The decriminalization of psychedelics in Canada is arguably the next logical step after the legalization of cannabis. However, drug reform was not a major highlight of the most recent Canadian elections. To be fair, it almost never is. Nevertheless, it continues to disappoint to see major political parties yet again ignore the popularity and potential […]
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The Seattle City Council voted in favor of a resolution last week to support the decriminalization of magic mushrooms and other natural psychedelics. With the resolution, city leaders called on Seattle police to make arresting and prosecuting people for use or possession of naturally occurring entheogenic substances such as psilocybin mushrooms, ayahuasca and other psychedelics “among Seattle’s lowest law enforcement priorities.”
“It is a long overdue conversation to decriminalize these non-addictive natural substances,” council member Andrew Lewis said at the city council’s meeting on October 4. “Our law enforcement officials certainly have more important things to do than arrest people for possession of entheogens, and this resolution affirms that.”
Under the resolution, which is non-binding and serves only as a recommendation, the city council requests that the Seattle Police Department “formally codify and adopt policies that protect” those who cultivate psychedelics “for use in religious, spiritual, healing, or personal growth practices and those who share entheogens with others, without financial or other consideration, for their mutual use in such practices.”
Under current SPD policy, officers do not detain or arrest individuals solely for possession of controlled substances. Those who cultivate or sell entheogenic or psychedelic substances, however, are subject to arrest and prosecution.
Council Notes Spiritual Uses of Psychedelics
At a virtual meeting of the city council, members noted that psychedelic compounds are often used for religious or spiritual purposes. The resolution does not cover synthetic psychedelic drugs such as LSD or ketamine, and excludes the entheogenic cactus peyote, which is embroiled in controversy because of its limited native habitat and significance as a sacramental plant for members of the Native American Church.
“These nonaddictive natural substances have real potential in clinical and therapeutic settings to make a really significant difference in people’s lives,” said Lewis. “This resolution really sets the stage as the first significant action in the state of Washington to move this policy forward.”
Lewis also told reporters that there is “a huge demonstrated potential for these substances to provide cutting-edge treatments for substance abuse, recovery from brain injuries and other issues. I want to make sure we’re following the science in our policies around regulating these substances.”
The strategy for Seattle’s resolution to decriminalize psychedelics is similar to the approach that led to cannabis reform in Seattle and eventually statewide. In 2003, the city’s voters overwhelmingly passed Initiative 75, an ordinance which made the investigation, arrest, and prosecution of marijuana offenses the lowest law enforcement priority for Seattle police.
In 2012, Washington became the first state to legalize recreational marijuana with the passage of Initiative 502, which was passed with the approval of more than 55% of the state’s voters. Washington voters had previously decriminalized the medicinal use of cannabis in 1998 with the passage of Initiative 692, which garnered 59% of the vote.
Council Chooses Psychedelics Decriminalization Resolution Over Ordinance
The city council approved the resolution supporting the decriminalization of psychedelics by a unanimous vote at last week’s meeting, but not before debating other potential avenues to achieve the same goal. Council member Kshama Sawant noted that the non-binding resolution carries less weight than a proposed psychedelics decriminalization city ordinance that was drafted three months ago.
“To decriminalize psychedelics in fact rather than just in rhetoric would require an ordinance,” Sawant said. “It is this city council not the police department that has the authority to pass such an ordinance,” adding that “I am a little confused by this resolution because it is a resolution and not an ordinance, and why this resolution is being passed when there is an ordinance from my office, and it has been available for months.”
“I fail to see what the plausible reasons are for councilmembers who claim to support this issue to let an ordinance which takes concrete action sit in the city’s computers unintroduced, and instead push a resolution which only has the power to make requests,” said Sawant.
Council member Lisa Herbold, the chair of the public safety committee, noted that state lawmakers would likely engage in a “robust discussion about enforcement around possession of drugs” during the next legislative session. In February, the Washington Supreme Court ruled that the state’s felony drug law was unconstitutional, effectively decriminalizing possession of small amounts of drugs. In April, however, lawmakers passed new legislation to make low-level drug possession a misdemeanor until at least 2023.
Tatiana Quintana, co-director of Decrim Nature Seattle, a group that has been working to decriminalize psychedelics in the city for more than a year, said that an ordinance is the ultimate goal.
“In terms of strategy, [Lewis] was very supportive of an ordinance, but it kind of played out that a resolution would be a really great way to build support for an ordinance,” Quintana said. “I actually do think that the slower process of a resolution building not only awareness but support for a future ordinance is pretty smart. It’s a pretty smart way to go about things.”
The post Seattle City Council Passes Measure to Decriminalize Psychedelics appeared first on Cannabis Now.
