Hallucinogens significantly affect circuits in ways that are beneficial in treating mental illness and addiction.
Faulty Circuits: Neuroscience is revealing the malfunctioning connections underlying psychological disorders and forcing psychiatrists to rethink the causes of mental illness.
Enormous funding now goes to the Human Connectome Project and BRAIN
Initiative. It is irresponsible not to fund research of therapies with novel mechanisms of action that could help individuals sooner rather than later. Now is the time to research nonaddictive psychedelic drugs that have a long history of therapeutic use in humans.
Could Psilocybin Be Useful in Combating Negative Effects of Loneliness, Anxiety, and Depression in Homebound Adults?
Psychedelics research patriarch William Richards' memoir, Sacred Knowledge: Psychedelics and Religious Experiences, focuses on the way psychedelics have enriched his life and fuelled his own work on entheogens and spiritual experiences.
In this interview with the Canadian Medical Association Journal, Johns Hopkins addiction researcher Matt Johnson reported large effect sizes in ongoing psilocybin studies. Side effects have been limited to anxiety encountered during the experience itself.
"We have had a nearly 50-year hiatus in any serious investigation, except for some heroic investigators at a few universities."
"My point is not to say that these drugs should be discounted and relegated to the criticism and dismissal similar to that of treatments for which we have no basis for claims of therapeutic efficacy."
2015. Hendricks. Classic psychedelic use is associated with reduced psychological distress and suicidality in the United States adult population. J Psychopharmacology.
2015 Johansen and Krebs Psychedelics not linked to mental health problems or suicidal behavior: A population study. Journal of Psychopharmacology.
2013 Krebs Psychedelics and Mental Health: NSDUH population study: No significant associations between lifetime use of any psychedelics, lifetime use of specific psychedelics (LSD, psilocybin, mescaline, peyote), or past year use of LSD and increased rate of any of the mental health outcomes. Rather, in several cases psychedelic use was associated with lower rate of mental health problems.
Lieberman & Steve Jobs agree: "LSD was
a very important experience to have"
"These psychedelic drugs clearly are pharmacologically active, have profound effects, could be useful for therapeutic purposes, and need to be studied in an intensive and extensive way before an informed determination can be made.
Victims of American Mental Health System: Lack of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Treatment Options and Local Politics Feed Stigma, Create Cycle of Hopelessness in NE Tennessee
"Perhaps I’m biased, since without psychiatry I might not be alive. As a teenager my depression nearly got the upper hand before I was saved by drugs—a one-two punch of tricyclic antidepressants
and tryptamine psychedelics—and I continue to find better living through chemistry.
See: When Robert Kennedy Defended LSD
My trip did produce one lasting insight, though--one that I remain grateful for to this day...I marveled at the fact that [if] such an incredibly minute amount of a chemical...could so dramatically alter my cognition, the chemistry of the brain must be susceptible to pharmacologic manipulations in other ways, including ways that could be therapeutic."
Medscape: 6 Psychiatry Updates to Know
Cristoph Correll, M.D.: One area that has gotten a lot of coverage is research on the psychedelics, ketamine, and marijuana. In the United States, there has always been a push-back to any research with these agents because of the belief that legalizing them could be bad for the brain or because of other biases. What is your take on that? Why have those attitudes changed and can it ultimately help science and patients?
John Kane, M.D., Chair of Psychiatry at Hofstra School of Medicine: I believe we have to separate the politics from the science and make sure that our political decisions are informed by data and by evidence. That has been lacking in recent years. We need much more information that people can use. There are always risks and benefits. We have compounds that may have abuse potential but may also have some valuable therapeutic indications.
Government Must Recognize Lack of Progress & Access to Mental Health Care, Be Relentless in Funding Research and Implementation of Archaic and Means of Resilience
Given America's overall failure in mental health and epidemic of death, and the societal cost of psychiatric disorders and addiction, government should fund research of psychedelic and complementary therapies (i.e. meditation) to generate needed evidence, then support its integration into society. If not, states might take matters into their own hands.
BELIEVE IT OR NOT, PATIENTS MUST PAY FOR THIS POOR LEVEL OF CARE
and ayahuasca be the next medicinal marijuana?
It's not that there isn't a need for the research. Mental, substance use and pain disorders are a tremendous burden to our society, poorly understood, and poorly treated. Therapies for substance use disorders are severely limited if patients are not "ready to quit" or dislike treatment so much that there is little compliance.
See: FDA-Approved Drug Therapies and Classic Hallucinogens to Treat Alcoholism: Barriers, Background, and the Latest Research
2012 Krebs Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) for alcoholism: meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. J Pyschopharmacology.
Side effects from psychiatric medication are a common reason for non-compliance. With any psychoactive substance, abuse and misuse are also problems.
