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Mushrooms take a trip back to the lab
Date: Tuesday, November 21 2006

Mushrooms take a trip back to the lab
Banned hallucinogens may have medical benefits, but results are unpredictable.
By Denise Gellene, Times Staff Writer
November 19, 2006

She had been depressed since being diagnosed with colon cancer two years earlier, but as the experimental drug took hold, she felt the sadness sweep away from her, leaving in its wake an overpowering sense of connection to loved ones, followed by an inner calm.

"It was like an epiphany," said Sakuda, 59, recalling the 2005 drug treatment.

Sakuda, a Long Beach software developer, was under the influence of the hallucinogen psilocybin, which she took during a UCLA study exploring the therapeutic effects of the active compound in "magic" mushrooms. Although illegal for general use, the drug has been approved for medical experiments such as this one.

Scientists suspect the hallucinogen, whose use dates back to ancient Mexico, may have properties that could improve treatments for some psychological conditions and forms of physical pain.

Long dismissed as medically useless, the banned mushrooms — a staple of the psychedelic 1960s — are taking a long, strange trip back to the lab.

The medical journal Neurology in June reported on more than 20 cases in which mushroom ingestion prevented or stopped cluster headaches, a rare neurological disorder, more reliably than prescription pharmaceuticals.

In July, researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore reported that mushrooms could instill a sense of spirituality and connection, a finding that scientists said could lead to treatments for patients suffering from mental anguish or addiction.,0,11860,full.story?coll=la-home-headlines

This article comes from Vive Le Canada

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