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Revealing News For a Better World

Mind-Altering Drugs News Stories
Excerpts of Key Mind-Altering Drugs News Stories in Major Media


Below are highly revealing excerpts of important mind-altering drugs news stories reported in the media that suggest a major cover-up. Links are provided to the full stories on their major media websites. If any link fails to function, read this webpage. These mind-altering drugs news stories are listed by date posted to this webpage. You can explore the same articles listed by order of importance or by article date. By choosing to educate ourselves on these important issues and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.

Note: This comprehensive list of mind-altering drugs news stories is usually updated once a week. Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.


How a trip on magic mushrooms helped decriminalize psychedelic plants in a California city
2019-06-22, Los Angeles Times
Posted: 2019-07-28 18:15:50
https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-oakland-decriminalize-mushrooms-...

Carlos Plazola locked himself in a bedroom while his cousin stood guard. For five hours, he tripped on magic mushrooms. He ingested 5 grams - a heady amount that connoisseurs call the “heroic dose.” It was Plazola’s first time using the mushrooms, which contain the naturally occurring hallucinogen psilocybin. He started having epiphanies, one right after the other, like lightning bolts. “I was making connections that I had never made in terms of my understanding of what we are, what the cosmos are, why we’re here, where we’re going,” Plazola said. That mushroom trip last October by Plazola, the well-connected onetime chief of staff of a former Oakland City Council president, helped make Oakland the first city in California and the second in the nation to effectively decriminalize magic mushrooms. In May, Denver became the first city in the nation to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms. In Oakland ... the City Council on June 4 approved its ordinance unanimously, with little pushback. Oakland even went a step further by decriminalizing not just mushrooms but also a range of other psychoactive plants and compounds including peyote, iboga and ayahuasca. The measure ... does not actually legalize natural psychedelics, which remain illegal under state and federal law. Instead, it declares the arrest and investigation of adults for using, possessing, growing or distributing plant-based hallucinogens to be among the lowest priorities for local police and restricts the use of city funds to go after users.

Note: Forbes recently published an excellent article clearing up the hype about some aspects of this sensitive subject. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on mind-altering drugs from reliable major media sources.


Magic mushrooms could replace antidepressants within five years, says new psychedelic research centre
2019-07-08, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2019-07-28 18:14:02
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/magic-mushroom-depression-psychedel...

Hallucination-inducing drugs like magic mushrooms could be about to break big pharma’s stranglehold on the hugely lucrative market for antidepressants, according to the head of the world’s first centre for psychedelic research. Antidepressant prescriptions have doubled in England in a decade with around seven million adults taking the drugs, and the global market is predicted to be worth $15.9bn (Ł12.5bn) by 2023. At Imperial College London, Dr Robin Carhart-Harris is leading one of the first trials to test how therapy using psilocybin mushrooms, which are currently banned in the UK, compares to leading antidepressants. While he won’t prejudge the results of the study, he says participants describe a cathartic emotional “release” with psilocybin therapy – the polar opposite of antidepressants, which patients complain leave their emotions, whether positive or negative, “blunted”. It is the first of many studies planned under the banner of the new Centre for Psychedelic Research at London’s Imperial College. Dr James Rucker is another of those researching the potential benefits of psychedelics ... at King’s College London. The King’s team are launching two trials, one looking at whether psilocybin therapy can help people whose depression is resistant to treatment with conventional antidepressants. He says it was “possible” the drug could be licensed in five years.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on mind-altering drugs from reliable major media sources.


Psychedelics, long ignored by scientists, seeing resurgence in medical research
2019-06-01, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2019-06-28 01:48:23
https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Psychedelics-long-ignored-by-scie...

UCSF psychiatrist Brian Anderson is studying an experimental therapy to help long-term AIDS survivors ... who are feeling sad and demoralized. In a clinic outfitted with a comfortable couch, soft lighting, throw pillows and blankets, the participants of his study are given psilocybin, the hallucinogenic compound found in magic mushrooms. The results were compelling enough that he’s planning a second study. Anderson’s work is part of a resurgence in psychedelic study that has been ... fueling grassroots efforts around the country to decriminalize use of certain psychedelic drugs. Statewide measures are being discussed in California and Oregon. The decriminalization efforts are focused on natural psychedelics — mushrooms, along with herbs, cacti and other plants from which hallucinogenic compounds can be extracted. Though several studies in the first half of the 20th century had shown promise in using psychedelics for treatment of mental health and neurological disorders, the drugs were broadly maligned in the 1960s and ’70s. More recently, microdosing — the practice taking small, carefully controlled amounts of a psychedelic — has taken off among Silicon Valley techies and university students who believe it boosts productivity and creativity. Almost all studies at the moment rely on private donations for funding. Studies are still limited, but they’re happening at universities around the country. At Johns Hopkins, Johnson and his colleagues reported about an 80% success rate in using psilocybin to help people quit smoking in one small study. Research out of UCLA has found that psilocybin may help cancer patients with depression and anxiety.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on studies of psychedelics from reliable major media sources.


FDA designates MDMA as 'breakthrough therapy' for PTSD
2017-08-31, CBS News
Posted: 2019-06-17 19:08:44
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/fda-designates-mdma-as-breakthrough-therapy-for-...

After years of lobbying and experimental research, the FDA has granted "breakthrough therapy" status for the drug MDMA as a potential treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. The designation does not mean the drug is FDA-approved, but it does ease the way for clinical trials to test its safety and effectiveness in patients with PTSD. The non-profit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), which has been advocating and fundraising for MDMA research for three decades, announced the FDA's designation. More commonly known as its street names ecstasy or Molly, MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine) is a psychoactive drug that produces feelings of energy and euphoria, often followed by an emotional crash. In recent years, some in the scientific community have suggested it could have medical benefits, as well. In previous phases of clinical trials, the drug was shown to offer significant relief to sufferers of PTSD, a mental health disorder characterized by nightmares or flashbacks and heightened anxiety or depression after experiencing or witnessing a terrifying event. In phase 2 clinical trials sponsored by MAPS, 61 percent of the 107 participants with chronic, treatment-resistant PTSD no longer had the disorder after two months of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy treatment. At a 12-month follow up, 68 percent no longer had PTSD. The organization expects to begin phase 3 trials with a larger group of participants next year.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on mind-altering drugs from reliable major media sources.


Investors are starting to bet big on psychedelic medicine
2019-03-23, CNBC News
Posted: 2019-04-29 16:12:01
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/27/psychedelic-medicine-start-ups-vet-ketamine-p...

Psychedelic medicine is having a moment. Just weeks after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Johnson & Johnson’s ketamine-like nasal spray for depression, a group of European technology investors ... got together for the largest-ever private financing round for a psychedelic medicine biotech company, ATAI. Psychedelic medicine involves research and investigations into mind-altering substances to treat mental illnesses including addiction, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. After recreational use of psychedelics became popular in the 1960s, the U.S. government classified most of them “drugs of abuse” with no real medical value. However, recent clinical studies show mounting evidence that some psychedelics can help patients with certain mental illnesses, either in combination with traditional therapies or in cases where nothing else has worked. Now health and technology investors are paying attention. German company ATAI Life Sciences announced on Tuesday that it has raised more than $40 million in new financing. The round valued the company at $240 million, according to a person familiar, making it both the biggest round and the most valuable company in the young space. ATAI is currently funding clinical trials for what it refers to as “formerly stigmatized compounds,” including psilocybin, the active compound in psychedelic mushrooms, and arketamine, a different variant of ketamine from the one Johnson & Johnson researched, as potential treatments for depression.

Note: Articles like this suggest that the healing potentials of mind-altering drugs are gaining mainstream scientific credibility.


Study: Patients Find More Relief In Marijuana's Psychoactive Compound THC Than In CBD
2019-02-27, Forbes
Posted: 2019-03-11 18:02:48
https://www.forbes.com/sites/javierhasse/2019/02/27/study-patients-find-more-...

CBD, the non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis, hemp and hops, has been getting a lot of attention from the media recently. On the other hand, THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis that makes people feel “high” or “stoned,” is often overlooked (and sometimes even looked down on) when discussing marijuana’s medical potential. However, a new study ... published on the Scientific Reports journal on Tuesday, revealed that THC exhibited the “strongest correlation with therapeutic relief, compared to the more socially acceptable chemical found in cannabis, CBD (cannabinol).” Cannabinoid content, and especially THC content, came out as the main factor for optimizing symptom relief, when tested for a wide variety of health conditions. [Study co-author Jacob Miguel] Vigil explained the results derived from the observation of real-time data from Releaf App, which he qualified as “the largest database of its kind in our country.” Using the app, patients reported the results and effects of their actual cannabis use. The researchers discovered cannabis is more effective for the treatment of mental symptoms like agitation, irritability, anxiety, depression, excessive appetite, insomnia, loss of appetite, nausea, gastrointestinal pain, stress and tremors, than it is in the treatment of physical ailments. Despite the conventional wisdom ... that only CBD has medical benefits while THC merely makes one high, our results suggest that THC may be more important than CBD in generating therapeutic benefits.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on health and the healing potentials of mind-altering drugs.


