Researchers: bad 'magic mushroom' trips may still be beneficial

So-called magic mushrooms are the source of renewed scientific interest in psilocybin, particularly the beneficial effects the chemical may have on helping terminal cancer patients accept impending death, among other things. Researchers recently published the results of a large survey they conducted with magic mushroom consumers, one in which they specifically looked for details about bad trips and their lasting effects.

The survey was recently published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, where it details the survey results of nearly 2,000 magic mushroom consumers. The researchers, who are with Johns Hopkins, specifically asked for individuals who experienced difficult or bad trips after consuming these mushrooms. The results are mixed, but indicate that even bad experiences can ultimately have beneficial effects.

Most of those surveyed indicated that while difficult, their trip wasn't physically dangerous — only about 10-percent indicated that their bad trips put either themselves or others at physical risk. However, most of these experiencers say their bad trips were on the top ten list of the hardest challenges they've faced.

In the same vein, though, most of these individuals also said the bad experiences were in some way beneficial. More than half of these 'beneficial' bad trip experiencers went on to say the difficult experience ultimately ranks among the top ten most valuable experiences they've ever had. Of those surveyed, 66% were from the U.S., 78% were men, 89% were white, and 51% were college educated.

There's a note of caution among it all, though — of those surveyed, more than 7% said they had to seek treatment for 'enduring psychological symptoms,' three cases resulted in 'enduring psychotic symptoms,' and three cases resulted in an attempted suicide. You can read the full survey here.

SOURCE: EurekAlert