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'Magic Mushroom' Compound Triggered Positive Personality Change in Study
Date:9/29/2011

lly vulnerable to adverse effects. And we've given the drug in a hospital setting with two people at their side throughout, so there's virtually no opportunity for the patient to do something dangerous. But we know that, shockingly, all the time people who use mushrooms recreationally sometimes end up getting into accidents or engage in homicidal behavior or suicide.

"So we certainly don't want to imply that there's not risk associated with these compounds," stressed Griffiths. "And we wouldn't want to be a reason for an uptick for non-medical, uncontrolled use of this sort of thing."

Dr. Stephen Ross, clinical director of the NYU Langone Center of Excellence on Addiction in New York City, said he viewed Griffiths' work as a "landmark" in the field of hallucinogen research.

"I say this because we think of personality as being cemented in your 20s, certainly by your 30s," he said. "So the fact that openness was increased, seemingly permanently, after a single experience of psilocybin is quite remarkable.

"But, of course, as interesting as the implications for future therapies from this might be, the message should be that people should not try this at home or in any kind of uncontrolled environment," Ross added. "This is preliminary research that needs to be replicated. And replicated in a carefully controlled treatment environment."

More information

For more on hallucinogens, visit the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse.

SOURCES: Roland R. Griffiths, Ph.D., professor, departments of psychiatry and neuroscience, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore; Stephen Ross, M.D., clinical director, NYU Langone Center of Excellence on Addiction, New York City; Sept. 29, 2011, Journal of Psychopharmacology


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