Tag Archives | Drugs

Big Pharma Plays Hide-the-Ball With Data

newsweek big pharmaThe post-Barry Diller/IAC Newsweek is getting back into the business of serious journalism, apparently, with a scathing report on how drug companies are hiding research data that could harm their more dubious drug products:

…The consequences of exclusion or delay of trial data have ranged from frustration to mass fatalities. When one doctor in Italy was diagnosed with bone cancer, he wanted to know whether a stem cell transplant would offer hope of a cure. Four clinical trials had been conducted, but none had been fully published. “Why was I forced to make my decision knowing that information was somewhere but not available?” he wrote in the BMJ. “Was the delay because the results were less exciting than expected?”

The most infamous case of publication bias is a 1980 study in which heart attack patients were split into two groups: One group received a drug called lorcainide, while the other group received a placebo.

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The Elvis Presley Coverup: What America Didn’t Hear About The Death Of The King

Can you believe the quantity of prescription drugs Elvis was taking, as described in this Salon excerpt from Joel Williamson’s book Elvis Presley: A Southern Life:

…Four years later it would be established in court that during the seven and a half months preceding Elvis’s death, from January 1, 1977, to August 16, 1977, Dr. Nichopoulos had written prescriptions for him for at least 8,805 pills, tablets, vials, and injectables. Going back to January 1975, the count was 19,012. The numbers defied belief, but they came from an experienced team of investigators who visited 153 pharmacies and spent 1,090 hours going through 6,570,175 prescriptions and then, with the aid of two secretaries, spent another 1,120 hours organizing the evidence. The drugs included uppers, downers, and powerful painkillers such as Dilaudid, Quaalude, Percodan, Demerol, and cocaine hydrochloride in quantities more appropriate for those terminally ill with cancer. In fact, at about 2:00 a.m.

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Trippy Tales: The History of 8 Hallucinogens

János Csongor Kerekes (CC BY-SA 2.0)

János Csongor Kerekes (CC BY-SA 2.0)

via Live Science:

Humans have been ingesting mind-altering substances for a very long time. Hallucinogen-huffing bowls 2,500 years old have been found on islands in the Lesser Antilles, and traditional cultures from the Americas to Africa use hallucinogenic substances for spiritual purposes. Here are some notable substances that send the mind tripping.

8. LSD

LSD is commonly known as “acid,” but its scientific name is a mouthful: lysergic acid diethylamaide. The drug was first synthesized in 1938 from a chemical called ergotamine. Ergotamine, in turn, is produced by a grain fungus that grow on rye.

LSD was originally produced by a pharmaceutical company under the name Delysid, but it got a bad reputation in the 1950s when the CIA decided to research its effects on mind control. The test subjects of the CIA project MKULTRA proved very difficult to control indeed, and many, like counter-culture writer Ken Kesey, started taking the drug for fun(and for their own form of 1960s enlightenment).

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Erowid, the Encyclopedia of Psychoactives, Approaches Its Third Decade

new 1lluminati (CC BY 2.0)

new 1lluminati (CC BY 2.0)

via Substance.com:

Do you want to know what it feels like to take a new brand of acid? Or what a toxicology test would tell you about the contents of a particular ecstasy tablet? Or what is known about the effects, safety, dosage and other characteristics of almost any legal or illegal psychoactive chemical or plant? Check out Erowid, the oldest, largest and (arguably) most comprehensive, accurate and current database of psychoactive drugs on the Internet. The website, which will celebrate its 20th anniversary next year, informs about 100,000 readers a day.

Many of these folks are students. Some are dedicated members of the so-called psychonaut community—seekers of altered states of consciousness. But being the go-to site for highly credible information about thousands of illegal drugs, Erowid serves the knowledge needs of a wide range of consumers and professionals alike, including scientists, medical researchers, doctors and, perhaps most important, emergency room technicians and physicians.

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Microdosing: The Revolutionary Way of Using Psychedelics

Gregor Dodson (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Gregor Dodson (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Via HighExistence:

Microdosing is taking sub-perceptual doses (6-25 microgram LSD, 0.2-0.5 gram dried mushrooms, 50-75 microgram mescaline HCL) while keeping up with ones daily activities, engaging in extreme sports, appreciating nature or enhancing one’s spiritual practice.

This manner of integrating psychedelics, also known as a psycholytic dose, doesn’t inhibit ego-functioning in the same intense manner as the ‘heroic’ Terence McKenna dose does and is much easier integrated into non-psychedelic activities.

It is known that Albert Hofmann, the first synthesizer of LSD, continued this practice well into his old age while saying “it would have gone on to be used as Ritalin if it hadn’t been so harshly scheduled.”

James Oroc, the author of the amazing book Tryptamine Palace: 5-MeO-DMT and the Sonoran Desert Toad, while writing about the secret affair between psychedelics and extreme sports, says that taking psychedelics at lower doses, the “cognitive functioning, emotional balance, and physical stamina were actually found to be improved.”

For some, this might not come as a surprise, since Hofmann already spoke in a now famous interview that “Lysergic acid diethyl amide (LSD) is related in chemical structure to nicotinic acid diethylamide, known to be an effective analeptic.” (central nervous stimulant.)

But there’s more, as James Oroc eloquently put,

Virtually all athletes who learn to use LSD
 at psycholytic dosages believe that the use of these compounds improves both their stamina and their abilities.

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Guns and Pot: Which States Are Friendly to Both?

venn

via Reason.com [Follow the link to check out the rest of the analysis and a funny “Guns and Dope Party gif”] :

A Reddit user recently posted a graphic called “The Venn Diagram of Cultural Politics,” showing which states allow at least some citizens to use marijuana, which states recognize gay marriages, and which do both. The chart got us wondering: Which places embrace the personal freedoms beloved by the left and the right? Where can you buy both a vibrator and a Big Gulp? Where can a gay couple not just marry but avoid a high sin tax on the cigarettes they smoke after sex? Where can you carry a gun while passing a joint?

The image below tackles that last question. If you include states that have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes only, there are now 24 states that permit pot. There are 42 states where an adult non-felon’s right to carry a concealed gun is either unrestricted or subject only to permissive “shall issue” laws.

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Here’s what happened at the The Psychedelic Society’s launch

(Evan/Flickr)

(Evan/Flickr)

via The Irish Examiner:

This week saw the launch event of The Psychedelic Society, where respected people in the fields of science, activism, drug law and drug welfare came together, to discuss what they feel needs to change and why.

Their argument is that all drugs, not just psychedelic drugs, should be legal. The current legislation doesn’t allow research into the possible medicinal benefits that they may provide and, they say, needlessly criminalises users – a lot of whom are vulnerable already.

Steve Rolles, a senior policy analyst at drug policy think tank Transform, says: “Everyone agrees that the war on drugs is terrible but unless you can provide a convincing view of the future, the debate kind of stalls a bit.”

The Psychedelic Society and its founder, Stephen Reid (above), got together to stop the debate from stalling and there couldn’t have been anyone better to take part than Professor David Nutt, who led the first study using LSD in 50 years.

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Ten Studies That Shook the Addiction World

wir.skyrock

via Substance.com:

Over the past decade, addiction has come out of the shadows and into popular culture as never before. This is a time when the very definition of addiction is hotly contested, and we appear to be a tipping point where the “spiritual” framing of addiction is fast yielding to the “scientific” one. Some of us wonder what has taken so long.

Science rarely progresses in a straight line, and the science of addiction is no exception. Since the mid-1960s, when the approach to substance use disorder began to shake off the dark cloak of moral stigma, the fields of medicine, psychology, neuroscience, sociology and advocacy have, at times, competed and, at other times, collaborated to advance our understanding of the nature, causes, course and, most important, treatment of addiction. As moralism gave way to medicine, so abstinence expanded to include controlled drinking and spontaneous remission. No sooner does one model gain ascendance than cracks appear in its certitudes and it is forced to make room or make way for new thinking.

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Dr. Rick Strassman Sheds Light on the Mysterious, Profound Paradox Hiding Within Us- DMT

Join Dr. Rick Strassman (DMT the Spirit MoleculeDMT and the Soul of Prophecy) and I as we discuss the deeply mysterious, alien-filled inter-dimensional chemical portal that is DMT. 

Via Midwest Real

“DMT is a forcible reminder that there’s a lot more about reality, the universe, ourselves, (and) the biosphere than we imagine.” – Dennis McKenna.

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Within your body, there’s a chemical gateway to another world and it’s called DMT (dimethyltryptamine).

IMG_6098As if that weren’t crazy enough, it’s not just in the human body. In fact, it’s quite commonplace throughout nature. DMT is produced within every mammal and found in thousands of plant species (which indigenous cultures have taken advantage in ceremonies for thousands of years). Why is this compound with such extreme psychedelic capabilities so ubiquitous and what is its practical function? There’s no consensus.

Chemically speaking, DMT is not a complicated substance. In fact, it closely resembles neurotransmitters and essential amino acids that your brain is brimming with.… Read the rest

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This Is Your Brain on Drugs

A Harvard-Northwestern study has found differences between the brains of young adult marijuana smokers and those of nonsmokers. In these composite scans, colors represent the differences — in the shape of the amygdala, top, and nucleus accumbens. Yellow indicates areas that are most different, red the least. Credit The Journal of Neuroscience

A Harvard-Northwestern study has found differences between the brains of young adult marijuana smokers and those of nonsmokers. In these composite scans, colors represent the differences — in the shape of the amygdala, top, and nucleus accumbens. Yellow indicates areas that are most different, red the least. Credit The Journal of Neuroscience

Want to know what your brain looks like when you smoke weed? If so you’re in luck because some scientists at Harvard and Northwestern University have taken photographs of marujuana-affected brain scans and analyzed what happens. Report via the New York Times:

The gray matter of the nucleus accumbens, the walnut-shaped pleasure center of the brain, was glowing like a flame, showing a notable increase in density. “It could mean that there’s some sort of drug learning taking place,” speculated Jodi Gilman, at her computer screen at the Massachusetts General Hospital-Harvard Center for Addiction Medicine. Was the brain adapting to marijuana exposure, rewiring the reward system to demand the drug?

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