#9. Biohacking Opioid Dependence

Dr. Michael Pridham

Dr. Thomas Whalen

Join Dr. Thomas Whalen, Dr. Michael Pridham and Dr. Qiu Xuelan to discover what the Chinese opium wars can teach us about how to overcome the modern opioid epidemic.


Want to win a trip to China visiting the non-tourist herb-growing region in Sichuan?

Here’s what to do: Just write a Review for Botanical Biohacking on iTunes or Stitcher, take a screenshot of your review, and email it to BotanicalBiohacking@gmail.com. Each month, we’ll send one of you a herbal gift (ginseng + goji berry powder for March, 2017). What’s more, we’ll pick one of the listeners to come with us to visit Sichuan, China later this year (2017) !

Show notes:

0:03 What we can learn from the Chinese opium wars

12:48 Dr. Thomas Whalen, MD (http://www.upswingrecovery.comalbuquerqueketamineclinic.com)

14:37 Dr. Michael Pridham (https://drpridham.com)

14:49 Dr. Whalen’s experience of using opiates as an MD, its effects on personality changes and effects on society

24:26 opioid addiction

28:51 Current pathways of treating opioid addiction

35:56 Ideal methods for treating substance abuse

40:36 Support for veterans, law enforcement and EMT personnel

42:37 Pharmacology of botanical treatments for treating opioid addiction


  1. Reply
    matt March 1, 2017

    The cynical me has a feeling the the producers of methadone might be lobbying against alternatives. I’m curious if the southeast asian herb mitragyna speciosa is part of the Chinese formula. I recall writing down a formula specific for opiate addiction that I came across years ago but I’d have to look hard for it. There was no mention of the benefits of Ibogaine treatment as I have heard good things for initial withdrawal. I spent time in methadone detox clinics doing 5 needle plus acupuncture treatments years ago but was disheartened knowing they were still dependent on methadone. I still see the occasional patient with opiate med addiction. Its a rough road when they get in deep with it. Enjoying your podcasts especially the one on flavors.

  2. Reply
    Andrew Miles March 2, 2017

    I try not to get too cynical. There is good and bad with every change and often hidden economics. I just thought it was similar to Qing dyansty China. Mitragyna isn’t part of it. I normally like to be very open with what is in formulas, its just that this formula has a risk of death if people take morphine or opoides while on it. Its possible to find via it’s name though. In my opinion acupuncture isn’t very useful long term. What I see is a common pathogenesis of elevated nitric oxide and depressed hydrogen sulfide. Acupuncture can alleviate some of the inflammation, but I don’t believe its strong enough to provide addiction support. It may be a useful adjunct though. Thank you for your feedback. It makes speaking into a microphone easier when I know that there are thoughtful people on the other end.

  3. Reply
    Tom Luerken May 23, 2017

    Great episode especially with the historical parallels. Can you please provide the name of the physician from the qing dynasty, something like Qi Dai ????

    • Reply
      botanicalbiohacking@gmail.com May 24, 2017

      Thank you, Tom. The doctor’s name is Jitai Li 李济泰 and formula named after him is Jitai Tablets (济泰片)。

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