Humans have been consuming psychoactive substances throughout recorded history and prehistory. Around the world, magic mushrooms are some of the more popular psychedelic substances due to their availability in the natural world and potent effects. People eat the psychoactive mushrooms for good reason: recent studies have shown that controlled mushroom “trips” can have beneficial effects on an individual’s outlook or even make social interactions easier.

Psychoactive mushrooms have been used in spiritual ceremonies and other rites since the dawn of civilization.

To make mushrooms even more appealing to trip seekers, some new clinical research published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology shows that even “bad trips” can be beneficial for psychonauts. In a study of close to 2,000 experienced magic mushroom users conducted by Johns Hopkins University researchers, 84% of psychoactive mushroom users reported that they benefited from a bad trip.

The Amanita muscaria, not recommended for first-timers. Unless you like getting real smaaaalll....

So-called “bad trips” are terrifying mental states that occur when fear or anger takes over a psychonaut’s mental state during her trip. These states are often difficult to come out of, and can induce severe anxiety, paranoia, and the dreaded “thinkies.” Despite the mental horror of bad trips, close to 75% of survey subjects who reported experiencing a bad trip also reported a boost in their subsequent sense of emotional well-being or satisfaction with life.

Survey subjects reported that mushroom trips were some of the most psychological powerful and magical experiences of their lives. Sounds about right...

Well over half of the subjects felt that their bad trips were among the most difficult psychological situations they have ever encountered. According to Psypost, nearly a third of all participants reported that despite the difficulty, these bad trips trips were some of the most magical experiences of their lives:

34 percent of participants said the bad trip was among the top five most personally meaningful experiences of their life and 31 percent said it was the among the top five most spiritually significant.

Survey subjects reported that the amount of benefit correlated with how difficult their trips were. However, before you go giving yourself a mind-bendingly terrifying bad trip on purpose, heed the researchers’ warning:

It is important to note that risks of dangerous behavior or enduring psychological problems are extremely low in laboratory studies of psilocybin with carefully screened, well-prepared participants who are supported during and after psilocybin administration.

Hear that kids? Get outta my cow pasture and go play your Pokémon GO or whatever.

cow poop with mushrooms
Yeah, they really grow there.

Brett Tingley

Brett Tingley is a writer and musician living in the ancient Appalachian mountains.

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