Magic Mushrooms Could Have Medical Benefits, Researchers Say

Posted: June 20, 2011 in Medicine
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

From the article:

The hallucinogen in magic mushrooms may no longer just be for hippies seeking a trippy high.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have been studying the effects of psilocybin, a chemical found in some psychedelic mushrooms, that’s credited with inducing transcendental states. Now, they say, they’ve zeroed in on the perfect dosage level to produce transformative mystical and spiritual experiences that offer long-lasting life-changing benefits, while carrying little risk of negative reactions.

The breakthrough could speed the day when doctors use psilocybin–long viewed skeptically for its association with 1960s countercultural thrill-seekers–for a range of valuable clinical functions, like easing the anxiety of terminally ill patients, treating depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, and helping smokers quit. Already, studies in which depressed cancer patients were given the drug have reported positive results. “I’m not afraid to die anymore” one participant told The Lookout.

The Johns Hopkins study–whose results will be published this week in the journal Psychopharmacology–involved giving healthy volunteers varying doses of psilocybin in a controlled and supportive setting, over four separate sessions. Looking back more than a year later, 94 percent of participants rated it as one of the top five most spiritually significant experiences of their lifetimes.

More important, 89 percent reported lasting, positive changes in their behavior–better relationships with others, for instance, or increased care for their own mental and physical well-being. Those assessments were corroborated by family members and others.

“I think my heart is more open to all interactions with other people,” one volunteer reported in a questionnaire given to participants 14-months after their session.

“I feel that I relate better in my marriage,” wrote another. “There is more empathy — a greater understanding of people, and understanding their difficulties, and less judgment.”

Identifying the exact right dosage for hallucinogenic drugs is crucial, Roland Griffiths, a professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins who led the study, explained to The Lookout. That’s because a “bad trip” can trigger hazardous, self-destructive behavior, but low doses don’t produce the kind of transformative experiences that can offer long-term benefits. By trying a range of doses, Griffiths said, researchers were able to find the sweet spot, “where a high or intermediate dose can produce, fairly reliably, these mystical experiences, with very low probability of a significant fear reaction.”

I really don’t get why this is illegal, it should be taxed and regulated like alcohol and the government should help with the doses so that people can have a pleasant experience without the risk of a bad trip.

Maybe this is what is needed to combat the human strife we have today?

I’ll stop now, I’m sounding like a damn hippy.

Original site.

WOG out.

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