This Week in Psychedelics

Originally appearing here. UPenn hosts the first university-sponsored psychedelics conference, a U.S. teenager dies during an ayahuasca trip in Peru, and ketamine is linked to depression relief in this week’s psychedelic news. Psychedemia, the first psychedelics conference to be sponsored by a university in the United States, convened at the University of Pennsylvania. (Philadelphia Daily News, Daily Pennsylvanian) The Telegraph provides an overview of the psychedelic renaissance, describing how psychedelics may be the key to treating a range of intractable illnesses from post-traumatic stress disorder to depression. (Telegraph) NPR reports that ketamine relieves depression by restoring brain connections. (NPR) Author Erica Rex describes her participation in a Johns Hopkins University study exploring the potential for magic mushrooms to alleviate anxiety and depressing in cancer patients. (Independent) Sofia University, formerly the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, has introduced a course in psychedelic research into its rigorous clinical and non-clinical graduate psychology curriculum. The class covers clinical research on psychedelic drugs as adjuncts to psychotherapy for the treatment of addiction, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and existential distress at the end of life, as well as how to address psychedelic experiences that clients bring into psychotherapy. (PR Web) A reporter for New Scientist describes his involvement with Dr. David Nutt’s study of MDMA’s effects on the brain. (New Scientist) 71 marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles have been given until Tuesday 10/9 to shut down, just after the LA City Council repealed a ban on dispensaries that it had passed a few months earlier. (NYTimes) Opposition forces have been divided on Washington State’s upcoming marijuana referendum, which would legalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. (NYTimes) Police bulldozed a patch of marijuana the size of two football fields on the far South Side of Chicago, the US’s third most populous city, with plants up to 10 feet tall and in perfect rows. Street value was estimated at between $7 million and $10 million. (NYTimes) The “biggest outdoor marijuana bust” in the history of Lethbridge, Canada turned out to be a roundup of common, legal daisies. (Reason) In a promotion of his new documentary “The House I Live In,” Brad Pitt calls the US war on drugs a “charade.” (Guardian) Bonham’s auction house recently acquired an unpublished Timothy Leary manuscript that he wrote while imprisoned in 1974. Hamilton Morris of VICE magazine published an excerpt with permission of Leary’s ex-wife. According to Hamilton, “The manuscript contains 203 pages of heavily annotated attempts to connect neuroscience, astrobiology, and chemistry into a coherent whole that is also somehow convergent with the I Ching and the tarot and the zodiac and Mendeleev and Carl Sagan.” (VICE) The buried body of a teenager from northern California was discovered by police at the Shimbre Shamanic Center in Peru. The teen had traveled there to take ayahuasca in a ritual context. (Time) A Peruvian shaman confessed to police that he had buried the body of a U.S. teenager to cover up his death during a spiritual retreat in the Amazon last month. (Daily Mail) California has become the 10th and largest state to enact a 911 Good Samaritan law, granting limited legal amnesty to people who call for help during a drug overdose. (DPA) Gawker compares the Newsweek cover story “Heaven Is Real: A Doctor’s Experience With the Afterlife” to a DMT trip report on Erowid. (Gawker) David Jay Brown discusses how proper nutritional support can augment psychedelic experiences. (Santa Cruz Patch) David Jay Brown examines evidence that psychedelic plants played an inspirational role in the foundation of Eastern philosophy. (Santa Cruz Patch) The Boston Herald asked for its readers’ favorite psychedelic jam by the Beatles. (Boston Herald, Boston Herald) Indian designer Gaurav Gupta brought a touch of psychedelia to India Fashion Week. (Times of India) The popularity of medical marijuana in Colorado has led to an increased incidence of dogs getting sick from pot, often from eating food products. (Gizmodo) Fox News reports that a drug lab similar to a methamphetamine lab was busted for cooking up a “new drug” called DMT, which is extracted from “legal tree bark.” (Fox News) Australia’s Courier Mail describes how people are using the internet to share intelligence about where to find magic mushrooms and how to identify them. (Courier News) Hallucinogen use – both of LSD and novel compounds – is on the rise in Australia. (Sydney Morning Herald) Police in Alberta, Canada notified parents after arresting two people suspected of dealing LSD, magic mushrooms, and marijuana to high school students and children in the area. (Edmonton Sun) A disabled grandmother used bear spray to fend of 13 attackers in search of her medical marijuana crop. (CBS Sacramento) An 18-year-old University of South Alabama freshman who had taken LSD during a music festival attacked several people in two vehicles before chasing a campus police officer. The student was naked and unarmed when he was fatally shot. Investigators are trying to determine who provided the student with LSD and could charge that person with murder. (Houston Chronicle, WKRG, Washington Post) A Brazilian student in Australia died while under the influence of LSD after extensive police tasering. The cause of death is still undetermined. (Huffington Post) Popular Science questions the media’s link between 2C-I use and the violent rampage and death of actor Johnny Lewis. (Popular Science) A young man who beat his grandmother with her walking stick after taking LSD was not charged because his grandmother did not want him to go to jail. (Daily Mail) A North Carolina high school student died after taking LSD, and another student has been charged for selling him the drug. (News Observer, ABC) A judge sentenced a Northern California man, formerly a mixed-martial artist, to 47 years in state prison for mutilating and killing his friend after they both consumed psychedelic mushroom tea. (Times-Standard) Two new drug types – 25B-NBOMe and 25I-NBOMe – were responsible for the death of a man in Australia who died from injuries sustained after repeatedly running into trees and power poles. (Daily Telegraph) A new set of measures will allow Australian police to deploy drug sniffer dogs on Kings Cross streets and across the surrounding metropolitan rail network without a warrant. (SMH) Reality Sandwich compiles a list of recent news surrounding psychedelics, including stories about psychedelic conferences, MDMA research, Eastern philosophy, and more.