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Scientists Unlock the Mystery of Magic Mushrooms, Allowing for Mass Production of Psilocybin

Scientists Unlock the Mystery of Magic Mushrooms, Allowing for Mass Production of Psilocybin

Some sixty years ago, Albert Hofmann — the Swiss chemist better known for discovering LSD — first isolated the active components of “magic” mushrooms, psilocybin and psilocin. Yet the question of how, exactly, the mushrooms produced these unique compounds remained a mystery ever since. Until now, that is. Scientists at Friedrich Schiller University Jena in Germany have identified the four key enzymes used by these fungal bio-factories to produce their magical ingredients. To accomplish this, Dr. Dirk Hoffmeister and his team sequenced the entire genome of two psilocybin mushroom species, Psilocybe cubensis and Psilocybe cyanescens. Even more impressive, they were...
New Study: Psychedelics Really Do Produce a Higher State of Consciousness

New Study: Psychedelics Really Do Produce a Higher State of Consciousness

Trippers, researchers, and abstainers alike have casually referred to the psychedelic experience as an “expanded” state of mind for many years. Even the terminology of being “high” implies a somehow raised form of consciousness. Now, for the first time ever, researchers have found neurological evidence to support that view. In a study conducted at the University of Sussex and Imperial College, London, scientists discovered that psychedelics like LSD, psilocybin, and even the dissociative ketamine all produce a “higher” state of consciousness. But what does that mean? Previous research has shown that measures of “neural signal diversity” in the brain change...
Fantastic New Trip-Sitting Guide: The Manual of Psychedelic Support

Fantastic New Trip-Sitting Guide: The Manual of Psychedelic Support

Even the hardiest, most vocal psychedelic enthusiasts recognize that trip experiences can be intense and sometimes difficult. Especially when taken in unfamiliar surroundings — such as crowded music festivals or in the desert heat of Black Rock City — psychedelics can cause untimely emotional meltdowns. Now there’s an excellent guide for handling psychedelic crises, produced by some of foremost experts on harm reduction techniques. It’s called “The Manual of Psychedelic Support,” and its laundry list of contributors includes the Erowids, Rick Doblin, Jon Hanna (the founder of Mind States), Linnae Ponté (who runs MAPS’ excellent Zendo harm reduction tent), five members of Kosmicare UK, Dave...
Scientists are crowd-funding the first ever LSD brain imaging study

Scientists are crowd-funding the first ever LSD brain imaging study

Dr. David Nutt and Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris, the researchers who blew your mind with a landmark psilocybin study in 2013, are at it again. This time they’re examining the effects of LSD on the brain, and they want your help. The active research phase has already been conducted — 20 volunteers were dosed and scanned, producing the world’s first images of brains on LSD. Now the researchers must analyze the raw data before they can publish the results. To fund this final phase of the study, the scientists have launched a crowd-funding campaign on Walacea.com in partnership with the Beckley Foundation. Within the first 24 hours,...
New species of lichen is apparently psychedelic: Dictyonema huaorani

New species of lichen is apparently psychedelic: Dictyonema huaorani

25 February 2015 — This article has been updated to better reflect the limitations of the study. A new species of lichen has been discovered in the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest, according to a recent paper published in The Bryologist. Researchers led by lead author Michaela Schmull have tentatively identified tryptamine and psilocybin in the lichen, among other potential substances. The story is a rather unusual one. There is only one known sample of the lichen in all of Western science, and it was collected in 1981 by ethnobotanists Wade Davis and Jim Yost while conducting research in Ecuador. In a...
Psilocybin may help treat alcoholism, according to new study

Psilocybin may help treat alcoholism, according to new study

According to a new study published in Psychopharmacology, psilocybin may be useful in treating alcohol dependence. The research was conducted at the University of New Mexico by a research team including lead author Dr. Michael Bogenschutz, and Dr. Rick Strassman. Yes, that Rick Strassman — the one who performed pioneering DMT research in the 1990s and authored DMT: The Spirit Molecule. With only ten human subjects, this was a “proof of concept” study — the researchers aimed to show that the drug is effective for treating alcohol dependence, and to provide a baseline for further studies. “Although recent studies have...
Psychedelics linked to reductions in suicide and distress

Psychedelics linked to reductions in suicide and distress

People who have used psychedelic drugs are less likely to suffer from depression, psychological distress, or suicidal thinking, according to a new study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology. The research was led by Peter Hendricks, a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, using data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Survey responses from over 190,000 adults were analyzed and the respondents were divided into two groups — lifetime psychedelic users and non-users. Lifetime users were defined as those who had ever, even once, tried DMT, ayahuasca, mescaline, psilocybin mushrooms, or LSD. 13.6%...
Damning Critique of ESC, the Sustainable Ayahuasca Non-Profit

Damning Critique of ESC, the Sustainable Ayahuasca Non-Profit

You may have heard of ESC, the Ethnobotanical Stewardship Council which bills itself as “a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving lives by assuring the sustainability and safe use of traditional plants.” They recently raised over $20,000 in an Indiegogo campaign. Their aims may seem honorable enough, but not everyone is impressed. Below is a scathing condemnation of the ESC’s structure, methods, and plans for the future, signed by a number of academics and other concerned parties. (via PsyPressUK)   Statement Critiquing the Ethnobotanical Stewardship Council (ESC) (*) We, the academics and other experts undersigned, manifest publically our rejection...
Good-bye Sasha: Legendary Chemist Alexander Shulgin Dies at 88

Good-bye Sasha: Legendary Chemist Alexander Shulgin Dies at 88

Dr. Alexander Shulgin, the influential and beloved psychedelic pioneer, has passed away at the age of 88. He died of liver cancer on Monday, 2 June, surrounded by family and friends at his home in California. Shulgin had suffered declining health in the past few years, including a stroke and the onset of dementia beginning in 2010. About his final days, his wife Ann wrote: Sasha knows that he’s dying, but that doesn’t bother him. He doesn’t know he has cancer of the liver, and there’s no need for him to know; that knowledge would give him nothing...
Zen Float Tent: The First Affordable Isolation Tank for Home

Zen Float Tent: The First Affordable Isolation Tank for Home

  Update: The wildly successful Kickstarter campaign is complete, having raised over $295,000. Good news for all you Isolation Tank “floaters” — a new company is about to start producing the cheapest-ever in-home isolation tank, called the Zen Float Tent. Founder Shane Stott says his float tank “ships inexpensively, assembles in any room and offers personal sensory deprivation.” In a video, he assembles one in only fifteen minutes. They’ve done extensive prototyping and testing, and frankly it looks awesome. Shane seems like a very genuine guy and his enthusiasm is contagious. To raise funds for the first manufacturing...
MAPS Completes First New Therapeutic LSD Study in 40 Years

MAPS Completes First New Therapeutic LSD Study in 40 Years

Update 5 March 2014: The study has been published, and the final copy is available here. Rick Doblin, the founder and president of MAPS, said this in a recent “Ask Me Anything” interview on Reddit: We’ve just completed the world’s first study of the therapeutic use of LSD in over 40 years, in Switzerland to treat anxiety associated with end-of-life issues. Eleven of the 12 subjects had never done LSD before and there were no serious adverse events, even in people facing death. This recently completed Swiss study is truly momentous — it’s the first “double-blind, placebo-controlled investigation of LSD-assisted...
Video: Dogs tripping on cane toads in Australia

Video: Dogs tripping on cane toads in Australia

Apparently some dogs in Queensland, Australia have taken to getting high on cane toad secretions. Surprisingly, the dogs seem to enjoy the experience, repeatedly hunting down the animals just to get a fix. After licking the backs of the toads, the pets exhibit all the signs of doggy tripping — vacant stares, not responding to their owners, and reacting to nonexistent cues. Cane toad secretions contain bufotenin, a psychedelic tryptamine related to DMT. But they also contain highly toxic chemicals that can cause vasoconstriction and death, so licking toads is generally a bad idea. Some dogs have died...