Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed a bill into law on May 23 that established a regulatory framework for psychedelic substances.
SB23-290, also called Natural Medicine Regulation and Legalization, was signed just a few weeks after it was approved in the Senate with House amendments. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Steven Fenberg and Rep. Judy Amabile, and is set to take effect starting on July 1.
The Colorado Times Recorder spoke with Tasia Poinsatte, director of the Healing Advocacy Fund of Colorado, last month about the bill’s potential. “Our state is facing a mental health crisis, and our current system has been unable to meet the needs of those who are struggling, including the many veterans in our state who are at a high risk of suicide,” said Poinsatte. “Colorado voters agreed with the passage of Prop. 122 that we need to open new, innovative pathways to healing for those who are struggling with mental health conditions.”
The law doesn’t place limitations on personal possession for any psychedelic substance, ranging from dimethyltryptamine (DMT), mescaline, ibogaine, psilocybin, or psilocin. Psilocybin and psilocin will be administered at “healing centers,” but it does allow other substances to be added later.
The bill also states that anyone under 21 who possesses or consumes a natural medicine product will only be subject to a fine of $100 or less, and a maximum of four hours of “substance use education or counseling.” More than one offense results in the same fine and education requirement, with an added 24 hours of “useful public service.”
The cultivation of natural medicine is permitted if it’s happening on a person’s private property within a 12-by-12-foot space. However, anyone who is not licensed and “knowingly manufactures [a] natural medicine product using an inherently hazardous substance” is committing a level 2 drug felony. An “inherently hazardous substance” refers to solvents such as butane, propane, and diethyl ether.
The bill also includes protections for consumers, stating that a person using a natural medicine doesn’t solely constitute as child abuse or neglect, is not grounds for being denied health coverage, doesn’t disqualify a person to be discriminated against if they’re eligible for organ donation, and “must not be considered for public assistance benefits eligibility.”
A person with a natural medicine conviction is also eligible to have the conviction record sealed “immediately after the later date of final disposition or release from supervision.”
The bill calls for the creation of a natural medicine advisory board to examine “issues related to natural medicine and natural medicine product, and making recommendations to the director of the division of professions and occupations and the executive director of the state licensing authority.” It also requires the creation of a division of natural medicine to be established within the department of revenue to regulate licensing for “cultivation, manufacturing, testing, storage, distribution, transport, transfer, and dispensation of natural medicine or natural medicine product between natural medicine licensees.”
Colorado voters passed Proposition 122, also referred to as the Natural Medicine Health Act, by 52.64% last November to decriminalize psychedelics. “This is a historic moment for both the people of Colorado and our country,” said Natural Medicine Colorado coalition director Kevin Matthews. “I think this demonstrates that voters here in Colorado are ready for new options and another choice for healing, especially when it comes to their mental and behavioral health.”
The initiative took effect in December 2022. “Coloradans voted last November and participated in our democracy,” said Polis. “Officially validating the results of the citizen and referred initiatives is the next formal step in our work to follow the will of the voters and implement these voter-approved measures.”
Coverage from Westword shows that advocates aren’t happy with the law, stating that it’s too restrictive. According to sponsor Amabile, the bill is solid but won’t make everyone happy. “My takeaway from the testimony is that ballot measure 122 is controversial,” Amabile said at a meeting in late April. “It has a lot of aspects that some people like. It has aspects that the people who like some parts of it don’t like. It has parts that nobody likes.”
Damon Laetzsch (pronounced letch, like fetch) was arrested while making breakfast on August 11, 2021 at his home in Chandler, Arizona when police raided his house and found psilocybin mushrooms, DMT and a flask containing Naphtha, a chemical used to extract DMT. At the time of publication, he faces a potential prison sentence of 6 and a half years if he is convicted for possession and manufacturing of dangerous drugs.
Laetzsch, 44, says he uses tryptamines like psilocybin and DMT to treat cluster headaches, which are widely considered one of the most painful experiences a human being can undergo. DMT and psilocybin are extremely illegal in the state of Arizona, so Laetzsch is facing several years in prison for what he says is the only way to maintain his quality of life.
“It’s the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life,” Laetzsch said. “Nothing helps the headache as well as DMT when I’m actually having it. It will abort the headache immediately. A small hit will abort the headache for about an hour to an hour and a half. If I take a bigger hit it can last longer but some of the headaches last a few hours so I would have to take a few hits during that episode. But, I would be pain-free. It wasn’t even a psychoactive amount that I smoked to abort the headache.”
According to Laetzsch, a disgruntled ex-girlfriend tipped off the police that he had a mushroom grow in the house. Between that and his prior arrest record, that’s all it took to trigger a full-blown raid. The kicker here is that the ex-girlfriend who reported Laetzsch to the cops was apparently in his house weeks later at the time the cops came marching in.
“I had no idea man. Me and my ex-girlfriend split up because she was starting to get involved in fraud and shit. I found out so I kicked her out and she was pissed off I kicked her out. So, the next time she got in trouble, she was like ‘I got information on so and so,’” Laetzsch said. “I didn’t know that she had told on me so she would still come over from time to time.”
Cruel irony notwithstanding, Laetzsch represents a very real issue in the criminal justice system. He’s a veteran of the United States Army who came home from two deployments with very real medical issues for which he used cannabis. He faced felony charges almost immediately after coming home, years before the raid in question.
“That first case I [got] caught was in 2001, so I wasn’t even home from the military for a year when they fucking tried to send me to prison for a usable amount of marijuana,” Laetzsch said, also indicating he had a firearm on him at the time. “I know it doesn’t matter for them but my doctor told me, they tried to give me a bunch of Xanax and painkillers for my chronic pain and anxiety and PTSD and I told them I’m not really big on pills and he told me ‘well you can just smoke marijuana but it’s illegal.’”
Laetzsch served two and a half years in prison for that, and if anyone’s wondering why such a harsh sentence was handed down to a military man who’s just come home, I need only remind you that this was Arizona in 2001, and as Laetzsch kindly reminded me, people were doing hard time for evidence as frivolous as cannabis seeds.
As a journalist, it is my job to give all necessary perspective and while I personally may be sympathetic to this case, Laetzsch is not the portrait of an innocent freedom fighter wrongfully accused of crimes he did not commit and I want to be clear about that. This man has led a lifetime of questionable decision-making. He served another four and a half years in prison later on for running a chop shop, not to mention he was arrested for DUI with his son in the car in 2013 and that would look awful to any jury in any state. It is also important to note here that I have been friends with their whole family for a long time so I’m more than a bit biased here. I’ve heard stories about the guy for years, all a bit stranger and more chaotic than the last. That said, I personally do not believe Laetzsch deserves to spend any more time in a cell than the seven years he already has just for using the means at his disposal to treat his symptoms according to research from documented, peer-reviewed scientific studies.
A report from the National Library of Medicine found, with regard to cluster headaches: “These patients are in a desperate and vulnerable situation, and illicit psychoactive substances are often considered a last resort. There appeared to be little or no interest in psychoactive effects per se as these were rather tolerated or avoided by using sub-psychoactive doses. Primarily, psilocybin, lysergic acid diethylamide, and related psychedelic tryptamines were reportedly effective for both prophylactic and acute treatment of cluster headache and migraines.”
Several more studies have been published on the matter, all of which have come to the same general conclusion: people who suffer from cluster headaches, about 1 in 1,000 Americans according to one of the aforementioned studies, will do virtually anything to mitigate or avoid them and thusfar, psychedelics seem to be an effective way of doing that. Of course, because this is America and the vast majority of the country is still fighting Nixon’s drug war, people like Laetzsch face two equally unthinkable options: suffer through months of horrific pain year after year or take drugs and risk prison time.
