Medicine/Healing

The high road to health : new research on psychedelics shows they are helpful in treating numerous afflictions

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“People are using psychedelics not to drop out of, but to engage with mainstream society.” -Jag Davies (Drug Policy Alliance) A growing number of people are taking psychedelics for healing. Advocates say drugs like LSD, psilocybin, MDMA, DMT, ayahuasca and ketamine provide a kaleidoscopic array of potential applications, from treating eating disorders to helping terminal cancer patients find peace.

Johnson took mushrooms for the first time during a Crosby, Stills & Nash concert in 1983, when he was 16 years old. It was a blast. Colors were more vivid; the air smelled sweeter; the music became transcendent. The experience led to experiments with LSD and Pink Floyd, to equally dazzling effect. “It was just incredible, the way they made me feel,” he said. “Whenever I heard mushrooms or LSD was around, I wanted to get some because they made me feel so good.” At the time, they provided a much-needed respite, he said. Johnson’s childhood in Reno, Nev., had been difficult. As his body grew, his musculature did not develop accordingly, and he became clumsy. He couldn’t keep up with the kids who played sports, rode bicycles and went hunting and fishing, and his physical limitations made him vulnerable to bullying—and more damaging abuse. In the summer of 1974, when he was 7 years old, Johnson was raped multiple times by a 15-year-old boy in his neighborhood, he said. “Unfortunately, when you’re in my position, what you are is prey,” he said. Johnson’s experiences have reverberated throughout his adulthood, manifesting later as anxiety and depression and interweaving with his chronic pain. He describes two kinds of pain—an ache in his bones and another sensation “that feels like being crushed inward from all directions.” To manage both, he wears a patch on his shoulder that time-releases fentanyl, a strong opioid painkiller, and he takes one 64-milligram doses of ketamine twice a day. Ketamine is commonly used for sedation and treating chronic pain, and it also has strong psychedelic effects that make it a sought-after recreational drug. Johnson doesn’t find ketamine to be as beneficial—or as fun—as LSD or psylocybin, but he doesn’t seek out those drugs because they’re illegal. “I’m afraid of the cops,” he said.

Original Article (News Review):
The high road to health New research on psychedelics shows they are helpful in treating numerous afflictions
Artwork Fair Use: Mx. Granger

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