Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Psilocybin and Meditation

I linked to this research a while back (Psilocybin: Help with Depression, Decreased Connectivity) but I thought I'd post another look at it from the Happiness Beyond Thought blog posting "magic mushrooms work like meditation? the latest science."  A bit more of a discussion than my brief intro.

Nitrous Oxide Harm Reduction

With Demi Moore in the news for going to rehab for Nitrous Oxide, or whippets, we begin to see a bit of a horror story spin, emphasizing a couple of deaths out of 12 million users.  I certainly don't want to overly discount any danger, but I think it is irresponsible to use scare tactics while providing zero information about harm reduction, given that people are going to use it.

  1. Take B12 beforehand, no exceptions, sublingual preferred
  2. Take methionine, this may be as important as B12
  3. Take B6 and folic acid as well
  4. Take neuroprotectant substances such as curcumin, carnosine, various polyphenols, and cannabis.
  5. Always breathe in more air than nitrous oxide.  Don't use a tank or any method that could lead to asphyxiation.
  6. Limit it your use of it.  Frankly, in a balanced life, I'm not sure recreational drugs of any kind are justifiable for everyday use.

Friday, March 9, 2012

LSD found successful in treating alcoholics

By way of Kurzweil's Accelerating Intelligence newsletter, a meta-analysis of old LSD studies shows that a "a single dose of LSD had a positive treatment effect that lasted at least six months."  Actual paper here.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Mindfulness useful in Bipolar Disorder

Mindfulness based cognitive therapy improves frontal control in bipolar disorder: a pilot EEG study.  From the conclusion, "these data are the first that show, MBCT in BD improved attentional readiness, and attenuated activation of non-relevant information processing during attentional processes."

More on Openness and Psilocybin

Psilocybin and Personality Change -- What Do Increases in Openness Tell Us About Potential Mechanisms of Action and Therapeutic Applications? seems to be a further exploration of the study Mystical Experiences Occasioned by the Hallucinogen Psilocybin Lead to Increases in the Personality Domain of Openness.

Complex Visual Feedback for EEG Biofeedback

Meditation Wall video EEG biofeedback installation based on software developed by the Global Mind Project.  Reminds me of Bill Scott's BrainPaint software that translates neurofeedback into fractal imagery.  Here's the pitch for BrainPaint.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Psychedelic Trip Guides

A comprehensive listing of Psychedelic Trip Guides, intended to improve one's chances for a positive, spiritual/therapeutic experience and reduce harm by understanding proper set and setting.

My personal simple recommendation would be to lie down and trip with your eyes closed ("lay down and stay down"), and let everything be as it is.  And although it is not commonly mentioned in these guides, having a regular meditation practice prior to tripping can be really helpful.

Lying down and tripping with your eyes closed while listening to appropriate music can be very powerful.  It greatly helps to internalize the experience and makes visuals more apparent.  I first came across this recommendation by way of Stan Grof's book LSD Psychotherapy.  While many will trip exclusively in other contexts, I would strongly suggest you try this some time, or particularly if it is your first time.

Listing of Trip Guides:
  • EntheoGuide (archive.org) aka Meeting the Divine Within by the Guild of Guides
Regarding the use of psychedelic drugs in psychotherapy:
Particularly in the context of tripping at events: