Drugs are important to understand on every level of life because they can kill us, make us miserable, happy, relaxed, take our pain away and even, in more rare circumstances, cure us of our diseases. They can also drive us to suicide and push marginal people to become mass killers shooting the rest of us up.
Saying drugs are important is an understatement. And ignoring the fact that doctors, medical organizations and pharmaceutical companies, protected by our politicians, practice pharmaceutical terrorism, which is a nice way of saying mass murder, just might get you killed for your ignorance.
What we think about drugs is part of our world view and what societies and civilization makes out of them is telling. The western world has gone to war over drugs and that has meant a war against their own people; making terrorists of governments. Decent civilization has gone down the drain with this war yet countries like Portugal have gone in a more humane direction.
Drugs come from many sources and are of many types. Obviously, some are safer and work better than others. Most drugs are poisonous and thus the medical obsession with the 400-year-old philosophy ‘the dose makes the poison’. However, many drugs are not poisonous, yet it is possible to drown in water and kill oneself with too much oxygen.
There are several major divisions in the drug world. First there are the pharmaceutical drugs, which are mostly mitochondrial poisons. They are divided between prescription drugs and over the counter one’s, that are not any safer than the one’s your doctor prescribes. Just look at the emergency admissions for Tylenol or the death rates from aspirin.
There is a drug — probably sitting in your purse, desk drawer or medicine cabinet — that is widely considered one of the world’s safest painkillers. But over the last decade, it has killed hundreds of Canadians, hospitalized tens of thousands and cost the health-care system tens of millions, a Toronto Star investigation has found.
Natural Allopathic Medicines
Then we have natural medicines like magnesium chloride, sodium bicarbonate, iodine, selenium, CO2, oxygen, sulphur and even hydrogen (just to mention a few) that are used by both doctors and patients at home with little risk of hurt. The definition of these substances as drugs depends on who uses them and how they are used. When injected in ICU they are drugs; when used at home topically or orally they are medicinals where no prescription is needed.
The we have a cross over substances like medical marijuana, which fits in somewhere between a drug, with its own hot spicy toxic effects (that do not kill anyone) and a plant based herbal formula. Marijuana is an extremely powerful medicine with most people being unaware that like all drugs it has side effects. This leads to people consuming more of the drug than they need or that their bodies can handle. Most people feel good consuming marijuana and thus easily become addicted to it. Unfortunately, marijuana’s side effects increase over time. One of its greatest side effects is that marijuana easily deceives the user about its ill effects. That said I am a great proponent of its use and the author of Healing with Medical Marijuana.
Then we have a long list of herbs that have been used since the beginning of time to heal people of what ails them, and pharmaceutical companies have often used herbs as base substances to make their own patented formulations. Herbs tend to nourish life where as synthetic copies tend to hurt us.
Then we have semi natural substances like cocaine, coca leaves, opium, heroin and a whole lineup of designer drugs that can be used medicinally, for recreation or emotional suicide.
Then we have a lineup of very interesting substances called psychedelics. “The biggest misconception people have about psychedelics is that these are drugs that make you crazy,” says Michael Pollan, author of the new book How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence. “We now have evidence that that does happen sometimes — but in many more cases, these are drugs that can make you sane.”
What do psychedelics do to the human mind? “The honest answer: nobody quite understands. We’re really just at the beginning of exploring that frontier. But psychedelics appear to diminish activity in one very important brain network called the default mode network. That network is very involved with operations having to do with our sense of self: how we integrate what’s happening to us in any given moment, with our abiding sense of who we are,” responded Pollan.
“The interesting thing about psychedelics, both LSD and psilocybin — the ingredient in magic mushrooms — is that they take this network offline. When that happens, you have this sensation of ego-dissolution: that your self is evaporating or dissolving. And that seems to lead to new connections in the brain temporarily forming. Your emotion center starts talking directly to your visual cortex, let’s say, and you see things that you’re hoping or fearing. New connections are made that could produce new insights, new perspectives, new ways of looking at the world.”
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Melissa Healy at the Los Angeles Times writes, “Psychedelic drugs’ mind-expanding properties may be rooted in their ability to prompt neurons to branch out and create new connections with other brain cells, new research has found. This discovery may explain why psychedelic drugs appear to be a valuable treatment for a wide range of psychiatric diseases, scientists said. In test tubes as well as in rats and flies, psychedelic drugs as diverse as LSD, ecstasy, psilocybin and ketamine all share this knack for promoting neural “plasticity,” the ability to forge new connections (called neurites) among brain cells. In particular, the drugs appeared to fuel the growth of dendritic spines and axons, the appendages that brain cells of all sorts use to reach out in the darkness and create connections, or synapses, with other brain cells.”
All our customary defenses that we use to deal with life and the world are suspended, for a period of time, when one uses powerful drugs. Though overuse often leads to blind alleys and circular mental pathways these drugs can create an opening, a plastic moment where people can reexamine themselves and get some perspective on their habitual ways of thinking and doing.
Seven years ago, I reported on Ayahuasca, a common drug used here in Brazil and in other parts of South America. Ayahuasca mirrors and reflects what a person brings to it and almost universally has a positive effect even if during its ingestion a person experiences emotional and mental purges that are accompanied by vomiting. After vomiting and such purges people universally experience heightened experiences that can be remembered for a lifetime.
Every experience reveals patterns and degrees of understanding according to the depth of previous experiences and the participants’ level of consciousness. Ayahuascais not a substance that can be defined through a consistency of effect. Ayahuascainteracts with the psychological set of each individual (motivation, attitude, personality, mood, previous experiences) and the structure of the setting.
Only direct experience of Ayahuascacan yield significant information and knowledge about it. Totally subjective in nature, the scientific method, and thus western medicine, are not appropriate reference points for its understanding or use in healing. For sure it has the capacity to confront people with themselves and in this there is no equal when taken under optimum conditions.