I fairly recently got turned on to psilocybin mushrooms after hearing about some of the psychological benefits first by listening to the clinical psychologist and professor Jordan Peterson talk about some of the studies being done.
Since then I have learned a lot about psilocybin. Here are some of the things that I have learned.
A single dose can decrease depression and anxiety LONG term
That’s long term and not short term.
John Hopkins University has been doing studies on psilocybin with those who have end stage cancer. These people are near the end of their lives with terminal cancer.
A single high dose of psilocybin gave them what was described as a “mystical” experience and improved their outlook on life and reduced their anxiety.
In my own experience I would add that psilocybin mushrooms can be terrifying in the short term and cause paranoia and panic attacks if you try to fight it.
The key is to “let go”.
However, that’s my own experience and despite the fact that often these experiences are partly terrifying they are rather cathartic.
It would be best to do them with someone who can watch over you like in the studies.
I think that would be ideal especially with high doses. They say you are really suggestible when you are under the influence of psychedelics. So just having someone there to comfort you, give you a hug, hold your hand or just tell you that you are going to be fine would be very helpful.
The other day there was no one around and I was in a bothered state and I saw this really beautiful eucalyptus tree and I had to give it a hug! It made me feel much better^^.
A high dose of psilocybin is a sort of “death” that you will learn more about below. And some say the secret to life is to “die before you die”.
Serotonin, psilocybin and DMT are structurally very similar
I remember one thing that Jordan Peterson said about a lack of serotonin. It was something about that if you had low serotonin you were going to have problems in regards to the dominance hierarchy (short clip on serotonin/dominance hierarchy).
According to integrativepsychiatry.net:
“Low serotonin levels are often attributed to anxiety, depression, panic attacks, insomnia, obesity, fibromyalgia, eating disorders, chronic pain, migraines, and alcohol abuse. Negative thoughts, low self-esteem, obsessive thoughts and behaviors, PMS, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome are also symptoms of low serotonin.”
Psilocybin deactivates the default mode network (where your EGO lies) and activates other areas of your brain
“In neuroscience, the default mode network is a large scale brain network of interacting brain regions known to have activity highly correlated with each other and distinct from other networks in the brain.” – wikipedia
Many people who have used psychedelics use the term “ego death”. I was trying to figure out what they exactly mean by this. After I learned about the DMN and that it may be where your sense of self (ego) lies it made total sense to me.
I can attest to the fact that a high dose of psilocybin feels like you are dying, however you are not actually, but possibly transforming.
In actuality part of your brain gets shut off and others not normally active become active. Remember some people say you only use 20% of your brain?
Well that may not be true, but it might be true most of the time because of the DMN. And if you look again at the picture above your brain on psilocybin is highly active.
Psilocybin floods your brain with blood also sometimes producing the side effect of clumsiness.
Psilocybin is less addictive and toxic than drugs like: caffeine, alcohol and marijuana
Despite the fact that it is powerful and what it might feel like psilocybin is less toxic than caffeine in high doses.
Learn more about it on Wikipedia.
Psilocybin will probably make you appreciate nature more
I have always appreciated nature. I grew up in the country side of Northern New Hampshire and the woods was right out the door.
“Researchers from the Psychedelic Research Group at Imperial College discovered that, in at least a small sample of subjects, ingestion of psilocybin was correlated with both an increased feeling of being part of nature and an increased dislike of authoritarian, political views…” – Inverse
“Human intelligence is impressive, but it’s not in the same league as nature.” – Simon G. Powell, from the video below
I recommend skipping ahead to 5:50 in his video.
Psilocybin increases one’s openness
Openness to experience is a personality factor on the Big 5 scale of personality dimensions. One of the 5 measures of personality is openness to experience.
A single high dose of psilocybin can increase this over the long term.
- Increases in the personality domain of openness.
- Psychedelic drugs and the nature of personality change
Psilocybin increases one’s empathy
Psilocybin affects the serotonin receptors in your brain which can affect how you emotionally relate to other people.
“Psilocybin targets the 5-HT2A/1A receptors in your brain which may have potential beneficial effects in the treatment of mood disorders or psychopathy, which are characterized by deficits in social skills and in particular in the ability to feel with other people.”
- Psilocybin significantly increased explicit and implicit emotional empathy compared with the placebo
In my experience it definitely makes me feel more emotional at times during the trip. This is also interesting to me as I would say that I am introverted and probably do have some social anxiety.
Psilocybin mushrooms stimulate the growth of new brain cells
That is also known as neurogenesis and they may in fact help you get over some of your fears.
“Memory, learning, and the ability to relearn that a once threatening stimuli is no longer a danger absolutely depends on the ability of the brain to alter its connections. We believe that neuroplasticity plays a critical role in psilocybin accelerating fear extinction.” – Dr. Briony Catlow
Psilocybin will probably make you more creative
I have found that drawing is pretty helpful and soothing at times when using mushrooms and I will probably find out more in the future as to how using psilocybin may provide creative benefits.
I think you are going to get some insights as well. It definitely makes you more aware and you do see things that you don’t normally see sober and I am not talking about hallucinations.
It does make you more perceptive.
Some say psychedelics are the doorway to your unconscious mind.
Microdosing has become popular too for entrepreneurs in Silicon valley. Microdosing is taking a very small dose so small that effects are not really noticed in the short term, however over the long term one can see how it has affected their performance.
Psilocybin isn’t new, in fact it has a long history of use
There are murals done in Africa that suggest that psilocybin mushrooms were used in as far back as 7-9000 BC.
They were also used by the Mayans and the Aztecs. The aztecs referred to them as teonanácatl which means “god’s flesh”.
Psilocybin was actually isolated and synthesized by Dr. Albert Hoffman. The man who discovered LSD.
Psilocybin and LSD along with other psychedelics were used in therapy throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s until becoming illegal in 1966.
Is psilocybin the solution to all of your problems?
Psilocybin is not for everyone especially those predisposed to schizophrenia.
Personally I have found it to be very beneficial so far, however there are certain side effects especially in higher doses. Every experience will be a bit different, however in my recent experience 50% of the duration or so has been challenging.
It is more of a “mystical”, challenging and learning experience.