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Psychedelics Now Considered For Addiction Treatment

At first it may sound counterintuitive. Psychedelics are often lumped into the same category as drugs, so thinking of them as a solution to addiction may seem far fetched. But several high-profile researchers are determined to prove their value. And their data has caught the attention of big name broadcasters, like CBS News.

In a piece on their website, CBS correspondent Anderson Cooper delved into the possible benefits of using substances like magic mushrooms as a recovery tool. Johns Hopkins University is one of the participants in the program, which is triggering hallucinogenic experiences for people suffering from addiction and anxiety.

Scientist Roland Griffiths is one of the lead researchers of the study and has been investigating this technique for more than 20 years. As he describes it, those who take these “trips” can experience a wide range of emotions. They can go from transcendent journeys to a place that Griffiths calls “the hell realm.” All are important, he emphasized, and all have helped people overcome their dependencies.

“After going through this experience, these people come to a profound shift of world view,” Griffiths told CBS. “And essentially, a shift in sense of self. Their world view changes and– and they are less identified with that self-narrative. People might use the term ‘ego.’ And that creates this sense of freedom.”

So far, Griffiths has focused his testing on smokers and those with alcoholism issues. One participant was featured in the article. Jon Kostakopoulos openly admitted that had been suffering from a severe drinking problem. During one of his “sessions,” he explained that strong emotions from his past began to emerge. This led to profound feelings of shame and embarrassment, even harkening back to the pain his habit had caused his family. Kostakopoulos went on to proudly proclaim that he hasn’t touched a bottle since that initial trip.

Griffiths went to tell the site that this research is still very much in its preliminary stages and certain guidelines have already been set. People with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, for example, are screened out from all testing. The dosages are also heavily regulated, ensuring that the levels do not cause paranoia or averse reactions.

Another consultant on the project, writer Michael Pollan, tried to put the philosophies of this research on simple terms.

“One of the things psychedelics do is they peel away all those essentially protective levels that we acquire as we get older,” he emphasized. “They are ultimately quieting of the constant critical voice we all have in our heads.”