Top 5 Trippy Facts About Shrooms

VOICE OVER: Chris Masson
Written by Michael Wynands

Top 5 Trippy Facts About Shrooms

NOTE: The following and information and theories are presented for educational and entertainment purposes only. WatchMojo does not endorse illicit drug use.

There are a lot of wacky theories out there about magic mushrooms (aka shrooms or psilocybe mushrooms). Were they sent here from outer space? Did they inspire Christmas? Even the stuff that we kinda, sorta know about them is pretty crazy: could they hold the cure from some mental illnesses? Were they being used thousands of years ago? Watch this episode of Top 5 Facts so you don't have to go find out for yourself!

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Written by Michael Wynands

Top 5 Trippy Facts About Shrooms

Ever wondered what made those mushrooms in Mario World so special? Welcome to WatchMojo’s Top 5 Facts. In today’s instalment, we’re counting down the top five mind-blowing facts about shrooms. There are well over 200 varieties of mushrooms on our planet that can be described as “magic,” meaning that they contain the hallucinogenic substance known as psilocybin, or a chemically similar compound. This drug has inspired artists, religions, and even medical researchers to explore its potential. Come along as we investigate some of the biggest trips this fungi has to offer.

PLEASE NOTE: The following and information and theories are presented for educational and entertainment purposes only. WatchMojo does not endorse illicit drug use.

#5: It’s A Drug With A Long History

According to major news networks, it seems as if there’s a new “it” drug for parents to be worrying about every few months. Well, people have been consuming magic mushrooms long before the invention of news or the word “drugs”. In fact, the earliest known reference to hallucinogenic mushrooms actually predates recorded history. Rock paintings have been found in North Africa that seem to suggest shamanic use of magic mushrooms as far back as 9000 to 7000 BCE. Their use was common in indigenous cultures before colonization, typically used in spiritual ceremonies. Although the theory is debated and mostly debunked, it’s been suggested that Viking berserkers consumed Amanita muscaria mushrooms before going into battle, to wash away their fear.

#4: Shrooms Increase Brain Connectivity

Sure, some might describe a shroom trip as a “brain melting” experience. But according to recent studies, the exact opposite may be true. Researchers at King’s College tested the effects of psilocybin on the brain using an MRI machine and found something unbelievable. Connections were being formed that enabled communication between various parts of the brain that typically don’t interact. This increase in synchronized brain activity may explain a number of common experiences associated with shroom trips, such as synesthesia- the ability to taste colors, touch sound, and the like– as well as heightened creativity and or dream-like states. It may be a tired cliché, but by opening the brain up to more abstract thinking, shrooms may work to expand one’s consciousness.

#3: Shrooms are From Space… Maybe

This is more of a theory than a fact, and a highly contested one, but we find it too interesting to not talk about. This gets a bit technical, but in terms of molecular structure, psilocybin is a 4-phosphorylated indole. The only naturally occurring 4-phosphorylated indoles on the planet are found in hallucinogenic mushrooms. Famed ethnobotanist and author Terence McKenna argued in support of the theory - nature always builds off of existing molecular structures. Entirely unique organic designs, like psilocybin are virtually non-existent in our world, he says. McKenna sees this as proof of “panspermia” - the belief that the seeds of life arrive on a planet via meteors and asteroids. McKenna also suggested that the consciousness-expanding effects of consuming magic mushrooms, including hyper-sensitive vision, may have been the catalyst for human evolution. Dude’s got some pretty out-there theories.

#2: They Have Serious Potential In Medical Applications

Currently, magic mushrooms are classified as Schedule 1 drugs - making their possession, sale and transport illegal in most countries, and according to the U.N., of no recognised medical use. But recent research into psilocybin has suggested that it may have a wide variety of medical applications. Patients who ingest psilocybin see decreased activity in the thalamus, which is a central information hub in the brain. Coupled with psilocybin’s well-documented serotonin-like effects on the brain, this slowing of the thalamus could help fight depression and anxiety. It’s been touted as having major potential in helping people suffering from PTSD. Most exciting however, is the theoretical possibility that psilocybin could stimulate new cell growth in damaged brain cells.

#1: Magic Mushrooms May Have Inspired Christmas

Not interested in medical shrooms? Fine... how about some good old fashion, psychedelic holiday cheer that the whole family can enjoy? There’s no denying it - Christmas is all about magic. But why? Christianity is known to have borrowed from pagan traditions, and Christmas is a prime example. Holly, mistletoe, the Christmas tree - all pagan imports. But Father Christmas, his habits, characteristics and animal of choice all bear striking resemblance to Siberian shamans. These mystic men used to bring magic red and white mushrooms, which grew under evergreen trees, to nearby families each winter. The shaman transported their dried mushrooms in large sacks and kept reindeer. Add a dash of hallucinogens, and visions of sugarplums (or flying reindeer) aren’t that far off.

So, do you think psilocybin should have any place in modern medicine? And could they have really spurred on human evolution? For more magic top 10s and mostly debunked Top 5s, be sure to subscribe to