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
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 (methylenedioxymethamphetamine) 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.