A new scientific study has revealed a strong link between how our brain works while sleeping, and the brain while on psychedelic drugs like hallucinogenic mushrooms.
The study further found that substances like LSD and magic mushrooms specifically can help to cure from depression and boost creativity.
An international team of scientists from Germany, the UK and Argentina have published their findings in the ‘Human Brain Mapping’ journal last Wednesday.
The study explains that the key psychedelic chemical psilocybin in “magic mushrooms” or “shrooms” has a mind-expanding effect. This chemical has long attracted scientists’ attention, but only now have they discovered the positive physical changes in the brain that it triggers.
Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris from Imperial College, London, is a co-author of the study. He explained that he was“fascinated” by the results:
“People often describe taking psilocybin as producing a dreamlike state and our findings have, for the first time, provided a physical representation for the experience in the brain.”
The substance causes changes in primitive areas of the brain that are linked to emotions and memory, but it also tends to make people do less high-level thinking.
Brain activity becomes more disjointed and uncoordinated, immersing those experimenting with hallucinogenic drugs into a vivid, dreamlike state, which means the substance is a bad idea for those with psychological problems.
Dr Enzo Tagliazucchi, the lead author of the study, from Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany, said: “A good way to understand how the brain works is to perturb the system in a marked and novel way. Psychedelic drugs do precisely this and so are powerful tools for exploring what happens in the brain when consciousness is profoundly altered.”
The fascination with hallucinogenic mushrooms is in their ability to expand consciousness. But Dr. Carhart-Harris said they could also be used as a medical cure for depression: “We are currently studying the effect of LSD on creative thinking and we will also be looking at the possibility that psilocybin may help alleviate symptoms of depression by allowing patients to change their rigidly pessimistic patterns of thinking.”