First Ever Trials on the Effects of Microdosing LSD Set to Begin

Sarah Boseley, writing for The Guardian:

[Microdosing is] illegal. So how many people are microdosing is unknown and there is only anecdotal evidence of the effects and any downsides. In a bid to learn more, the Beckley Foundation, which was set up to pioneer research into mind-altering substances, and the unit it funds at Imperial College London, will launch the first ever placebo-controlled trial of microdosing on Monday, 3 September 2018.

This is very exciting news. The first ever microdosing study is going to start in a couple of days. But is it really the first? Psychedelic Press begged to differ in this tweet:

First ever? Not really. We have a little surprise publication coming out very soon dealing with this. Stay tuned #microdosing

Microdosing has been criticized for being difficult to study, and this trial will involve volunteers self-administering their own LSD. So how will the researchers keep the participants from knowing whether they are taking an actual microdose or an empty pill? Simple—the study will get around that problem by employing an innovative technique.

It will be unique, says Balázs Szigeti, the study leader. The cost and the illegality of LSD would make a conventional study prohibitively expensive. So he has hit on a way of running it by inviting those who already microdose to join a “self-blinded” study. They will take either what they usually use in a capsule or an identical dummy capsule instead, without knowing which is which. They will complete questionnaires and tests and play cognitive games online, and only at the end will they learn whether they were happy and focused because of LSD or because they thought they were using LSD.

Even if this isn't the first microdosing study ever conducted, it's the first time I've ever heard of a self-blinded study. What an elegant and creative solution.


Book Review - Breakfast with Buddha

BreakfastWithBuddha.png

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to take a cross-country road trip with the Buddha? If so, you should check out Roland Merullo's spiritual novel Breakfast with Buddha, which will give you a glimpse of that experience.

My mother recommended this book to me a couple years ago and I filed it away on my "Want to Read" list but had mostly forgotten about it until an alert from Bookbub informed me that it was on sale for Kindle last year. So I bought it and then promptly forgot about it again. But I eventually got around to adding it to my list of "Books I'll Read Next" and started reading it in July.

The book sucked me in pretty quickly. It's narrated in first-person by the protagonist, a nice and caring family man named Otto Ringling. He is a highly intellectual editor of food books who has a bit of a skeptic streak running through his veins. At the beginning of the story, Otto's parents pass away, and he plans to drive his eccentric sister from New York to his home state of North Dakota in order to settle their family's estate. But somehow he ends up traveling with a Siberian monk by the name of Volya Rinpoche instead of his sister. Otto's disbelief toward spirituality or religion makes for a hilarious dynamic as the pair teach each other about their different backgrounds, cultures, and views on life—all while stuck together in a car for 1800 miles.

Breakfast with Buddha is perfect for someone who is looking for a lighthearted tale to kick back and relax with. But it's not all just fun and games. While there are plenty of laughs, there are also inspirational life lessons scattered throughout this book, and I look forward to one day reading the other books in this trilogy: Lunch with Buddha and Dinner with Buddha. I don't know much about them at this point, but my mom says that each one is better than the last. And she might be right—after all, she was about this one!

4/5 stars. 353 pages.

