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.

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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.

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The New Rise of Medical Psychedelics

As the battle for cannabis legalization continues globally, the re-acquaintance to its medical use has reopened the door for other drugs that have also been labeled as narcotics, or scheduled so that people have no access to their medical benefits. One of the major classes of drugs that has shown great promise therapeutically, is psychedelics. With a greater level of liberal acceptance, there has been a recent rise in the medical use of psychedelics.

What’s one of the most widely used psychedelic compounds on earth? THC! And not just the standard delta-9 THC that most people are familiar with. With the addition of delta-8 THC, users can choose how they want their experience to be. Want less psychoactive effect and less anxiety, then check out our Delta-8 THC deals and give the other THC a try.

What are psychedelics?

A psychedelic is a drug containing psychoactive compounds capable of altering a person’s mood, perception and cognition. This can include naturally occurring and man-made substances. Examples of psychedelics include: mescaline, which can be found in San Pedro cactus and peyote; DMT, one of the main ingredients in ayahuasca; LSD; and psilocybin, which is what makes magic mushrooms so magical.

Psychedelics are known to produce life-altering experiences, wherein the user can find insights into life and consciousness. It are these attributes that have been the main instigator for the recent rise in research of medical psychedelics.

Psychedelics, much like cannabis (which is technically a psychedelic), occur naturally in different plants around the globe, and have been used for millennia in different ceremonial, religious, and medical practices throughout history. Unlike cannabis, they were not all outlawed together in one sweeping move, but rather, became illegalized over time. In the US, the criminalization of psychedelics started in 1968 with the Staggers-Dodd bill which specifically illegalized LSD and psilocybin.

The word itself, ‘psychedelics’, was first used in 1957 to recognize substances that were said to open the mind, however, the more scientific term for them is ‘entheogens’. This term was adopted less to be scientific, however, and more to allow the field to operate without the stigma attached to psychedelics from the smear campaigns of the 1960’s. The term entheogen comes from Greek where it means ‘building the god within’.

LSD

History of illegalization

When it comes to the illegalization of cannabis, it is becoming understood more widely that there was more to it than a fear for public safety. The entire movement to illegalize was spearheaded in the government by Harry Anslinger, with media giant William Randolph Heart pushing the anti-hemp movement from outside, in an effort to kill the enemy of his paper industry.

Some might see it as a similar manner of business, when psychedelics were demonized in the 60’s and70’s, as when cannabis was in the 1930’s onward. In the case of psychedelics, much of the news, controversy, and general story around them, took place during the Vietnam war, and served as a good distraction from the horrible ridiculousness of that mess and the unnecessary violence and deaths that came from it. Think about what actually came out of that war. The nothingness that was accomplished in the face of the massive death toll that was taken. How easy is it to get your population to go along with such antics? And would focusing on the truth of it have made it a harder sell?

In 1970, the US congress passed the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act which enforced stricter measures for pharmaceutical companies, requiring stringent reporting, and better security of drug stocks. These aren’t bad things, of course, but they led to the current model of drug scheduling, which has, essentially and with much bias, ruled many drugs out.

The Single Convention on Narcotic Substances is a treaty that was formed out of international discussions concerning drug controls in 1970. This was followed up with the Convention on Psychotropic Substances in 1971, a similar treaty which also orders drugs into classes based on their potential level of harm and usefulness. In both treaties, schedule I is associated with the most dangerous drugs with no medical benefit, but a high addiction possibility, and schedule IV denotes safer drugs with medical purpose. Psychedelics took the schedule I spot in 1970, ruling out their use as medicines.

Putting psychedelics in this scheduling category seems to have been the result of industry issues, much like with cannabis. During the discussions for the treaties, bigger and more developed countries with bigger and more developed pharmaceutical industries, pushed for the illegalization of these natural compounds, whereas countries with less development, and which didn’t have competing industries, were not for their illegalization. As with cannabis, the bigger, stronger countries won out, and forced these decisions on everyone else.

In fact, in 1994, John Ehrlichman, the Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs under Nixon, made this statement about the war on drugs that was fought under Nixon, highlighting an alternate reason for pushing anti-drug measures at that time:

“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.”

