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This Week in Psychedelics - 10.7.16

Image by  Dahtamnay , courtesy of  Creative Commons  licensing.

Image by Dahtamnay, courtesy of Creative Commons licensing.

Cannabis

  • FDA's Advice to the DEA on Marijuana (ATTN:)
  • Why Public Health Experts Say Cannabis Should Be Treated Like Tobacco (Broadly)
  • How States Are Spending Their Marijuana Revenue (ATTN:)
  • Keith Stroup: Marijuana Smoking Up, Marijuana Arrests Down (ATTN:)
  • How cannabis could help the fight against Alzheimer's (Mirror)
  • Ancient Cannabis 'Burial Shroud' Discovered in Desert Oasis (National Geographic)
  • California's Marijuana Legalization Faces an Unlikely Foe: Growers (TIME)
  • Adult Use Ballot Initiatives Leading In Latest Polls (NORML)
  • Study: Cannabis production uses as much energy as data centers (Albuquerque Business First)
  • Meeting the Scientist Who Discovered THC (Reality Sandwich)
  • 'Cannabis' drug could help thousands of epilepsy sufferers following trial at Great Ormond Street Hospital (Mirror)
  • Like Barcelona, Bilbao is Taking Steps to Regulate Cannabis Social Clubs (Leafly)
  • A Big Shift Is Necessary to Successfully Market Cannabis to Minorities (The Huffington Post)
  • Calif. Newspapers Warm to Pot Legalization, Thanks to Taxes and Regulations (Reason)
  • Americans Are Still Getting Arrested for Marijuana Possession at Staggering Rates (Disinfo)
  • Cannabis Industry Technology Is Becoming That Prime Kush (Forbes)
  • Is Cannabis Safe to Use During Pregnancy? New Study Clarifies Risks (Leafly)
  • Where Voters Are Likeliest to Legalize Marijuana in a Month (Reason)
  • Colorado Gives Cannabis Candy a New Look to Avoid Confusion (Leafly)
  • Cannabis businesses dip their toes into world of franchising (The Denver Post)
  • Tennessee: Cities Move To Reduce Marijuana Possession Penalties (NORML)
  • Cannabis reduces creativity, but user generally not aware (Daily Science)

LSD

Psilocybin/Magic Mushrooms

MDMA/Ecstasy

  • Using MDMA to Treat Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (VolteFace)
  • High Society: Ecstasy (VICE)
  • Miley Cyrus' Suggestion Sick Ellen Take MDMA Wasn't Insane (Inverse)
  • How taking ecstasy helped me mourn my mother (iNews)
  • Southend man collapsed outside Chameleon nightclub and died after taking MDMA (Essex Live)
  • Teenager, 18, froze to death after taking ecstasy and runing from a golf glub hotel into a LAKE wearing just his boxer shorts because he thought demons were in his hotel room (Daily Mail)

Ayahuasca/DMT

  • Ancient Medicine in a Modern World: How Ayahuasca Can Heal the Plague of Depression and Anxiety (Psychedelic Times)
  • Aya Quest Native Americas church holding Ayahuasca healing ceremonies in the USA (Digital Journal)

Dissociatives

  • Ketamine As Medicine? Anesthetic And Club Drug Could Treat Migraines, Chronic Pain (Medical Daily)
  • New Study Compares Ketamine to Electro Shock Therapy in Treating Severe Depression (WKSU)
  • The Tulsa Effect: Chicago Officer Beaten Unconscious By Man On PCP (Law Officer)

Opiates/Opioids

  • How America Is Battling Its Horrific Opioid Epidemic (Wired)
  • Heroin is now legal in Canada – if you have a prescription (Idaho Statesman)
  • Health Canada approves non-prescription naloxone nasal spray (The Globe and Mail)
  • The Great Binge: Heroin, Cocaine and Opium Over the Counter (New Historian)
  • Not just for medics: Drugs that reverse opioid overdoses are being pushed to the masses (STAT)

Absinthe

Kratom

Kava

  • Why Experts are Now Saying Kava is Not Only Safe, but Needed Now More Than Ever (PR Newswire)
  • Wait for endorsement of kava standards (The Fiji Times)

Khat

Miscellaneous Psychedelics/Psychoactives/Drug Policy

  • High Hitler: how Nazi drug abuse steered the course of history (The Guardian)
  • DEA Paid Millions to Confidential Informants Who Could No Longer Be Trusted (Reason)
  • President Obama Shortens the Sentences of 102 Drug Offenders (TIME)
  • Addiction & Recovery: The Definitive Expert Resource Guide For You, Your Family, or Your Patients (Lumiere Healing Centers)
  • 12 legal drugs that will give you a psychedelic trip (The Daily Dot)
  • Choosing the Right Therapy: The Differences Between Psychedelic Integration and Recovery Coaching (Psychedelic Times)
  • LSU studies effects of psychedelic drugs, and other news of higher education (The New Orleans Advocate)
  • The Problem With Denying Organ Transplants to Drug Users (ATTN:)
  • Below the Mainstreaming: A Review of Beyond Psychedelics (Psychedelic Press UK)
  • Risky research could herald mindful revolution (Imperial College London)

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 (and other psychoactives) are presented by the mass media, which includes everything from the latest scientific research to misinformation.

This Week in Psychedelics - 3.18.16

Image by  Dahtamnay , courtesy of  Creative Commons  licensing.

Image by Dahtamnay, courtesy of Creative Commons licensing.

Cannabis

  • Legal Cannabis Outsold Girl Scout Cookies Last Year (Forbes)
  • Where the Presidential Candidates Stand on Marijuana (ATTN:)
  • Merrick Garland Helped Uphold the DEA's Refusal to Reclassify Marijuana (Reason)
  • New Study Suggests Marijuana's Impact on Crash Risk Has Been Exaggerated (Reason)
  • Proposed Massachusetts Stoned Driving Rule Is Better Than Washington's but Worse Than Current Law (Forbes)
  • Lee Harris, the moral crusader turned cannabis activist vying to be London mayor (The Guardian)
  • Israel wants to be the tech hub for the world cannabis industry (Quartz)
  • America's First Cannabis Resort Opens in Colorado (Business Wire)
  • Lib Dems vote to legalise cannabis (Mirror)
  • Marijuana Legalization 2016: Many Women Working In Cannabis Industry Are Smoking The Competition (International Business Times)
  • Cops Caught on Camera Eating Dispensary's Snack Bars Charged With Theft (Reason)
  • Marijuana Industry Will Add $44 Billion to Nation's Economy by 2020 (Disinfo)
  • GW Pharmaceuticals Gets Positive Result for Cannabis-based Epilepsy Drug (The Wall Street Journal)
  • New Zealand's 'cannabis crisis': smokers confirm chronic shortage (The Guardian)
  • High Times Moves Cannabis Cup to California After Troubles in Denver (Inc)
  • Poll: Voters Back Rescheduling And Legalizing Marijuana (NORML)
  • French tops teen cannabis use survey: WHO (France 24)
  • Cannabis Consumer Products Company Launches First Equity Crowdfunding Campaign (Black Enterprise)
  • More Municipalities Embrace Marijuana Decriminalization (NORML)
  • Legalized Cannabis and the Brain: NIDA Sounds the Alarm (Medscape)
  • New Guide Shows How To Get A Piece Of The Multi-Billion Dollar Cannabis Industry (Reset.me)
  • Forget the Startup Nation, Welcome to the Cannabis Nation (Haaretz)
  • Vox poll: the only drug Americans want to legalize is marijuana (Vox)
  • Palestinian Police in West Bank Cannabis Raid (High Times)
  • Purveyors of pot work to reverse stigma, rebrand cannabis (CP24 Toronto's Breaking News)
  • Leading California Anti-Pot Activist Says Marijuana Causes 'Almost All' Mass Murders (Reason)

LSD

  • Share this: LSD for breakfast may kick Facebook addiction (RT)
  • Remember That Time Dock Ellis Threw a No-Hitter on LSD? (Relix)
  • Villanova Student Charged With Dealing LSD From Dorm Room (CBS)
  • Naked teenager James McAllister-Barnard high on LSD accidentally sets fire to flat, tells officer 'Help me, I'm dead' (Metro)
  • Sterrett man nabbed in LSD trafficking bust (Shelby County Reporter)
  • Possibly LSD-influenced Man Tased Four Times After Attempting to Attack Deputies in McKinleyville, Says HCSO (Lost Coast Outpost)
  • Boy accused of having LSD at Roosevelt High School (Sioux Falls Argus Leader)

Psilocybin/Magic Mushrooms

MDMA/Ecstasy

  • Truth Behind the Push to Legalize a Street Drug (LifeZette)
  • Can You Really Die from an MDMA Allergy? (VICE)
  • Off-duty officer arrested over ecstasy tablets (U.TV)
  • Melbourne's gangland: Mafia link to worlds biggest ecstasy bust (Herald Sun)
  • 'Molly' and 'LSD' manufacturing operation uncovered inside storage facility (WPEC)
  • Legalization, MDMA, and Aggressive Behavior (American Thinker)
  • Six college students busted in $100K drug ring (HLNtv.com)
  • Russell County sheriff: Man found with ecstasy in form of lollipops (Columbus Ledger-Enquirer)
  • Dealer tried to smuggle ecstasy in Police Lego box (Edinburgh Evening News)
  • Ecstasy death: Man linked to Colorado Springs teen's overdose pleads guilty (The Denver Channel)
  • Long Branch cops find MDMA stash in traffic stop (Asbury Park Press)
  • Malaysian arrested for smuggling ecstasy pills into N.Sumatra (The Jakarta Post)

Ayahuasca/DMT

Iboga/Ibogaine

  • Voacanga: An Alternative, Sustainable Source of Ibogaine Treatment (Psychedelic Times)

Synthetic Cannabinoids/Psychoactive Research Chemicals

  • 'Legal LSD': Dangerous Party Drug Sold Online (Medscape)

Dissociatives

  • U.K. man jailed 5 days in St. John's after friend's ashes mistaken for ketamine (CBC.ca)
  • New Study Shows Ketamine May Regenerate Brain Cells, Relieving Depression with Lasting Benefit (PR Newswire)
  • Man who was seen handing €130000 of ketamine to another man during surveillance operation is given bail to 'prove himself' (Irish Independent)
  • $100K bail for Jersey City man facing PCP charges while on probation (NJ.com)
  • Prosecutor: Driver in crash that killed teens was on PCP (Fox News)
  • Wallingford PD: Local man grabbed employee by throat, in possession of PCP (Meriden Record-Journal)

Opiates/Opioids

  • The Right Chemistry: A history of morphine (Montreal Gazette)
  • What to Do About Heroin Addiction (The New York Times)
  • Mexico governor floats idea of medical opium growing to reduce drug violence (Yahoo! News)
  • CDC Prescription Guidelines Will Leave More Patients in Pain and Drive More Addicts to Heroin (Reason)
  • Roots of opioid epidemic can be traced back to two key changes in pain management (Disinfo)
  • The strange history of opiates in America: from morphine for kids to heroin for soldiers (The Guardian)
  • Americans Have Been Addicted to Prescription Opiates Forever (WIRED)
  • Opium crop failure: No high for these farmers in times of drought (The Indian Express)
  • The Devastating Effects Heroin Has on the Body and Mind (ABC News)
  • A Small Town Wanders What To Do When Heroin Is 'Everywhere' (NPR)
  • EpiPen For Heroin Overdose – Start-Up Solved Naloxone Administration (HealthAim)

Absinthe

Kratom

  • N.H. Senate Passes Bill to Ban Kratom Use by Minors (NHPR)
  • The battle over Kratom in Shelby County (WIAT)
  • Bill to regulate kratom to go before committee (WBRC)
  • Kratom dealers busted in Krabi raid (Phuket Gazette)

Kava

Khat

  • Chinese Customs Confiscate 700 Kilos of Banned Plant Khat (China Topix)
  • 70-year-old arrested for 46kg of drugs (iAfrica.com)

Miscellaneous Psychedelics/Psychoactives/Drug Policy

  • Will UNGASS 2016 Be the Beginning of the End for the War on Drugs? (StoptheDrugWar.org)
  • The U.S. May Support Revolutionary Reform to International Drug Policy (ATTN:)
  • How Psychedelics Can Help You Meditate, and Why Meditation Makes Your Psychedelic Experience Easier (Psychedelic Times)
  • Ross Ulbricht's Sentencing Indecent, Based on Procedural and Substantive Errors, New Amicus Brief Argues (Reason)
  • This Trafficking Gang Posed as a Fake Flower Business to Smuggle Drugs into the UK (VICE)
  • The Darker Side of 'Just Say No' (Reason)
  • How Sex and Drugs Saved My Life (and Could Save the World) (AlterNet)
  • Why the War on Drugs Failed and How It Affects Psychedelic Addiction Treatment (Psychedelic Times)
  • Missouri State Patrol shows you how to make meth (Boing Boing)
  • Thomas Massie: War on Drugs in Afghanistan Has Been a Failure (Reason)
  • Watch How the Drug Overdose Epidemic Spread in America (TIME)
  • Miley Cyrus' Wedding Dreams: Marijuana, Aging Rock Stars & Psychedelia (Inquisitr)
  • Man high on psychedelic drug trashed Haworth school, cops say (NJ.com)

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 (and other psychoactives) are presented by the mass media, which includes everything from the latest scientific research to misinformation.

This Year in Psychedelics - 2015

Image by    Dahtamnay   , courtesy of    Creative Commons    licensing.

Image by Dahtamnay, courtesy of Creative Commons licensing.

Happy New Year's Eve! 2015 has been yet another interesting year to follow psychedelic news—both the factual representations and wildly inaccurate media "reports" have brought a lot to the table. This article will present the major themes and trends that were found in the latter half of the year, beginning on the June 5th, which corresponds with this year's first This Week in Psychedelics article.

First, I want to provide a bit of background on what it took to get here. I have been an avid Reality Sandwich reader since 2007, and I looked forward to each new edition of Neşe Devenot's This Week in Psychedelics column. Every week, she posted links to news articles from the mass media that referenced psychedelics and other similar psychoactive substances.

Each week's collection of links attempted to be as unbiased as possible, demonstrating how various forms of mass media represent psychedelic culture and psychoactive substance use. This always included articles that shed psychedelics in a positive light as well as articles that demonized their use (including many articles that are factually incorrect and/or misguided representations of psychedelics).

Devenot gave up "This Week in Psychedelics" more than two years ago to pursue what has proved to be an extremely successful career in academia. This year I was able to successfully bring the column back—first on Think Wilder, and then on Reality Sandwich as well. The following is my analysis of this year's coverage of psychedelics and similar psychoactive substances.

Cannabis

Cannabis was in the news a lot this year, with articles being published on topics including drug policies, newly-discovered medical applications, cannabis scientific research, the fledging cannabis industry, a slew of hilarious poorly-executed drug delivery attempts, and more.

To begin, there were pro-cannabis drug policy movements at the state level across the United States of America, as well as on the international stage in countries like Italy, Australia, Mexico, Iran, and Colombia. Canada legalized cannabis oils and edibles, and its new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has proudly announced plans to completely legalize the plant.

Stories about cannabis oils and their affinity for helping young children with a variety of needs were aplenty. The medical uses for cannabis expanded even further, with focuses on cannabis benefits for ailments such as epilepsycolon and kidney cancers, low sex drives, broken bones, social anxieties, celiac disease, insomnia, schizophreniaAttention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Cannabis was also found to help with weight losspain management, and drug addiction treatment. Cannabis research included studies on cannabis-involved driving and an upcoming study that will look into cannabis for assisting military veterans that have PTSD.

In the area of cannabis-related crime, London police were astonished to find a cannabis "forest" as big as a soccer field. Cannabis dealers missed the mark at least three times this year, including the time that $10,000 of cannabis fell out of the sky onto a family's home, when 50 pounds of pot were accidentally mailed to the incorrect address, and when a man found cannabis stashed in an Arizona Iced Tea can that he purchased at Walmart. The FBI released data showing that there is a cannabis-related arrest every 45 seconds in the U.S.

Candidates involved with the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election have had to confront the cannabis issue several times, and this will most likely continue into next year as the election cycle continues. The cannabis industry was covered thoroughly, with topics including how women are finding success in the industry, cannabis-themed vacation resorts, and tons of cannabis exposCannabis churches began popping up to encourage and celebrate the spiritual use of (and argue for the religious right to use) cannabis. Hemp began to once again make its way as a popular building materialRussia threatened to block Wikipedia over a specific cannabis article. And finally, Australia's pitiful anti-cannabis "stoner sloth" campaign backfired terribly and was ridiculed on social media.

LSD

The main story about LSD throughout the year involved the concept of microdosing, which is not exclusive to LSD but usually involves one of the classic psychedelics (LSD, psilocybin mushrooms, and mescaline-containing cacti). The media seemingly could not get enough of headlines comparing tiny doses of LSD to cups of coffee, and the topic was covered in a generally-favorable manner.

A man died after being left hogtied for an hour by police following a Widespread Panic show, and there have been conflicting evidence found by various autopsies performed as to whether he died from LSD toxicity (which would literally be the first occurrence of a lethal LSD dose) or from rough treatment by the police officers. In fact, LSD was blamed for several fatal "overdoses" this year, although those deaths would likely be more accurately attributed to psychoactive research chemicals like 25i-NBOMe.

Scientific studies showed that LSD can enhance the emotional response to music. Other studies looking at  the potential efficacy of LSD that are currently ongoing focus on the treatment of depression, cluster headaches, and smoking cessation.

This year also birthed the creation and performance of LSD: The Opera, and a fascinating history of the connection between the CIA and LSD.

Psilocybin/Magic Mushrooms

Compared to cannabis and LSD, there wasn't as much media coverage of psilocybin mushrooms (or "magic mushrooms" in general) this year, but two highlights include Russia banning Reddit over a single 'shroom thread and a lot of articles detailing the connection between amanita muscaria mushrooms and the origins of Christmas, including one I published last week.

Current research studies are looking into the application of psilocybin to treat depression, general anxieties, cluster headaches, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), smoking cessation, end-of-life anxiety in terminal cancer patients, schizophrenia, and the effect of psilocybin on longterm meditators.

MDMA/Ecstasy

MDMA and ecstasy experienced a bit of both sides this year, with a lot of negative media coverage focused on things like overdoses and deaths as well as positive reports concerning the findings of ongoing MDMA scientific research studies.

There were many articles covering MDMA-related overdoses and deaths, although it is not certain that MDMA was the actual substance involved in every one of these articles. The media tends to over-report deaths that might possibly be related to MDMA, which are actually few and far between, while ignoring the deaths and other issues caused by alcohol. Due to these incidents, there were many efforts made by authorities to ban raves entirely, which is a bit odd because that seems a bit like throwing the baby out with the bath water. There were also warning about ecstasy tablets being "too pure", which sounds confusing at first but ultimately makes sense within the full context. Although drug users would most likely appreciate receiving extremely-pure drugs, if they are accustomed to taking a large dose because all they have been acquiring in the past is not actually the drug they thought it to be, then when they receive the real thing and take the same dose, it can be too large and cause several issues. As happens every year, parents were warned in October that their children may be given ecstasy tablets disguised as candy, an assertion that doesn't make any sense, as drug dealers sell drugs to make profit, not to give away for free to children.

Regarding MDMA-related scientific studies, the DEA approved a study that will look at treating anxiety with MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, and ongoing studies include MDMA's potential role in helping people on the autism spectrum and sufferers of PTSD. There was definitely more negative coverage of MDMA than positive coverage, but the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) is well on its way to legitimizing MDMA in the eyes of the FDA due to its it's decades-long dedication to psychedelic research, and is still on target to legalize MDMA to be used for psychotherapeutic use by 2021.

Ayahuasca/DMT

A Hebrew professor set forth an argument that Moses was under the influence of DMT when he saw the "burning bush". There have been claims of a legal ayahuasca church in the U.S., but the church's actual legal standing has been called into question.

Sadly, as has been the case for the past few years, ayahuasca was involved in the death of at least two people this year. One man died in Peru as a result of a tobacco purge ceremony, but ayahuasca was mentioned in the story because he was also in Peru to experience the medicine. And another man was stabbed to death by a fellow ayahuasca ceremony participant in a rare display of ayahuasca-related violence.

Ongoing scientific studies regarding ayahuasca include the treatment of depression, anxiety, and PTSD. A study also found that ayahuasca drinkers regularly have improved mental health.

Iboga/Ibogaine

Iboga and ibogaine were mainly presented as detox treatments for opiate and methamphetamine addictions, which has been found to be extremely successful for many. There was also a powerful account of how iboga helped a schizophrenic drug addict reclaim his life.

Salvia Divinorum

Aside from being announced as another potential plant useful for treating substance abuse and addictions, salvia divinorum didn't show up much in the media at all this year.

Synthetic Cannabinoids/Psychoactive Research Chemicals

There was quite a bit of media coverage earlier in the year a scourge of the synthetic cannabinoid blend called "spice" (also known as "K2") in the northeast, but that story has mostly died off as of late. There has been a lot of negative coverage of the compound 25i-NBOMe (also known as "N-Bomb") and there was an interview with the man who originally synthesized it. "Legal highs" have been making their way into jails and prisons by being soaked into letters and pages of books. And a homeopathy conference ended terribly after attendees erupted in panic after being dosed with 2C-E.

Dissociatives

Protesters in the United Kingdom staged a demonstration against the Psychoactive Substances bill by inhaling nitrous oxide in front of the Parliament building. Basically every PCP story was framed in a negative light and played up an illegal act performed by someone high on the substance.

Ketamine had a lot of favorable coverage due to studies showing that it is helpful in treating depression. And due to the increased media coverage, governments around the world began considering placing ketamine under a stricter class of illegal drugs, which has worried veterinarians, pharmacists and medical health professionals because that may prevent them from being able to access the drug, even for legitimate medical reasons. Finally, a lot of time was spent arguing about whether or not a man fed ketamine to a seagull, even though he denied having done so.

Opiates/Opioids

Heroin use is in America is way up and so are overdoses—in fact, heroin usage has been widely described as an “epidemic”. Since it is mainly affecting white and middle class folks, this year's victims of heroin addiction have been mostly pitied, rather than lambasted as in years past. Still, the heroin issue has thrust the horrors of the drug war into even more people's faces, and it may prove to have a positive effect on drug policies overall.

Fentanyl found in heroin has led to an increase in overdoses, and research is showing that legal prescription drugs are leading people to become addicted to heroin and in many cases, die from overdose. The overdose drug naloxone has been in the media spotlight—information about it has spread fairly rapidly, and the FDA approved a nasal spray version for easier application.

Kratom/Kava/Khat

There has been a series of back-and-forth debates on the issues of safety and efficacy with regard to these plants, and kava in particular has been focused on recently with research into the effects of driving under the influence of the plant. Other than those topics the majority of coverage on these plants has been related to seizures by law enforcement.

Miscellaneous Psychedelics/Psychoactives/Drug Policy

Psychedelics have made their way into mainstream entertainment, being talked discussed in songs written by musicians like A$AP Rocky, Kendrick Lamar, and Miley Cyrus. Many celebrities and other well-known people came out of the psychedelic closet, admitting to past usage of psychedelics. These include John Cusack, musician Brian Wilson, Lindsay Lohan, the late neurologist and author Oliver Sacks, Olympic gold medalist Mo Farah, radio personality Robin Quivers, CNN reporter Lisa Ling, musician Vanessa Carlton, former Apple employee Daniel Kottke, and Star Wars animator Phil Tippet. Many others have come out publicly against the drug war, including a strong assertion from David Nutt about why banning psychedelics has been the greatest censorship of medicine in human history.

