A recently conducted double-blind placebo-controlled neuroimaging study appears to be suggesting that psilocybin changes the way in which the brain processes tactile sensations and mental representations in the body of an individual.
Results of the study have been published on Cerebral Cortex and Kartin Preller, from University of Zurich participated as a study author. Acording to Preller, Psilocybin which is an active compound from magic mushroom has psychological effects primarily via the serotonin 2A receptor (5-HT2A).
These psychological effects are responsible for causing cause alterations in body boundaries, however, much remains to be learned about the neurocognitive processes beneath the said changes in perception.
“Psilocybin and other psychedelic substances are increasingly being tested as therapeutic agents for mental illnesses. However, the clinical mechanism of action is currently unclear,” said Preller.
This study was based on predictive coding theory which suggests that the brain constructs a model of reality to predict incoming sensory input and updates the model each time unexpected stimulus is encountered.
In an event when the brain receives unexpected sensory input, the brain generates a particular electrical wave called mismatch negativity. The study established that psilocybin reduced mismatch negativity EEG responses additionally, the altercations in the brain were linked to self-reported experiences of unity and disembodiment.
“This study provides the first evidence that psilocybin alters the integration of tactile sensory inputs through aberrant prediction error processing and highlights the importance of the 5-HT2A system in tactile deviancy processing as well as in the integration of bodily and self-related stimuli. It is therefore conceivable that the serotonin 2A receptor system may be involved in disorders characterized by changes in bodily self-processing,” added Preller.