Mushrooms
Researchers are now beginning to believe that magic mushrooms could be used for therapeutic purposes. Image: Flickr / jmv / CC-BY

In a study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, so-called magic mushrooms were identified as a potentially therapeutic drug. The study discovered that patients who were given a controlled dose of psilocybin were more open about their emotions and self-reported better life satisfaction more than one year later.

Psilocybin studied

In the study published by the Journal, a group of five head researchers studied 60 subjects. The subjects all self-reported extensive participation in religious activities in their everyday lives and no experience with hallucinogens. The group chosen to receive the active ingredients were put on a couch, given a high dose of the drug with an eye mask and headphones for between five and eight hours. The subjects underwent this treatment three to five times total.

More openness reported

For the subjects who did receive active psilocybin doses, personality changes and improvements were reported more than 51 percent of the time. More than 30 participants reported “more open” personalities, including a willingness to be more open about feelings and emotions. More than 65 percent of participants reported their experiences while on psilocybin as being one of the “five most spiritually significant experiences of their lives.” The participants also reported an increase in well-being and life satisfaction overall. All of these effects were reported as similar more than 14 months later.

New studies of old drugs

Psilocybin is the active ingredient in what are usually referred to as “magic mushrooms,” or “God’s Flesh.” Magic mushrooms are just one of several drugs being studied for their potential uses in treating everything from cancer, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and a host of other mental disorders. LSD, ecstasy and magic mushrooms are all being studied by researchers as potentially therapeutic drugs.

Sources

Salon.com: http://www.salon.com/news/medicine/index.html?story=/mwt/feature/2011/09/28/the_new_lsd_cure
SAGE Journals Online: http://jop.sagepub.com/content/22/6/621.abstract
CBS News: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-20113333-10391704.html
ABC News: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/magic-mushrooms-lead-open-mindedness/story?id=14623870

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