Laetzsch is currently negotiating through plea deals and such but as it stands, due to his record, he could potentially face six and a half years in prison in a plea deal or go to trial later this Fall where the consequences could be far greater should the judge choose to convict him. Reasonable people can disagree on whether or not Damon Laetzsch is an upstanding member of the community. However, reasonable people cannot disagree that Laetzsch came home from the Army, got locked up for a personal amount of cannabis, and had his life derailed from that point on by the criminal justice system like so many others for something that 38 of 50 states have since legalized in some form or another. Cannabis aside, psychedelics like the ones Laetzsch was caught with are already being touted as miracle drugs by major pharmaceutical companies. Is it reasonable to say that maybe we should just cut the guy a break at this point in time? This humble journalist says fuck yes, please leave him alone and thank him for his service on your way out.
Those sympathetic to this case who wish to advocate on behalf of Laetzsch can send letters to:
Alcock & Associates PC Attn: Vernon Lorenz 2. N Central Ave 26th Floor Pheonix, AZ 85004
Damn, can y’all believe we’ve been doing this WEIRDOS thing for a year already? It seems like just yesterday I was writing the introduction, and trying to convince my superiors that calling this new section ‘WEIRDOS’ made sense, inspired by an earlier, random submission I received that I wanted to create more space for.
Today we’ve generated over 1 million impressions to this section alone, and created a social coefficient that’s hard to measure. The conversations that have been generated around these topics were the goal of this initiative, and as more of you keep talking about these issues, the entire industry benefits from our collective understanding. That said, I didn’t expect as many of you to respond as quickly as you did, and it’s been a joy to keep all these conversations going with you all in real life, and on our social platforms.
But let me put that into perspective real quick. We post ~27 pieces a week to our .com, every week of the year. That’s over 1,400 pieces a year, of which this section totals just 52. The bulk of our content is news, and features on the individuals and brands that make our community great. That means that these rants account for less than 4% of our annual content, yet were alone responsible for a solid chunk of our digital and social reach over the past year. You see, these aren’t the same as our typical news pieces, which are boosted by SEO and news roundups. No, these are seen because YOU share them, and respond to them, and debate them. We thank you for that. Even if you come to object to the point we’re making, you’re fueling the conversation, and that’s what we’re looking for. We’re not right all the time, but we don’t get anywhere by standing in place. We’re willing to be wrong if it means moving forward, and I think there’s a freedom in that. As I said in the beginning, many of these issues don’t have clear answers, and the only way we’ll solve them is by talking this out. Together.
There’s been as many laughs as there have been arguments, but that’s kind of analogous to life, isn’t it? Peaks and valleys, man. It’s not all gravy, but it can be fun.
Falling Down The Weirdo Rabbit Hole
Now selfishly, I can’t believe how big my baby has grown. I knew this would work, but I wasn’t anticipating the support, or the amount of people who would want to participate. I didn’t expect the number of people to talk about it offline, or the stature of individuals it would reach. I honestly expected to have to work a little harder to get the community involved, but the sheer number of ideas that have been thrown my way for this column specifically is stunning, and it reminded me of the power of this brand, and its reach. It reminded me why I love this culture. The creativity, and off the wall ideas that pour out of our community is in my opinion the most vibrant in the world. I know a lot of people have already counted us out, or are praying for our downfall, but I’ve never been prouder of the work we’re doing.
In that regard, we’ve already booked basically every Friday through the rest of the year. The schedule says we’re full, but there’s still so much more ground to cover! And this rabbit hole goes far deeper than it seems…
So, we’re going to start trying some more stuff. Some of it might suck, all of it will be weird, but we’ll see how you rock with it. We’ll start small. Over the next few months you’ll start seeing WEIRDOS on different days of the week. More creative pieces. Short stories, allegories. Sometimes even on the weekend. You’ll see some more rich media than you’re used to over here, and maybe even some live rants on Instagram. Maybe even some music. Who knows?
While we’re not jumping into an everyday feature or anything there are so many more opinions, and voices, we can’t wait to share with you. Some insane talent has volunteered to get involved, and we look forward to providing an even wider perspective on this culture we all love so dearly. From our highest highs, to our deepest lows.
This is far from over – in fact, we’re just getting started. We hope you’re enjoying the ride!
Maya Kendrick is a cool ass stoner chick based in L.A., who’s known for her adult film work. We met through mutual friends and I quickly became a fan of her Instagram, which features snapshots from her mellow day-to-day life — hitting the bong, hanging with the cats, lots of hot girl ring light selfies, etc.
Maya entered the smut industry in 2016 and has appeared in hundreds of scenes and movies since. She took a brief hiatus from working this past November to “get mommy milkers” — as she explained on Twitter — so we thought now would be a good time to publish a very fun conversation with the performer and pot lover.
Over the course of an hour phone call, Maya explained how smoking weed in high school felt like a totally different high, bravely admitted that she doesn’t know how to roll joints, and also detailed the first time she tried DMT. She was accompanied by some trippy scientists at a crypto conference, and the bros blabbed about shooting mice with lasers while she laughed her ass off throughout the trip.
This was a very fun conversation with a very lovely person — thanks Maya!
What was your first time smoking weed like?
Maya Kendrick: My first time smoking weed was on a trail in the park across from my house with a bunch of my friends during the summer after eighth grade. It was in Washington State. So we were smoking weed out of an Arizona Iced Tea can and I remember being very paranoid cuz there was some sort of park maintenance person whose truck was parked nearby. They were wandering around the area and I was like, “We’re gonna get arrested by this park ranger for smoking weed!” I was so scared for absolutely no reason. That man definitely didn’t give a shit.
Did you get stoned during this first time smoking?
I was slightly high, but I was more just in love with the experience of doing something I wasn’t supposed to. I had been so eager to rebel in some fashion. And then the second time I smoked weed was out of a cheap purple plastic bubbler. And that time I got insanely high. I did enjoy the experience. I wasn’t scared or paranoid or anything. I just had a great time, and everything was a million times funnier. I was happy.
Did it become a regular part of your life from then on?
Every Saturday, when I hung out with my friends, we would try to sneak away from whoever’s parents and smoke. We would sit under a blanket on a deck and hotbox it. Back then, we’d get so stoned. Like fucked up. Getting stoned in high school feels like a different drug. It’s different and I wish I could get that stoned now. I have a vivid memory of being high in high school and one of my friends drove me to my house so that I could pick up clothes, and we were already high. And when I left, I kissed my mom on the mouth. I was so stoned, that it seemed normal. I didn’t know how to operate my body normally. And I was like, “She’s going to know I’m high. I haven’t kissed her on the mouth in like eight years!” [laughs]
What’s your day-to-day consumption like today?
Some days I wake up and start smoking right away. Other days, I wait until later in the afternoon. Generally, now, any type of weed I smoke makes me tired. Even if I’m smoking sativas, it makes me sleepy unless I’m also on Adderall. How weed affects me just changed maybe like a year and a half or two years ago. Before, I used to be able to dab. I used to exclusively dab for years. I still do it occasionally, but I don’t do it as my main method of consumption anymore. I feel like I have no tolerance these days. I will smoke a sativa joint and be like, “I need to take a nap. I’m kind of sleepy.”
What’s your preferred way to consume these days?
I smoke out of a bong and I vape a lot. I can’t roll anything, and I’ve never been able to roll anything. And now I feel that that ship has sailed. I live in a state that sells pre-rolls, so why try now? I admire other people who can roll, though. I genuinely think of it as a skill set. My hands just are too dumb — it’s not gonna happen.
Do you have a preferred type of flower, whether a specific strain or just a certain flavor profile?
I actually don’t. I kind of like everything [laughs]. I’ve always just been like, “The more weed, the merrier.” I’ve never had a favorite anything. I like it all. I’ve never felt like, “Oh I want to be this specific type of high.” I’m willing to gamble.
