• A man took psilocybin mushroom and monitored his color vision test scores
  • His scores increased within 12 hours of administering the mushroom
  • It remained in the "normal" range for four months

Could it be possible to help improve color blindness with magic mushrooms? Researchers have reported the case of a person whose condition improved after using psilocybin mushrooms.

Color blindness is a condition wherein a person sees colors differently than most people. Generally, it makes it hard for someone to tell colors apart, for instance, it will be hard for them to see the difference between red and green or blue and yellow.

Also called color vision deficiency (CVD), the condition tends to run in families. And apart from special glasses or contact lenses that may help people with CVD to distinguish colors, there is so far no treatment for it.

In their new study, which was published Tuesday in Drug Science, Policy and Law, a team of researchers reported the case of a person with red-green CVD who reported positive results after taking psilocybin mushrooms, also known as magic mushrooms.

Red-green CVD usually is an inherited condition and it's the "most common type of CVD."

"Recent survey data indicate that some people report long-term improvement in color vision deficiency (CVD), also known as color blindness, following use of psychedelics such as lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and psilocybin," the researchers wrote. "However, there are no objective data reported in the medical literature quantifying the degree or duration of CVD improvement associated with psychedelic use."

The researchers reported the self-experiment case of a 35-year-old man with red-green CVD. He self-administered the Ishihara test (color vision clinical test) before ingesting the mushrooms, and he scored 14 — a score of 17 or higher indicates normal color vision. He was diagnosed with red-green CVD five years before.

He then self-administered five grams of psilocybin mushrooms and conducted the Ishihara test 12 hours later and consistently in the next four months.

Results showed his score had improved to 15 by 12 hours after mushroom administration. The score had reached 18 24 hours later, and by day-eight, it peaked to 19. His score was still at 18 four months after the administration.

"This case reports suggests a single use of psilocybin may produce long-lasting partial improvements in CVD, despite this condition typically resulting from a genetic defect," the researchers wrote. "This raises important questions about the possibility of psilocybin inducing durable alterations in visual processing in some people."

The man never got a perfect score on the test. This makes sense since his condition is genetic, so the mushrooms couldn't have changed his DNA, the team said.

As for what may have led to the improvements, researchers say it's likely not from "actual visual signal coming from the retina," but rather from the results of "new neural connections between cortical regions that link new photisms to pre-existing concepts of colors, thus facilitating a new color experience."

In other words, the positive results on his vision weren't a result of its impacts on the eyes, but in brain activity.

There were a few limitations to the study, such as the fact that it was self-administered and the scores were self-reported. However, the results could still have important implications for CVD therapy.

"(I)f our findings are confirmed, the underlying mechanisms that subserve psilocybin-induced improvement in color perception in people with CVD should be investigated," the researchers wrote. "Future research in this area should determine whether psilocybin-induced improvement in CVD occurs in more severe cases of CVD, explore the relationship of psilocybin dosage to CVD improvement, and investigate the underlying mechanism of this curious phenomenon."

Representation. Pixabay