University of Bath MSc Health Psychology graduate. Stakeholder Engagement Officer at Volteface. Interested in addiction and drug reform.
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This piece was originally published for Volteface

Psychedelics are making a comeback. We’ve recently witnessed a wave of re-emerging interest and research into psychedelic drugs. This has undoubtedly been a beneficial force for breaking down stigma, whilst highlighting the incredible potential psychedelics have for healing deep-rooted trauma.

However, a narrative that isn’t addressed nearly enough is that our psychedelic research perpetuates discrimination. We’ve still got work to do.

Researchers and clinicians in the field have a duty to ensure that systematic patterns of oppression and discrimination are not reproduced in the psychedelic field. Sadly, research as it currently stands lacks…


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This piece was originally published for Volteface.

Our understanding of how psychoactive substances affect us has been largely based on researching their intoxicating effects. But what about the after effects? I’m talking about the comedowns, the hangovers, the withdrawals. This might be a more important research focus, to better understand the nature of addiction and what drives individuals to use substances problematically.

We need to talk about comedowns.

Our knowledge of the intoxicating effects drugs have is pretty thorough. We know what most recreational drugs do to our brain, how substances stimulate, depress and interact with various neurotransmitters. Although there…


This piece was originally published for Volteface.

Oftentimes we are keen to distinguish between medical and recreational cannabis use. But does this distinction do more harm than good for advancing recreational reform?

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Many assume that this distinction is an important one, but is it?

By no means should the medicinal properties that cannabis possesses for treating a range of health conditions must not be undervalued.

However, are we paying enough attention to ‘recreational’ reform? Is the use of the word ‘recreational’ perhaps undervaluing its importance?

Recently, medical cannabis reform has dominated the advocacy space, driving the conversation forward. This has been incredible in terms of the positive progress we are making. We see this with symbolic advancement with time UN decision last week.

Although this…


Fear, uncertainty, loneliness — increased psychological problems are a clear consequence of this pandemic. Could mind-expanding drugs be a possible treatment?

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Photo by Sharm Murugiah

Psymposia’s recent article highlighted “changing society is much more complicated than changing our minds”.The extraordinary impact of COVID-19 across all facets of society requires interdisciplinary action as we are likely experiencing the greatest mental health obstacle of our time. Unpredictability, uncertainty, misinformation and social isolation are adding to the melting pot of this global mental health crisis.

In particular, COVID-19 has disproportionately affected vulnerable individuals, highlighting existing health inequalities and leading to various maladaptive psychological responses. Due to this, vulnerable populations need to be supported in order to reduce the adverse psychological impact.

Could psychedelics be a plausible solution to the consequences of COVID-19?

Growing psychiatric evidence shows LSD and psilocybin…


Microdosing may improve productivity, creativity and mood, but what does the evidence say?

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Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

This piece was originally published for Volteface.

Microdosing has become a focal point for improving mood and daily functioning. Interest in this field is mounting with a 290% increase in videos relating to microdosing released on Youtube between 2016 and 2018.

Anecdotal evidence suggests psychedelic microdoses may improve productivity, creativity and mood. Where does the evidence sit? What are people’s experiences of microdosing? And what do we still not know?

Microdosing is a low dose below the perceptual threshold which does not impair the functioning of an individual, taken with the intention to improve wellbeing or cognition.

Many researchers have…


This piece was originally written for Volteface.

Yesterday, history was made with the UN reclassifying cannabis. This removes cannabis from the list of most dangerous narcotics, recognising its medical value.

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The decision was voted on by the Commission for Narcotic Drugs. A series of recommendations on reclassifying cannabis were considered, the key being the removal of it from Schedule IV of 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. The five remaining recommendations were turned down.

The reclassification passed 27 to 25 with one abstention — so, a narrow win. The US and many European countries were in favour. Whereas countries such as China, Egypt, Nigeria, Pakistan and Russia voted against.

This decision will undoubtedly advance the expansion of medical cannabis research and bolster legalisation…


This piece was originally published for Volteface.

Last week Vancouver City Council voted to decriminalise all drugs, though it still requires federal approval before it is officially enacted. If approved, this is huge. Vancouver would be the first Canadian city to decriminalise personal possession of illicit drugs, following in the path that Oregon has paved earlier this month.

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This legislation is a step in the right direction to combat the worsening overdose crisis that Vancouver is facing. A public health emergency was declared in 2016 in response to overdose fatalities. Since then, over 5,000 people have died in British Columbia, 1536 of which are in Vancouver. Recent statistics reveal that 5 British Columbians die everyday from a drug overdose, with 162 drug-related deaths this October. Putting this in perspective with 32 Covid deaths in October, drug-related deaths are in an overwhelming and frightening lead in British Columbia. …


This piece was originally published on Volteface

A recent academic publication finds THC concentrations have been on the rise over the last 50 years. A systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted on the changes in THC and CBD concentrations in the US, UK, Netherlands, France, Denmark, Italy and New Zealand.

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Analysing data from over 80,000 street samples of cannabis, concentrations of THC in the international cannabis market increased from 1970 to 2017, by approximately 0.29% each year. CBD on the other hand, has remained stable.

In context of typical use, findings suggest the quantity of THC in a typical gram of cannabis rose on average by 2.9 mg each year for herbal cannabis and by 5.7 mg for cannabis resin. Authors conclude that cannabis consumed today differs enormously from the drug consumed half a century ago.

A higher THC content could increase long-term…


This piece was originally published on Volteface

Covid-19 and mental health problems are two pandemics that have simultaneously collided. The inextricable link between addiction and mental illness has been exacerbated by this pandemic.

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Spring lockdown saw a surge in drug consumption. In the midst of a second national lockdown, it is important to consider what implications this has on vulnerable populations and how to best support them.

Unemployment, isolation, uncertainty — this pandemic is having an immense psychosocial impact on us with widespread challenges. Covid-19 has exposed our societal unpreparedness, magnifying social, economic and political inequalities.

Though varied, lockdown has heightened people’s maladaptive coping with stress.

“There appear to have been marker differences in the way people have been impacted by the pandemic and lockdown. For…


This piece was originally published on Volteface

The changing legal status of cannabis, along with recognising its medical benefits has allowed the industry to continue to grow. As a result of this, alternative ways for consuming cannabis have started to emerge such as infused products.

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The market for cannabis-infused beverages has been growing steadily in popularity. In 2019, the North American cannabis beverage market was valued at $335.1 million. The global cannabis beverage market is estimated to be worth $1.82 billion by the end of 2020 and $5.8 billion by 2024.

Cannabis ‘edibles’ have been on the market for a while. However, beverages have emerged as a more accessible alternative for consumption.

Why have infused drinks become so popular and why are they so promising for the cannabis market?

The increased variety of ways to consume cannabis means…

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