Please Explain: Psychedelic Drugs

Friday, October 15, 2010

Please Explain takes a look at LSD and psychedelic drugs. Dr. Nicolas Langlitz, assistant professor of Medical Anthropology at the New School, and Dr. Stephen Ross, Assistant Professor at NYU Medical Center, Departments of Psychiatry and In-Patient Service, explain how psychedelic drugs affect the brain, how hallucinogens work, and new research into therapeutic uses for psychedelic drugs.


Nicolas Langlitz and Stephen Ross

Comments [32]

Jeffrey from Taos, New Mexico

thanks for a well balanced show. i would like to know what the benefits of using smaller doses of plant medicines would be as opposed to higher doses irregularly obtained. With most of these medicines, the dosage determines the extent of illusions, audio or visual, but small doses don't produce these hallucinations....or observations. The opening comments about the body being able to filter out so much information about our world leaves it open as to wheher or not people have hallucinations or are simply observing other things that are normally hidden, as they don't directly impact our basic survival needs. all drugs should be legal and these studies should continue to be studied. The doctors showed that there are many interests in studying drugs, from helping schizophrenic patients to exploring and coming to better understandings about depression and reality. People do take drugs not only for fun but for underlying reasons, such as to explore their own mental states, to become inspired, and to find within something that is difficult to find without. the connection of brain scans with Buddhist monks is also intriguing. The Diamond Sutra of Wisdom speaks about reality in ways that complement reports from psychedelic users, where reality is ever present yet mutable. If reality is co-created in our minds, then drugs can give us the possibility to see what realities we are creating in this world. The dreamers all have proposed doing things that were thought to be impossible. The downside of drugs may be that without a social context, they may lead one into illusions. Buddhist teachings warn people about false realities. Good luck and thanks for your insightful show!

Jan. 24 2011 03:07 PM

Interesting story. Being a product of the late 60-70s I dabbled with this. I never had a bad experience at all. I really have no regrets and I found it to be an enlightening experience. I can see why many Native Americans used some of these in their rituals. The last time I did anything of this type was a bit over 20 years ago and that was mushrooms cooked into Spanish Omelets. My friends and I then went mountain biking. Great time, very mellow. I would consider schrooms again even though I'm in my mid 50's now.

Oct. 16 2010 09:11 AM
Laura from NJ

My interest was piqued at the mention of the mechanics of these drugs. If they work on serotonin receptors, what is their relation to ssri's? I had what was akin to a mild bad trip when I took a very small amount of zoloft as prescribed. I had success with wellbutrin (non-ssri) which gave me feelings of connectedness revelation and euphoria for a couple months before I felt back to normal (those were a great couple of months!). I have not been able to find any explanation for my reaction to these antidepressants. Both experiences were familiar as I have experimented with the common psychedelics.

Oct. 15 2010 02:10 PM
Enzo from Flat Iron

Take every drug on the once.

Oct. 15 2010 02:00 PM
Amy from Manhattan

In the '80s, a friend told me he had taken a very large dose of LSD, trying to get a more intense high, but instead he got a "normal" high that lasted much longer than usual. Would that be because the dose saturated his receptors & the rest of the drug kept circulating & replacing the amount that got metabolized & left his system?

Oct. 15 2010 01:58 PM
jen from manhattan

talk about the long term effects. does it stay in the system? i used these drugs as a teen and when i talk about it now or even listening to this show, i feel shades of the effects!!

Oct. 15 2010 01:56 PM
patricia from Vancouver, BC, Canada

I recently tried Salvia Divinorum and it was quite extraordinary. Have you done any studies on this particular compound?

Oct. 15 2010 01:52 PM
Cristina from Montrose, NY

I'd like to know if the biogenetic neuro transmiters (sorry but I don't remember the exact name mentioned in the show) that induce spirituality could be the reason why some people are more spiritual than others, just because their nervous system is built differently?

Oct. 15 2010 01:52 PM
Alan from Brooklyn

I have read that there is a rare side-effect of LSD where the visual component of the experience remains indefinately.
Is this true?
What is the frequency?
Is it treatable?

Oct. 15 2010 01:51 PM
LES from LES

I think MDMA allows people to speak back from trauma and see it objectively without shame or fear or anxiety so they can make peace with it.

But that was the old MDMA from Texas. The MDMA that is brought in from Israel reportedly by the Hassidim is just a party drug. How did they change it, I wonder?

Oct. 15 2010 01:51 PM

Re: Ross from NJ

Yes it is true. If you want to read a fascinating book on DMT clinical studies and it's history take a look at DMT: The Spirit Molecule by Dr. Rick Strassman

Oct. 15 2010 01:50 PM
Mariah from manhattan

Amazing timing for this show: My young brother has begun experimenting (my word) with LSD and ecstasy. I did this myself as a teenager, though just a little, but he has been diagnosed with Asperger's and an obsessive defiant disorder. Dad seems too intimidated to try to stop him and so justifies the use as "just to stay awake", etc. I suspect greater dangers, given the Asperger's. Please explain where my brother's mental conditions intersect with these drugs...

Oct. 15 2010 01:50 PM

how long will LSD stay in the body? years?

Oct. 15 2010 01:46 PM
Helena from nj

is physically feeling what you see while under the influence a common experience?

Oct. 15 2010 01:46 PM
Linda from LES

I would also like to know about MDMA therapy.

I've heard it can help overcome traumatic experience.

Oct. 15 2010 01:45 PM

Does your age at the time of taking a psychedelic drug have any effect on your experience?

Oct. 15 2010 01:44 PM
Julian from Manhattan

Lysergic acid is fundamentally RCOOH, so it is a weak acid.

Oct. 15 2010 01:44 PM
Ross from new jersey

Is there any truth to the claim that DMT occurs naturally in the pineal gland of the human body?
That when we sleep/dream we are tapping into that substance? That people having near death experiences also are accessing the chemical?

Oct. 15 2010 01:44 PM
antonio ortiz from park slope

I have heard that if one consumes a lot of acid they can be regarded as legally "insane." Can we get get more clarification about the limits of sanity. I guess there is a test one could take if one consumed a lot of these drugs?

Oct. 15 2010 01:44 PM
Julian from Manhattan

Since lysergic acid is fundamentally RCOOH, it is a weak acid - brush up on your organic chemistry!

Oct. 15 2010 01:41 PM
Julian from Manhattan

Since lysergic acid is fundamentally RCOOH, it is a weak acid - brush up on your organic chemistry!

Oct. 15 2010 01:40 PM
Susan Butterick

LSD was dubbed "acid" because the acronym stands for "lysergic acid diethylamide"

Oct. 15 2010 01:40 PM
szggy from NYC

LSD experiments was about the most profound experience of my life. Just how a microscopic amount of a substance can have such huge effect on our minds and bodies is beyond comprehension.

Oct. 15 2010 01:39 PM
John from Manhattan

I'm interested in knowing whether psilocybin mushrooms are inherently unhealthy for the body.

Oct. 15 2010 01:38 PM
Maggie Whitman from Lower East Side

I've heard that LSD gets absorbed into the spine and can be unexpectedly released into the bloodstream, sometimes years later. I took some stuff in the 70's -- not a good idea, I know -- and I'm still worried what might happen, like if I'm driving my car.

Oct. 15 2010 01:38 PM
Eric from NYC

Grateful Dead had this all figured out years and years ago...

Oct. 15 2010 01:37 PM
Lena Viddo from manhattan

hello, can you clarify which category ayausca & 2cb fall into, and the dangers & complications associated with use of these drugs. Is there any movement towards legalization of psychedelic drugs for spiritual purposes?

Oct. 15 2010 01:36 PM
Jim from New Jersey

Two questions: 1) Do the doctors believe that the drugs do indeed remove a filter to experience an actual hidden reality or cause illusion?

2) How do Dr's in general feel about MDMA therapy.

Oct. 15 2010 01:35 PM
Noah from Crown Heights

Are studies being done on newer designer drugs such as the 2C series or 4-Aco-DMT?

Oct. 15 2010 01:35 PM
Karen from Uptown Manhattan

Dr. Langlitz's overview at the top of this segment about the Huxley connection was so interesting (it was news to me) and so well articulated. Thank you!

Oct. 15 2010 01:34 PM
MIke C. from Tribeca

Linda Norden -- if there are four segments, they're usually 30 minutes each, so my guess is 1:30 post meridiem.

Oct. 15 2010 12:32 PM
Linda Norden from nyc

What time is this on? Your website drives me nuts....

Oct. 15 2010 12:25 PM

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