• Global Health NOW: MDMA Fails to Pass Muster; Fentanyl Harm Reduction Faces a Backlash; and Young Women Fight for Menstrual Health Education

    A dose of MDMA in the office of Michael Mithoefer, a psychiatrist who has studied the use of the drug as a PTSD treatment in Mount Pleasant, SC. Aug. 2017. Travis Dove/ Washington Post/Getty Images
    MDMA Fails to Pass Muster

    A U.S. FDA panel has roundly rejected the psychedelic drug MDMA as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder—a setback for advocates who hope to bring the drug into mainstream mental health treatment, reports the AP.

    Background: The review marked the first time that FDA advisers have considered a Schedule I psychedelic for medical use.

    If approved, MDMA would have been the first new treatment for PTSD in 20+ years, reports NBC News.

    In trials, researchers found a “significant reduction” in the severity of participants’ PTSD symptoms after being given the drug, also known as ecstasy or molly.

    Sticking points: The panel of advisers voted 10-1 against the drug’s treatment benefits versus risks, citing flawed data submitted by the drugmaker, Lykos Pharmaceuticals, that included:

    Potentially “inflated” results due to difficulties in double-blinding.

    Significant risks such as potential for heart problems.

    Allegations of research misconduct.

    What’s next? The FDA is not required to follow the group’s advice, but it typically does. It is expected to make its final decision by August.

    Bigger picture: MDMA is the first in a series of psychedelics—including LSD and psilocybin—expected to soon come before FDA review. But the overwhelmingly negative panel ruling could derail financial investments in the industry.

    #Psychédéliques #Médecine #Traitement #PTSD #MDMA #Refus

  • A Fraught New Frontier in Telehealth : Ketamine - The New York Times

    Un (long) article passionnant. On retrouve un processus qui a créé la crise des opioides. Même si le danger de la kétamine n’est pas comparable, le pattern de comportement des autorités, comme des fabricants, des médecins et des patients est similaire. Et on retrouve toujours « l’excuse » des mauvais comportement avec un « bon » produit que les fabricants d’opioides, notamment les Sackler, ont utilisé très longtemps (avant qu’ils ne se mettent à fabriquer des produits pour sauver des overdoses, puis se déclarent en faillite pour ne pas payer d’amendes).

    Covid-19 exacerbated the nation’s mental health crisis and underscored the inadequacy of many existing treatments, accelerating a reconsideration of once-stigmatized psychedelics. Because the Food and Drug Administration approved ketamine as an anesthetic more than 50 years ago, federal rules allow doctors to prescribe it for other conditions as well, and its use for depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder was growing before the pandemic.

    With the rule changes in 2020, the at-home ketamine industry appeared practically overnight.

    Tech start-ups and individual doctors began offering medical services online, and so-called compounding pharmacies, which can make variations of approved drugs, found a market for tablet and lozenge versions of ketamine, normally manufactured as a liquid and distributed in vials.

    Primed by glowing media coverage and aggressive advertising, many patients interviewed by The Times came to regard the drug — and its remote availability — as akin to a miracle cure with few risks.

    Studies of recreational users have documented that ketamine — popularly known as K or Special K, with a reputation as a club drug — can be addictive and, when taken chronically in high doses, can cause severe bladder damage that in the worst cases requires surgical reconstruction of the organ. There are indications that abuse may also lead to cognitive impairment.

    Advocates of increased therapeutic use say those issues are exceedingly rare or nonexistent at the doses and frequencies commonly prescribed. But because treatment is remote and there is little mandatory reporting of side effects, it is nearly impossible to accurately gauge their prevalence.

    Many ketamine patients described the drug as a reset button for the brain. During treatment sessions, they experienced pleasant visualizations, sometimes accompanied by a sense of existing outside themselves and melding with the universe. Afterward, their daily problems seemed less weighty.

    The considerable hype surrounding ketamine stems in part from the drug’s ability to affect brain receptors that traditional antidepressants do not target. The psychedelic-like trip, many believe, is integral to the drug’s therapeutic effect.

    But for some patients who spoke to The Times, including a Tennessee cybersecurity manager and a former Pennsylvania factory worker, the profound experiences of their early sessions faded. Chasing the lost high, they sought increased doses, took multiple days’ worth at once or altered the medicine to release more of its payload.

    For others — a Utah data analyst, a California bartender and a Pennsylvania internet entrepreneur — ketamine treatment eventually meant dealing with a constant urge to urinate, often painfully, as well as other bladder ailments.

    The experiences of the dozens of patients who shared their stories with The Times encapsulate both the well-publicized promise of ketamine and the lesser-discussed risks.

    “We know at a certain point you will get both the neurotoxic and the bladder-toxic effects — we just don’t know at what level,” said Dr. Gerard Sanacora, a psychiatrist and leading ketamine researcher at Yale University.

    In the absence of data, some medical professionals said they were becoming more conservative in their prescribing because of anecdotes in published case reports or online forums.

    Professional groups have developed informal guidelines that emphasize catching symptoms early, reducing the dose and spacing out treatments. But some at-home providers are pushing in the opposite direction, viewing ketamine as just another medicine to be taken regularly.

    “I would be worried about chronic usage,” said Dr. Adam Howe, a urologist at Albany Medical Center who advises a group developing treatment guidance. Damage is avoidable with proper safeguards, he said, but “common sense would tell you, if you’re to use this every day for years on end, then at a certain point, you’re going to be damaging your bladder probably.”

    The literature on addiction and abuse among medical users is also thin and inconclusive. Supporters point to studies indicating that patients on ketamine rarely, if ever, have those issues. Others note a pattern common in drug development: an initial overestimation of benefit, followed by more tempered results and recognition of previously undetected harm.

    Production Is Booming

    For years, mental health clinics have administered the F.D.A.-approved liquid form of ketamine that doctors also use to sedate patients in surgery. But at-home treatment created demand for a version that was less potent and easier to take — something not available from drugmakers.

    Enter a uniquely positioned industry: compounding pharmacies.

    These specialized companies operate in a murky regulatory space somewhere between a corner drugstore and a pharmaceutical manufacturer. They can produce variations of approved drugs but do not have to follow the same quality-control rules as drugmakers.

    Most compounding pharmacies do not have to notify federal regulators when they learn of a patient experiencing a problem, and they are rarely, if ever, inspected by the F.D.A. In many cases, the agency may not even know they exist.

    Companies that once served primarily local customers now ship their products across the country as the ketamine boom has presented an alluring opportunity.

    “It’s become the new buzz in this space,” said Jeanine Sinanan-Singh, chief executive of Vitae Industries, which sells a machine that compounding pharmacies can use to produce doses at a faster clip than with other methods.

    Joyous is the new kid on the at-home ketamine block, a reflection of where market forces and scant regulation have taken the fledgling industry. The company has sought to distinguish itself by promoting its tech-driven, customizable treatment plans, but the real draw for many patients is its pricing.

    “I signed up for Joyous, if we’re being honest, just because of the price,” said Francisco Llauger, who, like Mr. Curl, found in-clinic treatments effective but too expensive.

    Joyous illustrates a reality of how at-home ketamine has evolved: Patients with some of the most serious and complicated mental health challenges are turning to some of the most hands-off treatment, according to The Times’s interviews.

    The company has carved out its place with a novel approach: Instead of prescribing higher doses to be taken once or twice a week, Joyous offers lower doses to be taken daily.

    Melding the argots of Silicon Valley and self-care, Joyous delivers treatment primarily by text message, replete with exclamation points and emojis. Each morning, patients receive a questionnaire on their phones asking about symptoms and side effects, and each evening, they get a text with the next day’s recommended dose.

    “Our algorithms use all of this information to tailor the protocol exactly to your brain and body’s needs,” Sharon Niv, co-founder and chief of customer experience, says in a video. In written responses to questions from The Times, the company said its general treatment approach “has been adapted and used by providers nationally and internationally” for more than five years and its internal data indicated that “this medicine is highly effective for both anxiety and depression.” It declined to provide details about how its technology works.

    The company says lower doses translate to lower risk. Yet most of the eight Joyous patients who spoke with The Times said their doses reached the maximum the company would prescribe within weeks. Some providers who generally support at-home treatment expressed concern that taking ketamine every day, even at lower doses, could heighten the risk of tolerance, addiction and bladder problems.

    “We believe that the patients who choose Joyous understand the risks and feel that the benefits outweigh the potential risks,” the company said, adding that nine out of every 10 patients “report feeling better overall.”

    “We want to emphasize that Joyous is a public benefits corporation,” the company said, “meaning that we prioritize public goods over profits.”

    The future of the ketamine boom depends largely on the actions of the federal government in the coming months. While states have some authority, the most important policy decision rests with the D.E.A. If the agency doesn’t take action before the Covid-19 public health emergency is scheduled to end in May, patients may be required to have at least one in-person visit before they can be prescribed ketamine. The D.E.A. declined to comment on its plans.

    Many patients who spoke with The Times expressed hope for a middle ground: something more stringent than the current laissez-faire approach but not so restrictive that a potentially lifesaving treatment became inaccessible.

    Mr. Curl said he hoped that his and other patients’ negative experiences would not ruin the at-home ketamine experiment more broadly.

    “I’m not on a mission to get them shut down or anything,” he said, “because that’s not going to solve any problems for people like me.”

    #Kétamine #Psychédéliques #Dépression #Abus #Pharmacie #Déontologie #Santé_publique

  • Des chercheurs montrent comment le #LSD libère et étend notre perception

    « Tout le processus de développement et d’éducation de l’enfant consiste à prendre votre cerveau, qui est extrêmement malléable, et à le forcer à ressembler à celui de tout le monde. Sous les #psychédéliques, vous revenez à un état où des zones du cerveau qui n’ont pas communiqué depuis que vous êtes bébé peuvent le faire à nouveau. Et c’est cette connectivité accrue qui permet aux gens d’obtenir de nouvelles informations sur d’anciens problèmes ».

    La capacité du LSD à libérer l’activité cérébrale peut expliquer pourquoi les psychédéliques peuvent aider les personnes souffrant de dépression, d’anxiété et d’autres troubles de santé mentale tels que le trouble de stress post-traumatique. « Dans la #dépression, les gens sont enfermés dans une façon de penser qui est répétitive et ruminative. C’est comme la pensée jalonnée. Les psychédéliques perturbent ce genre de processus afin qu’ils puissent y échapper », conclut Nutt.

    Source : https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.05.14.444193v2

  • En lien avec une discussion ayant eu lieu ici : https://seenthis.net/messages/900435#message901007 j’ouvre ce nouveau fil de discussion sur les #drogues_psychédéliques.

    Pour rappel : https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psych%C3%A9d%C3%A9lisme

    Un article paru dans The Conversation en français où il est question de l’usage thérapeutique de ces drogues. Si on veut aller tout de suite au sujet on peut faire l’économie de lire la première partie où l’auteur rappelle l’histoire de l’apparition de ces produits, non sans quelques inexactitudes.
    La seconde partie ouvre des perspectives dans le traitement de certains #troubles_mentaux comme la dépression, les addictions, etc. Leur usage pourrait même soulager certain·es patient·es atteint·es d’un cancer en leur faisant mieux accepter la mort.

    Premières recherches thérapeutiques

    À partir des années 1950 et 1960, les scientifiques commencent à explorer le potentiel de ces substances nouvellement découvertes, en particulier aux États-Unis. Ils testent notamment leurs effets sur la dépression, l’anxiété, l’alcoolisme, les troubles obsessionnels compulsifs, ou encore les soins palliatifs, avec l’espoir d’en faire des médicaments.

    Ces pionniers découvrent notamment que l’état d’esprit de la personne et les conditions extérieures jouent un rôle majeur dans le déroulement de la séance. C’est la raison pour laquelle, aujourd’hui, les chambres d’hôpital dans lesquelles se déroulent les essais sont aménagées en des lieux chaleureux.

    Les chercheurs découvrent aussi le rôle essentiel que jouent les « guides », autrement dit des personnes habituées de ces substances, qui ne vont pas quitter le sujet durant son voyage intérieur. Comme l’écrit Michael Pollan dans Voyage aux confins de l’esprit : « À bien des égards, la thérapie psychédélique semblait davantage relever du chamanisme (…) que de la médecine moderne ».

    #hallucinogènes #trip #psychédélisme #révolution_intérieure #Foucault #LSD #drogue #thérapie

  • Michel Foucault en Californie sous LSD : “La plus grande expérience de sa vie”

    Traduit pour la première fois en France, le récit de Simeon Wade retrace le séjour californien de Michel Foucault en 1975 et son initiation au LSD. Retour sur un moment de bascule dans la vie et l’œuvre du philosophe.

    Alors donc c’est à partir de là qu’il serait devenu libéral ? :D

    #Foucault #LSD #drogue #1975

      (en attendant l’article des prescripteurs culturels des années 90, si il arrive ici)

      Foucault avait succombé au désespoir avant son voyage dans la Vallée de la Mort, raconte Wade, contemplant dans Les Mots et les Choses de 1966 “la mort de l’humanité…..”. Au point de dire que le visage de l’homme avait été effacé.” Par la suite, il a été “immédiatement” saisi par une nouvelle énergie et une nouvelle motivation. Les titres de ces deux derniers livres, réécrits, “sont emblématiques de l’impact que cette expérience a eu sur lui : L’Usage des plaisirs et Le Souci de soi, sont sans mention de finitude.” James Miller, biographe de Foucault, nous raconte dans le documentaire ci-dessus (à 27:30) -Michel Foucault Par delà le bien et le mal – que tous ceux à qui il a parlé de Foucault avaient entendu parler de la Vallée de la Mort, puisque Foucault avait dit à quiconque l’écouterait que c’était “l’expérience la plus transformatrice de sa vie”.

      Il y avait des gens, note Heather Dundas, qui croyait que l’expérience de Wade était contraire à l’éthique, qu’il avait été “insouciant avec le bien-être de Foucault”. A cette provocation, Wade répond : “Foucault était bien conscient de ce que cela impliquait, et nous étions avec lui tout le temps”. Lorsqu’on lui demande s’il avait pensé aux répercussions sur sa propre carrière, il répond : “rétrospectivement, j’aurais dû”. Deux ans plus tard, il a quitté Claremont et n’a pu trouver un autre poste académique à temps plein. Après avoir obtenu une licence d’infirmier, il a fait carrière comme infirmier au Los Angeles County Psychiatric Hospital et au Ventura County Hospital, exactement le genre d’institutions que Foucault avait trouvé si menaçantes dans son travail antérieur.

      Wade est également l’auteur d’un récit de 121 pages sur l’expérience dans la vallée de la mort et, en 1978, il a publié Chez Foucault, un fanzine miméographié qui présente l’œuvre du philosophe, y compris une entrevue inédite avec Foucault. Foucault, pour sa part, s’est lancé vigoureusement dans la dernière phase de sa carrière, où il a développé son concept de biopouvoir, une théorie éthique de l’autosoin et une vision critique des thèmes philosophiques et religieux classiques sur la nature de la vérité et de la subjectivité. Il a passé les 9 dernières années de sa vie à poursuivre les nouvelles voies de pensée qui se sont ouvertes à lui pendant ces dix heures extraordinaires sous le soleil chaud et les étoiles rafraîchissantes du désert de la Vallée de la Mort.

      La découverte du LSD en Californie par l’un des philosophes les plus importants du 20e siècle constitue plus qu’une simple anecdote. Elle illustre sa reconceptualisation de la politique comme « l’invention de soi ».


    • Un bouquin à lire sur les « expériences » avec l’hallucinogène de synthèse le plus puissant qui ait jamais existé : « Voir la lumière » ( Outside Looking In en anglais) roman documentaire de Tom Coraghessan Boyle sur le #LSD, sa découverte, ses expérimentations médicales et ses détournements « récréatifs » même si la récréation peut souvent tourner au jeu de massacre.

      Le mot de la fin prononcé par Timothy Leary « himself » qui éclaire un de ses « étudiants » à propos d’une question « existentielle ». Ça résume bien à mon humble avis ce qu’il faut retenir de toutes ces « expériences » :

      Tim sortit le flacon, il l’eut dans la main, le Delysid, le LSD 25, avec son étiquette à l’avertissement absurde -Poison- alors qu’en fait, la substance qu’il contenait était le seul antidote connu contre le poison du monde, de la conscience, du non-Dieu, du non-savoir, de la pitoyable maîtrise de l’humanité sur les fils de la nature et les confins noirs et morts de l’espace qui, gueule insatiable, engloutissait tout.

      « Dis-moi que tu y es allé. Dis-moi que tu as vu Dieu. »

      Tim dévissa le bouchon du flacon. Il fit glisser six pilules dans la paume de sa main, trois chacun, une dose digne de tous les dieux qui avaient jamais existé. Il lui fit un clin d’œil. Il sourit. Se pencha en avant sur le berceau de ses genoux et tendit la main.

      « Merde à Dieu, dit-il, planons. »

    • Le LSD. Comment l’armée a lancé l’acide. L’emblème de la révolution psychédélique des sixties n’est pas sorti d’un potager hippie : l’acide lysergique diéthylamide, ou LSD, a été découvert dans un labo suisse, étudié par la CIA, testé par l’armée américaine





    • Ton propos @touti me rappelle un grave incident dont le théâtre fut la ville de Pont-Saint-Esprit en Ardèche, où, vers le 15 août 1951, les habitants se mirent à avoir des comportements étranges quasi simultanément. En quelques jours, on ne comptait plus les cas d’hallucinations effrayantes, les comportements suicidaires (défenestration), les crises de démence en tout genre, etc.
      On mit alors ces manifestations sur le compte d’un empoisonnement de l’eau et on accusa la CIA d’y avoir déversé un hallucinogène puissant : le LSD venait de faire une entrée fracassante dans la médiasphère française.
      En fait des études médicales révélèrent que la plupart des habitants de ce bourg avait consommé le même pain, celui de leur boulanger fait à base de farine de seigle. On en a déduit sans pouvoir le prouver formellement que cette farine de seigle contenait un parasite de la plante : l’ergot de seigle. L’ergot de seigle contient un alcaloïde proche du fameux « diéthylamide de l’acide lysergique 25 » (Lyserg Säure Diethylamid en allemand et 25 parce que la molécule subit 25 transformations chimiques). L’ergotisme sévissait déjà au Moyen-Âge, époque où l’on consommait beaucoup de farine de seigle, et les symptômes de l’empoisonnement étaient connus sous les noms de "Feu de Saint-Antoine ou « mal des ardents ».

      Un article qui relate l’affaire avec force détails :

      Mais comme il n’y a pas de fumée sans feu, les services secrets US furent mis sur la sellette : donc, ça devait quand même se savoir que des apprentis sorciers officiels, CIA compatibles, devait bidouiller d’étranges molécules psychotropes pour « paralyser l’ennemi ».
      Mort de rire, les troufions sous « acid » de la vidéo :-))

      Et un autre article qui évoque les thèses (on ne disait pas encore « complotistes » à l’époque) de l’empoisonnement par les services secrets US :

    • Merci pour le rappel à propos de l’histoire de l’empoisonnement à l’ergot de seigle à Pont-Saint-Esprit @sombre. Juste un détail : Pont-Saint-Esprit est dans le Gard. Bon tu es excusé car dans le secteur 4 départements se rencontrent : Gard, Ardèche, Drôme et Vaucluse.

    • je m’étonne encore d’avoir vu, dans le désert Wirikuta, sous Peyotl, une bande d’ancêtres, très préhistoriques, qui passaient par là, alors que je ne savais pas, du tout , que cet endroit précis leur était réservé par les Huichols. Sinon des hallus, loin d’être fun, absolument splendides, bouleversantes, une connexion cosmique très facile à moquer mais d’une puissance incroyable ; vraiment voir les veines des plantes, et une pluie d’étoiles RVB tombant d’un ciel sans lune, et très franchement quelque chose d’Athéna, une fille de 3 mètre de haut, en pierre bleue, en garde, lance à la main, à l’entrée de ce lieu sacré dont je ne connaissais pas, du tout (encore une fois) le statut (et rien qui ne marque l’endroit à part un simple cercle de pierres pour faire un feu). Comme tout le monde, la plus belle expérience qu’il m’ait été donné de vivre.

    • Pont-Saint-Esprit est dans le Gard.

      J’en prends bonne note :-)

      @tintin : les expériences « psychédéliques » mériteraient un fil de discussion à part entière. Perso, je n’ai jamais expérimenté : me sachant fragile du ciboulot, j’ai toujours eu la trouille d’un aller-simple vers l’HP ... ou pire.

    • @tintin merci pour ton témoignage. L’environnement (urbain ou naturel, mystique ou récréatif) compte énormément. Même observation dans l’attention que nous mettons dans notre perception décuplée que nous ne saurions pas accepter sans le prétexte des drogues. Je crois que c’est W.Burroughs qui décrit notre capacité à être sous drogue sans en avoir pris :)

      Pour te dire, je pense que ce monde a inversé la notion de folie. Juste 10 jours dans la montagne sauvage à faire les foins en riant, manger naturel avec les babosses, l’hallucination est vraiment totale quand tu redescends et que tu vois un parking de supermarché couvert de boites en fer avec des roues. :P

    • ah oui les premiers trip à 16 ans sous les ponts du périph de la chapelle ou enfermé au gibus, c’était surtout pénible, et le fun ça ne suffit pas, manque un truc... mystique. Les amis au mexique font la purge, de manière médicale-shamanique, une fois par an, des fois ça vomis, ça se chie dessus même, ça vois des monstres... moi le désert m’a bien sourit, sur ce coup là, mais je ne crois pas que j’y retournerais, trop loin,un peu absurde, pas huichol, quelle idée... par contre faire les foins en montagne sauvage, bien d’accord qu’il y a de quoi décoller ! diable

    • ah et soit dit en passant, le peyotl, c’est beaucoup moins fort que sa version militaire, le LSD. On peut manger un tout petit bout, et « voir » des choses sans se sentir entièrement submergé, comme lors des grosses montées de lsd ou d’autres trucs de synthèse. Mais, quelque soit la dose, c’est vraiment vraiment déconseillé à celleux qui ont des antécédents « psychotiques » (disons qui ont déjà senti qu’iels pouvait partir loin). Prendre ça à 16 ans, sans avoir la moindre idée de ce qu’on avale, et sans cadre/entourage, c’est de la roulette russe...

  • Soignera-t-on un jour grâce au LSD et aux champignons hallucinogènes ?

    À partir des années 1950 et 1960, quelques équipes de scientifiques ont commencé à évaluer le potentiel thérapeutique des substances psychotropes dites « psychédéliques », telles que le LSD, découvert en 1943, ou la psilocybine extraite des champignons hallucinogènes.

    De l’ergot de seigle au LSD

    Michael Pollan fait commencer son récit en 1943, l’année où le chimiste suisse Albert Hofmann, qui travaille pour la firme pharmaceutique Sandoz, prend involontairement du Lysergic Säure Diethylamid (diéthylamide de l’acide lysergique). Il avait synthétisé cette substance alors qu’il travaillait sur un alcaloïde de l’ergot du seigle (Claviceps purpurea), un champignon parasite pouvant être à l’origine de graves intoxications, autrefois appelées « feu de Saint Antoine » ou « mal des ardents ».

    Voyage aux confins de l’esprit - Michael Pollan
    Ce que le #LSD et la #psilocybine nous apprennent sur nous-mêmes, la conscience, la mort, les #addictions et la #dépression

    RAIKINAS - (T)R.I.P. Electric Valley Records

  • The New Science of Psychedelics : A Tool for Changing Our Minds

    Moving Forward

    The psychedelics renaissance is coming at a time when new tools for mental health are sorely needed.

    Other branches of medicine—cardiology, oncology, infectious disease—have made huge strides in the last 50 years, both in reducing suffering and prolonging life. But mental healthcare has essentially been at a standstill since the introduction of the antidepressants known as SSRIs in the 1980s.

    To go from their current classification as Schedule 1 drugs—high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use—to getting approved as a medicine, psychedelics need to go through the standard three-phase FDA approval process: first an open-label, no-placebo pilot study, followed by a placebo-controlled trial, then a larger placebo-controlled trial.

    Pollan believes MDMA and psilocybin could be approved within five years; the FDA has granted breakthrough therapy status to both, which means they actively help researchers design trials that will move the drugs to approval. MDMA is already in Phase 3 trials.

    The biggest bottleneck is funding. The studies are expensive and controversial, and the National Institute of Mental Health has a minuscule budget compared to that of the National Institute of Health. Thus far, psychedelics research has been privately funded.

    “It’s not a right-left issue, especially when it comes to treating soldiers with PTSD,” Pollan said. But there is the issue of how to incorporate the drugs into mental healthcare as we currently practice it. The pharmaceutical industry isn’t interested in a drug people only need to take once; likewise, the therapy business model depends on people coming back every week for years. Even if this shifted, therapists would need extensive training before being able to administer psychedelics.

    “I think we’ll figure it out, but it’s a whole new structure, a whole new paradigm, and that may take a little while,” Pollan said. After all his research, though, he for one is highly optimistic.

    “One of the things that excites me most about psychedelics is that yes, there’s a treatment here—but they’re also very interesting probes to understand the mind,” he said.


  • Dans la #Silicon_Valley, le retour des #drogues #psychédéliques | Les Echos

    Tous les matins, c’est le même #rituel. « Je me lève, je bois un thé vert, je prends ma #dose, puis je médite un peu. Sous la douche, déjà, je commence à sentir les bénéfices, j’ai plein d’idées qui apparaissent. » Lové dans un fauteuil de l’hôtel Rosewood Sand Hill, le QG officieux de la crème de la Silicon Valley, à deux pas du siège de Facebook, l’entrepreneur #Cory_McCloud admet ne pas pouvoir fonctionner sans sa « microdose » de #LSD . « Je prends un dixième d’une dose normale, parfois deux dixièmes selon les jours, détaille ce quadra, qui a vendu, au tournant des années 2000, sa première start-up d’édition en ligne à Martin Eberhard, le cofondateur de Tesla. Je le fais de façon quasi quotidienne depuis plusieurs années. Avec le temps, j’ai optimisé mon protocole. Ca m’aide à concevoir des systèmes dans ma tête, à imaginer les architectures dont j’ai besoin pour mes projets. Il y a un effet ’Eureka’. 

    Certains estiment pourtant que le LSD a été à la Silicon Valley ce que la cocaïne a été à Wall Street. « L’iPhone n’aurait jamais existé sans LSD », assure Cory McCloud, qui cite, comme beaucoup d’autres, Steve Jobs. »

  • Psychedelic Mushrooms Are Closer to Medicinal Use (It’s Not Just Your Imagination) - The New York Times

    Researchers from Johns Hopkins University have recommended that psilocybin, the active compound in hallucinogenic mushrooms, be reclassified for medical use, potentially paving the way for the psychedelic drug to one day treat depression and anxiety and help people stop smoking.

    The suggestion to reclassify psilocybin from a Schedule I drug, with no known medical benefit, to a Schedule IV drug, which is akin to prescription sleeping pills, was part of a review to assess the safety and abuse of medically administered psilocybin.

    Before the Food and Drug Administration can be petitioned to reclassify the drug, though, it has to clear extensive study and trials, which can take more than five years, the researchers wrote.

    The analysis was published in the October print issue of Neuropharmacology, a medical journal focused on neuroscience.

    For decades, though, researchers have shunned the study of psychedelics. “In the 1960s, they were on the cutting edge of neuroscience research and understanding how the brain worked,” Dr. Johnson said. “But then it got out of the lab.”

    Research stopped, in part, because the use of mind-altering drugs like LSD and mushrooms became a hallmark of hippie counterculture.

    The researchers who conducted the new study included Roland R. Griffiths, a professor in the departments of psychiatry and neurosciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, who is one of the most prominent researchers on the behavioral and subjective effects of mood-altering drugs. The researchers reviewed data going back to the 1940s.

    Dr. Johnson said that the F.D.A. had approved a number of trials of psilocybin. If its use is approved for patients, he said, “I see this as a new era in medicine.”

    He added, “The data suggests that psychedelics are powerful behavioral agents.” In legal studies, he said, participants are given a capsule with synthetic psilocybin. (They are not given mushrooms to eat, which is how the drug is most often ingested.)

    He warned, though, that psilocybin is not a panacea for everyone. In their analysis, the researchers called for strict controls on its use. There are areas of risk, too, for patients with psychotic disorders and anyone who takes high doses of the drug.

    #Psychédéliques #Psylocybine #Champignons #Usage_médical #Pharmacie

  • Magic Mushrooms Fight Authoritarianism | Alternet

    Psychedelic drugs have been associated with anti-authoritarian counter-cultures since the 1960s, but a new study suggests using psilocybin, the psychedelic compound in magic mushrooms, actually makes people less likely to embrace authoritarian views, PsyPost reports. The study conducted by the Psychedelic Research Group at Imperial College London was published in the journal Psychopharmacology.

    While other studies have linked the use of psychedelics to a greater sense of oneness with nature, openness to new experiences and political and social liberalism, this is the first to provide experimental evidence their use can leading to lasting changes in these attitudes.

    In the study, researchers gave two oral doses of psilocybin to seven participants suffering from treatment-resistant major depression while a control group of seven healthy subjects did not receive psilocybin. Researchers surveyed participants about their political views and relationship to nature before the sessions, one week after the sessions, and 7-12 months later.

    Subjects who received the psilocybin treatment showed a significant decrease in authoritarian attitudes after treatment, and that reduction was sustained over time. They also reported a significant increase in a sense of relatedness to nature.

    "Before I enjoyed nature, now I feel part of it. Before I was looking at it as a thing, like TV or a painting… But now I see there’s no separation or distinction—you are it,” one participant told researchers.

    Subjects who had not received psilocybin did not exhibit significant changes in attitudes.

    #Psychédéliques #Psylocybine #Pharmacologie

  • You Won’t Believe Which Middle East Theocracy Takes an Enlightened Line on Entheogens and Psychedelics! | Alternet

    In a move barely noticed in the West, more than three years ago, Iran’s Grand Ayatollah Rohani issued a formal legal ruling—a fatwa—declaring that the use of entheogens and psychedelics was permissible (ḥalāl) for Shi’i Muslims for purposes of treatment and spiritual growth.

    Grand Ayatollah Rohani’s fatwa specified that such use should be undertaken under the direction and supervision of qualified experts, but it did not specify which psychoactive substances were meant to be included. The fatwa, however, was delivered after long discussions with petitioners about the effects of DMT, ayahuasca, haoma (or soma), LSD, psilocybin mushrooms, ibogaine, and marijuana.

    Whatever the precise theological reasoning behind the Rohani’s fatwa, with it, Iran could leapfrog Western nations when it comes to psychedelic research. Although psychedelics are seeing a research renaissance in the West, research here is limited by their criminalized legal status, as well as lack of funding. But the Islamic Republic has cleared the way.

    #Psychédéliques #Iran

  • Want to Cut Crime? Hand Out Psychedelics | Alternet

    New research suggests that psychedelic use is associated with a lesser likelihood of criminal behavior. The finding opens the door to further research on the use of classical psychedelics such as psilocybin (magic mushrooms), LSD and mescaline (peyote), in treatments aimed at reducing such behavior.

    Researchers found that having ever used a psychedelic was associated with a 22% decrease in the odds of being arrested for a property crime and an 18% decrease for violent crime within the past year. Use of psilocybin (magic mushrooms) in particular was linked to a decreased likelihood of either property or violent crimes.

    “These findings are consistent with a growing body of research suggesting classic psychedelics confer enduring psychological and prosocial benefits,” Hendricks said. “Classic psychedelics can produce primary mystical experiences — also known as primary religious experiences or peak experiences — and have been used for millennia across cultures with therapeutic intention.”

    #Psychédéliques #Traitements_médicaux #Violence #Santé_publique

  • Can Underground Psychedelic Therapy Ever Go Mainstream ? - Pacific Standard

    Hallucinogenic therapy, a longstanding underground therapeutic movement, is now reaching research institutions like Johns Hopkins. Studies explore the ability of psychedelics to amplify access to thoughts and feelings. Research results are promising enough that the Food and Drug Administration recently designated MDMA-assisted psychotherapy a “breakthrough therapy” for post-traumatic stress disorder, which essentially fast-tracks the last phase of clinical trials before medicalization.

    “You can get to content that usually would have heightened defenses,” Holly says of psychedelic therapy. “It’s assisted therapy. It’s really all it is.” A 2016 study in the Journal of Psychotherapy Integration found that, for successful psychotherapy outcomes, “the most important common factor was the therapeutic alliance,” meaning the relationship between the patient and therapist.

    #Psychédéliques #Usage_médical #Santé_mentale #Santé_publique

  • What Can We Learn from 1967’s Summer of Love to Help Us Through Our Current Political Nightmare? | Alternet

    An interview with Danny Goldberg, author of the new book “In Search of the Lost Chord,” a book that definitively captures the events and the meaning of 1967, a magical year in our history, but a time that is often misunderstood.

    #Psychédéliques #Politique_USA #Hippies

  • Psychedelics work by violating our models of self and the world | Aeon Essays

    Psychedelic drugs are making a psychiatric comeback. After a lull of half a century, researchers are once again investigating the therapeutic benefits of psilocybin (‘magic mushrooms’) and LSD. It turns out that the hippies were on to something. There’s mounting evidence that psychedelic experiences can be genuinely transformative, especially for people suffering from intractable anxiety, depression and addiction. ‘It is simply unprecedented in psychiatry that a single dose of a medicine produces these kinds of dramatic and enduring results,’ Stephen Ross, the clinical director of the NYU Langone Center of Excellence on Addiction, told Scientific American in 2016.

    Just what do these drugs do? Psychedelics reliably induce an altered state of consciousness known as ‘ego dissolution’. The term was invented, well before the tools of contemporary neuroscience became available, to describe sensations of self-transcendence: a feeling in which the mind is put in touch more directly and intensely with the world, producing a profound sense of connection and boundlessness.

    How does all this help those with long-term psychiatric disorders? The truth is that no one quite knows how psychedelic therapy works.

    Today there are neuroBuddhists, neuroCartesians and neuroHumeans all over the world, filling PowerPoint screens with images of fMRI scans supposedly congenial to their theory. Abnormal cognitive conditions, pathological or otherwise, serve as a crucial source of evidence in these debates, because they offer the chance to look at the self when it is not working ‘properly’. Data floods in but consensus remains elusive. However, the emerging neuroscience of psychedelics may help resolve this impasse. For the first time ever, scientists are in a position to watch the sense of self disintegrate and reintegrate – reliably, repeatedly and safely, in the neuroimaging scanner.

    #Psychédéliques #conception_du_moi

  • Study Finds Magic Mushrooms Are the Safest Recreational Drug | Alternet

    Mushrooms are the safest of all the drugs people take recreationally, according to this year’s Global Drug Survey.

    Brad Burge from the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (Maps) urged caution on relying on people’s self reports for data as people often take multiple drugs at the same time, so you can’t be sure which one is causing the problem.

    He also highlighted that seeking emergency medical treatment means different things for different drugs. With a drug such as heroin, a trip to the emergency room is a life-or-death situation requiring resuscitation and medication. With LSD or mushrooms, there is no toxicity and the effects wear after a few hours.

    “There is no known lethal dose for LSD or pure psilocybin,” he said.

    Both Winstock and Burge said that the findings indicate a need for drug policy reform, with a focus on shifting psychedelics off the schedule one list of the most dangerous controlled substances.


  • W. B. O’Shaughnessy and the Introduction of Cannabis to Modern Western Medicine | The Public Domain Review

    Cataleptic trances, enormous appetites, and giggling fits aside, W. B. O’Shaughnessy’s investigations at a Calcutta hospital into the potential of medical marijuana — the first such trials in modern medicine — were largely positive. Sujaan Mukherjee explores the intricacies of this pioneering research and what it can tell us more generally about the production of knowledge in colonial science.

    Interestingly, it is while recording a failed treatment of hydrophobia that O’Shaughnessy notes one of the fundamental arguments for this medicine: even if it failed at curing the actual root of the illness, “at least one advantage was gained from the use of the remedy — the awful malady was stripped of its horrors”. If the illness was terminal, at least cannabis could enable the physician to “strew the path to the tomb with flowers”.4

    The argument is not unfamiliar today, and indeed, in a prescient echo of more recent advocates of cannabis’ legalisation, O’Shaughnessy also downplays the drug’s supposed negative effects compared to other certain popular legal narcotics.

