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Thread: Psychedelics and cigarettes

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    Community Member Sherman Peabody's Avatar
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    Default Psychedelics and cigarettes

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    Ibogaine helped me quit smoking cigarettes

    So a few weeks ago I went to Holland to take part in an Ibogaine ceremony. Ibogaine is a psychedelic plant from West Africa that has recently generated interest due to it's remarkable ability to interrupt addictions, most notably opiate addiction. I went for various reasons, but I'd like to share how successful Ibogaine has been in helping me to quit smoking.

    Personally, during my 15 hour long trip I saw visions of my childhood, had out-of-body experiences (such as being a gorilla) and in the process exorcised dozens of my demons, including self-hatred, guilt, perfectionism and compulsive behavior. I also had a spiritual awakening, where I felt the connection of all living things and understood more about the living universe.

    After the experience I lay in the grass as the effects wore off. I could smell the flowers, grass and my own pungent odor from the hours of sweating under the influence. I've never smelt like that before. It was beautiful!

    A bit later after some food, the thought popped into my head that I might have a cigarette, a thought that popped in due to shear habit as always coming along after eating.
    But this time, instead of feeling like I had to smoke, or that I was missing out by not smoking, I simply made the following deal with myself:

    "If I can smoke that cigarette and keep this heightened sense of smell and taste then I'll do it... if I lose the beauty of these flowers and their aroma then sorry... it's just not worth it!"

    Haven't smoked since, haven't wanted to smoke, have no withdrawal and feel amazing as a result!

    I don't know exactly how it worked. Iboga is a strange thing and a hell of a lot of stuff happened both during the journey and after. My guess is that Iboga reset my hormone levels so withdrawal didn't happen, helped me to understand the reasons I smoked and did a psychological reprogramming such that cigarettes no longer had power over me.

    There was another smoker in the group I should mention... she had smoked for 30 years and tried quitting with every method under the sun. She realized through a series of visions that when she was 15 and first moved away from her strict parents, the first thing she did was buy a pack of cigarettes. To her subconscious, cigarettes represented freedom and autonomy, and that's why it was so hard for her to stop smoking. Once she realized that, she figured out that her freedom came from within, not from the cigarettes, and thus her smoking addiction was gone too.

    Now, Iboga is a big ordeal, it's long, hard and will show you the cold hard truth. But it is a very gentle and loving experience that reminds you of what you love about yourself too!

    If quitting has been tough for you then it might be worth a look, particularly if you have some psychological issues that need resolving, too. It's like 10 years of therapy in a night, but you'll know if you're ready for that.You'll know when you're ready. It was a year after deciding I would do Iboga that I actually went, a tough year.

    I know this will sound a bit mad, but I believe Iboga calls you when it is time. I knew it was time to book myself in when within the space of a week 5 of my favorite podcasts mentioned Iboga (one was business podcast, one health, one Joe Rogan, etc.), just as a long personal challenge had ended.

    Don't rush it, though. I came close to selling all my possessions to get myself there, but I got a message that I had to take the step of staying disciplined, saving up carefully and preparing myself properly. Going on impulse would have been a waste of time and money.

    For the record, since the ceremony I have: -quit smoking -stopped drinking alone or to get drunk -reconnected with my parents -stopped YouTube addiction -cured my social anxiety -found my courage -gave my number to a girl on the street for the first time in my life.

    Peace and love fellow quitters! It's much easier not to smoke than you think. You just need to change the way you think :-)

    -anonomousse

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    Ibogaine is the closest thing we have to a cure for addiction at the moment, I think because it works on different levels, not only alleviating acute WD symptoms but giving the
    psycho-spiritual aspect too... this in most people seems to do the trick.

    The long term reduction in cravings is due to the ibogaine converting to noribogaine in the liver and slowly releasing small amounts into the body. This has been proven in studies.

    Also in studies on rats it's been shown (when given to addicted rats that had previously had a lever to give themselves a morphine dose) to stop them dosing! So it's not just placebo...

    It somehow resets the dopamine receptors too so you don't get the long term depression with normal opiate withdrawals.

    I can say definitely for sure that it works for nicotine... I've smoked 40 cigarettes a day for 18 years, and I didn't even realise I didn't even want a cigarette for the first few days after, and when I did have one it tasted like an ashtray. Disgusting!

    -sids

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    I tried to quit smoking with magic mushrooms—and it worked.

    By Charlie Gilmour

    A recent study concluded that giving up smoking with the help of psilocybin has an 80 percent success rate. Conveniently, as "Stoptober" and mushroom-picking season perfectly intersect, I thought I'd give it a go.

    A golfer shakes his iron angrily in the air as we plough our buggy through the middle of his game. Dr. Brande*, an international expert in the field of psychedelic mushrooms, cackles beside me. This has become a race against metabolism: return the vehicle before the drugs kick in.

    They have undeniably begun to kick in.

    We have not, as you might have guessed, come to this north London golf course to admire its famously majestic thirteenth hole. Rather, we are testing an experimental cure for one of mankind's greatest curses: cigarettes.

    I've tried everything: patches, gum, inhalers, faith healers; none of it seems to work. So when "Stoptober," that UK government-mandated holiday season for the lungs, rolls around, I greet it with a leathery wheeze of resentment. Surely there must be a better way?

    According to Johns Hopkins University, there is: magic mushrooms. Psychedelic mushrooms have, for fairly obvious reasons, attracted human interest for millennia. Seven-thousand-year-old Saharan cave paintings suggest ancient cults worshiped them; the Aztecs carried out healings with them; the Vikings made war with them; even Jesus, some claim, was actually just a magic mushroom in disguise.

    Now, thanks to science, our fungal friends can add the imminent destruction of the tobacco industry to their many great achievements. Psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, has an 80 percent success rate in the treatment of cigarette addiction, according to research carried out by the university. To put that in context, nicotine replacement therapies—such as patches or gum—hit around 20 percent. And yet, somehow, one year after that research was published, these lifesaving little shrooms are strictly forbidden.

    Lucky, then, that Stoptober and magic mushroom picking season perfectly intersect. According to Dr. Brande, within London, golf courses are the best bet.

    "We're looking for psilocybe semilanceata, a small, beige-brown mushroom more commonly known as the liberty cap," he says, as we nose our way around the course. "You'll see the cap sticking out of the grass. That's its really defining feature: a steep domed cap with a nipple on top. The nipples are essential."

    "Look, there's one!" says Brande. "Just peeping up above the grass!"

    It's a seemingly harmless little thing, but handling these mushrooms can have terrible consequences. "As soon as you pick it," says Dr. Brande, "you are guilty of possession of a class A drug." If I were to give this tiny mushroom to Brande, I could face a maximum of 14 years in prison for supply. So I don't; I eat it instead.

    The original study involved years of preparation. Carrying out human trials with Schedule I drugs—substances not recognized by the establishment as having any therapeutic value—is an extremely bothersome process. The subjects had to be prepped for months before being given their first dose.

    According to Dr. Matthew Johnson, one of the chief researchers on the project, much of that work involved simply preparing patients for the intensity of the psilocybin trip. "One can have these glorious, sometimes mystical, certainly intriguing effects," Dr. Johnson told VICE, "but also people can have what is sometimes described as the most frightening experience of someone's life. [The preparation] goes over a laundry list of all the kinds of things that can happen, and that's a really long list."

    A bad trip, probably the most common danger when taking hallucinogenic drugs, is, he says, simply a matter of bad perspective.

    "If your dead grandmother's crawling up your leg [during a bad trip]," says Johnson, "welcome your dead grandmother up your leg and ask her what she's there to tell you. Whether it's a monster or a dead grandmother, always take the orientation that this is something to learn from. Whether it's inviting or horribly frightening, always approach and learn."

    Participants in the study were carefully handled. They had comfortable settings, considerate guides and trained psychologists and medics on hand in case it all went wrong. Instead, we're driving the wrong way around a north London golf course, harvesting mushrooms as we go.

    One advantage we do have is the presence of Tom Fortes-Mayer, a Harley Street hypnotherapist who has agreed to act as guide and guardian throughout this process.

    "Usually when people come to give up smoking they feel like they're losing a naughty but slightly charming and faithful friend," says Tom. "Our job in the ritual we are going to perform is to change that perspective. Really, smoking is the kind of friend who, when you're not looking, goes upstairs and abuses your daughter."

    Telling someone who is coming up on mushrooms that they have a pedophile living inside them is an awful thing to do. But it's exactly this sort of thought process that makes psilocybin so effective in treating addiction.

    The drug, says Dr. Johnson, helps patients see their lives in perspective. It is, for many, a "mystical experience."

    "In these cases, it's striking that there's typically an overwhelming sense of unity," says Dr. Johnson. "A sense of feeling like you step out of time and space; a sense of paradoxicality; experiences of the ineffable; a noetic quality; a sense that somehow the experience is more real and valid than reality."

    Psilocybin may very well be a wonder drug—plenty of new research suggests that it is—but it is truly terrible for driving. My feet are at the pedals but Brande's hands seem to have taken firm control of the wheel. "I suggest we find somewhere quiet to perform the ritual," he says.

    What happens next is hard to describe. We lay down in a forest. The trees pulsate. With the Brande's guidance I travel deep, deep down into the ageless, genderless, timeless core of my consciousness and kick a few things around. I meet the part of my mind responsible for smoking and have a stern word. Other things occur, most of them too personal to relate.

    When I emerge, a million years later, smoking is simply something other people do. The illusion is shattered; the urge has gone. I see someone with a cigarette and feel precisely nothing.

    Over the week that follows I do all of the things that would normally have me reaching for cigarettes: leave the house, wait for a bus, do work, get drunk, go to parties, have arguments, drink coffee; in fact, thinking about it now, almost every major and minor event in my life was an occasion for a cigarette. Now that they're gone, I don't even miss them. It's been a week and a half, and the cravings are still nonexistent.

    The war on drugs has claimed millions of lives over the last half century. We know all about the victims of South American narco-states; the living death of the prison system; the friends who died because they didn't know what they were being sold. But what about those who could have been saved? Tobacco causes six million deaths per year. For a good portion of those, one tiny, highly illegal mushroom might contain the cure.

    *At his request, Dr. Brande's identity has been protected.

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    Gordon McGlothlin is 65 years old and, until recently, he smoked 20 cigarettes a day, a habit he formed when just 15 years old. He tried to stop, using nicotine replacement therapy, psychological therapy, and going cold turkey. But each time he relapsed. Then, McGlothlin’s friend told him about an advertisement for participants in a clinical trial of a new treatment for tobacco addiction. So one December morning, McGlothlin walked into the research center at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, where he took a small, blue capsule and sat in a room listening to classical music. The idea was that after he walked out of the research center in the evening he would never smoke another cigarette again. That was almost two years ago and McGlothlin says he is still smoke-free.

    McGlothlin was part of a small, proof-of-concept trial using psilocybin to help heavy smokers quit. Psilocybin is showing promise as a therapeutic agent for a number of psychiatric illnesses including addiction, depression and anxiety. “I think psilocybin gave me the impetus to stay abstinent. It opens up a whole new dimension to your personality. It's almost as though quitting smoking is peripheral during the experience,” says McGlothlin. Because of his treatment with psilocybin, he feels freed from the hold that cigarettes had over him. “It became non-important, like who cares?” He adds that the experience affected much more than just his addiction to tobacco. “Psilocybin changed my life. It’s not that I was afraid of dying, but during the experience you come to grips with the fact that life is transient and death a continuation of that process, but that your thoughts persist,” he recalls. “I had a friend dying of cancer and I think it would have been good for them, it gives tremendous piece of mind, it puts life and death in the right place, it gives you hope.”

    -Janna Lawrence

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    I had my last cigarette at the start of my Ibogaine ceremony 12 days ago, and I do not feel any cravings. I eat healthier, and I drink less alcohol. I've also seen an improvement in my self esteem and self confidence. It was a great experience. I am happy I did it and I think everybody should do this at least once in his/her life.

