New Study Claims: Magic Mushrooms and other Psychedelic Drugs Really Seem to Elevate Consciousness

Three different psychedelic drugs that are known to produce altered states of consciousness and that have been used illegally for recreation are the subject of a new study. Psilocybin, a naturally occurring psychedelic compound that is produced by magic mushrooms, Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and ketamine are the subjects of the new study. Researchers set out to determine if magic mushrooms, LSD, and ketamine actually increase “global neural signal diversity.” The researchers wanted to know if the psychedelic state is actually an elevated state of consciousness. The research was published this month in Scientific Reports in Nature.

They say that their research indicates that magic mushrooms and other psychedelic drugs really do push the user into an elevated state of consciousness.

“For all three, we find reliably higher spontaneous signal diversity, even when controlling for spectral changes. This increase is most pronounced for the single-channel LZ complexity measure, and hence for temporal, as opposed to spatial, signal diversity. We also uncover selective correlations between changes in signal diversity and phenomenological reports of the intensity of psychedelic experience. This is the first time that these measures have been applied to the psychedelic state and, crucially, that they have yielded values exceeding those of normal waking consciousness. These findings suggest that the sustained occurrence of psychedelic phenomenology constitutes an elevated level of consciousness – as measured by neural signal diversity.”

The researchers say that their data suggests that the psychedelic state brought on by magic mushrooms and some other drugs lies above other states, including wakeful rest, when compared using a one-dimensional scale that is defined by brain signal diversity.

Magic mushrooms have been gaining greater recognition for the drug’s potentially positive effects. For example, the B.C. Centre on Substance Use, which researches drug abuse in British Columbia, is actually planning clinical trials to see if psychedelic drugs might be able to help people overcome addiction to opioid drugs, CBC reported. A John Hopkins University study from a couple of years ago found that magic mushroom’s active ingredient could help smokers overcome their addiction to cigarettes. Eight out of 10 study participants were still not smoking six months after they quit when using the compound in magic mushrooms and cognitive behavioral therapy.

“Therapeutic outcomes are often correlated with a mystical or a spiritual-type experience. People often have deep insights about themselves and their relationships with others and with God — and sometimes, as a consequence, have significant behavioral changes,” Dr. Kenneth Tupper, of the B.C. Centre on Substance Use, told CBC.

Inquisitr

Unofficial Cannabis “Holiday” – Health Benefits of Cannabis Oil Still Secondary to Recreational Usage

April 20th is here again, a date well-known by recreational enthusiasts and celebrated as a cannabis culture holiday nationwide, and what was once known only as an inside joke to a few is now much more widely known and accepted in the United States. With 8 states having now legalized recreational marijuana, and dozens more allowing medical marijuana, much of the stigma of openly promoting “420-friendly” characteristics has disappeared, with hundreds of companies now offering special discounts on April 20th.

“The stereotype of a cannabis user has changed a lot with its growing acceptance as a medication, and not just a recreational plant used by some to get ‘high,'” says Rick Hawkins, a scientist with Nutra Pure, the makers of the popular CBD Pure line of CBD oils, “States have issued new regulations allowing medications and supplements derived from the cannabis plant to be available to those who need it most, and the results have been nothing short of impressive.”

Mr. Hawkins was referencing the growing popularity of CBD, the non-psychoactive component of the cannabis plant believed to be the primary cannabinoid responsible for mood support and neuroprotectant effects experienced by recreational users. While CBD does not have any intoxicating effects, access to it has been limited because of its relationship to its chemical cousin, THC. CBD users seeking the health benefits of cannabis without the intoxicating effects often go to great lengths to obtain high concentration cannabidiol products, typically ordering them from states like Washington, Colorado, or Oregon where they are more commonplace.

“We get orders from every state for our CBD oils, but the states that have legalized recreational usage also order the most CBD oil too, ironically,” continued Mr, Hawkins. He believes that is because, as more recreational users of cannabis see positive health effects, the word spreads to health-conscious people in the area who would never smoke cannabis, but have joint pain, insomnia, or mood issues that could be helped with cannabis oil. “Some of the healthiest people I know, that would never touch an illegal drug, swear by cannabis oils and take them every day for their health.”

