Date: Tue, 28 Oct 1997 12:55:06 -0600 (CST)
From: Jay Hamm <swarm@horizon.hit.net>
To: MAPS Forum <maps-forum@maps.org>

On Sun, 26 Oct 1997, MAPS Forum wrote:

> an ongoing study begun in Summer 1995 comparing MDE,
> methamphetamine, psilocybin, and a placebo.

That must be a pretty impressive placebo. :)

> On the Term "Hallucinogen"
>
> I see that the term hallucinogen has come up more than once already, so
> I suppose I must acknowledge the ever present nomenclature debate:
> please understand that psychedelics are most frequently called
> hallucinogens in medicine, as in the title of the weekend conference.
> Hallucinogen is the accepted terminology in the American psychiatric
> diagnostic manual, for example. It is also an accepted legal term and
> the one used to group many scheduled drugs. The older term
> psychotomimetic was also used in both law and medicine, but much less so
> now. I, too, prefer the less pejorative term psychedelic, but the
> scientific research community at large, for the

Just a side note for those who aren't connected with amateur researchers, enthoegen en-theo-gen (genesis of the god with) is the current preferred term for psychedelics. It also seems to be quite popular with ethnobotanists as it is less perjorative. It also captures the experience as it is most frequently related, talking to god, melding with all, shamanistic trips through death and rebirth, there is a very definite, if greatly ignored spiritual aspect to entheogens. For example, the discussion of ketamine rarely seems to recall that is was used for years in plastic surgery and was restricted to use in animals and small children because people kept having profound religious experiences with it, even when doped up on benzodiazapenes. Very disturbing for potentially shallow clients and those who prey on them.

> most part, seems only willing to discuss these neuromodulators as
> capable of creating models of psychosis, replete with hallucinations.

With the exception of the tropanes, entheogens don't, in "normal doses" produce what can be called "hallucinations" as that term was used in the context of a graduate hypnotherapy class I took. They produce visual disturbances galore, but the person is usually aware that way they are seeing is not what it should be. One of the requirements for a "true" hallucination is that the subject be unable to tell it from reality, as occurs in deep hypnotic states, tropane intoxication, deep spiritual experiences and some psychosis.

> presentations during the conference had to do with comparing acute drug
> intoxications with psychotic states found in illness, usually
> schizophrenia, and sometimes mania. There was some attention given to
> using these substances as treatments, certainly this was discussed with
> more enthusiasm privately than what was publically presented.

Once again I'd like to point out that deep religious experiences also symtomologically mimic psychosis, however after the symptoms remit the effect on the person's life is positive. In general, this seems to be the case with entheogens in "normal" people. Yes there is a common set of "symptoms," but afterward most enthoegen users report positive changes in their lives, new understandings and significances, more holistic existence, greater appreciation for living and an increased spiritual awareness. What it doesn't do is destroy their lives the way a psychosis would, in fact many report that in having underlying "issues" to face during a "bad" trip, they then are freed from those "issues."

I would expect that if entheogens actually did mimics psychosis, that heavy users would tend to be very psychotic, if only from reinforcement, but in hanging out with these people, I find them just the opposite. They tend to be open and caring. Just as one expects to find from some one on a spiritual path. This is definitely *not* the case with methamphetamine (crank/crystal) users (tweekers) who tend to be very psychotic, divorced from reality and are generally looked down on by the rave community as having a "bad vibe" (a good vibe person would be characterized by some one on MDMA, open, friendly, smiling, touchy/feely).

Jay


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