Mind-Altering Drugs News ArticlesExcerpts of key news articles on mind-altering drugs
In recent years, researchers have sought to rescue hallucinogens from exile by examining their efficacy in treating certain disorders of the mind. Psychoactive substances, often derived from mushrooms, have been part of human cultures ... for thousands of years. In the 1950s and ’60s, researchers assiduously explored LSD as a tool for treating mental illness and various addictions. The Central Intelligence Agency tested the drug’s possibilities as a truth serum or perhaps a vehicle for mind control. Prohibitions against LSD and brethren hallucinogens, like psilocybin and mescaline, were codified in the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. Soon enough, serious scientific exploration of psychedelics dried up. In recent years, though, mind-bending drugs have begun tiptoeing back into the research mainstream. Modern scientists are ... studying hallucinogens’ potential to help smokers kick the habit, to undo addictions to drugs and alcohol, to cope with cluster headaches and depression, and to deal with obsessive-compulsive and post-traumatic stress disorders. Institutions where such work is underway include New York University; Johns Hopkins University; the University of California, Los Angeles; Psychiatric University Hospital in Zurich; and Imperial College in London. Hallucinogens, while not addictive, remain officially taboo everywhere. Nonetheless ... if carefully administered, [some researchers] say, hallucinogens can reorient patients’ perceptions of their place in the universe and pull them out of ruts of negative thinking.
Note: Watch a 13-minute New York Times video on the return of psychedelics as a powerful healing modality. While the war on drugs has been called a "trillion dollar failure", articles like this suggest the healing potentials of mind altering drugs are starting to be investigated more scientifically.
Some users of LSD say one of the most profound parts of the experience is a deep oneness with the universe. The sensation ... correlates to changes in brain connectivity while on LSD, according to a study published Wednesday in Current Biology. An MRI scanner [showed that] the brains of people on acid looked markedly different than those on the placebo. Their sensory cortices, which process sensations like sight and touch, became far more connected than usual to the frontal parietal network, which is involved with our sense of self. "The stronger that communication, the stronger the experience of the dissolution (of self)," says Enzo Tagliazucchi, the [study's] lead author. Researchers also measured the volunteers' brain electrical activity with another device. Our brains normally generate a regular rhythm of electrical activity called the alpha rhythm, which links to our brain's ability to suppress irrelevant activity. But in a different paper published on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, he and several co-authors show that LSD weakens the alpha rhythm. He thinks this weakening could make the hallucinations seem more real. The idea is intriguing ... says Dr. Charles Grob, a psychiatrist at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. "They may genuinely be on to something. This should really further our understanding of the brain and consciousness." And, he says, the work highlights hallucinogens' powerful therapeutic potential.
The profound impact of LSD on the brain has been laid bare by the first modern scans of people high on the drug. The images, taken from volunteers ... revealed that trippers experienced images through information drawn from many parts of their brains. Under the drug, regions once segregated spoke to one another. Further images showed that other brain regions that usually form a network became more separated in a change that accompanied users’ feelings of oneness with the world, a loss of personal identity called “ego dissolution”. David Nutt, the government’s former drugs advisor ... and senior researcher on the study, said, “This is to neuroscience what the Higgs boson was to particle physics.” [Study co-author Robin] Carhart-Harris said, “We saw many more areas of the brain than normal were contributing to visual processing under LSD, even though volunteers’ eyes were closed.” The more prominent the effect, the more intense people rated their dreamlike visions. Under the influence, brain networks that deal with vision, attention, movement and hearing became far more connected. But at the same time, other networks broke down. The drug can be seen as reversing the more restricted thinking we develop from infancy to adulthood. The study could pave the way for LSD or related chemicals to be used to treat psychiatric disorders. Nutt said the drug could pull the brain out of thought patterns seen in depression and addiction through its effects on brain networks.
Note: For more, see an NPR article titled "How LSD Makes Your Brain One With The Universe". This ground-breaking study appears in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. While the war on drugs has been called a "trillion dollar failure", studies like this suggest the healing potentials of mind altering drugs are starting to be investigated more scientifically.
