Interest in magic mushrooms, or psilocybin, has skyrocketed 64% since 2019, resulting in shows like Fantastic Fungi on Netflix, Nine Perfect Strangers on Hulu, and even a very recent cover story in Newsweek Magazine. In light of this recent mainstream media attention, I think it’s high time we dismantle the taboo myths surrounding psilocybin and have a real conversation about the incredible benefits of microdosing.
What Is Microdosing?
Microdosing is a way to consume a psychedelic substance in small amounts. Many proponents of this practice say that, after adding psilocybin microdoses to the routine, they feel more focused, willing and creative, also noting an improvement in social skills, a decrease in anxiety and stress, and a drastic reduction in symptoms of depression.
A New Hope In The Fight Against
Depression and Addiction?
Did you know that 1 in 10 Americans turn to SSRIs to manage depression and anxiety, with more than half of them battling addiction to the very same medication that is supposed to be helping them? A recent John Hopkins study found that psilocybin treatment was 4 times more effective than traditional meds for treating depression.
In 2017, researchers studying tobacco use reported that 67% of participants quit smoking after psilocybin treatment, and in a 2015 study, psilocybin was also effective in treating those suffering with alcohol abuse.
Magic mushrooms have also shown promise in managing anxieties attributed to serious diseases and end-of-life experiences. In a double-blind trial of participants with life-threatening cancer, researchers found that “psilocybin produced large and significant decreases in clinician-rated and self-rated measures of depression, anxiety or mood disturbance, and increases in measures of quality of life, life meaning, death acceptance, and optimism.” A 6-month follow-up after the study showed that these benefits were still in effect.
What About Everyone Else?
Fascinatingly, international researchers found that 79% of people from all walks of life reported improved mental health after microdosing.
And in this New Zealand study, scientists found that, as a result of microdosing, “performance was significantly higher” on convergent thinking, or the ability to focus on abstract concepts to identify a single solution, and divergent thinking, or mental flexibility—two defining ingredients that, psychologists say, make up creativity.
So What’s The Issue?
Even with a wealth of positive scientific data, to date, only 7 cities nationally have decriminalized psychoactive mushrooms, with many more in the process. Fully decriminalized, this incredible medicine has the capacity to significantly benefit those who struggle with depression and addiction, and enhance the lives of millions everywhere.
why i microdose
Jaden’s Psilocybin Journey
Throughout my adult life, I suffered from postpartum depression, anxiety, depression. Doctors prescribed me a list of medications:
And, here are the ones that worked: __________
Not only did they not have the intended effect, but the side effects of these antidepressants were often worse than the anxiety itself!
Friends suggested meditation and yoga, but I was too anxious to still my brain for more than 15 seconds. While everyone else around me was breathing deep into a pose with their eyes closed, I would get bored, peep open one eye and look around, my wandering mind judging other people’s outfit choices.
Eventually, I found myself in the midst of a terrible divorce. The uncertainty of starting over as a single woman in her late 40’s while re-building a business that had been neglected and left in tatters nearly broke me. Then, because when it rains, it pours… the pandemic hit and the whole world came to an abrupt halt.
Once again I reached for the wine bottle, which was obviously self-destructive, and I started gaining weight again.
One morning, I went to visit with my friend Todd. He handed me a cup of coffee (my morning ritual) and instead of pouring himself a cup, he went into his cupboard and brought out a mason jar of dried mushrooms (his morning ritual).
I was fascinated.
“Mushrooms for breakfast?!”
My experience with dried mushrooms was limited to cooking: soups, stews, and braises.
But these were not for cooking.
These were MAGIC.
Todd ground up a small amount of mushrooms in his coffee grinder, and deftly spooned 0.20 grams of powder into empty capsules.
“This is medicine,” he stated, handing me a few, adding, “Before you take them, I want you to do your own research first.”
So, for the next few days, I spent much of my free time reading articles, listening to podcasts, and watching videos on the world of magic mushrooms, also known as psilocybin.
What I found was a Johns Hopkins study reporting that psilocybin treatment was 4 times more effective than traditional medications for treating depression, and an international study with 79% of respondents reporting improvements in their mental health after microdosing. In other surveys, participants described experiencing an increase in creativity and productivity along with decreased levels of anxiety and depression.
Microdosing definitely seemed worth a try.
My journey looked like this…
I decided to start with half a capsule (as each contained 0.20 grams or about 1/10th of a light psychedelic dose), and just… ease into it.
I opened the capsule, eyeballed half the powder onto a spoon, swirled in a bit of honey to make it more palatable, and took it right after my coffee. (I know what you’re wondering, and no, I don’t normally eat breakfast due to intermittent fasting.) I must admit, I was a little nervous about taking the mushroom on an empty stomach, but I figured it was better than shocking my body with both a psychedelic AND food.
Thirty minutes later, I felt a little tingling in my cheeks, lips, and fingers—a light dance of energy that lasted throughout the day and subsided around late afternoon. I was so focused on the physical sensation that I really didn’t notice any mood changes.
Day Two and Three
I continued my morning ritual with 0.10 grams and experienced the same physical sensations. On the third day, I noticed that my work sessions were solid, focused, and productive. I didn’t feel like I had to give in to distractions (and let me tell you, there are lots at my house, including a puppy, dirty laundry and lots of junk food in the cupboard.)
Things that normally would have bothered me—bad drivers, non-stop text messages, and rude people—didn’t have any affect on my mood at all.
I actually skipped this day. The mushrooms still seemed to be working in my system, and I didn’t feel a need to take anymore.
I felt so grounded, so solid, so strong. If something major knocked me off my feet, I just stood right back up and brushed myself off without reacting.
Day Five – Seven
Each day was a good day. Not perfect, but genuinely GOOD. I had never experienced this level of concentration and focus for work.
After the first week, I decided to take a full capsule, and adopt the protocol of 5 days on, 2 days off, so that I wouldn’t develop a tolerance for the medicine.
Here’s What I’ve Learned:
- Negative forces don’t affect me as much. When they do, I’m able to turn my mood, focus and language around rather quickly.
- I have a new baseline. My default mood is pleasantly happy and curious.
- Work sessions are shorter, because I’m more focused, and can accomplish so much more in so little time.
- They aren’t addictive. I tune into my body intuitively, and when I feel like I don’t need to take a dose, I just skip it.
- My initial schedule of 5 days on, 2 days off worked really well. I basically took the weekends off (and because of #4, I skipped some of the weekdays.)
- I stopped relying on alcohol!! This was HUGE. I have been a “functioning alcoholic” for over 25 years. After a week of microdosing, I just decided to stop NEEDING wine every night. I’ll write more about this soon.
I’m now many months into microdosing and have experimented with different protocols, as well as microdosing different psychedelics in addition to psilocybin. The results have been so enlightening.
I’ll be writing and talking more about my journey, so be sure to check back for more insights!
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