he career of aspiring psychotherapist and New College graduate Rick Doblin is being chronicled by documentary filmmaker Nirvan Mullick.
The way in which severe, treatment-resistant PTSD is treated could soon change, and that’s due in part to New College of Florida graduate Rick Doblin, an aspiring psychotherapist whose nonprofit, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), has lobbied for a greater understanding of the use of psychedelic substances, particularly MDMA, in trauma therapy. It’s a story that will soon be told by filmmaker Nirvan Mullick, whose in-the-works documentary, Prescription X: The Rick Doblin Story, will chronicle Doblin’s time in Sarasota, the city where he was exposed to psychedelics and where he decided to start his nonprofit.
Mullick, who is also co-producing the film, is no stranger to Sarasota himself. The L.A.-based filmmaker’s grandfather was one of the first developers on Longboat Key. And, like Doblin, Mullick also attended New College. “He was sort of a legendary alumnus,” Mullick says. “You just kind of heard stories about him.” In fact, although Doblin had graduated before him, Mullick first ran into Doblin on New College’s campus while Mullick was working on a thesis film project. “I interviewed him,” Mullick says. “The audio’s terrible, there’s music in the background and there’s no lighting, but Rick Doblin was in the first film I made 25 years ago.”
Since then, Mullick has received a master of fine arts in experimental animation from the California Institute of Arts. He’s had numerous films screened at film festivals, and his short film, “Caine’s Arcade,” went viral. He also manages a nonprofit and a media company.
After recently crossing paths with Doblin again, Mullick approached him about making a full-length documentary. “We simply asked if anyone was making a film about it,” Mullick says. “Rick’s an incredible character, and this is an incredible story.”
MDMA is a psychoactive psychedelic drug that has received a Breakthrough Therapy designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for clinical trials. After that, MDMA could be approved for widespread use in severe trauma therapy. “We plan to continue the film until MDMA becomes legal,” Mullick says. “We don’t want to release the film until after that happens.”
The two have already covered key moments in Doblin’s journey, including meetings in Washington, D.C., with the Food and Drug Administration, and his father’s passing. But if Doblin and MAPS are able to see MDMA be legalized, Mullick will be there with the camera rolling. “They’re estimating 2021, or 2022,” Mullick says. “And we’ll keep filming until that happens.”
https://www.sarasotamagazine.com/articl ... FPyNKsFhi0
Hyperbole can be rampant in health news, particularly with respect to cannabis. One recent headline declared: “CBD is effective in treating heroin addiction.” Another proclaimed: “New study finds CBD could curb heroin addiction.”
These stories were referring to a recent study in the American Journal of Psychiatry that found a short-term course of cannabidiol (CBD) reduced cue-induced cravings and anxiety in drug-abstinent individuals who were recovering from opioid use disorder, specifically heroin addiction.
This study is undoubtedly exciting and a welcome contribution to the scientific literature demonstrating the potentially helpful role of cannabinoids in the treatment of opioid use disorder.
That said, there is a mismatch between these headlines and the accurate interpretation of the findings from the study. And this mismatch is not trivial.
Medicinal uses of cannabidiol
CBD is one of many phytocannabinoid compounds found in the plant cannabis sativa. It is quickly gaining traction as a legitimate medicine in the medical community. For example, it has been associated with benefits in treating some neurological disorders and has recently been FDA-approved for the treatment of seizures in people with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy.
CBD has also been linked with success in treating some psychiatric symptoms — such as anxiety and psychosis — and its use has been shown to reduce the size of certain cancerous tumors in animal models.
Further, unlike its sister cannabinoid, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD is largely non-intoxicating and therefore is thought to be non-addictive. It also appears to be relatively safe to use. It’s no wonder CBD has garnered so much excitement and positive attention.
That said, scientific enterprise is a slow-moving and cautiously critical machine, and we still have much to learn about the medicinal uses of CBD. In fact, there remains a substantial gap between the hype surrounding CBD and the actual evidence guiding its medicinal use.
Participants already abstinent
In the study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, the researchers recruited 42 people recovering from opioid use disorder (specifically heroin) and randomly allocated them to either a treatment group (to receive 400 or 800 milligrams of CBD once a day) or a control group (to receive a placebo once a day).
An important aspect of the study is that participants were already abstinent, not actively using heroin, and not experiencing heroin withdrawal. In other words, the participants were in recovery and CBD was not used to treat their withdrawal or maintain tolerance. It was instead used to help treat cravings for heroin and anxiety that were experimentally induced (for example, by showing participants videos and objects related to heroin use) that could lead to relapse.
It is worth reiterating and highlighting that the study compared CBD to a placebo group, and did not compare to other opioid agonist treatments, such as therapy with methadone (Methadose) or buprenorphine (Suboxone).
Additionally, and importantly, the participants were abstinent and not in active withdrawal.
Opioid agonist treatments are particularly helpful for the mitigation of opioid cravings and withdrawal. Another therapeutic effect of opioid agonist treatments is that they help people in recovery maintain some level of tolerance to opioids, which is helpful for preventing overdose in the event of relapse.
One particular opioid agonist medication, buprenorphine, even blocks stronger opioids like heroin from working as effectively. CBD, on the other hand, does not provide these important protective effects.
Further, to suggest that CBD is an effective treatment for opioid use disorder is misleading and harmful, as this misinformation could be used to justify not initiating, or discontinuing, opioid agonist medications.
The findings from the opioid study are certainly important. Investigations into novel therapies that can help people manage cravings to use drugs such as opioids is a major advancement. If future studies can replicate these findings, especially among people who are experiencing difficulties with management of cravings, then this would lend stronger support to the idea that CBD could be used as an adjunctive treatment to opioid agonist therapies among people who are experiencing opioid use disorder.
Crucially, this means that we need many more studies and funded research to fully understand exactly how CBD might play a role in the treatment of opioid use disorder.
Despite what some headlines might have implied, this study does not indicate that CBD should replace first-line, evidence-based opioid agonist therapies such as methadone and buprenorphine.
Nor does it suggest that “CBD is effective in treating heroin addiction.”
These conceptual distinctions are not trivial because they may yield devastating consequences. When it comes to articulating the implications of scientific results that involve medical treatments, language matters. And so do headlines.
https://theconversation.com/cannabis-mi ... xZ_FckvYY8
Health minister confirms plans and calls on neighbouring countries to relax their laws
Luxembourg has called on its EU neighbours to relax their drug laws as its health minister confirmed plans to become the first European country to legalise cannabis production and consumption.
“This drug policy we had over the last 50 years did not work,” Etienne Schneider told Politico. “Forbidding everything made it just more interesting to young people … I’m hoping all of us will get a more open-minded attitude toward drugs.”
Residents over the age of 18 are expected to be able to buy the drug for recreational use legally within two years. The state will regulate production and distribution through a cannabis agency.
Draft legislation is expected to be unveiled later this year providing further detail on the types of cannabis that will be on sale and the level of tax that will be imposed.
Schneider said the legislation was likely to include a ban on non-residents buying cannabis in order to dissuade drug-tourism. Home-growing is also likely to be prohibited.
Minors aged between 12 and 17 would not be criminalised for possessing five grams or less of the drug, but those who break the more generous laws will be hit with harsh penalties under the plan.
Schneider said he was keen to encourage other EU countries to follow Luxembourg’s path.
A government coalition agreement between the Liberals, the Social Democrats and the Greens provides for legalisation within five years.
If put into action, Luxembourg would join Canada, Uruguay and eleven US states in flouting a UN convention on the control of narcotic drugs which commits signatories to limit “exclusively for medical and scientific purposes the production, manufacture, export, import distribution, trade, employment and possession of drugs” including cannabis.
Luxembourg has already legalised the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes. Possession of small amounts for recreational use has also been decriminalised, but its purchase, sale and production remains illegal.
Schneider and Luxembourg’s justice minister, Félix Braz, visited a greenhouse in Smith Falls, Canada, last year to witness the mass production of cannabis by the Canopy Growth Corporation.
Uruguay became the world’s first country to create a legal national marijuana marketplace when it legalised the drug in 2013, and Canada followed suit in 2018.
Canadians are able to order marijuana products on websites run by provinces or regulated private retailers and have it delivered to their homes by post.
Luxembourg will follow Canada in legalising the possession of 30 grams of cannabis. Tax revenues will be reinvested in drug education and addiction treatment programmes.
