December 17 2015

Psychedelics: A New Medical Frontier?

By Mark Sisson
69 Comments

Psychedelic mushroomLong before humans interacted with the numinous through intermediaries and holy books, we experienced it in other ways. All night drumming and dancing sessions, extended fasts, exposure to extreme temperatures, steam lodges, and week-long wilderness forays, and other rituals have all been used to produce visions and transcend normal waking consciousness. There’s even a theory that early Christian baptisms were actually simulated drownings that produced near-death experiences and the direct sensation of being in the presence of a higher power.

But perhaps the oldest, most reliable way to directly experience the divine is through the use of psychedelics.

From rotting fruit to honey made by bees feeding on psychotropic plants to desert toad secretions to the tantalizing mushrooms sprouting up from ruminant dung to the IPA in your fridge, humans have always pursued and consumed substances that alter consciousness and provide different takes on reality. And yes, this can be fun. It’s certainly recreational. But in most traditions, psychedelics also offered a way to make sense of the natural world, investigate its mysteries in person, visit the spirit realm and contact lost ancestors for advice, reassurance, or resolution of disputes. These weren’t the sole province of jungle or desert tribes; archaeological evidence suggests that even prehistoric Europeans used opium, cannabis, and mushrooms in religious rituals.

In a world of cold empiricism, with doctors and pills and psychiatrists and online resources storing every bit of knowledge and wisdom available, does a legitimate role for psychedelics remain?

It turns out there is: after a half century of prohibition destroying the careers of any researcher seriously considering the medical application of psychedelics, research is making a big comeback. Emerging research shows these substances can have incredible therapeutic effects across a range of seemingly intractable and drug-resistant conditions like depression, PTSD, anxiety (especially end-of-life anxiety), addiction, and marriage counseling. The science is quite impressive—and it’s growing every month.

I know, I know. Sisson, you shouldn’t be encouraging people to take mind-altering drugs. First of all, I’m not encouraging anyone to do anything. Second, so many people have emailed me about this topic over the years, I felt obliged to finally give it a thorough look. Last, take a look at the recent clinical research into the medical applications and safety profiles of these compounds, seek out and consult with experts if you’re interested in digging deeper, and judge for yourself. 

LSD (AKA: Acid)

Lysergic acid diethylamide strikes fear into the hearts and minds of many otherwise reasonable folks. Some think it’ll fry your brain, make you think you can fly out a ten story window, or turn you into a hippy. But even if those things were widespread (they’re not), the fearmongers must admit that LSD is also responsible for the latter half of the Beatles’ catalogue and, thus, a net positive force in the world.

LSD is a tryptamine, a class of psychedelic alkaloids bearing close structural similarity to the amino acid tryptophan, a precursor to serotonin. LSD acts as an agonist to the 5-HT2A serotonin receptors, and this interaction appears to be responsible for the effects which in addition to the well-known open and close-eye hallucinations include increased subjective well-being, closeness to others, happiness, openness, and trust.

Throughout the 1950s, when it was still legal, psychiatrists recognized these effects and used large doses of LSD to induce boundary-dissolving states of catharsis, enabling their patients to work through seemingly intractable problems and reduce anxiety and depression. Several subsequent studies found that these effects could also reduce end-of-life anxiety in terminal cancer patients. After LSD was made illegal in 1966, research stopped in the United States until very recently.

A 2014 study in adults with life-threatening illnesses came to similar conclusions as the older papers, finding that LSD paired with psychotherapy sessions actively reduced anxiety and improved quality of life. These improvements persisted in the experimental LSD group for at least a year, while the placebo group’s anxiety only worsened. If “lower anxiety” doesn’t sound like a big deal, consider how many terminal patients live their final days: in an anxious, scattered state of mind that inhibits them from making peace with their life and spending meaningful time with loved ones. Wouldn’t you want to avoid that?

Psilocybin-containing Mushrooms (AKA: Shrooms, Magic Mushrooms)

Ever hear of the Stoned Ape? It’s a theory put forth by Terence McKenna, and goes like so:

When African hominids descended from the trees and began hunting, they’d follow the vast herds of wild ruminants. Inevitably, they’d happen across large amounts of ruminant dung, which is the perfect medium for growing psychedelic mushrooms. The more curious of the opportunistic bipeds would sample the mushrooms and experience a few unique, fitness-enhancing effects—an increase in libido (good for creating similarly curious hominids), a boost to visual acuity (great for hunting), a dissolution of the ego (which promoted the formation of close communities and consensual egalitarianism). In addition, the increased connectivity between previously disparate regions of the brain catalyzed linguistic capabilities and self-expression, eventually expanding our creative and cognitive abilities and our capacity to articulate them.

I don’t really buy it, to be honest, but it’s fun to consider. And at any rate, psychedelic mushrooms appear on every inhabited continent and are likely the most widely-used hallucinogen throughout human history. We have a long tradition of finding, eating, and maybe revering these things. Psilocybin is also a tryptamine. Like LSD, psilocybin is a 5-HT2A serotonin receptor agonist.

Channeling William Blake, Aldous Huxley suggested that psychedelics deactivate the “reducing valve” and throw open the “doors of perception” so that the world becomes infinite. He might have been right. fMRI research indicates that when a person takes psilocybin, activity in the part of the brain responsible for processing incoming sensory data, discerning information important for survival, and making sense of the world—the “filter”—dampens.

Psilocybin also reduces amygdala reactivity in healthy subjects; those with the greatest reduction in amygdala activity had the biggest mood enhancements. If these results persist in patients with depression or anxiety (in whom the amygdala is often overexcited), psilocybin mushrooms could be an effective treatment.

Like LSD, psilocybin also shows promise for combatting end-of-life anxiety in terminal patients.

MDMA (AKA: Ecstasy, Molly)

MDMA is an empathogen/entactogen; it floods the brain with serotonin, oxytocin, dopamine, shattering the barriers we erect between ourselves and others, boosting empathy to supranormal levels, and fostering honest and uninhibited communication. Before it became a club drug, MDMA was a valuable, if off-the-books, tool psychotherapists and marriage counselors used to enhance the efficacy of their clinical practice. A clever therapist could cram an incredible amount of progress into the three or four hours the drug was active in the subjects.

Today, researchers are exploring MDMA as a treatment for treatment-resistant post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Animal studies confirm that MDMA can facilitate “fear extinction.” Preliminary human trials with vets have been promising. It appears to be safe. Reports from actual vets who’ve participated in MDMA trials are glowing. In war veterans who’ve tried other treatments and failed, MDMA combined with psychotherapy may help by quieting the amygdala (the “lizard brain” responsible for processing fear) and activate the frontal cortex (where contextualization occurs).

Ketamine (AKA: Special K)

Ketamine is a veterinary tranquilizer. In doses that won’t quite fell a horse, ketamine is a dissociative—it promotes a feeling of detachment from one’s body and the physical world. Of all the drugs discussed today, ketamine may be the hardest to conceptualize without actually doing it. I’ve never tried it and am certainly having trouble imagining it. In recent years, researchers have stumbled upon a remarkable side effect: short-term, complete elimination of depression.

Single doses of ketamine provide rapid amelioration of depression symptoms lasting for weeks. Even low doses of ketamine are able to improve symptoms of treatment resistant major depressive disorder for one to two weeks.

Ketamine increases brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the hippocampus. This seems to mediate the anti-depressant effect and suggests that long-term low-dose ketamine treatment may actually heal the depressed brain by regrowing damaged neurons, rather than just temporarily mask the symptoms. Still, only short-term efficacy has been demonstrated. It remains to be seen if medium- to long-term benefits persist.

Ketamine for depression is an off-label use. It’s possible to obtain from your doctor, but your doctor may need convincing. A better bet is to contact one of the ketamine clinics currently operating in the United States.

Ayahuasca/DMT

Ayahuasca is a hallucinogenic brew combining two Amazonian rain forest plants: the leaves of the Psychotria viridis, which contain the powerful psychedelic DMT; and bark from the Banisteriopsis caapi tree containing MAO-inhibitors which make the DMT orally active. Without also ingesting the bark, the leaves have no effect. It’s fascinating that a seemingly primitive people with no knowledge of plant biochemistry figured it out.

DMT is an endogenous neurotransmitter. We make it ourselves. And scientists aren’t sure what role naturally-occurring DMT plays in the human body. DMT has antioxidant effects in isolated neurons subjected to low-oxygen environments, and one group of researchers has crowdfunded a study to determine whether DMT has a protective role in hypoxia. If so, the near death experience, which some hypotheses attribute to DMT release, could simply be a defense mechanism for the brain.

Today, ayahuasca tourism is a huge industry. People drop thousands of dollars to go on Peruvian, Ecuadorian, and Brazilian jungle retreats with shamans, special diets, and frequent ayahuasca ceremonies. But why? Does it provide measurable benefits?

Single doses can also ameliorate depression in people with recurrent depression without causing mania or hypomania. Ritual users of ayahuasca generally seem to be better-adjusted than non-users.

Acute dosing of ayahuasca increases “mindfulness capacities.” People who took it were less judgmental when processing experiences, less reactive, and better at decentering (the process of viewing thoughts and emotions as objective events in the brain rather than identifying with them). These are all goals central to mindfulness meditation practice, and ayahuasca users achieved them with a single dose.

Preliminary reports indicate that ayahuasca may help in addiction when combined with psychotherapy. A group of indigenous Canadians who participated in an ayahuasca ceremony subsequently reduced their alcohol, tobacco, and cocaine use.

Ibogaine

Ibogaine is the primary alkaloid present in iboga, an African rainforest shrub traditionally used by followers of the Bwiti religion of Central Africa in rites of passage and to resolve disputes and strengthen community bonds. By most accounts, it’s an intense experience characterized by vivid closed-eye visuals. Users will report reliving crucial moments from their lives as if they were actually happening all over again, or watching a movie of their lives projected on the backs of their eyelids. As most people taking ibogaine do so to overcome addictions or resolve lifelong problems, these visions are often difficult and unpleasant—but necessary.

Ibogaine elicits positive behavior changes through various mechanisms. The subjective experience of the trip and its visions is one; by revisiting the mistakes you’ve made, you resolve not to make them again. Another lies in the interaction between ibogaine alkaloids and opioid receptors. Upon consumption, ibogaine is metabolized into the slower-metabolizing noribogaine, which remains in circulation for days and may be responsible for many of the benefits associated with ibogaine therapy. For instance, noribogaine reduces nicotine self-administration in rats.

If you’ve got an addiction to kick and think you qualify for ibogaine therapy, check out the list of worldwide providers. For those in the Americas, a number of clinics in both Canada and Mexico offer ibogaine therapy to qualifying patients.

Okay, but are they safe?

In the majority of cases, the active dose (what you take to get the desired therapeutic effect) is far lower than the toxic dose (what might kill you).

That’s why in 2010, comprehensive safety analyses found that alcohol was by far the most harmful drug, followed by the likes of heroin, crack, meth, and cocaine (PDF). The safest were the psychedelics—LSD, MDMA, mushrooms, and to a lesser extent, ketamine. While physiological toxicity may not be an issue with most psychedelics, and research suggests that psychedelic users have a reduced risk of mental health disorders and suicide ideation (with psilocybin users showing the lowest rates), these remain powerful compounds that deserve respect. In eons past, you’d take them under the watchful eye of the village shaman. In today’s successful clinical trials, patients take them with medical professionals on hand. Results drawn from clinical trials do not necessarily apply to eating a fistful of shrooms in the garage when your parents go to bed.

The rise of the research chemical scene, where foreign labs tweak existing formulae to create novel psychedelic compounds without human testing, presents an additional wrinkle. Many deaths and trip disasters attributed to LSD are actually caused by novel research chemicals sold as LSD. Proceed with caution and wait for the science—and legal status—to sort itself out.

While the classical psychedelics LSD and mushrooms are generally extremely safe, MDMA, ketamine, and iboga deserve closer scrutiny.

MDMA: A discredited and retracted study purporting to show catastrophic brain lesions in MDMA-using primates actually injected meth into their brains rather than MDMA. The paper was retracted, leading many to assume that MDMA was completely free of risk. It isn’t. The body still generates neurotoxic metabolites during MDMA metabolism. If you’re going to take MDMA, a specific list of supplements and nutritional considerations can lower generation of toxic metabolites by inhibiting the responsible enzymes and mitigate some of the neurotoxicity.

Ketamine: Ketamine can be incredibly psychologically addictive, even (or especially, given the need for regular dosing) when used to treat depression.

Ibogaine: Iboga is contraindicated for patients with heart issues and several deaths have been attributed to ibogaine’s ability to induce cardiac arrhythmias in susceptible patients. Ibogaine clinics prescreen for this, but it does highlight the dangers of unsupervised iboga administration.

