• SUPPORT THE SHOW AND ENJOY A PREMIUM PARACAST EXPERIENCE! Welcome to The Paracast+, eight years young! For a low subscription fee, you can download the ad-free version of The Paracast and the exclusive, member-only, After The Paracast podcast, featuring color commentary, exclusive interviews, the continuation of interviews that began on the main episode of The Paracast. We also offer lifetime memberships! Flash! Use the coupon code ufo20 to receive a 20% discount on five-year or lifetime subscriptions. And PayPal now accepts cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, in payment. We also offer a second payment method for major credit or debit cards (which also includes Apple Pay and Google Pay), so act now! It's easier than ever to susbcribe! You can sign up right here!

    Subscribe to The Paracast Newsletter!

Psychedelic Drugs Still Popular in the U.S.

Christopher O'Brien

Back in the Saddle Aginn
Staff member
[Although not for everybody, there are tremendous potential benefits for some select individuals through the use of psychedelics and other shamanic substances. A high percentage of innovators in and around Silicon Valley would agree. —chris]
by Alexia Severson
While it's not surprising to hear about the hippies of the 1970s experimenting with psychedelic drugs, or hallucinogens, a new study shows that an estimated 32 million people in the U.S. have used LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), “magic mushrooms” (psilocybin), or mescaline (peyote and other cacti) at some point in their lives, many in the recent past.
To take a closer look at psychedelic use today, researchers Teri S. Krebs and Pål-Ørjan Johansen of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology used data from a randomly selected sample of more than 57,000 individuals ages 12 and older who were questioned for the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
According to Krebs and Johansen’s study, the rate of lifetime psychedelic use was highest among people ages 30 to 34, with higher rates in men than in women. The authors also found that older adults were more likely to have used LSD and mescaline, whereas younger adults were more likely to have used "magic mushrooms."
Misconceptions about Psychedelic Use
“In our experience, people are surprised about the high rate of psychedelic use in the U.S.,” Krebs said in an interview with Healthline.
Her study differs from previous research done on the use of psychedelics in that it incorporates data from a large population study and focuses specifically on the three classic psychedelics: “shrooms,” LSD, and mescaline.
“Prevalence data on psychedelic use in the U.S. is often reported for LSD alone, or for psychedelics grouped together with PCP (popular in the 1970s), MDMA (popular since the 1990s), and/or other ‘hallucinogens,'” the authors wrote. According to the study, “older estimates of hallucinogen use also included cannabis, amphetamine, and cocaine as hallucinogenic drugs,” or focused on psychedelic use among teenagers, rather than adults.
On top of confusion among researchers, the public tends to have several misconceptions about the use of psychedelics, Krebs said.
“Many people assume psychedelics must be addictive,” she said. “But experts agree that psychedelics do not elicit addiction or compulsive use.”

Another common myth is that psychedelics have been completely banned, Krebs said. “Actually regulated, medical, scientific, and religious use of psychedelics is allowed in the U.S., in other countries, and by international treaties,” she said.
Why Psychedelics Might Not Be All Bad
While most of us are brought up hearing only about the negative consequences of taking mind-altering drugs, not everyone believes they are all bad. In fact, Krebs said that “in surveys of users, many people report subjective beneficial effects from using psychedelics.”
“People report deeply personally and spiritually meaningful experiences, feelings of connection to nature, insight into problems, and greater understanding of themselves, other people, and the universe,” Krebs said. “To some extent, this is consistent with findings in clinical studies.”
Psychedelics are also not known to cause schizophrenia, nor do they have any “known long-term, harmful effects on the brain or other organs of the body,” Krebs said.
Of course, as with anything that alters the mind, there are always potential negative effects, including feelings of anxiety and confusion while under the influence of a hallucinogen, Krebs said.
However, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Drugs and Human Performance Fact Sheet, “the incidence of LSD in driving under the influence cases is extremely rare,” and according to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, “serious side effects often attributed to LSD, such as irrational acts leading to suicide or accidental deaths, are [also] extremely rare.”
The Steve Jobs Perspective
Psychedelic use has been prevalent in the U.S. since the late 1960s, and while it’s difficult to predict future cultural trends, the use of “magic mushrooms” has increased since the 1970s in the U.S. and worldwide. This is “likely due to dissemination of simple home cultivation techniques, instructions on finding wild mushrooms, and information about effects and methods of psilocybin mushroom use,” the study authors wrote.
Whether the use of psychedelics will change in the future, it’s safe to say that there will always be those who believe slipping into an altered state of mind can lead to enlightenment.
Even Apple co-founder Steve Jobs described taking LSD as one of the most profound experiences of his life: “LSD shows you that there’s another side to the coin, and you can’t remember it when it wears off, but you know it. It reinforced my sense of what was important—creating great things instead of making money, putting things back into the stream of history and of human consciousness as much as I could.”

