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Researchers are in The Throes of a Psychedelic Revival

In the 1950s, research into mind and perception altering drugs had flourished, then floundered in the middle of an atmosphere of illegalization and demonization in the following decades, under Nixon’s and Reagan’s administrations.

However, researchers are taking up the cause again, exploring the possibilities that psychedlics might effectively treat depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and addiction.

Mystical Experiences

There are murmurs of a renaissance in psychedelic research and thought in Imperial College London, John Hopkins University in Baltimore, and in New York University.

Roland Griffiths, a psychopharmacologist at John Hopkins University School of Medicine, and a team of researchers published a groundbreaking article in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, Psilocybin Can Occasion Mystical-Type Experiences Having Substantial and Sustained Personal Meaning and Spiritual Significance, in 2006.

This article concludes that when psilocybin is administered under supportive conditions, psilocybin caused experiences similar to mystical experiences. Two-thirds of those participants involved in the sessions described the experiences as being among the most meaningful experiences in their lives.

Griffiths described the mystical experience as a sense of the interconnectedness of all things in an interview with the multidisciplinary association for psychedelic studies (MAPS).

That sense of unity is often accompanied by a sense of sacredness, a sense of openheartedness or love, and a noetic quality suggesting that this experience is more real than everyday waking consciousness.

Psilocybin in The Treatment of Nicotine Addiction

Griffith’s lab pushed forward with their work in a 2014 study on the possibility that psilocybin, the psychedelic component of magic mushrooms could treat nicotine addiction.

Participants in this study had three psilocybin sessions and three cognitive-behavioral therapy sessions to diminish the cravings of nicotine. Eighty percent of those participants who received the psilocybin treatments abstained from nicotine use for over six months while less than 7% of those participants who received traditional nicotine-replacement therapy were successful for more than six months.

The Effects of Psilocybin in Treating PTSD, Depression, and Anxiety

A 2010 study across the Atlantic conducted at Imperial College London also investigated the effects of psilocybin in treating PTSD, depression, and anxiety. One participant in the study described his experience following a session,

 …Although it’s only days yet, the results are amazing. I feel more confident and calm than I have in such a long time. My outlook has changed significantly too. I am more aware now that it is pointless to get wrapped up in endless negativity. I feel as if I have seen a much clearer picture of which this life is just a tiny part…Another side of this, is I feel like I’ve had a second chance, like a survivor, someone who wants to live for the day, for the experience. I feel like I can enjoy things the way I used to, without the cynicism, without the aggression. At its most basic, I feel like I used to before depression.

The Demonization of The Mystical Experience

Considering the nature of positive mystical experiences these participants had and Griffith’s own definition of a mystical experience, it is hard to believe why the research was put to an end.

Griffiths told The New Yorker earlier this year that the demonization of psychedelics ended because of a sense of clarity and understanding.

There is such a sense of authority that comes out of the primary mystical experience that it can be threatening to existing hierarchical structures. We ended up demonizing these compounds. Can you think of another area of science regarded as dangerous and taboo that all research gets shut down for decades? It’s unprecedented in modern science.

Modern studies on psychedlics emerged in the early 1950s, researchers studied the effects of LSD, MDMA, and psilocybin to treat alcoholics with LSD, hoping the experience would allow a change in behavior and self-analysis.

However, scientific research in this field was halted through the 1960s and 1970s because of a hostile political climate toward the use of psychedlics.

Psychedelic use skyrocketed from the 1950s and people began to experience bad trips. Experts agree that psychedlics carry a low or nonexistent risk for addiction but can give rise to erratic behavior that may lead to injury or death.

President Richard Nixon signed the Controlled Substances Act in 1970, placing the majority of psychedlics under the U.S. government’s restrictive Schedule I category, meaning that these drugs have a significant potential for dependence and abuse, and bear no recognized medicinal value.

Recreational and medicinal use of psychedlics was banned all around the globe. Today, psychedlics and cannabis remain classed under a more restrictive category than cocaine and methamphetamine.

However, psychedelic research continued through the 1990s in small settings. Despite the restrictive laws and past propaganda, psychedelics are growing at a rate not seen since the 1950s. Users and researchers are reemerging from the shadows to proudly advertise their support of psychedelic research and therapy.

A Renaissance on The Horizon

One of the top events for psychedelic researchers, advocates, scientists, and users is the annual Horizons Pychedlic Conference in New York City. Now in its ninth year, the festival has grown to a two-day event hosting researchers from universities in the U.S. South America, and Europe.

Carhart-Harris managed the Imperial College brain imaging study examining how the brain of depressive patients reacts with psilocybin sessions.

The data convinced Harris and his team that psilocybin might be useful in treating depression. Carhart-Harris said that the participants felt lighter, optimistic, and more positive.

Draulio Barros de Araujo, professor of neuroscience at the Brain Institute in Natal, Brazil, is part of the team researching the use of DMT, the active ingredient in ayahuasca might be helpful in treating individuals with treatment-resistant major depressive disorders.

Another study that has proven to be valuable is in the treatment of cancer-related anxiety. Since 2009, the NYU School of Medicine has studied the effects of combining psilocybin sessions with psychotherapy to treat anxiety in cancer patients.

MAPS released a long-term study in 2012 on the benefits of MDMA in the treatment of PTSD. It has become an influential source of funding for researchers seeking to study psychedelics.

As the number of studies on psychedlics increases the likelihood of psychedlics being used in medicine will be likely. However, we need more studies, more critical investigation, and more comprehensive investigations to move forward.

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Should Scientists Use Shrooms To Revive People in Vegetative States?