Many of these substances also have recreational and spiritual potential. They enrich our emotional appreciation of music. They induce mystical experiences and can lead to an overall positive (and sustained) outlook on life. They dissolve the ego, our sense of self. Long-term users seem to have lower rates of psychopathologies. These are important characteristics. Joy, transcendent spiritual experiences, and just seeing and hearing really cool stuff is an important part of being a healthy, happy human. Psychedelic microdosing (where you take doses too small to really feel anything) is blowing up across the tech world, where people are reporting big benefits to creativity and problem-solving. And every month, new research confirms that the authorities may have spoken too soon on the therapeutic potential of these compounds. I fully expect some of these compounds to be legalized in the coming years, at least for medical use.

This is a big topic. An important one, too. I’m not an expert. Heck, I’ve never even used a psychedelic. So if this post intrigues you, keep digging.

That’s it for today, everyone. I’d love to hear from you. Have you ever used any of these (or other) psychedelic compounds? What did you gain (or lose) from your experience?

Thanks for reading.

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69 thoughts on “Psychedelics: A New Medical Frontier?”

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  1. This is a very important topic, one that I’ve been thinking about writing in for quite some time. Thank you Mark!

    P.S. As a resident of Colorado, maybe it’s time to ask what role Marijuana plays in the Primal Lifestyle. I was a little bummed to see no mention of that in this article, but I also believe that topic is perhaps broad enough to warrant a whole separate post (Hint, hint..)

    Mark, have you ever considered being a guest on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast? I think you’d fit in perfectly, as a lot people in your world have been on there (Robb Wolf, Dave Asprey, Dennis McKenna (brother of Terence), ect…) Plus Joe lives right down the street from you in L.A. (another Hint, Hint..)

    Thanks again for this post Mark, I think it’s extremely important! As it turns out, it took this topic to finally get me out of the shadows and finally post after several long years of lerking around 🙂

    1. Yes, PLEASE get on the Joe Rogan podcast. I’ve been waiting for that forever.

      I’m not sure how the guest procurement process works. If he seeks out the guests, or if the guests seeks out him. It might be a bit of both

      But I think normally, it’s just an organic kind of thing where he comes in contact with cool smart people through a mutual friend, and then a podcast seems to be arranged.

      I would PAY MONEY to see you on the Rogan podcast.

      1. He has already been on the JRE, however the topic of discussion was mostly centered on healthy eating and fitness, as well as the primal lifestyle’s role in athlethes and sports. I’d urge everyone to listen to it, it was a GREAT podcast, in my opinion. I really hope he returns to the JRE.

  2. Such an important area of discussion, Mark–thank you for addressing it here!

    So glad that you point to the differences between various psychedelics…and to the crucial aspect of context. With psychedelics, “set and setting” affect everything, so context is central.

    As you noted, usage in many traditional societies was/is under the watchful eye of a trained shaman (or other healer or spiritual guide). Often, in today’s world, people play with such substances without a guide or safe “container.”

    For a fascinating read, I highly recommend Terence McKnna’s books along with Rick Strassman’s “DMT: The Spirit Molecule: A Doctor’s Revolutionary Research into the Biology of Near-Death and Mystical Experiences.”

    Both authors’ works are totally captivating…and underscore the importance of “set and setting.”

    1. Agreed. Anything by Terence McKenna is awesome. I used to take his Ayahuasca mixtures at the Esalen Institute in the 80’s and reported back to him for research. An amazing individual.
      Another good book is by Andrew Weil (before he got conservative), The Natural Mind.
      Even as children, didn’t we all like to be spun around in circles by our arms and then try to walk and fall over? Yes, we did! I think it’s innate to humans to want to be in altered states at least some of the time.
      Love this topic. As another poster said, with a bit of mature guidance it can be a fantastic tool. As it is, there are too many people that just go out and get wasted with no direction home…too many lost souls.

  3. MDMA is truly an amazing and potentially life-changing drug. I try to take it a few times a year at least. The only way I can describe it is an extremely intense feeling of physical, mental, and emotional well-being, and a huge breakdown of barriers that lasts for about 6 hours. Take the obvious precautions — take a reasonable dose (start out small), don’t mix with out drugs (I’ll admit that I’ve had some really positive experiences smoking weed while on it, but it’s still not something I’d recommend others to try unless they’re sure they can handle it), do it in a positive setting (with close friends/loved ones, out in nature, etc.). It’s really easy to open up emotionally when you’re on MDMA and above all else it floods you with the feeling that everyone and everything is right and okay and beautiful. (A quote by Grace Slick that I love, goes something like this: “They [psychedelics] all do pretty much the same thing, and that’s rearrange what you thought was real, and remind you of the beauty of very simple things. You see, we’re all so busy going from A to Z that we forget that there’s 24 letters in between.”)

    The biggest disclaimer is that most stuff you’re finding on the street isn’t anywhere close to pure MDMA. If someone at a party gives you a pill with some mysterious white powder in it, you should probably say no. Do your research and have an idea what to look out for. There’s certainly still a risk and it’s hard to ever really know what you’re getting unless you’re making it yourself, but you can at least have some level of knowledge.

    That’s still a risk many people won’t want to take and that’s reasonable. Hope the FDA wises up and stops this silly crusade and that responsible adults are able to legally obtain psychedelics. I don’t know if that’s going to happen anytime soon, and until then, I think the positive effects outweigh any risks I’m taking, but that’s a judgment call each person has to make for themselves.

    Another last bit of advice (though I’m sure this is obvious to the people who read MDA) — molly takes a loooot out of you. After it’s over I feel great but like every bit of energy has been drained from my body. Make sure to get a full night’s sleep before and after, don’t plan on doing anything else the whole day, and have full, nutritious meals before and after. My general day taking molly is to have a full breakfast around 7, let it digest and take the molly around noon, then have a full dinner around 6-7 when it wears off. Don’t worry about eating while you’re on it — you won’t be remotely hungry and food will be the last thing on your mind.

    I really hope people will change their attitudes on drugs. They, like most things in life, can turn into bad guys if misused, but they don’t have to be. Molly has had such a positive influence on my life and I really hope others can have as positive experiences as I’ve had. 🙂

  4. In a wider context, I think this post touches on the Unalienable Right of consenting adults to be charge of their own consciousness. Graham Hancock did a great talk on this at TED (where he talked a great deal about the importance of DMT/Ayahuasca) which ultimately got banned (you can still view it on the interweb). Hancock was a habitual marijuana vaporizer (16 hours a day, 7 days a week for several decades) and then quit cold turkey after several Ayahuasca sessions. Very ironically and entertainingly, he lit up with Joe Rogan on his podcast for the first time in 3 years (and the world didn’t fall apart).

    So once again, great post Mark! I think you’ve opened some very important floodgates here.

