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Magic mushrooms may be therapeutic
January 23rd, 2012
03:30 PM ET

Magic mushrooms may be therapeutic

Rave-goers and visitors to Amsterdam before December 2008 may be intimately familiar with magic mushrooms, but there's little scientific knowledge on what happens to the brain while tripping.

Now it appears that more research is warranted. A growing number of studies suggested that perhaps the mushrooms' key ingredient could work magic for certain mental disorders.

New research in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences sheds light on why one of the mushrooms' hallucinogenic chemical compounds, psilocybin, may hold promise for the treatment of depression. Scientists explored the effect of psilocybin on the brain, documenting the neural basis behind the altered state of consciousness that people have reported after using magic mushrooms.

"We have found that these drugs turn off the parts of the brain that integrate sensations – seeing, hearing, feeling – with thinking," said David Nutt, co-author of the study and researcher at Imperial College London in the United Kingdom.

Nutt is also Britain's former chief drug adviser, who has published controversial papers about the relative harms of various drugs. He was asked to leave his government position in 2009 because "he cannot be both a government adviser and a campaigner against government policy," according to a letter in the Guardian from a member of the British Parliament.

Psilocybin is illegal in the United States and considered a Schedule 1 drug, along with heroin and LSD. Schedule 1 drugs "have a high potential for abuse and serve no legitimate medical purpose in the United States," according to the Department of Justice.

But in the early stages of research on psilocybin, there's been a bunch of good news for its medicinal potential: psilocybin has shown to be helpful for terminally ill cancer patients dealing with anxiety, and preliminary studies on depression are also promising.

Nutt's study is also preliminary and small, with only 30 participants. His group used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to look at how the brain responds to psilocybin, from normal waking consciousness to a psychedelic state.

The study found that the more psilocybin shuts off the brain, the greater the feeling of being in an altered state of consciousness, he said. It's not the same as dreaming, because you're fully conscious and aware, he said.

The medial prefrontal cortex, the front part of the brain in the middle, appears to be crucial - it determines how you think, feel and behave. Damage to it produces profound changes in personality, and so if you switch it off, your sense of self becomes fragmented, Nutt said. That's what happens when psilocybin decreases activity in it.

"Some people say they become one with the universe," he said. "It's that sort of transcendental experience."

Another brain region that psilocybin affects is the anterior cingulate cortex, which is over-active in depression, Nutt said. Some patients with severe depression that cannot be treated with pharmaceuticals receive deep brain stimulation, a technique of surgically implanting a device that delivers electrical impulses directed at decreasing activity in that brain region. Psilocybin could be a cheaper option, Nutt said.

It's counterintuitive that a hallucinogenic drug would de-activate rather than stimulate key brain regions, although other studies have shown a mix of results regarding psilocybin turning brain areas on and off, said Roland Griffiths, a professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Griffiths was not involved in Nutt's study, but has also researched the effects of psilocybin.

Even if this drug gets approved some day, don't expect to be able to pick up a prescription for psilocybin at your local pharmacy, Griffiths cautioned. There's too much potential for abuse, he said.

Although scientists have found many positive effects of psilocybin in experimental trials, there are of course potential dangers. Some people have frightening experiences while on psilocybin. The fear and anxiety responses of magic mushrooms can be so great that, when taken casually in a non-medical setting, people can cause harm to themselves or others. They may jump out a window or run into traffic because of a panic reaction.

The drug would have to be administered in a controlled setting in a hospital, if found in further research to be an effective and safe therapy for certain mental illnesses, Griffiths said. It would not be appropriate for people who already have psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia, since psilocybin can exacerbate those symptoms.

But among healthy volunteers, Griffiths and others have found that people may have long-lasting positive effects from the vivid memories of being on psilocybin (in a controlled, experimental setting). People report mystical experiences of feeling the "interconnectedness of all things," which can be life-changing.

"People claim to have an enhanced sense of self, more emotional balance, they're more compassionate, they're more sensitive to the needs of others," he said. "They have more well-being and less depression, but they're not 'high' in any conventional sense. They feel like their perceptual set has shifted."

The memories of the psilocybin experience, and positive outcomes that users attribute toward them, can last as much as 25 years, research has shown.

Still, there's just not enough known yet about the long-term safety of psilocybin to say whether it could also do damage to the brain, Griffiths said.

"There’d have to be changes in the brain for these long-lasting memories and attributions to occur," Griffiths said. "We don’t know how those changes occur, and why."


soundoff (349 Responses)
  1. Rodeo_Joe

    Embrace the Chaos.

    January 23, 2012 at 23:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • funk

      Psychedelics being illegal should be unconistuitional as it denies people from practicing a form of religion.

      Mushrooms will take you closer to "god" than church.

