This article by Travis Reilly was originally published on Psychedelic Spotlight, and appears here with permission.
Will Smith’s wife, and her son, Jaden, lead a great conversation about psychedelics with author Michael Pollan and other guests on the Facebook Watch show “Red Table Talk.”
Jada Pinkett Smith and her son Jaden spoke candidly about their profound experiences with plant medicine on a new psychedelics-themed episode of the Smith family’s Facebook Watch series Red Table Talk.
Jada began Wednesday’s broadcast by telling viewers she’d struggled with “crippling depression” for 10 years before successfully overcoming it with mushroom therapy. “The thing about plant medicine is not only does it help you feel better but it helps you solve the problems of how you got there in the first place,” the 49-year-old producer and “Matrix Resurrections” star explained.
Jada isn’t the first member of her famous family to open up about mind-altering experiences with plant medicine, either. Just last month her movie star husband Will Smith came out of the psychedelic closet, revealing he’d found a “taste of freedom” after using ayahuasca. Their 23-year-old son Jaden hasn’t shied away from the psychedelic spotlight either. The actor and musician recently released a psychedelics-inspired mixtape.
Filling in for his sister Willow Smith on Wednesday’s Red Table Talk, Jaden revealed precisely what drew him toward plant medicine in the first place. “It started as pure curiosity, not believing that mushrooms could make you feel any sort of way—but then I had an experience,” he told his mother and grandmother, co-host Adrienne Banfield-Norris.
“For the first time, I had like an ego dissolution and that was the moment that really changed me,” he continued. “You get to a place where you’re blocked by something—whether it’s trauma, whether it’s your emotions, your ego, not being able to express yourself—and I feel like psychedelics are a way to tear down that wall and see what’s behind it.”
Jada Pinkett Smith and her son weren’t the only ones who shared their psychedelic experiences with viewers. Red Table Talk’s full panel of celebrity guests included investigative journalist Lisa Ling and her husband Dr. Paul Song, billionaire entrepreneur turned psychedelic enthusiast Bob Parsons, and psychedelics researcher and best-selling author Michael Pollan.
As an oncologist, Dr. Song was skeptical of psychedelic healing for years until problems at home convinced him to give a guided ayahuasca trip a try. “It was everything and more,” Dr. Song said, explaining plant medicine helped him come to terms with multi-generational family trauma and forge a deeper relationship with his wife and children.
“It’s been transformative, it really has,” Ling agreed.
Parsons’ story involved a different kind of healing. The GoDaddy and PXG Golf founder served with the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War and returned home with a severe case of post-traumatic stress disorder. Though his military training gave him the skills and confidence he needed to start up several multi-million-dollar companies, PTSD had a profoundly negative effect on his well-being. “I had a short temper. It for sure cost me two marriages,” he told Jada.
All that changed after he picked up a copy of Pollan’s “life-changing” book How to Change Your Mind, which explores the science of psychedelics, and it wasn’t long before Parsons went to work changing his own mind with psilocybin and ayahuasca. “I felt like being with people again. I felt like going out. My temper didn’t bother me again,” he said. “I was kind of like how I was before the war—I finally came home.”
Jada, Jaden, and their guests wrapped up the show with a discussion on the lack of diversity within the psychedelic community and the underrepresentation of Black people in clinical trials studying plant medicine’s therapeutic capabilities.
“The psychedelic world in the United States has been very white,” Pollan said, explaining African Americans generally use less psychedelics than their white counterparts. He had several theories why, too, including the fact plant medicine was still technically illegal and the country had a nasty history of enforcing drug laws differently among its Black citizens. But considering how encouraging the clinical trials for psilocybin had been thus far, Pollan speculated it wouldn’t be long until the FDA opened the door for therapists to start legally prescribing psychedelics to patients.
Jada Pinkett Smith liked her guest’s optimism.
“Plant medicine completely rehabilitated me from debilitating depression and it’s changed my life for the better,” she said. “So, I’m really hoping that we find a way that African Americans can have access to these plant medicines safely.”