Where do you buy weed in L.A.? Any particular dispensary?
For years, I went to this dispensary deep in the Valley in a strip mall that had no signage or anything. It just said “dispensary.” All the girls there were so hot and I became friends with them all; it still makes me mad that I never got any of their Instagrams. Now, they’re just, like, in the wind. This dispensary didn’t tax anything, and I’m pretty sure they were just very, very sketchy. But the weed was great and reliable. And I went there literally once a week for two and a half, maybe three years. Then I went back one time and everything was gone and it was just boarded up.
What about today? Where do you get your weed?
I immediately pivoted to ordering delivery. Grass Door is my preferred dispensary for delivery. It’s just so easy. They also have sales all the time and I love a sale. It makes me feel better about buying a dumb amount of weed. I’ll buy a few half ounces of different stuff and then I’ll get a few disposable vapes. Sometimes I smoke less weed when I’m busier. Some days, I’ll smoke an eighth. I haven’t smoked flower in like three days. I occasionally try to take a tolerance break. It used to be so hard for me. I couldn’t even think about not smoking for like two days. Today, though, I can take a break if I’m busy — that’s easy. I’ve definitely matured in my relationship with weed, whereas before, I was just like dabbing all day, every day.
Are there any types of weed products, like ephemera, grinders, or pipes that you like?
I really like my grinder. It’s from Sackville and Co. It’s the one that doesn’t have a kief catcher. It’s my favorite. I’ve had it for like a year and a half, and it’s indestructible. I like that you don’t have to grind up weed everyday. I’ll just grind up weed every three days and it will fill the grinder. It was the biggest barrier in getting me to transition from dabbing to flower. I was like, “I have to make myself enjoy this. So let’s get a bong that I like. Let’s get a grinder that I like.” Then it was easier to transition into using flower regularly.
Do you just stick to weed, or do you like psychedelics, too?
I do psychedelics sometimes. I did shrooms once in high school and had a really great experience with it. I just don’t take them regularly because they’re time-consuming. I did acid for the first time last September, and I was super wary of it. I was really nervous. So I only took like half a tab and then like basically nothing happened. Occasionally, I’d be like, “The ground looks a little weird.” [laughs] I’d be into trying more now. I’m no longer scared.
And then I tried DMT for the first time that same night, and I really liked it. I hit a DMT vape pen. I was at a mountain retreat in Denver after a crypto conference. This guy was really selling me on DMT because he was very into it. He said it only lasts 20 minutes and if you don’t like it, you don’t hit the vape again. So I tried it. I don’t really mind that it tastes like plastic; I can get over that [laughs]. And I had the BEST evening. We were sitting on this deck in the Colorado wilderness watching the sunset and I vaped DMT for like three hours. It was so fun and so funny.
I didn’t really know any of the people I was with, and they were mostly these insane scientists talking about experiments they used to do on mice where they would shoot them with certain lasers. I was just sitting there laughing — it was funny that they were talking about their actual jobs as scientists. I was just like, “I don’t know why I’m here. I do porn. I am so unqualified to be listening to your science experiment talk.” So I just sat there, did more DMT, looked at my hands, and cracked up. “Thanks for the DMT, babes!” You know?
I’m curious if weed plays a role when you’re performing in adult films. Do you ever smoke before getting to set?
Yeah, I definitely have. I used to always dab before set because by the time my makeup was done, I wouldn’t be as high anymore. I was like, “I’ll just sit there really high and get my makeup done for an hour and a half and then I’ll be slightly less high and I’ll go to work.” So I used to do that all the time. Now I will vape outside on set. But for a long time, I didn’t smoke weed on set because the producers were so strict, specifically like with the girls.
Was it a consent issue thing? Like they were worried you’d be incapacitated or something?
They were worried that I would be a worse performer. They were not worried about consent. They were worried that my performance would suffer. They were more worried my eyes would look fucked up [laughs].
Does weed make you perform differently?
Sometimes it’d make me more comfortable. Like, I can do everything that I can do sober when I am stoned, you know? I don’t think it’s great if I’m doing scenes where I have to do tons of dialogue and acting — weed won’t help me reach my peak performance. But for gonzo stuff, I don’t think it affects me negatively. It’s almost like a background thing. I can be high and do high-performance sex; that’s not an issue. After all, I used to smoke weed at six in the morning and then go to the gym with my old porn agent.
What about in your personal life? Does weed make sex more enjoyable for you?
Yeah. I think I like both. There’s definitely some times when I’d like my head to be as clear as possible. I like being high when I have sex and I like being sober when I have sex. I feel like I do both equally. I smoke weed more before I do escorting work — way more than I smoke weed before shooting porn. I’m generally an anxious person. So whenever I smoke weed, I am typically more relaxed. I was never anxious on set, but I can be when meeting a client. So I usually smoke a little bit before meeting them to calm my own nerves. Not that there’s anything to be nervous about. I’m just a nervous type of person [laughs]. Porn made me nervous during the first 30 scenes or whatever, and now it’s 300 later so I’m not nervous doing it anymore.
What activity do you like to do after you’ve gotten stoned?
I like to do the dishes and laundry when I’m really high. Dishes are my favorite calming activity after I’ve gotten too stoned. Sometimes if I’m really high, I’ll just walk into the kitchen and while it wasn’t my intention to do them, that’s where I end up. It feels nice. It’s meditative. Sometimes I’ll listen to music while doing it; sometimes I won’t listen to anything. Or I’ll do my laundry and then I’ll come inside and I’ll smoke weed and play video games. And then 30 minutes later I get up and fold the laundry. And then I come back and smoke more weed and play more video games. It’s a nice little routine. I’m often accidentally productive when I’m stoned. I’ll get distracted into a productive task.
What about something you like to watch while high? Anything particular?
I really like the YouTube channel Good Mythical Morning. This is kind of a corny answer, but it’s these two dads who have a daily talk show on YouTube that they’ve been doing since I was right out of high school. It’s funny, it’s short. I don’t have to think about anything, and it always makes me laugh hysterically. I’ve been watching it for like over 10 years. I watch it basically everyday without fail.
Have you ever met them or spoken to them online?
I haven’t, but I did fuck one of their employees one time [laughs]. When I first moved to L.A., I followed a bunch of the crew members and show producers on socials. I thought that one of them was really hot, so I followed him on Twitter and then he hit me up one night when he was drunk with his friends. And I was like, “Yes, I need to capitalize on this opportunity. This is what I moved here for: to fuck random crew members from this weird YouTube show.” [laughs] I don’t know if the hosts know who I am now, but I hope the crew member told them, “Hey, me and my friend tag teamed this porn star.”
Do you prefer any type of music or radio shows while stoned?
I generally listen to the last 10 songs that I’ve liked on Spotify. So there are some songs from Father’s new album. I love this song called “If We Were a Party” because it reminds me so much of Miley Cyrus, circa 2012. I can’t get that one out of my head. I’ve also been into hyperpop the last few years. I love the new Harry Styles album. I was a big One Direction fan as a teenager. That’s basically the gist of my music consumption.
Do you like reading while you’re high?
I usually read the news or articles that I see retweeted on my Twitter feed. Whatever catches my eye. I follow a lot of people who are into crypto and stuff and sometimes I’ll just look at somebody’s feed and try to understand what they’re saying [laughs].
If you could smoke anywhere in the world that you have not been to, where would you want to sesh?
If I could go anywhere in the world, I’d go somewhere in Thailand with an infinity pool. Sounds like a nice answer. I just got my passport last year, so I’m eager to travel. Plus, Thailand has reformed its weed laws — no more death penalty! They’re trying to capitalize on the global weed market.
Last question is if you could smoke with any person dead or alive, who would be in your dream blunt rotation?
I’m gonna go with Anthony Bourdain and John Waters. It would just be so interesting. I don’t want to squander this opportunity on someone like Snoop Dogg, though no offense to Snoop Dogg.
Advanced brain imaging in a study from a team of U.K.-based scientists shows how dimethyltryptamine (DMT) alters perception of reality by changing communication and connectivity.
According to a March 20 press release, brain mapping revealed that DMT significantly activated areas to imagination and other high-level functions, and that DMT enhances communication and connectivity between different parts of the brain.
Researchers associated with Imperial College London examined brain imaging data from 20 healthy volunteers. The volunteers were given a 20mg injection of DMT while researchers from Imperial College of London’s Centre for Psychedelic Research captured detailed imagery of their brains. This allowed the team to study how brain activity changes before, during, and after the trip. Findings show DMT alters brain function.
“This work is exciting as it provides the most advanced human neuroimaging view of the psychedelic state to-date,” said Dr Chris Timmerman, first author on the study. Timmerman conducts research at the Centre for Psychedelic Research at Imperial College London.
“One increasingly popular view is that much of brain function is concerned with modeling or predicting its environment,” Timmerman added. “Humans have unusually big brains and model an unusually large amount of the world. For example, like with optical illusions, when we’re looking at something, some of what we’re actually seeing is our brain filling in the blanks based on what we already know. What we have seen with DMT is that activity in highly evolved areas and systems of the brain that encode especially high-level models becomes highly dysregulated under the drug, and this relates to the intense drug ‘trip’.”
LSD and psilocybin—classic psychedelics—have quite a bit a longer duration and effects last up to six or 12 hours, respectively, if not more. DMT however is a short-acting but very powerful psychedelic, wearing off in a matter of minutes, though it may not seem that way in some cases.
The main difference between the effects of DMT versus classic psychedelics is that the effects of DMT are much more closely related to near-death experiences, while classic psychedelics are a bit less intense. “But exactly how the compound alters brain function to account for such effects has been unclear,” scientists wrote in the press release.
Volunteers received a 20mg high dose of DMT—intravenously—while simultaneously being scanned by two types of brain imaging: functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and electroencephalography (EEG).
According to the report, the duration of the psychedelic experience lasted about 20 minutes, and at regular intervals, volunteers provided a rating of the subjective intensity of their experience on a 1-10 scale.
The fMRI scans showed activity within and between brain regions in volunteers on DMT, including increased connectivity across the brain and more communication between different areas and systems.
They call this phenomena “network disintegration and desegregation” and increased “global functional connectivity,” aligning with previous studies. The changes in activity that were observed were mostly in brain areas associated with “higher level” human-specific functions, i.e. imagination.
“Motivated by, and building on our previous research with psychedelics, the present work combined two complementary methods for imaging the brain… fMRI allowed us to see the whole of the brain, including its deepest structures, and EEG helped us view the brain’s fine-grained rhythmic activity,” Prof Robin Carhart-Harris, founder of the Centre for Psychedelic Research at Imperial College London, and senior author, who is now working at the University of California, San Francisco.
City leaders in Ferndale, Michigan voted this week to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms and other natural psychedelics, making the city in the Detroit metropolitan area the fourth municipality in the state to reform laws prohibiting the promising drugs. The Ferndale City Council voted unanimously on February 27 to approve a resolution decriminalizing entheogenic plants and fungi including psilocybin mushrooms, ayahuasca, and dimethyltryptamine (DMT), all of which are psychedelics that show promise as treatments for a variety of mental health conditions.
The resolution passed by the city council does not legalize psychedelic drugs outright. Instead, the measure directs that the “investigation and arrest of persons for planting, cultivating, purchasing, transporting, distributing, engaging in practices with, or possessing Entheogenic Plants or plant compounds which are on the Federal Schedule 1 list shall be the lowest law enforcement priority for the City of Ferndale,” according to the text of the resolution.
The city council resolution was sponsored by Mayor Pro Tem Kat Bruner James. The measure was supported by Decriminalize Nature, a national organization working to reform psychedelics policies from coast to coast, and the Ferndale chapter of the activist group.
“The Ferndale community continues to demonstrate mindfulness and integrity as we move towards collective well-being and community healing in allyship with nature and her medicines,” Decriminalize Nature Ferndale wrote in a social media post after the city council passed the resolution. “We are grateful for all the community support and to Ferndale City Council for passing the resolution to decriminalize entheogenic plants and fungi.”
Psychedelics As Plant Medicines
The two-page resolution includes findings from the city council recognizing that natural psychedelics have been used as plant medicines by humankind for thousands of years. The measure also notes that research has shown that the use of psychedelics can be beneficial to the health and well-being of communities and individuals.
“The use of Entheogenic Plants, which can catalyze profound experiences of personal and spiritual growth, have been shown by scientific and clinical studies and traditional practices to be beneficial to the health and well-being of individuals and communities,” the resolution reads.
After Monday’s vote, psychologist Billy Horton, the co-chair of Decriminalize Nature Ferndale, thanked the city council for the members’ unanimous support of the psychedelics decriminalization ordinance. The activist added that the group would continue to educate the public on the safe use of plant medicines.
“I just want to continue to emphasize the importance of psychedelic and entheogenic plants and the work that’s going on, the research and the science that’s supporting it for psychological and for physical wellness,” he told the council in a statement quoted by the Detroit Metro Times.
Ongoing research has shown that psilocybin has the potential to be an effective treatment for several serious mental health conditions, including PTSD, major depressive disorder, anxiety, and substance misuse disorders.
A study published in 2020 in the peer-reviewed journal JAMA Psychiatry found that psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy was a quick-acting and effective treatment for a group of 24 participants with major depressive disorder. And separate research published in 2016 determined that psilocybin treatment produced substantial and sustained decreases in depression and anxiety in patients with life-threatening cancer.
This week’s approval of the psychedelics decriminalization measure in Ferndale marks the fourth time a Michigan city has decriminalized natural psychedelic drugs. Ann Arbor became the third city nationwide to decriminalize psychedelics with the city council’s adoption of a resolution in September 2020. That was followed by a similar move in Detroit in November 2021, while Hazel Park approved a measure last year. After Monday’s vote in Ferndale, the national headquarters of Decrimalize Nature took to social media to mark the occasion.
“Congrats again to the @decrimferndale team for all of their hard work and effort to pass the resolution in support of entheogenic plant practices in Ferndale Michigan last night,” the group wrote on Instagram. “That’s 4 wins in Michigan so far! Let’s get some statewide decriminalization legislation on the table!!! Go team Nature!”
A desire that partly led to trying DMT for the first time. The other reason was that I was chronically depressed. Outer space seemed like a great place to explore since it was outside of the space I currently occupied. Unbound from the earth I would fly through neon trailing shapes and patterns. Exploring new mechanisms for existence. A fragmented man’s search for the meaning behind all of the darker things in and around. What is the purpose for all this poison?
The first time I participated in a group ceremony I was asked to set an intention and then during the journey I was asked to remember who I was. I found that to be a curious question. How would I remember something like that? A better question would have been, who do you want to become? Also, the plastic shaman in the designer Nike SBs had hijacked my chosen intention. Who does he want me to remember? That is what I thought while in a liquid psychic state. There was a power and influence that this guy radiated that exceeded his material gains. I continued further down the ceremony road, perhaps this confident designer shaman unlocked some greater meaning to existence by flooding his system with remerging ancient spirit medicines. Widely used by an apex species that existed in a grand and forgotten epoch.
He did not.
