Could psilocybin alleviate feelings of depression?
Humanity’s fascination with the mystical properties and mind-altering capabilities of psilocybin mushrooms may date as far back as human history itself. Ancient illustrations and cave drawings have been found depicting the ingestion of magical plant life leading to elevated thought, conscious awareness, and enlightenment. Psilocybin mushrooms have always had a sort of ancestral respect as an alternative medicine as it cannot be denied that these curious sprouts of the Earth have a direct link to one’s brain chemistry and cognitive function; however, psilocybin has recently become a substance of interest yet again – only this time, science is ruling in its favor as a potential substance of medicinal and therapeutic value.
A number of studies in recent years have lead researchers to the conclusion that psilocybin can be very effective in aiding those struggling with mental conditions such as depression, anxiety, addiction, obsessive compulsive behavior, et cetera. Many individuals that suffer from these conditions experience what is known as a “cognitive rut” where the individual has fallen into a perpetual and inescapable thought pattern of negative memories and undesirable tendencies; the mind has been overactive for too long and the individual has lost the ability to recall anything other than what troubles them. Psilocybin, in controlled doses, may prove to be the answer to breaking these loops of negativity and allowing for the flow of positive thoughts and energy through one’s mind.
Through the power of controlled doses along with the proper set and setting, volunteers of the psilocybin experiment published in the British Journal of Psychiatry in 2012 appeared to have improved memory recollection and “subjective well-being” over the course of the six month follow-up, showing that the effects of psilocybin on consciousness are lasting even after the substance has made its course.
Another study, conducted by Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris of the Imperial College London, showed that psilocybin affects the brain’s behavior as it stimulates some of the primitive regions of the brain that are associated with emotional thinking. Carhart-Harris injected 30 volunteers with psilocybin and proceeded to conduct a brainscan on each of them to try and detect any changes in brain composition. Along with the newly active primordial regions of the brain, it was also observed the majority of volunteers experienced less active self-consciousness and introspection, allowing for one to more easily detach from thoughts and memories of depression and anxiety and recall more pleasant states of the mind.
“Only by losing the self, can you find the self.”
Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris
Brain Region Cross Communications And New Connections Made By Psilocybin
Psilocybin may be a long way from widespread acceptance and approved use as a medicinal substance, but these studies are all steps in the right direction. The bewildering nature of this divine mushroom has been realized for some time, but it wasn’t until recently that scientific research has proven that psilocybin might play a valuable rule in the battle against mental conditions. Perhaps one day, we will see a time where conditions of the mind and the consciousness are approached with psilocybolic treatment.
“We’ve never had drugs before with an instant effect. This could create a paradigm shift to help people into a different state of thinking that they can stay in.” – David Nutt, Professor of Neuropsychopharmacology
The volunteer was a participant in the Johns Hopkins Psilocybin Cancer Study. He speaks on Psilocybin’s effects and his therapeutic experience.
Bone, Eugenia. “Can Mushrooms Treat Depression?” The New York Times. The New York Times, 29 Nov. 2014. Web. 01 Mar. 2015.
Engelking, Carl. “Compound in Magic Mushrooms Could Treat Depression – D-brief.” Dbrief. N.p., 09 May 2014. Web. 01 Mar. 2015.
“How ‘magic Mushroom’ Chemical Could Free the Mind of Depression, Addictions – CNN.com.” CNN. Cable News Network, n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2015.