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After our daughter’s death I was overwhelmed by pain and anxiety. Microdosing home-grown mushrooms helped me cope

It was spring when my wife’s waters broke, three months early. We rushed to hospital, terrified. If our daughter arrived now, she might not survive. If she did, she would probably be plagued by lifelong health problems. Jo spent the next four days in hospital, while we prayed labour wouldn’t begin. But the night after we returned home, Jo’s contractions started and we raced back to hospital. Straight away, a foetal monitor was placed on her tummy. The brisk heartbeat we had been following so closely in the previous days was gone. Our daughter had died.

The train of our life was shunted on to a parallel track. We could see the train we were meant to be on pulling away, passing the milestones – the due date, introducing the baby to our family, the first smiles. But ahead of us now lay despair, guilt, a funeral, photos of our precious girl that some family members could barely bring themselves to look at, and support groups where every story would be more heart-rending than the last. There is no right way to deal with losing a baby, but I would call my coping strategy unusual: I became obsessed with growing magic mushrooms.

I was risking seven years’ jail time and the destruction of my family for what had essentially become a mad hobby

As scientific research goes, it was about as far from a controlled experiment as it is possible to get

Related: 'It makes me enjoy playing with the kids': is microdosing mushrooms going mainstream?

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Esketamine could initially become available through private clinics but potential side effects raise concerns

A ketamine-like drug that could be licensed in the UK as soon as November could transform treatment for severe depression, one of the country’s leading psychiatrists has said.

The drug, called esketamine, which is administered through a nasal spray, would be one of the first “rapid acting” drugs for depression and the first drug in decades to target a new brain pathway.

Related: Radical ketamine therapy could treat alcohol addiction

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Victorian government urged to help fund and establish psychedelic medicine centre

Psychedelic therapy involving magic mushrooms or MDMA to treat mental illnesses could be five years away from regulator approval in Australia and the Victorian government is being urged to make the state a research leader in the field.

The US Food and Drug Administration recently designated the treatment as “breakthrough therapies” following successful medical trials. International trials are finding synthetic magic mushroom therapy is effective in treating depression, anxiety and addiction while MDMA (methyl​enedioxy​methamphetamine) therapy is helping post-traumatic stress disorder sufferers. The treatment could receive US regulatory approval as early as 2021. The UK, Canada, Europe and Israel are also active research hubs.

Related: Psychedelic renaissance: could MDMA help with PTSD, depression and anxiety?

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James O’Shaughnessy’s employer represents firm refusing to cut price of cystic fibrosis drug

Former health minister James O’Shaughnessy has rejoined the PR consultancy Portland, whose clients include a US drug company which is refusing to drop the price of an important cystic fibrosis drug to a level the NHS can afford.

Lord O’Shaughnessy had dealings with the company, Vertex, while he was a health minister from 2016 until December last year. In April last year, he wrote a letter to the company, with fellow minister Steve Brine, asking it to negotiate a “responsible and proportionate” price for the drug Orkambi.

Related: Outrage as cystic fibrosis drug firm posts big profit

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Commons’ health committee warns patients’ expectations are being disappointed

High expectations among the public of the benefits of medicinal cannabis are being disappointed because doctors are unwilling to prescribe it in the knowledge that there is little evidence to stand up some of the claims, according to MPs.

A House of Commons health select committee inquiry says the hopes of patients and families were raised when the government agreed to reschedule medicinal cannabis to make it more available in the light of “the distressing cases of Alfie Dingley and Billy Caldwell” – two children with severe epilepsy whose parents said only the drug gave them respite from seizures.

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The UK market for cannabidiol (CBD), a compound of cannabis, will soon be worth £1bn. But consumers are being conned

Roll up, roll up, ladies and gentleman, and gather around. Do you, your loved one – or family pet – suffer from any of the following conditions? Cancer, epilepsy, diabetes, arthritis, anxiety, menstrual cramps, insomnia, dry skin, psychosis, Alzheimer’s, dementia, anger, depression, ADHD, Crohn’s and IBS, PTSD, opiate addiction, Parkinson’s, pain of any kind, migraine, or canine uptightness? Then it’s your lucky day.

Related: CBD: a marijuana miracle or just another health fad?

Related: What is cannabis oil and how does it work?

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The Guardian - Drugs by Written And Read By Jenny Kleeman. .. - 3w ago

It is the one medicine we reach for whenever our babies are feverish or in pain. What’s the secret of its success?

Read the text version here

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Pharmaceutical known chemically as bremelanotide is aimed at women with low sexual desire disorder or HSDD

Drug regulators in the United States have approved Vyleesi, the latest attempt to come up with a “female Viagra” for women with low sexual desire.

Vyleesi, chemically known as bremelanotide, is said to activate pathways in the brain involved in sexual desire, helping premenopausal women with hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD). It has been developed by Palatin Technologies and licensed to Amag Pharmaceuticals, and is expected to be available from September through select pharmacies.

Related: FDA approval of 'female Viagra' leaves bitter taste for critics

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Ino Moxo, Peruvian choreographer Oscar Naters’s new show, aims to faithfully recreate the ritual experience of taking ayahuasca – so much so the performers took the hallucinogen in rehearsal

How do you imagine a choreographer begins to create a new show? Trying out steps, exploring a chosen theme or taking the cast into the countryside to ingest a powerful hallucinogen?

It was the last approach for Peruvian director Oscar Naters and his company Grupo Integro in the creation of Ino Moxo, a piece of visual theatre inspired by César Calvo’s 1981 novel The Three Halves of Ino Moxo, about a trek into the Amazon to visit a revered ayahuasca shaman. Ayahuasca is an astringent-tasting plant used in traditional healing that has powerful psychoactive effects. All of Naters’ performers had experienced ayahuasca before joining the cast, but they took part in rituals together in preparation for the show, which hopes to go some way to recreating their multisensory experience through a combination of visuals, sound, movement and ritual, making the audience part of the ceremony.

Ino Moxo is at the Purcell Room, Southbank Centre, 15-16 June, as part of Border Crossings’ Origins festival.

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New trials have shown the drug psilocybin to be highly effective in treating depression, with Oakland the latest US city to in effect decriminalise it last week. Some researchers say it could become ‘indefensible’ to ignore the evidence – but how would it work as a reliable treatment?

Lying on a bed in London’s Hammersmith hospital ingesting capsules of psilocybin, the active ingredient of magic mushrooms, Michael had little idea what would happen next. The 56-year-old part-time website developer from County Durham in northern England had battled depression for 30 years and had tried talking therapies and many types of antidepressant with no success. His mother’s death from cancer, followed by a friend’s suicide, had left him at one of his lowest points yet. Searching online to see if mushrooms sprouting in his yard were the hallucinogenic variety, he had come across a pioneering medical trial at Imperial College London.

Listening to music and surrounded by candles and flowers in the decorated clinical room, Michael anxiously waited for the drug to kick in. After 50 minutes, he saw bright lights leading into the distance and embarked on a five-hour journey into his own mind, where he would re-live a range of childhood memories and confront his grief. For the next three months, his depressive symptoms waned. He felt upbeat and accepting, enjoying pastimes he had come to feel apathetic about, such as walking through the Yorkshire countryside and taking photographs of nature.

Related: Magic mushrooms 'reboot' brain in depressed people – study

Related: Magic mushrooms lift severe depression in clinical trial

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