Psychedelics

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Salvia Divinorum Eyed As Treatment for Alzheimer's, Chronic Pain

Doctors hope further studies of salvia will unlock treatments for a variety of neurological disorders including Alzheimer's disease and illnesses that cause chronic pain.
Publication/Source: 
AOL News (US)
URL: 
http://www.aolhealth.com/2011/01/04/salvia-pain-alzheimers-disease/

Salvia Poses Little Short-Term Health Risk, Researchers Say

Videos of teen star Miley Cyrus (aka Hannah Montana) tripping on salvia may have anti-drug campaigners and moral entrepreneurs all atwitter, but the drug itself poses little short term danger, according to the first close study to examine the substance. The stuff is powerfully hallucinogenic, the study found, but does not produce adverse health effects in healthy people in the short term.

Hannah Montana Goes Trippin' -- and it's legal and safe. (wikimedia.com)
In the study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health, researchers at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore gave salvinorum A to four physically and mentally healthy paid subjects. The subjects reclined in chairs and smoked under clinical observation over 20 sessions and at increasing dosage levels.

The study found that salvia can be intense and disorienting, but that its effects were short-lived (peaking at about two minutes after ingestion and dissipating by the 20-minute mark). Ingestion did not cause increases in blood pressure or heart rate, and there was no apparent brain toxicity. Salvia also didn't appear to be addictive. The subjects did, however, report hallucinatory patterns and visitations by "entities."

Salvinorum A is the active ingredient in salvia divinorum, a member of the mint family, which has been used for centuries by Mexican shamans for spiritual purposes. In the past decade, salvia has become increasingly popular as a recreational drug, although the number of its users is small compared to other popular recreational drugs.

Still, the notion that someone somewhere might be getting high legally has prompted legislators in at least 12 states to criminalize its use, possession and sale. Other states, including California, where Miley Cyrus tripped the light fantastic in that video, have imposed restrictions on its availability. In California, one must be 18 to legally use it. Cyrus was celebrating her 18th birthday.

Baltimore, MD
United States

Scarcity of Peyote Means Hard Times for Legal Dealers

Location: 
TX
United States
When the state of Texas licensed him as a peyote distributor in 1990, Mauro Morales put a sign in his front yard with his name and phone number: "Peyote Dealer. Buy or Sell Peyote." But, the hallucinogenic cactus is becoming more difficult to find because many ranchers have stopped allowing peyote harvesters on their land, preferring to plow the grayish-green plant under so cattle can graze. Peyote is legal for use in some American Indian religious ceremonies, and since the mid-1970s, the Texas has licensed a small number of people to sell it to members of the Native American Church.
Publication/Source: 
Native American Times (OK)
URL: 
http://www.nativetimes.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4579:scarcity-of-peyote-means-hard-times-for-dealers&catid=43&Itemid=19

Harvard’s Headache Cure: LSD?

Harvard researcher John Halpern has formed a company he hopes will bring to market a drug based on his research into the effects of lysergic acid diethylamide on cluster headaches, a rare but devastating condition that is as bad as it sounds. Halpern, a noted expert in the long-term effects of drug use, said research suggests chemicals present in LSD are an astonishingly effective cure for cluster headaches. Entheogen’s drug does not cause triptastic visions, Halpern said -- it is based on BOL-148, a non-hallucinogenic LSD derivative developed in the 1950s and 60s for research into the effects of LSD on the brain, when such was last in vogue.
Publication/Source: 
Boston Business Journal (MA)
URL: 
http://www.bizjournals.com/boston/news/2010/11/05/harvards-headache-cure-lsd.html

Alcohol More Harmful Than Heroin or Crack, British Study Finds

A study published Monday in the Lancet assessed the harms of various substances and found that alcohol caused more harm in the United Kingdom than heroin or crack cocaine. The study was done by the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs, which is headed by Professor David Nutt.

drug harm comparison chart, from the Lancet study
Until this time last year, Nutt was head of the governmental Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, but he was fired for criticizing the then Labor government as basing its decision to reclassify marijuana on politics rather than science. He also offended government sensibilities by saying that riding horses was more dangerous than taking ecstasy. After his firing, he and other scientists formed the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs.

