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Turn off, tune in, drop out

Magic mushrooms reduce blood flow to parts of brain

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6:12pm, January 23, 2012

When Timothy Leary advised his generation to “turn on” by taking psychedelic drugs, he got it all wrong. Turning off parts of the brain may be the real secret to expanding your mind, a new study of hallucinogenic mushrooms finds.

The study is the most detailed look yet at where and how psychedelics work in the human brain, says psychiatrist and neuropsychopharmacologist David Nutt of Imperial College London, whose team reports the findings online January 23 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Nutt and colleagues recruited 15 people with previous experience taking hallucinogens. Each was injected with a small amount of psilocybin, the ingredient responsible for magic mushrooms’ mind-bending properties. The effect was immediate, peaking in just minutes and lasting for about an hour.

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