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Formerly the Eugene Center for Ethnobotanical Studies

Pulse of the Plants


March 2019
 

Eight Fold Path of Ethnobotany

UPCOMING COMMUNITY EVENT

Psychedelic Film and Open Ethnobotanical Library Browsing
~community discussion, relaxing music~

Saturday, March 2, 2019 (11am – 1pm)
138 Main St. Springfield, OR 97477


*Free Hot Tea/Snacks
*Free Parking & Bicycle Safe Lock-Ups

‘AYAHUASCA IS CHANGING GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL CONSCIOUSNESS’

religion
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Dennis McKenna, PhD says, "I don’t need clinical studies to convince me ayahuasca is good medicine, that it’s helping people, but you can publish them [and it’s] a good way to convince skeptical colleagues in biomedicine. Is it ethical to try and take a medicine like this and stuff it into a biomedical research structure? Is that the right way to approach it? I’m not saying that it is and I’m not saying that it isn’t. I just think that we have to be clear that there are aspects here of taking something out of its traditional context. Can it be used that effectively in biomedicine, or do you need the ceremonial ambience?"
 

THE PSYCHEDELIC RENAISSANCE… JOINS THE HARM REDUCTION MOVEMENT

modern culture
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When individuals express an intention to consume a psychedelic or other drug, [why should we be] required to dissuade them from doing so? [Geoff Bathje, PhD, recognizes that] in fact, within the harm reduction approach, such attempts to control behavior are seen as unhelpful judgments that can produce stigma and shame, make it difficult for clients to be honest, create resistance that might increase risky behavior, weaken the therapeutic relationship, and increase the odds of clients terminating therapy.  [Vilmarie Fraguada Narloch, PsyD recognizes that when a person] expresses they are using or intend to use a drug, harm reduction-oriented [people] will tend to 1) seek to understand the function of the drug… [such as what does it do for them and what do they get out of it?], 2) affirm the… autonomy to make that choice, so as not to promote resistance in the relationship, 3) practice radical acceptance and refrain from judgment of the behavior, 4) ask if they are aware of the risks of their drug use and how to protect themselves [offering accurate information if the client is receptive], 5) ask whether they dislike or are seeking to change their substance use in any way, while respecting their goals, and 6) offer, but not require, other approaches to achieve the same goals. [Joseph Rhea, JD, PhD recognizes that] we would be naïve to think everyone who is struggling with depression, trauma, addiction, and other intractable issues will wait [or perhaps even can wait] years for medical approval of psychedelics before trying them on their own.
 

MAINSTREAMING PSYCHEDELICS. ARE WE THERE YET?

science
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Rick Strassman, M.D.says, "The biomedical research model has been extraordinarily successful in re-introducing psychedelic drugs to the larger scientific community and popular culture. Moderate doses, strict attention to non-drug factors, and a modest relationship with the media all have contributed to this success. However, the biomedical research model has done less to mainstream the psychedelic experience. Rather, one reads about psychedelic drug effects on drug abuse or depression, or views images of functional brain scans demonstrating mathematically significant data. The actual experience, on the other hand, is transformed into relatively abstract categories; e.g., 'bliss,' 'highly significant,' or 'openness.' Only short narrative excerpts by research subjects may appear in the welter of statistical analyses. This restraint in discussing the full spectrum of the psychedelic experience is practical and successful. However, it should not at the same time constrict discussion of the psychedelic drug experience within the academic community, nor limit explanatory model-building. I encourage us to use the widest, not the narrowest, spectrum of disciplines’ models of the mind-brain complex for this project. By so doing, we’ll develop the most sophisticated models of the psychedelic drug effect. I believe that the rush to establish a biomedical research orthodoxy of psychedelics’ spiritual effects reflects uneasiness in its relationship with non-mainstream effects of these drugs."

GETTING TO THE ROOT: WHEN IT COMES TO KRATOM, THE LEGAL OPIOID SUBSTITUTE, THE BENEFITS OUTWEIGH THE COSTS

healing
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It’s use has been observed and documented outside of the Western world for centuries. As long as... [individuals] stay educated as users, there’s no reason the... [whole botanical plant] should be taken off of shelves when thousands of people rely on kratom to lead healthier, fuller lives. The past [few] years have brought an increase in the popularity and accessibility of kratom, which offers users a safer and healthier alternative to more harmful, addictive substances.

CONFESSIONS [REGARDING PSYCHEDELIC ETHICS]

anthropology
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Jeremy Narby, PhD says, "Several times during my stay in the [ayahuasca drinking] community, different men took me aside and confided that they knew of nearby gold deposits that they would be willing to show me. They said this as if to test my interest. I would reply with indifference to these propositions, much to my interlocutors’ surprise. A gringo uninterested in gold? Was it possible? People would regularly ask me questions about the world of gringos. One question in particular kept cropping up: why is it that gringos never have enough wealth? You can give them gold, they’ll only want more. Why? Davi Kopenawa, a Yanomami shaman says this of the white people he’s encountered: ‘Their thought remains constantly attached to their merchandise. They make it relentlessly and always desire new goods. But they are probably not as intelligent as they think. I fear that this euphoria of merchandise will have no end and that they will entangle themselves with it to the point of chaos.’"
 

THE POLITICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF LSD

politics
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Michael Pollan says, “It is curious to me that what I see as the two greatest threats—environmental crisis and [political] tribalism—these drugs directly address both those mindsets. They undermine our tendency to objectify nature, to think of ourselves as separate from it. They undermine tribalism in that people tend to emerge from these experiences thinking that we are all more alike, all more connected.” Large parts of the world are being polarized at a rate rarely seen before, helped in no small measure by social media ‘filter bubbles’ and algorithms that divide people sharply along the lines of nationality or ideology, their underlying human connections rendered increasingly irrelevant. Perhaps such deep hatred and suspicion of the other was always there, but now it has taken center stage and is being used as a potent election strategy by populist and hyper-nationalist leaders the world over. Like herds of cattle, large numbers of people are being programmed and deployed as pawns for a larger agenda. Therefore, perhaps real change begins with rewiring our perceptual framework. Psychedelic substances have been ingested sacramentally by indigenous cultures to achieve this goal since the dawn of time, and now they’re being validated by the scientific and medical communities. The shifts in consciousness that can be brought about by psychedelics can help in dissolving the man-made boundaries or fear of the other that are implanted in our collective psyche. 

[MDMA] MAKES PEOPLE MORE COOPERATIVE, BUT THEY CAN STILL [DETECT DISHONESTY]

psychology
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In the study in the Journal of Neuroscience, the researchers found that MDMA made people more cooperative, but only with those who were deemed trustworthy. The study also found that taking MDMA led to increased brain activity in areas of the brain thought to be involved in social interaction and the understanding of other people’s thoughts and intentions … In other words, MDMA doesn’t make people natively trusting of others, the researchers said. 
 

BLACK AMERICANS ARE BUILDING A SPACE IN PSYCHEDELIC DRUG CULTURE AFTER BEING IGNORED FOR DECADES

biography
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[There are blind-spots by, an over-preponderance of, and an over-reaching of representation of psychedelics by] white men who are supporting the use of psychedelic drugs to combat mental health issues. The problem goes beyond researchers too: raters (people who subjectively evaluate a patient’s response to a medical treatment); sponsors (an individual, institution, company or organization that takes the responsibility to initiate, manage or finance a clinical trial but doesn’t conduct it); participants — the whitewashing of psychedelic research has, and continues, to omit people of color. Professor Nicholas Powers says, “Psychedelics melt masks and if you’re wearing a mask to protect yourself the very last thing you would want is an experience where the mask is gone. You’re exposing yourself without protection.” In taking on [an MDMA] study, Monica Williams, PhD, has realized that there’s not an infrastructure for people of color in psychedelic research. The lack of minority participants and researchers is only one part of a larger problem. There’s the lack of raters of color as well as recruitment materials that specifically cater to minority groups. Even payment — commonly a check — can be a dilemma, considering some participants don’t have a checking account [or cannot afford to pay out of pocket, are without health-care insurance, in severe financial debt, homeless, etc]. Dr. Monica Williams says, “The foundation that was built for the [MDMA] study really needs to be completely torn down and rebuilt with diverse participants in mind. The problem is that it takes time and energy and money so we’ve had to make a lot of compromises to even be able to do what we are doing. I think a lot of the things, they [the predominately white advocates] don’t get it because they’ve never had to think about those things before. So, sometimes, it actually takes, you know, the unwanted thing happening to show people that it is a really important issue.” The irony of this is that indigenous cultures have worked with psychedelics — from Bwiti practitioners in Africa who take Iboga to the people of the Amazon basin who take Ayahuasca — for thousands of years.
 

BRAZILIAN AYAHUASCA PRACTITIONER ARRESTED AND SENTENCED TO PRISON IN RUSSIA
spirituality
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Chianca Roca, 67, flew to Moscow from Lisbon at the invitation of other scholars for a tour of lectures throughout Europe. Russian customs officials, acting on a tip from the Moscow airport’s drug enforcement detail, searched Roca’s luggage upon his arrival and found four bottles of ayahuasca. Roca explained that he was carrying the brew for meditation and healing. ​Roca was detained for nine months after his arrest, during which his attorney, Eduard Usikov, made several powerful appeals for his release including letters of defense from the Brazilian Federation of Therapists; the Fulni-o tribe, [and] Aguas Belas; the chair of the Parliamentary Front for Integrative Practices in Health of the National Congress. [President of Brazil] Michel Temer personally asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to release Roca. But Roca was sentenced to six and a half years’ imprisonment—specifically for transporting the DMT contained within his four bottles of ayahuasca.

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"Rodrigo Duterte's drug war has already killed 12,000. He now seeks to cut age of criminal responsibility to 12 years old to as part of his drug war."

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"If it is not accessible to the poor, it is neither radical nor revolutionary". -Katie Stone, MA
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