New research has been published on the benefits of consuming magic mushrooms…
“Prof Nutt and his team scanned the brains of volunteers who had been injected with a moderate dose of psilocybin, the active ingredient of magic mushrooms.
They had expected higher activity in areas of the brain associated with visual imagery. But in fact they found that the drug switched off a network of interconnected regions of the brain which regulated an individual’s sense of being and integration with their environment.
The researchers say that this alters consciousness because individuals are less in touch with their sensations and normal way of thinking.
They also found that psilocybin also turns off a part of the brain which is overactive in some forms of depression. So Prof Nutt believes that the drug could be used as an antidepressant and has applied to the Medical Research Council to carry out a small patient study to see if this is the case.
“There’s some research from the US which shows that when used in a psycho-therapeutic context it can produce quite long-lasting changes to a person’s sense of well-being – changes that can last for years,” Nutt says.
He also said that there was nothing in the brain scans or follow-up studies which would suggest that if taken in moderate quantities the drug was unsafe.
“People who use them regularly seem to do that. They seem to use them on an annual basis in order to enjoy the experience but also because it has this positive reaffirming effect. And there are certainly examples of people who take magic mushroom tea for obsessive compulsive disorder to keep it under control
So it may be that there are broad utilities of these kind of compounds in terms of mental well-being. I don’t know – I think it’s very much a question to be answered.”
(Quoted from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-16678322)
“A second study, to be published on Thursday in the British Journal of Psychiatry, gave volunteers cues to remember positive events in their lives such as their wedding or performance in a play. Their recollection became very vivid. “It was almost as if rather than imagining the memories, they were actually seeing them” said Carhart-Harris. “This could be very useful in psychotherapy, for instance in people with depression who find it very difficult to remember good times and are stuck in the negative.”
The team are now hoping to do a further study which will involve giving psilocybin to depressed people who are undergoing psychotherapy, in the hope that it will allow them to relive times of past happiness.
The studies showed that psilocybin worked on the same areas of the brain as the SSRI antidepressants such as Prozac, as well as talking therapies and meditation as carried out by skilled practitioners. But the advantage over pills, the team believes, is that the positive effect could be long-lasting.”