Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy, and How It Works

When you think of a therapy session, you probably think of someone sitting on a couch talking about their life, while a professional looking person listens, and aids in the process. But what if one other component could be added to the scenario. Like 100 micrograms of LSD, or 20 mg of psilocybin? Psychedelic-assisted therapy is coming back in style, and there’s a really good reason why.

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What is a psychedelic drug?

Psychedelic drugs are a subset of hallucinogenic drugs, which are a subset of psychoactive drugs. Psychedelics are specifically associated with altering a person’s perception, mood, cognition, general sense of time and space, and emotions. As hallucinogens, they can also cause a person to see, hear, feel, taste, and smell things that are not actually there, or to experience things in a distorted way. Psychedelics can be found in nature, or made in laboratories. Examples of psychedelic drugs include LSD, magic mushrooms, DMT, MDMA, ayahuasca, peyote, and many, many more.

Psychedelics tend to promote empathy and feelings of connection between people, self-introspection, and mystical experiences, which vary by the drug taken, and in what amount. They encourage feelings of euphoria, relaxation, and overall wellbeing. They can also have some negative effects, especially when too much is taken. These can involve a fast or irregular heartbeat, dizziness, confusion, sweating and chills, vomiting, and numbness. As with any substance on earth being used as a medicine, it is important to understand dosing.

Psychedelic drugs have different modes of action, but many are serotonergic, like LSD and psilocybin, which means they interact with serotonin receptors in the brain, generally causing a rush of the neurotransmitter, and then blocking reuptake to promote absorption, essentially saturating the brain with serotonin. Serotonin (aka 5-HT) is a neurotransmitter associated with many functions including mood regulation, involuntary muscle control, and sending signals throughout the brain.

Along with promoting a lot of good feelings, and being investigated more and more for medical benefits, some psychedelics also come with the possibility of a bad trip. A bad trip is everything that a good trip is not. Negative and scary hallucinations, and feelings of anxiety and panic. This is often associated with simply taking too much of a drug, and can be mitigated by understanding dosing.

Psychedelic therapy

What is psychedelic-assisted therapy?

Psychedelic-assisted therapy is the combination of talk therapy with the administration of a psychedelic drug during the session. Examples of drugs that can be used for psychedelic therapy include, but are not limited to, LSD, psilocybin (the main psychedelic component of magic mushrooms), MDMA, ayahuasca, and DMT. Psychedelic drugs are tested in high doses, as well as micro-doses. The basic model for the psychedelic-assisted therapy process goes as follows:

1 – The preparation phase involves initial sessions held prior to any drug ingestion. This often involves talk therapy sessions, in which a clear picture can be made of the person’s issues, and the therapist can prepare the patient for the psychedelic experience. Preparation is done by helping with basic guidance, like encouraging the patient to go through a door if they see one in their experience, or to approach scary characters and ask questions rather than running away, so as to promote a person dealing with challenging situations. It is important in this phase that the patient and therapist create a good relationship, as that has an impact on how comfortable and positive the patient feels when entering the next phase.

2 – The next phase is the psychedelic session phase. The two big aspects to consider when going into a session of this nature, are the mindset of the patient as they go into it, and the physical setting around them, which should promote general comfort. In testing, the space is generally set up to be like a living room. A typical session can last as long as eight hours, or as long as the effects of the drug that was taken. Generally, sessions involving drugs will have two therapists in attendance, which I assume is partially a security measure since the patient is put into an altered state.

The patient can sit or lie down, can wear sunglasses if it helps them, and is sometimes given music to listen to. For a psychedelic session, the compound is generally administered in the form of a pill at a micro-dose level – though this is not a rule and many programs will seek larger doses. Models vary when it comes to how many drug-assisted sessions a patient undergoes, and the dosage taken. Therapists will guide patients through the experience, but perform limited, if any, analysis at this time.

3 – The final phase is the integration phase. This happens soon after the psychedelic-assisted therapy session, and can be done as one session, or multiple sessions. In this phase, facilitated by the therapist, the patient can process their psychedelic session, and work to make sense of their experience, and to gain some sort of positive meaning out of it.

mental illness

Psychedelic-assisted therapy isn’t a new invention

While it might seem like using psychedelics in therapy is a fantastic new discovery in mind-expansion to help treat mental disorders, it’s really not new at all. What is happening now, is a re-emergence of a field of study and therapy that started in the mid-1900’s, beginning with the use of LSD.

LSD was originally synthesized in 1938 by Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann for Sandoz Laboratories. Hofmann, incidentally, also brought us the first isolated psilocybin compound from magic mushrooms, making him one of the more important characters in modern psychedelic research. The drug didn’t make its way to the States till almost 1950, where it caught the attention of psychotherapists.

One of the early pioneers into psychedelic therapy research was psychiatrist Humphry Osmond. Humphrey Osmond was one of a group of psychiatrists that got into LSD research for the treatment of alcoholism and other mental disorders in the 50’s.

He was actually the guy that coined the term ‘psychedelic’, and tried it himself before starting to offer it to patients in 1953. In one of his first experiments into alcoholism (limited as it was), Osmond gave one 200 microgram dose of LSD to two alcoholics, one of whom quit immediately, and one of whom quit six months later.

His collaboration with Abram Hoffer in 1951 started the Saskatchewan trials (named after the location of Weyburn Mental Hospital where the research took place.) Over 2,000 patients later, at the end of the 1960’s, the methodology of one single dose of LSD coupled with psychotherapy had consistently in their research showed positive benefits for treating alcoholism with 40-45% of test subjects not relapsing within a year.

Psychedelics in the UK

These positive results were mirrored by a UK psychiatrist Ronald Sandison who had already begun using alternative methods in psychotherapy like art and music. He began treating patients with LSD brought back from a trip to Switzerland where he met Albert Hofmann. His trials in the UK returned similar results to the Saskatchewan trials, and in 1954 Sandison published this study in which 36 psychoneurotic patients were administered LSD over the course of a year, leading to 14 recovered patients, only two without improvement, and the rest with some level of improvement.

psychedelic medicine

Sandison even opened the first LSD therapy clinic in the 1950’s. It could accommodate up to five patients, and included individual psychedelic sessions, and group discussion sessions. In 2002, Britain’s National Health Service agreed to pay £195,000 to 43 patients of Sandison’s in out-of-court settlements, though whether this was out of actual damage suffered, or opportunism to collect for the usage of a drug that had become illegal, is hard to say.

Osmond’s method of LSD therapy that included one large dose with psychotherapy, was termed ‘psychedelic therapy’, while Sandison’s approach of using multiple smaller doses that increase in size, also with psychoanalysis, was termed ‘psycholytic therapy’. Between the years of 1950-1965, over 40,000 patients were treated with LSD, over 1,000 scientific papers were published, and six international conferences on the subject were held. All of the research and treatments ended by 1970 when psychedelic drugs were formally illegalized by the Convention on Psychotropic Substances treaty.

Benefits of psychedelic-assisted therapy

Research will continue to build on the topic, but what is out there is certainly promising. In one systematic review from 2020 called Psychedelics and Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy, the authors looked at research from 2007-2019, reviewing a total of 161 articles. The most significant results were related to MDMA for the treatment of PTSD and psilocybin for the treatment of depression and anxiety (related to cancer). The authors also noted promising results related to the use of LSD and ayahuasca for mental disorders.

In another systematic review from 2018 titled Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy: A Paradigm Shift in Psychiatric Research and Development, the review authors investigated research related to psychotherapy involving psychedelics like ketamine, MDMA, psilocybin, LSD and ibogaine. Clinical results supported use of these drugs, even for treatment-resistant conditions, and backed-up that psychedelics have proven to be both safe and effective. The review authors also made a point of how psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy can challenge the notion of standard diagnostics, saying the model:

“…has important consequences for the diagnostics and explanation axis of the psychiatric crisis, challenging the discrete nosological entities and advancing novel explanations for mental disorders and their treatment, in a model considerate of social and cultural factors, including adversities, trauma, and the therapeutic potential of some non-ordinary states of consciousness.”

Conclusion

Though the coupling of psychedelic drugs and psychotherapy might not technically be a ‘new’ version of treatment, it is new to current generations that were born in the wake pf psychedelic illegalization. In a way, the use of psychedelic-assisted therapy is simply going back to our own relatively recent history. Just imagine how far along research could have been if these drugs had not been illegalized in the first place. Unfortunately, that’s not what happened, and now, this old form of therapy, is becoming the new thing once again.

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Resources

Can LSD Treat Your Mental Illness?
Forced Legalizations: EU & France Battle it out Over CBD Laws

William O’Shaughnessy & The Start of Cannabis Medicine
Is CBD A Good Solution For PTSD?
What is DELTA 8 THC (FAQ: Great resource to learn about DELTA 8THC)

Is Cannabis Good for Young Brains?
Florida Bill Aims to Legalize Medical Magic Mushrooms
The CBD Flowers Weekly newsletter (your top resource for all things smokable hemp flowers). How to choose Delta-8 THC flowers?  A Complete Look At Cannabis and Depression
The Medical Cannabis Weekly newsletter (International medical cannabis business report)
What is Delta-8 THC? All Your Questions, Answered!
The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter (All you need to know about Delta 8 thc) and the Best Delta 8 THC Deals. Best Delta-8 THC Vape Bundles – Winter 2021 Denver Residents Vote to Decriminalize “Magic Mushrooms”
Cannabis and the South: How Things Change The New Rise of Medical Psychedelics Ask A Doctor – General CBD/PTSD Discussion
Merry Cannabis! Christmas and Marijuana
New Jersey Wants Home Cultivation for Cannabis   Nature’s Magic – The Health Benefits of Psilocybin Mushrooms Plant Power: Everyday Plants That Activate the Endocannabinoid System

The post Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy, and How It Works appeared first on CBD Testers.

Season 2 Ask an Expert Encore: Building Cannabinoids with Dr Markus Roggen

Welcome to the Season 2 Ask an Expert Encore, Building Cannabinoids with Dr Markus Roggen. Watch Dr. Markus play with a molecular kit and get ready to learn something because after all, there’s nothing like a visual. With the molecule in front of you, it’s easy to understand concepts such as: The structural makeup of […]

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MDMA – The New Way to Treat PTSD

For sufferers of PTSD, the world can be a scary place. Modern medicine has attempted many ways to treat the disorder ranging from medications to therapy tactics, but they don’t always work. Building evidence shows that alternative remedies like the psychedelic drug MDMA might be a better long-term answer to treat PTSD.

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What is PTSD?

Post traumatic stress disorder is a psychiatric disorder, which means it is diagnosed subjectively. It effects people who have gone through a traumatic experience, whether they were actually a part of it, or just witness to it. This can include things like being physically attacked, witnessing atrocities of war, living through natural disasters, or being the target of bullying or psychological abuse. PTSD is diagnosed separately from other anxiety-based mental illnesses based on the experiencing of a traumatic event.

PTSD was known as ‘shell shock’ during World War I, and was referred to as ‘Battle Fatigue’ after world war II. It is associated with disturbing, and often very intense thoughts concerning past traumas. This can include reliving the event in flashbacks or nightmares, fear, sadness, anger, and feelings of detachment and estrangement from other people. Sufferers of PTSD often display strong negative reactions to situations that others would find non-triggering, and may avoid situations or people entirely that remind them of their past trauma.

Subjective diagnoses make for a difficult time adding up statistics, however, according to psychiatry.org, approximately 3.5% of adults in the US suffer from PTSD per year, and its estimated that about one out of every eleven people will experience PTSD in their lifetime. Women are the predominant sufferers, outnumbering men 2:1, and the three ethnic groups where PTSD symptoms show up the most in the US, are Latinos, African Americans, and Native Americans – all minorities that have experienced a lot of overall violence, intolerance, and general contempt aimed at them throughout history.

medical psychedelics

What is MDMA?

3,4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine, known colloquially as ecstasy, or molly (which is slang for ‘molecular’), is a man made psychoactive drug which is derived from the safrole oil, found primarily in sassafras plants. MDMA has properties of both hallucinogens and stimulants, acting primarily through its interaction with serotonin receptors. It forces the brain to released large amounts of the neurotransmitter, while blocking its reuptake to aid in extra absorption. MDMA comes as either pressed pills, or as a powder that can range from brown to white.

MDMA is known for promoting a feeling of connectedness between people, of reducing fear and anxiety, and increasing feelings of empathy. It was created by Merck Pharmaceutical back in 1912, however its effects were not well understood until the 1970’s when chemist Alexander Shulgin created a new method to synthesize the drug, and tested it out along with a few of his psychotherapist friends. This is around when it started being used in psychotherapy practices, as a treatment method coupled with therapy sessions, known as psychedelic-assisted therapy.

Despite showing usefulness in dealing with mental disorders, MDMA was illegalized in 1985. In 1984, President Ronald Reagan’s administration enacted the Comprehensive Crime Control Act which allowed for emergency banning of drugs by the government. When the subject of MDMA came up in 1985, after other psychedelic drugs had already been illegalized, this act was used to immediately illegalize the compound by placing it in Schedule I of the Convention on Psychotropic Substances treaty, ending therapeutic uses of it.

The illegalization of psychedelics started with smear campaigns during the Vietnam war which culminated in the passage of the Staggers-Dodd bill in 1968 illegalizing LSD and psilocybin specifically. This was followed up with the creation of the Convention on Psychotropic Substances treaty in 1971 which outlawed most of the rest, with the exception of MDMA, which was outlawed later.

While the topic is obviously a controversial one, statements made by John Ehrlichman – former Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs under President Nixon in 1994, made evident that the war on drugs wasn’t necessarily about drugs at all. Creating further concerns about why drugs like MDMA were illegalized. In his statement he claimed:

“The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people… We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

MDMA treat PTSD

MDMA to treat PTSD

So, what do we really know about the ability of MDMA to treat PTSD symptoms? In 2020, a systematic review was released that investigated articles published up until the end of March 2019, that used key terms like ‘treatments for PTSD’ and ‘MDMA pathway’. All articles came through PubMed and ScienceDirect.

It was found in the identification and review of these articles (and their sources) that many small scale investigations had been done that show MDMA aids in reducing psychological trauma. The review authors made a very important point, though. They emphasized that none of the research showed MDMA as a cure for PTSD, as that specifically had not been researched.  What the review was identifying, and what had been studied, was the usefulness of MDMA assisted psychotherapy, and its ability to help people who have been unable to resolve their trauma issues through other avenues.

The big story today with MDMA revolves around currently in-progress trials. As of last summer, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) had begun Phase 3 of clinical trials into MDMA. MAPS is conducting double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trials at multiple sites, testing the safety and efficacy of MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD. The participants are 200-300 PTSD sufferers who are all 18+ in age, but with varied histories to produce their traumatic experiences.

These trials follow the Phase II trials which had promising outcomes, and are the last hurdle required by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in order to be assessed for legalization in the treatment of PTSD. Should it get the pass, MDMA would be able to be prescribed along with therapy, in outpatient settings with residential stays – to allow users to have their experience in a safe and controlled environment.

How likely is the FDA to approve MDMA to treat PTSD? It is, after all, a psychedelic drug in Schedule I, which defines it as highly dangerous with no therapeutic value. Apparently, back in 2017, the FDA identified MDMA as a ‘breakthrough therapy’ for PTSD.

The FDA defines a ‘breakthrough therapy’ as a “drug that treats a serious or life-threatening condition and preliminary clinical evidence indicates that the drug may demonstrate substantial improvement on a clinically significant endpoint(s) over available therapies.” This definition is meant to help speed up research progress in order to get products to market. In 2019, the same designation was made by the FDA for psilocybin in magic mushrooms.

medical MDMA

More about MAPS Phase 3 trials

Phase 3 trials were designed according to an agreed upon Special Protocol Assessment between MAPS and the FDA to make sure trials and outcomes would be in line with regulation. The trials take place at 15 different sites between three countries: the US, Canada, and Israel. Participants receive three therapy sessions with either MDMA or placebo over a 12-week therapy period, along with three preparatory sessions and three integration sessions, without any drugs. The MDMA/placebo sessions are spaced every 3-5 weeks.

The (CAPS-5) – Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale – is the primary measurement tool for success in the study. This is a loosely structured interview used in most PTSD trials, and requires assessment by raters who are ‘blinded’, or do not know where the study participant falls in terms of actual drug or placebo. The study investigators will use other measurement tools as well including, but not limited to: Beck Depression Inventory and Inventory of Psychosocial Functioning.

‘Phase 3’, of course, implies that this is not the beginning of the study. Phase 2 findings of the study indicate the following about MDMA and its ability to treat PTSD: it can cause a reduction in fear and defensiveness; increase introspection and communication, as well as empathy and compassion; and generally improves the therapeutic experience of those suffering from PTSD. Phase 2 consisted of 107 patients.

Two months following the MDMA-assisted treatment in Phase 2, 61% of patients were no longer identified as having PTSD. One year following treatment, 68% no longer qualified as PTSD. All participants had chronic PTSD that was treatment resistant, and had been suffered from for an average of almost 18 years.

Conclusion

It’s getting heated in the race to see which psychedelic drug gets the first US medical legalization (as the US so often sets the standard for other parts of the world). Psilocybin from magic mushrooms is certainly making waves, but it looks like MDMA might take the win. With the FDA already drooling at the mouth to approve, and the pharmaceutical world getting its ducks in a row, it looks like very shortly MDMA will officially be approved to treat PTSD, with a change in global legalization measures likely to follow.

Hello and welcome to CBDtesters.co, your one-stop-shop for all cannabis-related news worldwide. Keep up with us to stay on top of the ever-changing world of legal marijuana, and sign up to our newsletter so you’re always in the know!

Resources

Merry Cannabis! Christmas and Marijuana
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What is DELTA 8 THC (FAQ: Great resource to learn about DELTA 8THC)

The New Italian Cannabis Contradiction
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The CBD Flowers Weekly newsletter (your top resource for all things smokable hemp flowers). How to choose Delta-8 THC flowers?  Delta-8 THC Flowers: Everything You Need To Know.
The Medical Cannabis Weekly newsletter (International medical cannabis business report)
How Criminal Organizations Are Dealing with Corona
The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter (All you need to know about Delta 8 thc) and the Best Delta 8 THC Deals. Best Delta-8 THC Vape Bundles – Winter 2021 Denver Residents Vote to Decriminalize “Magic Mushrooms”
Cannabis and the South: How Things Change Plant Power: Everyday Plants That Activate the Endocannabinoid System Ask A Doctor – General CBD/PTSD Discussion
The New Rise of Medical Psychedelics
New Jersey Wants Home Cultivation for Cannabis   Is Medical Cannabis A Solution For Veteran PTSD Suicide Epidemic? Nature’s Magic – The Health Benefits of Psilocybin Mushrooms

The post MDMA – The New Way to Treat PTSD appeared first on CBD Testers.

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Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or completely new to cooking with cannabis, there is only one crucial concept you should properly understand—decarboxylation. While it may be daunting for the newcomer, ability to decarboxylate (or “decarb”) your cannabis is the magic behind bringing this culinary consumption method to life. If you’ve ever tried eating whole cannabis […]

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Can LSD Treat Your Mental Illness?

For several decades, psychedelics have been uniformly outlawed, with massive campaigns from the late 1900’s used to raise fear and controversy over their effects. Now, as the world acclimates to the medical and recreational use of cannabis, psychedelics are being looked at once again for their medical benefits. In fact, one of the leading points of research is the use of LSD to treat mental illness.

When it comes to psychedelics, cannabis is one of the most popular, and its not hard to see why. THC has medical benefits and makes people feel good. However, for some people, regular THC is just too much. If you’re one of those people, check out our Delta-8 THC deals, and experience THC with slightly less psychoactive effect, and less anxiety.

What is LSD?

LSD, known more scientifically as Lysergic acid diethylamide, is a hallucinogenic psychedelic drug, which was first synthesized in 1938 by Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman. He was also the first person to experience its effects when he accidentally ingested a small amount in 1943. As a psychedelic, it is known for altering perception, feelings, and thoughts, as well as causing visions and sensations that are not actually there (hallucinations). LSD is in a class of drugs called ergolines which are often used to treat disorders like Parkinson’s. Unlike some compounds like DMT, LSD is manmade, though derived from the ergot fungus.

How exactly LSD works to cause the effects its associated with, is still not completely defined. However, certain aspects have been found in research. In one study put out in 2017 from the University of North Carolina, it was found that LSD interacts with serotonin receptors. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a big role in mood and brain communication. The particular receptor it effects is called 5-HT2AR. One of the interesting things that happens when LSD attaches to this receptor, is that the receptor closes over the molecule, preventing it from leaving quickly. This could very well explain why the drug can last for many hours, even after it has left the bloodstream.

The serotonin receptor it attaches to can activate two signaling pathways through G-proteins and β-arrestins within cells. With LSD, it primarily works through the β-arrestins. The researchers on this study found that different drugs in the ergoline group effect serotonin receptors differently, and found evidence that the compounds themselves can modify the structure of the receptor in order to activate different effects.

Research

There has actually been plenty of research into how LSD can aide in the treatment of mental illness. Back in 2014, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study was done to investigate how safe and effective LSD is in treating the anxiety experienced by patients with life-threatening illnesses.

12 patients were used in the study, and they were given drug-free psychotherapy sessions, along with two psychotherapy sessions with LSD. A two-month follow-up showed a positive trend according to the (STAI) State-Trait Anxiety Inventory in terms of reductions in trait and state anxiety. The reductions in anxiety related to the LSD were sustained for 12 months. No serious adverse effects were noticed, and minimal adverse effects subsided within one day. The overall outcome of the study was LSD safely decreased anxiety.

In a systematic review of LSD in psychiatry, 11 studies were identified  concerning LSD and mental health that consisted of randomized and controlled clinical trials. These were done between the years of 1950-1970 when it was not illegal to use LSD in medical testing, and when LSD was regularly studied for use with addiction, anxiety, depression, and psychosomatic diseases. As part of the 11 studies that made the cut, 567 subjects were administered LSD in doses of 20 to 800 micrograms. The overall finding was that LSD has positive results in psychiatric symptoms, particularly for alcoholism. A grand majority of the study authors from the review cited positive, if short-term, improvements. This was not always seen in long-term follow-ups.

LSD in the treatment of mental illness today

Yet another systematic review was done on studies into LSD from after 1970. This review, called the Modern Clinical Research on LSD was published in 2017. The review looked at five recent studies in London, Zurich and Basel. All studies were placebo controlled. The London studies were single-blind, non-randomized, the Switzerland studies were randomized, double-blind. In all studies, low-moderate doses of LSD were used between 40-80 micrograms. (It takes about 100-200 micrograms for a full LSD effect).

In terms of subjective effects according to validated psychometric scales, the response in controlled settings was mainly positive. Average group ratings for liking the drug and having positive effects reached 90% of the maximum possible on the VAS scale after 200 micrograms had been administered. At 200 micrograms, only a small percentage increase was made for the average of those who had a negative drug effect (<25%), however negative ratings did go up with the increase.

No high levels of anxiety or panic occurred, necessitating no sedation of patients to stave off negative effects. The main feelings experienced during testing were: bliss, altered perceptions, audiovisual synesthesia (think crossed wires and mixed-up responses), and derealization and depersonalization in positive ways. Higher doses included more insightfulness.

LSD for mental illness

In terms of the synesthesia, LSD produced spontaneous experiences, indicating it alters spontaneous processes, rather than creating an induced response. At under 100 micrograms, LSD promoted suggestibility, and at 200 micrograms it inspired mystical experiences during psychotherapy combined with LSD. Similar studies that have been done on psilocybin have shown that more intense mystical experiences are tied to long-term positive benefits.

However, these mystical effects were correlated at a high level with blissful states as well, meaning the long-term response could be more related to blissful experiences than mystical ones. In these studies, LSD promoted feelings of happiness, well-being, openness, closeness to other people, and trust.

In terms of negative effects, they generally didn’t last more than 10-24 hours, and included headache, difficulty with concentration, decrease in appetite, dizziness, dry mouth, nausea, exhaustion and feeling unbalanced. No severe adverse responses were noticed in any of the modern testing. LSD, in general, is considered non-toxic physically.

Why is it illegal?

When looking at all the positive scientific research, and the lack of detrimental side effects, it starts to look very strange that LSD has been illegalized, while pharmaceutical medications to treat the same things often have lower success rates and harsher side effects. While the US government might stick with a tagline of psychedelics being dangerous and having no medical value, there is another underlying story which makes a bit more sense.

LSD and psilocybin were first illegalized in the late 60’s after a years long smear campaign which coincided with the Vietnam war. America was off fighting a battle that didn’t technically involve it, and causing a massive death toll, and unspeakable and unnecessary violence and destruction to residents of Vietnam.

There was already a pretty heavy anti-war movement during that time. Want to speculate on how much bigger and harder to control that would’ve been if the country was focusing on the war as it should have been? The question of why America wanted to be in that war so badly is a whole debate in and of itself, but regardless of the ‘why’s, there are still some heavy truths. In 1994, a guy named John Ehrlichman, who had been the Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs in Nixon’s administration, made this statement:

psychedelics

“The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

Is it really any wonder that in 1968 the US passed the Staggers-Dodd bill illegalizing both LSD and psilocybin? Or that in 1971 the Convention on Psychotropic Substances treaty gave it a Schedule I ranking? And is it really any wonder that this was heavily pushed for by richer countries with developed pharmaceutical industries, while poorer countries that didn’t have industries that could benefit the same way, were against the illegalization?

What now?

Things can change easily from good to bad, but they can also change from bad to good. Growing scrutiny towards agencies like the DEA for blocking scientific discovery in order to restrict access, and a renewed interest in medical testing, has re-opened the door which had been closed on LSD. Last month, the company MindMed even announced the beginning of the very first clinical trial ever to incorporate LSD and MDMA to test the possible benefits in dealing with mental illness.

Mindmed is a biotech company specializing in medicines and therapies using psychedelics. The trials are being done in Switzerland, which has been the base for a lot of psychedelics testing. Considering it’s a biotech company doing them, the logic answer would be that they want to make a product to sell eventually. My guess is, by the time they’re ready, it’ll be more legal globally to make LSD products to treat mental illness. After all, think about how fast the cannabis industry changed in the last few years.

Conclusion

The ongoing legalizations of cannabis, which is also a psychedelic, though a much less intense one, do signal a change in things. LSD has shown a spectacular profile for aiding in mental illness, with so few adverse reactions, that its silly what people are taking instead. It’s hard to say what the future holds, but it might very soon be the legalization for LSD medically.

Welcome to CBDtesters.co, your primary spot for all cannabis-related news around the world. Stop by frequently to stay on top of the ever-changing world of legal marijuana, and sign up to our newsletter so you’re always in the know!

Resources

Cannabis and Schizophrenia – Not a Testable Hypothesis
Forced Legalizations: EU & France Battle it out Over CBD Laws

Is Delta-8 THC Legal? What Does The Law Says? Is CBD Effective for Treating Bipolar Disorder?
Everything You Need to Know About Kratom
What is DELTA 8 THC (FAQ: Great resource to learn about DELTA 8THC)

The New Italian Cannabis Contradiction
Merry Cannabis! Christmas and Marijuana
The CBD Flowers Weekly newsletter (your top resource for all things smokable hemp flowers). How to choose Delta-8 THC flowersDelta-8 THC Flowers: Everything You Need To Know.
The Medical Cannabis Weekly newsletter (International medical cannabis business report)
Relax: How CBD Can Reduce Anxiety
The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter (All you need to know about Delta 8 thc) and the Best Delta 8 THC Deals.  Best Delta-8 THC Vape Bundles – Winter 2021 Gallup Poll Finds Americans Use CBD Mostly For Pain Management
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Medical Cannabis Crossword Puzzle

Being sick really sucks. If you or someone close to you is dealing with a medical issue, it’s hard to focus on anything else. When the only option presented is prescription drugs, you have a certain expectation that they will work. Unfortunately, they often don’t or the side effects are worse than the original diagnosis. […]

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Florida Bill Aims to Legalize Medical Magic Mushrooms

For the last several decades, it was almost unthinkable to consider what Florida lawmakers are now considering. In light of the recent flurry to change legal restrictions on cannabis, the psychedelic field is starting to get its own flurry of attention. With new research coming out to back the medical properties, a Florida lawmaker produced a bill that aims to legalize magic mushrooms for medicinal purposes.

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What are magic mushrooms?

Magic mushrooms are a group of fungi that grow wild or are cultivated, that contain the compound psilocybin. Some of the mushroom genera that fit into this category include: Panaeolus, Conocybe, and Psilocybe – the most well-known.

Psilocybin is a hallucinogenic and psychoactive compound. Much like LSD it is a serotonergic psychedelic, which means it activates serotonin receptors in the brain. Albert Hoffmann, the same guy who brought us LSD in 1938, was also the first guy to isolate psilocybin in 1958. As hallucinogens, magic mushrooms can cause users to see, hear, and physically feel things that are not actually there. Psilocybin is also associated with feeling euphoric, altering mood, altering perception, an intensified sense of connection to other people, distortion in time and reality, a high level of introspection, and spiritual experiences.

Mushrooms can be dried out before being consumed, or eaten raw, and effects can last about six hours. Psilocybin is a Schedule I compound according to the Convention on Psychotropic Substances, a drug scheduling treaty, much like the Single Convention on Narcotic Substances treaty which was signed in 1961. Schedule I on both treaties denote a dangerous drug with no medical value.

Florida legalize magic mushrooms

Is it legal?

Psilocybin in technically banned due to being in Schedule I of the Convention on Psychotropic Substances treaty. The treaty is an international UN treaty from 1971 that sets legal guidelines for drugs throughout the world. It was originally illegalized in the US in 1968 with the Staggers-Dodd bill, before becoming illegal all over the world through the scheduling treaty, which ignored all medical benefit of the compound.

However, this is not the whole story. While psilocybin and psilocin (another psychoactive compound in magic mushrooms) are Schedule I drugs, the mushrooms themselves are not regulated under any treaty, and are part of longstanding medical, religious, and spiritual traditions all over the world. In a letter dated September 13, 2001, Herbert Schaepe – the secretary of the board for the (INCB) International Narcotics Control Board, which is the independent body that monitors the implementation for the UN’s International drug treaties – specified the following to the Dutch Ministry of Health:

“As a matter of international law, no plants (natural material) containing psilocine and psilocybin are at present controlled under the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971. Consequently, preparations made of these plants are not under international control and, therefore, not subject of the articles of the 1971 Convention.”  

Where are they legal in the US?

In fact, different countries have different legalization policies for mushrooms, making a disconnect between the UN treaty, and individual laws of countries. In the US, mushrooms are illegal under federal law, however there are already states with decriminalization policies in place, including: Ann arbor, Michigan; Denver, Colorado; Oakland and Santa Cruz in California; and Washington DC. Psilocybin was legalized in Oregon during the 2020 presidential election, for the treatment of mental health disorders, under supervision. Oregon even decriminalized its recreational use, along with several other drugs, under Measure 110. All of this went into effect on February 1st 2021.

On November 3rd, 2020, Oregon passed Measure 109, making it the first US state to legalize psilocybin use medically. The state has two years to complete an operational regulation structure. The law, which passed with 56% of the vote by Oregon voters, will allow adults 21+ to have access to psilocybin products for ‘personal development’ so long as they pass a screening. This would take place only in licensed facilities. It should be remembered that Oregon already allows legal adult-use marijuana through Measure 91 which was approved back in 2014.

New Florida bill to legalize magic mushrooms

Oregon isn’t the only state to update its view on magic mushrooms and psilocybin. Last month, Florida House Representative Michael Grieco introduced a bill that would legalize magic mushrooms (psilocybin) medicinally for people with mental disorders like depression and anxiety. Called the Florida Psilocybin Mental Health Care Act, it calls for the creation of state-funded clinics where micro-dosing of psilocybin by licensed professionals, can be done. The magic mushroom experience would take place with the health care professional, and the patient would be offered a counseling session afterwards as well. Said Grieco:

“When people think of ‘magic mushrooms,’ they think of listening to Pink Floyd and tie-dye T-shirts, but we should take this seriously… We have veterans and Floridians who have deep depression and post-traumatic stress disorder who are resistant to other medications.”

psychedelic medicine

His 59-page proposal is partially based on Oregon’s aforementioned bill that legalized psilocybin for medicinal use. It should be noted, that while psilocybin and magic mushrooms are illegal federally in the US, the US (FDA) Food & Drug Administration twice in 2019 made the designation of psilocybin as a ‘breakthrough therapy’ for major depression.

This isn’t just cute wording either. Giving such a designation is meant to quicken development for medications. As per the FDA, “A breakthrough therapy designation is for a drug that treats a serious or life-threatening condition and preliminary clinical evidence indicates that the drug may demonstrate substantial improvement on a clinically significant endpoint(s) over available therapies.”

What about Connecticut, California, New Jersey and Hawaii?

Not every state to introduce a new measure, is introducing one as extreme as the Florida bill that would legalize magic mushrooms medicinally. However, on February 18th, 2021, California democratic Senator Scott Weiner introduced a bill that would decriminalize psychedelic drugs like psilocybin, LSD, ketamine, MDMA, mescaline, and DMT for both personal and therapeutic use in California.

The bill actually specifically excludes peyote, since its considered an endangered plant which is highly important to Native American traditions. This is not the same as what Florida is proposing, or that Oregon has with Measure 109, but it would make the possession and use of these drugs not a criminal offense. The bill would also expunge the criminal records of those who had psychedelic possession convictions.

Said Weiner, “The war on drugs has been a complete failure… It hasn’t stopped people from using drugs and it hasn’t stopped addiction.” This idea was expanded on by policy and advocacy counsel Ismail Lourido Ali of (MAPS) Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, who said:

medical psychedelics

“Psychedelic use can come with some risks, but criminalization only increases those risks by creating an unregulated market in which difficult-to-verify dosages and the presence of adulterants like fentanyl threaten public health.”

Then there’s Connecticut where Representative Josh Elliot, along with four other legislators, put forth a bill that would create a task force for researching the medical benefits of psilocybin. This is significantly more limited than California’s bill, but shows a definite interest in knowing more about psilocybin and how it can help.

Both California and Connecticut are following in line with Hawaii which introduced bill SB 738 at the end of January 2021, which would legalize magic mushrooms for therapeutic use. The bill would also officially remove both psilocybin and psilocyn from Hawaii’s Schedule I drug list. The bill is not otherwise terribly specific, literally saying only that the Department of Heath will adopt rules to go along with the law.

And don’t forget New Jersey! On February 4th, 2021, Governor Phil Murphy – who has done quite a bit to pass cannabis legalization measures in New Jersey, signed a bill that works to semi-decriminalize magic mushroom use. The law took effect immediately, and downgraded up to one ounce of psilocybin from a third-degree crime, to a ‘disorderly person’s offense’. It’s not a true decriminalization in that users can still end up with six-month jail sentences and $1,000 in fines. However, this is much better than the previous three-five years in prison.

Conclusion

It’s hard to say if the new Florida bill to legalize medical magic mushrooms will go through, but if it doesn’t this time, it’ll have that much more push the second time around. Plus, with state after state adopting new decriminalization and medical legalization policies for psilocybin, and psychedelics in general, it seems that just like with cannabis, we might see a very quick shift to psychedelic acceptance.

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Resources

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What is DELTA 8 THC (FAQ: Great resource to learn about DELTA 8THC)

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Plant Power: Everyday Plants That Activate the Endocannabinoid System
The CBD Flowers Weekly newsletter (your top resource for all things smokable hemp flowers). How to choose Delta-8 THC flowersDelta-8 THC Flowers: Everything You Need To Know.
The Medical Cannabis Weekly newsletter (International medical cannabis business report)
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The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter (All you need to know about Delta 8 thc) and the Best Delta 8 THC Deals. Best Delta-8 THC Vape Bundles – Winter 2021 Denver Residents Vote to Decriminalize “Magic Mushrooms”
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Nature’s Magic – The Health Benefits of Psilocybin Mushrooms

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Delta 8: Shipping Vape Ban Goes Into Effect Soon – What Does It Means?

If you recall, about 1 month ago we covered the upcoming vape product shipping ban that was snuck onto page 5,136 of last year’s COVID relief bill. At the time, there was still a lot of confusion about what shipping companies would be included and when these new measures would take place. Now we have some more updates and can offer additional clarity about what exactly is going on.

Last month’s article was based off the text of the omnibus bill, of which the specifics up for speculation because we weren’t exactly sure if this ban would cover only tobacco vape products or if it would extend to the cannabis industry. As it stands, all vape products fall under the category of tobacco, whether they actually contain tobacco or not.

