When we think of magic mushrooms, many of us think of wild hallucinating hippy experiences and not all the amazing benefits they have. This week we’re diving into the advantages and experiences of microdosing mushrooms (psilocybin) and looking into how we can do this responsibly and safely for improved wellness.
This week we’re joined once again by CannaMom Danielle Simone Brand, who we already had such a great episode with on the Implications of Being a CannaMom. Danielle is incredibly knowledgeable about microdosing and how to do it safely around your kids, so we’re so happy that she could come back to talk to us about psilocybin today! As a CannaMom herself, Danielle understands microdosing in a small and safe amount, whether that be cannabis or psilocybin, and she shared some amazing information with us.
For this episode, we dove into into all things mushrooms – how to safely ingest them, dosage amounts, even how we can grow our own. There’s so much misinformation out there so it was great to talk to Danielle about some of the misconceptions and worries that people often have. We also talked a lot about methods and protocols of consuming, so there’s so much great stuff for you to check out below!
Danielle, author of Weed Mom, and plant medicine journalist has taken the adventurous route a few times in her life. Highlights include founding two businesses, traveling alone to out-of-the-way spots, and attempting (also failing) to homestead in the wilds of Colorado. She has an MA in International Peace and Conflict Resolution from American University, a BA from Dartmouth College, and an inability to do the same thing in the same place for very long. Today she lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, their two children, and a very barky terrier.
In This Episode We Talk About
00:22 – A hello to Danielle and an intro to psilocybin (mushrooms).
03:56 – What is psilocybin? What are the other kinds of mushrooms?
05:22 – Psilocybin vs. cannabis.
06:56 – The history of mushrooms and the Stoned Ape theory.
12:29 – Proper dosage.
14:52 – How to ingest mushrooms.
18:22 – What’s legal and growing your mushrooms at home.
22:08 – The mushroom network (and yes, it can talk).
31:16 – How we may feel and react to psilocybin.
33:36 – Different protocols for dosing.
41:09 – Resources and last words from Danielle.
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Fungi Perfecti – Paul Stamets
Double Blind Mag
Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research
The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS)
My Supply Co Micro and Macro Dose Mushrooms
Read the Full Conversation
Hello and welcome to another episode inside the Unapologetic Moms Club. I am excited to welcome back Danielle Simone Brand to talk all about mushrooms for wellness. So thank you for coming back and chatting with us.
Yeah, thanks, Jannine. I’m stoked to be here. Love this topic.
Yeah. And it’s a fun topic. And you’re so so knowledgeable. For listeners, if you haven’t already checked out our previous episode, Implications of Being a CannaMom, Danielle shares a lot of her knowledge in cannabis and motherhood. So you can check out that episode too. All right, mushrooms and wellness. What are we talking about here?
Yeah, you know that there’s so much to talk about. But you know, we wanted to cover micro dosing, right, which is having a moment, it’s hot right now, there’s a lot more interest and articles and even products being marketed around this. And I think it’s a really rich area for moms, you know, just like I think cannabis is a really rich area for moms to explore. But, you know, because moms have particular considerations, obviously, around safety and being responsible for other humans. I think that, you know, there’s some specific things that are great to talk about when it comes to moms experimenting with these different plant medicines.
Absolutely. It’s been interesting to see mushrooms gaining more popularity and more interest over the last few years, as I saw happen with cannabis kind of beforehand. And I know it really started hitting more mainstream when my stepdad had mentioned having a little bit of an interest in kind of the medical benefits that can come from them.
For sure, for sure, I mean, I think that research is – we can get into the research if you want to in a little bit. But it’s really ramping up around psychedelics in general, including psilocybin. And I think it’s just such a fascinating moment where we’re learning more about how they work, about how they work in the brain. Of course, there’s like, 1000s of years of experience and anecdotal evidence that we have about mushrooms too. But you know, now we’re kind of starting to get into the whole, you know, double blind, placebo controlled studies about how this really works, right?
Absolutely. And again, similar to cannabis, where it was before kind of that idea of like, oh, like hippies, partiers going all crazy on mushrooms, but it really can be a tool for wellness and mental health. There’s been a lot of studies with people with depression and cancer and things like that too that have seen a lot of benefits with mushrooms.
