A psychedelic experience can have significant effects on a person’s ego. Those who experiment with psychoactive fungi and LSD claim that they usually go through a dissolution of the self, known as “ego death,” “loss of ego,” or “the disintegration of the ego.”
For some people, the experience can change their lives altogether; for others, it can be downright terrifying. However, despite the stories of good or bad “trips,” no one knows how psychoactive mushrooms affect self-perception.
The cerebral cortex is where the roots of self-knowledge are located. More and more evidence shows that glutamate (the neurotransmitter that excites) is accelerated when someone experiments with psychoactive mushrooms. The experience is also called a “trip.”
Glutamate is the most abundant excitatory neurotransmitter in the nervous system, and it seems that psilocybin affects its activity. Evidence suggests that experience, be it good or bad, could be linked to glutamate.
By understanding how these drugs work from a neurochemical point of view, scientists could develop better treatments for people suffering from mental disorders such as depression or anxiety.
Research is currently based on lab generated high concentration microscopic mushroom spores. Psilocybe mushrooms are illegal, so they cannot be sold, purchased, or used. But the spores do not contain psilocybin, so their role is, at the moment, significant in exploring the neurochemical effects of mushrooms on the brain.