Click to download our Free Psilocybin Sourcing Guide

Download our Free Psilocybin Sourcing Guide

Download Your Free Medication and Tapering Resource

Download Free Medication Interaction Resource

Psychedelics for Pets: A Veterinarian’s Perspective Ft. Dr. Kasara Andre

Join host Nicholas and special guest Dr. Kasara Andre, a veterinarian and U.S. Army veteran, as they delve into the fascinating world of psychedelics for animals, with a primary focus on cats and dogs. 

Discover how human emotional journeys can affect our furry companions and explore the potential of psychedelic medicine for treating behavioral conditions in pets, including canine PTSD. Dr. Andre shares insights on the importance of awareness, intention, and consent when considering whether to include your pet in your psychedelic experiences. 

Learn the importance of therapeutic touch, co-regulation, and understanding an animal’s perspective when dealing with emotional trauma. Dr. Andre shares her expertise on guiding nonverbal creatures through challenging experiences and emphasizes the value of the human-animal bond in the healing process. 

If you’re a pet owner or animal lover, this episode will provide valuable insights into supporting your animal companions on their journey to emotional well-being. 

Download Our Free Psilocybin Sourcing Guide

For harm-reduction purposes, we provide links to online psilocybin vendors, local stores, delivery services, and spore vendors for growing your own medicine at home.

Episode 61 – Psychedelics for Pets: A Veterinarian’s Perspective Ft. Dr. Kasara Andre

Nicholas:

Welcome to the Psychedelic Passage podcast. My name is Nick and I am your host this week. Thank you so much for joining us. And this week we are talking about psychedelics for animals and primarily focusing on cats and dogs. 

And with me, I have a very special guest, Dr. Kasara Andre, and she is a veterinarian practicing in Colorado. She is a US army veteran and serial entrepreneur. 

And currently she’s investigating novel and durable solutions for emotional disease in animals with particular interest in the potential of psychedelic medicine for behavioral conditions such as canine PTSD

Dr. Andre believes that unashamed curiosity leads to unexpected and exciting discoveries with the exploration of each new discovery, the importance of scientific scrutiny, rigor, and precision–

–Is surpassed only by the importance of patient care, patient advocacy and support of the patient’s caregiver and family unit. So welcome, Kasara, thanks so much for joining.

Casara Andre:

My pleasure. I’m so excited to be here with you today.

Nicholas:

Yeah, me too. This is a juicy topic. I’m glad that we have you. And as just kind of an overview of how we’re going to structure our discussion today, I think, you know, I’m thinking about this in kind of two major sub topics or themes, if you will. 

One is how human journeys affect their animals and the other one is how animals can leverage psychedelics to treat their own trauma. And so I want to start with this interaction of humans who may be journeying and, you know–

–Potentially having their animals present and some of the considerations that are important there. But before we jump into that, I’m curious just what inspired you to get into the psychedelic side of veterinary medicine.

Casara Andre:

Such an interesting question that I actually think a lot about. 

Nicholas:

Hahaha.

Casara Andre:

How did I end up in this position? Why am I doing this? I will say that the root of it is because I have long experienced missing a particular piece of medicine for my patients and that’s been true since I worked as a veterinarian for the military. 

So working with dogs that were serving actively in the military. That was my first experience with really missing a type of practice that was needed. 

These are athletes, we know everything about them from a health perspective, but often you’re missing some of those things that help them repair from a hard training session or definitely some of the emotional disease that can happen from being in a combat scenario, things like that. 

So I’ve actually worked with acupuncture and massage and rehab and some alternative modalities for a while. And then recently over the past six years, have really worked with cannabis as a modality for animals. 

That has led to sort of some of the psychedelic pieces, but in addition, I practice in Colorado within the United States. 

And so our state has just decriminalized naturally derived psychedelics, which includes psilocybin. Very easy to grow, a lot of humans are accessing it and so it just brings it very much to the forefront of my practice. 

A lot of my clients already ask me about that, just as much as they ask me about cannabis. So really need from my client population and my patient population is what brings me here.

Can My Animal Be Present For My Journey?

[00:03:23] Nicholas:

Yeah, thanks for that. And so what do listeners need to know about having their animal present while they’re journeying?

Casara Andre:

Very simply, I think we could say that as your emotional state affects the emotional state of beings that are around you, particularly other mammals. 

And that’s why this conversation is really interesting when we think about dogs, cats, or those companion animals that we see quite frequently. As mammals, we share a lot of similarities. 

We share a lot of emotional similarities and definitely our companion animals, they are in our lives, in our spaces. Their genetics predisposes them to really being with us, partnered with us–

–And so that means that when we’re working with something, when we’re changing something within us, just our day-to-day emotional state, that awareness needs to be present, that we’re also affecting the emotional state of our animals. And that’s true with or without psychedelics. 

That’s just true across the board. But when a human is working with a psychedelic substance or anything that’s mind-altering, simply being aware that that emotional footprint is wider than yourself, is kind of the first thing that I always say. 

There’s lots of pieces to build out from there, but awareness that your emotional state reaches much further than just your own physical body.

Nicholas:

Because we get this question a lot. It’s like, well, can my dog or cat be present while I’m journeying? Cause they’re trying to evaluate, do I do this in my home? Do I go to a facilitator’s home?

Like how do I choose a location and then what do I do with my pet? And so I’m wondering if there’s some considerations that you can highlight for folks that are evaluating that decision.

Casara Andre:

Absolutely. The first one that really comes to mind is that animal’s emotional health or behavioral health. 

If we have an animal in the household who is working with or through their own emotional disease, so K9 PTSD, separation anxiety, those are things that need to be taken into consideration when prepping for a journey. Just as simple as that. 

And that doesn’t automatically mean that the animal isn’t present. It’s more an idea of an awareness and an inclusion in the intention of prepping for a journey that your household, your setting for you, needs to be appropriate for that. 

And then also everything that you interact with and kind of what happens in that journey needs to be considered as well. So I will emphasize that while the base recommendation is your animal should not be present, that’s not true across the board. 

There are some very, very bonded human animal pairs that should go through that together, it’s better if they go through that together. They are trained therapy animals that are specifically trained to carry humans through some tough emotional states. 

So I don’t think this is a black and white yes to no answer like that. It’s with intention, with awareness that the animal’s emotional state is affected. That’s kind of, I think, the basis of going into any of these preparation pieces.

Nicholas:

Yeah, I mean, classic, right? And everything’s nuanced. I mean, we joke that this is the It Depends podcast because–

Casara Andre:

Hahaha. 

Nicholas:

–people try to ask questions and you’re like, I can’t give such a simple answer to that. And it sounds like this is much the same where part of what you’re talking about is consideration of the type of bond that you have with your animal and also their past history.

Casara Andre:

Absolutely. And what’s the purpose of the journey?

Nicholas:

Right.

Casara Andre:

Is the journey to really do some deep intents, the first time you’ve touched that piece of work for you? Maybe that’s not the time to have your animal present. 

Maybe that’s the time for you and your human guide to really try to dig into something and then your integration be really focused on spending time with your animal. 

And then down the road, as you work through that issue or that problem or that experience, then beginning to incorporate your animal because I’ll just say there is nothing better than an animal to really help us as humans feel grounded and settled. 

I think from my side and my team’s side, it’s the awareness of, what do we need to give back, that there is a duty of care. If an animal serves in a guide capacity, if they’re with you in a journey, just be aware of what it takes for them to recuperate as well.

Nonverbal Communication & Consent in Animals

[00:07:30] Nicholas:

I mean, one of the things that I consider when I think about this is like, it’s not exactly like you can tell your animal, hey, this is temporary, I’m gonna take this mushroom.

Casara Andre:

Yep.

Nicholas:

It’s gonna make things weird, but it’s only eight hours, and it’d mean a lot to me if you joined.

Casara Andre:

Yeah.

Nicholas:

That discussion can’t happen. So how do you, is there an equivalent?

Casara Andre:

Absolutely. And just, I think the first thing to start with is speech gives us an ability to convey that information really quickly. And that’s why humans are able to do many of the things that only humans can do. But that doesn’t mean that communication doesn’t happen. 

We just have this really cool shortcut way of being able to say, hey, this is about to happen. You haven’t seen it before. Here’s what you should do. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t set up those same types of, similar and useful for the species, differences. 

So those cross-species communication, but it does take more intention and it means going slow. So again, that’s why we sort of talk about that preparation phase as that human is thinking about, what does this mean for me? Why am I doing it? 

What am I trying to get out of it? Who’s gonna be- like all those pieces as you consider it, really just having the animal in your mind during the planning part often resolves a lot of these pieces because it’s gonna usually it’s pretty obvious whether that animal wants to be present or not–

–And getting to include them in ceremony or ritual, that’s prepping for the journey, prepping for the experience, you’re gonna get a lot of cues of “I don’t want to be here.” I’m gonna go sit in my crate. I’m gonna go sit in my room. I want to go outside. 

So there’s actually really easy ways to let an animal know what’s coming. And from the veterinary side, we talk a lot about cooperative care, consent, the importance of consent in dealing with an animal. 

And some of that is kind of what this is based on just being aware of asking for consent. Do you wanna hang out? Or here’s the door, the door’s open. You can leave if you need to. And some of those pieces, it’s such an easy place to start.

Nicholas:

I mean, that was gonna be one of my questions. Like, how do animals give consent? I’m guessing it’s rooted in choice. Like, you can stay here or you can go outside.

Casara Andre:

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Now there are some more complicated ways to set up the ability to give consent. You can do everything from speech buttons to actually establishing a set of communication patterns. 

And animals are very capable of understanding, when I do this motion, this happens. Whenever you ask me this, this is gonna come next. 

But importantly for us as humans, we’re so good at projecting or thinking about the next thing that we often miss some of those steps of building up. 

We assume that If you get in the car and you go to the dog park, it’s gonna be fun. Why are you sick in the middle? Why do you get car sick? We’re going someplace fun. 

But for an animal, there’s a lot of smaller steps in there before you get to the dog park. So maybe you have something fun that happens after the sequence of really hard events. 

Just that perspective is really important to keep in mind. The animals see what happens next and what’s associated with that action. 

It’s really hard and it’s not possible to the extent that humans do to project further out and say, well, next week this is gonna happen or tomorrow this is gonna happen.

Nicholas:

I mean, I think that’s one of the reasons we love our animals so much is because they are so present.

Casara Andre:

Absolutely, absolutely, absolutely.

Nicholas:

They’re not focused on their bank account or their workload or to-do list or anything of the sort.

