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Psychedelia


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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« on: March 12, 2015, 12:43:24 pm »


Last Friday, a very interesting article about research into psychedelic substances appeared on The New Zealand Herald website. After reading the article, I carried out a search for further news articles about the research in question and discovered several fascinating articles about that and other recent research.

I'll post the articles to this thread, but first, I'll repost a large number of historic articles to give a background perspective. All of these articles have been posted by me to this group and/or various other messageboard forums over a period of several years, so I already have them formatted for these messageboard forums in the form of notepad documents saved to a USB stick.

Once I've posted the historic articles, I'll post the recent articles about the current scientific research.

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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2015, 12:44:14 pm »


Hello, I Love You...

In January 1967, the kids of San Francisco gathered for a celestially anointed day of
beat poetry, sun-kissed rock and powerful LSD. Even the local Hells Angels turned on,
tuned in and dropped out. Joel Selvin relives the legendary Human Be-In.


ALL THROUGH the previous year, word filtered out of San Francisco about remarkable happenings and a strange new community of youths gathering around the city's Haight-Ashbury district. In March 1966, the vastly influential Life magazine featured a cover article on LSD, titled ‘The Exploding Thread Of The Mind Drug That Got Out Of Control’. It was the best publicity the new movement could've had.

In October 1965, everybody who attended A Tribute To Dr Strange, the first ever acid-rock dance/concert, held at the Longshoreman’s Hall in San Francisco, was surprised to find as many as a thousand like-minded, long-haired, thrift-store-clad miscreants there. By January 1967, 15 months later, organisers of a Haight-Ashbury community celebration they were calling the ‘Human Be-In’ happily predicted a crowd of between 25,000 and 50,000.

Michael Bowen, an artist and what would become known as a community organiser dreamed up the event — A Gathering Of The Tribes. A dope dealer called John The Ghost knew about the Polo Fields, a gargantuan meadow at the west end of Golden Gate Park, large enough to encompass the entire six square blocks of the Haight-Ashbury. The people behind the event consulted with Gavin Arthur — grandson of the 21st US President, Chester A. Arthur — who was the city’s leading astrologist and something of a well-known local eccentric. He selected January 14th as the most likely date for positive communication. An application for a permit with the Park Department was approved.

Two days before the event, Bowen, beat poet Gary Snyder, Berkeley politico Jerry Rubin, Haight-Ashbury Oracle publisher Allen Cohen, and Jay Thelin, one of two brothers who ran Haight Street’s Psychedelic Shop, met the press in a room behind the Print Mint, a popular Haight Street store selling posters.

“Berkeley political activists and the love generation of the Haight-Ashbury will join together,” read the press release, “with members of the new nation who will be coming from every state in the nation, every tribe of the young (the emerging soul of the nation) to pow-wow, celebrate, and prophesy the epoch of liberation, love, peace, compassion and unity of mandkind. The night of bruited fear of the American eagle-breast-body is over. Hang your fear at the door and join the future. If you do not believe, please wipe your eyes and see.”

An unseasonably clear, bright sunny day dawned on Saturday, January 14th, 1967. Wind chimes marked the paths leading to the Polo Fields and the thousands came, bearing blankets, flags and flowers. At noon, poet Snyder blew a conch shell to open the rite, its bleating whine lost on the far reaches of a crowd that already extended across the vast meadow. The Pow-Wow — A Gathering Of The Tribes For A Human Be-In — was underway.

Poet Allen Ginsberg chanted mantras. Lenore Kandel read from her slim book of poetry, The Love Book, a current cause célèbre. Only a couple of months earlier, police busted the Psychedelic Shop for selling the tome, judging it obscene for a couple of lines about her giving her boyfriend a blowjob. Wearing yellow flowers behind his ears, LSD evangelist Dr Timothy Leary told everybody to “turn on, tune in and drop out”. “Whatever you do is beautiful,” he said.

Steve The Gemini Twin, wearing a mask, descended in a psychedelic-coloured parachute, landing just as The Grateful Dead finished a song. When the power cord came unplugged during Quicksilver Messenger Service’s set, members of the Hells Angels took it on themselves to guard the line. The Angels, who had menaced peace rallies in the area before, took over the job of security, while the San Francisco Police watched on horseback from a nearby hilltop. Chocolate George of the Oakland chapter, a brutish man with a thick beard and a fur hat, organised the lost children operation. The day was so beautiful, so without incident, that Freewheeling’ Frank, one of the most notorious Angels, spent the afternoon watching from the top of a bus, high on LSD, banging a tambourine on his leg. He burst into tears when his brethren reverted to form and kicked the hell out of some poor bastard who messed with their bikes.

LSD was everywhere. The latest from notorious local acid manufacturer August Owsley Stanley III was White Lightening, but there was plenty of his Orange sunshine still running around. Country Joe McDonald came over from Berkeley, painted his face and dropped a tab. Dino Valente, fresh out of jail on a pot bust, played Pan, tootling his wooden pipes on the edge of the crowd. All the bands played. The Jefferson Airplane invited jazzman Dizzy Gillespie onstage and jazz flautist Charles Lloyd joined The Grateful Dead for the Pigpen blues specialty, Good Morning Little Schoolgirl. The Sir Douglas Quintet and Loading Zone played (Big Brother And The Holding Company, often reported as performing, were out of town). Poets Michael McClure, Gary Snyder and Lawrence Ferlinghetti read, and there were speeches by Timothy Leary, his associate Richard Alpert, comedian Dick Gregory and an anti-war rant by Jerry Rubin that Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia, high on acid, thought something of a bringdown.

But the speeches couldn’t be heard that clearly in the audience anyway, and the crowd were far more intent on grooving on the music and each other. The gathered were a colourful array of happy young people, sharing joints and bolta bags of wine. There were no fights, no trouble. It had been an extraordinarily peaceful, joyous day — probably one of the highpoints of the whole San Francisco hippie adventure. When it came to a close, six hours after it started, the Human Be-In had made its point.

As the day ended, San Francisco Chronicle columnist Ralph J. Gleason thought he heard the voice of Buddha — it was the poet Ginsberg — boom through the loudspeakers asking everyone to turn, face the sun and watch the sunset. He chanted a few more mantras and asked everybody to pick up the trash when they left. Snyder blew on the conch shell and, as fingers of fog snaked through the trees, everybody got up and left.

And they picked up the trash!




Turn Off Your Mind

A failed CIA “truth drug”, LSD first arrived in ‘Swinging London’ packaged in a
mayonnaise jar. Within two years it had inspired The Beatles to cut Sgt Pepper,
sent Pink Floyd's songwriter bonkers and led a whole generation towards astral
grace or disaster. Harry Shapiro guides us through the extraordinary story of “acid”.


JUNE 18, 1967. — The tabloids celebrated Paul McCartney’s 25th birthday by reporting he’d taken the most controversial and feared drug of the era. Declared illegal the previous year, LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) had been demonised in the press as a substance that sent users crazy, convinced them they could fly and altered minds forever. McCartney, however, had a different take on the drug. He told Queen, the British socialite magazine, that LSD had “opened my eyes”. “It made me a better, more honest person, a more tolerant member of society.”

Next day, he was interviewed for television news.

… “Paul, how often have you taken LSD?

McCartney: (pause) “About four times.

… “And where did you get it from?

McCartney: “Well, you know, if I was to say where I got it from, I mean... it’s illegal and everything... So I’d rather not say that.

… “Do you think that you have now encouraged your fans to take drugs?

McCartney: “I don’t think it'll make any difference. I don't think my fans are going to take drugs just because I did. But that's not the point anyway. I was asked whether I had or not. And from then on, the whole bit about how far it’s gonna go and how many people it’s going to encourage is up to the newspapers, and up to you on television. I mean, you’re spreading this now, at this moment.

… “But as a public figure, surely you’ve got the responsibility to...

McCartney: “...No, it’s you who’ve got the responsibility... If you’ll shut up about it, I will.

But nobody was going to shut up about it. McCartney had made a major gaffe. When it came to The Beatles and drugs, the cat was already half out of the bag. A Day In The Life, the closing track on Sgt Pepper, had already been banned by the BBC for alleged drug references, and there were some knowing winks about Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds. What the press didn’t know was that, as Paul was speaking, The Beatles had arranged for a large consignment of super-strength acid to be smuggled into Britain. The opportunity came with the Monterey Pop Festival in June, the first international platform for the new wave of acid rock bands. The Beatles knew the film rights had already been sold, but they sent a large film crew anyway knowing they wouldn’t be allowed to work. Instead they filled the airtight film cans with liquid vials of LSD.


BACK HOME, their mortified manager Brian Epstein launched a damage limitation exercise in the wake of McCartney’s revelations by admitting publicly that he too had tried the drug. He was more worried for his other acts than for The Beatles. When she heard about Epstein’s confession, his other client Cilla Black was furious, fearing that she too would be tarred with the same brush. For the British public, back then the idea that pop stars used drugs was novel. The Stones had been famously busted in February, but as hairy, dangerous ne’er-do-wells who pissed up against garage walls, what could you expect? But The Beatles? And Paul McCartney? And wasn’t it LSD that only a few weeks ago The Sunday People had exposed as “the drug that is menacing young lives”? Ever hip to the jive, the paper also revealed that they had “obtained evidence of ‘LSD parties’ in London”.

In truth, LSD had been Swinging London’s best-kept secret since the psychedelic revolution arrived in September 1965, from the States in a mayonnaise jar. The jar belonged to an acid hustler named Michael Hollingshead who with the financial help of two Old Etonians established the World Psychedelic Centre in a Belgravia flat. Through word of mouth London’s cultural cognoscenti soon beat a path to his door.

Hollingshead’s supplies had come from an English psychiatrist, John Beresford. The two had shared a flat in the ’50s, then Beresford moved to the States to be followed later by his erstwhile flatmate who set up a cultural exchange network in New York. Like a number of psychiatrists and psychotherapists, Beresford was fascinated with the properties of hallucinogenic drugs such as mescaline, psilocybin mushrooms and LSD.


SINCE ITS accidental discovery in 1943 by Albert Hofmann working in the lab of the Swiss pharmaceutical company Sandoz, LSD had been put to use by both the military and the medics. The CIA thought they had found the perfect Cold War drug which could disable the enemy without destroying their weapons — and tested it as a truth drug. Neither proved viable, though not before at least one soldier committed suicide: like many others he had been dosed without his knowledge and thought he had gone mad.

Exploiting the drug’s capacity to dissolve the ego, some doctors were having success with those suffering personality problems and alcoholism. Others like Dr Humphrey Osmond (who coined the term ‘psychedelic’, meaning to ‘reveal the mind’, were conducting experiments with hallucinogenics to explore the mysteries of the human consciousness. The use of these drugs to enhance intellectual and creative pursuits began with Aldous Huxley, who took mescaline under Osmond’s guidance and wrote up his experiences in his book, The Doors of Perception. A Los Angeles psychiatrist Oscar Janiger introduced Hollywood to LSD; actors James Colburn and Jack Nicholson had a taste, while both Cary Grant and conductor André Previn declared how LSD had transformed their lives for the better.

Hollingshead pestered John Beresford for more LSD, convinced that it was the super-highway to personal enlightenment, and eventually the doctor handed over half a gram of finest Sandoz: enough for 5,000 doses each lasting eight to ten hours. Beresford then suggested Hollingshead visit an eminent professor of psychiatry at Harvard University who was also interested in the mind-expanding properties of certain drugs. Dr Timothy Leary was convinced that psilocybin mushrooms held the key to the great questions of the human condition, until at Hollingshead’s behest he tried LSD. It turned his life upside down and, within two years, Leary went from mainstream academic to international guru of psychedelia and the alternative society.

LSD became available, diverted from Sandoz and Czech labs. Newspapers, magazines and TV told gleeful stories of acid hedonism, people flying out of windows and going blind by looking into the sun. In the white heat of bad publicity, Sandoz quit manufacturing LSD. In stepped the grandson of a Kentucky senator — Augustus Owsley Stanley III, the world’s first underground chemist, the Henry Ford of acid who produced Rolls-Royce-quality product — including those supplies smuggled out of the Monterey Festival.

Meanwhile, the cultural landscape of London was changing. London in 1965 was all about Mod chic — amphetamine-driven ego and aggression, sharp suits, black-and-white colour schemes, angular hairstyles, targets and chevrons. It was crisp and clean and in your face. There was nothing alternative about Mod culture, a land grab for the best and coolest that the consumer society could offer. LSD began to dissolve those clean lines, offering a very different view of the world and, like most drug fashions going back to tobacco smoking and coffee drinking, it percolated through society from the top down.

It was during the filming of Help! that The Beatles first encountered LSD. A dentist friend threw a dinner party during which conversation turned to the subject of Timothy Leary. Only John Lennon had heard of him. The host passed round some of Hollingshead’s acid: his guests were not enlightened. John, George, Ringo and their partners left for a night club in a very strange state of mind, ending up back at George’s place having driven at 10mph, convinced they had gone insane.

Lennon, however, became a convert. Under the influence of LSD, he drew a childlike picture of Harrison’s house as a submarine in which they all lived, and the impact of acid (and cannabis courtesy of an introduction by Bob Dylan) began to infuse the music on Rubber Soul and Revolver.

In 1966, if you were part of the ‘in-crowd’ of musicians, designers, poets, sundry intellectuals and beautiful people, then acid was everywhere. Stash De Rola, part of The Rolling Stones’ inner circle, later commented, “Success on an unparalleled scale rewarded them with all the material trappings, but in a way it was treated as a bit of a joke. And there was constantly a worry and a quest: everyone sought a transcendental way to a paradise of some kind. There was this thirst of the soul.”

Gradually, psychedelia began to permeate the public consciousness. October 1966 saw the inaugural issue of International Times (IT); in the same month LSD was banned in the UK. And from there, everything moved very fast. The underground’s most significant mover and shaker, John ‘Hoppy’ Hopkins, together with record producer Joe Boyd opened the UFO club in London’s Tottenham Court Road. Richard Neville launched the satorical Oz magazine in February 1967, designed by Martin Sharp whose signature artwork defined the psychedelic poster.

The music was changing and the business had to adapt. Just as R&B had swept trad jazz from London venues in the early ’60s, so those same musicians ditched suits for kaftans. And as Mods gave way to hippies, there were the bells, beads, fripperies and fineries, Afghans, kaftans and mirrored waistcoats, the Hendrix-afros, military jackets, painted guitars, walls and cars. Lysergic Acid Diethylamide dissembled into Pounds, Shillings and Pence. Acid culture — harsh sounding and a corrosive threat to society — was sanitised to become the less dangerous-sounding Flower Power. Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers In Your Hair sang Scott McKenzie. The underground was now well and truly out in the open.

While the press salivated over drugs, free love, naked hippy chicks and barefoot weirdos with long hair, the police focused on rock stars’ burgeoning consumption of illegal hallucinogens. Drug laws became the weapon with which the Establishment took on the acid toffs. Following on from the Stones bust at Keith Richards’ house, the World Psychedelic Centre was raided and Hollingshead served a jail term for possessing an ounce of cannabis. UFO was subjected to police harassment and had to move out of its premises.

In response to the Stones bust and the imprisonment of John Hopkins (again on cannabis charges), two students, Caroline Coon and Rufus Harris, came together and over the summer formed Release. Set up as a charity, Release soon became an invaluable source of legal advice for the increasing numbers of ordinary kids being busted for personal possession of cannabis and LSD.


IN AUGUST, Pink Floyd released The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn. Psychedelia had been good for the Flloyd. Like many bands of the time, they started out playing R&B, but as drummer Nick Mason later admitted the band weren't up to it musically: “If the Summer Of Love and the underground had never happened, I don’t think we would have passed the starting point.” Their frontman Syd Barrett’s appetite for cannabis and LSD would soon prove to be his undoing. By the end of the year, the singer was appearing onstage in a disorientated state.

By then, Brian Epstein had committed suicide, The Rolling Stones had released their own misguided attempt at psychedelia, Their Satanic Majesties Request and by the summer of ’68, flower power had been replaced in the headlines by student revolts, ghettos riots and political assassinations.

And what of LSD? Its popularity in Britain grew in the 1970s, with UK labs supplying the world through a network of chemists and entrepreneurs with links back to the US where the acid pioneers were on the run. It all came crashing down in 1977 with the success of Operation Julie, a massive police sting operation that smashed acid production in the UK. The drug enjoyed a minor renaissance in the early days of rave culture, and still has its fans today.

Albert Hofmann, now aged 101 (as this article was written — he eventually died in April 2008, aged 102), said that “LSD is the closest, the most dense, the most mysterious link between the material and the spiritual world. A hardly visible trace of LSD is capable of evoking heaven or hell.”

While most came through their acid travels unscathed, there were some who should never have touched it. Everyone from the psych era seems to have a tale of one ‘space cadet’ who reached for the stars and never quite made it back home. Some danced with angels, others struggled with demons, but for sure, wherever acid rained, no turn was left unstoned.

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« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2015, 12:45:56 pm »


from the Hurriyet Daily News....

Ashes of LSD guru Timothy Leary blasted into orbit

Wednesday, April 23, 1997



THE ashes of 1960s LSD guru Timothy Leary and “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry were blasted into space on a rocket carrying Spain's first satellite.

The cremated remains of Leary, a former Harvard professor whose final request before dying was for “one last far-out trip”, were launched into orbit with those of Roddenbery and 22 other space enthusiasts for the world's first space funeral.

“This was a very special day ... the families know their loved ones will now be passing overhead every 90 minutes,” said Charles Chafer, vice president of Celestis, the Texas-based company organizing the venture.

The ashes, secured in sealed vials, piggybacked aboard a mission to send Spain's first satellite into orbit via a Pegasus rocket launched over the Canary Islands.

A Lockheed L-1011 jetliner carried the rocket aloft, releasing it at 11,000 meters (36,000 feet) above the Spanish island of Gran Canaria.

