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How Magic Mushrooms Affect the Brains of People

Magic mushrooms are categorized as psychedelic drugs and are most commonly used recreationally. Their psychedelic properties mean they can cause users to see, hear, and feel sensations that seem real but aren’t.

For centuries, psychedelics have been used in many cultures for spiritual purposes, religious rituals, by artists to spark creativity, or for recreation. The reasons people use magic mushrooms are varied, but in general, they’re revered for making users more open about their feelings and how they perceive things.

Recently, there has been growing interest in how magic mushrooms may affect the mind. Early research suggests that psychedelics may be able to help those with depression by “opening up” the brain. We will explore this in more detail a little later.

If you’re wondering how to grow magic mushrooms, it’s surprisingly easy. With a step-by-step guide, some basic equipment, and a little patience, you’ll be good to go.

Now, let’s delve into what magic mushrooms are and how they affect people’s brains.

What Are Magic Mushrooms?

Magic mushrooms refer to a wide variety of fungi containing hallucinogens – usually psilocybin. They’re also called shrooms, hallucinogenic mushrooms, or psychedelic mushrooms. Psilocybin is considered a “classic psychedelic” because it can induce changes in mood, thoughts, and perception by mimicking neurotransmitters in your brain.

Magic mushrooms have long been associated with spiritual experiences and self-discovery. Many cultures believe that naturally occurring drugs, like shrooms, are sacred herbs that help people attain superior spiritual states. 

But in the western world, people commonly use magic mushrooms as a recreational drug to experience a sense of euphoria, connection, and a distorted sense of time. 

How Do Magic Mushrooms Work?

The primary ingredient in shrooms, psilocybin, is converted to psilocin when it enters the body. Psilocin influences serotonin levels in the brain, leading to altered and unusual perceptions. 

Most often, psilocin activates serotonin receptors in the prefrontal cortex. This area of the brain affects mood, cognition, and perception. But hallucinogens, like psilocin, also activate other regions of the brain that regulate arousal and panic responses. 

Everyone is different and may have a unique experience with magic mushrooms. Psilocybin doesn’t always cause visual or auditory hallucinations. Instead, it distorts how some people perceive objects and people in their environment. 

Typically, magic mushrooms are known for inducing a euphoric high. But the intensity of the high depends on the mushroom species and how much is ingested. Plus, as with any substance, the user’s physiology plays a role in the overall effects experienced. 

How Do Magic Mushrooms Affect the Brain?

Magic mushrooms are renowned for their psychoactive effects and hallucinations. Senses are heightened and distorted to the point that the user experiences, sees, feels, or may even taste things that aren’t real. 

For many, it’s a euphoric and pleasant experience. For others, it may be a way to reflect on old memories and see them in a different light or even a spiritually enlightening experience. In some cases, though, users may have a “bad trip,” which could be unpleasant and even terrifying.

Your state of mind plays a significant part in your trip and overall experience with shrooms. Therefore, it’s essential to be in a good emotional state and a safe and relaxed environment before taking shrooms. 

The hallucinogenic effects of magic mushrooms may be key to understanding how they could help ease depression. 

A 2012 study on psilocybin reported changes in the brains of people using the drug. While some areas in the brain became more prominent, others were muted – including part of the brain believed to play a role in maintaining our sense of self.

David Nutt, a neuroscientist and the author of this study, believes that the connections between brain circuits in this sense-of-self region are too strong in people with depression. His theory is that by loosening those connections and creating new ones, psilocybin could provide enormous relief. 

Anecdotal evidence supports this theory, with many users claiming that their experience with psilocybin was personally meaningful, and increased their sense of well-being. 

Nonetheless, research is ongoing with scientists continuing studies into just how effective psilocybin can be in easing depression and other mental illnesses. 

Final Thoughts

Magic mushrooms are psychedelic drugs that typically induce a euphoric high and cause hallucinations. In many cases, users experience, see, or feel things that aren’t real. Often, it’s an enjoyable experience and for many can be enlightening. 

However, magic mushrooms certainly aren’t for everyone. Some people may not find the experience enjoyable, while others may have a “bad trip.” 

Magic mushrooms have a profound effect on the mind, so it’s essential to be in a good mental state before consuming them. When used safely and correctly, magic mushrooms can improve mood, promote open-mindedness, and may even ease depression.

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

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