david nichols- peerspectrum

Name: David Nichols, PhD

Location: UNC Chapel Hill, NC.

Specialty: Neuropharmacologist

All right, welcome back. We have really looked forward to this episode. Clinical research with Psychedelic compounds like psilocybin, LSD and MDMA have gotten a lot of press recently. Major institutions such as Johns Hopkins, UCLA and Yale are leading the charge with dramatic results in drug addiction, PTSD, end of life care, depression and other mental illness that is simply breathtaking.

When we think back to the psychedelic sixties, it’s hard to imagine that legitimate clinical research was taking place with psychedelics then, too; although much of it (think Timothy Leary) wouldn’t pass even the most lenient institutional review boards today. Much of this early research in the US came to a screeching halt with the passage of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. Only now are we beginning to reawaken to the incredible healing and trans-formative effects these compounds can offer.

Today it’s our distinct privilege to speak with the researcher who carried the torch through a time when psychedelic research was nearly non-existent.

When it comes to the mechanisms of action, biochemistry and pharmacology of psychedelics, David Nichols is arguably the world’s foremost expert. He’s spent over 40 years researching and producing these compounds. And yes, all legally, as Nichols held one of the very few DEA licenses granted during this time.

If you’re skeptical about all this, hang in there. We’ll see how psychedelic tools can open new pathways to understanding neuroscience, mental illness and even perhaps change who we are and how we see the world. A majority of those who experience a psychedelic trip consider it among the most meaningful experiences of their entire lives. How is that possible? We’re going to find out. With that said, let’s get started…

Links and More:

DEA Research Application:


The Heffter Institute:

David Nichols at the Novel Psychoactive Substances House Committee Hearing:


4 thoughts on “Waking Up to Psychedelic Medicine. Neuropharmacologist, David Nichols, PhD

  1. Interesting – I tried MTA at 50 mg or so way back when, but didn’t get anything out of it. Wasn’t tempted to try more because of the similarity to PMA – if it was metabolized to 4-thioamphetamine, it might be a powerful pressor or the like. I found all the Aleph compounds to be unpleasant anyway…..Man, totally forgot about that. Pre-1990’s for sure…..


  2. Aside from the probably incredible content, for a non native speaker, David is a bit hard to follow because of the low audio quality. Combine that with a lot of understandable jargon, I stopped listening. A better quality audio recording would have made it much better. Thanks for doing this though!


    1. Harmen, thanks for listening and thank you for the helpful feedback. Audio quality is something we’re working to improve. This is a challenge for many podcasts, as you probably know. The technology that allows us to interview someone anytime, anywhere is great, but it will never compare to an in-person, on-location interview. We’re testing new ideas this year that we hope will help though.


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