Navigation Links
Spiritual effects of hallucinogens persist, Johns Hopkins researchers report

In a follow-up to research showing that psilocybin, a substance contained in "sacred mushrooms," produces substantial spiritual effects, a Johns Hopkins team reports that those beneficial effects appear to last more than a year.

Writing in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, the Johns Hopkins researchers note that most of the 36 volunteer subjects given psilocybin, under controlled conditions in a Hopkins study published in 2006, continued to say 14 months later that the experience increased their sense of well-being or life satisfaction.

"Most of the volunteers looked back on their experience up to 14 months later and rated it as the most, or one of the five most, personally meaningful and spiritually significant of their lives," says lead investigator Roland Griffiths, Ph.D., a professor in the Johns Hopkins departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Neuroscience.

In a related paper, also published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, researchers offer recommendations for conducting this type of research.

The guidelines caution against giving hallucinogens to people at risk for psychosis or certain other serious mental disorders. Detailed guidance is also provided for preparing participants and providing psychological support during and after the hallucinogen experience. These "best practices" contribute both to safety and to the standardization called for in human research.

"With appropriately screened and prepared individuals, under supportive conditions and with adequate supervision, hallucinogens can be given with a level of safety that compares favorably with many human research and medical procedures," says that paper's lead author, Mathew W. Johnson, Ph.D., a psychopharmacologist and instructor in the Johns Hopkins Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

The two reports follow a 2006 study published in another journal, Psychopharmacology, in which 60 percent of a group of 36 healthy, well-educated volunteers with active spiritual lives reported having a "full mystical experience" after taking psilocybin. {See}

Psilocybin, a plant alkaloid, exerts its influence on some of the same brain receptors that respond to the neurotransmitter serotonin. Mushrooms containing psilocybin have been used in some cultures for hundreds of years or more for religious, divinatory and healing purposes.

Fourteen months later, Griffiths re-administered the questionnaires used in the first study -- along with a specially designed set of follow up questions -- to all 36 subjects. Results showed that about the same proportion of the volunteers ranked their experience in the study as the single most, or one of the five most, personally meaningful or spiritually significant events of their lives and regarded it as having increased their sense of well-being or life satisfaction.

"This is a truly remarkable finding," Griffiths says. "Rarely in psychological research do we see such persistently positive reports from a single event in the laboratory. This gives credence to the claims that the mystical-type experiences some people have during hallucinogen sessions may help patients suffering from cancer-related anxiety or depression and may serve as a potential treatment for drug dependence. We're eager to move ahead with that research."

Griffiths also notes that, "while some of our subjects reported strong fear or anxiety for a portion of their day-long psilocybin sessions, none reported any lingering harmful effects, and we didn't observe any clinical evidence of harm."

The research team cautions that if hallucinogens are used in less well supervised settings, the possible fear or anxiety responses could lead to harmful behaviors.


Contact: John Lazarou
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions

Related medicine news :

1. Internationally Known Psychic Christina Predicts Guides Others to Embrace a More Spiritual Way of Life
2. Spiritual Health Experts Speak at Chaplains Conference in Pittsburgh March 8-12
3. Most Psychiatrists Open to Discussing Spiritual Concerns
4. Health Care Bill Omits Access to Spiritual Care
5. New Yorkers Deserve Access to Spiritually Based Healing
6. Spirituality Helps Older Black Women Beat Hypertension
7. Spiritual Healer/Psychic-Medium Reaches International Status!
8. Accuracy of ultrasound screening in pregnancy: Effects of examiner and device quality unclear
9. Lou Gehrigs protein found throughout brain, suggesting effects beyond motor neurons
10. Resveratrol: Thousands of Bottles of Wine, High-Dose Pills Not Required; Mega-doses May Induce Side Effects
11. Acupuncture Eases Side Effects of Head, Neck Cancer Treatments
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... its exceptional customer service: the TrustDale certification. The award recognizes good companies for ... stone honing , tile and grout, and hard surface restoration company earned this ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... 24, 2015 , ... Bibliomotion is thrilled to announce the launch ... and Diversity by Nancy M. Schlichting, Chief Executive Officer of Henry Ford ... address the needs of patients and their families, shaped my desire to improve the ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... , ... Dr. Kevin Day, local family chiropractor in Warsaw , is ... season. During the Indiana winter months, Vitamin D deficiency can lead to Seasonal ... want to help provide the tools needed to combat it this year! , “Stress ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... ... Don Peck’s mother wondered if she was a descendant of Samuel Fuller, a passenger on ... search for information, Don and his aunt discovered that she was not, in fact, related ... was Don’s father who was descended from not one, but four passengers on the famed ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... World ... Fragrance by Marcelle, a cosmetic invention which offers a combination of natural essential ... in the US is worth $3 billion annually," says Scott Cooper, CEO and ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... F1000Workspace - a research collaboration, reference management and ... six months ago. --> F1000Workspace - a ... since it was launched just six months ago. --> ... F1000Workspace - a research collaboration, reference management and authoring ... months ago. --> --> ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015  Family Rentals, ... recently announced the launch of their newly designed, ... --> --> ... --> --> Now, renting ... travel and vacation, just got a whole lot ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Pa. , Nov. 24, 2015  NuShield, Inc., an industry leader in LCD screen protection ... and stationary computer technology as part of their patient monitoring or electronic documentation system. ... ... ... A ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: