In the 50’s, amateur mycologist R. Gordon Wasson heard about the discoveries and decided that he wanted to find out more about these mushrooms. Wasson traveled to Oaxaca, Mexico so he could discover more about the effects of psilocybin mushrooms. In 1955, he was allowed to be part of a shamanic ceremony where mushrooms were used, under the guidance of indigenous shaman, Maria Sabina.
Wasson wasn’t supposed to publish his findings, as Sabina did not want her work to become mainstream. However, Wasson later decided to publish what he’d found out in the Life Magazine in 1957. This type of media coverage popularized the term “magic mushrooms”, and people became very interested. In fact, many people traveled to shaman Maria Sabina’s village to experience psilocybin themselves, whereas Sabina was not pleased with so many visitors.
When the 1960s rolled around, these mushrooms had become a counterculture symbol. They became widely popular and heavily used in both the United States and the United Kingdom. Psilocybin mushrooms created such a powerful impact on the culture of America that it was eventually used as a symbol of the hippie movement.
Many clinical experiments took place after this by researchers and mental health professionals. In 1960, psilocybin pills began to be distributed by Sandoz Pharmaceutical at 2mg per pill. The psychedelic was looked upon to be a promising treatment aid, in combination with psychotherapy, for those struggling with anxiety, depression, OCD, schizophrenia, and alcoholism. There were also many who used the mushrooms to expand their inner spiritual landscape.