He did however think he did. He might have struck an agreement with a dimensional entity that had hitched a ride or he may have just flipped so many switches that a latent gene for madness hit 2nd gear. No longer was this Nike SB-wearing former-coke-dealer a human, he had become some elder nihilist god. I remember he tried playing the video game Skyrim. He would throw the controller screaming how the universe that he was from didn’t have so many bugs. Strange things happened all around this odd ceremony group. Which was even more curious. The depression didn’t go away from the ceremonies. It transformed into something, a presence, or a disassociated body. It channeled itself into interpreted stories. Lost and sad souls weaving absurd stories and when some obstacle would present in the real world, an edit would accommodate. A new myth would emerge, a construct of avoidance. Every obstacle became fictional props for a stage.
Social media is a substance without a body.
It’s source of power drawn from our critical chemical responses that evolved in an untamed world. We reached this moment because we evolved with each other, a communal composition.
A kaleidoscope of feeling, sensation and response.
If written language is the first man authored matrix then maybe the internet is the last. Bodiless connecting with imaginary tribes is burning out the pathways for bonding.
With endless myths, spectacle and reactions, a million constructs deploy for every obstacle we’d like to avoid. The resiliency of family and tribe is unknown. Forgotten like the power inside of plants and fungi that remind us of who we are when we are together.
Not who we were.
Wings of silicon covered in tar and our feet skimming solid ground. Tech lord shamans in Nike SBs who low key read Twilight and thought they were gods. I wonder if the pharaohs that drank fermented belladonna dreamed of vampires too.
In early 2017 I was in a hard place. I was in a failing relationship, I wasn’t sure of where I wanted my career to go and I was at my wits end with life. I was 330 pounds and drinking like a viking. I was suffering from depression and in retrospect, I was borderline suicidal. I wasn’t actively thinking about taking my life, but when I look in the mirror in the morning I’d think, “If I did it, how’d I do it?”
Thank god one of the qualities I didn’t appreciate about myself at the time was procrastination or I may not have made it.
Back then, I was guest co-hosting a college radio show in Hamilton, Ontario with a local punk rock club promoter named Lou Molinaro and a well known Canadian comedian named Manolis Zontanos.
Manolis had recently introduced me to the idea of microdosing mushrooms to improve mental health. If you know Manolis, you wouldn’t exactly think he’d be the guy you take mental health advice from. Not that he’s not amazing, but his attitude towards life seemed lackadaisical to say the least. He’s the epitome of a surfer dude turned comedian, but a legend amongst his peers.
Manolis has a natural humility that I admire greatly. Over the course of the show we became good friends live on the air to the listeners dismay. I couldn’t get enough of the guy. He’s one of the funniest human beings I have ever met. He once told us on air that he got stopped at the border when the border agent asked, “Country of origin?” Manolis heard “Country of oranges?” and must have thought it was a declaration quiz or something because he replied with a question of his own, “Florida?.” In fairness, I understand that High Times readers and border cops aren’t usually golf buddies, but this would be confusing as Florida isn’t a country and nowhere near the Canadian border.
We’d fuck around so much on that show I started to get complaints amd rightfully so. I’d get Manolis so riled up that he’d Footloose through the Radio Stations office halls. As funny and energetic as that dude could be, his best work always seemed to focus around his 90 year old Dad and how his father struggled with technology and his Dad’s unique views on life. It showed a side of Manolis that was honest, hardworking and humble, much like the stories he would tell about his Dad. You could see his father’s unconditional love for Manolis carry over to how helped new comics in the Canadian comedy scene. From an outsider’s perspective, it seemed rare to see a stand-up prop other comics up before him in such a competitive field.
How I Learned About DMT
A few months down the road, my career had started to take a turn for the better but I was still depressed; however, I didn’t really know it at the time. I had found a path to my dream job with cannabis industry leaders like Clint Younge, who to this day still pushes to improve cannabis legislation in Canada, but I was having a hard time looking in the mirror. Through running cannabis industry events, I befriended a musician, trucker, hippie dude I sarcastically nicknamed Jesse Christ. This nickname was aptly given due to his appearance, gentle demeanor and his spiritual essence. Jesse Christ was in recovery for cocaine and would always tell me to try DMT. He’d talk about DMT any chance he had. I kind of thought he was crazy but I loved being around him. Jesse would tell me a bit of the basic lore around DMT but I never really paid much attention. I remember him mentioning some people would see beings, and that some go to different dimensions.
Jesse also claimed it was the drug that flooded the human brain when we died and it was the scientific explanation for people having angelic near death experiences. Admittedly, with my state of mind at the time, this had me intrigued. However, I remained skeptical. A lot of acid dealers in the day told me I’d see smurfs running around my house and that unfortunately never panned out. I was pessimistic to say the least and I didn’t really buy the spiritual side of DMT that had also seemed to empower Jesse. I had little patience for “spiritualism”.
I grew up playing in atheist punk bands that scoffed at the idea of mystical forces. As I grew older, my anger towards religion dulled, but I remained pragmatic about an afterlife to say the least. In my mind there was no light at the end of any tunnel, there was no guide over the River Styx, and I could for sure bluff my way past any of St. Peter’s interrogations. After all, I was a punk. I could sneak past the bouncer into any party.
While we were still on the air ruining Lou’s radio show Manolis and I had gone off the rails yet again as I was discussing Jesse and the DMT. Manolis responded that Joe Rogen (long before he became so polarizing) spoke about DMT on his podcast and that he too heard it sent you to another dimension. Lou just spun records and ignored us.
I decided to look further into DMT and started listening to some Joe Rogan. I really wasn’t familiar with him as I just knew him from News Radio and that he got fired from TV for feeding people horse cum or something. There was definitely good content on the subject there, I wasn’t getting the information I desired.
I visited https://www.erowid.org, a donation based educational site where drug users share their experiences in an effort to “document the complex relationship between humans and psychoactives”. There I learned that DMT naturally occurred in many plants, like mimosa, or could also be replicated in a lab. Most of all I learned that it wouldn’t kill me and it was deemed “safe” by the site.
Dimethyltryptamine or DMT is a hallucinogenic tryptamine drug. Sometimes referred to as Dimitri, the drug produces effects similar to those of psychedelics, like LSD and magic mushrooms. DMT is also the active ingredient in Ayahuasca. Rudimentary speaking for the sake of this article, think of DMT as the THC to Ayahuasca’s cannabis.
How I Did the DMT (Which Saved My Life)
There’s a lot of ways to do DMT, but the pros will tell you not to burn it directly. Decarboxylation, like cannabis, should still be considered when taking raw DMT. Some people prefer vape pens, but “gassing” DMT at a lower temperature would seem to be the most effective method if the user’s goal is to achieve a “breakthrough” experience.
I had decided to go for it. I had recently moved into a new house with my partner at the time and Manolis and I had continued to grow close. He had become dependable and a thoughtful friend when I was going through a rough time. I called up Manolis and told him that Jesse Christ had hooked me up with raw DMT and a little “how to” kit. At the time, Manolis didn’t know he’d also be doing DMT for the first time that day.
In the kit was:
One Glass bulbed crack or “rose pipe”
One small butane lighter
One gram of DMT
.The instructions were as follows:
Put .2 of a gram of DMT in the bulb of the rose pipe. A little goes a long way.
Light the butane lighter and hold it two inches below the pipe.
Do not put the flame directly on the glass pipe.
As the DMT begins to gas it will swirl around the bowl.
Wait until the pipe is completely full and remove heat.
Inhale from the pipe three times. Each time holding the vapor in as long as possible.
Make sure to be seated.
Write down your experience post.
I recently caught up with Manolis to revisit this experience. We picked up where we left off not having spoken much in a few months. When I asked about the experience he said laughing, “You called me up and said you were just going to do it.” He continued over the phone, “So I drove down to make sure you didn’t do it by yourself. It was like 3:00pm on a Wednesday, dude.” Manolis explained in a tone that was both loving and expressive to the situation. “I wasn’t supposed to do DMT that day.” he contuned, “I was supposed to be doing an open mic set later that night.”
That’s just who Manolis is. The kind guy who’ll bring you an extension cord to help you fix your new house, or make sure you don’t die while depressed and taking high powered psychedelics that zap you across the universe. If they don’t kill you, he just might do them too.
Manolis arrived and we had decided to document the experience. I later learned he had saved video footage of the experience on a private youtube link. I hadn’t watched the original footage since 2017, and even then, I was so uncomfortable with my weight, I don’t think I could ever finish the 10 minute ordeal. However, revisiting the footage was cathartic to say the least. A friend mentioned I look like a completely different person and I realized I was. The person in the video was about to change forever.
Needless to say, Manolis and I both got blasted to what we felt was another dimension. The DMT began working almost immediately post inhalation.
As the DMT took hold, I described it tasting like “mothballs” and continued to try to narrate my experience as it happened. Little did I know, the ancient shapes, Kaleidoscope hallways, grids,and even locations were all experiences that hundreds if not thousands of other people had also had.
After a viewing of the video, a friend mentioned that I looked like a completely different person. At first I felt it might be because I’ve aged in five years and lost some weight, but then I realized that I actually was a different person. My experience, like so many others, was earth shattering, profound and profoundly confusing.
Excerpts from My Unedited DMT Dream Journal
In the footage, I stop narrating my experience to Manolis and I can be heard saying, “Hi” or “Hey” to something. This is the moment I met the fabled “DMT beings”. However, in my journal I describe the adventure in great detail.
“I went through a kaleidoscope hall of crazy geometrical shapes, sounds, a lot of colors, kind of like a psychedelic poster you may find in a head shop. I then went through what seemed like a green grid, similar to Tron.
I ended up in a pitch black room, other than very little thin green and red lines, which seemed to dance and make geometrical shapes, they seemed to float in the background. “
Upon rewatching the video my body language indicates that I’m not scared, or taken aback, but almost comfortable when greeting what some people consider inter-dimensional entities. In the journal, I continue to describe the encounter in detail,
“I was greeted by two “beings who felt like representatives of this place. They were kind of dressed like clowns or something, with pointy hats, and striped garb. Their faces had very little detail, similar to pantomime masks you might find at a theater. One was male, one was female (presumably). There was children’s laughter, or giggling in the background. It sounds terrifying but it wasn’t.”
At this time in the video, I’m sitting with my eyes closed, silent, and you see me reach out for something a few times. In my journal I describe a moment similar.
“The “representatives” of this place knew I was there, and the female offered me to take her hand, she seemed to shape-shift and my hand passed through hers. I opened my eyes briefly then went back in. She seemed to be inviting me to a tunnel or place that was filled with windows or doorways to memories and dreams alike. As if they were categorized and I could just hop back in. I heard her say “Come on”.
It’s important to remember that wherever DMT takes you, most users describe the DMT realm as a place where time moves differently. Similar to a dream. In this space, you also feel lucid. In the journal I describe that in this other realm, moments feel like hours. I continued to write.
“I felt like I could have asked them (the beings) to take me anywhere. I asked if that was the case and they said yes, they could even take me to a memory with my deceased father, which shocked me as I watched her bounce or dance away.”
This moment in that realm was hard for me to share. Could these creatures really take me to meet my Dad who died almost 30 years prior. Was this drug making me insane?
When I got back from my trip, the DMT took about thirty minutes to completely wear off. The entire experience was under an hour. When the visuals wore off, I looked up DMT beings. This is where I discovered Terrence McKenna. Famed psychonaut, a term used for psychedelic explorers, and illustrator of a picture that to this day blows my mind. A picture of a being he had illustrated described as a “Machine Elf”.
There they were. The beings I met in a realm that felt more real than this one. I couldn’t grasp why a professor decades prior saw the exact same shape shifting entity that I did. It was a thing I’d never seen before. I had no previous reference point. Why was his recollection almost identical to mine? What the fuck was going on?
How I Processed the Trip
After a few days, Manolis and I were still trying to process what we had experienced. Manolis had had a very similar experience he described as, “going to a different dimension that felt way realer than here.” Manolis also met “beings”, which left him with some mild paranoia, “I feel when you fuck with it, the way we did, now they now they know that we know that they’re there. I feel like I’m being watched but I always knew I was being watched.”
However, I was becoming haunted if not obsessed.
I had no information about the level of these encounters prior. I couldn’t shake that the weird creatures weren’t necessarily just in my imagination. The similarities in encounters fascinated me.
At the time I felt skeptics couldn’t possibly understand. I honestly felt like I had went to another dimension. I still didn’t believe in a “God”, but I was now entirely open to the idea that there may be other dimensions our conscious could travel to.
I had become obsessed with what I had experienced and wanted to experience it again. I had so many questions. I had read somewhere that DMT could be found in every living thing, and found more people sharing similar experiences online.
My original DMT Journal was dated May 17, 2017, and by June 5th, I’d already done the drug 5 more times. I had continued to keep notes but started sounding more and more like an obsessed architect.
“Since my first experience in May I have tried DMT 5 more times. At this point, I have read a lot about other people’s experiences who were similar to mine. If someone has had different experiences, I’ll stop listening or reading immediately to make my next experience less corrupt by suggestion.
After several failed attempts, I eventually recreated my original circumstances, and figured it was the best way for me to break through.
“This time around, the re-creation worked. I smoked about .1 of a gram, took three huge pulls and again, was blasted off. I hit the kaleidoscope almost immediately. I felt my body twitching and shaking. It was scary at first. The kaleidoscope quickly turned into a checkered box, there were a ton of clowns, peeking in at me, some were scary, some even looked horrifying, peaking at me from behind checkered walls and out of boxes. The place constantly moved, but I was definitely in this jack in the box apparatus. None of these clowns were the beings I met before. I was there though. It was extremely vivid. I could still feel my body shaking or being uncomfortable in my chair when an arm came around my chest from behind, hugged me and said, “You’re okay, you’re okay”. I instantly felt better. I thought maybe the arm was the girl representative who had reached out to me before, but I can’t be certain.”
My journal’s began to get more detailed the more times I went in. I began seeing more entities and locations, I would later verify on the internet as hallucinations other DMT users had shared.
“I started to hear loons in the distance and nature sounds. Then I heard an owl. Clear as a bell I heard an owl. At this point, the jack in the box was to my right, and I was sort of floating next to it staring out into a purple cosmos. It was beautiful. Tons of dancing stars and lights. It was very euphoric. Then a glowing pink cloud butterfly appeared before me and in a puff of smoke, showed itself in a humanoid form. She had a calming, loving and motherly vibe. She then puffed back into a cloud and flew off into the purple cosmos.”
The owl hooting was nonstop and I was still floating as if tethered somehow to the jack in the box, like an astronaut to a ship kind of. If I looked to my right, the jack in the box vessel was there and still rapidly changing; inviting me to go in. To my left I saw the owl fly out of a picturesque earth like nature setting, over mountains, and into the DMT Realm or cosmos. The owl was huge. Flying through space with purpose towards a destination which wasn’t at this time revealed to me. I asked if I should go with it, but nothing responded.”
At that time, I was beamed back. I immediately realized I was still under the DMT’s influence and I wanted to go back in. So I smoked another three massive hauls and held in the vapor for as long as I could.
Right before I took off, I hit play on my music.
This time I was beamed back way faster. I immediately heard the frequency in my ears change and was hurdled through the “Tron Grid”.
This time I felt I had a better understanding of what the grid was. It seemed to function as a gateway, tunnel or vessel that brings someone to where they need, or are supposed to be. This time, I met the same representatives as my first experience.
