Category Archives: drugs

How Cannabis Affects Our Cognition and Psychology

Summary: Researchers investigate how cannabis can influence a number of cognitive and psychological processes.

Source: The Conversation

Cannabis has been used by humans for thousands of years and is one of the most popular drugs today. With effects such as feelings of joy and relaxation, it is also legal to prescribe or take in several countries.

But how does using the drug affect the mind? In three recent studies, published in The Journal of PsychopharmacologyNeuropsychopharmacology, and the International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, we show that it can influence a number of cognitive and psychological processes.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reported that, in 2018, approximately 192 million people worldwide aged between 15 and 64 used cannabis recreationally. Young adults are particularly keen, with 35% of people between the ages of 18 and 25 using it, while only 10% of people over the age of 26 do.

This indicates that the main users are adolescents and young adults, whose brains are still in development. They may therefore be particularly vulnerable to the effects of cannabis use on the brain in the longer term.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis. It acts on the brain’s “endocannabinoid system”, which are receptors which respond to the chemical components of cannabis. The cannabis receptors are densely populated in prefrontal and limbic areas in the brain, which are involved in reward and motivation. They regulate signalling of the brain chemicals dopamine, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and glutamate.

We know that dopamine is involved in motivation, reward and learning. GABA and glutamate play a part in cognitive processes, including learning and memory.

Cognitive effects

Cannabis use can affect cognition, especially in those with cannabis-use disorder. This is characterised by the persistent desire to use the drug and disruption to daily activities, such as work or education. It has been estimated that approximately 10% of cannabis users meet the diagnostic criteria for this disorder.

In our research, we tested the cognition of 39 people with the disorder (asked to be clean on the day of testing), and compared it with that of 20 people who never or rarely used cannabis.

We showed that participants with the condition had significantly worse performance on memory tests from the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB) compared to the controls, who had either never or very rarely used cannabis. It also negatively affected their “executive functions”, which are mental processes including flexible thinking.

This effect seemed to be linked to the age at which people started taking the drug – the younger they were, the more impaired their executive functioning was.

Cognitive impairments have been noted in mild cannabis users as well. Such users tend to make riskier decisions than others and have more problems with planning.

Although most studies have been conducted in males, there has been evidence of sex differences in the effects of cannabis use on cognition. We showed that, while male cannabis users had poorer memory for visually recognising things, female users had more problems with attention and executive functions.

These sex effects persisted when controlling for age; IQ; alcohol and nicotine use; mood and anxiety symptoms; emotional stability; and impulsive behaviour.

Reward, motivation and mental health

Cannabis use can also affect how we feel – thereby further influencing our thinking. For example, some previous research has suggested that reward and motivation – along with the brain circuits involved in these processes – can be disrupted when we use cannabis. This may affect our performance at school or work as it can make us feel less motivated to work hard, and less rewarded when we do well.

In our recent study, we used a brain imaging task, in which participants were placed in a scanner and viewed orange or blue squares. The orange squares would lead to a monetary reward, after a delay, if the participant made a response. This set up helped us investigate how the brain responds to rewards.

We focused particularly on the ventral striatum, which is a key region in the brain’s reward system. We found that the effects on the reward system in the brain were subtle, with no direct effects of cannabis in the ventral striatum.

However, the participants in our study were moderate cannabis users. The effects may be more pronounced in cannabis users with more severe and chronic use, as seen in cannabis use disorder.

There is also evidence that cannabis can lead to mental health problems. We have shown that it is related to higher “anhedonia” – an inability to feel pleasure – in adolescents. Interestingly, this effect was particularly pronounced during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns.

Cannabis use during adolescence has also been reported as a risk factor for developing psychotic experiences as well as schizophrenia.

One study showed that cannabis use moderately increases the risk of psychotic symptoms in young people, but that it has a much stronger effect in those with a predisposition for psychosis (scoring highly on a symptom checklist of paranoid ideas and psychoticism).

This shows a drawing of a woman with cannabis leaves in her hair
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis. Image is in the public domain

Assessing 2,437 adolescents and young adults (14-24 years), the authors reported a six percentage points increased risk – from 15% to 21% – of psychotic symptoms in cannabis users without a predisposition for psychosis. But there was a 26-point increase in risk – from 25% to 51% – of psychotic symptoms in cannabis users with a predisposition for psychosis.

We don’t really know why cannabis is linked to psychotic episodes, but hypotheses suggests dopamine and glutamate may be important in the neurobiology of these conditions.

Another study of 780 teenagers suggested that the association between cannabis use and psychotic experiences was also linked to a brain region called the “uncus”. This lies within the parahippocampus (involved in memory) and olfactory bulb (involved in processing smells), and has a large amount of cannabinoid receptors. It has also previously been associated with schizophrenia and psychotic experiences.

Cognitive and psychological effects of cannabis use are ultimately likely to depend to some extent on dosage (frequency, duration and strength), sex, genetic vulnerabilities and age of onset. But we need to determine whether these effects are temporary or permanent. One article summarising many studies has suggested that with mild cannabis use, the effects may weaken after periods of abstinence.

But even if that’s the case, it is clearly worth considering the effects that prolonged cannabis use can have on our minds – particularly for young people whose brains are still developing.

