People have consumed magic mushrooms for centuries for various medicinal properties, either by drying or mixing them into food, drinks, or brewing a tea out of them. Their historic presence is unquestionable but their scientific value isn’t. At least, it wasn’t until researchers decided to study these mushrooms for potential therapeutic benefits.
After seeing the rising phenomenon of Silicon Valley rich-enthusiasts consuming “cognitive enhancers” in the form of hallucinogenic drugs like LSD and psilocybin, things were clear. There are other powerful psychodelics like ayahuasca medicine from the Amazon jungle and salvia divinorum (yerba de la pastora), we wrote about before.
We needed more studies on these mushrooms. And more studies we received. For starters, the anecdotic evidence was there all along. One Dennis van der Meijden consumes 0.1-0.4 grams a microdose every three days. He says it “sharpens all the senses as if the frequencies of all of your atoms and energy field are raised a little bit and are being slightly more conscious.”
There are many more such testimonies about the benefits of magic mushrooms spread around the internet. People are consuming them for various reasons. Either they’re trying to self-medicate for anxiety or depression, or they want to increase their productivity and creativity.
However, are these benefits real or just placebo-based illusions? Let’s take a look at how psilocybin acts on your brain!
Convergent and divergent thinking
A study performed in 2018 by a team of researchers in the Netherlands discovered that psilocybin didn’t cause any changes in the abstract thinking, problem-solving, or rational thinking abilities of participants. Instead, the participants scored higher on their creativity tests that looked at their divergent and convergent thinking.
Divergent thinking is mental flexibility, simply put. It refers to the ability of the individual to diverge his focus and thought patterns into multiple directions to seek various answers to a single question.
Convergent thinking is the exact opposite – a form of razor-sharp focus and mental discipline to help you narrow down the ideal answer to a single problem. This is also tied to abstract thinking.
How does psilocybin changes the way we think?
Biochemistry, that’s how. Psilocybin naturally interacts with receptors for the serotonin neurotransmitters in your brain. One area that is filled with these receptors is your cerebral cortex. The cortex contains these receptors in areas known to be responsible for introspection, imagination, and reflection.
The experiment looked at 38 participants who consumed a microdose of 0.37 grams of dried mushrooms. After approximately 90 minutes, they completed a series of tests meant to analyze their creative problem-solving skills and fluid intelligence levels. While the test subjects performed similarly on the fluid intelligence tests both before and after microdosing, they scored higher on the others test post-microdosing.
The researchers correlated this with an increase in the convergent thinking form of creativity. However, they also claimed that these results could originate from the participants’ expectations and not the psilocybin itself. That’s why they recommended that more studies are made to confirm or negate this.
Is psilocybin microdosing good for anything else?
At the very least, we’re beginning to understand how psilocybin works on the human brain. Microdosing these magic shrooms has become the favorite past-time of many success-driven young people. They are looking for brain pills to improve their performance and get to the top of the food chain faster than everyone else.
However, psilocybin microdoses provide other benefits that have nothing to do with performance. Instead, we’re talking about therapeutic uses like the effects it has on treatment-resistant depression. Other studies have talked about psilocybin’s effects on countering anxiety and even cluster headaches.
Clearly, these magic shrooms have many more uses than it is conveniently known. Unfortunately, the scientific evidence is very sparse when compared to the overwhelming anecdotic evidence coming from people all around the world.
The global mushroom market is set to surge at a CAGR of 6.41% till 2026, with worldwide mushroom consumption slated to reach 20.84 million tons (MT) during the forecast period. Rising vegan population, especially in the developed countries, is expected to be the key driver of the global mushroom market growth in the forecast period.
A couple of studies also raise a series of interesting question marks related to the long-term side effects of microdosing psilocybin. Some of them claim that extended exposure to the drug, albeit in sub-perceptual quantities, can restructure your brain patterns and even cause permanent damage. The damage most likely refers to long-term changes in the brain’s internal structure or reactions to outward stimuli.
What are the Benefits of Magic Mushrooms (Psilocybin)?
1. Openness and Optimism
You must have come across people with different personalities in your life. Some remain welcoming and optimistic about life, whereas others are skeptical and pessimistic about taking risks. So, the question is, can shrooms alter your personality?
According to reports, a high dose of psilocybin mushrooms can have a long term positive influence on your character. People who took psilocybin expressed a welcoming personality that lasted for a year.
The openness in personality is a psychological shift, meaning appreciation for new experiences. The “open” character helps you have deep insights, bring excitement, creativity, and interest. As per a study, human nature remains pretty much the same as seen when in first grade. Thus, if you want to grow your personality, then try magic mushrooms.
2. Heal Mental Disorders
Did you know that 1 in 10 teenage people go through depression? Mental disorders like depression, bipolar disorders, and dementia are pervasive these days. They consist of a broad range of symptoms, like abnormal thoughts, behaviors, and relationships, that prevents a person from having a social life, and they lose their interest in living.
They mostly get negative thoughts, feel pessimistic, and sometimes suicidal also. So, let’s see how magic mushrooms can help treat mental illnesses.
According to research, scientists found positive changes in depression patients who underwent psilocybin therapy for more than a month.
Researchers conducted another study and compared the before and after images of patients’ brains who took magic mushrooms. They found progress in the brain activity of depressed people who didn’t react to traditional medicines. The victims expressed their experience as a “brain reset.”
Thus you or your loved ones can take magic mushrooms if they are going through any mental illnesses, helping them alleviate their symptoms. One of the most potent magic mushroom species is psilocybe cubensis, which can create intense psychedelic experiences when consumed. Taking small doses of this shroom can help you feel calm and relaxed.
3. Decreased partner violence
You must have noticed that most people who take too many drugs like alcohol or cocaine show heightened aggressiveness and partner violence. But the effect is the opposite in the case of magic mushrooms. Interesting, isn’t it? Let’s look at some studies that prove it.
A study determined that the chances of men engaging in violent activities reduced to half in men who consumed psychedelics. The responsible use of magic mushrooms can create mystical events, shifts in sentiment, judgment, and self-awareness. But the study talks only about reducing the chances of violence. Do we really have a practical example?
In 2018, a small group of scholars from Laurentian University took this as a challenge and decided to prove this theory. They conducted an online survey of 1266 people, asking the people about their magic mushroom usage.
Based on the study, they finished an application that evaluated various emotional phases and voila! The survey result showed that the use of shrooms minimized partner violence. Next time you are angry with your partner, just relax and sip shroom tea.
You must have heard about mindfulness meditation and its various mental health benefits. It can help improve concentration, reduce stress levels, and enhance attention in seniors. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could increase the benefits of meditation?
Well, researchers experimented to see the consequences of combining psilocybin with mindfulness meditation. They selected forty meditation specialists who participated in a five-day mindfulness escape. Towards the fourth day of their retreat, the researchers gave some of the meditation experts psilocybin, whereas others a placebo shot.
After the five day retreat, the researchers found that the positive impacts of psilocybin heightened due to mindfulness meditation, and diminished the unhappy and dissatisfied responses from a psychedelic event.
After four months, a follow-up of the same meditation experts showed positive psychological and social behavior changes. They grew more self-acceptable and empathetic than their placebo group. Therefore, you can also heighten your meditation results by taking magic mushrooms.
5. Reduce criminal behavior
You might have heard the news about theft or assault in your neighborhood or other cities. Why does it happen? In most cases, the perpetrators’ psychological health impacts their decision making, and they lose control.
According to reports, the consumption of magic mushrooms can lead to decreased antisocial criminal behavior. You will be amazed to know that the use of psilocybin at any point in life remains linked with a reduced likelihood of theft, assault, and other property infringements. It is because magic mushrooms can produce a mystical/religious experience that reduces antisocial behavior.
6. Smoking cessation
Smoking is one of the pri bary addictions in most people, which can slowly lead to cancer. People addicted to smoking find it difficult to quit due to the withdrawal symptoms like anxiety, headache, yearning for cigarettes, and irritation. So, how do magic mushrooms help stop you from smoking?
According to an article undergoing a psilocybin-assisted therapy can help overcome nicotine addiction. Almost 80 percent of the participants who endured psilocybin-therapy refrained from smoking. It reduced their craving for nicotine and didn’t experience any withdrawal symptoms. Thus, consuming magic mushrooms in small doses can help with smoking cessation.
You must be surprised to read this heading! But it is true. Even though psilocybin is a psychedelic component in magic mushrooms, it is not addictive. It is because consuming psilocybin produces vigorous psychological activity confining you from further usage. Additionally, your body can instantly build tolerance towards psilocybin effects, making it difficult to differentiate the psychedelic effects of magic mushrooms in the long term.
Now that you are aware of the various psychedelic properties of magic mushrooms, start making it a part of your life. Taking it in small doses can have positive health benefits. Notice any signs of vomiting or diarrhea? It may be a possible side-effect of magic mushroom, which will subside with time. If it doesn’t lessen, then visit a doctor who can prescribe you the right medications.
Check out more about the legal safety on our article: Will Magic Mushrooms (Psilocybin) Show Up on a Hair Follicle Drug Test?