Oakland City Council voted Tuesday to become the first U.S. city to decriminalize the adult use and possession of psychoactive plants like ayahuasca and peyote, and the second to make the same move for hallucinogenic mushrooms.
The resolution makes the adult use and possession of all entheogenic, or psychoactive, plants and fungi the lowest priority for police. That means, along with psilocybin mushrooms, it applies to cacti like peyote, the shrub iboga that has been used to treat opioid dependence and a variety of plants used to brew ayahuasca, among other things.
Denver voters in May approved a measure to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms for people 21 and older.
Supporters say entheogenic plants have been used to treat depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.
“Entheogenic plants and fungi are tremendous for helping to enable healing, particularly for folks who have experienced trauma in their lives,” said Carlos Plazola, chair of the advocacy group Decriminalize Nature Oakland. “These plants are being recommended pretty extensively undercover, underground, by doctors and therapists.”
Oakland’s proposed resolution would make the investigation and arrest of adults who grow, possess, use or distribute entheogenic plants, including magic mushrooms, ayahuasca and peyote, one of the lowest priorities for police. No city funds could be used to enforce laws criminalizing the substances, and the Alameda County District Attorney would stop prosecuting people who have been apprehended for use or possession.
In the last five years, Oakland police have recorded 19 cases of suspected psilocybin mushrooms being submitted to the department’s crime lab, according to testimony from a police official at the council’s public safety committee meeting last Tuesday. The official did not have data available for other plants.
Councilmember Noel Gallo, who introduced the resolution, said decriminalizing such plants would enable Oakland police to focus on serious crime.
A tourist shows heads of peyote in the desert near the town of Real de 14, in San Luis Potosi State, Mexico, on July 17, 2013. (Credit: ALFREDO ESTRELLA / AFP / Getty Images)
Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Teresa Drenick declined to comment.
Still, magic mushrooms would remain illegal under both federal and state laws. Entheogenic substances are considered Schedule 1 drugs under the federal Controlled Substances Act, which categorizes drugs that have potential for abuse and no medical value.
Skeptics have expressed qualms about the resolution, including Councilmember Loren Taylor, who said it’s important that law enforcement and other community leaders are included in any talks to think through “all possible implications” of the resolution.
“It is something that is valuable in certain settings,” Taylor said at last week’s committee meeting. “It’s a matter of how we deploy it and how we ensure it’s not something that (with) our kids becomes a fad.”
To address such concerns, Gallo said, lawmakers would have to establish rules and regulations about the use of such substances, including what exactly can be used, how to use them and what associated risks are.
Entheogenic plants have long been used in religious and cultural contexts. Gallo remembers his grandmother treating his family members with plants, including entheogenic ones, for a variety of ailments.
“Growing up in the Mexican community, this was our cure,” Gallo said. Hemp oils, mushrooms and yerba buenas — an aromatic plant known for its medicinal properties — “that was our Walgreens. We didn’t have a Walgreens. We didn’t have a way to pay for any drugs. These are plants we have known for thousands of years in our community and that we continue to use.”
Julie Megler, a psychiatric nurse practitioner who spoke in support of the proposal at last week’s meeting, said it could also help people who lack the funds for traditional prescription drugs.
“I believe that the medical model is important, but is limited in the number of people that can access its care,” she said.
Another supporter with Decriminalize Oakland, Gary Kono, identified himself as a retired surgeon. He admitted there is some risk associated with the plants and fungi, “but more people die from taking selfies for their social media than from all of our entheogens combined.”
Tuesday’s vote would be the final on the measure. The council’s public safety committee advanced it last week.
Another Florida man is under arrest after being too welcoming and inviting toward the police. Bunnell, Florida resident Arthur Carracino just really wanted a pair of Flagler County Sheriff’s deputies to check out his home-grown cannabis plant and smoke a bowl with him. In a body-camera video captured in the wee hours of the morning,
Carracino attempts to get the on-duty officer to join him for a puff. And almost reluctantly, that officer ended up arresting Carracino for growing cannabis, which is against the law in Florida.
“You Gotta Smoke a Bowl with Me Please”
There’s a very lonely, almost plaintive tone in the way Florida man Arthur Carracino invites a police officer to smoke a bowl with him. “You gotta smoke a bowl with me please,” emphasis on the “please.”
Sometimes, you just want to besocial. Sometimes, you just want someone to pass the bowl to. Even if they’re a cop—if you’re a Florida man. “I know, you’re on duty,” Carracino said to the incredulous officer, as he nevertheless heads off into the darkness to get his pipe.
The rural town of Bunnell sits on the east coast of Florida, about midway between St. Augustine and Daytona Beach. There’s not too much for Flagler County police to do. Residents like Carracino seem like they could use some company, as well.
So when officers pulled up alongside Carracino’s residence responding to a completely different incident, this Florida man decided to do the neighborly thing. According to the deputy’s report, Carracino was smoking weed when they arrived.
Florida Man Requests Starbucks During Late-Night Arrest
The ensuingbody-cam footageis heartwarming and ridiculous. It’s the middle of the night, and the chirping crickets almost drown out the voices. But there’s Carracino, scantily clad in a blue speedo and an unbuttoned button-up shirt, rocking a large silver pendant that reflects the beam of an officer’s flashlight.
Since Carracino issmoking a joint, the deputy asks him for his medical cannabis card. Medical use is legal for authorized patients with qualifying conditions in Florida. Carracino responds that “Oh. Yeah. Yeah I do. I’m working on it.”
There’s some laughter at the contradictory response, at which point Carracino just says, “Come on guys, let’s talk.”
But the officers are more interested in the two-foot tall cannabis plant—just one—in Carracino’s yard. “Is that your plant?” they ask. Carricino proudly answers in the affirmative, and the officers ask if he uses Miracle-Gro or just water.
That’s when Florida man officers some sage growing advice. “I thought it was gonna be easy going out to California and learning how to grow pot. The indica strain, the sativa strain and oh boy, you’re looking right at the smallest crystals.”
Just before falling entirely into revery on his plant, the Florida man invites one of the officers to smoke a bowl with him.
The body-cam cuts out for a moment, and picks up with Carracino in the back of the squad car. Police ask him if he knows what’s going on. Carracino says of course, “it’s two o’clock in the [expletive] morning.” The officers point out that its actually a quarter of three in the morning. And it doesn’t look like Carracino is going to be getting much sleep. So he asks for a pick-me-up.
“Okay, I need a cup of Starbucks. Anywhere local we can get one,” Carracino asks, perhaps hoping the deputies would return kindness with kindness.
Unfortunately, the officers say no to this request as well. But they do tell Carracino that he’s under arrest. “For?” Carracino asks. “For growing marijuana,” the officer replies.
A study published in the journal Psychopharmacology reported that psychedelic toad milk could be the most powerful depression remedy.
Namely, smoking the milky, psychoactive secretion of the Colorado River toad, or Bufo alvarius, is a powerful and fast alternative for managing depression.
This “toad” is popular for its poisonous secretions that can kill predators and get humans high. The biggest native toad in the United States can reach up to 7 inches in length and has the unusual ability to obtain water by osmotic absorption through its abdomen.