Benzinga

The Difference between LSD and Magic Mushroom

Hallucinogens are a wide group of drugs with a diverse range of capabilities. Some have been proven to alleviate ailments like PTSD and anxiety; others will definitely make you crap your pants while thinking your roommate has turned into a giant crane. The two most popular hallucinogens are magic mushrooms and LSD, technically known as lysergic acid diethylamide. While they have similar effects, both drugs have enough differences between them that any potential user should be less than chill about considering them the same.

Here’s the science you need to know to understand how LSD and magic mushrooms affect the body in their own, trippy way:

Magic Mushrooms Are Natural, LSD Is Not

While LSD was invented in 1938, mushrooms containing the naturally occurring psychedelic compound psilocybin can be found in regions within South America, Mexico, and the United States. It’s estimated that there are over 200 species of psychedelic mushrooms.

LSD was synthesized by Swiss scientist Albert Hoffman, who later famously took the drug himself and went on a bike ride on April 19, 1934. The clear, odorless, and tasteless drug is made from lysergic acid, which is found on the fungus that typically grows on grains.

Both Drugs Trip Out the Brain, but One Lasts Way Longer

Magic mushrooms and LSD involve chemicals that bond with the brain’s serotonin receptors. When someone takes LSD, their sympathetic nervous system is stimulated, which causes a rise in blood-sugar levels, an increase in body temperature, and pupillary dilation. The body confuses LSD for serotonin and sends it towards the brain’s synaptic cleft. This allows LSD molecules to bind to serotonin receptor proteins.

LSD and Mushrooms May Both Be Future Antidepressants

An increasing swath of scientific evidence demonstrates both substances have the potential to treat addiction, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, and PTSD. In a small study conducted in 2014, scientists found that it could be magic mushroom’s impact on serotonin receptors that causes heightened emotions and a slight loss of identity — which may be why the substance helps with anxiety. A brain on mushrooms, they note, is much like a brain that is dreaming.

The more researchers examine a tripped out brain, the more they’ll be able to leverage the power of these drugs to help us out in the future.

Inverse

Psychedelic Drug Ayahuasca Improves Hard-to-Treat Depression

Tourists are increasingly trying ayahuasca during holidays to countries such as Brazil and Peru, where the psychedelic drug is legal. Now the world’s first randomized clinical trial of ayahuasca for treating depression has found that it can rapidly improve mood.

The trial, which took place in Brazil, involved administering a single dose to 14 people with treatment-resistant depression, while 15 people with the same condition received a placebo drink.

A week later, those were given ayahuasca showed dramatic improvements, with their mood shifting from severe to mild on a standard scale of depression. “The main evidence is that the antidepressant effect of ayahuasca is superior to the placebo effect,” says Dráulio de Araújo of the Brain Institute at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte in Natal, who led the trial.

Bitter brew
Shamans traditionally prepare the bitter, deep brown brew of ayahuasca-using two plants native to South America. The first, Psychotria Viridis, is packed with the mind-altering compound dimethyltryptamine (DMT). The second, the ayahuasca vine (Banisteriopsis caapi), contains substances that stop DMT from being broken down before it crosses the gut and reaches the brain.

A day before their dose, the participants filled in standard questionnaires to rate their depression. The next day, they spent 8 hours in a quiet, supervised environment, where they received either the placebo or the potion, which produces hallucinogenic effects for around 4 hours. They then repeated filling in the questionnaires one, two and seven days later.

Psychedelic treatments
“The findings suggest a rapid antidepressant benefit for ayahuasca, at least for the short term,” says David Mischoulon of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. “But we need studies that follow patients for longer periods to see whether these effects are sustained.”

If the finding holds up in longer studies, it could provide a valuable new tool for helping people with treatment-resistant depression. An estimated 350 million people worldwide experience depression, and between a third to a half of them don’t improve when given standard antidepressants.

Ayahuasca isn’t the only psychedelic drug being investigated as a potential treatment for depression. Researchers have also seen some benefits with ketamine and psilocybin, extracted from magic mushrooms, although psilocybin is yet to be tested against a placebo.

New Scientist

Pharmacies in Uruguay Will Start Selling Cannabis Over the Counter in July

You also might want to consider packing your bags and moving to Uruguay. The South American country announced yesterday that beginning this July, cannabis will be available over the counter at local pharmacies.

