The government’s “war on drugs” policies severely limit research on psychedelics. Before scientists can complete any federally sanctioned studies, they have to jump through an expensive tangle of hoops and red tape. Restrictions aside, over the years researchers have collected a database of research showing that many psychedelics have an unprecedented potential to treat cancers, addictions and psychological traumas, among other things.


Here are some of the coolest things scientists have discovered about psychedelics over the years.

1. LSD can mitigate end-of-life anxiety.

The results [3] of the first clinical study of the therapeutic use of LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) in humans in more than 40 years were published [4] in the peer-reviewed Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease in March. They show that LSD can promote statistically significant reductions in anxiety for people coming to terms with their own impending demise.

Swiss psychiatrist Peter Gasser and his colleagues conducted the double-blind, placebo-controlled study, sponsored by the non-profit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). They tracked 12 people who were near the end of life as they attended LSD-assisted psychotherapy sessions. In his report [5], Gasser concluded that the study subjects’ anxiety “went down and stayed down.”

2. Psilocybin, aka magic mushrooms, actually calms, rather than stimulates, certain brain functions.

The common conception is that psychedelics do something extra to cause their effects—increase activity, add hallucinations, promote awareness, etc. A study [6] that examined brain scans of people under the influence of psilocybin found that it reduces activity in certain areas of the brain. That reduction of activity leads to the drug’s effect on cognition and memory. Psychedelics, and psilocybin in particular, might actually be eliminating what could be called the extra “noise” in the brain.

3. The drug MDMA (aka ecstasy, orMolly) promotes release of the “love” hormone oxytocin, which could help treat severe anxieties like PTSD and social anxiety resulting from autism.

Before the federal government classified it as a Schedule I substance, therapists experimented with MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxyrnethimphetarnine) beginning in the 1970s to help reduce moderate depression and anxiety among their adult patients. After widespread recreational use in the rave scene caught the attention of authorities, MDMA was criminalized in 1985. However, research primarily supported by the MAPS has continued to turn up positive results for the drug’s potential therapeutic use. Various clinical trials [7] and statistical research have confirmed that MDMA can successfully treat post-traumatic stress in military veterans and others. One example [8] is the clinical trial led by Michael Mithoefer, which used MDMA-assisted psychotherapy to treat chronic PTSD.

A 2009 study offers a plausible explanation for MDMA’s effectiveness treating PTSD. The double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study of 15 healthy individuals confirmed that MDMA causes the brain to release oxytocin, which is the human hormone linked to feelings of love and compassion.

MAPS recently received government approval to launch a new study [9] examining MDMA’s potential for treating social anxiety in autistic adults. Based on the known effects of MDMA [10], as well as individual reports, this exploratory study [11] will focus on enhancing functional skills and quality of life in autistic adults [12] with social anxiety [13].

4. Psilocybin could kill smoking addiction.  

Psychiatry professor Matthew Johnson, who works at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, presented the preliminary results [14] of a pilot feasibility study looking at the ability of psilocybin to treat smoking addiction at the 2013 Psychedelic Science conference in Oakland, Calif. For the study, five cigarette-addicted participants underwent placebo-controlled psilocybin treatment with a psychiatrist. All five completely quit smoking after their first psilocybin session. At all followup visits, which occurred up to one year later for the first four participants, it was biologically confirmed that the participants had abstained from cigarettes.

5. Ayahuasca can treat drug addictionand possibly much more.

Ayahuasca is a brew prepared with the Banisteriopsis caapi vine, originally used for spiritual and healing purposes in the Peruvian Amazon rainforest. The vine is usually mixed with leaves containing the psychedelic compound DMT.

Gabor Mate, a medical doctor from Vancouver who is a prominent ayahuasca researcher, contends [15] that therapy assisted by psychedelics, and ayahuasca in particular, can untangle complex, unconscious psychological stresses. He claims these stresses underlie and contribute to all chronic medical conditions, from cancer and addiction to depression and multiple sclerosis.

The results [16] of the first North American observational study on the safety and long-term effectiveness of ayahuasca treatment for addiction and dependence were published in June 2013 in the journal Current Drug Abuse Reviews. All of the participants in the study reported positive and lasting changes, and the study found statistically significant improvements “for scales assessing hopefulness, empowerment, mindfulness, and quality of life meaning and outlook subscales. Self-reported alcohol, tobacco and cocaine use declined, although cannabis and opiate use did not.” The reported reductions in problematic cocaine use were also statistically significant.

