Your Brain on Magic Mushrooms and Other Psychedelics
Have you ever wondered what exactly is going on inside your brain during a psychedelic trip? We know that most psychedelics cause hallucinations, feelings of exhilaration and joy, visual and auditory sensations, and, in many cases, feelings of anxiety, fear, or despair if the user takes too high a dosage or isn’t in the right mindset when ingesting the psychedelic. These are the effects we experience with a psychedelic trip, but wouldn’t it be interesting to know why these effects are taking place, with a scientific explanation of what’s actually going on in our bodies and brains? If so, you have come to the right place. In this article, we’re going to talk science and lay down some facts about what your brain looks like during a psychedelic trip- specifically on a magic mushroom trip.
What are Magic Mushrooms?
According to Oxford, a magic mushroom is “any toadstool with hallucinogenic properties, especially the liberty cap and its relatives.” You might wonder what makes these mushrooms produce hallucinations. The answer is psilocybin or psilocin. In general, you will experience more severe hallucinations the more psilocybin the mushroom contains. Many people who have revealed details about their psychedelic experiences tell of seeing bright colours and geometric shapes and patterns. The experience can be a mix of audio and visual hallucinations. Psilocybin mushrooms come in about 200 different species, each with its own unique appearance, texture, colour, shape, level of psilocybin, and hallucinogenic effects.
How Do Psilocybin and Psilocin Affect the Brain?
Psilocybin, an indole hallucinogen similar to psilocin, alters the way the indole amine neurotransmitter serotonin behaves in the brain. Psilocybin is distinct from psilocin because it has a phosphate group attached to the molecule at the oxygen atom.
Chemistry-speaking, psilocin is an indole hallucinogen. It functions by altering the actions of the indole amine neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain as well, just like psilocybin. Psilocin and psilocybin have similar hallucinogenic effects as mescaline and LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide). Its effect lingers for several hours.
Magic mushrooms have an effect on the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which regulates abstract thought and thought analysis as well as having a substantial impact on mood and perception. People frequently discuss hearing sounds or seeing colours. One of the earliest studies done in 2014 connected this effect to how psilocybin alters brain network communication.
In his 2012 investigation of the substance, neurologist David Nutt of Imperial College London found alterations in the brain activity patterns of psilocybin users. Other parts of the brain, including one thought to be crucial for maintaining our sense of self, were suppressed while some parts of the brain were enhanced. He found that a condition of unrestricted cognition is made possible by the subjective effects of psychedelic substances, which are brought on by decreased activity and connectivity in the brain’s major connector hubs.
In another study, in order to understand how magic mushrooms enable our brain to reach unrealized potential, scientists built a model of the human brain on psilocybin. This model demonstrates that the brain develops a feedback loop of cell activity and neurotransmitter release when exposed to psilocybin (the chemical messengers that neurons use to communicate). The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences announced this discovery on April 13, 2020.
The brain is affected by other psychedelics like mescaline by increasing the amount of serotonin and dopamine attached to receptors. These two neurotransmitters, which are also in charge of feelings of joy and elation, produce psychedelic effects when present in large amounts.
Shrooms Research in Canada
A lot of scientific research is being conducted on psilocybin in Canada- especially in Toronto, Ontario and in British Columbia.
On July 27, 2022, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto received the nation’s first federal grant to investigate the impact of psilocybin, the active ingredient in “magic mushrooms,” on depression that is resistant to treatment. Researchers will specifically look at whether psilocybin’s antidepressant effects can be felt prior to experiencing its psychedelic effects. The largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital in Canada, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), is also a global leader in this area of research. To change the lives of those affected by mental illness and addiction, CAMH combines clinical care, research, teaching, policy formulation, and health promotion.
The Vancouver-based company Numinus Wellness Inc., which specializes in psychedelic research, received a license from Health Canada in June 2021 to carry out research to standardize the extraction and production of psilocybin. This made Numinus Wellness Inc. the first publicly traded company to receive this license. In Nanaimo, British Columbia, a lab is used for the research. Additionally, Health Canada has given Numinus permission to investigate MDMA-assisted therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In cooperation with the California-based nonprofit MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies), which has been at the forefront of psychedelic research since its founding in 1986, the drug often referred to as “Ecstasy” or “Molly” will be investigated.
WIth research organizations like the Brain and Cognition DIscovery Foundation in Toronto, ongoing research is being conducted constantly to find out more of psilocybin’s effects and benefits on healthy people.
It seems safe to say that enough research has already been conducted on the effects of psilocybin on our brains to know that there are more benefits than risks. Even though we know so much about psilocybin already, scientists are continuing to conduct more studies and tests on the substance so we can become even more knowledgeable and savvy on how it works in our bodies and if it’s the right choice for us in use as therapy or even recreationally. When a healthy person ingests the right dose of psilocybin and is in the right environment and mindset, the benefits are mind-blowing. From reduced anxiety, depression, PTSD, OCD, improved mood, increased energy, and improved focus, the list of benefits is endless.
We at Get Magic Mushrooms hope this article was informative. You can check out our blog page for more interesting articles on an array of topics involving shrooms to inform yourself further. Please check out our online shrooms dispensary to find great deals on high quality dried shrooms, microdose capsules, and delicious shrooms edibles.