Magic Mushroom Promotes Neurogenesis: Psilocybin May Relieve Anxiety & Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
People who have consumed psychedelic mushrooms often report expansionary and transcendent experiences. Scientific evidence seems to explain what so many of them have already experienced firsthand… Psilocybin and psilocin are the chemical ingredients of fungus responsible for its psychedelic effects, they can promote the growth of new brain cells in "connected" ways that could be used to treat various mental conditions like depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
The "sacred" mushroom
The use of hallucinogenic mushrooms has existed for 3500 years. They were part of the rituals of the Aztecs of Mexico, during religious rituals. They were called “The Flesh of Gods,” the consumption of which was believed to give supreme religious powers and visions of the future.
In the sixteenth century, in Mexico, a monk Bernardino of Sahagun mentioned the use of mushrooms and makes a remarkable description.
“There is in this country a small mushroom called“ Téonanacalt ”, which grows under the hay, in the fields and the deserts. He is round, his foot is high, thin and cylindrical. The mushroom tastes bad, sore throat and intoxicates. It is medicinal against fevers and the flu. We eat two or three, no more. The fungus causes hallucinations and precordial anxieties. "
Towards the end of 1800, the active principle of the flying argaric was isolated: Muscarine - 1950 - On a mushroom called the argaric teocanacalt (god's flesh) Albert Hofmann, synthesized the active principle of a Psilocybe mexicana Jalisco - A variety collected between Guadalajara and Talpa and that it is this variety that allowed Dr. Albert Hoffman to isolate psilocybin and psilocin. The Aztecs used this "flesh of the gods" 2000 years ago, it was rediscovered in 1956 by the botanist Roger Heim.
Mushrooms showed promise for treating distress in cancer patients. But studies on the medical use of psychedelics ceased in the early 1970s. Due to a regulatory crackdown on drugs, following their widespread recreational use. They have slowly picked up in recent years.
Psilocybin & Psilocin
Two active ingredients are rapidly identified by A. Hoffmann and their structure confirmed by total synthesis: Psilocybin, 4-phosphoryloxydimethyl tryptamine and psilocine, its dephosphorylated derivative 4-hydroxydimethyltryptamine, active form. Later, another active derivative, baeocystine is characterized as 4-hydroxymonomethyl tryptamine.
Due to their effects and structural analogy with serotonin (5-hydroxy tryptamine). Serotonin is a chemical mediator of certain cerebral neurons, these derivatives aroused at the time a great interest among pharmacologists, psychopharmacologists and psychiatry.
The "reviviscences, past events, forgotten or repressed are imposed under the action of the product. At the same time as a lifting of inhibitions and self-control. The appearance of hallucinatory phenomena, was hoping for advances in the field of knowledge of the brain.
Neurogenesis observed in mice
A study conducted by researchers at the University of South Florida found that psilocybin induces neurogenesis in the brains of mice. In the study, scientists trained mice to be afraid of certain sounds ...
They then administered psilocybin to a group of mice. They found that the mice who received the drug were able to unlearn their fear faster and more completely than those who did not receive psilocibin. Their brains had demonstrated a significant cell growth. Scientists involved in the project believe it is possible to use psilocybin to help humans cope with various mental illnesses.
"Researchers believe that psilocybin is linked to receptors in the brain that stimulate growth and healing, acting on the hippocampus, a small part of the brain that is essential for learning and the formation of memories," an article published by reset.me. - “Since PTSD is thought to result from a similar response in which patients cannot separate a stimulus from a traumatic event, perhaps psilocybin could help them heal their brains just like it did for mice. "
Dr Briony Catlow, a study leader, explained that memory, learning, and the ability to relearn that a once threatening stimulus is no longer a danger absolutely depends on the brain's ability to alter its connections.
"Psilocybin facilitates the extinction of the conventionally conditioned fear response, and similar agents, should be explored as potential treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder and related conditions," the researchers conclude.
Psilocybin, creates a hyper-connected brain
A British study of the Royal Society allows to see brain activity when it is conditioned to psychedelic drugs. Indeed, hallucinogenic mushrooms would cause an expansion of the mind by hyper-connecting the neural networks between them. Thus, to achieve these results, researchers administered intravenously a psilocybin pill to half a dozen volunteers. They then performed MRI exams on each of them.
The scientists then found that a new kind of order seemed to emerge in the brain. During normal brain activity, there is little connection between the different neural networks of the brain. But under the influence of psilocybin, meta-networks that have never been connected suddenly come together to form a hyper-connected set.
The researchers found an increase in brain activity in meta-networks related to emotional thought. A kind expansion of the mind close to the phenomena observed when a person dreams. What to explain how psychedelic drugs produce their psychotropic effects and an increased state of consciousness. The phenomenon is symbolized by confused and intense sensory experiences such as visual and auditory hallucinations. These results directly echo previous studies. As well as those who recently suggested that fungi could be used to treat depression.
Conclusive clinical studies
Dthem american clinical studies in 2016 proved the effectiveness of the fungus in the treatment of cancer. Indeed it allows patients to give a significant boost to morale. 80% of the 29 patients tested the psilocybin product, and felt psychological benefits persistent. And this without developing undesirable effects. Tests carried out in part at the medical center Langone de l 'New York University, now let you know:
"A single dose of hallucinogen in psychedelic mushrooms relieves the anguish and mental stress of people with cancer when combined with psychological support," says the newspaper. echoes.
Patients with long depression showed significant improvement. As well as their life and behavior for several months after the injection of psilocybin. The main active ingredient in hallucinogenic mushrooms activates areas of the brain on which serotonin, the neurotransmitter that determines mood, anxiety and "faith" acts.
Principal author of the studies, Professor Stephen Ross, believes that:
"If more extensive clinical trials support these results, then we can consider marketing a safe, effective and inexpensive drug prescribed in a strictly controlled way to relieve psychological distress which increases the suicide rate in cancer patients ”.
Recognizing the therapeutic potential of psilocybin raises questions about the current US legal ban on psychedelic mushrooms.
Likewise, many activists, hobbyists and scientists are working to draw attention to the health benefits of cannabis. Scientists like those involved in this project are doing the same for champignons.