Funding:

Barbara Jacquelyn Sahakian receives funding from the Leverhulme Trust and the Lundbeck Foundation. Her research work is conducted within the NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) Mental Health and Neurodegeneration Themes and the NIHR MedTech and in vitro diagnostic Co-operative (MIC). She consults for Cambridge Cognition.

Christelle Langley is funded by the Leverhulme Trust.

Martine Skumlien receives funding from the Aker Foundation.

Tianye Jia receives funding from the National Natural Science Foundation of China.

Drug War Crumbles as 14 Cities Have Now Decriminalized Mushrooms, Other Psychedelics—Despite Prohibition

By Matt Agorist

Despite the overwhelming evidence showing that kidnapping and caging people for possessing illegal substances does nothing to prevent use and only leads to more crime and suffering, government is still hell bent on enforcing the war on drugs. Like a crack addict who needs to find his next fix, the state is unable to resist the temptation to kick in doors, shake down brown people, and ruin lives to enforce the drug war.

Instead of realizing the horrific nature of the enforcement of prohibition, many cities across the country double down on the drug war instead of admitting failure. As we can see from watching it unfold, this only leads to more suffering and more crime. Luckily, there are cities, and now entire states in other parts of the country that are taking steps to stop this violent war and the implications for such measures are only beneficial to all human kind.

Eight years ago, Colorado citizens—tired of the war on drugs and wise to the near-limitless benefits of cannabis—made US history by voting to legalize recreational marijuana. Then, in 2019, this state once again placed themselves on the right side of history as they voted to decriminalize magic mushrooms. But this was just the beginning and their momentum is spreading—faster and stronger, toward decriminalizing all plant-based psychedelics. Then, last year, the state of Oregon decriminalized all drugs.

Now, another spark has erupted, and this time it is in Michigan. In March, Hazel Park City Council voted to decriminalize psilocybin and other naturally occurring psychedelics — following the lead of municipalities across the country.

Hazel Park is the third city in Michigan to pass a resolution to decriminalize psilocybin and the fourteenth in the nation.

To be clear, these measures do not mean that mushrooms and other plants are now legal, it simply means that cops can’t make it a priority to go after folks for them and it won’t land people in jail for possession. While legalization would be the perfect result, this is most certainly a step in the right direction.

As the resolution states, “it shall be the policy of the City of Hazel Park that the investigation and arrest of persons for planting, cultivating, purchasing, transporting, distributing, engaging in practices with, or possessing Entheogenic Plants or plant compounds which are on the Federal Schedule 1 list shall be the lowest law enforcement priority.”

The resolution further stipulates that “city funds or resources shall not be used in any investigation, detention, arrest, or prosecution arising out of alleged violations of state and federal law regarding the use of Entheogenic Plants.”

“As the resolution states, entheogenic plants improve mental health and wellbeing, and connect people with nature and whatever deity they worship,” Councilmember Luke Londo, the resolution’s sponsor said in a press release. “This isn’t speculative. This is the truth, with a whole body of research to back it up.”

“It’s the plants that are going to bring us back to sanity. We’ve got to listen to their message and we’ve got to live reciprocally with nature and restore the natural order,” Susana Eager Valadez, director of the Huichol Center for Cultural Survival and Traditional Arts said after Oakland passed a similar measure in 2019.

Now, cops can try to focus on real crimes instead of kidnapping and caging people who are trying to heal themselves with a plant.

As TFTP has reported in the past, psilocybin-containing mushrooms are an enemy to the establishment who has every reason in the world to want to keep them as illegal as possible. The same goes for ayahuasca and other powerful mind-opening substances.

The United States Supreme Court has unanimously ruled in favor of the legal religious use of ayahuasca by the União do Vegetal, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has affirmed the Santo Daime Church’s freedom to use Ayahuasca for religious purposes. However, ayahuasca’s principally active ingredient, DMT, remains a Schedule I controlled substance, carrying a steep prison sentence.

DMT appears in trace amounts in human blood and urine, suggesting it must be produced within the body, which means the DEA literally classifies our own bodies as have no medical purpose.

Because the US government is so tyrannically far behind the times, many people have been forced to travel outside of the country to meet with Shamans in the Amazon who are skilled and knowledgeable about the substance.

One industry in particular, Big Pharma, stands to lose billions if measures like this one began to spread to other areas as mushrooms and other hallucinogens have been clinically tested to treat a wide range of problems, including depression.

E-Course: How to Grow Edible Mushrooms (Ad)

One in ten men in the US currently takes an antidepressant while 16.5 percent of women use them as well. If people can treat their depression with something that you can grow in your own home or a plant medicine from a shaman verses taking pills with side effects like homicidal ideation, the pharmaceutical industry would lose big time.

Indeed, there are mounds of evidence and studies showing the positive benefits of magic mushrooms, ayahuasca, and ibogaine.

As TFTP reported, a study, published in the scientific journal Neuropharmacology, found that clinically depressed people had increased neural responses to fearful faces one day after a psilocybin-assisted therapy session, which positively predicted positive clinical outcomes.

“Psilocybin-assisted therapy might mitigate depression by increasing emotional connection,” neuroscientist and study author Leor Roseman, a Ph.D. student at Imperial College London, explained to PsyPost.

This is almost the exact opposite of how standard anti-depressants operate, as SSRI’s typically work by creating an “emotional blunting.”

“[T]his is unlike SSRI antidepressants which are criticized for creating in many people a general emotional blunting,” noted Roseman.

“I believe that psychedelics hold a potential to cure deep psychological wounds, and I believe that by investigating their neuropsychopharmacological mechanism, we can learn to understand this potential,” explained Roseman.

The government also stands to lose if more measures like this take hold in other cities too.

As TFTP previously reported, mushrooms and psychedelics used to be widely accepted as a treatment for many ailments until government moved in to stop the expansion of human consciousness.

As MAPS points out, although first-hand accounts indicate that ibogaine is unlikely to be popular as a recreational drug, ibogaine remains classified as a Schedule I drug in the United States (it is also scheduled in Belgium and Switzerland). Yet despite its classification as a drug with a “high potential for abuse” and “no currently accepted medical use,” people who struggle with substance abuse continue to seek out international clinics or underground providers to receive ibogaine treatment.

In the 1940s, Western medicine began realizing the potential for psychedelics to treat addiction and psychiatric disorders. Tens of thousands of people were treated effectively, and psychedelic drugs were on the fast track to becoming mainstream medicine. But the beast of oppression reared its ugly head.

In 1967 and 1970, the UK and US governments cast all psychedelic substances into the pit of prohibition. People were waking up to the fact that governments intended to keep the world in a state of war, and that governments were working to keep the populace sedated under a cloak of consumerism. The collective mind expansion of that era came to a screeching halt under the boot and truncheon.

As John Vibes pointed out, a study actually confirmed the fear of authoritarians and showed they have every reason to oppose legal mushrooms. According to the study from the Psychedelic Research Group at Imperial College London, published in the journal Psychopharmacologypsychedelic mushrooms tend to make people more resistant to authority. They also found the psychedelic experience induced by these mushrooms also cause people to be more connected with nature.

“Our findings tentatively raise the possibility that given in this way, psilocybin may produce sustained changes in outlook and political perspective, here in the direction of increased nature relatedness and decreased authoritarianism,” researchers Taylor Lyons and Robin L. Carhart-Harris write in the study.

Now, as people share information globally, instantaneously, on a scale unstoppable by the state, we are resuming the advancement of medical research on psychedelic substances. Scientists are challenging the irrational classification of psychedelics as “class A” (UK) or “schedule 1” (US) substances, characterized as having no medical use and high potential for addiction. And, the recent push in Michigan is evidence of this.

While the stigma associated with mushrooms and other psychedelics has been perpetuated by those who wish to keep them illegal—to keep society in a constant state of obedient mediocrity—in reality, they are extremely safe.

In fact, a major study declared magic mushrooms to be the safest recreational drug on the planet.

Of an astonishing 120,000 participants from 50 nations, researchers for the Global Drug Survey found the percentage of those seeking emergency treatment for ingesting psilocybin-containing hallucinogenic mushrooms to comprise just 0.2 percent per 10,000 individuals.

Rates of hospitalization for alcohol and cocaine were an astounding five times higher.

“Magic mushrooms are one of the safest drugs in the world,” Global Drug Survey founder and consultant addiction psychiatrist, Adam Winstock, told the Guardian, noting the biggest risk users face is misidentification — ingesting the wrong mushroom — not from the psychedelic fungus, itself.

After decades, it appears that another brick in the wall of prohibition is beginning to crumble in the face of science and logic. There may be hope for humanity after all.

Source: The Free Thought Project

NY Times Latest to Mislead Public on New Ivermectin Study

The New York Times on Wednesday sent an email to subscribers titled: “Breaking News: Ivermectin failed as a Covid treatment . . .” The Times was referring to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, covered March 18 by The Wall Street Journal. In both cases, the newspapers failed to provide an accurate critical analysis of the study.

The New York Times on Wednesday sent an email blast to subscribers with the subject line: “Breaking News: Ivermectin failed as a Covid treatment, a large clinical trial found.”

The Times was referring to a study I wrote about, that same day, for The Defender.

My article called out the Wall Street Journal for its March 18 reporting on the same study — before the study was even published — for its failure to provide an accurate, critical assessment of the study.

The study in question — “Effect of Early Treatment with Ivermectin among Patients with Covid-19” — was officially published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

In it the authors concluded:

“Treatment with ivermectin did not result in a lower incidence of medical admission to a hospital due to progression of Covid-19 or of prolonged emergency department observation among outpatients with an early diagnosis of Covid-19”

The Times did not critique the study itself, but quoted the opinion of Dr. David Boulware, an infectious-disease expert at the University of Minnesota:

“There’s really no sign of any benefit. Now that people can dive into the details and the data, hopefully that will steer the majority of doctors away from ivermectin towards other therapies.”

Yes. Let us dive into the details and the data and see where it “steers” us, shall we?

A closer look at the details

The NEJM study took place in Brazil between March 23 and Aug. 6, 2021.

