Psychedelic compounds in 'magic mushrooms' can permanently alter personality, study finds

Monday, October 10, 2011 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: magic mushrooms, personality, health news

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(NaturalNews) Scientists at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) in Baltimore, Md., have taken a keen interest in "magic mushrooms," a type of mushroom that contains a hallucinogenic compound known as psilocybin. For the second time this year, they have published a study on the effects of consuming psilocybin, this time explaining how even a single dose can permanently alter one's personality for the better, they claim.

The same team that discovered the ability of magic mushrooms to provide lasting, positive mental health benefits without causing negative side effects ( has once again confirmed the incredible power of psilocybin to alter the way a person thinks -- but this time, the personality of the individual underwent noticeable changes.

Published in the journal Psychopharmacology, the new study found that when normal, healthy volunteers were given doses of psilocybin, roughly 60 percent of them developed a new type of "openness" to their personalities that was not there prior, and that lasted indefinitely. And in some cases, even a single dose of the compound was enough to do the trick.

"Now this finding is really quite fascinating," said one of the study authors Dr. Roland Griffiths, a professor in the department of psychiatry and neuroscience at JHU, concerning the discovery. "And that is because personality is considered a stable characteristic of the psychology of people. It's been thought to be relatively immutable, and stable across the lifespan."

The double-blind, placebo-controlled study also found that the only area of personality affected by the substance was openness -- neuroticism, extroversion, agreeableness, and conscientiousness, for instance, all appeared unchanged in the presence of psilocybin, which means that the compound's effects are practically all positive.

Unlike synthetic chemical drugs, the psychedelic compounds found in magic mushrooms are natural. And while natural does not always imply safe, it appears as though psilocybin in its natural form might be a safe, beneficial substance, at least for some people.

The team stressed that further research is needed on psilocybin, and recommends that people not experiment with the mushroom on their own in the meantime. However, some people claim they safely consume the mushroom or use it to brew their own tea without ill effect.

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