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Chapter 7

Psychology 2011A/B Chapter 7: Psychedelics

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Department
Psychology
Course
Psychology 2011A/B
Professor
Prof
Semester
Fall

Description
Chapter 7 – Psychedelics  Chemically induced alterations  Psychoactive drugs – chemicals that have psychological effects  Illicit drugs – illegal drugs  Major psychedelics– LCD  Minor psychedelics – marijuana  28 of pills tested at laboratory to be MDMA – 15 contained MDMA or related drugs, 3 contained no drugs at all, and 10 contained unrelated drugs  Invention of LSD and the proliferation of psychedelics in 1960s Modern Beginnings  1938 – Albert Hoffman, produced a new chemical: the 25 in a series of lysergic acid compounds known as “LSD-25” o April 16, 2943 – last stage of synthesis was feeling drowsy so went home  While closing is eyes, he found his imagination to be stimulated for 2 hours and “perceived an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic lay of colors”  Thought the LSD was absorbed through fingertips o Three days letter – took large dose – had more intense hallucinations  John Lilly – injected himself with 100 micrograms before climbing into an isolation tank o While in the tank, time had ceased to exists, so that he was in an eternal place with eternal processes generated by beings far greater than himself  Different names have been proposed for classifying lysergic acid diethylamide o 1947 – phatasticum in first article o When used in drug laws and medical research – hallucinogens – drugs that produce hallucinations  What is actually occurring is not a hallucination, rather a illusionogenic – alternative to hallucinogenic, in which there are distortions of ordinary perceptions of the environment  Psychedelics are psychotropic – being mind-altering  Psycholytic – mind-dissolving: mind-loosing or mind-freeing, which refers to the release of emotional and cognitive inhibitions  Psychodysleptic – mind- disrupting  Psychotomimetic – mimicking or inducing psychosis  Psychotropic – moving a person closer to a normal state of mind can be used to indicate beneficial effects  Psychedelic – mind manifesting or soul revealing o Coined in 1956 by Canadian psychiatrist Humphry Osmond  Entheogens – can be called this because sometimes they appear to awaken or generate mystical experiences  1960s – Timothy Leary – “turn on, tune in, and drop out” o Leary had deepest religious experience of his life when taking psychedelic drugs for the first time o Awakening from a long ontological sleep – process known as ‘turning on’ (similar to alien abductions) o ‘turning in’ – harnessing one’s internal revelations to the external world o ‘dropping out’ – gracefully detach oneself from the social commitments to which one was addicted  Leary and Richard Alpert – think group sessions that resembled a cross between religious convocations and wild parties were more beneficial when evaluating psychedelics  Leary – people’s lives consisted of playing games of which they were unconscious but from which they could be liberated by the psychedelics  Late 1960’s – psychedelic drugs had spawned a counterculture o People who used LSD charged with being ‘sick and dangerous’ o Medical personnel and lawmakers were prohibiting the liberating psychedelics  Until 1963, in the US psychedelic drugs were freely available to physicians, then restrictions were placed  1966 – laws against possession were enacted and laws against manufacturing and sale of these drugs came into effect  1968 – possession become illegal throughout US  “Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970” o Many drugs became ‘Schedule 1 Controlled Drugs’ – designation that indicated lack of safety even in medically supervised use, high abuse potential, and no current accepted medical use  1990 questionnaire survey of Tibetan Buddhist – 77% of 64 respondents reported previous experience with major psychedelics, and 32% claimed that major psychedelics were attracting them to Tibetan Buddhism  1990s – research resumed of psychedelics Varieties of Psychedelics LSD – most potent drugs known  10 microgram dosage – produces mild euphoria, loosening of inhibitions, and empathic feeling  Psychedelic effects begin 50 to 100 micrograms and increase up to 400 to 500 micrograms  Typical dose: 50 to 150 micrograms  Effects begin 45 to 60 minutes and ending 5 to 12 hours after ingestion  Psychological effects: increased heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature, dilated pupils and ‘mild dizziness’  The psychological effects of psychoactive drugs depend on the set and setting o Set – expectations that a person has at the time of taking a drug o Setting – physical, social, and cultural environment in which a drug is taken  LSD produces an intensification of mental processes with vivid perceptions, magnified feelings, and profound introspective thoughts o Perceptual changes – intensification and distortion of sensory impressions, synesthesia  With eyes closed: presence of geometric patterns, fantastic landscapes, and symbols o Visualize herself as a participant in an imaginary drama  Anthropologist – had interest in animal metamorphosis rites – took 