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'Magic Mushrooms' Can Help Smokers Break the Habit

Ash tray with two cigarette butts

Longtime smokers may have a new, effective way to kick the habit: consuming psilocybin, the active hallucinogenic agent in “magic mushrooms.”

Johns Hopkins researchers report 15 study participants taking psilocybin achieved an 80 percent abstinence rate over six months, compared to an approximate 35 percent success rate for patients taking verenicline, which is widely considered to be the most effective smoking cessation drug.

But the study results are not an endorsement of do-it-yourself psychedelic drug use for smoking cessation — they’re the result of specific, controlled administration of psilocybin in the context of a treatment program involving cognitive behavioral therapy.

“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,” says Matthew Johnson, Ph.D., a corresponding author on the study.

Read more about how magic mushrooms help smokers quit