Magic Mushrooms Trigger Lasting Personality Change
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Time Magazine
Posted: January 31st, 2012
The psychedelic drug psilocybin (the active ingredient in magic mushrooms) may produce lasting, positive changes in personality, new research finds. People who took the drug showed increases in the key personality dimension of openness being amenable to new ideas, experiences and perspectives more than a year later. Researchers led by Katherine MacLean, a postdoctoral student at Johns Hopkins University, analyzed personality data on 52 participants (average age 46) who had participated in the groups earlier research on the drug. These volunteers took psilocybin during two to five sessions, at various doses, under highly controlled conditions at the hospital. The earlier study had found positive psychological changes documented by both participants and their family members and other associates in calmness, happiness and kindness. The new research found that the drug takers also saw long-term changes to their underlying personality. The personality changes also ran counter to those expected as people age. Normally, as people grow older, they become increasingly less open to new ideas and new experiences. In contrast, in participants who experienced had what researchers call a full mystical experience, the scientists saw a shift toward increased openness, as though the volunteers had become decades younger. People became more curious and more interested in new ideas and experiences and in trying new things.