Psilocybin Mushrooms Then and Now

Psilocybin mushrooms have probably become popular in recent times due to their reported benefits in the potential treatment of certain mental health problems.* Although psilocybin mushrooms may seem like a modern approach to treatment, they have a long tradition of use in a variety of indigenous cultures throughout the world. the world . This was particularly evident in Mesoamerican societies such as the Aztecs and Mayans who, prior to the Spanish conquest, used mushrooms containing psilocybin during ceremonies and rituals related to political alliances and social order. Common folklore describes that psilocybin mushrooms were a powerful part of Mesoamerican creation myths and were also used as a way to communicate with the gods. For example, the Mayan culture communicated specifically with the snake god Quetzalcoatl, who was worshiped as the creator of life. Among the Aztec culture psilocybin mushrooms were revered and often referred to as Teonanactalmeaning “flesh of the gods”.

After the Spanish conquest, the use of psychedelic plants and medicinal mushrooms was condemned due to the rise of Catholicism and its conflicting ideologies. People who engaged in these practices were persecuted and so most of these rites and rituals were forced underground. It was not until the early 1950s, more than 500 years after the Spanish conquest, that several anthropologists, ethnobotanists, and other scholars sought the origins of the sacred mushrooms in Mexico. There they discovered mushroom rituals that were rationalized by publications in prominent journals and marked a moment of social, political and cultural transformation. Seekers of all kinds flocked to the Mazatec Mountains as they sought an alternative way of healing, spiritual transformation, and new experiences.

At the same time, LSD became popular among researchers and mental health professionals as a way to treat a variety of disorders, including alcoholism, anxiety, and depression.* The field of psychiatry flourished dramatically due to the discovery of these substances. Eventually, psilocybin and similar substances seeped out of the medical establishment and into the hands of the counterculture, creating social and political shock waves that challenged the ground rules. The abuse of these substances caused a dramatic social upheaval that was quelled by government-led initiatives such as the war on drugs. Similar to the persecution of the Spanish conquest, these substances were forced to go underground and remain hidden and invisible in both recreational and academic settings.

Now, more than sixty years later, a renaissance and pioneering effort for institutional research and federal reprogramming of these substances continues to unfold. Every day, more information about the use of psilocybin and other related substances is emerging in clinical and non-clinical settings.

Currently, psilocybin mushrooms remain illegal, however, expanded access programs for medical users are currently in the works. In addition, activists from all parts of the world are pressing hard for proper reform policy. The future of psilocybin mushrooms remains promising not only as an effective treatment for a myriad of ailments.*

At AdaptogenShrooms we have a deep level of sympathy for anyone struggling with any type of physical, emotional or mental condition. We like to provide readily available information on exciting contributions from the fungal kingdom and its functional fungi. We value evidence-based research and are currently working hands-on to contribute this emerging knowledge through blog posts and podcasts.

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