Just as with any health fad, the average person tends to be drawn in with the allure of potential. When practicing and using herbal treatments it’s important to know their properties, the stories, and all of their uses. As time is passing the medical potential from previously outlawed natural substances is coming to light, and new benefits are being discovered — and discussed more openly. We’re going to take a deep dive into the world behind psychedelic therapy.

Magic mushrooms or ‘shrooms’ have been around for thousands of years, and were used in many cultures for religious ceremonies and other events. Perhaps the most well-documented and understood of these cultures came from modern-day Central and South America. The Aztecs, Mayans, and Olmec people used the psychedelic effects for healing and to reach an elevated state of mind. The magic from these mushrooms is derived from a fungi — psilocybin.

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What is Psilocybin?

Psilocybin is the chemical compound found in over 200 species of mushrooms, when the fungi are ingested, the consumer processes the chemical to make psilocin. Similar to how our body breaks down the food we eat to gain carbohydrates for energy or vitamins to boost our immune systems, psilocin alters the neural receptors to induce an altered state of mind.

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The amazing history of psilocybin shrooms

There is a rich history of psilocybin use and it is only speculated to have been first recorded in the year 10,000 B.C.E. Archaeologists found cave paintings referring to the magical mushrooms in northern Australia. Throughout time, cultures from around the globe have found documentation through similar murals or oral storytelling. Though, it is possible we will never truly know when the first people tried the drug. Not coming to European descendants in North America until the 20th century. 

In the year 1955, an amateur scientist and author in his later life, R. Gordon Wasson traveled to Mexico with his wife and a few friends. During their stay, they became the first outsiders to be invited into the religious ceremony of the indigenous Mazatecs. A healer for the tribe, Maria Sabine allowed the westerners to participate in their village near Oaxaca, Mexico. Wasson brought mushrooms home to New York City and began his own experiments.

R. Gordon Wasson published a piece in Life magazine about his experiences with mushrooms and their journey with the members of the Mazatec tribe. Writing, “As the ritual proceeded Wasson lost himself in wonderous flights of fancy in which moved him to say afterward, ‘for the first time the word ecstasy took on a real meaning’.”  With this magazine’s publishing, the world of psychedelic mushrooms exploded in the United States and Canada. Three years later, the Harvard Psilocybin Project began with two psychologists Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert. The focus of the study was to see how the drug interacted with the subject’s perception, emotion, and cognition.

Shortly after many states began to outlaw the substance and its stronger synthetic counterpart LSD. In 1970, the Controlled Substances Act came into law where both psilocybin and LSD were ruled to be schedule 1 drugs — making them illegal at the state and federal level.

Flash forward to 2018, the FDA designated the drug as a ‘Breakthrough Therapy’. Its potential to help people with treatment-resistant illnesses was recognized and the process of understanding it was fast-tracked. Over the past four years, we have seen more advancements in the therapeutic methods and are once again allowing ourselves to discuss the positives rather than only seeing the negatives.

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What is psilocybin therapy?

With our newfound understanding of psilocybin, we can now take a look into the modern practice being developed as you are reading this. Psilocybin therapy is the practice of using the drug to stimulate the mind and having the same psychological support from a therapist to guide you.

Since this form of therapy is new and still looked at as taboo, there are very few places allowed to legally administer and partake in the practice. With this in mind, there are very limited test subjects. Patients with a chronic illness, treatment-resistant depression or anxiety, and those suffering from PTSD.

How does psilocybin work?

Psilocybin works by interacting with the brain’s neural reactors, specifically in the prefrontal cortex of the brain. This part of the brain contains our serotonin receptors, affecting our mood, cognition, and perception. Serotonin is the chemical responsible for a person’s feelings of calm, focus, and happiness. Differing from the other ‘happy chemical’ is dopamine — focusing on pleasure, motivation, and productivity. Psilocybin primarily works with the serotonin receptors but reacts with the dopamine ones on a secondary level, increasing the transmission of dopamine.

Due to psilocybin not being legal, we’ll carry our therapy in the form of MICRODOSING. Microdosing refers to the practice of taking tiny (sub-perceptive or unnoticeable) amounts of psilocybin.

The purpose is to enhance your day-to-day existence. Scientific evidence backed up by people’s anecdotal evidence report many positive results: elevating mood, increasing energy, focus and cognition, decreasing insecurities, anxiety, depression and stress. It has also been shown to improve medical outcomes including those associated with cluster headaches, migraines and menstrual complaints.  Psychedelic science is growing more confident that microdosing with psilocybin can have enormous medicinal benefits with hardly any side effects or risks.

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