Your Brain On Shrooms

Psychedelic or ‘magic’ mushrooms have
been ingested by humans for over 9000 years. Even today, this naturally grown fungus is
commonly used as a recreational drug, causing hallucinations, but how exactly does it work? The main psychoactive ingredient in shrooms
is call psilocybin. When ingested, the body breaks it down into the active drug psilocin,
which makes its way to the brain. And here, it begins to prevent the reuptake of the neurotransmitter
serotonin, increasing its activity. On top of this, psilocin actually has a similar chemical
structure to serotonin, meaning it can also bind to and stimulate receptors in the brain.
This amplified stimulation causes you to perceive and experience things without any real stimulus
– also know as hallucination. These can be of a varying nature, from visual to auditory
sensations, or mystical and insightful feelings. And while the experience can be quite enjoyable,
some users have reported very unpleasant episodes. These feelings generally last between 3-8
hours, but could feel much longer as the drug alters your sense of time. Scientists have also suggested that the brain
may temporarily rearrange itself by inhibiting normal brain activity and immediately creating
new biologically stable brain connections. This, ultimately, makes it harder to determine
reality from fantasy, and amplifies your intensity of thought which makes planning ahead and
self conscious thinking almost impossible. We also see activation in the hippocampus
and anterior cingulate cortex which are associated with dreaming. *Finally, specific emotional
regions of the brain are chemically activated, which can lead to a sense of expanding consciousness.
And because the drug temporarily alters the paths in your brain, ‘thinking outside of
the box’ becomes extremely natural. In a famous US study, 36 college educated
participants were given psilocybin and observed in a laboratory. 1/3rd of the participants
reported the experience as the single most spiritually significant moment in their lives,
with ⅔rds putting it in their top five. Two months after taking the drug, 79% of the
participants reported increased well-being and satisfaction. Friends and family were
also interviewed and agreed with these claims. But it’s not all so positive – 22% of the
clinically tested individuals experienced fear and paranoia at certain points during
their trip. And because of the state of their brains, these typically manifested as terrifying
and uncontrollable hallucinations. *L Though much is still unknown about shrooms,
they’re not considered clinically addictive and cause little toxicity to other organ systems.
In fact, a UK study found that they cause the least amount of damage – both to the individual
and others – when compared to other recreational drugs. Ultimately, scientists believe the
laws need to change around clinical testing of the drug so advanced research can be executed
to fully understand both the positive and negative effects that this “magic” fungus
has on our brains. Got a burning question? And if you haven’t seen our video on the
science behind “Type A vs Type B” personalities, you can check it out on our second channel
AsapTHOUGHT! Link in the description! And subscribe for more weekly science videos!

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