Tag Archives: LSD

Foodies, Don’t be Fooled if Michael Pollan Writes About Psychedelics

Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma

Foodies who admire Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma include parents opposed to marijuana and its manipulation into an increasingly potent, dangerous drug.

Pollan is writing a book about possible medical applications for psychedelics, which would fit nicely into an agenda promoted by the Drug Policy Alliance, MAPS and Erowid.  Surreptitiously, these pro-drug lobbyists and groups are trying to legalize all drugs. If they get popular writers on board, it will be so much easier.

Psychedelic drugs lead to altered consciousness, changes in heart rate and hallucinations.  In some regards, marijuana is a psychedelic, but not in the same way that LSD, MDMA and others.

MAPS pushes pot as treatment for PTSD, even though an important study from Yale suggests that pot worsens PTSD in veterans.  Bad psychiatric treatments are nothing new.  At one time, the public also believed in lobotomies as a treatment for mental illness.

Drug Policy Alliance uses “social justice” reasons to push for legalization of all drugs, first through decriminalization.*  The social justice angle isn’t a good argument, because drug dealers, legal and illegal, target minorities and poor communities.  Dig a little deeper and social justice appears to be the excuse, not the true reason the DPA argues for drug legalization.

Psychedelics, Alternative Reality and Psychosis

Drug advocates are promoting many psychedelics as medicine: psilocybin mushrooms, LSD, marijuana, MDMA (Ecstasy) and ketamine.  Psychiatrists of the ’50s and ’60s experimented with these drugs as psychiatric treatments. The most famous one, Scottish Psychiatrist R.D. Laing, experimented with LSD to treat some patients.  Although he had genuine empathy towards the patients, Laing’s methods and those of his followers are often considered worse than failure.  (Psychiatrist Isidora Ranjit-Singh explains: Laing “didn’t understand the interaction between illicit substances such as LSD and cannabis and mental health: illicit drugs are a contributory factor in psychosis. LSD is an awful drug that can result in seemingly psychotic flashbacks which can continue after the patient has stopped using it.”)

As long as we do not know the cause of many psychological issues, using psychedelics is like playing with fire.  Emil Kraepelin, father of modern Psychiatry, maintained that catatonia and schizophrenia wouldn’t be solved until we know their cause.  It doesn’t always boil down to genetics.  When the root cause of a mental issue is trauma, there are successful therapeutic models and we don’t need new experimental drugs.

As for schizophrenia, marijuana is the one known trigger which can lead to this condition of permanent psychosis.

Psychedelics Study is Chance to Learn from Past Mistakes

Movers and shakers behind “medical” marijuana use the term “compassion” as a marketing scheme.  To avoid FDA scrutiny, they devised a scam, recorded on videotapes, to bring about full legalization.  Perhaps they’re pushing new “medicinal” uses for hallucinogenic drugs  for similar reasons.

Ethan Nadelmann, formerly executive director of Drug Policy Alliance, explained the underlying plan on Reddit.   “Michael Pollan’s forthcoming book on psychedelics and medicine will take media interest to yet another level. The more people know about this, the faster psychedelics will be legally accepted as medicines.”  Nadelmann engages his followers with wishful thinking.  In a TED talk, he said: “Our desire to alter our consciousness may be as fundamental as our desire for food, companionship, and sex.”

When Pollan has spoken to the press, he mentions psychedelics as  “palliative” care in people facing the end of life.  It sounds familiar, because the pot lobbyists initially promoted medical marijuana for end-of-life care.  In reality, it’s mostly young men with pain who use “medical” marijuana, not the cancer and AIDs patients for whom it was intended.  More recently pot advocates promote it to treat psychiatric disorders.

If hallucinogens can be used help in controlled settings, would those who become “caregivers” practice snake oil medicine? Would they set up they type of shams that plague “medical” marijuana?  Again the public could be tricked, since everyone has compassion for the terminally ill.

There are strong ethical reasons not to endorse psychedelics, or to give so much power to psychiatrists and gurus. It would entail knowingly utilizing drugs that can make certain people worse.  Furthermore, it would put incredible power into the hands of “caregivers”  and psychiatrists. If teens get the idea that a drug is “medicinal,” they will think it safe to use –by anyone on any occasion.

When the US Government Has been “Right”

Although the US government gave some bad dietary advice over the past decades, it has revised some of the mistakes.  Diet dictocrats now recommend eating eggs, the right kind of fats and fewer grains. Americans are eating better because they listened to critics such as Michael Pollan and many others.

The US government’s historical evaluation of and classification of marijuana in 1970 was never wrong.   Judges and the FDA have consistently rejected the reclassification of marijuana.

