OPEN Foundation

Day: 28 January 2015

Editorial (Thematic Issue: Introduction to ‘Beneficial Effects of Psychedelics with a Special Focus on Addictions’)

Editorial

Introduction to ‘Beneficial Effects of Psychedelics with a Special Focus on Addictions’

We are witnessing a revival of psychedelic research. An increasing number of studies investigating the therapeutic use of psychedelics are currently underway at some of the most renowned universities. Dedicating a second issue of ‘Current Drug Abuse Reviews’ to psychedelics aims to keep up with this blossoming field. With the availability of modern scientific instruments, psychedelic research is once again gaining a firm foothold in academia.

The idea of this special issue originated at the Interdisciplinary Conference on Psychedelic Research, organised by the OPEN Foundation in 2012. OPEN was founded in 2007 in the Netherlands, in order to stimulate and advance scientific research into psychedelics. This special issue of CDAR takes an interdisciplinary approach to the topic of psychedelics and mental health, while maintaining a particular focus on applications of psychedelics in the fields of substance abuse and addiction. This special issue also takes a critical look at some widespread assumptions about psychedelics, introduces new ideas and suggests novel directions for future research.

Kortekaas, R., & Breeksema, J. J. (2015). Introduction to ‘Beneficial Effects of Psychedelics with a Special Focus on Addictions’. Current Drug Abuse Reviews, 7(2), 69-70. https://dx.doi.org/10.2174/1874473708666150120114604

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Articles in this special issue:

Editorial (Thematic Issue: Introduction to ‘Beneficial Effects of Psychedelics with a Special Focus on Addictions’)
Ayahuasca, Psychedelic Studies and Health Sciences: The Politics of Knowledge and Inquiry into an Amazonian Plant Brew
Crisis Intervention Related to the Use of Psychoactive Substances in Recreational Settings – Evaluating the Kosmicare Project at Boom Festival
Psychedelics as Medicines for Substance Abuse Rehabilitation: Evaluating Treatments with LSD, Peyote, Ibogaine and Ayahuasca
A Qualitative Report on the Subjective Experience of Intravenous Psilocybin Administered in an fMRI Environment
Salvinorin A and Related Compounds as Therapeutic Drugs for Psychostimulant-Related Disorders

Editorial (Thematic Issue: Introduction to 'Beneficial Effects of Psychedelics with a Special Focus on Addictions')

Editorial

Introduction to ‘Beneficial Effects of Psychedelics with a Special Focus on Addictions’

We are witnessing a revival of psychedelic research. An increasing number of studies investigating the therapeutic use of psychedelics are currently underway at some of the most renowned universities. Dedicating a second issue of ‘Current Drug Abuse Reviews’ to psychedelics aims to keep up with this blossoming field. With the availability of modern scientific instruments, psychedelic research is once again gaining a firm foothold in academia.

The idea of this special issue originated at the Interdisciplinary Conference on Psychedelic Research, organised by the OPEN Foundation in 2012. OPEN was founded in 2007 in the Netherlands, in order to stimulate and advance scientific research into psychedelics. This special issue of CDAR takes an interdisciplinary approach to the topic of psychedelics and mental health, while maintaining a particular focus on applications of psychedelics in the fields of substance abuse and addiction. This special issue also takes a critical look at some widespread assumptions about psychedelics, introduces new ideas and suggests novel directions for future research.

Kortekaas, R., & Breeksema, J. J. (2015). Introduction to ‘Beneficial Effects of Psychedelics with a Special Focus on Addictions’. Current Drug Abuse Reviews, 7(2), 69-70. https://dx.doi.org/10.2174/1874473708666150120114604

Link to full text

Articles in this special issue:

Editorial (Thematic Issue: Introduction to ‘Beneficial Effects of Psychedelics with a Special Focus on Addictions’)
Ayahuasca, Psychedelic Studies and Health Sciences: The Politics of Knowledge and Inquiry into an Amazonian Plant Brew
Crisis Intervention Related to the Use of Psychoactive Substances in Recreational Settings – Evaluating the Kosmicare Project at Boom Festival
Psychedelics as Medicines for Substance Abuse Rehabilitation: Evaluating Treatments with LSD, Peyote, Ibogaine and Ayahuasca
A Qualitative Report on the Subjective Experience of Intravenous Psilocybin Administered in an fMRI Environment
Salvinorin A and Related Compounds as Therapeutic Drugs for Psychostimulant-Related Disorders

Ayahuasca, Psychedelic Studies and Health Sciences: The Politics of Knowledge and Inquiry into an Amazonian Plant Brew

Abstract

This article offers critical sociological and philosophical reflections on ayahuasca and other psychedelics as objects of research in medicine, health and human sciences. It situates 21st century scientific inquiry on ayahuasca in the broader context of how early modern European social trends and intellectual pursuits translated into new forms of empiricism and experimental philosophy, but later evolved into a form of dogmatism that convenienced the political suppression of academic inquiry into psychedelics. Applying ideas from the field of science and technology studies, we consider how ayahuasca’s myriad ontological representations in the 21st century — for example, plant teacher, traditional medicine, religious sacrament, material commodity, cognitive tool, illicit drug — influence our understanding of it as an object of inquiry. We then explore epistemological issues related to ayahuasca studies, including how the indigenous and mestizo concept of “plant teacher” or the more instrumental notion of psychedelics as “cognitive tools” may impact understanding of knowledge. This leads to questions about whether scientists engaged in ayahuasca research should be expected to have personal experiences with the brew, and how these may be perceived to help or hinder the objectivity of their pursuits. We conclude with some brief reflections on the politics of psychedelic research and impediments to academic knowledge production in the field of psychedelic studies.

Tupper, K. W., & Labate, B. C. (2015). Ayahuasca, Psychedelic Studies and Health Sciences: The Politics of Knowledge and Inquiry into an Amazonian Plant Brew. Current Drug Abuse Reviews, 7(2), 71-80. https://dx.doi.org/10.2174/1874473708666150107155042
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Crisis Intervention Related to the Use of Psychoactive Substances in Recreational Settings – Evaluating the Kosmicare Project at Boom Festival

Abstract

Kosmicare project implements crisis intervention in situations related to the use of psychoactive substances at Boom Festival (Portugal). We present evaluation research that aims to contribute to the transformation of the project into an evidence-based intervention model. It relies on harm reduction and risk minimization principles, crisis intervention models, and Grof’s psychedelic psychotherapy approach for crisis intervention in situations related to unsupervised use of psychedelics. Intervention was expected to produce knowledge about the relation between substance use and mental health impact in reducing potential risk related to the use of psychoactive substances and mental illness, as well as an impact upon target population’s views of themselves, their relationship to substance use, and to life events in general. Research includes data on process and outcome indicators through a mixed methods approach, collected next to a sample of n=176 participants. Sample size varied considerably, however, among different research measures. 52% of Kosmicare visitors reported LSD use. Over 40% also presented multiple drug use. Pre-post mental state evaluation showed statistically significant difference (p<.05) confirming crisis resolution. Crisis episodes that presented no resolution were more often related with mental health outburst episodes, with psychoactive substance use or not. Visitors showed high satisfaction with intervention (n=58) and according to follow-up (n=18) this perception was stable over time. Crisis intervention was experienced as very significant. We discuss limitations and implications of evaluating natural setting based interventions, and the relation between psychoactive substance use and psychopathology. Other data on visitor’s profile and vulnerability to crisis showed inconclusive.

Carvalho, M. C., de Sousa, M. P., Frango, P., Dias, P., Carvalho, J., Rodrigues, M., & Rodrigues, T. (2015). Crisis Intervention Related to the Use of Psychoactive Substances in Recreational Settings-Evaluating the Kosmicare Project at Boom Festival. Current Drug Abuse Reviews, 7(2), 81-100. https://dx.doi.org/10.2174/1874473708666150107115515

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Psychedelics as Medicines for Substance Abuse Rehabilitation: Evaluating Treatments with LSD, Peyote, Ibogaine and Ayahuasca

