How psychedelics can change our world

We’ve all heard of horrific stories of people who we know who have indulged in one recreational drug too many and have gone off the deep end. Horror stories of drug abuse are everywhere. But what if there were substances that could actually help you become a better person?


Before we begin this list, it’s important to note that set, setting, and dosage are of absolute importance in how you use these substances. Set meaning your mind-set, as in, you actually want to become a better person and you’re not planning on using these to summon beelzebub to make you the world’s greatest axe murderer. Setting meaning the physical space that you use them in. It’s unlikely you’ll uncover the profundities of life if you’re in a German anal sex party, you idiot. Go find a safe natural environment with flowers and birdsong, or a room with gentle lighting and Enya-type music. Embrace your inner hippie. Of course, last but not least, dosage. Slamming a whole nursery of magic mushrooms down the hatch is ill advised at the best of times. Take it slow and don’t be a muppet.

Right, now that we’ve gotten all that out of the way…

  1. Peyote – Mescaline

Ancient cultures have been tripping balls on psychoactive substances long before recorded history, and the natives of North, Central, and South America are no different. Also known as San Pedro cactus or Huachuma in some parts of South America, mescaline is essentially an alkaloid derived from a spineless, and particularly nasty tasting cactus. It’s then pounded into an even fouler tasting tea. As they say, medicine isn’t supposed to taste good. The earliest recorded archaeological evidence for mescaline use goes back 3500 years, which was found in the Jaguar temple in Peru.

Modern day ceremonies are often conducted in small groups, typically in a relaxed and safe atmosphere with the participants laid out on mattresses, while the shaman sits in the front of the room and chants, plays drums and bells, and generally acts like how you imagine a hippie would act.

If you can handle the taste, then you’re in for a visionary experience. It tends to provide the user with a deep sense of introspection, cleansing, and a general sense of “don’t-be-a-cunt.” The experience is nowhere near as intense as some of the other ones on this list, and one can quite happily stroll around some pretty gardens and commune with the fairies quite safely, without fear of having a bad trip. It tends to be a quite gentle experience, and provides you with a warm glow on the inside, and helps you to focus on the more positive things in life, and not so much about how badly you want to murder your neighbour’s yappy dog, or Pamela in HR.

However, as always with visionary experiences, these ceremonies are best performed with an experienced shaman, whose job it is to guide you through your warped little mind. So don’t be a silly bugger. If you wish to imbibe and wash away your sins, find a good shaman to help you. Although considered illegal in the U.S., there are some religious organisations, such as the Native American Church, who are legally allowed to swallow this arse-like tasting cactus.

And being the responsible human I am, here are some links. (I personally did this one)

  1. Magic Mushrooms – Psilocybin

Ahh, magic mushrooms. These amazing little fungi have been absolutely championed in recent studies, with conclusive proof that the use of psilocybin actually helps to treat some pretty nasty emotional problems. Johns Hopkins University did a study back in 2006, treating cancer patients with depression and anxiety, and an astounding 80% of the participants showed significant decrease in depressive behaviour, with 60% of them showing signs of cancer remission.

It only makes sense that the mind and body are incredibly interconnected, and your mental well-being seriously affects your health. So stop jerking off to torture porn you sick bastard! Or you may just develop… er… dick cancer. Scientists believe that the drug works by doing the exact opposite of SSRI’s (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors – antidepressants). SSRI’s have a tendency to numb the emotion-response part of the brain, whereas psilocybin actually stimulates it, causing the neurons to fire up and become more responsive. In some cases, people have been able to kick decades-old smoking habits from just one treatment.

The renowned psychonaut and all-time mad genius who-took-a-lot-of-drugs, Terence McKenna even came up with the “Stoned ape theory”, which postulated that a lot of humankind’s more advanced behaviour, such as culture and art, came from our knuckle dragging ancestors accidentally swallowing a shit load of mushrooms and tripping balls, therefore resulting in them becoming more curious and creative about the world around them. Hmm. It’s not totally accepted in scientific circles, but it is a very interesting theory nevertheless.