In 1970, Congress dropped psychedelics into the war on drugs. The federal government declared that the drugs had no medical use - and high potential for abuse. Over the past decade, some scientists have begun to challenge that conclusion. Far from being harmful, they found, hallucinogens can help sick people: They helped alcoholics drink less; terminal patients eased more gently into death. And it’s not just the infirm who are helped by the drugs. They can help us solve problems more creatively and make us more open-minded and generous. Scientists think [that] when someone takes a psychedelic, there is a decrease in blood flow and electrical activity in the brain’s “default mode network,” [which] is primarily responsible for our ego or sense of self. When we trip, our default mode network slows down. With the ego out of commission, the boundaries between self and world, subject and object dissolve. Robin Carhart-Harris, a neuroscientist with Imperial College London, notes that the default mode network is responsible for a lot of our rigid, habitual thinking and obsessions. Psychedelics help relax the part of the brain that leads us to obsess. And they can help “loosen if not break” the entrenched physical circuits responsible for addictive behavior. Steve Jobs famously said that taking LSD “was one of the most important things in my life.” The entrepreneur Tim Ferriss said that “the billionaires I know, almost without exception, use hallucinogens on a regular basis.”
About 8 percent of Americans experience PTSD; for veterans, that number is 30 percent. Treatment is notoriously difficult, but people could find relief in an unusual form: psychedelic drugs. MDMA - found in molly and ecstasy - earned a bad rap in the 1990s as ravers’ drug of choice. But psychotherapists are coming to value the way it increases empathy while decreasing fear and defensiveness. “MDMA gives people the ability to revisit an event that’s still painful without being overwhelmed,” says psychiatrist Michael Mithoefer. Following a recent MDMA trial, 83 percent of his treatment-resistant participants no longer showed symptoms of PTSD. In one study, Mithoefer worked with a New York City firefighter post-9/11. The subject had tried treatment before. While undergoing a popular method that uses eye movement to reprocess a trauma, he’d been so overcome that he ripped a sink off the wall. MDMA, however, worked. “It wasn’t easy for him,” Mithoefer says. “But our sink is still attached.” MDMA isn’t a one-trick pony either; it can treat end-of-life anxiety and alcoholism, and it’s not addictive. “We’re talking about the rise of a whole field of medicine,” says Rick Doblin, founder of the nonprofit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, which is running a handful of MDMA trials, including Mithoefer’s. Doblin thinks the FDA will greenlight the drug for mainstream use by 2021.
New research on the use of psychedelic drugs as treatment for a range of mental disorders appears to be throwing open doors of perception long closed within the medical community, says a new analysis in the Canadian Medical Assn. Journal. For several decades, the North American medical establishment has classified psychedelic drugs – including LSD, psilocybin and [MDMA, better known as ecstasy] – as drugs of abuse with little to no medical purpose or means of safe use. That, four researchers argue, is changing. In Switzerland, Canada, Brazil, Peru, Mexico and the United States, researchers with no evident countercultural tendencies are conducting research that is finding psychedelic drugs a valuable adjunct to psychotherapy in treating addiction, post-traumatic stress and the depression or anxiety that often comes with terminal illness. Clinical investigators are demonstrating that such research "can conform to the rigorous scientific, ethical and safety standards expected of contemporary medical research," the authors write in the new analysis, titled "Psychedelic medicine: a re-emerging therapeutic paradigm." And the body of research they are generating is demonstrating that such drugs as MDMA, LSD and psilocybin can be effective in treating well-chosen patients. Two other factors - cost and time - also appear to be opening minds about the potential therapeutic uses of psychedelic drugs.
Note: For more about the therapeutic uses of psychedelic drugs, see these concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles from reliable sources.
LSD, ecstasy (MDMA) and other psychedelics are powerful, mind-altering drugs that, as described by former Washington Post Magazine editor Tom Shroder, “intrinsically [challenge] the rationalist, materialist underpinnings of Western culture.” For most of a century, our society has struggled to come to grips with these “profoundly threatening drugs,” largely without success. They’ve all been made illegal. For decades, the Food and Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Administration have strictly banned scientific investigations into their potential benefits — which is unfortunate, since these psychoactive drugs also seem able to do incredible good, particularly in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Every year, as many as 5 million Americans suffer from its effects. Frequent consequences include depression, drug and alcohol abuse, and a host of associated health problems. In “both humanitarian and economic terms,” the costs are staggering. And PTSD stubbornly resists treatment. Psychoactive drugs such as LSD and MDMA seem to bring powerful healing energies to bear on the underlying issues. But despite a growing mountain of evidence supporting the therapeutic benefits delivered by these drugs, government authorities have blocked scientific and therapeutic explorations of their potential. Fortunately, the government’s prohibitions may be loosening, thanks to a cadre of psychedelic advocates who have steadfastly refused to surrender to the taboos. The story of those people and their efforts to win scientific and therapeutic approval for psychedelic drugs is the central thrust of Shroder’s strangely wonderful new book, Acid Test: LSD, Ecstasy, and the Power to Heal.
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On 5th May, 1953, the novelist Aldous Huxley dissolved four-tenths of a gram of mescaline in a glass of water, drank it, then sat back and waited for the drug to take effect. Huxley took the drug in his California home under the direct supervision of psychiatrist Humphry Osmond, to whom Huxley had volunteered himself as “a willing and eager guinea pig”. Osmond was one of a small group of psychiatrists who pioneered the use of LSD as a treatment for alcoholism and various mental disorders in the early 1950s. He coined the term psychedelic, meaning ‘mind manifesting’ and although his research into the therapeutic potential of LSD produced promising initial results, it was halted during the 1960s for social and political reasons. While at St. George’s [Hospital after WWII], Osmond and his colleague John Smythies learned about Albert Hoffman’s discovery of LSD at the Sandoz Pharmaceutical Company in Bazel, Switzerland. Osmond and Smythies started their own investigation into the properties of hallucinogens. Osmond tried LSD himself and concluded that the drug could produce profound changes in consciousness. Osmond and [Abram] Hoffer also recruited volunteers to take LSD and theorised that the drug was capable of inducing a new level of self-awareness which may have enormous therapeutic potential. In 1953, they began giving LSD to their patients, starting with some of those diagnosed with alcoholism. Their first study involved two alcoholic patients, each of whom was given a single 200-microgram dose of the drug. One of them stopped drinking immediately after the experiment. The other stopped 6 months later. Osmond and Hoffer were encouraged, and continued to administer the drug to alcoholics. Their studies seemed to show that a single, large dose of LSD could be an effective treatment for alcoholism, and reported that between 40 and 45% of their patients given the drug had not experienced a relapse after a year.
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The explosion of dance music culture during the late '80s and early '90s conferred fame on some unlikely people, but few were quite as unlikely as Alexander Shulgin, who died on 2 June at his home in California at the age of 88. He was nearly 70 by the time he became known as the Godfather of Ecstasy, a title that made it sound like he had invented MDMA, which he hadn't: Shulgin had only introduced the drug to west coast psychotherapists in the late 70s. But, he had created more than 200 psychoactive compounds in his home laboratory, tested them all on himself and his wife and written about them in a 1991 book titled Phenethylamines I Have Known and Loved. The combination of the book, his association with ecstasy, and that drug's burgeoning popularity made him a hugely celebrated figure. Shulgin thought all drugs should be legalised, but he seemed about as far removed from the bug-eyed psychedelic proselyte of popular myth as it was possible to get. His writing was measured, calm and witty. He did not court the attention of the rave generation. If anything, he seemed faintly exasperated by the way MDMA was being used. "Go banging about with a psychedelic drug for a Saturday night turn-on, and you can get into a really bad place, psychologically," he had warned. Later he was to lament that MDMA had been "sidetracked into the Yahoo generation". None of the drugs Shulgin invented became as famous as the one he didn't. In the late '90s, there was talk that a compound called 2CB was "the new ecstasy" but it never attained the ubiquity of E. Nevertheless, Shulgin's legend was assured.
Note: To see Shulgin's fun and iconoclastic character, watch this fun four-minute video. Explore major media articles showing breakthroughs in therapy from an excellent compilation of news articles on mind altering drugs. And read the personal journey to healing of courageous CNN reporter Amber Lyon using these "medicines."
Hundreds of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with post-traumatic stress have recently contacted a husband-and-wife team who work in suburban South Carolina to seek help. Many are desperate, pleading for treatment and willing to travel to get it. The soldiers have no interest in traditional talking cures or prescription drugs that have given them little relief. They are lining up to try an alternative: MDMA, better known as Ecstasy, a party drug that surfaced in the 1980s and ’90s that can induce pulses of euphoria and a radiating affection. Government regulators criminalized the drug in 1985, placing it on a list of prohibited substances that includes heroin and LSD. But in recent years, regulators have licensed a small number of labs to produce MDMA for research purposes. In a paper posted online ... by the Journal of Psychopharmacology, Michael and Ann Mithoefer, the husband-and-wife team offering the treatment — which combines psychotherapy with a dose of MDMA — write that they found 15 of 21 people who recovered from severe post-traumatic stress in the therapy in the early 2000s reported minor to virtually no symptoms today. The Mithoefers — he is a psychiatrist and she is a nurse — collaborated on the study with researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina and the nonprofit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. The patients in this group included mostly rape victims, and experts familiar with the work cautioned that it was preliminary, based on small numbers, and its applicability to war trauma entirely unknown.
