'Magic mushroom' drug lifted 'cloud of doom' for cancer patients

(CNN)Patrick Mettes was overcome with frustration. He was anxious. 

His bile duct cancer seemed to bring him more anguish than his wife, Lisa Callaghan, ever realized, she said at a news conference Wednesday.

In search of solace, Mettes volunteered for a study in which he was given a synthetic version of psilocybin, a compound found in mind-altering "magic mushrooms," as a potential treatment for his anxiety and depressed mood.

During the study, Mettes' psychedelic trip was akin to "a space shuttle launch that begins with the clunky trappings of Earth, then gives way to the weightlessness and majesty of space," Callaghan said, recalling what Mettes wrote in a journal entry.

"I believe it helped him, and both of us, live life fully up to the very end," she said.
Mettes later suffered a massive heart attack. He survived but decided to stop chemotherapy. The Brooklyn, New York-based television news director, whose portfolio included CNN's "American Morning," died at the age of 56 in 2012.

Callaghan believes the psilocybin helped Mettes overcome his fear of death, she said.
"He was not afraid of death, and in fact, he seemed to grow through the process of dying," she said of her late husband. "My brother was with us quite a bit during that time and says that he felt that Patrick's spirit grew as his body declined."...


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