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Video: Can Ketamine Help You Reduce Problem Drinking?

Video: Can Ketamine Help You Reduce Problem Drinking?

In this episode of Vice Video’s High Society series, a young man embarks on a full-blown ketamine trip in the hopes of reducing his compulsive drinking habit. It’s part of a controlled study led by Dr. Ravi Das, a psychopharmacologist at University College London, to examine whether ketamine can weaken certain memory connections — and thereby loosen the grip of addictive substances over people’s minds. From the Vice Video description: Timmy Davis is not an alcoholic. But like many twenty-something students, he’s worried he may be drinking too much. Timmy has volunteered for Dr. Das’ latest experiment, in which...
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...
Religious Leaders Tripping on Magic Mushrooms for Science

Religious Leaders Tripping on Magic Mushrooms for Science

Among traditional cultures, psychedelic plants and fungi have long been viewed as spiritual medicines. Indeed, why partake of sacraments such as mushrooms, ayahuasca, or peyote cacti if not for their spiritual power? Yet in the West, where “spirituality” has long been conflated with religion — and where few sacraments aside from communion wafers and a bit of wine are acknowledged — these visionary plants have been viewed with suspicion. That’s all changing. Among progressive scientists, psychedelics are now all the rage. Psilocybin, the active component of “magic” mushrooms, has shown promise in pilot studies for a wide range of applications,...
Why Dr. Bronner's Soaps Is Donating $5 Million to MAPS

Why Dr. Bronner’s Soaps Is Donating $5 Million to MAPS

This essay by David Bronner, CEO of Dr. Bronner’s and Board Member of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, was first published in the MAPS Bulletin and on drbronner.com. Our family company, Dr. Bronner’s, donates a lot of resources to social justice NGOs and campaigns, including over $1 million to various state-level cannabis legalization campaigns in 2016. Collectively, well north of $40 million was raised in the 2016 election cycle alone to end prohibition and stop the enormous waste of taxpayer and law enforcement resources from ruining the lives of upstanding citizens and their families. Even with the Trump...
The Walls Come Tumbling Down: My First MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy Session

The Walls Come Tumbling Down: My First MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy Session

This story by Andy Gold first appeared in the MAPS Bulletin, Winter 2016 edition. I went for my first MDMA-assisted psychotherapy session on November 30, 2015, the Monday after Thanksgiving. Was it really a coincidence that the colonoscopy which found a malignant tumor in my colon some years earlier had also taken place on the Monday after Thanksgiving? I think not. Full circle, indeed. I arrived at the site in Marin County, Calif., where the session was to take place, at 9:30 in the morning. One of the study requirements is that you do the sessions while fasting. Someone also...
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...
Psychedelics in American Religious Experience

Psychedelics in American Religious Experience

How important are psychedelics in the religious experience of the United States? We know drugs like LSD and psilocybin can occasion powerful, life-changing experiences of awe and renewal. We also know psychedelics have been used by millions of people since the 1960s. But no one has ever tried to count the number of people who’ve had psychedelic-related mystical experiences. I ran a survey of over 6,000 people to get an answer. Background: Walter ‘Wally’ Pahnke and psychedelic mysticism Fifty-one years ago, a massive 9.2 Richter scale earthquake shook Alaska. At the same time, Wally Pahnke was experiencing another...
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,...
Too Big for a Nobel Prize: Remembering Sasha Shulgin

Too Big for a Nobel Prize: Remembering Sasha Shulgin

David Presti celebrates Sasha Shulgin in the most recent MAPS Bulletin. Alexander “Sasha” Shulgin was born in Berkeley on June 17, 1925, and received his bachelor’s (1949) and doctorate (1955) degrees from the local college, the University of California in Berkeley. Except for some time spent as an undergraduate at Harvard and a stint in the U.S. Navy during World War II, he lived his entire life either in Berkeley or nearby in the East Bay. Sasha’s doctoral research in biochemistry at UC Berkeley developed methods for the synthesis of amino acids containing chemical isotopes of carbon and nitrogen....
A Conversation with MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy Researchers

A Conversation with MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy Researchers

This interview originally appeared in the MAPS Bulletin Winter 2014 Vol. 24, No. 3 – Annual Report. Featuring Annie Mithoefer, B.S.N., Shannon Clare Petitt, I.M.F., Saj Razvi, L.P.C., Ben Shechet, and Will Van Derveer, M.D, it sheds a great deal of light on MDMA-assisted therapy and the people behind MAPS.   Annie Mithoefer, B.S.N., is a co-investigator for MAPS’ study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for service-related PTSD in U.S. veterans, police officers, and firefighters in Charleston, SC. She is also a Registered Nurse, Grof-certified Holotropic Breathwork Practitioner and is trained in Hakomi Therapy and can be reached at amithoefer@me.com. Shannon Clare Petitt,...
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...