Researchers at Yale have discovered just a single dose of psilocybin mushrooms –commonly known as shrooms — changed the biological make-up of a mammalian (specifically, lil lab mice) nervous system. The changes seem long-term too, which is exciting to researchers.
Not only did the laboratory mice show increased spinal size and density in their nervous system but the effects were still present a month later. The animals also showed a deficit in stress-related behavior and stimulated activity after the treatment.
“It may be the novel psychological effects of psilocybin itself that spurs the growth of neuronal connections,” Alex Kwan — senior author of the report, and associate professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at the Yale School of Medicine — said in an Intelligent Life article. “It was a real surprise to see such enduring changes from just one dose of psilocybin.”
With depression and chronic stress known to reduce the volume of such neuronal connections, the research suggests the psychedelic could play a role in reversing such effects, similar to the use of well established antidepressants.
Following the dosage, subsequent rewiring in the frontal cortex of the brain was fast and enduring with the mice exhibiting changes in less than 24 hours as well as the month-long duration of such changes, the researchers said, potentially leading to what they called long-term integration of experiences and lasting beneficial actions.
“These new connections may be the structural changes the brain uses to store new experiences,” Kwan said.
The research potentially adds to consumer’s interest in psilocybin mushrooms. The formerly-taboo psychedelic has witnessed a come back of late. Oregon and a slew of cities across the U.S. have decriminalized it, which has fattened the billfolds of those with publicly traded psilocybin companies, disoriented many law enforcement officials, and even reached the floors of Congress (again).
Late in July, legislation led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) to boost research into an array of psychedelic drugs, including psilocybin, was defeated. But the margin of the loss was far narrower than previous attempts with 49 additional representatives signing onto her efforts.