Study reveals unknown healing powers of psilocybin
A report published online last week in The Journal of Psychopharmacology suggested that psilocybin mushrooms could help long-time smokers kick their habit. The report sourced a recent John Hopkins study, authored by Matthew W. Johnson, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
The study featured a small test sample, but is one of a series of tests at Hopkins that are showing the healing powers of psychedelic compounds.
Six months after the study, 80 percent of the test subjects had quit smoking and showed no signs of turning back. This success rate is far better than many other methods which are said to help people quit smoking. In comparison, most other products on the market have success rates of 30 or 35 percent.
“Quitting smoking isn’t a simple biological reaction to psilocybin, as with other medications that directly affect nicotine receptors. When administered after careful preparation and in a therapeutic context, psilocybin can lead to deep reflection about one’s life and spark motivation to change,” Johnson said.
According to the study, ten men and five women, all mentally and physically healthy, participated in the study. The average age of the study participants was 51; they smoked, on average, 19 cigarettes a day for 31 years; and had repeatedly tried and failed to stop smoking. Ten participants reported minimal past use of hallucinogens, with the most recent use being an average of 27 years before study intake. Five had never used hallucinogens.
Johnson’s next study will use MRI scans to compare success rates for people who take psilocybin with those of people who use nicotine patches.
Last year, John Hopkins made news in psychedelic research with a study showing that the psychedelic experience can help terminally ill patients come to terms with their own mortality.