Could a chemical found in “magic mushrooms” put your limbic system in balance and improve your mood? Researchers at the Psychiatric University Hospital of Zurichhave found that psilocybin, one of the non-toxic psychedelic compounds found in the mushrooms, can literally change the processing of negative stimuli in the brain.
In the study, researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging to show that psilocybin influences the amygdala in a way that allows for better processing of negative stimuli. Not surprisingly, this led to an improved mood in the participants given psilocybin. Scientists say the results indicate psilocybin shows promise as a treatment for anxiety and depression.
A recent article in Science Daily summarizes this groundbreaking study:
The processing of emotions can be impaired by various causes and elicit mental disorders. Elevated activity of the amygdala in response to stimuli leads to the neurons strengthening negative signals and weakening the processing of positive ones. This mechanism plays an important role in the development of depression and anxiety disorders. Psilocybin intervenes specifically in this mechanism as shown by Dr. Rainer Krähenmann’s research team of the Neuropsychopharmacology and Brain Imaging Unit led by Prof. Dr. Franz Vollenweider.