The North American toad excretes a whiteish substance which is rich in a compound called 5-MeO-DMT, a variation of DMT, which is also found in the mild-altering psychedelic brew ayahuasca.
According to researchers, when dried and smoked, the “toad milk” creates a short but potent psychedelic experience, and as the ego dissolves, one supposedly receives mystical insights.
They maintain that a single inhalation of vapor from dried toad secretion containing 5-methoxy-N, N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT) in a naturalistic setting can cause sustained enhancement of satisfaction with life, mindfulness-related capacities, and a decrement of psychopathological symptoms.
When working on a standard clean and restore project, you don’t expect to accidentally get super high on 50-year-old LSD. But that’s exactly what happened for one repairman working on a vintage Buchla Model 100 modular synthesiser.
Eliot Curtis was recently given the job ofrestoring the vintage synth, which had been stored in a dark room at Cal State University East Bay since the 1960s. But after cracking off the front of the unit to give it a clean, he began to majorly trip out.
A Californian repairman cleaning a 1960s synth went on a mega nine-hour trip after accidentally ingesting vintage LSD through his skin.
After opening the Buchla, Curtis discovered a crystal-like substance that he attempted to clean off. Spraying it with a cleaning solvent, he then tried to dislodge it with his fingers. Then, around 45 minutes later, the fun really started. His body began to tingle, which then quickly dissolved into an epic nine-hour acid trip.
After testing, it was discovered that the substance was indeedvintage LSD. A researcher also revealed that LSD can lay dormant and potent if stored in a cool, dark place, and that it is possible to ingest it through the skin. So apparently Buchla synthesisers make the perfect storage for your psychedelics. Who knew?
The synth has since been thoroughly cleaned of all LSD and is back on track for its restoration. No say on where the drugs ended up though…
No one enjoys living in physical pain. If there are natural ways to prevent the pain, many of us are interested. There's obviously been a big trend towards finding more natural ways to cure what ails us. Honey for coughs, turmeric for arthritis pain and now marijuana for menstrual cramps and pelvic discomfort.
Although if you ask Grand Rapids pain expert Dr. Marla Gendelman of Liberate Pain Management, it's not anything new, "Cannabis has been used for PMS literally since pre-biblical times. They burned incense and it was used as topically and orally."
When it comes to treating those painful monthly menstrual cramps, it may be time to put those other pain killers like Motrin, Midol or Vicodin back in your medicine cabinet and give marijuana a try. Numerous women face intense pain and muscle cramps during their periods, so they will be delighted to hear that a company called Foria has created “cannabis vaginal suppositories”, designed to help them relieve these symptoms as they are suppositories with cannabis that dissolve inside the vagina.
Foria Relief, currently available only in California and Colorado, has introduced a medicated tampon that the company promises will “maximize the muscle relaxing and pain relieving properties of cannabis without inducing a psychotropic high.”
The marijuana tampons contain 60mg THC / 10mg CBD.
You can find topicals and oils in area medical marijuana dispensaries. Even Whoopi Goldberg has opened an online shop specializing in pain management for women.
Women who have tried the tampons claim that they are incredibly effective, but in order to purchase them, one needs to join Foria’s collective and depending on the state you live in, she might need to submit an application along with a physician’s recommendation letter. Additionally, a pack of four of these tampons costs $44.
Lake Effect Consulting is a medical marijuana dispensary in Portage. Rachel Fogleson with Lake Effect says they provide a few options for women looking to manage their menstrual pain most of their products are topical or oral, "Each dose is going to be a little bit more specific to what your needs are your pain levels and things like that."
The Foria tampons are not available for sale yet in Michigan, but that could soon change now that recreational marijuana is legal. Fogleson says it's a good thing, "There's a huge market for women, but not a lot of products that are directed towards women."
Dr. Gendelman agrees, stating "I think there's going to be all kinds of things out there." From skin care with claims to reduce your wrinkles to other products Dr. Gendelman says might make you do a double take, "There's even CBD mascara, which I question the need for."
Some products will push the boundaries of marijuana's medicinal claims -- others like the Foria weed tampons, will push the boundaries of your wallet at $11 dollars a suppository. Either way, it looks like women may start to have more choices when it comes to managing monthly pain.
Ingredients Label Is Short:
Organic Fair Trade Cocoa Butter
Distilled THC Oil
CBD Isolate (99.99%) from Organically Grown Hemp
The product will give your vagina a slightly intoxicated sensation, but the effect won’t travel to your brain. (And it won’t exactly make your vagina high.) According to one happy customer, the product “smells like cookie dough and cocoa butter.”
In October Harvard University announced it is conducting an observational study of 400 women who have agreed to use marijuana suppositories for menstrual pain. The hope for researchers is that this is a first step towards clinical trials that may eventually lead to FDA approval
On the website Racked.com, Sophie Saint-Thomas tested the suppositories and reported her results:
IT WAS LIKE IF ATIVAN MADE A BABY WITH TYLENOL, EXCEPT I HADN’T THRUST ANY NASTY PHARMACEUTICALS INTO MY VAG; JUST CANNABIS AND COCOA BUTTER.
And here’s the science:
THC POSITIVELY AFFECTS THE NERVES AND ASSISTS IN BLOCKING OUT PAIN WHILE ALSO ALLOWING FOR MORE PLEASANT SIGNALS TO BE RECEIVED BY THE BRAIN. CBD WORKS IN THE IMMUNE SYSTEM BY SUPPRESSING THE MECHANISMS RESPONSIBLE FOR INFLAMMATION. CBD ALSO SLOWS DOWN ELECTRICAL SIGNALING TO MUSCLES AND ALLOWS THEM TO RELAX, THEREBY REDUCING CRAMPING.
Is it FDA approved? Nope. Since cannabis is considered a Schedule 1 drug by our federal government, the FDA cannot and will not sanction the medical efficacy of the product. Yet.
Interested in making your own? Check out this article!
April 19, 1943, Albert Hofmann became the first known human to drop LSD. The Swiss chemist had synthesized the drug five years earlier as a central nervous system stimulant, not knowing its psychedelic powers. But when he discovered what the substance was capable of, he took a dose and went for a ride on his bike to see what would happen.
What happened is he changed history. Hofmann’saccountof that bike ride is not only the first documented report of a full-on acid trip, it’s also the first account of one of the hallmarks of the psychedelic state: a feeling of oneness with nature that lasts long after the drug has worn off.
“Through my LSD experience and my new picture of reality, I became aware of the wonder of creation, the magnificence of nature, and of the animal and plant kingdom,” he saidin an interviewin 1984. “I became very sensitive to what will happen to all this and all of us.”
Hofmann became a fervent environmentalist, and since then, similar anecdotes abound from people who have taken psychedelics. Movies and TV shows likeThe TripandSix Feet Underare rife with tripping characters talking to trees or getting advice from the personification of Mother Nature, not to mention Birkenstock-clad environmentalists with a penchant for mushrooms.
But beyond the cultural trope, researchers have long suspected there was something real at play here. In a 2009papertitled “Psychedelics and Species Connectedness,” the psychologists Stanley Krippner and David Luke hypothesized that the consumption of psychedelics creates a greater concern for ecological issues. Several other psychologistshave even arguedthat psychedelic drugs were the catalyst for the environmental movement that sprung up in the late 1960s.
