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publicado em 02/10/2011 às 11h00:00
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Single dose of a hallucinogen is able to generate lasting change in personality

Psilocybin, the ingredient called "magic mushrooms", caused effects of one year duration in 60% of the volunteers in a study

 
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Foto: Johns Hopkins University
Roland R. Griffiths, professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
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Roland R. Griffiths, professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

A single high dose of the hallucinogen psilocybin, the active ingredient of so-called 'magic mushrooms', is sufficient to cause a measurable change in personality that lasts about a year in about 60% of the 51 study participants, according to researchers who led.

The lasting change was discovered in part of the personality known as aperture, which includes traits related to the imagination, aesthetics, feelings, ideas, abstract and open-mindedness in general. The changes in these traits, measured in a personality inventory widely used and scientifically validated, were larger in magnitude than the changes typically used in healthy adults during decades of life experiences, scientists say.

The researchers in this area said that after 30 years, the person usually does not change significantly.

Normally, if something changes, the opening tends to decrease as people age, said the professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences Roland R. Griffits.

Study participants completed two to five sessions of eight hours of drugs, and the consecutive sessions separated by at least three weeks. Participants were told they would receive a moderate or high dose of psilocybin during one of his drug sessions, but neither they nor the monitors knew when the sessions that happened.

During each session participants were encouraged to lie on a couch, wearing a mask that blocked the external visual distraction, using headphones in which music was played and focus your attention on your inner experiences.

Personality was examined from one to two months after each drug session and approximately 14 months after the last session of drug use. Griffiths said he believed that the personality changes found in this study are probably permanent since they were held for more than a year for many.

Almost all participants in the new study considered themselves spiritually active (participating in regular religious services, prayers and meditations). More than half had graduate. The sessions with the otherwise illegal hallucinogenic were closely monitored and were considered psychologically healthy volunteers.

We do not know if the findings can be generalized to a larger population, said Griffiths.

As a warning, Griffiths also notes that some of the study participants reported intense fear or anxiety for a portion of the meeting on their psilocybin sessions, although none have reported any adverse effects persist. He warns, however, that if hallucinogens are in less well supervised, the possible responses of anxiety and fear could lead to dangerous behavior.

Griffiths says that the enduring personality change is rarely seen as a function of a discrete single experiment in the laboratory. In the study, the change has occurred specifically in those volunteers who had undergone a 'mystical experience, as validated in a questionnaire developed by researchers of hallucinogens prior to and refined by Griffiths. He defines the experience as a mythical, among other things, a sense of interconnectedness with all people and things, accompanied by a feeling of sacredness and reverence.

Personality was measured by a personality inventory widely used and scientifically validated, covering the opening and the other four broad domains that psychologists consider to be the personality: neuroticism, extroversion, agreeableness and conscientiousness. Only the opening changed during the course of the study.

Griffiths said he believed that psilocybin can have therapeutic uses. He is currently studying whether the hallucinogen is useful to help cancer patients cope with depression and anxiety that come with the diagnosis and whether it can help smokers for a long time to recover from their addiction.

There may be applications for it that we can not even imagine at this point. It certainly deserves to be studied systematically, Griffiths said.

Source: Isaude.net
   Palavras-chave:   Personality    Openness    Hallucinogen psilocybin magic mushrooms   
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