Much research is being done on the positive effects of natural remedies on our health. Likewise to magic mushrooms. The psychoactive substance in magic mushrooms, psilocybin, can have many benefits for people with mental illnesses. But aside from mental health, magic mushrooms also be good for your brain health? In this blog, we look at what is known about this.
The rediscovery of magic mushrooms for brain health
Natural peoples have used magic mushrooms for thousands of years. In the West, mushroom use has faded into the background in recent centuries. Until Albert Hoffman (the man who also discovered LSD) isolated the substance psilocybin in 1958. His laboratory began synthesizing the substance, and famed psychonaut Timothy Leary, among others, began researching its effects.
One of the most famous experiments was that of Leary and Richard Albert. The scientists and some students took psilocybin and examined its mental and emotional effects. In the first survey, of the 38 students, 69% indicated that they clearly experienced broader awareness. In the second study, 95% of the 167 participants said psilocybin had changed their lives for the better.
More studies were conducted, but all were discontinued after mind-altering drugs fell under the banned substances in 1970. It wasn’t until 2006 that some studies were done again on the effects of magic mushrooms. Several clinical studies have now been done, showing that psilocybin can be used as a treatment for mental disorders (such as depression, anxiety and addictions).
The more that becomes known about magic mushrooms, the more evidence is found that the mind-altering substances can be good for brain health.
Can shrooms protect the brain?
Mushrooms contain the psychoactive substance psilocybin. If you ingest a dose of this substance, you will hallucinate. Psilocybin thus affects the functioning of the brain. But aside from tripping you out, so it may be that magic mushrooms can help maintain and even improve brain health.
Four different types of psilocybin mushrooms were studied in South Africa in 2021. This showed that they could reduce the production of pro-inflammatory substances. Under normal circumstances, these substances can be useful. They are created when there is an injury or infection. They then help fight pathogens and are necessary for recovery.
But if the immune system is overactive, chronic inflammation may develop. The accumulation of these inflammatory substances can then cause a lot of damage. Chronic inflammation in the brain is linked to various degenerative diseases. Examples include:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Amyotropic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
Because magic mushrooms can prevent the damage caused by chronic inflammation, they can help protect brain health and potentially help protect against such diseases.
Another paper was published a year later by the same university in South Africa. This also highlighted the protective properties of psilocybin. Human cells were used in the study and the scientists found that the magic mushroom species Psilocybe natalensis could reduce markers of oxidative stress. This process is associated with the death of cells and diseases of the nervous system.
Cognitive benefits of magic mushrooms
Our brains are constantly active, we think, feel and experience. We need our cognitive abilities to gain knowledge and understand what is going on around us. Because of psilocybin’s protective effects on the nerves, it can help support our cognitive functioning.
Psilocybin can support brain plasticity. Plasticity is the brain’s ability to form new connections between neurons. As a result, psilocybin can potentially enhance our learning skills, creativity and ability to solve problems. You will benefit from that all your life. The substance in magic mushrooms can thus support brain health into old age.
The benefits of microdosing magic mushrooms
Although magic mushrooms can potentially have great benefits for brain health, it is not attractive for most people to use magic mushrooms regularly because of their mind-altering effects. The question is whether microdosing magic mushrooms can have the same effects on your health. When you take a microdose, you get only a tenth of a normal dose. You won’t trip from this.
However, it is not yet clear whether you get the same positive effects on brain health with a microdose. Yet microdosing does seem to have benefits on mental well-being, emotions and cognition. The University of British Columbia conducted research among 953 people who microdosed and 180 who did not. Participants who did microdose were found to score significantly better on mental health, mood and cognition after one month, compared to those who did not microdose.
It was also found that psychomotor functioning (eye-hand coordination, motor skills) was much better among participants who were 55 and older. This seems to indicate that microdosing with psilocybin may protect against age-related brain damage.
Tap into the power of magic mushrooms
Shrooms, fortunately, are increasingly coming into a good light. And that’s okay. The mind-altering substance psilocybin appears to be able to protect our brains from damage caused by inflammation and oxidative stress and may be able to support brain health. In addition, magic mushrooms can promote brain plasticity, allowing us to remain mentally active even in old age.
Want to experience the power of magic mushrooms for yourself? With our convenient grow kits (from All in One or Fresh Mushrooms), you can grow your own mushrooms at home. This is not difficult and allows you to use your own fresh mushrooms. Is microdosing more your thing? In our webshop you will find different brands of microdosing truffles, which make microdosing easy and effective.