It's no secret that advocates believe psychoactive substances can be good for your health—MDMA is being used to treat PTSD, and acid can apparently increase your creativity by giving you a baby brain or something. And now, according to a study out of the University of Zurich, shrooms could help cure crippling your social anxiety.
The research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that psilocybin—the "magic" in magic mushrooms—changes the way the brain processes social conflicts, dulling the pain and anxiety of rejection.
Lead researcher Dr. Katrin Preller set out to test how psilocybin affects the part of your brain involved in "social pain," a.k.a. that shitty feeling when your friend snubs you or somebody mercilessly shoots you down at a bar. For the study, Preller had participants take part in a (virtual) game of catch that they slowly got excluded from. Some participants had taken psilocybin, while others had gulped down a placebo.
Surveys filled out after the rejection exercise showed that the participants on shrooms noticed they were being rejected in the catch simulation, but the sting didn't hurt so bad. They still felt a sense of unity among the players.
As the Washington Postreported, the study suggests that in some cases, psilocybin could prove more effective than traditional antidepressants, because it targets the specific (serotonin) receptors associated with anxiety and depression more efficiently than the prescription drugs currently on the market.