• Psychedelic Medicine
  • Psychedelic Medicine Moderator: mr peabody
  • Bluelight HOT THREADS
  • Let's Welcome Our NEW MEMBERS!

News ALCOHOL | +70 articles | Ibogaine and the Treatment of Alcoholism

mr peabody

Moderator: Music Discussion, PM
Staff member
Joined
Aug 31, 2016
Messages
5,295
Location
Frostbite Falls, MN



Ibogaine shown to reverse alcohol addiction*

UCSF | Science Daily

Researchers using rodent models have found the controversial drug ibogaine reverses alcohol addiction by increasing the level of the protein GDNF (glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor) in the ventral tegmental area of the brain.

Ibogaine, which is extracted from a West African shrub, has been shown to reverse addiction to alcohol and some drugs, but potentially serious side effects have prevented its widespread acceptance.

In a paper published in The Journal of Neuroscience, investigators at UCSF showed that ibogaine acted specifically on the ventral tegmental area of the brain. After injecting the drug into the brains of rats, the investigators found that loss of craving for alcohol was accompanied by an increase in the level of GDNF expressed by cells in the ventral tegmental area. Treating the animals with specific antibodies to prevent GDNF expression reversed the anti-addictive action of ibogaine, and direct injection of GDNF prevented addiction in the same manner as injection of ibogaine.

"By identifying the brain protein that ibogaine regulates to reduce alcohol consumption in rats, we have established a link between GDNF and reversal of addiction--knowledge of a molecular mechanism that should allow development of a new class of drugs to treat addiction without ibogaine's side effects," said senior author Dr. Dorit Ron, associate professor of neurology at the University of San Francisco. "If we can alter the GDNF pathway, we may well have a new treatment against alcohol and drug addiction, without the unwanted side effects of ibogaine."

*From the article here :
 

mr peabody

Moderator: Music Discussion, PM
Staff member
Joined
Aug 31, 2016
Messages
5,295
Location
Frostbite Falls, MN



Vitamin B1 deficiency a key factor in developing alcohol-related dementia

Medical University of Vienna | Neuroscience News | 9 Sep 2020

Researchers hypothesize vitamin B1 (thiamine) deficiency may play a significant role in dementia associated with alcohol use disorder. It is known iron deposits in the brain contribute to neurodegenerative diseases. Those with AUD have elevated levels of both iron in their blood and thiamine deficiency. Thiamine is vital for maintaining the blood-brain barrier. Thiamine deficiency associated with AUD disrupts the integrity of the BBB, allowing for more iron deposits within the brain and leading to oxidative tissue damage.

A common consequence of chronically high alcohol consumption is a decline in cognitive function, which can even progress to full-blown dementia. However, we do not yet fully understand how alcohol damages the brain. A research group led by Stephan Listabarth from MedUni Vienna’s Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Division of Social Psychiatry, has now developed a hypothesis whereby iron deposits in the brain – resulting from alcohol-induced vitamin B1 deficiency – can be regarded as key factors in cognitive decline. The work has now been published in the leading journal “Alzheimer’s and Dementia.”

In Austria, around 5% of the population are alcohol dependent from the age of 15 onwards. This means that approximately 365,000 people are affected by the dangerous health consequences associated with high alcohol consumption. One of these consequences is a decline in cognitive function, especially memory and abstraction. This is then referred to as alcohol-related dementia. However, we do not yet fully understand the exact pathomechanism, that is to say the way in which the brain is damaged by alcohol.

Researchers Stephan Listabarth, Daniel König and Benjamin Vyssoki from the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Division of Social Psychiatry at MedUni Vienna and Simon Hametner from MedUni Vienna’s Department of Neurology, Division of Neuropathology and Neurochemistry, have now advanced a plausible hypothesis to explain alcohol-induced brain damage: the cognitive deterioration is caused by iron deposits in the brain but the administration of vitamin B1 could protect the brain from these deposits.

We know from various neurodegenerative diseases that iron deposits in the brain are responsible for nerve tissue damage. These deposits can also be detected in specific regions of the brain (including the basal ganglia) in people who drink a lot of alcohol.

The hypothesis advanced by the study authors now also offers an explanation as to why iron deposits are so prevalent in this patient group: high alcohol consumption results in elevated iron levels in the blood and also to vitamin B1 (thiamine) deficiency, which, among other things, is important for maintaining the blood-brain barrier.

If these two situations coincide, it will deposit more iron inside the brain, ultimately leading to oxidative tissue damage.

This newly described role of vitamin B1 in this process could represent a huge step forward in our understanding of the development of alcohol-related neurological damage and, in particular, could offer a new point of attack for preventive and therapeutic approaches. It would then be conceivable to give continuous vitamin B1 substitutionin future, as a preventive measure.

The researchers believe it would also be useful to evaluate the use of drugs to reduce iron levels (e.g. chelators), as is already done in other neurodegenerative diseases. The authors of the current work have already started planning a prospective clinical study to validate the above-mentioned relationship between alcohol dependency, vitamin B1 deficiency and cerebral iron deposits and to provide a basis for further research in the field of alcohol-related dementia in the future.

 

mr peabody

Moderator: Music Discussion, PM
Staff member
Joined
Aug 31, 2016
Messages
5,295
Location
Frostbite Falls, MN



How to quit drinking: The princess is in another castle

by Robyn Schleihauf | The Fix | 30 Sep 2020

When I asked people how they did it, I think a small part of me wanted to hear their solutions so I could study them and dismiss them.

The first thing I did when I started to think that I probably absolutely had to stop drinking was finally reach out to a close friend for the phone number of a friend of hers who had been sober for half a decade. I had met this woman maybe twice in my life before she happily agreed to meet me for coffee and I told her the dark rot of the knowledge that I had been holding in my soul: I probably, maybe, might have just a wee bit of a drinking problem. We sat in a booth at a coffee shop on Gottingen street while I spoke and cried and she listened, and then while she spoke and I cried and listened. Then she slid a meeting list across the table to me.

An AA meeting list. AA. I don’t want to go to AA. I felt my spine prickle, even though I had already looked up the meeting list online and found two agnostic/atheist meetings. I thought I had already reluctantly decided to go, but my internal reaction to her suggestion told me that I would likely have talked myself out of it.

Then she said what I needed to hear, “look, it worked for me. I went every day for a year. Now I haven’t been in ages. Take what you need and leave the rest. And remember, AA is like anywhere else. You’re probably going to hate a bunch of the people there. Don’t worry about it.”

It’s pretty hard to argue with that.

When I was a kid I played a lot of Super Mario. Each level ends with a castle and inside the castle there is a boss that you have to battle. Until you reach the end, Toadstool, another character in the game, shows up after you defeat the boss to tell you that the princess is in another castle. For two years leading up to that coffee, I had tried in every which way to control my drinking. I kept ending up back at the beginning, but with a whole new set of obstacles on top of the old ones, new things to fear as the dark night set in. Nice try, but the princess is in another castle.

For some reason, before I went into the castle where Bowser (the final boss) actually was, where the princess was hiding with the solution to my drinking problem, I had to go through all these other levels, fighting a bunch of battles, all the while belligerently dragging a 6 pack of IPA behind me.

Eventually, you do end up at the final castle, either shrunk down and small or tall and whipping fireballs, and you go in to fight the final boss.

This is how I killed Bowser.

The final castle

1.
I stopped drinking.* (*BIG MEDICAL CAVEAT: detoxing can be deadly. It is always a good idea to speak to your primary care provider before doing so.)

I know, I know. I'm sorry. I felt adrift and alone. I doubted myself. I got angry at the unfairness of it all. But it was mine. No one was going to do it for me, or even with me.

2. I carried my fear.

When anyone stops drinking, it because they found one night, one afternoon, one instance where they just said to themselves, this is it. I have to grab this time, this one time out of many, many unacceptable moments, and run with it. Those moments are strong, but like any strong emotion, they are fleeting. So, I did whatever I could to carry my fear of not stopping around with me. I didn't let myself hear the less scary story I was trying to replace my fear with. I carried my fear around and reminded myself constantly that my fear of not stopping was greater than my fear of stopping.

3. I did it for myself but I didn't do it by myself.

For me, having a sober community has been essential. There is a great deal of relief that comes from hearing from someone who has lived your experience. Hearing pieces of your soul, particularly the ones that you had been fairly certain no one else knew about or had experienced themselves, spoken out loud by another human being is incredibly comforting.

Being around other people with a drinking problem also forced me to root out the denial that I had become accustomed to and had relied on for years in order to keep drinking. Hearing other people talk about being broken in the same way I was broken helped me to see all my broken pieces. And then they helped me sweep them up.

4. I had to confront the denial.

An excellent and exceptionally smart friend of mine and I were talking one day about sobriety, about all my problems with AA, about the steps and how annoyed I was with doing the steps.

"It could really just be two steps," she said, laughingly. "Step one: admit you have a drinking problem and can't drink. Step two: If you're wondering if you can have a drink, see step one." And that's it for me. The utility of going through it, however you go through it, is in confronting what you've been excusing for so long. It took me a couple of months to really get there. When I did it was like everything clicked into focus. Past behaviour made sense suddenly. Why did I still rack up bar tabs when I was completely broke? Why did I always want the party to keep going, even when everyone was ready for bed? Why did I keep waking up on the weekends anxious and exhausted and then find myself drinking again anyway? Click. A drinking problem. Addiction. Alcoholism. Whatever you want to call it, admitting to it is powerful. It doesn't excuse you, it just helps you figure out behaviour that once completely confounded you.

5. Focusing on how shitty my new counsellor was, how incredibly frustrating the obstacles to my recovery were, or how much I hated AA didn't get me sober.

I strongly think that bad help is worse than no help at all. Unfortunately, there is a lot of bad help out there.

When I was in early recovery, I was desperately seeking the way out of my drinking problem. My way out. I was struggling with the program of AA, even though I was getting value from the meetings. I wanted to get better faster. I went to a counsellor who I had been told specialized in addiction, but who actually had no experience with it. She balked when I told her how much I used to drink. I hadn't even understood why she had asked how much I used to drink. I was three months sober at the time, what did my former volume matter? She spent the rest of the session telling me about an article she had read about porn addiction and writing down resources I told her about that she wasn't aware of. I walked back to my car enraged. What if I had been really broken down in that moment? Didn't she understand how delicate this whole thing was? But she didn't. She so obviously, painfully, didn't.

It's so horrible that in order to find the actually helpful things, we have to endure the unhelpful things. The unhelpful things feel like being dunked in a bathtub full of vinegar when you’re all cut up and raw.

I called my friends and complained about how unfair it all was and then I got back on the road and leapt over those obstacles like Mario leaps over a pipe with a piranha plant in it (yes, we are still in the metaphor). I never went back to that counsellor. I continued going to and quitting AA. I read many, many books.

Right now, I’m reading Laura McKowen’s beautiful book called, We are the luckiest: the surprising magic of a sober life. If you think that title is insufferable, you are every bit the cynical addict I was before I too became a cheerful, kombucha chugging yogi. McKowen talks a little bit about her problems with AA, without really getting into them. She bypasses them compassionately and says, thinking about all the problems you have with AA is a bit like trying to rearrange the furniture while your house is on fire.

Sure, the couch might look better over there, but isn’t the fact that the weight bearing beams are about to turn to cinder a more pressing dilemma?

When I asked people how they did it, I think a small part of me wanted to hear their solutions so I could study them and dismiss them. Did they know that only x percent of people got sober through AA? Did they realize why that path or this one just wouldn’t work for me? Did they know that I had actually read x, y, or z, which told me why their way wouldn’t work?

But in the end, what helped was getting help. Take what you need and leave the rest. Your path is there. You just need to leap over all the goombas and not get too down when something pierces your armour or shrinks you down.

The final boss: eventually you've gotta take on Bowser

So, we’ve arrived at the warp tunnel. The truth about quitting drinking is this: one day, you just do it, even though it feels impossible and hard; even though it feels totally undesirable and may even just be the last thing on earth you want to do. You quit because you’re sick of facing up these enemies again and again. You just want to face down the final boss – Bowser – and to get on with it.

You stop drinking. Then you bear down. You let the grief and the consequences of that decision wash over you, pummel you, break you down to pieces. Eventually, the beauty finds you. I promise. For me, sobriety is an incredible choice I’ve made for myself, instead of a sad consequence. It was hard fought and at the end of the fight, there was no smug Toadstool telling me to look elsewhere, just a sweet little Princess Peach telling me I won. Metaphor!

 

mr peabody

Moderator: Music Discussion, PM
Staff member
Joined
Aug 31, 2016
Messages
5,295
Location
Frostbite Falls, MN

In mice with chronic alcohol use, IL-10 was significantly reduced in the amygdala
and didn’t signal properly to neurons, contributing to increased alcohol intake.


Chronic alcohol use reshapes the brain’s immune landscape, driving anxiety and addiction

Scripps Research Institute | Neuroscience News | 16 Nov 2020

Study identifies inflammatory mechanisms and cellular activity in the amygdala that drives alcohol addiction in mice. Chronic alcohol exposure compromises immune cells in the brain, driving anxiety and alcohol consumption that may lead to the development of AUD.

Deep within the brain, a small almond-shaped region called the amygdala plays a vital role in how we exhibit emotion, behavior and motivation. Understandably, it’s also strongly implicated in alcohol abuse, making it a long-running focus of Marisa Roberto, PhD, professor in Scripps Research’s Department of Molecular Medicine.

Now, for the first time, Roberto and her team have identified important changes to anti-inflammatory mechanisms and cellular activity in the amygdala that drive alcohol addiction. By countering this process in mice, they were able to stop excessive alcohol consumption–revealing a potential treatment path for alcohol use disorder. The study is published in Progress in Neurobiology.

“We found that chronic alcohol exposure compromises brain immune cells, which are important for maintaining healthy neurons,” says Reesha Patel, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in Roberto’s lab and first author of the study. “The resulting damage fuels anxiety and alcohol drinking that may lead to alcohol use disorder.”

Roberto’s study looked specifically at an immune protein called Interleukin 10, or IL-10, which is prevalent in the brain. IL-10 is known to have potent anti-inflammatory properties, which ensures that the immune system doesn’t respond too powerfully to disease threats. In the brain, IL-10 helps to limit inflammation from injury or disease, such as stroke or Alzheimer’s. But it also appears to influence key behaviors associated with chronic alcohol use.

In mice with chronic alcohol use, IL-10 was significantly reduced in the amygdala and didn’t signal properly to neurons, contributing to increased alcohol intake. By boosting IL-10 signaling in the brain, however, the scientists could reverse the aberrant effects. Notably, they observed a stark reduction in anxiety-like behaviors and motivation to drink alcohol.

“We’ve shown that inflammatory immune responses in the brain are very much at play in the development and maintenance of alcohol use disorder,” Roberto says. “But perhaps more importantly, we provided a new framework for therapeutic intervention, pointing to anti-inflammatory mechanisms.”

Alcohol use disorder is widespread, affecting some 15 million people in the United States, and few effective treatments exist. By examining how brain cells change with prolonged exposure to alcohol, Roberto’s lab has uncovered many possible new therapeutic approaches for those with alcohol addiction.

In the latest study, Roberto’s lab collaborated with Silke Paust, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Immunology and Microbiology. Paust and her team determined the precise immune cells throughout the whole brain that are affected by chronic alcohol use. The findings revealed a large shift in the brain immune landscape, with increased levels of immune cells known as microglia and T-regulatory cells, which produce IL-10.

Despite a higher number of IL-10-producing cells in the whole brain of mice with prolonged alcohol use, the amygdala told a different story. In that region, levels of IL-10 were lower and their signaling function was compromised–suggesting that the immune system in the amygdala responds uniquely to chronic alcohol use.

This study complements recent findings by the Roberto lab demonstrating a casual role for microglia in the development of alcohol dependence.

Future studies will build on these findings to identify exactly how and when IL-10 signals to neurons in the amygdala and other addition-related brain circuits to alter behavior.

 

mr peabody

Moderator: Music Discussion, PM
Staff member
Joined
Aug 31, 2016
Messages
5,295
Location
Frostbite Falls, MN



Clinical trial shows alcohol use disorder recovery can even start without sobriety

by Washington State University | Medical Xpress | 10 Mar 2021

Harm reduction treatment helped people experiencing homelessness and alcohol use disorder reduce their drinking and improve their health-even if they didn't quit drinking alcohol.

In a randomized clinical trial, a research team led by Washington State University psychology professor Susan Collins studied more than 300 people from three Seattle homeless shelters and programs. Participants were randomly assigned to four groups receiving different services: the first group received behavioral harm reduction treatment, which is a form of collaborative counseling that does not require sobriety or drinking reduction, plus an anti-craving medication called naltrexone; the second had the counseling and a placebo; the third, the counseling alone; and the fourth served as a control group receiving regular services.

All three groups that received the behavioral harm reduction treatment over a three-month period saw more improvement than the control group—with the most improvement in the group that had both the counseling and the anti-craving medication.

"We found participants didn't have to stop drinking to start recovery," said Collins, lead author on the study published March 10 in the journal The Lancet Psychiatry. "We didn't ask participants to change their drinking in any particular way, but looking at the averages generated in our statistical models, we found that people who got the combined counseling and medication experienced a 59% reduction during their treatment in the number of drinks consumed on their heaviest drinking day."

Other improvements during the three-month treatment included a 43% reduction in overall alcohol-related harm, a 29% reduction in frequency of drinking and a 10% improvement in people's self-assessment of their physical health.

All participants were asked to fill out surveys at different intervals related to their alcohol use, health and quality of life. While the group that had counseling and medication showed statistically significant improvement on five out of six measures, the other two groups that had harm reduction counseling but no active medication showed statistically significant improvement on three out of the six measures.

The researchers also tested urine samples. Participants who received combined treatment and medication were almost three times more likely to have undetectable levels of an alcohol biomarker than those in the control group, meaning their drinking had declined significantly.

For over a decade, Collins and her co-authors from the University of Washington and the VA Puget Sound Health Care System, have been working together with people who use substances and community-based agencies to develop evidence-based behavioral harm reduction treatment for alcohol use disorder.

The treatment involves a set of three strategies to reduce the negative effects of alcohol use. First, interventionists support patients in setting their own treatment goals instead of dictating that they quit. Second, interventionists and patients discuss ways to stay safer and healthier even when drinking. Third, instead of just tracking sobriety, interventionists work with patients to collaboratively measure and track different kinds of alcohol-related harm that may be important to patients.

Collins said that traditional alcohol treatment programs that demand abstinence fail to help many people experiencing homelessness and alcohol use disorder. By some estimates, people who experience chronic homelessness and alcohol use disorder have, on average, undergone alcohol treatment 16 times in their lives.

"Oftentimes, these folks are labeled 'treatment failures,' but we started to realize after many years of doing this work, maybe it's us, the treatment system that's failing them, more than the other way around," said Collins. "What we do with harm reduction treatment is try to meet people where they are at. Instead of falling into this paternalistic, advice-giving approach that turns people off, we try to support them in reaching their own goals."

Many of the study participants had multiple goals, only some of which involved reducing drinking. As might be expected, the most common goal was finding more stable housing, but other goals included re-connecting with family, finding work and engaging in hobbies they once enjoyed.

While this study included people experiencing homelessness, the findings also hold potential for other people with alcohol use disorder, Collins said.

"This approach has the potential to help anybody who would like to change their alcohol use but might not be ready or able to stop entirely," said Collins. "We can do treatment in an incremental way that might be more sustainable and less demoralizing than going through these cycles, where people feel if they aren't able to stop drinking, they can't start recovery or they aren't good enough for our treatment system. Instead, it is our definition of recovery and our treatment system that needs to change."

 
Last edited:

mr peabody

Moderator: Music Discussion, PM
Staff member
Joined
Aug 31, 2016
Messages
5,295
Location
Frostbite Falls, MN



Ketamine psychedelic therapy and alcohol addiction

Depression among addicted, alcoholic and people in recovery is extremely common.

Some in the treatment community are excited about the potential of Ketamine treatment.

Because the patient does not have access to the medication, abuse and dependence is a remote possibility.

Evgeny Krupitsky, MD, PhD, has been researching the treatment of alcoholism and addiction with ketamine since the 1980s and hopes to extend his research to encompass post-traumatic stress disorder in the near future. In 1985, he developed ketamine psychedelic therapy - which was initially merely a method for increasing suggestibility and enhancing aversive treatment for alcoholism - publishing his first report on the method in 1992.

He found that ketamine induced total abstinence in 66 percent of his alcoholic patients (versus 24 percent of the non-psychedelic control group) for as long as a year. He observed improvement in personality profile, positive transformation of self-concept and emotional attitudes to various aspects of self, positive changes in life values, and improved spiritual development in the ketamine group. What is the contribution of the psychedelic experience to this improvement? Krupitsky posited nine factors:

1. Stable, positive psychological changes.
2. Personality growth and self-cognition.
3. Important insights into existential problems and the meaning of life.
4. Transformation of one’s “life value system.”
5. A change of view of one’s self and the world around.
6. Insight into life and death.
7. A rise of creative energies.
8. Broadening of spiritual horizons.
9. Harmonization of a person’s relationships with the world and with other people.

In 1991, another Soviet psychiatrist, Igor Kungurtsev MD, who had initially worked with Krupitsky and later immigrated to the United States, published a summary of his own experiences treating alcoholism with ketamine.

Although, like Krupitsky, he initially felt that ketamine simply made alcohol aversive in a purely behavioral way, he radically changed his approach following a series of ketamine self-administrations and instead It is gratifying to see that NIMH is following MAPS’ lead in supporting the treatment of psychiatric disorders with psychedelic drugs adopted a transpersonal model for therapy in order to better utilize the profound mystical experiences induced by ketamine. He found that successful treatment of alcoholism with ketamine was correlated with a changed spiritual outlook in the same way that 12-step programs also achieve success by changing addicts’ spiritual outlook, albeit in a non-psychedelic manner.

There are also suggestions that ketamine might be useful in the treatment of heroin withdrawal. In one recent study, 58 opiate-dependent patients were given “ultra-rapid detox” under general anaesthesia with either ketamine or placebo saline infusion. The ketamine group had noticeably better control of withdrawal symptoms, although there was no difference in abstinence between the two groups four months later.

Another study found that one ketamine-assisted psychotherapy session was significantly more effective than active placebo in promoting abstinence. In this study of the efficacy of single versus repeated sessions of ketamine-assisted psychotherapy in promoting abstinence in people with heroin dependence, 59 detoxified inpatients with heroin dependence received a ketamine-assisted psychotherapy (KPT) session prior to their discharge from an addiction treatment hospital, and were then randomized into two treatment groups.

Participants in the first group received two addiction counseling sessions followed by two KPT sessions, with sessions scheduled on a monthly interval (multiple KPT group). Participants in the second group received two addiction counseling sessions on a monthly interval, but no additional ketamine therapy sessions (single KPT group). At one-year follow-up, survival analysis demonstrated a significantly higher rate of abstinence in the multiple KPT group.

Thirteen out of 26 subjects (50 percent) in the multiple KPT group remained abstinent, compared to 6 out of 27 subjects (22 percent) in the single KPT group. No differences between groups were found in depression, anxiety, craving for heroin, or their understanding of the meaning of their lives. It was concluded that three sessions of ketamine-assisted psychotherapy are more effective than a single session for the treatment of heroin addiction.


A big thank you to @sdxyln for the headsup on this article!
 

mr peabody

Moderator: Music Discussion, PM
Staff member
Joined
Aug 31, 2016
Messages
5,295
Location
Frostbite Falls, MN



MDMA a promising treatment for alcoholism*

by Rich Haridy | NEW ATLAS | 21 Feb 2021

A new study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology is reporting on a landmark clinical trial exploring the potential for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in treating subjects with alcohol use disorder. The small open-label trial is the first to test MDMA therapy as a treatment for addiction and the results suggest it is safe, well-tolerated and significantly more effective than any current treatment for alcoholism.

MDMA, was originally synthesized in Germany in 1912 but spent much of the 20th century as an unexplored footnote in chemistry journals. The drug was rediscovered by psychonauts in the 1960s, and psychotherapists quietly explored its therapeutic potential before its use spiraled into recreational circles, eventually becoming illegal in the early 1980s.

Over the past few decades, a small community of dedicated researchers has worked to legitimize the drug and re-establish its medical uses. Leading the way has been robust work showing the drug to be significantly effective treating PTSD. Now deep in Phase 3 clinical trials, MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD is just a year or two away from market approval in the United States.

For the last few years psychiatrist Ben Sessa and a team of UK researchers have been exploring the role of MDMA therapy in treating alcohol use disorder (AUD). In a newly published study the researchers report on the world’s first trial testing the novel treatment on patients suffering from addiction.

This small, proof-of-concept study recruited 14 subjects with AUD. The goal of this preliminary study was to establish a safety profile for the MDMA therapy in patients suffering from AUD, but an expansive nine-month follow-up period also allowed for a unique insight into the possible long-term efficacy of the treatment.

The trial used a protocol similar to that being explored by MDMA for PTSD research. The course of treatment spans eight weeks and comprises 10 psychotherapy sessions. Two of those sessions involve day-long MDMA treatments, while the other sessions are more traditional one-hour psychotherapy appointments.

In regards to tolerability and safety, the study reports no adverse responses to the drug were detected either during a treatment session or in the days following. In a fascinating side note, the study followed each subject’s acute mood state for seven days after each MDMA session.

Recreational MDMA users have for years frequently reported negative mood swings around two to three days after using the drug. Anecdotally referred to as "Terrible Tuesdays," pseudoscientific explanations have often suggested some kind of serotonin depletion can take hold in the days following MDMA use, causing a unique kind of depressive hangover.

The new research specifically addresses this anecdotal phenomenon and suggests when MDMA is delivered through a clinical therapeutic program this anecdotal post-drug hangover is not detected. Sessa hypothesizes this common recreational observation is more due to polydrug use and other confounding factors instead of the MDMA itself.

“No come-downs or post-drug affect drops for 7-days post MDMA,” Sessa notes on Twitter. “Blue Monday/Black Tuesday/so-called ‘Suicide Wednesday’ reported by ravers are myths due to confounding hangover factors; not MDMA.”

Although the primary goal of the trial was to understand safety issues with the MDMA therapy in AUD patients, the extensive follow-up period allowed for some compelling insights into how long-term drinking behaviors were affected.

Nine months after the trial only 21 percent of the cohort were drinking more than 14 units of alcohol per week. This compares to an average of 130 units of alcohol consumed per week by each patient before detox at the beginning of the study.

As this was not a placebo-controlled trial, the researchers did conduct a small adjacent study to look at how MDMA therapy compares to current gold-standard treatments for AUD.

Fourteen subjects were recruited and tracked for nine months following detox for this adjacent outcome study. A striking 75 percent were consuming more than 14 units of alcohol per week at the nine-month follow-up point. This data resembles the generally poor long-term outcomes for current AUD treatments, which register drinking relapse rates at around 60 percent one year after treatment and 80 percent three years later.

It is important to note this is still very preliminary research. A larger Phase 2b placebo-controlled trial run by burgeoning psychedelic biotech company Awakn Life Sciences is getting underway in the United Kingdom to more comprehensively explore the efficacy of MDMA therapy for AUD. Sessa, chief medical officer for Awakn, suggests this stage should take around three years.

In the meantime, prospective clinics around the world are preparing for MDMA/PTSD treatments to be approved, establishing the infrastructure necessary to administer multiple forms of psychedelic therapies for a variety of conditions, including psilocybin for depression. MDMA therapy for alcoholism may still be a few years away from clear clinical validation, but this proof-of-concept trial is as strong a first study as one could hope for.

*From the article here :
 

mr peabody

Moderator: Music Discussion, PM
Staff member
Joined
Aug 31, 2016
Messages
5,295
Location
Frostbite Falls, MN



Single Ketamine dose could help treat problematic drinking behavior*

by Shane O'Connor, MS | Psychedelic Science Review | 20 Jan 2020

New research suggests that ketamine can aid in reorganizing alcohol-related memories.

Ketamine has a long and varied history of medicinal use. Initially administered as an anesthetic, the compound also demonstrates therapeutic benefits in conditions such as treatment-resistant depression and substance use disorders, such as the overconsumption of alcohol. A recent study conducted at University College London provides an insight into how ketamine produces a rapid reduction in the reinforcing and motivational qualities of alcohol.


Fig 1: Chemical structure of ketamine​

The molecule and its effects

Ketamine is an antagonist (i.e., blocker) of the NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptor in neurons. Typically, the brain’s primary excitatory neurotransmitter, glutamate, binds to the NMDA receptor. However, when ketamine blocks the receptor, glutamate can’t bind to it. This blocking results in the decrease in action potential conduction velocity. An action potential is a physiological process that facilitates the transmission of signals in neurons.

Conversely, traditional serotonergic psychedelics (mescaline, psilocybin, LSD) exert their psychedelic effects through their agonist or partial agonist activity at the serotonin 5-HT2A receptor. So when studied at a cellular/receptor level, ketamine does not resemble a psychedelic compound. However, ketamine may be viewed as a psychedelic in terms of subjective experiences associated with the drug.

Ketamine causes feelings of dissociation, also called an out-of-body experience. The dissociative quality of ketamine has led to its use as a recreational drug, often referred to as “special K.”​

Malleable memories

The University College study revolves around the concept that addiction, to some degree, is a memory disorder. Individuals learn to associate drugs or alcohol with the positive feelings they bring. Specific external cues, such as the smell or picture of a beer, can trigger those memories — and cravings. Such triggers lead to an expectation of drug reward. The encoding of connections between drug/alcohol-related cues and reward are termed maladaptive reward memories (MRM).

Previously, MRMs were thought to become long-lasting once stabilized- or consolidated – into long-term memory storage, promoting relapse even long periods of drug/alcohol abstinence. However, recent insights into the malleability of long-term memories may facilitate the rewriting of maladaptive memories. Reconsolidation involves the temporary reactivation and destabilization of long-term memories, in order to incorporate new information. Ketamine’s primary target, the NMDA receptor, is involved in the reconsolidation of memories.

By using ketamine to interfere with memory reconsolidation, it is theoretically possible to selectively target and weaken memories. The brief reconsolidation window of memory instability proposes a novel mechanism to rewrite MRMs, hopefully leading to fewer instances of relapse.

Study coauthor Ravi Das told sciencenews.org, “We’re trying to break down those memories to stop that process from happening, and to stop people from relapsing.”​

The study design

Das and his team selected a study group of 90 (55 men, 35 women) beer drinking participants. According to the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), all participants exhibited problematic patterns of drinking. However, none of the participants were formally diagnosed with alcohol use disorder or were seeking treatment.

Participants were first shown images of beer and instructed to drink one in the lab. During the experiment, they rated their cravings for beer and enjoyment of drinking. After drinking the beer, participants reported on their urge to have another one.

When participants returned to the lab a few days later, they were divided into three groups. The first group was again presented pictures of beer to refresh their memories. To heightened memory recall strength, the researchers served the group beer but then withdrew it before participants could drink. The team carried out this maneuver to generate the element of surprise.

In contrast, the second group viewed pictures of orange juice rather than beer. Then participants in both of these groups received an intravenous (IV) dose of ketamine (350 ng/dl). A third group was shown pictures of beer but received no ketamine.

The following week, participants who had their beer memories refreshed before receiving ketamine reported a reduced urge to drink, a reduction that wasn’t as pronounced for the other two groups. Furthermore, the group that had their beer-drinking memories refreshed and received ketamine also reported drinking less.

Researchers also measured blood concentrations of ketamine and its metabolites during the reconsolidation window. This blood marker served as a surrogate for central ketamine availability. If blockade of memory reconsolidation was the process responsible for the observed decreases in drinking, blood ketamine & metabolite levels during the reconsolidation window should predict subsequent drinking in participants that were shown pictures of beer and received ketamine, but not the group that just received ketamine. This is precisely what the group observed. This observation is noteworthy as it represents a possible biomarker for treatment response in a reconsolidation model.

During the pilot studies conducted previous to this experiment, the lab observed that the efficacy of IV ketamine treatment was dose-dependent. Considering that ketamine is relatively safe even at full anesthetic doses, the authors recommended that future studies consider using higher doses of ketamine (up to full anesthesia). Higher doses would maximize NMDAR occupancy and memory interference.

Interestingly, nine months after the experiment, all participants cut their beer consumption approximately in half. This includes the group that received no ketamine. Such an across-the-board reduction may be a result of the shift in self-awareness associated with participating in a study. However, the important take away finding from this study is the initial drop in drinking amongst people who received ketamine while reminded of beer.​

Future perspectives for ketamine

The therapeutic repertoire of ketamine is ever-expanding. However, misuse of the drug also leads to adverse effects such as delirium and confusion. Moving forward, clinicians and scientists much weigh the costs-benefit when prescribing treatment with abuse potential such as ketamine. Preliminary studies such as the one described in this article demonstrate that even a single-dose administration of ketamine can reduce drinking behavior, limiting the potential for abuse and dependency. Furthermore, this paradigm of memory interference could extend to conditions such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

*From the article here :
 

mr peabody

Moderator: Music Discussion, PM
Staff member
Joined
Aug 31, 2016
Messages
5,295
Location
Frostbite Falls, MN



Psychedelics may hold considerable potential for treating alcoholism, study*

by Eric Dolan | PsyPost | 21 Jun 2019

The use of psychedelic drugs may lead to reductions in problematic alcohol use, according to preliminary research published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.

“Psychedelics appear to have the ability to induce a behavioral and mental plasticity, which is a way of saying they can serve as profound behavior change agents when applied in the right settings and framework,”
said study author Matthew W. Johnson (@Drug_Researcher), an associate professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

“They have potential to treat addictions, broadly defined. This is informed by early research with LSD as well as with reports regarding sacramental use of psychedelics by indigenous cultures and syncretic religions. Now the current study suggests that such anti-addictive effects for alcohol might be at play in the general population.”

Through online advertisements, the researchers recruited 343 individuals who had used a classic psychedelic drugs. The advertisements specifically sought participants who had “overcome alcohol or drug addiction after using psychedelics.”

The participants completed a survey that included several measures to assess their past alcohol use and misuse. The survey also collected demographic information and data about the psychedelic experience to which they attributed their alcohol use cessation or reduction.

The researchers found that most of the participants met the criteria for severe alcohol use disorder in the year prior to their psychedelic experience, but a large majority no longer met the criteria after the experience.

Most of the participants said the psychedelic experience in question was the result of a moderate or high dose of either LSD or psilocybin.

Eight out of 10 participants rated the psychedelic experience among the 10 most personally meaningful experiences of their life, while about 4 in 10 rated it among the 10 most psychologically challenging experiences.

The researchers also found that participants who reported more mystical-type effects and a greater overall intensity during their psychedelic experience tended to report bigger changes in their alcohol use.

“Public funding should be made available for conducting rigorous trials examining psychedelics in the treatment of addiction. Thus far, no NIH funding has been devoted to therapeutic human studies with psychedelics, despite a decades-long safety record and signs of promising effects,” Johnson told PsyPost.

"The findings indicate that these substances hold considerable potential for the treatment of alcohol use disorder," the researchers wrote in their study.

But like all research, the study includes some limitations. For instance, the sample was likely supportive of psychedelic use in general and the results could be affected by recall bias.

“There are very real risks to psychedelics, but these can be squarely mitigated with well established safety procedures in clinical research. The major questions left are whether results hold up in much larger controlled studies, but those take a lot of money and time to conduct,” Johnson noted.

“This research should not encourage folks to try this at home. There are risks to these compounds.”

The study, “Cessation and reduction in alcohol consumption and misuse after psychedelic use“, was authored by Albert Garcia-Romeu, Alan K. Davis, Fire Erowid, Earth Erowid, Roland R Griffiths and Matthew W. Johnson.

*From the article here :
 

mr peabody

Moderator: Music Discussion, PM
Staff member
Joined
Aug 31, 2016
Messages
5,295
Location
Frostbite Falls, MN



MDMA-assisted therapy for alcohol addiction

by Ben Malcolm | Spirit Pharmacist | 28 Apr 2021

Alcohol Use Disorders (AUD) are the most common type of substance use disorders in the world. Beyond its sedative, euphoric, reinforcing, and short-lived effects, alcohol enjoys wide availability, social acceptance, and low cost, all of which may contribute to the global prevalence of AUD. In 2018, 14.5 million Americans had AUD and over a quarter of adults binge drank (NIAAA). Each year, approximately 95,000 people in the US die due to alcohol-related causes, making it the third-leading preventable cause of death. Treatment rates for AUD are abysmal, with around 7.3% of persons with AUD receiving treatment and less than 4% taking a medication for AUD. Current prescription options (naltrexone, acamprosate, disulfiram) for the treatment of AUD may have limited efficacy (acamprosate) and require abstinence from alcohol to avoid adverse effects (disulfiram) or chronic use for benefits (naltrexone). Unfortunately, current psychological and pharmaceutical regimes to treat alcohol addiction have poor long-term outcomes with high rates of relapse.

Classic psychedelics vs. MDMA in alcohol addiction

There is reasonable amounts of evidence from clinical trials suggesting that classic tryptamine psychedelic therapies with Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) and psilocybin are effective in the treatment of AUD (Krebs 2012, Bogenschutz 2015). Classic psychedelics have historically been known as ‘hallucinogens’ and may carry risks of adverse psychological effects associated with perceptual disturbances. MDMA is not a classic psychedelic and more aptly be termed an ‘enactogen’ than a psychedelic. These differences in effects could offer advantages in psychological safety as MDMA tends to produce an expansive and open emotional response, repression in fear or defense response mechanisms, mood enhancement, and reduction in anxiety - without producing significant perceptual disturbances. On the other hand, classic psychedelics are not known to be addictive substances or produce withdrawal syndromes and have low levels of physical risks, whereas MDMA is a stimulant amphetamine that has been associated with stimulant use disorders and short- and long-term adverse outcomes in non-clinical settings. Recently, clinical trials of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD have shown significant improvement in patients’ symptoms and functioning (Mithoefer 2019). Since AUD and mental illnesses like PTSD are frequently associated, researchers are gaining interest into testing the effects of MDMA assisted therapy on AUD.

MDMA-assisted therapy for alcohol addiction

An initial pilot study based on a sample size of 14 participants between the ages of 18-65 years old who had met the criteria for moderate to severe AUD was recently completed in the UK. Over an eight-week course of recovery-based psychotherapy, participants received a total of 10 psychotherapy sessions. Participants were given MDMA in two of the sessions, which lasted six to eight hours each. Participants received an initial dose of 125 mg followed two hours later by a booster dose of 62.5 mg to prolong the effects of MDMA. The other eight sessions consisted of one-hour psychotherapy sessions.

The main goal of the study was to assess if MDMA-assisted psychotherapy can be delivered safely and be tolerated by patients with alcohol addiction post-detoxification. Researchers then followed up with the participants for nine-months to assess how their drinking behavior, mental wellbeing, quality of life and psychosocial functioning changed over time following MDMA therapy. The findings led researchers to gain insight into the potential long-term benefits of MDMA therapy for AUD.

The study reported no adverse responses to the MDMA treatment, and the treatment was well-tolerated by all participants. Participants also showed a significant decrease in alcohol intake nine months after treatment since the beginning of the study. Prior to detoxification, participants were drinking the equivalent of 62 standard glasses of wine per week. By the end of the trial, participants consumed an average of about 9 standard glasses of wine per week.

Come down or afterglow? Post-use effects of MDMA

Despite the infamous ‘come down’ related to neurotoxic effects reported by recreational ecstasy users characterized by irritability and depressive thoughts and behaviors, this was not observed in the study with AUD (Sessa et. Al 2019). The mood states of the participants in this trial were monitored daily for seven days following each MDMA session. Not only did participants experience no mood disturbances, all 14 participants actually sustained a positive mood. Across the board, participants experienced an overall reduction in their anxiety and depression throughout the duration of the study. This could be due to an ‘afterglow’ effect of MDMA assisted therapy or perhaps due to recent detoxification and successful reductions in alcohol use, which could conceivably also make participants feel much better in mind and body. For example, participants in clinical trials of MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD did notice some side effects in the week after MDMA sessions (Mithoefer 2019).

Considerations for use of MDMA in persons with Alcohol Use Disorder

Persons included in the study had recently and successfully detoxified from alcohol prior to initiation of MDMA-assisted therapy. There are serious medical risks to abrupt discontinuation of alcohol in severely dependent users and MDMA could conceivably increase risks of seizures related to alcohol withdrawal syndromes, thus may not be appropriate for use during or for withdrawal. Persons with AUD may have medical complications such as liver cirrhosis that impairs the body's ability to metabolize MDMA or cardiovascular illnesses that increase risks associated with use. Persons with these illnesses were excluded from study participation.

Is MDMA addictive? Could it trigger a relapse?

There may be concern to considering use of MDMA for treatment of substance use disorders given it does have some reinforcing and addictive potential itself. MDMA works on the same reward systems in the brain that other addictive substances target and addiction to ‘ecstasy’ has been reported. However, due to the serotonin releasing properties and relatively weak effects on dopamine, there is likely less addictive potential to MDMA than amphetamine. Having some addiction potential in unsupervised settings could be considered a limitation of MDMA relative to classic psychedelics when considering treatment of substance use disorders. The risks of becoming addicted to MDMA from use in supervised clinical settings appears low and trials to date have not published any reports of addiction occurring. Similarly, use of other ‘club drugs’ like ketamine have positive evidence for ability to treat cocaine use disorders when used within the context of addiction recovery programs (Dakwar 2019). In sum, the physiological effects of MDMA are quite different than alcohol and despite being an amphetamine, its serotonergic nature and use within a therapeutic context helps alleviate concerns of MDMA addiction or relapse to alcohol from MDMA-assisted therapy.

Could MDMA-assisted therapy be a lifesaver?

Evidence from this pilot study suggests the volume of alcohol consumed in individuals with AUD decreases significantly after two sessions of MDMA-assisted therapy. It expands our knowledge of what MDMA-assisted therapy is capable of and encourages further exploration of ‘enactogens’ like MDMA alongside classic psychedelics like psilocybin and LSD for alcohol use disorders.

 

mr peabody

Moderator: Music Discussion, PM
Staff member
Joined
Aug 31, 2016
Messages
5,295
Location
Frostbite Falls, MN

The treatment has helped Grant, 53, stop drinking after years of struggle.

How Ketamine helped me kick my alcohol addiction

A new clinic believes that using psychedelic substances to aid psychotherapy can give hope to patients looking to change their lives

by Sharon Walker | The Telegraph | 15 March 2021

Psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy could transform the treatment of chronic mental health issues, offering new hope to patients suffering from the repercussions of childhood trauma or neglect, according to the leading psychiatrist behind a new mental health clinic which opens today.

The private Bristol clinic, run by Awakn Life Sciences, will offer ketamine-assisted psychotherapy for addiction and other mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.

“Many people are failed by the current treatments, especially when it comes to addictions,” says Dr Ben Sessa, psychiatrist and chief medical officer at Awakn.

“We have too many patients who are treatment-resistant and they remain with us (in and out of treatment) for life because there’s to much dependence on the biological model and SSRIs in psychiatry,” says Dr Sessa.

“What we’re offering with drug-assisted psychotherapy is hope, and often the chance to really tackle the rigid stuckness that many patients experience which is so often due to early trauma. When a child has been through this it sets up a blueprint for life and it’s very hard to treat because patients who have been traumatised become absolute experts at avoiding those memories. In ketamine-assisted therapy, we can help the patient get to the root cause of their problem and help them reflect and challenge those issues and move on. It’s going to be used in a number of applications but what underlies all of them is trauma.”

Though it is often branded as a horse tranquilliser, ketamine is far more commonly used in human medicine than in veterinary surgery. “It is the tranquilliser of choice when you don’t know a person’s medical history because it’s so safe,” says Dr Sessa. “As an anaesthetic it knocks the patient out but, 10 or 15 years ago, it was discovered that if you give a low dose that gives an altered state of consciousness and that’s how we are going to be using it in treatments.”

Although ketamine has been used by a small number of doctors to treat depression, this will be the first clinic to combine ketamine with psychotherapy.

Ketamine is also known as a party drug, popular at festivals for its euphoric trance-like effects, though more intense doses can lead to users falling into the “k-hole” with little control of their bodies and habitual long-term abuse has been linked with bladder issues. "Illegal street ketamine is often contaminated and bears little resemblance to the medical-grade ketamine used in therapy," says Dr Sessa.

The first clinical trial into ketamine-assisted psychotherapy, funded by the Medical Research Council, which is under review for publication, would seem to confirm that ketamine-assisted therapy could offer hope to those suffering from entrenched alcohol dependence.

While 75 per cent of patients who undergo alcohol detox generally relapse within a year, a randomised controlled trial of 96 patients with alcohol misuse disorder found that ketamine-assisted psychotherapy was associated with a 50 per cent reduction in relapse at six months, as well as a greater reduction in drinking compared to trial participants who received ketamine alone.

“Though there’s been lots of research on ketamine as an antidepressant, we were missing a trick by not harnessing the ‘ketamine experience,’” explains Prof Celia Morgan, who conducted the research. “How we think it works is by kickstarting the process of growing connections in your brain. In the hours and days following ketamine, we see an explosion of growth in the synapses between neurones in the prefrontal cortex. This manifests psychologically in a sense of awe and wonder. This is what we see in patients given ketamine; they’re much more awake and excited by life. This means that patients start therapy with the right mindset to make therapy most effective. We can give a few isolated doses of the drug but produce long-term change.”

Grant, 53, an events organiser from Glastonbury, was one of the patients randomly assigned to the ketamine-assisted psychotherapy group in the summer of 2019.

“I’d always been a fairly normal party drinker but, after my divorce five years ago, it escalated,” says Grant. “I was binge drinking two bottles of wine a night. Then getting up and doing a 16-mile run to try to offset the effects. But I was still putting on weight and not feeling great. It got to the point where I’d pour the booze down the sink, but then go out and buy some more.”

In the summer of 2018 Grant managed to give up alcohol for three months, but as soon as he drank again he was back to square one. “It was like a piece of elastic,” he says, “I just snapped straight back to it. I was desperate to be that person who can have a glass of wine with a meal, but that just isn’t me. I’m not that person.”

Grant experienced seven sessions of cognitive behaviour therapy, three of which were accompanied by ketamine infusions, over three weeks. “It’s been absolutely life-changing,” he says. “The ketamine was such a profound experience. It was as if my ego dropped away and I felt I was able to access a part of my unconscious where I hadn’t gone before. The therapy allowed me to look at issues from my youth. I wasn’t abused, but I had some issues that were damaging my relationships. I just came away thinking, ‘You’ve got to look after yourself,’ and haven’t drunk since. I don’t even think about it. There’s none of that nagging temptation. It’s given me a path back to how I was before I started drinking,“ he says. Grant has been sober for two years.

While ketamine is currently the only psychedelic drug that can legally be used in therapy, Awakn are researching the use of other psychedelics, such as MDMA-assisted therapy, which also reduced alcohol dependence.

Although currently only available privately, at the cost of £6000 for a nine week course of 11 therapy sessions, including four ketamine infusions, Dr Sessa hopes that psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy will eventually become available on the NHS and through private medical insurance.

 

mr peabody

Moderator: Music Discussion, PM
Staff member
Joined
Aug 31, 2016
Messages
5,295
Location
Frostbite Falls, MN



Psilocybin-assisted treatment of alcoholism

Adam Halberstadt, ‎Franz Vollenweider, ‎David Nichols

C is a 59 year-old divorced mother of 2 who had struggled with alcohol since age 15. Her drinking had led to problems including recurrent physical violence, multiple arrests, poor work history, and intermittent homelessness. She had suffered severe abuse in the context of relationships with partners who also drank, including being beaten unconscious and suffering from intracranial bleeding on at least one occasion. She had made several past attempts to stop drinking, with little success. When she volunteered for the psilocybin trial, she had been sober for 11 days.

During the preparatory phase, C stated a goal of total abstinence, and rated the importance of abstinence and her readiness for abstinence as high, but her confidence in achieving it was low. She said that she wanted to understand why she drank, and hoped that this would help her stay sober. She indicated God's will, forgiveness, humility, (to be) loved, and self-control as her most important values, and saw clearly that her drinking was in conflict with these values.

During her first psilocybin session, she reported that she experienced powerful feelings of sorrow and remorse regarding the course of her life, and particularly concerning her perceived failures as a parent as a result of her drinking. This experience was quite painful, and she believed that she was sobbing uncontrollably during much of this time, although she was actually lying quietly on the couch at the time. After the session, she felt a sense of relief, and said that she had been able to let go of these feelings and experience a sense of forgiveness. She was hopeful that the experience would help her stay sober, and had no desire to drink after the session.

C remained sober between the first and second session. During the second session, she reported she experienced a visual image of a small child lying broken on the floor. She realized that this child was her, and experienced herself as a 3-year-old child, devastated by abandonment by her father, an issue that she had not discussed in the preparatory sessions. After this, she began to perceive a white light, which she called Gods healing light, and felt a profound sense of love. She felt that she had been healed by this experience, and that she now felt whole and worthy of love.

In discussing these experiences afterwards, C said that she thought her drinking had been an attempt to escape the painful feelings of being unworthy of love, as well as the painful feelings of shame and loss related to her life as an alcoholic. She had avoided these feelings, believing that she would fall apart if she faced them. Following the sessions, she now felt that she was strong enough to face these feelings, and that she was a whole person, worthy of love. At her most recent follow-up, 5 months after the first psilocybin session, she remained abstinent and continued to feel that her life had been transformed, in spite of the unexpected death of a close family member during the interim.

 

mr peabody

Moderator: Music Discussion, PM
Staff member
Joined
Aug 31, 2016
Messages
5,295
Location
Frostbite Falls, MN

Teri Krebs and Pal-Orjan Johansen

LSD treatment for alcohol addiction

The psychedelic drug LSD could help alcoholics give up drinking, according to studies performed in the 1960s. A study, presented in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, looked at data from six trials and more than 500 patients. It said there was a significant beneficial effect on alcohol abuse, which lasted several months after the drug was taken.

At present LSD is a class A drug in the UK and is one of the most powerful hallucinogens ever identified. It appears to work by blocking a chemical in the brain, serotonin, which controls functions including perception, behavior, hunger and mood.

For this new study researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology analyzed earlier studies on the drug between 1966 and 1970. A total of 536 patients were taking part in alcohol treatment programs, but some were given a single dose of LSD of between 210 and 800 micrograms.

For the group of patients taking LSD, 59% showed reduced levels of alcohol misuse compared with 38% in the other group. This effect was maintained 6 months after taking the hallucinogen, but it disappeared after a year. Those taking LSD also reported higher levels of abstinence.

According to authors Teri Krebs and Pal-Orjan Johansen, "A single dose of LSD has a significant beneficial effect on alcohol misuse. Given the evidence for a beneficial effect of LSD on alcoholism, it is puzzling why this treatment approach has been largely overlooked." They suggest that more regular doses might lead to a sustained benefit.

"We were surprised that the effect was so clear and consistent, said Krebs. She said that "the problem with most studies done at that time was that there were too few participants, which limited statistical power. But when you combine the data in a meta-analysis, we have more than 500 patients and there is definitely an effect," she said.

Professor David Nutt, had earlier called on the government to allow more research on illegal drugs, and for this he was removed as the UK government's drugs adviser. He said, "Curing alcohol dependency requires huge changes in the way you see yourself. That's what LSD does. This is as good as anything we've got for treating alcoholism."

"Psychedelics were promoted by psychiatrists in the 1950s as having a range of medical uses, to treat conditions such as schizophrenia, for example, before political pressures in the United States and elsewhere largely ended the work. Alcoholism was considered one of the most promising clinical applications for LSD
," says Johansen. Alcoholics Anonymous co-founder Bill Wilson is said to have espoused the benefits of LSD in the book: The Story of Bill Wilson and How the AA Message Reached the World.

In the last decade, however, a new generation of researchers have been interested in harnessing the therapeutic benefits of illicit drugs, such as MDMA for post-traumatic stress disorder, ayahuasca for drug and alcohol dependency, and psilocybin, the active ingredient in hallucinogenic mushrooms, for smoking cessation.

Robin Carhart-Harris, a psychopharmacologist at Imperial College London who has researched how psilocybin could treat depression, says that psychedelics must work at both biological and psychological levels. "Psychedelics work by making the brain function more chaotically for a period, a bit like shaking up a snow globe - weakening reinforced brain connections and dynamics," he says.

"This is important work," says Matthew Johnson, a psychiatrist also at Johns Hopkins who is running a small trial looking at the effectiveness of psilocybin to treat nicotine addiction. "Although this meta-analysis does not replace the need to test the approach in new, well-designed and rigorous clinical trials, it puts some more muscle behind the interpretation that the older literature shows hints that psychedelic therapy might really help addiction."

However, Ken Checinski, a consultant addiction psychiatrist and independent researcher based in London, says that although the results are exciting, no pharmacological treatment should be seen as a magic bullet and that modern therapeutic techniques have improved. "The included LSD trials pre-date the use of psychological techniques such as motivational interviewing and cognitive behavior therapy," he says.

https://www.news-medical.net/news/20...ion-Study.aspx
 

mr peabody

Moderator: Music Discussion, PM
Staff member
Joined
Aug 31, 2016
Messages
5,295
Location
Frostbite Falls, MN



Is microdosing psychedelics the secret to sobriety?

by Iana Lecklitner | MEL Magazine

Maybe, but the friends you make along the way are the real motivation for change

Addiction treatments have come a hell of a long way. In the 1850s, there were “inebriate asylums,” comparable to jails and modeled after dilapidated, state-operated insane asylums. In the 1880s, a presumably neurotic Sigmund Freud recommended cocaine to treat alcohol and morphine addictions, which obviously didn’t go well. In the 1910s, appallingly, people with substance use disorders were nonconsensually sterilized “predicated on the protection of public health.”

Nowadays, we have somewhat more sophisticated avenues for anybody hoping to kick an addiction: Support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous, rehab and drugs like buprenorphine, which reduce the need to use heroin and other opioids. Still, more than 70,000 Americans died from drug-involved overdoses in 2019, and an estimated 95,000 people die from alcohol-related causes annually, in part because conventional addiction treatments simply don’t work for everyone.

On the frontier of nonconventional therapeutics is microdosing psilocybin mushrooms and other psychedelic substances — i.e., taking very low, sub-hallucinogenic doses — an approach backed by a burgeoning number of small, grassroots recovery groups. “Anecdotal reports from online forums suggest some people find microdosing to help with anxiety, depression and mood, which are closely linked to addiction,” says neuropharmacologist Allison Feduccia, cofounder of Psychedelic.Support and Project New Day, an organization concentrated on conquering addictions through the responsible and legal use of psychedelics. “Psychedelics have less potential for misuse compared to most other substances, including nicotine and alcohol.”

It may sound absurd — taking drugs to quit drugs — but studies demonstrate that large doses of psilocybin with clinical support can help people relinquish alcohol, tobacco and cocaine. To explain this, Feduccia says, “The neuroplasticity-promoting effects shown in non-human experiments point to a mechanism of how psychedelics could make behavioral changes easier.”

While encouraging, the science of microdosing in particular and psilocybin use outside of clinical situations — where participants follow a rigorous psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy protocol — is still coming up short. “The best I can say is that we have very limited data on microdosing,” says Peter Hendricks, who’s researching the effects of psilocybin on people with cocaine-related substance use disorder. “I can think of only one placebo-controlled study at the moment, which failed to show any subjective effects.”

But though more research is certainly needed — and even if established science never comes to fully support microdosing — Hendricks says it may still be a valid addiction treatment for some people, because anecdotal evidence is indeed evidence: “Ultimately, one’s personal experience carries the day, whether the experience is with an empirically-supported medication or an alternative approach lacking empirical support.”

In a similar vein, Charles Nichols, president of the International Society for Research on Psychedelics, suggests that the success of microdosing psychedelics may be reliant on at least some expectational bias, which doesn’t necessarily matter if it still helps someone. “If someone thinks microdosing will help before they do, and they think it does during and after — mind over matter — then in some form or another, the concept of microdosing is helping,” he explains.

Hard science aside, San Francisco Psychedelic Society member Adam Bramlage, CEO of Flow State Micro, says, “Healing is unique to the individual,” and microdosing psychedelics can simply kickstart your mind into more of a recovery mode. “It’s a leverage point,” adds fellow San Francisco Psychedelic Society member Seth Warner.
“This isn’t a solution. This is a step that can magnify your intentions to take every other step to getting your life back on track.”

“It’s not a magic substance,”
Bramlage reiterates. “It’s the combination of the therapist, the community of support, the coach and the substance.”

That said, psychedelics aren’t completely harmless. “There’s a concern that repeated usage of psychedelics, even at low doses, may produce heart valve problems over time,” Nichols warns. Feduccia adds, “Psychological dependence or habitual use could potentially develop with microdosing, and users should approach with caution and intention, especially individuals who have a history of substance misuse.”

For anyone in recovery, and for long-standing 12-step groups, like AA and Narcotics Anonymous, all of this gray area around microdosing has created a complex conundrum. Despite AA cofounder Bill Wilson believing that LSD could help alcoholics stop drinking, many members maintain complete sobriety and remain strongly opposed to federally illegal mind-altering substances — even though Kevin Franciotti, psychedelic researcher and substance use recovery advocate, says, “AA and 12-step organizations totally recognize the utility of psychiatric medications, like medicine that’s prescribed by a doctor.”

For sobriety seekers who find solace in psychedelics, this resistance to them can be massively isolating, which is one reason why Franciotti says psychedelic-friendly sobriety support groups are so important. “Helping to develop a community of support for people who are doing this kind of thing is bringing people out in droves,” he says. “People are coming together who’ve either long been doing this or are curious about doing this in traditional recovery communities, but felt ostracized or stigmatized into not saying anything about it.”

While these grassroots groups serve a purpose — people are going to use psychedelics, sometimes for recovery, and they need guidance as well as somewhere to go — we still need to be careful about the overall Goop-ification of microdosing before science and regulations catch up. Remember, there are many accepted and approved psychiatric treatments for substance use disorders, and Franciotti warns against gambling on psychedelics simply because you don’t trust conventional medicine. “One of the big areas of concern for recovery communities is, these medicines are really not available from legal avenues,” he says. “You’re basically limiting people to having to participate in the underground market, and obviously, how did they get the drugs of abuse?”

When it comes to psilocybin in particular, you could grow your own, but in most states, possession of shrooms is still illegal. Nonetheless, Warner says, “Mushroom cultivation is easier now than it’s ever been. Access to the medicine is so democratic,” which can’t be said for more conventional pharmaceuticals that are subject to price gouging and often limited to those with insurance.

None of this necessarily means you should wait if you’re struggling with addiction and nothing else is helping — for many people, Franciotti says it will be too late by the time government approval and medical regulations for psychedelics come around, if they ever do. “Future clinical trials will examine microdosing for addiction disorders, and if results are significant compared to placebos, then it could become an approved treatment,” Feduccia says. “More research is needed.”

In the meantime, know that psychedelic-friendly sobriety support groups and coaches like Bramlage are there to help you on your journey. “The peer-to-peer model, when it comes to addiction recovery, wouldn’t have been so successful had it not been for the shortcomings of the professional and medical models,” Franciotti says. “For people in recovery, community and connection is vital. Recovering people aren’t like mushrooms: You don’t feed them shit, stuff them in the dark and have them grow and flourish.”

 

mr peabody

Moderator: Music Discussion, PM
Staff member
Joined
Aug 31, 2016
Messages
5,295
Location
Frostbite Falls, MN



I lost my desire to drink after taking LSD

reset.me | 29 Apr 2019

I began struggling with alcoholism at the age of 18 during my senior year of high school. When I moved away from my hometown to attend college in a larger city in 1993, a combination of factors compounded my escalating drinking and drug abuse.

At last, I’d achieved a degree of freedom from my parents. I was raised in an upper-middle class family where external appearances were everything. My parents had complex and unresolved issues of their own, and my upbringing was often traumatic. Much later in life, I would learn that the years I spent with my parents and their emotionally-neglectful style of upbringing would result in my living with Complex-PTSD. I would also be diagnosed with anxiety disorder and substance use disorder, all the while living with high sensory-processing sensitivity, making me a “Highly Sensitive Person” per Dr. Elaine Aron’s book by the same name.

Free from the perpetual lock-down of my parents’ clenched reins, I exploded onto the college party scene. While marijuana was more my thing, I had initially begun coping with overwhelming feelings by using alcohol, because it was legal and more readily available. After only a year and a half at college, I went from being a high school honor student to one who rarely attended classes. I usually crawled into my dorm room bed at dawn. Between alcoholism, anxiety and depression, I could barely function.

I had begun experimenting with many different drugs. At the time, my attitude was that all these substances were created “equal,” that they all had certain risks, but were essentially party tools. In one way or another, they helped me to numb my emotional pain for a while.

I did not yet understand that not all “drugs” are created equal. I grew up in the era of Nancy Reagan wagging her finger to “just say no.” I did not yet understand the healing potentiality of psychedelics . . . nor did I respect their power.

Then one night, hanging out with a friend in a small trailer outside of town, I had my first life-altering psychedelic experience. My friend had spent a period of life living and traveling with a community of hippies at something he called “Rainbow gatherings.” We were kindred spirits – emotionally wounded, mischievous flower-children misplaced in the grunge era.

I dropped LSD that night in his trailer. I had done mushrooms with a different group of friends once before, but the experience yielded no more than a soft-focused sense of wonder and connection as I rambled through nature. This night was amazing.

Reality, as I had known it, turned sideways. I lost interest in participating in society in a whole new way. Everything man-made seemed petty, egotistic, pointless and even repulsive: politics, organized religion, consumerism, attending school. Since everyone close to me was interested in those things, I experienced a whole new sense of isolation from everyone and everything around me, except for Nature and my concept of Spirit. That feeling of disconnection from society led me to drop out of college. While that may sound like a negative consequence of my experience, in retrospect, school was not where I needed to be at that time. I felt like I was being taught much larger lessons that I would need later on in life. (I later returned to school and obtained my B.A. with highest honors.)

Another unexpected outcome of my psychedelic use was that I lost my desire to drink for 12 straight years. The urge had simply vanished. I did not attend AA once during that time. Eventually, I did relapse on alcohol, and when I attended AA and mentioned my 12-year sober stint that resulted from LSD, you can be sure that nobody in the program wanted to hear about it! I pointed out that even Bill Wilson, AA’s founder, had experimented with psychedelics and had positive things to say about them regarding his recovery. Nobody wanted to hear that, either. Fully immersed in the AA culture for nearly five years, I read all the recovery literature and was keenly interested by the concept of ego-death in recovery. Had LSD prompted such a temporary ego-death in me? Certainly, psychedelics command a degree of humility and surrender.

Always fascinated by metaphysics, over the years I began to research some of the bizarre physical sensations that I experienced back in my early days of psychedelic usage. The blossoming of the internet suddenly made answering odd questions easy. I read of something called kundalini energy and kundalini awakenings. Those seemed to be pieces in the puzzle, as kundalini is often described as a serpent-like energy that lies dormant in the root chakra at the base of the spine, climbing up the spine and activating the chakras as it induces spiritual awakening. Further, I learned this might sometimes be triggered not just by intense yoga practice, but also intense drug experiences. I knew nothing of chakras or this type of phenomena in the old days. Readings on qi and the Tao were also applicable and of interest.

I no longer drink alcohol or use other drugs. I stopped attending AA years ago for a variety of reasons. I continued embarking upon psychedelic journeys until my early 40’s, though in a more deliberate and spiritual context, several times as part of shamanic rituals. The same distress tolerance that psychedelics cultivated now helps me cope with chronic pain from fibromyalgia.

I will always have great reverence for the power of psychedelic medicines and hope they will continue to be explored for their healing potential.

 

mr peabody

Moderator: Music Discussion, PM
Staff member
Joined
Aug 31, 2016
Messages
5,295
Location
Frostbite Falls, MN



Understanding alcohol addiction and how Ketamine can help prevent relapse

by Cindy Van Praag, MD

Alcohol addiction is deadly, we know this. It does not just punish the addict, it punishes their family and society. For those who find sobriety alone or with help from a detox program, staying sober is a lifelong challenge. Relapse occurs when one resumes drinking and is a detrimental problem that deserves more attention.

Understanding some basics of alcohol addiction and how to help prevent relapse can be a bit complicated. In the next section we summarize an article on the neurobiology of addiction by Xavier Noel. It simplifies some popular thoughts about how and why addiction works in the brain. Then, we can see how to use ketamine to help prevent relapse.

Is alcoholism a choice?

The impulse/habit system:

How does the compulsion to drink develop? A part of our brain, called the amygdala-striatum neural complex, motivates us to achieve rewards. This area is driven by dopamine, a naturally produced neurotransmitter in our bodies that has many effects, including feelings of pleasure, or reward. Alcohol, and other addictive drugs, increase overall dopamine levels in our brain. Therefore, a link forms between automatic, repetitive behaviors, such as pouring a drink, and increased dopamine. These actions are saved in our brain as rewarding. And the brain loves rewards.

Increasing dopamine activity also accelerates the change between the first steps of choosing to have a drink and later craving a drink. New pathways in the brain form with repetitive behavior. Cues and memories in the environment to drink are noticed more quickly, like hearing glasses clink, or walking in the front door after work. These cues drive the compulsion to drink. The brain’s automatic response is to seek this reward, but can’t we control this behavior?

The control/decision making system:

The decision-making part of our brain is found in the prefrontal cortex. It is also known as the “reflective system”, or executive function system, where we can control impulses. This means we can trade short term rewards, like a drink, for possibly greater long-term goals, such as avoiding a DUI charge. One explanation is that there is a balance between a “cool” and “hot” system that works out how we respond to triggers or cravings. The “cool” refers to basic working memory and inhibition of impulses.

The “hot” involves numerous emotional responses that are possible. Damage to either of these systems may impair the ability to say “no” to situations, or drugs like alcohol, that can harm us. Either the impulse side or the emotional side wins when we lose a health balance.

When/How impulse overpowers control:

Poor decision making in alcoholics may also be explained by yet another system called the insular cortex. It responds to imbalance in our bodies from things like sleep deprivation, anxiety and stress. These stressors may hijack our impulse/habit system and increase cravings while promoting decisions to seek out alcohol. Repeated cycles of increased cravings can also essentially rewire brain circuits, reinforcing continued destructive behavior.

Addiction as a "pathology of choice"

Other studies support that “faulty brain connections related to decision-making can lead to addictive behaviors and relapse.” [ii] There is a definite shift from blaming addiction on cravings to finding abnormalities in decision making areas of the brain. Thus, the brain is not able to make the right decisions to ignore the craving.

NMDA receptors are at fault too?

Alcohol Treatment Depression Ketamine


Family history of alcoholism is a risk factor for developing alcohol addiction. A study by Petrakis et al showed one answer may lie in the NMDA (N-Methyl-D-Aspartate) receptor, which is vital to the glutamate system in the brain. Alcohol alters this receptor’s function, but if the receptor is not normal, that person may be more susceptible to alcohol abuse.[iii]

How can ketamine help?

Ketamine can play a key role in preventing relapse in those who have either completed a detoxification program or managed to stop themselves.

Over-write memories that drive addiction

It is possible a rewarding memory of taking a drink, for example, can be triggered repeatedly by seeing a glass of beer, going to a restaurant, or maybe returning home from work. These triggers lead to the urge to drink. Ravi Das from University College London explains why people often quit but return to drinking. “The main problem is the really high relapse rate after treatment,” said Das. “People can successfully quit using over the short term while they’re being monitored in the hospital … but when they return home they’re exposed to those environmental triggers again.”[iv] The good news, is that each time the brain accesses that rewarding memory, the neural connections that code the memory are destabilized. It is at this moment that ketamine, which blocks the brain receptor required for the formation of memories (NDMA), can help weaken or even erase the memory. In other words, ketamine will help break the power of that trigger.

The psychedelic experience

The benefits from the psychedelic experience while receiving a ketamine treatment may hold benefits. Dr. Tobias Stevens, in his presentation on ketamine as a treatment for alcohol use disorder, postulates the hallucinations and altered mental state from ketamine may help change lifestyle choices. He suggests the experience may alter perceptions and break routine behaviors.[v] Therefore, a combination of psychotherapy with ketamine, (ketamine psychotherapy or KPT) may prove helpful for some folks. KPT allows the psychedelic effects from ketamine to enhance a psychotherapy session and is shown to be effective helping those with addiction, including heroin and alcohol by Dr. Evgeny Krupitsky.[vi]

Ketamine allows learning

Ketamine Treatment Options Chicago


Psychotherapy is a vital mainstay of alcoholism recovery treatment, but why are relapse rates so high? Maybe, postulates McAndrew et al, the alcoholic brain simply can’t learn the new skills.[vii] There is a proven decrease in neural growth factors in the brain, BDNF, with alcohol addiction. With fewer connections between nerves, and less ability to make new connections, the brain cannot learn new skills. With ketamine and synaptogenesis, which happens to peak 24 hrs after a treatment, well timed psychotherapy can have a greater impact.

What does ketamine for relapse prevention look like?

Ketamine is not a solitary treatment for alcohol relapse prevention. To say so would oversimplify the disease. Current studies include interesting combinations with ketamine.

KARE – Ketamine for reduction of Alcoholic Relapse

KARE is a multi-site project running in England that is a clinical trial seeking to explore psychotherapy combined with low dose ketamine as a possible treatment for alcoholism.[viii] Participants who completed alcohol detoxification receive IV ketamine 3 times interspersed with 7 therapy sessions. The psychotherapy model, developed by Dr.s Rob Hill and Jen Harris included 3 key areas:

- Wellness promotion: planning weeks, problem solving, relaxation, and mindfulness
- Risk reduction strategies: Identify high risk situations, cope with cravings, or restructure unhelpful thinking
- Education: what is addiction, biological effects of alcohol both acute and chronic, alcohol and sleep, and how alcohol interacts with the brain

Combining ketamine with other medications?


Combining ketamine with other prescription drugs is debatable as there is conflicting evidence. For example, naltrexone is frequently used with alcohol dependence. It binds opioid receptors and is supposed to take away cravings for opioids and alcohol which can take away reward effects.[ix] In reality, it does reduce overall total alcohol consumption, but not necessarily abstinence. Nimodipine is a calcium channel blocker that is also studied for its’ ability to decrease alcohol-type effects from ketamine treatment.[x] Additionally, some providers prescribe Baclofen to help suppress cravings.

But, isn’t ketamine addicting?

Are we just trading alcohol addiction for ketamine addiction? This is not true according to several studies. A study by Krystal, et al in 1998 clearly showed ketamine did not increase cravings on recovering alcohol dependent patients.[xi] Recently detoxified alcoholics given ketamine did not go on to abuse the drug. Keep in mind, ketamine for alcohol abuse is given by trained providers in a medical setting at doses far less than what one may find on the street. The body does not become physically dependent on ketamine, meaning there are no physical withdrawal symptoms when one stops. However, there is always a possibility of mental dependence on a treatment that is helping. But, lets put this in perspective. Many people are dependent, or “addicted”, to a variety of activities, like exercise, weight loss, meditation, because these things reward them, (ie their brain).

Ketamine Infusions Alcoholics

Conclusion

Reducing alcohol dependence and relapse has far reaching benefits from decreased personal injury from liver disease, to depression and anxiety, to family relationships, to work stability, or to alcohol related death from accidents. Once detoxification is complete, ketamine can help people maintain sobriety when used in part with a comprehensive program. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), psychotherapy, adjuvant medications and physician oversight can all help cut cravings and save lives.


A big thank you to @sdxyln for the headsup on this article!
 

mr peabody

Moderator: Music Discussion, PM
Staff member
Joined
Aug 31, 2016
Messages
5,295
Location
Frostbite Falls, MN

Humphry Osmond

Alcoholism as a Biochemical Illness*

by Erika Dyck | MAPS

In the early 1950s, clinical researchers exploring the therapeutic value of LSD achieved intriguing results with subjects suffering from alcoholism. Spiritual or transcendental experiences produced by the drug were a powerful adjunct to rehabilitative psychotherapy for alcoholics. They provided a profound and chemically-induced awakening or enlightenment that often led to sobriety. This article investigates LSD as a treatment for alcoholism. The increased focus on drug therapies brought changes in treatment options and ushered in new theoretical explanations for the causation of alcohol abuse as a disease.

The psychiatrist Humphry Osmond was one of the key figures in the development of LSD treatments for alcoholism. Osmond was a Senior Registrar at the psychiatric unit at St George's Hospital in London, England in 1950, where he worked closely with his colleague John Smythies and cultivated a keen interest in chemically induced reactions in the human body. Smythies and Osmond examined the properties of mescaline, the active agent in the peyote cactus. Nearly 2 years of research led them to conclude that mescaline produced reactions in volunteers that resembled the symptoms of schizophrenia, including hallucinations, delusions, disorganised thoughts and behaviour.

Further work suggested that mescaline's chemical structure was remarkably similar to adrenaline. These findings led to the theory that schizophrenia resulted from a biochemical imbalance in the sufferer. These findings led to the theory that schizophrenia resulted from a biochemical imbalance in the sufferer. This tantalizing hypothesis captivated Osmond's interest for the next 2 decades and inspired him to embark on a variety of experiments.

Osmond and Smythies colleagues at St George's Hospital were not particularly interested in their biochemical research, but Osmond was intent on continuing the work. After responding to an advertisement for a deputy director of psychiatry at a Canadian Mental Hospital in Weyburn, Saskatchewan, he and his family moved to Canada in October 1951. In the prairie province of Saskatchewan he established a biochemical research programme. Within a year, Osmond met Abram Hoffer. Hoffer had graduated from the provincial university in Saskatoon with a Bachelor of Sciences degree in agricultural chemistry. He later graduated with a Ph.D. in agriculture before beginning a medical degree the following year. In medical school, Hoffer developed a particular interest in psychiatry. On 1 July 1950, the Saskatchewan Department of Public Health hired the recently graduated Hoffer to establish a provincial research program in psychiatry.

Hoffer and Osmond soon joined forces and began collaborating on their mutual research interests in biochemical experimentation. Osmonds curiosity about mescaline soon introduced him to d-lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), which, he discovered, produced similar reactions to those observed with mescaline. However, LSD was a much more powerful drug. As in the case of mescaline, early trials with LSD, too, seemed to substantiate their theory that mental illness had biochemical roots.

During their initial LSD experiments, Hoffer and Osmond hypothesized that the drug might possess therapeutic benefits. In 1953 they began introducing the drug to a new set of subjects: diagnosed alcoholics. They wanted to test its curative effects on individuals for whom temperance reformers advocated the development of more will power and self-actualisation. Perhaps, they reasoned, the LSD reaction would cultivate precisely that kind of strength and insight. Early trials with LSD seemed to substantiate their theory that mental illness had biochemical roots. Osmond reasoned that it would not be difficult to convince lay people that excessive drinking or alcoholism, as a disease, constituted a meaningful concept.

In Saskatchewan in the 1950s, LSD played a prominent role in reconstructing alcoholism as a disease. The growing public perception of drunkenness as a physiological condition reinforced the need for medical attention and, moreover, redefined problem drinking behavior as something that could be cured.

* From the article here :
http://www.maps.org/research-archive...ck_22866_1.pdf
 

mr peabody

Moderator: Music Discussion, PM
Staff member
Joined
Aug 31, 2016
Messages
5,295
Location
Frostbite Falls, MN



Bill Wilson, LSD and the Secret Psychedelic History of AA

by Don Lattin | LUCID News | 20 Oct 2020

Taking one mind-altering drug to free oneself from addiction to another mind-altering drug may sound counter-intuitive. But, like with all things psychedelic, this therapeutic approach is all about set and setting, intention and integration, what kind of drugs are consumed, how often and at what dose.

Those who preach that the only way to achieve lasting sobriety is through total abstinence from alcohol and all other drugs may be surprised to learn that the supposed patron saint of abstinence, Bill Wilson, the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, was a firm believer in the ability of LSD to free some hardcore alcoholics from their addiction.

Bill Wilson’s enthusiasm for LSD as a tool in twelve-step work is best expressed in his correspondence in 1961 with the famous Swiss psychologist Carl Jung.

Jung was discussing how he agreed with Wilson that some diehard alcoholics must have a spiritual awakening to overcome their addiction. He pointed out that the Latin word for alcohol is spiritus. “You use the same word for the highest religious experience,” Jung wrote, “as for the most depraving poison.”

That letter of January 30, 1961 — in response to a long letter Wilson wrote to Jung — is fairly famous in AA circles. But in researching my book Distilled Spirits — Getting High, then Sober, with a Famous Writer, a Forgotten Philosopher and a Hopeless Drunk, I discovered a second Wilson letter to Jung. In that letter of March 29, 1961, Wilson writes at length about his experiments using LSD to help members of Alcoholics Anonymous have the spiritual awakening that is central to the twelve-step program of recovery.

“Some of my AA friends and I have taken the material (LSD) frequently and with much benefit,” Wilson told Jung, adding that "the powerful psychedelic drug sparks a great broadening and deepening and heightening of consciousness.”

Wilson told Jung that his first LSD trip in 1956 reminded him of a mystical revelation he had after hitting bottom in the 1930s and winding up in a New York City hospital ward for hardcore alcoholics. “My original spontaneous spiritual experience of twenty-five years before was enacted with wonderful splendor and conviction,” he wrote.

LSD was still legal in 1956, and in Wilson’s case initially taken under the medical supervision of UCLA researcher Sidney Cohen, and with the spiritual guidance of his Wilson’s friend, Gerald Heard, an Anglo-Irish mystic and early proponent of psychedelic spirituality. Wilson would go on to quietly form a bi-coastal psychedelic salon with various leading lights of that decade, including the writer Aldous Huxley.

Wilson’s earlier spiritual experience occurred in December of 1934, before LSD was even invented. It happened during Wilson’s fourth and final stay at a private New York City hospital that employed something called the Towns-Lambert Cure to treat their alcoholic clients. Many of these patients, including Wilson, were once-successful businessmen whose drinking had spun out of control during the Great Depression.

“Suddenly,” Bill would later recall, “my room blazed with an indescribably white light. I was seized with an ecstasy beyond description.”

That room was in a rehab center where doctors employed a potion which included two drugs derived from plants known to cause delirium and hallucinations. One of them is belladonna and the other henbane, was long associated with witchcraft and potions said to summon the spirits of the dead. (Warning to psychonaunts: both of these plants can be poisonous at high doses.)

So there’s a good chance that psychoactive plants played a role in what came to be known as the founding vision of Alcoholics Anonymous, even though the effects of the herbs used at Towns Hospital differ from other psychedelic plants and from the LSD Wilson would begin experimenting with two decades later.

Here’s how Bill W. would later describe his Towns Hospital vision:

“In the mind’s eye, there was a mountain. I stood upon its summit where a great wind blew. A wind, not of air, but of spirit. In great, clean strength it blew right through me. Then came the blazing thought, ‘You are a free man.’ ”

In my view, it doesn’t really matter if Bill’s vision was caused by psychoactive plants, divine revelation, or the hallucinations hardcore drunks sometimes experience when they hit bottom and stop drinking.

What matters is that the vision transformed his life and inspired a crusade to free other alcoholics from addiction.

One of the foundations of the twelve-step recovery program Wilson and company devised in the 1930s is the proposition that alcoholics and other addicts must undergo a “spiritual awakening” inspiring them to “turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand Him.”

Those are the only words in the twelve steps that were printed in italics, indicating an openness in the early AA circles to finding God in the Judeo-Christian tradition, Eastern spirituality or, twenty years later, in a tab of acid. In fact, long before he discovered psychedelics, Wilson was a serious student of paranormal psychology and various forms of spiritualism, holding seances and other gatherings with some of the leading psychics of his time.

In his second letter to Jung, Bill Wilson told Jung that "many members of AA have returned to the churches, almost always with fine results. But some of us have taken less orthodox paths. Along with a number of friends, I find myself among the later.”

Wilson cited the Canadian research of Humphry Osmond, the man who turned Huxley onto mescaline in 1953. Osmond reported that 150 hardcore alcoholics were “preconditioned by LSD and then placed in the surrounding AA groups.”

Over a three-year period, they achieved “startling results” when compared to similar drunks who were not treated with psychedelics, but only got AA.

“My friends believe that LSD temporarily triggers a change in blood chemistry that inhibits or reduces ego thereby enabling more reality to be felt and seen,” Wilson told Jung.

Jung became seriously ill around the time he received Wilson’s second letter. He never answered that missive and he may not have even gotten a chance to read it before he died.

Jung died on June 6, 1961.

Bill Wilson died ten years later from diseases caused by the other addiction he could never shake — cigarettes.

In the end, not much came of Bill Wilson’s idea to introduce LSD into Alcoholics Anonymous. More cautious and conservative elements in the AA fellowship pushed back, questioning their founder’s unbridled enthusiasm for the drug.

In one letter, Wilson asserted that the powerful psychoactive compound was “about as harmless as aspirin.” But in another piece of correspondence, he acknowledged that "LSD does not have any miraculous property of transforming spiritually and emotionally sick people into healthy ones overnight.” Wilson also wrote that those opposing his LSD enthusiasm in AA were joking that “Bill takes one pill to see God and another to quiet his nerves.”

Meanwhile, by the mid-1960s, the notorious LSD evangelism of such counter-cultural icons as Harvard Professor Timothy Leary and Merry Prankster Ken Kesey had begun turning mainstream America against the idea of psychedelic therapy.

In recent decades, psychologists and neuroscientists have resurrected substance abuse research that began in the 1950s and was shut down during the “war on drugs” in the 1970s and 1980s. Clinical trials have, once again, shown the effectiveness of using psychedelic drugs, along with psychotherapy, to treat addiction to alcohol, cocaine and tobacco.

At the same time, there has been an explosion of interest in the ritualized use of ayahuasca, ibogaine and other plant medicines to help those addicted to various drugs of abuse.

In my book Changing Our Minds – Psychedelic Sacraments and the New Psychotherapy, I interviewed addicts, alcoholics, therapists, shamans and scientists doing this work.

Carroll Carlson, an alcoholic treated in a clinical trial at the University of New Mexico, said a vision she had of Jesus during psilocybin-assisted therapy enabled her to “forgive myself for the choices I had made.”

Gordon McGlothlin, a lifelong smoker approaching retirement, kicked his tobacco habit following a psychedelic clinical trial at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Asked how his trip did the trick, he said, “You suddenly understand how your body and the universe are connected…I might want to have a cigarette, but now I know I don’t need it.”

Carson, a heroin addict I interviewed at a treatment center in Mexico and asked that his last name not be used, was treated with two psychedelic medicines — ibogaine and 5-MeO-DMT. Carson, a 31-year-old evangelical Christian from Dallas, said he felt “reborn” after the experience. “Since the ibogaine,” he told me, “the basic craving that I’ve had for opiates is gone for the first time in ten years.”

If this all sounds too good to be true, that’s because it sometimes is. Another heroin addict I interviewed for my book went to this same clinic and quickly relapsed after his miracle cure. He soon realized that he needed an ongoing support group and other lifestyle changes if he was to stay free from addictive thoughts and behaviors.

That’s exactly the point behind an emerging network of alcoholics and other addicts who have slightly rewritten Bill Wilson’s twelve steps and hold Zoom meetings under the banner “Psychedelics in Recovery.

As a recovering alcoholic and cocaine addict, I played a minor role in the formation of that online fellowship. I got sober in 2006, and did so without psychedelics. I tell that story in Distilled Spirits. In 2014, after eight years of taking nothing stronger than a double espresso, I started researching and reporting Changing Our Minds. Over the next few years, as part of that project and to satisfy my own curiously, I cautiously revived my own psychedelic experimentation. As a participant/observer, I explored the therapeutic and spiritual use of magic mushrooms, MDMA, ketamine, ayahuasca and 5-Meo-DMT.

So far, I have not touched alcohol and cocaine — nor have I fallen into the abuse of psychedelics. I still drink too much espresso.

Others have not been so lucky. My work with Psychedelics in Recovery showed me how easy it is for addicts like me to fool ourselves and fall back into addictive, abusive and harmful use of drugs that, in a therapeutic or spiritual setting, might help us at least temporarily dissolve the ego and examine our own self-centeredness.

“Defining our own sobriety” may work for some, but certainly not for all addicts and alcoholics. Honesty, openness and truly knowing ourselves, with the help of a supportive community, seems to be the best route to recovery — with or without a psychedelic assist.

 

mr peabody

Moderator: Music Discussion, PM
Staff member
Joined
Aug 31, 2016
Messages
5,295
Location
Frostbite Falls, MN



Ketamine helpful in treating Alcohol Use Disorder*

by Eugene Rubin M.D., Ph.D. | Psychology Today | 18 Nov 2020

Multiple studies have demonstrated that a single administration of ketamine can rapidly, but transiently, alleviate depressive symptoms as well as thoughts of suicide. Interestingly, ketamine’s effect may be more potent in depressed individuals with a family history of alcoholism. Can ketamine help individuals with problematic consumption of alcohol who do not exhibit depressive symptoms? Two recent studies addressed this question.

In an article published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, Elias Dakwar and colleagues describe a study utilizing a single 52-minute infusion of ketamine in conjunction with several weeks of motivational enhancement therapy. Individuals with alcohol use disorder who received the ketamine infusion had improved rates of abstinence, prolonged time to relapse, and fewer days of heavy drinking than individuals with alcohol use disorder who received an infusion of midazolam.

During the 21 days following the infusion, 41% of the midazolam group abstained from alcohol compared to 53% in the ketamine-treated group. During the same period, 41% of the midazolam group experienced a heavy drinking day compared to 18% in the ketamine group. (A heavy drinking day was defined as more than four drinks per day for men and more than three drinks for women.) The odds of a heavy drinking day increased with each day post-infusion for the midazolam group but did not change significantly for the ketamine group.

The authors acknowledge that this study is preliminary and has several limitations. The sample was small: 23 individuals were in the midazolam group (six of whom dropped out before the end of the study) and 17 in the ketamine group. The study was also of short duration; longer follow-up would have provided important information about the longer-term effectiveness of ketamine in preventing relapse.

In a second study published in Nature Communications, Ravi Das and colleagues used a single infusion of ketamine to interfere with memory reconsolidation related to drinking cues in a group of young adults (55 men and 35 women) with harmful/hazardous drinking patterns. Individuals with problematic substance use develop learned associations between environmental cues related to the substance and expectations of reward from consumption of the substance. For example, when individuals with histories of problematic drinking see pictures of alcoholic beverages, they recall prior experiences with alcohol and these memories reinforce their urge to drink. These retrieved memories can be modified by administering ketamine during the initiation of the memory retrieval process. This procedure is thought to make these memories less reinforcing.

In the Das et al. study, when ketamine was administered without initiating recall of alcohol-related memories, there was a decrease in alcohol use during the first week after the procedure and at all time points during the 9-month follow-up period. This result is consistent with the results of the Dakwar et al. study discussed above, although subjects in the Das et al. study did not meet the criteria for alcohol use disorder. When ketamine was administered in a manner that interfered with the reconsolidation of alcohol-related memories, the effect of ketamine was substantially larger. These results suggest that ketamine might help decrease the use of alcohol in those with problematic drinking through two different mechanisms.

The knowledge that recalled memories undergo a process of reconsolidation and that reconsolidation is susceptible to modification was gained from preclinical neuroscience research. Therapeutic application of this finding in studies such as those discussed here is an example of translating findings from basic science research into treatments. As more is learned about brain function, more science-based therapies will be discovered.

*From the article here :
 

mr peabody

Moderator: Music Discussion, PM
Staff member
Joined
Aug 31, 2016
Messages
5,295
Location
Frostbite Falls, MN


Psilocybin touted as Treatment for Alcoholism

by Kyle Jaeger | 21 Sep 2021

A former Republican congresswoman is touting the therapeutic benefits of psychedelics, sharing the story of how a close family friend was able to recover from alcoholism with the help of psilocybin.

Former Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA) gave the personal anecdote during a recent interview with Spectrum News. She was discussing a bill that’s temporarily stalled in the state legislature to legalize the possession of a wide range of psychedelics.

“Somebody who’s very close to our family was an alcoholic at the age of 15 years old, and he tried everything he could in order to overcome this disease and he wasn’t successful,” Walters, who also previously served as a California state senator and assemblymember, said. But then the person was invited to participate in a study at NYU “to help him kick his addiction of alcoholism.”

“He went through as one of the participants, actually got the psilocybin treatment and, after the first time he got the treatment, he lost all cravings for drinking,” she said. “This happened about six years ago, and he has not had a craving since.”

Walters left Congress in 2019, just a few months prior to a vote on an amendment meant to promote psychedelics research. That measure has failed both times it’s been introduced, though it garnered more support the last time it was on the floor this July.


A growing body of research has demonstrated that certain psychedelics may be effective in the treatment of conditions such as addiction, severe depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Media attention to these studies is one of the reasons that National Institute on Drug Abuse Director Nora Volkow believes the U.S. is seeing an increase in psychedelic use among young adults, she told Marijuana Moment in a recent interview.

Oregon voters approved a historic initiative last year to legalize psilocybin for therapeutic use. A state panel charged with advising on the implementation of a legal psilocybin therapy program has cleared a team of researchers to produce a comprehensive report on the science, history and culture of the psychedelic as regulators prepare to license facilities to administer it.

In California, Sen. Scott Wiener’s (D) legislation isn’t singularly about the therapeutic use of psychedelics. Rather, it would broadly remove criminal penalties for possessing numerous psychedelics—including psilocybin mushrooms, DMT, ibogaine, LSD and MDMA—for adults 21 and older.

The bill cleared the Senate and two Assembly committees before being pulled by the sponsor to buy more time to generate support among lawmakers. The plan is to take up the reform during next year’s legislative session.

Wiener said during a psychedelics policy forum this month that it took significant compromise both internally and externally to advance the measure as far as it went, and he also noted that legalizing psychedelics possession is simply a first step toward comprehensively ending the drug war and decriminalizing all currently illicit substances.

The senator has spent significant energy building support for the reform proposal as it has moved through the legislature, including by holding a recent rally with military veterans, law enforcement and health officials.

Meanwhile, California psychedelics activists recently filed a petition for the 2022 ballot to make the state the first in the nation to legalize psilocybin mushrooms for any use. And a fiscal analysis of the proposal found that it would save the state millions in enforcement costs and also generate state and local tax revenue. The state attorney general issued a ballot title and summary for the measure last week, clearing advocates to begin collecting signatures.

The psychedelics effort in the California legislature, which Wiener first previewed back in November, comes as activists are stepping up the push to enact psychedelics reform locally in cities in the states and across the country.

In California, Oakland and Santa Cruz have already enacted psychedelics decriminalization. In Oakland, the first municipality in the U.S. where a city council voted to broadly deprioritize criminalization of entheogenic substances, lawmakers approved a follow-up resolution in December that calls for the policy change to be adopted statewide and for local jurisdictions to be allowed to permit healing ceremonies where people could use psychedelics.

Michigan senators introduced a bill this month to legalize the possession, cultivation and delivery of an array of plant- and fungus-derived psychedelics like psilocybin and mescaline.

Voters in Detroit will decide on a ballot measure to decriminalize psychedelics in November.

The Ann Arbor City Council approved entheogenic decriminalization last year—and in July, local lawmakers passed a resolution to officially designate September as Entheogenic Plants and Fungi Awareness Month. After the local decriminalization resolution passed, a county prosecutor announced that his office will not be pursuing charges over possessing entheogenic plants and fungi—“regardless of the amount at issue.”

Efforts are also underway in Grand Rapids to enact a policy change for the psychedelic substances.

Meanwhile, Denver activists who successfully led a 2019 campaign to make the city the first in the U.S. to decriminalize psilocybin possession have their eyes set on broader reform, with plans in the works to end the criminalization of noncommercial gifting and communal use of the psychedelic.

Massachusetts cities that have enacted the policy change are: Northampton, Somerville and Cambridge. In July, state lawmakers heard testimony about a bill to create a task force charged with studying the implications of legalizing psychedelics like psilocybin and ayahuasca.

The governor of Connecticut recently signed legislation recently that includes language requiring the state to carry out a study into the therapeutic potential of psilocybin mushrooms.

Texas also recently enacted a bill to require the state study the medical benefits of psychedelics for military veterans.

A New York lawmaker introduced a bill in June that would require the state to establish an institute to similarly research the medical value of psychedelics.

The Aspen, Colorado City Council discussed the therapeutic potential of psychedelics like psilocybin and proposals to decriminalize such substances at a meeting in May. But members said, as it stands, enacting a reform would be more better handled at the state level while entheogens remain strictly federally controlled.

Seattle lawmakers also recently sent a letter to members of a local task force focused on the opioid overdose epidemic, imploring the group to investigate the therapeutic potential of psychedelics like ayahuasca and ibogaine in curbing addiction. In response, the task force issued a recommendation for the widespread decriminalization of all drugs. The group said psychedelics in particular could represent a promising treatment to address substance abuse disorders and mental health issues.

Meanwhile, Portland, Oregon activists are mounting a push to have local lawmakers pass a resolution decriminalizing the cultivation, gifting and ceremonial use of a wide range of psychedelics.

In a setback for advocates, the U.S. House of Representatives recently voted against a proposal from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) that would have removed a spending bill rider that advocates say has restricted federal funds for research into Schedule I drugs, including psychedelics such as psilocybin, MDMA and ibogaine. However, it picked up considerably more votes this round than when the congresswoman first introduced it in 2019.

Report provisions of separate, House-passed spending legislation also touch on the need to expand cannabis and psychedelics research. The panel urged the National Institute On Drug Abuse (NIDA) to support expanded marijuana studies, for example. It further says that federal health agencies should pursue research into the therapeutic potential of psychedelics for military veterans suffering from a host of mental health conditions.

When it comes to broader drug policy reform, Oregon voters also approved an initiative in November to decriminalize possession of all drugs. This year, the Maine House of Representatives passed a drug decriminalization bill, but it later died in the Senate.

In May, lawmakers in Congress filed the first-ever legislation to federally decriminalize possession of illicit substances.

 
Top