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You Take Magic Mushrooms. This Is What Happens To Your Brain!

magic mushroomsPsilocybin mushrooms also known as magic mushrooms can alter the perception and cognition of the user in a profound ways. Many individuals describe the experience as if they were in a dream-like state with a vivid imagination.

How Do Entheogens Work?

Although each individual had a slightly different experience than the other, many people wonder how they work and how they alter our ordinary state of consciousness. And although the effect of psychedelic medicines has been well documented, until just recently, very little was known about exactly how the brain behaves during these experiences.

How Long Do the Effects of Magic Mushrooms Last?

The hallucinogenic effects of magic mushrooms generally last about 5 hours; however, the experience itself will be something the individual will likely ponder over many times. Enhancement of associations, different perspectives that were opened while under the influence, coupled with the ease at which they were visited is something that the person will reflect on and contemplate for a while. Set, setting and intention are most important when experimenting with entheogens. They should always be done under supervision and guidance with the right intention. Done irresponsible they can be dangerous.

Human Brain Mapping

A recent study, published in Human Brain Mapping, found increased activity in regions of the brain responsible for our dreams when we’re sleeping. On the other hand, the part of the brain ordinarily responsible for higher level thinking and self consciousness became disorganized and muddled. This is therefore considered a physical representation of what a Psychedelic experience feels like.

Biological Basis

During the study, 15 volunteers were given either a placebo or a substance called psilocybin, which is the psychoactive ingredient contained in magic mushrooms. Functional Resource Imaging was used to make images of the brain before, during, and after the administration of the drug.

Results

While under the influence of psilocybin, it was found that brain activity increased in the hippocampus and the anterior cingulate cortex. The cingulate cortex is closely linked with the feeling of arousal. The hippocampus is used for memory, emotion, and learning. In addition, the study also found dulled activity in areas of the brain from which individuals obtain a true sense of self.

Activity Patterns

Individuals also displayed a much broader range of activity patterns on the emotional system. This indicates that individuals actually had more potential brain states available. This is the biological basis for the expansion of consciousness associated with psychedelic drugs.

State of Consciousness

As verified by published studies, taking magic mushrooms has the ability to expand your mind by amplifying the dream areas, but doing it while you’re in a conscious state of mind. Individuals will likely experience thoughts, feelings, and emotions they would not have otherwise experienced. In fact, psychedelic drugs can alter consciousness in a profound way and increase the extent and breadth of cognition and change the way you perceive things.

Ego and Emotions

While the effect of this entheogen can be compared to that of dreaming, the part of the brain from which we get our sense of self and personal identity was shown to become disjointed while under the influence of psychedelics.

Data from brain imaging and published studies supports the theory that the psychedelic state of mind involves disorganized activity and unusual function of the ego system that permitted uninhibited emotional activity and responses. These qualities explain why further study is required to determine if psychedelics might be used to facilitate certain types of psychotherapy.

What’s Next?

Although additional study is necessary, the recent news is exciting and encouraging because it gives us a new insight into the changes that take place in the mind during the hallucinogenic and mind-expanding trips. Only just recently have researchers been unable to provide a reasonable explanation as to how the brain changes while under the influence of such psychedelic drugs that accounts for its mind-expanding effects.

Learning more about what happens to our brain while under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs may also help is figure out possible uses. This includes treating the symptoms of depression by using psilocybin to help change an individual’s pessimistic and self-destructive pattern of thinking. Doctors are presently studying the effects of LSD and creative thinking as well.

Research into the effects of psychedelic drugs continues presently at the Cardiff University and the Imperial College London. The studies explore how psychedelic drugs facilitate communication across the brain.

The first study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, revealed that psychedelic drugs such as psilocybin decreases brain activity localized in the ego system (also referred to as the default-mode network), diminishing the sense of one’s own personality and firm sense of self. This is also known as temporary ego dissolution.

Understanding the mechanisms in the brain that influence cognitive functions while under the influence of entheogens will offer valuable insights into how they can be psychologically useful in the future. For instance, they may be able to offer help to patients experience an emotional release, enhance creative ways of thinking, get rid of disease, ease pain, and so much more.

Psychedelic Science: Magic Mushrooms

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Genius Awakening was created to lead people to a better understanding of self and others in order to navigate our world at a higher and more awakened level of being. Together we will explore the depths of consciousness in order to evolve beyond our current paradigms into a world of love, joy and peace. Oksana and Larry Ostrovsky are passionate guides of this space.
  • cornishfaerie

    Just a few remarks, unlike usual:
    1) There’s a part of me that would like to seriously harm anyone who thinks it is fun to have hallucinations. This is because I know what psychosis is like from personal experience. But well, the other part of me thinks, fine, if they want to escape… so be it.
    2) Re:”This includes treating the symptoms of depression by using psilocybin to …”
    Unless of course, they have psychosis as well, which depression by itself can cause. Sure, they could change things but a hallucinogen by itself is risky by itself too.
    3) Re:”Doctors are presently studying the effects of LSD and
    creative thinking as well.”
    I think it was the CIA that did this a long time ago, even so far as pulling pranks on their colleagues. There was also, if I recall, an experiment that was twisted enough that they had to stop it. Think also related to LSD. On this and hallucinogens: not at all surprising given that LSD is derived from ergot…. In actuality ergotamine + caffeine is an old but effective way to treat migraines (and to people who think migraine is just a bad headache you are sorely – pun intended – mistaken). I believe at least in some places you can get exactly this in pharmacies.

    • Eric Westfall

      Most forms of psychosis involve negative affect, or in the case of schizophrenia, often anhedonia. Also with psychosis episodes are generally recurrent and uncontrollable. I think you’ve conflated that experience with the trance-like, voluntary states of psychedelics.

      I’ve had “bad trips” before, particularly on 5-MeO-DMT (most intense psychedelic on Earth) but I’m extraordinarily grateful for each experience – I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

      Bottom line is to not knock it until you’ve tried it. My generation grew up with a lot of anti-drug propaganda and as a consequence I was straight edge a long time. When I was ready I gave it a try and everything about this world is different than I’ve been told. It’s stupid to think they told me LSD will make you want to jump from windows. It made me want to cry/release my own suffering, and hug other people for their’s. I can’t see that as negative or deserving of the bad reputation psychedelics have.

      I’m not asking to be convinced of their bad effects, because I know all the risks from honest sources like Erowid.com and from personal experience with these medicines. Not to sound arrogant but I can’t be convinced against what I’ve experienced with psilocybin and others unless it’s positive. my only hope is to convince people to open the hell up to giving it a try if you’re ready, and keeping an uninformed, inexperienced negative opinion that reflects the popular propaganda silent if not.

      • cornishfaerie

        The point is this: I know what psychosis is from illness. It has nothing to do with me being closed off to it. It has to do with I am lucky if I can successfully do reality testing (that is pass) and that is on neuroleptics (of which I’ve been on many for near two decades)! I’m not at all against drugs and I hate (there isn’t strong enough word to explain it even) the war on drugs and the way the public reacts (e.g., when they tried giving out clean needles … public outrage along the logic of “it’ll only encourage them!” which frankly they are already doing it… I could write a textbook volume on this) to drugs in general.*

        Regardless, those who ARE susceptible to schizophrenia (or psychosis) are taking these types of drugs at their peril. It isn’t necessarily that they WILL go on to develop anything but they are at a higher risk (so it is much like medications: weigh the gain against the adverse).

        And your definition (or implied definition) of arrogance is a fair bit off, I would argue. Of course you cannot be convinced of something that you experienced. Indeed, you experienced it the way you – get this – experienced it. That’s not arrogant, that’s being honest.

        By the way, anhedonia (although there is – like most health problems, mental health included – a serious blur) is a symptom of depression first and foremost. Second, schizhophrenia has positive _and_ negative symptoms (let’s see: hallucinations, delusions, flat affect, even worse catatonia … could go on but the point isn’t that anyway). And yes I imagine it would be different BUT that wasn’t my point (It would be very ugly for me to even consider taking such a thing though). My primary point is: any experience that is not ‘real’ I dislike and this includes dreams. There is no such thing as a good dream as far as I’m concerned. I mix up dreams and real life all the time. I also don’t usually know what to believe and what not to believe (including my own judgement!). And I’ll not even get into paranoia (to delusional, so persecutory, proportions, at times)… So while you have valid points you are not on the same page (you’re on a page of a different book or at least a different chapter) as I am because of what I just explained in this paragraph.

        *I have family and have had family that have had drug problems. No need to tell me about propaganda or anything like that. That issue is a disgrace and it is about punishing rather than helping (as long as they are not risking anyone else then there should be no legal basis but unfortunately there IS).

      • cornishfaerie

        I wanted to respond to this the day after I wrote my original response. For what its worth, here goes:
        Yes, you’re right in that I probably did conflate the difference between true psychosis and hallucinogenics (that is, drugs with hallucinogenic properties and more specifically the effects thereof). But still, there are risks. Am I against those who try hallucinogens? Not at all. It is not only not my business (it is their choice) but it also them experimenting with what they feel is right for them (“following their own path”). That is more than many can do. To be brutally honest, while I’m not closed off to hallucinogens – I have a one very good reason to not want to try them for instance – I am fairly closed off in general. Indeed, I am aloof mentally, socially (especially this) and emotionally (see socially part as that applies too). Still, what I am not detached from is the things I enjoy (no matter how few they are) and that involves exercising my brain (actually THAT is my addiction: indeed, I do have withdrawals with certain brain exercises, if I’m not actively doing them and more generally feel better when I do) as well as music (listening).

        So take the remark about wanting to seriously harm people that take hallucinogens with a grain of salt (or, if you prefer, “a drop of acid” – indeed I love word play… that is something I am very often pointing out and very often making on the fly). And as I wrote before, I am very, very against the war on drugs, always have been and always will be. I have no disrespect (more like respect for those who struggled with addiction and have realised it was a problem and got help. that takes a huge amount of will power, strength and determination!) for those who have used drugs even hardcore drugs. Of the two or three people I truly care about (I did suggest I am socially absent) there exists one that indeed is in this category. I’ve also lost family members due to drugs. Besides that, I rely on drugs (medications are still drugs and some – including many I am on – are potent indeed. I have very high tolerance even but I wouldn’t play the game of hallucinogens as I have that “naturally”).

        Kind regards.

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