Ross Ulbricht, the alleged founder of the Silk Road, was convicted and received two life sentences plus an additional 40 years. I encourage everyone to check out the website Free Ross Ulbricht, which has plenty of information about how his trial was mishandled and how he may have even been framed by the U.S. government. Even though the Silk Road is no longer in operation, purchasing illegal substances on the dark web continues to be in fashion and shows no sign of slowing down.

The DEA had an incredibly rough year in 2015. Current DEA Chief Chuck Rosenberg claimed that cannabis is "probably" not as bad as heroin and later corrected himself by admitting that it in fact is definitely not as bad as heroin. Later, he called medical marijuana a "joke", leading medical marijuana patients around the country to officially call for his resignation. DEA agents at JFK airport stole $44,000 from a legitimate nail salon owner who hadn't committed any crimes whatsoever. The two primary agents involved with the Silk Road investigation have been accused of stealing more than $700,000 in Bitcoin from the dark web site. Amtrak passengers have been routinely harassed by DEA agents. The DEA was sued by Human Rights Watch and Electronic Frontier Foundation over the illegal bulk collection of America’s telephone records and lost the case. The U.S. Senate voted to force the DEA to butt out of medical marijuana states. The DEA spent undisclosed millions of dollars the past ten years on cell phone tracking and has refused to release the acquisition documents. Agents were caught soliciting Colombian prostitutes that were supplied by the drug cartels that they are supposedly fighting. And finally, the daughter of a DEA head was busted for selling illegal drugs. So yeah, how long are we going to keep these bozos around, exactly?

Harm reduction has made headlines this year, with an emphasis on the need for drug users to test their substances before consuming them. NASA released a bunch of cool psychedelic images and videos from space. Google took it one step further and developed its "Deep Dream" code, which mimics the visual perception of a machine and resulted in some mind-blowing psychedelic videos. Oddly enough, the sale of Janis Joplin's "psychedelic Porsche" showed up in the news time and time again.  Buddhism and psychedelics showed up quite a bit. It seemed to me that there was a moment in the year where there was almost nothing but positive articles about psychedelics, mostly in regard to the current state and findings of psychedelic research studies. The New Yorker published a fantastic interview with Earth and Fire, the creators of the drug education website Erowid. Perhaps most strikingly, Richard Branson leaked the news that the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) was expected to publish documents advising for the reversal of the drug war, and then it never did, allegedly because it received pressure from a country heavily involved in the drug war.

All in all, it has been quite a year! I am greatly looking forward to bringing you more news related to psychedelics and psychoactive substances in 2016. I hope that you will join me. Until next time, keep thinking wilder!

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.

This Week in Psychedelics - 12.18.15

Image by  Dahtamnay , courtesy of  Creative Commons  licensing.

Image by Dahtamnay, courtesy of Creative Commons licensing.

Cannabis

  • Year in Review: 2015's Biggest Moments in Cannabis (Leafly)
  • Will Marijuana Prohibition Be Over In 5 Years? (Reset.me)
  • Bureaucratic Hurdles & Spotty Access To Medicinal Cannabis Gives Rise To 'Cannabis Refugees' (MintPress News)
  • Kentucky Lawmaker Submits Bill to Legalize Statewide Cannabis Industry (High Times)
  • Feds Tell Supreme Court to Stay Out of State Marijuana Dispute (TIME)
  • Jeb Bush Just Made a Series of False Comments on Marijuana (ATTN:)
  • Study Explores Health Effects of High-THC Cannabis (Leafly)
  • Meet the Weed Genius Designing the World's First Cannabis Ranch (Inverse)
  • This Secret Document Reveals One Big Bank's Crazy Marijuana Plans (ATTN:)
  • 6 Things YOU Can Do for Cannabis Prisoners (High Times)
  • Congress Unveils 2016 Omnibus Spending Bill, Reauthorizes Marijuana Protections (NORML)
  • 'Completely sober' drivers who smoked cannabis in last week could be prosecuted under new laws (Breaking News)
  • Report: Criminal Justice Referrals Still Driving Marijuana 'Treatment' Admissions (NORML)
  • Donald Trump and Harry J. Anslinger: Two Peas in a Pod (NORML)
  • Intentional Cannabis Business Conference: What if California's Marijuana Regulations Suck? (Marijuana Politics)
  • Research Says Cannabis Affects Intestinal Flora And May Prevent Obesity (High Times)
  • Mum treats boy, 6, with cannabis oil for ADHD despite authorities threatening to take him away (The Daily Telegraph)
  • How Pairing Yoga, Cannabis, and Music Creates Positive Vibrations (Leafly)
  • Time to change cannabis laws (The Valdosta Daily Times)
  • Marijuana Users Just Scored A Victory in Washington (ATTN:)
  • High School Seniors Now Prefer Marijuana to Cigarettes (TIME)
  • Here's Why You Get the Munchies (ATTN:)
  • 10 Cannabis Strains That Ease Insomnia (Reset.me)
  • Cannabis research task force begins work (Portland Tribune)
  • How Do Vaporizers Preserve Cannabis "Fidelity"? (Leafly)
  • Delaware Decriminalization Law Takes Effect (NORML)
  • Solicitor General Says SCOTUS Shouldn't Hear Challenge to Marijuana Legalization (Reason)
  • Cannabis dispensary initiative likely, petition has enough signatures (Appeal-Democrat)
  • Renewed Riders Bar Medical Marijuana Meddling, Block Full Legalization in D.C. (Reason)
  • The Beginner's Guide to Buying Dabs and Cannabis Extracts (Leafly)
  • New Religion Claims 'Marijuana Cures Racism' (NewsBlaze)
  • Marijuana Ads Are 'Nonmailable', but That Doesn't Mean You Can't Mail Them (Reason)
  • NORML's Weekly Legislative Round Up (NORML)
  • Justice Department urges Supreme Court to throw out Nebraska/Oklahoma lawsuit (Drug WarRant)
  • KY Senator files "Cannabis Freedom Act" Rolling Medicinal And Recreational Use Together In One Hit (The State Journal)
  • High-Potency Cannabis Linked to Brain Damage, Experts Warn (Medscape)
  • KY senator pre-files Cannabis Freedom Act (WFIE)

