Illegal Drug -- Psilocybin (Magic Mushrooms) Found Good for Long-Term Health
Psilocybin (pronounced SILL-oh-SY-bin), also known as the psychoactive ingredient in 'magic mushrooms,' has been found in a rigorous clinical study to have a long-term positive psychological and behavioral effect
on people who take them.
Illegal practically everywhere, scientists said in a new report released today that most subjects who took the psychedelic fungus were still behaving and feeling better as a result 14 months after ingestion.
About 2 out of three also noted that the drug caused one of the five most spiritual experiences of their life.
Published on Tuesday, July 1st by the Journal of Psychopharmacology, the study specifically showed that after 14 months since 'dosing,' 61% noted at least a 'moderate' increase in what they classified as 'positive behaviors'
-- being more tolerant, compassionate, and sensitive.
64% of patients felt at least a 'moderate increase' in well being and life satisfaction.
Namely, they listed increased feelings of self-confidence, optimism, flexibility and creativity.
Other results indicated lasting gains in traits like being more sensitive, tolerant, loving and compassionate.
While the extended study did not ask for independent evaluations of behavior, the earlier study noted that the participant's social circle corroborated their self-reported changes in behavior.
Magic mushrooms have been traditionally used in religious ceremonies, but are banned in most countries due to fears of recreational abuse. The study took 36 subjects, men and women, and had them either take mushrooms, or the control drug Ritalin (which is known to not cause any positive emotional effects) during two 8 hour stints two months aprt. Earlier results released in 2006 showed positive benefit two months after the test; this study followed up an additional year later.
As would be expected, scientists do not advise people to take psilocybin or other psychedelics on their own. Even in the laboratory, 1 out of 3 people felt terrified under the drug. These feelings could lead to irrational and potentially dangerous behaviors outside of a controlled environment. However, the researchers found this side effect was easily controlled.
Further research could lead to relaxed drug control laws allowing psilocybin to be used to help patients deal with extreme emotional distress-- such as addiction or grief. However, given the tepid response to medical marijuana despite a number of positive clinical trial results (E.g., Sativex for the treatment of spasticity in multiple sclerosis), this is an unlikely outcome.