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Did you know that magic mushrooms can help long-term smokers quit smoking?

By Mushly.

Published on 27 July 2022

The most comprehensive data on global trends in smoking highlights its enormous global health toll. In fact, tobacco smoking is one of the world’s largest health problems with millions of people living in poor health as a result. To make matters worse, researchers estimate that every year around 8 million people die an early death due to smoking. To FURTHER add to this, it has been estimated that throughout the entire 20th century around 100 million people died prematurely because of smoking.

The number of smokers worldwide has increased to 1.1 billion in 2019, with tobacco smoking causing 7.7 million deaths – including 1 in 5 deaths in males worldwide.

Smoking-related illnesses also account for approximately 480,000 deaths each year in the United States alone. This figure rises to over 5 million annual deaths globally, with experts estimating it could reach 8 million by 2030. These statistics are down-right shocking to say the least!

Now for the big conundrum – While most smokers are well aware of the vast and varied risks associated with smoking (including death), many, if not all smokers, find it profoundly hard to quit. To further exacerbate the issue, most behavioural and pharmacological interventions to aid individuals in the cessation of smoking are only moderately effective, with under 35% of people managing to stay smoke-free in the long run – That is simply just not good enough!

However, before you start thinking that all hope is lost, ITS NOT! New research has emerged highlighting magic mushrooms / psilocybin as a potential means to help individuals and long-term smokers quit, aiding in smoking cessation. Best part is – It has yielded some incredibly promising results!


Using Psilocybin to Quit Smoking

The concept / idea that psychedelics, such as psilocybin, can help people overcome various addictions / addictive behaviours (such as smoking) is by no means a new one. In fact, magic mushrooms have been used by indigenous communities for thousands of years to aid in the treatment and management of various addictions and ailments.

Work / research into psychedelics began in the 1950s and 1960s. Throughout this period, research was also conducted into lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) which suggested that it could benefit those struggling with alcoholism.

Unfortunately, when these drugs became illegal in the 1970s, all studies and research pertaining to / involving psychedelics ground to an immediate halt following the passage of the Controlled Substance Act in 1970, which outlawed hallucinogens and other drugs and psychedelics.
It wasn’t until the early 90s that scientists and researchers finally began showing interest and actively became interested in psychedelics’ therapeutic potential.

From that moment it was game on as a new fresh wave of studies began to emerge – with the most well-researched substance – psilocybin (the psychoactive component of magic mushrooms or ‘shrooms’) – taking centre stage.

While there has been a significant amount of research done on this topic, especially in recent years, the bulk of the research regarding psilocybin mushrooms and its potential health benefits has been focused on using psilocybin mushrooms to treat and manage a range of mental health, psychiatric, and behavioural disorders. Some of which include but are not limited to:
    •    Anxiety
    •    Depression
    •    Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
    •    Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
    •    Cluster headaches
    •    Quitting addictive behaviours such as smoking, alcoholism, and other drug addictions | Alcohol use disorder | Tobacco use disorder


How to Stop Smoking with Psilocybin

It is unclear exactly how psilocybin aids in the cessation of smoking / helps long-term smokers quit smoking. However, here is what we do know – The primary psychoactive component found in psilocybin mushrooms has the ability to increase neuro connectivity by stimulating receptors in the brain.

According to research, this increased neuro connectivity within the brain may be the key to healing trauma from both psychological and physical events. In addition, neuroscience, along with various scientific studies, have revealed that psilocybin interacts with serotonin receptors in the brain to produce various psychedelic and consciousness-altering effects, commonly known as a trip.

Serotonin is a hormone found in your brain that is responsible for regulating your mood, happiness, and anxiety. Low levels of serotonin are often associated with heightened levels of depression, stress, and anxiety. By increasing your serotonin levels you will thus enhance your mood, reduce feelings associated with depression, anxiety, and stress, as well as feel happier and more content.
Many people describe this psychedelic experience as mystical and/or spiritual in nature. It often precipitates positive changes in a person’s attitude, mood, or behavior.

Researchers and individuals involved in this study found that those who had a more profound mystical psychedelic experience were more likely to quit smoking for longer.


Additional mental & physical health benefits of psilocybin
    •    Potential improvements in brain functioning
    •    Improved focus, concentration, and mindfulness
    •    Improved energy, wakefulness, and stimulation
    •    Alleviates symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
    •    Cognitive benefits, such as enhanced problem solving
    •    Social benefits
    •    Enhanced creativity and creative thinking
    •    Enhanced “openness” and other beneficial shifts in personality
    •    Reduced symptoms, such as stress
    •    Improved relational skills.
    •    Improved mood, optimism, and life appreciation
    •    Improved body functioning
    •    Self-efficacy, including improved ambition, productivity, and motivation
    •    Heighten spiritual awareness and enhanced senses
    •    Aids in the management of Cancer-related symptoms
    •    Enhanced personal growth
While research is slowly coming in, anecdotal reports suggest that microdosing magic mushrooms / psilocybin could have the following advantages:
    •    Increased energy and focus
    •    Heightens creativity
    •    Improved relational skills
    •    Increased spiritual awareness
    •    Minimal risk of adverse effects
    •    Improved mood
    •    Helps to induce flow states
    •    Enhances performance
    •    Encourages creative and original thinking


Despite the fact that there are numerous reasons – physically, mentally, and emotionally – for individuals to stop smoking, it may well be easier said than done. Emerging research suggesting magic mushrooms / psilocybin as a potential means to help individuals and long-term smokers to quit smoking once and for all is a major and profound breakthrough that could have a significant impact – especially if you take the dreadful statistics outlined at the beginning of the article into account.

Although the mechanism by which it works is unclear, it seems the psychedelic experience can motivate users to make lasting, positive changes to their lives.

**Final Note: Since magic mushrooms tend to amplify emotions, it is best to use them under supervision, with professional support on hand if necessary. This is particularly important for anyone suffering from psychosis, schizophrenia, or severe anxiety.