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The rehabilitation of LSD

#1 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2017-January-09, 07:55

These 2 stories are fascinating to me. This is perhaps not the best place to publicly discuss recent personal experience depending on statutes of limitations where you live. What I find interesting and perhaps obvious after thinking about it for a few minutes is how fragile our sense of well being can be and the role chemicals can play in tuning the balance. I'm definitely a big aspirin user.

Odd Push in Drug-Averse Norway: LSD Is O.K

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OSLO — In a country so wary of drug abuse that it limits the sale of aspirin, Pal-Orjan Johansen, a Norwegian researcher, is pushing what would seem a doomed cause: the rehabilitation of LSD. It matters little to him that the psychedelic drug has been banned here and around the world for more than 40 years. Mr. Johansen pitches his effort not as a throwback to the hippie hedonism of the 1960s, but as a battle for human rights and good health.

In fact, he also wants to manufacture MDMA and psilocybin, the active ingredients in two other prohibited substances, Ecstasy and so-called magic mushrooms.

All of that might seem quixotic at best, if only Mr. Johansen and EmmaSofia, the psychedelics advocacy group he founded with his American-born wife and fellow scientist, Teri Krebs, had not already won some unlikely supporters, including a retired Norwegian Supreme Court judge who serves as their legal adviser.

How LSD Saved One Woman’s Marriage.

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Ayelet Waldman, a novelist and former federal public defender, recalled the sunny spring morning she rolled out of bed in her Berkeley, Calif., home and experienced the most curious sensation: She felt alive.

As her husband, the novelist Michael Chabon, slept and her teenage son and daughter slumped over the breakfast table, Ms. Waldman did not feel a trace of morning surliness, or of the suffocating depression that had dogged her for months. Rather, she says, with the perkiness of a morning-show host, she chirped about the loveliness of the blue skies and hummed upbeat ditties as she whipped up banana-strawberry smoothies. She even offered to braid her daughter’s hair. It was all so out of character that her children spoke up. "Mom, are you on acid?” her daughter asked sarcastically.

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In Ms. Waldman’s experience, Day 2 of Dr. Fadiman’s four-day cycle was always the peak, the day when a deep sense of peace and purpose would settle over her. “Day 2 is just smooth and awesome,” she said. “I think the Dalai Lama is on a perpetual Day 2.”

Writer’s block, long a problem, seemed to vanish. “I found it much easier to get into that state of creative flow that is so elusive to the writer,” Ms. Waldman said. “It happens, how often, every year or two where you have one of those days where you look up and it’s 7 o’clock and you’ve been writing all day and it’s like magic? That happened to me a number of times during that month.”

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In an interview, Dr. Fadiman said that hundreds of microdosers who have sent him written accounts of their experiences while on his regimen — hardly an exhaustive medical study, to be sure — have reported decreased anxiety, depression, even migraines. Others said they have experienced improvements in creativity, diet, sleep and sex.

The risks, however, are clear, said Dr. Elias Dakwar, a psychiatrist at Columbia University Medical Center who researches mind-altering substances. LSD is sometimes adulterated or improperly synthesized, and may vary widely in potency, with someone intending to take a tiny, subperceptual dose at risk of having “a full-blown psychedelic effect when trying to do a PowerPoint presentation,” he said.

Potential benefits remain unclear, according to Dr. Dakwar. Despite promising research in the 1950s and 1960s on LSD at a psychedelic dose as a treatment for alcoholism and certain mood disorders, much of that research ground to a halt when the substance was criminalized in 1966.

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#2 User is offline   ggwhiz 

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Posted 2017-January-09, 09:13

I just put No No a Dockumentary on hold at the library.

My favorite sports event of all time was when Doc Ellis pitched a no-hitter for the Pittsburgh Pirates in the early 70's on LSD. He did a lot of social advocacy and addiction counseling when he retired so it's not just about that.
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#3 User is offline   Phil 

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Posted 2017-January-09, 09:18

A few years ago a matrix was published on the web that displayed the properties of various drugs. The X coordinate was how addictive the drug was and the Y was how harmful.

LSD was in the lower left.
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#4 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2017-January-09, 13:46

LSD is great if you want to watch your hand breathe; it gets a little hairy when the waitress has gigantic red lips and pointed shark's teeth. Of course, that was 1970 and I don't think she still works there...
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#5 User is offline   Trinidad 

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Posted 2017-January-10, 03:02

The biggest problem with LSD is that it causes hallucinations. And though it isn't harmful to the liver like alcohol or to the lungs like smoked tobacco, hallucinations are dangerous.

