OPEN Foundation

History

SUSTAINABILITY & RECIPROCITY

Art by Aine Design 

We are extremely happy to be able to socialise with all of you soon at ICPR 2022. Yet we are fully aware of multiple ongoing crises right now. Out of care and concern for our living environment and other species, we decided to reduce ICPR’s ecological footprint per person compared to earlier conferences.

We have opted for vegetarian, mostly organic meals, have created a digital conference booklet instead of a printed one, and have dispatched with the tradition of physical swag bags.

We also reduced our oversees marketing, introduced livestream-tickets (including scholarship tickets) and have now started a fundraiser to compensate for the conference’s carbon footprint and to give back to the cultures whose knowledge informs psychedelic science today.


Green fundraiser
To compensate for the travel emissions involved in getting speakers and attendees to Haarlem, we have launched a fundraiser through One Tree Planted. OPEN will ‘plant’ the first few thousand trees, and we hope to triple or quadruple that number with your help. Go to our fundraiser on One Tree Planted to contribute.

One Tree Planted is a non-profit organization focused on global reforestation. Your donation is tax-deductible.

Reciprocity fundraiser
We acknowledge and honor the responsible relationships that indigenous peoples have forged with psychedelic plants over the past centuries. We recognize that the Global North benefits from their knowledge, and we believe that it is critical to support the organizations working to conserve the biocultural communities that have taught – and continue to teach – the rest of the world about how entheogenic plants can benefit individuals and societies. 

Our partners at the Chacruna Institute recently launched the Indigenous Reciprocity Initiative, which we applaud and want to support with a second ICPR fundraiser. Please consider donating if you feel that you have benefited from psychedelics in any way.

The Indigenous Reciprocity Initiative (IRI) is a community-directed biocultural conservation program connecting directly with grassroots Indigenous organizations with the aim of ‘giving back’ to the cultural regions that support indigenous plant use and knowledge. IRI created a pool of funds that supports Indigenous initiatives with a proven track record, addressing a broad range of efforts from food security and environmental health, to economic and educational support.

IRI strives to foster a relationship of reciprocity between the rapidly growing industry generated by the mainstreaming of psychedelics in the Global North, and the Indigenous peoples who have historically received little benefit from the commercialization of their cultural and biological heritage. 

No swag bags, but…
We’re not handing out notepads and swag bags anymore, so we kindly request that all attendees bring their own writing gear. But, of course, we will not let our guests go home entirely empty-handed either! There will be some surprises that do not cause unnecessary garbage.

The Doors of Perception

The Doors of Perception. Aldous Huxley. Vintage Publishing. ISBN: 978-0099458203

In this philosophical essay, released as a book, Huxley details his experience with mescaline over the course of one afternoon. 

Buy this book through bookdepository.com and support the OPEN Foundation

The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on The Tibetan Book of the Dead

The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on The Tibetan Book of the Dead. Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner, and Richard Alpert. Penguin Books. ISBN: 978-0141189635

The authors process the concepts of death and rebirth presented in Tibetan Book of the Dead as a metaphor for the experience of ego death or depersonalization that is commonly experienced under the influence of psychedelic drugs. The book also describes broadening spiritual consciousness through a combination of Tibetan meditation techniques and psychotropic substances.

Buy this book through bookdepository.com and support the OPEN Foundation

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. Tom Wolfe. Transworld Publishers. ISBN: 978-0552993661

Wolfe presents a firsthand account of the experiences of Ken Kesey and his band of Merry Pranksters, who traveled across the US in a colorfully painted school bus became famous for their use of psychedelic drugs such as LSD in order to achieve expansion of their consciousness. This book has long been considered one of the greatest books about the history of the hippie movement.

Buy this book through bookdepository.com and support the OPEN Foundation

LSD, My Problem Child

LSD, My Problem Child. Albert Hofmann. Oxford University Press. ISBN: 978-0198840206

In a highly candid and personal account, the father of LSD details the history of his “problem child” and his long and fruitful career as a research chemist. An essential read for anyone wanting to learn about how LSD originated and Hofmann’s view on its transition to recreational use.

Buy this book through bookdepository.com and support the OPEN Foundation

The Evolved Psychology of Psychedelic Set and Setting: Inferences Regarding the Roles of Shamanism and Entheogenic Ecopsychology

Abstract

This review illustrates the relevance of shamanism and its evolution under effects of psilocybin as a framework for identifying evolved aspects of psychedelic set and setting. Effects of 5HT2 psychedelics on serotonin, stress adaptation, visual systems and personality illustrate adaptive mechanisms through which psychedelics could have enhanced hominin evolution as an environmental factor influencing selection for features of our evolved psychology. Evolutionary psychology perspectives on ritual, shamanism and psychedelics provides bases for inferences regarding psychedelics’ likely roles in hominin evolution as exogenous neurotransmitter sources through their effects in selection for innate dispositions for psychedelic set and setting. Psychedelics stimulate ancient brain structures and innate modular thought modules, especially self-awareness, other awareness, “mind reading,” spatial and visual intelligences. The integration of these innate modules are also core features of shamanism. Cross-cultural research illustrates shamanism is an empirical phenomenon of foraging societies, with its ancient basis in collective hominid displays, ritual alterations of consciousness, and endogenous healing responses. Shamanic practices employed psychedelics and manipulated extrapharmacological effects through stimulation of serotonin and dopamine systems and augmenting processes of the reptilian and paleomammalian brains. Differences between chimpanzee maximal displays and shamanic rituals reveal a zone of proximal development in hominin evolution. The evolution of the mimetic capacity for enactment, dance, music, and imitation provided central capacities underlying shamanic performances. Other chimp-human differences in ritualized behaviors are directly related to psychedelic effects and their integration of innate modular thought processes. Psychedelics and other ritual alterations of consciousness stimulate these and other innate responses such as soul flight and death-and-rebirth experiences. These findings provided bases for making inferences regarding foundations of our evolved set, setting and psychology. Shamanic setting is eminently communal with singing, drumming, dancing and dramatic displays. Innate modular thought structures are prominent features of the set of shamanism, exemplified in animism, animal identities, perceptions of spirits, and psychological incorporation of spirit others. A shamanic-informed psychedelic therapy includes: a preparatory set with practices such as sexual abstinence, fasting and dream incubation; a set derived from innate modular cognitive capacities and their integration expressed in a relational animistic worldview; a focus on internal imagery manifesting a presentational intelligence; and spirit relations involving incorporation of animals as personal powers. Psychedelic research and treatment can adopt this shamanic biogenetic paradigm to optimize set, setting and ritual frameworks to enhance psychedelic effects.

Winkelman M. J. (2021). The Evolved Psychology of Psychedelic Set and Setting: Inferences Regarding the Roles of Shamanism and Entheogenic Ecopsychology. Frontiers in pharmacology, 12, 619890. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2021.619890

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The rise, fall, and possible rise of LSD

Abstract

LSD and other hallucinogens or psychedelics have been therapeutically used in psychiatry in the period between the Second World War and the late 1980s. In the past years renewed interest in the medical sciences for research and therapeutic use of these substances has evolved. AIM: A discussion of contemporary lsd research in the context of earlier research. METHOD: A systematic survey of the literature on the psychiatric use of lsd and the reactions towards lsd use in society. RESULTS: Since 1947 lsd has been therapeutically used in the treatment of anxiety, depression, addiction, post traumatic disorders, and other conditions. Since the early 1960s this use has been criticized because of the danger of evoking psychoses in patients, and because of the rise of a widespread non-medical use. However, there is no consolidated evidence-base for either the positive or the negative outcomes of lsd therapy. CONCLUSION: At this moment it is unpredictable whether lsd will make a comeback in psychiatry. Contemporary research attempts to evade all public controversy and to build up a solid evidence-base. Nevertheless it demonstrates a direct continuity with earlier research.

Snelders, S., & Pieters, T. (2020). The rise, fall, and possible rise of LSD. Tijdschrift Voor Psychiatrie62(8), 707-712.
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The Current Status of Psychedelics in Psychiatry

Abstract

In the 1950s, the Swiss pharmaceutical company Sandoz, which employed the chemist Albert Hofmann, who discovered lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and the similar serotonergic psychedelic psilocybin, made these drugs available to the psychiatric research community as the products Delysid and Indocybin, respectively. By the 1960s, these drugs had caused a revolution in brain science and psychiatry because of their widespread use by researchers and clinicians in many Western countries, especially the US. Before LSD was banned, the US National Institutes of Health funded more than 130 studies exploring its clinical utility, with positive results in a range of disorders but particularly anxiety, depression, and alcoholism. However, the displacement of LSD into recreational use and eventual association with the anti-Vietnam war movement led to all psychedelics being banned in the US. This ban became ratified globally under the 1971 UN Convention on narcotics. Since then, research funding, drug production, and the study of psychedelics as clinical agents has been virtually stopped. Until very recently, no companies would manufacture medical-grade psychedelics, which made getting regulatory approval for clinical research—especially clinical trials—very difficult and in some countries (eg, Germany) impossible.

Nutt, D., & Carhart-Harris, R. (2021). The current status of psychedelics in psychiatry. JAMA psychiatry78(2), 121-122.; 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.2171
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Psilocybin occasioned mystical-type experiences

Abstract

Objective: Research into psychedelic therapy models has shown promise for the treatment of specific psychiatric conditions. Mystical-type experiences occasioned by psilocybin have been correlated with therapeutic benefits and long-term improvements in positive mental outlook and attitudes. This article aims to provide an overview of the topic, highlight strengths and weaknesses in current research, generate novel perspectives and discussion, and consider future avenues for research.

Design: This narrative review was designed to summarise and assess the state of research on psilocybin occasioned mystical-type experiences and applications for the treatment of specific psychiatric conditions.

Results: Contemporary methods on the quantification of mystical-type experiences and their acute subjective effects are discussed. Recent studies provide some understanding of the pharmacological actions of psychedelics although the neurological similarities and differences between spontaneous and psychedelic mystical-type experiences are not well described. Applicability to modern clinical settings is assessed. Potential novel therapeutic applications include use in positive psychology interventions in healthy individuals.

Conclusions: Since 2006 significant advancements in understanding the therapeutic potential of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy have been made; however, more work is required to understand the neuromechanistic processes and applicability in modern clinical settings. Despite promising results in recent studies, funding issues for clinical trials, legal concerns and socio-cultural resistance provide a counterpoint to experimental evidence.

James, E., Robertshaw, T. L., Hoskins, M., & Sessa, B. (2020). Psilocybin occasioned mystical‐type experiences. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental35(5), e2742; 10.1002/hup.2742
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Integrating psychotherapy and psychopharmacology: psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy and other combined treatments

Abstract

Introduction: Combinations of psychotherapy with antidepressants are gold-standard psychiatric treatments. They operate through complex and interactional mechanisms, not unlike the reemergent paradigm of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, which promising research suggests may also be highly effective in even challenging populations.
Areas covered: We review the therapeutic mechanisms behind both conventional and psychedelic paradigms, including the evolution of this knowledge and the associated explanatory frameworks. We explore how psychedelics have provided insights about psychiatric illnesses and treatments over the past decades. We discuss limitations to early explanatory models while highlighting and comparing the psychological and biological mechanisms underlying many psychiatric treatments.
Methods: A narrative review was conducted based on a search in Medline/Pubmed up to January 1st, 2020, and iterative retrieval of references from recent reviews and clinical trials.
Expert opinion: The contextual model of the common factors of psychotherapy provides a powerful perspective on psychotherapy, antidepressants, and psychedelics, as well as 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) and ketamine. It aligns well with key tenets of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy. Conventional antidepressants and especially psychedelics may improve the efficacy of psychotherapy via neurochemical changes and increased environmental sensitivity. Combined treatments hold significant promise for advancing the knowledge and treatment of many forms of psychopathology.

Keywords: Psychedelics; antidepressants; ketamine; ketamine-assisted psychotherapy; lsd; mdma; mdma-assisted psychotherapy; psilocybin; psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy; psychiatry; psychotherapy.
Greenway, K. T., Garel, N., Jerome, L., & Feduccia, A. A. (2020). Integrating psychotherapy and psychopharmacology: psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy and other combined treatments. Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology, 1-15., https://doi.org/10.1080/17512433.2020.1772054
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