When it comes to mental health issues, someone in need of medication usually sees a psychiatrist and is prescribed a psychotropic medication. Some folks opt not to take this route and would rather use other types of treatments. During a recent episode of Red Table Talk, Jada Pinkett-Smith opened up about how plant-based medicine and the use of psychedelics helped her fight depression.
“I was introduced to plant medicine 10 years ago to deal with my depression, and it knocked it out,” she told Adrienne “Gammy” Banfield Norris and her son Jaden Smith about using mushrooms.
Banfield-Norris pointed out that psychotherapy and psychiatric medication isn’t for everyone, which Pinkett-Smith agreed with.
“It’s not and that’s the thing. So, for me, I had struggled with depression for so long. You know, I mean, crippling depression. So the thing about plant medicine is that not only does it help you feel better, but it helps you solve the problems of how you got there in the first place.”
Jaden Smith said that he has also taken psychedelics before and discussed how it led to him having an “ego dissolution.”
“You get to a place in your life where you’re blocked by something, whether it’s a trauma, whether it’s your emotions, your ego, and not being able to express yourself, and then I feel like psychedelics are a way to tear down that wall and see what’s beyond it,” he said. “Doing it guided with people that are professionals I feel like really increases the chances of having that mystical experience and get like, yo, I’m trying to figure this thing out in my life and that’s why I’m doing it…”
Banfield-Norris said she had tried psychedelics in her heyday but it was strictly to get high. Now that she is sober, she’s concerned about “the potential for it to lead to addiction” because their family history of drug addiction.
“When I think about Jaden, you know, and how his mind works, he reminds me so much of your dad,” she told Pinkett-Smith. “I just know that he did a lot of experimentation with psychedelics, and it led him to the path of other drugs that led to his addiction. So that’s always, at the end of the day, that’s always in my mind.”
Harvard doctor Michael Pollan explained why the use of psychedelics isn’t common in the Black community.
“I’ve been often asked why are African Americans less likely to use psychedelics? And one of the answers that I’ve come up with, and you can tell me if this sounds right, is that to use a psychedelic is to put down your defenses, and you need to feel very safe in your body,” he said. “There are a lot of African Americans who live in dangerous places who can’t let down their guard to have a day spent with a psychedelic, so you have to create an environment where people feel safe. I’m encouraged to see there’s a lot of outreach now ’cause there’s racial trauma in this country as we well know, and there’s enormous potential here to treat it.”
Watch the episode below.