A single dose of certain hallucinogenic drug psilocybin—the molecule found by researchers in “magic mushrooms” will prompt structural remodeling of different neurons in our brain, which could help in explaining the drug’s reported antidepressant benefits, according to imaging studies in mice.
So, that leads to an important question how to grow psilocybin mushrooms? Psilocybin administration to mice resulted in an instantaneous and long-lasting rise in the strength of connections between neurons particularly in a certain specific region of our cortex, according to Yale University researchers.
Other research has found that sub-anesthetic dosages of the drug called ketamine elicit similar quick increases in the spine density as well as elevation of rate of spine production in our medial frontal brain, they pointed out.
What is psilocybin?
Chemical substances present in “magic mushrooms” are psilocybin and psilocin. These are commonly derived from fresh or dried mushrooms found in South America and Mexico. These substances, which have a structure similar to LSD or lysergic acid diethylamide, are commonly misused for their hallucinogenic properties.
What is neuroplasticity?
The ability of neuronal networks in our brain to adapt through both reorganization and growth is known as neuroplasticity, and the above increase or decrease in certain genes caused by psilocybin is a type of neuroplasticity that occurs in response to also small dosages of the drug (magic mushrooms)
The rats’ brain was studied after receiving a single psilocybin (0.5-20mg/kg) dose. Using real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction, 8 reference genes and 45 genes were evaluated. Western blotting was used to determine the level of protein of the 3 genes that are most commonly regulated.
Previous research had suggested that psilocybin, and also the anesthetic ketamine, may help with depression. These substances boost our dendritic spines density, tiny protrusions seen on our nerve cells that contribute to the passage of information between our neurons, according to new Yale research. The number of these neural connections is known to be reduced by chronic stress and depression.
A lead author Ling-Xiao Shao, and Kwan postdoctoral associate at Yale School of Medicine, photographed dendritic spines in a very high-resolution camera and tracked all of them for several days in a few living mice using a laser scanning microscope.
Within 24 hours of psilocybin administration, they discovered a rise in the size and number of dendritic spines. A month later, the changes were still noticeable. In addition, mice given psilocybin demonstrated behavioral gains and enhanced neurotransmitter activities after being stressed.
Psilocybin, an active component found in the “magic mushrooms,” can cause deep mystical experiences in certain people. The psychedelic was used in religious rites by indigenous New World people and is now a popular recreational substance.
As Kwan recently said after attending microdosing movement workshops about the unique psilocybin psychological effects that may stimulate the formation of neural connections. “It was quite a big surprise seeing such long-lasting benefits obtained from only one psilocybin dose,” he said. “All such new connections possibly are structural alterations taking place in the brain that can to store new information.”
While researchers continue to investigate how psychedelics such as psilocybin may benefit human brains, there can be some suggestions about how psychedelics may aid in addiction treatment.