Alternet

Psychedelic drugs have been associated with anti-authoritarian counter-cultures since the 1960s, but a new study suggests using psilocybin, the psychedelic compound in magic mushrooms, actually makes people less likely to embrace authoritarian views, PsyPost reports. The study conducted by the Psychedelic Research Group at Imperial College London was published in the journal Psychopharmacology.

While other studies have linked the use of psychedelics to a greater sense of oneness with nature, openness to new experiences and political and social liberalism, this is the first to provide experimental evidence their use can leading to lasting changes in these attitudes.

In the study, researchers gave two oral doses of psilocybin to seven participants suffering from treatment-resistant major depression while a control group of seven healthy subjects did not receive psilocybin. Researchers surveyed participants about their political views and relationship to nature before the sessions, one week after the sessions, and 7-12 months later.

Subjects who received the psilocybin treatment showed a significant decrease in authoritarian attitudes after treatment, and that reduction was sustained over time. They also reported a significant increase in a sense of relatedness to nature.

“Before I enjoyed nature, now I feel part of it. Before I was looking at it as a thing, like TV or a painting… But now I see there’s no separation or distinction—you are it,” one participant told researchers.

Subjects who had not received psilocybin did not exhibit significant changes in attitudes.

“Our findings tentatively raise the possibility that given in this way, psilocybin may produce sustained changes in outlook and political perspective, here in the direction of increased nature relatedness and decreased authoritarianism,” wrote study authors Taylor Lyons and Robin L. Carhart-Harris.

That is a significant advance in the research on the links between psychedelics and anti-authoritarianism. That’s because this is the first study to suggest that psychedelic use promoted such attitudes and not the other way around.

But while this study’s design allows the drawing of some inferences about cause and effect, its small sample size limits the strength of its findings. As Lyon and Carhart-Harris noted in their study, “It would be hasty, therefore, to attempt any strong claims about a causal influence due specifically to psilocybin at this stage.”

Still, one can’t help but wonder what might happen if, say, Jeff Sessions or Donald Trump were to go tripping on ‘shrooms. The world could be a better place.



Why Shrooms Are Illegal: Study Shows Psychedelic Experiences Help You Resist Authoritarians

Natural Blaze

By John Vibes

According to a new study from the Psychedelic Research Group at Imperial College London, published in the journal Psychopharmacology, psychedelic mushrooms tend to make people more resistant to authority. They also found the psychedelic experience induced by these mushrooms also cause people to be more connected with nature.

“Our findings tentatively raise the possibility that given in this way, psilocybin may produce sustained changes in outlook and political perspective, here in the direction of increased nature relatedness and decreased authoritarianism,” researchers Taylor Lyons and Robin L. Carhart-Harris write in the study.

Experiments in the past have had similar results, but this research team wanted to figure out whether anti-authoritarian, nature-loving people were just drawn to psychedelic drugs, or if it was the substance that brought out these traits in people. To figure this out, the team monitored a group of depressed patients who were given psilocybin and asked a series of questions both before and after the psychedelic experience. The results showed that people who were given the psilocybin did, in fact, change their views in regards to nature and authority.

The study also found that the subjects who took the psilocybin noticed a reduction in their depression symptoms as well. The control group that was not given the psilocybin had no noticeable changes in their attitudes towards nature or authority, and they did not see a reduction in their depression symptoms.

“Before I enjoyed nature, now I feel part of it. Before I was looking at it as a thing, like TV or a painting… [But now I see] there’s no separation or distinction, you are it,” one participant said in the follow-up exam.

Lyons and Carhart-Harris did caution that there was a small number of subjects in their study, so more research would need to be done to back up these findings.

“This pilot study suggests that psilocybin with psychological support might produce lasting changes in attitudes and beliefs. Although it would be premature to infer causality from this small study, the possibility of drug-induced changes in belief systems seems sufficiently intriguing and timely to deserve further investigation,” the study concluded.

However, these conclusions match theories that psychedelic drug users have had for many years, and if true, this could explain why government entities are so afraid of psychedelic drugs.

Terence McKenna, one of the frontrunners of the modern psychedelic age, understood the nature of this situation very well and toured around the world to speak with audiences about the wonders of psychedelic shamanism.

In one of his lectures, Terence articulated this psychedelic inquisition quite well by saying:

All cultures are involved in the culture game and psychedelics transcend the culture game, and whether you’re a citizen of Jerusalem, a Tokyo stockbroker or a tribal islander when you take psychedelic substances your cultural values will suddenly be much more relativistically revealed to you. And that is political dynamite. Psychedelics challenge the assumptions of any cultural or political system and that makes them dangerous to every culture or political system.

So if there’s anything a Marxist dictatorship, a high tech industrial democracy or a theocracy, they can all get together on one thing which is that psychedelic drugs are a knife poised at the heart of community values, well this is just simply nonsense and all the reasons brought forth are a red herring. Psychedelics are among the safest substances known for human ingestion. Considering the depth of their impact on human mental functioning the fact that you pick yourself up 6-8 hours later and go on about your business with an expanded point of view is quite remarkable.

McKenna’s point is highlighted in recent American history by the counterculture explosion of the 1960s. Psychedelic research began in the late 1950s and became a regular part of the youth culture by the mid-1960s. The explosion of psychedelic use interestingly coincides with the explosion of cultural freedom and anti-establishment sentiments of that decade.

It is for this reason that the American government took quick action to make these substances illegal and to vilify them in the public arena. Laws were passed which imposed strict penalties on anyone involved in psychedelic use, manufacture, or until very recently, even scientific study.

John Vibes is an author and researcher who organizes a number of large events including the Free Your Mind Conference. He also has a publishing company where he offers a censorship free platform for both fiction and non-fiction writers. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Facebook page. John just won a 3-year-long battle with cancer, and will be working to help others through his experience, if you wish to contribute to his treatments consider subscribing to his podcast to support . This article first appeared at The Free Thought Project.