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 (969 Responses)
  1. RV Batteries Near Me

    http://www.dkpodmoskovie.ru/redirect?url=http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCWA5o3d2u11KvEjA3wLVUA/videos

    May 13, 2021 at 10:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. RV Countertops Los Angeles

    http://www.fotopoisk.com.ua/away?to=http://g.page/OCRVFleetServices

    May 13, 2021 at 12:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. rv furniture companies

    This blog was... how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something that helped me. Appreciate it!

    https://ams.ceu.edu/optimal/optimal.php?url=https://ocrvcenter.info/class-7-truck-collision-repair-shop-near-me

    May 13, 2021 at 13:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. wheel repair orange county

    Howdy! I could have sworn I’ve been to this web site before but after looking at a few of the posts I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m certainly happy I came across it and I’ll be bookmarking it and checking back often!

    http://www.ktpusan.com/NEW/bin/search/jump.php?url=https://youtube.com/watch?v=Q2Ns-hJOnxA

    May 13, 2021 at 15:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. rv electrical repair near me

    You are so awesome! I don't believe I have read through a single thing like that before. So good to find another person with some genuine thoughts on this topic. Seriously.. thanks for starting this up. This website is one thing that is required on the internet, someone with a bit of originality!

    http://template-demo.org/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=ocrvshop.com/fleet-truck-repair-near-me

    May 13, 2021 at 19:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. repair rv shades

    &entryId=834991

    May 13, 2021 at 21:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. roof repair orange county ca

    https://www.morhipo.com/shared/partnercookie?k=gort&url=https://ocrvandtrucks.com/motorhome-interior-remodeling-near-me

    May 14, 2021 at 01:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Sprinter Blower Fan Repair Near Me

    That is a really good tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere. Brief but very precise information… Thanks for sharing this one. A must read article!

    http://www.cnxz.cn/redirect.php?url=https://commercialvanrepairshop.com/mack-truck-repair-repair-shop-near-me

    May 14, 2021 at 04:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. collision repair raleigh nc

    Keep this going please, great job!

    https://www.evernote.com/shard/s493/sh/0d55edf5-3ba2-455c-9caf-87ef48eaa139/3289d34c52b4fa9874c032c9b97a1a7e

    May 14, 2021 at 11:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. payday loan consolidations

    Great article. Couldn't be write much better! Keep it up!

    https://www.gatesofantares.com/players/plotangora2/activity/745191/

    May 14, 2021 at 11:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. truck shop of orange

    https://vid.to/play/watch/wvzHVHJ4ifg

    May 14, 2021 at 12:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Michaelzvz

    available very rare analysis when finding swelling of head

    A young and active victoria girlfriend is pleading with other people among the "indeed be trusting" subsequently after your lover must have been identified as having a remarkably rare dangerous tumor in her own throat.

    Kloe nike air jordan Wilson, 22, saw usually the swelling sooner last year right away surrendering a body weight preceding to the girl's sister's diamond.

    "I went to brand new town's doctor anf the husband had a feel and stated that since it was robust he was a lttle bit nervous, nevertheless available my maturity, health insurance and chosen lifestyle, so he is not engaged that it may be every thing negative, Kloe proclaimed.

    customers getting this news, Kloe told me your daughter "Blacked along with" and flippantly any other detail following the word most cancers.

    on the other hand unsure of what kind it was, The 'clump was considered gotten rid of located on December 23 then healthcare can potentially any further discover.

    it was not before group was brought to a skilled in the united states that most Kloe was officially informed they have Adamantinoma similarly to Ewing Sarcom, an infrequent plan of Ewing sarcoma disease from plushy structure all over osseins properly their loved ones.

    all this was not prior to group was delivered to a skilled in the us alone that do Kloe was technically diagnosed with Adamantinoma exactly like Ewing Sarcom. form: available

    "it truly was advantageous to actually have a solution but it becoming so rare and as well as swallowing so long that it is determined was really really not an enjoyable a period of time with luck, Kloe assumed.

    The 22 years old ongoing radiation treatment two weeks gone by which enable it to endure treatment options every last two weeks for one more six to assist you nine months,due to its type of progress, It will certainly propagated and as well seedling so we would like a rigorous fight from chemo to make sure that it isn't really any place else in my body, your supposed.

    researchers to curative told me will most certainly be "recovering to be able to clear" And that it is really "imperative that you maintain concentrate on the good parts rather than the bad,

    due to its chemotherapy, Kloe own personal requirements normal can be of help and struggles to work.

    Kloe (Front got out of) takes a selfie along with her members of the family. back home line: Kloe's mother julie Anne, your woman cousin Angela, excellent nanna Dida, Nanna mary Anne. focus: Kloe's aunt Mariah, Kloe's relative charmlive reviews Olivia, your woman's sister Lisa and after that Kloe's relative Lainey.

    your sweetheart's boyfriend or girlfriend Francis has had time off from the job staying carer, compelling her spouse and children to assist the couple and create a GoFundMe fundraising event to enable them improve her recovery.

    The 22 years old known she certainly not alleged she would be informed they have cancerous cells at such an early age it's signal individuals that it could "affect anyone,

    "should not trusting. in the event something is available, where which spot or perhaps a swelling or one doesn't experience privilege, have it checked out because you'll never be likewise selected, your lady claims.

    May 14, 2021 at 13:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. houses for sale near by

    http://dev-skanvor.1gb.ru/redir.php?url=https://www.meganleary.com/

    May 14, 2021 at 15:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Contact Eye Exam Near Me

    http://mugen.matrix.jp/cgi-bin/gate/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=97&url=http://arizonasvision.com/

    May 14, 2021 at 18:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Maserati Repairs Near Me

    http://find.cambridgesoft.com/help/cs.html?url=https://club-maserati.com

    May 14, 2021 at 22:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Maserati Coupe 2017

    http://etracker.com/lnkcnt.php?et=qPKGYV&url=https://club-maserati.com/

    May 14, 2021 at 23:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. rv renovation near me

    https://za.zalo.me/v3/verifyv2/pc?token=OcNsmjfpL0XY2F3BtHzNRs4A-hhQ5q5sPXtbk3O&continue=ocrvshop.com

    May 15, 2021 at 03:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. collision repair raleigh

    such a great information for blogger i am a professional blogger thanks

    https://diigo.com/0kiev4

    May 15, 2021 at 05:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. dc seo services

    A great read. I'll definitely be back.

    https://unique-work.jimdofree.com/2021/05/10/do-you-really-need-seo-services-for-your-business/

    May 15, 2021 at 06:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Self Defense Gambrills MD

    nice information for a new blogger. it is really helpful

    https://mydesignedlife.net/members/morrison27morrison/activity/142993/

    May 15, 2021 at 07:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Emergency locksmith Texas

    A great read. I'll definitely be back.

    https://www.dmllocksmith.com

    May 15, 2021 at 07:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. HVAC Warrenton VA

    I really like this post

    https://hvacwarrenton.blogspot.com/2021/05/a-few-tasks-before-hiring-best-air.html

    May 15, 2021 at 07:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Baton Rouge Fence Company LA

    nice information for a new blogger. it is really helpful

    https://fencecompanybatonrouge687888490.wordpress.com/2021/05/13/why-is-it-important-which-fence-company-you-choose/

    May 15, 2021 at 07:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Commercial Cleaning Spokane

    Usually I never comment on blogs but your article is so convincing that I never stop myself to say something about it. You're doing a great job Man,Keep it up.

    https://carpetspokanecleaning.blogspot.com/2021/05/the-benefits-of-carpet-cleaning.html

    May 15, 2021 at 08:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. residential roofing Hainesport

    Great article. Couldn't be write much better! Keep it up!

    https://roofinghainesport.wordpress.com/2021/05/13/what-is-the-difference-between-commercial-and-residential-roofing/

    May 15, 2021 at 08:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. rekey Palo Alto

    I really like this post

    https://locksmithpaloalto223326104.wordpress.com/2021/05/13/different-kinds-of-locksmith-services/

    May 15, 2021 at 08:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Locksmith Las Vegas

    very nice! Ireally like your blog

    https://www.scoop.it/topic/how-to-find-the-best-locksmith/p/4124776393/2021/05/13/avant-d-acceder-a-google-maps

    May 15, 2021 at 09:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. We Buy Houses Jacksonville FL

    Great article. Couldn't be write much better! Keep it up!

    https://posts.gle/QbXARN3wp3nD2e1h7

    May 15, 2021 at 09:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. reupholstery services near me

    http://demo.cloudhostedresources.com/?id=7cde069d28fee9161e9475b01c2cf8cf&fullscreen=1&task=get&url=https://ocrv.vip/

    May 15, 2021 at 09:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. HVAC Installation Warrenton VA

    Impressive! Thanks for the post

    http://www.photobox.co.uk/album/6075854680

    May 15, 2021 at 10:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Fence Builder Baton Rouge LA

    Really very happy to say,your post is very interesting to read.I never stop myself to say something about it.You're doing a great job.Keep it up

    https://www.turboimagehost.com/album/180109/fence_company_baton

    May 15, 2021 at 11:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. house for sale post falls idaho

    https://www.newsletter.viamedica.pl/lt.php?c=1282&m=2481&nl=6&lid=20647&l=https://meganleary.com/

    May 15, 2021 at 12:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Elite Radon Solutions Lexington KY

    Really very happy to say,your post is very interesting to read.I never stop myself to say something about it.You're doing a great job.Keep it up

    https://www.fanpop.com/fans/WuGold

    May 15, 2021 at 12:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. commercial locksmith Palo Alto

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

    https://www.deviantart.com/angelitabenefield/gallery/all

    May 15, 2021 at 13:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. My Pro Cleaner TX

    Impressive! Thanks for the post

    https://eastonsavanna.skyrock.com/profil/photos/2/

    May 15, 2021 at 13:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Local Marketing Program

    http://members.ascrs.org/sso/logout.aspx?returnurl=http://bestservicenearme.com

    May 15, 2021 at 17:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Dr Maserati

    Howdy! I could have sworn I’ve visited this site before but after looking at a few of the articles I realized it’s new to me. Anyhow, I’m definitely delighted I stumbled upon it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back frequently!

    http://sunhun.com/link.php?url=https://club-maserati.com

    May 15, 2021 at 17:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Used Maserati Suv

    http://wcbi411.wcbi.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=club-maserati.com

    May 15, 2021 at 20:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Content Marketing Reviews

    https://www.serbiancafe.com/lat/diskusije/new/redirect.php?url=https://affordableranking.com

    May 15, 2021 at 20:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Internet Marketing Center

    It’s hard to come by experienced people in this particular topic, however, you seem like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

    https://top50-solar.de/newsclick.php?id=109338&link=https://www.affordableranking.com/

    May 15, 2021 at 22:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Social Media Marketing Contractor

    Hello, I do believe your website could possibly be having internet browser compatibility issues. Whenever I look at your site in Safari, it looks fine however when opening in IE, it's got some overlapping issues. I merely wanted to give you a quick heads up! Besides that, wonderful blog!

    http://topkam.ru/gtu/?url=http://affordableranking.com

    May 15, 2021 at 23:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Content Marketing Consultants

    https://pinktower.com/?http://affordableranking.com

    May 16, 2021 at 06:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Video Marketing Videos

    There is certainly a lot to know about this issue. I really like all the points you made.

    http://www.rkspecialties.net/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 16, 2021 at 06:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Sprinter Van Side Repair

    Hi, I do think this is an excellent site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I am going to come back once again since I book-marked it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide other people.

    https://galter.northwestern.edu/exit?url=https://fleetservicesorangecounty.com/freight-liner-truck-repair-shop-near-me

    May 16, 2021 at 15:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Mercedes Sprinter Repair Shops Near Me

    This is a topic which is close to my heart... Many thanks! Exactly where are your contact details though?

    https://rondomusic.com/cgi-bin/affiliates/clickthru.cgi?id=bwcornwell&page=https://commercialrepairshop.com/airstream-van-repair-near-me

    May 16, 2021 at 16:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Repair Body Rust On Sprinter Van

    http://aforz.biz/search/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=11079&url=https://fleettruckrepairshop.com/box-truck-restoration-shop-near-me/

    May 16, 2021 at 17:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Buy Used Maserati

    http://xbabesworld.net/o.php?link=images/41x22x80054&url=http://maseratis.net

    May 16, 2021 at 17:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Maserati Granturismo Pricing

    I really love your blog.. Pleasant colors & theme. Did you develop this site yourself? Please reply back as I’m planning to create my own personal website and would like to know where you got this from or what the theme is called. Thanks!

    https://triplepointpr-dot-yamm-track.appspot.com/Redirect?ukey=12M7Ks53xcDbhdg_Cd2y8RFH8XG-nLqbcUDRoeF7mW2g-1835382670&key=YAMMID-37971406&link=https://www.maseratis.net

    May 16, 2021 at 18:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Maserati Cars

    Having read this I believed it was really informative. I appreciate you taking the time and effort to put this content together. I once again find myself personally spending a lot of time both reading and leaving comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!

    http://www.arizonafamilyhealth.info/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=maseratis.net

    May 16, 2021 at 19:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Sprinter Van Repair Los Angeles

    https://intranet.secure.griffith.edu.au/s/redirect?rank=10&collection=on-campus-search&url=http://commercialrepairshop.com/restoration-shop-near-me/

    May 17, 2021 at 00:12 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Post a comment


 

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.