Return of the Magic Mushroom
August 26, 2023
Super Mario fans love to play with it. Medical doctors study them. All over the world, chefs prepare food with them. Overnight, they appear and vanish as quickly. They leave no traces of their presence. They call the students in this field mycologists. Fungi are now being studied for their potential to cure cancer, PTSD (post-traumatic disorder) and certain psychological disorders. You can see soulcybin for more information.
Mushrooms (also called toadstools) are fungi with fleshy body parts that can grow in soil or near food. Myceteae is their own kingdom, separate from that of plants. They do not contain the chlorophyll found in green plants.
In the absence of photosynthesis, certain mushrooms get their nutrition by digesting organic matter or by eating plants higher up. Decomposers is the name for these mushrooms. They are parasites. Another group attacks live plants, killing and consuming them. These mycorrhizal organisms are edible or poisonous, found at or near the roots of many trees including oaks.
In humans, mushrooms have three possible effects: they can nourish, heal, or poison. Only a few are harmful. Most commonly, oysters are eaten along with morels or chanterelles.
China, Korea Japan India and other countries use them in their cuisine. China, in fact is the largest mushroom producer on earth. It produces over 50% of all mushrooms consumed globally. Some of the most popular mushrooms found in our stores are those grown commercially, such as enoki, shiitake and portobello.
Eastern medicine, notably traditional Chinese practices have used mushrooms since centuries. In the U.S. early 1960’s, research was conducted to investigate the possibility of modulating the immune and tumor system with extracts.
These natives have been eating mushrooms ritually for many thousands of years. Aztecs referred to mushrooms as the flesh gods’ and they were used in many religious ceremonies throughout America. It is recorded in cave paintings of Spain and Algeria from as early as 9000 BCE that ritualized consumption was practiced. Christian authorities in both America and Europe questioned the use of psilocybin. However, it was not until after World War II when Western psychiatry began to re-discover this drug.
Life Magazine’s 1957 article, “Seeking Magic Mushroom”, sparked America’s interest. Albert Hofman was a Swiss Scientist who identified the active ingredients in the mushrooms as psilocybin/psilocin the following year. To study its effects on humans, the Harvard Psilocybin Project was established by American psychiatrist Timothy Leary.
In the quarter-century that followed, 40,000 individuals were administered psilocybin. The research produced more than 1,000 articles. As soon as the government recognized the growing popularity of cannabis, they enacted laws to regulate the practice.
Nixon Administration implemented regulations that included Controlled Substances Act (1970). The legislation created five schedules based on increasing severity of the drugs. Psilocybin is in schedule 1 along with MDMA, marijuana, and other drugs. Each drug was deemed to have a “high abuse potential, no accepted medical use at the moment and a low level of safety.”
This put an end to the research that lasted for 25 years. However, recently studies began looking at how to use PTSD – post-traumatic anxiety disorder – and other mental health issues. Since June 2014 32 human trials have examined the effects of whole mushroom extracts and/or whole mushrooms on diseases or conditions. These include inflammatory bowel diseases, cancers, glaucomas, and immune disorders.