Psilocybin: Understanding Visual Hallucinations
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Psilocybin: Understanding Visual Hallucinations

Ari Horesh


Magic mushrooms, or more scientifically, psilocybin, have long captivated human curiosity. Renowned for inducing vivid visual hallucinations, these fungi have a unique way of interacting with our brain. But what exactly happens in our brain when we consume psilocybin? Dr. Andrew Huberman, a neuroscientist, sheds light on this intriguing phenomenon.

The Science of Sight and Psilocybin

The Serotonin 2A Receptors

Our journey begins with the serotonin 2A receptors, abundantly located in the brain's neocortex. This area includes critical regions like the prefrontal cortex, responsible for understanding context and regulating behavior and speech in different situations.

Psilocybin's Interaction with the Brain

Psilocybin's powerful effect on our visual experience is primarily due to its interaction with the serotonin 2A receptors in the visual cortex. When psilocybin is present at sufficient concentrations, it leads to profound visual hallucinations, regardless of whether one's eyes are open or closed.

The Psilocybin Experience

The Role of Visual Hallucinations

Visual hallucinations under the influence of psilocybin can range from the fracturing of the visual world into geometric shapes to the melting or morphing of objects and faces. These altered perceptions are a significant draw for those seeking an extraordinary experience.

Therapeutic Benefits and Eye Masks

Interestingly, Dr. Huberman points out that the therapeutic benefits of psilocybin, like mood and creativity enhancement, are best experienced with one's eyes closed for most of the session. This approach helps focus on internal experiences rather than external visual alterations.

Inward Journey: The Key to Therapeutic Use

The concept of an inward journey during a psilocybin session is crucial. By wearing an eye mask and shutting out external stimuli, individuals are more likely to delve into their thoughts, memories, and emotions, leading to more effective therapeutic outcomes.

Conclusion: Embracing the Mysteries of the Mind

Psilocybin offers a unique window into the workings of our mind and perception. By understanding how it interacts with our brain, particularly the visual cortex, we can appreciate both its captivating effects and its potential for therapeutic use. Dr. Huberman's insights not only demystify the experience but also highlight the importance of internal exploration for those seeking to harness psilocybin's full benefits.

"Psilocybin binds so strongly to that serotonin 2A receptor, you're going to experience a lot of visual hallucinations." - Dr. Andrew Huberman

Magic mushrooms continue to be a subject of fascination and study, offering a blend of mystical experiences and scientific inquiry. As we continue to explore these intriguing fungi, we unlock more secrets of our mind and consciousness.

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