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The scientific specifics

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Psilocybin is the main psychoactive component of psychedelic mushrooms, also known as “shrooms” “psychedelic truffles” or “magic mushrooms.”  Since its scientific discovery in 1958, psilocybin has been used extensively in clinical research, with over 40,000 patients receiving this drug without serious adverse events. 

Psilocybin is converted in the stomach to psilocin, which crosses the blood-brain barrier, and then works by exerting partial agonist effects on brain 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) 2A receptors, among others, and can alter normal waking consciousness. Common effects include unusual and colorful visuals with eyes open or shut, disintegration of ‘self’ or ‘ego’, unconstrained explorative thinking, cognitive, affective and perceptual changes, and a sense of connectedness to self, others and the world. Ingesting psilocybin, in the form of mushrooms or truffles, produces an intense psychedelic experience that lasts several hours.

By altering several different neurotransmitter systems in the brain, magic mushrooms or truffles activate serotonergic receptors on neurons, causing several brain systems to significantly change, and a wave of unique excitatory activity to spread throughout the main perceptual centers of the mind.

This has significant cognitive effects, including ego-dissolution, changes in external perception, alterations in the subjective experience of time, and even a full blown mystical experience.

Psilocybin has been shown to significantly reduce symptoms in people suffering from severe depression, and these positive changes last longer than typical treatments, especially if they are supported by skillful therapeutic integration programs.

However, most typical antidepressants also work on the serotonergic system, so there is a risk of overstimulating the body if you combine psilocybin with certain medications. 

source: Synthesis Insitute 

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