Marijuana has been hard to classify, historically. It doesnt fall neatly into any of the other categories, be they stimulants, depressants, opioids, or what-have-you. As a result, its be dropped into a slot all its own. At a recent psychedelics conference in London, New York psychologist Julie Holland suggested a recategorization for cannabis, as a hallucinogen.
Her reasoning, it can cause "dehabituation," or the ability to see an issue from a completely new perspective. According to Holland, "The thing that I'm interested in with cannabis is how it does this thing where everything old is new again." Such an experience is very therapeutic. Consider being able to suddenly see a traumatic memory differently, and to frame it in a healthier way.
Currently, not much is known about marijuanas effect on the brain. Some research shows that chronic use can increase the risk of psychosis. Psychosis however, is defined in a very specific way. Its considered either becoming overly paranoid or experiencing hallucinations.
Marijuanas inducement of dehabituation may be useful for clinical purposes. Getty Images.
Some research suggests that chronic marijuana use doesnt cause psychotic disorders, but may be a catalyst to an episode thats already developing. In other words, its those who suffer from mental illness who gravitate toward chronic marijuana use, perhaps to self-soothe. But theyre also barreling toward an episode.
So how would dehabituation work therapeutically? In this case, a therapist would have a patient use marijuana and then take them on a guided trance, in such a way as to install a healthier viewpoint in them. Could such a thing be done?
Some fear marijuana use alongside psychological treatment could trigger a mood disorder such as anxiety or depression. But a well-regarded study recently upended such claims. It may cause problems in the developing brain however, particularly in those between adolescence and age 25. There are conflicting views. If it were cleared, cannabis therapy would have to be performed only on those over a certain age.
Marijuanas psychoactive ingredient, delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), can cause neural noise. This is experiencing a stream of random, unrelated thoughts, or even a hallucination. The person feels the effect of neurons becoming overactive inside their brain. These electrical disturbances, in marijuanas case, calm down quickly. Over the course of some minutes, the patient enters an altered state, losing touch with reality and then returns. Most psychedelics meanwhile, last for hours.
Chronic marijuana use may be detrimental to those under age 25. Getty Images.
According to Dr. Holland, "In psychiatry it seems that cannabis is grossly underused and understudied." Most marijuana studies have looked at it as a way of alleviating the side effects of say cancer treatment or severe epileptic disorders, offering pain relief, dampening Parkinsons, and mitigating the symptoms of other serious illnesses. Few have looked at it for mental health treatment. Some of those studies do show that it may be helpful for treating PTSD, anxiety, or depression.
Meanwhile, a growing body of evidence shows that psychedelics can be useful in overcoming psychological disorders. Research has found that LSD can help addicts and alcoholics overcome addiction. Psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, was shown to helpcancer patients overcome depression and anxiety.Meanwhile, MDMA has successfully treated PTSD.
As a result of these and other findings, medical research on psychedelics has increased in the last 15 years or so. Even so in the US, marijuana and most hallucinogens are considered schedule 1 narcotics under the federal Controlled Substances Act. Therefore, research on such drugs has been limited. Gaining approval from multiple federal agencies is required, to study either one, which can take years. Even so, interest in using both marijuana and hallucinogens for therapeutic purposes is growing.
Marijuana and psychedelics like LSD and psilocybin, may interact differently within the brain, discouraging reclassification. Studies using the brain scans of patients on psychedelics show that their brains make new connections with disparate parts. Different regions may interact with the visual cortex for example, allowing those on acid to smell colors or visualize music. No such equivalent has been witnessed in marijuana users.
Chronic use of marijuana effects the orbitofrontal cortex, the nucleus accumbens, and the amygdala. The first has to do with decision-making and information processing, while the second and third are both part of the brains reward circuit. The amygdala is also the center for our emotions.
Psilocybin mushrooms. Getty Images.
Could neural noise and the experience of dehabituation, no matter how brief, lead to marijuanas reclassification? Probably not. It would be of little value, since theyre both are at the same classification level. Would there be any other advantages in seeing marijuana reclassified?
Not really. What a growing number of researchers, policy makers, and journalists are saying, is that there needs to be a change in the classification of both marijuana and hallucinogens in the US, on the federal level. These drugs arent deadly, have no long-lasting side effects, and arent physically addictive.
A rescheduling would allow for more research, so we can better understand how they affect human health, and if these drugs can be leveraged effectively for clinical purposes, with minimal side effects. Despite obstacles, Holland and colleagues are working on a study which will assess whether or not marijuana helps reduce PTSD symptoms. Veterans have been claiming it does since the Vietnam War era.
To learn more about the use of psychedelics to treat psychological issues, click here:
Go here to read the rest:
- Key Insights from PSYCH: The Psychedelics as Medicine Report - Prohibition Partners - March 18th, 2020
- Cannabis Countdown: Top 10 Marijuana And Psychedelic Stock News Stories Of The Week - Benzinga - March 18th, 2020
- With No Progress in Therapy, NYC Couple Turns to Psychedelics for Help - NBC New York - March 13th, 2020
- Upscale Psychedelics Therapy Center Opens On New Yorks 5th Avenue - Forbes - March 13th, 2020
- Why Kevin O'Leary is betting on psychedelics - Wealth Professional - March 13th, 2020
- Learning the hard way that psychedelic drug use can have long-term consequences - Dailyuw - March 13th, 2020
- Forget taking a pill a day. Canada is using psychedelics to revolutionize the way we treat mental health and addiction - The GrowthOp - March 13th, 2020
- High Stakes: Will The Legalization Of Psychedelics Mimic That Of Cannabis? Will It Learn From Its Mistakes? - Benzinga - March 13th, 2020
- Scientists Just Proved These Two Brain Networks Are Key to Consciousness - Singularity Hub - March 13th, 2020
- Cannabis Countdown: Top 10 Marijuana Stock News Stories Of The Week - MarketWatch - March 13th, 2020
- Podcast Host Joe Rogan Is Steadily Documenting A Psychedelic Record Of The 21st Century - Forbes - February 27th, 2020
- Empower Clinics to create psilocybin and psychadelics division leveraging corporate wellness and franchise clinic network - Proactive Investors USA... - February 27th, 2020
- The Psilocybin Movement Is Like The Cannabis Movement (Except When It's Not) - Benzinga - February 27th, 2020
- Researchers went to festivals to study psychedelic drugs and found they left people feeling happy and connected hours after the high wore off -... - January 22nd, 2020
- Psychedelics and Their 'Mystical Effects' in the Real World - Medscape - January 22nd, 2020
- Psychedelic Events Are Going Mainstream, Where The Much-Maligned Mushroom Industry Focuses On Mental Health - Forbes - January 18th, 2020
- Psychedelics have 'extraordinarily potent' anti-inflammatory power. Is there a place for them in mainstream medicine? - Genetic Literacy Project - January 18th, 2020
- Silicon Valley Is Micro-Dosing Magic Mushrooms To Boost Their Careers - Forbes - January 18th, 2020
- NYC To Host Economics Of Psychedelics Investing Summit - Benzinga - January 18th, 2020
- The Best FREE Things to Do for the Next Week - My New Orleans - January 18th, 2020
- Photos of the Stuff That Fascinates People While They're Tripping On LSD - VICE - January 18th, 2020
- Rats on DMT hint at the benefits of psychedelic microdosing - Inverse - December 31st, 2019
- BEYOND LOCAL: Would you ever consider psychedelics to treat PTSD? - SooToday.com - December 31st, 2019
- A Trailblazer of Global Consciousness: Ram Dass Led the Way - Psychology Today - December 31st, 2019
- The Psychedelic Renaissance and the importance of drug policy reform - Open Access Government - December 13th, 2019
- Magic Mushrooms Move Closer to Mainstream Medicine As VC-Backed Compass Touts Safety, Positive Mood Alteration - Karma - December 13th, 2019
- Miami Clinics Use Ketamine IV Therapy to Help Treat Depression and PTSD - Miami New Times - December 13th, 2019
- Andy Frasco Talks Finding Emotional Balance With Psychedelics On 'Psychedelics Today' Podcast [Listen] - Live for Live Music - November 30th, 2019
- Will psychedelics be available commonly in the near future? - BPhrm Dv - November 30th, 2019
- Letters to the Editor: Psychedelics on their way - Valley Advocate - November 30th, 2019
- Scientists Have a Fascinating New Map of the Human Brain on DMT - VICE - November 30th, 2019
- Hes a fungi: U.S. health agency asks researcher to give it the lowdown on psilocybin mushrooms - The GrowthOp - November 30th, 2019
- A Magic Mushroom Test Case, and the Man Behind It - OZY - November 30th, 2019
- The Two Black Women Helping To Reclaim & Encourage Natural Psychedelics Use In Oakland - Okayplayer - November 2nd, 2019
- Molecule Catalyst and UTM to crowdfund psychedelics research with blockchain - Decrypt - November 2nd, 2019
- On writing: What illuminates a story? - Big Think - November 2nd, 2019
- The future of psychedelic science - Varsity - October 20th, 2019
- Psychedelic Drugs: Researchers experimenting with active agent in magic mushrooms to treat addiction, depression and anxiety - 60 Minutes - CBS News - October 17th, 2019
- Investors hope psychedelics are the new cannabis. Are they high? - The Economist - October 17th, 2019
- Mind Trip: Psychedelics Fighting Depression, Anxiety, Addiction - The National Herald - October 17th, 2019
- Devon Welsh on Growing a Mustache, Psychedelics, and Other Complicated Things - Interview - October 17th, 2019
- Roland Griffiths: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know - Heavy.com - October 17th, 2019
- How Mushrooms Became Magic - The Atlantic - August 25th, 2017
- Using Mushrooms and LSD to Enhance Creativity - How to Use ... - August 20th, 2017
- LSD - Psychedelics - August 16th, 2017
- This Philosopher Thinks Psychedelic Drugs Lead to the Truth of Experience - Big Think - August 16th, 2017
- Can Psychedelics Treat Bipolar Disorder? - August 13th, 2017
- The foundation of Western philosophy is probably rooted in psychedelics - Quartz - August 13th, 2017
- Psychedelic drugs saved my life. So why aren't they prescribed? - Wired.co.uk - August 8th, 2017
- Daniel Greig, Canadian Drug Policy, Responsibilities, and Psychedelics - The Good Men Project (blog) - August 6th, 2017
- THE FUTURE OF PSYCHEDELICS: Are LSD and Mushrooms The New Prozac? - Dope Magazine - August 5th, 2017
- Gonzo Nieto, Drug Policy, Medical and Psychological Effects - The Good Men Project (blog) - August 3rd, 2017
- For children, it's beyond psychedelics - The Hans India - The Hans India - August 1st, 2017
- Modern psychedelic science is reviving lost research and finding new cures - The Plaid Zebra (blog) - August 1st, 2017
- Expanding consciousness - 48 Hills - August 1st, 2017
- What Has Awe Done for Me Lately? - HuffPost - July 31st, 2017
- New book about psychedelics and weird human experiences - Boing Boing - July 26th, 2017
- Psychedelics and Normality - HuffPost - July 26th, 2017
- Reasons to Consider Trying Psychedelics - FoxWeekly - July 25th, 2017
- Psychedelic Shine takes a trip to the skies in Boulder - Boulder Daily Camera - July 22nd, 2017
- Psychedelic drugs could tackle depression in a way that antidepressants can't - INSIDER - July 22nd, 2017
- Do You Take Drugs at Festivals? This Initiative is Working on Keeping You Safe - PoliticalCritique.org - July 20th, 2017
- Countdown To (Legalized) Ecstasy! Rick Doblin, MAPS, & the Psychedelic Renaissance [Podcast] - Reason (blog) - July 20th, 2017
- Can Psychedelics Be Therapy? Allow Research to Find Out - New York Times - July 18th, 2017
- Psychiatrists Say Cannabis Medicine Has Psychedelic Properties - The Marijuana Times - July 15th, 2017
- Are psychedelics the new medical marijuana? - WTSP 10 News - July 13th, 2017
- Alameda author's new book examines psychedelic drugs' medical use - East Bay Times - July 12th, 2017
- Do Psychedelic Drugs Cause the 'Prophetic Effect'? - Breaking Israel ... - Breaking Israel News - July 11th, 2017
- Shrooms Could Be Legalized Sooner Than You Think - VICE - July 11th, 2017
- Parliament George and the Psychedelics? Mayor gets playful lesson on hipness - The Telegraph (blog) - July 8th, 2017
- About Us | Trusted News Source for Psychedelic Research ... - July 7th, 2017
- My grandfather was a death row doctor. He tested psychedelic drugs on Texas inmates. - Texas Tribune - July 5th, 2017
- Psychedelics Could Help Asia's Mental Health Care, But Stigma Remains Roadblock - TheFix.com - July 4th, 2017
- Is LSD the new coffee? - FactorDaily - July 4th, 2017
- Tune in, Turn on, Stay in School - Study Breaks - July 2nd, 2017
- The brain on DMT: mapping the psychedelic drug's effects - Wired.co.uk - July 2nd, 2017
- Cannabist Show: He's psychedelic comedian Shane Mauss - The Cannabist - July 1st, 2017
- The war on drugs is back. Will psychedelic drug research survive? - The Verge - June 29th, 2017
- Psychedelics and Virtual Reality Make a Trendy but Illegal Therapy - Inverse - June 27th, 2017
- Director Ana Lily Amirpour on Cannibalism, Psychedelics, and 'Horrifying' Racism Allegations - Jezebel - June 24th, 2017