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Sun Apr 7, 2013, 07:22 PM

Study of psilocybin as treatment of depression halted by drug laws

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2013/apr/07/magic-mushrooms-treat-depression

Trials of psilocybin blocked by drugs law red tape, says Professor David Nutt of Imperial College London

...Scientists believe the chemical psilocybin, the psychedelic ingredient in magic mushrooms, can turn down parts of the brain that are overactive in severely depressive patients. The drug appears to stop patients dwelling on themselves and their own perceived inadequacies.

However, a bid by British scientists to carry out trials of psilocybin on patients in order to assess its full medical potential has been blocked by red tape relating to Britain's strict drugs laws. Professor David Nutt, professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London, will tell a conference today that because magic mushrooms are rated as a class-A drug, their active chemical ingredient cannot be manufactured unless a special licence is granted.

"We haven't started the study because finding companies that could manufacture the drug and who are prepared to go through the regulatory hoops to get the licence is proving very difficult," said Nutt. "The whole field is so bedevilled by primitive old-fashioned attitudes. Even if you have a good idea, you may never get it into the clinic, it seems."

Research by Nutt has found that psilocybin switches off part of the brain called the anterior cingulate cortex. It was known that this area is overactive in individuals suffering from depression. In his tests on healthy individuals, it was found that psilocybin had a profound effect on making these volunteers feel happier weeks after they had taken the drug, said Nutt – who was sacked as the chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs in 2009 after repeatedly clashing with government ministers about the dangers and classification of illicit drugs.


iow - profit and prohibition are again driving issues of health care.

why doesn't he do the study anyway? oh yeah. see above.

17 replies, 1758 views

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Reply Study of psilocybin as treatment of depression halted by drug laws (Original post)
RainDog Apr 2013 OP
socialindependocrat Apr 2013 #1
napoleon_in_rags Apr 2013 #2
Warren DeMontague Apr 2013 #4
napoleon_in_rags Apr 2013 #6
Warren DeMontague Apr 2013 #7
napoleon_in_rags Apr 2013 #9
Warren DeMontague Apr 2013 #12
RainDog Apr 2013 #8
napoleon_in_rags Apr 2013 #10
Warren DeMontague Apr 2013 #11
napoleon_in_rags Apr 2013 #13
Warren DeMontague Apr 2013 #14
Warren DeMontague Apr 2013 #3
madrchsod Apr 2013 #5
Chathamization Sep 2013 #15
RainDog Sep 2013 #16
Chathamization Sep 2013 #17

Response to RainDog (Original post)

Sun Apr 7, 2013, 07:47 PM

1. Isn't it about time for people to grow up - honestly.

We have people who have experimented with drugs for 60 years or more, now.

Isn't it about time to see if some of them are really therapeutic?

Talk about some paranoid people!

Get over it!

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Sun Apr 7, 2013, 08:14 PM

2. This really should be step 2 for drug reforms.

1) Marijuana legal for recreational use
2) Psychedelics legal for use in a controlled, therapeutic setting (not legal for recreation use) for a purpose, like treating depression.
3) nicotine substitutes like e-cigarettes, gum etc/ eventually replacing cigarettes (no more kids addicted by second hand smoke) with a long term goal of a nicotine free world in a decade or two.
4) some minor reforms to alcohol laws to help prevent alcoholism.

That's my opinion based on what I've read and how I've seen drugs damage people. There was a lot of work that suggested that a quick hit to the brain with MDMA or Psilocybin in a controlled setting could have positive effects in re-wiring the brain, like electroshock. There are three kinds of people with regards to nicotine. Those who don't like it and don't do it, and those who don't like and do it because they are addicted, and those who are really in the second group, but claim to like it because they are ashamed they lack the willpower to quit. Alcohol can be fine for people, until it turns into an every day thing. We've all seen people spiral into self destruction through alcohol.

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Response to napoleon_in_rags (Reply #2)

Sun Apr 7, 2013, 08:28 PM

4. Here's my take: 1) Legalize, regulate tax marijuana for adults.

That's first, foremost, and a no-brainer. And that's the majority of the "Drug War" anyway.

I think if the choice is between what we've got now and full legalization of ALL drugs, I would go with full legalization of everything. However, I think there's a middle ground- I think a harm reduction approach as opposed to a law enforcement one for drugs like heroin, cocaine, etc..

when it comes to psychedelics, to me, the real issue is that we as a society don't have the cultural institutions in place to guide people through these experiences, sort of the way shamanism works in some cultures and many cultures have initiation rituals.

The Grateful Dead functioned in that regard for many of us who experienced some of these things in that context, but I do agree that just setting people loose on psychedelics with no idea of what they might expect is not necessarily a good idea.

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Response to Warren DeMontague (Reply #4)

Sun Apr 7, 2013, 09:44 PM

6. I see it the same way on psychedelics.

I've done my share, and I don't advocate full legalization. There's just too much that can go wrong - some kid at a party who's inhibitions are down and takes too much could be in for a life changing unpleasant experience. On the other hand, in a controlled setting, with controlled amounts and supervision, I think the experience could be amazingly positive for people. The specific thing is to seek out the experience with a reason. Maybe its to break out of a depressive period, or to seek some vision for life direction in a time feeling stuck. Either way, the people should seek an experience they get something out of for their daily life in a safe setting. The blocking of the research to make this a reality has been another destructive part of the drug war.

But as far as legalization of other drugs, I'd be against it. Pot and psychedelics aren't physically addictive, and addiction sucks. Addiction really is a form of chemical mind control, evil stuff. People are wired in different ways, and get addicted to different things. For some (Native Americans esp.) alchohol can be addictive. For me its nicotine. For many (though they've been lucky to not find it out) its crack or meth, once you try, it takes over your brain and you can't stop.

So for me, this is really a time a of drug war reform. I think the wake up call for a lot of people was the bath salts (cloud nine) thing. There are variant of this drug that literally throw people into some of the maddest psychotic states mankind has ever seen, and the stuff is being sold legally as "synthetic marijuana", while REAL marijuana is 10000 times safer, and just makes people mellow. Its clearly time to reformulate priorities, and that's what's happening here. Reduce the waste, zoom in on the real dangerous drugs, I say.

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Response to napoleon_in_rags (Reply #6)

Sun Apr 7, 2013, 09:52 PM

7. I'm pretty familiar with addiction, too. But I don't think law enforcement is the answer to it.

The goose has to get itself out of the bottle, like the zen riddle, and frankly there's not an alcoholic I know who would have been helped by a 20 year mandatory mimimum sentence for a bottle of Jack Daniels. And I say that knowing full well what an awful thing chronic alcoholism can be.

We should fund honest education and treatment on demand; including all sorts of stuff like secular alternatives, REBT, and everything else in the toolkit for people who have a problem with the implied or overt religiosity of 12 step programs.

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Response to Warren DeMontague (Reply #7)

Sun Apr 7, 2013, 11:12 PM

9. You know, that's a good point. It is a disease.

And needs the same kind of compassionate treatment.

But at the same time, when an addiction has hijacked a person's mind, they won't see that they need help until they reach rock bottom. We need the power to reach and and demand help for them, or to nip the whole thing in the bud with education. The former can only come from declaring at some point that they've lost certain rights to make decisions for themselves, as the addiction is clouding their judgement.

Maybe addiction treatment could be part of a comprehensive mental health reform package. There's a point with addictions where it seems to make sense to me to declare somebody temporarily mentally incompetent, until they can clean up their act.

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Response to napoleon_in_rags (Reply #9)

Sun Apr 7, 2013, 11:35 PM

12. As a philosophical point I lean towards letting consenting adults make their own decisions about

their own bodies; when people commit other crimes- drive under the influence, endanger others, steal, neglect their kids... yes, then the state has a vested interest to force involvement.

But criminalizing addiction in and of itself, or forcing people into treatment rather than letting them get there on their own- seems misguided or without a compelling interest unless, as I said, there's an additional crime.

The drugs themselves should not be the crime.

That's my take on it, I understand others may look at it differently.

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Response to napoleon_in_rags (Reply #6)

Sun Apr 7, 2013, 10:47 PM

8. Yes. A respectful attitude about the powers of such things

is needed - not to prevent their use, but to put their use in a context that helps rather than hurts.

The interesting thing about psychedelics seems to be their ability to help addicts in the initial stages of withdrawal - and, for some, for long after.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1170&pid=1047

The only reason I support legalization - or, decriminalization - is to move toward a health-oriented rather than criminal law enforcement approach.

If things were available in clinical settings at prices that were cheaper than the street, with better product, safer, with known properties (i.e. rather than something cut with all sorts of crap from the street), it would be better for society. And addicts would be patients, not outlaws.

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Response to RainDog (Reply #8)

Sun Apr 7, 2013, 11:19 PM

10. I'm with you on the health view.

But at the same time, I should be clear that I would like to see some drugs wiped out entirely, but not others. For instance, I believe that marijuana or controlled psychedelic experiences can add value to life, just like a cold beer on a hot day, or red wine with dinner can. Some drugs, meth comes to mind, basically add no value, in my view its a pure crazy maker and mind hijacker. The goal should be to wipe out its use entirely. So maybe the right way to do that is medical, but I think a law enforcement component should still be involved.

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Response to napoleon_in_rags (Reply #10)

Sun Apr 7, 2013, 11:33 PM

11. The best advertisement against meth is meth users themselves.

And I think there are a few factors in the meth epidemic which are oft-overlooked, not the least of which its popularity in places where the traditional "drug war", particularly against pot, has been successful. (Sort of like with the bath salts)... another is the low-income dynamics of meth and communities with low-paying, dead end jobs, no health care, no benefits, etc.

When someone is trying to make ends meet by working 3 min. wage jobs, one at the all night mini mart, is it really that surprising when they turn to something like meth to keep themselves going? And they're not doing it for the "buzz", they're doing it to function, however briefly that's going to work for them.

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Response to Warren DeMontague (Reply #11)

Mon Apr 8, 2013, 01:05 AM

13. That's a good point too.

is it really that surprising when they turn to something like meth to keep themselves going? And they're not doing it for the "buzz", they're doing it to function, however briefly that's going to work for them.

Yeah, that's the whole meth mythology: It really does make you super productive when you first do it. All of the sudden the American Dream in these poor areas makes sense, its just smoke meth and work, work, work. Then slowly, you decay as your hyperactive mind starts to read between the lines in the world, and you end up trying to pick the government nanobot insects out of your skin to get ahead of the pack.

Meth is a really tough one. Its cooked up in bathtubs in the middle of nowhere, there often is no big organisation behind it. Its comparatively easy to make, so it crops up anywhere. Back woods conservatives are vulnerable, precisely because it makes a super hard worker when you first take it, it exploits their ideals about work ethic.

I think the solution here has to come from the realisation that some drug use can be a natural balanced part of the human experience, something we can create safe venues for. Cats have catnip, man has his herbs. The problem comes when things get thrown out of balance, with the weird synthetics. So our society has to come up with ways for people who want these experiences to have them in a safe way. Speed experiences are the hardest to deliver safely. But I am struck by something about the psycho-pharmocology of drugs like LSD. I remember you could take 2 hits on friday night, and blow your mind. Then take 2 hits again sunday morning, there would be no effect... The effect of the drug was blocked for about a week or two, so it was physically impossible to get addicted. Maybe there's some kind of stimulant that could be found with a similar action. People could get geebed out on Saturday, sleep it off on Sunday (even if they took more, no effect) and be normal at work on monday.

Maybe that's too far out, designing drugs to push out meth...But I do think it would be productive for society to establish some safe norms for drug use, so people have have their wacky experiences without the funding of crime, and the dangers the exist today.

PEace

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Response to napoleon_in_rags (Reply #13)

Mon Apr 8, 2013, 02:20 AM

14. Yeah. All good points.

Rather than trying to stamp it out, find organic, positive and healthy ways for this natural human impulse to express itself.

And the tendency to treat "drugs" as monolithic doesn't help; psychedelics, as you allude to, are completely different than something like alcohol that people do to get numb... which I think is why some psychedelics show promise for treating addiction; increasing awareness and "a-ha" moments that can help people break out of negative cycles.

Like I said, when I was growing up my friends and I were fortunate in that our youthful diddling around that stuff was overseen, at least on a macro level, by a community that had heaps of experience around guiding people through that stuff, i.e. the Dead--- so for the people I hung around with there was -not in all cases, but in many- a lot of growth involved.

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Sun Apr 7, 2013, 08:24 PM

3. This is why I want to move to the Moon.

Stupid fucking laws like this.

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Sun Apr 7, 2013, 08:43 PM

5. good stuff!

i liked it better than the acid that was around in the 60`s.

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Sat Sep 14, 2013, 04:39 PM

15. It really makes me furious that psilocybin is illegal

Psilocybin's been shown to be effective in treating some very nasty stuff. Can you imagine getting a root canal and the dentist saying, "Sorry, we can't give you anesthesia because some people have used it recreationally. When I start drilling, just squeeze this ball and try not to scream too much."

When you add in the research showing that beneficial effects in general outside of treating specific conditions, the criminalization looks even worse. Unfortunately, it seems that a lot of people's experiences with psilocybin involved stuffing as many mushrooms as they can into their mouths when they were 20 (research indicates low dosages are optimal).

I remember in high school some kids would get high by downing an entire bottle of robitussin in 30-seconds. I suppose if people only had that experience with robutssin, they'd giggle at the thought of making it legal - to hell with the people that have colds.

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Response to Chathamization (Reply #15)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 12:20 AM

16. I don't know that much about it

I just don't think policies based upon old political hatreds should determine research or the possible treatments people may receive.

It seems like some cultures have used things like psilocybin for a long time as part of their medicine or religion without all the hysteria that has been the history of the war on drugs.

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Response to RainDog (Reply #16)

Fri Sep 20, 2013, 10:22 PM

17. Yes. We are still in he dark ages where irrational fear leads instead of facts.

Below are some excerpts on the research that has been done. I will say that as crazy as the drug laws here, at least they were able to conduct the research.

Hopkins study on personality changes:

Lasting change was found in the part of the personality known as openness, which includes traits related to imagination, aesthetics, feelings, abstract ideas and general broad-mindedness. Changes in these traits, measured on a widely used and scientifically validated personality inventory, were larger in magnitude than changes typically observed in healthy adults over decades of life experiences, the scientists say. Researchers in the field say that after the age of 30, personality doesn’t usually change significantly.


http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/single_dose_of_hallucinogen_may_create_lasting_personality_change


OCD Study:

In a controlled clinical environment, psilocybin was safely used in subjects with OCD and was associated with acute reductions in core OCD symptoms in several subjects.


http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17196053


Cluster headache study:

Twenty-two of 26 psilocybin users reported that psilocybin aborted attacks; 25 of 48 psilocybin users and 7 of 8 LSD users reported cluster period termination; 18 of 19 psilocybin users and 4 of 5 LSD users reported remission period extension.


http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16801660

OCD and cluster headaches are both really, really horrible conditions. The fact that people have to continue to suffer because others might want to use some of the beneficial effect of psilocybin is insane.

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