Beyond Psilocybin: Mushrooms Have A Huge Range Of Amazing Compounds Scientists Should Study

Psilocybin mushrooms, also known as the “magic” fungi, is famous for its amazing effects. A lot of researchers actually believe that it is supernatural in its qualities and this is why the body of researchers in this field is growing tremendously and they are also looking at whether it can treat various mental disorders or not. Also, the world of magic mushrooms isn’t just limited to psilocybin as there are many more properties in the mushroom that happens to be beneficial for humans.

Magic mushrooms come in all manner of sizes, colors, and flavors, and there are around approximately 5.1 million fungi that could be extracted for its useful compounds for pharmaceuticals. People are very well familiar with the mushrooms that they consume in the form of food but they have evolved certain chemicals over the years that can be utilized for a wide range of uses for our bodies.

Psilocybin is one of the most researched topics as researchers are working hard on finding its full potential, especially for treating things like depression and PTSD. The tests conducted are highly positive and indicate that it can actually treat a number of mental disorders. However, why magic mushrooms come under the drug category is still largely unknown.

Fungal Serotonin

There are still surprising similarities between humans and fungi, even though we separated from fungi millions of years ago. Panaeolus, one genus of mushrooms produces serotonin, which is a vital neurotransmitter in our brains, thought to regulate moods like depression. Chemically, psilocybin is quite close to serotonin, giving humans a reason to think that mushrooms may be using these chemicals to communicate between cells as humans do. This might be an indication that mushrooms have receptors like cell membranes; however, this knowledge was never tested.

The Mighty Toadstool

Amanita muscaria, the fly agaric mushroom doesn’t contain a drop of psilocybin, yet they still have the power to bend the mind considerably. They are believed to be quite deadly; however, this isn’t true. It contains two hallucinogenic compounds – muscimol and ibotenic acid that are known for giving a delirious, dream-like trip, taking the user far from reality. There are no known medical uses of these two drugs but surely they have made a contribution to advancing medical research. Small injections of ibotenic acid create brain lesions, helping scientists to observe what stops working in the brain and get more insights into the functioning of different regions of the brain.

Muscimol, on the other hand, has proved to be useful too as many synthetic variations of muscimol has been made since the 1970s. 

Researchers eventually discovered that gaboxadol, originally called THIP is a less toxic variant of muscimol and it was used in the trials as a pain reliever, a hypnotic sleep aid, used in the treatment for anxiety, movement disorder, and more. However, there were certain reasons, including strange psychiatric side effects like dizziness, sedation and disorientation, the drug failed to stick and was never approved for medical use. 

Never consume or inject any mushrooms as it can be dangerous or even fatal. The Information provided in this article is for informational purposes only.