Uruguay legalized marijuana in 2013, becoming the first country in the world to do so, but this year’s regulations will mark the first time residents will be able to walk into a store and purchase their bud.

According to the BBC, presidential aid, Juan Andres Roballo held a press conference to announce the over the counter program.

As a part of the country’s new cannabis program, everyone who purchases marijuana from stores must be on a national registry open only to only long-term residents and Uruguayan citizens. So while buying bud won’t be as easy as purchasing a pack of cigarettes, the pharmacy cannabis will be sold for a fixed price of $1.30 per gram – a pretty good bargain if you ask us.

The regulations and registry mean that Uruguay probably isn’t poised to be the next cannabis tourism hot spot, but it will make life easier for residents hoping to get their weed without hassle.

Uruguay’s government has initially signed up 16 pharmacies to launch the program but plans to add more as the registry builds.

Merry Jane

An Addictive Nut Could Hold the Key to Quitting Smoking

What would you say if we told you that an addictive, cancer-causing substance could help you safely stop using another addictive, cancer-causing substance? Sure, it sounds far-fetched. But it may be true. Chemicals found in the areca nut, which millions of people in Southeast Asia chew for its stimulant properties, could one day help people quit using tobacco.

According to ongoing research presented on Wednesday at the 253rd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, chemists have identified alkaloids in the seed of the Areca catechu palm that may help smokers quit their unhealthy habit without the negative side effects caused by some of the commonly available smoking cessation drugs.

Nicole Horenstein, a chemist at the University of Florida, estimates that 600 million people use the areca nut regularly. The nut, known for its mild stimulant properties, is often wrapped with leaves from the betel vine to form what’s known as a “quid.” Areca chewers often add spices, calcium hydroxide (slaked lime), and sometimes tobacco to the quid. Users chew it and hold it in their mouths, in much the same way that people in the United States use smokeless tobacco products such as snuff or chewing tobacco.

The key to this possible new tool in the public health battle against nicotine addiction is the alkaloids found in areca nuts. Horenstein’s team has found that some of the nut’s alkaloids could be better at targeting the desired brain receptors to treat nicotine addiction than other smoking cessation drugs such as the popular drug Chantix (varenicline). While varenicline binds to nicotine receptors in a person’s brain to help them not crave a cigarette, it also binds to some unintended receptors, causing side effects like sleep walking and suicidal thoughts.

The researchers conducted this study on frog cells that contain the same receptors areca nut affects the human brain and body cells, and they found that the molecules they’re developing from areca alkaloids can target these receptors more precisely, accomplishing the same goal as Chantix without the negative side effects.

Inverse

Swiss Cannabis Startups Crave Low-potency

Switzerland changed its laws in 2011 to let adults buy and use cannabis with up to 1 percent THC, the chemical compound that produces a high. But its money-making potential seems only to have been discovered late last year, officials said.

The number of retailers registered to sell low-THC cannabis has risen to 140 from just a handful last year, the agency says.

It expects revenue of around $US25 million on legal sales of $US100 million from cannabis in 2017, although the spokesman said the figure could be far higher if the boom continues.

KannaSwiss, a wholesaler that supplies shops with organically-grown low-THC cannabis to smoke or take orally, has quadrupled its staff to 20 since last year, but boss Corso Serra di Cassano says the company still can’t keep up with orders.

The company was founded by two scions of aristocratic families: di Cassano, whose lineage includes an Italian prince beheaded in 1799, and Boris Blatnik, whose sister married into the deposed royal family of Greece. They compare the high from low-potency pot to drinking a couple glasses of wine.

Switzerland’s experimentation with low-THC cannabis comes as several US states have decriminalized or legalized pot.

Europe has a patchwork of laws. The Netherlands is known for coffee shops where the authorities allow sales of small quantities of marijuana. In January, Germany’s lower house of parliament passed a law legalizing medical cannabis.

Several countries have explored changing the rules to reduce penalties for possession of marijuana or permit strains low in THC. But the Swiss were among the first to make recreational low-potency pot fully legal and tax it.

Yahoo News

Maryland Legislators Propose Treating Heroin Addiction with Medical Marijuana

Maryland legislators have proposed a new plan to treat the state’s growing number of opioid addicts with medical marijuana. The proposal is being added to a current bill that would completely rewrite the laws concerning the state’s medical marijuana program. The House Health and Government Operations Committee just approved an amendment to the bill, adding “opioid use disorder” to the list of eligible conditions that medical marijuana can be prescribed for.

The issue of using MMJ to treat opioid addiction is a controversial one, as there is little current research that either proves or disproves its effectiveness as a treatment. “There is evidence that cannabis may be effective in alleviating certain forms of pain, and may be useful therefore in reducing opioid use. But there is no evidence that cannabis may help reduce opioid addiction,” said Dr. Daniele Piomelli.

“We have looked at the medical evidence, and we thought it made sense,” Delegate Sandy Rosenberg, who led the team of legislators currently rewriting the bill, said. “We thought we should leave it up the doctors. We don’t legislate medical judgment.”

However, Republican legislators are not convinced. “Replacing one habit with another may not be a good idea,” said House Minority Whip Kathy Szeliga, “Treating opioid addiction with pot is a not a clean-and-sober approach.”

Merry Jane

Poppy Seed Tea: Beware This Beverage

The opium poppy plant (Papaver somniferum) has been cultivated for centuries as a source of opium. The poppy plant produces seed pods. The pods produce a latex (milky sap that coagulates on exposure to air) that contains opiates; opiates also are found on the surface of the seeds inside the pods. Opium is harvested by slitting the unripe pod and allowing the latex to ooze through the slits onto the surface of the pod where the dried latex is collected.

The latex, seeds, stems and leaves contain opiate alkaloids, including morphine and codeine, and lower amounts of thebaine, noscapine, and papaverine. The highest concentrations of opiates are found in the latex. The opiate content is highly variable, depending on, among other factors, the growing location, harvesting, and processing. The amount of morphine in the seeds is substantially reduced after grinding (34%), baking (90%), or washing with hot water (70%). The seeds usually contain more morphine than codeine, but some seed varieties may contain significant amounts of codeine.

While poppy seeds are used in food, the amount of opiates found in food is highly variable, depending on the relative number of poppy seeds in or on the food and the exposure of the seeds to heat. Morphine loss during processing can be up to 90%.

Eating poppy seeds can lead to positive opiate tests in urine drug screening; opiates can be detected in blood, saliva, and hair as well. Opiates may be detected in the urine for 48 hours after poppy seed ingestion. Detection of unique metabolites is used to distinguish poppy seeds from heroin. The “poppy seed defense” has been used in cases of failed urine screening tests for employment and for sports drug testing, including the Olympics.

Poppy tea or poppy seed tea (also called opium tea) is made from the seed pods or the seeds of the opium poppy plant. Poppy teas are herbal beverages and are not true teas in that they do not contain the leaves of the tea plant (Camellia sinensis).

The high variability of the morphine and codeine content of teas prepared from the poppy plant may lead to accidental overdose. The more restrictive use of prescription opioids for chronic pain may increase the use of these homemade remedies. Education of at-risk patients that poppy teas are not harmless herbal beverages could prevent morbidity or mortality.

Medscape

Absolution in a Judicial Case of Coca Leaf in Spain

BARCELONA – The unprecedented resolution of a court case for coca leaf imports took place yesterday at the Provincial Court of Girona. F.T., a Colombian citizen living in Spain was acquitted of charges of drug trafficking after a large display of evidence and arguments about the historical, cultural, social and medicinal value of the coca leaf.

The case began in 2014 when F.T. was arrested for mailing a package containing 2kg of ground coca leaf, used in millenarian practices in the Andean and Amazonian regions with different ceremonial, medicinal and nutritional purposes.

Accused of receiving “cocaine” and “moved for the purpose of distributing cocaine among third persons,” the Prosecutor’s Office requested 4 years of imprisonment, establishing at the same time that the amount of cocaine that was intended to be obtained was 6.3 grams (note that, according to the doctrine of the Spanish Supreme Court, the threshold for possession of cocaine for personal consumption is set at 7.5 grams).

