Magic Mushroom Drug Has an 'Anti-Aging Effect' on Personality
After Taking Psilocybin, Many Become More Open, Creative, and Curious
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Psilocybin and Personality continued...
Many of the people who took part in the study also had significant and harrowing bouts of anxiety and fear. When caught up in that anxiety, researchers say, people can engage in risky and dangerous behavior, and for that reason they advise people not to use magic mushrooms on their own.
Psychological tests showed that people who had a mystical experience also had measurable increases in openness, which is one of five key domains of personality. The other four are neuroticism, extroversion, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. Those did not change significantly.
Continued testing shows that the personality improvements have lasted for at least a year, and Griffiths says he believes they will turn out to be permanent.
“It has something to do with the nature of these profound experiences,” he says.
“These occur in the natural population. There are people who have mystical experiences and transforming moments where their lives are changed forever more,” Griffiths tells WebMD. “And it appears to me that we have a biological model now, and a set of conditions, in which we can occasion these experiences at pretty high frequency, and so we now can study these things.”
Psychiatrists say the study means that psychedelic drugs could one day be powerful therapeutic tools.
“What’s so fascinating is that he’s demonstrating that what might be a one-time only experience may reliably induce these very powerful spiritual-level states, and they do appear to have sustained impact on people and personality,” says Charles S. Grob, MD, a professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine.
Grob has studied the effects of psilocybin on anxiety in cancer patients, but he was not involved in the current research.
“That’s very, very unusual in psychiatry. We don’t necessarily expect to see changes in these domains with our treatment.”
But other experts who study personality said that while the study was interesting, it wasn’t the first time a drug has been shown to alter how people think, feel, and act.