This Week in Psychoactives - 7.12.19



  • Hawaii has decriminalized marijuana (Vox)

  • Congressional Committee Discusses How to Legalize Cannabis (Leafly)

  • Youth Cannabis Use Drops 8% in Legal States, Study Finds (Leafly)

  • In states where marijuana is legal, licensed dispensaries are pushing out drug dealers (MarketWatch)

  • New research indicates that cannabinoids could be efficacious pain management options (PsyPost)

  • Marijuana Gives Men And Women More Sexual Desire And Better Orgasms, Study Finds (Marijuana Moment)

  • Congress Votes To Allow Home Loans For Veterans Working In Marijuana Industry (Forbes)

  • Israeli college to offer degree specializing in medical cannabis (The Jerusalem Post)

  • Cannabis cake gift eaten by unwitting Warrington nurse (BBC)

  • Over Half of CBD Products Sold in UK Are Inaccurately Labeled, New Study Finds (MERRY JANE)

  • New Evidence on Pot During Pregnancy (The Atlantic)

  • Too high? ‘Parachute’ down with a new pill created by Michigan scientist (

  • Illegal cannabis seeds may be used to make legal medicinal cannabis products (New Zealand Herald)

  • Tulsi Gabbard Files Bill To Study Hemp’s Uses For Just About Everything (Marijuana Moment)

  • FDA Issues CBD Warnings, But No New Regulations – Yet (MERRY JANE)

  • Can cannabis treat anxiety? It's complicated (The Guardian)

  • Most Addiction Specialists Support Legalizing Medical Marijuana, Study Finds (Marijuana Moment)

  • West Virginia Is Years Away From Medical Cannabis, Officials Say (Leafly)

  • Colorado grows annual cannabis sales to $1 billion as other states struggle (CNBC)

  • Pete Buttigieg’s Racial Justice Plan Would Legalize Marijuana And Decriminalize Drug Possession (Marijuana Moment)

  • A beloved cafeteria worker nicked his finger on a knife – and got fired for using marijuana at home (The Boston Globe)

  • Illegal cannabis getting even cheaper, as legal gets costlier, StatsCan says (CBC)

  • AOC And Kamala Harris File Bill Protecting Drug Offenders From Losing Public Housing (Marijuana Moment)

  • Cannabis: Misinformation about CBD can be life-threatening (The Conversation)

  • You Can Legally Smoke Weed Naked on the Patio of a Southeast Portland Sex Club (Willamette Week)

  • People in states where marijuana is legal are eating more salty snacks and ice cream (MarketWatch)

  • Jay-Z joins cannabis company Caliva as chief brand strategist (CNN)

  • How Psychedelic Surf Smugglers Invented Dabs (With Help From the CIA?) (Leafly)


  • A Guy Allegedly Took LSD, Stabbed People With A Pencil And Lawn Light, And Hit Two Women With A Truck (BuzzFeed News)



  • STUDY: Use of MDMA & Similar Drugs May Increase Risk of Valvular Heart Disease (YourEDM)

  • Sydney teen swallowed MDMA pills 'to avoid detection' at a music festival (

  • 'The drug of the moment': five per cent of year 10 students have tried ecstasy (The Sydney Morning Herald)

  • Music festival MDMA overdose patient waited an hour for an ambulance (

  • Haunting texts reveal how young woman was scared to take MDMA which killed her at a Sydney music festival (New Zealand Herald)

  • Family devastated after schoolgirl, 16, dies after ‘taking ecstasy’ at party (Metro)

  • MDMA can make 'mild mannered people' aggressive, inquest hears (The Sydney Morning Herald)

  • Teen took up to nine MDMA capsules before dying at festival, inquest hears (ABC News)



  • Opinion: Miami University must reverse unjust decision to terminate professors (


  • Study: Seizures, coma more common with synthetic cannabinoids than cannabis (AAP News)


  • How the approval of esketamine has helped shift the perception of ketamine and other psychedelics (Tahoe Daily Tribune)

  • The Woodlands gets first ketamine infusion center to treat depression (Chron)


  • Teens abusing painkillers are more likely to later use heroin (Medical Xpress)

  • Generic Naloxone Approved for Opioid Overdose (Physician's Weekly)

  • Naloxone Dispensing Found Higher at Facilities with Opioid Workflow (Pharmacy Times)

  • The Global Opioid Supply Chain Begins in Tasmania (Pacific Standard)

  • With opium prices down, Mexican poppy planters are packing their bags (The Hustle)

  • Minnesota’s largest naloxone distributor won’t get grant funds (INFORUM)

  • If Cops Don't Die From Incidental Fentanyl Exposure, a Drug Treatment Specialist Warns, They 'Could Become Addicted to It Instantly' (Reason)

  • Portsmouth doctor reprimanded for treatment of chronic pain patient (New Hampshire Union Leader)

  • To fight opioid epidemic, treat drug use with compassion, not judgment (USA Today)


  • People are giving their greyhounds cocaine to make them run faster (GQ)

  • Teen violin prodigy dies of apparent drug overdose in London mansion (New York Post)


  • Scientists create ‘molecular coffee' that doesn't require beans (Fox 35 Orlando)

  • Caffeine powder in protein shake led to man's death, family says (Fox News)

  • Research shows that drinking Matcha tea can reduce anxiety (Medical Xpress)

  • World’s Coffee Growers Seek to Set Minimum Price to Help Poor Farmers (The Wall Street Journal)

  • One teaspoon of legal, popular but deadly caffeine powder is like drinking 60 cans of Red Bull (


  • Netflix Promises to Reduce Depictions of Tobacco in Future Projects (Teen Vogue)

  • Children from deprived areas exposed to six times more tobacco retailing (Medical Xpress)

  • Will e-cigarettes usher in a new tobacco epidemic? Some researchers say yes. (Houston Chronicle)

  • Hennepin County Votes To Raise Tobacco Age To 21 In More Communities (WCCO)

  • Livermore votes to ban the sale of flavored tobacco, e-cigarettes (KGO)

  • Big tobacco shifting to smokeless as smoking becomes ‘less and less’ popular (Fox Business)

  • Maine Law To Prevent Tobacco Use, Streamline Tobacco Taxes (Maine Public)


  • B.C. harm-reduction sites, doctors struggling with new type of overdose (Vancouver Sun)

  • Psychedelic Healing & Benzodiazepines: Are Chill Pills Cool to Combine? (Spirit Pharmacist)



  • These Clinically-Proven Nootropics Are Specially Formulated to Improve Cognition and Focus (Futurism)

  • Nootropics is the Fyre Festival of the Supplement Industry (Equities)

  • What’s Phenibut and When Should You Consider Using It? (Prague Post)


  • Kratom Linked to Serious Side Effects and Deaths in New Study (Gizmodo)

  • As some states ban kratom, Michigan considers regulating it (Detroit Metro Times)

  • Local doctor, CDC warn of potential dangers of kratom (

  • Kratom supporters respond to recent FDA warning (WMBF)


  • Kava for Anxiety- Separating Fact from Fiction (MedShadow)



  • Psychedelics Take the TED Talk Stage for the First Time (Filter)

  • Amnesty International Is Calling for a U.N. Probe Into the Philippine Drug War (TIME)

  • Why Malaysia’s New Proposal Could Change Southeast Asia’s Drugs Debate (The Diplomat)

  • New law allows NC drug dealers to be charged with murder (WTVD)

  • Psychedelic mental health treatment expected to be approved in Australia within five years (The Guardian)

  • Philadelphia supervised injection site plan gets backing from attorneys general in 7 states (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

  • U.S. Prosecutors Say Drug Lord El Chapo Should Get Life in Prison (TIME)

  • Testing festival goers’ pills isn’t the only way to reduce overdoses. Here’s what else works (The Conversation)

  • Social Factors Are an Essential—And Changeable—Element of Addiction (Filter)

  • I hate drugs, but teenagers are dying while we maintain a supposed moral veneer (The Guardian)

  • Florida Sheriff Deputy Arrested After Planting Drugs on Innocent People (Reason)

  • A man I found guilty of dealing drugs died in prison. I wish I could take that verdict back. (The Washington Post)

  • How Can Harm Reduction Do Better for Transgender People? (Filter)

  • Minister hopes drug deaths record will be 'wake-up call' (BBC)

  • How Psychiatry and Hallucinogenic Drugs Meet in Painting (Hyperallergic)

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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:

The Best Psychedelic Blogs and Publications


It doesn't really matter if you're brand-new to the psychedelic community or a highly-experienced psychonaut with hundreds of trips under your belt—it can be challenging to find out about all the various websites out there dedicated to psychedelics and drug culture. That's why I decided to put together this blog post detailing the best psychedelic blogs and publications that are currently out there.

The blogs and publications on this list are all different. Some focus exclusively on one particular plant medicine, like cannabis or ayahuasca. Others cover drugs in general. The rest look at a wide variety of topics, including things like politics, economics, sex, relationships, education, media, culture, personal development, the environment, spirituality, food, health, and much more. All of them have at least a few blog posts or articles related to psychoactive substances for you to read, and the collection features such a broad range of editorial styles that I can guarantee that you will find at least a few new sites that'll tickle your fancy.

The list has been sorted alphabetically for clarity and ease of use. Without further ado, here they are:


Adventures Through the Mind

Adventures Through the Mind is a blog focusing on psychedelic culture. The content is produced by Canadian author and public educator, James W. Jesso, who is the author of Decomposing The Shadow: Lessons From The Psilocybin Mushroom and The True Light Of Darkness, both about his experiences exploring the potentials of psychedelics.


AlterNet is an alternative news and information publication that covers a wide range of topics, including politics, economics, sex and relationships, education, media and culture, environment, food, and health. The site also regularly features articles on psychedelics, drug reform, and drug policy.

Andrew Joseph

Andrew Joseph has a J.D. as well as a B.A. in Philosophy. A self-described "Psychedelic Advocate", he regularly writes on topics like psychedelics and the drug war. 

Beckley Foundation

The Beckley Foundation is a UK-based think-tank and NGO founded and directed by Amanda Feilding. Its purpose is to pioneer psychedelic research and drive evidence-based drug policy reform.

Big Think

Big Think is where top experts explore big ideas and core skills that define the 21st century, including articles like Can Psychedelics Help You Expand Your Mind? and Can Psychedelics Make Us More Moral?

Botanical Dimensions

Botanical Dimensions is a non-profit ethnobotanical preserve founded on the Big Island of Hawaii in 1985 by Kathleen Harrison and the late Terence McKenna. Its mission is to collect, protect, propagate, and understand plants of ethno-medical significance, including their lore. The organization attempts to appreciate, study, and educate others about plants and mushrooms that are significant to cultural integrity and spiritual well-being. The blog focuses on topics like plants, fungi, culture, food, native knowledge, healing, and shamanism. 


Chacruna is a collective of intellectuals and creatives that love to redefine common knowledge about psychedelic plant medicines. Its contributors include leading anthropologists, psychologists, journalists, neuroscientists, philosophers, therapists, and wordsmiths with deep or new knowledge about psychedelic plant medicines.

Drug Policy Alliance

The Drug Policy Alliance envisions a just society in which the use and regulation of drugs are grounded in science, compassion, health, and human rights, in which people are no longer punished for what they put into their own bodies but only for crimes committed against others, and in which the fears, prejudices, and punitive prohibitions of today are no more. Their mission is to advance those policies and attitudes that best reduce the harms of both drug use and drug prohibition, and to promote the sovereignty of individuals over their minds and bodies.

Eugene Center for Ethnobotanical Studies

An educational, yet leisurely self-paced stroll through the gardens of ethnobotanical and psychedelic plant science, health, policy, and human-rights knowledge, the Eugene Center for Ethnobotanical Studies blog will take you on exploratory excursions into gaian data-forests.

The Fix

The Fix is the world's premier website about addiction and recovery, featuring a daily mix of breaking news, exclusive interviews, investigative reports, essays, and blogs on sober living, lifestyle, and cultural resources, as well as knowledge and wisdom from expert counsel.

Freedom and Fulfilment

Writer Aaron Simon started his blog Freedom and Fulfilment to write about his experience and share ideas on self improvement, spirituality, and how we can create the best lives for ourselves and others. He has published several posts about psychedelics, including Mystical Experience & Psychedelics: Meaningful, Measurable, Life Changing and Can We Derive Values From Psychedelic Experience?

Heffter Research Institute

The Heffter Research Institute was incorporated in New Mexico in 1993 as a non-profit, 501(c)(3) scientific organization. Since its inception, Heffter has been helping to design, review, and fund the leading studies on psilocybin at prominent research institutions in the US and Europe. Their research has explored psilocybin for the treatment of cancer-related distress and addiction, for understanding the relationship between the psychedelic experience and spirituality, and for basic science research into the physiology of brain activity, cognition, and behavior. The Heffter Institute believes that psychedelics have great, unexplored potential that requires independently funded scientific research to find their best uses in medical treatment.
Hester is not an endowed foundation, and so there is a continuous need for funding to support this critical research.


Herb is not the couch-locked stoner caricature sketched by politicians with a hidden agenda and a lack of imagination. Its writers are diverse. They are free thinkers. They are achievers. And they are not here to scare your parents. They believe that cannabis is more than just a plant. Above all, Herb believes that cannabis is a catalyst to experience, to curiosity, to culture, to community, and to health. It’s not about the plant. It’s about what you choose to do with it.

Herb exists to empower our users to use cannabis to transform their bodies, minds and souls. They want you to do one thing: Grow.

HighExistence Magazine

HighExistence Magazine is for the young movers and shakers who want to put a dent in the world. For the up-and-coming artists, creative types, and entrepreneurs. This magazine will take you by the hand and show you how to live a Higher Existence. Every single article in HighExistence Magazine has a section at the end that explains how the article applies to your life and provides simple, practical steps to follow to implement the teachings.

High Times

High Times is the definitive resource for all things cannabis. From cultivation and legalization, to entertainment and culture, to hard-hitting news exposing the War on Drugs, High Times has been the preeminent source for cannabis information since 1974.

The Institute for the Advancement of Psychedelic Christianity

The IAPC is an organizational body whose purpose is to advance the cause of psychedelic Christianity by informing the public of the existence of this way of thinking about Christianity. It is not a church. The organization encourages people to join whatever church they believe tells the most truth and does not endorse any political parties, candidates, or positions. It encourages people to lighten up about politics, to treat them more like a sport and less like a religion, on the grounds that worldly politics will never lead to the kingdom of heaven.

Kahpi: The Ayahuasca Hub

Kahpi is the result of a large collective energy of people with long-term engagement with the realities of ayahuasca culture, science, and experiences. The site features a powerful series of ayahuasca video courses taught by 10 carefully-selected world-renowned teachers. As a charity organization, Kahpi is grateful to receive generous donations from around the world. These donations enable them to offer the Kahpi courses free to access.

Kratom Guides

Kratom Guides is an online health informative site that focuses on educating the people about the importance of the natural herb kratom, which is another name of evergreen tree “Mitragyna Speciosa”. The main purpose of the site is to provide the research-based information about kratom uses, its types, effects, legality, reviews of customers, and other health-related information. 


Ladybud is the #1 women’s lifestyle publication with a focus on activism specific to drug war reform and other socially progressive issues. This publication fills a void in both mainstream and drug policy reform media. Traditional marijuana media focuses on young men and features content about cultivation and party culture. While Ladybud respects these roots, they are doing something very different. Their writers are mostly women in their 20s-60s who cover a wide variety of topics: marijuana activism, culture, beauty, sex, and food. They identify as the average modern woman who also believes the drug war is one of the greatest social and civil rights issues facing our nation and the world today.


Leafly is the world’s largest cannabis information resource. They make the process of finding the right strains and products for you fast, simple, and comfortable. The Leafly "News" page features the latest cannabis news, including what's new in politics and pop culture, information, lifestyle tips, and more. Whether you’re new to cannabis, a medical marijuana patient, or a seasoned consumer, Leafly is the perfect destination for you!

MAPS Bulletin

MAPS (the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) publishes the MAPS Bulletin three times a year. The print edition is is mailed to members who donate $50 or more per year ($60 international) to support the organization’s research and educational initiatives, and the MAPS Bulletin Archive contains free electronic versions of each issue, stretching all the way back to 1988! MAPS also distributes the Bulletin as an educational tool for scientists, researchers, government officials, drug war prisoners, and educators. The MAPS Bulletin began as a one-page newsletter in 1988. In 1995, after growing successively longer with each issue, the newsletter became the MAPS Bulletin. Two out of three issues a year feature full-color thematic artwork on the covers.

Marijuana Moment

If you need up-to-the-minute news on the politics, business, and culture of cannabis, you’re in the right place. Edited by Tom Angell, a 15+ year veteran of the legalization movement, Marijuana Moment helps activists, industry professionals, consumers, policymakers, and the public understand developments and trends affecting cannabis.

Merry Jane

MERRY JANE is a new generation's definitive resource for news, culture, and video covering cannabis and beyond. Through exclusive content and engaging perspectives, MERRY JANE brings together the most important information and entertainment for today's audience while also offering vital, interactive tools to explore the new frontier of cannabis products, dispensaries, events, and community. Roll with MERRY JANE!


There are many pitfalls along the path. Misinformation, quackery, and sometimes just plain lunacy make it difficult for the skeptical yet interested individual to see the real value of the spiritual path through the fog. NeuroticBuddha is for these very people. Written by Michael Stone, this project is for sound minded individuals who are cautious to walk the path and wish to approach it rationally but also with a wondrous curiosity that there is something more profound to be discovered about life. Michael's aim is to thoughtfully explore the wisdom in Buddhism, meditation, psychedelic use, and other spiritual pursuits in order to, even just slightly, silence that neurotic voice within.

New Moon Musings

New Moon Musings is an up-and-coming blog written by Maia Snow, a psybass DJ and PHD student researching gender and psychedelic/visionary culture and mixing it all together to create original commentary about the psychedelic community.


NORML's mission is to move public opinion sufficiently to legalize the responsible use of marijuana by adults, and to serve as an advocate for consumers to assure they have access to high quality marijuana that is safe, convenient, and affordable.

The Oak Tree Review

The intent of The Oak Tree Review is to investigate the many branches of psychedelic culture throughout history. Special interest is taken in its manifestations in art and literature.

Psychedelic Astronaut

Psychedelic Astronaut is a website created by artist Joey D. that showcases his one-of-a-kind psychedelic artwork along with information regarding psychedelics or related subjects. If you're new to the psychedelic world, be sure to check out the directory. It is constantly updated with people doing work in the psychedelic scene and will soon feature an upcoming artist’s section for unknown artists to get some attention to attract new fans.

Psychedelics Daily

Psychedelics Daily was started by Hash C Borgir, a Bhang Sadhu (Cannabis Shaman) from Punjab who was raised by his Shaman grandmother and trained in the Arcane Techniques of Ecstasy since the age of three. Hash has traveled the world looking to study the nature of the Sacrality of Manifested Experience from the Masters of Primacy, the Technicians of the Sacred, and the scientists of Ecstasy. Currently residing in the USA, Hash C Borgir has created Psychedelics Daily as a sub-project of The Stoned Apes Non-Profit, spreading psychedelic awareness to decondition the mind, one day at a time.

Psychedelic Frontier

The aim of Psychedelic Frontier is to:

  • Encourage the responsible exploration of non-ordinary mental states.

  • Provide information that enables people to gain better control over their own minds, both in transcendental states and in everyday life.

  • Share stories about the writer's transcendental experiences. These are not your average trip reports.

  • Spread reliable information and ideas on a topic that is fraught with misinformation and controversy.

  • Oppose the dogma, elitism, and pseudoscience that often plague discussions about psychedelics.

Psychedelic Press UK

Psychedelic Press UK was established in 2008 as a blog dedicated to the literature of psychedelic substances. In 2012 it launched a printed house journal, which now comes out 4 times a year, and a new publisher was established to manage both the journal and various other print publications.

As a result, is now focused on being an extensive database of book reviews dealing exclusively with drug-related literature. A free web resource for academics and the psychoactively-curious, it aims at providing an extensive introduction to the culture, science, and history of psychedelics.

The Psychedelic Society

The Psychedelic Society advocates the careful use of psychedelics as a tool for personal and spiritual development. The profound experiences of unity and interconnectedness reliably brought about by strong psychedelic trips can help people to live lives of greater love, compassion, and joy.

Psychedelic Times

The mission at Psychedelic Times is to share the latest news, research, and happenings around the study of psychedelics as tools of healing, recovery, and therapy. They are passionate about the incredible potential that psychoactive substances such as marijuana, ayahuasca, MDMA, LSD, iboga, psilocybin, and DMT present to humanity, and are excited to share that passion with you.

Note: I am a regular contributor to Psychedelic Times. If you would like to check out my work there, you can visit my author page.

Psychedelics Today

Psychedelics Today is dedicated to exploring and discussing the important academic/scientific and other research in the field of psychedelics. They are interested in how psychedelics and other non-ordinary states of consciousness relate to the human potential as well as the healing potential that they can foster.


Since being founded in 2014, Psymposia has become a leading educational media and events group for rethinking drugs, in person and online. They bring students, researchers, and diverse voices together from around the world to share fresh perspectives, ask new questions, push boundaries, and shine a spotlight on how emerging psychedelic science and drug policy reform can transform society, law, and medicine. Through investigative journalism, personal stories, and deep conversation series, Psymposia illuminates how emerging trends shape society, law, and medicine.

Reality Sandwich

Reality Sandwich is a magazine of ideas for the transformational community. They cover subjects like shamanism, non-local consciousness, visionary art, alternative economics, psychedelics, permaculture, transformational festivals, meditation, democratic engagement, near death experiences, and tantra, to name but a few. Together these topics are the heart of a vibrant new transformational culture that’s addressing the social, spiritual, and ecological crises of our time.

Note: I am a regular contributor to Reality Sandwich. If you would like to check out my work there, you can visit my author page. provides journalism on natural therapies and medicines to enhance the mind, body, and spirit. strives to help expand consciousness and spread more love around the world. The team behind endeavors to build a community that connects like-minded individuals worldwide to promote the sharing of knowledge and experiences. Reset your mind. Reset your life.

Rick Strassman MD

Rick Strassman is a medical doctor specialized in psychiatry with a fellowship in clinical psychopharmacology research. He has held a fellowship in clinical psychopharmacology research at the University of California San Diego and was Professor of Psychiatry for eleven years at the University of New Mexico. After twenty years of intermission, Strassman was the first person in the United States to undertake human research with psychedelic, hallucinogenic, or entheogenic substances with his research on DMT. He is also the author of the well known book DMT: The Spirit Molecule which summarizes his academic research into DMT and includes his own reflections and conclusions based on this research.


It's a mindset. It's a release. It's a magazine that allows you to relax and fully engross yourself in a humorous and provocative editorial journey that won't drain, but enlighten and excite. The team at Rooster gives you hope that not all journalism comes from the same source or homogenous mentality to make another dollar with repurposed content. They give you an escape from the inevitable and burdensome troubles of life. 

Sapiensoup Blog

If you want answers to tough questions you could probably find them easily at the touch of a button. However, in today’s world we find ourselves flooded by vast amounts of information. And that’s where Sapiensoup Blog comes in. The two bloggers that run the site love science and numbers, and they question everything. Nadine is a research scientist, and Marlene is a marketing manager. Together, they sift through the fog of information to provide their readers with the opportunity to make informed decisions.

Stop The Drug War publishes the publication Stop The Drug War and the Drug War Chronicle newsletter, a widely-read publication that is a staple tool of organizations and advocates worldwide and a venue in which their work is highlighted to others. Their current advocacy focus is international drug policy. They organized sign-on letters and statements during the lead-up to the April 2016 "UN General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem" (UNGASS), and continue to promote a broad policy reform agenda for the UN and the US Congress and administration.


Techgnosis is a website run by Erik Davis, an author, award-winning journalist, independent scholar, and lecturer based in San Francisco. His blog covers a wide variety of topics and includes many psychedelic-related posts.

The Third Wave

The First Wave was indigenous use of psychedelics for thousands of years. The Second Wave was the use of psychedelics during the counter-culture of the 60s and 70s. The Third Wave is upon us now. Brought about by recent developments in cannabis legalization and psychedelic research—and it will change the way mainstream culture perceives psychedelic use. The Third Wave provides well-researched, high-quality information specific to the classic psychedelics—and how they can be used to help people like you live more vibrant lives.

Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D.

Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. is a Professor of Educational Psychology at Northern Illinois University, DeKaIb, Illinois, where he has taught courses on transpersonal, mind-body, psychedelic, and consciousness topics. He is also the author of the book The Psychedelic Future of the Mind: How Entheogens Are Enhancing Cognition, Boosting Intelligence, and Raising Value. His profile features papers, talks, teaching documents, and many more resources that he has created.


VICE is a magazine focused on arts, culture, and news topics. Founded in 1994 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, the magazine's founders later launched Vice Media, which consists of divisions including the magazine as well as a website, broadcast news unit, a film production company, a record label, and a publishing imprint. VICE regularly publishes articles about psychedelics and drug culture.


More than 1.6 million active users read Westword each month to find stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who’ve won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. Four decades after its founding, Westword remains the voice of Denver for faithful readers who appreciate hard-hitting journalism. And better beer.


I hope you enjoyed this list and that you learned about a few more psychedelic blogs and publications that you'd like to read. I plan to keep this blog post updated as old blogs die and new ones are born, so if you notice that there are any that I missed or that are no longer around, please contact me and let me know. And don't forget to share this post with your friends, family, and colleagues so that we can funnel more traffic to these websites and spread the love!

Main image by nanobotz, courtesy of Creative Commons licensing.


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Compassion Meditation – An Introduction

Image  by  Fr Lawrence Lew, O.P. , courtesy of  Creative Commons  licensing.

Image by Fr Lawrence Lew, O.P., courtesy of Creative Commons licensing.

This is the second post in a series featuring helpful meditation techniques. The first post focused on introducing mantras.

In previous blog posts about meditation I have discussed the benefits I have experienced by committing to a regular meditation practice and an introduction to mantras. Another technique that can be used while meditating is to focus on compassion. In this article I will introduce the concept of compassion meditation and explore some simple ways to incorporate it into your own meditation practice.

What is Compassion Meditation?

The practice of cultivating compassion during meditation is extremely beneficial. Unlike some other types of meditation, compassion meditation always involves an object of focus, rather than simply a general feeling of loving-kindness or goodwill. Without this focus on an object—which could be another person or the meditator—the compassion would seem shallow and the meditator would not reach the same potential as they are able to when directing their feelings of compassion toward a specific object. The concept of compassion reflects the wisdom that all things are interconnected with one another, and it quite naturally leads toward feeling connected with the rest of the universe.

How Does Compassion Meditation Help?

Developing a sense of compassion can help us connect more deeply and easily with others and ourselves, consider whether our day-to-day actions are all that wise after all, and understand and care for others instead of disliking or judging them. Compassion meditation can help you learn to stay present with the suffering that you face each day without getting overwhelmed.

This sense of compassion can be extended into concrete actions like giving money to disaster relief efforts, donating time and effort at a local food bank or homeless shelter, or lending an ear for listening or a shoulder to cry on to someone who is going through a difficult time. As you can see, there are myriad benefits to developing compassion. This type of meditation can help even the least empathetic person learn how to appreciate how others feel, which will go a long way toward healing the world.

Five Compassion Meditations

The following meditations are listed in order of difficulty, and can be helpful to become familiar with the easier meditations before tackling the more difficult ones. As you develop experience with each meditation, you can then assess whether you feel ready to move on to the next one. The typical advice for other types of meditation applies with compassion meditation, such as finding a quiet and peaceful location and sitting in a comfortable position

Developing compassion takes time for the majority of people, so do not get discouraged if you are not getting it right away. The important thing to focus on is making sure that you are sincere, lest you develop a sense of false compassion instead of true compassion. With that said, if you find it more difficult to develop compassion for yourself or a loved one than it would be to develop compassion for a neutral person, then it may be more beneficial for your to change the order in which you practice these meditations. Many people have great difficulty showing compassion to themselves, so if you are one of them please do not think that you are alone—just change this order to fit your needs.

Compassion for Oneself

  • It can be very difficult for some people to develop compassion for themselves. If you feel that this meditation will be more difficult for you than one of the following meditations, feel free to begin with one of them instead.
  • When you are ready to begin a self-compassion meditation, it can help to start by identifying qualities you possess that you are grateful for, like your warm generosity or your beautiful smile. Another helpful thing to focus on is any act that you have performed recently that fill you with the feeling of love. It can take time to begin to feel any forgiveness or appreciation for yourself—for some people this may take weeks, months, or even years—so be patient with yourself.
  • After you have generated a feeling of loving-kindness for yourself, you can then begin to think of a time that you have suffered, such as a difficult breakup or when you were struggling in a strained relationship. Pay attention to how you feel while you are reflecting. And after a short time, redirect your energy to the wish that your suffering will soon end.
  • You can even recite a positive mantra that helps you to stay focused, such as "May I be free from this suffering," or "May I have joy and happiness." Following your meditation, dedicate your session to the benefit of all sentient beings.

Compassion for a Loved One

  • Picture someone who is close to you, someone toward whom you have a great deal of love. Pay attention to how that love feels in your heart. You may feel a sensation of warmth, openness, or tenderness. Continue breathing easily and focus on these feelings as you visualize your loved one. You may choose to envision a golden light flowing from your heart to this person with each exhalation, bringing them peace and happiness.
  • Now reflect on a time when this person was suffering, perhaps from an illness or injury. Notice how you feel when thinking of their suffering. You may continue to feel the positive emotions that you previously experienced, however you may begin to feel something negative like aching or sadness. Try to imagine with all your heart that you wish them freedom from suffering.
  • You may recite a wish or prayer to take away their suffering, like "May you be content," or "May you live with ease." Following your meditation, dedicate your session to the benefit of all sentient beings.

Compassion for a Neutral Person

  • The focus of this meditation can be anyone that you do not feel any strong feelings toward, such as a classmate or grocery store clerk. The person that you choose to focus on should be someone that you see regularly, but not someone who you greatly like or dislike. Even though you do not have a personal connection with them, you can still develop compassion for them.
  • You can begin by thinking about how this person may suffer in their own life. They may be struggling with addiction or suffering from bullying, for example. Imagine a situation that would cause this person to suffer and begin to visualize it in your mind's eye. Sit with the feeling that this causes for a moment, and then put all of your energy into wishing them joy and happiness and an end to their suffering.
  • You may wish to silently offer phrases of compassion to them, saying things like "May you be free of pain and sorrow," or "May you be healthy and happy." You are free to alter the sayings so that they fit your own way of speaking or use any that have any personal significance. Following your meditation, dedicate your session to the benefit of all sentient beings.

Compassion for an Enemy

  • Now you can progress to developing compassion for someone that you have difficulty with in your life. This could be a parent or child that you have been arguing with lately, a boss who you do not get along with, or a roommate that is not doing their fair share of chores.
  • Even though you have negative feelings toward this person, begin thinking of how this person has suffered in their own life. You may have firsthand knowledge of their suffering—perhaps they lost someone they love or have recently been laid off. Visualize this person experiencing their suffering, and note how it makes you feel to witness it. Sit with that feeling for a moment, and then begin to cultivate compassion toward them. See if you can grow this feeling to be as strong as when you developed compassion for your loved one. If you are struggling to feel compassion toward this person, think of any positive interactions that you have had with them in the past that would help you wish them joy and happiness, such as times when you got along or laughed together.
  • You may wish to send them some positive vibes, thinking things like "May your health improve soon," or "May you have success at school." Following your meditation, dedicate your session to the benefit of all sentient beings.

Compassion for All Sentient Beings

  • This is the noblest form of compassion meditation; it is also the most difficult. In the Mahayana tradition of Buddhism, the concept of bodhicitta is extremely important. Bodhicitta is essentially the wish for all sentient beings to be free from suffering and the causes of suffering. Mayahana practitioners set the cultivation of bodhicitta as a primary goal for their practice—everything in life is done in order to seek enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings.
  • Expanding on the above meditations, the compassion meditation for all sentient beings includes the task of developing compassion for every single sentient being in the universe. This will be much easier to do after you have progressed through the previous meditations. Simply hold the concept of suffering in your mind and generate the feeling of goodwill toward all sentient beings. Then, send it outward to as far as you can possibly imagine. Really focus on putting as much positive energy into this act as possible, while remaining relaxed and mindful. And remember: this meditation will be most powerful when it is performed with true sincerity.
  • You can generate good karma by living your life with the honest intention of attaining enlightenment for the purpose of helping others. One way of doing that is finish your meditation by reciting prayers such as, "May all sentient beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering", or "May all sentient beings have happiness and the causes of happiness." Following your meditation, dedicate your session to the benefit of all sentient beings.


It can be helpful to practice compassion meditation intuitively. The practice will likely be difficult at times for most people—even painful for some. This practice is not intended to make the practitioner feel that they are responsible for solving all of the world's problems, but rather to greet each moment with a compassionate heart. Relax as much as possible, be gentle with yourself, and breathe naturally. With each time that you practice compassion meditation, you are healing the world in a small way. Go easy on yourself and others, and good luck.


Book Review - The Zen Habit's Beginner's Guide to Mindfulness


In today’s world, especially with the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election’s smoking gun looming just behind us, it can be difficult to stay mindful. To not let our emotions run away with us when we are speaking with others. To be as honest with ourselves and others as we can and communicate our feelings efficiently with others. To not cling desperately to our ideals. To develop patience and learn to deal with overwhelming feelings. To work on developing our focus and changing our habits for the greater good. The Zen Habits Beginner’s Guide to Mindfulness addresses these topics and provides practical advice for working on them in our own lives.

Leo Babauta (the ebook’s author) is the creator of the Zen Habits website, author of many books, and a vegan who spends the majority of his personal time running, reading, meditating, lifting weights, and hiking. He has been an inspiration to thousands of people by helping them simplify their lives and change their habits through his Sea Change membership program.

The Zen Habits Beginner's Guide to Mindfulness was published solely in ebook format, it is fairly short (only 47 pages), and it contains many helpful words that may help you in your own path toward developing mindfulness. However, as the ebook even mentions itself, the true onus is on the reader. There is only so much a book can do to help develop a meditation practice, work toward changing habits, or develop patience. The true work must be done by the reader.

To address this, Babauta includes in each chapter: a description of the issue (including its common causes), a step-by-step method to address the issue, and an exercise that can be practiced during meditation or day-to-day life. The final chapter of the book focuses on how we can get better, which includes practicing nearly daily, reviewing the exercises, and working with whatever arises.

I greatly enjoyed and valued this ebook, and would have loved to give it five stars. However, there were some typos due to some sloppy editing and a few of the chapters were merely slight variations of copied-and-pasted content from previous chapters. Because of those two things, I decided to ding The Zen Habits Beginner's Guide to Mindfulness by one star. However, I would still recommend this ebook to anyone interested in developing their own mindfulness practice. And in case you don't find them valuable, the author even promises a 100% money back guarantee on all of his books! It is definitely aimed at beginners, but serves as a helpful review for those further along the path as well. I plan to read one or two more of Babauta’s books that take the topic a bit further, but I am glad that I started with this one.

4/5 stars. 47 pages.

Compassion Day

Image by  Christopher Michel , courtesy of Creative Commons licensing.

Image by Christopher Michel, courtesy of Creative Commons licensing.

Yesterday morning my girlfriend and I decided to try something new, so we visited the Kadampa Center, a Tibetan Buddhist center in Raleigh, NC. I have had an interest in learning more about meditation, spirituality, and Buddhism for quite some time now, and thought it would be a valuable learning experience and a positive way to expand our sense of community. Although I have spent many years consuming media about meditation and Buddhism, I felt like it was time to venture out into the world to see what I can learn from people who are experienced and knowledgable in these practices.

It turns out that we decided to visit the center on a very special day; the center held an event titled Happy Birthday His Holiness the Dalai Lama! The Dalai Lama is turning 80 today, and the center held an event to celebrate him and highlight July 6, Compassion Day. We honored the Dalai Lama by offering cards listing our acts of kindness and compassion and participated in singing Happy Birthday, a guided meditation, mantra recitation, and a brief prayer.

I hadn't been to a religious or spiritual center or event for over a decade now, and was very happy with the community I saw at Kadampa Center. At this time, we plan to continue going to see what there is to learn, and determine what gifts I possess that I can offer the community.

To celebrate today, I encourage you to visit the Compassion Day website linked above and find ways to engage in rejoicing, compassion in action, and meditation in your life.