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Psychology 2011A/B
Imants Baruss

Alter States of Consciousness: Psychedelics • Chemicals that have psychological effects are known are psychedelic drugs • D-lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) – major psychedelic • 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) • Marijuana – minor psychedelic • PCP and ketamine have been frequently misrepresented and sold as mescaline, LSD, marijuana, amphetamine, or cocaine • 4-methoxyamphetamine often passed off ad MDA but is actually much stronger and deadly • 28 pills sent to lab as supposed MDMA – 15 pills contained MDMA or related drugs, 3 contained no drugs at all, 10 contained unrelated drugs (8 of which contained a cough suppressant) - Cough suppressant (dextromethorphan) Modern Beginnings The invention of LSD • Hofmann - Worked at Sandoz company, looking for new medicine in Switzerland, the 25 in a series of lysergic acid compounds that he designed as LSD-25 - Animal testing was uninteresting, had a hunch that there was more properties to the drug than those established in first investigation - One day went home feeling restless and dizzy, lied down, and found his imagination was very stimulated – uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, shapes with intense colour - Figured he absorbed through fingertips during crystallization process - Few days later took 250micrograms of LSD (more potent than expected)  Furniture assumed threatening forms, felt like a demon invaded him, his will impotent, fear of going insane, wondered if he was dying  Eventually fear went away and he enjoyed the experience, could see sound  Believed would be useful for psychiatry • Lilly - Obtained LSD-25 from Sandoz company, injected 100micrograms and went into isolation tank - Terrified, used mind over matter to calm down, awareness of mind and body disappeared - Felt the light was being formed into atoms and atoms into light directed by a vast consciousness - Time stopped so that he was in an external place with external processes generated by beings greater than himself • Psychotropic – sense of being mind-altering, also refers to moving a person closer to a normal state of mind (positive trait) • Psycholytic – mind-dissolving (negative trait) • Psychotomimetic – mimicking or inducing psychosis (negative trait) • Psychedelic – awaken or generate mystical experienced (also referred to as entheogens) The Psychedelic Sixties • Leary – “turn on, tune in, and drop out” - Turning on = First time use he had the deepest religious experience of his life, awakened from ontological sleep (same ontological awakening for some alien abduction experiences) - Tuning out = harnessing ones internal revelations to the external world - Dropping out = gracefully detach oneself from the social commitments to which one was addicted so that they are able to pursue authentic spiritual quest • Leary held group sessions that were a cross between religious convocation and a wild party, believed lives consisted of playing games and could be liberated through psychedelics • Became a counterculture against the medical and legal norms of society • Authorities charged users of LSD of being sick and dangerous • LSD available to physicians until 1963, laws against manufacturing in 1966, and illegal to possess in 1968 • Overall, LSD had given people a sense of expanded awareness, which led to interest in spiritual practices - Alpert, showed no effects to intoxication of high doses of LSD - Tibetan Buddhist practitioners survey – 77% reported previous experience with psychedelics, 32% claimed psychedelics attracted them to Tibetan Buddhism • Later used by government to test its uses for pain and depression associated with terminal illnesses Varieties of Psychedelics LSD • Most potent drugs known, producing effects at doses as small as 10micrograms • 50 to 100 micrograms – effects begin within 45 to 60 minutes and end 5 to 12 hours after • Effects depend on set (the expectation someone has at time of taking drug) and setting (the physical, social, and cultural environment the drug is taken in) • Effects – intensification of mental processes, vivid perceptions (intense and distort and synesthesia), magnified feelings, profound introspective thoughts - May see themselves in an imaginary drama - Believe to be encountering mystical beings - experience boundless, timeless, and ineffable domain that transcends everyday life • Anthropologist with interest in animal metamorphosis, took 500 micrograms of LSD - Abandoned himself to some appropriate ritual music, after a while found himself on hands and knees in front of a full length mirror confronted by a tiger specimen - Acted like he was a tiger who encountered another tiger (in the mirror) and snarled - Eventually returned to human consciousness and realized he was not happy as a tiger but though it might have represented who or what he was Psilocybin • McKenna - Saw mushroom, stropharia cubensis, ate whole thing, later sat heavily on ground and felt a silent thunder shake the air • Hofmann identified and named 90 species of mushrooms which contained psilocybin or psilocin after examining psilocybe mexicana mushrooms • Psilocybin, more stable of the two compounds, converts into psilocin when ingested - 15 milligrams + result in a trip that last 2 to 5 hours - Effects like LSD but gentler, more visual and less intense Mescaline • From peyote cactus (contained more than 30 psychoactive substances), one of many cactuses used by native people in Mexico and southwest US • Cut and dry tops to form buttons that can be eaten, 3-5 buttons effect last 8 to 12 hours • Produce more intense physiological arousal in a more sensual, perceptual, and stable trip than LSD • Smith, took the drug, believed drug acted as a psychological prism, producing multiple layers of the mind which he could move at will by shifting his attention - Layers ranged in importance, from the clear unbroken light of the void, to levels with multiple forms, and lower intensities - Concluded that ideas about nature and reality that had previously been merely conceptual were not verified through direct perceptions DMT • N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT), found in the living natural world including the human brain • 50 milligrams or more of DMT are smoked or injected, intense effects begin almost immediately and end after about an hour • Women was told she would see God and was injected with DMT, closed her eyes and saw something that started as a pinpoint and grew into a cosmic diamond cat that told her she was a wretched, pulpy, flaccid thing; a squishy-squashy worm • Experiences similar to alien abduction experiences, however there are difference too - Strassman, had volunteer injected with DMT whom reported clowns, reptiles, mantises, bees, spiders, cacti and stick figures but no grays Ayahuasca • Ayahuasca or yage – psychedelic drink used by shamans and native people in South America - Made by pounding and cooking in water Banisteriopsis vines such as caapi, and other plants such as Psychotria virids to lengthen and heighten intoxication - Banisteriopsis contained many psychoactive drugs such as beta-carbolines - The inclusion of Psychotria virids adds DMT to ayahuasca  Beta-carbolines inhibits the action of monoamine oxydase (which breaks down DMT) so DMT remains active in the system longer, making better visions • Ayahuasca is known as a purgative because it induces vomiting and severe diarrhea - physiological effects include: increase blood pressure and heart rate, profuse sweating, tremors, pricking feeling in the skin, bussing sound in the ears - Psychological effect include: sense of flying, images of coloured lights, geometric patterns, animals, and visions of spirit helpers/demons/etc. • dreamlike sequence said to be longer, more vivid, and realistic than those produced by mescaline of LSD • Banisteriopsis used to be named telepathines • Shanon – studied phenomenology of ayahuasca over two years, interviewed 200 people, and partaking of the brew himself 130 times - Under influences, the experience rate of flow of time may change, usually making it appear that more time had passed that actually has - Uncertainty to which cognitive events are memories, which are perceptions, and which are thought about the future - In more extreme experiences, the drinker may displace self from the present, thus observing a sequence of events during some other time period - Many time drinkers report they have experience eternity The Neuropharmacology of Psychedelics • Tolerance – the need for increased amounts of substance in order to achieve a desired effect - LSD tolerance develops within two or three days and disappear just at quickly (same for the other drugs) • Cross-tolerance – intoxication with one of them will inhibit the effectiveness of a second one if taken shortly after the first (happens with many psychedelics) • psychedelics are structurally similar to the neurotransmitter serotonin it is suspected that psychedelic effects result from the mediation of serotonergic neural pathways in the brain, in fact many increase activity in the pathway by stimulating 5-HT2subtype of serotonergic receptors (not true for mescaline) MDMA • perceptual and emotional effects are less dramatic than those associated with LSD or mesc
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