 

Pollan didn’t really discuss the negative consequences of marijuana while writing an earlier book, The Botany of Desire. Hopefully, he has read the recent information about marijuana as a trigger for psychosis, which is plentiful.  Many new academic studies have been published since his book came out in 2001.

Too often, therapies used in psychiatry are not as effective as people initially believe.   We need take a skeptical view of psychedelics, also. While Nadelmann wants the book to bring acceptance to psychedelics, Pollan has given interviews which don’t suggest that goal.  His book sounds more informational than promotional.

Drug advocates wish to normalize drug use in order to capitalize on it.  By using drugs, they hope to bypass the hard work it takes to obtain true spiritual growth. Modern America is not comparable to the ancient, ritualistic and shamanistic cultures that traditionally used psychedelics.  We need our food to keep us alive, but we don’t need intoxicating, hallucinogenic drugs to sustain us.

* Drug Policy Alliance recently put out a paper on decriminalizing all drugs, a first step towards legalization.  This group often talks about Portugal’s decriminalization of drugs while suggesting the country has legalized which is false.  Portugal does drug assessments and treatment, which DPA does not want.   Please fight against the current attempt to legalize marijuana — through the backdoor.

The science proves marijuana-induced psychosis is real

My Marijuana Psychosis Sent Me to Hospital

The science proves marijuana-induced psychosis is real
Marijuana psychosis cases are not isolated incidents.

My first real high on marijuana was the most frightening experience of my life (I’m now 49). Pure terror, more like a bad LSD trip than the mild alcohol-like experience I was expecting. I could best describe it as 100% max’d out terror, with the belief I was trapped for eternity in my state. Profound terror. Continue reading

How Did I Miss Those Signs?

My Kids and their Friends are Dying Faster than my Friends

Everyone I know that has lost a child tells me they first used cannabis. The numbers of young people I know that have died that were friends of my children between 15 and 30, including my daughter, all began with smoking marijuana.  And their numbers are greater than the number of my friends that have died and I graduated in 1962. My daughter died at 28. Continue reading

