Sep 27

Ecstacy 100% Proven To Kill Cancer Cells

Now you can add another to your checklist of reasons to go to Club Space this weekend: a modified super-version of the club drug ecstasy has been “100% proven” to kill all blood related cancer cells.  Back in 2006 when they started these experiments, they determined that in huge doses, ecstasy and antidepressants proved to shut down the already cancerous cells and prevent them from continuing their toxic growth.  But the downside was, the doses of both would have to be in such high amounts that it would be lethal to the patient. Scientists at The University Of Western Australia have chemically modified ecstasy so that some atoms were taken away and replaced with others.  Lead researcher Professor John Gordon, from the University of Birmingham, told the BBC: “Particularly the leukemia, the lymphoma and the melanoma, where we’ve tested these new compounds we can wipe out 100% of the cancer cells in some cases.”  So now, what would normally take 100mg of ecstasy to do the job (and would kill you) they can do in 1mg.

But don’t get too excited yet, because these are just test tube results.  Before doctors would ever start prescribing it, it would need lengthy testing on both animals and humans before it would be mainstream.  Last year I also wrote a story titled “About To Die?  Just Get High!” which talked about how the main ingredient in magic mushrooms called psilocybin calmed even the most terrified nerves of terminal patients.   So basically drugs are wonderful for you in the right circumstances.  But don’t get too excited just yet, according to scientists, BBC and other estimates, it could take up to 10 years until ecstasy becomes mainstream in the medical treatment world.  But still, extremely good news and a huge step into fighting cancer.


Stolen from here - http://sflchronicle.com/news/health/2011/08/ecstacy-100-proven-to-kill-cancer-cells/


Legal Highs, Herbal Highs, Research Chemicals, Salvia, Kratom, Herbal Blends and more from Polatzo Head Shop



Apr 5

Buy One Get One FREE ON MPA / MDAI COMBO!!! Pineapple Express, Groove-E and Blurberrys NOW IN STOCK!!


This week we’ve got a fantastic combo offer on Methiopropamine (MPA) and MDAI. Basically buy 1g MPA and get 1g MDAI FREE!! Buy 2g MPA and get 2g MDAI FREE!! And so on up to 25g orders!!

- This offer ends Sunday 10th April.
- To get the free MDAI you must buy the MPA. The offer doesn’t work the other way round!!


We’re also well happy to introduce some new products from the Herbal Highs Co…….Groove-E and Blurberrys have been add to our Party Pills page and Pineapple Express as been added to our Herbal Blends page and comes highly recommended!!


That’s all for now!!

Lots of Love from Enriqo Polatzo and team!!


Legal Highs, Herbal Highs, Research Chemicals, Salvia, Kratom, Herbal Blends and more from Polatzo Head Shop



Mar 10

INTERVIEW WITH A KETAMINE CHEMIST Or to Be More Precise, an Arylcyclohexylamine (Methoxetamine) Chemist

The chemical structures of the eight most commonly encountered arylcyclohexylamines.

There are medicinal chemists who work on an unseen side of the pharmaceutical industry. Like their legally sanctioned counterparts, they work to synthesize drugs they hope will produce therapeutic effects in their users. But they do not work with billion-dollar budgets or advertising agencies; doctors are not bribed to distribute their products with ergonomic pens or fine terrycloth beach towels. Their advertising comes solely from word of mouth and semicautionary articles like the one you are about to read.

The creation of these chemicals is an extraordinary feat of interdisciplinarity; often the pharmacologist, the chemist, the posologist, the toxicologist, and the experimental animal are all the same human being. This is the way drugs have been developed since the beginning of medical history—it is only in recent years that the practice of self-experimentation has become stigmatized, and accordingly these experimenters, like M., must remain shrouded in mystery.

M. is one of the most respected chemists in his underground field. Singlehandedly, he has popularized and discovered numerous novel drugs for gray-market distribution. His most recent investigation of ketamine and its chemical variations produced a new dissociative anesthetic named methoxetamine, which has recently made its way into the nostrils and anuses of lay experimenters worldwide. Methoxetamine is an exemplary product of rational drug discovery; each of its atoms is the result of arduous study and consideration, all created independently on a minuscule budget. But the success of drugs like methoxetamine does not entail great profits for their inventors. Indeed, it is they who wring their hands most over the unknown fate of the chemicals they conceive. Herein we shall explore the great bioethical quandary faced by the underground medicinal chemist.

