October 15, 2019

Review of "When Plants Dream"

in the form of an open letter to author Daniel Pinchbeck:

Thanks for “When Plants Dream,” Daniel. It presents an enjoyable and well-rounded introduction to ayahuasca and the many issues that surround its use. That said, however, I’m afraid that, like most Western authors these days, you write under the subconscious influence of a number of Drug War assumptions that are either flat-out wrong or, at best, mere half-truths. I think that this sometimes skews your conclusions or unnecessarily limits their application.

Example 1

You imply when writing about cocaine that it has nothing but bad effects when used in Western society. This is Drug War dogma, of course, but why do we believe it? Why do we think that cocaine has no good uses in the West? How would we even know?

In a Drug War society, no one dares to write about the positive uses of cocaine, especially in newspapers (or in academia, for that matter) – and so we hush up the story of how cocaine helped Sigmund Freud achieve self-actualization (by “pushing him on” to enormous productivity) or stimulated insight in the Richard Feynmans of the world. But if all we’re allowed to learn about cocaine is its negative effects, then we are being subject to a propaganda campaign in the West, not to objective scientific information. This is (or should be) very relevant to your book because these one-sided Drug War assumptions are what undergird and perpetuate the criminalization of desperately needed therapeutic plants such as ayahuasca.

But if indigenous people have used coca leaves advisedly for centuries (for visions, insight and/or mental focus), the obvious question is, why can’t those benefits be transferred to the West? It may be that Westerners are just not mature enough to use the plant wisely. But we should not make this assumption hastily in a country where we’re only allowed to hear bad things about cocaine use -- and so Freud’s use, for instance, is expunged from the psychology textbooks. This is a glaring omission for it keeps psychologists from confronting the $64,000 question: Why did Freud treat his patients based on theories and yet insist on improving his own life with cocaine? If Freud was having trouble getting out of bed, he did not turn to his own psychotherapy. He demanded the real politik of cocaine. Psychology ignores this fact and continues to insist that all psychological patients be treated according to the latest theory and that any use of a psychoactive plant is somehow a “cop-out.”

Freud’s use of cocaine reminds me of the liberal who argues vehemently in favor of public schools but ultimately sends his or her own child to a private school. Theoretical benefits are all well and good, but at some point, success-oriented people demand REAL solutions.

Example 2

Like virtually all other authors who write about psychedelic therapy, you fail to state one of the main arguments in favor of that new paradigm: namely, the fact that more than 1 in 10 Americans are currently addicted to modern antidepressants, which were never even trialed for long-term use. I myself am addicted to Effexor – which I’m told I can NEVER get off of. Indeed, that is the conclusion of my own psychiatrist. He told me that there is a 95% recidivism rate (according to the NIH itself) for those who attempt to quit Effexor. This is worse than opium and heroin – but I have yet to read any author who is outraged on MY behalf. To the contrary, most authors on these topics are still lecturing me about the supposed “evils” of cocaine and opium, advice that I find laughable in its ignorance and/or hypocrisy.

(To add insult to injury, modern antidepressants are contraindicated for those taking psychedelics. So we have an as-yet unrecognized irony: psychedelics can cure many addictions, but they cannot be used to cure the great addiction of our time: the addiction to SSRI antidepressants.)

When it became clear several decades ago that SSRIs were addictive, psychiatrists merely made a virtue of necessity and began telling their patients that they had to “take their meds for life” (thereby absolving psychiatrists from lawsuits and putting them in the position of the scientific “good guy”). These are the medicines, Daniel, that were promoted based on the erroneous notion that they fixed a chemical imbalance in the brain, whereas subsequent research (see Robert Whitaker) revealed that SSRIs actually CAUSE the imbalances that they purport to fix.

This mass addiction cries out for a remedy, and psychedelics are the obvious solution, since they provide self-insight, grow new neurons, and are non-addictive. (This compares favorably with SSRIs, which in my experience have been fiercely addictive, fog my mind, and conduce to long-term anhedonia.) By ignoring this politically correct addiction (as Drug Warriors dutifully do), your case for psychedelic therapy is far weaker than it need be. As you mention, there are, indeed, potential “down sides” to ayahuasca use, but these rare problems would be dwarfed if contrasted with the actual damage being done by SSRIs today.

This ignorance of the status quo is a feature of today’s Drug War. The Drug Warrior has to hush up this legal addiction situation, lest we draw the obvious conclusion: that addiction is not bad, as long as the drugs in question are forthcoming. If that’s true, why am I not allowed to use opium occasionally to increase my creativity and give me, as a chronic depressive, something to look forward to in life: namely, times of increased enjoyment of the world around me?

Example 3

I think you correctly suspect the Judeo-Christian outlook of scorning psychoactive plant remedies, but your analysis here does not go far enough. The fact is that the original Drug Warrior was none other than the founder of the Catholic Church, Emperor Theodosius, who, in 392 CE, outlawed the psychedelic-fueled Eleusinian mysteries as a threat to Christianity. This ceremony had been ongoing annually for almost two-thousand years, and was reported by many attendees to be the highlight of their entire lives, in passages that could easily be mistaken for journal entries of an ayahuasca enthusiast. These entries speak of great revelations about the true nature of reality. But since such non-Christian revelation was anathema to the Emperor, he launched the Drug War to outlaw all insights that do not come from “the true religion,” i.e. Christianity.

Thus we can see that today’s Drug War is nothing but the enforcement of Christian Science with respect to mental states: the metaphysical idea (or belief) that it is somehow wrong to use substances to improve one’s mental outlook. Of course, this Christian Science is hypocritical, in that it supports psychoactive therapies – even addictive ones – provided that they do not seem to render a user “high” – something that is anathema to the puritan sensibilities of the Christian Scientists.

This Christian Science approach to drug law is aided and abetted by modern materialists, who have a dogmatic disdain for consciousness itself and so refuse to countenance any therapeutic solution that cannot be reduced to so-called “natural causes.” Thus the Drug War makes strange bedfellows indeed, as materialist atheists find common ground with intolerant Christians.


I hope these three examples have proven my thesis, Daniel: that even the most progressive writers on the subject of “drugs” are subconsciously biased by the erroneous beliefs of the Drug War and that this bias skews or limits the conclusions that they draw. In short, your case for ayahuasca therapy is compelling in itself, but it could win far more converts if you compared your proposal to the ugly nature of the addictive status quo.

Of course, this may be easier said than done. There is, after all, a “kids glove” attitude toward SSRIs based on decades of Big Pharma-financed proselytizing on their behalf. During this time, the APA has been in league with the pharmaceutical companies to make SSRIs look like lamb’s milk on shows like Oprah and Today. The result has been the creation of an American myth, according to which these drugs “fix” a chemical imbalance. This is just plain false, but it apparently has been drilled into Americans so successfully via a full-court media press that few people dare acknowledge its falsehood today.

(The proof is extant: I am as depressed today as I was 40 years ago, after taking legal antidepressants every single day.)

Viewed in this light, I guess it’s little wonder that writers like yourself fail to point out this corrupt status quo, since it is so thoroughly believed by the public that it no doubt demands a separate book to address the issues in question.

At their best SSRIs make life livable – which would be fine if that’s all we had. But why should we settle for an addictive drug that simply makes life bearable when we could use a non-addictive one that can truly make life worth living?

What we need, I believe, is to replace psychiatry with shamanism, but only in a world in which the shaman is allowed to learn about and use any plant in the world – rather than a handful of addictive drugs that enrich the Fortune 500 while limiting users both financially and emotionally.

I fear this won’t happen, however, until Americans recognize the folly of outlawing Mother Nature in the first place.

PS When pushed, psychiatrists may claim that SSRIs and SNRIs are not addictive, that they only cause “chemical dependence.” But there is little difference from the point of view of a user. If I stopped using Effexor, I would go through hell. Just see the online testimony describing the many horrific but futile attempts to get off the drug.

Read Review of "When Plants Dream" on Reddit.

October 15, 2019

Question: Who is responsible for the 24/7 moaning of millions of elderly Americans in nursing homes?
Answer: The DEA and the Drug War, based on the mind set that outlawed opium in 1914, so that now only outlaws have opium. The depressed elderly must make do with psychiatry's highly addictive and less helpful drug alternatives. Scientific materialists are terrified lest they give the elderly good dreams for a change. (Humph! How very unscientific. Let them suffer instead!)
October 14, 2019

Addicted to Christianity

People tell me that opium, heroin and cocaine are bad for me. Why? Because they cause dependence. But this is sheer hypocrisy. I've been on Effexor for 25+ years, and my shrink tells me I can never get off it because it's far too addictive. Meanwhile, it's frying my brain and keeping me from trying new psychedelic therapies - and not even coming close to lifting my daily depression. Yet no one's screaming bloody murder about my plight. No, no. In my case, I have to be a good little boy and keep taking "my meds" for a lifetime.

But if dependence is not wrong, as psychiatry now insists, then I should have been free to "choose my OWN addictive poison" 40+ years ago when I began subsidizing Big Pharma fat-cats with my monthly prescription purchases. I would have opted for opium at that time, to give me peace of mind and an occasional rest from reality and perhaps even a little artistic inspiration of the kind obtained from the drug by Poe and Lovecraft, rather than flattening out my emotional responses with SSRIs to turn me into a socially acceptable Babbitt. While it's possible that I might have become addicted to opium, by using it more frequently than directed, at least my opium addiction could have been kicked in theory. Besides, psychiatry has no leg to stand on when it comes to criticizing an opium addiction, considering that it makes no scruples about addicting the world to SSRIs.

Really, it's a no-brainer: do I want to be addicted to a substance that fogs my brain - or do I want to use a natural substance once grown by Thomas Jefferson and used by Benjamin Franklin, a substance which, for all its shortcomings, occasionally gives me great visions?

As for me in my house, I would have used opium.

I end with this paraphrase of a Christian song title because the only possible rationale that I can see for preferring SSRIs to opium is the fact that opium occasionally provides what the Puritan would consider a "high," and that is a no-no in the puritan world. This is why the war on drugs is a war on religion - because the drug warrior's goal is to keep the rest of the world from accessing spiritual states that the warrior believes to be at odds with Christianity.

Indeed, this is how the whole drug war started in 392 C.E., when the first drug warrior, Emperor Theodosius, outlawed the Eleusinian Mysteries because he saw them as a threat to Christianity. The psychedelic kykeon was helping folks like Socrates and Plutarch to see the light - and this was a blasphemy for religious imperialists who believed that the only true light was Christianity itself.

Read Addicted to Christianity on Reddit.

October 14, 2019

Question: In southern Mexico, the jail and prison officials experience great difficulty in trying to prevent the smuggling into their institutions of the seductive mariguana (sic). This is a kind of "loco" weed more powerful than opium.
Answer: The Iola Daily Record, Iola, Kansas, Jan 1, 1900
October 13, 2019

It's the Psychedelics, Stupid!

Welcome to the DEA Lounge!

How many of you have read Consciousness Medicine, by Francoise Bourzat? Let's see a show of hands.

Stay seated, everyone, I still haven't counted the folks in the back. Raise those hands up, high.

OK, let me see, now. 25, carry the one... It looks like... zero people have read that book.

Well, in fairness, it is pretty new.

It's all about the way that psychedelic medicines can heal psychological conditions.

Or rather, that's what it SHOULD be about. Unfortunately, Francoise keeps hawking the benefits of deep breathing and drum therapy, et cetera. Which I find a little off-putting, frankly.

Just like Stanislav Grof, when he came out with that breathing therapy. I'd rather these folks stay focused on the value of psychedelic therapy rather than to start promoting second-best cures that simply don't work for the vast majority of cases.

Hey, listen, folks, been there done that, with every manner of self-help approach you can imagine. How many unfulfilled lifetimes do I have to live before self-help mavens get the message: "It's the drugs, stupid!"

You know what I'm saying? Time for some real politik in treating what ails me.

I mean, Freud did not turn to psychotherapy (let alone to self-help fads) to help him get through life successfully. Like it or not, he turned to cocaine and theory be damned. Freud was not going to sacrifice his own self-fulfillment by becoming a guinea pig to psychology's unproven "cures." And as long as modern psychology does not even acknowledge, let alone come to terms with, Freud's therapeutic use of cocaine, we are never, for all our scientific pretensions, going to understand human motivation. Instead, we'll live in a fairy land where the effects of drugs are established for psychologists, not by proof, but by strong political prejudices that insist, via law, on what the truth SHOULD BE.

But, Francoise, bless her, writes as if psychedelic therapy is just one of many helpful strategies in life. The unfortunate corollary of this opinion is that the outlawing of such therapy is no big deal -- since cures for depression and related psychological problems are a dime a dozen, to be easily found in the self-help section of any bookstore or library.

But as a veteran depressive, I would have zero interest in the psychedelic renaissance if it held no greater transformative promise than that of breath work or yoga. I mean, how many unfulfilled lifetimes do I have to live in order to prove to the fad peddlers that their nostrums don't work in the long run? And why not? Because they presuppose the incentive and follow-through and self-insight that a successful depression therapy should generate rather than take for granted.

Psychedelics alone among drug therapies offers the possibility of true change based on self-insight.

Am I right or am I right?

My name is Brian Quass and I'll be here lambasting the drug war until the government thinks up a way to outlaw free speech.

Which can't be far off, by the way, given that they've already had the chutzpah to criminalize the plants and fungi that grow at our very feet! I man, how anti-scientific, fascistic, and downright childish is that? What? I'm just sayin'!

Read It's the Psychedelics, Stupid! on Reddit.

October 13, 2019

Question: [Dr. Watt declares] that the moderate use of opium is not more injurious than the moderate use of alcohol and even that its abusive use is less destructive to its victims than intemperance.
Answer: The Freeman's Journal, Dublin, Ireland, October 31, 1891
October 6, 2019

So, you're thinking about starting on an SSRI...

The following post is my response to 'How did SSRIs help you?' in the "depression regimen" group on Reddit.

Look into Ketamine therapy.

Unlike SSRIs, ketamine is non-addictive (when used as directed) and has few or no side effects. I made the mistake of starting on SSRIs/SNRIs decades ago, and I am now told that I can NEVER get off them, as the SNRI that I’m taking, Effexor, has a worse recidivism rate for withdrawal than heroin. (According to the NIH, 95% of those who quit Effexor are back on it within three years.) Yes, modern antidepressants made my life bearable: they helped me survive, but they stopped me from thriving, since they inhibit creativity and, in the long run, bring about what’s called anhedonia, an inability to feel both highs and lows.

Remember, too, that we live in a world where all the good cures for depression are illegal, a world in which we’ve outlawed Mother Nature. The natural world around us is full of psychoactive plants that can bring peace of mind and personal understanding, substances like ayahuasca, and ibogaine, and psilocybin. Since these are outlawed, however, the depressed have nothing but a handful of addictive remedies from Big Pharma from which they can choose. Not only will you be paying for these meds for the rest of your life, but you’ll become an eternal patient, having to travel to your psychiatrist every few months to be asked about your personal life, as the doctor dutifully writes out yet ANOTHER prescription for the same-old-same-old. I find that both depressing and disempowering. And I speak from 40 years of experience.

That’s why I recommend ketamine. Although it is not a natural substance, it has some of the psychoactive properties of the natural substances that America has foolishly banned, and to repeat, it is not addictive when used in the recommended doses and at the recommended frequency. Above all, for some unknown reason, it is actually legal in the United States right now. (Someone at the DEA must have dropped the ball, since that organization is doing everything they can to block all non-addictive treatments for depression.)

I believe that U.S. medical care is slowly moving in the direction of treating depression with psychedelic substances from Mother Nature. You might be able to sign up as a participant in one of the ongoing clinical trials being held around the world, perhaps one that is studying psilocybin. If you become addicted to SSRIs, however, you will never be able to participate in this new health-care paradigm. This is because most modern anti-depressants cause serotonin toxicity syndrome if used in conjunction with psychedelic plants.

This is ironic because the “new” psychedelic therapies of which I speak (which really have a long but “hushed-up” history in Western culture, viz. the Eleusinian Mysteries) show great promise in treating opioid addiction and alcoholism. However these therapies cannot be used to treat the great addiction of our time: the addiction to SSRIs, to which over 1 in 10 Americans have fallen victim.

Finally, please remember: it’s an American myth that SSRI antidepressants fix a chemical imbalance. As Roger Whittaker shows in “Anatomy of an Epidemic,” these drugs have been found to CAUSE the chemical imbalances that they purport to fix.

PS: Some psychiatrists may tell you that SSRIs are not addictive, that they only cause chemical dependency. But trust me, from the user perspective, there is no difference.

Read So, you're thinking about starting on an SSRI... on Reddit.

October 6, 2019

Question: The constraints on the power of the federal government, as laid down in the constitution, have been eroded by a monopolistic medical profession administering a system of prescription laws that have, in effect, removed most of the drugs people want from the free market.
Answer: 'Our Right to Drugs', Thomas Szasz
October 2, 2019

Response to: 95% of Americans Favor Legalizing Drugs

The focus should be on legalizing the plants and fungi that grow at our very feet. We call ourselves a free and scientific country, but neither boast makes sense as long as we're criminalizing Mother Nature. We wring our hands about the past, when researchers had to worry about Church oversight. But scientists today are under DEA oversight whenever they attempt to so much as research natural plant cures that can reverse depression and alcoholism.

Today's drug situation sounds like a sci-fi book by Ray Bradbury, like Fahrenheit 451, in which a tyrannical government of the future burns books in order to control what we think. Today's situation is even more despotic, for our government burns plants in order to dictate how -- and how much -- we can think.

Just as the DEA stomped onto Monticello in jackboots in 1987 to confiscate Thomas Jefferson's poppy plants.

The government will tell us that they're trying to protect us by making psychedelics illegal. This is a flat-out lie -- given the fact that America is more addicted than ever today to LEGAL DRUGS -- and that this addiction is caused by SSRI anti-depressants. The anti-depressant Effexor, for instance, has been found to have a 95% recidivism rate for those who try to get off it.

1/6 to 1/10th of the American public addicted to SSRIS -- and yet we're told that non-addictive psychedelic plants that grow at our very feet cannot even be STUDIED?

The government has no problem with screwing up America's health, as is seen in the fact that it is in denial about the statistics of anti-depressant addiction. They just want to make sure that the government, the shrinks, and Big Pharma get their cut when it comes to the drugs that we use.

We don't need to legalize everything -- we need to RE-legalize plants -- for every reason imaginable: to stop the DEA's abuse of power, to return property rights to property owners, to allow Earthlings their natural birthright to the healing plants of Mother Nature that grow all around them.

Liberals are as bad as conservatives in blocking this outcome. They fret that legalization will cause more problems. But I contend that no government has the ethical right to outlaw natural plants in the first place.

So we have no need to prove how re-legalization of plants can be accomplished without problems. If the freedom of the press were outlawed 50 years ago, those who advocated that freedom today would be under no obligation to say how that freedom can be re-instituted without trouble. That freedom simply needs to be returned to the people -- and if the change itself causes problems, they are to be blamed on those who took away America's freedom in the first place.

If we really want to start a movement to accomplish something, we need to talk about re-legalizing Mother Nature, not synthetic drugs to which our rights are far less clear -- though no doubt glaringly obvious to some dyed-in-the-wool libertarians.

My prescription: RE-legalize plants and then have the police get tough -- NOT on drug possession, but on bad behavior. By all means, let's have severe punishment for bad behavior that can be tied to drug MISUSE, since such misuse threatens the usage rights of the responsible majority by inflaming opinion. Crack down on misbehavior, not on plants.

Read Response to: 95% of Americans Favor Legalizing Drugs on Reddit.

October 2, 2019

Question: Dr. T.C. Marks, a physician of experience and standing, has added another to the long list of things that can be profitably produced in the glorious climate of southern California. The particular substance this time is opium.
Answer: Los Angeles Herald, August 9, 1891
September 29, 2019

Thought Crimes Blotter

More thought crimes reported in the tri-state area. Police in Rattleboro arrested 23 residents at the Deer Run condominium complex, charging them with attempting to "think outside the box." Department spokesman Gail McLean says that the suspects had enough psilocybin mushroom "to empower them to see whole new worlds." Said Donald Vant, the lead officer in the case: "We caught them just in time. They were getting ready to embark on entirely new lives, with much less need for the outputs of the modern industrial society."

Meanwhile, three members of a depression discussion group in South Belltown were brought in for questioning after an informant reported that they were getting ready to treat their depression with non-addictive psychedelic plants. McLean says that Sheriff Baumgartner put the fear of God into the trio, warning them that bypassing the addictive legal remedies of the modern health-care system was not an option.

Belltown has been busy lately when it comes to Thought Crimes. Just last week, police raided an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting after an enrolled informer reported that some members were planning to use psychedelic plants to kick their habit. "The only thing that's gonna get kicked in this case is butt," quipped arresting officer Joe Slaterday. "Listen, alcoholism was a dead-end in my daddy's generation, and I for one intend to respect that legacy and keep it alive for the foreseeable future."

Read Thought Crimes Blotter on Reddit.

September 29, 2019

Question: LSD-25, a drug capable of bringing back childhood memories with the sharpness of a 3-D movie, is helping fight mental illness in persons formerly considered hopeless, two psychiatrists said today.
Answer: "Hopeless Mental Cases Given Aid By Drug Discovery," The Daily Item, Sunbury, Pennsylvania, March 24, 1960,
September 24, 2019

Stand Up for Mother Nature

Welcome to the DEA Lounge!

Gee, I wonder why my agent booked me here. He does realize that I'm going to be riffing on the folly of criminalizing Mother Nature, right?

Oh, well, better he book me here than he book me in San Quentin, right?

Do you guys know that the DEA marched on to Monticello in 1987 and took away Jefferson's poppy plants?

I kid you not. Talk about rolling over in one's grave, Jefferson would have been pissed big time.

He's like, "what the f...!"

"I wasn't half right about the need for frequent revolutions!"

But seriously, isn't that screwed up?

Earth to America: they're plants, dude! What are we thinking?

Boo is right! I mean, it reminds me of Fahrenheit 451, in which a tyrannous government destroys books.

Mind you, I'd rather live under that tyranny. They just tell me WHAT to think, whereas modern-day drug laws tell me HOW and HOW MUCH I can think...

...because they destroy the mind-expanding drugs that actually help me think outside the box and grow new neurons, even!

Darn right, boo. Boo to the max, dawg. As in ruff!

What kills me is that in John Halpern's book "Opium," he paints the bland picture of the DEA reluctantly taking the plants away at the insistence of the Monticello Board of Directors. Whereas the way I hear it, the DEA stormed onto the place like so many...

Well, if the jackboot fits, wear it, right?

My name is Brian Quass and I'll be here lambasting the drug war until the government thinks up a way to outlaw free speech.

Hey, if a government can criminalize plants, all bets are off, right?


Read Stand Up for Mother Nature on Reddit.

September 24, 2019

Question: By means of this drug[LSD], people can view themselves objectively and can then accept themselves which is a great step forward in the care of mental illness.
Answer: Dr. Kahan, Executive Director Mental Health Saskatchewan, The Leader-Post, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, July 20, 1961
September 22, 2019

In response to a lame review of the book "Opium"

Here is my indignant response to the Kirkus Book Review of John Halpern's "Opium", whose uncritical critique ends with the typical wishy-washy drug warrior conclusion that "the drug problem" is insoluble.

Insoluble problem?

What did you drug warriors expect when you outlawed natural plants, the birth right of everyone born on the planet? In your effort to protect and punish, you created drug mafias in every major city on earth. You created a whole new genre of violent movie: the drug-war genre. You loaded the world with guns as drug gangs armed themselves to the hilt. Well done!

And now we're surprised that cartels are peddling synthetic forms of the plants that are infinitely worse than the original. What hypocrisy.

Then we create anti-drug organizations whose motto is: never say anything good about illegal drugs.

The result: No one knows how to use them wisely because anti-drug propaganda insists that they CAN'T be used wisely. Little wonder then that people get addicted.

Meanwhile, millions of depression sufferers worldwide are suffering needlessly because effective psychoactive medicines cannot even be researched thanks to the lying DEA, which lies about drugs to keep themselves in business. They say that psychedelics have no therapeutic value, when a who's who of Greeks and Romans used them annually for 2,000 consecutive years in the Eleusinian mysteries, folks like Socrates and Plutarch, most of whom reported it was the greatest experience of their life.

Yet this so-called “scientific” nation of ours superstitiously burns plants, like the tyrannous government in “Fahrenheit 451” burned books. We may not tell Americans what to think, but we tell them HOW and HOW MUCH.

And you’re still scratching your head what to do about it?

Earth to Kirkus Review: How about re-legalizing the plants and fungi that grow at our very feet – and then start telling the cold hard truths about psychoactive plants: not just their downsides, but their benefits as well? While we’re being honest, we might want to point out that Americans today are far more addicted than ever – not to illegal drugs but to LEGAL ones – SSRIs that were never intended for long term use – until psychiatrists noticed they were highly addictive and therefore started telling patients that they had to take “their meds” for life.

Until the drug warrior at least acknowledges this problem, I can only laugh at their pretended befuddlement about the status quo. Hello? More than 1 out of 10 Americans are addicted to modern antidepressants. Why are the John Halperns of the world not screaming bloody murder about that fact, threatening to expose the doctors who pushed for this state of affairs? Possibly because they are psychiatrists, and many of them collaborated with Big Pharma to bring this state of addiction about, by going on the circuit, and “bigging up” pill-popping on Oprah Winfrey et al.

Insoluble? Hello? You outlawed bloody plants. Did you really not expect a little pushback – including the subsequent black-marketing of drugs that are infinitely worse than the products of Mother Nature that you banned?

Read In response to a lame review of the book "Opium" on Reddit.

September 22, 2019

Question: The constraints on the power of the federal government, as laid down in the constitution, have been eroded by a monopolistic medical profession administering a system of prescription laws that have, in effect, removed most of the drugs people want from the free market.
Answer: 'Our Right to Drugs', Thomas Szasz
September 21, 2019

One Long Argument for legalizing drugs

Charles Darwin described his case for evolution as “one long argument,” presumably because there was no one single proof for the theory but rather reams of disparate evidence that all conduced, or so he felt, to establishing the same point: namely that evolution as Darwin understood it was a reality. Therefore Darwin had to make one point after another, trusting that the totality of his observations would ultimately convince the reader of the plausibility (if not the undeniability) of the theory of evolution. I find myself in a similar situation when attempting to prove the necessity of re-legalizing the pharmacy of Mother Nature. Since the drug war is premised on so many invalid but hidden assumptions, a drug law reformer like myself has to address seemingly countless objections, as if I’m trying to convince some muddle-headed Hydra of the urgent need for legislative change.

Muddle-headed Hydras

Unlike Darwin, however, I think I do have one conclusive point that, in a sane world, would convince all reasonable human beings of the correctness of my theory. And this is the notion that it was folly to outlaw mere plants and fungi in the first place. Not only does such a step naturally create a violent black market, but it denies human beings their medicinal and property rights with regard to the flora that grows at their very feet. In addition, it interferes with the role of scientists, who are forced to accept government-supplied judgments about the therapeutic potential of certain drugs (such as psychoactive mushrooms), and must even seek permission from the DEA to study them objectively and without fear of arrest.

The current state of affairs sounds like the plot of a science-fiction story by Ray Bradbury. Remember Ray? He wrote the novel “Fahrenheit 451,” in which a tyrannous government tries to control thought by burning books.

But imagine a sequel in which the government burns plants – not just to control thoughts, but to control how, and how much, we can think. That’s the state of affairs in today’s world in which we criminalize Mother Nature’s plants.

Psychotherapeutic Goldmines

We know better than ever now, based on recent research, that many of these plants expand the mind, give us new ways of seeing the world and help us get past our psychological roadblocks. Psychedelics have even been shown to grow new neurons! In short, some of these plants are psychotherapeutic goldmines if viewed rationally. By banning these plants, our government is forcing us to limit our thoughts to the mainstream, not to think outside the box, and thus, ultimately, not to question authority, or at least not to ask the sort of incisive questions that would justifiably put that authority on the defensive. This situation serves corrupt politicians well because it makes Mother Nature’s plants the scapegoats for societal shortcomings, so the tyrant is never under pressure to truly do anything about real societal ills, since they go unrecognized as such by a drug-obsessed society.

Eloquent Chicken Littles

But our war on Mother Nature has other equally disastrous consequences. By banning these plants, we bring about so much violence that we create a whole new movie genre based on that carnage: the drug-war film, in which armed gunmen from around the globe battle themselves and the feds in order to supply the sorts of plants that the government has banned – but often in corrupted and synthetic forms that are far more dangerous to the user than would have been the simple plants or fungi from which they were derived. Meanwhile eloquent Chicken Littles like Michael Pollan fret about making psychedelic plants legal to humanity (even though they have been legal for all but the last 60 years of human history). Visions of young irresponsible users dance in his head. “We simply can’t let users make up their own minds about how to use substances,” according to folks like Pollan, “that would be horrible!” (Pollan is practicing elitism here: he is personally able to get away with using psychedelics, but he’s in no hurry to extend that privilege to his readers, the mere hoi polloi, who must get by with existing addictive and mind-dulling anti-depressants if they want to change THEIR minds.) But where is Pollan’s concern for the children killed in the crossfire of drug dealer shootouts in the inner cities? Where is his concern for the prevalence of guns in America created by this government-produced black market?

Ice-cold Universe

And while Pollan is wringing his hands over the merely potential downsides of legalization, where is his concern for the millions of depressives that he’s forcing to live without hope, thanks to the drug laws that his worries help to reinforce? Where is his concern for the potential suicide for whom psilocybin could mean a new lease on life? Where is his concern for the depressed geriatric, whose days are all one bleary repetition of seemingly pointless activities – waking, eating a few scraps for breakfast, and then half-watching some mindless television, etc. There’s solid evidence that psychoactive drugs could give this sadsack a whole new reason for living. But no, Pollan’s worries about juvenile delinquents must have the last say and grandpa must die in what to him seems like a pointless and ice-cold universe. (Gee, thanks, Michael!)

In short, Michael Pollan has no compassion for the would-be rational “drug user,” partly because he fails to appreciate the huge therapeutic potential of these medicines (notwithstanding the psychologically superficial book that he wrote in tepid favor of LSD therapy), and partly because (like all drug warriors) he focuses dogmatically on punishing or protecting drug abusers, totally ignoring the rights and needs of the masses of patients who could benefit (often enormously) from the wise use of the substances in question.

American Pagans

Such an outlook only makes sense if we dogmatically assume that illegal drugs have no rational uses – and this is a government lie, not a scientific fact (a lie created and maintained to this very day by the self-serving DEA, in order to ensure that they’ll be ruining the lives of otherwise law-abiding citizens for decades to come, locking them up for the crime of daring to so much as possess a simple plant that grows at their very feet). If we’re to be a truly scientific nation, however, we must know that almost no substance is bad “in and of itself,” but becomes bad only when it is used at or above a certain dosage in a certain context. To think otherwise is to superstitiously treat drugs as evil incarnate, as evil spirits, a literally pagan viewpoint that’s completely at odds with America’s pretensions to being a modern scientific society (let alone THE scientific society par excellence).

All of these observations are part of my “one long argument” in favor of the need for re-legalizing the therapeutic medicines of Mother Nature. But all of the concerns that they address are trumped by the mere common sense consideration that it should be unconstitutional in the first place to outlaw the plants and fungi that grow at our very feet. This therapeutic bounty is surely the birth right of every human being merely by virtue of their having been born on planet Earth.

Ideological Hegemony

Of course, after over a century of viewing Mother Nature as a drug kingpin (starting with the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914), Americans have convinced themselves that mere mortals are incapable of using her bounty wisely (and have gone on to convince the rest of the world, alas, which is ironic, given that world’s often bitter and ongoing complaints about the ideological hegemony that America is supposedly foisting upon said world). Thus folks like Pollan ask folks like me: “But how can you re-legalize plants and fungi without causing problems??!” But that question is beside the point. The drug-law reformer is under no obligation to say how drug legalization would work, although I’ve addressed Pollan’s concerns above for the record, so to speak, pointing out that his “concern” for the well-being of a minority of potential drug abusers is really just a callous disregard for the well-being of a majority of rational users.

But if they had criminalized free speech 100 years ago, the opponents of that move would be under no obligation today to explain how that right could be restored without causing problems. The right simply must be restored: end of story. Likewise, when it comes to the re-legalization of plants and fungi, it is not the reformer’s duty to say how this can be accomplished without a problem. Moreover, if a problem is indeed created by such a change, then the responsibility for that trouble lies squarely on the shoulders of the bigoted politicians who chose to outlaw Mother Nature’s bounty in the first place.

The War on Mother Nature

This is why my site is so different from the average site about reforming drug laws. Most sites are on the defensive, often amassing reams of statistical evidence to explain how drug legalization (or rather re-legalization) will not bring about Armageddon. This starting point of argumentation concedes the crucial and highly debatable point that government had the right to criminalize Mother Nature’s plants and fungi in the first place. They had no such right, particularly in a country like America, where we are specifically granted “the pursuit of happiness,” a right that is hollow when we deny Americans one of the essential therapeutic routes to attain that happiness. Then there are the hundreds of sites that attempt to point out (again, often by reams of evidence) that the drug war is a failure. But this starting point concedes yet another highly debatable point, namely that a drug war had the right to succeed in the first place. Is it right to prevent the citizens of a country from using plants therapeutically, to expand their minds, to help them think outside the box? No. Even if it were feasible, it would not be right. So the point is not that the drug war cannot succeed, but that it SHOULD not succeed.

The real question, then, is not whether the drug war makes sense – it doesn’t in a rational society – but whether a war on Mother Nature makes sense, for that’s what the drug war amounts to, the superstitious notion that nature is purposefully tempting us with substances that are inherently evil – rather than miraculously presenting us with powerful and highly improbable medicines whose considered use can bring about personal transformation.

Read One Long Argument for legalizing drugs on Reddit.

September 21, 2019

Question: In B.C. [British Columbia]... LSD has produced 70 percent "cures" among 60 alcoholics at Hollywood Hosptical within the past nine months, according to medical director Dr. J. Ross MacLean.
Answer: The Vancouver Sun, August 11, 1959
September 20, 2019

Time to Replace Psychiatrists with Shamans

Response to Lou in metaphysical speculations: a Google Group hosted by author Bernardo Kastrup

Thanks for the link, Lou.

I'm looking forward to learning about Claudio Naranjo, and for the following reason:

I believe that psychiatry must become shamanism if it wishes to survive and be relevant, shamanism administered by "empaths" who are intimately familiar, not just with the handful of addictive "mind" drugs manufactured by Big Pharma, but with every single known psychoactive plant in the rainforest, and that they must use this knowledge to empower "lost souls" (or indeed anyone lacking self-fulfillment) with self-knowledge and clear-sightedness, choosing the plants to accomplish this goal in the way that a fashion designer chooses clothes to suit the person and to bring out the qualities that are missing but desired.

Only imagine: a new psychiatry that sees the “patient” as an actual individual and not one of an infinite set of human clones, all therapeutically susceptible to the same one addictive “miracle cure” that psychiatry claims to have on offer.

This, of course, requires that we cease outlawing the products of Mother Nature and re-legalize the plants and fungi that grow at our very feet. Unfortunately there are a number of old-guard forces that stand resolutely against this, four of which I’ve listed below:

1) PUNISHERS AND PROTECTORS: There are still plenty of Americans (and other anti-patient Nixon fans from Europe to China now) who believe that the need to punish abusers (and/or to protect them from themselves) trumps the psychological needs of the responsible masses who could benefit therapeutically from the re-legalization of natural substances. The quality of life of the masses means nothing to these groups: it’s all about punishing and protecting a minority of supposed abusers.

2) PSYCHIATRISTS: Even if we can convince such people that the laws that are created by their "concern" have resulted in the creation of countless violent drug gangs in every major city on Earth, we're still going up against the psychiatrists, who are not going to go gently into that good night of re-legalization, since they have profited handsomely from having a monopoly on prescribing psychoactive drugs.

3) MATERIALISTS: Meanwhile, materialists, in their physics envy, will continue to deny the utility of drugs whose means of action cannot be sufficiently captured and quantified by their blunt tools of analysis. They have no interest in drugs that produce mere “insight” or even "happiness" for that matter (whatever that is) – they want to fix some clinically discernible chemical imbalance that they postulate as the root of all biological evil (or at least they want to be seen as fixing such an imbalance, even if their synthetic drugs end up causing the imbalance that they sought to cure, as is the case with modern anti-depressants).

4) PURITANS: Then there’s the Westerner’s unconscious belief in Christian Science with respect to mental health, thanks to which they look with suspicion and disapproval on someone who uses natural psychoactive substances to improve their mind. Such people see psychoactive drugs as “crutches." (They consider this suspicion to be common sense when it is actually just a tenet of faith of the modern drug war, a belief that’s just as philosophically problematic as the Christian Scientist’s refusal to use aspirin for a headache.)

Glad to know about Claudio. Sounds like he will be a hero someday, when America stops convincing the rest of the world that it’s rational to view Mother Nature as a drug kingpin. What a treasure trove of healing we pass up by thinking in this dogmatic and ultimately anti-scientific way.

Read Time to Replace Psychiatrists with Shamans on Reddit.

September 20, 2019

Question: Dr. T.C. Marks, a physician of experience and standing, has added another to the long list of things that can be profitably produced in the glorious climate of southern California. The particular substance this time is opium.
Answer: Los Angeles Herald, August 9, 1891
September 17, 2019

Pity the Time Traveler

Both liberal and conservative drug warriors have it wrong. They both insist that we have to ensure the safety of all potential substance users before we legalize the plants and fungi that grow at our very feet.

But this is like saying that we have to ensure the safety of all readers before we can allow them to walk into a library, lest their reading gives them crazy ideas that cause them to injure themselves or others.

In reality, the safety of humanity has nothing to do with the issues involved here. As an ostensibly free society, we think of free speech as a fundamental right, a precondition of liberty, and therefore a right that cannot be trumped by other considerations. This is why "Fahrenheit 451" is (so far, at least) good science-fiction and not a description of reality, for we in Western society still see the folly of burning books.

We value a free press because we value freedom of thought.

How strange then that we accept the notion of burning precisely those plants that can expand our thought and help us to think more clearly, beyond the paradigms that our contemporaneous society naturally foists upon us by its sheer situational proximity.

CONCLUSION: Although we don’t want government telling us WHAT to think, we have no problem with them telling us HOW or HOW MUCH to think.

Pity the time traveler who arrives from the 1600s, bristling with a new idea for a science-fiction story:

Time-Traveler: "Hey, I've got this cool idea for a story in which some future despotic government goes out and burns plants to keep the populace from using those substances to improve their minds! I'm gonna call it 'Fahrenheit 450!'"

Me: "Sorry, dude, but that's not science-fiction."

Time-Traveler: "What? Maybe you don't hear so good. I said it's a story about government going out and getting rid of therapeutic plants!"

Me: "Right, and that's exactly what our government does today!"

Time-Traveler: "You're kidding me? I thought I traveled forward in this time machine, not backwards."

Me: "Hey, where are you going?"

Time-Traveler: "Back to my ship -- I'm gonna visit the Earth 200 years from now and see if they've finally got it right."

Read Pity the Time Traveler on Reddit.

September 17, 2019

Question: For many, [LSD] seems to lead to self-help -- long overdue.
Answer: Dr. Keith Ditman, Semi-Weekly Spokesmen-Review (Spokane, Washington), Nov. 8, 1959
September 13, 2019

My Review of 'Opium' by John Halpern

Although Halpern occasionally hints at the wide-ranging powers of opium (its ability to do everything from curing coughs to inspiring creativity) he focuses almost exclusively on its addictive potential, failing to point out that occasional use does not cause addiction, nor does the moderate opium user require increased doses to achieve the same effect. Thus in badmouthing the “infamous” Thomas De Quincey, Halpern ignores that author’s main point: that occasional use of opium did not cause problems and actually contributed to the author’s quality of life by giving him intense intellectual pleasure at the opera, along with something to look forward to in the “sober meantime.” It was only when De Quincey unwisely took the drug on a daily basis for physical pain that his problems arose. Thanks to this focus on the negative, Halpern ends up implying that the Manchu Dynasty was worried about its people’s health when it outlawed opium use in the 1800s. I think it’s far more likely that they outlawed opium because it permitted individuals to think differently, which might cause them to question the propriety of being ruled over by despots in far-away Beijing.


Halpern even pans the Shakers for dealing in opium, as if the drug had the same nefarious connotations back then as it has in the present-day, as if the Shakers should have somehow looked ahead to see our subsequent indignation and acted accordingly, as if the drug war sensibility is a timeless force and not a politically driven policy based on Christian Science and a desire to punish minorities and others whose psychological needs and desires we fail to understand or to consider important.

Halpern’s focus on addiction is hypocritical, too, for his field of psychiatry has made addicts of millions around the world, with SSRI and SNRI antidepressants, many of which are extremely difficult to “get off of.” The NIH recently performed a study of Effexor users, for instance, and found that 95% of those who got off the drug were back on it within three years. This is a far worse recidivism rate than for opium, so Halpern has no leg to stand on when he implies that opium is a drug from hell because of its addiction potential. The fact is that it can be used safely if used intermittently – and that the problems arise when this inconvenient truth is hushed up by drug warriors who consider it wrong to say anything positive about illegal drugs. It is this strategic silence on the part of the drug warrior that leads to irresponsible use, since potential users never hear the important news that occasional usage is called for to keep the user addiction-free.


Finally, Halpern rattles off a list of New England surnames, blaming them for complicity in the opium trade, and holding their descendants up for eternal scorn. But it’s not clear that all these families merit this opprobrium, since it is based on assumptions about who knew what and when. Moreover, it’s based on the assumption that opium offered nothing but problems for the Chinese, when surely there were rational Chinese users who would have begged to differ. But even if the drug caused universal addiction, how is that any worse than addicting a nation to anti-depressants, the psychiatrist’s drug of choice? And yet I’m sure that Halpern doesn’t want to publish a list of names of the dozens of prominent psychiatrists who brought about this “addict nation” by “bigging up” drugs like Prozac on talk shows and in popular magazines while getting secretly paid for their efforts by Big Pharma.

Despite this decades-long PR campaign, this full-court press in the media to normalize pill-taking in America, I know plenty of Effexor addicts who would have preferred in retrospect to have been given opium years ago for what ailed them – had they known that they would have to be on some sort of drug for life. But psychiatrists never explained this fact to their depressive patients up-front, that SSRIs must be taken for life, as the drugs were never originally intended for such use. Only when the addiction potential of modern anti-depressants became clear did psychiatrists begin telling their patients that they needed to “take their meds” for life, as if such pill-taking were an act of medical piety rather than a physiological requirement created by the pills themselves and the chemical imbalances that they were causing.

*Some say that modern anti-depressants cause chemical dependency, not addiction, but this is just quibbling. From the user’s standpoint, there is no difference between the two: in either case, the user is stuck on a drug for a lifetime and it is sheer hell for them whenever they go off of it.*

Read My Review of 'Opium' by John Halpern on Reddit.

September 13, 2019

Question: Who barged on to Jefferson's Monticello and destroyed Thomas Jefferson's poppy plants? 1) The Mob 2) Juvenile delinquents 3) Terrorists 4) The DEA
Answer: The DEA
September 8, 2019

Materialism's War on Drug Addicts and Alcoholics

The materialist focus on treating the supposed “real” physical cause of addiction makes modern psychology blind to the once obvious fact that merely making a patient “feel good” can have long-term benefits. This bias against directly producing happiness, combined with our pharmacopeia-limiting drug law, the protestant ethic bias against unrestrained pleasure (as well as the litigious nature of American society that discourages new paradigms), virtually ensures that the modern addict has few options but to turn his or her withdrawal into a morality tale, one to be generated and parsed with the help of a twelve-step group.

We can clearly see this bias against promoting happiness in the common drug-war assumption that recreational drug use stands in sharp contrast to medicinal drug use, when the two often overlap, even if the self-styled recreational user is unaware of that fact. This is because, one, the mere existence and availability of the illegal drug provides the user with the anticipation of some upcoming relief from the daily strains of life (as opium did for De Quincey), and two, as the latter benefit decreases the user’s overall anxiety, his or her physical health may benefit accordingly, as even materialist science recognizes that undo stress has a negative effect on physical health. Three, a person thus rendered happy is more likely to exercise, more likely to write, more likely to read: in short, more likely to pursue tasks that lead toward self-fulfillment, thereby indirectly improving his or her physical health still further.

It’s these sorts of indirect benefits of recreational drug use that modern psychology refuses to recognize, sold as they are on the long-debunked notion that every depressed person in the world can be treated by their handful of drugs, based on the fiction that said drugs target some chemical imbalance, something that the materialist can, at least in theory, touch and feel, and therefore something that is far more real to them than the mere subjective feelings of a patient.

Yes, some of these substances must be used wisely to avoid addiction. But opium users, for instance, can do this merely by using the drug intermittently, as Jim Hogshire reports. But drug warriors don’t want to hear that. It is an article of faith with them that illegal substances cannot be used safely. That’s why psychiatrist John Halpern (in his 2019 book “Opium”) writes as if every Chinese user of opium in the 1900s was an addict, which is a dubious supposition and even a little racist, given the fact that opium users such as Marco Polo and Benjamin Franklin are seldom characterized as addicts. By painting Chinese opium users in these bleakest of colors, Halpern comes close to “signing off” on Lin Zexu’s butchery, Lin Zexu, the pioneer drug warrior, whose methods included beheading users and burning their homes to the ground. (Halpern never entertains the possibility that the Manchu dynasty cracked down on opium use out of dictatorial self-interest, because it lessened their ability to control their own citizens, giving them thoughts that they were not supposed to be thinking in a tightly controlled society.)

It’s always a little funny to hear psychiatrists like Halpern lecture against addiction, by the way, given the fact that modern antidepressants such as Effexor are the most addictive substances on the planet, substances that even the NIH now says cannot be “kicked,” Effexor having a recidivism rate for withdrawal of 95% after three years. (If “pushed” on this point, psychiatrists mince words, claiming that SSRIs cause chemical dependency, not addiction, as if there was any meaningful difference between the two from the patient’s point of view.)

But despite America’s commitment to the “no pain, no gain” school of drug withdrawal, in which every addiction becomes a morality tale, there are other ways to approach the treatment of addiction, ways that have, to my knowledge, never been so much as broached in the popular literature on the subject. This new protocol involves treating drug addiction with more drugs, just as Google fights hate speech with more speech.

Thus, when a patient complains of anxiety, depression and fear during the withdrawal process, a chemist-shaman would treat him or her with various naturally occurring psychoactive substances that induce a feeling of well-being, carefully selecting said stimulants with regard to their methods of operation and varying the formula as necessary to ensure that the treatment does not result in any new addictions. In other words, this new treatment that I advocate (or rather whose study and serious consideration I advocate) involves the strategy of neuropharmacological obfuscation. It starts from the presumption that withdrawal symptoms are really just the body “screaming bloody murder” about a sudden change in its biochemical makeup. It proposes to counter this bodily hysteria by screaming back at the brain with rebuttal messages such as “all is well,” “the world is good,” etc.

Note that I do not have a disdain for “12-step groups” as such and the need for self-reflection. It’s rather that I find them an impotent substitute for the real politik of the sort of drug therapy that I’ve outlined above. (Even Freud didn’t treat himself with psychotherapy: he used cocaine instead.) The suggested course of treatment could involve serious self-reflection if desired, through the use of psychedelic plants as considered appropriate by the chemist-shaman. But mere un-aided self-reflection of suffering individuals should not be the last word that psychology has on the treatment of the addict. We shouldn’t give the addict such a dim prognosis until we’ve freed our scientific minds to consider the psychoactive powers of every plant in the natural world, not merely with regard for their ability to fix some hypothetical chemical imbalance, but for their power to make us feel good and develop better self-understanding. In short, we need more than a psychiatrist with a pre-filled prescription for SSRIs, we need an empathic shaman with a profound knowledge of the psychoactive benefits of natural plants – acting in a world in which mother nature’s produce is all legal, thereby denying us the ability to turn these substances into scapegoats for societal problems.

Read Materialism's War on Drug Addicts and Alcoholics on Reddit.

September 8, 2019

Question: "With LSD as an aid," the report said, "it has been possible to reach and work with patients who are otherwise unresponsive to psychotherapy."
Answer: Kingsport News, March 4, 1960
September 1, 2019

John Halpern's 'Opium': a pre-review

I’m nervously preparing to read “Opium” by psychiatrist John Halpern. I say “nervously” because almost every author who writes on such subjects has unconsciously signed off on a number of false drug-war assumptions that skew their proposed remedies in favour of policies that do more harm than good.

The first of these assumptions is the pernicious idea that the rights of a majority of would-be sensible substance users can be ignored when we perform cost-benefit analyses on drug legalization. Thus it takes only one well-publicized story of flagrant drug abuse by minors to have worrywarts clamouring for prohibition of the substance in question, without so much as one thought for the rights of the millions who may be using said drug responsibly and for good reasons.

Thus, for instance, we see much hand-wringing in early 20th century newspapers about immigrants using opium in excess (at least in the opinion of the writers), but never so much as one story on the millions of productive citizens who, like Benjamin Franklin, used opium without problems and found that it actually stimulated the artistic side of their personality. Sane and sensible substance users are simply never given a seat at the table of public dialogue about so-called “drugs.”

This leads us naturally to drug-war assumption number two, the idea that there is no such thing as a sensible use of illegal drugs, that all such use is necessarily recreational and therefore devoid of therapeutic value.

Yet the latest research on psychedelic therapy proves this assumption to be wrong. LSD, psilocybin and ayahuasca (among others) have been shown to foster personal growth in the user. Even opium, when responsibly used, can increase one’s interest in the world and one’s artistic delectation, as De Quincey reported, prior to his irresponsible daily use of the substance to combat physical pain. Then there’s the obvious fact that even “recreational” drug use can be therapeutic, as for instance when it decreases the user’s anxiety and gives them something to look forward to in life, thus lifting their overall spirit. (We can label Freud’s use of cocaine as “recreational,” of course, but only by ignoring the tremendous fact that the drug helped him to crank out a voluminous workload that resulted in nothing less than his personal sense of self-fulfillment in life. How’s THAT for therapeutic? And to think, all this was accomplished without correcting some supposed “chemical imbalance” in Freud’s brain!)

But I’m not going to hold my breath, waiting for Halpern to take into account the positive effects of opium and the lives of the Americans who used it responsibly.

But before I throw caution to the wind and turn to page one… let’s examine the biggest of all false assumptions of the drug war – one which, as far as I know -- no one but myself and Terence McKenna have ever sufficiently held up for the high level of scorn that it deserves:

namely, the false assumption that any government has the right to deprive its citizens of their access to Mother Nature’s medicinal pharmacopeia.

This, I believe, is the original sin of the drug war, this fascist gambit, this theft of personal property rights in the name of saving us from ourselves. This is the sin that has empowered the Pablo Escobars of the world, ruined the lives of thousands of otherwise law-abiding Americans, and eroded democracy to the point where presidents like Reagan and Bush can stand before the American public and, Stalin like, call on children to “turn their parents in,” in this case for daring to use the plants and fungi that grow at their very feet.

Read John Halpern's 'Opium': a pre-review on Reddit.

September 1, 2019

Question: In B.C. [British Columbia]... LSD has produced 70 percent "cures" among 60 alcoholics at Hollywood Hosptical within the past nine months, according to medical director Dr. J. Ross MacLean.
Answer: The Vancouver Sun, August 11, 1959
August 30, 2019

How the Drug War Tramples on the Rights of the Depressed


To show why I’m furious with the drug war, I have to be autobiographical. Only then does my outrage make sense. But when reading the following, don’t just think of me, but of the millions of others like me who are in similar situations thanks to America’s drug war: i.e., America’s anti-scientific attempt to criminalize Mother Nature and to turn chemically active plants and fungi into boogie-men, thus making them scapegoats for societal failings.


The majority of my waking life, I am deeply immersed in my freelance work, which supports me, albeit without providing me with the full measure of self-fulfillment that I seek out of life. But this immersion does frequently produce in me a kind of partial Zen state in which I’m open to new ideas and opportunities. So while I’m slaving away for my daily bread, I tend to come up with great ideas to pursue, which I duly note on a to-do list, either on sticky notes or in a Gmail addressed to myself.

Today, for instance, I realized that I could easily create a popular e-book by collecting and publishing a variety of short, to-the-point cooking tips, with a preface explaining that I’m not a great cook myself but rather a diligent apprentice who is creating the book as much for his own needs as for the needs of the reader. The book would write itself, because its creation would be motivated by my own culinary needs and desires. The creation of such a book seems a no-brainer, so much so that I want to stop what I’m doing and begin researching the topic at once, if only my freelancing schedule would allow me to do so. I am convinced that the book would be a joy to create.

There’s just one problem: that feeling of confidence in this book project disappears utterly when I am outside of that Zen experience foisted upon me by freelance work. I may sit down at my computer to begin the book, but the feeling at such times is always “Why should I even bother?” So many of these Zen-inspired “bright ideas” of mine have come to nothing in the past, so that I have no confidence in my ability to follow through. What seemed like such an obvious plan in that previous Zen state is now just another pipe dream that I know I can never accomplish. So I sit around gloomily, vainly attempting to come up with some other worthwhile project that I might somehow be able to follow through on.

My point?

I know for a fact that there are naturally occurring plants in the world whose ingestion would immediately snap me out of the above-mentioned moping and set me on the path to accomplishing the goal in question. (Freud himself knew this and used cocaine accordingly.)

The problem?

America has outlawed all such plants. Not only that, but they’ve replaced Nature’s cornucopia of cures with just a handful of inadequate and addictive “one size fits all” drugs, namely SSRI and SNRI antidepressants. And such medications are obviously not up to the task of breaking this cycle of failure. The proof, as they say, is extant, since I myself have been taking the highest possible dose of one of the most potent of such drugs, Effexor, for 25 years now, and it is precisely during this time that I’ve experienced this inability to “follow through” on my most important goals.

That’s why I’m furious at the drug war. At its heart, it is anti-patient. Its concern is so focused on punishing drug abusers (as the Republicans want to do) or protecting them (as the Democrats prefer), that it runs roughshod over the rights of law-abiding citizens who want to use the substances in question in a responsible way and for the most important reason of all, psychologically speaking: namely, to achieve self-fulfillment in life.


But what about meditation?

I’m sure some meditation buffs are reading this thinking, “Why doesn’t Brian just take up a course of meditation?”

One could write a whole book dissecting the psychological naivete that is betrayed by such a question (if one could force their depressed self to actually write the book, that is). Suffice it to say for now that I am no more likely to follow through with this meditation idea than I was to follow through with writing that book about food. I’m even less motivated (if possible) to take up meditation, since the idea is coming from someone other than myself. The fact is I’ve tried meditation sporadically over the decades – just as I’ve tried to write books sporadically – and failed to keep with it. Had meditation been the silver bullet, granting me at least some measure of self-fulfillment, then I would not be writing this essay. It’s fine to insist that meditation should work for people like myself – the fact is that it doesn’t. My whole life constitutes the proof of that assertion. Perhaps I didn’t give it a good try – but that’s the whole point: I can’t give it a good try, since the very problem that we’re dealing with here is an absence of motivation.

But the problem with the average meditation proponent is not just that he or she fails to recognize the above-mentioned Catch-22; they also tend to take a jaundiced view of plant-inspired mental health, as if there was something wrong with using Mother Nature to achieve in minutes what the Zen master can only accomplish in hours or days, namely, that state of sharp focus and mental freedom whereby one can actually accomplish things in the real world.

I reject that view, for I consider it to be nothing but a puritan-inspired Christian Science with respect to mental health, and I reject Christian Science for mental health for the same reason that I reject it when it comes to physical health: for to refuse natural medicinal cures a priori is anti-scientific and thus superstitious, in my view.

The important thing is not how quickly one achieves satori, but rather the attitude with which one approaches the experience. I see nothing inherently evil in the consumption of natural substances created by Mother Nature, whether to achieve satori or to alleviate a headache. To think otherwise is to accept the superstitious drug warrior notion that psychoactive substances are boogie-men, that they are bad in and of themselves, without regard to the way that they are actually used in the real world. And this is the very anti-scientific position that I chided above, for the results of this way of thinking have been to deny responsible folks like myself our connection with the natural world around us, thereby forcing us to forego self-fulfillment.

And why? So that drug war zealots can indignantly punish and/or protect a minority of potential substance abusers, meanwhile turning a blind eye to the psychological welfare of the responsible majority.

Read How the Drug War Tramples on the Rights of the Depressed on Reddit.

August 30, 2019

Question: In B.C. [British Columbia]... LSD has produced 70 percent "cures" among 60 alcoholics at Hollywood Hosptical within the past nine months, according to medical director Dr. J. Ross MacLean.
Answer: The Vancouver Sun, August 11, 1959
August 17, 2019

Thanks for Nothing, Alan Schatzberg

In response to Alan Schatzberg's comments in Is Ketamine an Opioid? on the Pain News Network, August 17, 2019.

Schatzberg's concerns about ketamine are based on two logical fallacies that are typical of today's drug warrior.

1) If a substance can be misused by a minority of irresponsible users, then it must be made off-limits to a majority of responsible users.

This is the same logic that kept depressed patients from using demonstrably valuable psychedelic therapy for the last 50 years, under the theory that psychedelics might be misused by a minority of so-called delinquents. (Of course, the term delinquent is subjective. In Nixon's case, a delinquent was merely any American who was not planning to vote for Richard M. Nixon.) But such so-called concern for the health of a minority of delinquents is really just a callous disregard for the health of the masses of suffering Americans.

2) In weighing the potential danger of new anti-depressants, we completely ignore the problems caused by the status quo.

Thus Schatzberg completely ignores the fact that over 1 in 10 Americans are currently addicted to modern anti-depressants, drugs that were never created for lifelong use but from which withdrawal has proven to be almost impossible. A recent NIH study finds that 95% of those who quit Effexor, for instance, are back on it within three years. Where is Schatzberg's concern for that demographic, or for the patients who are now complaining of anhedonia from the long-term use of SSRIs that were only intended for short-term use?

Far from recognizing their errors, the American Psychiatric Association is now developing new rationales to use these "wonder drugs" on children, callously moving forward with addictive therapies for grade-schoolers (now even including toddlers!) when we know that Mother Nature has non-addictive alternatives that our drug-war logic will not even let us research, let alone use to help the long-suffering depressed, alcoholics and victims of PTSD.

I myself am a victim of the "concern" of people like Schatzberg, whose hypocritical worries have forced me to go without non-addictive depression therapy now for 50 long years. So, thanks for nothing, Alan. Given the above-mentioned agenda of your APA, the last thing I need is for a psychiatrist to lecture me on acceptable risks.

Speaking of which, I don't question Alan's sincerity, but I do think that, as a rule, all psychiatrists should be required to come clean about their financial stakes (if any) in Big Pharma before they dash the hopes of depressed Americans regarding a new treatment -- especially if that "dashing" completely ignores the glaring drawbacks of the pharmaceutical companies' existing remedies.

Read Thanks for Nothing, Alan Schatzberg on Reddit.

August 17, 2019

Question: In southern Mexico, the jail and prison officials experience great difficulty in trying to prevent the smuggling into their institutions of the seductive mariguana (sic). This is a kind of "loco" weed more powerful than opium.
Answer: The Iola Daily Record, Iola, Kansas, Jan 1, 1900
August 15, 2019

Just Say Yes to Mother Nature's Pharmacy

Combatting the drug war is like peeling an onion. Each of the drug warrior’s harebrained assumptions turns out to be based on yet other harebrained assumptions, which have to be identified in their turn if one is to have any hope of convincing the mind-muddled masses, who continue to follow the logic-challenged ghost of Richard Nixon like he’s the Pied Piper of Drug-Free Hamelin.

Take the following drug-war proposition, for instance:

“Substances should be illegal if they are subject to misuse.”

First of all, I don’t know how the drug warrior can make that statement with a straight face, given the fact that more than 10% of Americans are chemically addicted to modern antidepressants – and the average drug warrior has absolutely nothing to say about that fact. It’s an addiction problem that the APA and Big Pharma “hush up” by claiming that these drugs need to be taken for life. That’s fine, except that the coalition never started making that claim until the addiction problem was first noticed. Only then did it conveniently occur to the drug pushers in question that these drugs required lifelong administration. What a coup by psychiatrists: they thus rendered lawsuits moot, while casting themselves as the saviors of the patients that they themselves had turned into addicts – not to mention the fact that the shrinks were now guaranteed to have clients for life.

But then under this rationale, we could solve the heroin problem in one fell swoop by announcing that heroin has to be taken for life. Problem solved. If we notice withdrawal symptoms, so what? It just means that the addict hasn’t taken his or her daily meds yet. (But don’t hold your breath waiting for psychiatry to “sign off” on this corollary to their self-serving logic on addiction.)

Putting aside this corporate-biased hypocrisy, why should the physical and emotional needs of millions of law-abiding Americans be ignored in favor of cracking down on a minority of those who cannot use a substance responsibly? For make no mistake: many currently illegal drugs have positive effects -- as Benjamin Franklin knew about opium, as Sigmund Freud knew about cocaine, and as the American Air Force once knew about amphetamines. As for psychedelics, they have been repeatedly shown to produce the sort of self-critical insight that has been the holy grail of psychiatry for the last 50 years – and if we want more proof, we need only recognize the psychedelic-fueled ceremonies at Eleusis, a yearly festival for almost 2,000 uninterrupted years, where a who’s-who of ancient Greeks and Romans reportedly underwent the most positive experiences of their entire lives.

And yet we still say:

“Substances should be illegal if they are subject to misuse”?

Don’t get me wrong: I’m in favor of any sort of government policy that you please to educate those who misuse drugs… EXCEPT, that is, a drug policy that bars me from using the plants and fungi that grow at my very feet, merely because they can be misused by others. Mother Nature’s pharmacy is my birthright as a human being, after all, not a “privilege” that the government can take away from me in the purported interests of “the greater good.”

Read Just Say Yes to Mother Nature's Pharmacy on Reddit.

August 15, 2019

Question: LSD-25, a drug capable of bringing back childhood memories with the sharpness of a 3-D movie, is helping fight mental illness in persons formerly considered hopeless, two psychiatrists said today.
Answer: "Hopeless Mental Cases Given Aid By Drug Discovery," The Daily Item, Sunbury, Pennsylvania, March 24, 1960,
August 12, 2019

Making Mountains out of Microdosing's Mole Hills

Written in response to a post by Thomas Anderson and Rotem Petranker entitled Benefits and challenges of psychedelic microdosing – as reported by microdosers on the Biomed Central Blog Network, August 12, 2019.

Excellent article. Just two thoughts:

1) I would caution against the use of the judgmental term "recreational" to refer to psychedelic drug use at normal dosages. This is one reason why the drug war persists: because everyone assumes that "illegal" substance users are "recreational" users, meaning people who are out "to get their kicks," and this rubs puritanical Americans the wrong way. The fact is that many people seek out psychedelics to learn more about themselves and the world around them and to self-treat depression. By lumping this motivation under "recreational use," we help obscure the fact that drug laws are not just impacting supposed delinquents, but rather Americans who simply want to improve their mental lives.

2) In worrying about the long-term use of tiny doses of psychedelics, we should always put our concerns in perspective. We can do this by asking: how are Americans currently treating conditions like depression? The answer is, we are using SSRI/SNRI drugs that were never intended for long-term use and which were not adequately so tested. Some of these drugs, Effexor in particular, are extremely addictive (or induce severe chemical dependence, if you prefer). A recent NIH study finds that 95% of those who wean themselves off of Effexor are back on it within 3 years, making the recidivism rate far worse than that associated with heroin. More than 1 in 10 Americans are taking psychiatry's expensive drugs (and at full dosage, of course) every single day of their lives, becoming human guinea pigs for the pharmaceutical companies, and this long-term use is increasingly associated with anhedonia in the user. So while we're fretting about merely hypothetical problems with the microdosing of psychedelics, let's remember that there are very real problems even as we speak with the status quo, problems that will be overcome only when psychiatry adopts a non-addictive paradigm involving the use of the natural therapies that grow at our very feet.

Read Making Mountains out of Microdosing's Mole Hills on Reddit.

August 12, 2019

Question: Casting a ballot is an important act, emblematic of our role as citizens. But eating and drinking are much more important acts.
Answer: 'Our Right to Drugs', Thomas Szasz
August 9, 2019

Drug Laws as the Punishment of 'Pre-Crime'

You don’t have to search the novels of Philip K. Dick to find tyrannous governments that punish pre-crime. Pre-crime punishment has been a feature of American law ever since the Harrison Narcotics Act began criminalizing plants and fungi in 1914. No longer was it necessary for you to commit a crime – to play music too loudly, to rob a bank, to strip in public, to threaten neighbors with a pistol. No, you merely had to possess a politically ostracized substance, one that had been slandered with the epithet “drug,” one that superstitious politicians believed (or purported to believe) had no possible effect but to render the user a threat to society. This, of course, was the lie par excellence of fascist governance, since if it were true, then the “drug” use of Benjamin Franklin, Sigmund Freud, and Richard Feynman would make no sense. How can these men be heroes in their respective domains and yet have liberally availed themselves of opium, cocaine, and speed respectively?

Of course, you’ve probably never heard of their “drug” use because to talk about it is to embarrass the drug warriors with an inconvenient truth, and anyone who speaks on Oprah or The View has to toe the party line, the one that’s enriching Big Pharma, psychiatry, and the movie industry, which makes a pretty penny by producing films about drug-war violence, never stopping to think that the real villain of the “piece” is not Pablo Escobar and co. but the unscientific American idiots who had the gall and fascist tendencies to criminalize Mother Nature in the first place.

(Gee, we outlawed natural substances and what do you know, an ultra-violent black market was formed to meet continuing demand: who would have thunk it? Answer: any rational person who wasn’t intent on using drug laws to punish people that he or she didn’t understand.)

That’s why De Quincey’s “Confessions of an Opium Eater” remains such a radical read even today: because that author did not take drugs in order to rob a bank or to strip in public – he took “drugs” (horror of horrors) in order to better enjoy the opera! How evil is that?

No, the punishment of pre-crime is old hat, much to the cost of tens of thousands of Americans who are jailed as we speak for having dared to use substances that so palpably benefited the lives of America’s hypocritically admired heroes.

Read Drug Laws as the Punishment of 'Pre-Crime' on Reddit.

August 9, 2019

Question: In southern Mexico, the jail and prison officials experience great difficulty in trying to prevent the smuggling into their institutions of the seductive mariguana (sic). This is a kind of "loco" weed more powerful than opium.
Answer: The Iola Daily Record, Iola, Kansas, Jan 1, 1900
August 9, 2019

The Politically Incorrect Cure for the Common Cold

One thing is clear in reviewing newspaper references to opium in late 19th-century America. Almost no one -- except perhaps for the odd patent medicine huckster -- seems to have paid any attention to the drug's ability to foster creativity and increased joie de vivre in the judicious user. The focus was all on drug "fiends" and addicts and there was a clear attempt to demonize the drug, mainly by associating it with the sort of people and ideas of which the drug critic did not approve.

Meanwhile, if anyone had bothered to ask responsible users, they would have heard tales of opium curing the common cold.

Opium, curing the common cold?

There's nothing mysterious about that. The drug helps the depressed feel positive -- if only in anticipation of use -- and it's well-acknowledged today, even by many arch materialists, that positive thinking can help one fend off disease.

Yet modern psychology never connects the dots. Rather, they adopt the superstitious drug-war position that drugs like opium are bad in and of themselves, with no therapeutic value whatsoever -- and so, rather than launching a public education campaign to promote responsible use, they criminalize a mere plant, thereby bringing about the quiet suffering of millions, after which they begin proselytizing Americans with the blatant lie that "responsible use" of opium is somehow an oxymoron, which is clearly a political conviction rather than a scientific fact.

These are not mere abstract considerations on my part, for, to quote from Edgar Allan Poe, "I am not more sure that I breathe than that" the use of a small amount of opium could, at this very moment, bring some profound psychological relief to my elderly mother, who sits across the hallway from me now, suffering from her vague eternal fears... but, alas, such family members must remain the unacknowledged victims of America's politically motivated drug war. For while the newspapers tell us about the obvious harm that hated substances do, they are silent about the invisible benefits, to the point that they'll ignore a cure for the common cold if necessary to toe the party line on the subject.

FOLLOW-UP NOTE: This is another unacknowledged cost of the Drug War. It biases science so thoroughly that we do not even notice it. Science purports to evaluate the physical world objectively, but it fails to do so in the case of natural substances once they have been rendered illegal. At that moment, science disappears from the lab and political superstitions about the substances in question are tacitly accepted as scientific gospel.

Read The Politically Incorrect Cure for the Common Cold on Reddit.

August 9, 2019

Question: "With LSD as an aid," the report said, "it has been possible to reach and work with patients who are otherwise unresponsive to psychotherapy."
Answer: Kingsport News, March 4, 1960
August 8, 2019

Is the psychedelic renaissance doomed?

Posted in response to the question "Is the psychedelic renaissance doomed?" on the Metaphysical Speculations blog on Google Groups. Author Bernardo Kastrup poses the question in response to a new attempt by pharmacologists to remove the hallucinatory properties of psychedelics, to make them operate more like modern antidepressants.

The problem is modern psychiatry and its "physics envy." Its primary goal is NOT to make people happy or even productive; psychiatry's primary goal is to scientifically "cure" people with "mental issues," which today is broadly defined (conveniently enough for the APA-pharmaceuticals alliance) to mean almost everyone, grade-schoolers included) -- and that means finding (or at least purporting to find) the right chemicals to adjust in the brain: in other words, treating human beings as interchangeable units for therapeutic purposes (this from a profession that supposedly adopted the biochemical model to treat patients more "humanely" -- see Anne Harrington's "Mind Fixers").

I believe that a true psychedelic renaissance requires another sea change for psychiatry: just as they went from Freudian treatment to a biochemical focus in the 20th century, they need to go from a biochemical focus to a shamanic focus in the 21st. To accomplish this, however, we'll also need a sea change in drug policy, by which today we outlaw the plants and fungi that grow at our very feet (something that I trust will be wholeheartedly laughed at by the TRULY scientific societies of the future). This law change is necessary because to be effective, shamans must not only be empaths, but they must have unlimited access to all the psychoactive plants of Mother Nature. The shaman is an artist, not a scientist (or at least not JUST a scientist). Instead of choosing among the top 3 blockbuster drugs for depression, the shaman will work with the patient to design therapy using a smorgasbord of therapeutic options from Mother Nature, including psychedelic drugs whose proper use can create a willingness to change in the "patient" thus treated.

Until we allow for the freedom of a healer to choose, artist-like, among the available therapeutic options growing at our very feet, we have no business opining definitively on depression, anxiety and their supposed intransigence or cause. To say that we, even now, possess definitive treatments is folly when we have ruled out, on purely political grounds, a slew of naturally growing plants and fungi that could help improve lives dramatically.

Again, for those who fret about giving therapists (let alone ostensibly free Americans) unhindered access to Mother Nature's bounty, please don't compile a list of potential problems that may thus ensue. Even if you don't consider Mother Nature's bounty to be a natural right of human beings everywhere, it is your drug-war criminalization of Mother Nature that has created the problems: so much violence, in fact, that it has spawned an entire new movie genre where good-guy Americans beat up on bad guy drug dealers.

The recent shooting in El Paso may not have been directly related to drugs, but it is our drug policy that first caused underground America (and the world) to take up arms in a big way, to peddle the naturally-occurring substances that American prohibitionists decided to outlaw.

Read Is the psychedelic renaissance doomed? on Reddit.

August 8, 2019

Question: By means of this drug[LSD], people can view themselves objectively and can then accept themselves which is a great step forward in the care of mental illness.
Answer: Dr. Kahan, Executive Director Mental Health Saskatchewan, The Leader-Post, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, July 20, 1961
August 7, 2019

The Mental Health Survey that psychiatrists don't want you to take

Rate the following statements 1 to 4, based on how much they have applied to you over the last two weeks:

1) I have little or no pleasure in doing things.

1-not at all, 2-a little bit, 3-a lot, 4-very much

2) I am convinced that plants of Mother Nature could help me enjoy my life again.

1-not at all, 2-a little bit, 3-a lot, 4-very much

3) I am pissed at government for denying me free access to these valuable medicines that could help me, like, say, psilocybin, peyote, etc.

1-not at all, 2-a little bit, 3-a lot, 4-very much

4) After all, we’re talking about plants from Mother Nature here, not demoniacal pills from Pablo Freakin’ Escobar the Third!!!

1-not at all, 2-a little bit, 3-a lot, 4-very much

5) I feel like America has not been a free country ever since the passage of the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914.

1-not at all, 2-a little bit, 3-a lot, 4-very much

6) I feel resentful and angry over having to visit a psychiatrist every f---ing three months of my life to get a so-called “maintenance prescription” of expensive and chemically addictive drugs that I have to take every single day and which, in the long run, do nothing more than numb my brain and make it hard for me to think clearly.

1-not at all, 2-a little bit, 3-a lot, 4-very much

7) I am particularly pissed because these so-called SSRIs and SNRIs are contraindicated in psychedelic use, meaning that even if psilocybin became available for me to use, I could not use it thanks to the Big Pharma Meds that psychiatry has hooked me on.

1-not at all, 2-a little bit, 3-a lot, 4-very much

8) Speaking of drugs, I’m pissed that Americans have rolled over and played dead when it comes to so-called “drug testing,” since that system represents the extrajudicial punishment of a misdemeanor offense (nay, even a non-offense) with starvation.

1-not at all, 2-a little bit, 3-a lot, 4-very much

9) Drug testing is also the enforcement of a state religion, namely Christian Science, which holds that our mental health should be maintained without the help of therapeutic medicines – except for the hypocritical exception of a handful of Big Pharma blockbuster pills that boost the Fortune 500 while slowly bankrupting their addicted users.

1-not at all, 2-a little bit, 3-a lot, 4-very much

10) I have trouble falling asleep when I think how Big Pharma, psychiatry, and clueless politicians have deprived me of my birthright, namely the therapeutic plants and fungi that grow at my very feet!

1-not at all, 2-a little bit, 3-a lot, 4-very much

Results: Total your response scores. If the result is less than 36, you clearly have been driven crazy by America’s Drug War. But whatever you do, do NOT seek professional help immediately! The helper in question is probably "on the take" from Big Pharma and so is likely to put you on mind-clouding psychiatric medicines that will addict you for life. Instead, read books by Terence McKenna, visit sites like, and work for a world in which psychotherapy is performed by empathic shamans who are free to use any naturally-occurring substance in the world as a therapeutic adjunct.

Read The Mental Health Survey that psychiatrists don't want you to take on Reddit.

August 7, 2019

Question: For many, [LSD] seems to lead to self-help -- long overdue.
Answer: Dr. Keith Ditman, Semi-Weekly Spokesmen-Review (Spokane, Washington), Nov. 8, 1959
August 1, 2019

How the Atlantic Monthly Supports the Drug War

Dear Editors of the Atlantic Monthly:

If you are in any way sympathetic with correspondent Graeme Wood’s misleading musings on the drug war (in his July 2019 homage to Mark Kleiman), then I plead with you to read the following, and read it with an open mind. I write this because I’m an enemy of America’s drug war, and I’m convinced that its “staying power” is due far more to liberal confusion on this topic than to conservative recalcitrance. As you must know, the drug war was commenced by Richard Nixon as a means of silencing his critics by turning them into felons and removing them from the voting rolls. It was not set up with America’s health in mind. Yet Nixon’s drug war remains entrenched in the American zeitgeist today. Why? Because even those who oppose it put forward weak and contingent arguments that unnecessarily yield ground to the drug warrior’s bogus concerns and justifications.

To make my points as clearly as possible, I will proceed by citing a variety of well-meaning liberal assumptions about the drug war, followed by my explanation of why they are misleading. Let me assure you in advance that this is not an exercise in liberal bashing, since I consider myself a liberal as well, albeit one in the stamp of GK Chesterton.

1) Liberals generally share the conservative viewpoint that human beings should not use mother nature’s bounty in order to improve their mental health. Such a viewpoint, however, is nothing less than the theology of Christian Science as applied to mental health. As such, it is a religious tenet, not a view based on scientific facts.

2) Liberals tend to talk about the misuse of drugs in isolation. Thus, if they see teenagers misusing drug A, they write movingly of the problem, considering that they are advancing an implicit knock-down argument for the criminalization of drug A. This kind of argument completely ignores the needs of millions (perhaps even billions) of human beings who could benefit from the responsible use of drug A. Furthermore, it ignores the millions of innocents who will be made homeless or killed on behalf of making drug A illegal, victims on both the domestic and foreign front, caught up in violence so prevalent that it has spawned an entire new genre of movies: the drug war genre. This genre includes films like Clockers, American Gangster, Empire, Cocaine Cowboys, L.A. Wars, etc., films in which self-righteous Americans gleefully violate the U.S. Constitution to “take down” Russian and South American “scumbags” (our custom-made bad guys created by the drug war out of whole cloth).

3) Liberals tend to take the criminalization of Mother Nature’s bounty as common sense. What they fail to realize is that this criminalization is a modern invention, established by corrupt and bigoted politicians, politicians who don’t so much object to drugs as to the folks who use them. Many, including myself, would make the argument that government had no right to outlaw the God-given medicinal bounty of Mother Nature that grows at our very feet – especially in a country where we’re granted the right to pursue happiness.

4) Liberals have rolled over and played dead when it comes to drug testing, to which no one seems to object today. In short, it is a total victory for Nixon’s know-nothing drug war. For what is drug-testing? It is the extrajudicial enforcement of Christian Science as applied to mental health. It is the punishment of a misdemeanor offense* with starvation, because anyone who dares use the medical bounty of Mother Nature is deprived of a job – in the absence of proof that said drug use would have impeded their job performance.

*Actually, it's the punishment of a non-offense, since the law does not generally punish the mere presence of illegal substances in the bloodstream.

5) Liberals tend to associate psychedelic plant medicines with hippies. They are thereby ignoring almost 2,000 years of western history, in which a who’s who of Ancient Greeks and Romans (Socrates, Cicero, Plutarch, Aristophanes…) attended the yearly Eleusian mysteries, where they “communed with the goddess” with the help of a psychedelic substance, a secretive ritual which many participants later described as the most important event of their life. The ceremony was held yearly until it was tellingly shut down by a Christian emperor as a threat to religion. Just so we banish psychedelics today as a threat to the modern state religion of Christian Science as applied to mental health.

