Two recent clinical trials have shown that a one-time voyage with psilocybin, the active component of psychedelic mushrooms, improved optimism, life-outlook and quality of life, while decreasing symptoms of an anxiety and depression in life-threatening cancer patients.
The results of the psilocybin trial have made waves in the scientific community, or at least for those who have never done mushrooms themselves. Eighty percent of patients displayed an immediate reduction in symptoms of anxiety and depression that lasted even after a six-month follow-up. These lasting effects make this treatment option very valuable as a potential replacement for traditional anti-anxiety and depression drugs.
The results of these two large clinical trials, in which over 50 cancer patients were legally administered psilocybin in controlled settings, validate the conclusions people in the psychedelic community have been saying for years. Hallucinogens, like psilocybin, LSD, mescaline, DMT, etc., cause transcendental, though sometimes fleeting, changes in the way an individual views his or her self and the world around them. When administered in the right set and setting, revelations and epiphanies that spring from altered thought processes help an individual grow past adversity and gain new-found serenity.
Participants in the studies, which took place at New York University and John Hopkins University, attributed improvements in mood and outlook to the high-dose experience, and less so to low-dose trials. This is in-line with the experience of tripping shrooms—a couple small caps and a stem is enough to give you a good buzz, but for a real spiritual experience, you need to go all in.
“Why are you letting yourself be terrorized by cancer coming back? This is dumb. It’s in your power to get rid of the fear,” he told himself. “That’s when I saw black smoke rising from my body. And it felt great,” Octavian Mihai told the New York Times in an interview about his experience. “I’m not anxious about cancer anymore. I’m not anxious about dying.” The experience, “has made my life richer.”
Participants drank a dose of psilocybin from an earthenware chalice and relaxed in a softly lit, pleasantly decorated room and listened to a specially-crafted, seven-hour playlist designed to reflect the pace of experience. In order to get the most out of the trip, doctors asked the patients to write down their visions and thoughts in a notebook during the trip. In addition to discussing what they experienced in meetings afterword, researchers were careful to make sure the participants remembered and reflected on the thoughts they had during their journeys.
These come at a time when psychedelics and other so-called “party drugs” like MDMA are gaining acceptance among psychologists, neuropsychopharmacologists and medical practitioners. With the approval of MDMA for final stages of clinical trials, and other clinical or exploratory trials with psilocybin for treating addiction and depression, psychedelics are just now “breaking through” into mainstream society.
As the scientific community opens up to these amazing substances, more people will open up their minds to the new ways of thinking they promote. At the very least, we could see some tie-dye lab coats in the very near future.
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(Photo Credit: NotTelkin)