Category Archives: Cubensis

Psilocybin Interactions with Glutamate

Researchers studying the loss of ego commonly experienced while tripping on psychedelics such as magic mushrooms have discovered that a key neurotransmitter may be linked to the phenomenon. A report on the research by scientists at Maastricht University in the Netherlands was published last month in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.

Quite often, those who use psychedelic drugs such as psilocybin mushrooms and LSD experience a change in the perception of self and one’s connection to the larger world. Known as ego-dissolution, ego-disintegration, or ego-loss, the experience can result in a reduced state of self-awareness and a disruption of the boundaries of self and the world, leading to an increased feeling of unity with the environment. For some, the experience of ego-dissolution is a positive one, or a good trip, while others may have a negative, sometimes terrifying, bad trip.

Previous research has shown that ego and self-awareness may be related to levels of glutamate, the brain’s most abundant neurotransmitter. To test the theory, the team of researchers at Maastricht University designed a double-blind and placebo-controlled experiment to study the effect that psilocybin had on the glutamate levels of 60 healthy volunteers. Brain activity of the test subjects was monitored using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

The researchers discovered that psilocybin led to increased levels of glutamate in an area of the brain known as the prefrontal cortex, which is thought to be responsible for planning complex behavior, personality expression, decision-making, and moderating social behavior. They also recorded lower levels of glutamate in the hippocampus, an area of the brain that has been linked to the formation of memories and one’s sense of self-esteem.

The researchers also noted that the higher levels of glutamate in the prefrontal cortex caused by taking psilocybin were associated with a good trip, while the lower levels of glutamate in the hippocampus were linked to experiencing a bad trip.

“Whereas changes in [cortical] glutamate were found to be the strongest predictor of negatively experienced ego dissolution, changes in hippocampal glutamate were found to be the strongest predictor of positively experienced ego dissolution,” the researchers wrote.

More Research Needed

While it’s yet not clear if glutamate is actually related to the experience of ego-dissolution, other studies have suggested that psychedelics may decouple different regions of the brain.

“Our data add to this hypothesis, suggesting that modulations of hippocampal glutamate in particular may be a key mediator in the decoupling underlying feelings of (positive) ego dissolution,” wrote the researchers.

Although more research is needed, the discovery of psilocybin’s effect on glutamate levels could help explain how the drug can be used therapeutically for a variety of mental health conditions including depression and severe anxiety.

“Such findings provide further insights into the underlying neurobiological mechanisms of the psychedelic state, and importantly, provide a neurochemical basis for how these substances alter individuals’ sense of self, and may be giving rise to therapeutic effects witnessed in ongoing clinical trials,” the authors wrote.

Source – HighTimes

Can Psychedelic Medicine Help Opioid Addiction Epidemic ?

  • The Opioid Crisis Has Plagued North America for Decades, and According to the U.S. HHS, it Kills an Estimated 130+ People Per Day in the United States Alone
  • Thanks to Recent Advancements in Psychedelic Medicine, There’s Renewed Hope and Optimism Surrounding the Deadly Epidemic
  • ATAI Life Sciences, DemeRx and MindMed Are Waging War Against Opioid Addiction By Utilizing This One Little-Known Psychedelic Substance

The opioid crisis isn’t making as many headlines these days due to the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has paralyzed much of the global economy and captivated the attention of billions worldwide. While the Coronavirus continues to sweep across the globe, a different type of epidemic continues to ravage America’s communities and families. We’re talking about the Opioid Epidemic.

The U.S. Opioid Epidemic

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the opioid epidemic was the result of gross negligence on the part of pharmaceutical companies, most notably, the now-bankrupt Purdue Pharma. Run by the now-infamous Sackler family, Purdue Pharma was the company responsible for the creation and mass promotion of the opioid pain killer Oxycotin. Certain pharmaceutical firms with Purdue leading the way assured doctors and the medical community that their opioid products were not addictive. This reassurance combined with a massive marketing campaign led to an enormous spike in the number of Oxycodone prescriptions in the U.S. Believing these new pain relievers were non-addictive, opioid use and misuse rates quickly began to soar. The truth is, opioids are highly addictive, and difficult to quit using due to the extreme withdrawal symptoms associated with it.

In 2017, the HHS finally declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency and announced its 5-point plan to combat the crisis.

To put the opioid epidemic into perspective for you, here are some recent statistics from the Department of Health and Human Services:

  • 130+ people died every day from opioid-related drug overdoses during 2018 and 2019
  • 47,600 people died from overdosing on opioids in 2018
  • 10.3 million people misused prescription opioids in 2018
  • 2 million people had an opioid use disorder in 2018
  • 2 million people misused prescription opioids for the first time in 2018

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Read More Stats from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Double Whammy Crises

Corey Davis, a lawyer at Network for Public Health Law, recently said, “We’re now facing two deadly, concurrent declared public health emergencies: the opioid crisis and COVID-19.”

The federal government has loosened some restrictions in regards to social distancing for users of Buprenorphine (Subutex) and Methadone, the two main treatments for opioid addiction that require consistent use to prevent relapse. Opioid users are at high risk of major health conditions due to lifestyle and age (many are over 60), and there are hundreds of thousands of them. What if there was a different way to treat addiction that made opioid users less susceptible to disease and less dependent on the deadly drugs? The psychedelics industry believes it may have the answer.

Psychedelic Medicine is Showing Tremendous Promise

Several companies are working to bring a different approach to opioid addiction through the use of psychedelic medicine. Psychedelics are active compounds that have specific effects on precise parts of the brain–just like pharmaceutical drugs, but due to the U.S. federal government, have been constrained by the very outdated Controlled Substances Act.

One company, in particular, ATAI Life Sciences, has emerged as a driving force behind the psychedelics, inspired fight against addiction. ATAI Life Sciences is a global biotech company founded by scientists and businesspeople who vowed to take a comprehensive approach to dealing with mental health disorders and addiction. The company uses artificial intelligence and computational biophysics to zoom in on promising approaches across their eight portfolio companies: COMPASS PathwaysPerception NeuroscienceDemeRxInnoplexusGABA TherapeuticsEntheogeniX Biosciences and Neuronasal.

DemeRx is one of ATAI’s innovating portfolio companies that’s thinking outside the box as it relates to addiction. The DemeRx website describes the company as “a clinical-stage pharmaceutical development company advancing two lead drug candidates as medication-assisted therapies for opioid addiction.”

Read the full article at TheCannabisInvestor 

John C Lilly On Consciousness and Satori

Dr John Cunningham Lilly (January 6, 1915 – September 30, 2001) was an American physician, neuroscientist, psychoanalyst, psychonaut, philosopher, writer and inventor. He was a researcher of the nature of consciousness using mainly isolation tanks, dolphin communication, and psychedelic drugs, sometimes in combination. Lilly was a physician and psychoanalyst. He made contributions in the fields of biophysics, neurophysiology, electronics, computer science, and neuroanatomy. He invented and promoted the use of an isolation tank as a means of sensory deprivation. He also attempted communication between humans and dolphins. His work helped the creation of the United States Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972. Lilly’s eclectic career began as a conventional scientist doing research for universities and government. Gradually, however, he began researching unconventional topics. He published several books and had two Hollywood movies based partly on his work. He also developed theories for flotation. Lilly published 19 books, including The Center of the Cyclone, which describes his own LSD experiences, and Man and Dolphin and The Mind of the Dolphin, which describe his work with dolphins. In the 1980s Lilly directed a project that attempted to teach dolphins a computer-synthesised language. Lilly designed a future “communications laboratory” that would be a floating living room where humans and dolphins could chat as equals and develop a common language. Lilly envisioned a time when all killing of whales and dolphins would cease, “not from a law being passed, but from each human understanding innately that these are ancient, sentient earth residents, with tremendous intelligence and enormous life force. Not someone to kill, but someone to learn from.” In the 1990s Lilly moved to Maui, Hawaii, where he lived most of the remainder of his life. Lilly’s literary rights and scientific discoveries were owned by Human Software, Inc., while his philanthropic endeavors were owned by the Human Dolphin Foundation. The John C. Lilly Research Institute, Inc. continues to research topics of interest to Lilly and carry on his legacy.

Psilocybin FDA Approved

FDA Lists Psilocybin as “Breakthrough Therapy” for Depression Second Year in a Row

For the second year in a row, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has designated psilocybin, the psychedelic compound found in many of the most popular hallucinogenic mushrooms, as a “breakthrough therapy,” for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD).

Treatments that are classified as breakthrough therapies are fast-tracked through the development and review process, which is often an extremely slow process filled with mountains of paperwork. This classification is not taken lightly, and is only granted in cases where a large body of evidence shows that that the new therapy is a significant improvement to its alternatives. Typically, drug companies apply for this designation, which is either approved or denied by the FDA. Last year, the first breakthrough therapy designation for psilocybin was granted to the company Compass Pathways.

Compass Pathways launched in the UK in 2016 thanks to funding from PayPal founder Peter Thiel. This year, the designation was granted to the US-based nonprofit Usona Institute, which is conducting clinical trials for treating depression with psilocybin.