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Magic Mushrooms Drug Shows Promise as Therapeutic Tool

Researchers Say Lower Doses Produced Lasting Benefits With Less Risk of a 'Bad Trip'

Tracking the Effects of Psilocybin continued...

Examples of the delusions experienced by study participants included the belief that a child or loved one had died while the session was ongoing or that that the monitors were being cruel or manipulative.

Some experts say those negative feelings shouldn’t necessarily be avoided, especially if people are trying to work through addictions or end-of-life issues. 

“When you work with people that have emotional issues, they are going to have difficult experiences,” says Rick Doblin, PhD, director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies in Santa Cruz, Calf. “Those are emotions that we anticipate, and to a certain degree, people need to work through them.”

Indeed, many people who went through so-called “bad trips” also reported that the feelings were eventually replaced by more positive thoughts during the same session, and none reported that the fear or anxiety they experienced caused any long-term harm.

In contrast, nearly three out of four people on the highest psilocybin doses rated their experiences as mystical, transformative, and highly beneficial.

“The core of the mystical experience is a sense of the interconnectedness of all people and things,” says Griffiths. “That’s accompanied by a sense of sacredness, a sense of the experience being more real and more true than everyday waking consciousness.”

Many reported that the drug facilitated lasting positive changes leading to better marriages, friendships, and family relationships. Many also reported taking better care of themselves and enjoying life more.

“If you really get this sense at the core of your soul, that we’re connected to a greater whole, and I think we all know this at some level ... there’s something about that that’s very benevolent and uplifting and positive,” Griffiths says.

Notably, the positive changes reported by participants have lasted more than 14 months after their last sessions.

The study shows, says Grob, “You don’t need to induce a frightening experience to facilitate a very positive therapeutic outcome.”

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