LSD

  • LSD Can Alter Consciousness by Reorganizing Brain Networks (Counsel & Heal)
  • LSD and Spiritual Awakening (Reality Sandwich)
  • Founder Of Alcoholics Anonymous Said LSD Experience Could Help Addicts Stay Clean (AlterNet)
  • LSD is Way Healthier Than Medical Marijuana (Clapway)
  • Researchers use fMRI to map effects of LSD on brain activity (DOTmed.com)
  • LSD Effects Are Similar To The First Stage of Psychosis, Could Provide Model For Research (Medical Daily)
  • Boy Scout Leader Accused of Giving Teen Member LSD, Pot (ABC News)
  • Miley Cyrus Continues Odd Behavior, Swears She's Not On LSD (The Inquisitr)
  • Why LSD causes hallucinations, scientists may have an answer (International Business Times)
  • A Brain On LSD Looks Like A Psychotic Brain, Says New Study (Tech Times)
  • Police: Man sold LSD three times in Kane County (Chicago Daily Herald)

Psilocybin/Magic Mushrooms

  • Is Christmas All About a Magic Mushroom? (AlterNet)
  • 'Magic Mushrooms' May Permanently Alter Personality (Live Science)
  • Are Santa's Reindeer Tripping Shrooms? (High Times)
  • Cancer: Magic mushrooms fight off depression and anxiety — with a side of 'mystical experiences' (International Business Times)
  • The Gates of Hell: MKULTRA, Robert Graves, William Sargant, & Wasson's Magic Mushroom (Occult Yorkshire 10) (Auticulture)
  • Miley Cyrus Is A Half-Naked Psychedelic Mushroom In Paper Magazine Shoot (The Huffington Post)
  • Man arrested for possessing 70 magic mushrooms has happiest mugshot EVER (The Sun)
  • How magic mushrooms can HELP cancer patients: Active ingredient 'reduces anxiety and depression' (Daily Mail)

MDMA/Ecstasy

Ayahuasca/DMT

  • America Is Getting Its First Legal Ayahuasca Church (VICE's Munchies)
  • A British Tourist Has Been Killed at a Peruvian Ayahuasca Ceremony (TIME)
  • My Interview on Ayahuasca And The Importance of Psychedelics (The Daily Banter)
  • The Visionary Activist Show — Caroline hosts Dr. Rick Strassman (KPFA)
  • Canadian man kills Brit in psychedelic ceremony in Peru's Amazon (The Jerusalem Post)
  • America's First Legal Ayahuasca 'Church' Lets You Trip on Hallucinogenic Tea (Complex)

Synthetic Cannabinoids/Psychoactive Research Chemicals

  • PMA is toxic drug making its way onto Australia's drug scene (News.com.au)

Dissociatives

Opiates/Opioids

  • Washington Could 'Cut a Deal With Daesh in Afghanistan to Counter Russia' (Sputnik International)
  • Painkillers, heroin drive increase in US overdose deaths (Live 5 News)
  • A Mother Tries to Restart, but Heroin's Sway Will Not Relent (The New York Times)
  • Afghan opium cultivation drops for first time in six years (The Express Tribune)
  • Narcan use expanding as overdoses soar (The Bristol Press)
  • Thailand Opium Eradication Effort Still a Model for Other Nations (Voice of America)
  • Myanmar's high opium output a huge test for Suu Kyi government: UN (Reuters)
  • 'Heroin' documentary hard to watch, but necessary (Sentinel & Enterprise)
  • That time Ted Cruz quoted an opium dealer at a Republican presidential debate (The Washington Post)
  • Myanmar Opium Farmers' Forum report published today (Transnational Institute)
  • Naloxone: Heroin overdose cure to be available over the counter as drug makes a comeback (ABC)
  • Myanmar Opium Farmers' Forum report published (Mizzima News)

Absinthe

Kava

Khat

  • Kenya: Varsity Researchers Involved in Miraa Study Insist Crop Is Harmful to Users (All Africa)
  • Royal Oman Police arrests three for smuggling Khat into Dhofar (Times of Oman)
  • Video: Eastern Oromia Rocked by Oromo Protests as Awaday Fights Back (Gadaa)

Miscellaneous Psychedelics/Psychoactives/Drug Policy

  • The People Are Rising Up Against the Destructive Drug War: 8 Key Developments (AlterNet)
  • Top White House Drug Official: War on Drugs is a Failure (ATTN:)
  • Drug Czar Wants More Money to Spend on Taking Your Stuff (Reason)
  • Jury Acquits the Only Cop Who Faced Charges After a Drug Raid Maimed a Toddler (Reason)
  • Demand rises for drug information at dance music events (The Age)
  • Still in a Crib, Yet Being Given Antipsychotics (The New York Times)
  • DEA ignored prosecutor's warning about illegal wiretap warrants, now it's losing big (Boing Boing)
  • The psychedelic underground temples of Damanhur (Boing Boing)
  • Miley Cyrus Says She's Never Tripped On Psychedelics, Eyes Roll (Refinery29)
  • Finding Guidance on the Hero's Journey: A Story of My Apprenticeship With "The Cacao Shaman" (High Existence)
  • Robert Moog: The True Genius Behind Psychedelic Music (Energy and Capital)
  • Psychedelic Press Journal Volume VI is out now! (Psychedelic Press UK)
  • "Alcohol and the Human Body," a cautionary film from 1949 (Boing Boing)
  • After illegal wiretap, suspects go free and want a refund (USA Today)
  • EFF and Human Rights Watch force DEA to destroy its mass surveillance database (Boing Boing)
  • A Victory for Privacy and Transparency: HRW v. DEA (Electronic Frontier Foundation)
  • EFF confirms that the DEA has deleted its phone call database (Engadget)
  • Drug War Draftees (Reason)
  • These Psychedelic Rainbow Bagels Are Blowing Up on Instagram (Yahoo! Food)
  • Justice officials fear nation's biggest wiretap operation may not be legal (USA Today)
  • Psychedelics can't be tested using conventional clinical trials (Aeon)
  • Dead Informants Highlight the Drug War's Cruel Chain of Betrayal (Reason)
  • Janis Joplin's psychedelic Porsche sells for $1.76 million at auction (WCMH)
  • New Study: How to Get High Without LSD or Magic Mushrooms (Clapway)

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 (and other psychoactives) are presented by the mass media, which includes everything from the latest scientific research to misinformation.

This Week in Psychedelics - 11.27.15

Image by  Dahtamnay , courtesy of  Creative Commons  licensing.

Image by Dahtamnay, courtesy of Creative Commons licensing.

Cannabis

  • Medical Marijuana Supporters File Petition To Get DEA Chief Fired (ATTN:)
  • Using Marijuana During Pregnancy Does Not Make A Mother Unfit (Reason)
  • How Cannabis Can Take Your Sex Life to the Next Level (Leafly)
  • Sarah Palin Says Legal Pot Is 'Absolutely No Big Deal' (Reason)
  • Myrcene: There's More To Marijuana Than Cannabinoids (Reset.me)
  • Desperate family calls for medicinal cannabis amnesty after police come knocking (The Sydney Morning Herald)
  • Five Scientific Benefits to Smoking Marijuana on Thanksgiving (ATTN:)
  • Is Cannabis Addictive? (Leafly)
  • Why Driving While High Laws Are Very Troubling (ATTN:)
  • Alaska Regulators Propose Allowing Cannabis Cafés (Reason)
  • How California Will Legalize Pot in 2016 (Reason)
  • Golden Leaf eyes joint listing as cannabis market grows (Financial Times)
  • DHS office says no to cannabis connected food donation (KGW)
  • Mexican girl's medical cannabis win raises hope for others (Yahoo! News)
  • Cannabis Wedding Expo: Plan a weed wedding at this first-of-its-kind event (The Cannabist)
  • Will Denver Okay a Two-Year Moratorium On New Pot Businesses?: Cannabis Events (Westword)
  • Do Pot and Pregnancy Mix? (Reason)
  • 'Godmother' of cannabis meets her tech-happy children at SF pot summit (CNET)
  • Poll shows rising support for Cannabis decriminalization among Israeli college students (The Jerusalem Post)
  • Colorado Cannabis Clubs are Coming -- But How Soon? (Leafly)
  • Cannabis Coffee Makers Are Hoping to Become Bulletproof 2.0 (Bloomberg)
  • Bed heads: Colorado's Airbnb-style website for cannabis lovers (The Guardian)
  • Oregrown: A High Class Cannabis Establishment in Bend, Oregon (Marijuana Politics)
  • Clinical study at CAMH tests how cannabis affects volunteers' driving skills (The Star)
  • Colorado police officers warns of marijunana [sic] dangers (Sioux City Journal)
  • Cannabis oil use in Missouri off to slow start (KMBC)
  • Cannabis Confiscated at North Iceland Farm (Iceland Review)
  • Proof strong cannabis DOES harm your brain: Regularly smoking 'skunk' found to damage area that carries signals - and can lead to mental illness (Daily Mail)

LSD

  • How LSD Microdosing Became the Hot New Business Trip (Rolling Stone)
  • Switzerland Briefly Legalized LSD Therapy and Then Couldn't Let It Go (VICE's Motherboard)
  • Mississippi Man Died After Police Hogtied Him for More Than an Hour (ATTN:)
  • Inside the Plot to Get Every American High on Acid (The Daily Beast)
  • What Happens When Military Troops Are Given LSD? (First to Know)
  • Forget Coffee, Silicon Valley's New Productivity Hack Is 'Microdoses' of LSD (GQ)
  • 'The Sunshine Makers': Film Review (The Hollywood Reporter)
  • LSD Microdosing Is a Thing (The Interrobang)
  • A Brief History of Microdosing (VICE's Motherboard)
  • Forget Coffee, Silicon Valley's Young Professionals Turn to LSD (Social News Daily)
  • Taking LSD for breakfast 'can cure anxiety and insomnia' (Metro)
  • Ex-soldier high on LSD almost killed 3 generations of same family in car crash (Mirror)
  • Man drowns after LSD beach trip (New Zealand Herald)
  • Silicon Valley professionals are taking LSD at work to increase productivity (The Telegraph)

Psilocybin/Magic Mushrooms

  • Microdoses of LSD and mushrooms as an alternative to Adderall (or coffee!) (Boing Boing)
  • deGeneration X: Did I Just Eat Mushrooms in Indonesia (Paste Magazine)

MDMA/Ecstasy

  • How to Legally Buy a Kilo of Pure MDMA (VICE's Motherboard)
  • US Border Protection Just Seized $880,000 in MDMA (VICE's Thump)
  • This is what ecstasy looks like under a microscope (The Week)
  • This Australian Man's Testimony About The Alleged Long-Terms Effects of Ecstasy Use Is Heartbreaking (VICE's Thump)
  • How ecstasy-related deaths in Britain can be traced to illegal logging in Cambodia (The Telegraph)
  • Former bikini model walks free over ecstasy supply charges (The Courier Mail)
  • Hugging woman exposes bikini model drug dealer (9news.com.au)
  • Ecstasy pills seized at SA schoolies (The Australian)
  • Drug dealer caught with 34kg of MDMA at M6 hotel fails to get sentence cut (Express & Star)
  • College student killed himself while on massive MDMA comedown (Metro)
  • Athens man accused of ecstasy trafficking, $180K seized from Whitehall Road home, banks (Online Athens)
  • 'It all seems like fun and games and a cheap $25 pill but it's not worth it' (News.com.au)
  • Canadian Arrested While Importing Ecstasy (Windsor Square)
  • Student who took MDMA died after suffering 'suicide Tuesday' symptoms (The Times)
  • Trenton man caught eating MDMA (The Trentonian)
  • Businessman raped air stewardess he met on millionaire dating website after spiking drink with ecstasy (Mirror)
  • North Devon homeless man tried to sell ecstasy and methadrone in attempt to 'big himself up' (North Devon Journal)

Ayahuasca/DMT

  • What Ayahuasca Taught Me About Taking Care of My Health (VICE's Motherboard)
  • Exclusive Clip: Experience "Jungle Fever" From The Movie "Aya: Awakenings" (Reset.me)
  • DMT Journeys with Devin James Fry (Austin Chronicle)
  • Art of the Day: 'Plant Spirit: After Castaneda', by Merrilee Challiss (Nashville Scene)

Synthetic Cannabinoids/Psychoactive Research Chemicals

  • Meet the Godfather of the Dangerous LSD Substitute NBOMe on Today's 'Daily VICE' (VICE)
  • 13 hospitalized in San Diego after overdose of synthetic drug Spice (Los Angeles Times)
  • Man stabbed 32 times by friend high on psychedelic drug known as Mr Happy (Mirror)
  • SA man charged over 'liquid acid' (Yahoo! News)
  • Horrifying new drug made knifeman slaughter pal in desperate battle to escape dream world (Daily Star)

Dissociatives

  • Police release 911 call of a suspected PCP overdoes of 500-pound man (The Washington Post)
  • Chicago cop charged with murder in killing of black teen (CBS News)
  • Ketamine as an antidepressant (Kelowna Capital News)
  • Scuba Keeps Offering People Ketamine on Twitter (VICE's Thump)
  • Does it tell the whole story? Video recorded inside West Allis jail cell after man's arrest goes viral (Fox6 Now)
  • Ketamine and Dance Music: The Drug's Surprising Rise in Popularity (Magnetic Mag)
  • Police: Nearly 500 pound man dies after possible PCP overdose (W*USA 9)

Opiates/Opioids

  • FDA Approves Nasal Naloxone To Combat Opioid Overdosing (Hospitals & Health Networks)
  • Heroin, Survivor of War on Drugs, Returns With New Face (The New York Times)
  • America's Heroin Problem Is Helping Mexican Drug Cartels Expand (ATTN:)
  • Injection rooms for addicts to open next year in drug law change, says Minister (The Irish Times)
  • Americans' growing taste for heroin is killing thousands of people outside America (Quartz)
  • Iranian Police Seize 555 Kilograms of Opium (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Delaware's heroin babies: Starting life in withdrawal (Delaware Online)
  • Iranian Official Demands Europe's Cooperation to Curb Poppy Cultivation in Afghanistan (Fars News Agency)
  • BRIEF-Indivior says received a complete response letter from FDA on naloxone nasal spray (Reuters)
  • Thousands of drug users are rescuing each other with antidote naloxone (The Washington Post)
  • Rantz: Seattle wants to essentially legalize heroin (My Northwest)
  • Viewpoint: 'Addiction deserves all the same life-saving measures any other disease demands' (Monadnock Ledger-Transcript)
  • Activists promote opiate antidote as U.S. overdoses surge (Reuters)
  • No FDA Nod for Second Nasal Naloxone in Opioid Overdose (Medscape)

Absinthe

  • Eat. Drink. Do. Wigle Whiskey debuts Absint Minded absinthe (Next Pittsburgh)

Kratom

  • Drug task force explains reason behind pulling Kratom off Talladega County shelves (ABC 33/40)
  • Banning kratom: Wisconsin treats safe herbal supplement like a dangerous drug (Wisconsin Watchdog)
  • Will other counties in Alabama outlaw Kratom? (WIAT)
  • Bus Bound for Phuket Packed With Kratom, Alcohol and Cigarettes, say Police (Phuket Wan)
  • Sam Dunkovich: Why is Wisconsin banning natural pain relievers? (The Cap Times)

Khat

  • Man detained after Khat seizure at Dublin Airport (Breaking News)

Miscellaneous Psychedelics/Psychoactives/Drug Policy

  • Never before published photos from Psychedelic Conference II in Santa Barbara, 1983 (Boing Boing)
  • Common Sense: The Need To Improve Harm Reduction Services At Music Events (Reset.me)
  • DEA Boss Clings On Amid Campaign for His Ouster (U.S. News & World Report)
  • Cut Sentences for Low-Level Drug Crimes (The New York Times)
  • The origin story of the Timothy Leary archives (Boing Boing)
  • The stunning paradox of Iran's war on drugs: How it actually makes America look worse (Salon)
  • Psychedelic Parenting Is About More than Just Drugs (VICE's Motherboard)
  • Dream Tripping: Getting High in Deep Sleep (Psychedelic Press UK)
  • Miley Cyrus Brings Her Dead Petz for a Messy, Psychedelic Performance in Detroit: Live Review (Billboard)
  • I Tried Getting 'High' on Drugless Psychedelic Alternatives in the Suburbs (VICE's Motherboard)
  • Kalamazoo Institute of Arts explores psychedelic British and American screen prints of '60s and '70s (Michigan Live)
  • Prosthetic Penises and Spilled Milk: Miley's Psychedelic Tour Wardrobe (Moviepilot)
  • Miley Cyrus review - new psychedelic direction is a bad trip (The Guardian)
  • Turn on, tune in, drop - um - in to check out 'Strange Days' (NIU Today)
  • The Flaming Lips and Miley Cyrus Share Psychedelic, Colorful "Lighter" Video (Pitchfork)

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 (and other psychoactives) are presented by the mass media, which includes everything from the latest scientific research to misinformation.