Discussion in 'Herbs & Kures' started by jjl, Jul 9, 2017.
Psychol Med. 1976 Nov;6(4):649-57.
Urinary dimethyltryptamine and psychiatric symptomatology and classification.
Rodnight R, Murray RM, Oon MC, Brockington IF, Nicholls P, Birley JL.
The excretion of dimethyltryptamine (DMT) was studied amongst 122 recently admitted psychiatric patients and 20 normal subjects. DMT was detected in the urine of 47% of those diagnosed by their psychiatrists as schizophrenic, 38% of those with other non-affective psychoses, 13% of those with affective psychoses, 19% of those with neurotic and personality disorders and 5% of normal subjects. Ninety-nine patients were interviewed in a semi-standardized fashion, and also categorized according to a variety of operational definitions of the psychoses. The operational definitions failed to reveal any group significantly more correlated with urinary DMT than a hospital diagnosis of schizophrenia, but a discriminant function analysis of symptomatology could be used to define a group of 21 patients of whom 15 (71%) excreted detectable DMT. There was a general relationship between psychotic symptoms and urinary DMT, but specifically schizophrenic symptoms did not appear to be major determinants of DMT excretion.
Tripping on Peyote in Navajo Nation
A journalist exploring psychedelics’ therapeutic potential participates in a ceremony of the Native American Church
By John Horgan on July 5, 2017
In 2002, on assignment for Discover Magazine, I participated in a peyote ceremony of the Native American Church. I’ve been recalling this extraordinary experience lately because I’ve been in contact with the man who arranged it, psychiatrist John H. Halpern, an authority on psychedelics, whom I met while researching my 2003 book Rational Mysticism. Below is the article I wrote for Discover about the peyote trip, Halpern and the therapeutic potential of psychedelics. See "Further Reading" for a link to Halpern's peer-reviewed article on long-term peyote consumption. Keep an eye on this space for a Q&A with Halpern. John Horgan
Even with several tablespoons of peyote in me, by three in the morning I'm fading. For almost six hours I have been sitting in a tepee in the Navajo Nation, the largest Indian reservation in the United States, with 20 Navajo men, women, and children. They belong to the Native American Church, which has 250,000 members nationwide. Everyone except the four children has eaten the ground-up tops, or buttons, of peyote, Lophophora williamsii. U.S. law classifies the squat cactus and its primary active ingredient, mescaline, as Schedule 1 substances, illegal to sell, possess, or ingest. The law exempts members of the Native American Church, who revere peyote as a sacred medicine.
A barrel-chested man wearing a checked shirt and cowboy boots stands over the cedarwood fire and murmurs a prayer in Diné, the Navajo language. As this roadman, or leader of the service, sprinkles sage on the coals, my eyelids close. I smell the sage and hear it hiss, and I see the roiling geometric patterns, called form constants, generated by compounds such as mescaline. Then the balding white man on my right nudges me and tells me to keep my eyes open. The Navajo might be offended, he whispers, if they think I have fallen asleep. Later, he shakes his head when I lean on an elbow to relieve the ache in my back. Too casual, he says.
My guide to the etiquette of peyote ceremonies is John H. Halpern, a 34-year-old psychiatrist from Harvard Medical School. For five years he has been coming here to the Navajo Nation—27,000 square miles of sage-speckled desert stretching from northern Arizona into New Mexico and Utah—to carry out a study of peyote. Funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the study probes members of the Native American Church for deficits in memory and other cognitive functions. Halpern has brought me here to help me understand him and his mission, which is to provoke a reconsideration of the pros and cons of hallucinogenic drugs, commonly referred to as psychedelics.
Coined in 1956 from the Greek roots for "mind revealing," the term psychedelic refers to a broad range of drugs that include peyote, LSD, and psilocybin, the primary active ingredient in so-called magic mushrooms. Three decades ago the federal government shut down most research on psychedelics, and the Journal of the American Medical Associationwarned that they can cause permanent "personality deterioration," even in previously healthy users. Halpern says this blanket indictment is "alarmist" but agrees that there are documented dangers associated with the recreational use of the drugs. When ingested recklessly in large doses, psychedelics can generate harrowing short-term experiences, and they can precipitate long-term psychopathology in those predisposed to mental illness. Nonetheless, more than 20 million Americans have tried a psychedelic at least once, and 1.3 million are users of the drugs, by far the most popular of which is now MDMA, or Ecstasy. Halpern undertook his peyote research in part to test persistent fears that those who repeatedly use psychedelics run a high risk of brain damage.
While recognizing that psychedelics are toxic substances that should not be treated lightly, Halpern thinks some of the drug compounds could have beneficial uses. "There are medicines here," he says, that could prove to be "fundamentally valuable." He hopes the mind-revealing power of psychedelics can be harnessed to help alleviate the pain and suffering caused by two deadly diseases that have long been notoriously resistant to treatment: alcoholism and addiction. More than 12 million Americans abuse alcohol, and another 1 million abuse cocaine or heroin.
Halpern's conviction that psychedelics might help alcoholics and addicts is based both on research by others and on his personal observations of members of the Native American Church. Although Indians in central and northern Mexico, peyote's natural habitat, have ingested it for spiritual purposes for thousands of years, only in the last century did this practice spread to tribes throughout North America in the form of rituals of the Native American Church.
All the subjects of Halpern's research are Navajo, who account for roughly 10 percent of the church's membership and hold key leadership positions. Even though tribal leaders have banned alcohol from their reservation, alcoholism is still rampant. For the Navajo and other tribes, rates of alcoholism are estimated to be more than twice the national average. Those in the Native American Church say their medicine helps keep them sober and healthy in body and mind, and Halpern suspects they are right.
He first took peyote himself five years ago, shortly after presenting his research plan to leaders of the Native American Church. "It would have been supremely insulting to them if I didn't try it. So I tried it." Halpern also hoped that firsthand experience would help him understand how peyote ceremonies might benefit church members. He checked beforehand with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, which told him that it would not object to peyote use by non-Indians for serious scientific, educational, or journalistic purposes. Halpern has participated in five services in all, including the one we both attend, and these experiences have imbued him with respect for the Indians and their faith. When I expressed curiosity about the ceremonies, he said the best way to appreciate them is to participate in one. He warned me that the ceremonies are in no way recreational or fun, and our session in Arizona bears that out.
Like most Native American Church services, this one has been called for a specific purpose—in this case, to help a wife and husband burdened with medical and financial problems, all too common on the reservation. Except for Halpern and me, everyone is a friend or relative of this couple; some have traveled hundreds of miles to be here. The meeting lasts for 10 hours with only a single 10-minute break, and it unfolds in a rhythm of rituals: smoking tobacco rolled in corn husks; singing hymns in Diné or other Native American languages to the pounding of a deerskin drum; eating peyote and drinking peyote tea passed around in bowls, three times in all....(finish reading article here) https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/tripping-on-peyote-in-navajo-nation/
~AND THE SOURCE IS IN YOU~
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