Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Membership has its privileges?

via Boing Boing, a Johns Hopkins study testing a surprising cancer-coping mechanism -- 'shrooms:
A research program designed to enhance spiritual awareness for persons with a cancer diagnosis is accepting volunteer participants at the Bayview Campus of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore. The program consists of a brief counseling intervention, including medical screening, rapport-building appointments, two all-day sessions that include psilocybin administration, and appointments to facilitate initial integration and application of insights gained. More detailed information is available at

Conducted by Drs. Roland Griffiths, William Richards and colleagues, this program is designed to help cancer patients who are suffering with some degree of psychological distress to become less anxious and depressed, and to become more fully engaged with life again. Psilocybin, the psychoactive ingredient in the "sacred mushrooms" that have been used in religious ceremonies by indigenous people in Mesoamerica for approximately two thousand years, is employed to facilitate the resolution of personal conflicts and to occasion states of consciousness that for some may be indistinguishable from visions and mystical experiences recorded in the history of religions. Psilocybin has not been found to be toxic or addictive, and is considered reasonably safe for persons without a history of serious mental illness, when administered in accordance with the safety guidelines published by the Hopkins researchers.

This deserves more attention than a quick-hit link, so I plan on checking out the cancer-insight site. I'll report back. (No, I'm not going to try to sign on for some psilocybin. My grasp on reality is already tenuous enough.)


pat said...

Don't be too quick to dismiss, big guy, turn away nothing. you know better than most that you never know.

SG said...

I'm not exactly dismissing -- L. is actually more skeptical than I am. I could see how something like this, particularly with all the support around it, might help blast away the mental log jam that serious illness creates. There are some interviews w/ participants in a similar project linked at the cancer-insight site, and I've been meaning to watch one and hear what they have to say...