( – promoted by buhdydharma )
from Erowid image vaults
Just wanted to give a heads up that National Geographic’s Explorer series will be premiering, Inside LSD, tonight (Tuesday 11/3) @ 7 PM and 10 PM; also showing on Sat Nov 7 at 4PM and Tues Nov 10 at 3 PM (TV Schedule).
…as the 40th anniversary of Woodstock fades in the rearview mirror, the National Geographic Channel is giving LSD a second chance, as it were. On Tuesday night in its Explorer series, INSIDE LSD talks to scientists and therapists who are examining the narcotic (sic) anew, trying to learn specifically how it works in the brain and whether it might have uses that Jerry Garcia never envisioned. The program, as its narrator, Peter Coyote, says, is an attempt to separate the myth from the molecule.
One segment explores the possibility that some form of LSD could help sufferers of cluster headaches, and its footage of one such sufferer in the throes of an attack leaves you wishing the poor fellow relief no matter where it might come from. In another part of the program, a woman with terminal cancer talks about how an LSD trip helped her break free of the anxiety about death that was consuming her final months.
(note: I put “sic” after narcotic because LSD is not usually classified as such, medically or legally.)
Even if you watch the show you won’t see the following interview with Nick Sand, an underground LSD chemist. It was cut from the program but the video is available at the Natl Geo site.
Sand is an extraordinary guy – I’ve met him a few times. He was a member of the Brotherhood of Eternal Love and one of the manufacturers of Orange Sunshine (which was actually an analog of LSD and therefore not illegal at the time). He is also a practitioner of yoga, the Kabballah, meditation, Krishna consciousness, Sufism, aikido, Tai Chi, and Zen, as well as having studied the teachings of Krishnamurti, Milarepa, Ramakrishna, Rajneesh, and other great philosophers. In the early years of psychedelic exploration, Sand was one of the original guides at the Millbrook commune, where thousands of individuals were turned on. From 1996 until late 2000, he was a prisoner of the War on Drugs–first in Canada and then in the USA (Bio).
Some quotes from the video:
- I felt the work I was doing was so important for humanity that I was willing to take the risks of being the alchemist, hiding away in his laboratory, making chemicals.
- Q. How many hits do you think were made of orange sunshine?
A. (starts calculating doses in his head) … 10 million doses per kilo times 14 kilos … what’s 10 million times 14? It’s a large number.
- Narrator: Arrested in 1972, he escaped to Canada while on appeal. For two decades Sand lived the life of a fugitive. Until 1996 when drug enforcement officials shut him down for good. By this time he estimates that he and colleagues made a quarter of a billion doses. He has no regrets and still refers to LSD not just as a drug but as a sacrament.
After I watch the show I’ll post an update with my own review and/or thoughts about it.
First – Thanks for all the comments everyone. I got a kick out of reading all the stories. LOL!
I watched the show and overall I liked it a lot. It gave a lot of new information on research that is being done, while making the point that this important work hit a brick wall 35 years ago. As a trained Pharmacologist (I gave up that career a long time ago) that has always been a huge disappointment to me and a great loss to society as well. Now things are starting to change.
I liked that they discussed the therapeutic potential as well as the effects on spirituality and creativity. Drugs aren’t just for sick people, ya know.
The show began with some of the psychedelic elders describing the effects:
- Duality disappears
- Opens your eyes to a vast horizon you never knew existed.
- The whole Universe is inside you.
- It amplifies the mind.
- Never see the world the same way again.
I was glad they didn’t spend too much time on the background – that story has been told so many times already. They also mention the bad trips and how a small minority of dosers may be launched into a psychotic state. It’s always important to mention the dangers but it didn’t sound propagandized. Some of the negative effects:
- You don’t feel attached to your body
- Fear, Anxiety, Paranoia
- Loss of sense of time
- A waking nightmare
- You just want it to be over
A few segments on research:
Cluster headaches – using Bromo-LSD which is non-hallucinogenic. A study in Germany found it helped 5 out of 6 patients to relieve the intense pain and improve quality of life.
Brain mapping – research conducted in Zurich using 64-electrode arrays attached to the scalp, along with PET scans, to map activity during altered states. Results show the most activity in the cortex, thalamus and limbic system. Structures related to sensory perception, imagination and arousal, e.g. the thalamus is a structure that all sensory input gets filtered through before passing on to the cortex.
They claim we receive over 11 million bits of information per second, but our brain is only capable of processing 200 bits/sec. LSD may increase the amount of info allowed in by damping down some of the filters. It “deconditions the mind”.
Finally, there were a few segments of people actually under the influence. One woman was having a therapy session to enhance her creativity. Another woman with terminal cancer took it to relieve her fear of dying. She regained her faith that “there’s something out there.” Spiritual reactions are common with psychedelic use. It produces a feeling of oceanic boundlessness and a close proximity to God and the divine.
Two Burning Man devotees provided a look at what a “non-therapeutic” session looks like – playing with toys, having fun out in the woods. Both of them sing LSD’s praises, saying how much it benefits them in ordinary life. The woman says she is calmer, more patient and imaginative. The man says it gives him a “Beginner’s mind”; taking novel approaches to solve problems. Everything flows.
My final note from the show is this profound thought:
Psychedelics are a tool to turn us into what we are supposed to be.
I truly believe that.