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Anxiety

mr peabody

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Treating anxiety with CBD

The biggest challenge I’ve found with CBD is finding the right dosage.

Kicking my SSRIs and opioids to the curb was the best decision I’ve made in years!

The NCBI study states that: “We found that existing preclinical evidence strongly supports CBD as a treatment for generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, OCD and PTSD when administered acutely.”

My recommendation is to start low, and move slowly. Give CBD the chance to work. It’s not THC, it doesn’t hit you immediately.

Chad Waldman

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At a certain dose, CBD can help people control or even reduce the levels of stress they experience. CBD has been proven to help people handle all different kinds of emotional conditions including anxiety, fear and stress. CBD is able to control these emotions by focusing on the certain role of neurotransmitters called monoamines which are the transmitters responsible for releasing vital hormones such as dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, which all play an important role in helping control anxiety levels.

Chris Van Dusen

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If you are in a situation where you can consume THC with CBD, I suggest a 1:1 or 1:2 ratio with all the other cannabinoids still intact. What some people do is take CBD during the day so they can function, and a combination of THC/CBD in the evening.

Andrew Havens

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I have been using CBD oil for over two years now. I usually vape my CBD oil for fast absorption in my body. I usually take CBD for my anxiety. I have social anxiety, I get nervous around customers, I get panic attacks as well. But since I am using the CBD oil, my anxiety is at bay. I would say CBD + THC both are best for pain relief.

Andrew Flit

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I have personally experienced so much relief with my CBD oil for my severe anxiety. I’ve been able to cut way back on my prescription medication and I hope to be completely off here in another month or so. One thing I would caution is that not all CBD oils are the same. While some may work for a time they tend to level out. Make sure you are getting one that is water soluble since our bodies are made mostly of water. There are a few companies out there that have engineered their oils to mix with the body.

Kathy Poole
 
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mr peabody

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Psychedelics shown to relieve anxiety

Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News highlights recent breakthroughs in psychedelic research, noting that studies into the therapeutic potential of LSD, MDMA, ayahuasca, and psilocybin have reached a level of prominence unseen in decades. In it, Brad Burge of MAPS speaks about the fading taboo surrounding psychedelic, how MAPS’ psychedelic research is funded entirely by donations, and how further research into psychedelic-assisted therapy may reveal beneficial uses for treating PTSD and other medical conditions.

In a widely publicized study released earlier this month, a research team led by Peter Gasser, M.D., of the Medical Office for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy in Solothurn, Switzerland, found that of 12 patients with life-threatening illnesses, all eight receiving the drug showed statistically significant reductions in standard anxiety measures. The study, published in The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, was the first in 40 years to evaluate LSD’s safety and efficacy as an adjunct to psychotherapy.

“When administered safely in a methodically rigorous medically supervised psychotherapeutic setting, LSD can reduce anxiety, suggesting that larger controlled studies are warranted,” Dr. Gasser and colleagues concluded.

Before treatment, patients received two preparatory psychotherapy sessions including discussion of their health, history, mindset, personality, and social and emotional situations. “This is an absolutely important part of the treatment,” Dr. Gasser told GEN. “Building up a confidential relationship is the basis of psychedelic therapy.”

Four patients taking much weaker LSD dosages showed about the same anxiety levels, though Dr. Gasser cautioned the sample size was too small for generalization.

“What the minimum dosage for psychotherapeutic effectiveness is we don’t know exactly. The threshold dose is between 20 and 50 mcg, and I guess that the minimum dose for psychotherapy is about 100 mcg. 200 mcg, the dose of our study, is supposed to be a medium-high dose,” Dr. Gasser said.

"A follow-up study assessing interviews and anxiety testing after 12 months will soon be published," he added.

Brad Burge, a spokesman for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), told GEN the study not only shattered a longstanding taboo but launched a new era of research into LSD-assisted psychotherapy. “The breakthrough is that this is the first double-blind, placebo-controlled study administering LSD in humans,” Burge said.

“This is the first completed study of LSD that was explicitly designed to help develop LSD into a legal prescription treatment.”

Dr. Gasser’s study isn’t the first to link LSD to a medical benefit. Two years ago Teri S. Krebs, Ph.D., and Pal-Orjan Johanssen, Ph.D., both of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, concluded a single dose of LSD helped reduce alcohol abuse as early as one month afterward, and most often two and six months afterward. The findings, published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, followed a review of six clinical trials with a combined 536 participants.

“We need further data on whether subgroups of individuals exist for whom LSD presents an increased beneficial effect or risk for adverse events. Future clinical trials could combine a range of doses of LSD with current evidence-based alcohol relapse prevention treatments,” Drs. Krebs and Johanssen concluded in the study. “As an alternative to LSD, it may be worthwhile to evaluate shorter-acting psychedelics, such as mescaline, psilocybin, or dimethyltryptamine.”

Psilocybin has come under review in a handful of studies for its benefits in calming users—especially military members with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Last year in the Journal of Experimental Brain Research, researchers observed that mice injected with a range of psilocybin doses acquired a robust conditioned fear response—while mice with lower doses extinguished their conditioning significantly faster than mice treated with higher doses or saline. The study noted that psilocybin’s ability to extinguish fear conditioning may be affected by its actions at sites other than the hippocampus—such as the amygdala, known to mediate the perception of fear. Also, psilocybin is not purely selective for 5-HT2A receptors.

https://maps.org/news/media/5000-psychedelics-shown-to-relieve-anxiety
 
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mr peabody

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Treating anxiety with psychedelics

Many people find their day-to-day experience of life is filled with anxiety, limiting the activities they do and the enjoyment they have in life. Psychedelics like mushrooms and LSD have been used for decades to treat anxiety disorders and to reduce anxiety levels.

