DMT and Ayahuasca Educational Resources

Ayahuasca has been used as a medicine in Mesoamerican ceremonies for thousands of years, but the primary psychoactive compound, DMT, was not synthesised until 1931. DMT was studied during the wave of psychedelic research in the 1950s and 60s until research was banned in 1971 by the Convention of Psychotropic Substances. Ayahuasca was not included  …


Ending the pain of children with severe epilepsy?

Authors: RR Zafar, AK Schlag, DJ Nutt Published: December 9, 2020 An audit of the impact of medical cannabis in 10 patients with severe epilepsy. Background Scientific and anecdotal evidence suggest that whole-plant cannabis extracts are effective in reducing seizure frequency in individuals with a range of epileptic etiologies. We report a case series of  …

2019: A year of expansion in psychedelic research, industry, and deregulation

Authors: Jacob S Aday, Emily K Bloesch, Christopher C Davoli Published: November 25, 2020 Public and scientific interest into psychedelic drugs has grown steadily over much of the last two decades, before an exponential increase in recent years. We contend that 2019, in particular, involved myriad notable changes in the science, industry, and deregulation of  …

#21 - Drugs and consciousness

In this episode of the Drug Science podcast, Professor Nutt is joined by an old friend who he has known for 35 years. Professor Roland Griffiths is a researcher who has examined a wide range of psychotropic substances over the years. He has studied, the abuse potential of a number of different substances; caffeine dependence  …


Principled sentencing for drug supply offences: Revised methamphetamine sentencing guidelines in New Zealand

Authors: James A Foulds, David Nutt Published: July 27, 2020 Methamphetamine was reclassified as a Class A drug in New Zealand in 2003. This meant harsher sentences for people convicted of its manufacture, importation or supply. Despite this, the number of convictions for methamphetamine-related offending continued to increase. In 2019, the New Zealand Court of  …

#19 - DMT

  DMT is a drug that’s relatively novel in western neuropsychopharmacology. Not much research has been done on this substance to date and many intoxicants are unable to recount their psychedelic experience. For the first time, this substance is being studied in an fMRI and EEG to elucidate why and how this drug elucidates vivid  …


Percentages of problem drug use and their implications for policy making: A review of the literature

Authors: Anne Katrin Schlag Published: March 30, 2020 This paper reviews the literature on problem drug use, aiming to answer the question ‘what percentages of drug users are problem drug users?’ We look at the conceptualisation of problem drug use, and related concepts such as addiction and dependence. While conceptually distinct, definitions vary, and terms  …

Alcohol hangover: The health impact with a historic and Chinese perspective

Hangovers represent a major source of distress to the individual and a huge source of economic loss to society. Hangovers and their associated problems have been recognised for thousands of years in both Western and Eastern cultures but only in recent years has there been any scientific research into their mechanisms and treatments. This small  …


Doctor or drug dealer? International legal provisions for the legitimate handling of drugs of abuse

Authors: Cathal T Gallagher, Sanaa K Atik, Libin Isse, Sanpreet K Mann Published: February 3, 2020 In this article, we compare how five jurisdictions (the USA; UK; Canada; New Zealand; and Australia) balance the disparate objectives of preventing the misuse of drugs and allowing their legal use for medical purposes. The statutory law underpinning each  …

Reported effects of psychedelic use on those with low well-being given various emotional states and social contexts

Authors: Natasha L Mason, Patrick C Dolder, Kim PC Kuypers Published: January 30, 2020 Background It has been suggested that the outcome of the psychedelic experience is dependent on set and setting. While scientific research into the therapeutic potential of psychedelics is growing, it is clear that in clinical populations an optimal set and setting  …

Using the pharmacy retail model to examine perceptions and biases of a UK population sample towards regulation of specific psychoactive drugs

Authors: Edward James, Thomas L Robertshaw, Michael J Pascoe, Fiona M Chapman, Andrew D Westwell, Andrew P Smith Published: September 27, 2019 Background: Contemporary research indicates that the legal classifications of cannabis (Schedule 2, Class B), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) (Schedule 1, Class A) and psilocybin (Schedule 1, Class A) in the United Kingdom are not entirely  …

De-mythologizing and re-branding of kava as the new ‘world drug’ of choice

Authors: S Apo Aporosa Published: September 19, 2019 What seemed impossible 50 years ago is today becoming a reality as ‘soft drugs’ such as cannabis are being decriminalized and accepted for their calming effects as well as their legitimate medicinal properties. Several countries have now made the possession of cannabis legal, with others considering this,  …

2018: A watershed year for psychedelic science

Authors: Jacob S Aday, Christopher C Davoli, Emily K Bloesch Published: September 3, 2019 While interest in the study of psychedelic drugs has increased over much of the last decade, in this article, we argue that 2018 marked the true turning point for the field. Substantive advances in the scientific, public, and regulatory communities in  …

State policies in the United States impacting drug-related convictions and their consequences in 2015

Authors: Ryan Cramer, Sarah Hexem, Kelly Thompson, Archana Bodas LaPollo, Harrell W Chesson, Jami S Leichliter Published: July 30, 2019 Background: Criminal justice system involvement has been associated with health issues, including sexually transmitted disease. Both incarceration and sexually transmitted disease share associations with various social conditions, including poverty, stigma, and drug use. Methods: United  …

Are the neurocognitive deficits associated with MDMA caused by statistical deficits in ecstasy research? A systematic review

Author: Timothy Amoroso Published: July 24, 2018 There is growing concern that the majority of modern research may be comprised of false findings, which is partly attributed to unacceptable flexibility in data analyses. Here this issue is considered in the literature suggesting that MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine) may be associated with neurocognitive deficits. Research suggests that increased  …

Ecstasy, legal highs and designer drug use: A Canadian perspective

Recreational drug use in Canada is not uncommon, but as with most societies, illegal drug use carries harsh penalties resulting in a criminal record when an individual is successfully prosecuted. Popular drugs of use in Canada include ecstasy, cannabis (including some synthetic cannabinoids sold as ‘Spice’ and ‘Incense’) and several emerging psychoactive ‘legal highs’. Surprisingly,  …


Khat (Catha edulis): A systematic review of evidence and literature pertaining to its harms to UK users and society

The use of khat (Catha edulis) has been associated with a large number of physiological and societal harms, leading to calls for it to be controlled in the UK. The evidence of these harms is often equivocal, limited by confounding factors, or entirely anecdotal: high-powered, quality-controlled studies are lacking. Regardless, the body of relevant literature  …