And then it got worse. In 1984, President Ronald Reagan’s administration put out the Comprehensive Crime Control Act, which allowed for emergency banning of drugs by the government. This was put into effect the following year when the subject of MDMA came up, and was used to immediately illegalize it. And this despite a judge’s decision to schedule it as Schedule III, and allow it for medical use. This action entirely stymied any research progress into the drugs, and slowed the rise of medical psychedelics to a halt.

magic mushrooms

Psychedelics in history

As with anything else, putting together the history of psychedelic use in antiquity, is dependent on ancient texts, findings, and rituals. While there is a current rise in the use of medical psychedelics, this does not imply that they were used for the same exact purpose back then, as they are today.

One of the interesting finds related to psychedelics, is the discovery of a pouch in southwestern Bolivia, dated to a thousand years ago. The pouch contains traces of several psychedelic compounds including harmine and DMT (dimethyltryptamine) which denote the use of ayahuasca, bufotenine (from toad skin), and psilocin – another psychedelic constituent of magic mushrooms. The pouch also contained traces of cocaine and its metabolite benzoylecgonine, which would have likely come from coca leaves.

The discovery came from the Sora River Valley. The pouch – made of three fox snouts – was part of the contents of a leather bag, which mass spectrometry carbon dating has put between the years of 900-1100 CE. It is thought that because of the dating period, that the pouch likely belonged to a member of the Tiwanaku, which pre-dated the Incas. The use of ayahuasca denotes the earliest evidence of it that has been physically found.

The reason this part is interesting is because the two compounds that were found that ayahuasca is made from, come from two separate plants that work in combination to produce the effects. This means that the ancient population this comes from, was putting two plants together to gain a psychoactive effect that wouldn’t be felt if they were used on their own. Another interesting aspect of the find is that the plants used to make ayahuasca were not from that area, so whoever procured them, had to go out and find them somewhere else.

Other findings

According to this study, Mayan culture is associated with the drinking of balché, a drink consisting of Lonchocarpus bark extracts that create a mildly intoxicating effect, which is strengthened through the use of honey. This was used in group ceremonies to reach intoxication. Peyote for mescaline, hallucinogenic mushrooms for psylocibin, and ololiuhqui seeds for lysergic acid amide (a precursor to LSD), were used by the Mayans, Aztecs, Olmecs, and Zapotecs.

During the period when the Olmecs were around, it was also customary to use bufotoxins which come from the skin of the Bufo spp. toad. At the same time, wild tobacco, Jimson weed, Salvia divinorum, and water lily were used for psychoactive effects. And while the exact use is arguable, mushroom stones dating back to 3,000 BC have been found in the Mesoamerican region in religious/ritual contexts which could indicate the use of mushrooms that far back. Archeological evidence of the use of peyote goes back as far as 5,000 years.

Mesoamerica isn’t the only location where psychedelic remains have been found. Researchers into psychedelic use in the near-East have turned up botanical remains in the form of residues, pollen, fibers and fiber impressions, and carbonized seeds. Where were they found? Traces of Blue Water Lily extract, a potent narcotic plant, were found in none other than Tutonkamen’s tomb from the 14th century BC. And in the late bronze age temple Kamid el-Loz in Lebanon, a storage jar containing 10 liters of Viper’s Bugloss was found, which is a very strong hallucinogen.

Things to consider…

One thing to take into account, is that there is a great amount of controversy over whether something like the use of ayahuasca can actually be traced back through history, with a lot of evidence pointing to confusing stories that come more from Western tourism, than actual history. Researchers into the topic have continually found a mesh of newer ideologies masquerading as old-school folklore as a means to sell a product. In fact, the whole idea of how ayahuasca is used today to treat mental illness, is not how it seems to have been used in history, when shamans took it to contact the supernatural, and battle evil beings.

psychedelic toad

Does this mean that psychedelics weren’t used in history? Of course not, but it does shed light on the idea that what we consider real history, might have been altered because of tourism. It should also be remembered that there are a lot of kinds of psychedelics that would have factored into different cultures and time periods. For example, the aforementioned study into hallucinogenic drug use in pre-Colombian Mesoamerica, which has findings based on archeological, ethno-historical, and ethnographic evidence, found plenty of indication of hallucinogenic drug use in that area, for that time period.

Rise of medical psychedelics

There is quite a bit of medical research into psychedelics, as well as historical evidence to its uses, going back thousands of years. According to the more recent medical research, psychedelics have shown a possible ability to aid in depression, PTSD, and with addictions. It should be remembered that cannabis itself is considered a psychedelic drug, with research into a multitude of categories including: insomnia, depression, neurodegenerative diseases, spastic disorders, inflammatory diseases and so on.