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.”
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.
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The post Isreali Nextage Explores Effective Delivery of Psychedelic Compounds appeared first on CBD Testers.
“I had taken Ketamine in India, Acid in Thailand and Ecstasy in Berlin – but this was by far my favourite experience”
All great things in life come in pairs, don’t they? Knife and fork. Cheese and crackers. Fish and chips. Key and Peele. Lilo and Stitch. Mushrooms and Vietnam. Sometimes two things come together and perfectly unite in a beautiful way. This was the case with my experience when taking mushrooms in Vietnam. Despite what people may tell you of all the negative stories of psychedelics abroad, my experience was fortunately mind blowing. Was I just part of the lucky few? Who knows. Today I’m going to talk to you about the beautiful world of mushrooms, the beautiful land of Vietnam, and my beautiful experience from taking mushrooms in Vietnam. If you’re a psychedelic-fan then you’ll enjoy this story, if you’re not, then perhaps your mind will be altered. Let’s delve into it.
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 delta-8 THC, delta-9 THC, THCV, THCP, delta 10, HHC, THC-O and other legal THC products, make sure to subscribe to The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter, your top-source for all things cannabis-related.
During my late teens and early twenties I was lucky enough to travel to far away parts of the world. Although many places I went to caused me to feel the famous ‘culture shock’, each place I arrived at, I was greeted by gorgeously kind people, and open-mindedness was rife. It changed my perception of the world. If you haven’t ever had the chance to then you must; travelling is a necessity for everyone (whatever age you are). As J.R.R Tolkien, author of Lord of the Rings, once said:
“Still round the corner, there may wait, a new road or a secret gate”
What one can take from this somewhat ambiguous quote, is that life will often greet you with new experiences if you have the courage to turn that next corner. That’s how I felt when I first arrived in Vietnam.
Vietnam is a country in South-east Asia, and is most known for its incredible beaches, wildlife, motorbiking trails and bustling cities. If you were to look at the nation on a map, it looks a bit like the letter S, winding its way down the coast of South-east Asia. The old leader, Ho Chi Minh, who now has the capital city named after him, was responsible for claiming Vietnam’s independence in 1969.
Vietnam has always had the reputation of being a highly tropical place. Even during the American-Vietnam war (1955-1975), many American soldiers were sold a propaganda dream of beautiful beaches and amazing greenery. Furthermore, they were sent to hunt and destroy a communist ideology. In the end, both seemed to be lies and the devastation of the Vietnam war hit both sides demonstrably. Whilst Vietnam’s beautiful scenery is unquestionable, those involved in the war did not have the time or strength to stop and enjoy it. The Vietnamese were able to use their knowledge of the forests, and attack Americans with gorilla warfare, which US soldiers would not have been used to. There were no front lines, or back lines, anywhere was a threat. Both the Vietnamese and the American soldiers were unjustly killed due to deceitful politicians…yet again.
When deciding to visit Vietnam I was of course influenced by its incredible lustrous and interesting history. I had learned about the Vietnam war through history lessons and films, and I had seen images of the incredible landscapes. It was somewhere I had wanted to visit since I was a boy. However, I also wanted to visit because I had heard that Vietnamese psychedelics were supposed to be incredible – and those mixed with the unbelievable scenery of Vietnam was something I knew I wanted to experience. It was one for the bucket list. However, drugs in Vietnam are not accepted like drugs in Europe or America. In fact, they are extremely illegal. I use the word ‘extremely’ because using certain drugs in Vietnam can lead to the death penalty.
Mushrooms in Vietnam
Drugs in Vietnam, and South-east Asia in general, are very much illegal. Although you may smell cannabis on the streets, or see many street-dealers waving baggies at you, don’t be fooled. Drugs are very much unlawful. The irony is that:
“American soldiers in Vietnam began using drugs while off duty to help cope with all their struggles during the war. The Department of Defense reported in 1971 that by that time, 51% of soldiers had smoked marijuana, 28% had consumed heroin or cocaine, and 31% had used psychedelics such as LSD or mushrooms”
However, despite this fact, the truth is that nowadays, Vietnam does not want people selling or using drugs. The consequences are huge:
“Penalties for drug offences are severe. Under the Vietnamese penal code, a person caught in possession of even a small amount of heroin can be sentenced to death. There are over two dozen foreigners currently serving life sentences or facing the death penalty for drug trafficking offences”
It isn’t just heroin that can lead to such insane prosecutions. If you’re found with cocaine, ecstasy or even enough cannabis, you can also be sentenced to death. Whilst I was travelling out there, I met someone who’s father had recently been sentenced to death for possession of 5 grams of cannabis. It sounded as if he was finding a way to be released, but seriously, imagine if you didn’t have the connections to resist!
My Experiences of Mushrooms In Vietnam
As you can see, whilst Vietnam might seem like a fun-loving, drug-accepting place full of open-mindedness, it still has very very strict laws. However, most of the time, when you’re out of the authorities eye-line, it is a very free place. I took a few months out of my life and decided to travel from the top to the bottom: Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh. It’s a classic route that many backpackers take. There were many stops along the way in a variety of different cities. I was fortunate enough to rent a motorbike and do the Hai Van Pass, which is one of the most beautiful roads in the world. In addition, I got to see the wonder-of-the-world: Halong Bay.
The trip was a psychedelic journey even without psychedelics. However, drugs were still on my mind; and something that I knew I needed to find and to try. During my journey I was greeted by many people who spoke about these cannabis cafes, or ‘high bars’ as they were called. They were tucked away in forests and on mountains and were not the easiest to find. I remember one day spending 6 hours trying to find one, going down dirt tracks and insanely steep hills, only to eventually give up. Google Maps could only get me so far.
But in one small town, I was finally directed to one. I went with a few people I had met in the hostel I was staying at, and we jumped on our mopeds and began the voyage. It took an hour or so, and we had to park a little down the track as it wasn’t the type of road a moped would survive on. But eventually we arrived, sweaty and a bit irritated by the long walk. However, the view was something that would turn any sweaty, irritated person into a bundle of joy. The whole place was made out of bamboo, with beautiful carpets to lie on, and small tables to sit by. It felt like a Buddhist Temple for the psychedelic-lovers. There was subtle trance-music playing quietly, which was a beautiful addition to the atmosphere of the place. Plus, as if it couldn’t get any better, the sunset was only hours away.
I was excited to say the least. Once we’d settled and found a place to sit. I walked up to the counter and was greeted by a very smiley Vietnamese woman. I asked her if she had any of the ‘special shakes’, which were written all over the menu board. She replied: ‘Yes’. I had assumed these ‘special shakes’ were simply THC milkshakes. I wasn’t devastated because any experience would have been wonderful. However, before I was able to say anything else, she asked, ‘mushrooms or weed’? My dream had been answered. I was almost speechless with joy.
However, I found it in myself to reply, ‘mushrooms please’. And that was it. We ordered a couple; for myself and the rest of my group. When it arrived, I sat sipping the off-coloured but oddly nice flavoured drink, watching the sun dip into the earth, and feeling like I’d accomplished something incredible. Something that few people would understand, but for those that did – would be connected to me forever.
The trip was incredible. It took about an hour to begin and lasted maybe 6. There was enough natural light to accompany my trip for the majority of it, but when it became dark the amazing atmosphere of the place was good enough. I spoke to people about the world, I danced to the music, I even sat and just watched the sun. I ended up having quite an intense relationship with a cloud in the sky.
There was one particular cloud, which I had convinced myself looked like a big fluffy bear, and I had created a narrative in which this cloud was slowly moving across the world – watching over everyone and everything. I had taken Ketamine in India, Acid in Thailand and Ecstasy in Berlin – but this was by far my favourite experience.
The sad truth is, I can’t really remember all of my elaborate thoughts I had during the trip, but I knew that I felt like I’d discovered something incredible. Whilst the memory of it might not be as pure as the original experience, I’m very glad I did it. And i’m very glad I’ve now been able to write it all down.
Mushrooms in Vietnam are something very special, and I would recommend it to anyone and everyone. It’s a journey and it may take a bit of time to get there – but when you do – it’ll be extraordinary.
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Enter a long, strange trip into the mind of a genius. Elon Musk—who on September 27 became the world’s richest person, surpassing Jeff Bezos—said people should be “open to psychedelics” at a CodeCon event on Tuesday.
Ronan Levy, executive chairman of Field Trip Health hosted conversation with Musk during an interview at CodeCon 21, a celebrated tech development event, confronting him about whether or not he supports psychedelics for therapeutic purposes.
“I think generally people should be open to psychedelics,” said Musk. The session continued.
“You’ve spent a lot of time talking about outer space, and I want to ask you about inner space. What role do you think psychedelics may have in addressing some of the more destructive tendencies of humanity?” Levy asked Musk.
“A lot of people making laws are kind of from a different era,” Musk replied. “As the new generation gets into political power, I think we will see greater receptivity to the benefits of psychedelics.”
Field Trip Health provides psychedelic-assisted therapies. In an August 31 press release, Field Trip announced new programs, including one that gives eligible therapists the ability to provide ketamine-assisted psychotherapy (KAP) to their patients at Field Trip Health Centers. They will use Field Trip’s medical teams for screening, prescribing and administration of ketamine.
