«Walk into a bar a Catholic priest, a Rabbi, and a Buddhist and bought hallucinogenic mushrooms. It may seem like the beginning of a bad joke, but this scenario played out in one of the first scientific studies of the effects of psychedelic drugs on religious experience – albeit in the laboratory, not in a bar,» writes The Guardian journalist Hannah Devlin.
«Scientists from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore attracted two dozen religious leaders from various faiths to participate in the study, during which they will be given two large doses of psilocybin – the active substance of hallucinogenic mushrooms,» explains the author.
«The ongoing experiment aims to assess whether the transcendental experience of the clergy more effective and confident in their work and how it changes their religious beliefs,» reads the article.
Despite the fact that most institutionalized religions disapproved the use of prohibited substances, the experiment involved the Catholic, Orthodox and Presbyterian Ministers, a Zen Buddhist and a few rabbis. According to the organizer of the study, psychologist William Richards, a research group has yet to convince the Imam and Hindu priest to participate, but «almost all other major groups are covered,» reports the journalist.
«It is too early to talk about results, but people in General seem to get a deeper understanding of their religious heritage, he says. – Dead dogma becomes important to them. They discover that they really believe what they say».
«The team from Johns Hopkins University is one of the few research groups worldwide that are engaged in the justification of the use of psychedelic drugs such as psilocybin, LSD and MDMA in psychiatry. It has been proven that psilocybin has extremely effective in the relief of acute anxiety in cancer patients at the end of life, while in other ongoing research examines the use of psychoactive drugs in the treatment of ailments ranging from PTSD to severe depression and alcoholism,» the article says.