Vice: How did your interest in the chemistry of dissociatives begin?
Well, when I was a young boy, only 13, I was badly hurt in an IRA bombing in London. My left hand had to be amputated after the explosion, and I knew I’d lived through a psychological stress that most people cannot even conceive. I would definitely say this triggered my interest in altered states. When you lose a limb, especially when the limb is exposed to serious trauma before the loss, there is a significant chance you’ll be left with an agonizing phantom limb.

Right, treatment for phantom limb has been one of the great riddles of neuroscience. Have you tried Ramachandran’s mirror-box therapy?
Oh yes, I’ve read Phantoms in the Brain and tried an awful lot of things. It’s a complete bastard to treat. God knows how many drugs I’ve been prescribed. Antidepressants, anti-epileptics, muscle relaxants—none of them really worked. For the worst excesses of phantom-limb pain, traditional painkillers like opiates don’t even touch it. You might as well not even bother with them. I was prescribed high doses of pethidine [also known as Demerol] but returned the bottle to my doctor because it wasn’t doing me any good whatsoever. When I came back, my doctor was agog. He said, “Nobody returns pethidine!” The pain involved can be so bad as to effectively detach your mind from consensus reality. Without suitable analgesia I end up looking like a psychiatric inmate, just rocking backward and forward, unable to do anything, sometimes for more than a day. All that considered, anything that does work is an absolute godsend.

And what works?
I discovered a long time ago that ketamine and cannabinoids helped my phantom hand. I’m quite convinced these classes work by distorting body image so severely that you phase out triggers for the pain. I have experienced profound proprioceptive distortions after intramuscular PCP injection, as if my whole body were a proportional model of the sensory homunculus. But in a sense, what I feel is not hallucination or a distortion, I actually find dissociatives corrective, that is, they make the phantom disappear. This is not just an idiosyncratic response on my part; there are at least three articles published on the effectiveness of ketamine in treating phantom-limb pain. It’s dished out by British pain-management clinics for just that purpose in the form of a nauseatingly artificial lemon-flavored linctus. Needless to say, the whole lot of it gets squirted up the arse to bypass my taste buds, but even this has its drawbacks… like sticky, sugary bum cheeks!

Fascinating. I had never considered the possibility that ketamine’s therapeutic effect on phantom limb is psychogenic—like a proprioceptive antihallucination. Recently there was an experiment done with ketamine and the rubber-hand illusion. Subjects given a ketamine infusion could feel the rhythmic strokes of a motorized paintbrush on a rubber hand in their visual field, as if the rubber hand were their real hand. So ketamine can both remove and embody an illusory appendage. Your background is in mainstream pharmacology, studying phenmetrazine2 analogs, correct?
Yes, after receiving a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry I was working on my masters in neuropharmacology. I synthesized an array of phenmetrazine analogs and quantified their potency as anorectics. But in order to do these experiments, you’ve got to kill rats. They train you to use noble words like sacrifice, but truthfully they just get a lab technician to smash the rat’s head open, or cut it in half with a pair of scissors. My conscience couldn’t hack it. So I became a teacher.

You did what?
I taught neurobiology as part of my postgraduate degree. But then I transitioned from academia into the sort of independent research I’m doing now.

You were the first person to report on the effects of synthetic cannabinoids like JWH-018, long before Spice Gold, and the first to comment on desoxypipradrol, 1-ethynylcyclohexanol, 5-APB, and methoxetamine. You have your finger in many pies… so to speak.
After receiving my degree I was just talking to people with similar interests, and I got to know a lot of people who had their expertise on the organic-chemistry side of things. Often these people were looking for somebody from a pharmacology background to suggest promising drugs, and it all went from there. As far as my own synthetic chemistry goes, I hung up my Leibig condenser a long time ago due to police visits and galloping paranoia, and, most important, I promised my ex-partner I would leave that life behind before we got hitched. She is a clinical toxicologist so she knows all too well what kind of damages these reckless behaviors can incur.

Methoxetamine: not just your average recreationally dissociative phantom-limb drug.

There is definitely a demand for pharmacologists who can suggest novel structures. Some research chemical vendors keep a group of PhDs on hand to act as advisers in the selection and synthesis of new drugs.
Well, I have been researching compounds and suggesting ones that would possibly be interesting to have synthesized for one company. I was participating in an investigation of the structure-activity relationships of a whole range of arylcyclohexylamines, along the same lines as Alexander Shulgin’s research group, and it was all going swimmingly. I was putting all my thinking into the aryl and amino substitutions of PCP and ketamine-like dissociatives, some of which are very, very promising.

Which ones specifically?
3-MeO-PCP and 3-MeO-PCE are simply incredible drugs. They have a true capacity for healing, as the 3-methoxy group infers µ-opioid receptor affinity3 and removes the manic pressure of thought that can make PCP quite a disturbing and unpleasant drug. With the 3-methoxys there is such incredible laughter and boundless sexual energy. 3-MeO-PCP produces an inner stillness as if all the leaky naggings of the subconscious are completely muted. At 15 mg I felt 3-MeO-PCP was possibly the most amazing drug I had ever consumed, and 3-MeO-PCE seemed to have the full capacity to be the next LSD. It’s a barrel of laughs, with none of the shambolic lurching of ketamine. I felt as if I was Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau in a world of desperately struggling Charlie Chaplins. I laughed until I had tears rolling down to my thighs! The arylcyclohexylamines have a tremendous therapeutic potential, but they have a great abuse potential as well.

Yes, it would seem methoxetamine has already been welcomed with open arms.
The methoxetamine molecule was something I had floating around in my head for about three years. I just knew it would really be something fantastic; it contains every necessary functional group to produce the perfect dissociative. I felt it would be like a stress-free version of ketamine. Eventually I found someone who was interested and made a small batch, and when I tested it… I was blown away. It doubtless has great potential as an antidepressant. A vendor took interest and synthesized a batch for public distribution, and it took off. Now there are all kinds of fake variations for sale, tiletamine4 analogs and whatnot. The popularity was not a surprise, but I was surprised by the willingness of Chinese laboratories to synthesize it. A few years ago Chinese labs would not produce arylcyclohexylamines under any circumstances. In China, those suspected of trafficking large quantities of ketamine are executed.

In Singapore, ketamine dealers face 15 strokes of a brine-soaked rattan cane to the bare buttocks… probably in addition to execution. Risky business. When you were working with these things you had a psychotic episode of some sort—what exactly happened?
I felt it was my responsibility to test these chemicals for toxicity in a large variety of doses. It is simply not ethical to give untested drugs to other people—it’s the equivalent of throwing an unknown substance into phase IV clinical trials. I was acutely aware these arylcyclohexylamines had the potential to become extremely popular drugs. For a period I was also using methoxetamine daily to treat my phantom-limb pain, and that had clouded my judgment. Lastly, I was in a difficult place because my beloved cat, Nesbitt, a pet I had all of my adult life, had just died. He was 22 years old and I knew it was coming but it really affected me badly. I was indulging in a lot of self-destructive behaviors without actually realizing it, so I tested a 50-mg intramuscular dose of 3-MeO-PCP, and, well, I ended up in what I have been told was a catatonic state.

The death of a beloved pet is always very difficult.
My partner came home and found me, or at least my mind, somewhere past Alpha Centauri. The first thing I remember is riding in an ambulance, being asked all sorts of questions by paramedics about what it was and how much I’d taken. In their opinion I was a fruit loop. As I later found out, they also thought I’d tried to commit suicide after finding some printed pages full of vitriolic rants in a drawer next to my computer. It took bloody ages for them to believe that the rants were written years ago as a form of therapy where you put down your feelings in writing in order to exorcise said feelings. It was three weeks before I convinced them I was not a suicidal maniac, but rather that I was a pharmacologist investigating the structure-activity relationship of 3-methoxylated arylcyclohexylamines… That was one they’d never heard before.

So why did they section you for three full weeks?
At first I was a bit, well, not quite totally with it because of the side effects of the drugs. Also I think they looked at the medical reports and saw PCP and thought, “Oh my God!” But during medication time they started to notice I was not behaving like the rest of the patients and eventually came to the conclusion that maybe there wasn’t that much wrong with me. I did feel a bit like Randle McMurphy. Let me tell you that if you ever think you’re going insane, try a fortnight in a secure psychiatric ward! I encountered real crazies there, which in comparison with, I’m just a tad eccentric.

And what happened when you were released?
That was the final straw for my partner, and she said she would not sit idly by and watch me self-destruct. When I came home she was gone, Nesbitt was still dead, and all of the arylcyclohexylamines I had been researching had been confiscated and destroyed.

