Hallucinogens have been a part of customs and religion as long as there has been recorded history. The consumption of hallucinogens, specifically magic mushrooms, has been dated back to approximately six to nine thousand years. There is historical documentation of the sacred usage of mushrooms from all over the world. They have been used in religious ceremonies, as well as an escape from people’s monotonous, mundane lives. A spike of usage occurred during the 1960’s, in accordance with the counterculture, as a gateway into higher consciousness. Psychologists such as Timothy Leary experimented with mushrooms to see the connection from sacred mushrooms, to understanding a human’s subconscious. The magic mushroom is a psychoactive drug that alters the world around an individual, however it doesn’t necessarily induce hallucinations. The purpose of the mushrooms has greatly changed over the course of history, from “magic mushrooms,” to a recreationally used drug.
There are about one hundred species of hallucinogenic mushrooms; the two most commonly consumed mushrooms in the United Sates are Psilocybe mexicana, and Psilocybe cyanescens. Mushrooms are hallucinogens because they contain the chemical Psilocybin. Psilocin, the active metabolite of psilocybin, works with interaction by neurotransmitter receptors on nerve cells in the brain. There, it replicates the affects of serotonin release. This is the same way that hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD, or mescaline affect the brain. Hallucinogens like these forcefully affect the brain, distorting the senses and changing the users perception of time and space. The ritualistic uses of these mushrooms have been utilized since 1000 B.C. The first recorded usage was by the Aztecs, who called the mushrooms Teonanacatl, or the divine flesh. Consumption by the personal physician to the king of Spain noted that, “when eaten cause an uncontrollable laughter … and others which bring before the eyes all kinds of things, such as...
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