Tuesday, 01 Jul, 2008 Science

Scientists Find Long-term Benefits in Psychedelic Drug


A study revealed that an illegal drug psilocybin has long-term positive effects on an individual's well-being.

Psilocybin is a hallucinogenic substance derived from certain types of mushrooms and is considered illegal, claimed to have a high potential for abuse in the United States.

The study conducted at a Johns Hopkins University laboratory began in 2002 with the first results being published in 2006.

During the experiment, 36 men and women who took the drug were monitored during an eight-hour laboratory visit and two months later. In the new study scientists followed up the volunteers a year after the experiment.

Scientists found that the volunteers taking the drug reported that their experience made them feel better even 14 months after the study took place. Almost two-thirds of the participants of the study said that they experienced one of the five most spiritually strong feelings.

Experts warn that it doesn't mean that people can use the mushroom drug by themselves as it can be quite dangerous. Many participants also reported feelings of fear even under a proper supervision in the laboratory.

Further research of the psilocybin may be helpful in treatment of such conditions as alcoholism or drug addiction as well as a useful drug for seriously ill patients to deal with distress.

Roland Griffiths, the leading author of the study said that 64 percent of the participants reported about improved well-being, life-satisfaction and behavior 14 months after the experiment. Volunteers also said that they felt more self-confident, positive, affectionate, tolerant and creative.

The previous analysis proved that two months after taking the drug, family and friends of the participants also confirmed the behavior changes.

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