Shrooms

by F.

John Horgan chats at Horganism about a new Discover story:

As Discover reports, a double-blind, federally funded (!) study at Johns Hopkins found that psilocybin—the primary active ingredient of magic mushrooms–triggered profound spiritual experiences in two thirds of a group of 36 subjects. One third of these subjects said the experience was the most meaningful of their lives, two thirds said it was among their top five experiences.

The larger story here is that psychedelics are quietly making a comeback, not as illicit street drugs but as legal objects of scientific and medical research and even as religious sacraments. Did you know that last February the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that a religious sect based in New Mexico, most of whose members are middle-class white people, can consume a hallucinogenic tea called ayahuasca?

Ayahuasca contains dimethyltryptamine, or DMT, which induces effects similar to LSD and mescaline and like them is a Schedule 1 drug, banned for all purposes. Brewed from two plants found in the Amazon, ayahuasca has been ingested by Indians in South America for centuries, and it now serves as a legal sacrament for several churches in Brazil.

I’m in.

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