Hallucinogens in Addiction Treatment

Hallucinogens in Addiction Treatment

Treating Drug Abuse with…Drugs?

An up-and-coming approach to treating drug abuse is the use of hallucinogens in addiction treatment. Specifically, researchers are looking to Ibogaine, a natural hallucinogen that has been used for centuries in other parts of the world for ritual ceremonies. Currently, Ibogaine is being used in some European countries and Mexico for the treatment of drug addiction.

What are Hallucinogens?

Hallucinogenic compounds found in some plants and mushrooms (or their extracts) have been used—mostly during religious rituals—for centuries. Almost all hallucinogens contain nitrogen and are classified as alkaloids. Many hallucinogens have chemical structures similar to those of natural neurotransmitters. While the exact mechanisms by which hallucinogens exert their effects remain unclear, research suggests that these drugs work, at least partially, by temporarily interfering with neurotransmitter action or by binding to their receptor sites.

Using Hallucinogens in Addiction Treatment

Ibogaine, is a naturally occurring psychoactive substance found in plants. A hallucinogen with both psychedelic and dissociative properties, the substance is banned in some countries; in other countries it is being used to treat addiction to methadone, heroin, alcohol, cocaine, methamphetamine, and other drugs. Derivatives of ibogaine that lack the substance’s hallucinogenic properties are under development.

And scientists say Ibogaine might be the best way to break drug addicts of their habit.

Ibogaine has intrigued researchers since 1962, when Howard Lotsof, a student at New York University and an opiate addict, found that a single dose erased his drug cravings without causing any withdrawal symptoms. Unfortunately, the hallucinogen can increase the risk of cardiac arrest, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency lists it as a Schedule I substance, a classification for drugs like ecstasy and LSD with “no known medical value” and “high potential for abuse,” making it difficult to get federal funding to run clinical trials. That is, currently it is not legal to use hallucinogens in addiction treatment.

Animal tests have shown the drug’s medicinal promise. “Rats addicted to morphine will quit for weeks after receiving ibogaine,” says Stanley Glick, the director of the Center for Neuropharmacology and Neuroscience at Albany Medical College. And addicts have reported positive effects in Mexico and Europe, where ibogaine therapy is legal.

From the limited research, though, scientists have two theories about how the use of hallucinogens in addiction treatment works. Some say it’s purely biological—that ibogaine degrades into a compound that binds with opiate receptors in the brain to quiet cravings. Others believe that it is also psychological. Those who use hallucinogens report a change in perspective and outlook on life. Researchers believe that this aspect of the hallucination provides perspective on the negative aspects of drug use, and so the drug addict will strive to quit.

The Argument for the use of Hallucinogens in Addiction Treatment

Regardless of the mechanism, proving ibogaine works is essential to winning approval and funding for clinical trials of using hallucinogens in addiction treatment. And, in the U.S., the sooner the better: Nearly seven million Americans abuse illicit drugs, costing the nation an estimated $181 billion a year in health care, crime and lost productivity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

http://www.drugabuse.gov

http://www.popsci.com

www.wikipedia.org

Morning Glory Seeds

Morning Glory Seeds

Morning Glory Seeds

Morning glory seeds are seeds from the flowering plant of the same name. They contain a chemical that is similar in nature and effects as LSD. The amount present in each seed is very small, so you have to eat a lot of morning glory seeds in order to get the psychoactive effects. Some crush up the seeds and mix the powder with alcohol to increase the effects. Some even extract the active chemical and inject it intravenously. The Morning glory fad is not a new trend by any means; in fact it was one that grew heavily in the 60’s with the hippy era.

Morning Glory Seeds: Effects

The psychological effects of morning glory seeds vary from person to person depending on dose, age, and life experience. Most users experience strong sensory and visual distortion. Colors may seem brighter, patterns could seem to “breathe” and users can experience an altered sense of time. Morning glory seeds may also impair judgment and the ability to perceive danger, so accidents on morning glory seeds are common, sometimes even fatal.  A morning glory trip can last up to 12 hours and have long term psychological effects.

Unfortunately, there is another compound in morning glory seeds that can also cause nausea and headache. Many people have reported vomiting from eating morning glory seeds. Also, some can experience what is known as a “bad trip.” A bad morning glory trip can be terrifying and disorienting. Users experience intense sensations and feelings with rapid mood swings. Some morning glory users experience severe, frightening thoughts and feelings, fear of losing control, fear of insanity and death, and despair while using morning glory seeds. This can cause anxiety, panic attacks, or full blown mental psychosis. For people with a pre-existing mental illness, like schizophrenia, this can be very dangerous.

Morning Glory Seeds: Legality

Morning glory seeds are legal to buy and grow at home. However, some retailers monitor whether or not they are being bought in bulk. The chemical compound in morning glory seeds, however, is not legal. So if you use extraction techniques like crushing and combining with alcohol, you would then be in possession of a controlled substance.

Morning Glory Seeds: New Trend among Teens?

Teens tend to gravitate towards drugs that are easily obtained and relatively inexpensive. Morning glory seeds fit the bill and are becoming more and more popular to young people who may not have access to street hallucinogens like LSD. Many are largely unaware of the increasing popularity of morning glory seeds amongst teens, so there is very little information available. Two states: Ohio and Louisiana have recognized the trend and are taking steps to prevent it.  The Ohio Early Warning Network issued an alert to school, health and law enforcement officials. Louisiana has passed legislation that made morning glories and 38 other plants containing hallucinogenic compounds illegal when intended for human consumption.  As more and more young people are admitted to hospitals around the country for morning glory ingestion, more officials are becoming aware of the trend.