Scientists want to find out if shrooms could increase consciousness in people that are unresponsive.

Brain Activity Found in Patients With Disorders of Consciousness

Adrian Owen, a neuroscientist, and his colleagues have been looking for signs of consciousness in patients believed to have none since the late 1990s.

They detected awareness in a woman stuck in an unresponsive state to imagine playing tennis. Her brain showed a pattern of neural activity identical to a healthy person. Owen concluded that this woman was not vegetative and was responding to him and his colleagues and did everything she was asked.

Owen has been working with patients who have disorders of consciousness (DoC). These disorders are the result of traumatic brain injuries or other incidents that cut off oxygen to the brain.

Disorders of consciousness (DoC) are different from comas. People with DoC are partially vegetative and are minimally conscious. They are awake but not aware. Their eyes can be open, they can occasionally move, and are in an almost present moment.

Owen and other scientists found that 15 to 17 percent of DoC patients produced brain responses similar to the woman playing imaginary tennis.

How Can Scientists Treat DoC?

Better guidelines have been enforced to better diagnose DoC. However, even if scientists are able to diagnose DoC there is still a problem with finding a treatment for DoC.

The Neuroscience of Consciousness is looking at the ethics of using psilocybin in DoC patients. Scott and Carhart-Harris are trying to see if they can restore consciousness by having patients ingest psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms.

Andrew Peterson, an assistant professor at the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy at George Mason University was against the idea of giving patients psilocybin for the treatment of DoC but later felt that it was worth the consideration.

Peterson and co-author neuroscientist Enzo Tagliazucchi applied two ethical models called the Value-Validity Framework and Component Analysis to analyze if the outcomes of the trial are worth the burden the patients may have.

Their paper is neither an endorsement nor a disparagement of the concept. Peterson only hopes that their models can be a roadmap for scientists that want to conduct research on consciousness.

Can Psychedelics Increase Brain Complexity & Consciousness?

Giving patients with DoC psilocybin is linked to theories of brain complexity and consciousness. Brain complexity is associated with the level in which different regions of the brain communicate with each other and lower states of awareness have less complexity.

It seems that ingesting psychedelics would increase a person’s brain complexity. George Scott, a neurologist at Imperial College London and an author of the Neuroscience of Consciousness found multiple examples of the relationship between consciousness and brain complexity. Scott also found evidence of increased brain complexity in people with healthy brains.

However, the link between psilocybin and consciousness is still unresolved. Scott said,

The simple way of framing it is that disorders of consciousness have low complexity, and these drugs seem to increase complexity. Let’s see what these drugs do in disorders of consciousness. Can they increase complexity and accordingly increase consciousness levels?

Scott says that through a trial they could learn something about consciousness and measure psilocybin’s therapeutic value.

He says that psilocybin interacts with a serotonin receptor and increases the activity of neurons. Those neurons are concentrated in the consciousness part of the brain and seeing how they respond could help in understanding how important these areas are.

Scott and Carhart-Harris started their experient on healthy people who were sedated or sleeping before starting on DoC patients. They want to see how psilocybin affects brain complexity and consciousness in those states. If their results are promising and the study design is safe, they will then move on to DoC patients.

Should Scientists Use Psilocybin To treat DoC?

There are still no trails that exist and doing any kind of research on DoC patients may be unethical because they cannot give consent or let you know that what is being done on them is hurting them.

The FDA has acknowledged psilocybin as a breakthrough therapy for depression. However, DoC patients are an entirely different population, and just because its safe for depressed patients does not mean it will be deemed safe for DoC patients.

Tagliazucchi’s ethical concern is the self-awareness paradox. They want to restore consciousness but maybe by doing so they will make the patient aware of their environment, their situation, their injury, and their quality of life. So what if Tagliazucchi unintentionally inflicts emotional or physical pain? What if the patient gets a bad trip or the DoC patient cannot communicate?

Tagliazucchi and Peterson say that we should consider the ethics just like any other intervention. Psychedelics do not raise any ethical issues that are unique.

Peterson said,

Psychedelics are just one kind of new drug that could (or could not) be effective for this clinical purpose.

They have also pointed out that more invasive treatments like deep brain stimulation are already being tried on DoC patients. Is this Ethical?

However, just because a population desperately needs treatment does not mean researchers should try anything. Moreover, a hesitation towards psychedelics should not hinder researchers from considering them and they may be worth a safe and designed trial.

When Owen first began studying consciousness in people with vegetative states, many thought it was a waste of time and resources.

Owen said,

If we’d succumbed to those ‘knee-jerk’ early reactions, 20 years of extremely valuable science would never have occurred.

Scott also feels that doing nothing is not the most ethical option, especially since patients in these vegetative states are increasing.

People who suffer traumatic brain injuries or heart attacks are deprived of oxygen reaching the brain but are more likely to survive because of the improvement of medicine.

Scott said,

It’s potentially the case that we’re generating more people who are in this state because those people would have died 20 to 30 years ago. If people say you can’t ethically do anything, that we should leave them alone—that produces a neglected group who no one’s really thinking about how we can help. When you look at it from that point of view, it’s a fairly dreadful situation, just in a different way.

There will be challenges to overcome when treating people with DoC but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do anything. I believe that psychedelics could help patients in these vegetative states.

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Shrooms Could Be The Breakthrough Scientists Need To Better Understand Consciousness

Could psychedelics help scientists treat mental illness?

Albert Hoffman, the first scientist to synthesize and learn about the psychedelic effects of LSD described how he felt after ingesting LSD in 1944.

I suddenly became strangely inebriated. The external world became changed as in a dream. Objects appeared to gain in relief; they assumed unusual dimensions and colors became more glowing. Even self-perception and the sense of time were changed. – Albert Hoffman –

Hallucinogenic plants have been used for thousands of years in ceremonial settings and are now being discovered and studied in our western society. Scientific literature has been published about the effects and uses of psychedelics but most of the information remains hidden to the public eye.

No matter the misuse or use of psychedelics it has played an important role in our society and will probably continue to do so. It is therefore crucial for everyone to be educated and have a clear understanding of the use of psychedelics.

The Connection Between The Dream & Psychedelic State

Within the last decade, researchers have made important steps in the connection between the dream state and the psychedelic state. They are particularly interested in how these drugs alter the mind and how they might be helpful in the treatment of mental illness.

The waking state is just one form of consciousness we all experience. Studying other forms of consciousness like when we are sleeping or under the influence of drugs can give the researchers a more comprehensive form of the human mind and how it can be treated.

Recent research has looked into those different states of consciousness to understand how psychedelics transform our experience of reality and how they can help achieve in treating mental health illnesses.

Many restrictions and these drugs being classified as illegal have slowed down scientific progress. However, persistence has given scientists the opportunity to use neuroimaging tools to map the changes in human consciousness with the use of psilocybin, a psychedelic molecule found in mushrooms. They found that the neurophysiological changes appeared similar to the studies found in dream neuroimaging.

However, researchers wanted to find stronger evidence between the connection of users in the dream state and users ingesting psychedelics, not only did they look the same in the brain but also felt the same. It is this connection that is crucial to understand how these different states of consciousness manifest in people and how they can be manipulated to offer better help for psychiatric care.

Enzo Tagliazucchi, a researcher at the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina who studies human consciousness states that MRI scans can help you see similarities in different states of consciousness, but limitations to this approach exist and overlook perception entirely. Furthermore, he also says that it’s possible for consciousness states to look similar but the subjective feeling is different.

Tagliazucchi wanted to investigate this further, he and his student, Camila Sanz conducted a study to compare drug users with dreamers. They used an original approach to get around the restrictions these drugs have and used online testimonials of drug user’s experiences with these substances. They used analytical tools to study the content of thousands of testimonials to find out which drug was most similar to dreaming.

The scientists analyzed the language people used to describe their experiences with drug use and their dreams. They compared these reports to identify similar expressions and phrases that could have a connection between the two experiences.

Of all the drugs that were tested, psychedelics such as LSD, ketamine, and deliriants reported similar experiences to that of dreaming. Users often reported how their self-awareness and perception were distorted when on these drugs much like in a dream state. Thus, the scientists were able to concur that a psychedelic trip feels like a dream.

Psychedelics Show Promising Results For Therapy

There has been recent interest in using psychedelics in the treatment for mental illness. There have been large trials of the use of ketamine or psilocybin to treat depression and MDMA to treat PTSD, the results were promising.

In a trial of psilocybin treatment used for treatment-resisted depression, 67% of patients were not depressed for a week after two sessions and 42% remained depressed after 3 months.

Amanda Feilding, director of the Beckley Foundation a UK-based think tank at the forefront of psychedelic research and drug policy reform stated that

Mental health treatment has relied heavily on SSRI antidepressants. Patients need to take these every day and 30% of patients had no beneficial effect and experienced side effects.  – Amanda Feilding –

She also says that the pharmaceutical company has not come up with any new drugs in over three decades.

Moreover, her research has shown the use of psychedelics in therapeutic processes with remarkable results.

Tagliazucchi also adds to the growing popularity of research which suggests psychedelics could be given safely to improve treatment and make psychotherapy more beneficial. He concludes that the state of consciousness a psychedelic user feels will induce them to naturally be insightful and precisely state the issues they may be facing.

Studying the connection between the dream and psychedelic state allows researchers to reexamine the idea that working with patients in an altered state may be beneficial in treating them. Psychedelics can create a transient dream state which may be possible to access unconscious memories and thoughts.

Tagliazucchi says that more research needs to be done but that psychedelics may be the way to access deep into the unconscious mind, transform the links between the patient and therapist, and get a deeper insight into what the patient is experiencing.

Robert Carhart-Harris, a neuroscientist at Imperial College London who has worked extensively with psychedelics stated that

Psychedelics alter the mind and reveal aspects of it that we are not aware of. Psychiatry has dominated the cognitive model for 70 years and has given interesting insights but has also deprived the field by denying the existence of the unconscious mind.

– Robert Carhart-Harris –

He also says that we need an understanding of the unconscious mind, otherwise we will only ever see the surface of psychiatric diseases and treatments.

Psychedelics Could Change The Future of Therapy

Scientists continue to obtain solid evidence that the dream state, acute psychotic state, and the psychedelic state all share important similarities as they look and feel the same, and we can start to think about psychiatric diseases in new ways.

Carhart-Harris explains that

Maybe psychedlics can help us think more carefully about how we should treat early psychotic episodes instead of giving medicine as soon as someone displays signs of psychosis. If we treated the psychotic state early just as how we manage a psychedelic experience, with calming music and the therapist calmly meditating the patient through the episode, we might have more positive results. – Robert Carhart-Harris –

Researchers have not yet agreed on the best ways to administer psychedelics and what the effects are but they are absolutely certain of one thing. It won’t be possible to make any further scientific advances on psychedelics unless the demonization and prohibition that has surrounded psychedelics for decades finally come to an end.

