psychedelic therapy

This Week in Psychoactives - 8.9.19

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CANNABIS

  • Study Reviews How Marijuana Compounds Inhibit Tumor Growth And Kill Cancer Cells (Marijuana Moment)

  • Study Finds Cannabis Dispensaries Reduce Opioid Deaths by 21% (Leafly)

  • 14% of Americans Say They Use CBD Products (Gallup)

  • The Mexican Government Is Taking Public Input On How Best To Legalize Marijuana (Marijuana Moment)

  • Louisiana Patients Finally Get Their Medical Marijuana (Leafly)

  • California OKs cannabis sales and use at San Francisco’s Outside Lands music festival (Los Angeles Times)

  • Federal Court Says Ohio Officials Can Block Local Marijuana Ballot Measures (Marijuana Moment)

  • Arizona Groups File 2020 Cannabis Legalization Initiative (Leafly)

  • Navy Bans Sailors From Using CBD Despite Federal Hemp Legalization, New Memo Says (Marijuana Moment)

  • Delaware: Law Signed Reducing Marijuana Penalties for Juvenile Offenders (NORML)

  • Study: Colorado Teens Reduce Cannabis Smoking, Increase Edibles (Leafly)

  • Florida Lawmaker Files Bill To Decriminalize Marijuana (Marijuana Moment)

  • With little funding or political will, Michigan police let black market weed slide (MLive)

  • Top Senate Democrat Announces Construction Of Only Hemp Seed Bank In The U.S. (Marijuana Moment)

  • Bernie Says He’d Legalize Cannabis Through Executive Order (Leafly)

  • Colorado Sold Twice As Much Recreational Marijuana As Medical Cannabis Last Year (Marijuana Moment)

  • Wisconsin man — who arrived in U.S. in ’81 as Cambodian refugee — is deported for marijuana offenses, leaving behind his wife and new baby (Chicago Tribune)

  • Is Cannabis Safe When Pregnant? Study Seeks Answer, Draws Critics (Leafly)

  • NASA Warns Employees That Using CBD Products Could Get Them Fired (Forbes)

  • Could a cannabis substance replace opioid pain relievers? (Medical News Today)

  • Idaho Medical Marijuana Initiative Clears Early Hurdle On Way To 2020 Ballot (Marijuana Moment)

MDMA

  • Warning Issued for Dangerously Strong Ecstacy Pills in Europe (EDMTunes)

  • Number of people hospitalised with 'severe illness' from ecstasy at Indiependence Festival in Cork (Irish Mirror)

  • Alert after MDMA pill that is three time the adult dose is identified at Boomtown (Daily Echo)

AYAHUASCA

  • Pieces of Ayahuasca, a Cash Crop (Chacruna)

MESCALINE

  • Here are 7 notorious Peyote and Mescaline aficionados who used these drugs to open new doors in human perception and understanding (AlterNet)

PEYOTE

  • The Encounter That Introduced Peyote to Western Science (Chacruna)

NITROUS OXIDE

  • Sea of laughing gas canisters left on beach after Brighton Pride (Metro)

KETAMINE

  • Ketamine Changes Course of Major Depressive Disorder Treatment (Psychiatry Advisor)

  • Royal Navy pleads with sailors to stop taking ketamine amid fears that the Class B drug is rife among junior naval personnel on ships and submarines (Daily Mail)

OPIOIDS

  • Decline in opioid deaths is tied to growing use of overdose-reversing drug, CDC says (Los Angeles Times)

  • Study Finds Increase in Pharmacy Dispensing of Naloxone, More Efforts Needed to Improve Access (Pharmacy Times)

  • “Go Slow”—Baltimore’s Peer-Led Fentanyl Harm Reduction Campaign (Filter)

  • Author Testifies That China Fails to Crack Down on Fentanyl (The Daily Signal)

  • Autopsy: Bonnaroo attendee died from drug overdose involving fentanyl and ecstasy (The Tennessean)

COCAINE

  • Colombia’s Drug Strategy Paradox – Less Coca Crops, More Cocaine (InSight Crime)

CAFFEINE

  • Here's How Much Caffeine May Trigger a Migraine, According to a New Study (TIME)

  • Why Alcohol, Nicotine Disrupt Your Sleep More Than Coffee (Healthline)

  • Teenager commits suicide by overdosing on caffeine (Independent Online)

  • Science Says Drinking Coffee Helps People Slow Aging, Lose Weight, and Cheat Death. These Fascinating Studies Explain Why It's a Miracle Drink (Inc.)

