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 called psilocybin when ingested the body breaks it down into the active drug psilocybin which makes its way to the brain. And here it begins to prevent the re uptake of the neurotransmitter serotonin increasing its activity. On top of this silicon 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 known 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 lasts between three to eight 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 the box becomes extremely natural. In a famous US study 36 college educated participants were given psilocybin and observed in a laboratory. One third of the participants reported the experience as the single most spiritually significant moment in their lives. With two thirds putting it in their top five two months after taking the drug. Seventy nine percent 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. Twenty two percent 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. 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 caused the least amount of damage both to the individual and to others when compared to other recreational drugs. Ultimately scientists believe that 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 brain. And if you haven't seen our video on the science behind type A versus type B personalities you can check it out on our second channel ASAP thought link in the description and subscribe for more weekly science videos.
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