Psilocybin is a chemical found in shrooms that causes a sensory overload of saturated colors and patterns. Recent research has found that this effect happens because the brain becomes “hyperconnected” and allows for increased communication between different brain regions.
Prior studies have found that shrooming doesn’t just create a colorful, psychedelic experience for a couple of hours; it can cause positive neurological changes that last over a year. These changes resulted in a personality that was more open to the creative arts and became happier, even 14 months after receiving the psilocybin.
The study used 15 participants with prior positive experiences with hallucinogens to avoid a bad trip inside the enclosed machine. Some of the participants received saline placebo (a), while the other half received psilocybin (b) .
Surprisingly, the researchers saw that upon receiving psilocybin, the brain actually re-organized connections and linked previously unconnected regions of the brain. These connections were not random, but appeared very organized and stable. Once the drug wore off, the connections returned to normal.
We can speculate on the implications of such an organization. One possible by-product of this greater communication across the whole brain is the phenomenon of synesthesia (subconscious pairing of two things) which is often reported in conjunction with the psychedelic state. – Giovanni Petri, Lead Researcher at ISI Foundation
The mechanism of how psilocybin is creating these changes is not yet known and will require further study. The researchers believe that in understanding the drug’s mechanism for temporarily re-wiring the brain and altering mood, it could potentially be manipulated into making a functional treatment for depression or other disorders.
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