Good Chemistry and the Science of Connection: Dr. Julie Holland in conversation with Dr. Kelan Thomas

Wednesday, July 29th, from 12pm-1:30pm PST
Presented Live Online via Crowdcast

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Event Description:

We are suffering from an epidemic of disconnection that antidepressants and social media can’t fix. This state of isolation puts us in “fight or flight mode,” deranging sleep, metabolism and libido. What’s worse, we’re paranoid of others. This kill-or-be-killed framework is not a way to live. But, when we feel safe and loved, we can rest, digest, and repair. We can heal. And it is only in this state of belonging that we can open up to connection with others.

Renowned psychiatrist Dr. Julie Holland has been studying the science of connection as revealed in human experiences from the spiritual to the psychedelic. The key is oxytocin — a neurotransmitter and hormone produced in our bodies that allows us to trust and bond. It fosters attachment between mothers and infants, romantic partners, friends, and even with our pets. There are many ways to reach this state of mental and physical wellbeing that modern medicine has overlooked. The implications for our happiness and health are profound.

We can find oneness in meditation, in community, or in awe at the beauty around us. Another option: psychedelic medicines that can catalyze a connection with the self, with nature, or the cosmos.

In this conversation with psychiatric pharmacist Dr. Kelan Thomas, Dr. Holland will explore some of the themes from her new book, and explore how forging true and deeper attachments with our own souls, to one another, and even to our planet, can help us heal ourselves and our world.

Julie Holland, MD is a psychiatrist specializing in psychopharmacology with a private practice in New York City since 1995. Her book Weekends at Bellevue chronicles her nine years as an attending at the psychiatric emergency room on the faculty of NYU School of Medicine. Frequently featured on the Today show and CNN’s docuseries “Weed,” Holland is the editor of The Pot Book and Ecstasy: The Complete Guide.  (Both books are non-profit projects that help to fund clinical therapeutic research.) Dr. Holland is the medical monitor for several MAPS PTSD studies utilizing MDMA-assisted psychotherapy or testing strains of cannabis with varying CBD/THC ratios. She has worked for decades on US drug policy reform based on harm reduction principles. Her 2016 book, MoodyBitches: The Truth About The Drugs You’re Taking, the Sleep You’re Missing, the Sex You’re Not Having, and What’s Really Making You Crazy has been translated into eleven languages. Good Chemistry: The Science of Connection, From Soul to Psychedelics (2020, HarperWave) discusses the physiological benefits of experiencing oneness. Dr. Holland sits on the Advisory Board of the Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines.

Kelan Thomas, PharmD, MS, is an associate professor and psychiatric pharmacist with outpatient behavioral health practice sites in San Francisco and Oakland. He completed undergraduate chemistry/pharmacology at Duke University, a PharmD at UC San Francisco, and a Clinical Research MS at University of Michigan. He has completed clinical pharmacy residencies at University of Michigan and University of Southern California. His research is related to psychopharmacology, adverse drug reactions and pharmacogenomics with the goal of optimizing mental health pharmacotherapy for psychiatric clients. More recently he completed the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) Certificate in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies and Research training program and started collaborating with psychedelic-assisted therapy clinical trials at UC San Francisco. He is also part of Chacruna’s social media team as curator of the “Science Sunday” series, with a psychedelic science publication posted weekly.

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