Hey there! If you stopped to read this, wow, you're awesome! And since you're that awesome, maybe you'd be willing to check out this super sweet, not-so-top-secret campaign to take Films For Action to the next level of awesome in our quest to change the world. All the details here. Cheers!
Scientists Find Magic Mushrooms Could Help Fight Fascism
Scientists Find Magic Mushrooms Could Help Fight Fascism
By Paul Ratner / bigthink.com
Mar 15, 2018

Researchers found unlikely heroes in keeping the world from authoritarianism  - magic mushrooms. Scientists from the Psychedelic Research Group at Imperial College London showed that psilocybin, the active compound in psychedelic mushrooms, makes people less likely to embrace authoritarian views like fascism and more connected with nature. 

The study, authored by Taylor Lyons and Robin L. Carhart-Harris, a leading researcher in this field, shows that psilocybin treatment can lead to lasting changes in such mindsets. 

 “Our findings tentatively raise the possibility that given in this way, psilocybin may produce sustained changes in outlook and political perspective, here in the direction of increased nature relatedness and decreased authoritarianism,” write Carhart-Harris and Lyons.

The researchers built on previous studies that showed the specifics of the political views and relationship to nature of psychedelic drug users. A 2017 study of 1,487 people discovered that people on LSD and magic mushrooms were more likely to say they enjoyed spending time in nature and felt connected to it. Another British study from 2017 of 900 people also found that people who use psychedelics experience a greater relatedness to nature and tend to be more liberal or libertarian in their politics. 

What Lyons and Carhart-Harris set out to understand in their relatively small current study (involving 14 subjects) was whether using psilocybin could specifically promote anti-authoritarian attitudes and nature-oriented feelings. They compared 7 subjects with major depression, who were resistant to previous treatment and now received two oral doses of psilocybin, to 7 control subjects who were not taking the psychedelic ingredient.

The scientists checked in with the participants before they started treatment, a week into it and after 7-12 months. They found that participants who got the psilocybin had a clear increase in their attitudes of nature-relatedness after just 1 week - an effect they sustained after 7-12 months as well.  

Participants like this one relayed how much their connection to nature was transformed:

“Before I enjoyed nature, now I feel part of it,” wrote one subject. “Before I was looking at it as a thing, like TV or a painting… [But now I see] there’s no separation or distinction, you are it.”

These participants also showed a marked and lasting decrease in authoritarian attitudes and had fewer depression symptoms. Those who have not received the drug, showed no such changes.

The study’s small sample was partially intentional, to be able to draw some inferences about cause and effects. But it’s certainly also a limitation that leaves more to be explored in future studies. One possibility is that psilocybin decreased attitudes that could make one yearn for “dear leader” indirectly by alleviating depression, leading the authors to caution that “it would be hasty, therefore, to attempt any strong claims about a causal influence due specifically to psilocybin at this stage.”

Read the new study published in the journal Psychopharmacology.

Big Think Edge helps organizations by catalyzing conversation around the topics most critical to 21st century business success. Led by the world’s foremost experts, our dynamic learning programs are short-form, mobile, and immediately actionable.

Find out more.

© Copyright 2007-2018 & BIG THINK, BIG THINK EDGE

0.0 ·
0
Featured Films
Living the Change: Inspiring Stories for a Sustainable Future (2018)
85 min Living the Change explores solutions to the global crises we face today – solutions any one of us can be part of – through the inspiring stories of people pioneering change in their own lives and in their communities in order to live in a sustainable and regenerative...
Generation Revolution (2017)
72 min Introducing the powerful stories of London’s new generation of black and brown activists, Generation Revolution explores the successes and unexpected challenges these inspiring young people face. Motivated by the desire for a more equal future, they embark on the rewarding...
Plutocracy: Political Repression In The U.S.A. (2018)
440 min Plutocracy is the first documentary to comprehensively examine early American history through the lens of class. A multi-part series by filmmaker Scott Noble, Part I focuses on the the ways in which the American people have historically been divided on the basis of race...
Inhabit: A Permaculture Perspective (2015)
92 min Humanity is more than ever threatened by its own actions; we hear a lot about the need to minimize footprints and to reduce our impact. But what if our footprints were beneficial? What if we could meet human needs while increasing the health and well-being of our...
Within Reach (2013)
87 min Within Reach explores one couple's pedal-powered search for a place to call home. Mandy and Ryan gave up their jobs, cars, and traditional houses to 'bike-pack' 6500 miles around the USA seeking sustainable community. Rather than looking in a traditional neighborhood, they...
Fall and Winter (2013)
102 min This stunning film takes you on a hypnotic journey, reaching to the past to understand the origins of the catastrophic environmental transitions we now face. Over two years, director Matt Anderson traveled 16,000 miles to document firsthand our modern industrial world and the...
Trending Today


Love Films For Action? Become a Patron.

The goal is to go 100% ad-free by next year and become 100% member supported. Would you be willing to make a monthly pledge? A few dollars per month times the power of a few thousand awesome people will get us to where we need to be. Click here to join.

If you'd prefer to make a one-time donation, you can do that here. Many thanks!

Join us on Facebook
Scientists Find Magic Mushrooms Could Help Fight Fascism