Of course, none of these theories have advanced much since LSDbecame illegalin the 1960s, leading the FDA to shut down all research into the potential benefits of the drug and others like it. But in the midst of today’spsychedelic renaissance, researchers are reconsidering these drugs’ potential to make us feel one with nature — and how that potential might confer therapeutic benefits.
“Psychedelics cause the boundaries between self and nature to crumble,” says Matthias Forstmann, a postdoctoral fellow at Yale University’s Mind and Development Lab. “As a consequence, you ascribe human-like traits and emotions to nature. And as a consequence of that, you feel empathy for nature. This could have beneficial effects for both the individual as well as for the environment.”
It’s likely not the feeling of connection to nature specifically that is driving away depression, but the sense of connection toeverything.
Forstmann is the lead author of a recentstudythat looked at the relationship between people’s past experiences with classic psychedelic substances (such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline) and their self-reported connection to nature. The study found that people who had previous experiences with psychedelics were more likely to feel like a part of nature rather than separate from it.
The general population survey controlled for experiences with other types of psychoactive substances as well as the personality traits that can predict drug consumption and an affinity for nature. Across demographics and life experience, the study showed that psychedelic use correlates to a greater connection to the outside world.
Of course, there is the possibility that rather than psychedelics being the catalyst for an eco-mindset, it could be that people who already have a deeper connection to nature are more likely to take psychedelics. But researchers don’t think this is the case.
“[Because] the relationship we found remained significant after controlling for demographic variables, it is unlikely that the association we found can be entirely explained by a collection of personality traits stereotypically associated with psychedelic users (e.g. being of the ‘hippie’ type),” the study authors conclude.
The side effect of psychedelics that causes this sense of connection is known as ego dissolution. For this reason, some researchers think it also makes psychedelics a viable remedy for treatment-resistant depression. According to Enzo Tagliazucchi, a researcher at Goethe University Frankfurt’s Institute of Neurology, subjects in several studies who responded well to psychedelics as a depression treatment cited the “feeling of moving from a sense of disconnection from the self, from others, and from the world to a sense of connection” as the main factor in their recovery.
“One of the most salient, defining characteristics is the experience of unity with everything,” says Tagliazucchi. “It’s not specific with nature, though it can be a very strong feeling of connection with nature depending on the person, and depending on their prior beliefs.”
In other words, according to both Tagliazucchi and Forstmann, it’s likely not the feeling of connection to nature specifically that is driving away depression, but the sense of connection to everything.
However, Forstmann’s study did find that people who had used psychedelics in the past reported higher levels of pro-environmental behavior — things like recycling and buying products at the supermarket with less packaging — suggesting that such experiences can shift people’s beliefs and practices.
Before there can be conclusions around any of this, however, both Forstmann and Tagliazucchi say more research is needed — including experiments conducted outside the lab and with people without a history of mental illness. But in the meantime, Hofmann’s experience lives on, and as a new generation of psychedelic enthusiasts becomes one with nature, we may see the benefits echo throughout culture.
“There’s incredible potential here,” Johns Hopkins University researcher Matthew JohnsontoldInverse. “So far, it’s a good bet that these tools will be broadly applicable to a number of disorders.”
For the study, which was published Tuesday in The Journal of Psychopharmacology, the researchers used social media and drug discussion websites to track down 343 people who reported a minimum of seven years of problematic drinking prior to having a psychedelic experience.
They then asked the participants — 72 percent of whom met the criteria for alcohol use disorder — to complete anonymous online surveys.
From the surveys, the researchers learned many participants had dramatically decreased the number of drinks they consumed a year after their psychedelic experience. In fact, 83 percent of participants no longer met alcohol use disorder criteria, and 28 percent credited their psychedelic experience for the change in lifestyle
It’s hard to demonstrate a direct link between the psychedelic experience and the decrease in alcohol consumption. However, Johnson thinks it makes sense that mind-opening drugs could have a positive impact on the lives of people battling alcohol dependence.
“When you talk to someone who has managed to overcome addiction, they often talk about [how] they had to answer big picture questions that connect to what’s important in life,” he told Inverse. “Psychedelics prompt thosekinds of questions.”
In this article we’ll explore how marijuana edibles can help with fibromyalgia, how to use and make it,and finally some of the best-recommended cannabis strains for treating this condition.
Imagine being constantly tired with pain spreading all over your body. Your hips ache, your skin feels bruised and you never know what the next symptom will be.
This is exactly what fibromyalgia sufferers go through on a daily basis.
Fibromyalgia, a rheumatological condition, jeopardizes the normal functioning of the human body by causing musculoskeletal pain and constant fever-like symptoms.
Current medication for fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is still relatively new in medical circles and there is no specific medication for it. The condition is usually treated with painkillers, antidepressants and anti-seizure medications.
There are three drugs commonly being used for treating fibromyalgia:
The effectiveness of these drugs was explored in asurveydone in 2014 by the Global Pain Initiative, which interviewed more than 1,300 fibromyalgia sufferers:
Only 8-10% percent of patients said that they found some relief with prescription drugs. Around 60% of patients did not see any improvement in their symptoms.
An article of the sun provided information on how painkillers might be making your fibromyalgia even worse.
Research on Cannabis for fibromyalgia pain
There has been a handful of research studies which have provided promising evidence supporting medical marijuana in treating symptoms of fibromyalgia. While THC and CBD work best together to treat fibromyalgia pain, just CBD on it’s own have shown to have amazing. Effects. Which is perfect for someone that does not want to get high from the edibles.
FromNORML.org: Researchers at Germany’s University of Heidelberg published a study in Current Medical Research and Opinion in which they evaluated the analgesic effects of oral THC in nine patients with fibromyalgia over a 3-month period. Subjects in the trial were administered daily doses of 2.5 to 15 mg of THC and received no other pain medication during the trial. Among those participants who completed the trial, all reported a significant reduction in daily recorded pain and electronically induced pain.
Anotherstudypublished in 2011, patients with fibromyalgia were given various doses of cannabis (which contains naturally-occurring CBD within it), and then were tested for pain levels. After just a couple of hours of cannabis use, many of the test subjects reported a decrease in pain using VAS scoring for analysis, and within the conclusion of the study, scientists stated that “the use of cannabis was associated with beneficial effects on some fibromyalgia symptoms.”
Even CBD alone are commonly purported to help relieve the symptoms of dozens of other conditions as well, including:
How to use marijuana edibles for Fibromyalgia pain.
Cannabis edibles are one of the best forms of pain management on the planet, and use of these products makes cannabis far safer than any other medication for pain relief. Fibromyalgia pain treatment has shown to have the best effects with a combination of both THC and CBD in your edibles. You can simply put a couple of drops of cannabis oil under your tongue or make a food recipe from it.
You can either make yourown cannabis edibles here or buy them from the dispensary. If you buy them, ask your budtender which suits best for fibromyalgia. If you make them yourself, these are some great cannabis strains for fibromyalgia:
If you are completely new to cannabis edibles for pain relief. Here are some tips:
Start with a low dose, 5 mg to 10 mg, and wait at least two hours before taking more. As edibles usually kick in after about an hour.
Do not drive. At all. Period.
