Written on: 06-05-2023
4 minutes read
We are often intrigued by the profound effects that psychedelic substances can have on human perception and consciousness. In a fascinating new case report, a 35-year-old man with red-green color blindness experienced remarkable and lasting improvements in his ability to distinguish different colors after taking magic mushrooms. This finding sheds light on the potential of psilocybin to alter visual processing capabilities, even in individuals with a genetic condition like color blindness.
Understanding Color Blindness:
Color blindness, specifically mild deuteranomalia, affects approximately 5 percent of men and 0.4 percent of women. It is caused by a defect within the medium wavelength sensitive cones, the photoreceptor cells responsible for detecting green light.
The Case Study:
The subject, who had previously noticed improved color vision after experimenting with various psychedelic drugs, decided to document these changes by self-administering the Ishihara Test. This test is commonly used to assess color blindness and involves a series of mosaics made up of colored dots that form shapes visible only to those with normal color vision.
Baseline and Mushroom Experience:
Before taking a dose of magic mushrooms, the subject achieved a baseline score of 14 on the Ishihara Test. Following the ingestion of 5 grams of dried magic mushrooms, the subject reported positive sensations but no mystical experiences. When the Ishihara Test was re-administered 12 hours later, the subject’s score increased to 15.
Improvements in Color Vision:
The subject’s color vision continued to improve over time. At the 24-hour mark, the score reached 18, surpassing the threshold for normal color vision. On day eight after the mushroom experience, the score peaked at 19 and remained elevated at 18 four months later. Subsequent testing over a year later still showed an improvement with a score of 16, higher than the subject’s self-reported baseline score of 14.
Implications and Future Research:
While this case report provides fascinating insights into the potential of psilocybin to enhance color vision in individuals with color blindness, more research is needed to confirm and explore these findings. The study authors caution that this single self-reported case does not allow for definitive conclusions. They emphasize the necessity of systematic exploration to validate these results, assess their generalizability, and uncover the underlying mechanisms of action.
The case report highlights the intriguing possibility that a single use of psilocybin may induce partial improvements in color vision deficiency, extending beyond the acute effects. While it is unlikely to fully correct genetic color blindness, psilocybin may influence higher-level visual processing within the brain’s V4 region, which is crucial for color perception. Further studies are required to validate these findings and advance our understanding of the role of psychedelics in treating color blindness.
Note: This article is based on a single case report and should not be considered medical advice. Always consult with a healthcare professional before considering any treatment for color blindness or any other medical condition.