Field Trip’s programs will also provide both didactic and experiential training to therapists and medical professionals on KAP. Therapists who complete Field Trip’s training programs will automatically become eligible to join the KAP Co-op program.
It’s not the first time that the SpaceX founder and multibillionaire has spoken in favor of psychedelics.
On November 14, 2020, Musk tweeted three statements: “You can’t win; You can’t break even; and You can’t stop playing,” then tweeting in the thread, “Unless you’re on DMT.” Twitter couldn’t handle the statement, and commenters guessed whether it was an admission that the billionaire had tried ayahuasca or DMT.
Why is this important? Because so much weight is often put on Musk’s opinions—given his stratospheric wealth and influence. Musk’s powers are evident in the way his comments significantly influenced and tipped the value of Dogecoin and Bitcoin.
Elon Musk on Cannabis
Cannabis—itself a mild psychedelic—is also a recurring theme in the billionaire’s life. In 2019, Musk smoked a blunt on The Joe Rogan Experience—and High Times’ asked if it was “the most expensive blunt of all time?”
Few people in the world are as scrutinized as deeply as Musk when it comes to personal habits like smoking pot. Smoking a blunt live set off a firestorm.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sanctioned Musk. There was an active petition to get Twitter to deplatform him—and pop stars even dragged him on Instagram. Even Musk’s SpaceX assets were not safe. NASA investigated Musk also, after his debacle on the podcast. According to three unnamed sources who spoke with the Washington Post, NASA launched a safety review of SpaceX shortly after his spot on The Joe Rogan Experience.
Given the level of investments that NASA pours into SpaceX, to them, smoking a blunt was a big deal. At the time, NASA spokesman Bob Jacobs did not comment on whether Musk smoking a blunt was what triggered the review. But he did mention the importance of SpaceX adhering the rules of a drug-free workplace.
On another episode of The Joe Rogan Experience, Musk suggested that most CBD experiences are “fake” and mostly hype. Rogan immediately schooled him, scolding him for dismissing the compound as a benefit for people around the world.
The post Elon Musk Embraces Potential of Psychedelics at CodeCon appeared first on High Times.
Psychedelics drugs are making a major comeback, and attracting mainstream attention, with more than one on the brink of legalization. Psychedelics have shown the ability for mind expansion, in a way that promotes better mental health on many fronts. But while medical psychedelics are the focus of the above-board world, party drugs are still quite popular, representing the other side of psychedelics.
Party drugs like psychedelics are a big thing in the club scene, but they’re not for everyone. Some people prefer a more relaxing drug like cannabis. For the hardcode cannabis aficionados out there, there are more options available than ever. Take delta-8 THC for example, no one knew what this alternate form of THC was a few years ago, and now, this milder version, which doesn’t create the same anxiety, is available all over the place. We’ve got great deals for delta-8 THC along with delta-9 THC, THCV, THCP, delta 10, HHC, THC-O, so go ahead, and check out our always-updated selections.
A bit about psychedelic drugs
Psychedelic drugs are a subset of hallucinogens, which fall under the category of psychoactive drugs. Unlike other drugs in the ‘psychoactive’ category, hallucinogens cause people to experience things that don’t actually exist, like seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, or feeling something that isn’t real. Psychedelics are also known for producing other effects, like spiritual experiences, feelings of connectedness between people and the universe, euphoria, and feelings of well-being.
Psychedelics are known for altering mood, perception, and cognitive abilities. They are also known for producing life-changing experiences, in which users have insightful encounters into life and consciousness. These drugs can be found in nature, like with magic mushrooms and DMT, or made in a laboratory like acid, MDMA, or ketamine.
Though psychedelics have been found to be generally safe, and not a factor for death and disability, it is possible to have bad experiences with them. Often called a ‘bad trip’, a user can experience negative hallucinations, as well as physical symptoms like nausea and vomiting, chills, erratic heartbeat, raised blood pressure, dizziness, anxiety, and paranoia. Getting the dose correct is important for these drugs, with proper dosing correcting the majority of these issues. Other factors play in as well, like where the drug is being taken.
Psychedelics have been around for a long time, and researchers have found evidence of psychedelic use in different parts of Mesoamerica, as well as the Near East, among other locations. In Mesoamerica, drugs like ayahuasca, psilocybin from magic mushrooms, and bufotoxins from toad skin, were used among other compounds, by different tribes including the Olmecs, Mayans, Aztecs, and Zapotecs. In the near East, Viper’s Bugloss was found in the Kamid el-Loz Temple in Lebanon, as well as Blue Water Lily extract, which was found in none other than Tutankhamun’s tomb. The former is a potent hallucinogen, and the latter is a narcotic with psychedelic properties.
Party drugs – a different side of psychedelics
The thing about substances that make a person feel good, connected to other people and the universe, spiritual, and with heightened and altered perception, is that it can lead to mind-expanding experiences. But it can also lead to simply wanting to feel good.
This is the case with drugs like MDMA (or its less pure form, ecstasy), and ketamine, among others. In the same way that some people use the drugs to find spiritual or personal clarity in their lives, some people use them to have intense experiences at parties, or with others. Since most of the drugs used for this purpose are synthetic, they’re often dubbed, ‘designer drugs’, or ‘club drugs’. Other drugs like GHB, LSD, cocaine and amphetamine are also included in the category of ‘club drugs’.
The trend of party drugs in the form of psychedelics got big in the rave scene of the 1980s, spurred on by the growing popularity of rave events, EDM parties, and the general dance club scene. Since ‘club drugs’ can encompass different classes of drugs, legalization policies are specific to each drug. While psychedelics don’t pose the same risk as drugs like cocaine or amphetamine, where overdose and death are possible, psychedelics like MDMA have been known to cause dehydration due to all night partying without enough water consumption. This seems to be the biggest complaint.
What is ecstasy?
Ecstasy is interesting because it’s one of the most popular party drugs of the psychedelic variety, but actually denotes nothing more than an impure form of MDMA, one of the up-and-coming medical psychedelics. The names can be interchangeable, including the term ‘molly’, but ecstasy can also mean non-pure versions wherein the MDMA is mixed with other chemicals, leading to lower purity, and possible side effects from the added compounds.
Whether pure or not, and regardless of the name used, the basis for anything with one of those names, is 3,4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine. This compound is not naturally occurring, and was created in a laboratory in 1912 by Merck Pharmaceutical, and patented in 1914, in an attempt to create a medication to stop bleeding. It wasn’t well understood until way later in the 1970’s when chemist Alexander Shulgin found a new way to synthesize the compound, which led to him experimenting on himself along with some close friends.
Around this time, it started being used the way LSD had, as a part of psychedelic-assisted therapy. Even though it showed usefulness for psychiatric issues back then, it was promptly illegalized in 1985 with Reagan’s Comprehensive Crime Control Act, which ended all therapeutic uses of the drug.
The compound was investigated by the CIA and the US army during the cold war, for use as a psychological weapon. The CIA started the program MK-Ultra to investigate psychedelics like MDMA for mind control purposes. The project was known for experimenting on non-consenting subjects.
Somewhere along the way, it entered the party scene. In a way, it’s similar to THC-O-Acetate, which was also a part of secret military studies, and which also randomly appeared as a street drug around the time of this military testing. Though this doesn’t mean it was put out by the military, (perhaps as a secondary ‘street study’), it certainly implies the possibility, and the same can be said for the appearance of MDMA and other psychedelics.
Somehow these compounds which the government felt the need to do highly secretive, and often non-consenting testing on, all appeared on the street without any kind of information or market behind them. By the 1980’s ecstasy was being called out in a San Francisco Chronicle article as being “the yuppie psychedelic.” It received this name because it was thought of as being slightly less intense and dangerous, as the already popular LSD.
In 2017, MDMA was given the ‘breakthrough therapy’ designation by the FDA, for PTSD treatments. This designation came at the request of the organization MAPS (Multi-Disciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies), as that is how these designations are assigned. MAPS is currently in phase III of trials using MDMA for PTSD, in which these 3rd trials were planned in conjunction with the FDA, to ensure that study results meet all regulation.
While MDMA is one of the current leading compounds when it comes to medical psychedelics, it’s also one of the most popular party drugs of both psychedelics and other classes, making it popular both for those who want spiritual and mind-enhancing experiences, and those who want to get-down all night.
The legality of psychedelics
Psychedelics are generally illegal in the US, and the rest of the world. They sit in Schedule I of the Convention on Psychotropic Substances, though in many cases when it comes to natural forms, like magic mushrooms, the laws are inconsistent, often illegalizing the compounds inside (psilocybin and psilocin), but leaving the mushrooms themselves as legal. The Convention came into effect in 1971.
For its part, the US began its smear campaign against psychedelics in the 1960’s, using the drugs as a way to redirect attention from the Vietnam war, and the senseless violence and mounting deaths that came from it. In 1968, the Staggers-Dodd bill was passed which specifically illegalized LSD and psilocybin. This was followed up in 1970 by the inclusion of multiple substances in Schedule I of the DEA’s Controlled Substances list via the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act. A year later it was followed up again internationally by the Convention on Psychotropic Substances.
