‘Shrooms! Shamans! Kosher LSD! Why Los Angeles Is Suddenly Tripping Out


Assessment: Soccer moms in Malibu now swap notes over microdosing (taking tiny amounts of psychedelics to boost moods and enhance creativity) …

PICTURE YOURSELF NOT in a boat on a river but instead on a sectional sofa in a sunken living room in a majestic $9-million-dollar Point Dume mansion overlooking the Pacific. Here, the tangerine trees are actually whispering eucalypti, and the marmalade skies are a deep and comforting blue. Still, it’s pretty trippy.

This is the home of Brandee and Damien Sabella—the unofficial first couple of Southern California psychedelia—a sprawling compound that feels like a five-star commune. Two sentinel-like guard dogs patrol the property as a couple of the Sabella’s older children (they have five, ranging from 19 months to 14) load surfboards into a souped-up Sprinter van. There’s a small fleet of luxury SUVs in front and a professional-grade skate park in back with a massive half-pipe, several crescent-shaped ramps, and grind rails. Inside the house, nannies and assistants putter about.

“And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries (Greek pharmakea, drugs/potions/witchcraft) or their sexual immorality or their thefts” Rev. 9:21

Damien, 36, is the scion of a powerful Hong Kong real estate dynasty who now works in the music industry. His hair is pulled back in a man bun, and he has dark, piercing eyes and a coiled, muscular frame, possibly explained by his hobbies: hunting elk with a bow and arrow, surfing giant waves inTahiti, and competing in ultra marathon races. Brandee, 41, is tall and lithe, with warm, inviting brown eyes. Patchouli-soaked hippies they are not. They’re articulate, attractive, and artfully tatted out. And they do lots and lots of drugs.

“There are metrics for what we can do in this spiritual world,” Damien says while sipping a cup of chai. He is explaining the intersection of the physical and the spiritual worlds and how mundane issues of health and quality of life can be impacted by the tension between these two spheres. “All this indigenous wisdom is within us, but it’s just been hidden.” Moments later, Brandee is expounding on her theory that music recorded in a particular frequency can trigger internal human receptors, inducing a hallucinogenic-like state in listeners. It sounds ridiculous, but her delivery is so sincere and polished that I almost start to believe her.


(For a 2010 study on the effects of hallucinogenic drugs, cancer patients were given either psilocybin or a placebo)

The Sabellas may be exceptional, but they’re not all that unusual. Because, as it happens, Los Angeles is currently in the grip of a psychedelics fervor not seen since Jim Morrison ambled his way down the Venice Beach boardwalk in the 1960s.

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