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White Fox Medicinals: Where Spirit Meets Medicine

Scarlet Ravin from White Fox Medicinals is offering a new way to discover wellness with holistic healing and Ayurvedic extraction.

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White Fox Medicinals
PHOTOS | White Fox Medicinals

White Fox Medicinals produces strain specific topicals and tinctures that blends CBD and THC with other healing herbs. Reaching into the heart of alchemy, their approach to cannabis and wellness is through preventative medicine and overall health and vitality. Scarlet Ravin is the maven behind the spirit-driven medicine company. We caught up with her ahead of their new product launch party to talk cultivation, holistic healing and Ayurvedic extraction.

Cannabis Aficionado: When did you get the idea for White Fox Medicinals? When did you start that journey?

Scarlet Ravin: I started White Fox Medicinals about maybe ten years ago, twelve years ago, as a holistic health practice. It was called White Fox Holistic and the White Fox is a shapeshifter to me so it’s able to be hidden or seen and as a medicine person then I can shapeshift into what my client needs as medicine that day. So I saw that as that symbolism.

When I moved into cultivating cannabis I transferred that into my topicals and tinctures that I was making for my clients. Which was the birth of White Fox Medicinals, the first cannabis topical tincture line for White Fox.

When you say that it started as a holistic medicine company…?

Oh, holistic health practice. I’m a certified CMT, certified in Shiatzu, acupressure, yoga teacher, Kundalini teacher and I would facilitate massages, but they were also more spirit driven. Physical touch, yes. Psychic stuff too, also, was present. And then tuning into people and making specific herbal remedies for them and then blending that into an oil and then applying that oil during their treatment and then making custom tinctures for their internal situation.

When I found the profound, incredible ability that cannabis has to touch on the mental and spiritual levels where other herbs focus more on the physical. So, when I started adding cannabis I saw a change happen in my clients a lot quicker and a lot more profound than without the cannabis herb inside.

So it was sort of by accident?

Yeah, it was definitely an experiment. I had a couple of patients that were using me consistently and I had always been using herbs and the ones that were open to cannabis. I offered that to them and they received it. Their transformations happened in a completely different manner with their mind being affected and their spirits being affected, having the issues that they’re facing turn around so much more quickly.

And then when the cannabis laws went into legal then I knew I needed another way to pay my income other than growing because that was going to be a null and void option due to legalities. So I created a brand and started promoting the brand to enter into the legal market.

You’re going to come out on the legal market. It seems like you have an expanded idea of these lines, like, there’s more coming, more Ayurvedic formulas. What’s next for White Fox Medicinals?

There’s an amazing famous artist that I’m collaborating with right now who advocates for plant spirit awareness and honoring plants in that realm — him and his wife. I am working directly with Jason Edwards currently and I’m telling him what I want in this blend — all the herbs are to be from India directly and native and my awareness is mostly around native herb in this area. He’s helping me formulate a blend specifically for creativity and mind stamina. So there will be a nice piece of artwork that you can hold in your vape battery and then the formulation will be to boost and enhance creativity with the packaging being designed by him as well. So there will be a really cool artistic pen coming out that’s going to blow peoples’ minds for sure.

That’s awesome. When do you think that’s going to happen?

I think we will have the design prepared and the formulations prepared by end of March which is probably looking at June/July launch into the market.

When you launch your products where are you going to be available initially?

Every dispensary in California! Haha! I don’t know. So my work right now is to gain those preorders.

In general, are you going to be all over California?

I’m working closely to get into MenMen. I’d like to license the brand in New York. I’d like to have it be a national thing and follow the MenMen trail of Las Vegas. So I’m working with a PR guy for that. We’re definitely going to start in the hub. San Francisco will get hit pretty hard. Los Angeles will get hit pretty hard and then we’ll slowly expand out. This area for sure, the Sonoma County area, they’ll all be carrying the product lines.

We have a big launch party [planned]. White Fox is working with Jason [Edwards] has an ancient Ayurvedic extraction facility in India and he’s got a, his business platform is that he goes into these really desolate locations in India where people don’t have jobs or food or money and he gives them the herbs to grow for him and then they grow that and then he pays them to buy that back and extracts them. The formulations for these specific effects in the new vape pen line are directly from ancient Ayruvedic traditions.

I purchase that organic, CO2-extracted oil from him, I bring it back here and add CBD and THC, and then that’s what birthed the vape line which is going to be released on the market at the end of November. And then we’re going to have a White Fox Medicinals launch into legal celebration November 18th at the Great Northern in San Francisco and we’re going to screen a music video that we built as a marketing campaign for the vape line.

The vape lines are for dreams. So, you can smoke the dream pen before bed or actually any time in the day. It will relax you because the THC-to-CBD ratio is for relaxation.  And then the herbs, once you fall asleep, the herbs will give you multiple dreams and you’ll be able to remember them when you wake which has been something that people speak to with cannabis, when smoking cannabis before bed is that they don’t dream anymore. So this was the remedy to be able to maintain that insight from those realms, still satiate yourself with the cannabis spirit and then have that come into your waking life

And then we have two sex pens, one formulated for men specifically, enhance stamina, increase sexual desire and increase sensitivity, both for men and women. Sidecar Tommy who’s a friend – he’s the drummer and producer of beats antique – he wrote a song called White Fox and we filmed a music video to it smoking the pens, and we showed you our dream world and our sexy nightlife world and we’re showing that for the first time at that party.

I’m interested in this nexus point between the spiritual and the medicine and the way that you talk about this word medicine that is not the normal Western way of using the word ‘medicine’. I want to know where that comes from and what, for you, that nexus point really is, besides the fact that you saw it in other people and were able to practice it. What is your personal experience and what are you trying to share?

My goal, my end goal for this life is to be the medicine. So, me showing up in a room is that vibrational medicine that people need to change their life or to have a healing shift. That is my goal. What I see when I say medicine – and I’m talking about the cannabis topical tincture line or the vape line – to me, those are external tools that can bring us to those points in awareness where we see deeper layers of ourselves. We can release past traumas, we can step into our greater power. Through utilizing that practice over and over again, going deeper and deeper and deeper into our own layers the more know ourselves truly and enter into love, truly, and enter into happy thoughts truly then we are the medicine ourselves. Our actions are benefiting in healing the planet.

I honor and love all of these external processes of “let’s heal the planet, let’s clean the ocean”. Yeah, let’s all do that but I believe it starts inside of our own bodies. If you’re truly in love with yourself, and you truly know yourself and know your heart and your soul, you’re not going to litter. You’re not going to not recycle. You’re going to treat the planet with respect because you treat yourself with respect. To me, that’s the healing of absolutely everything in this world, is that we all strive to become medicine.

Working with cannabis and the spirit of cannabis to me, her inside and all the different perspectives she shares with me has led me deeper into knowing myself and deeper into feeling that greater pull to be the medicine myself. I feel that all kinds of external herbal spirits have that ability. Psilocybin, Ibogaine, and Iboga, ayahuasca and peyote – they all have these psychoactive remedies that go into our brain and will actually change thought patterns.

My understanding of life and reality is that our thought patterns are the trajectory of our external life and what we’re seeing and living. So the core seed of how to change your life is in your mind. If we’re having perpetual negative thoughts we’re in a depressed, sad state. If we’re having perpetual happy positive thoughts, we’re in a happy, elated, high spiritual vibration state. It’s rewriting those click-click-click, over and over monkey mind thoughts stopping the negative thoughts because you’re starting to understand how powerful you are. You’re starting to understand nothing external can touch you. You can be whatever you want to be at any moment.

Once you have that realization in your awareness, it’s in your awareness and it’s you. And then you live from that space. That awareness can come from reading a book, it can come from smoking a joint with a friend by the ocean where you get an insight into what that feels like – then you can anchor that insight into your system and it’s a part of you. That’s it, that’s the shift, that’s the healing: you just became a deeper sense of the medicine.

