It used to be that people only consumed magic mushrooms recreationally in order to get a spiritual lift that would make them forget their current cares and troubles. However, recent research has shown that psychedelic magic mushrooms can be used therapeutically and produce superior results when compared to the existing therapies for a variety of conditions, such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety. As usual, we at Bhang Bhang make it a point to keep you in the loop of the latest developments, so read on and learn how magic mushrooms could help you.
A Primer on Psilocybin
Psychedelic mushrooms, or “magic mushrooms” as they are commonly referred to, have an active ingredient called psilocybin.
For centuries, people have used magic mushrooms to enjoy the spiritual journey triggered by the psychedelic effects of psilocybin. However, psychedelics were banned and they currently occupy the same space as heroin and MDMA (Molly/Ecstasy) on the list of banned substances in different countries and jurisdictions.
Today, there is a reawakening to the therapeutic benefits of psilocybin or magic mushrooms and their use is beginning to grow despite prohibitionist laws.
How Magic Mushrooms Work
Recent research has shown that one of the mechanisms through which psilocybin works is through its role in neurogenesis.
Neurogenesis refers to the process by which new brain cells or connections are developed. In 2013, researchers from the University of South Florida trained mice to develop fear for a sound that always preceded their exposure to an electric shock.
Once those mice had learned to fear the sound, they were divided into three groups. One group was given a saline solution, the second was given a small dose of magic mushrooms and the third received a large dose of magic mushrooms.
These mice were then exposed to the sound they were trained to fear in order to gauge how well the treatment they received helped them to overcome that fear.
It was found that the group which received a small dose of psilocybin exhibited a marked recovery from the fear they had while those that got the saline solution showed no improvement. The large-dose group only had modest improvement.
The researchers wrote that the magic mushrooms helped the mice to grow or repair their brain cells in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for the storage of emotions, such as fear.
This neurogenesis helped the treated mice to overcome the fear that they had been conditioned to experience each time the sound was heard just before an electric shock was administered.
How People With PTSD and Depression Can Benefit from Magic Mushrooms
You might be wondering, how is this story about mice and sounds connected to you who is struggling with PTSD and depression, or other mental conditions? A lot, as you will learn shortly.
You see, the same way that the mice in the 2013 study got over their fear by receiving a dose of psilocybin is the same way in which you too can get relief from the symptoms of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Depression and PTSD symptoms are triggered by certain stimuli, such as a loud bang that can bring up memories of explosions that one witnessed while on the frontline. For the case of the mice, the trigger for their fear was the sound preceding the electric shock.
When you consume magic mushrooms, your brain grows new cells or repairs the damaged ones in the hippocampus. Consequently, this neurogenesis helps to broaden your emotional and spiritual experiences to the extent that you start looking at what you went through in a different light.
For example, the traumatic incident that brought on your depression or PTSD can take on greater spiritual significance to you and you will see it as a phase you needed to go through in order to become stronger. In this way, your depression and other symptoms will start to dissipate.