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Relatives who've had schizophrenia or bipolar disorder study volunteers at Johns Hopkins or given weeks of intensive counseling before and after the six hour psilocybin experience the psilocybin is given in a carefully controlled setting one two three times to date they say there's not been a single serious adverse outcome so I'm gonna tuck you in we were told we couldn't record anyone participating in the study while they were on psilocybin because it might impact their experience but we were shown how it begins without the psilocybin questions lay on a couch with the blindfold to shut out distractions put the headphones on and headphones playing a mix of coral in classical music a psychedelic sound track with the train guide merry because a mono watching over you okay so give me your hand so I'm gonna take your hand everything is done the same way it was for the L. S. D. experiments scientists conducted in the nineteen fifties and sixties some of the most dramatic results have been with terminal cancer patients struggling with anxiety and paralyzing depression a star since the colors and the geometric designs in the cycle this is so cool and how lovely and and then both visions began this was diagnosed with stage three lung cancer in two thousand and thirteen during her psilocybin session she found herself trapped in a nightmare her mind created an ancient prehistoric Aaron land and there's these men with pick axes just slamming on the rocks so in this field absolutely real to you absolutely rail I was being shown the truth of reality life is meaningless we have no purpose and then I look and I'm still like a witness beautiful shimmering eight Joel and then it was sound and it was booming bombing bombing right here right now that was being said yes you are alive right here right now because that's all you have and that is my mantra right your best day they seem so implausible to me that a single experience caused by a molecule right ingested in your body could transform your outlook on something as profound as death that's that's kind of amazing author Michael Pollan wrote about the psilocybin studies in a best selling book called how to change your mind as part of his research he tried psilocybin himself with the help of an underground guide the kind of things a cancer patients were saying like I I touch the face of god you were skeptical about when you hear phrases like that yeah for love is the most important thing in the universe when someone tells me that I was like okay so you don't you don't go for some of the phrases and now it makes give me the **** as a writer and I really struggle with that because during one of my experiences I came to the earth shattering conclusion that love is the most important thing in the universe but it's that's hallmark card stuff right in and so and yet while you were on it and afterwards profoundly true and it is profoundly true guess what the reason it's on the hallmark card there is a reason and one of the things psychedelics do is they peel away all those essentially protective levels of irony and and cynicism that we that we acquire as we get older and you're back to those kind of all my god I forgot all about love Holland said he also experience with the researchers described as ego loss or identity loss quieting of the constant voice we all have in our heads I did have this experience of seeing my ego burst into a little cloud of post it notes I know it sounds crazy and what are you without an ego your yet to be there researchers believe that sensation of identity loss occurs because suicide been quiet these two areas of the brain that normally communicate with each other they're part of a region called the default mode network and it's especially active when we're thinking about ourselves and our lives and it's where you connect what happens in your life to the story of who you are yeah we will develop the story right over time about a time when our past was like and one person we are how we react in that the fact is that interesting things happen when the self goes quiet in the brain including this rewiring that happens to see that rewiring Johns Hopkins scientists Matthew Johnson showed us this representational chart of brain activity the circle on the left shows normal communication between parts of the brain on the right what happens on psilocybin there's an explosion of connections or cross talk between areas of the brain that don't normally communicate sister startling right is that why people are having experiences of seeing repressed memories of past memories are people who have died or that's what we think it in even the perceptual effects sometimes the synesthesia like the the scene sound people see sound yeah sometimes why don't you know that means right yeah it right yeah maybe the ego is one character among many in your mind and you don't necessarily have to listen to that voice that's chattering at you in criticizing you and tell you what to do and that's very freeing it was certainly freeing for Kerry Pappas cancer has now spread to her brain for crippling anxiety about death is gone it's amazing I mean I feel like death doesn't frighten me living doesn't frighten me I don't frighten me this frightens me but this interview for example it doesn't now all it turns out most of the fifty one cancer patients in the Johns Hopkins study experienced significant decreases in depressed mood and anxiety after trying psilocybin two thirds of them rated their psilocybin sessions as among the most meaningful experiences of their lives for some it was on par with the birth of their children to this day it evolves in may it's still alive in the it's still absolutely alive in me does it make you happier yeah and and I don't necessarily use the word happy comfortable like comfortable I mean I've suffered from anxiety my whole life and comfortable that to me okay I can die him comfortable I mean.

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