      January 25, 2012 at 07:46 | Report abuse |
    • Nat Strafaci

      There is a passage in the bible where God says take All of these herbs that i have created. Not some of these herbs, not most of these herbs, he said all of these herbs. Ok now, how about a raise of hands, who wants to second guess him?

      January 25, 2012 at 15:37 | Report abuse |
    • jill

      I agree with all the comments on here weird...Mushrooms have made me really ill and hard to handle however it was very spiritual experience for me. The body buzz is very strong in mushrooms however I will argue on dosage because everyone is different. I am thinking I am allergic that is why a very small dose affected me hard. I have had "normal" and above normal dosages which felt deathly. One might ask why one would keep trying it. I was very much a poly drug user as a youth but I would never say it is addictive. Acid is something I wish I wouldn't have messed with as much back in the 90's it was flooded with it in my neighborhood. I had bad trips and some very good experiences.

      January 25, 2012 at 20:21 | Report abuse |
    • ophiuchus

      😀

      February 1, 2012 at 23:43 | Report abuse |
  2. enthusiast

    I was on the phone with my girlfriend talking about our psychedelic experience on mushrooms we had on Saturday when I went on CNN and saw this.

    Mushrooms are the most refreshing thing in the planet. There's nothing like cleansing your brain with psilocybin every couple of months. On Saturday, I had my highest dose yet, 7 grams. It was the second truly psychedelic experience I've had. I was out of my body from 2:00 to 7:00. For all mushroom doers who only take below 5 grams; IT BEGINS AT FIVE

    January 23, 2012 at 23:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Fr33th1nk3r

      No matter what hippie tales you have heard, mushrooms are NOT the "most refreshing thing on the planet"– they are poisonous and that is why your body has a violent reaction to them when ingested.

      LSD-25 gives the same mental benefits to a much higher degree, and without the 3500 other unknown chemicals in mushrooms entering your body and doing who knows what.

      January 24, 2012 at 00:05 | Report abuse |
    • JohnE420

      @Fr33th1nk3r I agree 100% Lsd is by far way better for these therapeutic uses

      January 24, 2012 at 00:13 | Report abuse |
    • garyinco

      Careful.

      I have not had shrooms in decades. When the experience is good, it can make you a better person. When it goes bad, it is not pleasant. Have a sitter, always.

      January 24, 2012 at 00:59 | Report abuse |
    • tadziu

      Fr33th1nk3r, with all do respect, you don't know what you're talking about. The magic mushrooms in this article's picture and those used in the medical experiments are not poisonous, nor are they addictive. Google 'psilocybin' and learn for yourself. Additionally, how many deaths are actually attributed to magic mushrooms... almost none... then compare that to the death rate attributed to alcohol. The American Drug Association even stated they are less toxic than aspirin. Class 1 drug... absolutely ridiculous!

      January 24, 2012 at 01:00 | Report abuse |
    • ashrakay

      To those comparing LSD to shrooms, they really are two different kind of highs. LSD trips feel more chemical and sterile to me, while mushroom trips give me more of a full body high. Both are great, they're just different.

      January 24, 2012 at 03:06 | Report abuse |
    • rick

      fr33: I have never had a violent reaction after taking magic mushrooms

      January 24, 2012 at 10:49 | Report abuse |
    • rick

      ashrakay: i agree. magic mushrooms do not seem as chemical

      January 24, 2012 at 10:51 | Report abuse |
    • Aletheya

      LSD is far more harsh and far more capable of inducing a negative reaction than mushrooms. Psilocybin is the most gentle of the hallucinogens. It is certainly NOT toxic. That said, you can take too much of any drug, shrooms included, and that's when you're more likely to have a negative experience. But used correctly, shrooms are safe and really quite wonderful. I've done both, and I have no desire to do acid again, but would love to get my hands on some shrooms. As for potential for "abuse", is it "use" or "'abuse"? It's old white men who never got high in their life who make these definitions.

      January 24, 2012 at 18:52 | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Both are good, but I would give the nod to Cid over Shrooms. Hard to describe, but I always thought Cid was a "cleaner" simpler high, and longer-lasting. Also simpler to manage your dosage. Purple Mikes and Window Panes have been consistent for years across many states, but Shrooms can be all over the place in potency.

      January 25, 2012 at 14:55 | Report abuse |
    • Informer

      Psilocybes are not toxic. If you doubt this, look it up – the LD50 of the drug is one of the highest of any drug.

      DOSING OF PSILOCYBE SHOULD BE DONE RELATIVE TO YOUR OWN SENSITIVITY. Never take 5+ grams as your first dose! Many people are extremely sensitive to the effects, and everyone should start at 1-1.5g to find out how sensitive you are before trying to push. A 5g dose for some folks could be an extremely scary experience, if those people can reach a level III trip at 1.0 – 1.2g.

      January 25, 2012 at 15:06 | Report abuse |
  3. ArtInChicago

    Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.

    January 23, 2012 at 23:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Longsacktheclown

      That has nothing to do with drugs.

      January 25, 2012 at 12:55 | Report abuse |
  4. Fr33th1nk3r

    Nothing new in this article– we have known about the theraputic benefits of drugs like Psylocybin and LSD-25 for decades. Both are the introspective's best tool, both good for letting people see themselves as others see them with all their normal mental defense mechanisms removed.

    But ever since the DoDO tested LSD for "mind control" back in the 1960's and found it to be ineffective for that purpose, it was shelved and assumed to have no useful proerties.

    January 24, 2012 at 00:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • keefah

      Sure, hippie

      January 24, 2012 at 02:10 | Report abuse |
    • rick

      good comeback, keefah

      January 24, 2012 at 10:52 | Report abuse |
  5. sam

    This information has been well understood by Italian plumbers for decades.

    January 24, 2012 at 00:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. TheLord

    Visitors to Amsterdam? Lol, they grow wild from southern Washington state into British Columbia, they are all over the place, go figure...

    January 24, 2012 at 00:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Jodi

    I suffer from major depression. I have tried 3 types of medicatioms that have pooped out on me after about 3-4 years I am now on another one and it is slow or not working to it's potential. I am willing to try this, as the dosage does go up to one more level I have began yoga and am changing my diet. I have seen a psychiatrist over the last 10 years and a therapist for 4 years. All very helpful. With out meds for me though I am back in the downers.

    This sounds a little scary but the chance of it working for 25 years? Incredible and will keep me intrigued!

    January 24, 2012 at 00:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Jodi

    I suffer from major depression. I have tried 3 types of medications that have pooped out on me after about 3-4 years I am now on another one and it is slow or not working to it's potential. I am willing to try this, as the dosage does go up to one more level I have began yoga and am changing my diet. I have seen a psychiatrist over the last 10 years and a therapist for 4 years. All very helpful. With out meds for me though I am back in the downers.

    This sounds a little scary but the chance of it working for 25 years? Incredible and will keep me intrigued!

    January 24, 2012 at 00:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • M-Theory

      Nothing really scary about them.. unless you take way too much. Just try them when you get the chance... they are actually very safe despite being illegal. They've been used for a thousand years. Start with low dosage and take more if you feel like it. A really interesting and spiritual experience that has the side effect of anti-depression!

      January 24, 2012 at 01:13 | Report abuse |
    • JG

      A lot of people eat them on a peanut butter sandwich or made into a tea. They taste nasty and if you eat them straight you'll probably end up puking them back out. That's totally normal for the first hour.

      January 24, 2012 at 01:20 | Report abuse |
    • mcccccccc

      I highly recommend getting your hands on some good anti anxiety medication if you plan on doing a fairly large dose of shrooms just in case you have a bad trip. Ativan are good for bad trips.

      Honestly, shrooms and LSD changed my life back when I used to do them. Lately I have been fairly depressed and feel like life is pointless. Nothing like a good shroom trip to give your life meaning again.

      January 24, 2012 at 02:28 | Report abuse |
    • Tha Chikin

      To avoid nausea and/or vomiting... eat a grapefruit. It is an old Native American trick. Also, make sure you are in a comfortable place surrounded by good people. Good luck!

      January 24, 2012 at 11:11 | Report abuse |
    • Seriously?

      Eating a grapefruit to avoid nausea is an old Native American trick? lolz That's funny

      January 24, 2012 at 16:08 | Report abuse |
  9. Zippy the Pinhead

    Give me a glazed! Seriously though, "chieftain" has it quite right. Back in the day I did plenty of Psilocybin, raw ('shrooms) and processed. If you had quality stuff you had a very spiritual and transcendental experience. My preference however was LSD, because it was more intense and better at opening "the doors of perception", those parts of our brain that are usually dormant.

    Psychedelics are harmless as long as several conditions are met. They are not really "party drugs" (although sharing a trip with someone can be a beautiful experience), and going out for a drive is not very bright. It's best to prepare a room in your home or your garden where you feel relaxed to begin with. I have done what could be considered "large doses" without ill effect, in fact to the contrary. The important thing to remember is don't try for "control": imagine an "X"; as you lose control you'll reach the lower part of the X where you gain access to those dormant parts of the brain. Spiritual enlightenment, telepathy, other-dimensional connections, racial memories or past-life memories are all real and obtainable. "Hallucinations" are different and recognizable, more like cartoons on TV. The il-legalizing of these gifts are criminal, and hospitals are hardly the best place for their experience.

    As Jimi said "Not necessarily stoned, but, beautiful!" sums it up appropriately.

    January 24, 2012 at 00:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Gil Nodges

    " They may jump out a window or run into traffic because of a panic reaction."

    Complete BS........

    January 24, 2012 at 00:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Willis

      Haha i know right, I read that and thought whoever wrote that is only book smart and has never done a drug before in their lives. SO pahetic.

      January 24, 2012 at 00:40 | Report abuse |
    • Willis

      ... 'Pathetic' rather lol

      January 24, 2012 at 00:41 | Report abuse |
    • keefah

      No, what you just said is bs. Certain personality types (esp. "controlling" types) who have a hard time "letting go" and going with the experience may begin to panic while tripping. If they are unsupervised, they could try to harm themselves in an attempt to end the trip. It is very irresponsible of you to deny this, apparently just because you yourself have never experienced it. The hallucinogenic experience, both from LSD-25 and psilocybin, is unique to the person ingesting. Not to mention I have had at least one acquaintance end up with permanent delusions or mental breakdown. This is not something to fool around with.

      January 24, 2012 at 02:26 | Report abuse |
    • tacc2

      While it's true that most people will not harm themselves, there are exceptions. Some people just can't handle it because they are so wrapped up in themselves and what they thought was the concrete world around them.

      January 24, 2012 at 11:27 | Report abuse |
    • Mark McKee

      Good old Art Linkletter! "Kids say the darndest things..." His daughter committed suicide, and in his grief he made up the story that she "overdosed" on LSD. He was one of those "trusted voices" in America back then, and the lie lives on to this day, oft quoted by medical professionals.

      January 25, 2012 at 19:41 | Report abuse |
  11. miguel

    Big deal. The hippies discovered this 40 years ago...

    January 24, 2012 at 00:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Brian

    Being from newfoundland, canada, where every october, shrooms grow wildly, in your backyard, the chuch lawn, holliday inn lawn, etc...etc... and last a couple of weeks until the first frost kills them, most people have tried them and some take them frequently. I can assure you, nobody is jumping out windows, or running out in front of cars. Although it's an enjoyable drug, you do occassionaly have an uncomfortable trip and most usually lose interest as the drug of choice. I feel that shrooms do take away all your stress and worries, as it puts you in the moment and nowhere else, very relaxing most of the time, I can see it doing good things in certain areas of the medical field. Why not.

    January 24, 2012 at 00:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. TycesonDavis

    Draconian drug laws inhibit valid medical/therapeutic advances, fill prisons with nonviolent youth, and drain the economy.

    January 24, 2012 at 00:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • mouthWritingChex

      I agree that many drug laws are draconian, but they're not stiffling medical advances. This article makes that point. They're testing and illegal drug to see if they can fight depression.

      January 24, 2012 at 02:39 | Report abuse |
    • tacc2

      Yeah, testing it so that they can put it into a pill and sell to you that which has been given to all humanity for FREE.

      January 24, 2012 at 11:24 | Report abuse |
  14. Jakey

    Funny I am perfectly happy and healthy not doing any drugs...I have love and compassion for people around me and I sleep every night with great inner peace. I never had to do drugs to escape or fix my mind....I have always exercised, eaten healthy, and done a lot of reading.

    January 24, 2012 at 00:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JG

      Well good for you little fella! You go sit over there and read your book while eating a salad and the rest of us are going to go over here and eat some shrooms.

      January 24, 2012 at 01:26 | Report abuse |
    • mcccccccc

      What an idiotic post. Would you say the same thing about somebody on cancer medication just because you are healthy?

      January 24, 2012 at 02:30 | Report abuse |
    • wellhellothere

      amen jakey. druggies always forget they beg the question...

      January 24, 2012 at 03:30 | Report abuse |
    • tacc2

      And, inevitably, when you begin to lose your body and/or your mind how will you feel?

      January 24, 2012 at 11:22 | Report abuse |
    • Aletheya

      Who said it's about escape? As for fixing, people with clinical depression do need fixing, and this may help. For those of us who are already healthy and well-adjusted, it's about exploration and expansion – of the mind. Unless you're afraid of what you'll find... I treasure the experiences I had, back in the day.

      January 24, 2012 at 19:01 | Report abuse |
  15. M-Theory

    Meh. Any intense hallucinogenic experience will relieve depression in the sort term. In some cases you're ecstatic from just SURVIVING the experience. DMT and Salvia Divinorum are good examples of hallucinogens that leave you happy for days and even weeks afterwards. Similar to bungee jumping or sky diving.... they make you reflect on your life because of intense near-death revelations.

    January 24, 2012 at 01:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JTK

      I think you're wrong about DMT and slavia. DMT is fun when you're on it, but generally you feel braindead the next day. Everyone I know who has taken salvia has had a frightening experience the first time. Most wouldn't do it again, but those that did said it got slightly better each time. In my experience, which is more than I'd like to admit, neither DMT or salvia leave you feeling anything like mushrooms or LSD.

      January 24, 2012 at 01:53 | Report abuse |
    • M-Theory

      JTK... the 'horror' of salvia or salvinorin is one of the things that make it so darn interesting. To me.... it's the most intense hallucinogen out there & I've tried everything from ibogaine to datura to pure crystaline 5-meo-DMT and n,n-DMT.. One intense 10-minute Salvinorin A trip is something you remember the rest of your life. I had an celebratory rush for a month after my first experience.

      January 24, 2012 at 02:15 | Report abuse |
  16. tino

    natures best!

    January 24, 2012 at 01:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Chris

    In a word " vindication". Not sure how a mushroom can be illegal anyway.

    January 24, 2012 at 01:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. CaliMafia

    Better living through chemicals, I always say

    January 24, 2012 at 02:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. gratular

    this makes me want to get into those cubensis i've had sitting in a jar for many years 🙂

    January 24, 2012 at 02:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • tacc2

      They probably won't be any good by now 😦

      January 24, 2012 at 11:18 | Report abuse |
  20. Kuela

    Here in Hawaii, we pick them fresh in the morning and relax the rest of the day.. Been doing it for the last 25 yrs..

    Is there more to life than this? I hope not..;)

    Aloha

    January 24, 2012 at 02:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Aletheya

      Lucky b@st@rd. Aloha to you 🙂

      January 24, 2012 at 19:03 | Report abuse |
  21. keefah

    You can experience the same therapeutic effects, including the lifting of depression and "an enhanced sense of self, more emotional balance, they're more compassionate, they're more sensitive to the needs of others" by worshipping God our Father in the Holy Spirit through Jesus. For free.

    January 24, 2012 at 02:38 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tha Chikin

      If that was true... all Christians would be impervious to depression. Unfortunately, that is just not the case.

      January 24, 2012 at 11:07 | Report abuse |
    • tacc2

      Get back to your cave and stop bothering us civilized people.

      January 24, 2012 at 11:17 | Report abuse |
    • Aletheya

      Not.

      January 24, 2012 at 19:03 | Report abuse |
    • Spud J Dog

      As always, religion is the deluded person's answer to everything. It always has to be about the Man in the Clouds.
      Pfft!

      January 25, 2012 at 09:34 | Report abuse |
    • Diana

      Amen

      January 25, 2012 at 15:38 | Report abuse |
  22. ken

    Sigh ... first all the weed smokers get together,generate a series of supposed studies that show weed is good for certain items, and then they start pushing and using that to leverage getting their weed legalized. Depsite these studies often failing to pass scientific review, and the lack of studies to back up the results. And now, as people said, they will start pushing on a new drug. This time it's the magic mushroom and related opiates which MIGHT have theraputic benefits. What fools these mortals be. Sigh....

    January 24, 2012 at 02:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • mrhapiguy

      Psilocybin is not even slightly related to opiates. Opiates are extremely addictive and currently being pushed into market by your favorite pharma conglomerate. Psilocybin is a mushroom, a fungus; not even a plant technically. Opiates are derived from a flower. The experience of each could not be more different.

      Enjoy your legal heroin, Rush. You are the fool.

      January 24, 2012 at 09:47 | Report abuse |
    • tacc2

      The fool is you. Why exactly can we not use these sacred substances which are our birth right as human beings? Because you don't agree with it?

      January 24, 2012 at 11:15 | Report abuse |
  23. mrhapiguy

    I use, have used and one-off tried a variety of substances over the years. So, it is with authority that I can tell you, mushrooms are not addictive. They are fun when used "responsibly" and carefully, can be quite spirtual, but definitely not something that you would crave or even want to do again shortly after it wears off.

    My wife and I last took them (a small amount each) right before going into the theater for The Lord of the Rings 3. About halfway through the movie, I turned to her to remark how amazing the experience was. She was crying (happy tears) and completely enthralled. She forgot about the mushrooms, HAHA, and thought it was just the movie was THAT good. We still laugh about it.

    3D-TV can't come close to that mental immersion!

    January 24, 2012 at 09:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bobe

      Misinformation abounds when it comes to drugs. No, mushrooms aren't addictive, at least, from what I've seen. But, I"m not a scientist, nor are any of the hippy commentors here. This sounds a lot like the medical marijuana nonsense. Marijuana may help a tiny percentage of people with medical problems, but really, people just want to be able to smoke it for fun. Medical use won't make that happen. Mushrooms, on the other hand, can be dangerous to anyone with mood disorders or chemical imbalances, which I've seen first-hand, and that isn't pretty. Nobody jumped out of a window, but two of them committed suicide and three of them experienced the onset of severe and debilitating mental disorders (schizophrenia, manic despression) after using them. That's good enough for me to say they could be problematic.

