hyperconnected: your brain on shrooms
November 28, 2014 5:43 PM   Subscribe

How Tripping On Mushrooms Changes The Brain - "New research [pdf] suggests that psilocybin, the main psychoactive ingredient in magic mushrooms, sprouts new links across previously disconnected brain regions, temporarily altering the brain's entire organizational framework."

also btw...
posted by kliuless (84 comments total) 57 users marked this as a favorite
 
Oh, oh, ha, ha, I never thoght of it that way, the world really is just one big organism, those trees are waving at me, I love everything!
posted by Oyéah at 6:45 PM on November 28, 2014 [23 favorites]


"We plan to extend our analysis to other 'drugs' dataset like ketamine, LSD, MDMA."

ooh ooh pick me pick me
posted by mannequito at 6:55 PM on November 28, 2014 [21 favorites]


All I can ever say when these bits of psychedelic research rear up every once in awhile is fucking duh.
I'm all for evidence based research into the psychedelic experience, but anyone who has taken that particular journey either ran away screaming or knows this intimately already. Still, nice to have my reckless youth affirmed.
posted by Ephelump Jockey at 7:07 PM on November 28, 2014 [7 favorites]




Wishing you a good trip to all of you because a bum one could mean just the opposite.
posted by Meatafoecure at 7:18 PM on November 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


I use to use 'Shrooms to vet possible life partners.
posted by Alt255 at 7:20 PM on November 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


Wishing you a good trip to all of you because a bum one could mean just the opposite.

I hear this occasionally - that a very small minority of hallucinogen users are permanently damaged from the experience. That's why I have never tried hallucinogens. Would be interesting to know if this is true, and if related to the findings of this study.
posted by Halogenhat at 7:31 PM on November 28, 2014 [4 favorites]


Coulda just called and asked, sheesh.
posted by Freedomboy at 7:32 PM on November 28, 2014 [4 favorites]


Pretty!
posted by homunculus at 7:41 PM on November 28, 2014


I'm going to stick to the safe, legal stuff, like alcohol and cigarettes, thanks.
posted by uosuaq at 7:54 PM on November 28, 2014 [14 favorites]


My desire to take psilocybin is outweighed by my reluctance to risk criminal prosecution for possession of it.
posted by Daddy-O at 7:59 PM on November 28, 2014 [2 favorites]


Next frontier for legalization?
posted by msalt at 8:06 PM on November 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm going to stick to the safe, legal stuff, like alcohol and cigarettes, thanks.

Yes, super safe!
posted by JauntyFedora at 8:26 PM on November 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


Next frontier for legalization?

'fraid not. the man only supports drugs that numb you. anything that elevates you (or suggests - i dunno - the oneness of all), nope.
posted by j_curiouser at 8:29 PM on November 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


All I can ever say when these bits of psychedelic research rear up every once in awhile is fucking duh.
... anyone who has taken that particular journey either ran away screaming or knows this intimately already.


You should have written a paper on the topic yourself, then, and saved these researchers the trouble of doing this study. Heck, this method could revolutionize the way that medicine and biology are practiced: instead of doing cancer research with microscopes and test tubes and stuff, just ask people with cancer what they think is happening inside their bodies.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 8:35 PM on November 28, 2014 [50 favorites]


Oh, oh, ha, ha, I never thoght of it that way, the world really is just one big organism, those trees are waving at me, I love everything!

I believe this is an accurate account of a 'shroom experience.

Without going into what might seem like florid detail, this happened to me during a meditation retreat recently.

Going back thirty years: Trying 'shrooms after a decade or so of meditation, it just seemed like brain malfunction. The essential sense of Self was still there, albeit a little distracted.

Try meditating for thirty years. It yields more ecstatic and more permanent results. I realize I sound like a Puritan, but, really, sticking with a meditation practice for decades results in extra-psychedelic experience…but, as it turns out, these experiences turn out to be peripheral to the real purposes for embarking on the spiritual journey, anyway.

Not the typical Meta-journey, I guess, but: have fun!
posted by kozad at 8:36 PM on November 28, 2014 [31 favorites]


I hear this occasionally - that a very small minority of hallucinogen users are permanently damaged from the experience. That's why I have never tried hallucinogens.

do you drive
posted by invitapriore at 8:53 PM on November 28, 2014 [40 favorites]


I tried shrooms a few times in university and loved the experience. And it was very short, just an hour or two.

On the other hand a girl in our group one time had a very bad experience and I had to help her home.

The only way to describe shrooms for me anyway is biophilia.
posted by Nevin at 9:20 PM on November 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


>And it was very short, just an hour or two.

Then it for *sure* wasn't psilocybin.
posted by the Real Dan at 9:28 PM on November 28, 2014 [20 favorites]


Escape from the potato planet:

That is a really uncharitable way to interpret what I'm saying. Willfully omitting part of my comment, you know, the part where I say I'm in full support of this sort of research, makes it look like you're spoiling for a fight. But if you want to turn my lighthearted recitation of lived experience into some sort of science hating screed, carry on. I am only expressing the view that people who eat or have eaten mushrooms kinda know this stuff on an intuitive level. Never said there was anything wrong with the science. Never proposed some anti intellectual approach to research at all.
Kozad:
Yeah, you're absolutely right. I have had much more success with meditation. The problem is, usually, these pathways that open, they don't stick. I think you're 100% correct.You can really only get to this point of acceptance, enlightenment, whatever the hell you want to call it, by learning and thinking for yourself. By using strategies beyond just eating a bag of mushrooms. It's a shortcut to something that can be much more real if you're willing to put in the time.
posted by Ephelump Jockey at 9:48 PM on November 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


We should have a "stunt thread" one day that is restricted to only folks making posts while on psychoactive substances. Would be classic. Would be buterflies lofting through the concious3l34l88 friewoly willfu743l8&we K#$@888lleeefeereefee
posted by sammyo at 9:53 PM on November 28, 2014 [21 favorites]


It might sprout new links but it might also be that the temporary new links are something of a traffic reroute rather than an increased capacity. My experience is that my verbal acuity [as limited as it is] is seriously diminished. I think Big Beautiful Thoughts but cant express them. You aren't more intelligent but you experience a different [preverbal, more than verbal?] path. At their best hallucinogens cast a parallax.

I have seen people be seriously fucked up and diminished by LSD, MDMA, but rarely psylocybin. I've seen more seriously fucked up via smoked cocaine and meth and still more via injected cocaine and heroin. I have no experience with Ketamine.

Be careful when experimenting on yourself is what I'm saying.
posted by vapidave at 10:05 PM on November 28, 2014 [10 favorites]


The problem with mushrooms, and LSD, is that they are vasoconstrictors, and whenever you excite neural tissue at the same time you cut off its blood supply you kill some of those cells.

Which means that shrooms and LSD both tend to diminish and ultimately destroy your capacity to experience the very states of mind they initially evoke.
posted by jamjam at 10:23 PM on November 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


Then it for *sure* wasn't psilocybin.

Nope. You're wrong. It was psylocybin. Just not a lot.
posted by Nevin at 10:35 PM on November 28, 2014


Everything changes the brain, every single moment. My Dad, elderly and blind, once exclaimed to me, mid-conversation,"....you wake up in a brand new world, every day!" I said,"Well, Dad that is exactly how it is." Running a film that never ends, with infinite occurrences ongoing, that's a big program. I venture we humans choose certain paths and pathways seeking relief from the onslaught, but the entire universe is really in motion and all of everything is happening right now. Humans have to maintain a very narrow focus to get anything on the table. Crazy plowing the potato field every now and again makes things seem new again. Humans do this all kinds of ways, meditation, dance, love, hate, thrill sports. I will tell you this though, a friend of mine did not want to look down into space, lying on a meadow one afternoon, I was explaining, "Just because you see it this way, doesn't mean gravity will stop working."
posted by Oyéah at 10:36 PM on November 28, 2014 [14 favorites]


The album cover for Can's Tago Mago is apt.
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 10:39 PM on November 28, 2014 [4 favorites]


I haven't done anything psychedelic in many years, but I can definitely testify that doing it permanently changed my thinking. I am far more open to looking for the beauty in the ordinary than I ever was, because psychedelics showed me that there was such a thing. Also, I learned some things about myself that I likely would not have were it not for LSD and shrooms.

I'm sincerely happy that more research is being undertaken. I also will repeat my request for MDMA on my deathbed, as I can't imagine a more wonderful way to go out.
posted by Sophie1 at 10:40 PM on November 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


We should have a "stunt thread" one day that is restricted to only folks making posts while on psychoactive substances. Would be classic. Would be buterflies lofting through the concious3l34l88 friewoly willfu743l8&we K#$@888lleeefeereefee

This would be fun, and also useful, since anyone incapable of writing a lucid comment on standard-issue hallucinogens* is someone who I'd be wary to trip with. Lucidity doesn't preclude whimsy, of course, but I've found that people who are incapable of even pretending like they're having the same conversation as you are make for dangerous tripmates.

* Barring things like salvia and the like, which reminds me of my favorite stupid drug story: a buddy of mine Kyle tried salvia once, and the friend who offered it to him decided for the sake of ambience to light his room with a single red bulb. So they smoke it up, it does its thing, whatever, cut to a few seconds later and Kyle looks up and thinks he is in literal hell sitting in front of the literal devil on his throne (office chair), and never mind the bit of a beer gut that Ol' Scratch seems to've developed. So, my friend is quite certain that he has died and that his worldly sins number far too many for Heaven to countenance any notion of his admittance there. Wracked with fear and disbelief, voice quivering, he asks the devil: "so this is it?" Meanwhile Kyle's buddy, with the aid of experience, is having a much easier time with it, so he takes Kyle's question as evidence that Kyle is just unimpressed with the whole experience, and he can't help but be a little flippant in tone when he answers "yeah, man, this is it." The effects faded pretty soon after this exchange, but Kyle reported later that he admired the devil's candor about the whole affair.
posted by invitapriore at 10:47 PM on November 28, 2014 [30 favorites]


I was in an ER the nurse asks, "what drugs do you take?" None "OK what meds do you take?" None. "None?" Yeah, none. "What perscriptions do you take?" Uh, none, I keep some ibuprpfen around for migraines which I have rarely, since I know the food triggers." Is something wrong? The nurse says, "I just never hear that for someone your age, most people are on several medications."

See drugs are OK as long as you make the right people rich. Psychedelics counter our Earth unfriendly economic system.
posted by Oyéah at 10:56 PM on November 28, 2014 [7 favorites]


All I'm saying is that before my first mushroom trip I never noticed the trees in Donkey Kong Country's snow levels all have faces
posted by Hoopo at 11:10 PM on November 28, 2014 [9 favorites]


Caffeine is a vasoconstrictor, and a neuro exciter. Its the boa constrictors that worry me.
posted by Oyéah at 11:16 PM on November 28, 2014 [13 favorites]


"We plan to extend our analysis to other 'drugs' dataset like ketamine, LSD, MDMA."

I'll volunteer for DMT, which should be on the list.
posted by juiceCake at 12:11 AM on November 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


That would explain Bill Hicks's third eye.
posted by nicolin at 1:17 AM on November 29, 2014


LSD is definitely a vasoconstrictor but a lot of things are and there's nothing inherently harmful about it. That comment is pretty much nonsense.

Though it's worth noting that some of the superpotent psychedelic research chemicals like DOx or (most infamously) Bromo-Dragonfly are much stronger vasoconstrictors and have caused complications and even death in overdose - unlike the very nontoxic LSD and psilocybin. But the main risk isn't brain damage it's peripheral circulation loss and resulting gangrene.
posted by atoxyl at 1:19 AM on November 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


It's been a while since I've done mushrooms or acid but I recently spent a night in hospital, a night which I spent tripping balls due, I can only assume, to Tramadol and the possible use of ketamine in my anaesthetic cocktail. After an intense 3-hour conversation with myself on subjects including the Scottish enlightenment and the British model of imperialism (benefits of), the similarities and differences between Winston Churchill’s funeral and Jade Goody’s, the differences and similaries between loyalist and republican paramilitaries and whether they’re organised crime families or hate groups, the part virulent white supremacy played in the peace process (citation needed), foot binding and FGM - a critique, and about dozen other topics which I found riveting at the time, many happening at the same time like tabbed browsing, I decided to close the figurative laptop and my eyes, confident that I’d be dead to the world immediately. Instead I was assailed by the most beautiful and terrible visions I've ever (not actually) witnessed - biomorphic tentacles and teeth and unseeing eyes, writhing and coiling kaleidoscopically, bifurcating and unfurling like ferns or fractals, millipede bodies and lamprey mouths, gorging eternally like ouroboros, skins and webs that tore apart in mucid strings like melted mozzarella, all in the most extraordinary delicate palette of pus and puce and pale pinks and with astonishing, shimmering iridescent detail. An enormous yellow shaggy chrysanthemum, each curly petal a thrashing flat worm and, between them, impossibly fine filaments surmounted by tiny winking rubies, swaying in invisible currents. A glitter storm with a blizzard of intense silver foil instead of snowflakes, like sparks or stars, white hot and after a while they pulsed as one and left milky streaks behind like watercolour contrails or manowar tendrils. It was like HR Geiger and David Cronenberg had an unlimited budget to make a breathtakingly beautiful Cyriak video. And as soon as I opened my eyes I was perfectly aware and lucid. But each time I returned, the effect was even more immersive. Eventually I could actually sense motion, as though I were soaring and swaying myself, in the deep amongst the cryptofauna. It was fantastic.
posted by steganographia at 1:35 AM on November 29, 2014 [33 favorites]


I also will repeat my request for MDMA on my deathbed, as I can't imagine a more wonderful way to go out.

I'll be going the James Booker route myself.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:46 AM on November 29, 2014


I knew it.
posted by zardoz at 1:58 AM on November 29, 2014


I would encourage everyone to take psylocibin at least once, when they're in a peaceable mental state, and in a safe space (with access to nature). *not a Dr., and not approved by the FDA*
posted by nikoniko at 2:33 AM on November 29, 2014


I would encourage everyone to take psylocibin at least once

I tried mushrooms once - I threw up fairly promptly and felt like shit for a couple of hours.
I was given Tramadol for my back - I threw up for hours and felt like shit for a horrible day.
I was on morphine after an operation - I threw up constantly for days and prayed for death.

My body sux. I'm sticking to grass.
posted by billiebee at 4:18 AM on November 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


Based on personal experience, I would recommend LSD over mushrooms, only because I've found my experiences far more predictable and potent using acid over shrooms.

There's nothing wrong with taking shortcuts to enlightenment. The goal isn't to become an Enlightened One yourself: it's to recognize what's out there. It's similiar to the way that the state of flow you enter when you play simple video games is identical to the one you'd achieve as a competent jazz musician: being a gamer doesn't make you Miles Davis, but it can be wonderful and thrilling to realize that you might one day feel the same way about your flute or your keyboard the way that you feel about a really good game of Tetris.

Dropping acid made me a permanently happier person. It wasn't a mental rewiring, it was giving me enough distance from my usual self to recognize certain patterns and anxieties and worries that were perpetually catching me up, and which I allowed myself to undergo for no reason beside familiarity. It also gave me a glimpse of a certain kind of existing which, although I'm nowhere near competent enough to attain permanently, has acted as an ongoing landmark that I can use to orient and plan out other parts of the rest of my life. Further trips have proven to be marvelous both for creative and personal insight, although I'm far more excited reading over my notes the second day and putting all my ideas into practice.

Using psychedelics, for me, is a life experience categorizable only alongside such momentous experiences as falling in love, or discovering a great work of art which you can truly call your own. The phrase "mind-expanding" has become untrustworthy and cliche for a lot of people, so allow me to rephrase it as: it doesn't make your brain any bigger, but it helps you see how many more things your mind could be playing with and learning about, some of which are far away, some of which are rethinks of stuff you've learned to take for granted, and some of which is the nature of your thoughts themselves, which it turns out can be understood and practiced and encouraged and developed.
posted by rorgy at 4:56 AM on November 29, 2014 [31 favorites]


I hear this occasionally - that a very small minority of hallucinogen users are permanently damaged from the experience.

People certainly injure themselves while tripping out by doing all kinds of dumb things, but I'm pretty sure that's not what you're talking about. There is a risk of a strong psychedelic drug leading to a psychotic break, which can in some cases mark the start of enduring mental illness. I have seen this happen myself with a friend who took 20 hits of acid, had a psychotic break, ended up in the mental hospital and has since been diagnosed with schizophrenia.

As I understand it, the general consensus among researchers is not that the drugs cause these conditions, however. Rather, a psychedelic experience can be a very stressful one and, for someone with latent mental illness, any sufficiently stressful experience could potentially trigger their first psychotic break.

Other than that, I don't think there are known to be any significant lasting side effects from LSD or psilocybin. Except consciousness expansion.

Oh, and LSD flashbacks aren't real. They were invented as a psychological weapon in the war on drugs.

My desire to take psilocybin is outweighed by my reluctance to risk criminal prosecution for possession of it.

Sounds like a trip to Amsterdam is in order.
posted by 256 at 5:02 AM on November 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


It's been illegal to sell mushrooms in Amsterdam since 2008.
posted by billiebee at 5:20 AM on November 29, 2014


But magic truffles are legal, and sold in so-called "smart shops"; it's the same thing as shrooms, but in a different physical form.
posted by Baldons at 5:36 AM on November 29, 2014


LSD flashbacks aren't real. So you're saying those experiences of seeing the trees crawling from time to time ever since the 70s had nothing to do with all the LSD? And how do you know?

At any rate, I love the way people over the decades have always made confident assertions about this stuff. Especially those who insist that taking psychoactive drugs is something everyone should do/no one should do. They're drugs, folks, and even when they're regulated, side effects exist, and human beings tend to react unpredictably to any drug. And though many like myself had nothing but bad experiences, I am agnostic on whether other people should do it. I recommend restraint when recommending--or advocating--the experience.
posted by Peach at 5:37 AM on November 29, 2014 [6 favorites]


a friend has experienced LSD flashbacks, and described it after a long run he had gotten on a bus and while sitting there, the nearby Flatiron mountains in Boulder had turned into tremendous feet. I think he mentioned it can store in fat?
posted by nickggully at 5:54 AM on November 29, 2014


One night I ate stacks of shrooms at a dump of a bar just below Canal and Essex where my friends were DJing electro night. It wasn't long before I was out front with the smokers getting away from that clangor (sorry guys, I loved your DJ nights) and into some really disjointed conversations punctuated by annoying "You okay"s (sorry guys, I know you were worried) and then I saw my yellow cab savior, flew across the street, managed to give my address before subsiding into mumbled discourse until my damn phone, my phone! And it was yet another "You okay" so I said look pal, when the light angels hovering about the Queensboro Bridge stop sharing their halos with me, I'll have me to entertain me, and I sure did. I went home to my Sharpies and drew intricate genitalia and botanical erotica until inspiration hit me: I would write! It was sure to be compelling.

So I opened my laptop, taking great pleasure in the key response, and before closing the lid I wrote just two words:

mushhhyyh hedd

Then I laughed and laughed and laughed.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 6:08 AM on November 29, 2014 [10 favorites]


A society where hallucinogens are illegal is like one where gliding is illegal. Opportunity to harm self + others? Check. No particular obvious need met? Check. Then thou shalt not.

Gliding isn't illegal, but it is something you just don't get to do by going to a gliding shop and leaping off a cliff (well, you can, but if you survive you'll be in hot water). You get a safe introduction, extensive instruction and made part of a community with rules and a duty of care. And, when you're ready, you get to fly away by yourself.

LSD and psilocybin are not as dangerous as gliding but are much easier to partake in, and for lots of reasons obvious to anyone who's done both (*) the analogy is not to be taken too far.

Yet - should just anyone experience hallucinogens? I don't necessarily think so, having seen people have very bad reactions the first time. but if there was a way in that wasn't a matter of finding a cliff and throwing yourself off I'd think that everyone should at least consider it. (I don't know anyone who's had a bad experience on a museum dose, for example, but then I don't know anyone who wasn't already pretty adept who tried.)

My personal experiences were sometimes... interesting... but have changed the way I view the world and myself in ways I've found useful, beautiful, profound and persistent. In all honesty, I could not tell someone else "thou shalt not".


(*) Not, perhaps, at the same time
posted by Devonian at 6:14 AM on November 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


There are so many people who have achieved satori in this thread!
posted by Greg Nog at 6:30 AM on November 29, 2014 [6 favorites]


So you're saying those experiences of seeing the trees crawling from time to time ever since the 70s had nothing to do with all the LSD? And how do you know?

a friend has experienced LSD flashbacks, and described it after a long run he had gotten on a bus and while sitting there, the nearby Flatiron mountains in Boulder had turned into tremendous feet. I think he mentioned it can store in fat?

So, there is a common myth about LSD being stored in fat or spinal fluid and then coming out or "reactivating" when you exercise or are stressed out. This is absolutrely untrue. This has been medically tested and 100% of the LSD is metabolized out of your body within 24 hours.

That said, doing a little google scholar research now, it seems like the flashback thing is less cut and dry. Anyone can experience a short psychedelic episode resulting primarily from existing brain chemistry, but it seems like there is a statistically significant increase in reported spontaneous hallucinogenic episodes among psychedelic drug users. This would suggest some sort of permanent change in the brain.

The skeptic in me still thinks that there is a very good chance this is a priming effect. People have heard of flashbacks, so when a former LSD user works out really hard and the world goes wobbly for a few minutes, they attribute it to an LSD flashback rather than just endorphins. But the science is definitely less clear than I thought.
posted by 256 at 6:38 AM on November 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


I think he mentioned it can store in fat?

I think he was confusing it with cannabanoids, there.
posted by thelonius at 6:42 AM on November 29, 2014


Although even with cannabanoids, it is weeks, not years.
posted by 256 at 6:53 AM on November 29, 2014



The skeptic in me still thinks that there is a very good chance this is a priming effect.


Primed for The Singularity, no doubt!
posted by jeremias at 7:20 AM on November 29, 2014


iimin
posted by kaymac at 7:34 AM on November 29, 2014


Devonian: should just anyone experience hallucinogens? ...if there was a way in that wasn't a matter of finding a cliff and throwing yourself off I'd think that everyone should at least consider it.

Last time I did mushrooms (30 years ago) one of my conclusions was that I and/or everyone should try skydiving. I haven't yet...
posted by sneebler at 7:40 AM on November 29, 2014


Its the boa constrictors that worry me.

Especially the ones that can cross the blood-brain barrier. (Insert image of brain with various neurotransmitters replaced by snakes)
posted by NoraReed at 7:46 AM on November 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


Especially the ones that can cross the blood-brain barrier. (Insert image of brain with various neurotransmitters replaced by snakes)

*ahem* Snakes on a Brain (now starring Samuel L. Jackson)
posted by taltalim at 8:06 AM on November 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


Do shrooms? Fine. Please don't drive while on them, though. RIP, old friend.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 9:33 AM on November 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


I bet these guys love to trip together.
posted by oceanjesse at 9:46 AM on November 29, 2014


Driving on acid requires great concentration, especially in city traffic, mainly because the primary task (rapid and accurate classification of world features as either obstacles or scenery) becomes so interesting in and of itself. Not recommended.

We should have a "stunt thread" one day that is restricted to only folks making posts while on psychoactive substances. Would be classic.

Won't be up for that. The one and only time I attempted to participate in any form of organized group-tripping activity, I found observing the ensuing clash of muddled egos so distressing that I had to take myself off for a swim.

It was a glorious swim. Warm summer afternoon, nude in a huge Murray River billabong under loving redgums. Recommended.
posted by flabdablet at 9:50 AM on November 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Driving on acid is about the most reckless thing that anyone I know has ever done....I was horrified to hear about someone doing that in college.

Jesus, people. Don't do that.
posted by thelonius at 10:01 AM on November 29, 2014 [8 favorites]


Loudon Wainwright III - The Acid Song
posted by Mister Bijou at 10:01 AM on November 29, 2014


> I'll be going the James Booker route myself.

Renal failure?
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:43 AM on November 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


This is where you learn about, "The illusion of control." Massive mindfulness lays out the billionform minutia, soundwaves combing the carpet, every plant on the hillside reacing for its share of the sun, the earth rotating away from the sun below you, who lashes the atmosphere with the last energies of a day. The Earth holds you close, this peaceful closure a birthright many shepards, cowboys and mytics know. The earth is a keeper.
posted by Oyéah at 11:49 AM on November 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


Intense exercise can cause one to see stars and experience visual disturbances. Combine that with past experience with visual disturbances that were far more vivid and "omg flashback." The flashback examples here are nothing but primed brains experiencing reality. Look at the clouds. Trip, look at the clouds. Look at the clouds a year later. You might see more shit.

That the flashback examples presented here come nothing close to the Vietnam War PTSD level stuff parents were warning kids about in the 80s is more indication that not only are flashbacks bullshit but the people who believe in them believe in a watered down lulz version.

The whole world would be a better place if everyone on it who was capable took those gliding lessons. Excellent analogy.
posted by aydeejones at 11:56 AM on November 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I would love to have flashbacks, to re-enter the happiest state I've ever experienced in life. No flashbacks yet :(

My weirdest trip was seeing Black Sabbath on psilocybin. No a "bad trip". The two things just didn't go together.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 11:58 AM on November 29, 2014


Don't forget previous threads about how our brain basically assembles visual frames like a sophisticated graphics card but 90 percent of the information is filled in by the brain. Too lazy to find it. Combine that with the techniques used to eliminate eye wobble distortions. If you don't know about any of this and you don't know flashbacks as they were conceived and described are bullshit but you have tripped once, you are working with a limited toolkit for understanding perception for sure. It's harmless so long as the flashback stories are essentially "whoa-ments" instead of PTSD events.

So the other day I was super tired and staring at a little desk fan. It was blowing air full speed but the blades were moving extremely slowly. But they weren't. Whoa-ment. Everyone has seen a fan blade "stop" briefly as their eyeballs sync up with it, but we're talking a loudly blowing fan with a slowly moving visible blade just barely spinning. Having an understanding of what was going on didn't take any of the magic away.

I'm out of shape and "see stars" a lot when exerting by the way. There's a whole world of "flashback" potential when it comes to fucking with blood pressure. But yeah that first vasoconstrictor comment was way off
posted by aydeejones at 12:03 PM on November 29, 2014


Wishing you a good trip to all of you because a bum one could mean just the opposite.

I hear this occasionally - that a very small minority of hallucinogen users are permanently damaged from the experience. That's why I have never tried hallucinogens. Would be interesting to know if this is true, and if related to the findings of this study.


The thing with mushrooms is that you can harvest 100 identical looking mushrooms from the same spot, 99 of them will give you a pleasant trip but that last one could be 10,000 times stronger and permanently turn you into Syd Barrett
posted by Lanark at 12:12 PM on November 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


The closest I've come to having a bad time on shrooms was the one time that, due to an awful snowstorm that blew in, I wasn't able to wander around and instead was confined to my dumpy student apartment. But it still wasn't a *bad* night.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:26 PM on November 29, 2014


I doubt it cam be proved Mr. Barrett got the scary fictional ten thousanth mushroom. C'mon, the " party like a rockstar" concept, didn't come out of a delicate delving into psychedlia. Oh please He bailed on the scene and took up gardening, and lived an introverted life. Introverts live that way. It is difficult to escape fame. My worry is the only outfit to get research OKs for psylocibin has got to be the government. These days the government with money to burn is the military. I heard there is a huge mycelium on the west side of the Salt Lake Valley. This is huge, taking up many acres along a black airport out there. What a great potential what? Weapon, ground ready for spores in the prevailing downdraft. Myco research, not a day at the beach.

Remember that paranoid web talk about project blue beam. Will we all be high for the great holographic Jesus in the sky?
posted by Oyéah at 12:48 PM on November 29, 2014 [1 favorite]




I doubt it cam be proved Mr. Barrett got the scary fictional ten thousanth mushroom.
I don't know if Syd ever took Mushrooms, I was just using him as a random example of someone badly affected by drugs. The really serious cases end up in an institution.
posted by Lanark at 1:09 PM on November 29, 2014


Try meditating for thirty years.

I would but I fear permanent damage to my ass.
posted by telstar at 1:39 PM on November 29, 2014 [9 favorites]


"Flashbacks" have gotten some renewed medical currency as Hallucinogen persisting perception disorder. This isn't "whoooah holy shit it's all coming back to me" like the flashbacks of legend but a fair number of people report the persistence of trails, flickering patterns, "breathing," sometimes auditory distortions - you know, that kind of stuff - with varying intensity after one or many psychedelic experiences. The going hypothesis I think is a lasting alteration in the behavior of neurons that filter sensory input.

Certain psychonauts have told me "oh you just notice this stuff more after you've tripped man" but I can tell you after my first phase of acid and mushoom use I experienced some visuals that were definitely new - most disconcertingly turning off the bathroom light would set off what seemed like a slow stroboscopic fade into darkness. It was enough to scare me off psychedelics for a few years, but it slowly went away and when I tripped a couple times more recently everything was normal within a couple days.
posted by atoxyl at 2:23 PM on November 29, 2014


There are so many people who have achieved satori in this thread!

To misquote from memory a handful or more of Buddhist teachers: You can either spend years attending to mindfulness and then *bam!* enlightenment hits, or you can have *bam!* enlightenment experience and then you spend years processing and incorporating it into your being. (Common analogy: you can walk through a dense fog long enough that you find yourself soaked to the skin, or you can get hit with a deluge and then figure out how you got wet.) But no matter how satori/kensho/enlightenment happens, unless you spend concentrated, focused attention on it and actually incorporate it into yourself and how you encounter/practice with everything, it's not worth shit.

When people don't manage to incorporate enlightenment with chopping wood and carrying water, you wind up with Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, Adi Da, Yogi Bhajan, Satya Sai Baba, etc. (Seriously, y'all, pls do not purchase the Satya Sai Baba brand nag champa incense and the Yogi brand teas.)
posted by Lexica at 2:45 PM on November 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


You want a drivers license, you have to see consensus reality to a certain prescribed degree. Turning off the bathroom light and perceiving the fade has a broad variation of perceptions. We dampen most of what we see and hear. Some people are acutely attuned, some just rushing through. We have been taught to shut down from the earliest age. We are taught to stay on task, and shut out the whole rest of the room, building, day, street, season. At a first psychedelic event, people are overwhelmed who have been shuttered. It can be horrifying. Other people open up to the all, or even the proximate during attraction. Distraction maybe that is the all coming to take you out of the imposed box. What consciousness is, what we really are, fascinates me. I would say see all that you can tolerate and still be happy.

The last place I would want to find myself is in a lab somewhere. You are your own holy grail, whatever lands you lightly in a beatific respect of the all, that is something good. As TS Eliot would say, "In my end is my beginning."
posted by Oyéah at 3:03 PM on November 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


I still use Sikh meditations, and Buddhist meditatioms, and simply being there at the heart area to quiet my mind. We all wanted something when we sought out teachers, I am grateful for everything, because it is all a part of my makeup, gotta repect the parts department, there is still good stuff in there.
posted by Oyéah at 3:12 PM on November 29, 2014


We should have a "stunt thread" one day that is restricted to only folks making posts while on psychoactive substances. Would be classic.

You mean... Tuesdays?
posted by five fresh fish at 9:58 PM on November 29, 2014


Can Mushrooms Treat Depression?
Psychoactive mushrooms had been in a kind of scientific ghetto ever since they were criminalized in 1968. But now the drug derived from the mushroom, psilocybin, is finally being re-examined for its medical applications... The fact that under the influence of psilocybin the brain temporarily behaves in a new way may be medically significant in treating psychological disorders like depression. “When suffering depression, people get stuck in a spiral of negative thoughts and cannot get out of it,” Dr. Expert said. “One can imagine that breaking any pattern that prevents a ‘proper’ functioning of the brain can be helpful.” Think of it as tripping a breaker or rebooting your computer.

Psilocybin is present in a wide range of mushrooms, especially in the genus Psilocybe, though why it exists in the mushroom is not fully understood. When ingested, psilocybin metabolizes to psilocin, which resembles the chemical structure of serotonin — a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, appetite, sleep, cognitive functions like memory and learning and feelings of pleasure. Psilocin may simulate serotonin, and stimulate serotonin receptors in the brain.

Psilocybin was first synthesized in the late 1950s, by the chemist Albert Hofmann (who also synthesized LSD from a fungus). In the years following its discovery, a number of studies were conducted, on psilocybin’s efficacy in treating alcoholism, as a tool in therapy and as a mechanism by which the terminally ill might better cope with despair. But clinical research into psilocybin became professionally marginalized, and research funding dried up about the same time it entered the mainstream as a recreational drug. Outlawed in 1968, it was swept up in the counterculture panic of the Nixon era and classified as a Schedule 1 drug, like heroin, under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. A Schedule 1 drug means it is considered to have the highest potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use.

It’s taken over four decades for the cultural taboo against psilocybin to relax enough for the drug to be re-examined for its medical applications, though a license to use it in a lab must be approved by the Drug Enforcement Administration and strict, time-consuming protocols must be met to ensure it is used safely. Still, doing this kind of research is no longer guaranteed to tank your career, and a small number of studies have been completed, with more underway, many of them building on the work accomplished by scientists in the 1960s...

Psilocybin could have enormous impact on the lives of many Americans. But at the moment, its Schedule 1 status makes it a difficult drug to study, and only a handful of scientists are engaged in its research. This needs to change. Rescheduling psilocybin won’t make it legal; it will make it easier for research to be conducted, leading to more scientists exploring its potential, while reducing investor concern and allowing for compassionate use provisions.
posted by kliuless at 9:33 AM on November 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


Try meditating for thirty years. It yields more ecstatic and more permanent results.

Yeah, or if you don't have 30 years then try psilocybin since it only takes about 4 hours. Even if it doesn't necessarily stick as well as routine meditation practice it's still a good express ticket for at least temporary transcendental experience.
posted by Liquidwolf at 9:54 AM on November 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


When drugs do work - "LSD and MDMA have long been seen as dangerous party drugs but research suggests they may help people suffering from post-traumatic stress and other illnesses" (prev.)
Rachel Hope is an unlikely ecstasy user. Brought up to be fiercely suspicious of recreational drugs, she now raves about the “party pill”. Abused from infancy, she repeatedly sought professional help in the US. “I spent 15 years in and out of clinics, on and off medications. I tried psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, yoga.” Doctors diagnosed her underlying condition as complex/chronic post-traumatic stress disorder – a state better known among soldiers returning from military conflict. “Whatever I did, it was getting worse. I was desperate,” she says.

But then Hope discovered a network of maverick scientists and doctors challenging the taboos around a number of drugs in small clinical trials. Ecstasy, LSD, psilocybin (the active ingredient in “magic mushrooms”) and cannabis are among the compounds beginning to make a cautious experimental comeback for conditions including trauma, depression, anxiety and pain relief. Hope stumbled across one such trial in South Carolina. It combined psychotherapy with 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine – better known as MDMA or ecstasy. In 2004, she became participant Number Seven.

She was suspicious at first. “I thought MDMA put holes in your brain,” she says. “I’m not uptight but I am a wholegrain, organic kind of person. I was very far away from believing this drug had anything for me.”

But after just two consultations following a small dose of MDMA, Hope felt a radical transformation. “It reduced anxiety, not numbing you but enhancing your awareness, giving you a feeling of connection,” she says. “It lit my head up like a Christmas tree, so I could see every single neurone . . . I could go inside my head, see the wiring and rewire it. It was as if I was born again, as though someone took me out of prison.” In 2012, she took the drug and therapy again as part of a follow-up study. She now considers herself cured.

[...]

For specialists such as David Nutt, professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London, the prejudice against psychoactive compounds has been far more dominant than scientific assessment of the risks and benefits. He cites research pointing to potential uses of MDMA not only for PTSD but also in autism, Parkinson’s disease and recovery of cognitive functions after brain trauma. Other studies suggest applications for psilocybin in the treatment of cluster headaches, obsessive compulsive disorder and depression; and LSD for pain and alcoholism. Yet these drugs have the toughest classification in the UK, stricter than heroin.

Such legal restrictions present researchers with major difficulties in finding funding and covering costs of procurement as well as meeting tight requirements on the drugs’ administration. “It’s beyond surreal,” Nutt says. “The scientific community is scared and ignorant. We are killing people by not allowing access to ecstasy. Half a million kids are taking it every week but scientists are considered criminals for using it in trials. I need taxi receipts to show we’ve delivered the drug to laboratories. It’s as if it’s plutonium.”
[new thread]
posted by kliuless at 8:53 AM on December 1, 2014 [2 favorites]


I have seen this happen myself with a friend who took 20 hits of acid...

I think we've found the problem right there.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:06 PM on December 1, 2014 [1 favorite]




Amusing : The War on Drugs Just Got Even More Vile: Police to Begin Inspecting Your Poop

"While you're at it, could you check for occult blood? I'm over 50."
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:07 AM on December 22, 2014


I wish we'd better knowledge about how psychedelics, especially shrooms and LSD, should be used, like :

Is it a good idea to get really into a new project for a couple days and then spend a day tripping while working on it really intensely? Are there any risks like say training yourself to get distracted if you got distracted while doing this? etc.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:53 PM on December 24, 2014


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