It’s widely believed that the now-undeniable therapeutic properties of psilocybin, the chemical found in magic mushrooms, are due to its hallucinogenic, consciousness-warping properties. Psilocybin and other psychedelics are extremely effective in treating a host of neurological conditions, from clinical depression to migraine — just one dose can make people feel less .
But the features that make magic mushrooms a popular recreational drug (the six-plus hours of visual hallucinations, the altered state of consciousness), lower its clinical usability. Essentially, though psilocybin is largely benign, patients need to be observed and counseled for their trips. But contrary to conventional wisdom, or what your very chill, Burning man-going friend will tell you, the altered consciousness state may not be necessary for the beneficial effects of psilocybin.
A published in the journal PNAS showed that psilocybin still decreases depressive symptoms in mice even when it’s delivered alongside a drug that prevents psilocybin’s hallucinatory effects. This means that in the future, people may be able to reap the beneficial effects of psilocybin from the comforts of their own homes — without things getting weird.