Can psychoactive drugs help ministers be more effective? University researchers aim to find out

Pastors and priests are taking drugs – but it's all in the name of science.

Scientists at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore have enlisted two dozen religious leaders for a study in which they are given two doses of psilocybin, the active ingredient in 'magic mushrooms'.

The idea is to see how a transcendental experience affects religious thinking and whether it makes them more effective in their work, according to The Guardian.

Ministers are being recruited for an experiment involving psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms.Reuters

Speaking at the Breaking Convention conference in London earlier this month, psychologist Dr William Richards said: 'With psilocybin these profound mystical experiences are quite common. It seemed like a no-brainer that they might be of interest, if not valuable, to clergy.'

He told The Guardian after presenting his research: 'Their instruction is to go within and collect experiences. So far everyone incredibly values their experience. No one has been confused or upset or regrets doing it.'

He added: 'It is too early to talk about results, but generally people seem to be getting a deeper appreciation of their own religious heritage.

'The dead dogma comes alive for them in a meaningful way. They discover they really believe this stuff they're talking about.'

Among those recruited for the experiment were Catholic and Orthodox priests and Presbyterian ministers, a Zen Buddhist and several rabbis.

Christian Today first wrote about the experiment in 2015: 'Ministers and magic mushrooms: Why religion is about more than mysticism'.