the only correct one. I find your views are becoming more closed minded, and you push your version on God.
    I question how you will rationalize using needed medication, blood products, or surgery as you progress “further down your bible thumping rabbit hole”. Maybe your right. Maybe your wrong. But bashing people over the head with your religious beliefs is not how to make the world a better place. I have seen this approach cause more damage than good. Religion can be a crutch just like a drug, if you lean on it too heavily.

  7. Jill says:

    Hi Ben! Thanks so much for sharing this series. Takes some serious guts…I don’t follow social media much so I have not read comments but I am sure you are getting a firestorm of backlash on this. I am a Believer and homeschool parent as well (5 boys! 2 homeschool grads and 3 still at home). My husband and I consider ourselves pretty open minded when it comes to health and nutrition, and we firmly believe in things like herbal medicine, breathwork, grounding, etc. But true plant medicines/psychedelics as you define them have always given me pause; even more so since I had one very bad experience with THC. We had a small supply of very potent medicinal extract on hand when my husband had colon cancer several years ago (which he is completely healed from without chemo or radiation, thank God!). We thought we would have it on hand in case he ever needed it for therapeutic treatment or pain relief. We did not end up using it for those reasons, but at one point both of us got severe head colds and had not slept well for a number of nights in a row. We decided to try some of the extract just to help relax and sleep. We both took a tiny amount and…felt nothing. So the next night we tried what we thought was *slightly* more. Either I didn’t measure well or the compound built up in my system because it threw me into a full on panic attack. My heart was racing, when I closed my eyes (which was most of the time because I was so dizzy) I was seeing pulsating geometric shapes, and I was 100% convinced I was going to die and leave my children motherless. Despite my husband’s attempts to assure me that I was going to be fine and that people don’t die from cannabis overdoses, I ended up spending the night in the hospital. Seeing first hand how drastically this compound affected me both physically and mentally, I became even more wary of using mind-altering substances.

    All that to say…I agree with you! I would also be interested in some kind of accountability group for becoming “viceless.” I would love to be less dependent on coffee and cell phone use :) Thanks again Ben for your excellent podcast and for being willing to speak your convictions.

  8. John says:

    Hi Ben, your post on psychedelics is quite informative. I might have missed it, but have you spoken / considered the case for using ketamine and other psychedelics for mental disorders such as suicide and PTSD? There are few drugs like ketamine that can stop suicide in its tracks. In addition this is backed up by credible science. There is a lot written by Johnathan Edwards book – Suicide, CVD 19 and Ketamine: How a little known drug may save lives.

  9. John says:

    Geez, Ben must have a large set to post these 2 essays, knowing that some people will take it as a criticism of themselves and their chosen bio-hacks, and respond accordingly! I’m impressed!
    I think that we could chill a bit and treat this as a discussion rather than a competition about who is the more correct person. Life is a journey, we never stop learning new things, so the blog above could be viewed as an opportunity to learn something new rather than something to throw stones at.

  10. _kevin says:

    Hey Ben, this was super interesting. This actually prompted me to look inward, pray a bit, and ask some questions. Here were my takeaways.

    I’ve actually been using EDM (electronic dance music) as a drug for a bit over a decade. When I heard Anna Lembke on Andrew Huberman’s podcast, I cut EDM out of my life completely. I felt the dopamine withdrawal (my baseline secretion was way down because I was listening to EDM 4 to 6 hours a day), my motivation was in the tank for about a week, and then my dopamine secretion went back up to baseline and things were fine. I left the experience with a dry, neurochemically-oriented understanding of the experience, but I hadn’t considered my use of music in a spiritual lens.

    I’m actually a bit split now on whether music is helpful or hurtful spiritually. A couple different thoughts:

    1) Sometimes I use music as an “ecstatic technology”. Steven Kotler has taught me that dopamine amplifies pattern recognition, and a positive mood allows for far-flung connections. I’ve sometimes had moments where listening to music has put me in a state where I have a profound clarity where a bunch of insight about the state of my life comes together at me.

    (I’m actually usually not seeking this kind of clarity when it happens. A few months ago I turned on some music to squeeze out a flow state for creativity while sketching at my job, and the music caused me to look up and say “wait I’m working too much, my life needs to be more than this.” I guess you could call it accidental ecstasis.)

    However, I’ve had a couple moments where I tried engineering that kind of insight, and it felt pretty dark. I’m a draftsman at work, and drafting is a primary flow activity for me. I had a day where I turned on Tiesto to intensify the flow state and dump the dopamine out of my brain even faster, and after maybe ten minutes of that my brain spat out (with the push of the Holy Spirit maybe?) the phrase, “What am I doing here?”. My next immediate reaction was “That’s from the Bible, isn’t it”, which sent me to 1st Kings 19. (I actually took that as an excuse to listen to the rest of 1st Kings and all of 2nd Kings subsequently.)

    Reading 1st and 2nd Kings was a really positive experience, and I love listening to books of the Old Testament on my audio bible. Trying to squeeze out ecstatic insight was a darker experience that I won’t try to emulate again.

    2) I liked your point that God wants us to be sober-minded people in our pursuit of him. Dumping neurotransmitters to escape sobreity is neither the path that Christ used in his own prayer life nor what the apostles recommended.

    I went through some of my EDM library in Spotify today, and I was totally prepared to get rid of all of it if that’s God put on my heart as a means to serve him. Asking the question “Does this music make it harder for me to practice self-control?” was a really helpful lens, and I actually kept some EDM during that process, which surprised me.

    However, Romans 14 has stuck with me as a guide for matters of conscience. My conscience is very malleable, and I may draw the line between “helpful EDM” and “unhelpful EDM” differently in a month from now or a year from now.

    As a single man looking toward maybe marriage someday, I’ve also had some interest in occasionally using EDM while having sex as a way of having an occasional ecstatic experience. (Maybe a few times a year, kindof as a hedonic calendar thing?) I’m starting to have second thoughts on whether getting high during sex through EDM is going to be helpful for me or respectful to the woman I will choose as a lifelong partner.

    Anyway, Ben, thanks for thinking out loud and in public.

    _kevin

  11. Andi says:

    I’d love to be a participant in going viceless

  12. Nate j says:

    Hey Ben you forgot alcohol in the “challenge”???

  13. Shea says:

    Hi Ben- I agree with your thoughts on vices. As a bio hacker and a believer, it’s easy to start little by little placing your trust in supplements or habits for longevity instead of remembering that the Lord numbers our days. We are stewards of our lives and ultimately do not have full control of our biology or longevity. I think we can easily slip into self sufficiency which is really idolatry if we’re not vigilant with putting boundaries around our habits. Thank you for sharing this conviction. It resonated with me. I would be in for an 8 week #viceless

  14. Rob says:

    I think it’s fantastic that you shared this and that you were self aware enough to realize using plant meds were a vice for you. Relieving yourself from possible legal liability on recommending them to others seems very smart also, though I’m not sure if that was one intent.

    I don’t believe dismissing them for yourself or others based on the concept of opening one up to possession of sorts is appropriate (in a vacuum) though. Nature as you know is a double-edged sword with regards to anything. Too much water can kill a person…and on and on. So of course, a substance that can present an opening up to divine presence can also open one up to demonic presence as well. Just because there is that possibility doesn’t seem to warrant a complete write off of them.

    I’ve personally seen instances of demonic infiltration, and the most severe was due to do a person “selling their soul” to the law firm they worked/slaved for. This person was barely sleeping and working 7 days a week. It was extremely difficult to get through to this person that he was destroying himself. This eventually resulted in a very serious attachment which almost ruined his and his family’s life.

    So my point is, anything that causes you to “put your soul aside” or “sell your soul” can result in an opening to negative influence of those realms. Any -ism or addiction is really full game for these things. It’s not simply plant meds.

    That’s where the intention behind it comes in. If the intention and the guidance is there, I think you have a better chance to improve your life than some people do by going to work, playing video games or watching TV everyday.

