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Will Mushrooms Be the New Weed?

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As Californians consider whether or not to vote on the legalization of marijuana this November, a study conducted at a Johns Hopkins University lab is now launching a look into the potential health and wellness benefits of illegal mushrooms, too.

A study participant who tried these so-called "magic mushrooms" left her experience with insight that may now provide a scientific explanation of the existence of hippies:

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...a business consultant named Dede Osborn took a psychedelic drug as part of a research project. She felt like she was taking off. She saw colors. Then it felt like her heart was ripping open...'I feel much more grounded (and feel that) we are all connected.' - AP

It's unclear as to whether Osborn went on to tye-dye all of her clothing or commune directly with Timothy Leary, but she is still feeling the positive effects of her trip even to this day (over a year later). In fact, two-thirds of study participants felt that the positive effects of the experience were lasting.

Researchers, who haven't done much studying of the effects of mushrooms since the '60s, will now look into what this drug might be able to offer the medical community:

With further research, psilocybin (pronounced SILL-oh-SY-bin) [the active drug in mushrooms] may prove useful in helping to treat alcoholism and drug dependence, and in aiding seriously ill patients as they deal with psychological distress, said study lead author Roland Griffiths of Johns Hopkins. - AP

Photo by has s via Flickr