Psychedelics have not just been touted as a treatment for different mental illness. They have shown strength in dealing with neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, and have even shown possibility in treating autoimmune disorders. If these benefits prove consistent over time, it will likely help boost the current rise in medical psychedelics.

However, despite all the relevant research into the useful benefits of these compounds, the DEA has continuously rejected information, and stood in the way of scientific progress. Kind of makes a person wonder what the agency is even there for. The report highlighted found that the DEA has continuously slowed down scheduling decisions, while increasing speed on banning drugs, in order to restrict all access.

It took an entire 30 years in all to respond to requests to reschedule marijuana, with gaps of 16 years, five, and nine in between requests and responses. The DEA even overruled its own judge to illegalize MDMA by putting it in schedule I. This, of course, has never gotten in the way of military testing of these compounds, which seems to be perfectly okay with the same agency.

Conclusion

With cannabis opening the door into the medical (and recreational) use of drugs like marijuana, the rise in medical psychedelics is sure to keep going. Just like with cannabis, it will likely be found over time, that the notions we have related to these drugs are way more attached to long-lasting smear campaigns, than the actual dangers they pose. And that just like cannabis, they can offer incredible medical benefits that have been suppressed for quite some time now.

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

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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)
Nature’s Magic – The Health Benefits of Psilocybin Mushrooms

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
Plant Power: Everyday Plants That Activate the Endocannabinoid System Cannabis Election Results – What Just Became Legal in the United States America Is Cannabis Friendly – It’s Official
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The post The New Rise of Medical Psychedelics appeared first on CBD Testers.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Wednesday, August 26, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Pennsylvania governor calls for marijuana legalization to boost economic recovery (Leafly)

// Congressman Raising Money To Legalize Psychedelic Mushroom Therapy (Marijuana Moment)

// MindMed Plans MDMA-LSD Trial To Study ‘Bad Trip’ Reduction (Green Market Report)


These headlines are brought to you by Curaleaf, one of the leading vertically-integrated cannabis operators in the U.S. With legal medical and adult use marijuana dispensaries, cultivation sites, and processing facilities all over the United States, Curaleaf has served more than 350,000 medical cannabis patients and looks forward to helping many more long into the future. Swing over to Curaleaf.com to learn more about this very cool company!


// Ascend Wellness completes $68 million raise, acquires Illinois marijuana shops (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Marijuana Sales Are ‘Pandemic-Proof,’ Top Illinois Cannabis Regulator Says (Marijuana Moment)

// Lawmakers poised to pass expansion of marijuana expungements (VT Digger)

// TILT Holdings Q2 Revenue Slips 9% from Q1 to $38.6 Million (New Cannabis Ventures)

// Hexo Molson Coors launch Truss cannabis beverage portfolio (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Chart: Nationwide sales of adult-use cannabis further eclipse those of medical marijuana (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Canada Will Officially Stop Drug Testing Student-Athletes for Weed (Merry Jane)


Check out our other projects:Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement. • Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

Love these headlines? Love our podcast? Support our work with a financial contribution and become a patron.

Photo: Governor Tom Wolf/Flickr

Friday, August 21, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Friday, August 21, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Psychedelics Group Raises $30 Million From Execs At GoDaddy, SpaceX, And Others For MDMA Study (Marijuana Moment)

// California wildfires claim several marijuana farms, threatening growers with financial losses (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Mexican President Says Marijuana Legalization Will Advance Through Congress As Session Approaches (Marijuana Moment)


These headlines are brought to you by MJToday Media, publishers of this podcast as well as our weekly show Marijuana Today and the most-excellent Green Rush Podcast. And check out our new show Weed Wonks!


// Kamala Harris-led MORE Act to legalize marijuana nationally supported by majority of Republicans, finds poll (Meaww)

// Cresco Labs Q2 Revenue Increases 42% Sequentially to $94 Million (New Cannabis Ventures)

// TerrAscend Revenue Rises As Losses Get Trimmed (Green Market Report)

// New Jersey Voters Want Legal Marijuana And Favor Higher Taxes On Sales, New Poll Shows (Marijuana Moment)

// Maryland relaxes costly, duplicative cannabis security requirements (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Cansativa chosen as sole distributor of German-grown cannabis (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Planet 13 Raises C$15 Million Selling Units at C$3.70 (New Cannabis Ventures)


Check out our other projects:Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement. • Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

Love these headlines? Love our podcast? Support our work with a financial contribution and become a patron.

