Bonus Episode 37 - Let's Talk about Drugs in the UK vs US

Charlie Baxter

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What's this episode about?

In this episode Charlie gets his friend from the US called Caity back on the show to talk about a unique experience she recently went through but before getting to that we discuss the relevant topic of drugs, be it recreational or pharmaceutical to compare how Brits and Americans are exposed to it all in general as they grow up.

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Meet today's guest

Caity McGuire

a close friend of Charlie's from the US
who moved to London in 2020.

Born and raised in upstate New York, Caity moved to Ohio to work with Charlie's partner, Stacey in 2012 as a designer. Since then, Charlie, Stacey and Caity have been good friends and have managed to meet up in multiple places around the world over the years. Caity is now residing in London after having just done an MSc in Psychology.
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Transcript of Bonus Episode 037 - Transcript

Charlie:
Hello and welcome to another episode of the British English podcast with me, your host, Charlie Baxter, where we very often delve into cultural differences and/or similarities to try and help you better understand the workings of a British person, our culture and the language we use. And very often it's useful to compare with our cousins across the pond in order to expose the norms. And so I have managed to encourage a close friend back on the show who is indeed from the US, and this person appeared on the podcast earlier in the year to talk about her move to London, where she is still currently residing, which I think was a great episode to check out if you are thinking about moving to London or have recently moved there because she has a bunch of useful tips and observations that will help you feel a bit more at ease about the whole thing. So that one was season three, episode five. But of course this one is not about that move. We've been there and done that. No, today I was desperate to get this person back on because she recently experienced something rather unique. I'm not going to tell you any more about that yet as we will get to it, but just know that the theme of this episode was inspired by this pretty unique experience that she has recently had, and I really look forward to hearing about it as I have told her to save it for when we are recording. So as you might have seen from the title of this episode, we are going to be exploring the world of drugs, both recreational and pharmaceutical, but it's a bit more fun to talk about the recreational ones, so it might not be a 50 - 50 split. We will see. Oh, and to cover my backside, I should say this episode does not encourage one to use or abuse drugs in any way, shape or form. We are merely discussing the norms of one society and how drugs may or may not have played a part in it. All right. With that introduction out of the way, let's finally say hello to Katie, the matey that I made in Columbus, Ohio. How is the morning treating you today, madame?

Caity:
Hello. It's treating me very well, thank you.

Charlie:
Yes, I remember the last time you- you told me how your dog Louie had been taken to day care. Is that the same today, or is he with us today?

Caity:
It's the same situation today. He's at day care. Otherwise he'd try to steal the spotlight.

Charlie:
Yeah. Don't want that, especially considering the story that you've got in store for me about your experience. But we won't say it yet. We won't say what it is! I thought we would delve into some questions around pharmaceutical drugs first. But generally around the idea of drugs, do you feel like you've got much to say on the idea? Is has it been part of your experience as an American growing up, like drugs around you? Is is it a thing? Or you're just like, well, it's life, it's what it is.

Caity:
I mean, maybe a bit of both. But yeah, definitely. I think Americans in general have a high exposure to medicines and prescriptions and things like that, which we can have a bit more about. But yeah, so I think it's... I've been very exposed to it.

Charlie:
Yeah. Okay. Well let's start off with something rather easy. What do you call a painkiller? Because every country I've been to, they're called something else. So what do you call them?

Caity:
That's a good question. I think we would call it a painkiller, but we also speak like we call them by their name. Like if we were taking ibuprofen, we would take ibuprofen. If we were taking acetaminophen, we would take acetaminophen.

Charlie:
Well, you said that very quickly. Can you slow that down for me, please?

Caity:
Sorry. Acetaminophen.

Charlie:
Acetaminophen. Okay. I would probably change like my accent. Acetaminophen? I don't know. [Yeah]. Yeah, That's different for us. So we would say paracetamol or we would say ibuprofen.

Caity:
Mm hmm. Yeah, I think ibuprofen is one that overlaps, but paracetamol is essentially acetaminophen.

Charlie:
Have you noticed when you go into a drugstore, if you say your word for it, they don't understand you?

Caity:
Yeah, I think so. I think I probably kind of know what I'm looking for, so I don't know if I've asked a lot, to be honest, but I do think if I said acetaminophen, I think they might be a little bit confused. And it certainly has happened that I've gone to the pharmacy looking for something and not knowing what to ask for, you know, knowing what the American word is, not just painkillers, but other other things as well.

Charlie:
Yeah, Yeah, I'm with you. Okay. And we do have a brand that people know of is Nurofen. Do you use that?

Caity:
I do, Yeah. That... Nurofen is ibuprofen. I think.

Charlie:
Nurofen is ibuprofen, yes. [Yeah]. Do you have... You have Advil don't you? Do you have Advil?

Caity:
Yeah. Advil is it's a brand name, but I don't think Advil is acetaminophen. I think it's something else. So but similar. Yeah. So there's like the brand name and then there's the actual like Tylenol, for example, is one that we have. That is acetaminophen, but it's the brand name.

Charlie:
Yeah. So that feels very American. I think that's mentioned in films like Tyle- Tylenol. How do you say it?

Caity:
Yeah, Yeah, Tylenol.

Charlie:
Tylenol. Yeah. Uh, that's paracetamol, I think - Tylenol. And then Advil, I think is ibuprofen.

Caity:
Yeah.

Charlie:
I noticed a funny moment. So ibuprofen, That's quite a few syllables. I was on a ski trip with Stacey's dad and brother, and we were in the cabin, and her brother said to me, 'Oh, Charlie, have you got some ibru - Ibufen? I- ibrufin, I-boufren. And I said, I said, what are you saying? Are you saying ibuprofen? And I was about to like, dig into him and, like, have a joke. And then his dad turns to me, he said, Oh, have you got the ibrufren? I'd like that as well. So. Oh, okay. There's a there's a trend in the family.

Caity:
And you also, if you were to go into a it's different here. So if you were to go into the just the shop, you know, into the grocery store and try to buy ibuprofen or acetaminophen or paracetamol, you can only buy two packs. There's 16 tablets in each pack and you can only buy two packs. I mean, you walk into a shop in the US and you can buy a giant bottle of like 350 ibuprofen capsules. So it's very different in terms of the way it's sold as well.

Charlie:
Yes, that's very good to point out. I think that was one of the first things I noticed when I went to a CVS? Is that a pharmacy in America? Yeah. Buckets. You can almost get a bucket full of drugs. Yeah, they're very protective.

Caity:
No limits on those.

Charlie:
Very protective in the UK. I think it's because they think you can overdose. I mean, you can overdose, can't you?

Caity:
Yeah, you can. Yeah.

Charlie:
Any idea why America doesn't give a shit?

Caity:
I think just in general, we have a very different relationship when it comes to medication. And, you know, the US has a medicine for profit. So it's a very different story.

Charlie:
Yes. And that will probably shape this conversation. Also, do you think it's at all to do with like, 'I can be whoever I want to be, I can get a I can get a bucket load of pills if I want a bucket load of pills. Like you can't tell me what to do.'

Caity:
Yeah, probably. There's probably a lot of that in there as well. I think they kind of go hand in hand where we've ended up in our system of medicine for profit as well. Like that mentality as well as coupled with you know, trick or treating for, for medication.

Charlie:
Yeah. What kind of drugs and vitamins are common in a household in America, particularly perhaps yours when you were growing up?

Caity:
Painkillers, for sure. Ibuprofen was never in short supply. And there's a lot of different forms as there are here. But, you know, there's ibuprofen or acetaminophen for Night-Time use, so it helps you sleep cold and flu, You know, all the different variations that you can take these things for. And melatonin is another one that's a big one, which is a naturally produced thing. I think people think of it as pretty like mundane, but that's illegal in the UK. You can't get it. Well, it's not illegal, but you can't get it over the counter. Whereas in the U.S., not only can you get it over the counter, but you can get it in some really high dosages as well.

Charlie:
And just to put a bit of English phrases to bed or like to explain a few because it will come up a lot. Over the counter and prescription. Over the counter means you can buy it without a doctor's note, and prescription means you need to go to the doctor and then they confirm whether you need it or not. So yeah, over the counter. Okay. I've never really heard of getting what is it? Melanin, as in...?

Caity:
Melatonin.

Charlie:
Melatonin, sorry, What does melatonin do?

Caity:
So it helps you sleep. It's a hormone that your brain produces and your body produces when you're- as you're falling asleep. And so lots of things can throw your melatonin out of whack. So if you take melatonin, it helps you fall asleep. So it is a natural thing, but it's a hormone. So it should be taken, you know, cautiously, whereas you can buy it in quite high milograms in the US just without a prescription.

Charlie:
Right. Yeah, that does actually ring a bell now. And have you ever taken melatonin?

Caity:
Absolutely. Yeah. That's something that was, you know, it's pretty common in my household and my parents definitely use it. I've used it. I think it's looked at as like a yeah, almost, I would say almost everyone I know has used it.

Charlie:
What were you going to say?

Caity:
Oh, it's a pretty, you know, benign kind of thing. I think you would think of it almost as taking- in the same realm as taking ibuprofen. Oh, I've got a headache. I'm just going to take some ibuprofen. Oh, I can't sleep. I'm just going to take some melatonin. It's pretty meant to be viewed as pretty non-addictive, not habit forming, that kind of thing.

Charlie:
And is it addictive in any way?

Caity:
I don't know if it's addictive. I definitely know it is a hormone. And I think there are more studies coming out about it now saying you shouldn't take it in high milligrams and you should be really mindful of when you take it like you shouldn't, certainly shouldn't be taking it every night because it can affect, you know, the things that are going on in your body.

Charlie:
Right. Does it help you sleep a lot? Like significant difference?

Caity:
Yeah, I do. I do find it does help if I'm really struggling to sleep or if I'm jet lagged, that's a good time to use it, when you're trying to regulate and get your body back on track in terms of sleeping, it does really help you fall asleep. And then they also have ones that are like time release. You have- when you take it gives you a little bit and you helps you fall asleep and then it releases more a couple of hours later to help you stay asleep.

Charlie:
Whoa.

Caity:
Swell.

Charlie:
Clever. Fancy one. Clever pills. You just reminded me of a really common drug that Americans have. What's it called? What are some of the really common ones that, like, people joke about, like, knocking you out basically?

Caity:
Xanax?

Charlie:
Yes. Yes, xanax. So what does that do exactly? Do you know?

Caity:
So I believe I'm certainly not an expert on this, but I believe that Xanax- Well, it is, it's like an anxiety and potentially even depression medication. I think it came to rise pretty prevalently in like the fifties. It was like a big thing to take a Xanax. I mean, it still is to this day, but it's- I think it helps relieve stress and anxiety, but basically it knocks you out more or less. It makes you tired or puts you to sleep [Okay] which alleviates the the anxiety. I don't know exactly what type of what type of anxiety or depression medication it is. There's a few different types, but yeah, it's a very common one.

Charlie:
I've got it here. Xanax spelt differently than what I thought x a n a x is a benzodiazepine. I hear that in films like they've taken, if they've had a big night drinking or something, they're like, Oh, I'm just going to pop a Xanax and get through it. Kind of.

Caity:
It would help you sleep if you were trying to stay awake, something you would see a lot in films. It would be Adderall.

Charlie:
Adderall. OK, Adderall. How would I say I'd add Adderall? Add- No, I wouldn't say Adderall. I don't know how to say it. Adderall. Oh, goodness me. Okay. Oh, it's an r, a l, l, Adderall, Adderall, Adderall. We're going to have to go American, I think. How would you use Adderall? Like to stay awake, you say?

Caity:
Yeah, so Adderall, when it's prescribed, is meant for ADHD or ADD, usually typically in like teenagers. I think it's meant to help them focus. That's like the intention of it. A very common thing, especially when I was in college, like Adderall use in college was a very common thing. If someone had a paper to write or I needed to stay up all night to finish a project, they would take an Adderall because it would help keep them up, but also keep them really focussed. But it is another thing that if someone is, you know, wanting to stay up all night drinking and partying, they would take an Adderall. Obviously not what it's prescribed for.

Charlie:
Yes. Abusing. Would you use the verb pop, pop an Adderall?

Caity:
Yeah.

Charlie:
Yeah. Any other...?

Caity:
Pop an adderall. Take, pop, have. Depending on how you consumed it.

Charlie:
Okay. So you mentioned how Americans have an association, have a relationship with drugs that is somewhat around capitalism or the, you know, the idea that it's for profit. Can you tell me a little bit more about your thoughts around this thing?

Caity:
Sure. I mean, I can kind of explain why Americans tend to have a really just like an a knowing of medication, understanding of medication, what these names are, what they do. More so than anywhere else, I would say, because from the time we are little, we are inundated with ads for medications. It's very common when you're watching television, you'll see two, three ads, maybe, in a commercial break for a different type of medication. And so it's typically like a sunny day and someone's running through a field or like high fiving someone on the street and they're saying, take this, you know, this medication does this, this and this, and it'll make everything better. And then the second half of the ad typically lists. I've also noticed as I get older, the lists of the side effects, they kind of run through them really fast and say, you could have blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, really negative bad side effects. They kind of run through them. And at the end of every ad it says, Ask your doctor about Xanax or whatever, whatever the prescription medication is. And the intention of this is so that you go into your doctor and you say, 'Oh, I have these symptoms, and I heard about this on TV. You know, what about this?' And that obviously puts the demand there from the consumer, right? Because it's for profit. It's like it's the patient bringing it to the doctor, saying, what about this medication? And it's been like that long before I was born. And it's been like that my whole life.

Charlie:
Wow. Yeah, that's rare to go to a doctor, in my opinion. I mean, I haven't been to the doctor loads, but, as an adult. But yeah, I would never really think about finding a drug before I go to a doctor. I would always go to the doctor to be told what I need because of what they think I've got. So you're kind of self diagnosing based on the adverts?

Caity:
Absolutely. Or you know, you have already been diagnosed with something. Let's say like growing up, I had pretty bad asthma. I was on a certain type of inhaler. I might see this commercial for a different a new asthma inhaler or a tablet steroid for asthma. And my mom might see it. I might see it and say, oh, well, maybe we should try that. You know, my asthma, I've... My asthma hasn't been great. And then you would then go to the doctor and say, 'well, we saw this, is this a new thing?' And, you know, so it makes it an interesting dynamic at the doctors, I would say.

Charlie:
Yeah, massively. And do the doctors cave to the suggestions a lot?

Caity:
It's a good question. I would say maybe not cave to it, but I definitely think that they're kind of forced to have that conversation then and say, 'well, actually this is why I'm recommending this type of medication'. And, you know, there might be all kinds of things. There might be different medical reps who sell one inhaler that come into their office and push that inhaler. And that's why they're recommending it. You know, there's lots of different reasons why these things happen, why they use one brand of medication over another, prescribe one brand over another. So, yeah, it kind of forces them to have that conversation and say, well, actually this is why I've got you on this one.

Charlie:
And do you know many friends who are medical reps?

Caity:
No, I don't really know that many. I had a friend who dated a medical rep once and we got all kinds of information out of him once. But that's sort of, you know, like third party type person.

Charlie:
So I had one friend who did it for a bit and he... In England, so he was British and he went to UK doctors and there were the GP's, general practitioners. They would just go to these doctors and he said that the best that they can do in terms of like enticing them is buy them a lunch, like a takeaway lunch. Other than that, it's illegal to bribe them with stuff and he would very often go and get them the best Indian from the local curry house, so his car would always smell of those strong smells. I can imagine, though, it might have come from America, the idea that you can sell the drug by bribing the doctor with a really nice golf day or a holiday or something. Maybe this was a few decades ago. I don't know. I imagine it's probably better than that now, but any ideas?

Caity:
Yeah, I mean, I would imagine it probably is still the same way. Maybe it has to be done in a little bit more above board kind of way, especially since the opioid crisis. I think that was something that the US kind of started to examine how prescriptions were given and why doctors were prescribing these things, and maybe that these things weren't being regulated to the degree that people thought they were. And but yeah, I think conventions are a big one. Doctors get invited to conventions in different places and get paid, you know, paid holiday basically, to come to these conventions to learn all about these certain types of medication. But the pharmaceutical companies have a lot of money and they put a lot of money into getting doctors on their side.

Charlie:
So the pharmaceutical companies are the ones researching the drugs and getting the drugs through the research, proving that they're right. And I don't know if you know much about this, but I've heard that they're allowed to- Is it the FDA? Is that[yes] Is that food and drug...?

Caity:
Food and Drug Association.

Charlie:
I think that's a lot less critical than the European version. And you're allowed to do as many tests as you like or as much research as you like, and you don't have to report the ones that weren't significant or that had bad, you know, problems coming from it.

Caity:
Mm hmm. And not only are the are the pharmaceutical pharmaceutical companies the one doing their own research, they're the ones producing, selling it. And then they are also, you know, hiring whoever to come in and look at it and do the research. But like you say, they don't have to publish the results they don't want to.

Charlie:
Yeah. And so after all of that, then they're- then they're inviting the doctors, the American doctors, to the exhibitions, maybe also global, not just American doctors, but they're inviting them to these exhibitions and they're saying, look at this new drug.

Caity:
Yeah. Exactly.

Charlie:
And then I assume they're also pushing the advertising on the TV to the consumer as well?

Caity:
Absolutely. Yeah. That's exactly where it comes from.

Charlie:
And so it's coming at both ends. The doctors being told sell this drug and then the doctors being told by the patient, 'But can I buy this drug?'

Caity:
Exactly.

Charlie:
Yeah. And this is all based on a business kind of profit kind of thing. Whereas listeners, the UK has the NHS. It's it's starting to become privatised, unfortunately, in my opinion. And lots of things are turning that way. But still, I think a lot of people are very proud of the NHS, meaning the National Health Service and it's free for the most part, and so there's a lot less focus on profits and etc. but it does mean that it's not a perfect experience. And I remember when we went to America, Stacey, my partner, she would often get very, very good quality service, like in the hospitals. It was- it was almost like we were going to a hotel in a hospital in England. I don't know if you've been to like a walk in centre, they're not the best in comparison. Do you feel like...?

Caity:
Yeah, I've only really been to my GP. I haven't really been. I've been fortunate to not have to need anything other than that.

Charlie:
Yes, that's good. Yeah. And the GP, is that the same in America to have a GP?

Caity:
Yes. Yeah. Yeah. You do have a GP. I think they tend to be. It's a little different or at least in my experience of having a GP here. I go to the same surgery, right? It's the same doctor's office, but I see many different doctors. I might see this doctor on a Tuesday or if I need to go on another day I might see a different actual doctor, even though they all work in the same practice. Whereas it's kind of like that I suppose in the US. But in my experience growing up I had really had one or two doctors that I would- were like my main ones. I would like if I were to call, I would book an appointment with a specific doctor.

Charlie:
Yeah, I think that's what I remember of Stacey. I thankfully didn't do much of this, but being a female mid twenties, she would go in and she would see very specific doctors. She would come back. She said, 'Oh, I saw my [insert long medical word]', and I would be like, 'Who's that?' So yeah, I think in England it's generally you just go to the GP. Yeah. Earlier you said the opioid crisis. Could you expand on that and start off like saying when it was maybe?

Caity:
Yeah. So I think, well, the opioid crisis has really run I think from I mean, I'm not, like I said, I'm certainly not an expert on this, but through the nineties and early 2000s even into the into now. So I really think things were quite bad maybe like mid 2000s. But basically what happened was there was a company the Sackler family is is the pharmaceutical company. I don't know if that's the actual- was the name of the company that was the family that ran this pharmaceutical company- and they produced this painkiller, essentially. It was a painkiller and it was an opioid and it was quite strong and it started getting prescribed, especially in places where maybe the population did a lot of manual labour, so mining towns. So it tended to be places that were more rural. And, you know, people really relied on a physical way of working to support their livelihood. So really they really relied on this. And then basically the this pharmaceutical pharmaceutical company was really pushing this medication to these doctors, small town doctors, rural doctors to help their patients with pain management is the is the big thing. So they could go about their lives, continue working, doing the work they needed to do to support their families, this, that and the other thing. They knew pretty early on how addictive these things were, and they basically just buried it and buried it and buried it. And exactly what you said didn't release the studies that said how addictive they were and patients were finding relief from this, you know, beginning dosage for a while, and then that relief would go away because their bodies would adjust to it. They would get used to it and then they would need more and then they would need more. And while the company knew how addictive it was, they continued to create tablets that were higher and higher dosages so that these doctors could continue giving these patients this medication. And then it became incredibly- they're incredibly addictive. They became really addicted. Whole towns would become addicted to this medication for pain management because people were in real pain and it's 'debilitating. And then they would essentially turn into addicts, right? And they would doctors would be like, whoa! They would see the signs of addiction and say, 'I'm not giving you any more of this'. And then they were truly addicted to this medication. And in order to deal with their addiction that they had been, you know, prescribed, essentially, they would have to turn to other things. Heroin was a big one in towns where, I mean, this is this is true across the United States, in towns that were really ravaged by this opiate crisis, heroin is a major problem because people had to had to self-medicate, essentially. And all of this has now been proven. There's a good show called Dopesick for anyone who's interested in this, Michael, it's Michael Keaton, kind of explains what happened. But basically the company was paying off the FDA, the Food and Drug Association, and they had someone on the board who was kind of looking the other way and they were able to get around putting the addictive warning on the label, essentially.

Charlie:
So today that problem still exists.

Caity:
Yeah. Now, opiates are certainly not prescribed in the masses the way they used to be. People are very aware of it now. So I think they're probably coming down on the end of it, right? Because it's been exposed and now everyone knows how dangerous they are and people who are having this problem can get help. But I think it went on for years to kind of just unchecked with these addictions running rampant, essentially.

Charlie:
Yeah, This this is something that I think non-Americans hear about in the media. Obviously, we don't really experience it firsthand by any means, but I was trying to think, you know what, what do the UK have? Because it's not exactly perfect, but I don't think we've got something as debilitating as that that's been such a big controversy. I don't feel like we have. I had a little look and and found that, like this article said, seven drugs for seven decades. So in the fifties, apparently alcohol was a huge issue in the UK. The sixties was LSD, the seventies was cannabis, the eighties was heroin, the nineties was ecstasy, two thousands was cocaine, and then 2010s was legal highs. So [interesting] highs that were kind of distracting the the sort of the government essentially, allowing you to sell it through a shop that is legal. I mentioned cannabis in the seventies. I think we can all kind of stereotype that drug with the seventies quite heavily, quite easily. And I thought we could do a little game with this drug, make it a bit more light-hearted and see how many names of this drug we can come up with. And I wanted to say something about it. And this game I thought up is called categories. It's very common. And I should also say that this is a rule within a very famous drinking game in English speaking countries or cultures called Ring of Fire. You've played Ring of Fire, I assume, Katie.

Caity:
We call it kings.

Charlie:
Oh, okay.

Caity:
But it is the same thing.

Charlie:
I really thought Ring of Fire was...

Caity:
Kings or King's Cup. That's those are the that's what we call it.

Charlie:
And are you using a stereotypically red big plastic cup?

Caity:
Yes.

Charlie:
Yes, yes. So that's a bit of a difference. Maybe nowadays our supermarkets have it, but we didn't really have that good essentially, you know, that essential big cup that you could throw away. So we'd often find like a vase or like a a random, random big like the kettle. Sometimes we'd use a kettle in the middle.

Caity:
Outrageous.

Charlie:
Yeah. And you'd get a bit of like the is it, is it calcium. Calcium? The build up?

Caity:
Yeah. The like mineral build-up on the inside.

