Many indigenous communities use psychedelics during coming of age ceremonies and religious rites. These natural psychedelics include magic mushrooms, mescaline, ibogaine, ayahuasca and more.
Users of these substances get to see and experience things in a different light. They encounter enhanced senses, deeper emotional and cognitive insight. Most of the time, users take full doses of these substances to experience such a “trip”.
But nowadays, people are more interested in their medical and therapeutic benefits. Studies have shown that these psychedelics are excellent alternatives for treating health problems. In one study, magic mushrooms showed promising results in treating major depressive disorders.
Researchers are considering magic mushrooms as a breakthrough drug for mental health problems. Psilocybin is the hallucinogenic compound found in magic mushrooms. As of today, there are more than two hundred species of mushrooms that contain this substance.
Psilocybin and The Brain
According to research, psilocybin shares some similarities with serotonin. Serotonin is the essential hormone that regulates and stabilizes a person’s mood. At the same time, it impacts your entire body because it affects your complete well-being.
Psilocybin is a hallucinogenic compound that helps reduce the activity of the amygdala. It’s the part of the brain that processes human emotions and works with serotonin. This means that they both play a role in mood regulation.
If there are low or imbalanced levels of serotonin, it can lead to anxiety and depression. Studies show that psilocybin affects the body’s serotonergic system. This means that it can help restore your body’s serotonin balance.
Psilocybin and Anxiety
Feelings of fear, discomfort and apprehension in social settings are possible. This kind of experience can be a result of having social anxiety. According to recent data, 7.1 percent of people in the U.S. experience social anxiety. About 12.1 percent will experience and confront it once in their lives.
There are many studies on the effects of shrooms on social anxiety. In one study, medical professionals gave adults with mental health conditions psilocybin. They documented the changes in the subjects. Results have shown that the subjects experienced a significant increase in the following:
- social effects
An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) supported the results. The scans showed that psilocybin produced neurological effects. It affected the critical areas in the brain responsible for social pain processing.
Another study focused on the effect of psilocybin among cancer patients. These patients suffer from depression and anxiety. The researchers gave these patients a single dose of psilocybin.
According to the results, the patients showed significant improvements. Especially with their stress and anxiety levels. Not only that, but they also have a better outlook on life several years after. This means that psilocybin had a lasting effect on the mood and behaviour of patients.
Many researches and clinical trials are showing the medical benefits of magic mushrooms. But, these substances are still considered a Schedule I drug by the government. Thus, people who are looking for alternative medicine have no easy access to them.
But the future looks bright. More people are now accepting the use of entheogenic substances to treat illnesses. Also, more individuals and organizations are pushing for the decriminalization of psilocybin mushrooms.
There is still a need for more academic research and clinical trials. More studies that will show its benefits will reduce people’s bias against it.