Mental Health


Two related stories from Science Daily, the first from May of this year:

A study by researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health suggests that traumatic experiences “biologically embed” themselves in select genes, altering their functions and leading to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“Our findings suggest a new biological model of PTSD in which alteration of genes, induced by a traumatic event, changes a person’s stress response and leads to the disorder,” said Sandro Galea, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health, and principal investigator.

“Identification of the biologic underpinnings of PTSD will be crucial for developing appropriate psychological and/or pharmacological interventions, particularly in the wake of an increasing number of military veterans returning home following recent wars worldwide.”

The findings are published online in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).









For many years the United States government has classified more or less all psychoactive drugs, many of them plants sacred to indigenous peoples around the world, with so-called “hard” drugs, making it extremely difficult for researchers to study their mental health benefits. Graham Hancock has written on this topic extensively, including in his essay “The War on Consciousness” included in the disinformation® anthology You Are STILL Being Lied To, and that issue will be at the heart of his first novel, Entangled, which will be published in the fall. Now the New York Times is reporting that policy may be changing:

As a retired clinical psychologist, Clark Martin was well acquainted with traditional treatments for depression, but his own case seemed untreatable as he struggled through chemotherapy and other grueling regimens for kidney cancer. Counseling seemed futile to him. So did the antidepressant pills he tried.

Nothing had any lasting effect until, at the age of 65, he had his first psychedelic experience. He left his home in Vancouver, Wash., to take part in an experiment at Johns Hopkins medical school involving psilocybin, the psychoactive ingredient found in certain mushrooms.

Scientists are taking a new look at hallucinogens, which became taboo among regulators after enthusiasts like Timothy Leary promoted them in the 1960s with the slogan “Turn on, tune in, drop out.” Now, using rigorous protocols and safeguards, scientists have won permission to study once again the drugs’ potential for treating mental problems and illuminating the nature of consciousness…


William S. BurroughsOn the always fascinating site Letters of Note:

Early 1957, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg travelled to Tangier to join William Burroughs; their mission to assemble and edit Burroughs’ many fragments of work to form a ‘readable’ Naked Lunch manuscript. Kerouac arrived early and, during a break from socialising with Burroughs, the ‘old familiar lunatic’, wrote to Lucien Carr and his wife Francesca in order to update them on the project’s progress. That handwritten letter — essentially a fascinating account of Burroughs’ behaviour in his prime — can be seen [here].

For related material — including other correspondence, manuscript pages and photographs — I very highly recommend visiting Columbia University’s online exhibition, “Naked Lunch”: The First Fifty Years.

Transcript here:

Dear Lucien & Cessa — Writing to you by candlelight from the mysterious Casbah — have a magnificent room overlooking the beach & the bay & the sea & can see Gibraltar — patio to sun on, room maid, $20 a month — feel great but Burroughs has gone insane as, — he keeps saying he’s going to erupt into some unspeakable atrocity such as waving his dingdong at an Embassy part & such or slaughtering an Arab boy to see what his beautiful insides look like …


Eric CantorNow this is one crazy dude. Kevin Spak writes on Newser:

A 33-year-old Philadelphia man has been arrested and charged with making YouTube death threats against Eric Cantor. The video has since been pulled down, but in it Norman Leboon promised that Cantor would “receive my bullets in your office, remember they will be placed in your heads. You and your children are Lucifer’s abominations,” according to Talking Points Memo.

When Google provided the FBI with Leboon’s IP address, they discovered that local police already had a warrant for his arrest for another threatening video. When federal agents visited him Sunday, Leboon said he was the “son of the god of Enoch,” and that he had made over 2,000 threatening videos. He allegedly admitted to making the Cantor video three days earlier, and called Cantor “pure evil.” Another video warns that, as punishment for removing his videos, “all the YouTube employees both men and women will lose their first-born sons.” (see below)


In addition to the piece below from the Washington Post, I have included a video embed from what’s claimed to John Patrick Bedell’s YouTube Channel. The media reports first described him as a right-wing extremist, which has now been modified to him having an “anti-government” ideology.

Ian Shapira writes in the Washington Post:

John Patrick Bedell was an independent-minded and skeptical teenager — bright and questioning, with strongly held opinions, like countless other young people, his brother remembered Saturday.

Bedell, who went by Patrick, had vigorously objected to the government’s role in the 1991 Persian Gulf War since high school, telling relatives that the United States was trying to enrich itself and oil companies, said his brother, 33-year-old Jeffrey Bedell.

But, in about 2002, after the breakup of a long-term relationship with a girlfriend, his skepticism began to turn to deep-rooted suspicion. And soon it became paranoia, his brother said.

Patrick would point skyward, convinced that “they” were watching him. He believed songs he heard on the radio were meant as warnings. Deeply concerned, the Bedell family and close friends tried to seek medical help for him, but Patrick refused, convinced that he was privy to information that warranted his mind-set.



Can smoking marijuana heavily make you psychotic?

Legitimate studies point to marijuana use as a risk factor for developing schizophrenia. Filmmaker Bruce Mohun made The Downside Of High after his pot-smoking nephew descended into severe mental illness.

A person who uses marijuana regularly is twice as likely to become schizophrenic as someone who doesn’t, with those smoking before the age of 16 being four times as likely.

Acknowledgment a link between marijuana and paranoid schizophrenia does not necessarily bolster the argument for prohibition; one could argue that legalizing pot in fact help the problem, by leading to regulation, quality control, standards, and warning labels.