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Why I Wrote The Honest Drug Book

The Honest Drug Book
The Honest Drug Book

The Honest Drug Book presents the hidden truth about a topic which touches the lives of almost everyone. It cuts through the blustering rhetoric of the war on drugs, and documents the facts about the subject in general, and about the individual drugs specifically.

This is a journey through 140 psychoactives, both chemical and botanical, each of which was personally tested and used by the author. For every drug, it lists the fundamental and sometimes life-critical information, including the anticipated onset, the common threshold doses, and the expected period of efficacy.


They were dying.  They really were dying.

Frequently, the names would be familiar. I had even conversed with some of them on the forums; until they stopped posting. They had disappeared. A little later a post would emerge breaking the news of their demise.

The Honest Drug Book
The Honest Drug Book

The details were usually vague, but sometimes I could read between the lines. I could place them into categories: an overdose, a disastrous combination, a mistake with preparation, an addictive loss of functionality, and so forth.

How could this happen?

I knew how it could happen, because even then I had the bones of one of my future rants in the back of my mind:

People are dying because of ignorance.  They are dying because unremitting propaganda is denying them essential safety information. They are dying because legislators and the media are censoring the science, and are ruthlessly pushing an ideological agenda instead.  They are dying because the first casualty of war is truth, and the war on drugs is no different.”

It was always heartbreaking. Gut-wrenching is a better term because despite the territory it always came as a shock.

I also felt impotent. If society was failing them, why couldn’t I explain how to mitigate some of the risks, and describe how to take more rational precautions?   Why couldn’t I articulate my own modus operandi, which I had developed for use during occasional excursions into the relatively benign waters of psychedelia.

Prohibition kills, education saves lives, so why couldn’t I educate?

Eventually, on return from a much anticipated encounter with ayahuasca in Peru, it suddenly came. It came in a flash: I could.

I saw a book: a book which spoke in the right terms, and on equal terms. I saw a book which presented those harm reduction protocols, and explained how to use them. I saw a book which offered drug-specific safety information, each of which was contextualised with a detailed and engaging experience report.

I saw a book that users could simply open, and view the critical data at the turn of a page. I saw a book that wasn’t daunting: one which would place this vital material at the fingertips of those who needed it most.

Could I really do this? I knew that I could, but I also knew that it would take a huge chunk out of my life and that once I started I wouldn’t be able to stop until it was complete.

I started.

Fast forward past personal experiences with 140 different drugs, expeditions to territories across the world, and adventures I could barely have conceived.

Fast forward to last week, when after years of investigation, research, and inner exploration, the book was finally published.

The picture I had seen earlier was now real. The publisher’s blurb was before my eyes:

The Honest Drug Book presents the hidden truth about a topic which touches the lives of almost everyone. It cuts through the blustering rhetoric of the war on drugs, and documents the facts about the subject in general, and about the individual drugs specifically.

This is a journey through 140 psychoactives, both chemical and botanical, each of which was personally tested and used by the author. For every drug, it lists the fundamental and sometimes life-critical information, including the anticipated onset, the common threshold doses, and the expected period of efficacy.

It also describes the subjective experience: what the drug was actually like at each stage of the duration.  These ‘trip reports’ are vital, as they help to identify pitfalls and specific risks for each substance. Often, this is achieved in a humorous and anecdotal manner, which is occasionally accentuated by the fact that the author had to travel the world to undertake the experiments lawfully.

In addition to these often rich and lengthy reports, the book is crammed with data and general information, inclusive of legal briefings, relative harm tables, addiction and overdose advice, detailed reference material, and even a drug dictionary.

Of critical importance is the first section, as it introduces the basics of harm reduction, in the form of a 10 step procedure to help mitigate risk. The same section explains core safety issues, such as how to test and identify a drug, and how to properly establish a dose.

The book itself is lavishly illustrated with hundreds of photographs, including of the drugs themselves. The images in the botanical section also encompass some of the indigenous settings encountered on the journey.

The full gamut of psychoactive chemicals and botanicals is covered. The well known include: LSD, heroin, cannabis, mephedrone, kratom, cocaine, 2C-B, DMT, yopo, methamphetamine, salvia divinorum, ketamine, ayahuasca and MDMA. The lesser known include: betel nut, 4-ho-met, changa, TPA, 4F-MPH, ephenidine, ololiuqui, cebil seeds, mapacho, MNA, celastrus paniculatus, yohimbe, and MEAI.

The scope also extends beyond the most common categories of hallucinogens, stimulants, depressants, cannabinoids and opioids. Included, for example, are nootropics (smart drugs) and oneirogenics (lucid and vivid dream herbs).

Another dimension, which is covered largely in the final section, is that of politics and the war on drugs. This is confronted head-on, with a statement of intent which is crystal clear.

Emphasised and underpinned throughout is personal safety and risk mitigation. This is the first and last message, and guides the entire narrative.

This is a book that won’t only fascinate and inform: it will save lives.

Was I happy with that?

Not entirely, but it provided the right sort of flavour. It was “close enough” as Mckenna famously stated.

When it appeared on Amazon, the button was pressed and its website was launched, inclusive of table of contents, and a number of sample pages: www.HonestDrugBook.com

I was much happier with that.

I posted this news on Reddit and on a handful of major forums. The reaction was positive. Feedback from those who purchased and made contact was a joy to read.

But I knew that this didn’t mean anything and that it wouldn’t mean anything unless it plugged some of those holes I referred to earlier. It had to find its way into the hands of those whose lives were imperilled by a lack of public awareness and personal understanding.

I always believed that if it helped a single person it would have been worth the effort, so perhaps I am being harsh on myself. However, despite initial sales being greater than I had dared hope, I feel frustrated because I know that I haven’t even scratched the surface. Virtually no-one is aware that it even exists.

I expect nothing at all from the mainstream media, or indeed, from any public figure. It’s a bit too close to reality, and the messages it project are a little too close to the truth. I don’t see any grand conspiracy here, it is simply that all these parties have been culturally conditioned, even if they don’t realise it. It is outside their bubble, as are those it seeks to help.

Its best chance to reach truly significant numbers is via some sort of viral play, or word of mouth. I know this will take time, but I am not a patient man, particularly when I believe that lives are at stake.

They are still dying.

In the 50’s, CIA was using LSD for spicing the local food.

CIA LSD Experiment

The 50-year mystery known as the ‘cursed bread’ in Pont-Saint-Esprit France, which left residents of a sleepy French village suffering chronic hallucinations, was discovered to be a CIA experiment in which their bread was spiked with LSD.

An American investigative journalist has uncovered evidence suggesting the CIA peppered local food with the hallucinogenic drug LSD
An American investigative journalist has uncovered evidence suggesting the CIA peppered local food with the hallucinogenic drug LSD

The revelations were discovered by an American investigative journalist when he uncovered evidence that the CIA prepared local food with the hallucinogenic drug LSD. The quite picturesque village in southern France descended into mass insanity literally overnight, as people were sectioned to asylums and resulting in at least 5 residents dying. The CIA had prepared local food with LSD as part of a mind control experiment at the height of the cold war.

The Telegraph reports: The mystery of Le Pain Maudit (Cursed Bread) still haunts the inhabitants of Pont-Saint-Esprit, in the Gard, southeast France.

On August 16, 1951, the inhabitants were suddenly racked with frightful hallucinations of terrifying beasts and fire.

One man tried to drown himself, screaming that his belly was being eaten by snakes. An 11-year-old tried to strangle his grandmother.

Another man shouted: “I am a plane”, before jumping out of a second-floor window, breaking his legs. He then got up and carried on for 50 yards. Another saw his heart escaping through his feet and begged a doctor to put it back. Many were taken to the local asylum in strait jackets.

Time magazine wrote at the time: “Among the stricken, delirium rose: patients thrashed wildly on their beds, screaming that red flowers were blossoming from their bodies, that their heads had turned to molten lead.”

Eventually, it was determined that the best-known local baker had unwittingly contaminated his flour with ergot, a hallucinogenic mould that infects rye grain. Another theory was the bread had been poisoned with organic mercury.

However, H P Albarelli Jr., an investigative journalist, claims the outbreak resulted from a covert experiment directed by the CIA and the US Army’s top-secret Special Operations Division (SOD) at Fort Detrick, Maryland.

The scientists who produced both alternative explanations, he writes, worked for the Swiss-based Sandoz Pharmaceutical Company, which was then secretly supplying both the Army and CIA with LSD.

Mr Albarelli came across CIA documents while investigating the suspicious suicide of Frank Olson, a biochemist working for the SOD who fell from a 13th floor window two years after the Cursed Bread incident.

One note transcribes a conversation between a CIA agent and a Sandoz official who mentions the “secret of Pont-Saint-Esprit” and explains that it was not “at all” caused by mould but by diethylamide, the D in LSD.

While compiling his book, A Terrible Mistake: The Murder of Frank Olson and the CIA’s Secret Cold War Experiments, Mr. Albarelli spoke to former colleagues of Mr Olson, two of whom told him that the Pont-Saint-Esprit incident was part of a mind control experiment run by the CIA and US army.

After the Korean War, the Americans launched a vast research program into the mental manipulation of prisoners and enemy troops.

Scientists at Fort Detrick told him that agents had sprayed LSD into the air and also contaminated “local foot products”.

Mr. Albarelli said the real “smoking gun” was a White House document sent to members of the Rockefeller Commission formed in 1975 to investigate CIA abuses.

It contained the names of a number of French nationals who had been secretly employed by the CIA and made direct reference to the “Pont St. Esprit incident.” In its quest to research LSD as an offensive weapon, Mr. Albarelli claims, the US army also drugged over 5,700 unwitting American servicemen between 1953 and 1965.

None of his sources would indicate whether the French secret services were aware of the alleged operation. According to US news reports, French intelligence chiefs have demanded the CIA explain itself following the book’s revelations. French intelligence officially denies this.

Locals in Pont-Saint-Esprit still want to know why they were hit by such apocalyptic scenes. “At the time people brought up the theory of an experiment aimed at controlling a popular revolt,” said Charles Granjoh, 71.

“I almost kicked the bucket,” he told the weekly French magazine Les Inrockuptibles. “I’d like to know why.”

Here is another article from the BBC reports.

10 Weed Strains To Try Right Now

10 Weed Strains To Try Right Now
Need something to wind down with at night - an Indica strain is perfect for deep relaxation!
10 Weed Strains To Try Right Now
Need something to wind down with at night – an Indica strain is perfect for deep relaxation!

The number of weed strains available out there is endless. Some are perfect for deep relaxation while others give users with depression and anxiety a much needed boost. Even more, there are some strains that are best for growing inside the home.

However, one thing is for certain – no matter the cannabis strain, all weed is good (I’m sure that is something that everyone can agree with). Something else to consider is how you put those precious strains to go use. Do you smoke it or, rather, vape it? Our money is on vaping. It enhances the flavor of your weed and consists of a much cleaner high. To help with picking out the best dry herb vaporizers that you can find today – TheVape Guide is the superior resource.

Without further ado, here is a comprehensive list of the 10 best weed strains out there that you should definitely try!

1. Bruce Banner #3

As you might have guessed it, this strain of cannabis is named after the alter ego of the Incredible Hulk. It has maintained a spot of the list of strongest marijuana strains and rightfully so, considering that it can reach up to 30% THC – making it a rather potent hybrid. This strain is predominantly sativa which can create a relaxed feeling as well as a rather euphoric high.

2. Jock Horror

Next on our list is Jock Horror – known for its delightfully berry flavor with a skunky aroma. This Indica-Sativa hybrid grows quite tall and flowers early – making it perfect for home use since it is ready sooner than other cannabis strains. This strain is commonly used by medicinal marijuana users who suffer from such ailments like stress, asthma, and depression.

3. Blissful Wizard

Bust out the snacks because this one is sure to have you raiding your kitchen when using this strain. Not only is it known for producing a long-lasting euphoric high but it also stimulates your appetite so definitely stock up before using. This one is a cross between two other weed strains – Girl Scout Cookies and Captain’s Cookies – containing around 25 to 34% THC.

4. Neville’s Haze

If you are new to using weed, this one is definitely not for you. This strain is sativa dominant – containing around 75% – making it hit you hard and fast so definitely one for those veteran users. The scent can be compared to nuts and pine cones while the taste simulates lemons. It is great for those who need that extra energy and creativity boost.

5. Girl Scout Cookies

This next one is here sheerly out of popularity. This hybrid has taken much of the United States by storm and rightfully so – it is a cross between Durban Poison and OG Kush. Due to this mix, you can expect a THC concentration of around 28% – making it a great choice for seasoned users. This strain is very uplifting and makes for a strong brain stimulant as well as a body relaxant.

6. Khalifa Kush

This strain isn’t for the faint of heart as it packs a punch and is known to cause paranoia and anxiety so err on the side of caution. It is 80% Indica and 20% Sativa – making for a 26% THC potent mix. It has a minty flavor and is perfect for those who suffer from chronic conditions like arthritis or multiple sclerosis – leaving the body tingly and relaxed, helping to forget the pain.

7. Chiquita Banana

Next on our list is one that truly pushes the limits of how potent a weed strain can get which Chiquita Banana doesn’t fail to disappoint. This strain has won many awards already and reaches THC concentrations of up to 33%  – so definitely not great for a newbie. This one is a cross between Banana and OG Kush and has a very tropical and sweet taste.

8. OG Kush

We simply can’t forget to add this one to our list considering that it’s been around since the 1990s and has served as the base for many other popular weed strains. Just like with others featured here – it is a potent strain with between 19 to 24% THC, making it a no go for newbies. It is well known for its pine flavor and rather citrus smell.

9. Gorilla Glue #4

As with our previous entry, we can’t forget this one due to its popularity. This strain is also potent – falling within the 24 to 28% THC concentration, however, it has been known to reach levels up to 30%. This one is a pain killer and produces a heavy high but one that is still quite comfortable.

10. Jack Herer

This strain, finally, is one that new users can get their hands on and enjoy. It is less potent than many other cannabis strains with a 15 to 23% THC concentration and a 55 Sativa/45 Indica balance. This one is also great for medicinal marijuana users and is popular for pain killing as the high hits the user early on. It is well known for its musky and skunky flavor.

Final Thoughts

Sativa cannabis
Looking to forget all those aches and pains – try a Sativa dominant strain.

Much of the entries on this list consisted of rather potent concoctions and tantalizing hybrids, however, this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to weed strains. New ones are bred often and different strains are crossed together – making combinations endless. While only one entry made it here for newbies, we suggest doing your own research and finding one that is right for you to start out with. If you are a seasoned user, well then have at it.

Like we mentioned before, there are many ways to get your weed fix – you can cook with it, eat it, smoke it, or vape it. If you haven’t jumped on the vaping train yet and want to learn more about it – check out TheVape.Guide for the low-down on vaping dry herb.

Psychedelic Research Conference | Creatives Of Toronto

This annual conference aims to bring the ongoing psychedelic research renaissance to the general public. Over the last 20 years, psilocybin, LSD, MDMA and more have returned to scientific laboratories and have been informing neuroscience and therapeutic practice at an unprecedented rate.

Hosted at the University of Toronto Earth Science Centre, “Mapping the Mind with Mushrooms” brings together psychologists, philosophers and mycologists to address the current findings and implications of psychedelic mushrooms and more.

Best Psychedelic Books

Psychedelic Books

Psychedelic books have always constituted a large percentage of our reading time. Information about psychedelics can be found in movies, podcasts, and on various websites on the Internet, but books remain among the best resources available for expanding one’s knowledge about psychedelics. So where to begin your journey into the inner workings of psychedelics and the mind? Well, the following psychedelic books are a great place to start.

This is a list of psychedelic literature, works related to psychedelic drugs and the psychedelic experience. Psychedelic books has also been defined as textual works that arose from the proliferation of psychiatric and psychotherapeutic research with hallucinogens during the 1950s and early 1960s in North America and Europe.

Here is our list of essential reading for any enthusiasts looking to not only expand their mind on a spiritual level, but also on an educational level as well.

Popular Psychedelics Books

1The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys

This is always the first book that we recommend to anyone who wants to know more about psychedelics. Called “America’s wisest and most respected authority on psychedelics and their use,” James Fadiman has been involved with psychedelic research since the 1960s. In this guide to the immediate and long-term effects of psychedelic use for spiritual (high dose), therapeutic (moderate dose), and problem-solving (low dose and microdose) purposes, Fadiman outlines best practices for safe, sacred entheogenic voyages learned through his more than 40 years of experience–from the benefits of having a sensitive guide during a session (and how to be one) to the importance of the setting and pre-session intention.

Fadiman reviews the newest as well as the neglected research into the psychotherapeutic value of visionary drug use for increased personal awareness and a host of serious medical conditions, including his recent study of the reasons for and results of psychedelic use among hundreds of students and professionals. He reveals new uses for LSD and other psychedelics, including microdosing, extremely low doses for improved cognitive functioning and emotional balance. Cautioning that psychedelics are not for everyone, he dispels the myths and misperceptions about psychedelics circulating in textbooks and clinics as well as on the internet. Exploring the life-changing experiences of Ram Dass, Timothy Leary, Aldous Huxley, and Huston Smith as well as Francis Crick and Steve Jobs, Fadiman shows how psychedelics, used wisely, can lead not only to healing but also to scientific breakthroughs and spiritual epiphanies.

2True Hallucinations: Being an Account of the Author’s Extraordinary Adventures in the Devil’s Paradise

No list of psychedelic books would be complete without at least one of the bard Terence McKenna’s books. Although Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge is McKenna’s best-known work, True Hallucinations is my favorite.

After the death of his mother in 1971, Terence, his brother Dennis, and three friends found themselves in the Colombian Amazon in search of oo-koo-hé, a psychoactive plant concoction containing DMT. At Dennis’ insistence, the group found themselves involved in a psychedelic experiment with the goal of contacting the Logos. The experiment at La Chorrera involved the use of psilocybin mushrooms and a vocal technique which Dennis developed to attempt actual DNA alteration during a psychedelic experience.

The experiment resulted in a shamanic initiation for the two brothers, with Terence communicating with a divine voice and Dennis undergoing a dramatic psychological breakdown of sorts. While the book The Invisible Landscape: Mind, Hallucinogens, and the I Ching goes into more detail about the experiment that occurred five years prior at La Chorrera, I found True Hallucinations to have benefited from twenty years of reflection. It is a more clearly-written and objective assessment of what happened to the Amazonian travelers, and certainly worth checking out.

3The Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss: My Life with Terence Mckenna

For those who lived through what is sometimes called the Psychedelic Revolution, Terence McKenna is a legend. Once referred to as “the intellectual’s Timothy Leary.” Terence attained iconic status as a radical philosopher, futurist, cultural critic, and raconteur. His unorthodox ideas about the evolutionary and cultural impact of psychedelic drugs shocked many and resonated with many others. In 1971, we embarked on an expedition to the Amazon, bent on uncovering the real mystery behind psychedelic experience. Terrence died in 2000, never to learn if his predictions about the end of the world, in his particular sense, were true. As Terence’s younger brother and only sibling, I grew up with him in a small town in western Colorado during the fifties and sixties. Traveling together in the Colombian Amazon in 1971 with a few other kindred spirits we called our band “the Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss.” As Terence’s brother, I helped him create and develop many of “his” ideas.

Terence became the spokesman for the alien dimensions accessed through psychedelics, a philosopher of the unspeakable, a beloved and sometimes reviled bard of the marvels and occasional terrors waiting in the recesses of human consciousness. By choice and inclination, I stayed in the background, pursuing a scientific career in disciplines that ranges from ethnopharmachology and ethnobotany to neuroscience. Since Terence’s death, we’ve witnessed the first decade of a new era that by all early indications will be as strange and disturbing, as full of hope and despair, as any period that humanity has yet endured. I’ve been drawn to look back at how our personal world began.

4DMT: The Spirit Molecule

Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) is a powerful psychedelic compound naturally produced by the human brain and also found in many plants and animals. After a 40-year lull during which there was no government-approved psychedelic research being conducted, Rick Strassman conducted a series of biomedical assays on DMT during the early 1990’s at the University of New Mexico.

One of the things that may surprise you about this book is its impressive writing quality. Even though Strassman has a scientific background, he also has a remarkable ability to turn a phrase and keep his readers’ interest. Among other topics such as the history of psychedelics and Strassman’s career, the book primarily focuses on the experiences of the volunteers during their participation in the DMT studies. As a practicing Buddhist, Strassman does incorporate a bit of spirituality into the book. However, it doesn’t take the front seat, so there’s no need to avoid this one if you’re not into that. Overall, this is an insightful look at the first studies that helped spark the recent psychedelic renaissance.

5Plants of the Gods: Their Sacred, Healing, and Hallucinogenic Powers

World-renowned anthropologist and ethnopharmacologist Christian Ratsch provides the latest scientific updates to this classic work on psychoactive flora by two eminent researchers. Plants of the Gods: Their Sacred, Healing, and Hallucinogenic Powers is the definitive photographic encyclopedia of psychedelic plants, compiled by ethnobotanist Richard Evans Schultes, the Swiss scientist and creator of LSD Albert Hofmann, and world-renowned anthropologist and ethnopharmacologist Christian Rätsch.

Three scientific titans join forces to completely revise the classic text on the ritual uses of psychoactive plants. They provide a fascinating testimony of these “plants of the gods,” tracing their uses throughout the world and their significance in shaping culture and history. In the traditions of every culture, plants have been highly valued for their nourishing, healing, and transformative properties. The most powerful of those plants, which are known to transport the human mind into other dimensions of consciousness, have always been regarded as sacred. The authors detail the uses of hallucinogens in sacred shamanic rites while providing lucid explanations of the biochemistry of these plants and the cultural prayers, songs, and dances associated with them. The text is lavishly illustrated with 400 rare photographs of plants, people, ceremonies, and art related to the ritual use of the world’s sacred psychoactive flora.

6The Long Trip: A Prehistory of Psychedelia

Many people assume that experimentation with hallucinogens began with Timothy Leary and the psychedelic revolution of the fifties and sixties. In fact, as this illuminating study demonstrates, psychedelics have been used by human societies in every part of the world for ritual and spiritual purposes for millennia. As Paul Devereux points out, our modern culture is eccentric in its refusal to integrate the profound experiences offered by these natural substances into our own spiritual life and traditions. Modern Western culture’s recent experimentation with psychedelic drugs raised the awareness of archaeologists and anthropologists, leading them to recognize the use of hallucinogens in surviving traditional societies and in the archaeological record.

Devereux reveals dramatic new evidence – from linguistics, ethnobotany, biology, and other fields – for the psychedelic experiences of various prehistoric cultures, and ponders the implications and effects of psychedelic revelations on our contemporary worldview, linking them to out-of-body and near death experiencs, shamanic trances, even memory and dreaming.

7Psychedelic Healing: The Promise of Entheogens for Psychotherapy and Spiritual Development

Neal Goldsmith is a psychotherapist and counselor with a private practice in New York who takes a psychospiritual approach to personal development, healing, and change. This book explores his entertaining personal history with psychedelics and focuses on the potential for true healing to occur as a result of a psychedelic practice.

Banned after promising research in the 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s, the use of psychedelics as therapeutic catalysts is now being rediscovered at prestigious medical schools, such as Harvard, Johns Hopkins, NYU, and UCLA. Through clinical trials to assess their use, entheogens have been found to ease anxiety in the dying, interrupt the hold of addictive drugs, cure post-traumatic stress disorder, and treat other deep-seated emotional disturbances. To date, results have been positive, and the idea of psychedelics as powerful psychiatric–and spiritual–medicines is now beginning to be accepted by the medical community.

Exploring the latest cutting-edge research on psychedelics, along with their use in indigenous cultures throughout history for rites of passage and shamanic rituals, Neal Goldsmith reveals that the curative effect of entheogens comes not from a chemical effect on the body but rather by triggering a peak or spiritual experience. He provides guidelines for working with entheogens, groundbreaking analyses of the concept–and the process–of change in psychotherapy, and, ultimately, his own story of psychedelic healing. Examining the tribal roots of this knowledge, Goldsmith shows that by combining ancient wisdom and modern research, we can unlock the emotional, mental, and spiritual healing powers of these unique and powerful tools, providing an integral medicine for postmodern society.

8Aya Awakenings: A Shamanic Odyssey

Experiential journalist Rak Razam sets out to document the thriving business of 21st-century hallucinogenic shamanism starting with a trip to the annual Amazonian Shaman Conference in Iquitos, Peru, where he meets a motley crew of “spiritual tourists,” rogue scientists, black magicians, and indigenous and Western healers and guides, all in town to partake of the ritual–and the medicine–of ayahuasca, “the vine of souls.” Combining his personal story with the history of Amazonian shamanism, Razam takes the reader along on an entertaining, enlightening adventure.

In areas of Brazil, Ecuador, and Peru, the traditional herbal brew known as ayahuasca or yajé is legally used to heal physical ailments and to cleanse and purify the spirit by connecting it to the web of life. Sting and Tori Amos have admitted sampling it in Latin America, as has Paul Simon, who chronicled the experience in his song “Spirit Voices.” Aya Awakenings works as a cautionary tale, a travelogue, and a memoir, but primarily acts as a portal through which readers are able to gain more information about the perils and the promise of spiritual reconnection through ayahuasca.

“A memorable–and deeply personal–journey into the hearts and minds of those who carry on the shamanic traditions of ayahuasca.”–Rick Doblin, founder of the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS).

9The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead (Citadel Underground)

“It is a book for the living as well as for the dying.”—Lama Govinda

We are in the midst of a powerful psychedelic renaissance. After four decades of hibernation, the promise of the psychoactive ’60s—that deeper self-awareness, achieved through reality-bending substances and practices, will lead to greater external harmony—is again gaining a major following. The signs are everywhere, from the influence of today’s preeminent psychedelic thinker Daniel Pinchbeck, to the renewed interest in the legacy of Terence McKenna, and to the upsurge of collective, inclusive (and overtly tripped-out) cultural phenomena like the spectacle of Burning Man.

The Psychedelic Experience, created in the movement’s early years by the prophetic shaman-professors Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner, and Richard Alpert (Ram Dass), is a foundational text that serves as a model and a guide for all subsequent mind-expanding inquiries. In this wholly unique book, the authors provide an interpretation of an ancient sacred manuscript, The Tibetan Book of the Dead, from a psychedelic perspective. The Psychedelic Experience describes their discoveries in broadening spiritual consciousness through a combination of Tibetan meditation techniques and psychotropic substances.

As sacred as the text it reflects, The Psychedelic Experience is a guidebook to the wilderness of mind and an indispensable resource from the founding fathers of psychedelia.

10Acid Test: LSD, Ecstasy and the Power to Heal

A fascinating, transformative look at the therapeutic powers of psychedelic drugs, particularly in the treatment of PTSD, and the past fifty years of scientific, political, and legal controversy they have ignited, by award-winning journalist Tom Shroder.

It’s no secret that psychedelic drugs have the ability to cast light on the miraculous reality hidden within our psyche. Following the discovery of LSD less than a hundred years ago, psychedelics began to play a crucial role in the quest to understand the link between mind and matter. Compounds such as LSD and MDMA have proved to be extraordinarily effective in treating disorders such as posttraumatic stress–yet the drugs remain illegal, out of reach of the millions of people who could benefit from them.

Tom Shroder’s Acid Test is a meticulously researched history of LSD and the controversy surrounding psychedelics, as well as a striking look at the unprecedented healing properties of drugs that have for decades been characterized as dangerous, illicit substances. Shroder covers the first heady years of experimentation in the 50s and 60s through the backlash of the 70s and 80s, when the drug subculture exploded and uncontrolled experimentation with street psychedelics led to a PR nightmare that would set therapeutic use back decades. Acid Test is a fascinating, transformative look at the therapeutic powers of psychedelic drugs, particularly in the treatment of PTSD, and the past fifty years of scientific, political, and legal controversy they have ignited.

11Breaking Open the Head: A Psychedelic Journey into the Heart of Contemporary Shamanism

A dazzling work of personal travelogue and cultural criticism that ranges from the primitive to the postmodern in a quest for the promise and meaning of the psychedelic experience.

While psychedelics of all sorts are demonized in America today, the visionary compounds found in plants are the spiritual sacraments of tribal cultures around the world. From the iboga of the Bwiti in Gabon, to the Mazatecs of Mexico, these plants are sacred because they awaken the mind to other levels of awareness–to a holographic vision of the universe.

Breaking Open the Head is a passionate, multilayered, and sometimes rashly personal inquiry into this deep division. On one level, Daniel Pinchbeck tells the story of the encounters between the modern consciousness of the West and these sacramental substances, including such thinkers as Allen Ginsberg, Antonin Artaud, Walter Benjamin, and Terence McKenna, and a new underground of present-day ethnobotanists, chemists, psychonauts, and philosophers. It is also a scrupulous recording of the author’s wide-ranging investigation with these outlaw compounds, including a thirty-hour tribal initiation in West Africa; an all-night encounter with the master shamans of the South American rain forest; and a report from a psychedelic utopia in the Black Rock Desert that is the Burning Man Festival.

Breaking Open the Head is brave participatory journalism at its best, a vivid account of psychic and intellectual experiences that opened doors in the wall of Western rationalism and completed Daniel Pinchbeck’s personal transformation from a jaded Manhattan journalist to shamanic initiate and grateful citizen of the cosmos.

12LSD: My Problem Child – Reflections on Sacred Drugs, Mysticism and Science

This is the story of LSD told by a concerned yet hopeful father, organic chemist Albert Hofmann. He traces LSD’s path from a promising psychiatric research medicine to a recreational drug sparking hysteria and prohibition. We follow Dr. Hofmann’s trek across Mexico to discover sacred plants related to LSD, and listen in as he corresponds with other notable figures about his remarkable discovery. Underlying it all is Dr. Hofmann’s powerful conclusion that mystical experience may be our planet’s best hope for survival. Whether induced by LSD, meditation, or arising spontaneously, such experiences help us to comprehend;the wonder, the mystery of the divine in the microcosm of the atom, in the macrocosm of the spiral nebula, in the seeds of plants, in the body and soul of people. More than sixty years after the birth of Albert Hofmann’s problem child, his vision of its true potential is more relevant, and more needed, than ever.

13Zig Zag Zen: Buddhism and Psychedelics

This is a compilation of articles and interviews written and conducted by several respected luminaries in both the Buddhist and psychedelic communities. The pieces explore the overlap between Buddhism and psychedelics, together conducting a dialogue concerning whether psychedelics have a place in sincere Buddhist practice, and vice-versa. Exploring topics such as The Tibetan Book of the Dead, spiritually-influenced artwork, the potential of psychedelics in spiritual traditions, psychoactivism, and the use of cannabis in harm reduction, this book is an extremely well-written and edited exploration of psychedelics in the context of Buddhist practice.

14The Genesis Generation: A Psychedelic Novel

This is a novel about a small band of friends who are part of a world wide psychedelic community loosely calling itself “the Tribe.” Like many other forward-thinking people today, they are struggling to make the transition from cubicle-working consumers into beings who are more truly human. The story that Lorenzo weaves is the tale of a young man caught between two worlds, the world of corporate America and that of people with a more psychedelic (soul manifesting) point of view. As things unfold, we experience his transformation from being a 29 year old “yuppie-geek” into a valuable member of the Tribe. The story begins in Palenque, Mexico and moves through Texas, Amsterdam, Viet Nam, and even on to Burning Man before reaching a surprising climax. Eventually, the hero of the story must choose between living in the corporate world or living free. At least, that is what he thinks until events sweep him along in an unforeseen direction.

15Psychedelic Information Theory: Shamanism in the Age of Reason

Psychedelic Information Theory: Shamanism in the Age of Reason is a formal analysis of the physical mechanisms underlying hallucination, shamanic ritual, and expanded states of consciousness. Written by James L. Kent, this text was researched for over 20 years and includes over 200 references and 31 images related to the latest science in the diverse fields of pharmacology, shamanism, and perception. As a succinct yet comprehensive formal analysis of the dynamics of hallucination and shamanic ritual, Psychedelic Information Theory is destined to become the modern textbook on psychedelic phenomena.

Chapters include information on the physiology of perception, types of visual hallucination, psychedelic pharmacology, psychedelic neuroplasticity, chaos theory, shamanic therapy, shamanic sorcery, and group mind phenomena related to psychedelic consciousness.

16The Doors of Perception: Heaven and Hell

In 1952 Aldous Huxley became involved in the now legendary experiment to clinically detail the physiological and psycho-logical effects of the little known drug used by Mexican and Native American elders in religious practices. The drug was Peyote-now commonly know as mescalin. By the standards of the time, Huxley was a hard working, respected, and reserved intellectual from a highly intelligent, well-know, and eccentric British family. By any standards, the results of the experiment were remarkable. The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell detail the practic-alities of the experiment and give Huxley’s vivid account of his im-mediate experience and the more prolonged effect upon his sub-sequent thinking and awareness. At first, the reader is drawn in by the sheer naivety and tom-foolery of the proposal but is soon caught in a finely woven net by the juxtaposition of Huxley’s formidable intellect, his remarkable ability to convey the experience in such acute and truthful detail, and his incredible modesty. In 1922 Gertrude Stein famously wrote – A rose is a rose is a rose. In proving her right, Huxley also shows the deeper meaning be-hind the apparently simple verse and goes on to deliver such spec-tacular accounts of the most everyday objects that the reason for their repeated and continual renderings by all the major artists throughout history suddenly becomes quite clear. For the con-scious and willing reader – a trip to the Guggenheim, the Louvre or the Tate Modern will never be the same again.

17Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution

Terence McKenna hypothesizes that as the North African jungles receded, giving way to savannas and grasslands near the end of the most recent ice age, a branch of our arboreal primate ancestors left the forest canopy and began living in the open areas beyond. There they experimented with new varieties of foods as they adapted, physically and mentally, to the environment. Among the new foods found in this environment were psilocybin-containing mushrooms growing near dung of ungulate herds occupying the savannas and grasslands. Referencing the research of Roland L. Fisher, McKenna claims the enhancement of visual acuity was an effect of psilocybin at low doses and suggests this would confer adaptive advantage. He argues that the effects of slightly larger doses, including sexual arousal, and in larger doses, ecstatic hallucinations & glossolalia-gave selective evolutionary advantages to members of those tribes who partook of it. There were many changes caused by the introduction of this psychoactive to primate diets. He hypothesizes, for instance, that synesthesia (the blurring of sensory boundaries) caused by psilocybin led to the development of spoken language: the ability to form pictures in another person’s mind through the use of vocal sounds. About 12,000 years ago, further climate changes removed psilocybin-containing mushrooms from human diets. He argues that this event resulted in a new set of profound changes in our species as we reverted to the previous brutal primate social structures that had been modified and/or repressed by frequent consumption of psilocybin.

18The Shaman and Ayahuasca: Journeys to Sacred Realms

Internationally respected Peruvian shaman Don José Campos illuminates the practices and benefits of Ayahuasca with grace and gentleness and much respect and gratitude for the gifts Ayahuasca has bestowed on him throughout the 25 years he has been a practicing shaman. He takes the reader on a journey through his own difficulties in the discovery of other worlds, other dimensions, alien entities and plant teachers. Among other things, he discusses his difficulties in coping with some of the concepts taught to him by his plant teachers like the discovery that everything has consciousness. But if we accept this, our entire cosmology shifts for the greater benefit of mankind.

Along with Don José s transmission, we meet Pablo Amaringo. The world famous visionary painter talks about his art and his experiences as a shaman and the shocking reasons he stopped. Other voices include Julio Arce Hidalgo, biochemist and philosopher, and Don Solon, at 92 years old, the sole surviving Maestro of Don José. If one is interested in this most fascinating subject but is put off or frightened by the traveller s tales, this is the perfect book to introduce you to the profound experiences of Ayahuasca.

