There are more than 200 different species of mushrooms that actively produce the psychedelic compound known as psilocybin. Although native tribes have used the potency of this substance for healing and to achieve states of altered consciousness, psilocybin mushrooms (also known as “magic” mushrooms) have only reached the western world around the 1950s.
Unfortunately, because psilocybin has been classified as a Schedule 1 drug since the 1970s, as part of the “war on drugs,” it has been increasingly difficult to study its health benefits, many of which have to do with mental health. Many researchers use mushroom spores purchased from reputable sources to legally study magic mushrooms and what they can do to to improve mental health conditions.
Clear Positive Effects on Mental Health
There is a growing body of research that promotes the use of psilocybin and the use of magic mushrooms. Here are just a few ways in which psilocybin has actually been found to contribute to improved mental health under controlled conditions, in laboratories, or as part of professional therapy sessions:
- Boosting serotonin levels and promoting an overall state of well-being;
- Dealing with a variety of psychiatric conditions, including chronic anxiety, substance abuse, OCD or eating disorders;
- Treating specific cases where a mental health condition proved to be resistant to traditional drugs and treatments;
- Aiding in therapy sessions and helping psychiatrists and their patients to get to the bottom of the issue much sooner than expected;
- Effectively reducing depression symptoms after just a few weeks of therapy.
Another important quality of psilocybin is its speed. Compared to regular anti-depressants, which can take weeks to provide adequate benefits, the effects of psilocybin are visible much sooner, often requiring only a few days to set in.
Moreover, while anti-depressants have to be used regularly and their effects can even fade as the body gets accustomed to them, a single dose of psilocybin per a few months (or even per year) could be enough to treat some forms of depression very effectively.
The Need for Ongoing Research
Overall, it’s clear that psilocybin and magic mushrooms can have a strong impact on mental health overall, and especially on problems such as depression and anxiety. Unfortunately, as researchers still don’t fully understand the process by which this happens, more studies will be necessary before psilocybin can be widely accepted and used as part of mainstream treatment methods.