Never before published photos from Psychedelic Conference II in Santa Barbara, 1983

Albert Hofmann in the Cafe.

Photos by Cynthia Palmer. Read the rest

The origin story of the Timothy Leary archives


Lisa Rein writes, "Fresh from a Supreme Court victory in a marijuana case, and armed with a campaign song written by John Lennon, maverick psychologist and prominent LSD researcher Timothy Leary decided to run for governor of California in a bid to unseat the incumbent Ronald Reagan, only to be knocked out of the race by a felony conviction and 10-year sentence for possession of two half-smoked marijuana joints, as a symbol of Nixon's newly proclaimed War on Drugs." Read the rest

The unusual couple behind an online field guide to psychoactive substances


In the New Yorker's annual tech issue, Emily Witt profiles the founders of Erowid, "a couple in their mid-forties -- a man and a woman who call themselves Earth and Fire, respectively."

Read the rest

Meet the psychedelic honey-hunters of Nepal


"One month a year, giant Himalayan bees, the biggest bees in the world, come to collect nectar from a poisonous flower, giving the honey they make certain medicinal, aphrodisiac, and hallucinogenic properties."

In this short documentary, filmmaker Raphael Treza meets with a Nepalese tribe to learn about this honey, and how they use it. During the making of the film, the translator eats too much of the honey and falls unconscious.

Read the rest

Watch scenes from LSD: The Opera!

Five scenes from "LSD: The Opera" performed at Los Angeles's REDCAT last month. It ain't over 'til Tim Leary sings? Read the rest

Beautiful microscope photographs of drugs, legal and illegal: LSD, caffeine, GHB, meth, and more.

Caffeine crystals; formed out of 100% caffeine powder dissolved in demineralised water, made visible by using a cross polarised light microscope with an Berek filter.
Who knew caffeine, aspirin, and LSD were so darn beautiful up close?

People who take tiny doses of LSD and other psychedelics every day say it's wonderful


A strong dose of LSD is 500 micrograms. Some people are taking daily microdoses of 10 to 15 micrograms, which is not enough to feel trippy, but provides a sense of well-being and mental clarity. A typical microdoser says these tiny doses "increase my focus, open my heart, and achieve breakthrough results while remaining integrated within my routine."

One 65-year-old Sonoma County, California ... told AlterNet she microdosed because it made her feel better and more effective.

"I started doing it in 1980, when I lived in San Francisco and one of my roommates had some mushrooms in the fridge," said the woman, who asked to remain anonymous. "I just took a tiny sliver and found that it made me alert and energized all day. I wasn't high or anything; it was more like having a coffee buzz that lasted all day long."

This woman gave up on microdosing when her roommate's supply of 'shrooms ran out, but she has taken it up again recently.

"I'm very busy these days and I'm 65, so I get tired, and maybe just a little bit surly sometimes," she admitted. "So when a friend brought over some chocolate mushrooms, I decided to try it again. It makes my days so much better! My mood improves, my energy level is up, and I feel like my synapses are really popping. I get things done, and I don't notice any side-effects whatsoever."

Read the rest

Timothy Leary with Aldous and Laura Huxley

Read the rest

Dune author Franker Herbert on mushrooms

The Daily Grail delves into Frank Herbert's passion for mycology and how psilocybin mushrooms helped inspire Dune. Read the rest

The woman who lived (and had sex) with a dolphin

In 1964, Margaret Howe Lovatt, working with psychedelic dolphin researcher John Lilly, began to live with one of the animals full-time as part of a NASA-funded study about interspecies communication; a new documentary about Lovatt, titled "The Girl Who Talked to Dolphins," airs on BBC4 later this month. Above, a clip of Lovatt talking about how she developed a deep intimate relationship with Peter the dolphin that veered into the sexual. At the time, a sexploitative article in Hustler, the high weirdness of the experiments itself that included giving LSD to dolphins, and myriad other unpleasant issues, brought the project to a very sad end.