Charlie:
So the red cup is advantageous. I'd say so yeah. This, this game is called Ring of Fire in the UK. Think of a table with a pack of cards spread around in a wide circle. And then card number ten is often called categories. So people sit round these cards and then they pick up one at a time and then each card represents a game within itself. So it's mini games within a big game. And this one is called Categories. Player who picks up the card has to name a category such as dogs or cars or beers, and then you go around the circle of people and each person has to name a thing of that category. So if it were dogs, that was the chosen category, then you would each need to say a different breed of dog until one of you can't recall one, and then that person drinks, er drinks the alcohol. Let's do it with dogs. Let's practice. You have... I'm going to steal yours. I've picked up the card. You have a cocker spaniel, do you?

Caity:
Well, he's half cocker spaniel.

Charlie:
Oh. Kaboodle, kaboodle.

Caity:
Cockapoo.

Charlie:
Cockapoo, cockapoo. Okay, so we've both said one there. So back to me. Labrador.

Caity:
Golden Retriever.

Charlie:
Bulldog.

Caity:
Australian Shepherd.

Charlie:
Shitzu.

Caity:
Irish Wolfhound.

Charlie:
God, there's actually a lot there we could go through, couldn't we? I'm going to... I think I could think of some more, but I'm going to leave it there. Can I think of another one? Yeah. Boxer. Anyway, end of dog warm up game. Let's do the weed one. Katie, you've picked up the the card. It's your turn now. Categories for weed.

Caity:
I mean, weed in and of itself as one, but we'll say pot.

Charlie:
Okay. Pot. Okay. Grass.

Caity:
Hmm. Reefer.

Charlie:
So are we allowed to say, like, the name of the utensil? Almost, as well? Like a bifter?

Caity:
I guess so. I mean, it's your game. I feel we can

Charlie:
But like you would say, I'm going to go smoke a bifter. You wouldn't say, I'm going to go smoke the weed that's in this thing.

Caity:
True, but it's not a nickname for weed, though.

Charlie:
No, it's not.

Caity:
It's a nickname for the like thing.

Charlie:
Yeah. Okay. Cannabis.

Caity:
Mary Jane.

Charlie:
Good. Mary Jane. That's- I think there's an interesting etymology of that one. I can't remember it, though. Can you? You can't remember it...

Caity:
Well, it comes from marijuana, I think.

Charlie:
Hey, marijuana. Thank you. Thank you very much. Okay.

Caity:
So that's back to me then. Hash?

Charlie:
Hash. Yes. Yeah. So I googled this. Hash is exactly the same, but it's really concentrated version of it. And it's like hard and then people burn it.

Caity:
But it is. Yeah, like the same same plant.

Charlie:
Same plant. Yes. I'm going to cheat and look at my list. Weed, ganja, marijuana, Mary Jane, the green! Cannabis, grass. And then I wrote down a doobie. But that's kind of getting into the thing, aren't we?

Caity:
Yeah. Joint, Doobie Blonde, all those things. Yeah.

Charlie:
Yeah, Dope. Is dope...?

Caity:
Oh, dope.

Charlie:
Yeah, Yeah. That's the the drug itself, isn't it? That's.

Caity:
That's. That feels like a bit of an old school one. Dope.

Charlie:
Yeah. Bud?

Caity:
Oh, yeah, for sure.

Charlie:
But yeah, there we go. And hash. Yeah. All right. So yeah, the relationship with weed that Americans have and Brits have. And maybe what you have noticed the difference between the two.

Caity:
Yeah, well, it's very different. I moved to the UK from California, where it is legal and it's legal in many states in the US, but it wasn't when I was growing up. Very different, different story. But yeah, in California it's totally legal and it's very common. It's common for I mean people smoke weed or have edibles or things like that, the way people would smoke cigarettes here. In fact, I think it's way more socially acceptable in California to smoke weed than it would be to smoke a cigarette. Completely different.

Charlie:
That was quite an interesting thing to notice even when we were there eight years ago roughly. So that was 2015 ish. Smoking felt like a bit of a dirty habit, smoking cigarettes, whereas in Europe it was still I'd say it's still kind of acceptable. It's almost still cool, still a little bit cool, I'd say. And it's on... In Germany, it's advertised openly smoking.

Caity:
Oh, is it really? Interesting.

Charlie:
Yeah, Yeah. Like the billboards. Whereas yeah, I feel like America campaigned well with that and made it a taboo or like, uncool to smoke.

Caity:
Yeah I do think the younger generation, obviously it still happens, but yeah, it definitely depends on where you are. But for sure it's definitely not like a cool thing to do anymore, I would say.

Charlie:
And to bring weed back into the conversation, in in the UK most of the time I think people mix the two, tobacco and weed, in a utensil or a joint or whatever, but I think in America it's different.

Caity:
Yeah, it's actually it would just be the bud, it would just be the marijuana plant that you would have in a joint or a bong or a blunt or whatever you choose to smoke out of. I don't know. And I will remember.

Charlie:
Can you explain a bong?

Caity:
I can try my best. I don't know exactly how it works, but I know there's water in it and you light something and then breathe into it and it pulls the smoke up.

Charlie:
So it's like a contraption? [Yeah]. It's much bigger. It's like a glass. Most of the time, isn't it?

Caity:
They're glass usually. Yeah.

Charlie:
See through glass and yeah, you burn at the bottom and then things happen with the bubbly water when you suck it and then inhale. And that I think is a very, very quick, rather deadly way of consuming it.

Caity:
Yeah, I definitely-, it hits you very fast immediately and when also when you are, when you're smoking it just the weed and you're not you don't include tobacco, again you I think you probably reach a different level of high.

Charlie:
Yeah for sure. Yeah. California is very open to it. Is it- is it acceptable to go to work high? We have come to the end of part one. So feel free to take a break from your listening practice, but if you're happy to keep going, then we're now moving on to part two of this episode. Thanks so much for being a premium or Academy member and enjoy the rest of the show.

Caity:
No, I would still say it wouldn't be. I mean, if you were to rock up to work high. I mean, I'm sure lots of people do it, but I think if you were to go to work high, it would be equated to if you were to show up, to work intoxicated, drunk. You know, it's a kind of the same thing, hand in hand. But with that said, you can certainly walk around on the street smoking something. I will say I think smoking, in places that it's legal, my experience actually the actual act of smoking doesn't happen as often as places where it's illegal because you can get it in so many other forms, so you can get it in an edible or a vape or an oil or something like that. So I think places where it's legal, it's consumed very differently than places where it's illegal.

Charlie:
Right. Yeah. That reminds me of the recent issue in Russia where the basketball player from America, the female one, she took... What did she take through the scanner? The scanner at the airport?

Caity:
I actually think she just had a CBD pen, if I'm not mistaken. And CBD is... It's like a property of cannabis, but it's it just gives you the relaxation property or the relaxation side of things. You don't actually have... There's no high involved. And so, yeah, from my understanding, I think she just had a CBD vape pen.

Charlie:
Right. Okay. Oh it was the cartridges that I heard. Yes. So the cartridges of that. Yeah. And yeah now she's got nine years in a Russian prison and they're trying to exile her? Is that the right word, Exile? No, [I don't know] Exchange?

Caity:
No, I don't think so. It's exie-. Yeah, something like that. Yeah. Yeah.

Charlie:
They're trying to bring her back to American soil and obviously free her because it's not illegal in America. But yeah Russia's...

Caity:
Extradite. That's the word.

Charlie:
Extradite. That's the word I was looking for earlier. Yeah. Mental, that one.

Caity:
Especially because CBD is legal in so many places. Totally legal in the UK. [Is it?] Legal in the US. Yeah. Yeah. CBD - because there's no high property. So it's really just it would be like taking melatonin coming back to that actually. In fact, it's more legal than melatonin. Yeah.

Charlie:
Do you feel like your knowledge of drugs is similar to your friends' or do you feel like you know a bit more about what you've just mentioned so far? Because I feel like...

Caity:
I think it's pretty similar.

Charlie:
...a British person wouldn't know as much.

Caity:
Yeah, no, I think it's pretty similar. In fact, I think probably a lot of my friends in California probably actually know a lot more than I do, But especially when it comes to pharmaceuticals and marijuana, I think, I think Americans tend to know, especially probably around my age, know a lot about these things just inherently just from them being- living everyday life.

Charlie:
You also wanted to touch on the next drug, which was cocaine, because you you feel like there's a difference, the stigma attached to this drug in the UK versus the US.

Caity:
Yeah. Well, I just think this was one of the big points of difference I found here is I just couldn't really- It was shocking to me how much more commonly accepted cocaine is versus marijuana, especially when you compare it to the US. Obviously, marijuana is legal in so many places in the US, but even before that it was a pretty run of the mill thing. You know, teenagers would do it and it was kind of, yeah, it wasn't great. But you know what, frowned upon, it was illegal. But, you know, for the most part it was pretty harmless. Whereas I think if you say you smoke weed here or if someone, you know smokes weed, it's a little bit more like, ooh, I don't know, there's a little bit more maybe judgement to it. Whereas cocaine is so common here, which is- would something which in the US would be... Not that it's not common, it certainly exists and it's around, but it definitely isn't as run of the mill as it is here.

Charlie:
I've watched a few documentaries that suggest to me that cocaine was very, very popular in Florida, Miami in like the eighties, I'm going to guess.

Caity:
Yeah, absolutely.

Charlie:
And then there was, I think, a campaign after that that the president was just, you know, reiterating, just say no, just say no. And is that do you think that's a relationship that still is, like there's a hangover of that with the drug cocaine in America?

Caity:
Yeah, I think so. And probably in a lot of drugs, to be honest. I think it started in like you said, in the eighties, it was Reagan, Ronald Reagan, who was the president at the time. It was his wife actually drove this really heavy anti-drug campaign. There was also backlash against I think you were talking about LSD in the sixties in the UK, similar situation in the US. And there was a real pushback against, you know, hippie culture and use of psychedelics and that kind of thing. And yeah, I definitely think there's still a major hangover from that, not only with cocaine, but I think with marijuana in a lot of places, even in the U.S., and a lot of other more common recreational drugs.

Charlie:
Yeah, that makes sense. You mentioned that weed is legal in multiple states. It's not across, it's not a federal law that it's legal.

Caity:
No. Yeah, it's up to the state.

Charlie:
Yeah. Are there any other drugs that I might be surprised about that are legal?

Caity:
I don't think so. I think there has been a real push. Well, I think in a lot of places, I don't think it's just in the US, I think globally this is happening as well. But there's been a push to legalise more hard drugs as they found it can... I think there are some countries that have kind of tested this theory that it leads to less stigma and people getting help with their addiction. So there's there's conversation about legalising things even up to like heroin because, not to make it easier or more accessible, but to help people who are addicted, to not be associated with this stigma, to not have the negative connotation in society and be able to get the help that they need.

Charlie:
Yeah, it's a hugely controversial one for [yeah] yeah, for both sides of the argument. I feel like the argument that you just made is a little bit more thought out. I think the assumption we generally have, those that don't use drugs, is that, you know, if you were to make it legal, more people will have it. And that that's where we kind of draw a line. And it might be true. We can't really tell until it's really done properly, but, or thoroughly. But yeah, I heard something about it in Portugal being that they've they've opened up a few rehabilitation centres for - what drug was it? I can't remember. It was quite a psychedelic one, quite a hallucinogenic one I think. Anyway, we're skipping ahead, so I'm just going to, I'm just going to label a few things for people in the UK just to know where we're at. We have three drug classes A, B and C. Oh, I'm going to test you. Katie. Where is weed?

Caity:
In the UK?

Charlie:
Yeah, so A is the worst; B Second; third, C. So C is soft. A is hard. Where would weed be?

Caity:
Is it C?

Charlie:
It is B. I think [B!] when I was born it used to be C and then it went up to B [Interesting] Yeah. So let me reel off a few. Heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, LS and LSD, are class- What do you say?

Caity:
A.

Charlie:
They're A. Yeah. Speed, cannabis, ketamine, mephedrone and some amphetamines are class B, and then anabolic steroids. GHB. Don't know what GHB is.

Caity:
I think that's a steroid.

Charlie:
Right. And some tranquillisers are class C. [Interesting!]. Let's see if you can guess how many years in prison you'd get for... So the maximum sentences for each for possession of each class of drug are what? So up to X years in prison for an unlimited fine... OR an unlimited fine, right for class A. So how many years for class A?

Caity:
I have no idea, but I'm going to say ten?

Charlie:
Ten? Yeah, seven, seven years.

Caity:
Okay.

Charlie:
So this is just possession, not intent to sale, to sell.

Caity:
Okay.

Caity:
Yeah. Or to deal. Yeah. Class B, what would you say?

Caity:
Four?

Charlie:
Five. Pretty reasonable. Yeah. And then class C, how many years?

Caity:
Two.

Charlie:
Two. Bingo. Yeah. So class two, Class C, two, Class B five, Class A seven. Just in case you guys needed to know that fact. I think I've covered most things. Oh, no, no. I wanted to include this bit before we go to the fun experience. So I wanted to talk about the recreational drugs we were first exposed to as we grew up. Yes. So what would you say the first one was when you were a little, little version of Katie?

Caity:
Marijuana, for sure. [Yeah]. Yeah. I think that was very common. I don't even know if it was. I mean, alcohol was first and foremost. That's where all that starts. Always. I think.

Charlie:
You're forgetting about caffeine.

Caity:
Well, sure, you could argue that. Yeah, I think although I would say people in my... Probably in my world where I lived and where I grew up were probably exposed to alcohol before caffeine. But then I would say marijuana would be next. Definitely I think when you hit high school and college, marijuana becomes a big thing in the US.

Charlie:
What age is high school again?

Caity:
15-16 to 18.

Charlie:
Okay. Okay. So before that, you're not really touching any of the intoxicating substances.

Caity:
No, I don't think so. Maybe. Maybe some people. Maybe.

Charlie:
Of course, individuals.

Caity:
Yeah, but but I would say where I grew up, what was happening, you know, in the age group that I was in, I would say that's kind of where where the influence started.

Charlie:
Yeah. Would you be able to tactfully dance around the political minefield of telling me your socio economic background for the listener?

Caity:
Yeah. So I'm from a very middle class family. Work, both working parents. My mom was a teacher. Dad worked for an insurance company, very rural area, not particularly racially diverse, very white area and very small town. Just very, very small town. Not many people at all, I think, actually looked this up recently and there's something like 1200 people. Or something like that.

Charlie:
From your town?

Caity:
Yeah. Very small. It's very small. It's got to be. Maybe it is higher than that, but yeah, it's quite small. My whole school from the time you were five years old, so. And it's a little different in the UK, but from five years old until 18, it was all one school and there were 350 kids in the entire school.

Charlie:
Wow. That was one year of my school. You just reminded me, it was 1200 in my school. So that was the whole town for you?

Caity:
Yeah, exactly. So very small.

Charlie:
Listeners. I really appreciated the way that Katie describes that. We all feel generally very uncomfortable talking about that socioeconomic status. So, yes, maybe go back and listen to how she delivered that. That was excellent. I was going to point out that I feel like Brits again, my world, I'd say we we kind of started testing our parents' alcohol like drawer or cabinet when we were like 12, 13 years old and we'd like sip the really horrendous smelling stuff and then we'd vomit and we'd have to like, run back to our houses and not tell whoever's parents what the sick was from. That was not part of your experience as a 12, 13 year old?

Caity:
I would say 12, 13, 14, alcohol is probably where it comes into play. Yeah, same thing.

Charlie:
Okay. Because I thought maybe because of the 21 instead of 18, your relationship with alcohol was three years later. Like everything.

Caity:
Now I think we just drink it legally for that much longer.

Charlie:
Cool. Okay, what about weed?

Caity:
So weed is kind of when I said high school age like 15, 16, I think that's kind of where it starts to kick in. Probably younger, in bigger places, I would imagine. But from.

Charlie:
Cocaine?

Caity:
I mean, not something that was even in the ecosphere for me until college.

