Ayahuasca saturates global consciousness, a US Senator suggests amending federal marijuana laws, and the "Hobbit" film suggests a positive view of drugs in this week's psychedelic news.


  • Research presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology highlighted the latest findings on the use of psilocybin as a treatment for anxiety in terminal cancer patients, in smoking cessation, and as a treatment for alcoholism. (TIME)
  • The UK government has based its refusal to set up a royal commission into drug policy on the shaky premise that drug use is falling. (Guardian)
  • New Scientist interviews Amanda Feilding about her work to break down taboos surrounding LSD and other psychoactive drugs. (New Scientist)
  • An indigenous healer faces prison in Sweden for receiving San Pedro cactus in the mail, despite the fact that San Pedro is actually legal in Sweden. (AlterNet)
  • The New York Times reports that marijuana is virtually legal in most of California even though recreational use remains technically against the law. (NY Times)
  • Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy from Vermont has suggested amending the Federal Controlled Substances Act to allow possession of up to one ounce of marijuana in jurisdictions where it is legal under state law. (Huffington Post)
  • A study conducted by researchers at UC San Diego links teenage alcohol use, but not teenage marijuana use, to reduced brain tissue health. (Huffington Post)
  • Newark, NJ Mayor Corey Booker said that he supports medical marijuana but wants to "go beyond that," moving toward a complete overhaul of state and federal drug policy. (Huffington Post)
  • USA Today profiles the marijuana research lab at the University of Mississippi, which was selected in 1968 as the country's first and only legal marijuana farm. (USA Today)
  • Tikkun Olam, Israel's largest and most established medical marijuana farm, blends the high-tech and the spiritual. (New York Times)
  • The first medical marijuana dispensary in Washington, DC prepares to open. (Washington Post)
  • Medscape Medical News reports that MDMA combined with psychotherapy can provide lasting and clinically meaningful relief of symptoms in patients with treatment-resistant post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). (Medscape Medical News)
  • The first Canadian study of MDMA therapy for trauma survivors begins January 1. (National Post)
  • Rolling Stone argues that a meager settlement deal with the British banking giant HSBC, which has admitted to laundering billions of dollars of drug money, demonstrates the hypocritical nature of the war on drugs. (Rolling Stone)
  • The Drug Policy Alliance ran a full-page ad in the New York Times thanking voters in Colorado and Washington for their support of drug policy reform and marijuana legalization. (Drug Policy Alliance)
  • Santa Cruz Patch explores how the federal government might threaten to undermine voter-approved initiatives to legalize marijuana in Colorado and Washington. (Santa Cruz Patch)
  • Los Angeles witnessed a major court victory for parents who legally use marijuana for medical purposes. The court confirmed that while parents who abuse drugs can lose custody of their children, medical marijuana use does not constitute drug abuse. (NORML)
  • Nine states have a lifetime ban for food-stamp eligibility for people convicted of drug felonies, including marijuana offenses, and twenty-three states have a partial ban. (AlterNet)
  • Lab results cleared a man who was arrested on drug charges at the 2012 Rainbow Gathering in Tennessee. Although law enforcement claimed he was transporting $90,000 worth of met amphetamine, liquid THC and other drugs, he was cleared of all charges after lab tests revealed he possessed no controlled substances. (Times News)
  • Reason lists the 5 best drug scares of 2012. (Reason)
  • David Jay Brown describes how ayahuasca, the ancient hallucinogenic beverage from the Amazon, is becoming increasingly popular in the West. (Santa Cruz Patch)
  • The Telegraph offers a pro-drug reading of the Hobbit film. (Telegraph)
  • The FOX television show "Fringe" features an inopportune LSD trip. (Buddy TV)
  • Josie Hyde uses story, song, rhyming poetry, and animation to conjure her spiritual ayahuasca journey in a one-woman multimedia show. (Santa Barbara Independent)
  • Austinist invites readers to spike their eggnog with some "musical acid" at Austin's "Psychedelic Christmas Throwdown." (Austinist)
  • A Denver Westword blogger yearns for a time when Christmas decorations were more psychedelic. (Denver Westword)
  • David Frum lambasts the recent trend towards marijuana legalization, arguing that habitual marijuana users experience more difficulty with learning and schooling, do worse at work, miss more workdays, suffer more accidents, have fewer friends, and occupy lower rungs on the socioeconomic ladder. (Daily Beast)
  • So-called "body-packing"–smuggling packets of drugs inside the body–is a growing global problem, and some medical workers want clearer legal guidelines on how to deal with complications. (ABC)
  • New Zealand Police and Customs discovered a "sophisticated drug dealing syndicate" importing millions of dollars worth of MDMA from the United States. (Stuff)
  • Pennsylvania police report that two 14-year-olds needed medical treatment after taking LSD that they received in trade for a PlayStation. (Trib Live)
  • A Berkeley schoolteacher was charged with LSD possession and drunken driving after a traffic stop. He is currently awaiting arraignment on paid administrative leave. (Oakland Tribune)
  • An Australian man received 12 months probation and conviction for LSD possession after police inspected a wallet that had been turned in by a good samaritan. (Gladstone Observer)
  • Playboy and Reason ask why people were so quick blame "bath salts" for the "Miami Zombie" incident. (Playboy, Reason)


Image by Christopher Martin Adams.

"This Week in Psychedelics" is a Reality Sandwich column that follows
the multifaceted media appearances of this class of chemicals and their
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