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Medicine PTSD

mr peabody

Moderator: PM
Staff member
Aug 31, 2016
Frostbite Falls, MN

How to use psychedelic mushrooms as a tool to heal C-PTSD

by Ashley Michaud | Sociedelic | Sep 13 2019

People exposed to severe and continuing violence, abuse, neglect, and suffering may develop complex PTSD, a condition that surpasses conventional PTSD.

I am Ashley, I have a Masters in Health Coaching and attuned as a Reiki Master / Teacher, I am also certified in Integrative Nutrition, Hormone Health and a published Author. I don’t mention this to give myself authority but instead show you what is possible when you use psychedelics as a tool for Elemental Growth.

I started my life off a mess – using sex, ecstasy, alcohol and cocaine to cover up pain rooted in childhood abuse. I was taught to hold things in and that the stuff I wanted to talk about didn’t matter. I was shown that drinking, putting on a mask and SAD (Standard American Diet) foods were my only options in life and then I had my first dose of psychedelic mushrooms. I realized just how f***ed up and oppressed every culture is, I saw the big picture. I moved out of my moms at 14 years old, was kicked out of high school shortly after and had a rough few years learning about the world and who I am.

At 20 I began experiencing hormonal issues but continued to party, at this time I also decided to get an education. Because I liked to party and travel, I enrolled into College as a Hospitality and Tourism student. Wise at the time but I am still paying student loans off for this party phase of my life. After a few semesters I began to travel Canada accumulating new life experiences along the way. One day as I looked out at the Pacific Ocean, I heard a voice tell me “it’s time to get sober, and to do this you have to go home to the roots of where your trauma started.”

I did get sober shortly after my return. I cleaned up my diet too and truly did start healing my roots. I created a timeline of my life, I said goodbye to friends, family, items and thoughts that did nothing good for me. I also threw myself into 2 hours of Kundalini Yoga DVD’s by Maya Fiennes everyday and a weekend dose of psychedelic mushrooms.

I was doing the meditation thing, the clean eating thing but it was mushrooms that truly made the connections and guided me back to purpose and passion for life. It was the mushrooms that told me to start looking at my food in a new light – to think about life force energy and what I consume psychically, mentally and spiritually – even more why I am consuming it. For a year I tested every food in my local grocery store and bulk bin to see if it would grow. That’s how I got into Fluoride, GMO’s and our solutions “Permaculture” and Integrative Nutrition.

It was mushrooms that introduced me and ultimately the reason I became obsessed with Joe Rogan, Duncan Trussell and the McKenna Brothers. It was mushrooms that supported my sacred journey to sobriety, backpacking 3 countries in South America with no map or clue what I was doing and it was mushrooms that has helped me clear out my C-PTSD so I can fill my life up with laughter and good times with my son who gets the best of me everyday.

What is a biohacking?

Biohacking is all about self-improvement and human optimization. As Tony Robins explains it “biohacking is essentially the practice of changing our chemistry and physiology through science and self-experimentation to energize and enhance the body.” Now I don’t know if Tony practices with entheogens, but I know that they have helped me make the process of biohacking more focused and enjoyable.

Here’s my prescription or C-PTSD

My biohacking specialty is Moon Cycles, Circadian Rhythm, Seasonal Alignment, Positive Psychology & personized Alchemy. Most recently I have been microdosing psilocybin, written about in my book Be The Change: Your Guide to Elemental Growth Through Nature, Love, Food & Movement.

Top 3 elemental tips:

- Write an ongoing list of all the things you hate and title it “Things I Will No Longer Tolerate”
- Take action by recognizing your feelings as they come up and then eliminating the things that make you feel like sh**
- Reward yourself with new habits that align with who and where you want to be. Your dreams are only possible when you believe “it’s all happening”.

I am Ashley, and this is my blog on how I biohacked C-PTSD and my destructive behaviors using psychedelic mushrooms. I am the girl that has cleaned up her life, broken through family karma and tapped into her natural flow. Like me you have everything you need to heal yourself and reach each dream you put forth but you don’t have to do it alone. Having your own guide on the side lines can help you breakthrough roadblocks and unleash your true potential.

As a health coach I don’t fix my clients, they do that, my job is to ask the questions that will spark transformation – so here it is: What resonated with you most? How do you think this bio-hack will be of service to you rising to become the hero of your own story? Sending you good vibes & positivity on your Elemental Growth journey, it’s all happening!!

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mr peabody

Moderator: PM
Staff member
Aug 31, 2016
Frostbite Falls, MN

How MDMA is changing the treatment of PTSD*

by Rachael Beairsto | Psychiatry Advisor | October 7, 2019

Rick Doblin, PhD, founder of MAPS, anticipates that MDMA will be approved for PTSD by 2021. During his presentation at the 2019 Psych Congress, held October 3 to 6 in San Diego, California, Dr Doblin discussed results of recent research and future directions for treatment of PTSD.

Millions of Americans are affected by PTSD. Among veterans, it is the third most prevalent military service-related disability, which costs the Veterans Affairs disability payments service billions of dollars each year. Furthermore, treatment for PTSD can be challenging given the high number of nonresponders.

MDMA, a known psychoactive drug that is most often used recreationally, has been identified as potential therapeutic modality for this challenging condition. MDMA counters the neurologic effects of PTSD, which manifest as hypoactivity in both the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex and hyperactivity in the amygdala.

MDMA is not the entire therapy for PTSD; instead, it is MDMA-assisted psychotherapy — optimized with thorough preparation and integration of therapeutic outcomes — that has had early success in PTSD in multiple phase 2 trials and has now moved on to phase 3 studies.

In a series of 6 international phase 2 MAPS-sponsored studies, an active dose of MDMA (75-125 mg) was compared with a nonactive lower dose (0-40 mg; placebo group) in MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for chronic, treatment-resistant PTSD over multiple integrative sessions.

At 2-month follow-up, more than half of patients who received the active MDMA dose no longer met the diagnostic criteria for PTSD (56 percent, vs 23 percent in the placebo group). This improvement in PTSD with an active dose of MDMA was even greater at 12-month follow-up: two-thirds of patients (68 percent) were categorized as no longer having PTSD, indicating prolonged healing after MDMA-assisted therapy.

On the day of administration, rates of anxiety, jaw clenching/tight jaw, lack of appetite, and nausea were higher in patients who received the active dose of MDMA, while fatigue and headache were more common in the comparator group. Despite concerns about longer-term neurotoxicity with MDMA, the investigators noted no neurocognitive changes after treatment.

On the basis of these data, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the trial to move to phase 3 and granted breakthrough designation for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD in 2017. The European Medicines Agency also approved the study to move to phase 3, with the condition that migrants and refugees be included. An interim analysis of the first of the phase 3 studies is expected around March 2020.

