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Psychedelic Drugs: Researchers are experimenting with active agents in magic mushrooms to treat addiction, depression and anxiety – 60 Minutes



For most of us, psychedelic drugs form the images of the 1960's. Hippies run on LSD or magic mushrooms. But powerful, mind-altering substances are now being studied by scientists within some of the nation's leading research centers. They are already being used to treat depression, anxiety and addiction.

The first results are amazing, as are the experiences of volunteers of studies that go on for a six-hour, sometimes terrifying, but often life-changing psychedelic journey deep on their own. mind.

Carine McLaughlin: (LAUGH) People ask me, "Do you want to do it again?" I say, "Hell no. I don't want to do that again."

Anderson Cooper: Is that really bad?

Carine McLaughlin: Oh, this is awful. The whole time, except for the very beginning and the very beginning, I was crying.

  carine-mclaughlin.jpg "height =" 349 "width =" 620 "class =" lazy "data-srcset =" https: / /cbsnews1.cbsistatic.com/hub/i/r/2019/10/ 14 / 174c7417-bed3-42ee-be1a-a2bb32cc689f / thumbnail / 620x349 / 30b4f7b72035d1cd0daee7343b6e312e / carine-mclaughlin.jpg 1x, httpss thumbnail / 1240x698 / d09297db6a00253e3c2194095da4e202 / carine-mclaughlin.jpg 2x "srcset =" data: image / sv% 20xmlns% 3D & # 39; http% 3A% 2F% 2Fwww.w3.org% 2F2000% 2Fsvg & # 39;% 20viewBox% 3D & # 39; 0% 200% 20620% 20349 & # 39;% 2F% 3E "/> </span><figcaption class= Carine McLaughlin

Carine McLaughlin talks about the hallucinogenic experience she has here at Johns Hopkins University, after giving a large dose of psilocybin, the psychedelic agent in magic mushrooms, as part of an ongoing clinical trial.

Roland Griffiths: We told people that they were san can vary from very sitive to transcendent and lovely to literally hell experience.

Anderson Cooper: Hell realm?

Roland Griffiths: It's like scary an experience you've ever had in your life.

That's scientist Roland Griffiths. For nearly two decades now, he and his colleague Matthew Johnson have given what they call "hero doses" of psilocybin to more than 350 volunteers, many battling addiction, depression and anxiety.

Anderson Cooper: Can you tell who's going to have a bad experience, who's going to get a chronic experience?

Roland Griffiths: Our ability to predict almost nothing.

Anderson Cooper: Really?

Matthew Johnson: About a third will – our– at a high dose say they have something like this, what a bad trip would call. But most people will actually say that is the key to the experience.

  roland-griffiths-and-matt-johnson-at-table.jpg
Roland Griffiths and Matthew Johnson

Carine McLaughlin has been a smoker for 46 years and says she tried all who left before giving the psilocybin to Johns Hopkins last year. Psilocybin itself is not addictive.

Anderson Cooper: Do you remember what, like, specifically what you saw or?

Carine McLaughlin: Yes. The ceiling of this room is cloudy, like, heavy rain clouds. And they are gradually decreasing. And I thought of yelling at the clouds.

That was more than a year ago; he says he hasn't smoked since. The study he took part in is still ongoing, but in an earlier, small study of 15 long-term smokers, 80% quit six months after taking psilocybin. That's double the rate of any over-the-counter smoking cessation product.

Roland Griffiths: They came to a profound change of world view. And essentially, a shift in self-awareness that I think –

Anderson Cooper: They – do they see their lives differently?

Roland Griffiths: Their view of the world is changing and – and is hardly acknowledged in its own narrative. People can use the word "ego." And it creates a sense of freedom.

And not just for smokers.

Jon Kostakopoulos: Beer is common, soaps, common vodka sodas, tequila sodas, scotch and sodas.

Jon Kostakopoulos drank a flaming 20 cocktails a night and warned that he was slowly killing himself when he decided to enroll in another psilocybin trial at New York University. During a psilocybin session, he was flooded with strong emotions and images from his past.

Jon Kostakopoulos: Stuff is coming out that I haven't thought about since.

Anderson Cooper: So don't the old memories you still have come back to you?

Jon Kostakopoulos: I felt, you know, a lot of embarrassment and shame throughout one of the sessions about my drinking and how bad I felt my parents endured it all.

