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So I read an article a few days ago about the FDA granting an organization called Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) permission to study the potential psychotherapeutic effects of MDMA. I decided to check out MAPS' webpage and naturally became quite curious. There's an absolute trove of resources in case anyone is interested in reading about the effects of psychedelics on the brain. What gets me, however, is the extensive collection of information on the dangers of psychedelics that never get attention in the media the same way as the "positive" stories do. HPPD has been well known in psychedelic circles -- both intellectual and in terms of recreation use -- for literally decades and yet the general public is still basically clueless about the fact psychedelics are proven to be toxic. 

In the very first keyword search on MAPS' database I came up with hundreds of articles about the dangers of psychedelics, including the following from an article titled "Ecstasy and Serotonin Neurotoxicity": http://www.maps.org/resources/psychedelic-bibliography

"The authors present evidence that the elicit recreational drug MDMA may cause persistent cognitive deficits and that these deficits are related to the extent of previous MDMA use... they conclude that MDMA causes neurotoxic injury to cortical serotonin axon terminals that may be reversible." 

Again, out of literally hundreds of publications this is the very first article I clicked on, published in 2001, and basically confirms one of the most popular HPPD-including drugs as neurotoxic. And yet here we are 16 years later and nothing is being done about it. There's no public education, no desire to protect our youth from the dangers of these drugs, no follow-up studies or outreach to newspapers -- it's all just buried in some online vault virtually inaccessible to anyone outside of the most die-hard psychedelic enthusiasts in the world.

I guess what's so crazy about all this is that when I first got HPPD my understanding was that it was unbeknownst to doctors, scientists, educators, teachers, social workers and the public in general due to the fact nobody knew anything about this condition. Unfortunately what I'm discovering is that many powerful people have known about the dangers of psychedelics with regards to HPPD for decades, they've just chosen to stay silent. 

I don't know how the hell this condition is ever gonna see the light of day and get the attention it deserves if the people who know most about it just chose to brush it under the rug. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I was unaware of that, but in doing some quick research it appears the leading researcher could have been influenced by external circumstances. Unfortunately this is not uncommon in scientific studies given their need for funding. It does sound like axon toxicity is pretty well established though, so technically neurotoxicity to some extent is still true. (Correct me if I'm wrong here.) Also, there are enough people who show up on this forum from MDMA that I don't think we need millions of dollars poured into scientific studies to recognized its dangers. If they're permanently impaired then the likelihood of necrosis seems high. As far as overheating goes, I'm not sure that's true. Overheating might be a cause of damage but clearly there are people who did not overheat and end up with HPPD, which is a form of damage as well. 

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"The role of overheating in MDMA neurotoxicity can hardly be exaggerated; no animal experiment has ever produced neurotoxicity at any dose of MDMA at normal human body temperature. In the infamous Ricaurte “Ecstasy Parkinsonism” monkey experiment, his animals reached body temperatures of as high as 107F. More typically, experimental animals that develop MDMA neurotoxicity reach body temperatures of about 39C (103F). Although the exact mechanisms of MDMA neurotoxicity are at best imperfectly understood, damage is clearly a result of the combination of the unusual strain placed on the neurons by drug exposure being greatly amplified by overheating. I do not anticipate human neurotoxicity at any likely voluntarily taken dose of MDMA in the absence of significant and prolonged hyperthermic response."


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Unfortunately what I'm discovering is that many powerful people have known about the dangers of psychedelics with regards to HPPD for decades, they've just chosen to stay silent. 

That’s exactly what I find mind boggling, too. There must have been way more awareness in psychedelic circles such as MAPS, or even around Timothy Leary or Terence McKenna back then about HPPD than they actually pretend but they collectively chose rather not to talk about it. You can barely find references in the footnotes.

I understand it’s been a rough road for MAPS to get where they are today, which is a huge succes story, and then it’s just the way politics work, they don’t want to admit flaws, the war on drugs is still going on, and people seek spiritaulity and try to compensate their materialistic lives more than ever, so there is huge finacial potential as well.

But while all this hype around psychedelics, sorry “plant medicine”, is going on, I just hope MAPS considers telling the whole story and puts some effort into research on the dangers just as much.

Edited by palinoptical panopticon
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