The study examined 1,358 people who expressed symptoms of COVID-19 at an outpatient care facility (within seven days of symptom onset), had a positive rapid test for the disease and had at least one of these risk factors for severe disease:

  • Age over 50
  • Hypertension requiring medical therapy
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Lung disease
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Organ transplantation
  • Chronic kidney disease (stage IV) or receipt of dialysis
  •  Immunosuppressive therapy (receipt of ≥10 mg of prednisone or equivalent daily)
  • Diagnosis of cancer within the previous 6 months
  • Receipt of chemotherapy for cancer.

Young and healthy individuals were not part of this study.

Both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals were included in the study. The percentage of vaccinated participants in each group was not specified. Note that by choosing not to identify vaccination status as a confounding variable the authors are implying that vaccines are playing no role in preventing hospitalization.

The 1,358 subjects were divided into two equally sized groups that were relatively well-matched and randomized to receive either a three-day dose of placebo or a three-day course of ivermectin at 400 mcg/kg.

The primary outcome was hospitalization due to COVID-19 within 28 days after randomization or an emergency department visit due to clinical worsening of COVID-19 (defined as the participant remaining under observation for >6 hours) within 28 days after randomization.

How researchers were able to conclude ‘no benefit’ despite signs to the contrary

The study’s authors wrote:

“100 patients (14.7%) in the ivermectin group had a primary-outcome event (composite of hospitalization due to the progression of COVID-19 or an emergency department visit of >6 hours that was due to clinical worsening of COVID-19), as compared with 111 (16.3%) in the placebo group (relative risk, 0.90; 95% Bayesian credible interval, 0.70 to 1.16).”

In other words, a greater percentage of placebo recipients required hospitalization or observation in an emergency department than those who received Ivermectin.

The authors of the study broke it down by subgroups here:

As is demonstrated in nearly every subgroup, the Ivermectin recipients fared better than those who received the placebo.

However, these data were not statistically significant given the size of the study.

This is how the authors were able to conclude there was no benefit to ivermectin use in preventing hospitalization in high-risk patients in their study.

Patients were under-dosed, some didn’t follow instructions

As it stands, the study The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal declared as proof of the uselessness of ivermectin in treating COVID-19 is actually quite promising —  contrary to what their headlines told readers.

The dosing protocol advised by the Frontline COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC) includes a five-day course of ivermectin at 600 micrograms per kilogram of body weight for people with risk factors such as those possessed by participants in the study.

Instead, the investigators behind the NEJM study chose a much lower dose, 400mcg per day for only three days. This represents less than half of the total dose that has been shown to be effective in practice.

Furthermore, despite acknowledging that studies have shown some indication that the bioavailability of ivermectin increases when taken with food, especially a fatty meal, participants in the trial were instructed to take the medicine on an empty stomach.

In other words, the patients were significantly under-dosed — and yet a positive effect of the drug was emerging, though not statistically significant given the size of the study.

Also of note, the investigators chose to include emergency room visits with hospitalizations for COVID. Clearly, six hours of observation in an ER is a significantly different outcome than a hospitalization that may last a night or much longer.

When excluding the ER visits from the primary outcome and examining only hospitalizations, the ivermectin cohort had even less risk of an outcome, i.e. the relative risk was 0.84 vs 0.9 when ER visits and hospitalization were grouped together.

Perhaps the most glaring deficiency of the study is the low number of placebo recipients who actually followed the study’s protocol:

Only 288 of 679 participants randomized to receiving the placebo reported 100% adherence to the study protocol. Nearly 400 didn’t.

Why not? We asked Dr. Meryl Nass, an internist and member of the Children’s Health Defense scientific advisory committee.

Nass told The Defender:

“Presumably they knew the difference between ivermectin and placebo, and the placebo subjects went out and bought ivermectin or something else … but whatever they did, they didn’t bother with the pills they were given.

“So, it was not actually a double-blinded trial. Yet the 391 people who didn’t take the placebo but did something else were included in two of the three calculations of ivermectin efficacy anyway.”

So, was this the definitive answer proclaimed by mainstream sources? Nass thinks otherwise:

“I would say that instead, it was a failed trial due to the 391 placebo recipients who admitted they did not follow protocol versus the 55 in the ivermectin arm.”

More questions than answers

Rather than pounding the final nail in the coffin around ivermectin’s utility in treating COVID, the NEJM study raises more questions.

  • What would the effect have been if a higher dose shown to be effective were administered?
  • What would be the benefit of this medicine in patients with no risk factors?
  • How statistically significant would the results have been if more participants were enrolled?
  • Why weren’t more participants enrolled as the study progressed given the emerging benefit of the drug and the absence of adverse events?
  • Why did the investigators define a primary outcome with such different real-world implications (ER visits vs hospitalizations)?
  • With less than 50% of the placebo arm adhering to the study protocol, why were their outcomes included in the analysis?
  • What effect did vaccination status have on outcome? If this is the primary means endorsed to prevent hospitalization, why wasn’t vaccination status mentioned as a confounder?
  • Did the investigators choose to limit the study as it became clear that an Ivermectin benefit would be too big to ignore?

Given these obvious issues with the study, it is becoming even more clear where the real story is: Neither The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times are willing to pursue startling details around how corporate interests are corrupting scientific opinion as reported here.

Instead, these iconic journals chose to report on a scientific study on or prior to the day of publication using misleading headlines backed up by flimsy investigations conducted by journalists with no capacity to dissect the analysis or data.

Here’s a bigger question: Are they just incompetent, or complicit, too?

This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of Children’s Health Defense, Inc. Want to learn more from Children’s Health Defense? Sign up for free news and updates from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and the Children’s Health Defense. Your donation will help to support us in our efforts.

Another Michigan City Decriminalizes Psilocybin Despite Federal Prohibition

By Amanda Bowers

HAZEL PARK, Mich. (April 5, 2022) – Last month, Hazel Park City Council voted to decriminalize psilocybin and other naturally occurring psychedelics, despite federal prohibition on the same. Passage of the resolution takes a first step toward nullifying federal prohibition in practice and effect.

Councilmember Luke Londo sponsored the resolution. Under the new policy directive, enforcement of laws against a wide range of entheogenic substances such as psilocybin and ibogaine will become among the city’s lowest enforcement priorities.

The resolution declares that “it shall be the policy of the City of Hazel Park that the investigation and arrest of persons for planting, cultivating, purchasing, transporting, distributing, engaging in practices with, or possessing Entheogenic Plants or plant compounds which are on the Federal Schedule 1 list shall be the lowest law enforcement priority.”

The resolution further stipulates that “city funds or resources shall not be used in any investigation, detention, arrest, or prosecution arising out of alleged violations of state and federal law regarding the use of Entheogenic Plants.”

“As the resolution states, entheogenic plants improve mental health and wellbeing, and connect people with nature and whatever deity they worship,” Londo said in a press release. “This isn’t speculative. This is the truth, with a whole body of research to back it up.”

Hazel Park is the third city in Michigan to pass a resolution to decriminalize psilocybin and the fourteenth in the nation.

Psilocybin is a hallucinogenic compound found in certain mushrooms. A number of studies have shown psilocybin to be effective in the treatment of depression, PTSD, chronic pain and addiction. For instance, a Johns Hopkins study found that “psilocybin produces substantial and sustained decreases in depression and anxiety in patients with life-threatening cancer.”

Despite the move to decriminalize psilocybin and other and its promising medical uses, the federal government maintains a total ban on the substance.

LEGALITY

Under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) passed in 1970, the federal government maintains complete prohibition of psilocybin. Of course, the federal government lacks any constitutional authority to ban or regulate such substances within the borders of a state, despite the opinion of the politically connected lawyers on the Supreme Court. If you doubt this, ask yourself why it took a constitutional amendment to institute federal alcohol prohibition.

The city council’s action will effectively end city enforcement of laws prohibiting the possession of psilocybin in Hazel Park. As we’ve seen with marijuana and hemp, when states and localities stop enforcing laws banning a substance, the federal government finds it virtually impossible to maintain prohibition. For instance, FBI statistics show that law enforcement makes approximately 99 of 100 marijuana arrests under state, not federal law. By curtailing or ending state prohibition, states sweep part of the basis for 99 percent of marijuana arrests.

Furthermore, figures indicate it would take 40 percent of the DEA’s yearly annual budget just to investigate and raid all of the dispensaries in Los Angeles – a single city in a single state. That doesn’t include the cost of prosecution either. The lesson? The feds lack the resources to enforce marijuana prohibition without state and local assistance, and the same will likely hold true with psilocybin.

Passage of this resolution in Hazel Park takes another first step toward nullifying psilocybin prohibition in practice and effect.

Source: Tenth Amendment Center

Amanda Bowers is a long-time Jill-of-all-trades with the TAC. She’s worked in outreach, local chapters, research, blogging and more.

“You’re Asking Me to Do What?” – Madison Cawthorn Talks about the ‘DC elites’ Having Orgies and Doing Cocaine (VIDEO)

Jim Hoft
March 28, 2022

Madison Cawthorn recently sat down for an interview where he discussed being invited to orgies by the DC elites.

Rep. Madison Cawthorn, “I mean the sexual perversion that goes on in Washington. I mean being kind of a young guy in Washington and the average age is probably 60 or 70. And I look at a lot of these people and you know, a lot of them that I, you know, that I looked up to through my life. I’ve always paid attention to politics and then all of the sudden I get invited to like, hey we’re going to have some kind of sexual get-together at one of our homes. You should come by… What did you just ask me to do? And then you realize they’re asking you to come to an orgy. Or the fact that you know there’s some of the people leading on the movement to try and remove addiction in our country. And of doing cocaine right in front of you.

No wonder the elites hate Madison Cawthorn. He won’t play their games.

Largest Ever Psychedelics Study Maps Changes of Conscious Awareness to Neurotransmitter Systems

Summary: Study reveals how psychedelic drug-induced changes in subjective awareness are rooted in specific neurotransmitter systems.

Source: McGill University

Psychedelics are now a rapidly growing area of neuroscience and clinical research, one that may produce much-needed new therapies for disorders such as depression and schizophrenia. Yet there is still a lot to know about how these drug agents alter states of consciousness.

