Much like the carefully orchestrated de-legalization of cannabis during the 1930’s, there was a powerful decades-long misleading campaign against psilocybin mushrooms which caused a deep-rooted fear and a subsequent public rejection of this substance.
Just as cannabis is now finally seeing an increase in public trust, several studies have been published which show extremely promising results for the use of psilocybin mushrooms in patients who suffer from anxiety and depression, or are battling addiction, and for patients who are terminally ill, helping them to alleviate their fear of death.
Psilocybin can also be exceedingly helpful for individuals who don’t have full blown depression or anxiety. The pace and structure of modern life is creating symptoms of these disorders in practically everyone, and the number of people afflicted is constantly on the rise.
Psilocybin mushrooms are currently scheduled as a Class III narcotic in Canada. What’s important to consider when we look at “hard drugs” is the level of human tampering with the substances.
Cocaine is made from the coca plant (approximately 1% of street cocaine is pure plant material), and heroin is derived from the poppy plant, but both of these natural substances undergo a series of production techniques which include adding numerous harmful chemicals, thus producing a very harmful and highly addictive narcotic.
On the other hand, substances like cannabis and mushrooms require absolutely no human alterations to have effect and they are typically used in their natural plant form.
In the same way that the THC cannabinoid in cannabis is responsible for the psychoactive effects we experience with pot (as well as being responsible for a lot of its medicinal benefits), psilocybin mushrooms have their own compound, called psilocybin.
In the following section we will acquaint ourselves with psilocybin mushrooms a bit better, before moving on to the studies which demonstrate their extensive therapeutic potential.
History of use
There are several prehistoric rock art drawings which show (quite probably) the importance of psychoactive psilocybin mushrooms to the artists that drew them.
Terence McKenna, who was a famed psychonaut, author, and an avid advocate for the responsible use of naturally occurring psychedelic substances, studied the artwork and culture of Tassili n’Ajjer.
The rock paintings from the Neolithic era depict domesticated cattle, and McKenna concluded that psilocybin mushrooms would have grown from the dung of the animals, which is a very common occurrence.
The psychoactivity of the mushrooms would have heavily influenced and further developed the spiritual and religious systems of the Tassili n’Ajjer people, and without the domestication of cattle that would not have happened.