pop-myths-marijuana

10 Myths Marijuana Advocates want you to Believe

by Dr. Christine Miller, Ph.D.
Myth #1. It is rare for marijuana users to experience psychotic symptoms like paranoia.
In fact, about 15% of all users and a much higher percentage of heavy users will experience psychotic symptoms.1 Half of those individuals will become chronically schizophrenic if they don’t stop using.2 Fortunately, some do stop using because psychosis is not pleasant and they wisely recognize that pot caused their problems.
Myth #2. Marijuana-induced psychosis must be due to other contaminating drugs.
Clinical studies under controlled laboratory conditions have shown that administering the pure, active ingredient of pot, ∆9-THC, elicits psychotic symptoms in normal volunteers.3  In addition, epidemiological research of nearly 19,000 drug abusing Finnish subjects showed that it was not LSD, amphetamine, cocaine, methamphetamine, PCP or opiates that most consistently led to a diagnosis of long term schizophrenia, it was marijuana.4 Thus, if you lace your LSD with marijuana, you are more likely to go psychotic.
Myth #3. If marijuana is associated with the development of chronic psychosis (schizophrenia), it is only because the patients are self-medicating. Correlation does not equal causation.
Actually, four studies have been carried out in Europe to ask the question which comes first, the marijuana use or the schizophrenia. The research was designed to follow thousands of young teen subjects through a course of several years of their lives, and to ask if those who were showing symptoms of psychosis at study onset were more likely to begin smoking pot, or were those who were normal but began smoking pot during the course of the study more likely to become psychotic. Three of the studies5 convincingly showed that the evidence for marijuana triggering schizophrenia was strong, whereas the evidence for self-medication was weak. The fourth concluded that both were happening — marijuana was triggering psychosis and psychotic individuals were self-medicating.6
Myth #4. Those who become schizophrenic from marijuana use were destined to become so anyway because of their genes.
The truth of the matter is that no one is destined to become schizophrenic. Even in the case where one member of an identical pair of twins has schizophrenia, only about half the time does the other twin become schizophrenic as well.7  Thus, there is ample room for environmental factors like marijuana to make a difference between leading a normal life and not.
Myth #5. Studies showing links between marijuana and psychotic disorders like schizophrenia are “cherry picked” to exclude negative studies.
A very large review of all relevant published papers was conducted by a group of researchers from around the world and published in the prestigious medical journal, The Lancet. No attempt was made to exclude results that were negative. The results they obtained by merging all the studies was that marijuana use approximately doubles the risk for schizophrenia.8 Later research has shown that the risk goes up to 6-fold if the use is heavy or if the pot is strong 9 (similar to the strength of marijuana that is coming out of Colorado now).
Myth #6. Marijuana makes you mellow and less aggressive.
This is certainly not the case for the 15% who experience psychotic symptoms and the subgroup who then go on to develop a chronic psychosis. These individuals are up to 9-times more likely to commit serious acts of violence than people whose schizophrenia has nothing to do with drug use.10 Just a few of the very recent high profile cases here on the East Coast include January’s Columbia Mall shooter Darion Aguilar and “multiverse”-ranting Vladimir Baptiste, who drove a truck through a Towson, MD TV station in May. Somewhat less violent cases include White House episodes: Oscar Ortega, charged with shooting at the White House, ex-Navy Seal employee David Gil Wilkerson charged with threatening the life of the President and most recently, fence jumper Dominic Adesanya who is charged with attacking the White House guard dogs this October. In the Rocky Mountain region, soccer dad Richard Kirk became psychotic after his first use of marijuana edibles for his back pain, and while hallucinating that the world was going to end, shot his wife to death as his children listened through a closed door.On the West Coast, the mentally ill marijuana user Aaron Ybarra shot one student dead and wounded two others on the campus of Seattle Pacific University. In Ottawa this past week, rifleman Michael Zehaf-Bibeau was originally thought to have terrorist ties after he killed a young guard at the Capitol, but instead his friends paint a picture of psychosis and law enforcement records reveal more than one arrest for marijuana possession. All of these individuals exhibited psychotic symptoms prior to their acts and their mental illness could be traced to their marijuana habit in my opinion.
Myth #7. Marijuana is good for the symptoms of PTSD and by keeping this drug from our veterans, we are depriving them of an important alternative treatment.
Veterans Affairs Administration studies have shown that those with PTSD who smoke marijuana make significantly less progress in overcoming their condition.11  PTSD victims are already more vulnerable to psychosis and it comes as no surprise that clinicians have witnessed psychotic breaks in PTSD patients who begin marijuana12 because of the abundant literature showing an association between marijuana use and the subsequent development of psychosis. While the symptoms that afflict PTSD patients (anxiety, depression, panic) may be temporarily relieved while the subjects are “high”, these very same symptoms are exacerbated in the long run.13  Even in the context of polydrug use, it is the degree of marijuana use that correlates most significantly with anxiety and depression.14
Myth #8. Marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol and will reduce alcohol consumption, so we’ll end up with safer roadways.
In terms of mental health, marijuana is more dangerous on all counts (depression, anxiety, panic, psychosis, mania). As far as our roadways go, marijuana all by itself impairs driving. Whether it is better or the same as alcohol in that regard is still a matter of debate. What is known is that users all too frequently do both, and this combination is particularly hazardous. The interaction between the two drugs is synergistic,15 not additive.  So you end up with someone who is wildly impaired.
Myth #9. Laws don’t make a difference to rates of marijuana use
Some of the best data available on youth use in regards to laws comes from Europe, where they have a wide range of marijuana laws between the countries. The European organization ESPAD has studied youth use (15 to 16 year olds) across different countries every four years. The two most recent ESPAD reports (2007 and 2011) show that countries with legalization or defacto legalization (The Netherlands, Czech Republic, Italy, Spain) have on average a 3-fold higher rate of youth use than countries in which it has remained illegal. In our country, differences in decriminalization laws have existed between states for several years. If you break out the states with lenient decriminalization laws that also submit data to the CDC to track youth use (CO, AK, MA, ME), their rate of youth use (9-12th grade) is significantly higher (~25% higher) than states that have strict decriminalization codes and report to the CDC. Lenient codes include a low civil fine with no increase in penalties for repeat offenders, no requirement for drug education, no requirement for drug treatment, and no community service. Outright legalization and dedicated recreational pot shops in this country has not been around long enough for the effect on youth use to be determined.
Myth #10. The Drug War on marijuana is too expensive.
It is hard to put a price on the damage done to someone’s life if they develop a chronic psychosis like schizophrenia or psychotic bipolar disorder. But if economics must be considered, the cost of just schizophrenia alone to our country is approximately $64 billion per year, accounting for treatment, housing and lost productivity.16 If all adults were exchange their glass of wine or two over the weekend for a joint or two, our rate of schizophrenia would be expected to double. That $64 billion per year would pay for the drug war on marijuana and much more.
Brief Bio for the author:   Dr. Christine L. Miller obtained her B.S. degree in Biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her Ph.D. degree in Pharmacology from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. For over twenty years she has researched the molecular neuroscience of schizophrenia, ten of those years at Johns Hopkins University.  She is semi-retired, conducting occasional biomedical consulting on medical cases and an active volunteer for SAM-Maryland (Smart Approaches to Marijuana).
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