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

Xfinity outage...

Jessica Lowell, Amie Schaeffer

Xfinity outage leaves thousands without internet for hours

An Xfinity outage left tens of thousands of customers without internet service for several hours. The outage started Sunday afternoon.

22 hours ago

A team of BYU scientists, educators and creatives developed updated water cycle resources for teach...

Cassidy Wixom, KSL.com

US Geological Survey adopts BYU-made water cycle curriculum to be taught nationwide

BYU plant and wildlife science professor Ben Abbott discovered that only 15% of water cycle diagrams mentioned human impact.

1 day ago

Researchers may have found evidence of an alien megastructure. This image provided by NASA shows th...

Don Brinkerhoff

Researchers find evidence of possible alien megastructures

One Utah scientist weighs in on study about possible evidence of alien megastructures. He thinks there may be a simpler answer.

4 days ago

the skull of the new dinosaur, Lokiceratops rangiformis, is shown...

Alexandrea Bonilla

New dinosaur unveiled at Natural History Museum of Utah

The new dinosaur is called Lokiceratops rangiformis, aka the giant horned dinosaur. It was discovered in northern Montana.

5 days ago

drivers memorial day...

Curt Gresseth

Is it time for Utah to bring back photo cop to bust speeders?

A Utah lawmaker joins the show to discuss a possible return of photo radar to bust speeders.

8 days ago

It’s the first annual Miss AI Pageant. Each of the contestants is so beautiful they could stop tr...

Jeff Caplan

Jeff Caplan’s Minute of News: The Miss AI Pageant

The women are artificial. The prize money is real.

11 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Underwater shot of the fisherman holding the fish...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Your Bear Lake fishing guide

Bear Lake offers year-round fishing opportunities. By preparing ahead of time, you might go home with a big catch!

A group of people cut a purple ribbon...

Comcast

Comcast announces major fiber network expansion in Utah

Comcast's commitment to delivering extensive coverage signifies a monumental leap toward a digitally empowered future for Utahns.

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.

...

Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

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