      January 24, 2012 at 18:51 | Report abuse |
  24. Greg

    "The fear and anxiety responses of magic mushrooms can be so great that, when taken casually in a non-medical setting, people can cause harm to themselves or others. They may jump out a window or run into traffic because of a panic reaction."

    Can the writer of the article please give some evidence for this absurd claim of people jumping out of windows and running into traffic? I have plenty of anecdotal evidence to the contrary. And I have ample statistical/emprical evidence of people drinking alcohol and doing harm to themselves and others. Alcohol it is not a schedule I drug, by the way.

    When referencing an anxiety/fear response, you could include information about how often people having "bad trips" end up in emergency rooms because of panic-like symptoms. But please leave these boogey man, jumping-out-of-windows references out of future articles. It is writing like this that perpetuates myths of psychedelic use. Stick with the research results.

    January 24, 2012 at 09:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Leo

    "People claim to have an enhanced sense of self, more emotional balance, they're more compassionate, they're more sensitive to the needs of others," he said.

    Gee, really? If that's true, can we please deliver some of this stuff to Capitol Hill?

    January 24, 2012 at 11:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • tacc2

      Hahahahaha. I wish.

      January 24, 2012 at 11:12 | Report abuse |
    • Aletheya

      We have to get this stuff into all Republicans. Hmmm, do they all like scotch, or red meat? Maybe we could spike something they all ingest... 🙂

      January 24, 2012 at 19:06 | Report abuse |
    • Endless

      Also remember the real manineg of religion before it was politically organized and all knowedlge and sacarmental eating and drinking of sacred plants and substances was made taboo.For now science as scientism has become the new religion, and even though some of the psychedelic psychotherapeutic research of the past, pre-prohibition, and the resurrgence of psychedelic studies going on now it still is all under the authority of medical scienceWhat we need therefore is more diversity regarding spiritual use of entheogens. Examples are the Native American Church which has Peyote as sacrament, and in Brazil there is Santo Daime etc. Bit we also should have the *invidual* freedom to excercise our spiritual freedom of exploration!

      March 4, 2012 at 17:50 | Report abuse |
  26. Tha Chikin

    Timothy Leary: Turn on, tune in, drop out.

    January 24, 2012 at 11:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. tacc2

    I love how these articles always have to go out of their way to tell you how these things should only be used in a medical setting and might be dangerous because we don't know about long term safety. BS. I guess the study's government minders just want to make sure you don't get any ideas. We know all about the long term safety of mushrooms. Ask the indigenous peoples of Central America who have been using the sacred mushrooms since time immemorable about long term safety, you fools. Also, tripping in a medical setting with strangers is pretty much the last place I'd ever want to be. Talk about inducing fear and anxiety. While I'll be the first to tell you that psychedelics aren't for everyone (some people really can't handle the truth), they aren't nearly as dangerous as some people make them out to be. They can't kill you. The worst they can do to you physically is give you an upset stomach. The problem, most of the time, is that people have NO IDEA what they're getting into. This is mostly because of the disinformation about these substances put out by our overbearing governments and their silly prohibitionist policies. Someone who eats a handful of sacred mushrooms expecting to have a fun time (I'm not saying it can never be fun) and all of a sudden is faced with the dissolution of their self, is in for a little fear and anxiety.

    January 24, 2012 at 11:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Leaf on the Wind

      Our government, and indeed many other governments, prefer to allow us drugs like alcohol that keep us thinking like sheeple. They don't want our minds to expand.

      January 24, 2012 at 17:40 | Report abuse |
  28. Damon

    This has been known for thousands of years. It is a cure, definitely not the kind of thing you take every day, or the kind of thing drug companies are interested in. It can make you face and deal with the worst aspects of yourself and your environment. It can also show you the beauty in yourself and your environment. Most people just don't understand this kind of experience. It is more of an adventure than simply getting messed up.

    January 24, 2012 at 11:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. JoeCool

    It's not hard to understand why these drugs are ostricized and made illegal. Embracing the fact that there's far more to the reality of this universe than you are preceptually aware of brings with it consequences for this machine or rat race we call society.

    As Steve Jobs put it, "without LSD, there wouldnt be a silicon valley". The contradiction in this society is that the machine only works and keep running if you follow other peoples dogma. If you are fed it so many times via schooling and capitalism that you need a 9 to 5 job where you mentally tune out and become a drone, then you can make 99 percent of this human race fulfill your desires. Once you expand someone's mind, show them that there's more out there, other ways to think...you've lost them as your minion. Yet on the contrary, some of the greatest innovations have been brought thanks to people opening up their minds to different ways of thinking thanks to hallucinogenic drugs: think music, think movies, think APPLE coporation.

    One day people will learn that you don't need to work for a company that exploits you, takes the best years of life, and then spits you out as you watch your 401k and pensions depreciate to nothing. Or F-it, just keep doing that and let the innovators of this world do the exact opposite.

    January 24, 2012 at 12:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Leaf on the Wind

      Nicely put. If anything deserves classification as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, it would be alcohol. There is no logic to our country's drug policy.

      January 24, 2012 at 17:36 | Report abuse |
  30. mikoid

    What about mescaline? Now that's some good stuff, but about the nastiest stuff to get down (I'm talking about in it's natural form)... May very well have saved my life as a young man.

    January 24, 2012 at 12:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Steve

    Incorrect. Tolerance builds immediatly after your first dose of the drug, thus making them very hard to abuse. Don't believe me? Try!

    January 24, 2012 at 13:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JoeCool

      tolerance to hallucinogens? where do u come up with such garbage and then spew it as fact when it's just ur own opinion. contrary to what this guy says..medical research into lsd, psylocibin, dmt, ayahusca, peyote..etc all disprove and debunk your bullsht comment, in fact they show the exact opposite. its not a recreational drug dude, its an experience. people dont pop acid like percocets. get a clue doc.

      January 24, 2012 at 13:24 | Report abuse |
    • Leaf on the Wind

      You cannot build tolerance to hallucinogens like psilocybin or LSD. In the case of LSD, 30 minutes or so after you take it, it is completely metabolized and would no longer be detectable by a blood test, so how can you build a tolerance? Where are you getting your misinformation?

      January 24, 2012 at 17:32 | Report abuse |
    • tacc2

      He is correct. You do build a tolerance. It is very short lived though, only about a day or so.

      January 25, 2012 at 10:41 | Report abuse |
    • Diana

      This statement is correct if used in consecutive days I knew many people that had to take double or triple doses of LSD to achieve the same desired effect the next day.

      January 25, 2012 at 15:32 | Report abuse |
  32. lulu

    I genuinely would like to have help for my depression, I would just be afraid to use mushrooms because of the horrible experience I had with marijuana(see above comment above gross picture of bacon covered turkey)...

    January 24, 2012 at 13:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Jake

    I have tripped a few times and have had wonderful experiences. As long as you control the dose you are taking, have good people who you are comfortable with around you, and a SOBER SPOTTER, then everything should be fine.

    Sadly, I do know of a guy who was left alone during his mushroom trip and actually jumped out of a 3rd story window and ended up dying in the hospital. Like any drug, use it PROPERLY, and it will not punish you.

    January 24, 2012 at 13:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. User

    I find that is clears my sinuses out too, so many great properties to the plant

    January 24, 2012 at 14:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. pippi

    Jakey

    Funny I am perfectly happy and healthy not doing any drugs...I have love and compassion for people around me and I sleep every night with great inner peace. I never had to do drugs to escape or fix my mind....I have always exercised, eaten healthy, and done a lot of reading.

    January 24, 2012 at 00:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    JG

    Well good for you little fella! You go sit over there and read your book while eating a salad and the rest of us are going to go over here and eat some shrooms.

    Thanks JG. i couldnt have said it better myself.

    January 24, 2012 at 14:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. dr André Kruger

    ALL terminally ill people should have free access to ALL known drugs. Are we really afraid that they might get addicted before they die? At least a virtual "trip" when you can no longer travel physically, is an experience.

    January 24, 2012 at 15:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Leaf on the Wind

      Good point.

      January 24, 2012 at 17:26 | Report abuse |
    • R

      ABSOLUTELY!

      January 26, 2012 at 15:34 | Report abuse |
  37. Valerie Pugliese

    Well that explains why I was so happy as a teenager lol

    January 24, 2012 at 15:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Louie

    The American Indians have used them for hundreds of years and even use them in certain ceremonies. I never got to try them, but I did smoke weed in college and I thought it was great. Certain organics are gifts. I just wish the powers that be would see that. They could make a lot of money.

    January 24, 2012 at 16:38 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Leaf on the Wind

      You may be confusing 'shrooms with peyote buttons. In any case, the effects of cannabis and psilocybin are completely different.

      January 24, 2012 at 17:24 | Report abuse |
    • Kathy

      Aww Tiffany! I'm so sorry your log turned out to be a patty. But I uocldn't agree more about those mushrooms – fabulous!I think yours is the first I've commented on about the taste of the whole thing.. I didn't care for mine either. Cake was blah and even though I slathered it in run, it was dry AND dense. Weird. I did like the buttercream, although I probably won't make it again.anyhoo.. happy holidays!and YES you will master a DB challenge – someone with your spirit only could. =)xoxo

      March 3, 2012 at 21:38 | Report abuse |
  39. Leaf on the Wind

    If Schedule 1 drugs are those that "have a high potential for abuse and serve no legitimate medical purpose" shouldn't alcohol be a Schedule 1 drug? As for the life-changing effects lasting for as long as 25 years - I wish! I can see them as a treatment for depression, though. When you do 'shrooms, your sense of humor is stimulated and you laugh at almost everything.

