It has been documented that classical psychedelics like psilocybin and LSD stimulate the brain’s serotonin receptors, which control psychological states such as happiness, contentment, and a sense of belonging A person suffering from depression, anxiety, cluster headaches, anorexia, smoking addiction, or substance abuse may have low serotonin levels, as does someone suffering from depression or anxiety. Experts say it usually takes weeks for SSRIs to work if they do at all.

They boost serotonin levels available to brain cells. According to pharmacologist Brian Roth, a professor of psychiatry and pharmacology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, psychedelics such as psilocybin and LSD can alter brain neuron connectivity quickly in the laboratory According to Matthew Johnson, a Johns Hopkins Medicine professor specializing in psychedelics and consciousness, one of the fascinating things we have learned about classic psychedelics is how they affect how brain systems synchronize.

According to Johnson, when someone takes psilocybin, they can connect brain areas that usually don’t communicate effectively. “As an opposite to that, we see less communication between local brain networks normally that interact with each other.” This causes a very, very disorganized brain, which, in turn, breaks down normal boundaries between auditory, visual, executive, and self-aware parts of the mind – creating a state of altered consciousness, according to David Nutt of Imperial College London’s Division of Brain Sciences.

Depressed person continually criticizes themselves, and they keep ruminating on negative, anxious, or fearful thoughts, which is ultimately therapeutic, says Nutt: “They keep ruminating, and that’s what’s ultimately therapeutic.” “A psychedelic trip disrupts those patterns, which is why depression patients suddenly see the light of day during the trip,” according to him. “Critical thoughts become easier to control, and thinking becomes more flexible, which is why depression patients find it useful.”

In addition, psychedelics are thought to boost communication between cells in the brain by sprouting dendrites, which look like branches on a tree. As Nutt explained, “These drugs can increase neural growth, branching of neurons, and synaptic formation, which is what is called neuroplasticity.” As opposed to neurogenesis, where new brain cells are created from stem cells, that’s neurogenesis.

When we practice gratitude, for example, we can lay down more positive pathways by growing dendrites in the brain, which help build and solidify new circuits. “We believe this neuronal outgrowth does not contribute to the enhanced brain connectivity, but it does increase the chances that people who have insights into their depression while on psilocybin will keep them,” Nutt said. Combined with neuroplasticity, it shakes up the brain, reframes how we see things, and lays down a positive circuit. It’s a double whammy