Illegal smiles for dying generation?

"I'm just trying to have me some fun" John Prine, Illegal Smile

John Prine may not have been singing about "magic mushrooms" but the idea is similar. Research has found that a hallucinogen that is the active ingredient in magic mushrooms may help terminally ill cancer patients feel more peaceful.

Psilocybin, got a bad name in the 60s when it was used widely for recreational purposes. The medical use helps patients feel less anxious and depressed, according to recent research. Furthermore it was determined that one small dose of psilocybin helped patients function better for up to six months.

The reports say that the research focused on 12 patients who ranged in age from 36 to 58 and who all suffered from advanced-stage cancer as well as anxiety related to the diagnosis. Each patient had two sessions. In one, they received psilocybin and in the other, they got a placebo. The patients and doctors were able to tell which drug was administered about 80% of the time. The study which was reported in the Archives of General Psychiatry, the patients got a fairly low dose of the drug. Not only the did patients feel less anxious, they reported needing fewer narcotic pain relievers.

It is important to remember that Psilocybin is an illegal substance. It is listed in the same class of drugs as heroin and LSD. Further research will have to be done before using magic mushrooms will become common medical practice.

It is interesting to consider that the generation that experimented with drugs in the 60's might be the generation using these same drugs for medicinal purposes as they reach their senior years.