It roared into space and some 10 minutes later deployed its primary cargo, the Minisat, the first satellite to be entirely built and designed in Spain.

The lipstick-sized capsules containing the ashes were then free to orbit with what remained of the rocket.

The ashes will circle earth for anywhere between 18 months and 10 years before gravity pulls them back into the atmosphere when they will burn up like a shooting star.

Family and friends cried and held each other as they watched the launch from an airbase in the Canary Islands.

“It was very tense in there for a while but when we knew the ashes were successfully in orbit there was a lot of hand shaking and hugging,” said Chafer.

The space burial posthumously fulfills a lifelong dream for Leary, who urged a generation of Americans to get high on LSD so they could “turn on, tune in and drop out”.

“Timothy had always been a space pioneer and wanted to travel into space and now he has the opportunity,” said Carol Rosin, a close friend of Leary who was by his side when he died of prostate cancer last year.

Also celebrating the launch was Spain's Defence Ministry, which helped send a 4.5 billion pesetas ($31 million) Minisat satellite smoothly into orbit.

“Spain has achieved an incomparable success in space history today,” Spain's State Secretary for Defense Pedro Morenes told a news conference after the launch. “We are extremely satisfied by the way things have gone.”

Representatives from Orbital Sciences Corporation, which built the Pegasus rocket, hailed the launch as an overwhelming victory. Their last mission in November failed when the rocket's two cargoes failed to separate.

“Each launch is like a first date; you never know what is going to happen. But this date was a real success,” said J.R. Thompson, Orbital's group manager.

The Minisat, designed and managed by Spain's National Institute of Aerospace Technology (INTA), will start scientific studies in about two weeks, looking at ultraviolet light, gravity and low energy gamma rays.

Celestis is planning a second launch of ashes in September aboard a Taurus rocket from California with room for 150 passengers each paying $4,800 for the journey.

“This kind of memorial clearly is not to everyone's taste but we believe it will gather popularity and we expect to be doing three to five launches a year in the future,” said Chafer.


http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/ashes-of-lsd-guru-timothy-leary-blasted-into-orbit.aspx?pageID=438&n=ashes-of-lsd-guru-timothy-leary-blasted-into-orbit-1997-04-23
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« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2015, 12:46:16 pm »


from The New York Times....

Nearly 100, LSD's Father Ponders His ‘Problem Child’

By CRAIG S. SMITH | Saturday, January 07, 2006

A psychadelic portrait of Dr. Albert Hofmann by Alex Grey.
A psychadelic portrait of Dr. Albert Hofmann by Alex Grey.

ALBERT HOFMANN, the father of LSD, walked slowly across the small corner office of his modernist home on a grassy Alpine hilltop here, hoping to show a visitor the vista that sweeps before him on clear days. But outside there was only a white blanket of fog hanging just beyond the crest of the hill. He picked up a photograph of the view on his desk instead, left there perhaps to convince visitors of what really lies beyond the windowpane.

Mr. Hofmann will turn 100 on Wednesday, a milestone to be marked by a symposium in nearby Basel on the chemical compound that he discovered and that famously unlocked the Blakean doors of perception, altering consciousnesses around the world. As the years accumulate behind him, Mr. Hofmann's conversation turns ever more insistently around one theme: man's oneness with nature and the dangers of an increasing inattention to that fact.

“It's very, very dangerous to lose contact with living nature,”' he said, listing to the right in a green armchair that looked out over frost-dusted fields and snow-laced trees. A glass pitcher held a bouquet of roses on the coffee table before him. “In the big cities, there are people who have never seen living nature, all things are products of humans,” he said. “The bigger the town, the less they see and understand nature.” And, yes, he said, LSD, which he calls his “problem child,” could help reconnect people to the universe.

Rounding a century, Mr. Hofmann is physically reduced but mentally clear. He is prone to digressions, ambling with pleasure through memories of his boyhood, but his bright eyes flash with the recollection of a mystical experience he had on a forest path more than 90 years ago in the hills above Baden, Switzerland. The experience left him longing for a similar glimpse of what he calls “a miraculous, powerful, unfathomable reality.”

“I was completely astonished by the beauty of nature,” he said, laying a slightly gnarled finger alongside his nose, his longish white hair swept back from his temples and the crown of his head. He said any natural scientist who was not a mystic was not a real natural scientist. “Outside is pure energy and colorless substance,” he said. “All of the rest happens through the mechanism of our senses. Our eyes see just a small fraction of the light in the world. It is a trick to make a colored world, which does not exist outside of human beings.”

He became particularly fascinated by the mechanisms through which plants turn sunlight into the building blocks for our own bodies. “Everything comes from the sun via the plant kingdom,” he said.


MR. HOFMANN studied chemistry and took a job with the Swiss pharmaceutical company Sandoz Laboratories, because it had started a program to identify and synthesize the active compounds of medically important plants. He soon began work on the poisonous ergot fungus that grows in grains of rye. Midwives had used it for centuries to precipitate childbirths, but chemists had never succeeded in isolating the chemical that produced the pharmacological effect. Finally, chemists in the United States identified the active component as lysergic acid, and Mr. Hofmann began combining other molecules with the unstable chemical in search of pharmacologically useful compounds.

His work on ergot produced several important drugs, including a compound still in use to prevent hemorrhaging after childbirth. But it was the 25th compound that he synthesized, lysergic acid diethylamide, that was to have the greatest impact. When he first created it in 1938, the drug yielded no significant pharmacological results. But when his work on ergot was completed, he decided to go back to LSD-25, hoping that improved tests could detect the stimulating effect on the body's circulatory system that he had expected from it. It was as he was synthesizing the drug on a Friday afternoon in April 1943 that he first experienced the altered state of consciousness for which it became famous. “Immediately, I recognized it as the same experience I had had as a child,” he said. “I didn't know what caused it, but I knew that it was important.”

When he returned to his lab the next Monday, he tried to identify the source of his experience, believing first that it had come from the fumes of a chloroform-like solvent he had been using. Inhaling the fumes produced no effect, though, and he realized he must have somehow ingested a trace of LSD. “LSD spoke to me,” Mr. Hofmann said with an amused, animated smile. “He came to me and said, ‘You must find me’. He told me, ‘Don't give me to the pharmacologist, he won't find anything’.”


HE experimented with the drug, taking a dose so small that even the most active toxin known at that time would have had little or no effect. The result with LSD, however, was a powerful experience, during which he rode his bicycle home, accompanied by an assistant. That day, April 19th, later became memorialized by LSD enthusiasts as “bicycle day”.

Mr. Hofmann participated in tests in a Sandoz laboratory, but found the experience frightening and realized that the drug should be used only under carefully controlled circumstances. In 1951, he wrote to the German novelist Ernst Junger, who had experimented with mescaline, and proposed that they take LSD together. They each took 0.05 milligrams of pure LSD at Mr. Hofmann's home accompanied by roses, music by Mozart and burning Japanese incense. “That was the first planned psychedelic test,” Mr. Hofmann said.

He took the drug dozens of times after that, he said, and once experienced what he called a “horror trip” when he was tired and Mr. Junger gave him amphetamines first. But his hallucinogenic days are long behind him.

“I know LSD; I don't need to take it anymore,” Mr. Hofmann said. “Maybe when I die, like Aldous Huxley,” who asked his wife for an injection of LSD to help him through the final painful throes of his fatal throat cancer.

But Mr. Hofmann calls LSD “medicine for the soul” and is frustrated by the worldwide prohibition that has pushed it underground. “It was used very successfully for 10 years in psychoanalysis,” he said, adding that the drug was hijacked by the youth movement of the 1960's and then demonized by the establishment that the movement opposed. He said LSD could be dangerous and called its distribution by Timothy Leary and others “a crime.”

“It should be a controlled substance with the same status as morphine,” he said.

Mr. Hofmann lives with his wife in the house they built 38 years ago. He raised four children and watched one son struggle with alcoholism before dying at 53. He has eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. As far as he knows, no one in his family besides his wife has tried LSD.

Mr. Hofmann rose, slightly stooped and now barely reaching five feet, and walked through his house with his arm-support cane. When asked if the drug had deepened his understanding of death, he appeared mildly startled and said no. “I go back to where I came from, to where I was before I was born, that's all,” he said.


http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9505E3DB153FF934A35752C0A9609C8B63
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« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2015, 12:47:02 pm »


from The Telegraph....

Albert Hofmann, LSD inventor, dies

Albert Hofmann, the Swiss scientist who invented the LSD
and became the first person in the world to experience
a full-blown acid trip, has died. He was 102.


By ANDREW McKIE | Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Albert Hofmann. — Photo: EPA.
Albert Hofmann. — Photo: EPA.

HE WAS working as a chemist in Basel, when he synthesised lysergic acid diethylamide. On April 19th, 1943, he took the substance before cycling home.

That day has become known among aficionados as “Bicycle Day” as it was while he was riding home that he experienced the most intense symptoms brought on by the drug.

Rick Doblin, who studied Hofmann’s work as part of his own research and knew Hofmann well, confirmed he died of a heart attack at 9am on Tuesday at his home in Basel.

As well as LSD, Hofmann later became the first person to synthesise psilocybin, the active constituent of “magic mushrooms”.

He also discovered the hallucinogenic principles of Ololiuqui (Morning Glory), lysergic acid amide and lysergic acid hydroxyethylamide.

In retirement, Hofmann served as a member of the Nobel Prize Committee. He was a Fellow of the World Academy of Sciences, and a Member of the International Society of Plant Research and of the American Society of Pharmacognosy.

In 1988 the Albert Hofmann Foundation was established “to assemble and maintain an international library and archive devoted to the study of human consciousness and related fields.”

He disapproved of the appropriation of LSD by the youth movements of the 1960s, but regretted that its potential uses had not been explored.

Albert Hofmann was married and had three children.


The Albert Hofmann Foundation

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/1912499/Albert-Hofmann-LSD-inventor-dies.html



from The Telegraph....

Obituary: Albert Hofmann

Albert Hofmann, who died on April 29th aged 102,
synthesised lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) in 1938
and became the first person in the world to experience
a full-blown “acid trip” — that was on April 19th 1943,
which became known among aficionados as “Bicycle Day”
as it was while cycling home from his laboratory that
he experienced the most intense symptoms.


Tuesday, 29 April 2008

ALBERT HOFMANN was working as a research chemist at the laboratory of the Sandoz company in Basel, Switzerland, where he was involved in studying the medicinal properties of plants. This eventually led to the study of the alkaloid compounds of ergot, a fungus which forms on rye.

In the Middle Ages, ergot was implicated in periodic outbreaks of mass poisonings, producing symptoms in two characteristic forms: one gangrenous (ergotismus gangraenosus) and the other convulsive (ergotismus convulsivus). Popular names such as “mal des ardents”, “ignis sacer”, “heiliges feuer” and “St Anthony's fire” refer to the gangrenous form of the condition.

Hofmann's studies led to many new discoveries, such as Hydergine, a medicament for improving circulation and cerebral function, and Dihydergot, a circulation and blood pressure stabilising medicine. His interest in synthesising LSD initially derived from the hope that it might also be useful as a circulatory and respiratory stimulant.

But when his molecule, known as LSD-25, was tested on animals, no interesting effects were observed, though the research notes recorded that the beasts became “restless” during narcosis. The substance was dismissed as of no interest and dropped from Sandoz's research programme.

But five years later, acting on some intuition, Hofmann decided to resynthesise LSD. In his autobiography, LSD, My Problem Child (1979), he recalled that in the final stage of the synthesis he was interrupted by some unusual sensations.

In a note to the laboratory's director, he reported “a remarkable restlessness, combined with a slight dizziness. At home I lay down and sank into a not unpleasant intoxicated-like condition, characterized by an extremely stimulated imagination.”

“In a dreamlike state, with eyes closed, I perceived an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colours. After some two hours this condition faded away.”

Hofmann concluded that he must have accidentally breathed in or ingested some laboratory material and assumed LSD was the cause. To test the theory he waited until the next working day, Monday April 19th 1943, and tried again, swallowing 0.25 of a milligram. Forty minutes later, as his laboratory journal recorded, he experienced “dizziness, feeling of anxiety, visual distortions, symptoms of paralysis, desire to laugh”. Unable to write any more, he asked his assistant to take him home by bicycle.

“On the way home, my condition began to assume threatening forms. Everything in my field of vision wavered and was distorted as if seen in a curved mirror. I also had the sensation of being unable to move from the spot. Nevertheless, my assistant later told me that we had travelled very rapidly.”




Back home, when a friendly neighbour brought round some milk, he perceived her as a “malevolent, insidious witch” wearing “a lurid mask”. After six hours of highs and lows, the effects subsided.

Sandoz, keen to make a profit from Hofmann's discovery, gave the new substance the trade name Delysid and began sending samples to psychiatric researchers. By 1965 more than 2,000 papers had been published offering hope for a range of conditions from drug and alcohol addiction to mental illnesses of various kinds. But the fact that the chemical was cheap and easy to make left it open to abuse, and from the late 1950s onwards, promoted by Dr Timothy Leary and others, LSD became the recreational drug of choice for western youth.

An outbreak of moral panic, combined with a number of accidents involving people jumping to their deaths off high buildings in the belief that they could fly, led governments around the world to ban LSD. Research also showed that the drug, taken in high doses and in inappropriate settings, often caused panic reactions. For certain individuals, a bad trip could be the trigger for full-blown psychosis.

Hofmann was disappointed when his discovery was removed from commercial distribution. He remained convinced that the drug had the potential to counter the psychological problems induced by “materialism, alienation from nature through industrialisation and increasing urbanisation, lack of satisfaction in professional employment in a mechanised, lifeless working world, ennui and purposelessness in wealthy, saturated society, and lack of a religious, nurturing, and meaningful philosophical foundation of life”.


ALBERT HOFMANN was born at Baden, Switzerland, on January 11th 1906, the eldest of four children of a factory toolmaker. Having graduated from Zürich University with a degree in Chemistry in 1929, he took a doctorate on the gastro-intestinal juice of the vineyard snail. After leaving university he went to work for Sandoz Pharmaceuticals, where he researched the medicinal properties of the Mediterranean squill (Scilla maritima) before moving on to the study of Claviceps purpurea (ergot).

As a result of the use of LSD as a recreational drug, Sandoz found itself bombarded with demands for information from regulatory bodies, along with demands for statements after accidents, poisonings, criminal acts and so forth from the press.

For scientists unaccustomed to the glare of publicity, it became a headache: “I would rather you hadn't discovered LSD,” Hofmann's managing director told him. In the end the decision was taken to stop all further production.




Hofmann laid some of the blame at the door of Dr Timothy Leary. In his autobiography he described meeting Leary in 1971 in the snack bar at Lausanne railway station. Hofmann began by voicing his regret that Leary's experiments had effectively killed off academic research into LSD and took Leary to task for encouraging its recreational use among young people.

Leary was unabashed. “He maintained that I was unjustified in reproaching him for the seduction of immature persons to drug consumption,” Hofmann recalled. Leary further insisted that American teenagers “with regard to information and life experience, were comparable to adult Europeans” and were able to make up their own minds.

Hofmann continued to work at Sandoz until 1971, when he retired as director of research for the Department of Natural Products. In addition to his discovery of LSD, he was also the first to synthesise psilocybin (the active constituent of “magic mushrooms”) in 1958; and he discovered the hallucinogenic principles of Ololiuqui (Morning Glory), lysergic acid amide and lysergic acid hydroxyethylamide.

In retirement Hofmann served as a member of the Nobel Prize Committee. He was a Fellow of the World Academy of Sciences, and a member of the International Society of Plant Research and of the American Society of Pharmacognosy.

In 1988 The Albert Hofmann Foundation was established “to assemble and maintain an international library and archive devoted to the study of human consciousness and related fields”.

Albert Hofmann's wife, Anita, died in December. He was also predeceased by one of his four children.


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/1912485/Obituary-Albert-Hofmann-LSD-inventor.html



from The New York Times....

Albert Hofmann, the Father of LSD, Dies at 102

By CRAIG S. SMITH | Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Albert Hofmann in 2006. — Photo: Patrick Straub/EPA. Dr. Hofmann, date unknown, with a chemical model of LSD. — Photo: Novartis, via AFP/Getty Images.
LEFT: Albert Hofmann in 2006. — Photo: Patrick Straub/EPA.
RIGHT: Dr. Hofmann, date unknown, with a chemical model of LSD.
 — Photo: Novartis, via AFP/Getty Images.


PARIS — Albert Hofmann, the mystical Swiss chemist who gave the world LSD, the most powerful psychotropic substance known, died Tuesday at his hilltop home near Basel, Switzerland. He was 102.

The cause was a heart attack, said Rick Doblin, founder and president of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, a California-based group that in 2005 republished Dr. Hofmann’s 1979 book “LSD: My Problem Child”.

Dr. Hofmann first synthesized the compound lysergic acid diethylamide in 1938 but did not discover its psychopharmacological effects until five years later, when he accidentally ingested the substance that became known to the 1960s counterculture as acid.

He then took LSD hundreds of times, but regarded it as a powerful and potentially dangerous psychotropic drug that demanded respect. More important to him than the pleasures of the psychedelic experience was the drug’s value as a revelatory aid for contemplating and understanding what he saw as humanity’s oneness with nature. That perception, of union, which came to Dr. Hofmann as almost a religious epiphany while still a child, directed much of his personal and professional life.

Dr. Hofmann was born in Baden, a spa town in northern Switzerland, on January 11th, 1906, the eldest of four children. His father, who had no higher education, was a toolmaker in a local factory, and the family lived in a rented apartment. But Dr. Hofmann spent much of his childhood outdoors.

He would wander the hills above the town and play around the ruins of a Hapsburg castle, the Stein. “It was a real paradise up there,” he said in an interview in 2006. “We had no money, but I had a wonderful childhood.”

It was during one of his ambles that he had his epiphany.

“It happened on a May morning — I have forgotten the year — but I can still point to the exact spot where it occurred, on a forest path on Martinsberg above Baden,” he wrote in “LSD: My Problem Child”. “As I strolled through the freshly greened woods filled with bird song and lit up by the morning sun, all at once everything appeared in an uncommonly clear light.”

“It shone with the most beautiful radiance, speaking to the heart, as though it wanted to encompass me in its majesty. I was filled with an indescribable sensation of joy, oneness and blissful security.”

Though Dr. Hofmann’s father was a Roman Catholic and his mother a Protestant, Dr. Hofmann, from an early age, felt that organized religion missed the point. When he was 7 or 8, he recalled, he spoke to a friend about whether Jesus was divine. “I said that I didn’t believe, but that there must be a God because there is the world and someone made the world,” he said. “I had this very deep connection with nature.”

Dr. Hofmann went on to study chemistry at Zurich University because, he said, he wanted to explore the natural world at the level where energy and elements combine to create life. He earned his Ph.D. there in 1929, when he was just 23. He then took a job with Sandoz Laboratories in Basel, attracted by a program there that sought to synthesize pharmacological compounds from medicinally important plants.

It was during his work on the ergot fungus, which grows in rye kernels, that he stumbled on LSD, accidentally ingesting a trace of the compound one Friday afternoon in April 1943. Soon he experienced an altered state of consciousness similar to the one he had experienced as a child.

On the following Monday, he deliberately swallowed a dose of LSD and rode his bicycle home as the effects of the drug overwhelmed him. That day, April 19th, later became memorialized by LSD enthusiasts as “bicycle day”.

Dr. Hofmann’s work produced other important drugs, including methergine, used to treat postpartum hemorrhaging, the leading cause of death from childbirth. But it was LSD that shaped both his career and his spiritual quest.

“Through my LSD experience and my new picture of reality, I became aware of the wonder of creation, the magnificence of nature and of the animal and plant kingdom,” Dr. Hofmann told the psychiatrist Stanislav Grof during an interview in 1984. “I became very sensitive to what will happen to all this and all of us.”

Dr. Hofmann became an impassioned advocate for the environment and argued that LSD, besides being a valuable tool for psychiatry, could be used to awaken a deeper awareness of mankind’s place in nature and help curb society’s ultimately self-destructive degradation of the natural world.

But he was also disturbed by the cavalier use of LSD as a drug for entertainment, arguing that it should be treated in the way that primitive societies treat psychoactive sacred plants, which are ingested with care and spiritual intent.

After his discovery of LSD’s properties, Dr. Hofmann spent years researching sacred plants. With his friend R. Gordon Wasson, he participated in psychedelic rituals with Mazatec shamans in southern Mexico. He succeeded in synthesizing the active compounds in the Psilocybe mexicana mushroom, which he named psilocybin and psilocin. He also isolated the active compound in morning glory seeds, which the Mazatec also used as an intoxicant, and found that its chemical structure was close to that of LSD.

During the psychedelic era, Dr. Hofmann struck up friendships with such outsize personalities as Timothy Leary, Allen Ginsberg and Aldous Huxley, who, nearing death in 1963, asked his wife for an injection of LSD to help him through the final painful throes of throat cancer.

Yet despite his involvement with psychoactive compounds, Dr. Hofmann remained moored in his Swiss chemist identity. He stayed with Sandoz as head of the research department for natural medicines until his retirement in 1971. He wrote more than 100 scientific articles and was the author or co-author of a number of books.

He and his wife, Anita, who died recently, reared four children in Basel. A son died of alcoholism at 53. Survivors include several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Though Dr. Hofmann called LSD “medicine for the soul,” by 2006 his hallucinogenic days were long behind him, he said in the interview that year.

“I know LSD; I don’t need to take it anymore,” he said, adding. “Maybe when I die, like Aldous Huxley.”

But he said LSD had not affected his understanding of death. In death, he said, “I go back to where I came from, to where I was before I was born, that’s all.”


http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/30/world/europe/30hofmann.html
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« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2015, 12:47:43 pm »


from the San Francisco Chronicle....

Remembering Woodstock — or at least trying to

By JOEL SELVIN - San Francisco Chronicle Senior Pop Music Correspondent | Friday, August 07, 2009

Country Joe McDonald can't remember which day he played.
Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane can't remember which
day he left. Michael Carabello of Santana can't remember
how long it lasted. If nobody can remember, it must be
the '60s. Who remembers the '60s?


THOSE veterans of the historic 1969 Woodstock Festival in Bethel, New York, shared a table recently outside Caffe Trieste in North Beach, across the street from where Kantner lives. Forty years later, like old soldiers recalling their time in the French Foreign Legion, they start reminiscing without cue. Nobody has to ask too many questions to keep it going. Happy anniversary.

Kantner: What do you want to know? What was Woodstock like? There's a stupid question.

Selvin: You had a good gig, didn't you?

Kantner: We had a great gig. We didn't know how good a gig we had until I saw the film afterward recently. Immediately I thought we sucked completely, which in many ways we did. But it was 7am in the morning, so there was an excuse for it. We're doing a bunch of Woodstock shows with Joe actually in August to commemorate or whatever you do in those kinds of things. I think we're playing at Woodstock around the very date that Woodstock was, somewhere in August.

McDonald: August 15 at Bethel.

Kantner: On the actual place.

McDonald: Bethel Woods Amphitheater.

Kantner: We're getting all schmaltzy in our old age. We'll be on Regis Philbin next.

McDonald: Nicest venue I've ever been in my life.


Country Joe McDonald ended up playing a lot more than expected; and performing solo; at Woodstock. — Photo: Handout Art.
Country Joe McDonald ended up playing a lot more than expected; and performing solo; at Woodstock.
 — Photo: Handout Art.


Carabello: Did you guys go there, like, a couple of days before the gig?

Kantner: We went a couple days early and it was really nice moving around in that area.

Carabello: We went like two weeks before and stayed in Woodstock.

Selvin: That was Santana's first gig out of town wasn't it?

Carabello: Yeah.

Kantner: Oh, they did good.

Carabello: Yeah, we did really good.

Kantner: Oh, no. You guys killed.

Carabello: We were ready.


On the eve of the 40th anniversary of Woodstock, participants (from left) Country Joe McDonald, Michael Carabello and Paul Kantner reminisce about what happened; and what they can remember; as they gather at Caffe Trieste in San Francisco. — Photo: Lance Iversen/The San Francisco Chronicle.
On the eve of the 40th anniversary of Woodstock, participants (from left) Country Joe McDonald,
Michael Carabello and Paul Kantner reminisce about what happened; and what they can remember;
as they gather at Caffe Trieste in San Francisco. — Photo: Lance Iversen/The San Francisco Chronicle.


Selvin: You were there before the show started?

Kantner: Saw them building up the stage, Wavy Gravy's food camps, walking through the forest, the lakes. We walked all around and did everything, a couple days before the show even started. Just cause we had time off, let's go check it out. I had an inclination it was going to be an interesting day. It was much more interesting than I thought it was going to be in the long run.

Carabello: You guys did the first day?

Kantner: It was two days, right?

Carabello: I think.

McDonald: Three days.

Carabello: If you remember, you weren't there.

Kantner: I don't remember.

McDonald: You were there on Thursday when Richie played?

Kantner: I wasn't there the last day because we had to go down and do a TV show, Dick Cavett, so I missed Jimi Hendrix.

Carabello: Richie Havens? He was there the first day. Wasn't he the first act?

McDonald: I was there from Thursday through Sunday. I saw Richie play and I saw a lot of stuff in between and I saw Jimi play. I was there in front of the stage.

Carabello: We stayed in the town of Woodstock and Paul Butterfield's band was there. There was a saloon of some sort that for a week and a half we made into a jam place and everybody would come down there and play. It was great, just great, even before getting to the gig.


Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane recently saw the Woodstock film. — Photo: Lance Iversen/The San Francisco Chronicle.
Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane recently saw the Woodstock film.
 — Photo: Lance Iversen/The San Francisco Chronicle.


Selvin: When you showed up at Woodstock, everybody still thought it was going to be a paid concert?

Kantner: Not that we were hardly concerned one way or the other, but, yeah. We thought it was a regular show, people were buying tickets and a whole lot of people showed up and everything went crazy. We were immersed in the craziness to the point where we didn't pay attention to the details, so much as finding where the bathroom was. As Grace always liked to say, “Is there a bathroom around here?” And food. They had no food for us. So I had grapes and a slice of cheese all day the day we played. That's all I had. We were supposed to go on at 10 at night, at the end of the show and finish up Saturday night, but we didn't get on until seven the next morning because of the all f♠ck-ups.

Carabello: The show was running behind, like, eight hours.

Selvin: You followed The Who?

Kantner: I don't remember. I'll take your word for it. We were completely out there by the time we got on. Not problematical in terms of playing badly, we played quite good, except for one song. I was amazed that we played well at seven in the morning.

Carabello: Yeah, I wonder why.

Kantner: We weren't big speed freaks. It had to do more with a lot of acid.

Carabello: We got to the Holiday Inn and they said there's no way in. We got in the helicopters. That was a scene in itself.

Kantner: It was very chaotic. I love chaos, coming out of military school.


Joe McDonald reminisces about Woodstock. — Photo: Lance Iversen/The San Francisco Chronicle.
Joe McDonald reminisces about Woodstock. — Photo: Lance Iversen/The San Francisco Chronicle.

McDonald: Santana was the best of the Bay Area bands.

Kantner: They were hot. Janis wasn't too bad.

McDonald: Not just at Woodstock. Of all the Bay Area bands, the original lineup. Carlos became Carlos, but that f♠cking rhythm section. You took that Joe Cuba shit to a whole other level.

Carabello: Yeah, we did.

Kantner: Country Joe and Santana and Big Brother and Quicksilver and the Dead, it was just a great era of great bands. And each one of them totally unlike the other. Nobody was trying to be like somebody else. And we got away with it.


Michael Carabello recalls Santana's performance. — Photo: Lance Iversen/The San Francisco Chronicle.
Michael Carabello recalls Santana's performance. — Photo: Lance Iversen/The San Francisco Chronicle.

Selvin: Joe, how did Woodstock change things for you?

McDonald: When I came onstage as a solo act as Country Joe by accident, I was with Country Joe and the Fish, but when I came off, I was a solo act, Country Joe. I was just sitting onstage. They had no one to go on.

Kantner: They were totally disorganized.

McDonald: They said if it rained they needed somebody to play that didn't need electric instruments. I told them I couldn't do it. I told them I didn't have a guitar because I didn't bring an acoustic guitar. I had acoustic guitars at home. I didn't bring one. Why would I bring one? The roadies brought my electric guitars. I came to watch Thursday. I watched Friday. I watched Saturday. It was the best f♠cking concert I'd seen in my life. It was unbelievable. And I was stealing shit from everybody.

Going “Wow, we could do that.” I loved rock ‘n’ roll. (Stage manager) John Morris came over and said, “How'd you like a solo career?” and I said, “What the f♠ck?” I said I don't have a guitar and they went and got an FG 150 Yamaha. It was like a hundred-dollar acoustic guitar. They gave it to me and I said I don't have a guitar strap — I can't play. And (Country Joe's manager) Bill Belmont went and cut a piece of rigging off the stage and tied it to the guitar. I said I don't have a capo and he went over and got a capo from one of the stagehands and said, "Well, now?"

I went on and I played, like, 12 songs. Nobody paid any f♠cking attention to me at all. Nobody. It was a beautiful sunny day at the moment. I walked offstage and nobody even knew I walked offstage. They didn't even notice I walked offstage. I said to Bill Belmont, who was standing there watching, I was saving stuff for the set on Sunday with the band and I ran out of stuff to do. I said is it OK if I do the Cheer and “Fixin' to Die Rag”? He said, “Nobody's paying attention to you — what the f♠ck difference would it make?” I said OK, he's right. Nobody's paying attention to me — what difference does it make? I walked back and yelled, “Gimme an F.” And they all stopped talking. They looked at me and yelled, “F.”

Rhino has just mixed through the whole tapes. I just got a CD of my own set two weeks ago, and a CD of the Country Joe and the Fish set. This is a funny thing. I thought I played like three songs and did the ‘F’ Cheer. The Web sites all over the place list the songs. And they're all wrong because I've listened to the tapes. For 40 years, I've said that I followed Richie Havens on Friday.

Michael Lang changed it in his book from Friday to Saturday, right before Santana. I said, “I'd remember something like that — that didn't f♠cking happen.” I argued with everybody. I called up Chip Monck in Australia. I said, “Did I go on Friday?” He said, “I dunno.” I called up John Morris and he said, “I think so.” And then Bill went over to (photographer) Jim Marshall's house to look at the proof sheets and said, “I don't know — I can't tell.” So I get the CD that Rhino sent me and, in the end, after my encore, Chip Monck says, “And now Santana will be on in a few minutes.” I had to make a lot of amends that day. I had to call and say I'm sorry, you're right, I'm wrong.

That was a telling moment to me. I went down to the screening last year in the academy at Hollywood of the digitally remixed soand — it was really great — and they had a big panel. They had, like, 30 people. (Woodstock promoter) Mike Lang was there. John Morris was there. All these people. So it went like this: Who booked the acts? I did. No, I did. No, I did. Where was the original place? It was here. No, it wasn't. It was over here. No, it wasn't. It was over here. Nobody really knew what happened. But we know it happened. We know it happened. But nobody who was there really remembers what happened.


http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/08/07/PKN6190DDL.DTL
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« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2015, 12:48:00 pm »


From the Los Angeles Times....

To Woodstock, on the ‘Frankly Dankly’ school bus of '69

Forty years ago, an oil-dripping heap with the name of a fictitious band
painted on its side took a coterie of young activists to the famed
music festival 40 years ago, and to their own turning points.


By PAUL LIEBERMAN | 2:17AM PDT - Saturday, August 15, 2009

Writer Paul Lieberman, shown in 1969, traveled to Woodstock on a bus painted with “Frankly Dankly and his Seven Little All-Americans”, the name of a fictitious band. — Photo provided by Paul Lieberman.
Writer Paul Lieberman, shown in 1969, traveled to Woodstock on a bus
painted with “Frankly Dankly and his Seven Little All-Americans”, the
name of a fictitious band. — Photo: provided by Paul Lieberman.


NORTH ADAMS, MASSACHUSETTS — The statute of limitations should protect us from prosecution, so let the truth be told — we used anti-poverty funds to buy the Frankly Dankly bus in the landmark summer of '69. One of our group still insists we “passed the hat” to pay for the thing. But he's a respectable lawyer now, so we'll allow him that fog of memory. Everyone else is willing to 'fess up that we dipped into money intended to help the poor to procure the oil-leaking school bus we saw sitting in a lot with a “For Sale” sign.

Oh, we had a cover story for spending the $500 — that we could use a roving tutorial center to reach kids beyond the old mill towns where we were soldiers in the war on poverty. We no doubt hoped that would be the fate of the bus, eventually. But first we tore out the seats, painted the sides bright red, white and blue, and etched on the name of a nonexistent rock band, Frankly Dankly and His Seven Little All-Americans. Then we loaded it up with turkeys and pancake mix and headed over the Berkshires to a muddy farmland in Bethel, New York.

We actually had tickets for the three-day Woodstock Music and Art Fair, our coterie of idealistic college students who exemplified an era that blurred the line between political activism and experimenting with new lifestyles. We'd spend days helping low-income families find housing, then gather at night to mull over our motives and shed our inhibitions with encounter groups that left us half-naked on the floor. We would open a community center with a parade down Main Street.

This weekend's 40th anniversary of Woodstock is spawning a new torrent of recollections of that summer that may leave generations born before and after screaming, “Enough!” But trust me, the Frankly Dankly saga is not just another baby boomer nostalgia trip, for from our crew came a movement that's a lightning-rod today.


Salli Benedict, the group's “Earth mother” at 21, roasted the turkeys that would sustain the festival-goers, who started the drive to Upstate New York playing Canned Heat's “Going Up the Country” on kazoos. — Photo provided by Salli Benedict.
Salli Benedict, the group's “Earth mother” at 21, roasted
the turkeys that would sustain the festival-goers, who
started the drive to Upstate New York playing Canned
Heat's “Going Up the Country” on kazoos.
 — Photo: provided by Salli Benedict.


The Office of Economic Opportunity had been established by President Lyndon Johnson to spearhead his Great Society anti-poverty efforts, but President Nixon was skeptical of it and in 1969 put a pair of up-and-coming Republicans in charge. Let's not blame Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, however, for what we did with their money — North Adams, Massachusetts. was far below their radar.

Our adventure began with two fellow Williams College students who had spent time in this community of 18,000 built around a brick factory that once made Civil War uniforms. The southward flight of the textile industry had devastated New England, so a team of 18 was assembled to help out here and in nearby Adams, some with full slots in VISTA (the Volunteers in Service to America), others dubbed VISTA summer associates.

Several of the group had just graduated from college, but two girls from Bennington College were merely through freshman year, and sauntered about in big, floppy hats. I was only a year older but had street cred as a New Yorker who'd marched in my first demonstration while in my mother's womb, though I'd also worked as a riflery instructor, trained by the NRA.

Bill Cummings was the son of a West Point graduate and had married a fellow military brat, Salli Benedict. Bill had become disenchanted with the war after seeing the wounded in a hospital in the Philippines, where his father was based while staging night bombing raids over Vietnam. Chris Kinnell was a lanky basketball player from supposedly laid back Pacific Palisades. Bruce Plenk was a self-described "save the world type" from Utah who believed that a crusade for social change could be waged with “a lightness and fun to it.”

Wade Rathke was not about lightness and fun. The onetime Eagle Scout from New Orleans was, like Cummings, married already at 20. Though he attended the same elite college as us, Wade had supported himself for a time driving a forklift. He had taken a year off to do draft counseling only to become disillusioned when better-off kids were all that came through the door. Now he'd lean silently against a wall at our meetings, a cigarette dangling from his mouth.


