daniel at psychedelicsf.org
Wed Feb 29 14:13:32 PST 2012
On Feb 29, 2012, at 7:47 AM, Nick Parker wrote:
>> 3) Psychedelics are essentially like loading a hacked firmware into the
>> human brain for several hours, resulting in interesting effects and
>> unconventional thought processes.
> Or like exposing a motherboard to static electricity, sometimes resulting in
> unintended and unpredictable side-effects for years afterward.
Actually, most psychedelics are relatively harmless drugs to the body, as compared to other recreational drugs such as alcohol. The biggest risk factor is that they can trigger latent mental illness, in those genetically predisposed to mental illness.
For instance, LSD's LD50 (the dose at which 50% of the population die) has never been measured in man (since no fatal LSD cases have been recorded), and extrapolated from studies with rats show the effective dose and LD50 are hundreds of times apart, making the drug remarkably non-toxic.
Drug interactions with some types of anti-depressants (MAOIs for instance) can be very hypertensive and should be avoided. SSRIs though, have the opposite effect, making the psychedelic experience more mild (they both act on the same receptors, but in opposite ways- 5HT or serotonin).
As far as fear of neurotoxicity, or brain damage goes, this is just totally a myth. Even government-funded NIDA studies have shown LSD is remarkably safe on the brain.
Flash-backs are by in large a myth as well, though I will say there is a condition known as HPPD which is EXTREMELY rare and usually dissipates quickly if it does occur. HPPD is characterized by a persistent perceptual change (such as halos or auras surrounding objects). It has occurred in a relatively small (way less than 1%) percentage of the population, usually occurs immediately after a psychedelic experience, and usually only lasts a short period of days/weeks (though some HPPD patients have reported the effect lasting many months or even years). HPPD is highly dose-dependant, so starting new psychedelic explorers with a relatively low dose and increasing gradually is an excellent way to identify it early and discontinue.
But I'll just say- Phase I FDA trials establish efficacy and safety of using drugs in humans. The fact that several psychedelic compounds are already past that phase is reassurance to their relative safety. Other psychiatric pharmaceuticals are far far scarier compounds as far as I'm concerned, and widely prescribed to millions every day. The psychedelic therapy model would involve one or two psychedelic experiences a year... compared to altering brain chemistry on a daily basis with some scary unknown compounds.
Organizer, Psychedelic Society of San Francisco
daniel at psychedelicsf.org
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