Mind-Altering Drugs News ArticlesExcerpts of key news articles on mind-altering drugs
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Marijuana and the Veterans Affairs Hospital system’s relationship is complicated. On the one hand, 23 states plus the District of Columbia say marijuana is legal for sanctioned medical use, and veterans are clamoring for it for their post-combat symptoms. On the other, marijuana is classified a Schedule I drug. Veterans [have] been stuck in the middle. As many as 20 percent of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Antidepressants like Zoloft and Paxil, along with other heavy-duty pills, have been the traditional mainstays in VA doctors’ arsenals. Non-FDA approved options, marijuana among them, haven’t been options at all. But that has started to change. The Veterans Equal Access Act ... aims to open the entire VA system to judicious prescription of medical cannabis. Prior to its introduction, VA doctors couldn’t even discuss cannabis with their patients, much less prescribe it. Arizona psychiatrist Sue Sisley [has] spent two decades treating patients with PTSD. “All we have now is Zoloft and Paxil. And if you know much about those meds, you know there are many side effects, and they often don’t work. If they are effective, then patients are dealing with these side effects,” Sisley adds. “Vets come home from service, and they just want to reintegrate into their family. And we make them fat and impotent and mired in a bunch of disabling side effects.” When asked why marijuana might be better than other options, Sisley’s quick to answer: “A single plant can provide monotherapy for this whole constellation of symptoms.”
Note: The war on drugs has been called a "trillion dollar failure". The healing potentials of mind altering drugs are starting to be openly investigated.
Imagine discovering a plant that has the potential to help alleviate post-traumatic stress disorder, suicidal thoughts and paralyzing anxiety. That's what some believe ayahuasca can do, and this psychedelic drink is attracting more and more tourists to the Amazon. War vets are seeking it for PTSD. Former Marine Lance Cpl. Ryan LeCompte organizes trips to Peru for war veterans, like himself, who are seeking ayahuasca as a possible treatment for PTSD and other emotional and mental trauma suffered after multiple combat deployments. "Ayahuasca is a way to give relief to those who are suffering," says LeCompte, who says many veterans are not satisfied with the PTSD treatment they receive when they return from combat. Libby ... is one of the veterans who accompanied LeCompte to Peru to try ayahuasca for her PTSD diagnosis, which includes sexual trauma while on active duty. She says antidepressants made her more suicidal. "I would like to wish not to die all the time," she said, when asked why she was seeking ayahuasca. "I want that to go away." Those of have tried ayahuasca say that any benefits - like with other drugs or medicine - must be combined with therapy. There are efforts to study the medicinal benefits of ayahuasca, explains Rick Doblin, executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies. "At a time when drug policy is being reevaluated ... how ayahuasca should be handled in a regulatory context is really up in the air," Doblin said.
Note: Watch the full CNN documentary on an ayahuasca ceremony in Peru. For more along these lines, see these concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about mind altering drugs from reliable sources.
[There are many] obstacles and frustrations scientists face in trying to study the medical uses of marijuana. Dating back to 1999, the Department of Health and Human Services has indicated it does not see much potential for developing marijuana in smoked form into an approved prescription drug. In guidelines issued that year for research on medical marijuana, the agency quoted from an accompanying report that stated, “If there is any future for marijuana as a medicine, it lies in its isolated components, the cannabinoids and their synthetic derivatives.” Scientists say this position has had a chilling effect on marijuana research. Though more than one million people are thought to use the drug to treat ailments ranging from cancer to seizures to hepatitis C and chronic pain, there are few rigorous studies showing whether the drug is a fruitful treatment for those or any other conditions. A major reason is this: The federal government categorizes marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, the most restrictive of five groups established by the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. Drugs in this category — including heroin, LSD, peyote and Ecstasy — are considered to have no accepted medical use in the United States and a high potential for abuse, and are subject to tight restrictions on scientific study. In the case of marijuana, those restrictions are even greater than for other controlled substances. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, though nearly half the states and the District of Columbia allow its medical use and two, Colorado and Washington, have legalized its recreational use.
