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    Over 50 years ago, Aldous Huxley, author of The Doors of Perception, wrote a book about his experiences with hallucinogens like
    magic mushrooms. He believed that humans normally can process only a small percentage of what the mind can take in over time and assumed that the human brain funnels our day-to-day experiences into more controllable amounts of information to process. According to him, this was a survival mechanism created by years of evolution and a “measly trickle of the kind of consciousness.”


    Is it all true?


    British researchers recently found that psilocybin- the mind-blowing drug in magic mushrooms- does affect the brain. The chemical, which causes you trip and feel open to the world around you, actually doesn’t increase brain activity but slows it down.


    While taking mushrooms, overall activity within the brain drops, particularly in the sensory regions of the brain. When you aren’t high and tripping off the ‘shrooms, the mind has little centers in it that help to constrain what we see, hear, and feel. This gives us a sense of reality. These pathways are also linked to our self-conscious feeling and depression. Psilocybin helps to decrease the activity within these centers and cuts off the pathways to other sections of the brain. This allows us to feel increased senses.


    Our minds are playing tricks on us


    Robin Carhart-Harris, the lead author of a recent study on magic mushrooms, suggested that our brains may actually prevent us from interacting with our true environment. This may imply that our brains may be dedicating energy to keeping our realities stable, ordinary, familiar and unsurprising.


    This information could lead to breakthroughs in modern neuroscience. The idea that our human brain’s functions and great achievements involved preventive measures to block off over-stimulation instead of allowing the flow of sensations is revolutionary, to say the least. They even found that the brain automatically omits information it finds useless rather than allowing the conscious mind to consider it before omitting. We are being denied reality.


    The study revealing this


    The study consisted of 15 volunteers who were alternately injected with Psilocybin and a placebo while being scanned in an fMRI machine. When injected, the psilocybin altered brain activity for only a minute while oral ingestion lasted up to 40 minutes. Also, the high caused by the chemical lasted only 30 minutes while oral users normally experience five wonderful hours.


    While the authors were worried about potential panic attacks due to the noisy, tight quarters of the machine, many participants had stated that they enjoyed the enclosed nature of the scanner and felt secure. All of the test subjects had used magic mushrooms before.


    It's not how we thought


    The study showed that the assumption that hallucinations were caused by the brain working extra hard were immediately proven wrong. For the researchers, this was the most surprising finding.


    Since the mushroom chemical stopped the brain’s ability to filter out what it considered “unnecessary noise,” all the test subjects could experience all the stimuli around them that they ordinarily would not pay any attention to. A lot of times they would find themselves lost in thought, feeling like they were in a dream, with strange hallucinations, and many other feelings of new senses.


    Sure, it could be concluded that if our minds didn’t already filter out these extra senses, we would never be able to focus. Our impulse control would be out the window. It would explain why when tripping, we find it hard just to stay in one place and focus on one thing. But it also makes meditation seem even more intriguing and new.


    What this means for medicine


    The parts of the human brain that psilocybin cuts off reveal how the chemical causes this amazing psychedelic experience and even how it could aid in therapy. The brain’s two major parts, the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) and the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) showed lowered activity due to the chemical.


    In mainstream science, the mPFC is shown to cause worrying and obsessions, when not functioning properly and overworking. As a result, depression has been linked to an overactive mPFC and antidepressants work by reducing that activity. It would, therefore, make sense that since psilocybin reduces the activity in this region, it could also be used to treat those with depression.


    The second key area of the brain reduced by the chemical- the PCC- controls our conscious minds and self-identity. It is known as our default network. Many believe that it is associated with our sense of self, such as our ego or personality. When tripping on mushrooms, there is a temporary separation from that network, similar to what is described in Buddhism or other Eastern philosophies.


    Even the common headache was impacted by magic mushrooms. Cluster headaches were linked to an over-activity in a region of the brain that psilocybin had also calmed and reduced. Those who suffered from them experienced a reduction in the number of attacks they had.


    However, previous studies did not support these findings since their participants did not experience similar results. Some even suggested that magic mushrooms triggered anxiety rather than peace and were, therefore, not therapeutic. This study’s author suggests that an anxiety reaction is more likely to occur if the patient has depression, as magic mushrooms amplify any negative feelings that are already present. Regardless of the potential side effect, everyone who used them agreed that their ‘trip’ was quite delightful.


    This might actually explain why drugs such as magic mushrooms are not often addictive and can actually treat addiction. Many believe that this can be used as a way for patients to face their issues and work through them rather than running away from them.


    This article was brought to you by the editorial team of Trufflemagic.com, specialist in growing advice for truffles. Visit their site for a wealth of information and if you are looking to buy magic mushrooms.


    Last edited by Bert_Cannavelli; 10-07-2016 at 04:26 AM.

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