This is Your Brain on Acid (Seriously)

Dr. David Nutt on what the first brain imaging study of humans on LSD reveals about mental health and human consciousness.

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The study of psychedelics is "bringing psychotherapy and medicine together," says David Nutt, a neuropsychopharmacologist at Imperial College London and a co-author of the first imaging study looking at the effects of LSD on the human brain. "Drug-assisted psychotherapy is going to be the great advance in the [field in the] next 20 years."

In 2009, Nutt was fired from his job as a drug adviser to the British government after he made comments about ecstasy and other illegal drugs being less dangerous than alcohol and even horseback riding.

Reason's Zach Weissmueller sat down with Nutt at the Psychedelic Science 2017 conference in Oakland to talk about the results of his groundbreaking imaging study, what he learned about drug policy while working as a science adviser for the English government, and what he sees for the future of psychedelics and mental health treatment.

Produced by Zach Weissmueller

Camera by Alex Manning. Additional graphics by Meredith Bragg.

Music by Sergey Cheremisinov.

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This is a rush transcript—check all quotes against the audio for accuracy.

Zach: Hi I'm Zach Weissmueller for Reason. We're here at the Psychedelic Science 2017 conference in Oakland. I'm here with David Nutt. He is the Edmond J. Safra Professor of Neuropsychopharmacology at the Imperial College of London. Thank you very much for joining us Dr. Nutt.

Dr. Nutt: Good to be here.

Zach: You were the chief drug advisor in England. Something happened, could you just tell us that story?

Dr. Nutt: For nine years I was the head of the group that assessed drug harms for the government and over that time we did an enormous amount of research into the comparative harms of drugs. As a result of that I discovered, somewhat to my surprise, that alcohol was actually the most harmful drug in the UK. The drugs that politicians like to get hysterical about like cannabis and MDMA, Ecstasy, are comparably much less harmful. So then I started explaining that to the government saying, "Well, our drug laws are wrong. Actually putting people in prison for cannabis possession is not fair because alcohol is more dangerous." They did not want to hear that. They said, "Stop saying that."

 

Zach: They sacked you for looking at the data and giving your analysis. Isn't that your job as the Drug Advisor of the government?

Dr. Nutt: Well, I thought it was my job, yeah. I thought my job was to evaluate evidence and make recommendations, but they said, "Oh no, no, he's doing more than that. He's trying to change government policy." I said, "I thought that's what all scientists did." If the evidence suggests the policy's wrong then we want to change the policy, once you been sacked you've got no comeback. Although, of course, what did happen was that it brought the whole issue of drug harms and comparative harms in the public domain. There was an enormous outcry and a lot of scientists wrote petitions saying they should reinstate me. I became famous and the whole drug debate went viral. So for the first time we actually had a proper debate. The government shot itself in the head really because it went from drugs being something you didn't talk about to drugs being something everyone wanted to talk about.

Zach: Why was that such a taboo thing to say?

Dr. Nutt: There are some things which you can't have what you might call a balanced debate because everyone has a strong view. Drugs are bad, drugs are bad, War on Drugs, we've got to get rid of drugs. That was our policy the same way it's been American policy. Anyone challenging that was actually really cutting to the heart of the prejudices which underpin the British establishment. And it went right through government. It went certainly through both the right wing and the left wing parties.

Zach: It's my understanding that the US drug policy really drives a lot of policy in other countries. Could you speak to that as someone involved in the European drug policy?

Dr. Nutt: Absolutely. US policy on drugs was basically rolled out across the world through the United Nations. The US said "Jump", we said, "How high sir?" Every single drug policy in Britain was driven to comply with American policy. And I know that, I know there were drugs which were not controlled in Britain, like khat and I know that the US government pushed and pushed and pushed and pushed our government to eventually get khat bound. I managed to hold that back actually until I was sacked. We didn't make it illegal, but eventually they gave in.

Zach: Is the pressure coming through trade deals? Is it the UN? How does that work exactly?

