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Category Archives: Psychedelics

Psychedelics Help Reduce Opioid Addiction, According to New Study – eNews Park Forest

Posted: February 24, 2017 at 6:38 pm

NEW YORK(ENEWSPF)February 23, 2017 By: Jag Davies

The criminalization of people who use psychedelics is rooted in myths that are the vestiges of colonialism and the drug war and, one by one, those myths are crumbling down.

Weve learned in recent years that people who use psychedelics are significantly *less* likely to end up developing mental health problems, perpetrating domestic violence, or suffering from psychological distress and suicidal thinking.

Meanwhile, recent research has shown that psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy can be an effective treatment for people struggling with difficult-to-treat conditions such as substance use disorders. Not much has been known, though, about the connection between psychedelic use and substance misuse in the general population.

Now, a new study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology has found that experiences with psychedelics like LSD and psilocybin mushrooms are associated with decreased risk of opioid abuse and dependence among respondents with a history of illegal opioid use. Psychedelic use is associated with 27% reduced risk of past-year opioid dependence and 40% reduced risk of past-year opioid abuse. Other than marijuana use, which was associated with 55% reduced risk of past-year opioid abuse, no other illegal drug was associated with reduced risk of past-year opioid dependence or abuse.

The study is based on six years of data from the federal governments National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), which surveys 70,000 people each year. While the findings are far from causal, the authors conclude that the associations between psychedelic use and opioid misuse are pervasive and significant and suggest that psychedelics are associated with positive psychological characteristics and are consistent with prior reports suggesting efficacy in treatment of substance use disorders.

Although more research is needed to determine exactly why theres such a strong correlation between psychedelic use and decreased risk of opioid misuse, this study does appear to validate the experiences of many people who have found substances like ibogaine, marijuana or kratom to be life-changing tools that have helped them lead happier, more fulfilling lives. For many, these substances have helped them cut back or quit their use of opioids or other substances with which theyve had a problematic relationship. Safe access to these substances along with 911 Good Samaritan laws, naloxone access programs, supervised injection facilities, various forms of maintenance therapy, and, of course, ending the criminalization of drug use should be part of the discussion when it comes to dealing with addiction and skyrocketing rates of overdose deaths.

And lets not forget our commander-in-chief is ramping up the drug war and thinks he can deal with opioid addiction by building a giant wall and deporting millions of people, both documented and undocumented. Lets remember, too, that thousands of people are getting handcuffed, arrested, branded as criminals, and serving time behind bars every year simply for using or possessing a psychedelic substance in the U.S. and these people are more likely to be young, non-white, and socioeconomically marginalized than most people who use psychedelics.

While psychedelic-assisted therapy could be approved by the FDA in the next decade, that would do nothing to change the criminal penalties faced by millions of people who use psychedelics outside of government-sanctioned, medically-supervised settings. Thats why its incumbent upon people who care about psychedelics to advocate for reducing the criminalization of people who use them outside of medical contexts, while also advocating for psychedelic-assisted therapy research.

Given the widespread scientific consensus that drug use and addiction are best treated as health issues, theres no good reason for people who use psychedelics to be treated as criminals especially considering how much we already know about prohibitions discriminatory impact on people of color and other marginalized groups.

This study also forces us to reflect on why abstinence-only policies can be so harmful and counterproductive. Contrary to conventional wisdom, federal government data has consistently shown that the vast majority of people who use opioids, including heroin, dont end up developing an addiction. So our focus should be not just on preventing people from using opioids after all, they can be essential medical tools but also ensuring, above all else, that people who use them dont go on to struggle with addiction.

A truly health-centered approach to drug addiction assesses improvement by many measures, not simply by someones drug use level, but also by their overall health, their social relationships, and their general well-being. Determining success by boiling it down to the single measure of abstinence to an arbitrary group of certain drugs isnt realistic or effective.

Addiction is a complex phenomenon, but I think its safe to say that it can only be genuinely resolved when people find meaning in their lives. This study is yet another indication that the meaning people seem to find from psychedelics has considerable implications for our prevailing criminal justice and healthcare paradigms.

Jag Davies is the director of communications strategy for the Drug Policy Alliance (www.drugpolicy.org)

Source: http://drugpolicy.org

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Psychedelics Could Play A Role In Tackling The Opioid Epidemic – Huffington Post

Posted: at 6:38 pm

Public health officials are calling the opioid crisis the worst drug epidemic in American history.

Overdoses claimed more than 33,000 lives in 2015, and these numbers are steadily on the rise. Its estimated that over 2 million people in the U.S. are addicted to prescription opioid pain relievers, with many more using the drugs illegally.

Potential solutions to the rapidly escalating opioid crisis have been few and far between. But a long-demonized class of illegal drugs may provide one unlikely approach to tackling widespread opiate abuse and addiction.

