Magic mushrooms, commonly referred to as shrooms, are a naturally occurring type of fungi that contain an unusual chemical compound called psilocybin, producing psychoactive and psychedelic effects when consumed. Oftentimes these mushrooms are dried then consumed in foods or drinks, although some people eat them fresh. They are categorized are hallucinogenic drugs, meaning they can alter your sensations causing you to see, hear, and/or feel things that aren't actually there.
It turns out that shrooms have been used for centuries in ancient cultures for sacred and religious practices to help communicate with ancestors and spirits. Presently, we are seeing many people use them recreationally, however, clinical studies are now discovering these same mushrooms have healing properties that can also be used far beyond a psychedelic trip to help reduce and even treat both psychiatric and psychological disorders like anxiety, depression and OCD. Magic mushrooms are becoming more widely accepted and researched despite its controversial classification as a Class 1 drug -- illegal substances, or chemicals defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Another common example of this is heroin.
Food for thought: Isn't it ironic how a naturally occurring fungi provided by mother nature herself contains an abundance of potential healing properties that is likely to improve lives is also classified as an illegal drug?
The psychoactive effects of magic mushrooms
According to Psychology Today, consuming these mushrooms will induce significant changes in one's thought, mood and perception due to the chemical psilocybin binding to serotonin receptors in the brain, aka where the trip begins! This usually takes thirty minutes to an hour to kick in and can last up to six hours depending on the amount consumed. The peak of this experience typically kicks in around two hours or so into the trip, where the effects are the strongest. People tend to experience all kinds of highs, which can be dependent on mood, mindset, environment, etc. Many people involved in these studies commonly reported having experienced a life changing spiritual epiphany, helping them connect to nature on a deeper level, but once the effects of the drug wore off subjects had a difficult time recollecting this psilocybin induced epiphany. One common misconception is that a patient needs to experience a psychedelic trip in order for the drug to be effective, however this is not always the case, this is where we see microdosing come into play -- I’m sure many of you have been hearing that term a lot lately. Microdosing is essentially the ability to enhance neuro activity without experiencing intense psychoactive effects. It is done by regular consumption of a small amount of psilocybin (in this case) over a consistent period of time to reap the benefits without experiencing the high, therefore being able to function in society while dosing shrooms. We are seeing magic mushrooms studied using both high doses and microdoses across the board to examine different outcomes and the potential benefits.
Studies suggest magic mushrooms have the potential to reduce these common disorders
- Psychological distress related to cancer
In addition to these disorders, research suggests microdosing mushrooms can improve mood, energy, creativity, and wisdom over time.
While there are many potential benefits to using magic mushrooms therapeutically with little to no side effects, research is giving us hope that psilocybin has the potential to be an effective treatment for psychiatric and psychological disorders and therefore, are seemingly becoming more widely accepted. So let's hope the future is full of psychedelic magic mushrooms!