Tag Archives: heroin

Why psychedelics are illegal

Many people crudely think that all illegal drugs are illegal because they are physically dangerous to the user. That is not the case. Different substances have been made illegal at different times and for different reasons.

Some substances are rightly illegal because they are physically dangerous. Heroin, crack and GHB are examples of dangerous substances that pose a very real risk to the user. Ironically though the two most dangerous drugs – alcohol and tobacco – are not illegal.

Other substances are however illegal for very different reasons. Two reasons are very prominent: because they are perceived as dangerous to the status quo and to target and persecute specific groups.

Just the other day I was asked why psychedelics are illegal. They are obviously extremely useful medicines and also very safe when used correctly. Well, there are several reasons for them being illegal and most of them have nothing to do with health, but let us begin with the health issue.

Psychedelics are commonly non-toxic and pose no physical threat even at extreme doses. Most of these substances are not even possible to overdose to the degree that they would be life threatening. But there is one real health risk and that is to the user’s mental health. Psychedelics have the unique capacity of unlocking the doors of the unconscious mind. They can release what has been carefully locked away and repressed. This is of course what makes them such powerful therapeutic tools, but if the person isn’t open to taking care of what comes up the experience can be quite traumatic. The same goes for other kinds of therapy, meditation and contemplation. If you aren’t ready to meet what you have repressed you shouldn’t do or take anything that will uncover what you have buried.

nixon_militaryBut besides this, what were the perceived dangers that made psychedelics illegal? To grasp this one must look at the historical setting. Where did the push to criminalize come from and what is the backdrop? To understand this we need to go back to the USA in the mid 1960’s. Government at all levels were in a cold war state of mind trying to root out possible dissidents within. The Vietnam war had dragged on for ten years, US involvement was sharply rising, as was the death toll. It was a time for hardliners and hawks. JFK had been murdered and the much less diplomatic Lyndon B Johnson took his place. He was then followed by one of the fathers of the War on Drugs – Richard Nixon.

At the same time a very vocal and at times even revolutionary opposition was forming at home. There were many different movements with many different objectives, but when talking about psychedelics the hippies are of course at the focal point. What were they up to? They protested, burnt draft cards, let their hair grow, dressed strangely and promoted free sex, just to name a few things. In the eyes of a person like Nixon, and there were many like him at the time, they were trouble makers who were upsetting the status quo. They were anti-establishment peacemongerers and as such perceived as threatening by the establishment.

At the very core of that opposition was the experimentation with drugs and the one that has forever been associated with the hippie movement is of course the psychedelic LSD. So what was it about LSD that sparked this opposition and backlash towards the establishment? I think the ethnobotanist psychonaut Terence McKenna was spot on when he said that “they dissolve opinion structures and culturally laid down models of behaviour and information processing. They open you up to the possibility that everything you know is wrong.”

Photo: DaveHippie by studio muscle on Flickr
Photo: DaveHippie by studio muscle on Flickr

What LSD did was to awaken people from their cultural programming and indoctrination and let them see the world with other eyes. When they did so they could not accept what they had been taught, so they rebelled. They rebelled against violence, militarism and domination and instead sought “peace, love and understanding”.

On a side note both the CIA the American military had experimented heavily with LSD before it found its way to the hippies. One notable side effect was that quite a few soldiers that had been given it laid down their guns and refused to pick them up again.

For a person like Nixon this was all extremely threatening. To him America was losing its youth to a drug culture that was in direct opposition to the establishment. And he certainly had a point. If you want people to follow orders, be aggressive towards one another, go to war and kill people you will not want to give them LSD, because they will start thinking for themselves, refuse to follow orders and will refuse violence.

LSD was not made illegal because it is physically harmful to the person taking it. It was made illegal because it makes people question authority and social injustices and prompts them to do something about it. LSD and psychedelics threatened and still threatens the fabric of domination culture by showing people that another world is possible.

While many believe that our drug laws are there to protect us we have in fact inherited most of them from a time when domination culture was scared of losing control. Our drug laws are in many cases in place to hinder mind expansion and rebellion against the violent domination culture and the status quo, and most certainly so when it comes to psychedelics.

This is a pattern of dominance which is repeating itself.

Today the political establishment are the ones oppressing and persecuting the users of psychedelics. Yesterday it was the church. The brutal persecution of witches, witchdoctors, healers, shamans and anyone seeking other modalities of healing or other ways of reaching the divine was the church’s version of the War on Drugs. The vocabulary surrounding it all was different but still quite similar. Instead of safety and health concerns the church would talk about being in contact with or possessed by the devil or evil spirits.

Witch BurningWhile they might well have believed their own story, just as many do with the story of domineering culture of today, it was ultimately based in a fear of losing control over people. As many, perhaps even most, who work with psychedelics will attest to, psychedelics are often a door to the divine. They break down the limitations of our cultural programming. When it comes to the church there has often been an idea that certain people should act as intermediaries for the rest of us, thus the control over the contact with the divine and the divine will has been hijacked by priests and such. What psychedelics often do in that case is give the user his/her own personal contact with the divine, making the intermediary superfluous. For someone who wants to maintain control over other people this is of course extremely threatening and also provocative to the point where the church would be willing to kill people.

One needs to remember that the greatest threat to the church is that each and every one of us would be able to have our own contact with the divine. If we did have that contact the church would soon be redundant, at least as an interpreter of God’s will,  so it lies in the interest of the individual career makers within and also in the organisations themselves to see to it that people do not have their own contact with the divine.

And that is of course the pattern of domineering that is repeating itself today. A lot of people, organisations and companies stand to lose a lot of money and power when psychedelics are let free. It is in their interest to keep them illegal. If you could solve addiction, PTSD, depression and such with one or a few psychedelic trips the medical and pharmaceutical industry would take a huge dive. If people would stop tolerating violence that would mean the end of the military and the industries that profit from war. If each and every one would be given the tools for connecting with the divine themselves the world religions would lose their strangle hold on the minds of people.

It is in the interest of anyone who wants to dominate someone else that psychedelics are kept illegal and are continually persecuted.

That is why psychedelics are illegal.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather
Facebookrssby feather

10 questions about drugs

1. Which is the most common rape drug?

2. Which drug is associated with the most violence?

3. Which drug kills most people?

4. What kind of drugs are responsible for the most overdose deaths?

5. Name two drugs that have never killed anyone.

6. Name two drugs that have no or very little addictive properties.

7. Name two drugs that break addiction.

8. Name two drugs that are used to cure depression, trauma and abuse.

9. Which drugs are legal?

10. Which drugs are the most illegal?

 

You’ll find the correct answers below the picture.

Photo: Drug questions by Ano Lobb on Flickr.
Photo: Drug questions by Ano Lobb on Flickr

 

There are obviously legal, country and time specific variations to these answers, but this is the general picture.

1. Which is the most common rape drug?
Alcohol is the most common rape drug. Many think that they need to be wary of people who want to spike their drinks with other drugs, but in the overwhelming majority of cases it is the alcoholic drink itself that is the rape drug. Victims and offenders are often drunk and even when there are other drugs in the mix, alcohol is almost always the main drug.

2. Which drug is associated with the most violence?
Alcohol is involved in most cases of violence. 70 to 90 percent of all violence (wars excluded) is directly linked to alcohol. This is as true for domestic violence as it is for violent encounters between strangers. There are a few other drugs (mainly ego enhancing and consciousness decreasing drugs) that are also associated with violence, but even in cases when other drugs are present alcohol is usually the main drug.

This diagram gives you a hint at how many deaths are attributed to different drugs in the UK 2011. It is however misleading since the tobacco part of the diagram only shows England, while the other circles include all of the UK. In other words, the tobacco circle should be far much bigger than it is in this picture.
This diagram shows you how many deaths were attributed to different drugs in the UK 2011. The very large circle represent deaths due to tobacco and the next biggest one is alcohol. In third place we find opiates and opiate substitutes, which are mostly found in legal medications. In fourth place are legal anti-depressants and in fifth are legal benzodiazepines. In other words, all the big killer drugs except for heroin are legal.

3. Which drug kills most people?
Tobacco is by far the most lethal drug. Tobacco kills more people than all other legal and illegal drugs combined. Alcohol is the second most deadly drug and in third place we find prescription medications. Science is having a hard time putting these in relation to each other, but estimates are that tobacco takes somewhere between two and fifteen times as many lives as alcohol.

4. What kind of drugs are responsible for the most overdose deaths?
Pharmaceutical drugs/prescription medicines are the most commonly overdosed with a deadly outcome. One reason is of course the availability but another very important reason is that medications often are highly toxic.

5. Name two drugs that have never killed anyone.
LSD, cannabis and magic mushrooms are a few non-lethal drugs, but there are certainly more. The doses needed to die from them are simply so ridiculously high that it is physically impossible to consume such quantities of cannabis or mushrooms. In the case of LSD it is probably possible to take that much, but you would need to take thousands of doses and as far as I know that still hasn’t happened. It is of course possible to die in an accident or such while on these drugs, but even so these are not drugs that typically make users accident prone. Science rather suggests that people using these drugs are usually more careful and considerate.

6. Name two drugs that have no or very little addictive properties.

Photo: Hícuri by Mierdamian Rondana on Flickr
Photo: Hícuri by Mierdamian Rondana on Flickr

Psychedelics generally have strong anti-addictive properties and are therefore fantastic for breaking addiction. Some such drugs are LSD, magic mushrooms (psilocybin), San Pedro/Peyote (mescaline), Ayahuasca, DMT, Iboga (ibogaine) and Salvia Divinorum. Another thing that several of the psychedelics have in common is that the user’s tolerance towards them increases rapidly, so even if a user would want to use it several days in a row it would quickly become meaningless to do so because the effects would vanish.

7. Name two drugs that break addiction.
LSD, magic mushrooms and Iboga are all well known in the treatment of addicts, but psychedelics of all kinds can be helpful. Before being made illegal LSD was among other things used to cure alcoholism. AA co-founder Bill Wilson was an advocate of using it specifically to treat cynical alcoholics by giving them a spiritual experience. Ironically LSD had a higher success rate of curing alcoholics than AA or any other program has ever had.

8. Name two drugs that are used to cure depression, trauma and abuse.
Again, psychedelics are fantastic tools for curing depression, trauma and abuse, especially LSD, magic mushrooms, Ayahuasca and San Pedro/Peyote. They make the user more aware of his/her situation and give insights and experiences that help the user deal with past trauma. Within a spiritual context the plants are especially helpful since they actually speak to the user in a way that an isolated substance cannot do.

Western chemical based medicine often uses medications such as anti-depressants but these medicines most often only put a lid on things and sedate the person. These medicines are also highly addictive and toxic, which makes them very dangerous in comparison.

9. Which drugs are legal?
Alcohol and tobacco are legal, although you need to be of a certain age to buy them. Prescription medications are legal as long as you have a prescription.

10. Which drugs are the most illegal?

Contrary to what many think today's drug laws are not based on science but on politics. For example, did you know that the push to make cannabis illegal was mostly based on racism?
Contrary to what many think today’s drug laws are not based on science but on politics. For example, did you know that the push to make cannabis illegal was greatly based on racism?

Class A drugs are defined as drugs that are especially harmful, have a high abuse potential and that have no medical value. Among these you will find heroin, crack, cocaine, cannabis, LSD, magic mushrooms and mescaline. Which class a drug is placed in is however a political decision, not a scientific one. From a strictly scientific point of view this classification is utterly absurd. Heroin and crack would definitely fall within the definition of a class A drug, but so would the legal drugs alcohol and tobacco since they obviously are extremely addictive, harmful and lack all medical value. The psychedelics and cannabis on the other hand are proven to have huge medical value and do very little harm, so they would be stricken if the list was based on science. It appears however that drug policies are among the least scientifically based policies today.

Main photo: fififififiesta! by Adriano Agulló on Flickr

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather
Facebookrssby feather

Naysha: How can you know if Ayahuasca is for you?

Before attending a ceremony it is important to have good information about what are you getting into, especially if you don’t have any experience with visionary plants. Ayahuasca is a tool for opening, cleaning, healing, transforming, diagnosing, revealing and learning. There are several such tools, so how can you know if Ayahuasca is the right tool for you? Ayahuasca is not a magic wand that will solve all your problems. It is very important that you have that understanding in advance so that you are not disappointed with what you get. The plants and the spirit world give you what you need, not what you want.

There are certain things to consider before attending a ceremony.

1. Do you qualify medically to be part of an Ayahuasca ceremony?

If you are taking medication like antidepressants, sleeping pills, antibiotics, or drugs like cocaine, heroin etc. it can be mortal in combination with Ayahuasca, not because of the Ayahuasca itself, but because these substances don’t go together. It’s important that you consult your doctor so that you know how much time your body needs to be free of these chemicals in your blood. There are certain medications that you can avoid 48 hours before a ceremony, but it’s important you check. Chronic heart problems, hepatic and immune system problems should also be considered.

2. Are you mentally ready?

Ayahuasca is not something to mess around with. It is not a recreational drug. It is a strong spirit that will open your perception to the reality. Such information can be difficult to handle for some people – it can blow your mind. It’s very important that you do a ceremony with somebody that has experience working with this plant, like a shaman. If you have mental disorders it is important that you let the person in charge of the ceremony know, because depending on your problem the shaman can better know if Ayahuasca can help you or not. In my opinion people experience mental disorders because:

  • They are too open and and sensitive to everything around then. What they need is to balance the channel or connection again. Shamans for example have learnt how to work with the channel, when to open and when to close it. If you have a mental disorder of this kind Ayahuasca might help, but I haven’t tried it. There are other plants that can help before taking the step of going for an Ayahuasca ceremony. I would personally rather do a ceremony without the person taking the Ayahuasca, just to diagnose the situation and understand how it can be fixed. Most people with mental disorders have an imbalance in the substances in the brain. They have too much or too little, but these substances can be found in nature. Remember that most medications come from plants, some come from animals and some from minerals. Plants help us recover the balance in all senses, physically, mentally and emotionally, because they live in harmony. They are truly connected.
  • Possession. This might sound strange, but in native cultures it is a common belief that people can be possessed by entities of different kinds, because we are living and interacting with different dimensions. This 3D dimension is not the only one. Ayahuasca shows us this. Certain kinds of depressions can be caused by these entities and there are different kinds. There are the ones with a purpose – they don’t manifest or show themselves so much, but they are sucking your vital energy. Their mission is to stop you from your mission in life. They can enter at the moment of birth and it is often easier these days because of all the anesthetics that are used. The well known psychiatrist and hypnotherapist Brian Weiss, who is specialized in regression, has explained that it is at the moment of birth that the soul and the body are truly unified. If the soul is entering a sleepy body under anesthesia, the soul won’t be fully aware about other energies lurking there.

Traumatic situations can also allow entities to enter us, because in traumatic situations you are very vulnerable and open. If you are unlucky you are in the wrong place when you are traumatized and such energies can latch onto you. Other entities can also enter when people play with things they don’t understand, such as Ouija or by taking plants like Ayahuasca without guidance. When you take such plants you open different portals. That is why the shaman does diets as part of their training, because with the diets they get spirit allies or friends that help them in ceremonies. A shaman also learns how to create a safe space and how to hold a ceremony. Most shamans say that taking Ayahuasca without guidance is like going for a swim without knowing how to.

3. Have you tried other tools?

Before attending a ceremony, make sure that your problem can’t be solved in another way. Meditation, yoga and healthy lifestyle choices can help. Remember that you have all the potential to change your life within yourself. The plants help us when we had tried, but can’t change or heal because our blocks are so big. If you feel that you have big blocks that do not allow you to feel or to open yourself to embrace change, then Ayahuasca is something that will really help you. But it is important that you are fully aware that one single ceremony won’t be enough. Sometimes people do not feel or experience anything in the first ceremony, because the first ceremonies are mainly for purging and cleansing the body. It is very important that you do a diet before attending a ceremony, because this will help you clean your body a lot so that the Ayahuasca can work better.

You should also understand that Ayahuasca can help with certain problems, but not all. If the problems you are experiencing in your life come from emotional sources, then ceremonies will help you for sure. But if you want to heal a disease, then you need to take other plants. In that case Ayahuasca can be used to see what the root of the problem is, but because the problem has already manifest physically causing a disease, you will need to diet with other plants. You will also need time to heal. The shaman will know what other plants to do diets with, because in ceremony the spirit of the plants will let him/her know what help is needed.

4. Do you want to learn?

Ayahuasca is definitely a great source of information. It is how shamans manage to know about the healing properties of several plants, because Ayahuasca is a translator for other plants. I call it the Google of the spirits. Ayahuasca has learnt how to communicate with humans. She is the consciousness of the forest talking to us clearly.

Shamans learn about the healing properties of plants trough diets and ceremonies. In the diets the shamans connect with the spirit of the plant and in the ceremonies the plants show the shaman, much in the same way as having a conversation. They look like people, but different, and depending on which part of the plant you want to learn from the spirit appears different. Flowers are always shown as children and it is because they have the highest energy vibration. Roots and barks are shown as adults. They have skin colours and dress themselves with the plants. Chuchuwasa and tobacco spirit, for example, are black and can appear in a female or male energy. Plants have both energy inside, but sometimes one is stronger than the other. Usually the tobacco spirit shows as a black woman or an old man. In some traditions the stories about the first humans explain that they came from a tree and it was a woman. This can explain why the spirits of plants look like humans.

If we are conscious that we are all one, then we can understand that we can experience incarnation as plants, animals, humans and others things during our earth process, since everything that exists has a consciousness.

Ayahuasca help us make our unconscious conscious and through this process we can see, we become observers and thus can find the roots of our problems. With Ayahuasca you will experience death, a small spiritual death where your fears, your ego, your habits and your attachments must disappear so that you can be to reborn again as pure and clean as when you came the first time. Death in this sense only means transformation.

Taking Ayahuasca is a ceremony which begins with the preparation of the Ayahuasca. There are many details that people must know in order to achieve all the benefits of these plants. What do you know about Ayahuasca ceremonies? What you know about ikaros and diets? When the ceremony starts and the shaman starts singing the ikaros, the purging (vomiting) begins and after that come the visions. Visions of your light and your darkness. You will meet your fears, desires and wishes. If you want to grow, to evolve, you must confront them and accept the consequences.

Are you ready?

Naysha Silva Romero

Photo: To Reiterate There Needs to be Artists to Remind Kids that the Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst World is Fucking Bullshit by Surian Soosay on Flickr

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather
Facebookrssby feather

LD50 shows why alcohol is more dangerous than many other drugs

Anyone who wants to talk about how dangerous different drugs are can have a look at the LD 50. LD means Lethal Dose and the 50 indicates the dose which will kill half the test population. The lower the value, the more dangerous the substance.

2006330104938_847Five times the dose of heroin is what it takes to kill half the population, as you can see in this chart from the American Scientist. As most people are aware heroin is a very dangerous drug that claims many lives. One thing that makes heroin particularly deceptive is that it is difficult to determine the quality before you have tried it and it is therefore easy to overdose. The physical quantities needed are also very small.

Alcohol requires ten times the dose before half the population dies. Alcohol has a natural, but for some easily overcome barrier. You simply need to drink very much to be in danger of dying. But each year many people die in drinking games and such. Hard liquor increases the risk significantly, as it requires a much smaller physical quantity.

In contrast to these dangerous drugs, there are a number of drugs that have remarkably high LD 50 values. To have a 50 percent chance of dying from cannabis one needs to take more than 1000 times the dose. Cannabis has a built-in barrier in that it is physically impossible to take such a dose.

LSD and magic mushrooms require the same insanely high doses to reach their LD 50. It is physically possible to take a 1000 doses of LSD, because LSD is so potent, but it is hard to imagine the circumstances when that would happen. You would have to be a very thirsty laboratory assistant who mistook liquid LSD for water and accidentally drink some hearty gulps. That could make a fun plot for a film, but it hardly seems reasonable that it would happen for real. The small dose required when working with LSD does however lead to many accidental overdoses. Such trips can sometimes give the user an experience of dying, but there is no physical danger to the person’s life. Mushrooms also require 1000 times the dose, but there is once again the natural barrier. It is simply unthinkable that anyone could eat that many mushrooms.

That is the scientific explanation to why we have so many deaths caused by alcohol or heroin poisoning, but none caused by cannabis, LSD or mushrooms. So when someone says that alcohol is more dangerous than cannabis, LSD or mushrooms, they are scientifically speaking correct. People die from alcohol poisoning every day. No one ever dies of cannabis, LSD or mushroom poisoning.

Read more:
Robert Gable, American Scientist (2006) The toxicity of recreational drugs
Daniel Wilby, wilby.nu (2014) What is dangerous?

Photo: snippets of autumn and music by justine-reyes on Flickr

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather
Facebookrssby feather

Substance abuse is in the person, not in the substance

Substance abuse is part of the person, not the substance.

That people feel the need to numb themselves, to switch off and escape, is almost always a result of something within that is really uncomfortable and hard to handle. Some have been abused, lost someone they love, been bullied or otherwise traumatized. Others feel bad in less visible ways. They suffer from anxiety, low self-esteem, they feel unimportant or unloved.

Many who flee into addiction have that in common that they lack other ways to cope. They stun themselves to escape. There are many ways to numbing oneself, many of which are legal but equally destructive as the illegal ways. The most obvious way is to numb oneself with drugs, where alcohol is the most common but also one of the most dangerous escape drugs. There are of course plenty of more or less dangerous substances, such as heroin, amphetamines and Spice. But if we really want to remedy abuse we need to understand that it is just as easy to abuse such things as gambling, sex, food and relationships.

The big problem with the Swedish drug policy is that it lacks this basic understanding. It chases symptoms (substances) instead of the root causes that drive people to flee from themselves. It is inherent in the very name – drug policy. It’s not an abuse policy. It’s not a policy of well-being. Everything prohibitionists have to say seems to focus almost solely on the substances.

The same backwards approach recurs in school drug education. The education essentially only tries to scare students from trying drugs. They are bombarded with terrible stories of drug abuse and a long list of negative effects that drugs can have. When I look back at my own education, I think it is remarkable that it never offered a single tool to take care of my mental health.

If we really want to reduce substance abuse we first need to help people to feel good. If we want people to feel good, we need to 1) not traumatize them, and 2) give them the tools to deal with the trauma that they will still be exposed to. If we really want to protect our young from abuse, we need to give them the tools to manage tough experiences in life, to process abuse, to handle losses and deal with bullying. They need to feel loved and important and included and given the opportunity to build a strong sense of self.

And those who still fall into addiction because they cannot find another way, we need to help. To help is something we do far too rarely today. Instead we pour our resources into chasing, controlling, forcing and punishing people. It is not only extremely costly for society, but it helps to perpetuate the problem. People do not recover by being systematically stigmatized, just as we cannot get children to stop fighting by beating sense into their heads.

Today’s drug policy is fundamentally flawed because it focuses on drugs, instead of focusing on people. Tear up the legislation and start over. Focus on people’s well-being. Redirect resources to not only help those stuck in addiction, but also to give everyone access to the tools to heal themselves from whatever they might want to flee from. In this way we will not only deal with abuse, but we will also put an end to a war that society wages against its own people and that it cannot possibly win.

Photo: Nalewka by The Integer Club on Flickr

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather
Facebookrssby feather

Stories of illegal healing

Yesterday I randomly searched YouTube for people’s stories about how they have healed and grown using illegal substances. Despite deep stigma and threats of reprisals these stories are not hard to find.

All these people are someone’s child. They are siblings, parents, friends, colleagues. You probably know several people who have similar stories, even if you haven’t heard them. Each story is about someone’s life, and every life is a universe in itself.

Listen to their stories. If you still think that these substances should be illegal, stigmatized and users hunted by the judicial system – please, explain your reasoning to me. Tell me why Ruth shouldn’t have been given Ibogaine for her crack and heroin addiction, why Rachel who was sexually abused at age four should not have been given MDMA-assisted therapy, why Alex’s parents should not give autistic Alex cannabis and why Deepak Chopra, one of today’s great spiritual inspirators, should not have taken LSD.

Tell me why people should respect the law more than they value their own recovery.

Iboga / Ibogaine

Howard Lotsof accidentally discovers Ibogaines ability to abruptly break heroin addiction.

Ruth Zupan solves a crack and heroin addiction with Ibogaine …

Patrick solve intractable PTSD with Iboga …

Psychedelic mushrooms / Psilocybin

1 grams of psychedelic mushrooms solves Stickys long and complex depression, and his social anxiety.

Annie got terminal cancer and with it very much worry and anxiety, which psychedelic mushrooms solved.

He became one with the universe …

LSD

My own story where I solve a 13-year long alcohol addiction on my first dose of LSD…
http://wilby.nu/my-first-lsd-trip/

The famous philosopher and writer Alan Watts about his encounter with LSD and what he could not deny was a true spiritual experience…

Deepak Chopra’s first spiritual experience was with LSD…

MDMA

As an adult Rachel Hope solves intractable PTSD that she has had since she was sexually abused as a young child…

Bob Walker solves 50-year old intractable war trauma with MDMA…

Cannabis

After receiving a joint from her son Belinda Hethcox treats fibromyalgia with cannabis…

David suffers from Parkinson’s, but has a decent life and is able to feel pride thanks to cannabis.

Autistic Alex injured himself seriously but was helped by cannabis.

● ● ●

If you have any favourite stories, please feel welcome to post the links in the comment section.

Photo: Don’t cry my love by Axel Naud on Flickr

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather
Facebookrssby feather

The effects of todays drug laws

At any point in time there are ideas that are so taken for granted that we find it difficult to imagine that it could be otherwise. They are so deeply ingrained in us that we are provoked if anyone questions them, even if the questioning is fully rational.

Drug legislation is such an idea. When weighing in all good and all bad that it brings, there is only one reasonable conclusion: the law is foolish. But say that out loud in Sweden today and you will be mocked, booed and threatened. All sense and logic seems to take a vacation whenever the subject comes up, and otherwise seemingly intelligent people suddenly behave like hateful narrow-minded bigots.

But all such ideas eventually collapse. We call it a paradigm shift. There is such a shift on its way right now. The USA, that has been aggressively active in what has become a war on drugs, is changing direction. Right now cannabis is being legalized, and as more and more amazing results in scientific studies of psychedelics are published, it is only a matter of time before substances like psilocybin (mushrooms), LSD and MDMA are also legalized.

This week I will try to show some of the worrying problems with the current situation, give you some users perspectives on certain illegal substances and propose some measures that I think should be taken into consideration in a future legalization.

● ● ●

When the first steps were taken to create the drug laws we see today, the aim was mainly to minimize addiction problems. The aim was to use the law to steer people away from getting caught up in addiction, destroying their lives and committing other criminal acts. There have been other, more shady reasons also, such as racism, but I want to see the good in people, so let’s say that is the primary reason.

So what has been the outcome of the criminalization of drugs?

Criminal organizations have become immensely rich.

The black market on drugs funds a wide array of criminal organizations, such as terrorist organizations, mafias, paramilitary organizations, biker gangs and suburban gangs. This lucrative market finances other criminal activities, such as acts of terrorism and militarization.

Violence has increased many times over.

In addition to the criminal violence that drug profits are used to finance, there is plenty of violence at all levels of handling drugs, from the producers down to the final consumer. There is an outright war against drugs today, and parts of that war are being waged with military strategy and equipment. The majority of the violence takes place abroad and just as in other wars, many of the victims are innocent civilians. Drug conflicts are destabilizing entire countries and regions.

Police and other resources are being wasted.

'Hard Stop' conducted by the Armed Garda RSU by Secretive Ireland on Flickr
‘Hard Stop’ conducted by the Armed Garda RSU by Secretive Ireland on Flickr

There are vast resources spent on combating drugs, resources that could have been used better. If all those resources that are now being spent on chasing and punishing people who use drugs, were instead spent on helping addicts, we would have the most amazing addiction treatment the world has ever seen. We spend much more on fighting and punishing, than we do on helping or treating addicts.

More criminals are created.

When drugs were outlawed that instantaneously created a large new group of “criminals” whose only crime is that they like certain substances more than others. The vast majority – more than with alcohol or nicotine – don’t have and will never have any problems with the substances they use. The only contact many of these people will ever have with a criminal underworld is when they buy drugs. Even so, they will be treated as criminals and addicts if they get caught and will get a ticket to the same prison as other criminals. Through the legal system they are stigmatized, forced into debt and are given more criminal contacts, which in the worst case is a gateway to a criminal lifestyle.

The laws are used to harass people.

Drug laws are used by the police to take people with a certain appearance, taste in music, or ethnic background into custody without any realistic suspicion. Many of the drug laws have racist roots, reflected in today’s application of them. People are also indirectly harassed through the exclusion that they are forced into and the stigma they face. The system embedded hypocrisy in all of this is especially noticeable when many of the ones being hunted use significantly less dangerous substances than the legal alternatives.

Addicts are prevented from getting proper care.

No name by Daniel Oines on Flickr
No name by Daniel Oines on Flickr

Addicts are sick, but are treated as criminals, and authorities can at any time deprive them of any security and impose unreasonable demands on them. Even those who voluntarily seek government help to get rid of their addiction are treated as a criminal and are often given late and inadequate assistance, if any at all, because the resources are rather devoted to controlling and punishing the person. This creates a high amount of stress among many addicts, which undermines recovery and triggers relapses, with exclusion and alienation as a result.

Creates a black market that wants people to be addicted.

The criminal organizations that control the black market have an interest in keeping people hooked and to attract them back into using. One result is that the market prefers more addictive drugs such as heroin rather than opium.

The lack of quality control is lethal.

On the black market, there is no quality control. Drugs can be diluted with other dangerous substances. They can also be something quite different from what they are said to be, giving the user an experience that s/he didn’t anticipate. Sometimes the substance is much stronger than what the user is used to, which may lead to severe accidental overdoses. Many deaths that occur on drugs are because of accidental overdoses, combined with a fear to seek help.

Research Chemicals harm and kill.

Another dangerous development is that people who want to avoid breaking the law buy so-called Research Chemicals instead. These are new compounds that have not yet been classified, and are therefore legal, but they can sometimes be deadly. Knowledge about dosage and how they react with other substances (such as alcohol) is often virtually non-existent, which is a very dangerous combination. Thus drug users who want to stay on the right side of the law are steered away from well-known and less hazardous substances, to substances which are unknown and in some cases even fatal.

Alternativetreatments are being prevented.

Ironically many of the substances which are particularly effective to help relieve addiction are classified as drugs without medical value. LSD-assisted therapy for alcoholics had, when it was legal, a far higher efficiency than the 12-step program has ever had. Ibogaine, an incredibly powerful psychedelic substance, has been shown to cure heroin addiction in just a few doses. But rather than give heroin addicts access to Ibogaine, we lock them in other addictions, such as with Subutex/Suboxone or Methadone. In the current situation there is no treatment that comes close to being as effective as psychedelic assisted treatment, but these therapeutic tools have been wrongly classified as drugs.

● ● ●

Now imagine that you step back in time to just before today’s repressive drug laws were first passed. You are a decision maker and it worries you to see the addiction problems associated with some of the drugs. On the table is a proposal to ban a variety of substances and impose severe penalties.

On the table there is also an analysis on what other impact the law would have. Among the consequences you read are: criminal organizations will become immensely rich, violence will increase and even lead to war in several countries, the drug profits will fund terror crimes and wars, police resources will be wasted, more criminals will be created, addicts will get worse care, drug users will be exposed to more addictive substances, the lack of quality control will lead to more deaths, more dangerous substances will be researched and sold in order to circumvent the law and the most promising treatments to cure addiction will be stopped . But despite all this, the number of actual addicts will remain about the same.

Would you vote in favour of such a law?

● ● ●

This blog post has been inspired by, among other things:
∙ A challenge from a friend who is a politician to show how legalization could work
∙ The TEDx talk by James Leitzel that does just that: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_Px4nYbJoQ
∙ Organisations and initiatives such as Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (http://www.maps.org/) and Transform (http://www.tdpf.org.uk/)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather
Facebookrssby feather

Letter to the police in Värmland

Hello.

My name is Daniel Wilby. I am a 40 year old father of two, a writer and an yoga practitioner. Or as Tommy Lindh at the Swedish police in Värmland called me in the Swedish tabloid Expressen – a “drug liberal youth.”

I’m alive thanks to LSD.

Nine years ago I was literally on the verge of drinking myself to death. By pure chance, at age 31, I tried LSD and the experience was so transformative that I stopped drinking that same evening and started taking responsibility for my life. There began my journey of healing and growing, and vital tools for that were LSD and psychedelic mushrooms.

When I had my first experience of LSD, where I over night miraculously recovered from a 13-year long heavy alcohol abuse, I thought that my recovery was unique. When I started to look into it and talk to others who have taken LSD and other psychedelics, I quickly discovered that I was by no means unique. Among people who know psychedelics these kinds of stories are very common. LSD is sometimes likened to ten years of therapy in one night, which I can attest that it is often.

I have worked with these substances for eight years, with myself and with others. I have seen much healing, I have seen many insights that have changed peoples’ lives for the better, I have seen many challenge their fears and overcome obstacles within. For that reason, I have begun to study social work. It is my goal to one day work with legal psychedelic therapy.

But back to Tommy Lindh at the police in Värmland, who today wrote about LSD on the police Facebook page. The post has created some stir, because it’s obvious that the person who wrote it is very ignorant. In it Tommy Lindh writes about internet drugs which claims victims and says that they have discovered LSD which is an “extremely strong drug which in its dangerousness is clearly comparable to heroin.” In an article in the Swedish tabloid Expressen he continues to confuse LSD with research chemicals and says that the young people have died.

I happen to know much more about LSD than Tommy Lindh at the police in Värmland, so I would briefly like to give you a few facts:
∙ It is basically impossible to die of LSD. You need to take more than 1,000 times the dose to stand the slightest risk. No one has ever taken that much LSD.
∙ To risk death with heroin one need to take 5 times the dose and to risk dying from alcohol poisoning one needs to take 10 times the dose. The latter is equivalent to a fourteen year old drinking a full bottle of liquor in 15 minutes.
∙ LSD has with extreme success been used to relieve and cure such things as substance abuse, post traumatic stress, depression, death anxiety, and empathy disorders.
∙ LSD was early on used to treat alcoholics and had much better results than the 12-step program has ever had. Actually one AA’s founder, Bill Wilson, wanted LSD to be step 1 in AA treatment.
∙ Many who use LSD and other psychedelics do it with a spiritual purpose. Psychedelics have been used for more than 6000 years by witches, shamans and medicine men to cure people and to get in contact with the spirit world.

It makes me both sad and upset to see ignorant people like Tommy Lindh at the police in Värmland speak in that manner about healing substances that can help so many people, in a time when more people than ever need the help. It irritates me that people like him are allowed to express their ignorance unchallenged in the media.

But I am not waging a war against Tommy. I think it is a pity that his knowledge is so limited. I think it is a shame that so many in the police, the prison service and in other social sectors are so profoundly ignorant to things that could save so many lives.

There are few who dare to speak as openly as I do about these things, because they fear social reprisals. To be able to take this discussion I stay completely drug-free and have done so for more than a year.

If the police in Värmland want to have a better understanding of psychedelics, they are most welcome to hire me as a speaker.

Sincerely

Daniel Wilby

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather
Facebookrssby feather

Telling your family about LSD

Not taken LSD– Not even the worst junkies use LSD. It is extremely dangerous! Reality becomes more real.

That last sentence confused her. More real? Well, that explains why junkies stay away. They want anything but reality. She never found out why reality was so dangerous, apart from the risk that you would jump off high-rise buildings in the belief that you can fly. But that thought felt very surreal.

She had been thinking about it for a while and decided that she wanted to try LSD. And who better to talk to about it than her parents, in who she usually always confided? She regretted bringing it up when she realized that, for once, she could not have a rational conversation with them.

There are many who ask themselves if they should tell their family about their psychedelic explorations. On the one hand, it is something that is very important, but on the other hand, there is the concern that they will freak out.

I have asked myself the same question. After just a couple of doses of LSD, I had recovered from my addiction to alcohol and was on my way to overcome my long-term depression. Life finally began to brighten up after seven times two hard years. It felt very important to tell my family what was happening and how miraculous it all was. It was also a challenge for me. When I was an alcoholic I used to lie about everything and especially about how much I drank. But the LSD urged me to speak the truth instead, so I mustered my courage and told my family.

I felt better than I had ever done, but the reaction was extremely negative. It was not only negative, but also in many parts completely absurd. I particularly remember one thing they told me.
– It starts with LSD and ends with heroin.
I had never felt less interested in trying heroin, but apparently that was what I was expected to be heading for. When I drank there were some people smoking heroin in the town where I lived. I remember that I was interested, but I never managed to be in the right place at the right time. I also remember when my friend had tried amphetamines at an after party. When he told me about it I begged him to hook me up. He refused, since he thought that I would become addicted.

In retrospect, I know that I would have been if I had tested it then. I was on the run, fleeing from my life. In the most crucial way, alcohol is much closer related to both amphetamine and heroin than LSD will ever be. They are all drugs on which to escape. It is entirely possible to escape from yourself on alcohol, amphetamines and heroin. One can even say that is their main purpose. With LSD, on the other hand, there’s nowhere to run. LSD will find your most carefully repressed memories, shove them in your face and tell you to shape up. It’s really no wonder that addicts avoid psychedelics.

How the conversation I had with my family went?
Not good. It has been nine years, I have recovered from four addictions and one depression, but my relation to my family is really strained. They’re probably still waiting for me to die of a heroin overdose. But they’re waiting in vain, because since I stopped drinking I have not been the least interested in such substances.

Do I regret telling them?
No. I’m sad that my contact with my family has gone down the drain, but it was a great challenge for me to tell them. I want to live in truth and that was a first step.

Should you tell your family?
What you do is your own responsibility. I do however think that as many as possible should talk openly about their experiences. As far as I can see, there are two important reasons to come forward:
1. As long as you hide and lie about things, you will have discomfort. The chafing feeling can in many cases completely consume you and make you sick. To care for yourself, you should strive to live in truth.
2. The law is moralistic and is used to persecute and oppress people, especially people that think outside the government approved boxes. As long as we hide in the closet, the persecution will continue, because they do not understand that it is their own well tempered, creative and loving children that they are targeting. We need to step forward to break the grip that this offensive and destructive legislation has on our community.

Can it hurt to step forward?
Yes.

Photo: Crazy Sister by joseloya on Flickr

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather
Facebookrssby feather

What is dangerous?

This is a second answer concerning a question about my blog post about how dangerous different substances actually are.

What do you mean by dangerous, Daniel? Do you mean for the mind or for body, or is it a combination?

I want to start with a disclaimer – I haven’t put a lot of thought into this. There are probably many sharp minds who have, but I can imagine splitting the harmful effects into at least six categories.

1. Physical damage and the possibility of dying.

Portrait #119 - PérineMallory - Friendly smoking - by Valentin Ottone on Flickr
Portrait #119 – PérineMallory – Friendly smoking – by Valentin Ottone on Flickr

Some substances are physically much more dangerous than others. For example, in Sweden 12.000 people die every year from smoking. This can be compared with the number of deaths for all illicit drugs together, which barely passes the 500 mark. This is comparable to the number of suicides, and some of them are of course suicides. Hundreds of people die each year from alcohol poisoning, but we have yet to seen anyone die of cannabis.

If we look at damage caused by substances, I have seen estimates that between 10-25 percent of the hospital beds in Sweden are occupied by someone who is there because of their drinking. And even though nobody is dying of cannabis, there are those who take physical damage, such as with memory impairment. Other physically dangerous drugs are, for example, opiates (including heroin), cocaine and amphetamine.

2. Physical and psychological dependence.

Some drugs are physically addictive, so that users get a strong physical craving for them. Some of the more well known are opiates, nicotine, alcohol and cocaine. From my own experience I can say that cannabis is also physically addictive, but much less so than nicotine.

There are many substances which do not create physical dependence, but people with addictive personalities don’t need a physical addiction to abuse a substance. The addict has a frame of mind where the search for the next high/intoxication is compulsive.

Drug opponents sometimes try to convince us that illegal substances that do not create physical dependence, instead automatically create psychological dependence. That is not my experience when it comes to psychedelics. LDS and magic mushrooms create no physical dependencies, but also seems to have built into the actual experience that people are satisfied and needs time to integrate their insights. Psychedelics sometimes also moderate or often solve addiction problems. Certainly there are addictive personalities looking for highs with psychedelics, but it is more common that people use psychedelics in a moderate manner.

3. Mental harm.

belaDano+drugs by Daniel Depix on Flickr
belaDano+drugs by Daniel Depix on Flickr

Here it starts to get tricky, because discomfort is not the same as harm. Is it mental harm to trigger psychosis or latent disorders? I do not think psychoses always let themselves be categorized so easily, because they can often lead on to something extremely positive. Many addicts have paranoid traits, but is it really a sign that the drug did something with their psyche or is it the result of a long, well-founded fear of the legal system?

Leaving this aside, I think that it is really important to address the “bad trips” reported on psychedelics. This is not to be regarded as mental harm, no matter how ignorantly one discusses the matter.

A bad trip pretty much always stems from the persons inability to handle that which comes up during the trip. It could be a childhood trauma, fear, or pain that you have caused others. When something like this pops up during a trip we can choose to face the problem, or we can try to escape from it. When we try to run away from aspects of ourselves that need healing, we hurt ourselves, which can lead to, for example, depression or psychosis. But the problem is not that we have the opportunity to confront this. The opportunity is really a great gift. The problem is that we do not dare or have the ability to meet these challenges and that we are fleeing from ourselves. Mental difficulties that occur in this way should therefore not be attributed to the substance, but rather the person’s inability to meet themselves. The solution to it all is education, support and guidance; something we get very little of in society today.

Flashbacks on psychedelics is a curious chapter in itself. There are those who suffer from involuntary lingering effects, such as prolonged light, bouncing sound etc. I cannot say much about that. However, there is another kind of flashback, the one where you experience new, but true perception. Example, let’s say you open up the ability to see energy patterns in nature. When the trip is over, the ability stays. It was there all along and just needed to be opened up, jump started. This could also be considered a flashback and for someone who cannot put the ability into an understandable context, it can be misinterpreted as mental injury. But again, the problem is not the substance or what it opened up, but the persons inability to deal with it.

4. Increased risk behavior.

There are substances that are clearly linked to risky behavior. In that sense I have not been in contact with anything more dangerous than alcohol. Example, I have driven a car plastered, really fast on a winding country road in the dark. If I had smoked cannabis instead, I might still have gotten behind the wheel, but instead of driving 40 kilometers over the speed limit, I would likely have driven 40 kilometers below it. When I smoked cannabis, it made me very careful and cautious.

It is no coincidence that drunkenness and violence go hand in hand. Alcohol brings out an aggressive mentality – of course not in all, but in very many – and it ‘s very easy to go out of control on alcohol. It is no coincidence that there is next to no violence at rave parties, where illegal substances are easily accessible. People on cannabis, MDMA, LSD or mushrooms often have a hard time understanding violence, and even more difficulty participating in it.

One myth regarding LSD is that you think that you can fly and jump out of a window. On alcohol, I have climbed scaffoldings and cranes, swum across lakes, thrown myself into channels, gotten into quarrels and driven cars. On LSD, I usually walked around in the woods looking at the flowers and trees, meditated, danced, explained to people how much I love them and felt at one with the universe.

5. Danger to society.

No Sex No Drugs No Rock & Roll Toilet Graffiti by GanMed64 on Flickr
No Sex No Drugs No Rock & Roll Toilet Graffiti by GanMed64 on Flickr

Some things are obvious risks to society, such as violence, abuse and theft. An economist would perhaps also count in sick days and lost productivity as dangers to society. We might with small differences all agree, and I think it is clear which substances are hazardous in this respect.

One issue that I think is interesting is whether there is a danger to society when its citizens refuse to obey unjust laws. I would argue that it is not a danger to society when people ignore the drug laws to seek alternative ways to heal, develop, connect to the divine, or just relax and have fun. It is on the contrary a very healthy challenge that will lead to positive change. Unfortunately, many get into trouble, being prosecuted for things that should not be considered criminal. That is a danger to society.

6. Spiritual danger.

From personal experience I can say that there are substances that connect us to the divine and there are substances that stun and disconnect us. Psychedelics such as mushrooms, DMT, mescaline and LSD have the ability to connect us. Substances such as opiates, alcohol, nicotine, amphetamines, and cocaine disconnect us.

When I talk about what is dangerous, this is not what I ‘m talking about. This has its own chapter.

To return to the question: what do I think of as dangerous?

Ourense 15012010 by Foxspain Fotografía on Flickr
Ourense 15012010 by Foxspain Fotografía on Flickr

When I say dangerous, I mainly mean what is physically dangerous – that is what kills, what hurts, what leads to physical dependence, what leads to dangerous behavior and what leads to violence and crime that affects other people. These substances I consider to be the most dangerous and they include drugs like opiates, alcohol, nicotine and amphetamines. Funny enough, these are all in some form legal and readily available, and the deadliest (nicotine) and the most risky (alcohol) are completely legal.

I am not so naive as to dismiss psychological risks, but we should not, as today, exaggerate them. These risks can be minimized with education and guidance. I see two main psychological hazards:
1. Abuse. The abuse is never in substance, but in the person. We need to help people overcome addictions, instead of stigmatizing them. Substance abuse is a sickness and should not be fought with law.
2. People freak out because they do not know how to handle life. We need to give people the tools to process trauma, fear, sadness, anxiety, depression, and similar things, so that they may take control of their lives instead of being caught off guard and freaking out.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather
Facebookrssby feather