Thursday, November 22, 2012

See How They Fly Like Lucy In the Sky

The Psychology Today article (refreshingly mainstream, yes?) "See How They Fly Like Lucy In the Sky" covers some old ground on the 2006 Johns Hopkins research on psilocybin and the follow up research that showed long term positive effects.

The last paragraph:

LSD is a much "dirtier drug" than psilocybin. Psilocybin acts specifically on serotonin receptors in the brain and perhaps also on glutamate receptors. LSD acts on all kinds of receptors in a much wilder fashion. Because of this difference, people exposed to psilocybin don’t lose a sense of being the agents of their illusions and hallucinations. They don’t enter a fully psychotic state with head voices and paranoia, as can be the case with LSD.  People exposed to psilocybin sometimes report a liberating loss of time and space and personal identity through space and time. “It’s usually not a loss of the physical body,” says MacLean, “it’s the loss of the sense of ‘I am Katherine, sitting at my desk in this year 2012 and I had a childhood and then I went to college and then I moved across the country a couple of times and in the future I would like to do these things.’ That whole narrative is lost. You are an observer experiencing something but you are not a human being who has a certain identity. You are pure agency capable of experiencing the true nature of the universe.”

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