WHAT IS PSILOCYBIN?
Psilocybin is a naturally occurring psychedelic compound found in certain mushrooms, often referred to as magic mushrooms. When ingested, psilocybin is converted to psilocin in the body, with both of these compounds contributing to the hallucinogenic effects.
A simple mention of magic mushrooms to much of the population will result in a raised eye brown, a look of disappointment/disgust and a comment along the lines of "shut up you fukin druggo, that's illegal". However, magic mushrooms, or psilocybin mushrooms, have a long history of use in various cultures for spiritual, religious, and shamanic practices. Archaeological evidence suggests their use dates back thousands of years.
Psilocybin, when administered under guidance of professionals, is showing great promise regarding its therapeutical potential, particularly in the treatment of mental health conditions like depression, anxiety and PTSD. Lets delve deeper.
A QUICK LOOK AT THE HEALING POTENTIAL OF PSILOCYBIN
John Hopkins Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research, established in 2019, conducts vigorous clinical trials and appears to be leading the way in the field. On their psychedelic page they have a wicked timeline showing the progress they've made over the recent years. Some of the highlights on this timeline include, "Magic Mushrooms help long time smokers quit.", "Psilocybin eases existential anxiety in people with life threatening cancer.", "Psilocybin treatment for major depression may be effective for up to a year.". These findings are massive. Shame it's illegal eh. However the future is looking bright for controlled use of psilocybin. I also remember listening to a Joe Rogan podcast, where guest Paul Stamets, the psychonaut, expert mycologist, founder of Fungi Perfecti and the man behind the Netflix film "Fantastic Fungi", which has been described as being, "...fascinating, informative, educational and totally entertaining", talks about his severe stutter, long story short, after taking (unknowingly) a more than heroic dose of magic mushrooms, sitting in a tree, tripping his balls off in a lightning storm repeating the mantra "stop stuttering" to himself and alas hasn't stuttered since. Amazing.
Dr Robin Carhart-Harris, Head of Psychedelic Research at Imperial, made the statement “We have shown for the first time clear changes in brain activity in depressed people treated with psilocybin after failing to respond to conventional treatments." Also, “Several of our patients described feeling ‘reset’ after the treatment and often used computer analogies. For example, one said he felt like his brain had been ‘defragged’ like a computer hard drive, and another said he felt ‘rebooted’". Also amazing.
However we must note, all research is still in the early stages, although the results look promising, please be aware it is not advisable to self-medicate as the research is done in a special therapeutic context.
HOW PSILOCYBIN AFFECTS THE BRAIN
Psilocybin, the active compound in magic mushrooms, affects the brain primarily by interacting with serotonin receptors. When ingested, psilocybin is converted to psilocin, which structurally resembles serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with mood regulation.
Psilocin binds to serotonin receptors, particularly the 5-HT2A receptor, leading to altered serotonin transmission. This, in turn, affects various brain regions, including the default mode network (DMN), which is involved in self-referential thoughts and the sense of ego. The suppression of the DMN is thought to contribute to the profound changes in perception, cognition, and consciousness experienced during a psychedelic trip. Additionally, psilocin may influence the release of other neurotransmitters like dopamine and glutamate, contributing to the overall psychedelic effects.
Others are having great success, not just for mental wellbeing, but for creativity too, welcome to the wonderful world of microdosing...
WHAT IS AND WHY ARE PEOPLE MICRODOSING?
Microdosing psilocybin involves taking very small, sub-perceptual amounts of the psychedelic compound found in magic mushrooms on a regular basis. Unlike a full, recreational dose that produces noticeable hallucinogenic effects, a microdose is typically about one-tenth to one-twentieth of a recreational dose.
People who microdose psilocybin often report subtle cognitive enhancements, improved mood, creativity, and increased focus. While there is anecdotal evidence supporting these potential benefits, scientific research on microdosing is still in its early stages.
Two of the most common protocols for microdosing are the "Stamets Stack", made by the expert mycologist we spoke about earlier, this involves supplementation of other medicinal mushrooms, specifically Lionsmane, and a blood flow booster, Niacin, otherwise known as B3.
The other common one is the "Fadiman Protocol", which is designed to be very safe and low risk, where you only take around one tenth of the normal dose on every first and fourth day, leaving 5 days free for reflection.
Hopefully this provided a brief but informative overview of the healing potential of these little blighters. The future looks exciting for the medicinal application of magic mushrooms and I strongly believe most of us can find something of value when respectfully taking these little blighters. If you do choose to experiment with psilocybin, make sure to do plenty of your own research before doing so, make sure you take them in company you can trust, in a setting you feel comfortable in. Bad trips are rare but very real. Be safe.
Many of our designs here at Rat Assed, the rebellious fashion brand you should know about, are influenced by the beauty and mystery of the magic mushroom. For example check out our Rinociki Shroomer, it's a conversation starter and a statement as to which side you're on. We place our focus in providing sustainable, planet, people and animal friendly streetwear, alongside getting involved with and supporting planet clean-up charities. Keep your minds open & stay Rat Assed. x