“I could see them more vividly, the male anyway. He had more of a human face then the last time, the female was still more of a presence. I could feel the light being from my previous trip’s presence too, but she didn’t appear in humanoid form again. I think I saw her fly away in purple butterfly form. They were all so happy to see me. They said “Hey, Ben” very lovingly. I replied “Hey, guys”.
They then commented on the music. I asked if they liked it and they said they loved it, even though it was a bit tacky. They danced and flipped around and offered me to join them. Then, for some reason I asked them “if I was one of them?” this made the male stop and said, “You could be” as he lifted his arm to present to me a kingdom or place off in the distance. It was the same purple cosmos sky as before, and it felt like that may be where the owl I saw previously was and it felt like it was where I came from. Like, I just had to go back there. The kingdom was a silhouette, surrounded by silhouette mountains with a white warm light coming from the Center. “
It was around this time, I had realized that in this place, you can’t lie to yourself. I’m this place, you’re Freudian Ego and ID are incapacitated, and the lucid being who is experiencing a new universe, has been given the terrifying gift of not being able to lie to themselves for the first time in their life.
The “Representatives” then addressed my anxiety, and told me to put all of my energy into the one thing I love, and that I’m spreading myself too thin, which is the cause of my anxiousness. They then told me to be good to my wife, as she loves me unconditionally. They said to say hi to my friend who was waiting in the room, and told me only a certain type of person can see them in this realm.”
How the Trip Saved My Life
At the time, I was convinced more than ever that the DMT realm existed. I still feel it exists, but I believed in Santa until I was eleven.
The conversation I had about anxiety and the people around me with DMT Beings was the catalyst to saving my life, and how this psychedelic changed me profoundly.
When a person is in this state, myself included, they’re stripped of their Freudian Ego & Id. You’re zapped to what countless people describe as a dimension that feels like home. In this state I had to look at myself as a whole. No lies. No justifications.
When discussing the experience with Manolis he said, ”I feel like I know I’m going to see him. DMT definitely made the world, not as important as before. IT made me not get so wound up about nothing.”
This sentiment hit a real cord with me.
What I had dragged Manolis into was something that he already had, humility. DMT taught me that being pragmatic, or self riotous, or self righteous people were a waste of time. We know nothing.
These experiments or experiences allowed an atheist to consider that there may be something else out there, and that there was a universal irony to life. There was a punchline at the end of it all.
If speculators are correct, and DMT is the drug that floods your brain when you die, then there’s a cosmic joke left out of most scripture. The joke is that at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what anyone believes. When it’s time to meet your maker, the joke is that you’re your own Saint Peter. Or the guide across the River Styx.
The ultimate irony of life is that we qualify ourselves on what others think, but it’s really about what you think of yourself.
At this point, I don’t have beliefs because in this day and age they’re a vehicle for mandatory self explanation. I prefer the term I coined “idea jams.”
I don’t know if any of the big religions are accurate, in my heart of hearts, I don’t think anyone has quite nailed it.
What I like to think is that if there is an afterlife and guys like Jesse and Manolis are right, then perhaps the DMT is nothing more than a conduit to what they feel is an answer.
However, what changed me profoundly, what DMT taught me, was that life, the experience of life is subjective, and that the joke’s on us.
If we qualify ourselves at the end of day, and advance us to the next level is something I hold dear and is what I think happens.
However, the punk in me that detests hippie bullshit reminds me that whether DMT is the gateway to another realm or not, this high powered Psychedelic, if it is in fact the drug that floods your brain when you die, resolves the user in a state that makes you evaluate yourself in a way no other drug, in my experience has.
Imagine, if it isn’t a gateway, and this shit is just some wild shit that makes us under-evolved monkeys see machine elves, imagine that your last thought in existence was; you’re a real piece of shit kid. Then worm food.
As we venture further into this new era of psychedelic innovation and discovery, more folks are becoming aware of the potential benefits of substances like psilocybin, LSD, or ketamine. But what about dimethyltryptamine, or DMT, an active chemical in the hallucinogenic plant brew ayahuasca?
U.K.-based biotech company Small Pharma is conducting the first major study of DMT and its potential for treating major depressive disorder (MDD). The company, which focuses on short-duration psychedelic-assisted therapies for mental health conditions, completed its Phase IIa clinical trial, finding a “significant and clinically relevant reduction in depression symptoms” two weeks after dosing, compared to the placebo group, according to a news release.
“SPL026 (intravenous DMT) with supportive therapy was shown to have a significant antidepressant effect that was rapid and durable, with a remission rate of 57% at three months following a single dose of SPL026,” said Dr. Carol Routledge, Small Pharma’s chief medical and scientific officer.
Because of DMT’s short hallucinogenic duration, it’s possible the substance could be an even better clinical alternative to other psychedelics requiring longer treatment sessions.
The trial, and one of the largest for a short-acting psychedelic, involved 34 patients with moderate to severe MDD, and those who were already medicated were withdrawn from treatment prior to dosing. Participants were given a short IV fusion of 21.5 mg of intravenous DMT, resulting in a 20 to 30-minute psychedelic experience.
The two-phased study also included a blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled phase, where the primary endpoint assessed the DMT group versus the control group at two weeks post-dose. All participants were enrolled into an open-label phase of the study, which enabled the assessment of the “durability of the antidepressant effect,” along with comparative efficacy and safety of a one-dose versus a two-dose regimen of DMT.
Researchers said, following analysis of key secondary endpoints, that there was a rapid onset of antidepressant effects one week post-dose, though no apparent antidepressant effect was observed between a one- and two-dose regimen of intravenous DMT.
The intravenous dose of DMT was also well tolerated by all patients who received an active dose, with no drug-related serious adverse events, including suicidal ideation or behavior, reported.
“The results are exciting for the field of psychiatry,” said Dr. David Erritzoe, a clinical psychiatrist at Imperial College London and chief investigator of the Phase I/IIa study. “For patients who experience little benefit from existing antidepressants, the potential for rapid and durable relief from a single treatment, as shown in this trial, is very promising.”
Small Pharma CEO George Tziras also spoke to the potential impact of the trial’s results, particularly for those hundreds of millions of people who live with MDD worldwide. Citing the greater confrontation of psychedelic medicine, addressing the decades of failure on behalf of pharmaceutical drugs, Tziras said the “scale of unmet needs” merits the further investigation of other more effective remedies.
“Our goal is to develop proprietary, scalable and reimbursable short-duration psychedelics with supportive therapy to address this need,” Tziras said. “I am delighted with our top-line results, which demonstrate proof-of-concept for SPL026 and provide encouraging support for our broader portfolio. I want to thank each patient who took part in this trial, as well as their families, the trial investigators, the employees of the trial sites and everyone who has supported the successful completion of this study.”
Research surrounding DMT, and ayahuasca, is still limited—as is psychedelic research surrounding mental health in the grand scheme—though it’s slowly beginning to amp up, as similar studies boast promising results for psychedelic treatment of otherwise treatment-resistant mental health conditions.
One recent study found that ayahuasca use, although a different experience than that of Small Pharma’s study participants, resulted in a high rate of adverse physical effects and challenging psychological effects, though they were generally not severe. In fact, the study found that many participants continued to attend ceremonies and generally perceived that the benefits overshadowed any adverse effects—88% of people surveyed considered adverse effects as an expected part of the process of growth or integration.
Next up, the detailed results of the Phase IIa trial are expected to be presented at upcoming scientific meetings and published in a peer-reviewed journal.
The word ‘entheogenic’ might not have been very popular a few years ago, but it’s sure making headlines now. Why? Because more and more US locations are passing legalization and decriminalization measures for entheogenic plants. So what does this word mean? And which plants does it refer to? Read on.
Entheogenic plants – what are they?
The word ‘entheogen’ refers to any substance that can alter perception, mood, behavior, cognitive abilities, and/or consciousness. They are specifically psychoactive substances meant to help spiritual development, in some kind of religious or sacred way. Throughout history, such substances have been employed for religious, magical, shamanic, healing, or spiritual traditions, all over the globe.
Entheogens are used to drive forward different traditional practices meant to bring a person to a higher spiritual level. These include but are not limited to: meditation, yoga, healing, prayer, and divination. Psychedelics are one of the more popular forms of entheogens, but we’re not looking at all entheogens right now, and not all psychedelics qualify. What we’re specifically looking at is entheogenic plants, meaning this no longer includes synthetically made entheogens like LSD or MDMA.
The term ‘entheogen’ came about in 1979 by some ethnobotanists and mythology academics. It comes from the combination of two words from Ancient Greek: éntheos and genésthai. The former translates to “full of the god, inspired, possessed,” and is where we get the word ‘enthusiasm.’ While the latter translates to “to come into being.”
Thank you for stopping in. Head over to the Cannadelics Weekly Newsletter for direct updates; and get access to awesome deals on cannabis buds, vapes, edibles, smoking devices and equipment, cannabinoid compounds (HHC, delta-8), and so much more cool stuff. Go get stoned responsibly!
Put together, and it translates to the idea of being inspired; whether for greater spiritual understanding, personal growth, or something else related. The word ‘entheogen’ is sometimes confused for the words ‘psychedelic’, and ‘hallucinogen’, but its not exactly either, though it can encompass drugs of those specifications.
The term ‘entheogen’ is not more specific than this, partly because its not an actual part of nomenclature. Rather, it’s a broad term that can be used in different ways. Since it implies any psychoactive substance used for spiritual purposes, or some kind of personal development; it refers to many different substances, and personal opinions on whats included, can vary.
Some publications list entheogenic plants as plants with psychedelic properties alone. Other publications look at in terms of drugs used specifically in rituals. Regardless of exactly how you want to break it down, an entheogen is a plant with psychoactive effects, that’s used in some kind of traditional practice of spirituality or healing.
As hallucinogenic substances (often lumped together under the heading ‘psychedelics’) gain popularity, we see this reflected in new legislative measures that have already passed in different locations; which have been proposed, but didn’t make their way through; or are currently in the system. Different locations define what they want to legalize or decriminalize differently, but more and more often, there’s a designation specifically for entheogenic plants.
Right now, Colorado stands as the best example for changing legislation regarding entheogenic plants. In the November 2022 elections, the people of Colorado voted on Proposition 122, which passed with 53.64% of the voting public saying yes, meaning 1,296,992votes. 46.36% of the voting public – 1,121,124 votes – didn’t want this change.
The bill is called the Decriminalization, Regulated Distribution, and Therapy Program for Certain Hallucinogenic Plants and Fungi Initiative. This new law defines certain plants containing psychoactive and entheogenic compounds, as natural medicines, including DMT, ibogaine, mescaline (excluding peyote), psilocybin, and psilocin. The measure does not mention the word entheogen, but that’s exactly what it’s talking about.
It decriminalizes the personal possession, use, transport, and cultivation of the plants with the compounds mentioned above, so long as the user is 21 or above. It also creates the Regulated Natural Medicine Access Programwhich is to be an industry of regulated healing centers where these compounds will be administered as natural medicines.
Incidentally, as a showing of how much Colorado is in support of hallucinogens, it passed HB 1344, which was signed into law June 8th of 2022. This first-of-its-kind law pre-emptively legalized the medical use of MDMA, but is contingent on the federal government passing a legalization measure first, before it becomes valid. MDMA, however, as a synthetic drug, is not considered an entheogenic plant.
Did Oregon legalize entheogenic plants?
Oregon became the very first state to legalize a previously illegal entheogenic plant, when it put Measure 109 before its people, called the Psilocybin Mushroom Services Program Initiative. 55.75% of voters were all for this change, while 44.25% of voters were a bit more hesitant. This measure was not as well defined as Colorado’s upon the vote, and it wasn’t until 2022 that some things became clear. Although one point that was clear at voting time, was that this only applied to magic mushrooms.
When draft rules finally came out, they stipulated that not only is it only magic mushrooms allowed, but limited it to only one species: Psilocybe cubensis. Colorado, much like Oregon, is looking to set up treatment centers where the drugs can be given as natural medicine. Only, it seems Colorado is more geared to doing this medicinally, and Oregon doesn’t make that stipulation. How much Colorado allows ‘spiritual’ and ‘medical’ to overlap, is hard to say at the moment.
Colorado decriminalized the use of these plants as well for adults. Oregon did likewise through a different ballot measure called Measure 110, which decriminalized the personal possession of controlled substances, bringing them down to a class E violation which comes with no more than $100 in fines. Between Oregon’s two measures, and Colorado’s one, they do provide similar overage, with Colorado going just a bit farther for what it will offer in treatment centers. In neither state was a full recreational legalization made.
Where else is there legislation for entheogenic plants?
Different individual locations within the US have passed decriminalization measures for different hallucinogenic substances. These vary between locations in exactly what they permit. One of the more recent additions was San Francisco. In September 2022 its Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution which doesn’t make a legal change, but which does instruct law enforcement to put possession and use of the included plants as the lowest priority for arrest. And it does specifically define them as entheogenic.
The resolution, called Supporting Entheogenic Plant Practices (resolution 220896), decriminalizes the “full spectrum of plants, fungi, and natural materials that can inspire personal and spiritual well-being.” It even stipulates that this covers “planting, cultivating, purchasing, transporting, distributing, engaging in practices with” these plants. This decriminalization does nothing to limit punishment for drugs like LSD and MDMA.
Seattle did something similar in October 2022, also not making it fully legal, but passing a resolution which states “that the investigation, arrest, and prosecution of anyone engaging in entheogen-related activities should be among The City of Seattle’s lowest law enforcement priorities and stating the Council’s support for full decriminalization of these activities.”
Detroit also went the way of specifically decriminalizing entheogenic plants. Voter measure Proposal E, which was voted in on November 2nd, 2021, asked the question: “Shall the voters of the City of Detroit adopt an ordinance to the 2019 Detroit City Code that would decriminalize to the fullest extent permitted under Michigan law the personal possession and therapeutic use of Entheogenic Plants by adults and make the personal possession and therapeutic use of Entheogenic Plants by adults the city’s lowest law-enforcement priority?” The city responded yes with 61.08% of the voting population onboard with this.
On a state level, Michigan attempted to legalize some hallucinogens, but the bill was defeated last spring. California also attempted a psychedelics legalization, but the bill tanked out as well. It has, however, come back, introducing Senate Bill 58 in December which would “decriminalize the possession and personal use of certain psychedelic drugs.” These include “psilocybin, psilocyn, Dimethyltryptamine (“DMT”), mescaline (excluding peyote), and ibogaine.”
Washington also had a failed bill to legalize psychedelics, and is also already back in the saddle with the “Psilocybin Services Wellness and Opportunity Act” which was introduced on January 11th, 2023. The bill aims to “facilitate the establishment of safe, legal, and affordable psilocybin service centers to provide citizens of Washington who are at least 21 years of age with opportunities for supported psilocybin experiences for wellness and personal growth.”
The term ‘entheogens’ includes many different substances. Many of these substances, particularly of the entheogenic plant variety, are now making their way to decriminalized or legal status; as hallucinogens in general rise in popularity.
Thanks for making your way over! We appreciate you stopping in at Cannadelics.com; where we work to bring you the best in independent news coverage for the cannabis and psychedelics spaces. Visit us regularly for daily news injections, and sign up to the Cannadelics Weekly Newsletter, so you’re always on top of what’s going on.