Psilocybe cubensis, commonly referred to as magic mushrooms have the potential to make a lasting change to one’s personality. This is a preliminary conclusion from a study conducted by Johns Hopkins researchers and published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.
A single dose of ‘shrooms’ was enough to make a lasting impression on the personality in 30 of the 51 participants, or nearly 60%. Those who had a hallucinatory or mystical experience after consuming the mushrooms showed increased in the personality trait ‘openness’, which is closely related to creativity and curiosity. This increase was measured 2 months and even 14 months after the last session, which suggests long-term effects.
Study leader Roland Griffiths, a professor of psychiatry, finds this lasting impact on a personality trait remarkable: “Normally, if anything, openness tends to decrease as people get older.” Openness is one of five traits that were tested and the only one that changed during the study. Along with the other factors extroversion, neuroticism, agreeableness and conscientiousness, openness is one of the major personality traits that are known to be constant throughout one’s lifetime.
According to the researchers, this study is the first finding of a short-term means with which long-term personality changes can made. “There may be applications for this we can’t even imagine at this point,” says Griffiths. “It certainly deserves to be systematically studied.”
There is currently another study under way to determine whether or not psilocybin can help cancer patients deal with feelings of anxiety and depression.