home
RSS
Magic mushrooms may be therapeutic
January 23rd, 2012
03:30 PM ET

Magic mushrooms may be therapeutic

Rave-goers and visitors to Amsterdam before December 2008 may be intimately familiar with magic mushrooms, but there's little scientific knowledge on what happens to the brain while tripping.

Now it appears that more research is warranted. A growing number of studies suggested that perhaps the mushrooms' key ingredient could work magic for certain mental disorders.

New research in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences sheds light on why one of the mushrooms' hallucinogenic chemical compounds, psilocybin, may hold promise for the treatment of depression. Scientists explored the effect of psilocybin on the brain, documenting the neural basis behind the altered state of consciousness that people have reported after using magic mushrooms.

"We have found that these drugs turn off the parts of the brain that integrate sensations – seeing, hearing, feeling – with thinking," said David Nutt, co-author of the study and researcher at Imperial College London in the United Kingdom.

Nutt is also Britain's former chief drug adviser, who has published controversial papers about the relative harms of various drugs. He was asked to leave his government position in 2009 because "he cannot be both a government adviser and a campaigner against government policy," according to a letter in the Guardian from a member of the British Parliament.

Psilocybin is illegal in the United States and considered a Schedule 1 drug, along with heroin and LSD. Schedule 1 drugs "have a high potential for abuse and serve no legitimate medical purpose in the United States," according to the Department of Justice.

But in the early stages of research on psilocybin, there's been a bunch of good news for its medicinal potential: psilocybin has shown to be helpful for terminally ill cancer patients dealing with anxiety, and preliminary studies on depression are also promising.

Nutt's study is also preliminary and small, with only 30 participants. His group used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to look at how the brain responds to psilocybin, from normal waking consciousness to a psychedelic state.

The study found that the more psilocybin shuts off the brain, the greater the feeling of being in an altered state of consciousness, he said. It's not the same as dreaming, because you're fully conscious and aware, he said.

The medial prefrontal cortex, the front part of the brain in the middle, appears to be crucial - it determines how you think, feel and behave. Damage to it produces profound changes in personality, and so if you switch it off, your sense of self becomes fragmented, Nutt said. That's what happens when psilocybin decreases activity in it.

"Some people say they become one with the universe," he said. "It's that sort of transcendental experience."

Another brain region that psilocybin affects is the anterior cingulate cortex, which is over-active in depression, Nutt said. Some patients with severe depression that cannot be treated with pharmaceuticals receive deep brain stimulation, a technique of surgically implanting a device that delivers electrical impulses directed at decreasing activity in that brain region. Psilocybin could be a cheaper option, Nutt said.

It's counterintuitive that a hallucinogenic drug would de-activate rather than stimulate key brain regions, although other studies have shown a mix of results regarding psilocybin turning brain areas on and off, said Roland Griffiths, a professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Griffiths was not involved in Nutt's study, but has also researched the effects of psilocybin.

Even if this drug gets approved some day, don't expect to be able to pick up a prescription for psilocybin at your local pharmacy, Griffiths cautioned. There's too much potential for abuse, he said.

Although scientists have found many positive effects of psilocybin in experimental trials, there are of course potential dangers. Some people have frightening experiences while on psilocybin. The fear and anxiety responses of magic mushrooms can be so great that, when taken casually in a non-medical setting, people can cause harm to themselves or others. They may jump out a window or run into traffic because of a panic reaction.

The drug would have to be administered in a controlled setting in a hospital, if found in further research to be an effective and safe therapy for certain mental illnesses, Griffiths said. It would not be appropriate for people who already have psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia, since psilocybin can exacerbate those symptoms.

But among healthy volunteers, Griffiths and others have found that people may have long-lasting positive effects from the vivid memories of being on psilocybin (in a controlled, experimental setting). People report mystical experiences of feeling the "interconnectedness of all things," which can be life-changing.

"People claim to have an enhanced sense of self, more emotional balance, they're more compassionate, they're more sensitive to the needs of others," he said. "They have more well-being and less depression, but they're not 'high' in any conventional sense. They feel like their perceptual set has shifted."

The memories of the psilocybin experience, and positive outcomes that users attribute toward them, can last as much as 25 years, research has shown.