6) Liberals like Kleiman believe that we should legalize only SOME plants, and then do so “ever so carefully.” It’s as if the freedom of speech had been taken away from us by corrupt politicians and now liberals are advocating that we restore those rights “ever so carefully.” Why “ever so carefully”? Does Kleiman not realize that this is a matter of principle, a wrong that is demanding immediate redress? Kleiman can only draw such meek conclusions because he holds many of the false ideas outlined above. For starters, he bases drug policy on the potential and theoretical ills that it might bring, totally ignoring the enormous ills that the drug war is already bringing each and every day by ruining lives, overcrowding our prisons, killing inner-city residents, and justifying U.S. intervention in foreign countries.

There is much more to say, but I stop here because, quite frankly, I do not believe that you are going to read this, much less give it an objective hearing. These ideas of mine might have rung a bell with liberals 40 years ago, but it really seems like the drug-war mentality has triumphed in America. That said, I’ll assume the best and end by telling you why I feel so strongly on this matter.

As a depressed American, I have spent the last 45 years on the receiving end of psychiatry’s addictive nostrums. Like more than 1 in 10 Americans, I have to take an SSRI/SNRI for life, not because I want to but because I have grown to be chemically dependent on the substance. But why did I start on these addictive pills in the first place? Because Nixon’s drug war outlawed the non-addictive psychotherapies that had shown such promise in treating depression in the 1950s. And so I’m forced to remain on these mind-fogging meds for a lifetime thanks to the drug war. Moreover, I am banned from enjoying the therapeutic benefits of the psychedelic renaissance since most psychedelics are contraindicated for patients taking modern antidepressants.

Psychiatry has thus addicted me (first with Valium, later with antidepressants) BECAUSE of the drug war. Where is the liberal concern for myself and the millions like me, the casualties of Kleiman’s “slow and cautious” approach on legalizing psychedelics? And yet liberals like Graeme feel free to flippantly dismiss the value of psychedelics and wholeheartedly accept the fascist notion that plants and fungi can justifiably be criminalized.

Plants and fungi: criminalized! It sounds like a Ray Bradbury science-fiction story to me: a future tyrannical government outlaws plants! And yet this is the “enlightened” public policy that America is following in the 21st century? Unfortunately, humans tend to have myopic vision when it comes to recognizing the blatant injustices of their own time. So I’m not sure you catch the irony here.

But here’s hoping that you do! Here’s hoping that the Atlantic Monthly will think twice in the future before running stories that only serve to philosophically strengthen the drug war zeitgeist.

If I’ve convinced you that the default liberal position is blind to certain truths, feel free to forward me an advance copy of your next article in which one of your authors speculates on drug legalization.

I’ll be happy to highlight any mistaken philosophical assumptions on which the author is unwittingly basing his or her argument. Because, to repeat, the drug war remains in place, not because of conservative arguments in favor of it but because of the liberal critic’s inability to rebut those arguments clearly and with philosophical rigor.

Read How the Atlantic Monthly Supports the Drug War on Reddit.

August 1, 2019

Question: Local medical research has so far indicated that these drugs [LSD], when properly used by trained personnel in a psychiatric setting, bring about the release of long-repressed thoughts and emotions, intensify early memory, and generally enhance perception in ways that promote self-understanding and personality growth in persons with mental and emotional problems.
Answer: Hawaii Medical Association, as reported in The Honolulu Advertiser, September 12, 1960
August 1, 2019

Open letter to Ethan Watters, author of "Crazy Like Us"

Hey Ethan,

In your book "Crazy Like Us," you mention how difficult it is to escape one's cultural assumptions. I'm afraid in your case, this has blinded you to the existence of America's drug war and its impact upon the subject at hand -- since without the drug war, the very need for SSRIs might not have arisen, given the promising therapeutic use of psychedelics in the '50s -- all nipped in the bud by Richard Nixon.

When an author takes the drug war as a given, not worth even mentioning, he will write the following kind of sentence:

1) "ECT was necessary because all other drug therapies has failed."

But this is a lie. What the author really means is:

2) "ECT was necessary because the government had outlawed all non-damaging cures that seemed promising."

There is a huge difference between the two statements. I think the drug war persists today because it is left out of discussions like this, thus never properly taken to task for destroying lives (or, in this case, permanently damaging brains).

Perhaps someday you’ll write a book about how the drug war has deprived depressed Americans of powerful psychedelic medicines for 50 years now, barring us from psychedelics that can grow new neurons in the brain, while shunting us off onto SSRIs and SNRIs, many of which end up addicting the patient for life – and then making them ineligible for psychedelic therapy for fear of Serotonin Toxicity Syndrome.

So that’s my one complaint with your book: You write as if the drug war does not exist and therefore has no effect on the state of affairs – when in a sense Nixon’s know-nothing drug war gave rise single-handedly to the epidemic of addictive SSRIs, by outlawing the non-addictive therapy that would have existed in its stead.

From a person whose life has been in some ways ruined by this fact, it is disappointing that you do not even mention it.

To do you justice, though, almost no author these days bothers to hold the drug war properly accountable, so you're in good company.

Still, a great book - otherwise.

Read Open letter to Ethan Watters, author of "Crazy Like Us" on Reddit.

August 1, 2019

Question: LSD is a powerful therapeutic tool.
Answer: Dr. C.G. Costello, Psychologist, Regina General Hospital, in "Truth About LSD," The Leader-Post, February 5, 1963
July 31, 2019

Seven Ways that Liberals are Confused by the Drug War

The following is my response to an article in the July 2019 Atlantic Monthly magazine entitled The Life-Changing Magic of Tripping by Graeme Wood. Wood’s article is written as a kind of homage to drug policy analyst Mark Kleiman, who recently died from complications of a kidney transplant. But don’t let the title of the article fool you: It turns out that both Kleiman and Wood argue so feebly in favor of drug law liberalization that a supporter of that goal would almost wish they would keep quiet, rather than yielding so much ground to the drug warrior with their implicit but mistaken assumptions about the origins and solutions of that problem.

Graeme Wood’s article is instructive because it clearly shows how liberal Americans have been completely bamboozled by the half-baked logic of America’s drug war. One doesn’t know where to start in disabusing them of their pious verities, but here goes:

1) Graeme says that, “Kleiman thought certain hallucinogens should be legalized, ever so carefully.”

Ever so carefully? We’re talking about naturally growing substances that appear unbidden at our very feet, substances that had been legal as a matter of course until 1914, substances that were criminalized because of racist ideas about the populations that used them -- and in Nixon’s case to punish his enemies (by making them felons, thereby removing them from the voting rolls).

Yet we need to regain these freedoms “ever so carefully”?

Why do we concede the right of government to criminalize naturally occurring substances in the first place? They have no such right, particularly in a country that grants its citizens “the right to pursue happiness,” happiness which psychoactive plant medicines have been shown to provide or at least to facilitate.

If the government criminalized freedom of the press, our task would be simply to overturn that despotic law. We would be under no obligation to prove that freedom of the press could be allowed again without causing problems. If any problems occur when restoring our freedoms, it is the fault of the despots who wrote the corruptly-motivated laws in the first place.

2) If Graeme’s sensibilities were applied to driving, most of us would have to remain at home. Graeme would no sooner see an automobile accident involving teenagers than he would rush home and pen a “compassionate” article for Americans to stop driving. If Graeme does not accept this analogy as relevant to illegal drugs, then he is not “up” on the latest findings in psychedelic therapy, according to which psychedelics like ayahuasca and psilocybin can provide a user with mental resilience and grow new neurons in the brain. But in the drug warrior’s playbook, all these benefits are to be ignored simply because a minority of teenagers might find a way to abuse the substances in question.

3) Graeme focuses on minor and debatable anecdotal “problems” with psychedelics, while ignoring the real drug problem in America, the fact that 1 in 10 Americans are addicted to the drugs of Big Pharma for the treatment of depression and other mood disorders, conditions for which psychedelics are proving a powerful and non-addictive replacement. These Big Pharma nostrums (SSRIs, SNRIs, etc.) were never even studied for long-term use and yet now are being dispensed like candy. I myself have been told by psychiatrists that I have to take my anti-depressant for life. Why? Because a new NIH study shows it’s impossible to get off Effexor. Yet the moralizing drug-war mentality blinds Graeme to this REAL drug problem. Instead he harps on the need to withhold naturally occurring and non-addictive medications from the public based merely on his parochial fears about the potential misuse by delinquents. Better millions of depressed go without treatment than 10 delinquents misuse a drug of which Graeme does not approve, or so Graeme seems to think.

The fact that Effexor is more chemically addicting than heroin does not even register for the liberal drug warrior.

4) He also seems to think that only kooks would be particularly interested in psychedelics anyway, so we may as well make them legal, since oddballs will be oddballs. This merely demonstrates, once again, Graeme’s ignorance of the therapeutic findings of the psychedelic revolution, which shows that psychedelics are the psychotherapeutic drugs par excellence. They’re the perfect adjunct to “talk therapy” because they open the users minds to new possibilities and permit them to identify and challenge their own nonproductive assumptions about themselves and about life in general.

5) In dismissing psychedelic users as eccentrics, Graeme also shows his ignorance of Western history: namely, the fact that the Eleusian Mysteries existed on a yearly basis for almost 2,000 years (until the rituals were tellingly abolished by a Christian emperor), providing psychedelically enhanced visions to a who’s who of ancient Greeks and Romans, providing them what most participants later described as the most important experience of their life.

6) Graeme doffs his hat to freedom of religion but fails to realize that America’s drug war is itself the establishment of a religion: namely, the religion of Christian Science as applied to mental health. According to this religion, one “should not” use nature’s freely offered bounty to improve one’s mental health. That’s a religious tenet, though, not a fact. To insist that Americans abide by this belief is tyranny, for it is the establishment of a kind of Christian Science as state religion.

7) While myopically focusing on the potential fate of juvenile delinquents in a free society, Graeme completely ignores the actual hyper violence created by the drug war itself, which is such an enormous problem that it has spawned its own movie genre: the drug-war genre. Nixon almost single-handedly created this genre when he criminalized Mother Nature’s plants, a genre in which mainly Russian and South American “scumbags” are confronted by heavily armed and no-nonsense cops from America who openly laugh at the whole idea of due process and the other high-falutin legal protections that have been historically afforded to American citizens via the U.S. Constitution. Movies in this “drug-war genre” include: American Gangster, Asian Connection, Bobby Z, Clockers, Cocaine Cowboys, Empire, L.A. Wars, Marked for Death, Scarface, Rush, etc. etc. – just add the “bullet-riddled” movie of your choice.

Yet liberals like Graeme happily attend these films, hypocritically thrilled by the violence that the drug war creates, only to go home afterwards and write cautionary articles about the dangers of putting psychoactive plants and fungi in the hands of supposedly free American citizens.

Read Seven Ways that Liberals are Confused by the Drug War on Reddit.

July 31, 2019

Question: Who is responsible for the 24/7 moaning of millions of elderly Americans in nursing homes?
Answer: The DEA and the Drug War, based on the mind set that outlawed opium in 1914, so that now only outlaws have opium. The depressed elderly must make do with psychiatry's highly addictive and less helpful drug alternatives. Scientific materialists are terrified lest they give the elderly good dreams for a change. (Humph! How very unscientific. Let them suffer instead!)
July 27, 2019

Marci Hamilton Equates Drug Use with Child Abuse

In response to No, American Religious Liberty Is Not in Peril by Marci Hamilton in the Wall Street Journal, July 27, 2019

Dear Marci:

I think it is amazing that you equate the use of Mother Nature’s psychedelic plants with child abuse. It shows how far the Drug War has gone in superstitiously turning mere physical substances into demons, into the very incarnation of evil, something to be feared and reviled rather than to be analyzed dispassionately with an eye toward their potential benefits for humankind.

If you are keeping up on world events, you surely know that psychedelics are now being shown to grow new neurons in the brains of the depressed and, when properly administered, to give new hope and mental resilience to cases that had hitherto been impervious to all other treatments. Moreover, you’re surely aware that Nixon rendered psychedelics illegal, not to protect America’s health, but to punish his political enemies by making them felons and thus removing them from the voting rolls – and that, at the time Nixon did this, psychedelics were showing unprecedented benefit in actually curing alcoholics. You’re surely also aware that many legal antidepressant drugs are so addictive that they have to be taken for life – whereas the naturally-occurring psychedelics that you demonize are non-addictive and can sometimes facilitate mental cures in just one session!

As for the old Drug War canard that drugs “fry your brain,” psychedelics have been shown to actually grow new neurons. If any drugs fry the brain, it is modern antidepressants, which are increasingly implicated in causing anhedonia in long-term users.

In other words, there is no evidence that legalized psychedelics would destroy America, least of all when those substances are used in a religious setting. No doubt you could cobble together a few statistics to the contrary, but any damage you may document would be minuscule compared to that done by alcohol, cigarettes, and the legal drug therapy on which more than 1 in 10 Americans are now chemically dependent, destined to be drug users for a lifetime thanks to the “rights” of Big Pharma (business rights which, as a conservative, you no doubt think are just and proper despite their catastrophic effect on actual human lives!)

It’s funny that you should bring up the Christian Science attitude toward “childhood vaccination” in arguing against excessive religious rights – because the Drug War is nothing but Christian Science as applied to mental health: that is, the Drug War is based on the metaphysical premise that we should not use Mother Nature’s psychedelic medicines to improve our mental health. That is a religious belief itself that cannot even in theory be proven: it is a faith, one that many Americans do not share. So you show your religious intolerance in deciding that everyone must respect your jaundiced view of Mother Nature’s plants and fungi by eschewing the therapeutic use of those God-given substances. In short, if the anti-vaccination movement is ignorant, then so is the Drug War: for both argue against the use of demonstrably therapeutic substances.

You claim that the young people known as “nones” are on your side, philosophically speaking. I doubt that, but if you’re right, this won’t last for long. Research from the new psychedelic renaissance is proving that the guided use of Mother Nature’s psychedelic bounty can increase mental resilience and clarity and help one think outside the box – which is the very definition of a psychotherapeutic godsend. The “nones” are going to be smart enough to realize that the Drug War is all about keeping them from these naturally-occurring therapies – at which point these “nones” will take the lead in denouncing the folly of criminalizing Mother Nature’s therapeutic bounty.

It is my sincere hope that this pushback against the Drug War will result in new churches, in which Americans will seek transcendence together through the ritual use of Mother Nature’s psychedelic plants.

This would not represent the claiming of some new exotic right as you seem to think: it would be the re-claiming of a God-given right to the therapeutic bounty that grows at our very feet – this most basic of rights that was taken from us for political reasons by Richard M. Nixon.

Read Marci Hamilton Equates Drug Use with Child Abuse on Reddit.

July 27, 2019

Question: "With LSD as an aid," the report said, "it has been possible to reach and work with patients who are otherwise unresponsive to psychotherapy."
Answer: Kingsport News, March 4, 1960
July 22, 2019

There's nothing complicated about it -- legalize Mother Nature's plants and fungi today!

I belong to a Google group called Metaphysical Speculation, hosted by author Bernardo Kastrup. This morning, one member started a thread concerning Michael Pollan’s fears that it's too dangerous to legalize psychedelic plants – and the posting member (Robert) agreed, concluding that the whole subject of drug legalization is “complicated.”

I begged to differ vehemently, and I did so in the following response to Robert, Michael Pollan, and all the other Chicken Littles out there who fear that the sky will fall in if we legalize the plants and fungi of Mother Nature.

The “it’s complicated” argument has Richard Nixon smiling in his grave. He outlawed drugs in order to get his political opponents off of the voting rolls. Now Nixon finds, half a century later, that even his political opponents have convinced themselves that it’s too dangerous to restore the liberties that he took from us. Meanwhile, it’s quite all right for American presidents to engage in the Stalinist practice of asking children to report their parents for using the plants of Mother Nature. Those turncoat kids even get a photo op with Nancy Reagan. Nixon’s ghost must be ecstatic. His anti-minority drug war tapped into a deep vein of Big Brotherism and paranoia in the mind of the American public, both on the left and on the right.

It’s complicated to get our freedoms back? No it’s not.

If the government had taken away the freedom of the press and then launched a 50-year campaign to point out the dangers of unbridled speech, we might now be terrified of restoring the freedom of the press. But that does not change the fact that the freedom of the press must be restored – and ASAP. Nor does it mean that the defenders of this freedom are under an obligation to explain how this restoration can be accomplished without causing unrest or even violence. If the restoration of those freedoms brings its own set of problems, so be it. If anyone is responsible for that violence, it is the fascists who outlawed those freedoms in the first place.

Folks like Robert are worried about potential victims of decriminalization – meanwhile they ignore the actual fate of the millions of depressed and anxious that they walk by every day, law-abiding citizens who have been forced to use inadequate – AND ADDICTIVE – medicines because America is so focused on keeping NON-ADDICTIVE substances like psychedelics out of the hands of the minority who might (somehow) abuse them (even though psychedelics are hardly the “go-to” drugs for young people seeking a quick and guaranteed high).

With respect, the government DOES define our rights – in the U.S. Constitution – and among those rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

How can the U.S. government grant us the pursuit of happiness and then deny us the means to attain that happiness – by denying us the naturally growing medications that can increase our mental acumen and appreciation for life?

I’m sure Robert would be angry if the government tried to tell him what to think – how much angrier he should be if the government told him HOW and HOW MUCH he can think, but that’s what government does when it denies us the mind-improving therapeutic power of plants and fungi.

Robert frets about those who became addicted to opium. However the morally charged term “addiction” was created by the Drug Warrior to bring shame on opium users (especially the minorities with whom Caucasian prohibitionists associated opium use in the early 20th century). While opium was legal in the U.S., the term used was “habituation,” and many doctors didn’t even consider it to be a problem – until the drug war interrupted supply. Benjamin Franklin was a regular opium user, and there were no Nancy Reagans calling him out as a “wretch” in need of imprisonment and therapy. Moreover, although daily users could become habituated, the occasional use of opium did not cause habituation, nor did the user require ever greater doses to achieve comparable effects.

I’d much rather see opium legal than see the DEA stomp onto Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and confiscate all his poppy plants, as they did in 1987. Why is this outrage not patently obvious to freedom-loving people??? The DEA stomps onto Jefferson’s estate to confiscate PLANTS??? PLANTS!!! Sounds like a Ray Bradbury sci-fi about a future tyrannous government, not a story from our present-day America, at least as I’d like to think of it.

Folks like Robert and Michael Pollan are purblind: they vividly imagine addicts in the street the second that government (in its generosity) decides that we can use the plants and fungi that grow at our very feet. But they are blind to the millions of addicts that pass them on the street every day THANKS to America’s drug war. At least one in 10 Americans are currently addicted to antidepressant SSRIs, which became the go-to legal treatment for depression after psychedelics were outlawed. The APA ignores this VAST addiction, of course, or insists pedantically that we call it a “chemical dependency,” but from a user’s point of view, there is very little difference between chemical dependence and addiction. They are both demoralizing and expensive.

I have been STUCK on Effexor for 25 years. Six months ago, I got sick of being an eternal patient and told my psychiatrist that I wanted to get off of Effexor. He told me that there was no point in trying. He said there had been a recent NIH study that showed that 95% of those who attempted to get off of Effexor were back on it within three years. In other words, Effexor is far, far worse than opium and cocaine in causing addiction – yet Chicken Littles like Michael Pollan have absolutely no criticism for this state of affairs – probably because this American addiction is oiling the wheels of capitalism by giving pharmaceutical companies enormous riches and paying huge dividends for fat cats in the 1%, meanwhile giving psychiatrists overpaid jobs as glorified pill pushers, who disdain to have psychological discussions with their biochemically interchangeable patients. Also, Americans seem to have this Puritan streak in them: that’s the only way I can explain their preference for Effexor over Opium. “At least,” they reason, “the folks using Effexor aren’t doing so to enjoy the opera, like Thomas De Quincey – or to have inspiring dreams, like Samuel Taylor Coleridge, thank God!”

Regarding the following question:

Why not just expect that use of psychedelics in a desacralized setting will be disruptive and should be?

That question is beside the point because it’s an attempt to reassure drug warriors that drug legalization will work. But as I’ve tried to show above, the freedom fighter is under no obligation to prove that the restoration of freedom can come without causing any problems.

That said, if we want the use of psychedelics to be sacred, then the best way forward is through legalization, which would undoubtedly result in the creation of churches (even some Christian churches) that use entheogens as a sacrament. If we take the wimpy path of legalizing psychedelics but keeping them in the hands of “professional clinicians,” then we can be sure that every vestige of the “sacred” will be removed from the psychedelic experience. After all, clinicians are materialists (or at least work in an emphatically materialist environment) and so they will naturally want to turn the use of psychedelics into another pill-popping routine, sterilized and routinized to the point that healthcare companies and Big Pharma can establish predictable price points upon which to base psychedelic services.

To sum up, the drug war will never disappear as long as its opponents claim that ending it is “complicated.”

It is not complicated to demand the restoration of a right.

Those who fear such change just do not adequately realize how much damage the drug war has done and is doing even as we speak.

Richard Nixon’s drug war has created so much violence that it has generated a whole new movie genre, in which good Americans (who generally disdain the niceties of the U.S. Constitution) beat-up on evil drug dealers who are simply filling the needs of the black market that we ourselves created for them. We might call this new movie category the “scumbag genre,” featuring classics like American Gangster, Asian Connection, Bobby Z, Clockers, Cocaine Cowboys, Empire, L.A. Wars, Marked for Death, Scarface, Rush – all of which owe their existence to the fact that Richard Nixon (with help from Francis Burton Harrison back in 1914) outlawed the plants and fungi of Mother Nature.

Ending the drug war is not complicated. It’s an imperative for a freedom-loving people.

If Michael Pollan wants to worry about something, let him worry about the hospital patients who, even as we speak, are undergoing unnecessary ECT procedures, potentially injuring the brain – all because our drug war has denied them non-addictive psychedelic medicines that show such promise in brightening their minds – all WITHOUT DAMAGING THE BRAIN.

Let him worry about the minorities that are being arrested every single day for the possession of naturally occurring substances, after which they are thrown into inhumanly overcrowded prisons.

Let him worry about the millions of Americans who are currently addicted for life to psychiatric drugs thanks to the outlawing of natural non-addictive plants and fungi.

Let him worry about the violence in the inner cities caused by gunfire among drug gangs – gangs that would not exist were the plants of Mother Nature merely as legal as they were 100 years ago.

Let him worry about the fact that drug testing is an extrajudicial way to punish a misdemeanor with starvation.

(Amazing. Minimum-wage employees have their urine tested to make sure they are being good Christian Scientists when it comes to mental health – then they go out to see a movie in which good Americans kill people who are violating that Christian Science sensibility about the use of natural medications – meanwhile their corporate CEO is in the Bahamas doing LSD and marijuana with rock stars on his multi-million-dollar yacht.)

Let him worry about the fact that millions of elderly Americans are moldering away in group homes, shorn of hope, when we know through recent research that guided use of entheogens could expand their lives, help them cope with mortality, put an end to their constant profitless fretting, and even grow more neurons for them thereby increasing their mental resilience – and all of these benefits are kept from the elderly by our anti-patient drug war.

Let him worry about… I could literally go on and on mentioning the many downsides of the Drug War that seem to be invisible to the modern Chicken Littles of the world.

In short, let Pollan stop worrying about merely potential victims of freedom and start worrying about the real victims of this fascist state of affairs where, though we’re not told what to think, we’re told HOW and HOW MUCH to think.

Finally, if the “it’s complicated” argument were extended to driving, Americans would have never hit the road. The first car accident would have resulted in hand-wringing and condemnation of the automobile as evil incarnate. But even Michael Pollan recognizes driving as a right – and no doubt drives by plenty of car accidents, like the rest of us, without feeling any moral imperative to go home and write a new book about the need to outlaw driving in America.

How sad it is that Americans who insist on the right to drive a car do not insist on the right to improve their own minds with the naturally occurring plants and fungi of Mother Nature.

I can see God now:

GOD: Blimey, I put those plants there to give them inspiration and to help them sense the unity of all life! Now they’ve bloody outlawed the things. Can you imagine, Gabriel, the hubristic idiots have outlawed my PLANTS!!!

GABRIEL: Well, sir, they do say it’s “complicated.”

GOD: Complicated? It’s a plant! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Gabriel: Human beings really do seem to have the power to muck up anything, absolutely anything at all!

Read There's nothing complicated about it -- legalize Mother Nature's plants and fungi today! on Reddit.

July 22, 2019

Question: [Dr. Watt declares] that the moderate use of opium is not more injurious than the moderate use of alcohol and even that its abusive use is less destructive to its victims than intemperance.
Answer: The Freeman's Journal, Dublin, Ireland, October 31, 1891
July 21, 2019

Replacing 12-Step Programs with Shamanic Healing

Americans consider addiction a good opportunity to convert a drug user into a Christian, or at least a Deist. That’s why we see so many 12-step programs. That’s why so many books on addiction read like a Pilgrim's Progress of the addict’s soul, as we see addicts not simply get off a given substance but also confront their demons, their inner child, their family conflicts, their innermost fears, etc.

This approach may be heartwarming to a Protestant minister or a dogmatic Freudian, but it is not in the interest of the patient, whom it obliges to undergo immense physical and mental suffering, while being pestered for intimate biographical details from well-meaning but therapeutically impotent counselors.

Why do we think that this form of addiction “therapy” makes sense, especially considering the high recidivism rate of its adherents – who, even if they recover, are encouraged to live life “one day at a time” and to delight in small victories, essentially renouncing any big dreams that they might have otherwise possessed for their life?

Why? Because we are living in a country that has outlawed almost all of the powerful drugs of Mother Nature that could help with the withdrawal process. Having shot ourselves in the foot like that, therapeutically speaking, we are left with no other option than to morbidly analyze the soul of the addict and to hope that he or she can somehow “snap out of it” through confession and self-abasement. But that does not mean that our therapeutic approach makes sense, only that we’re forced to use it because of our jaundiced outlook on drugs.

The answer is to change drug policy. Only then can we treat addiction sensibly, in a way that does not require the recovering addict to feel like hell.

How would we treat addicts sensibly?

We would hook them up with a new breed of shamanic-healer, a so-called “empath” who is highly skilled in interpersonal relations but also vastly knowledgeable about the subtle pharmacological virtues of Mother Nature’s psychoactive plants. These healers would be given carte blanche to use any and every plant medicine to aid the withdrawal process, not just the two or three synthetic medicines that Big Pharma salesmen have vigorously marketed for that purpose.

The healer would especially use those entheogenic plants and fungi that have been shown, when ritually used, to give the user insight into their condition on planet Earth, their place in the world – entheogens that increase one’s ability to relate to others lovingly and honestly, while actually growing neurons in the user’s brain, thus increasing the patient’s ability to creatively confront the withdrawal process and their new addiction-free life.

Meanwhile, the shamanic-healer would distract the addict’s mind from psychological withdrawal side effects (like sleeplessness and anxiety) by providing them with natural medications that bring the sufferer peace and allow him or her to see beyond the withdrawal issues that are being faced. These medicines would be chosen and applied so as not to cause any new addiction, but rather to make the withdrawal process tolerable to the patient (at times even enjoyable!) and to free his or her mind to discuss all related issues in an honest and insightful way with his or her designated shaman.

In other words, this approach does not get rid of talk therapy, but rather makes it realistic, by getting the patient in a state that he or she can talk freely about anything and everything with this designated shamanic “empath.”

Of course, this takes all the fun out of addiction from America’s point of view: Not only does it get rid of the hand-wringing 12-step programs, but it knocks Big Pharma out of the process too because the shamans would no longer restrict themselves to employing the handful of pill brands that they’ve had marketed to them by the pharmaceutical companies.

Unfortunately, the patient will only come first like this when America stops treating Mother Nature as a drug kingpin and instead considers her to be a supplier of a vast array of powerful medicines – medicines that are the birthright of the denizens of Planet Earth and which do not have to be processed and packaged by Big Pharma in order to be used advisedly by shamanic healers.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Let's remember that the word "addiction" itself is a moralizing replacement for the more neutral word "habituation." In early 20th century America, when opium was legal, some people became habituated to it by over-frequent use, but this habituation was not considered a moral shortcoming -- until 1914, when drug prohibitionists came along and wanted to denigrate opium use among mistrusted minorities. Suddenly habituation became an "addiction," a politically and morally charged term designed to justify repressive legislation by a new breed of "drug warrior" who believed we should outlaw Mother Nature's pharmacy to protect Americans from themselves.

AUTHOR'S LATER NOTE: Say what you will about drug dealers, but in some ways they have the right idea. You don't go to them to bear your soul, you go to them for answers. Of course, this is usually dangerous, because there is usually a severe limit to what they know and what they can sell. But picture a pharmacologically savvy dealer with access to Mother Nature's entire pharmacopeia. What a boon that kind of shaman would be to the alcoholic or the heroin addict. As much as the drug warrior wants to paint such people as evil incarnate, they would do a far better job than a 12-step group, giving the addict self-insight with non-addictive psychedelics and the highly selective use of other natural psychoactive plants, such that the addict would come out of treatment free of addiction and knowing more about themselves -- and NOT -- as in today's real world -- suddenly addicted to Big Pharma's ridiculously teensy pharmacy of addictive poisons, based on shabby science backed by false philosophical claims about fictional chemical imbalances -- or rather chemical imbalances that WERE fictional until the BIG PHARMA meds themselves created those imbalances!

This is just another way of saying that if psychotherapists wish to remain relevant in a world without ridiculous and anti-scientific drug laws, they must become empathic pharmacological shamans. The only reason that folks still go to shrinks today is because government, luckily for them, has outlawed all competition from the plants of Mother Nature. If freedom is to survive, this anti-Constitutional status quo must change -- and when it does, psychiatrists will finally have to make an honest living, one no longer subsidized (directly or indirectly) by Big Pharma.

AUTHOR’S STILL LATER NOTE: How ironic yet telling it is that Freud did not submit himself to intensive psychotherapy but used cocaine instead to keep up with his workload. Freud was like: “Theory is all well and good when it comes to my patients, but important people like myself require the real thing!” The field of psychology plays dumb, however, and refuses to draw the obvious lesson from this irony: namely, that politically ostracized drugs have a real place in therapy – “even though heaven and earth cry out against them.” Freud using cocaine reminds me of liberals who send their kids to a private school. In both cases, the theorizer demands real results in their own life and that of their family but insists that other people live according to dictates of mere theory (whether about the powers of psychotherapy or about the importance of public schools).

Read Replacing 12-Step Programs with Shamanic Healing on Reddit.

July 21, 2019

Question: "With LSD as an aid," the report said, "it has been possible to reach and work with patients who are otherwise unresponsive to psychotherapy."
Answer: Kingsport News, March 4, 1960
July 20, 2019

Eight Reasons to End Drug Testing

1) Drugs were made illegal in the United States, not for health reasons, but to punish political enemies – by turning them into felons and thus removing them from the voting rolls

2) Drug tests are not based on any known correlation between the use of any particular drug and an inability to perform any particular job

3) Drug testing seeks to establish Christian Science as a state religion by denying Americans the right to use medications to improve their mental condition

4) Drug tests are an extrajudicial form of law enforcement, which punishes misdemeanor cases of drug use with expulsion from the job market, thereby constituting cruel and unusual punishment

5) Many of the drugs that we test for have been shown to decrease depression, fight PTSD and even cure alcoholism -- and yet we reward those who dare to use them with unemployment?

6) Drug testing allows corporations to hire only docile employees who aren’t too finicky about their perceived “rights” as human beings and as workers

7) Drug testing is just another way for the billionaire 1% to lord it over the rest of us by forcing us to undergo humiliating and invasive searches while our CEOs freely use LSD and marijuana with rock stars on their multi-million-dollar yachts

8) Drug testing is based on the patently false assumptions of the Drug War, which has turned the U.S. into a penal colony and fomented violence and bloodshed overseas, justifying U.S. intervention to attack the bad guys that our own drug laws have created out of whole cloth

Read Eight Reasons to End Drug Testing on Reddit.

July 20, 2019

Question: Who barged on to Jefferson's Monticello and destroyed Thomas Jefferson's poppy plants? 1) The Mob 2) Juvenile delinquents 3) Terrorists 4) The DEA
Answer: The DEA
July 19, 2019

Cup of Urine, Pissed By Me

Cup of urine, pissed by me
Got me work at Dollar Tree
Though they didn’t have the right
I gave forth without a fight
Bet the owner of these stores
Keeps his d--- inside his drawers

Read Cup of Urine, Pissed By Me on Reddit.

July 19, 2019

Question: By means of this drug[LSD], people can view themselves objectively and can then accept themselves which is a great step forward in the care of mental illness.
Answer: Dr. Kahan, Executive Director Mental Health Saskatchewan, The Leader-Post, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, July 20, 1961
July 19, 2019

This is your brain on Neuralink

In response to Elon Musk's Neuralink plan to fix brain disorders

Musk’s idea might sound funny, were it not for the fact that many equally nutty ideas have been implemented in the name of psychiatric “science” over the past 150 years: enema therapy, insulin coma therapy, Metrazol therapy, fever therapy, enforced isolation, and even forced sterilization – all piously claiming a scientific basis for their method of action. As if this past menu of hubristic horrors is not enough, we have modern psychiatry to thank for the fact that, even as I type this, more than 1 in 10 Americans are chemically dependent on SSRIs for a lifetime – never mind the fact that these pills were originally trialed and marketed only as short-term remedies.

To be sure, Musk’s comments focus on the use of implanted AI to treat Alzheimer’s, but he also makes the grandiose insinuation that no mental trouble will eventually be beyond the mind-correcting powers of his implemented device. (Hopefully there will be an ad-free version of Musk’s implant so that our new, improved grandma is not forced to hear occasional commercials for iHop during her neuronal renaissance.)

I used to laugh at the Kurzweils of the world who ran around screaming that “the Singularity is at hand,” while I, for my part, could not even make myself understood by a corporate phone-bot, not even when using the most basic of highly articulated English-language phrases. But now I see that the AI proselytizers have to be taken seriously, not because they are on the brink of solving the world’s problems, but because they THINK they are and so are liable to create real problems for real patients, unless we see through their enticing sci-fi pretensions to the vapid philosophy that underlies it: materialism, which is to say the philosophy according to which all the nonsense cures cited above once claimed to be justified.

Don’t get me wrong: I would be thrilled if Musk could electronically tweak the brain so as to essentially cure Alzheimer’s, but his ambitions go far beyond that. He’s out to cure “brain disorders” in general, which, given his materialist assumptions, presumably means depression and anxiety as well.

That’s where I say “hold everything.”

We already know of plants whose use can create new neural connections in the brain, yet we do not even consider using them to treat mental illnesses. Why? Because Americans, who otherwise boast of their scientific prowess, have yet allowed those plants to be rendered illegal for over a half a century now. Plants! To be rendered illegal! In a scientific society? Hello?

We have no right to go casting about in the electronics cupboard for cures for depression and anxiety under such anti-scientific circumstances. Scientists and researchers should instead be rising up en masse to overthrow this government-sponsored prohibition on medical progress. (Better late than never: had they not been snookered by politics and materialist prejudices against psychedelics, scientists would have risen up in this way 50 years ago.)

Instead, almost to a man (and to a woman), scientists ignore their loss of freedom, expunging it from history in the very sentences that they speak. Thus a clinician will claim that they use ECT as a last resort, because everything else has failed for a given patient, when what they really mean is: “We’re using ECT because the government refuses to let us use non-damaging and non-addictive plant-based therapies instead.” That honesty would serve a profound purpose, by reminding the tabloid-led public how hysteria-based drug laws end up harming everyone in the long run.

I mention these indefensible drug laws because Musk’s ambitions only make sense in the light of their pernicious existence. If the depressed and anxious were able to proceed with the informed used of psychedelics to treat their depression and anxiety, then I think Musk’s AI plans would appear as laughable to them.

“Let’s see,” says the giggling psychonaut: “I can use this natural plant here to expand my mind, thus following in the footsteps of the mysteries at Eleusis in which Socrates himself took part… or I can have this Elon Musk fellow implant some operating software in my brain – which he’ll no doubt update from time to time à la Windows Updates.”

Then, reflecting on the countless PCs that have been ruined by Windows' bug-filled Updates…

“Uh, thanks, Elon, but I think I’ll stick with my plants!”

Read This is your brain on Neuralink on Reddit.

July 19, 2019

Question: For many, [LSD] seems to lead to self-help -- long overdue.
Answer: Dr. Keith Ditman, Semi-Weekly Spokesmen-Review (Spokane, Washington), Nov. 8, 1959
July 16, 2019

Some Tough Love for Drug Addicts

in response to comments posted on for the article entitled Trial using MDMA

It amazes me that Brits want to continue the disastrous Drug War of Richard Nixon who only started it to punish his enemies. Kudos to reformed addicts, but please do not tell us to outlaw drugs to help save your lives: you’re not the only ones in the universe. Because we set drug policy based on the actions of irresponsible and uninformed drug takers like yourself, we deny powerful medicines to millions of depressed people around the world and foment violence overseas fighting a drug war that can never be won, because people will never give up their God-given right to self-medicate, especially when using the plants of Mother Nature, which are our birthright as denizens of Planet Earth.

Read Some Tough Love for Drug Addicts on Reddit.

July 16, 2019

Question: Dr. T.C. Marks, a physician of experience and standing, has added another to the long list of things that can be profitably produced in the glorious climate of southern California. The particular substance this time is opium.
Answer: Los Angeles Herald, August 9, 1891
July 16, 2019

America's biggest drug pusher: The American Psychiatric Association:

How the disastrous materialist paradigm ruined psychiatry and addicted entire generations of Americans

I am an expert on the down side of the anti-depressant craze, having been over 40 years on the receiving end of materialist nostrums that I was told would correct my brain chemistry. Now I find that they have hopelessly screwed up that chemistry and have debarred me from profiting from the new psychedelic renaissance in depression therapy, thanks to the fact that SSRI + psychedelics causes Serotonin Toxicity Syndrome -- or, in any case, dampens the effects of psychedelics. Nor am I alone. It is a tragic irony that those of us who have dutifully followed the antidepressant bandwagon are now ineligible for the new non-addictive psychedelic therapy that is meant to replace it.

I decided to get off Effexor to try psychedelic therapy, either in South America or in clinical trials in America. When I mentioned this to my psychiatrist, however, he told me that it was literally IMPOSSIBLE to get off of Effexor. He cited a new NIH study that shows a 95% recidivism rate after three years for those who quit the drug. Bizarrely, my shrink seems to think that this proves that Effexor works. I don't know where to begin in correcting his problematic logic in reaching that conclusion.

If I had been told I was going to be addicted to a drug for life, I would have certainly chosen opium -- like Benjamin Franklin -- and not the drug Effexor. Despite our moral bluster, opium would be drastically better for me, since I could use it on weekends only (which would make the intervening weekdays far more bearable, as it did for De Quincey before an injury led him to take the drug on an addictive daily basis) – and even if I did become addicted, so what? That addiction becomes a problem only if supply is interrupted – and in this sense SSRIs are just as bad as opium. In fact, Effexor is far worse than opium, which an addict can at least theoretically get off of after some major short-term suffering – whereas I’m told that I can NEVER get off of Effexor: ever.

The article that you posted points out some of the problems with relying on self-reporting about SSRI effects. But you failed to mention one problem. Those who find SSRIs to be valuable (at least initially) have nothing to compare their feelings to. Had they had an entheogenic encounter in their life, wherein they were overawed with beauty and meaning, then they would not necessarily consider the SSRI effects to be wonderful. In other words, while entheogens may help them "be all they can be," SSRIs may simply help them become satisfied with an unnecessarily humble status quo, never giving them a therapeutic taste of the heights of self-fulfillment that they might have otherwise reached in their lives.

Long-term Effexor use has not goaded me on to ever new heights: to the contrary, I feel a kind of numbing that I’m told is described by the word “anhedonia.” At best, Effexor has made life bearable – but it has never inspired me and I have felt my creative spirit actually diminishing year by year. Moreover, Effexor has depressed me by turning me into an eternal patient and a ward of the healthcare state and a lifetime subscriber to Big Pharma. I used to think that the APA recognized addiction as a bad thing, but they seem to have no problem with it as long as they can call it “chemical dependence” instead – though from a user’s point of view, there is really no difference: getting off the drug is hell.

If one is going to pay the high price of addiction, they might at least be on a drug that provides actual emotional highs, if not insights and a sharpened mind. (But materialist APA considers that so much “woo-woo”: they’re claiming to fix a chemical imbalance after all, not make me merely feel good! )

Yet another reason to end the drug war: Psychiatry hasn’t a leg to stand on when it tells folks like myself to “just say no,” since they have become the very epitome of the drug pusher, only with complete civil sanction. The corruption of psychiatry is evident in the fact that 1) they don’t acknowledge the fact that they have turned folks like myself (for all practical purposes) into addicts and 2) they won’t even try to help us get off of their SSRI poison – insisting instead that we make our peace with SSRIs and “take our meds” like the good little interchangeable humanoids that they seem to take us for.

This is why I’ve started the website

Still waiting for an Effexor withdrawal program that will wean me off of Effexor WHILE weaning me ON to the occasional use of therapeutic psychedelics. Most addiction counselors insist on making the addict feel horrible first – partly because they’re legally unable to use meds that would ease the pain and partly because of an unexamined Puritan assumption that addiction cures must be painful.

I don’t agree – not if the plants of Mother Nature were actually legal again and resourceful and knowledgeable shamans were given carte blanche to use them.

In any case, I don’t have time to feel horrible. I have to make a living while dealing with my Effexor addiction.

Read America's biggest drug pusher: The American Psychiatric Association: on Reddit.

July 16, 2019

Question: LSD-25, a drug capable of bringing back childhood memories with the sharpness of a 3-D movie, is helping fight mental illness in persons formerly considered hopeless, two psychiatrists said today.
Answer: "Hopeless Mental Cases Given Aid By Drug Discovery," The Daily Item, Sunbury, Pennsylvania, March 24, 1960,
July 9, 2019

This is your brain on Drug War propaganda

If you want evidence that the American people have been bamboozled by the Drug War, just search the Web for “famous drug users.” Almost all of the “hits” will feature the judgmental term “addiction” (rather than “habituation” or “use”) and almost none of the “hits” will refer to addiction to LEGAL drugs, thereby ignoring the astounding fact that 1 out of 10 Americans are chemically dependent on SSRI antidepressants even as I type this.

This evidence is proof of at least two things: 1) that the Drug War has scrambled our brains when it comes to logical thinking, and 2) that the Drug War is not about America’s health: it’s about disempowering Americans when it comes to controlling their own mental state, meanwhile turning that power over to “health care professionals” and their arsenal of addictive synthetic medications supplied to them by Big Pharma.

In short, it’s all about keeping the DEA, psychiatrists, and drug companies in business for many years to come (and patients be damned, addicted and charged high prices), by continuing the American government’s immoral and unconstitutional criminalization of the plants of Mother Nature, the birthright of every human being. It's all about the infantilization of Americans when it comes to psychoactive substances.

It must warm the heart of any DEA hardliner to scan these links which describe Mother Nature as a drug kingpin and describe us human beings as mere babies when it comes to psychoactive substances, as if we’re all totally unable to advisedly use the plants of Mother Nature to sharpen our mental acumen and see behind the veil.

The facts show otherwise – as if in a sane and free world we should even need to justify our prima facie human right to the plants and fungi that grow at our very feet.

Bill Gates used “drugs,” Richard Feynman used “drugs,” Sigmund Freud used “drugs,” Thomas Edison used “drugs,” Benjamin Franklin used “drugs,” Omar Khayyam used “drugs,” Marcus Aurelius used “drugs,” even Socrates himself used what we’d call “drugs” at the Eleusinian mysteries – but you won’t see the beaming faces of any of these highly successful people splattered over the front-pages of these moralizing anti-drug websites. Instead, look for the deathly pale head shots of John Belushi, Jimi Hendrix, and Janis Joplin, the holy trinity of anti-heroes which the Christian Scientists of the Drug War want to keep before our eyes, lest we humans take it into our head that we have the power and the right to decide what plants we’ll eat and which we will avoid.

The Drug Warriors (which is to say 95% of the American public, judging by the plethora of moralizing pages returned in the above-mentioned Web search) want the whole “drug” story to be about the John Belushis of the world, the irresponsible drug users, and those who make bad choices. Why? Because they need to keep distracting our attention from the unprecedented injustice that they perpetrated on humanity in the 20th century when they criminalized plants, of all things, thereby denying human beings free access to the therapeutic output of Mother Nature that grows at their very feet. They want the whole narrative to be about 12-step programs and fallen humanity, with nothing about those luminaries who have chosen wisely from Mother Nature’s psychoactive bounty and come away better for the experience, with more focus, energy and empathy for humankind.

Americans will play along with the maudlin Drug Warrior narrative (of a weak humanity, ever threatened by nature’s far-too-powerful substances) until we finally notice that the Drug War is a religion: namely, Christian Science as applied to psychoactive substances: i.e., the metaphysical notion that we “should not be” using nature’s substances to improve our minds.

The latest research on psychedelic therapies shows that this creed is not only wrong, but that it has resulted in untold suffering over the last 50 years, thanks to the fact that the Drug War mindset has strongly discouraged research and clinical trials of these promising new treatments.

We’ll know we’re finally on the right track when a Web search for “famous drug users” turns up unbiased Web pages that unapologetically reveal how famous Americans have improved their minds with the help of the psychoactive bounty of Mother Nature. What a welcome change that will be from the usual party-line Websites delivering the usual maudlin narrative according to which every so-called “drug” user is a latent John Belushi.

Read This is your brain on Drug War propaganda on Reddit.

July 9, 2019

Question: LSD-25, a drug capable of bringing back childhood memories with the sharpness of a 3-D movie, is helping fight mental illness in persons formerly considered hopeless, two psychiatrists said today.
Answer: "Hopeless Mental Cases Given Aid By Drug Discovery," The Daily Item, Sunbury, Pennsylvania, March 24, 1960,
July 8, 2019

Why Clinton Was Wrong about Drugs

Bill Clinton once quipped that if Mother Nature’s plants were not outlawed, then his brother Roger would be dead. This claim is worth analyzing because it embodies all the reasons that the Left has joined the law-and-order bandwagon of the Right in denying valuable medicines to American citizens.

1) With all due respect to Roger Clinton, the actions of an irresponsible drug user should not dictate the availability of drugs to those who desperately need them and are determined to use them wisely.

2) The freely provided plants and fungi of Mother Nature are the birthright of every Earthling and cannot be justly denied to him or her, even if the free use of those substances causes harm to the irresponsible and the uninformed.

3) The legalization of Mother Nature’s substances could – and should – be accompanied by a public education campaign, one free of Drug War moralizing, which simply reveals addiction and harm statistics – including those associated with brand-name synthesized drugs, lest we imply that only plants of Mother Nature have the power to do harm. The info thus provided must make it clear that controversial "drugs" like opium and cocaine have been used by highly successful people (Thomas Edison, Richard Feynman, Benjamin Franklin, Sigmund Freud, Socrates, etc.) rather than insisting that Janis Joplin and John Belushi be the poster child for every substance that is banned by Christian Science America.

4) Government money should no longer support “Just say no” campaigns, since such initiatives are predicated on the religious philosophy of Christian Science as applied to psychoactive medications: namely, that human beings “should” live their lives without the psychological assistance of Mother Nature’s plants. Given the well-documented mind-improving attributes of psychedelic medicines, this priggish outlook on psychoactive drugs is no longer scientifically tenable. When the government finances a "Just Say No" campaign it is supporting the religion of Christian Science. It is proselytizing a highly debatable creed that plants should not be used to improve mental health -- except perhaps when they are synthesized by Big Pharma and turned into addictive substances from which the industry can reap windfall profits.

5) The Left and Right share the neo-Hobbesian fear that society will fall into anarchy if Americans regain their right to freely access the plants and fungi of Mother Nature. Even if this dubious theory proved to be true, why not reply to the resulting chaos with a crackdown on misbehavior, rather than the usual attack on drug users, which is really just the enforcement of pre-crime law in any case, in which we arrest based on the highly flawed assumption that illegal drug use will inevitably lead to crime. Wrong. So save those resources. If you must bust heads, bust the heads of those who misuse drugs (such as Roger Clinton). Give THEM the long prison terms – and more power to you, since those are the ones who have been depriving the rest of us the freedom to use Mother Nature’s plants wisely!

6) Let's grant that Roger Clinton is better off when we fight a war on natural plants -- but what about the residents of inner cities worldwide who get caught in the crossfire of drug gangs which naturally arise in a capitalist system that outlaws plants? Should we kill hundreds, thousands, even millions -- all in order to protect the Roger Clintons of the world from themselves? If anyone doubts how much violence the drug war creates, just remember that it has spawned a whole new movie genre focused on drug war-related gun violence. A whole new movie genre of violence -- all so Roger Clinton won't make a bad decision -- never mind the fact that when Roger made his previous bad decisions, it was during a time when drug laws were fully in force. Columbine, Vegas and Newtown shootouts didn't arise out of whole cloth. They arose because Americans armed themselves to the teeth to push the drugs that government banned. That's the result of drug laws that banned natural substances. So we are hypocritical now in wringing our hands about gun violence. Mass shootings in America may not be directly drug-related, but they're rendered likely when a country like America is armed to the teeth -- and that is a direct and predictable result of the banning of natural substances, for which there will always be a market in a capitalist country.

Read Why Clinton Was Wrong about Drugs on Reddit.

July 8, 2019

Question: "With LSD as an aid," the report said, "it has been possible to reach and work with patients who are otherwise unresponsive to psychotherapy."
Answer: Kingsport News, March 4, 1960
July 5, 2019

To Pee or Not to Pee

Ever wonder what Shakespeare might have written had there been drug testing in his time? Well, apparently someone did ask for the bard's piss at some point, given the tenor of this hastily indited rejoinder that William seems to have fired off in response. It's frankly pretty bad poetry, but that only proves how much the wordsmith was rattled by this outrageous demand.

It reads a little bit like the distracted poesy of the Muhammad Ali look-alike in “Police Squad”: “Roses are red, violets are blue – I’m gonna break your face!”

To pee or not to pee, that is the question:

Whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The blatantly unreasonable search of outrageous fascists –

Or to take up arms against the servile status quo

And tell my corporate bosses where to shove it.


To protest, perchance to starve: ay, there’s the rub;

For in that valiant stand against drug testing what hunger may come

When we have shuffled off the corporate coil

Must give us pause – there’s the respect

That makes calamity of fighting back;


And thus the native hue of just indignation

Is sicklied oer with the pale cast of cowardice

And those who ache to throw their bottle of piss

Right in the face of the Constitution-challenged bastards who are testing them

With this regard their currents turn awry

and lose the name of action. (mumble mumble mumble...) ...

EDITOR'S NOTE : I think Shakespeare has a point. I mean, if demanding a urine test is not "unreasonable search" (especially in the absence of any reasonable suspicion), then what is? Where do these corporate inquisitors (suborned by the U.S. government) draw the line? Perhaps they still balk at requiring candidates for minimum-wage jobs to submit to anal probes for drugs? Forgive the crassness, but one really doesn't know what else to suppose given the anti-American nature of it all.

First the government outlaws the plants of Mother Nature -- then, not satisfied with that usurpation of power, they suborn corporate America to take the very piss of the lower-class work force, to ensure that Americans are kept in their place, banned from improving their minds and seeing past the injustice of it all.

I think if billionaire companies are going to take part in this humiliation and demoralization of the lower-class workforce, then the billionaire CEOs should be forced to publicly provide their own urine samples on live TV -- just to show that the CEO is not above humiliating him or herself as well -- all for the high American motive of criminalizing Mother Nature, bigging up the police force, and denying the depressed and lonely any hope of overcoming -- except through addictive drugs from Big Pharma.

Question: Casting a ballot is an important act, emblematic of our role as citizens. But eating and drinking are much more important acts.
Answer: 'Our Right to Drugs', Thomas Szasz
July 2, 2019

Arrest Warrant for DEA Commissioner John C. Lawn


1980s Commissioner John C Lawn

For enforcing drug law by poisoning American citizens

Warning: Lawn is armed with unscientific ideas about Mother Nature's plants and should be concerned a threat to American democracy.

Read Arrest Warrant for DEA Commissioner John C. Lawn on Reddit.

July 2, 2019

Question: In southern Mexico, the jail and prison officials experience great difficulty in trying to prevent the smuggling into their institutions of the seductive mariguana (sic). This is a kind of "loco" weed more powerful than opium.
Answer: The Iola Daily Record, Iola, Kansas, Jan 1, 1900
June 29, 2019

Mycologists as DEA Collaborators

In response to "Drugged, Castrated, Eager to Mate: the Lives of Fungi-Infected Cicadas", by JoAnna Klein, in the June 28, 2019, edition of The New York Times.

Your article about the cicadas was simultaneously fascinating and depressing. Am I the only one who finds it sad that the DEA has to be consulted by a scientist before he or she can even investigate certain kinds of mushrooms and their byproducts? The fungi in question are grown by Mother Nature after all, not by Pablo Escobar: and where does the government draw its moral right to criminalize the freely offered bounty of Mother Nature?

The government's interference in mycology must steer a lot of scientists away from that field. What scientist would want the government looking over their back on every mushroom-hunting foray? I can't help feel, therefore, that those who remain in the field are complacent about government interference in science and may actually take pride in being DEA collaborators first and mushroom hunters second.

Dr. Kasson himself seems to be in thrall to the Drug War based on his use of terminology. He twice refers to mushrooms as “narcotics,” when from a scientific standpoint, this is just plain false. Psilocybin is a psychedelic, not a soporific agent. But in our society, "narcotic" is a drug-war pejorative, and so Kasson's use of the term betrays his knee-jerk desire to libel those substances of which the DEA does not approve, thereby making a patriotic virtue out of a government-imposed necessity.

As strange as the cicada story sounds, Kasson would not be so flummoxed by it had he read the book by Giorgio Samorini entitled "Animals and Psychedelics: The Natural World and the Instinct to Alter Consciousness." That's a politically incorrect book par excellence, because it demonstrates that the desire to alter consciousness is a fundamental aspect of the animal kingdom, not some evil impulse limited to 20th-century hippies and 21st-century ravers. (As Samorini points out: moths get drunk on the nectar of the datura flower, caribou trip on fly-agaric mushrooms, and cows have such a penchant for locoweed that it caused an agricultural crisis in Kansas in 1883.)

English Biologist JBS Haldane once said (a la Werner Heisenberg’s comments about the universe): “Nature is not only odder than we think, but odder than we CAN think.” This is no doubt especially true for those who expect the animal kingdom to respect our modern drug-war sensibilities about psychoactive plants.

Read Mycologists as DEA Collaborators on Reddit.

June 29, 2019

Question: [Dr. Watt declares] that the moderate use of opium is not more injurious than the moderate use of alcohol and even that its abusive use is less destructive to its victims than intemperance.
Answer: The Freeman's Journal, Dublin, Ireland, October 31, 1891
June 28, 2019

Illegal Drugs and the Imp of the Perverse

- You strive to be free of thinking too much about what you're doing. -- David Gray

- To indulge, for a moment, in any attempt at thought, is to be inevitably lost. - Edgar Allan Poe

In illegal drugs, we have found an all-powerful boogeyman that we can safely moralize about and condemn regardless of context.

Did Elton John use “illegal drugs”? Then it follows for us in this simplistic psychological view that his success was always IN SPITE of those horrible substances, and that his musical output would have been so much better had he only said “no.”

This is mere wishful thinking on the part of a society that has been deluded by the unscientific moralizing of the drug warrior.

True, John may have had a far safer life by “saying no” to drugs (or rather saying no “to non-doctor-administered mental health treatment”) but it is mere speculation on our part to say that he would have produced as much and been as popular without the aid of his poison of choice.

To think otherwise is to ignore the psychological phenomenon of “the imp of the perverse,” which Edgar Allan Poe explained 150 years ago today, though modern psychiatry continues to pretend that this phenomenon does not exist. “The imp of the perverse” is that voice in the ear of the public singer that whispers: “Oooh, what if my voice came out weak and my throat became constricted: wouldn’t that be horrible???” As Poe wrote, merely to think such thoughts is to be lost: for to fearfully imagine such hideous acts of masochism is to bring them about. Is it any wonder then that insecure performance artists will occasionally avail themselves of illegal mood enhancing substances to silence that self-doubting masochistic voice?

Answer: It’s no wonder at all – yet we still shake our heads in clueless disbelief whenever we hear of a public performer using “drugs.” “Tsk-tsk! Why would they do something so senseless?” we say, thereby displaying our ignorance of what Poe called “the prima mobilia of the human soul,” the aforementioned “imp of the perverse,” that ineradicable inner voice whose one and only goal is to keep its victim from reaching the top of Maslow’s hierarchy of self-fulfillment.

Despite all the de rigueur hand-wringing over Elton John’s drug use, what we’re really upset about as a society is the fact that he had the nerve to medically control and improve his mood without the assistance of established psychotherapy (in other words without getting on a program of chemically addictive SSRI antidepressants for life!)

But Americans insist on viewing illegal drug use as mere inexcusable hedonism; to think otherwise would force them to confront the fact that the drug war is being fought on behalf of modern medicine; its goal: to disempower Americans by forcing them to rely on others when it comes to controlling one’s own mood and mental acumen.

Read Illegal Drugs and the Imp of the Perverse on Reddit.

June 28, 2019

Question: Who barged on to Jefferson's Monticello and destroyed Thomas Jefferson's poppy plants? 1) The Mob 2) Juvenile delinquents 3) Terrorists 4) The DEA
Answer: The DEA
June 27, 2019

The Psychedelic Secret of Self-Help Books

Have you ever noticed that most psychological self-help books merely describe, over and over again, a way to look at the world that can be engendered naturally with the guided use of entheogens? "Be calm, be focused, be imaginative," they say, "and above all, feel yourself to be part of the great creative forces of the universe that flow around you! See the world in a grain of sand! Dissolve into nature and become a new creative being! Yada yada yada!!!"

Sounds great, but how do we accomplish this feat, exactly? The authors never say. The implication is that we should "just do it," as if their readers were able to control their emotions in the same way that they control their arms and legs. Earth to self-help authors: this does not work.

If the Seth Godins of the world know what's good for them, they should be fighting tooth and nail against the legalization of psychedelics, because the properly guided use of substances like psilocybin, peyote, ayahuasca and even LSD will finally allow the psychologically challenged human being to BE the sort of person that self-help authors only want such people to READ about.

*NOTE: Credit where credit's due: I'm the first one to point out how the self-help movement supports the war on drugs, philosophically speaking. It does so because self-help authors imply that the human being is endlessly malleable, psychologically speaking, to the point where they can accomplish any goal if they only put their minds to it.


But note that if anyone truly believes this demonstrably false proposition, this American mythology, then it follows that one has no need of psychological medicines -- least of all those naturally growing medicines that the government has told us to forget about under penalty of law.

That's why I wish mindfulness writers would put up their pens -- until such time as they have the guts to point out in their books that the best way to mindfulness, for many people, would be through the guided use of psychoactive plants, were they only made legal. By failing to note this inconvenient truth, these self-help authors are tacitly advancing a sort of Christian Science view of psychedelics, according to which we are only entitled to as much higher consciousness as we can achieve WITHOUT the help of Mother Nature.

Meanwhile the drug warriors are delighted with this muddled reasoning: “See, they say," pointing to these endless shelves of self-help books from which the subject of psychoactive drugs has been expunged by the author's self-censorship: "You can do anything you want WITHOUT the help of Mother Nature. All the more reason to arrest you if you use psychoactive plants!"

Read The Psychedelic Secret of Self-Help Books on Reddit.

June 27, 2019

Question: LSD is a powerful therapeutic tool.
Answer: Dr. C.G. Costello, Psychologist, Regina General Hospital, in "Truth About LSD," The Leader-Post, February 5, 1963
June 26, 2019

My Letter to Dennis McKenna

Hi, Dennis.

I hope this message reaches you. I’ve found that when a person like yourself has reached a certain level of celebrity, they become quite difficult to reach online, and even if the message gets through, they may not welcome the imposition on their busy schedule, as I learned to my cost in attempting to contact Rick Strassman last year.

My goal in this message is to advocate a new shamanic therapy to replace psychotherapy as we know it in the United States. I hope you’ll find time to read on…


My name is ... and I am the 60-year-old founder of a website called, which I describe as a series of essays constituting “one long argument” against America’s drug war.

That’s just by way of introduction, mind. I’m not writing to plug my website but rather to pick your brain on a novel idea that I have about the shamanic use of psychedelics in such a way as to help millions of depressed Americans. I am thinking specifically of the millions of Americans who are currently unable to profit from the new psychedelic renaissance in medicine for the reason that the SSRIs that they are taking are contraindicated in most psychedelic therapy. So, for instance, these Americans cannot profit from LSD, psilocybin, or ayahuasca therapy for fear that using these substances will result in so-called Serotonin Toxicity Syndrome.

I have a personal interest in the matter.

Like tens of millions of my fellow Americans, I have been forced onto Big Pharma’s addictive (or dependence-causing) SSRI antidepressants thanks to the drug warriors’ criminalization of the non-addictive bounty of Mother Nature. In my case, I am dependent on Effexor, which appears to be the most chemically addictive substance in history. I say this in light of a recent NIH study which shows that over 95% of those who wean themselves off of Effexor are back on it within three years. My psychiatrist claims that this recidivism rate is proof that Effexor works, but by the same logic, we could say that heroin works for depression, since depression will inevitably return when an addict quits that drug. At least in the case of heroin, the user would have been warned in advance of the addictive nature of frequent heroin use, whereas no such warning was ever given me about the use of SSRIs (though psychiatrists may quibble that SSRIs are not addictive but merely cause chemical dependence, as if this made a difference from the entrapped user’s point of view).


To sum up the problem: a large number of depression sufferers in America (perhaps even a majority) are ineligible to benefit from the new psychedelic renaissance. They cannot participate in trials, nor can they travel to South America to take part in ayahuasca rituals and the like: all because of their chemical dependence on SSRIs, which are contraindicated in most psychedelic therapy.


I believe there is a solution for this problem, but it requires a whole new mindset for how we treat addiction and chemical dependency. Rather than relying on modern doctors (with their small arsenal of commercial drugs that have been pitched to them by corporate sales forces) we should rely on empathic shamans, whose pharmacy is the rain forest and the plants and fungi of Mother Nature in general.

We must also question the assumption of “no pain, no gain” when it comes to treating addiction and/or chemical dependency. Certainly, the “patient” in these cases must approach such treatment seriously and with good intentions, but the notion that addicts must join 12-step groups and don sackcloth and ashes must be reexamined. I contend that this approach is based on a puritanical mindset, one which is particularly manifested in our refusal to consider the use of medicines that provide on-the-fly mood elevation and entheogenic insight to the addicted or chemically dependent person “in real-time,” so to speak.

Materialism is also the foe of the sort of shamanic addiction therapy that I am advocating here. Materialists insist on treating specific physical “causes” of depression. This is the reductionist focus which gave rise to the fallacious sales pitch that SSRIs were targeting specific chemical imbalances in the brain which cause depression, whereas Richard Whitaker has subsequently shown that Big Pharma’s SSRIs actually CAUSE the chemical imbalances that they purport to correct.

Thus both Puritanism and Materialism impede progress in the treatment of the addict. They each have their own reason for distrusting the symptomatic treatment of discomfiture, that discomfiture which is so often the death knell of the addict’s attempts at withdrawal from a given substance.

They both also ignore the therapeutic quality of anticipation. As De Quincey wrote, until his back injury, he had no desire to take opium on a daily basis. Why? Because his mood was lifted merely by the foreknowledge that he was going to “use” opium on the weekend in order to better appreciate an opera. In short, he got a mood boost by merely looking forward to his opera experience. Likewise, if the SSRI addict knew that he or she was going to be provided with a mood-elevating psychoactive plant on a regular basis during the withdrawal process, they would have incentive to “keep the course.” Again, amazingly, our modern focus on “no pain, no gain” seems to blind us to the symptomatic use of drugs for keeping the addict on track. We want him or her to “struggle through the pain” (and even talk about that pain in front of their fellow addicts) rather than to be lifted by natural substances over the deepest, most painful stages of the withdrawal process.

Materialists cannot be big supporters of entheogens, in any case, since they consider spiritualism itself to just be so much “touchy-feely” nonsense.

I almost despair of making myself understood on this topic because my ideas on this subject are so far from the status quo. Even the most progressive books on addiction these days seem determined to turn a person’s depression into a big psychological melodrama focusing on archetypes and childhood memories. Meanwhile, medicines that would “cut straight to the therapeutic chase” are growing at the author’s very feet.

For a clearer idea of what I’m driving at, I invite you to read my essay entitled “What Psychotherapists Can Learn From Drug Dealers” on The essay title really says it all. For all the moral shortcomings of many “drug dealers,” (meaning those who deal in medicines of which the government does not approve) they deal with the real world when it comes to making their clients feel better. Our society’s current therapeutic approach, to the contrary, is firmly based on wishful thinking. We tell the addict to “grin and bear it,” as if we have no need to deal with their real-time discomfiture, as if the huge pharmacopeia of Mother Nature does not exist or is somehow off-limits in the symptomatic treatment of withdrawal symptoms. We’ve convinced ourselves that this psychologically naïve approach to withdrawal symptoms is somehow pious (to the puritanical mindset) and medically correct (from the materialist’s point of view).


I have searched in vain for programs that help people get off of Effexor. And I’m sure that this is a problem for SSRI users in general. This is depressing to me because I find that I am ineligible for all the self-insight and mental relief and clarification that could be provided by entheogens, at least to a person who approaches the plants reverently, so to speak, and in good faith.

This absence of withdrawal therapy is a huge problem. I recently attended an online MAPS session about ayahuasca. And the most common question, according to the hosts, had to do with the interaction of SSRIs with ayahuasca. This is not surprising since, by some estimates, 1 in 6 Americans is taking an SSRI antidepressant. And so, thanks to the contraindication mentioned above, the most chronically depressed patients in America are precisely the ones that cannot now benefit from the psychedelic renaissance.

The answer, in my opinion, is the creation of a new world of shamanic therapy, one that avails itself of the vast pharmacopeia of Mother Nature, rather than just those few synthetic drugs whose sales benefit Fortune 500 companies.

In specific, I envision a treatment center at which the SSRI user tapers off of their Big Pharma antidepressant while receiving increasingly higher doses of entheogens. On week one, for instance, I might start using 225 mg of Effexor (given that my current daily dosage is 250 mg) and then given psilocybin or ayahuasca (etc.) at a very small dose. On the following week, I might start using 200 mg of Effexor and be given an entheogen at a slightly higher dosage, and so forth.

Meanwhile, the discomfiture that I experience as withdrawal side effects would be treated by other psychoactive plant and fungi substances of which the shaman is aware, in order to prevent relapsing. Note that the occasional use of euphoriants would be strongly indicated at such times. (I can hear the puritans gasping now – followed shortly by the “tsk-tsks” of the materialists.)

For once we put aside the objections of puritanism and materialism, we can realize (as even many “drug dealers” do) that it is the ANTICIPATION of “guaranteed upcoming joy” that makes life livable under tough conditions. As I know from decades of depression, it is never the depressed feeling itself that is intolerable – but rather the firm conviction on the part of the depressed that “this feeling will never end.” It is this fatalistic conclusion that leads to suicide, the conviction that the bad feelings will never end. But with the skillful employment of psychoactive plants, we can change the sufferers’ mindset by showing them that psychological relief is always “just around the corner,” which understanding, paradoxically, provides the addict with immediate psychological relief.


Having read several books by your brother Terence, I think I have reason to believe that my ideas might make some kind of sense to you, Dennis. If so, I’d appreciate your feedback.

I only wish that I could offer myself to science as a guinea pig, to be a recipient of the kind of shamanic depression treatment that I’ve attempted to outline above. My goal is to finish my life completely freed from Effexor, after which I hope to occupy my remaining time on earth as a psychonaut, following the Socratic admonition to know myself. But there are currently no realistic options to do this.

Psychiatry itself says that I shouldn’t even bother trying to get off of Effexor. Psychiatry has thus made me an “eternal patient,” an effective ward of the state, and I find myself rebelling against that fate, so far to no avail. It’s not just that I wish to explore entheogens (from which the use of SSRIs debars me) but also the fact that Effexor use increasingly muddles my mind and leads to anhedonia and a loss of the creative spirit that I had prior to beginning my decades-long reliance on SSRIs.

I believe that I could be successfully guided off of Effexor with the help of plant and fungi medicines as used in shamanic-guided healing rituals – until such time as my psychological needs could be met entirely by the intermittent use of entheogens, and even marijuana. (Note: It’s my experience that Effexor mutes the effects of marijuana and quashes the longer-term feelings of peace that the drug used to provide me in my pre-Effexor days.)

Something needs to be done. There are thousands of depressed Americans like myself who are chafing at the bit of their SSRI addictions – and almost no one is doing anything about it.

Psychiatry as a profession refuses to even discuss the matter, insisting to this day that SSRIs are some kind of materialist wonder cure. Rather than addressing the issue of chemical dependency, they flip the script and tell patients that SSRIs (initially prescribed as short-term therapy) need to be taken for life, thus freeing themselves of the necessity of telling patients how to get “off” of these “wonder drugs.”

I hope you agree with me that, to be truly effective, the new psychedelic renaissance requires a new treatment approach, one that empowers empathic shamans to treat the psychologically suffering patient (addict or otherwise) by choosing advisedly from among the full panoply of psychoactive substances provided to humankind by Mother Nature.

Read My Letter to Dennis McKenna on Reddit.

June 26, 2019

Question: In B.C. [British Columbia]... LSD has produced 70 percent "cures" among 60 alcoholics at Hollywood Hosptical within the past nine months, according to medical director Dr. J. Ross MacLean.
Answer: The Vancouver Sun, August 11, 1959
June 24, 2019

Dr. Houston, We Have a Problem

...with your "go slow" approach to ketamine, that is.

My response to the article by Dr Muiris Houston entitled "Is use of ketamine for treating depression a step too far?" in the Irish Times of June 24, 2019.

Psychiatry does not have a leg to stand on when it argues that ketamine may cause addiction. The treatment with SSRIs -- which were initially introduced for short-term use -- causes such severe chemical dependency in the user that psychiatrists finally made a virtue of necessity and insisted that the pills were intended to be taken for a lifetime.

I recently wanted to get off of Effexor -- to try some of the new depression treatments that you're no doubt worried about -- and my psychiatrist basically told me that it was IMPOSSIBLE. He cited a recent NIH study that showed that over 95% of those who weaned themselves off of Effexor were back on it within three years.

So please stop trying to keep me from using ketamine based on the idea that I might become addicted. Even if I did become addicted, at least ketamine is a drug that I could theoretically get off of again if I tried, unlike Effexor which turns one into an effective drug addict.

If you really want to steer me away from ketamine, then start fighting to give me access to a powerful potential alternative such as psilocybin and LSD. Our Nixon-inspired "go slow" approach (or rather "go nowhere" approach) on psychoactive drugs has set back depression therapy for 50 years already. Let's not set it back another 50 years by invoking a standard for safety that psychiatry itself has never met when it comes to SSRIs.

Read Dr. Houston, We Have a Problem on Reddit.

June 24, 2019

Question: Casting a ballot is an important act, emblematic of our role as citizens. But eating and drinking are much more important acts.
Answer: 'Our Right to Drugs', Thomas Szasz
June 18, 2019

Looking for Magic in All the Wrong Places

Check out this line from “The Librarians,” spoken by a self-satisfied “magic hunter” who claims to understand M-Theory.

“Once I notice something, I can’t ignore it anymore. I have to find out everything about it.”

Really? Then why are you looking for magic in a Victorian frat house? Why not just walk outside and gather the psychoactive mushrooms that grow at your very feet? They are surely the ally “par excellence” in our search for magic in the world around us.

Instead, this know-it-all has censored her own search for magic, obediently looking for it only in those places that her government will allow her to look, in other words, in those places where she’s sure not to find it. The conclusion? This magic hunter can and does ignore things – so thoroughly, in fact, that she does not even realize that she is ignoring them! This self-induced amnesia is, in turn, a testament to the drug war’s insidious effect on free thinking.

She’s just as bamboozled by the drug war mindset as the fuddy-duddy professor in the same episode, the one who vehemently denies the very existence of magic. He’s correct, of course, but not for the reasons that he supposes: Magic really does not exist – but only because our government has criminalized the very plants and fungi that can open our eyes to it.

Read Looking for Magic in All the Wrong Places on Reddit.

June 18, 2019

Question: LSD is a powerful therapeutic tool.
Answer: Dr. C.G. Costello, Psychologist, Regina General Hospital, in "Truth About LSD," The Leader-Post, February 5, 1963
June 15, 2019

Richard Nixon Gets the Last Laugh on Baby Boomers

I can’t help but think of all the depressed Baby Boomers who are starting to molder away in nursing homes, thinking to themselves, “Well, at least we gave Richard Nixon the boot during the Watergate crisis!”

Really? Don’t they realize that Richard Nixon has had the last laugh on them after all with his anti-patient drug war? By denying the elderly access to their medicinal birthright, namely the therapeutic bounty of Mother Nature (magic mushrooms, ayahuasca, peyote, etc.), Nixon has single-handedly ensured that depression and fear of death will unnecessarily affect millions (perhaps even billions) as they approach what might otherwise have truly been their “golden years” of life.

To illustrate this sad reality, consider the following typical scene that is taking place, even as we speak, at a nursing home near you:


MARY: Life is shit.

NURSE: Now, Mary, be nice. You’ve got a nice bingo game to look forward to this afternoon.

MARY: Just let me die.

NURSE: Now, stop that, gloomy puss, or I’ll report you to Dr. Pillman, and you know what that means.

MARY: More brain-fogging drugs: I know, I know.

NURSE: That’s right.

MARY: You call this life? I can’t even walk by myself…

NURSE: I’ve been trying to get you to attend rehabilitation exercises ever since you moved in here.

MARY: Not much point in walking when the only destination round here is the gloomy group meeting room.

NURSE: Oh, snap out of it. In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s a lovely day outside.

MARY: Oh, just let me sleep.

NURSE: You’ve been sleeping all night: now, get up and get dressed. You can’t play Bingo in your night gown.

MARY (softly): You know what you can do with your Bingo.

NURSE: I heard that, Mary!

Now fast-forward 50 years, to a day when the medicinal output of Mother Nature is actually legal to access (can you imagine that – a day when our government trusts us mere private citizens with the responsibility of legally accessing naturally growing plants! How considerate of them!):


MARY: Awesome!

NURSE: What’s that, Mary?

MARY: What are those tall spiky purple flowers growing outside the window there?

NURSE: Uh… that would be anise hyssop, if I’m not mistaken.

MARY: Do you know, I’m seeing flowers for the first time since last night’s psilocybin session?

NURSE: Be that as it may, you’d better get dressed if you’re going to attend today’s Bingo playoff.

MARY: What’s that line: “The force that through the green fuse drives the flower”?

NURSE: Oh, yes. Dylan Thomas, I think.

MARY: Do you know, I actually feel that force today, both inside and outside of me.

NURSE: Well, fine, you can tell the Bingo club all about it, but do get going now!

MARY: Bingo? What a silly game.

NURSE: Now, now.

MARY: But you know what, Ellie? I actually think that I can DO silly now, after last night’s session, I mean.

NURSE: Good for you, Mary.

MARY: Yeah, it’s funny, but I think I can actually DO silly now!

NURSE: Whatever you say, Mary, but chop-chop, double time!

Granted, that latter sketch represents a best-case scenario in which the proverbially stubborn mind of old age is made to yield to persuasive and targeted psychedelic therapy. That said, there is every reason to believe that psychedelic therapy can work wonders in a large proportion of cases when facilitated by a modern-day Shaman (i.e. an empathic caregiver with a thorough knowledge of the psychoactive power of plants). We know, after all, that such substances have the power to override the “default mode network” of thought. They can also grow new neural pathways. In other words, these plants are godsends that can facilitate a whole new era of empathic psychiatric practice. Unfortunately, modern psychiatry is doing its best to ignore this fact, as it stubbornly clings to its status quo practice of pushing addictive and dependence-causing pills on the public on behalf of Big Pharma.


The Baby Boomers may have successfully removed Nixon from office, but they also “fell” for Nixon’s superstitious and bigoted rhetoric about “drugs.” They cheered on the drug war, gladly offered to urinate for drug tests, and eagerly went to see the latest shoot-em-up movies about good patriotic Americans cracking heads in Colombia. The Baby Boomers thought: “Sure, why not? Let’s make Mother Nature illegal: it does not affect me, after all. To the contrary, it gives me some exciting movies to watch!"

But the Baby Boomers were wrong, as they are now learning to their cost. It turns out that the same drug war that cracked heads in Colombia for the last 50 years has stifled drug research in America for that same amount of time. The result: the elderly baby boomers are now forced to endure old age without the therapeutic godsends that would otherwise have accrued to them had the psychedelic renaissance of the 1950s and 60s been allowed to continue.

These depressed baby boomers believed in the “drug war.” Now they themselves must pay the price for that belief.

Read Richard Nixon Gets the Last Laugh on Baby Boomers on Reddit.

June 15, 2019

Question: "With LSD as an aid," the report said, "it has been possible to reach and work with patients who are otherwise unresponsive to psychotherapy."
Answer: Kingsport News, March 4, 1960
June 9, 2019

Addiction Therapy in the Year 2100

(a philosophical satire written to encourage a complete rethinking of our modern attitudes toward addiction and its treatment)

SCENE: 12 adults seated in a circle.

JOHN SMITH: My name is John Smith and I’m a miserable wretch.


SMITH: What? What’s so funny?


LEADER: You’ll have to forgive us, Johnny boy, but you must not get around much these days.

SMITH: What do you mean? I thought the whole point of addiction therapy was for me to find the protestant God of the Bible.

LEADER: Oh, yeah?

SMITH: Or at least a reasonable facsimile thereof.


SMITH: That’s why I started out with the customary self-abasement and grovelling.

LEADER: That is so 21st century of you, dawg. The point of modern therapy is simply to SHOW YOU GOD – or “at least a reasonable facsimile thereof,” as you put it.

SMITH: What?

LEADER: Everything else follows from that point, bruh: self-respect, respect for others, temperance, you name it.

SMITH: And just how do you intend to show me God?!

LEADER: Earth to Smith: Americans stopped criminalizing Mother Nature over fifty years ago!!!

SMITH: Meaning?

LEADER: Meaning we have amassed a whole pharmacy worth of psychoactive plants and fungi with which we can now ceremonially lead you on a voyage of inner discovery…

SMITH: Yeah?

LEADER: …after which you’ll see the folly of addiction – always assuming, of course, that you enter our program in good faith, committed to learning from Mother Nature.


LEADER: Get it?

SMITH (reluctantly): Well… I guess…


SMITH: All I can say is that the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous is probably rolling over in his grave right now.

LEADER: To the contrary, the legendary Bill W. was a big fan of treating addiction with LSD therapy…

SMITH: Really?