That’s really terrible. Alexander Shulgin always felt that the dissociatives had no use as psychotherapeutic drugs, and John Lilly found that even when you think the effects of ketamine have worn off there is a lingering undercurrent of dissociation that prevents you from reaching baseline.
And despite the fact that I knew all of that, I still ignored what should have been indicators that I was slipping. The arylcyclohexylamines light up too many of the reward systems in the brain, with the dopamine-reuptake inhibition, the NMDA antagonism, and the µ-opioid affinity. They lend themselves to abuse and escape to fantasy. I used to find myself raving about chemicals I had only tried once or twice, saying they were Huxley’s soma or moksha, or Polidamma’s Nepenthe. I’ve come to realize that dissociatives have a really dark side to them that classic serotonergic psychedelics don’t.

Right. One methoxetamine user reported a dissociative-identity-disorder-esque psychotic episode. He impulsively fondled a stranger’s breasts, as if controlled by an external force. A nearly identical breast-fondling automatism was reported by John Lilly under the influence of ketamine. Perhaps the suppression of a breast-honking impulse is mediated by the NMDA receptor.
There’s a scientific study for you! We still have much to learn about the human brain. 

Pyschonaut John Lilly constructed this ketamine dose-to-response curve and wrote of his experiences (speaking in the third person): “Later John was to find that there was a small residual effect that lasted several hours. The falling curve did not go completely to zero. The overvaluation trap would be found much later to be caused by this small residual effect unnoticed in the first set of experiments.”
Copyright 1988, 1997 by John Lilly.
From The Scientist: A Metaphysical Autobiography, John Lilly, MD, by permission of Ronin Publishing, Berkeley, CA. www.roninpub.com.

How would you advise people who experiment with methoxetamine to proceed?
If people had responsibility, that would be enough, but some people just don’t know the meaning of the word responsible and you see train wrecks happen all the time. There have already been methoxetamine hospitalizations from a few people who overdosed, and there was a suicidal girl who went to her mate’s flat, picked up a bag of unknown powder, and decided to kill herself with it, not knowing that it was methoxetamine. She wasn’t harmed, but it ended up in the papers. And you know, I’ve just recently seen in Sweden someone who intravenously injected methoxetamine and MDAI and died.

Wait, what was this?
Somebody in Sweden injected 100 mg of methoxetamine and 400 mg of MDAI.

And this person died?
Yeah, there were cardiac problems, and the person died. Just knowing that if it weren’t for my involvement, methoxetamine would have never reached the market. It leaves more than an awful taste in your mouth. You cannot help but feel like, “If I hadn’t opened my mouth in the first place, this never would have happened.” But people have contacted me to say thank you because methoxetamine helped them. I know some people have found relief from depression that nothing has ever touched before. Methoxetamine’s anti-depressant effect is immediate, and it lasts a bloody long time. It could banish an emotional blight on people’s lives, and it has a dose low enough that it should not harm the urinary bladder like ketamine. There is a big positive side to it, but when something negative like an overdose happens, you can’t help but feel like crap about the whole thing.

I asked the chemist David Nichols how he felt about the deaths and amputations related to 4-MTA and Bromo-Dragonfly and he said he was “deeply disturbed.”
You’ve got to be disturbed unless you have some psychotic trait in your personality. I just know I caused this: I am responsible for a human death. In a way, it’s the burden to bear for anyone who brings a drug to the market. I mean, think about thalidomide. It still gets used to treat leprosy, or Hansen’s disease I think it’s called now. I bet if the chemist Wilhelm Kunz is alive, he still has nightmares about all of the birth defects that occurred in the 60s no matter how much good it does for people with leprosy. Those are the things that feed nightmares.

You never know. The chemist Louis Fieser felt no guilt for the invention of napalm.
Yeah, but then again one percent of the population have psychotic personality disorders and they feel no empathy or guilt and they can do things like that. Just like I said with the postgrad research, killing the animals was too much for me to deal with.

You shouldn’t blame yourself; all technological innovations have the capacity to hurt people.
Well, it’s my good Catholic guilt. You can take the boy out of Catholicism but you can’t take the Catholicism out of the boy, and I just look for things to feel guilty about at times. You can take the boy out of 3-methoxylated-arylcyclohexylamines but you can’t take the 3-methoxylated-arylcyclohexylamines out of the boy, they say… Ay, let’s hope that’s not the case.


Stolen from here - http://www.viceland.com/int/v18n2/htdocs/interview-with-ketamine-chemist-704.php?page=1


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Dec 16

Miley Cyrus’ smoking salvia boosts sales!!

Miley Cyrus may have bolstered the sale of hallucinogen salvia after she was reported smoking the herb last week. Stores said sales of the herb have tripled after the video showing Cyrus with a bong was released online.

In a video obtained by entertainment Web site TMZ, Cyrus can be heard saying she was having a “bad trip” after spotting a lookalike of Hemsworth. Reports say that the teenage star was hallucinating after she smoked salvia, a herb known to have psychedelic effect.

Miley was not doing anything illegal. Salvia can be legally obtained in the state of California where the incident  allegedly occurred.  At the time the video was taken, Miley was already of legal age.

According to TMZ, sales of the herb salvia divinorum increased with people just walking in the stores and asking for the “stuff that Miley Cyrus was smoking.”

Salvia belong to the same family as mint. The herb can be smoked like a cigarette, chewed, or smoked in a pipe or bong as what Miley did. It produces an intense effect similar to marijuana and LSD, which is the reason why sellers say that salvia should only be tried once because of its intense effect.


Buy Salvia Here - http://www.polatzoheadshop.co.uk/salvia/


FORMER defence secretary Bob Ainsworth was today accused of backing the legalisation of drugs so that he can feed his insatiable desire for psychedelic freak-outs.

Ainsworth became defence secretary just so he could get his hands on cheap Afghan smack

Ainsworth, who oversaw drugs policy under Tony Blair, said the war on drugs was unwinnable because, you know, it was his job to think about that kind of stuff.

Sighing heavily, he added: “Do I really have to explain this?

"Okay. I used to work in a big building in London where there were lots of people who knew about drugs and I would have meetings with them and actually listen to all the different things they were saying to me. And that’s pretty much it."

But Ainsworth was immediately dismissed by his Tory successors at the Home Office who claimed he was a typical LSD fiend, hungry for his next freaky trip.

Crime prevention minister, James Brokenshire, said: “Look at his moustache and his Woolworths spectacles. He loves drugs.

"In fact I would go so far as to say that his choice of tie demonstrates that he is clearly mashed off his big hippy tits. Probably on funky mushrooms."

He added: “Keep well away from him as he will try and coax you into his camper van and offer to paint swirly patterns on your belly.”

Mr Brokenshire then described decriminalisation as a ‘simplistic solution that fails to recognise the complexity of the problem’ before drifting off the subject and staring at his feet until he suddenly pointed towards the window and screamed ‘OH MY GOD, WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT?’ and ran out of the room.


Stolen from here - http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/society/ainsworth-a-%27classic-lsd-fiend%27-201012163357/


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Dec 7

Kate: I’m taking Horny Goat Weed

KATE MOSS is taking a supplement which makes goats randy.

Broody ... Kate Moss
Broody … Kate Moss

The supermodel is on a Chinese aphrodisiac known as Horny Goat Weed in the hope of falling Keith Cheggers.

Kate, trying for a baby with fella JAMIE HINCE, was given the tip-off by pal SADIE FROST. A source said: “Kate thought it was worth a go, even though she killed herself laughing at the name of it.”

Horny Goat Weed - also known as Yin Yang Huo - is extracted from a Chinese mountain plant which improves reproductive health.

Now all she has to do is quit fags.


Stolen from here - http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/bizarre/3258001/Kate-Moss-Im-taking-Horny-Goat-Weed.html


Find Horny Goat Weed in a our LOVE section here - http://www.polatzoheadshop.co.uk/ethnobotanicals-herbalhighs/love/

Nov 8


We’ve been waiting a while for this one but it’s now landed and we’re pleased to say 4-MeO-PCP is now in stock!!

BUY 4-MeO-PCP HERE – http://www.polatzoheadshop.co.uk/research-chemicals/4-meo-pcp/


Here’s a little info from Wiki…….

4-Methoxyphencyclidine (4-MeO-PCP) is a dissociative anesthetic drug with hallucinogenic and sedative effects. It is around the same potency as ketamine, but has slightly different effects due to its altered binding profile at various targets, particularly being somewhat more potent as an NMDA antagonist while having around the same potency as a dopamine reuptake inhibitor”

> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4-MeO-PCP


4-MeO PCP is a Research Chemical Sold Not For Human Consumption

Nov 1

Drug experts say alcohol worse than crack or heroin

Alcohol is a more dangerous drug than both crack and heroin when the combined harms to the user and to others are assessed, British scientists said Monday.

Presenting a new scale of drug harm that rates the damage to users themselves and to wider society, the scientists rated alcohol the most harmful overall and almost three times as harmful as cocaine or tobacco.

According to the scale, devised by a group of scientists including Britain’s Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs (ISCD) and an expert adviser to the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), heroin and crack cocaine rank as the second and third most harmful drugs.

Ecstasy is only an eighth as harmful as alcohol, according to the scientists’ analysis.

Professor David Nutt, chairman of the ISCD, whose work was published in the Lancet medical journal, said the findings showed that “aggressively targeting alcohol harms is a valid and necessary public health strategy.”

He said they also showed that current drug classification systems had little relation to the evidence of harm.

Alcohol and tobacco are legal for adults in Britain and many other countries, while drugs such as ecstasy and cannabis and LSD are often illegal and carry the threat of prison sentences.

"It is intriguing to note that the two legal drugs assessed — alcohol and tobacco — score in the upper segment of the ranking scale, indicating that legal drugs cause at least as much harm as do illegal substances," Nutt, who was formerly head of the influential British Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), said in a statement about the study.

Nutt was forced to quit the ACMD a year ago after publicly criticizing ministers for ignoring scientific advice suggesting cannabis was less harmful than alcohol.

The World Health Organization estimates that risks linked to alcohol cause 2.5 million deaths a year from heart and liver disease, road accidents, suicides and cancer — accounting for 3.8 percent of all deaths. It is the third leading risk factor for premature death and disabilities worldwide.

In an effort to offer a guide to policy makers in health, policing, and social care, Nutt’s team rated drugs using a technique called multicriteria decision analysis (MCDA) which assessed damage according to nine criteria on harm to the user and seven criteria on harm to others.

Harms to the user included things such as drug-specific or drug-related death, damage to health, drug dependence and loss of relationships, while harms to others included crime, environmental damage, family conflict, international damage, economic cost, and damage to community cohesion.

Drugs were then scored out of 100, with 100 given to the most harmful drug and zero indicating no harm at all.

The scientists found alcohol was most harmful, with a score of 72, followed by heroin with 55 and crack with 54.

Among some of the other drugs assessed were crystal meth (33), cocaine (27), tobacco (26), amphetamine or speed (23), cannabis (20), benzodiazepines, such as Valium (15), ketamine (15), methadone (14), mephedrone (13), ecstasy (9), anabolic steroids (9), LSD (7) and magic mushrooms (5).

Sep 6

[The Ayahuasca Monologues] •
Comics artist Adam Pollina takes an extraordinary journey into the heart of Colombia’s military Red Zone in search of a legendary shaman. 

This video was recorded at the Third Annual Ayahuasca Monologues, held at Webster Hall in New York City, on November 5, 2009. 

Adam Pollina is a comic book artist and penciller, best known for his work on Marvel Comics’ X-Force comic book. In 1996 he drew the four-issue limited series Rise of Apocalypse, again for Marvel. He has also produced a creator-owned limited series Big Daddy Danger, which was published by DC Comics in 2002.


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Recreational drugs go straight

With a handful of trials showing positive results, from the treatment of cancer to alcohol addiction, could illegal drugs enter mainstream medicine?

FROM the relaxing effects of cannabis to the highs of LSD and ecstasy, illegal drugs are not generally associated with the lab bench. Now, for the first time in decades, that is starting to change.

For almost 40 years, mainstream research has shied away from investigating the therapeutic benefits of drugs whose recreational use is prohibited by law. But a better understanding of how these drugs work in animal studies, and the advancement of brain-imaging techniques, has sparked a swathe of new research. What’s more, clinical trials of MDMA (ecstasy), LSD and other psychoactive drugs are starting to yield some positive results. This could lead to a call for governments to take a new approach to the funding and regulation of research into the potential benefits of such chemicals.

LSD was developed in the 1940s (see “The highs and lows of LSD”, below) but by the 1970s it and many other drugs became classed as schedule 1 in many countries?- described as “abuse” drugs with no accepted medical use. “Research on psychedelics was severely restricted and interest in the therapeutic use of these drugs faded,” says Franz Vollenweider of the neuropsychopharmacology and brain-imaging unit at the Zurich University Hospital of Psychiatry, Switzerland.

The classification of LSD as schedule 1 was a mistake born of “ignorance and taboo”, says Amanda Feilding, director of the Beckley Foundation, a charitable trust that promotes investigation into consciousness and its modulation, based in Oxford, UK.

These kinds of decisions are political not scientific, says Michael Mithoefer, a psychiatrist in Mount Pleasant, California. “When the US Drug Enforcement Agency held hearings about MDMA, the judge ruled it did not meet criteria for schedule 1 and should be schedule 3, so it could be used by physicians but not sold in bars. The DEA administrator put it in schedule 1 despite it not meeting the criteria.”

Despite these hurdles, a number of trials are now under way in the US and Switzerland to investigate the potential of LSD and psilocybin?- the psychoactive component of magic mushrooms?- in helping terminal cancer patients deal with anxiety and depression.

Feilding is also working with David Nutt of Imperial College London on the first UK study using psychedelics for 40 years. Among other things, they are researching how psilocybin can help in recalling distant memories, which they say could help with psychotherapy following trauma.

Meanwhile, in a study at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, funded by the Beckley Foundation, Roland Griffiths and colleagues have seen positive results in their study into the use of psilocybin as an aid to psychotherapy to treat tobacco addiction. At Hanover Medical School in Germany, a team led by Matthias Karst has been investigating whether bromo-LSD?- a non-psychoactive form of the drug?- can be used to treat painful cluster headaches.

Cannabis is already known to have a soothing effect on the symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Canada recently approved the use of Sativex?- derived from cannabis plant extracts?- for relief of spasticity in adults with MS. This week saw the publication of the first study suggesting that smoking cannabis can also reduce neuropathic pain, caused by damage to the nervous system.

Mark Ware and colleagues at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, gave patients suffering from chronic pain one of three different doses of cannabis, or a placebo. On average, patients reported lower pain intensity and a better quality of sleep when they smoked the highest dose of cannabis compared with the placebo, and the reported side effects were minimal (Canadian Medical Association Journal, DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.091414).

“Previous studies have looked at cannabis and pain, but this is the first one I’ve seen looking at smoked cannabis,” says Tony Dickinson, a pharmacologist at University College London. Although there were only 21 participants, and smoking of course raises health issues, the study is nevertheless important, Dickinson says, because neuropathic pain is notoriously resistant to other forms of treatment.

While many drugs could have medical uses, don’t their psychoactive effects limit their use? Feilding doesn’t think so. LSD, psilocybin and MDMA are neither addictive nor dangerous in controlled doses, she argues. Others disagree. “The psychiatric risks of these substances are well known,” says Ken Checinski, who studies addictive behaviour at St George’s, University of London. “There may be a narrow therapeutic window between potential benefits and significant adverse events.”

However, this problem isn’t unique to psychoactive drugs. “We use many things in medicine that can be misused and be very dangerous in the wrong doses,” says Mithoefer. Feilding thinks governments need to see past the stigma of schedule 1 drugs and fund medical research that could be “very valuable”.

Some funding organisations already exist, including the Beckley Foundation, and the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies in the US. Their funds are limited, though. “As research progresses, larger studies will get more expensive and it would be most helpful to have government funding,” Mithoefer says.

His latest study investigated whether MDMA could help people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). MDMA decreases the fear response, so he reasoned it might help people undergo therapy “without being overwhelmed by anxiety while revisiting traumatic experiences”.

Of the 12 patients who received the drug, 10 saw such an improvement in their symptoms that they were no longer categorised as suffering from PTSD, compared with two out of the eight patients who received a placebo (Journal of Psychopharmacology, DOI: 10.1177/0269881110378371).

Government funding may still be some way off, though. For one thing, it is hard to design an effective double-blind trial when the secondary effects of the drug are so well known, says Dickinson. In Mithoefer’s study, for example, all but one of the patients correctly guessed whether they were receiving the placebo or MDMA.

“There is much to be learned and we’re still in the early stages,” Mithoefer says, “but it’s important that the research moves forward so we can establish whether or not [psychoactive drugs] can be safe and effective therapeutic tools.”


Stolen from here - http://www.therapeuticsdaily.com/news/article.cfm?contenttype=sentryarticle&contentvalue=1971366&channelID=29

New Scientist - Sep. 04, 2010


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