Using Microdosing Psilocybin to Help Smokers Break the Habit
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Increasingly, microdosing is emerging as a trend with benefits that go far beyond the recreational. The easier it becomes to buy shrooms in Canada, the greater the number of people microdosing psilocybin for a wide variety of purposes.
In a therapeutic sense, microdosing in Canada is particularly popular as an anxiety-suppression method. Countless microdosing guides and studies have drawn direct links between the controlled consumption of magic mushrooms and the alleviation of stress, anxiety, mild depression and other psychological health issues.
But what’s even more interesting is how psilocybin is becoming the tool of choice for individuals struggling with various types of addiction. Evidence has been largely anecdotal to date, though a recent study carried out at Johns Hopkins University has shed new light on psilocybin’s remarkable potential.
Safe and Effective Smoking Cessation
Published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, the study carried out by Johns Hopkins researchers indicated that even the heaviest smokers could quit more easily and successfully with the help of magic mushrooms.
Six months after the study took place, an incredible 80% of those who took part had maintained their abstinence from tobacco. That’s according to Matthew W. Johnson – an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine – who spoke with confidence about the potential benefits of controlled psilocybin consumption.
The effectiveness of psilocybin is particularly impressive when considering the limited appeal and effectiveness of the most widely used smoking cessation drug – varenicline. Varenicline has a much lower six-month success rate of just 35%, indicating that most of those who use varenicline fail to abstain long-term.
Likewise, the vast majority of alternative treatments (such as behavioral therapy and nicotine replacement) have average success rates in the region of 30% or less.
According to Johnson, the effectiveness of magic mushrooms is attributed to the way in which psilocybin can completely alter a person’s perspective and motivation to change their behavior.
“Quitting smoking isn’t a simple biological reaction to psilocybin, as with other medications that directly affect nicotine receptors,” Johnson commented.
“When administered after careful preparation and in a therapeutic context, psilocybin can lead to deep reflection about one’s life and spark motivation to change.”
However, the researchers behind the study were quick to advise the public in general not to dive head-first into a hardcore self-medication habit, as mushrooms alone cannot be counted on to help kick the habit. Nor is it advisable to consume magic mushrooms in elevated quantities for any reason – common sense and moderation hold the key to making the most of psilocybin and its beneficial effects.
A Change in Perspective and Motivation
Taking a closer look at the Johns Hopkins study, a total of 15 participants who smoked regularly and heavily took part in the experiment. The group comprised five women and 10 men with an average age of 51, who smoked an average of 19 cigarettes per day and had done so for the past 31 years.
In addition, each of the participants indicated that they had attempted to quit on multiple occasions and failed. Five of those taking part stated that they had never experimented with hallucinogens of any kind, while the other 10 stated that where they had used hallucinogenic substances, but they hadn’t done so within the past 27 years.
All of the participants were also in a similarly good overall state of physical and mental health at the start of the study.
The test subjects took part in consultations where they were informed on what to expect after taking psilocybin, along with how it may alter their perceptions and sensory functions. An initial dose of psilocybin was provided on the day the participants planned to stop smoking, followed by higher doses two weeks later and eight weeks later.
During each of the sessions, the participants were monitored closely by the researchers after the drug was administered. Each of the sessions lasted between six and 7 hours, conducted in an informal and comfortable setting in which the participants could relax. Earphones playing relaxing music were worn and eyeshades were provided, in order to allow those taking part to relax and focus on their thoughts and perceptions.
Along with the administration of measured doses of psilocybin, the participants were also provided with counseling sessions at regular intervals. Cognitive behavioral therapy was also provided, and the participants were instructed to keep journals on their thoughts and progress along the way.
Six months after the study, an astonishing 12 of the 15 participants had completely abstained from smoking. No other cessation drug or form of therapy has ever come close to replicating these kinds of results. Just three doses of psilocybin appeared more effective than the ongoing or even indefinite use of more conventional cessation tools and substances.
Replicating the Results at Home
In terms of what all of the above means for smokers looking to kick the habit, it’s a case of acknowledging the potential benefits of psilocybin in a sensible and measured capacity.
Under no circumstances do the results of the study suggest that kicking a heavy smoking habit is as easy as taking three doses of psilocybin. Instead, it’s more a case of psilocybin contributing to the cause – particularly when used in conjunction with other smoking cessation methods, such as cognitive behavioral therapy.
Psilocybin could therefore increase the effectiveness of a wider smoking cessation program, but cannot stake claim to performing miracles single-handedly.