Researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland have gathered over 20 Religious leaders and convinced them to consume magic mushrooms for the sake of science.

The goal of this experiment is to investigate the effect that psilocybin has on one's perceived religious experience. However, they were unable to find a Muslim or Hindu leader to join in on the experiment.


Psilocybin is a psychedelic compound that is naturally produced in over 200 different varieties of mushrooms. Side effects of this drug include euphoria, wild hallucinations, altered perceptions of reality, psychological changes, mood swings, and spiritual encounters.

It is potent but not toxic. Studies have shown that a prolonged use of magic mushrooms poses no risk of developing a dependency.

Magic mushrooms are typically eaten or brewed into a tea. These mushrooms are quite bitter in taste, and users often coat the fungus in chocolate to mask the flavor. Recreational use of this drug is illegal in the United States.

For the love of science

More than 20 religious leaders in Maryland agreed to be given a strong dose of psilocybin during this study. The drugs were administered in a living room-like setting followed by a full day of contemplation sessions. Afterward, the religious leaders submitted to a series of follow-up sessions and questionnaires. These questions were designed to discover if the person's psychedelic experience had changed their way of thinking spiritually.

The on-going study also measured any changes in their perception of their own lives and work as religious leaders. Psychologist Dr. William Richards said that it is too early in the study to come to any real conclusions. However, he does state that these religious leaders have shown that they truly believe what they have been preaching.

In the past, there have been other scientific studies on the subject of psilocybin and faith, but it has never been done with multiple faiths at the same time. The "Marsh Chapel Experiment" in 1962 attempted to tie magic mushrooms to mystical experiences. Often referred to as the "Good Friday Experiment," psychologist Timothy Leary administered the drug to half of the participants.

The other half received placebos. The results showed that psilocybin could produce a spiritual experience for the user.

The drug is also currently being tested to treat depression, anxiety disorders, and cluster headaches.