Oregon Magic Mushrooms: New Guidelines Provide Insight into Legalization

It seems that everyone knows about ballot measure 109 and how Oregon became the first state to legalize magic mushrooms in some way. But what exactly this legalization policy is, has been somewhat misinterpreted. Sitting somewhere between a recreational legalization and a medical legalization, Oregon’s newly released magic mushroom draft guidelines provide the first look at what a statewide legalization for psychedelics might entail.

The Oregon draft guidelines for magic mushrooms show that this is not a medical measure, as facilitators have not been specified to have previous medical or therapeutic training. We’ll have to wait a little longer to see if these guidelines are updated, and what else is stipulated. We report on everything important in this growing psychedelics field, and you can keep up by subscribing to The Cannadelics Weekly Newsletter. Get your daily dose of industry news, and be first in line to access new promotions for psychedelic products, as they become available.


Ballot measure 110

At the November 2020 elections, Oregon made history by passing two ballot measures which decriminalized psychedelics for recreational purposes, and which legalized them for certain other uses. While the latter has often been misinterpreted as a medical legalization, new guidelines coming out show that this is not quite the case. The following is a breakdown of the two measures.

Ballot measure 110 wasn’t specifically about psychedelics, but rather a larger drug decriminalization bill which includes psychedelics. Called the Drug Decriminalization and Addiction Treatment Initiative, this measure made it so that personal possession of a controlled substance, without intent to sell, incurs nothing more than a Class E violation, with a maximum fine of $100. It also approved the establishment of drug addiction and treatment programs, with some funding coming directly from cannabis tax revenue and savings made from state prisons.

58.46% of the state’s population voted ‘yes’ to this measure, with 1,333,268 votes. 41.54% voted ‘no’ which accounted for 947,313 votes. This measure essentially reclassifies personal possession offenses for all drugs scheduled I-IV. The Class E violation is a step down from the previous charge of a Class A misdemeanor.

Ballot measure 109

The much more interesting half of this, was ballot measure 109. This measure, called the Psilocybin Mushroom Services Program Initiative approved the creation of a program whereby psilocybin-containing mushrooms – and related products – can be administered to adults of at least 21 years of age. This measure passed with 55.75% of the vote, which accounted for 1,270,057 voters, while 44.25% voted ‘no’, accounting for 1,008,199 votes.

For the most part, this has been touted as a medical legalization, but nothing about the explanation above is geared specifically towards medical use. Part of the confusion is likely based on the fact that when the measure was passed, nothing actually existed, except the directive to open a ‘program’ for the Oregon Health Authority (OHA). The OHA was given two years to do this, and as promised, guidelines for this ‘program’ have started to come out, making clear this is not actually a medical legalization, but hovers somewhere in between medical and recreational.

All that was stated at the time of the vote, was that “clients would be allowed to purchase, possess, and consume psilocybin at a psilocybin service center and under the supervision of a psilocybin service facilitator after undergoing a preparation session.” The OHA is tasked with determining who can access this service, and who cannot, but at no point thus far has it been stipulated that a doctor is needed, a medical setting, or a diagnosis. As the OHA was put in charge of coming out with regulation at the time of passage, it means nothing was understood at that time, about what the final program would entail.

Oregon magic mushrooms guidelines

It’s now getting closer to two years from the time that Oregon passed ballot measure 109, meaning that regulations are due in by the OHA. The program is meant to start in 2023, so hammering out details comes right about now. Whereas this has repeatedly been called a medical legalization, the recent guidelines released point in another direction. Of course, everything released now is just in draft form, so it suffices to say that plenty of updates will be made.

Anyway, the document released in February of the first draft guidelines, only tackles a few subjects, but it gets the conversation going. A conversation that is open to public comment and debate; more information for which can be found here. The document covers mushroom production, mushroom testing, and qualifications for facilitators assisting those taking the mushrooms. For example, while manufacturing requirements don’t allow for GMOs to be used, they also stipulate that only one type of mushroom – Psilocybe cubensis, can be grown.

A lot of other basic things are covered, like licensing, growing conditions, pesticide use, how to store the mushrooms, testing for heavy metals, laboratory requirements, potency testing, and so on. What’s most interesting, however, are the guidelines for those working to assist clients taking the mushrooms, as they say a lot about what this program actually is.

magic mushrooms

Draft rules for facilitators

Facilitators, according to the draft rules, would be required to complete 120 hours of core training, with a minimum of 25% of those hours for in-person training. This hands-on training (practicum) would be divided into at least 30 hours of direct training, and 10 hours for consultation training, to review the prospective facilitator’s progress. Those interested in being facilitators must fill out an application and give a non-refundable fee of $500, (which is a questionable amount if applicants are turned away easily).

Training modules that prospective facilitators must undergo include: 1) Historical, Traditional, and Contemporary Practices and Applications; 2) Cultural Equity in relation to Psilocybin Services; 3) Safety, Ethics and Responsibilities; 4) Psilocybin Pharmacology, Neuroscience, and Clinical Research; 5) Core Facilitation Skills; 6) Preparation and Orientation; 7) Administration; 8) Integration; and 9) Group Facilitation.

The training curriculum outlined is geared toward a “nondirective facilitation approach”, which essentially means the facilitator is not meant to give advice or interpretations while the client is in a trip. This is similar to psychedelic-assisted therapy, where the doctor helps the client through the experience, but only gives insight afterwards, in what is called the ‘integration’ phase. This current model does include ‘integration’ of some kind (as per the training), but since the facilitators aren’t required to have real medical or therapeutic training, they realistically will not be able to give therapy. This makes the whole thing sound that much more like a recreational legalization.

How inclusive Oregon plans on having the ‘integration’ part is hard to say, but it could open up a lot of legal problems to allow non-medical or non-licensed facilitators, to give therapy. Without the ability to give therapy, or have it based on a medical/therapy model, it also rules out the denial of services to clients for not having a medical issue. Client draft regulations have yet to be released, so how exactly each case is going to be evaluated for acceptance or denial is currently impossible to say. However, considering the minimum degree to give therapy in the US, is a Master’s degree, if Oregon wants facilitators to give any kind of medical therapy to clients, it will certainly have to ask way more of them. Otherwise, a facilitator is no more than a trained babysitter, for a recreational trip.

Psychedelics today

Psychedelics, originally illegalized in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s in America, have been making quite the comeback of late, with ballot measure 109 in Oregon legalizing some sort of use of magic mushrooms. This has kicked off a growing interest in decriminalizing and legalizing different psychedelic drugs throughout the country.

Currently, several locations have decriminalization measures. These include Denver, Colorado; Oakland, Santa Cruz, and Arcata in California; Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County, and Detroit, Michigan; Washington, DC; Somerville, Cambridge, Northampton, and Easthampton in Massachusetts; and Seattle, Washington.

magic mushroom laws

Apart from these individual locations, and their decriminalization policies, several states have introduced legislation to legalize recreational use of some kind throughout the state. These include California, Washington, and Michigan. While these states all have bills around magic mushrooms, or entheogenic plants (psychedelic plants), Colorado just passed a bill that will legalize the synthetically made MDMA when a federal legalization comes out, but rejected a bill that would investigate the naturally occurring psilocybin and DMT.

It has been said however, that the rejection of the latter bill was at the behest of its sponsor, who instead wants to focus on a possibly upcoming psychedelics reform ballot measure, which would be much farther-reaching. In terms of how gung-ho the state is for MDMA, the bill to allow for prescriptions when it becomes federally legal, passed 11-0.

On a federal level, the government quietly legalized esketamine in 2019. Esketamine is a half-brother to ketamine, which itself enjoys growing popularity as a gray-market drug, where its prescribed in clinics for the off-label uses of psychological issues and pain. Plus, the FDA gave ‘breakthrough therapy’ designations to three companies currently studying MDMA and psilocybin: MAPS, COMPASS Pathways, and Usona Institute, signaling impending upcoming federal legalizations for both of those compounds.

Conclusion

The Oregon draft guidelines for magic mushrooms start to answer some questions, while raising many more. How much therapy will be given? Will facilitators have a further requirement for a certain level of education in order to apply? And where is this legalization really on the scale of medical to recreational? I guess we’ll have to wait a little longer until new draft guidelines come out, to get any further answers.

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Psychedelic Healthcare – Brought to You By Dr. Bronner’s And Enthea

As psychedelics grow in popularity, particularly ketamine due to a legal medical loophole, new questions have popped up. Like, if this treatment is so good, why can’t it be offered to employees of a company? Well, that’s exactly what specialty soap maker Dr. Bronner’s, and the Enthea Psychedelic Healthcare platform are doing, offering workers psychedelic healthcare. Read on to find out more.

Though most psychedelics are still Schedule I, interest in their healing abilities has gotten to such a fever pitch, that psychedelic healthcare options are now being offered for employees. Dr. Bronner’s might be the first, but companies interested in their employees’ well-being, will be quick to look into methods that help keep employees happy and working well. We report on everything related to the emerging field of medical psychedelics, and offer the best stories going on today. Sign up for The Cannadelics Weekly Newsletter to stay on top of everything newsworthy in the industry. Plus, as products and deals become available, be first to get access!


Who are Dr. Bronner’s and Enthea?

Before getting into what they’re doing together, let’s first get into what they are. Dr. Bronner’s is a family run business that specializes in natural soaps, with the business dedicated to producing socially and environmentally responsible products. It’s product catalogue consists of shampoo, body soap, toothpaste, lotion, balm, laundry cleaner, coconut oil, shaving cream, sanitizer, and apparently, some delicious looking fair trade chocolate bars.

The company produces organic and fair trade products, many of which are vegan, and which hold the same certification as organic foods. According to the company, it uses no synthetic preservatives or foaming agents in its products. The company takes part in regenerative organic farming projects, and soil enrichment and tree-planting programs, as well as using 100% post-consumer recycled packaging, and aggressive waste and water-use reduction techniques.

While Dr Bronner’s is certainly not the most highly advertised brand, it has continued to do well, with a sales increase from $4 million in 1998 to $122.5 million in 2018. Dr. Bronner’s is big on activism, and has paid out over $8 million of its sales income to different charitable causes during that time, including $5 million to MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies), which is the company currently spearheading trials for MDMA, which were designed in conjunction with the US’s FDA.

Enthea Psychedelic Healthcare is a company that provides safe and affordable access to psychedelic treatments, and which is on its own personal mission to get psychedelic assisted therapy into general healthcare coverage for companies. The non-profit benefit plan administrator “provides health plan benefit riders and single case agreement services for psychedelic healthcare.”

The company works with a list of provider networks, which include practitioners for ketamine-assisted therapy and psychedelic-assisted therapy, all of whom have the proper certifications and credentials. The company aims to help create healthcare plans that are affordable for companies, and which provide workers with all necessary healthcare options, including psychedelic therapy. The company deals with medical policy development, manages provider networks, and administers benefit plans.

What’s the news on psychedelic healthcare?

On February 28th, 2022, Dr. Bronner’s released a press statement regarding a partnership between the family-owned company and Enthea Healthcare. This makes Dr. Bronner’s the very first company to offer its employees access to psychedelic therapy as part of its mental healthcare benefits. This is currently in the form of ketamine therapy only, as ketamine/esketamine are the sole drugs which are legal for this treatment right now.

According to the press statement, the partnership came out of a shared appreciation for psychedelic assisted therapy, with the belief that these practices should be a standard part of healthcare offered to employees. Says Dr. Bronner’s President, Michael Bronner, “The health and well-being of our employees is the primary driver in how we think about benefits and compensation. Offering coverage for ketamine assisted therapy is in the interest of providing tools to our workforce to have the best quality of life and best options for mental healthcare.”

Continued Bronner, “Our family and company are no strangers to depression and anxiety. We are deeply concerned about the mental health crisis society is facing, especially in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. Considering all our advocacy on this issue, this employee benefit is the next logical step.”

Dr Bronner’s offers all of its employees quality health coverage, making no differentiation between high-ranked and low-ranked employees on this matter. Healthcare is offered as a no-deductible PPO health insurance plan for worker’s families as well. The company pays the entire health premium costs as well as all deductibles, so employees don’t need to make out-of-pocket payments. The company very obviously cares about quality of life for its employees, and sees ketamine as a way to further overall worker health and satisfaction.

health care

What does psychedelic healthcare mean for employees?

Starting on January 1st, 2022, Dr. Bronner’s employees have received this new coverage, which offers, as an initial health benefit, integrated ketamine sessions with specialized counseling, for the improvement of mental health issues. Enthea plans to expand its offered treatments to include psychedelics legalized in the future, including MDMA and psilocybin, which both have FDA breakthrough therapy status, and which are currently undergoing trials.

Lia Mix, Enthea’s CEO, makes a great point when she states: “We anticipate both human and financial return on these organizations’ investment in covering psychedelic healthcare”, an interesting way to look at it considering how much time and money is lost by companies because of employee mental health issues. How much? According to nsc.org, “employers that support mental health see a return of $4 for every dollar invested in mental health treatment”, as per research released by the University of Chicago’s National Safety Council and NORC.

The same analysis went on to say that employers “spend over $15,000 on average annually on each employee experiencing mental health issues.” The analysis also gives some other interesting statistics, like that mentally distressed employees on average use about $3,000 more yearly for healthcare services than their non distressed peers, and that the cost for days lost is averaged at approximately $4,783 every year per employee. This leads to an average turnover cost of $5,733 each year per employee.

Given these numbers, and that 85% of employees report they feel distressed at work simply from the workplace alone (without factoring in all the distressing outside-of-work issues that one faces in life), it certainly makes sense for companies to provide the best possible mental healthcare benefits to their employees.

Ketamine for mental health

Ketamine and esketamine are two sister drugs that share the same chemical formula of C13H16ClNO. Ketamine was found first, in 1962, by Parke-Davis pharmaceutical company. By 1970 it was cleared by the FDA for use as an anesthetic. When this happened, despite an already existent understanding that ketamine could be used for pain relief, and that it did have an effect on affect, it was not approved for anything more, and has not been since that time.

On the other hand, esketamine was discovered in 1997 in Germany, while researchers were once again looking for an anesthetic. It was discovered during testing that esketamine was good for depression, though this was at least partially understood before this time in regards to standard ketamine. Esketamine is technically called ‘S-enantiomer’ ketamine, whereas the ketamine used in clinics is called ‘racemic’ ketamine.

ketamine

A racemic mixture refers to a compound that contains “equal quantities of two enantiomers, or substances that have dissymmetric molecular structures that are mirror images of one another.” In this case, R- and S-ketamine. Enantiomers refers to a “pair of objects related to each other as the right hand is to the left—that is, as mirror images that cannot be reoriented so as to appear identical.” Esketamine is therefore S-ketamine only (get the name?), while racemic ketamine includes both enantiomers.

While some studies say esketamine is “reported to be less prone to psychomimetic side effects, such as derealisation and hallucinations”, like this study from 2009, entitled Comparison of racemic ketamine and S-ketamine in treatment-resistant major depression: report of two cases, the general consensus seems to be that they both do the trick, with only minor differences between them.

Apart from major depression, for which the US government approved esketamine in 2019 – along with suicidal ideation, which was approved in 2020, ketamine has shown useful for a number of other psychological issues. Not only has testing uncovered benefits for those suffering from anxiety and PTSD, but with women experiencing postpartum depression, and people with eating disorders. To take it a step further, it’s been known since the 1964 prisoner studies that ketamine offers a safe way to treat pain. Yet this has yet to be an approved feature of the drug, despite the safety of ketamine, and the growing opioid epidemic that claims in the neighborhood of 70,000 deaths per year.

Conclusion

With this new deal between Dr. Bronner’s and Enthea, psychedelic healthcare is now underway. Given how quickly the industry moves, perhaps we’ll see this as a standard part of healthcare options for employees within the next decade. Certainly, if a company wants a good return on investment into its employees, it’ll be quick to look into whatever methods help keep employee populations happy and unstressed.

Hello readers! Welcome to CBDtesters.co, the premiere web spot for current and thought-provoking independent cannabis and psychedelics-related news reporting. Stop by every day to keep yourself informed on the quickly-moving world of cannabis and psychedelics, and subscribe to The Psychedelics Weekly Newsletterfor daily coverage of industry news.

DisclaimerHi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advice, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.

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Study Finds Psilocybin Therapy Has Long-Lasting Results

If you’re new to the world of psychedelics, this is a pretty incredible headline. If you’re well versed in the power of hallucinogens, then you’re probably glad that the medical world of today took yet another step to catch up. No matter how you look at it, progress is progress, and this is definitely progress. So, what am I talking about? The ability for psilocybin (and other psychedelics) to exert long-lasting results for depression patients (as well as those with other psychological ailments.)

New study results tying psilocybin therapy to long-lasting results for major depression, mirrors what was learned about LSD and the treatment of alcoholism and psychotic disorders, in the mid-1900’s. If the drugs had remained legal this would all likely be common knowledge! We’re all about getting you the best news possible on the emerging field of psychedelics. Sign up for The Cannadelics Newsletter to stay informed on everything important going on in the industry now.


Psilocybin therapy and long-lasting results

On February 15th, 2022, this study was published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology: Efficacy and safety of psilocybin-assisted treatment for major depressive disorder: Prospective 12-month follow-up. The goal of the study was to investigate how safe and effective psilocybin treatment is for moderate to severe major depressive disorder (MDD). The study looked at a time period of 12 months.

The study included 27 patients from the ages of 21-75, with major depression, who measured over seven on the GRID-Hamilton Depression Rating Scale. The study was randomized in whether each participant would receive treatment immediately, or at an eight-week delay. The treatment regimen was for only two doses of psilocybin, along with assisted therapy. Of the 27 initial participants, 24 made it through both parts of the trial, and were followed for a full year.

According to the study results, all 24 patients showed large decreases from their original baselines at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months on the GRID-Hamilton Depression Rating Scale . The general response (over 50% reduction from original baseline) was 75% at 12 months, and the remission rate was 58% at that time. No adverse reactions of a severe level were associated with the therapy. No participants reported using magic mushrooms outside of the study. It was found that how the participants rated the meaning, spiritual experience, and mystical aspects of their sessions, was a good predictor for increased feelings of well-being at the 12 month mark, but not as a predictor for depression improvement.

How was it all measured? Using two scales that measure depression. The “two patient-rated measures of depression (QIDS and BDI-II) showed similar large magnitude and stable antidepressant effects on mean scores and on response and remission rates.” This indicates long-lasting antidepressant effects after only two doses of psilocybin, even a year after taking it.

Of note is the fact that eight of the patients in the study started regular antidepressants at some point during the study. These patients did not exhibit significantly different outcomes at 12 months, than those who did not take antidepressants.

The overall conclusion of the study, was that a two-dose model of psilocybin treatment, along with supportive therapy for MDD, produced significant and long-lasting antidepressant results that lasted for at least as long as 12 months.

Why this isn’t entirely new information

The idea that at least some psychedelic compounds like psilocybin can instigate long-lasting psychological results, is not new. In this case, we’re not looking back to ancient history either, or reading old texts to gain insight. The information we have on psychedelics for treating mental disorders comes from the 1900’s, and started with the synthesis of LSD in 1938 by Albert Hofmann.

LSD, like psilocybin, is a psychedelic compound, but though its created from the ergot fungus, its actually synthetically made, with no natural form of it. Hofmann did some interesting self-experimentation with the compound in the 1940’s after realizing what it was capable of, and later passed on this information to psychiatrists that he knew.

LSD grew in popularity in the 1950’s when different psychiatrists used it for patients with different issues. Two doctors in particular contributed largely to our understanding of what LSD can help with. The first was Humphry Osmond, who began using LSD to treat alcoholism as well as other mental disorders in the 1950’s. Osmond was first to use the term ‘psychedelic’, and much like Hofmann, did his own self-experimentation before giving the compound to patients. In his first experiment with just two patients, after one dose of 200 micrograms of LSD, one stopped drinking immediately, and one quit after six months.

LSD long-lasting results

He followed this up with the Saskatchewan trials, aptly named after where the mental hospital in which they took place, was located. These trials were done in collaboration with Abram Hoffer, started in 1951, and went through the 1960’s. Over 2,000 patients were treated as a part of this study, and it was repeatedly shown that a single dose of LSD led to positive results in controlling the addiction, with as many as 40-45% of patients not relapsing in one year after the single treatment.

In the UK, another psychiatrist was also doing some interesting research into LSD, but using psychoneurotic patients rather than alcoholics. Ronald Sandison had already begun using alternative psychotherapy methods including the likes of art and music. He met Albert Hofmann on a trip to Switzerland, and subsequently began treating patients with LSD. In 1954, Sandison published a study he did on 36 psychoneurotic patients who were treated with several smaller doses of LSD (in contrast to Hofmann’s one larger dose treatment). Over the course of a year, 14 patients fully recovered, with all but two of the rest showing some amount of improvement.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Britain’s National Health Service agreed to pay out  £195,000 to 43 former Sandison patients in a settlement in 2002. All former patients had been administered LSD, and all cases were about damage suffered. Given the amount of lapsed time, however, it becomes extremely questionable if this was a result of actual damage done, or opportunism to get money for having been a part of a treatment course that used a drug later illegalized. As there aren’t a lot of other complaints of this nature, the latter explanation is certainly considerable.

Psychedelic-assisted therapy

One of the things that the LSD studies from the 1900’s have in common with this recent psilocybin study which showed long-lasting results, is that the treatments were always coupled with therapy. Though the term ‘psychedelic-assisted therapy’ seems to be the term of choice at this point, at the time of Osmond and Sandison, the term ‘psychedelic therapy’ was used to represent the single dose method, while the term ‘psycholytic therapy’ was used to define Sandison’s model of many smaller doses.

In either case, the idea isn’t to give a patient drugs and hope for the best, its to walk them through the experience, to help them better understand their issues, and to try to help them through those issues during their trip. This is done in a few stages, and follows this general procedure, though its not written in stone, and can be modified based on therapist desires, and regulation. There are three basic steps that make up this therapy.

The first step is preparation – In this step, the therapist gets to know the patient and their problems during regular sessions. It’s also a time to give guidelines to the patient about how to respond to things that come up in their trip. Like opening a door if one is there, or not running from something scary, but facing it and asking it a question. It’s important that the therapist and client have a good relationship, and that the patient is comfortable with the therapist.

psychedelic-assisted therapy

The second step is the psychedelic session – This is done when the patient is in a good mindset, and takes place in a comfortable room. The patient takes the drug and has the trip, which is generally attended by more than one therapist, (presumably to ensure no issues since the patient is in an altered state for treatment). The number of people required in the room is something that is subject to relevant regulation. At this time, the therapist will lead the patient through the trip, but perform little-to-no psychoanalysis.

The third step is integration – This takes place shortly after the psychedelic session, and is done in one or more sessions. This is when the therapist can help the patient to process their experience and gain meaning out of it, with the hope of decreasing some of the issues that had brought them into treatment in the first place.

Conclusion

This recent study exemplifying how psilocybin treatment can offer long-lasting therapeutic results should certainly help with the legalization process on the medical front. Psilocybin has already been designated twice as a breakthrough therapy by the FDA for major depression, and is the subject of many trials. Which means we might just have magic mushroom medicine in the next few years.

More research will need to be done on just how long the effects can last, and when a patient would realistically need to ‘re-up’ with another treatment (or if they would at all). It could be that this is specific to individuals, with some needing more treatments, and some needing less. For now, we have a decent understanding that at least some psychedelic compounds produce long-lasting effects, and apart from the issue with Ronald Sandison’s former patients (which is hard to get a clear story on), they seem to be generally safe in testing.

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DisclaimerHi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advice, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.

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5-Year High: When LSD Was Legal in Switzerland

Switzerland is the birthplace of modern psychedelics, giving us Albert Hofmann, who tripped his way into scientific infamy in 1943. Since that time Switzerland has been a front runner in psychedelics research. And for a short period of time a couple decades ago, LSD was actually legal in Switzerland for five years. Why was this done? And what was the result?

It’s not common knowledge that LSD was legal in Switzerland between 1988-1993, but it was. That policy is not current today, however, psychedelics are quickly moving toward legalization in many places. In the US, psilocybin and MDMA are both getting closer, but for now, are still illegal. The US has many other options though, like the emerging cannabinoid market offering the likes of delta-8 THC, THCV, HHC, and more. Check out our after-holiday deals to get great discounts on all compounds, and start your new year off right.


A little history on LSD and the infamous Albert Hofmann

In 1929, a young Albert Hofmann, who had just graduated from the University of Zurich with a chemistry degree, began working for chemical company Sandoz. Sandoz, for its part, though started in 1886, was only 12 years into its pharmaceutical program. This was spawned by the isolation of the compound aotamine, from ergot, a fungus that is found in tainted rye. Ergot had already been used in history as a part of natural medicine traditions as a way to quicken childbirth and deal with the bleeding subsequent to it. When found in rye, it can be quite dangerous however, causing a person to get very sick.

Aotamine was isolated for its ability to constrict blood vessels to help stop bleeding. This was done by Arthur Stoll in 1917, kicking off Sandoz’s pharmaceutical lab. In the following years, different compounds of ergot were isolated as well, and it was found they all shared the same nucleus, called lysergic acid, or Lysergsaure in German. These compounds were made into medicines which brought in much money for Sandoz.

Albert Hofmann entered the picture in 1929, and began working on a synthetic process to build ergot compounds using their component parts. He successfully synthesized compounds of ergot as well as from other medically relevant plants. He began combining lysergic acid with other compounds to see the effect, and on the 25th combination he mixed lysergic acid with diethylamine, an ammonia derivative. He called this LSD-25, also known as lysergic acid diethylamide.

invention LSD

First acid trips

As it did not meet his needs of stimulating circulation and respiration, it was put on the back burner, however it was noted that lab animals became excitable with its use. It was five years before Hofmann went back to try LSD-25 again, and this time, he himself felt strange in the process. Enough that he left the lab to go home, later writing to his boss, Stoll:

“I was forced to interrupt my work in the laboratory in the middle of the afternoon and proceed home, being affected by a remarkable restlessness, combined with a slight dizziness. At home I lay down and sank into a not unpleasant intoxicated-like condition, characterized by an extremely stimulated imagination. In a dream-like state, with eyes closed (I found the daylight to be unpleasantly glaring), I perceived an uninterrupted steam of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors.”

After ruling out that the reaction came from something like chloroform, Hofmann finally realized that it was likely the LSD-25, even though his only place of exposure was his fingertips. This led to his testing it on April 19th, 1943, a day that went down in history as National Bicycle Day in honor of Hofmann’s experimentation. On that day, without telling anyone but a lab assistant, Hofmann ingested a dissolved 250 millionths of a gram of lysergic acid diethylamide tartrate – the crystalized version, and waited. Within 40 minutes he was experiencing an intense acid trip that led him to be taken home on a bicycle by his lab assistant, which he subsequently described as such:

“Everything in my field of vision wavered and was distorted as if seen in a curved mirror. I also had the sensation of being unable to move from the spot. Nevertheless, my assistant later told me that we had traveled very rapidly. Finally, we arrived at home safe and sound, and I was just barely capable of asking my companion to summon our family doctor and request milk from the neighbors.”

When LSD was legal in Switzerland

Though Switzerland is the home of LSD, and the site for much psychedelics testing, it also illegalized the compound along with much of the world back in the mid-to-late 1900’s. Sandoz had patented LSD, and was selling it as a treatment for anxiety and other psychiatric disorders. By the 1970’s, smear campaigns started in the US as a means of promoting the Vietnam war, and LSD was illegalized nearly everywhere including Switzerland.

Currently, this is still the case, but weirdly, for a five-year period, it was not. In 1988, LSD was made legal in Switzerland for therapy purposes when the Swiss Federal Office for Public Health granted permissions for use to several therapists. This was not far-reaching however, as only five doctors were given the ability to use it, all in private practice. All the doctors were members of the Swiss Medical Society for Psycholytic Therapy, and all used the psycholytic method of combining psychedelics with therapy, also called psychedelic-assisted therapy. Psycholytic is more about smaller dosing, psychedelic-assisted is more about using larger doses.

psycholytic therapy

Of the five doctors given permissions when LSD was legal in Switzerland, three of them prescribed during the entirety of the legalization period: Dr. Marianne Bloch, Dr. Jurai Styk and Dr. Samuel Widmer.

One of the big players in psychedelics research today – Dr. Peter Gasser, was a therapist-in-training at the time, and was able to observe some sessions that took place. Of the whole thing he said, “It was quite surprising for everyone… I think after that, no-one really knew why they got such permission. It was quite free, they could do what they wanted.”

Gasser worked with Dr. Samuel Widmer, one of the five prescribing doctors during this five years of legality. Widmer at that time was able to write prescriptions for both LSD and MDMA. It only lasted five years though, with the government shutting down the program in 1993. Subsequent to it being shut down, Dr. Gasser was charged with evaluating results of this brief experiment on behalf of the Swiss government. Why this entire experiment was done, other than as a manner of research, was not explained.

Afterwards

Though Gasser could report that most patients were happy, one of the failings of the program is that is was only meant for active therapists, not researchers, meaning there was no control group to compare data to. A control is a person who is not be given the drug for the sake of comparison to someone who is given it. This is something Gasser referred to as a “missed opportunity”.

One thing of particular note though, is that of five years of giving prescriptions, and over a hundred case histories, there were no severe incidences with the drugs, or need for hospitalizations. All this started Gasser on a mission of reopening a therapy project by government standards. This took him 10 years to do, and resulted in a 2014 publication Safety and Efficacy of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide-Assisted Psychotherapy for Anxiety Associated With Life-threatening Diseases.

Gasser’s mentor Dr. Widner didn’t leave the world of psychedelic therapy when the government program ended. Instead, he got around laws by running a commune called Kirschblütengemeinschaft, where it is said he lives with two wives and around 200 followers. He offers both psycholytic treatment, and education in administering psycholytic therapy. Swiss newspaper Ages Anzeiger reported at one point that Widner had trained hundreds of doctors in Austria, Switzerland, and Germany. This was confirmed by German journalist Hans-Peter Waldrich who spent time in underground therapy groups.

The word *underground is important here. These groups, and what Dr. Widmer do, do not operate legally, which is why reports are few and far between. One of the things about having it legalized for five years, is that it helped spur on this underground therapy scene, which the government was never able to do anything about. It is often said that its much easier to get acid for recreational purposes in Switzerland, than for a doctor to get it for research. But this means a lot of ability for doctors to administer mind-altering drugs without regulation, and there have been reports of misconduct by some of these doctors.

secret therapy group

Dr. Widner himself has earned some of this dissent, with his protégé Gasser stating: “He’s a talented person. He was, at least, a good therapist. But then he became this guru, and I think he made it very difficult… He left our medical society in 1995. I think this was necessary. He went his own way and we went our own way.”

Conclusion

One of the strange things about the five years when LSD was legal in Switzerland, is that there isn’t a lot written about it, almost like it was shoved back into the underground at the end. Many publications, even about the history of acid, will skip over this part in history, and its actually through research papers that much of this info can be found.

Why so quiet? Hard to say… But Switzerland definitely isn’t advertising that it did this, even now that psychedelics are up for legalization again in many places. Perhaps with enough changing tides, these five years will come back into the spotlight, and hopefully, right along with them, a new legalization measure for psychedelic medicine.

Welcome readers! Thanks for stopping by CBDtesters.co, your #1 web spot for the most thought-provoking and important cannabis and psychedelics-related news worldwide. Come visit us regularly to stay aware of the ever-moving universe of legal drugs and industrial hemp, and check out the The Psychedelics Weekly Newsletter, so you’re the first to get all the good stories.

DisclaimerHi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advise, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.

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Esketamine in the UK

The world of drugs is constantly shifting and changing. It seems like, finally, government’s are beginning to open their minds to the many magical benefits of drugs, and are no longer being blinded by the potential recreational uses. The truth is, almost all drugs that people may buy from street dealers or off the dark web – are also used daily in medical practices.

This is the case with heroin, NOS, cocaine, MDMA and ketamine. What some of these drugs offer are quick relief from mental and physical pains, which usually prescribed medicines do not have the capability for. This is the situation with esketamine. Since 2019, esketamine has been medically legal in the UK due to its proven benefits for treating depression. But how has it been going? How easily accessible is it? And, more importantly, what even is esketamine? The UK isn’t championed by the rest of the world for their open-drug policies, but perhaps this is a start. 

Ketamine and esketamine therapy are all the rage, but they’re still not as easily accessible as cannabis. Fortunately, there has been more focus on these compounds in recent years and the market is poised to explode in the very near future. Remember to subscribe to The Psychedelics Weekly Newsletter for more articles like this one. And save big on Delta 8Delta 9 THCDelta-10THCOTHCVTHCP & HHC products by checking out our “Best-of” lists!


What is Esketamine?

Esketamine is an isomer of ketamine, which essentially means that it has a very similar chemical structure, despite a few certain atoms. For those of you who aren’t aware, ketamine is both a popular recreational and medical drug. Ketamine has been found to be an anesthetic and anti-depressant and was actually used to treat injured Vietnam soldiers. Not only that, but Ketamine is often referred to as a ‘horse tranquiliser’ as it’s often used in veterinary practices to anaesthetize bigger animals. Ketamine has also been found to have euphoric effects, which is why it’s often used as a party drug, and is also why it’s not being further considered as a potential antidepressant. This is why Esketamine has not been created. Esketamine is actually a more potent version of ketamine.

“…blocks N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors and interrupts the association pathways of the brain, resulting in dissociative anaesthesia and analgesia and in restoration of neural pathways regulating mood and emotional behaviour.”

Now, this might sound a little bit scientific, but actually esketamine works quite simply. The drug is believed to act on a brain chemical called glutamate, which is thought to restore connections between brain cells, which supposedly shrink during long periods of depression. This regrowth leads to the production of healthy serotonin, which affects the emotions of a person. 

How It’s Taken

Esketamine, unlike ketamine, is taken in the form of a nasal spray called Spavato. It’s taken alongside an oral anti-depressant. The patient will usually seek a prescription, and if they’re able to get one, they will embark on two key stages of treatment. 

Step 1

Step 1, also known as the induction phase, consists of the user taking two treatments per week, for a full month. The amount of sprays and dosage will be different depending on the patient. 

Step 2

Step 2, also known as the maintenance phase, will consist of the esketamine dosage being slowly reduced to once a week, or even perhaps once a fortnight. This is to see how bad the depression flares up with less of the medication. 

Esketamine & Depression

Depression is a mental health problem that can affect 1 in 5 adults in the UK. The symptoms of depression can include: feeling low, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, lack of appetite and a loss of hope. Most doctors prescribe anti-depressant drugs to deal with depression. These drugs are known as SSRIs and they help to keep more serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that carries signals between nerve cells; it’s thought to have a positive influence on mood. SRRIs stop serotonin from being reabsorbed after it carries these signals, which keeps more serotonin in the body. However, esketamine does not work like this. The issue with SSRIs is that they can take quite a long time to take effect – perhaps a few months – and for some people they don’t work at all

“As many as two-thirds of people with depression do not respond to the first medication prescribed and are considered to have TRD. TRD is a term used to describe depression that has failed to respond to at least two different antidepressants.”

This is where esketamine comes in. TRD stands for treatment-resistant depression and essentially means that the usual SSRI treatment is obsolete for them. Esketamine works differently to mainstream antidepressants, it instead increases the levels of glutamate – which has the largest quantity of chemical transmitters in the body. The new drug is thought to be the future of antidepressants as it has robust effects within a few hours and the effects are long lasting. Eskatimine

“…Is one of the first “rapid acting” drugs for depression and the first drug in decades to target a new brain pathway. Unlike conventional antidepressants, which take weeks or months to take effect, ketamine has been shown in some patients to have enduring effects within hours.”

The benefits of Eskatimine is undoubtable, and this has caused many countries to turn their heads towards it as a potential, more mainstream treatment option. That is why the UK, among other countries, have begun this process. 

Is Esketamine Legal in the UK?

Yes. As previously mentioned, esketamine is a more potent, and slightly different version of ketamine. Ketamine is of course one of the most popular party drugs in the UK and in many countries. However, due to ketamine’s street-drug credit, many governments are fearful of using it as a viable antidepressant alternative. Nonetheless, in 2019, things changed. Spravato had been subject to many medical trials with those suffering from treatment-resistant depression and now...

“..It has been deemed a safe treatment and was licensed in the UK for use in late 2019, as well as approved in the USA by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in early 2019”

The companies that are the creators of the drug were Johnson & Johnson in the US, and Janssen-Cilag in the UK. Eskatmine in the form of a nasal spray is legal and available from specific psychiatric prescribers and pharmacists within the UK. However, like with all legalization, it’s never just as simple as ‘here you go, whoever needs it, come get it’. The truth is that, just like medical cannabis in the UK, esketamine is not an easy substance to get ahold of, and it’s not cheap either. So, let’s take a little look into how the UK is doing since legalizing this substance in 2019. 

How’s It Going Since 2019?

Legalizing esketamine for medical use was a big leap for the UK and highlights a potential but a slow shift in drug policy. Nonetheless, the sad truth is that – whilst the substance could be having huge medical benefits for those suffering with TRD – it’s currently very difficult to get a prescription. Almost all of the limited prescriptions of Spravato come from private institutions, and the prices are not cheap. Supposedly, the current price of a 1 x 28mg nasal spray bottle is £163. In addition, to access esketamine you need a written prescription from a private psychiatrist. Psychiatrists are a luxury and are not something that the majority of people are able to afford. 

The NHS is the UK’s free health care service, and it is perhaps the UK’s pride and joy. However, it’s constantly underfunded by the Conservative government. The NHS do not currently back esketamine in the UK, as they don’t see it as being  a cost effective option for them. Due to the price of it, it’s easier for them to continue prescribing other antidepressant medication than spravato. However, there is one specific case where the NHS has prescribed the drug. And that is in, of course, Scotland. Scotland is known to be the liberal side of the UK. 

“the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) accepted the use of esketamine (Spravato; Janssen) nasal spray for use within NHS Scotland for adults with treatment-resistant major depressive disorder on 8th September 2020.”

Whilst this isn’t massive, it’s still a step in the right direction. The hope is that, going forward, the government will help the NHS to back the spravato medication and finally allow people who need it to have access to it. However, it could still be a long road ahead.

Conclusion – Esketamine in the UK

Esketamine is an example of a drug that has forced itself to be noticed by medical professionals and government officials due to its undoubtable worth. Even the UK, who aren’t the leaders of drug acceptance, have decided to give it esketamine shot. Whilst it is not the cheapest and most accessible antidepressant medication, the hope is that now it’s been accepted for medical use, it’s only a matter of time before more people have access to it. The hope is there. Let’s wait and see.

Hello to all. Welcome to CBDtesters.co, your #1 web source for cannabis and psychedelics-related news, offering the most thought-provoking and current stories going on today. Give us a visit frequently to stay on top of the always-changing world of legal drugs and industrial hemp, and remember to check out  The Psychedelics Weekly Newsletter, so you’re never late on getting a news story.

Disclaimer: Hi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advise, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.

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Isreali Nextage Explores Effective Delivery of Psychedelic Compounds

Israel is one of the leading countries for medical cannabis research and has held this title for decades; since the 1960s to be exact. Now, they’re joining efforts to study the benefits of psychedelics in a clinical setting as well.

Of the main areas of focus is using psychoactive compounds to treat clinical depression and other psychiatric disorders. One Israeli company, Nextage Therapeutics, is looking specifically at utilizing ibogaine, along with their own patent delivery system, to better treat people with these conditions.

When it comes to treating psychological disorders and minimizing the risk of side effects, psychedelics are the way of the future. Check out our newsletter, The Delta 8 Weekly, to learn more about these incredible compounds as well as gain access to exclusive deals on flowers, vapes, edibles, and other products.


What are Psychedelics?

Psychedelic drugs are a subset of hallucinogens. They contain psychoactive compounds that are capable of altering a person’s mood, perception, and cognition; sometimes permanently. The active compounds are usually found in nature, like psilocybin or mescaline, but they can also be manmade, like LSD.

Psychedelics are known for causing ‘trips’, which is what the high is referred to. When a person is tripping, they may have altered perceptions of the world around them. Many people believe this is limited to visual and auditory hallucinations, but it can also include feeling, tasting, and smelling things that are not real, as well as a heightened sense of connection and understanding, and greater feelings of introspection.  

The trips that people most commonly associate with these types of the drugs are the ones in which a state of hallucinogenic delirium is reached, but that is not always the case. Many times, it is more of an experience than a trip, and something can be learned and achieved psychologically with every small dose.

The word itself, ‘psychedelics’, was first used in 1957 to recognize substances that were said to open the mind, however, the more accurate term for them is ‘entheogens’. This term was adopted, not necessarily for the sake of being scientific, but rather to allow the sector to operate without all the stigma attached to psychedelics from smear campaigns and restrictive policies throughout history. The term entheogen comes from Greek where it means ‘building the god within’.