    And consider iboga; one session can stop opioid addiction immediately. If that’s not divine presence showing up to the rescue…

    Again, nature is a double-edged sword. Plant meds can be incredible for the benefit of people, just as they can ruin them. Perhaps you’re throwing the baby out with the bath water.

    Thanks again for sharing and I’m all for the challenge if it gets off the ground!

  15. Ben,

    I applaud your courage to do what you feel is right, and have great respect for your efforts to be fully transparent and authentic, as we need those traits now more than ever.

    All of us can never agree, but we have to be able to cultivate a space where we can all share openly and honestly about everything that we have experienced in life. Otherwise, we self fulfill the prophecy of secrecy and lies that we see around us now.

    The only way out of this hole we have collectively dug is to create that new space where we welcome and share all of our inherently limited (some more than others) “perspective truths” so that we can combine them all to see how they all overlap and finally have a glimpse at the “whole truth” that they create together.

    I believe everybody here has made valid points, and all have some degree of truth and some degree of bias. Where they overlap is what I am most interested in as it occupies the balanced middle ground between all aspects of life. I refer to this space and myself as being a spiritual scientist, or scientific spiritualist. I think this middle ground is where we can all meet and figure it all out together. Certainly much better than we can alone at least. It’s exhausting to go it alone, and only falsely fulfills our ego anyway to be the hero that figured it all out and saved everyone.

    Again, I am glad you are opening everything up for discussion, as it is a mark of a humble human seeking wisdom. And let us all be honest, we are just doing the best we can at that task with everything we have gained to date. So I, personally do not claim to be right, nor you wrong, but everyone is both simultaneously, and sharing everything we know together is the only way to figure out this mystery of life we were born into without any knowing of it. We have been left with a huge puzzle of information to sort through instead, making it all one big exciting growth journey that requires us to realize the solution is to work together to complete the puzzle.

    That said, I feel you may have come off a little over zealous on the subject and rubbed a few people wrong, but I hope they don’t shun you forever for it and will at least stick around till this conversation can be resolved. As everyone would grow from being brave enough to have it, and not just flee back to the safe ground of our well curated personal views we are familiar with.

    Even though I didn’t necessarily agree with a good portion of what was stated, I sincerely understand and mostly agree with your intent since I listen for the spirit of what people are truly trying to say, and do my best not to crucify them over semantics or for saying something I perceive as wrong. I agree that anything in this life can be abused, but true uncensored education is the solution, not abstinence or the demonization of things that absolutely can and will be harmful if misused. As history has shown, that is the way of control and tyranny, even when it has noble intents to begin with.

    I would love to open this up for broader discussion so we can dive into some fascinating information that would really expand upon the questions you brought up. Like the life work of Dr. Sula Benet who wrote her dissertation on the mistranslation of kaneh bos’m (cannabis not calamus) in the holy anointing oil that Yeshua of Nazareth used to heal people. He used physical, mental, emotional and spiritual medicines to heal people because he understood the strength that can only come from the balance of all aspects of our being.

    Clearly, he understood everything in this life is neutral, including knowledge of anything, and we have the free will to wield them for the greatest good (conjoins to spell God) or for deliberate evil (conjoins to spell Devil).

    Our free agency to live in alignment with the greatest possible good, aka God, Universe, Nature, Spirit, Source, Creator, etc. Is a beautiful gift that we get to explore and discover for ourselves and together!

    Seeing as how 2/3rds of the original wisdom books were censored from the Bible in the “authorized” version of the Bible king James brought about, and that there are many seemingly purposeful mistranslations of important words like kaneh bos’m that completely change the multi dimensional meanings of the parables, we have to be very careful with how we translate things. I would personally love to have a conversation around all of this, private or public, so please let me know if you are interested.

    Oh and I think you would enjoy the book, On The Mystery of Being, that was put out by the SAND group that is seeking to become balanced spiritual scientists as well.

    Lastly, I have personally participated in my own vice-less lifestyle for most of my life, and have also experimented with some of almost everything, including plant medicines, along the way so that I can gain a better understanding of everything first hand. I know there is a balanced middle ground between the extremes, and I can personally testify that its foundation is a full and unabridged education.

    These plants and other various activities are all tools that must be wielded properly to avoid harming ourselves or each other, but they play their part in helping to direct people to the infinite well of strength that lives inside all of us, and connects us directly to the source of all things.

    That inherent connection is what leads people to say we are gods, because truly we are. All of us, and everything in this existence, are every probabilistic manifestation of God, and we are the highest form of that evolutionary process of self discovering what we truly are. One interconnected fractal whole, that only seems disconnected because we have zoomed in too far with our scientific inquiry to see how everything connects.

    The further we collectively zoom in though, the more we are discovering the microcosms that are fractals of the macrocosm, allowing us to piece the big picture together one piece at a time and make things clearer. Discovering all of this information has been hard enough, and there is less and less left to learn on that front.

    The harder part now, that will require us to really develop our EQ traits like compassion, is getting everyone to hear and see that unified field theory since we are all set on the idea that we are right and the other extremes must be wrong because that would mean we are crazy if not. Both simply need to view each other’s perspectives and what the middle ground is saying to finally discover the whole truth. I have faith we will find it together as we continue to walk each other home.

    That challenge you laid out is very close to things I have done myself for the purposes of self mastery without any religious intent. I hope people link up and grow from it, because it is a good thing ti pursue regardless of what the subtle differences are in why we are doing them. I would likely even join the effort to continue to learn and grow, and connect with others trying to master themselves even if I have slightly differing reasons for why I am doing them.

    Sorry for the long response, but we would definitely have to have a full conversation to be able to hash out all the thoughts this podcast set brought up. Thanks for continuing to show up my brother, wishing you the best on your continued journey. 🫶🏼✊🏼✌🏼

    All My Best, to you and everyone,

    Blake Smedley
    Begin Botanicals

    1. These are some great resources and I will check them out, Blake. Thanks!

    2. Dan P says:

      You have very eloquently described any objections I had to this article. You have also explained that each and every modality from mediation to plant medicine can be used for good or evil on one-self or with others.

      Your view is unbiased, grounded and holistic. I applaud this response with my whole heart and being.

      1. Dan P says:

        As an aside I have simply dropped any daily routine (that may or may not been habitual) just to see if it was easy to do. It was. As I’m conscious of attachment; which ironically developed post plant-medicine ceremonies.

  16. Nate j says:

    I’m game for a challenge and could use some support. I broke my back 4 years ago and have used cannabis at night to sleep from being in pain and uncomfortable. I just don’t really get good sleep and it’s really hard to not smoke at night as I’m a very active individual and a few minutes of deep sleep a night just doesn’t cut it and especially dangerous with all the activities I do. Mountain Biking, Big mountain snowboarding, skydiving etc. I’m at a loss what to do but don’t like the “crutch” I’ve developed. I didn’t partake last night and I’m going to keep not imbibing. Hope others on here are up for a challenge as having others to rely on would be great.

  17. Jason says:

    As a long time listener here, having benefitted from your podcasts and book Boundless (excellent synopsis of so much!), I was blown away to see these episodes… really was actually excited to hear them.

    I’ve smoked a lot of herbs in the past, had a bad trip on shrooms and also an utterly life altering experience with my sister almost 20 years ago which I think brought us through harder times and helped us worked through our parents divorce at a young age… I do think it was beneficial, as many of the experiences and times on plant meds have been… Never did have a good experience with too much alcohol LOL. I just wanted to add here that while I never experienced the supernatural while on substances, I have 100% in a sober state. God exposed demons and allowed me to ‘entertain angles’. Christ is the only way I would have been able to denote the difference as the demons were exposed by the light as what they are. Ugly, ungodly and unnatural. I was seeing them following me around and then my wife later told me she was having dreams of these ugly spirits. We prayed together for our homes and property to be free of any demonic influence and our homes to be places of peace. They are. People tell us they are. YHWH is real.

