This Is Your Brain on Magic Mushrooms


In this article for Discover Magazine, I take a trip into the weird world of psychedelic neuroscience – which is actually a major area of serious research right now. Specifically, I delve into one new fMRI study, which found that psilocybin, the active ingredient in psychedelic mushrooms, changes brain connectivity in two very distinct ways. Could this have implications for psychotherapy? And what does it tell us about the nature of psychedelic experiences?

They found two main effects of the psilocybin. First, most brain connections were fleeting. New connectivity patterns tended to disperse more quickly under the influence of psilocybin than under placebo. But, intriguingly, the second effect was in the opposite direction: a few select connectivity patterns were surprisingly stable, and very different from the normal brain’s stable connections. This indicates “that the brain does not simply become a random system after psilocybin injection, but instead retains some organizational features, albeit different from the normal state,” the authors write.

Read my full article at Discover Magazine.

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