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Psychology 2011A/B
Imants Baruss

Psychology 2011 Final Exam Notes Chapter 7: Psychedelics VARIETIES OF PSYCHEDELICS LSD - One of the most potent dugs known - Even 10 micrograms can produce some mild euphoria, loosening of inhibitions, and empathic feeling - Typical dose is 50- 150 micrograms, effects starting in 45- 60 min. and ending 5- 12h after ingestion - Physiological effects variable and follow from psychological ones: Increased heart rate, blood pressure, and body temp., dilated pupils, and mild dizziness - Set and setting affect psychological effects of psychoactive drugs - Set- The expectation a person as at the time of taking a drug - Setting-The physical, social, and cultural enviro. In which a drug is taken - In general, LSD produces intensification of mental processes w/ vivid perceptions, magnified feelings, and profound introspective thoughts - Can be dramatic mood swings and simultaneous presence of disparate emotions - Person may see themselves as being in an imaginary drama, encounter mythical beings, or experience a boundless, timeless, and ineffable domain that transcends everyday life - An anthropologist with interest in animal metamorphosis rites took 500 micrograms of LSD expecting that a metamorphosis would take place o He felt himself having a tiger’s body in way that he’s never felt his own body o Reacted to mirror image of himself as if it were another tiger and made spitting and snarling noises preparing for combat o Returned to human consciousness and realized he wasn’t happy as a tiger but that the tiger represented some valid and essential aspect of what or who he was Psilocybin - In Columbia McKenna ate a whole Stropharia Cubensis mushroom after it was pointed out by friends; He said “Things stood out with a new presence and significance” - Stropharia Cubensis- One of about 90 mushroom species that contain psilocybin or psilocin, which were identified and named by Hofmann in 1958 after examining Psilocybe Mexicana mushrooms - The more stable of the 2 compounds, psilocybin, gets converted into psilocin when ingested o 15 milligrams or more of psilocybin giving a trip that lasts from 2-5h o Physiological effects are like LSD but gentler & psychological effects are similar to LSD but more visual, less intense, and less euphoric Mescaline - The Peyote Cactus- Has >30 psychoactive substances; Is one of many cacti with psychedelic effects used by natives from northern Mexico and southwestern US from 100 BCE - Buttons- The cut and dried tops of a cactus which can be eaten; One way to ingest peyote; Have bitter taste & cause vomiting, headaches, & nausea - Effective dose is 200 milligrams or 3-5 buttons, w/ effects lasting 8-12h - Produces more intense physiological arousal and more sensual, perceptual, & stable trip than LSD but overall similar effects to LSD & psilocybin - Huston Smith took mescaline and was struck by the apparent fact that it acted as a psychological prism that revealed multiple layers of the mind which he could move at will by shifting his attention o Ideas about the nature of reality that before were merely conceptual are now verified through direct perception DMT - N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT)- Found throughout living natural world, icluding human brain, but also synthesized - If 50 milligrams or more are smoked or injected it has a similar effect to LSD; Starting almost right away and ending after 30 mins. - In one case a woman was told that she God and was injected w/ DMT o Closed her eyes and saw something that started as a pinpoint and grew into a formless shape and then became a cosmic diamond cat that filled all of space o Cat moved in rhythmic spasms and was accompanied by a shrill voice o She knew this was the only reality she had ever known - High doses can lead to similar experiences as alien abduction experiences o Can speculate that gov. mind control projects use psychedelics on unsuspecting citizens, analogous to apparent covert experimentation w/ LSD by the Central Intelligence Agency on unsuspecting citizens in the 1950s - Differences from alien abductions are no grays seen w/ DMT Ayahuasca - Ayahuasca or Yage- Psychedelic cocktail drank by natives from the upper Amazon in South America, including many shamans; Made by pounding and cooking in water the woody Banisteriopsis vines, such as Banisteriopsis Caapi, and usually adding other plants in to lengthen and heighten intoxication, such as Psychotria Viridis - Psychoactive ingredients in Banisteriopsis are beta-carbolines, including harmine, harmaline, and tetrahydroharmine o 200 milligrams of harmine or harmaline for a 4-8h trip - The inclusion of Psychotria Viridis adds DMT to ayahuasca o Said to make more better and brighter visions - Ayahuasca known as a purgative b/c causes vomiting and severe diarrhea - Physiological effects are increased blood pressure and cardiac rate, profuse sweating, tremors, pricking feeling in the skin, & buzzing sound in ears - Psychological effects is a sense of flying; Images of coloured lights, geometric patterns, and animals; And visions of spirit helpers, demons, deities, and distant events - Dreamlike sequences can be longer, more vivid, and more realistic than mescaline or LSD - Psychoactive ingredients of Banisteriopsis have been called telepathines b/c it reflects the extrasensory empowerment provided - Benny Shannon has studied the phenomenology of ayahuasca for more than 2 years in South America by interviewing 200 individuals and taking it himself 130 times o Says that more time appears to have passed than actually has, ordering of events sometimes get confused, uncertainty about what’s a memory, a perception, or a future event, and the