The use of hallucinogens such as 'ecstasy' or mushrooms to address psychological disorders tends to be met with opposition and an automatic association with the drug culture of the 1960s. But scientists from around the world will gather this week in San Jose, Calif., for the largest conference on psychedelic drugs to be held in the U.S. in four decades. They will discuss whether these drugs can help patients suffering from depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress syndrome, and other psychological problems.
Clark Martin is a retired clinical psychologist; he was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 1990 and has had multiple metastases and treatments since then. What follows is his description of receiving a single high dose of psilocybin, the active component of psychedelic mushrooms, under the auspices of a study conducted at Johns Hopkins.
This is a study for cancer patients who are experiencing depression secondary to everything associated with their cancer. Participants are highly screened and receive several days of counseling with the two experienced researchers who are present through out the treatment day. You are lying on a couch with eye shades and headphones (classical music). In my case, the experience can be roughly divided into three phases.