This document was first published as a pamphlet in 1967, shortly after possession of LSD was made illegal in the USA, by Lisa Bieberman. It is a guide for first-time experimenters with LSD, though anyone who uses psychedelics is sure to benefit from reading it. For more on author Lisa Bieberman, visit Erowid. Not much has changed in fifty years — I agree with almost all of her advice, but have amended it with a few of my own comments [in italicized brackets].
Effect Index serves as the platform for the Subjective Effect Index (SEI), a resource containing formalised documentation of the vast number of distinct subjective states that may occur under the influence of hallucinogens. We strive to comprehensively document and describe the wide variety of potential hallucinogenic experiences. The SEI is presented in an easily readable format that contains not only descriptions, but also image, video, and audio replications of these effects. We believe that in pioneering formalised subjective effect documentation, we may demystify the psychedelic experience. This has the potential to allow hallucinogen usage to become more culturally acceptable, better understood, and create a platform on top of which these substances may be more easily studied. Effect Index was initially founded as a side project on 30 June, 2017 by Josie Kins, the founder of PsychonautWiki and DisregardEverythingISay. It serves as a platform for content that has been in constant development for the previous six years on these sites. However, the aforementioned content is now hosted on its own dedicated platform with the hope of further spreading the documentation and creating a universal terminology set that gives people the vernacular to fully describe experiences that were previously considered ineffable.
The purpose of this paper is to provide an integrative review and offer novel insights regarding human research with classic psychedelics (classic hallucinogens), which are serotonin 2A receptor (5-HT2AR) agonists such as lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), mescaline, and psilocybin. Classic psychedelics have been administered as sacraments since ancient times. They were of prominent interest within psychiatry and neuroscience in the 1950s to 1960s, and during this time contributed to the emergence of the field of molecular neuroscience. Promising results were reported for treatment of both end-of-life psychological distress and addiction, and classic psychedelics served as tools for studying the neurobiological bases of psychological disorders. Moreover, classic psychedelics were shown to occasion mystical experiences, which are subjective experiences reported throughout different cultures and religions involving a strong sense of unity, among other characteristics. However, the recreational use of classic psychedelics and their association with the counterculture prompted an end to human research with classic psychedelics in the early 1970s. We provide the most comprehensive review of epidemiological studies of classic psychedelics to date. Notable among these are a number of studies that have suggested the possibility that nonmedical naturalistic (non-laboratory) use of classic psychedelics is associated with positive mental health and prosocial outcomes, although it is clear that some individuals are harmed by classic psychedelics in non-supervised settings. We then review recent therapeutic studies suggesting efficacy in treating psychological distress associated with life-threatening diseases, treating depression, and treating nicotine and alcohol addictions. We also describe the construct of mystical experience, and provide a comprehensive review of modern studies investigating classic psychedelic-occasioned mystical experiences and their consequences. These studies have shown classic psychedelics to fairly reliably occasion mystical experiences. Moreover, classic-psychedelic-occasioned mystical experiences are associated with improved psychological outcomes in both healthy volunteer and patient populations. Finally, we review neuroimaging studies that suggest neurobiological mechanisms of classic psychedelics. These studies have also broadened our understanding of the brain, the serotonin system, and the neurobiological basis of consciousness. Overall, these various lines of research suggest that classic psychedelics might hold strong potential as therapeutics, and as tools for experimentally investigating mystical experiences and behavioral-brain function more generally
Ayahuasca is a hallucinogenic beverage that is prominent in the ethnomedicine and shamanism of indigenous Amazonian tribes. Its unique pharmacology depends on the oral activity of the hallucinogen, N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT), which results from inhibition of monoamine oxidase (MAO) by β-carboline alkaloids. MAO is the enzyme that normally degrades DMT in the liver and gut. Ayahuasca has long been integrated into mestizo folk medicine in the northwest Amazon. In Brazil, it is used as a sacrament by several syncretic churches. Some of these organizations have incorporated in the United States. The recreational and religious use of ayahuasca in the United States, as well as “ayahuasca tourism” in the Amazon, is increasing. The current legal status of ayahuasca or its source plants in the United States is unclear, although DMT is a Schedule I controlled substance. One ayahuasca church has received favorable rulings in 2 federal courts in response to its petition to the Department of Justice for the right to use ayahuasca under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. A biomedical study of one of the churches, the Uñiao do Vegetal (UDV), indicated that ayahuasca may have therapeutic applications for the treatment of alcoholism, substance abuse, and possibly other disorders. Clinical studies conducted in Spain have demonstrated that ayahuasca can be used safely in normal healthy adults, but have done little to clarify its potential therapeutic uses. Because of ayahuasca’s ill-defined legal status and variable botanical and chemical composition, clinical investigations in the United States, ideally under an approved Investigational New Drug (IND) protocol, are complicated by both regulatory and methodological issues. This article provides an overview of ayahuasca and discusses some of the challenges that must be overcome before it can be clinically investigated in the United States.
This book celebrates the endurance of the Native American Church, which now has some 80 chapters throughout the country. Prayer meetings, the sacramental use of peyote, and the significance of various practices and objects are described. Eloquent testimony of Church members from different tribes demonstrates that peyote is not used to obtain “visions” but to heal the body and spirit and to teach righteousness. The authors describe the legal battle to overturn the Supreme Court’s Smith decision of 1990, which cited peyote use to deny the Native American Church the First Amendment right to “the free exercise of religion”. The American Indian Religious Freedom ActAmendments, passed by Congress in 1994, providing an exemption allowing the use of peyote by the Native American Church, was overturned by the Supreme Court in 1997.
Psychedelic Experience (PEx) is a comprehensive online resource for information surrounding psychedelic substances. We are a community based non-profit organization, created by and for psychedelic and plant medicine communities. Our mission is to support and facilitate global healing and personal growth through safe, responsible and legal use of plant medicines and psychedelic-assisted treatments. We are opposed to the commercialization of psychedelics and believe that profiteering and opportunism go against the very heart of the psychedelic experience. That’s why we are a non-profit and will never be driven by corporate interests or shareholder greed. Our website and global directory service of psychedelic-related organizations seeks to promote the safe, responsible use of psychedelics. We provide accurate, evidence-based information regarding retreat centers, facilitators, shamans, therapeutic modalities, and organizations.
Background There is growing use of Salvia divinorum (SD), a psychoactive plant that produces hallucinogen-like effects through a kappa opioid receptor (KOR) mechanism. Little is known about KOR agonist effects in humans and about users of SD. Objectives To characterize the reasons, methods, and reported consequences of SD use. Methods Individuals reading SD-related pages of a drug-information website were invited to anonymously complete an online questionnaire if they had used SD. Results Participants (N = 500) were 92.6% male and 23.4 ± 8.7 (mean ± s.d.) years old. They had used a median of six times (range 1–250). 80.6% probably or definitely would use SD again. Most participants (92.6%) typically smoked or vaporized SD product. When smoked, the drug’s main effects were estimated to last 14.1 ± 12.8 (range 0.5–120) minutes. When asked to compare SD effects to other methods of altering consciousness, the most common answer was that SD was unique (38.4%). 25.8% reported persisting (≥24 h) positive effects (often described as increased sense of well-being) on at least one occasion. 4.4% reported persisting negative effects (most often anxiety). Conclusions SD is typically smoked, acute effects are brief, and persistent adverse effects are uncommon. In addition to acute hallucinogenic effects, SD may produce subacute increases in subjective well-being. Such a subacute effect would be unusual for a drug that is used non-medically, as withdrawal from other drugs typically either does not affect mood or causes dysphoria. Findings from this convenience sample should be confirmed and extended using surveys of random samples and controlled clinical studies.
Genus Salvia, commonly known as sage, is the largest genus in the Lamiaceae family. It comprises many species traditionally used as brain-enhancing tonics. In vitro and animal studies have confirmed that several Salvia species contain a large array of active compounds that may enhance cognitive activity and protect against neurodegenerative disease. In this review, the active constituents in plants belonging to the genus Salvia are summarised, and their influence on pharmacodynamics pertinent to cognitive activity are detailed. In particular, the effects of plants belonging to the genus Salvia and their constituents on cognitive skills including memory, attention and learning are detailed. Their potential effects in dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, are also examined. Completed human trials are summarised, and factors influencing the potency of Salvia plants are covered. Finally, directions for future research are proposed to enhance our understanding of the potential health benefits of Salvia plants. Key Points Salvia plants and their constituents can influence several biological mechanisms associated with cognition including their effects on amyloid-β, cholinergic activity, neurotrophins, oxidative stress, inflammation and anxiolytic/antidepressant behaviours. Several studies have confirmed the many Salvia species have promising, cognitive-enhancing effects in human adults. Further research is required to examine the longer-term cognitive-enhancing effects of Salvia species on cognition, memory and the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.
It is usually believed that drugs of abuse are smuggled into the United States or are clandestinely produced for illicit distribution. Less well known is that many hallucinogens and dissociative agents can be obtained from plants and fungi growing wild or in gardens. Some of these botanical sources can be located throughout the United States; others have a more narrow distribution. This article reviews plants containing N,N-dimethyltryptamine, reversible type A monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI), lysergic acid amide, the anticholinergic drugs atropine and scopolamine, or the diterpene salvinorin-A (Salvia divinorum). Also reviewed are mescaline-containing cacti, psilocybin/psilocin-containing mushrooms, and the Amanita muscaria and Amanita pantherina mushrooms that contain muscimol and ibotenic acid. Dangerous misidentification is most common with the mushrooms, but even a novice forager can quickly learn how to properly identify and prepare for ingestion many of these plants. Moreover, through the ever-expanding dissemination of information via the Internet, this knowledge is being obtained and acted upon by more and more individuals. This general overview includes information on the geographical range, drug content, preparation, intoxication, and the special health risks associated with some of these plants. Information is also offered on the unique issue of when bona fide religions use such plants as sacraments in the United States. In addition to the Native American Church’s (NAC) longstanding right to peyote, two religions of Brazilian origin, the Santo Daime and the Uniao do Vegetal (UDV), are seeking legal protection in the United States for their use of sacramental dimethyltryptamine-containing “ayahuasca.”