This Week in Psychoactives - 5.17.19

ThisWeekInPsychoactives.jpeg

CANNABIS

  • Two Tiny Caribbean Islands Legalized Cannabis for Private and Adult Use (MERRY JANE)

  • Arkansas: Licensed Medical Cannabis Sales Begin (NORML)

  • Washington: Governor Signs Marijuana Expungement Bill Into Law (NORML)

  • Alabama Senate Passes Medical Marijuana Legalization Bill (MERRY JANE)

  • Nebraska Lawmakers Approve Bill To Legalize Medical Marijuana (Marijuana Moment)

  • New Jersey Voters, Not Lawmakers, Will Decide On Marijuana Legalization In 2020 (Marijuana Moment)

  • Leafly Study Debunks Dispensary Myths Around Crime & Teen Use (Leafly)

  • Illegal Marijuana Grows In Pacific Northwest Declined After Legalization, Study Finds (Marijuana Moment)

  • Can CBD Really Do All That? (The New York Times)

  • Legalized ‘Light Cannabis’ Linked With Drop In Pharmaceutical Sales, Study Finds (Marijuana Moment)

  • Grandmother arrested for CBD at Magic Kingdom hires Ben Crump, threatens lawsuit against cops and Disney (Orlando Sentinel)

  • Gov. Cuomo Bails on New York Cannabis Legalization (Leafly)

  • Serious Injuries From Domestic Violence Dropped After Marijuana Decriminalization, Study Finds (Marijuana Moment)

  • America’s Longest-Serving Marijuana Prisoner Released After 39 Years (MERRY JANE)

  • Joe Biden Endorses Marijuana Decriminalization And Rescheduling—But Not Legalization (Marijuana Moment)

  • Half A Million Canadians Are Getting High at Work, According to New Report (MERRY JANE)

  • Detroit Will Pay Out $60,000 to Woman Whose Dogs Were Shot on a Marijuana Raid (Reason)

  • Texas Senate Unanimously Approves Hemp Legalization Bill (Marijuana Moment)

  • No More Horsing Around: CBD Now Banned in Equestrian Competitions (MERRY JANE)

  • New Congressional Bill Aims To Resolve Marijuana Industry Border Issues (Marijuana Moment)

  • Cannabis Study of Expecting Mothers Causes Social Media Controversy (Forbes)

  • Canada Is Seeing Its Fair Share of Dab Lab Explosions, Too (MERRY JANE)

  • Cannabis kombucha, gluten-free edibles: weed companies jump on wellness trends (The Guardian)

  • Oregon Senate Votes To Legalize Interstate Marijuana Imports And Exports (Marijuana Moment)

  • Doctors and Teachers in Utah Can Now Smoke Medical Marijuana Without Fear (MERRY JANE)

  • Where Presidential Candidate Steve Bullock Stands On Marijuana (Marijuana Moment)

  • Illinois Survey That Supposedly Shows Support for Legalizing Marijuana Is 'Dwindling' Actually Shows It Is Rising (Reason)

  • Medicinal cannabis users focus of new research (Scoop)

LSD

  • Jeopardy Contestants Are Getting Tested On Their Marijuana And LSD Knowledge (Marijuana Moment)

  • Inside the first placebo-controlled studies testing if microdosing LSD actually works (WIRED)

  • The Sad Tale of Frank Olson, the US Government's Hallucinogen Fall Man (Pacific Standard)

  • How LSD May Facilitate Communing With Nature (Medium)

MAGIC MUSHROOMS

  • Michael Pollan: Not So Fast on Psychedelic Mushrooms (The New York Times)

  • Denver Psilocybin Decriminalization Activist Pushes Back Against Michael Pollan’s Criticism (Marijuana Moment)

MDMA

  • Yorkshire police issue MDMA warning after death of 15-year-old girl (The Guardian)

5-MEO-DMT

  • A statement regarding the misinterpretation and misrepresentation of the study of 5-MeO-DMT (Psychedelics Today)

MESCALINE

  • The Fascinating History of Mescaline, the OG Psychedelic (VICE)

