Deleted "Avatar" Scene Shows Hallucinogenic Vision Quest

Deleted “Avatar” Scene Shows Hallucinogenic Vision Quest

Did you know the script of James Cameron’s Avatar, the 3D blockbuster from 2009, originally called for a full-on psychedelic vision quest? The scene must have gotten cut fairly late in production, because it was filmed with live actors and animation had already begun. The CGI renders were left in a blocky, unfinished state, but it’s easy to tell what’s going on. Titled “The Dream Hunt,” the scene is a fascinating glimpse into the spirituality of Pandora’s native Na’vi culture. The main character, Jake Sulley, agrees to take part in the initiation ceremony, in which he must take potent psychedelics in...
Mesmerizing Gifs by Hexeosis Are a Trip All By Themselves

Mesmerizing Gifs by Hexeosis Are a Trip All By Themselves

Gifs may be best known as a format for eminently shareable memes, drawn from films, TV shows, and YouTube videos and shared around the Web as bite-size reactions to every possible situation. But in the past few years, a few creators have raised them to the level of art form. And some of those artists appear to have gone deep down the psychedelic rabbit hole, because their colorful, ever-looping creations speak the visual language known by every tripper. One such gif artist is Hexeosis, who has been producing animations at the intersection of mathematics and psychedelia since 2013....
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...
Dream Worlds: The Visionary Art of Adam Scott Miller

Dream Worlds: The Visionary Art of Adam Scott Miller

 As an artist, I’ve had this sense of being an explorer- sailing into unknown territory to bring back maps to share of lands we are not yet in, or aware of. Adam Scott Miller, an American-born artist who lives and works in Queensland, Australia, has always been something of a visionary. According to an interview he gave to solpurpose.com, two childhood events profoundly shaped his perception of the world — and, in turn, his art. Around age ten, for a year or so, I regularly experienced night terrors where I would wake up in the middle of a...
Psilocybin Healing: How Mushrooms Cured an Artist's Depression and Anxiety

Psilocybin Healing: How Mushrooms Cured an Artist’s Depression and Anxiety

While traveling in Italy and Greece in 2006 I developed a sinus infection that got so bad that once back in the US it ruptured the lining of my sinuses and allowed a strep infection to travel unchecked into my brain and spinal column. Bacterial meningitis ravaged my brain as a 107° fever raged out of control. I spent a week in the hospital unconscious and on life support before my folks whisked me off to their farm for lots of rest and lots of organic food from their gardens. Years of challenging recovery led to more and...
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...
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,...
Many people use drugs – but here’s why most don’t become addicts

Many people use drugs – but here’s why most don’t become addicts

Today’s post is by Paul Hayes, Hon. Professor Drug Policy at London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. It was originally published on The Conversation. Drug use is common, drug addiction is rare. About one adult in three will use an illegal drug in their lifetime and just under 3m people will do so this year in England and Wales alone. Most will suffer no long-term harm. There are immediate risks from overdose and intoxication, and longer-term health risks associated with heavy or prolonged use; damage to lungs from smoking cannabis or the bladder from ketamine for example. However...
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...