What is Psilocybin? Our 101 Guide
Psilocybin fans have been sprouting up all over the place, raving about all kinds of benefits.*
What is Psilocybin though? This complete guide will break down everything you’ve ever wondered about it.
What is Psilocybin?
With over 100 Psilocybin mushrooms across the world, scientists have asserted that it’s the most-used natural hallucinogen in the world.
Psilocybin was first discovered in Teonanácatl, the sacred element of Mexico, which was consumed for thousands of years by Central and South American people for medicinal, spiritual, and celebratory reasons.
It’s also present in the indigenous mushroom Psilocybe semilanceata which is commonly found in the UK. The US is home to one of the most potent magic mushroom species in the world, Psilocybe azurescens, which is found mainly in the U.S. Pacific Northwest.
What is Psilocybin’s Effect on the Brain?*
Once Psilocybin enters the body it is broken down into Psilocin, a substance that is similar to and acts like the neurotransmitter Serotonin, which actively regulates mood*. By activating a specific type of Serotonin receptor in the brain, Psilocybin is able to trigger psychedelic effects.*
What are the Effects of Psilocybin?*
If you’ve ever seen a stoner comedy or a rom-com where a hapless heroine unknowingly munches on some shrooms, you probably know roughly what to expect from consuming large quantities of Psilocybin.
The short story: Things get funky.
The long story: Your mood, thoughts, and perception are altered as Psilocybin spark visual, auditory, and physical hallucinations.
At high doses, Psilocybin can cause open eye hallucinations that last up to 6 hours. These hallucinations may involve a “breathing effect”, a distortion of color, things moving that actually aren’t, or just full-on cartoon characters galavanting around your living room. It really depends on the potency of the dose that you consume.*
What are Psilocybin’s Negative Side Effects?*
When it comes down to it Psilocybin is a powerful drug that can be life-altering in an incredibly beneficial way, however, it’s not without its risks.*
It’s very common for people who take Psilocybin to feel nausea at the beginning of a trip because of how difficult it is for the digestive system to break the compounds down.* This nausea can turn into stomach cramps or even potentially even vomiting.*
As terrible as these possible side effects are, they are in no way as dangerous as possibly having a “bad trip”.*
“Bad trips” are psychedelic trips that take a turn for the dark, causing anxiety, fear, and confusion and leading to sometimes frightening and uncomfortable visuals.* They can be genuinely scarring, which is why following Psilocybin safety tips and ensuring a comfortable setting is so crucial.
Because bad trips are always a possibility, you should follow basic rules like never consuming Psilocybin in an environment you feel uncomfortable in, having a trip guide who can help you, and only tripping with people you feel completely comfortable with.
What are Psilocybin’s Benefits?*
Now that we’ve gone through the negative side effects of Psilocybin, time for the fun stuff: the reasons why people decide to trip.
Tripping on Psilocybin can be a mystical, spiritual experience. It can make you feel linked with the world and people around you, inspiring a sense of unity that is wholly fulfilling. Studies have shown that Psilocybin sparks communication between parts of the brain that don’t normally interact, potentially enabling new insights.*
Psilocybin can also unsettle and quiet deeply entrenched thought patterns which contribute to addiction, anxiety, depression, and OCD. Because of this, Psilocybin has been in the news for bills being submitted for potential legalization for therapeutic settings.
Is Psilocybin Illegal?
Although promising research in the 1960s showed that Psilocybin could be used to treat difficult mental conditions, in 1970 Nixon signed the Controlled Substances Act, which listed it as a Schedule 1 substance by the US Drug Enforcement Agency.
This political response was seen by some as a maneuver by Nixon to combat growing fears that psychedelic drugs were helping spread the counterculture movement with young people.
Where Has Psilocybin Been Decriminalized?
Because recent clinical trials have found Psilocybin to be a potentially promising therapy for hard-to-treat conditions, the FDA recently designated Psilocybin as a “breakthrough therapy” which will accelerate its drug development and review process.
Last May, Denver, Colorado passed a ballot measure to decriminalize Psilocybin mushrooms. The city council of Oakland, California passed a resolution to decriminalize Psilocybin the month after. In November, Oregon became the first state to legalize Psilocybin in therapeutic settings.
Despite all this progress, psilocybin is still illegal on a federal level.
Now You Know So Mush About Psilocybin!
You know what Psilocybin is, but there’s so much more to learn about this unique fungi! For more helpful information on both Psilocybin and legal functional mushrooms check out Mushroom Revival’s Blog and Podcast.