Even if you’re not a hardcore shroomhead or have never dropped some acid, ou’ve probably experienced some form of “trippyness” in your life before. Ever been to a Jimmy Hendrix concert? Have you laid eyes on a Jackson Pollock painting? Maybe you’ve run through a field of fire-flies under a crystal clear and star-filled night sky? Okay, that last one was a little too specific, but nonetheless our lives are full of mind-warping experiences that can have significant impacts on us as individuals. How we perceive reality is unique to each of us, and the never ending quest for meaning in life can be profoundly shaped by experiences like an electric light show, some particularly atmospheric music or when we consume psychedelic substances like psilocybin.
Psychedelics have had a profound impact on humankind for many thousands of years. The epic journey that is developing one’s consciousness can be considered one of the most important pursuits in our entire existence, but for many people the idea of exploring who they are and the reasons of their being can be too “scary” to comprehend. It seems like there’s some kind of divide that separates people who are not willing or able to try psychedelics (‘War on Drugs’, stigmas, close-mindedness) and those individuals who continuously work on themselves and search for enlightenment (spiritual, emotional, mental development). Regardless of where you sit on the spectrum, the 2020’s are on the near horizon and with them comes a new era for psilocybin use in modern society. Magic mushrooms aren’t just consumed for a “trip to space”, but they’ve become a serious contender in the realm of treating mental illness and debilitating neurological conditions. We think it’s time that society made a major shift towards harnessing the healing powers of psilocybin, so let’s take a look at the changing landscape for the most magic of mushrooms.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF FUNGI:
What Are the Origins of Psilocybin?
It’s a complicated, and often hotly-debated question, but many people wonder where magic mushrooms come from. Some research and archaeological evidence suggests we’ve been consuming psilocybin mushrooms since before we were human! The fascinating “Stoned Ape Theory” posited by Terence & Dennis McKenna suggests that fungi consumption could have influenced human evolution. Both McKenna’s have theorized that the brain capacity and cognitive abilities of early humans could have shaped who/what we became today – neurogenesis is central to this theory, but we’ll get into this concept in more detail later on in this article. Psychedelics like psilocybin, ayahuasca, peyote, cannabis and DMT have been used by hundreds of cultures throughout the world in a variety of rituals and spiritual practices. The Aztecs & the Mayans of the Americas have been well-documented as using psilocybin, and across the globe in Algeria, Morocco and Asia there is historical and archaeological examples of medicinal mushrooms being used as natural remedies as well as psychedelic experiences. Suffice to say, the magic of these mushrooms stretches back many thousands (if not Millions!) of years.
As for our modern history with magic mushrooms, psilocybin use really proliferated in the 1960’s during the psychedelics craze. Some pioneers – George Wassen, Roger Heim & Albert Hoffman – travelling through Mexico participated in several spiritual rites with the local Mazatec tribespeople and took an interest in the psychedelic properties of some of the mushrooms this people cultivated. From their research psilocybin and psilocin were derived and so kicked off a plethora of studies and experiments with psychedelics like psilocybin, LSD and peyote for the remainder of the century. Today, psilocybin is following in the footsteps of other natural psychoactive substances like cannabis – a lot of people rely on this substance for medical benefit or maintaining their “quality of life”, so the process towards legalizing medical psilocybin is underway in countries like the United States and Canada.
Shrooms are definitely popular as a recreational substances as much as they are more recently revered as having medical applications, but as we move forward it will be up to psilocybin’s scientific/medical value to continue building on the legacy of these unique fungi.
THE MAGIC OF MUSHROOMS:
What Is Psilocybin & How Can It Benefit You?
Psilocybe Cubensis, most aptly known as “magic mushrooms” or “shrooms” by its proponents, is a genus of fungus that have been widely used for their ability to induce psychedelic experiences in both humans and animals. Like all fungi, psilocybe cubensis form as mycelial networks – spread as spores from fungal blooms, fungi spread across decaying material such as fallen trees. Mushrooms come in thousands upon thousands of varieties, and we’re just scratching the surface when it comes to species of fungi and their known properties. Of the psychoactive variety, there are roughly 200+ fungi that contain psilocybin, but again we’re relatively “in the dark” when it comes to mushrooms because of the lack of research into this fascinating field (literal and figurative) of study.
When we refer to “psilocybin”, we’re typically focusing on psilocybe cubensis because it’s the most common source for this highly-sought after plant compound. When psilocybin is consumed, it is further broken down into psilocin – the actual instigator for the psychedelic or psychoactive effects of ingesting magic mushrooms. Your body digests psilocybin and psilocin is absorbed by the body as the enzymes in your system work to break the compounds down into absorbable forms. Psilocybin on its own is still responsible for significant psychedelic effects, but some studies have suggested that they’re not as potent or quick acting as psilocin – it’s all a question of how your body absorbs the active compounds.
