Interview: Victor Lucía’s Holistic Connection with Entheogens

Interview: Victor Lucía's Holistic Connection with Entheogens


I meet Víctor Lucía, through Instagram, to do an interview asking him about the fascinating world of entheogens.

Víctor Lucia Sánchez holds a PhD in Health Anthropology.
Degree in Psychology
Psychotherapist of the ACT method researcher and facilitator of microdoses with entheogens.

The Interview

Ana P.: Hello Victor, I have been researching for some time about medicinal plants and among them are the Master Plants, as they are usually called in some communities of South America, in the Amazon more specifically and that are classified as entheogens.

Victor L.: I also like to call them entheogens rather than psychedelics because psychedelics come from the translation Psyco: mind and from the Greek Delos: to show, so it talks about revealing what is in the mind, that stays in a more mental dimension and I think the plant goes much further, instead entheogen comes from the root entheos In:  inside, Theo: God and gene: origin, then it is the plant that connects us with our origin of God.

I conceive the master plants not only in the therapeutic, mental and psychological sense that also include it, but for me it transcends it, goes beyond, connects us with a deep sense of existence and sooner or later with divinity.

Victor says that when he went to Peru he did not have a belief system or any spirituality, he did ask himself many questions and when he came to take master plants there, he began to relate on a more spiritual plane that connected him with existence, with the Whole, beyond himself, highlights how in native peoples that interrelation between plants,  The animals and the community is clearer, there is a real notion of unity. 

Ana P.: What are the benefits of taking Liana Caapi more commonly known as Ayahuasca and scientifically as Banisteríosa Caapi?

Victor L.: Here I have focused a lot lately on research: in Europe Ayahuasca is related to drinking, this drink is a mixture, a decoction of several plants on the one hand there is always Ayahuasca (Banisteriopsis caapi) and on the other, it is combined with more plants depending on the region for example: in Peru with Chacruna (Psychotria viridis),  Chapilonga (Diplopterys Cabrerana) is also used, in other places such as Brazil it is mixed with Jurena (Mimosa Tenuiflora) it was then thought that the visionary effect was mainly due to DMT (Dimethyltryptamine) that have the Chacruna (Psychotria viridis) or the Chapilonga (Diplopterys Cabrerana).

DMT is a molecule that we also synthesize naturally in the pineal gland, it has to do with sleep cycles, it degrades naturally and quickly in the brain during the night, so the Liana Caapi (Banisteriosis Caapi) has within its components the Betacarbolines that are the Harmalins, Harmalines and the Tetrarmalines these have properties that are called MAOIs (Monoamine oxidase inhibitors) and what they do is inhibit an enzyme such as MAO which is what degrades DMT then by ingesting DMT obtained from Chacruna and others + Mao then DMT is not degraded but stays in the brain for longer and that is where the hallucinogenic properties are experienced.  Many scientists at first said, “This is done by indigenous people so that DMT stays longer in the brain!!! giving great importance to this substance, awarding it the therapeutic properties, we now know that it is not so, scientific studies have shown that DMT is a very psychoactive visionary substance but Betacarbolines have many properties in themselves, beneficial, as cognitive modulating antidepressants of neuroplasticity, which are present in the Liana Caapi alone, without joining it with other plants,  the natives of the Amazon have known this for a long time.

Ana P.: Many people are starting to take microdoses to improve their quality of life and also their creativity or performance at work, what does microdosing with Caapi contribute in this regard?

Victor L.: The trend of taking microdoses has emerged in California in Silicon Valley characters like Tim Ferris has popularized them, more than 10 years ago he did an interview with James Fadiman in one of his podcasts and made it fashionable, already in the sixties they began to take microdoses of LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) because some research was done in which Fideman participated where it was seen that in low doses,  Because until then psychedelics were taken in high doses, to have visionary trips, so it was seen that with low amounts creative thinking and lateral thinking, verbal fluency, spatial abilities among others were favored. In one of the studies several professionals are shown: an architect, a designer and a software programmer, enter a control room do their daily work without taking and taking microdoses of LSD and when they take the microdoses they see how they are triggered by creativity, thought in short. that these studies became popular and now there is a renaissance. There are people who are using them for the work issue, especially creative people who need flexibility in thinking and more concentration, they use mostly LSD and Psilocybin.

Ana P.: With Liana Caapi, how is the process of microdosing?

Victor L.: It is different in that sense, because it is not the same substance that psilocybin is similar but it is not the same, where more studies have been done and found results is in affective modulation, as a natural antidepressant, it is a serotonin modulator that binds to brain receptors because it is a source of MAOIs (Monoamine oxidase inhibitors) because they are the MAOI responsible for the reuptake of brain neurotransmitters:  Serotonin Dopamine, Gaba, Glutamate, so it makes serotonin more available in the synapse which is the same as some antidepressant drugs like SSRIs, like fluoxetine that are Selective Serotonin Reception Inhibitors, so the Ayahuasca Liana (Banisteriopsis caapi) has it naturally, it is proven in several studies,  that have been made with mice, that betacarbolines have substances to promote neuroplasticity, release the neurotrophic factor that causes more synapses to be generated and the ramifications to grow, with which we could think that the Liana caapi gives more brain neuroplasticity, which is related to more flexibility, more creativity.

Now I give you my perception that is subjective: I consider that it affects the emotional condition, rather than activating you at the mental level, since it stimulates the production of neurotrophic factor of the neural network of the brain, this factor protects it from oxidation and synapses, so it is a modulator of brain networks. It has been shown in studies published in scientific journals of pharmacology that it can be used to prevent degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, so studies with Ayahuasca are very promising since the betacarbolines that are also present in other plants such as Syrian rue or wild rue (Peganum harmala) have these alkaloids.

Ana P.: Why is professional or therapeutic accompaniment recommended when doing a microdose treatment?

Victor L.: There is just the objective, the purpose of taking a microdose, if the goal of a person is only to improve creativity, the focus on work does not need accompaniment, but when there is a therapeutic goal such as treating anxiety, depression or because you want to change a trait of the character, something of yourself that is harming you,  A psycho-emotional pattern There we are entering what is the therapy of a lifetime, so there are people who are self-medicating. What really makes a change happen and that is demonstrated, is the link with the therapist, not only the tools that can be very powerful and important, that can facilitate that change, by self-exploration, but the link is the main thing, because one has blind spots of oneself, parts that our own mind denies us by defensive mechanisms,  It is natural, to protect us from pain, and many times projection, rationalization, denial, repression, transference are activated and all that prevents us from seeing and changing things that can otherwise be achieved with a therapist, which is that person who proposes to face and works as a mirror and to see things, those blind spots.  And on the other hand it helps you to resignify the links, because when you relate to the therapist you are working a bond, which repairs your own links, because in the end what we heal are always the links we have with others and with ourselves.

Ana P.: Microdosing then expands the damaged bond to see it better.

Victor L.: If the tool of microdosing is an amplifier of consciousness with which it amplifies what we have inside, because it usually represses certain things or experiences that we consider as negative, threatening, then microdosing allows us to connect in some way with what was pending in us and amplifies the psychological level, connects us with what we have not wanted to look at on one side and on the other,  Seen from the neurological, from the scientific side, it is an enhancer of change, so I have already commented on neuroplasticity, so they allow us to have new connections and there is the change: new neural connections in our brain.

Ana P.: It is then very assertive to have a professional company and at the same time the tool of microdosing

Victor L.: If it is a state-of-the-art therapy. One of the factors against psychotherapy is the time there are very long processes and each time they have been shortening, when psychology began with Psychoanalysis for someone to be cured needed a lifetime … To have any result needed at least five years, now no one is willing to wait so long, so everything has accelerated and a quick and effective treatment is sought, which see results in the short term.

Ana P.: How long can Ayahuasca microdosing treatment last?

Victor L.: At first it is established as six weeks according to the Fideman protocol, to make a good process is successful, it is the right time for neuronal changes to occur, between six to eight weeks, when extending it more you can fall again in having to need something external, such as the logic of the “pill”,  The ideal is to be able to stop taking the microdose and have the tools that the therapist has provided so that the person himself can manage his life, that he has the capacity of acceptance in the face of what is happening, self-knowledge, presence, these are the healing variables.

Ana P.: What results can someone expect after a microdose process?

Victor L.: It depends a lot on the purpose of the person, the intention and the model of accompaniment.  I can tell you about what I do: first you look at an objective, an intention to start the process and work with the model of Acceptance and Commitment – ACT – and in that time six factors of mental flexibility are developed so that once the microdoses are finished the person has internalized at the brain level, managing to generate new neural networks and with more resources,  More internal tools to face life’s challenges. It is clear that in the end it is not about generating a dependency as the traditional medical model does, – which tells you that if you have anxiety or depression take the pill for life and make you dependent on visits and taking medicine. For me it is to work six weeks intensely, if you need more you will have, obviously, but the idea is that you develop those flexibility skills so that when the microdoses are left you learn to mature the neural network, when you have more mental flexibility is when we are able to generate more neural connections and mental flexibility, which has to do with certain variables such as the acceptance of experiences,  what we call experiential non-avoidance, the ability to have body awareness, to inhabit a Self that is not rigid, that is not attached to the content of the mind, as well as development of personal values.

Microdoses help a lot in processes where people are blocked, for whatever reason, they can not connect with their emotion, then the microdose has an amplifying effect, they give power and allow to unlock so that the person can advance, it is not the only way, but it helps a lot, there are also body techniques and others, what happens is that microdosing is a very powerful way to do it.

Ana P.: You could tell a special case where you have seen a profound change that is sustained over time.

Victor L.: Really the idea is that there is no dependence when taking Ayahuasca, it is treated, with the microdoses to connect and that allows an awareness. In my experience the microdose does not remain only in the microdose people who do processes with Caapi, regularly want a greater link with the plant, then they can make a macrodose intake and there is a transformation. It is to undertake a path that has no end because a relationship is created with the plant that teaches you deeper and deeper things, for me it is a path, a spiritual practice.

