TED Talks – Roland Griffiths – 11/5/09

TED Talks – Roland Griffiths – 11/5/09

Roland Griffiths, Ph.D., is Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Neurosciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. His principal research focus in both clinical and preclinical laboratories has been on the behavioral and subjective effects of mood-altering drugs. He is also currently a member of the Expert Advisory Panel on Drug Dependence for the World Health Organization.

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Magic Trip’s Druggy Sixties Origin Story (or, Why Historians Should Think About Selling Out)

Points: The Blog of the Alcohol & Drugs History Society

When people tell me the 1960s aren’t history, I try to convince them otherwise by describing the process of transcribing decades-old audio from a reel-to-reel tape player. Gingerly string the tape onto the player and try to avoid mangling a piece of history. Miss a word and a say a prayer that the tape doesn’t get gnarled when you rewind. The headphones are like a phone line to another time; if you accidentally splice the tape, you’ll need to ask the archivist to patch you through again.

Filmmakers Alex Gibney and Allison Ellwood had an infinitely more difficult job. Working with UCLA’s Film and Television archive and an illustrious group of funders, they had the opportunity to take day-glo canisters of footage from Ken Kesey and the Merry Band of Pranksters’ cross-country bus trip and craft a coherent chronicle out of them. What they made with the film—some of it shrunken…

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Magic Mushrooms Can Make Lasting Personality Changes, Study Says

Magic Mushrooms Can Make Lasting Personality Changes, Study Says

Elizabeth Lopatto, ©2011 Bloomberg News

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sept. 29 (Bloomberg) — Psilocybin, or “magic mushrooms,” can make people more open in their feelings and aesthetic sensibilities, conferring on them a lasting personality change, according to a study by Johns Hopkins researchers.

People who had mystic experiences while taking the mushrooms were more likely to show increases in a personality trait dubbed “openness,” which is related to creativity, artistic appreciation and curiosity, according to the study in the Journal of Psychopharmacology. The change was still in place a year later, suggesting a long-term effect.

“The remarkable piece is that psilocybin can facilitate experiences that change how people perceive themselves and their environment,” said Roland Griffiths, a study author and professor of psychiatry and behavioral science at Johns Hopkins University of Medicine in Baltimore. “That’s unprecedented.”

Magic mushrooms, also known as “shrooms,” are hallucinogens native to tropical and subtropical regions of South America, Mexico and the U.S. The fungi were favored by former Harvard psychologist Timothy Leary, who founded the Harvard Psilocybin Project, and explored by ’60s writer and anthropologist Carlos Castaneda. They are typically eaten but can also be dried and smoked or made into a tea.

Openness is one of five major personality factors known to be constant throughout multiple cultures, heritable in families and largely unvarying throughout a person’s lifetime. The other four factors, extroversion, neuroticism, agreeableness and conscientiousness, were unchanged by being dosed with the hallucinogenic mushrooms, the study found. This is the first finding of a short-term intervention providing a long-term personality change, researchers said.

Mystical Experiences

The 51 participants, who had an average age of 46, completed two to five eight-hour drug sessions at least three weeks apart. They were asked to lie down on a couch, use an eye mask and listen to music on headphones while focusing on an inner experience. Their personalities were screened initially, one to two months after each drug session and about a year after the last trip.

In the test, 30 people Read more of this post

‘Magic Mushrooms’ Can Improve Psychological Health Long Term

Psilocybe mexicana - Jalisco, Mexico
Image via Wikipedia

‘Magic Mushrooms’ Can Improve Psychological Health Long Term
By MAIA SZALAVITZ Thursday, June 16, 2011

The psychedelic drug in magic mushrooms may have lasting medical and spiritual benefits, according to new research from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

The mushroom-derived hallucinogen, called psilocybin, is known to trigger transformative spiritual states, but at high doses it can also result in “bad trips” marked by terror and panic. The trick is to get the dose just right, which the Johns Hopkins researchers report having accomplished.

In their study, the Hopkins scientists were able to reliably induce transcendental experiences in volunteers, which offered long-lasting psychological growth and helped people find peace in their lives — without the negative effects.

(PHOTOS: Inside Colorado’s Marijuana Industry)

“The important point here is that we found the sweet spot where we can optimize the positive persistent effects and avoid some of the fear and anxiety that can occur and can be quite disruptive,” says lead author Roland Griffiths, professor of behavioral biology at Hopkins. Read more of this post

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