research
My Interview with Rick Doblin, Psychedelic Pioneer & Founder of MAPS

My Interview with Rick Doblin, Psychedelic Pioneer & Founder of MAPS

I recently had the good fortune of meeting my psychedelic hero, Rick Doblin, the founder and president of the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies. What’s more, he graciously agreed to an on-camera interview! I asked him about the origins of MAPS, the Russian ban of methadone in Crimean addiction clinics, New Zealand’s new regulatory framework for legal highs, MAPS’ recent partnership with the military to research MDMA as a treatment for PTSD, and much more. My favorite part is when Rick tells the story of taking LSD on his twenty-first birthday. He heard a siren and became convinced that the Russians were...
Word Clouds Show What It's Like to Be on Drugs

Word Clouds Show What It’s Like to Be on Drugs

What does the language of drug experience look like? What words do we turn to again and again to describe an LSD trip or a cannabis high? Rehabs.com has created some slick graphics to answer these questions (although they are not the first). They performed “extensive linguistic analysis on thousands of written user experiences” drawn from the Erowid database. The graphics cover eight popular drugs, including LSD, DMT, MDMA, and mushrooms. The words shown are the ones most unique to each particular drug, and the size of each word indicates its frequency in user reports. One major problem with an...
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...
"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...
Help Heal Trauma Survivors by Supporting MDMA Research

Help Heal Trauma Survivors by Supporting MDMA Research

MAPS, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, has been an instrumental force in psychedelic research and advocacy since its formation in 1986. In my opinion, this non-profit organization has done more to establish psychedelics as legitimate medicines than anyone else in the world. Their biggest project is proving the safety and effectiveness of MDMA-assisted therapy as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They have performed a number of studies around the world indicating its effectiveness — even with the one-third of PTSD patients who do not respond adequately to other treatments. As you can imagine, MAPS does...
Psychedelics Linked to Lower Risk of Mental Illness

Psychedelics Linked to Lower Risk of Mental Illness

It seems that all the best news about psychedelics lately is coming from scientists. You know, those people whose job it is to discover the truth even if it flies in the face of cultural and legal prejudices? Turns out the truth about psychedelics is not so convenient for those who insist on banning them. In a new study, a Norwegian neuroscience team has found that use of psychedelic drugs is not associated with increased risk of mental health problems. In fact, psychedelic users were shown to have a lower risk of mental health issues, including psychosis, anxiety, mood disorders,...
A Treatise on Psychedelics Part 3/3: The Implications

A Treatise on Psychedelics Part 3/3: The Implications

This guest post by Martijn Schirp continues from Part 1 and Part 2, discussing the Interdisciplinary Conference on Psychedelic Research that he attended. It was originally published on higHExistence.com. What are the larger implications of the mystical experience? One aspect of the mystical experience is what psychology calls “ego death.” If we anchor our worldview on the self and constantly think self-oriented thoughts, we are blinded to our interconnection with everything around us. This privatized perspective is utterly destructive to everything alien to it. Psychedelics can “kill” the ego responsible for this self-oriented perspective, opening us up to a greater, more boundless reality. Some thinkers,...
A Treatise on Psychedelics Part 2/3: The Mystical Experience

A Treatise on Psychedelics Part 2/3: The Mystical Experience

This guest post by Martijn Schirp continues from Part 1, discussing the Interdisciplinary Conference on Psychedelic Research that he attended. It was originally published on higHExistence.com. If we recognize the plant as an autonomous power which enters in order to put roots and flowers in us, then we distance ourselves by several degrees from the skewed perspective which imagines that spirit (Geist) is the monopoly of human beings and doesn’t exist outside of them. A new world-picture has to follow the planetary leveling; that is the task which the next century will take up. –Ernst Jünger, The Plant as Autonomous Power. Where are 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...
Radio interview with psychedelic pioneer Jim Fadiman

Radio interview with psychedelic pioneer Jim Fadiman

Public radio show “To the Best of Our Knowledge” interviewed psychedelic pioneer Jim Fadiman. The full 45 minute interview can be downloaded or streamed from their website. Jim Fadiman is one of the original psychonauts – a friend of Richard Alpert and Ken Kesey in the Sixties – who went on to do pioneering research on psychedelics and creativity, and helped found the transpersonal psychology movement. In this EXTENDED interview, Steve Paulson talks with Fadiman about a lifetime of unconventional thinking. The interview covers a variety of topics, from Fadiman’s days as a graduate student in the psychedelic...
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...
How Psilocybin Works: Addition by Subtraction

How Psilocybin Works: Addition by Subtraction

Psychedelic Frontier gladly welcomes our first guest, Zizo! A big thanks to Zizo for today’s post about some surprising psilocybin research results. Psilocybin is the inactive precursor of psilocin, the chemical primarily responsible for the hallucinogenic effects of Psilocybe “magic mushrooms”.  Though human cultures have used this entheogen for many centuries, we are only just beginning to understand the physiological mechanism by which it produces its psychedelic effects. This slow scientific progress is a result of harsh international drug policy, but I digress… The psychedelic trip is often described as profoundly mind-expanding, and the brain is popularly presumed to...