Political neglect of mental health and substance abuse progress is the main barrier to this research.
We're talking about drugs that are dirt-cheap compared to existing pharmaceuticals. Quoting Rick Doblin, founder of MAPS, “psychedelics are off-patent, can’t be monopolized, and compete with other psychiatric medications that people take daily.”
- Johns Hopkins University: Hallucinogen in 'magic mushrooms' helps longtime smokers quit in Hopkins trial
Excerpt from CBS 60 Minutes: "The youngest child of Senator Ted Kennedy, Patrick Kennedy was supposed to be the heir apparent to a political dynasty. But after his father died, Patrick resigned from Congress and is now leading a political movement to change the way people view and talk about mental illness and addiction, that he himself suffers from. He says they're medical issues, not moral issues or character flaws. And he wants them treated with the same urgency we treat cancer and heart disease."
Nephew of John Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy, Patrick Kennedy is a major advocate for those with mental illness and addiction. He cosponsored the MHPAE Act of 2008 that still does not guarantee parity.
CBS: "Former Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy writes of his own mental illness and addictions, but he also looks at his parents' problems with alcohol and his mother's depression. Kennedy believes his father, Ted, suffered from post-traumatic stress after two of his brothers were assassinated.
More of PJK's Causes:
Patrick Kennedy's Uncle, Former President John F. Kennedy, was also an advocate for mental health:
"My father went on in silent desperation for much of his life, self-medicating and unwittingly passing his unprocessed trauma onto my sister, brother and me." –Patrick Kennedy on 60 Minutes
"My dad (Senator Ted Kennedy) never got to grieve. He had to be there for the country. He had to be there for my family. He had to be there for my uncle Bobby's 11 children, and John and Caroline.
It's a conspiracy of silence, not only for the person who is suffering, but for everyone else who's forced to interact with that person. That's why they call this a family disease."
Unlike treatments for pain and anxiety that include opioid analgesics, benzodiazepines, and various other psychoactive substances with side effects and risk of diversion, initial indications for psychedelic therapy would likely be limited to regulated clinical or ritual settings. We are Beyond the Days of Electric Kool-Aid Acid Tests.
Fact: The three largest mental health providers in the United States are jails.
When will thought leaders seriously consider allowing non-addictive, archaic means of resilience like meditation and psychedelic psychotherapy become a part of American culture?
A single payer system system for mental health is needed to obtain the data needed to make evidence-based decisions on meditation and psychedelic therapies.
"“There’s a reason there’s 10 different types of depression medication, because what works for you might not work for the next guy,” Jensen explained. Through nearly half a year of treatment, Jensen was prescribed five different kinds of depression medication, three types of anxiety medication and two different sleeping aids. But none of it provided the relief he was hoping for. “Everybody’s different. You need to find the right fit for you, and in order to do that you need to try new things.” 91-year old WWII vet and transcendental meditation mentor Jerry Yellin, “There are other methodologies besides medications and expensive treatments that they can do themselves and have for the rest of their lives without spending a lot of time and money. Learning TM is a one-time fee for a lifetime of help.”"
Transcendental Meditation: The David Lynch Foundation, The Hawn Foundation
NBC News: Transcendental Meditation in schools
Psychedelics and Meditation for Treating Mental Illness
"Self-medicating with alcohol or other drugs is not a rarity among veterans returning from war. According to the VA’s National Center for PTSD, more than 20 percent of veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) abuse such substances.
Link: National Cancer Institute and Opioid Overdose Hasten Prohibition's Last Dance with Mary Jane
MAPS: MDMA psychotherapy to treat PTSD
Newsweek: Could pot help veterans with PTSD?
Psychiatrist Julie Holland: Is it unethical not to fund Schedule I drug research?
First psychedelics indication being pursued: Psilocybin for anxiety associated with life-threatening illness.
In the presentation below, Stanford psychiatrist Amit Etkin makes the case for using transcranial magnetic stimulation for therapeutically manipulating brain circuitry.
Learn how classic hallucinogens affect the default mode network to alter consciousness:
2014 Carhart-Harris How Do Hallucinogens Work on the Brain? The Psychologist Magazine. The British Psychological Society.
2015 dos Santos The Psychedelic State Induced by Ayahuasca Modulates the Activity and Connectivity of the Default Mode Network
"The Pew survey found something of a stress gap by race and education. College-educated parents and white parents were significantly more likely than other parents to say work-family balance is difficult."
This is a big reason people are having fewer kids or none at all. Add onto that expensive health insurance driven by overpriced healthcare and prescription drugs, high cost of college that is laughed at by the rest of the world, reduced religiosity, American society's tendency to self-medicate with alcohol and psychoactive prescription drugs (benzos, opioids, muscle relaxants, etc), few means of resilience and scarce/expensive mental health care, it's why we have a huge mental health and substance abuse problem in the United States.
"In the treatment of depression roughly half of patients will respond to an antidepressant, such as an SSRI. Another group will respond to psychotherapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy. But what we don't know yet is who will respond to which treatment, and unfortunately we are in a situation of basically treating by trial and error.
For example, someone can be on an SSRI for 8, 10, or 12 weeks before we recognize that it is not helpful. That is an awfully long time for someone with a very serious, often life-threatening illness to be on a medication without our knowing whether it is helpful." –Thomas Insel, M.D., Past Director of National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Psilocybin and Mystical Experience: Awe, the Small Self, and Prosocial Behavior.
Mind-Body Health Benefits of Positive Emotion: The Power of Awe
Meditation & Hallucinogen Therapy as Mental Health Preventative Medicine?
Acute intake increases mindfulness-related capacities.
Heffter Research Institute
Website, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter
International Center for Ethnobotanical Education,
Research, & Service (ICEERS)
Website, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter
Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS)
Psychedelic Science 2013
Website, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter
The Beckley Foundation
Website, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter
Heffter Research Institute, along with the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Psychoactive Drug Screening Program, helps fund the Roth Lab that maintains the Ki Database at UNC Chapel Hill.
binding affinities (Ki) of drugs and chemical compounds for
receptors, neurotransmitter transporters, ion channels, and enzymes. Heffter co-founder and board member David Nichols now offers
his knowledge at the Roth Lab after working for 40 years at Purdue University.
In a NIMH Director Blog, director Thomas Insel commended Roth Lab director Bryan Roth for the lab's DREADD technology work with psychoactively-inert Salvinorin B. Dr. Roth is on the Heffter Scientific Advisory Panel.
Exciting Research: Heffter board member Roland Griffiths'
current NIDA-funded receptor pharmacology study of dextromethorphan (NMDA/Glu receptor antagonist, cough medicine), Salvinorin A (kappa-opioid agonist, atypical hallucinogen), DMT (5-HT2a receptor agonist, classic hallucinogen), and psilocybin (5-HT2a receptor agonist, classic hallucinogen) may help distinguish neural pathways that create unique altered states of consciousness.
Scientific American: Traditional Medicine from Southern Mexico Offers Help with Addiction. The “divine sage,” Salvia divinorum, contains kappa-opioid agonist Salvinorin A. For hundreds of years, the Mazatec people of Oaxaca in southern Mexico have conducted rituals that combine their own ancient beliefs with those of Catholicism.
More from Oaxaca: Botanical Dimensions Gives Western Culture an Uninhibited Look at Plant Medicines, Ethnobotany, and Culture. María Sabina introduced modern society to Psilocybe mushrooms.
The latter three compounds show promise in treating addiction and have been used for ages by indigenous spiritual healers. The former, dextromethorphan, is an over-the-counter cough medicine that acts at the same receptor as ketamine, a drug used primarily in anesthesia that shows promise in the treatment-resistant depression. At high doses, dextromethorphan produces dissociative effects similar to hallucinogens.
Early Results: Salvinorin-A Induces Intense Dissociative Effects, Blocking External Sensory Perception and Modulating Interoception and Sense of Body Ownership in Humans.
More from the Roth Lab: Structure of ‘salvia’ receptor solved
2013 Nutt, Nichols
Effects of Schedule I drug laws on neuroscience research and treatment innovation. Nature.
Science shows that Schedule I drug laws are obsolete and a great detriment to mental health and pain research.
2010 Nutt Drug harms in the UK: a multicriteria decision analysis. The Lancet. Psychedelics are among the very least harmful to society among several psychoactive substances.
USF: Low Dose of Psilocybin Erases Conditioned Fear Response in Mice, Potentially Useful for PTSD
2014 Catlow, Sanchez-Ramos. Effects of psilocybin on hippocampal neurogenesis and extinction of trace fear conditioning. Exp Brain Res [click image below for link to video]
2014 Kraehenmann Psilocybin-Induced Decrease in Amygdala Reactivity Correlates with Enhanced Positive Mood in Healthy Volunteers
- NY Times: In Brazil, Some Inmates Get Therapy With Hallucinogenic Tea
- Wiki: Concord Prison Experiment with Psilocybin
- MAPS: Concord Prison Experiment: 34 Year Follow-Up
- 2014 Hendricks Hallucinogen use predicts reduced recidivism among substance-involved offenders under community corrections supervision
Psychology Study Explains Psychedelic Ethics: Awe, the Small Self, and Prosocial Behavior
- More studies
Schultes Discusses the Importance of Plant Medicines