Still, there's just not enough known yet about the long-term safety of psilocybin to say whether it could also do damage to the brain, Griffiths said.

"There’d have to be changes in the brain for these long-lasting memories and attributions to occur," Griffiths said. "We don’t know how those changes occur, and why."


soundoff (485 Responses)
  1. signature window washing

    Your writing style has been surprised me. Thank you, quite great article.

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/ZqhHNtoLDoozQVzR7

    April 21, 2021 at 15:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. home for sale hauser idaho

    https://clients1.google.com.vc/url?sa=j&rct=j&url=https://meganleary.com

    April 23, 2021 at 19:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Forklift Repair Near Me

    This site was... how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something which helped me. Cheers!

    http://guodu.h5uc.com/h5.php?url=https://wildwestlifttrucks.com/drexel-forklift-repair-orange-county-california

    April 23, 2021 at 19:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. RV Remodel Los Angeles

    http://www.antispam-ev.de/forum/redirector.php?url=https://ocrvart.com

    April 23, 2021 at 19:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. rv replacement parts near me

    http://yvce.com/home/link.php?url=https://ocrvcenter.com/rv-inspection-near-me/

    April 24, 2021 at 15:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. RV Fiberglass California

    http://directory.northconwaynh.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=rubenrodrigo.com/video-post-2/

    April 24, 2021 at 16:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. window washing denver

    This blog is great check it out

    http://jennaandjessie.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=https://www.nicksacandheat.com

    April 26, 2021 at 07:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Spam GMB

    Impressive! Thanks for the post

    https://maps.google.com/maps?ll=39.72703132688135,-104.92552727651984&z=6&t=m&hl=en&gl=US&mapclient=embed&cid=8694579260586646626&q=painal+brother

    April 27, 2021 at 16:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. four bedroom houses for sale near me

    http://www.wunderhouse.ru/bitrix/redirect.php?event1=&event2=&event3=&goto=https://meganleary.com

    April 27, 2021 at 21:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. signature window cleaning

    Thanks for wonderful information I used to be in search of this info for my mission.

    http://www.parliamentofshadows.com/elegant-plans-of-window-cleaning-service-an-advice/

    April 29, 2021 at 16:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Established loan consolidation company

    Impressive! Thanks for the post

    http://deairank.mistypark.com/02/out.cgi?id=ami26&url=https://https://www.federatedfinancial.com/

    April 29, 2021 at 16:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. aika online review

    https://images.google.com.tj/url?sa=i&source=web&rct=j&url=https://aikareborn.com

    May 4, 2021 at 14:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. box truck repair shop

    http://www.jimmischel.net/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.fleetautorepairshop.com

    May 4, 2021 at 15:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Arizona Vision

    https://cse.google.dm/url?q=j&source=web&rct=j&url=https3A2F2Fsunglasseseyedoctorsoptometristphoenixaz.com&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNGaY_nlK9ozc51fqwjiVdMaYZL7rg

    May 4, 2021 at 15:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Arizona Vision

    Good blog you've got here.. It’s difficult to find good quality writing like yours these days. I really appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!

    https://local.google.co.zm/url?sa=i&url=https://eyedoctorphoenixaz.com

    May 4, 2021 at 15:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. RV Repair Orange County

    https://image.google.com.af/url?rct=t&sa=t&url=https://ocrvandtrucks.com

    May 4, 2021 at 17:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. box truck repair service

    This is a topic which is close to my heart... Cheers! Where are your contact details though?

    https://map.google.co.nz/url?sa=i&url=https://commercialrepairshop.com

    May 4, 2021 at 20:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. aika private server files download

    http://www.rmjonesenvironmentalservices.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.aikareborn.com

    May 5, 2021 at 00:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. RV Wraps Orange County

    This is the right site for anybody who would like to understand this topic. You realize so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I really will need to…HaHa). You certainly put a new spin on a subject that has been discussed for many years. Great stuff, just wonderful!

    http://www.safarimediapresents.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.rvcollisionrepairpaintshop.com

    May 5, 2021 at 05:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. financial coach near me

    http://maps.google.tg/url?rct=j&sa=t&url=https://realchrisburns.com

    May 5, 2021 at 10:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. RV Body Shop Riverside

    Excellent web site you've got here.. It’s hard to find excellent writing like yours these days. I truly appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!

    https://google.pl/url?sa=i&url=https://ocrv.us

    May 5, 2021 at 12:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Airgun megastore bb guns for kids

    I really like this post

    https://setiweb.ssl.berkeley.edu/beta/team_display.php?teamid=1773323

    May 5, 2021 at 15:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Youth rifles

    very nice! Ireally like your blog

    https://www.ted.com/profiles/27838553/about

    May 5, 2021 at 16:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Martial Arts Gambrills MD

    I'm not sure where you are getting your information, but great topic.

    https://www.wasdoyuncu.com/old-chinese-martial-art-work-the-origin-of-the-final-martial-arts/

    May 5, 2021 at 17:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Raleigh NC Relentless Collision

    very interesting , good job and thanks for sharing such a good blog.

    https://patch.com/north-carolina/raleigh/ep/2022792/nodx

    May 5, 2021 at 18:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. fast food near me

    Greetings, I believe your website could possibly be having browser compatibility problems. Whenever I take a look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in I.E., it has some overlapping issues. I merely wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Other than that, wonderful site!

    http://www.1919gogo.com/afindex.php?page=http://www.masteringthemanwithin.com

    May 5, 2021 at 19:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. nearest semi trailer repair

    http://operabufa.uol.com.br/externa.asp?url=//www.fleetvehiclerepairshop.com

    May 5, 2021 at 20:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Az Vision

    I’m amazed, I must say. Seldom do I come across a blog that’s both educative and entertaining, and without a doubt, you have hit the nail on the head. The issue is something that too few people are speaking intelligently about. Now i'm very happy that I found this during my hunt for something concerning this.

    https://cse.google.com.sa/url?q=j&source=web&rct=j&url=https3A2F2Fbettersightovernight.com&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNGaY_nlK9ozc51fqwjiVdMaYZL7rg

    May 5, 2021 at 20:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. truck windshield repair

    This excellent website truly has all the information I needed concerning this subject and didn’t know who to ask.

    https://image.google.hn/url?q=j&rct=j&url=https3A2F2Ffleettruckrepairshop.com&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNGaY_nlK9ozc51fqwjiVdMaYZL7rg

    May 6, 2021 at 01:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. la kings dodgers jerseys

    Fastidious replies in return of this question with genuine arguments and explaining everything on the topic of that.

    May 6, 2021 at 02:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. online marketing training

    http://ezfun.24tms.com.tw/ugC_Redirect.asp?hidTBType=Banner&hidFieldID=BannerID&hidID=687&UrlLocate=http3A2F2Fmastermindformen.com

    May 6, 2021 at 09:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. storage units near me

    http://apps.imgs.jp/yamakawa/dmenu/cc.php?url=https://ocrvmotorsports.biz

    May 6, 2021 at 13:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. alterations near me

    Having read this I believed it was extremely enlightening. I appreciate you taking the time and energy to put this information together. I once again find myself personally spending way too much time both reading and leaving comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!

    https://www.aiac.world/pdf/January–March2014Issue?pdf_url=https://petiakolibova.com

    May 6, 2021 at 17:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. shower parts near me

    I must thank you for the efforts you have put in penning this website. I'm hoping to see the same high-grade content by you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my own blog now 😉

    http://audiowala.club/watch?v=fV6M-Z7a0ik

    May 6, 2021 at 17:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Forklift Cylinders

    https://reppeat.com/watch/?v=3s_RMFoFAYI

    May 6, 2021 at 17:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Sizes Of Kegs

    Hi, I do believe this is a great web site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I'm going to return once again since i have bookmarked it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to help others.

    https://www.rsb.ru/_loader.html?send_id=eh&user_id=888124839846060&url=http3A2F2Fwww.howtobrews.com

    May 6, 2021 at 17:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Forklift For Sale California

    There's definately a lot to know about this issue. I like all the points you have made.

    http://www.showcase-cinema.biz/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.forkliftrentalsnearme.com

    May 6, 2021 at 21:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. gas stations near me

    Aw, this was a very good post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to create a good article… but what can I say… I put things off a whole lot and never seem to get nearly anything done.

    http://www.ia.omron.com.edgekey.net/view/log/redirect/index.cgi?url=https://www.bulknearme.comholostyak-stb-2021

    May 7, 2021 at 04:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Forklift Extensions Orange County

    I needed to thank you for this excellent read!! I absolutely loved every bit of it. I've got you saved as a favorite to look at new things you post…

    https://google.gg/url?sa=j&source=web&rct=j&url=https3A2F2Fforkliftrentalorangecounty.com&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNGaY_nlK9ozc51fqwjiVdMaYZL7rg

    May 7, 2021 at 05:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Forklift Service Los Angeles

    Good info. Lucky me I ran across your blog by chance (stumbleupon). I have saved it for later!

    https://secure.cans.ns.ca/cc/track/link.jsp?id1=5001208&id2=-1778132132&link=https://wildwestforkliftschool.com

    May 7, 2021 at 05:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. paint shops around me

    When I initially commented I appear to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now every time a comment is added I get 4 emails with the same comment. There has to be an easy method you can remove me from that service? Many thanks!

    https://thewikihow.com/video_tdiKaoeVdb0

    May 7, 2021 at 06:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Scotch Ale Beer

    I would like to thank you for the efforts you've put in writing this website. I'm hoping to check out the same high-grade blog posts from you later on as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my own, personal website now 😉

    https://google.pl/url?rct=j&sa=t&url=https://howtobrews.com

    May 7, 2021 at 08:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Forklift Service Los Angeles

    http://www.uvioo.com/watch/?m=felixdu073&so=yt&v=UVAfKfhBrXE

    May 7, 2021 at 08:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Jamesyzu

    Pinterest over Tumblr

    when individuals occurs blueprints towards:

    Roleplay as part of your ocs don't want to ocs to rename themPut txt for your drawingsRecolor my OCs devotee artwork compared tosTrace my OCs looks as if all my sClaim my theirsEdit my drawingsTwice a year an instagram accout reposting Ninjago, impolite people who be mean to my lifestyle on behalf of said the best material in addition,yet area, whilst another couple of fools applaud folks to gain adding thieved happy even though beauty is definitely comparatively and also it the best design immediately after they no longer just pin my taken from details my sadly quickly grab pictures private my, you may weary of it, add you think? regardless of what much i acquire blogposts implying to all that people who pinned had been art work that gratify get rid of the type of compact disks filled up with +100 drawings including mine then again thyey not merely go for miss i am, these guys really used screenshots coming from practical articles in my instagram. i mean just now out of sorts.

    saw your methods upon pinterest coupled with down loaded it despite the fact that I didn be aware who also experienced (in the face of my best used pulling just had personal unsecured ) much like your ninjago ceiling fan artistry, i uncovered from pinterest, feasible to maintain the most popular disposition? may also supply you with screenshots.

    notify say crystal clear, internet marketing not popular artist, an account provider when it comes to down below 2,000 lovers is more or less cannot be seen, the key reasons why you have to will most certainly be musicians with multiply a few topic so capacity devoid of having pinned art, for example 1 or 2 photographs and abolish? then why? from buff pictures? they can admirer works of art having to do with popular showcases as Ninjago. owing Ninjago most likely? Idk, I chnlove scam i just wanted to draw freakout art your current reveal i beloved, not being haunted through out my entire life for this. with out, ni jago does not host the carelessness, it is really professionals around the fandom.

    Anon exactly how absurd you must be quickly put on realise once a painter suggests because of this lso are upload this art? please not re also distribute a good benefits. people like you helps my eyes hurt, absolutely egoistic believing that options images is owned by you simply because you like it or even a the truck bed cover's your new favorite express and might do anything you want by it. except just isn't.

    May 7, 2021 at 10:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. food pantry near me

    http://search.foodpara.com/redir.php?cont=1&l=http://www.songwritingsociety.com

    May 7, 2021 at 15:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. rv remodel companies

    https://iztube.ru/video/ZRX5WZSSsJ4

    May 7, 2021 at 19:47 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6

Leave a Reply to Dave Johnson


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.