Archive for September, 2014

English Comp 1 essay, Final Paper: “Psychedelics, The Healthy Option?”

Disclaimer:

In now way do I advocate the use of Illegal substances for recreational use. This paper was attempting to question why such things have been made un lawful when there are scientific evidence to say that they aren’t as harmful as we’ve been lead to believe.

Direct link to GoogleDrive Document Here.

 

 

Nathaniel Branham

James Davis

English Composition 1

12/11/13

Psychedelics, The Healthy Option?

Psychedelics have gotten a bad reputation. LSD, Magic Mushrooms, Peyote Cactus, basically anything that could –in high enough doses– make you see strange and often wondrous things have been shunned by the law abiding, conservative population segment of America. Why? Because they are illegal. Because, someone up on Capitol hill decided that psychedelic experiences were bad for you. However, new research is coming to light that states “…psychedelic use was associated with lower rate of mental health problems” (Krebs).

The thought among supporters of the drug community is that seeing visions of a hallucinogenic nature actually strengthens the neural pathways and promote creativity.  There actually is a psychedelic compound, called ibogaine, that has been a valid treatment for opioid addiction. (Opium, and heroin.) However, past research –especially studies made in the ‘60s and ‘70s–  was tainted by the researchers being high themselves and further tainted by individuals such as Timothy Leary who was caught stealing  LSD from harvard University and giving it to some of his students. In 1966, because psychedelics like LSD had leaked out of the scientific community and into the hands of less than scholarly people, LSD misuse had become an unavoidable problem and it’s possession was made illegal (Sessa).

It wasn’t until 1988 when Switzerland briefly and limitedly lifted the research ban on psychedelics that research was finally resumed. From ‘88 to ‘93, Swiss scientists conducted psycholytic-psychotherapy on mental patients using LSD and MDMA (Ecstasy) . Likewise, from 1990 to 1995 US scientists performed extensive studies with DMT, a short lasting but strong psychedelic agent. Also, in Russia, a double blind placebo test on heroin addicts using ketamine saw abstinence from the drug for up to two years after the initial treatment (Sessa).   The most exciting studies, however, are the ones using ibogaine to treat opioid addictions.  Ibogaine is an indole alkaloid found in bark of the African shrub Tabernanthe iboga, and is alleged to cure opioid addictions. Alper, Lotsof, Frenken, Luciano, and Bastiaans observe and summarize thirty-three different cases of opioid detoxification with ibogaine, under non-medical conditions (R.Alper).

It’s not all roses and sunshine, specifically in the case of LSD.  Lysergic acid diethylamide has a number of effects across different species. The LD50 , lethal dose for 50% of users, of LSD in rabbits , for example, is 0.03 mg/kg i.v. The LD50 for humans is unknown, as there has not been a recorded case of LSD overdose in humans. “Eight individuals who accidentally consumed a very high dose of LSD intranasally (mistaking it for cocaine) had plasma levels of 1000–7000μg per 100 mL blood plasma and suffered from comatose states, hyperthermia, vomiting, light gastric bleeding, and respiratory problems. However, all survived with hospital treatment and without residual effects” (Passie). That was one of the highest doses recorded and all they had was, more or less, superficial. That’s not to say that LSD isn’t toxic, it’s just that we haven’t found a dose high enough to actually kill someone.

It does go without saying that there is an inherent danger with psychedelics, and that’s driving while using them. Driving under the influence of LSD is a terrible idea. Aside from the obvious legality issues, LSD and other psychedelics can: impair speed of reaction, cause panic attacks, cause users to overestimate time intervals, and also temporarily impair visual memory (Passie).

In the non-scientific realms, psychedelic substances play a major role in  shamanistic and counter-culture practices. They also are a huge enabler for parapsychological studies, the study of events and phenomena outside the regular realm of accepted science; as psychotropic and psychedelic material, in large enough doses, cause the user(s) to experience Out of Body Experience (OBEs), Extrasensory Perception(ESP), and general hallucinations with varying degrees of perceived reality (Luke).

Interestingly enough, these aforementioned effects of “The bad trip” have no long term mental health effects. Looking at population data from ‘01 to ‘04 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, researchers Teri S. Krebs and Pål-Ørjan Johansen from Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) looked at lifetime usage of LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline and cross referenced those numbers with those of mental health breakdown instances. What they found was of the 103,152 respondents to the study,  21,967 (13.4%) said they had used the aforementioned psychedelics at least once in their lifetime.  And in that 13.4%, they looked for “…symptoms of eight psychiatric disorders (panic disorder, major depressive episode, mania, social phobia, general anxiety disorder, agoraphobia, post traumatic stress disorder, and non-affective psychosis), and seven specific symptoms of non-affective psychosis.”  Krebs and Johansen took all extraneous sociodemographic variables into account. To name a few; “Illicit drug use, risk taking behavior, and exposure to traumatic events.”   According to  Krebs and Johansen, “…psychedelic use was associated with lower rate of mental health problems” (Krebs).

The topic of psychedelics has always been a tricky one. Between uninformed naysayers and the overall legality, or lack thereof, it’s very hard to take a stand and go against the conservative party line of “All substances that make you see things are of Satan! Repent!”  In the research this writer has done, there is next to no scientific findings that support the prior allegations. In fact quite the opposite.  From a logical perspective, psychedelics (as defined as being LSD, Psilocybin, Mescaline, Ketamine, MDMA, DMT, and Ibogaine.) aren’t addictive and they expose your brain to a new way of looking at the world; if only for a little while. A body builder does a list of things to make sure he builds muscle, exercises and stretches his body. If learning new things is exercise for our brain, should we not likewise stretch it as well?

 

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

Krebs, Teri S., and Pål-Ørjan Johansen. “Psychedelics and Mental Health: A Population Study.” Ed.

Lin Lu. PLoS ONE 8.8 (2013): e63972.

Lüscher, Christian, and Mark A. Ungless. “The Mechanistic Classification of Addictive Drugs.” PLoS

Medicine 3.11 (2006): e437.

Baggott, Matthew J. et al. “Investigating the Mechanisms of Hallucinogen-Induced Visions Using

3,4-Methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA): A Randomized Controlled Trial in Humans.” Ed. Antonio Verdejo García. PLoS ONE 5.12 (2010): e14074.

Sotnikova, Tatyana D. et al. “The Dopamine Metabolite 3-Methoxytyramine Is a Neuromodulator.” Ed.

Alessandro Bartolomucci. PLoS ONE 5.10 (2010): e13452.

Alper, R. ; Howard S. Lotsof; Geerte, Kenneth. “Treatment of Acute Opioid Withdrawal with

Ibogaine.” American Journal on Addictions 8.3 (1999): 234-242.

SESSA, B. “Can psychedelics have a role in psychiatry once again?” The British Journal of Psychiatry

186.6 (2005): 457-458.

Passie, Torsten et al. “The Pharmacology of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide: A Review.”

CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics 14.4 (2008): 295-314.

Luke, David. “Psychoactive Substances and Paranormal Phenomena: A Comprehensive Review.”

International Journal of Transpersonal Studies 31.1 (2012): 97-156. Web. 10 Dec. 2013.

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UPDATE: The future of this little corner of the interwebs

Writing is my dream.
But I currently don’t have a good road map to make writing my full time job. That’s not to say I’m giving up, quite the opposite.

For you people that just recently started following me, which was a shock to me by the way, I will begin regularly update in this site with Something every Saturday….. Unless the demon of procrastination rears it’s ugly yet inevitable head….

Until I’m able to continue Order of Ouroboros, or create other new short stories, I’m going to be releasing papers from my College English Comprehension class and other assorted works in no particular order.

Tomorrow, I will be releasing a paper fro my first Semester English Comp 1 class entitled: “Psychedelics, The Healthy Option?”.
It’s one I’m pretty proud of, and it received an “A” grade within that class.

Also, there may (Emphasis on “May“) be some permanent changes coming to AnOddSort here in the next six months to next year, but as so very many numerous things hang on them ever coming into fruition, this statement is actually more for my benefit than that of the readers.

Until next time,

-Nate

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Order of Ouroboros

Friedrick Von Routenheim stood on the winding pathway through the mountain pass, peering out into the thick cloud of mist that threatened to shroud any up and coming dangers on the road ahead. The journey was already long in it taken strides and there many more yet ahead of Friedrick, a fact his weary feet and legs were all too familiar. But this trek was his alone to toil, and his complaining joints and limb could not and would not dictate his actions; his pace and speech on the other hand, was all theirs to manipulate. “Damn this fog, curse this road, and a pox upon the rotten cobbler who has cheated me out of feet.” The exchange to the sullen atmosphere was an all too familiar occurrence within the last few miles, the village he had spent the night in three days ago was a little thing. But what it lacked in size and amenities, it made for in chicanery. The cobbler whom Friedrick was in mid curse, had not only made for him terrible shoes, but charged him three times the current market price.

It wasn’t as if Friedrick that much of a choice either, and he was now wishing he had purchased that extra pair of boots when he had the chance back in Werrnyl, the mountain region’s trading hub.
Complaints about feet aside, Friedrick Van Routenheim was the sort of man that appeared to be meek and humble at all times accept for when his cold fury was lit aflame. His hair was a shoulder length mass of dark brown, that all but hid a set of fiercely gentle eyes. They were the sort of eyes once has when many terrible things are continuously replayed behind the reflection, but owned by a mind that has accepted it’s past self.  The container for the self forgiving intelligence was of a commonly noble sort, it bore a front of joviality, an all too convincing disguise in which it had even fooled it’s bearer. The face, eyes, and hair were mediocere by the selves, but in concert together made the man difficult to remember at best.  A fortunate curse for a man in the long standing predicament Friedrick found himself in 15 years previous.
One final feature, however, marred his almost perfect forget-ability; a marking of injected ink on the lower right side of his neck.  A small image of a bird rising to the sky with a dragon feasting on it’s own tail surrounding the bird. A phoenix circumstanced by an Ouroboros.

The fog had the ruminations of clearing, and Friedrick could now see at least a twenty feet in front of him, instead of the previous four feet with which he was forced to cope. As the mountain winds grew in intensity, the fog grew thinner and thinner. And the mountain pathway Friedrick was making his way upon climbed higher and higher. Until Friedrick was at a place on thee path where on his right was the mountain that was shielding in the valley below from the first morning light, on his left was the sun blocked plateau, that had one or two villages dotting it’s plain, flat landscape. He paused to reflect on this sight, and drank in the early scenery. ‘I simply must sketch  this sight before it is changed by day light’s onward march.’
Friedrick immediately unburdened him self of his supplies and began digging through the various trinkets, coins, sleeping things, extra clothes and small weaponry until he found his query; his sketch kit.  Within mere moments of his setting himself down on a slight rock out cropping above the mountain road with his legs crossed to capture the wondrous portrait nature had laid out in front of him, he felt the ever so faint rumblings of horsemen approaching his location from the direction of the village he had been swindled by that cobbler three weeks earlier. He considered hiding, but the momentary tender dawn-light was quickly being replaced with the light of a sun the promises no mercy of the poor mortal below. Today would be one of those hot and miserable pre-autumnal days that Friedrick loathed with a passion.

With skillful haste, he continued his artwork j as the subtle noises of far off riders transitioned to the louder sounds of trotting hooves echoing of the mountain side and softly reverberating into the valley below. Friedrick paid them no mind, however, his thought were solely entrenched in his new-found work. Just as he was putting in the finishing touches of this latest art piece, the phantom sounds of approaching riders changed from noises to sights. There was a party of what appeared to be twelve riders each with a shared pack horse for the provisions that wouldn’t fit on their saddles.

The incoming riders were a veritable assortment of characters, as diverse and varied as paint in a skilled artist’s arsenal. A representative of the races were each of these persons, one of each bloodline of the master race, although some were less represented than others.
Three humans, two female one male, were leading the procession up the path. Two elves, both of which were sickeningly exact copies of each other were next. A pair of Orcs, who were bickering back and forth like an old married couple were the procession’s flank guard. A trio of Drogons, the bipedal, slightly less intelligent cousins to dragons were surrounding a pack horse with a strange looking cargo. And bringing up the rearguard was the most foul mannered, foul mouthed dwarf Friedrick had ever laid eyes on. He could hear, no, feel the incessant swearing and cursing emanating from the half-man. The majority of the stronger language was in high dwarven, but Friedrick had been a linguistics scholar in a previous life and was able to perfectly under every single thing the dwarf said with his foul half sized lips. Many of these phrases have no translation in our tongue, but the self incriminating monologue sounded something like: “Kzrak an Sylths this trek, ruwething Elves and their prim little delythling faces! Always looking down on poor old me, as if I were to blame for them being with a stick up their ylinths…”

Friedrick hid himself as this inter racial procession made it’s way past his former position. He was able to make far better judgments up close and concealed than from a distance. He softly chuckled at the dwarf’s colorful musings about his companions as they made progress up the pathway. Just as the softest slightly forced exhalations escaped his nostrils, the party of twelve suddenly halted and Friedrick felt an immediate and powerful sense of dread that was all to familiar.  Every muscle tensed, ready for any sudden movements from his new found opponent, but then, they started off down the road again, as if they simply were momentarily resting their horses.  However the slight, yet unmistakable, pointed pressure that suddenly applied itself to in-between Friedrick’s shoulder blades told him otherwise.
“Laddie, if ye wish to keep yer ‘ed, it’ll be behoovin’ to yah if you were to slowly rise up and not so much as even think aboot rrruning off.” said a deep and warm voice from behind. Were it not for the immediate danger, Friedrick would’ve longed to give this voice one of his favorite books, and have the voice read it  aloud.
However, the danger was very real and very present, so Friedrick slowly got to his feet and put his hands up above his head in a universal sign of surrender.

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Update: That thing which is long overdue

Wow. It’s been well over a year since I even touched this little experiment…
lets see, since January 2013, I’ve gone to college for the first time ever and completed two semesters. I’ve been employed with three different companies in three different fields, those being: Fast food, College Facility, and I am currently with a third party technical support vendor for the world’s largest retailer based out of Bentonville Arkansas (HintHint Winkwink Nudgenudge).

I’ve almost completely stopped writing, save a few random ramblings hastily jotted down into my ineffectual semi-smart phone, but I hope to get back into the flow soon enough.

I will be posting a few selections from my un-intentional hiatus, starting with a more currant piece.

I don’t believe I will finish any previously promised works because, lets face it, no one really reads this blog so I will say and do what I want. If You do read this page of drivel, CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve officially run of things to read.

All joking aside, I’ve grown a lot in the last year, and I hope to keep on keeping on, but for now that’s pretty much everything that’s going on with me.

 

I hope the phantasmal read out there enjoyed this,

 

-Anoddsort.

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