A new study has shown that psilocybin, the active ingredient in so-called “magic mushrooms” not only has anti-depressive properties, but it also boosts connections in parts of the brain that are related to the emotions.
Author Noah Markus once wrote that a powerful psychedelic experience can be “like finding a new channel on a TV that’s been stuck on a station airing nothing but Leave It to Beaver reruns.” That tidily sums up the power of psilocybin to open up the mind to fresh perspectives, new thought patterns, and heightened states of consciousness.
Even in small doses, it has been shown to enhance creativity and problem-solving skills, while the more intense psilocybin experiences can light up vast corridors of the psyche that were previously hidden.
As it turns out, psilocybin’s capacity to spark unexpected mental connections might be tied to physical connections within the brain. In a formal study, a group of Danish scientists found that a single psychoactive dose of psilocybin increased the connectivity between neurons in the brains of pigs, which are structurally similar to human brains.
This could also shed some light on the feeling of “mind expansion” that entheogens like psilocybin are known for: Perhaps when we have this sensation, it’s a sign that the brain’s library of synapses has just gotten a little larger.