Of course the word ‘improve’ is subjective.
What one person considers an improvement might be horrific to another. But if you’d like to be more open minded, more accepting of other people’s differences, more creative, and less likely to fall back on preconceived notions and methods of behavior, then perhaps you might want to take a little trip to your local cow pasture after the next spring rain, because that is where hallucinogenic mushrooms grow.
Yes, in a double blind test, it has been shown that as little as one dose of psilocybin mushrooms can have a positive influence on behaviors and attitudes that most people consider beneficial to one’s health and wellbeing.
And this advice does not come from a bunch of Burning Man fire dancers but from the doctors at Johns Hopkins University of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland.
Psilocybin can facilitate experiences that change how people perceive themselves and their environment… —Roland Griffiths
These physicians have determined that even a very low dose of Psilocybin can facilitate changes in the mind that will improve perception and mood, which is something that Prozac cannot promise. And most amazing of all, these changes continued to register a full year after the experiment.
This study shows that psilocybin actually changes one domain of personality that is strongly related to traits such as imagination, feeling, abstract ideas and aesthetics, and is considered a core construct underlying creativity in general. —Roland Griffiths
As part of the experiment, participants were asked to take a substance that was either a placebo or psilocybin and then to lay on a couch with their eyes covered while listening to soothing music. Each participant was asked to focus on an interior experience. Neither patient nor doctor knew whether the substance was a placebo, although it is highly likely that about half an hour later the patient had a pretty strong opinion on the matter.
Afterward, each participant was given a battery of psychological tests designed to measure the state of their consciousness. In areas of extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness and neuroticism there were no measured differences from the participants’ original state.
However, in the realm of ‘openness,’ (a psychological term which includes creative problem solving, ability to think abstractly, broadmindedness, and interest in art & music) participants who received the psilocybin registered strong increases that remained in place a full 14 months after the initial experiment.
This is the first time that scientists have shown that a drug can make lasting changes in personality. Antidepressants, for instance, work by changing the brain’s chemistry. Once a patient stops taking Prozac, or any of the standard SSRIs, he or she will return to their own personal brand of normal.
In cultures before ours, the spiritual guide or healer had to discern how much of what type of mushroom to use for what purposes, because the strength of psychoactive mushrooms varies from species to species and even from specimen to specimen. —Roland Griffiths
In fact, 94% of the study’s participants rated their use of psilocybin as one of the most spiritual experiences of his or her life when asked at the 14 month follow up to this study. 84% self-reported positive changes in their behavior and outlook.
I feel that I relate better in my marriage. There is more empathy – a greater understanding of people and understanding their difficulties and less judgment. —Participant
Currently, the lead researcher, Roland Griffiths, is studying whether psilocybin might have therapeutic uses for cancer patients who are experiencing the inevitable anxiety and depression that comes with the disease and its treatment.
So What Are You Going To Do Next?
This story burst onto the scene and then quickly disappeared, mainly because psychedelic mushrooms cannot easily be monetized by large pharmaceutical companies (yet).
But can you imagine the number of commercials for psilocybin-based antidepressants you’d see on television right now if Pfizer had a patent on it? And with its silent ‘P,’ Pfizer would seem to be the ideal pitchman.
On the one hand, these mushrooms have been used by humans for thousands of years. On the other hand, nobody wants to encourage teenagers to be swallowing fistfuls of them at local music venues.
On a third hand, when has anyone ever had to encourage teenagers to take drugs?! Wouldn’t an official nod of approval make them actually LESS cool in the eyes of disaffected teens?
After all, if mom and dad are trying shrooms, just how cool can they be?
And here are some pertinent links: