Recent News:
Classic psychedelic use protective with regard to psychological distress and suicidality | ScienceDaily
Psilocybin-assisted treatment for alcohol dependence | Journal of Psychopharmacology
Heffter Newsletter - Light at the End of the Tunnel!
Can Mushrooms Treat Depression? | NY Times
Can psychedelic trips cure PTSD and other maladies? | Washington Post
Psilocybin, Addiction, and End of Life--Stephen Ross
UNM alcohol dependence study--Sarah's story
Recovery: an alcoholic's story and the reemergence of psychedelic medicine | TEDxABQ
German documentary about psilocybin features Heffter board member
Psilocybin, where science meets spirituality | CBS News

Newsweek article covers psychedelic research


An article in Newsweek magazine reports on speakers and topics from the recent Horizons conference in New York City. In “Ecstasy and Acid in Your Medicine Cabinet? Doctors Explore Psychedelics,” published on October 14th, 2014, writer Douglas Main provides an overview of past and current psychedelic research. The article mentions several studies on psilocybin by Heffter researchers.

“Psilocybin, the active ingredient in so-called ‘magic mushrooms,’ has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression in several small studies, including one 2010 study at UCLA published in Archives of General Psychiatry and another in progress at Johns Hopkins. A paper that came out this spring done by researchers from the Psychiatric University Hospital of Zurich published in the journal Biological Psychiatry found that psilocybin decreases activity in the amygdala, the part of the brain that may be overactive in people with anxiety and depression.”

Ecstasy and Acid in Your Medicine Cabinet? Doctors Explore Psychedelics | Newsweek

Experiences of hallucinogen treatment | The Psychologist


An article in The Psychologist, the official publication of the British Psychological Society, covers recent work on the use of psilocybin to treat emotional distress in cancer patients. “Experiences of hallucinogen treatment”–published in the magazine’s September, 2014 issue–focuses on studies by Heffter researchers Charles Grob and Roland Griffiths. Their results indicate that psilocybin shows great promise as a treatment for the psychological problems that often accompany advanced stage cancer.

“The recent studies affirm that therapy with psilocybin is well tolerated and for some patients remarkably effective. It entails just one or two sessions and correspondingly low cost. Psilocybin has no known tissue toxicity. The reported incidences of adverse reactions, such as severe disorientation, anxiety and panic, are very low; and such side-effects can be managed using familiar doses of anxiolytics and neuroleptics. The experiences patients describe are not intoxication, but rather a sense of clarity, expanded context and a reframing of their worldview and sense of the future that persists long after any pharmacologic effect of the drugs.”

Experiences of hallucinogen treatment | The Psychologist

Heffter researcher Roland Griffiths on psilocybin and mysticism | TEDx


In this TEDx talk, Heffter board member Roland Griffiths speaks about his research on psilocybin and the mystical experience. Griffiths and his team at Johns Hopkins recruited 36 individuals with experience in spiritual or religious activities but no prior use of psychedelics. Although the primary goal of the study was to assess the effects of large doses of psilocybin, the study participants reported profound mystical experiences. Seventy percent of the participants reported that the psilocybin experience was among the top five most important events in their lives. According to Griffiths,”Psilocybin looks identical to naturally occurring religious experience.”

Heffter researcher Roland Griffiths on psilocybin and mysticism | TEDx

Magic Mushrooms Help Smokers Kick Habit in Small Study | Bloomberg


Heffter researcher Matt Johnson and his colleagues at Johns Hopkins University have completed a study showing that psilocybin (aka “magic mushrooms”) is a useful treatment for heavy smokers who want to quit. According to writer Michelle Fay Cortez:

Just two or three experiences with the hallucinogenic drug known as magic mushrooms helped a dozen long-term smokers quit, succeeding in a study where numerous other approaches failed.

The volunteers took a pill containing psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, as part of a cognitive behavior therapy program at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Six months later, 12 of the 15 participants remained smoke-free, according to the study results published today in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.

Magic Mushrooms Help Smokers Kick Habit in Small Study |

Pilot study of the 5-HT2AR agonist psilocybin in the treatment of tobacco addiction | Journal of Psychopharmacology

Turn On, Tune In, Get Better | Scientific American


A recent article in Scientific American highlights the need to reform federal drug policy. In “Turn On, Tune In, Get Better: Psychedelic Drugs Hold Medical Promise,” writer Roni Jacobson describes how the FDA and DEA created a Catch-22 situation for scientists who study psychedelics. The federal agencies claim that there is insufficient research to justify removing psychedelics from Schedule I, the most restrictive category of illegal drugs. This legal barrier makes it very difficult for scientists to conduct the necessary research. Even so, the article notes that “Psychedelic drugs are poised to be the next major breakthrough in mental health care.”

