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Drug Positive

Welcome to Drug Positive with DanceSafe founder Emanuel Sferios. We are the risk reduction and benefit enhancement podcast removing shame and stigma to save lives and end the drug war.

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Apr 30, 2021

Are you ready for a new drug? In this episode I interview neuroscientist Matthew Baggott about his new company, Tactogen, which is synthesizing and bringing to market new MDMA-like substances. We also discuss the pros and cons of the new psychedelic renaissance, what the mainstreaming of psychedelics might look like in the near future and how it might affect the underground culture, especially with the entrance of big money capitalists like Peter Thiel and the dreaded Compass Pathways.


Transcript of the Introduction

Hi everyone. In this episode I interview neuroscientist Matthew Baggott. Matthew has been a friend and colleague of mine for over twenty years. He was an early consultant for DanceSafe and he’s recently founded a company, Tactogen, which seeks to synthesize and market new MDMA-like drugs, or entactogens. This is a fascinating interview. In it, we discuss the pros and cons of the new psychedelic renaissance, what the mainstreaming of psychedelics might look like and how it might affect the underground culture, especially with the entrance of big money capitalists like Peter Thiel and the dreaded Compass Pathways.

We talk about upcoming models for prescription psychedelics, including the potential for take-home prescriptions… what the lack of trained psychedelic therapists is going to mean for medical legalization, how the decriminalization movement and growing recreational psychedelic use, interfaces with the medical psychedelic movement, and a lot more…

I did this interview a few months ago and what’s really interesting to me is that between then and now I actually had the opportunity to try a new entactogen that I had never taken before: 5-MAPB, or 5-methyl-amino-proply-benzo-furan. And I have to say…. It was great! I loved it.

It was similar to MDMA, but unlike other entatctogens I’ve taken, I didn’t feel it was missing anything. It was a complete experience. And for me that’s different, because when I take other entactogens, like MDA (also known as Sass), or methylone (a cathinone class drug) … I always feel like I didn’t quite get where I wanted to be, as if the drug is trying to be like MDMA but just doesn’t quite get all the way there. So there’s always a feeling that something’s missing.

But with 5-MAPB, I didn’t have that feeling. There was a kind of whole emotional component, a complete stress-free state like there is with MDMA. But the difference was there wasn’t that gushing, sort of overwhelming emotional empathy like there is with MDMA. It wasn’t mushy, in other words. There was a bit more… discernment I guess… like you don’t feel compelled to tell complete strangers that you love them.

One way I like to describe it is that I used to think MDMA was just one effect, a continuous single effect. Call it the MDMA-entactogenic effect. And that other MDMA-like entactogens get you part of the way there. So like MDA or methylone always felt to me like “lesser” entactogens in this way. They only got you part of the way up the MDMA-like ladder, if you will.

But after taking 5-MAPB, I now realize there are two distinct effects from MDMA. Because 5-MAPB (to me at least) produces one of them in full completeness. And that would be the stress relief, and the sociability. The taking away of social anxiety. In this regard 5-MAPB felt exactly like MDMA. It wasn’t lesser in this regard. And this is something MDA and methylone don’t have. To me.

So if you can imagine two effects from MDMA. One the stress relief, and the other the mushy lovey-dovey part, 5-MAPB has all of one and none of the other. And given that I can no longer experience either with MDMA (because I’ve taken it too many times), I must say I am thrilled to have discovered 5-MAPB.

Anyway, when I did this interview with Matthew, I hadn’t had the 5-MAPB experience yet, and you’ll hear I open with skepticism of him or anyone actually being able to find other entactogens similar to MDMA. He sort of convinces me in the interview that they’re out there, but how strange that just a few weeks later I actually take one. And now I’m even more excited than ever at the potential to find even more, which is what Matthew’s start-up is attempting to do… with machine-learning algorithms, actually, which you’ll soon hear about in the interview.

So I’m gonna keep this intro short. I do want to say that I’m beginning work on my documentary again after taking two years off, so that’s exciting. And the worst of covid MAY be coming to an end, at least in the US, which means we MAY see festivals start up again sooner than expected. So maybe life will get back to normal soon. But of course we have to watch closely what’s happening in India, and Brazil right now. Horrible. It shows that things can change quickly, and for the worse, as the virus mutates. So far the vaccines are amazingly effective, even with all the known variants, but we need to get them distributed fast, and globally, before even newer variants appear that may escape the vaccines. And while you or I can’t do much to speed up vaccine distribution, there is something we can do. And that is, get vaccinated. Mutations occur much more easily in non-vaccinated populations, so please, get your damn vaccine. I got mine. The risks of the vaccines are minuscule, whereas the risks of Covid are not as minuscule.

Ok enough of that. Let’s get right to it. Here’s my interview with Matthew Baggott.

[Matthew's new company, Tactogen can be found here.]