    I have only a few times micro-dosed marijuana for a “reset”, but otherwise, and as I age more so, relied on God for this. Truly, until you ask for the Holy Spirt, it is all confusing. The wrong spirits are all over the place and are ready to enter you as soon as you allow it. Stay on this path you are on. It is the right one. The most natural one. The closest one to the proper way of “tending the garden”. Thanks for what you are doing, your courage, humbleness to tell us about your struggles and experiences and most of all your growing witness.

    Peace be with you!

  18. Secret says:

    Much of the reasoning in part 1 was grasping at straws, particularly the religious stuff and demonification of people (witches) who worship the Earth instead of Ben’s chosen God and book written by man, the Bible. You often see this with religious folks who do a bunch of drugs and then tell others they should never do what they did, because they know better, because they used drugs. Why exactly do you choose to believe this particular book the Bible was inspired by God, when there are so many greater books that did not inspire torture and murder by priests, but were in fact inspired by plants of the Earth that God provided?

    1. Joe B. says:

      It seems like reading the Bible is just as risky as taking plant medicine, at least in terms of actual harm done to people around the world by fake-Christian leaders who don’t understand the messages of the book.

  19. Rob says:

    Hi Ben – I’m in for the vice-less challenge, but it seems I may be the only one unless I missed it in the comments. Happy to help with any organization that’s needed also.

    I’ll offer my comment about the content later.

  20. Thank you Ben. You are a godly man. I appreciate that you’re sharing this aspect of the universal struggle against sin. God created plants as food (Genesis 1). We’ve done a great job of messing up creation.

    I’ve recently become convinced that all pharmaceutical medications are diabolical. (No, insulin is not a drug).

    Provax and pro-pharma people are acting like a death-cult. Several of my family members have been seriously injured by meds and shots. But they keep going back for more drugs. Then they slander me for speaking out against this witchcraft.

  21. Eric Umbarger says:

    I think there is an issue of nuance and grey lines that a lot of believers stumble around. I think you grazed it in your article but maybe you haven’t really thought about it much, but how far can you distill this subject matter? You mention some of the wonderful reasons to microdose, but say it can be misused. How can you even consume food at all, or take supplements? B Vitamins are proven to give energy, a carnivore diet proven to give cognitive clarity. But these aren’t natural states, a person has to consume a certain amount of a certain thing. Could it not be viewed the same way? I feel better when I drink water, maybe I should switch to soda so I can purposefully give myself a disadvantage. I had the above feeling after reading both your Part 1 and Part 2 by the way. To be blunt I think you are being ridiculous.

    Two other things:
    •”Problem is, if you make widely available and endorse the usage of minuscule doses of any compound that has traditionally been used in sorcery, witchcraft, occult magic, or any other pharmakia-esque activities I described in Part 1 of this series, then, in my opinion, you risk opening the door quite wide for abuse potential.”

    -I think is is one issue a lot of people are having with Christianity: it is not up for you to decide what others do with their body. And even if it was, is a hand full of overdoses not worth millions of people being more in tune with their surroundings? I think you could have left this entire point out of your argument

    •I would like to see sources on the “proof of the negative impact of legalization has consistently been pouring in ever since” because I’ve seen nothing but good things

  22. Sw says:

    Seems like you all just go from one obsession (drug, weed, nicotine, alcohol, etc)
    To the next.. religion! God, Jesus, guns, freedoms, pro life. It’s all a bunch of hypocrisy. All a bunch of excuses to get away with whatever YOU think is right or truth. Just try loving yourself, your neighbors, and the planet. Pretty damn simple. stop with the extremes already. Puhlease !!

    1. Rivo says:

      Where is the fun in that 🤔

  23. Andres Camacho says:

    Love the podcast especially the part about staying in the analog world right as they are legalizing all substances that take you away from God. Before hearing part 1 I came to the same conclusion about weed as it was a huge crutch in my life. I’ve been sober for 3 weeks and only good things have come from that decision. It’s nice to have a virtual support group in you and Themis community. Naudi Aguilar the founder of Functional Patterns has been preaching about sobriety for a long time. I know he rubs people the wrong way but I believe you should have him in your podcast now that you are on the same page as far as this is concerned. Lots of us are seeking a more functional world and he has a grain of sand to add like many of us. As a fitness enthusiast you would benefit a ton from his system and his philosophy. May God protect all those who read this.
    Andrés

  24. Richard Henderson says:

    https://www.eventbrite.com/e/keith-green-40-years-in-heaven-registration-379100709427

    Since you have said you are a Keith Green fan thought I would let you know about an event next week celebrating his live and legacy

  25. DJ says:

    I definitely agree about all this legal weed being used recklessly, especially edible’s, which can take someone to a tortures like state.

    I consistently smell weed smoke around my neighbourhood or it wafting into my backyard as I play with my children, which is annoying. I hear how weed helps people with different issues, but it’s only a temporary fix. A journal and some good books to research, along with good sleep and breath work, will fix most problems.

    I think people choosing weed over alcohol is wise. I have personally seen many folks destroyed over excessive alcohol use. Being sober is the best way to live.

  26. Eric says:

    Ben thank you for being a true Christian with courage and conviction. Your books, articles and podcasts have greatly helped me throughout the years. Your stance and knowledge on plant medicines and their history is eye opening…really eye opening. I appreciate your use of Scripture to back up your position and I stand in agreement. I would love an eight week viceless challenge to better my soul and relationship with God. I feel souls could be saved by this if done with pure intent and purpose.

    You rock Ben. God is with you.

  27. Patricia says:

    Some thoughts on Genesis 1:31 – ‘Then God saw everything He had made and indeed it was very good…’ But that was BEFORE the fall! After the temptation and fall of man, God cursed the ground and thorns and thistles were brought forth – Genesis 3:17-19. Sin entered the world…

    Makes me wonder when these hallucinogenics were created – before or after the fall. I can’t imagine God creating something in the Garden of Eden that had the potential to destroy man (except the tree of knowledge which Adam and Eve were explicitly told not to eat from).

    I haven’t done any research on this, but where did man get the original idea to even seek out and ingest plants with hallucinogenic properties? And what would have been the purpose? Could it have been a demonic influence/entity that enticed and taught man how to use/abuse plants in that way (using similar arguments Satan used on Eve in the Garden of Eden) since these plants open you up to demonic forces/influences and lead you away from God?

    Just a thought…

    1. Patricia,
      God created trees and green plants for food. Mushrooms were created as decomposers, not necessarily for food. Other plants (like corn) are totally man-made, and are very different from the original.

      The cannibis plant has been hybridized for hundreds of years. The original had very low amounts of THC, with hundreds of other compounds, such as CBD, and other terpines. Pharma uses isolated compounds from plants, where herbalism uses the entire plant, which has hundreds of synergistic compounds.

      Some plants have toxic effects because of mutations, or as a result of hybridization. Belladona is a toxic plant, but can be life-saving when used as a homeopathic remedy.

  28. Pavla says:

    Great job with part one and part two!
    Just read the comments and it is amazing how many people are encouraged and motivated already. Makes up for all the haters;)

  29. Andy P says:

    I’m down for this challenge.
    -Andy

  30. Kristen says:

    Hi Ben, in part 1 you sounded really sure and convicted about what you said. But then in part 2 you sounded like you were kinda making some allowances for things that you denounced in part 1.

    not that you were contradicting yourself necessarily, but I wondered if your explanation in part 2 was opening the door somewhat. So I wasn’t really sure where you stood.

    Thank you for sharing so openly.

    1. what specifically are you referring to?

      1. Kristen says:

        In part one, you say you’re “done.”

        “I decided to completely stop using, endorsing, encouraging, extolling, promoting, praising, or otherwise having any involvement with so-called “plant I am specifically referring to chemical compounds—both synthetic and plant-derived—that have the capability, even in relatively small dosages…”

        But then in part 2 you discuss that you haven’t actually decided if you will microdose, and it sounds like you’re undecided about weed.

