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Psychedelic Science 2017


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MAPS notes 

Just finished attending the last lecture of the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). Coined Psychedelic Studies 2017 this was the largest (to date) gathering of professionals, academics, lay therapists and those with a life long interest in the benefits of psychedelic modalities.  There were researchers, clinicians, advocates and enthusiasts sharing data, experience and advice.  Among those at this robust and vigorous event was Bob Wold representing Cluster Busters at an informational table and Brendan Burns sharing his personal story and knowledge.  Emmanuelle Schindler presented the clinical study design and rationale setting the stage for presenting solid data at future meetings.  Our cause was well represented.  Certainly our situation is a bit one off from the mainstream but it is important we don't let the avant garde of this exciting movement forget our interest as psychedelics rapidly reenter current therapeutic options.

I attended many of the talks and wish to provide a high level summary of some of the talks that may be of interest to those considering alternative cluster treatments.  The videos of specific presentations are going to be available on You Tube and searching MAPS with the presenters name should guide you to the source.  The program should be on the MAPS sight. No claims are made of unerring accuracy, lack of bias in interpretation or completeness.  My best is all I have to offer.

Stanislav Grof opened the lectures and included his work on breathing techniques to produce a psychedelic state.  He is a well loved researcher in LSD psychotherapy prior to making LSD illegal and developed these techniques in the void left by draconian legislation.  Many workshops have evolved based on his techniques and components are reminiscent of what Batch has suggested.

There was much about herbal roots from around the world I don't want to spell but since we have limited input on things other than LSD and psilocybin I leave their usefulness to inevitable discussions.  MDMA got lots of attention but no data for us.  Sounds like great stuff for the right application.  These will eventually crop up in one form or another.  I will also reserve judgement on the large number of folks bemoaning their migraine experiences to Bob.  The guy suggesting a stem cell transplant fixed his clusters will go on the shelf for now,  Heaven points for Bob.

Psilocybin was discussed in a significant number of presentations.  The context was in death and dying, addiction, PTSD and pharmacology but the message was loud, clear and repeatable.  The use of psilocybin in these context is safe, effective and long lasting.  This included measures of anxiety, mystical experiences, squashing suicidal ideation and overall improvement in sense of self.  Trait measures of forgiveness, life meaning and faith maturity are amplified in a sustained way.  Psilocybin was given in a safe set and setting and included psychotherapy and counseling.  Look up work at Johns Hopkins and NYU.

Neuroimaging studies report pretty consistent findings.  There is the well known interconnection throughout the brain on psilocybin.  Decreased blood flow is seen in the Cingular nucleus.  This results in slowing or blocking the brains inhibition of data inflow allowing for freer communication.  There is desynchronization of the posterior Cingular nucleus and decreased inhibition. Basically psilocybin is believed to inhibit the inhibitor and allow free flow of information.  Interestingly the brains Default Mode Network (DMN) decreases with immediate dosing but in 24 hours and then increases in a sustained way for a long time.  Similar changes are seen in experienced 1000+ hour meditators.  Meditation showed similar findings to a dose   of psilocybin 25 mg / 70 kg.  The posterior hypothalamus is activated by psilocybin and this activity can be affected by hormones, genetics and inflammation.  

UW- Madison presented participants in a pharmacokinetic study looking at dose relationships and physiologic safety.  It was a Phase I trial to establish safety parameters.  It was very safe at all doses.  There were 3 dose regimens given a month apart and dosing was based on body weight.  0.3-0.6 mg/kg body weight.  So if you weigh 154 lbs your largest dose was 42 mg.  That is equal to 6.7-8.4 grams dried shrooms.  (4 grams dried is equal to 20-25 mg psilocybin).  No adverse physiological events and the participants report sedate to wild experiences.  They sought each other out after the study and remain bonded.

The question of dosing by body weight or standardized dosing was addressed.  Study's showed no difference in outcome measures related to body weight.  The experiences where all over the place irrespective of dose and body weight.  Seems you get what you need?  Looking at bad experiences on meds (bad trip) demonstrated guidance through the event in a safe set and setting was effective.  Most related the experience to be profound even if seemed negative to sitters while occurring.  Good experiences and bad experiences were latter judged helpful.  Look up the Zendo project on psychedelic harm reduction and study the tenants of safe place, talk through not down, sitting not guiding and difficult is not bad.

The biggest impression was all the 70-80+ year old wandering around with extensive experience in psilocybin and LSD use.  Of course these represent folks who see a profound benefit of these substances in their lives.  They are healthy, intelligent productive folks with mind blowing exposure to these substances.  A pretty good real life testament to safety.

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Great news, not having understood most of this I´m gone see the cows in the open fields within the next days or so as growing kits are not available in my country...

Psilocybin may give another drill to my issues as my insane LSD consumption has a certain limit to me! (no mater which amount I take, no mater how long I wait, no tripping at all)

4 sure:)


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  • 2 weeks later...

The conference was definitely pretty awesome.  I have to admit I missed a number of the talks because of an unrelenting migraine but did a lot of connecting with people that I had wanted to connect with.  I'm really looking forward to working more with the Psymposia crew and I will probably be doing a couple podcast interviews with people I met at the conference.  I'll let you guys know when I know more.  I got a chance to talk to the guy Pebbles was referring to that said he got cured of his clusters from stem cell therapy.  He was a nice guy that had obviously been through a lot but I am pretty confident he did not have cluster headache.  He said that after some sort of nasal surgery he ended up with a cluster headache that would last 24-7.  As most of us know, cluster headaches don't actually last that long so it had to be something else.  It sounded to me like he damaged some of the same nerves that are involved in cluster headache, but essentially the case was more about nerve trauma.  I doubt the success with the stem cell therapy for him says much for most cluster sufferers but who knows, maybe some of the people that end up here with a condition that mimics cluster headache (like that guy) could someday see this as a therapy for them. I know he got it done at some sort of pain clinic and it did not sound cheap.  



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