Health

Study: 'Magic Mushrooms' May Improve Personality Traits

| by Michael Allen

A new study at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine suggests that a single dose of psilocybin, the active ingredient in 'Magic Mushrooms,' may cause improved personality traits.

Researchers found that individuals who received the drug (only once) reported a greater sense of "openness" that often lasted 14 months or longer, according to study published this week in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.

The study defined "openness" as a personality trait that "encompasses aesthetic appreciation and sensitivity, imagination and fantasy, and broad-minded tolerance of others' viewpoints and values."

Of the 51 participants, 30 had personality changes that left them feeling more open. Only the participants who said they had a "complete mystical experience," while on the drug, had an increased sense of openness.

Because personality traits are generally considered to remain stable throughout a person's lifetime, researchers are excited about therapeutic implications of the study.

Study author Roland R. Griffiths told USA Today: "This study shows that psilocybin actually changes one domain of personality that is strongly related to traits such as imagination, feeling, abstract ideas and aesthetics, and is considered a core construct underlying creativity in general. And the changes we see appear to be long-term."

Griffiths is researching whether the drug can help cancer patients deal with depression and anxiety, but added: "Certainly we want to underscore do not try this at home. Because clearly there are several kinds of potential downsides. One is that personality changes are personality changes. Now, we don't have any reason to think that the changes we see are toxic in any way. It appears to be a change that people value in a positive way. But certainly more research needs to be done."