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Category Archives: Psychedelics

Your Brain on Drugs: Five Questions for David Presti – CALIFORNIA

Posted: March 21, 2017 at 12:04 pm

Your Brain on Drugs: Five Questions for David Presti
CALIFORNIA
In the early days of modern psychedelic science, in the 1950s and '60s, there were research projects at major medical centers investigating the therapeutic utility of psychedelics. Then everything shut down, as a result of the complicated impact these

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Your Brain on Drugs: Five Questions for David Presti – CALIFORNIA

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With ‘A Good Trip,’ Shane Mauss finds the intersection of comedy and psychedelics – The Daily Dot

Posted: at 12:04 pm

Shane Mauss doesnt want to be labeled the psychedelic comic, but he does want you to have a good trip.

In fact, hes made a whole tourabout it, called A Good Trip. The comedian has done themed shows that dovetail with science in the past, but in the last year or so he started doing a psychedelic-themed show to take a break from comedy clubs. And he found a new audience.

At a Good Trip stopnestled atSouth by Southwest,Mauss talked about the stigma of psychedelics, and how Richard Nixon criminalized them when he was president. He discussed human beings long history with psychedelics, how shamans used to be the leaders, and how certain drugs are being used to treat depression and PTSD now. He claims hes done DMT more than 100 times.

I believe Im doing science, he explained during the set. Thats probably incorrect.

Hes at least doing his research. Mauss started working with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) on A Good Trip. The show used to be called This Is Your Shane on Drugs, but it gave off the wrong vibe. Mauss aims not to advocate drug use, but to understand the brain and open up perception.

I do think our brain operates like the movie Inside Out, in a way, he told the Daily Dot. I try to understand how that works. I think ideas take shape in our heads and form these lives that run through these different worlds of simulation. All of this sounds kind of crazy, but I feel like Ive seen this on DMT.

Mauss speaks about DMT, a psychedelic compound thats been labeled the spirit molecule, in A Good Trip. Hes seen things on DMT he has a really hard time explaining in a scientific way, which is what I aim to do. Mauss has gone from super-duper atheist to agnostic after the experience. The insight hes gotten from the trips isnt of the I-saw-the-truth variety; hes learned more about how the brain works, and how powerful it is.

With this pivot, Mauss says he doesnt feel attached to jokes anymore. A Good Trip is more about ideas than setups and punchlines. Though he says he wasnt that happy with his 2013 Netflix special Mating Season, he tried to introduce bigger ideas through a series of dick jokes. His 2015 special My Big Break, which sprung from a hiking accident in which Mauss broke his feet, took it a step further. (He picked up a lot of foot injury fans with that special.) With A Good Trip, Mauss finally feels in his element, though he cautions, I dont think people should do as many psychedelics as I do.

Mauss isnt the first comedian to talk about psychedelics, of course. Bill Hicks made it a major part of his set, and contemporary comedians like Joe Rogan, Doug Stanhope, and Adrienne Airhart have talked about their experiences. But with A Good Trip, hes acting as a guide for the curious, a barometer for those who fear what psychedelics might do to them. Hes an advocate for harm reduction, and the use of psychedelics in clinical settings. Mauss says his trips have made him a better comedian, too.

Comedy is about looking at life in a different way, he says. Psychedelics just force a different perception on you.

Mauss also addresses the science of the brain on his popular podcast, Here We Are. His interests are bigger than doses: cognitive biases, self-delusion, simulation theory. Hes a big fan of Yuval Noah Hararis Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind.

Mauss had no opener at his show, he just distributed some cases of Lone Star beer and jumped in. By upending expectations of what a comedy show is, Mauss is quietly getting fans to think about comedy differently, to open up their own perceptions not just about drugs, but the world and themselves. And hes bringing his show to places in America where opinions about mind-altering drugs might not be so plentiful, like Minot, North Dakota. But he thinks comedy is heading toward a place where people are more genuine.

If you can shake up peoples perception a little bit, he says. I think all of us, including myself, just buys into their own ideas about life and beliefs just way, way too much.

Mauss Good Trip tour runs through May. His Here We Are podcast is availableweekly viaiTunes.

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With ‘A Good Trip,’ Shane Mauss finds the intersection of comedy and psychedelics – The Daily Dot

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In-depth: Psychedelic drugs being researched in Bay Area to treat mental disorders – KRON4.com

Posted: March 19, 2017 at 4:37 pm

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SAN ANSELMO (KRON) Psychedelic drugs are being researched in the Bay Area for their potential to help people suffering from depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

KRON4s GabeSlate met with a woman taking psychedelics through an FDA-approved clinical trial and another who experimented by self-medicating.

Ayelet Waldman is a 52-year-old author and mother of four living in Berkeley. She recently turned to psychedelic drugs, seeking relief from her depression.

She recently turned to a psychedelic drug, seeking relief from her depression.

I was having all sorts of suicidal ideation, Waldman said. I was a nightmare to be around. I was sinking lower and lower and nothing else was working, none of the medications I have relied on all my life were working, and I needed to do something desperate and this is what I chose.

For one month, she took one-10th of a normal dose of LSD, also known as acid, every three days.

She said that microdosing saved her life and her marriage.

It catalyzed the end of my depression, Waldman said. I was nice to be around. I was fun to be around. My kids liked having me around.

Using psychedelic drugs for medical purposes is now getting attention from the federal government.

An FDA-approved clinical trial is going on right now in the Bay Area. Not for LSD, but for a different psychedelic, MDMA, also known as ecstasy or molly.

This is probably the most intense psychotherapy study ever performed, Psychiatrist Dr. Phil Wolfson said.

Dr. Wolfson, based in San Anselmo, is helping to conduct a clinical trial studying whether MDMA-assisted psychotherapy can help heal those affected by traumatic experiences.

We do I think a total of 20 sessions of psychotherapy per person, Dr. Wolfson said.

This trial is organized and privately funded by MAPS, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, based in Santa Cruz.

Veva Edelson is a breast cancer survivor who has suffered from debilitating anxiety and depression ever since the cancer went into remission.

I would wake up in the morning and just feel like a sense of dread, and I would think, How am I going to make it through this day? Edelson said.

To control the fear of the cancer returning, she tried different prescription drugs and natural remedies.

Nothing was working so she signed up for this study.

I really think it helped, it helped me to have more acceptance for things that have happened in my life, and I have more empathy for myself and others, Edelson said.

JulaneAndries is co-therapist of this clinical trial. She said the MDMA helps people open up who otherwise might not.

Your depression, your anxiety, you can talk about that, you can talk about what happened to you in childhood, without feeling fear and shame, Andries said.

Andries and Dr. Wolfson said all 18 of the subjects taking part in the study have benefited by the MDMA-assisted therapy without any side effects.

However, they dont want people who are suffering and have not found relief with prescription drugs to hear that and then seek out illegal street ecstasy, or molly, or any other psychedelic drug and self-medicate because you dont know what youre getting.

Researchers admit these drugs can be dangerous, but they believe the data will show if MDMA is taken safely under a doctors care, it has the potential to change the way mental disorders are treated.

This phase of the clinical trial is wrapping up next month and will begin the final phase in the summer.

The researchers say that will be the last hurdle before MDMA could become legal for medical use.

And they hope that will happen in 2021.