If you feel like you are getting to high. Don’t panic. Have some CBD flower(actual marijuana flower) and smoke it. CBD has been shown to reduce the high people feel from THC.
Nature is perfect, and it seems we can never learn or figure out all its mysteries and secrets. It can often create some ideal coincidences that illustrate its power and potential, so we are left bewildered and startled.
Photographer Daniel Biber from Hilzingen, Germany, captured one of these unique moments in Costa Brava, in Northeastern Spain.
Namely, a mass of starlings started gathering into a shape-shifting cloud, known as a murmuration, and the hundreds of birds moved and twisted in a coordinated organism that can quickly morph into some startling shapes.
Biber witnessed the true spectacle, and as a predator like a falcon or a hawk was in the vicinity, the starlings started twisting and turning in a way that eventually formed a shape of a giant, single bird in less than 10 seconds.
However, he took the photos but realized the formation they created only when he came home and checked them on his computer later. Previously, he was so focused on taking the pictures, that he didn’t see the giant bird they made on the sky. He then realized that his snapshot was unique, sharp, and in high quality.
He was trying to capture the murmuration of starlings for 4 days in a row, but when he finally succeeded, it was a real masterpiece.
He then submitted the images to an international photography competition run by the bird observatory Vogelwarte Sempach in Switzerland in 2017. Organizers received 6,800 images submitted by 540 photographers from 15 countries, but the amazing one-in-a-million images helped Biber won the competition.
DENVER -- Marijuana is already permitted, mushrooms could soon be low on Denver's priority list, and if the governor puts pen to paper like expected, using harsh drugs won't be enough to land someone in prison in Colorado.
Undera newly passed bill, dealers would still be punished with a felony, but all other single-use drug possession charges would be a misdemeanor.
"The war on drugs is an abysmal failure, and this puts things on the right track," said bill sponsor Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver, at a news conference Monday that capped off the 2019 legislative session, which ended on Friday.
"We've worked with her, I'm supportive of the bill," Gov. Jared Polis said during the news conference.
While the governor stopped short of saying he'd sign the measure, Herod said she is confident he will.
"I have every expectation that the governor will sign this bill," she said.
HB19-1263, "defelonizes" drug possession for all Schedule I and Schedule II substances. The drugs include heroin, fentanyl, cocaine and most other illicit drugs.
Those caught with small amounts of these drugs would face a misdemeanor instead of a felony charge under the measure should it become law.
"What it means is people will have another chance," explained Herod. "When folks are ready to get clean and sober and get back into society and get back to work, they won't have this felony over their head."
The whole idea is to keep those struggling with addiction out of prison in favor of treatment.
"Most importantly, this bill doesn't eliminate the opportunity for a judge to sentence jail time," said Herod. "We're not saying it's no longer a crime; we're not saying that simple possession is something you're going to get a slap on the wrist for. One-hundred eighty days is still 180 days in jail."
Supporters believe the bill is an effective way to stop "arresting away" the growing drug problem and to save taxpayer money.
Areportfrom the Joint Budget Committee found savings anywhere from $8.6 million to $13.7 million over the next five years. Its money the state wants to use through a grant program to help find new treatment and substance abuse treatment centers.
Herod has faced strong opposition from county sheriffs who dispute those savings, claiming instead they will come at the expense of county taxpayers and county jails, where those sentenced to jail time would now be held under the proposed changes.
"My concern is the shift that will put from state penitentiaries, the state DOC, onto county jails," said El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder. "By saying that we shouldn't 'fight the war on drugs' because we don't win -- that's just craziness."
"Seattle, Washington did this exact same change and their homeless population has skyrocketed," said Elder. "Now it is commonly referred to as 'Free-Attle.'"
"I watched that documentary and nothing in there relates to this bill at all, and so I'm not sure how that leap happened, but this is not a decriminalization bill," said Herod.
Polis has 30 days to sign the bill now that the legislative session is adjourned. Polis has three options: he can sign the bill, let the bill become law without his signature, or choose to veto it. Since the legislative session is over, there would be no opportunity for an override attempt by lawmakers.
Repeated attempts by police to clear dealers from Görlitzer Park in Kreuzberg prompts move by park manager.
Drug dealers in Berlin are to be given designated spaces in a city centre park to carry out transactions, leading to criticism that authorities have capitulated to criminal gangs.
For years there has been a heated debate about Görlitzer Park, a popular meeting point in the trendy southern Berlin district of Kreuzberg, which has been attracting an ever increasing number of drug dealers. Local people said they were reluctant to let children and pets roam free there.
After repeated attempts by police to clear the dealers failed, the park manager declared areas where they should be allowed to operate, identified by spray-painted pink boxes.
Cengiz Demirci said the pink zones would mean that visitors to the park – known locally asGörli– were no longer intimidated by groups of dealers, typically men operating in gangs, who crowd the entrance.
“This method has purely practical reasoning behind it,” Demirci told local radio station RBB. “It’s not that we’re legalising the selling of drugs.”
Demirci said a much more effective solution would be if authorities gave the dealers work permits. The majority of them are asylum seekers who are not allowed to work while waiting for their claims to be processed. He added: “If they did that then 90% of them would stop what they’re doing immediately.”
Police chiefs criticised the move. “What is needed to ensure that the park is drug and crime free, is a constant police presence and judicial resolve,” Benjamin Jendro from the Berlin branch of the police trade union GdP told Bild.
Previously Berlin administrations have declared a “zero tolerance” attitude towards drug dealers in Görlitzer Park, but local residents reported that nothing changed as a result. On Thursday they said that none of the dealers were abiding by the new rule.
The Stehplätze, or standing-room policy, as it has been dubbed, triggered outrage among Berlin politicians for whom the Görli situation has been a persistent headache for decades.
The sharpest remarks came from Germany’s national anti-drugs tsar, Marlene Mortler, of the conservative Christian Social Union, who told the Funke Mediengruppe: “If this is true then it marks the capitulation of our constitutional state. We should not be issuing the dealers with a licence to deal.”
The Amazon Rainforest is well known across the world for being the largest and most dense area of woodland in the world. Spanning across nine countries, the Amazon is home to millions of different animal and plant species, as well as harboring some for the world's last remaining indigenous groups. The Waorani people of Pastaza are an indigenous tribe from the Ecuadorian Amazon and have lived in the Rainforest for many generations. However, there Home came under threat from a large oil company - they didn't take it lightly.
After a long legal battle with a number of organizations, the Waorani people successfully protected half a million acres of their ancestral territory in the Amazon rainforest from being mined for oil drilling by huge oil corporations. The auctioning off of Waorani lands to the oil companies was suspended indefinitely by a three-judge panel of the Pastaza Provincial Court. The panel simply trashed the consultation process the Ecuadoriangovernmenthad undertaken with the tribe in 2012, which rendered the attempt at land purchase null and void.
This win for the indigenous tribe has now set an invaluable legal precedent for other indigenous nations across the Ecuadorian Amazon. After accepting a Waorani bid for court protection to stop an oil bidding process, the court also halted the potential auctioning off of 16 oil blocks that cover over 7 million acres of indigenous territory.
While there is no evidence, some people believe that the Ecuadorian government may be accepting bribes in some roundabout way. The land in question is meant to be protected under Ecuador’s constitution that establishes the inalienable, unseizable and indivisible rights of indigenous people to maintain possession of their ancestral lands and obtain their free adjudication.
Furthermore, the constitution also states that there is a need for prior consultation on any plans to exploit the underground resources, given the probable environmental and cultural impacts on tribal communities. The government claim they did do this in 2012, however, the tribe alleges that the agreement they came to was based upon fraudulent practices in favor of the oil companies and the government was favoring their bottom line over the people the actually still live on this valuable land. Due to this, the judges ordered the Ecuadorian government to conduct a new consultation, applying standards set by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights before anything else is agreed regarding the exploitation of thenaturalresources below the ground.
Most solar farms align their solar arrays in rows and columns to form a grid.
A new solar power plant in Datong, China, however, decided to have a little fun with its design.China Merchants New Energy Group, one of the country's largest clean energy operators, built a 248-acre solar farm in the shape of a giant panda.
The first phase, which includes one 50-megawatt plant, was completed on June 30,according toPV magazine. The project just began delivering power to a grid in northwestern China, and a second panda is planned for later this year.
Called the Panda Power Plant, it will be able to produce 3.2 billion kilowatt-hours of solar energy in 25 years,according tothe company. That will eliminate approximately million tons of coal that would have been used to produce electricity, reducing carbon emissions by 2.74 million tons.
China Merchants New Energy Group worked with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to make the Panda Power Plant a reality. The project is part of a larger effort to raise awareness among young people in China about clean energy, the UNDPwrotein a statement.
The groups hope to build more panda-shaped solar plants throughout China in the next five years.
MDMA combined with psychotherapy is a promising treatment for PTSD and is currently under investigation in a phase 3 trial. Data from six phase 2 studies supported a Breakthrough Therapy designation by the FDA. Results are now published in Psychopharmacology.
The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) published results inPsychopharmacology from sixphase 2 clinical trialsof MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a mental disorder that can occur after a traumatic event. Symptoms include avoidance of trauma-associated places or people, negative feelings, hypervigilance and intrusive thoughts or memories. The paper describes outcomes from 103 study participants, which represents the largest sample to be published to date. These data were the basis for FDA granting a Breakthrough Therapy designation for this innovative treatment approach.
Six clinical trials were carried out from 2004-2017 at five study sites. These sites were United States (South Carolina, Colorado), Canada, and Israel. The studies enrolled people with moderate to severe chronic PTSD who had failed to adequately respond or tolerate medications and/or psychotherapies. Approximately half of patients (40-60%) do not experience significant PTSD symptom reductions from currently available medications (Zoloft and Paxil) and psychotherapies used to treat PTSD [2, 3].
For the MDMA trials, participants start treatment by undergoing three non-drug psychotherapy sessions (90 mins). Then they receive either active doses of MDMA (75-125 mg) or placebo/control doses of MDMA (0-40 mg) during 2 to 3 psychotherapy sessions that lasted for 8 hours. A male/female co-therapy team was present during all sessions, offering a supportive presence and non-directive psychotherapy. They helped create and maintain a “container” or safe space for the therapeutic experience. Because the studies were blinded, the study participants and therapy team did not know what dose they were given. Three non-drug integration sessions, when participants worked to address and bring together, or integrate, material from the MDMA-psychotherapy sessions, followed each MDMA session – one the morning after the MDMA session, and the other two during the month proceeding the next drug-assisted session.
Remarkably, the results showed that active doses of MDMA more than doubled the effect of psychotherapy alone (or with low doses of MDMA used as placebo controls). On the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS-IV), scores dropped on average of -32.4 for the MDMA group and -10.4 for the placebo control group after two MDMA sessions. More participants in the active dose group (54.2%) did not meet criteria for PTSD compared to the control group (22.6%). PTSD symptoms significantly improved further after the third MDMA session, with an additional score reduction on average of -12.9.
All doses of MDMA were well tolerated in the studies. The adverse events (undesirable effects) that occurred at greater frequency for the active MDMA group were anxiety, dizziness, jaw clenching/tight jaw, lack of appetite, and nausea. Most were mild to moderate, causing little interference with daily functioning, and resolved by the end of the session or during the week following. There were no reports or treatment discontinuation during the trial related to problematic substance use of “ecstasy” (pills that contain MDMA and other substances), supporting the low potential for developing substance use problems from taking limited doses of MDMA in a clinical setting. See theMDMA Investigator’s Brochurefor all safety information from MDMA clinical trials and reviews of the scientific literature.
What happens during MDMA-assisted psychotherapy?
The treatment approach is described in theManual for MDMA-assisted Psychotherapy, built on practices that emerged during the first wave of psychedelic explorations in therapeutic contexts in the 1950-70s. As with all psychedelics, the person’s mind set and the environment where MDMA is taken, also known asset and setting, influence how a person feels and perceives the experience. For MDMA-assisted psychotherapy trials, the three preparatory sessions (90 mins each) are critically important for the participant and therapists to get to know each other and establish a trusting relationship. The therapists gain an understanding of the personal history and day-to-day struggles that the person is facing. Creating a safe and supportive environment is essential for a steady foundation for the upcoming MDMA sessions. Participants also learn practical techniques to help manage anxiety and to cope with stressful situations.
After preparing, participants have 2 to 3 MDMA sessions spaced a month apart. During these 8-hour psychotherapy sessions, participants can take a close inspection of traumatic memories while remaining emotionally engaged. Severe anxiety and dissociation are symptoms of PTSD that inhibit progress with talk therapy. A study participant at the Charleston, SC site described how different MDMA-assisted psychotherapy was compared to other therapies by saying,
“I had a lot of defenses going up into the therapies that I had previous to the MDMA, and it made accomplishing any substantial breakthroughs in what I was going through pretty impossible. So with the MDMA, it broke this hard, outer shell that was up that kept me from being able to connect with the therapies I was going through .”
MDMA can reduce fear and resistance to explore painful memories while allowing the person to more fully experience difficult feelings, such a pain, shame, and grief, without becoming overwhelmed or numbed out. The environment and interactions with the therapists support the therapeutic process with MDMA, as described by a person with PTSD who underwent treatment:
“I think that the MDMA gave me the ability to feel as though I was capable and safe of tackling the issues. Whereas before I feared those thoughts and I tried to avoid them at all times, and avoid things that reminded me of those thoughts, I think it allowed me to feel safe in my space. Of being able to fight it. I felt like I had the ability and tools, whereas before I was unarmed, unarmored, and had no support. And this type of environment, with (the therapists), the catalyst drug, and everything else, it felt as though I had backup. Now it was safe and I had my tools and weapons to be able to tackle the obstacles that I never had before .”
The combination of the drug plus therapy can facilitate a deep a healing and release of entangled emotions that may have been otherwise inaccessible. Participants describe a speeding up of a process to get to the root of where their PTSD symptoms stem.
“I just think it would have been several more years of painful maybe terrible therapy that went nowhere. I feel like this therapy really helped me get past the tears and get right to the problem and several other problems I didn’t know were related to the feeling,” said a MAPS’ trial participant .
It’s thought the combination of the MDMA, the therapists, and the supportive setting create optimal conditions for a person to heal their psychological wounds. The therapists offer encouragement and an empathetic presence, supporting whatever is coming up for the person without directing the therapeutic process.
Like a prism, MDMA sheds new light on a person’s past, illuminating fractured parts of the self that can be stitched back together to instill a sense of wholeness. It can be a transformative treatment that reminds a person that the present is the time and place to live, and past hardships can be reframed through a lens of compassion and empathy.
One study participant described this as, “It was really that first MDMA session that we had, where I had that, I consider it a breakthrough, where I was able to clearly see that I had a big disconnect in compassion for myself .”
Novel insights and shifts of perspectives often arise, allowing for corrective experiences through the process of forgiveness, acceptance, and a sense of wellbeing. The therapists and participant continue therapeutically process during the 3 integrative sessions that follow each MDMA session.
“I’m definitely better, but I’ve got to continue on. This isn’t something that you take a pill or push a button and say, “I’m well.” (It is something I) will be working on for a long time. (But) I have definitely moved light years ahead in a short period of time .”
The participants said as their PTSD symptoms decreased, they were more fully able to engage in life and relationships in ways that were not possible before undergoing MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. At the long-term follow-up visit 12 months after completing the treatment, more people did not meet PTSD criteria (68%) than at study exit, defined as the last time their PTSD symptoms were measured (1 to 2 months after their last MDMA session).
Brains on MDMA – possible mechanisms for therapeutic effects
Because MDMA targets several neurotransmitters (serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine) and increases hormone levels (oxytocin, cortisol, vasopressin, prolactin), many neurobiological mechanisms likely underlie the therapeutic effects. Going beyond a biological explanation, psychological and psycho-spiritual aspects of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy are paramount for understanding the full spectrum of therapeutic effects.
In human brain imaging, MDMA decreases activity in the amygdala in response to negative emotional stimuli (angry facial expressions) , which may partially explain why people with PTSD can more readily revisit traumatic memories while staying emotional engaged. Another imaging study showed that MDMA causes more crosstalk between the amygdala and hippocampus – hubs for memory and emotional processing . When trauma memories are recalled during MDMA sessions, additional information may be incorporated into the memory traces, allowing for them to be filed back in the brain in a way that signifies the threats of the past are no longer part of the present moment. This is referred to as memory reconsolidation and could be one way that MDMA is working during talk therapy .
Translation of findings from animal models to humans is not without limitations, but these studies can give us a better idea of how a drug is acting in the brain. MDMA has been widely investigated in rodents to understand the effects of “Ecstasy”. But most rodent experiments tested extremely high, repeated doses of MDMA that were not close to what humans consume. The dose and the context are interplaying factors, each significantly contributing to subjective experience.
Now researchers are using doses closer in the range of those used in human clinical trial in experiments designed to mimic PTSD or further characterize MDMA. The goal is to understand what is happening in the brain to produce such dramatic improvements in PTSD symptoms, and to understand possible ways to optimize this treatment.
A recentpublication in Naturefound that MDMA makes social activity more rewarding to mice, similar to how mice respond when they are younger. The effects on social behaviors lasted for up to 2 weeks after MDMA. The experiments found this response depended on increased oxytocin release from MDMA-stimulated serotonin elevations in the nucleus accumbens, a region of the brain important for signaling reward . Prosocial effects after MDMA have also been shown in octopuses, zebra fish, and rodents [10, 11]. Social behavior between unfamiliar mice also increases with successive doses of MDMA that are moderately higher than those given to humans. These findings suggest that MDMA enhances social reward learning, which could explain the observed increased therapeutic alliance between the co-therapy team and participants undergoing MDMA-assisted psychotherapy.
Other studies in rodents have posited that the reductions in PTSD symptoms are due to fear extinction and memory reconsolidation. Mice trained to associate a foot shock with an auditory tone were more quickly able to forget that the tone signified a negative stimulus when given MDMA. The effect was dependent on increased bran derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a signaling molecule involved withneuroplasticity, in the amygdala. This finding suggests new adaptations in the brain region that fires up in response to fear .
A different study in rats showed that MDMA blocked the reconsolidation of fear memories but failed to detect enhancement of fear extinction which relies on different pathways in the brain . Discrepancy in findings between these two studies could be from the different species used (rats vs. mice) or from variations in experimental designs. A study in humans is currently underway at Emory University investigatingMDMA and fear extinctionwith a startle response model.
As we learn more about how MDMA works in the brain when administered in specific contexts, other types of approaches and therapeutic modalities may find that MDMA can bolster treatment outcomes. New research trials are being planned to investigate this question, and also to see if MDMA-assisted psychotherapy could be useful forother psychiatric indications, such as eating disorders, substance use disorders, and other anxiety-related conditions.
Current affairs for MDMA research
In August 2017, the FDA grantedBreakthrough Therapy designationfor MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for treating PTSD after reviewing the results from the six phase 2 trials. Comparison of findings from MDMA trials to results that led to the approval of sertraline (Zoloft) and paroxetine (Paxil) for PTSD, suggest that MDMA-assisted psychotherapy could have substantial improvement and lower overall risk than existing medications used to treat PTSD. Since MDMA is given three times in a clinic, it has fewer side effects and lower risks than take home medications that are taken daily for extended periods.
MDMA-assisted psychotherapy is now the final round of testing intwo phase 3 trials. These studies will enroll approximately 200-300 participants with severe PTSD at 15 study sites in the USA, Canada, and Israel. If results replicate the phase 2 trials, then MDMA could be approved for use in therapy for treating PTSD by 2021.
Recently, however, something was discovered about the whale’s personality: He’s actually quite considerate!
The other day, while out and about in Hammerfest, Ina Mansika and her friends decided to head down to the waterfront to see if they could spot the alleged former spy. It was then that something pretty amazing happened.
Not only was the beluga whale there to greet them — he came to the rescue when Mansika had a mishap.
"We laid down on the dock to look at it and hopefully get the chance to pat it," Mansika told The Dodo. "I had forgotten to close my jacket pocket and my phone fell in the ocean. We assumed it would be gone forever, until the whale dove back down and came back a few moments later with my phone in its mouth!"
Here's that incredible moment on video:
Mansika was stunned.
"Everyone was so surprised. We almost didn't believe what we saw," she said. "I was super happy and thankful that I got my phone back."
Unfortunately, water damage had made the phone inoperable by that point, but Mansika was appreciative regardless: "I love animals!" she said. "The whale is so kind."
It's unclear if the beluga whale is too accustomed to humans to thrive in the wild on his own, given his apparent training, but officials say they are keeping his best interests at heart. According to theWashington Post, a plan is being considered that would have him relocated to a sanctuary in Iceland — a thoughtful gesture toward one who's already shown the same.
For years, artist and photographer Fong Qi Wei has been skillfully slicing photographs into awe-inspiring scenes showcasing the passage of time. Known as “time slice” photographs, each work of art combines several photos taken at different times of day to produce a single, strikingly cohesive composition. To create each piece, Wei snaps several photographs of the same location over a period of several hours. He then digitally divides the images and extracts a single strip from each. Finally, he pieces together these strips, creating a harmonized scene that beautifully depicts a range of time.
While time slice photography is a prevalent practice among contemporary artists, Wei’s work is renowned for its creative compositions. Rather than simply combining the “slices” into vertical stripes, the artist experiments with angles, shapes, and placement.
Some are arranged into ray-like formations, for example, while others are split into series of circles. Though Fong Qi Wei notes that he has been working as a photographer for over 10 years and that he creates his time slice photos using a digital camera, he also recognizes the painterly quality of his work and practice. “Photographic galleries call my work paintings, while traditional galleries specializing in paintings call my work photographs,” he explains. His work, however, is not affected by these classifications or genres. Instead, it is defined by its effect on the viewer and its ability to resonate. “I strive to make images [that touch] both the feeling part and the thinking part of your mind.
My art seeks to get your attention and hopefully engage you on a deeper level as you look at it for longer.”
Standard cancer treatment must be adapted to the type and location of tumor, whereas cannabis is an equal opportunity killer. Cannabis kills all types of cancer cells.
Curing cancer is the holy grail of medical research and it’s the most-coveted breakthrough of our time. If we could discover a way to prevent malignant cells from overrunning the human body, not only would we save millions of lives, we would end years of suffering. And, we could finally feel superior tosharks which are rumored to be cancer free (It turns out, they actuallycan be afflicted). Is cannabis the way? Studies, so far, show that cannabis kills all types of cancer cells.
While chemotherapy and radiation have certainly helped humanity’s battle against cancer, research into the recently discovered (1990s)endocannabinoid systemkeeps providing new information about how tumors form,spreadand turn deadly.
But cancer isn’t just one thing. It’s an umbrella term for a collection ofrelated illnesses. What unites these is the method of mayhem: cancer divides and spreads like ants at a picnic. And because it’s not just one kind of ant, we’ve developed slightly different ways to deal with each species.
Partially, that’s because when cancer infects the brain, we can’t necessarily handle it the way we would handle cancer in the foot. Even if the same treatments would effective at stopping the cancer, the collateral damage to brain cells is just too risky.
But when cannabis treats cancer, it doesn’t cause the kind of negative side effects thatchemotherapy, for instance, does. Although human trials and solid scientific research are still a ways off, early studies indicated that cannabis might be the one truly universal way tokill cancer cells.
Cannabis Stops Blood Vessel Formation For All Types of Tumors
One of the key ways that cannabis combats cancer is throughanti-angiogenic effects. That sounds like a mouthful, but the concept is straightforward. Angiogenesis is the process by which new blood vessels form from old ones — like a potato sprouting. New blood vessels are how wounds heal, people grow, and new and better pathways form for circulation. It’s a vital and healthy part of the body’s daily regimen. But it’s also how tumorstransition from benign growthsto malignant cancers.
Cancer creates cells that don’t have the ability to divide in a controlled fashion, leading to out-of-control growth. But what fuels that growth? For tumors to get larger and spread, they need a supply of essential nutrients and oxygen, which they get from the bloodstream. So when a cancer begins to grow, it has to do so at the same rate as the blood vessels which nourish it. Without new vessels, the tumor couldn’t expand. Thus one of the best ways to combat cancer growth is by limiting the ability of the body to generate new blood vessels. That’s anti-angiogenesis.
And cannabis happens to beparticularly effectiveat that. New blood vessel growth is regulated in part by the body’s endocannabinoid system, so when cannabinoids enter the body and react with that system, it interferes with cancer’s ability to force new blood vessel growth. By taking up room in the protein receptors, cannabinoids prevent cancer from commandeering and directing the body’s new growth functionality — at least to a point. Inthis study, tumor growth was significantly slowed, although not completely stopped. And, amazingly, this happens to work against cancer cells, but not against normal new blood vessel growth.
Cannabis Stops Metastasis for All Tumor Types
As tumors grow, some cancer cells acquire the ability to escape the primary mass and proceed to invade surrounding tissues or migrate to distant sites, where they found new colonies. This is known asmetastasis. It’s what responsible for most human deaths from cancer. These rogue cells invade healthy tissue, grow new tumors, and limit the body’s organs form fulfilling their life-preserving duties. So the best way to prolong cancer patients’ lives are to ensure that these cellsdon’t escape tumor massesand found new cancer sites.
That’s where CBD comes in. Cannabinoidsplay a key rolein cell migration, invasion and metastasis. Specifically, CBD has proven anti-proliferative effects on glioma cancer cells by inducing something called apoptosis. From the Greek for “falling off,” apoptosis can be best be understood as a cell’s self-destruct sequence. It’s how the body rids itself of bad or non-performing cells. Cancer can fool the body into thinking that tumorous cells aren’t bad and shouldn’t undergo apoptosis, but CBD has been found to mess with that ability and allow the body to kill the cancerous cells.
CBD Can Lead to Tumor Shrinkage
Studieshave also shown that CBD aids tumor regression. One found that cancer in mice was reduced by 70 percent in 18 days after they were treated with CBD. Again, this was glioma (a particularly nasty type of cancer that starts in the brain and spine), but the researchers suggest that the anti-tumor activity associated with CBD could be carried over into other cancers.
The way scientific research works means that cancer treatments will be approached whack-a-mole style — one at a time. For example, cannabis has to be proven to treatlung cancerand brain cancer individually. So the only way we’ll know if cancer is the panacea against cancer that we all hope it to be, is to find that out one disease at a time.
A California landowner is returning his family farm to a neighboring Native American tribe that was forced inland, away from their breathtaking coastline, 150 years ago.
The small, water-poor reservation that became home for the Kashia Band of Pomo Indians has become 18-times larger, and for the first time in more than a century, will reach to the Pacific coast where they and their ancestors once hunted, fished, and roamed free.
Bill Richardson’s family bought the 688-acre property in 1925, which features denseredwoodforest, towering coastal bluffs and waterfalls along the Pacific Coast Highway.
After five years of fundraising by the Sonoma County government,The Trust for Public Land, private foundations and groups, the newly established Kashia Coastal Reserve restored ownership of the land to the tribe, after Bill agreed it was time the land was returned to its original inhabitants.
Sonoma County contributed two million dollars for the project, while another six million was raised by the coalition of groups seeking to buy the property for the Kashia. In exchange, theCalifornia Coastal Trailwill extend north for one mile across their land, giving the public access to a cliff walk overlooking this dramatic stretch of coastline.
The Tribe will manage the land as protected open space, and a demonstration forest for educating and engaging the public about the history and practices ofnative peoplein the area.
The Pomo Indians will get to start using the land immediately, the same coastline where their ancestors harvested and lived off of the plentiful abalone.
Richardson will get to live out his days on the mile-long stretch of property—and be buried on a hillside when he passes on.
The remains of a fox-snout pouch believed to have been owned by a South American shaman a thousand years ago has revealed traces of powerful hallucinogenic drugs.
The ancient find indicates people were not only using single plants known to produce hallucinations, but were blending various plants to create potent compounds which could result in lengthier and more powerful trips.
Anthropologists made the rare find in the now-dry Sora River valley in southwestern Bolivia in 2010. The area has evidence of human habitation stretching back 4,000 years.
Inside a small cave they found a ritual bundle thought to have been left as part of a human burial.
The bundle – bound in a leather bag – contained, among other things, two snuffing tablets (used to pulverise psychotropic plants into snuff), a snuffing tube, for smoking hallucinogenic plants, and a pouch constructed of three fox snouts.
Radiocarbon dating revealed the age of the outer leather bag to be from between 900 to 1170AD.
The team used a scalpel to obtain a tiny scraping from the interior of the fox-snout pouch and analysed the material.
They found multiple psychoactive compounds – cocaine, benzoylecgonine (the primary metabolite of cocaine), harmine, bufotenin, dimethyltryptamine (DMT) and possibly psilocin (a compound found in some mushrooms) – which came from at least three different plant species.
The blend of drugs is very close to those used in the production of ayahuasca – a psychoactive preparation which is still taken – usually in the form of a drink – in many areas of the Amazon basin.
“We already knew that psychotropics were important in the spiritual and religious activities of the societies of the south-central Andes, but we did not know that these people were using so many different compounds and possibly combining them together,” said Jose Capriles, assistant professor of anthropology at Penn State University.
“This is the largest number of psychoactive substances ever found in a single archaeological assemblage from South America.”
According to Dr Capriles, the fox-snout pouch likely belonged to a shaman.
“Shamans were ritual specialists who had knowledge of plants and how to use them as mechanisms to engage with supernatural beings, including venerated ancestors who were thought to exist in other realms,” he said.
“It is possible that the shaman who owned this pouch consumed multiple different plants simultaneously to produce different effects or extend his or her hallucinations.”
Melanie Miller, of the University of Otago, New Zealand, and research affiliate at the University of California, Berkeley, who was responsible for analysing the samples, said the plants found in the pouch did not grow in the local area and may indicate trade networks across large areas of South America, as well as also indicating a strong knowledge of botany.
She said: “The presence of these compounds indicates the owner of this kit had access to at least three plants with psychoactive compounds, but potentially even four or five.
“None of the psychoactive compounds we found come from plants that grow in this area of the Andes, indicating either the presence of elaborate exchange networks or the movement of this individual across diverse environments to procure these special plants. This discovery reminds us that people in the past had extensive knowledge of these powerful plants and their potential uses, and they sought them out for their medicinal and psychoactive properties.”
It has also been suggested the find answers questions about when ayahuasca was first begun to be taken as a drink.
Dr Capriles said: “Some scholars believe that ayahuasca has relatively recent origins, while others argue that it may have been used for centuries, or even millennia.
“Given the presence of harmine and DMT together in the pouch we found, it is likely that this shaman ingested these simultaneously to achieve a hallucinogenic state, either through a beverage, such as ayahuasca, or through a composite snuff that contained these plants in a single mixture. This finding suggests that ayahuasca may have been used up to 1,000 years ago.”
The study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Health Canada has granted three more special exemptions to religious groups to allow them to import ayahuasca, a tea that contains hallucinogens that are banned in Canada and the U.S., Global News has learned.
That brings the total number of ayahuasca exemptions to five, according to Health Canada.
The exemptions allow the religious groups to freely practise their main sacrament without legal infringement. They will also pave the way for researchers to study the effects — and potential benefits — of ayahuasca.
The first two ayahuasca exemptions were granted to groups in Montreal in 2017, as reported by VICE last year.
Since then, three new applicants have received their own exemptions, which last for two years and are renewable. The three new exemptions were granted to the Ceu da Divina Luz do Montreal, the Église Santo Daime Céu do Vale de Vida in Val-David, Que., and the Ceu de Toronto.
Canada’s federal health agencyhas the ability to exempt people and substances from aspects of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act for medical, scientific or public interest purposes. Ayahuasca is brewed from plants that contain the prohibited hallucinogens harmaline and dimethyltryptamine, otherwise known as DMT.
Jessica Rochester, president of Céu do Montreal, which obtained one of the first two ayahuasca exemptions in 2017, told Global News it was the first time such an exemption was granted for religious purposes. She said it took more than 15 years to complete the process due to a number of hurdles.
In spiritualistic settings, a shaman will typically provide ayahuasca, which can induce vomiting and hallucinations. These types of rituals have been carried out in the Amazon for centuries by Indigenous peoples. The Santo Daime church was founded in the Brazilian Amazonin the 1930s. It combines different religious traditions, including aspects of shamanism and Christianity.
“These exemptions provide the aforementioned applicant’s designated members, senior members and registrants with the authority to possess, provide, transport, import, administer and destroy Daime Tea (ayahuasca), as applicable, when carrying out activities related to their religious practice,” Health Canada spokesperson Maryse Durette wrote in an email to Global News.
Rochester said she has formed a medical and scientific advisory committee to support local and international research into ayahuasca use.
She said that she would encourage any group offering unregulated ayahuasca to go through the exemption process to become legitimate and that she is wary of groups that have not done so.
“Many of us in the field are concerned about ‘ayahuasca tourism,’” Rochester told Global News. “The main problem is that the human species wants to feel better now.”
“People grab onto what looks like the nearest fix,” she said.
Brian Rush, an addictions researcher at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, has been evaluating a treatment program in Peru that uses ayahuasca, which is legal there. He said there’s robust research that shows how ayahuasca can help people deal with health concerns such as depression and addiction.
“It opens that window into repressed emotions and feelings and memories,” Rush told Global News. “The therapeutic benefits seem to be there.”
However, Rush is concerned about the unregulated ceremonies that he said are “all over the place” and warns that people who have a history with mental health issues such as psychosis should avoid it. But overall, he is hopeful about its effectiveness.
“This is not like people doing acid at a rave. Something helpful is going on,” Rush said. “People are getting benefits, and we don’t exactly understand how or why. We need to do more.”
Editor's note: This story has been updated and corrected. An earlier version, based on incomplete vote results, mistakenly reported that the measure had failed.
A final update from the Denver Election Division on Wednesday afternoon revealed thatvoters approved a measureto decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms,CBS Denver reported. The vote came in as 50.56% yes to 49.44% no.
The numbers are still "unofficial until the Canvass and Certification of the Municipal General Election on May 16." The margin for recount stands at one-half of one percent.
Earlier this year, the group supporting the measure — Initiative 301, the Denver Psilocybin Decriminalization Initiative —gathered enough signatures for the question to be added to the local election ballot.
The measure would allow the use and possession of psilocybin mushrooms by adults 21 and older in Denver and the city will become the first municipality in the U.S. to decriminalize what some call "magic mushrooms."
Jeff Hunt, Vice President of Public Policy at Colorado Christian University and Director the Centennial Institute, called the use of "magic mushrooms" a "serious problem," and said "Denver is quickly becoming the illicit drug capital of the world," CBS Denver reported ahead of the vote. Colorado voted in 2012 to become one of the first states to legalize recreational marijuana.
"When you look at all the things that we're dealing with, you have high-potency pot, you have proposals for supervised needle infection sights," Hunt said. "The psychedelic mushroom folks are following the same playbook that marijuana did. They're starting with decriminalization and then they're going to move on to commercialization."
Those who already use mushrooms for medical reasons were looking forward to the drug's decriminalization. "I don't think that people should be criminalized or looked upon differently because they are required to take something that can make them feel this much better," one 54-year-old patient currently using psilocybin mushrooms told CBS Denver. The ballot measure didn't differentiate between the medical and recreational use of mushrooms.