time between events appear to be closer to present o Sometimes it seems as if 2 points in time have intersected (that of observer and that of scene being viewed) o Experience is observing events from a point independent of the observer (as looking through drill hole) o May see themselves as outside of time o Has been reported that they have experienced eternity with associated feelings of well-being and bliss, grace and spiritual uplifting The Neuropharmacology of Psychedelics - Tolerance- In the context of drug use it refers to the need for increased amounts of a substance in order to achieve the desired effect or a diminished effect w/ continued use of the same amount of the substance - LSD tolerance develops within 2 or 3 days and disappears just as quickly; Similar for psilocybin, mescaline, & DMT - Cross-Tolerance- Intoxication with one substance will inhibit the effectiveness of a second one if taken shortly after; Suggests some drugs have common effects in brain o Occurs between many psychedelics: LSD, psilocybin, mescaline - Neurotransmitter serotonin is similar to molecule LSD, psilocybin, DMT, and the beta-carbolines o This is why it’s said that psychedelic effects result from mediation of serotonergic neural pathways o Many psychedelic drugs (LSD, DMT, psilocybin) increase activity in serotonergic pathways by stimulating the 5-HT 2subtype of serotonergic receptors o Mescaline doesn’t resemble serotonin and it’s not clear if it binds to 5- HT 2receptor but it may activate them indirectly MDMA - Perceptual and emotional effects are less dramatic than those associated with LSD or mescaline o Which is why this compound it removed from other psychedelics - Entactogen- MDMA sometimes called this b/c it’s characterized by a sense of closeness to others - Taken orally in doses 75-175 milligrams w/ effects lasting 4-6h - Tolerance develops with high doses & repeated use - Physiological effects are increased heart rate & blood pressure, dry mouth, jaw clenching or teeth grinding, and sometimes hangover with fatigue the next day - Psychological effects are improved mood, emotional responsiveness, enhanced susceptibility to emotional or sensory stimuli, loosened self identification, intensification of sensory perception, and moderate thought disorder (accelerated thinking, thought blocking, & impaired decision making - Causes increase in serotonin activity and to less of an extent dopamine - In animal studies it’s shown that in doses higher than the effective one for humans could lead to serotonin depletion and long-term axon terminal damage Marijuana - Cannabis Sativa- The hemp plant in which marijuana and other drugs are derived from; These drugs have effects similar to LSD and psilocybin - Tolerance develops but not cross-tolerance w/ LSD, psilocybin, or mescaline - Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)- The main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana o Stimulates neurotransmitter receptors known as Cannabinoid Receptors  If this receptor exist in body than body must make it itself  Endogenous Canabinoids such as Anandamide have been found to naturally occur in the brain  The cannabinoid/anandamide system may be involved in higher cognitive emotional functions with THC known to stimulate the reward system in the brain - Usually smoked in hand-rolled cigarette with effects lasting from 2-4h and low levels of THC remaining in fatty tissue for several days o THC can be detected in urine days or even weeks after use - Physiological effects are increased heart rate, dilation of blood vessels on the cornea causing bloodshot eyes, and dry mouth o Others such as hunger or enhanced sexual responsiveness are inconsistent and may be result of expectation of user - Psychological & behavioural effects are feeling good, being more aware of surroundings, laughing at innocuous events, finding profundity in mundane ideas, and slowing of time - Various forms of double consciousness can occur: Awareness of intoxication w/o ability or desire to change it & the impression of watching oneself - Apparently freed from rational constraints of thinking, there’s an increased richness in imagination and occurrence of insights about the nature of reality, giving user enhanced creativity - Distracting thoughts intrude during use, which impairs attention and memory resulting in disjointed speech (forgetting subject matter of convo.) - Operation of motor vehicles is impaired w/ impaired coordination, tracking, perception, vigilance and performance o Up to 24h after intoxication - The subjective experience seems to be at least partially a learned response - Experienced users can report psychological effects of marijuana w/o having any o In study of 100 participants given 2 weed cigs. to smoke at least 2 days apart  One cig. Had 9mg of THC the other had none  Participants had to rate experience from 0-100  Ave. rating for THC cig. Was 61 and for placebo 34  But for 25 of the most experienced users ratings were 52 & 48  Experienced users weren’t able to distinguish between the two cigs. LONG-TERM EFFECTS OF PSYCHEDELICS - Worst situation is when there’s a fixed intense emotion or distorted thought o Such as remorse, suspicion, delusions of persecution or of being irreversibly insane o Extension of this is the metaphysical bad trip in which the drug takers wretched feelings are seen as revelations of the ultimate nature of the universe (cosmic cat experience) - Sometimes the disorganization of the mind from psychedelics persists for months after stop of drug use o Such as increase in hynagogic imagery and dreams may take on the vividness, intensity, & perceptual peculiarities of drug trips Perceptual Effects of Psychedelics - Flashbacks- The transitory recurrence of emotions