Tag Archives: mushrooms

Psilocybin Molecule: The Agent of Transfiguration

Anyone who’s went through a well-thought-out serious dose of mushrooms can tell you that psilocybin is a truly life-changing compound.

This molecule first emerged 10 to 20 million years ago, and its primary function was to repel predators from feasting on the mushrooms.

In the millions of years that followed creatures with superior sentience gradually evolved, and in humans the effects produced by psilocybin are completely different from the original purpose of this molecule.

How come some mushrooms have psilocybin?

Over two hundred species of mushrooms (which grow in almost every corner of the world) have developed psilocybin, and what’s fascinating is that this molecule seems to have evolved “separately” in each of them.

This unusual process where the beneficial genetic material jumps from species to species is called the horizontal gene transfer. This specific type of gene transfer is usually a result of a specific threat or opportunity in the environment.

It is speculated that the psilocybin-carrying genetic material “jumped” from one species to another because a great number of differing mushrooms grow on manure and rotten wood, but more importantly because in this fungi-friendly environment there’s also a lot of insects, who are the mushroom’s natural enemies.

Science has figured out (1) that unlike with humans (whose consciousness distorts in profound ways when psilocybin is introduced), psilocybin causes insects to perceive that they are full, which prevents them from eating the mushroom in question.

This sensation in the insects’ mind makes psilocybin a very sophisticated defense mechanism, because it doesn’t poison or kill them, but instead deters predatory insects from continuing to eat the mushroom.

How does psilocybin induce psychedelic effects?

Firstly, when we consume psilocybin mushrooms, the presence of water molecules in the body causes a phosphate group to detach from the psilocybin molecule.

This process is called dephosphorylation, and it converts psilocybin into psilocin, which is responsible for the mind-altering effects.

Once psilocybin is converted to psilocin, this molecule is now able to attach to specific receptors in the brain.

Because it is structurally quite similar to serotonin, psilocin prevents the reuptake (reabsorption) of serotonin on these serotonin receptors sites.

This means that psilocin temporarily “hijacks” serotonin receptors from serotonin, and stimulate them throughout numerous important regions of the brain.

This ability to stimulate serotonin receptors means that psilocin is a serotonin receptor agonist.

Serotonin is an immensely important neurotransmitter, with an extremely wide set of functions within the human body.

It’s frequently called the “happy chemical” as it’s essential for our feelings of wellbeing and happiness, but it is also intricately connected with numerous other functions such as mood, appetite, sleep cyclessexual desire, memory and learning. Low levels of the serotonin molecule is also tightly tied with depression.

Similar to serotonin, but not the same

Psilocin molecules are capable of stimulating serotonin receptors because they are structurally similar to serotonin, and a very similar thing happens with cannabinoids from cannabis, which are able to stimulate the cellular receptors of the endocannabinoid system.

The endocannabinoid receptors have evolved to be stimulated by our endogenous endocannabinoids like anandamide. But, because cannabinoids like THC and CBD are structurally similar to our body-made endocannabinoids, endocannabinoid receptors also respond to the simulation of cannabinoids.

Just like endocannabinoids and cannabinoids are different, psilocin and serotonin are different. They don’t produce the same effects, even though they are similar in structure and fit onto the same receptors.

Since psilocybin (and subsequently psilocin) still remains a Schedule 1 substance, science is still having a hard time uncovering all of its mysteries, because the illegality cripples both the funding and volume of research.

What we know so far

Research has shown that psilocin stimulates serotonin receptors differently than serotonin, and the main difference is that psilocin activates phospholipase A2 enzymes, unlike serotonin which activates phospholipase C enzymes.

This basically means that psilocin and serotonin produce different effects when they stimulate these receptors, and other psychedelic compounds like DMT and LSD also activate phospholipase A2.

This kind of receptor activation is produces a cascading domino effect, affecting numerous regions in the brain – most importantly the default mode network.

The default mode network

Psylocibin vs placebo
image source: pnas.org

When scientists first began taking brain scans of people under the influence of psilocybin, they expected to see a great increase in brain activity, corresponding with the intense sensations that people regularly report.

But unexpectedly, they saw a significant decrease of cerebral blood flow (CBF) in a specific network that is essential to our perception of self.

The default mode network (DMN) is a set of structures located in the midline of the brain, which connects structures of the frontal cortex (the most recently evolved part, home to our executive functions like planning, reasoning and problem solving), with older and deeper structures of the brain that are involved with emotions and memory.

All of this entails that the DMN is a crucial hub in the brain, involved with self-criticism, self-reflection and negative ruminating thoughts. It is also connected with our ability to think about both the past and the future, which is considered crucial for a well-developed sense of identity.

The DMN also plays a part in the theory of mind, which is the ability of humans to imagine various mental states (desires, intents, emotions and beliefs) in other people.

The ability of this molecule to temporary silence the default mode network is theorized to be responsible for the sensations of ego dissolution that many people experience on psilocybin.

This brief disconnect from the DMN results in a reconnection to everything, and the current research with psilocybin is showing astonishing results for people suffering from depression and addiction, as they are most afflicted with ruminating negative thought-patterns.

While the DMN is shut down, new neural connections are being formed, which brings us to the second important effect of psilocybin.

Novel brain connections

2014 study was performing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) brain scans on 15 participants who all had previous experiences with psychedelics, while they were on psilocybin.

The scans showed a significant decrease in activity in the default mode network, but more importantly, the data showed that the brain under the influence of psilocybin was creating a lot of new biologically stable neural connections.

Neural connections
Image source: volteface.me

Because the regular functioning of the default mode network is temporarily inhibited, structures within the brain that otherwise don’t directly communicate are able to connect.

This momentary rearrangement is thought to be responsible for the dramatically positive shifts in perspective that so many people experience with psilocybin, because it allows an otherwise-constricted and loop-driven brain to develop brand new insights and perspectives.

Even though these novel connections are only temporary and the functions of the brain are normalized after the psilocybin session, the study showed that the ego-dissolution in combination with new insights produces positive long-lasting neurological changes.

This occurs because the consciousness has had a chance to “experience” a different and less-constricted form of functioning, and this effect is something that isn’t easily forgotten.

Changes in the visual cortex

One of the most captivating effects of psilocybin are the vivid visual hallucinations, and scientists are currently trying to unravel how they occur.

Even though the 2019 study dealing with this correlation was performed on mice, it provided the research team with a lot of tangible insights.

A compound called DOI (2,5-Dimethoxy-4-iodoamphetamine) was used in this research, which is just like psilocybin activates phospholipase A2 enzymes.

This type of stimulation of the serotonin receptors caused the visual cortex to behave in a very disorganized fashion.

In normal states, exposure to a visual stimuli would result in an instant burst of neural activity, but for mice on DOI, this initial response was significantly obstructed.

Neurons fired with decreased intensity, and the timing of the firing was atypical. The main hypothesis is that hallucinations occur because the brain is trying to compensate for the lack of data it’s getting from the visual cortex.

The diminished input received from the main visual processing regions is possibly causing the brain to counterbalance the lack of information, which results in strange visual distortions.

This hypothesis coincides with the sensations experienced on a psilocybin trip, because the user is intellectually aware of the experienced hallucinations.

Conclusion

Humans have been utilizing psilocybin mushrooms for spiritual purposes for millenia, but the resurgence of interest within the scientific community for psilocybin is showing that a responsible and educated use of this molecule is extremely beneficial for both our psyche and our spirit.
Contemporary research is currently verifying with factual evidence that psilocybin therapy provides a multitude of benefits for numerous disorders of the mind, including treatment-resistant depression, end-of-life depression and anxiety, and alcohol and nicotine addiction.

Source – GreenCamp

US Govt. Designates Psilocybin As Breakthrough Treatment

Under a new designation by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), psilocybin – a hallucinogenic chemical found in psychedelic mushrooms – is now considered a “breakthrough treatment” for major depressive disorder (MDD), putting it on the “fast track” for future clinical studies.

Breakthrough Therapy designation grants a potential treatment priority review by the FDA to further understanding of how it may treat certain disorders and illnesses. The designation was granted after a request from the Usona Institute, a nonprofit medical research group conducting research on psilocybin, in recognition that there is an unmet medical need that may be fulfilled through psilocybin’s potential to improve existing therapies.

Characterized by a persistent feeling of sadness or loss of interest, MDD is a mood disorder that affects how a person may think, feel, and behave – all of which can trickle into everyday activities, according to the Mayo Clinic. MDD impacts more than 16 million people in the US and is the leading cause of disability in those between the ages of 15 and 44, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. It is estimated that 322 million people globally live with some type of depression.

Previous studies have shown that magic mushrooms can ease severe depression and may “reset” the brains of people with depression without the emotional numbing associated with some traditional antidepressants. It is unclear how exactly the chemical compound may treat depression, but a study from the Beckley Foundation suggests that psilocybin may reactivate or connect certain regions of the brain and their neural capacity.

“The results from previous studies clearly demonstrate the remarkable potential for psilocybin as a treatment in MDD patients, which Usona is now seeking to confirm in its own clinical trials. What is truly groundbreaking is FDA’s rightful acknowledgement that MDD, not just the much smaller treatment-resistant depression population, represents an unmet medical need and that the available data suggest that psilocybin may offer a substantial clinical improvement over existing therapies,” said Charles Raison, MD, director of Clinical and Translational Research at Usona, in a statement.

“Given that there is so much complexity with psilocybin and that Usona is charting new ground, these interactions will ensure that Usona and the FDA are aligned in approaching the development program with acceptable best practices,” he added.

Usona is currently moving into its Phase 2 clinical trial PSIL201 with 80 study participants across seven US study sites, two of which are currently recruiting while the others aim to be active at the beginning of the new year.

BARRUS/Shutterstock

[H/T: Live Science]

Book Select: The Mushroom Cultivator

The book you are about to read is a milestone in the new awareness of mushrooms. The Mushroom Cultivator by Paul Stamets and J.S. Chilton is easily the best source of information on growing mushrooms at home. The authors demystify the art of mushroom cultivation and put mastery of it within everyone’s reach. If you have been searching for information on this topic, you will find it to be all that you have been looking for. Includes detailed growth requirements for 15 mushroom species, sterile culture and mushroom spawn preparation techniques, procedures for strain selection and development, practical preparation methods for compost and bulk substrates, the mushroom life cycle and mushroom genetics, identification of the major competitor molds, pathogens and pests, and guidelines for the construction of mushroom growing rooms.

 

Download the PDF Here 

Jamaica to Open First Cubensis Lab

While many Americans are familiar with the current decriminalization of marijuana, few are familiar with the decriminalization news of “magic mushrooms”. This year both Denver and Oakland decriminalized the magical plant due to it’s very low toxicity rating and positive health benefits (particularly for it’s natural anti-depressant and anti-anxiety purposes). In fact, in recent news man countries have begun to globally accept this fungal plant as a benign spiritual healer.

Scientifically known as Psilocybe Cubensis , this type of mushroom has been known to be used in early African and South American civilizations. For example, the Aztecas were known to use psilocybin for religious and celebratory purposes. With hundreds of years of research and knowledge of how our predecessors used magic mushrooms it’s long overdue that countries begin putting more money into research and teaching of this fungal species.

In recent news, botanical research firm of psychedelics Field Trip disclosed that they were building a 3,000 sq. ft. center at the University of West Indies (Mona, Jamaica) dedicated to magical mushroom research. According to reports, this would make Jamaica home of the first center solely dedicated to the benefits of this enigmatic plant.

“A woman harvests magic mushrooms in a grow room at the Procare farm in Hazerswoude, central Netherlands, Friday Aug. 3, 2007. “ (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

[BNNBloomberg Excerpt]:

“One of the goals is to build a library of psychoactive fungi and developing scalable commercialization options,” said Jafferi. “We know of a few alkaloids based in these mushrooms but there’s a lot we don’t know yet.” 

Aside from developing its research lab, Field Trip also plans to open a series of clinics in Toronto, New York, London and Los Angeles where doctors will be able to prescribe ketamine and monitor patients seeking mental health treatment, Jafferi said. 

He added that unlike cannabis, which can be used as medicine in an “as-needed” basis, there is already documented research from the 1970s that suggest psychedelics are an effective treatment for mental health when they are prescribed in a controlled and safe setting. 

“It’s not that far out for us to see doctors prescribing some psychedelics for a particular mental health disorder,” Jafferi said. “

 

Source – productofsociety.org

Giant Golden Buddha

I’ve been thinking and getting more encouragement to begin sharing some of the good stories I have in the book of life. Many of them experiences everyone can relate to and some not so relatable one of a kind. I think I will be doing a podcast “Introducing the Cube” and I want to start the first episode talking about that one time my friend Jenny surprised me by bringing me inside a temple in China town that I’ve walked past every day after eating a handful of mushrooms. I like the way the audio sounds on iPhone so I may wing it from the good ol X for now but either way be on the look out for the cubes.

Everything You Wanted to Know About Mushrooms!

Listen to BlogTalk Episode 1 of 2 here

Shrooms Everything you wanted to know

Tonight’s featured guest is a world renowned martial artist and etheogenic advocate, Master Kilindi Iyi. He lectures regularly throughout the world and has been featured on various social media outlets. He will be sharing his experience and wisdom on tonight’s show.

9 Edible Mushrooms

For thousands of years, edible fungi have contributed to the variety of home cooking. Here are a few of the most popular edible mushroom varieties, from the common to wild. Note: Unless you are an experienced mycologist, do not eat mushrooms you find growing wild. Many poisonous species look very similar to more savory ones.

  • Agaricus

    Agaricus mushroom
     

    Agaricus (white mushroom, button mushroom): Widely available, varies in color from white to light brown and in size from small to jumbo stuffer. Plump and dome-shaped, with a pleasing flavor that intensifies when cooked. Mature Agaricus with open veils have an intensely rich taste. Agaricus is quite versatile, being excellent for use both raw and cooked. Also available canned and dried.

    Chanterelle

    Chanterelle mushrooms
    Thyra Parthen/EyeEm/Getty Images

    Chanterelle (girolle): ​Intrinsic to French cuisine, this vase-shaped, bright yellow to orange fungus is expensive when fresh. Nutty and delicate in flavor and texture, they are also available dried and canned. Add late in the cooking process to avoid toughening. Use in salads, sauces and risottos.

    Crimini

    Crimini mushroom
    Westend61/Getty Images

    Crimini (Italian brown): Naturally dark cap that ranges in color from light tan to rich brown; rich, earthy flavor is more intense than that of the Agaricus. Substitute for button mushrooms to add a more full-bodied flavor.

    Shiitake

    Shiitake mushrooms
    Tim Graham/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Shiitake (oak mushroom, Chinese black mushroom, forest mushroom, golden oak): Ranging in color from tan to dark brown, and characterized by broad, umbrella-shaped caps up to ten inches in diameter, with wide open veils and tan gills. The shitake has a rich, full-bodied flavor, almost steak-like, with a meaty texture when cooked. These are best when cooked by almost any method, particularly sautéing, broiling and baking. Remove stems before cooking but reserve them for soup stocks.

    Oyster

    Oyster mushrooms
    Elizabeth Gaubeka/Moment/Getty Images

    Oyster: The fluted cap resembles a fan and ranges in color from a soft beige-brown to gray. It can be eaten raw in salads but more often this mushroom is cooked to bring out its delicate flavor and velvety texture. Some say this mushroom has a faint oyster-like or seafood flavor that matches its physical likeness to oysters.

    Enoki

    Enoki mushrooms
    Randy Mayor/StockFood Creative/Getty Images

    Enoki (enokitake, snow puff, golden, velvet stem): With long stems and tiny, snow-white caps, these mushrooms are joined at the base and resemble bean sprouts. The flavor is light and mild, almost fruity, with a crisp texture. They are also available canned. Before using, cut away from the communal base. Use in sandwiches, salads and as garnishes. If you use them in a cooked dish, add at the last possible moment as heat toughens enoki.

    Portabello

    Portabello mushroom
    Tobias Titz/fStop/Getty Images

    Portabello or Portabella: Largest of the commercially available mushrooms, it’s the mature version of the crimini. Its popularity derives from a brilliant marketing campaign in the 1980s to sell what was then perceived as “over-mature” common mushrooms. The long growing cycle gives it a deep, meat-like flavor and substantial texture. They are delicious whole—sliced, grilled, baked, stir-fried, or deep-fried. Be sure to trim off the dry, fibrous portion of the stem.

    Porcini

    Porcini mushrooms
    Laurence Mouton/PhotoAlto Agency RF Collections/Getty Images

    Porcini (cepes, boletes, boletus, steinpilze. Singular is porcino): A favorite in Tuscan recipes, porcini mushrooms resemble the toadstool in a fairytale. Weighing from a couple of ounces to a pound each, with caps from 1-10 inches in diameter, porcini have a smooth, meaty texture with a pungent flavor. They are pale brown in color. With many general cooking uses, they are available in many grades and can be expensive. Also available dried.

    Morel

    Morel mushrooms
    Aberration Films Ltd/Science Photo Library/Getty Images

    Morel (black morel): A relative of the highly-prized truffle this tan to dark-brown, cone-shaped, spongy fungus has a smoky, earthy, nutty flavor. The darker the mushroom, the more pronounced is the flavor. This mushroom must be cleaned well when fresh due to its dimpled head. Like the truffle, it’s expensive, but also available

Women and Entheogens  Blogtalk Broadcast  

Entheogenic Explorer 2017 Women and Entheogens Conference.

Blogtalk Broadcast at 6:00 EST 8.31

You can tune into the broadcast at the link below

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/kilindiiyi/2017/08/31/entheogenic-explorer-2017-women-and-entheogens-conference

The Women and Entheogens Conference is the brainchild of psychonaught Kai Wingo. Continuing Kai’s legacy we will continue with her vision in 2017 and beyond. The Conference will push the envelope into new and novel ideas. This year’s theme will be Psychedelics in Birth and Pregnancy from Conception through Life. We will explore the concept of utilizing entheogens for fertility, pregnancy and breastfeeding. Come be part of the new paradigm and continue our beloved Kai’s work with Women and Entheogens.

Decriminalization of Mushrooms in 2018

California voters could decide whether the state should decriminalize the use of hallucinogenic mushrooms by adults in 2018. A ballot measure was filed Friday with the state Attorney General’s office.
The measure would exempt adults 21 and older from penalties of possessing, selling, transporting, or cultivating psilocybins.

At least 365,880 valid signatures are needed to place the measure on the 2018 statewide ballot.

Kevin Saunders, a mayoral candidate in the town of Marina, near Monterey, is behind the push.

Saunders said using mushrooms helped him stop using heroin 15 years ago.

“I think we’re seeing something that could literally heal our brothers and sisters,” he said. “We’re talking about real cutting-edge stuff.”

Saunders said he hopes voters will be mature and have a serious, robust conversation about the use of mushrooms.

“It’s a natural progression from marijuana legalization,” he said. “I think that we are having an opportunity to lead the discussion.”

Californians voted to legalize recreational marijuana use in November through Proposition 64.

Psilocybin is considered a Schedule I drug by the California Controlled Substances Act and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

These drugs have no accepted medical use and a high potential for dependence and abuse, according to the DEA. Heroin, LSD, and marijuana are in the same category.

Two 2016 studies found a dosage of psilocybin helped ease anxiety and depression for some cancer patients.
Source – LATIMES