A new study, published last week in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, found that experience with psychedelics was linked with decreased opioid abuse and addiction an effect that appears to be unique to hallucinogens and marijuana. Conversely, use of other illegal drugs such as cocaine was associated with an increased risk of opioid abuse and dependence.

The findings underscore the positive psychological effects increasingly known to be associated with psychedelic experiences. Previous findings have linked psychedelic use with reduced psychological distress and a decreased risk of suicide, while a 2011 Johns Hopkins study showed a single trip on psilocybin (aka magic mushrooms) resulted in lasting positive personality changes such as increases in openness to experience, a trait associated with creativity and open-mindedness.

Studies have shown drugs like LSD and psilocybin as well as ayahuasca and ibogaine, plant medicines with a long history of use in indigenous cultures to be effective as therapeutic agents for addiction recovery. This new study is the first, however, to show a link between psychedelic use and decreased abuse of other illegal drugs in the general population.

For the study, the researchers analyzed data on 44,000 illicit opioid users who completed the National Survey on Drug Use and Health between 2008 and 2013, controlling for socio-economic factors like education and income level.

Among people with a history of illegal opiate use, those with some psychedelic experience were 40 percent less likely to report abusing opiates the past year, and 27 percent less likely to report opioid dependency in the past year. Marijuana use was associated with a 55 percent reduced risk of opiate abuse.

No other illegal drugs were associated with a lowered risk of opioid abuse and addiction, and some even carried an increased risk.

While the findings dont prove a causal effect, the strong correlation between psychedelic experience and reduced opioid use and abuse seems to warrant further investigation.

Of course, its important to note that psychedelics also carry a risk for abuse. But researchers have found that when used under careful conditions, in the proper set and setting,the risk for adverse effects is relatively low. (Set refers to the users mindset and expectations at the time of ingesting the drug, while setting suggests a good physical environment.) And contrary to popular myths, use of LSD and similar drugs is not associated with an increased risk of developing mental illness.

These findings are only the latest to suggest that public opinion and policy around psychedelics lags woefully behind the science. Demonized in the wake of Timothy Leary-era excesses and made into public enemies by the former Richard Nixon administration, drugs like LSD and psilocybin were made out to be dangerous and addictive.

With the passing of the Controlled Substances Act in 1970, theDrug Enforcement Agencyhas listed LSD, psilocybin and other psychedelic drugs as Schedule I substances, meaning that they were deemed to have no medical value and high risk for abuse. They are the most dangerous class of drugs with a high potential for abuse and potentially severe psychological and/or physical dependence, as the United Patients Groups explains. Drugs of this class are generally illegal.

Aside from heroin, most other opiates are listed in the less restrictive Schedule II and Schedule III, alongside other drugs considered less dangerous and more medically valuable than those in Schedule I.

Now, 50 years later, the war on drugs is widely regarded as a public policy failure. The lingering stigma against psychedelic drugs is slowly fading as rigorous scientific studies continue to demonstrate the compounds to have real medical value. An exciting and rapidly growing field of research is revealing psychedelic compounds to carry striking potential as a therapeutic agent for treating ailments ranging from post-traumatic stress disorder to cancer-related anxiety and depression to cigarette addiction.

Marijuana, which is also listed as a Schedule I drug, has also proved to be an extremely promising tool for tackling the opioid epidemic. Many patients have turned to cannabis to relieve pain and to curb their reliance on prescription painkillers and, in states where marijuana is legal, there are fewer deaths from opioid overdose. Last year, Maine became the first state to petition to include opioid addiction in the list of ailments that can be treated by medical marijuana, although the health department denied the request.

With the specter of Obamacare repeal now threatening to cut treatment access for hundreds of thousands of people with opioid use disorders, more health experts could start to embrace these promising yet unconventional treatment options in the coming years.

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Psychedelics May Help Reduce Opioid Addiction, According To New Study – Huffington Post

Posted: February 23, 2017 at 1:26 pm

The criminalization of people who use psychedelics is rooted in myths that are the vestiges of colonialism and the drug war and, one by one, those myths are crumbling down.

Weve learned in recent years that people who use psychedelics are significantly *less* likely to end up developing mental health problems, perpetrating domestic violence, or suffering from psychological distress and suicidal thinking.

Meanwhile, recent research has shown that psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy can be an effective treatment for people struggling with difficult-to-treat conditions such as substance use disorders. Not much has been known, though, about the connection between psychedelic use and substance misuse in the general population.

Now, a new study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology has found that experiences with psychedelics like LSD and psilocybin mushrooms are associated with decreased risk of opioid abuse and dependence among respondents with a history of illegal opioid use. Psychedelic use is associated with 27 percent reduced risk of past-year opioid dependence and 40 percent reduced risk of past-year opioid abuse. Other than marijuana use, which was associated with 55 percent reduced risk of past-year opioid abuse, no other illegal drug was associated with reduced risk of past-year opioid dependence or abuse.

The study is based on six years of data from the federal governments National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), which surveys 70,000 people each year. While the findings are far from causal, the authors conclude that the associations between psychedelic use and opioid misuse are pervasive and significant and suggest that psychedelics are associated with positive psychological characteristics and are consistent with prior reports suggesting efficacy in treatment of substance use disorders.

Although more research is needed to determine exactly why theres such a strong correlation between psychedelic use and decreased risk of opioid misuse, this study does appear to validate the experiences of many people who have found substances like ibogaine, marijuana or kratom to be life-changing tools that have helped them lead happier, more fulfilling lives. For many, these substances have helped them cut back or quit their use of opioids or other substances with which theyve had a problematic relationship. Safe access to these substances along with 911 Good Samaritan laws, naloxone access programs, supervised injection facilities, various forms of maintenance therapy, and, of course, ending the criminalization of drug use should be part of the discussion when it comes to dealing with addiction and skyrocketing rates of overdose deaths.

And lets not forget our commander-in-chief is ramping up the drug war and thinks he can deal with opioid addiction by building a giant wall and deporting millions of people, both documented and undocumented. Lets remember, too, that thousands of people are getting handcuffed, arrested, branded as criminals, and serving time behind bars every year simply for using or possessing a psychedelic substance in the U.S. and these people are more likely to be young, non-white, and socioeconomically marginalized than most people who use psychedelics.

While psychedelic-assisted therapy could be approved by the FDA in the next decade, that would do nothing to change the criminal penalties faced by millions of people who use psychedelics outside of government-sanctioned, medically-supervised settings. Thats why its incumbent upon people who care about psychedelics to advocate for reducing the criminalization of people who use them outside of medical contexts, while also advocating for psychedelic-assisted therapy research.

This study also forces us to reflect on why abstinence-only policies can be so harmful and counterproductive. Contrary to conventional wisdom, federal government data has consistently shown that the vast majority of people who use opioids, including heroin, dont end up developing an addiction. So our focus should be not just on preventing people from using opioids after all, they can be essential medical tools but also ensuring, above all else, that people who use them dont go on to struggle with addiction.

A truly health-centered approach to drug addiction assesses improvement by many measures, not simply by someones drug use level, but also by their overall health, their social relationships, and their general well-being. Determining success by boiling it down to the single measure of abstinence to an arbitrary group of certain drugs isnt realistic or effective.

Addiction is a complex phenomenon, but I think its safe to say that it can only be genuinely resolved when people find meaning in their lives. This study is yet another indication that the meaning people seem to find from psychedelics has considerable implications for our prevailing healthcare and criminal justice paradigms.

Jag Davies is the director of communications strategy for the Drug Policy Alliance. This piece first appeared on the Drug Policy Alliance Blog.

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Psychedelics May Help Reduce Opioid Addiction, According To New Study – Huffington Post

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Psychedelics Help Reduce Opioid Addiction, According to New Study – AlterNet

Posted: February 22, 2017 at 4:23 am

Ayahuasca art Photo Credit: Pinterest

The criminalization of people who use psychedelics is rooted in myths that are the vestiges ofcolonialismand thedrug war and, one by one, those myths are crumbling down.

Weve learned in recent years that people who use psychedelics are significantly *less* likely to end up developingmental health problems,perpetrating domestic violence, or suffering frompsychological distress and suicidal thinking.

Meanwhile,recent researchhas shown that psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy can be an effective treatment for people struggling with difficult-to-treat conditions such as substance use disorders. Not much has been known, though, about the connection between psychedelic use and substance misuse in the general population.

Now, anew studypublished in theJournal of Psychopharmacologyhas found that experiences with psychedelics likeLSDandpsilocybin mushroomsare associated with decreased risk of opioid abuse and dependence among respondents with a history of illegal opioid use. Psychedelic use is associated with 27% reduced risk of past-year opioid dependence and 40% reduced risk of past-year opioid abuse. Other thanmarijuanause, which was associated with 55% reduced risk of past-year opioid abuse, no other illegal drug was associated with reduced risk of past-year opioid dependence or abuse.

The study is based on six years of data from the federal governmentsNational Survey on Drug Use and Health(NSDUH), which surveys 70,000 people each year. While the findings are far from causal, the authors conclude that the associations between psychedelic use and opioid misuse are pervasive and significant and suggest that psychedelics are associated with positive psychological characteristics and are consistent with prior reports suggesting efficacy in treatment of substance use disorders.

Although more research is needed to determine exactly why theres such a strong correlation between psychedelic use and decreased risk of opioid misuse, this study does appear to validate the experiences of many people who have found substances likeibogaine,marijuanaorkratomto be life-changing tools that have helped them lead happier, more fulfilling lives. For many, these substances have helped them cut back or quit their use of opioids or other substances with which theyve had a problematic relationship. Safe access to these substances along with911 Good Samaritan laws,naloxone accessprograms,supervised injection facilities, various forms ofmaintenance therapy, and, of course,ending the criminalization of drug use should be part of the discussion when it comes to dealing with addiction andskyrocketing rates of overdose deaths.

