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October 20 2012

Magic mushrooms and cancer: My magical mystery cure?


A symphonic note lit three strands of deep-red light trickling like water in my right visual field. Deeper tones were huge blue clouds in the middle distance, pouring from above. A prolonged violin solo turned the sky yellow, and brought with it a comet's tail of body parts flying from the upper left of my visual field to the lower right, disappearing behind me.

This happened within the first hour of my swallowing a capsule of psilocybin, the psychoactive ingredient in "magic mushrooms". I'd volunteered to be a scientific-research-study subject at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine's Behavioural Pharmacology Research Unit (BPRU) as part of a clinical trial to test the hypothesis that psilocybin can help cancer patients to regain a sense of existential meaning in the face of their disease.

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