Ah, another morning. Nothing says up and at ‘em like your morning coffee and dose of magic mushrooms.
No, this isn’t the staple routine for everyone at Burning Man, or that new age guy on Instagram who can travel everywhere and take epic desert pics without ever somehow needing to actually work.
It’s a real mental health strategy for a growing body of people discovering the healing powers of psychedelics.
Okay, okay, not to get all spiritual this early in a post, but did you know magic mushrooms can seriously transform your life? It’s not the same for everyone, and we’re not promising any major out-of-body experiences.
But there are amazing effects to psilocybin and other psychedelics out there that even therapists are beginning to incorporate into their practice.
When Tripping Became Mainstream Therapy
Poking around online, you might think the trend of tripping to treat psychological maladies is a 21st-century fad, inspired by the likes of Gweneyth Paltrol’s Goop Lab. But researchers have been exploring the potentiality of psychedelics in therapy for decades.
In 1997, the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs published a review reflecting on the past decade of research into ketamine-psychedelic therapy (KPT). Even then, evidence suggested that the use of the prescription drug showed promise in the treatment of alcohol use disorder.
Since then, more research has been done into the world of psychedelics and their powerful effects on the human mind.
Rather than solely being a recreational outlet or portal to enlightenment, psychedelic drugs can be incorporated into therapy to help treat conditions ranging from PTSD to treatment-resistant depression.
The latter are two conditions that modern Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy has proven especially useful in treating.
Magic mushrooms haven’t always been considered a therapeutic treatment by the general public, but they weren’t classified as a drug until 1970, after the hippie movement had people tripping on the daily and abusing the healing properties of hallucinogens and psychedelics. Still considered a Schedule 1 drug, some states have begun to decriminalize magic mushrooms in order to help researchers better explore their potential health benefits.
In 2021, the U.S. government granted funding for psychedelic research for the first time in 50 years. The National Institutes of Health provided $4 million to Johns Hopkins, in partnership with New York University and University of Birmingham, to explore the potential for psilocybin as a treatment to help people quit smoking.
Johns Hopkins, however, is no stranger to psychedelic as a medical treatment. In fact, the hospital is home to the Center for Psychedelic & Consciousness Research. The research group reopened in 2000 after a 10-year hiatus, and a 2006 study on the incredible efficacy of a single dose of magic mushrooms (psilocybin) has been considered one of the most foundational movements in modern psychedelic research.
Here are a few other conditions that the center has researched in recent years:
- Anorexia nervosa
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Alcohol use disorder and co-occurring depression
- Depressive disorders
- Anxiety and depression
Through their research, Johns Hopkins wants to examine the effects on the brain, body and biological markers of psilocybin and other hallucinogens. They aren’t concerned with what’s “in” or not.
They believe that these substances have the ability to transform people’s lives, potentially granting them freedom from decades of suffering from debilitating mental health issues and even some physical ailments.
Different Types of Psychedelics
Before we delve a bit further into the different types of psychedelics out there, let’s clarify what a psychedelic really is.
Basically, they’re the good vibes drug, and for good reason. Rather than simply induce a state of hyper-arousal or dull your senses, they completely alter the way your brain perceives and processes information.
This means bridging gaps that have been causing grief and pain for way too long, and helping you form new neural pathways that lead to better moods and emotional freedom.
We’re not saying you should run out and start scouting dealers. In fact, you should be ultra cautious about where you get mushrooms or how you take any psychedelics.
The most effective – and safest – way to indulge is through micro or macrodosing. This is the process of consuming a designated amount of a hallucinogen, usually psilocybin, on a schedule. We’ll get into that in a bit.
Let’s look a bit closer at what types of drugs you’re likely to come across and the effects they can have on your brain and mental health.
Don’t do acid, kids. We’ve heard that one before. Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is the heavy-duty psychedelic drug made from a type of mold. It’s fallen in and out of popularity about as often as all-denim ensembles and bucket hats.
During the 60s, the CIA conducted some highly sus research about LSD and its potential as a potential mind control tool. Yikes. But it also opened the door to questions about its effects on behavior, mood and personality, and psychiatrists naturally wondered if they could harness the power of this hallucinogen for good.
After it was classified as a controlled substance, acid fell out of favor, so research more or less grounded to a halt. Renewed interest in the wake of the mushroom movement has shown some interesting results. A 2020 systematic review found that it showed significant short-term improvements that gradually reduced overtime, however, there was additional promise as a treatment option for alcohol use disorder.
Truth be told, there still isn’t a ton of scientific evidence backing up LSD. Despite the fact tons of young adults are starting to experiment with the drug, we don’t suggest trying it just to see what it can do for you.
Microdosing shrooms or even microdosing psilocybin from a reputable brand is not the same as dropping acid and hoping for a transformation.
Often called the “businessman’s trip,” DMT’s high is incredibly sort, usually no more than an hour, so someone can trip on their lunch break and be back at the office, fresher than ever.
The hallucinogenic compound comes from Central America, and it’s derived from the ayahuasca tea plant. It enters your bloodstream quickly, and it tends to linger in your system for only a few hours after the fact.
It’s classified as a Schedule 1 drug, meaning it has not been proven to show any significant medical benefits. It has the potential to become highly addictive, and you can’t currently acquire it legally anywhere, so it’s best to steer clear of this one. The lack of supportive evidence also makes it a questionable treatment for mental health disorders.
You never know how your brain is going to react to a psychedelic, and if you take something that is too strong, you could wind up triggering traumatic experiences that actually lead to PTSD or worsen previous symptoms.
Good old THC. We all know you a little too well. Now that your cooler cousin, CBD, has entered the scene, most people have switched over to edibles and oils to get their daily dose of chill without feeling stoned out of their minds.
THC is the major psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, and let’s be honest, is why most of us sought after weed in the first place. But for a lot of people, it became a necessary evil to get the soothing effects of cannabis, which weren’t extracted and sold to the masses until recently.
We don’t suggest using high THC cannabis to treat anything. It mostly just induces hallucinations and alters your sensory perception. For people struggling with anxiety conditions, like panic disorder or PTSD, weed can have horrible effects on their brain.
Paranoia and panic attacks are common among people who consume THC on the regular, so it’s best to limit any cannabis use these days to CBD.
This is what puts the “magic” in magic mushrooms. As a natural hallucinogenic ingredient, psilocybin can induce a trip on par with LSD, but that’s not how it’s being used in modern medicine. Instead, shrooms are being taken in small doses in teas or foods to help ease anxiety and treat depression.
Taking too much psilocybin isn’t a good thing, especially if you’re new to mushrooms. The more you take, the more intense effects, and the higher the likelihood of tripping balls.
While some people have a complete out-of-body experience that changes their life, other people wind up getting trapped in some nightmare hallucination that takes hours to come down from. Your intention and dose will have the largest impact on your experience.
Microdosing, the act of taking 1/8 to a tenth of psilocybin, is about creating space throughout your mind. This space opens room for more positive emotions, less stress, greater awareness and, by extension, more appreciation and fulfillment from things in your everyday life.
Macrodosing, on the other hand, takes things a step further and is meant to awaken you to higher levels of consciousness. This is not something you should rush into, and it’s totally okay if you decide to never up your small dose and enjoy the good feels without the intense trip.
If you do ever decide to macrodose, it’s best to do so with the help of a trip setter. This is someone who can guide you throughout the process, helping you work through the experience and come down safely.
A Word of Caution: Psychedelics can be amazing tools for self-help, but they aren’t for everyone. If you have a risk or history of psychosis or schizophrenia, you should avoid hallucinogens at all costs.
Taking any psychoactive drug can induce the onset of either condition, and you should speak to your doctor before trying anything that alters your brain chemistry. This is especially true if you’re currently on any prescription drugs, be it antidepressants or blood pressure medication.
Schedule35 aims to help people unlock their fullest potential and start living life the way it’s meant to be — aka not constantly dragging your feet, fighting anxiety or thinking depression is the best you can do.
Check out our selection here, or shoot us a message with any of your questions about magic mushrooms and what they could do for you.