Magic mushrooms are a natural source of psychedelics, and they were long used for recreational, self-discovery, and spiritual purposes. Countless evidence shows that they were used in many early civilizations, like the Egyptians and the Aztecs, as part of ceremonial rituals. Contrary to initial reports that Psilocybin and Psilocin, the substances in magic mushrooms, have no medical value, new research is proving otherwise. Scientific reports currently show that Psilocybin for depression and anxiety has many possibilities.
The Pros of Magic Mushrooms for Depression and Anxiety
Recent studies show depressed and anxious patients responding well to Psilocybin. The substance has the potential to reset and rewire the brain, even similar to the way electroconvulsive therapy works. The patients experience a kick start that can help them break out of their current depressive states.
The research demonstrates a long period of relief, lasting up to five weeks with only two doses of Psilocybin. Other literature shows that a single dose is potent enough to have a positive effect on cancer patients who are also suffering from anxiety and depression. This kind of dosing is a giant leap from the current medications where patients have to take antidepressants every day or have therapy weekly to achieve the same benefits. These conventional treatments can last up to years.
There is still much research to conduct to pinpoint the exact process of how psychedelics work in the brain. Brain scans show that after taking Psilocybin, a part of the brain has a slowed blood flow, which means that the brain rests and slows down. Overactive brain networks are common characteristics in people who are suffering from depression. This is the cause of much overthinking and compulsive thoughts and actions.
Studies from Imperial College London show that Psilocybin compounds found in various species of magic mushrooms work fast and safely if administered correctly and in the right dosage. These new findings are valuable for patients looking for something that will improve their lives and well-being. Magic mushrooms show effects and improvements as fast as a week, contrary to pharmaceutical treatments that take two weeks before working. People can suffer longer and potentially harm themselves before even finding reprieve. Aside from this, suicidal thoughts can persist while waiting for medications to work.
Key Differences with Antidepressants
Antidepressants have a side effect that a lot of people are aversive to. They generally dull not just depressive feelings but emotions in general. Using antidepressants can certainly reduce low mood, but they blunt the feelings and even reduce positive mood. This results in feeling numb and flat. Mushroom therapy can provide the same benefits without harming the other emotions that make people feel happy and positive. This emotional connection effect is unique to Psilocybin, making it a good, if not better, alternative.
Aside from flat affect, antidepressants have other side effects that magic mushrooms do not have. Various antidepressant medications make patients suffer from weight fluctuation, loss of libido, fatigue, other physical discomforts, and even insomnia. Magic mushrooms lack these side effects, given they are used correctly and for the short term.
Current Problems with Mushroom Therapy
The use of Psilocybin for depression and anxiety is mostly explored in the context of scientific research. Psychedelics are still largely illegal, especially in the US, limiting the availability of the treatment to the people. Like the Netherlands and Jamaica, there are a few places that offer mushroom retreats where people can have mushroom therapy. Though not all people who attend have depression, plenty of people go for this very reason. In these retreats, psychotherapists guide the sessions, and the environment is not as controlled as in laboratories.
The Future of Psilocybin
If current studies and research are successful in proving the medical value of magic mushrooms, Psilocybin can earn a new reputation after so many prohibitions. Many scientists believe that the substance can offer better treatment and a more comprehensive solution to depression, a disease affecting billions of people worldwide. Scientists are not just focusing on these two illnesses but are exploring other mental problems as well. These include eating disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder. In the US, terminally sick patients showed significant improvement, lessening end-of-life depressive symptoms, which later helped them accept death better.
Many experts in the scientific community are working to bring a much better light on mushroom therapy. The success of the studies will give way to many possibilities, giving more people a chance at a better life. Harvesting the potential of Psilocybin will greatly benefit the world.