Magic mushrooms, or mushrooms containing the hallucinogenic chemical psilocybin, cause hallucinations and alter perceptions of color, sound and light for one who takes them. They can also cause paranoia, depression and suicidal thoughts. People have found ways to eat them, brew them in a tea, or mix them with other foods. They have a naturally bitter taste, so some people have even tried to coat them with chocolate to make them more palatable.
In the mid-twentieth century, many people were experimenting with this drug in addition to LSD and mescaline. These hallucinogenic drugs are not safe for anyone to consume, particularly under the guise of "treatment." These drugs have been outlawed since the late 1970s due to many bad experiences users had.
However, recent headlines have reported these mushrooms have been used in various experiments. Roland Griffiths, professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University, reported that his team was studying the psychological effects of psilocybin. They were trying to find the "perfect dosage level" to produce "transformative mystical and spiritual experiences," which would hopefully minimize negative reactions.
Of course, these drugs are completely unpredictable in the effects they will produce in various users, and are never safe to ingest. "Bad trips" from psilocybin are unfortunately not uncommon. Some individuals seem predisposed toward a negative experience and these individuals may suffer long-term damage from use of psilocybin.
These researchers, however, viewed their research as a breakthrough in hopes that psilocybin could be used by doctors for a variety of clinical functions. They hoped that this unpredictable drug might be able to be used as treatment for depression, anxiety or to help smokers quit the habit.
While the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) originally funded the research, the director of NIDA later issued a statement that seemed intended to distance that agency from the research:
"Psilocybin can trigger psychosis in susceptible individuals and cause other deleterious psychological effects, such as paranoia and extreme anxiety...While the investigators receiving the grant supporting this research did not initially propose to evaluate the effects of psilocybin, grantees maintain the scientific independence necessary to follow up on new areas of research."
In the United Kingdom, it was recently mis-reported in two major newspapers that researchers were trying magic mushrooms as a depression cure. However, these articles did not explain that no clinical drug trial was performed, but instead, just a small anecdotal study of thirty people. The primary finding these researchers discovered was that the inhibition of blood flow and lessened brain activity in certain brain regions may have triggered the hallucinogenic effects of the drug.
Experiments such as these send a strange and inaccurate message to youth that psilocybin may be safe. The perception of drugs as safe makes it far more likely that youth will experiment with these drugs.
Drug Use is Not the Answer for Depression
The answer for one who is suffering from depression is never another drug. In addition, one who is addicted to drugs of any type will often suffer from depression as part of the trap of addiction. Anyone who takes magic mushrooms regularly will also build up a tolerance, and while the mushrooms may not technically be addictive, it will take more and more of them to make the same feeling or "high."
There are dangers of using psilocybin or magic mushrooms, such as the inability of some people to be able to differentiate hallucinations from reality. This could lead to accidents or even unintended harm to someone else. There are also reported effects such as anxiety, fear or panic even among those trying psilocybin under controlled circumstances. Hallucinations are dangerous in that they can trigger delusions, and for one who is not stable or is vulnerable, it is difficult to tell where actual reality ends and delusion begins.
Narconon Combats Drug Abuse with Effective Rehab
In more than fifty locations around the world, Narconon provides a safe, drug-free answer to drug abuse. Since 1966, Narconon drug and alcohol rehab centers have helped people recover sobriety for the long term. The Narconon program helps one to handle both the physical and mental or emotional components of addiction.
With the counseling and life skills training at Narconon, one learns how he came to use drugs in the first place. More importantly, he learns how to live without the need for drugs.
Each person in recovery will study on several life skills courses to improve his ability to communicate with others; to find his own values and personal integrity again; and to chart a course based on simple common sense moral values. He graduates the full Narconon program when he is confident that he can remain drug-free. This is a long-term drug rehab program. This program is so successful that seven of ten Narconon graduates find long-lasting sobriety and do not turn to drugs again.