Mod+ Psychedelics & other mind altering substances -> Culture, Theology and Therapy [Resources]



Psychedelic Science 2013 Mini-Documentary

Transforming Medicine is a mini-documentary showcasing the exciting, multidisciplinary field of psychedelic science through interviews with attendees of Psychedelic Science 2013, an unprecedented event that gathered more than 100 of the world's leading researchers and over 1,900 international attendees to share knowledge about the risks and benefits of psychedelic substances.

The scientific, medical, and educational communities merged together in Oakland, California for over three days of conference presentations and two days of workshops focusing on the role of psychedelics in neuroscience, therapy, culture, and more. In Transforming Medicine, explore the marketplace, go behind-the-scenes, and watch as scientists, students, doctors, and educators explain how psychedelic research is shaping the landscape for the future of science and medicine.


Forgive the poor grammar I had typed this up years ago talking to someone about ibogaine via email (tried to fix):

"Laid out before me was the entire, intricate process of my self-development. The process was complex yet ultimately organic. The extension of the self was, I realized, a natural process akin to the blossoming of a plant. While a plant extends toward the sun throughout its life, human beings evolve internally. We rise up and flourish, or become stunted, involuted, as we react to the forces that press against us. Our growth takes place in the invisible realm of our mental space, and the unreachable sun we rise toward is knowledge -- of the self and the universe...

I recognized my existing self as the product of all the physical and psychological forces that had acted upon me. Yet there seemed to be something beyond all of it, something that was "mine", an energy projected from outside my biographical destiny. that energy was the self -- and the self's tremendous capacity for transformation...."

-Daniel Pinchbeck recounting his ibogaine experience in Breaking Open the Head


There's this documentary on ibogaine treatment that the filmmakers put on their youtube channel. They mention that ibogaine is not a cure for addiction, but rather an "addiction interupt-er".

That makes more sense than a insantaneous cure, which would probably require rapidly increased neuroplasiticty.


Outlawing of Psychoactive Drugs 'Scientific Censorship' Says Former Drug Advisor

Nutt has caused some controversy in the past for expressing views contrary to government drug policy while acting as a government advisor, prompting his 2009 dismissal from his position on Britain's Advisory Council of the Misuse of Drugs.

In their paper, Nutt, Leslie King -- another former drug advisor -- and University of North Carolina's David Nichols called for the use of psychoactive drugs in research to be exempted from severe restrictions.

The paper, which was published to coincide with a conference on scientific research on psychedelics, points to evidence of unexplored medicinal benefits in cannabis, MDMA and psychedelics such as LSD and psilocybin, the compound found in magic mushrooms.

"If we adopted a more rational approach to drug regulation, it would empower researchers to make advances in the study of consciousness and brain mechanisms of psychosis, and could lead to major treatment innovations in areas such as depression and PTSD," Nutt said.


Rites of Passage, Ritual, and Self-Medication: Can psychedelic raves provide modern rites-of-passage for societal healing?

(he says "discussed above" when he means "discussed below")

"Beyond the issue of the clinical applications and psychedelic research, enormous issues of personal freedom are at stake. Researchers require academic freedom to choose the focus of their research and funding to support it; the clergy must defend the right of us all to define our own spirituality, including their own right to be trained with these remarkable spiritual tools; clinicians are ethically expected to provide their patients with the most effective treatments available and patients have the right to receive that state-of-the-art treatment; and individuals should be able to freely experience rites of passage. Yet all are barred from doing so for political, ultimately fear-based reasons. As discussed above, there are tribal roots to these policy issues....


Mind-altering drug could offer life free of heroin

People working with addicts are interested. Steven Scanlan, a physician at Palm Beach Outpatient Detox in Boca Raton, Florida, says there are limitations to existing methods of treating addiction. He uses suboxone, a daily medication for opiate detoxification. With this therapy, though, people can often replace one addiction with another. "Every day people are calling asking me to detox them off suboxone, but it's really the only weapon I have to detox people off opiates," he says. "I'd be really excited to have something else to be able to use."

Of the 29 others who took part in the trial, none are now reported as having problematic drug use. Two years after that one dose of ibogaine, I abstain from all drugs. Given the chance of relief from the physical and psychological dependence, I am free to make conscious choices again. We don't yet know how effective this treatment would be in others, but the change in my life is startling.


Pollux posted an anecdote about shared DMT experiences:

As we talked about our experiences, we found striking similarities in what we saw. Three black humanoid figures, seemingly made up of a viscous liquid. This was amazing to me, as it would support the hypothesis that DMT allows the user to access another plane of existence.

Being a devout rationalist, I discarded this as a possibility. Until the conversation continued. And Jay spoke the following words which shattered my grip on rationality.

“Did ya’ll notice a more human-looking figure, like, in the corner of the place they took you?”

My jaw dropped. No. Fucking. Possible. Way.

I no longer knew what to think. I still don’t.

Alec remembered seeing such a figure, and if you read my above account, you know I did too. How did we just happen to have such similar experiences?


Cosmic creativity -- how art evolves consciousness: Alex Grey at TEDxMaui 2013

Great talk by Alex Grey, the extraordinary artist whose paintings are incredible depictions of [purported] higher realms.

I love how he met his wife. :)


Return trip: A new generation of researchers is heading into the weird world of psychedelic drugs.

And here, at the very least, the warring parties of religion and secular reductionism might be able to hold a truce. After all, materialists and New Agers, sceptics and shamans, are all united in facing the death of ourselves and our loved ones — a process that remains, even for the most committed sceptic, a mystery poised at the knife edge of meaning and the void. And mysterious ordeals sometimes require mysterious protocols. The gambit of psychedelic research is that third-person explanations will not exhaust the meaningfulness of wrestling with first-person experience. Like our loving and like our dying, our trips are ultimately known, if anything is ultimately known at all, from the inside.


Psychedelic Christianity, Santo Daime and Ayahuasca

Interesting article though I'm not sure how much this guy really understands Christianity, Liberation Theology in particular.

The Bible directly references several psychotropics, including the highly regarded frankincense and myrrh, and the hallucinogenic aphrodisiac mandrake, which Leah swapped with Rachel for an extra night with their shared husband Isaac. There are also intriguing hints about the temple incense, not least its Hebrew name ktoret ha-samim, literally “incense of drugs” (cocaine, LSD and marijuana are generically called Samim in modern Hebrew). Several linguists and rabbis agree that the kaneh bosm in the incense, which is also in the holy anointing oil of the prophets, is related etymologically to the Scythian word cannabis. As Herodotus relates, the Scythians would throw this on the fire and, “their drunkenness increasing, they often jump up and begin to dance and sing”. (Much more about drugs in the Bible here).

Furthermore, some early Christian texts suggest a radically different relationship with authority, with lines such as “do not give a law like the lawgiver lest you be constrained by it”, from the Gospel of Mary Magdalen. Later sects such as Ranters, Quakers, Levellers, Diggers and Anabaptists embodied the full spectrum of anarchistic principles; refusing to join armies, ignoring property rights, walking naked in the streets, torching buildings, and fermenting disorder wherever they passed.


God, Drugs And Lizard Aliens: Yep, It's Country Music

That personal paradigm shift is represented in the album's first track, "Turtles All The Way Down," the video for which debuts here. "There's a gateway in our mind that leads somewhere out there beyond this plane," Simpsons sings in his outlaw baritone as his band lays down a gentle arrangement reminiscent of 's "".

The next lyric might make you jump: "Where reptile aliens made of light cut you open and pull out all your pain."

Aliens? Simpson's having fun with a cosmic-scientific connected to an old myth that imagines the world perched upon an infinite stack of the green-shelled creatures. Simpson invokes the Turtle in connection to his own quest for meaning, which never does let up. The song's video, created using software artist 's distributed computing project , similarly blends a straightforward, intimate performance with synapse-stimulating, -generated effects.
The new album isn't exactly what people might have expected from a guy often called a honky-tonker — though those classic elements are present, too. Where did you begin with these songs?

I just reached a point where the thought of writing and singing any more songs about heartache and drinking made me feel incredibly bored with music. It's just not a headspace I occupy much these days. Nighttime reading about theology, cosmology, and breakthroughs in modern physics and their relationship to a few personal experiences I've had led to most of the songs on the album.

Dr. Rick Strassman's book was extremely inspirational,as were a few recent highly visionary indie films and a lot of audio lectures. The influences are all over the place but they culminated into a group of songs about love and the human experience, centered around the light and darkness within us all. There have been many socially conscious concept albums. I wanted to make a "social consciousness" concept album disguised as a country record.


