After only one dose of the psychedelic psilocybin mushroom (aka Magic Mushrooms) you can experience a lasting personality change that is described by researchers at Johns Hopkins as exhibited more “openness”.
This was the case in a study they conducted on 51 participants where they found that 60% had measurable personality changes after just one session on this hallucinogenic plant.
What Does Openness Mean?
According to the researchers, participants were observed with various personality changes which included aesthetics, feelings, abstract ideas, open-mindedness and even imagination.
These changes were all measured on a scale of scientifically validated personality traits and were found to be much greater in the people who took psilocybin when compared to other healthy adults with many decades of life experience.
The researchers also noted that after the age of 30 people don’t typically demonstrate significant personality changes.
“Normally, if anything, openness tends to decrease as people get older,” says professor of behavioral sciences and psychiatry Roland R. Griffiths, from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
So these adults were found to regain some part of our minds which is lost after the age of 30.
How the Study was Conducted
The National Institute on Drug Abuse partly funded the study by Johns Hoskins. Each participant did 2-5 different psilocybin sessions which commonly last around 5 to 8 hours.
Each session was at least 3 weeks apart. In the study, the participants were with a moderator and were told that they would receive either a high or moderate dose of the psilocybin mushroom. They nor the moderators knew how high the dose would be.
During the actual experience, the participants were encouraged to lay down on a couch, wear headphones playing music, put on an eye mask to remove as many distractions as possible and to focus on the psychedelic experience they were having.
Personality Changes Appear to Be Permanent
Before any of the participants had a psilocybin session they went through a personality screening. Then they would do one a month or 2 after each session and then again 14 months after their last session.
Since the personality changes were sustained in the test subjects a year after the experience took place Griffiths believes that they will be permanent.
Almost all of the people who participated in the study believed themselves to be spiritual. They either participated in a personal spiritual practice, a religious group, meditated, or prayed regularly. More than half of the individuals had postgraduate degrees.
Griffiths reported that the participants were closely monitored during and after the study to make sure they remained psychologically healthy.
“We don’t know whether the findings can be generalized to the larger population,” Griffiths says.
Psilocybin Warning: Griffiths also reported that some of the people who participated noted that they had strong experiences that caused them anxiety or fear. While none of the participants had any lasting effects it could be harmful to a person who is inexperienced in psychedelic use to participate in such an activity without a good guide or person to supervise.
Why Didn’t All the Participants have a Lasting Personality Change?
According to the researchers, it is hard to have a significant personality change in a single lab setting. However, in this study, participants in this study had the greatest personality changes when they experienced what is known as a “Mystical Experience”.
mEarly Hallucinogen researchers defined the term and it is used in this type of research.
Griffiths defines a “mystical experience” as among other things, “a sense of interconnectedness with all people and things accompanied by a sense of sacredness and reverence.”
Perhaps after a powerful and direct experience of oneness it only makes sense to come out feeling more open, open-minded, and creative.
Other Scientific Uses for Psilocybin
Researchers feel that psilocybin could be used for other things in the medical world such as helping cancer patients deal with depression or anxiety. They also believe it would be useful in helping people who smoke cigarettes overcome their addiction.
“There may be applications for this we can’t even imagine at this point,” Griffiths says. “It certainly deserves to be systematically studied.”