Magic Mushrooms Put the Human Brain in Dream Mode and Facilitate Higher Thinking
Mar 29, 2018

Hector Arnold
Core Spirit member since Dec 24, 2020
Reading time 4 min.

The first time I took psychedelic mushrooms it was an accident.

I was in college, at a friend’s party. A European hippy buddy had brought a big bag and left them out. I ate a handful, thinking it was some weird Euro trail mix or something. My sentence construction took on Yoda-like tics (ie: delicious, this beer is) and I went back to my dorm, played “Slanted and Enchanted” on headphones and missed class the next morning.

I’m sharing this two-decade-old story not only because it’s an entertaining snapshot of my vibrant, youthful idiocy. It also illustrates the essential “naturalness” of psychedelic mushrooms. They don’t look like drugs. They look like food. And beyond their appearance, there are larger arguments for ingesting them, as their effects mirror a critical restorative body function: the dreaming that occurs during REM sleep.

People in Europe, North and South America have used psychedelic mushrooms for centuries. Aztecs called them the flesh of the gods and used them in spiritual rituals until Christian leaders banned them for idolatry. Prior to government prohibition in the early 1970s, researchers believed psychedelics could combat addiction and mental illness. Government prohibition choked back research opportunities, but since the ‘90s, scientists have again explored the mushrooms’ potential use as treatment for anxieties, compulsive disorders and clinical depression.

Neuroscience indicates a close connection between sleep and psilocybin, the main psychoactive chemical found in magic mushrooms. When the liver metabolizes psilocybin, it processes it into psilocin, a chemical that bonds with receptors for serotonin, a neurochemical associated with sleep and mood.

Recent research provides a further connection between psilocybin and sleep: it appears to make the brain believe it’s dreaming. In a small study from 2014, researchers at Imperial College London monitored the brain activity of 15 people injected with psilocybin. Researchers chose participants comfortable with psychedelics. For the study, said drug-friendly folks had to trip while inside the cramped chamber of an MRI machine. Through the functional magnetic resonance imaging scans, researchers traced blood flow to see how different regions of the brain interacted with psilocybin.

You’d think a psychoactive material would flare haphazardly through synapses to create a blaze of brain activity. That’s true in part. Psilocybin does fire up the parts of the brain associated with emotion, memory and arousal. But it also dampens the brain regions associated with higher thinking and our sense of self.

The researchers noted that activity in so called “primitive” brain regions associated with emotional thinking, such as the hippocampus and the anterior cingulate cortex, became more pronounced. The activity was similar to the pattern seen while people dream.

In a separate 2014 brain imaging study, psilocybin appeared to short circuit a part of the brain involved in creating depression and anxiety. The amygdala, two small almond-shaped neuron clusters buried in our temporal lobe, governs our emotional responses to sensations and experiences. The cluster on the right hand side governs negative emotional reactions such as fear. University of Zurich researchers found that psilocin weakens the brains ability to process negative stimulation created by that realm of the amygdala.

This is but one of several examples of indications that psychedelic use can be a corrective for disordered minds. Alcoholics Anonymous founder Bill Wilson advocated giving LSD to problem drinkers in the 1950s. Todays researchers believe further study could have applications for other mental illnesses as well.

“Psilocybin may help alleviate symptoms of depression by allowing patients to change their rigidly pessimistic patterns of thinking,” Imperial College London researcher Robin Carhart-Harris wrote.

But while psilocybin lights up emotional parts of the brain, it dampens activity in the sections that foster our sense of identity. Activity in the brain network linked to high-level thinking, including the anterior cingulate cortex and fronto-insular cortex, appeared less coordinated under psilocybin’s influence. The researchers believe the disjointed activity is connected to the loss of ego and sense of self often reported by psilocybin users.

“This finding was exciting because it synched with the idea that psychedelics cause temporary ‘ego dissolution,’” Carhart-Harris wrote.

While the research is promising, it’s important to remember these are small studies that indicate possibilities instead of proving conclusions. Also, the Imperial College of London study participants were selected for their comfort with taking hallucinogens, an experience many find unpleasant. People react differently to drugs and bad trips are a real and truly excruciating potential threat. There is no silver bullet for longstanding psychological problems.

Pangs of self-doubt, anxiety and acute awareness of one’s own problems and shortcomings are common causes for sleeplessness. A lack of ego, increased emotional strength and a more positive attitude seems like a perfect table setting for drifting into a dream. The consensus among psychedelic users is that sleeping on psychedelics is rare, if not impossible. For most, the drug experience is too stimulating to accommodate sleep.

