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Category Archives: Psychedelics

Rats on DMT hint at the benefits of psychedelic microdosing – Inverse

Posted: December 31, 2019 at 5:46 pm

Devotees of microdosing dont view the practice as simply doing drugs. Instead, they claim that taking a very small dose of a psychedelic drug can [hold unexpected health benefits]((https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0955395919301161?via%3Dihub). Microdosing may reduce anxiety, decrease symptoms of depression, or boosting ones creativity. But the problem with all of these purported benefits is that theres not enough research to back them up.

In March 2019, scientists took a step closer to unraveling the science behind the anecdotes, when a team led by University of California, Davis assistant professor David Olson tested how psychedelic microdosing affects behavior in animals. They gave male and female rats very small doses of N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT), the principal psychoactive component in the hallucinogenic brew ayahuasca. Their results suggest DMT microdosing can promote neural plasticity in key brain circuits related to anxiety and depression. But they also hint at potential downsides that are worth investigating further.

This is #2 on Inverses list of the 25 biggest science stories of human potential of 2019.

I think the most pressing question to answer right now is the issue of safety, Olson told Inverse at the time. Its very possible that while microdosing might have beneficial effects for healthy adults, it could come with severe side effects in other populations.

The study was published in March in the journal ACS Chemical Neuroscience.

The team used DMT because they wanted to experiment with a drug thats the most applicable to the broadest range of psychedelic compounds. Olson explained that when other psychedelics like magic mushrooms or LSD are broken down to the molecular level, they are essentially the same as DMT. Because of this shared pharmacology, tests on DMT may be translated to other psychedelic drugs.

Because theres no well-established definition of how big a dose a microdose actually is, the team gave the rats the equivalent of what humans typically use: one-tenth of a hallucinogenic dose. The rats were dosed at an age equivalent to a young adult, since young adults seem most likely to microdose.

The rats received the dose every three days for two months, and, after two weeks, the team evaluated their behavior on the days the rats were not given drugs. When they tested the rats to see if any aspects of their sociability or cognitive functioning had altered, they didnt observe any changes. But they did find that microdosing appeared to alter the rats anxiety and fear responses.

When rats are put into water, the ones who are most anxious and afraid are expected to resort to floating over swimming the earliest. In this study, the rats on DMT had the same reaction as rats on antidepressants who undergo this test they kept on swimming. This suggests microdosing made them less anxious when they encountered a challenge.

In a fear extinction test, microdosing appeared to help the rats overcome fear triggers at a quicker rate than normal, without also impacting their working memory.

But the researchers also noticed two strange, ill effects. Male rats treated with DMT gained a significant amount of body weight, while neurons in the female rats appeared to be breaking down. These results are a little concerning, Olsen said and the team dont know why they happened.

The study highlights just how much scientists dont know about microdosing and the potential hazards it could hold.

As 2019 draws to a close, Inverse is revisiting 25 striking lessons for humans to help maximize our potential. This is #2. Some are awe-inspiring, some offer practical tips, and some give a glimpse of the future. Read the original article here.

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BEYOND LOCAL: Would you ever consider psychedelics to treat PTSD? – SooToday.com

Posted: at 5:46 pm

This article, written byAnne Wagner, Ryerson University, originally appeared on The Conversation and has been republished here with permission:

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition, triggered by experiencing or witnessing a terrifying or threatening event. Symptoms can include re-experiencing the trauma, avoidance, nightmares and severe anxiety. Living with PTSD can feel devastating, permanent and life-defining.

The path to relieving suffering can also feel overwhelming diving into past pain, memories and experience to understand and move through them can be horrifying, especially when your system is screaming for you to avoid them. Peoples defence systems can be so strong, their narratives about the world so stuck, that the best treatments we have available do not work for everyone.

Thats where the synthetic psychoactive drug MDMA (3,4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine) comes in as a supportive catalyst to a therapeutic process.

MDMA has been showing excellent effect for the treatment of PTSD from many different causes including military combat, sexual assault and childhood abuse over the past decade, coupled with an inner-directed, supportive model of psychotherapy.

This therapy combination has received breakthrough therapy designation from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States. It is currently being tested in a large, multi-site randomized controlled trial, sponsored by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS).

How MDMA works in the brain

MDMA is a drug that alters mood and perception. In non-clinical settings, it is a common recreational drug known as Ecstasy (E) or Molly.

MDMA works on numerous neural structures (especially the amygdala and pre-frontal cortex) and enhances the secretion of hormones and neurotransmitters namely serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine and oxytocin, among others.

The drug can produce joyful, blissful experiences and, in the context of PTSD treatment, can allow for a revisiting of traumatic memories, emotions and context with greater ease and less avoidance than would be possible without the drug.

MDMA-facilitated psychotherapy embeds the use of MDMA within a psychotherapy treatment for PTSD, therefore providing a deeply evocative template to be able to work from to move the seemingly immovable presence of the trauma.

