New Theory Believes Psychedelics Could Benefit Long-Term Space Travelers

A new study published in the journal Frontiers in Space Technologies states that psychedelics could be useful to treat astronauts who have spent long durations in space. Entitled “A long trip into the universe: Psychedelics and space travel,” researchers believe that due to the known physiological and psychological effects that astronauts experience while above our atmosphere, psychedelics could be beneficial.

According to Back of the Yards Algae Sciences Founder Dr. Leonard Lerer, and Chief Innovation Officer Jeet Varia, psychedelics could very well be useful to our astronauts now, as well as those of the future who may be sent on long-distance space travel missions.

“We propose a role for psychedelics (psychoactive fungal, plant, and animal molecules that cause alterations in perception, mood, behavior, and consciousness) and in particular psychedelic mushrooms to facilitate extended sojourns in space,” wrote Lerer. “Psychedelics research is in the midst of a renaissance and psychedelics are being explored not only for their therapeutic potential in psychiatry but also for their ability to promote neuroplasticity, modulate the immune system and reduce inflammation.”

The study is one of many to identify the burden and harms of long-term exposure to living in space. According to its authors, there will come a day when we must seek outside of our solar system for resources, and with the rise of both publicly and privately funded space initiatives, and when long-distance space travel becomes a reality, “the next frontier in space travel is ensuring the health and wellbeing of astronauts on long-duration space missions.”

Researchers state that maintaining wellness in space is difficult, and NASA notes at least 30 health risks to humans through its Human Research Program. “Space station astronauts have suffered transient, reactive psychological distress causing sometimes critical lapses in attention, sleep disorders, emotional lability, psychosomatic symptoms, irritability towards fellow crew members and mission control staff, a decline in vigor and motivation, and possibly increased risk of anxiety, depression and psychosis, psychosomatic symptoms, emotional problems, and post-mission personality changes.”

However, researchers of this study argue that psychedelics could be a useful treatment toward some of these symptoms. “Given the psychological pressures of long-duration space travel at an individual and group level, it is useful to consider the potential positive, adaptive effects of the psychedelic experience that include enriched states of consciousness, enhanced cognitive flexibility, heightened creativity, enhanced ability to attribute meaning and value, empathy, enhanced insightfulness, and self-awareness.”

They add that in some cases, astronauts who have returned from space report experiencing “transcendental experiences, religious insights, or a sense of unity with humankind to some extent attributed to viewing the Earth below and the cosmos beyond”—which is not unlike how some people might describe their psychedelic experiences. They even go so far as to suggest that using psychedelics could prepare space travelers to meet other forms of life, if they exist.

Researchers conclude that studies on psychedelics are in the early stages of development, but the benefits shouldn’t be overlooked. “While there is no empirical evidence to support the application of psychedelics in space exploration, we should be aware that our species has a longstanding history of using psychedelics to explore the fluid interface between our inner space (including our consciousness) and the universe or outer space,” the authors concluded.

In April, High Times wrote about former International Space Station astronaut Chris Hadfield, who joined the board of BioHarvest Sciences, a biotech firm involved in medical cannabis, and the company CEO, Ilan Sobel, in an interview with Futurism. “We see the potential ability for valuable minor cannabinoids to be grown at significantly higher quantities compared to its growth on Earth,” Sobel said.

For Hadfield, he says he joined BioHarvest Sciences because of the “the scalability of the biotech platform, and how it can solve a lot of the agricultural problems we face in feeding 10 billion people.” In reference to cannabinoids, those are just “one of the things we grow,” although it’s still a “long ways out.”

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Woman’s Breast Cancer Returned Immediately After Dropping Treatment With Cannabis, Shrooms

One woman is living proof that medical cannabis and psilocybin-assisted therapy work. According to a case report published September 22, a woman’s breast cancer returned after stopping treatment with cannabis and psilocybin mushrooms.

LAD Bible reports that an anonymous woman in the U.K., 49, was living with advanced stages of metastatic breast cancer and stopped traditional drugs to treat it with medical cannabis and psilocybin mushrooms. The reasoning was due to the woman’s grim prognosis: her cancer metastasized and spread to her bones, liver, and lymph nodes.

Doctors told her to immediately launch a ketogenic diet and undergo a 26-month regimen of chemotherapy.

However, the woman also embarked on a journey including psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy, using psilocybin in microdoses to repair her emotional wellbeing. She also took high doses of cannabis rich in THC and CBD.