Dr. Nutt: Yeah, well that's a good question because of course there's no pressure. There's nothing public. It's all behind the scenes. A few weeks later you'll hear from the Department of Health, "We don't like the policy on cannabis." "What's changed? Was it the fact that our Prime Minster was talking to George Bush?" It was those sorts of things. It's all off the record. It's just back story political pressure.

Zach: Your first and foremost a drug researcher. You've just completed some very interesting research in conjunction with the Beckley Foundation. It was a brain imaging study in relation to LSD. Could you tell me how that study was structured?

Dr. Nutt: LSD, a fascinating drug. In the 1950's and 60's it was going to solve the world's problems. The National Institute of Health in America funded 140 separate studies on LSD. A thousand papers were published, 40,000 patients, it was the revolutionary drug. Then as soon as it started being used recreationally, it suddenly became the evil drug and it got banned. Since then there's never been a single study of LSD in America and there's never been an imaging study of LSD. As a scientist, as a psychiatrist, a drug that has such profound opportunities to change the way, for instance, people are addicted, seemed to me we must study it. So having done studies with a sort of simpler, less threatening psychedelic, Psilocybin, mushroom juice, we decided it was time to bite the bullet and do the first brain imaging study of LSD.

Zach: So you were quite literally looking at, "This is your brain on drugs" and what is our brain on this particular drug?

Dr. Nutt: Well the good news is no one's brain got fried, but what we saw, we saw effects which were somewhat similar to what we'd seen with Psilocybin, but more profound, which you might expect because LSD has a very profound effect on many aspects of brain function. The key messages are that LSD breaks down the normal structure of brain integration. Our brains are trained over decades to do things exactly the same way as everyone else and exactly the same way everyday, every hour, every minute, every second. Those structures we thought were hardwired, but it turns out they're not hardwired. They can be disrupted by LSD. LSD basically makes the brain much more connected.

Parts of the brain which haven't been allowed to talk to each other for 30, 40 years can talk to each other again, huge amount of crosstalk. We call this the entropic brain or the much more flexible brain. We think that's what underlies the experiences that people have during the trip, even got good evidence for that, but also explains why afterwards people often feel different and better because they've been allowed to … actually the brain's been allowed to work in a slightly different way for the first time, perhaps ever.

Zach: My understanding is that when people were closing their eyes the part of the brain that's associated with vision was actually still active. Could you tell me what you take away from that?

Dr. Nutt: Yeah, so what we showed was that the so-called … the complex visual hallucinations that people say under psychedelics. They close their eyes and they say it's like films going on in front of their eyes even though their eyes are closed. We discovered why that is, it's because normally I close my eyes and there's very little activity in my visual cortex and there's not activity linking the visual cortex to the rest of my brain, but under LSD the visual cortex was connected to every part of the brain. So there was crosstalk and, of course, crosstalk for the visual system is visual talk so that's why you have these fascinating, complex, interesting images.

Zach: If one of the big takeaways from this is that on LSD different parts of the brain that don't usually work together are suddenly somehow connected, what does that mean in practicality, in application? Where does that take us? What questions should we now be asking that we have that information?

Zach: Hi I'm Zach Weissmueller for Reason. We're here at the Psychedelic Science 2017 conference in Oakland. I'm here with David Nutt. He is the Edmond J. Safra Professor of Neuropsychopharmacology at the Imperial College of London. Thank you very much for joining us Dr. Nutt.

Dr. Nutt: Good to be here.

Zach: You were the chief drug advisor in England. Something happened, could you just tell us that story?

Dr. Nutt: For nine years I was the head of the group that assessed drug harms for the government and over that time we did an enormous amount of research into the comparative harms of drugs. As a result of that I discovered, somewhat to my surprise, that alcohol was actually the most harmful drug in the UK. The drugs that politicians like to get hysterical about like cannabis and MDMA, Ecstasy, are comparably much less harmful. So then I started explaining that to the government saying, "Well, our drug laws are wrong. Actually putting people in prison for cannabis possession is not fair because alcohol is more dangerous." They did not want to hear that. They said, "Stop saying that."

