Marijuana for PTSD: Why Vets Want Legalization

The effects of war can have lasting impact on those involved. It’s estimated that some 20 percent of people returning from war suffer from some serious psychological trauma. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), an extremely severe anxiety condition, is something that can progress after a person has experienced an upsetting and disturbing incident. War, and engaging in active combat, is one of the major reasons people develop this often-incapacitating condition. What are the Symptoms of PTSD? The symptoms of PTSD can be debilitating. Insomnia, sleep deprivation, depression, stress, and anxiety become common. Nightmares and flashbacks are normal and can lead to severe fear and panic. Typical symptoms of PTSD include: Being easily startled Experiencing severe guilt or worry Depression Frequently feeling intense and on-edge Loss of interest in activities a person once enjoyed Insomnia or difficulty sleeping Fearful thoughts Flashbacks People suffering from PTSD will often unwillingly play the traumatic incidents they’ve experienced repeatedly in their mind. They simply cannot turn off the memories of the event that has triggered their PTSD. This can lead to serious emotional imbalance, keeping a person in a painful cycle that can eventually ruin their life. Because PTSD can be completely debilitating, even with the medicine prescribed to take away a person’s pain, many vets are turning towards alternatives to help with some of the crippling feelings associated with PTSD. Medical marijuana has shown great promise in helping treat the symptoms that accompany PTSD…without leaving people addicted and suffering from negative side effects. For the countless people who suffer from PTSD, marijuana has shown to bring tremendous relief to the terrible symptoms associated with... read more

Cocaine, Crack Cocaine, And Ibogaine Treatment

Although cocaine is mostly used recreationally, there are still a percentage of people who get addicted to its alluring effects. It’s actually one the most commonly used substances in the US after heroin. The high it offers is quick and intense, giving users a calm sense of confidence. As one of the most popular “party” drugs around, cocaine can seem harmless enough. That is until you’re using long after the party is over. What is Cocaine? Cocaine (or coke) is a stimulant derived from the coca plant native to South America. It’s a strong drug that stimulates the central nervous system, with a high that lasts about 30 minutes. Coca leaves have been used for thousands of years by natives throughout South America, a plant that has offered a surge in energy with no addictive effects. Cocaine (the substance derived from the coca plant) offers this energy in a synthetically made form that can prove to be extremely addictive to those who can’t resist the euphoric effects it offers. Cocaine instantaneously offers an energetic high, filling a person with self-confidence and mental alertness. What is Crack Cocaine? Cocaine comes in another form as well. Crack cocaine (or crack) generally isn’t recreationally used like cocaine, but offers an intense high that easily gets people hooked. Crack is made by mixing cocaine with baking soda. This combination forms into a rock when heated up and is smoked with a glass or metal pipe. The effects of smoking crack can be felt as quickly as ten seconds, with a high that lasts only a little longer. Crack works quick, which means people... read more

Oxycontin Addiction – Getting Help

Oxycontin addiction has spread across the US and become one of the most abused substances there is. Widely prescribed to help people manage pain, it just so happens to be one of the most addictive prescriptions known. Oxycontin is formulated from opioids, the based drug for many modern medicines as well as heroin. Opiate prescriptions have become all too familiar on the medical scene. Addiction to opiates, especially oxycontin, happens more than many people realize. The number of addicts grows every year, with some two million Americans dependent on or abusing prescription opioids such as Oxycontin. Why is Oxycontin so Addictive? The Addictive Dangers of an Oxycontin Addiction Although Oxycontin is prescribed to help people with pain, it’s still an opioid. This means it poses an extremely high potential for abuse. A person taking Oxycontin for pain often finds themselves with more than they bargained for. An addiction to Oxycontin can go virtually unnoticed, until a person tries to stop. This is because the more a person takes an opioid (in this case Oxycontin), the more they need to achieve the desired effect. Oxycontin works by connecting to various opiate receptors in the brain. It triggers a massive release of dopamine–which not only masks a person’s pain but also elicits a sense of comfortable euphoria. It can make a person feel amazing, comfortably relaxed without a care in the world. This is why countless people abuse Oxycontin on a regular basis. Snorting or injecting Oxycontin only intensifies this pleasurable effect, something that has people continually seeking out this “legal” substance on a regular basis. For people that become addicted to... read more

The Psyche Of Addiction: Uncovering the Real Cause of Substance Abuse and Dependency Issues

As addiction rates continue to skyrocket around the world, more people are looking for an understanding of addition itself. Is addiction really the substance itself, or is there something deeper within the individual that instigates the addiction in the first place? There is a stigma attached to addiction that carries an extremely negative connotation towards an addict. Addiction, however, can affect anyone. No one is immune from becoming dependent on drugs or alcohol. There’s a common misconception that addiction happens to “bad people” or those who lack willpower. Nothing could be further from the truth. Most addiction stems from pain. It’s the people who’ve experienced some kind of trauma who most often end up becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol, not people who lack some moral compass. Substance abuse is also common amongst those suffering from depression and other mental health issues. Reaching for drugs or alcohol to lift one’s mood is an easy escape and can, unfortunately, turn into a serious problem. Childhood Trauma and Addiction It’s well-known that what a person experiences in childhood has a direct influence on what their life will be like in the future. When a child grows up in a stressful environment, they’re more likely to experience addiction later on in life. Abuse, neglect, and exposure to extremely stressful situations all increase a person’s chances of becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol. There’s a growing body of research that suggests that what a person experiences in childhood will directly influence their likelihood of becoming an addict later in life. Take the Adverse Childhood Experience (ACEs) study for instance. It included approximately 17,000... read more

Bad Trips Gone Good: What We Can Learn from a Difficult Psychedelic Experience

While taking psychedelics for a medicinal or spiritual experience can be an extremely enlightening and healing experience, there is always the probability that what a person goes through isn’t what they’d hoped for. A negative psychedelic experience can be extremely frightening, and truly show a person the aspects of their subconscious they’d rather leave alone. What a Bad Trip is Here to Teach Us The effects of a “bad trip” can last for days or even weeks after the experience, leaving a person wondering if psychedelic medicine actually holds the potential for healing so many people claim. A negative psychedelic experience, however, can be a blessing in disguise. Having an adverse reaction to psychedelics can show a person the emotional and psychological issues they carry that need to be healed. It’s the negative things a person goes through during a bad trip that are most often the problems they need to address the most. Psychedelics are powerful conduits for change, and, when used for healing, they can bring up some very serious emotions and feelings. Having this insight can make it a lot easier to see the positive side when something like this occurs. After all, it’s often through difficulty that we experience tremendous change. The only way out is through–and a challenging psychedelic experience is here to show a person exactly the problems they need to work out in order to experience the healing they need. This understanding can make a tremendous difference when looking for insight through psychedelic healing. Do You Need to Have a Difficult Experience to Heal? While having a difficult experience on psychedelics can offer more awareness of the... read more

Psychedelic Mushrooms: Medicine and Healing

Psychedelic mushrooms have been an integral part of healing throughout human culture for centuries. Because this species of mushrooms, known as psilocybin cubensis, shows such promise with its therapeutic properties, there have been numerous studies conducted over the years. Used for both mystical and medical reasons, psychedelic mushrooms have the power to provide deep restoration to mind, body, and soul. It’s well known that mushrooms provide a unique journey that is unparalleled. There have been numerous studies conducted that highlight this transcendent experience when taking psychedelic mushrooms, with the most famous known as the Good Friday Experiment. This study was the first of many to come that showed the positive effects of mushrooms on the human psyche. Studies that have come after have shown this…and much more. Mushrooms as a Means to Treat Depression Perhaps one of the most beneficial ways mushrooms work on the human mind is the ability they have to help ease depression. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), some 350 million people around the world suffer from some sort of depression. And while there have been numerous studies that highlight this proficiency when it comes to treating mental health, a recent study showed just how “magic” these mushrooms really are. In the study, 12 out of 12 people experienced a major decrease in depressive symptoms, with 5 out of 12 being completely healed three months later. Calming Cluster Headaches Anyone who has ever experienced a migraine knows just how painful these headaches can be. Intensify that pain by about one hundred, and you might have an idea of how painful cluster headaches are. They’re so bad that... read more

Microdosing: A Look into the Growing Trend

According to Albert Hoffman, the infamous scientist who first synthesized LSD, taking the substance in small amounts was something that clarified his thinking. Apparently, the father of this psychedelic substance isn’t the only one who has had similar results. Microdosing, ingesting small amounts of LSD or psilocybin every few days, is something that’s become all the rage in places like Silicon Valley. By doing this, they say their focus and productivity is drastically increased. For those who have taken up microdosing, they compare it to many other “natural” techniques that are used to improve job performance and concentration. Many who want the effects of Adderall and Ritalin but don’t want to take a synthetic prescription medication have turned to microdosing as an alternative. While there have been few clinical studies on microdosing, there are those who have done the some research. David Nutt, a researcher of psychedelics and director of the Center for Neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London, has found remarkable results while performing primary trials on microdosing. Nutt believes that microdosing “may help certain brain areas work in more flexible and expansive ways that might give better outcomes (” Those who are incorporating microdosing as a part of their regular routine claim to have these supposably remarkable results. And while there are no clinical studies currently underway, there is a large body of volunteer participants who have been self-medicating since 2010. This self-led study is one conducted by Dr. James Fadiman, who has been researching psychedelics since the 1960s. He has data collected from 125 volunteers already, and results couldn’t be more promising. According to one person who took place in the study, microdosing small... read more

5 Tips Before Travelling Abroad for Psychedelic Healing

While healing with psychedelic medicine is nothing new, there has been a recent surge in interest of several psychedelic substances. As old ideals are shattered, people are discovering alternative ways to heal everything from anxiety to addiction, and they’re finding them in places all over the globe. Psychedelics Catching Your Attention? Native to the Peruvian jungles, ayahuasca has become the alternative treatment of the 21st century. Considered sacred by South American tribes, ayahuasca is also known as “the vine of the soul”. It is said that ayahuasca cleanses the negative energy of a person and connects them to their own divinity. So transformative can an experience with ayahuasca be that countless people travel to Peru every year to receive this sacred treatment. Ayahuasca, however, isn’t the only psychedelic healing that’s got people headed out of the country. Ibogaine, a psychedelic native to West and Central Africa, has shown unprecedented potential in treating addiction. Those who have taken ibogaine speak of the power it contains to stop physical withdrawal symptoms in their tracks, something obviously welcomed by those who suffer from excruciating withdrawal symptoms when coming off drugs like heroin. The popularity of ibogaine has increased exponentially in recent years, most likely in respond to the opioid epidemic that is affecting people from every demographic across the nation. New ibogaine clinics just across the US border are popping up all the time and provide an easy way for people to receive treatment close to the US. Because the popularity of psychedelic medicine is quickly gaining momentum, travelling to receive medicine that has been sacred for centuries is becoming the “new... read more

In and Out of Rehab? It May Not Be Your Fault

There aren’t many statistics on how many times someone goes to rehab before making a successful recovery, but for a lot people it’s definitely more than once. To go through rehab, relapse, go back to rehab, relapse again, and go back to rehab again isn’t uncommon. It actually happens more than a lot of people are even aware of. The thing is, most people believe that rehab is the end all, be all solution for addiction. Many people also believe that 12-step programs like AA are the only way to successfully make it through. If this is the case, why are we seeing so many people go in and out of rehab? The reality is these programs don’t always work. And while many people swear by them, there are others that argue these programs are outdated and lack the evidence to support the success they swear by. These traditional programs might work for some, but what about the vast amount of people that are attending rehab three, four, or even more times and still not making real progress? Who’s Fault is it? Some would say it’s the fault of the patient. That they aren’t willing or ready to fully commit to recovery. When the 12-steps don’t work (which are often integrated in with traditional rehabs), AA assumes it’s because the person is somehow weak or not ready to make the commitment to stop using. The Big Book (AA’s bible) has this to say about someone that doesn’t find success with the 12-step program: “Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do... read more

Addiction After Injury: How Painkillers are Causing Heroin Addiction

It’s no secret that there’s a heroin epidemic raging across the US. Addiction statistics are off the charts when it comes to heroin use, and it’s affecting practically every demographic there is. Those most at risk? Quite often it’s those who have suffered an injury who run the greatest possibility of becoming someone who’s hooked on heroin. How Can Painkillers Prescribed for an Injury Lead to Heroin Use? It all stem from the prescription pain medication prescribed after someone’s suffered an injury. This means that many who get hurt (from teen athletes injured in sports to someone who slipped and broke their ankle) are given painkillers to take until their symptoms improve. The thing is, most of these prescription pain pills hold high potential for addiction–and this addiction is what often leads to heroin use. Heroin offers similar effects to prescription meds. It feeds addiction almost exactly the same way as painkillers do, and does so at a fraction of the cost. Painkillers can be expensive (and difficult to attain) on the black market, and heroin’s something that’s cheap. Not only that, but it’s readily available pretty much everywhere. So, once the addiction sets in, many search for more pain medications. After being addicted to pain medication addicts seek a cheaper solution, which often leads to heroin use. Prescription Medication Causes Dependency Prescription painkillers are also known as opioids. They work by reducing the amount of pain signals that reach the brain while influencing certain areas in the brain that control emotion. And while they certainly do provide pain relief (and sometimes feeling of euphoria), they are also causing the biggest opioid epidemic... read more

6 Tips to Avoid Relapse During the Holiday Season

As holly jolly as the holidays are supposed to be, they sure bring on an overload of stress. And this “happiest time of the year” can actually be torture for someone in recovery. From holiday parties and family obligations to busy travel schedules and crowded shopping trips, the holidays come with a lot of expectations. For someone recovering from drug or alcohol addiction, these expectations can trigger some seriously stressful emotions. Family time can be stressful enough for anyone, and can be especially demanding on someone in recovery. The stress that family can trigger during the holidays can quickly make someone want to cope by using a substance. For those without a family, the holidays can be extremely lonely. The holiday blues are very real, especially for those who find themselves alone this time of year. For someone in recovery, feeling lonely is common even when it’s not the holidays. The holidays, however, can trigger even more intense emotions in the recovering addict without family or friends to share them with. The thought of a drink or two (or more) to cope with the stress of the holidays is normal for anyone, recovering addict or not. The holidays are a time for celebration, but you don’t need to drink or do drugs to do so. It’s the perfect time of year to celebrate sobriety. Give yourself a gift this holiday season and avoid relapse by sticking to the following tips: 6 Tips to Avoid Relapse During the Holidays Begin Each Day with a Plan Start each day out knowing exactly what you’re going to do. While this is a... read more

FDA Approved MDMA Clinical Trials Show Promise for People Who Suffer From PTSD

The only people who know how utterly exhausting and overwhelmingly difficult it is to heal from PTSD are the ones who have it. Intensely severe anxiety barely scratches the surface when trying to describe what PTSD is like. From panic attacks while awake and nightmares when asleep, PTSD can be seriously debilitating. PTSD develops in some people after they’ve been exposed to extreme psychological trauma. Things like sexual abuse, physical abuse, rape, torture, being kidnapped, plane crashes, natural disasters, and car accidents can all trigger the disorder, but it’s people who’ve engaged in war and active combat that have really brought the subject to light. It’s believed that 1 in 8 soldiers who return from war will experience some sort of PTSD. For some symptoms go away in a few months, but for others life can become a horrendous experience. The VA’s answer to fixing the trauma so many soldiers experience is usually antidepressants, but for most these do little but numb the pain. A New Solution There is hope, however, and it’s coming from a drug that the FDA has labelled as “having no medicinal value.” It’s called MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy, and is scheduled to soon start Phase 3 FDA clinical trials. If these trials go well (which many people are sure they will), MDMA may soon be available at your local pharmacy sold as prescription medication. This new decision springs from previous trials conducted with MDMA, as well as the most recent studies performed in Charleston, SC. These two trials concentrated on patients who had suffered from PTSD symptoms for an average of 17 years. It... read more
The Crossroads Treatment Center is now the Crossroads Research Initiative, a single source compiling psychedelic research data, offering expert consultations, clinical guidance, case studies and best practices for integrative psychedelic medicine.