Yeah, that’s for sure. I think that’s a really fascinating area of the research right now, like there’s a lot of stuff about end of life anxiety that has been significantly ameliorated with the use of magic mushrooms, (psilocybin, let’s say) and a whole slew of other things that’s basically mostly related to mental health. We’re talking about anxiety, depression, PTSD, feelings of openness, and empathy. All of these, at least we’re getting the sense through research, that these are improved with the use of psychedelics.
Much of the research, I should say, has been done on macro doses, you know, the big doses of mushrooms, so in the two gram to five gram range, which is quite a bit more than we would use for micro dosing. But there is some interesting research starting to come out about micro dosing, and just a lot of, you know, like I was saying, anecdotal evidence. People reporting from their own usage, putting it on the internet, you know, contributing to surveys – these things are not, you know, necessarily gold standard scientific research, but they do account for something. Lots of people are using these and really beneficial ways.
Absolutely. So let’s start with some of the history. And are we talking just psilocybin or are there other types as well? Let’s hear a little bit about that.
Yeah, well, psilocybin cubensis is the most common psychoactive ingredient in what we would call magic mushrooms. There are other psychoactive magic mushroom strains and ingredients. Let’s just focus on psilocybin today because that’s the one that most people are familiar with. It’s the most common one.
So silence psilocybin cubensis is a, you know, a broad term for a bunch of different mushrooms. And just like with cannabis, we have different strains. There are many different strains within psilocybin cubensis that people use, so if you’ve heard of golden teachers, or b plus, or Amazonian, or Treasure Coast, or the fun penis envy.
All the fun names, just like with cannabis, right?
Totally. Penis envy literally is very phallic shaped. But you know, these are all different strains that contain psilocybin. And psilocybin is the pro drug actually that the body converts to psilocin, which is the one that activates these psychedelic effects or sub perceptual psychedelic effects if we’re talking about micro dosing.
Mm hmm. Interesting. So would you say it’s similar to psilocybin, with like THC, how it’s kind of the main popular one that most people know about, but there is like CBD, CBG, and all those sorts of things. Would you say that somewhat of a similar parallel to psilocybin to give some context?
This is somewhat of a similar one, there are others, like I said, other psychoactive compounds in different strains of mushrooms that just aren’t as common, that we just don’t know as much. Also similar to cannabis, there may be an entourage effect with mushrooms, so that we’re not just talking about the psilocybin that converts just psilocin itself, but the other sort of plant components that might boost or potentially aid the effects. So just like, you know, a THC, a synthesized THC molecule may not be as effective as taking whole plant medicine, same thing with mushrooms. Just psilocybin isolated might not be as effective as like the whole mushroom with all its wonderful compounds.
Exactly. That’s what’s so wonderful about plant medicine. And we could be taking, say, certain supplements that have vitamin C or different things, but we might see a much better benefit if we’re eating the whole food that contains all of the different complementary vitamins and things like that.
Exactly. Yeah, yeah, there’s definitely a whole plant sort of deal. And something that I always promote is, you know, whole foods, whole plant medicines, you know, utilize all the compounds that really are there to work synergistically with our bodies.
Absolutely. So let’s hear a little bit about the history. Like you mentioned, people have been using psilocybin for 1000s of years, and many different religions and rituals and things like that.
Absolutely. So here’s an interesting theory. This is a hypothesis. It’s definitely not been proven yet. But Terence McKenna, who’ve you probably heard of, really well-known psychedelics advocate and researcher, he’s passed now. He came up with this idea called the stoned ape hypothesis. Way back in our human evolution, he postulates that what kind of helped transform us or usher us from being like an advanced hominid, you know an animal, like so many others on the plains out there, to being human beings with consciousness, and the ability to plan and to create all these systems that we have, was the introduction of psilocybin into our diets through mushrooms. And he says that it actually helped create neural networks and neurogenesis that stimulated our creativity, our empathy, our ability to just be human and create the things that we have.
So fascinating, there is some evidence that really, really early cultures did harvest psilocybin for various purposes, including in the yogic traditions, there may be and some references to psilocybin and others psychedelics that helped, you know, people with their ritual practices, help them communicate with their higher self or spirit or God, however they visualized that, however they imagined that. So yes, we have accounts from various cultures all over the world that, you know, for many, many hundreds, if not 1000s, of years were utilizing these plant medicines.
