In the study, researchers looked at how psilocybin affects glutamate activity in the brain. Glutamate is the most common neurotransmitter in the brain which is thought to play a role in self-esteem and other personal traits. The researchers found that glutamate levels seemed to fluctuate during psychedelic experiences.
The researchers used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to monitor the brains of 60 healthy volunteers. Among many other significant findings, the researchers observed that different experiences seemed to correlate with different levels of glutamate in different parts of the brain.
In the study, the authors wrote: “Analyses indicated that region-dependent alterations in glutamate were also correlated with different dimensions of ego dissolution. Whereas changes in [cortical] glutamate were found to be the strongest predictor of negatively experienced ego dissolution, changes in hippocampal glutamate were found to be the strongest predictor of positively experienced ego dissolution.”
Through interviews with the volunteers, they did notice a dissolution of the ego, but they are still unsure how it is linked to glutamate levels.
“Our data add to this hypothesis, suggesting that modulations of hippocampal glutamate in particular may be a key mediator in the decoupling underlying feelings of (positive) ego dissolution,” the researchers suggest.
A previous study in 2018, also published in the journal Psychopharmacology, showed that psychedelics tend to make people more resistant to authority. They also found the psychedelic experience induced by these mushrooms also causes people to be more connected with nature. These conclusions match theories that psychedelic drug users have had for many years, and if true, this could explain why government entities are so afraid of psychedelic drugs.