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Benefits of ‘magic mushroom’ therapy long lasting

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    Benefits of ‘magic mushroom’ therapy long lasting

    Benefits of ‘magic mushroom’ therapy long lasting

    Nature 2008-07-06
    The benefits for people who have had positive or even mystical experiences induced by the psychedelic drug psilocybin — the psychoactive ingredient in ‘magic mushrooms’ — linger for as much as a year, according to the latest follow-up study of such patients.

    The study offers more support to those who argue that, when used responsibly, some drugs more commonly taken for leisure can safely be used to relieve the stress associated with severe chronic diseases such as cancer.

    “This experience has a compelling meaningfulness and spiritual component to it that is strongly conserved over time,” argues the study's lead author, Roland Griffiths of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.

    Although only a single dose was administered to the 36 patients in the original study, they reportedly still considered the experience to have valuable after-effects at the time of the follow-up study.

    A clutch of new studies using psilocybin are now planned or under way in the United States, hoping to alleviate cancer-related anxieties with only one dose that has a lasting, positive outcome for patients.
    Sustained change

    The latest study, published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology1, is a follow-up to a 2006 experiment in which Griffiths and colleagues gave high doses of psilocybin to 36 'spiritually inclined' volunteers who had never previously taken hallucinogens2. The participants were encouraged to focus their attention inward during their experience, and two months later many reported sustained, positive changes in their lives.

    “Realization of unity of existence and relativity of ordinary consciousness … I have had glimpses of this before — but this was profound and sustained,” read one participant’s comments on the experience. Another remarked that, “it was so awesome to be with God [that] words can’t describe the experience.”

    Previous studies have shown a similar effect, most famously the Good Friday Experiment of 1963 in which theology students were given psilocybin in a church. However, this experiment was not peer-reviewed, and many studies completed in the 1960s were often inadequately followed up. Griffiths was keen use measures adapted from modern studies to see if the life-enhancing qualities people described in 2006 still persisted.
    Mystical experience

    Of the original 22 participants who had a ‘complete’ mystical experience as defined by the Pahnke-Richards Mystical Experience Questionnaire, all but one still satisfied the same criteria 14 months later.

    “Most volunteers who had the mystical experience continue to endorse the same extent of positive changes in attitude, altruistic behaviour and mood," says Griffiths.

    After 14 months, 67% of the participants rated the treatment as one of the five most spiritually significant moments of their lives, and 17% rated it as their single most spiritually profound experience. In addition, 64% of subjects reported that their sense of well-being or life satisfaction increased.

    They don't call 'em "magic" for nothing.


      Interesting study. In a somewhat related topic, I was doing some research on near-death experiences and found a cross-referenced with a molecule called DMT. I didn't go too deep into researching it, but what I found is that it is a naturally occurring molecule and it also listed on the US schedule 1 drugs above cocaine and morphine.

      What intrigued me was the response of this molecule/psychedelic on the pineal gland. This one researcher conducted a federal government-sponsored study, but it appears that there weren't any conclusive findings. Actually very strange findings -- where hallucinations mixed with the supernatural. I.e. people having conversations with alien beings. would have been interesting if they had been given different doses of the drug under an MRI versus relying on qualitative data.

      I really don't know what to make of it. Pretty strange stuff. it appears to be pseudoscience but who really knows. There's also some literature that states that DMT occurs in REM sleep, has been used by shamans for medicine and hunting rituals, and increases during sensory deprivation.