19Singing to the Plants: A Guide to Mestizo Shamanism in the Upper Amazon

In the Upper Amazon, mestizos are the Spanish-speaking descendants of Hispanic colonizers and the indigenous peoples of the jungle. Some mestizos have migrated to Amazon towns and cities, such as Iquitos and Pucallpa; most remain in small villages. They have retained features of a folk Catholicism and traditional Hispanic medicine, and have incorporated much of the religious tradition of the Amazon, especially its healing, sorcery, shamanism, and the use of potent plant hallucinogens, including ayahuasca. The result is a uniquely eclectic shamanist culture that continues to fascinate outsiders with its brilliant visionary art. Ayahuasca shamanism is now part of global culture. Once the terrain of anthropologists, it is now the subject of novels and spiritual memoirs, while ayahuasca shamans perform their healing rituals in Ontario and Wisconsin.

Singing to the Plants sets forth just what this shamanism is about–what happens at an ayahuasca healing ceremony, how the apprentice shaman forms a spiritual relationship with the healing plant spirits, how sorcerers inflict the harm that the shaman heals, and the ways that plants are used in healing, love magic, and sorcery.

20The Ayahuasca Test Pilots Handbook: The Essential Guide to Ayahuasca Journeying

The Ayahuasca Test Pilots Handbook provides a practical guide to ayahuasca use, aiding seekers in making right—and safe—decisions about where to go, who to drink with, and what to expect.

Ayahuasca, the Amazonian psychoactive plant brew, has become vastly popular. Once the sole purview of shamans and indigenous native people in the great Amazon rainforest, ayahuasca is now becoming well known—and widely used—around the globe. Today, foreigners from all over the world flock in ever-burgeoning numbers to the steamy Amazon, drinking bitter ayahuasca with shamans and curanderos in order to access its potent healing and spirit-enlivening effects. What began as a mere trickle of visitors in the 1980s has become a surging riptide of seekers.

Chris Kilham (Fox News’s “Medicine Hunter”) has worked closely with South American shamans for two decades and has sat in ayahuasca ceremonies with at least 20 different shamans. Through his “Ayahuasca Test Pilots” program, Kilham has brought numerous people to the Amazon to engage in ceremonies with maestro ayahuasceros. Clear, concise, straightforward, and well informed, The Ayahuasca Test Pilots Handbook is an indispensable guide for anyone curious about this unusual plant medicine.

21DMT and the Soul of Prophecy: A New Science of Spiritual Revelation in the Hebrew Bible

After completing his groundbreaking research chronicled in DMT: The Spirit Molecule, Rick Strassman was left with one fundamental question: What does it mean that DMT, a simple chemical naturally found in all of our bodies, instantaneously opens us to an interactive spirit world that feels more real than our own world?

When his decades of clinical psychiatric research and Buddhist practice were unable to provide answers to this question, Strassman began searching for a more resonant spiritual model. He found that the visions of the Hebrew prophets–such as Ezekiel, Moses, Adam, and Daniel–were strikingly similar to those of the volunteers in his DMT studies. Carefully examining the concept of prophecy in the Hebrew Bible, he characterizes a “prophetic state of consciousness” and explains how it may share biological and metaphysical mechanisms with the DMT effect.

Examining medieval commentaries on the Hebrew Bible, Strassman reveals how Jewish metaphysics provides a top-down model for both the prophetic and DMT states, a model he calls “theoneurology.” Theoneurology bridges biology and spirituality by proposing that the Divine communicates with us using the brain, and DMT–whether naturally produced or ingested–is a critical factor in such visionary experience. This model provides a counterpoint to “neurotheology,” which proposes that altered brain function simply generates the impression of a Divine-human encounter.

22Tryptamine Palace: 5-MeO-DMT and the Sonoran Desert Toad

A journey from Burning Man to the Akashic Field that suggest how 5-MeO-DMT triggers the human capacity for higher knowledge through direct contact with the zero-point field

The venom from Bufo alvarius, an unusual toad found in the Sonoran desert, contains 5-MeO-DMT, a potent natural chemical similar in effect to the more common entheogen DMT. The venom can be dried into a powder, which some researchers speculate was used ceremonially by Amerindian shamans. When smoked it prompts an instantaneous break with the physical world that causes out-of-body experiences completely removed from the conventional dimensions of reality.

In Tryptamine Palace, James Oroc shares his personal experiences with 5-MeODMT, which led to a complete transformation of his understanding of himself and of the very fabric of reality. Driven to comprehend the transformational properties of this substance, Oroc combined extensive studies of physics and philosophy with the epiphanies he gained from his time at Burning Man. He discovered that ingesting tryptamines unlocked a fundamental human capacity for higher knowledge through direct contact with the zero-point field of modern physics, known to the ancients as the Akashic Field. In the quantum world of nonlocal interactions, the line between the physical and the mental dissolves. 5-MeO-DMT, Oroc argues, can act as a means to awaken the remarkable capacities of the human soul as well as restore experiential mystical spirituality to Western civilization.

23Seven Nights with Ayahuasca: A graphic account of heaven and hell, and the bizarre infinity in between

Secluded in the depths of the Peruvian Amazon, Nicholas Floyd plunges headfirst into the ancient shamanic ritual of ingesting Ayahuasca, a medicinal and extremely potent hallucinogenic brew that thrusts him into a profound introspective journey of unbridled euphoria, unbearable anguish, unsettling imagery, and unexpected epiphanies. Brutal and heart-wrenching visions force him to confront himself for the first time in his life, and he emerges from the emotional crucible as a man reformed in ways that he never predicted. Seven Nights with Ayahuasca is the graphic firsthand narrative of one man’s life-changing Ayahuasca visions, written in precise language devoid of the vague analogies and cryptic spiritual lingo that often saturate such accounts of Ayahuasca. In this gripping and phantasmagorical expedition of the mind — easily accessible regardless of one’s experience with hallucinogens — Floyd vividly details both the Ayahuasca intoxication itself, as well as the incredible therapeutic potential thereof.

24The Politics of Ecstasy (Leary, Timothy)

Writings that sparkle with the psychedelic revolution. The Politics of Ecstasy is Timothy Leary’s most provocative and influential exploration of human consciousness, written during the period from his Harvard days to the Summer of Love. Includes his early pronouncements on the psychedelic movement and his views on social and political ramifications of psychedelic and mystical experience.
Here is the outspoken Playboy interview revealing the sexual power of LSD-a statement that many believe played a key role in provoking Leary’s incarceration by the authorities; an early outline of the neurological theory that became Leary’s classic eight-circuit model of the human nervous system; an insightful exploration of the life and work of novelist Hermann Hesse; an effervescent dialogue with humorist Paul Krassner; and an impassioned defense of what Leary called “The Fifth Freedom”-the right to get high.

25The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test

For a start, Kesey’s own life with the Merry Pranksters is perhaps the consummate example of a phenomenon that, in 1968, baffled the national imagination: the transformation of the “promising middle-class youth with all the advantages” into what was popularly known as “the hippie.” Kesey was more than promising. He was a Golden Boy of the West-a scholar, actor, star athlete, and one of the outstanding novelists of his generation-when he burst forth as an experimenter with powerful new hallucinogenic drugs, leader of the Merry Pranksters, and, finally, fugitive from the FBI, the California police, and the Mexican Federales.

Tom Wolfe, a journalist already widely known for his exuberant portraiture of the American Bizarre, plunged into the psychedelic world of the Pranksters and emerged with The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, a now-classic portrait of the coterie which gave the hippie world of the 1960s much of its philosophy and vocabulary. He recounts their romp across America in the first psychedelic bus, their alliance with the Hell’s Angels, their Be-elzebubbling takeover of a Unitarian Church convention, their conversion of the biggest anti-Vietnam rally of all time into a freak-out, their zany games of hide-and-seek from the law in two countries-all with a depth of exploration and a stylistic inventiveness which make The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test one of the most memorable journalistic odysseys of our time.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
― Dr. Seuss

Why Ayahuasca Was the Worst and Best Thing That’s Ever Happened to Me

What is Ayahuasca?

Ayahuasca is a psychedelic brew which has been used as a healing medicine by the Amazonians for thousands of years. Even though it is illegal in most parts of the world, Ayahuasca is completely legal in countries like Peru, Venezuela and Brasil. It is a combination of Chacruna (a plant enriched with DMT) and the Ayahuascan vine (Banisteriopsis caapi). DMT ( N, N- Dimethyltrytamine) is an endogenous chemical that we produce at birth and death. There are also many theories about DMT being responsible for dreaming, but I don’t think it has been scientifically proven yet.

DMT is naturally produced by practically every plant and mammal; some just have higher amounts of DMT than others. The only reason why we don’t absorb DMT and travel to other dimensions every time we eat food is because of a stomach enzyme we produce called monoamine oxidase. This breaks down the DMT and prevents it crossing the blood brain barrier. The ayahuasca vine has a monoamine oxidase inhibiter which allows our body to absorb DMT.

My Story:

My legs were shaking like Bambi’s and my stomach was violently churning as I raced towards the solace of the bathroom. But I was too late – I projectile vomited up the door and along the tiled floor. I was soon snow angel-ing in my own puke begging for mercy.

Back on my mat I was confronted by unforgiving concrete walls. They shunted up from the earth and marched towards me in a menacing, military form. The only escape was to shed my skin like an obese reptile giving birth to its own true self. That night, my ego died a long and painful death.

It was the worst 8 hours of my life and I swore to never do it again. But here I am.  I’ve drunk ayahuasca a dozen times and have entered into a lifelong relationship with ‘her’ – ‘Mother Ayahuasca’.

