Does it seem like everyone is throwing around terms like “shroom therapy”, “psilocybin”, and “microdosing” nowadays, and you’re not sure what people are talking about? Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered. This article will cover all the FAQs about shroom therapy, as well as everything else you need to know about magic mushrooms.
Read on to learn about what magic mushrooms are, the benefits of psilocybin, its therapeutic applications, potential risks of tripping on shrooms, the practice of microdosing, and more! Next time you find yourself having a conversation about psilocybin or microdosing, you can be the one to wow everyone with your knowledge about shrooms.
What Are Magic Mushrooms?
Magic mushrooms are mushrooms with psychedelic effects, as opposed to poisonous mushrooms or the edible kind we can buy at the grocery store. There are around 200 varieties of these mushrooms growing naturally all over the world. In fact, magic mushrooms are endemic to all continents except Antarctica. Primarily, what makes these mushrooms psychedelic is their main chemical compound psilocybin. Psilocybin is a prodrug, meaning that it turns into a psychoactive substance once it is metabolized by the body. Once it is metabolized by the body, psilocybin becomes psilocin.
How Do Magic Mushrooms Work?
We already know that our bodies break down the mushrooms and convert the psilocybin to psilocin, but what effect does psilocin have on our brains? Psilocin is able to bind with serotonin receptors in our brains. This is actually quite fascinating because, in other words, it means that our brains are perfectly prepared to receive this psychedelic drug.
There is much we still need to learn about how psilocybin works, but enough studies have been done, and enough personal experiences have been collected to know that one way that psilocin affects our brains is that it suppresses sensory filters. This means that instead of ignoring most of the sensory stimulation around us, as we usually do, we are flooded with sensory information.
Another way that psilocin seems to work is by “resetting our brains”. People are able to see themselves and their lives in a new light; in a way, they feel that they are able to start all over again.
Furthermore, a recent study at Yale University found that psilocybin not only caused mice to have 10% more neuronal connections, but these connections were also 10% larger and, therefore, stronger. One week later, 50% of these connections were still intact, and more than a month later, about a third of the connections were still intact. These results would explain why the effects of psilocybin in humans also appear to be long-lasting.
What Are the Effects of Magic Mushrooms?
Understanding how psilocybin affects our brains helps us understand the effects that we experience during a magic mushroom trip. First, our senses are enhanced. We will see colours and movements all around us that we had never perceived before; even the lines between senses are blurred to the point that people report having heard colours or tasted sounds. We might see geometric shapes in places where we wouldn’t normally see them, as well as other types of hallucinations.
Another common benefit of psilocybin is the previously mentioned feeling – or reality – that our brains have somehow rewired. We become aware of aspects of ourselves that we didn’t see before. We understand parts of our lives and our relationships differently. We might also be able to let go of reoccurring negative thoughts that were weighing us down.
Let’s be honest; a psychedelic trip can also go down a very dark path, also known as a “bad trip”, but most people report that even this type of experience is beneficial in the long run. Perhaps, they still learned something important about themselves; perhaps despite the difficult experience, they still felt rewired afterward and able to see life from a fresh perspective.
The psychedelic effects of a magic mushroom trip are usually gone about six hours after consuming shrooms. However, as we saw before, the benefits of psilocybin are long-lasting.
Benefits and Therapeutic Uses of Psilocybin
The potential benefits of psilocybin seem limitless. For the most part, preliminary studies have been carried out that have hinted at the potential of psilocybin to treat many mental and physical conditions. These preliminary studies have shown such promising results that more studies are currently underway to corroborate initial findings. Clinical trials are also underway in order to prepare psilocybin-based drugs for commercialization.
As of now, we know that psilocybin is effective in treating treatment-resistant depression, alcohol and tobacco dependence, and distress caused by life-threatening illnesses, such as cancer.
This might not seem like much; however, the list of conditions for which psilocybin has shown promising therapeutic potential is much longer. It is currently being studied for different types of depression, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anorexia nervosa, schizophrenia, adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, different types of substance dependence, acute suicidal ideation and behaviour, cancer, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Sanfilippo syndrome, and Parkinson’s disease, among others.
Does a Magic Mushroom Trip Have Any Risks?
Even taking a baby aspirin has risks, but psychedelics are among the safest drugs out there, and of all psychedelics, psilocybin is the safest.
The main risk of consuming magic mushrooms is accidentally eating a poisonous mushroom instead! This would only happen if you attempted to forage for mushrooms yourself or if you bought shrooms from a shady dealer, so make sure you always buy shrooms from a reliable source, such as a shroom dispensary in Canada.
Let’s put the risk of magic mushrooms in further perspective. In 2017, the Global Drug Survey found that only 0.2% of magic mushroom users sought emergency care after a psychedelic trip whereas the percentage of alcohol consumers who required emergency care was 1.3%, and the percentage of methamphetamine consumers was 4.8%.
Furthermore, psilocybin is neither toxic nor addictive. In fact, if you take psilocybin too frequently – even mere microdoses – your body will build up a tolerance, and you simply won’t feel any effects.
Microdosing Psilocybin Mushrooms
Another fascinating possibility with shroom therapy is microdosing. Microdosing is the practice of consuming small amounts of therapeutic hallucinogens, such as psilocybin, in order to obtain a lot of the same benefits without the psychedelic effects.
Unfortunately, we know even less about the effects of microdosing than we know about the effects of psychedelic doses of psilocybin. However, this practice is also showing great promise. One preliminary study showed positive outcomes regarding mood, energy, and cognition. Another study found that microdosing increased both convergent and divergent thought. In an additional study, participants reported lower levels of negative attitudes and emotions, and greater wisdom, open-mindedness, and creativity. Microdosing has also been effective in improving mental health by reducing stress, improving mood, and lessening symptoms of depression, anxiety, PTSD, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Furthermore, another study found that microdosing helped people with alcohol and tobacco dependence to decrease their use of these substances or even to abstain from them completely.
If microdosing caught your attention, click here to shop our selection of magic mushrooms.