SYNTHETIC CANNABINOIDS

  • Canada Is Giving Prisoners Synthetic Weed, Not Real Medical Marijuana (MERRY JANE)

  • Synthetic cannabinoid alert system to be in place by end of year (Newsie)

OPIOIDS

  • Only One Major Ontario City Refuses to Let Police Carry Life-Saving Naloxone (VICE)

  • 5 More States Sue Purdue Pharma and Other Drugmakers Over the Opioid Epidemic (TIME)

  • Heroin Overdose Parties Are a Dehumanizing Myth (VICE)

  • A new study backs up a lifesaving approach to the opioid epidemic (Vox)

COCAINE

  • Global Drug Survey: Large Majority of Cocaine Users Would Pay More for Safer, “Fair Trade” Supply (Filter)

  • Study may help prevent relapse in cocaine use disorder patients (EurekAlert!)

  • Canada ranks second in the world for cocaine use (but feels conflicted about it): Report (National Post)

  • 'The cocaine trade is booming': 54% of Irish people who use cocaine want to cut down (TheJournal.ie)

  • Top health experts warn cocaine is ‘absolutely rampant’ in Ireland as Health Minster Simon Harris launches plans to tackle epidemic (The Sun)

METHAMPHETAMINE

CAFFEINE

  • How Much Coffee Is Too Much? Drinking 6 Cups In A Day Is Bad For The Heart, Study Shows (Study Finds)

  • This Cup of Joe Costs $75 and Is Being Touted as the World's Most Expensive Coffee (TIME)

TOBACCO

  • Maryland raises legal tobacco purchasing age to 21 (The Hill)

  • Campaign to raise minimum smoking age to 21 finds unlikely supporter: Big Tobacco (CNBC)

ALCOHOL

  • Psychedelic Drugs Can Help Alcoholics Stop Drinking, According To New Study (IFLScience)

  • Britons get drunk more often than 35 other nations, survey finds (The Guardian)

  • Doctors turn to alcohol, food and drugs to cope with work stress (The Guardian)

  • OU approves alcohol sales at sporting events (KTUL)

NOOTROPICS

  • The Majority Of People Are Fine With Brain Doping, As Long As You Don't Call It That (Forbes)

KHAT

  • New study shows chewing miraa bad for mental health (Tuko.co.ke)

MISCELLANEOUS

  • Leading U.S. Prosecutors Visit Portugal To Learn About Drug Decriminalization (Marijuana Moment)

  • Joe Biden once said a fence was needed to stop 'tons' of drugs from Mexico (CNN)

  • Elizabeth Warren Knows What It Will Take to End the Drug War (The Slot)

  • The Ethics of Taking the Drugs You Study (VICE)

  • Bolsonaro Cuts Harm Reduction, Escalates Drug War (Filter)

  • Queering Psychedelics conference aims to expand definitions, minds (48 Hills)

  • Number of Women Arrested for Drugs Increases at Four Times the Rate of Men (Filter)

  • Seeking a safe place: Vancouver’s story (The Boston Globe)

  • Magic Mushrooms, Psychedelics and Chronic Pain (Pain News Network)

  • Booker Bill Would Protect Students With Drug Convictions From Losing Federal College Aid (Marijuana Moment)

  • How the War on Drugs Kept Black Men Out of College (The Atlantic)

  • Lawmakers Schedule Psychedelic Decriminalization Hearing In Oakland (Forbes)

Think Wilder is reader-supported. If you enjoyed this week’s update, please consider helping out by becoming a patron, making a one-time donation, or sharing this post with a friend. Thank you for your support.

Disclaimer: "This Week in Psychoactives" does not censor or analyze the news links presented here. The purpose of this column is solely to catalogue how psychedelics are presented by the mass media, which includes everything from the latest scientific research to misinformation.

Image by Psychedelic Astronaut.


