GIGANTE, Costa Rica - There was a ghostlike quality to Rudy Gonsior,
an American former Special Forces sniper, on the morning he arrived at
a jungle retreat to see if a vomit-inducing psychedelic brew could
undo the damage years of combat had done to his mind.
Glassy-eyed and withdrawn, he barely spoke above a whisper and was
much quieter than the six other veterans who had come to dredge up
painful memories of comrades fallen in battle, thoughts of suicide and
the scar that taking a life leaves on the psyche.
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Baba Ram Dass, who epitomized the 1960s of legend by popularizing
psychedelic drugs with Timothy Leary, a fellow Harvard academic,
before finding spiritual inspiration in India, died on Sunday at his
home on Maui, Hawaii. He was 88.
His death was announced on his official Instagram account.
Having returned from India as a bushy-bearded, barefoot, white-robed
guru, Ram Dass, who was born Richard Alpert, became a peripatetic
lecturer on New Age possibilities and a popular author of more than a
dozen inspirational books.
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At 74, the venture capitalist George Sarlo might not have seemed an
obvious candidate for an ayahuasca experience. Mr. Sarlo, a Hungarian
Jewish immigrant who arrived in the United States in 1956, has had great
professional success as the co-founder of Walden Venture Capital. He lives
in an upscale San Francisco neighborhood, in a large house with an
unobstructed view of the Golden Gate Bridge.
And yet something was always lacking. Mr. Sarlo's father had
disappeared from their Budapest home in 1942. He had been drafted in a
forced labor battalion, an experience he did not survive. At age 4, George
had told himself that it was because he was "a bad boy" that his father
had left that day, early in the morning, without saying goodbye. He
believes that he never recovered from that early loss.
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Since childhood, Rachael Petersen had lived with an unexplainable
sense of grief that no drug or talk therapy could entirely ease. So in
2017 she volunteered for a small clinical trial at Johns Hopkins
University that was testing psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic
mushrooms, for chronic depression.
"I was so depressed," Ms. Petersen, 29, said recently. "I felt that
the world had abandoned me, that I'd lost the right to exist on this
planet. Really, it was like my thoughts were so stuck, I felt isolated."
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It can seem as though everyone in Silicon Valley is either heading to
or coming back from a psychedelic trip, and it is probably Michael
He did after all write a best seller, "How to Change Your Mind," about
how healthful psychedelics can be. His neighbor Ayelet Waldman, whose
memoir "A Really Good Day" recounts how taking acid helped her mood
and marriage, has something to do with it, too. And now, inspired by
Pollan, the writer T.C. Boyle has a new novel, "Outside Looking In,"
about Timothy Leary, the charismatic Harvard professor turned
psychedelics pied piper of the 1960s.
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The Oakland City Council passed a resolution Tuesday night that
decriminalizes certain natural psychedelics, including mushrooms, a
move that makes Oakland the second city in the nation to do so.
The resolution instructs law enforcement to stop investigating and
prosecuting people using the drugs. It applies to psychedelics that
come from plants or fungi, not synthetic drugs like LSD or MDMA, also
known as ecstasy.
After the vote, nearly 100 supporters rose from their chairs, clapped
and cheered loudly.
"I don't have words, I could cry," said Nicolle Greenheart, the
co-founder of Decriminalize Nature Oakland. "I'm thrilled. I'm glad
that our communities will now have access to the healing medicines and
we can start working on healing our communities."
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NEW YORK - Roky Erickson, the blue-eyed, dark-haired Texan who headed
the Austin-based 13th Floor Elevators, a pioneering psychedelic rock
band in the 1960s that scored with "You're Gonna Miss Me," has died.
He was 71.
Erickson's sinuous lead guitar and wailing vocals didn't turn him into
a chart topper, but they cemented his role as a musician's musician.
Fans included everyone from Lenny Kaye and the Swedish metal group
Ghost - who covered his "If You Have Ghosts" - to ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons.
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UCSF psychiatrist Brian Anderson is studying an experimental therapy
to help long-term AIDS survivors - people who were infected with HIV
in the 1980s and never expected to live this long - who are feeling
sad and demoralized.
In a clinic outfitted with a comfortable couch, soft lighting, throw
pillows and blankets, the participants of his study are given
psilocybin, the hallucinogenic compound found in magic mushrooms. They
lie down for a few hours, a mask over their eyes and soothing music
playing in the background, and experience a psychedelic trip.
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Dr. James S. Ketchum, an Army psychiatrist who in the 1960s conducted
experiments with LSD and other powerful hallucinogens using volunteer
soldiers as test subjects in secret research on chemical agents that
might incapacitate the minds of battlefield adversaries, died on May
27 at his home in Peoria, Ariz. He was 87.
His wife, Judy Ketchum, confirmed the death on Monday, adding that the
cause had not been determined.
Decades before a convention eventually signed by more than 190 nations
outlawed chemical weapons, Dr. Ketchum argued that recreational drugs
favored by the counterculture could be used humanely to befuddle small
units of enemy troops, and that a psychedelic "cloud of confusion"
could stupefy whole battlefield regiments more ethically than the
lethal explosions and flying steel of conventional weapons.
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WASHINGTON - One airman said he felt paranoia. Another marveled at the
vibrant colors. A third admitted, "I absolutely just loved altering my
Meet service members entrusted with guarding nuclear missiles that are
among the most powerful in America's arsenal. Air Force records
obtained by The Associated Press show they bought, distributed and
used the hallucinogen LSD and other mind-altering illegal drugs as
part of a ring that operated undetected for months on a highly secure
military base in Wyoming. After investigators closed in, one airman
deserted to Mexico.
