Zappy is often called on as a “psychedelic concierge” to help celebrities, thought leaders, and business icons have a conscious transformation. His upcoming documentary about basketball star (and Khloe Kardashian’s former husband) Lamar Odom, “Lamar Odom: Reborn,” features Lamar’s complete transformation from public breakdown, depression, and addiction to healthy and thriving through ketamine infusions and plant medicine. 

 

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AUTHOR: Heather Allman

PUBLISHER: CANNABIS LAW REPORT 

 

Following the 2020 election results, cannabis stocks are growing exponentially. On election night, the United States saw a “Green Wave” when four states – Arizona, New Jersey, Montana and South Dakota – voted to legalize adult-use cannabis, and a fifth, Mississippi, approved medical marijuana.

More importantly to this discussion, Oregon became the first state to make possession of small amounts of other drugs, including cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine, violations not punishable by jail time.

We also witnessed Washington, DC approve the decriminalization of psychedelics.

 

Opening Doors: Michael “Zappy” Zapolin, Psychedelic Advocate and Founder of The Mind Army, Discusses Psychedelics and the 2020 Election 

 

Michael “Zappy” Zapolin
Photo credit: Julie Kay Kelly

 

Zappy is often called on as a “psychedelic concierge” to help celebrities, thought leaders, and business icons have a conscious transformation. His upcoming documentary about basketball star (and Khloe Kardashian’s former husband) Lamar Odom, “Lamar Odom: Reborn,” features Lamar’s complete transformation from public breakdown, depression, and addiction to healthy and thriving through ketamine infusions and plant medicine. 
As a passionate advocate for ketamine therapy, Zappy co-founded the non-profit organization The Ketamine Fund, which grants free ketamine treatments to veterans and others who are suicidal.
Zappy also recently launched a social movement called The Mind Army, which is fighting for the right to pursue happiness. The Mind Army believes every human being has the inalienable right to go inside their own minds for answers and healing. They are asking the President to write an Executive Order making psychedelic compounds legal during these suicide, addiction and depression epidemics – and, especially with the psychedelics renaissance in light of COVID-19 to combat PTSD and other mental health issues, it is important, now more than ever. 

 

On November 11, 2020, I had the opportunity to discuss psychedelic legalization with Michael “Zappy” Zapolin to get his valuable post-election insights.

 

PSYCHEDELICS LEGALIZATION 2020

 

 

TOPIC

What opportunities will arise from the recent 2020 psychedelic legalization?

 

Zappy: Yeah, so this is, you know, this is an amazing moment. The vote the other day was really a referendum from voters that they are, you know, demanding this right to heal themselves with these plants that can truly do so much.

 

It’s similar, I think, to what happened with cannabis, and all the trials and tribulations are really setting the groundwork for psychedelic plants, because the opportunity is now!

 

Whereas, people like my parents are like in a ‘late 70s early 80s’ mindset, you know: anti marijuana, and they were still illegal drugs, and all this kind of stuff that they had heard about. 

 

And then, in the last couple of years, they had their own experiences with taking gummies and things like that, and they realize ‘oh wow you know, this is helping me and my health. You know, I wonder what else is out there that maybe I’ve been misled about to this point.’

 

So, you know, it’s kind of like one of these really cool situations where as hard as it’s been for everybody in cannabis and all that, you know, everything that they’ve added to their state programs goes through talking to the state, and the local, and the DEA, and the FDA, and everybody else that’s about this and trying to get it legalized. 

 

We have this situation where Cannabis has really laid the groundwork for the psychedelics to come out really quick. And I think the situation is such an opportunity for society! We need these things so badly right now with the mental health crisis, and the opioid epidemic.

 

You know, there’s nothing else that is going to triage the anxiety like that. So, yeah, forward thinking, because it was brilliant back then, you know it was so real and so intelligent back then when psychedelics started, but it kind of got pushed under the rug.

 

Because you know antidepressants were starting to come out at that time, and the Vietnam War was happening… there were a lot of reasons in society for using these systems that the government needed to quell. And they successfully did that, quell the use, under the guise that we needed to study these things for safety.

 

Which, yes, made some sense at the time, but you know 54 years later, you know we’re not knowing what we know about basic medicine and basic science. We’re not just gonna sit around and listen to people say ‘oh okay yeah alcohol, good, tobacco is good, but somehow you know suicide in motion is bad and even if you have a depression or addiction or you’re going to lose a family member, you can’t use it it’s off, you know off the table for you.’

 

And that’s just not an acceptable excuse or reason anymore. You know that’s just very low level thinking, and I think that even though that was low level thinking for a long time, it’s taken this COVID-19 crisis, where we really, you know, say ‘wait a minute, like, what if you know what do we have here what can help,’ and you know the the cases of PTSD and addiction that we already have… and now, we have this whole new group of people that are in a mental health crisis because of COVID.

 

 

TOPIC

What do you think of all these new psychedelic therapy companies currently listing in the USA & Canada? Investment thoughts?

 

Zappy: Yeah, I think it’s very exciting because I’ve been here now in a couple a couple times you know i i did really well in the domain name space when the internet really started to take hold. You know, and you didn’t have to be a genius to make a lot of money and domain names you just had to see the reality for what it was.

 

Okay, the internet, this is interesting, you’ve got online shopping you’ve got, email, you know it’s becoming very apparent in the late 90s that this was really happening it didn’t matter if the stock market, you know, had an internet bubble or whatever, people were using email more shopping online more like clearly the internet was going to be real and you needed to grab your space in it and so to me that was like very obvious.

 

And so, you know, but not obvious to everybody because people, you know they like to wait around until you know it’s been proven to be, you know, really safe before they get in and then of course that’s not how you make money, you get in some more early. Right.

 

I think that’s what many did in seeing that opportunity,  and then in 2012, just before the vote, I had the same realization about cannabis I was like oh wow you know this is real, how do I play in the space and I got involved with some early publicly traded companies I got involved personally with a couple companies, I, you know, started to, you know, take the opportunity and then of course those things played out nicely.

 

And so here we are again it’s like psychedelic so if you’re not getting positioned right now. It’s like, it’s like missing the opportunity to go out and drop a cannabis.

 

It’s like missing the opportunity in the year 2000 with, you know, the internet, it’s like you know these giant industries that are transformative they only come around once in a while, you know, automobile. You know, computer marijuana psychedelic industries and everybody knows that this is becoming real so if you’re an investor in cannabis or you’re an investor in the stock market. 

 

If you’re not positioned some of your some of your liquidity some of your assets in this new, new category this new asset class. You’re, you’re missing, like an enormous opportunity because the addressable market for psychedelic therapies is over 100 million Americans that suffer from PTSD addiction, depression, you know you’re talking about hundred million people like you said with PTSD from coronavirus. 

 

We’re at one third of the country is really messed up so how you gonna fix that answer is, or how you got to triage that answer psychedelics so the question is, what investments are you making to get smarter.

 

I was giving out, you know companies like you know that exists today like conference pathways and you know mind med and, you know, all these companies that, you know, you don’t have to be that smart to get when you’re this early as an investor, you just have to pick a few of the, you know, the quality companies with quality teams behind them.

 

And you are going to make a lot of money, and some of these companies like you know compass pathways where they’re a billion dollar company today and the investors sitting there go oh, maybe I missed it because I missed the IPO and this is kind of be like, you know, this company could one of these companies could be conference pathways because they’re early enough kind of like Bitcoin or one of these early companies in any industry that has a certain amount of, you know, brand presence. 

 

You know they can be worth, you know, $50 billion 100 and $50 billion. So, to think that, you know, a billion dollars maybe it’s too late, is, you know, similar to people, 1998, thinking oh Amazon, you know, or 2000 Oh it’s too late with Amazon because you know the internet already happened.

 

You know, so I think this is a golden opportunity just like when the internet started just like when cannabis became legal. If you position some of your assets in this new asset class, you’re gonna make a lot of money.

 

 

TOPIC

Do you think strong regulation of  psychedelic therapies is the best way forward?

 

Zappy: Yeah, that’s a good question. I mean, I think, you know, like I said cannabis really probably laid the foundation for what not to do. And, you know, there was no crisis that happened that could accelerate cannabis, like the crisis right now that’s about to accelerate psychedelics.

 

So I think from a legislative standpoint, you know, we already have what’s really cool is we already have ketamine, which is a legal FDA approved off label use of an anesthetic ketamine that they’re using to break depression, anxiety, PTSD. 

 

And this one’s legal and this is the one thing that you know I went to psychedelic science 2017, it was a conference put on by map, and it was really exciting and everybody was talking about, you know MDMA and psilocybin and everything and I was sitting there pounding the table for Academy and I was saying look, this one is illegal, you know it’s proven to be safe and effective but it’s also illegal like why you guys you know still taking so much of your time talking about psilocybin which is, you know, years away. 

 

When ketamine is FDA approved. And the cool part about that is that the FDA has never told the doctor that they can’t use an FDA approved product off label. So that’s never happened it’s not gonna happen.

 

And so we have this incredible psychedelic in in ketamine that we have access to and the opportunity is both to use it as a human being, but also there’s quite a bit of opportunity financially speaking. And the other thing about that is that the difference there with the ketamine is that ketamine is a crystal.

 

And what’s beautiful about that is they put some salts and minerals together and this new ketamine crystal grows, and that crystal. 

 

People think ketamine is like this synthetic thing it’s really not it’s a crystal it’s salt organic, what’s exciting is very clean and measured kind of like a fire is like a pharmaceutical in that it’s always the same.

 

And I think like one of the things about plant medicine is that where that plant was grown the legacy of that plant where which grown and who harvested it who, you know, made the medicine.

 

That’s a lot of legacy that in that plant that’s a lot of energy that you might have to synthesize out. And so it can be different, you know, mushrooms grown over here, or some Iowa has grown over there.

 

You know, all the process, May, you know, affect your experience, where the ketamine is is very clean crystal, so it’s always the same. 

 

And I think, you know, I’m pointing to people and saying hey, the opportunity here is, of course, with the whole sector, but the opportunity with ketamine is today the cash business itself.

 

So, you know, if you’re not paying attention to that you’re probably investing in things that might be, you know, six months off the year off three years off who knows where some when some of these psychedelics will get themselves on the list.

 

 

TOPIC— Would you be happy to see psychedelic therapies being controlled by Big Pharma?

 

Zappy: Well, there’d be the opportunity to patent it and for the drug companies to completely control it so that’s pretty cool. You know I don’t mind if pharmaceutical companies can switch from their, you know, their SSRIs and blocker medicines and switch to something that’s going to expand your consciousness.

 

I would be okay with them being involved just like I’d be okay with them being involved in cannabis.

 

As long as we’re not allowing them to, you know, take out the THC or take out the experience like you know there’s a lot of people who, you know, as soon as they put on their pharma hat they start thinking about how they can you know mess this thing up and you know it’s like the people who are making synthetic marijuana, it’s like, why, you know, like, turn it off and don’t even waste your time, you know,there’s a there’s a plant that does that same thing.

 

Oh my gosh. But that’s, you know, I’m really hopeful that humans can be looked back at and 100 years from now if they’re gonna look back at us right now and say oh that’s the generation that went back to nature they went back to humans got off the rails for a little while thinking they can solve everything with technology. But, you know, thankfully, you know that this generation of 2020, and this pandemic.

 

They went back to nature and legacy but I’m okay you know. The cool thing is you know everybody was like you know when cannabis got legalized Marlboro and, you know, tobacco companies gonna come in and ruin the whole thing to buy a pack of Marlboro marijuana cigarettes at some point but there’s so much opportunity you can’t really get hung up and you know fireman is gonna destroy the internet today. Not really ruining much of anything you know this is a huge opportunity.

 

And this is a, this is 100 billion dollar market, the psychedelic space, because of mental health and addiction.

 

Put part of your portfolio, move some of your cannabis over to psychedelics put money into this category now and continue to add new companies and new compounds to, you know, programs like this or work or, you know, read the industry publications so that you can, because you’re already so early. You don’t have to be a genius to make a ton of money, you know.

 

You don’t even have to be first I think as an investor or as an entrepreneur, if you just get yourself positioned right now. You’re gonna have unlimited upside, as this category develops so that’s number one. I think, number two, you know the opportunities for businesses themselves. 

 

I have been, you know, monikered as a psychedelic concierge, and I’m happy to have that title do with businesses, and this is something that, you know, businesses really can take hold of right now which is that, you know, when you’re running a company right now, and your employees are, you know, working from home or, you know, all these factors, even when people go back to work.

 

There’s a lot of mental health issues happening. 

 

Employers are not getting much productivity out of their workers because there’s so much mental illness.

 

There’s so much distraction and things that a lot of these companies are getting no productivity and in fact they’re getting negative productivity because these people are you know spinning out doing crazy things and getting themselves in trouble and ruining companies and stuff and so the opportunity to triage your employees using psychedelics is an incredible opportunity as well and I’ve been guiding a lot of companies, a lot of top executives, and a lot of corporate teams.

 

It’s kind of like, you know I’ve been starting with, depending where I am, if I’m in a psychedelic neutral zone like Denver or Santa Cruz or something like that. 

 

I can take a corporate team, and have a psychedelic retreat with them. And in one day, I could create more cohesiveness among those people and more of a team building than if they went for a month to, you know, on a desert island to try to you know, build to the desert island you’re just gonna separate everyone that becomes more exclusive whereas when you’re using psilocybin or ketamine or some of these other new therapies, people are really getting into. You’re definitely stepping through a different door.

 

 

TOPIC

Most discussion around psychedelics is about therapy or money. What has happened to adventure, fun and discovery in the world of psychedelics? 

My erstwhile editor worries that the spirit of discovery in music, art, literature, and most importantly, wonder and exploration of the unknown seems to be getting lost in the process. It’s almost as though psychedelics in 2020 are about solving problems and not opening doors. Your thoughts?

 

Zappy:Yeah, I, you know, it’s one of these things where I think when you have the experience it’s so profound and it can be so fun and it can be so fulfilling that the individual experience will continue to rise above, and.

 

And what I love also is that there is a group effect that happens if it’s done right. You know, these we call these meditation is a ketamine enhanced meditation that I do for a corporation. 

 

And it’s amazing because we were basically we hit everybody clear by the doctor to have their ketamine lozenge that melts in their mouth, and we sit together in a group in a room, a yoga mat, and we put a group intent on it, and we take the medicine at the same time kind of like a modern day plant medicine ceremony.

 

And in that one hour experience that we have the group effect magnifies what’s happening with the individual. 

 

So you have your own experience but you also have this extended group experience that’s really exciting and when that ketamine session ends. And we get back. We finished we close the ceremony.

 

They just went to war together it’s like they just, you know, you know, had this experience that brings them all together it’s like the most cohesiveness that a company can really have is doing this as a group because empathy for other people. 

 

You come on and you know just really appreciating the other people, and I’ve done this for a number of companies now Silicon Valley companies and they’re now asking me to do their, their entire corporation they got 10s of thousands of employees that need this.

 

And so they’re the opportunity to do this in a corporate setting, because the results are there, the cohesiveness of the team and like some of the people.

 

They trained all their people in meditation and they noticed how all the infighting went away and they really everybody became a team, and this is like, you know, a psychedelic group experience in one hour is the equivalent of taking your team and meditating them all and doing all this process to try and get some, and you can get there one hour and a group ketamine session or group psilocybin session or San Pedro session in the right you know psychedelic neutral zone. 

 

So I’m telling people, if you’re if you’re a business person. Okay, go to one of these places, and in the right setting and setting use these catalysts to expand your consciousness, your creativity, and if you need to get on a plane and go to Denver and find somebody to guide you, or go to Santa Cruz and go to a retreat, or you know whatever you got to do, go do it now because, in the same way that people wound up going to Denver and having these really cool you know cannabis experiences. If you can go and do these things with your family or your friends or your corporation.

 

It’s going to take your organization to the next level overnight. And that’s impossible to do any other way other than psychedelics.

 

 

TOPIC

What is going to be the best approach, do you think, to avoiding some of the cannabis sector and CBD sector ruts and missteps that have happened?

Zappy: Yeah, so that’s a really good question. That’s where the Mind Army comes in, you know, we started the mind army to create awareness for the opportunity that we have right now, during this crisis to use these plants use these catalysts to triage society. And

 

I think that the advent of coronavirus and PTSD is gonna help. The psychedelics to leapfrog cannabis I think there’s a good chance that some of these psychedelics maybe all of them are going to be legally available before cannabis, because I think cannabis has this you know decades of stigma. Makes you lazy and, you know, it’s recreational and all this kind of stuff that you know is garbage 

 

Of course it’s amazing medicine, but it has that kind of a stigma, the psychedelic right now I think our, you know, maybe not necessarily developing that same stigma because people are right now thinking, I gotta get well. This is an emergency I have to save my family member from suicide or addiction or depression and so they’re not going into these psychedelic treatments to get high or do you know fine God, you know, they were just trying to feel better and, you know, get their mental health in order so they’re not really thinking about it like hey you know let me, you know, turn this into a lifestyle. So I think a lot of the people, you know, this is why I love ketamine because a lot of the people that people are coming for their mental well being and they’re coming to do a medical treatment for that they’re not coming to, you know, have a good time or to, you know, be be enlightened, they’re doing it for very dire reasons that you know they’re they’re being forced to, you know, take a very proactive approach. And so the mind army is fighting for their right to pursue happiness we think it’s your inalienable right to be happy, and to pursue that.

