By Emily Sohn
- Psilocybin, the active ingredient in hallucinogenic mushrooms, shuts down parts of the brain that are responsible for regulating a sense of self.
- In controlled settings, the drug may be a useful therapeutic tool for treating depression, anxiety and other psychiatric problems.
- In the study, the rush of the first 10 to 30 seconds induced some fear, he added, but positive feelings then immediately swept over them.
After a psychedelic trip on magic mushrooms, people often describe the experience as mind-expanding, consciousness altering, emotionally insightful and even spiritually transcendent. Now, scientists have peered into the brains of people tripping on psilocybin — the active ingredient in mushrooms — and their results revealed a few surprises.
Instead of opening lines of communication between sensory-oriented regions of the brain, psilocybin appears to shut down activity in two key areas of the brain that regulate our sense of self and integrate our sense of awareness with our sense of the present.
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