The Mainstreaming of Psychedelics

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From MDMA as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder to Ketamine for beating depression, there's a psychedelic revival afoot, one that is firmly rooted in science and medicine. In High Times, Natalie Lyla Ginsberg, policy manager of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), writes about the "Mainstreaming of Psychedelics":

“What brings you to Canada?” the Border Patrol asked Dr. Michael Mithoefer in the spring of 2015. Mithoefer, a psychiatrist, and his wife Annie, a psychiatric nurse, are pioneers in MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. Mithoefer had been invited to Toronto to address the largest gathering of psychiatrists in the world—the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association—on the results of their research into treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) using MDMA.

Needless to say, if there’s ever a time to avoid ruffling feathers with the mention of psychoactive substances, international border-crossing fits the bill. Mithoefer succinctly explained that he was presenting his PTSD research at the APA conference.

“PTSD? Did you know that researchers are using MDMA now to treat war veterans?” the border agent asked him incredulously.

Mithoefer recounts this story to me with delight after he arrives at the APA conference. It’s a sign of how much the times are changing: Not only is the famously old-fashioned APA hosting a panel on the use of psychedelics, but a recognition of their therapeutic value seems to be seeping into the public consciousness.

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Blame the War on Drugs for stoned, face-eating murderers

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No one know if the 19 year old who murdered a man in Florida and gnawed on his face while wearing a Donald Trump hat was high, and if so, what he had taken, but the bizarre, violent behavior is consistent with people who take flakka, a popular South Florida synthetic drug meant to mimic cocaine. Read the rest

Meth lab found underneath a Walmart parking lot

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We've heard countless stories about people brewing up meth in Walmart bathrooms, but now police have found a meth lab underneath a Walmart in Amherst, New York! They discovered the underground lab inside a culvert below the store's parking lot and a crew in hazmat gear is now clearing out the tunnel. From WIVB:

“We’ll talk to the proper authorities to figure out what we need to do to make sure that’s not accessible anymore,” said Captain Scott Chamberlin.

He said they did not receive any tips. The culvert was checked during a random preventative patrol.

“Routine patrol, that’s what we do every day,” said Captain Chamberlin.

We asked him if it’s routine to check underground.

He said, “We check in various areas that people who might be up to no good, might be using for no good.”

Members of the NYSP Contaminated Crime Scene Emergency Response Team passed buckets of evidence up from the manhole.

“Spray paint can, some various chemicals, a liquid we believe is methamphetamine,” said Captain Chamberlin.

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Fantastic infographic of cannabis strains

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Boing Boing pal Jody Radzik designed this incredible infographic of marijuana strains for Berkeley, California's Patient’s Care Collective who claim to be "the longest continuously operating medical marijuana dispensary on the planet." Click the images to expand (your mind)!

"The chart basically expands upon the traditional sativa-indica-hybrid classification scheme in a way that helps folks to make sense of the bewildering array of choices in marijuana medicine available at the PCC, as well as just about any other dispensary in the state," Jody explains.

Far fucking out.

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Video about using psychedelic drugs to treat anxiety, addiction, and OCD

In the last decade, researchers at Johns Hopkins University and elsewhere have launched new studies investigating whether psychedelic drugs, from shrooms to LSD to DMT, can treat mental disorders ranging from depression and PTSD to anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Vox reporters German Lopez and Javier Zarracina surveyed the state of medical research on hallucinogens:

In a recent study, British researchers used brain imaging techniques to gauge how the brain looks on LSD versus a placebo. They found big differences between LSD and the placebo, with the images of the brain on LSD showing much more connectivity between different sections of the mind.

This can help explain visual hallucinations, because it means various parts of the brain — not just the visual cortex at the back of the mind — are communicating during an LSD trip.

This, researchers argued, may show not just why psychedelic drugs trigger hallucinogenic experiences but also why they may be able to help people. "In many psychiatric disorders, the brain may be viewed as having become entrenched in pathology, such that core behaviors become automated and rigid," the researchers wrote. "Consistent with their ‘entropic’ effect on cortical activity, psychedelics may work to break down such disorders by dismantling the patterns of activity on which they rest."

"The fascinating, strange medical potential of psychedelic drugs, explained in 50+ studies" (Vox)

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When science intersected with the counterculture, things got wonderfully weird

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In the late 1960s and 1970s, the mind-expanding modus operandi of the counterculture spread into the realm of science, and shit got wonderfully weird. Neurophysiologist John Lilly tried to talk with dolphins. Physicist Peter Phillips launched a parapsychology lab at Washington University. Princeton physicist Gerard O'Neill became an evangelist for space colonies. Groovy Science: Knowledge, Innovation, and American Counterculture is a new book of essays about this heady time! The book was co-edited by MIT's David Kaiser, who wrote the fantastic 2011 book How the Hippies Saved Physics, and UC Santa Barbara historian W. Patrick McCray. I can't wait to read it!

From an MIT News interview with Kaiser:

We want to address a common stereotype that dates from the time period itself, which is that the American youth movement, the hippies or counterculture, was reacting strongly against science and technology, or even the entire Western intellectual tradition of reason, as a symbol of all that should be overturned. In fact, many of them were enamored of science and technology, some of them were working scientists, and some were patrons of science. This picture of fear and revulsion is wrong.

We also see things that have a surprisingly psychedelic past. This includes certain strains of sustainability, design, and manufacture, notions of socially responsible engineering, and artisanal food. This stuff didn’t start from scratch in 1968 and didn’t end on a dime in 1982...

These folks were rejecting not science itself but what many had come to consider a depersonalized, militarized approach to the control of nature.

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What if all drugs were totally legal?

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Flash Forward: RSS | iTunes | Twitter | Facebook | Web | Patreon | Reddit

In this episode we discuss the history of drug laws, why some drugs are legal and others aren’t, and what would happen if we just let everybody lose to do whatever they want.

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The healing power of ayahuasca

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Michael Costuros is an "executive coach" in California's Marin County (birthplace of the hot tub) who every year takes a group of entrepreneurs to South America on a trip within a trip. Each spends $10,000 to hopefully leverage "the healing power of ayahuasca," Costuros says. From Chris Colin's feature in California Sunday:

Chris Hunter, co-founder of the company behind the alcoholic energy drink Four Loko, signed on in hopes that it would help him navigate some sticky professional relationships. Jesse Krieger, publisher of Lifestyle Entre­preneurs Press, wished for insight into growth strategies. Other participants included the founder of a financial technology company, the scion of a footwear empire, and a firearms executive looking for a pivot. Under the guidance of Costuros and a local shaman, they would participate in a San Pedro ceremony — San Pedro is another powerful plant-based psychedelic — followed by two separate ayahuasca ceremonies....

The participants — all men this year — spent their first day traveling to the retreat center, getting situated, and enjoying massages. At 8 a.m. the next day, they assembled in a small, open-air structure. Following an initial cleansing ceremony, they drank their first batch of medicine (fermented wheatgrass and dirt is how Krieger described the taste) and lay down on thin mats under a thatched roof. There they’d remain for ten hours.

The first 60 minutes of the ayahuasca ceremony felt like two weeks for (AirHelp CEO Henrik) Zillmer. Uncontrollable vomiting and feverish shivering aside, he was unable to move and watched helplessly as his mind departed his body and descended into a vast black hole.

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Is Trump on crappy prescription stimulants, like Hitler?

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Gawker's Ashley Feinberg reports on rumors that Donald Trump, presumptive Republican candidate for U.S. President, is on "cheap speed."

...according to a source with knowledge of Trump’s current prescriptions, that letter isn’t telling the whole story. Most notably: Donald Trump is allegedly still taking speed-like diet pills.

Rumors of Trump’s predilection for stimulants first started really popping up in 1992, when Spy magazine wrote, “Have you ever wondered why Donald Trump has acted so erratically at times, full of manic energy, paranoid, garrulous? Well, he was a patient of Dr. [Joseph] Greenberg’s from 1982 to 1985.” At the time, Dr. Greenberg was notorious for allegedly doling out prescription stimulants to anyone who could pay.

Previously: Hitler was injected with all sorts of crazy drugs Read the rest

Californians will get to vote on legal recreational weed

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California, the most populous state in the USA and the sixth-largest economy in the world -- will give its residents the chance to vote on an expansive legal recreational week proposal on the ballot paper this coming November. Read the rest

The Perdition Score: Sandman Slim vs the One Percent

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It's been seven years since Richard Kadrey blew the lid off urban fantasy with Sandman Slim, a fresh, funny, mean and dirty supernatural hard-boiled revenge story like no other. Now, with the publication of book seven, The Perdition Score, Kadrey forces his antihero to confront his fiercest-ever opponent: his own violent nature.

Watch a fantastic documentary about psych pioneer Roky Erickson

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Roky Erickson is the founder of pioneering Texan psychedelic band the 13th Floor Elevators, an outfit that emerged in mid-1960s from Austin's underground scene and influenced bands ranging from ZZ Top and Primal Scream to The Flaming Lips and Queens of the Stone Age.

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Used prescription drugs at yard sale

Image: Wikimedia/ParentingPatch

Gordopolis says: "I've been to a lot of yardsales, pretty sure this was a first."

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Timothy Leary's archivist on Leary's prison escape, Algerian exile, and Swiss prison-time

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Lisa Rein writes, "In less than a year, Timothy Leary was imprisoned in three different continents--and it could've been worse. After escaping from a California prison with the help of the Weatherman Underground and the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, he and Rosemary fled Algeria from a 'revolutionary bust' by Black Panther leader Eldridge Cleaver, only to be jailed in Switzerland when President Nixon personally demanded his extradition back to the U.S." Read the rest

Wisconsin Congresswoman: mandatory drug tests for anyone claiming $150K in itemized tax-deductions

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After Governor Scott Walker [R-WI] and Congressman Paul Ryan [R-WI] both proposed expanding drug-testing for poor people on benefits, Congresswoman Gwen Moore [D-WI] introduced legislation requiring urine samples from anyone claiming over $150,000 in itemized tax-deductions -- households with gross incomes of about $1M. Read the rest

How a pharma company made billions off mass murder by faking the science on Oxycontin

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When Purdue Pharma's patent on the MS Contin was close to expiry, the Sackler family who owned the company spent millions trying to find a product that could replace the profits they'd lose from generic competition on MS Contin: the result was Oxycontin, a drug that went on to kill Americans at epidemic scale. Read the rest

Meth smuggled inside burritos

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection arrested a Nogales, Arizona woman for allegedly smuggling $3000 worth of methamphetamine from Mexico inside two faux burritos. From UPI:

A narcotics-detecting canine alerted officers to the presence of drugs and a search determined the woman was carrying more than a pound of methamphetamine in two packages that had been wrapped in tortilla shells to make them look like burritos.
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