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'Magic mushrooms' create positive mental and physical health benefits that can last a year

Saturday, July 09, 2011 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: psilocybin, health benefits, health news

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(NaturalNews) Taking just the right amount of a substance found in "magic mushrooms" can help to positively improve attitude, mood, behavior, and happiness levels, according to new study published in the peer-reviewed journal Psychopharmacology. Researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Md., determined that psilocybin, a psychedelic substance found in certain mushrooms, can help improve a person's general well-being for up to a year after taking it -- and it allegedly does not cause any known negative side effects.

"We seem to have found levels of the substance (psilocybin) and particular conditions for its use that give a high probability of a profound and beneficial experience, a low enough probability of psychological struggle, and very little risk of any actual harm," said Dr. Roland Griffiths, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and neuroscience at Johns Hopkins, and lead author of the study.

For his study, Griffiths tested the effects of psilocybin on 18 participants ranging in age from 29 to 62. All participants, which were predetermined to be psychologically and physically healthy, consumed varying levels of psilocybin or a placebo once a month for five months, all while being closely-monitored by professionals. Administrators also did not know from month to month which doses they were giving to which participants, or which sessions involved the use of a placebo.

At the end of the study period, Griffiths and his colleagues observed that 94 percent of the study participants rated their experiences with psilocybin either in the top five, or in some cases as the number one, most spiritually significant experiences they had ever had. The report also explains that 84 percent of participants noticed prolonged positive changes in their behaviors, in their relationships with family and friends, in physical and psychological self-care, and in spiritual devotion.

"I feel that I relate better in my marriage," said one participant. "There is more empathy -- a greater understanding of people and understanding their difficulties and less judgment."

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