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visualizes various psilocibin strains

Psilocybin: 15 Amazing Things You Didn’t Know

Everyone knows psilocibin is a great way to get introduced to the magic of psychadelics, but is there more to psilocibin than just a trip? We all know these magic fungi can have you tumbling through the rabbit hole like Alice in Wonderland, but there are 15 other amazing reasons why you should get to know psilocybin better.

1) Psilocybin May Be a Great Alternative for Mental Health Issues

Modern medicine has provided us with amazing tools to combat disease and disability. However, prescription drugs aren’t without their risks. When considering medications, the severity of side effects and addiction risks are usually foremost in people’s minds. Sadly, prescription drugs kill thousands of people in the United States each year. Many more than that become addicted or dependent on these drugs.

In the United States, suicide from depression and anxiety is the tenth most common cause of death. With depression and anxiety so widespread, the possibility of a natural alternative to prescription drugs gives many people hope.

Though the science is still quite young in this field. recent research does show promise. Results so far indicate that magic mushrooms could potentially be safer and more effective than prescription medications. In many instances, even just a single dose of psilocybin has provided people who suffer with mental illnesses such as OCD, anxiety and depression with lasting relief. Experts believe that psilocybin has a calming effect on areas of the brain where mental illness causes overactivity. For some people, that calming effect can actually be long lasting.

2) Psilocybin May Help People Quit Alcohol and Tobacco

Psilocybin really is a wonderful compound. Another one of the benefits being investigated is in the area of addiction problems. It turns out that psilocybin can help people break their habits. The addiction isn’t broken by chemical compounds directly, but rather, through intense introspection and superior objectivity when evaluating oneself.

During a psilocybin “high,” people are able to detach themselves from their needs and desires and question why they are addicted. This helps in many ways. It can lead to a stronger conviction to quit and boost people’s confidence that they are capable of doing so. It can help them understand the reasons why they have dependencies, and help them come up with the mental frameworks they need to overcome anxiety, procrastination and other negative factors.

3) Psilocybin Promotes Growth of New Brain Cells

You’ve probably heard that once we become adults our brains stop producing new cells; that they no longer regenerate. Well, magic mushrooms provide the exception to this rule. Neuroscientists have discovered that magic mushrooms can cause neurogenesis which is the growth of new brain cells. This has caused researchers to look into psilocybin’s potential for treating Alzheimer’s.

4)  Magic Mushrooms are Non-Addictive

Mushrooms are thought to be helpful in overcoming addictions, but is it possible to be addicted to the cure?

The short answer? No.

More comprehensively, mushrooms are not addictive because you can’t develop a physical or psychological addiction to mushrooms. You can’t get mushrooms cravings. In fact, the opposite is true. We build tolerance to mushrooms very quickly. The more often you take mushrooms the less you’ll feel their effects. Indeed, people who enjoy mushrooms so much they do them regularly will take “tolerance breaks.” This allows the body to reset its tolerance to shrooms and make it possible to get high on a normal dose again.

5) Psilocybin Has a Habit of Promoting Positive Changes in Personality

We’re often told people don’t change. “An old dog can’t learn new tricks,” or “a leopard doesn’t change it’s stripes.” Well, it turns out psilocibin promotes the exception to that rule. Researchers have discovered that magic mushrooms can trigger permanent personality changes in adults. The intense period of introspection that sometimes occurs during a mushroom trip can induce personality changes that last for a lifetime. Sometimes what people need is a little clarity, will power and a sense of purpose—which a deep introspection may reveal.

6) There are Roughly 200 Different Kinds of Magic Mushrooms

Different strains have different effects. That means these fantastic fungi offer something like 188 ways to trip. Magic mushrooms species grow all over the globe. Psilocybe are a genus of gilled mushroom that fall within the family Hymenogastraceae, itself part of the great kingdom of Fungi.

7) Possession and Cultivation of Magic Mushrooms is Fully Legal in Two European Countries

Oh those lucky Czechs and Spaniards! In both the Czech Republic and Spain, it is completely legal to cultivate and possess shrooms. In Netherlands the law allows “Magic Truffles” that contain psilocybin to be sold legally.

8) Magic mushrooms may have given us Santa Claus

We all know Santa Claus, but did you know his origin story may be rooted in a psychadelic experience? Don’t believe me? Flying reindeer… leprichauns… you get the picture.

According to one theory, the earliest versions of Santa Claus come from Siberian shamans who distributed muscimol mushrooms to people centuries ago.

The shamans gave out the shrooms as gifts in late December, and often entered homes through the roof due to deep snow. They also dressed like the fly agaric mushroom by donning red suits with white spots. Apparently, they could enlist the aid of spirit animals like reindeer on their quests to deliver their gifts too…

visualizes Shaman Pablo Flores prepares to drink ayahuasca during a session in Nuevo Egipto
Image credit: AP Photo/Martin Mejia

9) The Relationship Between Humans and Psilocibin goes back millennia

No one knows exactly when magic mushrooms were discovered, but there is a lot of evidence that suggests they were used in religious rituals thousands of years ago.

10) Psilocybin May Trigger Openness

Openness is a psychological term for someone’s attitude toward new experiences, and is associated with traits like imagination, creativity and aesthetic appreciation.

Generally, people tend to be more open in their youth and then their openness decreases significantly after 30. Psilocibin helps reverse that trend.

11) Psilocybin Temporarily ‘Kills’ Your Ego

People report having shroom trips where they lose their sense of self. This sense of selflessness and objectivity is usually short-lived, but may lead to longer-lasting effects such as personality changes and increased creativity.

12) Mushrooms Hyper-Connect the Brain

Great mushroom trips have sometimes been described as mind-melting. But psilocibin does the complete opposite. The psychadelic wonders people experience aren’t caused by brain damage, but by boosting the number of connections in the brain. In fact, the brain starts to connect parts of the brain that aren’t normally connected and synchronizes their activity. This alteration in brain activity could explain the dreamy state people experience on a psilocibin trip.

13) Mushrooms Kill Fear

Another interesting side effect of psilocibin is the suppression of fear. Though it’s not an effect everyone reports feeling, it’s common enough that experts are now considering mushrooms as a potential therapeutic for people suffering from PTSD.

14) Mushrooms Generate Their Own Wind

Mushrooms reproduce by spreading spores, which travel on breezes to find a new place to grow.

The problem is, mushrooms often live in sheltered areas on forest floors where the wind doesn’t blow. Mushrooms have solved that problem by literally creating small gusts of wind on their own.

15) Out-Of-Body Experiences

On a higher dose, psychadelic experiences can become very transporting. People can hallucinate traveling to far off places, being in other dimensions and more. Some people report the classic out-of-body-experience visual; their disembodied minds looking down at their physical bodies, but it’s not a pre-requisite. On a heroic mushroom dose, almost anything is possible.

That’s It! Next Time You Trip – This Knowledge Will Be In Your Brain

So don’t be surprised if you experience meta-out-of-body-experience where you observe the detached spirit-version of you looking down on your corporeal form! You’ll begin incorporating this new knowledge into your trip. If not, well at least now you know a little more about this absolutely fascinating fungus! With that said, enjoy your next trip!


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Medical disclaimer: This page is for educational and informational purposes only and may not be construed as medical advice. The information is not intended to replace medical advice offered by physicians.