Zach: They sacked you for looking at the data and giving your analysis. Isn't that your job as the Drug Advisor of the government?

Dr. Nutt: Well, I thought it was my job, yeah. I thought my job was to evaluate evidence and make recommendations, but they said, "Oh no, no, he's doing more than that. He's trying to change government policy." I said, "I thought that's what all scientists did." If the evidence suggests the policy's wrong then we want to change the policy, once you been sacked you've got no comeback. Although, of course, what did happen was that it brought the whole issue of drug harms and comparative harms in the public domain. There was an enormous outcry and a lot of scientists wrote petitions saying they should reinstate me. I became famous and the whole drug debate went viral. So for the first time we actually had a proper debate. The government shot itself in the head really because it went from drugs being something you didn't talk about to drugs being something everyone wanted to talk about.

Zach: Why was that such a taboo thing to say?

Dr. Nutt: There are some things which you can't have what you might call a balanced debate because everyone has a strong view. Drugs are bad, drugs are bad, War on Drugs, we've got to get rid of drugs. That was our policy the same way it's been American policy. Anyone challenging that was actually really cutting to the heart of the prejudices which underpin the British establishment. And it went right through government. It went certainly through both the right wing and the left wing parties.

Zach: It's my understanding that the US drug policy really drives a lot of policy in other countries. Could you speak to that as someone involved in the European drug policy?

Dr. Nutt: Absolutely. US policy on drugs was basically rolled out across the world through the United Nations. The US said "Jump", we said, "How high sir?" Every single drug policy in Britain was driven to comply with American policy. And I know that, I know there were drugs which were not controlled in Britain, like khat and I know that the US government pushed and pushed and pushed and pushed our government to eventually get khat bound. I managed to hold that back actually until I was sacked. We didn't make it illegal, but eventually they gave in.

Zach: Is the pressure coming through trade deals? Is it the UN? How does that work exactly?

Dr. Nutt: Yeah, well that's a good question because of course there's no pressure. There's nothing public. It's all behind the scenes. A few weeks later you'll hear from the Department of Health, "We don't like the policy on cannabis." "What's changed? Was it the fact that our Prime Minster was talking to George Bush?" It was those sorts of things. It's all off the record. It's just back story political pressure.

Zach: Your first and foremost a drug researcher. You've just completed some very interesting research in conjunction with the Beckley Foundation. It was a brain imaging study in relation to LSD. Could you tell me how that study was structured?

Dr. Nutt: LSD, a fascinating drug. In the 1950's and 60's it was going to solve the world's problems. The National Institute of Health in America funded 140 separate studies on LSD. A thousand papers were published, 40,000 patients, it was the revolutionary drug. Then as soon as it started being used recreationally, it suddenly became the evil drug and it got banned. Since then there's never been a single study of LSD in America and there's never been an imaging study of LSD. As a scientist, as a psychiatrist, a drug that has such profound opportunities to change the way, for instance, people are addicted, seemed to me we must study it. So having done studies with a sort of simpler, less threatening psychedelic, Psilocybin, mushroom juice, we decided it was time to bite the bullet and do the first brain imaging study of LSD.

Zach: So you were quite literally looking at, "This is your brain on drugs" and what is our brain on this particular drug?

Dr. Nutt: Well the good news is no one's brain got fried, but what we saw, we saw effects which were somewhat similar to what we'd seen with Psilocybin, but more profound, which you might expect because LSD has a very profound effect on many aspects of brain function. The key messages are that LSD breaks down the normal structure of brain integration. Our brains are trained over decades to do things exactly the same way as everyone else and exactly the same way everyday, every hour, every minute, every second. Those structures we thought were hardwired, but it turns out they're not hardwired. They can be disrupted by LSD. LSD basically makes the brain much more connected.

