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Joan Smalls and Sam Riley in Dazed October 2013: should've tried shroomsPhotography Sean and Seng, Styling Robbie Spencer

Want to quit smoking? Magic mushrooms could help

A new study suggests that the active ingredient in shrooms provides an effective treatment for long-term cigarette addiction

Over the past few months, numerous studies have suggested that recreational drugs like ketamine and LSD could treat conditions such as anxiety and depression. Magic mushrooms are the latest mind-bender to be added to the list – and its effects may help longtime smokers kick their habit.

Researchers at the esteemed John Hopkins University in Baltimore found that longtime smokers looking to kick the habit responded best to a pill containing psilocybin, the active ingredient present in shrooms. While only 15 participants took part in the trial, 12 out of the 15 volunteers had quit smoking completely six months after taking psilocybin. 

Psychiatry professor Matthew Johnson told the Globe and Mail"The rates of quitting were so high, twice as high as what you typically see with the gold standard medication. It is a very small study, but it’s an indication that something very strong is going on here. It answers the question of whether this is worth pursuing."

During the trial, volunteers took a 20mg psilocybin pill and attended two or three sessions of therapy in a controlled and comfortable environment with relaxing music playing in the background. The subjects that reported a spiritual or transcendent experience and "felt unity with themselves and the universe" while tripping were the ones more likely to quit the fags. 

Cigarette addicts should still steer clear of swapping their e-cigs for shrooms for now. Because the mind-altering drug was accompanied by other treatments including cognitive therapy, it's difficult to tell how much of the experiment's success was down to the magic pill.

The researchers still believe that the stimulating effects of psilocybin constitute an exciting find for addiction treatment, and they plan to undertake another study with a control group that won't receive any hallucinogenics. The study is one of many being conducted by the Baltimore researchers on the ways that hallucinogenics could possibly be used to treat conditions such as cancer or depression.

Having said that, I probably feel "unity with the universe" every time the sun comes up on Sunday and I reach for my ten pack. So what's going on? I wonder if anyone's considered that this experiment's success rate might be high because it's pretty much impossible to hold and light a fag when you're tripping. Just throwing it out there.