For some, these substances seem to directly alleviate feelings of anxiety, even at very low doses. For others, psychedelics help them explore the root causes of their anxieties and find peace with them, a new touchstone for letting go of anxiety.

This description may sound abstract to someone suffering from anxiety. The healing process can be a little difficult to convey. Recent clinical research has shown dramatic reductions in anxiety even after a single psychedelic experience. Psilocybin enables patients facing the anxiety of terminal illness to embrace their fate and find peace with their loved ones.

Here is one woman's story of being treated with mushrooms as she was facing death, described in a New York Times article:

Norbert Litzinger remembers picking up his wife from the medical center after her first session and seeing that this deeply distressed woman was now "glowing from the inside out." Before she died, she described her psilocybin experience on video:

"I felt this lump of emotions welling up . . almost like an entity," Sakuda said. "I started to cry . . Everything was concentrated and came welling up and then . . it started to dissipate, and I started to look at it differently . . I began to realize that all of this negative fear and guilt was such a hindrance . . to making the most of and enjoying the healthy time that I'm having." Sakuda went on to explain that, under the influence of the psilocybin, she "came to a very visceral understanding that there was a present, a now," and that it was hers to have.

What is so remarkable is that even a single dose of a psychedelic substance can create long lasting changes, reducing anxiety, depression, and creating more emotional openness. LSD, MDMA, and psilocybin have all been studied for anxiety reduction. Remember that a psychedelic experience can sometimes produce anxiety or can focus the mind on sources of anxiety, as part of the process of addressing the root causes. Starting with small doses and following all the safety guidelines can help reduce anxiety.

http://howtousepsychedelics.org/anxiety/
 
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mr peabody

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Ibogaine rescued me from overwhelming anxiety

By Holly Stein

For the last 12 years I've battled with general anxiety and have taken a variety of pharmaceuticals (which either didn't help, made me feel better but disconnected, or left me feeling worse than before as soon as I stopped taking them). I've been to hundreds of hours of therapy and spent countless hours reading self-help books.

I had ups and downs over the years, and after a steady improvement I weaned off an anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medication with the support of my psychiatrist in January of 2012. In July 2013, I had my first panic attack since I was 18, and after that my anxiety escalated tremendously. It felt like everything started to make me panic, and I started to slowly lose my confidence and ability to function. From suffering and feeling massive anxiety throughout my whole wedding day, to panicking on chair lifts snowboarding and developing anxiety on airplanes and boats, I started to lose the ability to do things I enjoyed. Worse yet, everyday normal things started to fall apart, from getting in elevators, not being able to be a passenger in a car, being scared of getting sick after eating, and much more. I felt like the walls were closing in on me. I was physically and mentally sick with anxiety all of the time.

I've had multiple weddings where I've sat outside an elevator for 10 minutes trying to will myself to get in, only to end up carrying my emergency kits up and down many flights of stairs. Nothing helped, and the anxiety led me to an onslaught of severe depression and dependency on my husband. I felt like the only thing I was good at was faking it. There was rarely a day that went by that I didn't crawl into a ball in my bedroom and sob uncontrollably from depression. But as soon as I was in front of other people, at work, I could lock it up and put on the best fake smile around, which only made me feel worse.

I developed an extreme identity of self-loathing and was unable to control my emotions. I took every comment personally and blamed myself for everything that happened. About once a week someone would tell me to eat a cheeseburger or that I was too skinny, and while I would laugh it off, it left me feeling crushed and insecure that people thought I was ugly. I knew things were starting to unravel pretty badly when I started having suicidal thoughts. It got so bad that I had to ask my husband to get the gun out of the house because I really didn't know what I was capable of when I was in those dark moments. However, rationally and logically, I knew everything. I knew to be positive, and to not say the word can't, and all of the most important tools to change these horrific mental habits, but I somehow lacked the ability to convert them into usable feelings and thoughts. And I knew I wasn't a quitter.

During months of research I learned that psychedelics have an unbelievable success rate in curing anxiety, depression, PTSD and other mental struggles when used in the correct setting. I followed people like Amber Lyon and Aubrey Marcus and I discovered the medicine, iboga, the bark of a root from Africa that has been used medicinally for hundreds, if not thousands of years. I then found a retreat overseas and researched and talked to them for months before booking a psycho-spiritual session with them.

From the moment I arrived, I could feel the medicine was working on me. During my stay I did two sessions with iboga, which we call journeys. They last about 10 hours each. The results were nothing short of life-saving. From the two journeys I had, I experienced visions that showed me where all of my anxiety, depression, insecurity, and self-loathing stemmed from when I was 9 years old. It showed me that I was beautiful, that I loved myself, and that I had everything I needed to overcome all of my struggles and fears, and that I could do it. It let me take all of the knowledge that I had and finally convert it into usable emotions and thoughts. Iboga is not a magic plant that solves all of your problems, but rather a tool that gives you the insight to conquer your demons. It was by far the toughest week I have ever gone through, but it was the most rewarding, life-changing weeks of my life and I would do it over a million times.

So many of us battle with insecurity, anxiety, and depression, and we bury them deep inside as not to show weakness. I know, I was the best at it. Many people reading this will probably think, No way, she always seemed so happy. If I can inspire just one person to keep going, or inspire one person to try iboga, or inspire just one person to know they are not alone, that is more than I could ever ask for. Also, for those not suffering, please try to keep in mind that everyone is on their own path in life, doing the best they can, so be kind, and do your best to reserve judgment. What you see on the surface may not be the whole story. One kind comment can give someone the encouragement to keep going, while one hurtful comment can spiral someones entire day into depression. It's happened to me a lot.

Lastly, I want to thank my husband, for all of the support and love he provided me through what was the darkest year of my life, which I know caused him tremendous pain at times as well. I also want to thank the providers at the retreat. You guys literally saved my life, and I will be forever grateful. I consider you all a part of my family, and you will all be forever in my heart. You guys know more about me than some of my closest friends, and I know I will never be able to repay you for what you've done for me. Know that I will be thinking of you often.

So, while 2014 was the worst year of my life, I can finally see that you can't appreciate the good without the bad. I feel as if I've been to mental hell and back, and know that 2015 will bring (and already has), strength, love, inner-beauty, and the ability to conquer all challenges that come my way.

For the first time in my life I can say that I am genuinely happy and it feels incredible! I have finally found the meaning of life.

 
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mr peabody

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Memantine obliterated my depression and social anxiety

I have ADHD, best described as the "Ring of Fire" subtype if you buy into the Amen Clinics' categorizations. Mine comes with all the core features, along with anger, 'mood swings', brain fog, depression and anxiety, including terrible social anxiety making eye contact a painful experience.

I've been on Namenda (memantine) for about a month and a half; I've been on Namenda XR 21 mg for about a month. While it does not seem to help directly with the core ADHD symptoms, it has almost entirely eliminated my depression and social anxiety. The effect has been so profound that a couple of days after switching to my current dosage and formulation, I seemed to experience at least a few hours of rapid synaptogenesis, in which my perceptions of the world seemed new (or encoded differently) and I felt that I was learning it all over again.

During this period, novelty seemed to cause a euphoric sensation, which I found concerning but thankfully was short-lived and manageable by throttling the novelty, which otherwise might have been overwhelming. To a much lesser degree this process seems to continue (without euphoria), as I occasionally seem to relearn things that I had perceived differently when I was depressed. Also, I have found that my coordination has improved, best evidenced by my improved pool playing. For the first time in my life, I have been able to feel relatively normal and content, and comfortable around other people, becoming far more extroverted. I no longer constantly worry about being judged, and do not feel inferior to the people around me. Eye contact is pleasurable rather than painful, as is exerting my will and expressing my desires. I am able to truly enjoy physical and emotional intimacy now. I see people more for who they truly are (their pain, their anxiety, their joy, etc.). The list goes on, but I'll end it here.

My best guess regarding the mechanism by which memantine has been effective is this:

- Proinflammatory cytokines/mediators cause astrocytes to downregulate glutamate transporters EAAT-1 and EAAT-2 (underactivity of EAAT-1 in general may explain my intolerance to sub-chronic aspartame exposure)

- Due to underactivity of these astrocytic glutamate transporters, either (1) excessive glutamate builds up in the synapses and causes oversaturation/downregulation/desensitization of the glutamate receptors, or (2) presynaptic release or synthesis of glutamate is downregulated to compensate. In light of the efficacy of memantine, (2) would seem to depend upon the use of presynaptic NMDA receptors to regulate release or synthesis, which is rather dubious, so I lean toward (1). If (2) were shown to be true, it would raise a concern regarding excitotoxicity.

- (Assuming (1) above) memantine reduces the effect of excessive glutamate on NMDA receptors, allowing them to function more normally, through e.g. upregulation/translocation/sensitization, turning down/off natural pathways guarding against excitotoxicity. In other words, shifting the balance of stimulation from tonic to phasic.

Of course, plenty of downstream effects on other neurotransmitter "systems" are then possible.

I am hoping the reason the remainder of my ADHD symptoms have not been resolved is due to the fact that I am merely dealing with one of the effects of reduced synaptic glutamate clearance. I am presently looking into ways to upregulate EAAT-1 or EAAT-2 or (less desirably) antagonize the various other glutamate receptors. In the meantime, I continue to use Vyvanse, albeit at a reduced dosage. I am hoping to try ceftriaxone (unfortunately only available via IV or IM routes) or celecoxib to see whether they treat my brain fog and hyperactivity and comfortably replace memantine, Vyvanse, and omega-3s.

In case anyone is curious, my current best guess at the etiology of my ADHD is the rs6565113 variant of the CDH13 (T-Cadherin) gene. This is statistically linked to ADHD and is likely to have significant inflammatory implications. (The state of knowledge regarding CDH13 is still rudimentary but highly intriguing.)

Btw, I have a naturally high level of testosterone and a very youthful appearance, and I am aware of the possibility that properly treating my ADHD will normalize these traits, but that price would be well worth paying.

I could go on, but I think I've covered all the big stuff. BTW, for those who are interested in memantine but are unable to get it, you may consider trying gentian root, which I've found to be relaxing and likely also works via NMDA receptors.

I do not seem to be experiencing any side effects. I tapered and stopped Cymbalta (which did not seem to help me) after starting memantine and this seems to have caused "brain zaps" which are still tapering off - I believe this is unrelated to the memantine but am mentioning it just in case.

https://www.longecity.org/forum/topi...ocial-anxiety/
 
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mr peabody

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Anxiety might be treated by regulating gut bacteria

Neuroscience News | May 26, 2019

A new meta-analysis study reports regulating intestinal microbiota is more than 50% effective at helping to reduce anxiety.

People who experience anxiety symptoms might be helped by taking steps to regulate the microorganisms in their gut using probiotic and non-probiotic food and supplements, suggests a review of studies published today in the journal General Psychiatry.

Anxiety symptoms are common in people with mental diseases and a variety of physical disorders, especially in disorders that are related to stress.

Previous studies have shown that as many as a third of people will be affected by anxiety symptoms during their lifetime.

Increasingly, research has indicated that gut microbiota — the trillions of microorganisms in the gut which perform important functions in the immune system and metabolism by providing essential inflammatory mediators, nutrients and vitamins — can help regulate brain function through something called the “gut-brain axis.”

Recent research also suggests that mental disorders could be treated by regulating the intestinal microbiota, but there is no specific evidence to support this.

Therefore a team of researchers from the Shanghai Mental Health Center at Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine set out to investigate if there was evidence to support improvement of anxiety symptoms by regulating intestinal microbiota.

They reviewed 21 studies that had looked at 1,503 people collectively.

Of the 21 studies, 14 had chosen probiotics as interventions to regulate intestinal microbiota (IRIFs), and seven chose non-probiotic ways, such as adjusting daily diets.

Probiotics are living organisms found naturally in some foods that are also known as “good” or “friendly” bacteria because they fight against harmful bacteria and prevent them from settling in the gut.

The researchers found that probiotic supplements in seven studies within their analysis contained only one kind of probiotic, two studies used a product that contained two kinds of probiotics, and the supplements used in the other five studies included at least three kinds.

Overall, 11 of the 21 studies showed a positive effect on anxiety symptoms by regulating intestinal microbiota, meaning that more than half (52 percent of the studies showed this approach to be effective, although some studies that had used this approach did not find it worked.

Of the 14 studies that had used probiotics as the intervention, more than a third (36 percent found them to be effective in reducing anxiety symptoms, while six of the remaining seven studies that had used non-probiotics as interventions found those to be effective — a 86% rate of effectiveness.

Some studies had used both the IRIF (interventions to regulate intestinal microbiota) approach and treatment as usual.

In the five studies that used treatment as usual and IRIF as interventions, only studies that had conducted non-probiotic ways got positive results, that showed a reduction in anxiety symptoms.

Non-probiotic interventions were also more effective in the studies that used IRIF alone. In those studies only using IRIF, 80% were effective when using non-probiotic interventions, while only 45% were found to be effective when using probiotic ways.

The authors say one reason that non-probiotic interventions were significantly more effective than probiotic interventions was possible due to the fact that changing diet (a diverse energy source) could have more of an impact on gut bacteria growth than introducing specific types of bacteria in a probiotic supplement.

Also, because some studies had involved introducing different types of probiotics, these could have fought against each other to work effectively, and many of the intervention times used might have been too short to significantly increase the abundance of the imported bacteria.

Most of the studies did not report serious adverse events, and only four studies reported mild adverse effects such as dry mouth and diarrhoea.

This is an observational study, and as such, cannot establish a cause. Indeed, the authors acknowledge some limitations, such as differences in study design, subjects, interventions and measurements, making the data unsuitable for further analysis.

Nevertheless, they say the overall quality of the 21 studies included was high.

The researchers conclude: “We find that more than half of the studies included showed it was positive to treat anxiety symptoms by regulation of intestinal microbiota.

“There are two kinds of interventions (probiotic and non-probiotic interventions) to regulate intestinal microbiota, and it should be highlighted that the non-probiotic interventions were more effective than the probiotic interventions. More studies are needed to clarify this conclusion since we still cannot run meta-analysis so far.”

They also suggest that, in addition to the use of psychiatric drugs for treatment, “we can also consider regulating intestinal flora to alleviate anxiety symptoms.”

 
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mr peabody

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Treating severe anxiety with psilocybin

"My anxiety developed when I was diagnosed with epilepsy 11 years ago," explained Nick, as he led me on a Sunday morning nature trail to a mushroom picking hotspot in Yorkshire.

"But I never really recognised my problem until I got knocked off my bike two years ago. I had 15 staples in my head and was hospitalised for three days. That brought it to the forefront. I realised I had quite a bad anxiety problem."

Nick, 29, is part of a growing subculture of people who are self-medicating their mental health issues with psilocybin, while risking up to seven years in prison. With his tightly knotted hiking boots, army-green waterproof jacket and large rucksack, he looks like any other early morning rambler.

"I first tried magic mushrooms with a couple of friends 8 years ago. Years later I read Professor Nutt's book Drugs Without the Hot Air and was interested to learn about the links between psilocybin, anxiety and depression. After reading that book I decided to start foraging for mushrooms myself."

"In my own experience, it does have a positive effect on anxiety. As soon as I 'come down,' any thoughts of anxiety that are going through my mind immediately evaporate. It just goes in an instant - melts away. The feeling of wellbeing lasts a month or two until something triggers the negative thoughts again."

"After searching online, I knew what I was looking for, I managed to find a couple of local fields that I forage on when the season comes. During the off-season I have to find other avenues to get hold of mushrooms, including ordering them online or buying ones grown indoors. But nothing beats the romance of finding my own. Psychedelics are something I've grown to respect, so I mainly leave it to the season as I don't want to overdo it and it lose the effect."