Different psychedelics produce different trips. For example, with DMT you can expect a short high lasting less than 1 hour, whereas LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline trips can last up to ten hours. Some hallucinogens are more potent than others, like mushrooms vs acid. The active compounds are different in each drug so there is a lot of variation to the effects that can be felt.  

Some people experience bad trips in which negative, or even scary, hallucinations are experienced, and/or a rapid heartbeat, sweating, nausea, disorientation, and fatigue occur. There is indication that the majority of these symptoms can be controlled through proper dosing. This is why most modern-day, therapeutic users of psychedelics consume the drugs in micro-doses.

Nextage Pharmaceuticals and MindMend

According to Nextage Founder and CEO Abraham Dreazen, “there has been a shift in the last decade. The US Food and Drug Administration, for example, is starting to see quality of life as a factor in evaluating medicine, opening the door to these drugs.”

Earlier this year, Nextage signed a collaboration agreement with industry trailblazer Mindmend, to use their proprietary new technology known as Brain Targeting Liposome System (BTLS) – a delivery system Dreazen claims will “optimize the delivery of drug products based on noribogaine, and ultimately other ibogaine derivatives.”

Ibogaine is a naturally occurring psychoactive substance found in Apocynaceae plant family in Gabon, a small coastal country in central Africa. Although minimal research exists, a handful of clinical studies found that Ibogaine and its derivatives can be used to combat addiction, and it was looked at particularly for the treatment of opioid addiction, for which the results were promising.

Unfortunately, when used at high doses over a longer period, there are potential side effects. In a recent press release, reps from MindMend explained that, “orally administered ibogaine and noribogaine present unacceptable safety risks due to their torsadogenic effects at high systemic concentrations.”

Simply put, there’s a moderate risk of heart attacks when using noribogaine. However, Dreazen believes that if the drug is administered using certain methods that better permeate the blood-brain barrier, so more of the drug actually reaches the brain rather than going to other parts of the body, including the heart. He described it as “the winning lottery ticket.”

Permeating the Blood-Brain Barrier

When it comes to treating psychological and neurological disorders, or really any other disease or condition affecting the brain, the main challenge is permeating the blood-brain barrier. The purpose of the blood-brain barrier is to protect the brain from foreign substances, and as such, can prevent up to 95% of molecules from reaching the brain.

So far, the most common way to work around that is by giving prescribing these drugs at extremely high doses, and that, needless to say, can have numerous unwanted and severe side effects. Using a more effective model, The BTLS platform, licensed from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, has been making use of a “liposomal vehicle with a unique targeting complex” that allows for blood-brain barrier permeation at much lower doses of various pharmaceutical agents.

This is a relatively well-known concept, but according to Dreazen, Nextage took it a step further and attached a “small arrow of seven amino acid peptides – essentially a very small protein – which is part of a much larger protein that is native to the brain and has a way of actively transporting the liposomal capsule through the blood-brain barrier. Once the capsule is drawn into the brain with the arrow, it gets lodged there and starts dissolving, facilitating release of the active material – the drug.”

What the Future Holds for Nextage

Nextage has been working in the drug delivery sector for 14 years and their daughter company, IMIO, is focused solely on psychedelics. The company completed most of required preclinical worked needed to determine the potential efficacy and generality of their new patent technology. They have already worked with CBD and THC-based medications and Nextage/IMIO plans to explore the potential of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD).

Dreazen says LSD “is a really promising drug.” Its challenge is that when taken, people can “trip” for 15 to 17 hours, making it very unfeasible as a chronic treatment. But just like with ibogaine, he believes that if the dose can be reduced and the least amount possible gets into the body as opposed to the brain, “you could potentially get the same therapeutic effect without the longevity of the trip.”

“In the US, the psychedelic movement has exploded in the last 12 months,” Dreazen added. “I think psychedelics in Israel are just emerging, and we are the first public company to really put our teeth into it. Israel has always been in the forefront of research and development and we are committed to spearheading this industry.”

Final Thoughts

As you can see, conversations surrounding the use of psychedelics to treat mental health and neurological disorders is reaching nearly every corner of the globe, and the countries that have been more accepting of cannabis are also spearheading the medical psychedelic revelation. Psychedelics are here to stay, and in the very near future, we can expect to see a lot of these compounds being safely used in clinical and therapeutic settings.

Thank you for stopping by CBD TESTERS, your hub for all things cannabis and psychedelics-related. Make sure to Subscribe to The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter to learn more and for exclusive deals on Delta 8Delta 10 THCTHCOTHCVTHCP & HHC.

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Psychedelics are Changing End-of-Life and Palliative Care for the Better

They say you fly when you die…”

The only inevitable thing in life, is death. Many fear it, while others embrace the possibility of moving on to another realm. The truth is, none of us really know what happens after we die. What we do know, is that sometimes those remaining days/weeks/months on earth can be challenging. Luckily we do have some resources available to help provide comfort and dignity during death. As psychedelics gain momentum in the field of therapeutics, particularly for treating depression and trauma, the question of using them to alleviate end-of-life symptoms is coming up with more regularity.

Psychedelics are incredible. The therapeutic potential is staggering and the market is steadily growing. By far, the most popular psychedelic is still THC. For more articles like this one, and for exclusive deals on flowers, vapes, edibles, and other legal THC products, make sure to subscribe to The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter, your top-source for all things cannabis-related.


End-of-Life: Physical Care and Spiritual Needs

Every person experiences death in a unique way, and as such, a person nearing the end of their life has many specific needs – typically in the areas of physical comfort, emotional obligations, mental stimulation, spiritual issues, and practical tasks.

Some people pass quickly while others face a more gradual decline, but almost universally, those who have a least a little bit of foresight into their deaths will go through some type of introspective, spiritual experiences.

If you have a loved one nearing departure from this world, your job is to provide comfort, reassurance, warmth, and understanding. Figuring out how exactly to do this is where it gets tricky. As the body diminishes, the spirit awakens… but unfortunately, our current healthcare system only addresses the former. However, imminent death is known to push the consciousness into new and heightened dimensional levels.

Sometimes, the transition is easy, but other times it can be more difficult and the need for treatment options that help our loved ones navigate the emotional and spiritual journey of death are just as important as medications for decreasing their physical symptoms. Sadly, when it comes to dealing with these types of complexities, modern medicine has always fallen short.

What Are Psychedelics?

Psychedelic drugs, also referred to entheogens, are a subset of hallucinogens which contain compounds that can alter perception. The term entheogen come from Greek and can be roughly translated to mean “building the God within”. The high produced by these types of drugs is known as a ‘trip’, and can include various types of visual, auditory, and sensory hallucinations. The intensity of a trip can vary dramatically based on the specific compound and dose consumed. Sometimes, a user will experience no hallucinations at all, but rather a sense of general well-being, spirituality, and euphoria.  

If you’ve ever heard someone mention a ‘bad trip’, this means they had some type of negative side effects or maybe even scary hallucinations. Physical symptoms of a bad trip can include but are not limited to: irregular heartbeat, nausea, chills, sweating, and anxiety. Dosing and setting, among other factors, can significantly impact a psychedelic trip, so you want to make sure that you’re doing everything possible to ensure an uplifting and beneficial high.

Psychedelics can be naturally-derived like psilocybin, or manmade like LSD; and they are generally regarded as safe. According to the results of a Global Drug Survey that polled 120,000 regular drug users, magic mushrooms were the safest recreational drug, along with cannabis. Their method at determining user safety was by comparing the drug used to the amount of required emergency room visits. Only 0.2% of the nearly 10,000 mushroom users surveyed had ever required emergency care, compared to the 1.0% of those using harder drugs like ecstasy or cocaine.

Furthermore, new research suggests that certain psychedelic substances can help relieve anxiety, depression, PTSD, addiction and numerous other mental health disorders. “The biggest misconception people have about psychedelics is that these are drugs that make you crazy,” says Michael Pollan, author of the new book How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence. “We now have evidence that that does happen sometimes — but in many more cases, these are drugs that can make you sane.”

Psychedelics and Near-Death Experiences

What’s interesting about psychedelics is that often times, the high can produce effects comparable to a near-death experience (NDE). Both, NDEs and psychedelic trips are very complex and subjective experiences, and many similarities between the two have been observed.

Parallels between these states of mind can include feelings of universal understanding, transcendence of space and time, communicating with angels, dead relatives, and various other entities, and questions that are insightful and pensive in nature (for instance, trying to figure out your purpose in the world).

DMT (N,N-Dimethyltryptamine) in particular is known for producing these occurrences, but anecdotal evidence suggests that other psychedelic compounds can cause them too. According to a recent, placebo-controlled study, researchers found “significant relationships between the NDE scores and DMT-induced ego-dissolution and mystical-type experiences, as well as a significant association between NDE scores and baseline trait ‘absorption’ and delusional ideation measured at baseline.”

Simply put, researchers found such substantial overlap between DMT-induced trips and near-death experiences that they believe it warrants further investigation to gauge the true medical potential of this discovery.

Psychedelics in Palliative and End-of-Life Care

For several reasons, the use of psychedelics in end-of-life and palliative care has been a hot topic of discussion for some time now. Terminal patients, or even those who are on a natural decline, often face significant feelings of anxiety, depression, hopelessness, perceived burdensomeness, and overall existential distress.

Although alleviating these symptoms should really be at the core of palliative care, currently, there are no pharmacologic options for helping end-of-life patients who need to find emotional peace. Yes, antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs exist and are prescribed to dying patients on a regular basis; but numerous studies show that these medications have demonstrated absolutely no superiority over placebos.

Enter psychedelics. According to Ross and Reiche et al., “psychedelic-assisted therapy for patients facing life-threatening illness appears to be a safe and potentially highly efficacious intervention for psychological and existential distress associated with such conditions. Contemporary double-blind placebo-controlled trials of psychedelics for depression and anxiety associated with cancer have produced very promising results.”

The Research

The two most recent and noteworthy studies on this subject were both completed at well-known, prestigious facilities: John Hopkins University and New York University (NYU). Both also were published simultaneously with nearly a dozen editorials from experts in palliative medicine, psychiatry, and international drug policy.