After several years of extensive process, on March 15, 2017, the trial of F.T. finally took place, ending with the removal of the charges by the Public Prosecutor and the acquittal of the accused (the official sentence is still due). The F.T. defense team, led by Barcelona lawyer Roberto Castro, and integrated by ICEERS and TNI, has reached an unprecedented goal in a coca leaf case in Spain, with potential impact in other European countries.

The defense expert’s work focused on the legal status of the coca leaf, international debates on its classification in international drug treaties, its alleged health benefits and its role of social cohesion both in the original contexts and in the Andean diaspora around the world. Also, the revival of coca leaf use outside the limits of what would be considered traditional or indigenous in purist terms was emphasized. Finally, the experts argued the absurdity of importing two kilos of the ground leaf with the purpose to extract cocaine for later distribution, something that was evidenced during the trial after declaring the experts of both the defense and the National Institute of Toxicology.

During this process, not only the innocence and honor of F.T. has been demonstrated, but also the historical error of the prohibition of the coca leaf and of cultural practices that surround it.

TNI

Marijuana Could Be Legal In All 50 States by 2021

Marijuana could be legal across the entire United States by 2021, according to the latest research by GreenWave Advisors.

It is for this reason that GreenWave believes legal weed is on the cusp of expanding into a number of additional states within the next few years. There is momentum to put marijuana legalization initiatives on the ballots in 2018 and 2020, a series of events that could lead to all 50 states having some sort of legal weed within the next four years, reports the Motley Fool.

A similar report from Arcview Market Research and New Frontier Data shows the nationwide cannabis industry could be worth around $22 billion by 2020. It also suggests that the legal marijuana industry could resurrect the middle class — the lifeblood of the American economy – by creating more jobs than the culmination of the manufacturing and government sectors.

It makes sense why communities in states like Pennsylvania and Ohio are hoping that legal marijuana can fill the void left where more traditional industries failed them. Over the past couple of weeks, a number of reports have surfaced showing that blue-collar workers are looking toward the newfound marijuana industry to create thousands of jobs for those people previously employed by steel manufacturers and other vital producers.

Perhaps this is the reason more Americans now support the legalization of marijuana. The latest polls show around 60 percent of the population want weed handled no differently than alcohol or tobacco.

Merry Jane

DRI Seizes 115kg of Khat Leaves

AHMEDABAD: The Ahmedabad zonal unit of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) on Monday seized 115kg of khat, or Catha edulis leaves, valued at Rs 3 crore in the international market, which had been imported from Ethiopia as “Moringa leaves”. Some 96kg of khat leaves was seized in Ahmedabad and 19kg in Bharuch.

Khat is a psychotropic substance prohibited under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985. It is a flowering plant native to the Horn of Africa and Arabian peninsula. It contains a monoamine alkaloid called cathinone or cathine, which is an amphetamine-like stimulant.

DRI officials said the agency gathered intelligence that two courier companies, Skyking Express Parcel Service from Bharuch and Fast Track Express from Ahmedabad, were importing and exporting Khat leaves from the foreign post office in Ahmedabad and the courier cell at the air cargo complex in the city.

It was also found that the duo was exporting khat leaves to the USA, UK, and other countries, by declaring it as dried green tea, from the courier cell at the air cargo complex in Ahmedabad. In the last two or three months, they exported approximately 1,500kg of khat leaves.

Chirag and Ravi were arrested under the NDPS Act and produced before a special NDPS court which sent them to judicial custody. Further investigation is on in the case.

Times of India

Gardening Tips For Divine Blue Lotus

The sacred lily of the Nile is said to be very symbolic in the Egyptian art. The extracts are said to relieve stress and that is why they are used in abhyanga massage, basti treatments, the arts, and yoga. It is believed that these Blue lilies are drought tolerant and are most common landscaping plants. Here are some tips to grow divine blue lotus.

Tips to grow divine blue lotus are:

1. You will need: Blue Lotus seeds, rich clay soil mixed with black cow manure, pots, newspaper, sand, and water.

2. Climate: Best season to grow blue lotus (Nymphaea caerulea flowers) is spring so plant them in sunny place in medium clay loam. (Note: the blue lilies grow well along the lakes and rivers in wet soil conditions so you can as well plant them at the sides of your garden pond.