6. DMT occurs naturally in the human body, and taking it could simulate death.

The drug DMT [17] (diemethyltryptamine), which causes hallucinogenic experiences, is made up of a chemical compound that already occurs within the human body endogenously [18] (as well as in a number of plants). This means our brains are naturally set up to process the drug because it has receptors that exist specifically to do so. Cannabis is another illegal drug that occurs endogenously[19].

Some research [20] based on near-death experiences points to the fact that the brain releases DMT during death. Some researchers have also conjectured that DMT is released during other intense experiences, including orgasm.

Famous Doctor Changes His Stance on the Value of Medical Marijuana

If you’ve watched TV or surfed the web lately, you’ve probably seen, or at least heard about, Dr Sanjay Gupta’s now famous CNN documentary “Weed” where he not only revealed new & very compelling evidence in favour of medical marijuana but apologized for his formerly negative opinion about said herb.

While this only confirms what most fans of alternative healing and psychedelic medicine already know, it is a breath of fresh air to hear someone from the so-called “straight” world agree. According to related chatter on the web, the rapidly expanding MMJ community isn’t the only group that welcomed this opinion – so did doctors and other health care professionals who were looking for a trusted opinion to help them answer their patients’ questions.

Whether you’re for or against medical marijuana, you can’t help but be moved by the most interesting part of Dr. Gupta’s film – a 5-year-old girl, Charlotte Figi, who suffers from a debilitating form of epilepsy (Dravat Syndrome) that caused her to have 300 grand mal seizures a month. Traditional doctors had treated her with a number of addictive & toxic drugs without success, many capable of killing the child if either the dosage was too high or they were given in the wrong combination.

Medical marijuana high in CBD & low in THC administered in drop form quickly reduced Charlotte’s seizures from hundreds per month to only 3 or 4 a month, dramatically increasing her quality of life without a single side effect. Although many have criticized Dr Gupta & CNN’s take on MMJ, the ability to quickly take Charlotte from non-functional to a normal child after Western medicine failed is pretty hard to deny.

While “Weed” has definitely spawned a lot of buzz both for & against MMJ, Dr Gupta is not the first medical professional to come out in support of medical marijuana. Here are a few more research studies that show there are very real benefits to this healing herb:

National Cancer Institute – This group has found that CBD (just one of the cannabinoids in marijuana) inhibits the growth of certain tumors and can kill some forms of cancer cells.
National Institute of Health – CBD was found to inhibit psychotic symptoms in both animal and human studies. The researchers hope that it may one day be a safer option for schizophrenic patients.
American Journal of Medicine – Marijuana could help treat diabetes, a disease that has nearly reached epidemic levels.

All you have to do is search the web or turn on the TV to hear more accounts of safe, alternative options for practically every health problem under the sun, but that’s nothing new to the medical marijuana community. If this coverage has changed your mind, maybe it’s time to give MMJ a try.

If you’re in a legal area and want to take a DIY approach, check out Gorilla Seed Bank. I was impressed by their wide selection, free seeds, low prices and international delivery. Among their many brands, you’ll find CBD Crew, a breeder that specializes in high CBD cannabis seeds.

The use of LSD, magic mushrooms, or peyote does not increase a person’s risk of developing mental health problems, according to an analysis of information from more than 130,000 randomly chosen people, including 22,000 people who had used psychedelics at least once.

Researcher Teri Krebs and clinical psychologist Pål-Ørjan Johansen, from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s (NTNU) Department of Neuroscience, used data from a US national health survey to see what association there was, if any, between psychedelic drug use and mental health problems.

The authors found no link between the use of psychedelic drugs and a range of mental health problems. Instead they found some significant associations between the use of psychedelic drugs and fewer mental health problems.


The results are published in the journal PLOS ONE and are freely available online after 19 August.

Symptoms and mental health treatment considered

The researchers relied on data from the 2001-2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in which participants were asked about mental health treatment and symptoms of a variety of mental health conditions over the past year. The specific symptoms examined were general psychological distress, anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and psychosis.

Armed with this information, Krebs and Johansen were able to examine if there were any associations between psychedelic use and general or specific mental health problems. They found none.

“After adjusting for other risk factors, lifetime use of LSD, psilocybin, mescaline or peyote, or past year use of LSD was not associated with a higher rate of mental health problems or receiving mental health treatment,” says Johansen.

Could psychedelics be healthy for you?

The researchers found that lifetime use of psilocybin or mescaline and past year use of LSD were associated with lower rates of serious psychological distress. Lifetime use of LSD was also significantly associated with a lower rate of outpatient mental health treatment and psychiatric medicine prescription.

The design of the study makes it impossible to determine exactly why the researchers found what they found.

“We cannot exclude the possibility that use of psychedelics might have a negative effect on mental health for some individuals or groups, perhaps counterbalanced at a population level by a positive effect on mental health in others,” they wrote.

