Feeling stressed out? You’re not alone. Anxiety is the most common mental illness in the United States, with more than 40 million adults grappling with the strains and pressures of modern life. It’s an even bigger business, with the market for antianxiety drugs including Xanax and Valium expected to total $3.8 billion by 2020. Given that prescriptions for benzos and antidepressants are only rising, it’s clear we haven’t mastered our medication of stress.

But one man thinks he can. In the latest episode of Healing Powers, host Mareesa Stertz connects with Dr. Zee, an Israeli chemist and drug designer known for discovering the controversial substance mephedrone. Zee collaborates with other chemists to synthesize new compounds based on his own research — and then tries them all on himself. He believes that while society’s demands cause stress to the human brain, which evolved according to very different historical realities, that engineered substances can soothe common anxieties and eliminate unnecessary suffering. 

By making himself the lab rat, Dr. Zee experiences a wide variety of heady effects; as he says, “Basically sitting in the office and getting fucked up — that’s the job.” Zee thinks he’s on the cusp of a major discovery, and Mareesa checks out his facility to learn more…

For more “Healing Powers,” check out the first, second, and third episodes.