Absolutely. It’s really interesting to hear that hypothesis, I have heard it before, but it does make sense how these things do somewhat just kind of unlock, these other feelings or ways of thinking or even visualizations with the more macro doses. So I could see that, that’s really interesting.
It is, and, you know, research now is showing that neurogenesis, the ability to sort of create new networks in our brains, is boosted or potentially aided by some of these substances. So high doses of psilocybin, high doses of LSD, are shown to help create these new neural networks that we theorize leads to greater creativity, greater connection forming, thinking outside the box, things that we humans are pretty good at, actually.
Oh neat, so there’s actually studies that have shown the scientific backing for these new neural connections?
There is, there is, and it’s still preliminary, and it’s not solid when it comes to micro dosing, necessarily, that micro dosing does the same thing, although many people who microdose think that it does sort of push that in smaller ways or more, you know, subtle ways, given that the dose is much smaller.
Mm hmm, interesting. And I recently recorded an episode on manifesting that’s actually coming out tomorrow at the time of this recording. And we touched on the neuro linguistic programming, and how you’re really rewiring your brain. And so you might have these certain limiting beliefs or unconscious thoughts that are kind of holding you back. And you need to take the time to actually reprogram your thoughts through these different practices. And so with what you’re saying, it almost sounds like psilocybin could potentially be a tool for different kinds of reprogramming.
I think that it could, I mean, I can’t make a claim as a scientist.
Yeah, this is all anecdotal, absolutely.
But I do. And that’s, you know, I think that’s why we see in these research studies with higher doses of psychedelics, when people are deliberately taking them in order to dive deep and deal with these buried thoughts, feelings, you know, patterns, neural patterns that we have, and they’re working with a therapist, and they’re doing it in a very intentional way. I think that, you know, that’s why we’re seeing such dramatic results from these big these studies with larger doses. Because the psilocybin sort of allows you to kind of get deeper and really get in there and maybe form some new connections and get out of that depression rut or that anxiety rut, and let the brain just form new pathways.
Absolutely, I think it’s important to note, what you touched on, is we’re not just talking about people going out and trying a bunch of psychedelics. It is being like controlled, and responsible, as you said, a lot of these studies in conjunction with a therapist and with doing the actual work.
Absolutely, yeah, these studies are in a clinical setting, but you know, they make it homey in their clinical settings. So people have a couch and they’ve got music and eye shades, and they’ve got soothing colours and things like that. Then they’re working with therapists who are specifically trained to help people really go deep, really get into what’s holding them back. So it is pretty fascinating. And yes, absolutely. I am an advocate of experimenting cautiously, responsibly, mindfully on one’s own, with smaller doses.
Yeah, so let’s talk about dosage. So you touched on microdose, macro dose. So what are these actual dosage amounts?
Yeah, so it does vary for a bunch of reasons, one is different strains of mushrooms, and they might have different potency. So unless you’re actually able to lab test them, which we really don’t have the capacity to do right now, take it with a grain of salt.
But generally speaking, somewhere between one gram and five grams of dried mushroom material is considered a full dose. So on the low side of that, it will be a more subtle full dose or full trip, and on the five gram side of that, that’s considered a heroic dose, something that I would never recommend to a beginner. That’s about, you know, really again, going deep, that’s where some people experience what’s called ego death, right, that sense of just dissolution of the individual self, oneness, that sense of oneness emerging with all living and nonliving things. And that could be a very profound, beautiful experience, but also extremely intense. So that’s what we’re talking about on the high side of things.
So if you’re gonna say that a full dose or regular dose is around two grams, let’s say, or two and a half grams for someone who’s not trying to push that envelope really far. And a micro dose is 1/10 to 1/20 of that. So yeah, we’re getting down really low to like 0.1 to 0.5 ish grams would be the micro dosing range for psilocybin. And I always recommend just starting on the lowest side, just see how it affects you, you know, start low and go slow, just like cannabis, is our motto.
I was just gonna say that!
Yeah, what we’re looking for with a microdose is a subtle, in some cases not even a perceptible change. But for some people, there is a little bit of that altered state. But we’re looking for an altered state that still allows you to engage, to work if that’s what’s on the agenda for the day, to be with the people that you’re with. And if you go over that microdose you might get into that place where it’s a little uncomfortable to do those things. So that’s why we want to stay in a place where it’s either sub perceptual or just really subtly perceptual.