Nevertheless, “recent clinical trials have also failed to find any evidence of any lasting harmful effects of psychedelics,” the researchers said, which supports the robustness of the PLOS ONE findings.

In fact, says Krebs, “many people report deeply meaningful experiences and lasting beneficial effects from using psychedelics.”

“Other studies have found no evidence of health or social problems among people who had used psychedelics hundreds of times in legally-protected religious ceremonies,” adds Johansen.

What’s the bottom line on psychedelic use?

Psychedelics are different than most other recreational drugs. Experts agree that psychedelics do not cause addiction or compulsive use, and they are not known to harm the brain.

When evaluating psychedelics, as with any activity, it is important to take an objective view of all the evidence and avoid being biased by anecdotal stories either of harm or benefit, the researchers say.

“Everything has some potential for negative effects, but psychedelic use is overall considered to pose a very low risk to the individual and to society,” Johansen says, “Psychedelics can elicit temporary feelings of anxiety and confusion, but accidents leading to serious injury are extremely rare.”

“Early speculation that psychedelics might lead to mental health problems was based on a small number of case reports and did not take into account either the widespread use of psychedelics or the not infrequent rate of mental health problems in the general population,” Krebs explains.

“Over the past 50 years tens of millions of people have used psychedelics and there just is not much evidence of long-term problems,” she concludes.

The article will be available at after 5 p.m. on 19 August.

Both researchers were supported by the Research Council of Norway.

For many years people have been fighting in different places on this earth to get marijuana legalized. This plant has been a topic of discussion for as long as human kind can remember and still is today. Every year billions of dollars get spent on both campaigning for legalization as well as criminalization, but there was always Amsterdam; The capital of The Netherlands, city of Sodom and Gomorrah, a place where prostitution and drugs are decriminalized and maintained by both government and people.  But all this might be about to change and 2012 could be the last year for foreigners to visit Amsterdam and being able to visit one of the many cannabis café’s as the government is planning to change the laws on cannabis.

Although The Netherlands host more than 600 cannabis café’s or coffeeshops as they call them, cannabis has never been 100% legal. Since the 70’s the government has had a policy of tolerance regarding cannabis. Soft drugs, as they call them, are available to any adult person. It is allowed to purchase up to 5 grams of cannabis in a coffeeshop or to carry around. Also growing up to 5 plants is kind of tolerated, although any kind of professional growing is illegal. This means that even putting a light on a plant to help it grow is considered illegal and if the police would actually find any plants at a person’s house they will probably seize them.

The strange thing about the Dutch policy is that it apparently is legal to professionally sell cannabis, but illegal to professionally grow cannabis. A coffeeshop is allowed to have up to 500 grams of cannabis in the establishment but on a good day they can sell a lot more than that. Some coffeeshops can sell even more than 10 kilograms of cannabis each day so where does all this cannabis come from if it illegal to be grown?

Each year the government busts more than 6000 illegal plantations all over the country, from small rooms where cannabis is being grown in closets to huge plantations where thousands of plants are being grown. Various cannabis seeds can legally bought in shops. Hundreds of headshops and growshops are selling anything you need to grow cannabis, but the government will probably never tolerate growing.

For years there have been rumors that the Dutch government wants to ban cannabis completely just like how in 2008 magic mushrooms were banned and put on the list of illegal drugs. Until 2007 it was possible and legal to buy magic mushrooms in smartshops, but after a few incidents involving tourists who supposedly consumed mushrooms, the government banned this product of nature. Of course a lot of people protest against this decision as some of the mushrooms that were being put on the black list actually grow in the wild in the Netherlands. Also it was later proved that the incidents that had been taken as an excuse to ban mushrooms, involved tourists that had been consuming various other drugs like cocaine and were drinking alcohol at the time as well. As a result, many people are buying ready to grow magic mushroom grow kits or mushroom spores to grow their own magic mushrooms, a procedure that is fairly simple.

The whole idea to make coffeeshop unavailable for tourists has been widely criticized in the media. The new law went in to effect in the South of the country in the beginning of March this year and has resulted in many problems. Not only the coffeeshops lost customers, but also other shops and even the local McDonalds complaint that they have lost a big amount of customers. The streets of the city of Maastricht, a city in the South which is very close to both Belgium and Germany, have been flooded with illegal street dealers that are selling cannabis to tourists. The local authority doesn’t really seem to know how to handle this change good as well and although the mayor of the city has been the only one that kept saying that things were going as planned; he now also finally admitted that the new law doesn’t work and that the government should turn it back.

The new law is supposed to go in effect in the rest of the country including Amsterdam from the 1st of January 2013.

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