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Music Festivals Flounder In Covid’s Economy

At first blush, a canceled or postponed music festival may not seem like a big deal. It might sound like an unfortunate but necessary casualty of a global pandemic – something one might dismiss as low-ranking on our list of current crises. But the suspension of large music festivals across Texas, and the nation, has a massive impact on the economy and makes the future of the festivals themselves tenuous.

SXSW Postponed

The cancellation of SXSW came as a shock. Just one week before it was slated to kick-off, city officials announced the festival would not be moving forward as scheduled. Film and music journalists, hotels, restaurants, bars, gig workers, movie theaters – the magnitude of businesses and individuals impacted by the postponement is daunting to gauge. 

The SXSW film and music festival has been going strong annually since 1987. As a multimedia gathering of epic proportions, it gives artists a chance to showcase their work while networking with industry professionals. And according to the festival itself, SXSW boosted Austin’s economy to the tune of $355 million in 2019. 

Cancellations Everywhere

Summer is the season of the music festival. Warm temperatures and sunny skies see people flocking in droves to watch their favorite musical artists in wide-open spaces. But with gatherings of more than a few dozen people banned to prevent the spread of Covid-19, musical festivals were not only potentially dangerous, they were temporarily illegal. 

Bob Dylan’s Never Ending Tour was, ironically, postponed. Journey, arguably most famous for their raucous rock anthem Don’t Stop Believing were welcome to keep the faith, but they still had to stop touring. If 1967 was the Summer of Love, 2020 is the Summer of Silence – at least when it comes to live music. 

What A Cancellation Costs

The cost of a music festival or huge concert cancellation or postponement can’t just be calculated by the immediate impact. A tremendous amount of money is invested in festivals – booked venues bought merchandise, paid staff. While some festivals got creative with virtual events and engagements, experiencing film and music from their laptop wasn’t exactly what festival ticket holders had in mind.

Texas music festivals like SXSW, Austin’s Levitation music festival, and JMBLYA have all been modified in some way to curb the spread of Covid-19. More than being a drag for music fans, the significant delays in these festivals are a drag on local economies that depend on the crowds and their patronage to stay afloat. 

While many businesses and individuals are still reeling from the rescheduling of these events, there’s a tiny glimmer of hope on the horizon in the form of slow re-openings and the setting of new festival dates. Some will be pushed to the Fall of 2020 while others will pick up in 2021. 

Still, countless people are under crushing financial strain in the wake of rescheduled festivals. Caterers, freelancers, sanitation workers, music venues – all these and more collect a significant portion of their annual revenue during events like SXSW. Pushing the festivals to a later date is an enormous challenge for the festivals, their staff, and the entire local economy that depends on these events to come out on top. 

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Anxiety And Your Phone: A Match Made In Poor Health

Our phones, like so much else, are not good or bad. They are, instead, tools capable of both help and harm. And just like most tools, it’s all in how we use them. But before we take a look at anxiety and your phone, let’s talk about GAD.

GAD, or generalized anxiety disorder, is a condition whose symptoms include difficulty concentrating, chronic worry, and restlessness. Although the term anxiety is nearly ubiquitous and sometimes inaccurately assigned, GAD is a serious condition that can interfere with everyday life. It manifests in both physical and mental symptoms that are described as intense, uncontrollable, and extreme.

There are many things that can exacerbate GAD and anxiety in general. But recent trends in young people’s anxiety levels have encouraged some researchers to take a close look at how cell phones, constant communication, and social media might be driving our anxiety to new, and unsustainable, heights.

Upward Comparisons

Social media is designed to make us uneasy. The entire system is built on craving, anticipating, and comparing. While some may emerge from regular social media engagement unscathed, individuals with anxiety often find that the constant checking associated with phones in general, and social media specifically, cause them to linger in a constant state of hyper-vigilant unease.

In fact, individuals with GAD have been found to make upward comparisons during social media engagement. This means that they tend to compare themselves unfavorably to others in forums like Instagram and Facebook. As you can imagine, these self-critical assessments do nothing to soothe their anxiety.

When worry is pervasive and all-encompassing, the mind will search for ways to check and see whether all is well, or all is ill. Our phones often fill this precarious space. By checking messages, notifications, and the popularity (or unpopularity) of social media posts, the anxious mind looks outward to assess the score: is there reason to worry? Unfortunately, when it comes to phones and social media, the answer is nearly always yes.

Anxiety And Your Phone: Less News Is Good News

We look at our phones for information. We want updates on the weather or the latest political scandal. Or, in the case of social media, we might find more intimate details about friends and acquaintances: wedding photos, videos of baby’s first steps.

As wholesome and even natural as this all sounds, the information we receive from our phones often ends up being salacious and controversial. On social media, people post political rants and wild misinformation just as often as they post harmless photos of all-fruit smoothies and avocado toast.

A quick glance at the news, Facebook, or even well-intentioned text messages can send our brain spiraling into dark tunnels of worry, shame, or indignation. And all of these emotions, if left unchecked, cause our anxiety to spike. As it turns out, there is a clear connection between your anxiety and your phone.

The Urge To Check

It’s well known that our phones send us into a feedback loop. We post and wait for feedback. We comment and wait for replies. We question and wait for answers. Some of it is harmless while some of it is downright destabilizing. What seems obvious is that constantly checking our devices in an addictive manner leads to spiked anxiety levels and escalations in chronic worry.

Because our text conversations, Instagram scrolling, and news browsing can feel like a mind-numbing sedative, we might be tempted to deem it all a harmless escape. But research has shown that there’s more going on.

Social comparisons, bad news, and unreasonable demands all cry out to us from the slim, shining devices set in our palms. We would do well to create a balance between healthy connectivity and necessary boundaries.