    -Stefan

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    Iboga really helped me to be more grounded and relaxed. It also helped me to quit smoking and alcohol. I tried not to expect anything from Iboga, but in the end I gotta say I expected a lot. Iboga works in a very subtle and unconscious [way], not like any entheogens I tried before. The experience itself was very exhausting for the body and on the end of the second day of the ceremony I was really frustrated because I thought it did not work, but it did. The day after, I already felt more calm and quiet in my mind. I find it much easier now to resist smoking and drinking and I am generally taking better care of myself. I also speak my opinion more clearly and I know my personal borders better.

    But one should not make the mistake to see it as the magic pill. You really have to work hard on yourself as well, in the end it is you who makes the change, but Iboga can really help you in your process. I feel much more grounded and relaxed now, but I know I still have a long way to go.

    -Julia

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    Like everyone, I was skeptical. A friend recommended that I check out Ibogaine treatment. After 10 years of being addicted to alcohol and prescription pain pills, I was cured.
    And I stopped smoking cigarettes which I have been doing for almost 30 years.

    -Robert Joe Lorem

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    Daniela: So how did it go with your Ibogaine treatment?
    Marco: Ibogaine is something you can't explain... It's really strong... but useful.
    Daniela: And the day after taking Ibogaine... How did you feel?
    Marco: Like another person. It's something, actually. It's hard to believe, one has to try it.
    Daniela: Alright, and how do you feel now?
    Marco: I feel fine. I feel like a new person.
    Daniela: Okay, and did you feel any pain during the treatment? Did you have any symptoms of withdrawal?
    Marco: No. Actually, it makes sense. There's no magic wand that can erase everything. But during the detox I really didn't feel anything! I can say I felt really good.
    And I stopped smoking. I had been smoking 4 packs of cigarettes a day.
    Daniela: Excellent. And now what do you plan to do? What are your plans for the future?
    Marco: Well, I hope that my job... that everything is going to be ok... my family... everything.

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    One of my goals for the trip was to quit smoking, something I have tried to do many times using many methods, including an 8 day stay at a vegan retreat, after which I immediately began smoking again. Iboga gave me the space I needed to stop smoking. I still wanted to smoke after it was over, and it wasn’t exactly easy not to, but it also wasn’t hard. I could feel that the iboga had broken the addiction, and there was no longer that crazy, uncontrollable impulse in me that would override all rational attempts to
    not smoke.

    It has been 4 weeks since I quit, and there is no question in my mind that I will not smoke again, and the ceremony has likely extended my life. I honestly don’t know how else I would have quit. The situation was getting pretty desperate. Ultimately, participating in the ceremony was the right thing for me to do.

    Julie

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    I started smoking when I was 17, and by the time I was 18, I was up to a pack a day. I smoked at least a pack a day until I was 25. Around that time I started really wanting to quit. I went on a two week vacation and was able to stop smoking during it. I started smoking again roughly a year later and kept smoking for over a year. Falling back into the nicotine addiction left me feeling defeated. New Years Eve that year I took 300ug of LSD with a resolution to quit smoking. That night I thought a lot about quitting, and when I woke up I felt I was actually capable of quitting for good. I just woke up not addicted to cigarettes, and it's been almost 2.5 years now.

    Something about wanting to stop combined with the LSD and spending that time pondering my addiction really did something different inside my brain.

    -argonargon

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    LSD helped me quit smoking

    By Thijs Roes

    For 18 years I was a stubbornly addicted smoker, but I didn't break out of the bad habit until I took a tab of acid with my friend and realized how badly I wanted to leave cigarettes behind.

    For 18 years I was a light yet stubbornly addicted smoker. Perhaps my habit was a result of growing up with a Dutch mom who handed me wisdom like: “Thijs, you’re 11 now. It’s time for you to learn how to roll smokes for your mommy.” There were periods where I’d just smoke one cigarette a day, and there were times when a pack wouldn’t see me through. But quitting — really quitting — was something I found I was able to manage for a week at most.

    Earlier this year, I reached a few conclusions that seem completely obvious, but are still the kind of truths that addicts love to ignore:

    - Smoking is a boring, useless addiction. The only joy in smoking is giving in to the addiction.

    - There is only one moment out of billions of years of history in which I’m alive. What a waste to shorten that blip of time with something so boring.

    - Going out with friends can be fun, but if we all went out for shots of apple juice instead, I’d be just as content. Smoking is more like a random compulsive activity than an
    actual experience.

    Those thoughts started running through my head earlier this year, and went on for about a month. In the end, it was almost like something broke inside of me. I realized that smoking now filled me with self-hatred, and that realization came during a weekend binge on LSD.

    It's always fun, LSD. It may have become slightly out of fashion since the 1960s, but I have always regarded it as a milder version of taking mushrooms—albeit a longer-lasting trip. The fear and panic surrounding it always seemed excessive to me, but of course everyone who takes it has a different experience.

    As I was gazing up at the stars during that trippy night in spring, my best friend and I were talking about life and the three smokers' truths I mentioned above. I realized I had carried them with me for a while now, without ever making a disciplined decision.

    I can’t describe it in any other way than feeling as if a switch were flipped inside me. Suddenly, I realized how ridiculous smoking was—why was I doing something that made me feel miserable? Of course I was completely spaced out, but the psychedelics helped me zoom out and break through my own frozen ideas about not being able to quit. I didn’t think, Yeah, yeah, yeah, I really need to quit soon. The only thought I had was: I don’t want to do this anymore.

    "Sounds like a familiar story," says clinical psychologist Pål-Ørjan Johansen. Together with his wife Teri S. Krebs, Johansen has been conducting research into psychedelics and alcohol addiction as part of a research fellowship at Harvard Medical School. "We've heard of addictions to alcohol, heroin, and tobacco that were broken with help from psychedelics. The reason seems to be that substances like LSD can provide a moment of clarity that can help you see your existence as a whole and get a long-term perspective into certain personal issues.”

    Research into the medical application of substances like LSD and psilocybin (the active ingredient in psychedelic mushrooms) are still in their very early phases. The 1950s and 1960s are remembered as a golden age of scientific research into psychedelics, but that doesn't mean it wasn't problematic. Some trials weren't big enough to prove anything in particular, other experiments (carried out by the CIA) were horrifically unethical, and once the drug became illegal in the mid 60s it never fully recovered from the cultural backlash that ensued.