She took psilocybin in 2016. She says she has not been drinking since.

Anderson Cooper: Do you have a day where you wake up and you like, man, I wish I had some vodka now or beer?

Jon Kostakopoulos: Never.

Anderson Cooper: Not at all?

Jon Kostakopoulos: Not all, which is the worst thing because that's my favorite thing to do.

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The use of psychedelic drugs in therapy is not new. Hundreds of scientific studies conducted at a similar compound – LSD – in the 1950's and 60's have been tested on more than 40,000 people, some of them controlled therapeutic settings like these also have abuses.The US military and CIA are experimenting with LSD ku sometimes without knowledge of patients.

Fearing widespread drug use and the spread of the counterculture movement, not to mention Harvard professor Timothy Leary urging people to turn, tune in and drop out, led to [19659002] In 1970, President Richard Nixon signed the controlled substance and virtually all US scientific research into the effects of psychedelics on humans ceased. It was not until 2000 that scientist Roland Griffiths won FDA approval to study psilocybin.

Roland Griffiths: This whole area of ​​research has been in deep freeze for 25 or 30 years. And so as a scientist, I sometimes felt like Rip Van Winkle.

Anderson Cooper: And once you see the results …

Roland Griffiths: Yeah. The red light started flashing. It is very interesting. It is unprecedented and the ability of the human organism to change. It's just amazing.

Anderson Cooper: It looks like you endorse it for everyone.

Roland Griffiths: Yes, we're pretty clear. We are very aware of the risks, and do not recommend that people go out and do it.

Griffiths and Johnson refer to people with psychotic disorders or close relatives who have schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Study volunteers at Johns Hopkins will be given weeks of intensive counseling before and after six hours of psilocybin experience; psilocybin is administered in a carefully controlled setting one to three times. To date, they say there has never been a serious adverse outcome.

  anderson-on-couch.jpg "height =" 349 "width =" 620 "class =" lazy "data-srcset =" https: // cbsnews3 .cbsistatic.com / hub / i / r / 2019 / 10/14 / a6ce2168-2f8a-4517-9a30-1e075217bb41 / thumbnail / 620x349 / d83ee5db061b28d684e46bee35b0c1f6 / anderson-on-couch.jpg 1x, https: // catic. com / hub / i / r / 2019/10/14 / a6ce2168-2f8a-4517-9a30-1e075217bb41 / thumbnail / 1240x698 / 2126ec2c0c0e5543fe604cd79e3a199d / anderson-on-couch.jpg 2x "srcset =" data: image / svg% 3% 20xmlns% 3D & # 39; http% 3A% 2F% 2Fwww.w3.org% 2F2000% 2Fsvg & # 39;% 20viewBox% 3D & # 39; 0% 200% 20620% 20349 & # 39;% 2F% 3E "/> [19659007] Correspondent Anderson Cooper sees the beginnings of the psilocybin session </span></p>
</figcaption></figure>
<p>  We were told that we could not record anyone who participated in the study while they were on psilocybin as this may have affected their experience, but we did indicate if how to get started – without psilocybin. <br /><em> [19659052]  Lie down on a couch, with a blindfold to close out distracts and headphon es playing a mix of choral and classical music – a psychedelic soundtrack with trained guides, mary cosmic, watches you. </p>
<p>  Everything is done the same way for LSD scientific experiments picket made in the 1950s and 60s. Some of the most dramatic outcomes include terminal cancer patients battling anxiety and paralysis depression. </p>
<p>  Kerry Pappas: I started to see the colors and the geometric design and was like & # 39; oh it's so cool, and how lovely & # 39; and, then, boom. Finances started. </p>
<p>  Kerry Pappas was diagnosed with stage III cancer in 2013. During his psilocybin session, he found himself trapped in a nightmare created by his mind. </p>
<p>  Kerry Pappas: An ancient, prehistoric, arid land. And there were these guys with pickaxes, just slapping on rocks. So … </p>
<p>  Anderson Cooper: And does that really make you feel? </p>
<p>  Kerry Pappas: Absolutely true. The truth of truth has shown me. Life has no meaning, we have no purpose. And then I looked and I was like a witness, a beautiful, shimmering, bright gem. And then it sounds, and it's emerging, it's emerging, it's emerging. Right here today. </p>
<p>  Anderson Cooper: That has been said? </p>
<p>  Kerry Pappas: Yes. "You're alive. Right now you're here, because that's what you have." And that is my mantra to this day. </p>
<figure class=  kerry-pappas-walking-shot.jpg
Kerry Pappas [19659008] Michael Pollan: It seems incredible to me that a single experience caused by a molecule, correctly, ingested in your body can change your perspective on something that is so deep in death. That's – kind of amazing.

Author Michael Pollan wrote about the study of psilocybin in an excellent book called "How to Change Your Mind." As part of his research h, he personally tested psilocybin with the help of an underground guide.

Anderson Cooper: The kind of thing that cancer patients say, like, "I touched the face of God." Are you skeptical about when you hear phrases like that?

Michael Pollan: Yes. Or, "Love is the most important thing in the universe." When someone tells me I'm like, "yes, okay."

Anderson Cooper: So you didn't go for some of the phrases used?

Michael Pollan: No. It gives me willies as a writer. And I really struggle with that fact during one of my experiences that I came to the conclusion that it shattered the earth that love is the most important thing in the universe. But hey, those are Hallmark card items, right? And um, so …

Anderson Cooper: And while you were there and then …

Michael Pollan: This is very true. And it's true. Guess what? Um…

Anderson Cooper: There's a reason for a Hallmark card.

Michael Pollan: There's a reason. And one of the things that psychedelics do is they remove all the important levels of irony and, and mock us, that we get as we grow older and go back to those kinds of "Oh, my God. I forgot all about love. " (Laugh)

Pollan says he also experiences what researchers have described as loss of ego, or loss of identity – the silence of the constant voice we all have in our heads.

Michael Pollan: I had this experience of seeing my ego – erupting in – a small cloud of Post-It notes. I know it sounds crazy.

Anderson Cooper: And what are you without ego?

Michael Pollan: You, uh … (Laughs) You're there.

  michael-pollan-on -computer-not-in-piece.jpg
Michael Pollan

Researchers believe that the sensation of loss of identity occurs because the psilocybin stops in two places This is the brain that usually communicates with each other. They are part of a region called the default m ode network and are especially active when we think about ourselves and our lives.

Michael Pollan: And that's where you connect what happens in your life to the story of who you are.

Anderson Cooper: We all have stories over time about our past and who we are.

Michael Pollan: Right. Yes, what kind of people we are. How do we react. And the truth is that interesting things happen when the self is silent in the brain, including rewiring that has happened. The circle on the left shows the normal communication between the parts of the brain, on the right, what happens to the psilocybin. There is an explosion of connections or crosstalk between areas of the brain that do not normally communicate.

Anderson Cooper: The difference is just surprising.

Matthew Johnson: Right.

Anderson Cooper: Is that why people are experiencing – you know, repressed memories, or past memories, or people dying or?

Matthew Johnson: That's what we're thinking. And even with the perceptual effect, sometimes synesthesia is, like, the– seeing the sound.

Anderson Cooper: Do people look good?

Matthew Johnson: Yes, sometimes.

Anderson Cooper: No – I don't know what that means.

Matthew Johnson: Right, yes. (LAUGH) It – it is –

Michael Pollan: Maybe the ego is a trait to many in your mind. And you don't have to listen to that voice chatting with you and criticizing you and telling you what to do. And that is very freeing.

This is definitely free for Kerry Pappas. Although her cancer has now spread to her brain, her anxiety over death is gone.

Kerry Pappas: Yeah, amazing. I mean, it sounds like death doesn't scare me. Life does not scare me. I'm not scared. It scares me.

Anderson Cooper: This interview scares you, but death doesn't?

Kerry Pappas: No. in depressed mood and anxiety "after trying psilocybin. Two-thirds of them rated their psilocybin sessions as one of the most significant experiences of their lives. For some, this is at the same time as their birth. son.

Kerry Pappas: To this day, it's emerging to me.

Anderson Cooper: It's still alive to you – are you happier?

Kerry Pappas: Yeah. the word happy is necessary.

Kerry Pappas: Comfortable. Like, comfortable. I mean, I've suffered anxiety all my life. I'm comfortable. That, to me, okay. I can die. I'm comfortable. ( LAUGH) I mean, very big.
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