Who remembers that commercial about drugs? You know the one – “This is your brain” and “this is your brain on drugs,” illustrated with an egg frying.
Turns out that is completely false, at least in terms of psilocybin mushrooms (read our post on the meaning of psilocybin here).
Let’s imagine we are driving. And not fun driving, but doing the worst kind of driving possible – the commute. When you commute to work, you typically take the shortest possible route with little to no variation. Every day, same thing, same route. Depression sets in. Negative emotions plague the mind. And so on and so on.
But what if you could find different ways to get there. And, best of all, you would have new thoughts that accompany your mind and it would actually be enjoyable. We’ll call this “the magical commute.”
Study on Psilocybin Mushrooms
An April 2020 study showed this is essentially what Magic Mushrooms do to the brain. The goal of the study was to see the effects of psilocybin on a healthy human brain. As the principal author, Morten L. Kringelbach from Oxford University, explains it is as if psilocybin finds different routes in the brain to solve the same problems. The brain generally takes the same path to solve similar issues, resulting on a person’s brain not straying very far from the networks established (i.e. “the commute” above). Magic Mushrooms create new networks, in fact they utilize MORE networks than the brain typically uses (ie: “the magical commute“).
Credit: Journal of the Royal Society Interface
Above: Image of brain taking a placebo (LEFT) and the brain on psilocybin mushrooms (RIGHT)
Just following the logic of this fact, it is easy to see how psilocybin mushrooms can be very useful in combating trauma and depression. The brain creates an efficient way to solve problems, of course, but when affected by trauma or depression, your brain will create a road and travel on it often as you process the emotions. So it makes sense that you would have similar reactions or triggers to events that happen in your life. Psilocybin mushrooms could help create new paths and, in effect, give you new perspectives on the emotions that are causing pain and negativity.
Awesome things are being discovered, friends!
To read more, with tons of technical jargon – check out the study here:
To get a better idea of the study’s findings, check out this interview with Kringelbach and the study put more in layman’s terms here.
Thanks for reading!