This Week in Psychedelics - 8.31.18

ThisWeekInPsychedelics.jpg

Cannabis

  • Inside The Trump Administration’s Secret War On Weed (BuzzFeed News)
  • Delaware: Governor Signs Marijuana Expungement Bill Into Law (NORML)
  • Medicinal cannabis cultivation licence issued to East Coast business for first time (Newshub)
  • Alarmed By Large Marijuana Purchases, Oregon Imposes Strict Temporary Limits (Marijuana Moment)
  • Lawmakers In US Territory Send Marijuana Legalization Bill To Governor (Marijuana Moment)
  • US Lawmakers Discuss Marijuana Legalization With New Mexican President’s Team (Marijuana Moment)
  • Whole-Plant Marijuana ‘Entourage Effect’ Helps Patients More Than Purified CBD, Study Finds (Marijuana Moment)
  • 'Cannabis-Involved' Traffic Fatalities Fall in Colorado (Reason)
  • Clean Slate Act To Seal Records Introduced To Congress (NORML)
  • GOP Senator Pushes Back Against White House Anti-Marijuana Plans (Marijuana Moment)
  • The White House Allegedly Has A Marijuana Smear Squad. Cannabis Experts Say Bring It On. (Forbes)
  • Pediatrician Report Says Risk of Marijuana Use During Pregnancy Remains Uncertain (Reason)
  • Canadian Voters Are Way More Worried About Donald Trump Than Marijuana Legalization (Marijuana Moment)
  • Woman Charged for ‘Gifting’ Weed, Which Is Totally Legal in Massachusetts (Reason)
  • Almost Half of Wisconsin Voters Will See Marijuana Ballot Questions In November (Marijuana Moment)
  • Pot Topics: Illinois opioid patients may soon have medical cannabis alternative (Chicago Sun-Times)
  • Push To Legalize Marijuana Consumption Spaces In Oregon Kicks Off (Marijuana Moment)
  • 23andMe Data Suggests Cannabis Use Can Be Inherited—and Linked to Schizophrenia (Fortune)
  • Brain scans show how cannabis extract may help people with psychosis (The Guardian)
  • Vermont Democratic Party Calls For Marijuana Legalization Expansion (Marijuana Moment)
  • Burners are stopping at Nevada's pot shops, taking the risk (Reno Gazette Journal)
  • Where Florida’s Gubernatorial Candidates Stand On Marijuana (Marijuana Moment)
  • Big Alcohol moves in to dominate the cannabis market (Rooster Magazine)
  • New York Lawmakers Announce Four Marijuana Legalization Hearings This Fall (Marijuana Moment)
  • N.J. to resume minor marijuana prosecutions, but AG asks for discretion (The Philadelphia Inquirer)
  • Cannabis Marketers Try To Crack The Compliance Code (Forbes)
  • State Financial Regulators Push Congress To Fix Marijuana Banking Problems (Marijuana Moment)
  • A Look At The Limitless Possibilities Of Drinkable Cannabis (Forbes)
  • Cannabis in Spiritual Practice: Celebration of the Life Force (Reality Sandwich)
  • Why Kim Kardashian's Favorite Hair Care Company Cancelled Its Line of CBD Products (Reason)
  • Elizabeth Warren Falsely Claims She Endorsed Massachusetts Marijuana Legalization (Marijuana Moment)
  • Cannabis Entrepreneurs Ask For More 'Science' (Forbes)
  • Cannabis And Cancer (Psychedelic Heaven)
  • Why is Homegrown Cannabis Federally Illegal? (Forbes)
  • No, CVS Pharmacy Is Not Entering The California Marijuana Business (Marijuana Moment)
  • With A Wave Of Consolidation, The Cannabis Industry Rises To The Next Level (Forbes)
  • Is Aurora Cannabis Inc. a Buy? (The Motley Fool)
  • Will Canadian Cannabis Producer Aphria Join The M&A Bandwagon? (Forbes)

LSD

  • LSD Administered as a Single Dose Reduces Alcohol Consumption in C57BL/6J Mice (Frontiers in Pharmacology)
  • On LSD at a 'Rainbow Gathering,' man strangled woman and bit someone's finger off (Bring Me The News)

Psilocybin/Magic Mushrooms

  • Magic Mushrooms Break on Through to Biosynthetic Reality (GEN)
  • FDA Approves Landmark Psilocybin Trial for Treatment-Resistant Depression (MD Magazine)

MDMA/Ecstasy

  • Dutch ecstasy, amphetamine production among world's largest (Deutsche Welle)
  • Mum's horrific warning as 14-year-old son 'left to die' in street after taking 'MDMA' (Scottish Daily Record)

Ayahuasca/DMT/5-MeO-DMT

  • Study Investigates Near-Death Experiences and Dimethyltryptamine (Psychedelic Times)
  • Why Some Meth and DMT Users Are Using Vapes (VICE)
  • British teen died after drinking ayahuasca with Colombian tribe (New York Post)
  • Ayahuasca Freed Me From Chronic Depression and Suicidal Thoughts (Reset.me)
  • 'Patients Say Ayahuasca Is Like a Reboot for the Brain' (Haaretz)

Peyote/San Pedro/Mescaline

Synthetic Cannabinoids/Psychoactive Research Chemicals

  • Spice should be upgraded to Class A drug, say police and crime commissioners (The Independent)
  • 'Fake MDMA' that keeps users awake for three days found in London for first time (Metro)
  • 'UPS' pills being sold as MDMA can cause "extreme anxiety, paranoia and hallucinations" (Mixmag)

Dissociatives

  • Ketamine May Ease Depression By Acting Like an Opioid, Study Suggests (TIME)
  • Ketamine Offers Hope For Chronic Depression But Is Hard To Obtain (Ladybud)

Opiates/Opioids

  • Huge North Carolina Fentanyl Bust Turns Out To Be 13 Pounds of Sugar (Reason)
  • Mexicans Urge Legalizing Poppies to Weaken Drug Cartels (Latin American Herald Tribune)
  • Mexico Congress receives initiative to legalize opium poppy (The Yucatan Times)
  • Opioid crisis: breakthrough in hunt for non-addictive painkiller (The Guardian)
  • Fentanyl for sale to UK users through Chinese websites (The Guardian)
  • Beijing rejects Trump's claims that China is behind fentanyl crisis (CNN)
  • Dozens sickened after exposure to heroin, fentanyl at Ohio, Pennsylvania prisons (NBC News)

Kratom

  • Kratom proponents act as feds push to make it a controlled substance (KNOE)
  • CU Kratom Critic: "We Don't Know If It Works or What the Proof Is" (Westword)
  • Benefits and advantages of kratom powder (Augusta Free Press)

Kava

  • Kava bar workers find a new home after striking out at Bushwick tea room (amNY)

Khat

Miscellaneous Psychedelics/Psychoactives/Drug Policy

  • Study finds religion influences how you experience psychedelic drugs (PsyPost)
  • Prison officials are blaming inmate letters soaked in K2 for making guards sick (VICE News)
  • Psychedelic Psychotherapy Is Coming: Who Will Be Included? (Psychology Today)
  • The overdose crisis, beyond opioids: Stimulants remain a huge and growing problem to smartly confront (New York Daily News)
  • Here’s What Happens When a Few Dozen People Take Small Doses of Psychedelics (The Atlantic)
  • Why Psychedelic Drugs Are Entering The World Of Psychiatry (GQ)
  • The hidden world of underground psychedelic psychotherapy in Australia (ABC News)
  • Beyond Psychedelics — Why Respectful Integration is the Key to Transformative Experiences (Live Learn Evolve)
  • Fight Drug Abuse, Don't Subsidize It (The New York Times)
  • Duterte's Deadly Drug War Targets a Catholic Priest (Reason)

Disclaimer: "This Week in Psychedelics" 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 Dahtamnay, courtesy of Creative Commons licensing.

The Overdose Crisis: Beyond Opioids

Sheila P. Vakharia, writing for New York Daily News:

Although opioids dominate the headlines, stimulant drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine never went away.

In fact, more Americans use illegal stimulant drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine than use all opioids combined, and recent data suggests they’re contributing to our skyrocketing drug overdose deaths. The latest estimates from the Centers of Disease Control suggest that the number of cocaine-involved deaths across the nation more than doubled between December 2015 and December 2017, while methamphetamine-involved deaths increased by 82% during that period.

Given the prevalence of stimulant use and the growing role of these drugs in our overdose crisis, it is time to broaden our public health interventions beyond a singular focus on opioids to address the unique risks associated with stimulants and poly-drug use.

Amen. People can love their uppers (and benzos, for that matter) too much too.


Inside the Trump Administration’s Secret War on Weed

Dominic Holden, writing for BuzzFeed News:

The White House has secretly amassed a committee of federal agencies from across the government to combat public support for marijuana and cast state legalization measures in a negative light, while attempting to portray the drug as a national threat, according to interviews with agency staff and documents obtained by BuzzFeed News.

The Marijuana Policy Coordination Committee, as it’s named in White House memos and emails, instructed 14 federal agencies and the Drug Enforcement Administration this month to submit “data demonstrating the most significant negative trends” about marijuana and the “threats” it poses to the country.

In an ironic twist, the committee complained in one memo that the narrative around marijuana is unfairly biased in favor of the drug. But rather than seek objective information, the committee’s records show it is asking officials only to portray marijuana in a negative light, regardless of what the data show.

This article sheds light on one of the Trump administration's latest facepalm moments. You have to work pretty damn hard to come up with a two-page bulleted fact sheet concerning the horrifying dangers of marijuana, but leave it to the government to give it the old college try.