LEADER: Until a corrupt politician by the name of Richard Nixon criminalized the substance in his effort to crack down on hippies.


LEADER: That’s right: “Alcoholics be damned,” said Nixon, “as long as I can get my own back against Timothy Leary!”

SMITH: Fair enough, I guess, but…


SMITH: I still don’t get how you’re gonna make me see God.

LEADER: As far as the specifics of the process, I’d better turn you over to our team pharmacologist, Terence McKenna VIII. Terence?

TERENCE: Well, jefe, the precise combination of plants that we use is a trade secret, of course, kind of like the 11 herbs and spices still used to this very day by KFC.

LEADER: True dat. (Love me some KFC.)

TERENCE: But I can give you a random list of some of the big-hitters in our line-up of therapeutic plants.

LEADER: Proceed when ready.

TERENCE: We’ve got Acorus calamus, Amanita muscaria, Anadenantherea peregrina, Ariocarpus retusus Scheidw, Atropa belladonna, banisteriopsis caapi, Boletus manicus Heim—

LEADER: Enough, dawg. We don’t want to provide a shopping list for our competitors in the therapy biz.

TERENCE: Not to worry, bruh: these substances are useless (yea, even deadly) when used in the wrong doses…

LEADER: I heard that.

TERENCE: …or in the wrong set and setting.

JOHN: But then why are we sitting around in a circle?

LEADER: So you guys can get acquainted before we start our plant-guided rituals next week.


LEADER: Speaking of which, why don’t you introduce yourself again?


LEADER: But this time, go easy on the self-abasement, would ya?

JOHN: Will do.

LEADER: I think we can take it as a given that we all have much to learn from our plant friends. No need to dwell morbidly on that fact during this introductory session.

Read Addiction Therapy in the Year 2100 on Reddit.

June 9, 2019

Question: How many people know that hemp, coca, and the opium poppy are ordinary plants, understand how they became transformed into dreaded 'dangerous drugs,' and realize that in losing our rights to them we have surrendered some of our most basic rights to property?
Answer: 'Our Right to Drugs', Thomas Szasz
June 7, 2019

The Hypocrisy of the Gun-Owning Drug Warrior

It’s amazing how many American gun owners fiercely defend their right to firearms while gladly relinquishing their right to the plants and fungi that grow at their very feet. Talk about misplaced priorities! Any government that claims the right to criminalize naturally growing plants will not refrain from outlawing man-made firearms should the winds of political expediency happen to blow in that direction. Yet these gun owners gladly (and even proudly) support the Drug War’s efforts to keep naturally-occurring plant remedies out of the hands of those who need them most: the depressed, the lonely, the anxious, and the victims of chronic pain – all because our government (conveniently assisted by tabloid journalism and a self-interested medical establishment) has launched a propaganda campaign to paint all such users of these substances as irresponsible outlaws and hooligans.

Gun owners like to style themselves as defenders of liberty, insisting proudly with Clint Eastwood that:

“They can have my gun when they pry it from my cold dead fingers.”

But if these gun fanatics were truly interested in individual rights (and not just in the fetishization of this man-made object known as a “gun”), then they would transform their defiant mantra as follows:

“They can have my psilocybin mushroom when they pry it from my cold dead fingers.”

Read The Hypocrisy of the Gun-Owning Drug Warrior on Reddit.

June 7, 2019

Question: Local medical research has so far indicated that these drugs [LSD], when properly used by trained personnel in a psychiatric setting, bring about the release of long-repressed thoughts and emotions, intensify early memory, and generally enhance perception in ways that promote self-understanding and personality growth in persons with mental and emotional problems.
Answer: Hawaii Medical Association, as reported in The Honolulu Advertiser, September 12, 1960
June 6, 2019

Alan Schatzberg's One-Sided Views on Ketamine

The following is my reply to Mandy Erickson's article entitled 5 Questions: Alan Schatzberg urges cautious approach to ketamine use, posted on the Stanford Medicine News Center website on June 5, 2019.

1) While recreational addiction to ketamine should be taken into account, Schatzberg should distinguish between the daily use of ketamine at high abusive doses and the intermittent use of ketamine at lower therapeutic doses. To fail to do so is to ignore the basic fact of pharmacology: that any substance that is good at one level (whether it’s salt or ketamine) can be fatal at a higher level. Alan’s un-nuanced thoughts on this subject pander (albeit unwittingly) to the anti-patient mindset of the Drug Warrior, which says that if a substance can be misused by a subset of young adults, that substance must therefore be withheld from all responsible patients who are in need of that substance’s therapeutic benefits. It is dogmatic thinking like this that has withheld non-addictive antidepressant medicines from the public now for the last half-century, forcing us instead to become chemically dependent on the few remaining legal antidepressants that Schatzberg appears to champion.

2) Like most materialist scientists, Schatzberg has nothing but scorn for the dissociative state induced by ketamine, referring to it as "wigging out." There is, however, reason to believe that the dissociative state is a crucial factor in the ability of psychedelics to override the "mental default mode," thereby allowing the depressed patient to think more creatively about their condition and the world around them. For evidence of this claim, I would point Schatzberg to the detailed accounts of researchers such as Roland Griffiths and Amanda Feilding in "Psychedelic Medicine," 2017, Park Street Press, compiled by Richard Louis Miller.

3) Schatzberg speculates that esketamine may induce “a sort of dependence” because clinical studies have shown that depression returns in some folks who are taken off of the J&J spray in clinical trials. But this is just a case of putting a negative spin on a positive outcome. For if esketamine really works in a uniquely powerful way to break through the mental fog of depression, what could be more natural than that depression would return for those who stop using esketamine? If the returned depression now seems worse, it’s only because the patient is now comparing their dreary lifelong status quo to a new higher level of reality that he or she had not even known existed prior to using the spray.

4) Schatzberg seems to fear that such an efficacious but temporarily acting drug would need to be taken for a lifetime, but surely psychiatrists cannot complain about that. They routinely prescribe SSRIs ”for life” (although most of them were never originally intended as long-term cures) and some of these mass-produced anti-depressants are so chemically habituating that the patient could not cease to use them prematurely even if they wanted to. Effexor, for instance, is arguably the most chemically addicting substance on the planet. According to a recent study by the NIH, over 90% of long-term users were back on Effexor within three years after weaning themselves off of the drug.

In short, if modern psychiatrists want to argue convincingly against using ketamine to fight depression, they’ll have to do better than merely suggesting that it could cause “a sort of dependence.”

Read Alan Schatzberg's One-Sided Views on Ketamine on Reddit.

June 6, 2019

Question: For many, [LSD] seems to lead to self-help -- long overdue.
Answer: Dr. Keith Ditman, Semi-Weekly Spokesmen-Review (Spokane, Washington), Nov. 8, 1959
June 5, 2019

This is your brain on Effexor

In response to the article entitled Psychedelic drugs: would you accept a prescription? It depends if you’ve tried them before by Adam Winstock and Rupert McShane.

1) Let's not rush to dismiss the dissociative state as a mere "side effect" of ketamine. Recent research suggests that it is precisely this dissociative state that helps the user rise above the so-called "default mode network" in their brain, thus enabling them to see their problems in a new, more creative light.

Let's not let today's materialist bias in science bring us to rashly assume that the psychedelic aspect of the ketamine experience is something that we should try to dispense with. It may be the goose that lays the golden therapeutic eggs.

2) The negative attitudes toward psychedelics that you reference are a mere artifact of the Drug War, during which the Drug Warrior has considered hyperbole and lies to be fair game in their fanatical efforts to denounce all illegal psychoactive substances. The Partnership for a Drug Free America bamboozled a whole generation of Americans with their ad which featured an egg sizzling on a frying pan while the deep-throated voice-over warned the viewer that "This is your brain on drugs."

This was an outright lie when it comes to psychedelics. Far from frying your brain, drugs like psilocybin, ayahuasca, and even ketamine have been shown to grow new neural pathways, new neural connections, and even new neurons.

Ironically, the "frying pan ad" would make sense if its purpose were to warn us about Effexor, a standard SSRI anti-depressant which has turned out to cause chemical dependency and anhedonia in long-term users. As a long-term user myself, I actually do have the feeling that Effexor is, slowly but surely, frying my brain. It's certainly not providing me with any creative insights into my condition here on planet earth, as psychedelics have been shown to do.

3) As for those in the survey who "wouldn't touch psychedelics," let's ask them again when they are considering psychedelic therapy as an alternative to committing suicide. Hopefully at that time, they won't be so bamboozled by our Drug War superstitions as to opt for the latter of those two choices.

4) Like most articles about treating depression, this one downplays the problems with the status quo. Commonly prescribed SSRIs such as Effexor create such a chemical dependence that users literally cannot kick the habit (according to a recent report by the NIH, which shows a relapse rate of 95% in those who attempt to "kick" Effexor after long-term use).

As for Prozac, the question in the new age of psychedelic therapy will no longer be: does Prozac "work," but does Prozac help you "be all that you can be"? The answer, from my experience, is a definitive no. To the contrary, SSRIs in general prevent you from being all that you can be, since the user is debarred from using psychedelics to improve their cognitive resourcefulness.

This is because mixing most psychedelics with SSRIs causes symptoms of Serotonin Toxicity Syndrome. (Happily, ketamine is a rare exception to this rule and can be combined safely with many SSRIs.)

5) Finally, the price point for legal ketamine treatment is an outrage and points to a fundamental problem with the current healthcare system in America, if not the world. A depressed person of modest means might scrape together the 3,000 required for an initial two-week session of ketamine infusions, but only a depressed fat-cat will be able to afford the biweekly follow-ups of ketamine spray at $600 a pop. Meanwhile a street dose of the drug costs a mere $8.

Given that outrageous price disparity, can we really blame the depressed for violating our superstitious drug laws in order to access crucial treatment? It is not the safe route, of course, but it is the one that we are encouraging with our current Nixonian drug policies and their disastrous effects on drug availability and pricing.

Read This is your brain on Effexor on Reddit.

June 5, 2019

Question: The constraints on the power of the federal government, as laid down in the constitution, have been eroded by a monopolistic medical profession administering a system of prescription laws that have, in effect, removed most of the drugs people want from the free market.
Answer: 'Our Right to Drugs', Thomas Szasz
June 2, 2019

Ketamine Bashing at

I submitted the following complaint/comment to after reading their ketamine-bashing article by Thenappan Chandrasekar (see hyperlink below).

Good morning.

I am writing to express my concern about an article entitled AUA 2019: Urological Association of Asia Lecture: Ketamine Uropathy: A Decade On by Thenappan Chandrasekar.

The article discusses urinary problems associated with ketamine abuse but says nothing about the effects of ketamine when used at rational doses, nor does the article even mention the fact that ketamine is being used successfully today to treat depression. I know your site is about urology, but your writers should not ignore the rest of the world. By doing so, they give the impression that ketamine is a terrible drug, when in reality it is a life saver for depressed patients.

As a depressed patient myself who is interested in undergoing ketamine therapy, I wanted to double-check your article’s implicit claim that ketamine was bad for everyone. So I spoke by phone to Dr. Gerald Grass, founder of the Ketamine Institute and former director of the Yale Pain Medicine Fellowship Program. He told me that he has never encountered bladder problems in patients who have used ketamine at prescribed levels. You should clarify this in your articles. (He also pointed out that many ketamine abusers are known to abuse other drugs as well, meaning that the bladder problems being reported may be exacerbated or even caused by chemical agents other than ketamine.)

Regarding Dr. Chu, the featured scientist in your article: She claims that her biggest accomplishment was making harsher penalties for ketamine use in Hong Kong. She apparently felt that these penalties were necessary because ketamine could cause bladder problems at high doses. But under the same rationale, she should be pushing to ban Tylenol in Hong Kong, too, since it can cause liver problems at high doses.

In short, her conclusions about ketamine are illogical and unscientific. Scientists and philosophers have known from the time of the Ancient Greeks that substances are neither good nor bad in the abstract: they are good or bad depending on the doses at which they are used. There’s no reason to ban salt, for instance, merely because it would kill you if you ate two pounds of it at one sitting.

Dr. Chu's illogical crusade against ketamine demonstrates what's wrong with Drug Warriors: they always want to create laws to target drug abusers; what they forget is that those same laws that they create are going to have a huge negative impact on those who wish to use the drugs in question in a responsible way and for good reasons.

I find it highly improbable that Dr. Chu’s efforts to further criminalize ketamine have wiped out ketamine abuse in Hong Kong, as she claims. But even if that were so, she has no reason to pat herself on the back. For those same efforts of hers have also ensured that thousands of depressed and suicidal residents of Hong Kong will have to wait many years, perhaps many decades, to receive those reasonable and therapeutic doses of ketamine that might have even saved their lives.

Read Ketamine Bashing at on Reddit.

June 2, 2019

Question: Dr. T.C. Marks, a physician of experience and standing, has added another to the long list of things that can be profitably produced in the glorious climate of southern California. The particular substance this time is opium.
Answer: Los Angeles Herald, August 9, 1891
May 30, 2019

What Psychotherapists Can Learn from Drug Dealers

So, you’re hooked on the antidepressant Effexor, which you find to be increasingly ineffective and mind-numbing. You’d like to switch to the therapeutic use of psychedelics (presumably available somewhere in South America) to truly lift you above the fog of depression.

Let’s first imagine what psychotherapy can do for you, and then let’s see what a savvy drug dealer has to offer.


DOC: So, Brian, you want to get off of Effexor in order to try new psychedelic treatments?

BRIAN: Bingo, Doc. You got it in one.

DOC: Because psychedelics can't be used by folks taking most SSRIs.

BRIAN: That's right.

DOC: Well, I'm sorry, my man, but the latest NIH study shows that getting off of Effexor is essentially impossible.


DOC: Yes. They found there’s a 96% relapse rate within three years for those who have weaned off of it.

BRIAN: That’s horrible.

DOC: To the contrary, that shows that Effexor works!

BRIAN: What?!

DOC: It must work, since you get so damn depressed after giving it up!

BRIAN: Huh? It works??? [mumbling] Apparently my emotions never got the memo!

DOC: What’s that, Brian?

BRIAN: Never mind.


DEALER: So, Brian, you want to get off of Effexor in order to try new psychedelic treatments?

BRIAN: Bingo, dawg. You got it in one.

DEALER: No problemo.

BRIAN: Sweet.

DEALER: We’ll decrease your Effexor intake by 25mgs per week…

BRIAN: Yes, yes?

DEALER: …while occasionally giving you some unidentified “happy pills” to help you through the negative symptoms and to give you incentive for achieving your goal.

BRIAN: Cool beans.

DEALER: In other words, no matter how bad it gets on a given day, you’ll always know that you’re less than a few days away from a sweeeeet-feeling break from your withdrawal symptoms!

BRIAN: Fair enough.

DEALER: And that will keep you going, get it?

BRIAN: I got it.

DEALER: It’s just plain common psychological sense after all.

BRIAN: But what if I get addicted to the happy pills?

DEALER: Not to worry, dawg. Unlike modern-day psychiatry, I have a large enough pharmacopeia available to me that I can give you a variety of feel-good drugs, each of which works by different mechanisms, hence you will not become addicted…

BRIAN: Cool.

DEALER: …certainly not as addicted as those bastards made you to Effexor, which they now say that you can NEVER get off of!

BRIAN: Now, now, be nice.

DEALER: Then, once I’ve got you off that Big Pharma junk and kept you from freaking out…

BRIAN: Yes, yes.

DEALER: …we can switch you to that non-addictive psychedelic therapy that you hanker after.

BRIAN: You rock, dawg.

DEALER: Hey, I’m only doing my job.

BRIAN: Yeah. Now if psychiatry would only do THEIR job and actually start making people feel good – rather than serving as a mere distribution arm for Big freakin’ Pharma.

Disclaimer: Relax, I’m not suggesting that anyone visit a drug dealer to beat depression; I’m just satirically pointing out some inconvenient truths about the sorry state of psychotherapy in America, where the “pharmacopeia” for fighting depression consists of a mere handful of synthetic drugs that foster chemical dependence – and which debar the user from trying any of the new potent therapeutic psychedelics that are showing such promise in recently revived clinical trials.

Read What Psychotherapists Can Learn from Drug Dealers on Reddit.

May 30, 2019

Question: "With LSD as an aid," the report said, "it has been possible to reach and work with patients who are otherwise unresponsive to psychotherapy."
Answer: Kingsport News, March 4, 1960
May 29, 2019

Drugging Our Kids on Behalf of Eli Lilly

Posted in response to When anxiety happens as early as preschool, treatments can help by Sujata Gupta in Science News magazine, April 21, 2019.

Isn't Big Pharma happy enough having 1 in 6 adult Americans on SSRIs? Now they have to go after the preschool market? This is irresponsible in the extreme (see Richard Whitaker's "Anatomy of an Epidemic" for many of the obvious reasons why this is immoral). What about the demoralizing effect of placing a child on a substance that could make them a pill popper for life? and the anhedonia that eventually results from such a regimen? Why should we trust psychiatry to treat our child when their "go to" pharmacopeia consists of a mere handful of chemically addicting drugs -- while hundreds of powerful non-addictive psychoactive medicines are growing at our very feet but are outlawed by our anti-patient drug wars? Let's not fog the kids' minds to make them manageable in the short run, only to make them chemically dependent in the long run.

Read Drugging Our Kids on Behalf of Eli Lilly on Reddit.

May 29, 2019

Question: Casting a ballot is an important act, emblematic of our role as citizens. But eating and drinking are much more important acts.
Answer: 'Our Right to Drugs', Thomas Szasz
May 27, 2019

How Huston Smith was Bamboozled by the Drug War

The late Huston Smith ended his preface to the second edition of “The Road to Eleusis” by posing the following question:

“Can a way be found to legitimize, as the Greeks did, the creative, constructive use of entheogenic heaven and hell without aggravating our serious drug problem?”

The very wording of this question suggests that Huston was writing under the influence of Richard Nixon’s muddle-headed drug policy. Can psychedelic medicines be used without aggravating the drug problem? The question is beside the point.

The real question is:

Did government have the right to outlaw access to the freely given bounty of Mother Nature in the first place?

For those of us who insist that the answer is a loud “no,” it is superfluous to worry about any hypothetical misuse of the substances in question: psychoactive plants and fungi are both freely bestowed gifts of Mother Nature: get over it. If a minority of citizens are hellbent on misusing plants and fungi, that does not imply that our birthright to Mother Nature’s bounty should be withdrawn from everyone, any more than we should renounce jury trials, property ownership, or free speech, merely because some people are determined to abuse those rights.

When we fail to acknowledge Mother Nature’s bounty as a birthright, we fall prey to the childish Drug War assumption that any scandalous newspaper story about drug abuse presents, in and of itself, a knock-down argument in favor of drug prohibition. The hypocrisy of this assumption becomes clear when we consider that the folks who hold such a view would never want to fight drunk driving by banning liquor, even after reading a news article about the death of a dozen or more young children in a horrible drink-related accident.

Whence the double standard? It results from the fact that the Drug War propagandists have taught us to see all illegal drug use as hedonistic, as lacking any therapeutic or cognitive benefits, and thus we feel free to hold such use to a standard of safety that can never be met – since there will always be some “drug-related” scandal somewhere that’s vying for space in the local tabloid.

That’s why the DEA continues to lie to this day by denying the therapeutic value of psychoactive plants in its self-serving and anti-patient drug scheduling system; for if they actually told the truth, Americans would see that the DEA’s chief “success” over the past 50 years has been withholding valuable psychoactive cures from suffering soldiers and the millions of other victims of depression and PTSD.

Can psychedelic medicines be used without aggravating the drug problem?

One is tempted to “play ball” with Huston and answer his question by pointing out that psychedelics WERE indeed used in a safe and effective manner before the arrival of Richard Nixon’s drug war, as therapy for alcoholics and the chronically depressed. But by thus answering Huston’s question prosaically and with a straight face, the respondent “signs off” on Huston’s problematic assumption that government had a right to take naturally growing entheogens from Americans in the first place.

They didn’t – and those of us who promote the spiritual use of entheogens should go on the offensive to point that fact out loudly and clearly, that the government has stolen our God-given birthright. There is no need whatsoever to go on the defensive, as Huston’s question implies, to assure our materialist opponents that these psychoactive substances will never be misused after they regain their time-honored legal status. That would be like arguing for freedom of speech in a totalitarian country by assuring one’s fascist opponents that this particular freedom will never be abused. Not only is it impossible to give such a guarantee, but we’re under no obligation to provide it given the fundamental nature of the right that we are demanding.

Read How Huston Smith was Bamboozled by the Drug War on Reddit.

May 27, 2019

Question: By means of this drug[LSD], people can view themselves objectively and can then accept themselves which is a great step forward in the care of mental illness.
Answer: Dr. Kahan, Executive Director Mental Health Saskatchewan, The Leader-Post, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, July 20, 1961
May 25, 2019

Too White to Use Mushrooms

In 1975, a U.S. court ruled that the Church of the Awakening could not use “magic mushrooms” in its rituals because (get this…) the congregants were white and hence came from a people that had no history of using entheogens in religious ceremonies.

First, that premise is wrong (besides being blatantly racist, of course). The Eleusinian Mysteries were celebrated in the West on a yearly basis for almost 2,000 years, and this longevity (along with the many mystical accounts of the rite) only makes sense under the supposition that a powerful entheogen was involved. You don’t continue a tradition 2,000 years, non-stop, if it’s just another convivial fad.

Second: based on this rationale, I could never convert to Islam because “my people” had no experience with that religion. Nor need we grant civil rights to African-Americans under this theory since they often came from non-democratic countries that had no history of such protections.

In other words, the 1975 ruling reveals the fundamental tyranny of the Drug War: not only does it deny Americans the pursuit of happiness (by outlawing the substances that can facilitate that happiness) but any exceptions to the rule are based on racist and anti-democratic rationales.

What could be less American than telling me that I cannot attend a given church due to the color my skin?

Read Too White to Use Mushrooms on Reddit.

May 25, 2019

Question: What has three letters and ruins the lives of people who want to maximize their potential using time-honored natural plants?
Answer: The DEA.
May 24, 2019

Second Thoughts About Ketamine

Until today, I had found all of the nay-saying about ketamine to be unconvincing, as it all seemed to be premised on prejudicial Nixonian superstitions about psychoactive medicines. Today, however, I found the first potentially substantive complaint about ketamine in the otherwise favourable articles that had been forwarded to me on the subject of this drug by Google alerts: There appears to be an association between long-term ketamine use and bladder damage. For more on this subject:

1) Access Does Ketamine Have a Future as a Mainstream Antidepressant 2) Search the Web for “ketamine” and “incontinence”

It’s not yet clear to me how large of a risk this poses for folks using ketamine on a therapeutic basis, especially since there is yet no agreed-upon protocol for such administration. It could be that the bladder issue does not arise when ketamine is taken in sane and plausible doses. After all, Tylenol will cause liver damage if taken excessively, yet Tylenol is still a safe and popular pain medicine when used rationally.

However, I am cancelling my plans to visit a ketamine clinic until further notice, at least until further study convinces me that the risk of bladder damage from ketamine is no greater than the risk of liver damage from Tylenol.

It would be a shame if this potential issue with ketamine gives psychedelics a bad name in the medical community (or rather if it reinforces the bad name that psychedelics already have there). There are other still more promising psychoactive medications out there (LSD, psilocybin, ibogaine, peyote, etc.) that have no such potential side effects despite reams of anecdotal usage statistics dating back over half a century in the United States alone.

Read Second Thoughts About Ketamine on Reddit.

May 24, 2019

Question: In B.C. [British Columbia]... LSD has produced 70 percent "cures" among 60 alcoholics at Hollywood Hosptical within the past nine months, according to medical director Dr. J. Ross MacLean.
Answer: The Vancouver Sun, August 11, 1959
May 19, 2019

My Cure for Addiction

I’m watching another one of those movies wherein the antihero is struggling with opioid addiction and is constantly tempted to relapse. Movies like this are always depressing because Hollywood (like western society itself) considers such serious addictions to be largely unbeatable. The viewer just knows that the on-screen addict is going to eventually relapse – and for the rest of the movie, the addict is behaving so damn anxiously that the viewer almost wishes they WOULD relapse at long last and get it over with! At least they’d be happy for a few more moments in their otherwise miserable lives!

But, Earth to Hollywood: there is an answer to this problem of opioid addiction, even though it’s one that our puritanical and materialist mindset has so far refused to even imagine, let alone to thoughtfully consider.


You set these nervous nellies up on a monthly (or even bi-monthly) schedule to visit a psychiatrist’s office, where an empathic spiritual guide administers psychedelics (anything from vision-making LSD to the pseudo-psychedelic ketamine) to a group of addicts in a set and setting that’s designed to give them peace and to facilitate self-understanding. You then proceed to wean them off of the opioids on a slow-but-steady basis.

That’s it. Cure accomplished.

Why would this work, you ask?

The simple psychological fact (always ignored by materialist psychiatry) is that an addict can easily put up with the downtimes in their life PROVIDED THAT they can see a ray of light at the end of the anxiety-spawning tunnel that they appear to inhabit. They don’t need to take the traditional addictive meds such as Valium or Xanax every day of their life to cope with their emotional downtimes, they simply need to know – for certain – that help is on the way. The reason that an addict stares so wistfully at that remaining supply of fentanyl that they’ve hidden in their dresser drawer is because they have no other relief to look forward to, no guarantee of ever regaining the peace of mind that they seek except through the use of that one particular substance to which they’ve become addicted.

But by instituting the psychedelic therapy suggested above, the addict suddenly DOES have the realistic hope of achieving peace and understanding WITHOUT the use of terribly addictive substances. And so these monthly psychedelic sessions are valuable in two separate senses: first, they foster self-insight through the psychoactive properties of the psychedelic drugs themselves; and second, they make life psychologically bearable for the addict, since he or she knows that they are never more than one month away from experiencing at least a modicum of peace and understanding that these psychedelic sessions provide, hence they have the incentive and patience to withstand the siren call of the opiates. Again, this is because the opiates no longer have a monopoly when it comes to making them feel “okay with their world.”

Why is this obvious cure for addiction never even considered by western society, let alone made available to the psychologically suffering on an ASAP basis? It’s because of our anti-patient drug laws that are created and supported by the unholy trinity of puritanism, materialism, and law-and-order conservatism. Puritans mistrust ecstasy, materialists dislike emotions, and law-and-order conservatives assume that those who use psychedelics are mere hedonists – and worse yet, they are hedonists that can be counted on to vote for the other candidate in every election (which is little wonder, really, considering the conservative’s brainless determination to rid the world of powerful non-addictive treatments for depression and addiction).

DISCLAIMER: The purpose of this article is merely to advance a philosophical rationale for treating addiction with psychedelics. Any specific therapy of this kind would, of course, require the involvement of a qualified physician to determine the relevant kinds and doses of psychedelics to achieve the desired effect given the patient’s history and the precise details of their addiction.

Read My Cure for Addiction on Reddit.

May 19, 2019

Question: The constraints on the power of the federal government, as laid down in the constitution, have been eroded by a monopolistic medical profession administering a system of prescription laws that have, in effect, removed most of the drugs people want from the free market.
Answer: 'Our Right to Drugs', Thomas Szasz
May 18, 2019

The Philosophy of Getting High

The world has been so thoroughly bamboozled by Richard Nixon’s jaundiced view of so-called “drugs” that it cannot begin to visualize anybody “getting high” for any but the most selfish and irresponsible of reasons. This is a shame, because the philosophical mindset of the Western world was chiefly established by folks who got high. In fact, these people not only got high, but they considered their moments of inebriation to be the best and (ironically) the most real moments of their lives. I’m speaking, of course, about the famous alumni of those long-running Eleusinian mysteries (circa 1600 b.c.e. to 392 c.e.), wherein a psychoactive substance (probably ergot) was used to put the participant in touch with immortality and the meaning of life.

Socrates’ belief in forms, Aristotle’s belief in catharsis, Plutarch’s belief in an afterlife: these were not just armchair philosophies based on abstract premises: these were truths that were confirmed to the ancient Greeks and Romans upon drinking the psychedelic kykeon. The fact that we modern humans disdainfully refer to such profound experiences as “getting high” betrays our puritan distaste for improving our consciousness with the help of Mother Nature’s bounty. This distaste might have originally been justified on religious grounds, perhaps under the assumption that such a psychedelic intervention was somehow an affront to the deity, but in these modern agnostic times, we have no such religious excuse for ignoring the therapeutic value of drug-induced ecstasy.

Unfortunately, our puritan biases are so ingrained that it took the disingenuous bluster of only one determined law-and-order politician, namely Richard Nixon, to revive our contempt for any pharmacologically altered state of consciousness. (Almost overnight, truth seekers became scumbags, should they attempt to fathom the world with the help of natural psychoactive substances.) And thus Richard Nixon forced us by law to “just say no” to almost 2,000 years’ worth of compelling evidence for the therapeutic value of psychedelic drugs, forcing the depressed wisdom seeker to rely instead on legal drugs that fogged the mind rather than illuminating it.

But then Nixon was not the first despot to tell us to “just say no” to drug-induced mental clarity and cosmological insight. The Eleusinian mysteries were shut down in 392 c.e., not because they were a long-running fad that had finally run its course, but because the Christian emperor Theodosius saw the popular mysteries as a challenge to Christian orthodoxy – more proof (at least to those ears that will hear) that the modern Drug War represents the establishment of a de facto religion, albeit a materialist religion that takes a dim view of Mother Nature and of its potential role in improving human consciousness.

Read The Philosophy of Getting High on Reddit.

May 18, 2019

Question: LSD is a powerful therapeutic tool.
Answer: Dr. C.G. Costello, Psychologist, Regina General Hospital, in "Truth About LSD," The Leader-Post, February 5, 1963
May 15, 2019

How Americans Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Drug War

It all started in 1914 when bigoted politician Francis Burton Harrison decided that lower-class Americans could not be trusted to use opium wisely. Suddenly Mother Nature went from being a gift-giving goddess to a common drug kingpin. Enter Richard Nixon in the sixties, who decided to further blaspheme Mother Nature by criminalizing a host of additional psychoactive substances that happened to be used by his political enemies.

It’s always disappointed me that Americans have thus far hobbled together so little pushback against this denial of a birthright, this outlawing of the freely given gifts of Mother Nature, this unprecedented coup against the therapeutic goddess of humanity. The government took away our right to control our own pain and to control our own psychic condition and Americans seem to have merely sighed, asking their government, “Okay, so you want me to give up my natural birthright? Fair enough. Oh, and you want me to urinate on command to prove that I am faithful to my government? No problemo. Gee, isn’t democracy just swell?”

Nowadays, when the DEA asks us to jump, American’s simply say “How high?”

For just one obvious example, browse some mycology pages online. You’ll find that many mushroom hunters (professionals and hobbyists alike) want it to be known that they will have nothing to do with psychedelic mushrooms that they happen to come across. “Look at me,” they seem to say, “I’m a professional mushroom hunter who is obediently ignoring the most interesting part of Mother Nature at the behest of the U.S. government. So don’t expect me to write anything about your tawdry psychedelic shrooms!” Far from screaming bloody murder about their unprecedented loss of human rights, their forced separation from Mother Nature’s bounty, many online mycologists pride themselves in pointing out that they study only those plants that their government will allow them to study. Thus they recast their own political timidity as patriotism.

But America’s response to this usurpation has been even worse than that. We have rewritten history so that we do not have to confront the fact that we have criminalized Mother Nature in the first place. This can be seen by any regular viewer of the Great Courses program, a collection of videos presenting college courses taught by some of the most popular professors in the world.

Although I am a regular viewer of the Teaching Company’s courses, I’ve yet to see one of their history professors so much as acknowledge the fact that the game-changing Elusinian mysteries of ancient Greece involved the use of a naturally occurring psychoactive substance similar to LSD. I’ve yet to see one of their biology professors allude to the psychoactive power of mushrooms. I’ve yet to see one of their anthropologists discuss the crucial role of natural psychedelic medicines in early South American ritual. Nor have I ever seen one of their political science professors ever mention the infamous DEA raid on Monticello in discussing the political legacy of Thomas Jefferson.

I guess this makes sense. It would be too painful for a supposedly free people to remember what we’ve given up, so we have rewritten history to help us pretend that Mother Nature’s pharmacy was never particularly useful to us in the first place. “Humph! Mother Nature: who needs her? Let the government and Big Pharma decide what I need – and when – and at what price, too.”

The good news is: modern research is showing us today how so many of the natural substances that our politicians have outlawed are proving to be godsends in therapeutic settings. My hope is that the penny will eventually drop and we’ll draw the obvious conclusion from this research, namely that no naturally occurring plant is bad in and of itself, and that, as Terence McKenna once said, it is “ridiculous and obnoxious” to criminalize the freely offered medicines of Mother Nature. Perhaps someday we’ll learn the ultimate lesson from today’s anti-patient drug war: that it is both scientifically stupid and a violation of basic human rights to turn Mother Nature into a drug kingpin.

Read How Americans Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Drug War on Reddit.

May 15, 2019

Question: Who is responsible for the 24/7 moaning of millions of elderly Americans in nursing homes?
Answer: The DEA and the Drug War, based on the mind set that outlawed opium in 1914, so that now only outlaws have opium. The depressed elderly must make do with psychiatry's highly addictive and less helpful drug alternatives. Scientific materialists are terrified lest they give the elderly good dreams for a change. (Humph! How very unscientific. Let them suffer instead!)
May 14, 2019

Vietnam Rewards Ketamine Marketeers with Death Penalty

Vietnam is the poster child for Richard Nixon’s irrational drug war. Instead of viewing ketamine as a wonder drug that prevents suicide, the country is viciously hunting down and killing anyone who dares to traffic in the commodity. (Tricky Dick would be so proud!) You’d think that the West would be pushing back against this draconian penchant on the part of the Communist country, diplomatically reminding them that most of the drugs that Nixon hated are now proving to be therapeutic godsends for the depressed and anxious. Instead, at least one western institution is doing all it can to exacerbate the situation by writing uncritical and misleading news articles about the drug crackdowns in question.

Agence France-Presse, j’accuse!

Consider the AFP story entitled “Vietnam seizes half tonne of ketamine in crackdown on synthetic drugs,” posted May 13th on various websites, including Yahoo! News. It is riddled with misleading statements that seem to justify the Vietnamese intolerance for ketamine.

Vietnamese police have seized half a tonne of ketamine worth $21 million in Ho Chi Minh City, a key transit hub that has seen record busts of synthetic drugs in recent weeks as narcotics gangs use its ports and air links to shuttle drugs across the region.

This opening sentence gives the impression that ketamine is a “narcotic” in the pejorative sense of that word, thereby implying that it is poisonous and addictive. Far from being a black-hat narcotic, however, ketamine is actually being used in the west to COMBAT narcotic addiction.

Synthetic drug use is on the rise in Vietnam, especially among hard-partying youth increasingly turning to meth, ecstasy and ketamine.

On the rise? According to whom? The Vietnamese military? The author doesn't say. In any case, the anonymous author indiscriminately links ketamine with methamphetamines, thereby wrongly implying that they’re basically the same as far as the public danger that they pose.

Seven people died at a music festival in Hanoi last year of suspected overdoses, which sent shockwaves through the conservative communist capital.

Here the author implies that seven deaths at a music festival were caused by ketamine, which is highly unlikely given the cocktail of far more dangerous drugs that are generally available at such venues.

Western news agencies should stop kowtowing to Vietnamese authorities by writing misleading articles like this about the communist country’s inhumane drug policy. The first step is to rethink the drug-war premise according to which a psychoactive substance becomes evil incarnate once it is rendered illegal. It is thanks to this superstition that the press feels free to lump ketamine in with methamphetamines, as if these two wildly different substances were somehow interchangeable boogie-men. (Both substances are illegal, so they must both be horrible, right?) Of course, nothing could be further from the truth, and we have to acknowledge this fact before we can write meaningfully about these substances.

Until the West comes to its senses, however, it is complicit in the drug-war oppression practiced by the Vietnamese military, as when it executes peddlers for merely marketing a therapeutic godsend that the government has otherwise denied its citizens. It was the West that started the anti-patient Drug War, after all (with the help of a couple of 20th-century bigots: namely, Francis Burton Harrison and Richard Nixon), and until we recognize the folly of the paramilitary atrocities that we have thereby spawned in the world (the SWAT-ocracies that we have thereby fostered and condoned), we can’t recognize our own mistakes in this regard, let alone plausibly lecture others about the desperate need for radical drug-law reform.

Read Vietnam Rewards Ketamine Marketeers with Death Penalty on Reddit.

May 14, 2019

Question: By means of this drug[LSD], people can view themselves objectively and can then accept themselves which is a great step forward in the care of mental illness.
Answer: Dr. Kahan, Executive Director Mental Health Saskatchewan, The Leader-Post, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, July 20, 1961
May 11, 2019

And don't get me started on antidepressants!

In response to Natalie Grover's article about Spravato on Endpoint News, May 10, 2019: UPDATED: ICER chastises J&J for overpricing depression drug esketamine ‘where there is such need for treatment’

I have no doubt that J&J is overpricing Spravato: they've certainly overpriced it for me. It would be nice if the multibillion-dollar conglomerate would "take one for the team" (i.e., for "team humanity") and offer the spray at a realistic price for the average uninsured patient, if only with an eye toward the good faith that this action would generate in the public with respect to the J&J brand name.

Pricing aside, though, Natalie Grover's article raises another concern. The author implies that ICER is worried about the lack of comparison trials between esketamine and current depression treatments. But some of the current treatments are so obviously inferior that it would be a violation of ethics even to run such comparisons.

Imagine a blind trial in which you tell a patient: "You will either get a dose of Spravato or we will subject you to electro-convulsive therapy. " A doctor who ran such a trial would essentially be playing God, deciding who should be given a prima facie harmless treatment and who should potentially have his or her brain damaged instead.

And don't get me started on antidepressants.

But then it's too late: my psychiatrist got me started on the usual SSRI antidepressants 40 years ago and now I am chemically dependent on them (a dependency that psychiatry now acknowledges but of which I was never informed until I became chemically "hooked" some 20 years ago, in my case by Effexor). And, of course, I wouldn't be writing this comment had SSRIs turned out to be the chemical-targeting wonder cures that Big Pharma initially claimed them to be.

Yes, we've got to proceed judiciously when approving new drug therapies, but that does not mean we should discount the damage already being done by the status quo, especially when the FDA has already preemptively diminished the usefulness of Spravato by insisting that it be administered only in a clinic; whereas patients like myself are free to pop their anti-depressant pills like candy in the privacy of their own home. (The fear is that America's patients cannot be trusted to administer Spravato responsibly, that they might become psychologically addicted to it. But clearly this can only happen if the physician prescriber drops the ball by over-prescribing, and depressed patients like myself should not be drastically inconvenienced merely because the US government is unable to effectively police American physicians.)

Read And don't get me started on antidepressants! on Reddit.

May 11, 2019

Question: What has three letters and ruins the lives of people who want to maximize their potential using time-honored natural plants?
Answer: The DEA.
May 10, 2019

Fifty Years of Bogus Articles about Creativity

I was recently moping around my local Kroger’s food store, waiting for the refill on the Effexor to which I am chemically addicted, when I noticed a colorful Time supplement entitled “The Science of Creativity” in the magazine aisle. “Great,” I thought to myself, “here’s another politically correct attempt at explaining creativity without reference to the psychoactive substances that can so obviously help one achieve it.”

Mind you, I haven’t read the supplement, and maybe Time magazine got it right, but I’m not optimistic given the plethora of timid tips on cultivating creativity that have passed for self-help in American journalism over the past 50 years of psychoactive prohibition. Authors on feel-good pieces about creativity have never been in a hurry to rock the boat by suggesting the politically incorrect fact that psychoactive substances can generate creativity out of whole cloth in a receptive mind under the right circumstances.

Why this huge omission?

It’s based on the unspoken Drug War assumption that psychoactive substances are (drumroll, please) evil ”drugs” that must be avoided at all costs (as opposed to socially blessed “medicines,” of course), and therefore the less said about these evil “drugs,” the better... when in reality, a substance is a substance is a substance – and is only good or bad as any specific use should prove it to be.

But thanks to the political manipulation of the discussion by the Richard Nixons of the world, we Americans (and our global counterparts, whom we have financially blackmailed into adopting our own jaundiced viewpoint on this matter) take a Christian Science view of psychoactive drugs and thus have the puritanical expectation that “true” creativity is that which occurs without the influence of chemical substances – as if the human mind is ever free of chemical substances in the first place. The only real question, of course, is: which chemical substances should we knowingly imbibe?

The Drug War answer is simple: “Any drugs, as long as they do not provide anything that could be remotely considered to be a ‘high’.” And so the Drug War signs off on anhedonia-causing anti-depressants that foster chemical dependency while yet reviling non-addictive psychoactive drugs which have the unseemly property of actually making the user feel good in real-time. ("How scandalous is that!" cries today's stealth puritan.) In other words, the Drug War is not based on a rational concern for human welfare; it is just the modern-day expression of the know-nothing prudery of the 17th-century puritan, from whose misogynist and myopic mindset we have inherited today’s illogical antipathy to Mother Nature’s psychoactive medicines.

And so the clever modern articles about creativity provide the reader with only the most feeble hints as to how human beings can actually achieve the creative state: “get your omega-3’s, sleep eight hours a night, eat whatever vegetable is currently at the top of science’s ever-changing healthy food list, yada yada yada.” Meanwhile, the authors on the subject of creativity willfully ignore the psychedelic gorilla in the room: namely, the fact that psychoactive drugs in the right setting can work wonders in generating the kind of free mindset that these authors are attempting to describe and recommend. It’s as though the clueless authors were sitting outdoors beside a half-dozen psilocybin mushrooms in full bloom, asking themselves, as they look up at the sky with wrinkled eyebrows: “Gee, why is it so dashed hard for we adult human beings to be creative???”

Any sensible onlooker wants to shout at them: “Hello? You’re sitting right next to a blankety-blank batch of magic mushrooms, for God’s sake!”

Read Fifty Years of Bogus Articles about Creativity on Reddit.

May 10, 2019

Question: The constraints on the power of the federal government, as laid down in the constitution, have been eroded by a monopolistic medical profession administering a system of prescription laws that have, in effect, removed most of the drugs people want from the free market.
Answer: 'Our Right to Drugs', Thomas Szasz
April 29, 2019

The Drug War = Christian Science

Philosophically speaking, the Drug War is merely Christian Science as applied to psychoactive drugs. It is premised on an article of faith: namely, that the best life is one lived without the aid of psychoactive medicines. Therefore it is a violation of Church and State when government tells me I must live my life according to the Drug War ethic of prohibition. For I do not find it morally reprehensible for a man or woman to access the medicinal bounty of Mother Nature to improve his or her mind. It is not part of MY religion to repelled by such behavior. To the contrary, I find it a moral responsibility to be all that I can be in this life, and if that goal can be aided by Mother Nature's plants, herbs, and fungi, then I consider it a moral obligation to pursue that enlightenment.

Read The Drug War = Christian Science on Reddit.

April 29, 2019

Question: For many, [LSD] seems to lead to self-help -- long overdue.
Answer: Dr. Keith Ditman, Semi-Weekly Spokesmen-Review (Spokane, Washington), Nov. 8, 1959
April 29, 2019

Taking the Hypocritical Go-Slow Approach on Ketamine

Hi, Alicia.

I am writing in regard to your 2017 article on MedExpress entitled US Ketamine Clinics Continue to Mushroom With No Regulation. I'm writing to you only because medical sites like Medical Express do not want to hear from people who are most affected by medical-related decisions, namely the patients. They only accept comments from "professionals," and so my 40 years as a psychiatry patient gives me absolutely zero standing in their community. Incidentally, this would make a fascinating article in itself: Why do sites like MedScape and the Psychiatric Times ignore the input of patients? Do physicians really think they have nothing to learn from patients? This seems almost sinister to me at a time when doctors are routinely plying their patients with anti-depressants that create fierce chemical dependence. (My doctor, for instance, frankly admits that I have almost no chance of ever "getting off" of my Effexor.) It would seem that Thomas Szasz was right when he wrote about the infantilization of Americans viz. the modern healthcare system. Patients have become so dis-empowered that the doctors do not even want to hear from them anymore. Our job, apparently, is to shut up and take our “meds.”

Anyway, my article-related comment is this:

I am very impatient with the status quo drug-war because, between the criminalization and professionalization of psychoactive medicine, the cost of otherwise dirt-cheap natural remedies has gone through the roof. Personally, I think the big mistake was made when Americans allowed politicians (like Francis Burton Harrison and Richard M. Nixon) to criminalize the pharmacy of Mother Nature in the first place. In my view, that was unconstitutional, first because the bounty of Mother Nature is a birthright of every free citizen, and second because the U.S. government specifically guarantees "the pursuit of happiness" in the Constitution -- only to turn around and outlaw the very substances that could make happiness possible for the depressed and confused.

In short, every time I hear about "going slow," I think about the 50 years that folks like myself have already been deprived valuable psychoactive medicines thanks to the lies and political strategy of politicians. The DEA has lied about psychoactive drugs since its very formation in 1973, and continues today to claim in its scheduling system that psychoactive drugs have no therapeutic value. That's an outrageous, blatant lie, which politicians sit by and calmly accept while Americans are committing suicide in droves thanks to being denied natural and non-addictive medicines. Moreover, the DEA has a huge conflict of interest when it creates a scheduling system, since the DEA's existence depends on drugs being illegal. Another problem with the status quo: the APA is naturally going to fight against ketamine since its status (both financial and professional) is based on turning psychiatry offices into PILL MILLS for SSRIs.

Yet many of the psychiatrists fretting about relatively harmless ketamine are the same psychiatrists who are prescribing SSRIs like candy -- despite the many problems with this regimen as pointed out by Richard Whitaker in "Anatomy of an Epidemic." Some of these drugs cause fierce chemical dependence and lead to anhedonia in long-term use – a use for which SSRIs were never properly evaluated. Yet Kaiser doctors purport to be worried about the long-term effects of Ketamine??? Moreover, SSRIs are sold based on a lie, namely that they cure depression by fixing a chemical imbalance. As Whitaker shows, it’s the other way around: these substances actually create the very chemical imbalance that they purport to fix.

For these reasons and many more, I am disheartened whenever I read about folks wanting to “go slow” with drugs like ketamine. We’ve been going slow – in fact, at zero miles an hour – for 50 years when it comes to psychoactive drugs. We’ve got to move ahead. Yes, we must think about harm we may create, but we must not lose sight of the harm that we’ve already created for 50 years by doing nothing.

For these reasons and more, I run the website entitled Abolish the DEA (, since I believe that the drug-war mentality is not just a threat to patients, but a threat to democracy and freedom as well.

Thanks for your time,

Yours Truly,

Brian Quass

Read Taking the Hypocritical Go-Slow Approach on Ketamine on Reddit.

April 29, 2019

Question: [Dr. Watt declares] that the moderate use of opium is not more injurious than the moderate use of alcohol and even that its abusive use is less destructive to its victims than intemperance.
Answer: The Freeman's Journal, Dublin, Ireland, October 31, 1891
April 28, 2019

The Partnership for Misleading Kids about Drugs

Comment left by author on Partnership for Drug Free Kids Facebook/Center for Addiction Face page:

Why are you lying to kids about ketamine on the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids website? It is one of the least addictive substances on the planet. Meanwhile LEGAL antidepressants like Effexor cause such a strong chemical dependence that users end up having to take them for a lifetime! But you are silent about that. Sure, kids should not use illegal drugs. Why? Because they're illegal. But you only breed mistrust in kids when they find out you're lying about drugs. Ketamine is now proving to be a miracle drug that, when used properly, prevents suicide! That does not mean that kids should use it, of course, but when you lie about ketamine, you are making such usage more likely because you're destroying your organization's credibility. Kids will eventually find out you've been lying about ketamine and will afterwards reject all your advice.

Read The Partnership for Misleading Kids about Drugs on Reddit.

April 28, 2019

Question: Casting a ballot is an important act, emblematic of our role as citizens. But eating and drinking are much more important acts.
Answer: 'Our Right to Drugs', Thomas Szasz
April 27, 2019

The Hypocrisy of Bhutan's Gross National Happiness

Response to the article entitled 'The Laws and Drugs' on the Kuensel website:

The country of Bhutan claims to measure success by the statistic of Gross National Happiness rather than Gross National Product. This is ironic, because Bhutan also outlaws the very medicines that can help its citizens achieve that happiness. In this way, Bhutan is just like the United States, where the government guarantees the pursuit of happiness while outlawing the medicinal means to attain it. Even as I type this sentence, thousands of Americans are on the brink of suicide, yet the administration of a non-addictive substance known as ketamine or psilocybin could almost instantly give them the mental resources to carry on and even thrive in life. But governments like Bhutan continue to follow the lead of corrupt president Richard Nixon in denying these lifesaving medications to the desperate and even jailing those who dare to acquire them.

Gross national happiness, indeed. The only people made happy by Bhutan’s drug war are law enforcement officials, who see their workload increase every year as their government cracks down on their citizens’ right to freely access the medicinal output of Mother Nature.

Read The Hypocrisy of Bhutan's Gross National Happiness on Reddit.

April 27, 2019

Question: Dr. T.C. Marks, a physician of experience and standing, has added another to the long list of things that can be profitably produced in the glorious climate of southern California. The particular substance this time is opium.
Answer: Los Angeles Herald, August 9, 1891
April 25, 2019

Bad Guy to the Rescue in the Opioid Crisis

Last night’s NewsHour featured a handsome and well-groomed DEA official gravely announcing a new crackdown on opioid distributors to pharmacies. This was a little hard to stomach because it gave the impression that the DEA was on the side of the angels in the opioid crisis, when in reality they did everything they could to cause it.

They did so by using the drug scheduling system to outlaw all natural and non-addictive means of achieving personal transcendence through the help of Mother Nature’s pharmacy. They then turn around and act indignant that entrepreneurs have rushed in to attempt to satisfy this outlawed market in a quasi-legal fashion. But not to worry, the DEA is prepared to play "whack-a-mole" with those shady entrepreneurs until the end of time. We should be grateful, right? Your tax dollars at work, right?


The DEA is like a despot who has outlawed all soft drinks and then announced that he has confiscated a batch of poisonous contraband soda that would have killed those who drank it. The despot expects to receive kudos for this action; after all, he prevented deaths, didn't he? But the more logical response would be to blame the despot for having outlawed soda in the first place, thereby creating a black market in which soda quality cannot be ensured.

Read Bad Guy to the Rescue in the Opioid Crisis on Reddit.

April 25, 2019

Question: For many, [LSD] seems to lead to self-help -- long overdue.
Answer: Dr. Keith Ditman, Semi-Weekly Spokesmen-Review (Spokane, Washington), Nov. 8, 1959
April 24, 2019

The Drug War as Religion

Those who support the Drug War do so based on a kind of materialist version of Christian Science. The Drug Warrior does not discount medical cures entirely, as does the Christian Scientist, but he or she insists that the medical pharmacy of Mother Nature "should not" be used to bring about psychological happiness and that such usage is somehow tawdry and unbecoming of a sane and sober American.

As a dissenter to this doctrine, I believe that there is no reason why Mother Nature's bounty cannot be justly used to improve my mind in the same way that I use Mother Nature's bounty to improve my physical health. In other words, I disagree with both the classic theology of Christian Science and its modern-day interpretation that is presupposed by the Drug Warrior. It is therefore a violation of my religious liberty to deny me access to Mother Nature's bounty on the theory that I should not require that bounty to live a happy and fulfilled life, for that is an unprovable and hence theological assumption and one that I do not share.

We talk about an aborigine's religious right to use time-honored natural substances such as peyote and ayahuasca, but this is beside the point. Indeed, to frame the issues in this way is to tacitly acknowledge the Drug Warrior's right to deny the rest of us our God-given right to access Mother Nature's bounty for the benefit of our own psyches. And how is this justified by the Drug Warrior? As stated above, it's justified based on a theological notion, a religious assumption, an article of faith: namely, that it is morally wrong to expand one's mind through the use of certain psychoactive substances.

To repeat, this is one possible way to look at life, but it is not the only way; so for the government to make me live my life according to this stealth theology is simple tyranny in the name of a government-sponsored religion.

Read The Drug War as Religion on Reddit.

April 24, 2019

Question: By means of this drug[LSD], people can view themselves objectively and can then accept themselves which is a great step forward in the care of mental illness.
Answer: Dr. Kahan, Executive Director Mental Health Saskatchewan, The Leader-Post, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, July 20, 1961
April 24, 2019

The FDA's Hypocritical Concern about Addiction

The FDA recently approved a nasal-spray form of Ketamine under the condition that it be used only in clinics. The supposed reason: there is a small possibility that a user could become addicted to the spray.

This, however, is sheer hypocrisy on the part of the FDA. As I type this, tens of millions of Americans are addicted to SSRIs, which the FDA allows them to take at home like they were so much candy. Of course, one could quibble and say that the SSRIs cause "chemical dependency" rather than addiction but the result for the end user is the same: the daily need for the drug in question. Far from despising chemical dependency, however, the FDA actually requires it for those who wish to use Spravato. Those of us who are not long-term users of SSRIs are not even allowed to use the nasal spray.

This begs the question: what is the FDA's REAL motive in refusing to allow for the home use of Spravato? Why will they allow us to almost OD on SSRIs at home yet take not so much as a sniff of Spravato while there? If there is any substantive reason for this hypocrisy (apart from the financial interests of Big Pharma), it can only be that the FDA has a puritan dislike for patients experiencing true relief at home. In other words, they share the Drug Warriors aversion to folks getting “high” (which, according to the dour theology of the Drug Warrior, is the pejorative term par excellence) and so they want to “scientize” this unseemly process to the extent possible by surrounding it by lab coats and white walls – thereby requiring “patients” to “get happy” in an environment totally unsuited for that purpose: namely, a cheerless mental health clinic, under the watchful but superfluous eye of a materialist psychiatrist.

Read The FDA's Hypocritical Concern about Addiction on Reddit.

April 24, 2019

Question: Casting a ballot is an important act, emblematic of our role as citizens. But eating and drinking are much more important acts.
Answer: 'Our Right to Drugs', Thomas Szasz
April 23, 2019

Hurray for Ketamine!

At the end of an informative but brief article about ketamine, Gabrielle Healy asks:

How do we treat an illness [i.e. depression] that affects millions of Americans?

Here's my answer:

We start by remembering that the term “illness” is a metaphor when it comes to psychological conditions.

The concept of depression as a “chemical imbalance in the brain” was originally created by Big Pharma PR to justify a purely materialistic approach to psychotherapy. This “sales pitch cum theory” was subsequently embraced by psychiatrists out of “physics envy” (the desire for psychiatry to be a “hard science”) but it has been factually refuted by Richard Whitaker in 2010 in “Anatomy of an Epidemic.” In fact, Whitaker shows that SSRIs actually CAUSE the chemical imbalances that they purport to fix.

This should not surprise us. After all, if SSRI antidepressants were really fixing some chemical imbalance that causes depression, there should no longer be an epidemic of depression in America, where 1 in 6 Americans are now taking these so-called wonder drugs. Meanwhile, the outcomes for depression treatment in Third World countries, where SSRI use is less frequent and less prolonged, are far more positive than here in the West, where many patients are now told by their psychiatrist that they must take SSRIs for life.

My conclusion: Hurray for ketamine, a treatment that gives the depressed a new mental flexibility without causing chemical dependence. It may not be the sort of targeted chemical cure that would flatter materialistic psychiatry and enrich Big Pharma, but depressed "patients" like myself are content with the humble fact that it actually works for us.

*Special K: Ketamine, From Party Drug To Depression Medication," Gabrille Healy, April 22, 2019, WAMU.ORG.

Read Hurray for Ketamine! on Reddit.

April 23, 2019

Question: In southern Mexico, the jail and prison officials experience great difficulty in trying to prevent the smuggling into their institutions of the seductive mariguana (sic). This is a kind of "loco" weed more powerful than opium.
Answer: The Iola Daily Record, Iola, Kansas, Jan 1, 1900
April 22, 2019

Americans have the right to pursue happiness -- but not to attain it

The following comment was posted in response to "Psychedelic therapy: The patients paying $2k to get high with their doctor," by Jesse Noakes, which appeared on April 22nd, 2019 on

Though the drug war originally targeted hippies, its real victims have been patients suffering from PTSD, depression, and anxiety. It is this latter demographic that the drug war has truly cracked down on by denying us access to powerful and time-honored psychoactive medicines over the last 50 years, thereby forcing us to rely on SSRIs: drugs that create dependence, turn the depressed person into a lifelong patient, and eventually produce the drowsy symptoms of anhedonia in the lifelong user. At best, such legal treatments make one’s life bearable, while drugs like LSD and psilocybin open the mind to possibilities to which a depressed mind was otherwise blinded. The latter drugs, in fact, empower the patient to start unlearning the damaging lessons of negative experiences by giving the user new ways to look at life: in other words such drugs are the Holy Grail of psychopharmacology – or they would be if skeptical materialists and political fascists would merely allow these drugs to do their job.

A good step in this direction would be for purportedly "free" peoples to reject the notion that government can rightfully declare Mother Nature's output to be "illegal" (a usurpation of power that Terence Mckenna rightfully called "ridiculous and obnoxious"). For if I have a birthright to anything in a free country, it is surely to the bounty of Mother Nature that grows freely at my feet. This is especially so in America, where the very constitution grants me "the pursuit of happiness" and then the government turns around and criminalizes precisely those plants that could bring me that very happiness.

Read Americans have the right to pursue happiness -- but not to attain it on Reddit.

April 22, 2019

Question: Local medical research has so far indicated that these drugs [LSD], when properly used by trained personnel in a psychiatric setting, bring about the release of long-repressed thoughts and emotions, intensify early memory, and generally enhance perception in ways that promote self-understanding and personality growth in persons with mental and emotional problems.
Answer: Hawaii Medical Association, as reported in The Honolulu Advertiser, September 12, 1960
April 21, 2019

How Drug Law Makes Brain-Damaging Shock Therapy Necessary

What follows is a letter to the editors of, regarding the matter-of-fact allusion to ECT in the third paragraph of a story entitled No laughing matter – nitrous oxide helps to unravel rapid antidepressant mechanisms, published March 27, 2019:

I'm always startled by the non-critical allusion to ECT in stories that discuss controversial psychoactive drugs like Ketamine, as if administering so-called “shock therapy” for depression was no more problematic, morally speaking, than prescribing aspirin for a headache. I beg to differ for the following reason.

I think it’s bizarre that doctors can bring themselves to knowingly injure the brain through ECT while failing to have explored the value of drugs like psilocybin, LSD, and ketamine, all of which have the potential of relieving long-standing depression without inflicting lasting damage to the brain. I would have no problem with ECT as a last resort, but the fact is it is not being used as a last resort for the severely depressed; instead, it is being administered by doctors who have never sufficiently advocated for the above-mentioned alternatives that would fulfill the Hippocratic oath of "first do no harm." Doctors may not be able to single—handedly change drug laws, of course, but they still have a moral obligation to speak up when drug-law restrictions oblige them to use a dangerous treatment for which safer alternatives are available.

Yes, patients may seem “happier” after ECT, but it is a sad success indeed, coming as it does thanks to a loss of brain function.

If, in the supposedly enlightened 21st century, we still are forced to use a harmful treatment such as ECT thanks to drug law, then the medical community owes it to society to make that fact loud and clear each time it throws the switch to shock a patient, saying: “American drug law is forcing us to take this potentially harmful step; American drug law is forcing us to put this patient at this unnecessary risk of having his or her brain damaged by ECT.”

Instead, the medical community remains largely silent, defending ECT while failing to admit that it’s a dangerous expedient that is only rendered necessary thanks to the fact that drug law in the U.S. is based on politics and not on public health considerations.

Read How Drug Law Makes Brain-Damaging Shock Therapy Necessary on Reddit.

April 21, 2019

Question: Casting a ballot is an important act, emblematic of our role as citizens. But eating and drinking are much more important acts.
Answer: 'Our Right to Drugs', Thomas Szasz
April 16, 2019


A sceptic reading this site may ask: why is this guy so upset about modern drug law? What follows is the answer:

The drug warrior feels justified only because he or she assumes that the use of illegal substances is motivated by irresponsible hedonism. This conscience sop, however, is rapidly disappearing as we learn that many currently illegal substances are turning out to be godsends from a psychologically therapeutic point of view. LSD and psilocybin help users think outside the deadly box of pessimism and negative learned response. Ketamine reawakens a hopeless mind to the possibilities that life offers. Ibogaine helps one rethink their supposed need for alcohol and other addictive drugs.

Yet the hypocritically pious drug warrior stands in the way of all these treatments, by superstitiously asserting that the drugs in question are somehow bad in and of themselves, simply because they have been labelled that way by corrupt politicians, especially Richard Nixon.

This is why the drug war is insidious. It is not a war on irresponsible hedonism, it is a war on humanity’s freedom and ability to control the very way that they LOOK at life, since they deny us the right to improve and expand our minds.

Freedom-loving peoples claim to hate being told what to think by their government; how much angrier they should be when government tells us HOW – and how much – we may think.

This is why I’m righteously P.O.’d and doing my best to rouse the rest of the free world to the same all-too-justified fury.

This is, after all, the greatest tyranny possible in a supposedly free country, to tell me how much I can think -- especially in America, where I have been constitutionally guaranteed the pursuit of happiness, only to have the means to that happiness withdrawn by politically motivated laws.

Read Furious on Reddit.

April 16, 2019

Question: The constraints on the power of the federal government, as laid down in the constitution, have been eroded by a monopolistic medical profession administering a system of prescription laws that have, in effect, removed most of the drugs people want from the free market.
Answer: 'Our Right to Drugs', Thomas Szasz
April 14, 2019

Test, Not Arrest

The following is my response to the London Times article entitled "Police drugs policy of ‘test, not arrest’ condemned as back-door legalisation".

As an American, I am disappointed that England continues to follow the drug policies of Richard Nixon, who first criminalized psychoactive substances, not for health reasons, but because he despised the people who used them. If Nixon had been truly interested in America’s health back in the early ‘70s, he would have banned cigarettes and alcohol, not LSD, a drug that had been uncontroversial in the ‘50s as a therapeutic treatment for alcoholism and other psychiatric disorders.

Many psychoactive substances have since turned out to be beneficial in psychiatry, especially ketamine, which now looks like a psychiatric wonder drug, since it successfully combats depression without causing chemical dependence (as do the vast majority of legal substances that are currently taken for depression). Indeed, ketamine actually seems to grow new neurons according to recent findings, connections that may be responsible for making the depressed more creatively adaptive to their life situations.

Seen in this light, the “test, not arrest” policy of British police is to be commended as one small refreshing step toward adopting a rational and caring stance toward substance use. Yes, ideally, government would solve such problems, but until they do so, we need small innovative steps like these to swing the pendulum back in favor of sanity.

Meanwhile, we need to renounce the Western world’s modern-day superstition according to which certain substances become evil incarnate once we criminalize them and call them “drugs.” Shakespeare himself knew better than this over 400 years ago, when he put the following far more nuanced view of the medicinal world into his soliloquy for Friar Lawrence:

Oh, mickle is the powerful grace that lies

In herbs, plants, stones, and their true qualities.

For naught so vile that on the earth doth live

But to the earth some special good doth give.

Yet here we are, centuries later, the drug-warrior West, dutifully slandering Mother Nature’s pharmacy at the behest of corrupt politician Richard M. Nixon.

Read Test, Not Arrest on Reddit.

April 14, 2019

Question: [Dr. Watt declares] that the moderate use of opium is not more injurious than the moderate use of alcohol and even that its abusive use is less destructive to its victims than intemperance.
Answer: The Freeman's Journal, Dublin, Ireland, October 31, 1891
April 6, 2019

Put the DEA on Trial

Liberal critics of the drug war keep saying that it’s failed. But this misses the point, because it implies that the drug war was not necessarily a bad idea, but merely one that turned out to be ineffective in combating illegal drug use.

To the contrary, the drug war never had the right to succeed because it was wrong from the start to ban naturally occurring substances, the gifts of Mother Nature, the birthright of humanity, especially when these substances are banned for political motives. If Americans have any birthright, they surely have a right to the medicinal and nourishing output of Mother Nature and cannot be rightfully separated from that bounty by coercion.

But there’s one class of Drug War victim that’s rarely recognized today: that is the millions of depressed persons who have gone without effective medications for decades now thanks to Richard Nixon’s politically motivated scheduling and slandering of psychoactive substances.

Richard Nixon’s political assessment of such drugs remain on the books today, thanks to the fact that the self-dealing DEA, an agency that exists to “fight drugs,” is the same organization tasked with deciding the legal status of drugs. That’s the mother of all conflicts of interests, one that will continue to eat away at the democratic process until the DEA is excised from the body politic.

Before saying goodbye to the DEA, however, we should publicly try its leadership in court for having knowingly barred millions of depressed Americans from receiving priceless therapy. How did the DEA do this? By scheduling these drugs based on political motivations, completely ignoring to this day the well-documented benefits of drugs like LSD and psilocybin to change lives for the better in a positive and medically monitored setting.

What's the cause of depression in America?

The DEA.

But the DEA will only be held accountable when politicians start valuing patient outcomes over political outcomes.

Read Put the DEA on Trial on Reddit.

April 6, 2019

Question: "With LSD as an aid," the report said, "it has been possible to reach and work with patients who are otherwise unresponsive to psychotherapy."
Answer: Kingsport News, March 4, 1960
March 29, 2019

Prescription for Cruelty

During that dreary decade when psychiatry had me stumbling around the world on Valium, I was regularly infuriated by my psychiatrist’s refusal to help me with prescription problems during a weekend. I would repeatedly arrive at the pharmacy on Friday night or Saturday morning, only to be told by the pharmacist that there was some problem with my prescription and that I would have to contact my doctor. Of course, when I attempted to do so, I was greeted by a recording admonishing me that neither the doctor nor his minions could possibly have anything to do with me until Monday morning at 9:00 a.m.

I was infuriated and in disbelief every time this happened, the more so in that my prescription had inevitably just “run out” at such times. Was I really supposed to go “cold turkey” until the doctor got off the golf course, got his beauty sleep, and then arrived at his expensive office in his BMW at 9 a.m. sharp some 48 hours from now? Did the Hippocratic oath only apply on weekdays?

This illustrates a downside of America’s drug status quo that has gone unnoticed by the vast majority of Americans: namely, the arrogance that doctors have assumed toward their patients ever since physicians were handed the golden goose of the prescription pad in the early 1950s. Armed with this priceless monopoly to dispense addictive medications, doctors have assertively turned a deaf ear toward the needs of their patients on weekends.

Of course, these physicians often make it clear that they can’t be bothered on the weekend by posting signs to that effect, but what they never explicitly tell you is that they will gladly let you suffer “cold turkey” rather than move a finger to help you after hours. This is the default punishment for the patient who fails to “refill early,” not a monetary fine but rather the psychological punishment of medication withdrawal.

This practice continues today: the practice of forcing a patient to go “cold turkey” on a medication that they have failed to renew in a timely manner. It first happened to me 40 years ago when I was “on” Valium, and it last happened to me just two years ago when I was “on” Effexor. In the latter case, the answering service was so determined NOT to help me, that I finally had to lie by implying that I was considering suicide. Only then was I transferred to a medical supervisor who agreed to instantly refill my prescription, after getting my assurance that my suicidal references were merely a strategic ploy to gain the assistance to which I felt that I was entitled.

Of course, in some cases, the pharmacist will offer to supply the patient with a few pills to “take them through” the weekend, but this happens rarely, in my experience, and is of little use to a patient who lives many miles from the pharmacy.

Psychiatrists might argue that it’s too expensive to deal with prescriptions on the weekends, but if this is truly so, then the psychiatrist should never have gotten in the business of prescribing medications in the first place. Patients, after all, have to live their lives 24 hours a day, not just 9 to 5 on weekdays, and if psychiatrists aren’t prepared to deal with after-hour problems, then they have no business dispensing addictive medications.

But when it comes to dispensing medications, psychiatrists want to enjoy the rights of a monopoly without assuming the responsibilities.

The solution: end the physician’s monopoly on dispensing mood-altering drugs, since the faith that we have thus placed in them has been so clearly abused. Decriminalize the vast panoply of mood-altering drugs and let patients decide for themselves what they need (from the vast pharmacopeia of Mother Nature, not just from the tiny subset of addictive medications whose sales benefit Big Pharma).

The first step in achieving this goal? Re-empower patients by granting them the same rights that they possessed before the passage of the Durham-Humphrey Amendment of 1952.

Read Prescription for Cruelty on Reddit.

March 29, 2019

Question: LSD is a powerful therapeutic tool.
Answer: Dr. C.G. Costello, Psychologist, Regina General Hospital, in "Truth About LSD," The Leader-Post, February 5, 1963
March 21, 2019

Puritanical Assumptions about Drug Use in the Entertainment Field

American psychology operates according to a long-standing puritanical assumption when it comes to so-called “drug users” in the entertainment field. The party line goes like this:

“They could be as good – or even better – if they were not using drugs!”

Could Jimi Hendrix have been as good – or even better – without drugs? How about Robin Williams?

No. The above citation is a mere statement of faith that belongs in a Christian Science catechism, not in a psychological textbook.

It is a statement of faith because there is no logical reason to suppose that human beings were meant to live their lives without emotional support from mood-altering substances, especially when those substances occur abundantly in nature and grow in profusion all around us, in the form of mushrooms, poppies, ibogaine, etc. In fact, we rely on such emotional support every day when we use drugs such as nicotine, caffeine and alcohol. When we puritanically declare that others be drug free, we simply want them to conform to our own self-serving notions of what the good drugs are. We don’t feel any need to expand and sharpen our minds through the use of certain illegal naturally occurring substances: why should they?

(Of course, we’re assuming here, as the Puritans do, that by “drugs,” we simply mean substances that have not been supplied by a reputable psychiatrist. In other words, we don’t so much fear drug-improved performance per se as we fear the use of illegal drugs for attaining this end.)

But the fact is that for many of us, the unmedicated personality says “no” to showing off, to “putting oneself out there,” to standing up for oneself, etc., especially before thousands or even millions of people. We are attacked by the psychological quality that Poe called “the imp of the perverse,”* whispering in our ear and telling us to fail. Is it not obvious in such cases that certain mood-altering substances could have the beneficial result of raising one beyond nagging self-doubts, such that one can access and express inner talents that our knee-jerk self-doubt would have otherwise suppressed?

True, a person can cope with this self-doubt by shunning fields like show business entirely, but if that is the field in which one’s innate talent lies, would it not be folly for such a person to “just say no” to drugs and thereby just say no to personal fulfillment in his or her life?

Seen in this realistic psychological light, drug use in the entertainment field makes perfect sense – not for all, of course, but for many. But if this statement sounds outrageous to you, let me reword it using terminology that carries less emotional baggage given today’s Drug War mentality: “Seen in this realistic psychological light, the use of performance-enhancing medication in the entertainment field makes perfect sense.”

The fact that these self-doubting entertainers are taking risks with their lives (by buying performance-enhancing medications on the street) is to be blamed on the Drug War, not on the performers themselves. (How can we blame a person for doing whatever they feel is necessary in order to succeed in their vocational dreams and thus obtain the self-actualizing pinnacle of Maslow’s hierarchy?) It is the Drug War that ensures such risky behaviour is necessary, first by spreading disinformation about mood-altering drugs (making it difficult for drug users to choose wisely) and then by rendering those drugs illegal (making it difficult for the user to guarantee the purity of the drugs that he or she purchases on the street).

To solve this problem, we have to do more than decriminalize drugs. We have to change American mental healthcare practice so that it recognizes this instinct to self-fulfillment as a (or rather THE) genuine motivating factor in the depressed and the anxious.

Had Hendrix or Williams naively attempted to seek their performance-enhancing drugs through psychiatry, they would have been immediately tagged as potential addictive types. But that is a bad diagnosis. On a fundamental level, those performers did not crave drugs, they craved self-fulfillment. Drugs (or “performance-enhancing medications," if you prefer) were merely a necessary means to that end, even if the hypocritical Drug Warrior (while smoking his cigars and swilling his whiskey) would steadfastly deny it.

Follow-up thoughts March 20, 2019

Yet psychiatry holds to the materialistic notion that the drugs we supply a patient must fix some specific underlying chemical problem, not merely allow the patient to be successful in life -- as if all things good in life (including happiness and serenity) do not follow naturally when we allow a patient to be successful (regardless of our knee-jerk abhorrence for the substances that may be employed toward that end).

To put it another way, psychiatry these days (thanks to its absurdly limited pharmacopeia of mood-altering substances) is not good at helping patients achieve their dreams; instead psychiatry's talent lies in helping patients become satisfied with falling short of their true potential in life (while the psychiatrists insist that – not to worry, Jimi – at least now we are treating the “root causes” of your problems and are therefore being truly scientific about this! So what if you’re not a rock star: at least you’re getting help from real scientists!)

Yes, Hendrix died of a drug overdose, but only because America never discussed mood-altering substances honestly. Instead, psychiatry ignored illegal substances and drug warriors demonized them. The result was that no credible information was out there by which Hendrix might have steered clear of disaster, and even if it were, Hendrix was forced by drug prohibition to rely on street drugs of uncertain potency and chemical constitution.

Yet, the drug warriors never learn. They cite each problem that they themselves create (like drug deaths in America and violence overseas) as a reason why the drug war must go on. It’s a circular argument with which they hope to deflect criticism and ignore their own culpability. And it’s an argument that psychiatry abets by failing to recognize the true motive behind much illegal drug-taking: namely, the search for self-actualization in life. By ignoring this most fundamental of human motivations, psychiatry contributes by default to the simplistic notion that drug users are rabble-rousing hedonists, a view-point that eggs on the fascist mentality that seeks to suppress illegal drugs with unconstitutional methods.

*See also the correlation that GK Chesterton draws between reason and madness in the first chapter of "Orthodoxy." Though Chesterton never remotely broaches the topic of brain-enhancing chemistry, the phenomenon of madness as he describes it cries out for the intervention of psychoactive substances to distract the mind from mere reason, insofar as there are no other known treatments that have been shown to reliably help a neurotic to think outside the box of the everyday, and thus expand their mental cosmos.

Read Puritanical Assumptions about Drug Use in the Entertainment Field on Reddit.

March 21, 2019

Question: How many people know that hemp, coca, and the opium poppy are ordinary plants, understand how they became transformed into dreaded 'dangerous drugs,' and realize that in losing our rights to them we have surrendered some of our most basic rights to property?
Answer: 'Our Right to Drugs', Thomas Szasz
March 17, 2019

Drug War Hysteria and the Opioid Crisis

I recently posted an article in which I slammed a group of six Richmond area hospitals for providing misleading information about ketamine on their website page for teenagers. The “Healthy Kids” site did its best to paint ketamine as a boogie-man despite the drug’s documented inability to cause addiction and its apparent lack of long-term negative consequences. They fretted that the drug could still cause psychological addiction and they harped on the delusions created during moments of intense intoxication. Not one hint was given that the drug has a potential positive role in legal settings as a non-habituating anti-depressant (which is odd, since depressed youth are particularly apt to drug experimentation as a form of self-medication; a little nod to ketamine’s newfound efficacy in this quarter could therefore be vastly useful information for a depressed young person to know).

But one might ask: why should I be complaining? Surely we should paint illegal drugs in as black a shade as possible so that kids get the message. Kids aren’t very good at picking up on subtle distinctions, after all.

First of all, the distinctions are not subtle in this case. Ketamine is non-habituating. Opioids are vastly so.

Secondly: This “one-size-fits-all” approach to describing illegal drugs destroys our credibility in discussing such substances with the young. When we tar all illegal drugs with the same brush, the young eventually realize that we’re gilding the lily in favour of an ideology as opposed to dispassionately providing raw facts.

Look at it this way:

If I’m a kid, and a parent tells me that both Ketamine and Opioids are drugs from hell, I have no guidelines whereby to select between the two should I be so inclined. If they’re both drugs from hell but I’m determined to use SOMETHING, I might as well choose the one that gives me the biggest kick, or better yet, use both of them. Why not, since the adults imply that they’re basically interchangeable when it comes to consequences?

The fact, of course, is that there is a huge difference between the two in terms of negative consequences, but America’s drug-abuse programs routinely obscure this fact by painting each and every illicit substance in the same dark light. We think we’re doing the kids a favour by thus preaching to them rather than providing them with full disclosure; what we’re really doing, however, is denying them the crucial information whereby they can advisedly avoid truly dangerous substances. We need to stop preaching to them and start showing them factual data about all mood-altering substances (the reported frequency of addiction, habituation, etc.), so that those who are determined to do so can “choose their poison” wisely (yes, even if that poison be alcohol!)


Decriminalize all drugs and begin real drug education in grade school, teaching kids exactly what the real-world threats are of each and every drug in each and every setting. But no politics. No attempts to influence the students with anything but the facts. Let them develop their own philosophy of substance use as they become adults. And no pretending that opioids are “drugs,” but that Prozac and alcohol are somehow “not really drugs.”

Such full disclosure about drugs (so glaringly absent in the above-mentioned “Healthy Kids” page) will empower students to steer clear of opioids, especially in cases where they are determined to use some mind-altering substance no matter what we say. They will steer clear because 1) we have been honest with them about each and every drug’s shortcomings and benefits and 2) they trust us because we have been honest with them.

Sure, under this new paradigm, a small percentage of kids will still end up in jail over drug use -- but at least they will no longer be ending up in the morgue!

Read Drug War Hysteria and the Opioid Crisis on Reddit.

March 17, 2019

Question: Who is responsible for the 24/7 moaning of millions of elderly Americans in nursing homes?
Answer: The DEA and the Drug War, based on the mind set that outlawed opium in 1914, so that now only outlaws have opium. The depressed elderly must make do with psychiatry's highly addictive and less helpful drug alternatives. Scientific materialists are terrified lest they give the elderly good dreams for a change. (Humph! How very unscientific. Let them suffer instead!)
March 10, 2019

The Good News and Bad News about Ketamine

The good news about ketamine is obvious: finally there is a street drug with some real potency that (miracle of miracles!) the prudish American zeitgeist has found a way to make legally available to average human beings who need it, and outside of laboratory research settings as well. Depressed patients now finally have a powerful alternative to highly addictive* SSRI antidepressants, whose long-term use conduces to anhedonia. Making the good news even better, ketamine treatment has been shown to be non-addictive and to help depressed patients for months, even years, at a time, without the need for constant re-dosing. Depressed patients now have a real alternative to their daily dosing with addictive meds, in the form of chronologically well-separated infusions of ketamine.

The bad news is that our society’s liberal attitude toward ketamine only extends so far. The powers that be are still going to insist that the ketamine user jump through a series of expensive and time-consuming health-care hoops before they can legally partake of this wonder drug. Thus a ketamine dose that could be picked up on the street for $50 will cost the legal user a minimum of $300, and will generally only be available as part of an outpatient treatment protocol calling for six infusions, thus setting the ketamine patient back $1,500 minimum for initial treatments (though in practice the initial treatment costs are usually closer to $3,000 or more). Nor is that cost going to be covered by most insurance plans. Thus the depressed patient will be effectively punished by society (with the loss of a substantial amount of time and money) for not purchasing their relief on the black market

Nor is that the only down side to the limited form of ketamine availability that the cynical and paternalistic zeitgeist has seen fit to allow. In order to clothe the administration of this street drug in the garb of modern science, depressed patients will often be required to confess the most sensitive details of their life to their ketamine provider by rating themselves 1 to 4 (with 4 being “very true”) on 344 intimate statements presented on the Personality Assessment Inventory. Statements like:

Sometimes I am afraid for no reason.

It bothers me when things are out of place.

I’ve done some things that weren’t exactly legal.

I’m waiting for the day when the Personality Inventory Assessment will include the following statement:

I think that Assessment inventories like these are a waste of time and are prying into things that are none of anybody’s business. Just give me the damn drug, already!

I would rate that one a 4, as being very true, indeed.

Some of us have been depressed for decades now. We really don’t need a complete stranger in a lab coat to tell us that based on a deeply intrusive assessment test.

Let’s focus on the positive, however. It’s little short of a miracle, after all, that ketamine is now legally available to depression sufferers, so strong is America’s puritan and patriarchal bias against drugs like these that have been historically used in party contexts. So if the powers that be insist that I fill out a silly and highly presumptuous personality test in order to be deemed “officially depressed,” then so be it.

Let’s just hope that someday, America will renounce its insistence on medicalizing my emotional needs and will trust me to deal with my own emotions as I see fit, drawing freely from Mother Nature’s pharmacopeia to do so and no longer turning a deaf ear to my own instincts, no longer relying on a stranger to tell me how I “really” feel and what I “really” need by way of treatment.

Note (March 12, 2019): I am not denying the value and importance of psychological counseling, especially for the young; I am merely rebelling against the notion that every "patient" must go to a doctor to learn how he "really" feels and, therefore, what he "really" needs. I don't go to a doctor to see if I "really" need coffee or alcohol. Why should I go to a doctor to see if I "really" need ketamine? I feel depressed; I've read that ketamine can help. I therefore want to use ketamine. Tell me what I need to do in order to use ketamine safely, but don't subject me to a condescending barrage of test questions designed to second-guess my own impressions and thereby determine what I "really" need.

*addictive: It is claimed that SSRIs are not addictive, but that they only cause "dependence," and thus pharmacology and psychiatry can supposedly refute the idea that they are getting patients "hooked." But what is the definition of addiction? According to Webster's, it is the compulsive and uncontrolled use of a substance. Well, I assure you that I am compelled (as in psychologically motivated) to take Effexor if I stop using it suddenly, and the use that then ensues is not "controlled" by the medical establishment, but merely by my subjective feelings about the amount of medication that I need to regain the chemical balance to which my system has become habituated by the drug. This hair-splitting rejection of the term "addictive" by psychiatrists is a convenient ploy from a legal standpoint. Many SSRI users were never informed of the drug's addictive qualities, and now legalistic psychiatry can turn around and say, "Our drugs are not addictive, they just cause dependence, so there." As if those of us consigned to eternal use of the drug can rest easy now that we know we are somehow not technically "addicted."

Note that addiction and chemical dependence have the same practical result. Note therefore the hypocrisy of modern psychiatry that claims to despise addiction and yet actively promotes chemical dependence in one person out of six by prescribing dependence-causing SSRIs.

This hypocrisy can be clearly seen in the FDA's laws for Spravato, a nasally-administered form of ketamine. The FDA requires that the drug be administered in clinics (not at home) thanks to the fact that it has a small chance of becoming addictive -- and yet the FDA long ago signed off on the use of SSRIs, which themselves create dependency, not in rare cases but for virtually every long-term user.

Conclusion: The FDA doe not mind addicting patients; the FDA only worries about cases in which that dependency is not managed by board-certified psychiatrists. FDA's message to patients: We're not going to let you cut out the middle man.

"What your son needs is lots of tender loving medication."
-South Park, episode 1504

Read The Good News and Bad News about Ketamine on Reddit.

March 10, 2019

Question: By means of this drug[LSD], people can view themselves objectively and can then accept themselves which is a great step forward in the care of mental illness.
Answer: Dr. Kahan, Executive Director Mental Health Saskatchewan, The Leader-Post, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, July 20, 1961
March 1, 2019

English Head Teacher Makes Richard Nixon Proud by Ruining Students' Lives

The following is a letter-to-the-editor that I submitted to the Telegraph in response to their story entitled “Top grammar school expels pupils for drug-taking during lunch break,” published on February 28, 2019. In that article, head teacher Alistair Hopkins proudly proclaimed his determination to be as intolerant as possible in handling the issue of a student who took “drugs” during a lunch break.

Just another proof that England is still a loyal copycat of the Richard Nixon school of hysterical drugs policy, half a century after that US president turned drug law into an anti-scientific political tool for empowering the police, justifying overseas intervention, and cracking down on domestic opposition. If we must deal with drugs hysterically, let's at least reserve our most illogical responses for the most dangerous drugs.

Ketamine, far from being a menace from hell, is now considered a godsend treatment for depression. Meanwhile, commonly prescribed SSRIs like Effexor, despite their legality, are so addictive that the latest studies show they are almost impossible to give up after long-term use (with addicts showing a relapse rate more than double that for notoriously addictive drugs such as heroin).

When school officials flex their bureaucratic muscle like this in order to proudly display their intolerance on this topic, they merely add to the mystique of drug use for the young. Had they handled this matter with discreet common sense, few British kids would have even heard of this originally isolated incident, let alone an American adult like myself who had never even heard of Caistor Grammar School before today -- after seeing it plastered across the Web in lurid headlines about supposed drug depravity amongst the young.

Richard Nixon's drugs policy has deprived suffering humanity of valuable pharmaceutical remedies now for at least 50 years. We only encourage such political interference in medicine when we adopt that president's superstitious belief that certain substances become evil in and of themselves after we decide to label them as “drugs” rather than as “potential medicines.” Worst of all, we ruin young lives when we publicly disgrace them for failing to respect our anti-scientific prejudices on this subject.

Read English Head Teacher Makes Richard Nixon Proud by Ruining Students' Lives on Reddit.

March 1, 2019

Question: The constraints on the power of the federal government, as laid down in the constitution, have been eroded by a monopolistic medical profession administering a system of prescription laws that have, in effect, removed most of the drugs people want from the free market.
Answer: 'Our Right to Drugs', Thomas Szasz
February 27, 2019

Why Hollywood Owes Richard Nixon an Oscar

Hollywood owes Richard Nixon an honorary Oscar. If the 37th president of the United States had not launched a paramilitary crackdown on the use of naturally-occurring substances in the early ‘70s, we would have no movies like the following:

American Gangster, Asian Connection, Bobby Z, Clockers, Cocaine Cowboys, Empire, L.A. Wars, Marked for Death, Scarface, Rush, etc. etc. – just add the “bullet-riddled” movie of your choice, especially those that focus on South American “scumbags” and their American nemeses, namely, those no-nonsense cops who openly laugh at the whole idea of due process and the other high-falutin legal protections that have been historically afforded to American citizens via the U.S. Constitution.

One typical Nixon-inspired classic is 2007’s Walking Tall: Lone Justice, starring Kevin Sorbo. It follows the usual Drug War plot in which a pious American renegade launches a Pyrrhic war against a South American drug-lord/scumbag. Of course, hero Nick Prescott never stops to think that America itself has created these drug lords by outlawing the medicinal plants of Mother Nature in the first place and then blackmailing governments around the world to do the same lest they lose America’s financial support. Instead, we get the usual morality tale based on a false narrative: righteous no-nonsense American trashes the Bill of Rights in order to give a South American scumbag what’s coming to him.

The plots of all such DEA-glorifying flicks take Nixon’s crackdown as a morally justified “given” and then proceed to vividly demonstrate all the violence that predictably results from such a crackdown, i.e., the violence to be expected when we take away a citizen's right to freely access the medicinal benefits of Mother Nature. A sane viewer of the above-mentioned agitprop can only wish that Director Tripp Reed had had an epiphany during the movie’s filming and yelled: “Cut! Guys, what are we thinking? The real villain of this piece is Richard friggin’ Nixon, not some opportunistic entrepreneur who merely took advantage of the lucrative black-market economy that that idjit of a president single-handedly created out of whole cloth!”

But say what you will, Richard Nixon created something else as well: i.e., a whole new genre of movies about foreign scumbags pursued by moral Americans. We might call it “the scumbag genre,” for want of a better term.

But before Richard Nixon’s political heirs step up to the podium to accept a posthumous Oscar on behalf of their movie-spawning forebear, let’s be sure to accompany Nixon’s Oscar with a multi-billion-dollar damage claim for all the lives that his War on Drugs has taken over the last half century. No one has yet calculated the full price tag for this carnage, but it has to be huge, since the Drug Policy Alliance reports 200,000 killed in Mexico’s U.S.-inspired drug war alone, and that figure just covers the period from 2006 to the present. Even as we speak, the fascist Duterte of the Philippines is working to beat that record, racking up 12,000 drug-war deaths in his country in the last three years alone (i.e., since 2016).

So hats off to Richard Nixon, the unsung hero of American cinema, whose crackdown on the rights of the individual resulted in a whole new exciting movie genre about Drug War “scumbags.”

PS After the Academy gives this long-overdue recognition to Tricky Dick, they should consider awarding a second honorary Oscar to New York Congressman Francis Burton Harrison. Francis was the visionary politician who first decided that Americans could not be trusted to use naturally-occurring medicines as they saw fit. It’s thanks to his tireless work in outlawing opium in 1914 that Americans gave up their right to Mother Nature’s pharmacopeia in the first place, thus empowering anti-scientific conservatives like Richard Nixon to crack down further just a half century later, thereby creating a whole new genre of scumbag-busting movies that continue to triumph at the box office to this very day!

Read Why Hollywood Owes Richard Nixon an Oscar on Reddit.

February 27, 2019

Question: How many people know that hemp, coca, and the opium poppy are ordinary plants, understand how they became transformed into dreaded 'dangerous drugs,' and realize that in losing our rights to them we have surrendered some of our most basic rights to property?
Answer: 'Our Right to Drugs', Thomas Szasz
February 25, 2019

Bashing Ketamine in Richmond, Virginia

Ever wonder why the wonder-drug ketamine is so expensive and hard to get for treating depression? It's at least partly because seemingly authoritative medical institutions feel free to lie about such drugs, as part of their over-the-top efforts to scare children away from drug abuse. These lies in turn lower the reputation of the drugs in question and make it more difficult for them to gain approval as promising new therapies for millions of suffering patients.

Take the “Healthy Kids” section of a website for six hospitals in Richmond, Virginia. Their page on ketamine tells teens the following:

“People who use ketamine can become psychologically dependent on it to feel good, deal with life, or handle stress.”

Fair enough. Negative ketamine side effects are rare, of course, but they should be mentioned. The problem is that this website article starts and stops with side effects, thereby ignoring the 64,000-pound therapeutic gorilla in the room: namely, the fact that ketamine may well be one of the greatest drugs ever created for treating depression.

As Thomas Insel, the Director of the National Institutes of Mental Health, puts it:

“Recent data suggest that ketamine, given intravenously, might be the most important breakthrough in antidepressant treatment in decades.”

Do website authors really have to lie by omission like this in order to scare kids off drugs, making sure that they only hear one side of the story when it comes to currently illicit substances? That approach certainly never worked for me as a kid. I recall always having the feeling back in grade school that adults were “pouring it on thick” whenever they talked to me about drugs, and so their hyperbole on that subject, far from scaring me straight, made me doubt anything that they had to tell me on the matter.

I’m not asking websites to glorify drug use for kids: merely to respect kids’ intelligence (and their innate gift for detecting adult BS) and tell them the whole truth, so that they can learn to trust what you tell them on this topic rather than to discount everything you say as an adult on the grounds that you’re known to exaggerate for propagandistic purposes.

Nor should we cite side effects out of context, as the HCVA website does above. After warning that ketamine could be psychologically addictive, for instance, we might inform the children that legally prescribed SSRIs such as Effexor can be far more addictive than ketamine, and not only psychologically so but physiologically as well, to the point that even psychiatrists will tell the patient that they have to take said SSRI for a lifetime. By providing such context, we can let kids in on the important secret that it’s not merely the illegality of a substance that renders it potentially dangerous, but that common, everyday treatments can have major side effects as well.

It’s not just the kids that will thank you for your honesty in the long run, but also folks like myself who could benefit from novel therapies such as ketamine for depression. For when we paint substances as evil incarnate for the purposes of childhood pedagogy, our lies do more than confuse children: they also help create a climate in which the FDA and government in general can put the concerns of millions of suffering Americans on the back burner in the interest of seeming “tough” on those particular drugs which, like ketamine, we have hypocritically singled out for vilification.

Read Bashing Ketamine in Richmond, Virginia on Reddit.

February 25, 2019

Question: Casting a ballot is an important act, emblematic of our role as citizens. But eating and drinking are much more important acts.
Answer: 'Our Right to Drugs', Thomas Szasz
February 24, 2019

Fascist Drug Story Coverage in Parsipanny, New Jersey

Great. Now the police are not only making drug arrests, but they're reporting on them in the "local" newspapers, thereby taking the place of at least theoretically impartial reporters.

Case in point: the faux-local site TapInto.Net has run a story (dated February 23, 2019) entitled Drug Bust Leaving Red Roof Inn in which the byline is given to... get this... the PARSIPPANY POLICE of New Jersey, where the action supposedly went down.

I took exception by sending the following letter to


It's a little eerie that your news outlet prints stories written by the police, especially on the controversial subject of drug arrests. Your article entitled "Drug Bust Leaving Red Roof Inn" involves the arrest of individuals for manufacturing a drug (Ketamine) that is increasingly considered a godsend for depressed patients. And yet you (or rather your police informants) cover the story as if it concerns the arrest of a common criminal.

The arrestees' real crime was cutting out the middle man -- modern psychiatry -- and running afoul of Richard Nixon's anti-scientific drug war. But these issues are scarcely ever raised by newspaper coverage -- and they never will be if you continue to cover such stories on the cheap by letting the police write the articles about them. Not only is this a complete abnegation of your journalistic responsibility, but it sounds like a step toward fascism to me when our police are not only making the arrests but then writing the official news stories about them for the local press.

Read Fascist Drug Story Coverage in Parsipanny, New Jersey on Reddit.

February 24, 2019

Question: Dr. T.C. Marks, a physician of experience and standing, has added another to the long list of things that can be profitably produced in the glorious climate of southern California. The particular substance this time is opium.
Answer: Los Angeles Herald, August 9, 1891
February 23, 2019

Why the Psychiatric Times is not "fair and balanced"

*Open letter to the Psychiatric Times, sent to the UBM staff on February 23, 2019

Dear Sir or Madam:

On the “editorial info” page of the Psychiatric Times website, you make the following statement:

*“We provide fair, balanced and insightful content to our audiences.”

With all due respect, I do not believe that this is true. This is because, on the same page, you make it clear that your site does not welcome comments from patients, who are, after all, the biggest stakeholder in the entire psychiatric project.

While I can understand your contention that the Times is “not an appropriate place for patients to ask for healthcare advice,” it does not follow that patients have no valuable information whatsoever to provide on the topics with which you deal. To the contrary, who better to say exactly how psychiatric treatments affect patients in real life as opposed to theory and trials? Who better to say what psychiatry should be doing to become more patient friendly and effective, which existing treatments it should improve, which it should scuttle, and which it should begin to pursue?

Psychiatry is not just about medicine and neurology, after all, it is about philosophy and ethics – and I believe that patients must be allowed to comment on these issues if your website is truly to be considered fair and balanced.

Take me, for instance. I have been a depressed psychiatric patient for 40 years. As such, I consider myself an expert on the subject of depression and the shortcomings of the standard psychiatric treatments, the more so in that I majored in philosophy and keep current on the latest psychiatric trends. I’m not a medical expert, of course, but I’m experienced by definition thanks to my 40 years on the receiving end of psychiatry’s various nostrums. Yet your journal makes it clear that it does not want to hear from me, that my 40 years of experience counts for nothing with you. I hope you can see how this attitude might strike a patient like myself as extremely condescending and elitist, not to mention intellectually wrong-headed since it cuts your professional readership off from potentially useful input that could come from no other quarter.

The Psychiatric Times should ask itself: does it want to be a self-congratulatory chorus of professionals, insulated from the real world, or does it want to listen to real criticism from real patients, in the hopes that it may learn from them?

Psychiatric patients are not guinea pigs for scientists to treat as they deem fit; we are at the heart of the psychiatric endeavor and deserve a role in critiquing and shaping the treatments that we undergo.

I urge you, therefore, to renounce your condescending assumption that patients have nothing important to tell the psychiatric professional and to open your website articles to relevant patient feedback. Only then will the Psychiatric Times truly provide “fair and balanced” content.

PS In fact, the Psychedelic Times should consider hiring a patient ombudsman, to ensure that your professional readership is no longer “reckoning without its host.”

Read Why the Psychiatric Times is not "fair and balanced" on Reddit.

February 23, 2019

Question: In B.C. [British Columbia]... LSD has produced 70 percent "cures" among 60 alcoholics at Hollywood Hosptical within the past nine months, according to medical director Dr. J. Ross MacLean.
Answer: The Vancouver Sun, August 11, 1959
February 23, 2019

Why American Drug Policy is Insane

First America takes away the citizens’ right to manage their own pain by rendering opium illegal. Then the American psychiatric field decides that it will treat the resultant epidemic of depression by damaging the patient’s brain, i.e. by treating depressed patients using electroshock therapy.

Imagine what this says about our attitude toward drugs: It means literally that we would rather damage a depressed patient’s brain than allow them to be made happy, damage-free, by the occasional use of natural-occurring medications such as opium that are not under the control of psychiatrists.

This is insanity.

I shared these thoughts online on Reddit, assuming that the point I was making was self-evident. To my horror, I found many otherwise sane-sounding individuals indignantly protesting that ECT was a valuable tool in the psychiatric arsenal, even though the therapy’s very proponents admit that it can cause brain damage. I was finally, in fact, banned from posting on the Reddit Psychedelic Studies group because I had outraged the many fans of traditional psychiatry by my heretical stand on ECT – as well as other dubious “cures,” such as addictive modern anti-depressants.

Sure, ECT and anti-depressants may sometimes be better than nothing, but surely it is unconscionable to use such damaging and addictive treatments when emphatically successful benign treatments are staring us in the face in the outdoor pharmacopeia provided by Mother Nature, in the form of opium, mushrooms, ibogaine, etc.

Doctors claim that ECT is a last resort – but what they really mean is that all better options have been rendered illegal.

If ECT is really required these days, we should at least make it clear that we are forced to that expedient by inane drug laws – rather than pretending to ourselves that this is a free treatment choice that we have selected for its own peculiar merits.

In other words, the DEA and all who believe in it should be shamed every time we are forced to damage a patient’s brain in order to relieve depression via ECT – since it is the Drug War’s know-nothing mindset that has deprived the suffering of God-given natural medicine that could give them reason to live. So the next time we bemoan the newly vapid personality of a victim of ECT, let’s remember to point fingers of blame at the self-righteous Drug Warriors.

The first step in combating the devastating Drug War is to acknowledge its inanity. If we fail to do that, then it is not just our drug policy that is crazy but Americans themselves, as witnessed by their patient acceptance of brain-damaging cures and their failure to recognize the fascist forces that have rendered such Pyrrhic treatments necessary.

Read Why American Drug Policy is Insane on Reddit.

February 23, 2019

Question: LSD is a powerful therapeutic tool.
Answer: Dr. C.G. Costello, Psychologist, Regina General Hospital, in "Truth About LSD," The Leader-Post, February 5, 1963
February 3, 2019

Open Letter to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America (aka

*The following comments were sent to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America (now via their comment form:

When is the Partnership For a Drug-Free America going to stop lying about drugs? That scientifically flawed “fried egg ad” (which you still continue to feature proudly on your home page!) has caused untold suffering over the last three decades because it has scared researchers away from creating powerful new psychoactive medicines for depressed Americans. Most illegal drugs, whatever their other shortcomings, do not fry the brain. LSD, for example, actually increases brain activity by opening up neural communication between the thalamus and the cortex. This is not just my opinion, it is the conclusion of the National Academy of Sciences (see link below).

If any drug fries the brain, it is the modern antidepressant. Studies have shown that long-term users of SSRIS frequently complain of emotional flatlining and “foggy” thinking.

So please take down that fried egg image on your home page -- and apologize for making depressed Americans like myself suffer needlessly for the last three decades! Open your mind to facts instead of propaganda and let science move forward, unfettered by your uninformed libel against promising new psychoactive medicines. The drugs that you love to hate – MMDA, ketamine, psilocybin mushrooms, and LSD – are now showing great promise as psychiatric adjuncts for treating depression, soldier PTSD, grief, etc. In the name of suffering humanity, I ask you to stop standing in the way of this progress with your superstitious fear-mongering about substances that you clearly do not understand – or else do not wish to understand.

Read Open Letter to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America (aka on Reddit.

February 3, 2019

Question: Local medical research has so far indicated that these drugs [LSD], when properly used by trained personnel in a psychiatric setting, bring about the release of long-repressed thoughts and emotions, intensify early memory, and generally enhance perception in ways that promote self-understanding and personality growth in persons with mental and emotional problems.
Answer: Hawaii Medical Association, as reported in The Honolulu Advertiser, September 12, 1960
February 2, 2019

The Infantilization of America

No one has lopped more heads off of the hydra-headed beast of drug-related misunderstanding than Hungarian-American psychiatrist Thomas Szasz, and one of his greatest insights had to do with doctors. Ever since they were empowered with the privilege of writing (or withholding) prescriptions, Szasz tells us, the sick or troubled amongst us have been encouraged to think of themselves as babies when it comes to medications. We know nothing about medicine and our medical instincts, experiences, and pharmacological desires count for little. The big question is: “What does a board-certified doctor think that we need?” Even if we are visiting the eminent physician for a simple cold (something that our great grandparents might have laughed off with a little tincture of opium), we still must appeal to the brow-wrinkling doctor if we hope to access anything more powerful than acetaminophen and cough drops.

I am not reminding the reader of this lost Eden in order to promote the dangerous solitary use of psychedelics and other substances, but rather to remind us that our caution on these topics is caused in part by our knee-jerk obedience to a healthcare paradigm that infantilizes us as patients and urges us to discount our medical instincts and experiences. We have been trained to distrust ourselves when it comes to drugs, to the point that the term “self-medicating” has become the taboo par excellence in the modern age. But let’s remember that the disdain that modern doctors hold for “self-medicating” can be explained by more than just their concerns about patient health: after all, a doctor’s bottom line is impacted precisely to the extent that their potential patients choose to “self-medicate.” Little wonder then that doctors seek to characterize such patient initiative as medical heresy.

The inconvenient truth is that the non-medical world, with its many psychoactive substances, has far more effective cures for my depression than does the medical world with its beard-stroking doctors and outrageously limited pharmacopeia (especially if I have at least one botanically minded spiritual guide to aid me in my quest for self-improvement). I therefore would consider self-medication to be the rational choice for treating what ails me, were it not for the fact that the DEA is waiting to arrest me should I have the gall to improve my life outside the healthcare system with the mere help of Mother Nature. But let’s remember that, in arresting me, the DEA is just following the medical profession’s taboo to its logical conclusion: they are essentially arresting me for self-medicating. In this way the DEA is really just the enforcement arm of the American medical establishment. The two are in cahoots. They are both working to disempower the American people when it comes to healthcare.

Read The Infantilization of America on Reddit.

February 2, 2019

Question: Local medical research has so far indicated that these drugs [LSD], when properly used by trained personnel in a psychiatric setting, bring about the release of long-repressed thoughts and emotions, intensify early memory, and generally enhance perception in ways that promote self-understanding and personality growth in persons with mental and emotional problems.
Answer: Hawaii Medical Association, as reported in The Honolulu Advertiser, September 12, 1960
January 29, 2019

Busted for Drug Possession? Declare Yourself a Political Prisoner

If I ever get busted for the possession of a natural psychoactive substance (such as mushrooms, marijuana, peyote, etc.), I am going to declare myself a political prisoner, using a form that reads something like the following:

I, ______, believe that the medicinal gifts of Mother Nature are the birth right of every citizen and that no government can deprive me of them justly.

I also believe that Mother Nature’s medicines can improve my mental life, by granting me more patience, optimism, tolerance, creativity, and expanding my mind. I therefore conclude that the U.S. government is depriving me of the pursuit of happiness when it forbids me to access Mother Nature’s medicinal bounty.

For these reasons, I hereby protest my arrest for possessing and using the bounty of Mother Nature and I wish it to be understood that I consider myself a political prisoner of the U.S. justice system, since it is seeking to deny me access to the medicinal cures that Mother Nature has provided to all humanity as a birth right.

I believe that Mother Nature never made any criminal plants and no government has the right to insist otherwise.


_____, Political Prisoner of the U.S. Justice System

Why bother doing this?

Think what would happen if everyone busted for drug possession (at least of natural products such as marijuana, ayahuasca, peyote, etc.) were to demand status as a political prisoner under the exact same terms as above: namely, that government cannot justly criminalize the bounty of Mother Nature and that to do so denies its citizens “the pursuit of happiness.” Suddenly, we’d have an effective PR pushback campaign against the know-nothing “lock-‘em-up” mindset of the Drug Warriors.

DISCLAIMER You have to choose your own battles, of course. I can honestly make the above declaration because I'm a 60-year-old fogey and I consider it unlikely that I will ever be nabbed for illegal drug use since I am cowardly waiting for laws to change before I reclaim my birthright to Mother Nature's bounty. However if I were arrested, it would be such a devastating U-turn in my life that I'd definitely want to go out swinging, telling the world at every turn what an injustice had been done me (and, by extension, the millions who were being persecuted like me). This would give at least some meaning to what would otherwise be an absurd ending to my life.

Young people, however -- unless you're the Mahatma Gandhi of drug policy -- may wish to wait until someone has the forethought to set up a legally-vetted nationwide program whereby every newly nabbed "drug offender" can advisedly appeal to the above-mentioned objections at the same time, so that it won't be literally "you against the world" when you stand before a judge making your claims regarding political oppression. Instead, it will be a national movement. That's what I envision and hope for. No suicide missions, just coordinated national change.

*Note: As we all know, quibbling is an art form on Reddit. Case in point: One Professional Quibbler insisted that the term "political prisoner" is not defined in the way that I imply above. My response: In the English language, words are defined by how we use them, not by a board of academics (or of quibblers, for that matter). When I use the term "political prisoner," I mean simply that the drug offender is a prisoner merely because they do not share the politics of the government, which currently holds that Mother Nature is off-limits to individuals for the purposes of healing. Surely this is a palpable connotation. It's not how we normally use the term, but that does not mean it's Wrong with a capital W -- except perhaps in the minds of critics who, finding themselves unable to address an author's actual argument, decide to nitpick instead in an attempt to discredit him.

Read Busted for Drug Possession? Declare Yourself a Political Prisoner on Reddit.

January 29, 2019

Question: LSD-25, a drug capable of bringing back childhood memories with the sharpness of a 3-D movie, is helping fight mental illness in persons formerly considered hopeless, two psychiatrists said today.
Answer: "Hopeless Mental Cases Given Aid By Drug Discovery," The Daily Item, Sunbury, Pennsylvania, March 24, 1960,
January 28, 2019

How American Drug Laws Violate the U.S. Constitution

There are three unalienable rights in the U.S. Constitution. They are: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. When the U.S. Congress outlaws natural plants, they are denying me the third of these rights, namely the pursuit of happiness.

After all, what is happiness? It is not cars, it is not boats, it is not houses, it is not money.

Happiness, rather, is that positive attitude whereby human beings are able to enjoy all those things and more – true happiness, it is said, can even help us do without any of those things.

Therefore, the pursuit of happiness necessarily involves attaining that positive attitude, and since Mother Nature provides natural substances that can help us achieve this end, it is literally unconstitutional for Congress to deny Americans such medicine. We have life and liberty, perhaps, but we are only able to pursue happiness to the extent and in the way that Congress wants us to.

So, for instance, if I have a pessimistic attitude, I am expected to become a ward of the medical state by visiting a doctor who will catechize me about my symptoms and prescribe me an addictive, expensive and government-approved antidepressant that I will be told to take for the rest of my life.

But I must never think of reaching out and grasping the therapeutic bounty that Mother Nature can place right in front of me, because Congress says that I can only pursue happiness in the narrow way that they have defined that term.

In practice then, Americans have no right to pursue happiness today, and we will not reclaim that right until our society renounces its puritanical efforts to fight vice by criminalizing Mother Nature's bounty.

We might start with a law stating what should be obvious in a democracy: that it is unlawful to criminalize a plant or fungus, since they are the handiwork of Mother Nature and as such are the botanical birth right of every human being on the planet.

But then the status quo is earning riches for psychiatry, the DEA and Big Pharma. Who cares about the personal self-fulfillment of the average American?

AUTHOR'S LATER NOTE: The liberal chicken little always stops me at this point and says: But what about those who are going to misuse Mother Nature's bounty? My answer is always the same: if someone takes away my right to free speech, I am under no obligation to tell you how that right can be restored to me without causing problems. So, as you had no right to deprive me of my birth right to the produce of Mother Nature, I am under no obligation to tell you how to restore that right without problems. Sure, we should do all we can to fight substance misuse and more power to you -- but that is a totally different question from the one at hand. The two are completely unrelated, in the same way that a kidnapper can't justify his holding you on the grounds that the world of freedom is too dangerous for you. That statement may be 100% true, but it has nothing to do with the fact that you've been illegally kidnapped and must be released at once. Sure, there's nothing wrong with trying to make your freedom less dangerous, but it is wrong to withhold your freedom from you based on someone else's fear of that danger.

Read How American Drug Laws Violate the U.S. Constitution on Reddit.

January 28, 2019

Question: [Dr. Watt declares] that the moderate use of opium is not more injurious than the moderate use of alcohol and even that its abusive use is less destructive to its victims than intemperance.
Answer: The Freeman's Journal, Dublin, Ireland, October 31, 1891
January 26, 2019

Taking Back America's Right to Drugs One State at a Time

Obama’s former drug policy advisor Kevin Sabet deplores the legalization of drugs via ballot box initiative, claiming that drug legalization should be based on hard science and not on public plebiscite.

He forgets that Americans’ right to drugs was not taken away from them by hard science but rather by what Thomas Szasz called “chemical statism” fostered by puritans and fans of Big Government, both of whom insisted that private citizens could not rationally choose for themselves when it came to medications for what ailed them. In fact, the very inventor of the Drug War, Richard Nixon, was interested in punishing his hippy enemies with Draconian drug laws, not in improving the health of his fellow Americans based on drug-related facts.

Conclusion: Our right to drugs was taken from us by politicians, to achieve political goals, not by scientists to improve America's health; it is therefore fitting that we should use political means, such as ballot box initiatives, to reclaim those usurped rights.

Hello, Kevin? The "drugs" in question were STOLEN from Americans in the first place!

Author Afterthoughts: May 12, 2012: "Drug legalization should be based on hard science," says Kevin??? Not when the "drugs" in question were stolen from the public in the first place! The government never had the right to criminalize Mother Nature. They cannot justly turn Mother Nature into a Drug Kingpin and declare it off-limits. That is fundamentally wrong in a free society. It is the denial of a birthright.

Read Taking Back America's Right to Drugs One State at a Time on Reddit.

January 26, 2019

Question: What has three letters and ruins the lives of people who want to maximize their potential using time-honored natural plants?
Answer: The DEA.
January 25, 2019

Drug War Tyranny

I have no doubt that the occasional use of opium and psychedelics would improve my life, make me a better person, help me enjoy nature and art, and encourage me to help others. It would also entirely obviate my need to visit a psychiatrist and I would no longer need to use their expensive and addictive drugs for my entire lifetime, as they now insist.

But if I act on this knowledge, guess what happens? The U.S. government claims the right to lock me in prison, throw away the key, and even confiscate all my personal property. In other words, I’d be better off murdering someone than to ingest the substances of my choice.

Before you start thinking “Serves you right,” guess what, my friend? You yourself could have YOUR house confiscated too if, unbeknownst to you, I happened to carry some of my “illegal substances” into YOUR house. That’s the way the drug war works: It “gets tough” on Americans and the Constitution be damned.

This is outright tyranny. It’s a tyranny that will remain in force until Americans take back their right to consume the substances of their choice, a right that they had until the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914. It's a tyranny that will remain until freedom-loving people claw back their right to the freely offered medical bounty of Mother Nature -- for the pharmacopeia of Mother Nature is my birthright as a citizen of planet Earth and cannot be justly taken from me by any government -- least of all one whose very constitution gives me the right to the pursuit of happiness.

What You Can Do:

Write your representatives and demand:

1) An end to the Drug War
2) The abolition of the DEA
3) The decriminalization of all drugs
4) The trial of top-ranking DEA officials who have impeded drug therapy for 50 years now by lying about drug effects in their politically motivated “scheduling” system
5) The end of “drug schedules,” especially those that are created by an agency like the DEA, which has a vested interest in maintaining Draconian drug laws
6) Boycott Hollywood movies and TV dramas that glorify the trampling of the U.S. Constitution in the name of the Drug War

Read Drug War Tyranny on Reddit.

January 25, 2019

Question: Casting a ballot is an important act, emblematic of our role as citizens. But eating and drinking are much more important acts.
Answer: 'Our Right to Drugs', Thomas Szasz
January 24, 2019

The real reason for depression in America

The real reason for depression in America is the U.S. drug war.

If someone like myself had been depressed just over a century ago, they could have occasionally used opium to take the edge off of life and see beyond their problems and thus get a little perspective on their place in the world. Problem solved. No morose brooding. The sadsack in question would have had a little “somethin’ somethin’” to look forward to in their life: namely, the blissful mental relief provided by a medicinal dose of opium.

But this was before puritans (like William Jennings Bryant) and anti-Asians (like Francis Burton Harrison) decided that Americans didn’t have the right to use natural plants just any way they saw fit. Thus a crackdown was launched on opium with the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914, and America (and, alas, the entire copycat world) began the age of the illegal plant, an era in which Mother Nature is viewed as a dangerous drug kingpin rather than a provider of useful medicines to humankind.

Needless to say, the situation for the depressed only got worse during the presidency of know-nothing Richard Nixon, who further criminalized Mother Nature in order to prevent the use of pretty much all psychoactive substances by Americans, thus shoring up psychiatry’s monopoly on treating depression, forcing the depressed to seek second-best solutions for their ills by using “meds” that were to prove more expensive and addictive than the natural bounty that politicians had rendered illegal.

So, please, let’s not profess surprise at the epidemic of depression in America. After all, the truly effective treatments for this so-called “disease” have all been taken away from Americans by a busybody passel of puritans, politicians, and profiteers. It’s no wonder then that depression reigns now.

If we want to get rid of depression, the first step is obvious: end the war on drugs.

Read The real reason for depression in America on Reddit.

January 24, 2019

Question: Casting a ballot is an important act, emblematic of our role as citizens. But eating and drinking are much more important acts.
Answer: 'Our Right to Drugs', Thomas Szasz
January 19, 2019

Fabricate at Will: editors give journalists free rein to lie about psychedelics

If you’ve ever wondered why Americans are so biased against psychedelic medicine, you have only to read the latest mini-article by Jennifer Velez in entitled “A$AP Rocky:Hip-Hop is Oversaturated with Overdose.” Although the author makes no explicit claims about the dangers of LSD, the poorly worded artist close-up falsely implies that LSD is both addictive and causes overdoses.

In fact, Velez comes out covertly swinging against the drug in the short article’s very first sentence:

The rapper, who has been open about doing LSD in his music, says he has been sober since the New Year.

“Sober?” This statement implies that Rocky was at one time addicted to LSD, in the same way that one might be addicted to amphetamines. This would be surprising, indeed, given the fact that psychedelics simply do not cause physiological addiction. Moreover, the excessive “recreational” use of LSD would be a vain endeavor in any case since irresponsible users develop a short-term tolerance for the drug that would increasingly minimize the psychedelic effects that they could glean from the substance.

Having thus libeled LSD as addictive, Velez goes on to suggest that it causes overdoses as well:

The topic [LSD] came up after he spoke about the late rapper A$AP Yam, who died of an overdose in 2015.

Although she never specifically says that she’s referring to an LSD overdose, the reporter clearly gives that impression since LSD is the only illegal drug that she mentions in this lazily worded hatchet job. Of course, the New York Medical Examiner concluded that Yam died of an overdose of a wide variety of substances, including opiates and benzodiazepines, but apparently the names of all illegally acquired drugs may be used synonymously according to the pro-Drug War writing guidelines of


I used to think that editors required their reporters to research the topics on which they wrote, but this is clearly not the case when it comes to psychedelics and drugs in general. On that topic, most reporters feel free to impute any evil that they can imagine to a substance provided that the substance in question is illegal. The resulting sensationalism sells papers after all.

But all the knee-jerk hyperbole and lies about these substances has a real-world effect: it scares away research money for psychedelic therapy and slows the already glacial bureaucratic process of getting government permission to investigate psychedelic substances. The end result of this sloppy journalism is to increase human suffering by denying desperately needed new medicines to a wide range of patients: including alcoholics, victims of PTSD, and the terminally ill.

And so I end with an appeal to the editor of please consider the welfare of the latter group before publishing any more assumption-laden articles by a pharmacologically challenged reporter. Of course, if a vocal artist ever DOES achieve the nearly impossible task of OD’ing on LSD, by all means, let us know. But until then, please stop falsely implying that psychedelics are the root of all evil.

Read Fabricate at Will: editors give journalists free rein to lie about psychedelics on Reddit.

January 19, 2019

Question: By means of this drug[LSD], people can view themselves objectively and can then accept themselves which is a great step forward in the care of mental illness.
Answer: Dr. Kahan, Executive Director Mental Health Saskatchewan, The Leader-Post, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, July 20, 1961
January 17, 2019

The Award for most biased reporting on psychedelic drugs in an online newspaper goes to…

The Award for most biased reporting on psychedelic drugs in an online newspaper goes to…

“The Nation: Thailand Portal” for its woefully misinformed comments about LSD in its January 19, 2019 story entitled:

Doctors warn trippers of severe danger of using LSD-laden ‘deadly stamps’, in which a German drug dealer is arrested for selling LSD on the Thai island of Pha-Ngan.

The story would be bad enough if it reflected merely the psycho-pharmacological ignorance of a reporter (who, in any case, received no byline for the article and so cannot be properly chastised for his or her ignorance on this topic). But the sad truth is that the misinformation contained therein appears to come directly from some of the top doctors in Thailand. It is the director-general of Thailand’s so-called Medical Science Department, one Somsak Akkslip, who melodramatically refers to the apparently untainted LSD in the story as a “deadly drug.”

Deadly drug? Is Dr Akkslip unaware of the fact that LSD is one of the least toxic substances on the planet, according to no less an authority than David Nichols, PhD, who is possibly the world’s foremost authority on the pharmacology of psychedelics? Does Somsak realize that, far from being deadly, LSD is bringing new life to the anxious, the depressed, and even career alcoholics?

Not to be outdone in demonstrating his own unfamiliarity with the subject matter, the director of the Public Health Ministry’s Drug Abuse Treatment Center, one Sarawut Boonchaipanichwattana, piles on with some unsubstantiated psychedelic-bashing of his own. In so doing, he single-handedly revives nearly all of the politically-motivated stereotypes of the ‘60s, assuring the reader that LSD can lead to “psychiatric disorders, depression, paranoia and hallucination long after users stop taking the substance.”

Wrong, wrong, wrong, and wrong again.

Far from causing psychological problems, LSD is showing great potential for resolving them (as has been shown in the work of such psychedelic researchers as Amanda Feilding, Stanislav Grof, and James Fadiman).

Of course, one can haul out anecdotal cases in which any given drug has caused any given problem, but the overall safety record of responsibly used LSD is unimpeachable. To quote the above-mentioned Dr. Nichols from a 2011 interview with Dr. Richard Miller:

Under proper medical supervision, the safety of LSD [is] really not an issue. When used in a proper and appropriate medical context, the incidence of adverse effects is very small. (in Psychedelic Medicine, 2017, by Richard Louis Miller)

My fear is that this drug-related ignorance on the part of the Thai medical leadership is a kind of strategic amnesia. After all, the country is currently ruled by a military junta, and to such leaders a Drug War is a good thing. It gives the government carte blanche to kick in doors at will, thereby thinly disguising their attacks on civilians as part of a pious struggle against the hydra-headed problem of drug abuse. To downplay the dangers of illicit drugs in such a country is to weaken the power of the ruling junta and thereby risk shortening one’s career, if not one’s life. And so the safest thing for the medical professional to do might be to parrot the party line about illegal drugs -- or in other words to mimic the same ignorance and bigotry displayed by American politicians half a century ago when Nixon set a terrible and fascist precedent by creating the door-busting DEA.

Read The Award for most biased reporting on psychedelic drugs in an online newspaper goes to… on Reddit.

January 17, 2019

Question: Local medical research has so far indicated that these drugs [LSD], when properly used by trained personnel in a psychiatric setting, bring about the release of long-repressed thoughts and emotions, intensify early memory, and generally enhance perception in ways that promote self-understanding and personality growth in persons with mental and emotional problems.
Answer: Hawaii Medical Association, as reported in The Honolulu Advertiser, September 12, 1960
January 16, 2019

India Shocked by LSD (but not awed by it)

By dutifully following the fascist lead of America’s War on Drugs, Indians have allowed themselves to be puritanically shocked by LSD without being psychologically awed by its vast therapeutic potential. The latest case in point: this campus news article and “editor’s pick” from the “Education Medical Dialogues,” the self-described “voice of the medical profession,” in which reporter Shagufta Perween professes shock that a 27-year-old medical student would have anything to do with “deadly drugs.”

I was shocked myself by Perween’s shock (since I figured that a medical reporter would think twice before parroting the ignorant party line about potentially therapeutic substances) and so I responded with the following posted comment:

The only shocking thing is that police around the world are still following the ignorant and bigoted drug policy of U.S. president Richard Nixon, who knew absolutely nothing about psychedelic drugs except that he hated the people who used them -- because they would not fight in the Vietnam War. These drugs help expand the mind and give access to higher consciousness. They not only promote tolerance and love in the user, but they are showing great promise in alleviating mental illness without inducing the life-long drug-dependence associated with legal drugs such as SSRI antidepressants.

It's bad enough when governments tell their citizens WHAT to think, but by cracking down on psychedelics, governments are telling their citizens HOW they can think and HOW MUCH. That is, indeed, shocking because it is the ultimate form of fascism.

*Note: I'd better state the obvious here since anything an author does NOT say on Reddit can and will be used against him in the court of public opinion. Please know, then, that I am not suggesting that Indian medicine IN GENERAL is behind the times when it comes to modern medicine, let alone the potential for psychedelic therapy. I merely offer this Indian example of bureaucratically entrenched ignorance in the same spirit that I offer American examples of the same: to demonstrate the outdated attitudes that forward-thinking persons must fight in promoting a new paradigm for improving mental health and well-being.

Read India Shocked by LSD (but not awed by it) on Reddit.

January 16, 2019

Question: In southern Mexico, the jail and prison officials experience great difficulty in trying to prevent the smuggling into their institutions of the seductive mariguana (sic). This is a kind of "loco" weed more powerful than opium.
Answer: The Iola Daily Record, Iola, Kansas, Jan 1, 1900
January 13, 2019

Screw You, Francis Burton Harrison

Before the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914, American citizens could manage their own pain. They could make life livable with the occasional use of opium during their "down time." (Imagine that: no geriatric wards need be full of moaning seniors!) This allowed the user to make their peace with life by occasionally seeing past their own limiting mental constructs (what we today call the "default mode network") and then come back to "life" mentally refreshed and with the will and perspective to carry on. Nor did opium require increased doses over time to maintain this invigorating effect, nor were there negative physiological effects associated with the daily use of these drugs. At worst, the drug created habituation in daily users (what we now moralistically call "addiction"), but even this addiction could be conquered in one agonizing week -- one week -- whereas it is almost impossible to withdraw from many popular SSRIs (as can be clearly seen by reading addict testimony after searching the words "withdrawal" and Effexor" on Google).

After the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914, American citizens could no longer manage their own pain. Instead, they had to make regular expensive pilgrimages to the doctors, where they were prescribed far more dangerous drugs than opium, drugs that were more addictive and brought no pleasant dreams by way of compensation, but rather worked to essentially tranquilize the patient into blandly accepting the status quo. Typically these drugs had to be increased over time to maintain efficacy. Nor have they ever been studied for long-term negative effects, meaning today's patients are essentially guinea pigs: guinea pigs in a test trial that is failing, given the fact that many veteran users of these "silver bullets" are reporting increased depression over time as well as an increasing unhappiness with the emotional flat-lining that is associated with daily use of SSRIs.

There is ample evidence that the Harrison Narcotics Act was a racist political stratagem directed at Asians. But even if we assume that the act was a high-minded attempt to fight addiction, consider the actual outcome:

There are more addicts in America than ever after 1914: it's just that now the addiction is being managed by the American Psychiatric Association and the pharmaceutical industry.

Patients are now worse off than ever -- not only have we deprived them of blissful occasional relief from their pain and sorrows, but we have made them wards of the state, forcing them to visit health-care clinics for a lifetime to ask permission for the relief that was theirs by right just over a hundred years ago -- to pay through the nose for medications that are less effective and far more addictive than opium ever was.

Speaking of which, if anyone manages to conjure Francis Burton Harrison via Ouija board, give him a message for me, would you? Tell him I said, "Thanks for nothing!!!"

Read Screw You, Francis Burton Harrison on Reddit.

January 13, 2019

Question: Local medical research has so far indicated that these drugs [LSD], when properly used by trained personnel in a psychiatric setting, bring about the release of long-repressed thoughts and emotions, intensify early memory, and generally enhance perception in ways that promote self-understanding and personality growth in persons with mental and emotional problems.
Answer: Hawaii Medical Association, as reported in The Honolulu Advertiser, September 12, 1960
January 12, 2019

Colorado plane crash caused by milk!

Just watched an episode of Air Disasters in which two pilots flew their small passenger jet into the ground in final approach to the Durango, Colorado airport. The cause of the crash? Well, if the show's narrator is to be believed, it was cocaine.

It turns out the pilot had been up late the night before the accident, at which time he was partying with a girlfriend and "doing" cocaine -- a scene that the documentary luridly re-creates with blurred video and leering conspiratorial visages.

But was the accident really caused by cocaine?

Of course not. Had the pilot been drinking the night before, it would not have been caused by alcohol either.

The crash was caused by the pilot's lack of sleep, which was in turn caused by the pilot's irresponsible decision to stay up all night partying.

But given the sloppy thinking of the Drug War mentality, the show's writers feel justified in concluding that cocaine caused the plane crash.

This is a problem, because it tends to justify the War on Drugs. After all, if cocaine causes planes to drop out of the sky, shouldn't we ban it?

The DEA hierarchy must be smiling every time they watch such a documentary, because they know that their jobs are safe for another generation, as Americans continue to be influenced by the logically challenged conclusions of Drug Warrior America.

Of course, we might as well conclude that the plane crash was caused by milk, since it's likely that the pilot imbibed that notorious indigestion-causing substance on the very day of the accident!

But then the National Dairy Association would never let that happen. They're far too savvy when it comes to PR. Remember when it was discovered that 30% of milk drinkers experienced gastrointestinal problems when consuming that beverage? The product wasn't exactly pulled from the shelves, was it? Instead, the Dairy Association successfully blamed the problem on the milk drinkers themselves, insisting that they were lactose intolerant and that the product itself was just fine, thank you very much. Of course, if I put out a product that sickened 30% of my customers, I'd be hauled off to jail -- but not so the Dairy Association.

This may sound off-topic but it shows that who we blame for our country's ills often depends far more on politics than on a rational evaluation of the facts at hand, and nowhere is this more true than in the case of Richard Nixon's bigoted, know-nothing drug war.

Read Colorado plane crash caused by milk! on Reddit.

January 12, 2019

Question: Dr. T.C. Marks, a physician of experience and standing, has added another to the long list of things that can be profitably produced in the glorious climate of southern California. The particular substance this time is opium.
Answer: Los Angeles Herald, August 9, 1891
January 9, 2019

The Racist and Political War on Drugs

President Obama said the war on drugs was a failure -- but he doesn't go far enough. The fact is that the war on drugs never had a RIGHT to succeed because the drug laws in the United States have always been motivated by racist and political hysteria, disguised by a thin veneer of concern about the "welfare" of the American people. Thus marijuana was criminalized by stoking fears about Mexicans, opium was criminalized by stoking fears about Asians, and crack cocaine was demonized by stoking fears about African-Americans.

But let's be honest: if the U.S. government had been truly worried about the health of the American people, it never would have launched a war on drugs in the first place: it would have launched a war on guns instead. But, of course, that would never happen. Why? Because the bigoted, hypocritical and scientifically ignorant politicians behind America's fascist drug war have a fetish about gun ownership, whereby they scream bloody murder if they can't anonymously buy all the machine-guns they want at 7-Eleven 24 hours a day.

And so the violence of the Drug War is a brutal American-generated game of good guys and bad guys, with the politicians corruptly determining who gets to wear the white hat on the basis of ignorance and sheer bigotry.

Worst of all, Americans have bought this lie hook, line and sinker.

Not only have we signed off completely on blatantly unconstitutional drug testing of anyone and everyone who wants a job, but we dutifully line up to watch butt-kicking movies about DEA agents in South America kicking down doors and shooting suspects at will. But not to worry: we can just call the bad guys "scumbags" and thus ease our consciences about mowing them down unconstitutionally.

Of course, such movies are usually set in South America since we Americans still don't like to think of law enforcement acting like Nazi storm troopers here in the States (even though we know that they do). Let them kick butt in Colombia, where we can still plausibly think of the Drug War's custom-created bad guys as less than human.

And finally, even when it's not blatantly bigoted, the Drug War is all about the anti-scientific notion that Americans have no right to control their own minds and their own pain by using natural plants. This is as fascistic as you can possibly get. It's bad enough when the government tells you what you can think, but it's even worse when the government tells you HOW you can think and HOW MUCH. And this is what the government does when it forbids your access to pain-treating and mind-expanding plants.

And why? Because in the puritanically perverse mind of America's Drug Warriors Mother Nature is a Drug Kingpin par excellence, not a bestower of natural medical wonders for the many ailments of humankind. If we want medicines, we dare not harvest it from Mother Nature herself (that's a crime!): we're required instead to get our medicines in a diluted and typically addictive formulation from Big Pharma, thus boosting the profits of pharmaceutical stocks owned by the Drug Warriors themselves.

My fear is that the Drug War is succeeding -- because that means that Americans have agreed to give up their rights to Mother Nature's bounty -- and to stop caring about the rights of minorities and foreigners, whom we now feel free to demonize as scumbags for violating bigoted and anti-scientific drug laws that never should have been written in the first place.

Read The Racist and Political War on Drugs on Reddit.

January 9, 2019

Question: In southern Mexico, the jail and prison officials experience great difficulty in trying to prevent the smuggling into their institutions of the seductive mariguana (sic). This is a kind of "loco" weed more powerful than opium.
Answer: The Iola Daily Record, Iola, Kansas, Jan 1, 1900
January 7, 2019

Fallon of the DEA

Read Fallon of the DEA on Reddit.

January 7, 2019

Question: Who is responsible for the 24/7 moaning of millions of elderly Americans in nursing homes?
Answer: The DEA and the Drug War, based on the mind set that outlawed opium in 1914, so that now only outlaws have opium. The depressed elderly must make do with psychiatry's highly addictive and less helpful drug alternatives. Scientific materialists are terrified lest they give the elderly good dreams for a change. (Humph! How very unscientific. Let them suffer instead!)
January 3, 2019

Why Ballot Box Initiatives Make Perfect Sense Given America's War on Drugs

In an article on the Oregon Public Broadcasting website (Psychedelic Mushroom Supporters Push For Oregon Legalization — With Caveats), Obama’s former drug policy director says that psilocybin should not be made legal via the ballot box.

“Medicine is not up for a popular vote,” says Kevin Sabet, “it should be subject to the rigors of science.”

In a perfect world, Sabet might be right, but America’s current drug laws are about as far from perfect as they can be. Under the influence of Richard Nixon, the DEA has brazenly lied about psychedelics now for almost 50 years, placing them under the uber-restrictive schedule I category based on the false and unscientific claims that such medicines are addictive and have no therapeutic potential. Given this outrageous state of affairs – in which millions have been denied therapy thanks to lies – it makes perfect democratic sense that citizens would fight back. Sabet should be proud, not disappointed, that this fight is taking place at the ballot box, because if Americans fully grasped the extent of the injustice here, this fight might well be taking place in the streets.

If Kevin Sabet really wanted drugs evaluated according to “the rigors of science,” he would not be fretting over ballot box initiatives which attempt to remedy this vast injustice by the only means that seems to work; instead, he would be using his political clout to abolish the DEA, which has been “scheduling” drugs for half a century now based totally on political calculations rather than on scientific ones (thereby giving the door-kicking agency a full fascistic workload for decades to come). As part of this crack down on the DEA, Sabet would call for the public trial of those DEA officials who have knowingly promoted these lies over the years and thus contributed to the suffering of untold numbers of Americans, all of whom have been denied valuable medications on the basis of anti-scientific lies.

Read Why Ballot Box Initiatives Make Perfect Sense Given America's War on Drugs on Reddit.

January 3, 2019

Question: By means of this drug[LSD], people can view themselves objectively and can then accept themselves which is a great step forward in the care of mental illness.
Answer: Dr. Kahan, Executive Director Mental Health Saskatchewan, The Leader-Post, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, July 20, 1961
December 31, 2018

Thoughts on Bernardo Kastrup's 'Why Materialism is Baloney'

In his thought-provoking book "Why Materialism is Baloney," Kastrup speculates about why past civilizations have so often embraced a non-materialist outlook on life. Specifically, he suggests (as I understand him) that harsh conditions might have affected their brains in such a way as to impair local awareness, thereby giving them, by default, a greater access to the universal mind, or rather non-local consciousness.

While this may have been so, I'd like to propose another reason why past civilizations might have embraced a non-materialist outlook as a matter of course, and that is the fact that, to them, there were presumably no such things as "illegal plants," psychoactive or otherwise. They simply used those plants (and perhaps fungi) that were found to "cure their ills."

In the Western world, to the contrary (at least since opium was made illegal in the states in 1914) our governments have sought to prevent citizens from using plants that might give rise to greater awareness, plants that might otherwise link us with the vast unitary unconsciousness (or at least give us the intuition that such a realm exists).

Yet when these "primitive" peoples were surrounded by the great pharmacopoeia of Mother Nature, they freely made use of ALL efficacious substances, without first deciding that some were off-limits because they tended to produce transcendence in the user. To the contrary, transcendence was generally seen as a great gift from the gods and part and parcel of why a given substance was efficacious in the first place. If substances were placed off-limits, it was because they were so holy in their transcendent effect that they had to be administered only by priests or priestesses (as in the Eleusinian Mysteries).

Thus everyday medicinal plant use exposed the people to transcendence without fanfare -- in a way that modern Western governments no longer allow.

To sum up (and elaborate) by rewording the initial question a little bit:

Q: Why don't Western civilizations observe the transcendent realm that was so obvious to most "primitive" civilizations?

A: Because law-and-order politicians have outlawed transcendence by outlawing the natural substances that unequivocally provide it.

It must be noted that the politicians have succeeded in doing this partly by appealing to the mindset of scientific materialism. After all, if scientific materialism is right, then there's no such thing as transcendence anyway, hence the so-called "medicinal" use of natural psychoactive substances does nothing but produce crazy hallucinations. So the drug war makes strange bedfellows: both materialists and right-wingers disparage those medicines whose mechanism of operation involves inducing transcendence in the user. Of course, their first step in disparaging these medicines is to saddle them with the pejorative label of "drugs."

Read Thoughts on Bernardo Kastrup's 'Why Materialism is Baloney' on Reddit.

December 31, 2018

Question: [Dr. Watt declares] that the moderate use of opium is not more injurious than the moderate use of alcohol and even that its abusive use is less destructive to its victims than intemperance.
Answer: The Freeman's Journal, Dublin, Ireland, October 31, 1891
December 29, 2018

Abolish the DEA

The drug scheduling system is a scam. It rates drugs by their political danger to the establishment, not by their danger to users. If we need to schedule drugs at all, it should be done by impartial scientists, not by the DEA, which has a conflict of interest in making such determinations. The DEA exists to punish drug offenses. Their jobs depend on keeping drugs illegal. What interest do they have in making drugs easier to obtain? They've had almost 50 years now to "lighten up" on psychedelics and have refused to do so.

The DEA should be abolished. Its top officials should be hauled into court for knowingly scheduling psychedelics and other substances on the basis of lies and thereby denying therapeutic medications to millions for the last half century. It should be part of a class action lawsuit, brought by the endless list of Americans who have led lives of quiet despair over the years unnecessarily thanks to Richard Nixon's creation of this jackbooted agency that blocks valid drug research and foments drug violence around the world.

Read Abolish the DEA on Reddit.

December 29, 2018

Question: How many people know that hemp, coca, and the opium poppy are ordinary plants, understand how they became transformed into dreaded 'dangerous drugs,' and realize that in losing our rights to them we have surrendered some of our most basic rights to property?
Answer: 'Our Right to Drugs', Thomas Szasz
December 29, 2018

Drug Testing Fascism

Drug testing was brought to us by the same folks who started the anti-democratic drug war in the first place. It was a fascist attempt to silence liberal dissent about drug policy by ruining the economic lives of any Americans who dared to use nature's bounty to improve their own outlook on life.

The conservatives basically said this: "Fine, you want to disagree with us about drug policy, then we'll take away your ability to earn a living."

Before drug testing, the penalty for marijuana use in a given state might have been community service at most.

With drug testing, the penalty for marijuana use suddenly became economic ruin! Now the drug user could no longer get a job!

Talk about cruel and unusual punishment! We don't have such harsh penalties even for murderers who are out on parole.

Drug testing also relies on crazed premises.

There is no scientific case for concluding that a person is impaired merely because there is a trace of a given substance in their urine. (To the contrary, the US Air Force has insisted that its pilots actually be "on speed" during certain long-range missions.) And yet the discovery of the least trace of cocaine, opium, or marijuana in one's urine is taken to be positive proof that a worker is unable to perform a given job. (To grasp the insanity of this conclusion, imagine if we denied gainful employment to anyone who had drunk a beer in the last seven days, regardless of whether they were actually "inebriated" at the work place.)

When drug testing is used on commercial airline pilots, it may be about passenger safety; but when it's used on a teenage employee at the local super mart, it's about a nosy government attempting to enforce controversial laws by turning American businesses into Grand Inquisitors.

Finally, if submitting one's urine to complete strangers is not an invasion of privacy, then what is?

*During the height of the drug war, the Bush and Reagan administrations even urged Americans to "turn in" their own parents, should they be found using natural substances that had been outlawed by the government. The fact that such supposedly freedom-loving presidents would advocate such a Stalinist anti-family practice speaks volumes about the corrupting influence of America's superstitious drug war, that war in which political agitprop is used to turn mere natural substances into the boogie-men responsible for all social ills.

Read Drug Testing Fascism on Reddit.

December 29, 2018

Question: [Dr. Watt declares] that the moderate use of opium is not more injurious than the moderate use of alcohol and even that its abusive use is less destructive to its victims than intemperance.
Answer: The Freeman's Journal, Dublin, Ireland, October 31, 1891
December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas from the DEA

It’s been another exciting year of kicking down America’s front doors and growing the nation’s prison population with a whole new batch of freshly minted scumbags. Of course, we couldn’t do it without you. So let’s make a New Year’s resolution in 2019 to report any signs that you may see of Americans attempting to treat their own pain and neuroses with the help of Schedule I plants and fungi such as poppies, mushrooms and other psychedelics. With your help, we’ll be able to ruin these junkies' lives forever while teaching them a lesson about bypassing the capitalist healthcare system. (Humph! The very idea, securing drugs in such a way as to cut out the psychiatric middle man!)

Because remember: There’s no hope in dope, friends – unless, of course, the addictive substance in question has been prescribed by a board-certified psychiatrist!

Oh, and happy drug-free Hanukah, as well, yes? (and Kwanzaa, too!)


Your Modern DEA: proudly quashing therapeutic drug research since 1973

Read Merry Christmas from the DEA on Reddit.

December 24, 2018

Question: Dr. T.C. Marks, a physician of experience and standing, has added another to the long list of things that can be profitably produced in the glorious climate of southern California. The particular substance this time is opium.
Answer: Los Angeles Herald, August 9, 1891
December 22, 2018

Step Away from the Mushroom!

This is the city, Los Angeles California. A quiet town full of hard-working Americans who still know the meaning of the word “obey.” That said, there are always a few renegades who attempt to improve their lives through the unsanctioned use of natural substances such as poppies and mushrooms. That’s where I come in, guns a-blazin’. My name is Friday and I carry a Sig Sauer 556 Classic SWAT rifle with a 30-round magazine and laser sight.

Wednesday, June 21, 1 p.m.

FRIDAY: We had just gotten the call here at DEA HQ. It seems some octogenarian hippy from the north side was using psychoactive plants to improve her spiritual life. Claims she’s in a “blue funk” and wants to see behind the so-called “veil of Maya” before she dies.

I decided to pay grandma a visit, see if I could talk some sense into her – or better yet, catch her red-handed with the goodies and thus shut her away for life, lest young people everywhere should infer from her ongoing freedom that they too can use natural plants and fungus in just any way that they see fit. (Humph!) After all, it’s not like our Founding Fathers relied on anything more than grit and determination to make it in the world, blue funk or no blue funk.

FRANK: Say, Joe, didn’t Benjamin Franklin use opium?

FRIDAY: Just the propaganda, Frank. Just the propaganda.

1:35 p.m.

FRIDAY: I had pictured this aged flower child smoldering away in some dilapidated bungalow near the Los Angeles River Basin, annoying her low-class neighbors with the reek of her oversized bong decorated with Amazonian rain gods. To my surprise, however, I encountered the surprisingly recherche crone in the midst of high-class respectability, in her very own 6-bedroom mansion on Ivarene Avenue in the Hollywood Hills, tastefully appointed with mid-century décor and modern art, complete with private bath, solarium and even a billiard room.

“Hubba-hubba, “ I says to Frank. “Crime seems to be paying here, huh, Frank? It’s about time that we put a stop to that – the more so in that this place could easily net 6 million dollars for law enforcement when it’s put up for auction after we throw old grandma into the hoosegow.”

So thinking, I addressed the beldame as follows:

FRIDAY: You do realize, ma’am, that it’s illegal to use plants and fungi as you see fit?

WOMAN: Oh, I’m sorry, I thought I lived in a free country.

FRIDAY: Not since the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914.

FRANK: Hey, she’s got a mushroom, Joe, just to her right!

FRIDAY: Step away from the mushroom, ma’am!


FRIDAY: All right, you asked for it, Janis Joplin! Now I have to throw you on the ground and threaten you with immediate death if you so much as move an inch!


FRIDAY: Because… Because… Oh, how the hell do I know: it’s just standard DEA procedure in these cases!

WOMAN: I was just trying to improve my mind!

FRIDAY: Yeah, ma’am, well, have you ever stopped to think what it would be like if EVERYBODY were to try to improve their mind like you?

WOMAN: Um… the world would be a better place?

FRIDAY: No! The world would be full of criminals!

FRANK: Well said, Joe.

[After the trio catch their breath…]

FRIDAY: You know what, Frank?

FRANK: What’s that, Joe?

FRIDAY: If everybody had her attitude, the world would be full of broken doors.

FRANK: How’s that, Joe?

FRIDAY: Because the DEA would be obliged to perform a traditional SWAT raid on every single house in America, kicking in doors as we go.

FRANK: Hey, not a bad idea: sounds like there’d be a lot of valuable overtime in that arrangement.

FRIDAY: You took the bullets right out of my SWAT gun, Frank.

[Frank and Friday chuckle as “Janis Joplin” is violently hauled off to the already-overcrowded federal penitentiary system behind the credit roll]

On October 29, trial was held in the district court of Los Angeles County.

The old crone was found guilty of conspiring to obtain Psilocybin mushrooms for the express purpose of improving her life. The Judge sentenced her to 25 years in the slammer, as a lesson to anyone who still thinks that Mother Nature's pharmacopoeia is actually open to the public. (Humph!)

Read Step Away from the Mushroom! on Reddit.

December 22, 2018

Question: In southern Mexico, the jail and prison officials experience great difficulty in trying to prevent the smuggling into their institutions of the seductive mariguana (sic). This is a kind of "loco" weed more powerful than opium.
Answer: The Iola Daily Record, Iola, Kansas, Jan 1, 1900
December 19, 2018

The DEA: causing untold suffering since 1973

Richard Nixon's War on Drugs has ruined more lives than anyone has yet recognized. Besides the millions of prisoners languishing behind bars, there are the millions of depressed elderly who are denied happiness thanks to the fact that politics, not science, determines what drugs we can use. The drugs prescribed today for anxiety are far more habit-forming than opium. Moreover, opium use does not require dosage increases over time -- and it becomes addictive only when used on a daily basis. Yet the fascist bureaucrats of the DEA are determined to keep pain control out of the hands of mere citizens, so they ignore the science and crack down on those who dare to treat their own suffering. In short, they keep drugs like opium on schedule I to keep us coming back to the board-certified doctors for our addictive meds that enrich the bottom line of faceless corporations.

Read The DEA: causing untold suffering since 1973 on Reddit.

December 19, 2018

Question: Who barged on to Jefferson's Monticello and destroyed Thomas Jefferson's poppy plants? 1) The Mob 2) Juvenile delinquents 3) Terrorists 4) The DEA
Answer: The DEA
December 16, 2018

Partnership for a Brain-Free Virginia

Reasons that I get infuriated when I think about “drug-free” proselytizers such as “Drug Free Virginia”:

1) Members of these groups drink alcohol and/or coffee. To be consistent, they should be denouncing both substances as addictive.

2) They exaggerate the addictive potential of illegal drugs while totally ignoring (or even denying) the addictive potential of legal drugs, especially SSRIs and benzodiazepines.

3) They champion laws that empower a police state in America and narcotics syndicates overseas.

4) The policies they support have forced me “on” to addictive drugs (namely SSRIs) as the only available psychiatric treatments for depression, while denying me the strategic use of less addictive and far more effective substances such as opium (which, despite the drug-war bluster, is a far less addictive substance than Effexor).

5) They keep me from living a fulfilled life by piously insisting against all evidence that people don’t need drugs – which, of course, they don’t even MEAN in light of the caveats stated above. What they mean is: people don’t need substances whose purchase doesn’t enrich corporate America.

6) Their anti-drug propaganda creates the mindset that allows for highly invasive drug-testing for jobs like burger slingers and cashiers, which, besides being an affront to the U.S. Constitution, is a fascist ploy to keep down dissent. Why? Because it threatens those who don’t toe the party line about drugs with the wildly disproportionate punishment of joblessness.

7) The outlook of these drug warriors is based on a tacit philosophical-religious assumption, namely that there exists a moral reason why human beings who suffer should not freely reach out to Mother Nature and its plants and fungi in order to find cures for their ailments. I do not hold that assumption and it is religious intolerance in action when I am forced to live in suffering thanks to the highly debatable moral tenets of others.

8) They have no understanding of the power and potential of human consciousness and therefore feel free to stand in the way of its perfection in others. In this way, they are like a misguided Mr. Magoo who prevents his offspring from visiting the eye doctor on the grounds that: “If God had wanted us to have better vision, we would have been born with glasses!”

Read Partnership for a Brain-Free Virginia on Reddit.

December 16, 2018

Question: LSD-25, a drug capable of bringing back childhood memories with the sharpness of a 3-D movie, is helping fight mental illness in persons formerly considered hopeless, two psychiatrists said today.
Answer: "Hopeless Mental Cases Given Aid By Drug Discovery," The Daily Item, Sunbury, Pennsylvania, March 24, 1960,
December 15, 2018

DEA listed as Schedule I agency

The DEA has just been listed as a Schedule I agency. This rating means that the organization has no valid reason for existing and that it has the potential for causing harm to individuals who come into contact with it. The ranking is based on the DEA’s promotion of a police state in North America and its work in fomenting war in South America through its Quixotic plan to render plants illegal. Side effects of tolerating the DEA include government interference in medicinal research. The DEA has also been found to limit your ability to know yourself through the mind-expanding power of shamanic medicines. In some cases, these side effects may even include lengthy prison sentences, as this agency has been known to lock you up for years merely because you attempted to find a non-addictive medicinal alternative to the mind-numbing addictive drugs of modern psychiatry. Long-term support for the DEA has been shown to lead to senselessly ruined lives and overcrowded prisons, resulting in a vast waste of human potential. Continued acceptance of this agency can even render Democratic populations complacent to creeping fascism.

This Schedule I listing will remain in effect until the DEA is discarded, along with the paranoid and ignorant mind set of its fascist founder: Richard M. Nixon.

Read DEA listed as Schedule I agency on Reddit.

December 15, 2018

Question: How many people know that hemp, coca, and the opium poppy are ordinary plants, understand how they became transformed into dreaded 'dangerous drugs,' and realize that in losing our rights to them we have surrendered some of our most basic rights to property?
Answer: 'Our Right to Drugs', Thomas Szasz
December 15, 2018

Initiative 12 isn't premature; it's 50 years too late

The Corvallis Gazette-Times recently published an editorial stating that the Initiative to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms in Oregon was “premature.” This came as shocking news to those of us who have already been waiting FIFTY YEARS for the privilege of using this sort of medicine to treat our depression, especially since that waiting period wasn’t put in effect by a board of impartial scientists but rather by his royal highness, Richard M. Nixon, in his attempt to crack down on dissent during the Vietnam War.

So I submitted the following “letter to the editor” to the Gazette-Times, hoping to reassure its editorial staff that their fear is misplaced.

Regarding Initiative 12: it is 50 years too LATE. In your calculus of worry, be sure to include the fact that the Drug War has deprived wounded soldiers, alcoholics and depressed patients of powerful medicine for half a century, and on the basis of a lie, namely that psychedelics are addictive (wrong) and that they have no therapeutic value (wrong again). When evaluating potential harm, please consider the vicious anti-democratic drug cartels that the war on these drugs has empowered. Look at the overall picture, and you will see that the legal suppression of psychiatric medicines is causing a bloodbath even as we speak. Remember that psychedelics were a valuable legal medicine in the 1950s, acclaimed for curing alcoholics and reaching otherwise unreachable psychiatric patients. It was only thanks to Richard Nixon's war on hippies that we came to see these substances as evil. Whatever the Initiative’s negative impact, it can only be far below the abject desolation caused by Richard Nixon’s Drug War, which has turned America into a prison camp and fostered torture and chaos in South America. If you want to worry about something, worry about the collateral damage that the Drug War has been wreaking now for half a century by rendering therapeutic medicines illegal. It’s about time that Americans worried about that.

Read Initiative 12 isn't premature; it's 50 years too late on Reddit.

December 15, 2018

Question: For many, [LSD] seems to lead to self-help -- long overdue.
Answer: Dr. Keith Ditman, Semi-Weekly Spokesmen-Review (Spokane, Washington), Nov. 8, 1959
December 14, 2018

My Drug War Alternative

Given that it's long since time to end Richard Nixon's bigoted and ignorant war on drugs, here is an easy four-step process for replacing it with a sane and humane alternative.

1) Make possession of all illegal drugs a misdemeanor. As Portugal did successfully over 15 years ago

2) Make most currently illegal drugs available via prescription. Opium, psychedelics, MDMA, etc.

3) Change the psychiatric project from "curing" so-called mental illness to treating its symptoms. (see below)

4) Rewrite the pros and cons of illegal drugs -- from a scientific rather than a political point of view.

The rationale for point number three is philosophical in nature and follows below for those who are interested.

The current psychiatric goal is to find a silver bullet for mental illness. This has led psychiatry racing toward a disastrous dead end, for their patients and for psychiatry as a profession. Psychiatry is literally running out of ideas.

Take me, for instance. As a chronically depressed patient for the last 25 years, psychiatry now has literally nothing to offer me except inadequate and ultimately mind-muddling SSRIs, and specifically the highly addictive Effexor. Out of the vast pharmacopeia on Planet Earth, this is all that psychiatry can offer me: one drug: Effexor.

Why? Because in its attempt to appear "scientific," psychiatry has insisted for the last 50+ years on curing a supposed illness rather than making a patient feel better. Meanwhile they've launched a full-court PR press with Big Pharma money to claim, falsely, that SSRIs correct a chemical imbalance in the brains of depressed patients. Although author Robert Whitaker has demonstrated this claim to be false, we have to ask ourselves: even if this WERE true, how come folks like myself are more depressed now than they were 25 years ago when they first began their SSRI use?

Meanwhile, why is psychiatry so dismissive of drugs like opium and MDMA? These substances, after all, have a clear track record of making users feel better when used wisely. In the past, I would have said that psychiatry does not want me to get addicted to such drugs and is therefore refraining to use them in a therapeutic setting, but this is clearly not the case, since Effexor is one of the most addictive drugs on the planet, notwithstanding psychiatry's condescending newspeak in which they talk about "maintenance therapy" instead of "addiction" when it comes to SSRIs. If psychiatry has no scruples about addicting me to Effexor, why are they so squeamish about the mere possibility of addicting me to opium?

Of course, the psychiatrist would say that such drugs only make me feel good by treating symptoms. But so what? It is precisely by thus feeling good that I thrive and find meaning in my life-- which in turn IS treating my depression in real-time.

But again, psychiatry's goal is NOT to make me feel good. (We might well guess this fact in light of the irrational knee-jerk revulsion that psychiatrists express for the so-called "Dr. Feelgoods" of the world.) Psychiatry cum science is dedicated instead to treating depressed human beings as chemical agglomerations in need of some rationally derivable chemical fix. So while I'm moaning in a corner, they're looking in their microscopes muttering:

"No, Brian, SSRIs are the logical way to cure you. If you still feel poorly after taking these scientific nostrums of ours, then, how can I put this: your emotions are simply making a mistake -- don't ask me how."

But once we've convinced psychiatry to see the patient as a person again, we still need to clarify our muddle-headed thinking about illegal drugs. We have been bamboozled by 50 years of politically-inspired trash talk about the various chemical substances in question here.

Mention the word "opium," for instance, and we think of drug dens and suspicious-looking Asians. But when looked at unemotionally, without the baggage of the drug war mentality, we discover that opium is LESS addictive than most SSRIs -- and that addiction can be avoided entirely merely by avoiding daily usage of opium for more than a few days at a time. (Who knew? We were too busy feeling the obligatory disgust for opium that we never bothered to check!) Nor is there evidence of long-term physiological damage from the continued use of opium. Even should addiction intervene, for all its horrors, it can be overcome far more quickly than an addiction to SSRIs (days versus months or years).

Yet the drug war mentality says: "OPIUM??? AWFUL!!!" It's simply a non-starter in a therapeutic setting.

Of course, in a sane world, the psychiatrist would be able to prescribe opium to his or her depressed patient. But to repeat: psychiatry today is not about making the patient feel good: it's about correcting supposed chemical imbalances, since only by pursuing such an approach can the psychiatrist feel themselves to be as "scientific" (read "materialistic") as their big brother sciences such as Physics and Chemistry.

Result: depressed patients like myself remain depressed in order to feed the ego and the pocket book of the psychiatrist.

RECAP of My Drug War Alternative

1) Make possession of all illegal drugs a misdemeanor.

2) Make most currently illegal drugs available via prescription.

3) Change the psychiatric project from "curing" so-called mental illness to treating its symptoms.

4) Rewrite the pros and cons of illegal drugs -- from a scientific rather than a political point of view.

*for more politically incorrect information about opium, see Jim Hogshire's courageous book entitled "Opium for the Masses"

Read My Drug War Alternative on Reddit.

December 14, 2018

Question: Who barged on to Jefferson's Monticello and destroyed Thomas Jefferson's poppy plants? 1) The Mob 2) Juvenile delinquents 3) Terrorists 4) The DEA
Answer: The DEA
November 14, 2018

Notice of Scam

You may have heard discussion of a so-called DEA, or Drug Enforcement Agency, that was purportedly created to keep America safe from harmful drugs. Be warned: This agency is a scam. It claims to protect society while it is actually blocking research on valuable health therapies based on fear-mongering and lies.

This agency has been fighting tooth and nail to keep psychedelics on their so-called list of Schedule I drugs for almost 50 years now, meaning that those drugs cannot even be investigated for therapeutic potential, unless a researcher jumps through a circus full of hoops and risks the loss of their reputation in the scientific community, so great is the stigma that this agency has cultivated with respect to these potential therapeutic godsends.

Make no mistake: This "DEA" is a liar. It justifies its prohibition of psychedelics on the grounds that they are subject to abuse and have no probable therapeutic benefit, both of which claims are abject lies. Moreover, the very fact that the DEA "schedules" drugs is a clear conflict of interest, given the fact that the agency's job is to enforce drug laws, a workload that would decrease significantly were drugs to be scheduled rationally and without hysteria and lies.

If you come into contact with employees of this organization, do not attempt to confront them. They are armed to the teeth and will gladly ruin your life rather than renounce their anti-scientific plan to deprive you of powerful medicines. (Remember: their main job is to fill up U.S. prisons to the bursting point.) But if they challenge you, be sure to "lawyer up." This organization was created by Richard M. Nixon, after all, and as such is not going to be particularly interested in any rational arguments on your part.

And don't bother waxing philosophical with them about your right to control your own consciousness. Their response could very well be: "Hands on your head!" as they rough you up and stick the muzzle of an M4 carbine in the small of your back. Yes, this sounds like sheer fantasy in a free and open society, but have no illusions: this is actually how this so-called DEA works. Don't let the otherwise progressive trappings of modern Western society fool you! This DEA racket will gladly ruin your life one way or another: either by depriving you of crucial medications via bogus scheduling protocols or by imprisoning you for life should you seek to obtain such substances on your own.

Read Notice of Scam on Reddit.

November 14, 2018

Question: In southern Mexico, the jail and prison officials experience great difficulty in trying to prevent the smuggling into their institutions of the seductive mariguana (sic). This is a kind of "loco" weed more powerful than opium.
Answer: The Iola Daily Record, Iola, Kansas, Jan 1, 1900