Parts of the brain which haven't been allowed to talk to each other for 30, 40 years can talk to each other again, huge amount of crosstalk. We call this the entropic brain or the much more flexible brain. We think that's what underlies the experiences that people have during the trip, even got good evidence for that, but also explains why afterwards people often feel different and better because they've been allowed to … actually the brain's been allowed to work in a slightly different way for the first time, perhaps ever.

Zach: My understanding is that when people were closing their eyes the part of the brain that's associated with vision was actually still active. Could you tell me what you take away from that?

Dr. Nutt: Yeah, so what we showed was that the so-called … the complex visual hallucinations that people say under psychedelics. They close their eyes and they say it's like films going on in front of their eyes even though their eyes are closed. We discovered why that is, it's because normally I close my eyes and there's very little activity in my visual cortex and there's not activity linking the visual cortex to the rest of my brain, but under LSD the visual cortex was connected to every part of the brain. So there was crosstalk and, of course, crosstalk for the visual system is visual talk so that's why you have these fascinating, complex, interesting images.

Zach: If one of the big takeaways from this is that on LSD different parts of the brain that don't usually work together are suddenly somehow connected, what does that mean in practicality, in application? Where does that take us? What questions should we now be asking that we have that information?

Dr. Nutt: Well, I think what's fascinating about it is it doesn't just explain the psychedelic state, but it also helps us make sense of why drugs like LSD can change the way people behave in the long term. There were six trials in American for LSD to be used to treat alcoholism. In fact, the founder of AA, Bill Wilson, he got his liberation from his alcoholism, the chains that held him to his drink were broken by a psychedelic experience. He became a profound enthusiast for LSD. He pioneered these six trials of using LSD for alcoholism. It works, people are much less likely to relapse back to drinking after they've had a psychedelic experience because they can see there's a world out there which isn't all about the bottle.

Zach: How difficult or easy was it to study this in the first place?

Dr. Nutt: Well, it wasn't easy, but because it was an experiment on normal volunteers it was a lot easier than doing it in patients. So the big challenge then, or now, is to go from these interesting studies in normal volunteers and take them into patients. That becomes a lot more complicated because an experiment is controlled by a different kind of ethics than a medicine.

Zach: At this conference we've heard researchers talk about some potentially promising results using psychedelics to treat things like PTSD, depression, anxiety. Do the brain scans that you did offer any clue as to why psychedelics seem to offer some relief to these kind of conditions?

Dr. Nutt: Psychiatric disorders, say like depression or PTSD, exist because people cannot disengage. They get locked into a form of thinking. Depressed people keep thinking negative thoughts. "I made a mistake. I was a bad mother." "I made a mistake. I was a bad person." They can't disengage those thoughts. PTSD, people can't disengage from the memory and over time those circuits in the brain become completely self-determining. They just go on and on and on, even if the person wants to stop them. And they can't. I think the disruption of circuits, the breaking down of these regimented silos of function of the brain by psychedelics is one explanation as to why people can escape from those underlying disorders.

Zach: Some critics might think why study psychedelics at all? We have pharmaceuticals that treat anxiety, depression, that are specifically designed to help with these disorders. Why open this can of worms and study psychedelics at all?

Dr. Nutt: Yeah, that's a really important question. And the people who are against psychedelics often say that, "We don't need it. We've got good treatments." Well, the truth is we don't have very good treatments. Half of all people who are treated with antidepressants don't respond to the first dose. To get 90% to respond you usually have two or three trials. So there are people who don't respond and never respond so there's an opportunity for them. Disorders like alcoholism response rates are like 10% not 80%. So there's a huge unmet need, that the first thing. Second thing is, these are fundamental states of ordered consciousness. I would argue the greatest goal for science is understanding the human brain. You can understand the human brain if you don't understand how the human brain is different when it's on a psychedelic. To me, this is one of the most fundamental questions.

Zach: Do you think psychedelics could offer a scientific glimpse into the phenomemon of consciousness itself?

Dr. Nutt: The conclusion I've come to from our work is there are at least two forms of consciousness. There's a consciousness which most people talk about when they talk about consciousness, which is whether you're awake or asleep, whether you actually know what you're doing, whether you can actually remember what you're saying, whether you've got self-awareness, that's one consciousness. We know what drives that. That's driven by neurotransmitters called glutamate and GABA. And there's another form of consciousness and this is what psychedelics, psychedelics change the nature consciousness. Not the amount of it, but the content. It's completely different access of brain function. That's driven by serotonin, the serotonin receptors that psychedelics work on. That is fascinating to me. I think that access is actually an access that scientists don't know about because that's not the scientific access. That's the access that artists, creative people work on, your poets, painters. Scientists think very linearly, but this is a nonlinear kind of experiential thinking. We've opened up, I think, the scientific study of things like creativity.

Zach: As you mentioned before, back in the 50s and 60s these were questions that started to be explored and then there was this long period that coincided with The War on Drugs where it was just not explored. Now people are starting to pick these questions back up and again and start asking them again. This conference we're attending right now has been around since 2010. Back then there were only a few scientists actually running studies, you were one of them. Now it seems like it's spread. There's more people, the studies are getting bigger and bigger. Could you give us just a lay of the land? Where is psychedelic science at this moment?

Dr. Nutt: It's entering the mainstream. It's like going to college. It's a freshman, jut getting there in the first term. People seeing it and saying "Well, it's not killing people, it's actually giving us interesting insights into the brain. It may be offering new treatments." The next stage is getting what you might call the mainstream, scientists say. We can progress our science more if we use these drugs. That's going to be the next big hike. Maybe in fours years time we'll see another big expansion. The science here compared with four years ago is it's five times more. Maybe in five years time it will 25 times more.

Zach: Are there any policy changes either here in the United States or in Europe that would enable us to proceed even more quickly?

Dr. Nutt: Oh yes, well, I mean it's still very difficult. We've got to change the regulations. These drugs are all stuck in what's called Schedule I under the UN Conventions under the USA law. We've got to get them out of Schedule I. We've got to get them in Schedule II or any other schedule with allows scientists to work with them without being treated as if they're criminals.

Zach: How would you envision these types of drugs being integrated into society or the medical establishment?

Dr. Nutt: These are the drugs which bring together psychiatry and psychology. These drugs are not drugs you take every day to hold at bay your depression or your anxiety. These are drugs which you use with a psychotherapist to change the way you deal with life and that way you get mastery over your anxiety or depression. So I see these drugs as being enormously powerful ways of bringing psychotherapy and medicine together. That, I think, is going to be a huge element of psychotherapy in the future. It's going to be drug-assisted psychotherapies. It's going to be the great advance in the next 20 years.

Zach: David Nutt, thank you very much for your time.

Dr. Nutt: Thank you.

Zach: For Reason, I'm Zach Weissmueller.

NEXT: Silicon Valley Startup Lets Users Move Money Without Government Interference By Turning Their Phones Into Stand-Alone Banks [Reason Podcast]

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  1. US policy on drugs was basically rolled out across the world through the United Nations. The US said “Jump”, we said, “How high sir?” Every single drug policy in Britain was driven to comply with American policy.

    Time for a Drugxit vote, Limeys.

    1. And Britain doesn’t have a drug policy. It has a drugs policy.

      1. I’m making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life.

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      1. If you can’t ban guns everywhere, then they’ll flow into Chicago from Indiana.

          1. The Drug War and the UN.

            globalism or Globalism?

            Either way, wrong! The correct answer is, of course, slavery (the bad kind, not the kind that didn’t exist).

  2. What I want to see is the research on people’s brains while watching The Big Lebowski.

    I have a feeling it wouldn’t be significantly different than these results.

