Proponents of magic mushrooms say they unlock your mental shackles. Opponents claim that these mushrooms are dangerous and potentially deadly. As is often the case, the truth lies somewhere in between.
There is growing evidence to suggest that magic mushrooms could have various medical benefits. Indeed, people are keen to learn how to grow magic mushrooms since they aren’t exactly easy to find in stores! However, there’s no doubt that significantly more research is required before we can claim that ‘shrooms’ are safe.
Psilocybin is the substance in magic mushrooms that causes psychedelic effects. It has long been illegal in the United States and many countries worldwide, but things are changing. In May 2019, Denver became the first city in America to decriminalize the substance, followed by Oakland and Santa Cruz. Then, in November 2020, Oregon became the first state to legalize psilocybin.
Decriminalization is not the same as legalization. It simply means that if you’re caught in possession of a small amount of psilocybin, the substance will be confiscated, but you won’t face any criminal charge.
Yet, even the reduction of a criminal penalty is likely enough to see a marked increase in the use of magic mushrooms. Here are three reasons why many people are trying these fantastic fungi.
1 – To Combat Depression
Major depression is among the most common mental disorders in America. Data from the National Institute of Mental Health showed that in 2020, approximately 21 million American adults experienced at least one depressive episode.
There’s a growing trend toward using magic mushrooms to help combat depression. A 2022 study looked into the effects of psilocybin in 27 people with a lengthy history of depression. They received two doses of the psychedelic substance every two weeks between August 2017 and April 2019.
The study’s authors found that the depression levels of the participants remained low during 1, 3, 6, and 12-month intervals after using psilocybin. While this is interesting news, we must remember that it’s a small study that doesn’t highlight any long-term efficacy. Self-medicating with magic mushrooms is potentially dangerous, so approach with caution.
2 – To Help Reduce Substance Misuse
Given the movement against magic mushrooms, it is ironic that this drug could help with addiction! An estimated 21 million Americans have a minimum of one addiction, yet only one-in-ten addicts receive treatment.
A pilot study published by Johns Hopkins University in 2018 looked at the effect of psilocybin on smoking cessation.
Researchers found that two to three moderate to high doses of psilocybin, combined with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for smoking cessation, resulted in significantly higher abstinence rates after six months than with other medications or CBT alone.
There is also evidence that psilocybin could help reduce alcohol cravings.
3 – To Relieve Anxiety
According to data from the Anxiety & Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders affect almost 20% of the adult population in the United States. Someone with an anxiety disorder is up to six times more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders than a person who doesn’t have an anxiety disorder.
One study, published in 2016, looked into the effects of psilocybin on patients with cancer. Overall, 51 cancer patients were involved in the trial and received a low, placebo-like dose of psilocybin or a high dose. The drug was given in counterbalanced sequences with five weeks between sessions, and there was a follow-up six months after the study.
The group that consumed the high dose of psilocybin showed significant increases in optimism, life meaning, and quality of life. Furthermore, they exhibited a lower level of anxiety about death than the group that consumed the low dose.
Final Thoughts on Why People Use Magic Mushrooms
If you consume magic mushrooms, it could cause a wide array of effects, including:
- Enhanced energy levels
- Reality distortion
- Euphoric feelings
- Feelings of complete excitement
- A sense of oneness with the university
- Auditory or visual hallucinations
The psilocybin in magic mushrooms is linked with benefits such as a reduction in anxiety and depression, and it could also help combat different addictions. Research into magic mushrooms remains in its relative infancy. If you’re considering using them, make sure you do so sensibly and in the company of someone you trust. Although it is often an illuminating and exciting experience, there’s always the danger of a ‘bad trip’ that could prove terrifying.