Casara Andre:

Yeah, yeah.

Nicholas:

And so, how do we pay back our animals? Let’s say they do join for a journey, for a ceremony, for a session. Like, how do we pay back our animals?

Casara Andre:

I think again, I would pull back a little bit and say, what’s the intention for the journey? I work with actually a lot of clients who, not a lot of clients–

–A few clients who are beginning to consider again, because access is so prominent now in Colorado, can they utilize the journey to help their animal? Like what is actually possible? 

You know, we’ll talk a little bit about that probably later on, but if the intention of the journey is to spend some time being present, that’s amazing. And I don’t think you necessarily need, after the fact, integration from that, maybe you just probably want to do it. 

But if you as a human are really trying to dig into something that you haven’t before, then I think if the animal’s present, that integration period needs to include a lot of off time for them. A lot of play time. A lot of reconnection time. 

You know, the human animal bond is a beautiful thing. It’s the connection between humans and animals that cross-species ability to communicate and connect and to feel in sync with. But it takes care. 

It absolutely has to be cultivated and cared for. And so that’s really what was it strained, I think is a good question. Was that journey straining to the human-animal bond and then taking some care to repair that with time.

Nicholas:

Yeah. So part of what I’m hearing here is that the contents of the journey are actually a big deal when it comes to whether our animals are present or not.

Casara Andre:

Yes.

Nicholas:

Because if we’re doing deep shadow work, past trauma work, things like that, like you’re really getting into these layers of our being that are typically repressed, hard to access and full of a lot of emotion.

Casara Andre:

Yeah, absolutely. And think about the roles that animals play in our lives. If you’re sad, how does your dog know that? 

Well, they’re always listening to what we’re feeling, chemical changes in our body, our physiology, breathing rate, heart rate, and we sort of just assume, oh, you knew. 

And they do know, it is a felt sense for them, but there’s also some very key things that they’re watching for and interacting with. So if you’re going into a session where you’re changing those things. Really at the bottom line, it’s just unfair.

Nicholas:

Right.

Casara Andre:

Someone should pass the memo around to everyone else in the household. I’m about to do some deep work, but I’m gonna be okay. I will see you on the other side of that. And this isn’t different from a child being in the house. 

This isn’t different from looking around at who else is there. We just don’t often do that for the animal household family members. 

So I don’t think it’s actually that much different than what we’re already doing. It’s still again that awareness of, this might affect you, animal. You might not be taking the substance, but I am really affecting your emotional state.

Nicholas:

I actually think that’s a good barometer when you phrase it like that. Like, would you have your toddler around while you’re doing this? Like, are you in a state where that’s fair to your toddler?

Casara Andre:

Absolutely. I think that’s a great barometer of what would be appropriate here. 

Nicholas:

Right.

Casara Andre:

What am I trying to do? What’s the goal?

Nicholas:

So let’s say you go through this whole process and you decide, okay, my animals got choice, they’ve been participatory in the process.

I’ve set my intention, they’re gonna join, or at least have the option to join. Do we know what happens to the animal while the human’s going through this?

Casara Andre:

No, but what a fascinating question.

Nicholas:

Hehehe.

Casara Andre:

I love that we can ask this. It is breaking edge science on the veterinary side, well, just like the human side.

Nicholas:

Right.

Casara Andre:

We are at a time in medical professional history and I just feel blessed to be a practitioner at this time in the world to say, I have zero idea. We know what we need to do from the harm reduction side, so we need to take care of that first. But what lies beyond that? 

It is an incredible thing to be bonded with an animal, to consider another species’ mental state. And our team works really heavily on what we can do in a positive direction. 

We want to also protect the animal, so harm reduction education, really, really important. But when those safety parameters are in place, what’s possible? 

Therapy animals are so important in a lot of human care right now, just the ability to connect with a different species if that human is having a tough time connecting with other humans. So there’s really some important bidirectional positives that can kind of happen there. 

So we don’t really know what happens. We have, our team has a survey up where we’re sort of trying to collect some of that early data to figure that out. But I will say that anecdotally what I hear from my clients and just from sort of living in this area, it can go either way. 

We hear both good and bad reports. We hear some really positive reports, but we also hear some animals struggling when that safety wasn’t put in place.

Differences Across Species & Personalities

[00:16:09] Nicholas:

Interesting. And so, and this, this probably, I’m sure there’s no clear answer here, but, but what about potential differences between dogs versus cats or like type of animal?

Casara Andre:

I think too early to talk much more than patterns or trends that we’ve started to recognize, but they’re actually not that hard to track. 

So if we just look at emotion among animals or emotional well-being, kind of how they interact with the world, kitties tend to have a more difficult time in stressful, emotional households. 

Nicholas:

Hmm.

Casara Andre:

They are emotional radars. They just reflect back what’s in the household. If your cat’s peeing on the bed you should work on some of the emotion yourself. 

If they’re peeing in your shoes, there’s probably something going on in your own emotional state that they’re just trying to tell you about. So there’s some things that we already know about how our animals interact in some of this emotional world. 

Dogs tend to be a little bit better just from their breathing and how we interact with them, take them in the car, we go on walks with them. They’re a little bit better at riding, hopefully that makes sense and kind of translates to the audience, like riding our waves, if you will. 

