Since I posted a dupe, I might as well bigfoot myself.
First a report on this year’s morel season:
End of report.
Okay, here’s some more detail:
I’ve been spending a lot of time outdoors hunting the elusive morel. Last year I searched for a few weeks and got two runty ones. This year I found two good-sized ones, only they were false morels, which are poisonous. (The magic ingredient is monomethylhydrazine, which is also found in jet fuel.) I even attended The National Morel Mushroom Festival in Boyne City, MI (near the top of the mitten), and met many interesting fungiphiles, but alas no morels. (But did get sleeted on – in mid-May! WTF Michigan.)
Driving back from the Fest, I passed a Grizzly Adams-looking dude parked by the side of the road, selling morels from a cooler. So I finally got my morels. (See pic.)
Unfortunately, however, the Mushroom Gods weren’t done with me. Right after we completed our transaction, Mr. Adams commented in a tone of enormous satisfaction, “Great! Now I can get my hunting and fishing licenses!” (For those who don’t know, I’m vegan.)
In more uplifting mushroom news, Imperial College London recently reported strong positive results in what Nature is calling the first human trials of using psilocybin to alleviate depression:
Researchers from Imperial College London gave 12 people psilocybin, the active component in magic mushrooms. All had been clinically depressed for a significant amount of time — on average 17.8 years. None of the patients had responded to standard medications, such as selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs), or had electroconvulsive therapy.
One week after receiving an oral dose of psilocybin, all patients experienced a marked improvement in their symptoms. Three months on, five patients were in complete remission.
The New Yorker reported on research at Johns Hopkins and elsewhere on shrooms as a treatment for depression, addiction, and anxiety. (Here’s a great narrative by a guy who used them to cure his smoking habit.) They apparently work by increasing your sense of wholeness and connectedness not just with yourself but the rest of humanity and nature, thus solving this problem:
In Carhart-Harris’s view, a steep price is paid for the achievement of order and ego in the adult mind. “We give up our emotional lability,” he told me, “our ability to be open to surprises, our ability to think flexibly, and our ability to value nature.” The sovereign ego can become a despot. This is perhaps most evident in depression, when the self turns on itself and uncontrollable introspection gradually shades out reality.
Finally, related to the recent wonderful posts by Prescott Cactus on his hospice work: Johns Hopkins and NYU have also done research showing that shrooms help those with terminal cancer meet their end with less anxiety.
Can’t wait for this stuff to be legalized—and for those who are interested, JHU may do a new cancer study in 2016.