    It is perhaps thanks to Ameer, that O’Shaughnessy’s report is so able to display an exceptionally close knowledge of the uses of the various extracts. While Sidhee, Subjee and Bang (“used with water as a drink”) is “chiefly used by the Mahomedans of the better classes”, Sidhee (“ground, mixed with black pepper, and a quart of cold water”) is the “favourite beverage of the Hindus who practice this vice”. Gunjah, on the other hand, is “used for smoking alone”, and one rupee weight mixed with dried tobacco, “suffices for three persons”, although you find “four or five persons usually join in the debauch”. The demography is curious, especially in the case of Majoon, (a hemp confection which is “a compound of sugar, butter, flour, milk, and Sidhee or Bang”) which is consumed by all classes, “including the lower Portuguese or ‘Kala Feringhees,’ and especially their females”.11

    #psychédéliques #médecine

  • Why Leading Beatnik Poet Allen Ginsberg Was a Crusader for Legalizing LSD | Alternet

    Quand Alan Ginsberg va devant le Sénat pour défendre le LSD

    Ginsberg finally told of an LSD experience at Big Sur last fall. It was his first in several years, he said, and was shortly before the Berkeley Vietnam demonstrations. “We were all confused . . . many angry marchers blamed the President for the situation we were in. I did, too. The day I took LSD was the same day that President Johnson went into the operating room for his gall bladder illness. As I walked through the forest wondering what my feelings toward him were . . . the awesome place I was in impressed me with its old tree and ocean cliff majesty. Many tiny jeweled violet flowers along the path of a living brook that looked like Blake’s Illustration of a canal in grassy Eden: huge Pacific watery shore. I saw a friend dancing long haired before giant green waves, under cliffs of titanic nature that Wordsworth described in his poetry, and a great yellow sun veiled with mist hanging over the planet’s ocean horizon. Armies at war on the other side of the planet . . . and the President in the valley of the shadow—himself experiences what fear or grief? I realized that more vile words from me would send out negative vibrations into the atmosphere—more hatred against his poor flesh and soul on trial—so I knelt on the sand surrounded by masses of green kelp washed up by a storm, and prayed for President Johnson’s tranquil health.”

    #psychédéliques #santé_publique

  • LSD Microdosing Is Trending in Silicon Valley, But Can It Actually Make You More Creative? | Alternet

    Microdosing LSD also purportedly enhances overall well-being, helping to reduce stress and anxiety while improving sleep and leading to healthier habits. Although a widely reported phenomenon in the media, the lack of scientific studies on microdosing makes the prevalence near impossible to estimate. Reports suggest that what started off as an underground practice in Silicon Valley may be spreading rapidly to other workplaces.

    It is currently unknown how such low doses of psychedelics act in the brain to produce these intriguing self-reported effects on creativity. Like all classic hallucinogens, LSD produces its potent mind-altering effects primarily by mimicking the effects of the brain chemical serotonin, which regulates our mood. In particular, LSD activates 5-HT2A receptors in the pre-frontal cortex, which increases activity of the chemical glutamate in this region. Glutamate enables signals to be transmitted between nerve cells, and plays a role in learning and memory.

    In humans, two distinct effects of recreational doses of LSD have been reported. Initially, people experience psychedelic and positive feelings of euphoria. This may be followed by a later phase characterised by paranoia or even a psychotic-like state. LSD at low doses may produce mood elevation and creativity, mediated by the serotonin-mimicking effects. Actions on both glutamate and serotonin may also act to improve learning and cognitive flexibility, necessary for creativity, in the workplace. These findings could partly help to explain the microdosing phenomenon.

    Clinical research with psychedelics is currently undergoing a major revival after having been brought to a halt in the 1960s. One of the benefits of conducting research into psychedelics is their potential to help deepen our understanding of consciousness. In 2016, researchers from Imperial College London were the first to use brain scanning techniques to visualise how LSD alters the way the brain works. One key finding was that LSD had a disorganising influence on cortical activity, which permitted the brain to operate in a freer, less constrained manner than usual.

    In a small pilot study, LSD in combination with psychological therapy also led to a slight improvement in anxiety experienced by terminally ill cancer patients. Many of these psychiatric disorders are characterised by inflexible, habitual patterns of brain activity. By introducing a disordered state of mind, LSD and other psychedelics may help to break these inflexible patterns.

    In an increasingly competitive world it is tempting to find a quick fix to help us achieve more, better and faster. Yet, is this right? As a society we should consider the reasons as to why healthy people choose to use drugs in the first place. A reliance on cognitive-enhancing technologies to cope with demanding working conditions may ultimately reduce the health and well-being of individuals. So we must take care to ensure that enhancement is not seen as a substitute for a healthy working environment.

    It is therefore important that more research is done on the safety and efficacy of microdosing. In the meantime, physical exercise, education, social interaction, mindfulness and good quality sleep have all been shown to improve cognitive performance and overall well-being.

    #psychédéliques #LSD #études_médicales #santé_publique

  • Brain scans reveal how #LSD affects consciousness

    Under the influence of LSD, the brain’s visual cortex has increased connectivity with other brain regions (right) than when imaged under placebo (left).

    For brain researchers, studying how psychedelic drugs such as LSD alter the ‘normal’ brain state is a way to study the biological phenomenon that is consciousness.

    #conscience #psychédéliques