Absolutely. So how do we consume the dried mushrooms? Is it just straight up eating a dried mushroom? Or are there different ways, or teas – I actually saw someone sprinkling what looked like it was almost ground up or chopped very finely and sprinkling it on their toast, although I feel like that wouldn’t taste very good. I do have experience taking mushrooms in my younger days, and it doesn’t taste good.
It doesn’t taste great, very earthy. So if you’re only having a microdose, then you don’t notice much of the flavour, because there’s not enough material to make it that strong.
So many people, what they do is, like you mentioned, if they grow their own mushrooms or they receive mushrooms, they’ll pound or grind it up, basically with a mortar and pestle or even a coffee grinder, something like that, to a fairly fine powder. And then if you can measure it, it is better if you have a really sensitive scale, because then you know what you’re getting, of course, a lot of people eyeball it, but I do recommend weighing.
And yeah, so you measure out the amount of the powder, basically, mushroom powder, and you can either put it in your morning coffee or tea or water or sprinkle it on your toast, I suppose. I think a liquid is better because there’s so little of the amount in it. There’s so little actual powder in it that you want to kind of wash it down and not have it stuck in your oesophagus or whatever, you know, these tiny little pieces, you won’t actually get the benefits.
Some people will also just put it in a capsule. So they’ll pre measure their own and put it in the little capsule. It won’t fill the capsule, it will just be, you know, just like the tiniest amount. And then I know that there are products available too now, there are microdosing products, and I’ve seen some in the Canadian market, actually. They’re not legal per se, they are unregulated. But it seems like not enforced in terms of legality at this point. Yeah, but what is your experience in Canada?
So I was going to lead into that question, is I’ve been seeing more dispensaries, when I was doing a bunch of research on dispensaries, more and more are also offering psilocybin and mushroom products. Which I was quite surprised to research them in Google, check out the dispensary, and it’s right there with our list of products. Yeah, so it’s not being hidden at all, I’m sure some are probably being a little bit more closed with it. But there are many places throughout Canada that are online advertising that they carry and sell it.
That is so so interesting. So I mean, as far as I know, that is a grey area, it’s not technically supposed to be sold. But I find that quite interesting. I am definitely for greater access, you know, as long as people have education on how to use it properly. And I also read that spore kits are pretty readily available in Canada too, for growing your own, even though – so the kit itself would be legal, but creating psilocybin from it could be illegal, technically. And that’s often how people here in the states do it, you know, they’re able to get the spores, and then they’re able to, just get the grow material from often from two different places. And it’s legal to possess each of them. It’s just not legal to put them together and try to grow it. But people do.
Yeah, it’s interesting where those lines are drawn for what’s legal and what’s not legal. So how do the sport kits, and growing your own mushrooms, how does that all work?
It’s a bit of a process, it may take some time, it takes about six weeks, usually, not of continuous care or anything. But there are some processes. So usually, yeah, people buy a growing medium online, it’s often like a tub, a big plastic tub that has a humidifier and a temperature control and a light and material for the mushrooms to grow on, sort of a substrate material. And then you get the spores from somewhere else. And you have these glass jars, these small glass jars, that have growing material inside them. You take the spore that comes in like a syringe, basically like a plastic syringe, and you inject it in there. So the spores are inoculated, you put them – and there’s like sterilization processes and stuff like that. So it’s a little bit of a process, but it is accessible for people who are interested if you want to do a science experiment at home. It is a super, super interesting process.
So anyway, after that, they have to start growing and then you kind of usher them through, you feed them a little bit. And yeah, about six weeks later, if all goes well, you’ve got to harvest, and I’ll just give you an example. I did this two and a half years ago for myself and I still have some of my harvest from that time. And I do microdose regularly, so I was able to go through that somewhat lengthy process, but really have like a two plus years supply.
Oh, wow. That’s quite the yield.
It is. If people are interested in that growth process, again, a little bit of a learning curve, but it is worth it, because it’s economical and you can really supply your own.
Mm hmm. So, substrate material, are we talking like dirt, like some sort of dirt? And then what exactly are the spores? Is that like little bits of mushroom? Or what exactly is that?
Well, spores are given off by the mushrooms, like when you see them out in nature, you know, like the fruiting body is what you see above ground, and mycelium is this network that goes below ground that connects mushrooms with all the other mushrooms and the rest of the ecosystem. It’s super cool. The fruiting body is the actual mushroom itself. And it gives off spores. So basically, just, you know – I mean, I’m not a botanist, but like babies.
It’s essentially like the mushrooms version of seeds but it’s like a spore kind of thing that’s released.
Exactly, exactly. And so the spores can be collected and concentrated. And that’s what you can buy in the spore kit online. It’s basically it’s a liquid, it’s a little liquid, that, you know, just the tiniest amount will inoculate a jar about, you know, that big. And so I probably did 12 of those, something like that. And it was one syringe of spore and was able to get that much of a harvest. So, yeah, it’s a really cool thing.
Wow. I’m really curious about this. And I like gardening and like growing different things. And we started growing our own cannabis plants last year. So this might be something fun to just kind of play around with.
Yeah, I think it is. And, you know, obviously, you want to be mindful and responsible that kids don’t access them. But I still think it’s interesting for kids to see them growing. I don’t think that that’s a taboo, like it’s a plant, it grows out in nature, you know? And it’s pretty cool to watch that process. So that’s something that kids can enjoy.
Now, you touched on a little bit about the mushroom network. And this is outside the scope of the episode that we talked about. But it reminded me of – there’s this new tourist thing here in Greater Victoria, it’s called the skywalk. And so it’s in the forest, they built this beautiful wooden trail, and there’s this big tall tower. But throughout that they have different informational plaques as you walk through it, and one of them was talking about mushrooms. And you just reminded me of this. And I found it so interesting that they mentioned how mushrooms throughout a forest, actually underground, they talk to each other. Do you know much about that?
Just a little bit. Have you seen the Netflix documentary Fantastic Fungi?
No. But now I’m going to.
It talks about that a lot, about that phenomena a lot. And it’s really fascinating. The mycelium is the underground network of the mushrooms. And it’s sort of like these filaments that connect mushroom species to other mushroom species. But we’re learning that apparently, through this mycelium, mushrooms can communicate with the whole ecosystem and like help distribute nutrients from one part of the ecosystem to another part of the ecosystem, one tree to another tree, through the mycelial network. I mean, I’m not a scientist, but I find that so fascinating. And, you know, like, almost unbelievable. How do they do this? You know?
Yeah, it’s so interesting. And it kind of goes back to like that oneness, and how these things do communicate through the whole ecosystem and help all of these different plants and things like that, and kind of parallels that oneness and that feeling of connectedness with Earth in nature that many people experience with mushrooms. It’s interesting.
Exactly. I think you said that really well. The fact that, you know, many people who have learned spiritually from mushrooms do cite their like actual physical nature as an inspiration.
I’ll just like super anecdotally. One time I did take a larger dose of my homegrown mushroom, because mostly I microdose. But my kids were not here for a couple of weeks. They’re with their grandparents, and I had a little bit of free time. So I decided to take a macro dose. And one of the most impactful things of that time period was literally just being in my outdoor space, being in my yard and picking up dirt and soil, and it sounds so silly and simple, but looking at all the components of soil, it is made up of everything, you know, little bits of leaves and little bits of other decomposed plants and tiny rocks, and the dead bugs. I became fascinated with the interconnection of all things, which is a very common experience with mushrooms, you know, but through that connection to nature, the mushrooms really highlighted connection for me, just as you said.
Yeah, that’s so neat, like, getting way more interested in this than I had originally thought I would be. So let’s talk about side effects. We actually had, in one of our recent UM Club Hangouts, one member had mentioned how they played around and had some fun with a friend with more of a macro dose, and they experienced a different kind of hangover, and that seemed to affect their moods for a few days. So what can you share with us about different side effects and other things we need to keep in mind?
Yeah, okay, so the downsides, I think – well, actually, let’s talk just a little bit more about the upsides of it first.
Yeah, full blown benefits, and then we can go full blown other side effects and things like that.
Awesome. Okay. So you know, not 100% substantiated by research yet, but according to anecdotal reports of people who are doing this, psilocybin helps, especially microdosing helps, them increase their absorption, their deep focus on the present moment. Many people say it helps with depression, anxiety, PTSD, addiction issues, it’s been actually studied at macro doses for smoking cessation, and alcohol cessation. So that’s another thing. And pain management.
Oh pain management too, I was unaware of that, interesting.
