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 (1,136 Responses)
  1. Rosie

    I also want to point out that the use of psilocybin has been shown to be INCREDIBLY helpful in some people suffering from a condition called cluster headaches. They are nicknamed suicide headaches and have been so resistant to prescription drugs and so intense that sufferers are forced to look elsewhere for effective treatment. Mushrooms and LSD can knock out a cycle of the headaches after one use in some cases, which is called "clusterbusting".
    If you suffer from cluster headaches and haven't found relief, I would strongly recommend that you try this alternative.

    January 23, 2012 at 15:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • lawl

      I seen a guy all the show called Drugs Inc. on the national geographic channel and they were showing how psilocybin subsided this mans case of cluster headaches for months at a time. They seemed to really help him, I cant even imagine how painful they are.

      January 23, 2012 at 15:55 | Report abuse |
    • LasVegas

      There is a ClusterBusters conference in Las Vegas this coming September 21st, 2012 at the Rio Hotel all about Mushroom use as it relates to alleviating pain of Cluster Headaches.

      January 23, 2012 at 16:17 | Report abuse |
    • MandoZink

      During one of my wonderfully enlightening trips in the 70's, I learned to see a headache as an abstract thought which I could corral into an idea, resolve the idea, and the headache would quickly fade away. I cannot put it into any other words than that. It was apparently the way I was personally able to view the tension I found. I did a similar thing with urticaria, which I suffered from for years. With each discovery, I made it a point to reflect on the abstract process occurring at the time and remember what I could about it. To this day, headaches are rare, and my urticaria ended the day I found it in my head. I was simply blown away by the personal discoveries psychedelics make available. They were profoundly life-changing for me in a very good way.

      January 23, 2012 at 18:42 | Report abuse |
    • Leucadia Bob


      January 23, 2012 at 18:49 | Report abuse |
    • Doug

      I suffered from cluster headaches for years. It felt like a white-hot Javelin was shoved through my eye-socket. Any light at all was too bright when it struck (they came on within seconds, and 30 seconds later would subside to an intense but dull ache for several hours). It was unbearable – and the doctors prescribed so many different drugs (one that turned me into a virtual zombie), but did nothing for the headaches (think: it comes and goes before any reactionary drug could affect it). They went away after a few hits of LSD, and I've only had a handful of them in the past 25 years. So yeah, this is old news, at least to me, lol.

      January 23, 2012 at 19:20 | Report abuse |
    • FactsBoy

      It's also an antioxidant.

      January 23, 2012 at 19:58 | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      They've always been therapeutic for me and I have never ever been depressed when using them.

      January 23, 2012 at 20:07 | Report abuse |
  2. jj

    Interesting.... In Latin America, ayahuasca (active ingredient DMT) is used for transcendental shamanic and spiritual experiences. I hope our society will become enlightened enough to study these chemicals and integrate them into our culture for beneficial uses.

    January 23, 2012 at 16:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • TheLeftCoast

      There is a drug addiction recovery center in Peru called Takiwasi that uses this treatment ~ VERY successfully!

      January 23, 2012 at 17:06 | Report abuse |
    • rebar

      A significant amount of DMT users consistantly report contact with aliens. My son, who admitted to using DMT frequently, also reported alien contact. Previous to using DMT he had no mental issues. He took his life 2 years ago after expressing concern that the earth wuld be "vaporized" by an alien species.

      January 23, 2012 at 17:09 | Report abuse |
    • Mr No It All

      Agreed, these need to be placed in context as spiritual sacraments, also mescaline and THC, all stimulate right-brain activity.

      January 23, 2012 at 17:11 | Report abuse |
    • Kim

      I watched that episode yesterday. It was very interesting! I really wish the USA was more open minded to the use of holisitic treatment verse the use of Pharmaceutical drugs.

      January 23, 2012 at 17:14 | Report abuse |
    • evensteven

      The problem with using hallucinogenics in our country is that overwhelmingly we have a recreational rather than spiritual use attached to them. People use them to party with, rather than focusing the experience on going within themselves. Yes, mushrooms can facilitate healing on many levels, but I would strongly suggest they only be initially used under the guidance of a bonafide shaman which are difficult to locate in our country. Unfortunately, many who call themselves Shamans in the U.S. are financial and sexual predators—so beware. Study as much as you can about the subject before getting involved.

      January 23, 2012 at 17:23 | Report abuse |
  3. nepawoods

    Psilocybin and drugs like LSD are illegal for one reason: They help people see right through lies, and this makes people more difficult to manipulate and control like sheep. That we even accept that government has any authority to tell people what they may consume is astonishing.

    January 23, 2012 at 16:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Foonbot


      January 23, 2012 at 16:56 | Report abuse |
    • Moros

      Put your tinfoil hat back on.

      January 23, 2012 at 16:58 | Report abuse |
    • Aaron

      Agree the government does not want you aware.Everybody should go to the other side at least once in there lifetime.You will walk around with open eye's.

      January 23, 2012 at 17:06 | Report abuse |
    • alan s

      Far out, dude.

      January 23, 2012 at 17:06 | Report abuse |
    • Qui Gon Bong

      Hey Moros – Shouldn't that be an 'n' at the end of your name?

      January 23, 2012 at 17:09 | Report abuse |
    • Drinker

      That could be one of the dumbest things I have ever read...

      January 23, 2012 at 17:21 | Report abuse |
    • meemee

      It also helps people lie to themselves about what they wish to believe. Believing ones hallucinations is an old self-deceptive trick, full of narcissistic self-indulgence.

      January 23, 2012 at 18:05 | Report abuse |
    • meemee

      You don't need any drugs, Rx or not, LSD or psilocybin to see through lies. All you need is a good brain and mind trained in critical thought. If you think you can see through lies because of drugs like LSD and psilocybin you are merely failing to see your own lie. Decades of research on the effects of LSD and other drugs was done and the indications are that it is all an illusion, a fantastic one, yes indeed, but an illusion in the end. Read "Acid Dreams" Don't dismiss it because you don't like this post, read it – it has the history of the CIA and also the compete history of experiments of Timothy Leary and others – the history of the hippie movement, etc. It will blow your little mind.

      January 23, 2012 at 18:10 | Report abuse |
    • Been there

      meemee, believing in the hallucination we sometimes call "consensual reality", although very common, has some pretty serious side effects, too. We don't notice them as much because most other people suffer similarly. Then, we notice somebody who is truly happy or enlightened and wonder.

      January 23, 2012 at 18:12 | Report abuse |
    • Hank

      Bet you a dollar all of the naysayers on this comment thread have never tried them. Really bugs me when people talk about something they no nothing about. Empathy and connectedness is what the world's people could use a big dose of.

      January 23, 2012 at 18:37 | Report abuse |
    • Javier

      Absolutely. At almost 54, and since I pretty much lived my life the way I wanted to, I have seen alot of hypocrisy out there in the world. Of course "they" don't want us to learn, do, invent, discover, etc. because "The Sheep" (us) might wake up. They don't want that. They want workers ONLY. They have all they want except eternal youth and trust me, they are working on it! They are working on how to dupe us AGAIN on everything from the illegal wars we must suffer to who is gonna believe whom in the up-coming scam called "Elections". Will we ever learn?

      January 23, 2012 at 18:52 | Report abuse |
    • Jabberwocky

      Why don't all you brilliant folks who write like toddlers show the establishment just what you think of it. First, though, you'll have to actually grow a brain.

      January 23, 2012 at 19:15 | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      I have experience with this drug as well as LSD and while enlightening, they do not necessarily help you see through lies. They didn't help Charlie Manson's followers see through his lies.

      January 23, 2012 at 19:38 | Report abuse |
    • ibrad

      Moros. Mushrooms have been used with great promise on many levels. Depression,mental disorder,alchol & drug abuse. The only people that truly hate all these natural products are the same that will lose their billion dollar industry(Pharma Industry)

      January 23, 2012 at 19:39 | Report abuse |
    • Capitan

      So are you going to cite Bill Hicks or what?

      January 23, 2012 at 19:45 | Report abuse |
    • TonyK

      Sorry moros, the tinfoil hat is already on, the medicine let's you take it off. Trust me on this one . . . or trust the govt, your choice.

      January 23, 2012 at 19:46 | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      I think there's some merit to this assertion. It's certainly worth investigating.

      January 23, 2012 at 19:50 | Report abuse |
    • Capitan

      My friends and I just watched TV once while tripping. It was just an experiment. It was amazing how you could see through the BS on TV. You realize how fake that world is, and how you are best avoiding it if possible. Then we put in a movie with a good story, acting, music, etc, and it was magical. You can knock this post all you want, but until you've tried it, you honestly have no place criticizing this compound.

      January 23, 2012 at 19:55 | Report abuse |
  4. Matt

    I'm against legalizing drugs, but this is a naturally occurring thing. The sale of it should be banned, not possession.

    January 23, 2012 at 16:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Hitch

      Why the ban of selling it? Please explain your reasons.

      January 23, 2012 at 18:01 | Report abuse |
  5. TikiMon

    Psilocybin and all other drugs are illegal due to Christians forcing their moral prudery on everyone else. Slowly, these repressive laws are being rolled back, against kicking and screaming and dire warnings of society's collapse. Marijuana is also illegal in spite of the evidence, and that too will be rolled back one day. Not soon enough though.

    January 23, 2012 at 16:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ????

      Why does it have to be "Christians"? The Christians don't make laws. If we did, there would be no separation of Church and State! The lawmakers are pulling God out of everything. You can thank nonChristians, who want to hold you captive and negatively influence you. Maybe you should actually think about these things BEFORE you start accusing the innocent ; )

      January 23, 2012 at 17:05 | Report abuse |
    • alan s

      Tiki, I agree with ??? Why make this about Christians? (I'm not a Christian, by the way.)

      January 23, 2012 at 17:07 | Report abuse |
    • generally speaking

      ???: If you actually listen to candidates or individuals currently in office, you will notice they intentionally pepper all their verbal contributions with the G-o-d word. Whether they are Christian or not is irrelevant. They are attempting to sway American sheep with argument from "authority" (G-o-d) and disgustingly, they have been very successful. That is why G-o-d was invented in the first place: to control people and leave them with no way to reason back.

      January 23, 2012 at 17:15 | Report abuse |
    • Eric

      The christian god was "discovered" under the influence of ergot, a powerful hallucinogen. Books of the bible were written under the influence of it..

      January 23, 2012 at 17:30 | Report abuse |
    • dchapm34me

      Did you lose your moral compass? Do you think it's morally responsible to alow the sale of drugs to the general public that will cause them harm? How the he11 can you blame christians for making the drug laws? Go back to the other side and stay there if it's so great.

      January 23, 2012 at 17:42 | Report abuse |
    • brian

      Some "Christians" may be included in the group of prohibitors, but I know many, many people who believe in God, one denom. or another, who do not fear natural substances, rather foolish, selfish behavior that leads to sadness and destruction. Believe me, plenty of us Christians know 1st hand shrooms are awesome:) There can be, for sure, an absence of grace when intoxicated, which does not glorify God, so forming a habit with anything that leads to disconnecting from God is dangerous. Some celebration at a camp out concert in ones youth, though, can be very glorifying, as long as one is prudent.

      January 23, 2012 at 17:54 | Report abuse |
    • meemee


      Why does it have to be "Christians"? '

      Are you really that historically naive? Christians have had the control over a great deal of Western legal matters. The Church worked in alliances with monarchs for nearly two thousand years doing so. Religion has always been political. Pretending Christians don't constantly attempt to inject their beliefs into lawmaking is the silliest and the most evidence I have seen for a long time of someone who hasn't got a clue about the thing they partake in or the culture or society they live in or come from.

      January 23, 2012 at 17:58 | Report abuse |
    • meemee


      "Some "Christians" may be included in the group of prohibitors, but I know many, many people who believe in God, one denom. or another, who do not fear natural substances, rather foolish, selfish behavior that leads to sadness and destruction. ...."

      You are then only a Christian by label. I am not and I don't call myself one. Calling yourself a Christian while violating its basic ideas IS not only hypocritical, but cowardly. Break away and get free of it, you'll be happy you did. A whole wide universe of knowledge awaits the freed believer – one freed from the restrictions of belief. Antinomianism is what you're doing – the 16th century discussion of whether you can be a Christian by faith alone or if you must follow any rules or do good works. (As if only Christians ever did or do good works). Today, we have a huge amount of so-called Christians who do not fit into the Biblical or theological definition. They all ignore the hypocrisy because the requirements are SO restrictive. This is just one reason why it is an obsolete religion.

      January 23, 2012 at 18:03 | Report abuse |
    • Jataka

      Because it is about Christians. All they do is force their views and beliefs onto others. Have you been under a rock for the past two thousand years? Open your eyes.

      January 23, 2012 at 18:11 | Report abuse |
  6. G.

    I like what Kesey said about the aftermath of the gov't LSD tests. Something about him going into a room that they later decided, they didn't want anybody else to go into anymore...

    January 23, 2012 at 16:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Nophah Kingweigh

    Boil water
    Add mushrooms
    Boil until mushrooms sink to the bottom
    Add bullion cubes
    Pour through coffee filter into a thermos
    Take thermos to school and share mushroom soup during algebra class
    Skip afternoon classes

    January 23, 2012 at 17:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • evensteven

      . . . several students get scared and become hysterical. Ambulance called for medical assistance. Investigation ensues and the thermos is discovered. You go to jail..

      People can really screw their minds up if taking this stuff in a cavalier, unplanned and unsupervised manner.

      January 23, 2012 at 17:52 | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Thumbs up!!! Been there, done that...except it was tea....and the mushroom sludge at the bottom is the best part, so no coffee filter!

      January 23, 2012 at 19:10 | Report abuse |
    • Dianas Brain

      When's lunch?

      January 23, 2012 at 19:48 | Report abuse |
    • Capitan

      Bullion cubes huh? We just used Strawberry Kool-Aid.

      January 23, 2012 at 19:49 | Report abuse |
    • Nophah Kingweigh

      Sorry folks, forgot to add:
      Do not share with Evenstevie and his gang of 7 year old pals!

      January 23, 2012 at 22:21 | Report abuse |
  8. William

    so where can I fiind mushrooms? I know they are illegal, but does anyone have any recommendations?

    January 23, 2012 at 17:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • BigDeer

      My recommendation would be to ask your teenaged son or daughter. I am sure they would be able to point you in the right direction, lol.

      January 23, 2012 at 17:20 | Report abuse |
    • Nophah Kingweigh

      Bellingham, Washington starting in october. Ask any WWU student, or just go pick your own.

      January 23, 2012 at 17:27 | Report abuse |
    • Farmer Bob

      That would be the cow fields of West Virginia, Virgina, and North Carolina!! They do alter your perception of the world and your connection with people. It is the same thing that world travel does. Not that I have ever taken them or sold them 25+ years ago.....just saying;)

      January 23, 2012 at 17:29 | Report abuse |
    • Jeb B

      ask any pot dealer (there are plenty within walking distance assuming you live in America)... if you don't know them, you need to network to find these people. DON'T walk around wearing an "I need shrooms" t-shirt and pointing at it to anyone shady-looking. You'll probably get arrested or something.

      January 23, 2012 at 17:29 | Report abuse |
    • chandra

      In cow fields in northern FL.

      January 23, 2012 at 17:52 | Report abuse |
    • Timothy Leary

      Usually found early morning in piles of cow poop.

      January 23, 2012 at 18:06 | Report abuse |
    • Stopthemadness

      The nearest cow pasture under a nice patty.

      January 23, 2012 at 18:29 | Report abuse |
    • evensteven

      Study as much as you can on the Internet from sources which advocate a spiritual rather than recreational use of the medicines . . .

      January 23, 2012 at 19:17 | Report abuse |
  9. John

    I agree with the comments above, mushrooms are very helpful and fairly mild. Never heard of anyone on shrooms jumping out a window though, maybe LSD.

    January 23, 2012 at 17:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • right...

      Uhh really? Where have you done your extensive research? A dim witted assumption with zero rationale. Idiot.

      January 23, 2012 at 18:05 | Report abuse |
    • nepawoods

      The horror stories about LSD are drug war propaganda. Ever since Art Linkletter's daughter decided to commit suicide, and he blamed it on LSD "flashbacks" (since found out to be a lie), people have believed all sorts of scare stories about it.

      January 23, 2012 at 19:03 | Report abuse |
    • nepawoods

      Just a few examples:



      January 23, 2012 at 19:07 | Report abuse |
    • evensteven

      Dosage is determined by many factors: weight, strength of the mushroom, method of deliver and so on. A person who has what would be a very high dosage can be thrown into a living hell, and they can become completely hysterical. I've done it myself and seen it happen to others.

      I would never advocate the use of mushrooms, except in a safe environment under the watchful eye of someone you trust. Soothing music can help a great deal.

      January 23, 2012 at 19:21 | Report abuse |
  10. NeedZ

    and they can be killer as well, but needs to be cooked first..ughhh

    January 23, 2012 at 17:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Teeph

    Heck, I'd like to try them. But I'm so tightly wound, generally anxious, depressed and just generally irratable that I'd be REALLY concerned that a "bad trip" would be unavoidable.

    Even so, I have to say that Joe Rogan makes some pretty persuasive arguments about the merits of these things from time to time. At least enough to get a Christian conservative (libertarian) like me to consider the possibility.

    January 23, 2012 at 17:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • meemee

      I read a book many years ago, can't recall the name now, but it was a book that said some parts of the Bible were actually codexfrom earlier mushroom eating culture that made things like prophecy seem valid. Also, it is a fact that since rye fungus called ergot contains LSD, some historical records have indicated to researchers that in Europe LSD intoxication was not unknown, just not understood. People hearing voices, etc.,,..... saints like Joan of Arc and witches burning.... there's one instance where an entire town in France went "Insane" for a few days. A few thoughtful people started to wonder if it was something everyone ate – like moldy bread. And it was..... amazing stuff.

      January 23, 2012 at 17:54 | Report abuse |
    • another1

      It has been suggested that the christian ritual of 'christmas' actually has some of its roots in magic mushrooms. What do you find growing underneath a tree in the woods? Mushrooms. The christmas tree with presents underneath are symbolic of finding magic mushrooms in the woods growing under a tree – some varieties of magic mushrooms are very brightly colored, like wrapping paper on presents. Finding one is a happy occasion, like getting a present. It may sound like a bit of a reach for some, but the christmas ritual of bringing a tree into the home have nothing at all to do with the death of jesus, some rituals were brought over from paganism, and pagans liked to eat magic mushrooms.

      January 23, 2012 at 18:16 | Report abuse |
    • johnkeating

      That's interesting, another1. Reminds me of something I read about images of magic mushrooms shown in video games such as Mario Brothers and/or [movie/animation of] Alice In Wonderland.

      January 24, 2012 at 13:39 | Report abuse |
  12. bob searcy

    might not be accurate to blame christians for repressive morality based laws but too many of them are of a do good, busybody mindset. if the whingers get gingrinch elected we'll be peeing in bottles for the privilege of breathing. that should offend any and everyone.

    January 23, 2012 at 17:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Joe

    I've tried magic mushrooms. It really made me see life in a new light. I had a a bad "trip", but still recommend that people try them. Really kicked my ego in the ass.

    January 23, 2012 at 17:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Jennifer

    Cured my color blindness!!!

    January 23, 2012 at 17:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. oneSTARman

    SHROOMS make you feel less Depressed – Yeah that's True. Isn't it FUNNY That an ADDICTIVE, Cancer Causing Drug responsible for Hundreds of Thousands of Deaths and BILLIONS in Medical Expenses – Like TOBACCO is subsidized by the Government – But CANNABIS or 'Pot' or Hemp – like rope and Canvas – requires a Government WAR that creates ARMED DRUG CARTELS

    January 23, 2012 at 17:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • johnkeating

      Ditto for alcohol. I don't have any experiences with hallucinogens except I did breathe in a fair bit of secondhand marajuana smoke for a number of months. Not sure what effect it had on it, possibly made me quite a bit more imaginative. I would very much like to try more powerful hallucinogens such as psilocybin mushrooms, LSD, ayahuasca, DMT, mescaline. I'm not doing this for fun and I believe there is no material gain either. I'm hoping it will have a therapeutic value.

      January 24, 2012 at 13:45 | Report abuse |
  16. marcia

    christians are just flat obnoxious. why do they think they know better than everyone else. reminds me of the extreme islamists! same thing! good thing they haven't gotten around to any beheadings lately...but I'm just waiting! NINCOMPOOPS!

    January 23, 2012 at 17:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • right...

      Pegged, stupid.

      January 23, 2012 at 18:07 | Report abuse |
    • JLV

      Funny how your description could easily fit you. Just replace Christians are with Marcia is and it would be about the same. Funny how we don't like the things about others that are wrong with us.

      January 24, 2012 at 10:43 | Report abuse |
  17. nitrous

    Quite tasty on pizza too! Excuse me – I have to let my griffin out for a pee.

    January 23, 2012 at 17:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. surfer_dude

    whooaa...trippy brah!

    January 23, 2012 at 17:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Steena

    Somehow I'm not surprised by this. Mushrooms have always brought me clarity and a renewed sense of well-being. They help you deal with those nagging thoughts that keep you under a cloud most of the day. There's something about the non-chemical nature of them that helps I think. Having not been under the influence for many years I miss those days when I could reset the internal count back to zero and start anew with a better bead on my goals. I hope they find a way to let humanity enjoy these gems the gods put on the earth for us to use.

    January 23, 2012 at 17:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JLV

      You say their, not chemical nature. Everything has chemicals, and it specifically is the chemicals in these mushrooms that affect the brain and cause you to trip. And if you reset too much you will be left behind with nothing to show for it but a bunch of regrets. Like all thingstry and maintain balance by moderation.

      January 24, 2012 at 10:48 | Report abuse |
  20. Emily

    Thanks cnn! After reading this, my husband and I decided we should take the mushrooms some old ski bum gave us last year. yeehaaaaaw, it should be a good day off afterall!

    January 23, 2012 at 17:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Karolis

    What are your thoughts on Marijuana?

    January 23, 2012 at 17:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Jeremy

    Last time I partook was in 1983, but it was a remarkable experience. Very difficult to explain and articulate but I remember it well. I would imagine at very low therapeutic doses, it might has some use.

    January 23, 2012 at 17:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. meemee

    I won't say how I know, but I know a lot about this stuff. I also can say that Griffith is confusing the LSD potential for a bad trip or dangerous behavior whereas the truly experienced know that psilocybin doesn't come with that potential. I heard some say that while LSD was of man, psilocybin was "Of God," or naturally occurring as opposed to lab created (although LSD is ultimately from a fungus in rye mold called ergot). To learn more about the history of LSD – read the amazing book, "LSD Dreams." Amazon has used copies cheap. It will literally blow your mind.

    January 23, 2012 at 17:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. lightswitch

    Running out into traffic, jumping out of windows? Reminds me of the oogy-boogy drug propaganda film of the 50's and 60's 'Reefer Madness' and riding the crazy chicken.

    What would be the rate of this type of fatality or injury caused by mushrooms to say, automobile accidents fatality and injuries. I would guess that riding in an automobile would kill you a lot quicker. And it doesn't have the benefit to help with headaches, depression and can help expand your perception past it's commercial consciousness.

    January 23, 2012 at 17:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • chandra

      ...and don't forget those terrible "after school specials" back in the 70s!

      January 23, 2012 at 17:56 | Report abuse |
    • JLV

      As somebody already pointed out that the author is probably confusing the effects with what happened during LSD testing as part of project MKULTRA. Which was a CIA experiment to try and use LSD for mind control. But anytime you use something that alters your perception it probably not a good idea to operate heavy machinery or even light machinery for that matter.

      January 24, 2012 at 10:57 | Report abuse |
  25. Imma B Drinkin

    I took mushrooms once back in 95. Bad news. If you want time to go really slow then this is the drug to take. I seen and heard some crazy things while trippin my berries off. A group of us took them in a dorm room up in Maine.....we all heard what we thought was a horse drawn carriage going around the campus parking lot.......it turned out to be a car that needed a new muffler! Lasted strong for around 6 hours. I don't reccomend them.

    January 23, 2012 at 17:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mike

      Anyone who speaks/writes/types Imma B, probably got their degree mail order from MTV, not any real college.

      January 23, 2012 at 18:05 | Report abuse |
    • Aldous Huxley

      They don't work well for people who mix alkie-hol into the trip. They also work much better for people who enjoy the outdoors and GOOD MUSIC. You probably like crappy music, huh?

      January 23, 2012 at 20:15 | Report abuse |
  26. Mike

    This has been known for years.

    January 23, 2012 at 18:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Mike

    I'd rather take a naturally occurring substance than a processed, liver destroying pill. Natural medicine needs to be studied more, the medicine men and shamans had more knowledge of the healing properties of our world than we will ever know. Modern society would do well to at least study the substances that come from the earth instead of just outlawing them and labeling users as junkies or stoners or druggies.

    January 23, 2012 at 18:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JLV

      The natural world is made up of those substances that make up your liver destroying pill, the stuff in them didn't come from the fifth demension or an alternate universe made up comepletely of liver destroying stuff. And the problem with your arguement is that according to what I've seen posted here, most of the people using stuff like mushrooms weren't trying to heal themselves, they were trying to get high thus they are stoners and druggies. That is the problem because I agree that the medical and spiritual value is worth looking into, but most people just want to trip balls, get worse not better.

      January 24, 2012 at 11:06 | Report abuse |
  28. YourMom

    This is all good and well but until the religious right and the pharmaceutical companies figure out a way to make money off of this it will remain illegal.

    January 23, 2012 at 18:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. LeBourreau

    I disagree with the article's notion that there is too much of an abuse risk with Mushrooms. If you do them too often, they lose their effect/potency (even a week or so apart). You are better off waiting a couple months in-between trips. I also agree with the person that posted that Americans have too much of a partying mentality when it comes to drugs. All psychoactive drugs need to be respected and treated with the reverence that they deserve. You can experience some pretty amazing spiritual insights into yourself and the world around you if you use them in a respectful manner. Who knows, you might even decide to turn off the TV and go do something with your life – and that scares the S#!T out of our government, they don't want that happening.

    January 23, 2012 at 18:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. J3sus Sandals

    Dr. Stanslav Grof studied the psychological therapeutic effects of hallucinogens since the 1960s. Dr. Charles Tart studied the effects of various entheogens since the 1960s. It's to wake up from consensus trance and tell Big Pharma where to stick it.

    January 23, 2012 at 18:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Steve

    Back in college I had an incredible conversation with Jerry Garcia about mushrooms.

    Well, actually, it was a poster of Jerry Garcia and I was on mushrooms, but it was still a really good conversation.

    January 23, 2012 at 18:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. MotherMaryOfJane

    They grow in manure, you can find them around ranches and farms usually. I would recommend 1/8 of an ounce or less for first timers. Plan out your day (trips usually wrap up at the 5 hour mark for myself), have someone who you trust and is experienced stick around to make sure everything goes smoothly (preferably one who's not sober at the time, for you might seem like a giggly spacey idiot), and be outside! Enjoy all the beauty the natural world has to offer 🙂

    January 23, 2012 at 18:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dripping Design

      Start with 1/16th your first time, and keep in mind different mushrooms can be different strengths. I would not recommend picking them yourself in the wild if you are not extrmely experienced at doing so. I would also recommend your sitter be sober (mostly) so they have the ability to help if there is a problem. Two people in a less than a sober state don't always make better decisions than 1.

      January 23, 2012 at 18:38 | Report abuse |
  33. Dripping Design

    It saddens me how far the "war of Drugs" has put us back from a medical perspective. The USA's drug policy makes no sense when someone can go to a doctor, say the right hing and get powerful and extremely addicting painkiller's legally or buy enough alcohol to drink themselves into a coma (or worse) but we arrest the cancer patient smoking a joint. Once again we have found out that one of those schedule I, absolutely no medical value substances is actually quite benficial.

    January 23, 2012 at 18:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dripping Design

      "War on Drugs"

      January 23, 2012 at 18:30 | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      The explanation is so simple, and yet we grow so tired knowing it and not being able to change it. Follow the money.

      January 23, 2012 at 19:09 | Report abuse |
    • Aldous Huxley

      Blame Richard Nixon!

      January 23, 2012 at 19:14 | Report abuse |
  34. bao

    It takes a study to figure this out? You should have hired mushroom-takers to tell you this and saved tons of money and time.

    January 23, 2012 at 18:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. lulu

    I have suffered from severe depression since early childhood and have been placed on every antidepressant that exists. They either Don't work or lose their effectiveness... I also suffer from Bipolar II and BPD. I used marijuana once in my late teens and had a horrible experience. I felt as though I was in a time loop and that my friends were trying to kill me. And that I was in hell. I also saw Jesus in a stain on the ceiling and thought I could could crawl home on the road which was quite far away (luckily people prevented me from doing so). The four other people had no similar reaction. That being said I think more studies need to be done and those types of drugs need to be taken in a controlled setting.

    January 23, 2012 at 18:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JonBD2

      I am 56 years old and tried MMs a couple years ago. It was fun, but what I experienced the next day was incredible. I just felt so different, so present, so non-depressed. I went to my computer and Googled "MMs and depression" and the Johns Hopkins study popped up. Since then I have realized that I had been mis-diagnosed and that I have had bipolar type II all these years. I believe that what the shrooms did was to stop my racing thoughts. For the first time in decades my mind was quiet. It was as if loud music was always playing in my head but finally it was turned off and I experienced peace and quiet. Unfortunately, it was not a lasting effect, as it lasted only part of that day. I would love to hear from others who have bipolar and have tried shrooms, especially those who are taking Lamictal.

      January 23, 2012 at 19:52 | Report abuse |
  36. Leucadia Bob


    January 23, 2012 at 18:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Susan

    Interesting article. Reminds me of what we were talking about re: Michael Brown.

    January 23, 2012 at 18:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. thespiritguy

    This story is exceptionally misleading. While it discusses the benefits of mushrooms, what about the extreme pain in the lower jaw from laughing so much?

    January 23, 2012 at 18:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Aldous Huxley

    People should read Huxley's "Doors of Perception" and "Heaven and Hell"

    January 23, 2012 at 18:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Bob

    The last place I would want to trip is a hospital with strangers. That would not be relaxing & I can imagine it would be less beneficial experience.

    January 23, 2012 at 18:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. lulu

    Not saying in a hospital but somewhere safe.

    January 23, 2012 at 19:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bob

      I know you didn't mean a hospital. But that's what the article suggested. Anyone that has ever tripped on anything will tell you the environment & company easily determine the experience. No good experience is likely in a hospital with a bunch of white coats.

      January 23, 2012 at 22:32 | Report abuse |
  42. Puckles


    January 23, 2012 at 19:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Oliver

    This is ridiculous. Magic Mushrooms have a VERY low potential for addiction since the tolerance very strong after a single dose, let alone a second successive one.

    I heard they sell hammers and nails and screw drivers over the counter.. I know a few dumb people able to harm themself with those tools.
    Yet they are legal and sold to anyone.

    Magic Mushrooms on the other hand have been proved to be totaly harmless.

    There is absolutely NO reason why magic mushrooms should be illegal.

    January 23, 2012 at 19:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Aldous Huxley

      "There is absolutely NO reason why magic mushrooms should be illegal."

      ...except Richard Nixon..... and an overly zealous, Christo-Fascist society that used to think Native American spirituality was "witchcraft" and "devil worship" not more than 100 years ago......and these were the same kind of people who tried "witches" in Salem, MA in the 1690's......etc.

      January 23, 2012 at 19:31 | Report abuse |
  44. joint

    I'm actually pretty surprised that most of the comments here have been in favor. Although it doesn't surprise me, any negative comments would most likely come from somebody who has never used them! You'd be hard pressed to find an experienced Psilocybin Mushroom user who thought negatively of them. So far as I've seen a scary trip is generally none existent, because it comes as a blow to your ego.

    January 23, 2012 at 19:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Aldous Huxley

      Huxley postulates in "The Doors of Perception" that people have bad trips when they enter into such experiences with their minds already focused on negative emotions such as FEAR and ANGER.

      January 23, 2012 at 19:40 | Report abuse |
  45. Nana

    I am the anti-drug, not because I didn't do them but because I did. That said, I believe that adults should be allowed to make their own decisions about naturally-grown substances. Leave the lab-created stuff illegal, but let grownups make their own choices. This war on drugs has created the cartels just as Prohibition created the Mafia. It costs billions, wastes lives, increases crime and Does. Not. Work. Legalize it, regulate it, tax it and let go of antiquated ideas. We have alcohol and we have cigarettes which leads me to ask: "Have we reached hypocritical mass yet? Should we duck?"

    January 23, 2012 at 19:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Chris

    Drugs are time. Take a minute.

    January 23, 2012 at 19:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. ziggy

    I've know this for years and use it as treatment for my depression.

    January 23, 2012 at 19:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. VegasRage

    I can't help but notice that as the economy suffers more and more how suddenly marijuana, mushrooms, and other drugs seem to be highly sought after cure all medications. Oh I'm in pain from looking at my bills, I need drugs to help me feel better.

    January 23, 2012 at 20:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. scott

    It is sad that it is classified as a Schedule 1 on par w/ Heroin especially since drug companies make millions/billions of selling derivatives of heroin. Laws on stuff like this need to be relaxed.

    January 23, 2012 at 20:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Aldous Huxley

      Right about the ridiculous, overly-paranoid Schedule I pseudo-analogy with heroin. There is absolutely 0 addiction (or even habit-forming) potential with naturally occurring hallucinogens (and LSD).

      January 23, 2012 at 20:21 | Report abuse |
  50. Drake

    "We have found that these drugs turn off parts of the brain that integrate sensations – seeing, hearing, feeling – with thinking" Like television or the 40 hour work week?

    January 23, 2012 at 20:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Aldous Huxley

      ...or religion?

      January 23, 2012 at 20:22 | Report abuse |
    • johnkeating

      Maybe this is related to how sensory deprivation can lead to psychedelic experiences. I've read that you can have psychedelic experiences either through 1) practice of meditation; 2) practice of yoga ('moving meditation'); 3) sensory deprivation (e.g. flotation tanks); 4) use of hallucinogenic plants or synthetic substances.

      January 24, 2012 at 16:24 | Report abuse |
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