There is so much attention being placed on magic mushrooms today. We are all eager to uncover the endless benefits they have to offer our mental health and spiritual lives. Scientists have discovered that shrooms can positively change our lives through spiritual awakenings and alleviating mental conditions, such as anxiety, depression, and addiction. But how did it all start? Who discovered shrooms, and how did we end up here? Let us look at a brief history of magic mushrooms throughout the different historical eras.
Archeologists have discovered mushroom-depicting iconographies that date back to 10,000 B.C.E. This proves that mushrooms have been used since the pre-civilization era. They were considered sacred by the various communities. Shrooms are common across all seven continents, which means that people have consumed them throughout history.
In the more recent past, tribal societies like the shamans have used mushrooms for spiritual, religious, and therapeutic purposes. During this time, most communities like the Aztecs, Mayans, and Toltecs assumed that the psychedelic experience offered by the shrooms was an indication that the shrooms paved the way for the people to communicate with the gods.
Serbia’s ancient tribes incorporated psychedelic shrooms in their divinatory rituals. They also used the shrooms to promote higher than the typical physical capacity that enabled them to withstand the high temperatures of the Serbian region.
Ancient civilizations like the Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians were regular consumers of psychedelics. They used them recreationally as intoxicants and also as anesthesia during human blood sacrifices.
The use of psychedelic mushrooms in modern history can be traced back to 1799, when a family picked, cooked, and consumed psychotropic shrooms unknowingly. Consequently, they experienced euphoria, confusion, altered perception of time and self, nausea, and hallucinations.
The Haida Gwaii community found in Canada holds all the Canadian magic mushroom history. They were the first community in Canada to join other nations in utilizing shrooms for therapeutic and spiritual purposes.
How did the Term Magic Mushrooms Come to be?
In 1957, Life Magazine wrote an expose dubbed ‘Seeking the Magic Mushrooms,’ which featured a story that involved a husband, wife, a famous mycologist. The three were the first people from the West to participate in a sacred indigenous ceremony officiated and presided over by Maria Sabina, a famous shaman.
The news of the event travelled fast and soon caught the attention of the famous LSD creator, Dr. Albert Hoffman. By 1958, the scientist had identified and isolated the two main active compounds in magic mushrooms, psilocybin, and psilocin.
Between 1960 and 1963, scientists Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert conducted several studies that explored the shrooms’ various applications. However, a concern was raised regarding the safety of the compound and the test subjects (students from Harvard University).
A bad trip that ended with a student being sedated, the scientists abusing the drug, and going against the law that prohibited the use of undergraduate students as test subjects led to the firing of the two scientists. This was around the time when the hippie movement was rampant.
Unfortunately, in 1971, psychedelics were banned via the 1971 UN convention on psychedelic substances. It wasn’t until recently that people worldwide began shaking off the stigma associated with psychedelics and gradually began to accept them for their myriad benefits.
Today, shrooms are very popular, especially in Canada. The use of psilocybin is slowly moving away from being a social or legal issue. Shroom enthusiasts are free to purchase a wide range of shrooms across the many dispensaries. Microdosing has become a growing trend that offers consumers numerous benefits.
With the global psychedelic renaissance, we can expect more psychedelic-based studies in the future. Collaborations will be inevitable, and the only expected outcome is that science will finally catch up with the knowledge of the ancient civilization tribes.
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