Psilocybin mushrooms, commonly known as “magic mushrooms,” are capable of producing mystical-type experiences and powerful hallucinations in those who consume it.
Psilocybin is the naturally occurring psychoactive compound within the fungi that is responsible for producing these effects, which are thought to be the brain’s response to promoted serotonin activity in the 5-Ht2a serotonin receptor. The compound was first isolated in 1957 at Sandoz Pharmaceutical Labs by Swiss chemist, Albert Hoffman, and produced synthetically for the first time in 1958. The drug was branded as Indocybin and marketed for psychotherapeutic uses in the 1960s. Due to misuse and abuse within that era’s counterculture drug scene, the product was classified as an illicit Schedule 1 drug with no therapeutic benefits, ceasing all research and abandonment of its production by Sandoz labs. Through renewed interest and FDA-approved medicinal studies, the 21st century has witnessed the resurrection of psilocybin’s potential as a revolutionary treatment for debilitating mental health conditions that affect millions of people worldwide. The highly anticipated results of these major studies are expected to be announced by the end of 2021.