The Second Coming of Psychedelics

May 7, 2013 | By | 19 Replies More

Flickr - Psychedelic - aussiegallDon Lattin, Spirituality & Health
Waking Times

Ric Godfrey had the shakes. At night, his body temperature would drop and he’d start to tremble. During the day, he was jumpy. He was always looking around, always on edge. His vibe scared the people around him. He couldn’t hang on to a job.

He started drinking and drugging, anything to numb out.

Years passed before a Department of Veterans Affairs  counselor told him he had severe post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. The former Marine had spent the early 1990s interrogating prisoners in Kuwait. Years later, he was still playing out the Persian Gulf War.

Counseling helped a little, but the symptoms continued. He went to rehab for his substance abuse, then tried Alcoholics Anonymous. “That went on for 10 years,” he said. “I don’t know how many times I hit rock bottom.”

Then one of his Seattle neighbors—a woman who also suffered from PTSD—told him about a group of veterans who were going down to Peru to try a psychedelic drug called ayahuasca, a jungle vine that is brewed into a tea. Indigenous Peruvians called it “sacred medicine.” A wealthy veteran had started a healing center in South America and would pay all his expenses.

The next thing Ric knew, he was crawling into a tent on a platform out in the middle of the Amazon jungle. The sun went down. The shaman gave him the tea, a blessing, and a pail in which to vomit.

“Your body will not keep it in you,” Ric recalled. “At first, it’s the worst thing you’ve ever done in your life. Then all of a sudden you blink your eyes and you are not there anymore. You get out of your body and look back and see what is wrong with you. I saw the shell of the person I didn’t want to be and stepped out of it. It was the most amazing thing. I’ve taken lots of drugs before, but I never remembered. I think this is the key. You actually gain knowledge from this. I don’t even consider it a drug. It’s an eye-opener. It makes you think about stuff. Your deepest, darkest secrets, stuff you have been holding on to since you were eight years old—it washes out of you, and you feel like a totally different person. People look at you differently. Your whole world changes before your eyes.”

Three years later, Ric Godfrey says he hasn’t had a single symptom of the shakes or night terror since he came back from the jungle. He’s relaxed and holding down a great job.

“I’ve always been afraid that someone was out to get me, but I don’t have that fear anymore,” he says. “I still like to sit with my back to the wall. I still have certain military idiosyncrasies, but I’m not afraid anymore.”

Psychedelic drugs are back. Not that they ever really went away. You could always find them on the street, in the psychedelic underground, and along the more enlightened edges of the drug culture. What’s new is that these powerful mind-altering substances are coming out of the drug counterculture and back into the mainstream laboratories of some of the world’s leading universities and medical centers. Research projects and pilot studies at Johns Hopkins, Harvard, Purdue University, and the University of California, Los Angeles, are probing their mind-altering mysteries and healing powers. Psychedelic drugs like psilocybin and Ecstasy are still illegal for street use and cannot be legally prescribed by doctors, but university administrators, government regulatory agencies, and private donors are once again giving the stamp of approval—and the money needed—for research into beneficial uses for this “sacred medicine.”

“This field of research is finally coming of age,” said David Nichols, a veteran researcher and recently retired professor from the Purdue University College of Pharmacy and the Indiana University School of Medicine. “As Crosby, Stills, and Nash said, it’s been a long time coming.”

TO THE FRINGE AND BACK

Mainstream America’s panic over psychedelics began after experiments at Harvard in the 1960s by the notorious psychologists Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert spun out of control. What began as the Harvard Psilocybin Project had morphed into a crusade to turn America on to the wonders of LSD. The researchers were eventually removed from the school’s faculty, and Leary served prison time for marijuana possession. “Timothy Leary played a very significant role in the backlash,” said Roland Griffiths, a professor in the departments of psychiatry and neuroscience at Johns Hopkins, who has emerged as one of the leaders in the new wave of research into the therapeutic use of psychedelic drugs. “Leary was an iconic figure at the time, but he modeled the wrong outcome by departing from scientific method. He had a lot of interesting things to say about it but didn’t pursue a systematic and cautious experimental approach.”

The excesses weren’t limited to Harvard. “Out on the West Coast we had the acid tests [of Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters] and all that—parties where psychedelic beverages were distributed,” said Charles Grob, a professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at UCLA who has studied ayahuasca rites in Peru and led research with psilocybin and cancer patients. “The culture was not prepared to handle these compounds.”

The 1970 Controlled Substances Act reclassified common hallucinogens as “Schedule I” drugs, meaning they were considered easy to abuse and had no legitimate medical use. New limitations were placed on human research, and federal funding disappeared.

But the times they are a-changin’. There’s a new openness to the medicinal use of marijuana. In the November elections, the states of Washington and Colorado legalized the recreational use of pot. Baby boomers who came of age in the psychedelic ’60s and ’70s are now running government agencies and university administrations.

Leading the campaign in the new wave of government-sanctioned research is the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, an independent nonprofit that has raised millions of dollars to fund an ongoing study into the use of MDMA, also known as Ecstasy, to treat returning war veterans and rape survivors suffering from PTSD.

In the first phase of that study, MAPS researcher Michael Mithoefer, a psychiatrist from South Carolina, treated 21 patients. Some participants were given MDMA with psychotherapy, while some got a placebo along with their therapy. Researchers hoped to show that MDMA’s ability to enhance trust, empathy, and openness would make it easier for patients to recount a traumatic event. It did. Over 80 percent of those who received MDMA had no PTSD symptoms two months later, compared with around 25 percent of those who got the placebo. Patients with MDMA-assisted therapy did better than those treated with traditional prescription drugs, such as Zoloft or Paxil.

In November 2012, Mithoefer and his colleagues released more results in a paper published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology. It showed that the benefits of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy were sustained over an average of three and a half years from the time the drug had been last ingested, an exceptionally lengthy period for a follow-up study. Furthermore, there were no reports of lasting harmful effects from exposure to the drug.

Rick Doblin, the executive director of MAPS, envisions his organization as a self-supporting nonprofit that will train therapists, run its own clinics, and distribute Ecstasy to doctors and psychologists.

MAPS now controls 960 grams of Ecstasy that was legally manufactured in 1985 by Nichols, the Purdue University chemist. That’s enough for between 4,000 and 5,000 doses, and it has not lost its potency. “It’s still the world’s purest MDMA,” Doblin said.

HEAVEN OR HELL

The use of psychedelic drugs for therapeutic purposes is not without controversy, however.

In the 1950s, writer Aldous Huxley warned that psychedelics can take users to “heaven or hell”—for some, a path to enlightenment; for others, the spark for psychosis.

Huston Smith, a scholar of world religions who was another early explorer, noted the drugs can mimic “authentic religious experience” but questioned whether altered states of consciousness actually change the way people live their lives.

Smith also issued early warnings that today’s “ayahuasca tourists” might consider. While “sacred medicine” may be helpful for someone who was raised in a Native American religious culture, it may prove disastrous for an outsider unprepared for a mind-blowing trip. “History shows that minority faiths are viable, but only when they are cradled in communities that are solid and structured enough to constitute what are in effect churches,” Huston writes in an essay titled “Psychedelic Theophanies and the Religious Life.” More recently, the dangers of using psychedelics without medical supervision were illustrated when a man died after ingesting ayahuasca at the same Peruvian retreat center where Ric Godfrey had his life-changing experience.

Doblin and other advocates of psychedelic-assisted therapy acknowledge that these powerful substances—while not as addictive as drugs like alcohol, heroin, or cocaine—can be abused by recreational users. They propose a system in which they can be prescribed by doctors and administered by trained therapists.

Nevertheless, researchers and advocates contend that psychedelic drugs, used under close supervision, hold great promise for a deeper understanding of the connection between the brain and human consciousness.

“Where does our capacity for consciousness come from?” asked David Presti, who teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in neuroscience at the University of California, Berkeley. “It’s still a huge mystery. It’s the biggest mystery of all in science, and psychedelics are the most powerful probe to study that connection.”

PROFOUND CAPACITY FOR HEALING

In an interview in his office in the Life Sciences Building on the Berkeley campus, Presti held up a large piece of dried ayahuasca vine. He said brain scientists are confirming what shamanic cultures around the world have known for millennia. “These substances have a profound capacity when used under appropriate conditions to be catalysts for real transformation in people, for real healing.”

A Johns Hopkins study of psilocybin and mystical experience is a good example. Follow-up surveys of 36 “hallucinogen-naive adults” who took psilocybin under Griffiths’s supervision found that two-thirds of them rated the sessions as being “among the five most spiritually significant experiences of their lives.”

Griffiths’s work on the behavioral and subjective effects of mood-altering drugs has been largely supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health. Along with Grob, he has studied the effects of psilocybin to treat anxiety in cancer patients—their research found that low doses of psilocybin improved the patients’ mood and reduced their need for narcotic pain relievers. Another Johns Hopkins researcher, Matthew Johnson, has begun a new pilot study to see if the active ingredient in psilocybin mushrooms, commonly called “magic mushrooms,” can help people overcome their addiction to tobacco.

Griffiths’s personal interest in meditation inspired his study of psilocybin-occasioned mystical experience in healthy volunteers. One research subject, Brian, who asked that his last name not be used, recalled, “I was unified with everything. I still had enough awareness to get up and walk to the bathroom, but everything was so incredibly beautiful that I laughed and cried at the same time. I was one with it. It was just incredible—one of the top five experiences I have ever had in my life.”

The experience was so spiritually profound that Brian recommitted himself to his study of meditation and Buddhism and in late 2012 was scheduled to be ordained as a monk in the Soto Zen tradition.

For Presti, outcomes like Brian’s are not surprising.

“One of the ways psychedelics work is by reducing our psychological defenses. They allow the person to become aware of uncomfortable feelings and thoughts so they can come to the surface and be therapeutically processed,” he said. “Nobody knows exactly how these things work, but there may be some kind of hard rewiring that goes on in the brain. They may increase neuroplasticity—make the neurons more susceptible to forming new connections.”

He believes the substances should also be studied as a possible treatment for depression.

“But there is a lot of resistance to this from the pharmaceutical industry. The last thing it wants to see is a substance people only use once or twice. They want us to use something every day for the rest of our life. That’s how they make money.”

Other researchers are troubled that the new wave of psychedelic research is blurring the lines between spiritual experience and the hard science of medicine.

“We are not purveyors of spirituality. Having an epiphany is not a part of medicine,” said John Mendelson, a senior scientist at the California Pacific Medical Research Center in San Francisco. “Most of medicine is not predicated on making you better than you are. It’s getting you back to where you were. There are lots of people and things out there can make us feel better, but our job is to diagnose and treat and fix diseases.”

EXPLORING A SCIENTIFIC FRONTIER

But that view is no longer going unchallenged.

A new generation of dedicated psychedelic drug researchers has emerged on university campuses across the nation. Many of them gathered last September at a “Psychedemia” conference at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. They see their mission as “integrating psychedelics into academia.”

“Psychedelic studies are entering the mainstream,” said Neşe Devenot, a young graduate student at Penn and a lead organizer of the multidisciplinary conference. “You can talk about this now at the dinner table without coming across as some kind of fanatic.”

During a lunch break at the weekend conference, one of the wise elders in the field of psychedelic drug research, Johns Hopkins psychologist William A. Richards, sat in the cafeteria in the basement of Houston Hall, surveying the buzz of intergenerational excitement. Richards has been exploring these realms since the early 1960s with such luminaries as Stanislav Grof, Abraham Maslow, Walter Pahnke, and, yes, Timothy Leary.

Richards knows there could be another backlash against psychedelic drug research, not just by those who are still fighting the “war on drugs” but also by academics who resist the idea that scholars should seriously study something as slippery as spirituality.

“But if mysticism is to emerge from silent monastic cells into the bright light of scientific discourse, I see no alternative,” Richards says. “We have arrived at that frontier where the growing edge of true science meets the mystery of the unknown. Here faith takes over, either belief in something or belief in nothing. These experiences are not in any drug. They are in us.”


SIDEBAR: Healing a Broken Life

Judith Goedeke helped others through her work as an acupuncturist. She’d always taken care of her own body. Then she was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2003.

“How has this happened to me?” she remembers asking herself. “I was just obsessing over that question. I did not do the things that assault the kidney in my adult life.” Then she thought of another possibility.

“In my younger years I went a very long time in fear. My house was not a safe place, and I know from my work with Chinese medicine that fear does assault the kidney.”

Judith had her left kidney removed. “By its removal I am removing decades of trauma,” she told herself. “I would see it then as a really deep healing, and I could live with that.”

Over the next five years she had three CT scans a year. There was no indication of further disease, and she was released from the care of her oncologist.

A couple of years later, Judith heard about a study at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, under researcher Roland Griffiths. Patients with life-threatening illnesses were being treated with psilocybin, a synthesized version of the drug found in “magic mushrooms,” to help them deal with the psychological trauma of a cancer diagnosis.

“At first, I couldn’t see myself doing this,” she recalls. “I am a cancer survivor. I have tremendous respect for my body and am very careful.”

Judith decided to enter the study after she got to know two staff members with the project who would guide her through the process. “They are very solid and generous, deeply spiritual good people. I had a tremendous amount of trust in everyone I encountered who was part of the program.”

She was led through two psychedelic sessions, one with a low dose and one with a high dose.

She saw what seemed like the ornate work of a great medieval cathedral, patterns that would rapidly change color and texture. There were other hallucinations of strange, garish creatures—like something out of a carnival. They annoyed her, and scared her a bit.

“I said silently, ‘OK. Here’s the deal. If I give myself over to you, will I get myself back in at least the same shape?’ And what I heard was a voice that said, ‘Do you think I would disrespect my own handiwork?’”

Three years later, Goedeke feels that the session has helped her to finally heal her decades-old trauma.

“It was out of my brokenness that the disease got hold of me,” she said. “So it helped me heal my life in a way that years of therapy and years of acupuncture and decades of journaling had not done. I felt like I could forgive all the folks who had unintentionally harmed me, and forgive myself of unintentionally harming myself. That has had tremendous ramifications in my family and stays with me on a daily basis. I’ve learned that we are not here to judge one another. Forgiveness is not earned. It is simply the way forward.”

About the Author

Writer Don Lattin‘s most recent book is a memoir titled Distilled Spirits: Getting High, Then Sober, with a Famous Writer, a Forgotten Philosopher, and a Hopeless Drunk. Original art for this article by Archan Nair.

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Category: Body, Consciousness, Culture, Evolution, Healthcare, Ideas, Mind, Natural Health, Science, Self, Society, Time & Space, Transformation

Comments (19)

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  1. I’m sure that I shall not be alone in finding a good deal to worry about at the prospect of the so-called scientific community coming so late to to consider psychedelics. When they say that the community was not ready for these drugs in the sixties and seventies they imply that somehow, if they had been able to secure them or their own purposes – therapy and research,- the many years of prohibition could have been avoided.

    The truth is that nothing can prepare you for your first experience of a true psychedelic. These, as your man found after his interrogation career, can change lives more often than they do not. In my view the last thing we need is to have these sacred substances whisked off to laboratories by the bien-pensant careerists to limit access to the halt and the lame and anyone else they deem appropriate.

    The nature of psychedelics is inherently such that government and those who seek to take authority instinctively know that such drugs undermine their position by opening up the consciousness of people who will thereafter be less susceptible to control. They are right, and for that reason if no other we should prefer illegality to domestication by regulation for psychedelics.

    • Trev says:

      Have you looked into the actual people doing the research? They are far from lame and dull…Look into MAPS and people like Rick Doblin, Stan Grof, Dennis McKenna, etc, etc..This isn’t government who is doing the research. And there is zero reason why further validating the usefulness of psychedelics through science would somehow “limit” their availability more than it has already been limited.

      It will do the opposite..It will help those who need them have greater, legal access. They’ve already prescribed LSD in places in Europe to treat certain things, for example. Many other things like Iboga, MDMA, psilocybin, and ayahuasca are also showing tremendous promise when used carefully in a controlled and positive environment and mind-set.

      • dimitri says:

        Stan Grof’s research with LSD in the USA was government funded. The subjects were alcoholics and people near death, not your average Joes. Conclusions from his controlled sessions were vague and inconsistent. The research was halted when LSD was “criminalized” in 1970.

        Grof’s biggest contributions to the annals of acid experiences are his colorful and poeticized accounts of his own acid trips. He’s an interesting and intellectual fellow who got involved with LSD because it provided a meal ticket. It was government in Iron Curtain Czechoslovakia that funded his original LSD research when he was a psychiatry student there.

        So, in at least two instances it was government that was doing the research, undoubtedly with nefarious mind control ambitions.

        • Trev says:

          Um, I was talking about the research that is being done NOW. In the past ten years an amazing amount of things have been done.

          And the fact that government once funded something doesn’t mean that something is somehow tainted, regardless of how completely twisted and insane the government is. They will try and twist whatever they get their hands on into somehow benefiting their agenda.

  2. No Bicycle says:

    Nevertheless, researchers and advocates contend that psychedelic drugs, used under close supervision, hold great promise for a deeper understanding of the connection between the brain and human consciousness.

    The only known scientific and authentic writer on consciousness, the late Gopi Krishna,would take issue with that statement. Drugs alter and diminish consciousness. Thus, seeing that relationship between drugs and diminished consciousness is possible, but finding a relationship with drugs and higher consciousness is a false piste.

    • Trev says:

      Your idea that “drugs diminish consciousness” couldn’t be further from the truth. It all depends on the mind set, environment, and context. Psychedelics are non-toxic, non-addictive tools that expand consciousness when used properly and carefully.

      Why do you think DMT, and several other very potent psychedelics, are produced in the human body and present in the brain? Why do you think psychedelics even work at all? They only work because they are like a lock in a key- the key being the receptors in our brains. Our brains RUN on drugs my friends. Its about time this ignorance in regards to “drugs” ends and people de-condition themselves from the idiotic culture stigma and misinformation surrounding psychedelics.

      You seem incredibly unaware of the profound usefulness of these tools which has been verified by shamanic communities worldwide for thousands of years, along with the current breakthrough therapeutic research being done with them that ARE allowing people to change their lives for the better.

      “People use the word “natural” … What is natural to me is these plant species which interact directly with the nervous system. What I consider artificial is 4 years at Harvard, and the Bible, and Saint Patrick’s cathedral, and the sunday school teachings.”

  3. halderon says:

    The red flag is “nobody knows how these drugs work.” Work at what? And no where do I see the dangers of “Flashbacks” where you don’t even have to take the drug to have the experience. I was at Berkley during the 60′s=so I know a little of what I write. Now, Trev knows how they work. As a matter of fact he states that results were backed by the shamanic communities, and those are famous for their pains- taking research. I was at the V.A. to check these marvelous drugs(for 20.00) and this guy had been screaming for a long time, so I grabbed a doctor and asked,”Why?” and he said,”The guy is having the hallucination that he is being eaten by a giant spider, and we can’t stop this.” Well, Bye! 4 of us were going to San Fransisco on the Bay Shore Freeway, and we were going about 80, when the guy sitting next to me, forced the door open and left thinking that we were no longer moving. Picking up a friend with a sponge was all I need to know,but those horrors aren’t mentioned here.

    • you says:

      LSD Bad, DMT Good as you know, since you are manufacturing it.
      When did Fear ever get in the way when it comes to exploration!
      Perhaps our Government F(r)iends have something to fear?
      We can explore Space but leave Consciousness well alone!
      Yes Master;)

  4. Trev says:

    No one is saying there isn’t dangers. Taking them in a completely stupid environment with a completely stupid and irresponsible mind-set obviously is a recipe for disaster. They’re not risk-free…Just like driving a car isn’t risk free, or flying in an airplane, or riding a bike, etc.

    But when used CAREFULLY in a controlled environment with a positive and prepared state of mind they have been proven to be very useful. To deny otherwise because a few idiots used them irresponsibly or because some people have rough experiences is ridiculous

  5. dimitri says:

    Psychedelics were but one of multiple types of drugs and substances that were rained down on America and subsequently other western cultures by US Government Intel Agencies for a number of reasons: 1) straight street sale profit, 2) to undermine “youth rebellion”, 3) to undermine the anti war movement, and most of all 4) to have an undisputed reason to launch The War on Drugs, aka The Inception of the United Totalitarian States of Amerika.

    All this hogwash about the spiritual and psychological “benefits” of getting whacked out on Ayachuasca, acid, shrooms, hash, or what have you needs to be left behind together with the dying generation of New Agers. There is serious work for the mankind to do in order to survive as a species. Facing this work half whacked out on last month’s acid trip is no way to go about it.

    I hail from the New Age generation. I did it all – bad trips and good. I had my insights and I had my bummers. Been there – but hardly need to do it again, and wouldn’t recommend a mind bender as therapy to anyone, even an adversary. Never know – that adversary could come back at you lethally.

    The current push for new research on psychedelic substances and experiences comes, I suspect, from TPTB. They want to control and exploit it all. And second rate, prostitute “scientists” seem only too eager to jump on this opportunity to land a big fat government grant for writing reports guaranteeing predetermined conclusions. Don’t trust it! Especially when the MSM is also headlining with the same theme.

    • Trev says:

      *Yawn*

      I guess Francis Cricks lsd fueled insight into the structure of DNA, and Karey Mullis’s lsd fueled idea which landed him a nobel prize are also just “wacked out” ? These are just two examples of thousands.

      The fact is, that research has SHOWN that ayahuasca and iboga can do amazing things for those battling opiate or other addictions, and can even be helpful for a range of other psychological problems. Perhaps you’d like to ‘debunk’ the studies that also showed terminally ill cancer patients benefited tremendously from psilocybin?

      You all need to expand your narrow reality-tunnels and get past your own preconceptions surrounding what psychedelics are. Look at the data, it speaks for itself.

      • dimitri says:

        As we learn from much if not all research these days the data is made to fit the conclusions. I used to have preconceptions about what psychedelics are. But since then I have smelled, made, and used just about all of them. Though some trips were rewarding, they all left me with the sense of what No Bicycle called “diminished consciousness.”

        The very current finding that humans had larger brains and perhaps greater spiritual capacity thousands of years ago is very appealing in that it provides an explanation for why in this day and age people are so drawn to “blowing their minds” for a temporary glimpse and experience of the sublime, the universal, the “sacred.” In the olden days it might have happened spontaneously.

        Since our capacities are chemically diminished by conventional lifestyles and diets, shouldn’t we be working on those rather than occasionally rattling our mental equilibrium with O.D.’s of psychedelics?

        Sorry that I made you yawn.

        • Trev says:

          There is absolutely zero evidence that psychedelics “diminish of consciousness” in the way you describe. In fact things like ayahuasca have been proven to upregulate seratonin receptors. I.E. Brain Growth. And other studies have shown people attain very useful insights and report expanded awareness. They were once referred to as mind expanding for a reason my friend.
          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7892432

          I don’t know why you even said “O.D”. First off, no one is saying we should take irresponsibly large doses of these powerful tools. Secondly, it is virtually impossible to take a deadly overdose of things like ayahuasca, lsd, mushrooms, cannabis, etc, because they are so non-toxic.

          Just because you didn’t gain anything from using psychedelics doesn’t mean no one else can or has. Tell that to the cancer patients who benefited immensely from it. And countless others who have found relief from their addictions through ayahuasca or iboga therapy. Not everyone gets the same thing out of them, and there is also the important of set/setting; a poor set/setting won’t usually help spur much in the way of spiritual growth. (Not to mention that considering you claim to have used and made “all” of them, it doesn’t sound like you were doing it in the most responsible and productive way you could have)

          “The very current finding that humans had larger brains and perhaps greater spiritual capacity thousands of years ago is very appealing in that it provides an explanation for why in this day and age people are so drawn to “blowing their minds” for a temporary glimpse and experience of the sublime, the universal, the “sacred.” In the olden days it might have happened spontaneously.”

          And isn’t it telling that ancient cultures who were aware of this all employed shamanic techniques that- more often then not- included plants that interact with our consciousness as a means to re-access what was lost?

          “Since our capacities are chemically diminished by conventional lifestyles and diets, shouldn’t we be working on those rather than occasionally rattling our mental equilibrium with O.D.’s of psychedelics?”

          We should explore many avenues for restoring our consciousness. Diet is a part of it, as is lifestyle.. Dogmatically sticking to certain ones while ignorantly dismissing other practical avenues all because of illogical reasoning and un-supported preconceptions isn’t going to get us anywhere, and never has.

          Many people still experience these psychedelic states spontaneously, but there is evidence it was more common in the past. I was one of them as a kid, and they still happen from time to time (especially in meditation..which can be very similar to ayahuasca)

          I’m not saying consciousness = the brain, but these states are *partially* made possible through the activity of naturally occuring psychedelics in the brain such as DMT, pinoline, and many many other ones that our brains produced.
          All of the evidence I’ve seen suggests we are chronically deficient in these sorts of biochemicals. Tony Wright covers this in his book (free .pdf) http://leftinthedark.org.uk/sites/default/files/Left%20in%20the%20Dark%20free%20edition.pdf

          The ancients employed a plethora of techniques to address these deficiencies and access these latent abilities and unitive states of consciousness.

          To assume that we can go from the forests of Africa, where the biochemistry provided by our diet (which also heavily influenced what we could chemically produce ourselves) was at a level of complexity that was literally unimaginable and off the charts, to living off of junk food is insane. Considering all this, who in their right mind wouldn’t address these chemical deficiencies and utilize tools for re-accessing the latent potential within us all?

          • barrabus says:

            Meditation, diet, natural botanical remedies,raise the vibrational level at which you perceive the “reality” we are living in and DMT, to wonder and give praise to the one consciousness and ever evolving Creation that goes on in another dimension that keeps ours together.
            Through my studies/journeys the message is very clear, the destructive behaviour and ignorance of humanity has got to be stopped,we really need to raise our game.

      • you says:

        You all need to expand your narrow reality-tunnels and get past your own preconceptions surrounding what psychedelics are. Look at the data, it speaks for itself.

        or

        You all need to expand your narrow reality-tunnels and get past your own preconceptions surrounding what psychedelics are. Look at the DATE, it speaks for itself.

  6. abinico warez says:

    Symptoms sound like they are more than PTSD – would guess they were exposed to something that caused neurological damage.

  7. halderon says:

    Trev: Once again your immateriality shows. You consider testing at a V.A. Hospital not s controlled environment? And just what have you done besides read? Your kind is always pushing something as long as you don’t have to suffer-an armchair seeker of truth. Perhaps, you look for an easy way to expand your consciousness-be my guest if you can get off your butt. Since my experience,I became a drug counselor-there is always somebody pushing, but you don’t have to deal with dead bodies. There are more drugs than ever before. I was called to Canadian Border Patrol to help stop the spread of Black Heroin-maybe you could start a movement with that. The trip is great, until the convulsions set in, and you get to tell someones mom that they died expanding their minds. D.F. is popular,but it is 40 times more potent than Heroin and 80 times stronger than Morphine, but that shouldn’t stop a mental adventurer like you. As long as there are kids that will try it first. Your thinking is divided between common sense, and what you call “fear”. You are just a common pusher available on street corners U.S.A.

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Netherlands researchers fear the second coming of Silent Spring.

“Neonicotinoids were always regarded as selective toxins. But our results suggest that they may affect the entire ecosystem,” says Hans de Kroon of Radboud University and co-author of a study recently published in Nature journal.… More

July 18, 2014 | By | 2 Replies More
The Importance of Sleep, and the Hazards of “Dream Deprivation”

The Importance of Sleep, and the Hazards of “Dream Deprivation”













Dr. Mercola
Waking Times

Dr. Rubin Naiman, author of Hush: A Book of Bedtime Contemplations, is a clinical psychologist and assistant professor of medicine at the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine directed by Dr. Andrew Weil. As a sleep and dream expert, his focus is how sleeping … More

July 14, 2014 | By | 2 Replies More
Why Do Scientists Deny Psychic Phenomena?

Why Do Scientists Deny Psychic Phenomena?













Aliston Texeira, Fractal Enlightenment
Waking Times

Even though films like ‘Inception’, ‘Waking Life‘ and more recently, ‘John Dies at the End’ and ‘Now You See Me’ wouldn’t be approachable without assuming the authenticity of unexplainable events, most people, including most scientists, are unaware of the vast abundance of … More

July 12, 2014 | By | 11 Replies More

Activism Works

Triumph For Citizens in Florida As Hughes Oil Company Drops Fracking Project

Triumph For Citizens in Florida As Hughes Oil Company Drops Fracking Project













Julie Dermansky, DeSmogBlog
Waking Times

On Friday morning, Dan A. Hughes Oil Company and the Collier Resources Company agreed to terminate their lease agreement, with the exception of the Collier Hogan 20-3H well, next to the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Naples, Florida.

Hughes Oil dropped its plans to drill … More

July 14, 2014 | By | 1 Reply More
A Forgotten Community in New Orleans: Life on a Superfund Site

A Forgotten Community in New Orleans: Life on a Superfund Site













Julie Dermansky, DeSmogBlog
Waking Times

Shannon Rainey lives in a house that was built on top of a Superfund site in the Upper Ninth Ward of New Orleans.

“I bought my house when I was 25, and thirty years later, I still can’t get out,” she told DeSmogBlog.

Rainey’s … More

June 23, 2014 | By | 1 Reply More
Wave of GMO Labeling Victories Emboldens Movement to Take Back Food Democracy

Wave of GMO Labeling Victories Emboldens Movement to Take Back Food Democracy













Michele Simon, EcoWatch
Waking Times

The East Coast has been getting most of the attention lately on the state by state effort to label genetically-engineered food. Vermont recently passed a bill and New York State’s bill is now moving. But let’s not forget about the western states, which are also … More

June 11, 2014 | By | 1 Reply More
Monsanto’s Roundup Found in 75% of Air and Rain Samples

Monsanto’s Roundup Found in 75% of Air and Rain Samples













John Deike, EcoWatch
Waking Times

A new U.S. Geological Survey has concluded that pesticides can be found in, well, just about anything.

Roundup herbicide, Monsanto’s flagship weed killer, was present in 75 percent of air and rainfall test samples, according to the study, which focused on Mississippi’s highly fertile … More

May 27, 2014 | By | 2 Replies More
How to Bring Minerals Back Into the Soil and Food Supply

How to Bring Minerals Back Into the Soil and Food Supply













Dr. Mercola
Waking Times

There are now many studies clearly documenting that if you eat processed foods, you’re being exposed to toxic herbicides. These toxic chemicals have been found in everything from breast milk to umbilical cords and placentas.

This of course means that children are now born with a … More

May 26, 2014 | By | 3 Replies More