Since 2006 (and this is shocking), the use of anti-depressant medication has doubled in the UK. That’s just over 10 years. In America as well there’s been a sharp rise and as well particularly with opioids, initially prescribed by doctors for pain relief which has resulted in the US now having a very serious opioid epidemic. It works like this: A US citizen comes to the doctor complaining of an ache somewhere, so the doctor prescribes them with an opioid-based painkiller such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine and many others. The person uses those drugs for weeks, months and years, gradually becoming addicted to them because opium is highly addictive, but then when their pain has gone away, the doctor will retract the prescription, leaving the person now without the drug they have become addicted to, so they go and buy heroin from the street, because that is their only option to quiet the demon of addiction they have now had inflicted upon them by the US healthcare service. America have basically created the opioid and heroin addiction epidemic in their own country through ignorance and poor handling of these situations. They are strong, dangerous substances and should be treated as such, with careful respect, and yet 100 people a day die from opioids in the US alone, including a number of our beloved celebrities. Their war on drugs is trying to stop things like weed, coke and MDMA from flooding the streets, but the real killers are often the legalised drugs; prescription drugs, alcohol and tobacco. This is also documented in the fascinating book Chasing The Scream by Johann Hari.
But anyway I digress, so back to anti-depressants: Let me clear, these drugs do not work. They may do for a while, but they are merely a sticking glass, they don’t get to the underlying route of the problem of why people are feeling depressed and need the drugs in the first place. They’re just a quick fix, but the problem will most likely return. Its like having a drink to relieve temporary sadness; when you sober up, that feeling will return. So the question is, are we able to use psychedelic drugs to alter our brain chemistry in order to help solve problems like PTSD and depression? Let’s find out –
But first a little history about mushrooms – They are non-toxic, non-addictive, and completely harmless if taken in suitable doses (just don’t overdo it!), which makes them almost unique among drugs, and yet they’re still a schedule 1 substance, which means they’re the most dangerous according to the government. Some people theorise that before humans ever used them, our ape ancestors who we evolved from ate these mushrooms which allowed them to develop the higher level of consciousness that we experience above other animals today.
But their first documented use by humans was in ceremonies thousands of years ago in South America. However, they were then banned after the Spanish invaded, presumably because they did not complement Rioja.
In 1957 they got sent to the US to see if there were any uses for them and by the mid-60’s 40,000 had been successfully treated with them. Then a man called Timothy Leary came along and started what was called the Harvard Psilocybin Project which quickly got them banned as he encouraged people to take them whenever they wanted without precaution which led to him giving psychedelics a bad name.
Then for a few decades there was little talk about them until recently when we have seen a psychedelic renaissance. Therefore this has led to there being a number of recent successful clinical trials being conducted in the past decade around the world in psilocybin helping people with things like depression, which has been reported by publications such as The Independent, The Guardian, The NY Times and Time who said that “Images of patients’ brains revealed changes in brain activity that were associated with marked and lasting reductions in depressive symptoms and participants in the trial reported benefits lasting up to five weeks after treatment”. But we still need more evidence to, as Professor David Nutt said: “Larger studies are needed to see if this positive effect can be reproduced in more patients. But these initial findings are exciting and provide another treatment avenue to explore.” But it is difficult to conduct these further studies because of their currently remaining illegal status.
Last month I went to an event by LDN Talks in Brick Lane regarding one of these studies, “The Therapeutic Potential of Magic Mushrooms” by Dr Rosalind Watts which was a fascinating talk and I would like to share it with you:
So the study took place with 20 people who were suffering from PTSD and depression who were each given a guide and varying doses of magic mushrooms, which contain psilocybin. They then proceeded to ‘trip’ in a carefully controlled environment, with very safe, peaceful music and supportive, sober people around them who act as assigned guides. They were told to expect the unexpected, not to limit themselves, to have an intention with the trip, and to trust themselves, the substance and the people they are with. And most importantly to surrender, and go with it, to trust themselves and be open. It might feel like you’re going mad or dying, but its not real and you will return. The feeling of death sometimes experienced is actually the death of your ego death, which allows your brain to see things in new ways.
The second person who was giving the talk was one of the participants (the other being a moderator) and he described the trip and how it changed his perception of things and emotion. He described facing his father in the trip and being able to reconcile his hateful feelings towards him which had haunted him for so many years. He felt cleansed and free, and most of all happy.
The findings: this is incredible so please read closely: the participants said after the trip that the experience they felt above all was connection to themselves and others. They described their depression as disconnection from the world, other people, emotions, their own body and music, like they were trapped in their own minds, almost like a computer that had glitched. But they said that after that their minds felt reset and reconfigured. They were able to re-arrange their mind, and file and understand information in a new way which they previously had not been able to address fully.
They felt fully connected to their emotions that they could fully feel, and feel connected to the truth within themselves; even sadness and joy from the past which they could now confront. A connection to their truer identities and others was reported as well as family, strangers, all humanity, and indeed animals, all things. They experienced connection to everything, a unified consciousness. Their minds had been liberated, they’d become empathetic, outside themselves, hence the ego death.
They did brain scams on these people whilst they were tripping compared to when they were sober and they could see the transmitters in their brain going crazy, lighting up, connecting.
They were asked the day after how they felt, and most said they felt a bit drained, but not depressed anymore which is exceptional findings. Their social anxiety and depression had almost completely gone. Their over-analysing was gone, and they were able to be present in the current moment, mindful, they were able to enjoy things again and feel calm. They could think about the future in a positive way. What an incredible experience, what incredible findings, and the potential this surely has to help people who need it. This seems as a shortcut to the flow state of meditation. Your default mode gets disabled and you are able to briefly disconnect and get in touch with your true self: break free from the matrix.
As a side note, if you do feel depressed or have PTSD or some other mental affliction please do not try this at home if you have no previous experience because it is a powerful one that means you will likely you’re your fears, and it is not something that should be done lightly or indeed alone!
In 3-6 months these feelings sadly started wearing off, so we really need people to have access to this on a regular basis, legally. What we need is for our governments and for society to recognise the potential for these mind-altering substances in therapy and the world so that we are able to be more caring, responsible and aware individuals. Not really something capitalism encourages though sadly.
So why haven’t they? Why are prescription opioids and anti-depressants flooding our markets, while psychedelics are still a schedule 1 controlled substance? There are two reasons; the first being profit, and that is down to the pharmaceutical companies who have a lot to gain with things remaining as they are; keeping people reliant or hooked like addicts on their prescription medication, sometimes keeping them numb and passive, and keeping them from the truth within themselves. It’s good for business for these people to remain on these drugs, curing people is not. This is also the reason private drug companies withhold or massively jack up the prices of potentially life-saving medicine. The drug companies particularly in America are extremely powerful and influential industries, like the oil and tobacco companies who fund politicians like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in order to ensure they are able to push their agendas through them and keep these drugs legal, and psychedelics illegal, as well as the continuing rape of our planet for resources.
The second reason is fear; the same fear that made our governments ban these substances in the first place. They fear people discovering the truth about society, breaking free from the Matrix, asking questions, not being so easily manipulated and subdued, because this would again threaten their existing way of doing things and the current structures that they have created around us called society. This broken system we call capitalism which teaches people to be greedy and selfish. We need change my friends, you must see it too, you must feel this in your hearts, you know that things are wrong. But they don’t want that, so they tell us these lies about these substances in the hopes that we will stay away and continue to be spoon-fed their mind-numbing drugs, TV and celebrity gossip instead. As John Lennon said “keep you doped with religion, sex and TV”. They are keen on alcohol remaining legal because it is a depressant, leaving people happy and docile, and not questioning things, and tobacco provides a lot of sick people to fund their healthcare system (in the US). Because of the government’s attitude of sweeping the truth under the carpet, there is a fair bit of fear and confusion over psychedelics, mostly spread by old wives tales of people trying to jump out of the window because they think they can fly after taking it, which may be a good story but the vast majority of people who take these drugs are perfectly safe during and return to themselves afterwards safely with a freshly expanded mind.
I sincerely believe that the legalisation of these sorts of drugs will set humanity free in a way that we’ve never truly seen or realised before. We can potentially save the world with them because people would change because the selflessness you experience and ability to look outside yourself whilst tripping stays with you, the connection and empathy with others as you rediscover your true self. I believe it can help us to be caring, compassionate people who will truly feel connected to one another and the world where technology and capitalism has failed so that we can build a world around love, and help to stamp out hate. I hope you will join me.
Thanks for reading,
by Oliver Raymond