Psilocybin (the active chemical in “magic mushrooms”) is, well, truly “magical.”
I have discussed the benefits of psilocybin, as well as other psychedelics in some of my previous articles*, but it seems that researchers and medical professionals are discovering more and more exciting information on the topic all the time.
More recently, scientists have discovered that psilocybin can actually change the way that the brain functions both short-term and long-term and it can even cause the brain to grow new cells. This helps to explain some of the anti-depressant effects and the lasting personality changes that can occur with the use of psilocybin, as I have mentioned before.
More importantly, this new research can have substantial benefits on the future of PTSD, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and substance abuse treatment and prevention, just to name a few.
Organizations such as MAPS and the Beckley Foundation have been pushing for more psychedelic drug research through the years and this research, as well as others, isn’t going unnoticed. Research is providing fascinating details on how psychedelic substances influence our brain’s activity.
For instance, it appears that psilocybin alters the brain by changing the way different parts of the brain communicate with each other.
This is quite exciting news as previous research pointed to the fact that psilocybin “turned off” or decreased activity in parts of the brain.
It seems that, in fact, the brain is just re-wired for a period of time instead. The normal organizational structure of the brain is actually temporarily changed by allowing parts of the brain that don’t normally communicate to interact with each other.
Paul Expert, a co-author of a recent study stated that, “Psilocybin dramatically transformed the participants’ brain organization. With the drug, normally unconnected brain regions showed brain activity that was synchronized tightly in time.”
Even more interesting is the fact that this “hyperconnected” communication appears to be very stable and organized and not erratic in nature.
This, also, helps to explain the phenomenon of synesthesia, a sensory state that some psilocybin users report, such as seeing sounds, assigning colors to certain numbers, seeing smells, etc. Once the drug wears off, the organizational structure of the brain returns to normal.
This research could offer even more potential advances in overcoming depression and substance abuse issues by manipulating the brain into re-wiring or altering moods and behaviors.
In research conducted by Dr. Juan R. Sanchez-Ramos at the University of Florida, mice were able to regrow brain cells in damaged areas of the brain and learn to overcome fear.
It appears that psilocybin binds to receptors that stimulate growth and healing.
In his research, Dr. Sanchez-Ramos trained mice to associate certain noises with electroshocks. Once some of these mice were given psilocybin, they were able to stop fearing the noise and overcome the conditioned fear response that was taught to them. Dr. Sanchez-Ramos believes that these findings can offer potential benefits in the future treatment of those suffering from PTSD.
It stands to reason that this information could, one day, offer some potential and profound advances towards learning/memory improvement and Alzheimer’s treatment/prevention as well.
While more research still needs to be done, psilocybin is showing promising results every day. We have come so far already in proving that these “illegal” substances do, in fact, have a place in the medical community and lives of many people who could greatly benefit from a psychedelic “trip.” Yet, we have only just begun. Be well!
* Be sure to check out my other articles on psychedelic research at the links below:
- Psychedelic Therapy: Scientifically Confirmed Ways Psychedelic Drugs Can Treat Mental Disorders
- Expansion of Consciousness-Psilocybin’s Gateway to the Mind & Well-being
- Magic Mushrooms Can Actually Rewire and Change Your Brain - December 26, 2014
- What Is an Ambivert and How to Find Out If You Are One - November 8, 2014
- Sound Therapy: an Amazing Tool to Change Your State of Mind & Enhance Wellbeing - October 16, 2014
Copyright © 2012-2023 Learning Mind. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint, contact us.
This Post Has 5 Comments
Thanks Amie for writing about the awesome research.
I conducted my own tests with Psilocybe caerulesens Murray, variety Mazatecorum, in 1989 in Mexico. Mayans well understand proper use of the mushroom for healing and for spiritual connection. Western society has unfortunately used it for wrong reasons and often to excess with bizarre result and illegal status. But it is a wonderful consequence of nature, well understood and appreciated by Mayan practitioners such as Maria Sabina (1894 – 1985). Brain alterations are of course material changes investigated by physical means, as befits our strictly material mainstream science.
I appreciate George Moss’ views on this. Yet, I have witnessed westerners (self included) very much enjoying and benefiting from psilocybin and other psychedelics.
Sometimes the media would find a few people who were not prepared for the experience or were in a wretched environment or with manipulative people who gave them their “bummers”… but I believe for most, the experiences westerners have had with the psychedelics have been beautiful and meaningful. Many of us “non-Mayans” also “well understand (the) proper use of the mushroom for healing and for spiritual connection”, even though we weren’t in Mexico enjoying it, and did not practice sacred rituals.
Our rituals at the time were of the sort as to put on a stack of late 60’s psychedelic lps and gather our best friends in one of our homes and together marvel at the music, the taste of food and things like the patterns in the irises of each others eyes or all the symmetry and order in a flower arrangement… ahhh! (and om, too!)
My daughter, who has had a history of anxiety disorders, has now been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia. She is 53. Her husband who is over 65 has lymphoma but is responding to the latest treatment. Because I am 79, my husband and I are moving into a retirement village, and it is very hard for me to make the long drive from Brisbane to where she lives on the Sunshine Coast. We are all very concerned for her safety. Only last week she had to be rushed to hospital because she had over-dosed on phenergan. She is of above average intelligence and manages to appear quite lucid but in fact has no impulse control. She is to be sent home from the psych ward next week. She can no longer work, drive or hold a credit card. From what I have researched the future seems terribly bleak.
I am wondering if there could be any possibility of at least slowing down her disease with something like psilocybin. I have heard that it can delay dementia. But where to go to find a psychiatrist willing to use it?
Can you help me? At the moment I feel we are lost in the worst possible nightmare.
I believe that anything nature produces should not be regulated or prohibited by government. Fascinating article, thank you.