Largest Diversity Study of “Magic Mushrooms” Investigates Evolution of Psychoactive Psilocybin Production

Psilocybe fungi, known colloquially as “magic mushrooms,” have held deep significance in indigenous cultures of Mesoamerica for centuries. They captured the wider world’s attention as a psychedelic staple in the 60s and 70s. Now, these infamous organisms are at the forefront of a mental health revolution. Psilocybin and psilocin, the psychoactive compounds found in nearly all species of Psilocybe, have shown promise as a treatment for conditions including PTSD, depression, and for easing end-of-life care. To utilize psilocybin as a therapeutic, scientists need an extensive roadmap of the compound’s underlying genetics and evolution, information that doesn’t exist. Our limited knowledge comes from research on just a fraction of the ~165 known species of Psilocybe. Most psilocybin-producing mushrooms haven’t been studied since they were first discovered—until now.

Login Or Register To Read Full Story