  3. I can’t believe people listen to this Nutt.

    1. News at 11: Police Bust a Nutt.

  4. Heavy, man! It’s like the universe is just an atom and there’s uh, wow, did you see that wall wiggle?

    1. I saw it dance. You should take a bigger dose next time.

  5. ” Nutt was fired from his job as a drug adviser to the British government after he made comments about ecstasy and other illegal drugs being less dangerous than alcohol and even horseback riding.”

    Sounds like James Dellingpole’s new best friend.

  6. As an amateur (albeit enthusiastic) drug researcher in my younger days, I can attest to the fact that LSD seems to make the brain work a little differently. Whether that’s good or bad kinda depends on how the brain was working beforehand. Albert Einstein’s brain might not benefit from a little random tweaking, a little random tweaking probably couldn’t have hurt Jeffrey Dahmer’s. And given that human beings have been driven to alter their perception of reality since they were monkeys noshing on rotten fruit for a buzz, it’s kind of silly to suggest medical use is the only acceptable form of drug use. Drugs are at least as much fun as driving at some multiple of the speed limit or paying some sweet young thing cash money to do the freaky stuff your wife won’t, and isn’t “because it’s fun” just as good a reason as any?

    1. I would hope no one would ever have to justify their drug use here at H&R. Knock yourself out.

      1. H&R Knock – famous accounting agency.

    2. Yes, “because it’s fun” is plenty of reason. But LSD and other psychedelics do seem to have some interesting therapeutic potential as well.

      I agree that it is important to keep the individual liberty argument central to discussion of drug laws. But it’s also worthwhile to point out the absurdity of the scheduling of certain drugs that do appear to have real uses besides fun.

  7. From personal experience, acid has a strong, physical sensory effect. Tactile effects on the skin – wind, rain especially – are pleasantly enhanced. Nature is enjoyable under LSD. Long bike rides are the best activity.

    Visually, textures are fun to observe. Some intricate images showed movement and a sort of blossoming effect though psychedelic colors look the same as normal. Storm clouds were fantastic to watch.

    Music is unfortunately flat in sound.

    Sex – my libido is completely shot tripping on acid.

    THC is much more pleasurable as all of the previously mentioned are supercharged with the addition of a serious case of the munchies.

    1. Music is unfortunately flat in sound.

      Strange. That has not been my experience at all.

      1. All amphetamine (or similar) type drugs really neutralizes music for me. Makes it sound like I’m listening to an AM transistor radio.

    2. Long bike rides are the best activity

      I personally tried to avoid motorized vehicles of any kind, including bikes. I knew people who could drive on LSD and never figured out how that was possible.

      1. Driving an auto under any influence is impossible for me.

        1. Driving on LSD is scary, but nowhere near as dangerous as driving after 3 cans of malt liquor. Those 3 cans of malt liquor produce revenue for the alcohol lobby, local tax parasites, child-shooting cops, ambulance-chasing lawyers, televangelist panhandlers, bail bondsmen, crooked judges and prohibitionist politicians angling for a hand in the till. As a matter of simple economics, letting people choose LSD instead of malt liquor costs revenue to the operators of a looter kleptocracy even if it reduces danger. The same was discovered of hemp after liquor was relegalized. But this practice of using agents with guns to increase driving fatalities for cartel profits seriously destabilizes the economy. Money flees banks when asset-forfeiture thugs seize accounts, causing liquidity contractions. This mechanism has operated in every single major panic and depression this past century. You should remember the Bush asset-forfeiture collapse if you need something to fear.

    3. Tactile effects on the skin – wind, rain especially – are pleasantly enhanced. Nature is enjoyable under LSD. Long bike rides are the best activity.

      I have it on good authority that a Pi?a Coladas is sufficient for some. Loads of others (myself among them) require no psychedelic assistance to enjoy nature. Even, occasionally, preferring the degree-above-freezing, inch-of-rain-in-an-hour experience intrinsically. The firm knowledge of having survived weather that would’ve killed lesser or simply less-prepared persons can itself induce a sort of high.

  8. OK, this is all very interesting, but why your fascination with substances that do funny stuff with your brains? Shouldn’t you grow out of that at some point? Is Reason stuck in the 1970s?

