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Can magic mushrooms really change your personality?

mushroom personality

If you have ever tripped on psilocybin, then you know that these experience can be indescribable and sometimes even life-changing. But did you know that the use of psilocybin, the active substance in these magic mushrooms or truffles, can have a long-lasting effect on your personality? There have been several experiments to support this claim, one of them coming from a study of the John Hopkins University. 

Long-lasting effects

The scientists published their findings online in the journal Psychopharmacology. The research is quite remarkable because normally a person's personality hardly changes anymore when he reaches the age of thirty. So why does the use of magic mushroom have such a lasting effect on our views of life? Effects that are still noticeable at least sixteen months after using the drug? 

For this specific study, 52 people were studied. After the experiment the participants filled in a questionnaire with statements. For example, openness was measured by determining whether someone felt he had a vivid imagination and whether he experienced many different emotions and feelings. The personality of each participant was tested in advance. This was done again two to three months later, and again after fourteen months. 

"Changing people's traits is very strange," says Katherine MacLean, researcher at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine who worked on the study. "Personalities do not normally change after the age of 25 or 30.”

Increased openness

The increased openness was only found among the 30 people who had a mystical experience after taking the drug. According to the scientists, these are mainly feelings of peace, joy, unity and mutual connection with all people and things. A control group that did not take psilocybin was missing in this study. In general, openness is seen as one of the five major factors of a person's personality. In addition, extrovertedness, emotional stability, compliance and care were also measured. But the researchers found no significant effects in these factors.

These life- and personality changing effects of psilocybin mushrooms and truffles have been studied numerous times by now, and the scientific studies will probably grow steadily now countries are getting more open to the idea of using these psychedelic substances to treat bodily and mental issues. 

Trapped in negative thinking patterns

For example: some British researchers are in favor of treating people with depressions with magic mushrooms. Their research concluded that the substance is greatly effective in people suffering from depression. "People who are depressed are often trapped in negative thinking patterns," says neuroscientist Mendel Kaelen. "By using psilocybin, they can get a different perspective on the things they encounter."

Research into treatments with hallucinating substances such as psilocybin and LSD is not new. In the 1950s and 1960s, many people experimented with it: "But a number of accidents have resulted in a worldwide ban on hallucinogenic substances, which has also put a halt to research," says Toine Pieters, professor of pharmacy at Utrecht University in The Netherlands. 

Recently, American politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez - also known simply as AOC - filed legislation to remove a legal barrier that scientists say makes it unnecessarily difficult for them to study the medical benefits of psychedelic drugs like psilocybin and MDMA. This might be a new step in the right direction to see more psychedelic research in the future.