Community organizer Wade Rathke, who went on to found ACORN, now a lightning rod for conservatives, skipped Woodstock. — Photo provided by Wade Rathke.
Community organizer Wade Rathke, who went on to found ACORN,
now a lightning rod for conservatives, skipped Woodstock.
 — Photo provided by Wade Rathke.


Our orientation coincided with a Boston rally of the National Welfare Rights Organization, where we met Saul Alinsky, who had become a legend organizing around the Chicago stockyards. “When you come into a community, you don't have ‘issues’,” Alinsky told us. “You have ‘sad scenes’. Your job is to turn those sad scenes into issues.”

But how many college kids had what it took to go door-to-door in housing projects to persuade welfare mothers to sit in at a government office to obtain back-to-school clothing for their kids? The Welfare Rights honchos saw one candidate in our crowd, Rathke. I think many of us were relieved when he agreed to organize the city of Springfield, an hour southeast of our western Massachusetts towns.

For the rest of us, the work seemed snake-bitten that summer. We spent weeks promoting a meeting of tenants at a church in North Adams only to have astronaut Neil Armstrong pick that night to step on the moon. The two locals who showed up must have been the only ones without TVs. It poured the day we opened the community center in an old supermarket. Still, we danced into the wee hours to a band that did perfect covers of Three Dog Night hits (“One is the loneliest number ...”)and soon would play as a warm-up act at ... well, enter the bus.

Ads for the August 15th-17th Woodstock festival promised “Three Days of Peace & Music”, peace first, music second. The promoters expected 50,000 people for a celebration of an egalitarian spirit with “painting and sculpture on trees [by] accomplished artists, ghetto artists and would-be artists”. But what attracted us were acts such as Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. If purchased well in advance, three-day tickets cost $18, so the Bennington girls collected that and mailed in our money. Cummings floated the idea of buying the school bus a week into August, saying we could reach rural families. That's when I piped up, “Why kid ourselves?” We all knew the real motive. Counterarguments flew back: The bus cost next to nothing. We were paying ourselves a pittance, $25 a week. We could say the $500 was from donations from college alumni, never mind that all our funds were mingled. But I was an effective spoilsport. We voted down the purchase.

Then everyone got drunk, or whatever, and in the morning we bought the bus.

We did paint it off-hours. Then we paid a local sign man to letter on “Frankly Dankly and his Seven Little All-Americans”, a name fellow students used for a phantom band they kept promising would play at parties. We bought sleeveless T-shirts and painted “F.D.” in red on each. Salli, our Earth mother at 21, roasted the turkeys. We took off mid-morning Friday, August 15th, our kazoos playing Canned Heat's “Going Up the Country".

The bus drew stares whenever we stopped, which was at almost every gas station because it wouldn't hold oil — there was a reason we got it for $500. In quaint Millbrook, New York, a couple hurried their children into their car at the sight of our bus. There was a power to the budding Youth Culture, even if it split our society.

The traffic became inch-along dense miles from Max Yasgur's farm, where the festival would be, but we talked our way through one checkpoint by insisting, “We've got Mr. Dankly's equipment in the back!” Then a second security guy checked, saw only our kazoos, and guided us into a field with two dozen other painted buses. Mud caked the sneakers and moccasins of the thousands of youths in their own floppy hats and painted t-shirts trudging like refugees in a war zone past where cattle had grazed a day before.


The traffic became inch-along dense miles from Max Yasgur's farm, where the festival was held. Thousands of youths headed toward fields where cattle had grazed the day before, and where artists like Jimi Hendrix and Joan Baez would make history. — Photo by Baron Wolman.
The traffic became inch-along dense miles from Max Yasgur's farm, where the
festival was held. Thousands of youths headed toward fields where cattle had
grazed the day before, and where artists like Jimi Hendrix and Joan Baez
would make history. — Photo by Baron Wolman.


We joined the procession and 45 minutes later heard the dim sound of music. We glimpsed the makeshift towers behind the stage. They'd given up on taking tickets. We were directed up the far side of a hill, sensing the mass of people but seeing little.

Finally, we made a left and took in the spectacle through dimming light: We were halfway up a natural amphitheater that once was an alfalfa field but now resembled a staging ground for the Roman legions. Though we were a quarter mile from the stage, it looked as if every inch was packed, with more people than we'd seen in one place.

Years later, we could not be sure what we witnessed and what we saw in the Woodstock movie. A few of us thought we caught the opening act, Richie Havens, but the first I recall was Country Joe McDonald, doing his anti-war ditty: “And it's one, two, three … What are we fighting for? … Don't ask me, I don't give a damn … Next stop is Vietnam”.

Then I went exploring up the hill and lost our group. The youth culture that had gotten us so much attention en route swallowed me up. After the night ended with Joan Baez singing “We Shall Overcome”. I feared I'd never find the bus, but did, somehow. The next morning, Bill and Salli made pancakes for hundreds of passersby. So the bus did do some good for humanity.


The Woodstock festival promoted as “Three Days of Peace and Music” drew more than 400,000 people to farm fields. Organizers had expected closer to 50,000. — Associated Press/August 16th, 1969.
The Woodstock festival promoted as “Three Days of Peace and Music”
drew more than 400,000 people to farm fields. Organizers had
expected closer to 50,000. — Associated Press/August 16th, 1969.


Saturday was a wet blur. Someone had to wake Bill so he could hear Sly and the Family Stone. Sunday, we were gone long before Hendrix performed his agonized Star Spangled Banner. We were intent on being at our $25-a-week jobs Monday morning.

Before we knew it, most of us were back at college, but a core stayed in North Adams and engineered one tangible success, construction of low-cost housing. Little was said of the bus, which never made any community rounds. Suffering from a cracked block, it was last spotted in a field, left to rust into oblivion with our memories.

It took work to find some of the crew: Bill Cummings is a PhD ecologist who monitors development projects in Pakistan but lives outside Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Though he's no longer married to Salli, she's there too, directing public health programs, the latest targeting obesity among poor women. They dote on four grandkids and recently took a couple to an outdoor concert by Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp.

After years as a legal aid attorney, Bruce Plenk coordinates solar energy projects for the city of Tucson. Our basketball player from Pali high, Chris Kinnell, is a minister in upstate New York, just back from a mission to Zimbabwe. The guy who swore we passed the hat to buy the bus, John Kitchen, is a lawyer who works with the disabled in New Hampshire. One of the Bennington girls became a psychologist.

Wade Rathke, in contrast, was a snap to find. He's been living what he calls his “Britney Spears moment” since the presidential race that put Barack Obama, a onetime community organizer, in the White House. That's when the organization Wade founded, ACORN, hired 8,000 canvassers to register 1.3 million voters. Backers of Senator John McCain accused it of trying to steal the election.

Wade never did return to school that fall of '69, but the local papers reported his progress in Springfield, where he led hundreds of welfare mothers demanding vouchers for winter coats. He was thinking of returning south to establish “a strong conflict group,” concentrating on poor whites. Then he was gone, to Arkansas, to launch the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.

Nowadays, he's a favorite villain of the right. “I'm not surprised that I'm seen as a dangerous dude,” Wade said when we reconnected for the first time in four decades. “In fact, I am.”

I asked him about his bid to organize “the rest of the planet”, as one report put it, but I mostly wanted his explanation for missing the Frankly Dankly bus. “Knew about the bus,” he replied. “We had seats on the bus.”

It seems his wife, Lee, (now his ex) had been intent on going with us and shelled out $36 for two sets of tickets, but Wade was not going to be diverted from his Welfare Rights work. Yet over the years his memory combined the summer's events into a semi-fable that had Woodstock weekend as the turning point in his life. The tale had him driving his Ford Econoline van to meet us only to have it break down, so he hitched instead to Springfield and resolved to become an organizer.

“Who knows where I would have wound up if I had gotten on the bus with you guys,” he said. “I might have thought I had a future shaking a tambourine in a rock 'n' roll band.”

The summer of '69 was a turning point for me, as well. I found I was a pretty good observer and, perhaps, had a conscience. Later, when I gravitated to investigative reporting, and projects on working conditions and healthcare, I thought of Saul Alinsky's exhortation to turn “sad scenes” into issues. But I was pulled toward entertaining people, as well, and thought of our embrace of lightness, a quality often overwhelmed by the meanness of today.

My wife and I go to the Berkshires each summer, and North Adams is a regular stop, for the factory that made Civil War uniforms has become a great museum, MASS MoCA. I take back roads, indulging the fantasy that I'll spot kids playing in a patch of high grass, in the corroded hull of vehicle with a trace of odd lettering on its side.


http://www.latimes.com/news/la-na-woodstock15-2009aug15,0,4479312.story
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« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2015, 12:48:16 pm »


from Fairfax NZ....

Alcohol worse than crack, heroin

REUTERS | 1:38PM - Monday, 01 November 2010

DAMAGE: British scientists say the effects of alcohol can be worse than those of heroin or crack cocaine. — Photo: Fairfax Media.
DAMAGE: British scientists say the effects of alcohol
can be worse than those of heroin or crack cocaine.
 — Photo: Fairfax Media.


ALCOHOL IS A MORE DANGEROUS DRUG than both crack and heroin when the combined harms to the user and to others are assessed, British scientists said.

Presenting a new scale of drug harm that rates the damage to users themselves and to wider society, the scientists rated alcohol the most harmful overall and almost three times as harmful as cocaine or tobacco.

According to the scale, devised by a group of scientists including Britain's Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs (ISCD) and an expert adviser to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), heroin and crack cocaine rank as the second and third most harmful drugs.

Ecstasy is only an eighth as harmful as alcohol, according to the scientists' analysis.

Professor David Nutt, chairman of the ISCD, whose work was published in the Lancet medical journal, said the findings showed that “aggressively targeting alcohol harms is a valid and necessary public health strategy”.

He said they also showed that current drug classification systems had little relation to the evidence of harm.

Alcohol and tobacco are legal for adults in Britain and many other countries, while drugs such as ecstasy and cannabis and LSD are often illegal and carry the threat of prison sentences.

“It is intriguing to note that the two legal drugs assessed — alcohol and tobacco — score in the upper segment of the ranking scale, indicating that legal drugs cause at least as much harm as do illegal substances,” Nutt, who was formerly head of the influential British Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), said in a statement about the study.

Nutt was forced to quit the ACMD a year ago after publicly criticising ministers for ignoring scientific advice suggesting cannabis was less harmful than alcohol.

The World Health Organisation estimates that risks linked to alcohol cause 2.5 million deaths a year from heart and liver disease, road accidents, suicides and cancer — accounting for 3.8 percent of all deaths. It is the third leading risk factor for premature death and disabilities worldwide.

In an effort to offer a guide to policy makers in health, policing, and social care, Nutt's team rated drugs using a technique called multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) which assessed damage according to nine criteria on harm to the user and seven criteria on harm to others.

Harms to the user included things such as drug-specific or drug-related death, damage to health, drug dependence and loss of relationships, while harms to others included crime, environmental damage, family conflict, international damage, economic cost, and damage to community cohesion.

Drugs were then scored out of 100, with 100 given to the most harmful drug and zero indicating no harm at all.

The scientists found alcohol was most harmful, with a score of 72, followed by heroin with 55, and crack with 54.

Among some of the other drugs assessed were crystal meth (33), cocaine (27), tobacco (26), amphetamine or speed (23), cannabis (20), benzodiazepines, such as Valium (15), ketamine (15), methadone (14), mephedrone (13), ecstasy (9), anabolic steroids (9), LSD (7) and magic mushrooms (5).


http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/wellbeing/4295108/Alcohol-worse-than-crack-heroin
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« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2015, 12:48:37 pm »


from the Los Angeles Times....

Owsley Stanley dies at 76 — ‘Acid King’ of the '60s psychedelic era

He reputedly made more than a million doses of LSD,
much of which fueled Ken Kesey's notorious Acid
Tests — rollicking parties featuring all manner of
psychedelic substances, strobe lights and music.


By ELAINE WOO | Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Owsley “Bear” Stanley, left, and the Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia in 1969. Stanley, a 1960s counterculture legend who flooded the flower power scene with LSD and was an early benefactor of the Dead, died in a car crash in his adopted country of Australia. He was 76. — Photo: Reuters.
Owsley “Bear” Stanley, left, and the Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia in 1969.
Stanley, a 1960s counterculture legend who flooded the flower power
scene with LSD and was an early benefactor of the Dead, died in a car
crash in his adopted country of Australia. He was 76. — Photo: Reuters.


NEARLY EVERYONE familiar with the history of the 1960s has heard of Timothy Leary and Ken Kesey, the pranksters who spread the gospel of psychedelics to the countercultural generation. But far fewer remember Owsley Stanley.

Stanley, who died Saturday at age 76, was arguably as pivotal as Leary and Kesey for altering minds in the turbulent '60s. Among a legion of youthful seekers, his name was synonymous with the ultimate high as a copious producer of what Rolling Stone once called “the best LSD in the world … the genuine Owsley.” He reputedly made more than a million doses of the drug, much of which fueled Kesey's notorious Acid Tests — rollicking parties featuring all manner of psychedelic substances, strobe lights and music. Tom Wolfe immortalized Stanley as the “Acid King” in the counterculture classic "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test" (1968).

The music that rocked Kesey's events was made by the Grateful Dead, the iconic rock band of the era that also bears Stanley's imprint. His chief effect on the band stemmed not merely from supplying its musicians with top-grade LSD but from his technical genius: As the Dead's early sound engineer, Stanley, nicknamed “Bear”, developed a radical system he called the “wall of sound”, essentially a massive public address system that reduced distortion and enabled the musicians to mix from the stage and monitor their playing.

“Owsley was truly important in setting the example of someone who would go to almost any length, beyond what anyone would think reasonable, to pursue the goal of perfection … sonic perfection, the finest planet Earth ever saw,” Grateful Dead publicist Dennis McNally said on Monday. “They never would have done that without Bear. Furthermore, the greater San Francisco scene never would have been what it was without the opportunity for thousands of people to experience psychedelics, which would not have happened without Bear.”

Stanley, who moved to Australia more than 30 years ago, was driving his car in a storm near the town of Mareeba in Queensland when he lost control and crashed, said Sam Cutler, a longtime friend and former Grateful Dead tour manager. He died at the scene. His wife, Sheilah, sustained minor injuries.

Described by Cutler as a man who held “very firm beliefs about potential disasters,” Stanley relocated to Australia because he believed it was the safest place to avoid a new ice age. He was a fanatical carnivore who once said that eating broccoli may have contributed to a heart attack several years ago. In his later years he was mainly a sculptor and jeweler, and his works were sought by many in the music industry, including the Rolling Stones' Keith Richards, Cutler said.

“He was a very sophisticated man,” Cutler said, “an amalgam of scientist and engineer, chemist and artist.”

With artist Bob Thomas, Stanley designed the Dead's distinctive logo: a skull emblazoned with a lightning bolt. He also recorded about 100 of the band's performances, many of which later were released as albums. He once said that he considered preserving the live concerts one of his most important accomplishments.

Born Augustus Owsley Stanley III in Kentucky on January 19th, 1935, he was the grandson of a Kentucky governor and son of a naval commander. His nickname, Bear, reputedly was inspired by the profuse chest hair he sprouted in adolescence.

He studied engineering briefly at the University of Virginia before dropping out and joining the Air Force, where he trained as a radio operator. After completing his military service in 1958, he moved to California and worked at a variety of jobs, including a stint at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge. He also studied ballet, Russian and French.

He enrolled at UC Berkeley in 1963 as the Free Speech Movement was erupting and drugs such as LSD began flowing. He got his first taste of LSD in April 1964. “I remember the first time I took acid and walked outside,” he told Rolling Stone in 2007, “and the cars were kissing the parking meters.”

That experience convinced him that he needed a steady and trustworthy supply. He found a recipe at the campus library. Then, with a chemistry major named Melissa Cargill, he started a lab and began manufacturing a very pure form of the drug.

His lab was raided twice; Stanley spent two years in prison. According to “A Long Strange Trip”, McNally's history of the Grateful Dead, Stanley estimated that he had produced enough LSD to provide about 1.25 million doses between 1965 and 1967.

After his release from prison in 1972, he returned to the Dead and began working on a new sound system, a monolithic collection of speakers and microphones that channeled the music through a single cluster of equipment. The band introduced it in 1974 at San Francisco's Cow Palace, but it was too expensive to sustain and Stanley later gave most of it away. But his ideas were later adopted by concert equipment makers.

Not everyone was a fan of the system. “It was always malfunctioning,” Country Joe McDonald, of the '60s psychedelic band Country Joe & the Fish, said in an interview on Monday. “The Grateful Dead and their extended family were like a unit, a nine-headed hydra. They did things their own way. People loved it. It was part of their mystique.” Stanley, whom McDonald knew slightly and remembered as “kind of an obnoxious” person, “fit in really well.”

For a brief time Stanley was the Grateful Dead's main financial backer and put them up in a pink stucco house in Watts, where he had moved his LSD lab. A 1966 Los Angeles Times profile described Stanley roaring up to a Sunset Boulevard bank on a motorcycle with wads of money crammed in his helmet, pockets and boots. The L.A. Times' and other accounts described him as an LSD millionaire, a status Stanley denied. But it inspired a Dead song, “Alice D. Millionaire” (see video clip below). He also was immortalized in a Steely Dan composition, “Kid Charlemagne” (also below), and in a Jimi Hendrix recording of the Beatles' “Day Tripper”, in which Hendrix can be heard calling out “Owsley, can you hear me now?”






Stanley downplayed his influence on the psychedelic explosion, explaining that he began producing LSD only to ensure the quality of what he ingested.

“I just wanted to know the dose and purity of what I took into my own body. Almost before I realized what was happening, the whole affair had gotten completely out of hand. I was riding a magic stallion. A Pegasus,” he told Rolling Stone. “I was not responsible for his wings, but they did carry me to all kinds of places.”

In addition to his wife, he is survived by sons Pete and Starfinder; daughters Nina and Redbird; eight grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.


http://www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/la-me-owsley-stanley-20110315,0,3733346.story
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« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2015, 12:49:01 pm »


from the San Francisco Chronicle....

Magic Mushrooms Can Make Lasting Personality Changes, Study Says

Business Report — San Francisco Chronicle with Bloomberg News

By ELIZABETH LOPATTO | Thursday, September 29, 2011

PSYCHEDELIC: Hallucinogenic mushrooms are weighed and packaged at a farm in the Netherlands. — Photo: Peter DeJong/Associated Press.
PSYCHEDELIC: Hallucinogenic mushrooms are weighed and packaged at a farm in the Netherlands.
 — Photo: Peter DeJong/Associated Press.


PSILOCYBIN, or “magic mushrooms”, can make people more open in their feelings and aesthetic sensibilities, conferring on them a lasting personality change, according to a study by Johns Hopkins researchers.

People who had mystic experiences while taking the mushrooms were more likely to show increases in a personality trait dubbed “openness”, which is related to creativity, artistic appreciation and curiosity, according to the study in the Journal of Psychopharmacology. The change was still in place a year later, suggesting a long-term effect.

“The remarkable piece is that psilocybin can facilitate experiences that change how people perceive themselves and their environment,” said Roland Griffiths, a study author and professor of psychiatry and behavioral science at Johns Hopkins University of Medicine in Baltimore. “That's unprecedented.”

Magic mushrooms, also known as “shrooms”, are hallucinogens native to tropical and subtropical regions of South America, Mexico and the U.S. The fungi were favored by former Harvard psychologist Timothy Leary, who founded the Harvard Psilocybin Project, and explored by '60s writer and anthropologist Carlos Castaneda. They are typically eaten but can also be dried and smoked or made into a tea.

Openness is one of five major personality factors known to be constant throughout multiple cultures, heritable in families and largely unvarying throughout a person's lifetime. The other four factors, extroversion, neuroticism, agreeableness and conscientiousness, were unchanged by being dosed with the hallucinogenic mushrooms, the study found. This is the first finding of a short-term intervention providing a long-term personality change, researchers said.


Mystical Experiences

The 51 participants, who had an average age of 46, completed two to five eight-hour drug sessions at least three weeks apart. They were asked to lie down on a couch, use an eye mask and listen to music on headphones while focusing on an inner experience. Their personalities were screened initially, one to two months after each drug session and about a year after the last trip.

In the test, 30 people had a mystical experience, as established by a set of psychological scales. On tests of major personality traits, their openness scores rose, suggesting a greater interest in imagination, aesthetics, feelings, ideas and values. The 22 patients who didn't have a mystical experience showed no change.


Potential for Abuse

Psilocybin mushrooms are a schedule I substance in the U.S., which means the government considers them to have a high potential for abuse and no legitimate medical purpose, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Griffith disagrees. He has started two studies, one in people distressed by recent diagnoses of cancer, and another in cigarette smokers. “The changes to patients' personalities may make them more at ease with their cancer diagnosis or make it easier to give up cigarettes,” he said.

“There's reason to suggest a treatment program may help patients in opening the mind to other ways of seeing their behavior,” Griffith said.


http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2011/09/29/bloomberg_articlesLS96451A74E9.DTL
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« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2015, 12:49:24 pm »


Mark Morford

When Jesus ate the magic mushrooms

By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist | Wednesday, October 05, 2011

People who had mystic experiences while taking the mushrooms were more likely to show increases in a personality
trait dubbed ‘openness’... The change was still in place a year later, suggesting a long-term effect.
” — Bloomberg


Just look at us, would you? Are we not the most adorable creatures ever? The most perplexed and beautiful and lost?

Look at us, with our mountains and lifetimes of obvious empirical evidence proving this or that glorious fact of numinous human consciousness — meditation! MDMA! Orgasm! Love! Dreams! — and yet somehow it takes us 5,000 years and about five million dollars to get around to officially confirming that all that evidence and all those years might be onto something after all.

And I'm looking at you, Johns Hopkins University, for once again coming out with a timid little study reinforcing what everyone already knew and what you yourself already suggested about five years ago (I know because I wrote about it, mostly sober), which is the same as others discovered 20 years ago, and also 50, and 500, and throughout the entire continuum of lustful cosmic spacetime. Let us sigh.

Shall we recap? Once again, we find that magic mushrooms (AKA psilocybin), really are rather astonishing wonderfungi that, when used in moderation and with all due respect, can induce a potent, lasting sense of "openness," creativity and artistic curiosity in the otherwise stressed, compressed, far-too-depressed animal you see right there in the mirror. No! Really? Go figure.

Is it not a wonder? I personally love the muted tone of such findings, the staid language, the flatly studious textures. “Why yes,” John Hopkins University seems to say, “many of the subjects did seem to rather enjoy themselves while warmly hallucinating on a couch while blindfolded listening to nice music for multiple uninterrupted hours.”

“Our careful scientific measurements show that many appear to have, technically speaking, lightened the hell up, as their neural pathways were groped by God and licked by Mother Nature and gently whipped by the divine riding crop of their own deeper consciousness.”

“Perhaps this is worth noting in our scientific journals. Perhaps even more studies are in order. Perhaps we should note that the effects were amplified tenfold when said subject was dancing uproariously next to a gaggle of dusty, semi naked females by a giant flame-throwing steampunk octopus deep in the Nevada desert.”




Should we be celebrating? Should we be awaiting the next big announcement that psilocybin will soon be available to the masses in convenient pill form? After all, with such good news, it can't be long now until mainstream culture gets hold of such remarkable findings and American entrepreneurialism kicks in and you soon see premium 'shroom chocolates in the wine aisle at Whole Foods. Right?

As if. The U.S. Centres for Disease Control still ranks psilocybin a schedule I illegal, which means they believe it has no therapeutic value and has too much potential for abuse (unlike, say, alcohol or tobacco or the Tea Party or guns or television or hate or junk food or Rush Limbaugh or religion or oil or money or Facebook) which is just another way of reiterating the great American truism: Money trumps all.

It's true. If there's no serious corporate profit to be made from a given life enhancer (psilocybin, like pot or MDMA, can't exactly be trademarked) it therefore cannot be allowed to legally exist. It must be banned. Outlawed. After all, we can't have everyone running around feeling all “open” and fearless and defining god on their own delirious terms completely gratis, can we?

What a strange and wobbly time in which to live. We refuse to believe something until it's “proven” via scientific method, but once it's proven half the nation immediately discredits it because science is for elitist liberals and only creationist Jesus and a sad gang of very dead, enormously repressed Bible-writing priests from 1,500 years ago actually know anything about “truth.”

Meanwhile, the best and most illuminating of nature's medicines remain underground, sidelined and fringe while the costly synthetics rage on full force, addicting millions, numbing out the soul of world, most no better (and often far, far worse) than placebos.

Did Jesus take magic mushrooms? Can we deliberate for a moment? How about Buddha? Allah? Eve? Was the gleaming apple from the tree of knowledge not laced with ayahuasca and wormwood and dark rum? Can we safely assume? Oh, we absolutely can.

This much we know: mushrooms inspire a numinous state, and Jesus was nothing if not a card-carrying mystic. A seer. An anti-establishment, proto-hippie, street-screamin' visionary who hung out with prostitutes and freaks and loved everyone equally, saw everyone as full incarnation of pure divinity right here on earth. And he was what, sober? Sure.

What street mystic worth his or her cosmic epiphany wouldn't eagerly sample from the garden of earthly delights to better jack into the holy mainframe? What, you think Jesus was eating bologna straight from the package and sucking Bud Light and watching NASCAR and “Jersey Shore” like a dupe?

Let us not be too flip. Of course drugs are not the answer. Of course psilocybin can be risky and potent and isn't for everyone (though the standard argument that those who need it most — Tea Party, conservatives, war hawks, homophobes, et al — sadly remain the least likely to experience it). Abuse really is all too possible in our unhinged, anti self-control culture, and results vary wildly. Caveat emptor, excitable seeker.

What's more, this is where we as a species often get confused and lost, substituting the tool for the solution, the “high” for the deeper awareness. This way addiction and ignorance lie. All such entheogens, it's worth remembering, are merely instruments of insight and wisdom, one of a thousand paths to gnosis, to understanding that God isn't out there, that you are not the slightest bit separate from the thing you seek, and consciousness is available in a blink of a slap of a yes.

In other words, you are God, silly. The mushrooms just kinda sorta show you how.

So what can we do? We sigh at science's adorable audacity, nod gratefully at all the swell, relatively impact-free studies that prove something everyone already knew, that actually make very little dent in the greater continuum of timeless spiritual wisdom, and go on sampling from all the funky, chthonic, fungi-riddled gardens we can find. The journey continues. It's what Jesus would have wanted.


Email: Mark Morford

Mark Morford on Twitter and Facebook.

http://www.sfgate.com/entertainment/morford/article/When-Jesus-ate-the-magic-mushrooms-2322813.php
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« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2015, 12:49:39 pm »


from The INDEPENDENT....

Stoned seniors: Germany faces epidemic of hippy pensioners

By TONY PATERSON | Saturday, December 31, 2011

OLD HIPPIES

BERLIN — They include sixty-plus grandmothers spaced out on LSD and 70-year-old grandpas in court for dealing dope: Germany is struggling to cope with a rapid increase in “pensioner hippies” who are still hooked on drugs nearly half a century after the end of the Flower Power era.

The “stoned grandparent” phenomenon has begun to alarm legal and welfare authorities in the country’s most populous state of North Rhine Westphalia, where the number of pensioners annually convicted of drug offences has almost doubled over the past decade to around 117 each year.

The problem has prompted the launch of a scheme to help geriatric specialists familiarise themselves with addiction and old age. “Older people are increasingly turning to illegal drugs,” Gaby Schnell of the regional senior citizen’s association told Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine. “This is a new development which has only surfaced over the last few years.”

Most of the cases on record have involved pensioner-aged hippies convicted of drug related offences. In one incident, a narcotics crime squad in Dortmund arrested a 69-year-old drugs dealer nicknamed “Opium grandpa”. Officers tricked the pensioner into selling them 20 grams of the drug in exchange for €250. He was given a two year suspended sentence.

Other cases included a 71-year-old pensioner convicted of selling marijuana to adolescents in a Cologne park and a 73-year old who required medical treatment after consuming too many “hash cookies”. A recent police investigation in Solingen broke up a ring in which an 85-year-old woman was actively engaged in pushing hard drugs. Three kilos of heroin, a quantity of cocaine and two guns were found in her apartment.


ELDERLY HIPPIES

The crime figures are taken as evidence of a vast, yet hidden number of older people who are either regular drug users or addicts.Sociologists say Germany’s hippie senior citizens are merely copying their rock star heroes of the hedonistic late Sixties, when drug taking was an essential part of being cool. Among the examples they point to is of the 77-year-old American singer Willie Nelson who was caught last year carrying 170 grams of marijuana. “A whole generation is appearing on the scene which will have big difficulties with the problems of addiction and old age,” Ms Schnell said.Her predictions are borne out by statistics from Germany’s Central Agency for Addiction which show that the number of people over forty who are undergoing treatment for hard drugs dependency has more than trebled to over 22 percent of the total over the past decade and is continuing to rise.

Peter Raiser, the agency’s project leader says that heroin surrogates such as methadone have helped many addicts who might have died young to escape an early death. However, he adds that most who have spent a lifetime on drugs suffer from severe premature aging.

The growing problem of drug-addicted “hippie pensioners” has also started to concern experts within Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government. “These sort of people cannot simply be looked after in old people’s homes,” Mechthild Dyckmans, the government’s special advisor on drugs and addiction, admitted in an interview with Der Spiegel yesterday. “We have started a few  communal living pilot projects, but we are just at the beginning.”

She points out that 14 percent of the pensioners currently in care in Germany are either alcohol- or drug-dependent. She plans to make addiction in old age the focus of government health policies “As society becomes ever older, the number of  cases will only increase,” she said.


http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/stoned-seniors-germany-faces-epidemic-of-hippy-pensioners-6283352.html
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« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2015, 12:50:07 pm »


from CBS News....

Magic mushrooms may help treat depression: How?

By RYAN JASLOW | 11:00AM - Wednesday, January 24, 2012

Magic mushrooms.

FEELING BLUE? Two new studies suggest taking a trip might help — but we're not talking vacations.

Tripping on “magic mushrooms” appears to change the brain in ways similar to antidepressants, the study found.

“We're not saying go out there and eat magic mushrooms,” Professor David Nutt, a neuropsychopharmacology researcher at Imperial College London and senior author of both studies, told Reuters. “But...this drug has such a fundamental impact on the brain that it's got to be meaningful — it's got to be telling us something about how the brain works.”

The first of these studies, published in the January 23rd issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, took 30 healthy volunteers and infused the shrooms' active ingredient — called psilocybin — into their bloodstreams while they were lying in an MRI machine. The researchers looked at the volunteers' brain scans, which showed decreased levels of activity in “hub” regions of the brain that connect areas responsible for consciousness, self-identity, and organizing sensory information that constantly floods the brain.

The second study — to be published in the January 25th issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry — gave 10 volunteers in MRI machines written cues to look at that would prompt them to think about their memories. Then the researchers gave the volunteers psilocybin, and found it enhanced their recollections of personal memories. Their brain scans also reflected these changes in areas of the brain that process vision and sensory information.

The researchers say psilocybin might be an effective supplement to psychotherapy.

“Psychedelics are thought of as ‘mind-expanding’ drugs so it has commonly been assumed that they work by increasing brain activity, but surprisingly, we found that psilocybin actually caused activity to decrease in areas that have the densest connections with other areas,” Nutt said in a written statement. “These hubs constrain our experience of the world and keep it orderly. We now know that deactivating these regions leads to a state in which the world is experienced as strange.”

The study raises several questions — aside from who would want to volunteer to go in an MRI machine while on magic mushrooms. Can psychedelic mushrooms conceivably be used to treat people's depression?

The researchers said the brain's biology might provide some clues. One of the brain hubs that were shown to be affected in the study — the medial prefrontal cortex — is found to be hyperactive in people with depression. So psilocybin's affects on this area could cause mimic antidepressants' effects. Also, psilocybin was found to slow blood flow to the brain's hypothalamus. When blood flow is increased to the hypothalamus, people typically experience cluster headaches, so this might explain why some volunteers reported feeling better after “shrooming”.

In 2011, a study in the Journal of Psychopharmacology showed people taking psychedelic mushrooms experienced personality changes that reflected increased “openness” to other senses and emotions, according to HealthPop. Some participants in that study also experienced more anxiety, however.

“This is a research tool which may give us insights into how to treat depression,” Nutt told The Telegraph. But he warned, “I would strongly resist people self-medicating.”

The cops would agree with Nutt on that point. According to the U.S. Justice Department's National Drug Intelligence Center, psilocybin is an illegal drug, classified as a Schedule I substance, along with heroin and LSD.


http://www.cbsnews.com/news/magic-mushrooms-may-help-treat-depression-how
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« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2015, 12:50:29 pm »


from CBS News....

LSD, ‘magic mushrooms’, and other psychedelics
not linked to mental health woes


By RYAN JASLOW | 3:58PM - Wednesday, August 21, 2013



NEW RESEARCH out of Norway shows that taking LSD, “magic mushrooms”, and peyote — so-called psychedelic drugs — won't raise risk for mental health problems as previously thought.

Published in the August 19th issue of PLoS One, the study says that some psychedelic drugs may even reduce risk for psychological problems.

“After adjusting for other risk factors, lifetime use of LSD, psilocybin, mescaline or peyote, or past year use of LSD was not associated with a higher rate of mental health problems or receiving mental health treatment,” study author Pal-Orjan Johansen, a neuroscientist at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway, said in a statement.

Psychedelic drugs have similar structures to naturally-occurring neurotransmitters, which are chemical messengers found in the brain, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The exact way they work is unclear, but they're thought to temporarily interfere with neurotransmitter action, leading to rapid emotional swings and hallucinogenic “trips” that can last hours (on average six hours for magic mushrooms, or psilocybin, and up to 12 hours for peyote and LSD).

A 2007 government survey found about 1.1 million people aged 12 and older had used a psychedelic drug for the first time in the year prior to being surveyed, NIDA reported.

There haven't been properly controlled studies on these drugs, according to the government drug agency, but some case reports and smaller studies suggest there could be long-term effects like flashbacks, impaired memory, and risk of psychiatric illness.

For the new study, researchers analyzed data on more than 130,000 randomly chosen Americans who took a drug use survey between 2001 and 2004, including 22,000 who had used a psychedelic drug at least once. They were also asked about any mental health symptoms and treatments that took place in the year prior to being surveyed. The symptoms in the survey were associated with mental health woes including psychological distress, anxiety disorders, psychosis and mood disorders.

They found no association between the drugs and this range of mental health problems. Instead, the researchers found lifetime use of psilocybin or mescaline and use of LSD in the past year were linked to lower rates of major psychological distress. Lifetime LSD users were also less likely to receive outpatient mental health treatment, such as from a therapist, or take psychiatric prescription medications.

The research only found links to mental health benefits, not a cause-and-effect relationship, and the study's design made it impossible to determine why these results were occurring.

While they can't rule out the possibility that using these drugs might negatively affect mental health, Johansen and colleagues pointed out that recent studies have also failed to find evidence of lasting harmful effects from psychedelic drugs. The researcher added that studies of people who used psychedelics hundreds of times for religious ceremonies found no evidence of health or social problems.

If there are negative effects from these drugs, they may be counterbalanced at the population level by people experiencing positive mental health effects, according to the researchers.

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

Previous studies have also suggest psychedelics may have protective benefits for mental health. Two studies released in January 2012 found reduced risk for depression in psilocybin-takers.

Krebs and Johansen also teamed up for a March 2012 study that found LSD may help serious alcoholics stay sober. Many of the alcoholics who took LSD reported “greater self-acceptance and openness”, and said they gained a new appreciation for their problem and new motivation to address it.

“Having personally worked in mental health and trained in psychiatry, I am yet to see any individual suffering from significant mental health problems as a result of using psychedelic,” Dr. Mark Bolstridge, a research fellow at the Centre for Neuropsychopharmacology of the Imperial College of London in the U.K., said to Medscape. “Alcohol, amphetamines, and cannabis, yes, but never psychedelics,” added Bolstridge, who was not involved in the research. “I think the paper is an important addition to the scientific literature, and it can only help in dispelling the myths surrounding these much maligned substances and in reinforcing the case for continued investigations into how these fascinating compounds work in the brain.”

Dr. Matthew Johnson, a psychologist in the psychiatry department at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, told NPR that the new study does not guarantee that people taking these drugs won't face mental health harms.

“This should not be taken to state that there are never individual cases of harm,” he said. “We know that there are. It's a question of how frequent they are and under what circumstances they happen.”


http://www.cbsnews.com/news/lsd-magic-mushrooms-and-other-psychedelics-not-linked-to-mental-health-woes
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« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2015, 12:50:47 pm »


from CBS News....

How magic mushrooms really ‘expand the mind’

By RACHAEL RETTNER | 3:38PM - Thursday, July 03, 2014

“Magic” or psychedelic mushrooms.
“Magic” or psychedelic mushrooms

YOUR BRAIN on psychedelic drugs looks similar to your brain when you're dreaming, suggests a new study that may also explain why people on psychedelics feel they are expanding their mind.

In the study, the researchers scanned the brains of 15 people before and after they received an injection of psilocybin, the hallucinogen found in magic mushrooms.

Under psilocybin, the activity of primitive brain areas thought to be involved in emotion and memory — including the hippocampus and the anterior cingulate cortex — become more synchronized, suggesting these areas were working together, the researchers said.

This pattern of brain activity is similar to that seen in people who are dreaming, the researchers said. [Trippy Tales: The History of 8 Hallucinogens]

“I was fascinated to see similarities between the pattern of brain activity in a psychedelic state and the pattern of brain activity during dream sleep,” study researcher Robin Carhart-Harris, of Imperial College London in the United Kingdom, said in a statement. “People often describe taking psilocybin as producing a dreamlike state and our findings have, for the first time, provided a physical representation for the experience in the brain.”

In contrast, the activity in brain areas involved in "high-level" thinking (such as self-consciousness) were less coordinated under psilocybin, the study found.

Finally, using a new technique to analyze the brain data, the researchers found that there were more possible patterns of brain activity when participants were under the influence of psilocybin, compared with when they were not taking the drug. This may be one reason why people who use psychedelic drugs feel that their mind has expanded — their brain has more possible states of activity to explore, the researchers said.

The researchers caution that, because some techniques used in the study are new, more research is needed to confirm the findings. The study is published today (July 3rd) in the journal Human Brain Mapping.


Related articles:

 • 7 Mind-Bending Facts About Dreams

 • The Drug Talk: 7 New Tips for Today's Parents

 • 6 Party Drugs That May Have Health Benefits


http://www.cbsnews.com/news/how-magic-mushrooms-really-expand-the-mind
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« Reply #15 on: March 12, 2015, 12:51:06 pm »


from CBS News....

Magic mushrooms could help smokers kick the habit

By JESSICA FIRGER | 2:31PM - Thursday, September 11, 2014

Psilocybe semilanceata.

NO, you're not tripping! A chemical in the hallucinogenic drug known as “magic mushrooms” could help longtime smokers kick the habit, according to a new study.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University found that smokers who have a history of failed cessation attempts were able to successfully quit when they took psilocybin under the guidance of a physician, along with receiving cognitive behavior therapy.

For the study, published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, researchers gave doses of psilocybin to 10 men and five women who had a history of heavy smoking. They smoked an average of 19 cigarettes a day for 31 years and had a history of failed attempts to quit. Two-thirds of the group reported they'd used psychedelic drugs recreationally at some point in their life but as much as three decades before; the remaining five had never taken hallucinogenics.

The researchers counseled study participants on what effects they might feel from the drug, then provided one psilocybin pill to each participant on the day they wished to begin a cessation program. After taking the drug, study participants spent a session of at least six hours with researchers in a “homelike” setting. They wore eye shades and headphones to help relax. They were given additional, higher doses two weeks and eight weeks later.

Each smoker also received regular cognitive behavior therapy on an individual basis that included techniques such as keeping a diary to track triggers that resulted in cigarette cravings.

The study found that after six months, 80 percent of participants who were given the psychedelic drug were still not lighting up, compared with 35 percent of people who took varenicline, the most effective medication currently prescribed to help smokers quit. Other aids, such as nicotine replacements, typically have a success rate of less than 30 percent. Researchers also found the smoking-cessation benefit of psilocybin continued, even after the effects of the drug wore off.

The researchers strongly cautioned that their study is not an endorsement of do-it-yourself psychedelic drug use for smoking cessation.

This study was federally-funded and part of long-term research into how psychedelic drugs could be used to help to treat addiction. The researchers plan next to look at the efficacy of psilocybin versus nicotine patches and use MRIs to study brain activity.

This is not the first study to examine how magic mushrooms may alter the brain in therapeutic ways. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, in 2012, found that the substance could be an effective treatment for depression. In that study, brain scans of study participants showed decreased levels of activity in the “hub” regions of the brain, which are responsible for consciousness, self-identity, and organizing sensory information.


http://www.cbsnews.com/news/magic-mushrooms-could-help-smokers-quit-the-habit
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« Reply #16 on: March 12, 2015, 12:52:37 pm »


Mark Morford

Re-confirmed!
Magic mushrooms make life better.
Want some?


By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist | 1:16PM PST - Monday, November 03, 2014

LOTS OF weird, wonderful stories about the transformative powers of hallucinogens and psychotropic drugs pass through my Prismatic feed every week, most coming from oddball quirkblogs I’ve never heard of, referencing cool but suspicious-sounding studies that might or might not be the slightest bit legit and written in a style that you might call “excited New Age hippie”, and therefore, despite my own admiration for all things altered consciousness, not all that useful for tossing into the columnal mix.

Better than Prozac, more natural than candy.
Better than Prozac, more natural than candy.

Ah, but the good news is, science is increasingly stepping up and (nervously, tentatively) proposing what everyone from Tim Leary to Terence McKenna, ancient shamans to all those old dudes at Burning Man have known since the dawn of man putting weird plants into his body and chatting with God for three days straight:

That these fascinating, mysterious compounds are all kinds of miraculous, and really do re-wire the brain — and the heart, and the soul — in ways that might hold a key to not merely healing a few dire ailments (that’s obvious) but could actual transform our way of being in a violent, dying world.

Of course, researchers can’t actually say that. The rigid confines of science dictate that, in order to ensure continued funding from the anxious governments of the world — most of which are eternally terrified that citizens might begin to question the cruel, institutional reality they’ve been force fed for millennia — researchers must focus on how these “dangerous” Schedule I compounds can be used to treat, say, mental illness, or PTSD, or depression.

Which of course they do, and quite successfully. But there’s so much more to it than that.


Which brain activity would you rather have?
Which brain activity would you rather have?

The image immediately above? Been making the rounds over the past few days, featured in Wired, on Raw Story and who knows where else, referencing a study they did at the Imperial College London that shows how the primary compound in magic mushrooms, psilocybin, actually rewires the normal synaptic patterning of the mind in all sorts of remarkable ways.

But here’s the amazing part: It does so not in some messy, haphazard splatter of trippy synaptic chaos.

Indeed, there’s method to the altered-state madness, neuroscientists say; under psilocybin, the brain actually makes completely new connections between formerly uncommunicative parts of itself, mixing senses, memories, experiential phenomena in ways that awaken a entirely new shape and tone of reality, one that has its own rationale and cognizance, no less “real” or legitimate than our plain-ol’ linear, rote default.

Which is simply another way of repeating the great mantra, the same one chanted by the hippies and the gurus, the Tibetan Book of the Dead and the Vedas, Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids and far beyond: Reality isn’t what you think it is. And it never was.


Basketful of dreams.
Basketful of dreams.

Of course, Imperial College London isn’t alone. There was this fantastic article. There was this study, and this article, and this one, and this one. There was the San Francisco startup dude who said everyone should take magic mushrooms to enhance creativity and reveal what’s really important, echoing Steve Jobs’ famous statement that he owes much of his “visionary” status and creative spirit to his experiences with LSD.

On it goes. The literature and empirical evidence are vast and downright irrefutable. And science is only beginning to catch up. (Actually, it never really will. But never mind that now.)

Could psilocybin become a wonder drug of the near future? Who knows. But one thing seems certain: There’s simply zero chance of these compounds being made in any way legal for the masses. Governments are just too terrified. What’s more, Big Pharma can’t trademark MDMA, or psilocybin, or DMT, or LSD, so of course it’s in their best interest to ensure they remain illegal. Can you imagine if some miraculous, easily available natural compound could eliminate the need for all those toxic, expensive drugs, rehab clinics, self-help books and costly psychotherapists? Capitalism shudders.

Shame, really. Because, medical treatment aside, it’s actually the general populace that needs these compounds the most. Let’s just say it outright: We should all be taking mushrooms. Maybe just a little bit, every day.

Why not? In a country ferociously addicted to alcohol, sugar, junk food, reality TV, prescription medication, self-destruction and endless fear of Other, a gentle, natural re-wiring of our exhausted, overstuffed consciousness — in non-addictive, non-violent, soul-honoring ways — could be the answer we didn’t even know we were looking for. Doesn’t that sound nice? You have a better idea?


Email: Mark Morford

Mark Morford on Twitter and Facebook.

http://blog.sfgate.com/morford/2014/11/03/magic-mushrooms-transform-your-brain
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« Reply #17 on: March 12, 2015, 12:52:55 pm »


from Collective Evolution....

She Was Given LSD, Psilocybin, & MDMA In The Final Days
Before Her Death — What Happened After Was Beautiful


By JEFF ROBERTS | Thursday, November 13, 2014

MARA HOWELL

MARA HOWELL Mara Howell was in pain, the type of pain so severe it found her bedridden in a hospital at 33 years old. Cancer was killing her.

Conventional pain killers weren’t providing any relief. She tried them all, opioids, methadone, IV ethanol, and more, but to no avail. On top of the physical pain, Mara was also battling severe depression and anxiety.

Mara’s mother, Marilyn Howell, recalls her daughter’s struggles in a memoir published for MAPS:

“However much courage Mara had, the waves of illness that washed over her were unrelenting. Diligent exercise didn’t make her stronger, an antidepressant didn’t make her happier.”

Cannabis had provided temporary ease for Mara, but nothing substantial enough to make her situation bearable.

Being a mind-body educator, Mara’s mother suspected that her daughter’s pain was perhaps connected to something less tangible than what Western medicine was willing to accept. It was deeper than the physical.

Working with Mara’s nurse, Marilyn eventually discovered an alternative treatment option for her daughter: Psychedelic therapy.


Psychedelics helped Mara find peace in the final days before her death. What happens during the experience that helps people come to terms with their imminent passing?
Psychedelics helped Mara find peace in the final days before her death. What happens during
the experience that helps people come to terms with their imminent passing?


Mara had heard about the use of psychedelics before from Aldous Huxley’s 1954 book The Doors of Perception, wherein Huxley described using LSD to subdue his own suffering from terminal cancer. In his final moments, Huxley was injected with a strong dose of LSD by his wife, who recorded the experience in her book The Timeless Moment.

Marilyn was aware of the theraputic applications of such drugs as MDMA and LSD from her youth, before the Controlled Substances Act had its strong grasp on psychedelic research decades ago. During the 1980’s, Marilyn recalled how MDMA assisted therapy was a popular treatment for anxiety, depression and PTSD symptoms (In recent years, the FDA has even allowed for a limited amount of research in this field once again).

Thankfully, Mara’s nurse was able to track down a qualified psychiatrist who had just worked on MDMA-assisted therapy research at McLean Hospital. He travelled to Mara’s bedside and administered a controlled dose of MDMA in a guided session. Remarkably, Mara’s pain vanished during the session:

“He came and did a guided session with [Mara] with MDMA, and Marilyn did it with her,” Joyce (Mara’s nurse) said. “They reported that she was pain free during that time. I think [she] died pain free a few days after that.”

In her final days of life, Mara underwent carefully supervised psychotherapy sessions under the influence of MDMA, LSD and psilocybin “magic” mushrooms. The treatments eased her pain, and she was able to get out of bed to take walks in a nearby park. The drugs also helped Mara reach a deep sense of acceptance of her imminent death.

Mara’s hospice care worker, Vassallo, was blown away by the results of the therapy:

“[For Mara] it was just always about pain, pain, pain, pain, pain, pain, no matter what we did,” Vassallo said. “And we did a lot … to try to control her pain, and really nothing worked. My theory is that the pain — I don’t think it was conscience, but it was on the subconscious level — [Mara] needed to have the pain, because if everyone was focused on the pain, that kept everyone unfocused on the fact that this 32-year-old was dying.”

Vassallo said that psychedelics seemed to open Mara up to a new reality that provided imminent peace during her final days.

Check out Marilyn’s blog for more on her daughter’s story, Honor Thy Daughter.


Current Psychedelic-Therapy Research

Psychedelic assisted therapy is showing amazing results in treating depression, anxiety, PTSD symptoms, as well as even fear of death.
Psychedelic assisted therapy is showing amazing results in treating depression, anxiety,
PTSD symptoms, as well as even fear of death.


Although limited, there have been successful applications of psychedelic therapy during studies in recent years.

Last year a study concluded that LSD-assisted psychotherapy is effective in easing anxiety in dying patients. The double-blind, placebo-controlled study was sponsored by MAPS and conducted by Swiss psychiatrist Peter Gasser and his colleagues.

They tracked 12 people who were in the process of dying, primarily due to terminal illness, as they attended LSD-assisted psychotherapy sessions. All but one of the participants had never taken LSD prior to participating in the study. An Austrian participant named Peter described the experience as follows:

“My LSD experience brought back some lost emotions and ability to trust, lots of psychological insights, and a timeless moment when the universe didn’t seem like a trap, but like a revelation of utter beauty.”

Charles Grob, a psychiatrist and researcher at Harbor-U.C.L.A. Medical Center, completed a study in 2008 that showed the ability of psilocybin (the active component in psychedelic mushrooms) to ease fear of death in 12 end-stage cancer patients. The study results, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry in 2011, concluded that the treatment could be done safely and successfully reduced all subjects’ anxiety and depression about impending death.

Research involving ayahuasca has also turned out encouraging data showing its ability to reduce psychological traumas and anxieties, and several studies involving MDMA-assisted psychotherapy have shown it to be statistically significant in reducing anxiety and PTSD symptoms in study participants. To date, clinical trials looking specifically at psychedelics for the end of life are limited, but determined researchers continue to delve into the potentials of various substances.


What Does The Future Hold For Psychedelic Therapy?

Mara’s story is yet another example of the therapeutic potential of psychedelics. If utilized properly, psychedelics can serve as an immensely accelerated means of healing deeply-rooted trauma and anxiety. One of the most exciting factors within this field of research is that it still yields so much potential, as we’ve only  begun to scratch the surface of what psychedelics have to offer. If studies keep producing promising results, we could very well be seeing some major changes within psychedelic legislation very soon.

What are you thoughts on psychedelic intervention in easing the dying process?


• Art credit: Cameron Gray — Parablevisions.com.

http://www.collective-evolution.com/2014/11/13/she-was-given-lsd-psilocybin-and-mdma-in-the-final-days-before-her-death-what-happened-after-was-beautiful
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« Reply #18 on: March 12, 2015, 12:54:52 pm »


That's all the re-posted historic stuff.

I did update pictures and video-clips in some of them before re-posting.

Now for the very interesting news articles about recent and on-going scientific research into this subject.

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« Reply #19 on: March 12, 2015, 12:55:13 pm »


from The Guardian....

Psychedelic drugs like LSD could be used to treat depression, study suggests

Researchers warn that patients are missing out on potential benefits
due to prohibitive regulations on research into recreational drugs.


By HANNAH DEVLIN - Science Correspondent | 12:52AM GMT - Thursday, 05 March 2015

Professor David Nutt’s study has suggested mind-altering drugs — like LSD — could help reverse entrenched patterns of addictive or negative thinking. — Photo: Mark Linfield/Rex Features.
Professor David Nutt’s study has suggested mind-altering drugs — like LSD — could help reverse
entrenched patterns of addictive or negative thinking. — Photo: Mark Linfield/Rex Features.


PSYCHEDELIC DRUGS could prove to be highly effective treatments for depression and alcoholism, according to scientists who have obtained the first brain scans of people under the influence of LSD.

Early results from the trial, involving 20 people, are said to be “very promising” and add to existing evidence that psychoactive drugs could help reverse entrenched patterns of addictive or negative thinking.

However, Professor David Nutt, who led the study, warned that patients are missing out on the potential benefits of such treatments due to prohibitive regulations on research into recreational drugs.

Speaking at a briefing in London, the government’s former chief drugs adviser, said the restrictions amounted to “the worst censorship in the history of science”.

After failing to secure conventional funding to complete the analysis of the latest study on LSD, Nutt and colleagues at Imperial College London, are now attempting to raise £25,000 through the crowd-funding site Walacea.com.

“These drugs offer the greatest opportunity we have in mental health,” he said. “There’s little else on the horizon.”

There has been a resurgence of medical interest in LSD and psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, after several recent trials produced encouraging results for conditions ranging from depression in cancer patients to post-traumatic stress disorder.

A US study in 2014 showed that LSD helped patients with life-threatening illnesses overcome anxiety about death, in 2012 MDMA (the active ingredient in ecstasy) in combination with psychotherapy was shown to be effective at treating post-traumatic stress disorder and a 2006 study from scientists in Arizona found that psilocybin relieved symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

But government and funders in the UK remain unwilling to engage with the potential clinical benefits of psychoactive drugs, Nutt claimed.

He equated the barriers to research to the Catholic church’s censorship of Galileo’s work in 1616. “We’ve banned research on psychedelic drugs and other drugs like cannabis for 50 years,” he said. “Truly, in terms of the amount of wasted opportunity, it’s way greater than the banning of the telescope. This is a truly appalling level of censorship.”

Ravi Das, a neuroscientist at University College London who is researching the effects of ketamine, agreed that there is an institutional bias. “The potential benefits are definitely downplayed in face of these drugs being used recreationally,” he said. “People view their use in a research setting as ‘people are just having a good time’.”

However, the Medical Research Council, said that funding is simply allocated according to the quality of research. “We’re certainly not cautious about funding studies just because they relate to an illegal drug,” a spokesman said. “Professor Nutt currently receives over three quarters of a million pounds directly from the MRC for his psilocybin research and last year alone we spent over £860,000 on studies related to cannabis.”

In the latest study, carried out at Cardiff University, 20 healthy volunteers who had previous experience of LSD were injected with a “moderate” (75 microgram) dose of the drug before having the activity of their brains monitored using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

Robin Carhart-Harris, also from Imperial College, said the dose produced “quite profound effects”, in terms of brain activity and the mood and mental state of the participants. None of the volunteers reported having a “bad trip”, although three suffered some anxiety and temporary paranoia.

“I wouldn’t say that it’s a dangerous experiment but I would say that LSD has potential negative effects,” he said. “It’s not uncommon for people to have anxiety during a psychedelic drug experience. The experience can be nightmarish at times.”

He added that even those who had a challenging experience were “somehow psychologically refreshed” afterwards.

A previous brain imaging study, by the same team, showed that psilocybin decreased blood flow to certain important “hub structures” in the brain, meaning that closely linked brain areas became less tightly synchronised. The scientists believe that this could explain why the drug appears to help patients overcome conditions such as depression, addiction and post-traumatic stress where pathological patterns of thought become so entrenched they are difficult to reverse.

The team are planning a new psilocybin study in patients with depression, due to begin in May.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Drugs are illegal where scientific and medical analysis has shown they are harmful to human health. We have a clear licensing regime, supported by legislation, which allows legitimate research to take place in a secure environment while ensuring that harmful drugs are not misused and do not get into the hands of criminals.”


http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/mar/05/psychedelic-drugs-like-lsd-could-be-used-to-treat-depression-study-suggests



from Counsel & Heal — Mental Health....

LSD May Boost Emotional Wellbeing

LSD and magic mushrooms don't increase the risk of
mental health problems, according to new research.


6:01PM EST - Thursday, March 05, 2015

LSD and magic mushrooms don't increase the risk of mental health problems, according to new research. — Picture: DEA.
LSD and magic mushrooms don't increase the risk of mental health problems,
according to new research. — Picture: DEA.


AFTER analyzing data from more than 135,000 randomly chosen participants of the US National Health Survey (2008-2011), researchers found no link between the use of psychedelic drug use and psychological distress, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, plans, and attempts.

Lead researcher Teri Krebs of Norwegian University of Science and Technology said the latest findings support previous findings from earlier population studies.

“Over 30 million US adults have tried psychedelics and there just is not much evidence of health problems,” clinical psychologist Pål Ostroke Johansen said in a news release.

“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,” Krebs added.

Researchers noted that psychedelic drug use might also promote mental wellbeing.

“Many people report deeply meaningful experiences and lasting beneficial effects from using psychedelics,” explained Krebs.

“With these robust findings, it is difficult to see how prohibition of psychedelics can be justified as a public health measure,” said Johansen.

“Concerns have been raised that the ban on use of psychedelics is a violation of the human rights to belief and spiritual practice, full development of the personality, and free-time and play,” Krebs concluded.


• The findings were published in the journal Lancet Psychiatry.

http://www.counselheal.com/articles/13898/20150305/lsd-boost-emotional-wellbeing.htm
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« Reply #20 on: March 12, 2015, 12:58:04 pm »


from The New Zealand Herald....

‘Exciting’ results from controversial LSD brain scan study

9:05AM - Friday, March 06, 2015

LSD STUDY: Early results are said to be “exciting” but the full findings must wait until funding can be found to complete the research.
LSD STUDY: Early results are said to be “exciting” but the full findings must wait until funding
can be found to complete the research.


A GROUP of 20 British volunteers are the first in the world to have had their brains scanned while high on LSD.

The controversial study, which took place at the University of Cardiff and finished this year, was co-led by ex-drugs tsar Professor David Nutt.

Early results are said to be “exciting” but the full findings must wait until funding can be found to complete the research.

Nutt was sacked from his job as the UK government's chief adviser on drugs in 2009 after saying saying ecstasy and LSD were less harmful than alcohol.

At a briefing in London he spoke out against restrictions on research on recreational drugs, which he called “the worst censorship in the history of science”.

Having been turned down by “classic funders” he is now campaigning to raise the £25,000 needed to carry out analysis of the brain scanning data from the science crowd-funding site Walacea.com.

He compared current attitudes to studying recreational drugs with the Catholic church's clampdown on pioneering Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei in the 17th century.

“The only comparable example is when the Catholic church banned the telescope in 1616,” said Nutt, who is based at Imperial College London.

“We've banned research on psychedelic drugs and other drugs like cannabis for 50 years. Truly in terms of the amount of wasted opportunity, it's way greater than the banning of the telescope. This is a truly appalling level of censorship.”




The LSD study involved giving the volunteers injections of a 75 microgram dose of LSD before probing the activity of their brains.

Two kinds of scans were used, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and magnetoencephalography (Meg) which measures small magnetic fields generated in the brain.

None of the participants reported having a bad experience but three described some anxiety and temporary paranoia.

Dr Robin Carhart-Harris, also from the Imperial College team, said the dose of LSD given to the volunteers was a “tiny speck”.

“The effects are quite profound. It would be described as a moderate dose but a moderate dose of LSD can still produce a profound state of consciousness,” he said.

“I wouldn't say that it's a dangerous experiment but I would say that LSD has potential negative effects. Probably the crucial one is a bad trip. It's not uncommon for people to have anxiety during a psychedelic drug experience ... the experience can be nightmarish at times.”

“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.”

He said there had been no evidence of psychedelic drugs such as LSD triggering psychosis in research studies, although there were anecdotal reports of this occurring through recreational use.

Nutt said LSD was widely studied in the 1950s and 1960s and shown to be therapeutically useful in treating “many conditions”, in particular alcoholism.

Since it was made illegal in 1967 it had only been the subject of one clinical study in Switzerland and two neuroscience studies.


http://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=11412744



from CBS News....

This is your brain on LSD? Scientists want to find out

By PARVATI SHALLOW | 3:51PM - Friday, March 06, 2015

One of the subjects being prepared to enter the MEG scanner. — Photo: Beckley Foundation.
One of the subjects being prepared to enter the MEG scanner. — Photo: Beckley Foundation.

WOULD YOU pay money to support a scientific experiment involving illegal drugs?

A group of British scientists started a crowdfunding campaign to raise the remaining 25,000 pounds (about $37,600) needed to complete the first scientific study ever to image the brains of people “tripping” on the psychedelic drug LSD.

“We only asked for a small amount because we didn't know how people would respond,” Amanda Fielding, the director of the Beckley Foundation Psychedelic Research Foundation, told CBS News.

Led by neuroscientists at Imperial College London, the study seeks to use MRI and MEG imaging to show how LSD affects brain processes. It is part of a research project that the scientists say could revolutionize the understanding of the human brain. Researchers hope the images will begin to reveal the way the drug could work to heal many debilitating conditions such as obsessive compulsive disorder, alcohol addiction, depression and anxiety.

The public's response to the crowdfunding appeal was overwhelming. Within the first 24 hours after its request was posted online, the Beckley Foundation/Imperial College Psychedelic Science Programme reached — and then exceeded — its goal.

“We went into it tenuously and have been delighted by the response,” said Fielding. “It's an incredibly important area. LSD is something that can expand certain areas of the human personality: openness, spirituality, and creativity. But because of the government prohibition of these substances there has been no recent scientific research.”

In the 1950s and '60s, LSD was explored as an aid to psychotherapy for various psychiatric illnesses. LSD research was short-lived, however, and the drug was declared illegal in the late 1960s. Its classification as a Schedule I drug — meaning it has high potential for abuse and lacks any currently accepted medical use in treatment — has made it nearly impossible for scientists to research.

Only recently have scientists begun to push the door back open to study LSD and other hallucinogenic substances. Fielding's team is working hard to provide substantial scientific research to help eliminate the taboo of LSD and other hallucinogenic substances and loosen regulations on scientific testing.

“There are many millions of people who have experienced the benefits of psychedelics, and there are millions of people who are suffering with illnesses that want to see if these drugs can help,” said Fielding.

Researchers at the Beckley Foundation have previously conducted studies with psilocybin, the psychedelic ingredient in magic mushrooms, and found it suppresses activity in certain “hub” areas of the brain that normally play a constraining role. Fielding says this effect can help psychiatrists and other doctors overcome cognitive barriers to get to the root of a patient's trauma and begin to help that person heal.

Beckley's latest study involved giving 20 volunteers a small dose of LSD and then using the latest imaging technology to capture its effect on the brain. Researchers said they expect to find that LSD's effects were similar to those of psilocybin, but more profound and longer-lasting. The money they're raising online will fund efforts to analyze data from those tests.

The crowdfunding campaign is hosted by the science-funding platform Walacea.com and will run through to April 18th. Any money raised over the 25,000 pound goal will go to support what Fielding called phase two of the research.

“Phase two will be a further study involving LSD and creativity,” she explained. “Does LSD extend the propensity of creativity by loosening the controlling of the default mode network [of the brain] — which is really the physiological basis of the ego.”


http://www.cbsnews.com/news/lsd-scientists-crowdfunding-research-on-psychedelic-drug



from the Daily Express....

Legal ban on LSD and magic mushrooms
‘against human rights’, say scientists


PSYCHEDELIC drugs like LSD and magic mushrooms should be made
legal as banning them is “against human rights”, scientists have said.


By SCOTT CAMPELL | 5:32PM GMT - Friday, March 06, 2015



RESEARCHERS say the drugs are much less harmful than alcohol, and banning them is a human rights issue because of their “spiritual” links.

The Norwegian researchers also claim there is no link between LSD and magic mushrooms and mental health problems.

They analysed information from more than 135,000 random people, including 19,000 who had used psychedelics, and found no association between the drugs and psychosis.

The study used data from the US National Health Survey and found there was no relationship with psychological distress, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, plans and attempts.

A previous study by the same researchers also failed to tie up LSD and magic mushrooms, also known as psilocybin, with brain damage.

Clinical psychologist Dr Pal-Orjan Johansen, of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, said: “Over 30 million US adults have tried psychedelics and there just is not much evidence of health problems.”

“Concerns have been raised the ban on use of psychedelics is a violation of the human rights to belief and spiritual practice, full development of the personality, and free time and play.”

He believes it is time to end the 50-year ban on the hallucinogenic drugs which inspired the Beatles and other pop groups of the Sixties.


Psychedelic drugs are said to have inspired Sixties groups like The Beatles.
Psychedelic drugs are said to have inspired Sixties groups like The Beatles.

His researcher Dr Teri Krebs added: “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, whose findings are published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, pointed out that unlike alcohol, psychedelics are not addictive.

They found the use of psychedelic drugs is correlated with fewer mental health problems.

Dr Krebs said: “Many people report deeply meaningful experiences and lasting beneficial effects from using psychedelics.”

But Dr Johansen admitted, given the design of the study, they cannot “exclude the possibility use of psychedelics might have a negative effect on mental health for some individuals or groups”.

He said: “With these robust findings, it is difficult to see how prohibition of psychedelics can be justified as a public health measure.”

Earlier this week British scientists claimed psychedelic drugs could prove to be highly effective treatments for depression and alcoholism after the first brain scans of people under the influence of LSD.

Early results from the trial, involving 20 people, are said to be "very promising" and add to existing evidence that psychoactive drugs could help reverse entrenched patterns of addictive or negative thinking.

Professor David Nutt, who led the study, warned patients are missing out on the potential benefits of such treatments due to prohibitive regulations on research into recreational drugs.

Speaking at a briefing in London, the government's former chief drugs adviser said the restrictions amounted to “the worst censorship in the history of science”.


http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/562399/drugs-ban-LSD-magic-mushrooms-psychedelic



from The INDEPENDENT....

Professor David Nutt: Why I think the terminally ill should take LSD

By CHARLIE COOPER | Friday, 06 March 2015

Professor David Nutt. Why does a former Government tsar believe that mind-altering drugs have a place on the prescription pad?
Professor David Nutt. Why does a former Government tsar believe that mind-altering drugs
have a place on the prescription pad?


PROFESSOR DAVID NUTT has been no stranger to controversy over the years. So the psychiatrist and former Government drugs tsar, will not have been fazed when he raised eyebrows recently by drawing a parallel between the repression of research into the effects of psychedelic drugs like LSD with the censorship of Galileo and the banning of the telescope.

“It has been the great unanswered question in neuroscience,” he argues. “What is the nature of the profound psychedelic experience that LSD produces, with long-lasting changes in the way people view themselves and the world around them?”

Now, he believes, scientists are coming close to an answer. His team at Imperial College London, having overcome numerous regulatory hurdles, are the first in the world to scan the brains of volunteers under the influence of LSD. Professor Nutt announced this week they would need to crowd-fund £25,000 to pay for an analysis of the findings, after funding sources dried up. Not following through on their work, he believes, would be a tragedy.

He and a growing number of scientists around the world are beginning to revive interest in LSD as a medicine: for addiction, for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It could even, some believe, help alleviate the anxiety felt by terminally ill people at the end of their life.

“People are very, very frightened of dying. They see it as the end. On psychedelics, this sense of self begins to break down,” says Professor Nutt.

“People in the psychedelic trip often experience being at one with the world or even with the universe. It’s as if they have died, as if they’ve gone out to another place. They exist beyond their body. That experience can give them a sense of perpetuity, of permanence, of being part of the cycle of life, which of course we all are.”

A recent study in Switzerland has already looked at the use of LSD for this purpose. After two months, a small number of terminally ill patients given doses of LSD in sessions with a psychiatrist experienced improvements in their anxiety levels — findings which persisted for a year among those who survived.

Professor Nutt thinks using LSD in this way, strictly on a voluntary basis, should be further investigated. It is, after all, how the most famous exponent of psychedelics, the author Aldous Huxley, ushered in his own eternal rest.

“The way we deal with death is to poison people with opiates so that they can’t think,” Professor Nutt says. “They’re pain-free but they’re constipated, can’t speak, and are numbed before they die. I think the idea that there might be an alternative strategy is something we should at least explore.”


Professor David Nutt appeared discussed his “harm index”, which in 2010 ranked alcohol as three times more harmful than cannabis.
Professor David Nutt appeared discussed his “harm index”, which in 2010 ranked alcohol
as three times more harmful than cannabis.


Professor Nutt is one of the leading figures in a recent renaissance of interest in psychedelic drugs. In the 1950s and 1960s, hundreds of studies were carried out into these substances, and LSD — then legal — was tested as a treatment for alcoholism, depression, and as end-of-life therapy.

Then came the wide-scale, counter-culture use of psychedelics as recreational drugs, quickly followed by criminalisation. Research into them was, if not banned, regulated almost out of existence.

It is these missing decades that so frustrate Professor Nutt, who says that scientists are only just catching up with “50 years of censorship”.

Exactly how the psychedelic trip can lead to long-term benefits in a person’s thinking is one of the mysteries scientists hope to uncover.

“Our work with psilocybin [the magic mushroom compound] points to a circuit in the brain called the default mode — where your persona and your ego lies. When you’re sitting, relaxing, thinking about yourself, your past, your future, your family — that’s the default mode. In addictions and depression and OCD that can become disorganised and locked on to different targets. It gets locked into thinking negative thoughts, or craving thoughts. We think that [psychedelics] could well unlock that, and break that terrible habit of thinking inappropriately and let you go back to thinking normally again.”


Recreational use of the drug influenced the likes of Jimi Hendrix. — Photo: Getty Images.
Recreational use of the drug influenced the likes of Jimi Hendrix. — Photo: Getty Images.

Since being dismissed as chair of the Government’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs in 2009, after saying that ecstasy, cannabis and LSD were less dangerous than alcohol and tobacco, Professor Nutt has maintained a high profile, taking part in Channel 4’s Drugs Live, in which volunteers have been filmed taking illegal substances, and the effects on the brain are explained by himself and other scientists.

Criminalisation of drugs, while appropriate for the most dangerous substances like heroin and crack, has been wholly counterproductive at the less harmful end of the spectrum, Professor Nutt argues.

Skunk, a high-strength variety of cannabis, which was recently shown to be responsible for one in four new cases of psychosis in a recent King’s College London study, has become common, Professor Nutt believes, as a direct result of criminalisation: pushed by black market dealers who in a decriminalised system would lose their monopoly.

“We need to accept the fact that most people like to change the way they feel,” Professor Nutt said. “Most people use alcohol. My view is that any drug that is less harmful than alcohol should be made available in some kind of regulated fashion because that will reduce the harms of alcohol.”

Drug reform is back on the agenda after Nick Clegg announced this week that the Liberal Democrats manifesto would include proposals to soften penalties for drug users. Professor Nutt said the party should be willing to use the issue as a deal-breaker in any coalition negotiations that may follow the election.