The mushrooms themselves can be consumed in a variety of ways. From making a tea from it, to consuming them with food, you are only limited by your culinary creativity. Users will typically experience a much deeper introspective mood accompanied with geometric visuals, open or close-eyed, and a great appreciation for Jimi Hendrix. As always, psilocybin is to be consumed in a safe and conducive environment, preferably with someone who is not under the influence that can keep you out of harm’s way, as it is definitely possible to have a bad trip. Dosage on mushrooms is absolutely essential to get right. So don’t be greedy, you fat bastard. Also, sex on mushrooms is awesome. But you didn’t hear that from me.

  1. Ketamine –

Ketamine is probably one of the more misunderstood substances on this list, due to its potential for abuse, and its common medical use as an anaesthetic. To put it simply, Ketamine, or K for short, is one versatile motherfucker of a drug. Vietnam-era medics used to carry it out on the battlefield to help anaesthetize injured soldiers, as it is one of the most easy-to-use anaesthetics that doesn’t cause patients to stop breathing. In fact, even modern day Navy Seals still use it on the battlefield. It’s used in ER wards across the world; it’s also used in veterinary practice, and can even be given to children. It’s also one hell of a popular party drug. I know this, because I once saw a girl snort a fucking metre of a line at a KTV party. Scarred ever since.

More recent findings have shown that it is entirely useful for treating… you guessed it, anxiety and depression. In some clinical trials, people who suffered chronic depression for decades found the worst of their symptoms float away in a matter of hours. K of course is not without its negative side effects. As mentioned earlier, it is also used as a party drug, mostly in China and its surrounding countries, as China produces most of the world’s K supply. Chinese made stuff is not always synonymous with high quality. The potential for recreational abuse, and even death, is definitely there. There have been many cases of already inebriated people snorting football fields of the stuff and promptly dying.

But for the discerning drug user who wants to delve deeper into his or her psyche, and perhaps come to terms with the abuse that they suffered at the hands of evil aunt Jemima as a child, it’s definitely a useful tool. Taken in small doses, one can still go about their day, reading a book, watching a movie, or having a good old wank without the K getting in the way. One can however, overdo it and plunge into what is commonly referred to the K-hole, which is where you get sedated beyond belief and basically get knocked the fuck out.

Taken properly, it can show positive effects within 1-12 hours, whereas conventional SSRI’s (antidepressants) can take weeks to finally kick in. It’s also a great tool for combating pain, with users who used it in conjunction with other painkillers also reporting half as less depression than other people using other combinations of painkillers. Given how America’s opioid epidemic is ravaging the heck out of large swathes of the country, Ketamine could and should be a much better alternative.

  1. LSD

In 1943, Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman became the first person in the world to synthesize and ingest the amazing thing that is LSD (also colloquially named acid), quite by accident. Originally intended for a totally different medical use, Hoffman accidentally ingested some of it when he touched his face after synthesizing it. He went home and felt the effects, to which he assumedly thought to himself, “Let’s have some more of that shit!” Three days later, on a day now known in psychedelic circles as “bicycle day” Hoffman consumed 250 grams of it and peddled his merry way home. Imagine that, the first intentional acid trip in the world.

Since then, LSD has enjoyed a rather prominent position in the world of psychedelics, with mixed results. The CIA once embarked on a project called MKUltra, in which they wanted to see whether it could be used on soldiers to make them ruthless killing machines. Nope. It had the opposite effect instead, with some soldiers developing psychotic episodes, because… well, CIA. Similarly, British armed forces also trialled it, but for differing reasons. They wanted to see if it could be used to incapacitate enemy forces. Well, it worked, because none of the soldiers could do anything but prance about like fairies and climb trees and laugh. Needless to say, the British army most likely didn’t go through with it as the whole exercise was so farcical and totally un-British.

LSD’s true hey-day however was in the late 60’s – early 70’s free-love era, where thousands of young Americans took the amazing mind expanding drug to party and fuck themselves silly, whilst enjoying psychedelic rock music. Think Woodstock. Skip forward to current day, where doctors and scientists are now examining the medical and spiritual health benefits of the drug, and there we have a much more interesting story.