Anxiety And Your Phone: A Healthy Balance

Especially for those experiencing GAD or other anxiety disorders, experts recommend healthy boundaries around the phone and social media use. Shockingly, many of us habitually check our phones hundreds of times a day. This can create low-grade pervasive anxiety that hums eternally in the background.

By limiting social media and phone use, placing the phone in the other room during certain hours, and even taking full-day “fasts” from our devices, we can ween ourselves from the compulsion to scroll and keep our phone-checking in check. This looks different for everyone, with some people going so far as to delete social media and only check the news once a day.

Our phones are there to serve us, not the other way around. When this relationship becomes imbalanced, anxiety rises. But like most imbalances, it can be corrected with thoughtful boundaries and new, mindful habits.

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Drug overdose deaths drop in the U.S. for the first time in 29 years

The total number of drug deaths have dropped by 5% since 1990. It may not seem like a big amount but we haven’t seen a decline this significant in 29 years.

This drop was due to a decline of abuse in opioid painkillers. Many states have now been cautious about prescribing opioid painkillers.

New Alternative Medicines available

Recent research in opioid addiction treatments may have played a key role in the decline. There are opioid addiction treatments currently being researched using Kratom and Psychedelics, both of which are not FDA approved. However, this hasn’t stopped independent researchers from experimenting with them to break opioid addictions.

Furthermore, the war on drugs has proved to be a failure in policy. The stigma against psychedelics is slowly fading as studies continue to demonstrate that these “dangerous drugs” have real medical value. Pyschschedlics have demonstrated to treat ailments ranging from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) cancer, anxiety and depression, and cigarette addiction.

Kratom

Kratom, a plant-based drug from Southeast Asia has shown potential benefits in opioid addiction users.

Kratom has opioid-like compounds that provide anxiety and pain relief. It has been widely reported to ease opiate withdrawal symptoms. Some researchers suggest that Kratom could have therapeutic potential in antidepressant effects.

Other benefits of Kratom:

  • Helped users stop using street drugs like Heroin.
  • Self-treatable pain and mental or emotional conditions.
  • Much less associated risks than opioids, including fatal dose.
  • The potential of replacing Methadone, especially given its ease of production and making it ideal for poor and developing countries.

LSD

A new study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology has found the use of LSD and Psylocibin associated with a decreased risk of opioid abuse and dependence.

This study has shown that LSD, psilocybin, along with others have shown to be effective therapeutic agents for those addicted to opioids. This is the first study to show a link between psychedelic use and decreased use of opioids.

These findings don’t yet prove a causal effect, but the correlation between psychedelic experience and opioid abuse seems to justify a further investigation.

Psilocybin

Psilocybin has shown a reduction of 27% of past year opiate dependence and a 40% reduced risk of past year opiate abuse. This study is based on six years of data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).

There is still, however, research needed as to why psychedelics reduced the use of opioid misuse. However, this study does appear to validate the experiences of many people who have found substances like kratom to be life-changing tools that have led them to lead happier lives.

Kratom and psychedelics have helped users cut back or stop using opioids altogether.

Always Test Your Substances

If you are using LSD to break an opioid addiction, it is always a good idea to test the substance before ingesting. In order to avoid any life-threatening situations due to the misuse of drugs, you should always test the substances with an applicable reagent.

Ehrlich reagent for testing LSD

Testing the substance could help avoid ingesting unknown and potentially dangerous adulterants found in street drugs, and could save your life.

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5 LSD Myths

Myth #1: When you ingest LSD, it never leaves your body

Since LSD is an “unstable drug” meaning that it is released easily into the body and passes through very quickly makes people think it stays inside your body.

This myth has spread for centuries by a wide range of people. People who are against LSD and users both believe this to be true.

They believe that after consuming LSD that it will be stored by the body in the spinal fluid where it never leaves. They also believe that it can be released back into the body at any moment, forcing an individual into an overwhelming trip.

It’s true that people experience flashbacks but this is the result of memories and nothing more.

That being said, LSD is not stored in the spinal fluid or anywhere else in the body.

Myth #2: If You Want To Stop a Trip, Take Vitamin C or Orange Juice

People who are inexperienced with taking LSD believe this to be true and hear rumors of ways to stop the trip whenever they please.

They even go further to say that even just a few sips of orange juice could stop your trip altogether.

This is absolutely false. Once LSD enters your brain, your body has metabolized the drug once your trip starts. So what the orange juice can simply do is give you a boost of energy and make you feel revitalized or it could also just be a placebo effect.

Myth#3: LSD May Cause Birth Defects and Damage Chromosomes

This myth dates all the way back to 1967 when short research was published by Science, a reputable journal at the time. They claimed that LSD causes abnormal chromosomes.

This is where the term “birth defect” was born. This statement created fear towards users who once loved the drug.

Numerous studies found this statement to be inaccurate. Other studies have proven that pure LSD in moderate doses will not cause any genetic damage.

Myth#4: LSD Will Make You Crazy

This is one of the most common myths among people. Many people believe that LSD will make users go crazy and that they will end up having a mental illness as a result.

  • If I do LSD, I’ll go crazy and jump out of a 20th story window
  • If I do LSD more than once or twice, I’ll become psychologically insane and never function as a normal human being

LSD does cause mental hallucinations and does produce acute behavioral effects. However, these effects are not long term and typically relates to how much was ingested.

Moreover, a lot of people have taken LSD without believing that they can fly.

Myth#5: LSD is Extremely Dangerous For You and Society

This misconception as a uniquely destructive narcotic has to do with the impressive and deeply affecting hallucinations and changes of perception, and among others.

Compared to alcohol and tobacco, LSD is the least harmful drug in the market.

An individual who drinks regularly will most likely get into an accident than someone on LSD who pays attention to their surroundings.

A smoker will most likely end up with cancer than someone who regularly takes LSD.

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A Guide To Taking LSD

The mind-altering and incredible hallucinogen, Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) also referred to as acid has been one of the most popular drugs of its century.

Adored for its superb ability to inspire spiritual enlightenment, epiphanies, and creativity.

LSD is a product made from lysergic acid, a natural substance taken from Claviceps purpurea, a fungus that grows on grains and rye.

If you decide to experiment with LSD be sure to test it before consuming it. Ehrlich Reagent testing kit tests for the substance of LSD.

Successfully taking LSD can induce feelings of euphoria and could also make you a bit energetic.

What is LSD?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, LSD, formally termed D-lysergic acid diethylamide, is one of the most powerful mood-changing chemicals.

A Swiss scientist, Albert Hofmann, discovered LSD in 1938 after interacting with a small amount.

LSD is a potent psychoactive drug that alters an individual’s perception, behavior, mood, and cognitive processes.

Throughout the years LSD became widely popular but was misused which resulted in them being illegal. Scientists are against this and believe that they can actually heal certain illnesses.

How To Know If Its Pure LSD

LSD has a lot of different names in the street. It goes by Dots, Acid, Blotter, or Yellow Sunshine. Unfortunately, not all LSD is pure.

Pure LSD comes directly from lysergic acid that is taken from a fungus mentioned above.

How Can You Tell When Its Fake?

Fake LSD has a taste to it. Pure LSD should not have a taste.

The Effects of LSD

The effects of LSD typically kick in within 20 to 90 minutes and typically lasts between 6 to 12 hours.

Even taken at smaller doses of 75-150 micrograms can still have an effect on an individuals mind.

The effects of LSD range from physiological to psychological.

At lower doses of 25 micrograms or less, an individual typically feels:

  • Increased Creativity
  • Complete Loss of the Ego
  • Hallucinations or Visuals
  • Enhanced Sense of Togetherness
  • Increased Feelings of Euphoria
  • Spiritual Awakening

Neutral effects of the drug include:

  • Losing track of the day or time
  • Lack of Focus
  • Changes in the user’s state of mind
  • Strange Speech
  • Unusual Thoughts
  • Range of Emotions

At higher doses of 100-200 micrograms a user may experience a “bad trip,” these include:

  • Paranoia
  • Sudden fear of losing’s one’s life
  • Anxiety
  • Overwhelming Emotional Feelings
  • Flashbacks

Common physical effects a user typically experiences include:

  • Increased awareness of one’s surroundings
  • Reduced Appetite
  • Pupil Dilation
  • Hyperthermia
  • Numbness
  • Feelings of Weakness
  • Nausea
  • Increase in Blood Sugar Levels
  • Sudden Tremors
  • Jaw Clenching
  • Increased Heart Rate

How To Avoid a Bad Trip

The amount of dosage you consume can affect the chances of getting a bad trip.

There are also minor factors that can also affect your trip. These include the location or the environment where you are taking LSD and your current state of mind when you are about to trip.

To avoid a bad trip you should:

  • Take LSD with people you trust
  • Do not take if you are angry, anxious, or any other negative moods
  • Take at a place where you feel comfortable
  • Test it to ensure it is pure
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Blog Roll Guides

What Does Molly Feel Like?

THIS is what molly feels like: When you take Molly, you feel an intense euphoria like you are floating in the air. Your consciousness shifts and you feel love towards everyone around you.

Tactile senses become heightened and your perception intensifies with beautiful colors all around you. Your body feels warm and content. The music touches your soul and all of a sudden you get an urge to dance like you never have before. Bouts of relaxation emerge and it feels amazing. 

Words That Describe The Feelings:

  • Euphoric & Lovable
  • Visual Colors & Sounds
  • Warm Sensations
  • Deeper Connections

MDMA feels “like the sun is rising in my heart” @CharleyWininger

The Effects of MDMA

It takes 45 minutes to an hour for MDMA to kick in. You might feel uneasy at first, but this is normal and the feeling will subside. The effects are gradual and once you reach the peak, effects will intensify and the experience will be a memorable one.

MDMA Effects Curve on a Chart

To get desirable effects, always take the right amount according to your body weight and take with people you trust. Also, test your Molly using an MDMA testing kit, also known as Marquis Reagent. It is important to test your molly to make sure it is pure and not cut with additives and other dangerous substances.

Taking a substance that is not pure could be dangerous and you will have what they call a “bad trip”. No one wants a bad trip! It could be psychologically and emotionally draining.

The overall effects last around 3-4 hours. You could microdose to have the effects last a bit longer, but be careful, you do not want to take too much to cause Hyperthermia.

You will build up a tolerance quickly and you can end up feeling depressed after the effects wear off. Taking MDMA should be an experience that should not be abused.

The Peak

The peak usually takes about an hour or two to kick in but it does vary between users.

This is when you will feel:

  • Intense euphoria
  • An urge for energy
  • Visual effects are intensified
  • Everything you touch will feel amazing, and
  • Connectedness with those around you.

During the peak experience, your jaws will clench, you will grind your teeth, and you will move your hands around a lot to the beat of the song. Just be mindful of this since the next day your mouth and body might feel a bit sore. 

The Dreaded Comedown

The comedown doesn’t always have to be depressing, just make sure you don’t take too much MDMA or mix with other substances. Mixing it with other substances, like alcohol could make the comedown very unpleasant.

