What do caffeine and psilocybin have in common?
They are both psychoactive substances. One of them is significantly addictive, accepted by societies worldwide despite its potential level of toxicity.
The other of the two is also psychoactive, non-addictive, non-toxic, and deeply stigmatized in most countries worldwide.
In this article, we will go through what each of these substances is, their history, and how they affect us.
Once their distinctions have been made, we will consider their effects when taken together, if they should even be taken together, and lastly some potential protocols to experiment with, in the light of limited medical research.
Caffeine is the most widely consumed psychostimulant worldwide. So much so that most work environments allow for coffee breaks with the aim of maximizing productivity and output from its workers.
Encouraged and available at every street corner and cheap hotel, caffeine is as commonplace as bread and honey.
A typically difficult plant to grow, once the fruits were roasted by the Turkish, humans were hooked. A Persian physician Avicenna even called it ‘The Canon of Medicine’, all the way back in 1025. Once shipping had expanded in the 18th century, so did the prevalence of coffee throughout the world. From soldiers on the battlefield to Sufi Whirling dervishes and especially intellectuals.
This simple roasted fruit not only pleases the human senses but also affects our bodies in very important ways.
Caffeine blocks adenosine receptors which increase dopamine, noradrenaline, and glutamate, it impacts our cardiovascular system and central nervous system. It can greatly reduce the effects of Alzheimer’s and/or dementia later in life. It has even been considered beneficial for certain cancers like bladder, colon, or pancreatic.
Seemingly a powerful and beneficial supplement, caffeine is a blessing on so many levels, until the day you stop.
There is no headache like a caffeine headache. It hooks into our nervous system, cardiovascular system, and dopamine levels and is real and difficult to detox from. Watch Michael Pollan talk about how challenging his caffeine detox was for him, he wanted to really understand how it affected him by removing it from his life for 3 months.
Psilocybin was first introduced to the west by Maria Sabina, also known as the Priestess of Mushrooms. An American ethnobotanist named Wasson, deeply fascinated by hallucinogenic plants, visited Maria at her home in Sierra de Oaxaca, Mexico in 1955.
She performed several vigils with the fungi for Dr. Wasson and then described those experiences in his book ‘The Wondrous Mushroom’. Also around that same time, Life Magazine published his essay ‘I ate the sacred mushroom’ and the world was utterly captivated.
Since then the history of psilocybin has been complicated, layered, and contradictory. From wild curiosity to an outright ban, psychedelic mushrooms continue to be mysterious and deeply misunderstood.
Despite it being a class 1 drug in most countries, psilocybin is a non-toxic and non-addictive substance. It promotes neuroplasticity, boosts serotonin production, and impacts different serotonin receptors than conventional SSRIs.
The national library of medicine says:
“Of all psychedelic drugs, psilocybin is reported to have the most favourable safety profile . Despite the lack of studies investigating the comparative efficacies of psilocybin and psychedelic drugs for the treatment of mood and anxiety disorders, the vast evidence-based data that exist for psilocybin alone suggest that psilocybin may be the most efficacious psychedelic drug for treating such disorders.”
From the darling of society to the outcast, coffee and psilocybin are polar opposites….with the occasional overlaps.
They both improve cognition, affect mood and alter our sense of perception. Caffeine has been endlessly discussed and conversely. Psilocybin is greatly under-researched therefore their combined effects are medically unknown.
Microdosing and coffee
So what happens when these two substances are taken together?
What can we expect to feel or experience? Is it a good idea to combine our microdosing routine with our morning coffee? Or should we keep these two substances separate?
A lot about microdosing psilocybin is based on personal experience.
Each of us is an ecosystem that is only really fully known by us. How psychoactive mushrooms affect us versus how they affect others cannot be a precise prediction. For those of us that are older, we might even notice how caffeine affects us differently at different ages and stages of life.
Caffeine is a stimulant and psilocybin is considered by some to feel more alert. Caffeine can also induce anxiety in some as is the same with psilocybin.
Microdosing with a coffee after a morning run might be just the thing you need to write the speech or design a project strategy. These two substances are potent and effective and to be used with care. For those that are prone to anxiety and look to psilocybin as a potential remedy, it is then advisable to remove coffee from your life. Drinking coffee is likely to exacerbate the feeling of anxiety which can be quite distracting and unpleasant.
Last consideration for you to ponder; because caffeine and psilocybin are psychoactives that means they are both impacting the brain significantly.
We do not medically know exactly how or why these two affect us when consumed together, but it is worth mentioning that we often hear from our microdosing community that psilocybin works better on their brains when not drinking coffee, which in itself is a separate metric than anxiety management. Again, experiment for yourself and see what works better for you and your body at this particular stage in your life.
Mushroom coffees are becoming very popular in the health industry. Products range from the caffeine-free functional mushroom-based coffee replacement drink to the drinks that combine caffeine with functional mushrooms.
It’s worth mentioning that functional mushrooms are NOT psychoactive but deeply beneficial. Some are nootropic, others are medicinal, and a few have contra-indications with pharmaceutical medicines, all very beneficial to the human body in their own right.
For the purposes of this article, we have focused specifically on psilocybin and caffeine. In a later post, we will discuss functional mushrooms and coffee in order to learn more about their unique properties.
One thing that is important to be mindful of, avoid dairy when taking any mushrooms (functional or psychoactive). Lactose can interfere with the absorption of beneficial compounds found within mushrooms.
Otherwise, what we can suggest to you is this: do what is right for you, define your markers for success, journal/track your progress, adjust to suit, and report back.
Shine bright. Do good. Flow strong.