The psychedelic drug psilocybin (the active ingredient in “magic mushrooms”) may produce lasting, positive changes in personality, new research finds. People who took the drug showed increases in the key personality dimension of openness — being amenable to new ideas, experiences and perspectives — more than a year later.
“It was sort of like an anti-inflammatory for the ego,” says Brian, a 50-year-old scientist, who participated in the research (he declined to reveal his last name). “The swelling went down and I got to see what was underneath.”
Researchers led by Katherine MacLean, a postdoctoral student at Johns Hopkins University, analyzed personality data on 52 participants (average age 46) who had participated in the group’s earlier research on the drug. These volunteers took psilocybin during two to five sessions, at various doses, under highly controlled conditions at the hospital. They were also given personality tests before taking psilocybin, again a couple of months after each drug session, then again about a year later.