"I think they have a great potential for naturally treating mental health issues without using synthetic drugs, which invariably come with a string of nasty side effects."

"We're looking at is a largely unexplored technology that set the psychiatry world ablaze in the 1950s, aborted by widespread recreational abuse, the reaction of the media and its confluence with the Vietnam war,"
argues David Nichols, a Purdue University pharmacologist, in an article for the Journal of Psychopharmacology.

James Rucker, a leading psychiatrist at Kings College London, recently spoke out against the law surrounding psychedelic drugs, which he believes is hampering research into their prospective medicinal benefits. On psilocybin and LSD, he said he believes the Government should downgrade their unnecessarily restrictive class-A, citing that they were extensively used and researched in clinical psychiatry before their prohibition in 1967.

In 2012, researchers battled through reams of red tape as the result of the negative connotations surrounding the drug, and were eventually able to test the psychoactive effects of magic mushrooms.

The team's study, published in British Journal of Psychiatry, found volunteers given psilocybin experienced cues to vividly remember really positive events in their lives, such as their wedding day or the birth of their child.

It does seem there is little evidence that psilocybin is unsafe in a controlled setting, and even less evidence that it has addictive potential - or is even habitual at all - but plenty of evidence that suggests its prospective therapeutic benefits.

Taking that into account, isn't it time that we let go of old prejudices and loosen the laws surrounding psilocybin in medical research? I say yes. Mental health is one of the most important issues of our times; we should be pouring funding into studies on how to treat it, instead of hampering the scientists.

The human race has reaped the benefits of psychedelic mushrooms for millennia ever since they grew in the Elysian fields of Greece, yet we still know very little about how they work.

It seems that until we wise up, people like Nick, an otherwise totally law abiding citizen, will continue to break the law.

https://www.unilad.co.uk/featured/we...gic-mushrooms/
 
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mr peabody

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Combating anxiety with nootropic supplements

by Wade Hurley | June 6, 2019

For millennia, we just followed animals around. We worked in tribes to hunt, fish, plant, harvest, build shelter, and handle every other material need as a unit – for the most part. Then, the agricultural and industrial revolutions happened, and the last one percent of human existence until now became a whirlwind of technological breakthroughs. The result? Forty million of us are diagnosed with anxiety and/or depression, and that’s just in the United States, according to recent statistics.

We sit in cubicles and work all day so we can provide for our families. No more mud between the toes, no more building shelters, no more community collaboration! Psychologists believe that anxiety and depression are so prevalent now because the human brain, having acclimatized to a nomadic/pastoral existence, is unable to handle the rigors of modern life. Where many of us turn to risky prescription drugs to bridge this gap, there is another option: nootropics.

Nootropics: What and How?

The term “nootropic” refers to a class of natural and synthetic substances used to enhance one or more of our mental faculties; concentration, alertness, mood, memory, cognition, and so forth. Nootropics can take the form of pills, powders, herbal teas, and other forms of food. When used properly, some nootropics can ameliorate anxiety symptoms significantly.

Okay, you may be saying, but how? How does a nootropic fight anxiety and improve mental performance? There are several mechanisms by which these substances can reap their benefits. Some nootropics stimulate receptors in the brain that allow for important functions, like memory or sleep. Other nootropics can mimic the action of neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) that promote calmness and de-stimulation. Additionally, some nootropics can improve blood supply to the brain and combat the harmful processes introduced by free radical exposure.

Five nootropics for anxiety

Alright, let’s talk specifics. As mentioned, there are many natural and synthetic nootropics, most of which are available as over-the-counter supplements for different uses. The following is a brief review of five very popular nootropics that are used to reduce anxiety, stress, depression, and enhance overall mental wellness.

BACOPA MONNIERI

This herb, from several continents around the world, is as plentiful as it is powerful. Bacopa monnieri is an herbal nootropic and adaptogen that has long been used in traditional medicine to reduce anxiety and stress, improve memory, and boost cognitive performance. Beyond traditional belief, there is plenty of scientific evidence to back up these claims.

LEMON BALM

Lemon balm is a mint-like herb with numerous health benefits, but it is mostly known for its sedative and calming effect. People take Lemon balm to reduce anxiety, and to help them sleep. Although more commonly used as a sleep aid than a nootropic, some studies have shown it may help improve aspects of cognitive function.

Lemon balm can be taken in capsule or powder form, or better, you can sip on a nice cup of savory tea made from its leaves, whether fresh or dried.

LION'S MANE MUSHROOM

This mushroom has been around for thousands of years, and it lately became a very popular supplement revered for its memory-boosting, brain-protecting, and anxiety-fighting benefits. Lion’s mane may help protect from age-related cognitive decline and in fighting off brain damage caused by Alzheimer’s disease.

PHENIBUT

If herbal remedies aren’t doing the trick for you, you may want to consider one of the more potent synthetic nootropics, and of those, phenibut tops the list when it comes to mitigating anxiety. Phenibut is an analogue of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA, which is primarily responsible for calming your brain and helping you relax.

Phenibut works very well with no significant side effects when used properly. Phenibut is not regulated by the FDA, and it is usually bought from online stores in the form of nootropic powder or capsules.

SULBUTIAMINE

Fatigue and anxiety have an interesting relationship that neuropsychologists are still exploring. Sulbutiamine, a derivative of vitamin B1, is a synthetic nutritional supplement that is used to reduce fatigue and improve mental energy and performance. Sulbutiamine may help anxiety sufferers restore healthy energy levels and improve other anxiety symptoms.

