I’ve been interested in alternative therapies for depression for a long time now. I’ve even tried several myself and have felt the benefits. So it always catches my interest whenever I come across studies on the topic.
A recent study highlighted that was covered on BBC News caught my attention. It found that Psilocybin (a compound present in magic mushrooms) could be used in the treatment of severe depression.
The study, the largest of its kind, involved 230 patients who had not responded to traditional anti-depressant medication and therapy. They took part in a randomised clinical trial involving six-hour hallucinogenic “trips” followed by talking therapy.
The BBC shares the results in this short video:
It was found that nearly a third of those given a large dose of synthetic psilocybin no longer had significant depressive symptoms within 3 weeks. 20 percent of people who had the supervised sessions on the drug retained mental health improvements after 12 weeks, compared with ten percent of those who were given therapy alone.
The thing I find interesting is that any recognised shaman (energy healer) who works with the sacred teacher plants would tell you that they have known about this for several thousand years.
American biochemist, Dr. Rhonda Patrick discusses the potential applications of Magic Mushrooms in the treatment of depression and other conditions in this excellent video:
How Psilocybin Works
Psilocybin is known as a psychedelic tryptamine and has similar molecular structure to the “happy hormone” serotonin. Serotonin has some very important functions in our brains and digestive systems, including large influences over-regulating our moods, sleep cycles, and stress-coping mechanisms.
Due to this similarity in molecular structure, psilocin molecules activate the same receptors in the brain that serotonin activates, particularly at a specific receptor site known as 5HT2A. This particular receptor mediates many different functions in our minds; like mood, imagination, learning, and perception.
A large amount of the 5HT2A receptors are located in an area of the brain associated with reasoning and rational thought. These cells span an area of the brain larger than many other cells and therefore have a wider influence over brain activity.
Psilocin sits into these receptors and activates them, thereby producing the characteristic ‘trip’, which can include changes in mood, imagination, and perception.
Our understanding of exactly how Psilocybin affects the brain is not yet complete, that’s why research like this trial is incredibly important to fully realise its benefits of managing mental health.
This interesting section of Andrew Huberman’s podcast with Tom Segura selves into their experiences of using psychedelics in contrasting scenarios. They discuss that intention plays a large part in how effective they are in treating the mind and how they increase the “plasticity” of the brain.
Must Read Books To Learn More
You can learn more about psilocybin by reading any of the following books.
Diving deep into an extraordinary world – from shamans and magic mushroom hunts to the pioneering labs mapping our brains – and putting himself forward as a guinea-pig, Michael Pollan has written a remarkable history of psychedelics and a compelling portrait of the new generation of scientists fascinated by the implications of these drugs. How to Change Your Mind is a report from what could very well be the future of consciousness.
In THE PSILOCYBIN SOLUTION, Simon G. Powell traces the history of the sacred psilocybin mushroom and discusses the shamanic visionary effects it can induce. Detailing how psilocybin acts as a profound enhancer of consciousness and reviewing the research performed by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), Johns Hopkins University and the Heffter Research Institute on psilocybin’s ability to dispel anxiety in the terminally ill and its helpful effects on obsessive-compulsive disorder, he examines the neurochemistry, psychology and spirituality underlying the visionary psilocybin experience, revealing the interface where physical brain and conscious mind meet. Showing that the existence of life and the functioning of mind are the result of a naturally intelligent, self-organising Universe, he explains how sacred mushrooms provide a direct link to the wisdom of Nature and the meaning of life.
Psilocybin, the active ingredient found in psychedelic mushrooms, is an invaluable natural resource for spiritually revivifying the human psyche and reconnecting us to the biosphere and the vast intelligence of Nature. Interweaving the most recent scientific studies in the United States and Britain, more than 25 years of sacred mushroom exploration, and behind-the-scenes details on the political wars against psychedelics, Simon G. Powell offers a guide to safely navigating and maximizing the healing and spiritual potential of psilocybin.
My own personal experience with psilocybin
I’ve had many magical experiences with psilocybin in these last few years.
My own journey into psychedelic plant therapy began by listening to Dr. Gabor Mate talking about the powerful effects plant therapies have on child abuse survivors who are also navigating addiction.
After receiving my calling I went on an adventure to the jungle of Costa Rica to attend Rythmia Life Advancement Centre. I’ve shared that experience in the Rythmia blog.
The outcomes for me have been powerful. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve had an intense episode of depression and I’ve learned to manage my destructive addictive tendencies better. I have made a few mistakes but still, I’m moving in the right direction most of the time.
Due to the continued work, I do with psychedelics alongside focussing daily on the fundamentals of health and fitness using the sauna and cold plunge and integrating all of these practices consistently means I live in a better head space and don’t suffer the way I did at periods over 30+ years.
Psychedelic Plant Therapies have played a massive part in helping me to heal, improve my relationships and also release the blocked energy that was depressing many low-frequency emotions. Obviously, I am going to praise the process because it has worked for me but due to this and other new studies, the information and data it is now becoming more credible to the mainstream.
On a final personal note. I think that it’s ridiculous that magic mushrooms can be classified as class-A drugs, which puts them in the company of heroin and crack cocaine. A lot has changed in the last 50+ years since the Misuse of Drugs Act of 1971. It’s about time for a full reform of our drug laws led by scientists who tell the truth and work based on the actual data instead of the politicians.
Change is happening in the US and Canada as well as a growing list of countries as you can read about in the blog “Where Are Magic Mushrooms Legal”. It’s only a matter of time before policy changes in the UK too.
Until next time, “Strength for Life”
Davie McConnachie is Scotland’s leading health and wellness coach, multi-award-winning gym owner, motivational speaker, and the founder of DMC Fitness, a fitness education facility known as the premier choice for 1-2-1 personal training. He has inspired thousands of people to fall in love with fitness – his true mission in life.
In his own fitness journey, Davie has athletically competed in Mixed Martial Arts fighting for Scottish and British titles, boxed for Scotland’s top amateur boxing team, and competed internationally in Girevoy (kettlebell) Sport.
Diving into the world of sports and wellness has helped Davie to deal with his own inner demons. He. overcame many dark times using his own unique method to complete his cycle of H.E.A.L.I.N.G.