    As long as you keep pushing this stuff, libertarianism or classical liberalism is doomed in America. While you ponder the wonders of LSD people like Trump get elected.

    1. “As long as you keep pushing this stuff”

      Pushing what stuff?
      You think Reason is pushing for more people to use LSD?

      How about, Reason is pushing for people to do whatever the fuck they want, which could include doing LSD, or not doing LSD?

      1. P.S. The War on Drugs is the single most destructive domestic policy we’ve got cooking.

        1. Modern Prohibition/The War on Drugs is the most destructive, dysfunctional & immoral domestic policy since slavery & Jim Crow. – Retired Police Detective Howard Wooldridge

    2. why your fascination with substances that do funny stuff with your brains?

      Probably something to do with the general human fascination with substances that do funny stuff with your brain.

    3. why your fascination with substances that do funny stuff with your brains?

      I plan to be drinking Canadian whiskey – perhaps the finest drug ever made – well into my 90s, like my great uncle.

    4. Right, because there’s nary a single article about Trump on Reason.

    5. Ask Peter why his fascination with sending Gestapo agents with guns to tell people what stuff is funny, hence Verboten!
      Trump got elected because the Democrat platform says to send DEA agents with guns to shoot young people–just like the Republican platform. Classical Liberalism in Europe is doomed because of Christian National Socialist meddling in individual rights. But in America we have nukes and the Second Amendment, so our rights are protected by Edward Teller, Samuel Colt and the law firm of Smith & Wesson.

  9. Y’all are all going to go blind staring at the sun.

  10. Articles like this are why no one takes libertarians seriously. The psychedelic science conference? Really? Can we all just drop the charade that drug legalization is about alternative medicine and really just a bunch of people who want to (and should be allowed to) get high off their ass? Pretending this has anything to do with medicine just taints every other argument that you make.

    1. Pretending this has anything to do with medicine just taints every other argument that you make.

      Even if it is true?

  11. LSD today, LSD tomorrow, LSD forever!

    1. You have to take a few days off in order to repeat the high.

  12. Glucose from starch, invented in the 1850s, gave rise to a series of prohibition movements to remove brewers and distillers from the ethanol chain. Nothing competes with glucose corn sugar and yeast for making homemade alcohol. Mystical dupes were manipulated to make the laws and the Glucose Trust fattened on sugar shortages during wartime. After prohibition enforcement completely destroyed the national economy, necessitating relegalization of brewing and distilling, those magnates likewise financed Reefer Madness agitprop and paid politicians to legislate against hemp. When Tim Leary used Psylocin and LSD to help folks like Cary Grant to wean off of alcohol and tobacco, the Liquor Trust sensed danger. Like Global Warming today, LSD in the sixties was the Avatar of Satan that would Doom Civilization unless politicians sent men with guns to Save America From the Threat. And so it occurred.

  13. LSD beaks the filters in the brain.

  14. My main acid days were between 1970 and ’73. And it was all 300ug (or more) per dose and pure. Many many millions of folks did the same. It would seem pertinent, in these times of LSD research, to do a study of those of us in that demographic; young, healthy and reasonably normal, and see how we’ve fared. I mean, one of the many scares concerning LSD was its long-term effects. Well, now we have the opportunity to check. And it could prove as important, if not more so, than any current LSD research.

    I had the pleasure of spending a long afternoon with Albert Hofmann and his lovely wife Anita at their Swiss home, back in 2003. He was still quite sharp, even at 97. A sweet man. We met again, briefly, in 2006, at the International LSD Symposium/ Albert’s 100th Birthday Celebration, which was held in Basel. He was frail but still sharp. Great event.

    LSD is a wonderful substance. I understand the desire to use it as an adjunct to spoken therapy for the ill, but that path is fraught with peril, as it significantly impedes the use of LSD by the healthy. Being able to consume it when healthy could eliminate many of the conditions it now benefits, a theory Albert proposed – and one I share.

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