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Scientists at Yale have found that psilocybin can increase the connections between human brain nerve cells.
Psilocybin does this by expanding the growth of dendritic spines, and they stick out of the dendrites or the spikes of nerve cells.
Dendritic spines help neurons pass information back and forth, and they play a vital role in memory and learning. In addition, the researchers found that psilocybin increases their size and density.
Psilocybin Grows Brain Cells
According to scientists, depression and chronic stress may cause a reduction in the number of dendritic spines and weaker brain connections.
“There are ideas from the use of psilocybin may produce neural adaptations,” the scientists wrote in their Neuron paper; however, the timescale and extent of the impact in mice brains are not known.
Those ideas come from a class of drugs like ketamine, and it has been used to treat depression successfully, as it restores lost neural connections.
Looking at the effects of psilocybin on mice brains, author Kwan and Yale School of Medicine postdoc Ling-Xiao Shao utilized laser-scanning microscopes.
The laser-scanning microscopes let the scientists observe and track the dendritic spines in mice over multiple days.
When psilocybin is given, Shao and Kwan found an increased spine growth and increased size of each spine within 24 hours.
The stressed-out or depressed mice also exhibited behavioural improvements and increased neurotransmitter activity.
Psilocybin has for centuries been used in Indigenous rights and ceremonies for mystical experiences, and it is progressively being studied as depression therapy. Psilocybin grows brain cells.
The necessity of these trips to psychedelics’ therapeutic side-effects is currently being debated. Kwan thinks that the psychological impact of magic mushrooms could create the growth of the dendritic spines.
Other psychedelics are structured very similarly and most likely can do the same effects as psilocybin grows new brain cells.