Klinedinst & Healing With "Magic" Shrooms


Maggie Klinedinst, a Mushroom Fest 2013 guest

Maggie Klinedinst, a Mushroom Fest 2013 guest

Telluride Mushroom Festival (TMF) and the Telluride Institute are proud to announce the schedule the 32nd annual gathering, which takes place Thursday, August 15-Sunday, August 18, 2013. This year, the festival is focused on the use of fungi as medicine for the environment and for people.

Mushrooms have been touted as therapies for everything from aging to high cholesterol, but researchers at The Johns Hopkins Behavioral Pharmaceutical Research Unit are taking the conventional research one step further: the team is exploring how mushrooms, specifically psilocybin, can heal the mind and spirit as well as the body.

Psilocybin, a naturally occurring tryptamine alkaloid with actions mediated primarily at serotonin receptor sites, is the principal psychoactive component of a genus of mushrooms, Psilocybe, a.k.a.”magic” mushrooms. Psilocybin, in the form of these mushrooms, has been used for centuries, possibly millennia, within some cultures in structured manners largely for religious purposes.

Maggie Klinedinst, a project manager at Johns Hopkins working with Drs. Roland Griffiths, Katherine MacLean, and Matthew Johnson in the field of legal psilocybin, will be talking at the Mushroom Festival about their experiments. It is only in the last few years that controlled, clinical studies using psilocybin have been achieved. And the Johns Hopkins site is one of only a few locations in the world where such investigations are both legal and ongoing.

Maggie is scheduled to speak about the latest findings from Johns Hopkins on Friday, August 16, 1:30 – 2:45 p.m., at The Nugget. On Sunday morning, she is part of a panel with Christopher Hobbs and Robert Rogers, happening Sunday morning, 9:15 a.m. at The Palm. The subject: “Fungi as Medicine.”

Long gone are the days of Timothy (“Turn on, tune in, drop out”) Leary and mere recreational use of hallucinogens – though it’s fair to say the man opened the door. With funding from the National Institutes of Health and The Council on Spiritual Practices among others, the Hopkins team has been investigating the use of psilocybin to treat tobacco addiction, as well as anxiety and depression in cancer patients.

A New York Times article (2010) told the story of a clinical psychologist, Clark Martin, suffering from major depression as a result of kidney cancer. He took part in an experiment at John Hopkins. One year later, he reported that the six-hour experience helped him overcome his depression and even transformed his relationships with his daughters and friends.

The New York Times went on to report the following:

“The results so far are encouraging but also preliminary, and researchers caution against reading too much into these small-scale studies. They do not want to repeat the mistakes of the 1960s, when some scientists-turned-evangelists exaggerated their understanding of the drugs’ risks and benefits.”

Because reactions to hallucinogens can vary so much depending on the setting, experimenters and review boards have developed guidelines to set up a comfortable environment with expert monitors in the room to deal with adverse reactions. They have established standard protocols so that the drugs’ effects can be gauged more accurately, and they have also directly observed the drugs’ effects by scanning the brains of people under the influence of hallucinogens.

Scientists are especially intrigued by the similarities between hallucinogenic experiences and the life-changing revelations reported throughout history by religious mystics and those who meditate.

Last year, another New York Times story, “A Kaleidoscope at the End of the Tunnel,” talked about a small group of researchers and their patients facing death. Apparently they do not regard psychedelics as hippie palliatives, rather as a hip and helpful new way to approach a difficult time of life.

To learn more about the cancer anxiety and depression study at Hopkins, please go to: www.cancer-insight.org.  The study is currently enrolling participants and is able to help pay for travel expenses.

To learn more and preview Maggie’s talk, click the “play” button and listen to our chat.

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