Note: For the paper on this remarkable study published published online in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, click here. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on beneficial mind-altering drugs, click here.
Mounting evidence shows ‘cannabinoids’ in marijuana slow cancer growth, inhibit formation of new blood cells that feed a tumor, and help manage pain, fatigue, nausea, and other side effects. Peer-reviewed studies in several countries ... show that THC and other marijuana-derived compounds, known as “cannabinoids,” are effective not only for cancer-symptom management (nausea, pain, loss of appetite, fatigue), they also confer a direct antitumoral effect. A team of Spanish scientists led by Manuel Guzman conducted the first clinical trial assessing the antitumoral action of THC on human beings. THC treatment was associated with significantly reduced tumor cell proliferation in every test subject. Harvard University scientists reported that THC slows tumor growth in common lung cancer and “significantly reduces the ability of the cancer to spread.” What’s more ... THC selectively targets and destroys tumor cells while leaving healthy cells unscathed. Conventional chemotherapy drugs, by contrast, are highly toxic; they indiscriminately damage the brain and body. There is mounting evidence ... that cannabinoids “represent a new class of anticancer drugs that retard cancer growth, inhibit angiogenesis [the formation of new blood cells that feed a tumor] and the metastatic spreading of cancer cells.” Within the medical science community, the discovery that cannabinoids have anti-tumoral properties is increasingly recognized as a seminal advancement in cancer therapeutics.
Note: Yet treatment with cannabinoids continues to be largely illegal in the US. For an informative 15-minute documentary on the health benefits of juicing raw cannabis, click here. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on promising cancer-cure research, click here.
Since the 1960s a disparate group of scientists and former drug addicts have been advocating a radical treatment for addiction - a hallucinogen called ibogaine, derived from an African plant, that in some cases seems to obliterate withdrawal symptoms from heroin, cocaine and alcohol. So why isn't it widely used? The drug, derived from the root of a central African plant called iboga, had been used for centuries by the Bwiti people of Gabon and Cameroon, as part of a tribal initiation ceremony. But it wasn't until 1962, when a young heroin addict called Howard Lotsof stumbled upon ibogaine, that its value as an addiction treatment was uncovered. Lotsof took it to get high but when the hallucinogenic effects wore off, he realised he no longer had the compulsion to take heroin. He became convinced that he had found the solution to addiction and dedicated much of his life to promoting ibogaine as a treatment. Ibogaine affects the brain in two distinct ways. The first is metabolic. It creates a protein that blocks receptors in the brain that trigger cravings, stopping the symptoms of withdrawal. With normal detox this process can take months. Its second effect is much less understood. It seems to inspire a dream-like state that is intensely introspective, allowing addicts to address issues in their life that they use alcohol or drugs to suppress.
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A video [that went viral] featured footage of a mid-1950s housewife on an acid trip during an LSD experiment. In the film, a researcher, Dr. Sidney Cohen, is shown interviewing, and then dosing, a volunteer at the Veteran's Administration Hospital in Los Angeles. The woman, who is identified only as the wife of a hospital employee, is in her late 20s or early 30s and appears fairly typical of her time. LSD was a legal pharmaceutical drug until 1966. Journalist Don Lattin says he came across the video in the archives of philosopher Gerald Heard while researching a group biography on him, the British writer Aldous Huxley, and Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. In the video that Lattin posted online, [the housewife] is clearly under the influence and appears to be rather enjoying it. She says: "Everything is alive. This is reality. I wish you could see it. I wish I could talk in technicolor." "This shows that very early on in the 1950s, researchers were aware that there were possible beneficial uses, rather than military or more nefarious uses," he says. In the early 1950s and into the '60s the Army and CIA secretly funded a lot of research to see if LSD could be used as a chemical weapon or a truth serum, says Lattin. But Cohen and his ilk were pursuing a different line of study. They wanted to understand how it works, how the mind works and the connection between the psychotic state and a spiritually enlightened state." Indeed, Wilson, the AA co-founder, did a fair amount of LSD in the 50s , says Lattin. "This surprises people, but he wasn't doing it to get high," he adds. "It was to achieve that spiritual awakening."