WEB LINKS AND MORE INFO:

Book A REALLY GOOD DAY by Ayelet Waldman

A revealing, courageous, fascinating and funny account of the authors experiment withmicrodosesof LSD in an effort to treat a debilitating mood disorder, of her quest to understand a misunderstood drug, and of her search for a really good day http://www.ayeletwaldman.com/

MAPS Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies Founded in 1986, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit research and educational organization that develops medical, legal, and cultural contexts for people to benefit from the careful uses of psychedelics and marijuana http://www.maps.org

MAPS Psychedelic Conference April 19-24, 2017 http://psychedelicscience.org/Oakland, California At Psychedelic Science 2017, the international scientific community will come together to share and discover new research into the benefits and risks of MDMA, LSD, psilocybin, ayahuasca, ketamine, ibogaine, medical marijuana, and more.

Book The Psychedelic Explorers Guidehttp://www.psychedelicexplorersguide.com

Dr. James Fadiman http://www.jamesfadiman.com &https://sites.google.com/view/microdosingpsychedelics/home

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In-depth: Psychedelic drugs being researched in Bay Area to treat mental disorders – KRON4.com

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Renowned Doctor Gabor Mate on Psychedelics and … – Alternet

Posted: March 17, 2017 at 7:29 am

Photo Credit: By Gabor Gastonyi (Clare Day) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

Editor’s Note: Gabor Mate says the “unconscious mind” can cause medical afflictions like cancer, addiction and trauma.In his speech at the Psychedelic Science 2013 conference, Mate rejects the assumption that the human mind and body are separate entities, and points to an inherant connection between psychological/environmental experiences andmedical afflictions. He contends that the war on drugs is actually a war on drug addicts, and speaks to the addiction cessation potential of psychedelic substances. He also discusses the potential ability of psychedelic substances, particularly ayahuasca, to reverse medical issues like cancer and addiction when coupled with therapy.The following is the transcript of Gabor Mate’s speech,”Psychedelics and Unlocking the Unconscious; From Cancer to Addiction,” which he delivered at the Psychedelic Science conference in Oakland Calif., on April 20, 2013.

My subject is the use of ayahuasca in the healing of all manner of medical conditions, from cancer to addiction. And you might say what can possibly a plant do to heal such dire and life-threatening medical problems? Well, of course, that all depends on the perspective through which we understand these problems.

Now, the medical perspective, the allopathic Western medical perspective in which I was trained is that, fundamentally, diseases are abnormalities that occur either due to external causes such as a bacterium or a toxin, or theyre accidental or due to bad luck, or their due to genetics. So, the causes are outside of the usual internal experiencethe emotional and psychological and spiritual lifeof the individual. These are biological events, so the medical assumption goes, and the causes are to be understood and the treatments are to be administered purely in a biological fashion.

Underlying that set of assumptions are two other assumptions. One is that you can separate the human body from the human mind, so what happens to us emotionally and psychologically has no significant impact on our health. Number two: that the individual is to be separated from the environment. So, what happens to me if I get cancer? That is just mypoor personal, pure personal, misfortune, or maybe because I did the wrong things like smoked cigarettes. But, that my cancer might have something to do with the lifelong interaction which Ive engaged in with my environmentparticularly the psychological social environmentthat doesnt enter into the picture.

But what if we had a different perspective?

What if we actually got that human beings are bio-psycho-social creatures by nature, and actually bio-psycho-spiritual creatures by naturewhich is to say that our biology is inseparable from our psychological emotional and spiritual existenceand therefore what manifests in the body is not some isolated and unique event or misfortune, but a manifestation of what my life has been in interaction with my psychological and social and spiritual environment?

Well, if we had that kind of understanding then we would approach illness and health in a completely different fashion.

What if, furthermore, we understood something in the West which has been the underlying core insight of Eastern spiritual pathways and aboriginal shamanic pathways around the world, which is that human beings are not their personalities, were not our thoughts, were not our emotions, we are not our dysfunctional or functional dynamics, but that at the core there is a true self that is somehow connected toin fact not connected to but part ofnature and creation.

An illness from that perspective represents a loss of that connection, a loss of that unity, a loss of that belonging to a much larger entity. And therefore, to treat the illness or the symptom as the problem is actually to ignore the real possibility that the symptom and the illness are themselves symptoms, rather than the fundamental problems.

Its in that perspective then, that Ive come to understand, quite before my acquaintance with ayahuasca, but that’s how Ive come to understand human illness and dysfunction.Which is to say that illness and dysfunction represent the products or the consequences of a lifelong interaction with our environment, particularly our psychological and social environment, and that they represent a deep disconnection from our true selves.

I mention particularly cancer and addiction, but those are only two examples. Allow me to read you something from an article that appeared in last Februarys edition of Pediatrics, which is the major pediatric journal in North America, and this is an article from the Harvard Center on the Developing Child, and its called An Integrated Scientific Framework for Child Development.” Heres what they say:

Growing scientific evidence also demonstrates that social and physical environments that threaten human development because of scarcity, stress, or instability can lead to short term physiologic and psychological adjustments that may come at a significant cost to long-term outcomes in learning, behavior health and longevity.

In other words, that the emotional and behavioral patterns that as young children we adopt in order to survive stressors in our environment allow us to deal with the immediate problem, but in the long term they become prisons. They become sources of dysfunction, illness and even death, if were not able to let go of them.

So, in other words, what was a short-term state, or meant to be a short-term state, in a helpful way, when it becomes a long-term state, when it goes from state to a trait, now it becomes a problem.

Let me give you a few obvious examples of that. I myself have been diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactive disorder, a characteristic of which is tuning out, absentmindedness. Now, ADD in North America is seen as a disease, and we see many kids that have been diagnosed with it. Now we have 3 million kids in this country who are on stimulant medications for it. The rates are going up and up and up.

According to the New York Times last week, 20 percent of American boys at one time or another have been diagnosed with it and 10 percent are, at any one time are on medication. Three million at least are on stimulants right now. Its seen as a genetic disease. It isnt at all. What the tuning out represents, as we all know, is actually a coping mechanism. Our brains tune out when the stress becomes overwhelming, too much to bear. And at that point the tuning out is a survival dynamic.

The real question is: why are so many kids tuning out? Whats happening in their lives? What of course is going on is that the stress in this society, and the stress in the pending environment are greatly increasing. So, the childs brain is actually affected by the stresses in the environment.

And heres further, from the same Harvard article, they talk about brain development and how the human brain actually develops, and heres what they say about that:

The architecture of the brain is constructed through an ongoing process that begins before birth, continues into adulthood, and establishes either a sturdy or fragile foundation for all the health, learning and behavior that follow.

So, in other words, the architecture of the brain is actually constructed by the interaction with the environment.And they continue:

The interaction of genes and experiences literally shapes the circuitry of the developing brain and is critically influenced by the mutual responsiveness of adult-child relationships, particularly in the early childhood years.

Well, I cant make this into a lecture on brain development; the point is that which circuits in the brain develop, and which patterns are engrained, has everything to do with the environment, particularly the mutual responsiveness of adult-child relationships. And therefore whatever interferes with that mutual responsiveness will actually interfere with the brain development of the child, including the neurochemistry of the childs brain as well as the psychological emotional patterns.

Cancer

So then, if you look at cancer and addiction as two adaptations to stress, what do we find? Well, prior to my work with addictions, which is my most recent work and I did that for 12 years I worked for seven years as the medical coordinator of the palliative care unit at Vancouver hospital working with terminally ill people. And both in family practice and palliative care I had ample opportunity to see who gets sick and who doesn’t get sick. I noticed the people that got ill with chronic conditions invariably followed certain emotional dynamics that were ingrained in them so much so that these were unconscious and compulsive and for that reason all the more difficult to let go of. And, so who got cancer and who didnt was no accident, nor was it for the most part genetically determined.

And, Ive collected a few clippings from the Global Mailnewsletterwhich is Canadas newspaper of record, or at least it thinks it isand these clippings illustrate the patterns that I found in people who get sick.

And Im saying all this because in talking about my work with ayahuasca and the potential healing that ayahuasca can induce in people, we have to understand what is being healed here. What is the underlying basis of these conditions?

So, these newspaper clippings, then, illustrate something about what I have found in people who get sick chronically. And when I say chronic illness I mean cancer, I mean diabetes, rheumatic arthritis, multiple sclerosis, ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease, chronic asthma, psoriasis, eczema, almost any chronic illness you care to name.

The first of these clippings is written by a woman who is herself diagnosed with breast cancer. She goes to her doctor, Harold, and you have to know that her husbands name is [Hye], and [Hye]s first wife died of breast cancer, and not Donna, the second wife, whos diagnosed with the same condition. So she writes:

Harold tells me that the lump is small, and most assuredly not in my lymph nodes, unlike that of [Hye]s first wife whose cancer spread everywhere by the time they found it. Youre not going to die, he reassures me. But Im worried about [Hye], I say, I wont have the strength to support him.

What you notice is shes the one diagnoses with the potentially fatal condition and her automatic compulsive thought is, While Im getting radiation and chemotherapy, how will I support my husband emotionally? So, this automatic regard for the emotional needs of others, while ignoring your own, is a major risk factor for chronic illness.

These others are obituaries and obituaries are fascinating to me because they tell us not only about the people who died but also about what we as a society value in one another. And often what we value in one another is precisely what kills us. And the expression the good die young is not a mis-statement. Often the good do die young because good often represents compulsive self-suppression of their own needs.

So heres a man, a physician, who dies at age 55 of cancer, and the obituary says:

Never for a day did he contemplate giving up the work he so loved at Toronto Sick Childrens Hospital. He carried on his duties throughout his year-long battle with cancer, stopping only a few days before he died.

So if you had a friend who was diagnosed with the same condition, would you say to him or her, Hey buddy, heres what you do: You got cancer, go back to work tomorrow, and not for a moment consider your life, and the meaning of your life, and the stresses that youre generating. Just continue working while youre undergoing chemo, radiation or surgery,?

So this automatic identification with duty, role, and responsibility rather than the needs of the self is a major risk factor for chronic illness.

The next one [applause] thank you, but if youre going to applaud every time I say something smart, youll be applauding the whole afternoon. The next one, the next obituary, is about a woman who dies at age 55 of cancer. Her name is Naomi. And this obituary is written by the appreciative husband:

In her entire life she never got into a fight with anyone. The worst she could say was “phooey” or something else along those lines. She had no ego, she just blended in with the environment in an unassuming manner

Now, Im sure that many of you who are in relationships, sometimes you wish that your partner would blend into the environment in an unassuming manner, but the point is that the suppression of healthy anger that this woman engaged in all of her life actually suppresses the immune system. And Im not going to go into the details of that, but the science of psychoneuroimmunology has amply shown that you cant separate the mind from the body and when youre repressing yourself emotionally youre actually diminishing the activity of your immune system and therefore you’re less capable of responding to malignancy or to invasion by bacteria.

And again this idea that external things cause illnesstake a condition like, uh, the flesh-eating disease, Necrotizing fasciitis is the medical term. And we think we know the cause, the cause is a bacterium, the strep bacterium. It isnt. Because if we did swabs on the people in this audience, we did swabs of the throat or the crevices of the body, wed identify the strep bacteria in probably 25, 30 percent of the people here. But theres nobody here with necrotizing fasciitis, nobody here with flesh-eating disease.

In other words, the presence of the bacterium does not explain the disease. What happens is that the self-suppressive patterns in somebodys life at some point will suppress the immune system, and that bacterium that has been living on your body in perfect unity with your immune system all of a sudden becomes a deadly enemy. Its not just a bacterium, but the self-suppression that suppresses the immune system that actually causes the illness.

And Ill leave you with one more obituary, and this is almost too incredible to believe except it is directly from the same newspaper. This is a physician who died of cancer:

Sydney and his mother had an incredibly special relationship, a bond that was apparent in all aspects of their lives until her death. As a married man with young children, Sydney made a point to have dinner with his parents every day as his wife Roslyn and their four young kids waited for him at home. Sydney would walk in greeted by yet another dinner to eat and to enjoy. Never wanting to disappoint either woman in his life, Sydney kept eating two dinners for years, until gradual weight gain began to raise suspicions.

Now, what this man believed, what he actually believedand notice that there are core beliefs underneath all of this. The first one believes that shes responsible for her husbands feelings more than she is for herself. The second guy believes that he is nothing other than his responsibilities and duties and role in the world. Theres no true self there he can actually be with and be touched with. Naomi, the woman, believes, “If I am angry, I am a bad person. And this man believes that hes responsible for how other people feel and that he must never disappoint anybody.

Now, these beliefs dont come out of nowhere. Theyre actually coping mechanisms in a certain parenting environment. If the parents cant handle your anger, if they cant handle your emotions, if theyre too needy to trouble themselves then the child starts taking responsibility for the parent as a way of maintaining the relationship. In other words, the psychological coping mechanisms of the child then become part of his or her personality, and these same patterns that helped to cope with the original stress now become the major contributors to his or her illness and possibly death. What were talking about here are core beliefs that reflect the childs early experience, that become ingrained into the brain and body as automatic and compulsive responses to the world. Thats my take on chronic illness.

And you begin to see now how some experiences could enlighten you that you are not those patterns, and if it can give you a sense that these patterns are simply adaptations, and that theres a true self underneath that, and if they can put you in touch with the experiences that led you to adopt these patterns, then perhaps you can be liberated; then, perhaps you can let go; then, perhaps you can find the true self that doesnt have to behave in those ways anymore. Thats where the liberation is. So, thats with chronic illness.

Addiction

Now addiction. For 12 years I worked in whats known as North Americas most concentrated area of drug use, the downtown eastside of Vancouver, where in a few square block radius thousands of people are ingesting, inhaling, or injecting all manner of substances.

And the question again is why do people do that? Why do people do such terrible thing to themselves to the point of risking their health? They lose everything, they lose their wealth, their relationships, their families, their homes, their teeth, their dignityand they still continue with it.

The North American answer to that question is twofold. The legal answer, the socially sanctioned answer, is that these people are making a choice, theyre making a bad choice, destructive to themselves and harmful to others and the way to deter that choice is to deter them by means of draconian punishments.

The so-called war on drugs. But there is no war on drugs because you cant war on inanimate objects. A war on drug addicts is what there is. And as a result of such retrograde social beliefs and governmental practices, the United States which contains 5 percent of the worlds population contains 25 percent of the worlds jail population, which is to say that every fourth person in the world that is in jail is a citizen of the land of the free. And all because of the belief that were talking about a choice here.

The other dominant belief, which is not identicaland youd think would at least obliterate the first belief but it doesn’tand its the one held by most medical doctors, is that addictions represent illness of the brain and particularly on a genetic basis.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine considers that up to 50 percent of the predisposition to addiction is actually caused by genetic inheritance. That is more forward looking in a way than our choice hypothesis, because at least you cant blame people for the genes they either inherit or pass on to others, but it is no more right than the other hypothesis.

Actually, if you look at it closely and if you understand human brain development which I alluded a little bit earlier in my talk you realize that if five percent of addictions are genetic. Thats not radical to sayand I doubt that anything more than five percent is genetically determined. In fact nothing is genetically determined because we know that even people that inherit genes, and there are some, that are predisposednot predetermined by predisposed to addictionsome people that inherit genes, in the right environment those genes are never activated. Genes are turned on and off by the environment. Therefore, what is in an environment that causes the addiction?

Of course the belief again then, among the many false beliefs about addiction, is that drugs are addictive. But we know that they’re not. Nothing is addictive in itself. I mean, is alcohol addictive? IfI asked a question, How many people have had a glass of wine in your life, most people would put their hand up. Many of you would put your hand up. But if I asked you, How many of you have had an alcohol problem, a much smaller minority would put their hands up.

Now if alcohol was addictive in and of itself then anybody who ever tries it could become an addict. So, the power of an addiction does not reside in a substance. Whether that substance is crystal meth, or heroin, cocaine, cannabis, alcohol, or whether its behaviors like sexaholism, internet addiction, gambling, shopping, work and so on, its not the actual activity or substance that induces that addiction, its that internal relationship to it, the susceptibility. What creates susceptibility? Its very simple: trauma.

Trauma

The drug addicts I worked with in the downtown eastside Vancouver, every single one of them had been abused as children. In the 12 years I worked there, out of hundreds of women I interviewed in the course of my professional work, there was not one who hadnt been sexually abused as a child. And thats not just only my personal opinion; its also what the large-scale population studies show. Not even controversial. Not controversial, but completely impenetrable to the medical profession and certainly to governments.

So, the people who are in jailtheres an American psychiatrist Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, many of you may know his work on stress and trauma, and he says that 100 percent of the inmates of the criminal justice system in this country are actually traumatized children.

Now, trauma induces its own set of beliefs and coping styles. One coping style is to shut down emotionally so as not to feel. Now you become alien to yourself. So you dont feel the pain, and as one patient of mine said very eloquently, pardon the language, The reason I do drugs is because I dont want to feel the fucking feelings I feel when I dont do the drugs.

And Keith Richards, the Rolling Stones guitarist, in talking about his heroin habit in his book on addiction, sorry, book on his life same thinguh, [life], he called it, talking about his heroin habit, Its about the search for oblivion, he says. The contortions we go through just not to be ourselves for a few hours.

Now why would somebody would not wish themselves to be themselves for a few hours? Because they’re suffering, and why are they suffering? Because the early trauma, early emotional loss, induces certain beliefs. One belief is that I’m worthless. Because children are pure narcissists, and I mean narcissists in the pure sense of the word. In other words, when something happens to a child, particularly a young child, its happening because to him, and happening because of him. So bad things happen, it’s because Im a bad person. Good things happen because Im a good person. But if bad things happen, Im a bad person. If Im hurt, I deserve it. I caused it. Im unworthy.

So theres deep shame at the core of addictions; theres also a sense that the world is indifferent and hostile, and of course the child who suffers them is abusedthe world was indifferent and hostile as they experienced it. But, as the Buddha said it, “it is with our mind that we create the world.” But, what the Buddha didn’t say was that before “with our mind we create the world,” the world creates our minds. And those minds are then shaped by those early experiences.

So, to the addict, the world is hostileis indifferentin which he or she has to manipulate and find some way to soothe themselves because there aint no soothing in this world, theres no healing in this world.

Those are some of the core beliefs at the heart of addiction. And theres a deep emptiness here, because as the spiritual teacher and this leads me directly to speak about the ayahuasca experienceas a spiritual teacher here in California said, “The fundamental thing that happened, and the greatest calamity, is there was not any love or support,” speaking of childhood.

The greater calamity, which was caused by that first calamity, is that you lost the connection to your essence. That is much more important than whether your mother or father loved you or not.

In other words, the greatest loss we endure is the loss of connection to ourselves, and thats then when we experience a deep emptiness that were so afraid of.

And this culture is all about stuffing full of products, and stuffing full of relationships, and stuffing full of activities, and stuffing full of false meaning.But of course the more we do that, the more addicted we become, because these things can never be truly satiating. So, that emptiness can never be filled from the outside. The way through the emptiness is through the insideis from the inside. And thats where the spiritual experiences, and the healing experiences, empowered by ayahuasca come into it.

Now, my book on addiction came out four years ago now, and I never heard about ayahuasca until after it was published. While I was writing it I began to get emails and inquiries from people, “What do you know about ayahuasca and the healing of addiction? and I would say, “Nothing, I dont know anything about it.”A week later, the same question. And this went on persistently for months.

I finally began to be both irritated, and curious. And then it turned out that there was an opportunity to experience ayahuasca up in Vancouver; a Peruvian shaman was coming up and leading some ceremonies, and I did do a ceremony. And I sat there in the dark with my heart open and a feeling of delicious nurturing warmth, the tears of joy rolling down my face, and I got love. And I also got how many ways in my life I had betrayed love and had turned by back on it, which is a coping pattern, because when youre as vulnerable and hurt as a child as I was as a Jewish infant under German occupation in Hungary, then you close down to love because its too painful to be open to it.

The ayahuasca got rid of my coping mechanisms in a flash, and there I was experiencing something, and I knew then that this is something to work with. And within half a year I was working with people shamanically trained in Peruvian Shipibo tradition, and beginning to lead retreats.Weve led a number now, and the results are increasingly but uniformly astonishing.

So Im going to read you some communications sent to me by people that have participated in our ayahuasca retreats and then I’ll talk about their experiences and why ayahuasca is so potentially helpful. Although, as the previous speaker said, nobody should ever say that its a panacea.

So this is Dr.StuartKrichevsky,who writes about ayahuasca. …

Decoctions like ayahuasca, similar to many forms of meditation, has salutogenic potential. Salutogenic meaning health-giving potential i.e. can enhance physical mental and spiritual health by calling into play what is referred to as participating consciousness.

So if you can become conscious of your patterns and your beliefs, these core beliefs, and how you attain these beliefs, then you can let go of them. Rigid feeling, thought, and behavioral patterns can unclench; the self can rearrange itself and develop its inner and outer resources more deeply. So there we get to the concept of a true self and one that can be reconfigured, or at least rediscovered with the help of the psychoactive plants, particularly ayahuasca.

So Ill read you now what some people have said about their experience at our retreats, and Ill talk to you more about the retreats and how they function.

The last two nights have been challenging, but I’m getting good practice. Negative thoughts as they come up, under the effect, I can feel the physical sensation of fear in my gut as the thought arises and returns to a safer place.”

In other words, when you have a certain thought, like you have a negative thought patternwhen I say negative, I mean a self defeating, self-deprecating, self invalidating thought patternthats not just the thought up here, thats immediately a physical impact on the body. You feel it in the gut, you feel it in the heart, if affects your whole nervous system, your cardiovascular system, your immune system, and this person is getting in touch with how their thoughts are influencing your body.

“In the past Ive made many bad, irresponsible choices with hurtful consequences to myself in others. Despite knowing that right now, Im presented with new choices I can make from a place of love towards myself and the people in my life. Its hard to push despair aside. The despair that tells me I will continue to make the same poor choices over and over again.

Thats the core belief showing up again that “theres something wrong with me.” But this person at least is conscious of it.

This is a physician, by the way, who has nearly lost his license because of addictions, and his marriage is falling apart, and he came to the retreat. And he thought he had a perfect childhood, by the way, and I won’t even go into the details.

The other very powerful moment I had involved looking at the sense of being too much for my parents. I know no matter how much love they felt for me, they probably were all alone with their own fears and anxiety. Well yeah, the father had a near-fatal heart attack at age 28. Ive experienced myself as a child when this child was a one-year old. Ive experienced myself as too much for the world for a long time. Ive made a grand effort over the years to prove that true, which is why it cracks my heart open so wide to feel welcomed in the hearts of you and the people here, knowing that my feelings, my hurt, fear, sadness, and need for connection are not too much. I feel that the world can hold me, in fact, always has. And maybe I can learn to hold myself. Its painful to think that Miles, my son, may feel himself to be too much for me. I desperately dont want that to happen. Much love and gratitude.

[break]

I wont read you the other experiences, but theyre all the same sort of people experiencing love, gratitude, connection to themselves, experiencing the childhood trauma.

My daughter did an ayahuasca retreat. She said that she revisited all the sad places in her childhood, and because I was a workaholic, and was very stressed, and a very undeveloped adult when I was a father to my young kids, shes has plenty of sorrow in her life. And she said that she revisited those sad places but did so with the loving consciousness and empathy and the compassion of an adult, and if you look at the brain scans on ayahuasca … what you see is activation of the temporal lobe, where childhood memories are stored; of the limbic system where our emotions are modulated and they live, and the front part of the brain where insight is made available to us.

We can connect the childhood experience, no matter how traumaticand it sometimes comes up for people. Some really deeply disturbing, traumatic experiences come up for people during the ayahuasca experience. And those experiences may take the form of direct memory, direct recall of an image, or what happened to them, such as a body invasion, or other kinds of trauma, or it may take the form of really scary images and creatures, but its like a dream.In the dream, when somebodys chasing us, were not afraid because somebodys chasing ussomebodys chasing us because were afraid. In other words, during sleep, the centers in the brain where childhood memories are stored get activated, and then the brain makes up a story to explain the emotion. And I believe that much of the same is true of the scary visions that people have during the ayahuasca experience.

The beautiful images, of course, represent more the core self. We get to see both the experiences in response to which we develop these coping mechanisms that give us addiction or cancer or other form of illness. We get to experience that core self and the beauty of the world, as it actually is, when we dont see it through a screen of suffering and misinterpretation induced by our early experience.So, we get to see both what weve been running from and trying to cope with, and trying to manipulate, but we also get to see that true connection that true love, that true beauty, that true vision, that pure insight, that pure strength, that pure compassion. And when we do that, we realize we don’t have to cope anymore. We don’t have to run anymore. We can just be right where we are.

Now, thats not to say that because you have that experience its going to stay like that. That takes work that takes practice. If you don’t put in some practice afterwards, if you don’t get follow up, if you don’t put it into the context of your life, this experience just becomes a beautiful memory. But the impact of it will fade. So its transformative, but its only transformative if you allow it to be transformative. And it you work with it so that it becomes transformative. But if you do, it can be very, very powerful, it can be life-changing for many, many people.

I have to say something here about context here. I dont lead ayahuasca ceremonies, Im not on ayahuasca, I dont chant, I just participate in the ceremonies. Leading the ceremonies are people who wouldn’t call themselves shamans, but I would call them that because their work is that effective. They chant, and they work with people energetically. And they pick up on peoples energies in the dark. I dont do that. I pick up peoples energies in the light. I hear it in the tone of their voice, facial expression, choice of words. They sit there in the silence while they chant and they are reading the energies of the people as they emanate from each individual in that circle, where they might be 30 of us in the Malacca.And then they chant to people specifically to unblock particular energies, or particular energy blockages.

Like a person with cancer recentlytwo weeks after she signed up she became diagnosed with breast cancer. Ive told you my view of breast cancer, or cancer in general: its a repression of anger as one of the major dynamics in it.The shaman sits there in the dark and feels the blocked anger in that womans breast, and then works with it to unblock that energy. So, its not just the chemical effect of the plant, and Im sure other people have emphasized the same point. … Its the context, its the responsiveness and supportive interaction of the environment.

Remember what I said when I was quoting from that Harvard article about how the brain develops in response to the mutual responsiveness of child and adult? In the same way the healing benefit of something like ayahuasca is not simply the chemical effect of the plant, although that of course is inseparable from its other effects. It’s also the responsiveness of the environment in which people experience the ayahuasca. So, the experience has to be in a safe context, in a context where theres guidance.

People sometimes have negative experiences, or they think they do because they had an experience they didn’t like, and so they resist the experience. And also, the personality has a way of invalidating our essential self.

Ill give you a quick example of that. There was a woman in a recent retreat who wanted to experience what was blocking her from engaging with life and herself in a full and passionate way. Next she reports with great disappointment and even resentment what she experienced during the ayahuasca ceremony.

I just got psychedelic colors, for example, there was a psychedelic Indian elephant. I didn’t come here to get a trip with Indian elephants.

The Indian elephant is Ganesh, the god-figure who unblocks difficulties. Thats what she experienced. And in some part of her brain she knew that. But because she was resisting the experience rather than being open to it, she actually missed the point. Now, thats okay. If you go through it that way youll still learn what you need to learn, so Im not negating her experience. In fact, it turned out to be a beautiful experience for her. But people sometimes need the guidance to understand the experience. Its not enough, the experience.We have to find the meaning of the experience, and thats where my role comes in. Thats what I help people with. But that wouldnt be possible without the astonishing work of the ayahuasceros, the ayahuasceras, that I work with.

So its an overall gestalt; the plant, the ceremony, the chanting, the energetic work, and the psychological-emotional preparation beforehand, integration afterwards, and the joint exploration and the identification of meaning.

[applause]

Well, thank you.

Gabor Mate is a Canadian physician, speaker and author of four books.For more information, visitDrGaborMate.com.

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The daring doctors experimenting with psychedelic medicines … – Boing Boing

Posted: at 7:29 am

Rolling Stone’s Mac McClelland tells the story of the physicians bravely breaking the law by treating patients with MDMA, ayahuasca, DMT, LSD, and other hallucinogens. From RS:

As an internal-medicine specialist, Dr. X doesn’t have any patients who come to him seeking psychotherapy. But the longer he does the work, the more “I’m seeing that consciousness correlates to disease,” he says. “Every disease.” Narcolepsy. Cataplexy. Crohn’s. Diabetes one patient’s psychedelic therapy preceded a 30 percent reduction in fasting blood-sugar levels. Sufferers of food allergies discover in their journeys that they’ve been internally attacking themselves. “Consciousness is so vastly undervalued,” Dr. X says. “We use it in every other facet in our life and esteem the intellectual part of it, but deny the emotional or intuitive part of it.” Psychedelic therapy “reinvigorated my passion and belief in healing. I think it’s the best tool to achieving well-being, so I feel morally and ethically compelled to open up that space.”…

“If we didn’t have some idea about the potential importance of these medicines, we wouldn’t be researching them,” says Dr. Jeffrey Guss, psychiatry professor at NYU Medical Center and co-investigator of the NYU Psilocybin Cancer Project. “Their value has been written about and is well known from thousands of years of recorded history, from their being used in religious and healing settings. Their potential and their being worthy of exploration and study speaks for itself.”

Optimistic insiders think that if all continues to go well, within 10 to 15 years some psychedelics could be legally administrable to the public, not just for specific conditions but even for personal growth. In the meantime, says Rick Doblin, MAPS’ executive director, “there are hundreds of therapists willing to work with illegal Schedule I psychedelics” underground, like Dr. X. They’re in Florida, Minnesota, New York, California, Colorado, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New England, Lexington, Kentucky. “Hundreds in America,” he says, though they’re “spread out all over the world.”

As within any field, underground practitioners vary in quality, expertise and method. Some are M.D.s, like Dr. X, or therapists, and some are less conventionally trained. They don’t all use the same substances, and don’t necessarily use just one. Some work with MDMA or psilocybin or ayahuasca, which has become trendy to drink in self-exploration ceremonies all over the country; others administer 5-MeO-DMT, extracted from a toad in the Sonoran Desert, or iboga or ibogaine, which, according to the scant research that exists, may be one of the most effective cures for opiate addiction on the planet but may also cause fatal heart complications.

“How some doctors are risking everything to unleash the healing power of MDMA, ayahuasca and other hallucinogens” (Rolling Stone)

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What Psychedelics Really Do to Your Brain – Rolling Stone – RollingStone.com

Posted: March 10, 2017 at 3:22 am

Hallucinations. Vivid images. Intense sounds. Greater self-awareness.

Those are the hallmark effects associated with the world’s four most popular psychedelic drugs. Ayahuasca, DMT, MDMA and psilocybin mushrooms can all take users through a wild mind-bending ride that can open up your senses and deepen your connection to the spirit world. Not all trips are created equal, though if you’re sipping ayahuasca, your high could last a couple of hours. But if you’re consuming DMT, that buzz will last under than 20 minutes.

How some doctors are risking everything to unleash the healing power of MDMA, ayahuasca and other hallucinogens

Still, no matter the length of the high, classic psychedelics are powerful. Brain imaging studies have shown that all four drugs have profound effects on neural activity. Brain function is less constrained while under the influence, which means you’re better able to emotion. And the networks in your brain are far more connected, which allows for a higher state of consciousness and introspection.

These psychological benefits have led researchers to suggest that psychedelics could be effective therapeutic treatments. In fact, many studies have discovered that all four drugs, in one way or another, have the potential to treat depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction and other mental health conditions. By opening up the mind, the theory goes, people under the influence of psychedelics can confront their painful pasts or self-destructive behavior without shame or fear. They’re not emotionally numb; rather, they’re far more objective.

Of course, these substances are not without their side effects. But current research at least suggests that ayahuasca, DMT, MDMA and psilocybin mushrooms have the potential to change the way doctors can treat mental illness particularly for those who are treatment-resistant. More in-depth studies are needed to understand their exact effects on the human brain, but what we know now is at least promising. Here, a look at how each drug affects your brain and how that’s being used to our advantage.

AyahuascaAyahuasca is an ancient plant-based tea derived from a combination of the vine Banisteriopsis caapi and the leaves of the plant psychotria viridis. Shamans in the Amazon have long used ayahuasca to cure illness and tap into the spiritual world. Some religious groups in Brazil consume the hallucinogenic brew as religious sacrament. In recent years, regular folk have started to use ayahuasca for greater self-awareness.

That’s because brain scans have shown that ayahuasca increases the neural activity in the brain’s visual cortex, as well as its limbic system the region deep inside the medial temporal lobe that’s responsible for processing memories and emotion. Ayahuasca can also quiet the brain’s default mode network, which, when overactive, causes depression, anxiety and social phobia, according to a video released last year by YouTube channel AsapSCIENCE. Those who consume it end up in a meditative state.

“Ayahuasca induces an introspective state of awareness during which people have very personally meaningful experiences,” says Dr. Jordi Riba, a leading ayahuasca researcher. “It’s common to have emotionally-laden, autobiographic memories coming to the mind’s eye in the form of visions, not unlike those we experience during sleep.”

According to Riba, people who use ayahuasca experience a trip that can be “quite intense” depending on the dose consumed. The psychological effects come on after about 45 minutes and hit their peak within an hour or two; physically, the worst a person will feel is nausea and vomiting, Riba says. Unlike with LSD or psilocybin mushrooms, people high on ayahuasca are fully aware that they’re hallucinating. It’s this self-conscious tripping that has led people to use ayahuasca as a means to overcome addiction and face traumatic issues. Riba and his research group at Hospital do Sant Pau in Barcelona, Spain, have also begun “rigorous clinical trials” using ayahuasca for treating depression; so far, the plant-based drug has shown to reduce depressive symptoms in treatment-resistant patients, as well as produce “a very antidepressant effect that is maintained for weeks,” says Riba, who has studied the drug with support from the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), an American nonprofit founded in the mid-1980s.

His team is currently studying the post-acute stage of ayahuasca effects what they’ve dubbed the “after-glow.” So far, they’ve found that, during this “after-glow” period, the regions of the brain associated with sense-of-self have a stronger connection to other areas that control autobiographic memories and emotion. According to Riba, it’s during this time that the mind is more open to psychotherapeutic intervention, so the research team is working to incorporate a small number of ayahuasca sessions into mindfulness psychotherapy.

“These functional changes correlate with increased ‘mindfulness’ capacities,” Riba says. “We believe that the synergy between the ayahuasca experience and the mindfulness training will boost the success rate of the psychotherapeutic intervention.”

DMTAyahuasca and the compound N,N-Dimethyltryptamine or DMT are closely linked. DMT is present in the leaves of the plant psychotria viridis and is responsible for the hallucinations ayahuasca users experience. DMT is close in structure to melatonin and serotonin and has properties similar to the psychedelic compounds found in magic mushrooms and LSD.

If taken orally, DMT has no real effects on the body because stomach enzymes break down the compound immediately. But the Banisteriopsis caapi vines used in ayahuasca block those enzymes, causing DMT to enter your bloodstream and travel to your brain. DMT, like other classic psychedelic drugs, affect the brain’s serotonin receptors, which research shows alters emotion, vision, and sense of bodily integrity. In other words: you’re on one hell of a trip.

Much of what is known about DMT is thanks to Dr. Rick Strassman, who first published groundbreaking research on the psychedelic drug two decades ago. According to Strassman, DMT is one of the only compounds that can cross the blood-brain barrier the membrane wall separating circulating blood from the brain extracellular fluid in the central nervous system. DMT’s ability to cross this divides means the compound “appears to be a necessary component of normal brain physiology,” says Strassman, the author of two quintessential books on the psychedelic, DMT: The Spirit Molecule and DMT and the Soul of Prophecy.

“The brain only brings things into its confines using energy to get things across the blood-brain barrier for nutrients, which it can’t make on its own things like blood sugar or glucose,” he continued. “DMT is unique in that way, in that the brain expends energy to get it into its confines.”

DMT actually naturally occurs in the human body, and is particularly present in the lungs. Strassman says it may also be found in the pineal gland the small part of the brain associated with the mind’s “third eye.” The effects of overly active DMT when ingested via ayahuasca can last for hours. But taken on its own that is, smoked or injected and your high lasts only a few minutes, according to Strassman.

Although short, the trip from DMT can be intense, more so than other psychedelics, Strassman says. Users on DMT have reported similar experiences to that of ayahuasca: A greater sense of self, vivid images and sounds and deeper introspection. In the past, Strassman has suggested DMT to be used as a therapy tool to treat depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions, as well as aid with self-improvement and discovery. But studies of DMT are actually scarce, so it’s hard to know the full extent of its therapeutic benefits.

“There isn’t much research with DMT and it ought to be studied more,” Strassman says.

MDMAUnlike DMT, MDMA is not a naturally occurring psychedelic. The drug otherwise called molly or ecstasy is a synthetic concoction popular among ravers and club kids. People can pop MDMA as a capsule, tablet or pill. The drug (sometimes called ecstasy or molly) triggers the release of three key neurotransmitters: serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. The synthetic drug also increases levels of the hormones oxytocin and prolactin, resulting in a feeling of euphoria and being uninhibited. The most significant effect of MDMA is the release of serotonin in large quantities, which drains the brain’s supply which can mean days of depression after its use.

Brain imaging has also shown that MDMA causes a decrease in activity in the amygdala the brain’s almond-shaped region that perceives threats and fear as well as an increase in the prefrontal cortex, which is considered the brain’s higher processing center. Ongoing research on psychedelic drugs and the effects on various neural networks has also found that MDMA allows for more flexibility in brain function, which means people tripping on the drug can filter emotions and reactions without being “stuck in old ways of processing,” according to Dr. Michael Mithoefer, who has studied MDMA extensively.

“People are less likely to be overwhelmed by anxiety and better able to process experience without being numb to emotion,” he says.

Last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted researchers permission to move ahead with plans for a large-scale clinical trial to examine the effects of using MDMA as treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Mithoefer oversaw the phase-two trials, backed by MAPS, that informed the FDA’s decision. During the study, people living with PTSD were able to address their trauma without withdrawing from their emotions while under the influence of MDMA because of the complex interaction between the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex. Since the phase two trials had strong results, Mithoefer told Rolling Stone in December that he expects the FDA to approve the phase three trial plans sometime early this year.

While research into MDMA’s use for PTSD treatment is promising, Mithoefer cautions that the drug not be used outside of a therapeutic setting, as it raises blood pressure, body temperature and pulse, and causes nausea, muscle tension, increased appetite, sweating, chills and blurred vision. MDMA could also lead to dehydration, heart failure, kidney failure and an irregular heartbeat. If someone on MDMA doesn’t drink enough water or has an underlying health condition, the side effects can be life threatening.

Psilocybin MushroomsMushrooms are another psychedelic with a long history of use in health and healing ceremonies, particularly in the Eastern world. People tripping on ‘shrooms will experience vivid hallucinations within an hour of ingestion, thanks to the body’s breakdown psilocybin, the naturally-occurring psychedelic ingredient found in more than 200 species of mushrooms.

Research out of the Imperial College London, published in 2014, found that psilocybin, a serotonin receptor, causes a stronger communication between the parts of the brain that are normally disconnected from each other. Scientists reviewing fMRI brain scans of people who’ve ingested psilocybin and people who’ve taken a placebo discovered that magic mushrooms trigger a different connectivity pattern in the brain that’s only present in a hallucinogenic state. In this condition, the brain’s functioning with less constraint and more intercommunication; according to researchers from Imperial College London, this type of psilocybin-induced brain activity is similar to what’s seen with dreaming and enhanced emotional being.

“These stronger connections are responsible for creating a different state of consciousness,” says Dr. Paul Expert, a methodologist and physicist who worked on the Imperial College London study. “Psychedelic drugs are a potentially very powerful way of understanding normal brain function.”

Emerging research may prove magic mushrooms effective at treating depression and other mental health conditions. Much like ayahuasca, brain scans have shown that psilocybin can suppress activity in the brain’s default mode network, and people tripping on ‘shrooms have reported experiencing “a higher level of happiness and belonging to the world,” according to Expert. To that end, a study published last year in the U.K. medical journal The Lancet discovered that a high dose of mushrooms reduced depressive symptoms in treatment-resistant patients.

That same study noted that psilocybin could potentially treat anxiety, addiction and obsessive-compulsive disorder because of its mood-elevating properties. And other research has found that psilocybin can reduce the fear response in mice, signaling the drug’s potential as a treatment for PTSD.

Despite these positive findings, research on psychedelics is limited, and consuming magic mushrooms does comes with some risk. People tripping on psilocybin can experience paranoia or a complete loss of subjective self-identity, known as ego dissolution, according to Expert. Their response to the hallucinogenic drug will also depend on their physical and psychological environment. Magic mushrooms should be consumed with caution because the positive or negative effect on the user can be “profound (and uncontrolled) and long lasting,” Expert says. “We don’t really understand the mechanism behind the cognitive effect of psychedelics, and thus cannot 100 percent control the psychedelic experience.”

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WATCH: A Public Policy Expert Explains How to Safely Deregulate LSD and Other Psychedelics – AlterNet

Posted: March 6, 2017 at 3:28 pm


AlterNet
WATCH: A Public Policy Expert Explains How to Safely Deregulate LSD and Other Psychedelics
AlterNet
Timothy Leary he's not, but he is open to loosening up on psychedelics. Although he doesn't mention it in the short segment below, Kleiman is undoubtedly aware that psychedelics are not addictive and have a virtually non-existent fatal overdose

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WATCH: A Public Policy Expert Explains How to Safely Deregulate LSD and Other Psychedelics – AlterNet

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Tim Ferriss on suffering, psychedelics, and spirituality – Vox

Posted: March 4, 2017 at 1:28 am

Tim Ferriss is the author of The 4-Hour Workweek, as well as the new book Tools of Titans. Hes also the host of The Tim Ferriss Show, which is one of my favorite podcasts.

Tim is a relentless optimizer, and on his program he interviews fascinating people to discover how they work, think, and get things done. Its a show about the secrets of high performers.

Here, I ask Tim about basically the reverse of that. How does he think about the parts of his life that, though crucial, are harder to optimize and systematize? We discuss friendship, love, psychedelics, spirituality, death, health, and whether its possible to get too addicted to productivity hacks (spoiler: it is). This is a discussion, in other words, about much of what makes life worth living, and it left me with a lot to think about.

You can listen to our conversation by subscribing to my podcast, The Ezra Klein Show, on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever you get your fine audio programming. Or you can stream it off SoundCloud.

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Tim Ferriss on suffering, psychedelics, and spirituality – Vox

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Solange, Psychedelics and Head Bangers at Day 3 of Paris Fashion Week – Yahoo Movies (blog)

Posted: March 2, 2017 at 2:26 pm

Clare Waight Keller bid adieu to Chloe after six years on Thursday with a Fall 2017 collection that was a shining example of how successful she was at revitalizing the French fashion house.

All the elements of the brand were here, from boho to sweet romance to apres-surf, and so was style superstar Solange, sitting front row in a lacy white maxidress a few seats away from Oscar nominee Isabelle Huppert.

Solange soaking in the scene at the @chloefashion show #PFW pic.twitter.com/g42C76HCfC

– @Booth (@Booth) March 2, 2017

Isabelle Huppert, shades on, @chloefashion #PFW pic.twitter.com/pui5jTOTQH

– @Booth (@Booth) March 2, 2017

Chinese actress Tang Wei also caused a stir, followed up the steps of the Petit Palais by a phalanx of photographers and her own personal groomer.

Chinese actress Tang Wei causing a stir arriving at @chloefashion #PFW pic.twitter.com/zBiajyPgKC

– @Booth (@Booth) March 2, 2017

On the runway, the collection was inspired by “an edgy dream world of psychedelic optimism,” which translated into a retro, ’60s brushed check double breasted coat, smocked blouses worn under pinafores, and sweet mini-dresses in starry lace or a groovy faces print. Haute fleece jackets, oversized faded stripe mohair sweaters and color-blocked warm-up suits in nylon or suede looked made for apres surf Malibu. (Although she’s London-based, Keller is an L.A. fan and often vacations on the coast with her family.)

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Dominique Charriau/WireImage (2)

Keller has a knack for creating must-have accessories, and this season was no different; the looks called for T-strap Mary Janes with rounded toes or flat loafers, and spring’s bracelet bag was updated in a larger, more rounded shape.

The designer always has upbeat music at her shows, with a preponderance of American rock ‘n’ roll, and she may have had the most perfect finale song ever for someone on her way out: Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me.” Yes, we do, and we can’t wait to see where you go next.

The big afternoon show was Balmain, held at the always lovely Hotel Potocki. It was a Kardashian-free zone in the front row, unlike last season, before the infamous robbery, when Kim, Kourtney and Kris Jenner were at the show to support Olivier Rousteing, the designer they helped make by wearing his super-sexy, skintight designs and promoting them on their social media channels. This season’s celebrity eye candy was Nick Jonas, who took in the lengthy runway show like a champ, even if he did look like he could have used a disco nap as the number of looks topped 50. Zayn MalikandAnais Gallagher (daughter of Oasis’ Noel Gallagher) were also in the front row.

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Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

The inspiration was oddly specific and broad at the same time: “Nirvana on a road trip through the Serengeti, the Far West and Amazonia,” according to the show notes. The show did start with “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” but that’s where the grunge ended and the glam Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner fest began.

Really, the collection was about rock ‘n’ roll, which is where Balmain found its recent success, first under former design director Christophe Decarnin, who from 2006 to 2011 revived the brand first with heavily embellished (and uber expensive) jackets inspired by Michael Jackson’s gold-braided, gold-buttoned military looks.

Back the rock n ‘ roll roots @Balmain #PFW pic.twitter.com/3jl5VeDkN2

– @Booth (@Booth) March 2, 2017

Rousteing, who took over after Decarnin, reached back to rock ‘n’ roll for this collection, which was beaded, fringed, studded and chain-embroidered to within an inch of its life. The workmanship was something to behold, and many of the looks will no doubt make it onto the red carpet. (Paris Jackson, daughter of Michael, wore Balmain at the 2017 Grammys.)

There was a Serengeti’s worth of animal and cow prints on patchwork dresses, as well as easier knitwear pieces (high waist knit trousers and capes) which have been a through line for the past couple of seasons.

But what I liked most were the “so bad-they’re good” T-shirts in airbrushed wolf prints, road-trip landscapes and more, worn under embellished jackets. Forget Nirvana, they were metal head cool.

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images; Antonio de Moraes Barros Filho/WireImage; Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Read the rest here:

Solange, Psychedelics and Head Bangers at Day 3 of Paris Fashion Week – Yahoo Movies (blog)

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How psychedelics like psilocybin and LSD actually change the way people see the world – Businessinsider India

Posted: February 28, 2017 at 8:16 pm

Psychedelic substances like LSD and psilocybin – the active ingredient in magic mushrooms – are powerful, able to transform the way that people who use them perceivethe world.

Because of that, after years of prohibition, psychiatric researchers in the US are hoping to take advantage of that power to transform mental health treatment.

And as the new documentary ” A New Understanding: The Science of Psilocybin ” shows, the results we’ve seen so far are powerful. Perhaps most interestingly, the film shows how these substances transformthe people who undergo this therapy.

“Psilocybin does in 30 seconds what antidepressants take three to four weeks to do,” David Nutt , a professor of neuropsychopharmacology in the division of brain sciences at Imperial College London explains in the film. Researchers have found that a single dose of psilocybin accompanied by therapy can have a transformational effect on mental health – like a “surgical intervention” – able to treat even cases of depression and anxiety that resist standard treatment.

The film follows the researchers and study participants that are at the forefront of this modern era of psychedelic study. Cancer patients facing distress about end of life talk about how their experience helps them overcome that distress and accept their condition. Healthy volunteers who took psilocybin for the first time to help show that it can be used safely in a therapeutic setting describe the way the “trip” changed their perception.

It’s fascinating to see.

On a basic level, a part of the brain that seems to coordinate mood and is very active in cases of depression seems to basically stop acting for a time, allowing connections to form between regions of the brain that rarely communicate with each other. This mimics an effect seen in the minds of long term meditators. Something in this experience seems to cause the “trippy” effects of the drug, which participants in this research undergowhile listening to music and sitting with trained observers.

“In terms of whether these agents cause hallucinations, they’re a little bit misclassified, a hallucination is an experience in some sensory phenomenon based on a stimuli that doesn’t exist in reality, it’s internally generated,” says Stephen Ross , an associate professor of psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine, in an interview in the film. “Versus an illusion would be looking at the wall and the wall is melting, that would be an illusion, and these drugs tend to cause more illusions than frank hallucinations, they alter how we perceive real stimuli.”

In order to cause these effects, these drugs activate serotonin 2-A receptors, explains David Nichols, president and co-founder of the Heffter Research Institute.

But something about this experience- the brain activation, illusions, and hallucinations – seems to do something more profound that’s harder to understand. It’s able to reliably cause what researchers call a “mystical experience.” That experience is strongly linked with lasting effects.

“It was like you’re at the top of a roller coaster and you’re about to go down and I remember inside myself saying, ‘I’m taking my mind with me, I don’t know where I’m going but I’m taking my mind with me’ … and I felt okay and off I went,” says Sandy, one of the healthy volunteers who tried psilocybin for the first time, describing her experience.

People return from that journey changed.

“When we came back it was like someone had put on a light bulb inside Annie’s head, she was literally glowing,” says the husband of one terminally ill patient in one of these psilocybin studies at UCLA. “I felt wonderful, I think it’s an incredibly useful tool … what we did, it probably would have taken me years of therapy,” she agrees.

You can watch the trailer for the film below and a current version of it can be rented from Vimeo .

Link:

How psychedelics like psilocybin and LSD actually change the way people see the world – Businessinsider India

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