And lets not forget our commander-in-chief isramping up the drug warand thinks he can deal with opioid addiction by building a giant wall anddeporting millions of people, both documented and undocumented. Lets remember, too, that thousands of people are getting handcuffed, arrested, branded as criminals, and serving time behind bars every year simply for using or possessing a psychedelic substance in the U.S. and these people are more likely to be young, non-white, and socioeconomically marginalized than most people who use psychedelics.

While psychedelic-assisted therapy could be approved by the FDA in the next decade, that would do nothing to change the criminal penalties faced by millions of people who use psychedelics outside of government-sanctioned, medically-supervised settings. Thats why its incumbent upon people who care about psychedelics to advocate for reducing the criminalization of people who use them outside of medical contexts, while also advocating for psychedelic-assisted therapy research.

Given the widespreadscientific consensusthat drug use and addiction are best treated as health issues,theres no good reason for people who use psychedelics to be treated as criminals especially considering how much we already know aboutprohibitions discriminatory impact on people of color and other marginalized groups.

This study also forces us to reflect on why abstinence-only policies can be so harmful and counterproductive. Contrary to conventional wisdom,federal government datahas consistently shown that the vast majority of people who use opioids, including heroin,dont end up developing an addiction. So our focus should be not just on preventing people from using opioids after all, they can be essential medical tools but also ensuring, above all else, that people who use them dont go on to struggle with addiction.

A truly health-centered approach to drug addiction assesses improvement by many measures, not simply by someones drug use level, but also by their overall health, their social relationships, and their general well-being. Determining success by boiling it down to the single measure of abstinence to an arbitrary group of certain drugs isnt realistic or effective.

Addiction is a complex phenomenon, but I think its safe to say that it can only be genuinely resolved when people find meaning in their lives. This study is yet another indication that the meaning people seem to find from psychedelics has considerable implications for our prevailing healthcare and addiction treatment paradigms.

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Psychedelics Help Reduce Opioid Addiction, According to New Study – AlterNet

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When Reality Is More Intense Than Psychedelics: Strand Of Oaks On ‘Hard Love’ – NPR

Posted: February 18, 2017 at 4:27 am

On his latest album as Strand of Oaks, Timothy Showalter embraces the highest and lowest points of his life with equal joy. Maclay Heriot/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

On his latest album as Strand of Oaks, Timothy Showalter embraces the highest and lowest points of his life with equal joy.

Timothy Showalter is a tough-looking guy with a beard, tattoos and a flat Midwestern accent, who’s pretty open about taking drugs. He thinks a lot about where life is taking him.

“I read somewhere that the idea of joy, and to live a joyful life, is different than living a happy life,” he tells NPR’s Steve Inskeep. “Happiness is fleeting. Happiness is something that you’re always going to reach for but you’re never gonna quite get or be satisfied with.”

For Showalter, who performs music under the name Strand of Oaks, “joy” is being fully engaged in life, whether it goes well or badly. His new album, Hard Love, deals with some of the highest and lowest points of his own life.

In the case of the song “Taking Acid and Talking to My Brother,” Showalter says, he was reflecting on the lows: Two years ago, his younger brother John was stricken with cardiomyopathy, a disease affecting the heart’s muscle tissue.

“When he was having dinner with my parents in Indiana, his heart completely stopped,” he says. “My dad revived him to a certain point until the ambulance came, and they induced a coma. So I flew home and proceeded to sit with my family by my brother’s hospital bed.”

Within two weeks, Showalter’s brother had made a miraculous recovery. But the suspense he experienced in the intervening time was consuming and the strain it put on him inspired the song’s title.

“It has nothing to do with taking acid. Strangely, it’s the only song on the record that may not have to do with stereotypical psychedelic experience,” he says. “The reason why I called it ‘Taking Acid’ is because it’s more psychedelic than any drug could ever give when you’re put in a position of not being in any control, and knowing that you have absolutely no way to help.

“I remember my little brother’s cell phone was still on [while he recovered],” Showalter adds. “I didn’t read them, but occasionally he would get text messages from my dad saying that he loved him. … That’s this record! That’s the idea of what hard love is. You have as high as it gets and as low as it gets.”

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When Reality Is More Intense Than Psychedelics: Strand Of Oaks On ‘Hard Love’ – NPR

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A Revolution in the Science of Psychedelics and Treating PTSD – 303 Magazine

Posted: February 17, 2017 at 1:32 am

No longer is the psychedelic revolution represented by tie dye shirts and free loving spirits. Psychedelic activism has been on the minds of many people since its boom in the 1960s; however, now more than ever, people are stepping up and really studying the possibilities that these drugs may actually be used as medicines. This can most notably be seen with the growing acceptance of medical marijuana in our culture.That being said, it is going to be a lot more difficult for the public to understand psychedelics medicinal role.

The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) is a non-profit research and group that both advocate and do research on psychedelic substances and their potential to be used in psychotherapy. The work being done by MAPS has inspired groups all over the country to join in on the fight for psychedelics and they have worked very closely with some of the groups in the Denver and Boulder Area.Founded in 1986, the organization has come a substantially long way in its research and they are now working with several different human studies to look at the effective combination of psychedelic drugs and psychotherapy. NowMAPS has psychotherapy assisted studies with medical marijuana, LSD, Ibogaine, Ayuascha and MDMA.The major medical applications for these substances include helping treat illnesses like PTSD, cluster headaches, severe anxiety and depression.

PBS recently released a news piece entitled, Why psychedelic drugs are having a medical renaissance. The piece examines the recent work being done between psychedelics and psychotherapy to help treat extreme anxiety and PTSD. One study examined in the article found people with sever anxiety or depression were 60 to 80 percent felt better immediately after the experience and for as long as six months after.

So with all of this new research being done, who are the psychedelic activist in our community? Organizations like Medicinal Mindfulness and Psychedelic Club both take on similar missions as MAPS and work tirelessly for the avocation and possible regulation of psychedelic medicines. The goal isto break the stigma that has been placed around these substances and open engaging conversations about their safe use. Medicinal Mindfulness is very active within the Boulder community and holds many different workshops and events.

Dennis McKenna speaking at the Psychedelic Shine event in Boulder on Feb, 2017.

One of the most interesting of these workshops isa community breath work event called Conscious Cannabis Circles. Not only are they helping spread accurate information to the community, but they are also working within the community to facilitate actual psychedelic experiences. Using a combination of cannabis satvia, some skillful breath work, the correct set and setting, and the help of their cannabis facilitators, Medicinal Mindfulness cites that it can create a Dmt-like experience for participants who sign up for their Conscious Cannabis events. Everything is completely legal under Colorados state laws and this not only can be done at their community events, but also at your own personal home at request.

Not only do they facilitate these actual psychedelic experiences, but Medicinal Mindfulness also hosts a huge informational conference on psychedelics. Co-hosted by Psychedelic Club, the extremely informational event was called Psychedelic Shine, a live speaker event that took place on February 12, 2017. The all-day event included live music, art vendors, psychedelic book vendors, anda lecture by legendary psychedelic activist Dennis Mckenna. The night ended with a powerful live community breathwork session. The conference as a whole was an awesome display of great information being spread to an interested and engaged crowd of nearly 500 people.

Prior to the event, 303 had the opportunity to speak with Daniel McQueen, the Executive Director of Medicinal Mindfulness and a psychedelic cannabis facilitator in Boulder. Speaking on why he chose Boulder as a home base for his organization, McQueen said, I got my degree fromNaropa Universityso thats why I moved here. But Colorado in general is awesome, its legal with retail cannabis, so Colorado [is]a great place for us to do our work.

Speaking bit more on the subject of Cannabis, McQueen was quick to acknowledge the subtle gap between cannabis culture and psychedelic culture. Bridging that gap from the recreational cannabis user, to the person who uses cannabis for psychedelic purposes is a huge in shifting the community perception. McQueen believes people have deep healing experiences on cannabis and is working tirelessly to help introduce this idea to the Boulder community. He cites the recent legalization of cannabis has a catalyst for opening up peoples minds to other possibilities with cannabis and helping bridge the gap towards other psychedelic medicines. Since starting Psychedelics Shine and promoting local psychedelic culture, the community has grown immensely over the years and is continuing to spread.

Founder of Medicinal Mindfulness, Daniel McQueen, speaking at the Psychedelic Shine in Boulder.

The Psychedelic Club of Denverwas founded in July of 2016 but has been a national organization for much longer than that. The Denver chapter is a growing group of activists within the 303 area, but there is also an even larger branch in Boulder. Speaking with a few of the founders of the Psychedelic club of Denver, they all agreed events like Psychedelic Shinewill help aid in Psychedelic clubs ultimate mission. Founder Tyler Williams explained their mission, stating it is to to raise awareness about the truth of psychedelics as well as create a safe space for everyone to integrate their experiences. A couple specific goals would be to create criminal justice reform, creating a community around the discussion of psychedelics, and spreading more info on harm reduction.

This event was a fantastic example of the scholarly event that can characterize this new psychedelic revolution. Instead of raving hippies dancing about and screaming of revolution, these are scientists and intellectuals working on the due diligence required to help bring about lastingchange. With all of this new information being foundand more people than ever actually doing research with these medicines, the time may be closer than ever for a true psychedelic revolution.

The momentum is on the side of the activist, its now up to science to continue on helping prove that these substances are not only safe to use, but also can be a great aid in helping fight a number of emotional and psychological ailments.

Photography by Meg ONeill.

Dennis McKenna speaking at the Psychedelic Shine event in Boulder on Feb 12, 2017.

303 MagazineBoulderBoulder Theatercannabis healingconscious cannabis circlesDaniel MCQueenDennis MckennaIbogaineJosh CowdenlsdmapsMDMAMedcinal MindfulnessPsychedelic clubPsychedelic ShinepsychotherapyPTSD treatment

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Mind, Supermind Series Features Psychedelic Explorer – Noozhawk

Posted: at 1:32 am

Posted on February 16, 2017 | 9:00 a.m.

Psychologist and psychedelic explorer James Fadiman will discuss New Paradigms and New Tools for the Mind at the Feb. 27 Mind & Supermind lecture presented by SBCC Center for Lifelong Learning (CLL).

Fadiman will talk about new ways in which the mind can be expanded through different interpretations of the human psyche and current studies using micro-dosing psychedelic substances.

Fadimans work has been referenced in national and international press including The New York Times, NPR, UK, Rolling Stone, Marie Claire, Associated Press, Inc., and The New Yorker. The CLL Mind & Supermind series has been one of our most popular community events for 35 years, said Andy Harper, CLL executive director.

We look forward to Dr. Fadimans lecture to expand our students awareness and knowledge of psychedelic research and transpersonal psychology, he said. Fadiman will explore two emerging understandings. The first displaces the old single-self assumption and suggests a healthy personality is actually composed of multiple selves. The second displaces the idea that effects of psychedelics can be disturbing and overwhelming.

The approach of using micro-doses allows researchers to discover unanticipated beneficial uses of psychedelics including healing depression, anxiety and menstrual pain, as well as enhancing learning and creativity. Fadiman did his undergraduate work at Harvard University and his graduate work at Stanford, doing research with the Harvard Group, the West Coast Research Group in Menlo Park, and Ken Kesey.

A former president of the Institute of Noetic Sciences and a professor of psychology, he teaches at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (now Sofia University), which he helped found in 1975. He is the author of several books and textbooks.

Flannery Hill for the Center for Lifelong Learning.

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Is Silicon Valley Onto Something With Its LSD Microdosing? – Newsweek

Posted: February 15, 2017 at 9:29 pm

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

It may seem like a doomed attempt to mix business and pleasure. But a growing number of young professionals in Silicon Valley insist that taking small doses of psychedelic drugs simply makes them perform better at workbecoming more creative and focused. The practice, known as microdosing, involves taking minute quantities of drugs such as LSD, psilocybin (magic mushrooms) or mescaline (found in the Peyote cactus) every few days.

LSD is the most well-known psychedelic drug since its popularity in the heyday of 1960s counterculture. But perhaps somewhat surprisingly, Silicon Valley also has a long history of psychedelic drug use to boost creativity: technology stars Steve Jobs and Bill Gates both famously experimented with LSD.

At high doses, LSD powerfully alters perception, mood and a host of cognitive processes. LSD now appears to be one of the more commonly microdosed drugs. A microdose of LSD consists of about a tenth of a recreational dose (usually 10-20 micrograms), thatis usually not potent enough to cause hallucinations. Instead, it is reported to heighten alertness, energy and creativity.

Microdosing LSD also purportedly enhances overall wellbeing, helping to reduce stress and anxiety while improving sleep and leading to healthier habits. Although a widely reported phenomenon in the media, the lack of scientific studies on microdosing makes the prevalence near impossible to estimate. Reports suggest that what started off as an underground practice in Silicon Valley may be spreading rapidly to other workplaces.

It is currently unknown how such low doses of psychedelics act in the brain to produce these intriguing self-reported effects on creativity. Like all classic hallucinogens, LSD produces its potent mind-altering effects primarily by mimicking the effects of the brain chemical serotonin, thatregulates our mood. In particular, LSD activates 5-HT2A receptors in the pre-frontal cortex, thatincreases activity of the chemical glutamate in this region. Glutamate enables signals to be transmitted between nerve cells, and plays a role in learning and memory.

In humans, two distinct effects of recreational doses of LSD have been reported. Initially, people experience psychedelic and positive feelings of euphoria. This may be followed by a later phase characterized by paranoia or even a psychotic-like state. LSD at low doses may produce mood elevation and creativity, mediated by the serotonin-mimicking effects. Actions on both glutamate and serotonin may also act to improve learning and cognitive flexibility, necessary for creativity, in the workplace. These findings could partly help to explain the microdosing phenomenon.

Clinical research with psychedelics is currently undergoing a major revival after having been brought to a halt in the 1960s. One of the benefits of conducting research into psychedelics is their potential to help deepen our understanding of consciousness. In 2016, researchers from Imperial College London were the first to use brain scanning techniques to visualize how LSD alters the way the brain works. One key finding was that LSD had a disorganising influence on cortical activity, thatpermitted the brain to operate in a freer, less constrained manner than usual.

The results suggested that psychedelics increase communication between parts of the brain that are less likely to communicate with one another, and decrease communication between areas that frequently do. This likely underlies the profound altered state of consciousness that people often describe during an LSD experience. It is also related to what people sometimes call ego-dissolution,in which the normal sense of self is broken down. People instead often report a sense of reconnection with themselves, others and the natural world.

The discovery that LSD and other psychedelic drugs induce a flexible state of mind may explain their reported extraordinary therapeutic benefits. For example, psilocybin has shown benefits in the treatment of tobacco and alcohol addiction, obsessive compulsive disorder and treatment-resistant major depression.

In a small pilot study, LSD in combination with psychological therapy also led to a slight improvement in anxiety experienced by terminally ill cancer patients. Many of these psychiatric disorders are characterized by inflexible, habitual patterns of brain activity. By introducing a disordered state of mind, LSD and other psychedelics may help to break these inflexible patterns.

Similarly, the unconstrained brain state induced by psychedelics may also help explain the reported increases in creativity. From the late 1950s until the early 1970s, a whole host of studies sought to determine if classic psychedelics could be useful for enhancing creativity. In the most notable of these studies, researchers found that LSD and mescaline could aid in creative problem-solving when used in carefully controlled settings.

However, while these studies do provide some insight, they are mere anecdotal by modern research standards (they were not double blind or placebo-controlled). A more recent study found that use of classic psychedelics was robustly associated with greater creative problem-solving ability. Enhancing creativity has many potential applications in society. For example, it could be both used by commercial industry including advertising and in clinical settings, such as helping patients with autism.

Yet before rushing off to take hits of acid in the hopes of boosting our creativity at work, it should be remembered that microdosing with an illegal, unregulated drug is of course fraught with risks. Possession may get you put behind bars. Manufacture and supply of illegal drugs are not subject to rigorous regulatory controls. That means users can never be sure of what they are getting.

This makes determining the dose problematic. Those who microdose incorrectly risk having unwanted, full-blown trips or even experience unpleasant trips. There are even some reports of psychosis-like symptoms in certain vulnerable individuals who use LSD recreationally. However two recent U.S. population surveys found no link between using psychedelics and mental health conditions.

In an increasingly competitive world it is tempting to find a quick fix to help us achieve more, better and faster. Yet, is this right? As a society we should consider the reasons as to why healthy people choose to use drugs in the first place. A reliance on cognitive-enhancing technologies to cope with demanding working conditions may ultimately reduce the health and well-being of individuals. So we must take care to ensure that enhancement is not seen as a substitute for a healthy working environment.

It is therefore important that more research is done on the safety and efficacy of microdosing. In the meantime, physical exercise, education, social interaction, mindfulness and good quality sleep have all been shown to improve cognitive performance and overall well-being.

Barbara Sahakianisprofessor of clinical neuropsychology,Camilla d’Angeloisresearch assistant in psychiatry and George Savulich, is research associate in psychiatry at theUniversity of Cambridge.

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Is Silicon Valley Onto Something With Its LSD Microdosing? – Newsweek

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LSD ‘microdosing’ is trending in Silicon Valley but can it actually make you more creative? – Medical Xpress

Posted: at 12:25 am

February 14, 2017 by Barbara Sahakian, Camilla D’angelo And George Savulich, The Conversation Monday, 6am. Time for a sliver of this? Credit: Psychonaught/wikipedia

It may seem like a doomed attempt to mix business and pleasure. But a growing number of young professionals in Silicon Valley insist that taking small doses of psychedelic drugs simply makes them perform better at work becoming more creative and focused. The practice, known as “microdosing”, involves taking minute quantities of drugs such as LSD, psilocybin (magic mushrooms) or mescaline (found in the Peyote cactus) every few days.

LSD is the most well-known psychedelic drug since its popularity in the heyday of 1960s counterculture. But perhaps somewhat surprisingly, Silicon Valley also has a long history of psychedelic drug use to boost creativity: technology stars Steve Jobs and Bill Gates both famously experimented with LSD.

At high doses, LSD powerfully alters perception, mood and a host of cognitive processes. LSD now appears to be one of the more commonly microdosed drugs. A microdose of LSD consists of about a tenth of a recreational dose (usually 10-20 micrograms), which is usually not potent enough to cause hallucinations. Instead, it is reported to heighten alertness, energy and creativity.

Microdosing LSD also purportedly enhances overall well-being, helping to reduce stress and anxiety while improving sleep and leading to healthier habits. Although a widely reported phenomenon in the media, the lack of scientific studies on microdosing makes the prevalence near impossible to estimate. Reports suggest that what started off as an underground practice in Silicon Valley may be spreading rapidly to other workplaces.

It is currently unknown how such low doses of psychedelics act in the brain to produce these intriguing self-reported effects on creativity. Like all classic hallucinogens, LSD produces its potent mind-altering effects primarily by mimicking the effects of the brain chemical serotonin, which regulates our mood. In particular, LSD activates 5-HT2A receptors in the pre-frontal cortex, which increases activity of the chemical glutamate in this region. Glutamate enables signals to be transmitted between nerve cells, and plays a role in learning and memory.

In humans, two distinct effects of recreational doses of LSD have been reported. Initially, people experience psychedelic and positive feelings of euphoria. This may be followed by a later phase characterised by paranoia or even a psychotic-like state. LSD at low doses may produce mood elevation and creativity, mediated by the serotonin-mimicking effects. Actions on both glutamate and serotonin may also act to improve learning and cognitive flexibility , necessary for creativity, in the workplace. These findings could partly help to explain the microdosing phenomenon.

Clinical evidence

Clinical research with psychedelics is currently undergoing a major revival after having been brought to a halt in the 1960s. One of the benefits of conducting research into psychedelics is their potential to help deepen our understanding of consciousness. In 2016, researchers from Imperial College London were the first to use brain scanning techniques to visualise how LSD alters the way the brain works. One key finding was that LSD had a disorganising influence on cortical activity, which permitted the brain to operate in a freer, less constrained manner than usual.

The results suggested that psychedelics increase communication between parts of the brain that are less likely to communicate with one another, and decrease communication between areas that frequently do. This likely underlies the profound altered state of consciousness that people often describe during an LSD experience. It is also related to what people sometimes call “ego-dissolution”, in which the normal sense of self is broken down. People instead often report a sense of reconnection with themselves, others and the natural world.

The discovery that LSD and other psychedelic drugs induce a flexible state of mind may explain their reported extraordinary therapeutic benefits. For example, psilocybin has shown benefits in the treatment of tobacco and alcohol addiction, obsessive compulsive disorder and treatment-resistant major depression.

In a small pilot study, LSD in combination with psychological therapy also led to a slight improvement in anxiety experienced by terminally ill cancer patients. Many of these psychiatric disorders are characterised by inflexible, habitual patterns of brain activity. By introducing a disordered state of mind, LSD and other psychedelics may help to break these inflexible patterns.

Similarly, the unconstrained brain state induced by psychedelics may also help explain the reported increases in creativity. From the late 1950s until the early 1970s, a whole host of studies sought to determine if classic psychedelics could be useful for enhancing creativity. In the most notable of these studies, researchers found that LSD and mescaline could aid in creative problem-solving when used in carefully controlled settings.

However, while these studies do provide some insight, they are mere anecdotal by modern research standards (they were not double blind or placebo-controlled). A more recent study found that use of classic psychedelics was robustly associated with greater creative problem-solving ability. Enhancing creativity has many potential applications in society. For example, it could be both used by commercial industry including advertising and in clinical settings, such as helping patients with autism.

The downsides

Yet before rushing off to take hits of acid in the hopes of boosting our creativity at work, it should be remembered that microdosing with an illegal, unregulated drug is of course fraught with risks. Possession may get you put behind bars. Manufacture and supply of illegal drugs are not subject to rigorous regulatory controls. That means users can never be sure of what they are getting.

This makes determining the dose problematic. Those who microdose incorrectly risk having unwanted, full-blown trips or even experience unpleasant trips. There are even some reports of psychosis-like symptoms in certain vulnerable individuals who use LSD recreationally. However two recent US population surveys found no link between using psychedelics and mental health conditions.

In an increasingly competitive world it is tempting to find a quick fix to help us achieve more, better and faster. Yet, is this right? As a society we should consider the reasons as to why healthy people choose to use drugs in the first place. A reliance on cognitive-enhancing technologies to cope with demanding working conditions may ultimately reduce the health and well-being of individuals. So we must take care to ensure that enhancement is not seen as a substitute for a healthy working environment.

It is therefore important that more research is done on the safety and efficacy of microdosing. In the meantime, physical exercise, education, social interaction, mindfulness and good quality sleep have all been shown to improve cognitive performance and overall well-being.

Explore further: Use of psychedelic drugs remains prevalent in the US

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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Original post:

LSD ‘microdosing’ is trending in Silicon Valley but can it actually make you more creative? – Medical Xpress

Posted in Psychedelics | Comments Off on LSD ‘microdosing’ is trending in Silicon Valley but can it actually make you more creative? – Medical Xpress

Psychedelics a Viable Therapeutic Option for Depression – Psychiatry Advisor

Posted: February 14, 2017 at 11:34 am


Psychiatry Advisor
Psychedelics a Viable Therapeutic Option for Depression
Psychiatry Advisor
Rucker's team reviewed the existing research in psychedelics for mood disorders, which, though dated, hints at the possibility of therapeutic use. A systematic search of PsychINFO and MEDLINE databases for studies from 1940 through 2000 yielded 21 …
LSD 'microdosing' is trending in Silicon Valley but can it actually make you more creative?The Conversation UK
Legalize LSD Drug policy should draw from science instead of cultureArgonaut

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Psychedelics a Viable Therapeutic Option for Depression – Psychiatry Advisor

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