THE FUTURE OF PSYCHEDELICS: Are LSD and Mushrooms The New Prozac?

Magic mushrooms can’t cure cancer, but they can alleviate the anxiety and existential dread that come along with the disease.

At least, that’s the apparent conclusion from a pair of studies published in late 2016, wherein participants who had been diagnosed with both cancer and clinical depression or anxiety were administered psilocybin mushrooms within a controlled, living room-esque environment.

The psychological effects of psilocybin were not only positive, but enduring. Most participants ranked the experience among the most meaningful of their lives, and six months after taking the dose, 65 percent had almost fully recovered from their depression, and 57 percent from their anxiety. In contrast, antidepressants have been observed to help only 40 percent of terminal cancer patients in past studies—making them about as effective as a placebo.

Read more at Dope Magazine

Scientists Investigate Psychedelic Link to Religious Experience

Photo by Vortex Farmacy.

Did you ever want to trip for the benefit of science? That’s what a lucky group of religious clerics got to do, and researchers are now in the process of evaluating the results.

Scientists at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore signed up more than 20 spiritual leaders from various denominations after issuing a call for volunteers last year. Following an initial screening process, the participants were given strong doses of psilocybin—the psychoactive chemical in magic mushrooms.

Read more at High Times

Team Behind Symbiosis Festival to Hold Oregon Eclipse Gathering

Photos by Juliana Bernstein/Courtesy of Symbiosis.

Symbiosis Gathering founder Kevin KoChen spoke with HIGH TIMES about the transformative potential of witnessing a total solar eclipse with thousands of your closest friends.

A once-in-a-lifetime experience for many, and a lifetime obsession for a few, witnessing a total solar eclipse can catalyze epiphanies about the nature of existence and humanity’s place in the universe. So naturally, the team behind the annual Symbiosis Gathering Festival—who’ve been working for years to build community around celestial events—have planned an Oregon Eclipse Gathering that starts August 17 and ends with the big event on August 21.

Read more at High Times

Does the ‘Stoned Ape’ Theory Explain Human Evolution?

Ethnobotanist and psychedelics advocate, Terence McKenna, wrote a book called Food of the Gods, which is an exploration of humans’ symbiotic relationships with plants and chemicals—now and in pre-historic societies.

McKenna came up with an interesting, albeit controversial theory, which was this: what enabled Homo erectus (our ancestors from 1.8 million years ago) to evolve into Homo sapiens (us now) had to do with their encounters with magic mushrooms and psilocybin, the psychedelic compound within them.

McKenna called this the “Stoned Ape Hypothesis” and posited that psilocybin caused the primitive brain’s information-processing capabilities to rapidly reorganize, which in turn kick-started an evolution of awareness that led to the early art, language and technology found in Homo sapiens’ archeological records.

Read more at High Times

How Cannabis Could Be a Psychedelic—And Why That’s Good

Photo by Vortex Farmacy.

Psychedelics can have a bad name, even among dedicated recreational drug users.

LSD, psilocybin and other mind-rearranging substances require investments of time and mental energy many of us don’t have to spare on a weekday night after a long day of work. We just want something to take the edge off, strong enough to relieve pain or other symptoms of living holding us back, able to throw a warm-hued filter over our normal reality—not blow it apart entirely. We have stuff to do!

Read more at High Times

How Texas Tested Psychedelics on Death Row Inmates

Imagine you are an adult of the 1950s. Since this thought exercise places you in a saloon, let’s assume you are male. You have a crewcut and a wardrobe consisting of dark slacks and short-sleeved white shirts. Your drink of choice is bourbon and soda—and that’s your lone tipple.

Drugs are unthinkable. The mere mention of the word “reefer” conjures images of insanity, social decay and jazz musicians. (That speed habit you picked up during the war, when government-issued Benzedrine was available in your medical kit, doesn’t count.)

And then, one fateful night, after you knock back a tumbler of brown liquor, you smack your empty glass down on the bar—and everything, the glass, the bar and your hand, starts to melt and run together in a technicolor hellscape, all while a government agent—dressed exactly like you—watches and takes notes as your mind unspools and your reality comes apart.

Read more at High Times

CONVERSING WITH THE MOTHER VINE: Life, Death and the Living Universe

It was one of those intense, pivotal moments in life where you think to yourself, “What the hell am I doing? How did I get here?” There I was, sitting cross-legged in a traditional Shipibo ceremony house, called a maloca, in an isolated part of the Peruvian Amazon, minutes away from partaking in my first ayahuasca ceremony.

Psychedelics were no stranger to me, as I already had several LSD and psilocybin trips under my belt, but I found little peace from those previous dives into the unknown. I had done my research, read countless stories and articles about ayahuasca, the mysterious jungle brew, yet I was still quite terrified of the unknown that lay ahead.

Jose and Horatio were two Shipibo men from long lineages of shamans, or curanderos, who had a combined fifty years of experience working with the jungle medicine. Despite their small frames and Horatio’s advanced age, I could tell that these men were beings of a different caliber. They emanated an aura of gentle kindness and a wisdom that spoke far beyond their years. The shamans dutifully began the rituals of establishing a protective aura around our ceremony space, and blessed the dark bottle of ayahuasca which they had brought with them. Then, one by one, we were invited to come up to the table and partake.

Read more at Dope Magazine

Chinese Schools Are Using Psychedelic VR to Scare Kids off Drugs

One thing that strikes me, when reading international news about drug use, is how alike all we humans are—and how fucking stupid everyone in charge is, everywhere.

Not that we necessarily endorse either—ahem—but virtual reality and actual reality-benders, like psychedelic drugs, are cut from similar cloth.

Show us an Occulus Rift set, and we’ll show you a way to experience the “ego death” of an acid trip without a chemistry set, consulting the works of Owsley or Alexander Shulgin, and the need for a quiet, comfortable place in which to retreat while your reality reassembles itself.

Read more at High Times

Ice Cube to Produce Film about Dock Ellis: MLB’s Acid Tripping Pitcher

We have written about people doing extraordinary things while tripping on acid and about LSD helping with certain disorders, but frankly, baseball great Dock Ellis takes the cake.

Forty-seven years ago this week, one of the most important moments in baseball history was made when the Pittsburgh Pirates’ pitcher took to the mound and pitched a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres—while tripping on acid.

Reporters at the game, who learned of Ellis’s feat 10 years later, said they couldn’t believe it.

Read more at High Times