"I did LSD and the psychedelics a little bit. It's one way to get enlightened, but you can pull a spiritual muscle doing that stuff. I learned what I had to learn and moved on. Now I meditate."Jeff Bridges
The hallucinogenic plant Salvia divinorum has been used for centuries in shamanistic ceremonies led by spiritual healers in Mexico...Based on animal studies of salvinorin A, the active ingredient in the Salvia plant, some neuropharmacologists believe the drug may have merits beyond getting people high...This compound is completely unique, and there is good reason to think a derivative of the drug could one day provide a breakthrough medication for chronic pain, Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or cocaine dependence, potentially saving thousands of lives in the long run.
In the early 1960s Harvard University psychologist Timothy Leary, who later morphed into a counterculture guru, proposed that psychedelic trips are shaped by "set and setting." Set is mind-set, your overall psychic makeup as well as your expectations, hopes, fears. Setting is, well, setting—meaning the trip's locale as well as cultural context. If you think your trip will help you overcome alcoholism, obsessive-compulsive disorder, melancholy or fear of death, there is a chance it will, especially if you are tended by a caring therapist in a safe, clinical setting. Given the right set and setting, you might even have a religious experience.
In a matter of hours, mind-altering substances may induce profound psychological realignments that can take decades to achieve on a therapist's couch
The highest and lowest overall harm scores in the ISCD study are 72 for alcohol and 5 for mushrooms (6 for LSD), which is a ratio of about 14:1.
Now we are seeing evidence that exactly as described by traditional healers, these agents do in fact offer benefits for mind and mood. Interesting enough, magic mushrooms, peyote buttons and the ayahuasca brew are all referred to by those who employ them as “The Medicine,” for their broad purported healing benefits. The recent highly controlled, rigorously conducted medical studies on psilocybin show benefits indeed.
These are staggering results from the ingestion of a small capsule.
For fans of chanterelle mushrooms, and psilocybin magic mushroom species, this has been a record breaking season in western Oregon.
One of the participants had come to the realization through the psilocibin treatment that she had been allowing her fear of the future to destroy her present. Stopping a mind that is in a cyclical downward spiral of depression via psychedelic use is like stopping a record that is stuck on repeat. In short, the drug offered participants a paradigm shift.
"I think we're looking at a new era, a time when people are looking at the therapeutic potential of these substances, and I feel there is a real desire among women in particular to talk about these substances because it's such a taboo discussion."
There is no reason for psilocybin to remain a Schedule I narcotic; it doesn't even qualify as one, considering that it is not addictive and yields minimal health risks.
A single modest dose of the hallucinogen can improve patients' functioning for as long as six months, allowing them to spend their last days with more peace, researchers said.
These drugs are thought to change the way the brain normally processes information and may provide people with mood disorders a new way of looking at the world and their problems.
He was best known for what’s called the “Good Friday Experiment,” conducted in April 1962 as part of his doctoral thesis on religion. Prior to the Good Friday service at the Boston University Marsh Chapel that year, volunteer divinity students from the Boston area split into two groups. The members of one group were given doses of psilocybin — a drug produced by hallucinogenic mushrooms — while members of the other group were given placebos. Nine out of the 10 students given the psychedelic drug reported “profound religious experiences,” offering Pahnke what he took to be empirical evidence that psilocybin is a reliable trigger for spiritual awakenings.
Why is DMT so fascinating? For starters, DMT is the only psychedelic known to occur naturally in the human body. In 1972, the Nobel laureate Julius Axelrod of the National Institutes of Health discovered DMT in human brain tissue.
Researchers from around the world are gathering this week in San Jose, Calif., for the largest conference on psychedelic science held in the United States in four decades. They plan to discuss studies of psilocybin and other psychedelics for treating depression in cancer patients, obsessive-compulsive disorder, end-of-life anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and addiction to drugs or alcohol.
A Transformative Moment in Psychedelic History: FDA is now open to the possibility of the therapeutic potential of LSD-assisted psychotherapy and will accept data from our Swiss study.
After over 40 years of repression or oppression, Rick Doblin of Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (Maps), and others are spearheading a more enlightened, less hysterical and terrified approach to the use of these substances.
The first clinical trial using LSD since the 1970s began in Switzerland in June. It aims to use "psychedelic psychotherapy" to help patients with terminal illnesses come to terms with their imminent mortality and so improve their quality of life.
In the late '50s and early '60s, Kleiner writes, executives and engineers from a number of companies experimented with LSD on corporate retreats. The drug reportedly improved engineers' ability to solve technical problems and managers' conflict-resolution skills. Heretics is full of surprising stories of corporate flirtation with the counterculture.
When administered under supportive conditions, psilocybin occasioned experiences similar to spontaneously occurring mystical experiences that, at 14-month follow-up, were considered by volunteers to be among the most personally meaningful and spiritually significant of their lives.
