The Magic of Mushrooms

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With the legalization of cannabis in Canada, there’s now some speculation that magic mushrooms may soon be legalized as well. An increasing number of websites offer magic mushrooms; where before you’d be hard-pressed to find any. Similar to cannabis, magic mushrooms also contain mind-altering compounds, the most abundant of which is psilocybin. Psilocybin is best known for its psychedelic effects, but an increasing amount of attention is being given to its ability to improve mood and help with depression. More and more studies are coming out in support of the therapeutic use of mushrooms.
While, like cannabis, there are many potential medical benefits; the mind-altering effects of magic mushrooms are more pronounced and typically last longer as well. This makes the use of them for medical or recreational purposes more of a mental and physical commitment. That said, as the world becomes more and more aware of mental illness an, in turn, looks for new and effective forms of treatment; mushrooms may be a huge part of the medical community going forward.

History of People Eating Psychedelic Mushrooms 

While mushrooms are becoming increasingly mainstream, they have been a part of human history for thousands of years. According to experts, the history of consuming psychedelic mushrooms can be traced back as early as 9000 BC in Northern Africa. Ancient rock paintings depicted indigenous North Africans using what seemed to be psychedelic mushrooms.
Central America, particularly the Mayan and Aztec civilizations, also have rich histories of using psychedelic mushrooms. This was illustrated through their ancient statues and arts. Called teonanácatl (flesh of the gods), historians believe that the objects depict these psychedelic mushrooms.
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Teonanácatl Statues

The most common use of psychedelic mushrooms in ancient times was for spiritual ceremonies and religious rituals. They would use psychedelics to alter their minds and induce a deep trance-like state in order to communicate with their gods.

The 20th Century

It was in the mid-1950s though that psychedelic mushrooms were first introduced into the modern western world. An American mycologist, R. Gordon Wasson, was studying mushrooms in Mexico and witnessed how a shaman used it in his ceremonies. When he returned home, he published an article about “magic mushrooms” in a magazine, which caught the interest of the public. The psychedelic mushroom’s main compound, psilocybin, was isolated by Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman in 1958. Hoffman is also the scientist who first synthesized LSD.

We’ve talked about heroes of cannabis many times on this blog. If we were to discuss heroes of psychedelics; Hoffman would be front and center. His influence on the world of psychedelics is immeasurable. Taking into account the number of people that have used LSD and/or mushrooms in the 1960s that now play major roles throughout the world; I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that the world as we know it would not be the same without Hoffman’s influence.

Visionaries like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Francis Crick, Richard Feynman, and Kary Mullis all used LSD. Some have gone as far as to say they are not sure they would have had the same breakthroughs if not for psychedelics.

The Psychedelic 60’s

The 1960s took everything society had learned from psychedelics throughout history and pushed it to the extreme. Young people disillusioned by senseless wars, the previous generation’s inherited bigotry, and archaic values found solace in mind-expanding substances. While the generations prior to the 60s were known for their immense pride in their country and what it stood for, the generations coming of age in the 1960s started to question the intentions of the federal government and if it really had all of the peoples best interests in mind.
Dr. Timothy Leary, an American psychologist, and hallucinogenic drug advocate was one of many to read Wasson’s article. However, unlike most, he went to Mexico to study the so-called magic mushrooms as well as try them for himself. When he returned back to the United States, he began experimenting with its potential uses and medicinal benefits.

Like a match made in heaven; a generation of youth looking to expand their minds were soon chasing down the new magic mushrooms they were hearing so much about. Psilocybin mushrooms quickly became one of the popular psychedelic drugs as they did not require any synthesizing in a lab. Mushrooms could be grown at home if you knew what you were doing.

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Magic mushrooms have been featured in art for thousands of years. It was a common theme in a lot of the psychedelic art during the 1960s.

Prohibition

However, as they are prone to do with fun, the US federal government banned the use of psilocybin. Similar to cannabis, it was classified as a Schedule I substance. This made medical research far more difficult.

Magic mushrooms kind of existed in the fringes for a while. You could still find them but it was much more difficult and their popularity had diminished.

However, interest in psychedelic mushrooms was revitalized in the late 1990s. Initially just as a recreational drug, by the mid-2000s, studies were being done on psilocybin’s medical efficacy and showing promising results. These psychedelic mushrooms, according to the studies, had therapeutic and medicinal properties that could benefit those dealing with mental health problems.

Mushrooms as Medicine

Mushrooms are far more than just a psychedelic drug. For many, the reputation of magic mushrooms actually works against their cause as the public’s perception is already set in place. People may think about their experience and be unable to see how it could have any medical efficacy. Worse than that; they may witnessed, or even have experienced a ‘bad trip’ themselves when they were younger. This same argument has worked against medical cannabis for decades. People are unable to see how the ‘drug’ they took and freaked out on as teenagers could have any positive effect on someone’s life, let alone anyone’s mental health. You would hope that society has learned from these kinds of oversights by now. Personal anecdotal experience is not grounds for dismissal of medical research.
The major compound, psilocybin, has many potential benefits for people suffering from mental health problems.
Before it was banned, a study was done on prisoners between the years 1961 and 1963 to see if psilocybin could help control recidivism rates. Recidivism is the tendency or the potential of a convicted criminal to commit crimes again. At the end of the study, the researchers found that it reduced the recidivism rate by about 40% in prisoners who took psilocybin. Unfortunately, its legal status made it difficult for researchers to use in studies.

