Scientists reported Tuesday that when they surveyed volunteers 14 months after they took the drug, most said they were still feeling and behaving better because of the experience.
Two-thirds of them also said the drug had produced one of the five most spiritually significant experiences they’d ever had.
The drug, psilocybin, is found in so-called “magic mushrooms.” It’s illegal, but it has been used in religious ceremonies for centuries.
The study involved 36 men and women during an eight-hour lab visit. It’s one of the few such studies of a hallucinogen in the past 40 years, since research was largely shut down after widespread recreational abuse of such drugs in the 1960s.
The project made headlines in 2006 when researchers published their report on how the volunteers felt just two months after taking the drug. The new study followed them up a year after that.
Experts emphasize that people should not try psilocybin on their own because it could be harmful. Even in the controlled setting of the laboratory, nearly a third of participants felt significant fear under the effects of the drug. Without proper supervision, someone could be harmed, researchers said.