How Psilocybin Impacts The Brain
Updated: Jan 9
Whether you are an active practitioner or a psychedelic-curious seeker, you have likely experienced or read about the incredible capability of psilocybin in reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as its creativity-boosting qualities.
In 2012, the Beckley Foundation, a UK-based charitable trust focused on psychedelic research and policy reform, set out to identify the precise neuro-mechanisms by which psilocybin facilitates these profound changes and experiences by obtaining the first images of the brain under the influence of psilocybin through functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), in healthy participants.
In a recent article published by Health Europa, Amanda Feilding, the founder of Beckley Foundation recalled the incredible findings of their research.
"Groundbreaking results from this work demonstrated for the first time a decrease in blood supply to regions of the Default-Mode Network (DMN), a network of brain regions involved, among other things, in introspection, narrative identity and thinking about past or future events, and whose hyperactivity had recently been associated with the excessive rumination underlying depression, and other psychological disorders.
Most importantly, the effects of psychedelics are not limited to the acute experience but often lead to lasting changes that can transform patterns of thought and behavior in the long term. An increase in cognitive flexibility and openness are two key elements in the long-term therapeutic benefits of psychedelics, providing individuals with the ability and willingness to change and adapt, thereby breaking rigid thought patterns that have kept them prisoners of their own minds.
Our early findings with psilocybin presented a breakthrough in our understanding of mental illness and how we might be able to improve the treatment of a variety of associated disorders, all based on psychological rigidity, such as depression, addiction, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), that blight the lives of millions of people worldwide."