Millions of people suffer with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and finally given a renewed sense of hope, after a study was performed by the University of South Florida which discovered that low doses of the active ingredient in magic mushrooms can heal brain damage.
A study that was performed by Imperial College London recently found that psilocybin, a compound present in “shrooms,” could stimulate new brain cell growth and erase fear-provoking memories. According to Dr. Juan Sanchez-Ramos, one of the co-authors of the study, mice conditioned to dread electric shock when hearing a noise associated with it “simply lost their fear,” after having been given a low dose of psilocybin. Moreover, the psilocybin group was also able to overcome the freeze response associated with fear faster than the group given ketanserin and a control group given saline.
According to the PTSD Alliance, there’s about 5 percent of Americans, or more than 13 million people, who are or were suffering with PTSD at any given time. The most common symptoms of the disorder include hyper vigilance, memory fragmentation, flashbacks, dissociation, nightmares and fight or flight responses to “triggers.” Previously, people believed such symptoms were merely psychological, and are thus treatable by a change in thought processes. New research, explains that these symptoms can be linked to long-term psychological mutations to the brain. Other independent studies have also shown that the hippocampus, the portion of the brain involved in memory formation, is damaged by extreme stress attributable to PTSD and not to any anxiety or panic disorders.
While Dr. Sanchez-Ramos stated that there was no way of officially knowing for sure whether or not the mice in the experiment experienced altered states of consciousness or hallucinations, he believed the doses given were too low to cause such effects. Moreover, previous research has shown that low doses of psilocybin produce no psychoactive effects.
With all these studies, it might be assumed that psilocybin, administered in the correct amount, could safely treat PTSD with a small amount side effects. Unfortunately, however, magic mushrooms are currently listed as a dangerous Schedule I drug with no medical benefits. On the other hand, medical professionals are given free rein to prescribe powerful Big Pharma-produced drugs with various side effects to those suffering from PTSD, according to the Institute of Medicine.
Other than shrooms, there are many safe, natural alternatives to pharmaceuticals, like homeopathic and herbal medicines, can also be used to balance out the symptoms of PTSD. Furthermore, meditation has also been shown to lessen high levels of activity in the amygdala, the part of the brain which causes those afflicted with PTSD to experience stress or anxiety.