Backpackers Tokyo

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Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps — the inexpensive, all-purpose soap that Mark and I swore by in our backpacking 20s — is cool not only for its magical ability to clean everything from hair to body to teeth to clothes to dishes to pets (and for its off-beat philosophic ramblings plastered all over the bottle), but it also openly supports psychedelics.

The company, which has donated more than $23 million since 2015 to drug advocacy and research groups, according to The New York Times, began offering ketamine therapy in January as part of their employee health coverage. And so far, 21 employees have taken advantage of the offer either for themselves or their dependents.

"Let's face it, the world would be a far better place if more people experienced psychedelic medicines," said David Bronner, a top exec at Dr. Bronner's and grandson of the company's founders, who has had many a psychedelic trips of his own.

From The New York Times:

Perhaps less well known is Dr. Bronner's role as one of the country's biggest financial supporters of efforts to win mainstream acceptance of psychedelics and to loosen government restrictions on all illegal drugs. …

[David Bronner's] own love affair with psychedelics began shortly after college, at a dance club in Amsterdam, where he was introduced to candy flipping — the combination of LSD and Ecstasy. The journey included visions of Jesus, his grandfather and "a dialogue with deep self," all of which helped him work through what he described as a crippling toxic masculinity and a troubled relationship. "I died five times but it got me out of my dark hole and set me on my path," said David, 49, a vegan who favors hemp clothing and is especially fond of the adjective "rad." …

The shift [for brother Michael Bronner, president of the company] came last year, when the medications he had long relied on to treat his anxiety and depression stopped working. It was then that he decided to try talk therapy paired with ketamine, a legal anesthetic and party drug that has been gaining increasing acceptance among mental health professionals.

He compared the experience to a massage for the brain that helped cleared away much of his angst and despair. "I don't want to oversell ketamine therapy as a miracle cure but it just stripped the rust away, gave me a reset and got me to a really good space," he said.

A battlefield anesthetic that is also used in veterinarian medicine, ketamine has only recently gained popularity as a therapy for hard-to-treat depression and suicidal ideation. Though the drug does not have F.D.A clearance for mental health conditions, doctors are allowed to prescribe it for so-called off-label use when they think it will provide benefits to a patient.

The New York Times article about Dr. Bonner's excerpted above is a fun read worth a click.

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