Though costs for MDMA drug development are high — an estimated $34 million before FDA approval and $11 million related to European Medicines Agency approval — MAPS, a nonprofit organization, is refusing investment from pharmaceutical companies in an effort to avoid competing interests. Representatives from MAPS are in conversations with the FDA to discuss expanded access through compassionate use, given that there are millions of patients with PTSD and only hundreds currently being enrolled in clinical trials.

As for next steps, Dr Doblin explained that patients with PTSD have a desperate need for this therapy. While MDMA-assisted treatment will never be a take-home, self-administered cure, he envisions a future with highly trained therapists at thousands of accessible psychedelic treatment centers across the world.

*From the article here:

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mr peabody

Moderator: PM
Staff member
Aug 31, 2016
Frostbite Falls, MN

To unravel PTSD, she took MDMA*

by Will Stone | Apr 22 2019

Lori Tipton had recounted the details of her mother’s death many times, always with the same detachment as that first 911 call.

“I was the one who discovered their bodies in her home,” Tipton says of that night in 2005. “I completely just disassociated. … I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.”

A murder-suicide, her mother had killed a lover and a close family friend.

It wasn’t Tipton’s first encounter with trauma.

When Tipton was 20 years old, her brother came to visit her in New Orleans for his 21st birthday. He died of an overdose that night in her home.

“In the wake of that experience, I didn’t really allow myself to process any of that, because I immediately began to take care of my mother,” Tipton, now 39 years old, remembered.

Her mother had struggled with mental illness for many years and took a sharp decline after her son’s death.

But Tipton’s diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder didn’t come until later, and only by accident when Hurricane Katrina hit.

She was displaced and spent weeks in and out of hotels. Her life felt like a steady stream of loss — the tragedy only compounded by the devastation of the storm and its aftermath.

“Nearly everybody returning to New Orleans was being diagnosed with PTSD,” Tipton said. “I think that partly led me to believe that, maybe, I didn’t have this affliction.”

He describes the years that followed as “seeing the world through dirty goggles.”

“Imagine your brain, you go down a road and to the left is like happiness and joy, and to the right — anxiety,”
she said. “No matter what the circumstances were in my life, my brain would always go right, every single time.”

What happened to Tipton the following year cemented the sense that she was somehow broken, “unable to be saved,” as she describes it.

A close friend of Tipton’s, someone she trusted, raped her.

“I ended up pregnant from that rape and had an abortion,” she said.

Tipton avoided talking about the assault. She says she tried to mask her fear and isolation.

Heart-pounding panic attacks and unexplained dread became a daily part of her life. A specific word or touch, even from someone she loved, could overwhelm her with fear.

“When you have PTSD, you are living in this constantly triggered environment,” she said. “My disorder had become so much a part of who I was.”

She felt as if the universe was punishing her.

“Anytime I felt I could trust myself, I was proven wrong,” she said.

For more than a decade, Tipton searched for a remedy.

She tried everything offered — or that she could think of — to mitigate the symptoms of PTSD: antidepressants, psychotherapy, acupuncture, meditation and hypnotherapy.

She became a yoga teacher, tried Rolfing (a type of deep-tissue massage) and even saw a witch doctor.

Nothing really worked.

Amid a renaissance in psychedelic research, new treatments emerge

In 2017, Tipton came across an online ad for something different: researchers from the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, also called “MAPS,” were looking for people with chronic, treatment-resistant PTSD.

It was an opportunity to participate in Phase 2 clinical trials for an experimental, yet promising model of treatment: MDMA-assisted psychotherapy.

Tipton was unsure at first.

“I went in there being as open as possible, but with a great deal of skepticism,” she said.

First synthesized in the early 1900s, MDMA is a psychoactive drug that boosts neurotransmitters like serotonin and also dials down activity in the amygdala, a part of the brain that processes fear. It can increase empathy and social connection.

The therapeutic benefits were explored throughout the 1970s, including in contexts like couples therapy. But those efforts stalled when the federal government — alarmed by the rise of the club drug “Ecstasy,” which can contain MDMA — classified it as a Schedule 1 drug in 1985.

Now research into psychedelics has picked up again in the U.S and that is offering hope for treating a variety of mental illnesses — from substance use disorder to depression.

MDMA is on the front line of these emerging treatments. A new drug hasn’t come onto the market to treat PTSD in more than a decade.

In 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted Breakthrough Therapy designation to MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, developed by MAPS.

According to the FDA, the designation is reserved for a drug with preliminary clinical evidence indicating that it “may demonstrate substantial improvement over existing therapies on one or more clinically significant endpoints, such as substantial treatment effects observed early in clinical development.”

Phase 3 trials are taking place across the country, as well as in Canada and Israel.

“Seeing what was possible, you can’t go back,” said psychotherapist Saj Razvi of sessions aided by MDMA. “Things that may take months or even years to accomplish, or may never get accomplished, we see people are able to work into that territory.”

Razvi is director of medical education at Innate Path, a clinic based in Colorado. He was also clinical investigator in the Phase 2 trials for treatment-resistant PTSD.

“MDMA allows you to contact feelings and sensations in a much more direct way,” Razvi said.

The MAPS protocol typically consists of two to three sessions when MDMA is administered, each eight hours long. Those are bookended by sessions of therapy to integrate what the person has discovered while under the influence of MDMA.

Razvi, who has observed hundreds of hours of these sessions, says only by returning to the origin of the trauma can you “unpack this material, feel your way through it and get to the other side.”

“These are fundamentally powerful experiences that are corrective in nature, going back to these places where we were crushed,” he said.

It can look painful, he says — what some might call “a bad trip” — but only through this process can the quality of these traumatic experiences change.

“When we are being traumatized, we are fundamentally alone,” he said. “One of the things that MDMA does is, really, lets you know that you are not alone.”

Trauma revisited in the embrace of MDMA

Lori Tipton knew the story of her mother’s death well, but it always felt like it was happening to someone else.

That changed while on MDMA.

“I was able to remember all of those things, like truly able to remember these little pieces that were missing before,” she said.

She could stay present in the most terrifying moment of her life, safe in the “loving embrace of MDMA.”

As those memories emerged, they formed something new — forgiveness.

“I was able to find such empathy for myself. I realized how much I was thinking this was my fault and I should have done something,” she said.

Then she told herself to let it go.

“This is a terrible thing that happened, but you carrying the fear and shame over this, it’s worthless.”

Tipton unearthed other memories, too, feelings of joy and peace that had been sealed away. She was playing in the snow with her brother when they were children.

“I could remember exactly how I felt, that excitement of the first snow,” she said.

But as her last session was coming to an end, one moment still remained out of reach: her rape.

When she spoke of it, the heaviness would return. There was no catharsis.

Her therapists, a male-female duo, suggested something.

“How would you feel about potentially going into one of these poses and seeing what happens?”

Years of practicing yoga, even teaching it, and certain poses Tipton could never do; it took her back to the assault.

