Joe Rogan Experience Podcast Review: Drugs for Grown-Ups w/ Dr. Carl Hart

 

 

Hey everyone.

I’m Jason Gonsalves aka Gonzo here at TarpsOffSports and I have been tapped to review episodes of the Joe Rogan Experience.

Not that kind of tapped.

I should warn you that I am a massive fan of Joe Rogan and have been for years. Comedy is esoteric but ever so often certain comedians stand out among the rest and for me Rogan sits alongside names like Carlin, Chappelle, and Burr. You may disagree, and that’s OK. If you’re the type that prefers Jim Gaffigan to Tom Segura, that won’t make me hate you. If you enjoyed Nanette more than Sticks & Stones it’s fine, I’ll get it over it. However, just because I admire Rogan’s comedy, as well as this role that he’s carved out for himself as the best interviewer on the face of the planet,

doesn’t mean that I’m not going to critique these episodes fairly and objectively. If you don’t believe me ask the Seltzer King himself:

With that out of the way, let’s dive in. Today I’ll be reviewing the January 12th, 2021 Episode with guest Dr.Carl Hart. Dr. Hart is an expert in the fields of neuro-psychopharmacology as well as behavioral neuroscience and is an advocate for evidence-based drug policy which in essence means he’s for the legalization of all drugs.

I’ve spent the better part of the last decade (8 years) studying psychedelics specifically. To a degree, I’ve been studying all drugs in relation to mysticism, religion, and human history. I’ve learned a little about drug discovery in pharmacology but that’s about the extent of my knowledge as far as the neurochemistry aspect is concerned. That’s why Dr. Hart’s appearance on the show was so intriguing. He is not just an advocate for legalization across the board, but he’s also a user of most drugs, including the hard stuff that the guy outside the liquor store is on. You know, the guy who’s always asking for a dollar and looks at you like you’re speaking Farsi when you tell him you only have your debit card? I’m talking heroin, methamphetamines, oxycodone, and fentanyl.

Dr. Hart admittedly snorts heroin (to avoid the track marks) and on other occasions cocaine (when his wife feels like staying up late and playing hide the flesh flute with his al-dente lasagne). He also suggests the organic fusing of your privates to the sweet sounds and feels of MDMA. Why not? Most of you aren’t home anyway. For those of you who, like myself, have only had your feelings about your significant other re-enforced during the lockdowns, give it a try. On the other hand, for those of you who are at your wits end with your partner, you might need this the most. So whether its in the spirit of saving your marriage or to enhance the perfectly fine relationship that you already have, I say as long as you’re being safe and responsible, get high and get pervy.

All joking aside, Carl Hart is on a mission and that mission is to change the way we as a society view drugs. He’s absolutely right when he says that how we view drugs is an outdated, propaganda-riddled perspective, and he, like myself, believes that with the right parameters in place such as education, regulation, and access to clean product, people can utilize some of these substances to their benefit.

For instance, with the appropriate education, a lot of people wouldn’t even try some of these substances. You know how we tend to make the best decisions when they are informed ones? But, for those who did decide that their set and setting were secure enough, they could use these substances in a tailored way (with the assistance of a physician) to help with their mental health and/or pain management. Or you can use them recreationally as Carl Hart does, for the enhancement of certain experiences. There is plenty of historical evidence that prohibition only serves to increase violent crime. There is also the aforementioned aspect of drug purity. As I said, when putting something into your body, you ought to know how clean/safe it is. Dr. Hart speaks to this in terms of contamination around the 49min mark.

On the other hand, many of these substances are highly addictive and not without the potential for significant negative side effects pertaining to physical and especially mental health if taken incorrectly. Then again, the same can be said for cigarettes and alcohol, arguably even more so, and they are legal.  I’m curious about what you all think on this issue. I encourage you to write your perspectives in the comments section.

Psychedelics

If you’ve been listening to Joe Rogan for at least a month, you’d know that he is an outspoken proponent for psychedelic drugs. There is a part of the podcast near the beginning where Joe accurately states that “the legalization of psychedelics is the one thing that could save our society.” He is 100% correct about this.

Especially now, as we witness blatant attempts to divide us into categories: black, white, brown, gay, straight, trans, genderqueer, Liberal, Conservative, Democrat, Republican, etc. Psychedelics not only just provide an avenue for us to potentially have a mystical experience. But even without that, the most fundamental trip will allow you to experience the dissolution of the boundaries that society has created for us. 2 grams of mushrooms alone has the capability to show you that we are all inherently connected not just to one another, but to everything around us.

There is one point of opposition that I have with Carl Hart. When Joe asks him about people who can’t drink alcohol because they go off the deep end. Hart’s answer was: “That’s not true, I don’t believe that. There’s no evidence for that.”

I don’t know what Hart considers to be evidence, but as someone who has bartended for over a decade (I started while I was in school), I can tell you that the evidence exists in the form of observing real-life people. Some extreme alcoholics have their entire mood, disposition, and motor functions change with just one drink. That’s because alcohol is indeed a very potent drug. Like many of you, I have personal experience with this as well. Like where an alcoholic relative would transform after something as minimal as 1 beer. Unlike the majority of people on Twitter, I like to give the benefit of the doubt where I can. One more thing about Twitter, sans the corny dad jokes, creative puns, and unsolicited titty-pics; I don’t see the point. But I digress.

I like to give the benefit of the doubt, so I asked myself if perhaps Dr. Hart was stating that there is no scientific evidence that demonstrates that a non-alcoholic is affected in this sort of way. It seems to me that Hart’s perspective is that the negative behavior that results from alcohol consumption for people who claim “they can’t drink,” exists with or without the alcohol due to the problems in their lives. But this perspective fails to consider the relationship between mind-altering substances and the human genome. Alcoholism is, to a degree, genetic, while there are other contributors such as social, or cultural ones for example.  Maybe Dr. Hart’s admitted lack of real-world experience (around 153min) informs his expert opinion on this particular matter.

Nobody’s right 100% of the time. This is not a dig at Dr. Hart because I do think he’s very intelligent and I agree with his overall outlook on drug utilization – in the form of temporarily rearranging our neurochemistry to suit/maximize productivity or pleasure in specific situations. Dr. Hart’s admission of having no real-life experience speaks volumes in regards to how we measure expertise in society. Who would you rather have to fix your car, the guy who’s read all the books on fixing cars, or the guy who’s spent the last 15 years fixing cars? At the very least his admission of having no real-life experience is a reminder as to why “trust the experts” is a stupid mantra.

“Trust the experts” means there is no reason to get 2nd opinions in matters of medicine. In essence, “trust the experts” means only listen to people whose entire life experience even with the specific thing that they are an expert in consists of books, peer-reviewed journals, essays, lab experiments, tests, and models. It really means “shut up and listen to the mainstream narrative that we have decided on for you.”

The question of legalizing drugs is not just a legal or political question. In fact, at its core, it is a philosophical question. Dr. Hart said a lot of insightful things in a 3 hour long podcast that was informative and entertaining for virtually the entire duration. But the most insightful thing that he said was,

“It’s wrong that we’re putting people in jail for what they put in their bodies.”

He’s right. I too was right all those years ago in my essay Psychedelic Spirits: Drugs & Mysticism in Religion, when I said that “the state ought not to police where we go within the confines of our own minds.” Our freedom to explore our own minds, to be introspective, reflective, and to better ourselves safely and responsibly how we see fit is at the heart of the matter of responsible drug policy.

As for the remainder of the episode, Joe and Dr. Hart made me feel like a piece of shit for listening to the Dr. Drew radio show with my friends while we were definitely not stoned in my car back in the day. Some of you will remember how entertaining that show was. But, Joe and Dr. Hart highlighted the fact that Dr. Drew was merely profiting off of the exploitation of sick people. Now I just feel guilty for contributing to that exploitation by tuning in. That’s the thing about the Joe Rogan Experience. Joe and most of his guests have a way of making you pause and reflect, learning about new things, and learning something new about yourself in the process. If you’re listening in, listen the right way and take time to decompress what they’re talking about.

You can catch the episode on Spotify, but here’s a short clip from Youtube:

Finally, at the beginning of the show, Dr. Carl Hart said,

“We have to care about people.”

This is not true. We just have to care enough to be kind to one another. So I’ll do my best and I ask that you do yours.

“Peace, Love, and Kindness”. Until next time “freak bitches,”

– Gonzo

 

 

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