  • Caffeine and how it affect’s the central nervous system. (Thrive Global)

TOBACCO

  • Dayton, Ohio, will no longer hire job applicants who use tobacco, nicotine (New York Daily News)

  • Tobacco plant buffet: Sticky surface traps insects and another feasts, study says (WRAL)

ALCOHOL

  • Low-level alcohol use increases miscarriage risk (Medical Xpress)

  • Alcohol Producers Tout Wellness Benefits. Health Experts Say Don't Swallow Claims (NPR)

NOOTROPICS

KRATOM

  • Ohio delays kratom ban; bill proposed to regulate the herbal supplement (Cincinnati.com)

  • What is kratom? Users praise its pain-relieving ability, but Louisiana officials look to ban it (The Advocate)

  • PM says kratom can be legalised ‘if proved useful’ (ThaiVisa News)

  • Kratom: The Real Problem With This Botanical Drug (Medical Daily)

  • Kratom In Your Skin Care Products (Kratom Guides)

MISCELLANEOUS

  • Ireland Partially Decriminalizes All Drugs (Cannabis Now)

  • Another Study Confirms Psychedelics Can Help Treat Depression and Anxiety (MERRY JANE)

  • CDC: Fatal Overdoses Are More Common in Cities Than Rural Areas (Filter)

  • The Top 10 Psychedelic Research Papers of the Last 10 Years (Psychedelic Science Review)

  • 2020 Candidate Andrew Yang Tweets Support for Safe Consumption Sites (Filter)

  • Bernie Sanders Wouldn’t Legalize Drugs Other Than Marijuana, He Tells Joe Rogan (Marijuana Moment)

  • The Most Psychedelic Technology in Human History is Here, and it’s Called Neuralink (Psychedelic Times)

  • Remembering Psychedelic Therapy Research Elder, Dr Claudio Naranjo (Kahpi)

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

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

Image by Psychedelic Astronaut.

Book Review - The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide

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I have absorbed a lot of information concerning psychedelic substances during the past 13 years. Some sources took a scientific approach, full of statistics, surveys, and other assorted data. Others have focused on the spiritual use of these substances, which include direction for practices like meditation, yoga, and breathwork. There are also accounts of recreational use, which clearly illustrate the possibilities of both positive and negative outcomes of using and abusing these substances. I ate up as many books, movies, podcasts, YouTube clips, and audio lectures as I possibly could.

I also have my own experiences with several of these substances, and had already come to my personal opinion that they have the potential to awaken in me unexpected paths in my life, greater self-understanding, an ability to engage in self-healing, and a stronger connection with the Universe and the inhabitants of our planet that we call Earth.

Over the years, I learned a lot about psychedelics and often come noticed myself thinking to myself, "Oh, I've learned that already" while reading a book or watching a documentary. However, when I read James Fadiman's The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys back in 2012 I found it to be the first work in quite a while that had so many new things to teach me. This book covers many aspects concerning psychedelic use that I was previously unaware of, such as the concept of sub-perceptual dosing and the importance of listening to non-vocal music such as Classical during the beginning of a psychedelic experience.

I first heard of this book from Lorenzo Hagerty's "Psychedelic Salon," a podcast that I have listened to since 2006. Fadiman is the guest on episode 302, during which Lorenzo interviews him about the book and his experience in the psychedelic research field. After hearing Fadiman speak about these things, I put the book on my "To-Read" list and purchased it a few months later. My intention when reading this book was to learn how to become a guide for others undergoing psychedelic experiences. I was pleasantly surprised by the wealth of information contained in the book afforded to those of us who wish to better integrate our psychedelic journeys into ordinary reality as well as learn to be a better guide to others. Following my reading of this book, I identified some aspects of my own psychedelic practice that I ended up changing in an effort to focus more on the therapeutic and spiritual uses of these substances, rather than my previous goal of just having a good time. While I still believe that the recreational use of these substances can have a positive outcome, this is the book that sold on the concept of using them in a more intelligent manner.

The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide does a great job of dispelling some of the myths about psychedelics, offers a practical and positive itinerary for a successful experience, introduces several important people in this field, and does so in a way that is unbiased and helpful. It is important for the psychedelic community to have truth on its side, and Fadiman does an excellent job of collecting both scientific and anecdotal evidence and arranging it in a way that is easily understood. I commend him on his work and look forward to more coming from him in the near future.

5/5 stars. 352 pages.

Click here to buy the book.

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This Week in Psychoactives - 7.19.19

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CANNABIS

  • California Claims the Crown for the Nation’s First Recreational Pot Cafes (MERRY JANE)

  • Australian Researchers Say You Can Treat Cannabis Dependency with... Cannabis? (MERRY JANE)

  • Senate Schedules Hearing On Marijuana Business Banking Access (Forbes)

  • That Alarming CBD Liver Damage Study Is Bunk—And the Media Should Know Better (Leafly)

  • Were Vikings POTHEADS? Archaeologists uncover evidence of cannabis at 1,000-year-old settlement (The Sun)

  • Legalizing Marijuana Leads To Fewer Illegal Grow Sites In National Forests, Study Finds (Marijuana Moment)

  • Pennsylvania Adds Anxiety as Medical Marijuana Qualifying Condition (MERRY JANE)

  • New Roadside Cannabis Test Approved for Use in Canada (Leafly)

  • Marijuana Legalization Associated With Decreased Interest In Alcohol, Study Finds (Marijuana Moment)

  • New Hampshire: Governor Signs Marijuana Annulment Measure (NORML)

  • As More States Legalize, DEA Chops Down Fewer Marijuana Plants, Federal Data Shows (Marijuana Moment)

  • Pot-smoking parents are harsher with discipline: study (New York Post)

  • Marijuana Legalization Could Be On The Horizon For British Virgin Islands (Marijuana Moment)

  • Recent cannabis use tied to memory deficits, slowed mental processing (Reuters)

  • Kamala Harris Evolved Slowly on Legalization, but She’s All About It Now (Leafly)

  • Thousands Of Comments Urge FDA To Allow CBD In Foods And Supplements (Marijuana Moment)

  • Three Republicans Stand in the Way of Federal Weed Legalization (Rolling Stone)

  • Medical cannabis is gaining momentum in Asia (CNBC)

  • THC Testing is Bullshit and You're Getting Screwed (Beard Bros Pharms)

  • Sound Garden owners plan Maryland’s first medical cannabis lounge in Fells Point (The Baltimore Sun)

LSD

  • Kid Cudi reveals iconic Coachella jam was the result of an LSD trip (Dancing Astronaut)

  • Everything We Know About The YouTube Engineer Who Injured 8 People On LSD Rampage (YourTango)

MAGIC MUSHROOMS

MDMA

  • REPORT: First MDMA/Psychotherapy Trial Successful In Combatting Alcoholism (Your EDM)

  • Breakthrough PTSD treatment using party drug MDMA coming soon to Philly region (PhillyVoice)

  • Hamilton schoolboy dies after ‘ecstasy’ horror as three more teens rushed to hospital (The Scottish Sun)

  • Will MDMA Show Up On a Drug Test? (VICE)

  • Mum's unusual pledge after daughter dies from MDMA overdose at festival (Yahoo! News)

AYAHUASCA

  • Olivia Newton-John proposed to boyfriend after taking hallucinogen drug! (All4Women)

Yopo

  • An Introduction to Yopo in the Venezuelan Piaroan Tradition (DMT Times)

5-MEO-DMT

  • Upcoming World Bufo Alvarius Congress Looks to Nurture Global 5-MeO-DMT Community (Psychedelic Times)

SAN PEDRO

  • Man selling giant hallucinogenic cactus says he's not a drug dealer (Newshub)

SYNTHETIC CANNABINOIDS

  • Kids thought this was 'natural cannabis' vape juice... it was Spice. Nine people who ended up in hospital could have died (Manchester Evening News)

KETAMINE

  • Ketamine-like drug for depression could get UK licence within the year (The Guardian)

  • Ketamine for Depression: Clinical Evidence and Concerns (Psychiatry Advisor)

OPIOIDS

  • "We Didn't Cause the Crisis": David Sackler Pleads His Case on the Opioid Epidemic (Vanity Fair)

  • Delta to carry Narcan on planes after passenger ‘carried out in body bag’ following overdose (The Independent)

  • Media Frame: Fentanyl Panic is Worsening the Overdose Crisis (The Appeal)

  • The Louvre Removed the Name of OxyContin-Linked Sackler Family From Its Walls (TIME)

  • States Are Making Progress on Opioids. Now the Money That's Helping Them May Dry Up (The New York Times)

  • Opioid Shipments Increased by Over 50% as Addiction Crisis Grew, Federal Data Shows (TIME)

  • What to call someone who uses heroin? (ScienceDaily)

COCAINE

  • Passenger from Colombia fails to fool Spanish police with his cocaine-under-the-toupee trick (CBS News)

  • What Does Cocaine Do to the Heart? (VICE)

METHAMPHETAMINE

  • Asia's meth trade is worth an estimated $61B as region becomes 'playground' for drug gangs (CNN)

  • How Myanmar Became A Global Center For Meth & Other Synthetic Drugs (The Fix)

  • Police Warn Flushing Drugs Could Create Terrifying 'Meth Gators' (People)

CAFFEINE

  • Under 16s set to be 'banned' from buying caffeine-filled energy drinks (Edinburgh Live)

  • Hot coffee or iced? Study says higher temp provides more health benefits (KABC)

  • Daily coffee doesn't affect cancer risk (Medical Xpress)

TOBACCO

  • New York Raises Statewide Smoking Age to 21 (TIME)

  • Raising tobacco sales age to 21: Ohio becomes latest state in national trend (Cincinnati.com)

  • Tobacco Plants Made to Produce Useful Compounds (Scientific American)

ALCOHOL

KRATOM

  • Drug Researchers Raise Concern Over "Misleading" Evidence in Kratom Studies (Inverse)

  • What to know about kratom for depression (Medical News Today)

  • Kratom Ban Back on the Table in Oxford (Hotty Toddy)

KHAT

  • Miraa farmers mull tough sanitary laws with eyes fixed on new export markets (The Star)

MISCELLANEOUS

  • Berkeley City Council Considers Decriminalizing Psychedelics This Week (Marijuana Moment)

  • Science of microdosing psychedelics 'remains patchy and anecdotal', says review (Imperial College London)

  • El Chapo, the Notorious Drug Kingpin, Has Been Sentenced to Life in Prison in the U.S. (TIME)

  • New data shows drug overdose deaths fell in 2018. But there’s a big catch. (Vox)

  • Scotland drug deaths – 1,200 deaths recorded in 2018 as worst ever figures released (The Sun)

  • People who microdose psychedelic substances report improved mood and focus (Medical Xpress)

  • New Bill Ensures Some Retroactive Drug War Justice for New Hampshire (High Times)

  • Future of drug-sniffing dogs uncertain after Colorado Supreme Court ruling (The Coloradoan)

  • Microdosing has a critic — one of its pioneers (Rooster Magazine)

  • Police Thought They Beat the Darknet Drug Markets – They Didn't (VICE)

  • Nutrition Is an Overlooked Aspect of Harm Reduction (Filter)

  • Framing addiction as a disease: Research shows that message might backfire (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

  • Survey reveals extent of music festival drug use (The Australian)

  • The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Problematic Process for Religious Exemption for Use of Prohibited Psychoactive Substances (Chacruna)

  • The Risky Business of Psychedelic Therapy (Medium)

  • How Congress can expand access to addiction treatment — immediately (The Hill)

  • Inside the Philippines Prison That Sparked Duterte’s Murderous Drug War (Filter)

  • Mother of festival drug death victim says Gladys Berejiklian needs to show courage (The Guardian)

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

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

Image by Psychedelic Astronaut.


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


First MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy Trial Successful in Combatting Alcoholism

Karlie Powell, writing for Your EDM:

MDMA in conjunction with psychotherapy appears to be successful in treating alcoholism, according to a new clinical study.

The first-of-its-kind trial was conducted over eight weeks and saw four patients from different walks of life: “a 54-year-old mother-of-three, a 34-year-old man with two children, a retired man who had been drinking for 30 years and a former heroin user.” Each were treated with weekly psychotherapy sessions and monthly doses of 99.9 percent pure MDMA.