Jeff Davis

Paranormal Adept
Although I have long since discontinued the use of recreational drugs in my life, I have tripped on acid numerous times. I am not so certain I agree with the study or article that Chris posted with respect to the onset of schizophrenia in specific prone individuals however. I know of several cases where such claims are made by credible individuals that initially used psychedelics prior to being clinically diagnosed. I am certain that just because Chris posted the article that he isn't suggesting that everyone score and trip balls on a whim either. I will never be one to get all absolute or cliche when it comes to drugs, but I do maintain the sincere notion that oz never gave anything to anyone that they didn't already have.


J. Randall Murphy
29 homeopaths overdose on psychedelic drug at conference in Germany

A group of 29 homeopaths at a conference in Handeloh outside Hamburg, Germany had to be hospitalized after a mass overdose of the designer drug 2C-E. It isn’t clear how the group ended up ingesting the banned substance rather than a homeopathic remedy.

The psychotropic substance, which has been illegal in Germany since last year, is reputed to combine the euphoria of ecstasy, or MDMA, with the hallucinatory experiences of LSD. The effect is highly dose-dependent, however, and the 29 practitioners of alternative medicine participating in the conference, aged 24 to 56, were found “staggering around, rolling in a meadow, talking gibberish and suffering severe cramps” outside the conference hall, broadcaster NDR reported.


Burnt State

Paranormal Adept
“staggering around, rolling in a meadow, talking gibberish and suffering severe cramps”

sounds a little like what happens after you've been abducted or had a close encounter.

Goggs Mackay

Staff member
They had to have been slipped a Micky. I mean, I've never heard of any homeopathic remedy that is supposed to cause trips, especially as the doses are actually 0mg or practically so.

I agree with Chris and actually it is extremely reckless to dose people with strong hallucinogens without their knowledge. Even with best intentions, trips can be bad, but I can hardly imagine the panic of a heavy trip you didn't know was coming. I've never believed silly LSD scare stories of people thinking they can fly and jumping to their deaths etc, well not people who knowingly took LSD but people being dosed secretly, especially people who may never even have smoked a joint - well that is totally out of order and really it's a serious assault on a persons body sovereignty and totally uncool.


J. Randall Murphy
Set and setting. Dosing folks is NOT cool! Either is ignorance and fear. And, unfortunately, hallucinogenic plants cause psychotic reactions in people who HAVEN'T taken these substances.
I couldn't agree more, and I think the article's title "A Taste of Their Own Medicine?" is really misleading. I'm not a big believer in homeopathy, precisely because the amounts that end up in their final batches are often so small as to be undetectable, so it seems to boil down to the placebo effect more than an actual chemical interaction. Therefore it's hard to see how they could have done it themselves, but we'll have to wait for the investigation to yield some clues. What would be someone's motive for targeting homeopaths? Is the innuendo in the title suggestive of a sort of smear campaign against alternative medicine and/or the legalization of recreational drugs? I hope somebody follows this to see if we get some answers.


Paranormal Maven
[Although not for everybody, there are tremendous potential benefits for some select individuals through the use of psychedelics and other shamanic substances.—chris]
The number of selected individuals from the Western World that will properly experience the offerings of the psychoactive plant-teachers is such a small, minor, almost inconsequential number...such a damn shame, that is.


Paranormal Adept
Set and setting. Dosing folks is NOT cool! Either is ignorance and fear. And, unfortunately, hallucinogenic plants cause psychotic reactions in people who HAVEN'T taken these substances.

It is definitely not cool to dose someone. There is, though, an entertaining dosing story involving the 1960s TV show Playboy After Dark. There apparently were no unpleasant resulting consequences.

The Playboy show was set up to resemble a house party where Hugh Hefner hosted musical and other guests. In his recent book, Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann tells of an occasion in 1969 when the Dead were musical guests on the show:

“…I finally figured out that Bear, or at least someone else in our ranks, had gone to that coffee pot and electrified it. Everyone was dosed. Including Hugh Hefner who, at the end of the night, tried to thank Phil and me. You could see he was really trying, and he really was being sincere, but he was also really high on acid and it was hard for him to talk. It didn’t quite come out right. … Everybody was really high on acid - the entire film crew, the band, the actors and actresses, all the Playmates. They all got a surprise taste of Owsley’s finest that day. So it ended up being a fun time after all …Our performance from that broadcast found its way over to YouTube…You can’t really tell that everyone was tripping their brains out…but they were. I don’t condone dosing people without their prior consent…”

Here is a clip from that show. I can see that Jerry Garcia looks like he is tripping, but I can’t really detect any sign that Hugh Hefner or the other cast members have been dosed. Maybe others can spot something different.

