6 Health Benefits Of Psilocybin Mushrooms
Lately, alongside cannabis, one name has piqued interest among the medical society and psychedelics lovers – Psilocybin Mushrooms, generally known as Magic mushrooms or shrooms. It would be wrong to say that Psilocybin mushrooms are a topic of recent interest.
We have known them since the Mesoamerican and pre-Columbian era. Prehistoric rock art near Spain depicts the use of psilocybin mushrooms for religious rituals 6,000 years ago. Since then, there have been constant highs-lows in the research of these mushroom species due to legality issues.
Psilocybin mushrooms are a family of fungi that contain naturally occurring psychedelic actives known as ‘psilocybin’ and ‘psilocin.’ There are around 200 types of psychedelic mushrooms; the most widely known, consumed, and cultivated species are Psilocybe cubensis, Psilocybe cyanescens, Psilocybe azurescens and Amanita muscaria.
The focus of limited studies associated with psilocybin mushrooms remains on the psychedelic compound – psilocybin. As psilocybin is in larger quantities, it is much stable to external factors and easy to extract rather than psilocin.
Due to its effects on your psychological, emotional, and mental health, it is extremely popular among the people. Presently, psilocybin mushrooms are extensively studied for its fascinating health benefits on mental health.
Before we get to know the health benefits of psilocybin mushrooms, it is important to understand how they usually work. Due to limited research, there is little knowledge of the action mechanism of psilocybin mushrooms on our bodies. But, psilocybin and psilocin, the active psychedelic components work by activating serotonin receptors: 5-HT2A and stimulating dopamine pathways in your brain.
These actions cause hallucinations or euphoric activities in higher doses. While in lower doses, it can make a person feel happy, less anxious, and less depressed. Let us break down the six health benefits of psilocybin mushrooms.
Psilocybin for Mood, Depression and Anxiety Disorders
Far back in the 60s and 70s, it was widely proposed that psilocybin could play a hopeful role in the treatment of a broad range of mental disorders. However, in the 1970s, the Federal government reclassified psilocybin as Schedule I drug, and the research on therapeutic effects of psilocybin mushrooms became virtually non-existent.
Only in recent years, the popularity and call for more research on psilocybin mushrooms are finally capturing the attention of mainstream medical professionals.
The anecdotal reports have shown psilocybin to be effective in treating mood disorders, like depression and anxiety. In 2011, a pilot study showed that psilocybin effectively lowered depression and end-of-life anxiety in terminally ill cancer patients.
Researchers also confirmed that a single dose of psilocybin treatment significantly improved the symptoms of depression and anxiety for up to six months. This study eventually got approval for phase II research by the FDA.
A study published in Lancet conducted by a group of scientists based in London suggests psilocybin mushrooms may treat severe depression in patients. One study published in 2015, showed psilocybin may reduce psychological distress, self-harm thoughts, and prevent suicidality. In 2019, FDA designated psychedelic psilocybin as “Breakthrough Therapy for Major Depression Disorder,” and currently, clinical trials are underway.
Psilocybin for Addiction Disorders
Psilocybin mushrooms from reputed mushrooms Canada retailers may be a viable cure to break the patterns of addictions – which include smoking, alcohol, and substance addictions.
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A pilot study from John Hopkins University found that psilocybin treatment was successful in refraining smoking habits for over a year. The lead researcher stated that psilocybin has the potential to treat addictions like cocaine and alcohol.
One small study also found that psilocybin therapy decreased alcohol dependency and heavy drinking habits. Researchers based in Alabama are also undergoing clinical trials to treat cocaine addictions through psilocybin mushroom therapy.
Psilocybin for Cluster Headaches
Cluster headaches are described as one of the most painful and disruptive types of headaches, and they also have a significant negative impact on a person’s life. So far, there are no systematic studies of psilocybin mushrooms related to cluster headaches. Only a few anecdotal reports and stories of people are available who self-medicated the magic mushrooms.
In 2006, medical professionals began to notice the effects of psychedelics – leading to the study of possible treatments for cluster headaches using psilocybin mushrooms and LSD. They found that the symptoms of cluster headaches lowered marginally, relieving the patient from intense pain. Presently government-approved clinical trials are underway and might shade more light on psilocybin’s health benefits.
Psilocybin for Growth of New Brain Cells
We know that consuming psilocybin mushrooms highly stimulates brain functions. Medical communities now believe that this effect is related to brain cell growth. Regular consumption spurs brain cell growth and may affect neuron connections.
There is no such systematic research related to these phenomena. But, one study conducted by the University of South Florida found that psilocybin promoted neuron growth and had a regeneration effect on the brain in mice. Since then, there are hopes for more research on this ability of psilocybin mushrooms.
Psilocybin for OCD
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a psychiatric disorder that occurs in patients with schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, or any other psychiatric condition. There are few reports suggesting psilocybin mushrooms can ease the symptoms of OCD.
Scientists believe that the serotonin activating mechanism of psilocybin lowers OCD symptoms. Another small study has shown that these mushrooms have favorably reduced signs of OCD.
Psilocybin for Ego Dissolution
Some researchers believe that the beneficial effects on mental health conditions are due to psilocybin’s ability to rewiring the brain or merely resetting the Default Mode of Network (DMN) in the brain. A study shows that psilocybin decreased the activity of DMN. Decision Model and Notation (DMN) activates when you think about yourself or the past and future.
When DMN activity lowers, one might say there is a rewiring process that dissolves the sense of ‘self’ or ‘ego.’ These might be the reason why people say they had spiritual experiences after consuming psilocybin. Other effects include heightened consciousness, altered perceptions, euphoria, or openness. Scientists also believe that the relation between DMN and Psilocybin links to long antidepressant effects on a person.
Psilocybin mushrooms have tons of potential to treat mental disorders, but they are still mysterious to humans, and there is still a lot to learn about them. There has been a constant request for the government to legalize recreational psilocybin or magic mushrooms, and it has got approval in some areas too. Many people have shared their personal experiences on how psilocybin has impacted their lives. The future holds great expectations of learning more about the health benefits of psilocybin mushrooms.
Author Sophia Cooper
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