Psilocybe Mushrooms

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These ratings are my subjective opinion. It is based on years of first-hand experience with the substances and being in the psychedelic community. (Hover to see details)

My Personal Experience

Psilocybe mushrooms have been the bread and butter of my psychedelic life for the past 15 years. I've had hundreds of experiences at doses ranging from 0.1g to 6g. Beyond that I haven't personally found it useful for integration, but someday I may explore the possibilities. Higher doses have challenged my ability to let go to an extreme extent, the feeling of needing to stay in control reality can be profoundly strong for some people and I am one of those people.

Staying in control, but also loosened up with mushrooms feels amazing. At certain doses, it's like having your maximum energy at the same time as your maximum creativity. This is a big perk of most psychedelics, but it isn't necessarily the best way to use psychedelics. I don't believe there is a single best method for everyone, I just believe that completely letting your ego fall apart now and then is really important for human health. Mushrooms can do that really well.

Outside of major ego-destroying experiences, I find I get the best integration with low and medium doses (for me this is 1.5g-3g). These doses also make it easier to do with greater frequency, which I have also found to be extremely helpful at the right times. For me, mushrooms are a potent antidote for the superficial stress of modern living, which is an on-going and chronic issue. Mushrooms return me to the harmony and wisdom of the earth. They plug me back into the infinitely connected nature of life, which is the opposite of the typical fragmented world we live in now.

Mushrooms also open my mind up to the issues beneath the surface that are the hardest to face. It's not easy to see what the mushrooms unveil, but when I trust it and accept it, the payoff is immense. My trips typically begin with about an hour of adjustment that I find doing yoga or other movement makes easier. Gradually my thoughts get deeper and more profound until eventually I hit a point that challenges me deeply. Guilt, shame, anger, sadness… eventually this comes up whether or not I intended it to. That’s the point where I must trust the process and go into those thoughts. This is when your ego gets challenged and can only be cured by letting the mushrooms dissolve it. This can go to very dark places, but always always always leads to enormous gratitude and joy. It is truly a deep clean from the inside-out.

I strongly believe these mushrooms were put on Earth for humans to have a convenient method of furthering their evolution (not exaggerating). Psilocybin is essentially the myceliated version of DMT, which, as I explain on my page on DMT, is The Mental Gateway to nature's universal intelligence.

The Facts

Exclusively found in a large array of naturally occurring mushrooms, psilocybin is the main psychoactive compound that brings about the intense experience known to many throughout the world as a “magic mushroom trip.” Several other psychoactive compounds exist in the heads, stems and truffles of psilocybe mushrooms as well. Chemically, it is a close relative to Dimethyltriptamine (DMT) [1], but brings with it a distinct experiential flavor and therapeutic potential.

Their legal status is the same high-level restriction of all other classical psychedelics, but are currently considered a “breakthrough therapy” for treatment-resistant depression by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This fast-track was given because they have demonstrated the potential to perform better than conventional anti-depressants in early trials [2]. Apparently, scientists aren’t the first ones to find a good use for it either. Psilocybe mushrooms are on record to be part of the sacraments of certain native cultures throughout the world, some of them quite old [3]. 

The experience of psilocybin has been explained by clinical researchers to take 30-60 minutes to become detectable by the user, 2-3 hours to reach the full effects, and at least 6 hours to taper back down to baseline [4]. The classical psychedelic experience of ego-dissolution, visual patterns/distortions, higher ratings of mystical experiences, and dramatic changes in mood are commonly reported [1], [5], [6].

Not only is physical toxicity remarkably low for psilocybin and all other classical psychedelics, but the adverse effects in controlled clinical settings consist only of temporary anxiety, confusion, increased blood pressure, and increased heart rate. [4], [7], [8]. It is their psychological and behavioral activity that is of main concern.

A sizable chunk of the new wave of psychedelic research has focused on psilocybin, the primary psychoactive compound of these mushrooms.

  • One study using magnetic resonance imaging and memory cues during psilocybin sessions found activation in sensory brain regions and high ratings of memory vividness. They also found these measurements to be correlated with increased subjective well-being for a period after the session. They postulated that this implies a possible psychotherapeutic application for depression and perspective shifting through reliving past events [1].

  • A systematic review in 2016 of these substances concluded that the possible mechanism for the therapeutic potential of psychedelic substances is the depth of mystical or transcendent experience [9].

  • In a 2016 study authors reported reported 42% full remission in depression and anxiety scores 3 months after the intervention [4].

  • In several recent clinical studies including randomized controlled trials, individuals with advanced-stage cancer were given a single dose of psilocybin, which resulted in lasting reductions in anxiety and depression [8], [10]–[12].

  • In the treatment of tobacco addiction, one 2017 study found that at 12 months, 67% of participants were confirmed to be abstinent from smoking. Additionally, they reported that “…(86.7%) rated their psilocybin experiences among the five most personally meaningful and spiritually significant experiences of their lives.” [5]

The fascinating fact about these early clinical trials is how effective they are compared to conventional treatments and with an extremely low side-effect profile. However, the actual phase-3 trials doing direct comparisons with conventional treatments are still in development. Therefore, even though the FDA has designated it as a “breakthrough therapy,” that doesn’t mean they will approve psilocybin for depression. Fortunately, thanks to a comprehensive review on the evidence for the limited abuse potential and therapeutic benefit [2], they are hastening the normally arduous process of conducting clinical trials. That means it may be sooner than you think that we see this become a medicine.

References

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[2]        M. W. Johnson, R. R. Griffiths, P. S. Hendricks, and J. E. Henningfield, “The abuse potential of medical psilocybin according to the 8 factors of the Controlled Substances Act,” Neuropharmacology, Jun. 2018.

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