Now, we have updates from the United States Postal Service and a few other shipping companies, so we’ll give it to you straight from the horse’s mouth this time.

one of the main products that will be affected from this new vape-ban are Delta-8 THC vapes. People who got used to pay between $19.95-$29.95 for a premium cartridge, will finds the same product sold for double. As a result we have seen a sharp rise in the demand for Delta-8 vape bundles, where vape carts are sold for under $12/cart, when bought as-part of a bundle.

The best Delta-8 THC deals are reserved for the subscribers of the Delta 8 Weekly newsletter. Want ot get $12 Delta 8 vape carts? Subscribe below to be included!

United States Postal Service (USPS)

As part of the amended PACT (Prevent All Human Trafficking) Act, the USPS now prohibits the delivery of “ENDS” products, directly to consumers. The term ENDS stands for Electronic Delivery Nicotine Systems, but the term is used loosely to include “any electronic device that, through an aerosolized solution, delivers nicotine, flavor, or any other substance to the user inhaling from the device,” including “an e-cigarette; an e-hookah; an e-cigar; a vape pen; an advanced refillable personal vaporizer; an electronic pipe; and any component, liquid, part, or accessory of a device described [above], without regard to whether the component, liquid, part, or accessory is sold separately from the device.”

Although the USPS doesn’t have any official statement posted on their website, the cutoff for shipping vape products is 120 days after the enactment of the CARES act, which falls on April 27, 2021. All it says on their website right now, is as follows, “Cigarettes and smokeless tobacco are restricted items and can only be mailed in limited circumstances. Cigars may be mailed domestically.”

Get Delta-8 THC vape cartridges for as low as $12/cart, when bought as part of a bundle

United Parcel Service (UPS)

As per their website, the “UPS is prohibiting the shipment of Vaping Products throughout its U.S. network (including import and export). For the purpose of this prohibition, Vaping Products includes any and all noncombustible liquid or gel, regardless of the presence of nicotine, capable of being used with or for the consumption of nicotine. All related vape devices, products and accessories are included in this prohibition.” This will be effective April 5, 2021.

This is an update from their previous policy, which can be found a bit further down on that same page. Their outdated rules are as follows, “Electronic cigarettes and other Vaping Products are considered Tobacco Products for the purpose of this policy, and therefore can be shipped only by Shippers who have been approved for and have signed a UPS agreement for the transportation of Tobacco Products.”

“Shippers are responsible for complying with such all laws restricting or prohibiting the shipment of Vaping Products, even if such laws are the subject of a legal challenge or have been enjoined from enforcement at the time of shipment. Shippers are also responsible for monitoring legislative enactments regarding Vaping Products and complying with such laws immediately as of the date such laws take effect.”

Fedex and Dalsey, Hillblom and Lynn (DHL)

Fedex already prohibits the shipping of tobacco products, which includes vape products. According to their website, “Even if you have proper licenses and are authorized to ship tobacco products, we will be unable to accept your shipment. Tobacco and all tobacco products cannot be accepted at any FedEx or FedEx Office location.”

This includes but is not limited to:

  • Cigarettes 
  • Cigars
  • Loose tobacco 
  • Smokeless tobacco 
  • Hooka or shisha
  • Vaporizers 
  • E-cigarettes 

Fedex has previously confirmed that it will end shipping of vapor products on March 1, 2021.  DHL, (Dalsey, Hillblom and Lynn) the other major shipping service based out of Germany that offers international shipping, previously banned domestic retail shipments of e-cigarettes and all other nicotine products.

More about USPS and the vape ban

In addition to banning USPS deliveries of vaping products, the “Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act” forces companies and individuals who are legally selling vape products to adhere to many new, and very stringent, regulations. For example, they will be required to:

  • Register with the U.S. Attorney General/ATF
  • Verify age of customers using a commercially available database
  • Use private shipping services that collect an adult signature at the point of delivery
  • If selling in states that tax vaping products, sellers must register with the federal government and with the tobacco tax administrators of the states
  • Collect all applicable local and state taxes, and affix any required tax stamps to the products sold
  • Send each taxing state’s tax administrator a list of all transactions with customers in their state, including the names and addresses of each customer sold to, and the quantities and type of each product sold
  • Maintain records for five years of any “delivery interrupted because the carrier or service determines or has reason to believe that the person ordering the delivery is in violation of the [PACT Act]”

Sellers who do not register or don’t comply with the requirements of the PACT Act are subject to severe penalties, including which can range from hefty fines to prison time. These provisions apply to all online sales, no matter which carrier ships them.

What does the vape ban means dor Delta-8 THC vape cartridges?

Unfortunately, one rule applies for both nicotine, CBD and Delta-8 THC vape cartridges so starting next month your ability to get them online will be limited! As a result, starting March clients who will try to buy Delta-8 THC vape cartridges online, will have to pay more for the same product, as alternative shipping solutions will be much more expensive.

We estimate that the same product, sold today for between $19.95-$29.95, will cost double few weeks from now.

It might be a very smart move to stock-up on Delta-8 THC products today, while you still can…

What will happen next?

Well, things might get a bit complicated for a while until everyone figures out what they’re going to do. As you know, the cannabis industry is one of the most adaptable out there and even complete prohibition couldn’t stop it from taking off, so I wouldn’t worry about this vape ban too much.

Sellers of vape products will find other companies to do the shipping for them. It might be pricier for a while, but eventually, these costs should level out. It’s hard to say exactly what will happen, but as soon as we get anymore information, you know we will be covering it here. Make sure you subscribe to the CBD Testers Weekly Newsletter to get all the latest news delivered straight to your inbox!

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