Researchers have found time and time again that the majority of people who ingest a psychedelic substance like psilocybin (one of the major psychoactive constituents in magic mushrooms) experience long lasting, extremely positive personality changes.
If you have ever ingested these awe-filled spores, or know anyone that has, you have probably heard them say the term “set and setting.” This means that the expereince of the “trip” depends entirely upon the set (a person’s personality, their desires, their emotional stability, their beliefs, etc.) and the setting (where you are, who you are with, the time of day). Altering any one variable completely changes the experience overall. I like to call it “self-chemistry.”
Researchers are now realizing with greater understanding that ‘set and setting’ isn’t just hippie jargon, it’s a science. People with the highest levels of absorption, or a person’s tendency to experiencing complete attention, where a person’s awareness is fully engaged in whatever is holding their interest, seem to have the most life changing and beneficial experiences while under the effect of magic mushrooms. Absorption is directly related to the personality trait openness, which relates to a person’s receptiveness to new ideas and experiences.
A study focusing on varying levels of absorption and openness in people found that
people who experienced what the researchers described as a ‘complete mystical experience’ developed increased openness to experience whereas those who did not have such an experience had no increase in openness. People who are more open to their inner experience seem more likely to have a mystical experience and those who have a mystical experience tend to become more open as a result.
The more willing you are to change, the more open you will become. The study also noted that although positive or negative personality change in adults over 30 is almost never observed, psilocybin has the profound ability to affect and alter personality in adults of any age with effects lasting more than a year after the experience.
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine is one of the leading centers of research on psilocybin. Throughout their studies they have found that ingesting psilocybin even once creates profound
positive changes in attitudes, mood, life satisfaction, and behavior that persist for more than a year.
In one study, Johns Hopkins found that
94 percent of the study’s 18 participants rated their experiences with psilocybin as among the top five most or as the top most spiritually significant experience of his or her life at a 14-month follow-up. 84 percent also reported positive changes in their behaviors, changes like improved relationships with family and others, increased physical and psychological self-care, and increased devotion to spiritual practice, which were corroborated by family members and others.
One of the participants in the test even stated that
I feel that I relate better in my marriage, there is more empathy – a greater understanding of people and understanding their difficulties and less judgment.
Most participants described their experience as ‘pleasurable’ or ‘ineffably beautiful.’
As a note, the most profound and long lasting effects were found to occur in participants who had experienced a low dosage of the chemical before ingesting larger dosages.
The studies have found minimal physical side effects, ranging from
a brief increase in blood pressure and a small increase in levels of thyroid-stimulating-hormone (TSH), prolactin, cortisol, and adrenocorticotropic hormone.
None of the side effects were considered dangerous by professional medical staff.
The staff concluded that
psilocybin is remarkably non-toxic to the bodyʼs organ systems.
The study does mention that it is important that a “sitter,” or a person who is not ingesting the substance, be present. This person should be someone that the person ingesting the substance trusts and can depend on if they begin to experience anxiety. There were people in the study who experienced brief fear and anxiety, but all of the negative experiences were abated immediately with gentleness and by simply having a trusting person present. The highlights of magic mushroom ingestion:
- Improved marriage
- No age dependence
- Increased empathy
- Greater openness
- Positive and long-lasting personality alterations
- Improved creativity
- Less judgement
- Greater understanding
- A greater feeling of connectedness
- No health risks
- No danger (as long as a ‘sitter’ is present)
- Proven effectiveness
- Ineffably beautiful