In the John Hopkins study, a crossover design was used to monitor 51 patients who received both an experimental high dose of psilocybin (22 mg or 30 mg/70 kg) and a standard low dose (1 mg or 3 mg/70 kg) which served as an active placebo control. At NYU, a randomized trial was used to study 29 patients receiving either psilocybin or the active placebo niacin.

During both trials, participants received pre and post treatment therapy sessions to determine their current state of mind and be able to make a reasonable assessment after administration of psychedelics. Also, both treatment groups included subjects with a wide range of both physical and psychiatric disorders including life-threatening cancers, anxiety, depression and other mood disorders.

And most importantly, both studies looked very carefully at the longevity of the results post-treatment, as well as safety profile of the prescribed active treatment. Across the board, there were both acute, immediate benefits as well as long lasting ones that were observed more than 6 months after use of psychedelics. Safety profiles were good in both trials and no serious adverse medical or psychological outcomes were reported.

Overall, the results were very promising. Participants claimed to experience reconciliation with death, emotional detachment from their diseases or ailments, reconnection with life, reclaimed presence and sense of self, and increased confidence.

“Those findings are consistent with published work about the safety and risk profile of psychedelics, which can be appropriately mitigated both with careful screening of subjects who have an underlying risk of psychosis and with appropriate support by the psychotherapy team,” says Daniel Rosenbaum from the Department of Psychiatry at University of Toronto. “These landmark studies from Johns Hopkins University and NYU also suggested a central role of the psilocybin-occasioned mystical-type experience, which correlated significantly with therapeutic outcomes based on ratings using validated scales.”

Mystical-type experiences can be characterized by many different qualities including but not limited to feelings of unity, a sense of experiencing “ultimate reality”, sacredness, positivity, and connectedness. In short, using psychedelics can make the experience of dying a more positive and spiritual one, rather than being scary, confusing, and depressing.

Final Thoughts

For many obvious reasons, death is a very sensitive subject. Of course, pain, physical ailments, and practical matters need to be addressed, but when is someone is nearing the end of their life, there is so much more going on beneath the surface. What needs to be discussed more is the need for treatment options that deal with the nonsecular symptoms of moving on to another realm, and psychedelics might be one of the most promising ways to accomplish this task.

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Albert Hofmann: The Finding and Self-Experimentation of LSD

The psychedelic boom is just beginning, with legalizations occurring, and new bills working their way through local governments to provide more psychedelic freedom. For those still unaware, psychedelics have been proving to be a valuable medicine in the fight against mental illness. When looking back in the history of medical psychedelics to where it started, it all comes down to one man, Albert Hofmann, and his discovery of LSD.

Albert Hofmann sure started something big when he discovered LSD, but it might be a while longer before LSD is legalized. If psychedelics continue like the cannabis industry, it should happen eventually. Luckily, for now we’ve got cannabis, and all its great medicinal and recreational compounds, like delta-9 THC, delta-8 THC, and a range of other minor cannabinoids like THCV, THCP, delta 10, HHC, THC-O and more. You can go ahead and check out our weekly deals.

What are psychedelics?

Psychedelics are drugs that contain chemical compounds that cause a psychoactive reaction in a user. Such reactions include experiencing hallucinations, which means hearing, seeing, feeling, tasting, and smelling things that aren’t there. Psychedelics are also associated with creating spiritual experiences and can promote feelings of connectedness between the user and others around. Users experience euphoria, relaxation, and well-being, while also experiencing mystical sensations. Psychedelics can alter mood, perception, and cognition, though different drugs can cause different effects, and the amount taken is important.

Psychedelics are a subset of hallucinogenic drugs, which themselves are a subset of psychoactive drugs. They can be found in nature, like magic mushrooms or peyote, or made in a lab like LSD or PCP. Though psychedelics have been found generally safe in testing, getting the dose correct is important. This is the same with any type of medication, and is not specific to psychedelics. A person who takes too much oxycontin might overdose and die, a person who takes too much LSD might have a bad trip.

‘Bad trips’ are characterized by negative, or even scary, hallucinations. Users can experience feelings of dysphoria, anxiety, and panic, as well as physical symptoms like dizziness, irregular heartbeat, numbness, vomiting, and sweating and chills. Bad trips have not been known to result in death, but can certainly be a negative experience for the user, and back up that careful dosing is very important.

Many psychedelics are serotonergic, meaning they interact with serotonin receptors in the brain. This will usually cause a rush of the neurotransmitter, followed by blocking reuptake to allow for more absorption. The neurotransmitter serotonin is responsible for many functions in the human body, from mood regulation and involuntary muscle control, to transmitting signals throughout the brain.

Historical use of psychedelics

Though we treat psychedelics like we don’t know much about them in mainstream life, there is plenty of evidence they’ve been used for thousands of years, although the context they were used in, may have been different from how they’re used today. Information that we do have was obtained from ancient texts, findings, and rituals.

For example, in the Sora River Valley of Southwestern Bolivia, a pouch was found containing traces of different psychedelic compounds including both harmine and dimethyltryptamine – used to make ayahuasca; bufotenine, a psychedelic compound found in toad skin; and psilocin, a psychedelic compound of magic mushrooms. The pouch is said to be from around 900-1100 CE according to mass spectrometry carbon dating. This is the earliest finding to show the use of the plants that combine to make ayahuasca.

Other research has pointed to use of psychedelics in Mesoamerica by the Mayans, Aztecs, Olmecs, and Zapotecs. The Mayans were known for drinking balché from Lonchocarpus bark extracts, which together with honey produces a psychoactive effect (the bark can itself, but is milder without the honey). It was used for group ceremonies to get intoxicated. The cultures mentioned used the peyote plant for mescaline, hallucinogenic mushrooms, and ololiuhqui seeds, which contain lysergic acid amide, a relative to LSD.

The near-East has also been a hotspot for ancient psychedelic findings. Several artifacts have been made in that region including residues, fibers, pollen, and carbonized seeds. In fact, traces of Blue Water Lily extract, a strong narcotic, were found in Tutonkamen’s tomb which dates back to the 14th century BC. In Lebanon, 10 liters of Viper’s Bugloss was found in a storage jar in Kami del-Loz temple from the late bronze age. Viper’s Bugloss is a very strong hallucinogenic compound.

What led up to Albert Hofmann finding LSD

History is all fine and good, but in today’s world we study things in labs. In modern times, the practice of studying psychedelics began in Switzerland with a chemist named Albert Hofmann. Born in 1906, in Baden, Switzerland, Hofmann finished his chemistry degree at the University of Zurich in 1929. Immediately after graduation, he began working for the chemical company Sandoz.

When Sandoz hired Hofmann, the company had only opened a pharmaceutical department a few years before in 1917, even though the company was founded in 1886. The pharmaceutical department started with the isolation of a compound called aotamine from a fungus called ergot, which can be found in tainted rye. Ergot has been used in natural medicine traditions for many, many years, since in small doses, it has been known to quicken child birth, as well as help with the bleeding after. However, when found in tainted rye, ergot can cause incredible illness. The scientist who isolated the compound, Arthur Stoll, wanted to isolate the part that caused the constriction that allowed for the medical advantages only.

He was able to do it, isolating the compounds ergotamine and ergobasine, which enabled the ability to dose very precisely, and without other compounds from ergot getting in the way. Within the next few years, researchers at the company were able to elucidate the chemical structures of different compounds of ergot thought useful, all of which share a common nucleus. This point at which all the compounds start, is named Lysergsaure (in German), or lysergic acid. These discoveries made a lot of money for Sandoz, and helped launch a pharmaceutical department for further research and development. This is the climate that Hofmann walked into when he was hired in 1929.

Albert Hofmann and the unexpected finding of LSD

When Albert Hofmann entered the picture, the Sandoz lab was busy studying ergot, and the compounds within. Hofmann was able to establish a synthetic process to build the ergot compounds using the chemicals that make them up. He was able to synthesize active components of ergot, along with similar compounds from other plants, that were thought to be possible for medical use. Hofmann did a lot of experimentation, combining lysergic acid with other compounds to see what kind of results occurred. He did this about 24 times before something big happened.

Hofmann had been trying to find a combination that could stimulate circulation and respiration. On the 25th occasion of combining lysergic acid with another compound, Hofmann used diethylamine, a derivative of ammonia. The compound it created, was called LSD-25 at the time, or lysergic acid diethylamide. Though it did not meet the needs specifically of what he was looking for, it was noted that the created compound caused excitability in animals during testing. At the time, LSD-25 was put on the backburner, but Hofmann couldn’t forget about it, saying it was “a peculiar presentiment—the feeling that this substance could possess properties other than those established in the first investigations.”

Five years later, he felt the urge to recreate this compound again, and this time, something very strange happened. He started feeling strange. It was a Friday, so he left the lab early and returned home. When he came back into the lab the following week, he wrote this to Stoll, who was his boss at the time:

“I was forced to interrupt my work in the laboratory in the middle of the afternoon and proceed home, being affected by a remarkable restlessness, combined with a slight dizziness. At home I lay down and sank into a not unpleasant intoxicated-like condition, characterized by an extremely stimulated imagination. In a dream-like state, with eyes closed (I found the daylight to be unpleasantly glaring), I perceived an uninterrupted steam of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors.”

What did he do next?

When Albert Hofmann first discovered the effects of LSD, he didn’t know what caused them. First, he thought he had been exposed to some kind of chloroform solvent, but when he intentionally breathed in fumes, he didn’t get the same response. It finally occurred to him that he might have actually ingested some of the LSD-25 he was working with, despite the fact that the only place he had made contact, was his fingertips. As it was understood ergot compounds could be toxic, a lot of measures were taken for safety. Upon realizing it might have been the LSD-25, Albert Hofmann did what any good scientist would do, he began experimenting on himself.

On April 19th, 1943, Hofmann dissolved 250 millionths of a gram of lysergic acid diethylamide tartrate (the crystalized version of LSD-25), and drank it down. He did this without giving a heads up to anyone at Sandoz except his lab assistant, and he didn’t expect anything to happen. He had taken such a small dose – with the intention of slowly increasing to find the right amount, that he hadn’t expected the response that he got. After about 40 minutes, he wrote this:

“Beginning dizziness, feeling of anxiety, visual distortions, symptoms of paralysis, desire to laugh.” Due to his condition, he had to have his lab assistant take him home, which due to wartime restrictions, meant riding on bikes. One can only imagine how funny that bike ride must have been! He later said this about the experience:

“Everything in my field of vision wavered and was distorted as if seen in a curved mirror. I also had the sensation of being unable to move from the spot. Nevertheless, my assistant later told me that we had traveled very rapidly. Finally, we arrived at home safe and sound, and I was just barely capable of asking my companion to summon our family doctor and request milk from the neighbors.”