She lay on the floor and took the pose, her legs draped over her shoulders.

As the panic surfaced, they offered her a simple question.

“Can you ask what that feeling needs?”

“It needs to be heard,”
Tipton replied without thinking. “I had felt so silenced for so many years, people didn’t believe me … that, I needed that moment for them to understand me.”

They stayed with her, crouched on the floor, and let her know they did believe her.

“It was the first time I had told that story and that had been the response,” she said.

That was the end of Tipton’s treatment with MDMA.

More than a year later, she no longer fits the diagnostic criteria for PTSD. That was the case for nearly 70 percent of those who were given MDMA in the Phase 2 trials. It was a small group, fewer than 100.

Still, the potential of achieving durable remission could be a paradigm shift for millions with PTSD.

Tipton says it saved her life.

“Everything is at my fingertips for me in a way that it never was before,” she said. “I want that for everybody.”

*From the article here:

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mr peabody

Moderator: PM
Staff member
Aug 31, 2016
Frostbite Falls, MN

MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a disorder that describes the issues faced by many people after they experience or witness a traumatic event. Anyone who has been exposed to traumatic events that causes a serious fear for their life or the lives of others is at risk to develop PTSD. People typically affected include: survivors of violent acts and disasters, emergency responders to traumatic events, people who experience the sudden death of a loved one, anyone who has been abused, neglected children, and combat veterans. However, many other events can be traumatic as well, particularly to people of color, including police harassment, distressing childbirth experiences, and incarceration.

MAPS is a non-profit research and educational organization that is currently sponsoring Phase 3 clinical trials of MDMA as a tool to assist psychotherapy for severe PTSD. Importantly, MDMA used in these trials is not the same as the street substances known as "ecstasy" or "molly," since these drugs frequently also contain unknown and/or dangerous adulterants. In MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, MDMA is only administered a few times, unlike most medications for mental illnesses which are often taken daily for several years. More information on MDMA can be found in the MAPS Investigator Brochure, which is available online here.

Preliminary studies suggest that MDMA can catalyze powerful psychotherapeutic work in helping people overcome PTSD by reducing fear of traumatic memories and increasing feelings of trust and compassion towards others without causing sensory distortions or inhibiting access to difficult emotions. As such, MDMA could increase the effectiveness of psychotherapy by strengthening the alliance between therapist and patient.

In our site at the University of Connecticut, we are participating in a MAPS-sponsored, FDA reviewed Phase 2 open-label study and then moving on to Phase 3 randomized clinical trials in Spring 2018. We are focusing on the recruitment of ethnoracial minority participants who meet criteria for PTSD. Our team’s work is focused on culturally-sensitive and respectful treatment approaches for people of diverse backgrounds.

We recognize that doing things the way they have always been done will not be sufficient to open the doors of these therapies to people of color. A culturally-informed approach must be used. Here are some of the efforts that have been made to date to ensure the ongoing MDMA research is culturally inclusive:

- Addition of a study site focused on the ethnic minority trauma experience
- Revision of informed consent documents for all sites to improve understanding and acceptability to people of color
- Diversification of the UConn treatment team at every level
- Ongoing cultural training for all UConn team members, with an emphasis on cultural humility
- Re-examination and revision of the setting and music used during MDMA sessions for cultural congruence
- Recognition and validation of experiences of racial oppression at a cultural and individual level
- Integration and specialized training for independent rater pool, with ongoing supervision for cultural differences


mr peabody

Moderator: PM
Staff member
Aug 31, 2016
Frostbite Falls, MN

Bob Walker has suffered from PTSD for over 30 years. He's not alone in this struggle,
but he claims to have found a way out, through MDMA therapy. A group of specialists
across the country are using it to heal trauma victims in ways previously unimaginable.

Ecstatic states

by Lessley Anderson

Can an illegal drug heal crushing trauma?

In the Vietnam War, Bob Walker was a helicopter mechanic who saw his best friend decapitated by an incoming helicopter’s propeller blade. Ever since then the 69-year-old Paradise, CA vet has struggled with PTSD — a psychological condition that afflicts 7–8 percent of the population. It hits people who have been exposed to highly stressful situations in which their “fight or flight” response has been activated. Rape survivors. War veterans. Policemen.

People with PTSD can be highly irritable and suffer from insomnia, nightmares, and the inability to sustain deep relationships. Or, like Walker, they can walk through life feeling eternally numb. “Over the years, I tried everything from prescription drugs to biofeedback,” says Walker. “But nothing really worked. I knew something just wasn’t right.”

Then one day three years ago, Walker saw a segment on CNN about an experimental drug trial going on in South Carolina to treat people suffering from PTSD. In the study, patients took MDMA, more commonly known by its street name ecstasy, in the company of psychotherapists. The drug’s famous warm-and-fuzzy ability to enhance a person’s well-being and create a surplus of empathy allowed many of the participants to revisit painful memories without their usual fear. In neurochemical terms, MDMA decreases the fear response in the amygdala. It also stimulates the release of the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin, as well as oxytocin and prolactin, which cause feelings of love and bonding. After taking the drug, many patients could look at their lives in a new way, reprocess trauma, and rewire their own brains.

"I got it, right away," says Walker, about watching the segment detailing the experiments. He figured, living right next to a college town, he could ostensibly score drugs easily. Why not try it himself?

"Finding MDMA was harder than I expected," he said. Asking around and attending a psychedelics event got him connected to some people doing sweat lodge and peyote ceremonies, but no ecstasy. But he finally tracked down ecstasy through a friend of a friend’s son and contacted a former therapist, who agreed to work with him while he was high. Jennifer*, who asked that her real name not be used because she feared she could lose her license, was a self-described "conservative" single mom who was typically scared of drugs. But she felt a warmth for Walker and trusted him. "For some reason, it didn’t feel wrong," she said. "He had really done his research." The first time was a therapy session like no other. "He didn’t seem high, he just seemed ‘real,’" she said. "We were able to carry on an intimate conversation for the first time."

"You lose your sense of connection,"
says Walker, describing the feeling of having PTSD. But on MDMA, Walker felt deeply connected, not just to his therapist, but also to himself, something he’d long struggled with.

The drug trials that inspired Walker were the work of MAPS. It’s one of a small handful of organizations worldwide trying to establish scientific evidence that psychedelic drugs have therapeutic value.

In the study looking at how MDMA could treat PTSD, the drug was given in conjunction with talk therapy. Patients lay down in a therapist's office and listened to soothing music with headphones, wearing eyeshades. They had the option of talking about what they were experiencing, and received counseling before and afterwards to integrate what happened to them while on the drug into their everyday lives. According to MAPS, 83 percent of the 19 people treated in a recent group had breakthroughs in this MDMA-assisted therapy and showed significant improvement in their PTSD symptoms.

"The MDMA allowed me to be my very, very, very best self, and I got to take care of my most broken self with my best self," says Rachel Hope, a sexual-abuse survivor who participated in the study. MAPS’ results from this study were encouraging enough to the FDA that it was able to expand its efforts into what’s known in drug-trial parlance as "Phase 2 studies." It’s now doing the same study with four new groups of patients in South Carolina, Colorado, Israel, and Vancouver.

In addition to the MDMA-to-treat-PTSD study, MAPS has also studied how LSD can help soothe anxiety in people with terminal illnesses, and in March received approval to study the effects of marijuana to alleviate PTSD. The latter study will be one of only two government-approved medical marijuana trials ever conducted.

Similarly to MAPS, the Santa Fe-based scientific research group the Heffter Research Institute has been collaborating with scientists at UCLA, Johns Hopkins, and NYU to study the therapeutic applications for psilocybin, the active ingredient in hallucinogenic mushrooms. In one study, published in 2011, it investigated how the drug might be used to make terminally ill cancer patients feel less anxious and depressed, and reported that of 11 patients given the drug, 30 percent reported an elevated mood that lasted long after the drug wore off. Now, Heffter scientists are looking at how psilocybin might help cure alcoholism and get people to quit smoking.

In many ways, this research isn’t new. Besides the thousands of years of indigenous peoples’ ritual use of mind-altering plants like ayahuasca and peyote, there was some modern scientific exploration of these kinds of substances, too. Before it was criminalized in 1968, LSD was being used by some doctors as an experimental method for treating alcoholism and anxiety. MDMA, prior to being outlawed in 1985, was used by hundreds of psychotherapists in the United States to treat a variety of phobias, addiction, trauma, and even relationship problems. In an interview with psychiatrist Julie Holland, author of the book Ecstasy: The Complete Guide, one of these therapists recalled: "When it came to, for instance, couples therapy, it was a remarkable catalyst."

Hopes for relief

MAPS and the Heffter Research Institute were founded with the mission of reintroducing these types of investigations and documenting their results in peer-reviewed journals. MAPS opened in 1986 and Heffter in 1993, after LSD, MDMA, and psilocybin became illegal. But until the 2000s this type of research would have been virtually impossible. The National Institute on Drug Abuse and negative media coverage throughout the ’80s and most of the ’90s depicted drugs like ecstasy, pot, and acid as a scourge without any therapeutic value. But personnel changes in the FDA and a softening of attitudes within the DEA and Institutional Review Boards, both of which greenlight drug trials, have opened up the field of psychedelic research like never before.

"A lot of the demonization of drugs as evil in all walks of American life has really calmed down," says Jeffrey A. Fagan, professor of law at Columbia University. "And that’s a great thing. There’s no reason why we can’t think in careful and responsible steps about the therapeutic value of controlled substances." As scientific evidence begins to mount, psychedelic researchers are looking towards a day when drugs like ecstasy, pot, LSD, and psilocybin will be categorized as "Schedule 2" drugs — that is, drugs that have risks associated with them, like Ritalin or Oxycontin, but can be prescribed by a doctor.

Rick Doblin, the founder of MAPS, says he envisions a future when hospice centers for the terminally ill sit next to psychedelic therapy centers, and licensed doctors can prescribe MDMA in clinics similar to the way methadone is handled. "Things are lining up in our culture and we have the opportunity to reintegrate psychedelics," says Doblin. "They’ll have an honored place rather than a suppressed place."

Harsh realities

But it may be too early for Doblin and his colleagues to get too excited. By the FDA’s own reporting, only 5 percent of all investigational new drugs actually make it through the testing and approval process. If any of the drugs that MAPS and the Heffter Research Institute are studying ultimately get approved for therapeutic use, the organizations’ research will have to show positive results among hundreds of participants.

Conducting these larger "Phase 3" studies will cost millions of dollars. Unlike commercial pharmaceutical companies with deep pockets, MAPS and the Heffter Research Institute are privately funded, acting, essentially, as nonprofit pharmaceutical companies. The drugs they’re studying have patents that have expired, making them of little interest to Big Pharma. Anybody could ostensibly make generic versions of them, driving down price and potential earnings.

Raising millions more from the public to continue this research won’t be easy, particularly because at least in the case of the Heffter Institute, psychedelic research operated under the radar for years. Dr. David E. Nichols, president and co-founder of the Heffter Research Institute says that his organization tried to keep its work on the down-low because it was widely considered controversial. Take the research around psilocybin and people with terminal illnesses, for example: "There are a lot of taboos about how people die," says Nichols. But when Nichols describes the effects the drug can have on people dying of cancer, he presents a moving case that would be hard for anybody to ignore.

"We had one woman say, ‘I realized how precious the people are around me — and I want to enjoy them while I still have time here,’" says Nichols, referring to a cancer patient who took psilocybin in his study and is now deceased. "She said that it changed her completely, and she was able to embrace the life she had left, and it should be there as an option for people to do if they want."

Nichols believes that, culturally, we’re getting closer to that reality. "Young people are more accepting of things formerly viewed as social ills, like same-sex marriage and certain illegal drugs," he says.

"The people who thought psychedelics were dangerous drugs are getting old and dying off," says Nichols. "It may be that when future generations approach that time of life, they’ll do so with an open mind, and regulations may follow."

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mr peabody

Moderator: PM
Staff member
Aug 31, 2016
Frostbite Falls, MN

Riccardo Vitale

This war zone anthropologist used ayahuasca to heal his PTSD

by Ocean Malandra | reset.me

“What lives in my head is an abnormally long horror film about the monstrosities of the human race,” says anthropologist Riccardo Vitale, Ph.D. After two decades of working in some of the most violent and war torn regions of the world, as an advisor and researcher for large international aid and development agencies, he found himself struggling with a serious case of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

PTSD is a condition that develops after exposure to a traumatic event. Although it is closely associated with war veterans who witness and experience horrific and violent acts on the battlefield, it is also common among women who have been physically or sexually assaulted and those who go through terrifying and life threatening events, like Riccardo.

“In Mexico I did participant/observation research and worked with human rights organizations documenting abuses against indigenous peasants,” Riccardo tells Reset. “Most of this time I lived with indigenous Tzeltal, Chol, Tojolabal and Tzotzil communities."

“In 1996, after receiving some death threats, I was told to leave the country for my own security,”
he continues. “And I did, but I came back two months later.”

A year after he was warned to leave Mexico, Riccardo was abducted in broad daylight.

“As I walked near the Zocalo, in the middle of the day, someone approached me and said my name,” he tells us. “An car appeared and I was pushed in as the vehicle drove away. I was kept for about a day inside an old, beaten, unmarked car in the middle of a field in a rural area near Tuxla Gutierrez, the capital of the State of Chiapas.”

Although Riccardo was released the next day and forced to fly out of the country, his kidnapping and deportation coincided with a massacre of forty-five indigenous Tzotzil as they celebrated mass in a small chapel.

“As a young, enthusiastic, budding anthropologist I identified strongly with the indigenous people of Chiapas. The massacre and the deportation devastated me emotionally,” Riccardo explains.

“Because of Acteal (the village where the massacre took place) I stopped celebrating Christmas and New Year’s for more than seven consecutive years. I actively avoided family, people, and festive gatherings. I spent many Christmases and New Year’s locked in hotel rooms or alone in Cambridge working on my PhD.”

According to the Sidran Institute, an international non-profit that helps people understand and treat PTSD, sufferers may feel emotionally detached, withdraw from friends and family, and lose interest in everyday activities. They can also become very irritable and prone to anger.

“I became very uncompromising with myself and with others. Rigorous in my work, but also inflexible, belligerent, and temperamental,” Riccardo says. “Anger and poor mental hygiene were issues.”

Numerous studies have shown that the trauma and extreme stress that triggers PTSD actually causes brain changes and even brain damage, meaning that the emotional symptoms of the disorder have physical dimensions and it is not simply something that people can snap out of. In fact, most people with PTSD suffer for years as psychologists still struggle to manage the disease.

For Riccardo, however, the experience in Mexico was just the beginning. After the deportation and massacre in Mexico, he soon found himself right back in the hot zone again.

“Towards the end of my Ph.D. I did some work with refugees along the Iraqi borders,” he tells us. “In two different trips I had to witness some atrocious episodes and scenes. I can’t talk about these experiences out of decency, out of respect for the victims, and out of pain. The images are just too horrible and sad to convey.”

These events only served to worsen Riccardo’s PTSD symptoms.

“The relationship with my family deteriorated. I couldn’t relate to anyone anymore,” he says. “I was only interested in human rights and social causes. I stopped all hobbies. The concept of vacation was foreign to me. My life-long passions for skying, sailing, and scuba diving went to sleep."

“When my grandfather and then my grandmother died, I felt so estranged from family that I didn’t even think about catching a short flight to attend their funerals. This is something I will always regret.”

For the next ten years Riccardo worked for various human rights organizations in Colombia, often on the front lines of conflict, advocating for the victims of the half century of violence that has rocked this incredibly bio-diverse but tragic land. During a break between consulting jobs, Ricardo was traveling along the southern Putumayo River, when he encountered the Amazonian medicine known as yage or ayahuasca.

“I had traveled several hours south in the Putumayo River — this is a definite no-go area of Colombia,” he tells us. “Whilst in navigation, I spotted some Red Cross boats flashing their huge identifying flags. Great, I thought, I’m freelancing in a war zone without any assignment. I got that familiar, stomach churning, alert, alert, adrenaline boosting feeling."

“A couple of days later, at the old man’s wooden hut, in a remote area on the Ecuadorian side of the river, I was served a large chalice filled with a large portion of yage. A few small candles dimly lit the room. The old man and I were the only two people present."

"Just as I gulped down a first portion of the brew, a mortar went off in the distance, the sky lit up for a short moment. Then for a few seconds we heard gunfire. ‘It’s far away in Colombia,’ muttered the old man as he smiled compassionately."

“As the loud concert of the tropical forest reclaimed the night, I thought: ‘There is a reason why I am here and closed my eyes to wait for yage to start its work.’”

A highly hallucinogenic tea made from mixing N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) containing leaves with a particular rainforest vine, yage has been used since time immemorial by a large number of different indigenous societies across the Amazon. They consider it to be a sacred medicine that heals at a deep spiritual level. But the process is often quite intense.

“The famous ayahuasca purges, the diarrhea and vomiting, were just minor nuisances — a relief in fact — compared to other physical, spiritual, and mental hurdles that these experiences posed,” Riccardo recalls. “I felt so miserable that I wished I would die. I saw a huge red octopus-like creature convulsing inside my body. It was terrifying.”

But that ‘red octopus’ experience was a turning point for Riccardo, as the darkest ayahuasca ceremonies often turn out to be the most cathartic.

“I feel that yage continues to work in the weeks and months following the ceremonies,” Riccardo tells us. “The integration period is quite long. Only about six or seven months after my last ritual in 2015, I became aware of substantial and profound changes in my personality."

“At the end of 2015, after almost two decades of conflictive relations, I told each member of my family how much I loved them. I also said that I had forgiven myself for all of my mistakes and forgiven the mistakes of anyone else in my family.”

The profound healing power of ayahuasca, which often takes the participant into deep emotional places and forces them to re-live memories, is something that is creating a momentum of advocacy for its use to deal with modern day health crisis’s — like addiction and PTSD.

“The numerous anecdotal accounts of people reporting that ayahuasca experiences helped them overcome their PTSD justify a scientific study,” Rick Doblin, the founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), tells Reset.

MAPS has initiated several important studies that prove that psychedelics are perhaps the most powerful treatment options available for certain disorders, including the first North American observational study of the safety and long-term effectiveness of ayahuasca treatment for addiction and dependence.

They also recently published a bulletin on how PTSD affects the memory functioning of the human brain, and how ayahuasca can be used as treatment for the disorder.

“In the psychotherapy of the future, it’s possible that people with PTSD will be treated with a several month process of psychotherapy including a series of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy sessions, some with MDMA and others with more classic psychedelics like ayahuasca, LSD, ibogaine, mescaline, or psilocybin, along with the option of marijuana,” says Doblin. “The long-term goal would be to enable people to function without symptoms of PTSD and without the need for any further medications.”

For Riccardo, working with ayahuasca over the last two years has continued to pay off. He feels that the PTSD has been resolved and that dramatic change and real healing have taken place in his life.

“In 2016, the ceremonies brought me some very different experiences,” he says. “The utter agony was gone. There was some pain, but eventually that also changed. I realized that I’m on a learning path. Yage is showing me a way. It’s an interesting, significant, yet difficult and slow learning process. The ceremonies of 2016 focused on the equilibrium between matter and spirit; self control and the power of the mind over matter."

“I have learned to process adversities and obstacles, even daily minor ones, as learning opportunities that you can resolve with clarity and grace.”

Riccardo now makes his home in Colombia, and has developed deep relationships with several indigenous communities in the Putumayo area.

“An Inga friend, an experienced yage drinker, told me that the medicine dismembers your defenses and your ego. It takes you apart. Until you are a nothing but pieces of disconnected raw material. Everything is there though, all the hurt, the pain, the joy. At this point your task is to reassemble everything. To rebuild yourself,” Ricardo explains.

And rebuilding his life is now what occupies Riccardo’s time. Although he continues to do advocacy and research work on human rights issues here in Colombia, he has also teamed up with a handful of anthropologists and human rights professionals to create an anthropology-based organization in partnership with local Inga communities and the Union of Traditional Indigenous Yage Medics of the Colombian Amazon (UMIYAC). Together they aim to assist indigenous communities that are experimenting with alternative development models based on cultural exchanges, small scale farming, and traditional healing practices.

