Psilocybin is a hallucinogenic chemical found in a certain family of mushrooms such as Copelandia, Panaeolus, Pholiotina, Pluteus, Psilocybe, Gymnopilus, and Inocybe. Mushrooms that contain psilocybin are called “magic mushrooms” and can be found in Europe, Mexico, South America, and the United States. The amount of psilocybin in dried magic mushrooms is usually 10 times higher than that found in fresh mushrooms. When ingested, psilocybin can produce hallucinogenic effects within 30 minutes and can last 4-6 hours. Recent studies on psilocybin suggest that aside from these effects, it can help benefit different health conditions that affect cognitive function and pain perception.
Psilocybin activates serotonin receptors in the brain region called the prefrontal cortex, which is involved in the regulation of cognition, perception, and mood. In addition, psilocybin also works in other brain regions that play vital roles in the regulation of arousal and panic responses. This in turn produces antidepressant and anti-anxiety effects, relieves pain, and improves cognition.
Psilocybin can help achieve euphoria (extreme happiness) by activating serotonin receptors in the brain. This effect can in turn combat symptoms of depression and improve quality of life. The antidepressant effects of psilocybin are backed by a number of clinical studies:
The activation of serotonin receptors in the brain by psilocybin can also reduce symptoms of anxiety. Studies show that psilocybin can help alleviate anxiety due to different causes:
People with alcoholism have altered levels of serotonin – their brains produce and break down serotonin more slowly than non-alcoholics. Psilocybin can help correct this impairment by activating serotonin receptors in the brain. Evidence suggests that psilocybin can help reduce alcohol cravings:
Cigarette smoking can decrease serotonin levels by as much as half. Psilocybin can help treat cigarette addiction by activating serotonin receptors in the brain, thus restoring the balance of serotonin in the body. A good deal of evidence supports the benefits of psilocybin on smoking cessation:
Alterations in the levels of serotonin may result in headaches by causing the blood vessels to narrow. Studies show that the ability of psilocybin to restore serotonin levels may offer pain-relieving properties:
The calming effects of psilocybin may help improve various parameters of cognitive function. Studies suggest that it may help treat cognitive dysfunction associated with different medical conditions:
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition characterized by flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety that is usually triggered by a terrifying event. Studies show that the antidepressant and anti-anxiety effects of psilocybin may help treat this disorder:
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and/or behaviors (compulsions) that urge the affected individual to repeat over and over. Studies found that the administration of psilocybin may help reduce these obsessions and compulsions:
Psilocybin side effects are very uncommon. There have been some side effects associated with the use of this drug wherein the patient had one of the issues listed below at some point while being on psilocybin. However, these side effects weren’t confirmed to be associated with the treatment and could have been a coincidence and not related to the use of psilocybin. Despite this, it was listed as a side effect associated with psilocybin even though these associated side effects are very uncommon.
Side effects associated with psilocybin may include the following:
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