We are currently in the midst of what’s being called “the psychedelic renaissance” and it may not be what you think.
That’s because it refers not just to the wide-spread use of psychedelics, but actually, the widespread study of these drugs. And most recently, in an effort to study the spiritual and psychological effects of psilocybin (the active ingredient in magic mushrooms) researchers from John Hopkins and NYU are giving ordained religious leaders the substance to experience for themselves.
So far, they have thirteen religious leaders enrolled, including an Orthodox Jewish rabbi, a Zen Buddhist roshi, an Episcopalian, a Greek Orthodox priest, and a Reform Christian for their FDA-approved clinical trial.
We have seen similar studies recently, often bearing very solid results. But not always understanding how exactly the drug brings about the result. Here’s an example from a clinical trial that tested mushrooms affect on depressed cancer patients:
In the NYU study, 29 late-stage cancer patients with anxiety and depression were given either psilocybin or a harmless vitamin called niacin as a placebo. Two months later, they were given the opposite pill. Researchers found that tripping calmed patients both immediately afterward and six months later. In addition, the drug appeared to work as well as antidepressants normally do in as many as 80% of these patients, based on patients’ answers to mental health surveys before and after the trial. (source)
So it works surprisingly well, but the truth about these drugs are that researches don’t even know what causes the trip brought on by the chemical. They know it makes you trip, but they don’t know how.
The same can be said for the health benefits.
Which leads us back to the religious leaders. Because although psychedelics can bring on life-changing mystical experiences…people have been doing that organically since the birth of religion. You can reach the same levels of spiritual self-awareness through meditation, as you can taking LSD or mushrooms. But scientists, although acknowledging, have never been able to explain these religious transformations.
Your Rabbi however, can.
And maybe if given magic mushrooms, he can explain that trip too. Or at least that’s the idea here.
And honestly, it makes a lot of sense.