Scientists have found that magic mushrooms change consciousness the first time – and, it seems, forever

Doctors from the University Medical School. Johns Hopkins (USA) found out that after the first dose, not only LSD, but also “magic mushrooms”, whose active ingredient is psilocybin, affects consciousness . This discovery was unexpected for scientists for several reasons. In addition to the fact that it was not previously known about such a strong and instantaneous effect of psilocybin on the human psyche, the very noticeable change in the psychological portrait is a rather rare thing for an adult. It is generally accepted by psychologists that a person’s character finishes forming at the age of 25-30, after which it remains practically unchanged. One recent study even claims that basic personality traits are found already in first graders .  

“This is one of the first studies to prove that adult personality can be dramatically changed,” says Katherine MacLean, Ph.D. from the university.

At the same time, scientists are inclined to believe that the character is not changed by the drug itself, but by the sensations and mystical experiences that it causes. Strong, transcendental sensations do not seem less vivid to people because they are caused by a chemical stimulus. People interviewed by scientists claim that taking these drugs has become one of the most powerful sensations in their lives.

The experiment involved 51 people who had not previously used hallucinogens. A complex system of blinded testing required different subjects to receive both real drugs and a placebo. In one of the phases of the experiment, the subjects received the drug first, and then Ritalin, a substance that causes similar side effects, but does not lead to hallucinations.

The subjects then completed psychological questionnaires – first immediately after the experiments, then after a few weeks, and then – 14 months after the start of the experiment. According to the results of the study, people who took psilocybin changed their character towards “openness.” Researchers have every reason to believe that the resulting effect will remain with a person for life.

Psychologically, this means that people become more open to new sensations, they develop imagination and curiosity, and there is a craving for emotions and art. The 30 people in the group who actually received the drug, not the placebo, showed clear signs of a significant increase in “openness” of character.

The scientists who conducted the experiment severely punish “not to repeat it at home.” First, the subjects were under constant medical supervision – psilocybin can cause not only bright positive, but also strong negative sensations. Secondly, the doses of the substance in the laboratory were strictly controlled, and in illegally purchased lots of goods, the exact dosage of the drug will be unknown for obvious reasons. And it is generally unclear whether the artisanal use of mushrooms will lead to the effects described in the study.

Psilocybin is not the only known psychoactive substance, the detailed study of the effect on the psyche of which scientists are currently engaged. Since the 60s, when LSD first became known , scientific methods have advanced far ahead. The effects of LSD, pcylocybin, MDMA (the main component of ecstasy tablets) and other psychoactive substances can now be studied under strict control in order to find opportunities for their use for therapy in psychology and psychiatry. This can be, for example, helping cancer patients or people who quit smoking. Now scientists are conducting a new experiment with psilocybin, combining it with meditation . They want to know if this can enhance the resulting openness and help people free themselves from negative thinking patterns. 

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