In the world’s largest study on psychedelics and the brain, a team of researchers from The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital) and Department of Biomedical Engineering of McGill University, the Broad Institute at Harvard/MIT, SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University, and Mila—Quebec Artificial Intelligence Institute have shown how drug-induced changes in subjective awareness are anatomically rooted in specific neurotransmitter receptor systems.

The researchers gathered 6,850 testimonials from people who took a range of 27 different psychedelic drugs. In a first-of-its-kind approach, they designed a machine learning strategy to extract commonly used words from the testimonials and link them with the neurotransmitter receptors that likely induced them.

The interdisciplinary team could then associate the subjective experiences with brain regions where the receptor combinations are most commonly found—these turned out to be the lowest and some of the deepest layers of the brain’s information processing layers.

Using thousands of gene transcription probes, the team created a 3D map of the brain receptors and the subjective experiences linked to them, across the whole brain. While psychedelic experience is known to vary widely from person to person, the large testimonial dataset allowed the team to characterize coherent states of conscious experiences with receptors and brain regions across individuals. This supports the theory that new hallucinogenic drug compounds can be designed to reliably create desired mental states.

This shows brain scans from the study
Graph showing relation between type of drug, descriptive words and neurotransmitter. Credit: Danilo Bzdok

For example, a promising effect of some psychedelics for psychiatric intervention is ego-dissolution—the feeling of being detached with the self. The study found that this feeling was most associated with the receptor serotonin 5-HT2A.

However, other serotonin receptors (5-HT2C, 5-HT1A, 5-HT2B), adrenergic receptors Alpha-2A and Beta-2, as well as the D2 receptor were also linked with the feeling of ego-dissolution. A drug targeting these receptors may be able to reliably create this feeling in patients whom clinicians believe might benefit from it.

“Hallucinogenic drugs may very well turn out to be the next big thing to improve clinical care of major mental health conditions,” says Professor Danilo Bzdok, the study’s lead author

“Our study provides a first step, a proof of principle that we may be able to build machine learning systems in the future that can accurately predict which neurotransmitter receptor combinations need to be stimulated to induce a specific state of conscious experience in a given person.”

Sacklers Reach $6 Billion Deal Over Purdue Pharma’s OxyContin Lawsuits

Members of the billionaire Sackler family who control Purdue Pharma LP have agreed to fork over as much as $6 billion in a settlement with state governments for their role in fueling the U.S. opioid epidemic — a massive step in clawing back billions of dollars from the family’s fortune to support addiction treatment centers nationwide, according to a court filing on Thursday.

The deal comes after years of litigation over Purdue Pharma’s marketing of the OxyContin painkiller that subsequentially sparked the opioid crisis, claiming the lives of more than half a million Americans over the last two decades.

Attorneys general of eight states and the District of Columbia announced the deal after rejecting a $4.3 billion cash payment from the Sacklers.

The family demanded that a bankruptcy deal wouldn’t be possible unless they were released from all future liability related to Purdue’s OxyContin.

The new deal would restructure the company into a new entity called Knoa Pharma that a public board controls.

At the very end of the court filing, the Sacklers said they’re “pleased to have reached a settlement with additional states.”

They also said, “they sincerely regret that OxyContin … unexpectedly became part of an opioid crisis that has brought grief and loss to far too many families and communities.”

On Twitter, Prescription Addiction Intervention Now (PAIN), a non-profit activist group against the Sackler family, called the family’s statement “horrendous.”

Connecticut Attorney General William tweeted a statement:

“After years of lies and denial, the Sackler family must now directly apologize for the pain they have caused. They must reckon face-to-face with the survivors of their reckless greed at a public hearing. Museums and universities may now scrub the tarnished Sackler name from their walls—ensuring this family is remembered throughout history for their callous disdain for human suffering and nothing else.”

Judge Robert Drain, handling Purdue’s bankruptcy proceedings in White Plains, New York, must approve the deal with a hearing slated for March 9.

Source: ZeroHedge

New Hampshire Seeks to Make Ivermectin Available As an Alternative Covid Treatment

Mary Villareal
January 24, 2022 

Lawmakers from New Hampshire are set to pass a bill that makes it easier for people to obtain ivermectin, which they believe can fight the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19). The move will allow pharmacists to dispense the drug by means of standing orders.

Similar bills in other states have been ill-received, but the primary sponsor of the New Hampshire bill said that she expects a slightly amended version to get enough votes from the Republican-majority committee to send it for approval to the GOP-controlled House of Representatives, which already showed support for other COVID-related bills, including a state-wide ban against both government and private mandates.

“I have absolutely no doubt lives will be saved if human grade Ivermectin was available to COVID patients,” said state Republican Representative Leah Cushman, who is also a registered nurse. (Related: VACCINE REBELLION: Growing number of US states are refusing to go along with Biden’s covid vaccine fascism.)

To appease some concerns about the bill, Cushman also submitted amendments to her initial proposal, including notices with any dispensary for human use that it is considered an “off-label” use for COVID treatment. She also proposed to create a state tracking system of any adverse reactions experienced by those who take the human-grade version of the pill.

In Pennsylvania, Representative Dawn Keefer also introduced a bill that allows doctors to write prescriptions for ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine sulfate as a treatment for COVID-19, but the bill is yet to leave the committee.

