Psychoactive drugs and death terror

Charles 2 Comments


Posted by Charles


If you are interested in knowing more about how psilocybin, the ingredient in magic mushrooms, can reduce, even eliminate, depression, anxiety and terror in end-stage cancer patients, you should read this article in the New York Times. 

One patient, Pam Sauda, spoke of how “‘I began to realize that all of this negative fear and guilt was such a hindrance . . . to making the most of and enjoying the healthy time that I’m having.” Sakuda went on to explain that, under the influence of the psilocybin, she came to a very visceral understanding that there was a present, a now, and that it was hers to have.’

Exactly how it works is not yet fully understood, but David Nutt, the Labour government drugs tsar who was sacked for saying that horse riding was more dangerous than ecstasy, is working on some interesting research:

‘Researchers found that the states of “unrestrained consciousness” that accompany the ingestion of psilocybin are associated with a deactivation of regions of the brain that integrate our senses and our perception of self. In depressed people, Nutt explains, one of those regions, the anterior cingulate cortex, is overactive, and psilocybin may work to shut it down.’

Full article here.  


  1. Charles

    This is a hugely important issue Charles. Thanks for bringing it to everyone’s attention. There is an essay in the forthcoming Natural Death Handbook about this very thing. We need to make our end of life experiences as rich and significant as we possibly can.

  2. Charles

    You are absolutely right, Ru. As a failed child of the 60’s, I have never been offered so much as a magic mushroom so cannot comment on their efficacy, but anything which eases and enriches the end of life experience is okay by me.

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