Friday, September 30, 2011

SHROOMS: 'Magic mushroom' drug may improve personality long-term

In new research that will almost certainly create controversy, scientists working with the hallucinogen psilocybin -- the active ingredient found in "magic mushrooms" -- have found that a single dose of the drug prompted an enduring but positive personality change in almost 60 percent of patients.

Specifically, tests involving a small group of patients in a strictly controlled and monitored clinical setting revealed that, more often than not, one round of psilocybin exposure successfully boosted an individual's sense of "openness." What's more, the apparent shift in what is deemed to be a key aspect of personality did not dissipate after exposure, lasting at least a year and sometimes longer.

"Now this finding is really quite fascinating," said study author Roland R. Griffiths, a professor in the departments of psychiatry and neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. "And that is because personality is considered a stable characteristic of the psychology of people. It's been thought to be relatively immutable, and stable across the lifespan.

"But, remarkably, 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," he added. "And the changes we see appear to be long-term." To read more, click here.

Related articles:
Just One Trip On “Magic Mushrooms” Can Make You More Open
Magic mushrooms improve personality? What study says
'Magic Mushroom' Drug May Improve Personality Long Term (Registration required)


Charlie J. Ray said...

Hogwash. This article ignores the many environmental factors that affect personality as well. To suppose that taking any drug--whether it be anti-depressants or whatever--is the magical answer to psychological disorders is merely an assumption. The subjective nature of personality tests, emotions, and feelings, etc., make this enterprise questionable. It seems to me that much "science" these days finds what it wants to find.

P.A.H. said...

Actually, I think the papers authors known full well the many environmental factors. The most obvious reflection of this concern is reported in the article "During each session, participants were asked to lay down while wearing both eye masks and headphones (with music piped in) to screen out their external environment and focus on their interior experience." Note also the discussion of the controlled hospital experience and safeguards.

Also this report (unlike some other) report the authors only say it "may improve personality long-term", not fully improve, not remove all limitations, not replace all other approaches etc. but only improve. Such experiences MAY improve is a humble claim compared many headlines and oversimplifications.