Rick Doblin, a Harvard-educated Ph.D and founder of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, was one of the first to break through this wall of obstinacy and challenge the Inquisition. He got the U.S. government to approve clinical trials of MDMA-assisted therapy for returning veterans and victims of violent crime or abuse who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder . In many ways it was this Newtonian breakthrough that finally challenged the orthodoxy that reigned over the 40-year Dark Age. Western governments had to ask themselves what was more important to them: their irrational and erroneous drug propaganda, or the possibility that the millions of lives they had devastated by war, violence and iniquitous economic policies might actually be repaired. In this, the seeds of a psychedelic renaissance were planted.
In a follow-up to research showing that psilocybin, a substance contained in "sacred mushrooms," produces substantial spiritual effects , a Johns Hopkins team reports that those beneficial effects appear to last more than a year... "This is a truly remarkable finding," Griffiths said. "Rarely in psychological research do we see such persistently positive reports from a single event in the laboratory."
Timothy Leary is smiling somewhere. More than 40 years after the U.S. government banned hallucinogens...and scoffed at the Harvard psychologist and anyone else who suggested they might have a legitimate use, federal officials have become enlightened. The Food and Drug Administration has rightfully changed its stance on the research of psychedelic drugs.
How some dedicated scientists and former flower children managed to bring hallucinogenic drug research back to mainstream labs after more than 30 years.
"Maybe the hippies of the sixties weren't just on something maybe they were on to something. Scientists at John Hopkins now say magic mushrooms really can expand your mind producing a kind of religious experience. Fourteen months ago they gave dozens of volunteers magic mushrooms..."
The top 100 living geniuses was compiled by a panel of six experts in creativity and innovation from Creators Synectics, a global consultants firm.
1= Albert Hoffman (Swiss) Chemist 1= Tim Berners-Lee (British) Computer Scientist
The use of LSD (d-lysergic acid diethylamide) in psychotherapy is to be studied for the first time in 35 years.
A quiet psychedelic renaissance is beginning at the highest levels of American science, including the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and Harvard, which is conducting what is thought to be its first research into therapeutic uses of psychedelics (in this case, Ecstasy) since the university fired Timothy Leary in 1963.
Dr. Carlos Zarate Jr., is chief of the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Research Unit at NIMHfound "robust and rapid antidepressant effects" that remained for a week after depressed subjects were given ketamine.
Dr. Francisco Moreno of the University of Arizona gave psilocybin (the merrymaking chemical in psychedelic mushrooms?) to obsessive-compulsive-disorder patients, most of whom later showed "acute reductions in core OCD symptoms."
Now researchers at Harvard are studying how Ecstasy might help alleviate anxiety disorders,
Beckley Foundation, a British trust, has received approval to begin what will be the first human studies with LSD since the 1970s.
Citizen science: (Scientists at Harvard Medical School) began collecting the medical records of those who were using hallucinogens to relieve cluster headaches, and set up interviews and online surveys for a retrospective analysis. Their results show that psilocybin is better at aborting acute attacks than either oxygen or sumatriptan, and LSD and psilocybin are both better at triggering and extending remission than are standard drugs...The researchers are planning clinical trials using LSD and psilocybin.
The patients did see a significant reduction in symptoms for up to 24 hours after they were given psilocybin even on the lowest dose. But because there was no group given a different drug or no drug at all to compare them to, the benefits could have been simply due to care and attention from the researchers.
The Harbor-UCLA study follows up on research done by Stanislav Grof and Dr. Pahnke, who worked at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center, in Baltimore, in the late 1960s, the very end of the psychedelic era. They gave the more powerful hallucinogen LSD to patients with terminal cancer. About two-thirds of their subjects got by with less pain medication as a result. They feared death less or not at all, and their anxiety abated, which is known to help ease pain.
A new study that looks back at LSD research conducted by a team of scientists in Canada more than four decades ago demonstrates the degree to which anti-psychedelic hysteria derailed promising scientific research for the treatment of alcoholism.
According to one study conducted in 1962, 65 per cent of the alcoholics in the experiment stopped drinking for at least a year-and-a-half (the duration of the study) after taking one dose of LSD. "Some of the patients involved in the original studies...had not had a sip of alcohol? since their single LSD experience 40 years earlier."
LSD and psilocybin are types of amines called tryptamines, and their chemical structures are very similar to natural neurotransmitters such as serotonin. One conventional medicine for cluster headaches, Methysergide, is known to be chemically similar to LSD.
In a preliminary study, researchers from Harvard's McLean Hospital surveyed patients who had used psilocybin or LSD. Twenty-five of 48 psilocybin users and seven of eight LSD users reported the drugs prevented the entire cluster period when headaches normally occurred..."No other medication, to our knowledge, has been reported to terminate a cluster period," researchers wrote in the June 27 issue of the journal Neurology.
Ultimately, study of hallucinogens may reveal that psychopharmacology underpins these potentially transformative experiences. Solomon Snyder of Johns Hopkins comments on the Psychopharmacology paper: [By] showing that one can responsibly conduct clinical research with psychedelic drugs and by confirming the mystical influences of these agents, Griffiths et al may help resurrect psychedelic drugs as major tools in probing the molecular bases of consciousness.