Paying a high price for the war on drugs:

"In a new memoir, neuroscientist Carl Hart discusses how his research on drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine has led him to decide that all drugs should be decriminalized."

"As a child growing up in one of Miami's roughest neighborhoods during the 1970s, Carl Hart saw first-hand the toll that poverty, drugs, guns and domestic violence took on his close family and friends. When he was 6, his mother separated from his abusive father. At age 12, he saw his sister injured in a drive-by shooting. Many of his childhood friends ended up dead or in prison. As a teen he used drugs, shoplifted and occasionally carried a gun himself. But eventually — through hard work, mentors, the military and education — he launched himself to the highest rungs of academia.

Hart, who earned his PhD in 1996 from the University of Wyoming, is now Columbia University's first tenured African-American professor in the sciences, where he studies the neuroscience of drug use. Some of his work undercuts widespread assumptions about drug users, such as the idea that most will become addicted. In laboratory studies with cocaine and methamphetamine users, he's found that rather than being held hostage to their drug use, most people can make a rational decision to give up a dose in exchange for a reasonable reward — even as little as $5.

Recently, Hart has become involved in drug policy advocacy as well. In his book "High Price: A Neuroscientist's Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society," he interweaves personal memoir and scientific research to conclude that drug abuse is a symptom rather than a cause of societal ills — and that America's drug laws, not drugs themselves, have wreaked the greatest havoc on the country's poorest and most vulnerable citizens."


Crappy Ayahuasca Shamans Are Making Gap Years Dangerous

Last week, 19-year-old Henry Miller – a gap-year student from Bristol – died in Colombia after taking part in a shamanic ceremony. The papers are reporting that he died after drinking a “drug” called yage, which is actually just another name for ayahuasca, a plant that – among South America’s indigenous tribes – is brewed with another plant called chacruna and used in shamanic rituals for its apparent healing properties.

Reports on the healing experience vary. Some people will tell you it was the most mind-blowing transcendental experience of their lives. Others will say it was a prolonged and slightly trippy vomiting session.

However, a more sinister element of the ayahuasca tourism industry has grown to meet a recent boom in the number of young Westerners travelling to South America for a trip. As reported by Motherboard last year, "slimy pseudo shamans" – untrained opportunists who've merely taken crash courses in ayahuasca delivery – had begun operating in Peru, hooking people up with wildly exorbitant and dangerous doses to make a quick buck...


The Second Psychedelic Revolution: Part Four. Alex Grey—The Mystic-Artist.

The following is Part Four of a series. Read Part One here, Part Two here, Part Three here...

...In a 1998 interview with Alex Grey published in ‘The Entheogenic Review’, the interviewer (Jon Hanna) points out that describing the Psychedelic Experience had until that point mostly been the territory of writers, since other than the poster and blotter art of the psychedelic 60’s, few visual artists have openly admitted the influence of psychedelics upon their work. With the publication of Sacred Mirrors: The Visionary Art of Alex Grey in 1990, the psychedelic community soon discovered that the art contained within its pages resonated to many like miraculous snap shots of the psychedelic realm, faithfully rendered vistas brought back with great skill from the far shores of the visionary experience. And when Alex and his wife and fellow-artist Allyson Grey first addressed the Psychedelic Community at the Mind States conference in Berkeley, CA, in 1997, they discovered for the first time an enthusiastic audience to whom they didn’t have to apologize for their own psychedelic use.


Psilocybin inhibits the processing of negative emotions in the brain

Emotions like fear, anger, sadness, and joy enable people to adjust to their environment and react flexibly to stress and strain and are vital for cognitive processes, physiological reactions, and social behaviour. The processing of emotions is closely linked to structures in the brain, i.e. to what is known as the limbic system. Within this system the amygdala plays a central role – above all it processes negative emotions like anxiety and fear. If the activity of the amygdala becomes unbalanced, depression and anxiety disorders may develop.

Researchers at the Psychiatric University Hospital of Zurich have now shown that psilocybin, the bioactive component in the Mexican magic mushroom, influences the amygdala, thereby weakening the processing of negative stimuli. These findings could “point the way to novel approaches to treatment” comments the lead author Rainer Krähenmann on the results which have now been published in the renowned medical journal “Biological Psychiatry”.