Category Archives: Drugs

Mushroom Hunting using Wikipedia ?

I recently found a page at wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mushroom_hunting) that stated (at the time of writing) the following:

Poisonous mushrooms commonly confused for edible ones

Conocybe filaris, and some Galerina species can look like, and grow next to, Psilocybe, which is not deadly but contains the alkaloids psilocybin and psilocin, hence it is often sought for use as a recreational psychedelic drug.

Of course, written like that, it is such a dangerous statement. It gives the impression that Psilocybe is actually not deadly, so you shouldn’t worry about the Galerina. Well you should worry, Galerina is a highly toxic mushroom, and although Psilocybe mushrooms are ‘not deadly’ Galerinas are.

Of course, the intention of what was written was okay, but the interpretation of a potential mushroom gatherer might be completely wrong ! Which actually brought me to think of the problem of using this type of information from wikipedia. After all, it looks professional, it looks complete. It cannot contain mistakes can it ? And then suddenly you find yourself happily munching away a Galerina because you are a good salt pillar and avoided the Psilocybe ones 🙂 Of course, nobody left to complain afterward.

MDMA treatment of PTSD warveterans ?

Recently we had an interesting discussion at the MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedlic Studies) mailinglist. It was about the fact that research is being conducted to treat war vetereans with PTSD using MDMA and help them integrate their experience in their own life. An interesting problem because one suddenly finds the use of psychedelic drugs perverted to (only) support warveterans. Clearly I’m against such use.


> > >From Scientific American:
> > Can the Peace Drug Help Clean Up the War Mess?
Well indeed, it is something to wonder about isn’t it ?

While MAPS often presents PTSD as an opportunity to bring MDMA in the daylight, it also becomes clear MAPS uses warvictims (?) to support their own mission of MDMA promotion. Essentially, by doing so, MAPS supports a warmachine that allows people to commit crimes, murder etcetera. I’m not sure this is such a good strategy. Let’s think about what people might say in 20 years time if this is successful:

  • ‘Oh MDMA ??? Isn’t that a drug soldiers receive after they killed too many people ?’
  • ‘Right, you took MDMA. Are you also a murderer ?’
  • ‘Hmmm, I’d like to take MDMA, how many people should I murder to receive a treatment ? Maybe I should join the army.’

Of course, the above expressions are somewhat too direct and extreme, but it makes my point clear: how can MAPS support the treatment of PTSD in the context of questionable morality ? Very soon we will have a problematic association between war and drugs. I’m not at all sure we might want to go there, Maybe somebody is interested in explaining the ‘strategy’ here. I’m sure you will point out that such treatment is ‘not only’ for soldiers, but it doesn’t tackle the point I brought forth. People will only remember the war-mdma association,

The answers were manyfold and generally boiled down to combinations of the following:

  • helping the individuals should be independent from the context in which they suffered a trauma.
  • PTSD is a disorder found among a wide range of individuals. War victims with PTSD are just a good testgroup. How else would you study this ?
  • I don’t believe you : there is no mdma-war association. Answer: I disagree completely since this seems the only thing that gets reported by the mainstream press. So there certainly _is_ a relation. Just claiming that it is ‘not so’ doesn’t make it any different.
  • people who got treated will not reenlist and avoid war.
  • It might even be worse, if the drug would be optimized there is no stopping the government of killing more. Soldiers might happily go back.
  • War cannot be reduced to a simple ‘drug-war’ relation and in general it is a very complex sociological problem.
  • Researchers are responsible for their role in society.
  • Researchers should think about their role in society.
  • Researchers are not responsible for their role in society and should not care how the government decides to use any discovery.
  • You don’t know what you talk about and you should try it yourself.
  • It is people with PTSD that suffer because they do feel guilt and those people are not the serial killers we picture them.
  • People who have access to it will take it themselves when they feel the need. E.g: the goa scene.

My original email was intentionally a bomb and obviously contained a serious reasoning error in going from war, killing, ‘PTSD’ to ‘MDMA’ as a single one to one relation. And this was mainly my point; although many people here realize the fallacies in this type of argument, the common person, who has other things on his mind, might only remember the war-MDMA association and we should start thinking about the problems caused by too much propaganda on this front.

Now, from the above summary, I would like to join two points that many brought up: a- war is a complex sociological problem and b- what role does researchers play in it ?

Some argue that the individual researcher has not the responsibility, or argue the researcher carries the responsibility. Honestly, it doesn’t matter: the researcher/the individual doesn’t have the power to oppose the governments’ decision to go to war anyway. So although an interesting philosophical debate, it will never lead to any real action.

Of course, this ‘it doesn’t matter’ argument is different when we talk about groups and organizations. Larger groups do have more power than individuals and not using possibilities to communicate a peaceful message and finding peaceful means to conflicts would be a shame.

Where does that lead to ? I could suggest a couple of actions:

  • one could take an explicit step (or two) back from the war-mdma association.
  • one could focus more on the use of psychedelics to avoid war, instead of fixing the mess afterwards
  • research should be balanced and also include elements that are peace related.
  • one could also investigate how free access to drugs could help people integrate their life experience. Then people can integrate difficult experiences themselves when they feel they need it. A natural balance could be achieved.

How to properly drink Absinthe ?

Below is a method I used to process absinthe before drinking it. The problem (as I see it) with absinthe is that it contains a specific alkaloid (Thujone according to Wikipedia) which is desolved in quite a lot of alcohol (>~70%). And the problem is of course the alcohol. How can one try the active ingredient without being utterly drunk after a sip or two ? One strategy is to get used to drinking alcohol. That strategy is however not very healthy.

So, I set out to get rid of the alcohol, which in general is not a difficult task, given that alcohol tends to evaporate on its own accord. The only thing we need to do is to put a sensable amount of absinthe in an open container (a glass for instance) and wait for a couple of days. During this period the alcohol evaporates and – this is the plan- the active absinthe ingredients stay in the liquid. Below is a time laps video spanning two days of absinthe evaporation. One can see that the color of the liquid diminshes while at the same time fat droplets form. After a couple of days one can drink the remaining stuff.

Taking in absinthe like this, led to a number of trips, which all had more or less the same experience: A numbing of the brain and a clarity of thought which is probably the result of different activiation levels of the Neurons (capital N: I love my Neurons :-)). To me it seemed that the firing rate of Neurons was decreased in such a manner that they require more energy before they will fire. As such, the brain tends to be still in general, and only a limited number of viewpoints get through to the conscious level. One essentially becomes dumb of this stuff but the remaining thoughts are clear. One can without emotional involvement observe behaviors that are otherwise never brought clearly to the foreground or are filled with doubts and uncertainities.

Each time that I tried the above recipe I got a bit of a headache the day after. So there is definitely a downside to it. From my point of view: it was interesting to do it once, twice or three times but I would not classify the experience as life changing or even important.

Psychedelic Mushrooms can help with Depression, but hey who cares ?

Psychedelic mushrooms, magic mushrooms, pados all names for mushrooms that carry in them psilocybin and are psychedelic active. It is sad that the Netherlands recently adopted an anti-pado law.

This product saved my life for the better in 1998.

Although new age people believe that there is a ‘guiding force’ in nature which sets things right (which is obviously a tautology in hindsight), the reality is that few people can break through difficult times purely on a psychological level. Most people need some chemical bootstrapping method to get further. In my case, psilocybin, the active ingredient in this product helped me through a severe depression. It was not due to the love and care of society, neither was it the financial understanding of pharmaceutical companies. Instead, it was a natural product that has been embedded in society for thousands of years and has little adverse consequences (except maybe the bad trip once in a while, but in my experience such a bad trip provides a lot of insight and one comes out of it richer than before). So, in contrast to the average new-ager that believes things will work out in the end, and who by believing this, escapes from their responsibility to society, I ask myself what I can do to reverse this law ? Probably nothing… because Joe the plumber (Thanks to Mc. Cain for the idiots metaphor 🙂 does not understand what goes on and quite frankly he doesn’t seem to care. As long as Joe believes that he has a good life (preferably better than his neighbors) he remains quite.

There seems to be no scientific reason to criminalize this product and a government cannot allow themselves to make these things taboo and place various ‘difficult’ products altogether in the same pool of ‘bad drugs’ while at the same time allowing pharmaceutical companies to invent diseases to sell speed (relatine, a drug to treat ‘attention-deficit children’ contains amphetamines, a well known party drug), or the 2010 influenza pandemic (Didn’t see too much of that, except many countries that desperately needed to get rid of their vaccins in the end). A better strategy would be to educate the population – for instance on ‘alcohol is a dangerous hard drug’, ‘smoking kills’, ‘smoking marijuana might lead to a severe nicotine addiction’, ‘MDMA kills as many braincells as an aspirin’, ‘you will sell your child to get more heroine’ etcetera.

Back to the Pados, which compared to any other drug has very little danger. There are a couple of things that I would like to bring online, both scientifically sound:
1- Pados are extremely well suited to treat migraine and a couple of pado sessions will completely remove the migraine cycle from your life.
2- Pados also act as an anti-depressant by helping the subject to recognize the shadow aspects of his/her personality/life. This in conjunction with a proper education and/or belief system is a long lasting exit out of depression.

Prohibiting Pados will essentially condemn people with either of the above afflictions to a life of misery (thanks Joe !)

It’s sad that the Netherlands turn their back on something they could have been really proud of: a progressive attitude. They should have gone further and not only ‘allow’ Pados in a legal gray zone but rather educate people and break the taboo through public media. Maybe they should have made it completely legal and funded sensible research in these matters.

A reference to LSD and Cluster Headaches

Sewell R, Halpern J, Pope H (June 2006). “Response of cluster headache to psilocybin and LSD” (PDF). Neurology 66 (12): 1920–2. doi:10.1212/01.wnl.0000219761.05466.43. PMID 16801660. http://www.erowid.org/references/refs_view.php?A=ShowDocPartFrame&ID=669…. – a Brief Communications, also presented as:
Sewell, R. Andrew, M.D.; Halpern, John M., M.D. “The Effects Of Psilocybin And LSD On Cluster Headache: A Series Of 53 Cases.” Abstract. Presented to the National Headache Foundation’s Annual Headache Research Summit. February, 2006.