With pure MDMA, the comedown should happen gradually. You will feel a slight drop in senses, openness, the excitement, and you will be dropped lightly to where you started.

The comedown offers an opportunity to examine your relationship, discuss and share your experience with other people, and reflect on yourself and your joy.

Having such an experience can change your perception about a lot of things you once had different opinions about. It could open you up to opportunities you have never explored before and you could feel content and happy.       

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Blog Studies

Study: Treating Depression With Psilocybin

Depression is on the rise. The World Health Organization reported more than 300 million people now living with depression. At an increase of more than 18% between 2005 and 2015. Depression is now the leading cause of disability worldwide.

Many doctors are turning to other treatments in hopes that depression would be significantly reduced.

A recent study conducted by Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris claims that Psilocybin had profound changes in the brains of depressed patients. The study was done on 19 patients. Each patient was given a single dose of psilocybin.

Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris reported significant changes in his patients brains. This magic mushroom was able to tap into the brains of patients and somehow reset the brain back to its core.

Psilocybin was shown to affect two areas of the brain. The amygdala and the default-mode network. It greatly reduced depressive emotions and their brain regions became more stable.

Treating Depression With Psilocybin
Change of Depression Levels

Patients reported feelings of liberation and had mystical experiences on mushrooms. Their symptoms of depression were greatly reduced or completely free from depression.

Another study was done on seven participants to test if their beliefs would be shifted. They took 10 mg and 25 mg of psilocybin, one week apart. They were asked simple questions of vacation preferences to difficult ones concerning political and social issues.

At the end of the study, psilocybin was proven to significantly shift responses in the participants brains. The volunteers reported a sense of connectedness to their environment and shifted toward a more libertarian mindset.  

We are headed in the right direction. There’s no doubt that Psilocybin could be the next big thing in treating depression. If you’re experimenting with Psilocybin, consider purchasing a Ehrlich Reagent Testing Kit. Being confident in your substance will ensure a quality life-time experience.

Psilocybin has surely shed some light on greatly reducing depressive symptoms. However, this was only done on a small study. We need more research done to know if this treatment will have a significant change in treating depression long term.

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Blog

Could MDMA Save Your Relationship?

MDMA has mostly been used and seen as a “party drug,” but new research has pointed out that it can be a breakthrough drug in relationships.

Therapists have found that using MDMA in couples therapy has profoundly helped couples open up to each other in ways that may actually help fix problems in their relationship.

Couples have found that taking MDMA has helped strengthen their relationship and felt an immense love towards each other.

As of now, MDMA is still illegal but many therapists are stepping up to reveal its powerful abilities.

Katie Anderson, describes the use of MDMA in couples therapy and reveals that there is a sense of connectivity between the couples. She also says that these couples can learn to face their problems and move forward with clarity. She believes that MDMA can have a big impact in couples therapy.

Furthermore, she says that couples using MDMA can be free of fear. Meaning that these couples can talk about anything, from sexual fantasies, infidelity, and memories.

She had mentioned that some couples have told her that they felt as if they were one person.

Another therapist, Friederike Meckel Fischer, also believes that MDMA can have profound benefits in its use in couples therapy.

Sasha who has been coined the godfathers of MDMA, has experimented with MDMA alongside his wife. Together they have journeyed and learned more about each other and explored their consciousness.  

I believe Ann and Sasha Shulgin are living proof that MDMA can help couples love and open up to each other. Their relationship is professional yet compassionate towards each other. They work so well together and enjoy each others company.

This wonderful drug may actually help decrease divorce rates in America which have been rocketing for years.

Society displays practical and reasoning above everything else. Ignoring feelings and emotions as unimportant. This has possibly led to many couples separating because they are not able to open up to each other.

I believe that MDMA can help couples open up and feel that love they felt with each other again. I also think that it can help society, it can bring peace and love to the world at large.

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Blog Body Cleansing/Detox

How MDMA Might Help Alcoholics Kick the Habit

Researchers in the United Kingdom have begun exploring the use of MDMA as a possible treatment for alcoholics according to the Guardian. These clinical trial represent the first time the drug has been studied in connection with treating alcoholism. Depending on the success of the study, it could be the first step in exploring more potential medical treatments for alcoholism.

The 20 participants in the study are all described as heavy drinkers. Researchers from Imperial College London are in charge of the study.

Similar to Ecstasy, which is also called Molly, MDMA is synthetic and produces a heightened sense of pleasure and well-being. It is a both hallucinogen and a stimulant with effects that generally take around three-quarters of an hour to kick in.

Other effects are a greater sense of energy and distortions in time and other perceptions. These effects usually last less than an hour although some effects may linger for hours afterward.

MDMA as used for these clinical trials has a more consistent dosage than Ecstasy. It is also not mixed with other drugs as Ecstasy may be but is instead pure 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine.

However, MDMA will not be used as a substitute for alcohol in the study. Instead, researchers believe that as a treatment for alcohol abuse, the advantage of MDMA is that it may make volunteers less inhibited during talk therapy. Talking Drugs reports that one of the researchers, Dr. Ben Sessa, says fear can be a barrier for some alcoholics during therapy. Sessa is a senior research fellow at ICL and a consultant child psychologist, but he also works with patients who struggle with alcoholism and other addictions.

Participants will attend eight therapy sessions. At two of the sessions, MDMA will be administered. Talking Drugs reports that these MDMA-aided therapy sessions will begin several weeks into the study.

According to Sessa, PTSD is a common factor in these addictions. In fact, he believes that alcoholism and PTSD are essentially the same condition. Therefore, the MDMA may be useful in calming patients and even giving them a sense of euphoria as they work through difficult therapy sessions. There will be follow-ups with the study participants at the three, six and nine-month mark.

