Because previous studies conducted by John Hopkins University have concluded that magic mushrooms benefit conditions such as depression, scientists on the cutting edge are now attempting to understand more of the metaphysical by having two dozen religious leaders from a wide variety of denominations consume psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms.
According to psychologist Dr. William Richards of John Hopkins University, the main interest is to assess whether a transcendental experience results in the leaders becoming more effective and confident in their work. Richards told The Guardian: “With psilocybin these profound mystical experiences are quite common. It seemed like a no-brainer that they might be of interest, if not valuable, to clergy.” The scientists are also curious about how the “trips” will affect the leader’s personal beliefs about religion, in general.
It is intriguing — and some might say applaudable — that the University was able to recruit individuals from nearly all faiths (except Muslim or Hindu), considering Catholic, Orthodox and Presbyterian institutions frown on the use of illicit substances.
For the study, the participants received preliminary screening which included medical and psychological tests. They then were given two powerful doses of psilocybin in two sessions, which were one month apart. Guides were present in a living room-like setting at New York University. Reportedly, participants were encouraged to spend their time lying on a couch, wearing eyeshades, listening to religious music on headphones to propel their spiritual journey.
One full year after the experience, a full assessment will be made. “It is too early to talk about results, but generally people seem to be getting a deeper appreciation of their own religious heritage,” said Richards. “The dead dogma comes alive for them in a meaningful way. They discover they really believe this stuff they’re talking about.”
Without disclosing too many details, Richards added that many of the leaders’ notions of religion changed based on their psychedelic experiences. “They get a greater appreciation for other world religions. Other ways up the mountain, if you will,” said Richards. “In these transcendental states of consciousness, people seem to get to levels of consciousness that seem universal. So a good rabbi can encounter the Buddha within him.”
It is pertinent to note that this isn’t the first study suggesting hallucinogenic drugs can bring about mystical experiences. In a famous Harvard study known as “Good Friday experiment,” a group of seminary scholars were given magic mushrooms during the Easter-season service to see how it altered their experience of the mass. This is the first-of-its-kind study determining how psilocybin affects various leaders notions of religion, however.
As IFLScience reports, psilocybin is a naturally occurring psychedelic compound which is produced in more than 200 species of mushrooms. Effects of its consumption include vivid hallucinations, euphoria, altered perception, psychological changes and spiritual experiences. According to a recent study, it is the safest mind-altering “drug” one can consume, which is likely why it is being featured in a handful of studies by the University.
Read more: The Healing Power Of Psychedelic Mushrooms
I am Luke Miller, content manager at Truth Theory and creator of Potential For Change. I like to blend psychology and spirituality to help you create more happiness in your life.Grab a copy of my free 33 Page Illustrated eBook- Psychology Meets Spirituality- Secrets To A Supercharged Life You Control Here