Even though there is still much to learn about the effects of using psychedelic substances on Earth, two scientists have already advocated for their usage in space. According to a recent study, magic mushrooms may be able to help astronauts cope with the intense mental and physical strains of space travel and facilitate lengthy interplanetary missions.
Before continuing, it’s important to note that delivering psychedelics to astronauts is very much against NASA protocol, and the organization now maintains a zero-tolerance approach to drug use. It’s also crucial to keep in mind that the authors of the current study were not space scientists but rather employees of a commercial biotechnology company looking for novel applications for mycelia and algae.
Be gone, space scurvy! According to the authors, psychedelics “may be to long-duration space travel in the 21st century what citrus fruits were to long-distance sea travel in the 18th century – groundbreaking and facilitatory.”
The researchers hypothesize that psilocybin may assist to mitigate the cognitive effects of space travel by promoting neuroplasticity and the generation of new neurons, highlighting various preclinical experiments carried out on animals. The apparent ability of psychedelics to foster neurogenesis and neuroplasticity is assumed to underlie the therapeutic characteristics that have been attributed to this class of drug, even though these effects have not yet been seen in human beings.
The study’s authors speculate that psychedelics may also promote beneficial gut flora and mitigate the damaging effects that cosmic radiation has on astronauts’ microbiomes.
With a little more bravado, the researchers assert that using substances like DMT may even prepare astronauts for interactions with extraterrestrial species. While there is no evidence that these “entities” resemble real aliens, users of this particular substance frequently report seeing them throughout their journeys. The authors assert that this could “give some limited acquaintance” with the other beings who inhabit our cosmos.
The authors conclude by citing a number of studies that support the use of psilocybin as a strategy to reduce existential stress in patients with terminal cancer. They assert that when applying this to cosmic travel, “[long-haul] space explorers may be faced with a circumstance where return to Earth is impossible and death in space is unavoidable.” They claim that using psychedelics could aid condemned astronauts in accepting their eternal exile from Earth and finding serenity in their final moments.
The safe usage of psychedelic drugs in space is obviously not supported by science, and all of the assertions made by the writers are conjectural. Therefore, it is extremely improbable that anyone will be launched into space soon with a baggie of mushrooms.