A new study has shown what hippies already know: psilocybin, the ingredient in magic mushrooms that makes you trip, also changes your personality for the better. In a study of 52 volunteers, “people who took the drug showed increases in the key personality dimension of openness — being amenable to new ideas, experiences and perspectives — more than a year later.” Radical, but the conditions under which the subjects tripped don’t sound all that mind-expanding:
Researchers led by Katherine MacLean, a postdoctoral student at Johns Hopkins University, analyzed personality data on 52 participants (average age 46) who had participated in the group’s earlier research on the drug. These volunteers took psilocybin during two to five sessions, at various doses, under highly controlled conditions at the hospital. They were also given personality tests before taking psilocybin, again a couple of months after each drug session, then again about a year later.
“Highly controlled conditions at the hospital” aren’t as groovy as a peaceful meadow, say, or a sun-dappled forest. Or a music festival. Or even just a street corner in NYC, since Hurricane Irene caused a bumper crop of shrooms around these parts.
Thing is, not everyone responded by passing the acid test. Some people’s personalities reportedly went unchanged, and they probably are not nearly as annoying as the people who are now going around prattling on about their newfound mystical perspective on life.
Ah, bingo (emphasis mine): “Many participants already engaged in spiritual activities like meditation, religious services and prayer. That may help explain why they were so sensitive to the effects of the drug, the researchers acknowledged.” Try mushrooms anyway, squares.
Go to Runnin’ Scared for more Voice news coverage.