    January 24, 2012 at 17:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Nick

    Chieftain – you are a complete moron. That's in response to absolutely everything you have posted today.

    January 24, 2012 at 17:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. hawk

    Cured my low self esteem. Amazing drug

    January 24, 2012 at 23:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. momoya

    Anything can be abused, so that argument is ridiculous. A few miles from my house, some guy murdered some other guys with a hammer. Should we ban hammers?

    Psilocybin can be extremely refreshing and in various studies has been shown to help a range of mental issues–especially those who will face death soon. We should do more study with "shrooms" and have places that specialize in administering proper dosages in a safe environment. That way, a group of a few people could get together in a creative, controlled environment while researchers study the effect. Set a time and date, introductions all around between medical staff/rsearchers and the "trippers," settle in, enjoy, and get more and more data. "Bad trips" could be immediately dealt with, creative art could be encouraged and supplemented. Basically, keep Klonopin and art supplies handy, and there you go.

    January 25, 2012 at 11:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Broccoli

    This would be great if it could help people with pain and depression without permanently cross wiring their brains or later losing it's effectiveness, but I think more studies need to be done.
    I find it interesting how people can talk about these drugs "expanding their minds", when chemically all they are really doing is temporarily cross wiring their brains. People with schizophrenia experience a similar "mind expansion". But they probably don't pine for more hallucinations.

    January 25, 2012 at 13:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Fiona

      In my experience, people who do not understand what they have experienced will almost always say they experienced an expansion of mind. It's a catch-all phrase for being outside your normal, day-to-day experience of the world. I've not done mushrooms or LSD, but I've lived with debilitating migraines (with auras, which are visual distortions) and vertigo for many years. I have times when the world leaves me - I don't know how else to explain it - and times when everything is too big, too loud, too bright. When I hear people describe LSD sessions, I feel that have had similar experiences. Often accompanied by pain, though.

      January 25, 2012 at 15:08 | Report abuse |
  44. Fiona

    I find this intriguing, but every single person I know who has done or does still do shrooms is a self-absorbed sort of "sensation collector.". I don't see any sign of enlightenment or improved character among that group. And I have known a lot of shroomers over the years.

    January 25, 2012 at 14:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Gerg

    Under the rules for schedule 1 controlled substance, even tobacco (especially cigarettes) would have been schedule 1, if the US government wasn't being so hypocritical in protecting the tobacco farmers and companies.

    January 25, 2012 at 15:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. chronic depression

    Does anyone know where I could get a psilocybin treatment or therapy in New York City for my depression? Thanks.

    January 25, 2012 at 20:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Kaelinda

    None of you understand at all why this is a Schedule 1 drug. The reason is that it makes you feel very, very good OR very, very bad, and there is no way to tell up front (before you take it) which it's going to be. The government doesn't want you to take ANYTHING that is going to make you feel very, very good. This is because if you LIKE feeling very, very good, you're going to do it again – and again and again and again. You'll get addicted to it. Then you won't work, you won't eat, you won't sleep, you won't do anything but eat mushrooms. This will have the effect of making your spouse and children go on welfare, which we can't afford anymore. It will also have the effect of eventually killing you (because you won't eat or drink anything while you're under the influence of the shroom, and you'll ALWAYS be under its influence if you're addicted (except when you're out selling your body so you can buy more of it). On the other hand, if it makes you feel very, very bad, the government wants you to get all holier-than-thou against the folks who get addicted to it. That will keep you in the workforce, keep your family off welfare, and keep the supply of magic mushrooms available for the politicians.

    January 26, 2012 at 05:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. R

    i am bi polar manic depressant and fight horrible side effects from my meds. It is my prayer that the heads of medicine and government would get their heads out of the sand and test shrooms.

    January 26, 2012 at 15:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. RON PAUL

    RON PAUL 2012 will legalize these medicinal plants instead of pharmaceuticals only being allowed that are harmful.

    February 13, 2012 at 19:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Living Shroom

    I took 3 g seven days ago and had a blast. Tried another 3 g last night and felt absolutely nothing, I even tried taking another 3 g three hours later. Nothing. So disappointed. Tolerance is real, but it's different for everyone – just as dosing is different for everyone.

    Ahhhh shrooms. A real gift.

    May 6, 2012 at 10:15 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.