When I was a child in the mid-’80s, I distinctly remember not understanding what the words stress and anxiety meant. These words were not colloquial yet, the words stress and anxiety were novel and almost mysterious if not, at the very least unfamiliar.
Often I found myself trying to imagine this feeling? What did it mean to be anxious? What did it mean to not sleep properly? What is this feeling that would spontaneously change our breathing, heart rate, and vision?
Fast forward to 2022 and anxiety is ubiquitous.
It is as commonplace as our access to technology. It’s as they say, it’s in the water.
Ok, so now what? What to do with a constant sense of discomfort? A feeling that ranges from slight nervousness to, nausea and finally a full-blown anxiety attack. A seemingly negatively reinforcing cycle that is hard to pin down and reverse.
Mother nature is awesome. For those that know how to look, the solutions often lie within her abundance. The plant that will ease a poison ivy rash grows right next to the offending poison ivy plant itself. Cause and remedy living side by side.
Mushrooms are kind of like that; a potent solution, available in plain sight and within the same environment where the initial irritation lies.
More specifically, the psilocybin compound in psychoactive mushrooms is where the medicine lies. Psilocybin has many superpowers, mainly the way it influences our serotonin system.
Looking back at a previous article called Microdosing for Massive Shifts, we discussed how psilocybin targets and impacts the 5HT2AR serotonin receptors, rather than the 5HT1AR receptors typically targetted by pharmaceutical SSRI medications.
Why does this matter? Well let’s take a moment to notice the metrics used:
5HT2AR receptors modulated by psychedelics decrease rigid thinking and pessimism while increasing plasticity, heightened environmental sensitivity, optimized learning and unlearning, and enhanced adaptability/change.
5HT1AR receptors modulated by SSRIs decrease stress, impulsivity, and aggression while increasing resilience, patience, emotional blunting, and tolerance for stress.
What are the marked differences in our lives when targeting the 5HT1AR or the 5HT2AR serotonin receptors? SSRIs can potentially give us a sense of resilience and improved impulsivity but can also leave us feeling sedated, flat, and/or numb.
Microdosing with psychedelics (by means of mushrooms, truffles, LSD, or other compounds) enables us to feel a different kind of presence. An inner comfort and ease that improves our perspective and consequently our relationships.
Often a catalyst for clearing creative blocks or simply a lighter feeling in our hearts. A sense that colors are brighter, vision is sharper and we are comfortably grounded in our bodies.
Although scientific research on the effects of microdosing and anxiety is scarce, there are some studies that have come to light.
A 2019 study on the benefits and challenges of microdosing psychedelics published in The Harm Reduction Journal says:
“After reporting open-ended outcomes, participants answered targeted questions concerning behavioural improvements and substance-use reductions. Respondents reported improved mood (92.9%), anxiety (59.2%), meditative practice (49.1%), exercise (49.1%), eating habits (36.0%), and sleep (28.8%).
They also indicated reduced use of caffeine (44.2%), alcohol (42.3%), cannabis (30.3%), tobacco (21.0%), psychiatric prescription medications (16.9%), and illicit substances (16.1%).”
A more recent study published in Nature in 2021 found that adults who microdose psychedelics report health-related motivations and lower levels of anxiety and depression compared to non-microdosers.
This was one of the most read studies in Nature in 2021, and stated the following:
“This examination of a large international sample of adults highlights the prominence of therapeutic and wellness motivations for microdosing psychedelic drugs and identified lower levels of anxiety and depression among microdosers relative to controls. We also identified a diversity of microdosing practices with substantial variations in dose, frequency and use of combinations of psychedelic and non-psychedelic substances (i.e., stacking.”
Stacking is the practice of stacking that involves combining psychedelic compounds with non-psychedelic substances such as lion’s mane mushrooms, chocolate, and/or niacin. It was found that over 50% of microdoser stack with at least one other substance.
Note: Stacking with lion’s mane and especially with niacin is a more advanced protocol.
It’s important to start slowly and get used to each ingredient at a measured pace. Lion’s mane is a great activator of vivid dreams and niacin induces a very brief rash, aka flush.
Flushing with niacin is a short, effective, and slightly uncomfortable experience. There is no misunderstanding about feeling the effects of psilocybin, lion’s mane, and niacin stacking protocol and due to this potency should not be undertaken often. Once a season is more than enough for anyone feeling ready to add this to their lives.
See our Neurogenesis Pack product page for more information on stacking.
Tune in to yourself
Psychedelics sound like the magic cure-all silver bullet, don’t they?
Those of us that have taken hero doses of psilocybin know that its personality feels very much like a very wise bestie. They feel like our closest friends, with our best interest at heart, and always ready to tell us what we need to hear.
And so, in that vein, mushrooms, always, and I mean always, give us what we need and not what we ask for.
Some people report feeling sleepy, nauseous, more anxious, alert, or ill at ease when microdosing. How can the same compound be someone’s cure or someone’s trigger?
The reason for this is due to their innate intelligence on what we need rather than what we think we would prefer.
For example, if we are microdosing psilocybin with our morning coffee and feel more anxious then that is likely our cue to remove caffeine from our lives. Read more on Caffeine and Psilocybin here.
If psilocybin is making us nauseous then perhaps we need to look back at any toxins we’ve ingested recently? These may include processed foods, alcohol, and medications (over-the-counter and/or prescriptions).
If psilocybin is making us feel sleepy it’s likely due to poor sleep quality. If so, consider adding a daily Yoga Nidra nap into your day. No more than 20 minutes. Try it for a week and see.
Other best practices
Other important considerations are dosage and dairy.
We all have a sweet spot when microdosing; a place where we are fully IN our lives, riding the waves and catching the odd flow state. We need to figure out our very own sweet spot and be mindful that with time, it may change.
Dairy is to be avoided when taking any psychoactive and/or functional mushrooms. The lactose can render the compounds inert and ideally ingested at a different time of day than when microdosing. This article in HealthLine discusses: “Preliminary research has found that milk products may inhibit some antioxidants in certain foods and beverages.”
No matter which protocol you feel is right for you, microdosing is a subtle and potent practice. Not for chronic use and not addictive. It is a practice to be undertaken carefully and respectfully. Be mindful and do your research if you are currently taking pharmaceutical medicines, avoid dairy, breathe through the nose as often as you can, journal, and track your journey.
All of these activities do wonders for our sense of ease, grounding, and safety. It’s like the anchor is dropped far below the surface of the water and the waves have become still. Moving through life from this anchored pivot point is a complete game-changer.
Small doses at regular intervals allow us to explore these new perspectives and this new felt sense of our bodies. A new felt sense that is buyant, steady and resilient. Slowly growing into the 3.0 version of ourselves….one microdose at a time.
Report back with your experiences, coz you know we love a good brag!
Shine bright. Do good. Flow strong.