Nearly 60 years ago, a French town was hit by a sudden outbreak of hallucinations, which left five people dead and many seriously ill. On 16 August 1951, postman Leon Armunier was doing his rounds in the southern French town of Pont-Saint-Esprit when he was suddenly overwhelmed by nausea and wild hallucinations. "It was terrible. I had the sensation of shrinking and shrinking, and the fire and the serpents coiling around my arms," he remembers. Leon, now 87, fell off his bike and was taken to the hospital in Avignon. Over the coming days, dozens of other people in the town fell prey to similar symptoms. Doctors at the time concluded that bread at one of the town's bakeries had become contaminated by ergot, a poisonous fungus that occurs naturally on rye. That view remained largely unchallenged until 2009, when an American investigative journalist, Hank Albarelli, revealed a CIA document labelled: "Re: Pont-Saint-Esprit and F.Olson Files. SO Span/France Operation file, inclusive Olson. Intel files. Hand carry to Belin - tell him to see to it that these are buried." F. Olson is Frank Olson, a CIA scientist who, at the time of the Pont St Esprit incident, led research for the agency into the drug LSD. David Belin, meanwhile, was executive director of the Rockefeller Commission created by the White House in 1975 to investigate abuses carried out worldwide by the CIA. Albarelli believes the Pont-Saint-Esprit and F. Olson Files, mentioned in the document, would show - if they had not been "buried" - that the CIA was experimenting on the townspeople, by dosing them with LSD.
Note: Frank Olson later had his drink spiked with LSD and allegedly committed suicide shortly thereafter. Yet many believe he was "suicided" as he was having misgivings about his involvement in this program and considering spilling the beans, as reported in this news article. For an overview of CIA mind-control experimentation, click here.
After 10 years of marriage, Ree, 42, and her husband were ready to call it quits. Then a friend suggested that they try the illegal drug MDMA, popularly known as Ecstasy or Molly. For Ree ... the answer was an "immediate no." Six months later, after reading "How to Change Your Mind," the best-selling book by Michael Pollan that details his transformative experience with psychedelics, Ree reconsidered. And that's how they found themselves in a secluded area of Utah at a large, rented house with a beautiful view of the mountains to trip on MDMA with five other couples. During their first trip on MDMA, Ree said she and her husband tearfully discussed things they had trouble speaking about for the last decade: How his emotional withdrawal had affected her self-esteem, and how sorry she was that she had continually pushed him to open up without understanding the pain he held inside. "My husband started sharing with me for the first time all these thoughts and emotions," Ree said. "It was him without the walls," she added. They also cuddled in bed for hours, skin to skin, describing all the things they loved about one another. "For a person who has always had body image issues, to allow him to touch me – touch my stomach, the part of me I don't love, was incredibly healing," she said. They continued using MDMA about twice a year to help them have difficult conversations. They both started seeing therapists. Now, about three years after they first tried MDMA ... they no longer need the drug to speak openly with one another.
In the last 10 years, psychedelic drugs like LSD, magic mushrooms, DMT, a host of "plant medicines" – including ayahuasca, iboga, salvia, peyote – and related compounds like MDMA and ketamine have begun to lose much of their 1960s-driven stigma. Promising clinical trials suggest that psychedelics may prove game-changing treatments for depression, PTSD and addiction. The response from the psychiatric community ... has been largely open-armed. The drugs may well mark the field's first paradigm shift since SSRIs in the 1980s. In 2017, for example, the US Food and Drug Administration designated MDMA a "breakthrough therapy", which meant it would be fast-tracked through to the second stage of Phase-3 trials. Psychedelics remain Schedule-1 drugs federally in the US and Class-A in the UK, but rules are relaxing. This wave of psychedelic enthusiasm in psychiatry isn't the first. They were originally heralded as wonder drugs in the 1950s. Across some 6,000 studies on over 40,000 patients, psychedelics were tried as experimental treatments for an extraordinary range of conditions: alcoholism, depression, schizophrenia, criminal recidivism, childhood autism. And the results were promising. From as little as a single LSD session, studies suggested that the drug relieved problem drinking for 59% of alcoholic participants. Experimenting with lower, so-called "psycholytic" doses, many therapists were amazed by LSD's power as an adjunct to talking therapy.