Revisiting traumatic memories

As a clinical psychologist and researcher, Ive focused my work on trauma and relationships for the past decade. As the founder of Remedy, a mental health innovation community, and an adjunct professor in psychology at Ryerson University, my goal has been to illuminate treatments for trauma that can have deep, profound and lasting effects. This is what inspired me to work with MDMA.

Our team recently conducted a pilot trial of cognitive behavioural conjoint therapy (CBCT) for PTSD in combination with MDMA, with six couples in Charleston, S.C. The therapy was successful in reducing PTSD symptoms in the majority of couples and improved their relationship satisfaction.

We are now preparing to run a pilot trial of cognitive processing therapy (CPT) with MDMA and a larger randomized controlled trial of CBCT with MDMA that will take place in Toronto, pending government and regulatory approvals.

Preparation and integration

Cognitive behavioural conjoint therapy, a treatment for couples, has demonstrated excellent effect in reducing symptoms for people with PTSD, and also for their intimate relationships and their loved ones.

Cognitive processing therapy, a treatment that focuses on meaning-making about a trauma in order to unravel thoughts and feelings that are stuck, is one of the approaches that has received the strongest recommendation in international treatment guidelines. It was also recently featured on NPRs This American Life.

We test these highly effective trauma-focused treatments alongside the catalyst of MDMA, to see if it offers an additive or potentiating effect.

Sessions with MDMA are daylong, occurring two or three times over the course of several weeks or months, depending on the study. Research participants are accompanied by two therapists.

The therapeutic work done before the MDMA sessions prepares clients for the experience. The work afterwards integrates the experience, using the template of the MDMA session to scaffold new learnings and new ways of potentially understanding their traumatic experiences.

A life-saving legal medicine?

The large randomized controlled trial sponsored by MAPS is designed to collect enough evidence on the safety and efficacy of MDMA in treatment to make it a legal medicine.

As evidence accumulates for MDMAs effectiveness, there is the possibility that MDMA will become legal a medicine to be used in psychotherapy and prescribed for PTSD.

The ability to use it in practice will be potentially life-altering and life-saving for people living with PTSD.

Anne Wagner, Adjunct Professor, Psychology, Faculty of Arts, Ryerson University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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A Trailblazer of Global Consciousness: Ram Dass Led the Way – Psychology Today

Posted: at 5:46 pm

Ram Dass

Source: Ram Dass Foundation

When as an undergraduate student in psychology and a fresh-of-the-boat immigrant from India in early 1970s I read Be Here Now, I was gripped by the simplicity and profundity of the authors voice.[1] His thoughts, feelings, perceptions, images and memories seemed old yet new, a Harvard psychologist who had turned on, tuned in, and dropped out to follow an Indian guru in the Himalayas, namely Neem Karoli Baba (Wow!).

Dr. Richard Alpert changed his name, garb and philosophy, and started to preach a yogic way of life. Thus, Baba Ram Dass was born to an American or Western audience.

Little did I know that I would learn about him, again and again, along the path.

Be Here Now

Source: Ram Dass Foundation

Growing up in India, we used to hear of such stories often, and still do, with a sort-of cautionary tale. So and so dropped out of school. Or ran away from home to the Himalayas, or to become a yogi or a renunciate and started following a saffron robed guru, but to learn this in the US was indeed a rarity. May be it is not rare anymore?

Then, as a graduate student I learned Ram Dass was in the same department as Prof. David McClelland, who knew him well and was his mentor. I was intrigued even further. When I met Prof. McClelland briefly in William James Hall, I asked him about Dr. Alpert. David McClelland was rather circumspect, hehad conducted his own research in India on business entrepreneurship, which we discussed at length.

The Ram Dass foundations website connects the history going all the way back to the transcendentalist philosopher Emerson, He met Timothy Leary through David McClelland, who headed the Center for Research in Personality at the Social Relations Department at Harvard, where Alpert and Leary both did research. Together they began the Harvard Psilocybin Project, which included the Good Friday Experiment, assessingthe effect of psilocybin on spiritual experience, and later founded the International Foundation for Internal Freedom (IFIF) to study the religious use of psychedelic drugs.

As a psychologist, Richard Alpert played a pivotal role in the psychedelic movement of the sixties, lecturing on psychedelics at numerous college campuses across the country. A generation turned on, tuned in, and dropped out with psychedelics, providing the inner fuel for a turbulent era of social change, sexual liberation, and political unrest. In 1963, as psychedelics began to have a major influence on the culture, Alpert gained the distinction of being the first professor fired from Harvard in the 20th century. His predecessor in the previous century was Ralph Waldo Emerson.[2]

Thus, Ram Dass, who passed away last week, will continue to stand out as a trailblazerat the intersection of East-West philosophy, who explored the depths of the spiritual inner world, nearing the end of the twentieth century, when hyper-capitalism, militarism, and global inequality gripped our planet.

I reached out to my dear friend, colleague and tribal elder in this field, Phil Goldberg, who has written extensively about the exchange between East andWest and the perennial dialogue. Philip Goldberg has been studying Indias spiritual traditions for more than 50 years, as a practitioner, teacher, and writer. He is the author of numerous books, includingRoadsigns on the Spiritual Path, the award-winningAmerican Veda: From Emerson and the Beatles to Yoga and Meditation, How Indian Spirituality Changed the West, andThe Life of Yogananda: The Story of the Yogi Who Became the First Modern Guru. His latest book,Spiritual Practice for Crazy Times: Powerful Tools to Cultivate Calm, Clarity, and Couragewill be published next August.A spiritual counselor, meditation teacher, and Interfaith Minister, he is a popular public speaker, leader of American Veda Tours, and cohost of the Spirit Matters podcast.[3]

American Veda

Source: Phil Goldberg

DS:In your book American Veda[4], you juxtaposeRam Dass with Deepak Chopra. How does he belong in the same chapter with Deepak Chopra? Dr. Chopra was a great popularizer of yoga, TM, Ayurveda throughthe 1980s and 90s. Ram Dass was truly an experimenter with LSD and other mind-altering substances in the 1960s, pushing the boundaries of American or Western consciousness?

Goldberg: In American Veda I chronicled the major figures who propagated Indian spiritual teachings in the West. In that context, Ram Dass and Deepak Chopra were prominentacharyas,i.e. teachers. They both articulated core teachings of Yoga and Vedanta in ways that appealed to Americans and they reached huge numbers of people. Its true that Ram Dass became famous, or infamous, as a psychedelic researcher and proponent, but that was when he was Dr. Richard Alpert. In the 50 years after he went to India, found his guru, and returned as Ram Dass, he was a principle transmitter of Indian philosophy and yogic practices.

DS: You say in the book he was a perfect crossover between East-West, part Harvard Yard, part Himalayas? Please elaborate.

Goldberg: There are many reasons Ram Dass was able to reach enormous numbers of people. He was smart, funny, authentic, hip, and at the same time older than his main audience of countercultural baby boomers. But he also had great credibility. As a Harvard psychologist, he had scientific and intellectual credentials (and as aformerHarvard professor he had the added credentials of being anti-establishment). In addition, he had been to India and spent a long period of time with an authentic guru.

Most young seekers in that era (late 60s into the 70s) had only dreamt of that. We should note that he was not the only influencer with that kind of East-West credibility. Alan Watts, Aldous Huxley, and others were similarly influential. But Ram Dass took it to another level. He didnt just lecture and write books;he also led satsangs (spiritual gatherings) and pilgrimages, and he functioned in a guru-like capacity, only without the guru trappings and formal discipleship.

DS: What do you think was pushing him to take these risks with his mind, body and spirit? Psychologically and culturally, he came from a very well to do home and family; his father was a founder of Brandeis University, as he said, he was "spit and polish" son of a corporate executive?

Goldberg: By risks you refer to the drug-taking period, I assume. He was a natural seeker of truth in an era when social constraints were being questioned and, in certain circles, abandoned. As a research psychologist he was curious about the nature of the mind and consciousness. Its not hard to imagine him being curious enough about Timothy Learys description of his own psychedelic experiences to want to experiment on himself. To me, a turning point in the story comes when Leary continues advocating his turn on, tune in, drop out message and Alpert becomes Ram Dass and takes the tack that runs through Vedanta and Yoga more than LSD.

DS: Within the history of the East-West exchange, where would you place Ram Dass? His foundations will continue of course, but how will future aspirants memorializehim?

Goldberg: He is unquestionably a major figure in the importation of Eastern spiritual wisdom to the West and the subsequent foothold it has established in the culture, affecting everything from psychology to medicine to religion to individual spirituality. There are now thousands of Americans who teach practices like meditation and physical yoga, or incorporate Eastern ideas into their scholarly work, scientific research, or healthcare practices. Ram Dass was a forerunner of all this. In many ways he set the template for the Western interpreter, adapter, and disseminator.

As for the future, Im reluctant to make predictions, but if history is fair he will be recognized for the vital role he played in changing the world-views and lifestyles of perhaps millions of people, and for helping to usher in a genuine revolution in how we understand and engage the spiritual dimension of life. Im sure his books, videos, and audio recordings will have a long life, and those who loved him will make sure he is properly appreciated.

DS: You said in a recent interview, the lineage of his guru Neem Karoli Baba has had a significant impact on the American culture if we trace it to the tech sector, for example,Steve Jobs, Zuckerberg, and others.Please elaborate.

Goldberg: I dont know anything about Zuckerbergs spiritual inclinations or connection to Neem Karoli Baba. As a young seeker in the 1970s, Steve Jobs was influenced by Ram Dass and went to India. Neem Karoli passed before Jobs got to his ashram, however, but India had an impact on Jobs and he was deeply affected by YoganandasAutobiography of a Yogi.

Phil Goldberg

Source: Phil Goldberg

That said, Neem Karoli Baba had a direct influence on a number of people who, in turn, went on to be leading figures in the East-West integration. Most of them were first influenced by Ram Dass as youngsters and followed him to India and Neem Karoli. They include the kirtan wallahs Krishna Das and Jai Uttal; Buddhist teachers Jack Kornfield, Lama Surya Das, and Susan Salzberg; author/psychologist Daniel Goleman; physician/public health leader Larry Brilliant; Mirabai Bush of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, and others. In addition, a generation of young devotees who never met Neem Karoli hold him as a guru figure, due largely to the extended influence of Ram Dass and others.

DS: The work on psychedelics is continuing into FDA clinical trials for PTSD and other disorders. Clearly, this is partly due to Richard Alpert and Timothy Leary's work?

Goldberg: On the one hand, yes. Alpert and Leary were trailblazers in research on psychedelics, but they were hardly alone. Stanislov Grof, Oscar Janiger, and others were doing responsible research at the same time, and in some cases before Alpert and Leary. It could be argued, and many have made this case, that the public antics of the Harvard guys especially Leary with his turn on, tune in, drop out mantra was responsible for the long curtailment of research. Government authorities panicked over the counterculture explosion of LSD usage, with the bad trips, the contaminated street drugs, and the whole hippie culture.

I dont know the extent to which Ram Dass was involved in the efforts to gain approval for the wave of research that is now underway, but it took a long time for scientists to get that ball rolling again.

DS:In mainstream psychology is there a direct linkage between Ram Dass and the work on emotional intelligence by Goleman and others?

Goldberg: Yes, you might say there is a direct linkage betweenRam Dass asone of the leading figures in the development and maturation of humanistic psychology and transpersonal or positive psychology back in the 60s and 70s. May be there is also a connection with Goleman and EQ? The psychologist, Daniel Goleman, was influenced by Neem Karoli Baba.

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The Psychedelic Renaissance and the importance of drug policy reform – Open Access Government

Posted: December 13, 2019 at 2:15 pm

Amanda Feilding has dedicated her life to the study of the mechanisms underlying the exceptional changes in consciousness, such as those brought about by psychedelic compounds or other mind-altering practices like meditation.

In 1998, Amanda Feilding set up the Beckley Foundation, a non-profit organisation that initiates and supports pioneering research into the therapeutic potential of psychedelic-assisted therapy, while at the same time creating a scientific evidence base for global drug policy reform.

Through many collaborations with leading scientific institutions worldwide, Amanda and the Beckley Foundation have been at the forefront of the psychedelic scientific renaissance, with ground-breaking pre-clinical and clinical research into the mechanisms of action and potential therapeutic benefits of psychoactive substances.

Humanity is facing an ever-worsening mental health epidemic. Everywhere, rates of anxiety, depression, and addiction are on the rise, exerting a vast personal and economic toll. Psychiatry is largely ill-equipped to remedy this situation, and there is an urgent need for novel therapies and treatments.

Psychedelic-assisted therapies, which have been shown to be safe and highly effective for a variety of indications such as depression, addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and end-of-life existential distress, with both immediate and long-lasting effects, are the perfect candidate for a long overdue breakthrough in mental health.

Fortunately, FDA approval for both psilocybin and MDMA-assisted therapy for the treatment of major depression and PTSD (respectively) appears to be on the horizon. Both treatments have been granted breakthrough therapy by the FDA, a designation that recognises the substantial treatment advantages over existing options for patients with serious or life-threatening diseases, and expedites the drug development process.

There are no other treatments available, and no therapy as effective as to produce such a marked relieve in existential distress, which is why I want to initiate further research into this desperately needed medicine, Feilding says.

In 2008, Amanda Feilding set-up the Beckley/Imperial Research Programme to investigate psychedelics, which she co-directs with Prof David Nutt. Since then, the Programme has produced many pioneering studies, including the first ever scientific investigation into the use of psilocybin-assisted therapy for treatment-resistant depression (TRD).

With currently available treatment options, only around 30% of patients achieve remission, a further 20% respond but do not reach remission, while 50% do not respond at all. Of those non-responders, 30% attempt suicide at least once during their lifetime.

Results from the Beckley/Imperial study demonstrated that psilocybin-assisted therapy was remarkably more efficacious than existing treatments and therapies, with 67% of patients showing significant reductions in their depression scores for five weeks after treatment and positive effects remaining six months after treatment.

In another pilot trial conducted in collaboration with the Johns Hopkins University, psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy helped 80% of chronic smokers to quit tobacco for over six months. This is more than double the success rate of the most effective available nicotine replacement therapy, suggesting drug policy reform is necessary.

The results coming from these and other research projects demonstrate the great potential of psychedelic-assisted therapy to overcome rigid maladaptive patterns of thoughtsand behaviours which underly many psychological disorders. After such promising results, the Beckley Foundation is now seeking funding to explore a wider range of clinical indications and compounds, and to optimise the way these treatments are provided.

The best way to overcome the taboo, and re-integrate psychedelics intothe modern pharmacopoeia, is by undertaking the very best scientific research, Feilding says.

Despite being a leading cause of disability, mental health research still remains underfunded. In the UK, only 5.5% of the health budget is dedicated to mental health research. While increasing the mental health budget is of great importance, a single change to the law could dramatically accelerate the development of effective treatments, namely the rescheduling of psilocybin.

Currently, psilocybin, MDMA, and LSD are all classified as Schedule 1 substances, along with other compounds with no medical use and a high potential for abuse, while more dangerous and highly addictive drugs such as heroin and cocaine are in Schedule 2. Such classification not only negates the scientific evidence rigorously gathered over the past 15 years, but it also impedes scientific and medical advances, imposing exceptionally onerous bureaucratic and financial obstacles, resulting in research on psychedelics costing five to ten times as much as research into other Schedule 2 drugs.

The Beckley Foundation recently published the first policy proposal of its kind, mapping how a carefully regulated, legal market, for MDMA products would work. Drawing on decades of scientific evidence, the proposal closely details the risks, harms and benefits associated with both the therapeutic and the recreational use of MDMA in the context of prohibition, whilst setting out alternative policies for a safer future with a strictlyregulated market.

As the evidence for the medical potential of psychedelics increases, so too does the pressure upon government to reschedule these substances, enabling more clinical research to take place so that these promising treatments can be made available to the patients in need, Feilding says.

After having won the support of leading world figures, including former Presidents, Nobel Laureates, and key notables from the worlds of politics, science and the arts, for the Beckley Foundations 2011 Public Letter, which called on governments and parliaments to abandon the War on Drugs and to embrace drug policy reform based on scientific evidence, Amanda Feilding is now planning to address the UK Prime Minister and Minister of Health in an Open Letter, urging them to move psilocybin to Schedule 2 of the Misuse of Drugs Act (1971).

Reclassifying psilocybin as a Schedule 2 drug would greatly increase access for researchers and enable doctors to prescribe to those in need without any change to legislation governing recreational use, and as such should be considered solely on its significant scientific and medical merit, Feilding says.

Ground-breaking psychedelic therapies have started a paradigm shift in the treatment of mental health, and Amanda Feilding will continue her ongoing efforts to reschedule psychedelics and accelerate their research, in order to open clinics where such treatment can be provided for those in need.

This is a truly exciting time for psychedelic research, and there is a desperate need to support it.

*Please note: This is a commercial profile

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Magic Mushrooms Move Closer to Mainstream Medicine As VC-Backed Compass Touts Safety, Positive Mood Alteration – Karma

Posted: at 2:15 pm

Magic mushrooms as a treatment for depression took another step toward mainstream acceptance as a venture capital-backed company announced positive results from a psilocybin trial.

Compass Pathways psilocybin medication was well-tolerated in healthy volunteers, a first step in seeking approval to sell the drug, the London-based company reported in a statement. Subjects also reported positive mood alteration in the tests of COMP360, which is intended to treat depression that hasnt responded to available medications.

Hallucinogenics reputation as a trip-inducing, illegal party drug has for long existed side by side serious research on its active ingredients for treatments to mental illnesses like depression, addiction and PTSD as well as Alzheimers. Johns Hopkins, which has been researching the possibilities of psychedelic drugs for almost two decades, in September opened a $17 million center dedicated to psychedelics research. That center was funded by private donors including hedge fund manager Steven Cohens foundation.

The studys lead investigator said the results were clinically reassuring and support further development of psilocybin. The investigator, Dr. James Rucker, consultant psychiatrist and senior clinical lecturer in psychopharmacology at Kings College Londons Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, said the trial is the largest of its kind.

Compasss treatment was designated a breakthrough therapy last year by U.S. FDA, which gives it an expedited approval process because it may be substantially better than products currently available. Its running another phase IIb study in Europe and North America of 216 patients with treatment-resistant depression.

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Magic Mushrooms Move Closer to Mainstream Medicine As VC-Backed Compass Touts Safety, Positive Mood Alteration - Karma

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Miami Clinics Use Ketamine IV Therapy to Help Treat Depression and PTSD – Miami New Times

Posted: at 2:15 pm

Inside a boxy medical building on Coral Way, Kabir Ali,with noise-canceling headphones and a sleeping mask placed on his head,relaxes in a recliner. A nurse preps an IV and shoots him up with Special K.

For five years, the now-34-year-old Alistruggled with depression, PTSD, and a "pretty severe cocaine addiction." Then he tried ketamine.

"It was perfect for me," he says.

After four intravenous infusions of the anesthetic psychedelic at My Ketamine Road, he says, his depression has been under control and he remains abstinent from cocaine.

Though ketamine has been safely used in hospitals since the 1970s, its notoriety as a party drug has cast a stigma on the medicine. But its reputation has hardly slowed its continued clinical use. This past May, the FDA approved a ketamine-derived nasal spray to treat depression. And a new study in Nature Communications claims as little as one dose combined with mental exercises can lower an alcoholic's compulsion to drink.

Miami clinics are also taking notice. My Ketamine Road, which opened in May, is led by Dr. Kazi Zayn Hassan, who believes ketamine can help treat anyone, from mothers with postpartum depression to terminal patients with anxiety about death. The clinic also offers pro bono treatment to veterans and survivors of the 2018 Parkland shooting.

"It's helping people connect with the stories, ideas, and traumas that are holding them back in their lives," Hassan says. "People can have spiritual or deeply meaningful experiences that are actually hard to describe but are powerful agents for change."

Ketamine is different from typical antidepressants and psychedelics, which affect serotonin levels. Instead, it works on the glutamate system, causing dissociative effects that induce a feeling described as an out-of-body experience.

"It's a novel way of treating depression," says Dr. Sajid Lopez, a psychiatrist with Mental Health Services of Florida in South Miami. "For the last 20 years, we've been using the same types of medications, so it was very exciting for anybody in our field to finally get something new."

A therapeutic ketamine infusion takes place in a monitored setting. Patients are screened to determine if ketamine will work for their condition. If they're cleared, they undergo guided meditation before being led to a comfortable bed or recliner where they are connected to an IV.

Then they receive a controlled release of ketamine. It takes full effect within ten minutes of being administered and stops within ten minutes of being removed. The patient is free to go about their day after the session.

The recovery period involves a psychologist, counselor, or life coach. All experts who advocate ketamine therapy recommend professional support to improve the treatments success.

Hassan and Lopez say they're aware of thepotential for abuse and theirony of using ketamine to treat addiction. They point to thescreening as a way of eliminating people illicitly seeking narcotics.

"Look, if you have a substance abuser, they're not going to be spending $500 on IV ketamine," Lopez says.

This evolution in psychological treatment is what some proponents call the "psychedelic renaissance." Cities such as Denver and Oakland have officially decriminalized several popular psychedelics, including psilocybin mushrooms and mescaline, while Chicago, Portland, Dallas, and all of California are trying to do the same.

Professionals recommend six ketamine sessions, but Ali says four was enough for him. He continues regular therapy but credits ketamine as a catalyst for improving his mental health and maintaining sobriety.

"It creates a shift in perspective that's very beautiful and obviously has the ability to change lives," Ali says.

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Andy Frasco Talks Finding Emotional Balance With Psychedelics On ‘Psychedelics Today’ Podcast [Listen] – Live for Live Music

Posted: November 30, 2019 at 9:56 am

Andy Frasco loves to have a fun time. Anyone who has ever experienced one of his performances in person can attest to that. What many fail to rememberlikely from overconsumption of booze during one of his showsis that Frascos job means he has to be the life of the party every night, inevery city when he and his band The U.N. are on tour. While that kind of lifestyle does offer what many see as a fun time, for folks like Frasco who are on stage every night in front of fans who have paid to ensure hes the highlight of their week, its a job just like any other occupation. One in an industry which has racked up its fair share of body counts over the years.

Frascos job, unlike most, doesnt come with an HR representative in the corner whos there to remind employees that doing some fat lines of cocaine in the dressing room right before a big show probably isnt the best idea. So Frasco, always the energizing party monster, has had to self-regulate his own hard-partying ways in hopes of maintaining a career in the fast-paced world of the music industryespecially in a scene where drug use for substances like cocaine and alcohol is encouraged and utilized to the max.

Related: Andy Frasco: The Lover, The Fighter, The Ringleader Of This F*ckin Circus [Interview]

Frasco was the latest guest onPsychedelics Today, a weekly podcast that focuses on psychedelic drugs and the lifestyle that comes with the use of sacred, old-world medications like mushrooms and other substances containing Psilocybin to help ease the stresses and burdens of todays machine-like society.

Throughout the 90-minute episode, Frasco talked openly on how mushrooms have presented a healthier, more beneficial alternative to more harmful drugs while on tour. Frasco discussed how he gets more anxiety when hes not occasionally consuming mushrooms versus when he is, and even mentioned how the use of herbal remedies like cannabis even brings him anxiety as hes gotten older.

Frasco also spoke about how severe panic attacks, and even sex addiction has led him on a journey to finding inner truth with the use of psychedelics.

When youre in a band youre the party for one day of the year in that city, Frasco points out about his job as an entertainer. His job was the same reason he began using cocaine regularly for the sole purpose of being able to find enough energy to perform every night.

Listen to the latest episode ofPsychedelics Today featuring Andy Frasco via the Spotify player below.

Psychedelics Today Andy Frasco

Frasco will take that new, healthier lifestyle of his back on the road this winter for a co-headlining run of shows alongsideBIG Something beginning with a performance in Athens, GA on January 30th. Head to Andy Frasco & The U.N.s website for tickets and tour info.

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Andy Frasco Talks Finding Emotional Balance With Psychedelics On 'Psychedelics Today' Podcast [Listen] - Live for Live Music

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Will psychedelics be available commonly in the near future? – BPhrm Dv

Posted: at 9:56 am

Although it took almost two decades to manifest the fame of Alexander Fleming as the father of penicillin, the discovery profoundly influenced humanity. Its remarkable that every single dose comes from a single cantaloupe originated in Peoria. Within a year of scraping mold, 100 million units are produced every month by American pharmaceutical companies.The timing was chance, as medicine was in high demand during World War II. Since that time antibiotics have played a major role in medicine. That might change soon. Big Pharma has churned out three new strains per year, as Bill Bryson writes in his new book The Body: a Guide for Occupants, from 50 to 80s. Now it releases one every year and continues to decline.

Why? We are antibiotic-resistant. The money is getting dry. Big Pharma would instead concentrate on life-long medications including statins and selective serotonin reduction inhibitors (SSRIs).This profit-driven approach to medicine could be our undoing even beyond the dire question of the loss of antibiotics. No person should take a pill for life except in cases of medical need. For all the obviously beneficial qualities of SSRIs, they prove very ineffective (and sometimes really deadly) in the long run. Better solutions are available.

Join Paul Stamets, one of the worlds leading fungi experts. The mycologist has been attending the Joe Rogan Experience recently, where he discussed the benefits of mycelia. Stamets pointed out that early research evidence shows that the neurogenic benefits from micro-dosing are greater than the neurogenic benefit of macrodosing. In a discussion of psilocybin, psychedelic strains of the mushrooms that gained a great deal of attention lately for their therapeutic applications.This is a large claim, but if it is true, it is important. The use of psilocybin and LSD protocols for productivit benefits has been increasingly relieved (in the hands of popular media) by technology staff.The potential for psychedelics to treat depression and other mental health conditions is more important to the larger population. Contrary to current medicines, serotonergic psychedelics seem to boot some brain areas, leading to better mental health perspectives.

Researchers studied the effects of psychedelic truffles in the Netherlands (masses of mycelia containing psilocybin) for the microdosing test has been shown that psilocybin binds to serotonin 2A receptors, resulting in enhanced cognitive mobility, increased associated learning and hippocampal neurogenesis.For this study, researchers didnt use a control group, so that more research is needed as with the range of psychedelic research. We need it, however. The FDA aims to improve treatments for problems with chronic mental health.In the meantime, the US Defense Departments DARPA plan to reduce MDMA and Psilocybin hallucinating effects in the military for treating PTSD or anxiety. Maybe the agency should consult with Stemets to see how psychedelics and niacin (vitamin B3) have a beneficial effect.

Switzerland is commonly discovered as a version of effectiveness, solidness and intent, specifically through expats edgy to leave the political sickness of their nations of beginning. From numerous factors of view, the version nonetheless remains steady, yet the Swiss healthcare

Man-made intelligence can improve social insurance by cultivating a deterrent prescription and new medication disclosure. Two instances of how AI is affecting human services incorporate 's capacity to pinpoint medications for disease patients, and Google Cloud's Healthcare application that makes

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Will psychedelics be available commonly in the near future? - BPhrm Dv

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Letters to the Editor: Psychedelics on their way – Valley Advocate

Posted: at 9:56 am

In response to The Return Trip: Psychedelics may come back from the abyss of illegality, published November 21-27, 2019.

Design by Jennifer Levesque

Serene, I bet we beat your state to this.

Billy Tower, Facebook comment

Billy Tower, lol youre probably right! But glad to know its all on its way.

Serene Leona, Facebook comment

Ugh! Heaven help us all.

Lorre Smith, Facebook comment

Yea, heaven help us all open our minds and discover a better way to live in this godforsaken society.

Kyle Kelley, Facebook comment

Wonderful article! This is probably one of the best that Ive read having to do with the recent psychedelic revolution.

Dan Conner, website comment

In response to Monte Belmonte Wines: Trying to love Italian wine, published November 21-27, 2019.

Having read this article, it didnt take long to figure out it was really about the U.S. immigration policy and not really about wine. My paternal grandparents came from an Eastern European country in the late 1890s and arrived as legal immigrants at Ellis Island and, who knows, probably were deloused as well a small price to pay in order to enter the country. When you enter a country illegally, theres a price to pay. The only people I feel sorry for are the innocent children, who are brought here by adults who are breaking the law. You dont get to pick and choose which laws youre going to follow and then be surprised when youre detained.

Welcoming immigrants who enter legally is an honorable endeavor, and we should be helping those who enter our country honorably, not the ones who currently sneak in and hide out.

Judy Curtis, email

In response to Between the Lines: Use your billions on something other than running for president, published November 21-27, 2019.

I got my daily Tom Steyer flyer today. More dependable than the local paper.

Steve William Lindsey, Facebook comment

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Letters to the Editor: Psychedelics on their way - Valley Advocate

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Scientists Have a Fascinating New Map of the Human Brain on DMT – VICE

Posted: at 9:56 am

Taking DMT is a bit like putting your brain through a jet engine and getting your consciousness blown out the other side. Theres no you anymore. Youre just kind of everywhere, surrounded by colours and fractals and aliens that look a bit like elves. It feels a lot like being dead, or what you imagine being dead feels like, and then youre sucked back into your body feeling somewhere between terrified and peaceful. But whats weird is that for such a chaotic ride, there seems to be a pattern to the experience. The trip tends to follow a similar trajectory each time, and everyone seems to experience some variation of the same thing.

For scientists this uniformity presents some interesting questions. Namely: whats the neurology behind DMT? And why do so many people report seeing elves? These questions have instigated a few studies, including one at Johns Hopkins in the United States, but the latest findings have just come from the Imperial College London.

Last week a study published in Scientific Reports looked at the brains response to DMT, courtesy of the colleges Psychedelic Research Group. There, researchers administered intravenous DMT to 13 subjects, while measuring their brains electrical activity via a web of electrodes loaded into head capsdevices that are known as "EEG caps".

If were serious about understanding human beings and their consciousness, we need to understand psychedelic experiences, Christopher Timmins, a PhD student at Imperial College London and author of the study, told VICE over the phone. DMT [is] particularly relevant because, at normal doses, it generates this very strong sense of immersiveness.

We asked Christopher what else he and his team discovered about DMTs bewildering effects on the brain.

Christopher Timmermann. Credit: Imperial College London, photo by Thomas Angus

VICE: HI Chris. Can you start by explaining our current understanding of how DMT works on a neurological level?Christopher Timmermann: We know DMT works with the serotonin system in the brain. Serotonin is one of the major chemicals that we have in the brain thats responsible for a series of functions related to consciousnesswakefulness, attention. DMT is very closely related to the serotonin molecule. We also know that if you block a specific serotonin receptor in the brain, the psychological effects of DMT are inhibited. So we know that the specific receptor, the serotonin 2A receptor, is crucial for psychedelic effects. And this receptor is expressed all over the cerebral cortexits very prominent in sensory areas, and its distributed all around.

What neurological effects did you see in your subjects after theyd taken DMT? The brainwave patterns seen are particularly notorious in certain states of consciousness. For example, you have an Alpha wave pattern thats very prominent when you close your eyes and disengage from the environment. When we open our eyes after that, this Alpha wave pattern goes down a very significant way. In the DMT study, we found the same thinga very strong reduction of these Alpha waves. The only difference is that people kept their eyes closed. It's almost as if people were seeing with their eyes closed, engaging with a world. And we found this reduction in Alpha waves was very strongly associated [with] the intensity of the experience.

Another way we try to understand brain activity is to see how chaotically, or entropically, the brain behaves after we administer these drugs. With DMT, we found that there was a huge increase in this chaotic activity. This is interesting because its the opposite of what happens in the brain when there is a loss of consciousness, such as when youre in a coma, or youre sleeping or dreaming.

Were there any other brainwave patterns you noticed?Yeah we also saw an increase in Theta and Delta waves. Its interesting because these increases were particularly noticeable when people were in the peak of this experience, so the moment in which people felt completely immersed in this alternate reality of sorts. This Theta wave, specifically, is tightly related to dreaming, so therefore we have some initial evidence that theres a similar mechanism behind dreaming and this very immersive DMT experience.

Treatment room setup. Credit: Imperial College London and photo by Thomas Angus

Im interested in how the people in your study reacted to the DMT. You write that they were all exposed to psychedelics, but did anyone report seeing anything interesting during their trip?There were challenging moments for sure; moments where people in the interview after reported that it was too much. One participant said she reached a point in which she couldnt go further. She described encountering some beings or entities that were pushing against her, not allowing her to trespass into their realm, and I think this was particularly challenging. But after that, she said she was falling through pink clouds of comfort, and other entities were healing her once she was going through this space.

Now, the whole idea is DMT allows people to break through different realities. But it's fairly well established that while some can, others cant. Is there any neurological reason as to why this is?There are many factors that can influence this. Id say a very important one is that people usually smoke DMT, and smoking is a very ineffective way to ingest a drug because a lot of the product can be burned before its absorbed. Theres variability in the lung capacity people have, how much time theyre holding the smoke in, and basically, your history with smoking other substances.

Okay, but are there any explanations neurologically? You mentioned serotonin earlier, so could anything be altering those receptors, like antidepressant drugs for example? We dont know how well antidepressants interact, at least at the experiential level. The usual saying of psychedelics is that when people are taking antidepressants, psychedelics dont work as well. Theres also some evidence that this serotonin 2A receptor is mediated by a gene some people apparently have or dont have. But again, these things are speculative. Theres nothing mechanistically proven about why people may not break through. But I would say that dose is a very big explanation.

Is there any scientific way to explain DMT breakthroughs? Like, are we closer to understanding why, or how, people meet entities like machine elves?At the moment we dont know. What were doing now is were conducting other experiments in which we use DMT, and we give it inside fMRI scanners, because fMRI scanners allow you to look at things happening [inside] the brain with much more precision. And that is important because we know that certain areas of the brain are used for recognising faces, when were engaging in social activities, and so on.

So youre saying DMT might affect the parts of our brain that recognise faces, which could be why were seeing the faces of elves when were on DMT? Look, DMT might be acting on specific areas of the brain responsible for face recognition, or understanding the mind of others, or recognising intentions, but these are speculations only.

So, to you, whats been the point of the study? How has this research helped us to understand DMT or even this notion of consciousness? An important part of this study has been exploring how DMT trips are part of the human experience repertoire. These are states that human beings can have. As a scientist, theres a natural curiosity in understanding not only why, but understanding the experiences themselves. One of the important things about this study has been examining what kind of experiences human beings can have, and how we can make sense of them.

Interview by Sam Nichols. He's on Twitter

This article originally appeared on VICE AU.

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Scientists Have a Fascinating New Map of the Human Brain on DMT - VICE

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