The journal of psychopharmacology has just published a report suggesting that shrooming still makes for fun science:
36 middle-aged adults were dosed with either 30 milligrams of psilocybin (the stuff in magic mushrooms) or 40 milligrams of methylphenidate, the stimulant sold as Ritalin.
The ‘sessions’ lasted eight hours in a room where a person could listen to music, relax on a couch with eyeshades or talk with two monitors always in attendance. Each subject then took the other drug in a different session two months later.
Of the 36 people, 22 had a "complete" mystical experience as judged by several question-based scales used for rating such experiences. Many reported feelings of joy and peace, and a sense of transcending time and space. Two-thirds judged it to be among their top-five life experiences, equal to the birth of a first child or death of a parent.
The Press is making quite a fuss over the findings (Link) But Johns Hopkins (where the study was conducted) maintains that this is not a return to the 1960s and Chief Researcher Roland Griffiths insists that he is not Timothy Leary (link)
On April 20th 1962 Timothy Leary conducted his famed Good Friday Experiment in the basement of Boston University’s Marsh Chapel. He dosed a number of Andover Newton students with psilocybin and gave others a placebo. As Ben Griffin (one of the 20 students in the study) recounts for filmmaker Aron Ranen: “almost all the persons who got psilocybin reported that this was a profound experience in their life.. not just that day.. but in their life”
The first 4:30 of this YouTube video (link) contains not only the remarks of Ben Griffin but a guided tour of the basement of Marsh Chapel where America’s first magic mushroom experiment took place.