Magic mushrooms contain a compound (aka psilocybin) that can have a hallucinogenic effect. In addition to getting you high, psilocybin might also have benefits for your mental and physical health. However, more research is needed.
Shrooms. Mushies. Caps. The fungus that makes you humongous. We’re talkin’ about magic mushrooms, man.
These hallucinogenic fungi are known for their ability to make you trip bawlz. But did you know they might pack some sweet health benefits, too? Here’s the psychedelic scoop.
Benefits of magic mushrooms
Magic mushrooms aren’t just about hallucinations (though those can sometimes be pretty great). Here are five ways magic mushrooms might help your health.
In a 2022 study, researchers analyzed the effects of psilocybin — the psychedelic compound found in shrooms — in 27 folks with a long history of depression. Participants were given two doses of psilocybin every 2 weeks between August 2017 and April 2019.
Researchers found that the participants’ depression levels remained low 1-, 3-, 6- and 12-months after the treatment. While this is dope news, researchers noted that more research is needed to explore the link between psilocybin and depression. Specifically, we still need to know if treatments can last longer than 12 months.
PSA: It’s not a good idea to self-medicate with magic mushrooms. There are lots of other (and proven) methods to help you treat depression (i.e., online therapy or in-person therapy).
2. Might help stave off substance misuse
Researchers are currently trying to figure out if psilocybin can help peeps cease smoking, drinking, or misusing drugs.
In one small study, researchers analyzed the use of psilocybin as a way to treat alcohol dependence. They found that psilocybin helped decrease drinking and alcohol cravings.
In a small pilot study, researchers found that psilocybin significantly improved the odds of smokers abstaining after a 12-month period.
There’s also some anecdotal chatter that psilocybin can help treat other forms of substance misuse. But we still need a whole lotta research to show if it can actually help reduce cravings and drug use.
According to 2017 research, psychoactive substances like psilocybin might help treat cluster headaches and migraine.
However, a small study indicates that psilocybin can actually cause headaches. Researchers noted that the severity of the headaches depended on the dosage, but that the symptoms weren’t disabling or severe.
So yeah, the jury’s still out on this one.
4. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
In an animal study, researchers found that low doses of psilocybin helped condition the fear response in mice. This might mean that magic mushrooms can help treat PTSD and related conditions. But we def need more research on humans to explore this link.
Additionally, studies show that the psychological effects of psilocybin can be unpredictable. This also makes it tough to say if magic mushrooms are 10/10 effective way to treat PTSD.
While we need more research, there’s a possibility psilocybin can help relieve anxiety.
In a 2016 study, 51 cancer patients with life-threatening diagnoses were given either a very low dose or a high dose of psilocybin. The high-dose group had a bigger increase in life meaning, optimism, and quality of life. They also had a decrease in death anxiety compared to the low-dose group.