A friend emailed me the other day with a link to a couple new studies demonstrating that psilocybin mushrooms can have profoundly positive effects on personality. For me this is a “well, duh” situation, but it’s nice to have scientific evidence for the facts us hippies have known for so long. The first one has some quotes like this:
The earlier study had found positive psychological changes — documented by both participants and their family members and other associates — in calmness, happiness and kindness.
People became more curious and more interested in new ideas and experiences and in trying new things. “It ended up being the best experience of my life,” says 67-year-old retiree Maria Estevez.
“I was just able to drop ego totally and experience the world without all those filters”
Estevez says that she, too, has become more open and empathetic since taking psilocybin.
The other study had this to say:
Fourteen months after participating in the study, 94% of those who received the drug said the experiment was one of the top five most meaningful experiences of their lives; 39% said it was the single most meaningful experience.
their friends, family member and colleagues also reported that the psilocybin experience had made the participants calmer, happier and kinder.
many of Griffiths’ participants said they were left with the sense that they understood themselves and others better and therefore had greater compassion and patience.
I felt these same kind of effects twelve years ago when I first started using drugs. First it was the marijuana, when I was 18, which helped calm my mind and helped me focus in school, allowing my GPA to jump dramatically, within just a couple months of starting smoking. It helped me put an end to my teenage depression and almost immediately cured my chronic bowel issues, which I suspect were mostly stress related.
Then I tried mushrooms and the positive effects were even more profound. I remember before experimenting with these drugs I judged people primarily by their choice in music rather than the content of their character. I was selfish. I was a nice guy, but I was only nice because I knew it would benefit me in the long run. Mushrooms and marijuana helped me to find a deeper meaning behind being a decent person.
Most importantly though, these drugs helped me understand myself and how my emotions worked. There’s nothing else that can compare to this in terms of psychological and emotional benefits. I recall how lazy I was before using these drugs, wanting nothing more than to watch TV and eat junk food for the rest of my life, caring little about contributing to society or making positive changes. When I was a teenager I never imagined I could be as successful or as passionate or in as good of physical shape as I am now because there was no way for me to conceive of the myriad of ways I could make my brain work. Drugs, and specifically mushrooms, were pivotal in opening these pathways, allowing me to take full control of my life.
The studies mentioned empathy, and without a doubt the increased mental understanding that these drugs bring can notably improve a person’s ability to understand and care about others, but for me what’s most profound is the way I feel they’ve helped me to become more successful and intelligent. I’ve written three novels and a plethora of short stories. I’ve gotten emails from people telling me that my stories changed their lives. I’ve built web applications that have been used by millions of people. I truly believe that the drugs I’ve used and the careful way I’ve used them is one of the main reasons I’ve been able to be successful. I’m not even really trying, to be honest. All this time I’ve felt as though I’ve just been screwing around having fun, because I absolutely love writing code, almost as much as I love writing stories. While everyone else out there is struggling to feed their families, stressed out and hating their jobs, the only thing I have to get upset about in my own life, other than girls and relationships, is the fact that the job recruiters won’t stop emailing me trying to get me to come in for interviews.
So… I don’t know… I think it’s important for me to stop and appreciate the advantages I have in this world as a result of the drugs I’ve done. Sometimes I forget that many people have not had these experiences and do not have this kind of connection to their deeper self.