One rare user able to fall sleep while under on mushrooms he ingested the mushrooms at the tail end of a night of heavy drinking — said subconscious tripping created a vivid lucid dream experience.

“Parts of it were like playing an incredibly realistic video game,” Shroomery member Pazuzu wrote. “I slept through the whole trip, which is unusual since I can’t sleep until completely down from acid or shrooms. If the trip had woken me up, I would have stayed up, but the alcohol kept me sedated all night.”

While sleeping on mushrooms may be impossible, there are indications that psilocybin could have a positive influence on sleep overall, however.

Using psilocybin to rewire a brain that’s forgotten how to dream has a nice feel to it. Something about the idea seems right. It would explain why psychedelic mushrooms grow so easily in the wild and why they’d look like something unsuspecting idiots such as myself would pop into their mouths.

by Adam Bulger For Inverse

Leave your comments / questions for this practitioner

To write a comment please
Category filter
Concern filter
Type filter

All categories

Dream Interpretation
$333 USD
mentorship session
Sacred Sleep

6 Sessions to improve sleep quality through breathwork

Our body has a natural day and night cycle that often needs some rebalancing. When this rhythm returns to a natural state we can begin to explore how to improve sleep quality.

Topics we may cover:
- Basic Breathing Patterns (Stress releasing breathwork)
- Intermediate breathing patterns (Ayuervedic Sleep breathing)
- Advanced Breathing patterns (Soul breathing)
- Meditating while sleeping
- Heartbeat dreaming

My intention is to help you improve sleep quality (even if you only have a 5 hour sleep hour) by teaching you basic, intermediate, and advanced breathwork techniques.

Once our sleeping patterns are consistently nourishing us we have an opportunity to explore deeper and higher levels of consciousness.

Experiencing these deeper and higher sates is what I call Sacred Sleep.

Karimu Corbeek
Dream Interpretation
$100 USD
Slip into Sleep Session

A session to get tips for better sleep or cracking the code of your dreams + free pdf download on sleep or dreams

Sheila Balgobin - The Dream Decipherer
Dream Interpretation
$10 USD
Dream Interpretation

Detailed Dream Interpretation

Are you experiencing recurring dreams? Did you have a dream that you have found you can’t stop thinking about?

I can help you to understand your dreams and why you are having them. Through interpreting your dreams, I can guide you towards making the changes and adjustments our dreams are often telling us we need to make in life.

I have been using divination methods for over 23 years, including dream interpretation, which I have studied extensively and used to help people to understand the often confusing visual and symbolic language they encounter. Along with this knowledge, I use my intuition and various divination tools to tune into the client’s energy.

In order to interpret your dream accurately, I will need as much detail as you can recall and I may need to ask you further questions about the dream to get a clearer picture. You may ask as many questions as you like about my interpretation to ensure you find it as helpful as possible.
Please send your dream details in a message after you make your purchase.

Your dream interpretation will be sent to you via message on this site or as an email within 24 hours of your purchase.

Mishka Mara

Related Articles

View All
4 min.
Dream Interpretation
Jun 20 2018
Experience 'Llucid-dream cinema' In Rotterdam

This year’s International Film Festival Rotterdam had a rich selection of filmic fare, as world famous directors like Guillermo del Toro appeared alongside lesser-known filmmakers. However, the most fascinating aspect of the festival was not actually a mo…

Angelica Nelson
26 min.
Dream Interpretation
Feb 19 2021
A mystical look at dreams - Images, symbols and the dream connection

A mystical look at dreams - Images, symbols and the dream connection


As a precursor to this edition of our Ascent into Novelty as written and spoken about by Logan Rayne Carley, it should be noted that this te…

John Jilly
6 min.
Dream Interpretation
Apr 7 2021
Depression and Sleep: An Endless Dark Night

How are Depression and Sleep Related?

Depression and sleep are closely intertwined in a dark and nightmarish tango, in what is termed a bidirectional relationship. What this means is that poor sleep can contribute to the development of depression and tha…

Sheila Balgobin - The Dream Decipherer
4 min.
Dream Interpretation
Mar 29 2018
The Dope on Pot – How Marijuana Affects Sleep and Dreams

The U.S. is slowly and steadily moving towards legalizing marijuana in all fifty states. Almost half have already legalized medical marijuana; more are on their way. Several states have legalized recreational use of marijuana, and some have given the nod …

Hector Arnold
Registered individuals enjoy all the possibilities of Core Spirit.