What does psilocybin do to your mind & body? People have turned to shrooms for a long list of reasons – euphoria, espape, relaxation, expansion of consciousness, and spiritual awakening. Beyond the expectations of hallucinations or a boost in creativity, psilocybin is actually very medically beneficial; especially for people suffering from some serious neurological conditions like depression, Schizophrenia or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). How do psychedelics like psilocybin have positive effects on such serious ailments? Well to understand that you need to know about the inner workings of the mind. Strap in, this could get trippy.
To begin, psilocybin is being researched for its ability to initiate neurogenesis – the mapping of new neural networks in the pathways of the brain – in addition to influencing the already established neurotransmitters located in our minds. When psilocybin or psilocin are absorbed by the body, serotonin activity in the brain begins to increase. Serotonin is largely responsible for modulating cognition, learning, memory, reward complexes (such as our feelings of satisfaction or well-being). So, by binding to neurotransmitters like serotonin, psilocybin/psilocin effectually amplify brain activity and create reactions within the brain. One example of this would be your interaction/reaction to hallucinations – the magic mushrooms’ active compounds generate stimuli that aren’t actually there, but your mind perceives them and works to process the imagery, sensations or feelings of your psychedelic experience.
Psilocybin also activates or enhances the activity within certain parts of the brain, such as the hippocampus or cingulate cortex which are influential in how we dream. Consuming magic mushrooms is often thought of as a “spiritual experience” for many of its users, and it is most likely due to these factors of creating new neural connections (neurogenesis) and its interactions with our cognitive functions (serotonin, hippocampus). The full gamut of effects from taking psilocybin is not fully understood by modern science – we’ve just opened the box when it comes to peering into the treasure-trove that is medicinal mushrooms. It will take some time – and a lot of research & development – before we can make conclusions about the nature of psilocybin. For now, we will continue to rely on the breadth of experiences that people have had and the current studies that have shown some of the life-changing benefits of consistent psilocybin use.
HOW TO SHROOM:
What Is The Best Way to Consume Psilocybin?
Because psilocybin is relatively new to the medical/scientific communities, it will take time for the research to catch up to the growing number of people using it. The data just isn’t widely available or published yet, but there’s definitely a lot of interest in its medical benefits as well as the positive testimonials from its proponents.
For the purposes of this article, we’re going to focus on the ultra popular method of taking psilocybin called “microdosing”. For a more in-depth look at what microdosing is and how it can benefit you, check out our blog on “What Is Microdosing?”.
Many people have realized the potential of psilocybin by committing to small, semi-frequent doses of magic mushrooms. These microdoses have many advantages for your health, but chief among them is the fact that microdosing does not instigate psychedelic effects on your mind & body. Because the doses are meant to be taken consistently, in small amounts over time, you don’t experience the hallucinations that you would be consuming them all at once. However, even microdoses of psilocybin have been shown to have profound effects on your neurological health – such as with people suffering from Schizophrenia or PTSD. Stress or anxiety disorders, behavioral conditions like ADHD or Depression, severe mental fatigue or migraines, even emotional trauma has been positively influenced by microdosing psilocybin. These studies are in their infancy, but there’s been many research groups that have consistently displayed psilocybin’s ability to improve cognitive function, increase energy & creativity and help to ease anxiety.
There are many ways to consume psilocybin mushrooms, such as brewing shroom tea or eating the caps & stems directly, but a growing number of people prefer to take psilocybin capsules. Capsules have all the benefits of taking potent medicinal mushrooms, but they often help you to avoid some of the common issues with ingesting psilocybin. For one, some people experience severe nausea or stomach cramping when they eat or drink shrooms – with psilocybin capsules your body slowly breaks the capsule and its contents down, receiving a measured dose of the active compounds. Secondly, shroom capsules are easy to swallow and don’t have the pungent flavors or aromas that some people find difficult to handle when they eat magic mushrooms whole. Finally, capsules are convenient and easy to take on-the-go – they’re safe for storage, can be hidden away in your medicine cabinet, and your dose can be more easily controlled/scheduled with just a cap or two.
Consistency, convenience and confidence are the names of the game when it comes to microdosing psilocybin, and there’s no better way to achieve your health goals than with a steady microdose of psilocybin. Do you struggle with the stress of everyday life? Looking for a mental boost, or to experience clarity of mind? This unique fungi among a world full of powerful mushrooms is ready and waiting for you to tap into its potential. Try your first microdose today, and unlock your unlimited potential with psilocybin products by Limitless Rx.