When she combined THC/CBD and psilocybin microdoses with the chemotherapy—the cancer went into remission. At first, the results were astounding: After a five-month treatment period, researchers found no evidence of metastatic disease, and her chemotherapy treatments were canceled. The woman remained disease-free for 18 months while treating it with cannabis and psilocybin. But when she got confident and drastically lowered her cannabis in psilocybin intake, scans revealed that the cancer returned quickly.

The Woman’s Personal Testimony

The woman provided a personal testimony of how well cannabis and psilocybin work compared to conventional drugs like chemotherapy.

“In September 2018, I was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic breast cancer,” the woman wrote in a personalized perspective included in the study. “My first thought was, ’what am I going to tell my mother?’”

In September 2019, scans indicated that the cancer didn’t return, and the patient lowered her cannabis regimen. However by June 2020, tests revealed the cancer was back.

“This brings up the possibility that withdrawal of the cannabinoid and psychedelic therapies may have contributed to the return of the cancer,” researchers wrote in the case study.

The woman continued, “I immediately began incorporating cannabis into my daily treatment plan. By January 2019, I was found to have no evidence of disease according to my scans. This was absolutely unexpected. When one is diagnosed with cancer, the mental, physical and emotional events which consume and slowly chip away at one’s humanity become a daily routine.”

“Everything changes in a heartbeat, and suddenly death becomes your daily counterpart. It’s dehumanizing, demoralizing, and just plain horrific. Cannabis changes all of this. It will ease the suffering of so many, as it eased mine. Cannabis provides hope. It provides help when you feel you can’t go on. I was able to eat. I was able to sleep. The nausea was almost non-existent. I could function. I could work. I was no longer slave to my disease. Imagine a world that embraces cannabis as a true medicinal plant that heals those afflicted with illness. That is the hope cannabis provides. It heals. It restores. It gives life. And access should NEVER be in question.”

Researchers appear to agree with the woman:

“The overall picture of the case presents the strong possibility that cannabinoids and psychedelics have played an important modulatory or additive role to standardised treatment, which warrants further exploration,” researchers concluded.

The case study provides a rare glimpse into what happens when people living with cancer start and stop cannabis and psilocybin-assisted therapy.

Fortunately, there’s a happy ending to this story. After the woman learned that her cancer returned, she immediately reintroduced psychedelics and raised the dose of her cannabis regimen, which doctors say stabilized her condition.

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Canopy Growth Sells Its Canadian Retailers

Cannabis giant Canopy Growth Corporation announced Tuesday that it is divesting its retail business throughout Canada, a major concession for the company as it continues its drive toward profitability.

The company said that it reached an agreement with OEG Retail Cannabis, “an existing Canopy Growth licensee partner that currently owns and operates the Company’s franchised Tokyo Smoke stores in Ontario,” all 23 of Canopy Growth’s Tokyo Smoke and Tweed retail shops throughout the country.

David Klein, the CEO of Canopy Growth, said the move was the “next critical step in advancing Canopy as a leading premium brand-focused [consumer packaged goods] cannabis company while furthering the Company’s strategy of investing in product innovation and distribution to drive revenue growth in the Canadian recreational market.”

“By realizing these agreements with organizations that possess proven cannabis retail expertise, we are providing continuity for consumers and team members,” Klein said in a statement.

The company’s announcement, which came after the closing bell on Tuesday, means that Canopy Growth is waving the white flag on its acquisition of Tokyo Smoke in 2018.

Although the price of the deal was not disclosed, analysts said that Canopy Growth was likely getting much less than what it paid.

Jefferies analyst Owen Bennett called the divestment of the retail stores an example of “wasted capital,” as quoted by MarketWatch.

“Given deal terms were not disclosed, we do not imagine the multiple was attractive, especially alongside the fact that retail in Canada overall is struggling, and also given the deal more appears to be driven by getting costs off the P&L,” Bennett said in a research note on Wednesday, as quoted by MarketWatch.

“When considering Canopy paid C$250mn for Tokyo Smoke back in July 2018, and this deal also includes all the Tweed stores, this is another example of the wasted capital that was very common under old leadership,” Bennett said.

Under the agreement announced on Tuesday, OEG Retail Cannabis “has agreed to acquire all of Canopy Growth’s corporate stores outside of Alberta as well as all Tokyo Smoke-related intellectual property,” the press release said.

Canopy Growth said that it has “also reached an agreement (the “FOUR20 Transaction”) with 420 Investments Ltd. (“FOUR20”) pursuant to which FOUR20 has agreed to acquire the ownership of five retail locations in Alberta.”

“Through the best-in-class retail leadership that OEGRC and FOUR20 have demonstrated, they will continue to serve Canadian consumers with the high-quality in-store experiences that are essential for success in a new industry,” Klein said.

Canopy Growth said that “operational savings realized through these transactions are expected to result in Canopy’s projected selling, general, and administrative cost savings being closer to the high end of the annualized target range expected as part of the cost reduction actions announced on April 26, 2022.”

The company’s overview of the Tokyo Smoke transaction included the following notes: “upon completion of the OEGRC Transaction, OEGRC will acquire ownership of 23 Tokyo Smoke and Tweed store locations across Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador”; “as part of the OEGRC Transaction, the Tokyo Smoke brand will be transferred to OEGRC and any purchased stores currently branded as Tweed will be rebranded”; and “the master franchise agreement between the Company and OEGRC pursuant to which OEGRC licenses the Tokyo Smoke brand in Ontario will be terminated on the closing of the OEGRC Transaction.”

It makes for a continuation of a wobbly year for Canopy Growth. As Reuters reported this week, the company earlier this year “extended its time frame to achieve profitability as fewer-than-expected retail stores and cheaper black market rates crimp sales at legal recreational companies.”

In April, the company announced that it was laying off more than 200 employees in a bid toward cutting costs.

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Deadline Passes in New York for First Round of Dispensary Licenses

The deadline for the first adult-use cannabis dispensary licenses in New York arrived on Monday, and now hundreds of applicants await feedback from the state.

Monday’s deadline came a month after the state’s Office of Cannabis Management officially opened the application portal on August 25.

Since then, the agency has been flooded with applications from individuals hoping for the first crack at the Empire State’s legal marijuana market.

Earlier this week, The New York Times reported that roughly “500 applications had been submitted by Sunday,” adding that hundreds “of ineligible people have been turned away, but so have dozens more who did qualify and needed help navigating the state’s online portal.”

The state will award 150 licenses for the first round this fall, and those have been designated exclusively for applicants who have previously been convicted of a pot-related offense (or a family member of someone who has).

Billed as the “Seeding Opportunity Initiative,” the policy goes further than most of the so-called “social equity” provisions in other states’ marijuana laws.

“New York State is making history, launching a first-of-its-kind approach to the cannabis industry that takes a major step forward in righting the wrongs of the past,” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said in announcing the policy back in March. “The regulations advanced by the Cannabis Control Board today will prioritize local farmers and entrepreneurs, creating jobs and opportunity for communities that have been left out and left behind. I’m proud New York will be a national model for the safe, equitable and inclusive industry we are now building.”

New York City has taken similar steps toward enhancing opportunities in the emerging cannabis industry for individuals adversely affected by erstwhile marijuana laws.

The city’s mayor, Eric Adams, announced last month “a first-of-its-kind initiative and suite of services to support the equitable growth of the cannabis industry in New York City.”

The initiative, known as Cannabis NYC, will provide “technical assistance for cannabis license applicants, as well as other business services to take entrepreneurs beyond licensing to a thriving operation,” while also supporting “cannabis entrepreneurs and their workers as the industry develops.”

It will also collaborate with “industry stakeholders to create good jobs, successful small businesses, and sustainable economic opportunities, while also addressing the harms of cannabis prohibition.” Adams’ office said that the “first phase of Cannabis NYC will focus on ensuring that justice involved New Yorkers are able to apply for and secure retail licenses from the state.”

“Today, we light up our economy and launch Cannabis NYC — a first-of-its-kind initiative to support equitable growth of the cannabis industry in New York City,” Adams said in a press release last month. “The regulated adult-use cannabis industry is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for our underserved communities that have, for too long, faced disproportionate rates of drug-related incarceration to get in on the industry on the ground floor. Cannabis NYC will plant the seeds for the economy of tomorrow by helping New Yorkers apply for licenses and understand how to open and successfully run a business, while simultaneously rolling equity into our economy by giving those who have been justice-involved and those with a cannabis conviction a chance to succeed. This is about creating good jobs, successful small businesses, and finally delivering equity to communities harmed by the ‘War on Drugs.’”

The first state-regulated recreational cannabis dispensaries in New York are not expected to open until late this year (as the earliest).

But countless small business owners there have not waited to get in on the “kush rush.” New York City in particular is teeming with illicit cannabis shops, prompting state regulators to crack down on some.

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The Palcast – “The $500 Challenge!” [Episode #132]

2 Dope has been presented with a challenge! If Shaggy can make it one entire podcast without saying “You Know What I’m Sayin'” or “Boi” he will receive a $500 super chat from one of our viewers. Can he do it? Only one way to find out!

from Faygoluvers