FDA, medical professionals against bill

Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration officials said that there is no data showing the effectiveness of the drug against COVID-19, with multiple medical experts testifying against the bill on Tuesday.

Dr. Nick Perencevich, a retired general surgeon, stated that he would like to believe the standard of care in New Hampshire is that a patient could get a prescription for ivermectin, off-label, as long as the patient in question ideally, is put into some kind of clinical trial, whether for a company or an academic institution.

Dr. David Levine from Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center said that prescribing ivermectin is “dangerous and totally out of line with the standard of medical care around the world.”

In his testimony against the bill, Levine further wrote that he would never want ivermectin prescribed to himself or his family, and “would take legal action against anyone who recommended this to my loved ones.” (Related: Why is ivermectin STILL not being prescribed for covid?)

Dr. William Palmer, governor of the New Hampshire Chapter of the American College of Physicians, also submitted his own written testimony on the bill, saying that he was concerned that if it passed, it would have the potential to overwhelm the state’s health care system with cases of “ivermectin-induced side effects.”

However, there are experts that do agree with the use of ivermectin. Dr. Paul Marik, a neurocritical care doctor, testified that ivermectin is one of the safest drugs on the planet, adding that a human-grade version of the drug is approved for treatment in 79 other countries. He also pointed out that since its discovery in 1987, over 3.7 billion doses of ivermectin has been dispensed as an anti-parasitic drug.

“So somehow Japanese people, Indian people, Brazilian people can tolerate it safely but it’s toxic in Americans. You have to be kidding,” he said.

Marik further cited several studies that definitively proved ivermectin has both viricidal and anti-inflammatory properties. He also pointed out that it has already been used to treat deadly diseases such as mosquito-borne Zika virus and other similar viruses similar to the SARS-CoV-2 RNA viruses that cause COVID-19.

The bill is still currently in committee but is expected to go to a House vote in the next couple of weeks.

Psilocybin and MDMA Have Been Approved For Medicinal Use In Canada

Drew Barkin 
January 16, 2022

Canada has announced major news in the drug industryPsilocybin and MDMA have both been approved for medicinal use. This will allow patients suffering from life-threatening mental illnesses to be treated. Psilocybin is the active psychedelic compound in Mushrooms. MDMA is of course the psychoactive drug usually referred to as Ecstasy or Molly.

Psilocybin has been hailed in recent years for being a breakthrough therapy for depression. Even Mike Tyson stated the magical drug saved his life. MDMA has also received increasing positive support in the last few years after being pushed down for decades. It has been linked to treating PTSD and depression.

In Canada, patients suffering from mental illnesses will have access to both drugs through the Special Access Program. This program was designed to give patients access to non-marketable drugs when conventional therapy treatments fail.

Canada is leading the way right now. Other countries may consider following in their footsteps if more positive results are achieved. Oregon became the first U.S. State to legalize magic mushrooms. Service centers plan to open there in 2023.

Cannabis and Cancer: Censorship and Conspiracy

Ty Bollinger
December 16th, 2021

The cannabis plant (also known as the hemp plant) has been used in just about every culture for centuries. In fact, cannabis is included in the 50 fundamental herbs within the cornucopia of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It has been cited in ancient texts as having a healing effect on over 100 ailments. In recent years in the United States, the collective mood is changing in regards to cannabis/hemp (aka “marijuana”).

Personally, I prefer to use the term “hemp” or “cannabis” since those are proper names for the plant, and the truth is that the term “marijuana” (derived from the Mexican slang “marihuana”) was popularized in the early 1930s by the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (which later became the DEA) in order to make this amazing plant sound sinister and to elude the public’s existing familiarity and comfort level with the plant and the medical application of cannabis/hemp tinctures. “Marijuana” was not a commonly smoked recreational drug at the time.

Currently, there are over 3 dozen states where it is legal for patients to use “marijuana” for medical purposes. Pending federal legislation may open up opportunities for federally-funded medical research, including human clinical trials. This will further prove cannabis’ track-record when it comes to healing a number of disease conditions ? including cancer.

Cannabis and The Endocannabinoid System

In the mid-1990s, renowned Israeli researcher Dr. Ralph Mechaoulam, professor of Medicinal Chemistry at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, made an exciting discovery that would forever change how we look at our biological relationship to plant medicine. Dr. Mechaoulam discovered a subtle system within the body that seemed to have a balancing effect on every other system. He called it the Endocannabinoid (EC) System and it can be found in all mammals, including humans.

The EC system consists of a series of molecular receptors that are designed to receive cannabinoids. In particular this includes cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) as well as other related substances such as cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabinol (CBN).

Prior research in the 1980s led Mechaoulam and others to pinpoint two main receptors for cannabinoids ? cannabinoid 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid 2 (CB2). Researchers at the time also defined the natural substances called endocannabinoids, which our body produces on its own in a similar way it produces endorphins. Phytocannabinoids (namely THC, CBD, and their variants), on the other hand, come directly from the cannabis plant.

Cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 are designed by the body to be specific targets for THC, while our natural endocannabinoids help to synthesize it. The process of THC-cannabinoid receptor binding and what this does for the body is what researchers have been studying for over two decades. They are doing this in order to find out exactly how cannabis works in healing cancer.