MDMA to be Used in Trauma Treatment in Israel and U.S. May Not be Far Behind
2019-02-11, Newsweek
Posted: 2019-03-04 13:51:43
https://www.newsweek.com/mdma-be-used-trauma-treatment-israel-and-us-may-not-...

MDMA, the principal ingredient in the party drug ecstasy, is about to give a lifeline to some of the worst sufferers of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in Israel. The U.S. could be just years behind in launching similar clinical treatments using the substance. Israel’s Ministry of Health has approved the use of MDMA, a psychoactive drug, for use on dozens of patients. While the drug is still on the country’s law books as dangerous for recreational use, it is now being administered as treatment for compassionate use. In compassionate cases the drug will be made available to patients outside of clinical trials if they have not responded sufficiently to other medications or treatments. MDMA makes people feel euphoric, a sensation that made its use synonymous with rave culture and EDM (Electronic Dance Music), because it floods the body with serotonin. Serotonin is produced by nerve cells. When levels are low it can lead to depression and disrupt other physiological processes. The launching of the new Israeli initiative is a direct result of groundbreaking research in the U.S. The Middle Eastern nation approved the program after sending a representative to the California-based Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) for training. MDMA has been illegal in the U.S. since 1985 but the findings of clinical trials, ongoing with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval since 2001, have shown that the drug enhances the treatment of PTSD in a clinical setting.

Note: Read also a CBC article titled "How psychedelic drugs are changing lives and transforming psychiatry." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing mind altering drugs news articles from reliable major media sources.


‘It can rewire people’s brains’: how traumatised veterans turned to underground MDMA therapy
2018-11-17, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2018-11-26 07:19:05
https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/nov/18/it-can-rewire-peoples-brains-how...

Dead Dog on the Left isn’t just a documentary about the use of ecstasy in treating PTSD, it’s a story of the lengths one former marine will go to for friendship. [Tyler] McCourry and [Nigel] Flanigan are the subjects of [the] mini-documentary taken from a forthcoming feature film, MDMA the Movie, which explores the history of the so-called “party drug” more popularly known as ecstasy, its use in therapy, and harm reduction. Both films are directed by Emanuel Sferios. His protagonists may have survived the Iraq war, but only barely. Suicidal thoughts have stalked them both. In May 2012 McCourry did his first [MDMA-assisted psychotherapy] session ... lying in bed, flanked by two therapists. At the beginning of the session he was given a 75mg dose of MDMA. “During those eight hours you’re addressing the most challenging situations in your life,” he says. “It feels very exhausting, like it was some of the most work you’ve ever done in one day.” McCourry calls those trials, now completed, “a transformation of the psyche”. MDMA-assisted psychotherapy has “breakthrough therapy” designation by the FDA. “Since the MDMA therapy I’m able to recognise when something comes up that I need to talk about,” [McCourry] says. McCourry hopes that the therapy will be adopted by the Veterans Administration and Department of Defense. “If you can cure PTSD after three sessions of MDMA therapy then you don’t have to provide a veteran with medications for the rest of their life and talk therapy once a month.”

Note: A touching 26-documentary on this case is available at the above link. Articles like this suggest that the healing potentials of mind-altering drugs are gaining mainstream scientific credibility.


MDMA helps people cooperate and rebuild trust, study shows
2018-11-19, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2018-11-26 07:16:21
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/mdma-ecstasy-drug-ptsd-mental-healt...

MDMA, the active ingredient of ecstasy pills, makes people more inclined to cooperate on tasks and quicker to rebuild trust, according to researchers investigating its use in treating psychological disorders. Scans reveal it increases activity in parts of the brain linked to empathy and social behaviour that helps interpret other people’s beliefs and intentions, researchers from King’s College London said. This could make it a useful addition to psychotherapy sessions and the drug is currently undergoing medical trials to assess its use in supporting treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). “Understanding the brain activity underlying social behaviour could help identify what goes wrong in psychiatric conditions,” said Professor Mitul Mehta from the King’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN). While it is possible that making users more helpful and collaborative could lead to them being exploited, Professor Mehta and his team found the drug did not make users gullible. During the study ... participants on MDMA were less likely to cheat their partners than those on the placebo. Where they had previously been cheated ... subjects on MDMA were as likely to act selfishly as those on a placebo, however they were quicker to trust these partners again after a run of cooperation. This was backed up with patterns of brain activity.

