Magic mushrooms are ready for their “glow up.” Far from their early days as hippie hallucinogens, ‘shrooms are gaining attention as a promising medical treatment for a wide range of mental health conditions.
Yet while some treatment centers are gearing up to offer legalized psychedelic mushroom therapy, others aren’t so sure.
Let’s dive into the research behind psychedelic mushroom therapy to learn more about this growing trend and see if it’s right for you.
What is Psychedelic Mushroom Therapy?
Psychedelic mushroom therapy goes beyond a recreational “trip!” It is the scientifically-designed use of psychoactive mushrooms in combination with trained psychological support to help overcome mental health challenges.
How does it work? The mushrooms used in this therapy contain a compound called psilocybin, which causes auditory and visual hallucinations as well as profound changes in consciousness.
During psychedelic mushroom therapy, a trained practitioner administers a dose of psilocybin to a patient and guides them through a session to relax and focus internally. After the session, the patient and practitioner discuss their experiences to discover insights that may help change destructive emotional and behavioral patterns.
Scientists aren’t completely sure how this therapy works. They believe it likely has something to do with how psilocybin alters neurotransmitter levels to “reset” the brain to a balanced state. Alternatively, psilocybin may make the brain more open to positive suggestions or new perspectives.
The Research Behind Psychedelic Mushroom Therapy
While psychedelic plants have been used as part of traditional medical systems (like Traditional Chinese Medicine) for centuries, they have only recently been considered as a serious treatment method by modern doctors, therapists and researchers. So, what does the science say?
According to new and ongoing research, psilocybin may be effective in treating a wide range of mental health concerns. In fact, the findings suggest that the positive effects of psychedelic mushroom therapy may be four times larger – and much quicker – than traditional antidepressants.
Psychedelic mushrooms have also been shown to help improve:
- Depression and Anxiety
- Addiction and Alcoholism
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Headaches and Migraines
New studies are underway to learn how psychedelics could help us manage other issues like Alzheimer’s disease, obsessive-compulsive disorder, eating disorders, Lyme disease and more.
Want to try Psychedelic Mushroom Therapy?
The research on psychedelic mushroom therapy may be promising, but it’s important to be informed before jumping into any medical treatment. Here’s what you should consider:
- Keep it legal. Psychedelic mushroom therapy is expected to become a mainstream mental health therapy in the coming years. However, it is not yet legalized in most areas. Stay up to date with your local laws to find out when you can legally start treatment.
- Find a trusted treatment center. This is no time to DIY! Psychedelic mushroom therapy is safe only when performed by licensed, well-trained therapists. Find a center you trust or reach out to your primary care provider for a referral.
- Watch out for side effects. Everyone responds to psychedelic mushroom therapy differently. Most people feel relaxed and empowered after a session, but others may encounter side effects. Take note of excess drowsiness, headaches, nausea, panic or changes in your heart rate. Stay safe when trying this or any other treatment by sharing your experience with your therapist.
The Future of Psychedelic Mushroom Therapy and Mental Health
Will psychedelic mushroom therapy change the way we approach mental health? Possibly! With ongoing research and psilocybin legalization on the horizon, we could have several new ways to ease stress and build our resilience in the near future.Until then, remember that there is no magic pill or one-size-fits-all answer to good mental health. Whether you decide to try psychedelic mushroom therapy or choose another path for mental health care, take a well-rounded approach. Nurture your body and mind with a healthy diet, exercise, self-care, natural stress relief, rest, meditation and a caring support system into any treatment or therapy you try.
Hannah Smith is Joy Organics Director of Communications. She is driven by her passion for providing clear and accessible wellness and CBD education. In 2015, she received her BA in Media, Culture and the Arts from The King’s College in New York City and before Joy Organics, worked as writer and photographer in the Middle East and North Africa. Her work has been featured on Forbes, Vice, Vox, Denver Post, and the Coloradoan.
Medically Reviewed by:
Kimberly Langdon M.D. is a retired, board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist with 19-years of clinical experience. She completed her OB/GYN residency program at The Ohio State University Medical Center After clinical practice, she founded a medical device company where she invented six patented medical devices for both life-threatening and non-life-threatening conditions.