Smoking cessation tips: can you smoke shrooms?

No, you are not hallucinating! But, according to recent research, a chemical found in the hallucinogenic drug known as “magic mushrooms” may assist smokers who have been trying to quit for years.

JHU Research

So, can you smoke shrooms? Researchers at Johns Hopkins University discovered that smokers who had a history of previous cessation efforts could effectively stop when they took psilocybin under the supervision of a physician and received cognitive behavior therapy as part of a combined treatment program.

The Process

To conduct the study, which was published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, the researchers administered dosages of psilocybin to a group of 10 men and five women who had a history of smoking heavily. They had smoked an average of 19 cigarettes per day for 31 years and had a history of unsuccessful efforts to stop smoking before coming.

Two-thirds of the participants admitted to having used psychedelic drugs recreationally at some time in their lives, some as long as three decades ago; the remaining five participants said they had never used hallucinogenic substances.

The researchers educated study participants about the potential side effects of the drug and then gave each participant one psilocybin tablet on the day they intended to begin a smoking cessation program. Following the medication administration, study participants were required to participate in a six-hour session with researchers in a “homelike” environment. They sat with their heads down and listened to music to relax. Finally, they were given further, stronger dosages two weeks and eight weeks after the first round of treatment.

In addition, each smoker got frequent cognitive behavior therapy individually, which included tactics like maintaining a journal to note triggers that resulted in cigarette cravings and tracking the effects of these triggers.

The Result

So, can you smoke shrooms? Researchers discovered that after six months, 80 percent of those who took the psychedelic drug were still not smoking, compared to just 35 percent of those who took varenicline, the most effective prescription now available to assist smokers in stopping. The researchers concluded that other treatments, like nicotine replacement therapy, have a success rate of less than 30% in most cases. Aside from this, researchers discovered that the smoking-cessation benefits of psilocybin persisted long after the drug’s effects had worn off.

Smoking cessation via psychedelic drugs is not recommended by the researchers, who are emphatic that their study does not support this practice.

This study was supported by the federal government and is part of a long-term investigation into how psychedelic medicines may be used to aid in the treatment of addiction. The researchers want to compare the effectiveness of psilocybin to that of nicotine patches in the future and to employ magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to investigate brain activity.

Final Thoughts

Not for the first time, researchers have looked at how magic mushrooms may therapeutically modify the brain. An investigation published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science in 2012 discovered that the drug might be an effective therapy for depression. Neuroimaging scans of those who took part in the research revealed lower activity levels in the “hub” areas of the brain, which are important for awareness, self-identity, and the organization of sensory information.

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