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Uruguay approves world's first national market for cannabis

Uruguay approves world’s first national market for cannabis

The first domino has fallen. In a momentous blow to the War on Drugs, Uruguay has passed a law that regulates rather than criminalizes the cannabis trade, from cultivation to consumption. Countries around the world will be watching to see how this social experiment turns out. When this strategy is shown to reduce crime and violence without leading to the collapse of civilization, it will fuel momentum for the end of Prohibition across the world. Kudos to Uruguay for taking this pioneering first step towards sensible drug policy! This infographic by the Transnational Institute summarizes the new law.  Liked...
"Ask Me Anything" Reddit Interview with Rick Doblin & MAPS

“Ask Me Anything” Reddit Interview with Rick Doblin & MAPS

Yesterday, Rick Doblin and ten other MAPS staff members engaged in an online “Ask Me Anything” session on Reddit. The turnout was phenomenal. Questions ran the gamut from personal (“Have you ever tried psychedelics?”) to political (“Will the legalization of psychedelics will come next after marijuana?”) and much more. Several posters asked about minimizing the risk of MDMA toxicity, while others were curious about treatments for cluster headaches, depression, autism, and other conditions. A couple people even asked if MAPS accepts Bitcoin (as of yesterday, they do). As you might expect, the answers from MAPS staff were incredibly...
Atlantis, the new virtual drug marketplace

Atlantis, the new virtual drug marketplace

Update: Atlantis has shut down permanently as of September 20, 2013. There’s a new anonymous online drug marketplace, and it’s making quick strides. Due to a rapid and aggressive marketing campaign, Atlantis getting lots of exposure–not only to potential buyers, but to many established Silk Road vendors who see it as an attractive new outlet for their goods. Perhaps what’s most surprising is how social and public the branding has been. Atlantis, which opened in March, has a Facebook page, Twitter handle, and its own Reddit thread. All Things Vice even published an interview with two of its founders. Want...
New Zealand's synthetic drug law goes into effect

New Zealand’s synthetic drug law goes into effect

New Zealand’s synthetic drug bill, called the Psychoactive Substances Act, became law today after passing Parliament last week in an almost unanimous vote. It is aimed at establishing a regulated market for legal highs, and ending the cat-and-mouse game of prohibition in which new chemicals crop up as soon as existing ones are banned. This law is the first of its kind, and (arguably) represents a step forward in intelligent drug policy. I say “arguably” because the intent of the law is to crack down on “legal highs” by requiring them to complete rigorous testing (at an estimated...
Three psychedelic Kickstarter campaigns fully funded

Three psychedelic Kickstarter campaigns fully funded

Another sign of the times: three different Kickstarter campaigns relating to psychedelics have recently been funded! Alex Grey’s Entheon art temple, web magazine Reality Sandwich 2.0, and the film Neurons to Nirvana have all exceeded their fundraising goals in the last couple weeks. The first is Entheon, the brainchild of visionary artist Alex Grey. The Entheon campaign made over USD $200,000, far exceeding the original goal of USD $125,000 and making it the second most funded art project in Kickstarter history. So what is Entheon? According to the Kickstarter page: For over 30 years, the art of Alex...
Beckley Foundation: "Drugs prohibition is starting to crumble"

Beckley Foundation: “Drugs prohibition is starting to crumble”

Amanda Feilding, director of the Beckley Foundation, has written a very encouraging article titled “At last, the edifice of drugs prohibition is starting to crumble.” The Beckley Foundation is a non-profit organization that promotes drug policy reform and works to advance the scientific understanding of consciousness. Amanda Feilding and her colleagues have been on the front lines of drug policy and research since the organization’s inception in 1998. She describes the Foundation’s perspective: The Beckley Foundation has always advocated an evidence-based, health-oriented, harm-reducing, cost-effective approach that respects human rights. The mark of a successful drug policy should not be the...
Low dose psychedelics increase neurogenesis, help mice unlearn fear

Low dose psychedelics increase neurogenesis, help mice unlearn fear

A new study of mice published in Experimental Brain Research shows that low doses (but not high doses) of psychedelics increase the rate of neuron creation in the hippocampus, and help the mice to rapidly unlearn conditioned fear responses. From the abstract (paragraph breaks added for readability): Drugs that modulate serotonin (5-HT) synaptic concentrations impact neurogenesis and hippocampal (HPC)-dependent learning. The primary objective is to determine the extent to which psilocybin (PSOP) modulates neurogenesis and thereby affects acquisition and extinction of HPC-dependent trace fear conditioning. PSOP, the 5-HT2A agonist 25I-NBMeO and the 5-HT2A/Cantagonist ketanserin were administered via an acute intraperitoneal injection...
DMT Found in the Pineal Glands of Live Rats

DMT Found in the Pineal Glands of Live Rats

Cottonwood Research, a foundation dedicated to studying consciousness and headed by Rick Strassman, is publishing a study that confirms the existence (and, they argue, production) of dimethyltryptamine in the pineal glands of rats. This paves the way for further research to determine whether endogenous DMT in humans also originates in the pineal gland, as has been speculated by Strassman and others. From their website: We’re excited to announce the acceptance for publication of a paper documenting the presence of DMT in the pineal glands of live rodents. The paper will appear in the journal Biomedical Chromatography and describes experiments that...
FDA Approves Lorcaserin, Diet Drug with Psychedelic Effects at High Doses

FDA Approves Lorcaserin, Diet Drug with Psychedelic Effects at High Doses

This is a landmark step towards sensible US drug policy. Since the Nixon Administration passed the Controlled Substance Act passed in 1970, nearly all psychedelic-style drugs have been automatically classified as Schedule I, which means absolute prohibition with no recognized medical potential.  (LSA presents an exception as a Schedule III drug, and the case may be made for the “psychedelic” nature of dextromethorphan and ketamine.) Lorcaserin, a weight loss drug with euphoric, hallucinogenic, and dissociative effects at high doses, has been classified as a Schedule IV medicine. This marks the first time that the DEA has acknowledged the...
Ketamine shows promise in treating "Fear of Harm"

Ketamine shows promise in treating “Fear of Harm”

There has been a huge resurgence of research on psychedelic and dissociative drugs recently. This is very promising because for 40 years, the study of these very promising medical compounds was shelved in the name of prohibition. Finally, after decades of hiatus, we are able to shed light on some of these compounds in controlled clinical settings. The studies may be small and few in number right now, but their positive results should help open the door to larger and ever more diverse studies. If early studies are any indication, the medical potential of psychedelics is absolutely vast....