My interest in psychedelics and altered states of consciousness as a means for more effective healing runs deep. As a child over forty years ago, my head was filled with confusion about the nature of the self and the world, but at that time, I just didn’t have the language to find a path to clarity.
My roots in philosophy
As Aristotle said, philosophy begins with thaumazein (which translates to somewhere between wonder and bewilderment). My childhood thaumazein led me to studying philosophy, all the way through to achieving a doctorate from Warwick University in the UK in the late 1990s. During this time, I often undertook voluntary work, whether it was teaching illiterate kids to read in underprivileged areas or helping providing people with information about mental health services with a UK non-profit. I had a drive to help people heal, but not studying medicine, I had no clear path to achieving this purpose.
After my PhD, I spent many years working as a consultant, first in the early dotcom space in London, then advising senior government officials around the world, providing advice on how to ensure their mining sector had a better balance between profit, people (especially those affected by mining operations, and the environment. I’ve been privileged to work and spend significant amounts of time in many countries, from Afghanistan to Zambia.
My roots in Ibogaine
During these years, my interest in the molecule ibogaine began to grow. Ibogaine is by far the most complex and powerful psychedelic, both in terms of its pharmacology, but also in terms of its potential healing powers, especially for those in the throes of addiction. It was through my out of hours study of ibogaine and meeting people working with the molecule that I finally found my purpose.
In February 2020, came the opportunity to work for a Canadian psychedelics start-up, focused on ibogaine. This led to me becoming the CEO of the company. The work (often 12-16 hours a day, seven days a week) didn’t feel like “work”; I was able to bring my two decades’ experience managing teams in complex situations to bear on a passion project. I learnt how to flip between language games when speaking to investors, to employees and to medical professionals.
Then when I met Pamela and Mitchell in February this year, I felt intuitively that there was a deep shared perspective on life and values and that this was a team worth fighting for. As soon as Pamela introduced the concept of psychedelic-derived medicines for women (and women’s mood disorders in particular) she’d been working on since the summer of 2020, it resonated deeply. It felt like the road I’d been walking on had led me to this present moment.
The Psychedelic Renaissance
So far in the psychedelic renaissance, the molecules have tended to be medicines in search of a cure (with some notable exceptions), rather than driven from the perspective of the target indication and the person. With Eastra Health, we begin our drug development with women and the nuances of their experience in mind.
I find Eastra Health incredibly energizing and inspiring. In terms of women’s health, instead of seeing women as victims to the vagaries of hormone-related mood disorders, our work at will empower women to take charge of their reproductive (and post-reproductive) lifespan and enjoy all aspects of what makes women uniquely women. Together with like-minded initiatives around the world, we’re helping to build a new paradigm for women’s health that will enable millions of women to live happier and more rewarding lives.
In a world that remains somewhere between bewildering and wonderful, I hope to leave the world that bit better, thanks to a focused dedication to Eastra Health over the next few years.