For me, it’s a daily practice of honoring cannabis because I’ve definitely been initiated by her where I’ve over-used her for numbing out and used her to be away from myself.

There are two ways to approach it. We can say we’re using this medicine to go deeper into ourselves. But to get to that space where we are obtaining the insight and the awareness, it’s how we enter into working with the medicine: why are we smoking it today, why are we eating an edible today? Are we numbing out? Then be conscious and aware and real with yourself. I choose to numb out today – that’s OK. It’s here for that, it’s not a negative thing if you’re aware of it.

But if you’re in an unconscious cycle of using and using, then you’re abusing the spirit of the medicine and that’s when she’ll have a backlash in your life. That’s when you’ll have over-eating, that’s when you’ll have laziness, that’s when you’ll have a foggy mind and you’ll get these things because that’s how you’re showing up. She’s going to be that mirror of how you’re showing up to her. If you show up aware and awake and asking for insight and you’re truly honoring her.

Not only that, you’re showing up how you want to be treated I’m guessing in your heart of hearts, you want people to show up in your life where they honor you, they’re not just taking from you. They’re seeing you for your own greatness, they’re not just asking you to do things for them. There’s an energy exchange with everything.

Talk about how the expression of art integrates with that medicine and why music and art are such an important part of this brand for you and why that expression matters.

My packaging is coded with animal symbolism. To me, the powers of the animals that I’m working with are powerful portals into different vibrational places. When I’m sitting with the spirit of the owl it’s a very powerful, poignant, deep psychic spirit that can go in and grab stuff and take it away.

As humans, we have pain, we have ailments we have these things going on that we don’t necessarily like. If we focus on what we don’t like we’re amplifying that. If we focus on the medicine we’re bringing that in. For me, animals came in because I was trying to learn how to – if I have an ailment that’s hurting me and I want to heal that, I didn’t understand how to not focus on that.

Having a spirit animal come in and me focusing on that vibration and knowing that that is coming into my system to cleanse or bring me awareness around that, I’m able to go through the process of sitting with what’s going on and then have a new vibration come in and have that be the shift. They became these portals to me where I could sit in what I wasn’t comfortable with and then feel like I was being supported by spirit.

As a child, I had a really intense father and kind of a mentally absent mom and I was very sensitive. They didn’t understand my sensitivities. When I was a child, sounds physically hurt my body. If something was too loud or a voice or certain tones, I had a lot of physical pain in my head and my body and that was hard to relate to parents. They were like, “Stop being so sensitive, shut up! Stop crying.” So I turned to nature and animals. I had a horse, I connected with my horse. I started talking to the animals. The animals would share love and compassion with me and held space for me, so that when it became time for me to do packaging and thinking about how I wanted to present this to the world my greatest teachers and space holders were animals, my whole life. They always hold this really pure cosmic intuitive knowledge to me that’s so untainted in any facet that it like a fail-proof portal.

Each package will have that on there to resonate with you and for you to sit with while you’re looking at it – sit with the medicine. I give you a presentation of what that animal means to me and why I put it on the package but for me, it’s totally up to creative interpretation. Sit with that animal spirit, sit with that vibration of what that means to you. Close your eyes and then feel what your body feels like when you’re being held by them and you’ll know. You’ll create a knowing that that’s a real thing. Just because you can’t see the animal in front of you with your eyes the symbol is enough, it’s an imprint.

The way I move through the company is by setting a goal and then following my heart. The connection with Sidecar Tommy was that. Siobhan Danger Darwish is a good friend of mine. She invited me to a festival. I had never been to a festival. I was going through a lot of emotional trauma at the time and so a weekend with a girlfriend felt like an amazing idea. I went to the Enchanted Forest festival. Her guide Sidecar Tommy was the headliner and so we got to go backstage before they went on. I met him and I felt who he was and I felt what he was doing with his music and it was totally in alignment with our message. He is here to create a new world with his music and to free peoples’ spirits with the beats. I feel that when I listen to his albums.

Ideas? I don’t know where they’re coming from, I call them Universe. Universe is shooting me an idea and the universe says, “Here’s your collaboration for the vape line”, and so I just asked him, “Hey, you want to sit with me, you want to make a song with me for White Fox Medicinals, for the vape line?” At that point, I didn’t know it was going to be a music video but that was the first step. I went down to his recording studio in Oakland, and we sit and started formulating the song and I started getting visions of how we’re going to use the song.

I didn’t even have the foresight when I initiated the song creation but when I started thinking about how we could use the song I started seeing it would be a portal for people to be able to see our world: how are we using the pens, what does it feel like, what does it look like, what happens to you? Music and vibrations from tunes can go in and take you from any state into another state. I know people feel it. They have their upbeat mix and then they have their calm-down mix.

Vibrations – we’re all energy. Music is focused energy. Effect-driven energy. The vape pens are effect-driven energy. We’re amplifying that.

With White Fox Medicinals, you’re taking the essence of the ancient tradition of true medicine, defining it as a spirit and a state being rather than a thing, like, you take or a thing that you do even. It’s a thing that you be. And then you stack all of the layers of what that is all together and it’s really cohesive and thought out.

Yeah. I want to create multiple pathways for people to get to that place within themselves.

White Fox Medicinals is available online.

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An Old Cucumber Farm Is Now Home to Nevada’s Largest Grow Op

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Flower One
PHOTO | Flower One

An old cucumber greenhouse is now home to  Nevada’s largest state-of-the-art cannabis cultivation and production facility.

Flower One is celebrating day one of its first ongoing harvest of over 100,000 plants at its 400,000 square foot greenhouse and 55,000 square foot processing and custom packaging facility.

The company expects to produce 140,000 lbs (or 62,500 kg) of hydroponically grown dry flower annually.

The announcement signals ever-growing confidence in Nevada’s cannabis industry, which has exploded since the state legalized recreational cannabis in July 2017, making an estimated $608 million in cannabis product sales.

President and CEO, Ken Villazor is proud of what his team has accomplished.

“What a surreal and memorable day for the Flower One team,” said Villazor in a press release. “With a completed production facility, and operations now in full swing, we are proud to have completed Flower One’s inaugural harvest today, initiating our ongoing harvest and paving our ability to become the state’s leading provider of high-quality, hydroponically-grown cannabis.”

Villazor continues, saying they are excited to “witness the complete transformation of Flower One’s greenhouse for cannabis production at scale.”

“Not long ago, this facility was used to grow cucumbers. Growing healthy crops with a significant yield requires a broad team of dedicated professionals to deliver results. To now be able to observe the fully built production capacity – and the significance of our contribution to Nevada’s budding cannabis market – is a huge milestone for Flower One. We could not be happier with the results.”

Since renovations began back in May 2018, more than 138,000 hours of renovation and construction went into converting the building, which is 100 percent canopied.

Watch the project unfold in the timelapse in the video below.

Flower One also owns NLV Organics and operates a 25,000 square-foot indoor cultivation and production facility in Las Vegas with nine grow rooms. Combined, these facilities provide the company’s capacity for high-volume production and processing of flower, extract, and infused products.

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10 Questions: Serge Chistov on the Future of Cannabis

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PHOTOS | The Honest Marijuana Company

In the ever-changing cannabis market, one issue the industry needs to address is becoming paramount: the environmental impact of legal cannabis. At a time when we are concerned about plastic waste and reducing our consumption of the material, we should be using our purchase power to support eco-friendly companies.

The Honest Marijuana Company utilizes all-natural cultivation methods to produce organic and eco-conscious cannabis products. The Colorado-based company packages their products in Earth-friendly recyclable tin cans with pure nitrogen, ensuring the cannabinoids and terpenes remain of the highest quality. The company also recently launched their new Honest Blunts, the first organic hemp-wrapped, machine-rolled cannabis blunts.

Serge Chistov is the financial partner of HMC. He talks to us about what he sees as the future of our ever-changing industry.

Cannabis Aficionado: What is the future of cannabis?

Branded products and repeatable consumer experience will be major industry focuses. The industry is maturing and American consumers now demand quality, innovation, ease of use..anything that has to do with buying your product from Amazon. More and more Americans would vote today for the federal legalization. There will be new products and the same rules will apply to cannabis as they would for other products.

I also think that the hemp extract and some of the other cannabinoids will play an important role in dietary supplements and the overall consumption will be greatly extended with the new generation of products.

What trends are shaping cannabis in 2019?

I think bud smoking will stay with us but be reduced by the innovations and new technologies that deliver cannabis, like properly designed edibles and dissolving pills. Seniors and soccer moms will also become bigger consumer groups in the cannabis industry. Older people who were influenced by the stigma of cannabis are slowly but surely catching on. With soccer moms, right now there is a big conversation about more delivery services in the industry, which may take away the stigma of going into the pot shop and associating with the unknown element.

What technology will have the biggest impact on the cannabis industry?

There will be a new generation of edibles and topicals. I’m talking about a nanotechnological approach that turns non-water-soluble substances like cannabinoids into nano-size so they can be added into transdermal patches, topical lotions, and more for the cleanest, most efficient, healthiest, and most discreet cannabis consumption. This would allow for a smokeable-like effect without the smoking. Products made with nanotechnology are effective, as you don’t need to consume a lot to get the desired effect. It is also healthy because they allow you to obtain medical benefits from cannabis without smoking and sacrificing your health in exchange.

Have we reached peak CBD?

No, I don’t believe so. I think that the hemp extract and some of the other cannabinoids will play a pretty important role in dietary supplements and the overall consumption will be greatly extended with the new generation of products. So no, I don’t think we have reached peak CBD.

Are vape pens going to replace bud smoking? Why or why not?

No, I don’t think they will. They will be an additional method of use. Some people I know who use vape pens are new users or they like the convenience. It is way easier to use a vape pen conspicuously in the public and while traveling. However, I think bud smoking will stay with us, as it is a traditional and long known way of consuming cannabis. It will be reduced by the innovations and new technologies that deliver cannabis, such as properly designed edibles, dissolving pills, oral dissolvable strips — things that will ‘skip the first pass’ of the human body will eventually take a bigger chunk out of the consumers who smoke bud and use vape pens.

How savvy are cannabis consumers when it comes to knowing the different strains?

They are not as savvy as we would want them to be, but they are definitely way savvier than they were five years ago. Consumers are still talking about their perceived values of different strains, without truly realizing that a majority of them are hybrids. There are no specifically unique indicas or sativas — there are indica or sativa-dominant hybrids because a lot of the cannabis genetics in the country are all mix-matched and there was no uniform approach to market them. So, yes, there is a long way to go as far as us educating the consumer. There is still a lot of work to be done.

What demographic do you see having the most growth? Hipsters? Oldsters? Soccer moms?

Seniors and soccer moms will become bigger consumer groups in the cannabis industry. Hipsters have been puffing away and the legalization is just another opportunity for them to experience new ways of consuming and new, improved technological advances. Older people who had a stigma are slowly but surely catching on with cannabis, with the societal changes that are changing that stigma. Baby boomers are a massive demographic. We would love or them to start participating in using cannabis. They are the largest demographic in the country! Obviously, with soccer moms, right now there is a big conversation about more delivery services in the industry, which may take away the stigma of going into the pot shop and being associated with the unknown element. As more and more of the industry develops and allows people to buy cannabis discreetly to use in the safety of their homes, I believe more and more of these demographics will be big participants.

What product is most likely show the most growth: Smokables? Edibles? Topicals?

There will be a new generation of edibles and a new generation of topicals. I’m talking about a nanotechnological approach that would allow for a smokeable-like effect without the smoking. I do believe that that will be huge.

What new challenges will the industry face going forward?

The challenges are the continued regulations, the unknown of the federal legalization, and that we are not in a competitive state. Americans are competitive people and now our hands are tied. Canadians are doing what they’re doing and have all the funding in the world. Compare our industry to the stock deals done out of Canada. Just think about it. They are coming across the border and are able to accumulate resources and opportunities on our land. All of this is strictly funded by privateers, by people with their savings and their reinvested earnings. This is an unfair competitive landscape and I hate the sound of it! We are the ones who are pioneering the industry in Colorado and California and it turns out to be like an old joke — pioneers get shot and settlers are the ones who are making money! It’s not good.”

Is the market going to be more for dispensaries or delivery?

I believe it will be a healthy combination of the two. I believe that there will be an online presence, where the consumer will be able to be educated just like it is right now with any other goods or service industry. Then there will be the consumer who would like to go and actually chat with people who are in the know and in the action, just like you would go and select your wines. In this instance, you go into the store that has a great selection of brands and you will find two or three bottles that you really like, but this does not mean that you would not on occasion order them online just for the convenience of your day to day life. I believe it will be a healthy combination of the two, and it’s for the better.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?

That is a good question! What I know now that I wish I knew when I was starting is that the changing regulations continue changing. I understand that the government is trying to find their footing, but because of this the manufacturers and logistical personnel need to continue changing the packaging and labeling and adjusting how we bring our product to the market. That would be helpful to know and I would have thought by now that the banking system would be more available to the cannabis industry as well, but that is still not happening. Other than that, our expectations were very limited, because starting in the industry was a freedom and an opportunity to finally do what we are passionate about and share that with the rest of the world.

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The Emerging Science of Psychedelic Therapies for Our Wellbeing

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Psychedelic Therapies
PHOTO | Martina

This month, the city of Dever Colorado made the landmark decision to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms. It’s the first U.S. city to do so. More famously known as “magic mushrooms” these intoxicating yet non-addictive fungi grow naturally throughout most of the United States. And yet, psilocybin and psilocin have been illegal in the country since 1969, when the use of psychedelic drugs became widespread in consumer culture.

In Denver, the initiative to decriminalize passed with a narrow margin—50.6 percent of voters approved the bill. Dubbed Initiative 301, the bill makes the personal possession of magic mushrooms among those 21 and older one of the lowest law enforcement priorities. The bill also prevents city authorities from spending money on resources dedicated to prosecuting or pursuing criminal charges against adults who possess or consume the mushrooms.

The recent change not only makes Denver the most psychedelic-friendly city in the United States, but it also represents a major shift in cultural, political, and even medicinal views on mind-altering plants and other natural products. Westerners have found themselves amidst a revived psychedelic therapies renaissance, a renaissance supported by a new wave of scientific research.

A New Psychedelic Renaissance (Yet Again)

This unique time period in Western culture has recently been dubbed the second psychedelic renaissance. All jokes comparing modern-day millennials and free-loving hippies aside, the “second psychedelic renaissance” is, in reality, far from the second. Back in the 1960s and 70s, psychedelics were first introduced to a consumer-focused capitalist culture. Yet, the use of mind-altering plants and periods of intense social drug consumption have dotted history books for generations.

Take, for example, the mid-1800s when European elites had their first taste of hashish. The habit was originally picked up by French soldiers in Egypt, who brought the compressed cannabis resin home with them after the French invasions led by Napoleon Bonaparte. The almost hallucinogenic experiences the hashish provided lead to a slight cultural obsession with hallucinogens among those who could afford the substances, and novelists like the great popularized the hallucinogenic experience through their writings.

As early as 1729, Chinese Emperor Yung Chen issued the first rulings criminalizing the recreational use of opium. While opium is not a hallucinogen, a growing culture of recreational drug use and addiction originally propagated by Portuguese imports of the plant into China inspired Chinese leadership to continue to crack down on opium trade over the next three centuries. It is important to mention, however, that unlike psychedelic drugs, narcotics such as opium come with a high risk of addiction.

These are simply examples from the last three hundred years. And yet, if archeological evidence is any indication, human civilizations across the globe have always had some sort of relationship with psychoactive substances — just recently, archeological researchers in Bolivia found evidence of a 1,000-year-old pouch that contained traces of five different psychoactive plants.

The tradition of medical cannabis consumption in China is thought to date as far back as 2,737 BC when mystical Emporer Shen-Neng is believed to have introduced cannabis and many other plants into medical practice. Shen-Neng is believed to be the father of traditional Chinese medicine, although the medicinal uses of cannabis in China were not recorded until the first or second century A.D.

More recently, however, this old tradition has been reintroduced to Western scientific practice. After medical researchers took a brief hiatus from psychedelic research during the late 70s, through the early 90s, psychiatrists and other medical professionals are once again exploring the opportunities of these unusual and transformative therapies.

For the city of Denver, greater tolerance for psilocybin may provide the first of many long steps toward decreasing barriers for researchers and other psychedelic proponents who hope to develop the medical and spiritual legitimacy of the psychoactive experience.

The Vast Potential of Psychedelic Therapies

The most profound implications of psychedelic medicine lie in the arena of mental health. In 2016, the first magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans provided glimpses into the brain on LSD. Colloquially known as “acid”, LSD is considered a classical psychedelic capable of radically altering cognition and cultivating feelings of harmony and oneness with the universe.

When put under the MRI machine, the brains of those on LSD did something magnificent — they lit up, nearly all the way up. Normally, when the human brain processes visual imagery, very specific regions of the brain activate. These regions are the visual cortex and the visual association areas that normally process information taken in by the eyes.

After an injection of LSD, however, brain scans revealed that networks across the entire organ were activated, linking portions of the brain that do not typically fire together. The psychoactive truly inspired a whole-brain experience. According to the leading scientists on the experiment, those that were given LSD were “seeing with their eyes shut.”

Brain scans of the effects of psilocybin extracted from mushrooms have made similar findings. In 2014, research published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface used functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI) to map the effects of the psychoactive substance on communication pathways between various processing networks in the brain.

Similar to the LSD study, the brains of patients given psilocybin were extra-active. The psychotropic compound caused a marked increase in connections between various networks, transforming normal pathways into a super-highway system with dense web-like construction.

Psychedelics, it would seem, encourage a unique explosion of brain activity that links up previously remote pockets of the mind. This mind-melting may have long-lasting positive effects to boot—research suggests that the “mystical-type” experiences inspired by psilocybin provided some of the most meaningful moments of spiritual significance in the lives of study participants.

Depression

Some of the most groundbreaking research in psychedelic therapies are occurring in the arena of depression. A handful of trials have examined the potential of psychotropic therapies in depression in patients with life-threatening illnesses, yet hallucinogenic therapies may be useful in treatment-resistant depression as well.

In 2017, for example, researchers from Imperial College London found that psilocybin seemed to press the brain “reset” button in patients with clinical depression. The study found that after taking the psychedelic, activation of brain regions responsible for fear and anxiety became less active. Further, the brain’s “default mode”, so to speak, became more stable after treatment.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Back in 2006, a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that psilocybin was effective in reducing the acute symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder. The study, however, only included nine total participants. More recently, however, a clinical trial of psilocybin for OCD is underway at Yale University and the Heffter Research Institute. The trial contains 30 active participants, although the final results will not be published until 2022.

Addiction

Research from 2014 and 2015 tested the effects of psilocybin therapies in patients suffering from tobacco and alcohol addiction. The studies, which were conducted as proof-of-concept trials, found that treatment with the psychoactive compound decreased cravings for alcohol and nicotine for several months after administration. Alcohol cravings were reduced for up to 36 weeks after a psilocybin treatment. Tobacco cravings were also significantly diminished after six months of treatment.

End-of-Life Psychological Distress and Anxiety

Several human studies on psilocybin have been conducted in patients with depression and anxiety associated with life-threatening cancer diagnoses. In one 2016 study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, psilocybin inspired positive changes in mood, depression, and anxiety levels in cancer patients six months after treatment with the psychoactive. An improved mood, however, wasn’t the only benefit reported by the patients. 80 percent of study participants also reported improvements in quality of life, spiritual satisfaction, and improved life meaning.

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