Photo: ftbester/Flickr

Michael Pollan & The Landscape of the Mind

Michael Pollan is best known for his groundbreaking, best-selling books on food — which collectively have helped spark a revolution in the way we think about what we eat and where it comes from — but he also has a longstanding interest in cannabis. As far back as 1995, he traveled to the Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam for a New York Times Magazine cover story on the growers and breeders behind the world’s highest-potency strains, a group of illicit horticulturalists he called “the best gardeners of my generation.”

“I had come to Amsterdam to meet some of these gardeners and learn how, in little more than a decade, marijuana growing in America had evolved from a hobby of aging hippies into a burgeoning high-tech industry,” he wrote. “Fewer than 20 years ago, virtually all the marijuana consumed in America was imported. ‘Home grown’ was a term of opprobrium — ‘something you only smoked in an emergency,’ as one grower old enough to remember put it. Today… American marijuana cultivation has developed to the point where the potency, quality and consistency of the domestic product are considered as good as, if not better than, any in the world.”

At the time, such high praise from one of the world’s leading journalists was virtually unheard of in the world of cannabis. In the article, Pollan even admitted to making his own furtive attempt to grow cannabis back in the 1980s, which he dubbed “a fiasco.” Later, he included cannabis as one of four species profiled in “The Botany of Desire,” his best-selling book that took a “plant’s eye view of the world.”

And now Pollan has gone a significant step further into the study of psychoactivity with his latest book, “How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us about Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence.” Pollan defines psychedelics as substances that not only affect the mind (like cannabis), but are fully “mind manifesting,” noting the term itself was coined in 1956 by Humphry Osmond “to describe drugs like LSD and psilocybin that produce radical changes in consciousness.”

At a stop on his national tour to promote the book, he sat down for an interview that touched on everything from DMT extracted from toads and the brain’s “default mode network,” to the benefits of dissolving your ego and Pollan’s personal experiences taking various psychedelics with a series of underground guides.

Cannabis Now: You write about the ineffable nature of psychedelics, meaning the experience of taking them is difficult or impossible to describe in words. Given that challenge, I love your description of tripping as being like “shaking the snow globe” of the mind. But what does that mean exactly?

Michael Pollan: The snow globe metaphor comes from Robin Carhart-Harris, one of the leading neuroscientists studying psychedelics today, and the researcher who’s probably done the most analytical work to try to understand how psychedelics affect us and why they might be therapeutic. He’s even been using MRIs and other brain imaging tools to see what happens neurologically during a psychedelic trip. Just imagine being injected with psilocybin [the active compound in “magic” mushrooms] or LSD and then sliding into an MRI. That sounds like a recipe for disaster, so these are volunteers to whom we should all be grateful.

Anyway, what the researchers discovered really surprised them. Turns out one particular brain network called the default mode network was downregulated (i.e. suppressed) during the psychedelic experience.

What does that system do? And why might disrupting it prove beneficial?

The default mode network is a network of brain structures that are tightly linked, so they communicate a lot with each other. And what they do is connect structures in the cortex — the most evolutionarily recent part of the brain, where executive function takes place — to much older and deeper structures involved in memory and emotion. So this is a very important transit hub.

The brain has a hierarchical structure, and the default mode network kind of rides over the whole thing. It’s involved with self-reflection and self-criticism. It’s where our minds go to wander when we’re not doing something. It’s where we get our ability to think about the future or the past. And finally, it’s involved in what’s called “the autobiographical self” — a function of the brain that integrates all of your experiences into the story of your life and keeps that story going. Because without that story, you don’t really exist as an independent self.

Michael Pollan Illustration Cannabis Now

Illustration Ryan Garcia for Cannabis Now

If the ego had an address, it would be the default mode network. So how interesting that when psychedelics temporarily put that network offline, people report “melting away” with no sense of self.

Now, why dissolving one’s ego might be helpful — that’s a whole other discussion. For starters, it’s possible that having a hyperactive default mode network could be responsible for various kinds of mental illness, especially those that involve obsessive rumination and getting stuck on really destructive stories about yourself. For instance: “I can’t get through the next hour without a cigarette.” Or: “I’m unworthy of love.”

That kind of rigidity of thinking is characteristic of anxiety, depression and addiction, which happen to be the three indications which, so far, psychedelics have proven the most valuable in treating.

What about the risks?

Psychedelics are not addictive or drugs of abuse. If you give rats a lever that dispenses cocaine, they’ll press it until they die, but give them the same lever with LSD and they’ll pull it once and never again. So the risks are largely psychological — and there are people who have psychotic episodes triggered by psychedelics, especially people at risk for schizophrenia.

Before moving forward with my own psychedelic experiences, I actually went to my cardiologist and told him what I was planning, and the only psychedelic he warned me off of was MDMA (ecstasy). He basically greenlighted the others, so off I went, on a series of really interesting journeys, all but one of which were guided by trained underground therapists.

Ideally, I would have participated in one of the fully legal clinical trials currently underway, but I didn’t qualify for any of them and perhaps they didn’t want a journalist hanging around anyway. So I took psilocybin from psychedelic mushrooms, LSD, 5-MeO-DMT from dried toad venom and ayahuasca. They were all very interesting experiences that taught me important things about myself and allowed for a certain stock-taking of life that I found invaluable.

Why do you think the authorities have been, at least until relatively recently, so hostile to psychedelics and the psychedelic mind state?

When psychedelics arrived in the United States, largely in the 1950s and ’60s, they arrived naked. Which is to say that these incredible molecules showed up, with very powerful properties, and unlike many other cultures which had long traditions of ceremonial and shamanistic use, we didn’t know how to use them. In those other cultures the psychedelic experience was regulated, guided and to some extent controlled by elders with decades of experience, but that’s not what happened here.

And so, while a lot of people had very positive experiences simply taking psychedelics at a concert or during a walk in the woods, some got into trouble. The experience of feeling your ego dissolve can be ecstatic but it can also be terrifying. And if there’s no one there to help you with that, you can get into a very dark place and have a panic reaction.

So that partly explains how the authorities reacted. But another big part of this is that psychedelics became a sacrament for the counterculture. Which was a very positive thing for the counterculture, but not for members of the establishment who were trying to send young men off to Vietnam to fight a war.

Psychedelics therefore became very frightening to the authorities.

Your experiences varied pretty widely, based on the specific psychedelic and set-and-setting. Which did you find most useful?

The most valuable experience was my guided psilocybin trip, where a lot of interesting things happened, but what was perhaps most helpful was having my sense of self dissolve completely. I saw myself blown into the wind like a sheaf of little Post-it notes, and I was fine with it. I had no desire to compile myself back together.

The consciousness that was perceiving this was not my usual consciousness. Aldous Huxley [author of “Brave New World”] would say it was “the mind at large.” And this is what I think has helped terminal cancer patients who’ve been given psychedelics to help deal with end-of-life anxiety. Taping into this kind of universal consciousness that doesn’t have the usual ego defenses attached to it can be incredibly liberating. It also could have been terrifying, but I felt safe and that’s really what’s important about having a guided experience.

You’re going to have to put down all of your mental defenses when taking a high-dose psychedelic trip and if you do that in a situation where don’t feel safe or trust the person that you’re with, it can be terrifying. But I did trust my guide, and so I was able to let go and surrender to the experience.

And the insight I brought away was, “Wow, I’m not identical to my ego.”

Ego is really important. Ego gets the book written, but it also gets in our way, and walls us off from other people and from strong emotions. I think ego consciousness is at the root of tribalism and the environmental crisis, because it separates us from nature. So to find out there’s another ground on which to stand, for me that was a real epiphany. I could have gotten there probably via 20 or 30 years of psychoanalysis, but I got there in an afternoon and that’s the power of psychedelics when used in the right context.

Then, after the experience comes the most important part, which we don’t talk about enough because we tend to focus on the trip itself. But if you’re engaged in therapist-assisted psychedelic therapy, as I was, there’s a formal session where you share your experience with the therapist and attempt to integrate it into the rest of your “normal” life.

When I reported my surprise at finding that I’m not the same as my ego, and how liberating that felt, the therapist said, “Well, that’s really worth the price of admission isn’t it? You’ve had a taste of another way to be and now you can cultivate that feeling and exercise that new muscle.”

TELL US, do you see a medical value in psychedelics?

Originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now. LEARN MORE

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10 Consejo para evitar un mal viaje con psicodélicos

La palabra psicodelia proviene del griego psychē, que significa alma, mente, y dēloun, que significa revelar. Las sustancias psicodélicas pueden ser naturales o sintéticas. Entre estas los más conocidos son el LSD, la psilocibina, la mescalina, y el DMT. Si llegaste hasta aquí es porque decidiste consumir alguna sustancia psicodélica o has tenido alguna experiencia…