Recent Years

A study completed in 2006 showed that psilocybin was able to reduce cluster headaches, as well as prevent an oncoming headache attack
Recent studies have also shown that psilocybin improved not only personality problems but also reduced anxiety attacks as well as depression.

In 2013, a University of South Florida study showed that psilocybin has the potential to help patients with post-traumatic stress disorder. It stimulates brain cell healing and growth in the brain region responsible for memory, fear, and emotions. These are the same brain regions affected in PTSD.

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A patient undergoing mushroom therapy at John Hopkins University.

Mushrooms For Patients with Terminal Illnesses

In 2016, a study was done on the efficacy of psilocybin for patients suffering from life-threatening cancers. They found that psilocybin was effective in treating the anxiety and depression associated with terminal illness and in turn helped patients accept the reality of death. This is incredibly profound as it offers a very unique and profound experience for those who are most vulnerable and whose time is limited. Fear and anxiety about one’s death are completely understandable. Any help that a patient can have to alleviate their worries should be given the fullest consideration, no matter what other association people have in their mind with it. The people opposed need to stop thinking of mushrooms as the same thing they took when they were 16 at a Pink Floyd laser show and then puked up 5 minutes into Us and Them. Therapy, done correctly, is based around avoiding any negative reactions and dosing correctly.

As more and more of the general population has learned about these studies and their positive long term results; an ever-growing number of people are introducing magic mushrooms into their therapy.

Either with the help of a professional or on their own after studying all available info, people have begun micro-dosing with mushrooms with a lot of positive results, albeit mostly anecdotal. However, since we are dealing with an illegal substance, we have to take whatever data we can get. And, anecdotal or note, the data is positive.

Before eating magic mushrooms, you have to know that, similar to cannabis, different batches will have varying potency and strengths. Taking a high dose could lead to what is referred to as a “bad trip” and very intense psychedelic effects. These negative side effects are amplified when magic mushrooms are taken with alcohol and other drugs. If you’re not in a good place emotionally or are somewhere physically that you don’t feel at ease, the trip can be very uncomfortable. That’s why setting and surrounding are so key when it comes to taking mushrooms. Mushrooms heighten emotions and can alter your sense of time, reality, color, sounds, and sight. It can help make you feel more creative, happier, and more focused mentally and emotionally. However, in large doses, it can also trigger strong hallucinations, fear, anxiety/ panic attacks, and paranoia. It can also cause confusion, lightheadedness, mood changes, and disorientation.

We recommend micro-dosing to begin, especially if you’re new to magic mushrooms. The small dose allows for a more subtle effect to help relieve depression, anxiety, and stress. It also allows you to function normally in your day-to-day life while enjoying the beneficial and therapeutic effects of magic mushrooms. Small-dose psilocybin also reduces the risk of triggering strong psychedelic effects. It also won’t cause a panic and anxiety-inducing trip.

Before taking psilocybin mushrooms there are some things you need to know:

  • While many people are introducing mushrooms into their therapy, this does not mean they are right for everyone. People with psychiatric conditions and heart problems must consult a doctor before trying mushrooms as it could make matters worse if done incorrectly. Someone that has an understanding, as well as experience with mushrooms that can offer assistance if things go poorly is key. They will also know beforehand if mushrooms are the right option for you.
  • Many people find eating the actual mushroom makes them nauseous and can result in vomiting. Throwing up sucks but throwing up when you are high is a whole new level of suck. As a result, many people found ways to consume them without feeling sick. Some people recommend taking them with peanut butter or chocolate. Others prefer to turn them into a tea. I met some old school hippies at a nudist beach once who swore by making themselves throw up the mushrooms as soon as they started feeling high. I laughed as I thought they were joking until the guy I was talking with took it upon himself to show me. Never question a tripping hippie. Just, don’t.
  • You should never drive high. I know that there is a lot of debate as to whether or not people can drive under the influence of cannabis. I’m not here to lecture you on that. Mushrooms as far more psychedelic though and the high lasts much longer. The onset of effects after eating magic mushrooms can start anywhere between a half to an hour, and it can last for about four to five hours. So don’t consume magic mushrooms if you’re going to drive or operate heavy machinery.

Where to Find Mushrooms

 

We now carry Golden Teacher mushrooms for $10/G. These mushrooms are sourced from trusted local growers.

 

 

 

We also carry Room 920’s Mushroom Jellies
Perfect for those looking to microdose, these gummies are conveniently divided into 8 squares. Room 920’s gummies allow you to get the most out of the mushroom without any of the nausea.

Room 920 Blue Raspberry Mushroom Jelly 2

A quick search online will also give you medicinal mushroom shops that ship psilocybin across Canada. These products usually come in fresh or dried whole mushrooms, as well as in powdered form. Some people also snort the powder, though I can’t imagine hanging out with people doing lines of mushrooms. Just seems…off.

Final Thoughts

Despite their reputation stemming from the 1960s, magic mushrooms potential to help countless people can no longer be ignored. Whether you had a good or a bad trip with them should have no bearing on their medical efficacy. To dismiss it, is it deny people relief, simply because of your own mental hangups around the substance.

Whether the naysayers like it or not, studies are underway to understand its potential to help combat several mental health problems like depression, panic attacks, anxiety, PTSD, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Mushrooms hold an immense amount of power and if you underestimate them or go into it with the wrong mindset then you are going to have a rough time. Respect mushrooms and respect yourself by taking the right precautions and getting the most that you can out of the experience.

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