research
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...
New Video from Jason Silva: 'Drugs As Tools For Spirituality'

New Video from Jason Silva: ‘Drugs As Tools For Spirituality’

“The new space is inner space,” says Jason Silva in his new video. It’s the latest edition in his series of thought-provoking short-films called Shots of Awe, which continues to live up to its name. This episode focuses on MAPS — the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies — and the importance of set and setting in maximizing the potential of a psychedelic session. He name-drops Timothy Leary, who stressed the importance of preparing a positive tripping environment for yourself. “You are immediately plunged into a dialogue with your own subconscious,” Silva says. Meanwhile, “The world becomes like a sensurround system. The...
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%...
Veteran Explains How MDMA Therapy Helped Him Overcome PTSD

Veteran Explains How MDMA Therapy Helped Him Overcome PTSD

In a recent “Ask Me Anything” session on Reddit, Iraq War veteran Tony Macie opened up about how he overcame his treatment-resistant PTSD through experimental MDMA-assisted therapy. Here’s his introduction: My name is Tony Macie, and I am a retired Sergeant of the U.S. Army. I spent 15 long months in Iraq during the surge in 2006 and 2007. When I returned home from the war, I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) resulting from a lot of issues ranging from what I experienced during combat and some of the disconnect with my brothers in arms when...
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,...