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This Week in Psychoactives - 8.2.19

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CANNABIS

  • Thailand set to deliver first batch of medical marijuana (Reuters)

  • Pass the Duchy: Luxembourg’s grand plan to legalize cannabis (Politico)

  • Court: DEA Must Explain Its Failure to Act Upon Pending Marijuana Cultivation Applications (NORML)

  • US Government Approves Increased Production of Marijuana for Clinical Research (NORML)

  • Coast Guard Issues Order Barring Active Duty Members From Visiting Marijuana Shops (Marijuana Moment)

  • Scientist Debunks Her Earlier Study That Claimed Weed Causes Brain Damage (MERRY JANE)

  • Chart: Women account for more than a third of marijuana business executives (Marijuana Business Daily)

  • Eggs and Peanuts Could Prevent Birth Defects Caused by Weed (MERRY JANE)

  • New York Governor Signs Marijuana Decriminalization And Expungements Bill (Marijuana Moment)

  • At some colleges, marijuana studies are blooming (CBS News)

  • Florida Activists Clear First Hurdle To Put Marijuana Legalization On State’s 2020 Ballot (Marijuana Moment)

  • California Working Toward Certifying “Almost Organic” Cannabis (Filter)

  • Marijuana during pregnancy might be as dangerous as alcohol (Popular Science)

  • CBN Is Another Cannabis Compound With Beneficial Properties (Forbes)

  • Is cannabis use the same as off-duty drinking by workers? Many companies still say no (CNBC)

  • He admits he once smoked marijuana, now U.S. won’t let him re-enter country (Los Angeles Daily News)

LSD

  • The Truth About The Acid-Dipped Cigarette In Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (Refinery29)

MAGIC MUSHROOMS

  • People Are Hungry for Shroom Legalization, and the Money to Fund It Is Growing (VICE)

  • Could magic mushrooms be the next drug legalized in Canada? (Yahoo! Finance)

  • Undesirable Effects from Magic Mushrooms (Psychedelic Science Review)

MDMA

  • To Spot MDMA Users, Festivals May Soon Roll Out Thermal Cameras (MERRY JANE)

  • Study claims ecstasy and cocaine cause less harm than tobacco and alcohol (Dance Music Northwest)

  • Youngsters have no idea when they are safe to drive after ecstasy use (DutchNews.nl)

  • Victorian schoolgirls safely back home after MDMA scare at camp (news.com.au)

AYAHUASCA

  • Ayahuasca Is About More Than Just You. It’s About Planetary Health. (Kahpi)

5-MEO-DMT

  • Holding 5-MeO Practitioners Accountable for Dangerous Behavior: Interview with Rak Razam and Mario Garnier (Psychedelic Times)

PEYOTE

  • Peyote Is Endangered, Spiritually Sacred and Becoming Legal (HowStuffWorks)

IBOGA

  • Gabon prepares for first international forum on Iboga (Africa Times)

SYNTHETIC CANNABINOIDS

  • Coroner's ruling: Corey-James Brown died from smoking synthetic drugs (New Zealand Herald)

NITROUS OXIDE

KETAMINE

  • Ketamine isn't an opioid and treats depression in a unique way (EurekAlert!)

  • Ketamine clinics are arriving in Richmond (WTVR)

PCP

  • PCP-Crazed Man Attacks Officers After Crash In Stafford: SCSO (Patch)

OPIOIDS

  • Your Methadone History Could Soon Be Shared Without Your Consent (Filter)

  • As Opioid Prescriptions Surged in Germany, Opioid Addiction Held Steady, While Opioid-Related Deaths Fell (Reason)

  • Device for Opioid Overdoses Releases Naloxone Automatically (Medgadget)

  • Opioid Patient Worth $200,000 a Year to Purdue, State Says (Bloomberg)

  • Drought Cripples Taliban's Record-High Opium Production Amid Peace Talks (Breitbart)

  • Colorado Wants You To Know About This Life-Saving Drug (Westword)

COCAINE

  • Exclusive NYPD Data Reveals Just How Often Fentanyl Is in Cocaine (VICE)

  • Colombia will spray Chinese glyphosate to control coca (Diálogo Chino)

  • Weird New Kinds Of Cocaine Could Start A “Hidden Epidemic” Of Health Threats (BuzzFeed News)

METHAMPHETAMINE

CAFFEINE

  • Exceeding healthy caffeine limits during pregnancy can be harmful to babies’ health (Consumer Affairs)

  • Coffee Farmers Are In Crisis. Starbucks Wants To Help. (Forbes)

TOBACCO

  • Most Americans Support Raising Minimum Age to Buy Tobacco (Gallup)

ALCOHOL

  • One in 10 Older Adults Binge Drinks, Study Says (The New York Times)

  • Facebook bans sales of alcohol and tobacco between users (CNBC)

  • Here's the Buzz on Alcohol in Space (HowStuffWorks)

  • How Much Does Alcohol Harm People Besides the Drinker? (Psychology Today)

KRATOM

KAVA

  • MIT Scientists Synthesize The Feel-Good Molecules In Kava, 'Nature's Xanax' (WBUR)

MISCELLANEOUS

  • Psychedelic Medicine Is Coming. The Law Isn’t Ready (Scientific American)

  • Another Florida Sheriff's Deputy Arrested For Arresting People on False Drug Charges (Reason)

  • Exclusion, Censorship, Internment: Brazilian Drug Policy Under Bolsonaro (Filter)

  • The Life-Changing Magic of Tripping (The Atlantic)

  • A Reddit user surveyed 650 psychedelic drug users, here’s what they found (Happy Mag)

  • Public university to host ‘psychedelic neuroscience’ symposium (The College Fix)

  • Latest update on drug-related deaths and mortality in Europe (EMCDDA)

  • Why Psychedelic Science Should Pay Speakers and Trainers of Color (Chacruna)

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.

This Week in Psychedelics - 10.12.18

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Cannabis

  • U.K. to Allow Prescriptions for Medicinal Cannabis (The New York Times)

  • Pew Poll: 62 Percent Of Americans Want Marijuana Legal (NORML)

  • Pennsylvania Lawmakers Approve Marijuana Decriminalization Bill In Committee Vote (Marijuana Moment)

  • Support For Marijuana Legalization Grew Again In 2018, Pew Poll Finds (Marijuana Moment)

  • 'Women have been saying it works for 10,000 years': 400 women will use marijuana-infused inserts in a groundbreaking study from a Harvard Medical School professor (Business Insider)

  • U.S. Government Loosens Border Policy For Canadian Marijuana Industry Workers (Marijuana Moment)

  • Trump Plans To Back Legal Medical Marijuana After Midterms, GOP Congressman Says (Marijuana Moment)

  • High Schoolers Are Growing More Tolerant Of Peers Who Use Marijuana, Study Shows (Marijuana Moment)

  • Survey: Cannabis Use Becoming Common Among Older Adults (NORML)

  • Study Reveals How Older People Use And Obtain Marijuana In Colorado (Marijuana Moment)

  • New California Law Bans Bars, Liquor Stores from Selling Marijuana-Infused Drinks (Reason)

  • Fight To Legalize Medical Marijuana In Missouri Intensifies As Groups Battle Over Tax Rates (Marijuana Moment)

  • Walmart Canada Explores Selling Cannabis-Infused Products (Forbes)

  • Shopify 'confident' on pot e-commerce because 'cannabis isn't Kylie Cosmetics' (CBC)

  • Trump Administration Seeks Public Comments On Marijuana Reclassification (Forbes)

  • Toke Up, Eh? Canada Readies for Marijuana to Become Legal Nationwide (TIME)

  • Canada’s Liquor Stores Will Heavily Outnumber Marijuana Stores On Legalization’s Launch (Marijuana Moment)

  • Marijuana Stores Will Be Hard To Find For Most Canadians On Day One Of Legalization (Marijuana Moment)

  • The jury is in on cannabis legalization in North America: it’s been a success. (LSE USAPP)

  • WestJet bans staff in 'safety-sensitive' jobs from off-duty cannabis use (CBC)

  • THC amounts identical in most cannabis strains, study finds (Phys.org)

  • Celebrity Endorsements and Cannabis (The Stranger)

  • Cannabis In Space Is Just Around The Corner (Forbes)

  • I'm Just a Middle-Aged House Dad Addicted to Pot (The New York Times)

  • This Is Where Arizona’s US Senate Candidates Stand On Marijuana (Marijuana Moment)

  • The Marijuana Midterms are Heating Up in Nevada (NORML)

  • Corporate America is investing in pot because people want to eat and drink it (CNN)

  • Why retail is so important to the burgeoning cannabis beauty and wellness market (Glossy)

  • Marijuana Licensing Bill Has ‘Negligible’ Fiscal Impacts, Congressional Budget Office Says (Marijuana Moment)

  • Coral Cove Cannabis Retreat Is Jamaica's Best Kept Secret (Forbes)

  • The Quest to Make California’s Weed the Champagne of Cannabis (WIRED)

LSD

  • A Team of European Researchers Is Crowdsourcing the World’s First ‘Self-Blinded’ LSD Microdosing Study (Psychedelic Times)

  • ‘The CIA introduced LSD into American society. They weaponised it’ (The Irish Times)

  • Nick Kroll Saw The Pattern Of The Universe During An LSD Trip At Burning Man (Marijuana Moment)

  • A Playwright's LSD Trip Becomes a Psychedelic Journey (The New York Times)

  • That time a legendary Batman editor was dared to put LSD in Stan Lee’s coffee (Polygon)

  • From ‘problem child’ to ‘prodigy’? LSD turns 75 (Arab News)

  • People Are Microdosing LSD To 'Make Them More Productive' (LADbible)

Psilocybin/Magic Mushrooms

  • Psilocybin Initiative Moves to Signature-Gathering Stage for May 2019 (Westword)

  • Mushroom legalization effort polling at 39 percent (Rooster Magazine)

  • A team of Johns Hopkins researchers is calling for magic mushrooms to be made legally available as medicine (Business Insider)

  • “Magic Mushrooms” May Be an FDA-Approved Drug for Anxiety and Depression in the Near Future (Vogue)

  • Iceland’s Richest Man Invests in Magic Mushrooms (Guide to Iceland Now)

MDMA/Ecstasy

  • $57 million worth of MDMA discovered in sausage-making machines (Mixmag)

  • Superstar DJ David Morales 'arrested at Japanese airport over MDMA smuggling claim' (Mirror)

  • Use of higher purity ecstasy on the rise among young Australians (The Sydney Morning Herald)

Ayahuasca/DMT/5-MeO-DMT

  • Breaking News: The first two ayahuasca convictions in the United States (Chacruna)

  • Sexual Seduction in Ayahuasca Shaman and Participants Interactions (Chacruna)

  • What ayahuasca — Silicon Valley's latest drug of choice — does to your brain and body (The Hour)

  • The DMT drug is not a drug, its much stranger (Kahpi)

  • In the mighty jungles (Deccan Herald)

  • Multiple (and Subtle) Bodies: Entheogenic Incorporation in the Santo Daime Tradition (Part 1) (Reality Sandwich)

  • Nathalie Huerta on Founding The Queer Gym and What Ayahuasca Taught Her (Bon Appetit)

Peyote/San Pedro/Mescaline

  • American Indians gather near El Reno to celebrate peyote traditions (Tulsa World)

Iboga/Ibogaine

  • Ibogaine Clinics and their Role in Addiction Treatment (The Urban Twist)

  • The dangerous hallucinogen opioid addicts use to get clean (Big Think)

Dissociatives

  • As ketamine clinics spread, so do start-your-own-business courses, sparking concern (STAT)

  • Ketamine infusion for depression requires opioid receptors to be effective (Medical News Bulletin)

  • Hope for Victims of Resistant Clinical Depression Now Comes in Pill Form (Breaking Israel News)

  • My ketamine infusion for chronic pain (The Fix)

  • Police: Naked man possibly on PCP arrested after throwing chairs off Dumfries balcony (WJLA)

  • Expert: Teen 'whacked out' of his mind from PCP night of police shooting (Chicago City Wire)

Opiates/Opioids

  • Addiction Treatment Gap Is Driving A Black Market For Suboxone (NPR)

  • Surgeon General Talks About Need To 'Normalize' Naloxone At N.H. Opioids Forum (NHPR)

  • Funeral Homes Stock Overdose Antidote Drug Naloxone Amid Opioid Epidemic (The Inquisitr)

  • Mexico defense chief says legalizing opium 'way out' of violence (The Gazette)

  • Opioid Bill Shows Congress Can Still Work Together (TIME)

  • Prisons Crack Down On An Opioid Treatment Drug, Endangering Lives (The Appeal)

  • Medicaid Expansion and the Opioid Epidemic (Penn LDI)

Absinthe

  • A Czech Distiller Is Resurrecting Pre-Ban Absinthe, Returning the Green Fairy to Rightful Glory (VinePair)

Kambô

  • Get holes burned into your body as sacred tree frog ceremony comes to Cornwall (Cornwall Live)

Kratom

  • Ohio Pushes Kratom Ban With Disputed Claims About Deaths, Use Trends (HuffPost)

  • Do Drug Addicts Really Shoot Kratom? (Pain News Network)

Kava

Miscellaneous Psychedelics/Psychoactives/Drug Policy

  • A Big Win – DOJ Affirms Free Water and Drug Education Not a Violation of the RAVE Act! (Amend the RAVE Act!)

  • Fingerprint drug screen test works on the living and deceased (ScienceDaily)

  • Hospital Data Shows How Britain's Drug Problem Is Getting Worse (VICE)

  • Decriminalise drugs, Plaid Cymru says (BBC)

  • Philadelphia Pushing Forward with Safe Injection Site Plans (Reason)

  • 'Just say no' to drug legalisation: WHO chief (Yahoo!)

  • The Psychedelic Film and Music Festival Announces Inaugural Award Winners (Broadway World)

  • Can US overdose deaths be stopped? (Drug WarRant)

  • Introducing Chacruna’s Psychedelic Therapy Music Forum (Chacruna)

  • Reality Is Just a Bunch of Hallucinations We Collectively Agree On (Motherboard)

  • Successful Constitutional Case Against Death Penalty Works For War on Drugs, Too (Marijuana Moment)

  • Magic Medicine: A Trip Through the Intoxicating History and Modern-Day Use of Psychedelic Plants and Substances by Cody Johnson (Psychedelic Press UK)

  • Treating mental disorders with psychedelic psychotherapy (Particle)

  • The Business Of Addiction Treatment (INSCMagazine)

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

Image by Dahtamnay, courtesy of Creative Commons licensing.

Weekend Thoughts - 2.10.18

Image  by  rurik2de , courtesy of  Creative Commons  licensing.

Image by rurik2de, courtesy of Creative Commons licensing.

Happy Saturday y'all! Below, I have rounded up some things for you to think about this weekend:

1. Earlier this week, Elon Musk's private space transport company SpaceX launched its first Falcon Heavy rocket from the same location that NASA used for its Apollo missions. The rocket had an almost flawless launch, sending a Tesla car containing a mannequin (dubbed "Rocket Man" by some) into space to orbit Mars, and the company was even able to recover two out of its three boosters perfectly (the third missed its landing zone by roughly 30 feet, apparently) for future reuse. I'm amazed by the hard work that Musk and team are putting in at both of these companies, not to mention his other business ventures.

That's all for this week's edition of Weekend Thoughts. Until next week, keep thinking wilder.

This Year in Psychedelics - 2017

Image by    Dahtamnay   , courtesy of    Creative Commons    licensing.

Image by Dahtamnay, courtesy of Creative Commons licensing.

Happy New Year's Eve! 2017 had a lot in store for the psychedelic community this year. I've attempted to capture as much of it as I could below, although I'm sure there are some important events and items that I have missed.

This year's psychedelic-related news is broken up into various sections, each including the news items that were covered for each substance this year. The final section is a compilation of items that include frequently-seen themes in 2017, psychedelic research updates, and news about individual people in this space.

So without further ado, here is this year in psychedelics:

Cannabis

Cannabis had an extremely busy year in 2017. The new year started with someone changing the iconic Hollywood sign to say Hollyweed, and only got weirder from then on out. There were quite a few political things going on in America, including Donald Trump getting sworn in as the President of the United States. Pot protesters made sure to be there for his inauguration, passing out roughly 9000 joints to help keep the peace during the tumultuous times. No one has been able to get a clear read on how his administration is going to address the existing drug war, with Attorney General Jeff Sessions evading a firm answer on how the federal government is going to treat state marijuana laws and claiming outrageous things such as his opinion that cannabis is only "slightly less awful" than heroin.

Although marijuana prohibition turned 80 this year, there were still some good things to happen. New Hampshire's decriminalization law took effect. Senator Cory Booker from New Jersey introduced a bill that could legalize cannabis nationwide. Vermont's legislature became the first to approve recreational cannabis, but its Governor later vetoed the bill. A legalization coalition in Michigan obtained 360,000 signatures to place the issue on its 2018 ballot and New York added PTSD as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana.

Even with all the positive movement in the cannabis medicalization and legalization efforts, news came out that more people were arrested in 2016 for pot than for murder, rape, aggravated assault, and robbery—combined! California also banned the use of drones and self-driving cars for weed delivery. And Maine's Governor vetoed legislation that would've allowed for retail legalization. We still clearly have a long way to go before the laws in America reflect the fact that support for legalization is at an all-time high.

However, a few other countries have already moved in that direction, and others plan to do so in the near future. Ireland legalized medical marijuana, Israel decriminalized recreational cannabis, Canada plans to legalize cannabis in 2018, Uruguay now allows for the sale of recreational cannabis in its pharmacies, France is getting rid of prison terms for cannabis users, Poland legalized medical marijuana, and Mexico announced that it is going to allow cannabis-based foods, drinks, medicines, and cosmetics beginning early next year.

Cannabis research was also pretty fruitful this year, showing that cannabis could help treat Alzheimer's and even reverse the brain's decline in old age, that cannabis use is linked to lower medicaid costs and often substituted for more dangerous prescription medicines, as well as evidence that it can help treat epilepsy in children and reduce migraine frequency. In addition, another study found that cannabis use is not independently linked with IQ decline, it may be helpful for treating schizophrenia and Tourette syndrome, and that Colorado's recreational market may have resulted in reductions in opioid deaths. Finally, cannabis use was also inversely associated with fatty liver disease, alcohol was found to be 10 times more deadly than cannabis on the road, alcohol sales have fallen since cannabis legalization, and a study found that cannabis users have more sex.

In miscellaneous cannabis news, the technicolor International Church of Cannabis opened its doors in Denver, microdosing marijuana became more popular, adolescent cannabis use hit a 15-year low despite legalization, domestic hemp production more than doubled, a Colorado girl is suing Jeff Sessions to legalize medical marijuana nationwide, and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin helped the cannabis industry find an alternative to its banking issues. Looking forward to the next year, here are the states that are likely to legalize cannabis in 2018.

LSD

There was also a ton of LSD-related news this year. Norway decriminalized LSD, sentencing people who use LSD to community service instead of jail time. A documentary about two of history's most prolific LSD manufacturers called The Sunshine Makers and a docudrama about the CIA's secret LSD mind control experiments called Wormwood were added to Netflix's catalogue. Shortly after that, one of the chemists featured in The Sunshine Makers, Nicholas Sand, died at 75. An interesting interview with his partner Tim Scully delved into his experience of manufacturing 750,000,000 doses of LSD in order to save the world and another interview asked how 100 therapeutic LSD trips helped Cary Grant prepare for the future. A stash of reel-to-reel recordings called the Sonic Journals, recorded by another big LSD manufacturer by the name of Owlsley Stanley, were released. There was a bunch of coverage of Ayelet Waldman's book about microdosing LSD called A Really Good Day this year.

When it comes to LSD research, it is being studied for depression treatment and some evidence surfaced that shows that it may actually heal the brain. Scientists also figured out why acid trips last so long.

I saw a few articles about a doomsday cult that gave children LSD, which is a pretty interesting (albeit tragic) story. Silicon Valley's microdosing habit, the world's first online LSD microdosing coach, and an article on why it feels like you can communicate with nature while on LSD are also worth a read. I especially enjoyed this article about how ergotism influenced renaissance painting, a fateful hunt for a buried stash of the greatest LSD ever made, and a hilarious video about what it would be like if Mormon missionaries tried LSD for the first time. As you can see, there was a ton of LSD news this year! So much that USA Today even reassured its readers that they're not tripping—LSD really is making a comeback.

Psilocybin/Magic Mushrooms

When it comes to magic mushrooms, the most exciting news is probably that California and Oregon are both considering decriminalizing them for recreational use. Impressively, a study found them to be the safest recreational drug. The potential benefits of psilocybin that were covered this year include the treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, cluster headaches, and a decrease in criminal behavior. A study giving psilocybin mushrooms to religious leaders is being conducted to test the effects of psychedelics on religious experience. And an article about Terence McKenna's Stoned Ape Theory and the obligatory article about how Santa Claus is actually a psychedelic mushroom closed out the year.

MDMA/Ecstasy

There were some extremely exciting things that happened in the MDMA space this year, including the fact that the FDA designated MDMA as a breakthrough therapy for PTSD treatment. Several articles talked about how MDMA could be made legal within the next five years, which may happen even faster now that Dr. Bronner's pledged millions of dollars to MAPS for MDMA research. There was a fantastic article about the promise of MDMA for PTSD in The New York Times and Scientific American took its readers on MDMA's journey from Molly to medicine. There were some articles about the highest levels of MDMA consumption in Australia and Ireland, and a study found that young adults with higher education are the most likely demographic to use MDMA. In addition to PTSD treatment, purported benefits from taking MDMA included the curation of tinnitus, saving relationships, and the treatment of alcohol addiction. Finally, a new MDMA overdose drug was developed, an exhibition of ecstasy artwork was put on display, and a father who lost his two songs to MDMA is now advocating for its legalization

Ayahuasca/DMT

The vine of the soul known as ayahuasca had a decent amount of positive media coverage this year. Two new ayahuasca films—The Last Shaman and Icaros: A Vision—were reviewed by mainstream media. Some research came out showing that ayahuasca and meditation change the brain in similar ways, with ayahuasca even stimulating the birth of new brain cells. However, Ayahuasca tourism has been a bit of a mixed blessing for the Amazon, and it is important to understand that over-popularizing ayahuasca sets bad expectations and could potentially give it a poor reputation. The ayahuasca ceremony is going to be studied a bit closer using the scientific method, which is good because there hasn't been a whole lot of scientific research going on in this realm so far. There has been a fight to allow people to use ayahuasca for religious reasons, and the Santo Daime Church was granted religious exemption to use it in Canada. I enjoyed these articles on the spiritual and therapeutic benefits of icaros songs sung in ayahuasca ceremonies and a breakdown of the various plants commonly used in ayahuasca. In addition, Brazil started giving its prisoners ayahuasca as a part of their rehabilitation process and there is some evidence showing that ayahuasca may be able to help in the treatment of eating disorders.

Peyote/San Pedro/Mescaline

When the media covers peyote, it usually focuses on the fact that peyote was approved for religious use by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. However, this year there were articles about how racist thinking still shapes how we understand peyote drinking, a well-done overview of the cactus, tripping on peyote in Navajo nation, and a short video about peyote's complicated history. And when it comes to san pedro, High Existence had a nice piece on how it is one of the most potent psychedelic plants in the world, Reset.me covered how it can be a healing medicine for modern times, and there was an awesome timelapse of the cactus flower blooming that offers up some beauty for your eyes to feast on.

Iboga/Ibogaine

This substance was talked about pretty often in the media this year. Most articles focused on how iboga can treat drug addiction, including its success rate, but some started to wonder if it could even help solve the opioid epidemic. An interview with an ibogaine aftercare provider talked about the process of recovering from addiction using ibogaine, and Psymposia ran an eight-part series called The Ibogaine Conversation that is definitely worth checking out. When it comes to iboga and ibogaine, the coverage was mostly positive and well-informed this year.

Salvia Divinorum

There wasn't a tremendous amount of coverage related to salvia divinorum this year—it's certainly not one of the substances that is covered all that often nowadays. Most important was the fact that scientists synthesized salvia for its opiate-like painkilling effects. In addition, there was a story about how a 15 year-old got sick from using salvia and one about how experts in Lebanon are concerned about the drug's increasing popularity.

Morning Glory Seeds

There also wasn't a whole lot of coverage on morning glory seeds this year. In fact, there were only a couple of articles that I felt were worth sharing here—an explanation of why morning glory seeds get you high and the news story about how morning glory could potentially be one of the first crops that is grown on Mars.

Synthetic Cannabinoids/Psychoactive Research Chemicals

Most of the coverage of psychoactive research chemicals and synthetic cannabinoids was pretty negative, focusing on a couple of NBOMe deaths, the so-called spice epidemic, deaths from unknown substances that were sold as something else, deaths from synthetic cannabinoids in New Zealand, warnings about bath salts, and how much worse synthetic cannabinoids are than actual marijuana is when it comes to leading to harder drugs like heroin and ecstasy. Apparently Hyderabad has become a bit of a hub for manufacturing psychoactive research chemicals, and China was contributing a lot to that effort as well. A man was arrested for selling fake drugs at Bonnaroo and thought he was doing "God's work". During some drug checking, people found that some of their festival-bought drugs contained concrete, of all things. Pentylone was singled out as something that we should keep our eyes on, a German therapist is facing trial for providing banned psychedelics to his patients, and the legend of "zombie drugs" still hasn't died yet.

Dissociatives

Ketamine

There were several articles about the potential benefits of using ketamine, including how it could help alcoholics quit drinking, the ketamine clinics that are showing promise for treatment-resistant depression, the prehospital management of severe asthma, migraine treatment, and healing from PTSD. There is even a handy dosing guide that can be used for ketamine therapy.

PCP

When it comes to PCP, the news coverage is once again almost exclusively negative, including articles on PCP users killing their friends, crashing into ambulances, getting shot and killed by police, setting fire in courthouses, pointing cellphones at drivers passing by like a gun, throwing rocks and running around naked, hitting officers in the face, and stopping rush hour traffic to masturbate. I generally try to keep news articles about simple drug crimes out of my news media roundups, but when it comes to PCP the scenarios are so fascinating that I will often include them. When it comes to psychoactives, PCP seems to consistently get the worst rap of them all. However, there was an article describing how to treat a PCP overdose, a new research project that is going to study PCP's effects on the brain, and some trips down memory lane from when the movie crew for Titanic ate PCP-spiked clam chowder and when David Letterman accidentally smoked marijuana laced with PCP.

Opiates/Opioids

Each year seems to get worse when it comes to opiates and opioids. Heroin and prescription drug use became so bad in 2017 that President Donald Trump declared a national emergency, with the rate of U.S. heroin overdoses quadrupling during the last five years. Even though America is fighting the drug war abroad, Afghanistan still saw its opium production growing at a frantic pace. However, a 14-year trend of rising opioid deaths was reversed in Colorado after recreational cannabis was legalized, safe injection sites in Seattle and Denver are aiming at reducing harms related to opiate use, the overdose reversal naloxone spray Narcan is now stocked by all Walgreens pharmacies, a vaccine was developed that could make the brain immune to opioids, and a study showed that psychedelics could help play a role in tackling the opioid epidemic. In addition, a fish was identified that drugs its enemies with opioids and fentanyl was found in samples of MDMA and cocaine that were drug-checked this year.

Absinthe

The Wall Street Journal probably said it best in its article titled "Absinthe Was Once Banned for Being Evil—Now It's Just Meh". That's because there wasn't a whole lot of interesting coverage of absinthe in 2017. There was an article about five things you should know about absinthe, another about some of the most ridiculous scenes of people tripping on absinthe, and the best absinthe bars in America. But that's about it. Maybe there will be some more coverage about the Green Fairy in 2018?

Kambô

The frog venom medicine known as kambô was featured in the media quite a bit this year, with articles on the complex relationship between migraines and kambô, a guide to increasing fertility and taking kambô during pregnancy, how to stay safe in a ceremony if you have bulimia, how to increase its pain-relieving effects, and the challenges that Western companies face when trying to create synthetic compounds from kambô.

Kratom

Since it was involved in more controversy this year, kratom's coverage in the media is a bit of a mixed bag. Some thought that kratom might be a solution to the opioid epidemic, while energy drink manufacturers, Big Pharma, and the federal government wanted to ban it. Some people claimed that kratom helped them beat insomnia and kratom vending machines popped up in Arizona. There were also some articles that discussed how to avoid overdosing on kratom and whether it is healthy to consume kratom while breastfeeding.

Kava

Kava became quite a deal more popular this year, even getting some positive coverage by The New York Times. Part of that is due to articles showing how kava is a healthier alternative to alcohol or those that focus on its incredible health benefits. In addition, the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries increased their demand on the kava root extract market. Some research came out showing some insight about how kava affects reaction times and urging kava drinkers to not mix the drink with alcohol. When it comes to looking to the future, one article even asked if kava will be the cannabis of 2018. Only time will tell, but what we do know is that 2017 was definitely an interesting year for kava.

Khat

This herbal stimulant is getting more and more attention each year as it increases in popularity around the world. Khat, also known as miraa, was featured as a cheap pick-me-up for truck drivers, listed as a dangerous drug by Kenya's Health Ministry, grew to new levels of consumption as 16 percent of Ethiopians began using it, and some research came out showing how khat can damage one's liver. Considering that khat seemed to be fairly unknown just a few years ago, it's been interesting to watch its coverage pick up steam recently.

Miscellaneous Psychedelics/Psychoactives/Drug Policy

There were a few predominant themes throughout the year that showed up time and time again in the news. Microdosing continued to be frequently presented as an option for increasing productivity in the workplace. The concept of the psychedelic renaissance was brought up a few times as well. Articles about psychedelic honey also showed up a handful of times, probably because most people haven't heard about it before.

As far as psychedelic research goes, researchers gave religious leaders psychedelics to understand mystical experiences, a study came out showing that psychedelics could reduce criminal behavior, scientists came to some conclusions about what psychedelics really do to your brain, and it turns out that people who have taken psychedelics are more likely to be environmentally friendly. Although it's somewhat bizarre, scientists even went as far as growing human mini-brains in the lab and then dosing them with psychedelics—all for research. Support for psychedelic therapy continued to grow, with a majority of Americans now supporting it, and an anonymous donor known as "Pineapple Fund" donated 60 bitcoin to MAPS to assist its research efforts.

When it comes to individual people in this space, there were a few things that stood out from the rest. The Executive Director of Drug Policy Alliance, Ethan Nadelmann, stepped down from his position after nearly 17 years of work with the organization. Jeff Sessions announced his desire to resurrect the failed D.A.R.E. program. Alleged Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht lost his appeal over his life sentence without parole and has filed a new appeal to the Supreme Court. Finally, the head of the DEA resigned because of his issues with President Trump.

All in all, it's been a very busy year for the psychedelic community. There was a ton to keep up with, and it looks like we're in for even more movement in 2018. Thank you for taking the time to read about this year in psychedelics, and have a great year!

Previous Years in Psychedelics

Disclaimer: "This Year 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.

Weekend Thoughts - 11.25.17

Image  by  susuteh , courtesy of  Creative Commons  licensing.

Image by susuteh, courtesy of Creative Commons licensing.

Happy Saturday y'all! Below, I have rounded up some things for you to think about this weekend:

1. It turns out that last Month, astronomers operating the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope in Hawaii spotted a foreign object moving through our solar system. It is the first time that we have observed an interstellar object in our own solar system, and the object has an intriguing cigar shape. The object has been named "Ounuamua", which means "messenger from afar arriving first" in Hawaiian, and it appears to be an asteroid that has travelled millions of miles through space. Due to its unique shape, it's certainly worth taking a look!

That's all for this week's edition of Weekend Thoughts. Until next week, keep thinking wilder.