    Research efforts have expanded in the last few years, but scientific psychedelic inquiry is still pretty small-scale. "There are three clinical research projects in the United States right now, and several more are being prepared," says Johansen.

    Right after I published a version of this story on VICE in the Netherlands last month, the results of the world’s first research into smoking and psychedelics came out. Out of 15 heavy smokers who took part in the study, 12 remained smoke-free after six months of psychotherapy aided with psilocybin.

    Krebs and Johansen found similar conclusions after their analysis of randomized controlled trials of LSD for alcoholism. “Those who had taken a full dose of LSD," Krebs says, "were twice as likely to decrease their alcohol consumption or remain abstinent, as compared with subjects who took a low dose of LSD or a placebo.”

    I count myself as a success story, too. In the days that followed my LSD trip, I could feel my body craving nicotine, but there was nothing in my mind telling me to give into that feeling. I treated it like a mosquito bite: Just wait till it's over and it won’t bother you again.

    About two months later, Argentina kicked Holland out of the World Cup. If there was ever a moment to start smoking again, that was it. I wanted to test myself and see if I had really broken my addiction, so I grabbed my friend’s cigarette, took a drag—and couldn’t imagine there was ever a moment that I had enjoyed smoking.

    People shouldn't think they can just drop acid once and expect that it will solve any illness or addiction they have, of course. It just so happened that I had an experience with psychedelics in which I tried to figure out why I had been smoking for such a long time, and I'm generally the type of person who enjoys psychoanalyzing myself.

    “It's hard work to quit after years of alcoholism or smoking," says Johansen. "Our opinion is that patients will need to have several doses of psychedelics in combination with treatment. It is no magic tool, but it can act as a catalyst for epiphanies and can make you ask questions like, ‘If not now, when?’”

    I don't think I would have ever been able to quit smoking without that hit of LSD. I'd tried giving up in the past, but my lack of self-discipline always stood in the way. Some people say drug use is something that shouldn’t be promoted, but I’m still waiting for the person who will explain to me why I should be ashamed for my experience. I’m extremely happy that I’m done with smoking. And who knows? Maybe my next dose of LSD will finally send me to the gym.

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    How DMT helped me quit my cigarette addiction

    This is my story of how DMT helped me quit a 6 year smoking habit, which I had tried many times to get rid of with no success.

    I started my first year of University studying Medicinal Chemistry and during my first year I started smoking, drinking, partying and living the Student life. It was the funnest, most event filled year of my life.

    The smoking habit gradually picked up momentum and by my final year I was smoking around 20 cigarettes a day. I finished University and went back again to study Economics and was accepted at a Technological University in Singapore for my 2nd year. This was an extremely stressful year for me and I found myself smoking close to 40 a day! It was insane.

    Once I returned to London from Singapore, I decided to quit. I tried everything, patches, hypnotherapy, going cold turkey, meditation, electric cigarettes, you name it! Nothing worked, I found myself always going back, especially on nights out where I would drink alcohol. There was no end to it.

    I began coughing a lot, had problems breathing, it was really becoming a health concern for me. This went on for another year, until one night I came across DMT.

    After having researched DMT for over 2 years, I finally got my hands on some. I loaded the pipe, picked up the lighter and inhaled. I held the smoke in for about 8 seconds, exhaled and took a 2nd hit. At this point I don’t actually remember how long I kept the smoke in. As I inhaled, I felt like I was sinking in to the fabric of time and everything around me began to speed up. I had completely lost any interest in whether I was breathing or not, I was gasping at the beautiful geometric shapes that were coming at me
    from all directions.

    I stared at amazement at the beautiful colors emanating from my fingertips like laser beams, colors that I have no names for. After a while I began to hear a buzzing sound coming at me from behind me. The sound got closer and closer and my surroundings began to dissipate in to darkness, everything broke apart like a computer simulation and dissolved in to nothingness! I was left in darkness with a high pitch sound getting closer and closer to the center of my head from what felt like miles away.

    The sound finally reached the centre of my head and instantly I was thrown in to pure silence. No visuals, no sounds, no sensations, no connections to the real world, no worries, just pure existence. It was the most beautiful experience of my life, I can only describe it as being the ultimate oneness of creation.

    After what felt like eternity I began to see a ghostly figure approach me. She was made out of light and had no immediate features that I can put in to words, I just ‘knew’ she was a Female Goddess of some sort. She came close to me and almost sat on my chest and whispered “You are ill. You need help”.

    When I came back it had faded like a dream. But after she spoke those words, I got the feeling she was healing me, my body felt almost cool and I don’t remember much more.
    I remember opening my eyes and being in shock. I couldn’t believe what I had seen, I checked my heart and was happy to find my heart rate was normal and beating just fine.

    My first instinct was to reach for a cigarette. I took out a Marlborough Light, put it to my lips and lit it. I hadn’t even inhaled when I gagged violently and began coughing up flew. I took a drink of water and suddenly the smoke from the cigarette hit my nose. I felt completely ill to my stomach, I don’t have the words to describe how disgusted I felt. I put it out straight away.

    A couple of days passed and I realized I hadn’t smoked a single cigarette. It had not occurred to me at any point that there was something strange going on. I merely ‘forgot’ to smoke!

    2 days became 1 week, became 1 month, became 1 year and now its been almost 3 years, I haven’t touched a single cigarette. Even when I drink, I have zero cravings. Even the thought of it makes me sick.

    Its an amazing experience for me, it goes to show that there is so much out there we know nothing about. Whether you believe it was a coincidence (!) or that the entity was a figment of my own imagination or Goddess from the 6th Dimension, it makes no difference. The bottom line is that substances such as DMT have the power to heal. How it does it can be something we can find out through research and scientific analysis.

    -TripTamine

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    LSD helped me quit smoking

    Last Saturday I decided to trip on LSD for the first time. I've tried quitting smoking before but always gone back to it after a couple of days. When I decided to trip I had no intentions of quitting smoking, but while peaking I looked at my pack and noticed that I had only one cigarette left. I've read about LSD helping people overcome addictions, so me, being at the peak of an LSD trip I figured I'd smoke that cigarette like it was my last one.

    If you've ever smoked a cigarette on LSD I think you'll understand what I mean when I say it feels very weird. Just putting a cigarette to my mouth and inhaling felt so alien. So while I was sitting on my balcony smoking this cigarette I just realized how ****ing stupid cigarettes are and how brainwashed I was to even continue buying them. So while smoking this last cigarette I just realized how nasty they really are. Don't get me wrong, I've known they are for a long time, but something about the acid just helped me truly understand it.

    So while smoking the cigarette I just looked around, everything was so beautiful, the water was flowing so smoothly, the birds flying together forming shapes in the sky. I just realized I don't want to continue smoking, I don't want to die from cancer.

    So today (four days later) I met my friend who tripped for the first time in his life earlier today. I noticed he had a cigarette he was about to smoke, so I asked him if I could get half of it just to see what it was like to smoke. Neither of us liked it at all, and I'm convinced I will never smoke cigarettes again.

    -Dazeldo

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    Same thing happened to me in August! I grabbed a smoke while I was peaking on LSD and for whatever reason it just occurred to me how ****ed up it was. Similar to what you experienced. I didn't smoke for the rest of the trip and after that I quit cold turkey. I was smoking a pack every two days before that trip, and now I'm just over seven months cigarette-free.

    -Psychedelicized

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    Psilocybin provides a whole other perspective from which to view your psyche and your life. It can be a kind of apotheosis that lasts for months beyond the actual trip. I took mushrooms ten years ago to quit cigarettes and was completely successful in the attempt – that’s a powerful reason to give this a chance.

    -Tony Spencer

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    An eye-opening trip on mushrooms could help you quit smoking

    By Quentin Stuckey

    The realization and medical research on the adverse effects of smoking in the 1960s gave birth to a new type of health industry. The media created a dramatic shift in cultural attitude when people were no longer being encouraged to smoke cigarettes, but rather to quit tobacco once and for all. This is a booming industry to this very day.

    For some people going cold turkey and never igniting a cigarette ever again is an effective method for quitting but for many others it isn’t as simple as that. Smokers will chew gum designed to fulfill the nicotine craving, inhale vapor with e-cigarettes or use nicotine patches - any possible method to help them kick their unhealthy addiction. There may be a more unconventional approach to quit smoking that was never previously thought of, which involves the use of psychedelic drugs.

    In an article published in the Science of Us section of New York Magazine, medical research was conducted by The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse to determine whether the psychedelic drug psilocybin (aka magic mushrooms) could help people quit smoking. Psilocybin is primarily known for its powerful mind-altering effects which include distortion of senses, euphoria, hallucinations, possible anxiety, disorientation and changes in patterns of thinking as defined by the government of Canada's health section.

    The study took fifteen middle-aged smokers and conducted a fifteen week cognitive behavioral therapy training course. During the course, the participants learned different psychological techniques to improve the quality of their thoughts. It was during the fifth week that the smokers were given a moderate dose of psilocybin, which was then followed by a high dose during the seventh week. The participants were then given the option of taking a third dose during the thirteenth week.

    One year after the study was completed, the researchers discovered that ten out of the fifteen participants had stopped smoking tobacco as confirmed by a drug test. Thirty months later the researchers performed further drug tests and discovered that nine out of the ten smoke free participants were still abstaining from smoking. According to the publication, the data adds up to a sixty percent success rate of quitting.

    The participants in the study described their psychedelic trip as spiritually significant with thirteen of the participants ranking the experience as one of their top five most personally meaningful. This comes as no surprise as psychedelic trips often rewire the brain to seek out more meaningful connections and higher principles, according to psychiatrist Matthew W. Johnson, lead author of the study.

    The researchers however feel that the results are not as clear cut as they appear. They are in the midst of another trial which will compare the quitting rate with the use of psilocybin compared to the nicotine patch, while also using the cognitive behavioral therapy course used in the first study. The team is also reportedly utilizing the technology of MRI scanning to determine the physical changes that occur in the brain before and after the study.

    The possibility of psychedelic drugs helping people quit smoking does not reside in the physical or chemical compounds of the substances themselves but rather in the mental effects on the user. People re-evaluate their life choices and the very fabric of their being while under the influence of psychotropic drugs, which could discourage impulse and pleasure seeking behaviors like smoking cigarettes. One thing is certain: naturally occurring, consciousness altering drugs are the better alternative to over the counter, government regulated meds when it comes to giving up an addictive vice like smoking.

    -----

    How LSD helped me stop smoking

    By Daniel Miller

    Ultimately, the only thing that helped me quit cigarettes for good was an illegal drug that I had been taught to fear as much as heroin. The drug was LSD.

    I smoked a pack of cigarettes a day for almost a decade. I had tried to quit, but nothing worked. The patch gave me a rash. Nicorette gave me incessant hiccups. And neither reduced my craving for cigarettes.

    Chantix, which my doctor prescribed, worked—at least until I went to hospital with a severe allergic reaction. Ultimately, the only thing that helped me quit for good was an illegal drug that I had been taught to fear as much as heroin. This drug was LSD.

    And what's truly remarkable is that my experience wasn't a fluke. I'm not the exception. In a recent pilot study at Johns Hopkins, 80 percent of the participants were nicotine free six months after two or three psilocybin sessions. And other promising research shows the efficacy of psychedelics to treat alcoholism and even cocaine addiction.

    This seems like a miracle. But, of course, it's not. As an atheist, and somebody who spent four years studying physics at Princeton, I believe in science. Psychedelics aren't magic; they're a medicine under the right setting. And medicines obey the laws of nature—of cause and effect.

    So what exactly is going on here psychologically?

    After my experience, I engrossed myself in the psychedelic literature. I read dozens of books about these powerful drugs, searching for the answer to what happened to me. The problem was that I was searching in the wrong place. I was learning a lot about psychedelics, neuroscience and even religion, but not nearly enough about addiction.

    And then I read Johann Hari's new book, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs, and it made sense to me for the first time. Hari makes the point that addiction isn't a function of the chemical, it's a function of your cage. And maybe what my experience had done was so improve the conditions of my cage that I no longer wanted to escape from it with nicotine.

    Some background on Hari's book (and a recently released video summarizing his thesis) would be instructive here. In the rat cage experiment made famous by the "Just Say No" campaigns of the 1980s, rats were given a choice between regular water and heroin-laced water, and almost every time they would drink the drug water, become addicted and eventually overdose.

    The problem with this study and the addiction model it supported was that it ignored the fact that these rats were in an empty cage. A follow-up study replaced the empty cage with something resembling a rat park (or rat heaven) filled with other rats to have sex with, balls to play with and colorful objects to look at. This time, the rats rarely drank the drug water and never became addicted.

    And this "cage" theory of addiction seemingly translates to human beings. During Vietnam, close to 20 percent of returning veterans had a dependency on opium. But a year after their return, 95 percent were drug free. If you replaced constant fear of dying in a jungle war with a peaceful life filled with friends and family, the addiction went away.

    What's interesting and different about my example is that psychedelics didn't change the physical parameters of my cage. Unlike the Vietnam veteran, nothing materially changed about my life, either in terms of what people I spent time with, or what I did every day. So then what gives?

    Human beings strive to feel connected. And Hari notes that in the absence of meaningful human connections, we resort to less productive attachments, from our iPhone and Twitter to cigarettes and even heroin.

    And personally, I had always struggled to create and maintain fulfilling human connections; I was simply too defensive and judgmental. Even among my close friends, there was always something to criticize. In other words, when I looked inside my "cage," I saw something broken, a series of things that had gone wrong. No wonder I wanted to smoke a cigarette every 30 minutes!

    But after taking LSD, my worldview shifted. Whereas before I saw life as some sort of competition between me and the world, I now feel like I'm one part of a larger whole. I've always had the capacity to empathize, but I had reserved these feelings for a select few that "deserved" it. My psychedelic experience forced me to consider that we all might deserve it. And in return, my relationships with others have flourished.

    I quit smoking "cold turkey" before I took LSD. But the insights from my "trip" have sustained that initial decision and kept me off nicotine ever since. Before my experience, there was a struggle every day between my will to quit and a desire for my old friend "the cigarette." This was both unpleasant and, I believe, untenable.

    But afterward, it was just easy. There was no struggle because I no longer desired cigarettes. One of the participants in the Johns Hopkins smoking cessation study was quoted in a New Yorker article as saying: "Smoking seemed irrelevant so I stopped."

    Put another way, given her new perspective, she had better things to do in her rat cage than smoke cigarettes. Or at least, this is how I felt. Psychedelics had provided me with a set of spiritual and emotional options and an ability to relate to others that was far preferable to the nicotine high.

    The science behind my experience is becoming clearer every day. Scientists from Johns Hopkins, NYU, UCLA and Imperial College London believe that psychedelics can induce profound spiritual insights by temporarily turning off or turning down the Default Mode Network, the part of the brain responsible for our ego and sense of self.

    This certainly comports with my personal experience, and to the results from the scientific studies. But in some ways, the science is irrelevant. After taking LSD, I'm far more compassionate and empathetic, and less self-conscious than I used to be. And just as important, I'm smoke free. Cigarettes still seem "irrelevant" to me.

    We have strong evidence that taking a psychedelic only once or twice can effectively treat if not cure addiction. We shouldn't be afraid to embrace this knowledge in order to combat one of the most intractable diseases afflicting our society today.

    And perhaps this is even bigger than that. Couldn't we all use our own little rat heaven? After all, aren't we all addicted to something?
    Last edited by Sherman Peabody; 09-23-2017 at 05:18 PM.

  2. #2
    Community Member Sherman Peabody's Avatar
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    CBD oil can help you quit smoking cigarettes

    By Roman Sukharenko

    First, I am not suggesting that you should start smoking “pot” to quit tobacco. CBD is a specific substance from cannabis which is responsible for giving you all the positive health benefits of consuming cannabis but without the mind-altering effects of THC, the other substance in cannabis which gets you “high”.

    Second, smoking in general is bad for you not because tobacco is toxic but because our lungs are not made to deal with smoking. When a cigarette is burned, the temperature at which the smoke is released makes it very hot for it to be absorbed by our lungs, resulting in a stressful situation for these vital organs and our whole bodies. In time, the lungs (and their native defense mechanisms) are hurt and that is why smoking is associated with higher risks of developing chronic health issues.

    What if you could avoid both of these situations and make the most of them? Best of all, what if you could use these situations to help you quit smoking and improve your health in tremendous ways using CBD oil?

    A recent study came out showing that CBD cannabis oil can be an efficient aid in quitting smoking. The researchers at the University College London have published an article in the “Addictive Behaviors” journal which found that the non-psychoactive chemical in cannabis (by its scientific name “cannabidiol”, also known as CBD oil), could reduce the number of cigarettes consumed by smokers who wanted to quit.

    Here’s the tricky part – the CBD oil was consumed by the participants in this study via an inhaler, which means that in some way they still “smoked” it. But what is the difference, then?

    The difference is that when you consume CBD oil with a vaporizer, the temperature at which the oil is burned is much lower than if you were to burn some plants and smoke them. That way, you get the best out of both worlds – you can still continue smoking (although the habit should be dropped after you have overcome the nicotine addiction) while also lowering your addiction towards cigarettes and improving your health in many other ways as well (just research the applications of CBD oil in numerous health issues and you will understand what I am talking about).

    Previous research has indeed shown that CBD can help with a variety of drug additions but this particular study was the first to investigate the specific effects of CBD on cigarette addiction in humans.

    In this study, twenty four smokers have been recruited and were split into two groups, one receiving inhalers containing CBD and the other ones containing a placebo. Both groups were told to use the inhalers whenever they felt the urge to smoke for a period of 7 days.

    The study found that while the placebo group showed no difference in their smoking habits, the group which received CBD oil in their inhalers have reduced the number of cigarettes they smoked by 40% on average. (which is a very significant statistic)

    Dr. Morgan, one of the researchers in this study, added that “CBD might mean these positive smoking memories are gradually erased.”

    Although various treatments for cigarette addiction are available, researchers are still searching for more effective alternatives. CBD oil seems to be a promising candidate due to this study and some recent others. However, Dr. Morgan says it is hard to draw a direct comparison with other therapies based just on the results of her study.

    She also adds that “This was more than expected. However, it is difficult to compare to other smoking cessation therapies as we did not ask people to stop smoking, simply to try using the inhaler when they wanted a cigarette.”

    Obviously, this is a great psychological benefit for those who are seeking to quit smoking as the physiological pattern is quite strong in smokers, especially in stressful or social situations.

    So how can you use this information? Well, first keep in mind that it is not the plants per se which are harmful to us but the process of burning them at high temperatures.

    Second, you can “replace” this situation by using a vaporizer, which is much more healthy because the temperature at which the oils are burned is much lower, hence it will provoke less damage to the lungs.

    Third, if you want to quicken your progress in quitting smoking cigarettes then try CBD oil – which will also be of great benefit for your health in numerous ways.

    Since the study we talked about was released, others have been carried as well proving that indeed CBD oil is a great aid in quitting smoking.

    http://herb.co/2016/04/22/new-study-...it-cigarettes/

  3. #3
    Community Member Sherman Peabody's Avatar
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    Psilocybin ended my cigarette addiction

    By Ron Cassie

    Dan Kreitman, a 55-year-old upholsterer and smoker for nearly 40 years, is one of the Hopkins’ psychedelic studies living proofs. Grabbing a chair in his workshop in his Baltimore County garage, the gregarious Kreitman recounts his psilocybin sessions that were a part of the smoking cessation trials. “Three years later, I’m totally amazed by it,” he says, taking a break on a warm Saturday afternoon. “Bringing it up, I remember how good it was—and all the positive feelings come right back. I’m going to warn you,” adds Kreitman. “When I talk about it, I can get emotional.”

    Kreitman not only wanted to quit smoking for years without success, he’d become ashamed of his habit—sneaking cigarettes when his son, daughter, and wife weren’t around. Given his age, that he didn’t eat great and was overweight, his family was also pressing him to quit. “It was my son, who was 18 then, who heard about the Hopkins’s studies and told me.” As part of his preparation, Kreitman was asked to keep a smoking diary—writing down the times of day when he picked up a cigarette. He also went through about six to eight counseling sessions, which included guided meditation exercises in the run-up before receiving his “magic” blue capsules of psilocybin.

    Kreitman actually took three capsules of psilocybin in three separate sessions, in progressively stronger doses, he believes. The first session was very positive. “My father had recently committed suicide, but no demons or dragons,” he says. “Happy thoughts.”

    The second experience was more of everything. “More vivid colors, more crazy shapes.” More happy thoughts.

    “The third session, I left Earth and saw infinity,” Kreitman says. “It was so intense, so holy, I don’t know how to talk about it. A lot of stars, planets, the cosmos. It was so colorful and beautiful—I’m still blown away."

    “And I saw my dad,” he continues. “He was in a boat floating down a river and he smiled and waved. I also saw an image of an old rabbi, somebody who looked like the God of the Old Testament with the white beard—the image of God I grew up with—steering the boat.”

    The overwhelming feeling, Kreitman says, was of going out into the universe, and he wasn’t sure if he’d be coming back or not. “It didn’t matter,” he says, wiping the corner of his eye. “Everything was okay.”

    "Smokers are considered good test cases in terms of addiction because their lives are often less chaotic and they have suffered fewer acute consequences than say, a heroin addict," says Matt Johnson, a Johns Hopkins associate professor of psychiatry and lead author of the smoking cessation study. "Nonetheless," adds Johnson, "cigarette addiction and dependence on other substances usually involves more than physical cravings. There’s a social dynamic when two or more smokers gather. There’s also a repetitive ritualistic component that can serve as an emotional crutch throughout the day."

    Both addiction and depression create a sort of self-perpetuating tunneling of the brain’s default mode—a downward spiraling in thinking patterns and behavior—that only burrows over time. Psilocybin, on the other hand, Johnson says, generates “a whole lot more cross-talk across the brain,” which can have the effect of breaking apart these tunnels and dramatically shifting a subject’s perspective.

    “All of a sudden people go from talking about the strange colors they’re seeing to talking about communion with a higher power, who some call God. It’s this insight they experience that provides a new, ‘big picture.’ It becomes a spiritual guidepost and stays with them. They realize, ‘I’m a miracle. I can quit smoking,’” says Johnson.

    Kreitman describes himself today as more in rhythm with people and the world around him. “If I’m getting off the train and someone drops something,” he says, “it’s like I’m immediately aware this person needs help and I’m bending over to help them.”

    He’s also eating better and has lost 15-20 pounds. He’s down to about 180 pounds now on his 5-foot-7 frame. “But I still grab some fried chicken on the weekend when I get a chance,” he chuckles. He’s also going to synagogue more, but adds with a smile that it might be because his cousin who goes regularly lives closer to him than in the past.

    He says that he used to picture himself at 70, sitting on the porch with emphysema—a can of beer in hand. “Now, a whole new chapter of my life has opened up that I never expected,” Kreitman says. “Is that a religious experience? If not, I don’t know what is.”

    As far as the smoking goes, he put out his last Camel on the way to the Bayview clinic before his final psilocybin session. “I don’t feel like an ex-smoker, I feel like a non-smoker—like I was never a smoker. My wife and I will be outside Giant or someplace and we’ll walk past employees out front smoking and I’ll catch myself saying to her, ‘They shouldn’t let people stand near the doors and smoke like that.’"

    “She just laughs at me.”

    http://www.baltimoremagazine.com/201...chedelic-drugs

  4. #4
    Community Member Sherman Peabody's Avatar
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    Can psychedelic mushrooms help smokers quit?

    By Tim Maughan / BBC
    15 June 2015

    Nicotine patches, chewing gum, cold turkey. Giving up cigarettes can be tough, but there are many strategies smokers can try. Matthew Johnson wants to add another: he says he
    can help smokers quit by giving them another drug – psilocybin – that has been illegal for years in much of Europe and North America. And yes, he realises that sounds unconventional.

    “The idea that this research sounds counterintuitive, it makes sense to me,” he tells me as we sit in his office at Johns Hopkins’ Behavioural Pharmacology Research Unit in Baltimore.

    Johnson is a behavioural pharmacologist who has been researching the relationship between drugs, the brain, and human behaviour for more than 20 years. The last 10 of those have been spent here at Johns Hopkins, where he and his team have focused on psilocybin, a naturally occurring psychedelic and the active ingredient in ‘magic mushrooms’. Illegal it might be, but if psilocybin is given to smokers a few times in a carefully controlled way, it can be a remarkably effective aid to help them kick the habit, he says.

    “Most people will naturally assume that we're looking at substitution therapy in the spirit of methadone for heroin addiction or nicotine patch or nicotine gum to replace smoking. [But] we're not talking about putting someone on psilocybin or mushrooms every day. It's not trading one addiction for the other.”

    This new research is inspired by work done in the 1950s and 60s that looked at using psilocybin and LSD as treatments for addiction. Although results then were hugely promising, the research hit a dead end as use of these substances spread from labs and into the emerging drug counter-culture. The drugs were criminalised, and clinical research became impossible to conduct.

    “It's been off limits for all the wrong reasons,” Johnson explains. “We know [these substances] continue to be used, and because of not wanting to encourage uncontrolled recreational use, we've been so restrictive that we haven't allowed research. We're really playing a catch-up game. This stuff should've been done in the mid 70s…the whole research agenda was just put in deep freeze for multiple decades.”

    In 2008 Johnson co-authored a paper entitled 'Human hallucinogen research: guidelines for safety’, which outlined how to conduct medical trials with psilocybin. The paper signaled a change in attitude towards researching these compounds. More than 460 psilocybin sessions have now been conducted at Johns Hopkins alone, ranging from investigating its use by cancer patients through to its effects on meditation. But it’s the Smoking Cessation programme, which has just finished its pilot stage, that has attracted the most recent attention.

    The programme seems deceptively simple at first. Fifteen volunteers, all long time smokers from the Baltimore area who have tried and failed to quit smoking multiple times, start with a course of cognitive behavioural therapy. CBT is the standard psychological approach to quitting smoking, encouraging subjects to reflect on their established thinking patterns.

    A vital part of the Hopkins programme’s CBT approach is the writing and reciting of a personal mantra; a simple phrase that each volunteer creates that encapsulates why they want to quit. “This is really our mission statement. If you had one sentence that you could remind yourself down the road why you quit. We’ve had some people for whom it’s about family: ‘I want to be there for my granddaughter.’ For other people, it's more philosophical, ‘The air that I breathe. I want it to be free.’”

    This mantra becomes even more central on the day they take their first psilocybin. After four sessions of CBT, the volunteers smoke what is meant to be their last cigarette. For some this is the night before, for others it’s literally just before the session. “We've had people smoke in the parking lot right before they come in here,” Johnson tells me.

    Then, it’s time for the drug. Albert Garcia-Romeu, a post-doctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins, who ‘guides’ the volunteers through the CBT and the psilocybin sessions, describes how it works: “We have them take the capsule and give them some slippers. We want them to relax into the day and feel almost like they're in a spa.”

    “We practice before. Give them our hand so that they have the support if they need it,” explains Mary Cosimano, another of the guides who has been working in the field for more than 15 years. “We tell them, ‘We're here for you as much as you like’.”

    “Once the drug effect starts to kick in, we encourage them just to lie down,” continues Garcia-Romeu. “They put on headphones. They cover their eyes. We have them just lay back and watch and wait.”

    From this point, the researchers step back. “What we do here is psychedelic therapy,” explains Garcia-Romeu. “That's high-dose, generally not a talking therapy. We try to encourage them to go inward and that's really where a lot of the important work happens. I'm mostly just there as a safety-monitor.”

    The aim, the team explains to me, is to give the volunteers a ‘profound’ or ‘mystical’ experience that causes them to reassess their relationship with smoking. That might sound like exactly the kind of New Age drug talk that made people take this kind of research less than seriously in the past, but Garcia-Romeu explains it to me in a way that sounds much more grounded.

    “Research has shown there is a 71% success rate for people who quit smoking just after they had a heart attack,” he explains. "A heart attack would certainly qualify as a profound experience, but it’s not something you can go around triggering in people in order to stop them from smoking. Instead the aim is to use a powerful psychedelic trip to trigger a similar effect, an intense, abstract experience that changes the patient’s perspective.”

    This experience might range from images of God, to powerful personal memories about their own life or childhood, he explains.

    The secret to triggering this kind of experience is setting and context, Johnson explains. “Our clinical impression is that those experiences are most likely to happen under conditions where the person is made to feel as safe as possible, that they've developed a very strong rapport with the people that they're with. We ask them to bring pictures of themselves over the years, family, people, places, and things. We've had people who have filled the room with pictures,” explains Cosimano. “Things that could be important to them, objects. People have set up altars. People bring stuffed animals or a blanket. Things that can make them feel comfortable, safe, cosy, meaningful.”

    Garcia-Romeu and Cosimano show me the session room, the place where these rituals take place. It’s pretty much exactly as they’d described it to me – a small, cosy room, softly lit with a comfortable couch. Books on Michelangelo and Van Gogh are scattered around. There’s an undeniable feeling of safety and comfort in the almost womb-like room, where volunteers spend up to six hours until the drug’s effects have worn off, after which they are taken home by a member of their family.

    Talking to the team is fascinating – they’re all incredibly friendly, resolutely professional, and clearly passionate about their work – but it’s still hard for me not to shrug off the feeling that the work seems counterintuitive. Perhaps it’s my own prejudices about these drugs, but I remain sceptical.

    Still, the trial program – small though it is – has produced tantalising results. Out of the 15 people, 12 were still smoke-free six months following the trials, according to the researchers. “We think and hope that there is something new going on here,” says Johnson.

    “We've had people in this study claim extraordinary things, like that they don't feel nicotine withdrawal and they've been smoking for pack a day for 40 years. Just seeing that in one person is pretty profound.”

    http://www.bbc.com/future/story/2015...e-smokers-quit
    Last edited by Sherman Peabody; 10-12-2017 at 08:21 PM.

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