Rebalancing the Mind and Body: Magic Mushrooms & Altering Brain Chemicals

Magic mushrooms contain a compound that can drastically alter one’s perception of the world. This particular substance is psilocybin and works like LSD, a psychedelic drug. 

Nowadays, scientists are looking into the effects of the psychedelic chemical in magic mushrooms on the brain.

Fortunately, there are natural substances that help rebalance your system by removing toxins from your body. In this article, let’s have a deeper understanding of the chemical imbalance of magic mushroom solution.

Introduction to Chemical Imbalance

Chemical imbalance in the brain occurs when the brain has either too many or too few chemical messengers known as neurotransmitters.

The frontal lobe and the hippocampus are brain structures that govern your emotional state and mood.

In patients with depression and other psychological issues, you can see changes in these brain areas and neurotransmitters.

In some research, they argue that these abnormalities often lead to mental health problems. 

Causes of Chemical Imbalances

According to the chemical imbalance theory, changes in neurotransmitter levels in the brain causes depression.

The efficacy of antidepressant drugs is the most commonly utilized data to back up the chemical imbalance argument.

These drugs function by raising serotonin and other neurotransmitter levels in the brain. Compared to a placebo, large-scale studies suggest that these drugs are beneficial in treating depressive symptoms.

However, while these treatments can help alleviate symptoms, this does not always imply that a chemical deficiency causes the symptoms.

Serotonin, for example, plays a part in a person’s overall mental health. However, insufficient evidence establishes that a serotonin imbalance causes depression.

It’s worth remembering that millions of chemical processes occur in the brain. 

Because there are so many reactions at once, it’s impossible to tell if someone is suffering from a single chemical imbalance in their nervous system.

For example, there is a temporal lag between when a person begins taking SSRIs and when symptoms are reversed. 

This shows that another downstream pathway could mediate the antidepressant effect.

Symptoms of Chemical Imbalances

If you have a chemical imbalance, you may encounter one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Loss of energy
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Anxiety or panic attacks
  • Difficulty sleeping or restless sleep
  • Nightmares
  • Brain fog and cognitive impairment
Mushrooms close capture

Overview of Magic Mushrooms

Magic mushrooms naturally occur worldwide. Individuals and communities have used them for religious rites and leisure since ancient times.

Main Types of Magic Mushrooms & Their Effect

British researchers have been investigating the ability of psilocybin to treat severe depression in people who have not responded to previous treatments, and the results are promising.

Scientists in the United States have observed promising results in experiments employing MDMA, a concentrated state of the party drug ecstasy, to treat post-traumatic stress disorder.

How Do They Affect the Brain?

Users of psychedelic drugs frequently describe “expanded awareness,” which includes vivid consciousness and dream-like situations.

Researchers explored the brain effects of psilocybin and were able to publish their findings in the journal Human Brain Mapping.

They utilized data from brain scans of volunteers injected with the substance.

Dr. Enzo Tagliazucchi led the study at Germany’s Goethe University. He said, “A good way to understand how the brain works are to perturb the system in a marked and novel way. Psychedelic drugs do precisely this and are powerful tools for exploring what happens in the brain when consciousness is profoundly altered.”

This research discovered that the human brain exhibits a similar pattern of activity during sleep as during a mind-expanding psychedelic trip.

Tagliazucchi’s team analyzed brain imaging results from 15 participants. These individuals received psilocybin intravenously while lying in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner to investigate the molecular foundation of these experiences.

They scanned the volunteers while under the influence of psilocybin and after receiving a placebo or dummy drug. The researchers looked at changes in the blood-oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) signal, which records brain activity levels.

How Do Shrooms Alter Our Brains Chemicals?

They discovered that psilocybin increased activity in the more primitive brain network associated with emotional thinking in various areas of the network.

Including the hippocampus and anterior cingulate cortex, and psilocybin activated these regions in the brain at the same time. 

This pattern is comparable to what people experience when they dream.

They also discovered that psilocybin users exhibited more disconnected and disorganized activity in the brain network responsible for high-level thinking, such as self-consciousness.

“People frequently describe taking psilocybin as causing a dreamy state, and our findings have provided, for the first time, a physical manifestation of the experience in the brain,” said Robin Carhart-Harris of Imperial College London’s department of medicine, who also participated on the study.

“I was fascinated to discover similarities between the pattern of brain activity in a psychedelic state and the pattern of brain activity during dream sleep, particularly because both include primitive parts of the brain associated with emotions and memory,” he added. 

Mushrooms sprouting from dead tree bark

How Do Magic Mushrooms Work to Help Alleviate this Chemical Imbalance?

Neurons in the human brain are continuously firing, and neurotransmitters traverse well-trodden courses through the brain, like cars on a motorway. 

Those pathways are “destabilized” on magic mushrooms, according to Kringlebach, a senior research fellow at the University of Oxford.

Psilocybin and other psychedelics, such as DMT, imitate serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of euphoria or love. 

According to Kringelbach, these fungi do more than impact serotonin transmission in the brain.

When the scientists adapted their model to have these processes work independently, they found that they couldn’t recreate the same “destabilization” of networks you would see when someone is on magic mushrooms. 

The exact breakdown in their design happened when they replaced the typical serotonin receptors utilized by magic mushrooms (5-HT2A receptors) with other types of serotonin receptors.

This shows that for psilocybin to be effective, both the receptors and the cell activity patterns must be present.

Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention of Chemical Imbalances

A health practitioner will often analyze your symptoms and collect a medical history to detect mental health disorders.

They may also conduct blood screenings to rule out other illnesses like thyroid disease or vitamin deficiencies. Both conditions can cause signs of a mental health disorder.

Suppose these tests do not reveal an underlying cause. In that case, your doctor will most likely recommend you to a mental health specialist.

Afterward, they will prescribe drugs as these alter the brain’s chemical levels. Psychotherapy may also assist you in changing your thought and behavioral patterns for the better. 

How Do Magic Mushrooms Help with Mental Disorders, Addiction, and Chronic Pain?

Studies show that magic mushrooms improve depression and anxiety in cancer patients, significantly advancing end-of-life care.

A tiny study by Johns Hopkins’ Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research discovered that immediate psilocybin-assisted therapy improved participants’ depression assessments. At the time of the trial, none participants were using antidepressant medicines.

One small pilot study discovered that moderate to high concentrations of psilocybin administered worked significantly better than traditional smoking cessation treatments.

Around 67% of participants had never tried smoking by the one-year follow-up, and 60% had refrained by the 16-month mark.

Another preliminary trial from 2015 discovered that psilocybin therapy drastically enhanced abstinence for persons with alcohol dependence for up to 36 weeks. 

According to the study, the more intensive the first treatment, the fewer desires the subject had.

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