A new documentary titled Dying to Know chronicles the friendship of two twentieth century icons, Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert, aka Ram Dass. Their research at Harvard fifty years ago inspired the psychedelic movement of the 1960s. Producer/Director Gay Dillingham worked with Heffter on a project documenting the use of psilocybin to treat alcoholics. Dying to Know, narrated by Robert Redford, premieres in Bay Area theaters on July 10th.
The Heffter Research Institute is sponsoring another study on psilocybin and mystical experience. Researchers Stephen Ross and Anthony Bossis at the New York University School of Medicine are studying the effects of psilocybin on individuals who lead religious congregations or spiritual communities. The link below is for a flyer that describes the study and gives contact information for people who would be interested in volunteering.
“Leaders from all traditions are invited to volunteer. Participants will receive psilocybin in day-long contemplative sessions conducted by trained, supportive staff in a comfortable, living-room-like setting.”
The Heffter Research Institute is proud to sponsor this year’s International Forum on Consciousness (formerly the BioEthics Forum) held May 7th and 8th on the Madison, WI, campus of the BioPharmaceutical Technology Center. We’ll see you there!
Coordinated by Promega Corporation and the BTC Institute, the International Consciousness Forum promises a lively two days of information-sharing and discussion regarding important – and often challenging – topics related to the exploration of consciousness. As always, the Forum will bring together a wonderful group of presenters. Representative of diverse disciplines, they will share their life experiences and perspectives, this year as related to Conscious Evolution: The Awakening.
A feature article in The Independent profiles a Norwegian married couple and their goal of providing access to quality psychedelics. Clinical psychologist Pål-Ørjan Johansen and his wife Teri Kreb, a research fellow in the Department of Neuroscience at the Norway University of Science and Technology, aim to reform drug policy in the interest of scientific research and human rights. They established a non-profit foundation, EmmaSofia, to manufacture pharmaceutical-grade MDMA and psilocybin.
“Speaking on the website of the organisation the couple founded, Johansen, who has experience in providing treatments for anxiety disorders said: ‘Psychedelics often produce profound experiences while at the same time having a safety risk profile comparable to many activities of daily life, such as riding a bike or playing soccer.’
“Johansen says that through the use of MDMA and magic mushrooms he was able to treat his own alcohol addiction and, in an interview with Newsweek, highlights a study in the American Journal of Psychiatry which supports the idea that psychedelics could be useful in the treatment of heroin addiction.”
The Purdue Exponent, the daily student newspaper of Purdue University, has a feature article on the work of David Nichols, the co-founder and President of the Heffter Research Institute. Staff writer Danielle Wilkinson covers Dr. Nichols’ research on the psychedelic chemicals MDMA (“Ecstasy”) and LSD.
“’We made LSD analogues and derivatives in an attempt to understand why LSD was so potent, and also how it might interact with brain receptors,’ said Nichols. ‘Then as my research evolved, we became more interested in how the various features of the drug molecules engaged different parts of the receptor.’
“He was able to obtain grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to study structural variations of the MDMA molecule by insisting that people who had interactions with the drug couldn’t be treated until they knew how the drugs affected the body.”
The OPEN Foundation, a Dutch organization that supports psychedelic research, published the second part of a special issue in the journal Current Drug Abuse Reviews. Three new articles focus on the use of psychedelics for treating addiction, including an article on the Heffter-supported study on tobacco addiction at Johns Hopkins University. Other article topics include the potential of psychedelics in healthcare and a review of LSD in the treatment of addictions.
Most contemporary research on psychedelic drugs focuses on the treatment of psychological disorders such as depression and PTSD. Now, researchers at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine are investigating the use of the psychedelic (R)-DOI to treat asthma, a disease that affects 25 million Americans.
According to Charles Nichols, Associate Professor of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, “Not only is this a significant breakthrough in the field of study of serotonin and psychiatric drugs, but it is a breakthrough in the field of asthma as well. We have identified an entirely new anti-inflammatory mechanism for the treatment of asthma in the clinic that could someday be administered in an inhaler or a daily pill.”
The New Yorker magazine has a brief but powerful documentary video illustrating their recent article on psychedelic research. The video features cinematographer Eddie Marritz, one of the subjects in the Heffter-sponsored study on psilocybin therapy for cancer patients at New York University.
In an interview on the website of the Open Foundation, Heffter researcher Matthew Johnson discusses many topics in the field of psychedelic science. Dr. Johnson talks with writer Olivier Taymans about his study on psilocybin as a treatment for tobacco addiction, the timeline for legalization of psychedelics for clinical applications, the nature of mystical experiences, advice for people seeking a career in psychedelic research, and other subjects.