“Now we are marketing, raising more necessary funds and organizing a crowd-funding campaign for an Amazonian Center for Ancestral and Spiritual Plant Knowledge and Education,” Riccardo tells us. “This is a community-based initiative. It’s an educational hub were youth from the Amazonian basin can learn and practice ancestral medicine from elderly healers. This is a key issue, because every year that goes by we are losing a huge patrimony of autochthonous knowledge about plants and healing.”

This indigenous knowledge may be the key to not just preserving traditional ayahuasca practices, but the very world we live in as well.

“We have adopted a development model that is unsustainable,” says Riccardo. “We are stressing the ecosystem. Indigenous people are on the front line of extractive economy. They see their forests and rivers dying because of unscrupulous, aggressive mining, logging, oil perforations, flooding, droughts, cattle ranching or mono-crop cultivations of eucalyptus, soya, and African palm."

“Concerned about these environmental catastrophes, indigenous spokespeople are proposing an alternative development model based on their millenarian experience, their philosophy, their cosmology, and their spirituality. We should listen and incorporate this vision into all development models.”

In the end, this is the same message that ayahausca is delivering to us. The damage that we are wreaking on the earth is also the same damage we are inflicting on ourselves as manifested in war and ensuing mental illnesses like PTSD. The incredible medicinal power of ayahuasca is not that it is a magic cure-all, but a teacher that points us towards another way of being.

“I don’t believe in panaceas,” says Riccardo. “If the world is experiencing a psychological fallout, we need to work on structural changes. Happiness is not about finding the perfect medicine; it’s about resetting our value system and the implementation of social and environmental reforms."

“Love and compassion should replace profit as the driving force of development. This however is not going to occur as long as our quintessential spirituality is kept dormant.”

In other words, in order to save the world, to save ourselves, maybe we should all go native.

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mr peabody

Moderator: PM
Staff member
Aug 31, 2016
Frostbite Falls, MN

Study finds 'frozen' fear response may underlie PTSD

by Bill Snyder | Medical Xpress | Dec 4 2019

Learned fear responses enable animals—including humans—to flee or freeze in the face of a perceived threat. But if these behaviors persist after the danger lifts, they can become paralyzing and disabling. That's a key element of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

To explore how fear becomes entrenched, researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center have traveled down the precise neuronal pathways in the brains of mice that trigger fear responses, and which normally extinguish the behaviors once the danger has passed.

This scientific journey, detailed recently in Nature Neuroscience, challenges conventional wisdom about how the brain is "remodeled" in response to the intrusion—and subsequent removal—of fear-inducing stimuli.

It's widely assumed that the brain's advanced seat of cognition, the cerebral cortex, decides how to respond to a threat and its order "filters down" to a more primitive part of the brain, the central amygdala, where the flee-or-freeze response is executed and terminated.

But the Vanderbilt scientists found something unexpected: initiation and termination of learned freezing responses occur in cortical parts of the amygdala via a flexible remodeling of excitation onto two distinct subtypes of central amygdala "output channels."

It is here that the animal learns to fear certain stimuli through one neuronal channel and "unlearns" the fear through the other channel once the threat is gone.

"You don't want too much thinking going on" in the face of danger, explained Sachin Patel, MD, Ph.D., the paper's corresponding author and director of the Division of General Psychiatry at Vanderbilt.

"You want very distinct outputs to happen independently so the animal can choose very quickly—should I freeze, run or just go about my business? That's part of the novelty here."

"There's a lot of learning-related plasticity and remodeling in the brain that's occurring at some of these more 'primitive' central amygdala synapses rather than just within the cortical-like areas,"
he said.

How might this knowledge apply to the human condition?

People who have been exposed to stress or trauma can form associations between environmental cues and the fear that their lives are in danger. If the association persists after the threat is gone and the environmental cues continue to trigger anxiety and fear, that can lead to PTSD.

"It's like they're stuck on the freezing channel and can't flip back to the … normal behavior channel," said Patel, also the James G. Blakemore Professor of Psychiatry and professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics and Pharmacology. "That's a theory (but) it might be related to some sort of deficit in this synaptic flexibility mechanism we've discovered."

Currently PTSD is treated by gradually exposing patients to the environmental cues that trigger their fear responses to help their brains "re-learn" to extinguish the behaviors. But exposure therapy is intense. Some patients can't tolerate the anxiety it can cause.

The next step for the researchers is to look for receptors or proteins expressed by cells in one channel but not in the other. "That would provide opportunities to pharmacologically manipulate the dynamic switching between those channels," Patel said.

"It's not so far-fetched and people are doing it" he added. "If we knew that they had a different molecular composition, maybe there's a way that we could inhibit the 'freezing' channel, the fear channel, and promote the other channel."

Patel said the knowledge gained about the fear response may advance understanding of other brain disorders including drug and alcohol abuse.

"Addiction in part is driven by aberrant learning … cues triggering drug seeking and relapse," he said. "We know the amygdala is important in both fear-learning as well as making associations between rewarding effects of drugs and environmental cues. A lot of the same mechanisms might be at play."

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mr peabody

Moderator: PM
Staff member
Aug 31, 2016
Frostbite Falls, MN

Patients may soon have 'expanded access' to MDMA—even before the FDA approves it*

by Stephie Grob Plante | DOUBLE BLIND | Dec 23 2019

MDMA-assisted therapy trials for PTSD may still be underway, but we’re already seeing efforts to expand access outside a research setting for those who are seeking treatment. In the next calendar year, Somatic Center Portland in Oregon plans to open the doors of a brand new MDMA-Assisted Therapy Center—slated to be the first ever of its kind. Six therapists (including licensed professional counselors, a psychologist, a marriage and family therapist, and a licensed clinical social worker) are on deck to treat folks suffering from PTSD throughout the duration of an unprecedented program sponsored by the for-profit wing of MAPS. MAPS is comprised of both a nonprofit entity, which conducts research, as well as a Public-Benefit Corp (PBC), which trains therapists, sponsors research sites, and submitted the protocol to the FDA for expanded access to MDMA.

This new center would be the first time, since MDMA became a Schedule I drug in 1985, that patients would be able to receive legal MDMA-assisted therapy outside of a research environment. “We want to get this treatment to as many people as quickly as possible,” says Brad Burge, director of strategic communications at MAPS. “And expanded access is a way to do that.”

Expanded access, also known as “compassionate use,” is a term defined by the FDA as a “pathway” for patients with serious or life-threatening conditions to gain access to investigational drugs outside of clinical trials, when no other treatment options are available or have worked. In the case of MDMA, MAPS requested that the FDA approve expanded access to treat PTSD, for which there is no reliably effective treatment option. The FDA established expanded access in 1978, after community college instructor Robert C. Randall sued the US government over the right to treat his aggressive and worsening glaucoma with marijuana. This would be a regulatory first for psychedelic medicines, to be sure; but it would also be the first time for any drug-assisted therapy to achieve expanded access, at all.