 
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mr peabody

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Therapy didn't help my anxiety, so I turned to psychedelics

I am in some kind of hole, I told my therapist. I was trying to work out what was happening to my mind. Months of traumas - family issues, the violent death of a friend, the implosion of my relationship, had, like a slow poison, seeped into my life until I felt paralyzed. I was trapped in a loop of discursive, self-critical thought. I am a freelance journalist, but I found myself unable to take on new assignments and, inexplicably, unwilling to invoice for finished work. After our session, my therapist eyed me with indifference and handed me forty photocopied pages on cognitive behavioral therapy as he shuffled me out the door. I got the sense that approach was going nowhere.

I had researched meditation, exercise, dietary changes and other ways to prevent myself from slipping further down the hole. But the most intriguing method I came across was psychedelic drugs, which had, in recent studies, shown great efficacy in treating depression, anxiety and PTSD. My underwhelming experience with therapy had left me with the kind of hopelessness that breeds desire for radical solutions. I opened my laptop and googled Toronto psychedelic drugs.

6 weeks later, on a Sunday in February, I was lying on the floor of a woman's apartment in the east end, wrapped in a Mexican blanket and weeping uncontrollably. I'd met the woman a few hours earlier. She was a shaman, a spiritual healer who practices South American plant medicine. In her pre-shamanic life, she suffered from a severe drug addiction, was homeless and hadn't spoken with her family for a decade. Eventually, she made her way to South America, where she trained in the shamanic arts, conducting ceremonies using a psychedelic tea called ayahuasca.

The author Michael Pollan, in his recent book on psychedelics, describes the concept of ego dissolution, which is an often-reported and now scientifically supported effect of potent psychedelics. Scientists at Imperial College London have observed that activity in the brains Default Mode Network, the system responsible for building a sense of self and reflecting on the self's nature, can drop dramatically during a psychedelic trip. The default mode network is vital to healthy neural function, acting as the brains central coordinator. But its also a real son of a bitch, the devil on your shoulder, the author of hopelessness and self-blame. Conditions like anxiety and depression can be associated with a default mode network run amok and, according to proponents of psychedelic treatments, a little dissolution of the ego can be a good thing.

The shaman said she had personally synthesized the medicine I was about to take, DMT. She produced a glass pipe and explained that I was to take five hits. "On number three, you'll tell me you've had enough, and I'll tell you to keep going," she said. If you have ever been close to blackout drunk and seen the world spin uncontrollably around you, then you know what the third hit of DMT is like. The shaman guided the pipe to my mouth for the fourth and then fifth hits, and suddenly I was laid out on my back.

Everything turned black, as though I was watching a blank screen, except that there was no me watching. The blackness was just there, happening. I was vaguely aware of the self, but only insofar as I knew that I was aware at all. Then a pool of green, red and yellow fire appeared, swirling around what looked to be a medieval helmet.

This was taking place within the confines of my brain, yet it was completely involuntary - decisive, overwhelming subjugation of the ego. I started to feel some sense of self again, in the form of two distinct emotions: I was in awe of the fire and terrified of the helmet. I felt I would fall into it and that I was going to die. The image shattered. The pieces re-emerged as a pattern of purple and black shields, then disappeared. Soon, I was aware of the shamans hand on my arm, and I realized that I had been weeping. Respira, she whispered. Breathe.

She was fascinated by what I told her about the helmet and shields. Like all of our emotions, anxiety is a chemical effect in the brain, one that likely evolved over millennia because it served a purpose in our survival. It was a kind of armor, meant to protect us. But when the mind surrenders control, anxiety can become a cage. The helmet made some sense.

Sitting under the fluorescence of the 501 streetcar on my way back home, I thought more about the helmet and how it had shattered before it could take me. Perhaps my anxieties could shatter, too, if I could manage to observe them from the outside. These are realizations that don't require DMT or shamans, of course. But the trip brought shape and clarity to what I had been feeling. I cant say that the fear and the panic have vanished. Sometimes they wake me up early in the morning, or accompany unexpected moments of disappointment or failure. But they seem more brittle now, with obvious cracks through which I can see a world that is a little lighter.

https://torontolife.com/city/life/th...wers-expected/
 

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Iboga found to cure depression, anxiety and PTSD


Ibogaine is a powerful psychedelic from West Africa that has been in use for centuries in traditional healing ceremonies. It can be used in its traditional form from the root bark of the plant (known as iboga), or in the laboratory-isolated form of ibogaine which only contains the central psychoactive substance (known as ibogaine). Today iboga is best known for its miraculous ability to cure or drastically reduce addiction to substances like alcohol, crack cocaine, and heroin in a single treatment. It can also help people overcome addiction to prescription opiates such as morphine, methadone, Vicodin, Percocet, and OxyContin.

While this may sound too good to be true, scores of personal testimonies and clinical research is backing up this claim, and iboga treatment centers are popping up all over the world specializing in treating addiction, post traumatic stress, and mood disorders. Iboga is renowned for its ability to cure addiction by revealing the fragmented pieces of a person’s past and personality over the course of a long, intense, and ultimately cathartic psychedelic experience. After finishing iboga treatment, patients report a feeling of rebirth that allows them to see the world in a totally new light and leave behind their old destructive patterns of behavior for good.

One fascinating common experience that many people report in iboga treatment is the ability to see your life played out in front of you on a series of 3-dimensional screens that you can zoom into and out of. The “spirit” of the iboga plant is often present during this process, lovingly but authoritatively guiding the person to see the lessons that are in front of them- how they have been out of balance, how their behavior has hurt others, and where they can improve their capacity for joy, wholeness, and health.