This was stepped up a notch in 1984 when then-president Ronald Reagan, signed into legislation the Comprehensive Crime Control Act which allowed for the emergency banning of drugs by the government. What did this do? The following year, when the topic of MDMA came up, it was able to be immediately illegalized, without medical research, or anything else. When this happened, it went against a judicial decision to allow MDMA as a Schedule II substance. Funny enough, MDMA is one of the drugs getting close to a medical legalization today.
To give an idea of the real nature of why these illegalizations happened, in 1994, the following statement came from John Ehrlichman, the guy who had served as the Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs under former president Nixon. He said this about the war on drugs and why it was being fought:
“The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”
Things do change however, and esketamine was legalized in 2019 as the first non-monoamine anti-depressant, which works so quickly, it was even cleared for suicidal thoughts in 2020, a diagnosis that would require a very fast-acting medication. Along with that, the compound DXM can be found in cough medicines all over the country, requiring nothing at all to buy, not even being 18 years old, (or at least not in any kind of enforced way). Both Psilocybin from magic mushrooms and MDMA have been identified with the aforementioned ‘breakthrough therapy’ title by the FDA, a designation given to compounds being studied by companies, that present a possibly better alternative to current treatments. This designation is meant specifically to speed up products to market.
When we talk about the possible legalization of MDMA, this only covers medical use. The idea that party drugs would be legalized just because medical psychedelics are, is unfortunately, not the case. The party drugs scene will almost certainly continue, likely spurred on by any legalization that might occur, but it will remain below-board, as part of the black market scene. Will this change in the future? Perhaps. Some places like Denver, and the state of Oregon, have decriminalized psychedelic use. Other states like Michigan and California, are already introducing recreational policies. These laws may not go though, but with esketamine legal medically, and psilocybin and MDMA on the way, the world is definitely becoming a way more psychedelic place.
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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.
“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 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.
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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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.
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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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.
The post Albert Hofmann: The Finding and Self-Experimentation of LSD appeared first on CBD Testers.
In a September 14 press release, Wesana Health Holdings Inc. announced its commitment to fund $1.5 million to assess the efficacy of Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) MDMA-assisted therapy to treat traumatic brain injury (TBI).
The funding will allow MAPS Public Benefit Corporation (MAPS PBC) to activate a team to evaluate the scope of the lack of resources needed for TBI treatment.
“Wesana is a serious, thoughtful and ethical company engaged in the development of psychedelic-assisted therapy. What Daniel and his team are doing is in line with MAPS’ ethics, mission, values and scientific rigor, and we believe together, MAPS and Wesana can bring much needed help to the massively underserved TBI population. Data collected from MAPS-sponsored Phase 3 clinical trials suggests that MDMA-assisted therapy appears promising in the treatment of TBI. Consistent with our mission, we seek to investigate treatments for affected patients who can be helped by MDMA—this is an important step in that direction” said MAPS Executive Director Rick Doblin, Ph.D.
Lately, MAPS research zeroed in on MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD. The first of two Phase 3 trials demonstrated a “clinically significant reduction” in PTSD symptoms for 88 percent of participants.
Existing research suggests that MDMA improved cognitive function in mice with minimal TBI. Like PTSD, TBI can have a profound impact on mental health. Research indicates that there is a disproportionate impact for people of color.
Over 6.2 million Americans are estimated to have chronic TBI-related disabilities, not to mention the symptoms that are more mild but also impact daily life. Nearly 414,000 Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans had a TBI.
“The work MAPS has done for more than 35 years with regulators and clinical researchers to navigate the rigorous and necessary FDA approval process for MDMA therapeutic use has positioned psychedelic-assisted therapy on the precipice of national—and global—acceptance,” Daniel Carcillo, CEO of Wesana Health said. “The millions of people afflicted with PTSD may soon have access to MDMA therapy, and we believe the millions suffering from TBI may experience similar relief in the future.”
This collaboration between MAPS and Wesana will boost MAPS PBC’s research timelines and provide additional support for further research, advocacy, education and equitable access to MDMA-assisted therapy treatments.
Wesana outlined five key goals:
- Gain expertise and information to design psychedelic-assisted therapy programs for TBI and improve the Wesana timeline and path to market for its treatments
- Explore obtaining an exclusive commercial license to use MDMA for the treatment of TBI
- Evaluate the viability of revenue share agreements between the organizations
- Adapt MAPS’ equitable access research projects to develop a meaningful patient access program
- Fund associated research, administered by MAPS PBC, with additional capital
Beyond MDMA, MAPS Pushes Psychedelic Research Forward
MAPS is pushing forward research on a number of psychedelics with potential in medicine. On August 10, MAPS was awarded a $12,979,050 grant from the state of Michigan to fund a study on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and cannabis.
According to Dr. Sue Sisley, President of the Scottsdale Research Institute and longtime cannabis researcher, this new study is sorely needed in the community.
The grant comes from Michigan’s 2021 Veteran Marijuana Research Grant Program, and is funded by the state’s recreational cannabis taxes. With a goal of determining the “the efficacy of marijuana in treating the medical conditions of United States armed services veterans and preventing veteran suicide.”
The Michigan grant makes it the second clinical trial to give cannabis medicine or placebos to participating military veterans, and according to the Chief Science Officer of the MAPS Public Benefit Corporation, Berra Yazar-Klosinki, PhD, the first trial was a great success.
Now, with the commitment from Wesana Health, MAPS’ research on MDMA can accelerate as well.
The post Study on MDMA for Traumatic Brain Injury Boosted By $1.5M Donation appeared first on High Times.
The psychedelics industry has seen massive attention and growth in the past couple years, with more and more of the stigma once attached to them, disappearing into thin air. As it becomes acceptable to speak about their use, celebrities have been more open with their stories, and how they’ve been helped in life by psychedelics.
It’s not that shocking so many celebrities have been helped by psychedelics, the growing body of research is very positive. The same is true for cannabis, which has been expanding out very quickly in the last few years, with tons of people backing it in the media, and with all new products coming out. One interesting addition is delta-8 THC, an alternate THC which doesn’t cause the same anxiety, couch locking, or cloudy head as delta-9. We’ve got a great array of delta-8 THC, delta 10, thco, thcp, thcv & even hhc deals, so check out the selection, and stay on top of what’s new in the world of cannabis.
Celebrities and drug use
First and foremost, there’s nothing actually special about celebrities, at least not as a rule. There are plenty of non-celebrities that can compete with the famous on pretty much any metric. This isn’t meant to undermine the special qualities of those who have made it big, but it is meant as a reminder that celebrities are still human, and representative of the human population. What makes them interesting, however, is how known they are. If I have an interesting experience, there might be a few people that care about it, but the story isn’t going to go far. If the same thing happens to Justin Bieber, or Samuel L. Jackson, or Lebron James, it gets echoed around the world.
Plenty of people in the world have drug problems, but the overdoses and deaths of celebrities make the biggest news. From Kurt Cobain to Heath Ledger to Johnny Depp, we never seem to be able to get enough of celebrities and their problems. In just the last few years, the following celebrities have all made headlines with their drug issues, and all of them ended up dead (whether drug-induced or not): Anthony Bourdain, Tom Petty, Prince, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Winehouse, Mac Miller, and Chester Bennington.
Go back even further and you can include Janis Joplin, Heath Ledger, Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison, Michael Jackson, Jimi Hendrix, Elvis Presley, Whitney Houston, Brittany Murphy, and River Phoenix just to make a short list. And let’s not forget some of the biggest names in drug headlines that have made it through this far, like Johnny Depp, Charlie Sheen, Drew Barrymore, Lindsay Lohan, Steven Tyler, Demi Lovato, and Robert Downey Jr, just to name a tiny number. Regardless if the story is watching someone fall from grace, or watching them get their problems under control in an act of strength, if it’s happening to someone in the spotlight, we all know about it.
Just like many celebrities have openly spoken about how cannabis has helped them, many celebrities will also openly speak now about how their lives were helped by the use of psychedelics. Here are a few interesting stories.
Celebrities who say they were helped by psychedelics
Mike Tyson is an all around interesting character, reigning for years as a heavyweight boxing champion, doing short-lived stints in reality TV, showing up in films, getting his face tattooed, spending some time in jail, and reemerging in the past few years as an entrepreneur in the world of cannabis. First, Tyson opened Tyson’s Ranch in California, meant for the recreational use of cannabis. He even started setting up shop in Antigua, and has tons of expansion plans for both locations, with the vision of creating entire entertainment complexes with hotels, stores, entertainment venues, and more. Tyson promotes the production of high-quality products, and high quality experiences when it comes to cannabis, and has been using his celebrity to help bolster his moves in the cannabis field. Mike Tyson also hosts a popular podcast called ‘Hotboxin’.
But Tyson doesn’t stop with cannabis. He’s also an avid promoter of psychedelics. In fact, Tyson is a great example of celebrities who have been helped by psychedelics. Earlier in 2021 Tyson was interviewed by Reuters Magazine, he not only says psychedelics helped him revive his career, but that they helped save his life as well. In his own words about magic mushrooms:
“To think where I was—almost suicidal—to this now… Isn’t life a trip, man? It’s amazing medicine, and people don’t look at it from that perspective.” He went on to say: “Everyone thought I was crazy, I bit this guy’s ear off…I did all this stuff, and once I got introduced to the shrooms … my whole life changed.”
Another celebrity who has been open about her psychedelic experience, is Megan Fox. During a trip to Costa Rica with boyfriend Machine Gun Kelly, Fox took part in an ayahuasca ceremony. In these hours long ceremonies, ayahuasca is given to participants in a ritualistic way, and they are guided through their experience. Ayahuasca is the mix of two different plants, Psychotria viridis which contains DMT, and the caapi vine, which produces an MAO inhibitor which activates the DMT orally, and keeps it from breaking down so quickly, enabling a much longer trip experience. Ayahuasca is known for creating intense hallucinogenic experiences that many credit with helping to deal with emotional and mental wounds and issues. This is what she had to say about the experience:
“You have to walk a very far distance to get your water. You can’t shower because they’re in a drought. Nothing glamorous about it. It’s all part of making you vulnerable, so you surrender to the experience…You have to vomit a certain amount before they let you back… It’s such a good bonding experience. That gets you ready to go into the ceremony that night because your vanity’s gone.”
While fox had expected a more glamous camping experience (glamping), what she got was a dose of life medicine. If this doesn’t sound like the amazing spiritual awakening most hope for, she went on to say that ayahuasca: “goes straight into your soul, and it takes you to the psychological prison that you hold yourself in.” She said, in the end, ayahuasca “surpasses talk therapy or hypnotherapy.”
Yet another example of celebrities who say they were helped by psychedelics, is actress Kristen Bell. Bell has been open about dealing with anxiety and depression in life, and has had issues with treatment resistance, to the point that she decided to give magic mushrooms a shot.
“I really wanted to try some psilocybin and feel what kind of doors open, have a trip that was my own,” she explained on the podcast ‘Hypochondriactor’, hosted by actor Sean Hayes and Dr. Priyanka Wali. In order to make sure she was safe during her experience, she heavily researched psychedelic medicine, and made sure her husband Dax Shepard was there to watch over her.
Post experience, Bell says she’s in a better place with her anxiety and depression, but that it still comes back in waves. However, concerning these waves, she explains, “But my waves are never suicidal or anything… So I’m very lucky because that does happen to people.”
Bell encourages people to really do the research and understand themselves and their issues, she says, “During your treatment, you’ll learn a lot about what this disease is, and you may or may not decide a medication is right for you… But there’s a lot of different routes to feeling better, I guess is what I’d say, a lot.”
Steve Jobs isn’t around today to further confirm his use of psychedelics, but during his life he spoke about them enough. Jobs, who co-founded Apple in 1976, went on to become one of the most important people in computing and technology, creating a massive empire for himself that included being chairman of Pixar, on the board for Disney, and founder, chairman and CEO of NeXT. Jobs died in 2011 of respiratory arrest, due to pancreatic cancer he had been battling since 2011.
Steve Jobs was known for being a little eccentric, and for trying things not everyone else would. For example, he actually embraced a fruitarian diet on-and-off for many years, which includes eating nothing but fruit, a rather extreme form of veganism. In the 70’s, during his college years, Jobs experimented with LSD. Of these trips, which he said took place between 1972-1974 he later stated:
“Throughout that period of time I used the LSD approximately ten to fifteen times… I would ingest the LSD on a sugar cube or in a hard form of gelatin. I would usually take the LSD when I was by myself. I have no words to explain the effect the LSD had on me, although, I can say it was a positive life changing experience for me and I am glad I went through that experience.” He also said of these experiences,
“Taking LSD was a profound experience, one of the most important things in my life… LSD shows you that there’s another side to the coin, and you can’t remember it when it wears off, but you know it. It reinforced my sense of what was important — creating great things instead of making money, putting things back into the stream of history and of human consciousness as much as I could.”
It might not require celebrities to get behind them, but any measure is no doubt helped along by the public push of those who everyone knows. And this includes psychedelics. If anything, by the time celebrities are willing to start talking about something, it says a lot for how far that topic has come. And celebrities are opening up more and more about their psychedelic use, and how its helped them in life.
With cannabis working its way to complete legalization, the DEA requesting more cannabis and magic mushrooms to be grown, with psilocybin and MDMA earmarked as breakthrough therapies by the FDA, and considering the legalization of esketamine in 2019 for depression, and for suicidal thoughts (updated 2020), the world of medicine is certainly shifting. In fact, in another decade, cannabis will likely be smoked freely, and psychedelics might be the basis of every psychiatric medication.
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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.