This week Pennsylvania and Ohio announced plans to legalize medical marijuana, which will make them the 24th and 25th states to officially recognize its medicinal value. Because marijuana is successfully helping so many people cope with a host of ailments with few side effects, some other plant medicines are becoming popular for treating things like depression, drug addiction, PTSD and much more.
Where pharmaceuticals are failing, exotic plant-based psychedelics seem to be succeeding, sometimes in as little as a single dose. Over-stressed Westerners are flocking to retreats all over the world to rediscover these alternative treatments. The treatment ceremonies are typically conducted in comfortable, controlled settings by shaman trained in dosing levels.
But there are also secular biohackers, like best-selling author of The 4-Hour Workweek books Tim Ferris, who is currently micro-dosing psychedelics to test overall performance enhancement. In addition, Ferris is crowdfunding a Johns Hopkins study to clinically test using psychedelics to treat depression.
I am helping researchers in neuroscience and psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine to conduct a pilot study of psilocybin in the addressing of treatment-resistant depression.
A recent but still unpublished study at Johns Hopkins demonstrated rapid, substantial, and sustained (lasting up to six months) antidepressant and anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effects of a single dose of psilocybin in psychologically-distressed patients with life-threatening cancer diagnoses. This is incredibly exciting. What if we could decrease or avoid altogether the known side-effects (and frequency of consumption) of current antidepressant drugs like SSRIs?
This study could help establish an alternative.
There have been many studies using synthesized psychedelics like Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). The most recent Imperial College London study showed LSD brain scans resemble a free and open mind similar to that of children.