Though the symptoms were frightening, as they were unexpected, a doctor’s visit confirmed that nothing was actually wrong with Hofmann. When he had calmed down, and could speak clearly about his experience, he said this: “Everything glistened and sparkled in a fresh light. The world was as if newly created. All my senses vibrated in a condition of highest sensitivity, which persisted for the entire day.”

Hofmann continued experimentation with himself and a couple close friends. He found the setting to be a very important factor in how the trip played out. Hofmann went on to introduce this new compound to psychiatrists in the mid-1900’s like Humphry Osmond and Ronald Sandison. Osmond conducted the Saskatchewan trials in Canada. In the studies, alcoholics were given LSD to quit drinking, and according to the studies, an entire 40-45% were able to do so for at least a year after only one dose. Sandison operated out of the UK, doing his own experimentation with acid. One of his experiments included using 36 psychoneurotic patients, all of whom were cured or showed improvement after using LSD, save for two. Both doctor’s developed their own strategies for the emerging psychedelic-assisted therapy, all based on Hofmann’s experiences.

Albert Hofmann LSD

Conclusion

The story of acid is obviously much longer than this, but this is how it started, with Albert Hofmann and his self-experimentation of LSD. Though LSD is currently Schedule I in the US, both psilocybin and MDMA have been designated by the FDA as breakthrough therapies, and Oregon has already legalized psilocybin for medical purposes. On top of that, esketamine, a close relative of ketamine, is already approved for depression and suicidal thoughts, and is in use in clinics all over America.

LSD is a synthetic psychedelic compound, though it has roots in the ergot plant. While it was the most commonly used medical psychedelic in the mid-1900’s, it was illegalized and demonized shortly after, only now gaining attention once again for its medical benefits. With the impending legalization of other psychedelics, one can only imagine that LSD will be coming soon too.

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DisclaimerHi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advise, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.

The post Albert Hofmann: The Finding and Self-Experimentation of LSD appeared first on CBD Testers.

Psychedelics Are Coming: Learn to Grow Mushrooms On Your Own

The medical psychedelic boom has already started with the release of esketamine. Now, with MDMA and psilocybin on the way, medical psychedelics are looking to majorly disrupt the standard mental health treatment industry. And the great thing about psilocybin is, much like cannabis, the mushrooms it comes from, can be grown in home. Here are some basics to know, if you want to learn to grow mushrooms.

Psychedelics are getting more popular, and now you can learn to grow mushrooms on your own. If you’re not quite ready for mushrooms, there’s still cannabis, and plenty of new options like delta-8 THC. This alternate form of THC creates less psychoactive effect as delta-9, and has less associated anxiety and paranoia. Plus, it doesn’t cloud the head or couch lock users in the same way. We’ve got tons of delta-8 THC, delta 10, THCV, THC-O and even HHC products, so check out our deals and find a product perfect for you.

Disclaimer: While legalization is almost a sure thing, psilocybin is illegal in most states, while holding decriminalization status in some, and medical legalization status in Oregon. Mushroom growing equipment is legal to own, and this article is merely helping people learn the process to grow mushrooms, it is not telling anyone to do so, or telling them they should grow any specific kind of mushrooms. This information covers mushroom growing for all types of mushrooms.

What are magic mushrooms?

Magic mushrooms are a group of varying fungi that all contain the psychedelic compound psilocybin, as well as lesser psychedelic compound psilocin. These psychedelic compounds operate like other psychedelic compounds like LSD, and MDMA by being serotonergic – attaching to serotonin receptors, and creating a ‘psychedelic experience’.

The term ‘psychedelic’ refers to a class of compounds in the general grouping of hallucinatory drugs, which is itself a subset of ‘psychoactive drugs’, or drugs that can change perception. Psychedelic drugs vary, but they are known for creating a similar experience, complete with hallucinations – things that are felt, seen, heard, smelled, or tasted, that are not actually there. Along with hallucinations, psychedelics are known for creating a sense of spirituality in the user, a feeling of connectedness with others and the universe in general, a feeling of over overall well-being, mystical feelings, and euphoria.

If you’ve ever heard someone talk about a ‘bad trip’, this refers to a negative psychedelic experience in which the user has negative – or scary – hallucinations and physical symptoms, like fast or irregular heartbeat, nausea, chills, sweating, and anxiety. Though psychedelics have been generally judged as safe, dosing is important, with bad trips more often associated with too much of a compound being taken. New users might want to start with micro dose amounts, as is often what is used in psychedelic-assisted therapy.

magic mushrooms

Learn to grow mushrooms

For those that like to do it on their own, growing mushrooms is not the most intense exercise, and can be done with just a few different tools and basic instructions. The first thing you need, of course, is mushroom spores, which generally come in a syringe, much like the oil syringes used for cannabis oil. They are usually 12CCs. To be clear, mushroom spores are legal as they contain no psychoactive compounds within them.

  • The first real step has to do with growing the mycelium network, a network of tiny thread-like structures that are produced by fungal spores, and which is necessary for any mushroom growth. In order to do this, you need a substrate – or way in which the mushrooms will grow. For this, something called vermiculite is used, which is a mineral that looks like a rock, or rock chips. Approximately 2/3 cup is used in a jar, as creating a mycelium network is best done in a jar. ¼ cup of water is added, and ¼ cup brown rice flour.
  • The jar being used should have a tightly fitting cap, and should have about four holes drilled into it. The vermiculite and water are mixed and then strained, and then the rice flour added. This mix is then packed into the jar up until about a half-inch below the rim. Dry vermiculite is put on top. It should be noted that all tools used should be sterilized with rubbing alcohol to ensure no bacterial contamination.
  • The jar is tightly closed and covered with tin foil or plastic wrap to keep the drilled holes covered. The jar is placed in a pan, with water filling the pan until about halfway up the length of the jar. The water is brought to a slow boil, and for 75-90 minutes the jar is steamed. More water can be added to the pan if too much boils away. The jar is then allowed to cool for several hours.
  • Then come the spores. The holes on the lids are uncovered and the syringe is inserted as far as it will go and split between the four holes. It’s good to clean the syringe in between putting it in each hole. The jars should then be kept in room temperature, and out of sunlight. Many people prefer to keep them in a dark closet.
  • It takes about 1-2 weeks for the mycelium network to begin to grow. It takes about 3-4 weeks for full colonies to grow and form cakes. At this point, another week should be given to strengthen the mycelium cakes. Any jar that looks contaminated should be disposed of as soon as possible, making sure all equipment used is sterile is best to ward off contamination.
learn to grow mushrooms
  • At this point, a plastic storage container is taken and holes are drilled all over it in even intervals. The container should be put on four stable objects to keep the bottom from touching the surface so air can flow through. A towel is put over it to retain moisture.
  • The next step is to take something called perlite (a volcanic glass which expands when heated), clean it with water, and then put it at the bottom of the container. There should be about 4-5 inches covering the base. The mycelium cakes are taken out of the jars where they’ve been growing, and carefully washed to remove vermiculite, and then put in lukewarm water – made to stay underneath it – for about 24 hours. This is to rehydrate them. Then they’re taken out, rolled in dry vermiculite, and put in the storage container on foil squares, so the cakes don’t directly touch the perlite. They should be evenly spaced. Then they’re sprayed with a  mist bottle, and fanned off before the lid is closed.
  • The container should have mist sprayed on it about four times a day, being careful not to soak anything. The container should also be fanned several times a day to make sure there’s air circulation. Regular light is generally fine at this point, though some growers use growing lights on a 12 hour cycle. The mushrooms will take varying times to grow, but the grower will know something is happening when white bumps appear on the cakes. These then sprout into ‘pins’, and harvest comes about 5-12 days after this point. The whole process takes approximately 1-2 months, which is far less than the 3-6 associated with growing cannabis.

Grow kits

Not everyone wants to put that much time and effort into growing their mushrooms, and – to show how far along this industry is – there are mushroom growing kits that greatly break down the amount of time and energy needed to grow mushrooms. Mushroom growing kits generally contain all the needed equipment, and are streamlined to help the grower. This is like buying marijuana growing equipment which has already been streamlined to help the user have an easier and more productive experience.

Growing kits often include a box, or log-type instrument, which is already seeded with spores and ready to go, meaning the entire setup phase is not necessary. These are called pre-colonized fruiting blocks. The kits must be kept moist, and at the right temperature, but this is menial work compared to actually growing from nothing. Since the kits already have the mycelium network setup, the whole part of creating a mycelium network from scratch, doesn’t have to happen. They also usually come with a mushroom growing bag, which can remain dormant if kept in low temperatures.

Each kit will come with its own instructions, and when looking to buy a kit, a prospective grower should ensure the kit they buy is good for the kind of mushrooms they want to grow. These kits are not sold specifically for magic mushrooms at all, but are made so that all kinds of mushrooms can be grown in-home. If you want to learn to grow mushrooms with a kit, it means you will learn how to grow all kinds of mushrooms.

grow any mushrooms

Why should we expect psilocybin to be legalized?

There is actually very little saying psilocybin won’t be legalized for medical use in the US. In fact, Oregon already applied such legalities to the compound in the last 2020 election. But more importantly than Oregon specifically, is that the US FDA (Food & Drug Administration), has already earmarked psilocybin as a ‘breakthrough therapy’. What does this mean? According to the FDA, a ‘breakthrough therapy’ is 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.”

The FDA doesn’t randomly assign this, but the designation is given when a company has done – or is doing – medical trials that signal they have a compound that might be a better option than existing remedies. In 2019, the FDA assigned its second designation for this to Usona Institute, the first was given a year before to Compass Pathways in their study of psilocybin as a therapy for treatment resistant depression.

The reason this matters is because psilocybin is currently a Schedule I drug in the US Controlled Substances list, made completely illegal in 1968 with the Staggers-Dodd bill in the US, and then followed with the 1970 Controlled Substances Act, and the international drug treaty, the Convention on Psychotropic Substances 1971, which actually only illegalizes the psilocybin, and does nothing to illegalize magic mushrooms, a conundrum seen in many parts of the world. The idea that a government agency could – and would – allow this designation for a Schedule I compound does a lot to say how the US government actually feels about it.

After all, the breakthrough therapy title is meant to get drugs tested and to market. A similar designation was made for MDMA in 2017 for the organization MAPS, and their study of the compound for PTSD. Phase three of MAPS trials were even planned in conjunction with the FDA to ensure that results would meet all regulation standards. Now, that really says a lot.

Conclusion

Anyone looking to grow mushrooms should know the laws of where they are, and be prepared to deal with any issues surrounding their grow. Realistically, as mushrooms get closer to legalization, they will likely follow in the same steps as cannabis, with home growing becoming standard, and very little the government can really do about it. For now, these basic instructions highlight the general process. Prospective growers should do further research, and remember, these instructions are for growing all mushrooms.

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DisclaimerHi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advise, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.

The post Psychedelics Are Coming: Learn to Grow Mushrooms On Your Own appeared first on CBD Testers.

New Psychedelic Anti-Depressant Esketamine: What the Patients Have to Say

Psychedelic-assisted therapy, and the legalization pf psychedelic drugs, is most definitely a thing. We know this, because the psychedelic drug esketamine is already legal for use, with MDMA and psilocybin on the way, and being pushed by the FDA. Is esketamine an effective treatment, here’s what the patients have to say.

Esketamine therapy is a real thing with plenty of patients letting us know what they have to say. If you’re not quite ready for psychedelics, there’s always cannabis, and plenty of different options. Like delta-8 THC, an alternate form of THC which leaves users with more energy, less cloudiness in the head, and no anxiety. There are so many compounds to choose from, that there’s something for everyone. Take a look at our selection of THCV, THC-O, Delta 10 THC and Delta-8 THC deals, and figure out your best option.

What is esketamine?

Before getting into esketamine treatment and what patients say about it, let’s cover what it is. If the name ‘esketamine’ sounds incredibly similar to a popular party drug, that’s because it is. The drug ketamine has been a staple of the party circuit since the 80’s and 90’s, and esketamine is its close cousin. Ketamine was discovered in 1962 by scientists at Parke-Davis. They were in search of a strong anesthetic, and after creating, testing, and ultimately rejecting PCP, and other closely related compounds, ketamine was discovered. It was described as a compound with “cataleptic, analgesic and anesthetic action but without hypnotic properties.”

It became known as a dissociative anesthetic, because of how it seemed to disconnect parts of the brain. This was subsequently described as “electrophysiological and functional dissociation between thalamocortical and limbic systems.” Since that time, ketamine has been used as an anesthetic in both animals and humans, as well as being used as a recreational party drug. Essentially it doe three things, provides pain relief, anesthetic affect, and sedation. The chemical formula for ketamine is C13H16ClNO.

Of course, we’re not talking about ketamine, we’re talking about esketamine. Esketamine hasn’t been around as long, making its first appearances in Germany in 1997 as an anesthetic. While it was being used as an anesthetic, it was noticed that the compound had very fast-acting antidepressant effects, and began being investigated for this purpose. In 2017 the drug finished trials in the US for treatment-resistant depression, and in 2018, Johnson & Johnson filed an application with the FDA for a new medication – Spravato. It was approved on March 5th, 2019.

It was technically approved in conjunction with standard antidepressants for the treatment of depression in adults. In 2020, this was updated to include prescription for suicidal thoughts on account of how fast-acting it works. It is already being prescribed for use in psychedelic-assisted therapy.

Esketamine

Esketamine therapy, what the patients say

Pharmaceutical companies put out all kinds of medications, and they promote them all like they’ll save your life, even when going through litigation because of lies. Though psychedelics do seem to have good efficacy for helping people, this does not mean that any psychedelic medication will be okay. So, it suffices to say that hearing directly about esketamine from patients, and what they have to say, is the best thing for understanding the current situation. In the first few years of something being out, it can be hard to find the stories. These are the stories around right now.

One test subject, Amelia D., started receiving esketamine in 2017 at the Rochester Center for Behavioral Medicine. As she explains, she began taking anti-depressants shortly after she finished college, and had been given a range of diagnoses ranging from dysthymia to ADHD to anxiety to major depressive disorder. She explained how after the intake for the study, she was required to take the drug twice a week for at least a month, each time under supervision in the doctor’s office.

She explained how those taking part were not allowed to drive for 24 hours following administration. She says it started with four hours of supervision, but was brought down to between one and two hours over time. This makes sense for shorter acting drugs like ketamine.

By the time a Time article was written about her in 2019, she was going every two weeks for treatment, in which she was administered three nasal doses at five minute intervals, and then watched for an hour or two. She also stated fears of not being able to continue the medication when the trials were over due to insurance not covering it, and not being able to find a therapist. Though she had plenty good to say about the treatment, she highlighted the fact that she had gone from being unemployed for quite some time, to holding a job steadily, and being generally okay. She said she always knows when she’s ready for another dose.

It doesn’t seem like this particular trial included the therapy aspect of it, and was likely more to establish effects of the drug. She did not mention negative side effects, and spoke generally of an improvement in her life.

Esketamine, what more patients have to say

patients say

Esketamine therapy has begun to find its way into the mainstream, and has been spoken about openly by American comedian Theo Von. Von, known for his stand up and podcast work, among other projects, runs a podcast called This Past Weekend with Theo Von. In Episode 341, called Ketamine Therapy, Von talks about his own experiences with depression and ketamine therapy, as well as interviews with founder and medical director of the Chattanooga Ketamine Center, Dr. Jason Pooler.

Von talks about the hallucinations he had while taking esketamine (it is often called ketamine by users, but the drug they are prescribed is esketamine). Theo’s father died when he was young, and through the ketamine therapy, he was able to deal with the subconscious pain of not having his father, and he said that using esketamine allowed him to complete the grieving process.

Yet another public personality, albeit on a smaller scale, is podcaster Ariel Kashanchi who runs the show Mad Genius. In her June 16th episode ‘Ketamine Touchup’, she goes into specifics about getting ketamine therapy. She starts by talking about her 7th infusion. She did six consecutively, followed by the 7th touch-up. She explains how touch-ups can be done per person needs, and that for her it’s every eight weeks or so.

However, before this, she had an April 8th, segment called Ketamine, TMS & My New Brain in which she describes more about the actual process. At the time of the recording she was one week into her esketamine and TMS (Transcranial magnetic stimulation) therapies, having had two ketamine sessions at that time. She talks about her longstanding issues with depression, PTSD and childhood trauma. She said more than once in the episode that she feels like a different person since treatment began.

She explains that in her case its administered via IV. She talks about being in a comfortable setting, with a comfortable chair and blankets, eye mask, and noise canceling headphones. She talks about being hooked to the IV for about 40 minutes, with a doctor checking on her every so often (not the standard format for psychedelic-assisted therapy). She was told she had to have an intention the fist time she went in, and hers was to feel valuable and lovable. She said the experience felt a bit like virtual reality…but her overall sentiment was that prior to this she didn’t think she’d ever feel okay, and now she does. She also – like Von, spoke about hallucinations of dead loved ones, and how it created a positive situation to experience them like that.

What is psychedelic-assisted therapy?

When we talk about the new rise in medical psychedelics, it’s not about a doctor blindly giving out a prescription for a drug and saying ‘go take a trip’. In fact, quite the opposite. Perhaps in the future this will be less restrictive, but for now, the only legalization for psychedelics is for medical use, and this goes for Oregon, the first state to legalize for use in this way (although that state, and others like Denver do have decriminalization policies for drugs like psilocybin from magic mushrooms).

magic mushrooms

If you’ll notice, esketamine only has an approval at the moment for use in conjunction with other antidepressants. I don’t expect this will last forever, but this is the first one to get a legalization like this, so it’s not shocking that there are several caveats attached that don’t make a lot of sense. If this stuff works better than standard antidepressants, which actually come with a lot of warnings, why not just use it? In the future, this stipulation will probably be cleared, but for now, that’s the way it’s been legalized.

So, if standard treatments are not working, the doctor can prescribe esketamine to be taken under the supervision of the doctor. There are a few different steps in the process of psychedelic-assisted therapy, and it goes something like this, though the process could certainly be tweaked as the industry progresses. This model may also be more relevant for psychedelic trips on drugs like ayahuasca, LSD, or psilocybin, which create much longer experiences.

  • Preparation – These are initial sessions in which the psychiatrist gets to know the patient, and the issues the patient has. In this phase it’s important to build repour between the two in order to facilitate a meaningful psychedelic session. In this phase, the doctor provides instructions for the psychedelic phase, that include things like not running away from something scary, but approaching it and asking a question instead, or opening a door if one is there. These instructions are meant to help the patient face their issues when they encounter them in the next phase.
  • Psychedelic session – This phase is done in a comfortable setting, which is important, because the setting can affect the patient’s mindset. Two doctors are generally present, likely as safety since the patient is being put in an altered state. The drug is given to the patient, and the doctor guides them through the experience, but does not perform any analysis at this time.
  • Integration – This phase takes place soon after the psychedelic phase, and is meant to help the patient make sense of their experience. This is where the doctor can help the patient analyze their experience to gain meaning out of it.

To be clear, it does not sound like the esketamine therapy model matches this one exactly, but that could be on account of it being very short acting.

Into the future

mdma

Esketamine might be the only legalized psychedelic at the moment, but that should change soon. In 2017 the FDA granted a ‘breakthrough drug’ designation for MDMA for the treatment of PTSD, and in 2019, the FDA granted not one, but two ‘breakthrough drug’ designations for psilocybin from magic mushrooms, also for the treatment of severe depression.

These designations are granted when a drug company finds in testing that a new compound might work better than existing alternatives, and is meant to quicken research and production to get products to market. In this way, the FDA is outwardly pushing for the approvals of these two psychedelic compounds.

To give an idea of how much the FDA seems to want this to happen… the organization running the MDMA studies, MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies), actually planned its third MDMA trials in conjunction with the FDA to ensure that the results would fall in line with existing regulation. I’m not sure there’s a better indication of what’s to come, than an actual government agency helping to design drug trials. With all this going on, it becomes that much more important to get first hand descriptions of esketamine from patients, who are right now the only people who can say anything about it.

Conclusion

Psychedelic-assisted therapy is a real thing, and esketamine in the first drug to get approval. In understanding how esketamine works, it helps to hear what patients themselves have to say. It should never be assumed that every medication will be an answer for everyone, but the information trickling in shows esketamine to be a very promising drug.

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DisclaimerHi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advise, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.

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