On the Monday following each edition of “This Week in Psychoactives,” I post a “Last Week in Psychoactives” video recap to my YouTube channel. After that is done, I retroactively add the video to the corresponding blog post. Here is this week’s video recap:


This Week in Psychoactives - 5.10.19

ThisWeekInPsychoactives.jpeg

CANNABIS

  • Debunking Reefer Madness: New Study Says Weed Doesn’t Actually Cause Psychosis (MERRY JANE)

  • Top Congressional Democrats Announce Bill To Federally Deschedule Marijuana (Marijuana Moment)

  • Study: 80 percent of cannabis users say weed helps their workouts (Fox 8)

  • New Zealand Government Releases Details Of Marijuana Legalization Referendum (Marijuana Moment)

  • China Cashes In on the Cannabis Boom (The New York Times)

  • Illinois Governor Announces Plan to Legalize Marijuana (TIME)

  • THC-Blood Levels Can’t Be Determined Postmortem, Research Finds (Leafly)

  • Cannabis Users Have Worse Sperm Health Than Tobacco Smokers, Study Finds (MERRY JANE)

  • North Dakota: Governor Signs Law Reducing Marijuana Possession Penalties (NORML)

  • The First Arkansas Medical Marijuana Dispensary Just Got Its License (Leafly)

  • TSA to Travelers: We’re Not Looking for Your Weed (MERRY JANE)

  • Louisiana House Unanimously Approves Bill to Allow CBD Sales (Leafly)

  • Cannabis Industry Work Costing U.S. Veterans Their Retirement Pensions (Forbes)

  • The Great White Shortage: Canada May Soon Run Out of CBD (MERRY JANE)

  • Alabama Senate Approves Bill To Legalize Medical Marijuana (Marijuana Moment)

  • Workers Are Smoking Weed More Than Ever, So Employers Are Dropping Drug Tests (MERRY JANE)

  • California Cannabis Market Not Tracked or Traced as Promised (Leafly)

  • Marijuana Patients Are Ditching Benzos for Weed, Study Says (MERRY JANE)

  • The Feds Prosecuted Even Fewer Marijuana Trafficking Cases In 2018 (Marijuana Moment)

  • Ohio May Become First State to OK Medical Marijuana for Depression and Insomnia (MERRY JANE)

  • Federal Agency Clarifies Rules On Adding CBD To Alcoholic Beverages (Marijuana Moment)

  • American Accused of Growing Weed in Myanmar Faces 10 Years in Prison (MERRY JANE)

  • Texas House Votes To Expand State’s Medical Marijuana Program (Marijuana Moment)

  • The Science Behind Combining Cannabis And Caffeine (Benzinga)

MAGIC MUSHROOMS

  • Denver Voters Approve Measure To Decriminalize Psychedelic Mushrooms (Forbes)

  • California Activists Take First Steps To Decriminalize Psilocybin Mushrooms Statewide (Marijuana Moment)

MDMA

  • MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD may have benefits beyond reductions in clinical symptoms (PsyPost)

  • MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for treatment of PTSD: study design and rationale for phase 3 trials based on pooled analysis of six phase 2 randomized controlled trials (Springer Link)

  • Consider This Before Self-Medicating With MDMA (The Wall Street Journal)

AYAHUASCA

  • Health Canada allows more religious groups to import ayahuasca (Global News)

  • Ayahuasca and the Twelve Steps: An Anonymous Friendship (Chacruna)

  • The Problem With Ayahuasca (Thrive Global)

SYNTHETIC CANNABINOIDS

  • CDC traces unexplained bleeding outbreak to synthetic cannabinoids (Healio)

KETAMINE

  • Former Playboy Model’s Killer Was ‘Out Of His Mind’ On Ketamine During The Brutal Slaying, Lawyer Says (Oxygen)

OPIOIDS

  • Opioid overdose deaths decline when pharmacists can dispense naloxone (Reuters)

  • Study: Naloxone Prescriptions Low Despite Deadly Opioid Crisis (U.S. News and World Report)

  • Federal Court Rules Inmate Must Have Access to Opioid Addiction Treatment (Reason)

  • Narcan, the lifesaving overdose-reversal drug, is scarce in N.J. cities that need it most (Philadelphia Inquirer)

  • AHN Researcher Working To Develop Longer-Lasting Naloxone For Opioid Overdoses (WESA)

  • Inside Elizabeth Warren's $100 Billion Policy Plan to Tackle the Opioid Epidemic (Fortune)

  • White patients far more likely to get popular addiction treatment prescription, study finds (Philadelphia Inquirer)

  • Report: nurses who carry naloxone denied life insurance coverage (WKBW)

  • Louisiana prisons pilot addiction-fighting implants for inmates; lack of FDA approval draws criticism (The Advocate)

  • Deputy and two firefighters hospitalized after fentanyl exposure (WDBO)

COCAINE

  • Feds: A popular drug from the disco era is making a deadly return (NBC News)

  • The mums who took cocaine during play dates (BBC)

  • FLASHBACK: Bernie Asks Group Of Young Children: ‘Anyone Ever Seen Cocaine?’ (The Libertarian Republic)

METHAMPHETAMINE

  • Meth Abusers At Risk For Little-Known But Potentially Deadly Disease (NBC 7 San Diego)

TOBACCO

ALCOHOL

  • Alcohol use soaring worldwide: The average adult now consumes about 1.7 gallons of pure alcohol per year (USA Today)

  • These policies were supposed to stop pregnant women from drinking. A new study says they’re hurting babies. (Vox)

  • One in five harmed by others drinking alcohol over past year, survey finds (The Guardian)

  • The War On Alcohol: Is This Prohibition 2.0 (Forbes)

KRATOM

  • The Debate Over Kratom, An Opioid-Like Plant Legal In Massachusetts (CBS Boston)

  • Oxford Police proposes ban on Kratom products (The Oxford Eagle)

  • How Cannabis and Kratom Can Help With Addiction Recovery (Civilized)

MISCELLANEOUS

  • 1,000-Year-Old Pouch Contains Traces of 5 Ancient Psychoactive Drugs (Inverse)

  • Mexico’s President Proposes Drug Decriminalization With Legal Supply Via Prescription (Marijuana Moment)

  • Feds Dismantled the Dark Web Drug Trade—but It's Already Rebuilding (WIRED)

  • Berlin park designates 'pink zone' areas for drug dealers (The Guardian)

  • Drug-testing device gives false positives on poppy seeds, CBD oil, says Vancouver lawyer (CBC)

  • Overdose In An Arizona Prison? Get Ready to Pay Up. (The Appeal)

  • Where Philadelphia stands on supervised-injection sites, per two polls (Philadelphia Inquirer)

  • Houston Police Shot Man Killed in Fraudulent Drug Raid at Least Eight Times (Reason)

Think Wilder is reader-supported. If you enjoyed this week’s update, please consider helping out by becoming a patron, making a one-time donation, or sharing this post with a friend. Thank you for your support.

Disclaimer: "This Week in Psychoactives" does not censor or analyze the news links presented here. The purpose of this column is solely to catalogue how psychedelics are presented by the mass media, which includes everything from the latest scientific research to misinformation.

Image by Psychedelic Astronaut.


On the Monday following each edition of “This Week in Psychoactives,” I post a “Last Week in Psychoactives” video recap to my YouTube channel. After that is done, I retroactively add the video to the corresponding blog post. Here is this week’s video recap:


Berlin Park Designates ‘Pink Zone’ Areas for Drug Dealers

Kate Connolly, writing for The Guardian:

Drug dealers in Berlin are to be given designated spaces in a city centre park to carry out transactions, leading to criticism that authorities have capitulated to criminal gangs.

For years there has been a heated debate about Görlitzer Park, a popular meeting point in the trendy southern Berlin district of Kreuzberg, which has been attracting an ever increasing number of drug dealers. Local people said they were reluctant to let children and pets roam free there.

After repeated attempts by police to clear the dealers failed, the park manager declared areas where they should be allowed to operate, identified by spray-painted pink boxes.

