Psilocybin is a naturally occurring psychedelic compound produced by more than 200 species of mushrooms. It’s quickly converted in the body to psilocin, whose effects include euphoria, changes in perception and sense of time, hallucinations, and profound spiritual experiences. Prehistoric murals from Spain and Algeria suggest that human use of psilocybin mushrooms predates recorded history and use for spiritual ceremonies dates back 3,000 years in Mexico and the Southwestern US.
Studies are mounting that psilocybin induces positive psychological experiences that may prove uniquely effective in treating depression, anxiety, end-of-life distress, and substance abuse disorders—while also increasing the mental wellbeing of healthy individuals. Psilocybin’s benefits are related to reduced neural activity in the brain’s default mode network (DMN), an interconnected brain region associated with the ego and self-identity.