neuroscience – Psychedelic Frontier make the most of your dose Fri, 11 Jan 2019 12:00:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 48719013 First Peek at My New Book ‘Magic Medicine’ Sun, 15 Apr 2018 13:00:35 +0000 First Peek at My New Book ‘Magic Medicine’

It’s finally here! Two years ago I started researching and writing Magic Medicine: A Trip Through the Intoxicating History and Modern-Day Use of Psychedelic Plants & Substances. After much tweaking and editing, the first printed copy is here! (The public release date is June 5th.)

From the very beginning, I wanted the book to more than just fascinating in its subject matter — I wanted it to be a beautiful object, something you would be proud to have on your nightstand or bookshelf. I wanted a book that would demand your attention and spark conversations, a book you could not help but pick up and thumb through, one that would make the perfect gift for that consciousness-curious person in your life.

I’m not exaggerating when I say I could not be happier with how the printed book came out! 

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New Study: Psychedelics Really Do Produce a Higher State of Consciousness Mon, 24 Apr 2017 08:00:07 +0000 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 depending on the “level” of consciousness. Put simply, the firing of neurons becomes more unpredictable and more random as a person becomes more conscious. For instance, someone who is awake and alert will exhibit more unpredictable neural patterns than someone who is asleep. A sleeping brain, in turn, shows greater complexity and randomness than a more unconscious brain, such as that of someone who has been knocked out with a general anesthetic.

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Scientists are crowd-funding the first ever LSD brain imaging study Tue, 10 Mar 2015 13:13:53 +0000 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 in partnership with the Beckley Foundation. Within the first 24 hours, they were overwhelmed with donations, handily surpassing their original funding goal of £25,000 (about $37,600). [Update: the campaign finished with over £53,000, more than twice their original goal.]

Why crowd-funding? The scientists explain:

It is difficult to find funding for psychedelic research as the subject is surrounded by taboo, but we hope that there are many of you who will be excited to provide funding so that this fascinating and important research project can be completed.

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Low dose psychedelics increase neurogenesis, help mice unlearn fear Thu, 06 Jun 2013 15:57:13 +0000 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 to mice. Trace fear conditioning was measured as the amount of time spent immobile in the presence of the conditioned stimulus (CS, auditory tone), trace (silent interval) and post-trace interval over 10 trials. Extinction was determined by the number of trials required to resume mobility during CS, trace and post-trace when the shock was not delivered.

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How Psilocybin Works: Addition by Subtraction Wed, 15 May 2013 01:32:53 +0000 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 run in overdrive while processing so many complex and non-linear thoughts. Until recently, our understanding of psilocin’s pharmacology has supported this theory of increased brain activity. Like most psychedelics, psilocin works by binding to serotonin receptors (with particular action at the 5-HT2A subtype).

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