This Week in Psychedelics


Johns Hopkins studies challenging mushroom trips, the NY Public Library archives Timothy Leary's papers, and actors consume mescaline for a Sundance film in this week's psychedelic news.

  • The Psilocybin Research Team at Johns Hopkins is conducting an anonymous, web-based study to characterize the difficult or challenging experiences that people sometimes have on psilocybin mushrooms. (Survey Monkey)
  • Breaking Convention, a biennial interdisciplinary conference on psychedelic consciousness in the UK, is accepting presentation abstracts for July 2013. (Breaking Convention)
  • The NY Public Library is offering an internship with the Digital and Project Archivists for the Timothy Leary Papers collection. (Boing Boing, NYPL)
  • NYU Assistant Professor Anthony P. Bossis contributed a chapter to the textbook "Psychological Aspects of Cancer" on the use of psilocybin for treating emotional distress associated with cancer. (NYU)
  • Salon reports that magic mushrooms may help ease the psychological effects of cancer. (Salon)
  • Musician Ben Lee will launch a spring tour for his new album, "Ayahuasca: Welcome To The Work." All profits from the album will be donated to the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) and the Amazon conservation team. (The Music)
  • At the Sundance Film Festival premiere of "Crystal Fairy," Michael Cera describes how he consumed San Pedro cactus with his cast mates to get a sense of what their characters were supposed to experience on a mescaline trip. They boiled a cactus to extract its mescaline but were unaffected by the brew. Actress Gaby Hoffmann, who had previous experience with magic mushrooms, took mescaline on a separate occasion during filming and experienced subtle effects. (Huffington Post, Oregon Live, Salon, Movie Line)
  • Actor Shia LaBeouf admitted to taking acid in preparation for filming "The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman" out of "fear" about his ability to play the role. (NY Daily News)
  • 12 short films were selected by the Sundance Institute to be featured in The Screening Room on YouTube, including one about catnip as a psychedelic substance. (Tube Filter)
  • Director Grant Singer teamed up with Bradford Cox, lead singer and guitarist for Deerhunter, to create "Youth Museums," a documentary "detailing the facets of Cox's psychedelic life." The experimental film will be screened at MoMA PS1 in New York. (A.V. Club)
  • Yahoo! Music calls the Flaming Lips' "psychedelic" Super Bowl ad "the most lysergic commercial since that kaleidoscopic Friskies ad with the tripping kitty." (Yahoo)
  • Wilo Vargas's psychedelic "magic eye" art references two psychological states - the manifestation of the sacred in objects (hierophant) and the act of unconsciously recognizing those objects (pareidolia). (Houston Press)
  • Examiner presents a favorable review of "Ayahuasca Visions" by Luis Eduardo Luna and artist Pablo Amaringo. (Examiner)
  • Wired magazine's "Footnotes" video series compares spider webs woven under the influence of LSD and caffeine. (Wired)
  • An Oxford ethicist argues that taking "love-enhancing" drugs like MDMA could be a moral imperative for commitment-averse modern parents. (Salon, The Atlantic)
  • UK police warn of contaminated ecstasy tablets after three deaths in Wigan and Liverpool. (Guardian
  • Deseret News explains how synthetic drug makers stay one step ahead of the law, leaving lawmakers with "little choice but to draft some kind of catchall law that might end up being too broad." (Deseret News)
  • A bill that would strengthen Indiana's laws on synthetic drugs will go to the Senate for consideration. SB 536 would change the definition of a synthetic drug to include substances that a "reasonable person" would believe is a synthetic drug and substances that are intended to cause intoxication. (FOX 59)
  • A police commissioner has warned of dangerous "fake" LSD in the Maldives: "LSD is a very dangerous drug. It could stop your heart." (Minivan News)
  • A teenage girl was brain-damaged and blind after smoking "synthetic marijuana" that she bought in a gas station. (Daily Mail, CNN)
  • 25I-NBOMe or "N-Bomb" is described as a new, "legal", LSD-like substance by Cuyahoga Falls Patch. (Cuyahoga Falls Patch)
  • High Times magazine published a new book - "It's NORML To Smoke Pot" - on the history of NORML and its four-decade-long campaign to legalize marijuana. (NORML)
  • A Reason/Rupe poll finds that most Americans support treating marijuana like alcohol. (Reason)
  • Representative Jared Polis (D-CO) introduced the "Ending Federal Prohibition Marijuana Act of 2013" to Congress, which would end federal marijuana prohibition and let states decide their own marijuana policies. (SSDP, NORML)
  • The Washington Post interviewed documentary filmmaker Eugene Jarecki about "The House I Live In," a blistering critique of the drug war. (Washington Post)
  • The Huffington Post lists classic songs about drug use and the drug war, suggesting that musicians and artists play a crucial role in breaking the taboo surrounding these issues. (Huffington Post)
  • The Huffington Post reports that arrests for marijuana possession exceed arrests for violent crimes in the United States. (Huffington Post)
  • The Chicago Tribune featured an editorial in favor of marijuana legalization. (Chicago Tribune)
  • A US Federal Court of Appeals has denied a petition to reschedule marijuana. (NORML)
  • ABC News explains the Catch-22 behind marijuana scheduling: "the DEA is saying that marijuana needs FDA approval to be removed from Schedule I, but at the same time they are obstructing that very research." (ABC News)
  • The Washington State Patrol announced that they expect to continue their state-wide Marijuana Eradication Program despite the shift to legalization. (Daily Chronic)
  • Rick Garza of the Washington Liquor Control Board says he expects the federal government will take action if Washington state doesn't impose strict controls over the growth and sale of marijuana. (Seattle Times)
  • The Huffington Post urges entrepreneurs looking to kickstart "the next big thing" in tech and product design to focus their attention on medical marijuana delivery systems. (Huffington Post)
  • Investors are eyeing millions of dollars in potential profit as Washington state transitions into the marijuana business. (Komo News)
  • Professor David Nutt opposes mandatory drug testing by employers. (BBC)
  • A Berkeley schoolteacher has plead guilty to a felony charge after he was found with LSD during a traffic stop. The state revoked his teaching credential following the arrest, and the Berkeley Unified School District terminated his employment. (CBS Local, Inside Bay Area)
  • A 22-year-old Lancaster man was sentenced to serve 90 days to 23 and a half months for assaulting a police officer in June. He testified that he was high on LSD at the time and doesn't remember the assault. (Centre Daily)
  • A man is being held in the Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail under a $25,000 bond for allegedly possessing 800 doses of LSD. (Athens Ohio Today)
  • A homeless man was arrested for possession of LSD and marijuana after crashing his vehicle into a supermarket in Massachusetts. (Wicked Local)
  • Charles Manson, the notorious leader of the "Manson Family" that was associated with the darker sides of psychedelic use in the '60s, may have committed more murders than those for which he was convicted. (Huffington Post)
  • Bassist Joseph D. Rowland of "Pallbearer" describes the transportive powers of psychedelic doom metal. (Denver Westword)

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 effects in popular culture. Share your psychedelic news links on the facebook page and twitter or by emailing nese /at/

Disclaimer: "This Week in Psychedelics" does not censor or analyze the "news" links presented here. The purpose of this blog is to catalogue how psychedelics are presented by the mass media, which includes everything from the latest scientific research to misinformation. This presentation format encourages an open dialogue, and allows for misinformation to be noticed and addressed by interested and informed parties. We provide the content; you provide the analysis and debate.