    1. +1.

      Another great read for those interested is: ‘Cracking open the Head’ by, Daniel Pinchbeck

  5. “Some think it’ll fry your brain, make you think you can fly out a ten story window, or turn you into a hippy.”

    Hey baby, isn’t “hippy” a body shape?
    Peace,
    -A hippie

  6. I am a long time reader and big supporter of Marks Daily Apple. I have almost never read a post that I strongly disagreed with or that I thought was irresponsible in any way. But this one is. I am a person in long term recovery, a person who has thoroughly explored the effects of psychedelics and other drugs – and let me simply say that while drugs give us the illusion of getting closer to the Mystery, to the Divine, to God – they most certainly take us away from it. They cut off the flow of Spirit inside us. They keep us from truly, authentically relating to one another. They stop our emotional growth. And ultimately after prolonged use, they begin to rob our souls of everything that is good. Mark, I love ya man. But I’ve got to tell you, I think you are terribly misguided here.

    1. Lauren, while I completely respect and honour your experience with these substances, which seems to have been a bad one, it does not mean that it has to be like that for everyone.
      I truly and firmly believe that pot has helped me become more relaxed during my anxiety-ridden adolescene, and that MDMA helped me grow from an antisocial loner into a truly empathic, well-rounded human being. Not saying that the drugs get all the credit, but they sure helped me along the way an awful lot. Similarly, the few mushroom experiences I’ve had have given me a more magical and meaningful view of the world, which I can also experience through meditation and other means. Both paths feel equally real and authentic to me.
      Also, Mark isn’t advocating boundless drug use for people to experience the Divine or anything like that – he is citing actual, current scientific evidence that these substances can and do help people with (and under) certain conditions.
      I for one am happy that research is (again) being done into psychedelics. There’s a lot to be gained here, and I believe that our culture could actually benefit if more people went on a trip inside their own minds from time to time… 🙂

    2. Come on Lauren, humans have been working with these substances for eons. I believe from my research that there were NO drug addicts in any of these cultures…until the westernized folks started abusing them without ritual. I will strongly disagree with you.

    3. Lauren, I’m a latecomer to this post, and I want to say that I’m so sorry that you personally have had a bad experience with these plants and chemicals. They don’t work for everyone, and Mark stated as much quite clearly. Your personal chemistry simply may not be a good mix.

      However, to say that they “rob our souls of all that is good”? I’m sorry, but all you’re doing here is giving voice to the negative experience •you• went through. It’s not fair of you to try and frighten off those who are truly suffering and in need of help. In fact, I think it is somewhat selfish. You say that you have experience with these drugs. Did your experiences take place under the watchful eye of a trained psychotherapist? Every time? If the answer is no, then I don’t believe you are qualified to speak on the topic.

      I personally know of no one who’s had a ‘bad trip’ as they used to say back in the day. When the person taking the drug is in the care of a trained professional, a person who the patient trusts, a person who controls the set and setting, knows what sorts of questions to ask so as to guide the patient, and makes sure that they are with them at every step there is very little danger indeed.

      As a hospice nurse, I have seen many men and women who were, thankfully, freed from their fears before they passed with the help of psilocybin, ketamine and LSD, specifically, and frankly it was always beautiful to see. I think there is a great and wonderful potential in these drugs–not for all, but for many.

      I’m sorry that you were unable to get anything good, joyous, or just plain useful out of these drugs, but please don’t make blanket statements like you’ve done above. The more that we learn about these drugs, the more we see just how helpful they can be to mankind. Mental health, or, more properly the lack of same, is a terrible, painful and heartbreaking disease that no one should ever have to suffer from. If someone is aided via the use of these plants and compounds which, if you are a believer, are of necessity given us by god or spirit, than that can only be seen as a good thing.

      An end to physical and emotional pain is the most important outcome, and I for one will be happy to see a continued amount of research being dinner so as to further our knowledge and our ability to prevent suffering.

  7. Personally, I tend to steer away from anything man-made (lab made), but have always wondered about the natural stuff… the stuff you *could* find growing naturally in your own backyard (depending on where you live). But for all the items you discussed, why no comment on marijuana or hash oil or opiates? All grow naturally. All have effects. Why no scientific discussion on them?

  8. Lauren,

    Are you in long term recovery from psychedelics, or “other drugs”?

    In other words, I don’t think Mark is equating a once-a-year Ayahuasca trip with a daily cocaine/meth/alcohol habit. I’m not saying that psychedelics cannot be addictive or troublesome, but I’m very curious what “other drugs” you were taking as well, as I think there’s an important distinction there.

    And I do think it’s worth considering the fact that there has never been a culture on earth that didn’t incorporate psychedelics into their rituals. What that means for modern culture will remain to be seen, but I still believe that Mark is bring up an important topic here.

    Thanks 🙂

  9. Meditation takes me deeper than any drug ever did, and I’ve tried a “few”.
    But in 1989 I did enough ‘cid to melt a small truck. Perhaps I overdid it.

    1. One thing I’ve observed in my friends who’ve taken ayahausca…it was a transformative experience, but they didn’t know how to sustain that, or to get back to the place ayahuasca took them. Meditation has done that for me. It’s like climbing a mountain daily, rather than taking a helicopter right to the top…you know the path and build up the endurance, so you can visit at any time.

      That said, I think there’s a place for the helicopter, too. 🙂

  10. One thing for people to think about is that some people may be susceptible to having a major mental health illness triggered by these drug induced experiences they are well known with the conventional illegal drugs. Going back to the 1960s, there were arguments about whether or not pot and lsd could cause such effects but now there seems to be agreement about that. so that has to be considered on the negative side.

    On the positive side it seem ubiquitous that all the old cultures have practicises such as the dancing, extreme temperatures etc. These appear to lead to profound mental states when done with some forethought eg to avoid heat\cold strain sufficient to injure rather than induce hormesis and the return to a simpler mind (simpler does not mean littler or cruder). However, many of these ceremonies have something in common in that they induce a trance like state where the person is not drowsy. not asleep and the critical mind slows and becomes still. This simpler state of being\experience sets the scene for the transcendal to occur. Even by itself, this simpler state of calm and ease is a significant experience. It is the flow state. It is similar to the states of some types of meditation. Is there a way that people who want to live the primal lifeway can allow this to occur on a daily basis? I believe there is. I also believe that this simple state where thoughts slow, peter out and the mind becomes still is our natural homeostatic mechanism which restores the mind. Healthy people will experience this in the reveries of day dream, while in nature, while undertaking the activities talked about in the article ie the non-drug ones. But, in our busy way of life cultural evolution is seeing many partly or completely losing this reflexive type skill which results in tension, reduced coping, reduced pain management skills etc. In some it is replaced by distraction which does involve some reduction in critical thought but is inferior to what I speak of here. However, it is a skill that can be learnt and practised on a daily basis. It is a perfect fit for the primal movement. For those who find this of interest I recommend that they access the work of Dr Ainslie Meares in particular “Relief without Drugs” or “The Wealth Within. “. Unfortunately his books can no longer be purchased new. They are still available secondhand through ebay etc. I hope to write more around the Meares method for the primal audience but all I can offer now are the above. If you live in Australia then there is a small but growing network of practitioners who teach the Meares method. OB

    1. I am inclined to believe that people who are susceptible to having a mental health crisis after taking a psychedelic drug are ones who may already have some unaddressed mental health issues. A few years ago I tried a guided, intense, and positive spiritual meditation. The result, 24 hours later, was a uncontrollable rage attack that shook me to my core. This recurred again the next day. Fortunately I made the connection very quickly between the meditation and the rage attacks and I quit the meditation. Turns out this is a very common occurrence among people who grew up in abusive homes.

      So – I grew up in an abusive home, and have complex PTSD because of it. But it is only very recently that I was willing to accept the abuse label (and I am in my mid-40s), after I found out about complex PTSD. Prior to that, I was calling my upbringing dysfunctional and minimizing it as much as I could. But the truth is that I have a brain that is permanently wired for anxiety and depression, and none of the significant lifestyle changes I have made have touched the solid core of anger, fear, and depression that I deal with daily.

      All this is to say that, knowing what I know about my mental health and my PTSD brain, I think psychedelics would be a horrible idea for me. Many people are unaware or very poorly informed about how poor their mental health is because poor mental health is so horribly stigmatized. A lot of people who have complex PTSD are not aware of it because it is poorly understood, there are no official diagnostic criteria, and, as usual, victim blaming is much easier than compassion or finding answers.

      You can read more about complex PTSD here: http://outofthefog.net/CommonNonBehaviors/CPTSD.html

      1. Angel

        This too is my unfolding experience and it’s taken me until my later 40s to really begin to understand the effects of my upbringing on my brain wiring and struggles with life.

        Abuse takes many forms and what seems insignificant to one individual can have a profound effect on another.

        I’m reading In an Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness at the moment by Peter Levine, he really understands the impact of trauma.

        For me I know intuitively experimenting with psychedelics would be a mistake, I realised several years back the alcohol was not helpful, I need to be released from the numbed out place my ego placed me (for safety as a child) not sent of into chemically induced ‘reality’ that can only ever be temporary.

        Thank you for sharing your perspective.

    2. I forgot to mention Pauline McKinnon’s book “Living Calm in a Busy World” which is in publication and outlines the Meares method. It is written for the general audience and does not have a prmal slant to it but it a good job of covering the Meares method. ob

  11. I’ve never used illegal drugs. Period. And I don’t drink. Not even tobacco has passed my lips. I’ve joked that I could sell my urine to Olympians. But this article from a few years back made me think there is a place in this world for taking a closer look at the potential advantages of psychedelics. Plus I love Cary Grant????
    http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2010/08/drugs-in-hollywood-201008

  12. As a student I have come across The Daily Apple. A follower I have become. Mark has a clear minded and (perhaps) less encumbered approach to the physiological machinations of the body with relation to the mind (spirit).

    And now he breaches a subject that touches the nerve of the very thirsty. The void, grand bottomless pit of the mind, wrinkle in time, door that never closes, clouded, shrouded, maybe wished you hadn’t, ever… should we or shouldn’t we. Hahaha!

    Good luck!

  13. Tobacco is used as a vehicle of communion by some Native Americans whereas wine is a vehicle of communion by Catholics. Drag these practices out of their sacred context and you can end up with heavy drinking and chain smoking. For most of us, swinging on a jungle vine might not be divine.

    There are widely-practiced methods of attaining altered states of consciousness or exercising the spirit including singing, prayer, chanting, meditation, and dancing. I have practiced drum-driven shamanic journeying (Harner method) for a decade. This time of year, I recommend donning a reindeer horn headband and singing along to well-known songs of the season – very Grok, very trippy.

    1. Speaking of Michael Harner, he wrote: The Way of the Shaman, and he went to the Amazon and took Maikua a long time ago, which is much, much stronger than Ayahuasca. He did several workshops/drum driving shamanic journeying at the Esalen Institute in the late 80’s. My own favorite ways to attain altered states are chanting, mushrooms and meditation. There are hundreds of ways of course, and each must find there own path or be forever stuck in the worldly mind! And we have seen where that has gotten us…

  14. Interesting topic. I have no problem with medical marijuana or even the responsible use of a little recreational weed (I live in Colorado), but I think I’ll skip all that other stuff.

    I have no desire to be “flooded with the feeling that everyone and everything is right and okay and beautiful.” There’s such a thing as reality, and it isn’t always like that. I’d rather deal with it than hide from it.

    1. I think the point is that sometimes a person’s reality is self-governed to the point that he/she may be needlessly limited, in some cases to the point of a pathology.

      Psychedelics have been proven to temporarily lift those limits and while it might not be “real”, it can allow a person to then come back and imagine a new reality that they can then create.

      This is most obvious in artistic endeavors. Mark just mentioned The Beatles in passing, but if you have compared. A Hard Day’s Night (great album, don’t get me wrong) to The White Album, you begin to understand how transcendent psychedelics were to their art.

  15. Know your drug. Know your body. Know your mind.

    None of these will lead you to nirvana but yes in the context Mark talks about them they can have a use much greater benefit than the horrid pharmaceuticals science use to fix your brains. Thanks for addressing the subject Mark.

    Our society is devoid of sense of being, link with nature and we are all swamped in futility; deep experiences can help reconnecting with our sources and showing us some light.

    These can be either problem solvers or dead end shortcuts depending where you stand in your evolutionary level. Or plain killers of you do not have the capacity/wits to stand some of these experiences. Please do not take this literally or personally but clearly some people are not “intelligent” enough to be able to withstand such drugs.

    As some cleverly said set and setting are critical. Often method helps a lot too. Light fasting at moment of ingestion will induce a much clearer experience in most psychedelic cases. Experiencing with someone knowledgeable in the said experience is smart, having a “sitter” in some cases may prevent known issues. As Mark mentioned some experiences may not be “fun” but there is always something to be learned from. Be humble instead of relishing in the greatness of the feel and visuals and all is not the same anymore.

    Yes prohibition make these tricky to try/use since you never know if you get the real thing, and may get health threatening stuff. There are also risks of addiction in some cases (personally I am addicted to every substance under the sun except psychedelics), this is where the “intelligent people” comes back in line (think of Darwin’s law lol). Yet again no offense to anybody this is a rough life full of egos.

    I am surprised that Mark did not mention Salvia, which used to be legit in a lot of places back then (haven’t rechecked/re-done since a couple a decades), this is something with no physical payload, takes 10 minutes of your life, and makes you think about it more than twice. Oh and forget about the addiction factor can’t think of any brain that could stand that even weekly. Very close to the DMT mentioned by Mark but add a loss of ego and dimensional switch within a minute, good luck.

    In any case, if you don’t know your source, if you feel extreme anxiety regarding the experience to be had or the setting is not good : don’t do it. Mark talks about these in the goal to help, not hinder. Know your drug. Know your body. Know your mind. Just like in our modern Primal life taking a moment to read about something before ingesting something may be more than worthwhile.

    As an information bit science has determined a while ago that the LSD experience tends to over trigger the “flight or fight” mechanism, which would be a typical cause of bad experience when you can’t figure what’s looping but not looping all the time, just in case it may enlighten anyone who may have felt that… or will.

    Peace everyone.

    1. MadRoot, thanks for putting it so clearly. It’s a big subject and you nailed it nicely. I’m wondering how many people use pharmaceuticals yet are scared or against mind altering psychedelics. The drug companies pushing their poison scares me a million times more. Cholesterol lowering drugs? Hell no!

  16. I have used (and continue to use) MDMA, Mushrooms, LSD, DMT(there are several forms) and weed.

    I started in my 40’s and continue to experiment. I quit drinking after 25 years due to the experiences that I have had on these substances. There is a massive difference between these substances and those that are considered addictive (ie. heroin, alcohol, tobacco etc.) I defy anyone to show me someone addicted to mushrooms.

    I have become closer to my wife and kids through these experiences. I am not a religious person but > 5 grams of mushrooms will get you there. They produce a truly mystical experience. They are really good for inner work. I mean fixing problems with your own thinking.

    LSD is better suited to external problem solving imo. I’m not saying you won’t be able to resolve some deep issues but if I had to describe the difference between the two, that’s how I would do it.

    Trying to describe the experience you get is like trying to write a book on a napkin with a crayon. Language is the wrong tool for the job.

    Some folks have had some bad experiences on them but most take place under less than ideal settings(ie. parties, while drinking etc.) Treat them with respect and trip alone or with a sitter. If you do feel like flying, remember what Bill Bur said, “start on the ground, not on a 12 story building”.

    Last tip, go to https://www.erowid.org/

    The internet is revealing all the lies we were told as young people.

    1. Thanks Maurice for sharing. The erowid website is amazing. Keep that mind open…

    2. Thanks for sharing Maurice. I agree. Using ecstasy (MDMA) as a party drug in my 20’s changed my life for the better and I am so grateful that I had these experiences. How did it change me? It expanded my consciousness (made me aware) of a different way to view the world. One based in love. A big subject which I have spent a lot of time exploring further, but the important thing for this post was that it was these experiences that got me started on this road. My opinion is that if everyone in this world used MDMA at least a handful of times in their life, it would be a much better world that we live in. Like just about everything (alcohol, food, other medicines, exercise, etc, etc, etc?!) for a variety of reasons, a minority or people do have problems with various substances, activities, etc. The reasons for this are varied and multiple and 99/100 times have little to do with the substance / activity, but rather issues going on with that person. I am looking forward to when these substances slowly become legal again (as has started happening around the world already) and are seen in a more positive light without all the negative stereotyping, brainwashing, misinformation, etc. I am looking forward to these ‘drugs’ making an even more positive contribution to this world ..

  17. “Heck, I’ve never even used a psychedelic”

    Uh … umm … uh … yeah … me neither Mark!

  18. As a former hardcore paleo guy (I go dark every now and then) I know our diet increases our insulin sensitivity and sharpens our dopamine receptors. I know many drugs are impacted by these factors (exceptions LSD & mushrooms) and so I would like to see you address the issue how Paleo rewires our brain.

    Thanks,

    M

  19. Fascinating article… I think I start a lot of my comments with those two words!

    I appreciate several of the comments above. I work in a Drug Rehab Community, and so I understand completely what Lauren says about what happens when the pendulum swings into dependancy and abuse. I see young men enter as Zombies. After a couple of months, they start becoming human again, but it can be a long haul.

    I noticed that, as my yoga and meditation practice deepeded, the desire to ingest or smoke any kind of psychedelic substance just completely disappeared: you’re already out on a certain plane, and have too much respect for the ‘bigness’ of it all to go playing with artificial (or natural) openers. A week-long Zen Sesshin will certainly take you to levels which could otherwise only be accessed with substances.

    I’m not sure that psychedelic tourism is such a great thing: shamans and yogi’s were exactly that: people commited to the spiritual path and experienced in managing energy. One teacher who has influenced me greatly, Dr. David Hawkins, talks about the use of recreational drugs to reach these levels. One of the points he makes is that the trip is temporary. The same thing might happen in the presence of an enlightened teacher. Because you haven’t done the groundwork and put in the elbow grease to get there, you’re bound to fall back again. So what’s the point, other than a little ‘spiritual’ entertainment? He says it’s cheating, and the universe knows this.

    In an ideal world, we’d be learning stress and anxiety management techniques like breathing, meditation and mindfulness from an early age, and that embodied knowledge would help people through their marital problems, their response to pain and disease, and their confrontation with the reality of death. Until we get there, l think it’s ok that psychiatrists and doctors explore chemical options, but I hope they are gentle with their patients.

    1. Well stated. In the words of my Zen master, “if there were a pill to reach this state, I would take it.” I suspect he may have looked, didn’t find it, and chose years of practice to achieve samadhi.

  20. We argue that eating primally is a desire to attain another level, even if many of us are looking “back” to get better. Drugs are the same for some of us. We’re looking for another level.

    The real world sucks sometimes and some people benefit from a change of venue as it were. The ape theory is interesting. We certainly benefited from a change of perspective going from four to two legs. A trip is another level that some of us want to reach.

  21. Excellent post, Mark! Now some of us would like your take on cannabis and I for one would like to know about its potential effects on appetite and exercise. Thanks!

  22. Interesting, as always. I’ve never done psychedelics and doubt I ever will. My concern is addiction. If something opened my mind and heart so much, it would feel great . . . too great. The temptation to return to a drugged state would be too strong.