Besides being an innovative sound engineer for the Grateful Dead (and inspiration for Steely Dan’s “Kid Charlemagne”), Owsley “Bear” Stanley was a significant figure in the psychedelic 1960s. It’s estimated he produced over a million doses of high quality LSD which fueled the ‘60s psychedelic revolution, giving many doses of it away free.

Here is an interesting 2009 interview which Owsley gave in Australia a couple of years before his death in a car accident.

And for a paranormal twist, Owsley was convinced that he had demonstrated that electronics can be impacted by the consciousness of a person who has taken psychedelics.

Goggs Mackay

Staff member
I know it's a very polarising subject, drugs taken for pleasure or experiences, and I've often thought about starting a thread on drug experiences. I know some may shy away because of the legal status or the fact they have children etc and there can be other reasons why people do not wish to public admit to current or past drug use.

There has been a couple of threads over the years in which people have posted various aspects of their use, or their feelings against taking drugs for pleasure and like I said above about it not being cool to dose people unknowingly, I also in retrospect dislike any peer pressure on anyone to persuade them even to toke a joint. Back as a teenager I can probably regrettably admit to having introduced several people to drugs - seemed like there was no forcing, no persuading etc at the time but when you look back later, I think, 'well what if this person looked up to me, thought I was a cool friend and that was why they joined in?'
So long before I grew out of drugs I decided I would never be part of anyone taking drugs for the first time, or even trying a new one for the first time, having already tried others.

I didn't want any shadow of responsibility in case I had a hand in any downward spiral for anyone. I don't think drugs cause people to get fucked up in isolation but a person who may be struggling in the water is liable to grab onto anything that keeps them afloat - even if they know only for a limited time.

Some of my old pals died from various drug deaths, mostly heroin overdoses in the 90's and I wonder what they would make of the current drug scene in the UK. It's crazy in that anyone who looks 18 or over can buy 'research chemicals' in various places in town, totally legally. These are serious drugs, in no-way are they 'herbal highs' or other type of watered-down wishy-washy rip-offs. We are talking things analogous to amphetamines, LSD, Ketamine, Valium, PCP. Problem is these exact chemicals where hardly known about when drug legislation named the main drugs of abuse.

There are literally hundreds of them and you can buy them online, next day delivery in huge quantities. I wonder what some of my old pals would think if they were alive today and I took them into town to buy some speed that was pure, cheap and over the bloody counter! They would turn over in their graves!

I'm not saying I'm against any legalisation or decriminalisation etc but what is really worrying is that there actually exists lots and lots of research data on the 'known' drugs of abuse, the likely dose-effect range and side effects etc. Many of the powers and pills masquerading as 'research chemicals' have little to none pharmacological research done on them and zero data on long-term use.

So I try to put myself in the mind of an 18 year old these days and wonder what I might be doing? Price or street quality, two factors that tended to ameliorate our use back in the day, no longer figure and of course availability - we had to wait, sometimes for days, when we were young, to get what we were after. Now anyone can score literally a few meters off the main high street - no pun intended. A senior scientist who works for the government department that tracks illegal/legal drugs in terms of quality, strength and appearance - recently said that it is almost better for kids now to take the illegal drugs rather than the legal ones because they are a known quantity!

The Republic of Ireland introduced a law similar to a U.S one in which any new chemical with effects similar to already illegal drugs, is automatically scheduled. They thought this would sort the legal high problem. They wrote the legislation in terms of 'new psychoactive substances,' except they shot themselves in the foot. Successful legal challenges correctly pointed out that because there had been no scientific studies of the new chemicals, no-one could properly call them 'psychoactive' because no research had been carried out which proves they were indeed 'psychoactive'!

I think many people would admit part of the allure of illegal drugs when young, is the very fact they were illegal. Now in the UK, many drugs are and I wonder what the figures are for use amongst various age groups? I've always said if any 'glamour' was removed, quite a large impetus to rebel against parents' warnings might disappear. The bottom line for me is that especially now in the digital age with the dark web and Silk-Road type ventures, along with legal highs, it all pretty much makes a mockery of attempts to stop illegal use. Despite decades of trying, more and more enormous quantities of drugs make it through the borders and onto the streets for sale. There is absolutely nothing the authorities can do to stem the availability of drugs to those bent on consuming them.