 

 And so we see the psychedelic pathway, as the representation of that, and we are asking the president, whether it’s Joe Biden, or Donald Trump or somebody else we’re asking the president to use the executive branch to make these compounds legal right now because of the crisis to address it. And we’re sitting here saying we don’t want to talk to the FDA and the DEA and the town and the county and all that bullshit that cannabis went through, we only want to talk to the decision makers, the President and the executive body, the person who can take the pen out and sign that executive order. and what we have going for us is that, number one, you know if Donald Trump’s in there and he wants to do it today, great, you know, he will win the Nobel Prize and we intend to let him know in the next couple months before he leaves that he could win the Nobel Prize for, actually, you know making a dent in the mental health crisis and dent in the opiate epidemic by legalizing these things right now. So that’s number one.

 

Number two is Biden, because Joe Biden son was publicly known to have a drug and alcohol addiction issue. He overcame that using Ibogaine the African root psychedelic that we used on Lamar in the documentary film. So, what’s cool about that is we plan to go to Joe Biden and say hey look if it’s good enough for your kid, it’s good enough for everybody else, you know, get your pen out and sign this executive order because we’re not gonna sit here and pretend. In this crisis that you know what you’re talking about or that doctors know what they’re talking about. Millions of people have had the psychedelics many very safely and many of them have had great benefits, and we’re demanding the right right now to have these things available to us as human beings, and we’re not gonna. 

 

No we’re not gonna wait, and if if they drag their feet, then unfortunately they’re going to be faced with some really horrifying things like math teen suicides online that are coming there’s already rumblings of that. And so God, you know, help us when something like that happens, and we’re trying to treat the situation with the normal garbage that we have, how are you going to treat that you know, God forbid, you know 50,000 teens commit suicide on some website one day, like that’s going to be a breakdown of the fabric of society and family and everything else. 

 

I know that you know human nature is not to do anything until it’s too painful, not to do something, and rather you do it, so it might be some really painful situation like that that immediately snaps them and they go, Oh my god, what can we do to triage suicide. Oh ketamine does that oh my god those Ivan could relapse. Oh, let’s do that, you know, and so I hope we don’t have to wait until something happens, we have the opportunity to embrace this right now.

 

 And, you know, use these tools to combat the situation of coronavirus and PTSD that none of us could have foreseen, that boils down basically to intention. It’s all about your intention for using the substance, whatever it may be, I mean if the intention is to open the mind and be able to heal. Like you said, hundreds of thousands of people right now. You know that’s a completely different intention than a lot of the cannabis companies had going in, for example. 

 

 

TOPIC

Final thoughts for our readers about psychedelics?

 

Zappy: Want to encourage people to, you know, not make the mistake that a lot of people made of waiting, you know, 10 years to try to get into the cannabis space you know people waited, you know from 2012, they waited to 2020, or 2018, to try to get in and it’s like that. If you were around when computers were introduced. 

 

All you had to do is be slightly proactive and you’re gonna do really well and that’s it you know we got a 100 billion dollar psychedelic industry happening.

And so just be proactive, you know, you don’t have to be, you know, you don’t have to get it perfectly right if you’re in this early, you just have to take some some some position.

 

I would just encourage people, you know take positions I would encourage people to go to mind army.org, join the fight, and let’s get these things legal so that we can solve the problems we have as a society and business can solve the problems that they’re having with mental health and it’s just, it’s so easy you know that’s the beauty of it is actually so easy, we just have to get out of our own way in thinking that we’re human beings are so intelligent that we’ll just fix it with technology we have these incredible plants and nature is so intelligent, that it’s actually doing everything we need out of ourselves, but we have to be the ones that you know help ourselves.

 

 

So I mean that’s where being proactive comes in all the way around whether you’re an individual or a company. So, you know, it can’t go bad right now you’re so early. You know that. Just get in there and it’ll be great.

 

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