Finally, an "official" recognition of the effects of psychedelics

From CNN -

*People who took an illegal drug made from mushrooms reported profound mystical experiences that led to behavior changes lasting for weeks – all part of an experiment that recalls the psychedelic '60s.
. . .
Even two months after taking the drug, pronounced SILL-oh-SY-bin, most of the volunteers said the experience had changed them in beneficial ways, such as making them more compassionate, loving, optimistic and patient. Family members and friends said they noticed a difference, too.

Charles Schuster, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, and a former director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, called the work a landmark.

“I believe this is one of the most rigorously well-controlled studies ever done” to evaluate psilocybin or similar substances for their potential to increase self-awareness and a sense of spirituality, he said. He did not participate in the research.*

Strange that they don’t seem to mention anywhere that psilocybin is the psychedelic found in ‘magic mushrooms’ (at least British ones - Liberty Caps). And a surprisingly positive write-up. I heard a radio programme recently which looked into experiments involving administering psilocybin or LSD to those with terminal illness, and was surprised that the participants didn’t all completely freak out (although some of them did find it deeply disturbing…). Instead they found a profound tranquility similar to an experience of god.

I have thoroughly enjoyed most of my experiences with the major psychedelics, finding the world endowed with a great significance and interconnectedness. And while this may be just as irrational to trust in as religious faith, at least that way you don’t need to swallow wretched religious dogma, just a handful of fungus.

The shrooms seem pretty consistent, too.

Out of 24,

3 rated it most meaningful experience
13 rated it within top-5
3 rated it within top-10
4 rated it as once-every-5-years
1 rated it as once-a-year

Well, this is an official recognition, but it seems that the Power That Be were not too pleased.

None too happy because they don’t want NIDA associated with this sort of research, it looks like to me.

So how does one get to be a “lab rat” in one of these studies? :cool:

This is pretty much what I was going to post. It sort of, no make that really pisses me off that these substances are lumped in with Cocaine and Heroin as plain old evil DRUGS. In the UK Acid and Ecstasy in the same (il)legal category as Cocaine and Heroin. WTF?

They are utterly different. You can’t overdose on LSD (dunno about mushrooms) and it’s not addictive, you don’t have to smoke or inject it and the only ‘side effect’ is that if you’re not prepared for the ride it can scare you out of your skin.

It’s got to be a bit of an understatment to say that being scared is the only possible side effect, for example, physical injury can occur as a result of impaired or altered perception.

I think it’s accurate as far as direct pharmacological side-effects go.

Um, really? Because I’ve always heard that repeated use of psychadelics causes exitotoxicity in some part of the brain (though I can’t remember which one.) It’s not really all that believable to me that drugs that have such a profound effect on your mental state somehow do it without, you know, affecting your brain.

I’m not called “Psilocybe” for no reason, folks. :slight_smile:

Of course mushrooms can cause religious experiences! Indeed, the only religious experiences I’ve ever had have been caused by magic mushrooms. Life-changing, eye-opening experiences. I’m not longer afraid of death because on a high dose “you” pretty much DO die. Theres nothing to be afraid of.

I’ve most always done mushrooms alone in the dark on high doses. This can easily lead to ego-death, out-of-body, flying-through-the-cosmos, meeting God sort of experiences.

Thats not to say its all good. I’ve had my fair share of mushroom induced psychotic episodes involving me stripping naking at my friends house in front of everyone. I thought I would be tripping forever. Whoops. Felt like an idiot after that one. I don’t think that friend will ever look at my quite the same.

I’m pretty much done with mushrooms, though. They’re too insane and weird for me. I get the most bizarre delusions, more bizarre than anything one can possibly imagine.

After looking at that page, all that I come away with is certain knowledge that I have absolutely no desire to be under any psychedelic substances in the presence of NIDA director Dr. Nora Volkow.

Suffering Christ, she gives me the screaming meemies. I’m totally sober and yet I’m still convinced she wants to eat my skin.

Now that’s a straw man if I ever hallucinated one. Since when did affecting the brain ipso facto translate to excitotoxicity or generally speaking, neurotoxicity?

They don’t, necessarily. But the idea that they are absolutely harmless, when drugs that have comparably much milder effects on the mind can be quite dangerous, simply strikes me as rather hard to believe. Especially the bits about it being impossible to overdose on them. I’ve heard such claims before - in particular from my father, who was a big ol’ hippie back in the day and used plenty of acid - but I’ve never heard any real evidence for them, and the claim that they can alter the workings of your brain as profoundly as they do without having at least some risk of serious pharmalogical side effects strikes me as, quite simply, extraordinary. It just doesn’t seem logical.

Well, of course nothing really has “side effects”. Things just have “effects”. We call the ones we like effects and the ones we don’t side effects. So psilocybin has effects of euphoria, auditory and visual hallucination, altered sense of time and space and self, etc. etc. Pick the ones you don’t like and call them side effects, if you like.

My experiences with mushrooms seem to bear out the adage that if you eat too many, you’ll simply vomit them up. I can find no literature that even proposes a theoretical overdose dose, much less a verified report of a death caused by mushroom overdose. Nor can I find a verified report of any sort of long term health effects, including “flashbacks”, Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder or mental illness from mushrooms. Considering that they do play with seritonin levels, it wouldn’t shock me, especially in heavy users, but I can find no evidence.

I’m not sure how to prove that something* can’t* kill someone. It’s much easier to find proof that something *has *killed someone. In this case, I can’t find that proof, even at the big scary War On Drugs national sites. Perhaps you’ll have better luck.


I got it from the radio show Loveline; one of the hosts (actually, I guess he’s the only host now) is an addiction medicine specialist who claimed that long term or heavy use of hallucinogens is associated with excitotoxicity to some part of the brain involving regulation of moods, and that heavy users of them tend to require permanent treatment with antidepressants. I’m obviously not competent to even really evaluate the literature on the subject (in fact, I wouldn’t know where to find it) but Dr. Drew has some expertise in drug treatment.

To your cite, I offer a countercite: Peyote Won’t Rot Your Brain

Nah, she’ll just stick you to the wall until one of her eggs hatches.

Maybe so, but that’s hardly relevant to a claim that was clearly about the general harmlessness of the drug.