SCIENCE + TECHNOLOGY

Researchers hope magic mushrooms study paves way for research into mental health benefits

Jan 12, 2024, 6:30 AM

Psilocybe aka magic mushroom study specimen...

Holotype specimen of Psilocybe ovoideocystidiata. (Eliza Peterson/NHMU)

(Eliza Peterson/NHMU)

SALT LAKE CITY — Researchers at the University of Utah and the Natural History Museum of Utah just finished up the biggest study to date on the evolution of Psilocybin fungi, better known as magic mushrooms. 

The nature of psilocybe fungi is under-researched, according to Bryn Dentinger, the senior author and mycology curator for the museum.

Hallucinogenic effects might be psilocybin’s best-known property.

However, according to postdoctoral researcher Alex Bradshaw, the properties of psilocybin are often misunderstood.

“Psylocibin consumption has gone back like hundreds and hundreds of years of cultural uses in places like Mesoamerica. It’s also beginning to come out and it’s helping a lot of people deal with these really strong mental issues,” Bradshaw said.

He said this research helps efforts to use the organism for more than recreational drug use.

What the study of Psilocybin revealed

The U and NHMU’s three-year study revealed some major findings.

One of those findings is that psilocybe organisms existed much earlier than the researchers thought.

They tracked its existence to around 65 million years ago, right around when the dinosaurs went extinct. They also tracked the evolutionary history of the mushroom. Researchers speculated that the original purpose of psilocybin was to ward snails and slugs off the mushrooms. 

A key piece of the study also included creating a family tree for the psilocybin organism. 

“We now have a really robust foundation on which we can continue to expand. But it also means that we have a really strong predictive framework that allows us to develop and test hypotheses,” Dentinger said.

These hypotheses will focus on the therapeutic aspect of psilocybin, which is something that these researchers say could change the game for mental health treatment.

Related:

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Science + Technology

FILE: Spectators watch as the Artemis I uncrewed lunar rocket lifts off at NASA's Kennedy Space Cen...

Don Brinkerhoff

Utah company completes solid rocket boosters for NASA’s Artemis

Northrup Grumman says the Arrtemis rocket boosters can carry nearly five metric tons more than the previous boosters. 

16 hours ago

Rebecca Bistany remains locked out of her husband Paul's iPhone, nearly a year and a half after his...

Samantha Murphy Kelly, CNN

Making your online accounts accessible when you die

A password management company says we each person have an average of 100 online accounts, what happens to them?

23 hours ago

After starting the new year with poor air quality, Utah may finally be able to take a breath and fi...

Heather Peterson

New black carbon sensor is more portable but just as accurate, study finds

A new study from the University of Utah finds that recently released black carbon new units are just as accurate in detecting black carbon, but they are more portable and affordable.

1 day ago

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter captured this image of the Intuitive Machines Nova-C lander, al...

Jackie Wattles, CNN

Odysseus lunar lander shares new photos from its harrowing descent

The vehicle softly touched down on the moon on Thursday, becoming the first US-made lander to do so since the Apollo era.

1 day ago

FILE: Sen. Mike McKell, R-Spanish Fork, and Rep. Jordan Teuscher, R-South Jordan, speak about their...

Aimee Cobabe

Bill allowing parents to sue social media companies moves closer to becoming law

HB464 gives Utah parents the power to sue a social media company if their child develops mental health issues after using the apps

2 days ago

A lone American flag waves in the morning breeze Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2002, at the Bonneville Salt F...

Allessandra Harris

Water may be the solution to saving the salt flats

With the Bonneville Salt Flats eroding, newly discovered research may have found a way to save them.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Researchers hope magic mushrooms study paves way for research into mental health benefits