The Trip Report by Beckley Waves
The Trip Report
#27 Joanna Kempner: Psychedelic Outlaws

#27 Joanna Kempner: Psychedelic Outlaws


Welcome back to The Trip Report Podcast, a production of Beckley Waves, a Psychedelic Venture Studio.

Today, I am speaking with Joanna Kempner, PhD, a medical sociologist with deep expertise in the healthcare system’s approach—and shortcomings—to treating chronic illness. 

Joanna is well known for her research on the social dynamics of medicine and has written extensively on the topic of migraines and chronic pain.

She also just published a fantastic book, Psychedelic Outlaws - The Movement Revolutionizing Modern Medicine, which tells the story of Clusterbusters, a patient support group of people suffering from cluster headaches, one of the most punishing and debilitating neurological disorders there is.

Clusterbusters pioneered the use of low-dose psychedelics as an effective treatment for  Cluster Headache.

Psychedelic Outlaws chronicles the group’s fight for access to lifesaving medication and their innovative approach to real-world research.

Joanna shares her journey into the field of medical sociology, inspired by her personal experiences and observations of gaps in the healthcare system. 

She discusses the challenges faced by patients with chronic illnesses, particularly those with chronic pain, and how these individuals often become experts in understanding what medicine doesn't know.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Joanna's background and her journey into medical sociology

  • The challenges faced by patients with chronic pain and the concept of "ignorance" in medicine

  • The story of Clusterbusters and their discovery of psychedelics as a treatment for cluster headaches

  • The political and scientific hurdles in studying and legitimizing treatments for chronic pain

  • The potential of psychedelics to push the boundaries of biomedical research and pain management

  • And much more.

And now, I bring you my conversation with Joanna Kempner.

Listen to the episode on Substack, Spotify, Google or Apple.


The Trip Report by Beckley Waves
The Trip Report
The Trip Report is a podcast and newsletter about the business, science, and policy developments of the evolving psychedelic field. While the main organizing theme is psychedelics, it is really about the many different domains that are converging to bring about this field and the assembly of what many believe to be a “New Paradigm” in science, medicine, and our understanding of the human experience. Our goal is to foster an educated and informed psychedelic ecosystem, and to do that, we will feature in-depth conversations with scientists, entrepreneurs, investors and stakeholders at the forefront of the psychedelic renaissance.