I'm Sam and have strong interest in substance use and abuse and the psychology of behavioral problems.
Modern drug research has really turned a lot of old stigmas on their heads.
For the last 50 years or so, we have been told by the media and by government officials that psychedelics are bad news and that they'll drive you crazy. This doesn't sound so crazy because we've all heard this so many times.
What is crazy is the fact that psychedelics were being used in clinical research before they became illegal. Things like LSD and magic mushrooms were indicated for helping people overcome mental health problems like anxiety and depression. Then they were made illegal.
Fortunately, people are beginning to recognize the vast potential of the psychedelic mindstate.
There is a lot of research in the area and it's becoming understood that psychedelics can (still) help people manage their mental health and overcome problems like addiction. One of the best psychedelic substances for doing this is known as psilocybin.
What is Psilocybin?
Psilocybin is a compound that's created by the body after ingesting psilocin, which is commonly found in magic mushrooms. Psilocybin has a number of powerful effects on its own. These can include:
- Visual changes. Many people associate psychedelics with hallucinations, but this is rarely the case. Most often psychedelics cause changes in perception but they don't actually cause you to see things that aren't there. Instead, things that are there will look different: walls may seem to breathe, colors may seem to change, etc.
- Physical sensations like the skin tingling or crawling. Some people experience digestive issues when eating the plant material that contains psilocybin.
- Some people experience a connection between the mind and the body which leads them to perceive themselves in a new way.
- The psychedelic mindstate, a term used to describe the way that people think and feel when they have eaten psilocybin or other psychedelics, include a number of different changes. People are often more open-minded, curious, and willing to accept themselves and others when they are under the influence of psychedelics.
Some of these effects are intriguing enough that people enjoy using psilocybin as a recreational drug. However, the changes in perception that psychedelics can cause can also make them very useful for improving various aspects of mental health.
Here are some of the things that psilocybin can help people with.
Psilocybin allows people to look at themselves from an objective perspective without judgment.
It is often the case that people have a distorted perception of themselves. Many people feel that they aren't 'living up' to who they should be or that they aren't good enough for the people around them. These beliefs aren't based on truth, and instead they are often based on the perception that they should act or be a certain way because other people are.
Psilocybin allows people to look past this and recognize that they are their own person and that there's nothing that they 'should' be doing. The drug allows people to recognize that the only thing of paramount importance is to be okay with yourself and to participate in things that are beneficial to your sense of well-being.
Depression can arise for a number of reasons and can also be treated in a number of reasons. You can use therapy, drugs, counseling, or other things to help treat depression.
When one thinks of using drugs to treat depression, the first things that come to mind are often SSRIs or tricyclic antidepressants. While many people use these to manage their depression, they aren't really remedies – they're band-aids. More often than not, when someone begins using this type of antidepressant, they will continue to use it for the rest of their lives. The problem is not cured, it's buried away.
Psilocybin, on the other hand, allows people to recognize and identify the source of their depression. It allows people to develop a newfound appreciation for life and to begin making the necessary changes to be able to enjoy life.
To many people, it might sound strange to hear that you can help to overcome addiction by using more drugs. However, when one thinks that the most common way to treat heroin addiction is to prescribe addicts with even stronger opioids like methadone or Suboxone, you can recognize that the pharmaceutical industry is already involved in this.
The difference with treating addiction using psilocybin is that you are doing more than simply replacing one addiction with a more available, pharmaceutical alternative. Psilocybin treatment induces changes and realizations in the mind of the addict that inspire them to stop using drugs on their own.
Psilocybin is not habit forming or addictive. It can help people decide that they don't want to use drugs, and after they make this decision, they will not be compelled to compulsively use psilocybin. The drug can induce changes that will last a long time and will continue to improve the lives of addicts.
It's no secret that psychedelics and music are closely associated. Many of the greatest bands from the 60s and 70s attribute a lot of their genius to psychedelics.
This is practical in more ways than just making music, though. Many great discoveries have arisen because of the use of psychedelics. The image of the double-helix, the standard graphic used to explain the shape of our DNA, was realized during a psychedelic experience.
Psychedelics facilitate a state of mind that allows people to comprehend and create abstract ideas. They can work through things in more ways than what they are typically used to. Often, ideas seem to come out of nowhere.
Psilocybin has been proven, in both anecdotal and clinical studies,to be effective at helping people manage PTSD. It can help them access and understand their traumatic experiences and filter them away where they won’t have as much of an effect on them in the present moment.
Using small doses of psilocybin can be useful, as can using large ‘recreational’ or medicinal doses. The prior can help to ensure that someone suffering from PTSD maintains a good hold on their mental health, and the latter can (despite being a bit more difficult) force them to confront and assimilate the memories of their experiences.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2021 Sam Shepards
Rawan Osama from Egypt on June 06, 2021:
Thanks for sharing it.