Spiritual effects of hallucinogens persist

July 1, 2008 at 12:23 PM

BALTIMORE, July 1 (UPI) -- Psilocybin, a substance contained in "sacred mushrooms," produces substantial spiritual effects, U.S. researchers said.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University of Baltimore said most of the 36 volunteer subjects given psilocybin, under controlled conditions in a Hopkins study published in 2006, continued to say 14 months later the experience increased their sense of well-being or life satisfaction.

"Most of the volunteers looked back on their experience up to 14 months later and rated it as the most, or one of the five most, personally meaningful and spiritually significant of their lives," lead investigator Roland Griffiths, a professor in the Johns Hopkins departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Neuroscience, said in a statement.

Guidelines caution against giving hallucinogens to people at risk for psychosis or certain other serious mental disorders and detailed guidance is also provided for preparing participants and providing psychological support during and after the hallucinogen,Griffiths said.

The findings are published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.

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