I think this has to be one problem taken out of the hands of politicians and the police. The politicians never wish to appear 'soft on drugs' even when their own drug misuse advisors have called for a complete overhaul of the approach to the problem.

Like many other things that have ran away from attempts at control in the internet age, once again the worldwide inter-connected network of online users have streaked light years ahead of what government planners are even aware of as facts on the ground. I think the internet, like with porn, is finding its own balance, its own rules and ways of doing things - directly related to what people actually want, not what our politicians want us to want. It's a mess and 14 year old kids are so far ahead of the leaders who were 'adults before email' [I just made that one, I like it.] the leaders hardly realise the game of catch-up they are playing.

I'm really glad I am not a teenager now - the pressures due to social media, video cameras everywhere and everything uploaded and existing in perpetuity - it's actually amazing anyone these days can grown into a normal adult. Without details, I know for a fact that stuff we got up to in and out of school would have gotten us into serious trouble now if it had been filmed and uploaded to Youtube. Not evil stuff but stuff bad enough to probably cause serious problems for getting jobs etc. I'm sure we were not the only ones breathing a retroactive sigh of relief that we escaped the age of every teenager being a possible hidden cameraman in every single situation.

Mr. Fibuli

Paranormal Adept
Drug use is a human behavior. You cannot legislate the Peoples' appetites. Freedom to make wrong choices is a fundament of our being.
Lol it is SO not cool to give people drugs without consent:pisn't that obvious?

Mr. Fibuli

Paranormal Adept
No one here should be hesitant to speak about drugs...if you are, then they win. No reason to be shamed/demeaned/pigeonholed unless you believe that behaviour (drug use in a life) deserves such a response.
Drug abuse is a different story...where's the line? I think Aristotle pointed out that the diet of a runner is different than that of a wrestler (I'm paraphrasing, and it may have been Socrates or someone else:rolleyes:)-different bodies/genetics/individuals react quite differently to drugs.
Since I am a user of cannabis my posts should be ignored or invalidated.


Paranormal Novice
Well im in my 30s and obviously think dosing someone is terrible (think of Frank Olsen). That said ive has said drugs in the past. I think though that the idea kids are taking them is claptrap. I teach college aged kids and can say that in my opinion that never before has such a risk-averse mollycoddled generation sprung from the loins of american democracy. Sure they will take molly or smoje weed. Hell they the VAST majority have never even smoked tobacco. The idea of lsd is simply the bridge too far. When i talk about the 60s (i teach history) they all dutifully nod their heads and tell apocryphal stories of people going permanently insane or knowing a cousin who became addicted. The ones that do drugs treat them like an amusement park ride. There is no spiritual discovery there.

Christopher O'Brien

Back in the Saddle Aginn
Staff member
Neuro Soup Interview
Yeah, there are a lot of whack jobs out there, a few of them have the balls to overdo psychoactive drugs which (in rare cases) magnifies their twitchiness and causes aberrant behavior. Interesting to note, even after all the crap she endured, she still considers the guy (because off their amazing shared psychedelic experiences?) the 'love of her life.'

So, what's your point?​

Christopher O'Brien

Back in the Saddle Aginn
Staff member
LSD - The Jewel In the Crown of Psychedelics
Good post Randall, it's inevitable and only a matter of time before the amazing application of effective, responsible psychedelic use become a commonplace tool for treating a wide variety of human maladies.​

“If you want to understand the brain, if you want to understand consciousness, you’ve got to study psychedelics….those who cannot change their minds [about psychedelics] cannot change anything.”


J. Randall Murphy
Good post Randall, it's inevitable and only a matter of time before the amazing application of effective, responsible psychedelic use become a commonplace tool for treating a wide variety of human maladies. “If you want to understand the brain, if you want to understand consciousness, you’ve got to study psychedelics….those who cannot change their minds [about psychedelics] cannot change anything.”​
What I found particularly interesting is that some of the effects remained available to the experiencer after the LSD was out of their system, as if it facilitated neuroplasticity. One person was saying that it's less harmful than alcohol. Did you notice the little bottle of pharma-quality LSD from Sandoz Labs in one of the shots? I wonder what one of those goes for. Mind you, there have been some people who have overdosed on it. Like Syd Barret. But then again one can kill themselves on booze. So there's the double standard. Syd never died even after 5 days of heavy use. He just lost his ability to focus. That could have been a side complication though too, like a mild stroke rather than the LSD itself. We don't know for sure.
Last edited: