Magic mushrooms
A study has found that "magic mushrooms," mushrooms containing the hallucinogen psilocybin, might have psycho-therapeutic benefits. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Though conventional wisdom dictates otherwise, some recreational drugs have psycho-therapeutic benefits. A recent study found that mushrooms containing psilocybin, otherwise known as “magic mushrooms,” had benefits, such as improving the everyday mental state of test subjects after use.

Scientists leery about mushrooms in uncontrolled dosages

A recent study by the Johns Hopkins University Medical School found that psilocybin mushrooms, often called “magic mushrooms,” have a psycho-therapeutic benefits, according to Time. The study was to determine what, if any, benefits to the mental well-being of patients could be observed from use of psilocybin mushrooms.  In the study, volunteers were administered a controlled dose of psilocybin. High doses of psilocybin, a hallucinogenic compound, can produce states of psychological distress, commonly called a “bad trip.” A third of the study subjects reported having such an experience at high doses, according to WebMD. Two-thirds of the subjects reported a “mystical experience,” according to MSNBC. A year after the study, 83 percent of subjects reported improved well-being and satisfaction with their lives and about 90 percent reported better relationships with friends and family. Close friends, family and colleagues of subjects also reported subjects seemed happier than they had been before.

Rigorous controls on dosages

Conditions and dosages in the study were tightly controlled. Participants were randomly assigned doses of 5, 10, 20 or 30 milligrams of psilocybin per 154 pounds of body weight. Subjects were also given a placebo. The intent was to study the effects of a gradually increasing and decreasing dosing schedule. It was found there was a “sweet spot” where negative hallucinogenic experiences were minimal and a positive hallucinogenic or “mystical” experiences were common. Six of the 18 participants reported a “bad trip,” including paranoia, distress and a sense of imminent danger on the highest dose, but only one had a negative experience on the 20 milligram dose. About 75 percent of subjects reported positive “spiritual” or “mystical” experience on the two highest doses. Patients were accompanied at all times by monitors with experience dealing with hallucinogenic experiences.

Drug or medicine

Psilocybin was also, according to the journal “Neurology,” found to be effective at treating cluster headaches, as was LSD. Cluster headaches are an extremely painful form of headache, considered more painful than migraines. Most modern recreational drugs have been used in medicine in the past. Heroin and cocaine were both made by pharmaceutical companies at one time, and most of the strongest prescription painkillers are all derived from opium, just like heroin. When Albert Hoffman developed LSD, he was working for Sandoz, a pharmaceutical company now called Novartis. According to Wikipedia, it used to go under the brand name Delysid. There is currently a raging debate over medical use of marijuana, which has been shown to be useful in treating nausea and gastrointestinal issues in cancer patients.





Wikipedia on LSD:

Neurology (only summary; full article requires subscription to medical journal):

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