And sort of like, oh well now we’re okay, oh well now we’re not. But a lot of times cats tend to be less okay when there’s a big change of emotion in the household and that care isn’t put back at them. They tend to have a little bit of a harder time.

Nicholas:

Yeah, so perhaps just another level of consideration is like, what type of animal are we considering having join us in this space?

Casara Andre:

And again, that animal’s personality is a huge feature there. If your cat is scratching at the door because you locked them out and they’re like, no, I want–

Nicholas:

Right.

Casara Andre:

–to be with you. Then I would accept that as very, very obvious communication and let them.

Harm Reduction: The Highest Form of Care

[00:17:56] Nicholas:

Yeah, and so I’m curious, is there anything else that you feel called to share around this, this specific part of our discussion around considerations or things to know if your animal’s gonna join?

Casara Andre:

Yes, absolutely. And I think for me that very firmly falls on the harm reduction side. There’s so much that we could talk about and so much that’s going to come out from research and clinical applications about what actually happens in those maybe bi-directional sessions–

–Or when we’re working with animals, but right now, remember that your cat and your dog is better at getting in cabinets than you think they are. So put your stash up high. 

And that’s true no matter what is in your household, whether it be cannabis, whether it be prescription medications, whether it be psychedelic substances, from a reduce the harm, reduce the risk, just think about the fact that if you’re interested in something, your dog is too.

If you’re growing mushrooms at home and you’re playing with your grow every day, your dog’s interested in it. If you throw out a bunch of trash that has mycelium or your fruiting bodies that are in it that you weren’t gonna use, your dog still might be interested. 

Interestingly, a lot of things that have come up as we’ve just talked with some of the community is if you are sick after especially ingesting mushrooms and you vomit, remember that there are still psychoactive pieces of psilocybin mushroom in that vomit.

Sometimes the vomit itself can have enough psilocybin that it’s psychoactive. So there’s just some, let’s be practical things to talk about first. 

And if your animal’s with you in the room, that might mean, especially if you are someone who gets sick quite a bit on some of these substances, having a trash can that you can, or trash bag that you can tie up and put out of site–

–Making sure you close your boxes or close your pieces and put them away before you actually that full journey comes on. Again, the guide is a really helpful piece here to make sure that all this happens. And then I’ll just add, remember that time perception is often changed–

Nicholas:

Mm.

Casara Andre:

–under a lot of psychedelic substances.

Nicholas:

This is an important one.

Casara Andre:

Your dog still has to pee.

Nicholas:

Yeah.

Casara Andre:

They’re still hungry at the same time. And just thinking about some of that politeness interacting with other species, remember that they still have their needs as well.

Nicholas:

Yeah, they have needs too, even when you’re incapacitated and journeying on the couch.

Casara Andre:

Yes, exactly.

Nicholas:

Well, thank you for that. I think that that’s a very practical and enlightening discussion because I know for myself, I certainly didn’t think through all of those possible considerations in the past. 

And like I said, we get this question a lot. This is all so new even in the human application that the consideration towards our animals is lagging.

Casara Andre:

Well, but what’s amazing is when we think about there being a guide present and, you know, I’m not advocating for or against, I think that’s a very human led, what are you working on? You know, what’s right for you? 

But when there is a guide, that solves a lot of these problems, even if it’s simply, I’m here to sit with your animal. I am here so that you don’t need to worry about this other being that you have responsibility for. 

I got it. Right, and if you need something, I’m here for you too. But I’m here for your animal, and I’ll make sure they get walked.

Nicholas:

It’s funny that you say that because I’ve actually facilitated journeys for clients where their animal was present and they did have the choice to either hang out or go outside.

And sometimes they would just come and hang out with me and like get some pets and they, you know, they weren’t really bothered, but they at least had their freedom of choice and, you know, the effective version of animal consent.

Casara Andre:

Absolutely. And I think that’s important for guides and facilitators to be really aware of tightly bonded human animal pairs because many times those animals, particularly dogs, we’re kind of talking about that species here. 

If there’s a lot of angst in their human and you’re a new human who happens to be in this area, like, I don’t know that I like you being here. Just remember that we haven’t told them the whole story. 

So you can be doing an exceptional job as a guide, but if their human is going through a lot, and it’s very obvious that they’re going through a lot, you know, sometimes it’s just like, can you please leave? I don’t really want you to be here anymore.

Nicholas:

Right.

Casara Andre:

That’s a really confusing spot for the animal to be in. And a bite risk is not something that anyone wants to happen in these scenarios. Also again, it’s not fair. 

That’s not a fair scenario to put the animal in, but it just takes a little bit of thought, a little bit of consideration that they don’t understand what’s happening. It doesn’t mean we can’t explain that in some other ways, but do we really need to do that? 

Can we just set up some type of system, some type of management, some type of communication consent that takes care of some of these from the get-go?

How Do We Work With Animals & Their Trauma?

[00:22:43] Nicholas:

Yeah, thank you, thank you, thank you. I think this is all super helpful and I hope that our listeners are getting value out of this as well. And I’d like to shift to kind of this other component here, which is how do we work with animals who have trauma?

Casara Andre:

Yeah, great question. Such a passion project of mine.

Nicholas:

Heh.

Casara Andre:

I think I would love to ask a question back first before I tell you my viewpoint.

Nicholas:

Fire away.

Casara Andre:

What’s your perception of how animals do experience trauma? Like with, if you just think about what does that mean for an animal side because you work with so many human species that experience that, what’s your current idea of what that looks like in an animal?

Nicholas:

So, the lens that I look at this through largely comes from Peter Levine and essentially studying animals in nature, where what animals do is instinctually discharge their traumatic energy

So like, you know, he uses the example of a gazelle in the wild that escapes a predator attack. And the first thing they do is get down on the ground and start shaking. And they shake until there’s nothing left to shake out. And then they go back, you know, through their day. 

And his kind of argument is that that’s why they don’t carry around this PTSD residue that humans do. And in my work as a facilitator, what I’ve seen is that humans do this. 

If you give a human a psychedelic compound that turns off their default mode network and gives them an opportunity and a safe space to do that, they will shake. 

And I do this in my journeys too, I shake. And so that’s, that’s kind of the lens that I look at this through, because we can’t outthink our trauma. And so there’s a major bodily component here.

Casara Andre:

Absolutely. I agree with that so much. And what a really wise perspective to bring to this, and I think I hear in that your ability to care for humans. When we think about the animal piece, I think the first thing that I’ll bring out is they’re not necessarily in a safe container for them. 

We’re talking right now about my human’s going through something or I accidentally ingested this or maybe my human gave it to me intentionally but no one’s guiding me through it. 

So if that’s true, if we have this very like, shake it off and sort of let that extra adrenaline sympathetic tone fade away, is the space really safe for that to happen?

Nicholas:

Hmm.

Casara Andre:

So I think that that’s actually the question. Are we making spaces? Are we handling animals that have emotional trauma or have gone through something traumatic, doesn’t mean there has resulted in trauma, to have this off-shedding. 

And I think that’s a really important question, especially if they’re really bonded to a human who’s going through a lot, that animal is always on.

Nicholas:

Mmm.

Casara Andre:

That animal is always in protect mode. So essentially they’re in this on sympathetic tone drive. but it never shuts down. Because, does that make sense?

Nicholas:

For sure.

Casara Andre:

You have kind of this consulting factor of, but I need to take care of my human. And I need to be on, in my warrior mode, but what do we see happen for that in humans? 

Nicholas:

You burn out.

Casara Andre:

Absolutely, absolutely. And then we see when those complicated, complex PTSD, some of that, you start to have layers and layers of when the body’s not being cared for. So that’s, that’s the thing that I would raise from my side. 

When we’re thinking about an animal with emotional trauma or the potential to be affected by an emotional trauma, are we simply creating the opportunity for them to recuperate? And maybe it doesn’t turn into something traumatic because they just had the space to reset for a moment. 

And I’ll add in there, what a great time for that bonded human-animal pair to just decompress together. to really do that in sync and utilize that human-animal bond.

Nicholas:

t’s also about creating safe containers for the animal.

Casara Andre:

Absolutely.

Nicholas:

The question then is like, what is a safe space for an animal? Or how do they know that they can turn off, so to speak?

Casara Andre:

Absolutely. How do you guide a nonverbal creature? That, you know, all of our human guiding, our human facilitation is very word heavy. That’s just we’re very much talking people through these experiences. 

What do you do when you have a nonverbal creature who has a different paradigm, a different cognition than you do? We still think that that’s possible. So, therapeutic touch, massage, is a really strong piece of how we believe that animals can be guided through these situations. 

And I’ll emphasize that that’s not always with a psychedelic substance. This can be with cannabis, it can be with massage, it can be with anything, but touch is such an incredible communication that crosses species. 

What we talked about at the beginning, we don’t have words that allow humans to convey a lot of information really fast, really succinctly, but as mammals, we share a lot of the same wiring, a lot of the same circuits, at our touch perspective. 

So somehow making sure that we are creating safe spaces, but also safe feelings in their body, and that is really easiest to do when we have some therapeutic touch training. 

And that’s a part of some of our harm reduction pieces that we’re trying to put into place is just teaching pet parents how to therapeutically touch, therapeutically interact with their animal because it’s positive for both. It absolutely helps that human and it definitely helps that animal.

Nicholas:

I mean, I would imagine that the concept of co-regulation extends between species as well.

Casara Andre:

Yes.

Nicholas:

Like if I get into a meditative state and just hold my dog, like that, I would guess that helps them feel safe.

Casara Andre:

Absolutely, absolutely. Well said.

Nicholas:

Cool, okay, I’m piecing this together.

Casara Andre:

Yes, it’s amazing that I think we all have those intuitive senses. Sometimes it’s just the, oh, I didn’t know that I should bring that into my awareness, but okay, mammals, got it.

Nicholas:

Right.

Casara Andre:

Touch is good. And then there’s such a beautiful connection that happens between humans and animals. That bond is just so incredible when you see it form. 

Sometimes you doing that, you holding space, not thinking about yourself, not letting yourself dive into the problems that you’re working on, but you actually holding meditative space for your animal, sometimes that can be the payback. 

Sometimes that can be the replenishment of you just being willing to not think about yourself for a moment. and just be present in that moment for your animal.

Nicholas:

Yeah, dedicating your time, energy, and presence to them because they’re always doing it for you.

Casara Andre:

Absolutely.

Current Research on Animals Ingesting Psychedelic Substances

[00:29:21] Nicholas:

Right. And so I guess where are we at with this administration of psychedelics to animals?

Casara Andre:

Not as far along as I would like.

Nicholas:

Hahaha.

Casara Andre:

But some really exciting things are happening in the background. I mentioned before the survey that we have up, we are hearing about accidental ingestion by animals and so we learn a lot from what happens there. 

We also are hearing about a lot of intentional administration that requires a lot of harm reduction education but we learn a lot from listening to those experiences as well. 

Importantly there are no policies that allow a licensed professional like myself to administer a psychedelic substance to an animal. 

So this is just like, again I’m in Colorado so we have a decriminalization arm, and then there’s also a regulated arm, so on the regulated side no licensed practitioners are yet able to give and minister psychedelic substances. 

So that applies to me as well as a veterinarian, but my clients are definitely pursuing this on their own. 

So there’s an element of client-initiated treatment that requires the veterinary field to position ourselves a little bit more forward-leaning than we might think of at first, because it’s already happening.

Nicholas:

Right.

Casara Andre:

It’s not really going to be a “We have researched it, we understand what’s going on.” There’s already a need for us to be pretty verbal in this field. Also, we’ve already talked about, there’s a lot of things that animals need a human voice to advocate for them with. 

So we’re decently far from actually being able to administer psychedelic substances in a licensed therapeutic context, but not that far off. 

As a veterinarian, I have a DEA license, and there are some off-label privileges because we don’t necessarily research some of the drugs for animals like we do for humans. 

So there’s some pieces in the background that really make prescription psychedelics likely to be accessible to animals when that scheduling changes. 

Now I’ll just put a caveat and say that that’s not always what people in the regulatory realm have been thinking about. So I usually go to those meetings and be the annoying, “Animal!–

Nicholas:

Right.

Casara Andre:

–Animal!” But it just comes to awareness. It’s gonna be an interesting next year or so because I think that administration is actually really close.

Nicholas:

So effectively you’re aggregating crowdsourced data to piece all this together while also informing on generally accepted harm reduction principles knowing that this is going to happen anyway.

Casara Andre:

Absolutely, and it’s already happening. I mean, that’s the important part of exposures are already there. So another piece that I’ll add to that list that we’re working on is education for our urgent cares and our critical care hospital. 

So just like human emts and paramedics and hospitals need to be prepared if there is an incident veterinary emergency facilities also need to know what to do just from an awareness perspective. 

Nicholas:

Right. And so, where does cannabis fit into all this? Because you mentioned that before, and it’s certainly psychoactive, depending on the specific cannabinoids. And so I’m curious where you’ve landed with the cannabis application here.

Casara Andre:

I have worked with cannabis for a long time. We consult globally on the molecules that might be best in a certain case, in a cancer case, in a seizure case, sort of that piece. 

And so familiarity with the endocannabinoid system really is at the heart of how I practice professionally. So my actual client list really is working to heal the ECS, the endocannabinoid system. 

And cannabis is a really effective way to do that. It’s easy, it’s safe, and really good at keeping that balancing system, the endocannabinoid system, in line. Now there’s a lot of other things that do that, exercise, diet, massage, acupuncture, all of that. 

From a clinical perspective, cannabis is just easy and it’s also really a quickly effective way to make some changes there. 

So when I think about this, again, recognizing that there’s no policies that allow me to directly administer, but I do have a lot of clients that are working with us on their own, or they’re interested in administering to their animal. 

From my perspective, we need to have the endocannabinoid system, that regulatory system within every mammal, really well-toned. 

In order to do well in any change, whether that is their humans change, the animals change, environmental change, we really need to have the ECS be robust in its ability to manage that. 

And if listeners aren’t too familiar with what the endocannabinoid system is, it’s amazing, it’s the most amazing system I’ve ever studied, but it essentially is this very vast regulatory system in every mammal, everything that has a spine, every vertebrate has an endocannabinoid system. 

So again, we’re at that level of what can we do cross-species? What are actually things that we can do to care for multiple species in a household and caring for that ECS, through cannabis or not, is one of those really great ways to get a household in sync.

Nicholas:

Personally, I’m curious because I witnessed a dog go through cancer and CBD dog treats played a massive role in helping the dog eat and function and have some semblance of quality of life towards the end of life

But then we also hear about these overdoses from dogs eating THC-laden edibles. And so where are you landing with THC in dogs? Because it’s clear that CBD has efficacy, but I’m curious about THC.

Casara Andre:

Great question. I will ask you one in return.

Nicholas:

Great.

Casara Andre:

And I think this will help our analogy as we move forward. If you, without you knowing it, suddenly consumed a thousand milligrams of THC, no one told you were gonna take it, you didn’t know that it happened–

–And then suddenly all the lights are really weird, and then all the voices are really loud, and then suddenly someone throws you into a car, zooms across to this weird clinic where other dogs are barking and there’s really loud noises, that’s just not a good scenario. 

So when we think about THC intoxication, we’re really talking about an animal that gets into a stash, that eats the entire bag of gummies. The dog that eats the cheesecloth after someone’s made edibles at home out of the trashcan. 

So those are really what we as the veterinary community think about for these intoxication cases that is very different from a therapeutic administration of a carefully selected, molecular profile in a product. “?

And importantly, just like in humans, the way we dose cannabis in animals is titration. Because we are really treating to the effect of the ECS’s tone, not to a milligram dose. And so you see very different animals need different things.

In fact, an elephant takes the same dose as a chihuahua might. It’s not body weight, and we know that from the human side.