With so many reported cases of incredible success with iboga treatment, western doctors and scientists are taking note and performing clinical studies to better understand how iboga works. According to doctor C.M. Anderson of Harvard Medical school, iboga has “unique neuropharmacological and psychobiological properties” that make it particularly conducive to treating chemical dependency. Iboga has a profound ability to guide people through a journey of self-reconciliation that is often at the heart of addictive behaviors and other disorders. With proper integration of this experience and supervised aftercare such as with a recovery coach, these transformative experiences can have a permanent positive effect on a person’s life.

While many undergo ibogaine therapy for serious drug addiction, this treatment can also trigger recoveries from many other psychological issues including depression, anxiety, and trauma. The drug’s deeply personal and illuminating nature also allows patients to let go of different types of patterns not related to drug use that may be equally difficult for them to break. This is especially life changing for victims of chronic depression, anxiety disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which often cause such intense emotional stress that recovery seems impossible. For people who suffer from these terrible chronic afflictions, iboga offers a bright ray of hope backed by hundreds of years of traditional use, many thousands of successful anecdotal cases, and more and more scientific validation.

https://psychedelictimes.com/learn-more-iboga
 

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Research shows that drinking Matcha tea can reduce anxiety

Neuroscience News | July 9, 2019

Many different countries have a tea culture, and Japanese Matcha tea is growing in popularity around the world. In Japan, Matcha has a long history of being used for various medicinal purposes. It has been suspected to have various beneficial effects on health, but relatively little scientific evidence supported that claim. Now, a group of Japanese researchers from Kumamoto University has shown that anxious behavior in mice is reduced after consuming Matcha powder or Matcha extract. Its calming effects appear to be due to mechanisms that activate dopamine D1 receptors and serotonin 5-HT1A receptors, both of which are closely related to anxious behavior.

Matcha is the finely ground powder of new leaves from shade-grown (90% shade) Camellia sinensis green tea bushes. The tea (and food flavoring) is enjoyed around the world. In Japan, historical medicinal uses for Matcha included helping people relax, preventing obesity, and treatment of skin conditions. The researchers, therefore, sought to determine its various beneficial effects.




The “elevated plus maze” test is an elevated, plus-shaped, narrow platform with two walled arms that provide safety for the test subject, typically a mouse. It is used as an anxiety test for rodents with the idea that animals experiencing higher anxiety will spend more time in safer walled-off areas. Using this test, researchers found that mouse anxiety was reduced after consuming Matcha powder or Matcha extract. In addition, when the anxiolytic activity of different Matcha extracts was evaluated, a stronger effect was found with the extract derived using 80% ethanol in comparison to the extract derived from only hot water. In other words, a poorly water-soluble Matcha component has stronger anxiolytic effects than a component that is easily soluble in water. A behavioral pharmacological analysis further revealed that Matcha and Matcha extracts reduce anxiety by activating dopamine D1 and serotonin 5-HT1A receptors.

“Although further epidemiological research is necessary, the results of our study show that Matcha, which has been used as a medicinal agent for many years, may be quite beneficial to the human body,” said study leader, Dr. Yuki Kurauchi. “We hope that our research into Matcha can lead to health benefits worldwide.”

 

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Chronic, intermittent microdoses of DMT have positive effects on mood and anxiety*

Cameron, Benson, DeFelice, Fiehn, Olson (2019)

Drugs capable of ameliorating symptoms of depression and anxiety while also improving cognitive function and sociability are highly desirable. Anecdotal reports have suggested that serotonergic psychedelics administered in low doses on a chronic, intermittent schedule, so-called “microdosing”, might produce beneficial effects on mood, anxiety, cognition, and social interaction. Here, we test this hypothesis by subjecting male and female Sprague Dawley rats to behavioral testing following the chronic, intermittent administration of low doses of the psychedelic DMT. The behavioral and cellular effects of this dosing regimen were distinct from those induced following a single high dose of the drug. We found that chronic, intermittent, low doses of DMT produced an antidepressant-like phenotype and enhanced fear extinction learning without impacting working memory or social interaction. Additionally, male rats treated with DMT on this schedule gained a significant amount of body weight during the course of the study. Taken together, our results suggest that psychedelic microdosing may alleviate symptoms of mood and anxiety disorders, though the potential hazards of this practice warrant further investigation.

Mood and anxiety disorders are among the leading causes of disability worldwide, and antidepressants remain one of the most highly prescribed medications in the United States. Current therapeutic strategies for treating these disorders are slow-acting and prove to be ineffective for many patients. Thus, there is a critical need to develop new treatment strategies for these disorders.

Serotonergic psychedelics, such as LSD, psilocybin, and DMT have a long history of use as experimental therapeutics in the clinic for treating depression, anxiety, and substance use disorder. However, it is unclear whether hallucinogenic doses of these drugs are required for them to produce therapeutic effects. Psychedelic microdosing—the practice of administering sub-hallucinogenic doses of psychedelic compounds on a chronic, intermittent schedule—is rapidly gaining popularity due to its alleged antidepressant and anxiolytic effects. Despite the prevalence of psychedelic microdosing, there are essentially no peer-reviewed studies that have investigated the potential benefits and risks of this practice.

