Gain of your Magic Mushroom

Fans of Super Mario play with them. Doctors study them. Chefs around the world cook with them. They seem overnight, disappear just as fast and leave no trace of the visit. Students of this world are called mycologists and now, the fungus will be looked at as a possible treatment for cancer, PTSD-post-traumatic stress disorder and some psychological disorders.

Mushrooms, sometimes called toadstools, are fleshy bodies of fungus that grow above ground on soil or on a food source. They are separated from the plant world in a kingdom all their very own called Myceteae because they cannot contain chlorophyll like green plants.

Without the process of photosynthesis, some mushrooms obtain nutrients by wearing down organic matter or by feeding from higher plants. They are known as decomposers. Another sector attacks living plants to kill and consume them and they’re called parasites. Edible and poisonous varieties are mycorrhizal and are located on or near roots of trees such as oaks, pines and firs.

For humans, mushrooms can do among three things-nourish, heal or poison. Few are benign. The three most popular edible versions of this ‘meat of the vegetable world’ are the oyster, morel and chanterelles.

They are used extensively in cuisine from China, Korea, Japan and India. In fact, China is the world’s largest producer cultivating over half of all mushrooms consumed worldwide. Shroom chocolate  All the edible variety within our supermarkets have now been grown commercially on farms and include shiitake, portobello and enoki.

Eastern medicine, especially traditional Chinese practices, has used mushrooms for centuries. In the U.S., studies were conducted in early ’60s for possible ways to modulate the immune system and to inhibit tumor growth with extracts utilized in cancer research.

Mushrooms were also used ritually by the natives of Mesoamerica for tens and thousands of years. Called the ‘flesh of the gods’ by Aztecs, mushrooms were widely consumed in religious ceremonies by cultures through the Americas. Cave paintings in Spain and Algeria depict ritualized ingestion dating back so far as 9000 years. Questioned by Christian authorities on both parties of the Atlantic, psilocybin use was suppressed until Western psychiatry rediscovered it after World War II.

A 1957 article in Life Magazine titled “Seeking the Magic Mushroom” spurred the interest of America. The next year, a Swiss scientist named Albert Hofman, identified psilocybin and psilocin since the active compounds in the ‘magic’ mushrooms. This prompted the creation of the Harvard Psilocybin Project led by American psychologist Timothy Leary at Harvard University to review the results of the compound on humans.

In the quarter century that followed, 40,000 patients got psilocybin and other hallucinogens such as LSD and mescaline. Significantly more than 1,000 research papers were produced. Once the government took notice of the growing subculture open to adopting the employment, regulations were enacted.

The Nixon Administration began regulations, which included the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. The law created five schedules of increasing severity under which drugs were to be classified. Psilocybin was devote the absolute most restrictive schedule I alongside marijuana and MDMA. Each was defined as having a “high possibility of abuse, no currently acceptable medical use and a lack of accepted safety.”

This ended the research for pretty much 25 years until recently when studies opened up for potential used in working with or resolving PTSD-post-traumatic stress disorder alongside anxiety issues. At the time of June 2014, whole mushrooms or extracts have now been studied in 32 human clinical trials registered with the U.S. National Institutes of Health for their potential effects on a number of diseases and conditions. Some maladies being addressed include cancer, glaucoma, immune functions and inflammatory bowel disease.

The controversial part of research is the usage of psilocybin, a naturally occurring chemical using mushrooms. Its ability to simply help people experiencing psychological disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, PTSD and anxiety remain being explored. Psilocybin has also been shown to be effective in treating addiction to alcohol and cigarettes in a few studies