OPEN Foundation

Research

The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge

The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge. Carlos Castaneda. Simon & Schuster. ISBN: 978-0671600419

A mixture of narrative experiences and scholarly analysis, this book describes the effects of three hallucinogenic drugs taken by a graduate student under the supervision of a Yaqui Indian shaman.

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A Really Good Day : How Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage and My Life

A Really Good Day : How Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage and My Life. Ayelet Waldman. Little, Brown Book Group. ISBN: 978-1472152893

A first-hand account of microdosing and its positive effects. Waldman charts her experience over the course of a month and looks into the newest research and policies governing LSD. This book will be interesting for anyone curious about how microdosing LSD can affect daily living.

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How to Change Your Mind: The New Science of Psychedelics

How to Change Your Mind: The New Science of Psychedelics. Michael Pollan. The Penguin Press. ISBN: 9781594204227

A highly accessible and enjoyable read through the history of psychedelic research and use starting in the 1960s up to the present day. Pollan applies his quintessential experiential journalism approach to various psychedelic substances – starting off hesitantly, as he weaves through the research and has several personal experiences, Pollan becomes a measured advocate for the power psychedelics have to change our minds and more.

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The Way of the Psychonaut Vol. 1: Encyclopedia for Inner Journeys

The Way of the Psychonaut Vol. 1: Encyclopedia for Inner Journeys. Stanislav Grof. MAPS. ISBN: 9780998276595

Written in an easy, understandable tone, this comprehensive work is a tour de force works its way through the worlds of psychology and psychotherapy, Holotropic Breathwork, maps of the psyche, birth, sex, and death, psychospiritual rebirth, the roots of trauma, spiritual emergency and transpersonal experiences, karma and reincarnation, higher creativity, great art, and archetypes.

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TIHKAL: The Continuation

TIHKAL: The Continuation. Alexander Shulgin, Ann Shulgin. Transform Press. ISBN: 978-0963009692

In a sequel to PiHKAL, the first part continues the story of the Shulgins’ relationship and the second part provided synthesis information about tryptamines. Shulgin has made the second part freely available on Erowid.org.

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PiHKAL: A Chemical Love Story

PiHKAL: A Chemical Love Story. Alexander Shulgin, Ann Shulgin. Transform Press. ISBN: 978-0963009609

One part fictionalized autobiography of the Shulgin’s relationship and one part chemistry cookbook for a variety of phenethylamines. This book is not easy to get your hands on and while it is considered a classic text, the second part of the part will not be easily accessible to those without knowledge of chemistry. The Shulgin’s were motivated to make the synthesis information of these compounds readily available to protect public access to this information.

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Psychedelic Medicine: The Healing Powers of LSD, MDMA, Psilocybin, and Ayahuasca

PSYCHEDELIC MEDICINE: THE HEALING POWERS OF LSD, MDMA, PSILOCYBIN, AND AYAHUASCA. Dr. Richard Louis Miller. Park Street Press. ISBN: 978-1620556979

Clinical psychologist Dr. Richard Louis Miller discusses what is happening today in psychedelic medicine. Dr. Miller and his contributors explore the ongoing efforts to restore psychedelic therapies to the health field. They also discuss the newly shifting political climate and the push for new research, offering hope for an end to the War on Drugs and a potential renaissance of research into psychedelic medicines around the world.

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Psychedelic studies on depression recruiting subjects in the Netherlands

Several clinical studies into psychedelics-assisted psychotherapy for treatment-resistant depression are currently going on at Dutch universities, and are still recruiting research subjects.
Three Dutch university medical centers – Groningen, Leiden and Utrecht – are participating in the largest research to date using psilocybin-assisted therapy for treatment-resistant depression. This study, a phase IIb dose-ranging study with 216 patients financed by Compass Pathways, is carried out in a number of sites across North America and Europe, including the Netherlands. If successful, it will be followed by phase III studies, paving the way for the use of psilocybin-assisted therapy as a standard treatment against depression.
These three research sites are still recruiting subjects over 18 years of age who will receive either 1mg, 10 mg or 25 mg of psilocybin in a single session following extensive preparation. Full details regarding study design and admission criteria can be found on the web pages of these research sites (Groningen, Leiden, Utrecht).
For this multisite study, Compass was granted Breakthrough Therapy designation by the FDA. The FDA designates a drug as a Breakthrough Therapy if preliminary clinical evidence shows that it may demonstrate substantial improvement over available therapy. This designation is intended to expedite the development and review of drugs for serious or life-threatening conditions, and it entails more intensive FDA guidance on an efficient drug development program.
More recently, the non-profit medical research organisation Usona Institute also obtained Breakthrough Therapy designation, this time for its psilocybin programme for major depressive disorder, an indication that is broader in scope than treatment-resistant depression. Adding the designation of MDMA as Breakthrough Therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder in 2017, this is the third time in as many years that the FDA gives a psychedelic treatment protocol this kind of organisational and administrative booster, feeding the hope of many that regular prescription of psychedelic treatments may be only a few years away.
In another study in the Netherlands, the department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Maastricht University is testing the effect of a single administration of  ‘a naturally occurring psychedelic substance’ on treatment-resistant depression. Previously, the same research team has tested the same compound on healthy volunteers, and the trial is now going into its clinical phase with subjects between 18 and 64 years of age presenting treatment-resistant depression. Full details are available on the Psychopharmacology in Maastricht website.
Elsewhere in Europe, other trials investigating the effects of therapy with psychedelics – mostly psilocybin – on depression, are still recruiting research subjects. In Zurich (Switzerland), dr. Franz Vollenweider’s team is conducting a randomised double-blind placebo-controlled study investigating the effects of psilocybin on major depressive disorder in 60 research subjects. In London, a team at Imperial College’s Centre for Psychedelic Research, led by David Nutt, is testing psilocybin against escitalopram, an SSRI antidepressant, on 50 research subjects with major depression. And also in London, the Centre for Affective Disorders was awarded a large grant from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) in 2017 to investigate the safety, feasibility and efficacy of psilocybin as a treatment for treatment-resistant depression. The Centre is starting recruitment of 60 participants for this randomised, placebo-controlled study, which will be led by Dr James Rucker.

A single inhalation of vapor from dried toad secretion containing 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT) in a naturalistic setting is related to sustained enhancement of satisfaction with life, mindfulness-related capacities, and a decrement of psychopathological symptoms

Abstract

BACKGROUND: 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (hereinafter referred to as 5-MeO-DMT) is a psychedelic substance found in the secretion from the parotoid glands of the Bufo alvarius toad. Inhalation of vapor from toad secretion containing 5-MeO-DMT has become popular in naturalistic settings as a treatment of mental health problems or as a means for spiritual exploration. However, knowledge of the effects of 5-MeO-DMT in humans is limited.
AIMS: The first objective of this study was to assess sub-acute and long-term effects of inhaling vapor from dried toad secretion containing 5-MeO-DMT on affect and cognition. The second objective was to assess whether any changes were associated with the psychedelic experience.
METHODS: Assessments at baseline, within 24 h and 4 weeks following intake, were made in 42 individuals who inhaled vapor from dried toad secretion at several European locations.
RESULTS: Relative to baseline, ratings of satisfaction with life and convergent thinking significantly increased right after intake and were maintained at follow-up 4 weeks later. Ratings of mindfulness also increased over time and reached statistical significance at 4 weeks. Ratings of depression, anxiety, and stress decreased after the session, and reached significance at 4 weeks. Participants that experienced high levels of ego dissolution or oceanic boundlessness during the session displayed higher ratings of satisfaction with life and lower ratings of depression and stress.
CONCLUSION: A single inhalation of vapor from dried toad secretion containing 5-MeO-DMT produces sub-acute and long-term changes in affect and cognition in volunteers. These results warrant exploratory research into therapeutic applications of 5-MeO-DMT.
Uthaug, M. V., Lancelotta, R., van Oorsouw, K., Kuypers, K. P. C., Mason, N., Rak, J., … & Ramaekers, J. G. (2019). A single inhalation of vapor from dried toad secretion containing 5-methoxy-N, N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT) in a naturalistic setting is related to sustained enhancement of satisfaction with life, mindfulness-related capacities, and a decrement of psychopathological symptoms. Psychopharmacology236(9), 2653-2666., https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-019-05236-w
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First Network Meeting for European MDMA Researchers & Therapists

Endegeest CastleIn early December, the first network meeting for European MDMA researchers and therapists was held in scenic Castle Endegeest, near the city of Leiden in the Netherlands.

The meeting was organised by OPEN and the Dutch therapist team responsible for conducting the first Dutch open-label study for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for people suffering from severe PTSD. MAPS provided additional support for this event.
The group consisted of psychologists and psychiatrists from seven countries: Wales, England, Czech Republic, Germany, Israel and Canada besides the Dutch. This was a small and intimate meeting, with the primary aim to build a network of like-minded European MDMA-therapists. Saturday was a day full of lectures, sharing of research plans and objectives, and discussions on therapeutic modalities. Rick Doblin, executive director of MAPS called in from the American West Coast to share what the future holds in terms of clinical trials and regulatory processes, providing an inspirational message of support. The day ended with a screening of the Israeli documentary Trip of Compassion, on the Israeli phase 2 clinical trials for MDMA-assisted treatment for PTSD. One of the therapists involved in the study was present to provide context, to explain what was happening during the session from the therapist’s perspective, and to answer questions from the audience. This powerful document was the highlight of the day for most people.
On the last day, participants were able to undergo a one hour music therapy session, facilitated by a leading specialist, which turned out to be a meaningful and insightful experience for most people. The session provided not only personal insights but also gave the participants specific ideas on the role of music and specific sounds and songs. An impressive testament to the power of music in the right setting.
Finally, the first draft to establish a platform to help coordinate and facilitate MDMA-related research and therapy was well received by participants and will be expanded and presented in the near future.