"The dolphin who loved me: the Nasa-funded project that went wrong" (The Observer) Read the rest

Alexander "Sasha" Shulgin, psychedelic pioneer, RIP

Alexander "Sasha" Shulgin, maverick chemist, psychedelic pioneer, and inspiring human being, died yesterday at 88 years old. Sasha is best known for popularizing MDMA (Ecstasy) and introducing it to the psychological community, and synthesizing hundreds of new psychoactive chemicals that he first tested on himself. His scientific research is detailed in a huge output of papers and books including the seminal tomes TIHKAL and PIHKAL, co-authored with his wife and research partner Ann Shulgin.

As Sasha once said, everyone deserves "the license to explore the nature of his own soul."

Sasha, you will be missed, and rest-assured the research will continue. Read the rest

Psychedelic hero Alexander Shulgin nearing death

Our best wishes and deep respect to psychedelic pioneer and maverick chemist Alexander "Sasha" Shulgin who is preparing for his final trip on Earth; he is "surrounded by love and a lot of laughter," his wife and research partner Ann Shulgin posted on Facebook: Read the rest

Documentary about UK counterculture in 1967

Over at Dangerous Minds, Richard points us to this fantastic 1967 short documentary "It's So Far Out It's Straight Down" from Granada Television. Allen Ginsberg, Pink Floyd, the staff of the International Times underground paper, and Paul McCartney all make the scene.

"The straights should welcome the underground because it stands for freedom," Sir Paul says. "It’s not strange it’s just new, it’s not weird, it’s just what’s going on around." Read the rest

Pesco on LSD, computers, and the counterculture

Above, video evidence of my short presentation "Just Say Know: A Cyberdelic History of the Future" at the recent Lift Conference 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland. Albert Hoffman first synthesized LSD in 1938 in Switzerland so this felt like the right set and setting to share stories about the intersection of psychedelic culture and computer technology from the 1960s to the present and beyond! Read the rest

Leary's "Declaration of Evolution" in English and Persian

Lisa Rein sez "A first-ever Persian translation of any of Timothy Leary's writings is now available. The text, a 'Declaration of Evolution,' is a manifesto Leary wrote for the psychedelic generation, modeled on the 1776 American 'Declaration of Independence." It is presented in a bilingual (Persian and English) format.

"It was first published in Leary's The Politics of Ecstasy and reprinted in the underground press, before being published separately in 1970 as a pamphlet by the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, who later the same year engineered Leary's prison escape by the Weather Underground. It has been out-of-print since then." Read the rest

The history (and future) of psychedelic science

Back in 2010, the journal Nature Reviews Neuroscience published an article looking at the neurobiology of psychedelic drugs and why researchers were returning to this field after 40 years of stagnation. As part of that, they commissioned four of the best neuroscience bloggers on the Internet to write posts about the history of psychedelic psychiatry and the possible ways we could use these drugs to help people. I stumbled across this collection recently, and thought you all might enjoy it. Read the rest

Erik Davis reports on the latest in psychedelic research

Erik Davis says: I recently published my first column for Aeon Magazine's online site, a "post-secular" take on the current wave of psychedelic research. Without plunging into woo, the article attempts to chart the liminal zones that lie beyond brain-based reductionism. It seemed a good piece for Aeon, a new British outfit that is charting a very interesting zone between science, religion, culture, and good writing.

Studies recently carried out at Yale, and published last month in the journal Science, have confirmed earlier reports that ketamine offers remarkable, nearly instantaneous relief for people who suffer from forms of major depression impervious to other treatment methods. Interpreting depression as a hardware problem largely caused by the loss of synaptic connections, the researchers argue that ketamine works by encouraging sprightly neural growth in brain regions correlated with memory and mood. Journalistic reports also linked this research with the development of a new vein of antidepressants, including Naurex’s GLYX-13, that have the neurone-fertilising power of ketamine without, as one report describes them, the ‘schizophrenia-like effects’.

Rarely has the new neuro-reductionism been so naked in its repackaging of human experience. Nowhere in the research or the journalism does anyone suggest that heavily depressed people feel better because ketamine sends them on a first-person voyage through profound, sometimes ecstatic, and certainly mind-bending modes of transpersonal consciousness whose subjective power might itself boot the mind out of its most mirthless ruts.

Return trip: A new generation of researchers is heading into the weird world of psychedelic drugs. Read the rest

More posts