This double-blind study evaluated the acute and longer-term psychological effects of a high dose of psilocybin relative to a comparison compound administered under comfortable, supportive conditions... Conclusions: When administered under supportive conditions, psilocybin occasioned experiences similar to spontaneously occurring mystical experiences.
The authors interviewed 53 cluster headache patients who had used psilocybin or lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) to treat their condition. Twenty-two of 26 psilocybin users reported that psilocybin aborted attacks; 25 of 48 psilocybin users and 7 of 8 LSD users reported cluster period termination; 18 of 19 psilocybin users and 4 of 5 LSD users reported remission period extension. Research on the effects of psilocybin and LSD on cluster headache may be warranted.
Dr Horton told Guardian Unlimited that important advances were made by researchers using psychedelic drugs on themselves, but that these studies were stifled by the post-1960s anti-drug backlash. "Our very earliest understanding of the neurochemistry of the brain came from studying LSD-like compounds. Those same researchers were also taking those drugs, not recreationally, but as experiments on themselves. This was immensely important work."
That psychedelic drugs, such as LSD and MDMA (ecstasy), can be effective treatments for various psychiatric illnesses is an old idea. Once considered wonder drugs for their effects on anxiety, depression, alcoholism, and other mental illnesses, they have been effectively banished from medical practice after legal rulings banned their sale and use...the social prescription against psychedelic drugs that hinders properly controlled research into their effects and side-effects is largely based on social and legal, as opposed to scientific, concerns.
When Kevin Herbert has a particularly intractable programming problem, or finds himself pondering a big career decision, he deploys a powerful mind expanding toolLSD-25.
"It must be changing something about the internal communication in my brain. Whatever my inner process is that lets me solve problems, it works differently, or maybe different parts of my brain are used," said Herbert, 42, an early employee of Cisco Systems who says he solved his toughest technical problems while tripping to drum solos by the Grateful Deadwho were among the many artists inspired by LSD.
"When I'm on LSD and hearing something that's pure rhythm, it takes me to another world and into anther brain state where I've stopped thinking and started knowing," said Herbert who intervened to ban drug testing of technologists at Cisco Systems.
"It is as if a whole generation of psychiatrists have had this systematically erased from their education," Dr Sessa says. "But for the generation who trained in the 50s and 60s, this really was going to be the next big thing. Thousands of books and papers were written, but then it all went silent. My generation has never heard of it. It's almost as if there has been an active demonisation."
"I don't see either ethically or professionally or technically why it shouldn't be used in the future," Dr Sandison says. "But anything done now has to be very different from what we did. All the expertise developed in those years by a large number of people has been lost so we have to start again."
Many illegal drugs are used in medical settings. Scientists who studied LSD made important contributions to psychiatry, and found it helped many people cope with mental illness.
Patients who suffer from cluster headachesa debilitating medical condition for which there is no cureare flouting the government's ban on magic mushrooms because they say the psychedelic fungi are the only thing to relieve the pain of their attacks...ergotominewhich contains lysergic acid, a precursor of LSDhas been used to treat migraines for years.
In the years between the first synthesis of LSD in the 1930sand the disappearance of psychedelic research by the late 1960s, there was a furious growth of scientific interest in these substances. Many pioneers gave their careers to this field, hoping that psychedelic drugs could be the Holy Grail for psychiatrylike the microscope is to biology or the telescope is to astronomyan essential tool to explore the parts of the internal world that are usually inaccessible...
By 1965 over 2000 papers had been published describing positive results for over 40,000 patients, taking psychedelic drugs with few side effects and a high level of safety. The techniques were applied to the treatment of anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, depression, bereavement reactions and sexual dysfunction, among others. In the treatment of addiction, repeated controlled experiments demonstrated a consistent recovery and 6 month abstinence from drinking in 50% to 90% of subjects after brief psychedelic therapy...
Perhaps a more dispassionate criticism based upon scientific reasoning and not influenced by social or political pressures is called for if we are to truly investigate whether these substances can have a useful role in psychiatry today.
Should psychedelic drugs be used for tough-to-treat conditions? Studying contraband substances are on the upswing, and many say it should have happened sooner.
Researchers hope this is only the beginning of a hallucinogenic data mine. As Grob also points out, "People forget, but psychedelics were the cutting edge of science in this country for 50 years." In fact, in the 1940s and '50s, so much money flowed in this direction that many top researchers got their start in this field. Many feel modern psychiatry owes its origins to the study of hallucinogens.
After all, it was the discovery of the neurotransmitter serotoninthanks to LSDthat jump started the brain chemistry revolution.
In 1962 psychiatrist Sven Jensen, working in Weyburn, Saskatchewan, published the first controlled trial involving LSD and alcoholism...In his 2-year study involving follow-up periods of 6 to 18 months, Jensen evaluated patients treated for chronic alcoholism according to 3 different methods. The study results showed that 38 of the 58 patients treated with LSD remained abstinent in the follow-up period. These numbers were striking when compared with those who received only group therapy (7 of 38 remained abstinent) and those who were treated by other psychiatrists (4 of 35 remained abstinent).