For many thousands of years, Psilocibe (magic) mushrooms have been coveted by humans for their psychedelic properties, but despite their ‘Class A’ illegal classification here in the UK and similar forms of prohibition across the globe, the psychoactive components are being called upon by medical science for the use of their anti-depressive properties. This doesn’t seem at all surprising when you consider the large numbers of documented mushroom ‘trips’ in which users report a profound alteration in their state of consciousness, often feeling ‘enlightened’ or as though thoughts and emotions are clarified. It is widely known (partly due to folks like Terence McKenna, a former devoted psychonaut and all round loopy genius) that small doses of psilocybin enhance visual acuity in humans. It has thus been postulated that early man may have used the humble magic mushroom as a visual enhancer, increasing hunting/foraging ability and as a result, survival rate.
Many will remember Prof. David Nutt of Imperial College London, who’s research and commentary on the ‘safe’ use of recreational drugs such as Cannabis and Ecstasy was dismissed, along with the man himself, who had been serving on the drugs advisory council for the previous Labor Govt.
"Psychedelics are thought of as ‘mind-expanding’ drugs so it has commonly been assumed that they work by increasing brain activity," said David Nutt of Imperial College London, who gave a briefing about the studies on Monday. "But, surprisingly, we found that psilocybin actually caused activity to decrease in areas that have the densest connections with other areas."
"We’re not saying go out there and eat magic mushrooms," he said. "But…this drug has such a fundamental impact on the brain that it’s got to be meaningful — it’s got to be telling us something about how the brain works. So we should be studying it and optimizing it if there’s a therapeutic benefit."
Read more at the source: Science Daily (reuters)