Yeah, which is a little less research a little more fringe at this point. But it’s a possibility, yeah, because some people are using it that way. And then many people find that they can access that flow state a little more easily with psilocybin. So just, you know, that sense where we’re really absorbed in what we’re doing, time passes in a different way, often it feels like it flew by when we’re super engrossed in something. That sense of just like creative flow and movement and sustained energy. So those are some of the benefits reported.
And I think some of the downsides – well, first of all, if you take too much, if you intend to take a microdose, and you take too much, then you probably won’t be able to do what you plan to do that day. So whether that’s working or, you know, parenting solo, or whatever it is. So, you know, I think that’s the main thing is just be really, really aware of your dosage.
It can also amplify emotions, people say this, and I experienced it too. So that can be a really good thing. I think when we are looking to notice our triggers, process our triggers, you know, be really intentional with it. But on a day, for me, for instance, on a day when I have to switch gears a lot between work and kids and back and forth, and brain, this, you know, here and there, it doesn’t work as well for me, and I feel more impatient, more annoyed with my family, and with my work and everything, because of that sense of amplification. And that sense of like, wow, this is a little more intense for me. And that tends to be with a microdose, that’s like on the higher side, like a low side microdose probably wouldn’t have the same effect. So again, do super super dose dependent.
And then, you know, if you are taking any medications, you should definitely talk to a doctor who’s knowledgeable about psilocybin, not a prohibitionist who is just going to be like “what are you talking about no way,” but someone who is actually knowledgeable and thoughtful about it. There are certain medications, including psychiatric medications, that you probably don’t want to microdose or macro dose, or maybe, just maybe one micro dose would be fine. But macro dosing and long term might not be a good idea. So you want to talk to your doctor, if you’re on medications.
And some people may have some sensitivity to developing heart valve issues with long-term microdosing. So, yeah, so that’s also something to be aware of, it’s something that you should speak to someone who’s knowledgeable about it, if you have any conditions that you’re being medicated for currently treating. Just like Fen Fen several years ago, 25 years ago, whenever that was taken off the market because it can cause a heart valve issue in long term use. It’s that same mechanism that might actually be affected by psilocybin.
Okay, yeah. As with anything, if there’s any health concerns, it’s always best to speak with your medical practitioner.
Definitely, definitely. And then, you know, in terms of just sort of harm reduction and good practices, I think for parents, especially for moms, set and setting is super important, even if you’re not going on a full blown trip and a full heroic journey or anything like that. Still, you know, thinking about why am I taking this substance, what am I seeking from it, what do I hope to learn or embody or whatever it is, and being intentional is great. Start low and go slow, as we said.
And then I do recommend the first time microdosing psilocybin just make it a day where you don’t have a lot of expectations or responsibilities. And I know for parents, like when is that? Especially if you’ve got young kids at home, but you know, I just recommend on a day you don’t have to drive, or be a solo parent, or show up for a presentation or something at work.
Absolutely. We need to use our responsible common sense when you don’t fully know what’s going to happen while you’re still doing some experimentation and unsure of how it’s going to affect you.
Exactly. And like I said, certain medications could interfere. So you want to be careful about that. And also, it’s a good idea, I think, to start early in the day, if you’re going to microdose, it tends to be a bit stimulating, and people say that if they take it in the afternoon, they might have trouble sleeping that night. And micro doses are not known to cause a hangover. But certainly you can feel residual effects from a big dose.
Okay. So let’s go over kind of the feelings that we may go through. I’m also curious about onset. Like I know with cannabis smoking, it’s an immediate kind of onset that will kind of peak in a shorter amount of time compared to edibles, where it’s a much slower onset and lasts a lot longer. So what does that look like with psilocybin?
Similarly, yeah, since we have to digest it, it does take longer to come on. So you know, probably 30 minutes at the minimum, but probably more like an hour for many people for that. If you take a large enough microdose, you might even feel with what’s called a come up in the psychedelics lingo. A come up is like when you start feeling the effects of the substance, and it starts maybe intensifying. But again, with a very small microdose, you’re unlikely to ever feel like, oh, it’s kicking in. You might just notice a few hours later that you feel in your flow, or you feel chill, or you feel like less anxious or depressed, things like that.
And yeah, like I said, a lot of people feel that sense of increased absorption, focus on their task, that does tend to be the case for me. But I can also get focused on the wrong thing. If I haven’t been intentional about okay, this is the project that I’m working on right now, when I’m feeling the effects of this microdose. And it lasts, I would say, that if you took a perceptual dose, that perceptual feeling will last for about four to six hours.
But I should say that some people report second day after micro dosing to have the best effect. And interestingly, because it’s no longer really active, right, that the drug is no longer really active in your system. But perhaps the neurogenesis that it brings about, the increased brain connection, you know, neuronal connections and things like that, might be contributing to that second day feeling of like flow and ease. And we can talk about protocols, actually, micro dosing protocols.
Because one of them includes only microdosing every four days so that you can really feel those effects on the days after.
Oh, okay. Interesting. Yeah. So let’s dig into those protocols.
Sure. Alright. So the two most common ones out there right now on the psychedelics world are the Fadiman protocol and the Stamets protocol.
So Fadiman is named after James Fadiman. And if you look up his work online, you’ll see a lot of articles written by and about him. And he’s a psychedelics advocate, and also a qualitative researcher. So you know, I’m not gonna say super scientific necessarily, but has collected a lot of reports of people’s micro dosing experiences. And based on, you know, years of qualitative research, he recommends this protocol. On day one, you microdose, on day two, you don’t – and many people, like I said, feel the sort of flow and increased sense of openness and empathy even greater that second day. And then the third day is just a reset, you don’t microdose, you probably won’t feel the effects of the microdose. And it’s about just resetting your tolerance and noticing what normal is for you. And then the fourth day, it’s microdosing again, so that cycle repeats.
And some people do that for about 30 days. So maybe 10 ish or 9ish cycles or whatever until they want to take a little break, just kind of see how the microdosing affected them in the long term. It’s always great to take notes, keep a journal, just like with cannabis. So yeah, so that’s that one, that’s the Fadiman protocol. And I have tried that, and a lot of people have, and you can even submit your reports and how it goes for you to contribute to that research on the Fadiman site.
Thanks. And we’ll link that too so listeners can look at his different research.
Awesome. And then the Stamets protocol is another one, and Paul Stamets is an American mycologist, who had a very dramatic first experience with mushrooms that he talks about in many of his speeches, and he might have done a TED Talk and things like that. As a youth, he struggled with stuttering, like really intensely, such that he had a hard time making friends and had a hard time in school, it really impacted his life. And with a macro dose of psilocybin, he had this really, really intense experience. I think he was even like – he climbed a tree and was clinging onto the tree in a storm. I mean, very, very intense experience while under this severe, you know, this high dose. And at the end of that trip, he didn’t stutter again.
He was healed of that. It’s incredible. And that changed his life. And so he really delved into the study of mushrooms and has companies and educational programs and all that now. So what he recommends is four days on, three days off. So four days of micro dosing, and then a three day break. So that will take a week, and then obviously, you can start again the next week.
He also recommends stacking it with – so it’ll be the psilocybin, the microdose of the psilocybin, and Lion’s Mane mushroom. Which I’m sure you’ve heard of, it’s a medicinal mushroom, it’s totally legal. You can find it in your natural foods and supplements stores, and it has been researched for cognition and memory support. And he believes that it helps sort of just increase the positive brain effects of psilocybin. And then the third thing he recommends to stack it with is vitamin B3 niacin. And there’s a non flushing variety, and then a regular variety, you want to take the flushing variety because what it does is it actually increases your blood flow, causes some redness in your face, and then you’re like a little itchy sometimes because it really pushes the blood out to the extremities.
And Paul Stamets says that lion’s mane, psilocybin, and niacin together, they’re a potent combination for really changing the brain, you know, promoting neuroplasticity, promoting this neuron growth. And the niacin is – it’s interesting because you can really feel it, you can feel when it comes on, and so that’s part of the effect, I think, for people who do this Stamets protocol. But I’ve experimented with both, and I think they’re both really worthwhile.
Okay, so with the Stamets protocol?
Okay. So it’s using all three of those in conjunction for each of those four days, and then the three days off.
Okay. And now I’m curious to look more into niacin just for circulation and things like that, because my toes and hands are always freezing. And it sounds like that could potentially hurt, just anecdotally hearing you mention that.
Potentially, yeah. I mean, it can be a bit of an uncomfortable experience for some people. So you know, see how it feels like for you. For me, it’s a little itchy, caused my face to get red. But besides that, I do find it really helpful. And I like to stack it. And the reason – it’s like almost counterintuitive, but Paul Stamets says that the niacin pushing the blood out to the extremities where actually a lot, he said, a lot of the neurogenesis takes place in the extremities, not just the brain, because the nervous system obviously communicates everywhere.
Okay. That makes sense.
Yeah, that’s kind of mind blowing. But that’s the idea.
Yeah, that’s so interesting. I really want to dig into all of this science and looking at the research of how it actually works throughout our bodies and our nervous system and all of that.
Totally, totally, it’s fascinating. So, and then I would just say also, people can experiment with their own micro dosing protocols. Maybe it’s just every other day for a little bit, things like that. I don’t recommend most people microdosing every day. One because you can build a tolerance to the mushrooms and they maybe just won’t be as effective for you. And also the potential risks to the heart that could be there for people who microdose for a long period of time. So, you know, I would say it’s a good idea probably to start with one of the protocols and try it for a month. See how that goes, unless you hate it of course.
Yeah. But if you’re interested in exploring it more, give yourself 30 days to go through it, see how your body reacts to things and how it helps.
Exactly. And you know, it is really, really helpful to just write down, like keep a journal, how do you feel before the microdose? How do you feel during the microdose? And maybe just to kind of end, you can either take an online assessment of your mental state and well being beforehand, or just journal and be honest with yourself, how do I actually feel. And to see if, before your experimentation, and then after the 30 days, if there is a difference in the way that you feel in your everyday life, the way you relate, you know, just to see if it’s effective.
Mm hmm. I’m super curious about this. I think I’m gonna end up growing some and going through this.
You’ll have to share your process.
Yes, I will. So for people that are interested in this, you have already mentioned some great resources that we’ll make sure are linked, but where do you recommend people go to look for more research? I know you’ve written some articles as well.
Yeah, I have, you know, and not just because I write for them, Double Blind Mag is a really good resource. They’re committed to good journalism, they’re psychedelic advocates but not at the expense of sharing the negatives, they definitely share both sides of things. Very well considered site. So yeah, Double Blind Mag, online, doubleblindmag.com is a great place for info. And they have whole sections on psilocybin, whole sections on microdosing. I’ve written some of it, but not all of it.
There’s also, I would say, if people are interested in research, I would check out the Johns Hopkins Center that’s dedicated to Psychedelic Studies. They’re doing some really interesting research right now. And MAPS, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, MAPS online. They are academics, researchers, scientists who are really seriously looking at this and compiling data and research from other places, too.
Okay, great. So we’ll have that all linked for listeners that want to hear a little bit more about it.
Awesome. Yeah. And then there’s, you know, tons of TED Talks, and interesting things, you know, rabbit holes to go down, there’s Terence McKenna, some of that I mentioned to you. His work is interesting. And you know, longtime psychedelics advocate. You can hear him talking about the stoned ape theory.
Yes. Yeah. Is there a TED talk on that? Or I guess if you just Google him you’ll be able to find something?
Yeah. Okay, neat. Well, thank you so much for sharing all of this with us. Is there anything else you would like to add?
Well, you know, just in general, like we have said this whole time, you know, it’s a plant medicine, but it still needs to be treated with respect, start low and go slow. Really be intentional about what you’re looking for, and how it makes you feel. I think that it can be a tremendous help for moms in this just really uncertain and difficult moment that we’re living through. You know, we need more emotional resilience and emotional stability and the ability to process our own grief and anxiety and trauma and all that so that we can actually parent our children in a way that doesn’t recreate those traumas and anxieties. So, you know, I think that it can be a tremendous help in this effort that you’re all about, I think, promoting wellbeing for moms, promoting wellbeing for families, helping increase education, awareness, self-trust, self-love, all that good stuff.
Absolutely. Well, thank you so much for taking time to share with us again. This was a really interesting chat. And for those listening, you can head on over to our Facebook group or group chat. I’m sure there’s gonna be some interesting conversations coming from this one.
Yeah, me too. Thanks so much, Jannine.
Thanks, till next time. Take care.
Thanks for listening this week! If you want to chat about this episode with me and other moms, check out the exclusive UM Club Facebook page! Thanks again, and we’ll see you next week!