Today, microdosing on psilocybin, a psychoactive compound found in magic mushrooms, is becoming a part of the daily routine for more and more Canadians. Because of the psychedelic’s increasing popularity, scientists are shifting their focus to studying the psychoactive component.
If you are curious about why more and more people are using magic mushrooms, here is what you need to know.
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What Are Magic Mushrooms?
Magic mushrooms are plant-like fungi that contain a psychoactive compound known as psilocybin or psilocin. They are sold in various powder, tea, and capsule formats.
Psilocybin affects the body by activating serotonin receptors, which can be found in the prefrontal cortex. This area of the brain affects a person’s mood, perception, and cognition. Sometimes, psychedelics also affect parts of the brain that regulate panic responses and arousal.
The potency of the hallucinogen depends on several factors, including:
- Growing conditions
- Harvest period
- Format when consumed (dried or fresh). Psilocybin in fresh mushrooms can be about 10 times higher than in dried variants.
While the online market for magic mushrooms is growing, it is crucial to note that it is illegal to sell, possess, or grow them in Canada.
Therapeutic Benefits of Magic Mushrooms
The new trend of microdosing in Canada can be attributed to the therapeutic benefits of using magic mushrooms. Over the past several years, researchers and scientists have conducted studies to learn more about these benefits.
Depression is among the most studied indications for psilocybin therapy. According to a Johns Hopkins article published in February 2022, psychedelic treatment using psilocybin helped relieve major depressive disorder symptoms for a month. With psychotherapy, the effects may even last a year for some patients.
Stops Smoking and Addiction
Meanwhile, in a 2017 study, researchers found that 67 percent of the 15 subjects stopped smoking after undergoing psilocybin therapy.
Researchers believe that the treatment also has the potential to help patients with other substance use disorders, including cocaine and alcohol addiction.
Reduces Cancer-Related Anxiety
In a small double-blind study at Johns Hopkins, researchers found that patients experiencing cancer-related depression found relief up to six months after a psilocybin treatment.
One more crucial benefit of using magic mushrooms is that there is little evidence that people can be dependent on them after a time of use. But users can become tolerant to the compound’s effects with regular use.
Risks Associated With Magic Mushrooms
Although there is little potential for abuse when using magic mushrooms, you still have to be aware that risks come with taking them. Here are some of the risks to consider:
- After taking a high dose of the drug, users may experience a “bad trip.” These experiences may be frightening and may involve paranoia, a distorted sense of self, and loss of boundaries.
- Taking magic mushrooms may cause impaired judgment, which may lead to risk-taking behaviour.
- Magic mushrooms laced with other substances, such as amphetamines and cannabis, increase the risks of adverse side effects.
- Taking magic mushrooms may have an elevated risk of side effects for people with existing psychiatric conditions.
- Individuals with heart diseases may experience increased blood pressure and heart rate after taking psilocybin.
These are only some of the risks associated with taking magic mushrooms. If you plan to take psilocybin to relieve the symptoms of an existing condition, remember to talk to your doctor first.