History of Mushrooms

The History of Shrooms – Ancient Origins & Current Research

Magic Mushrooms are making a resurgence onto today’s market, after quite a long history of use. The consumption of shrooms dates back to ancient civilizations, after being popularized again by hippies in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Now, the world of shrooms looks much different from the past.

Like cannabis, magic mushrooms are now found in raw form, extracted versions, and even shroom infused edibles. In fact, the hallucinogenic compound found in magic mushrooms, psilocybin is being explored as an FDA treatment of depression. Before we get ahead of ourselves, here we’ll chronicle the journey magic mushrooms have taken from ancient origins to current research. 

Ancient Use of Magic Mushrooms

Origins of Shrooms

Magic Mushrooms are naturally growing fungi, that can be found in diverse areas across the world. From what we know, the beginning origin of use occurred around 9000 BC for North American regions where shrooms thrive. At first, their powers were used by tribes and different civilizations to connect with the universe and gods, through spiritual and religious type ceremonies. 

The Aztecs and Mayans are the most notable cultures that are known to use magic mushrooms in this way. With their experience and consumption well-documented by rock paintings and sculptures that were left behind in their ruins.

If you weren’t aware, the psilocybin compound found in magic mushrooms has a way of ‘unlocking the ego’ or allowing a person to feel more in touch with the world around them. This effect we understand more now, was then used to connect with spiritual entities and ‘gods’. 

The Hippie Era of Shrooms

Just before the ‘psychedelic’ era, famed mycologist R. Gordon Wasson was travelling through the Mexico region, exploring his craft. Mycology is the branch of science that explores natural fungus. In this quest around 1955, Wasson came across a fungi species that was quite ‘magical’ in effects.

Wasson quickly investigated the chemistry of these magic shrooms and came to the conclusion that ‘psilocybin’ was the compound that produced the hallucinogenic feelings. This discovery directly leads to the resurgence of use during the time period to come. 

Shortly after returning to the United States, Wasson knew he had to share the news he’d come across. So, his findings were published in a groundbreaking piece published by Life Magazine titled “Seeking the Magic Mushroom”. After this quick rise to fame, Wasson put his shroom reins to the side and passed the lead along to his colleague Roger Heim. 

Heim connected with the ‘father of LSD’, Albert Hofmann, to further the research into the benefits that psilocybin could provide. In addition, to learning how to extract the psilocybin compound for therapeutic and medicinal treatment.

At the same time, however, Wasson’s article put a spotlight on the ‘groovy’ effects that shrooms could provide. The rise in use stimulated a cultural movement that was led by a well-known student and advocate of shrooms over the year, Timothy Leary from Harvard.  As hippies, and partiers ran rampant with use…the US and World governments were just about to begin their destructive ‘war on drugs’. 

After the 1971 Controlled Substances Act was enacted, unfortunately, the trials into psilocybin’s health effects were halted without funding. It wasn’t until the late 1990’s that the University of Zurich resurrected research onto the substance again. We’ll explore what’s been found since then, next. 

Modern World of Shrooms

Magic Mushrooms Research

Psilocybin today is now back in the good graces of federal governments. In fact, it’s currently under trial as a ‘breakthrough treatment’ for reversing the effects of the treatment-resistant condition, depression. When a trial is designated as a breakthrough treatment, that means with positive results, the treatment can become approved more quickly.

This shows the confidence, that many other positive conclusions from recent studies have given the agencies that were once so fearful of magic mushrooms and their effects. 

Now that private funding is available for the exploration of magic mushroom effects, not just recreationally, but medically, many trials have concluded positive results. Here are the top studies that have helped the modernization of the ancient fungi – 

Some of the latest studies even proved that the magic mushroom compound showed long-term results for the patients who participated. Other research that has been completed recently on psilocybin’s therapeutic effects include – 

  • A Beckley Foundation study showed that magic mushrooms can have long-term positive effects for depression patients. In the trial, the effects that were measured 1-week after the trial, lasted for 3-6 months for the majority of patients. 
  • In 2006 the Journal of Psychopharmacology in 2006 published results reporting improved moods, attitudes and behaviours for those who were administered psilocybin in controlled doses. Like the previous study, the same group of participants reported the results remained positive nearly 2 months later. 
  • Psilocybin proved to also have a positive effect on addictive behaviours, like smoking cigarettes. In one study, 67% of participants successfully quit smoking after being administered psilocybin. Again, similar to other results – the effects of psilocybin lasted long-term and the participants remained smoke-free for over a year after the original dose. 

These studies, and other findings are increasing the access of magic mushrooms across the globe. Now, micro dosing is more popular than ever by using modern shroom products like capsules, edibles, and more. 

A Journey of Magical Powers 

From what you’ve learned today…you can see that shrooms have been on quite a magical journey over the years. The psilocybin compound has transcended from being used spiritually, to recreationally, to medically. Although when you think of the amount of time it’s taken to get here, you’d expect further progress to take even longer.

Luckily, many fresh advocacy groups are hoping that the legalization and decriminalization of magic mushrooms aren’t as long of a process. With the recent approval of legal use in Canada for terminally ill patients, it doesn’t seem that we’re so far off. In the meantime, the blurred lines allow you to access magic mushrooms, psilocybin infused edibles, capsules and more, safely and securely. Check out MMJDirect’s premium collection of psilocybin goods, coming soon.