Cengiz Demirci said the pink zones would mean that visitors to the park – known locally as Görli – were no longer intimidated by groups of dealers, typically men operating in gangs, who crowd the entrance.

What a peculiar approach.


Denver Voters Approve Measure to Decriminalize Psychedelic Mushrooms

Tom Angell, writing for Forbes:

Voters in Denver, Colorado made their city the first in the U.S. to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms by approving a ballot measure on the issue on Tuesday.

The measure, which was behind in early returns on election night but edged closer with each new batch of ballots counted, ended up pulling ahead with a 51 percent to 49 percent margin in the final unofficial results posted on Wednesday afternoon.

Its provisions prohibit the city government from using any resources to impose criminal penalties against adults over 21 years of age for personal use and possession of psilocybin, the active ingredient in so-called "magic mushrooms."

Initiative 301 also specifies that going after people for the mushrooms is the city's “lowest law enforcement priority” and establishes a review panel to assess and report on the effects of the change by early 2021.

This was a thrilling race to follow. All throughout yesterday news outlets were running stories saying that the measure had been defeated, but that was with ~40k votes still remaining to be tallied.

Even though the vote occurred on Tuesday, the last votes weren’t counted until 5PM (Mountain Time) on Wednesday, at which point it was announced that the measure had in fact passed after all—by a thin margin of ~2000 votes.

The Denver Elections Division still needs to verify the final tally, so the official approval of this measure won’t be granted until May 16th. Assuming it goes off without a hitch, Denver will become the first city in the nation to have decriminalized psilocybin mushrooms via ballot initiative. However, it technically won’t be the first place in America where psychedelic fungi are decriminalized—courts in New Mexico and Louisiana previously ruled in favor of allowing the cultivation of psilocybin mushrooms. Up next are Oregon and California, where there are movements hoping to pass their own psilocybin policy reform ballot measures next year.

Regardless of who was first and who will be next, Denver residents should soon be able to possess, use, and grow psilocybin mushrooms without any fear of being criminally charged. This victory is a huge step forward in the fight to reform laws concerning psychedelic drugs and it should be celebrated (in proper fashion, hopefully) by psychonauts everywhere.


Book Review - Buddhist Meditation

BuddhistMeditation.png

I’ve read a lot of meditation books on my quest in an effort to deepen my own practice, but Buddhist Meditation by Edward Conze is without a doubt the most scholarly text on the subject that I have come across thus far. Originally published in 1972, this book wastes no time at all before diving deep into the material. In the introduction, Conze briefly discusses the meaning and purpose of Buddhist meditation, its range and principal divisions, the literary sources from which the practice stems, and a comparison of this Eastern science of mind with modern-day Western psychotherapy.

From there, the book is broken up into four major sections. The first goes over devotional exercises that Buddhist meditators can work on while meditating. The other sections go over three aspects of the practice—mindfulness, trance, and wisdom. The book features advice on how to cultivate and maintain mental and physical awareness, which includes instructions on postures, breathing, rejection of the sensory world, and above all the recollection of the ultimate goal: nirvana.

Buddhist Meditation is considered by many to be a classic text. It’s included in the list of suggested books to read at the end of Ram Dass’ seminal spiritual book Be Here Now, which is where I probably first heard of it. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I had hoped I would. It’s a very dry read. All in all I found it to be a bit esoteric and unhelpful, frankly, which was a disappointment because I think it probably contains helpful information that I would benefit from putting to use in my own meditation practice, but I just couldn’t get past the writing style to those nuggets of wisdom.

I did finish reading this book, and I even highlighted some of the pages. There were some parts that I really liked, and on the whole I have a positive opinion of it. Maybe it’ll be good review material in 20 years after I’ve learned more about these concepts from more entertaining authors and teachers. While I wouldn’t recommend Buddhist Meditation to most people, if you consider yourself to be really interested in Buddhism and want to learn more about the role of meditation in this tradition, then maybe you’ll appreciate it. Anyone else should probably steer clear and pick out a more accessible book on the topic.

3/5 stars. 192 pages.