Have you ever had psychedelics? Even though it’s illegal in America, it might offer some very useful benefits.

Timothy Leary has always said that psilocybin, the active chemical in magic mushrooms, has the power to change people’s brains for the better, and now research is showing he might have been on to something.

Studies have shown that the psilocybin in mushrooms may be an effective chemical for treating post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety.

Psilocybin alters consciousness, rearranging the brain so that new connections between neurons are made. The neurons assume a new order, which brings clarity and new perspectives on old and new thoughts.

There has also been research showing benefits from like LSD and MDMA.

Scientists are starting to find that psilocybin profoundly alters consciousness, rearranging the brain so that new connections between neurons are made, and accessing them becomes easier. This doesn’t happen randomly. Instead, neurons are combined in new patters which bring clarity and new perspectives on old and new thoughts.

These effects are combined in the area of the brain responsible for emotion and dreaming – the hippocampus and anterior cingulate cortex.

“People often describe taking psilocybin as producing a dreamlike state,” Robin Carhart-Harris, a researcher who studies psilocybin, told Reuters earlier this year. Meanwhile, with the activity in the emotion region of the brain working at full-force, the area that helps us find a sense of self-awareness (the ego) goes quiet.

While these effects disappear within five to 10 hours, the enlightenment it brings appears to be long-lasting.

Studies are now showing that magic mushrooms may provide effective chemicals for treating post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety.

In a study from 2011, 12 participants who suffered from an advanced stage and were diagnosed with acute stress disorder or anxiety disorder were given a small dose of psilocybin or niacin (it’s a “placebo” inducing a mild psychological reaction). Those who took psilocybin alleviated a significant amount of stress.

It turns out that smokers may also benefit from taking magic mushrooms. A recent study from Johns Hopkins University found that 12 out of 15 smokers were able to quit smoking while they were tripping on psilocybin and listening to calming music. The more profound the experience, the more likely they were to quit. “The rates of quitting were so high, twice as high as what you typically see with the gold standard medication,” researcher Matthew Johnson told Bloomberg News.

Science is only now beginning to unravel the mysteries of the mind and how magic mushrooms can be used to treat psychiatric conditions. There’s a lot of work still to do.

What do you think of the use of magic mushrooms to treat psychiatric conditions? Let us know in the comments.

This article was inspired by Lisa Martin’s post on Ideapod, a social network for idea sharing.