For thousands of years, indigenous cultures across the globe have used magic mushrooms in rituals and ceremonies for spiritual and healing purposes. However, it’s only in the past few years for the therapeutic potential of mushrooms has become recognized by the West on a mainstream scale.
Could magic mushrooms be the answer in an ongoing mental health epidemic desperate for more effective treatments?
Below, we explore what there is to know about using magic mushrooms for mental health care. If you’re already well-practiced using magic mushrooms, you might be interested in reading about lemon tek for magic mushrooms.
The Demand for More Effective Mental Health Treatments
We’re currently living in a mental health crisis. Demographic data predicts that nearly one in five US adults lives with a mental illness and that lost productivity, due to mental health, costs the global economy US$ 1 trillion each year.
What’s more, following the traumatic and isolating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, among other factors, the burden of mental health is only predicted to rise.
Although we currently have treatment models for mental health conditions, many conventional medications can cause unwanted side effects or be ineffective. For example, it’s estimated that current treatments are ineffective in up to 30% of people with major depressive disorder.
Finding new and more effective treatments for mental health has, and is continuing to become, an increasingly critical priority for scientific research.
One promising solution appears to be psilocybin – the chemical ingredient which puts the “magic” in magic mushrooms.
An Increasing Wealth of Psilocybin Research
Throughout the past decade, several studies have demonstrated how psilocybin, when administered in combination with psychotherapy, can have significant long-term improvements in mental health.
In April 2021, research results from Imperial College London revealed how psilocybin was more effective than standard antidepressant medication in a group of treatment-resistant depression patients. Not only did psilocybin therapy give rise to long-term symptom improvement in 70% of patients, but over half experienced disease recovery.
Other studies have demonstrated psilocybin can help improve symptoms associated with terminal illnesses. For example, one study published in by researchers at John’s Hopkins University found that 80% of cancer patients had significant decreases in depression and anxiety six months following psilocybin treatment.
As increasing findings show psilocybin to be both therapeutically valuable and safe, its treatment possibilities are continually explored. Psilocybin is currently being investigated in phase one and two clinical trials as a treatment for eating disorders, OCD, PTSD, and other health complications. Legislators are re-considering the decades-old prohibitory bans on the drug so it can be made more available for medical research and therapy.
Decriminalization of Psilocybin for Therapeutic Use
In 2020, Oregon approved an initiative to legalize psilocybin for therapeutic use, making it the first US state to decriminalize psilocybin for medical purposes. Under the Oregon Ballot Measure 109, the state is currently developing psilocybin service centers for its safe, legal, and therapeutic distribution.
In January 2022, Health Canada’s Special Access Programme was launched, allowing physicians to request psilocybin for psychedelic-assisted therapy for serious treatment-resistant or life-threatening conditions.
In the same month, Washington state lawmakers introduced Senate Bill 5660, which, if successful, will legalize psilocybin, for adults over 21, for purpose of “supported use”. In other words, anyone can access psilocybin at a licensed center or at home under the guidance of a licensed facilitator.
How Psilocybin Works Therapeutically
Psilocybin, as well as other psychedelic drugs, can increase neuroplasticity – the ability for nerve cell connections in the brain to grow and re-shape.
This neurological effect makes it easier for people suffering from mental health to transform some of their negative thought and behavior patterns, gaining healthier perspectives on life and encouraging habits which are beneficial for wellbeing.
Researchers have also found that mystical experiences, meaningful, spiritual, and transcendent experiences induced by psilocybin, can play a role in the drug’s healing effect.
For example, a recent study conducted in 2022, which gave psilocybin to healthy volunteers, found that higher participant scores on the Mystical Experience Questionnaire predicted higher levels of positive mood three months following their trip.
Is Psilocybin Right for Me?
Although psilocybin may be extremely beneficial for some, this isn’t the case for everyone. In fact, one study released last month found that the effect of psilocybin can be different for people based on their DNA variation.
Furthermore, although psilocybin is safe physically, it has mental health risks and can sometimes lead to a psychedelic crisis, or what’s more commonly known as a “bad trip.”
This is why, when used in clinical settings, psilocybin is administered in a controlled environment, under the supervision and support of a licensed therapist. The patient undergoing the therapy will also meet the therapist before and after the psilocybin experience to prepare for and integrate (make sense of and apply lessons of) their experience.
Therefore, if you’re struggling with a mental health disorder and wondering, “is psilocybin right for me” we recommend first doing more research and then investigating where it’s possible to experience psilocybin in a therapeutic and supported environment.
Unfortunately, legal psychedelic therapy is largely unavailable. However, you may be eligible to participate in a psilocybin-based clinical trial. Another option is participating in a healing psilocybin retreat, such as magic truffle ceremonies in the Netherlands.
Magic Mushrooms Might Be The Next Frontier in Healthcare: A Summary
As clinical research continues to show the promising effects of psilocybin on mental health, using magic mushrooms in therapy may be the next groundbreaking treatment in psychiatry.
If you’re interested in magic mushrooms and how to use them, then be sure to check out our safety information articles, such as what to expect from an experience and how to prepare for and integrate an experience.