Note: The study referenced by this article is available here. Articles like this suggest that the healing potentials of mind-altering drugs are gaining mainstream scientific credibility.


Magic mushrooms for depression? FDA gives treatment ‘breakthrough’ status
2018-11-05, Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2018-11-13 05:01:02
https://www.ajc.com/news/health-med-fit-science/magic-mushrooms-for-depressio...

This week, life sciences company COMPASS Pathways announced that it has received “Breakthrough Therapy” designation from the United States Food and Drug Administration for its psilocybin therapy aimed at individuals with treatment-resistant depression. Psilocybin, the main active ingredient in psychedelic mushrooms ... can alter one’s perception, thoughts and feelings or cause hallucinations. Researchers from Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the U.S. have been studying the therapy for many years. In fact, a study published in January found that the psychoactive compound helped revive emotional responsiveness in patients with treatment-resistant depression. Another showed that patients’ mental benefits after two psilocybin treatments lasted for weeks. COMPASS Pathways will begin running the first large-scale psilocybin clinical trial for treatment-resistant depression in Europe and North America within the next two years. "This is great news for patients,” COMPASS executive chairman George Goldsmith said. “We are excited to be taking this work forward with our clinical trial. The FDA will be working closely with us to expedite the development process and increase the chances of getting this treatment to people suffering with depression as quickly as possible.” While treatments such as antidepressants and psychotherapy exist, those with severe, treatment-resistant depression ... have trouble finding help. Approximately 100 million around the globe are affected by such treatment-resistant depression.

Note: In 2017, the psychoactive drug MDMA similarly received a "Breakthrough Therapy" designation from the FDA for the promise it shows in treating PTSD. Articles like this suggest that the healing potentials of mind-altering drugs are gaining mainstream scientific credibility.


MDMA, the main ingredient in ecstasy, could be key in helping veterans with PTSD
2018-09-18,
Posted: 2018-10-08 04:14:10
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/mdma-the-main-ingredient-in-ecstasy-could-be-key...

It's the little things that Jon Lubecky appreciates now, like playing a board game with his family. But it wasn't always that way for the former Army sniper, who came home in 2006 after nearly a year in Iraq with a traumatic brain injury from a mortar attack and a nasty case of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Traditional treatments, including the use of antidepressants like Zoloft, were useless. Over three sessions, Lubecky spent six to eight hours under the influence of MDMA, the active ingredient in ecstasy. Finally, Lubecky was able to talk about his trauma and thus make progress dealing with it. Rick Doblin runs the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, or MAPS, a non-profit advocating for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. "It starts by reducing activity in the amygdala, which is the fear-processing part of the brain, so that people's fearful emotions linked to trauma can be more easily recalled and processed," Doblin said. Once the drug produces feelings of safety, veterans can then access memories which had been crippling before. While one in three veterans found pills like Zoloft and Paxil effective in treating their PTSD, a study including 24 veterans showed PTSD was eliminated in 68 percent of vets treated with MDMA-assisted therapy and significantly reduced in the other 32 percent. MDMA-assisted therapy is now about to begin its third phase of FDA testing. If all goes well, MDMA will be available by prescription as early as 2021.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on mind-altering drugs.


Psychedelic Mushrooms Are Closer to Medicinal Use
2018-10-03, New York Times
Posted: 2018-10-08 04:12:35
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/03/science/magic-mushrooms-psilocybin-schedul...

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.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on mind-altering drugs.


Octopuses Get Strangely Cuddly On The Mood Drug Ecstasy
2018-09-20, NPR
Posted: 2018-09-30 21:54:33
https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/09/20/648788149/octopuses-get-...

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.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Ending America's War on Drugs Would Finally Unleash the Therapeutic Potential of Psychedelics
2018-05-30, Time
Posted: 2018-07-09 00:11:35
http://time.com/5295544/war-on-drugs-ptsd-mdma-rick-doblin/

It was only after U.S. veteran Jonathan Lubecky pulled the trigger on a loaded gun aimed at his head and it misfired that he finally decided to seek help. He had tried to commit suicide five times after struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The only two drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration for PTSD, Zoloft and Paxil ... didn’t work for combat-related PTSD. Out of desperation, he volunteered as a subject in an experimental study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for chronic, treatment-resistant PTSD. The study was sponsored by the ... Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), and funded entirely by private donations. After his treatment with MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, Lubecky managed to heal from his PTSD to the point that he became National Veterans Director for Senator Rand Paul’s 2016 presidential primary campaign. His recovery is not unusual. The Lancet Psychiatry published a scientific paper about the study Lubecky volunteered for; it reported that two-thirds of the 26 veterans, firefighters and police officers treated no longer qualified for a diagnosis of PTSD one month after their second MDMA session, with their reduction of PTSD symptoms lasting over time. Drug prohibition has for decades delayed medical research into the healing properties of Schedule 1 drugs. Now that this research is finally being conducted, we’re learning that enormous suffering and many suicides could have been prevented over these decades.

Note: The above was written by MAPS founder Rick Doblin. Read more about how MDMA, also known as 'ecstasy,' has been found to be effective for treating PTSD in a therapeutic context. Articles like this suggest that the healing potentials of mind-altering drugs are gaining mainstream scientific credibility.


Canada becomes second nation in the world to legalize marijuana
2018-06-20, CNN News
Posted: 2018-06-25 23:26:58
https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/20/health/canada-legalizes-marijuana/index.html

Recreational marijuana use will soon be legal in Canada after the Senate passed a "historic" bill. Canada is only the second country in the world - and the first G7 nation - to implement legislation to permit a nationwide marijuana market. In the neighboring US, nine states and the District of Columbia now allow for recreational marijuana use, and 30 allow for medical use. The Cannabis Act, stems from a campaign pledge of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to keep marijuana away from underage users and reduce related crime. Uruguay was the first country to legalize marijuana's production, sale and consumption in December 2013. The justice minister, Jody Wilson-Raybould, ... applauded the vote. "This is an historic milestone for progressive policy in Canada," she tweeted. "This legislation will help protect our youth from the risks of cannabis while keeping profits out of the hands of criminals and organized crime." Once the bill is formally approved, adults will be able to carry and share up to 30 grams of legal marijuana in public. They also will be allowed to cultivate up to four plants in their households. However, stringent rules will still govern the purchase and use of marijuana. Consumers are expected to purchase marijuana from [regulated] retailers. Marijuana will also not be sold in the same location as alcohol or tobacco. The Canadian government has also implemented changes to their impaired driving laws, to address repercussions for driving under the influence of cannabis.

Note: In the US, more people are arrested for marijuana use than for all violent crimes combined.


A Strait-Laced Writer Explores Psychedelics, and Leaves the Door of Perception Ajar
2018-05-14, New York Times
Posted: 2018-05-21 19:31:19
https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/05/14/books/review-how-to-change-your-mind-ps...

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.


The New Science of Psychedelics
2018-05-03, Wall Street Journal
Posted: 2018-05-15 06:48:34
https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-new-science-of-psychedelics-1525360091

Recent trials of psilocybin, a close pharmacological cousin to LSD, have demonstrated that a single guided psychedelic session can alleviate depression when drugs like Prozac have failed; can help alcoholics and smokers to break the grip of a lifelong habit; and can help cancer patients deal with their “existential distress” at the prospect of dying. At the same time, studies imaging the brains of people on psychedelics have opened a new window onto the study of consciousness, as well as the nature of the self and spiritual experience. Perhaps the most significant new evidence for the therapeutic value of psychedelics arrived in a pair of phase 2 trials (conducted at Johns Hopkins and NYU and published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology in 2016) in which a single high dose of psilocybin was administered to cancer patients struggling with depression, anxiety and the fear of death or recurrence. Eighty percent of the Hopkins cancer patients who received psilocybin showed clinically significant reductions in standard measures of anxiety and depression, an effect that endured for at least six months after their session. Results at NYU were similar. Curiously, the degree to which symptoms decreased in both trials correlated with the intensity of the “mystical experience” that volunteers reported, a common occurrence during a high-dose psychedelic session. Few if any psychiatric interventions for anxiety and depression have ever demonstrated such dramatic and sustained results.

Note: This entire article by best-selling author Michael Pollan is filled with the results of excellent studies in this exciting new field. If the above link fails, here is an alternative link. Articles like this suggest that the healing potentials of mind-altering drugs are gaining mainstream scientific credibility.


Active ingredient in ecstasy may help veterans with PTSD, study finds
2018-05-01, CNN News
Posted: 2018-05-08 00:42:32
https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/01/health/mdma-psychotherapy-ptsd-study/

MDMA - the active ingredient in the banned street drug ecstasy - is safe and enhances the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder when administered during psychotherapy, according to a new clinical trial. The US Food and Drug Administration-approved ... study included just 26 patients, all of them veterans, firefighters and police officers who developed PTSD as a result of trauma in the line of duty. PTSD ... affects about 8 million American in any given year. Continuing symptoms, including flashbacks and frightening thoughts, may lead to substance abuse, unemployment, family disruption and even suicide. Up to 72% of veterans who receive psychotherapy retain their PTSD diagnosis and frequently drop out of their treatment programs. "We only included people who had received prior treatment but still had clinically significant PTSD," [Dr. Michael C. Mithoefer, lead author of the study] said. Participants received ... about 13 hours of non-drug psychotherapy plus two eight-hour sessions of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. Participants were randomly assigned to receive MDMA (orally) in one dose of either 30, 75 or 125 milligrams for each of the two MDMA-assisted psychotherapy sessions. One month after the second MDMA session, 68% of patients in the two higher-dose groups no longer qualified for a diagnosis of PTSD. One year later, 67% of all participants no longer qualified for a diagnosis of PTSD. Those participants who still met the criteria for PTSD experienced a reduction in symptoms, the researchers noted.

Note: Watch an engaging interview with one of the participants of the study at the link above. Read more about how MDMA has been found to be effective for treating PTSD in a therapeutic context. Articles like this suggest that the healing potentials of mind-altering drugs are gaining mainstream scientific credibility.


Anxiety Relief Without The High? New Studies On CBD, A Cannabis Extract
2018-04-23, NPR
Posted: 2018-04-29 20:15:05
https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/04/23/604307015/anxiety-relief...

As more states legalize marijuana, there's growing interest in a cannabis extract — cannabidiol, also known as CBD. It's marketed as a compound that can help relieve anxiety - and, perhaps, help ease aches and pains, too. CBD doesn't have the same mind-altering effects as marijuana, since it does not contain THC, the psychoactive component of the plant. "There's good evidence to suggest that CBD could be an effective treatment of anxiety and addiction" and other disorders, says Dr. Esther Blessing, a psychiatrist and researcher at New York University. "But we need clinical trials." Small, short-term human studies ... suggest CBD exhibits anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety properties. These preliminary findings piqued Blessing's interest. For instance, she points to a 2011 study of a few dozen people, some of whom had social anxiety disorder, who were asked to speak in front of a large audience. Researchers compared anxiety levels in people after they took CBD, compared to those who got the placebo or nothing at all. "People who took CBD reported significantly less anxiety" compared to those who got the placebo, Blessing says. Though CBD supplements are widely available for sale, a legal murkiness surrounds marijuana extracts. Even if you live in a state where marijuana use is legal, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration still classifies the CBD extract as a Schedule 1 substance — the DEA's most restricted category.

Note: Read more about the use of CBD to treat epilepsy and other serious conditions. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources.


Why Psychedelic Psychotherapy Works
2018-03-01, Optimist Daily
Posted: 2018-03-18 17:08:59
https://www.optimistdaily.com/2018/03/why-psychedelic-psychotherapy-works/

In recent years, rigorous research has been conducted on entheogens, such as ayahuasca, LSD, mescaline and psilocybin, and on the empathogen Ecstasy. The goal is to evaluate their effects on addiction, cluster headaches, depression, trauma, cancer, epilepsy, death and dying, as well as to explore their value in the study of consciousness. Psilocybin - or magic mushrooms - have been used in traditional healing rituals for thousands of years. However, for more than 40 years it has been illegal in the U.S. But recent findings are tearing down the barriers surrounding psychedelic research, as it has been clinically shown that they have the ability to ease depression and soothe anxiety in patients dealing with serious illness and impending death. Two separate studies discovered that a single, moderate-to-large dose of psilocybin was able to help alleviate profound distress among cancer patients. Researchers know “how,” but they do not know “why,” psilocybin has worked in these settings. One theory is that psilocybin interrupts the circuitry of self-absorbed thinking that is so pronounced in depressed people, making way for a mystical experience. Neuro-imaging studies ... suggest that the positive effects of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy are explained by changes in something in the brain called “the default mode network.” It turns out that this network is hyperactive in depression. Interestingly, in both meditation and also with psilocybin this network becomes quiescent.

Note: See an article in the UK's Independent showing remarkable results from these studies. Learn more about the healing potentials of mind-altering drugs now being explored by the scientific community.


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