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OPEN Co-Founder Joost Breeksema on psychedelics today to talk about icpr

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OPEN’s Executive Director, Joost Breeksema, joined David Drapkin on episode 340 of the podcast of Psychedelics Today – one of ICPR’s platinum partners. Joost and David discussed a wide variety of topics, from drug policies to ethics, the nature of reality and the latest details about ICPR

Joost Breeksema is a psychiatry researcher as well as the executive director of OPEN since 2007. He’s a psychedelic enthusiast with a background in philosophy. He remarked on the importance of psychedelics in mental health treatments, which, as he describes “confront people with their own existence, with their place in the universe, with how they relate to themselves and to others.”

Joost believes in the importance of bringing together all the actors involved in order to be ready when these substances become legal, from researchers to health care insurance and policymakers.

Here’s a snippet from the podcast. You can listen to the entire episode from Psychedelics Today here


As advances in psychedelic research keep on growing, Joost asks for caution. There needs to be a balance between hype and hope, he says. There is still a long road ahead in order to get a “safe and sustainable psychedelic treatment”, as he put it. Joost points out that luckily, the Netherlands is one of the leading countries in relation to drug policies. Its decriminalization model has been working for decades and there are lots of efforts being put into harm reduction approaches. Nevertheless, there are important changes that need to be made in order to help the improvement of psychedelic research. 

Joost comes from a background in philosophy, and although he has spent recent years closer to research and therapy about psychedelics, the metaphysical angle on the psychedelic world still interests him mostly. The “I” in ICPR stands for ‘interdisciplinary’, so Joost was glad to shine a light on his fondness for Bernardo Kastrup – who is a computer scientist and philosopher who will be one of the keynote speakers at the upcoming conference.

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Bernardo Kastrup is one of the main proponents of metaphysical idealism and has a PhD in philosophy and computer science. He has explained reality as “best imagined as mathematical equitations floating in empty space” in one of the interviews he has given. 

Joost is looking forward to his talks and the questions Kastrup poses: “How can we understand consciousness? How can we use psychedelics as tools to study consciousness? Can this tell us anything about ontology, the nature of reality or the nature of knowledge? I think this is one of the speakers that I’m looking most forward to seeing”.

Bernardo Kastrup is one of the speakers at ICPR Joost is most looking forward to

ICPR will be one of the places to discuss all these topics. This year’s conference will also have one extra day at the very beginning, September 21, dedicated to ethics and businesses. Professionals from different backgrounds will come together to share their different opinions. As more people find the psychedelic world appealing, David asked Joost about the importance of diversity and inclusion, sometimes easy to forget when money is involved.

After two years of the pandemic, and with the previous ICPR edition being online, Joost is thrilled for the upcoming conference and believes it is a great opportunity to learn, share and connect with different professionals and enthusiasts. He emphasized the different perspectives that will be covered, also outside of the medical world, like the arts, culture, and media and the separate workshops that are given around the conference.

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