Naked Science Forum

Life Sciences => Physiology & Medicine => Topic started by: thedoc on 02/07/2012 10:17:07

Title: How do magic mushrooms work?
Post by: thedoc on 02/07/2012 10:17:07
The psychedelic drug psilocybin, the active principal of magic mushrooms, was once thought to have promising medical applications.  When psilocybin was banned, medical research on the drug ceased. But now, 40 years later, psilocybin is back on the research radar where it is helping to shed light on human consciousness and a range of disease processes, as Philip Strange finds out...

Read the article ( then tell us what you think...
Title: Re: How do magic mushrooms work?
Post by: RE.Craig on 11/02/2013 01:50:16
I have read that during the 60's when the drug was being actively researched and trial tested,that alcoholics treated with psilocybin had a 100% success rate in ditching there want of alcohol! 
Title: Re: How do magic mushrooms work?
Post by: Peter the painter on 15/05/2013 09:54:11
Drugs such as psilocybin hold great promise as therapeutic agents and as tools for understanding human consciousness, providing they are used under controlled conditions.
The trouble with 'controlled conditions' is observer's paradox. Not only do observers only observe gross physical effects such as temperature, heart rate and, now, brain activity, none of which comes close to understanding consciousness, but the presence of 'men in white coats' is likely to affect the experimental subject adversely. The only way to explore a psychoactive substance is to take it and experience it, as Huxley and many others have.

It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that by banning psilocybin we may have missed out on many useful effects of this drug.
Of course. Banning anything is almost guaranteed to raise all manner of difficulties, not least illicit trade. Science must learn that it does not have the sole authority on who should take what and when. Politicians need to stop thinking they are leaders who know what's best, and accept they are representatives and should act for the population [that's the theory of democracy at least]. The 'moral panic' in recent decades over the all-encompassing term 'drugs' has created a thriving criminal supply chain in anything enough people wish to buy. Leaving the ludicrous situation where cannabis and LSD/psilicibin are illegal, while qat is imported into the country in plane loads 'because it's part of Somali culture and multiculturalism says we musn't interfere or we're racist; which ignores the Rastas and others for whom cannabis is a sacred herb. Confused, muddled thinking about substances which affect consciousness is the cause of so much waste; of money, police & court time, and many lives. LSD has also been successful in helping alcoholics, and also heroin addicts, but such is the paranoia and misinformation, they haven't been pursued as treatments.

Joined-up thinking ... if only.
Title: Re: How do magic mushrooms work?
Post by: dlorde on 17/05/2013 18:02:11
... the presence of 'men in white coats' is likely to affect the experimental subject adversely. 

Not as much as one might think - researchers on psylocibin at John Hopkins School of Medicine found that:
Fourteen months after participating in the study, 94% of those who received the drug said the experiment was one of the top five most meaningful experiences of their lives; 39% said it was the single most meaningful experience.

Critically, however, the participants themselves were not the only ones who saw the benefit from the insights they gained: their friends, family member and colleagues also reported that the psilocybin experience had made the participants calmer, happier and kinder.
See Magic Mushrooms Can Improve Psychological Health Long Term (