Whether it's an artist struggling with creative blocks, an athlete wanting to upgrade performance and technique, or just someone seeking natural alternatives for alleviating symptoms of depression, more and more people are turning to the emerging field of study that is microdosing psilocybin mushrooms. Psilocybin mushrooms, commonly and aptly referred to as “magic mushrooms” are an organic naturally growing mushroom that is psychoactive when consumed in large quantities. Similar to marijuana, psilocybin mushrooms are generally considered a drug and are illegal in the United States. However, research and scientific studies are now showing that mushrooms may have profound medicinal applications.
Why Microdose with Psilocybin Mushrooms (versus Taking a Full Dose)
Taking regular large doses of psychedelic mushrooms might not be a feasible long term plan for most people. I mean, who has time to set aside multiple days in a row to have soul illuminating realizations about reality and the cosmos, let alone one day? (Well, actually… a lot of people, as it turns out.) However… if you are in the category of people whom happen to work a regular job, have a family structure to up hold, or engage in any other number of activities and commitments to fill your day with, tripping on mushrooms can end up seeming like a pretty low priority. So micro-dosing is a good idea for people who want to be able to have the mind expanding and therapeutic health benefits of magic mushrooms while still being able to do the laundry.
Microdosing with psilocybin mushrooms could offer a lot of potential support in the way of alleviating depression, anxiety, and helping with brain repair and cell growth, based on recent research and studies. With a micro dose of mushrooms, you can still operate all of your basic functions of daily life. The effects can be so subtle that you may not even notice that it’s there. This "sub-perceptual" dose is just enough to experience the myriad benefits mushrooms have to offer, but not enough to have a "psychedelic" experience.
Athletes, sufferers of cluster headaches, and individuals suffering with anxiety or depression are among some of the types of people who may deduce benefit from microdosing. Dr. James Fadiman, in his book The Psychedelic Explorers Guide conducted research on a range of people using microdoses of LSD and pscilocybin mushrooms. In a recent interview with Tim Ferris, Fadiman is quoted as saying that microdosing is an “all-chakra enhancer, where everything’s just a little bit better… People behave better, are happier, are more tolerant; not necessarily more creative, but more in the flow,” he told Ferris.
Psilocybin Mushrooms. Photo credit: Imperial College London
The Healing Benefits of Psilocybin Mushrooms
Despite mounting evidence to the contrary, mushrooms have often been touting as having no medicinal value. As a Schedule 1 drug, it’s often assumed or imagined to be nothing more than your average hallucinogenic party drug. Recently however, researchers at New York University and John Hopkins conducted one of the largest set of trials for studying the therapeutic effects of psilocybin mushrooms on cancer patients. To the astonishment and surprise of many, 80% of cancer patients showed major reductions in psychological stress, anxiety, and depression for up to seven months or longer after only one time of use. In addition to the remarkable healing benefits, no other significant side effects were documented. Meaning, there was no observable downside.
Until recently, in-depth study on the beneficial health properties of psilocybin mushrooms have been nil. As John Hopkins and others open the door, more studies and findings are cropping up to support the evidence of the positive healing benefits of mushrooms. University of South Florida has recently conducted research and studies on experimentation of mushrooms on mice, which shows that mushrooms have the ability to grow new brain cells.
"The proposition that psilocybin impacts cognition and stimulates hippocampal neurogenesis is based on extensive evidence that serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine or 5-HT) acting on specific 5-HT receptor sub-types (most likely the 5-HT2A receptor) is involved in the regulation of neurogenesis in hippocampus. The in vitro and in vivo animal data is compelling enough to explore whether psilocybin will enhance neurogenesis and result in measurable improvements in learning.” - Juan R. Sanchez-Ramos
Evidence that mushrooms helps alleviate severe depression is also mounting. A very recent study funded by the Medical Research Council and published in the Lancet demonstrated that after administering mushroom to 12 patients suffering with severe depression, all twelve participants saw their depression lifted, with sustained effect for up to three months after only one dose. Regular microdosers of mushrooms are even claiming that their subperceptual rendezvous with the fungus have helped relieve cluster migraines, a painfully severe kind of headache with few known natural therapies.
How to Microdose with Magic Mushrooms
Microdosing is a careful art that can easily go awry if one is not careful. That said, those who are experienced with psychedelics should have no problem fine tuning the craft to obtain the results they’re looking for. Dr. Fadiman suggests only microdosing if you have previous experience with psychedelics, and to start by doing 3/10ths of a gram of dry psilocybe mushrooms once every four days.
Since everyone’s body is going to respond and uptake the plant differently, it’s important to downsize or upgrade to attune the dose to your bodies preference. If things start glowing, you’re taking too much. The effect should be something to the effect of the afterglow bliss you typically feel after a regular, large dose of psychedelics. A mild influence should be felt that could lead to feeling more focused, a bit happier or less jaded, with finer acuity, quicker reaction times, or less social anxiety. By the third day, the mushrooms have been completely metabolized by the body, so it’s more of a recovery day. The cycle then begins again on the fourth day.
In general, psychedelics are not recommended for people dealing with psychosis or other pre-existing mental health conditions. If you're looking for enhanced cognition, alleviation of depression or anxiety, or repair of brain cells, then experimenting with microdosing might be the gentle lift you're looking for.