Magic mushrooms stimulate parts of the "primitive brain" linked to emotion and memory, according to a scientific study published on Thursday in the neuroscience journal Human Brain Mapping.
Researchers injected volunteers with psilocybin, the psychedlic chemical found in magic mushrooms, and observed brain activity with imaging hardware. They discovered that brain activity on psilocybin closely resembles patterns of activity observed when subjects are dreaming.
"Learning about the mechanisms that underlie what happens under the influence of psychedelic drugs can also help to understand their possible uses," says Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris, a researcher from Imperial College London. "We are currently studying the effect of LSD on creative thinking and we will also be looking at the possibility that psilocybin may help alleviate symptoms of depression by allowing patients to change their rigidly pessimistic patterns of thinking."
Last month, Reason TV released a video profiling the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), a research group focused on developing psychedelics into legal prescription drugs. Watch the video below. The original write-up is beneath.
Published on Jun 4, 2014
"The rave movement is sort of an antidote to the fact that for many people, the religious rituals that they have just don't work, and so we've had to create our own," said Rick Doblin, the founder of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS).
During the 1960s and 1970s, a number of therapists conducted experiments using psychedelic drugs. The research was promising, but widespread recreational use of psychedelics among young people ultimately led to the prohibition of psychedelic drugs. As a result, research on the potential therapeutic benefits of psychedelics decreased siginificantly.
In 1985, despite its widespread reputation as an effective therapeutic tool, the DEA classified MDMA (ecstasy) as a Schedule I drug. The following year, Rick Doblin founded the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) with the goal of developing psychedelics into legal prescription drugs. Today, MDMA is in Phase 2 FDA trials for use as a therapeutic aid for people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
MAPS researchers are also finding that psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, can be an effective therapeutic tool for helping addicts and people suffering from terminal diseases. Reason TV talked to Doblin and other psychedelic researchers at the 2013 Psychedelic Science Conference in Oaklland, California, to learn more.
Approximately 6:30 minutes.
Produced by Paul Feine and Alex Manning.
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