‘Magic mushrooms’ help smokers kick the habit

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New research published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology suggests anti-smoking drugs on the market today could use a little magic.

The term “magic mushrooms” is usually used to describe mushrooms from the genus Psilocybe that are known to cause differences in mood, perception and behavior. Cigarette smokers who were given a pill with the hallucinogenic chemical found in these mushrooms had nearly twice as much success quitting smoking than those taking approved anti-smoking drugs.

The study followed 15 volunteers who were given two to three doses of the hallucinogenic. Of those 15, 12 quit smoking and still hadn’t smoked after six months.

It’s a small study, and there was no control group, so the scientists at Johns Hopkins will do some follow-up work that will include brain scans to try and see what is happening in these quitters’ brains.

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