This Week in Psychedelics

Originally appearing here. A software pioneer donates $10 million to MAPS and other drug policy organizations, the Philadelphia Daily News celebrates Philly’s “psychedelic renaissance,” and the media links a “zombie attack” to LSD and bath salts in this week’s psychedelic news. The Philadelphia Daily News describes Philly’s “psychedelic renaissance” in reading groups, yoga shops, and classrooms, including the upcoming “Psychedemia” conference at the University of Pennsylvania. (Philadelphia Daily News) $10 million from the estate of software pioneer Ashawna (Shawn) Hailey was donated to leading non-profits at the forefront of health and drug policy reform. $5 million–the largest gift it has ever received–will go to the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) to support research into MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The remaining funds will support the American Civil Liberties Union, the Drug Policy Alliance, the Marijuana Policy Project, and the Second Harvest Food Bank. (Sacramento Bee) Abel Tomlinson reviews the values of psychedelics for spirituality, psychology, art, and technological creativity. (Free Weekly) David Nutt, professor of neuropsychopharmacology and former chief adviser on drugs to the British government, said the international prohibition of drugs like ecstasy, magic mushrooms, and LSD have hampered scientific research on the brain and stalled the progress of medicine. (Reuters) Neuroscientists mined 1000 trip reports from to correlate word choices with drug type. (Technology Review) A cannabinoid helped provide pain relief to cancer patients that responded poorly to opioid treatment. (Science Daily) In a new book, “Drugs – Without the Hot Air,” Professor David Nutt suggests legalizing cannabis as a way to reduce the harms caused by alcohol. (BBC) Researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health replicated findings that a single dose of ketamine produces rapid antidepressant effects in depressed patients with bipolar disorder. (Medical Daily) A forthcoming study in the Journal of Psychiatric Research suggests that the use of cannabis is associated with lower mortality risk in patients with schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders. (AlterNet) While psychedelic research focuses on curing diseases and treating illnesses, little attention has been paid to their ability to increase human potential. (Santa Cruz Patch) The Age discusses the difficulty of determining a cost-benefit analysis of the drug prohibition versus decriminalization. (The Age) Australian Senator Richard Di Natale, the Greens spokesperson for health and a former GP and public health specialist, writes that it’s time for leadership to join the frontline in the war on drugs. (The Age) Australia ABC’s Radio National hosted a show on the highs and lows of illicit drugs. (ABC) A new report suggests that Australian illicit drug users are turning to the internet for drug education rather than for buying drugs. (Medical Xpress) Canada’s health minister announced that the feds are moving to regulate MDPV, a key ingredient in the potent stimulant known as “bath salts.” It is expected to be finalized as illegal in the fall. (Toronto Sun) Renowned Australian musical frontman Ben Lee’s next album will be called “Ayahuasca: Welcome to the Work.” (Magnet Magazine) Desert Rocks’ expansion into an all-out “consciousness festival” includes the addition of workshops, speakers, films, visual artists, and psychedelic performance art. (City Weekly) Matt Andres’s mixed-media art is a kaleidoscopic blend of abstract and psychedelic imagery. (Visual News) Takeshi Suga’s psychedelic cherry blossom photographs rely on a double-exposure Lomography technique. (Huffington Post) Andrew Norman Wilson’s “ECCOS” is a six-hour psychedelic meditation video featuring slowed-down footage of a gamer beating “Ecco the Dolphin” on Sega Genesis. (Verge) Google’s doodle on Robert Moog’s synthesizers “allows users to get psychedelic.” (First Post) More than 300 people were arrested at Illinois’ Summer Camp Music Festival for charges including possession of LSD, magic mushrooms, and ecstasy. (PJStar) Narcotics officers busted the largest psychedelic mushroom growing operation seen in Kentucky in the last 30 years. Authorities believe the $38,000 of mushrooms were headed to Bonnaroo. (BG Daily News) Fish and wildlife officers discovered magic mushroom colonies aboard a sailboat gliding without lights near Peanut Island, Florida. (WPTV) A father was arrested for violating a protective order for meeting with his son, who complained of experiencing “a false sense of reality” after taking too much LSD and mushrooms. (Bonney Lake-Sumner Patch) Two high school students in North Carolina were arrested and charged for carrying LSD laced blotter paper and other drugs. (NBC 17, News Observer) A 21-year-old went on a brutal rampage during San Francisco’s “Bay to Breakers” race while reportedly tripping on LSD. (SFist, Huffington Post) A naked man on LSD attacked police officers in State College, PA, leaving one with a broken rib. (State College) The Calgary Herald discusses the 1995 case of two Oklahoma teenagers who took LSD, watched the movie Natural Born Killers, and subsequently went on a killing spree of their own. (Calgary Herald) Miami police speculate that a man they shot and killed after chewing on another man’s face was on LSD. (WREG, MSNBC, Guardian, Reuters, Grio, NY Magazine, WSAV) In light of the recent “Miami zombie” episode, Gizmodo describes how easy it is to obtain psychedelic “bath salts” in gas stations, convenience stores, and online. (Gizmodo) The Sewickley Patch asks whether Pennsylvania’s state ban on “bath salts” will prevent zombie attacks. (Sewickley Patch) TIME Healthland investigates why drugs are getting such a bum rap in the “Miami face-eating attack,” pointing to misinformed police officers and uncritical reporters. (TIME Healthland) Reality Sandwich compiles a list of recent articles focusing on psychedelics, featuring news of the $5 million bequest to MAPS, new research focusing on ketamine, and an opinion piece on drug policy halting the progress of medicine.