3. Planting: Firstly, line all the clay pots with newspapers so that the soil doesn’t drain out while watering. Fill all the pots with clay black cow mixture. Plant the seeds in the soil. Spread an inch of sand on the soil layer so that the mud doesn’t get dirty. Submerge the soil layer completely in water (water temperature needs to be above 65-75 F).

4. Maintenance: The Bluewater lilies love high-quality fertilizers so they need to be fed once in every month. If there is the growth of green algae due to fertilizers, it is fine as the water lilies would have already absorbed the required nutrients. The growth of water lilies is very rapid and they soon develop rhizomes so it best to move them to larger pots once they start getting bigger. For Aphids, spraying water on the plants and flowers will keep them away. You can also use some organic pesticides.

Asianet India

Medical Marijuana Can Help Reduce Opioid Abuse

A 2016 study conducted by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that states with legal medical marijuana had 25 percent fewer opioid-related deaths than states that still prohibit medical marijuana. Another study, published in Health Affairs, found that prescriptions for often-abused opioids dropped significantly in states with medical marijuana.

Last December, the New York Health Department approved medical marijuana treatment for some patients suffering from chronic pain. Doctors are also hopeful that the new treatment will allow some of these patients to wean themselves off of addictive and dangerous opioid medications.

This January, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released a review of over 10,000 medical marijuana studies published since 1999. The review found substantial evidence that supports the use of medical marijuana to treat chronic pain, but the study also recommended further research into both positive and negative effects of long-term marijuana use.

Merry Jane

China Approves Indian Arecanut for Imports

Arecanut grown in India has received certification from China, and this has opened up new markets for farmers.

But the challenge remains the price, which is not viable for Karnataka growers because the production cost there is high, while it will help farmers in Assam.

M Suresh Bhandary, managing director, The Campco Ltd, a co-operative of areca nut and cocoa farmers, said that areca nut from the Shivamogga, Puttur, and Coimbatore regions had been processed at a plant in Puttur and after certifying its quality, it had been exported to China.

The Chinese counterparts have now shown interest in the green tender areca nut, which has retained its color. The Chinese market favored the Mohitnagar variety for its quality, he added.

Bhandary said besides the domestic market, the export market had opened up. This will help them to make up for price drops in the domestic market. Till now they did not have an option.
Campco will supply areca nut to Kou Wei Wang (King of Taste), one of the largest mouth-freshener manufacturers in China. The buyer had visited India and was happy with the raw material, said Bhandary.

There are more than 20 manufacturers of areca nut mouth-fresheners in China. As more Chinese are using mouth fresheners to quit smoking, the supply is not enough. The Campco has estimated that 90 per cent of India’s areca nut production can meet China’s demand.

Business Standard

Kava Legal in Relaxation of WA’s Drug Laws

Changes to the State’s medicines and poisons laws last month mean a ban has been lifted on the plant product, bringing WA into line with other States.

Kava, also known as Piper methysticin, is made from the root of a shrub and in small doses in herbal preparations can relax muscles and help with sleep. The WA Health Department said yesterday kava would be a closely regulated substance in WA.

Low-dose products labeled as a complementary medicine are available over the counter.

The department said patients should still seek expert advice before starting a treatment, and any mental health condition required the advice of a qualified medical professional.

Professor Jerome Sarris, who is deputy director of the NICM integrative medicine institute at Western Sydney University and has done clinical trials into the effectiveness of kava, said it was a sensible step forward.

“Anxiety disorders are complex and can significantly impact people’s day-to-day lives, and research has shown kava compares favorably to the efficacy of existing medications for the treatment of chronic anxiety,” he said.

“However, unlike some other options, it has less risk of dependency and less potential for side-effects such as lethargy and memory impairment.”

The West Australian

Opium for Ayurveda Medicine

Opium to be grown under State protection to cater to the requirements in the country’s Ayurvedic or native medicine needs was the consensus of stakeholders as stated by the Presidential Task Force on Drug Prevention.

Director of the Task Force Dr. Samantha Kumara Kithalawaarachchi said that opium is essential for Ayurvedic medicinal preparations from stocks confiscated through narcotic raids and elsewhere.

Experts are of the view that provisions should be made in the law to allow the Ayurveda industry, other medicines, and hospitals to meet their requirements according to Dr. Kithalawaarachchi

“There are groups which are trying to derail the campaign of the Task Force by alleging that there is a Governmental move to grow opium and sell it. This is not the case,” Dr. Kithalawaarachchi further elaborated.

Nation Weekend

California Seeks Advisers on Marijuana Rules

Medical cannabis laws passed by the Legislature in 2015 and the recreational legalization measure voters approved in November established similar overarching regulatory frameworks related to cultivation, manufacturing, transportation, sales and other aspects of the marijuana market. State agencies are tasked with developing specific rules to best implement the new laws.

The state intends to create a singular regulatory system for both medical and recreational marijuana by the end of the year. Some question the feasibility of establishing a model for a multi-billion dollar industry in such a short time frame.

The advisory committee will work with the marijuana bureau, food and agriculture and public health departments to help develop “regulations that protect public health and safety while ensuring a regulated market that helps reduce the illicit market for cannabis,” according to the bureau.

The bureau expects the committee to consist of individuals from the cannabis industry, labor unions, public health and state and local agencies, among others.

The bureau said it will accept applications for at least one month. The positions are unpaid and offer reimbursements for travel-related expenses.

The Sacramento Bee

Key differences of Psychedelic drugs like magic mushrooms and LSD: Here’s What you Should Know

What we do know, however, is that psychedelics have a fundamentally different effect on the brain than addictive drugs like alcohol and cocaine do. Cocaine, for example, elicits a deep, euphoric sensation by temporarily flooding the brain’s reward and motivation centers. In some people, this can trigger a cycle of reinforcement that traps them in addition, even when the same amount of the drug no longer results in a characteristic “high.” The psychedelic drug psilocybin, on the other hand (the psychoactive ingredient in magic mushrooms), appears to fundamentally alter the infrastructure of the brain’s prefrontal cortex and change how information in this area of the brain is exchanged.

Psilocybin isn’t the only psychedelic drug that researchers are studying for its potentially therapeutic effects, however. They’re also looking at LSD (“acid”), DMT (ayahuasca), and more. Each drug has a different trip length and varies in terms of its legality across the globe.

Methods for producing, brewing, and taking the drugs differ as well.

While magic mushrooms are typically either grown and eaten, brewed into tea, or ground up and taken in pill form, LSD is made synthetically and usually processed into strips that can be absorbed by placing them on the tongue.

Ayahuasca, on the other hand, is usually consumed as a beverage. It’s brewed from the macerated and boiled vines of the Banisteriopsis caapi (yage) plant and the Psychotria viridis (chacruna) leaf, and it has been used for centuries as a traditional spiritual medicine in ceremonies among the indigenous peoples of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. Ayahuasca’s effects come from mixing the drug dimethyltryptamine, or DMT, from the chacruna plant, and the MAO inhibitor from the yage plant, which allows the DMT to be absorbed into the bloodstream.

Business Insider

DEA Asked Public’s Comment On Its Proposed Kratom Ban: 99 Percent Opposed It

When the Drug Enforcement Administration formally backed off plans last year to ban the herb kratom, the agency announced it would accept input from the public to help determine how to proceed.

Kratom is a herb made from the leaves of Mitragyna species, a Southeast Asian tree related to coffee. Often taken in powder form, kratom contains the alkaloids mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, which appear to activate opioid receptors in the brain and reduce pain. And although most opioids have sedative qualities, low to moderate doses of kratom actually serve as a mild stimulant.

A diverse coalition of supporters appears prepared to stand firm against that move. Of the 2,416 comments submitted to the DEA with profession-related information, nearly half self-identified as either veteran, law enforcement officials, health care professionals or scientists. The overwhelming majority of these were in favor of keeping kratom legal, with veterans supporting by a margin of 448 to 1 and medical professionals supporting by a margin of 569 to 7.

Despite having received overwhelming support in favor of keeping kratom legal, it’s not yet clear how the DEA will proceed. The agency is still awaiting the results of a U.S. Food and Drug Administration analysis of the potential harms and health benefits of the herb, which will determine if kratom truly poses an “imminent hazard to the public safety,” as the DEA initially claimed last year.

“What we found is a kratom community of responsible consumers who look just like your family and the people who live next door,” they said. “The face of kratom consumers is the face of America today.”

Huffingpost