Any thinking person can sense that our civilization is in the process of birthing a new epoch, and that the labor pains are not pretty. And we really don’t know what kind of child will enter this world. Meanwhile, the forces of “contraction” (pun intended) continue to squeeze, hard, seemingly in an attempt to stop this inexorable birthing process before it gets so far along that the baby’s head begins to crown.
I’d say it is crowning already. A case in point is the public’s (and even some parts of academia’s) changing perception of “drugs” — not pharmaceuticals, but the kind that we who grew up in the frozen ’50s used to take to help us open, open, open! We birthed a revolution back then, which, unfortunately, seemed to abort, but instead, we now realize, went underground.
That revolution launched when long-cycled planets (explosive, revolutionary) Uranus and (primal, death/rebirth) Pluto conjuncted for the first time since the American Civil War. Now these two planets are moving into an exact 90°· alignment, the “opening square” of the new cycle that started back then, in the late and fabled ’60s, and just like clockwork the seeds sown during that decade are beginning to sprout, not just in Occupy, but even in the mainstream news. A case in point is the Los Angeles Times article below: “Turn On, Tune In, Get Better?” Whew! The title says it all.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration is fixated on shutting down medical marijuana, and for good reason! Give us an inch, and we’ll take a mile. And not just “us” who enjoyed these pleasures, as well as learned from them to expand our minds and hearts, but everybody else who lives in states where medical marijuana has been legalized. They now realize: hey, it’s no big deal! But it is, for all sorts of complicated political and power-over, medical/industrial/pharmaceutical/CIA drug running/racist-prison -policy reasons — and then some! Here’s an excerpt from yesterday’s alternet.org post: Why is the Obama administration suddenly fixated on stomping out medical pot?
“. . . perhaps the greatest underlying motivator for the administration’s sudden and severe crackdown on medical marijuana providers and patients is its desire to preserve America’s longstanding criminalization of cannabis for everyone else. There is little doubt that the rapid rise of the medical marijuana industry and the legal commerce inherent to it is arguably the single biggest threat to federal cannabis prohibition. Just look at the poll numbers. According to Gallup, in 1996 – when California became the first state to allow for the legally sanctioned use of cannabis therapy – only 25 percent of Americans backed legalizing marijuana for all adults. (Seventy-three percent of respondents at that time said they opposed the idea.) Fast forward to 2011. Today, a record high 50 percent of Americans support legalizing the plant outright and only 46 percent of respondents oppose doing so. It’s this rapid rise in the public’s support for overall legalization that no doubt has the Obama administration, and the majority of America’s elected officials, running scared.
“While the passage and enactment of statewide medical marijuana laws – 16 states and the District of Columbia now have laws recognizing marijuana’s therapeutic use on the books – is not solely driving the public’s shift in support for broader legalization, it is arguably a major factor. Why? The answer is simple. Tens of millions of Americans residing in these states are learning, first hand, that they can coexist with marijuana being legal! And that is the lesson the federal government fears most.
“In states like California and Colorado, voters have largely become accustomed to the reality that there can be safe, secure, well-run businesses that deliver consistent, reliable, tested cannabis products. They have come to understand that well-regulated cannabis dispensaries can revitalize sagging economies, provide jobs, and contribute taxes to budget-starved localities. Most importantly, the public in these states and others are finally realizing that all the years of scaremongering by the government about what would happen if marijuana were legal, even for sick people, was nothing but hysterical propaganda. As a result, a majority of American voters are now for the first time asking their federal officials: ‘Why we don’t just legalize marijuana for everyone in a similarly responsible manner?’
Meanwhile here’s that LA Times article.
Hallucinogens and other street drugs may help patients cope with PTSD, addiction, pain, depression and even terminal illness.
by Melissa Healy
Janeen Delany describes herself as an “old hippie” who’s smoked plenty of marijuana. But she never really dabbled in hallucinogens — until two years ago, at the age of 59.
A diagnosis of incurable leukemia had knocked the optimism out of the retired plant nurserywoman living in Phoenix. So she signed up for a clinical trial to test whether psilocybin — the active ingredient in “magic mushrooms” — could help with depression or anxiety following a grim diagnosis.
Delaney swallowed a blue capsule of psilocybin in a cozy office at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. She donned a blindfold, a blood pressure cuff and a headset playing classical music. With two researchers at her side, she embarked on a six-hour journey into altered consciousness that she calls “the single most life-changing experience I’ve ever had.”
What a long, strange trip it’s been. In the 1960s and ’70s, a rebellious generation embraced hallucinogens and a wide array of street drugs to “turn on, tune in and drop out.” Almost half a century later, magic mushrooms, LSD, Ecstasy and ketamine are being studied for legitimate therapeutic uses. Scientists believe these agents have the potential to help patients with post-traumatic stress disorder, drug or alcohol addiction, unremitting pain or depression and the existential anxiety of terminal illness.
“Scientifically, these compounds are way too important not to study,” said Johns Hopkins psychopharmacologist Roland Griffiths, who conducted the psilocybin trial.
In their next incarnation, these drugs may help the psychologically wounded tune in to their darkest feelings and memories and turn therapy sessions into heightened opportunities to learn and heal.
“We’re trying to break a social mind-set saying these are strictly drugs of abuse,” said Rick Doblin, a public policy expert who founded the Multidisciplinary Assn. for Psychedelic Studies in 1986 to encourage research on therapeutic uses for medical marijuana and hallucinogens. “It’s not the drug but how the drug is used that matters.”
Regulators and medical researchers remain wary. But among at least some experts at the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration, the shift in attitude “has been dramatic,” Doblin said.
Researchers explored the usefulness of hallucinogenic agents as an adjunct to psychotherapy in the 1950s and ’60s. But allegations that hallucinogens were used in government-funded “mind control” efforts, freewheeling experimentation by proponents like Dr. Timothy Leary, and the drugs’ appeal to a generation in revolt quashed legitimate research for decades.
The thaw has been slow in coming. In 2008, Griffiths co-wrote a report in the Journal of Psychopharmacology comparing psilocybin with a placebo for people dealing with incurable diseases. Psilocybin resulted in “mystical experiences having substantial and sustained personal meaning and spiritual significance,” according to the study, the first since 1972 to explore a hallucinogen’s therapeutic value.
In January, a team led by UCLA psychiatrist Charles Grob reported in Archives of General Psychiatry that psilocybin improved the mood of patients with “existential anxiety” related to advanced-stage cancer. The benefits lasted at least three months.
Janeen Delany is a typical case: The insights she gleaned during her encounter with psilocybin continue to shape her attitudes toward life and death.
And that, paradoxically, has allowed her to live.
“When you take the veil of fear away from your life, you can see and experience everything in such a present way,” she said. “I don’t have to know what the future is. Every day is the day of days.”
Such mystical insights are central in another potential use for psilocybin — as an addiction treatment. Griffiths is conducting a pilot study combining psilocybin with cognitive behavioral therapy to help smokers quit. Four people have completed the program, and so far none has returned to smoking, Griffiths says.
At the University of Arizona in Tucson, addiction specialist Dr. Michael P. Bogenschutz has proposed a clinical trial to test whether psilocybin can help ease alcohol dependence. If the NIH agrees to fund the study, it would be the first instance in decades of government financial support for a trial involving any drug of abuse.
Psilocybin’s effect on the brain can be described, if not explained. It increases the activity of serotonin, a chemical that affects mood. Brain networks associated with emotions are highly active in the presence of psilocybin, as are structures involved in higher reasoning and judgment, MRI scans show.