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Psychedelic Press UK

The following article was written by Ido Hartogsohn. He is an Israeli writer and psychedelic activist. His first book ‘Technomystica: Consciousness in the Age of Technology’ was published (Hebrew) in 2009. Hartogsohn is currently writing his Ph.D. on the role of set and setting in the psychedelic research of the 1950s and the 1960s.

Psychedelics and Entheogens are two names for the same group of psychoactive compounds (usually referred to as ‘psychedelics’). These two terms delineate two very different perspectives on the proper way to use these psychoactive compounds.

Psychedelic is a term that was invented by the British psychiatrist Humphry Osmond in 1957, during a correspondence with Aldous Huxley, as the two were trying to find a new designation for the psychopharmacological group of substances which included compounds such as mescaline, LSD, and the psilocybin (found in magic mushrooms). The new name was supposed to replace terms such as…

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Psychedelic Press UK

The following article was written, and published here with the permission of, Ross Heaven.

The Western world is increasingly familiar with ayahuasca, the visionary brew and “plant doctor” of Amazonian shamans, thanks to celebrities like Sting and Madonna who have drunkit and television programmes like Bruce Parry’s Tribe and Amazon,which showed the presenter drinking ayahuasca in the jungles of Peru, during which he experienced, he said, some of the most profound insights of his life. (1)

Scientific studies carried out by Western doctors have also demonstrated the effectiveness of ayahuasca in curing illnesses that orthodox medicine finds it hard to address. Especially impressive is its ability to help people overcome drug and alcohol addictions,with a success rate of 70% through the use of ayahuasca alone. (2)

Less well-known – but no less effective – is another of Peru’s visionary healing plants: San Pedro. Like ayahuasca, it has been drunk…

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Psychedelic Press UK

The following essay has been written by Kevin Murray and is published here with his kind permission. Please find his contact details at the bottom of this article.

Psychotropic drugs and their role in the history of Buddhist practice in the West is a contentious topic, but for many practitioners in the 1960s and 70s, these substances offered formative rites of passage which provided valuable insights into meditative states of consciousness. As these neophyte Buddhists developed commitment and ability in their practice, most abandoned these chemical catalysts, and “today many teachers advise against the path they travelled” (Badiner 17). In this essay, I will examine the influence of certain hallucinogenic and psychotropic substances on the expansion of Buddhism in the West. I contend that the current generation of Buddhist students are steeped in the spiritual myths of the 60s and cannot help but consider their teacher’s awakening via psychotropic substances with…

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A guide for Policy-Makers

 

Decriminalisation or Legalisation?

Decriminalising possession of LSD would mean that to own LSD was no longer a crime. There is the possibility of decriminalisation of possession of small amounts of LSD for only personal use, whilst maintaining laws prohibiting large quantities intended for sale.

The problem with both options is that, by not fully legalising the drug and integrating it into pre-existing models of pharmaceutical manufacture and distribution, the government loses control of both the safety of the product, and the commercial aspects to its sale.

If decriminalised, LSD use may or may not increase: but if it did increase there would be a lot of money to be made from its sale – and it’s better for it to go to the public fund instead of the pockets of ‘unknowns’. Whilst it’s nice to presume that LSD would be made by noble alchemists: if a market developed, large scale criminal organisations would be allowed to seize control of it and that would really not be good.

The NHS Prescription System already deals with hundreds of psycho-active chemicals

…some of which are far far more dangerous than LSD. Many of the drugs the NHS distributes are highly dangerous if used incorrectly, some of them highly addictive, some of them potentially fatal, are we so certain it cannot handle LSD just as it handles Prozac?

The advantage of integrating LSD using this model are many:

1)   The quality and dose of the substance can be carefully controlled, making it safer.
2)    It would be easy to track individual use of LSD for the sake of safety.
3)    Profits could go back into the public purse, instead of either the hands of unknown drug-dealers. Revenues could be used to manage any negative costs of LSD.
4)    Revenues could be used to further scientific research into the drug, its harms and its applications.
5)    Only by integrating LSD with pre-existing models for pharmaceutical distribution (including the NHS) can clinicians gain access to the drug. There are clinical psychologists, highly trained experts, who want to use LSD to help those who are suffering with certain psychological conditions. Legalising instead of merely decriminalising LSD would allow the nation to utilise LSD to it’s best effect according to proven research.

6)    By tightly controlling production, distribution, and supply: it could be ensured that if the new policy on LSD was a failure, it would be easy to regain control of the situation at a later stage.

A good example of this is alcoholism. LSD can treat alcoholism, a condition that costs our nation millions of pounds and thousands of lives every year. Why aren’t we acknowledging this proven fact and utilising the drug to maximum effect?

Important Considerations for Government Policy for the Production of LSD

LSD is such a powerful substance that a single lab can produce enough LSD for not only the United Kingdom, but for the entire world. Some authors have suggested that even in the 70s the CIA could produce the stuff ‘by the tonne’, LSD doses are measured in micrograms.Therefore:

-1 gram is approximately 10,000 doses
– 1 kilogram is 10 million doses
– 1 Tonne is 9 BILLION doses

I would also add that would be a mistake to allow LSD into the hands of the large pharmaceutical companies. Even with adverts banned, such large industries have ways of corrupting policy and, perhaps more importantly, research. If you want accurate research for LSD: leave it to the scientists in universities, not the corporations.

It is our view that it would be best for LSD production to be a nationalised effort, not a private one, for the reasons described above.

Is this still ‘Cognitive Liberty’?

It is a compromise. But living as an individual within society means making compromises. LSD, if abused, can be very harmful, therefore it is ethical to impose a system that allows a certain degree of control, not least of all to ensure the substance is as safe to use as possible.

Ultimately, it would be a great step forward in our fight for Cognitive Liberty. It would end the unjust persecution of current LSD users, who can go to prison for possessing just a couple of tabs. We would be able to use LSD: a drug I know many of you consider to be the sacrament, as our own will and conscience decided.

Taking the Non-Oppositional Stance

It is time to embrace a non-oppositional stance, and I invite the government to do the same. By this we mean: there is no “them and us”, we are all on the same side here, a part of the same one society.

LSD can benefit society, it doesn’t have to be an ‘enemy of the state’.

Aside from the aforementioned applications in the realms of mental health, LSD is an aid to creative minds around the world: just look at your own music collection, look in our many great art museums, in both you will find the fingerprint of LSD. The applications in problem-solving are most promising: architects, city-planners, inventors, investors, engineers, imagine the benefits of utilising this drug for the benefit of society.

It is also vitally important that it is made easier for scientists, psychologists, and researchers to progress our understanding of this most significant chemical.

We would be a nation unique in the world: and we would attract many visitors from other countries who would contribute to our society so as to benefit from our forward-thinking and liberal laws.

This is taking the middle way in ending drug prohibition.

Psychedelic Press UK

The following article has been written by Oliver Genn-Bash, current president of the University of Kent, Canterbury, Psychedelics Society. He can be reached at: ogennbash89@gmail.com

‘A good traveller has no fixed destination, and is not intent on arriving’ – Lao Tzu[1]

Taoist philosophy is extremely interesting when looking at it within the context of the psychedelic experience. Whilst there is largely a consensus regarding the subjectivity of the psychedelic experience there are certain common aspects which seem to permeate the experience from individual to individual, despite the supposed subjective nature of it. Taoism may ultimately provide us with a framework through which to understand the psychedelic experience in a constructive manner, whereby we may be able to examine various seemingly intuitive revelations through a certain lens.

The first point I want to make regards the notion of the self within the psychedelic experience. Losing our sense of self is…

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Psychedelic Press UK

Inspired by surrealists such as Picasso, Dali, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, Tokio Aoyama also channels through his art the essences of peace, ascension and love, embodied by musicians such as Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Wonder and Sun Ra, as well as celebrating the free-spirited nature of artists including Miles Davis, Sly Stone and Basquiat. Tokio’s art is his soul and the philosophy of his life and he has been kind enough to answer some questions for PsypressUK in the run up to his forthcoming exhibition at the Hoxton Gallery in London.

What is it about art that first drew you into becoming an artist?  Furthermore, who and what have been the biggest influences on your art since?

I painted Al Pacino about 12 years ago and that was my first canvas painting with acrylic paints. I remembered how I was struggling with controlling my brush on the canvas, at the…

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