Mindful Monkey.

Can Magic Mushrooms Unlock Depression?

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This is well worth watching.

A clinical psychologist from Imperial College describes how Magic Mushrooms (Psilocybin), when used in a therapeutic setting, have been found to be a very effective treatment for depression. In this talk she draws on her experiences as working as a therapist on the groundbreaking Psilocybin for Depression study, and introduces us to some of the patients and their stories of transformation.

“You’re not hallucinating, MPs really did pass crazy bad drug law” says New Scientist

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You’re not hallucinating, MPs really did pass crazy bad drug law

These are not my words but the headline of an article in New Scientist. I’ve been tracking the discussion around the new ‘Psychoactive Substances Bill‘ for a while. The disquiet around this legislation has been mostly expressed in more measured tones, so this, coming from a scientific publication stood out.

Since Mephedrone (MCAT, Meow, Bubble) there was a  ‘leap frogging’ between new drugs (NPS) and the law, and it was evident that each time a set of designer drugs got banned, a new set appeared. And each new set of drugs seemed more hazardous than the last. Things seemed to be getting progressively worse.

So the government decided that a ‘ban everything’ approach would solve the problem. There are two potential issues with this approach. Firstly if you say everything psychoactive is illegal, you immediately need to start creating exceptions. So it starts with Alcohol, Caffeine and Tobacco, but then where will it end? Secondly how do you police this? There is no evidence that making a drugs illegal makes them go away; but there is evidence that criminalising substances creates unintended consequences, most notably more crime.

This reminds me of the saying (often mistakenly attributed to Einstein, but of unknown origin) that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Consider this: We know the safety profile of Cannabis, it has been around for a long time and there are no known cases of overdose or physical harm. There is a worldwide trend towards decriminalising it and it is being researched for a range of medical uses. While at the same time the latest synthetic cannabinoids (helpfully produced for us in China) are creating merry hell in prisons, amongst homeless people and other vulnerable populations. Are you beginning to see a possible solution?

Source: You’re not hallucinating, MPs really did pass crazy bad drug law | New Scientist

Uruguay legalises production and sale of cannabis


Uruguay Government experiment reaches new heights as it attempts to regulate marijuana business and find alternative to war on drug

Here is a quote from the Guardian Newspaper:

Before the passage of the bill, president José Mujica called on the international community to assist in what he admitted was an experiment aimed at finding an alternative to the deadly and unsuccessful war on drugs.”We are asking the world to help us with this experience, which will allow the adoption of a social and political experiment to face a serious problem – drug trafficking,” he said earlier this month. “The effects of drug trafficking are worse than those of the drugs themselves.”

via Uruguay legalises production and sale of cannabis | World news | The Guardian.

An update on the lecture by Professor David Nutt: Putting Science at the Heart of Drug Policy

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David Nutt wins international recognition for “Standing up for Science”

The John Maddox Prize has been awarded to the ISCD’s founder and chair for his “his continued courage and commitment to rational debate, despite opposition and public criticism”

Click Here to see a short YouTube clip about the award

So, it is fantastic to have him come to Leicester to deliver a public lecture. The details and how to book are below.

Click Here to download the Dave Nutt Lecture Poster

Here is an update on the details:

 Date: Wednesday 20th of November

Time: 5:15pm

Venue: Frank and Katherine May lecture theatre at the Henry Wellcome building, Lancaster Road Leicester, LE1 9HN

The event is free but places are limited so you need to register your

attendance. Please contact: Russell Knifton, t: 0116 252 5780 · e: rk191@le.ac.uk

A Public Lecture with Professor David Nutt – ‘Putting Science at the Heart of Drug Policy’

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We at the Foundation Degree in Drug and Alcohol Treatment and Counselling teamed up with the Criminology Department and invited Professor Nutt to come to and speak in Leicester.

He will be coming to speak at a Public Lecture on Wednesday 20th of November, at Leicester University. The title of his talk is:

‘Putting Science at the Heart of Drug Policy’

Watch this space for time, venue and booking details.

In case you didn’t know here is a bit of background on Professor Nutt:

He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, Royal College of Psychiatrists and the Academy of Medical Sciences. He holds visiting professorships in Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands. He is a past president of the British Association of 2012-05-30-DrugsWithoutHotAirPsychopharmacology and of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology. He is currently the president of the British Neuroscience Association and vice-president of the European Brain Council. He is currently chair in Neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London. (This CV carries on, you get the idea, he is very eminent!)

He was Chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD). One paper he co-authored, was published in the Lancet (2007 Volume 369, pp 1047-53) under the title “Development of a rational scale to assess the harm of drugs of potential misuse”. This was part of a continuing critique of the current drug classification system according to the Misuse of Drugs Act. Proposing a more rational way of classifying drugs according to their potential harm and pointing out the inconsistencies in the current system.

This made him a bit unpopular and in 2009 got him sacked by the Home Secretary as Chair of the ACMD. He went on to found the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs. In 2012 wrote a book on the topic of drug policy: “Drugs without the Hot Air”

AA Founder had interesting ideas on LSD

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Many people have heard of Bill Wilson. In 1935 he was the co founder of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). This was a sobriety, abstinence based organisation in Ohio, USA. What people may not realise is that a new book due to be published asserts that Wilson experimented with LSD in order to tackle his own battle with depression. He came to believe; about 20 years after the setting up of this movement that LSD could help people with alcohol problems to achieve a sort of “Spiritual Breakthrough or Awakening” and promote recovery. This is a controversial point of view and he realised this; often speaking about this in a guarded manner. He thought that LSD was a non-addictive substance that alters thought processes in a way that could be helpful.

The Foundation Degree in Drug & Alcohol Counselling and Treatment aims to provide an in depth understanding of the issues in addiction and responses to this.

Here’s a designer drug to avoid!!

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PMMA an Amphetamine analogue (para-Methoxymethamphetamine) that has been found to cause a number of deaths round the world including Norway, Iceland and Canada where it was found to be the active ingredient Ecstasy tablets.

It started out as a ‘legal high’ and is now showing up in ‘Ecstasy’ pills and causing health problems.


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