But it really informs the safety aspect on the animal part of not doing these weird overdoses, but really catering it to the individual patient and the disease condition that they’re going through.

Nicholas:

Yeah, I think that’s a very helpful reframe on this intentional versus accidental dosage of really any sort of psychoactive compound.

Casara Andre:

Absolutely, anything.

Nicholas:

Yeah.

Casara Andre:

Not just psychoactive. Like you just put that across any molecule in the world. You have too much of it, it’s not gonna go well.

Nicholas:

Is there anything that you can share from your data aggregation from these surveys? I’m just curious if any sort of patterns or insights have come forward that you may be able to share.

Casara Andre:

Absolutely. There’s quite a few that my team and I are sort of digesting in the background as we think about what that means for our protocols but one that I would like to share is how easy it is to recognize the care that humans want to give the creatures that are in their household. 

The desire to share their own healing. I had a great experience and I want my dog to as well. I worry about how anxious my animal is. I want to make them better. I feel like this was maybe the only solution that I had. 

So I really wanted to try it because I didn’t feel like there was anything else possible. And that just makes my heart happy. You know, it’s very, in my world, we see a lot of harm to animals from humans. There’s a lot of really terrible things that happen to animals. 

Sexual abuse, torture, fight rings, lots of things that we don’t often want to think about as humans. but it makes my heart happy that there is always the equal, if not more, amount of, I really feel responsible for this animal. I’ve taken on that duty of care. 

I don’t know what I should do next, but I really wanna make sure my animal is well in this world. So that’s what I would share that comes out across the board all the time, of humans really do want an ability to care for the animals in their house.

Nicholas:

Yeah, almost like an increased capacity for compassion.

Casara Andre:

Yes, absolutely. You know, there’s actually some really fun studies about the use of psychedelics changing the perception of humans to animals.

Nicholas:

Right.

Casara Andre:

And the ability to see them as another creature that has its own cognition and its own consciousness. 

And so from the veterinary side, I am so excited for this time, not only for what these modalities, these emerging molecules and ideas can offer for my own patients, but also just in the awareness that we have as humans about what one health means. 

Are you familiar with that term? So human health, animal health, environmental health, and how those intersect and how that plays into planetary health. 

So my team and I are always, “Animals are the key, planetary health!” but it really does seem to lie in our ability as humans to look outside of ourselves–

–And see ourselves as part of a greater whole, and sometimes connecting with the animal in your household might be the perfect place to start to build that.

Nicholas:

I mean, I think that’s one of the core themes that comes out of these larger dose journeys with humans is the realization that we’re all so interconnected and that neglect to anyone part of it is neglect to the whole.

Casara Andre:

Absolutely, absolutely. I agree.

Nicholas:

So for folks that are listening, is there a place that they can go for resources or harm reduction protocols on helping their animal with or without psychedelics?

Harm Reduction Resources & Future Research

[00:39:46] Casara Andre:

Yes, absolutely. Veterinarypsy.org, veterinareypsy.org is where we’re putting all of our harm reduction information. 

We have some infographics that are available for pet parents at the community level, and we’re currently building out some classes and some clinical algorithms for the practitioners, just so that you know what to do if you happen to see an intoxication. 

So that’s a great place to find some of the information, classes, those types of things. And then our nonprofit, Care for the Healer, which we do care for all healers. There’s a lot of pieces to that, but animals as healers is a big part of that mission. 

That’s the organization that’s holding some of the research that we want to do. Some of the more forward leaning, can we actively use these molecules to cure some of this emotional disease like K9-PTSD. 

We are very focused on being able to repeat the studies done for human PTSD with MDMA in canine PTSD and see if we can see some of those amazing results that we do on the human side.

Nicholas:

Yeah, and we’ll be sure to put those links in the show description as well so that folks can just click on there and they don’t have to remember the URL if they don’t have a place to write it down in real time. 

And one thing that you had mentioned before we actually started recording was surrogate healing. Can you just speak a little bit about that for folks who are listening?

Casara Andre:

Yes, I would love to talk about that. It is such an exciting thing that I’ve seen happen in a couple of cases now. 

Surrogate healing on the human side, which is really, we’re pulling that term, we’re really pulling on a lot of the research and the information that comes from humans guiding humans to try to extrapolate it to the animal care side. 

But on the human side, this essentially means another human, separate from the patient, so separate from the individual who wants to experience this healing or work with medicine–

–If they are too usually medically fragile, usually is where that scenario comes up, or for some reason can’t access the substance. They can’t travel there, it’s unavailable, or they’re too medically frail to experience that. 

Someone else closely bonded to them, so their caregiver, a family member, can take that journey for them, and the patient still receives that healing. 

Now what I find fascinating is that this is actually closer to the traditional use of ayahuasca, that it wasn’t always the entire group that drank ayahuasca, it was the shaman who would drink and then give that information out. 

So I think we have lots of historical context for this being a thing but on the animal side, what some clients have been experimenting with is them taking the psychedelic substance, really focusing on their bond with the animal–

–And what my team guides them to do is to focus on their gratitude for that animal being in their life and really working to flush some stuff out of their system from that human system–

–Because many times we find that even if the animal’s struggling with something, if the human’s okay, the animal gets better pretty fast. So using that surrogate healing, yes, so their animal gets better, but also for an opportunity to really focus on how am I affecting their world? 

What can I do that makes them safer? How can I be grateful for this bond that does exist? So in some of the cases that have happened, we’ve seen some really spectacular results. Again, all anecdotal, very few cases, but just makes my heart so excited about what this might be. 

Some cases that we don’t have solutions for in traditional medicine have really seen some remarkable things happen. I just am so excited to see what comes from that. 

I think that would be one of the most beautiful things that could come out of this season of medical learning that we could really truly bi-directionally heal each other and really dig into that cross species translational healing.

Nicholas:

Yeah, it’s so cool and to me really speaks to the power of intentionality. And that’s, I mean, anyone that’s listened to our show or, or interacted with us as an organization, like everything is rooted in intentionality–

–Because that to me is what allows the true power of these, these tools, these medicines as tools to come forward. 

And this is just a perfect example of how that intentionality knows no boundaries, no, you know, geographical distances, no species, like it is truly an energetic frequency that permeates everything.

Casara Andre:

Absolutely. How exciting to see that unfold.

Nicholas:

Truly. Before we wrap up, I’m just curious if there’s anything else that you feel called to share around this topic.

Casara Andre:

I would love to leave your listeners with the idea that animals do suffer from similar behavioral conditions as humans. I’ve mentioned K9 PTSD a couple of times. What’s fascinating about that is the clinical symptoms look really identical to what humans suffer. 

And even if you’re not an animal person, if you have an animal heart, I think this already speaks to you and is of interest and probably something that you’re thinking about already or have had questions about–

–But even if you are a person who doesn’t necessarily have a close connection with an animal, the amount that we would learn from understanding whether psychedelic substances do or don’t help an animal patient is incredible. 

And we have a long history as humans of doing research on animals first. So simply from a harm reduction for humans, we have a lot of work to be doing in the animal realm. 

And I think that we can structure some of those research questions in a way that instead of just asking, did the animal die? Does it die when I give it this much? Ask what’s actually happening. 

Then we can just structure some of our questions and our research paradigms a little bit differently and gain a lot for the human side. 

So no matter where you are in this conversation, whether you have that animal sitting on your lap right now and it was sitting with you in the shower or the bath, like it’s just like, you’re animal, you get this already. 

And even if you’re not that person for the human species, there’s so much benefit that can come from being animal aware in all of these emerging fields.

Nicholas:

Beautiful. Thank you so much for your time today Kassara.

Casara Andre:

Absolutely.

Nicholas:

We really appreciate it. Where can folks find you? I just want to give you an opportunity to, uh, to plug that. And we’ll also put that in the show notes as well.

Casara Andre:

We’re really strong on LinkedIn. That’s kind of the community that we’re working to build. So Care for the Healer on LinkedIn or Veterinarypsy on LinkedIn or one of our websites. It’s kind of the best place to keep track of what we’re up to.

Nicholas:

Cool, like I said, those will be in the show description below. That brings us to the end of our episode today. So thank you so much to all of our listeners who tuned in. 

If you like the show, please do rate, subscribe, and share with anyone that you think could benefit. And we’ll see you all next week. Thanks so much.

More VeterinaryPsy

    More Dr. Casara Andrea

      Connect With a Local Psychedelic Guide Today

      Hi there! We sincerely hope that you’ve found valuable takeaways that resonate with your current intentions. To explore research-based education, stay updated with psychedelic news, and benefit from practical how-to articles, we encourage you to head over to our resources page.

      If you’re seeking personalized advice and are prepared to take the first step toward a therapeutic psychedelic experience, we invite you to book a consultation with our team of experienced psychedelic concierges.

      This consultation is more than just a conversation; it’s an opportunity to be matched with a trustworthy local facilitator. You’ll be seamlessly connected to our rigorously vetted network of psychedelic guides, ensuring potential matches align with your needs.

      Psychedelic Passage offers confidence and peace of mind by alleviating the burden of having to guess who’s right for you. If you want to discover how Psychedelic Passage can help you, we empower you to learn more about our services and check out client testimonials from those who’ve gone before you.

      Your healing path is uniquely yours, and our commitment is to serve you at every juncture. Psychedelic Passage: Your Psychedelic Concierge — The easy, legal way to find trustworthy psilocybin guides, facilitators and psychedelic assisted therapy near you in the United States.

      Looking for a professionally supported in-person psychedelic experience?

      Take the first step and book a consultation call with us today. We'll walk you through every step of the process after getting to know you and your unique situation.

      Related posts​

      At Psychedelic Passage, we offer professional 1-on-1 guidance and companionship on your journey of healing. We simply can't sit back and let Americans continue to sit in silent suffering trying to battle mental health issues within a broken health care system, all while knowing that effective alternatives exist. We stand for the sacred, at-home, ceremonial use of psychedelics for consciousness exploration, which we believe to be a fundamental human right.

      Search

      Search for anything like: microdosing, dosage, integration

      Get Your Free Psilocybin Sourcing Guide!

      Just tell us where to send it…

      Download Our Free Psilocybin Sourcing Guide!

      For harm-reduction purposes, we provide links to online psilocybin vendors, local stores, delivery services, and spore vendors for growing your own medicine at home.

      Get Your Free Medication Interaction and Tapering Resource!

      Just tell us where to send it…

      Congratulations! We've sent the sourcing guide to your inbox. 

      You can now close this window.