Ana P.: What are the risks when you have the experience of taking Caapi alone?

Victor L.: In microdoses there are very few risks, the biggest fear is to go crazy or a psychotic outbreak that is practically impossible with microdose, with macrodose there may be more risks especially if the person has a history or what we call the Set and the Setting is not adequate, I would say that the risk that may be to take microdoses is only that an emergency arises,  That is to say that something emerges from you, a trauma, something that overwhelms you emotionally, then that’s when you need support from someone to help you contain, to go through that trauma or that unresolved situation, that is the greatest risk, but psychotic dangers do not exist.

Ana P.: Let’s get into that thin line that separates the legal and the illegal from this type of medicine, often stigmatized. On which side is the Caapi?

Victor L.: The Liana Caapi is really neither legal nor illegal, it is not controlled, at the Windows of Plants Institute we work with this plant that is an extract and enters what is a food supplement, nor is it regulated at the pharmaceutical level. The extraction is done cold with a high concentration and the normal tincture is prepared with alcohol to preserve its properties and not spoil over time. It is taken as a tincture.

Ana P.: Who can do a Caapi microdose treatment, from what age and what physical or mental conditions should be had?

Victor L.: As I tell you the studies that have been done are with animals and there are no studies either with other psychoactive substances, nor with the same drugs at the long-term medical level, we would say that it is considered contraindicated for people who are taking antidepressants because there may be an enhancing effect, with the possibility of producing a serotonergic shock,  Otherwise anyone can do a treatment of microdoses and restrictions, the typical: not recommended for pregnant women, or for children under 18 years.  It is a plant that has a certain psychoactive effect so that must be taken into account, it is not anything, you have to take it seriously, so I recommend doing a process with an accompaniment, with follow-up in order to benefit from all its effects.

Ana P.: The notion of ceremony, of ritual that we know when drinking this plant in a group where is the microdose system?

Victor L.: The relationship with the plant has always been a relationship of ritualistic divinity where ceremonies have been performed in traditional contexts, when we move it to Europe or other places in the West where many times there are no rituals, because culturally we have not been taught, then what I recommend is that each person find their own ritual,  On the other hand the scientific and rational vision is good, but there is also a dimension that comes from the right hemisphere, a transcendent, symbolic Holistic dimension, which tells us that when we take a plant especially a plant of this caliber we are incorporating an energy, a special intelligence to our body, therefore we must be aware that we are maintaining a relationship with this entity and that requires the preparation of a space and a context that helps to establish a good relationship, and in fact this dimension, for healers, taitas, vegetalists, for the natives of South America is the most important, for them it is not only a substance, nor the chemical it carries, the drink is itself the relationship they have with the plant, the more they diet it,  the more they commit themselves on their way to it, the more revelations they receive and the more healing powers they obtain from the Liana, with which it is a logic that escapes the rational and points to the logic of interdependence and relationship with all beings, the drink has been used for a long time,  millennia, in the Amazon basin as a sacred drink, as in Greece the Eleusinian Mysteries were taken. Plants have always been used to connect with the divine, with altered states of consciousness, that is why rituals are made to differentiate the sacred and the profane and it is true that when you enter the Expanded States of Consciousness other realities emerge, which are not the realities that we usually perceive with our eyes, these realities are what give meaning to the Amazonian worldview and also enrich the Western worldview despite not Have incorporated these practices. In our culture these states are related more like a “drug” a party where it does not integrate well, is more playful and recreational, is far from an intention really of healing or linking with the divine.

Ana P.: This brings me back to Set & Setting

Victor L.: The Set and the Setting tells us about the context that applies to microdosing, it has to do with all the personal variables, with the attitude with which a microdose is going to be taken, the expectations that the person has, the intention, the context that is in what space he will take it, this is important when it comes to feeling the effect that the microdose will have on the body,  that is why it is good to define in advance what that Set and that Setting will be.

Ana P.: What do you recommend for microdosing?

Victor L.: I recommend that everyone find their place in a quiet space where they feel good, the idea of microdoses is that they adapt to the day to day, that you do not have to stop working or abandon daily activities, it is to make a normal life and at the same time take the microdose,  I recommend that it be in the morning or at night, do a small ritual, also follow a certain diet to accompany the taking and all that helps to amplify the effect, that is, the more focused we are with our body and with nature the process will be more effective.

Ana P.: If I want to get a dose, a shot, a treatment, where can I do it or get the tincture.

Victor L.: Later in the institute can be obtained, we have a project that is to provide plants with therapeutic properties, extracts that are imported from Ecuador and at the same time we are a training institute for therapists who want to learn about these processes and accompany microdoses, it is a double job: educational training and provide high quality and ecological products.

Interview by Ana Patricia Restrepo G. 1968
Journalist from the Universidad de la Sabana (Colombia) illustrator.
He is currently researching medicinal plants, holistic therapies and the expansion of human consciousness at the Institute of Holistic Health in Barcelona.

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