As such, this approval would come at the end of a monthslong back-and-forth process between MAPS PBC and the FDA. It also follows nearly three decades of negotiations over each step of the MDMA research process. Those efforts landed a major win back in 2017 when the FDA labeled MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD a “Breakthrough Therapy,” which is meant to expedite drug development for potentially life threatening conditions (that includes the threat of suicide, in the case of PTSD). If expanded access is secured, MAPS would sponsor approximately nine more expanded access sites to follow Somatic Center Portland’s lead. Each of the ten sites would be independently funded (“sponsorship” in this case means that the FDA approval MAPS’ will have secured would extend to the sites that the organization handpicks for the program).

The demand is strong. More than 50,000 people have subscribed to MAPS for updates on clinical trials and expanded access, says Burge. At Somatic Center Portland, as well as the nine other treatment centers that MAPS would “sponsor,” patients must first fit the criteria for PTSD based on CAPS—the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale—which is a structured diagnostic interview that’s become the “gold standard” in analyzing PTSD. Once they’re screened and evaluated, says Somatic Center Portland’s founder Timothy Crespi, patients would then participate in several preparation sessions ahead of their MDMA-assisted psychotherapy sessions. After each MDMA-facilitated session, patients would process their experience during an integration session, where there would be no MDMA administered. Finally, Crespi plans for the program to include several more integration sessions on the backend after the active MDMA-facilitated sessions are complete.

Therapists must complete MAPS’s MDMA Therapy Training Program, and facilities must adhere to MAPS PBC’s (and the FDA’s) site specifications. For instance, participating treatment centers must maintain a secure drug storage room, have an overnight plan for patients who might need to stay after hours, and obtain a DEA Schedule I license (which requires that the site have a DEA Schedule I license holder, who’s often an MD).

It won’t be cheap. Insurance doesn’t cover MDMA-assisted therapy. The treatment, for now, would be entirely out-of-pocket. Crespi, a licensed counselor specializing in PTSD, estimates that the protocol would cost patients around $15,000. Crespi acknowledges that this therapy would require a huge lump sum upfront, which is why Somatic Center hosted a fundraiser in November to offset costs for those who can’t afford it. The event raised $55,000 for the program in a single night, a to-be-determined portion of which will be allocated to scholarships.

In the context of an entire lifespan, during which someone might grapple with such a debilitating condition, Crespi says he feels that the high price tag isn’t quite so high, after all. “When you compare that [$15,000] to what it costs the average person with severe PTSD over many years of treatment, it’s a drop in the bucket,” he says. “We’re offering a potential cure for PTSD, so it’s worthy of going forward, by far.”

*From the article here:

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Dec 31, 2019
Pacific Northwest

How psychedelics saved my life: My experience with anxiety and PTSD

I was drawn to journalism at a young age by the desire to provide a voice for the ‘little guy’. For nearly a decade working as a CNN investigative correspondent and independent journalist, I became a mouthpiece for the oppressed, the victimized, the marginalized. My path of submersion journalism brought me closest to the plight of my sources, by re-living the story to get a true understanding of what was happening.

After several years of reporting, I realized an unfortunate consequence of my style - I had immersed myself too deeply in the trauma and suffering of the people I’d interviewed. I began to have trouble sleeping as their faces appeared in my darkest dreams. I spent too long absorbed in a world of despair and my inability to deflect it allowed the trauma of others to settle inside my mind and being. Combine that with several violent experiences while working in the field and I was at my worst. A life spent reporting on the edge had led me to the brink of my own sanity.

Because I could not find a way to process my anguish, it grew into a monster, manifesting itself in a constant state of anxiety, short-term memory loss and sleeplessness. Heart palpitations made me feel like I was knocking on death’s door.

Why I chose psychedelic medicines

Prescription medications and antidepressants serve a purpose, but I knew they weren't for me. I first heard of the healing powers of psychedelics as a guest on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast. Joe told me that psychedelic mushrooms transformed his life and had the potential to change the course of humanity for the better. My initial reaction was one of amusement and somewhat disbelief, but the seed was planted.

Psychedelics were an odd choice for someone like me. I grew up in the Midwest and was fed 30 years of propaganda about how bad these substances were. You can imagine my surprise when, after the Rogan podcast, I found so many articles and studies on the prodigious medicinal effects of these substances… and the examples of how we’ve been misled by authorities who classify psychedelics as Schedule 1 narcotics with ‘no medicinal value’ despite dozens of scientific studies proving otherwise.

Tripping Around the World

Having only ever smoked the odd marijuana joint in college, in March 2013 I found myself boarding a plane to Iquitos, Peru to try one of the most powerful psychedelics on earth. I ditched my car at the airport, packed my belongings in a backpack and headed down to the Amazon jungle placing my blind faith in a substance that a week earlier I could hardly pronounce: Ayahuasca.

Ayahuasca is a medicinal tea that contains the psychedelic compound dimethyltryptamine, or DMT. The brew is rapidly spreading around the world after numerous anecdotes have shown the brew has the power to cure anxiety, PTSD,depression, unexplained pain, and numerous physical and mental health ailments. Studies of long-term ayahuasca drinkers show they are less likely to face addictions and have elevated levels of serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for happiness.

If I had any reservations, doubts, or disbeliefs, they were quickly expelled shortly after my first ayahuasca experience. The foul-tasting tea vibrated through my veins and into my brain as the medicine scanned my body. My field of vision became engulfed with colors and geometric patterns. Then I saw a vision of a brick wall. The word ‘anxiety’ was spray painted in large letters on the wall. “You must heal your anxiety,” the medicine whispered. I entered a dream-like state where traumatic memories were finally dislodged from my subconscious.

It was as if I was viewing a film of my entire life, not as the emotional me, but as an objective observer. The vividly introspective movie played in my mind as I relived my most painful scenes - my parents divorce when I was just 4 years-old, past relationships, being shot at by police while photographing a protest in Anaheim, and crushed underneath a crowd while photographing a protest in Chicago. Ayahuasca enabled me to reprocess these events, detaching the fear and emotion from the memories. The experience was akin to ten years of therapy in one eight-hour ayahuasca session.

But the experience was terrifying at times. Ayahuasca is not for everyone - you have to be willing to revisit some very dark places and surrender to the uncontrollable, fierce flow of the medicine. Ayahuasca also causes violent vomiting and diarrhea, which shamans call “getting well” because you are purging trauma from your body.

After seven ayahuasca sessions in the jungles of Peru, the fog that engulfed my mind lifted. I was able to sleep again and noticed improvements in my memory and less anxiety. I yearned to absorb as much knowledge as possible about these medicines and spent the next year traveling the world in search of more healers, teachers and experiences through submersion journalism.

I was drawn to try psilocybin mushrooms after reading how they reduced anxiety in terminal cancer patients. The ayahuasca showed me my main ailment was anxiety, and I knew I still had work to do to fix it. Psilocybin mushrooms are not neurotoxic, nonaddictive, and studies show they reduce anxiety, depression, and even lead to neurogenesis, or the regrowth of brain cells. Why would governments worldwide keep such a profound fungi out of the reach of their people?

After Peru, I visited curanderas, or healers, in Oaxaca, Mexico. The Mazatecs have used psilocybin mushrooms as a sacrament and medicinally for hundreds of years. Curandera Dona Augustine served me a leaf full of mushrooms during a beautiful ceremony before a Catholic alter. As she sang thousand year-old songs, I watched the sunset over the mountainous landscape in Oaxaca and a deep sense of connectivity washed over my whole being. The innate beauty had me at a loss for words; a sudden outpouring of emotion had me in tears. I cried through the night and with each tear a small part of my trauma trickled down my cheek and dissolved onto the forest floor, freeing me from its toxic energy.

Perhaps most astounding, the mushrooms silenced the self-critical part of my mind long enough for me to reprocess memories without fear or emotion. The mushrooms enabled me to remember one of the most terrifying moments of my career: when I was detained at gunpoint in Bahrain while filming a documentary for CNN. I had lost any detailed recollection of the day when masked men pointed guns at our heads and forced my crew and I onto the ground. For a good half an hour, I did not know whether we were going to survive.

I spent many sleepless nights desperately searching for memories of that day, but they were locked in my subconscious. I knew the memories still haunted me because anytime I would see PTSD ‘triggers’, such as loud noises, helicopters, soldiers, or guns, a rush of anxiety and panic would flood my body.

The psilocybin was the key to unlock the trauma, enabling me to relive the detainment moment to moment, from outside of my body, as an emotionless, objective observer. I peered into the CNN van and saw my former self sitting in the backseat, loud helicopters overhead. My producer Taryn was sitting to the right of me frantically trying to close the van door as we tried to make an escape. I heard Taryn scream “guns!” as armed masked men jumped out of security vehicles surrounding the van. I frantically dug through a backpack on the floor, grabbing my CNN ID card and jumping out of the van. I saw myself land on the ground in child’s pose, and I watched as I threw my hand with the CNN badge in the air above my head yelling “CNN, CNN, don’t shoot!!”

I saw the pain in my face as security forces threw human rights activist and dear friend Nabeel Rajab against a security car and began to harass him. I saw the terror in my face as I glanced down at my shirt, arms in the air, praying the video cards concealed on my body wouldn’t fall onto the ground.

As I relived each moment of the detainment, I re-processed each memory, moving it from the “fear” folder to its new permanent home, the “safe” folder in my brain’s hard drive. Five ceremonies with psilocybin mushrooms cured me of my anxiety and PTSD symptoms. The butterflies that had a constant home in my stomach have flown away.

Psychedelics are not the be-all and end-all. For me, they were the key that opened the door to healing. I still have to work to maintain the healing with the use of floatation tanks, meditation, and yoga. For psychedelics to be effective, it’s essential they are taken with the right mindset in a quiet, relaxed setting conducive to healing, and that all potential prescription drug interactions are carefully researched. Ayahuasca can be fatal if mixed with prescription antidepressants.

I am blessed with an inquisitive nature and a stubbornness to always question authority. Had I opted for the doctor’s script and resigned myself in the hope that things would just get better, I never would have discovered the outer reaches of my mind and heart, and I might still be in the midst of my battle with PTSD.

So incredible,,,thank you for sharing,,,


Sr. Moderator: H&R, Words
Staff member
Nov 3, 2008
Everyday use of mdma is rediculous which makes it impossible as a medicine for PTSD. I suffer from it and it helps in the greatest way while on it but mdma can't be used so very often or you will hit depression and possible other negative side-effects.
MDMA, s-ket do not help.

Occasional 2c-_ would but haven't had in like 10 years. WHY ARE THEY NOT DOING PTSD trials for 2c-_ chemicals? That's the only thing that made me feel like life was worth living again in a joyous, all-positive rounded optimistic way.

Of course IV DMT does it too, but it feels like you're dying and is super scary and could seriously mess up people not ready for something that intense.


MDMA, s-ket are not the answer IMO. You can't take them often enough to keep up w/ symptoms.

Stuff like LSD or 2c-_ would be better.

Aeon Psyche

Dec 11, 2007
I agree, wait what IV DMT? Ok, whatever floats your boat. Psychedelics are great in resolving trauma. Anything but ayahuasca. That straight sended all my traumas towards me, pushing them so I would overcome them but my past is just to painfull. I actually just watched porn for a few hours to pass the time.


Dec 6, 2019
Study finds potential new treatment for preventing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Research led by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation
points to a groundbreaking discovery about a new potential treatment and prevention for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The research team, led by Dr. Fang Liu, Senior Scientist and Head of Molecular Neuroscience in CAMH’s Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute, and Professor and Co-director of Division of Neuroscience and Clinical Translation, Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto, recently identified a protein complex that is elevated in PTSD patients. The researchers also developed a peptide to target and disrupt the protein complex. They found that the peptide prevented recall or encoding of fear memories in early tests. This suggests that the peptide could treat PTSD symptoms or prevent them entirely.

“The discovery of the Glucocorticoid Receptor-FKBP51 protein complex provides a new understanding of molecular mechanisms underlying PTSD,” said Dr. Liu. “We believe this protein complex normally increases after severe stress, but in most cases, levels soon go back to baseline levels. However, in those who develop PTSD, the protein complex remains persistently elevated, and so this could be a blood-based biomarker for PTSD as well as being a target for pharmacological treatment. In addition, the peptide we developed could be given after a traumatic event, and could possibly prevent the patient from developing PTSD. This is a completely new approach to PTSD and for psychiatric disorders in general.”

PTSD occurs in some people after experiencing or witnessing traumatic events, such as sexual assault or military combat. Patients can suffer from debilitating flashbacks, nightmares and anxiety which can severely impact quality of life. There are currently no laboratory diagnostic tests for PTSD, and existing treatments have limited efficacy. According to a recent study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, Canada has the highest prevalence of PTSD among 24 examined countries, and 9.2 per cent of Canadians will develop PTSD in their lifetimes.

“We are thrilled this CAMH-led discovery can potentially help millions of people put trauma behind them,” added Dr. Liu.

The study has been supported by CIHR and the CAMH Discovery Fund. CAMH has filed a patent for the peptide and diagnostic aspect of Dr. Liu’s invention. Dr. Liu and her team will conduct further testing and refining of the peptide before conducting human clinical trials.