Mushrooms Drug History of Use: Ancient Therapeutic Use & Recent History
What are magic shrooms or mushrooms drug?
Mushrooms drugs are hallucinogenic drugs containing the chemical Psilocybin, meaning they can cause you to see, hear, and feel sensations that seem real but are not. Psilocybin is a hallucinogenic chemical obtained from certain types of fresh and dried mushrooms.
However, the effects of magic mushrooms are highly variable and believed to be influenced by environmental factors. Shrooms have a long history of being associated with spiritual experiences and self-discovery. Many believe that naturally occurring drugs like magic mushrooms, weed, and mescaline are sacred herbs that enable people to attain superior spiritual states. Others take magic mushrooms to experience a sense of euphoria, connection, and a distorted sense of time.
The psilocybin found in shrooms is converted to psilocin in the body and is believed to influence serotonin levels in the brain, leading to altered and unusual perceptions. Its effects take 20 to 40 minutes to begin and can last up to 6 hours—the same amount of time it takes for psilocin to be metabolized and excreted. Many people develop addiction due to its chemical effects on the brain. Mushrooms drugs are often prepared by drying and are eaten by being mixed into food or drinks, although some people eat freshly picked magic shrooms.
Mushrooms Drug History of Use
Fungi have ancient origins, with the earliest known species of mushrooms dating back to a billion years ago with the reveal of Ourasphaira giraldae, a fossil species discovered by Palaeobiologist Corentin Loron. But how far back does the use of psychedelic mushrooms drug go? Some evidence suggests the use of magic mushrooms dating back to 10,000 B.C.E.
A recent study in 2019, discovers new evidence that algae may be an ancient ancestor of plants through the use of fungi. The fungi transported the water-living organism to possibly colonize land, over 500 million years ago. Long before Homo Erectus evolved from Africa 2 million years ago.
Considering the versatility of fungi in its ability to grow in some of the most inhabited areas, it isn’t unlikely that primates may have foraged the fungi species for consumption while unknowingly enhancing their cognitive abilities. Which aligns with the history of the growth of the human brain.
Some anthropologists speculate that the size of the H. Erectus brain doubled between 2 million and 700,000 thousand years ago. While the brain size of Homo sapiens is have said to increase 3 times larger between 500,000 thousand and 700,000 thousand years ago.
Terrance McKenna, American ethnobotanist, renowned psychedelic advocate, and author, expressed this theory in his book, Food of the Gods. McKenna proposed that our African ancestors used magic mushrooms for the visual effects and to aid hunting. He mentions, psilocybin caused the primitive brain to expand in its information processing abilities, stating that early humans “ate (their) way to consciousness”.
McKenna argued that the gradual advancements in language, technologies, culture, and spirituality are due to the ingestion of psilocybin as well. Years later, other psychedelic leaders have followed suit. Paul Stamets, American mycologist and founder of Host Defense, a mycelium-based fungi company, advocated for the theory and requested it is considered. More research is needed to prove this theory, however, its basis continues to be compelling.
Mushrooms Drug: Ancient Therapeutic Use
Mushrooms drug in therapeutic and spiritual use amongst tribal societies have been practiced and documented for hundreds and potentially thousands of years. Studies have shown that the use of psychoactive substances wasn’t uncommon in pre-Columbian Mesoamerican societies.
Religious use of psychoactive mushrooms has been documented in Siberia, where indigenous tribes are known to drink the hallucinogenic urine from reindeer who have consumed the well-known red and white spotted Amanita Muscaria mushroom. Although, the effects are remarkably different from psilocybin-containing mushrooms due to the dissociative activity produced by the active ingredients muscimol and ibotenic acid.
Additionally, ritualistic psychedelic use in Ancient Greece has been presented through the “The Eleusinian Mysteries”, a “rebirth” rite ceremony using “kykeon”, a psychedelic brew said to be made from ergot fungus and psychedelic mushrooms. The death penalty was the result of exposing these ceremonies, making these transformational healings, and insights to be sworn to secrecy. In celebration of Demeter, the goddess of grain and agriculture, and her daughter Persephone, the god of the Underworld, the ceremonies took place during or after harvest cycles.
The Greeks weren’t the only ones who engaged in sacred mushroom use. Statues, artwork like rock paintings, and the like have been discovered in Mayan and Aztec cultures in Central America in what appears to be representations of hallucinogenic mushrooms. They are said to have used psychedelic mushrooms to communicate with the gods.
Mushrooms drug use may also be displayed in their language, where they speak of a substance called teonanácatl, which translates to “flesh of the gods,” which is believed to be about mushrooms drug. While some consider these findings inconclusive, there have been several confirmed uses amongst indigenous peoples in Central America, including the Mixtec, Mazatec, Nashua, and Zapatec.
Mushrooms Drug: Recent History
In the 1950s, R. Gordon Wasson, a banker, and ethnomycologist from New York reported on psilocybin mushrooms drug ceremonies that were said to have been extinct for hundreds of years. The Mazatec, home to the legendary shaman Maria Sabina, is an indigenous group who live in the Oaxaca region of southern Mexico that led Wasson to experience the use of the entheogenic fungi for the first time. After his discovery, Wasson proclaimed that psychedelic mushrooms were the catalyst for humanity’s advancement in language and religion.
Wasson then published, “Seeking the Magic Mushroom”, the first introduction of the term “magic mushroom” to the United States, in Life Magazine. The news spread quickly to psychedelic chemists, like Albert Hofmann and Roger Heim who became intrigued by the effects of psychedelic mushrooms drug.
Heim assisted Wasson in identifying various specimens of mushrooms as species of the Strophariaceae and genus Psilocybe family. By 1958, Hofmann isolated and identified psilocybin and psilocin as the active ingredients found in psychoactive mushrooms. Hofmann then synthesized the compounds and sold them to Sandoz pharmaceuticals.
Hofmann and Heim weren’t the only ones to catch wind of Wasson’s article. Timothy Leary, a well-known psychologist and psychedelic advocate who at the time was a Harvard Professor, gained interest in the psychoactive compound and began traveling to Mexico to participate in the ceremonies. Richard Alpert, or Ram Dass, a renowned spiritual teacher, and psychedelic advocate, joined Leary in his expedition.
After both experiencing profound transformation, the two founded the Harvard Psilocybin Project, the famous psilocybin study conducted on Harvard graduate students. Although psilocybin was legal at the time, due to concerns regarding ethics, safety regulations, and substance abuse, the project saw its end in 1963.
Shortly after, Terrance Mckenna and his brother Dennis traveled to the Columbian Amazon in search of DMT. Alternatively, they stubbled upon Psilocybe cubensis, a psilocybin-containing mushroom. Proceeding this journey, the brothers wrote publications on the cultivation of magic mushrooms which led to the widespread access of psychedelic mushrooms drug in the United States.
Mushrooms Drug: Potentially Making History
Due to the 1960s counterculture, the use of psychedelic drugs increased dramatically until they were ultimately banned in the 1970s with Richard Nixon’s launch of the “war on drugs”. Although not every stone was left unturned as the psilocybin molecule was banned however the spores remained federally legal. This is due to spores not inherently containing psilocybin, though, they do have the capacity to produce organisms that contain psilocybin. Moreover, psilocybin remains legal in a variety of counties like Jamaica and Brazil.
These days, magic mushrooms are making a comeback and culture is becoming more accepting of these psychedelic fungi. In 1997, the first post-war psilocybin study was conducted which prompted several more institutions to follow suit. In 2018, the FDA granted Compass Pathways permission to study psilocybin mushrooms as a treatment for depression. In 2019, John Hopkins revealed its Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research.
The University of Toronto, the Heffter Institute, and the Beckley Foundation are all contributing to the growing amount of research surrounding the benefits of psilocybin. These studies have pushed the decriminalization movement of psychotropic substances into action. Ballot initiatives are in progress in several cities while Denver, Oakland, and Santa Cruz have already decriminalized magic mushrooms.
Although psilocybin is still a schedule I drug, making it currently illegal in most countries, decriminalization, and legalization initiatives show promise in the future of entheogens. As more research continues to unfold, each day we are potentially taking a step forward in making history in the progression and understanding of psychedelic mushrooms.
Reclaim Your Life From Mushrooms Drug
Mushrooms Drug Addiction is a serious condition that can cause severe health, social and economic problems that should not be taken lightly. We Level Up California can provide you, or someone you love, the tools to recover from mushrooms drug addiction with professional and safe treatment. Feel free to call us to speak with one of our counselors. We can inform you about this condition by giving you relevant information. Our specialists know what you are going through. Please know that each call is private and confidential.
 U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) (www.dea.gov)