        “ I am not necessarily opposed to a touch of psilocybin, hapé, and sananga before a hunt, or a light snort of ketamine or pull on a THC vape pen before, say, a deep tissue massage or a lovemaking session—so long as such practices don’t lead to misuse and abuse of the compounds that you keep on hand for such activities.”

        What I was mainly trying to point out in my earlier comment was that you sounded very sure, convinced, and sincere and then in part two you sounded like you were unsure about your decisions on this.

        1. you didn’t include my full quote here. I specifically said for the use altering one’s state of consciousness to the point of hallucinogenesis and/or seeking divination from spirits. Microdosing nor hitting a vape pen would not fit that criteria.

          1. Kristen says:

            Ok, that makes sense. Thanks!

          2. Evelyn says:

            I am concerned about the “marijuana shops” on so many street corners here in CANADA too…never mind the plethora of “Liquor Stores” along side them! Our governments seem to want to “dumb down” their citizenry to distract us from our problems, discontent, unfair treatment, fair living wage and on and on. I enjoyed your insights as always and thankfully only need to eliminate 3 of the 7 vices you listed and would be joining your “Viceless Challenge” should you decide to do it!

          3. Ben Greenfield says:

            Great points Evelyn, stay tuned for the Viceless Challenge!

  31. Matt says:

    Here’s my thoughts…
    You have stated in prior episodes that you have a more Libertarian (freedom to make mistakes/learn & accountability through cheques and balances) approach/philosophy towards; money, politics, and parenting.

    Personally, I similarly coincide with a centered libertarian philosophy yet I wonder why religion is the main factor of deviation upon these ideologies?

    In my opinion, it’s almost better to allow people to indulge in the unknown and see if they come out stronger on the other side.
    Albeit that was quite an esoteric description, I do believe that control over anything can just as easily become corrupted as the object in question…

    Granted my little knowledge of biblical scripture and solely based on logic… my question to you is, wouldn’t God, the creator, want to see their creations make mistakes and learn from them? Wouldn’t God wan’t them to explore the things in life God created for them? Or is it simply just a test to thereafter make them stronger?

    I understand it’s complex but I’m curious what you think about my perspective!

  32. Joy says:

    Hi Ben!
    I LOVED these two shows about swearing off plant meds!
    Please continue to spread this message – Christ is the answer to all things – I think you are in a unique position to reach a lot of folks.
    Many people that are heavily into endurance athletics, health and fitness, living minimally – they are just searching and they don’t know what they are searching for.
    Nothing satisfies that hunger except the Lord.
    With Christ, all things are possible. Through Him, with Him, everything is perfectly ordered.
    We perfect our bodies and our minds to bring glory to God and grow closer to Him. Any other reason and we creep into the devil’s territory of self-worship.
    Ok – regarding figuring out some type of 8 week challenge, you may get some ideas from the EXODUS90 program. If you’ve not heard of this, it’s a prayer/fasting/exercise program designed for Catholic men to get it together, remove ALL vises, and grow closer to God!
    I’m a big fan of yours, please keep up the great work, searching for the truth in all things.

    1. Cool, I will check out Exodus90.

  33. Maddy says:

    I’ve followed you Ben for a long time. I’ve enjoyed; I’ve learned through your N of 1 experiments. When I got a survey from your team over a year ago that asked about my interest in the spiritual I figured you were embarking on sharing more of your religious self. I have wondered about your use of alcohol and drugs and your leaning into “plant medicine” as an excuse to experiment on the edges of your own psyche. I think you have an addictive personality and it is probably a good thing for you to pull back on your use of drugs. Dosing with Ketamine (a horse tranquilizer) before sex with your wife and calling that a spiritual journey is a bit of a stretch. For you to now use your bandwidth to put fear into psychedelics that are being used in a transformative way with so many mental health issues around the world is disappointing. The work of Tim Ferris with The John Hopkins Centre for Psychedelic Research and Consciousness; Michael Pollan with How to change your mind. These are people + organizations who recognize the healing powers of plant medicines – not a recreational use of drugs to enhance focus, sex or otherwise. We don’t need more polarization in the world.

  34. Hi Ben, your post on psychedelics is quite informative. I might have missed it, but have you spoken / considered the case for using ketamine and other psychedelics for mental disorders such as suicide and PTSD? There are few drugs like ketamine that can stop suicide in its tracks. In addition this is backed up by credible science.

  35. Catherine says:

    Hey Ben – You’ve transformed my health more so than any other – so I’m willing to trust your knowledge in this space as you increase your wisdom.
    I appreciate that you are never afraid to change your mind based on new information.
    I am grateful that you continue to create valuable content.
    Full respect.
    We’re richer for you

  36. Rivo says:

    ‘VICELESS CHALLENGE’ – YES BEN!. Its funny the timing of it all. I have actually been trying to start the same challenge for months now. I did it for 3 months from november 2021 up to january 2022. Then i went back to my old path of abusing nicotine and weed for 5 months, until today. Ben i am not sure i agree with all your reasons, but it seems the solutions we have arrived at is pretty much the same 😂. You call it ‘VICELESS’ I call it ‘ABSOLUTE CLARITY’, but the essence is the same – cut away all drugs in all forms. Timing could not be better with this because for me its either this or jumping out of the window 😐. So YES, LETS DO THIS!!!

  37. Carolina says:

    As someone who has used plant medicines for both healing and recreation – I have seen and experienced the dark side of these substances that Ben is discussing. I have witnessed people shift so drastically into a demon possessed person after imbibing Bufo / DMT. Everything that Ben is bringing up has absolute validity! If i hadn’t witnessed this with my own eyes I might not be as convinced. And many of you have not had first hand experience of watching a person act totally normal and then after taking Bufo turn into a demon – voice changes into devilish tone, they begin thrashing around, cussing at the shaman and eyes rolling back in the head.
    The spirit world is real and if someone has decided to embark on a plant medicine journey I think its important to protect yourself – praying to God for protection before the ceremony, clearing your field with deliverance prayers after the ceremony and if at all possible not doing the ceremony in a group setting where you are opening your field to many more energies.
    After witnessing so much demonic possession in people during ceremony over the years, I am convinced that calling upon Jesus Christ and embodying the spirit of unconditional love is the only way to truly protect yourself. I have only recently stopped using plant medicine after having similar revelations as Ben.

    1. Mike says:

      I have to agree with Carolina’s experience with “Demons.” I was skeptical myself but then found this clip on YouTube. Now I’m a believer!

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMSpFkvPOAM

  38. JB says:

    Thanks Ben for being willing to share your beliefs. I’ve struggled with extreme depression and fatigue, but have never turned to plant medicine. That said, your advice to pray when lying awake at night is something I will try to implement. I know my relationship with Christ has been strengthened though my struggles, but so far I’ve mainly been praying during the day rather than during the night hours as well. That’s a good recommendation, one which closely mirrors the Psalmists who cried out to God in the night.

    Blessings!

    1. KingJames says:

      This is for Ben but really for me. I feel the need to scream the emperor has no clothes.

      All of this ‘should I use this chemical or that chemical’ is a distraction created by the human mind.

      Wtf knows what happened when, or who said what where; and if they did does it matter?

      I can’t believe in a concept of god that would allow for the Catholic Churches existence while at the same time making a mountain out of a chemical that is non addictive and promotes loving feelings in most people.

      That is so contradictory and incomprehensibly petty.

  39. David says:

    Amen, Ben! I agree that by using drugs that alter consciousness “you are opening yourself up to influence from a spiritual world that threatens to land you in a very dark place indeed.”

