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How does psilocybin work?

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Ram Dass has said that LSD gives a glimpse to what is ahead for those on a spiritual path. I will opt not to try LSD nor other illegal drugs, but remain fascinated about hallucinogens nonetheless, partly because of Ram Dass’s experience with them, without which he never would have been booted out of Harvard, and, consequently, may never have met his life-altering guru Neem Karoli Baba (who named him Ram Dass) in India after sharing LSD with Babaji’s disciple Bhagavan Das, and then would never have written his essential Be Here Now. Also importantly, I sometimes have clients who indulge in hallucinogens, and I need to be able to relate with my clients.

Magic/psilocybin mushrooms are another hallucinogenic source that has intrigued me in part because I have wondered how many of them are merely sprinkled with LSD rather than containing natural psilocybin. Regardless, a recent article about how psilocybin interacts with the brain says that results of the studies involved in the article "strongly imply that the subjective effects of psychedelic drugs are caused by decreased activity and connectivity in the brain’s key connector hubs, enabling a state of unconstrained cognition." "Neural correlates of the psychedelic state as determined by fMRI studies with psilocybin," Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences (Dec. 20, 2011).

More on recent studies into hallucinogens is in this National Public Radio article. Here is an article from Science Daily on the above-referenced study.