Two of the adults “slipped up” and had a single drink each over the eight weeks. However, the other two subjects remained completely sober for the entirety of the treatment. Although this was a small, four-person study, the results proved to be quite remarkable.

Three of the four people taking part in the trial attempted to quit drinking before the MDMA treatment. None of them succeeded. This time around, they all managed to stay sober for at least nine months.

This is a preliminary study with impressive results, and according to what I’ve heard from one little birdy this is just the start—there is more where this came from.


Book Review - Medical Psychedelics

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After a bit of a rocky start last century, the past few decades have seen a healthy resurgence of psychedelic research. And although myriad studies have been carried out by researchers and published in scientific journals during that time, there has always been a glaring absence of academic textbooks available for burgeoning psychedelic nerds, researchers, and academics to reference when trying to learn about the existing body of psychedelic research—until now.

Fortunately for the rest of us, Dr. Oliver Rumle Hovmand, a psychiatry resident in Denmark who has an interest in the clinical use of psychedelics, pored over the existing research, put together a collection of the most important studies, and included them in a new book that was published this March.

Medical Psychedelics explores the clinical applications of some of the better-known psychedelics, including LSD, psilocybin, ayahuasca, DMT, MDMA, and ketamine. In it, Hovmand examines the available pre- and post-prohibition medical literature, focusing on the practical aspects of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy. He plans to update the book annually and develop it into a textbook that can be used when (or if) these substances become legal. This blog post is a review of the first of what will hopefully be many editions of this work.

The intended audience for the book would probably consist of medical and psychological professionals, budding researchers, science-minded psychonauts, and laypeople who are interested in learning more about clinical psychedelic research. If you fit into one of these categories, it might be right up your alley.

During the book’s introduction, Hovmand mentions that he uses the term “psychedelics” to refer only to classical psychedelics like psilocybin and LSD, but Medical Psychedelics also covers ayahuasca and DMT, one empathogenic psychedelic (MDMA) and one dissociative psychedelic (ketamine). The primary emphasis is on the classical psychedelics and MDMA, although there may simply be a larger body of research about these psychedelics than ayahuasca, DMT, and ketamine at this time.

Each substance is covered in depth at the beginning of its respective chapter, including the history, effects, and risks surrounding that particular drug. Hovmand then moves on to discuss its potential applications in psychedelic therapy before getting to the real essence of the chapter: a review of the existing clinical research. This consists of a series of actual research studies that are included in the book.

While I did find Medical Psychedelics to live up to its promise as a comprehensive textbook on the subject, there were a few things that I believe could be improved upon in a future edition. For starters, a table of contents would be helpful. This would make it easier to skip to certain sections of the book or find specific studies and would acquaint first-time readers with its structure before they dive in.

Some sections are more fleshed out than others. For example, there is a ton of information available on MDMA research but very little about ketamine. As mentioned earlier, this is may be due to the possibility that there is more research about some drugs than others. In addition, several areas of research into these drugs were excluded that could have been explored, like treating eating disorders with ayahuasca and MDMA or reducing pain with ketamine.

And there are plenty of other psychedelics to cover as well. Delving into the research involving other psychedelics like mescaline, 5-MeO-DMT, iboga, and salvia divinorum would take Medical Psychedelics to another level.

The only other thing I think the book would benefit from is a bit of editorial polish. There are typos here and there, but the overall meaning of the work is not lost and it can be easily overlooked as long as you know to expect that going into it. All of these are simply areas of opportunity, not dealbreakers that should prevent anyone from reading the book who would otherwise be interested in doing so.

Medical Psychedelics is a solid attempt at what may be the first-ever textbook on psychedelic research. Hovmand did an excellent job condensing a ton of valuable information into a fairly small book, and it could prove to be an invaluable resource for anyone who wants to learn about the clinical research into the medical applications of psychedelics. But if you’re looking for anything other than scientific research studies and related commentary then you should probably look elsewhere. It is an academic textbook after all, so you shouldn’t expect an easy read or clever prosaic writing style. But if this book sounds like it would be up your alley, then it probably is.

4/5 stars, 219 pages

Click here to buy the book.

Disclaimer: Think Wilder is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website.

In addition, the author provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. However, this is not a sponsored post—all thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.