“The drug laws are some of the most archaic and corrupt laws present in this country,” he said. “They destroy lives through criminalisation and they really impede medical research. We deal with drugs in a pre-Victorian fashion. We need to move into the 21st century.”


Acid test: The dope on LSD

First synthesised by Swiss scientist Alfred Hofmann in 1938, in its early years lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) was relatively easy to come by.

Between 1953 and 1973, the US government spent $4m (£2.66m) on 160 studies involving LSD to determine its medicinal value and its effects on creativity and spirituality. Participants regularly had very positive experiences.

By the 1960s advocates of LSD included Aldous Huxley and Timothy Leary, who popularised the “turn on, tune in, drop out” philosophy of a 1960s counter-culture that was defined by the psychedelic (meaning “to manifest the soul”) experience.

The imagery and ethos of psychedelia, and the recreational use of the drug, soon spread throughout the western world, influencing art and music. The Beatles experimented with it, although probably not as much as some suggest, and The Doors and Jimi Hendrix also combined LSD use with the creative process.

Concerns about the drug’s long-term health effects led to LSD being included in the list of prohibited substances of 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances.


A pictoral trip through time: The history of LSD ...

19th April 1943: Having accidentally ingested LSD three days earlier, Albert Hofmann takes the world's first intentional acid trip and rides home from the lab on his bike. The event is commemorated annually on “Bicycle Day”. — Photo: AFP/Getty Images.
19th April 1943: Having accidentally ingested LSD three days earlier, Albert Hofmann takes the world's first intentional
acid trip and rides home from the lab on his bike. The event is commemorated annually on “Bicycle Day”.
 — Photo: AFP/Getty Images.


May 1950: The first article about LSD appears in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
May 1950: The first article about LSD appears in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

22nd November 1963: Aldous Huxley, author of The Doors of Perception, instructs his wife to administer him with LSD on his deathbed, and passes away “very, very gently”. — Photo: Associated Press.
22nd November 1963: Aldous Huxley, author of The Doors of Perception, instructs his wife to administer him with LSD
on his deathbed, and passes away “very, very gently”. — Photo: Associated Press.


April 1965: The Beatles are introduced to acid by George's dentist. Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band comes out in June 1967, and while John denies “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” was an intentional expansion of “LSD”, few believe him. — Photo: Rex Features.
April 1965: The Beatles are introduced to acid by George's dentist. Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band comes
out in June 1967, and while John denies “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” was an intentional expansion of “LSD”,
few believe him. — Photo: Rex Features.


14th January 1967: Four years after he is sacked from the psychology department at Harvard, acid evangelist Dr Timothy Leary tells a 30,000-strong gathering at the Human Be-In in San Francisco to, “Turn on, tune in, drop out”. — Photo: Getty Images.
14th January 1967: Four years after he is sacked from the psychology department at Harvard, acid evangelist Dr Timothy
Leary tells a 30,000-strong gathering at the Human Be-In in San Francisco to, “Turn on, tune in, drop out”.
 — Photo: Getty Images.


http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/professor-david-nutt-why-i-think-the-terminally-ill-should-take-lsd-10092213.html
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« Reply #21 on: March 12, 2015, 12:58:52 pm »


from The Atlantic....

Seeing Opportunity in Psychedelic Drugs

New research into LSD and psilocybin makes
a powerful argument against prohibition.


By MATT SCHIAVENZA | 5:37 PM EDT - Sunday, March 08, 2015

MUSHROOMS

IN A massive study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, scientists at the Norwegian University for Science and Technology at Trondheim concluded that there is no link between the use of LSD and psilocybin (the active ingredient in magic mushrooms) and mental-health problems. The study selected 135,000 participants at random—including 19,000 who had used psychedelic drugs—and found no evidence linking such drugs to the onset of mental disorders.

“Over 30 million U.S. adults have tried psychedelics and there just is not much evidence of health problems,” the author and clinical psychologist Pål-Ørjan Johansen said.

Johanesen was careful to acknowledge that users of psychedelic drugs are not immune to bad trips, and are as susceptible as anyone else to mental-health issues. But his findings negate a common perception that drugs like LSD put users directly in danger—a justification used in criminalization.

“This study assures us that there were not widespread ‘acid casualties’ in the 1960s,” Charles Grob, a pediatric psychiatrist at UCLA, told Nature.

The study's publication arrives at a time when interest in psychedelic drugs—or at least their scientific usefulness—is surging. In The New Yorker, the journalist Michael Pollan profiled scientists at New York University whose experiments with administering psilocybin have had largely positive results—particularly among participants stricken with terminal cancer. And in the U.K., 12 patients suffering from clinical depression will take magic mushrooms in a study next year at London's Imperial College.

Most psychedelic drugs—including LSD and psilocybin—have been illegal in the United States since 1970, the year President Richard Nixon signed the Controlled Substances Act. The legislation classified LSD and mushrooms under Schedule 1, prohibiting not only their consumption and sale but also their use in medicine. Research into the therapeutic benefits of psychedelic drugs largely froze after decades of frenetic scientific investigation.

Despite a revival in scientific interest, a legislative reconsideration of LSD and mushrooms is not yet on the table, and may not be desirable. But a renewed enthusiasm for examining psychedelic substances hints, as with the gradual relaxing of marijuana laws across the country, at a more humane, rational approach to the criminalization of drugs.


Matt Schiavenza is a contributing writer for The Atlantic. He is a former global-affairs writer for the International Business Times and Atlantic senior associate editor.

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/03/a-psychedelic-revival/387193
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« Reply #22 on: March 12, 2015, 12:59:18 pm »


from the Birmingham Examiner....

Research shows use of psilocybin and LSD reduces suicide

By PAUL HAMAKER | 4:04AM MST - Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Pink elephant blotters containing LSD. — Picture: Psychonaught PD.
Pink elephant blotters containing LSD. — Picture: Psychonaught PD.

NEW RESEARCH conducted by scientists at the University of Alabama in Birmingham and Johns Hopkins indicates that the much vilified and illegal psychedelics may actually have a medical benefit. People that used the psychedelics regularly were found to be less prone to suicide and suicidal thinking than the general population. The research was reported in the March 9th, 2015, edition of the Journal of Psychopharmacology.

The study group included 190,000 U.S. adults who claimed to have had a lifetime use of LSD or psilocybin. The data was pooled data from five years of results of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health from 2008 to 2012. The people that used psychedelics at least weekly reported a 19 percent reduced likelihood of psychological distress, a 14 percent reduced likelihood of suicidal thinking, a 29 percent reduced likelihood of suicide planning, and a 36 percent reduced likelihood of attempting suicide versus the general population that did not use psychedelics.

The researchers do not advocate the wholesale use of LSD or psilocybin or the legalization of the drugs. The reduced tendency toward suicide is indicative of a treatment value for depression under controlled conditions. Depression produces a very high risk of suicide in the general population of the United States.

Previous research by the U. S. Department of Defense and other agencies used doses of LSD that were 500 to 5,000 times the normal dosage taken by people to “prove” the drug caused mental ailments. Taking any psychedelic can be dangerous. The tendency to act on the illusions that are produced by a psychedelic is dependent on a given individual’s grip on reality. Some people cannot accept that what they see under the influence of a psychedelic is not real. Possibly, Timothy Leary was right after all.


http://www.examiner.com/article/research-shows-use-of-psilocybin-and-lsd-reduces-suicide
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« Reply #23 on: March 13, 2015, 06:43:52 pm »


Mark Morford

Study says: Skip breakfast, take some LSD

By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist | 3:00AM PDT - Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The hippie cliché. Of course, there IS some truth to the “trip” visual experience you might have.
The hippie cliché. Of course, there IS some truth to the “trip” visual experience you might have.

YOU'VE been lied to about so many things, haven’t you? Money, God, meat, drugs, sex, gluten, which wine goes best with fish — it’s all a ruse, a set of weirdly hardwired myths we’re trained to cling to, feverishly, until we die. Who’s to blame? Obama? Jesus? The Illuminati? Your grandma? Your frail and gullible ego? Take your pick.

Take drugs. No, really. Take some LSD, some magic mushrooms (psilocybin). Take some freaky crazy acid, man. Do you know what will happen if you do? Will you suddenly leap out your window, arms flailing, believing you can fly as you plunge instantly to your bespattered doom? Will you go on a delirious rampage and wake up a week later in a ditch in Mexico, missing a kidney? Will you short circuit your cerebral wiring and end up muttering gibberish into your shoe in the Tenderloin?

You’re so silly. Of course you won’t. Just the opposite, in fact.


You might indeed “see” something like this during a psychedelic trip. Or you might just feel like you're enjoying a perpetual orgasm, sent by the gods, with really nice, trippy lighting, for six hours straight.
You might indeed “see” something like this during a psychedelic trip. Or you might just feel like you're enjoying a perpetual orgasm,
sent by the gods, with really nice, trippy lighting, for six hours straight.


Nature's version of an anti-depressant also doubles as a way to access a deep sense of connectedness, of one's true nature, of the essential thing that's lost and forgotten amidst the deafening white noise of modern life.
Nature's version of an anti-depressant also doubles as a way to access a deep sense of connectedness, of one's true nature,
of the essential thing that's lost and forgotten amidst the deafening white noise of modern life.


Here’s the thing: Study after study not only reveals psychedelics to be safe and non-addictive (within reason, obviously), but they appear to actually be an astounding boon to psychiatric health, often delivering far more than mere balm or distraction from “real” symptoms, but rather something more like — dare we speak it’s name aloud? — a cure.

Did you read Michael Pollan’s superlative piece over at the New Yorker, on this very topic? Or this summation, over at the Atlantic, pointing to one of the largest studies ever conducted, which supports the same conclusion? They are but restating the obvious, what’s been known by shamans and healers, practitioners and common-sense users, for millennia. Psychedelics, done right and in proper dosage, can be astonishingly good for your mental well-being. Particularly when compared with the toxic, relative failures that are synthetic anti-depressants — which are no more or less effective than placebos — magic mushrooms are like being tongue kissed by God. You know, in a good way.

Despite all the therapuetic promise, the odds of ever buying LSD or psilocybin legally in America are basically nil. People are just too scared. Besides, legalized pot is one thing, but threaten the billions Big Pharma makes every day via hooking the planet on expensive synthetic antidepressants, and they’ll come after you with switchblades and explosive lobbyists.


Skip it. Or rather, enjoy it on rare occasion. Have a banana and an espresso and some sex, instead.
Skip it. Or rather, enjoy it on rare occasion. Have a banana and an espresso and some sex, instead.

Shall we perhaps talk of food? What is it you think you know? What false truths have been drilled into you since birth by your grandmother, by General Mills, by McDonald’s and pseudo-nutritionists and various billion-dollar marketing juggernauts that taste like Pop-Tarts and sadness?

Here’s one: “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Gotta jump start your metabolism, right? Put some fuel in the tank, get the engines running? And so on?

Guess what? It’s bullshit. You don’t actually need to eat breakfast at all. Or lunch. Or dinner. Better if you skip all of them, in fact, and switch up how you eat entirely. The all-American, three-meals-a-day thing is just a haphazard (and slightly racist) myth, tidbits of past half-truths that have been forcibly calcified into modern, irrefutable certainty. And it’s completely wrong.


Three solid, regular meals a day, right? That's the healthy way to eat, right? Wrong! Your body, after a lifetime of three ginormous, fried, American-sized meals a day and an extra huge one on Sunday.
LEFT: Three solid, regular meals a day, right? That's the healthy way to eat, right? Wrong!
RIGHT: Your body, after a lifetime of three ginormous, fried, American-sized meals a day
and an extra huge one on Sunday.


Tasty, but also one of the worst ways to start the day — especially if you're not really all that hungry. If you think this is breakfast, if you think this is somehow essential, odds are very good you're already sick, or overweight, or deeply unhealthy. And missing the point entirely.
LEFT: Tasty, but also one of the worst ways to start the day — especially if you're not really all that hungry.
RIGHT: If you think this is breakfast, if you think this is somehow essential, odds are very good you're
already sick, or overweight, or deeply unhealthy. And missing the point entirely.


As Keira Butler points out in her piece at Mother Jones, “Science shows that when it comes to maintaining your metabolism — the bodily system that helps us turn food into energy and, when out of whack, can lead to diabetes and other disorders—it doesn’t make a whit of difference whether you eat breakfast or not.”

The truth? Experts say you only need to eat occasionally, when you’re truly hungry — not just because it’s noon, or because there’s a pile of food in front of you — and not too much, either; and feel free to skip the sugar and the heavily refined anything and hell, maybe even fast once in awhile — that is, skip the food entirely for a day, and instead sip some tea and oh hey why not try meditating for a few minutes, too, because obviously.

What might happen if you did this? If you defied every obese mega-meal myth? You might become neither fat, nor sick, nor bloated, nor whatever-intolerant, nor addicted to meds, or sugar, and in fact you’d stay healthier and full of energy and people might like to be around you more. Go figure.


Read that caption again. “Taking LSD was a profound experience, one of the most important things in my life. LSD shows you that there’s another side to the coin, and you can’t remember it when it wears off, but you know it. It reinforced my sense of what was important—creating great things instead of making money, putting things back into the stream of history and of human consciousness as much as I could.” — Steve Jobs.
LEFT: Read that caption again. | RIGHT: “Taking LSD was a profound experience, one of the most important things in my life. LSD shows you that there’s
another side to the coin, and you can’t remember it when it wears off, but you know it. It reinforced my sense of what was important—creating great
things instead of making money, putting things back into the stream of history and of human consciousness as much as I could.
” — Steve Jobs.


Isn’t it curious? How much we adore our convictions, refuse to abandon our beloved habits even in the face of obvious evidence, proofs, science to the contrary?

Illegal drugs are bad. Breakfast is essential. I must have a giant pile of pancakes, six eggs, a gallon of coffee and a fistful of Xanax just to get through my morning commute. Magic mushrooms are for hippies and losers. A friend of mine tried LSD once and freaked out and now he’s in an asylum, so obviously they’re evil. Ad nauseam.


Lab mice, after taking magic mushrooms. Seriously!
Lab mice, after taking magic mushrooms. Seriously!

You might indeed experience something like this on psychedelics. Or you might just feel something akin to the totality of consciousness. Who can say? Try it and see! What, you prefer slumping in an office chair under a bank of harsh fluorescents all day?
You might indeed experience something like this on psychedelics. Or you might just feel something akin to the totality of consciousness.
Who can say? Try it and see! What, you prefer slumping in an office chair under a bank of harsh fluorescents all day?


What if we’ve had it all wrong? What if nearly all our most fundamental, intrinsic, nervously gripped beliefs are, in fact, silly mass delusions? What if you could entirely upend your relationship with food? What if you tried psilocybin and didn’t, in fact, feel depressed, lost or traumatized anymore? What if Jesus was a Buddhist? What if America isn’t what you think it is? What if you realized, in a giant existential whomp, that time is an invention? What if blue is really white, and vice-versa? What if you’re looking in exactly the wrong place for your salvation?

Email: Mark Morford

Mark Morford on Twitter and Facebook.

http://blog.sfgate.com/morford/2015/03/11/skip-breakfast-take-some-lsd
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« Reply #24 on: April 19, 2015, 01:22:39 pm »


from Radio New Zealand....

Do hallucinogenic drugs have therapeutic effects?

TRIPPY TREATMENTS

This Way Up” with Simon Morton | Saturday, 14 March 2015

PSILOCYBIN

PSILOCYBIN is a naturally occurring psychedelic compound found in magic mushrooms. It's been used in spiritual and religious ceremonies for millennia. It's also used as a recreational drug.

Back in the 1950s, the Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann isolated psilocybin in the lab and Sandoz, the company he worked for, started selling it worldwide for medical use in psychotherapy. It was Hofmann who 20 years earlier had synthesized and studied lysergic acid diethylamide or LSD.

As part of its marketing, Sandoz encouraged psychotherapists and researchers to try their hallucinogens, so they'd better understand the patient experience. Their popularity grew with a flurry of research in US medical centres, prisons and universities, and it didn't take long for these psychedelic substances to be enthusiastically embraced by the 1960s countercultural movement to “turn on, tune in, drop out”.

By 1970 these drugs were on Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act in the US, meaning a substance has no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Here in NZ both LSD and psilocybin are classified as Class A drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

After years of being demonised, there's growing scientific interest in these psychoactive substances, and their potential medical and therapeutic effects. There are studies worldwide evaluating the use of psilocybin as a treatment for depression, anxiety and addiction.

Stephen Ross is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at NYU School of medicine, who's been involved in a number of studies involving psilocybin.

He told This Way Up's Simon Morton that he is soon to publish a study looking at the effect of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy among a group of cancer patients.

He says a single dose led to immediate and sustained reductions in anxiety, depression, existential distress and death anxiety, with the effects lasting for up to 6 months. “That's relatively unique in psychiatry. We don't really have a model where a single dose of anything leads to immediate and sustained effects... What we found is therapeutic benefit from a single dose that lasted several months.”

In the future he wants to broaden the study to include treatment for alcohol addiction and he is also about to oversee a phase 3 controlled clinical trial involving psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy for cancer patients. “This is significant because phase 3 is the final stage before a drug is developed and if this trial is positive it's possible that in the coming three to seven years psilocybin could be rescheduled for cancer related distress which would be historic and it would then be available as a prescribable medicine ... it would be a new therapy and it would change history.”

But Mr Ross also says that although the early signs in some of these studies are promising, they are being conducted under strictly controlled and supervised conditions, and involve drugs that are illegal and can be dangerous. So the very clear message is don't try this at home.


TRIPPY TREATMENTS (left-click to listen directly from Radio NZ's website; or right-click and select Save target as... to save as MP3 to your own storage medium)

http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/thiswayup/audio/20170796/trippy-treatments
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