A recent study suggests that magic mushrooms might be a bit more magical than we’d all thought.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University of Medicine studied the effects of various doses of psilocybin, the psychoactive ingredient in magic mushrooms, on eighteen healthy adult volunteers. The doses were based on a previous Johns Hopkins study from 2006 that measured the effects of a single, high level dose of psilocybin. While many of the participants in this original study reported having a meaningful, spiritual experience, a significant number also had adverse reactions including severe panic attacks. The current study, therefore, tried out a variety of lower doses, and found that a dose that was about five times less than that used in the 2006 study promoted a beneficial experience with little concurrent anxiety. Among the positive reports were that participants felt less judgmental and that their relationships with family and friends had improved.
More research is necessary to determine how and if psilocybin could be effectively used in a therapeutic setting. Nonetheless, this study suggests that magic mushrooms could join the ranks of MDMA and LSD as a hallucinogens with a potential role in the future of psychotherapy.