Legalise it: the status of cannabis around the world
Uruguay legalised the recreational use, production and sale of cannabis in 2013. Only pharmacies are allowed to sell the drug and there are fewer than 20 doing so in a country of 3.5 million people. Customers have to register with the regulator and then are limited to buying 10 grams a week. Four different strains are available.
Canada legalised the possession of 30 grams of cannabis, dried or fresh, for those aged 18 or over in 2018. The drug can be bought from a provincially-licensed retailer. In provinces and territories without a regulated retail framework, individuals are able to purchase cannabis online from federally-licensed producers.
Under the Netherlands’ gedoogbeleid, prosecutors turn a blind eye to the breaking of certain laws. Technically the possession, use and trade of the drug is illegal, but the authorities allow licensed coffee shops to sell cannabis from their premises, and to keep 500g on site at any time. The police turn a blind eye to those in possession of 5g or less. Because production remains illegal, however, cafes are often forced to do business with criminal gangs to source the drug.
The UK outlawed cannabis in 1928. Possession comes with a maximum of five years in prison, an unlimited fine or both. Those who are successfully prosecuted for producing and supplying the class-B drug face up to 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both. Police can issue an on-the-spot fine or a warning for those caught with less than an ounce if it is deemed for personal use, but several forces have said they will not target recreational users.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/ ... g6HSu2hi1o
Denver-based company Sträva Craft Coffee has revealed it has begun developing tea and coffee products infused with microdoses of psilocybin, the psychedelic compound found in magic mushrooms. Following the recent psilocybin decriminalization measure passed in the city of Denver, Sträva believes it could reach the market with psilocybin coffee within two years.
Research into the clinical uses of psilocybin is one of the most exciting sectors in the modern renaissance of psychedelic science. In 2018 the FDA granted psilocybin therapy for treatment-resistant depression a Breakthrough Therapy designation, expediting subsequent development and review processes.
Back in May a public referendum in Denver, Colorado, passed an extraordinary ballot measure essentially decriminalizing personal use and possession of psilocybin-containing mushrooms. The measure was inspired by the growing medical evidence pointing to the benefits of psilocybin.
Sträva CEO Andrew Aamot suggests this initial local Denver initiative is just the beginning of a broader wave of psilocybin acceptance, with the controversial psychedelic traveling the same path marijuana has recently moved along, through decriminalization and toward legalization.
"Just as cannabis has been misunderstood and controversial for decades, psilocybin from mushrooms has been equally polarizing, yet proponents of both suggest they each can contribute meaningfully to the human experience," Aamot says. "As research is proving, with measured consumption, cannabis and psilocybin can both promote physiological, mental and spiritual health."
Sträva of course is not suggesting it will infuse tea and coffee with psychoactive levels of psilocybin. Instead it is exploring using microdoses of the drug, a long-standing method of consuming psychedelics whereby tiny imperceptible volumes are taken for a variety of perceived benefits.
Despite Sträva's press release citing a number of studies into the medical benefits of psilocybin, the science is inarguably still in its infancy, and the science of microdosing is virtually nonexistent. Researchers are only just beginning to explore whether the phenomenon of microdosing is real or simply an elaborate placebo. And there have been literally no safety studies conducted evaluating whether long-term, tiny daily doses of psilocybin have permanent physiological effects.
Michael Pollan, author of the bestselling psychedelic science book How To Change Your Mind, penned an op-ed in the New York Times following the Denver decriminalization initiative, expressing concern over the push to legalize psychedelics in a way similar to that of marijuana.
"As much as the supporters of legal psilocybin hope to follow the political playbook that has rapidly changed the status of cannabis in recent years, they need to bear in mind that psilocybin is a very different drug, and it is not for everyone," Pollan wrote back in May.
At a subsequent talk in Melbourne, Australia, Pollan clarified his concerns, suggesting the issue he identifies is that legalization leads to capitalist promotion of these drugs that we are only just beginning to scientifically understand. It may be one thing to try to slip CBD into every product imaginable, turning it into a miracle cure-all drug, but psilocybin is most definitely not the same thing.
"I see cannabis being promoted and pushed to people, as capitalism will do," Pollan said recently at his Melbourne event. "When I come home from this trip on Monday and I cross through Bay Ridge from the airport to Berkeley, I'll see three or four billboards for companies that can deliver cannabis to my home in two hours, and I just don't think we know enough to legalize these [psychedelic] drugs. We should decriminalize them."
Sträva claims its prospective psilocybin micro-dosed tea and coffee is intended, "to empower consumers with access to natural compounds which may offer life-changing benefits." Sträva has also been working for several years on CBD coffee blends as part of a line of products it collects under the umbrella of "Peace & Wellness."
https://newatlas.com/psilocybin-microdo ... IWp5Q-q_9I
Tagesdosis 15.8.2019 - Jeffrey Epstein - Die Fratze des Bösen
Ein Kommentar von Bernhard Loyen.
Vorweg, es reicht bei weitem keine Tagesdosis, kein Standpunkt, um die vollständigen Abgründe des Systems Jeffrey Epsteins auch nur ansatzweise zu durchleuchten, geschweige denn endgültig zu erläutern.
Es wird Leser und Hörer geben die fragen, wozu dieses Thema? Der Mann hat sich umgebracht. Es wurde genug berichtet. Er hatte Dreck am Stecken oder wie es DIE ZEIT recht schlicht zusammengefasst hat, Zitat: Ein mutmaßlicher Täter hat sich wohl deshalb erhängt, um der Scham des Prozesses zu entkommen (1).
Diese Einschätzung ist freundlich formuliert eine Unverschämtheit. Es ist ein Politikum, ein noch nicht absehbarer Skandal-Tsunami, der nicht nur die USA treffen wird. Ansonsten würde nicht, erfreulicher Weise auch über die deutschen Medien, so breit auf die Thematik eingegangen werden. Es geht bei der Betrachtung aber auch um die erwünschte Wirkung, bzw. was wird wie kommuniziert. Wer soll diskreditiert, wer geschützt werden. Daher:
Wer war Jeffrey Epstein?
Jeffrey Epsteins Berufsleben startete als High School Lehrer für Physik und Mathematik, bevor er 1976 in das Investment Gewerbe einstieg. 1982 gründete er seine eigene Vermögensverwaltung, die J. Epstein & Co, spezialisiert auf Geldanlagen für Milliardäre. Ein früher vermögender Geschäftspartner und Protegé wurde der Textil-Großunternehmer Leslie Wexner, dazu später mehr. Ab 1996 hieß sein Unternehmen The Financial Trust Co. Bis heute ist nicht schlussendlich bekannt, wodurch und durch wen Jeffrey Epstein ab den 1990ern seinen immensen Reichtum erlangte (2)(3),(4). Überhaupt besaß?
Vor allem sein Immobilienbesitz (in Manhattan, Palm Beach, Mexiko, Frankreich und einer privaten Insel in der Karibik) diente dem späteren System Epstein. Apartments, Anlagen, Paläste, die nachweislich nur dazu dienten, über ein perfides Konstrukt, massenhaft Minderjährige zu missbrauchen, bzw. so ekelhaft es klingt, zur Verfügung zu stellen.
Die mehr als explosive Tatsache, Epstein bewirtete, ja bediente Personen, die eindeutig nachzuweisen sind, jedoch einhellig behaupten mit den Missbrauchsvorwürfen nicht in Verbindung gebracht werden zu dürfen. Es geht um Prominenz der A-Liga aus den Bereichen der US-Politik, der Schönen und der Reichen, bis nach Europa wirkend. Menschen, die sich für unangreifbar hielten und sicherlich auch noch halten. Welche Namen dahingehend genannt werden, dazu später mehr.
Die gesellschaftliche Stellung zeigt sich dahingehend, wo Jeffrey Epstein gelistetes Mitglied war, noch, Zitat seiner Homepage: Jeffrey Epstein war Mitglied des Mind, Brain and Behavior Committee in Harvard, der Trilateralen Kommission, des Council on Foreign Relations, der New York Academy of Science und ehemaliges Vorstandsmitglied der Rockefeller University. Herr Epstein ist auch aktives Mitglied der Edge Organization.
Bei einer Veranstaltung der Edge Organisation, einer Vereinigung von Wissenschafts- und Technologie-Intellektuellen, wird er wie folgt zitiert: Epsteins erstes Gesetz: Wissen Sie, wann Sie gewinnen. Epsteins zweites Gesetz: Die Schlüsselfrage ist nicht, was ich gewinnen kann, sondern was ich zu verlieren habe (5). 2002 betitelte das New York Mag. einen Artikel so, Zitat: Jeffrey Epstein: International Moneyman of Mystery (6)
Das Jahr 2005 kann als Wendepunkt im vermeintlich unantastbaren Dasein des Jeffrey Epstein gelten. In Florida erstatteten die Eltern eines 14-jährigen Mädchens Anzeige, da Epstein dieses in seiner Villa in Palm Beach sexuell missbraucht habe…weiterlesen hier:https://kenfm.de/tagesdosis-15-8-2019...
- Prof. Dr. Rainer Rothfuß
Researchers to use psychedelics to study the mind and identify therapies for diseases such as addiction, PTSD and Alzheimer’s
A group of private donors has given $17 million to start the Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research at Johns Hopkins Medicine, making it what’s believed to be the first such research center in the U.S., and the largest research center of its kind in the world. In the absence of federal funding for such therapeutic research in people, the new center will rely on the gifts announced today to advance the emerging field of psychedelics for therapies and wellness.
Psychedelics are a class of drugs that produce unique and profound changes of consciousness over the course of several hours. Much of the early work at Johns Hopkins has focused on psilocybin, the chemical found in so-called magic mushrooms.
The Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research will focus on how psychedelics affect behavior, brain function, learning and memory, the brain’s biology and mood. Studies of psilocybin in patients will determine its effectiveness as a new therapy for opioid addiction, Alzheimer's disease, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (formerly known as chronic Lyme disease), anorexia nervosa and alcohol use in people with major depression. The researchers hope to create precision medicine treatments tailored to individual patients’ specific needs.
“The center’s establishment reflects a new era of research in therapeutics and the mind through studying this unique and remarkable class of pharmacological compounds,” says Roland Griffiths, Ph.D., the center’s director and professor of behavioral biology in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the Department of Neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “In addition to studies on new therapeutics, we plan to investigate creativity and well-being in healthy volunteers that we hope will open up new ways to support human thriving.”
“Johns Hopkins is deeply committed to exploring innovative treatments for our patients,” says Paul B. Rothman, M.D., dean of the medical faculty at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine. “Our scientists have shown that psychedelics have real potential as medicine, and this new center will help us explore that potential.”
The center will provide support for a team of six faculty neuroscientists, experimental psychologists and clinicians with expertise in psychedelic science, as well as five postdoctoral scientists.
“I am thrilled about this magnificent opportunity that has been provided by enlightened private funders,” says James Potash, M.D., M.P.H., the Henry Phipps Professor and director of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. “This center will allow our enormously talented faculty to focus extensively on psychedelic research, where their passions lie and where promising new horizons beckon.”
The center’s operational expenses for the first five years will be covered by private funding from the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation and four philanthropists: Tim Ferriss (author and technology investor), Matt Mullenweg (co-founder of WordPress), Blake Mycoskie (founder of TOMS, a shoe and accessory brand) and Craig Nerenberg (investor).
“We have to take braver and bolder steps if we want to help those suffering from chronic illness, addiction and mental health challenges,” says Alex Cohen, president, Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation. “By investing in the Johns Hopkins center, we are investing in the hope that researchers will keep proving the benefits of psychedelics — and people will have new ways to heal.”
The center’s faculty will train graduate and medical students who want to pursue careers in psychedelic science, where there have historically been few avenues for career advancement.
“This represents the largest investment to date in psychedelic research, as well as in training the next generation of psychedelic researchers,” says Ferriss. “I sincerely hope this ambitious Johns Hopkins center will inspire others to think big and establish more psychedelic research centers in the U.S. and overseas, as there’s never been a better time to support such important work.”
In 2000, the psychedelic research group at Johns Hopkins was the first to achieve regulatory approval in the U.S. to reinitiate research with psychedelics in healthy volunteers who had never used a psychedelic. Their 2006 publication on the safety and enduring positive effects of a single dose of psilocybin sparked a renewal of psychedelic research worldwide.
Since then, the researchers have published studies in more than 60 peer-reviewed journal articles. Their research has demonstrated therapeutic benefits for people who suffer from conditions including nicotine addiction, and depression/anxiety caused by life-threatening diseases such as cancer. It has paved the way for current studies on treatment of major depressive disorder. They have also led the field by publishing safety guidelines that have helped gain approval for psychedelic studies at other universities around the world, and by developing new ways to measure mystical and emotionally challenging experiences while under the influence of psychedelics. Their research also explores the interaction of psilocybin and meditation.
The group’s findings on both the promise and the risks of psilocybin helped create a path forward for its potential medical approval and reclassification from a Schedule I drug, the most restrictive federal government category, to a more appropriate level. Psilocybin was classified as Schedule I during the Nixon administration, but research over the last decade has shown psilocybin to have low toxicity and abuse potential.
“This very substantial level of funding should enable a quantum leap in psychedelic-focused research,” adds Potash. “It will accelerate the process of sorting out what works and what doesn’t.”
https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/ne ... fSp5BnYOlA
The mindfulness conspiracy
It is sold as a force that can help us cope with the ravages of capitalism, but with its inward focus, mindful meditation may be the enemy of activism.
Mindfulness has gone mainstream, with celebrity endorsement from Oprah Winfrey and Goldie Hawn. Meditation coaches, monks and neuroscientists went to Davos to impart the finer points to CEOs attending the World Economic Forum. The founders of the mindfulness movement have grown evangelical. Prophesying that its hybrid of science and meditative discipline “has the potential to ignite a universal or global renaissance”, the inventor of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Jon Kabat-Zinn, has bigger ambitions than conquering stress. Mindfulness, he proclaims, “may actually be the only promise the species and the planet have for making it through the next couple of hundred years”.
So, what exactly is this magic panacea? In 2014, Time magazine put a youthful blonde woman on its cover, blissing out above the words: “The Mindful Revolution.” The accompanying feature described a signature scene from the standardised course teaching MBSR: eating a raisin very slowly. “The ability to focus for a few minutes on a single raisin isn’t silly if the skills it requires are the keys to surviving and succeeding in the 21st century,” the author explained.
But anything that offers success in our unjust society without trying to change it is not revolutionary – it just helps people cope. In fact, it could also be making things worse. Instead of encouraging radical action, mindfulness says the causes of suffering are disproportionately inside us, not in the political and economic frameworks that shape how we live. And yet mindfulness zealots believe that paying closer attention to the present moment without passing judgment has the revolutionary power to transform the whole world. It’s magical thinking on steroids.
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyl ... 5kkyjRDOis
A newly announced research program from DARPA is looking to remove those pesky hallucinatory side effects from novel psychedelic medicines such as MDMA and psilocybin. The program is currently calling out for research proposals investigating innovative drug treatments targeting post-traumatic stress disorder and depression that can be administered without the “unpredictable consequences” of current psychedelic medicines.
The program is called Focused Pharma, and DARPA’s program manager Tristan McClure-Begley says the goal is to understand the underlying neurochemical mechanism behind the efficacy of drugs such as MDMA and psilocybin. The end game would be a pill to treat PTSD or depression in military healthcare settings that doesn't require subjects to undergo an acute psychedelic experience.
“Our fundamental hypothesis is that drugs with biased activation of specific signaling pathways downstream of the receptor may be sufficient to induce a therapeutic effect that is uncoupled from deleterious neurological effects,” McClure-Begley explains. “Recent advances in neurotransmitter receptor structure-guided drug design are allowing us to generate the tools we need to test that hypothesis.”
The Focused Pharma announcement is careful to not reference specific compounds, but instead mentions how, “certain Schedule 1 controlled drugs” have displayed promising results treating, “neuropsychiatric conditions such as chronic alcohol dependence, post-traumatic stress, and treatment-resistant depression following only limited doses.” It seems clear DARPA is referring to a growing body of research finding MDMA and psilocybin to be impressively effective in treating a number of mental health conditions.
DARPA’s plan is to institute several research projects to find out if the beneficial mental health improvements found in prior studies can be decoupled from the acute hallucinatory effects of these drugs. Successful research projects will get four years to develop a novel drug ready to apply for an Investigation New Drug application through the FDA and progress into human clinical trials.
Underlying the entire Focused Pharma project is a suggestion that the supposed “deleterious neurological effects” of psychedelic agents such as psilocybin and MDMA, are fundamentally unrelated to the efficacy of the drugs. A great deal of research into these substances is suggesting the acute phenomenological experience, often lasting between four and eight hours, is vital to the lasting beneficial effect.
DARPA points to the way these psychedelic drugs influence highly specific serotonin receptors as a roadmap into more accurately engaging targeted neurotransmitters to achieve the same beneficial effects treating conditions such as PTSD, without an overwhelmingly acute psychoactive experience. However, what DARPA may label as “deleterious neurological” side effects, could be what fundamentally make these new psychedelic medicines work.
https://newatlas.com/science/darpa-remo ... UbKPjpACR8
Ethnobotanists have a new theory on which plant the berserkers ingested.
The legendary Viking warriors known as berserkers were renowned for their ferocity in battle, purportedly fighting in a trancelike state of blind rage (berserkergang), howling like wild animals, biting their shields, and often unable to distinguish between friend and foe in the heat of battle. But historians know very little about the berserkers apart from scattered Old Norse myths and epic sagas. One intriguing hypothesis as to the source of their behavior is that the berserkers ingested a specific kind of mushroom with psychoactive properties. Now an ethnobotanist is challenging that hypothesis, suggesting in a recent paper in The Journal of Ethnopharmacology that henbane is a more likely candidate.
Accounts of the berserkers date back to a late ninth-century poem to honor King Harald Fairhair. The 13th-century Icelandic historian/poet Snorri Sturluson described Odin's berserkers as being "mad as dogs or wolves" and "strong as bears or wild oxen," killing people with a single blow. Specific attributes can vary widely among the accounts, often veering into magic or mysticism. There are claims that berserkers were not affected by edged weapons or fire, but they could be killed with clubs. Other claims say they could blunt the blades of their enemies with spells or just by giving them the evil eye. Most accounts at least agree on the primary defining characteristic: a blind ferocious rage.
The onset of berserkergang purportedly began with bodily chills, shivering, and teeth chattering, followed by swelling and reddening of the face. Then the rage broke out, and once it abated, the berserker would experience both physical fatigue and emotional numbness for a few days. Several hypotheses have been proposed for why the warriors would have behaved this way, including self-induced hysteria—aided by biting their shields and howling—epilepsy, ergot poisoning, or mental illness. One of the more hotly contested hypotheses is that the berserkers ingested a hallucinogenic mushroom (Amanita muscaria), commonly known as fly agaric, just before battle to induce their trancelike state.
A. muscaria has a distinctly Alice in Wonderland appearance, with its bright red cap and white spots. While it's technically toxic to humans, the mushrooms are apparently safe to ingest after parboiling them twice. A. muscaria was very popular as an intoxicant among Siberian tribes, possibly holding religious significance because of its psychoactive properties. The latter aspect is due to two compounds: ibotenic acid and muscimol, with muscarine (first discovered in 1869) most likely responsible for some of the more unpleasant side effects. The 'shroom typically induces a drunken state with auditory illusions and shifts in color vision. It can also induce vomiting, hyperthermia, sweating, reddening of the face, twitching and trembling, dilated pupils, increased muscle tone, delirium, and seizures.
Much of that is consistent with accounts of berserker behavior. But according to Karsten Fatur, an ethnobotanist at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia, henbane (Hyoscyamus niger) is a much better candidate. It's been around since ancient Greece and has been used in various cultures throughout history as a narcotic, painkiller, cure for insomnia, and anesthetic. It's a common treatment for motion sickness and can produce short-term memory loss. It can knock out someone for 24 hours, and in rare cases henbane can lead to respiratory failure. It's also been investigated as a possible truth serum. Henbane even found its way into early European beers, gradually being replaced with hops after the passage of the Bavarian Purity Law in 1516.
Fatur argues that while both the mushrooms and henbane could account for increases in strength, altered consciousness, delirium, jerking and twitching, and red face commonly associated with the berserkers, aggressive rage is not common with the mushroom. Fatur cites several cases involving angry behavior associated with plants related to henbane, containing the same alkaloids.
"This anger effect can range from agitation to full-blown rage and combativeness depending on the dosage and the individual's mental set," he wrote. "As this is perhaps the most defining component of the berserker state, this symptom is of central importance in identifying the potential causes and provides a very critical reason as to why H. niger is a more appropriate theoretical intoxicant for the berserkers than A. muscaria."
https://www.wired.com/story/how-vikings ... Np1u1j-2EM