  40. Matt says:

    Props Ben! I’ve been a long time listener although I admit I’ve been tuning out with all of the plant based stuff you’ve been into. My only experience is with marijuana and not personally but my dad smoked it for most of his life. 4 marriages later and with only 2 out of 5 kids that talk to him, he’s quit. Him smoking has quite literally wrecked our family and because of my experience, I can’t support any marijuana use. Zero. It’s devastated our family. Thanks for speaking out and keep trusting. Prov 3:5-6

  41. Patricia says:

    As a fellow born again Christian and long-time listener, I had to walk away from your podcasts a few years ago when you started embracing plant medicines as well as using an ever-increasing number of ‘hacks’. You were venturing off into dangerous territory and I could no longer follow you. I prayed God would open your eyes…

    So… just the other day out of the blue, I wondered what Ben Greenfield was up to. I saw your podcast on why you were no longer going to be using ‘plant medicines’ and was compelled to listen… and was overjoyed with what I heard! I’m so grateful God revealed these things to you in His Word and that you escaped the dark forces unscathed and have strengthened your walk with Christ through this experience, Praise God!!

    Much respect for your courage, honesty and humbleness in sharing your story. I pray it affects many in a very powerful, positive way.

    ‘Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God–this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.’
    –Romans 12: 1-2

    Blessings from a renewed subscriber and sister in Christ just across the WA/BC border!

    Re: ‘Spirit of the Rainforest’. I’ve owned it for many years now. Amazing story!!

  42. Todd says:

    Any substance can be abused, even caffeine like you said. I’m not sure why wine is okay to have but a few hits of marijuana is off the table. Psychedelics are talked all throughout the bible. Sometimes things in the bible are misinterpreted. Not here to try to convince you otherwise but i do have something to say about substances such as kratom/kava that you promote.

    Feel free, you are the one that put me on to it, was at first a really nice boost in energy. I started out with just half a bottle every other day or so then eventually half a bottle a day (sometimes a full one). I started to get hooked and reliant on the energy i got from this drink and began to feel terrible every time i drank it. Kratom is highly addictive so i’m not sure why you are okay with promoting this. It really messed with my emotions, dopamine levels, sleep, ect. Maybe look more into that because a little micro of mushrooms would be way more beneficial than kratom.

  43. Taylor says:

    I’ve not read any of your work before these two articles questioning the use of plant medicine. I got the link from Cernovich. But they are spot on and something I’ve been thinking a lot about myself. Especially relevant to me as a live music and jam band fan of bands like Phish and Grateful Dead where psychedelics are a bed rock of the ice experience. Thank you for these essays and I look forward to reading more of your work.

  44. Jane says:

    From Biohacker to bible basher. So sad.

  45. Anthony says:

    While I accept the thesis that one should use plant medicines (especially in high dosages) with extreme caution, I don’t accept your reasoning.

    We really should be past using wooden appeals to biblical passages in our day. The bible and other scriptures are products of a former age, representative of humanity at a certain stage of development – cognitively, ethically, and spiritually. This is quite clear from the presence of the many horror passages like: “Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man by lying with him. But all the young girls who have not known man by lying with him keep alive for yourselves.” (Number 31:17-18) The pre-scientific roots are exemplified with the mythical elements (e.g. worldwide flood) and the numerous inaccuracies reflecting the state of knowledge of the time, e.g. the assumed 3-tier cosmology.

    And of course our critical scholarship has done a number on the bible (or bibles, as there is no agreed bible). We now know of the redactions, additions, deletions, forgeries (deutero-Pauline, pseudo-Petrine), canonical disputes (settled by councils of men), and much more. There are huge questions surrounding what is reliably recorded of events decades and centuries earlier given what is known about oral transmission.

    Ben, you’ve critically researched in health and fitness all these years but you seem to have parked the critical skills with respect to your snowballing religious zeal. Despite what is now known, you appear to think that all things from the “bible” get a free pass. Why is your evidentially threshold so low in this particular matter and yet you trawl through the peer reviewed science otherwise?

    I get the comfort one gets from viewing the bible as the very words of God as per the modern evangelical – I did that for over two decades. But apart from the issues I’ve summarized above, there are all the unexamined metaphysical axioms and abstractions rooted in a dualistic framework.

    Fortunately, there are other approaches which are more intellectually honest and belong to the more esoteric/mystical expressions of Christianity. These have been largely lost to the west, particularly in our day. But we have been gifted the introspective tools which can be developed to discern the actual contours of reality – that is the spiritual activity from above flowing through our thinking activity and precipitating into our thoughts and perceptions (of which the psychedelic trip offers us a chaotic but often useful glimpse of that process). This is the endeavor of a spiritual science. We can then actually start to understand the great mystery of the Christ event as part of this vast evolutionary cosmos.

    Of all the wonderful realms of spiritual exploration available to humanity, the life of an evangelical in contrast is largely projected onto a one-dimensional focus of saving souls and discerning the emotional response to biblical readings or different life plans thinking this is God speaking. How utterly sad. And how much sadder still to ponder a reality where the actions and decisions of this decades-long existence divides mankind into the haves and have nots for eternity. This is the odious vision that the exoteric forms of Christianity offers.

    It is your choice. Do the hard inward work or join the religious throngs – ignoring the scholarship and reading the bible without discerning the imaginations and inspirations which precipitated from above verses those from the lower realms.

    1. which esoteric/mystical expressions are you referring to? Thanks!

      1. Anthony says:

        While I accept the thesis that one should use plant medicines (especially in high dosages) with extreme caution, I don’t accept your reasoning.

        We really should be past using wooden appeals to biblical passages in our day. The bible and other scriptures are products of a former age, representative of humanity at a certain stage of development – cognitively, ethically, and spiritually. This is quite clear from the presence of the many horror passages like: “Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man by lying with him. But all the young girls who have not known man by lying with him keep alive for yourselves.” (Number 31:17-18) The pre-scientific roots are exemplified with the mythical elements (e.g. worldwide flood) and the numerous inaccuracies reflecting the state of knowledge of the time, e.g. the assumed 3-tier cosmology.

        And of course our critical scholarship has done a number on the bible (or bibles, as there is no agreed bible). We now know of the redactions, additions, deletions, forgeries (deutero-Pauline, pseudo-Petrine), canonical disputes (settled by councils of men), and much more. There are huge questions surrounding what is reliably recorded of events decades and centuries earlier given what is known about oral transmission.

        Ben, you’ve critically researched in health and fitness all these years but you seem to have parked the critical skills with respect to your snowballing religious zeal. Despite what is now known, you appear to think that all things from the “bible” get a free pass. Why is your evidentially threshold so low in this particular matter and yet you trawl through the peer reviewed science otherwise?

        I get the comfort one gets from viewing the bible as the very words of God as per the modern evangelical – I did that for over two decades. But apart from the issues I’ve summarized above, there are all the unexamined metaphysical axioms and abstractions rooted in a dualistic framework.

        Fortunately, there are other approaches which are more intellectually honest and belong to the more esoteric/mystical expressions of Christianity. These have been largely lost to the west, particularly in our day. But we have been gifted the introspective tools which can be developed to discern the actual contours of reality – that is the spiritual activity from above flowing through our thinking activity and precipitating into our thoughts and perceptions (of which the psychedelic trip offers us a chaotic but often useful glimpse of that process). This is the endeavor of a spiritual science. We can then actually start to understand the great mystery of the Christ event as part of this vast evolutionary cosmos.

        Of all the wonderful realms of spiritual exploration available to humanity, the life of an evangelical in contrast is largely projected onto a one-dimensional focus of saving souls and discerning the emotional response to biblical readings or different life plans thinking this is God speaking. How utterly sad. And how much sadder still to ponder a reality where the actions and decisions of this decades-long existence divides mankind into the haves and have nots for eternity. This is the odious vision that the exoteric forms of Christianity offers.

        It is your choice. Do the hard inward work or join the religious throngs – ignoring the scholarship and reading the bible without discerning the imaginations and inspirations which precipitated from above verses those from the lower realms.

        The mystical forms of Christianity reach their highest expression with the Eastern Orthodox Church (c.f hesychasm). But the west has had odd figures like Teresa, John of the Cross, Evelyn Underhill. I most familiar with the line of idealist/phenomenological/esoteric thought captured in the likes of Goethe, Coleridge, Barfield, Bergson, Teilhard de Chardin, and Steiner. Steiner grounds esotericism in the “Philosophy of Freedom” and some the practice in “Knowledge of the Higher Worlds And Its Attainment”.

        1. I would like to add to Anthony’s comments. I was an evangelical Christian for nearly 40 years (I am 66 now) and am very conversant with the Bible. Yet, the past few years, as I have become acquainted with much of what Anthony has referred to and looked into Quantum physics, I realized that my literal approach to the Bible was insufficient and led to many inconsistent and inaccurate beliefs. I believe a more mystical/theologically deeper expression of Christianity is truer to the message that Jesus and Paul and the apostles believed. Another good research is the Center for Action and Contemplation, founded by Richard Rohr.

          I echo Anthony’s comments that it would serve you well to research and read Biblical critics and academics, like you do other health matters. I agree that your conclusions are largely sound, but your reasoning is questionable.

          1. ANTONIO COSTA says:

            You both (Anthony and Waybe) are wrong… You and your quantum nonsense and “spiritual science”….Christianity is outdated, you think. In your minds, Christianity has destroyed the “ancient wisdom” that New Age is rediscovering. Unfortunately, many fall in this selfish and pathetic thinking… God bless U

  46. Matt Mondorff says:

    Thanks Ben! Good on ya for expressing this despite the kickback or even loss of listeners which effects your income to a degree. You’ve found the “pearl of great price” my brother. I’d love to hear more about your dads journey into Orthodoxy and if you are close behind him. I myself am Catholic (chosen over Protestantism for various reasons) and see it as 1 degree of separation from Orthodoxy. In fact there’s many Eastern Orthodox rites in the Catholic Church which have been great for my growth in holiness with Christ.

  47. Joe says:

    Sad that what was once a great evidence-based blog is now filled with non-biased views taken from a book written in the iron age, filled with many contradictions that promote mythical beings with a misogynistic bent, fear, division and intolerance.
    Please don’t tell me you also support the women of your country not having control of their own bodies, whilst teenagers can access guns?

  48. Chase says:

    I always found it a paradox that Ben would promote health and simultaneously promote dangerous substances, regardless of their source. Now I’m thrilled to see his courage in stating what I’ve felt is obvious: they can ruin you. I just want to stay as far away from that cliff as possible, including alcohol. My moms father, sister and seven brothers were alcoholics and several severely addicted to many drugs. So for me it’s playing with fire to even think of going there. A micro dose is still a dose.

    It’s entertaining to see the broad spectrum of pushback about Ben’s open change of opinion. The truth hurts, and most of us are addicted to something. Just each of us is at a different stage of the 12 steps of addiction recovery. Some applaud Ben for his courage to admit a change is needed, others poke fun at his spiritual beliefs, and some claim he is wrong.

    Because of Ben, I bought a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, a Biocharger, a sauna, water filter, quinton minerals, and probably more. Thank goodness I didn’t try LSD thinking it would make me healthier. I commend him for trying to correct the bad advice he gave previously and respect his experience as something I can learn from without risking addiction he was having.

  49. Jane says:

    Hi Ben
    Does this mean you won’t be micro-dosing before sex with your wife anymore?
    What do you advocate now? Reading the Bible as foreplay?

    1. James says:

      Jane, it seems you haven’t read the Old Testament.

      1. Mike says:

        Why don’t you enlighten us? Are you supposed to keep your eyes closed and repeat over and over “I’m a sinner.” ?

  50. Mike says:

    You’ve heard the old saying “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.”
    Weill I’d modify it to say “Don’t throw the Ben out with the religion.”

    Despite the fact that Ben has gone all in with his religion and it occupies about 50% of his writing if you include all his podcasts and his books-podcasts like “Endure” there is still some good stuff to be had for those that could do without the preaching. The “not to miss” podcasts are the ones with Dr. Jay, usually on Friday’s. In these Ben usually goes over the highlights of research in the fields of exercise, medicine etc and importantly, no religion is covered or discussed. I’d view this as a curated list where Ben has done a great job of gathering valuable and important information, and it’s well worth listening to.

  51. eric samra says:

    I’ve been smoking cannabis now for 20+ years pretty much everyday, which has really been my last remaining “vice” that I’ve been trying to shed. Its a constant battle for me, I’ve been using it as a crutch and a go-to tool for so long, which helped me to function, escape, or motivate me to do things like working out.. without it, I feel confused, lost, and find it very hard to get my bearings.

    I’ve looked for outside sources to validate my addiction and constantly lied to myself about all the benefits it gives me. But ultimately I’ve always known deep down that the cons outweigh the pros, I’ve just never had the mental (mind over body) fortitude to overcome and give it up for good. I guess I’ve been too scared to jump into the unknown of how I will be able to live without it. What made it more confusing for me was listening to people like Ben, who I’ve always highly respected and admired, that promoted plant medicines. It helped me justify and gave me some comfort in continuing to use marijuana.

    Extremely grateful for these articles. I’ve been free from smoking for 4 days now, ever since I read Ben’s first article, which really hit me hard and was EXACTLY the message I needed to receive at the exact moment I needed to hear it. It has not been an easy 4 days by any means, the physical and mental withdrawal have been very very real and powerful, trying to pull me back.. as I write this, my heart is racing and I feel very lost and disoriented. But I KNOW its for a greater good in the end, and making the HARD decision now, will give me an easier and better life later on and that means not giving up what I want, for what I want right now!!

    SO thank you Ben for coming out with these messages, I think it’s absolutely critical for today’s world to read this and return to our Creator for ALL our day to day needs and problems. G-d just wants to hear from his children, and I believe he sends us wake up calls, in the form of “suffering,” because he wants us to come back to Him!

    G-d Bless! 🙏

    1. Chase says:

      Eric, keep up the good work. It will be a long hard road but worth it. I’m so excited for your change.

      Ben, my response to those hating on your change of perspetive is to tell them to look at how your words have inspired Eric and know that it was for something good.

      1. Eric Samra says:

        Thank you Chase! Means a lot to me, I’m already feeling much better today. Woke up refreshed and energized!

  52. Jerry Smith says:

    80% of all substances sold as drugs in a modern day pharmacy our adulterated copies of plant substances (molecules). How can you say that you intend to quit or avoid Plant Medicine? Plant medicine is basically the only medicine that there is after a few different minerals, and if you exclude radioactive materials!

    Check you Bible and you will see that god said everything we need is to be found here on earth. Recreation drugs aside, what else is here to remedy health issues and cure disease? Plants are medicinally magical; aloe vera, Tulsi, Turmeric, etc. etc……………………………………

    1. Lynn Faggion says:

      Hi Jerry, did you read Part 1 on plant medicine? Ben answers this in that article. Good question!

    2. Mike says:

      Jerry, Ben isn’t against all plant medicines, only ones that make you high, like the psychedelics. He’s even fine with addictive drugs like nicotine and others like it. Nope he’s only against the drugs that alter your consciousnesses, because that’s when the “Demons” can “sneak in” and get ya. Hope this helps!

  53. Jules Alexander says:

    Most of thes commentate spot on-
    I used to
    Like your perspective Ben,
    Now it’s obvious you have no idea who Christ is , who you are or or what’s going on in any area of life –
    So obvious you’re confused and conflate your on delusional and addictive behavior with the sacred plants –
    You were doing a bunch of really dumb ego driven addiction behavior , stuff you should never have been doing in the first place and now your blaming plants?

    You should stop using plants to feed your ego and delusional ideas-

    Can’t believe the immaturity your expressing ?

    Peace be with you
    🌿

    1. Andy Morris says:

      Jules – you seem to know a lot about this. Some times the seeming most immature person is really the most mature because they can be transparent about where they are.

  54. Chris Curley says:

    I can’t even wade into reading this hypocritical nonsense.

  55. Chris Curley says:

    Oh my god!!!

    Part two!!??

    I thought you left it all on the field the last article

    1. Michael Fraser says:

      I’m in!

      “We don’t play with sin, we drag it out into the street and put a bullet in it!” – Matt Chandler, comparing secret sin with those that own apex predators as pets.

      If I hadn’t thrown away my plant medicines, I’d still be flirting the line of idolatry. I justified my sin. No longer. That doesn’t mean I’m more holy than anyone else. Only that I’ll no longer worship creation rather than the Creator with my actions. “But cannibis makes me a more loving husband and father!” I’d say. No, I’m running to the false promise of comfort rather than into the arms of our loving Father. “Deny yourself. Pick up your cross. And follow me.” For me, that means keeping my functional saviours in the garbage.

      I’ve even switched to decaf, as I’ve learned that I was in a state of anxiety and rage after years of pre workout and emptying coffee pots into my belly. I’ve been flirting with adding more caffeine and sure enough – my elevated heart rate and anxiety are back. I’m fasting from coffee starting today.

      Hit the nail on the head with John Piper’s quote! For me, there is no glorifying God when I’m high or tripping.

  56. No. says:

    Riddle me this. In what way is your belief in God, the Bible, Christ, not an additional vice. No matter how much any of you try to convince me or anyone else, God still won’t exist. He never did and he never has. So how is this archaic belief not shielding your eyes in the same way. Preventing you from seeing an ounce of moderation. Preventing you from seeing the Earth in its true beauty. Preventing you from seeing that there are millions of normal people, who do good every day, and occasionally enjoy a plant vice in moderation.

    It is blatantly apparent Christians haven’t come far from the Salem Witch Trials. Abandoning plant medicines and telling people micro dosing is bad because of “witchcraft and the occult” is the adult version of being nice to people so Santa doesn’t bring you a lump of coal. I sincerely hope you all wake up some day.

    I also hope, Ben, that you continue to spout your Christian, “God” fearing beliefs for all to hear. So that people looking for an objective, RATIONAL view on health and wellness can go elsewhere.

    From,
    A former listener.

  57. Ron says:

    Here in the suburbs of Detroit the numbers of car crashes sky rocketed at the same time Pot became legal for recreational use. The level of defensive driving is like walking through the woods playing paintball war games, the state logo now says, If you don’t like the way we drive, stay off the sidewalks.

    1. Chris Curley says:

      Nice one at the end Ron!

      LOL!

    2. Jon says:

      That has more to do with the average Detroit denizen than cannabis consumption. Chicago and Detroit should nuked.

  58. Tom says:

    For me, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ fills all the emptiness like no substance on earth can. In the New Testament the Holy Spirit is referred to as the “Comforter” This is a very real, tangible feeling like no other, with no side effects. The power of God’s presence through faith in Jesus Christ is immense. In years past, even a little weed opened up the dark side for me. Never again. Not even a little bit.

  59. Mike says:

    Ben states that drugs like LSD and other psychedelic drugs –

    “have great potential to open you up to a deep, dark, spiritual world in which there is a battle for your very soul.” Really? Show us the evidence, because all I’ve seen is data that points to the opposite conclusion.

    And then Ben discounts the harmful effect of alcohol as nothing more then “having an extra glass of wine.” That’s the problem with Ben. He selectively chooses data and discounts the overwhelming evidence of harm from our current legal drugs like alcohol.

    Every day about 28 people die in Drunk Driving related automobile accidents, or over 10,000 people a year.
    About 140,000 people die each year in the US from excessive alcohol consumption. So much for “having an extra glass of wine.” I double dare you to show us the equivalent amount of damage that psychedelic drugs cause this much damage. You can’t do it because it doesn’t exist!

    The loss of live and people dying., see none of that makes much difference to Ben. It’s the fact that you might get high, that’s the mortal sin for him.

    1. Roger says:

      Well said! I would like to add the billions of deaths attributed to religious discrimination. Zealots are always hypocrites and poor confused Ben is just another influencer swallowed by the illogical and science-less words of bs wisdom called Christianity.

      I pray (to whatever the f_ck gives me power) that Ben becomes aware of the religious vice he has eaten.

      I for one will miss the bad ass and open to science Ben. His advice, podcasts and products I know have helped me become a better man and smarter consumer. You can’t throw out the baby with the bath water Ben! I also hope Ben continues to preach like the other hypocrites. There are reasons why fewer people claim a religious affiliation now than in the past. It’s called science.

      1. Andy says:

        If you knew what you were saying you wouldn’t have said “Billions of deaths”. That doesn’t even make sense. That being said most of 100 million that died in concentration camps in the last 100 years and such was due to Godless Nazi and Communist philosophies.

        1. Thomas says:

          Go back 2000 years and add it up!

  60. I’ve always felt that life is intoxicating enough with all that God has given us. I’ve not personally felt a need for microdosing, artificial stimulation, or mind expansion. Connection with God, humanity, and nature are entrancing enough and when I’m in harmony with all of the above (and even myself) I experience it in its fullness. (All that said, I’m in for the challenge, Ben, if you decide to go for it!)

    1. Michael Fraser says:

      Ben,

      I was getting some heat yesterday by a family member thats vehemently anti-Christiany. My pastor sent me this:

      “who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
      1 Peter 1:5‭-‬7 ESV
      https://bible.com/bible/59/1pe.1.5-7.ESV

      Keep fighting the good fight. Our reward isn’t here. Your critic’s praise isn’t what you aim for, nor is their disapproval to be feard. One day, we’ll hear “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

      Keep up the good work, brother.

    2. I appreciate your amazing podcast, Hilda. The message that WAP discovered was that people are most happy and healthy when they’re living in harmony with God’s laws (AKA Nature’s laws). Supplements, vitamins, and drugs are all attempts to fix a broken system, without understanding the root cause of the problem.
      – Robert

  61. Gisela says:

    Ben…you might want to remove your CBD advertising? I use that brand Element Health per YOUR recommendation to help me sleep (LOL).

    1. Autoimmune Nutrition says:

      Is CBD a psychoactive substance? Is it used in ritual ceremonies? I don’t think Ben has turned against all herbal medicines.

    2. Some guy says:

      I wish you well on your journey towards sobriety.

      But I will also ask that you stop trying to regulate what others do, particularly consuming substances YOU can handle, but they might not be up to.

      I think that once you stop worrying about what other people are up to, your life will become a little more calm.

  62. Tarek says:

    Ben, I hope you take comfort in knowing that you’re one of the few individuals that discusses these substances while also encouraging others to be healthy, fit and impactful members of their community/family. There are many people talking about using psychs without discussing getting the body, mind or emotional state ready first.

    But yes I agree the dangers of abuse and misuse are real, it definitely troubles me.

    Speaking of a challenge… I found that it wasn’t until my first extended water fast that I realized all herbs and supplements are essentially drugs. One of my most sobering moments.

  63. Christopher Argueta says:

    I like the idea of challenging one’s attachments. Stripping one bare of “needs” and routines. Leaving them naked to sit with themselves. Quieting the noise in ones life until they can hear the refrigerator hum in their mind. Not sure about the idea of god being the answer to everything. Can one be attached to God? So much so that it becomes a “vice”?

  64. Karen says:

    I dabbled with substances when I was much younger. Definitely was using as a means to escape and a means to gain courage in social situations. Than I spent 32 years working in addiction treatment. I saw countless lives destroyed, both the addict and the family. I would like to see a focus on how to help families learn resilience, effectively manage energy levels, find creative ways to make social connections, and help everyone learn emotional regulation, without the use of substances. So, Ben, I agree with your thought processing on “plant medicines”.

    1. Anti Karen movement says:

      Typical Karen who doesn’t understand difference between addictive drugs like opioids and psychedelic (which can help fight the addiction to e.g. alcohol or opioids.

