Paul Summergrad & Thomas Insel: Future of Psychedelic Psychiatry

PLENARY PANEL: Paul Summergrad, MD, and Thomas Insel, MD moderated by George Goldsmith Future of Psychedelic Psychiatry at Psychedelic Science 2017 (https://2017.psychedelicscience.org). A six-day global gathering of the international scientific community in Oakland, California to explore new research into the benefits and risks of MDMA, LSD, psilocybin, ayahuasca, ketamine, ibogaine, medical marijuana, and more.

Belief changes associated with psychedelic use

Background: Psychedelic use is anecdotally associated with belief changes, although few studies have tested these claims. Aim: Characterize a broad range of psychedelic occasioned belief changes. Survey: A survey was conducted in 2374 respondents who endorsed having had a belief changing psychedelic experience. Participants rated their agreement with belief statements Before and After the psychedelic experience as well as at the time of survey administration. Results: Factor analysis of 45 belief statements revealed five factors: “Dualism,” “Paranormal/Spirituality,” “Non-mammal consciousness,” “Mammal consciousness,” and “Superstition.” Medium to large effect sizes from Before to After the experience were observed for increases in beliefs in “Dualism” (β = 0.72), “Paranormal/Spirituality” (β = 0.90), “Non-mammal consciousness” (β = 0.72), and “Mammal consciousness” (β = 0.74). In contrast, negligible changes were observed for “Superstition” (β = −0.18).). At the individual item level, increases in non-physicalist beliefs included belief in reincarnation, communication with the dead, existence of consciousness after death, telepathy, and consciousness of inanimate natural objects (e.g., rocks). The percentage of participants who identified as a “Believer (e.g., in Ultimate Reality, Higher Power, and/or God, etc.)” increased from 29% Before to 59% After.” At both the factor and individual item level, higher ratings of mystical experience were associated with greater changes in beliefs. Belief changes assessed after the experience (an average 8.4 years) remained largely unchanged at the time of survey. Conclusions: A single psychedelic experience increased a range of non-physicalist beliefs as well as beliefs about consciousness, meaning, and purpose. Further, the magnitude of belief change is associated with qualitative features of the experience.

Psychedelic Medicine: A Review of Clinical Research for a Class of Rapidly-Emerging Behavioral Health Interventions

BrainFutures reviewed the research and selected rele- vant studies to summarize in our report—the majority of which not only had valid study designs and meth- odologies, but also worked with human subjects and investigated the use of these compounds as effective or efficacious treatments in participants with ongoing and hard-to-treat MH/SUDs. In total, BrainFutures outlines and summarizes more than 200 peer-reviewed publications involving psychedelics, including 46 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and 47 open-label studies with more than 4,000 participants, in addition to eight meta-analyses and 84 reviews.

Lucid Dying: Patients Recall Death Experiences During CPR

1 in 5 people who receive CPR report lucid experiences of death while they are seemingly unconscious and on the brink of death. The lucid experiences appear to be different from hallucinations, dreams, illusions, and delusions. Researchers found during these experiences the brain has heightened activity and markers for lucidity, suggesting the human sense of self, like other biological functions, may not completely stop around the time of death.

Bioneers Reader: Psychedelics: A Dive Into the History and Trajectory of a Hotly Debated Subject

Because psychedelics are currently generating so much interest and societal attitudes about them are undergoing enormous change, we decided this would be a propitious time to bring together some of the most interesting and topical material in this domain that has been generated under the auspices of Bioneers in the last few years in an easy-to-read and to-share format. The very varied luminaries in this field featured in this mini-collection include journalist/author Michael Pollan, mycologist Paul Stamets, Mohawk midwife Katsi Cook, Brazilian anthropologist Bia Labate, therapist and professor Monnica Williams, ethno-botanists Kat Harrison and Mark Plotkin, and physician and cannabis researcher Karyemaitre Aliffe. They explore a wide range of topics, including the cutting edges of new research, the promise and perils of the “medicalization” of psychedelics now underway, the need to honor the Indigenous traditions that taught the world about these medicines, the need for greater inclusivity and self- awareness in the psychedelic community, and much more. We think it’s some of the most stimulating discourse on this fascinating topic you’re likely to find anywhere. We hope you find it of value.

Psychedelics and Extreme Sports

For those unfamiliar with the effects of psychedelics (or more specifically of LSD and psilocybin mushrooms) at a wide range of dosages, the title of this article may seem like an obvious contradiction – for what connection could there possibly be between these infamous “hallucinatory” compounds and the obviously highly-coordinated physical pursuit of the unfortunately named “extreme sports?”
Based on the tangled reputation that LSD has had since the mid-1960’s it would seem impossible to believe that various experienced individuals have climbed some of the hardest big walls in Yosemite, heli-skied first descents off Alaskan peaks, competed in world-class snowboarding competitions, raced motocross bikes, surfed enormous Hawaiian waves, flown hang-gliders above 18,00 feet, or climbed remote peaks in the Rockies, the Alps, the Andes, and even above 8000 meters in the Himalayas–all while under the influence of LSD.

From Hofmann to the Haight Ashbury, and into the Future: The Past and Potential of Lysergic Acid Diethlyamide

Since the discovery of its psychedelic properties in 1943, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) has been explored by psychiatric/therapeutic researchers, military/intelligence agencies, and a significant portion of the general population. Promising early research was halted by LSD’s placement as a Schedule I drug in the early 1970s. The U.S. Army and CIA dropped their research after finding it unreliable for their purposes. NSDUH estimates that more than 22 million (9.1% of the population) have used LSD at least once in their lives. Recently, researchers have been investigating the therapeutic use of LSD and other psychedelics for end-of-life anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), cancer, and addiction treatment. Adverse psychedelic reactions can be managed using talkdown techniques developed and in use since the 1960s.

A New Understanding: The Science of Psilocybin

A New Understanding explores the treatment of end-of-life anxiety in terminally ill cancer patients using psilocybin, a psychoactive compound found in some mushrooms, to facilitate deeply spiritual experiences. The documentary explores the confluence of science and spirituality in the first psychedelic research studies since the 1970s with terminally ill patients. As a society we devote a great deal of attention to treating cancer, but very little to treating the human being who is dying of cancer.

>