Abstract

Substances known as psychedelics, hallucinogens and entheogens have been employed in ethnomedical traditions for thousands of years, but after promising uses in the 1950’s and 1960’s they were largely prohibited in medical treatment and human research starting in the 1970’s as part of the fallout from the war on drugs. Nonetheless, there are a number of studies which suggest that these substances have potential applications in the treatment of addictions. While these substances are generally classified as Schedule I, alleging no established medical uses and a high drug abuse potential, there is nonetheless evidence indicating they might be safe and effective tools for short term interventions in addictions treatment. Evidence suggests that the psychedelics have a much greater safety profile than the major addictive drugs, having extremely low levels of mortality, and producing little if any physical dependence. This paper reviews studies evaluating the use of LSD, peyote, ibogaine and ayahuasca in the treatment of dependencies and the possible mechanisms underlying the indications of effectiveness. Evidence suggests that these substances help assist recovery from drug dependency through a variety of therapeutic mechanisms, including a notable “after-glow” effect that in part reflects their action on the serotonin neurotransmitter system. Serotonin has been long recognized as central to the psychedelics’ well-known phenomenological, physical, emotional and cognitive dynamics. These serotonin-based dynamics are directly relevant to treatment of addiction because of depressed serotonin levels found in addict populations, as well as the role of serotonin as a neuromodulators affecting many other neurotransmitter systems.

Winkelman, M. (2015). Psychedelics as Medicines for Substance Abuse Rehabilitation: Evaluating Treatments with LSD, Peyote, Ibogaine and Ayahuasca. Current Drug Abuse Reviews, 7(2), 101-116. https://dx.doi.org/10.2174/1874473708666150107120011

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A Qualitative Report on the Subjective Experience of Intravenous Psilocybin Administered in an fMRI Environment

Abstract

Background: This report documents the phenomenology of the subjective experiences of 15 healthy psychedelic experienced volunteers who were involved in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study that was designed to image the brain effects of intravenous psilocybin.

Methods: The participants underwent a semi-structured interview exploring the effects of psilocybin in the MRI scanner. These interviews were analysed by Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. The resultant data is ordered in a detailed matrix, and presented in this paper.

Results: Nine broad categories of phenomenology were identified in the phenomenological analysis of the experience; perceptual changes including visual, auditory and somatosensory distortions, cognitive changes, changes in mood, effects of memory, spiritual or mystical type experiences, aspects relating to the scanner and research environment, comparisons with other experiences, the intensity and onset of effects, and individual interpretation of the experience.

Discussion: This article documents the phenomenology of psilocybin when given in a novel manner (intravenous injection) and setting (an MRI scanner). The findings of the analysis are consistent with previous published work regarding the subjective effects of psilocybin. There is much scope for further research investigating the phenomena identified in this paper.

Turton, S., Nutt, D. J., & Carhart-Harris, R. L. (2015). A Qualitative Report on the Subjective Experience of Intravenous Psilocybin Administered in an fMRI Environment. Current Drug Abuse Reviews, 7(2), 117-127. https://dx.doi.org/10.2174/1874473708666150107120930
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Salvinorin A and Related Compounds as Therapeutic Drugs for Psychostimulant-Related Disorders

Abstract

Pharmacological treatments are available for alcohol, nicotine, and opioid dependence, and several drugs for cannabis-related disorders are currently under investigation. On the other hand, psychostimulant abuse and dependence lacks pharmacological treatment. Mesolimbic dopaminergic neurons mediate the motivation to use drugs and drug-induced euphoria, and psychostimulants (cocaine, amphetamine, and methamphetamine) produce their effects in these neurons, which may be modulated by the opioid system. Salvinorin A is a κ-opioid receptor agonist extracted from Salvia divinorum, a hallucinogenic plant used in magico-ritual contexts by Mazateca Indians in México. Salvinorin A and its analogues have demonstrated anti-addiction effects in animal models using psychostimulants by attenuating dopamine release, sensitization, and other neurochemical and behavioral alterations associated with acute and prolonged administration of these drugs. The objective of the present article is to present an overview of the preclinical evidence suggesting anti-addictive effects of salvinorin A and its analogues.

dos Santos, R. G., Crippa, J. A., Machado-de-Sousa, J. P., & Hallak, J. E. (2015). Salvinorin A and Related Compounds as Therapeutic Drugs for Psychostimulant-Related Disorders. Current Drug Abuse Reviews, 7(2), 128-132. https://dx.doi.org/10.2174/1874473708666150107122741

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