A VERY BRIEF HISTORY OF PSYCHEDELICS
Updated: Oct. 2021
Psychedelics are one of the oldest psychopharmacological agents known to man. Believed to be a gateway towards self-awareness and discovery, mystical experience, as well as exploration and adventure. From the Ancient Greeks who were said to have drank kykeon¹, a magical potion derived from a psychedelic fungus to awaken the spirit, to the Aztec Shamans who consumed Teonanacatl², a type of psilocybin mushroom, for rituals and medicinal purposes. Psychedelics were embraced as a pathway to enlighten both the mind and the soul, and their holistic healing properties have been chronicled for millennia.
Hallucinogenic drugs made their first big appearance in modern history during the mid-20th century just after much of the industrialized globe was ravaged by two World Wars. Psychedelics such as Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (aka ‘LSD’ or simply ‘Acid’) and Psilocybin-containing Mushrooms (aka ‘Magic Mushrooms’, ‘Shrooms’, or more affectionately ‘Shroomies’) began gaining notoriety once again with the emergence of post-war counterculture and the anti-establishment movements of the late 1960s. The term ‘Hippie’ was born and with them came a spiritual revolution where mainstream religious indoctrination was rejected and replaced with a quest to enlighten the inner self.
Scientific interest gained steam alongside this revolution and researchers began to investigate the effects of experimenting with psychedelics as well as the potential therapeutic benefits. The scientific inquiry at this time focussed mainly on larger doses of psychedelics typical of recreational use. Results were immediately promising with observational findings indicating positive effect on various conditions such as addiction, anxiety, and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. This all came to a screeching halt when discussions regarding the legal status of psychedelics began to take place.
Governments around the world took decisive action to designate this subclass of drug as a controlled substance making it illegal to possess and distribute. As a result, research into the therapeutic benefits of psychedelics was virtually non-existent for several decades and only recently began making its comeback. Presently, the legal status of psychedelic substances like Magic Mushrooms and LSD is varied across the globe. Although growing public interest, positive media coverage, and developments in scientific research appear to be influencing a shift in a direction towards greater acceptance both in the form of government legislation and public perception.
WHAT EXACTLY IS MICRODOSING?
Technically one could Microdose any drug, but for the purposes of this guide we will be specifically referring to Microdosing psilocybin-containing Mushrooms.
There is no official definition on what Microdosing Mushrooms exactly entails. However, as the name suggests, a generally accepted interpretation is taking very small amounts (between ¼ to ¹/??th of a recreational dose) of psilocybin-containing mushrooms on a consistently scheduled basis. The dosage and regularity in scheduling will vary between individuals but most surveyed users report Microdosing between 100mg-500mg a couple times a week over several weeks or months with periods of abstinence to avoid tolerance buildup.
Contrary to recreational use of classic psychedelics, which typically involve ingesting larger amounts of hallucinogenic substances with the intention of having a spiritual or mystical experience often referred to as a ‘trip’; the effects of Microdosing are meant to be milder in that the user benefits from the positive perceptual experiences associated with psychedelics without realizing their hallucinogenic properties. The goal when Microdosing is not to intoxicate the user but rather serves to enhance everyday functioning. In other words, Microdosing is intended to be incorporated into everyday life.
HOW DOES MICRODOSING WORK?
Finding the right dose with the right schedule will require some self-experimentation. When in doubt, start small. You can always take more if the dose you dabbled in is not giving you the desired effect. Alternatively, if you take too much you might inadvertently find yourself embarking on a deeper spiritual journey than you had originally bargained for, which wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. However, Microdosing is not meant to interfere with one’s day-to-day activities. By adhering to a dosing schedule, Microdosing can be safely practiced without running the risk of accidentally tripping out at what may prove to be an inappropriate time.
If this is your first time experimenting with psychedelic mushrooms, try our Natural Mystic (250mg psilocybin) capsules4 or the Moonlander mushroom/cbd capsules to get a feel of what effects these lower doses have on you. From here you can slowly increase the dose until you are satisfied with the results. Keep in mind, the goal of Microdosing is to elicit an expansion of one’s subconscious, resulting in improvements to overall mood, cognition, and energy without feeling intoxicated. Passively incorporating the psychological benefits into our psyche gives us the tools we need to find solutions when encountering negative stimuli and helps us combat obstacles that may have previously felt too difficult to overcome.
WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO MICRODOSE MUSHROOMS?
Different strokes for different folks.
The majority of research analyzing motivators for Microdosing mushrooms relies predominantly on surveyed personal experiences. The positive effects reported thus far are vast with regards to both enhancement benefits and therapeutic properties. Enhancement benefits aim to improve the capacities or abilities of an otherwise healthy individual, while the therapeutic properties assist in remediating subconscious barriers causing mental and emotions distress. Ultimately, the goal is to improve one’s overall health and well-being.
Enhancement benefits typically reported are improved cognition and increased energy, in addition to stimulated productivity, creativity and focus. Therapeutic qualities include enhancing mental and emotional health, enriching attitudes and beliefs about oneself and their surroundings, as well as an increase in personal satisfaction and fulfillment.
Furthermore, early phase clinical trials have shown promising results in the efficacy of Microdosing psychedelics for stress-related disorders5, treatment-resistant depression6, alcohol dependence7, tobacco addiction8, relieving symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder9, and decreases in depression and anxiety for people experiencing end-of-life duress10. Particularly remarkable is that these findings parallel the preliminary results of observational studies from 50 years prior.
WHO SHOULD BE CONCERNED ABOUT THE RISKS OF MICRODOSING MUSHROOMS?
To date there are little known negative side effects associated with Microdosing mushrooms, and those that have been observed are reported as acute and temporary in nature. Most common were feelings of anxiousness while the dose remained in the system. However, these feelings rarely persisted beyond use, which is why starting with small doses during the self-experimentation phase is usually best practice to minimize unwanted effects if they arise. Though you probably need not worry yourself excessively over the possibility of accidentally taking a bit too much as the low toxicity of Magic Mushrooms render them relatively safe to ingest. Furthermore, psilocybin-containing mushrooms have been noted to lack addictive potential, intensifying scientific inquiry regarding their viability as an alternative to prescription medications.
Negative physical effects such as stomach discomfort and migraines have also been documented though rarely experienced concurrently and, similarly to feelings of anxiousness, were temporary and did not persist once the drug was no longer active in the body. With respect to the overwhelming evidence that potential negative effects of Microdosing are minimal, clinical research involving psychedelic substances is still in its infancy and the possibility of adverse reactions beyond acute experiences may be something that emerges in the future. Hence, it’s never a bad idea to consult your medical practitioner with any questions you may have about how psilocybin-containing mushroom products may affect you specifically.
WHEN WILL I START SEEING RESULTS NOW THAT I’VE STARTED MICRODOSING?
It would be unrealistic to expect the Magic in Mushrooms could be the cure to all our afflictions. Instead, what we should hope to achieve over time is a stronger sense of self so that we may reinforce our ability to identify, address and successfully manage our vexations as they arise.
A common misconception about people who suffer from persistent symptoms of mental heath distress is believing there is an identifiable source for which there must be a solution. Whereas the reality is that these symptoms do not manifest themselves overnight in response to a single event but rather develop over time to the point they become overwhelming and pervasive. Feelings like hopelessness and apathy affect the way we perceive our environment. Our experiences influence our expectations, and when enough bad outweighs the good we may find ourselves feeling helpless to break free from the cycle. Emerging research suggests that psilocybin therapies may be effective in yielding long-term positive outcomes because its mind-altering capabilities allow us to interpret our environment from different perspectives. Expanding the perceptual capacities of the mind could help create new pathways to better navigate our way through and around the blockades that prevent us from returning to our desired state of equilibrium.
Surveyed people who Microdose often reported that it helped sustain them through overwhelming anxiety and sadness, negative life events, or lingering effects of chronic drug use. These enhanced perceptions elicited a newfound appreciation for existing relationships and experiences. Increased openness in personality positively affected social interactions, strengthening interpersonal bonds and increased connectivity with others. Overall improvements in mood and self-fulfilment provided the framework to cope in stressful situations and proactively deal with negative life events. Ultimately restoring the psyche to a more desired state where Microdosing may not be needed for a short or an extended period. Bear in mind that the neurobiochemical processes at play here remain mostly a mystery and will hopefully be unveiled if scientific inquiry can continue its current trajectory.
WHEN WILL I KNOW IT’S WORKING?
The simplest answer is, if it’s not working you probably won’t feel much of anything. Or at least you probably won’t feel any different than you did before you started Microdosing.
Here are a couple of ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ when starting to experiment with psychedelics. This will help give you an idea of what to expect as you embark upon your journey.
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
If you have made it this far in the guide than it’s probably safe to assume you are wondering what, if anything, comes next.
Microdosing mushrooms is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the realm of possibilities within the psychedelic universe. Whereas Microdosing primarily serves the purpose of unlocking our subconscious, recreational doses of psychedelics unleash our conscious capacities to alter not only how we feel about our reality but also how we visibly see it.
You may be familiar with the term ‘hallucinogenic’ when referring to these psychedelic agents. However, this term is a bit of a misnomer with regards to psilocybin-mushrooms as it suggests the effects invoke visual or auditory manifestations. This is not typically the case when it comes to Magic mushrooms. A mushroom user’s mind rarely creates illusions on its own but rather alters that which already exists in its perceptual field. In other words, the mind distorts incoming visual stimuli, but does not actually create manifestations out of nothing.
Unfortunately, the breadth of this topic is rather considerable, so we will have to put this discussion on for the time being. In the meantime, if you feel ready to take your journey to the next level and are prepared to liberate your consciousness to explore beyond the confines of reality and observe the world through a spectrographic lens, visit our magic mushroom store¹¹ as we have everything you need to indulge your senses.
Take a trip to Alice’s Wonderland ¹² for some of the Mad Hatter’s Green Apple gummies ¹³ blasts. For the chocolate-lovers, we’ve got milk-chocolate17, dark-chocolate18, crunchy-chocolate19, salted-chocolate20, and it just so happens we even have chocolate with cookies and cream ²¹ if that’s what you crave. And of course, you could always opt to kick it old school with one of our good old fashioned dried mushroom varietals²². They may be a little grittier on the teeth and a little less forgiving on the stomach, but for what they lack in elegance they more than make up for in magic.
All items offered in our shop are measured and labelled accordingly for your convenience. Please take precautions when trying new products and be mindful of the dose you are ingesting. There is always a risk of inadvertently embarking on an overly intense trip while dabbling in psychedelics. Although you shouldn’t let this cautionary note deter you from adventure. Depending on who you ask, unexpected super-trips can often be a pleasant surprise, but you may want to clear a little extra space in your schedule if you plan on rolling the dice.
THE MORE YOU KNOW…A CAUTIONARY NOTE
Psilocybe cubensis is the species of mushroom most grown for its psychedelic potential. Some of the more popular strains are Blue Meanies, Golden Teachers, Penis Envy, Costa Rican and Koh Samui. This species of mushroom rates low in toxicity and the chances of overdosing from a clinical standpoint is extremely rare. Despite their low toxicity, ingesting a large amount of psilocybin mushrooms may elicit an extremely intense psychedelic trip strong enough to compel the user to seek medical attention. Signs include overwhelming panic and paranoia, severe agitation, shortness of breath and vomiting. Under medical or sober supervision these symptoms typically pass without consequence within 5-8 hours or until there is no longer any substance in the user’s system. However, lingering feelings of acute psychosis may last for several days and though toxicity may not be of notable concern, erratic and careless behaviour has led to injury up to and including death in situations where higher doses were involved.
It is worth noting that mushrooms of any variety are a fungus, and there are several species that may cause serious illness or prove fatal when ingested. Exercise prudence when sourcing your mushrooms and only acquire them from reputable and trusted growers.
Finally, although not specific to psilocybin-mushrooms, people who have been diagnosed with, or believe they are living with a psychotic disorder are strongly urged to avoid the use of psychedelic drugs, including Microdosing mushrooms. It has been observed that the use of psychedelics, even in very small amounts may exacerbate symptoms in some individuals from which they may never recover. It is also recommended that people who are colour-blind do not attempt to Microdose mushrooms either. In spite of the fact that Microdosing is not meant to intoxicate the user or elicit any conscious perceptual changes, there always remains the possibility that one may experience psilocybin induced visual distortions, whether intended or not. For people who are colour-blind, these visual distortions may persist long after a psychedelic experience has ended, and depending on the severity of the distortions may markedly affect one’s day-to-day activities.
Which brings us to our last point and just a friendly reminder that even though it may be the case that Microdosing has benefited a lot of people, it doesn’t mean that it will prove beneficial to all people. And this should really go without say at this point, but if Microdosing doesn’t seem to be having any effect on you that doesn’t mean you should start taking recreational doses as a solution. Both Microdosing and recreational use of psychedelics serve their own purpose and have their own benefits. Each with their own time and place. With any luck, you’ll have many chances to experience both. If not, there are several other portals that can get you to where you want to be.