Magic Mushroom Medicine
Psilocybin mushrooms, much loved by alternative and tribal cultures, but reviled and ridiculed by the mainstream, are once again gaining acceptance by researchers who see value in their healing potential.
UCLA School of Medicine professor Charles Grob observed in a study done with terminal Stage IV cancer patients that psilocybin helped to alleviate their anxiety.
“They told us that their experiences helped them to live in the moment, to take each day as it came in the time they had remaining, instead of becoming immobilized because of their predicament,” Grob said.
While psilocybin is similar to conventional anti-depressants in that it bolsters mood and produces feelings of happiness, it has a more substantial, long-lasting impact. Anti-depressants merely mask symptoms of depression, while psilocybin, according to Grob, “facilitates what’s been called a psycho-spiritual epiphany.”
Prior to the 60s and 70s, when psychedelic research became the subject of sensational journalism and hyperbolic government scare tacts, leading to their illegal status in 1968, studies found psilocybin to be effective in treating schizophrenia and alcoholism. Now after all these years, controlled experiments are “experiencing a rebirth,” according to William Richards of the John Hopkins Bayview Medical Center.
Because the side effects of psilocybin are relatively benign compared to those of many pharmaceuticals, they demonstrate great potential in being utilized once again in mainstream research. Rick Doblin, executive director of MAPS, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, speaks optimistically of these possibilities but at the same time fears that they might work too well to be accepted in the pharmaceutical industry, which thrives on the short-term effectiveness of medications for profit
“No one’s going to take one psilocybin pill before breakfast and another one after dinner for thirty years,” Doblin said.
It’s up to us as consumers to reject products that drain our wallets and ridicule our conditions by slapping on bandaids that don’t cure our sickness so much as distract us with other sicknesses. It’s up to those of us who have experienced the benefits of psychedelics to speak openly and positively of these benefits.
Mike, a San-Francisco based software engineer who forages for magic mushrooms in his spare time, said, “Psilocybin allows me to see things with a fresh point of view. When I’m on them, I’m not as burdened by cynicism or other self-protective layers in my psychology.”
Story suggested by Kristen Schifferdecker
Image by afgooey74 on Flickr courtesy of Creative Commons licensing.Tweet