Researchers have investigated MDMA as a treatment for mental health conditions besides alcoholism. The Food and Drug Administration approved its use in trials for treating PTSD in 2016. SF Gate says that studies have also explored its usefulness in treating anxiety and depression.

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Blog

Neighbors upset and Dozens arresting during 5-day Middlelands festival

TODD MISSION, Texas- The Middlelands Festival is an experience for all ages full of music, fun, and festivities. These festivities got cut short for 42 individuals the 3rd of May through the 7th of May. Authorities have confirmed most of the arrests were drug-related offenses, with a few intoxication arrests on festival grounds. The drug-related offenses included individuals caught with drugs ranging from LSD, ecstasy cocaine, marijuana, and abuse of prescription drugs. Notifications were put out at the time or ticket purchase that all individuals entering the fair grounds were subject to search, and hereby consented. The event posed a zero tolerance towards illegal substances, and belligerent intoxication. No deaths were reported during this event.

The festival was held at the Texas Renaissance Festival grounds in Todd Mission, Texas. The lineup included Country music star Clay Walker. Around 90,000 individuals from all over attended the event. This festival is seen as a huge economical boost for the city. It was expected that nearly 25,000 individuals would attend the event each day. RV camping, Forrest Camping, and vehicle camping were of the approved sites for individuals to camp out at. 21+ parties, rides, and other accommodations were made during this event. Neighbor complains for those who lives near buy were at a high. One man reported that you could hear the concerts and sing every lyric from his backyard. The future holds potential towards fixing the issue of noise so everyone can all around be satisfied with the event. The event struck a positive experience among those who attended through sources such as social media.

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Blog

MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy

When most people hear MDMA they think of “Molly” or “Ecstasy” and associate it with music festivals and raves. However, what most people don’t know is that MDMA is not just for recreation use and has a very practical and effective clinical use. Even though MDMA is considered an “illegal” drug by the DEA, several scientists are working to prove that it has an extremely beneficial medical application.

The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) is a non-profit research and educational organization developing medical, legal, and cultural contexts for people to benefit from the careful uses of psychedelics and marijuana. With regards to MDMA, they are currently working on several studies to see whether MDMA-assisted psychotherapy can help heal the psychological and emotional damage caused by sexual assault, war, violent crime, and other traumas. They are also studying MDMA-assisted therapy for autistic adults with social anxiety and MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for people with anxiety related to life-threatening illnesses. From preliminary studies, they have shown that MDMA along with psychotherapy can help people overcome their posttraumatic stress disorders and anxiety. The most incredible thing about it is that unlike other medications for mental illnesses, MDMA only needs to be administered a few times. This means MDMA-assisted psychotherapy could be a cure to help people overcome their fears and traumas.

As most people reading this know, MDMA is known for increasing feelings of trust and compassion towards others. This is what makes it an ideal addition to psychotherapy. It gives the patients a more positive, optimistic, and different outlook on the issue that was such a problem for them, which can make it easier for them to overcome it.

More research is currently in the works/needs to be done. However, it can be difficult because in the eyes of the government it is illegal, which makes it hard for scientists to get approved for studies. It must also be made clear that the MDMA used in these studies is pure MDMA and is not the same as “Ecstasy” or “molly” that is obtained on the street. Sure, these street drugs may contain some MDMA but they most likely also contain other unknown substances. In the laboratory studies, pure MDMA has been proven safe for human consumption when taken a limited number of times in moderate doses. If you would like to learn more about the studies that were done by MAPS (which I suggest you do) check out their website at maps.org. It truly is incredible research that is paving the way for the legalization of marijuana and psychedelics.

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Blog

The Growing Popularity of Molly with Millennials

MDMA – better known as Ecstasy or Molly is very similar to amphetamines with a bit of a hallucinogen thrown in. It gives you a lot of energy; makes you feel good, and it makes you feel uninhibited. This drug can come in a pill form or in white powder in capsules. People making Molly these days sometimes will add other drugs to the mix such as PCP, amphetamines, cocaine, forms of caffeine, or even ingredients of cough medicine. This is why its imperative to test every pill or cap before “going in”. Molly users will find it takes about a half hour to fully kick in, will be at it strongest after about 1 ½-2 hours and then wear of in about 3 to 6 hours. The percentage of kids using Molly increases with older children. Juniors take Molly 2 ½ times more than eighth graders, and seniors take Molly 1 ½ times more than juniors.

People say they are attracted to Molly because of the extra energy they feel, the feeling of happiness, excitement and how it increases their senses to the extreme. It also gives them the feeling of overconfidence and the sense of being untouchable without losing too much control of themselves like most drugs do. You will notice people who range in age from teenagers to people in their twenties who are at concerts or raves, usually having way more fun than most of the people. They enjoy the music and the beats, dancing for hours on end and just overall really happy. Those are the ones high on Molly because the drug intensifies the feelings and emotions (especially empathy in general) several times over more than other people there.

The reason Molly or Ecstasy is so tied into the music scene is due to the resurgence of EDM and DJs. DJs often take the most popular songs and put them together with melodies from other songs and beats in a pattern that puts emphasis on the up and down of the music and helps insinuate the “rolling” feeling that users get from taking Molly. When people take Molly it increases their energy level and removes any sociable insecurities, helping them to stay up late, dance for long periods of time and connect with other people. This is all perfectly suited for the crowds and late-night music atmosphere. Particularly popular with millennials are the big music festivals with large numbers of musical groups that go on for days; concerts like Coachella are the perfect atmosphere for this age group.