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Psychedelic drug research is coming back. But the research still faces stigma, and funding is hard to get. Stanislav Grof was one of the leading researchers on the therapeutic applications of LSD in the 1950s and '60s. He studied the effect of hallucinogens on mental disorders, including addiction. Grof tells NPR's Arun Rath, "This was a tremendous deepening and acceleration of the psychotherapeutic process. Compared with the therapy in general, which mostly focuses on suppression of symptoms, here we had something that could actually get to the core of the problems." The Schedule 1 classification of LSD and other hallucinogenic substances in 1970 was a huge blow to research. But by the '90s, attitudes had begun to change. By the 2000s, a small but growing research community was picking up where Grof and others had left off. One area that showed promise was using hallucinogens to ease anxiety and depression in patients with cancer, like Erica Rex. "I was diagnosed with breast cancer, stage 2, in 2009," Rex says. "I went through the treatment, and then there are some drugs that have terrible side effects." She says she became obsessed with the possibility of her death, and it was crippling. Then Rex [was approved] for a study on the experimental drug psilocybin, an active compound in psychedelic mushrooms. In the end, she says, it helped her depression.
Note: Food justice champion Michael Pollan recently wrote a fascinating article prominently featured in the venerable magazine The New Yorker about the amazing power of psilocybin mushrooms to create profound healing in carefully controlled environments. It is subtitled "Research into psychedelics, shut down for decades, is now yielding exciting results." Are the healing potentials of mind altering drugs finally starting to receive honest mainstream attention?
You’ve probably heard about microdosing, the “productivity hack” popular among Silicon Valley engineers and business leaders. Microdosers take regular small doses of LSD or magic mushrooms. At these doses, they don’t experience mind-bending, hallucinatory trips, but they say they get a jolt in creativity and focus that can elevate work performance, help relationships, and generally improve a stressful and demanding daily life. Late last year, the first placebo-controlled microdose trial was published. The study concluded that microdoses of LSD appreciably altered subjects’ sense of time, allowing them to more accurately reproduce lapsed spans of time. Does a microdose change brain function? There’s a myriad of ways to test this, but [Devin] Terhune looked specifically at the way the subjects perceive time. When shown a blue dot on a screen for a specific length of time, the subjects were asked to recreate that length of time by pressing a key. Typically, with longer time intervals, people underrepresent time (i.e. hold the key down for a shorter period of time than reality). In the study, those who received microdoses held the key longer, better representing the actual time interval. Does this mean microdosing makes you smarter? Terhune and his co-authors were cautious in overinterpreting their finding. For one, it’s not clear that perceiving time more accurately is preferable. The brain seems to favor underrepresenting time for reasons that are unclear. The finding does show that microdoses changed brain function.
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When Noa Shulman came home from school, her mother, Yael, sat her down to eat, then spoon-fed her mashed sweet potatoes - mixed with cannabis oil. Noa is part of the first clinical trial in the world to test the benefits of medicinal marijuana for young people with autism, a potential breakthrough. There is anecdotal evidence that marijuana’s main non-psychoactive compound - cannabidiol or CBD - helps children in ways no other medication has. Now this first-of-its-kind scientific study is trying to determine if the link is real. Israel is ...one of just three countries with a government-sponsored medical cannabis program, along with Canada and the Netherlands. Conducting cannabis research is also less expensive here and easier under Israeli laws, particularly compared to the United States. Autism is one of the fastest-growing developmental disorders, affecting 1 in 68 children in the United States. Only two medications have been approved in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration to treat the symptoms of autism. Both are antipsychotic drugs that are not always effective and carry serious side effects. Adi Aran, the pediatric neurologist leading the study, said nearly all the participants previously took antipsychotics and nearly half responded negatively. Anecdotal reports of autistic children who benefited from cannabis ... led Aran to pursue more scientific testing. After seeing positive results in 70 of his autistic patients in an observational study, Aran said, “OK we need to do a clinical trial."
Note: Dozens of studies have found evidence that CBD can treat epilepsy as well as a range of other illnesses. While more people are arrested in the US for marijuana use than for all violent crimes combined and the US federal government continues to regard non-psychoactive CBD as a dangerous drug, the UK government recently announced it will regulate CBD as medicine. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources.
A psychedelic drink used for centuries in healing ceremonies is now attracting the attention of biomedical scientists as a possible treatment for depression. Researchers from Brazil last month published results from the first clinical test of a potential therapeutic benefit for ayahuasca, a South American plant-based brew. The work forms part of a renaissance in studying the potential therapeutic benefits of psychedelic or recreational drugs — research that was largely banned or restricted worldwide half a century ago. Ketamine, which is used medically as an anaesthetic, has shown promise as a fast-acting antidepressant; psilocybin, a hallucinogen found in ‘magic mushrooms’, can help to alleviate anxiety in patients with advanced-stage cancer; MDMA (ecstasy) can alleviate post-traumatic stress disorder; and patients who experience debilitating cluster headaches have reported that LSD eases their symptoms. Ayahuasca, a sacramental drink traditionally brewed from the bark of a jungle vine (Banisteriopsis caapi) and the leaves of a shrub (Psychotria viridis) ... has been studied by anthropologists, social scientists and theologians, but clinical research on ayahuasca has been limited to observation of its effects in mice and rats, and in healthy human volunteers, including brain-imaging studies and retrospective surveys of past use. Further trials are under way.
Note: Are the healing potentials of mind altering drugs finally starting to receive honest mainstream attention?
More than half a century ago, author Aldous Huxley titled his book on his experience with hallucinogens The Doors of Perception. Huxley posited that ordinary consciousness represents only a fraction of what the mind can take in. In order to keep us focused on survival, Huxley claimed, the brain must act as a “reducing valve” on the flood of potentially overwhelming sights, sounds and sensations. What remains, Huxley wrote, is a “measly trickle of the kind of consciousness” necessary to “help us to stay alive.” A new study by British researchers supports this theory. It shows for the first time how psilocybin — the drug contained in magic mushrooms — affects the connectivity of the brain. Researchers found that the psychedelic chemical ... does not work by ramping up the brain’s activity as they’d expected. Instead, it reduces it. Under the influence of mushrooms, overall brain activity drops, particularly in certain regions that are densely connected to sensory areas of the brain. When functioning normally, these connective “hubs” appear to help constrain the way we see, hear and experience the world, grounding us in reality. Psilocybin cuts activity in these nodes and severs their connection to other brain areas, allowing the senses to run free. Huxley ... had predicted what turns out to be a key finding of modern neuroscience: many of the human brain’s highest achievements involve preventing actions instead of initiating them, and sifting out useless information rather than collecting and presenting it for conscious consideration.
Note: There are several excellent links in the full article which show promising results of using these plants to improve mental health and more.
The psychedelic drug psilocybin (the active ingredient in “magic mushrooms”) may produce lasting, positive changes in personality, new research finds. People who took the drug showed increases in the key personality dimension of openness — being amenable to new ideas, experiences and perspectives — more than a year later. Researchers led by Katherine MacLean, a postdoctoral student at Johns Hopkins University, analyzed personality data on 52 participants (average age 46) who had participated in the group’s earlier research on the drug. These volunteers took psilocybin during two to five sessions, at various doses, under highly controlled conditions at the hospital. The earlier study had found positive psychological changes — documented by both participants and their family members and other associates — in calmness, happiness and kindness. The new research found that the drug takers also saw long-term changes to their underlying personality. The personality changes also ran counter to those expected as people age. Normally, as people grow older, they become increasingly less open to new ideas and new experiences. In contrast, in participants who experienced had what researchers call a “full mystical experience,” the scientists saw a shift toward increased openness, as though the volunteers had become decades younger. People became more curious and more interested in new ideas and experiences and in trying new things.
In 2002, at a Johns Hopkins University laboratory, a business consultant named Dede Osborn took a psychedelic drug as part of a research project. She felt like she was taking off. She saw colors. Then it felt like her heart was ripping open. But she called the experience joyful as well as painful, and says that it has helped her to this day. "I feel more centered in who I am and what I'm doing," said Osborn, now 66, of Providence, R.I. "I don't seem to have those self-doubts like I used to have. I feel much more grounded (and feel that) we are all connected." Scientists reported ... that when they surveyed volunteers 14 months after they took the drug, most said they were still feeling and behaving better because of the experience. Two-thirds of them also said the drug had produced one of the five most spiritually significant experiences they'd ever had. The drug, psilocybin, is found in so-called "magic mushrooms." It's illegal, but it has been used in religious ceremonies for centuries. The project made headlines in 2006 when researchers published their report on how the volunteers felt just two months after taking the drug. The new study followed them up [to] a year after that. Fourteen months after taking the drug, 64 percent of the volunteers said they still felt at least a moderate increase in well-being or life satisfaction, in terms of things like feeling more creative, self-confident, flexible and optimistic. The questionnaire answers indicated lasting gains in traits like being more sensitive, tolerant, loving and compassionate.
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The Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, has paid thousands of pounds in compensation to servicemen who were fed LSD without their consent in clandestine mind-control experiments in the 1950s. MI6 has agreed an out-of-court settlement with the men, who said they were duped into taking part in the experiments and had waited years to learn the truth. Don Webb, a former airman, said yesterday: "I feel vindicated; this has been a classic cover-up for years." MI6's counterparts at the CIA also did LSD experiments on men without their knowledge to try to control their minds. Mr Webb said scientists gave him LSD at least twice in a week. He remembers a nightmarish experience when he hallucinated for a long time. He saw "walls melting, cracks appearing in people's faces ... eyes would run down cheeks, Salvador Dali-type faces ... a flower would turn into a slug". He said he had first made inquiries about the experiments in the 1960s but was "blanked by the government, which quoted the Official Secrets Act". He said he experienced flashbacks for 10 years after the experiments. "They treated us just like guinea pigs."
Note: For lots more on the use of human guinea pigs by the government in attempts to master mind control, see http://www.WantToKnow.info/mindcontrol and http://www.WantToKnow.info/mindcontrol10pg#lsd
Fifty years ago, Eric Gow had a baffling and unexplained experience. As a 19-year-old sailor, he remembers going to a clandestine military establishment, where he was given something to drink in a sherry glass and experienced vivid hallucinations. Other servicemen also remember tripping: one thought he was seeing tigers jumping out of a wall, while another recalls faces "with eyes running down their cheeks, Salvador Dalí-style". Mr Gow and another serviceman had volunteered to take part in what they thought was research to find a cure for the common cold. Mr Gow felt that the government had never explained what happened to him. But now he has received an official admission for the first time, confirmed last night, that the intelligence agency MI6 tested LSD on servicemen. One of the scientists involved at the time suggested that the experiments were stopped because it was feared that the acid could produce "suicidal tendencies". MI6, known formally as the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) and responsible for spying operations abroad, carried out the tests in the cold war in an attempt to uncover a "truth drug" which would make prisoners talk against their will in interrogations. In parallel experiments, the CIA infamously tested LSD and other drugs on unwitting human subjects in a 20-year search to uncover mind-manipulation techniques. The trials were widely criticised when they came to light in the 1970s.
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Researchers from Johns Hopkins University have recommended that psilocybin, the active compound in hallucinogenic mushrooms, be reclassified for medical use, potentially paving the way for the psychedelic drug to one day treat depression and anxiety. The suggestion to reclassify psilocybin from a Schedule I drug, with no known medical benefit, to a Schedule IV drug, which is akin to prescription sleeping pills, was part of a review to assess the safety and abuse of medically administered psilocybin. Before the Food and Drug Administration can be petitioned to reclassify the drug, though, it has to clear extensive study and trials, which can take more than five years, the researchers wrote. The study comes as many Americans shift their attitudes toward the use of some illegal drugs. The widespread legalization of marijuana has helped demystify drug use, with many people now recognizing the medicinal benefits for those with anxiety, arthritis and other physical ailments. Psychedelics, like LSD and psilocybin, are illegal and not approved for medical or recreational use. But in recent years scientists and consumers have begun rethinking their use to combat depression and anxiety. Researchers who conducted the new study included Roland R. Griffiths, a professor ... at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, who is one of the most prominent researchers on the behavioral and subjective effects of mood-altering drugs.
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The psychoactive drug known as ecstasy can make people feel extra loving toward others. A study published Thursday suggests it has the same effect on octopuses. Octopuses are almost entirely antisocial, except when they're mating. Scientists who study them have to house them separately so they don't kill or eat each other. However, octopuses given the drug known as MDMA (or ecstasy, E, Molly or a number of other slang terms) wanted to spend more time close to other octopuses and even hugged them. Octopuses' ... brains have a host of strange structures that evolved on a completely different trajectory from the human path. "They have this huge complex brain that ... has absolutely no business acting like ours does — but here they show that it does," says [neuroscientist Judit] Pungor. "This ... gentle, cuddly behavior is really pretty fascinating." The idea to test the drug's effect in octopuses came from Gul Dolen, a neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins University. "My lab has been studying MDMA for a long time, she says, "and we have worked out a lot of neural mechanisms that enable MDMA to have ... pro-social effects." Dolen got interested in octopuses a few years ago, when scientists sequenced the full genetic code of a ... California two-spot octopus. It turns out that octopuses and people have almost identical genes for a protein that binds the signaling molecule serotonin to brain cells. This protein is also the target of MDMA, so Dolen wondered how the drug would affect this usually unfriendly animal.
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To microdose is to take small amounts of LSD, which generate “subperceptual” effects that can improve mood, productivity and creativity. Michael Pollan’s new book, “How to Change Your Mind,” is not about that. It’s about taking enough LSD or psilocybin (mushrooms) to feel the colors and smell the sounds. If Pollan’s wide-ranging account has a central thesis, it’s that we’re still doing the hard work of rescuing the science of psychedelics from the “countercultural baggage” of the 1960s. In the mid-60s “the exuberance surrounding these new drugs gave way to moral panic,” and ... “the whole project of psychedelic science had collapsed.” Before collapsing, though, that project discovered in psychedelics the same potential that scientists are exploring as they reclaim it today: possible help in treating addiction, anxiety and depression, and “existential distress” — common in people “confronting a terminal diagnosis,” which of course, broadly speaking, is all of us. Pollan doesn’t give a lot of prime real estate to psychedelics’ naysayers. But given that those on LSD can appear to be losing their minds, and that the drug leaves one feeling emotionally undefended (a potential benefit as well as a profound risk), he does strongly recommend having an experienced guide in a proper setting when you trip. With those safeguards in place, he believes usage could be on the verge of more widespread acceptance.
Note: A recent clinical trial found psilocybin to be an extremely effective treatment for anxiety and depression. Articles like this suggest that the healing potentials of mind-altering drugs are gaining mainstream credibility.
Decades after the U.S. Federal Government banned the drug ecstasy — which in turn went underground, gaining notoriety as a party drug — a Bay Area medical team got special permission to study its therapeutic use. The goal of the trial is to see whether a pure dose of the compound MDMA, also known as ecstasy, can be pure medicine: could it ease the crippling anxiety, fear, or depression felt by those suffering from a life-threatening disease? The lead investigator for this study is psychiatrist Phil Wolfson. The medical doctor has permission from the U.S. FDA to conduct the study, and legally administer the drug. “The FDA approved so the DEA had to follow suit,” explained Wolfson. Before the DEA declared MDMA illegal in 1985, Doctor Wolfson used it medicinally in his own practice and saw a tremendous benefit for patients. In the study, MDMA is not used alone. The use of the compound is combined with psychotherapy sessions that can last five hours or longer. “It’s not this 50 minutes in and out, it’s these extended periods of real interactive exchange, “ explained [study participant Andy] Gold. “With the MDMA, everything opened up,” recalled [study participant Wendy] Donner. “You start seeing things very, very clearly and at a nice slow pace, truths in your life are bubbling up. And revealed to you piece by piece,” explained [study participant John] Saul. The participants all say they’ve changed and are better able to face the future. Wolfson hopes the drug may one day be available to other patients as a legally accepted remedy.
Note: While the war on drugs has been called a "trillion dollar failure", the healing potentials of mind altering drugs are starting to be investigated more openly.
Dozens of adults and children, all clad in white, stood in a line. A holy man handed each a cup of ayahuasca, a muddy-looking hallucinogenic brew. Among those imbibing from the holy man’s decanter were prison inmates, convicted of crimes such as murder, kidnapping and rape. “I’m finally realizing I was on the wrong path in this life,” said Celmiro de Almeida, 36, who is serving a sentence for homicide. “Each experience helps me communicate with my victim to beg for forgiveness,” said Mr. de Almeida. The provision of a hallucinogen to inmates ... reflects a continuing quest for ways to ease pressure on Brazil’s prison system. The country’s inmate population has doubled since the start of the century ... straining underfunded prisons rife with human rights violations. Around , Acuda, a pioneering prisoners’ rights group in Porto Velho, began offering inmates therapy sessions in yoga, meditation and Reiki. Two years ago, the volunteer therapists at Acuda had a new idea: Why not give the inmates ayahuasca as well? Acuda had trouble finding a place where the inmates could drink ayahuasca, but they were finally accepted by an offshoot here of Santo Daime, a Brazilian religion founded in the 1930s. “Many people in Brazil believe that inmates must suffer,” said Euza Beloti, 40, a psychologist with Acuda. “This thinking bolsters a system where prisoners return to society more violent than when they entered prison.” At Acuda, she said, “we simply see inmates as human beings with the capacity to change.”
Note: Read more about emerging research into ayahuasca in Brazil. Articles like this suggest that the healing potentials of mind-altering drugs are gaining mainstream credibility.
While [Ketamine] has been used as an anesthetic for decades, small studies at prestigious medical centers like Yale, Mount Sinai and the National Institute of Mental Health suggest it can relieve depression in many people who are not helped by widely used conventional antidepressants like Prozac or Lexapro. And the depression seems to melt away within hours, rather than the weeks typically required for a conventional antidepressant. Pharmaceutical companies hope to [develop] drugs that work like ketamine but without the side effects, which are often described as out-of-body experiences. Some doctors and patients are not waiting for the pharmaceutical industry. Because ketamine has long been approved for anesthesia, doctors are allowed to use it off-label to treat depression. ”There is clearly a need for new drugs. “Almost half of depressed patients are not being treated adequately by existing drugs,” said Dr. Sheldon H. Preskorn, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita. That, he said, is because virtually all the antidepressants used in the last 60 years work essentially the same way. Ketamine would represent a new mechanism of action. “Synaptic connections that help us to cope seem to grow back,” said Dr. John H. Krystal, chairman of psychiatry at Yale and a pioneer in the study of ketamine for depression.
Note: A 2012 NPR story provides more detail about the ketamine research done at Yale to treat depression. Could this put a stop to the thousands of horror stories involving conventional antidepressants?
"People try and run away from things and to forget, but with psychedelic drugs they're forced to confront and really look at themselves," explains Dr Robin Carhart-Harris, from Imperial College London. The drugs Carhart-Harris is referring to are hallucinogens such as magic mushrooms -- specifically the active chemical inside them, psilocybin. Carhart-Harris scanned the brains of 30 healthy volunteers after they had been injected with psilocybin and found the more primitive regions of the brain associated with emotional thinking became more active and the brain's "default mode network," associated with high-level thinking, self-consciousness and introspection, was disjointed and less active. "We know that a number of mental illnesses, such as OCD and depression, are associated with excessive connectivity of the brain, and the default mode network becomes over-connected," says David Nutt, professor of neuropsychopharmacology, who leads the Imperial College team. The over-connectivity Nutt describes causes depressed people to become locked into rumination and concentrate excessively on negative thoughts about themselves. Depression is estimated to affect more than 350 million people around the world. The current pharmaceutical approach to treatment is with selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as Prozac. But SSRIs ... are generally prescribed for long periods of time to maintain their effect. Nutt thinks psilocybin could be a game-changer, used as part of a therapeutic package ... to treat people within just one or two doses of treatment.
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Psychedelic mushrooms can do more than make you see the world in kaleidoscope. Research suggests they may have permanent, positive effects on the human brain. In fact, a mind-altering compound found in some 200 species of mushroom is already being explored as a potential treatment for depression and anxiety. People who consume these mushrooms, after “trips” that can be a bit scary and unpleasant, report feeling more optimistic, less self-centered, and even happier for months after the fact. But why do these trips change the way people see the world? According to a study published today in Human Brain Mapping, the mushroom compounds could be unlocking brain states usually only experienced when we dream, changes in activity that could help unlock permanent shifts in perspective. The study examined brain activity in those who’d received injections of psilocybin, which gives “shrooms” their psychedelic punch. After injections, the 15 participants were found to have increased brain function in areas associated with emotion and memory. The effect was strikingly similar to a brain in dream sleep, according to Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris, a post-doctoral researcher in neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London and co-author of the study. Administration of the drug just before or during sleep seemed to promote higher activity levels during Rapid Eye Movement sleep, when dreams occur. An intriguing finding, Carhart-Harris says, given that people tend to describe their experience on psychedelic drugs as being like “a waking dream.”
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