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Magic Mushroom Drug Evolved to Alter Insect Brains

There is something strange about the many species of magic mushrooms: they are not related to each other.

Normally, one would expect a chemical as complex and powerful as psilocybin, the magic ingredient, to be produced by a group of closely related organisms whose common ancestor once discovered it.

But not in this case. Dozens of fungal species, one lichenized, from five different distantly related families do. A team of US scientists wondered about that and had a hunch as to why it might be.

They put their intuition to the test, for the first time, by identifying the psilocybin-producing genes (there turned out to be five) and comparing the versions found in the various magic mushrooms. And of course: the genes shared the same origin. The psilocybin gene cluster had somehow found its way to distantly related species in a process called horizontal gene transfer, in which unrelated organisms steal genes from each other.

Although mushroom-producing fungi, considered sophisticated and complex for the mushroom world, have rarely been caught donating or stealing genes, the fact that they have made an exception for these genes implies that psilocybin is a really hot commodity.

But why? A better question might be, what exactly does a coffee bush get out of making caffeine, or a coca plant out of making cocaine? Why do magic mushrooms bother to be magical? They’re not getting magical trips out of the deal.

A little sweetness is often required to offset the unpleasant taste of psilocybin-containing dried magic mushrooms. Many have found a great use for cannabis and magic mushrooms in the kitchen. Cooking with magic mushrooms is a science in itself and is quite advantageous compared to other typical culinary practices. In this article we will delve into the act of cooking with magic mushrooms.

Why do people cook mushrooms?

The easiest and fastest way to consume magic mushrooms is to cut them up and eat them raw. However, the unpleasantness of this is undeniable due to its bitter taste. The development of various tasty and interesting recipes can be done to make the mushroom dosing process more enjoyable. Consuming dried mushrooms will never be half as enjoyable as consuming a cup of mushroom smoothie or a piece of psilocybin-infused chocolate. The simplest recipe will effectively mask the bitter taste of dried mushrooms. A highly valued recipe like risotto brings more flavor to the mushrooms.

Cooking mushrooms naturally breaks down the cell walls of raw mushrooms and therefore makes them easier on the stomach. Cooking with magic mushrooms might just be the next best thing since the world stumbled on turkey mac and cheese. Here are some exciting recipes to make your mushroom trips more satisfying.

1. Mushroom and sesame balls

Sesame seeds are known to be rich in oil and are highly prized for their medicinal properties. It is a perfect combo to enjoy a trip with mushrooms. You can keep them in a small box or paper for easy consumption wherever you go. The main ingredients are dried magic mushroom powder, sesame seeds (twice the size of the mushrooms), honey, and a little salt.

How to make mushroom sesame balls

Turn on a stove and put it on medium-high temperature

Heat a frying pan and lightly toast the sesame seeds.

Stir the sesame seeds until they pop.

Pour them into a small bowl and wait for them to cool down.

Divide the seeds into two portions and blend one portion until only 30% whole seeds remain.

Add the magic mushrooms and mix some more, then pour it into a bowl

Add some salt and honey to make it like a paste.

Carefully roll the pasta into balls with the other portion of sesame seeds.

Store the sesame balls in a cool place.

2. Mushrooms with Honey

Here is another simple dish that you can make with honey. Many would consider this a waste, but mushrooms are extremely tasty. Magic mushrooms and honey are all you need.

How to make honey mushrooms

Pack chopped fresh or dried mushrooms in a shallow jar.

Fill the jar with honey

Store it in a cool, dark place for about a month or more.

They will be ready to consume later.

You can recharge the contents as you consume them.

Enjoy with friends with a touch of music or art

3. Mushgurt

It’s exactly how it sounds. A combination of mushrooms and yogurt, make a mushroom tea and call it mushghurt. It is a guaranteed pleasure if you try it.

How to make mushgurt

Dice the mushrooms

Mix them in yogurt.

Use fruit yogurt for its texture

You can also try apricots or any other yogurt flavor you prefer.

4. mushroom jelly

You can have some jelly to accompany your magic mushrooms. You only need water, magic mushrooms and a single packet of gelatin.

How to make mushroom jelly

Boil about two cups of water.

Drop your mushrooms into the boiled water for a few minutes.

stir periodically

Drain the mushrooms from water

Use the water to mix in the gelatin flavor.

Refrigerate the water and gelatin mixture until frozen.

NB: For a more powerful mix, stir the gelatin mix with some diced mushrooms before it solidifies. Enjoy with other psychonauts.

The startling reality is that most naturally produced recreational drugs—caffeine, nicotine, cocaine, morphine, and psilocybin—evolved to become, if not insecticides, then scramblers for insect brains. The fact that our brains are also scrambled by them is purely coincidental, but it also speaks to the uncomfortable truth that your brain isn’t as different from a cockroach’s as you’d like to think. (Of course, you’re not that different from a plant either)

In humans, psilocybin is converted to psilocin upon ingestion, activating one of the same receptors as the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin and producing the wild effects the drug is known for. Serotonin, by the way, is the same molecule that antidepressant serotonin reuptake inhibitors like Prozac act on. However, serotonin is not the private preserve of humans. All animals with left-right symmetry, including insects, produce serotonin, as do some plants and fungi.

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A plant has an obvious reason for stockpiling a chemical arsenal: to prevent it from becoming a salad bar. But what about the mushrooms? Most psilocybin-producing mushrooms are wood or manure decomposers. In those environments, insects not only eat them, but also compete with them for food. Termites are the main fungal competitors within decaying logs, but a variety of other wood- and dung-eating insects fight the fungi for food.

Psilocybin can help tip the playing field in favor of the fungus by making the bugs, I don’t know, maybe draw a blank about what they looked for in that log again? Another serotonin receptor antagonist called 5HT-2A causes Drosophila fruit flies to somehow neglect eating the fruit they’re sitting on.

At least one of the chemicals that make mushrooms poisonous, muscarine, is often produced in the same psilocybin-producing mushrooms in the genus Inocybe, suggesting it serves a similar purpose. Muscarine is a mimic of the neurotransmitter brain chemical acetylcholine, which helps translate electrical impulses into muscle action, among other functions. Although no one knows its exact effects on insects (if any), when consumed by humans as a fungus, it causes PSL syndrome: sweating, salivation, and tearing. However, the most famous acetylcholine mimic is nicotine.

Decaying mushrooms aren’t the only mushrooms in the insect-handling business. Fungi that parasitize insects are also known to use chemicals that mimic neurotransmitters to zombify their victims. Social insects like termites can be especially vulnerable to attempts to manipulate their brains because their success depends on socialization, which is not usually a strong insect and also a skill that requires nuanced mental power.

In the process of searching for psilocybin-producing genes, scientists made another rather fascinating discovery: There was less variation in gene content among distantly related wood decay fungi than between decay fungi and their close relatives. in other habitats. The common thread between wood-decaying fungi and manure may be a shared interest in attacking tough plant fibers such as lignin and in repelling competing insects. I think the fact that your shared environment appears to be a stronger driver of genetic content than shared ancestry is quite surprising.

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