Charlie:
Okay, yeah, not until college. So I thought about this and guys we're, of course, just mentioning the surroundings, not exclusively us, but I thought cocaine was a bit more expensive than some other similar drugs, like in terms of what you get from it, but they're a bit dirtier, I'd say. But cocaine, I felt like it was a bit more expensive. So we would we would tend to get that later on in your life, like after university. I don't know if you felt like that but...

Caity:
Yeah, I would say it's probably the same. And also, I don't know if this has- this is just anecdotal. This certainly isn't across the board, but when cocaine came into the world of my understanding, it was through some European friends.

Charlie:
Not people from the UK, of course, mainland. And I also wanted to mention that at university the drug ketamine circles around conversation and people, as does speed. And there's another one that was very popular when I was at uni. It was called mephedrone, and I think it was like this, this like, maybe was originally like a legal high because they didn't really know what it was. And then it got onto the news and it was like really well known that this was a uni drug and it was like really bad for you. And then my parents sat me down or no, we were watching the news at the same time and it came up and they were like, 'Isn't this terrible? Yes. Imagine anyone you knew who used this. That would be awful!' I was like, 'Yeah, yeah, that would be awful to know anyone who did that'. Oh, and then what about ecstasy, MDMA? And then in the UK, we call it... What do we call it, do you know?

Caity:
Yeah, it's called Mandy here.

Charlie:
Mandy in the UK.

Caity:
It's the, the street name and we call it Molly in the US.

Charlie:
I like the accent with that. Molly. I like that a lot. Can't really [Molly] Yeah, in English, Well, British English sorry, Molly. It's not as fun. Molly. Molly. Anyway, yeah. So that's the American street name for MDMA. Was that popular at uni for you?

Caity:
Not that it was. It was probably in the same kind of world as cocaine. It was there. It wasn't super popular, but it certainly was like, you know, in the realm of things.

Charlie:
Right. Okay. I think in university that was around quite a lot. And then people started to go on to cocaine more because I think that drug, ecstasy, is much more to do with really hardcore raving.

Caity:
Yeah. Yes, definitely. I mean, again, I don't know if this is just where I grew up. I went to I went to uni in a city, so certainly a very populated place. But again, just kind of from what I understand here, I think people have a different relationship with festivals, music festivals and raves and stuff here at a younger age than we do. And maybe that's just because of where I grew up, it was very rural. If I'd have grown up in a city, maybe music festivals would have been more common, but if you look at the UK just geographically, it's a lot easier to get to all the different music festivals around as a teenager than it would be to get to the festivals in the United States. You'd have to fly or, you know, drive very far to get to all these different festivals. Whereas here you can get on a train and go with your friends. So I feel like maybe there's something to that as well in terms of where these, where this influence comes from.

Charlie:
I think that makes sense. Yeah, I suppose this is more about alcohol, but because of what you just said about, you know, being 21, being the legal age, I imagine that is harder to fake. Whereas in, if you get a fake I.D. at 16, you can sometimes blag that you're 18 in the UK.

Caity:
Mm hmm. Yeah, it definitely is. It's a very different thing. And there are yeah, I think there are all kinds of things that go into trying to... But if you're trying to prove you're 21 as a 16 year old, exactly. Like you said, it's going to be a very different story.

Charlie:
Yeah, like we would... Not we. Never, never me! People around me.

Caity:
Others. This is all...

Charlie:
Others, yes, would sometimes stop passers by and ask them to buy them some beers or vodka or whatever from the off licence. And then they would go in. The first time my friend did this, they, the person said, I'm just about to start my shift in that off licence and you will not be receiving any alcohol ever, ever from here. So we were like, 'Oh no!' I mean they were like...

Caity:
You asked the wrong person.

Charlie:
I realised that I've kept you for much longer than I thought and we haven't even gotten to the juicy bit. Do you have time to go through that experience?

Caity:
I do, for sure, yeah.

Charlie:
Let's go to this. The Wikipedia part of it. There's another drug that we haven't mentioned, which is one that is hard to spell. It's called ayahuasca. Ayahuasca. And I believe I'm going to say my facts, what I remember of this, and then you can correct me. Ayahuasca, I believe, is a is from the root of a tree in the Amazon or South America in general. So it's a natural substance that shamans and shamans are these like local doctors or people who are very in touch with energies and natural remedies, didn't mean for that to rhyme. And then they encourage people to take this. And it gives you a real psychedelic experience, meaning you hallucinate a lot. But let me go back. So yeah, you drink it right? Do you drink it?

Caity:
Yes.

Charlie:
Yes, you drink it. Have I missed anything else out about what ayahuasca is, before we go into the experience of it?

Caity:
You have not. But I think something that would be interesting to know is this has been in practice for a very long time. Thousands of years, arguably. It's a very sacred thing in Peru and places like that. And ayahuasca on its own, completely illegal in the UK.

Charlie:
Can you say that? Illegal or legal?

Caity:
Legal.

Charlie:
Legal?

Caity:
By itself, Legal. Where ayahuasca gets its reputation and psychedelic properties from is when it is paired with another root. There's three other roots that it can be paired with that also come from the Amazon and you get, you get slightly different experiences depending on which one it's paired with, but that is what gives it its psychedelic properties and that is when it is considered illegal.

Charlie:
Ah ha ha ha. The usual experience that you might go to a country in South America and find a trusting shaman or a shaman that you trust. Would they be pairing it in what- in the way that you've just described with other [yes] roots?

Caity:
Yeah. It would be paired with one of one of three different roots, just depending on probably depending on the area you're in, the shaman you're working with, that kind of thing.

Charlie:
Oh, okay. So ayahuasca is one of those roots and then we don't really generally know the name of the others that they're pairing with.

Caity:
Yeah, I don't know the name of the other three. So it's always ayahuasca and then it's paired with one of these other three that I don't know, off the top of my head, know the name of.

Charlie:
Interesting. So they give you different results or different experiences, right. And generally people do this because they're going partying and they're having a good time in Coachella.

Caity:
Absolutely not.

Charlie:
What do they do it for?

Caity:
So it's a really therapeutic experience. People do this to connect deeply to some trauma that they've been through, work through some trauma, be it physical, emotional, to deeper their understanding of their own inner workings, to also help reforge brain patterns, to change some mental habits or ways, you know, toxic or negative ways of thinking, help kind of reshape those neurological pathways.

Charlie:
Yeah, I've heard some amazing breakthroughs in therapy have been done with this, and many people have been going for like talking therapy for years and then they just do this one session and it changes their life for the better. So yeah, it's very exciting. Obviously, again, controversial. Some people feel like you should never be intoxicated, but yeah, each to their own. So you decided to go along this journey. We have come to the end of part two now. So again, feel free to pause the episode to take a break from your listening practice and come back to the last part when you're ready. All right. So moving on to part three now. Enjoy.

Caity:
Yeah, it was something that I had been kind of I kind of knew of it. It was in my world of exposure for a while. Definitely something that's not common in California, but definitely something people are very aware of, especially in the Bay Area I would say it's, it's not unheard of to find these types of ceremonies or people who have done this. And I always kind of thought when it, you know, presents itself, it would be something I would be interested in doing. And that recently happened and I experienced one of these ceremonies.

Charlie:
Wow. Yeah. Because I thought you had to go to the the root of it. I thought you had to go to like Peru or a a country that has an Amazon, has these trees.

Caity:
Interestingly. No, I didn't. I always kind of thought I would. To your point, I think the idea of, you know, the authenticity of doing it, you know, experiencing this there, I think was something that I guess I just assumed is something I would do. But I did know that they do take place all over the world. It's definitely something that people this type of work is something people feel really strongly about. And the these ceremonies happen all over the world.

Charlie:
I watched a documentary a while ago and I've probably exaggerated it now, but from what I remember, they would be in one room, like 20 of them, 20 of the people who are about to take it. They'd sit down kind of like a yoga class, but all around the outside of the room on a mat and you'd be brought your drink, you'd sip away at it. And then for the next 24 hours, this is probably where it might differ, because I heard something from through the grapevine that you have to go to the toilet, like constantly, both through through both sides of of yourself. And then after that, you get through it and then you get to experience the psychedelic trip or the adventure or the experience. Was it that extreme?

Caity:
It was very similar, especially the way you first set that up in terms of sitting in a room, kind of in a circle, more or less, on the outside of the room, being brought this... That's before you drink the tea or whatever you want to call it. It's a very ceremonious blessing, these types of things. Sage is something is use. People burn Sage to kind of cleanse the energy of the room. There's musicians set up playing beautiful music and instruments, beautiful. I mean, that really facilitated a whole lot of the experience, to be honest. And then there was also a team of people there. So people who are there to look after you because you are, like you said, most likely going to be sick. The ex- From what I experienced, buckets were provided because purging is a big part of this. I can't speak for everyone who experienced this in the same circle that I did, but I would say the majority. It was just just one end. But from what I understand, I think it can happen both ways.

Charlie:
So you knew this going into it and you were still confident to go ahead with it. I think that's very brave of you. Well done.

Caity:
Nervous confident. Yeah, I was definitely, I was definitely nervous about it for sure, because I think it can have- you can have very different experiences. I think some people can have what they may deem is really tough, hard experiences. Not to say that they can't then be beneficial, but some people have really beautiful experiences. But yeah, people do typically purge, so I knew that was very likely to happen.

Charlie:
So you went through the purging and then did some magical stuff start to happen for you?

Caity:
Yeah. And I will say I think the purge happens certainly not at any- happens at any given point throughout this experience. It doesn't happen like right at the beginning and then visions kick in. I think it can happen at the beginning. It can kind of happen towards the end. It can happen a few times. It just kind of depends on how you're and some people don't. Some people don't purge at all. It just depends on probably how much you have and how your body reacts to it and also maybe what root it's paired with as well. So yeah, I.

Charlie:
You could be experiencing something quite trippy and then suddenly need to vomit.

Caity:
Yes. Oh yeah. From my experience, it took a little while for it to have a psychedelic effect. Probably- I think the whole experience in terms of really being in the ceremony was about 8 hours. By the end of it, I was completely lucid, but that was not necessarily the case for everyone. Some people are still feeling the effects at the close of the ceremony.

Charlie:
Lucid means dreamy, right?

Caity:
No, lucid means you're with it. Yeah, it does, doesn't it?

Charlie:
Oh, okay. Yeah. Oh, yeah. There's a there's a thing called lucid dreaming, I think where they, they pair consciousness with unconsciousness to grab good ideas. Lucid.

Caity:
But you're- when you're lucid dreaming, you're awake, though, you're not. You're like, present and aware. Because typically if someone I believe if someone has dementia when they have a lucid moment, it's like when they're actually- they know who they are and they know. Please correct me if I'm wrong. This is your area of expertise.

Charlie:
I'm not going to say that I understand 570,000 words that a dictionary includes. So during lucid dreams, one becomes aware that one is dreaming while remaining physiologically asleep. But going back to the actual word itself. You're you're on the money. So yes, lucid means expressed clearly. I'm going to just - So you sobered up quite quickly.

Caity:
Yeah. Or at least to kind of come back to it, because I was kind of nervous going into it, which I think anyone naturally would be, especially for the first time you're experiencing this. I didn't- I wasn't going to go crazy deep, which means I didn't have a big cup. You can you can vary the amount you have and the person you know, the shaman you're working with should be really in tune to the individual in terms of how much they have and had a conversation beforehand about where I was mentally and what I wanted to work on. And so I kind of knew how much I was going to have going into it. But it took maybe I actually don't know because time kind of morphs a little bit. But I would say it probably took me about 2 hours to have to fall into any kind of like psychedelic experience. And this is not something I'm familiar with. But from what my understanding, if you take something like acid or some other kind of psychedelic, you're not really in any kind of control. You are completely just at the whim of what these things do. Like I said, I have not experienced that myself. For me, when I had ayahuasca, I, when I was in the psychedelic state, I would lay down, I would be having these visions. My eyes were closed. If I opened my eyes, I was right back in the room and I wasn't. I wasn't seeing things that weren't there, if that makes sense.

Charlie:
So it felt a bit more like you were in the driving seat when you wanted to be.

Caity:
Exactly.

Charlie:
It took 2 hours to kick in, and I'm just thinking, were you trying to go to sleep during this period or were you, like, watching the others throw throw up?

Caity:
Yeah. So at first it was, I think, the first effect of it that I felt. So they kind of tell you to the things to focus on are your spine and your breathing. So sitting up is a is something that is encouraged for at least as long as you can until you feel like you really need to like lay down and then focusing on your breathing because it keeps you really in tuned with your body. So for the first 2 hours, I was sat up just breathing, and I think the first way- I felt really peaceful. The nerves had kind of subsided. I felt okay, but certainly not, you know, didn't feel any different. And then I kind of, you know, around the room, you start to notice people having different reactions and all around the room were- some people were crying, you know, starting to have these emotional responses. And I felt like I could feel them really deeply. Like I, I felt like I could feel the emotion of the other people around me really intensely. So that was kind of the first sign that it was kicking in.

Charlie:
Yeah. I wanted to ask straight after when you said that first point. Being in a group, I imagine there's a reason for it to be collective. So do you. Yeah, you just said it. Yeah. So you start to feel the energy of the people around you and they're, if they're crying, are they, do they feel your energy back that you're there with them or is it they're on their own journey?

Caity:
Yeah, I think so. I think it kind of depends on how deep you go, how much you've had, how deep in you are, because there were there were times when I was having a real psychedelic experience that I was lying down and having my eyes closed, having visions, I wouldn't have known what was going on in the room around me. I wouldn't have been aware what other people, what was happening to other people. So for me, and I think that was probably the case for most people, I think at first you're kind of in tune with what's happening around you and then you kind of go into your own own experience.

Charlie:
And it's not a negative that, you know, everyone's there probably for a significant reason. So it's almost like everyone being in the same room for a serious thing with a therapist. Like you'd all want to have your own space. Really with a therapist, obviously you're expressing it verbally rather than just experiencing an internal thing. But there wasn't this kind of weird feeling of like, No, this is my time, this is this is for me. Why are you distracting our emotions for you?

Caity:
I think that's a really fair point. And I think going into it, I wasn't really sure what that- how that dynamic was going to work out, I do think, because as you you go so internally, you really go into yourself. I mean, that's actually part of the way they describe it. When when a shaman speaks about this, it's about going into your own, you know, your own psyche and your own physical body. Because you go into your own self, I don't really think it affects you all that much what's happening around you. I think because it is so powerful, I could have been anywhere. So at first maybe, yes, I think that's fair. But at the same time, I think there was a real beauty in knowing that everyone was going through the same experience, knowing, well, not the same experience, but, you know, in participating right in the same kind of thing. And that almost offers a wider support system. Maybe not in the moment, because you're not like, you know, you're not helping one another or interacting with each other at all, but you almost kind of know, like we're all in this together type of experience type of thing.

Charlie:
Eight, 8 hours rolls around and you start to become more aware of things how they used to be, and are they still some of them, if they've taken a stronger dosage or something, they're still on a trip. Do we call it a trip in ayahuasca terms?

Caity:
Yeah, you could. I think it's fair. I mean, maybe maybe a shaman wouldn't use that word. But I think I think it's fair to say you're on a trip because you're having a psychedelic experience. You're, you know, experiencing a different world, if you will. But yeah, some people by the end of 8 hours, for the most part, people were back to being able to like, sit and, you know, sit up and have a conversation. They might still feel a little woozy. Some people might still feel like some, Oh, I can kind of close my eyes. I see some colours and shapes, but typically people are back to more or less the start. No one was in a full state of like laying down, throwing up, having a real intense physical experience by the end of the 8 hours,

Charlie:
Right. Yeah. And then, I mean, for me, having three beers the night before, I feel it for the rest of the day nowadays. Did you, were you able to go back to your normal day straight away or did it take a couple of days to almost?

Caity:
So this specific experience that I went through was actually a two night process. You had the first night of 8 hours of this, then you- that ended around 3:30, 4:00 in the morning. Then you had a little nibble to eat and then everybody slept and then you slept until 11:30, 12 noon the next day. And from that point, it was like group therapy. It was like a group therapy session. Everyone sat in the group and they went around for two, three, four, five, six, 10 minutes explaining what they experienced. And it was, and it took hours. It took all day long until it was time to then in the evening, do it again.

Charlie:
Oh, my God. I don't know how much more boring this question could be, but do you not get uncomfortable?

Caity:
Sure. Yeah. I mean, you had to really like there was a big emphasis on making sure that the space you set up for yourself, so you had to bring all your own bedding and everything. And like, I had like, a pretty thick kind of mattress thing to sit on, sleep on. But yeah, I mean, you're, you're, you're getting fidgety, you're flipping around and sitting in different ways. I fell asleep a few times, I'll be honest, a few other people did as well.

Charlie:
While, while they were talking? That's funny. Okay, so two day bender.

Caity:
The second night, [Yeah] the first night was ayahuasca, paired with one root, and the second night was ayahuasca, paired with a different root.

Charlie:
Right. Any differences?

Caity:
For me, it was the second night was much gentler. I didn't have as much. I was also exhausted. I also didn't know if I wanted to do the second night because I was so tired. I didn't know if I wanted to go back into that world. And I'll be honest, I slept through almost the entire second night, which I think my body really needed. So I think it was okay. But yeah.

Charlie:
Right. So you didn't get any kind of psychedelic stuff going on?

Caity:
I did not have any psychedelic, didn't have a psychedelic experience the second night. I did have a very physical experience and not like I was like hyper aware of the my physical body and I remember having a real moment of physically feeling what it would be like to be pregnant, which was a big one. But again, all physical. It wasn't, it wasn't like a psychedelic thing.

Charlie:
Did you run off the next day and do a... Have a pregnancy test?

Caity:
No, I think. I think I knew I was all good.

Charlie:
That's funny. Oh, goodness me. Wow. Overall, if you were to give it a like a one 1 to 10 rating kind of system, what would you give it?

Caity:
It's really hard to say. I would probably give it like an eight or nine as an experience. I think if I were to try to, like, sum it up and like not not hours worth of words, just to kind of a short like summary, it was incredibly powerful. Definitely was aided by the fact that I have done talk therapy in the past. I felt like I had a lot of tools going into this, and I do think what I experienced was very trauma based and did what two and a half years of talk therapy could not do. I will say it was the the they call it integration. So when you go back into normal life and you start to go back into your daily patterns and habits and, you know, headspace, I found it quite challenging. I felt like I had some really amazing tools on one side of things and the other side I felt maybe my emotions were a little bit all over the place. So I think it's incredible work to do. I really think that psychedelics in psychology, you know, in a very controlled setting, have incredible powers or incredible abilities to do a lot of amazing things. But it's not, certainly it's not a recreational or just something to take lightly.

Charlie:
Interesting. 8 to 9 out of ten, that's that's good going.

Caity:
Hmm.

Charlie:
Yeah.

Caity:
It was an incredible experience. Genuinely.

Charlie:
Would you do it again?

Caity:
Not in a hurry, but yes, I think I would.

Charlie:
Okay. And would you do it again because you feel like that thing that you went for is the thing that you need to do more of? Or like you're saying that it's a good thing to do if you've got another thing that you want to sort out?

Caity:
It probably depends on what you're working on. But I mean, me personally, yeah, I think there's probably still some work to be done there. And I think there's probably other things that, you know, other other things I would like to explore as well.

Charlie:
Yeah, right. I guess my question was meaning, is there a benefit to doing it multiple times for the same thing?

Caity:
I think so, yeah, I think you can... Obviously I've only done it really the once, but from what I understood from people who had, I would say about half of the group had done it more than once, had sat through more than one ceremony, and from what I understand is you can have very different experiences kind of working on the same thing. And I also don't think you can really isolate individual things, right? Like the human experience is is one one thing your your experience throughout your life, everything feeds into everything else. So while you can go in with an intention to really focus on one thing, everything is kind of connected. So I think you'll always see it from a different perspective and you might just be in a different, different part of your life, different headspace might have, you know, be better rested the week before. You know, you'll always experience something different, different, I think.

Charlie:
Last, petty question, is it expensive?

Caity:
It was quite expensive. I mean, I thought it was reasonable for what it was considering it was two nights and food was food was also included. It was about £500.

Charlie:
Okay.

Caity:
For me, I thought it was fairly reasonable. I've obviously that's just the one thing I've experienced. I have absolutely no idea what it's like in other places, in other parts of the world. I will say you definitely want to make sure that you feel confident about the person, that the shaman that you're working with, that it either comes highly recommended or you know enough people who have kind of experienced this shaman. I do think there are people out there who maybe don't do it in the most professional setting. So just make sure it comes highly recommended. And you know, you kind of trust your gut and know that the person that you're doing it with, if something feels off, don't do it.

Charlie:
How did you find out about this one that you went to?

Caity:
Yeah. So it's through a friend of a friend. So a friend of mine who had been through a lot of trauma and loss in the last few years, who's actually like, you know, a very like, straight laced kind of person, not someone I would have expected to go down this road, basically said, 'Hey, I'm doing this', came highly recommended to him from one of his friends who was also incredibly straight, straight laced. Not necessarily, this is not this is not necessarily something they would have expected them to do. And he kind of felt like they had a really amazing experience. They really trusted this person. So he felt like it was a good, good bet for him. And he's someone I very much trust and trust his judgement.

Charlie:
Do they have like a website? Is it like that sophisticated?

Caity:
Yes and no,

Charlie:
I'm not going to say [definitely] tell us that that website. But like, I can't imagine that you would phone them up and say like, I dunno! I can't imagine them being on Instagram, let's put it that way.

Caity:
Yeah. For this particular experience you kind of needed to... It was obviously a word of mouth kind of thing, and you were then put in contact with someone who would then contact you and then send you everything you need. And so the- I would say the like retreat offering itself is like very sophisticated in terms of how they run it and everything, but it has to be done more or less, yeah, word of mouth.

Charlie:
Wow. Very interesting to say the least. And I'm glad that it was a it was such a positive experience for you. Thank you very much for sharing it with us. Wow.

Caity:
Absolutely.

Charlie:
Okay. So we have gone well and truly over time there. So I will let you... It's probably about time to go and pick up Louis from Day-care the whole day.

Caity:
He'll get dropped off. It's no problem.

Charlie:
There we go. I'd better go to bed. We are meeting in the middle of my night because we're hoping to go to Glastonbury Festival next year, and there's a ridiculous demand for these tickets. So I'm getting up at 3 a.m. Go on.

Caity:
Very early. Yes. And we have to have all devices and everything fired up and ready to go.

Charlie:
Yeah. Okay. Thank you very much, guys, for listening to the end. Thank you, Katie, once again. And maybe in the near future, we'll get you back on here again.

Caity:
Thank you very much. Thanks for having me.

Charlie:
All right. Take care, guys. Bye. Katie. There we go. The end of part three, meaning the end of the episode. Well done for getting through the entirety of it. Make sure you use all of the resources available to you in your membership. Thanks once again for supporting the show and I look forward to seeing you next time on the British English Podcast.

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Podcast host: Charlie:
This will be quite a bit harder for you to understand, as there are a number of accents in the conversation, some poorly delivered at times, as you will notice.

Podcast host: Charlie:
But the aim is to give you a variety of dialects in one conversation and some dialogue to give you native expressions in context. So enter, if you will, to Charlie's pub and his imaginary world.

Character: Mike:
Alright geezer, how's it going?

Character: Chris:
Yes, I'm well thanks. How about you? Have you had a good day?

Character: Mike:
Can't say good mate. No my old man he's been giving me a right old earful for what happened on site last week.

Character: Chris:
Oh that's a pity. Are you back on your dad's building project again?

Character: Mike:
Sad to say mate, but yeah, I am. Couldn't resist this one though. Cash in hand, you know.

Character: Chris:
Oh fair play, hard to resist those I imagine. Oh, here she is.

Character: Emily:
Oh, hi.

Character: Chris:
I was wondering if you're ever going to join us tonight.

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