    2. Mike says:

      Really,? In your treatment, you found many people that abused psychedelic drugs and were hooked on them? I say BS to that. Opioids yes, but see Ben is more concerned with drugs like LSD because it might “turn you away from God.”

    3. Susan says:

      Are you serious Karen. The American system of curing addiction is abysmal and embarrassing with over a 85% failure rate of relapse and millions of families out of money and hope.

      Compare to plant medicine’s early science based recovery of around 85%. Karen you should know better…

      1. Elisa says:

        Susan,

        Speaking as a recovering alcoholic (3 years sober), I have really wrestled, meditated, and prayed over the years about the deeper reason for my alcohol abuse. For myself, and many fellow recovering addicts, it way to ESCAPE FROM something, whether it was internal, external or both. It was also a LONGING FOR. A searching for something more, searching for how I felt I was supposed to feel all the time… happy and at peace. Addiction truly is cunning, baffling, and powerful and each of us has a unique internal battle story that is so mysterious, it’s hard to untangle or understand even ourselves.
        Plant medicines may not be PHYSICALLY addictive, but there is more to it than the physical aspect. If there weren’t, how come so many addicts struggle long after the physical addiction has left them? Why do so many experience relapse after years and years of sobriety when the physical pull has gone?
        About two months ago, I started experimenting with cbd to help with sleep. I thought to myself, it’s physically non addictive, increasingly promoted by the health and fitness community, and it might really help me sleep better so I can perform at an even higher level at work athletics. After a few nights of taking a few small hits off a cbd vape pen before bed, I found that I did sleep better! My Whoop even confirmed it! But after a week, I felt that sleeping monster inside me, who’s been in hibernation for so long, starting to wake. I felt it and recognized it right away and as much as it scared the shit out of me, I wanted to find reasons that this was all simply in my head. I couldn’t REALLY be feeling that strange pull again… You see, my body was addiction to ALCOHOL, but my internal being was addicted to that quick escape, not a particular substance. I was addicted to the false sense of peace I was so desperately craving back then that I was only going to find in pursuing God.
        A week ago, I was at the point where I was searching for that cbd vape pen earlier and earlier in the evening and I had almost convinced myself that my mind (which is hard to trust again, FELLOW ADDICTS YOU KNOW THIS,) was simply playing tricks on me and this was FINE! I’ve been listening to Ben’s podcasts for years, even before my addiction, and so I have come to really value his knowledge and opinions. When I heard these episodes, I was so grateful because I KNOW God spoke to me through them. If Ben had recorded these even a few weeks before he did, I’m sure I would have found them interesting, but they wouldn’t have carried the same weight. The timing is truly miraculous…
        I was ignoring the signs, God’s stirring in my soul, His voice whispering, “Ellie… do not go down this path. I’m begging you daughter, don’t stray from me again. Don’t lose who you are again! I have so much planned for you.” I had already listened to Part 1 a few days prior, which had provoked a lot of thought and prayer. I was listening to part 2 while driving to meet an old friend for dinner, and by this time, I had decided to take my vape pen with me to relax and help with good conversation. Somewhere in the middle, Ben said something that cut straight though all my bullshit, directly to my soul, and I THREW MY VAPE PEN RIGHT OUT THE WINDOW! In that moment, I KNEW these podcasts were meant for my ears! It was undeniable. In His mercy, God smacked me right over the head then and there!!! A testament to how much I needed that was how hard that was to actually do!

        I am so grateful for people like Karen who work in recovery clinics, but even they did not understand fully our internal torment in the midst of battle, not unless they are recovering addicts themselves. Bless those people. I needed them when I was flat on my back and at the end of my rope.
        Also, if you ever enter the world of recovery (even simply drop in for an open meeting near you,) you will find that it is widely accepted by the recovering community that we ought to swear off ANY mind-altering substances. Yes, we even talk about being careful with coffee! I just blindly trusted this rule and never touched anything until I tried that vape pen. Now I understand why the vast number of successful and flourishing recovering addicts do not use such mind-altering substances.
        I encourage you to have conversations with some successfully recovering addicts and ask their thoughts. Maybe they are different from mine and I am always open to others opinions and hearing about their experiences. The thing is, unless you have been addicted to a substance, you cannot fully understand what that feeling is and so you cannot understand the danger it poses it us. It’s impossible. The doctors and scientists who study the brain, the people like Karen who worked in recovery clinics, therapists, social workers… they all have insights and knowledge to teach us addicts, but they don’t know in their soul this real and powerful surge of addiction that is all consuming, out of our control, and replaces who you really are. Their lives, mind, and soul haven’t been stolen like that.
        SO, for myself, whatever the science says, it is not worth the risk of losing who I am again. There is something I will never FULLY understand about why I am so drawn to these things. The fact that I started to rely on that vape pen more and more so quickly… how long would it be before that wasn’t enough? OR I needed it to relax all the time? My addiction to alcohol came on slowly over YEARS. It was sneaky. I didn’t know I was losing myself. This could have been the beginning of another long, drawn-out road to that hellish place I’d escaped. I am so thankful to God that Ben responded to His call and was brave enough to speak out on this.
        I am also aware I am speaking from a recovering addict’s point of view. That’s all I can do now. There is no erasing time and going back to gain personal perspective on this before I was an addict. So, I am interested to continue to hear more from all you “normies,” as we in the recovery community like to call anyone who isn’t an addict. If you’ve also decided to cut out plant medicine, why is that? Just as you cannot experience what I have, I can’t experience this from your point of view either.
        I also felt compelled to write this long comment in case there are any recovering addicts like me who can relate to anything I’ve said and may be in similar danger as I was. I was before, and now am again, a competitive athlete and more successful in sports competition post addiction at 31 then I was before in my early 20’s. When I stand on podiums now, I look up to God and smile because only He and I know how amazing this is, to have gone from where I was to where I am now. I think how no one looking at me can even begin to imagine how not that long ago, at the end, my body had been so ruined by alcohol that I didn’t even have the physical strength to walk or pull myself onto a toilet. I had lost everything there is to be had in this life, career, family, friends, finances, home…everything. Now, I run a successful Fitness and Med Spa. I work for HYROX with their global gym tour. I have my family and friends back. I have a new appreciation for readying, music, silence. I have my will back. I spend an hour a day with God… All of this and just under three years ago, I made the sincere prayer that God would just let me die.

        I was completely leveled, humbled, brought to my knees by my addiction. What I experienced in the past few years, from the gates of hell to where I am now, is testament that there is something deeper here. Something spiritual and miraculous. It’s more than science can explain, and I am thankful that Ben has started this conversation and that I listened to these podcasts when I did!!
        Oh and Ben, I am definitely in for this viceless quest! It’s been 3 days since I threw out my vape pen and I fasted all day Friday. However, in my addiction days, I also picked up smoking, as many of us addicts do, and although I don’t smoke cigarettes anymore, I still rely on nicotine heavily.
        My spiritual life has become such a wonderful roller coaster ride these past years. I never knew there was more for a lay person like me (after all I’m not a monk, priest, nun, or saint) than reciting my prayers at night, being good to my neighbor, and attending church on Sunday. I feel God calling me to an even deeper relationship with Him and I know this is Him showing me the next step.

        1. Awesome Elisa. And what a fantastic story! God bless you.

  65. Tammy Swinney says:

    I’m already pretty viceless. Up to about 3 cups of coffee each morning before 10am. And nothing else on your challenge list except food and water.

    Any suggestions how to alter the challenge for folks like me? Maybe no phone use before or after a certain hour? And fasting? That’s about all I can think of. But I’m only on my first cup of coffee . . .

    1. Cate says:

      Sheesh Tammy – give yourself a break.. Sounds like you have a healthy happy existence. Short of living in a nunnery, not talking to anyone, and giving up sex – I’d accept your vice of 3 coffees before 10am and enjoy your time on this earth without bashing yourself to reach some additional level of “perfection” ..

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