This Week in Psychedelics

How psychedelics can significantly reduce depression in people with an advanced cancer diagnosis; Minnesota prepares for legalization.

April 28, 2023

This Week...

Inverse magazine, a publication that takes a scientific approach to analyzing culture and a cultural approach to talking about science, ran a very interesting piece that explored how psilocybin, LSD, and MDMA can significantly reduce the severity of depression and anxiety in people with advanced cancer diagnoses.

In the article, researchers share a recently completed meta-analysis of five clinical trials examining anxiety and depression symptoms in patients with advanced forms of cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Using Beck’s Depression Inventory, where a score below 10 indicates minimal to no depression and above 30 indicates major depression, they found that taking psychedelic medication alone—specifically LSD, psilocybin, or MDMA—reduced depression scores by six points.

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The Minnesota House passed an omnibus health bill that contains provisions to create a psychedelics task force meant to prepare the state for possible legalization.

The psychedelics legislation that’s advancing through the broader health bill would establish a Psychedelic Medicine Task Force that would be responsible for advising lawmakers on “the legal, medical, and policy issues associated with the legalization of psychedelic medicine in the state.” Check it out:

The Financial Times ran an in-depth piece on the legendary Amanda Feilding, which takes a closer look at the visionary’s success in reforming global drug policy. It’s a fascinating read for anyone with even a hint of interest in psychedelics and drug policy reform.  

You can read the entire article here:

Did You Know?

Did you know that, in an effort to gain inspiration for his writing and to study his own psychological processes, Jean-Paul Sartre used mescaline?

During his mescaline trip, he started seeing various sea creatures like octopi, jellyfish, lobsters, and crabs. When the drug wore off, he continued hallucinating, seeing lobsters and crabs for several years. The creatures were almost always around him, and they followed him wherever he went.

Sartre recalled the experience in a 1971 interview where he said …

“Yeah, after I took Mescaline, I started seeing crabs around me all the time. They followed me in the streets, into class. I got used to them. I would wake up in the morning and say, ‘Good morning, my little ones, how did you sleep?’ I would talk to them all the time. I would say, ‘OK, guys, we’re going to class now, so we have to be still and quiet,’ and they would be there, around my desk, absolutely still, until the bell rang.”

While he knew the crabs weren’t real, he still sought psychoanalysis from Jacques Lacan, who concluded that the crabs were a manifestation of Sartre’s fear of loneliness and becoming alienated from the people around him.

Although Sartre eventually recovered, the crabs he had hallucinated affected his life in a profound way. The experience partially inspired his novel Nausea and crabs became a recurring motif throughout his writings. For example, in his play, The Condemned of Altona, one of the characters claims he is being visited by intelligent crabs from the early 30th century who criticize the horrors committed by humanity in the 20th century.

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