From Boing Boing:

Researchers from Johns Hopkins report that most of the subjects in a 2006 study of psychedelic drugs still rate their trips “as the most, or one of the five most, personally meaningful and spiritually significant (experiences) of their lives.” Related research in the Journal of Psychopharmacology lays out guidelines for running experiments involving hallucinogens. From

The two reports follow a 2006 study published in another journal, Psychopharmacology, in which 60 percent of a group of 36 healthy, well-educated volunteers with active spiritual lives reported having a “full mystical experience” after taking psilocybin…

Fourteen months later, (Johns Hopkins psychiatrist Roland) Griffiths re-administered the questionnaires used in the first study — along with a specially designed set of follow up questions — to all 36 subjects. Results showed that about the same proportion of the volunteers ranked their experience in the study as the single most, or one of the five most, personally meaningful or spiritually significant events of their lives and regarded it as having increased their sense of well-being or life satisfaction.

“This is a truly remarkable finding,” Griffiths says. “Rarely in psychological research do we see such persistently positive reports from a single event in the laboratory. This gives credence to the claims that the mystical-type experiences some people have during hallucinogen sessions may help patients suffering from cancer-related anxiety or depression and may serve as a potential treatment for drug dependence. We’re eager to move ahead with that research.”

Spiritual effects of hallucinogens persist (, thanks Nick Philip!)

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Keep the psychedelic unicord chasers coming!

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where can i sign up?

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#3 posted by mlLK , July 1, 2008 1:33 PM

seriously; where?

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And these researchers are theologists as well? Without sacrifice there’s no spiritual fulfilling but the maya of ego.

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My experience has been that the “hangover” that lasts a couple days afterwards are optimal. For lack of a better metaphor, it was like my brain had been flushed or something, and everything seemed to make so much more sense, etc. The experience itself I could live without… Which I suppose is why I didn’t do it all that often.

NOTE: Are the reports of “flashbacks” just a lot of scaremongering hooey? It never happened to me.

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#6 posted by Anonymous , July 1, 2008 2:13 PM

I’ve had occasional flashbacks, but few. One morning I woke up and the ceiling fluctuated like water. A friend of mine told me about a flashback. Many people never experience them at all.

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been waiting almost 30 years for those elusive flashbacks.

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You really don’t have flashbacks? I have them. I can even trigger them. It probably helps to have a photographic memory, but just visualize a scene from a previous trip. That always sets me off. Ah, the Flower Show, Boston, 1976.

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Do you see that, when I go like that?

having been on too many wonderful trips in my youth, I too can say that the singular most important spiritual moment in my life came on some amazing LSD, when I was 20. And this is after 9 years of religious school, and a Bar Mitzvah to boot.

I wish I could get a flashback or two. I haven’t indulged in over ten years, but the memories are very fond indeed.

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I have always heard legend and tales of “government weed” and various other substances that were professed to be of various levels of purity when coming from a legitimate source such as a laboratory study.

But really, I would love to know: how good are the government shrooms?

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Furthermore: “Today, a man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy, condensed to a slow vibration, that we are all One Consciousness, experiencing itself subjectively……there is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves.

Here’s Tom with the weather.”

Hey, Bill! Someone’s reporting good trips, now! You can come back if you wanna!

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Glossolalia: Thanks for the Bill Hicks flashback… =D

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Folks interested in this type of research should check out (and support) the work of MAPS ( They’ve been working for decades to bring back legitimate research into the positive uses of psychedelics and played a substantial role in getting this study going. (And they’re cool folks – check out their dome next time you are at burning man!)

I don’t know about govn’t shrooms, but all the weed grown by the government is terrible, they’ve refused to improve it or make it of predictable quality because forcing everyone to do studies using bad weed helps prevent decent research on medical marijuana from being done.

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“active spiritual lives”? So nothing for those of us that are dead inside?

Newsbreak: give superstitious people acid and they think it’s magic.

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#15 posted by nikos , July 1, 2008 5:27 PM

Can someone define the palpable-audio-visual effects of a flashback for me?
My dark dark dark hippie dad scared me off of acid for good when I was six.

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#16 posted by Moon , July 1, 2008 6:25 PM

It was really good stuff and there were still high 14 months later?

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Visual stuff includes rippling wallpaper/woodgrain. Also those little black and white floor tiles will seethe like a scrotum in a chilly draft. If you want to know what it is like, go run, skate, bicycle whatever for about two hours. Push yourself, do intervals or whatever (be sensible, don’t make yourself sick) then, while you are stretching after you have worked out, look at the asphalt surface of the road. It should seethe a bit for you. Basically, it’s like that.

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#18 posted by fnc , July 1, 2008 6:55 PM

Beats trepanation, I guess.

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#17: Pipenta, That’s it? Bummer for you. Forget the A/V stuff; how did you like being God?

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There is a conference called Horizons in New York City from September 19 – 21 about psychedelics. Although the line up is still in the process of being finalized, Roland Griffiths is scheduled to speak.

You can learn more about Horizons at

A press release and full speaker line up will be announced shortly.

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“You never really come down from acid or ‘shrooms. You just get used to it,” said the scruffy old hippie.

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A friend of mine thought I was weird when I didn’t attribute any spiritual significance to a mushroom trip we shared. He was hoping I’d discover God or something. While the experience was certainly memorable and distinctive, there are really a lot of different ways to interpret them.

I certainly could understand why people interpret them spiritually, but I’ve read too much of the science on the subject to have such convictions in my own case. (I even wrote my undergrad thesis on William James’ Varieties of Religious Experience, comparing it to contemporary research. James was right about a lot.)

That said, I find this to be one of the least offensive examples of religiosity. If believing that a psychedelic experience yields special truths about the universe or allows you to touch the face of God or whatever, more power to you.

I’ve got plenty of my own stupid, irrational beliefs. (For instance, that superhuman AIs will solve all of the world’s major problems.) So what’s the point of complaining? (I’d make a similar argument about teaching evolution in high school. If someone is not going into the sciences, or not even going to college, I doubt it’s that necessary, even though creationists and their ilk irritate me to no end. Tolerance isn’t always fun.)

I’m pragmatic here: if it makes these people happier, so what? “Spiritual but not religious” people annoy me, but at least they don’t try to impose their morality on others (or, at least, not very hard).

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i get where people get religious significance from drugs. doesn’t bother me. most of the people that do aren’t the pushy kind of spiritual anyways.

i find the trips for me are a mix between relaxation and reverence and make me really appreciate the complexity of reality.

nothing really spiritual about it. but i get where they’re coming from.

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ahh, i remember my first ‘shroom experience: a few friends and i out roaming the cattle pastures in mid june, taught me to pick the ‘proper’ p. cubensis. a quick trip home to boil ’em down and mix w/ iced grape cool-aid ( which to this day still makes me gag!) and chug! fuckin yuckk! about 20 min.s later i was sitting kicked back in a lounge chair just chillin, looking at the ceiling when WHAM! the ceiling just blew away exposing the stars, galaxies, comets, and the entire universe there above me. then, from the farthest reaches of outer space, shapes started to form. Gawd was trying to teach me geometry! “slow down, slow down, damnit!” is what my friend says i kept repeating for several minutes. amazing what grows wild on a cowpie.

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400ug and ponder on the beauty of E-8!

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All reminiscences and flashbacks aside, doesn’t it make sense that this profound experience and long-lasting shift of perspective would be why many “primitive” cultures make these hallucinogenic experiences a central part of tribal/cultural ceremonies?

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#11 Glossolalia Black

Yes Bill, it’s true…things have changed. Cops are now required to be as small as you’d see them in the rear mirror at any time – a move in the right direction.

It’ll all work out. Please come back.

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60% of 36 people is… err whoah 21.6 Now THAT is weird…

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#29 posted by nikos , July 2, 2008 8:08 AM

Thanks Pipenta, et al.
“…seethe like a scrotum in a chilly draft.” That’s an image likely to keep me in a union suit year round.

I know what a trip looks like from the outside having trip-sat college friends. I’ve asked them about the initial experiences and whatever flashbacks may have occurred. Not to say that these folks were inarticulate but they either said, “you wouldn’t understand”, or found the experiences totally ineffable, or went slack with glazed eyes, wobbled my way and drooled as if to mock me.

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I visited a good friend of mine last week and we decided to take a little foray into hallucinogens. I had ordered Hawaiian Baby Woodrose seeds (containing the chemical LSA) and he had procured some marijuana.

Long story short, it was an intensely connecting and emotional experience. I feel like I understand people more. Both of us said we felt like we could understand the universe, but it wasn’t making sense to us because we were humans and we’re not meant to be able to make practical sense of it.

Taking a psychedelic trip with someone you are emotionally attached to is a very profound experience. My compassion and empathy for my friend and other people is even greater now that I’ve experienced this.

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The experiences derived from psychedelics are as varied and unique as the individual consciousness’ being expanded. Yet it is interesting that in clinical tests, certain patterns of commonality in the experiences emerge (and apparently can persist.) The environment you place yourself in, and the people you surround yourself with can influence your experience greatly. It is not as simple as “take dose: see god.” but it helps to understand that you are ingesting the keys to the mystical realms, if you choose to believe in such things. Like reality, it is entirely existential, and perhaps even more so.

In my initial experimentation, as an agnostic, I was very skeptical, and so, though I experienced the gamut of hallucinogenic effects in great detail and abundance, I did not have a religious experience until about a year later, when I dosed at an event with thousands of others doing the same, and joined in the (spiral) dance. For me, it was an irrefutable experience of group mind, and forever thereafter, because I chose to believe in what I experienced, I became linked with universal consciousness such that any taste of the fruit of the tree of knowledge still brings me to the same place (but further out along the spiral arm.) This non-dogmatic initiation rite is common to all “primative” shamanistic societies, and would seem to be our birthright here on planet earth, if we can be open to it. Those of us who are “spiritual but not religious” simply choose to believe in a more gnostic communion with the universe that requires no middlemen or dogmatic interpretation (praise Bob!) I can see why this might be annoying to some.

I can also see why, to an outsider, this may all seem like superstition. I shared the same view that the results may be psychosomatically produced until I experienced it myself, and the cards were laid on the table to the complete satisfaction of my expanding belief system. It’s kinda like in the Polar Express, where, even at the North Pole, in a village of elves, the ringing of the jingle bells could not be heard until listening with the heart. The mind can indeed betray you, so let your heart be your compass. You know in your heart when what you perceive rings true.

So my advice is to not knock it ’til you try it; under the right conditions, with an open mind and an open heart. I think it’s healthy to remember that the only limitations we have are those we set for ourselves. (That said, please don’t try to fly by jumping off of a building. As the great Bill said: You don’t see ducks lining up to climb parking garages! Start from the ground first.) But be advised that you are going down the proverbial rabbithole (Lewis Carroll was no stranger to psychedelics) and may be forever changed for the experience. For whatever it’s worth: I have no regrets, and feel that I have a deeper and fuller connection and understanding of the universe for the experience. Thanks for reading my lengthy diatribe.

Ok, Deepak Chopra mode off.

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I thought Jamiroquai described it pretty accurately and very succinctly: “Traveling without moving.”

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I remember a story Baba Ram Dass told about giving 500 mikes of acid to a Swami, and after almost an hour the Swami says, ‘When does this stuff take effect?’

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You’d think our culture, even though it does tend to think it’s the only valid culture that ever has, does, or will exist, would get a clue from the fact that pretty much all other past and present cultures have recognized the usefulness and, indeed importance, of mind alteration in the full experience of Life.

(Woah, long sentence. Sorry.)


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