What is psilocybin?
Psilocybin is a hallucinogenic compound that occurs naturally in psilocybin mushrooms (psilocybin mushrooms are also referred to as “magic mushrooms” or “shrooms”). There are more than 180 species of mushrooms containing psilocybin.
They are currently among the more popular psychedelics in Canada, America and Europe, although they have a lengthy history of use in Mesoamerica for spiritual and religious rituals.
They are also proving very useful in treating a range of afflictions among patients requiring relief from headache pain, OCD, PTSD, anxiety, depression, and addiction, among many others.
Although in some countries, psilocybin mushrooms are still considered to be a controlled substance, research in human studies show effective use in medical and psychiatric environments at leading institutions.
How does psilocybin work?
When we ingest psilocybin, our digestive system produces the psychoactive compound psilocin, which initiates changes in our brain function, causing increased activity in our visual cortex, changing perception, causing decreased network activity in the “Default Mode Network,” resulting in a reduction of ego. Psilocybin also increases connectivity and activity in different areas of the brain. The combination of these activities and alterations are why it is considered an effective tool among researchers for addressing those suffering from depression and addiction.
One of the main effects of a psychedelic like psilocybin is its ability to mimic serotonin, thus stimulating a serotonin receptor called “5-HT2A,” located in the prefrontal cortex. This stimulation of the 5-HT2A receptor yields 2 results:
1. BDNF (or “Brain-Derived Neurotropic Factor”) is produced. This has been described as “Miracle-Gro” for your brain. It stimulates the activity, connectedness, and the actual growth of your brain.
2. Cognition, learning, and memory are increased due to the increased transmission of the neurotransmitter “Glutamate.”
There are treatment benefits from the tandem effects of Glutamate and BDNF. These two substances work in ways we are still trying to understand, although the benefits continue to become increasingly clear.
Researchers are also finding that psychedelics cause parts of the brain that don’t usually communicate with each other to communicate with each other. By lowering our need to use what has been considered an over-used part of our brain referred to as the “Default Mode Network” (or DMN), other connections get a chance to form. This DMN area of the brain is largely responsible for daydreaming, self-reflection, and contemplating the past or future. These mental activities, and substances that cause them, can easily be responsible for depression and anxiety and maybe blocking more inaccessible creative perspectives.
What is microdosing
Microdosing, a practice of taking small, sub-perceptual amounts of psychedelics like LSD or psilocybin on a schedule. Although sub-perceptual, these small doses can have a noticeable influence on your life. A microdose typically ranges from 50mg to 200mg on a weekly schedule, which includes skipping a couple of days. If taken in this manner, no impairment of normal functioning is experienced.
What are the effects of psilocybin microdosing?
In answering this question, it is important to note that psilocybin has numerous functions in the brain that improve the hippocampus’s health. This is the part of the brain responsible for learning and turning short-term memory into long-term memory. Psilocybin helps the hippocampus form new cells. Scientists believe that this new cell growth can lead to what they refer to as “the extinction of trace fear conditioning,” which is common among those suffering from PTSD.
The effects of Microdosing 50mg to 250mg of psilocybin include:
- A slight sedation
- Mood enhancement or amplification of mood in either a positive or negative direction
- Increased energy with no subsequent crash
- Physical endurance improvement and overall enjoyment of physical activity and everyday tasks
- Increased ability to relax, and body awareness
- Increased ability to meditate
- Tendency to be spontaneous
- Increase in creativity
- Enhanced appreciation of the arts
- Enhanced senses
- Enhanced memory
- Thoughts are more connected and clearer
- A sense of fluidity between body and mind
- Increased productivity and ability to focus
- Interest in making lifestyle improvements
- Treatment for conditions such as depression, anxiety, ADD, ADHD, and PTSD
- Increased ability to engage in fluid conversations
- An increase in empathy and ability to socialize
- Increased ability to forgive yourself
- An open mindfulness, presence, and peace
- Stabilized emotions
- Stress reduction
What are the benefits of psilocybin microdosing?
The list and testimony are impressive. Microdosing helps people overcome everything from the fear response, depression, anxiety, and several mental health conditions like ADD, ADHD, PTSD, mood disorders, and addiction, to improved cognition and creativity.
Psilocybin promotes cognition and creativity, increased energy, fluidity, focus, improved social interaction, athletic ability, and improved leadership skills.
The following benefits of microdosing have been reported:
- Mood Improvement: Your outlook on life is improved, with an increased sense of optimism. You also get an overall sense of well-being and calmness and reduced depression.
- Physiological enhancements: This includes enhanced visual acuity, cardio endurance, fewer migraines and headaches, and higher sleep quality. Also, an increase of energy as it pertains to mental stimulation, alertness, and restfulness
- Less anxiety: Both personal and social anxiety are reduced.
- Cognitive improvements: You can experience heightened mental clarity, improved memory, and increased problem-solving abilities.
- Social connection: You’ll feel more engaged, experience increased empathy, a closer connection, and extroverted behaviour.
- Improved self-efficacy and self-care: Increased ambition, motivation, confidence, as well as introspection, a desire to meditate and participate in other forms of self-care.
- Creativity: This includes curiosity, openness, a shift of perspective, and the ability to change thought patterns.
- Focus: Experience improved concentration and self-awareness.
Research studies show anecdotal evidence to reinforce the idea that a regular microdosing regimen positively affects several mental conditions. It also reveals that large doses of psychedelics are effective in treating depression, anxiety, and addiction.
How do I start microdosing?
The first thing one should determine is the amount. On average, a microdose ranges between 25mg and 250mg. At Zoomies, our products range from 50mg to 350mg. Microdosing can depend on your schedule and when you require the benefits. You could experiment a bit until you find the regimen that is right for you. Some people take one capsule per day for four days and then go three days with no dosing, or they start less aggressively with one capsule every three to four days. Others find better success by dosing two days on and two days off.
Your first day of microdosing could begin on a day when you have less to do and in an anxiety-free zone. You may still feel certain emotions and feelings even though your dose is sub-perceptual and not likely to prevent you from going about your normal activity. It is still a good idea to be in a comfortable, safe place, where you can process in peace. This may be at home, or you might have a favourite nature spot.
If you eat a meal close to dosing time, that could affect the length of time it takes for you to feel the effects. A meal won’t completely nullify the effects, but it will dull them and delay them. Zoomies suggest that you take your capsules on an empty stomach and avoid caffeine, and taking medication like SSRIs should have a three-hour buffer around the time you want to dose. Aside from avoiding food, caffeine and medication, you can consume in any way you like. Morning or night, it’s up to you. Or you can dose two or three times per day to keep your mood lifted and your mind sharp.
As far as each dose is concerned, it is easy to take a whole capsule, but if a smaller dose is preferred, it is easy to open a capsule and dissolve the contents in water, tea, juice or food. Also, consider your size and weight; this can determine how much you need to be effective.
Tolerance is different for everyone. After a few days of building a tolerance, it may affect when you take them. You may find that you require an increased dose, or you may require less due to having become more sensitive to them. Once you have established a norm, you can integrate microdosing into your regular schedule.
Should I be careful about other substances interacting with psilocybin?
The first thing to remember is that psilocybin mimics serotonin. It interacts with serotonin receptors, and so you should avoid using any medications that alter the serotonin system, like SSRI antidepressants such as Prozac. Psilocybin should not be mixed with Tramadol because it can lead to Serotonin Syndrome. Psilocybin mixed with amphetamines or other recreational drugs is also bad news. That said, there are no ill-effects that result from the combination of cannabis and psilocybin, other than the cannabis’ ability to increase the effects of psilocybin.
James Fadiman does issue some precautions:
“We specifically do not recommend that people with colorblindness, who live with diagnoses of psychotic disorders or along the autism spectrum try microdosing. People with colorblindness report lasting visual distortions from microdosing. Literature suggests psychedelics may harm people with psychotic disorders. In our experience, people with diagnoses along the autism spectrum seem to require dosages that far exceed what is traditionally considered microdosing.”
How can I be purposeful and set my intention?
This psychedelic journey does require a decisive intention to maintain a positive framework. What is your intention? Do you need to recover from a traumatic experience? Are you trying to kick a chronic addiction? Are you trying to discover your purpose in life? Do you want to commune with nature? Whatever it is, you need to decide what it is that you’re aiming for. Waves of the unexpected will arise. That’s a big part of the change. So, it is important to remember your goal and reground yourself. Once you have emerged from the experience, it helps to unpack the experience and take a close look at the challenges of your trip within the context of the stated goals, instead of dwelling on random occurrences.
James Fadiman addresses intention:
“For some people, it is helpful to identify your goals. Your goals may be spiritual: to have direct experience with aspects of your tradition or another tradition, to transcend prior beliefs, even to transcend belief itself. You may hope to have what is called a “unity experience,” in which there is no separation between your identity and all else. Your goals may be social: to improve relationships with your spouse, children, siblings, parents, colleagues, friends, and spiritual and secular institutions. Your goals may be psychological: to find insight into neurotic patterns, phobias, or unresolved anger or grief.”
How can I learn more about psilocybin and microdosing?
1. Watch videos and read the research
2. Take advantage of our resources: Amazon, educational websites, documentary videos
3. Take the microdosing course from the Third Wave.
Will magic mushrooms make me fail a drug test?
Great question. Humans metabolize psilocybin and remove its metabolites within 24-hours. If, however, you take shrooms regularly, the psilocybin metabolites can stay in your system for three days after your last ingestion. A five-panel drug test won’t often test for psilocybin and its metabolites, but extended ten-panel drug tests do.
What happens if I have a bad trip?
Well, first, it is possible to have a “bad trip.” However, that’s probably more about you being in a bad place, and it’s not the end of the world. You don’t have to worry about your brain chemistry, and you won’t go crazy.
If for some reason you feel yourself become anxious or nervous, be kind to yourself, like a close friend would be. Ask yourself why you are nervous. Ask those close to you, like your fellow tripsters, how you might change your mindset. This is frequently uncharted territory, so it is common to feel anxious when everything is unfamiliar. A good trip is merely a mindset away.
What are the best ways to make sure I stay safe on my shrooms trips?
A designated “sitter” is probably the best solution. A sober companion you trust completely will look after you. Another thing to be sure of is your limits. Know them. If, for instance, you are new to shrooms, or you plan on taking things to the next level, it is probably best to do so at home or some other safe and private place.
Can I build up a tolerance to magic mushrooms?
That is a possibility, even after one moderate dose. Zoomies recommends waiting at least three days before taking another dose. Doing this makes it less likely that you will build a tolerance.
What’s the best dosage for me?
What are you trying to achieve? Dosages differ depending on the results you’re looking to get from a magic mushroom trip, as well as your experience with them. There are different kinds of trips, as described here.
What are some good resources to learn more about magic mushrooms?
There are many online, but we like The Third Wave’s Ultimate Guide to Psilocybin Mushrooms. Also, for a short read, check out Frank’s webpage on the subject here.
How do I microdose magic mushrooms?
You can learn more about microdosing on our educational page here.
Zoomies can help you make your magic mushroom experience as good as it can be.
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