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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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Some Thoughts

How long were the children of Israel in Egypt? I always was taught, based on Genesis 15:13, that it was 400 years. However if you look elsewhere, scripture says the bondage of Israel was 430 years, (Exo 12:40, Gal 3:17) yet, when I started digging deeper, using the genealogies in Genesis, I found it couldn’t possibly be more than 350 years. Why does the Bible seem to have different time periods? This apparent contradiction can be fairly confusing, and is generally ignored by pastors and theologians all over the globe. They take what appears to be an open and shut case (Gen 15:13) and ignore other passages that contradict it. There are a couple of problems with this; first, they are taking verses out of context, or completely ignoring the context. Secondly, they refuse to dig a little deeper for something that isn’t even hidden; a simple surface reading of the context is required.

My purpose is to show that just because you’ve been taught something, it doesn’t make it true. And more importantly, we should always follow the truth, no matter where it takes us.

I’ll start by laying down some ground rules:

· First, truth rules over all

· Second, God’s word is truth.

· Third, God’s word cannot contradict itself.

· Fourth, if something does appear to contradict, we simply do not understand it properly.

Now, how can we solve this apparent problem? We’ll look up what the genealogies the Bible gives us and see what the maximum possible time of bondage would be: Kohath, Levi’s son, lived 133 years (Exo 6:18 ) His son, Amram lived 137 years. (Exodus 6:20)And Moses, Amram’s son, was 80 years old when the Exodus started. (Exo 7:7) 133+137+80 = 350

If you were to look at the genealogies given in Genesis 5:3-29; 7:6; 11:10-26, and add up all the dates, you’d find that Abraham was born in the year 1948 AM (Anno Mundi – Year of the Earth’s creation.)

Abraham’s Birth 1948 AM

Isaac’s Birth (Gen 21:5) 2048 AM

Jacob’s Birth (Gen 25:26) 2108 AM

Jacob was 130 years old when they entered Egypt (Gen 47:9) 2238 AM

Ok, now we can start uncovering some truths:

Galatians 3:16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. 17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.

What was Paul trying to say? Well, from the time of Abraham’s covenant with God to the giving of the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai was 430 years. My opinion is the “His Seed-but as of One” is talking about Isaac. Here’s the verse about that covenant,

GENESIS 12:1 Now the LORD had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. 2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” 4 So Abram departed as the LORD had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. (NKJV)

Ok, you might be thinking, ‘Oh! Abram was 75 when the covenant was established.’ But that’d be wrong. The verse says; Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. Not, “He was seventy five when he received the covenant.” So, how old was he? Well, in other places in scripture, (Genensis 11:13, 15:7, Nehemiah 9:7) it tells us that God brought Abram out of Ur before he brought him out of Haran. This fact wasn’t lost on the earliest members of the early church. Stephen said,

ACTS 7:2 And he said, “Brethren and fathers, listen: The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, BEFORE he dwelt in Haran, 3 and said to him, ‘Get out of your country and from your relatives, and come to a land that I will show you.'”

Ok, that’s all well and good, but does the Bible tell us how long Abram’s stay in Haran lasted? Thankfully, Genesis 15 helps us understand the answer,

GENESIS 15:13 Then He said to Abram: “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. 14 And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions. 15 Now as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age.

Now, you’re probably thinking, ‘But wait, where did those thirty years go to?’ Who was Abraham’s heir to the covenant? Isaac was,(Gen 17:19) he was the child by whom God continued the covenant. So, the starting period of the phrase, “Your descendants will be strangers in a land not theirs”, starts with Isaac’s birth. Not the enslavement of Israel. If Isaac was born 2048 AM, and Abraham was 100 years old when he was born, then the thirty “missing years” aren’t missing at all, God gave the covenant when Abram was about seventy, and then reaffirmed it thirty years later, but He was still talking about the same point in the future, when he would give the law on mount Sinai.

So, let’s count 400 years from Isaac’s birth to Mount Sinai that gives us the year 2448 AM. So, that takes care of the “400 Vs. 430” problem. But we’re left with another problem; how long were the children of Israel actually in Egypt? As we saw above Jacob and his family entered Egypt in 2238 AM. So subtracting 2238 AM from 2448 AM, and that gives us 210 years! This reconciles all the “apparent” contradictions.

Sadly, a lot of Christians don’t take the time to dig deeper into God’s scriptures, instead they rely on Pastors or Priests to tell them what God “really said” or what he actually “meant.” It’s like we’re in a Revived “Dark Age”, except we have enough information and technology to where we no longer have an excuse.

Now, more than ever, the church has truly become a conglomeration of sheep. We follow every wind of doctrine, We go by what feels right and what will cause the least amount of controversy. We need to grow past this spiritual funk we’re in; we’ve forgotten what really matters, and who really is in charge. We get so hung up on man-made traditions and doctrines; we’ve become a dysfunctional family. All that matters is what God says about his word, not what your pastor thinks, not what the Televangelist preaches, not what your Friends feel, not what your parents say, not even what you believe. God said it that settles it. Do we really want to go against The Almighty creator? Are we that stupid? Well, I once was, I don’t want to go back. Will you wise up, or stay stupid?

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