They say that ayahuasca, this foul psychedelic brew from the Amazon rainforest, is a lifetime of therapy in one night. I was as cynical as the rest of you, but I have to say, it’s true!

They also say that it’s one thing to know with your mind, and quite another to KNOW with your heart. It is one thing, reading inspirational poems and listening to great speakers, it is quite another to come face to face with your confusion and bullshit first hand, hashtag no filter.

It is like waking up to the matrix and having x-ray vision so you can suss out social politics and power struggles. You become immune to the games that people play and you transcend the stories we tell ourselves. You find forgiveness and compassion incredibly easy. Patience, trust and humility become ingrained in your daily routines.

They call it ‘La Medicina’, and after imbibing your medicine, you are transported deep within your consciousness. I’ve felt my anxieties evaporate into the stars and learned that it is OK to be weak, OK to surrender and OK to recognise the hurt within. I’ve travelled through the 4th dimension and met with my 8 year old self. I put my hands on her shoulders and told her: stay humble, be patient and always radiate love.

I envisioned myself wearing a suit of armour with metal spikes that went outwards to defend myself. But the spikes also pointed inwards to demonstrate how I harm myself by ostracising myself. I’ve weeped over the pain of my estranged, mentally ill and opium riddled sister, and am moving towards the first steps to reawaken our troubled relationship.

I’ve recalled supressed memories of childhood abuse and forgave my father for his sins. I saw that he was a victim of circumstance who didn’t have the strength to break the cycle. I know he will go to his grave soaked in remorse. I am sorry for withholding my love as a daughter, and I forgive him. My sister who committed suicide 15 years ago played a nightmare-sh practical joke on me by manifesting herself as the exorcist child – by the way, I saw this with my eyes open. She taught me to not fear my shadow side. And through her playful presence, I learned to not fear death.

I’ve felt the confusion of the foetuses I terminated as they find their feet in a new life.  And I realised my potential as a mother. After years of denouncing motherhood and feeling apathy for children, I connected with my inner sacred feminine that I put into an induced coma many years ago. I saw how all those years of school bullying dimmed my shine, oh how I cried. I flooded the world with my stress-laced tears. I was Alice in Wonderland.

I saw all of my behaviours that were self-harming: comfort eating, partying too hard, sleeping around, being reckless with money, being antagonistic. I was blocking myself from health and true happiness by satiating my ego. I attended my own funeral and heard the insults of my enemies while my black stone coffin lowered into the ground. I realised how much I loathed myself…then learned to love myself.

I’ve felt Ayahuasca flush through every cell and capillary in my body. It’s scary being in the grip of the medicine but you know you are being helped. I’ve seen ceremony rooms as hospital wards, spirit entities as doctors, and myself as a new born baby with a second shot at life.

I now nourish myself, surround myself with true friends, exercise regularly, do yoga, see food as medicine and walk in nature. I have learned to respect this meatsuit that is transporting me through life. I have completely relinquished my ambitions. No longer do I feel the need to climb up the greasy career pole or prove myself to my competition. No longer do I feel the need to humiliate others with the power of my knowledge. I now find joy in the simple things and look to help others. I’ve developed a new appreciation for those I love the most. My best friend, who I admire for her relenting selflessness. My loving and exceptionally precious partner, for being the most gentle and caring human being I have ever known. And my resilient mother with her childlike spirit for going through all the hardship she did and still having the energy to slap a smile on her face.

They say Ayahuasca is the teacher, but you gotta do the homework. There is nothing more terrifying than coming home from a cosy retreat and realising that you are now walking a different path to everyone around you. You’ve gotta walk hand in hand with Ayahuasca and keep up the good work. It’s not for the faint hearted. It’s for the brave.

After a year of journeying with Ayahuasca I feel alive and SO grateful. Ayahuasca make you wanna shout from the rooftops, and sign up for public talks!

I highly recommend…no, I urge you to drink ayahuasca and study her teachings. It won’t be easy or pretty. Yes, you’ll puke; yes, you’ll have explosive diarrhoea; yes, you’ll trip your fucking balls off; yes, you’ll violently sob. You might even laugh like a maniac and dance like nobody’s watching.

But, none of that really matters because you may just rediscover your true essence, find your calling, shake off the clutches of society, heal deep trauma, surrender to universal love and permanently change your life.

They say that before you come to ayahuasca, you need to hear her call. So, let this be your calling.

Freya Huasca is a freelance writer and vocalist who lives by the sea in the U.K. After discovering the power of plant medicines, she now blogs about her journeys into hyperspace here: https://freyahuasca.wordpress.com/

CBD: Powerful Alternative Treatment for Mental Illness

CBD Powerful Alternative Treatment for Mental Illness

“Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.— 43.8 million, or 18.5% — experiences mental illness in a given year”. These are the alarming statistics we are currently facing in the United States, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Fortunately, there’s an ongoing conversation on mental health taking place, with increased awareness compared to previous years. However, a great deal of patients are faced with long-term treatment, usually with harmful prescription medication. But what if we had a natural solution available, such as CBD oil? Find out the CBD benefits for mental health below. Here is another list of the most significant 5 diseases that CBD can help treat.

CBD Oil for Anxiety

The concept of medical marijuana for anxiety serves as one of the most popular queries in relation to CBD hemp oil. Based on preclinical trials and what confirmed information we have until now, researchers widely agree that CBD is a powerful, natural anxiolytic. CBD and anxiety go hand in hand, with cannabidiol oil significantly reducing the effects of disorders in this category.

From heart rate to blood pressure, the best strains for anxiety succeed in maintaining stats under control. Although traditional weed and anxiety may be disastrous together, pure CBD oil (with little to no THC content) will work wonders on calming the nerves. Science shows that, despite originating from the same plant, THC and CBD interact differently with our brain, with the latter being a potent anti-psychotic.

Cannabis Oil for PTSD

Common medication for PTSD includes heavy anti-depressants like Prozac or Zoloft, which can potentially lead to addiction or withdrawal systems. Nevertheless, CBD treatment for PTSD is identified as a viable natural solution. But how does CBD help PTSD? Above all, by noticeably reducing symptoms of PTSD, starting with fear memory.salviaextract CBD OIL CBD EDIBLES CBD GUMMIESIn addition to this, CBD can play a crucial role in PTSD treatment by lowering the chances of hypervigilance, otherwise known as being extremely alert. Hemp oil for PTSD can also help with recurring nightmares that most patients of this disorder undergo. CBD specifically has a relaxing effect among oils for anxiety, as opposed to the psychoactive impact of THC.

Cannabidiol Oil for OCD

Another one of the anxiety disorders that can benefit from positive CBD effects is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Just like in the case of PTSD, CBD is typically treated with harsh anti-depressants that can have a lifelong impact. OCD patients usually have to take daily treatment to maintain the highly control-oriented symptoms of the disorder.

A CBD anxiety study with preclinical trials on rats concluded that cannabidiol may have anti-compulsive benefits for OCD patients1. In other words, there is an increased chance that those with OCD may not feel such a strong need to carry out certain actions repetitively.

CBD for Social Anxiety

Based on data collected by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) affects 15 million American adults, roughly 8.7% of the entire population of our country. One of the most dominant traits of this anxiety disorder is fear of public speaking.

Research shows that pure CBD tincture makes SAD patients more comfortable with speaking in public, even with a better reaction from their audience. One specific study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology in Oxford a few years ago sums up that “CBD reduces anxiety in SAD and that this is related to its effects on activity in limbic and paralimbic brain areas2“.

On a more general level, you can also take CBD oil for panic attacks, extensive stress and even migraines.

Cannabidiol and Sleep Disorders

Even though anxiety and insomnia are often complementary, there has recently been a spike in the demand of CBD tincture for sleep. Therapeutic benefits also extend to CBD REM sleep, in which cannabidiol oil may regulate the anxiety-induced alteration in this stage of deep sleep.

A study conducted last year on a 10-year-old girl with sleep issues, anxiety and additional PTSD symptoms had impressive results. The general conclusion included “clinical data that support the use of cannabidiol oil as a safe treatment for reducing anxiety and improving sleep in a young girl with posttraumatic stress disorder”, with a “steady improvement in the quality and quantity of the patient’s sleep3”.

Cannabinoid Oil for Addiction

A CBD oil benefits list also includes addiction management and treatment. Whether it’s about alcohol, cigarettes or stronger substances, CBD can simultaneously reduce both cravings and relapses in those who suffer from addiction. Even more so, CBD can aid in shielding your brain from damage caused by abusing these substances.

Researchers are now diving into the power of cannabidiol to balance emotional memory processing often associated with addiction. To support this claim, a recent study on hemp oil benefits in relation to substance abuse disorders states that “cannabidiol reduces the expression of drug memories acutely and by disrupting their reconsolidation4”.

Medical Marijuana and Depression

Despite the fact that CBD does not possess the psychoactive properties that give THC the “high” effect, it does allow the user to relax and enjoy a sense of calm and mild euphoria. More and more individuals are seeking medical marijuana for depression, some who haven’t yet found an effective treatment, others to avoid the addiction caused by anti-depressants.

To understand how the effects take place, we need to go back to one of the general causes of depression: lack of chemical balance in the human brain. This directly impacts the central nervous system, which is also known as the endocannabinoid system. When neglected, this system undergoes reduced levels of energy, mood swings and loss of appetite, among others. CBD aids in leveling all of these symptoms, without tightly binding the CB1 receptor and causing intoxication like THC.

CBD Oil Effects on Schizophrenia

Last but not least, it is essential to reference CBD trials for schizophrenia when discussing cannabidiol and mental health. Doctors currently believe that CBD can affect the dopamine system of our brain, while decreasing symptoms of cognitive disorders like schizophrenia. CBD and schizoaffective disorder work through anandamide, a critical neurotransmitter in psychosis.

Results from studies point out that CBD can boost levels of serum anandamide, leading to the improvement of the condition. The formal conclusion of the research team was that “inhibition of anandamide deactivation may contribute to the antipsychotic effects of cannabidiol potentially representing a completely new mechanism in the treatment of schizophrenia5”.

While more research is required to prove the effectiveness of CBD oil for each disorder mentioned, there is hope that cannabidiol will become a normal therapeutic component in the near future. As far as mental health is in discussion, the anxiolytic, anti-depressant and anti-psychotic properties of CBD are paving the way to a new perspective on global mental illness therapy.

References

1 Nardo, Mirella, Casarotto, Plinio C., Gomes, Felipe V., Guimarães, Francisco S., “Cannabidiol reverses the mCPP-induced increase in marble-burying behavior”, Fundamental & Clinical Pharmacology, 2013.

2 Crippa, J.A. et. al, “Neural basis of anxiolytic effects of cannabidiol (CBD) in generalized social anxiety disorder: a preliminary report”, Journal of Psychopharmacology, 2011.

3 Shannon, S., Opila-Lehman, J., “Effectiveness of Cannabidiol Oil for Pediatric Anxiety and Insomnia as Part of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Report”, The Permanente Journal, 2016.

4 Lee, J.L., Bertoglio, L.J., Guimarães, F.S., Stevenson, C.W., “Cannabidiol regulation of emotion and emotional memory processing: relevance for treating anxiety-related and substance abuse disorders”, British Journal of Pharmacology, 2017.

5 Leweke, F.M. et. al, “Cannabidiol enhances anandamide signaling and alleviates psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia”, Translational Psychiatry, 2012.

Will CBD (hemp oil) Get Me High?

Will CBD Get Me High

Let’s be honest; this is the question we’re all curious about when getting acquainted with cannabidiol (CBD hemp oil). “Will CBD vape oil get you high?” is addressed with hopeful excitement by some, but with concern by others. Considering that it comes from the cannabis plant, a CBD high should be the norm, right? Wrong. Well, at least most of the time, depending if there’s a THC and CBD ratio or not. We’ll explain everything and get the facts straight once and for all below.

How Will I Feel After Taking CBD Oil?

Before we expand on how pure CBD oil won’t get you high, let’s start from scratch. What is CBD oil in the first place? For the sake of simplifying and making sure we’re all on the same page, CBD is short for cannabidiol, an active compound found in plants from the Cannabis Sativa species (cannabis or hemp). Due to the lack of CBD’s binding when interacting with CB1 (our cannabinoid receptor, which includes our brains and central nervous systems), there won’t be any CBD oil high taking place.

However, if there’s any type of THC CBD blend at hand, the THC content may spark the high associated with recreational marijuana. You see, THC binds extremely well with CB1, causing the stimulation that results in a high sensation. We wanted to mention this detail because numerous CBD products also contain traces of THC. If yours is pure CBD, you should experience no psychoactive CBD oil effects whatsoever.

salviaextract CBD OIL CBD EDIBLES CBD GUMMIESBut it’s impossible for no CBD vape oil effects to take place, isn’t it? Yep, this time you’re right. CBD oil vape juice (or in other forms) will have an effect on you, but in the best way possible. It kicks in as an awesome analgesic if you’re in pain, it will relax you if you’re stressed and it will calm you if you’re feeling nauseous. As opposed to THC, you won’t experience paranoia, nervousness or any of the occasional effects you’ll get from traditional marijuana smoking.

Are There Any CBD Oil Side Effects?

By now, it all seems too good to be true. No matter how you slice it, the positive effects of CBD greatly outweigh any CBD side effects you may never end up experiencing. Nonetheless, it’s our duty to present the big picture. We’re glad to report that potential CBD effects are common, such as having a dry mouth or low blood pressure, or feeling drowsy or light-headed. Those with Parkinson’s disease should avoid CBD, as some clinical studies conclude that CBD might aggravate muscle movement.

In a study published in Dialogues in clinical neuroscience, doctors Natalya M. Kogan and Raphael Mechoulam wrap up their observations noting: “In view of the very low toxicity and the generally benign side effects of this group of compounds, neglecting or denying their clinical potential is unacceptable. 1” We couldn’t agree more.

Will CBD Oil Appear on a Drug Test?

Another one of the questions that concerns many is the possibility of cannabis oil or hemp oil showing up on a drug test. You can rest assured that pure CBD will not make you flunk one of these tests. Still, any bit of THC content may end up on your results, so be careful which variety you consume.

Is Cannabidiol Oil for Me?

Now that we know it’s safe to use, what are some of the common CBD hemp oil uses or benefits of CBD oil? We have to admit that a full hemp oil benefits list would mostly likely result in writing a book, so we’ll just touch on some of the most sought-after applications. You’ve probably heard of cannabis oil for pain, CBD oil for anxiety or even CBD oil cancer benefits. No matter how far-fetched they may seem, they’re all wonderfully true.

In fact, numerous studies based on clinical trials all point to the effectiveness of organic CBD oil. For instance, one study about cannabis oil for cancer states “cannabinoids could have direct antitumour activity, possibly most impressive in central nervous system malignancies” and that “Oncologists could find cannabis and cannabinoids to be effective tools in their care of patients living with and beyond cancer2”.

For more common applications, CBD is a natural analgesic and anti-inflammatory agent, meaning that you can take CBD oil for pain and discomfort. Also, if you’re generally anxious or you suffer from more severe conditions, like PTSD, you can look into the best CBD hemp oil for anxiety as a solution. Here is an extremely simplified list of a few other hemp oil uses and CBD benefits in relation to health problems:

  • Kidney Disease
  • Glaucoma
  • Epilepsy
  • Diabetes
  • Autism
  • Stroke
  • OCD
  • Schizophrenia
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • ALS

What about CBD Oil for Dogs or Cats?

Lucky for us, cannabis oil uses extend to our four-legged friends as well. No matter if your pup or kitty is the case, you can give them CBD for aggression, arthritis, digestive problems or even as post-surgery treatment. Even more so, it is reported that CBD tincture can speed the recovery process for ripped ligaments, sprains and even broken bones in your furry companion.

How Should I Take Cannabinoid Oil?

CBD Hemp Oil
CBD Hemp Oil

At this point, you’re probably wondering what the best CBD oil method is. To each his own, but vaping CBD oil is definitely one of the most popular ways. It is said that using CBD vape juice (CBD E liquid) is the quickest way for it to take effect. Some aren’t comfortable with this option, so they opt for CBD pills, CBD extract or CBD drops for oral consumption. If you want a cool treat, you can even indulge in CBD gummies. Actually, CBD gummy bears are gaining widespread love more than ever these days.

If you’re aiming to treat a skin condition, you may be better off with a CBD lotion. People also use CBD cream topically for pain relief, but you can get its analgesic benefits better with CBD oil capsules. For treating a larger part of your skin, sit back, relax and enjoy a tub with a CBD bath bomb. The huge variety of options for taking CBD makes us all the more fond of this breakthrough alternative treatment.

To put it all in a nutshell, CBD hemp oil will not get you high, but it will give you more benefits than you could ever imagine. If you’re incredibly anxious or stressed out all the time or if you struggle with an aggravated health condition, CBD may just be the miracle you’ve been overlooking all this time. Don’t fall prey to ignorance; choose to be informed and find out all of the options you have at hand. It just may save your life

References

1 Natalya M. Kogan, M. Natalya, Mechoulam, Raphael, “Cannabinoids in health and disease”, Dialogues in clinical neuroscience, pp. 413-430, 2007.

2 Abrams, D.I., “Integrating cannabis into clinical cancer care”, Current Oncology, 2016.

 

CBD 101: The Good, the Bad & the Hope

CBD 101

Cannabidiol (CBD) has been sparking interest and keeping the conversation going on medical marijuana for years on end. Although studies in support of CBD benefits surface periodically, the uninformed masses are still apprehensive about accepting cannabinoid oil as a form of alternative treatment. But what is the truth about cannabidiol oil and how effective is it for healing purposes? Learn all about the potent chemical compound in the comprehensive guide below.

What Is CBD Oil (Cannabidiol)?

CBD, the acronym for cannabidiol, is defined by the National Cancer Institute as “a phytocannabinoid derived from Cannabis species, which is devoid of psychoactive activity, with analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antineoplastic and chemopreventive activities”. To put it shortly, it is one of the numerous active cannabinoids found in cannabis, the well-known plant from the Cannabaceae family.

Contrary to what some may believe, CBD oil uses do not include recreational consumption. In other words, cannabidiol is not synonymous with the psychoactive drug derived from the same plant. CBD has various therapeutic applications, from dealing with Alzheimer’s to easing digestive issues and more. Before we go into detail about the health benefits of CBD, we’ll shed some light on its most controversial aspect.

CBD vs THC

Indeed, both THC and CBD are natural constituents of the cannabis plant. Moreover, they also share the same chemical composition. However, THC is a known psychoactive, while CBD is anything but. What truly sets the two apart is the way they interact with cannabinoid (CB1) receptors. THC effectively binds with CB1 receptors, resulting in the stimulation that recreational users aim for.

On the other hand, CBD doesn’t fix on as well on the receptors. Consequently, it doesn’t activate the central nervous system and the brain as much. In fact, it decreases the main side effects that THC comes with: anxiety and short-term memory impairment. It’s a well-known antipsychotic that actually increases your energy instead of draining you of it.

CBD Oil Benefits List: What is CBD Good for?

With new research on the rise, the positive effects of CBD hemp oil are starting to be outnumbered. Cannabis oil uses are continually being studied, for both mental and physical ailments. An entire article would have to be dedicated to the extended applications of cannabidiol, so we’ll highlight a few of the main benefits of CBD oil below.

1. CBD Oil for Pain

Among its countless therapeutic properties, hemp oil is known for being a capable pain reliever. Patients suffering from chronic pain are starting to use CBD oil to relieve the intense discomfort that comes with these diseases. Cannabidiol has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, also possessing muscle-relaxing properties.

After one study regarding the power of cannabinoids in managing extreme pain, the author concluded that “Given their multi-modality effects upon various nociceptive pathways, their adjunctive side benefits, the efficacy and safety profiles to date of specific preparations in advanced clinical trials, and the complementary mechanisms and advantages of their combination with opioid therapy, the future for cannabinoid therapeutics appears very bright, indeed.”1

2. CBD Oil for Anxiety

In addition to using cannabis oil for pain, people are being more receptive to using it for anxiety relief. More specifically, the National Institute on Drug Abuse identified significant therapeutic benefits for SAD (Social Anxiety Disorder) patients, but also for those undergoing an extensive amount of stress. After these early trials, the results were observed not only on a behavioral level, but also through a visibly reduced heart rate.2

These aren’t the only situations in which CBD proves its anti-anxiety properties. In addition to SAD patients, individuals with PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder) can use CBD oil for anxiety management. Even more so, those who suffer from insomnia triggered by anxiety can also rely on cannabidiol for ease of sleep.

3. CBD Oil Cancer Treatment?

Arguably one of the most controversial topics as of late is cannabis oil for cancer. There are already an abundance of papers that attest its ability to inhibit malignant tumors. Just an example is a study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, concluding that CBD has a “dual effect on both tumor and endothelial cells supports the hypothesis that CBD has potential as an effective agent in cancer therapy”.3 Essentially, CBD oil for cancer works by stopping the growth of tumors.

These are all a mere handful of the health issues that CBD oil can help with. Epilepsy, schizophrenia, autism and bipolar disorder are a few other prominent examples. For a broad view, the European Coalition for Just and Effective Drug Policies pinpoints no less than 700 medicinal uses for cannabis, with a lengthy collection of papers that expand on each one.

CBD Oil Side Effects: Can CBD Hurt Me?

If you’re just starting to get acquainted to the idea of cannabidiol, CBD side effects will certainly be among your concerns. The good news is that any potentially negative CBD effects are minimal. The only apparent downsides to CBD seem to be experiencing dry mouth symptoms, drowsiness, reduced blood pressure or light-headedness. Parkinson’s patients should speak to a medical professional prior to taking CBD, as it may increase their tremor. Aside from that, CBD is regarded as a safe treatment.

How Is Pure CBD Oil Consumed?

Now that you’re familiar with the basics about CBD oil, you may want to consider testing CBD products for yourself. Fortunately, CBD can be consumed in a variety of forms, ranging from CBD vape juice or CBD drops to CBD extract, CBD pills or CBD Gummies. CBD oil vape, also known as CBD E liquid, is one of the most popular options, particularly owing to the water-soluble properties of vaping. To put it otherwise, your body will benefit from a larger amount of CBD.

For topical use, consider a CBD cream. This form is highly recommended for individuals suffering from skin issues, such as eczema, psoriasis or acne. You can also use a CBD bath bomb for your skin. Additionally, even though there is no scientific evidence to back it up yet, some people prefer using CBD lotion for treating pain topically.

Recently, CBD gummies have taken the online market by storm. CBD gummy bears are infused with a CBD tincture, allowing users to reap the health benefits orally. However, ingestion may not be as effective as other consumption methods. It is said that only about 15% of CBD will take effect when consumed orally.

Is CBD Oil Legal?

Finding out if you can legally buy CBD oil strongly depends on your location. While some states and countries have regulations that allow cannabis oil for sale, others have strict policies against it. At the moment, the cannabis oil legal status is positive in 49 states in the USA. There is only one state where there is still an issue and that is South Dakota.

Final Thoughts: The Hope that CBD Brings

With ongoing clinical trials and new information regularly released, there is hope that CBD will be normalized sometime in the near future. Our hope grows proportionally with every medical case improving with the help of CBD. Together with the rise of mental illness awareness, we are experiencing a global mindset shift that we’re confident will contribute to the greater good.

As an organic, safe and potent alternative to dangerous prescription medication, we have every reason to follow the scientific updates regarding cannabidiol and its health benefits. All it takes is a bit of time and effort put into research to understand how this natural element has the power to positively impact the lives of millions around the world.

References

1 Russo, Ethan B, “Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain”, Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management, pp. 245-259, 2008.

2 Volkow, Nora D, Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse, “The Biology and Potential Therapeutic Effects of Cannabidiol”, presented at the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, 2015.

3 Solinas M, Massi P, Cantelmo AR, Cattaneo MG, Cammarota R, Bartolini D, Cinquina V, Valenti M, Vicentini LM, Noonan DM, Albini A, Parolaro D., “Cannabidiol inhibits angiogenesis by multiple mechanisms”, British Journal of Pharmacology, 2012.

Psychedelics and Their Benefits to Mental Health

Psychedelics and Their Benefits to Mental Health
Psychedelics and Their Benefits to Mental Health

A lot of fear and irrational discrimination has prevented the growth of important scientific research into the use of psychedelic drugs. The continued drug war has stopped the flow of funding for research into means of using these drugs legally. In the 50s and 60s, there were some researchers making headways but the criminalization of drugs has stopped all the research. There are also a lot of strict rules governing research in these areas which makes research into this field costly. Psychedelic drugs like MDMA, psilocybin and LSD could be very helpful in the field of mental health.

Psychedelics and Their Benefits to Mental Health

LSD and Psilocybin Mushrooms have been used to cure people privately, for research and to curb depression. These are just a few examples of how these psychedelic drugs are being used. Depression is a mental condition that lasts for long. Depression is hard to cure. But with the recent research into the use of psychedelic drugs, depression could become very easy to cure. Psychedelic drugs have been proven to have positive effects that last for long even when they are used just once.

When LSD was being developed, its potentials as a psychiatric drug looked interesting. LSD was tested as a drug for treating various mental defects. There has been a study on old data collected from tests at various alcohol treatment facilities. This study has yielded interesting results on the use of LSD as a cure for addiction.

The drug Ecstasy has also been proven to be useful for treating anxiety and PTSD. During a MAPS research, it was discovered that there was an improvement of symptoms associated with PTSD. Psychotherapy boosted by MDMA was compared with psychotherapy with just a placebo and it was discovered that there were important improvements in PTSD symptoms when measured by usual symptom scales. Recently, researchers in the United States discovered that depression rates could be reduced by ketamine.

psilocybin and mental health
Psilocybin and mental health

Psilocybin is a psychedelic substance that could have a lot of benefits medically and spiritually. This was revealed from research done by the John Hopkins School of Medicine.

Psilocin and psilocybin are psychedelic compounds offer to give a psychedelic experience with a lot of visual effects. It also helps one think philosophically. Magic truffles and magic mushrooms both contain psychedelic substances which give one psychedelic experiences. The M.D. of UCLA, Charles S. Grob led a pilot study that was created to determine the chemical benefits of giving psilocybin to people that suffer from depression and anxiety along with chronic or advanced cancer. The people who participated in the study showed improvements after. They had reduced depression and anxiety for as much as half a year period after the dose they were administered.

Psychedelics can also produce great changes in how aware an individual is. LSD and psilocybin have been used to study depression in many clinical procedures that are becoming routine.

A research room will be setup to feel and look very comfortable. The participants in the research are then given a dose. A researcher sits with them for about 4 to 6 hours which is the length of the experience. Most times, the participants do not move and they rather enjoy the experience allowing their brains and body to relax.

Studies that have been carried out recently has shown that psilocybin can work on the brain the same way that SSRI antidepressants like Prozac work. The effects are also the same as those taking medication and other therapies prescribed by medical practitioners. Researchers believe that the positive effects of psilocybin could last longer than the pills.

Psychedelic experiences stop depression by means that are not often clear to researchers. But various theories have been proposed. Some reason that the drugs open pathways that have been previously closed in the brain thus allowing emotions to flow freely and making people feel more connected and rooted. The experiences that occur when one takes psychedelics could be responsible for the long-term impact.

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