  23. Timely post Mark as we in the UK wake up to the news of a young man dying after being stabbed to death during an ayahuasca treatment by another.

    It is a booming business and that brings with it cut corners, and cheaper routes with inferior products touted by unqualified professionals.

    That being said though, I did take ayahuasca two years ago which I’ve documented in detail on several blog posts on my website and have to say it was one of the most exciting, incredible, emotional, upsetting but cathartic experiences of my life IF you choose a reputable outfit (which I also discuss).

  24. Not sure what to do with this. I think all of the items discussed in the article are illegal here in the US. Not like I can experiment with any of it if I wanted to. Informational I guess.

  25. The legality of a drug is not a factor in my decision to try one. You shouldn’t let the words some old narcissists wrote be your guide. That is what laws are. They are neither right nor wrong, moral or immoral.

    Humans have always seeked to alter their conscious. That is what alcohol is. Even if you say, “but I only have one drink with dinner”. One drink is enough to relax you and let the conversation flow. There should be no guilt associated with this.

    The current situation with weed is telling. For years it was considered immoral, and illegal. We were told that it would cause incredible social harm. Now we see several states have legalized it and the sky has not fallen. I am curious as to how the critics of psychedelics rationalize that. I mean, not only are lawmakers reversing decades of prohibition, but we can now see there are lots of potential benefits to regular usage. For better sleep alone, it should be legalized. It breaks my heart to see my Mom taking prescription sleeping pills when a bit of Indica would give her the most restful sleep of her lift.

    I guess what I am pushing for is open minds. Whatever your impression is, I assure you that if you have not tried one of these substances, you are in for a surprise.

    Who would take advice on drinking from someone who never had a drink? The sweeping laws that made these substances illegal was motivated by fear. We have to stop being so easily manipulated by fear. I can hear the helicopter parents now “what about the children”. Keep these substances out of reach just like you would if you had some Oxycodone in the house. Making something illegal is a last resort since it creates another victimless crime.

    1. While they might not NEED to be illegal, they ARE illegal. Which would mean by experimenting with these, or merely obtaining them, I’d be breaking the law. Fill in fallout here: _________.

  26. Drugs do not dissolve the ego. Trust me, I’ve done drugs and I’ve spoken with people who were on drugs.

    While many of them certainly remove inhibitions and fear they do not remove the quality of human nature that defines ego: desire. ‘Need’ at its basest level, ‘avarice’ at its worst, desire motivates and empowers the human ego.

    Desire does not disappear during drug use; indeed, often desire expands. When inhibitions and fear dissolve, and feelings of well-being ensue, the ego is left with no barriers between its bottomless pit of pleasure reception and the objects of desire. Weak minded people become vessels of uninhibited greed. Strong minded people become chain smokers.

    Drugs contribute to the fall of our species.
    Drugs are bad.

    1. Sorry, but you can’t be serious. Why? Because you label all drugs as “drugs”. This is the Police State speaking, not someone with experience. They’re not all the same. Entheogens (the kind that Mark talked about) are not like cocaine or heroin or meth, which are indeed very destructive. Entheogens are different, non-addictive, and more conscious-expanding.

      As for losing the ego, entheogens CAN do this, *during the high of the drug* ONLY. Other “drugs” don’t do this. When you return to Earth, your ego is back, still intact, however you’re left with a more objective view of what the ego is, and as such, you can become the master of it, and not the other way around. While you’re on Earth, the Ego is always part of the game. However, entheogens help dissolve its hold on us. That’s all there is to it.

      That can also be achieved with meditation (after years of mastering it).

      So if you’re going generalize as much as saying “you never lose your ego”, then you should add meditation in the mix of your arguments too. And if you do that, expect to be debunked. Big time.

      1. Please be kind. I am not a police state. I am a human being with valid opinions and a desire to make intelligent discussion with other human beings. I believe all drugs should be legalized.

        I am very serious. My mistake for not saying it in my original comment: the “drugs” to which I refer above are only the ones Mark discussed in the post. The reason I did not clarify that in my original comment was because I thought it would be understood.

        I said: “Drugs do not dissolve the ego”. I did not say: “you never lose your ego”. I stand by that claim.

        You said, “When you return to Earth, your ego is back”. I argue that the ego never leaves you, and you never leave Earth, when you’re on drugs. Drugs are physical objects composed of chemicals. These chemicals affect the physical brain. Indeed, this can lead to sensory changes – even enhancements – but it does not provide new senses that operate in a supernatural way. You end up with the same five senses and a brain that processes their inputs differently. This can lead to the assumed perception of a ‘spiritual’ realm, but you never leave our physical world.

        I don’t know whether years of meditation can dissolve the ego; maybe it’s worth looking into. I have a gut feeling that I am going to share. I have no data to support this gut feeling, I don’t think drugs can do what years of mastering meditation can do. It seems too easy.

    2. Eugenia, I love your artwork.

      Sorry Nick, but you are not using the good stuff. Obviously!

  27. I can see that starry transcendental universes collide in the mountains for the seagulls gains.

    Could it be that the circle rocks are falling from the bottomless pit ?

    I watched C-Beams glisten in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate.

  28. Thanks for being brave enough to write this Mark!

    I´ve been an avid follower of yours for almost five years and have been a psychedelic recreational user for 8 years.

    For me psychedelics have only been positive, and the few times they haven´t I found the lessons in the experience. What I mean is that bad trips, scary as they might be are signposts that you are living your life wrong.

    I feel like life is like driving down a road in a car where you can´t look out trough the windows. So you are not really sure if the way your “car/life” is heading is the right direction for you. When you take psychedelics you get to look trough your windows for a short while, redirect your heading to where you really want to go. Then as the psychedelics wear out you are back in the car with no visuals but the direction are right. Then let the experience integrate into your life for a while. Then after some months maybe do it again to see if the car hasen´t gone out of course again.

    It seems to me that the shamans from the amazon is coming out to save the world in a time of need. Ayahuasca is a powerful teacher if you let it.

    Morten

  29. Having practiced conscious detachment for years to battle occasionally severe depression, I can imagine how a drug like ketamine that induces detachment could also help w depression. Downside being, when you are detached from life the joy is mostly gone too. But it beats the heck out of having a firehose of negative thoughts flooding your mind constantly.

    Joe Rogan narrated a good film on DMT, it’s on Netflix if you search for it. Worth the time if you are interested in this stuff.

    Thanks for an interesting article.

  30. I find it interesting that those on the other side of argument quote the one or two deaths annually attributed to these drugs as evidence that they should be illegal. Really, any idea how many people die annually from alcohol use?

