Could Magic Mushrooms Therapy Be The Answer to Depression?

Latest research suggests psilocybin containing mushrooms could cure symptoms of depression and anxiety

Introduction

Depression is quite common among the youth of Gen-Z and therapy has become the common remedy. Whether it's relationship drama or family issues, youngsters are becoming more in touch with their feelings and in turn are more prone to depression or  other serious issues. 

But, we’re seeing magic mushrooms as the new trend because microdosing seems to be working. More and more people are taking to these off-the-books remedies to treat their problems but why exactly is it working and is it worth it? To answer these questions and more, we first have to understand the issue. 

What is Depression

Depression is a widespread mental illness where the person who has it is negatively affected in their thoughts and actions. It is a very serious illness that can drastically change a person’s life. Older people or even college-goers are usually more predisposed to depression because of job or home related pressure. 

People experience depression in unique ways. 

Some general symptoms are:

  • Crying
  • Feeling empty or unwanted
  • Loss of interest in things you enjoyed doing 
  • Self-blame
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Drastic physical changes
  • Thoughts of suicide

Sadness or grief is commonly mistaken for depression but the difference is important. You can grieve without going into depression and be sad without being depressed. Both of their symptoms are alike but signs of depression are more severe and grave. 

For example, when a person loses someone close to them, they experience grief. You can see them crying and being withdrawn or sad, but usually, there will be good times and there will be bad times. When they are sad, people don’t feel worthless but in depression they sometimes  entertain thoughts of ending their life because they feel ‘pointless’. Grief can go away but depression is more serious and usually needs treatment.   

Causes of Depression

Depression can be caused by many things, each specific to the person. For example, childhood trauma can affect a child. This makes them more open to depression or other problems. Biology does affect your susceptibility to depression but anything from the death of someone close to a bad breakup can be the trigger. You can even notice people facing social or even physical issues like abuse or the loss of a job and note that they are more likely to feel alone and depressed. 

There is no fixed path to depression nor is there one to cure it but therapy can help determine specific causes of depression. 

About Magic Mushrooms

What they are

Magic mushrooms are wild or cultivated mushrooms that have the psychoactive drug psilocybin. They look like normal mushrooms but their caps are pointed and shaped like a cone while the stems are long, slim and ash gray. The middle of their tops are white but dried mushrooms tend to have a more brown center.  

Where to find them

Magic mushrooms grow wild in forests across the world. Technically, you can eat them or mix them with food, or brew it into a drink. The psilocybin from magic mushrooms can be made into a liquid drink or you can crush and mix the mushrooms into tobacco. It is not recommended to take magic mushrooms on your own because even the slightest mistake can cause addiction or other negative side effects.  

Psilocybin

Psilocybin is a highly classified drug found exclusively in fungi. For example, it’s found in the caps of mushrooms aka magic mushrooms. First isolated by Albert Hofmann, it was a hallucinogenic compound that the body converted to psilocin. Psilocybin is a well known psychedelic now classified as a Schedule 1 drug meaning it cannot be used or sold even for medicinal use in the United States.  

The drug has a high potential for misuse and therefore should be approved and administered with the guidance of a professional. Several studies have been conducted to show the vast effects psilocybin has on patients who use it. Some of these say that psilocybin is helpful for fighting the secondary or lesser symptoms of depression like feeling included and improving mental health.

Psilocin in the body is said to change serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is the chemical that alters our mood, and our sense of happiness. In excess, this creates the same elated ‘high’ people search for in other recreational drugs. Its effects are immediate and can last upto 6 hours. 

Effects 

Magic mushrooms have upto 5% psilocybin. The body can take about 5 g of psilocybin with pleasant effects while more than that is usually harmful. A popular way of administering this drug is through microdosing. Microdosing means taking very little quantities of a substance on a daily basis. For example, some people take ground magic mushrooms in the morning on a daily basis. This would allow for them to experience the magic of the drug and sustain their regular lifestyle.

Magic mushrooms can help a person become more organized both mentally and physically. They become more attentive to detail and expressive of their emotions. Psilocybin helps reduce anxiety and improves mood and even stimulates your brain’s creative functions. Using psychedelics, one feels more akin to nature and more receptive to the world around them. They cause you to see and feel things that aren’t real and reality becomes distorted which heightens the appeal of the drug. As drugs like psilocybin become more popular and depression becomes more common in the coming generation, people have started advocating them and asking for them to be made legal. 

Side Effects

Psychedelics like psilocybin (and therefore magic mushrooms) are illegal in most countries and for good reason, too. They are very concentrated drugs and can cause great damage if administered unchecked. They are addictive and hallucinogenic. Common immediate side effects could include nausea, paranoia and drowsiness. They can even cause headaches and increased blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature. If you accidentally eat a poisonous mushroom instead of magic mushrooms, the results could be disastrous.

People misuse magic mushrooms as antidepressants or to get off of other drugs which could potentially be very harmful.  If you accidentally overdose while attempting to microdose you would have a bad trip. Enough testing hasn’t been done to confirm what the effects of magic mushrooms could be in the long run but experts believe they could be bad since mind altering drugs are known for causing accidents, delusions and panic. Contaminated drugs have even more potential to be harmful. Always consult an expert when trying any new substance. 

Conclusion: Magic mushrooms contain a drug called psilocybin which induces hallucinations and can even create a distorted reality. This ‘high’ can also help with eradicating the secondary signs of depression to help you feel better. Even though it is used as a recreational drug, it is illegal in most countries and should be administered with caution. If you microdose right, magic mushrooms could just be what you need to get rid of depression and get back on track to a brighter life!