Psilocybin is a natural psychedelic compound produced by fungus species. It is a prodrug that the body converts to psilocin, a compound that has mind-altering effects, including euphoria, mental and visual hallucinations, distortions in perception, among others. Because of these effects in the brain, Psilocybin is linked to neural plasticity. In other words, shrooms have the potential to rewire the brain, making them a possible treatment for a lot of mental health issues. Since this is an interesting breakthrough, it is essential to learn the process of how Psilocybin promotes neural plasticity.
Neural plasticity refers to the ability of the CNS, or Central Nervous System, to adapt as a response to the changes of the environment. This function of the CNS enables the brain to impose cognitive strategies that involve modifications so that a person may cope with new challenges, form new neural networks, and learn new information and knowledge. Psychedelics are known to help increase dendritic arbor complexity, help with dendritic spine growth, and stimulate the formation of synapses, which are all the different parts of a neuron. These effects are similar to those caused by antidepressant drugs, supporting the potential of psychedelics as a possible treatment for depression and other mental disorders.
Aside from depression, other neuropsychiatric diseases that stem out from neural plasticity issues are anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and even trauma. These disorders cause structural changes, reducing the functions and growth of the dendritic spines, synapses, and neurites. When haltered, the neurons cannot make the connections and pass on important information to other neurons, resulting in the interruption of coping and learning. A person will have a challenging time getting treatment for the disorders they are suffering from. They will not learn new behavior that can help them overcome and improve from their situation.
Several pieces of evidence have proved that psychedelics promote functional and structural neural plasticity, specifically in the cortical neurons. When a person ingests Psilocybin, it gets converted to psilocin, which is a chemical that binds to serotonin receptors in the brain. This triggers what scientists call neural avalanching, which causes domino changes that happen in the brain. A person will experience increased activity in the visual cortex, which eventually causes changes in perception. The connectivity of the neurons encompasses the different regions of the brain, causing profound changes in the way the brain synchronizes.
The effects can be felt almost instantaneously by a person who has gone through a trip. Suddenly, revisited memories have new interpretations, stories of bad childhood become a testimony of resilience, and old problems are solved with new insights. Research on magic mushrooms and their effects on neural plasticity is increasing as new shreds of evidence are gathered.
A future where magic mushrooms are used for the treatment of depression and overall mental well-being of a person is highly possible. There is a growing literature on the subject, and it won’t be long until scientists uncover more useful information. Shrooms can provide a way to help the brain rewire and rewrite information to greatly benefit a person.