Recent studies have shown that LSD in nearly all cases reduce anxiety and depression, and cause the subject to achieve a much more positive and balanced mental mind state. In addition, alongside psilocybin and mescaline, LSD showed no signs of causing any brain damage at all. We know what you’re thinking; it’d be tempting to slip in some to mum’s tea to get her to chill the fuck out, but don’t do it. There’s still the need for a structured environment, lest your poor mum be subject to a bad trip. But all in all, LSD is still awesome, and is definitely high up there on the list of “good drugs”, so if you want to be a happier, kinder, and less-asshole-y person, consider taking it safely.

  1. MDMA –

MDMA, or “Molly” as it’s known on the streets, is simply put, an amazing drug that really connects you with the empathetic side of your own psyche. Also known as a popular party drug, it’s been successfully used in trials for PTSD sufferers with great success. Out of all the drugs we’ve previously mentioned, this is truly the “talking” drug, where one can sit down with others and really connect without your big fat ego getting in the way.

In fact, it’s been so successful in clinical trials that the FDA have already given the green light for it to go ahead, and be open to the general public. War-torn veterans stricken with PTSD have found hope and salvation in this beautiful little love drug. Combined with psychotherapeutic treatment (in other words, sitting down and talking it out with a shrink), it’s done wonders in bringing down the barriers people put up compared to traditional shrink-talk sessions.

The secret behind its success is the talkative mood people experience while on it, where people can actually talk about past traumas without the emotional baggage and language that typically gets in the way. And seeing how men talk about emotional issues far less than women and are less likely to seek help for mental health issues, it’s probably a key tool in getting men out of their PTSD shells. So there you go, men. Embrace your inner woman and start yapping your hearts out.–mental-health

The YouGov survey, the largest of its kind, polling more than 2,500 people who have had mental health problems, showed 28% of men admitted that they had not sought medical help, compared with 19% of women.

“Frank’s difficulty articulating his inner feelings, especially feelings like hurt or vulnerability—or needs to be held, sexually desired, or admired—is an example of what Levant characterized as normative male alexithymia.”

“Alexithymia is the clinical-sounding term for when someone has a lot of difficulty translating their emotional experience into words. Normative male** alexithymia refers to the fact that traditional masculine role socialization channels many men into ways of being such that their masculine identityconflicts with many emotions they feel and what they feel they are “allowed” to express (i.e., they will be shamed and will feel as if they are “not real men” if they express feelings of vulnerability, dependency needs, weakness, etc.).”

“We are studying whether MDMA-assisted psychotherapy can help heal the psychological and emotional damage caused by sexual assault, war, violent crime, and other traumas. We are also studying MDMA-assisted therapy for autistic adults with social anxiety, and MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for anxiety related to life-threatening illnesses.

As Science reflected, “That an illegal dancefloor drug could become a promising pharmaceutical is another indication that the efforts of a dedicated group of researchers interested in the medicinal properties of mind-altering drugs is paying dividends.”

David Nutt, a neuropsychopharmacologist at Imperial College London, told Science, “This is not a big scientific step … It’s been obvious for 40 years that these drugs are medicines. But it’s a huge step in acceptance.”

  1. Ayahuasca – (Author’s note: This is one I have a lot of personal experience with)

Last, but certainly not least, is the very potent Ayahuasca. A visionary plant medicine that has been in use for hundreds if not thousands of years by Amazonian Indians, this shit is the stuff that will make you see things you really don’t wanna see. Ayahuasca is not for the faint of heart, and is certainly not for everyone. It’s the combination of two powerful plants; the leaves of the Chakruna tree, and the Ayahuasca vine itself, coupled with shamanic healing ceremonies that make this so damn powerful.

Under its influence, most users purge out a lifetime of fear, hate, regret, sadness, and anger. And we do mean purge. Literally. Users can expect to shit explosively, vomit, cry, scream, and laugh. Sometimes all at once. As horrid as all of this sounds, the healing benefits of this medicine are phenomenal, and in some cases have even reversed cancer and numerous other physical and mental maladies. You can expect to see very strong visions. Everyone’s experience is different, but the general consensus is that besides geometric patterns and alien worlds, people commonly see snakes, demons, angels, gods, and all manner of astral forms. Most people also say they experience ego death, feeling as if they’re well and truly fucking dead and just floating in the astral plane.

The scariest thing about this medicine is how innately it knows you. It knows everything about you; sometimes, things that happened as a child that you can’t even remember, the things that moulded you as a person. A lot of people report a kind of telepathic communication without words between them and this spirit realm. Under the guidance of a good shaman, everything is done in accordance with the proper ritual methods, and Icaros, or spirit chants are sung to help guide your sorry ass through ridding yourself of whatever trauma you’ve experienced.

It’s a gruelling process, but a worthy one in the goal to becoming a new and better you. Sadly, with Ayahuasca being considered illegal in America with the exception of certain religious groups, you have to travel to South America to partake. It is highly recommended that you do extensive research to do this safely, and a recommended destination to undergo this treatment is in Peru, under an established shaman with a good reputation. If you feel you really need drastic change, and are willing to go the hard yards, this is for you. Excited yet?

Now, go out, explore the world and have fun, you deviant stoned ape, you.

“Ayahuasca cures depression – The medicine reduces depression in the individual within two to three hours of ingestion. Quite similar to pharmaceutical antidepressants, this medicine seems to change concentrations of serotonin, the mood-boosting neurotransmitter in the brain. Another way it alleviates depression is by the action of its active ingredient DMT, the psychoactive chemical known to induce spiritual revelations and experiences.”

“A Brazilian study conducted by Eduardo Schenberg, of the University of Sao Paulo, learned that Ayahuasca has the potential to treat cancer. “There is enough available evidence that Ayahuasca’s active principles, especially DMT and harmine, have positive effects on some cell cultures used to study cancer, and in biochemical processes important in cancer treatment, both in vitro and in vivo,” Schenberg wrote. “Therefore, the few available reports of people benefiting from Ayahuasca in their cancer treatment experiences should be taken seriously, and the hypothesis presented here, fully testable by rigorous scientific experimentation, helps to understand the available cases and pave the way for new experiments.”

“In its proper ceremonial setting, under compassionate and experienced guidance, the plant—or, as tradition has it, the spirit of the plant—puts people in touch with their repressed pain and trauma, the very factors that drive all dysfunctional behaviours. Consciously experiencing our primal pain loosens its hold on us. Thus may ayahuasca achieve in a few sittings what many years of psychotherapy can only aspire to. It may also allow people to re-experience inner qualities long been missing in action, such as wholeness, trust, love and a sense of possibility. People quite literally remember themselves.”

“A long and continuous history of regular use indicates the utility of hoasca. Signs of physical or psychological deterioration were not observed as a consequence of its use. Instead, the regular use of hoasca in a ceremonial context seems to increase one’s ability to psychologically adapt to the larger process of life”

“Ayahuasca is esteemed by many people across the globe as a medicinal panacea and wise spiritual teacher. The brew can be life-changing for some people and it can ennoble the spirit in ways that promote health and a meaningful life. But, first off, it’s important to be aware of the fact that it is not a cure for psychological and physical conditions. Even though scientific evidence suggests that ayahuasca can potentially help people overcome various psychological illnesses, ayahuasca certainly doesn’t fix serious problems on its own.”

“In terms of treating addictions, ayahuasca balances neurotransmitters, such as 5-HT and dopamine and has an effect on the creation of new neuronal connections, which can lead to psychological insights and processing of repressed traumas, allowing the individual to have better decision making capabilities. Furthermore, via other neurological mechanisms, ayahuasca promotes the rewiring of the brain, creating new neuronal circuits that mediate addictive habits and promote the creation of new circuits that support new and positive behaviors.”


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