Psilocybin research is still in its infancy - from the perspective of western medicine.
Magic mushroom use goes back tens of thousands of years and it was never trivial. Mushrooms are venerated as a sacred healing medicine in many cultures and clearly have a unique effect on the human psyche.
They help people quit addictions, recover from crippling depression and anxiety and can even change the minds of suicidal patients.
The Johns Hopkins institute has recently devoted an entire wing to studying the impact of psilocybin. And while the internet is on fire with anecdotal success stories, the official statement is:
"Current results highly promising, more research needed."
Research on psilocybin has shown mindblowing potential for treating mental health conditions such as:
- substance addiction
- disconnection and sense of abandonment
- train-track linear thinking
List of significant Psilocybin Studies
2006 - Mystical type experiences
Psilocybin can cause mystical experiences very similar to those reported occurring spontaneously by mystics throughout history. Most participants described them as being among the most personally meaningful and spiritually significant of their lives.
Roland Griffiths @ Johns Hopkins Institute
Psilocybin administered to healthy persons was recognized to be pleasurable, enriching and non-threatening. Negative effects can be mitigated by interpersonal support.
Studerus, paper of pooled data from 8 studies & a total of 110 healthy volunteers
Psilocybin shows great promise, treating addiction. For alcoholism, it seems results (enduring abstinence) are tied to the intensity of experience.
2016 - Challenging experiences
Although counting among the safest of substances, mushrooms can produce challenging experiences. However, 84% of people in hindsight endorse these expereinces to have been greatly beneficial to their lives.
Carbonaro, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
2017 - Smoking addiction
Psilocybin shows great promise in addiction treatment.
12 months after the experience, 67% of participants were completely smoke-free, while 86.7% rated the experience as among the most meaningful of their lives.
Johnson, Garcia-Romeu, Roland Griffiths @ Johns Hopkins Institute
Consumption of magic mushrooms in a retreat setting may help bring about a shift of consciousness over time, from separation to connection.
Creative thinking, empathy and life satisfaction were all perceived as improved in the following week.
Natasha Mason, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience @ Maastricht University
2018 - Nature connection
During a study testing the efficacy against treatment-resistant depression participants noted that they were feeling more connected to nature up to a year later. They also noted feeling less prone to authoritarian views.
Lyons, Carhart-Harris @ Journal of Psychopharmacology
Efficacy of psilocybin against severe, uni-polar, treatment-resistant depression, in combination with psychological support: 31% of participants reported anti-depressant effects 6 months after the experience.
No patients sought conventional antidepressant treatment within 5 weeks of psilocybin.
Carhart-Harris, Nutt @ Journal of Psychopharmacology
Psychedelic integration especially paired with spiritual practices like meditation or journaling causes enduring shifts in prosocial values and behaviour, while promoting healthy psychological functioning.
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Taking psilocybin mushrooms in a retreat setting can improve the lives of healthy people, even at lower doses.
In 3 seperate studies, existential anxiety in terminally ill cancer patients seems to be mitigated by a single psilocybin experience, with benefits highly enduring. A follow-up study of surviving NYU participants conducted four and a half years later reported sustained antidepressant and anti-anxiety effects, with participants considering their experiences as among the most deeply profound of their lives.
UCLA, Johns Hopkins and NYU
Corresponding study links:
Note, this list is regularly updated. More info on natural psychedelics can be find here.