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Consciousness Magic Mushrooms

Published on August 20th, 2013 | by Jason Louv

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Psychedelics Don’t Harm Mental Health, May Improve It

Psychedelics like psilocybin mushrooms and LSD not only don’t cause mental health problems, they may actually improve mental health, say Norwegian researchers

Psychedelics might just drive you sane.

Those are the findings by neuroscience researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, who reported that LSD, psilocybin and mescaline not only don’t cause long-term mental health problems, but that in many cases the use of psychedelics is associated with a lower rate of mental health problems.

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The study (here) pulled data from the US National Survey on Drug Use and Health, observing 130,152 randomly-selected respondents from the adult population of the US. 13.4% of that group (21,967 individuals) reported lifetime use of psychedelics. Comparing this data to standardized screening measures for mental health, the researchers found that neither lifetime psychedelic use nor use of LSD in the past year were independent risk factors for mental health problems—and that, in fact, psychedelic users had lower rates of mental health issues.

Teri S. Krebs and Pål-Ørjan Johansen, the Norwegian researchers, additionally noted that “psychedelic plants have been used for celebratory, religious or healing purposes for thousands of years” and that “psychedelics often elicit deeply personally and spiritually meaningful experiences and sustained beneficial effects… LSD and psilocybin are consistently ranked in expert assessments as causing less harm to both individual users and society than alcohol, tobacco, and most other common recreational drugs. Given that millions of doses of psychedelics have been consumed every year for over 40 years, well-documented case reports of long-term mental health problems following use of these substances are rare.”

The study also found absolutely no evidence that “flashbacks” afflict users of psychedelics, slaying another commonly-held superstition around psychedelic use.

The Norwegian study brings good news for the over 30 million Americans who have used psychedelics (compared to 100 million who have used marijuana). And while the media has been buzzing about Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s revelation that he “changed his mind on weed,” it may be time for psychedelics to get a similar PR rehabilitation.

While psychedelics still conjure images of 1960s-era bad trips like Art Linkletter’s daughter jumping out of a window on acid (an overinflated myth, says Snopes), they have undergone significant research and slow progress towards clinical acceptance in the past decades. Researchers still labor under the immensely negative Timothy Leary-era image of psychedelics, but are steadily chipping away at the cultural deadlock created by what many see as reckless abuse of psychedelics during the 1960s and 70s. Standing in stark contrast to the negatives of that time, however, are the immense clinical benefits that psychedelics are consistently being shown to offer.

Another recent study at the University of South Florida, for instance, found that psilocybin mushrooms erase conditioned fear response in mice, suggesting they could potentially be used to cure PTSD—and that psilocybin can even prompt growth of brain cells.

Multiple studies are currently being conducted (at New York University’s medical school and Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center) into using psychedelics to alleviate fear in patients with late-stage terminal illness—easing the experience of death and allowing people to end their lives in states of acceptance instead of terror.

LSD and psilocybin even hold promise for treating cluster headaches, a condition so debilitating and painful that it often leads sufferers to consider suicide.

While marijuana enjoys its time in the spotlight, it may be time for its more potent—and potentially even more beneficial—siblings to join the party.

The Apocalypse is Cancelled, Jason Louv

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About the Author

is the author of Queen Valentine and editor of Thee Psychick Bible, Ultraculture Journal and Generation Hex. He currently lives in Los Angeles.




  • Avinash Tewari

    Yeah!! This article just made my day, my week, and the rest of my year. Full power! :D

  • Epiccoug

    Sweetness.

  • DRtrimmer

    I must say my scientific studies concur with these findings…..;)

  • Anonymous Account

    I love shrooms, but if opiates can make some people desperately nauseated, surely there are some people for whom this simply isn’t true. (Just as it obviously isn’t true that weed is good for everyone’s mental health, especially in the high-THC/low-cannabinoid varieties that are so much easier to find than the strains with antipsychotic properties.) A slightly more aware version of excitement, that’s all I’m asking for. P.S. Shrooms are also good for people with terminal illness, but you probably already read about that.

    • Ash

      From personal experience, nausea can be mitigated by correcting dosage and method of ingestion. If you know someone with that problem, suggest that they, instead of eating psilocybe mushrooms, simply swallow smaller dosage with tea and then add another fraction (1/3) of the original dose the same way every 1-2 hours. I found this method to be infinitely easier on the stomach and longer lasting (depending on how long you continue to consume that fraction), with no detrimental effects on the experience.

      • Anonymous Account

        Hi Ash. That’s interesting — I was always under the impression that any shrooms you added after your initial dose weren’t going to do anything (I guess this would be the same principle that says that you won’t be able to take another strong trip at the same dose for another week or two). I’ll have to try that out the next time I get a chance. I phrased my post badly, though. What I meant was that if some people can’t tolerate opiates, surely there are some people who can’t benefit from psilocybin. I know there are also people who don’t like pot — I usually only like CBD-heavy strains myself — but they usually get told [by pot smokers] they have some kind of psychological problem, which seems unfair. There’s pretty clearly a significant number of people who have genuinely unpleasant physical reactions to opiates, though, and I wonder how many people who don’t love psychedelics are actually physically not cut out for them. Sure wish we could find that out.

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