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LSD, magic mushrooms less harmful than thought and should be reclassified, says renowned psychiatrist
By NewsGram Staff Writer
Psychedelics were made illegal in 1967, when medical research suggested widespread concern about their psychological and social harms.
Today, a leading psychiatrist claims that psychedelic drugs, including LSD and magic mushrooms, are less harmful than projected and should be reclassified in order to promote research into their potential benefits.
“No evidence had ever shown the drugs to be habit-forming. There is also little evidence of harm when used in controlled settings, and a wealth of studies indicating that they have uses in the treatment of common psychiatric disorders”, writes Dr James Rucker, a psychiarist at King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience
According to one small Swiss study, LSD and psilocybin- the active compound in magic mushrooms–can be used to alleviate symptoms of anxiety in terminally ill patients.
Other researchers are starting to consider how such psychedelics can benefit addicts and those suffering from the obsessive compulsive disorder.
Dr Rucker, however, argues that larger trials are “almost impossible” because of the “practical, financial, and bureaucratic obstacles” imposed by the drugs’ legal status.
Magic mushrooms and LSD are classified as class A and schedule 1 drugs in the UK. Only four hospitals in the UK possess licenses to conduct research due to the exorbitant amount(£5,000) that one has to shell out for holding such a license.
Complying with international regulations also involves hefty charges for researchers who wish to acquire the drugs. According to Dr Rucker, a gram of psilocybin can cost up to £100,000.
“These restrictions, and the accompanying bureaucracy, mean that the cost of clinical research using psychedelics is five to 10 times that of research into less restricted (but more harmful) drugs such as heroin – with no prospect that the benefits can be translated into wider practice,” Rucker writes in BMJ
Rucker further argues that national and international bodies should reclassify psychedelics as a schedule 2 drugs, to enable a comprehensive, evidence-based assessment of their therapeutic potential.
Former chairman of the Advisory council on the misuse of drugs, Professor David Nutt was dismissed after saying that LSD and ecstasy are less harmful than alcohol.
An outspoken critic of the restrictions around studies of psychedelics, Professor Nutt is currently conducting research into psychedelics’ effects on the brain. His team at Imperial College London are the first in the world to conduct brain scans on people under the influence of LSD.
Nutt compares the repression of such research to the censorship of Galileo and the banning of the telescope. His team recently announced they would have to crowd-fund the next stages of their research, amid prospects of deteriorating funds.
Stating his opposition in no uncertain terms, Mike Penning, Minister for Policing, Crime, Criminal Justice and Victims said, “Drugs are illegal where scientific and medical analysis has shown they are harmful to human health. They destroy lives, cause misery to families and communities, and this Government has no intention of decriminalising them.”
“We have a clear licensing regime, supported by legislation, which allows legitimate research to take place in a secure environment while ensuring that harmful drugs are not misused and do not get into the hands of criminals”, Penning further added.
With the festive season on in full swing, iconic brand Johnnie Walker, is all set to re-energize the country's after-hour culture. Through its one-of-a-kind campaign #RevibeTheNight, the brand brings together beloved music artists like Divine, Ritviz, Lisa Mishra, Taba Chake along with popular indie bands like When Chai Met Toast and Mad Boy Mink, among others to perform live across iconic community spaces in India.
The collaborative effort by Johnnie Walker aims to bring back the after-hour culture through live performances across popular hotspots in India. The brand's goal is drive social regeneration in India and bring back the vibe of socializing through local music artists and reignite the trade, driving social culture by executing the live events with Covid measures in place and a limited capacity audience capacity.
The collaborative effort by Johnnie Walker aims to bring back the after-hour culture through live performances across popular hotspots in India. | Photo by Vishnu R Nair on Unsplash
Prior to the world going into lockdown, the after-hour culture in India bloomed at celebrated community hubs, that eventually became a safe-haven for individuals, a place where they found their sense of self-expression and belonging, that fuelled progress. This community was driven through the culture of live music and enthralling performances that created their very own vibe, a vibe that built extraordinary, forever-lasting relationships. Through #ReVibeTheNight, one can reconnect with this community bringing music curated by artists who have a history of captivating crowds with their one-of-a-kind live experiences. Catch the gigs and live performances for artists in these venues/cities for the live performances.
(Artiicle originally published on IANSlife) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: johnnie walker, social, #revibethenight, performances, community, artists, culture, festivity, begin
By Nikhila Natarajan
In a continuing study on the effects of machine learning (ML) on public conversation, Twitter has confirmed that its algorithms amplify right-leaning political content. "In six out of seven countries - all but Germany - tweets posted by accounts from the political right receive more algorithmic amplification than the political left when studied as a group," Twitter blogged.
"Right-leaning news outlets, as defined by the independent organisations, see greater algorithmic amplification on Twitter compared to left-leaning news outlets." Since 2016, Twitter users are able to choose between viewing algorithmically ordered tweets first in their home timeline or viewing the most recent tweets in reverse chronological order.
"An algorithmic home timeline displays a stream of tweets from accounts we have chosen to follow on Twitter, as well as recommendations of other content Twitter thinks we might be interested in based on accounts we interact with frequently, tweets we engage with, and more. "As a result, what we see on our timeline is a function of how we interact with Twitter's algorithmic system, as well as how the system is designed."
The new research is based on tweets of elected officials of House of Commons members in Canada, the French National Assembly, the German Bundestag, House of Representatives in Japan, Congress of Deputies of Spain, House of Commons in the UK, and official and personal accounts of House of Representatives and Senate members in the US, as well as news outlets, from April 1 to August 15, 2020.
Tweets about political content from elected officials, regardless of party or whether the party is in power, do see algorithmic amplification when compared to political content on the reverse chronological timeline. | Photo by Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash
The study was conducted by Ferenc Huszar (Twitter, University of Cambridge), Sofia Ira Ktena (now at DeepMind Technologies), Conor O'Brien (Twitter), Luca Belli (Twitter), Andrew Schlaikjer (Twitter), and Moritz Hardt (UC Berkeley).
The questions probed were:
How much algorithmic amplification does political content from elected officials receive in Twitter's algorithmically ranked Home timeline versus in the reverse chronological timeline? Does this amplification vary across political parties or within a political party?
Are some types of political groups algorithmically amplified more than others? Are these trends consistent across countries?
Are some news outlets amplified more by algorithms than others? Does news media algorithmic amplification favour one side of the political spectrum more than the other?
Tweets about political content from elected officials, regardless of party or whether the party is in power, do see algorithmic amplification when compared to political content on the reverse chronological timeline. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: algorithmically, timeline, algorithmic, tweets, political, survey, twitter, study, germany, skew
Even as India celebrates reaching a milestone of 100 crore Covid vaccine doses, Snapdeal co-founder and COO Rohit Bansal on Friday lauded a man who facilitated 64 registrations for the vaccine on the CoWin portal. In a video shared on his Facebook and Twitter page, Bansal hailed Sonu Kumar as a "citizen celebrity".
Bansal said that Kumar not only helped "just co-workers and family but complete strangers too. With patience, empathy and uncanny jugaad". He added that Kumar joined him "many moons ago" and completed his open school from a parking lot.
"Education has helped this wonderful man enable others to get India back on track. Bravo! The CoWin portal on Thursday mentioned that a total of 100 crore vaccine doses has been administered so far to the eligible population under the vaccination drive in India, nine months after the nationwide inoculation programme was started to protect the people against Covid-19.
"It's a cause of significant celebration and happiness," Bansal said in the video. He said that while people just help a few around them, Kumar "bridged the digital gap" for 64 people, who were finding it difficult to register themselves online on the vaccine portal. Kumar said he doesn't feel that he has contributed much towards the 100 crore vaccine dose count. "I have been able to help only 64 people, if I was able to help more I would have been happier." (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: cowin, covid, india, people, Rohit bansal, Sonu kumar, vaccine, snapdeal, registrations