Studies: Magic Mushrooms Reduce Depression and Anxiety in Cancer Patients

By Kai Kupferschmidt, Science Magazine (republished with special permission)

Psilocybin ("magic") mushrooms.

Psilocybin (“magic”) mushrooms.

Could a psychedelic drug help people who are dying of cancer face their fears? Two long awaited studies suggest that the hallucinogenic compound in magic mushrooms, psilocybin, could do just that. “They are the most rigorous double-blind placebo-controlled trials of a psychedelic drug in the past 50 years,” writes David Nutt, a pharmacologist at Imperial College London who was not involved in the work, in an editorial accompanying the papers.

Both studies, published today in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, combined a psychedelic trip with several sessions of psychotherapy. In one, at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, 51 cancer patients received two doses of the drug 5 weeks apart, one relatively high and one so low that it was unlikely to have any effect. In the second study, at New York University (NYU), 29 cancer patients randomly received either psilocybin or niacin, a compound that mimics some side effects of psilocybin—including a flushed, hot feeling—but without the hallucinogenic properties. Seven weeks later, the patients received the other compound.

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F.D.A. Approves New Phase 3 Studies for Ecstasy as PTSD Treatment

EcstasyThe Food and Drug Administration has given approval to Phase 3 clinical trials of MDMA (ecstasy) for the treatment of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This is the final step before the potential approval of ecstasy as a prescription drug.

The move comes after several successful Phase 2 studies of ecstasy, which included 130 PTSD patients. These were conducted by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). The new research will include at least 230 participants and will also be conducted by MAPS.

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Hunter S. Thompson’s Personal Cannabis Stash Being Cloned For Public Sale

By Ben Guarino, The Associated Press

Hunter S. Thompson’s Personal Cannabis

(Photo: WireImage)

Journalist Hunter S. Thompson, who so memorably wrote about drifting through Las Vegas with a “car full of marijuana and head full of acid,” is destined for immortality of the cannabis variety. Marijuana strains, of the same stuff he enjoyed while he was alive, will be officially labeled with his Gonzo brand. The plants will be cloned or hybridized from six strains that he smoked before his suicide in 2005, according to his widow Anita Thompson.

In June, Anita Thompson obtained the rights to Thompson’s likeness, ownership of the author’s Owl Farm home and control of the “Gonzo” logo, the Aspen Times reported. And the first official Gonzo merchandise under her stewardship? Gonzo-branded marijuana sold in Colorado, where it is legal to purchase retail cannabis from recreational dispensaries.

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President Obama Says Cannabis Should be Legal and Regulated Like Cigarettes and Alcohol

obama

(Photo: Reuters)

For the first time since taking office President Obama has made it clear that he supports legalizing cannabis similar to how the law handles cigarettes and alcohol; allowed but regulated.

The comments came as part of an interview published today by the Rolling Stones. Although Obama states that he doesn’t believe legalizing cannabis will solve the country’s drug issues, he says it’s a much smarter approach than continuing to retain cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug, which puts it alongside dangerous and fatal substances such as heroin.

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Former OxyContin CEO Now Running Medical Cannabis Company in Canada

OxyContinThe former CEO of Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, is now heading one of 36 Canadian companies authorized to grow and sell medical cannabis through the mail.

John Stewart is the co-founder of Emblem, which is legally licensed by the Canadian government to grow and sell cannabis for medical purposes. According to Stewart, his former company, Purdue Pharma, actually did some research into the medical use of cannabis. This is what sparked his interest in the plant; although the company decided not to pursue the medicine, Stewart did.

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Cannabinoids Can Enhance Cartilage Repair, Finds New Study

Cartilage RepairCannabinoids enhance tissue engineering strategies aimed at cartilage repair through a dual function approach, according to a new study published in the journal Pharmaceuticals. The study was published online by the National Institute of Health.

“This review discusses the role of the cannabinoid system in cartilage tissue and endeavors to establish if targeting the cannabinoid system has potential in mesenchymal stem cell based tissue-engineered cartilage repair strategies”, begins the study. “The review discusses the potential of cannabinoids to protect against the degradation of cartilage in inflamed arthritic joints and the influence of cannabinoids on the chondrocyte precursors, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs).

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Study: Cannabinoids May Provide Treatment Option for Sexual Dysfunctions

Sexual DysfunctionsCannabinoids may provide a potential therapeutic target for sexual dysfunctions, according to a study published in the journal Pharmacological Research. The study was published online by the U.S. National Institute of Health.

“The endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is composed of the cannabinoid receptors types 1 and 2 (CB1 and CB2) for marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC)… recently emerged as important modulator of emotional and non-emotional behavior”, begins the study’s abstract. “For centuries, in addition to its recreational actions, several contradictory claims regarding the effects of Cannabis use in sexual functioning and behavior (e.g. aphrodisiac vs anti-aphrodisiac) of both sexes have been accumulated.”

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Those 21 and Older in California can Now Legally Possess and Grow Cannabis

budOn November 8th California voters overwhelming gave approval to Proposition 64 to legalize cannabis. What many people don’t realize is that the provisions in the initiative allowing everyone 21 and older to possess and grow cannabis are now in full effect.

Under the new law, those 21+ can possess and share up to an ounce of cannabis, and up to eight grams of cannabis concentrates. In addition, they can cultivate up to six cannabis plants at a private residence. The initiative also legalizes cannabis retail outlets (supplied by licensed cultivation centers), though they aren’t expected to be open until sometime in 2018.

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Cayman Islands Governor Signs Legislation Legalizing Medical Cannabis Oil

Medical Cannabis OilCayman Islands Governor Helen Kilpatrick has signed legislation into law that legalizes the medical use and distribution of cannabis oil.

The new law allows physicians to prescribe medical cannabis oil (including tinctures) for the treatment of conditions such as epilepsy, cancer and chronic pain. Pharmacies will be allowed to distribute cannabis oil to qualified patients, giving them a means of safe access to their medicine.

In May, Premier Alden McLaughlin called the proposal “a matter of urgency” during a budget address. Parliament approved the measure in October, followed by the bill’s signing this week.

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President Obama Pardons 79 More Drug Offenders

pardonsPresident Obama announced Tuesday that he is granting pardons to 79 more people serving federal prison sentences for nonviolent drug-related crimes.

President Obama has now pardoned 1,023 individuals (342 serving life sentences), more than the past 11 presidents combined.

“He is committed to using his clemency power in ways not seen from any other president in the modern era,”  White House Counsel Neil Eggleston told the media. Eggleston says the commutations are an example of  the United states being a “nation of second chances.”

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