Microbiologist Dr. Christine Sanchez of Compultense Univeristy in Madrid, Spain has been studying cannabinoids and cancer since the early 2000s. She was the first to discover the antitumor effects of cannabinoids.

“We now know that the endocannabinoid system regulates a lot of biological functions such as appetite, food intake, motor function, reproduction and many others and that is why the plant has such a wide therapeutic potential,” says Dr. Sanchez in a video interview for the web-based cable channel Cannabis Planet.

Cannabis & Cancer: Tumor Growth

“We observed that when we treated [astrocytoma, a type of brain tumor] cells with cannabinoids, the THC…was killing the cells in our Petri dishes,” Dr. Sanchez says. “We…decided to analyze these components in animal models of breast and brain tumors. The results we are obtaining are telling us that cannabinoids may be useful for the treatment of Breast Cancer.”

Sanchez and other researchers have confirmed that the most potent effects against tumor growth occur when THC and CBD are combined.

Cannabidiol, or CBD, which does not have a psychoactive effect, has long been known as a potent anti-cancer agent. This is because of its ability to interfere with cellular communication in tumors as well as in its ability to instigate apoptosis, or programmed cancer cell death. Some research studies, including in vitro and animal-based trials conducted by San Francisco-based researchers at the California Pacific Medical Center, have also shown that CBD may affect genes involved in aggressive metastasis. It does this by helping to shut down cellular growth receptors.

QUOTE-CANNABIS-hemp-Sanchez-Chemotherapy

?9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (i.e. THC), the psychoactive counterpart to CBD, has been shown to reduce tumor growth as well. It has also shown to have an effect on the rate of metastasis, including for non-small cell lung cancer ? the leading cause of cancer deaths globally. A 2007 study on THC and highly-aggressive epidermal growth factor receptor-overexpressing (EGF-expressing) lung cancer conducted by Harvard Medical School found that certain EGF lung cancer cells express CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors. They found that the presence of THC effected metastasis of these cells by reducing the “focal adhesion complex,” which plays a vital role in cancer migration.

Studies have also been conducted on the combined effect of CBD and THC on lung, prostate, colon, pancreatic, liver, bladder, cervical, blood-based, brain, and other forms of cancer. These studies lend increasing evidence to the fact that cannabinoids are not only antioxidant phytonutrients but powerful “herbal chemo” agents.

Says Dr. Sanchez: “One of the advantages of cannabinoid-based medicines would be that they target specifically tumor cells. They don’t have any toxic effect on normal non-tumoral cells. This is an advantage with respect to standard chemotherapy that targets basically everything.”

If You Use Cannabis for Cancer, Do it Right

Because cannabinoid therapy is relatively new in the mainstream, a current challenge for patients regarding its use is lack of regulation. This may change, however, with the possible passing of the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act, which has the support of 37 members of Congress.

CARERS would remove “marijuana” from the Controlled Substances Act Schedule I drug category, where it has been since 1970 ? on par with heroin and cocaine. This classification is ridiculous since, by definition, Schedule I drugs have “no currently accepted medical uses” and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) holds a patent (U.S. Patent 6630507) on cannabis oil for medical use!

Think about it. How can HHS hold a medical use patent for cannabis oil if there are no medical uses for cannabis? OK, enough of the logic lesson. Let’s just say that there are some serious logic deficiencies in these laws.

If “marijuana” is rightfully removed from a Schedule I drug, this would open the door for more targeted, federally-funded research as well as increased patient access to this amazing healing plant.

In the meantime, if you are on a cancer-healing path and are considering using cannabinoids, here are some general guidelines that experts agree are worth considering:

  1. Do your own research. The best way to learn about the power of cannabis in healing cancer is to start digging. There are approximately 500 articles on Pubmed alone relating to cannabis and cancer. Learn about strains, qualified targeted research studies, what method of administration may be right for you, and the importance of balancing the Endocannabinoid System.
  2. Know your source. Unfortunately, because the medical cannabis industry is largely unregulated, charlatans selling bogus products definitely exist. You should not have to pay exorbitant amounts of money for any cannabis product that you buy from regulated pharmacies or online. Also, make quality a priority for you. Be sure that your product comes from an organic source and that you know that the plant has not been grown or processed using pesticides.
  3. Stick with natural cannabis products. Synthetically-produced cannabinoids such as Marinol are commercially available. However, anecdotal evidence has found that these do not work as efficiently as natural substances do.
  4. Work with a professional healthcare provider trained in cannabinoid therapy. These professionals are out there in increasing numbers, especially in states where the medical cannabis industry is well established or growing, such as California and Colorado. Reach out to a patient advocate group online if no qualified professionals are in your area.
  5. Make cannabis therapy an important part of your overall cancer-healing toolbox. A well-rounded naturally-based cancer healing protocol involves working with the body’s own healing mechanisms through a variety of means. For you, this may mean changes to your diet and lifestyle, reducing stress, getting quality sleep, moving your body, intense detoxing protocols, and using other supplements and proven natural methods in addition to the powerful healing power of cannabis.

References: