ANCHOR LEAD: CAN HALLUCINOGENIC DRUGS HAVE A LONG TERM BENEFIT? ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Psilocybin is one of a class of drugs that cause hallucinations. Mathew Johnson and colleagues at Johns Hopkins have studied the drug in carefully prepared subjects, who report very positive and persistent experiences, although psilocybin use has been known to result in a so-called ‘bad trip,’ where users report powerful feelings of anxiety and fear.
JOHNSON: The flip side to this is that there are potential benefits it looks like. People had enduring ratings of spiritual significance and personal meaning attributed to the sessions well over a year after the initial drug administrations. So it seems to be an enduring effect that may have therapeutic applications and right now we’re trying to follow that up in cancer patients and this is a follow up to early research with LSD and related drugs back in the 1960s and early 70s. :28
Johnson says social stigma has stymied efforts to study psilocybin systematically until recently. I’m Elizabeth Tracey reporting.