The study, Drug Harms in the UK: A Multicriteria Decision Analysis, assessed the relative harms of different legal and illegal drugs to drug users and to society and concluded that "alcohol was the most harmful drug (overall harm score 72), with heroin (55) and crack (54) in second and third places."

It also demonstrated that Britain's drug classification scheme bears little relation to the harms caused by the various substances it regulates or fails to regulate. Alcohol, ranked most harmful in the study, is not a controlled substance, but cannabis (20 points) is Class B, the second most serious drug schedule. LSD (7 points) is a Class A drug, the most serious drug schedule, while tobacco (26 points) is not a controlled substance.

"Our findings lend support to previous work in the UK and the Netherlands, confirming that the present drug classification systems have little relation to the evidence of harm," the authors said.

A group of experts looked at drug-specific mortality, drug-related mortality, drug-specific damage, drug-related damage, drug-specific impairment of mental functioning, drug-related impairment of mental functioning, loss of tangibles, loss of relationships, injury, crime, environmental damage, family adversities, international damage, economic cost, and harm to the community and assessed weighted values for each to arrive at a final figure.

"The weighting process is necessarily based on judgement, so it is best done by a group of experts working to consensus," Nutt and his coauthors said. "Extensive sensitivity analyses on the weights showed that this model is very stable; large changes, or combinations of modest changes, are needed to drive substantial shifts in the overall rankings of the drugs."

Science-based drug policy, anybody?

United Kingdom

Reducing Penalties for Crack and Peyote...But When Marijuana? (Opinion)

The Marijuana Policy Project's executive director, Rob Kampia, reflects on advocating changes in marijuana policy in light of reductions in penalties with regard to crack cocaine and peyote. He says it's all about framing the issue.
Publication/Source: 
The Huffington Post (CA)
URL: 
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rob-kampia/reducing-penalties-for-cr_b_711065.html

Drugs, Freedom, and Responsibility at Burning Man

Having just emerged from one of the most epic experiences of my life, I'd like to share a few thoughts before returning to my usual news-skewering routine. Don't worry, it's about drug policy, although I'm proud to say I did manage to go an entire week without thinking about the drug war much at all.


I just spent seven days in the desert with 50,000 very enthusiastic adventurers, more than a few of whom engaged in the recreational use of mind-altering substances other than alcohol. Now, Burning Man is about much more than drugs, and even among those choosing to consume, beer seemed to be the most popular choice. But there was also a robust and visible psychedelic culture to be found there, making the event a rather vivid depiction of what happens when you release thousands of rabid psychonauts in harsh desert conditions and let them do whatever the hell they want.

Let's just say the outcome is substantially more graceful and orderly than even my own wide-open mind could have anticipated. I've seen far more sloppiness and idiocy at any football game I've ever attended than I did at Burning Man, even after dark when the serious weirdos really get down to business. Not even an abundance of liquid acid can unravel the inherent civility that takes hold when an intentional community of caring and curious people unites to celebrate free-expression on its own terms.

No major festival is entirely immune to the disruptive influence of individual trouble-makers, but Burning Man has established an impressive track record of general safety and cohesion going back many years now. It's a brilliant exhibit in the viability of expanding the boundaries of acceptable human behavior, particularly insofar as anyone who doesn't want to see naked people driving around in fire-breathing dragon-cars can simply choose not to attend.

The whole experience for me became yet another reminder of the profound stupidity of attempting to purge the psychedelic experience from our culture. If the paranoid fulminations of the anti-drug demagogues even approached the truth, an event such as this could never exist, for the playa would be soaked in blood and tears before the first sunrise. Once it's understood that the post-legalization drug apocalypse we've been taught to fear for so long is nothing more than a mindless fantasy, the justification for war evaporates faster than sweat under the desert sun.

Scientists Suggest Fresh Look at Psychedelic Drugs

Location: 
Switzerland
Swiss scientists suggest that mind-altering drugs like LSD, ketamine or magic mushrooms can be combined with psychotherapy to treat people suffering from depression, compulsive disorders or chronic pain.
Publication/Source: 
ABC News (US)
URL: 
http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory?id=11425736

Mind Altering Science: An OPEN Conference on Psychedelic Research

Stichting OPEN is proud to organize the first academic conference on psychedelic research. We offer you two full days of 21st century, cutting edge research into psychedelics and the psychedelic experience. Our conference is organized for all those with a serious interest in psychedelic research. We also invite therapists, researchers, addiction experts and academics, as well as students to become acquainted with a field of research that regular university curricula barely touch upon.

From addiction treatment to psychotherapy with the aid of psychedelics; from the neurobiology of ayahuasca to the social, ritual and legal implications of its use, and from human psycho-pharmacology and research into extraordinary experiences to new views on the legalisation of psychedelic substances, this conference is dedicated to the exploration of psychedelics research from a broad scientific perspective.

The conference lasts two full days; the conference will start at 9 am each day and end around 6 pm. In between lectures attendees will have ample time to discuss with speakers, to buy books, to acquire more information on psychedelic research, associated organisations and more.

SPEAKERS

Some of our confirmed speakers are the following:

  • Torsten Passie MD (DE)
  • R. Andrew Sewell MD (US)
  • Peter Oehen MD (CH)
  • Amanda Feilding (UK)
  • Dr. Anwar Jeewa (SA)
  • Bia Labate PhD (BR)
  • Jordi Riba MD (ES)
  • Jose Carlos Bouso MD (ES)
  • Adèle van der Plas (NL)
  • Stephen Snelders PhD (NL)
  • David Luke PhD (UK)
  • Katharina Kirchner (CH)

TOPICS

Some confirmed subjects that will be addressed at our conference are posted below. Please keep an eye on our website: as soon as we receive more information, we will update our site immediately. An accurate timetable will also be posted here as soon as all presentations are confirmed.

SATURDAY 23 OCTOBER

9:00 - 18:00

  • Torsten Passie - "Astonishing Similarities of Physiological and Psychoactive Drug Induced States"
  • Jose Carlos Bouso - "Healing Mechanisms of MDMA"
  • R. Andrew Sewell - "Human Psycho-pharmacology Research at Yale University"

SUNDAY 24 OCTOBER

9:00 - 18:00

  • Peter Oehen - "MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy - Method and Current Research"
  • Bia Labate - "The Expansion of the Uses of Ayahuasca around the Globe"
  • Anwar Jeewa - "An Exploratory Study of the Short-term Effects of Ibogaine Treatment on Drug Addicts"
  • David Luke - "Exploring Exceptional Human Experience on Psychedelics: Ayahuasca, Telepathine and Parapsychology"

TICKETS / MORE INFO

Early registration is now OPEN! Go to our website - www.mindalteringscience.com - for further information, or head directly for our ONLINE TICKETSHOP. Reduced rates available to students and early birds! For questions and/or remarks: send us an email.

For more information about Stichting OPEN, visit our website at www.stichtingopen.nl. Unfortunately, due to site maintenance our website is temporarily only available in Dutch.

We hope to see you all at Mind Altering Science!

Date: 
Sat, 10/23/2010 - 9:00am - Sun, 10/24/2010 - 6:00pm
Location: 
Roetersstraat 15 University of Amsterdam (UvA), Roeterseiland – Building A
Amsterdam 1018 WB
Netherlands

Review: "Orange Sunshine: The Brotherhood of Eternal Love"

Drug War Chronicle Book Review: Nicholas Schou, "Orange Sunshine: The Brotherhood of Eternal Love and Its Quest to Spread Peace, Love, and Acid to the World" (2010, St. Martin's Press, 305 pp., $24.99 HB)

Phillip S. Smith, Writer/Editor

http://www.stopthedrugwar.org/files/orangesunshine.jpg
As a teenager in remote South Dakota in the late 1960s and early 1970s, I had friends who traveled to Southern California and returned bearing strange gifts indeed: Orange Sunshine brand LSD, hash oil called "Number 1," Thai sticks. I had no clue at the time I was becoming a participant in a messianic drug-selling venture that spanned the world from its headquarters in Laguna Beach, but it turns out I was. That stuff my friends brought back from California was all thanks to the efforts of a group of Orange County surf bums and trouble-prone working class kids who took acid, got religion, and set out to change the world.

They ended up calling themselves the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, and "Orange Sunshine" is their story. And what a story it is! Led by a charismatic Laguna Beach street-fighter and troublemaker turned acid-washed mystic named John Griggs (who later died after taking a massive dose of synthetic psilocybin), the Brotherhood adopted as its mission the turning-on of the whole planet. What is shocking is how far they came in achieving their goal.

By the time the Brotherhood went down in flames in a massive federal bust in 1972, it had manufactured and distributed untold millions of doses of its trademark Orange Sunshine, it had pioneered the smuggling of Afghan hashish to the US, it had smuggled massive amounts of Mexican weed into the US, it provided a strong impetus for the formation of the DEA, and, strangely enough, it had made possible Maui Wowie and the Hawaiian pot boom of the 1970s.

The story of Maui Wowie is worth recounting, given that it demonstrates the scope of the Brotherhood's operations and the avidity with which its members went about their business. Wanting to finance another massive Afghan hash deal, Brotherhood members bought a boatload of Mexican weed and took it to Hawaii to sell before heading on to Afghanistan for the second part of the deal. Trapped in an endless, drug-fueled party on Maui, the Brotherhood never completed that deal, but someone there crossbred the Mexican weed with some Afghan pot plants and -- voila! -- Maui Wowie was born, and so was the Hawaiian pot industry.

Relying on interviews with Brotherhood members and the police who chased them, as well as court and newspaper records, OC Weekly writer Nicholos Schou spent four years tracking down the story of the legendary group and telling it in a rollicking, page-turning fashion. In so doing, he also opens a window on the beginnings of the acid era and the cultural turmoil of the late 1960s.

What jumps out at contemporary readers is the naivete and innocence of the time. Griggs and the other Brotherhood members really believed that LSD could change the world -- it certainly changed their world -- and set out with missionary zeal to make it so. Yes, there was money to be made, but for the idealistic Brotherhood, money was not an end, but a means. In fact, the Brotherhood bragged that it had knocked the bottom out of the Southern California hash market intentionally, because prices were too high.

Of course, idealistic zeal could hardly compete with cash, and before long, the Brotherhood and its members were acting like any other dope dealers, more interested in the bottom line than in blowing minds. Such a trajectory seems preordained today, but at the time, the holiness of LSD was supposed to lead us past such materialistic traps. That it didn't hardly seems surprising now, and I suppose that shows how far we've fallen.

Idealistic zeal also had a hard time dealing with pressure and betrayal. While Brotherhood members stayed remarkably loyal for years, one of them eventually cracked under police pressure (and because of disaffection with a group that had drifted from its noble goals), allowing the feds to roll up their operation in 1972. And Timothy Leary, the apostle of acid, whom the Brotherhood worshipped and who stayed with the Brotherhood in Laguna Beach, also turned on it, spilling the beans to the feds after being arrested in Afghanistan. What made Leary's betrayal sting even more painfully was the fact that the Brotherhood had financed the successful Weatherman/Black Panther effort to break Leary out of prison after he had been busted in Laguna Beach.

"Orange Sunshine" is full of great stories, but my favorite has to be the Laguna Beach Christmas party in 1970, when 25,000 hippies headed for Laguna Canyon for a Woodstock-style event. On Christmas day, a cargo plane hired by the Brotherhood flew over the gathering and bombed the crowd with several tens of thousands of hits of Orange Sunshine. Now, that's what I call a party!

But all parties must come to an end, and that was true for the Brotherhood as well, although, despite bold pronouncements from the feds that they had broken the group in 1972, individual members of the Brotherhood kept at their dope-dealing trade for years afterwards. All in all, "Orange Sunshine" is an eminently readable trip down memory lane to the beginning of the contemporary drug culture and a fascinating look at how a small group of high-minded kids ended up changing the world.

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