Turn On, Tune In, Get Better: Psychedelic Drugs Hold Medical Promise | Scientific American

Interview with Robin Carhart-Harris on LSD research | The Independent


An article in the UK newspaper The Independent profiles Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris, a researcher at the Centre for Neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College. Writer Laurence Phelan interviews Carhart-Harris about the history and current status of psychedelic research as well as his work using fMRI scanning technology to study the brains of human subjects under the influence of LSD.

The potential scientific benefits of psychedelics (as distinct from whatever cultural, social, artistic, spiritual or subjectively enjoyable benefits one might also argue they have) fall broadly into two categories. They look like being medicinally or therapeutically useful, and they offer an unconventional view of the workings of the human mind, such that the age-old, so-called “hard problem of consciousness” might be made a little easier. The etymology of the word “psychedelic” is, after all, from the Greek for “mind-revealing.”

Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris is the first scientist in over 40 years to test LSD on humans–and you’re next | The Independent


Upcoming conferences


Two upcoming conferences may be of interest to readers of this website.

The World Ayahuasca Conference will be held from September 25th to the 27th in Ibiza, Spain.

“The World Ayahuasca Conference 2014, organized by the ICEERS Foundation, aims to be a multidisciplinary event that brings together leading scientists, legal experts, practitioners. environmentalists and other experts involved in the ayahuasca field, facilitating the interchange of experience and knowledge, and the birth of new synergies and collaborations through the formal presentations and round tables, workshops and debates, as well as the informal events of the conference.”

 Horizons: Perspectives on Psychedelics will be held from October 10th through the 12th in New York City.

Horizons is an annual forum for learning about psychedelics in New York City. Its goal is to open a fresh dialogue on their role in medicine, culture, history, spirituality, and creativity. 2014 is its eighth year.”



Heffter board member interviewed on Vox


An article on the news site Vox features an in-depth interview with Heffter board member Dr. Charles Grob. “The Case for Medical LSD, Mushrooms, and Ecstasy,” by German Lopez, surveys the history and current status of psychedelic research. Dr. Grob discusses the potential of psychedelic treatment for end-of-life anxiety in cancer patients and chronic alcoholism with an emphasis on patient safety.

“When you’re talking about psychiatry, the medications we use that I prescribe all the time usually have to be utilized on a daily basis — for weeks, for months, sometimes for years,” Grob says. “When you’re talking about a hallucinogen treatment model, the drug itself might only need to be applied on one occasion or perhaps a couple of occasions spread out by many weeks or many months — all within the context of ongoing psychotherapy.”

The Case for Medical LSD, Mushrooms, and Ecstasy | Vox

Goodbye to the Godfather of Psychedelics | California Magazine


California, the magazine of the Cal Alumni Association, has a moving article by Laura B. Childs about the memorial service for Alexander “Sasha” Shulgin, the renowned psychedelic chemist.

“Sasha’s work is by all objective criteria worthy of the very highest academic honors, Nobel Prize kind of stuff, but such honors are impossible as we struggle as a society to learn how to balance the complexities that are stirred up by the power of psychedelics,” said UC Berkeley neurobiology lecturer David Presti during the hour-long memorial service. “It was too big to be done in a multimillion dollar laboratory. It instead required an alchemist’s den, a courageous spirit, a careful focus of intention, and a goodly dose of mystical insight. Then the stuff of legend happened. Thank you, Sasha.”

Goodbye to the Godfather of Psychedelics: Sasha Shulgin Now “Tripping in the Cosmos” | California Magazine


Study links psychedelic experience to dreaming | The Washington Post


According to The Washington Post, new research at Imperial College London shows that subjects injected with the psychedelic drug psilocybin exhibit brain activity that resembles the dreaming state. The researchers found that psilocybin increases activity in parts of the brain associated with emotion, memory, and arousal. They found a corresponding decrease in the activity of brain networks associated with high-level cognition.

by Rachel Feltman

“In fact, a mind-altering compound found in some 200 species of mushroom is already being explored as a potential treatment for depression and anxiety. People who consume these mushrooms, after “trips” that can be a bit scary and unpleasant, report feeling more optimistic, less self-centered, and even happier for months after the fact.

“But why do these trips change the way people see the world? According to a study published today in Human Brain Mapping, the mushroom compounds could be unlocking brain states usually only experienced when we dream, changes in activity that could help unlock permanent shifts in perspective.”

Psychedelic mushrooms put your brain in a “waking dream,” study finds | The Washington Post

Link to original article | Human Brain Mapping