Magic mushrooms or psilocybin mushrooms, also known psychedelic mushrooms, grow naturally worldwide. These mushrooms contain psychedelic drugs psilocybin and psilocin.
Reports suggested psilocybin mushrooms have likely been used since prehistoric times and may have been depicted in rock art.
Many cultures have used these mushrooms in religious rites. In modern Western society, they are used recreationally for their psychedelic effects. Psilocybin is present in varying concentrations in over 200 species of Basidiomycota mushrooms.”
This was the first time the magic mushrooms were carried out to relate “the behavioral effects to biological changes.”
According to a study published in the journal Human Brain Mapping it is found that “People who consume these mushrooms, after “trips” that can be a bit scary and unpleasant, report feeling more optimistic, less self-centered, and even happier for months.”
"A good way to understand how the brain works is to perturb the system in a marked and novel way. Psychedelic drugs do precisely this and so are powerful tools for exploring what happens in the brain when consciousness is profoundly altered," Dr. Enzo Tagliazucchi, who led the study at Germany's Goethe University, said.
In this study, 15 volunteers were injected with psilocybin and their respective brain scanning reports were obtained using functional magnetic resonance imaging scanner.
The result showed that “with psilocybin, activity in the more primitive brain network linked to emotional thinking became more pronounced, with several parts of the network - such as the hippocampus and anterior cingulate cortex - active at the same time.
This pattern is similar to when people are dreaming. They also found that volunteers on psilocybin had more disjointed and uncoordinated activity in the brain network that is linked to high-level thinking, including self-consciousness.”
Psychedelic drug (such as LSD) users often experience a series of "expanded consciousness including vivid imagination and dream-like states.”
“I was fascinated to see similarities between the pattern of brain activity in a psychedelic state and the pattern of brain activity during dream sleep, especially as both involve the primitive areas of the brain linked to emotions and memory," Robin Carhart-Harris of Imperial College London's Department of Medicine was quoted saying.
If everything goes fine, magic mushrooms could turn out to be a great source for potential treatment as far as depression is concerned in near future.