Stuck indoors during the peak of COVID lockdown, science journalist Rachel Nuwer found herself at a professional crossroads. She had already published a nonfiction book on the dark world of wildlife trafficking and was looking for her next subject. A moment of clarity came at a surprising time. She and her partner, at home with nothing much to do, ingested MDMA. MDMA, also known as ecstasy or molly, is illegal. It is listed as a Schedule 1 drug by the U.S. federal government (the same group as marijuana and psilocybin, or magic mushrooms). A growing body of academic research has suggested potential benefits of MDMA beyond the recreational ecstasy some partygoers are familiar with. One study found that MDMA-enhanced therapy dramatically reduced PTSD symptoms. Another showed that psychedelics like MDMA could reopen so-called critical periods of time when brains are especially impressionable and open to learning. A scientific case study profiled a former white supremacist who reformed his extremist views after taking MDMA. Nuwer experienced similar clarity while on the drug. Her new book, "I Feel Love: MDMA and the Quest for Connection in a Fractured World," is the result of her epiphany. She explores the history and potential of the so-called love drug.
Note: Read more about the healing potentials of mind-altering drugs. Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.
After three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, C. J. Hardin wound up hiding from the world. He had tried almost all the accepted treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder. “Nothing worked for me,” said Mr. Hardin. Then, in 2013, he joined a small drug trial testing whether PTSD could be treated with MDMA, the illegal party drug better known as Ecstasy. “It changed my life,” he said. “It allowed me to see my trauma without fear or hesitation and finally process things and move forward.” Based on promising results like Mr. Hardin’s, the Food and Drug Administration gave permission Tuesday for large-scale, Phase 3 clinical trials of the drug - a final step before the possible approval of Ecstasy as a prescription drug. The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, a small nonprofit created in 1985 ... sponsored six Phase 2 studies treating a total of 130 PTSD patients. Two trials ... focused on treating combat veterans, sexual assault victims, and police and firefighters with PTSD who had not responded to traditional prescription drugs or psychotherapy. Patients had, on average, struggled with symptoms for 17 years. After three doses of MDMA administered under a psychiatrist’s guidance, the patients reported a 56 percent decrease of severity of symptoms on average, one study found. By the end of the study, two-thirds no longer met the criteria for having PTSD. Follow-up examinations found that improvements lasted more than a year after therapy.
Note: Read more about how MDMA has been found effective for treating PTSD in a therapeutic context. This FDA approval to begin Phase 3 clinical trials of MDMA suggests that the healing potentials of mind-altering drugs are gaining mainstream scientific credibility.
Johns Hopkins Medicine announced the launch of the Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research, to study compounds like LSD and psilocybin for a range of mental health problems, including anorexia, addiction and depression. The center is the first of its kind in the country, established with $17 million in commitments from wealthy private donors and a foundation. The centers at Johns Hopkins and Imperial College give “psychedelic medicine,” as some call it, a long-sought foothold in the scientific establishment. Since the early 2000s, several scientists have been exploring the potential of psychedelics and other recreational drugs for psychiatric problems, and their early reports have been tantalizing. The emergence of depression treatment with the anesthetic and club drug ketamine and related compounds, which cause out-of-body sensations, also has piqued interest in mind-altering agents as aids to therapy. The ... funding will help clarify which drugs help which patients. Roland Griffiths, a neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins who will direct the new center ... said the new funds will cover six full-time faculty, five postdoctoral scientists and the costs of running trials. Among the first of those trials are a test of psilocybin for anorexia nervosa and of psilocybin for psychological distress and cognitive impairment in early Alzheimer’s disease. “The one that’s crying out to be done is for opiate-use disorder, and we also plan to look at that,” Dr. Griffiths said.
Note: Learn about the fascinating man who is bankrolling a significant portion of this new center in this New York Times article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on mind-altering drugs from reliable major media sources.
The brew is so potent that practitioners report not only powerful hallucinations, but near-death experiences, contact with higher-dimensional beings, and life-transforming voyages through alternative realities. Often before throwing up, or having trouble at the other end. Now, scientists have gleaned deep insights of their own by monitoring the brain on DMT, or dimethyltryptamine, the psychedelic compound found in Psychotria viridis, the flowering shrub that is mashed up and boiled in the Amazonian drink, ayahuasca. The recordings reveal a profound impact across the brain, particularly in areas that are highly evolved in humans and instrumental in planning, language, memory, complex decision-making and imagination. The regions from which we conjure reality become hyperconnected, with communication more chaotic, fluid and flexible. "It is incredibly potent," said Robin Carhart-Harris, a professor of neurology and psychiatry. "People describe leaving this world and breaking through into another that is incredibly immersive and richly complex, sometimes being populated by other beings that they feel might hold special power over them, like gods." He added: "DMT breaks down the basic networks of the brain, causing them to become less distinct from each other. The major rhythms of the brain – that serve a largely inhibitory, constraining function – break down, and in concert, brain activity becomes more entropic or information-rich."
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