Psychedelic Medicine Is The Topic For Discussion


Published:

There is a growing body of evidence that some psychedelic drugs can be used to treat a variety of conditions. The potential, the people and the politics are all up for discussion.

Many researchers have been interested in the idea that psychedelics facilitate communication across the brain and, more specifically, how the default-mode network in the brain, arguably science’s best biological correlate of the self, normally works to constrain this.

Psychedelics” are substances with the ability to expand human awareness beyond our normal modes of perception. Some may be the most amazing substances known to humanity, so potent that just 1/10,000th of a gram can send one on a journey beyond time and space, beyond life and death.

Psychedelic Treatments

Carhart-Harris performed the UK’s first clinical trial of psilocybin -- the active ingredient in magic mushrooms -- for treatment-resistant depression. It was a small trial with no control group, but the results gave cause for optimism, with 5 of the 12 participants no longer clinically depressed three months after the treatment.

In other psilocybin research, one dose was found to help people with life-threatening cancer face death. Ayahuasca, a hallucinogenic concoction drunk for centuries as part of religious rituals in South America, has also been found to improve hard-to-treat depression. It contains the psychedelic compound dimethyltryptamine (DMT).

The vine is usually mixed with leaves containing the psychedelic compound DMT (diemethyltryptamine). It causes hallucinogenic experiences, and is made up of a chemical compound that already occurs within the human body endogenously (as well as in a number of plants). This means our brains are naturally set up to process the compound because it has receptors that exist specifically to do so.

While research into psychedelics is still thin on the ground, a meta-analysis of six studies carried out between 1966 and 1970 concluded that LSD was as effective as the standard treatment for alcoholism.

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease published results from the first study of LSD’s therapeutic potential in humans to appear in more than four decades. The controlled, double-blind study, which was conducted in Switzerland under the direction of Swiss psychiatrist Peter Gasser, measured the impact of LSD-assisted psychotherapy on 12 people with life-threatening diseases (mainly terminal cancer). “The study was a success in the sense that we did not have any noteworthy adverse effects,” Gasser says. “All participants reported a personal benefit from the treatment, and the effects were stable over time.”

LSD reduces connectivity within brain networks, or the extent to which nerve cells or neurons within a network fire in synchrony. LSD also seems to reduce the extent to which separate brain networks remain distinct in their patterns or synchronization of firing. Overall, LSD interferes with the patterns of activation in the different brain networks that underlie human thought and behavior.

And Ibogaine -- derived from the iboga plant -- has been used to treat heroin addiction. MDMA, or ecstasy, was found to help people who have experienced trauma.

Psychedelic drugs are not physiologically addictive and they are not necessarily that pleasurable either. “People often say, as our patients did, that this isn’t a moreish drug. It’s certainly not a hedonic drug,” says Carhart-Harris. “Some even challenge whether it’s a drug of recreation; maybe it’s a drug of exploration.” People taking such substances can have intense and disturbing experiences -- aka a bad trip.

Mind And Brain

There are a wealth of ideas about what goes on in the mind after someone takes a psychedelic substance. One is that the ego -- your sense of yourself as a separate entity -- dissolves, as the brain’s “default mode network” goes offline, and brain areas that do not normally communicate with each other start working together.

Such drugs may also make our minds more malleable and open to new ways of thinking about the world and ourselves, which could help to break the negative patterns often associated with depression. Psilocybin may even offer a window into the consciousness of babies.

Brain scanning technology has allowed objective neuroscience to start catching up with the subjective experiences brought on by psychedelics. Scans have helped us discover that people who under the influence of psychedelic drugs show more diversity in their patterns of brain activity than people who had not taken the drug.

Recent work may have found out how LSD creates its long-lasting trippy effect. And brain scans of frequent ayahuasca users suggest that the visions it induces appear to be as real as anything the eyes actually see. Yet a psilocybin trip may be similar to a dream -- they look similar in an fMRI brain scanner.

The People

Many creators of psychedelic drugs famously tested their products on themselves first. Alexander Shulgin, considered the world’s foremost “psychonaut” is among those featured in our gallery of self-experimenters.

Some people hope to derive benefits from psychedelics without the tripping, by taking a low dose daily. Proponents say it improves their work-life and mood. Janet Lai Chang, a digital marketer in San Francisco, who took microdoses of LSD with her breakfast to help her deal with social anxiety. And one of our journalists took part in a trial of MDMA, which included getting his brain scanned after taking the drug. It was quite an eye-opener.

The Politics

In 2009, David Nutt was dismissed as chairman of the UK government’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs. A week after his dismissal he wrote an editorial for New Scientist, urging the UK government to “take careful note of the evidence and develop a rational drug policy.” He lamented that “Some politicians find it easier to ignore the evidence, and pander to public prejudice instead.” Nutt’s editorial provoked a big reaction from our readers.

In the UK today, the many obstacles to psychedelics research prevent scientists from uncovering medical benefits that could destabilise the UK government’s tough stance on drugs, according to Ian Dunt, editor of Politics.co.uk.

While psychedelic medicine is experiencing a nascent renaissance, particularly in the US, the ascension of US President Donald Trump has sparked worries of a renewed so-called “war on drugs.”

Despite this, the renewed interest in psychedelics science, and the necessarily painstaking nature of today’s researchers, make it unlikely that this genie will be squashed back into its lamp any time soon.

This article was republished from Prevent Disease.

See also:
Magic Mushrooms Finally Being Accepted As Viable Treatment For Depression
A History of Medicinal Mushrooms

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Daily Astrology

November 16, 2018

This is a busy day, filled with notable planetary changes. Newly arrived in Pisces, the Moon and Mars join up a mere two minutes after midnight. Creative juices are stimulated. Some emotions may overheat. Shortly before dawn Venus resumes forward motion…
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Alternative Health Directory

Browse all listings »

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

November 2018

Learn Reiki to awaken your healing hands to help yourself, your loved ones and pets be healthier and happier. Facilitated by Lou Orsan, Reiki Shihan (master teacher) This one-day...

Cost: $150

Where:
Northeast Reiki Center
61 Nicholas Road, Suite B2
Framingham, MA  01701
View map »


Sponsor: Northeast Reiki Center
Telephone: 508-808-5696
Contact Name: Lou Orsan
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
No Events

Discover the power of your inner queen  Are you experiencing life transitions causing you to wonder “Who am I? Where am I going? What do I do now?” Metaphysical meets modern to...

Cost: $20

Where:
Circles of Wisdom
386 Merrimack Street
Suite 1-A
Methuen, MA  01844
View map »


Sponsor: Circles of Wisdom
Telephone: 978-474-8010
Contact Name: Cathy Kneeland
Website »

More information

Join us the second Tuesday evening of the month for a Reiki Share in the Usui Reiki system of natural healing. We are a gathering of Reiki practitioners who share experiences, practice...

Cost: Free

Where:
Northeast Reiki Center
61 Nicholas Road, Suite B2
Framingham, MA  01701
View map »


Sponsor: Northeast Reiki Center
Telephone: 508-808-5696
Contact Name: Lou Orsan
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Fertility Awareness Meetup provides women with an opportunity to learn about and discuss natural birth control options and fertility. This is a space where women can connect with peers, access...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Women's Center
46 Pleasant Street
Cambridge, MA  02139
View map »


Sponsor: AC Fertility Awareness
Telephone: 617-899-7624
Contact Name: Anna Churchill

More information

The class is a combination of qi gong, yoga, meditation, and relaxation followed by a cup of healing tea. The class, developed by Korean enlightened master Ilchi Lee, is based on Sundo, a...

Cost: $10

Where:
Divine Paradigm
58b Macy St
Amesbury, MA  01913
View map »


Contact Name: Brad Fanger

More information

Please join us at our monthly meetings, second Wednesday each month September - June in Westboro, MA. A welcoming community working for the greater health and wellbeing of all. Contact...

Where:
Sohum Yoga and Meditation Studio
30 Lyman St
#108B
Westborough, MA
View map »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

In more recent years, as the dreams of progress continue to falter, our confidence in the future is shaking. What it means to be human; what education and morality mean; what corporations stand...

Cost: $10

Where:
Scottish Rite Museum
33 Marrett Road
Lexington, MA  02420
View map »


Sponsor: Lexington Community Education
Telephone: 781-862-8043
Contact Name: Craig Hall
Website »

More information

In this talk, Joan will help you realize how much you are already communicating with your animals. She will show you how your animal companions respond to energy. You will learn how to set the pH...

Cost: $10

Where:
Circles of Wisdom
386 Merrimack Street
Suite 1-A
Methuen, MA  01844
View map »


Sponsor: Circles of Wisdom
Telephone: 978-474-8010
Contact Name: Cathy Kneeland
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

November 16 - 18 12.5 PDAs! Taijiquan is usually taught from the outside in: you learn the choreography, practice for years, and gradually come to understand what’s going on inside. In...

Cost: Please see our website

Where:
Eastover Estate & Eco Village
430 East Street
Lenox, MA  01240
View map »


Telephone: 866-264-5139
Contact Name: Yingxing Wang
Website »

More information

This is a “Mediumship Gallery” with June Edward, the “Massachusetts Medium”! Have you ever wanted to talk to someone on the other side? Is there someone you know who’s...

Cost: $50

Where:
VFW
109 Robbins Rd
Walpole, MA  02081
View map »


Sponsor: June Edward "The Massachusetts Medium"
Telephone: 508-259-1231
Contact Name: June edward
Website »

More information

Want to know more about the Women of Wisdom Schools of Wisdom Personal and Spiritual, and Professional Development Programs? This is your opportunity to meet the amazing instructors, hear...

Cost: Free

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

The class is a combination of qi gong, yoga, meditation, and relaxation followed by a cup of healing tea. The class, developed by Korean enlightened master Ilchi Lee, is based on Sundo, a...

Cost: $10

Where:
Divine Paradigm
58b Macy St
Amesbury, MA  01913
View map »


Contact Name: Brad Fanger

More information

“For breath is life, and if you breathe well you will live long on earth.” — Sanskrit Proverb Join us for an evening of deep exploration and transformation using the healing...

Cost: $40 (limited hardship rates available)

Where:
Museum of Modern Renaissance
115 College Avenue
Somerville, MA  02144
View map »


Sponsor: HolotropicMA
Contact Name: Allen Howell M.Ed. LMHC
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Instructors: James Ashton & Beth Masterman Adult level A half-day, workshop for anyone curious to learn about the chakra energy system and the timeless wisdom it provides for living a...

Cost: $80

Where:
Creative Spirit
80 Washington Street
Marblehead, MA  01945
View map »


Sponsor: Creative Spirit
Telephone: 781-797-0389
Website »

More information

This transformational workshop for singles and couples will equip you with the awareness, tools and skills to create the connection and intimacy you desire. Discern the 3 keys to unlock true...

Cost: $147/person; $294/couple

Where:
Watertown Center for Healing Arts
22 Mount Auburn Street
Watertown, MA  02472
View map »


Sponsor: Conscious Intimacy
Contact Name: Brynn Bishop
Website »

More information

Join us for an afternoon filled with fun! We’ll have your favorites: psychics, mediums, animal communicators, and spirit art! Holistic practitioners offering Holy Fire II Reiki, chair...

Cost: Varies per service

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

“Our World needs us—the sensitives/the empaths! We are the helpers, healers, the artists, and the holders of sacred space so that others may open. But first, we must accept our...

Cost: $65

Where:
private office
North Andover, MA  01845


Sponsor: Sacred Spiral Dance
Telephone: 978-973-6637
Contact Name: Diana Harris
Website »

More information

Hello brothers and sisters, Better World Meditation will be hosting a guided meditation and a solo flute concert with Steve Tapper Event Schedule: 7:30PM Doors open 7:45PM Guided...

Cost: $10

Where:
Saint John's Episcopal Church
74 Pleasant Street
(Rear left side of church door on Lombard Road-2nd floor)
Arlington, MA  024746
View map »


Sponsor: Better World Meditation
Telephone: 617-699-0636
Contact Name: Steven Kriger
Website »

More information

November 17–18 Note: Class runs 10am to 5:30pm on Saturday, 11/17 and 11am to 4pm on Sunday, 11/18 Students will learn to communicate with animals and to enhance human/animal...

Cost: $190

Where:
Circles of Wisdom
386 Merrimack Street
Suite 1-A
Methuen, MA  01844
View map »


Sponsor: Circles of Wisdom
Telephone: 978-474-8010
Contact Name: Cathy Kneeland
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags