Moving the needle forward on psychedelic research.
- Johns Hopkins University's School of Medicine has had a psychedelic research group since 2000.
- Funded by a $17 million donation from a number of private donors, the university will be able to open a new center.
- This comes on the heels of an increasing acceptance of psychedelic research and use.
Can nicotine keep Alzheimer's at bay? Dave Asprey explains how natural drugs can create super humans.
- Nootropics are colloquially known as 'smart drugs' – substances that increase cognitive function in healthy people. The word nootropic is a combination of two Greek words, noos meaning 'mind' and tropein meaning 'towards'.
- Dave Asprey discusses two naturally occurring smart drugs: Caffeine and nicotine. The latter might be a surprise, but while smoking, chewing tobacco and vaping have negative health consequences, there's evidence to suggest microdosing one milligram of nicotine, about 5% to 10% of a cigarette's worth, may protect against Alzheimer's.
- Beyond naturally occurring smart drugs, Asprey discusses aniracetam, a pharmaceutical cognitive enhancer pioneered in Russia that may improve memory input and recall.
Here's how we stop a health crisis before it wreaks havoc on us.
- Alexander Fleming discovered a fungus that produced a chemical that could stop nearly every bacteria in its path.
- The 1950s are known as the Golden Era of Antibiotic Development. However, today, there is a looming superbug crisis because bacteria has mutated whilst we've focused on treating other diseases, such as cancer and heart disease.
- Many companies in the pharmaceutical industry don't want to take on the expensive risk of finding another antibiotic drug. However, a potential superbug crisis may compel us to use tax-break and patent policies to incentivize them to do so.
Michael Pollan explains what goes on during the mental fireworks of a psychedelic experience.
- If your ego had a "location" in the brain, it would be the default mode network, where much of your self-critical mind chatter happens. Taking psychedelics down-regulates this brain network.
- Researchers describe the effect of psychedelics as "letting the brain off its leash", or firing the conductor to let the orchestra play. Without the default mode network acting as a dictator, areas of the brain that don't normally interact meet, producing phenomena like hallucinations and synesthesia.
- An overactive ego may be what punishes those of us plagued with anxiety, addiction and mental health disorders. Psychedelics can have a beneficial effect by temporarily killing the ego, jogging the brain out of negative thinking patterns.
Why did government officials stop psychedelics from reaching mainstream culture?
- In the '60s drugs escape the lab and become a very important ingredient In the creation of the counterculture. Timothy Leary, a psychologist at Harvard in 1960, has something to do with this.
- In Cambridge, he starts the Harvard Psilocybin Project which focuses its research into learning more about this promising drug. Because of its medicinal properties, and apparent positive effect on mental health, Leary believed that everyone should use acid, or psilocybin.
- Richard Nixon called Leary the most dangerous man in America. He felt that LSD and other drugs were sapping the will of American boys to fight in Vietnam.