and perceptions originally experienced while under the influence of a psychedelic drug that can last for seconds or hours and can include any part of drug experience o Most common adverse effect of psychedelics o Can be somewhat disturbing but sometimes turns into repeated frightening images or thoughts o Can be triggered by intoxication w/ other drugs (weed & selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)) - Psychopharmacological resemblance between psychedelics and SSRIs o Heightening of SSRI activity by psychedelics - Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder- A broad category of post psychedelic perceptual disturbances o Perceptual aspects of flashbacks in this category o These long-term alterations of perception can last fractions of a second to 5 years o Possible to arise from single dose of LSD and to be slowly reversible or irreversible - Synaptic Homeostasis- Flooding of receptor sites with chemical agents that can activate them leads to a compensatory attenuated response o Appears brain functions in way to maintain this homeostasis o Studies on rats show repeated LSD use decreases availability of 5-HT 2 receptor subtype and LSD use for 7 days results in alteration in behaviour of rats that is detectable >30days after treatment - Some believe that the hallucinogen persisting perception disorder results from long-term changes to the structure of the serotonergic neurons - Others think it’s a post-traumatic reaction or the effect of a lower threshold for the involuntary production of imagery and fantasy Psychotic Effects of Psychedelics - It’s hypothesized that too much 5-HT 2 receptor activation is a factor in psychotic symptom formation and cognitive deficits in schizophrenia (some cases at least) o If true than psychedelics could precipitate schizophrenia o Others argue that similarities between this disease and psychedelic intoxication are superficial rather than substansive - Even if the diagnostic label for hallucinogen-induced psychotic disorder have not been met some still experience mood swings, visual hallucinations, mania, grandiosity, & religiosity following LSD use - In studies w/ LSD incidence figures for psychosis following use of psychedelics have ranged from 0.08%-4.6% o Many with psychedelic psychoses have had prior histories of psychosis - Differences between acute psychoses developed 2-7 days after using LSD and Psychoses in which no drugs have been used o Suggesting some people may be vulnerable to Psychoses induced by psychedelics Therapeutic Effects of Psychedelics - Early studies of LSD found it to be psychomimetic, even if persisted psychoses were rare o Older pessimistic views gave way to more optimistic ones in which psychedelics can be used for therapy - Therapeutic use of psychedelics has been conceptualized as either psycholytic or psychedelic - The point of psycholytic psychotherapy has been to use repeated small doses of psychedelics as an adjunct to psychotherapy to assist in bringing unconscious material to awareness - When used like this benefits of LSD are reduced defensiveness, the reliving of early childhood experiences, increased access to unconscious material, & >emotional expression o Been used got survivors of Nazi concentration camps - Psychedelic Psychotherapy is when single large doses have been used to produce a transcendent experience w/ an accompanying reorientation of a person’s beliefs and self-image o Claims state that this method could treat and alleviate the pain and suffering from terminal illness of intractable disorders, such as chronic alcoholism, antisocial behaviour, and autism  The idea was that LSD could prompt transcendent experience in alcoholics (similar to profound religious conversion) resulting in a new lease on life and a healthier perspective on themselves and others o Arnold Ludwig tested this: All patients received milieu therapy  The use of hypnosis would allow LSD sessions to be more structured and hence > benefit  No evidence that LSD sessions made a difference at follow-up intervals of up to 1 year  Also no relationship between degree of alteration in consciousness and therapeutic or personality change  Consistent with results of other studies that said either made no difference or differences disappeared by the 6- month follow-ups - Stanislav Grof did research on giving psychedelics to people dying of cancer o Not for treatment of cancer but for relief from emotional & physical pain and change of attitude toward death  Done through deep mystical experiences induced by psychedelics o In some cases pain was attenuated or lost completely; In others pain still there but no longer took over person’s attention and emotional resources; Have also changed people’s attitudes towards death  People that has transcendent experiences developed belief in the ultimate unity of all creation so that death appeared to be just another transition into a diff. type of existence TRANSCENDENTAL EFFECTS OF PSYCHEDELICS - The Good Friday Experiment- Divinity students were given psilocybin before participating in a Good Friday service on April 20, 1962 The Good Friday Experiment - Walter Pahnke, a doctoral student in Religion and Society at Harvard University, conducted this experiment with Timothy Leary as principal academic advisor o To determine the extent to which experiences described by mystics were similar to those induced by psychedelics o Effects of set & setting planned to maximize possibility of mystical experience - 20 primary participants (mostly theological students) were prepared in way to maximize positive expectation, trust, confidence, and reduction of fear o Divided into 5 groups of 4 w/ 2 leaders (familiar w/ effects of psilocybin) in each group  Leaders were there to aid in creating a friendly, trust-filled enviro. o 2 in each group received 30 milligrams of psilocybin and 1 leader 15 milligrams  Other 2 students and leader received 200 milligrams of nicotinic acid (effects cause relaxation and flushing of skin)  Purpose of this was for control group; Double blind study - 80 mins. after taking, moved into small prayer chapel in Marsh Chapel in Boston into which was piped a live Good Friday service led by Rev. Howard Thurman, the chaplain of Boston University - Data of experiences was collected immediately after, within 2 days, and at 6 months o Rick Doblin (1991) did a long-term follow-up 24-27 years later with 9 from control group and 7 from experimental group Examples of Psychedelic Experiences - Mike Young was a participant that got psilocybin o His trip started gentle but then couldn’t keep track of what was happening in and outside of his head; Eventually swirling bands of colour resolved themselves into a radical design, like a mandala w/ different colours leading out from center (each representing different path he could take in life); Felt himself immobilized at center for what felt like an eternity by agonizing indecision; He said he then died and in dying realized the freedom of who he could be  Years later he realized it was about his struggle to make a career choice o He said that religious ideas that had been interesting intellectually before were now connected to something much deeper than belief and theory o While making decision he felt as if his insides were painfully being clawed out - Psychedelic experiences aren’t always pleasant (in this regard can be similar to a shamanic initiation) - Of the 7 psilocybin interviewed by Doblin only 2 reported experiences completely positive w/o significant psychic struggles - One student that took psilocybin had bad experience o One leader (Huston Smith) recalled on student going to front of chapel where he blessed congregation with sign of a cross and then left chapel and building; Smith unsuccessfully tried to get him back and then w/ assistance of Pahnke and another they walked student back to church and injected him with the antipsychotic drug Thorazine o Student had believed God chose him to announce to world the dawning of the Messanic Age, a millennium of universal peace and was suiting his actions to his new beliefs o He refused to participate in Doblin’s follow-up study Psychedelics and Mysticism - In preparation for experiment Pahnke analyzed the literature concerning mystical experiences and found 9 core characteristics independent of cultural interpretations 1. Unity- Can be internal if the subject-object dichotomy is transcended within a person, or external if transcendence occurs between the usual self and the external world of sense impressions; Internal unity occurs when one is left with pure consciousness & external unity involves increased awareness until identity merges with sensory world 2. Noetic Quality- One has direct insight into the nature of being that is accompanied by the certainty that such knowledge is truly real and not subjective delusion 3. The Transcendence of Space & Time- Although spatial may only be partial in external unity 4. Sense of Sacredness- A nonrational, intuitive, hushed, palpitant response in the presence of inspiring realities 5. Deeply Felt Positive Mood- Can include feelings of joy, love, blessedness, and peace 6. Paradoxicality- Significant aspects of mystical consciousness felt by the experiencer to be true in spite of violating normal logical principals (Eg. Experiencing empty unity that also contains all reality) 7. Ineffability- The inability to express transcendent events in words 8. Transiency- The transient nature of mystical experiences relative to the permanence of everyday consciousness 9. Positive Change in Attitude or Behaviour- Mystical experiences can bring about this - Participants that got psilocybin experienced phenomena identical with certain categories defined by the typology of mystical consciousness o Significant differences between experimental and control groups on all characteristics except sacredness - Pahnke’s research supported that with the right set and setting, the use of psychedelics can create experiences w/ characteristics similar to mystical experiences Chapter 8: Transcendence - Transcendence- A state of being that is in some sense superior to ordinary existence o Mystical experiences are a type of transcendence VARIETY OF TRANSCENDENT EXPERIENCES - Variety of ways in which exceptional human functioning has been characterized o Flow, peak experiences, & mystical experiences Flow - Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (1988) found that one thing that can improve quality of a person’s life is to be faced w/ challenges that are more demanding than everyday living - Flow- A state of consciousness that occurs when a person’s skills match the difficulties of the challenges; Joyous and creative total involvement with life - He found 8 components of the experience of flow 1. Engagement in a Challenge for which we have the requisite skills 2. Absorption in the challenge activity so that one’s awareness merges with one’s actions; Actions may flow spontaneously but aren’t effortless 3. Setting of Clear Goals 4. Presence of Feedback that goals are being reached; Some longer challenges need to be structured by introducing steps of goals and feedback 5. Attenuation of One’s Usual Concerns while absorbed in a challenging task 6. The Opportunity to Exercise Control in a situation 7. Loss of Self Awareness can be accompanied by Identification with One’s Environment or other participant with whom one is engaged; Related to the nd th 2 and 5 8. Freed
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