In Amsterdam several tourists are killed each year from the use of magic mushrooms. They do not get poisoned, they do not get addicted. They simply discover that taking off from the balcony works well, but that the flying and landing are more difficult than anticipated. But other than that, they are "harmless".

Rik
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#6 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2017-January-10, 10:43

View PostTrinidad, on 2017-January-10, 03:02, said:

The biggest problem with LSD is that it causes hallucinations.

Isn't that also its primary attraction?

#7 User is offline   Aberlour10 

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Posted 2017-January-10, 16:00

Aldous Huxley would like it.
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#8 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2017-January-11, 10:08

From A Dose of a Hallucinogen From a ‘Magic Mushroom,’ and Then Lasting Peace By Jan Hoffman Dec 1 2016

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On a summer morning in 2013, Octavian Mihai entered a softly lit room furnished with a small statue of Buddha, a box of tissues and a single red rose. From an earthenware chalice, he swallowed a capsule of psilocybin, an ingredient found in hallucinogenic mushrooms.

Then he put on an eye mask and headphones and lay down on a couch. Soon, images flew by like shooting stars: a spinning world that looked like a blue-green chessboard; himself on a stretcher in front of a hospital; his parents, gazing at him with aching sadness as he reached out to them, suffused with childlike love.

Psilocybin has been illegal in the United States for more than 40 years. But Mr. Mihai, who had just finished treatment for Stage 3 Hodgkin’s lymphoma, was participating in a study looking at whether the drug can reduce anxiety and depression in cancer patients. Throughout that eight-hour session, a psychiatrist and a social worker from NYU Langone Medical Center stayed by his side.

Published Thursday, the results from that study, and a similar small, controlled trial, were striking. About 80 percent of cancer patients showed clinically significant reductions in both psychological disorders, a response sustained some seven months after the single dose. Side effects were minimal.

In both trials, the intensity of the mystical experience described by patients correlated with the degree to which their depression and anxiety decreased.

The studies, by researchers at New York University, with 29 patients, and at Johns Hopkins University, with 51, were released concurrently in The Journal of Psychopharmacology. They proceeded after arduous review by regulators and are the largest and most meticulous among a handful of trials to explore the possible therapeutic benefit of psilocybin.

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Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, a past president of the American Psychiatric Association, and Dr. Daniel Shalev of the New York State Psychiatric Institute are among leaders in psychiatry, addiction medicine and palliative care who endorsed the work. The studies, they wrote, are “a model for revisiting criminalized compounds of interest in a safe, ethical way.”

If research restrictions could be eased, they continued, “there is much potential for new scientific insights and clinical applications.”

Although cancer patients will not have access to therapeutically administered psilocybin anytime soon, the findings add vigor to applications to expand research in a multicenter trial with hundreds of participants.

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Researchers do not know why psilocybin has worked in these settings. Neuroimaging scans of healthy volunteers show areas of the brain lighting up or resting during dosing. Hallucinogens activate a serotonin receptor that can lead to the alterations of consciousness reported routinely.

One theory is that psilocybin interrupts the circuitry of self-absorbed thinking that is so pronounced in depressed people, making way for a mystical experience of selfless unity.

The studies received funding from the Heffter Research Institute, an alliance of scientists interested in the medical study of hallucinogens. Dr. George Greer, the co-founder of Heffter, does not see a commercial future for psilocybin, even if it is eventually approved for therapeutic use, because these patients needed only one dose.

Instead, he envisions a nonprofit manufacturer, with distribution restricted to specialized clinics.

Researchers were emphatic that these results should not be interpreted as condoning hallucinogenic mushrooms for self-treatment. Dr. Griffiths noted that patients received extensive support, which may have deepened and secured their life-affirming transformations.

“People will take psilocybin at a rave or at Burning Man” — the art and performance desert festival — “but the effect,” he said, “evaporates like water running through their hands.”

I used to play golf with some friends of my father's who were WWII Marine fighter pilots. One used to say flying isn't dangerous per se, just extremely unforgiving of error. Another one, who is still playing golf and living an incredibly full life in his 90s, spent a decade wrestling with his inability to help his first wife who suffered from depression. AFAIK she never tried to fly off a balcony for whatever reasons. She did not find her way back to life either and eventually died from "natural causes". It killed everyone to see him wresting with this. He is now very happily remarried. So yeah, let's yammer away about the obvious risks of doing stupid stuff and prevent even medical professionals from using judgement because it's easier than making distinctions and somehow produces a better world where only 800,000 people commit suicide every year.
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again. Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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