500 micrograms of LSD with expectation that metamorphosis would happen o Listened to some ritual music and found himself evolved to animalistic sensuality o Found himself on hands and knees in front of mirror confronted by a tiger o Felt himself having a tigers body and reacted to the tiger in mirror as it was another tiger he encountered o Returned to human consciousness in graduations, discovered he wasn’t very happy as a tiger o Tiger represented some valid essential aspect of what or who he was Psilocybin  McKenna walking in meadow in Columbia and found single large specimen – mushrooms Stropharia cubensis  He ate it and after a while felt that things stood out with a new presence and significance  90 mushroom species contain psilocybin or psilocin  Hofmann – 1958 – identified and named this after examining Psilocybe Mexicana mushrooms  Psilocybin is the more stable of two compounds that gets converted into psilocin when ingested  15mg or more ingested can result in a trip that lasts from 2 to 5 hours  Physiological effects are like LSD but gentler and the psychological effects are similar but are more visual, less intense, and less dysphoric Mescaline  Peyote cactus contains more than 30 psychoactive substances  One of a number of cacti with psychedelic effects that have been used by native people from northern Mexico and the southwestern US  Ingest it by cutting and drying the tops of the cactus to form buttons that can be eaten o Have a bitter taste and can cause vomiting, headaches, and nausea  Effective dose 200 mg, or about three to give buttons that have lasting effects from 8 to 12 hours  Drug produces more intense physiological arousal and results in a more sensual, perceptual, and stable trip that LSD  Huston Smith – took mescaline – drug acted as a psychological prism o Multiple layers of the mind o Layers were all real that ranged in importance DMT  Chemical compound N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) has been found in the natural living world including brain but can also be synthesized  50 mg or more are smoked or injected – similar effects to LSD begin immediately and end after 30 mins  Woman was told she would see GOD and was injected with DMT o Saw a cosmic diamond cat that moved in rhythmic spasms accompanied by a shrill voice telling her things  High dosages of DMT led to reports of experiences that are similar to alien abduction experiences  Differences between alien contacts under the influence of DMT and spontaneous alien experiences o Rick Strassman – volunteers injected and clowns, reptiles, mantises, bees, spiders, cacti, and stick figures were encountered but no greys Ayahuasca  Amazon in South America native people drink a psychedelic cocktail called ayahauasca or yage  Made by pounding and cooking in water the woody Banisteriopsis vines, and usually adding other plants to ‘lengthen and heighten the intoxication’  Banisteriopsis contains a number of psychoactive ingredients such as the beta-carbolines o 200 mg of hamine and hamaline are needed for a 4- to 8- hour trio  Inclusion of Psychotria viridis adds DMT to ayahuasca o Usually broken down by stomach but the beta-carbolines inhibit the action of monoamine oxydase so that DMT remains active o Adding DMT makes better and brighter vision  Induces vomiting and diarrhea  Physiological effects: increase in blood pressure and cardiac rate, profuse sweating, tremors, pricking feeling in the skin, and a buzzing sound in the ears  Psychological effects: a sense of flying, images of colored lights, geometric patterns, and visitos of spirit helpers, demons, deities, and distant events  Dreamlike sequences are longer and more realistic than those produced by LSD or mescaline  Paranormal abilities can be attributed to the ingestion of ayahuasca  Banisteriopsis used t ob called telepathines because to reflect the alleged extrasensory empowerment that they provided  Benny Shannon – studied this for 2 years in S.A. – interviews and took the brew about 130 times o Under the influence – experience rate of flow of time may change so that more time appears to have passed than actually has and there can be confusion with the order of events o Temporal indeterminacy is intertwined with uncertainty as to which cognitive events are memories  More intense cases the drinker can see herself as displaced from the present, observing a sequence events from another time period – observing the events from a point of view  Drinkers have reported that under intoxication they have experienced eternity The Neuropharmacology of Psychedelics  Tolerance – the need for increased amounts of a substance in order to achieve a desired effect of a markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of the substance  For LSD – tolerance developed with two to three days and disappears quickly  Cross-tolerance – intoxication with one of them will inhibit the effectiveness of a second one if taken shortly after the first (LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline – all have common effects on the brain)  Psychedelic effects result from the medication of serotonergic neural pathways in the brain o LSD, DMT, and psilocybin increase
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