Science & Spirit: Psychedelics, High Blood Pressure, and Raw Chicken

Science & Spirit: Psychedelics, High Blood Pressure, and Raw Chicken


Psychedelics may increase limits of consciousness, gut bacteria could prolong high blood pressure, and raw chicken might be in your salad.

Everything Is (Still) Alive!

The therapeutic benefits of psychedelic drugs have been widely promoted over the past several years, and their effect on consciousness is of equal interest.

[Read: “How Psilocybin Beat My Addictions.”]

More specifically, a recent study by researchers at Johns Hopkins looked at how a psychedelic experience may influence future attributions of consciousness to living and non-living entities.

It’s known that psychedelic drugs tend to induce mystical experiences, often including a sense that everything is alive. The question the study asked is: Can a person still attribute consciousness to entities beyond humankind once the psychedelic experience is over? According to the study, the answer is yes.

“This study demonstrates that when beliefs change following a psychedelic experience, attributions of consciousness to various entities tend to increase,” says lead author Sandeep Nayak. In fact, participants displayed an average 24 percent increase in the attribution of consciousness after just one psychedelic experience. This perceptual change was geared towards insects, fungi, plants, inanimate natural objects, and inanimate manufactured objects. And the new belief persisted even years after the initial experience.

This further insight into how psychedelic drugs can affect mental states and beliefs after use is an important addition to the growing body of research on what’s increasingly being regarded as medicine.

Raw Chicken Salad? No, Thank You

Whether you’re a gourmet chef or a home cook more interested in getting a meal on the table than the process you take to get it there, it might be time to approach cooking with a clean slate—and a clean sink. According to a recent study published in the Journal of Food Protection, more than a quarter of home cooks may be contaminating foods with raw poultry.

Researchers observed hundreds of home cooks prepare a meal of chicken thighs and salad. Many of them contaminated their kitchen and food with raw chicken without even realizing it. “We think the salad contamination stems from people doing a poor job of washing their hands after handling the raw chicken, and/or doing a poor job of sanitizing the sink and surrounding surfaces before rinsing or handling the salad,” stated North Carolina State University’s Ellen Shumaker, who led the study.

If you are guilty of one—or all—of these habits, you’re not alone. However, it’s probably a good idea to brush up on your cooking safety practices.

Med-Munching Gut Bacteria

High blood pressure—a.k.a. hypertension—is a health issue that plagues nearly half of all U.S. adults. But an even more challenging diagnosis is on the rise: treatment-resistant hypertension. So, what causes certain bodies to resist medications for high blood pressure?

After decades of trying to solve this mystery, researchers have found the answer. Of course, it’s in the gut. A recent study out of the University of Toledo found a gut bacteria known as Coprococcus comes that resists certain high blood pressure medications. Finding the cause of treatment-resistant hypertension will help scientists discover better ways to treat patients. Currently, “doctors treat resistant hypertension by adding or substituting medications, which can contribute to overdoses, more side effects, and noncompliance,” notes the study’s author, Tao Yang.

Open to other alternatives? Consider how acupuncture can treat high blood pressure.

Everything is alive

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