Scientists believe they may have found an unlikely catalyst in protecting the planet from authoritarianism – and that is magic mushrooms. These scientists belong to the Psychedelic Research Group from Imperial College located in London. Their data indicates that psilocybin, which is the active ingredient that exists within psychedelic mushrooms, tends to makes folks less apt to adopt radical authoritarian views such as fascism and are much more connected to nature.
Study Yielded Interest Results
Their report was co-authored by Robin L. Carhart-Harris and Taylor Lyons, who are among the top researchers that exist within this field of study. They are reporting that treatments of psilocybin have shown mindset changes that are lasting.
“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,” reported Lyons and Carhart-Harris.
These scientists designed this study to be built on the results of prior studies. These older studies revealed specifics of the political lean of those who use psychedelic drugs. A study from the year 2017 which included 1,487 people revealed that people who took magic mushrooms and LSD were much more apt to claim that they liked spending their time in nature and felt a connection to it. A British study also from the year 2017 which contained 900 people also discovered people using psychedelics typically experiences a bigger connection to nature as well, and they generally had a political view that is more liberal.
A Relatively Small Sample Group was used
What Carhart-Harris and Lyons hoped to understand in this relatively small study – that involved only 14 subjects – was if the use of psilocybin would specifically promote an anti-authoritarian attitude along with nature loving feelings. Their study compared seven people who suffered from major depression and were also resistant to prior treatments to seven people who were the control subjects that hadn’t taken any psychedelic ingredient at all.
The researchers checked the participants prior to starting the treatment, one week into the treatments and once again 7-12 months. They discovered that those participants who took the psilocybin exhibited a clear boost in their attitude of nature connection after only one week. And this effect was also sustained after 7-12 months.
One of the participants commented about the connection to nature which had been transformed:
“Before I enjoyed nature, now I feel part of it,” wrote one subject. “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.”
The participants also exhibited a marked decrease in any authoritarian attitude and had suffered from fewer depression symptoms as well. And the participants who received no drug at all experienced no such changes at all.
The small sample from this study was actually intentional in part. They wanted to draw an inference regarding cause and effect. But there is no doubt that it is also a limitation – leaving more to be examined in future research. One theory is that psilocybin lowered attitudes about making people yearn for “dear leader” indirectly by reducing their depression. This led the study’s authors to warn that “it would be hasty, therefore, to attempt any strong claims about a causal influence due specifically to psilocybin at this stage.”