By Cheryl Steinberg
When it comes to progressive, proactive methods of treating illnesses, ahead of the curve, as usual, is a European country. British scientists hope to study LSD and other psychedelic drugs to see if they could be viable treatment options in battling depression and addiction issues.
“These drugs offer the greatest opportunity we have in mental health. There’s little early on the horizon,” Dr. David Nutt, an Imperial College London professor, said at a briefing, according to British reports.
You may recall Dr. Nutt’s name – we’ve written about him before. Dr. Nutt is a somewhat infamous, mad scientist in some people’s eyes, at least, in his home country of the UK. It was Nutt who, as the UK’s government chief drugs adviser, was fired from his official post when he conducted a study and stood by his findings, which were in direct contrast with the general consensus regarding alcohol and its acceptability.
You see, Dr. Nutt found that alcohol was the worst drug – even more so than heroin and even crack, and that hallucinogens, and especially cannabis are the drugs that should cause us the least concern.
He has called the tight restrictions on studying recreational drugs’ potential benefits “the worst censorship in the history of science.”
This is something we’re seeing with the medical marijuana debate here in the U.S. Marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I drug, meaning that, in the eyes of the federal government, it has no recognized medical benefits. Also, a Schedule I classification means that conducting studies on the possible medicinal value of marijuana is next to impossible.
Similarly, according to the British doctors involved, funding for their controversial research is hard to come by; and they’ve turned to crowdfunding in order to raise money so that they can carry out their studies into psychoactive drugs as potential drug therapy.
Treating Depression, Addiction with LSD
Dr. Nutt has turned his gaze toward LSD as of late in order to see if/how the hallucinogen could treat psychological disorders. Nutt conducted a study in which he had 20 healthy volunteers, 15 men and five women, take a “moderate” dose of LSD – about 75 micrograms – so that scientists would use MRIs of the subjects’ brains to study their brain activity.
The dosage had “quite profound effects” on brain activity, mood and mental state.
“I wouldn’t say that it’s a dangerous experiment but I would say that LSD has potential negative effects. It’s not uncommon for people to have anxiety during a psychedelic drug experience. The experience can be nightmarish at times,” Robin Carhart-Harris, also from Imperial College, conceded to British outlets.
However, although 3 of the participants said they experienced anxiety and paranoia during the experiment, none of the participants reported having a “bad trip.”
The researchers suspect that this can, in fact, be a good thing: “What’s especially intriguing…is that people can have a very challenging experience yet afterwards they seem to be somehow psychologically refreshed by the experience. That’s how they describe it,” Carhart-Harris said.
“Understanding more about the physiological effects of LSD will help us shed light on potential medical interventions as well as help us learn more about consciousness,” the researchers write on their website.
“By researching how psychedelics work, we will be a step closer to understanding how specific areas of the brain are affected to induce certain psychological effects,” they explain.
Psilocybin – the key ingredient in magic mushrooms – has already been studied and it is believed that the drug plays a key role in an area of the brain that is associated with depression, obsessive compulsive disorder and Alzheimer’s.
“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,” the researches have said.
Furthermore, new research this week has even suggested that psychedelics, like LSD and mushrooms, don’t increase risk of developing mental health issues. The findings, published in the journal Nature, cautioned that alcohol could be worse.
“Drug experts consistently rank LSD and psilocybin mushrooms as much less harmful to the individual user and to society compared to alcohol and other controlled substances,” the researchers said.
“Many people report deeply meaningful experiences and lasting beneficial effects from using psychedelics,” they said in a statement.
People who struggle with substance abuse also commonly suffer from one or more psychological disorder, such as depression, anxiety, PTSD. It’s important to treat all issues thoroughly yet at the same time as there is overlapping between the conditions. Dual diagnosis drug treatment is designed to help get people back on track with therapy and medication – if needed – and without the crutch of ongoing alcohol and other drug abuse.
Author: Justin Mckibben
Did you ever wonder what kind of mischief the dinosaurs of the world far before our time ever got themselves into? What kind of lives they lived and what we could compare to the way our world is now besides them basically being giant monsters that ruled the world? Well apparently there ain’t no party like a prehistoric party, and dinosaurs were doing drugs way before humans were even a thing.
A new discovery has indicated that psychedelic fungi are as old as the dinosaurs, and this particular brand of plant was probably included as part of the dinosaurs diet. This strange new revelation comes hand in hand with surprising new evidence suggesting that grasses are more ancient than previously thought, and may have co-evolved with dinosaurs.
Plotting Time with Plants
The vegetation being referred to as Grasses (Poaceae) are such a dominant and apparently simple feature of the planet that it’s easy to imagine that they are as old as life on land, but up until this recent correlation all evidence for the origin of Grasses was a rarity.
Fossil records indicate that the great grasslands are a commonplace on earth today have only developed relatively recently, after the development of C4 photosynthesis gave plants a huge evolutionary advantage. Of course this is far before our time, but in the timeline of a planet that separates species that have dominated it that is but a hiccup of time.
Then in 2005 distinctive grass features were found in dinosaur droppings. Then more surprising revelation came with the discovery of a grass floret trapped inside a 12 millimeter piece of amber from Myanmar that was dated to 97-110 million years ago. This particular find came with an implication to a story even more likely to make waves, or at least end up trending a little more on social media: Palaeoclaviceps parasiticus, an extinct fungus related to ergot.
So what is so special about that fungus? Well the group of fungi species known as Ergot produces the molecule ergotamine. Still a little lost? Me too, never did know much about botany. That molecule is closely related in structure and effects to lysergic acid, whose amide is… guess who… LSD!
While this doesn’t mean that dinosaurs were wearing tie-dye or staring at the clouds all day listening to the Beetles, at the very least this discovery proves that Ergot dates back well into the dinosaur’s era, whether they hallucinated or not. So this does not prove dinosaurs were affected by its famous derivative, or that they even ate it. But the previous discovery that dinosaurs were eating the grasses and passing them through their system makes it very likely that some were getting a dosing themselves with lysergic acid. The man who inspired Jurassic Park, Emeritus Professor George Poinar of Oregon State University, has stated,
“It seems like ergot has been involved with animals and humans almost forever, and now we know that this fungus literally dates back to the earliest evolution of grasses.”
“But it also shows that this parasitic fungus may have been around almost as long as the grasses themselves, as both a toxin and natural hallucinogen.”
Now you might believe a hallucinogenic plant from a few hundred years ago might not have quite the same effects as a drug from a few million years ago, the ergot sample found is very similar to its modern counterpart of LSD, and Professor Poinar went on to say,
“There’s no doubt in my mind that it would have been eaten by sauropod dinosaurs.”
Based on these findings, and the idea that this fungus was definitely (probably) on the menu for dinosaurs back in the day, many now believe that humans have actually evolved alongside the hallucinogen, which is used to produce LSD. Turn down for the Mesozoic era!
Thankfully, here at Palm Partners we do not discriminate against dinosaurs, Tyrannosaurus and Velociraptors alike are all welcome.
All jokes aside, drugs have a long history of causing serious harm to those who become trapped by their use. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
In this series we are going to be talking about drug myths or drug misconceptions (some drug truths too). We all have heard the drug myths and misconceptions before. Even people who haven’t used drugs have probably heard a few of them. The drug myths and misconceptions, truth are, you know, the stories like George Washington smoked weed, and that Ecstasy puts holes in your brain etc. (those will be looked at in later posts.) Whatever the substance and whatever the story we are here to finally get the truth out about it all!
This is drug myths debunked: LSD.
(Disclaimer: As we “debunk” myths we are not saying you should use these substances or saying that these substances are safe to use. This is merely a fun and factual article. Substance abuse in any way regardless of what is true and what isn’t, can be dangerous.)
In this entry; I am going to be spitting the truth about one drug that has one of the biggest myth archives to date: LSD.
And let me just say this: Everything you think you know about LSD wrong.
I don’t know where half the myths came from I just know I have heard a lot of them when it comes to LSD. I have heard the stories about strychnine, how it stays in your spine, that if you take more than 7 hits you are clinically insane, about getting bad acid, and so much more. I am here to get the truth out! It is time the smoke and mirrors about LSD were removed. Let’s get started:
What is LSD?
LSD (Lysergic acid diathylamide) is an illegal drug first made by Sandoz, a Swiss drug manufacturer, in 1938. The story goes that Albert Hofmann, a young chemist working for Sandoz, first stumbled upon LSD-25 (so named because Hofmann tried 24 derivatives of fungus that grew on rye (ergot) before coming to the drug we have now) hoping it would help stimulate the respiratory and circulatory systems. Then, 5 years later, after shelving the project, he produced the drug again and this time he took 250 micrograms, believing that such a dose would have minimal effects, if any at all. In fact, LSD is very active even in small doses. Feeling dizzy, Hofmann decided to leave work on his bicycle, unwittingly going on the first LSD trip. LSD is a psychoactive hallucinogenic drug. It’s most common form is that of ‘blotter papers’ – small squares of paper that have been dipped in LSD. LSD can also come in the form of a powder or crystal, a liquid, gelatin squares, laced on a sugar cube, or a small pill. LSD is also known as acid.
Here are the myths that have come about since then:
LSD contains strychnine: FALSE
Anti-drug educators frequently told their students some varying story with the theme of getting strychnine poisoning. For example, that strychnine is commonly sold as a cheaper substitute for LSD by unscrupulous drug dealers; that strychnine is a byproduct of LSD synthesis; that the body produces strychnine as a result of LSD being metabolized; or that strychnine is used as a preservative to prevent the otherwise natural, rapid decomposition of LSD, allowing it to be stored; or that strychnine is somehow necessary to bond LSD to blotter paper. None of this is true. Ever since the anti-drug crusades this story has been perpetuated to the point where even the drug users themselves believe it and have continued perpetuating it. In reality, most hallucinogens cause some degree of mental or physical discomfort after the “trip” is over. This is an indirect effect of the drug, not strychnine or any other adulterant.
The truth about strychnine: Strychnine itself is one of the bitterest substances known. The bitter taste can be detected at 1 part per million, which is well below the toxic level that causes adverse effects (this means you would know it was in your acid). The dangerous dose of strychnine is too high(big) to be contained in a blotter square and be fatal or cause even adverse effects; even if the entire square were composed of the poison it wouldn’t cause adverse effects. But strychnine has been discovered mixed with LSD on very rare occasions but it has also been found mixed with other drugs. In a few samples recovered by law enforcement agencies, any substance with strychnine were found in murder or attempted murder investigations where someone was being specifically targeted for poisoning, and not associated with recreational LSD use.
Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds by The Beatles stands for LSD: FALSE
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds was the title a drawing, by Lennon’s son Julian. The drawing is of his friend Lucy Vodden, in the sky, with diamonds. Whether young Julian was taking acid at the time is up for debate.
LSD stays in your spinal fluid: FALSE
This legend may have its foundation in the fact that chronic LSD use can result in flashbacks and hallucinogen persisting perception disorder or HPPD. There remains no consensus regarding the nature and causes of HPPD or flashbacks. That’s beside the point though, LSD physically remaining in the body for months or years after consumption has been discounted by experimental evidence. Although the body does store some toxins in fat tissue, and residues of some drugs and toxins can be found in spinal fluid, LSD is not among these. LSD is metabolized by the liver, and has an elimination half-life of around 2.5 to 4 hours, and is insoluble in fats.
Aldous Huxley Took Acid The Day He Died: TRUE
Aldous Huxley, famous promoter and icon of hallucinogens such as LSD, mescaline, peyote as well as the author of “The Doors of Perception” and “A Brave New World” did in fact take acid on the day he died.
Baseball Legend Dock Ellis Once Pitched a No-Hitter Under the Influence of LSD: TRUE
Dock Phillip Ellis, Jr. (March 11, 1945 – December 19, 2008) was an American professional baseball player. A pitcher, Ellis played in Major League Baseball from 1968 through 1979 for the Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics, Texas Rangers, and New York Mets. In his MLB career, he had a 138–119 win-loss record, a 3.46 earned run average, and 1,136 strikeouts. Ellis threw a no-hitter on June 12, 1970. He later claimed that he accomplished the feat under the influence of LSD. Ellis was the starting pitcher for the National League in the All-Star Game in 1971. That year, the Pirates were World Series champions. He also had a substance abuse problem, and he acknowledged after his retirement that he never pitched without the use of drugs. After going into treatment Ellis remained sober and devoted the remainder of his life to counseling drug addicts in treatment centers and prisons. He died of a liver ailment in 2008 at the age of 63.
A person who has used LSD more than seven times is automatically declared legally insane: FALSE
The same claim is often suggested with large doses, the difference being that the person is considered psychotic only for the duration of the trip. An extension of this legend is that a person who does LSD more than “X number of times” is permanently disqualified from the military as a result of being “legally insane,” a version which was likely inspired by wishful thinking of drug-using draft dodgers in the 1960s. However, no such law exists, at least not in the United States.
Caught with LSD you get manslaughter charges or attempted murder charges: FALSE
No state or federal law allows for a seller of illegal drugs to be charged with that crime under any relevant legal theory. This myth may have origins in stories about long prison sentences for possession or sale of LSD, that may have been comparable to sentences given to those convicted of murder.
Man permanently thinks he is a glass of orange juice (or becomes an orange) on LSD: FALSE
Another common legend, again dating back to the 1960s, was that a man who took LSD went insane and permanently thought that he was a glass of orange juice. Because of this, he could never bend over, slept upright and did not make any sudden movements. Alternative versions sometimes have the man thinking he is a glass of milk or a whole orange. Another version of this myth states that the man believed he had become an orange, and was afraid he would be ‘peeled’ by his friends
You can get “bad” LSD: FALSE
A “bad trip” is easily caused by an expectation or fear of ill effects, which may later be blamed on “bad acid”. This legend was made famous at the 1969 Woodstock festival, when concert-goers were warned to stay away from “the brown acid”, which was allegedly bad. One possible reason people believe that they had “bad acid” could be because they were simply sold a much higher dose than usual, which is not uncommon due to the inherent lack of quality control of illicit drugs. The stronger the dose, the stronger and potentially more anxiety-provoking the trip can get. Drugs described as LSD in the 1970s occasionally actually contained PCP, amphetamine, or other drugs that have quite different effects from LSD. There are now many research chemicals (DOB, 2C-I, DOI, 25I-NBOMe etc.) that can be nearly indistinguishable from real LSD before use, and can be easily confused with “bad acid”.
And that’s it for now! Hope you enjoyed finding out how little you actually knew about LSD.
If you or someone you love is in need of drug or alcohol addiction treatment, please give us a call at 800-951-6135.