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Microdosing is hot. If you haven't heard - but you probably have, from
reports of its use at Silicon Valley workplaces, from Ayelet Waldman's
memoir "A Really Good Day," from dozens of news stories - to microdose
is to take small amounts of LSD, which generate "subperceptual"
effects that can improve mood, productivity and creativity.
Michael Pollan's new book, "How to Change Your Mind," is not about
that. It's about macro-dosing. It's about taking enough LSD or
psilocybin (mushrooms) to feel the colors and smell the sounds, to let
the magic happen, to chase the juju. And it's about how mainstream
science ceded the ground of psychedelics decades ago, and how it's
trying to get it back.
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Decades after Canada abandoned the field, the B.C. Centre on Substance
Use is investigating the benefits of drugs like MDMA and psilocybin
In 2011, Gerald Thomas was invited to an Indigenous community in a
remote area of British Columbia. Working for the Centre for Addictions
Research of B.C., he was one of a small team of scientists who
observed 12 people take ayahuasca, an Amazonian mixture that induces
vivid visual and auditory hallucinations as well as deep emotional and
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In the hope of spreading awareness of the therapeutic benefits of
MDMA, commonly known as ecstacy, one local psychotherapist is
encouraging Kingstonians to explore and discuss the opportunities of
"MDMA is an empathogen, it gives you more empathy and self-compassion,
and so when you're in therapy with it you can look at your trauma with
a little bit more openness," Richard Tyo, a registered psychotherapist
and member of the Kingston Psychedelic Society, said on Wednesday. "It
can really accelerate a lot of therapy."
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LSD, MARIJUANA HITS CITY IN 1966
City, police freak out over 'berserk' man
On Jan. 17, 1966, The Vancouver Sun published a small story with an
alarming headline, Man Goes Berserk While Using Drug. LSD had hit the
city. "Police said they found the man, clad only in his pants, running
around the 1600-block Yew shortly after 3 a.m., screaming that he was
God," said the story.
"The man, aged 36, was frothing at the mouth, had a wild-eyed
appearance and was completely devoid of reason, police said.
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One day in 1964, Nicholas Sand, a Brooklyn-born son of a spy for the
Soviet Union, took his first acid trip. He had been fascinated by
psychedelic drugs since reading about them as a student at Brooklyn
College and had experimented with mescaline and peyote. Now, at a
retreat run by friends in Putnam County, N.Y., he took his first dose
of LSD, still legal at the time.
Sitting naked in the lotus position, before a crackling fire, he
surrendered to the experience. A sensation of peace and joy washed
over him. Then he felt himself transported to the far reaches of the
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Psychedelics, the fabled enlightenment drugs of the '60s, are making a
comeback - this time as medical treatment.
A recent study claimed that psilocybin, a mushroom-derived
hallucinogenic, relieves anxiety and depression in people with
life-threatening cancer. Anecdotal reports have said similar things
about so-called microdoses of LSD.
The allure is understandable, given the limits of our treatments for
depression and anxiety. About a third of patients with major
depression don't get better, even after several trials of different
antidepressants. But I fear that in our desire to combat suffering, we
will ignore the potential risks of these drugs, or be seduced by
preliminary research that seems promising.
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[photo] Tim Scully, left, and Nick Sand pictured in a graphic from the
documentary "The Sunshine Makers." (Nick Sand / Tim Scully / Passion
Pictures / FilmRise)
As its title suggests, "The Sunshine Makers" is probably the happiest,
most carefree drug documentary you're likely to see. The film explores the
people behind the most well-known strain of LSD, who produced millions of
doses in a single, sleep-deprived month. Their goal wasn't money, but
instead they wanted to save the world: If everyone took LSD, they would
experience the feelings of love and connectedness the hallucinogen
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Mom guilt is here to stay. The stress of trying to be a calm, nurturing
parent while also trying to keep our jobs, stay on top of school notices
and remain married isn't going away. Not to mention the feeling that we're
doing none of them particularly well.
But that won't stop some people from trying anything. Author Ayelet
Waldman, for instance, tried LSD. In her new book, "A Really Good Day,"
she documents her experiment with "microdosing," taking very small
quantities of LSD -- enough to make you calmer, more aware of your
environment, more able to focus on your work, but without all those wacky
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Whether it's LSD or magic mushrooms, psychedelic drugs have long been
a point of contention. An upcoming event hopes to educate Saskatoon
residents on their medical uses and their potentially research-rich
Organized by Erika Dyck, a University of Saskatchewan history
professor and the Canada Research Chair in the History of Medicine,
the event is called An Evening of Psychedelics and takes place at the
Underground Cafe on Nov. 23.
"Over the last few years there's been some real interest in what
people are starting to call a psychedelic renaissance, where we're
looking at psychedelics for their therapeutic potential today," she
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BALTIMORE - Gordon McGlothlin, who took his first puff at age 12
behind his family's garage, tried to quit smoking for years, but no
cessation technique worked until he used a psychedelic drug.
Researchers with the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine gave
the 69-year-old a derivative of psychedelic mushrooms similar to LSD
and watched him "trip" in a therapy room during six-hour sessions.
McGlothlin experienced wild hallucinations, including watching his
body slowly unraveling until it disappeared into a puff of smoke.
After researchers took his blood pressure, he imagined a red,
bloodlike fluid covering him from head to toe.
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