Psychedelics are potent psychoplastogens, and their effects on neural plasticity have been invoked to explain their long-lasting behavioral effects related to mood and anxiety. Previously, we observed that even a low dose of DMT caused changes in the frequency and amplitude of spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic currents in the prefrontal cortex of rats that lasted long after the drug had been cleared from the body. Therefore, we hypothesized that administration of this low dose on a chronic, intermittent schedule might impact behaviors relevant to mood and anxiety that involve the PFC.

Here, we demonstrate that chronic (∼2 months), intermittent (every third day), low (1 mg/kg) doses of DMT facilitate fear extinction learning and reduce immobility in the forced swim test without producing the anxiogenic-like effects characteristic of a high dose (10 mg/kg). However, the former dosing regimen also significantly increases bodyweight in male rats. Taken together, the data presented here suggest that sub-hallucinogenic doses of psychedelic compounds might possess value for treating and/or preventing mood and anxiety disorders. Despite the therapeutic potential of psychedelic microdosing, this practice is not without risks, and future studies need to better define the potential for negative neurobiological or metabolic repercussions.

*From the article here:

https://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/acschemneuro.8b00692
 
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Red wine compound resveratrol shows promise for treating anxiety

Neuroscience News | July 26, 2019

New research has revealed that resveratrol, which is found in red wine, displays anti-stress effects by blocking the expression of an enzyme related to the control of stress in the brain, according to a University of Buffalo-led study.

“Resveratrol may be an effective alternative to drugs for treating patients suffering from depression and anxiety disorders,” says Ying Xu, MD, Ph.D., co-lead author and research associate professor in the UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

The study, published on July 15 in the journal Neuropharmacology, was also led by Xiaoxing Yin, Ph.D., professor at Xuzhou Medical University in China.

Protection against extreme stress

Resveratrol, which has been linked to a number of health benefits, is a compound found in the skin and seeds of grapes and berries. While research has identified resveratrol to have antidepressant effects, the compound’s relationship to phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4), an enzyme influenced by the stress hormone corticosterone, was unknown.

Corticosterone regulates the body’s response to stress. Too much stress, however, can lead to excessive amounts of the hormone and, ultimately, the development of depression or other mental disorders.

These unknown physiological relationships make drug therapy complex. Current antidepressants instead focus on serotonin or noradrenaline function in the brain, but only one-third of patients with depression enter full remission in response to these medications, says Xu.

In a study on mice, researchers revealed that PDE4, induced by excessive amounts of corticosterone, causes depression- and anxiety-like behavior.

The enzyme lowers cyclic adenosine monophosphatem, a messenger molecule that signals physiological changes such as cell division, change, migration and death in the body, leading to physical alterations in the brain.

Resveratrol displayed neuroprotective effects against corticosterone by inhibiting the expression of PDE4. The research lays the groundwork for the use of the compound in novel antidepressants. Although red wine contains resveratrol, consumption of alcohol carries various health risks, including addiction.

 
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Microdosing DMT for anxiety

Cameron, Benson, DeFelice, Fiehn, Olson (2019)

Anecdotal reports have suggested that serotonergic psychedelics administered in low doses on a chronic, intermittent schedule, so-called “microdosing”, might produce beneficial effects on mood, anxiety, cognition, and social interaction. Here, we found that chronic, intermittent, low doses of DMT produced an antidepressant-like phenotype and enhanced fear extinction learning without impacting working memory or social interaction. Taken together, our results suggest that psychedelic microdosing may alleviate symptoms of mood and anxiety disorders, though the potential hazards of this practice warrant further investigation.

Psychedelics are potent psychoplastogens, and their effects on neural plasticity have been invoked to explain their long-lasting behavioral effects related to mood and anxiety. Previously, we observed that even a low dose of DMT caused changes in the frequency and amplitude of spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic currents (EPSCs) in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) that lasted long after the drug had been cleared from the body. Therefore, we hypothesized that administration of this low dose on a chronic, intermittent schedule might impact behaviors relevant to mood and anxiety that involve the PFC.

Here, we demonstrate that chronic (∼2 months), intermittent (every third day), low (1 mg/kg) doses of DMT facilitate fear extinction learning and reduce immobility in the forced swim test without producing the anxiogenic-like effects characteristic of a high dose (10 mg/kg). Taken together, the data presented here suggest that subpsychedelic doses of psychedelic compounds might possess value for treating and/or preventing mood and anxiety disorders. Despite the therapeutic potential of psychedelic microdosing, this practice is not without risks, and future studies need to better define the potential for negative neurobiological or metabolic repercussions.

Despite the potential risks associated with psychedelic microdosing, the data presented here suggest several exciting possibilities for the treatment of mood and anxiety disorders. First, a chronic intermittent dosing regimen lends itself to the potential prophylactic treatment of neuropsychiatric diseases. As acute doses of serotonergic psychedelics produce similar effects as an acute dose of the psychoplastogen ketamine, and ketamine has demonstrated promise for preventing stress-induced depression- and anxiety-related phenotypes in animal models, it will be interesting to see if psychedelic microdosing is also capable of preventing the development of depression and anxiety symptoms. Second, the ability of low doses of DMT to produce positive effects on mood and anxiety suggests that the perceptual effects of psychedelics can be decoupled from their therapeutic properties. This could lead to the development of non-psychedelic psychoplastogens with broad therapeutic potential and minimal risk for abuse. Taken together, our results encourage cautious optimism about the potential for psychedelic microdosing to produce beneficial effects on depression and anxiety.

https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acschemneuro.8b00692
 
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