    For some, like LSD and mushrooms, there is no known toxicity. This means that there have been no deaths from overdose. If someone is dying it is from other factors. Don’t get me wrong, you still need to treat them with caution. But this is a little like the misplaced fear of terrorism that is sweeping the nation. If the argument was about safety a whole host of activities (like driving a car, swimming etc.) would be illegal. Do you know how dangerous it is to get in a car relative to taking some MDMA?!

    If you don’t want to try them that is fine. But no one should be able to tell another what is a valid experience to have in this life if know one is being harmed.

    The argument has been made that illegality is what makes the experience dangerous. If access was legal, folks wouldn’t be forced to buy from shady people that may have cut the substance with other more dangerous compounds.

  31. I know I’m late to the party but having recently tripped on LSD multiple times I must share my experiences and give some tips if you decide to take a trip.

    It was about 11pm on sat when my friend (mike) and I arrived back at my place and decided to each take a hit of LSD. This was my first time ever taking it so I was pretty freaking nervous, luckily mike had plenty of experiences under his belt, and helped calm my nerves. When he immediately took his hit and placed it under his tongue and laughed like a little kid I knew I was gonna be just fine.

    About 30 mins later I can really start to feel the weight of gravity in my face but I also feel really alert and positive and goofy. At that time we were watching ridiculousness and everything was freaking hysterical. We were laughing so hard we were in tears. After watching tv for like 10 minutes we decide to leave the house and go on an adventure.

    It was a warm night in October on the east coast (almost philly where we were) which is odd. We walked about a mile to a strip of bars in town to go get social. Little did we know it was fall break and since we live in a college town it was dead.
    We came to the conclusion that we really had the worst plans ever for tripping and shoulda stayed in AC.

    At this point we were peaking hard. Things were warping. Colors were vibrant and beautiful. Not laughing was impossible. We decided to walk back to my area and just walk around. We walked for almost 4 hrs straight. It was a very bright night and there were a lot of stars. I will never forget when I entered a valley and could see the moon, sky, stars and trees altogether. It was so simple, so vivid and so beautiful. That sight is forever stuck in my memory.

    We eventually took a seat on my porch and it was about 4am. We were still tripping but it wasn’t as intense and we were def on the come down. We ended up just hanging out in my basements or the remainder laughing at stupid stuff. Then we made food cause we got really hungry. I didn’t fall asleep until 12 noon????
    All in all it was an amazing experience

    My second time I tried LSD I took one hit and did it by myself. I just made music and read books all day and it was a really positive experience. I didn’t really trip that hard but still caught some waves and peaked for an hour or so.

    My third time taking LSD I took two hits. My neighbor was suppose to join me but she bailed. She still chilled with me for a couple hours though. This time it was Friday and I took it at about 10am. For the first half of the trip I chilled with my neighbor and made music the next half I went to the mall with friends. This time I peaked a lot longer and had some hallucinations. Yet another positive experience.

    I will definitely do it again but it’s gonna be a while until I do. There is a huge negative with taking LSD and that’s the sleeping part.. It keeps you awake forever. Another negative I had was a horrible sore throat from laughing so much. Take it early and have melatonin that should help with the sleep part.

    For your first time do it with someone who already has done it. Forget about having a sitter. Sitters will ruin your trip or make it less fun.

    Plan something active. You will want to move around a lot. The only thing I wanted to do was play a sport or have a catch.

    Have frozen or cold fruit. I had frozen tropical blend from Whole foods and ate some when peaking and it was INCREDIBLE. Words cannot explain. I was laughing it was so good.

    You most likely won’t be hungry at all. The only thing I could eat was fruit and light protein like white chicken or tuna. Anything with a lot of fat in it wasn’t appealing. I could only think about eating whole foods. Junk food/ non primal food was repulsive. Weird.

    Your set and setting is key to having a good time. Setting is your location.
    For your first time I wouldn’t do it with a lot of people around you will freak out from overload. Take it first in a low key setting let it sink in then decide what to do. Being outside in nice weather is a plus.
    Set is your mindstate. If you are depressed and miserable don’t do it. If you are anxious and lacking confidence at the time don’t do it. Only ingest when you are in a good positive mood.

    You will have come up anxiety your first time which is for the first 30 mins. It’s normal you’ll be fine. Tripping was a completely different experience than I had imagined all my life. I thought it was gonna be something else.

    It’s a great experience if you treat it with respect. I should also note that I have no attachment what so ever to LSD. I would be completely fine without ever doing it again. I use to be dependent on Adderall so I know what that’s like. There are many a things worse than LSD, but take with caution it’s still a drug. Happy trippy!

  32. Come on Lauren, humans have been working with these substances for eons. I believe from my research that there were NO drug addicts in any of these cultures…until the westernized folks started abusing them without ritual. I will strongly disagree with you. Medical Tourism in India

  33. I was very disappointed by this article and its biased viewpoint based on pseudoscience. It is irresponsible, and the kind of nonsense that is so easily taken as fact, especially by naive young people.

    How many times have I heard young people, following the siren songs of apologists for tinkering with the neural synapsis by stimulating or short-circuiting the central nervous system, regurgitate the same arguments, only to later discover they ended up in jail or a psychiatric care facility, or worse. Some disappeared. Some dead.

    Psychedelics like LSD-25 induce a state of temporary schizophrenia. For some, when the effects of the drug wear off, a person returns to a “normal” state. For too many, the schizophrenia does not so easily dissipate and has serious short-term and long-term consequences. Just watch the prison interviews with Susan Atkins.

    As the lyrics of the song, “Journey to the Center of the Mind” state:
    “For it’s a land unknown to man
    Where fantasy is fact;
    And if you can, please understand
    You may not come back.”

  34. I use psychedelics semi-regularly and also eat a cyclical low-carb-keto primal style diet, I usually carb up the night before a trip and have full effects the next day. I noticed a few times when I don’t carb-up the substance has significantly less effect.
    My theory is that psychedelics are glycolytic and the slow process of gluconeogenesis can’t keep up with the brains glucose demands… I tested this theory by eating some honey during an underwhelming low-carb trip on a strong dose of LSD – the effects at least doubled within a short time! This has made me seriously questionmy beliefs – if a keto style diet can reduce the effects of (what is IMO) such a sacred substance, how optimal is that for the human brain?

  35. Yeah maybe these mind altering drugs might make you feel “happy” or better for the moment, but what are their long term effects? Or what about the people who take a drug and go crazy and start killing people? Becoming more out of touch with reality is NOT the way to true happiness.