Psilocybin mushrooms have probably been used for healing and spiritual rituals for thousands of years. We have archeological clues and a few written records that early cultures such as the Mayan and Aztec used Psilocybin mushrooms. The use of Psilocybin mushrooms has also been found in other cultures that have verbal history that goes back many generations.
Psilocybin mushrooms were fist introduced to western culture by Gordon Wasson who was a traveler and explorer and became very interested in the study of Ethnomycology. Wasson spent a great deal of time traveling the world, studying the use of mushrooms in different cultures. In the 1950s, he used Psilocybin mushrooms in Mexico with a shaman woman named María Sabina who had Mazatec Indian roots. Gordon Wasson had a very powerful experience and became fascinated with Psilocybin mushrooms.
Wasson brought some Psilocybin mushrooms back to the U.S., and through these samples, it was discovered that Psilocybin was the psychedelic component. When ingested, the human body converts it into Psilocin (4-hydroxy-dimethyltryptamine, 4-HO-DMT), which creates an altered state of mind.
Gordon Wasson also had a story of his magic mushroom experience in Mexico published in Life Magazine in 1957. Many of the early psychedelic pioneers read this and became very interested in Psilocybin mushrooms and began flocking to Mexico to seek out the mushrooms.
Mexican authorities were kind of alarmed at the dope smoking hippies that started to invade the smaller rural communities looking for the mushrooms. The Mexicans themselves had a hard time understanding the “gringos”. To them, mushrooms were for healing and religious ceremonies. They had a hard time understanding why so many of these gringos would want to use them just for escape and pleasure.
Before long, people had collected and brought back various different types of Psilocybin mushroom spores from different places around the globe and figured out how to cultivate them indoors. This brought a stable supply of Psilocybin mushrooms to the hippie population of the 60s and they no longer had to go to strange places to seek out the mushrooms. With easier access, the use of Psychedelic mushrooms in the western hippie culture flourished.
Psilocybin mushrooms can invoke a very powerful experience and give people an in-depth insight into themselves and the world around them, but it can also be difficult for some people and cause excessive anxiety and overwhelm them. There is an inconsistency of potency that sometimes leads to some people having a much more intensive experience than they were expecting. This is part of the reason Psilocybin mushrooms were distributed and used sparingly by trained shamans for ritual purposes in ancient times.