There is some amazing news for mental health professionals in Canada who are interested in learning more about psychedelic-assisted therapy and receiving dedicated instruction on and insight into how psychedelic medicines can be leveraged as they become legally accessible across Canada.
Back in February, the ATMA Journeys Centers in Calgary, AB announced their Psychedelic Therapy Training Program for Mental Health Professionals program – providing Canadian mental health professionals for the first time with access to top-tier training in magic mushroom therapy. The initiative was launched with the full blessing of the Federal and Provincial governments, in conjunction with the Wayfound Mental Health Group, Inc. and the Psychologists Association of Alberta.
The course was massively popular, selling out in a matter of days, and now boasts a substantial waiting list as rave reviews have come pouring in after the first 3-month cohort concluded.
About ATMA Journeys Centers
ATMA Journey Centers is a clinic founded by Dr. David Harder and Dr. Vu Tran in Calgary, AB. ATMA is dedicated to advancing accessibility to psychedelic therapy in Canada. On their website, they claim that they “believe that psychedelics hold the key to actually resolving the root causes of mental health issues that affect so many.” Their self-stated mission is “to deliver effective and innovative healing and transformative experiences that awaken the inner healer and allow a deeper connection with self and with the world.”
About The Wayfound Mental Health Group
The Wayfound Mental Health Group was founded in Calgary, AB over 21 years ago by Dr. William McElheran. McElheran has been widely regarded as a pioneer at the cutting edge of the most effective emerging techniques in trauma treatment, and this reputation has attracted some of the best counseling talent in the world to his clinic. The partnership with ATMA represents their first official foray into the world of psychiatric therapy.
About The Program
It is unsurprising that the demand for mental health therapists has shot up dramatically over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Rising unemployment, concerns about health, and increasingly isolated lifestyles are suspected to contribute to this unprecedented level of demand.
David Harder, Co-CEO of ATMA says, “we’re seeing substantial interest from therapists who are looking for more effective tools to help their clients. Significant evidence-based research around psychedelic medicine continues to emerge which is highlighting how promising psychedelic medicine is. There appears to be a shift in the industry where therapists have heard about the potential of psychedelic medicine and are now stepping forward to learn about it.”
ATMA and Wayfound saw a gap in the increasing demand from Canadian patients and the availability of training for mental health professionals in this same area. Harder commented,
“One of the major obstacles in increasing access to psychedelic therapy is an acute shortage of therapists who have the education, knowledge, and resources both from a psychological and psychedelic perspective to provide the necessary support and guidance to patients. This training program provides an accredited base of understanding for therapists who are seeking information and therapy involving psychedelics.”
Consulting with leading authorities on psychedelic therapy from all over the world, this course consolidates their teachings to help address that problem, and provide Canada’s most forward-thinking therapists with access to top-of-the-line training in therapy with magic mushrooms in Canada.
On the importance of training mental health professionals on how to properly apply psychedelic therapy in their own practices, Megan McElheran, CEO of Wayfound said:
“Research has shown that psychologists are uniquely skilled to support the psychedelic process, and the psychotherapeutic process is proven to be an essential component to the success of psychedelic treatment. For this reason, I support psychologists and other health care providers to build their capacity and skills through training that prioritizes professional, clinically-sound, ethical practice and due diligence in the delivery of care.”
With psychedelics increasingly entering into the mainstream of the media, more and more people looking for access to magic mushrooms in Calgary, and all signs pointing to rapidly impending legalization in Canada, Vu Tran emphasizes the importance of trained therapists in helping guide psychedelic therapy. He commented,
“The training program is just the first step of our plan to create solutions for the industry to scale and support therapists who wish to participate in psychedelic-assisted therapy…. We want to see more therapists educated on the benefits of psychedelic therapy in hopes that more awareness will help the legislative and policy frameworks move forward in a timely manner. Mental health professionals will face great challenges with capacity in the coming years, so we’re working towards a support structure for therapists to progressively look at psychedelic therapy as a growing part of their business without a steep learning curve. Psychedelics have the proven ability to reduce lifelong ongoing patient therapy, and this can assist in reducing the burden on the health care system.”
The first cohort of the month-long program concluded in May, and the 2nd sold-out cohort began in June of this year. One of the therapists who graduated from the first training, Dr. Angela Grace, had this to say:
“The training program provides an excellent overview of psychedelic therapy with experienced practitioners and researchers in the field. The learning, discussions, experiences, and connections made are invaluable as an introduction to the field.”
Information on Upcoming Programs
According to ATMA and Wayfound, the feedback has been immensely positive across the board. So much so that they immediately launched a second training, and have three more planned for later this year, on September 7, October 5, and November 2.
David Harder comments: “We encourage any mental health professional to contact us to discuss the training programs. This emerging field is a significant opportunity for licensed therapists who want to add another effective tool to their practice and learn how psychedelics can integrate into an existing practice.”
There are many wonderful ways to use magic mushrooms, but more and more everywhere you look, you are reading about the incredibly beneficial therapeutic applications of shrooms. One of the institutions leading the way in this research is The Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research, out of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. Since 2000, and backed by tens of millions of dollars in funding, Johns Hopkins was the first clinical center given regulatory approval in the United States for conducting clinical research using psychedelics as therapeutic aids.
Since that time, they have remained at the forefront of psychedelic research and clinical advancements, demonstrating how magic mushrooms can be effectively used to help in the treatment of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and many other mental health conditions.
Of course, not everyone can make the trip to Baltimore to receive their patented brand of psychedelic therapy – but we’ve done a little bit of digging to uncover some tools you can use right in your own home.
This playlist is 7 hours and 40 minutes in length, and its beautiful progression of concertos, baïlèros, and symphonies has been painstakingly and thoughtfully tweaked over decades of research into psychedelic medicine. The playlist is designed to help carry patients through every stage of the psilocybin session. The music starts simple and relaxing, increasing in complexity and intensity over time as it guides the patient from the beginning of their session, through ingesting the medicine, to beginning to climb and hitting the peak, and the eventual coming down.
The History of the Playlist
The playlist is the brainchild of psychologist Bill Richards, who has been involved in psychedelic research since the early 1960s. As one of the leading researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center, he has this to say about the effects this playlist can have on those who listen to it during their trip:
“We’re exploring the human psyche, which might take you through some painful things in childhood. It may take you into some archetypal or visionary realms that you never knew were possible. It might take you beyond usual consciousness into a realm that feels eternal.
The music chromatically develops, and it goes up and reaches this exquisite climax and then comes back down… It’s going somewhere, it’s picking you up and carrying you. It’s got some force, some substance. It doesn’t have very unpredictable changes of rhythm or something that’s going to startle or frighten you. So, it’s a net of reassurance, almost, and of leadership.”
The music helps keep participants from prematurely returning to normal conscious awareness, Richards says.
“I think of it as a nonverbal support system, sort of like the net for a trapeze artist,” he says. “If all is going well, you’re not even aware that the net is there — you don’t even hear the music — but if you start getting anxious, or if you need it, it’s immediately there to provide structure.”
Recently, the playlist was featured prominently and supported the experiences of all those who participated in a new study published by Johns Hopkins on Nov 4, which found that psychedelic substances can have profoundly beneficial effects on those suffering from Major Depressive Disorder.
How to Use the Playlist
The best way to use the playlist is as follows:
The first 30 minutes of the playlist are designed to help set the patient up for the impending psychedelic experience. So, you should start the playlist before taking the mushrooms, somewhere where you can be relaxed, with your eyes closed, in meditation, or a state of deep relaxation. This time should be spent on what we call intention-setting: becoming clear with yourself on what the purposes of this session are, and what you want to get out of it.
It is important in the use of mushrooms for therapy not to skip this step. We must be clear with ourselves in what we want to get out of the experience – this will help shape the course of our trip, and help keep us grounded in the psychedelic journey that is to follow.
Once you feel that your intentions are clear, it’s time to dose yourself. The playlist is designed to support a more moderate to heavy usage. Depending on your tolerance, somewhere from 2.5 to 4 grams should be appropriate. Once the mushrooms have been ingested, lie back again and close your eyes – try not to focus too hard on the music, but rather lean into it as a guide that will help guide your mind through the trip to come.
Your mind may wander to different subjects, but you would do best to keep your intention in mind. If negative thoughts or feelings arise, you shouldn’t try to run from them or shut them down, but allow them to wash over you as you relax further into the playlist. About 85 minutes in, the playlist begins to seriously increase in its complexity and intensity, as you approach your peak. Follow the trip – go where it wants to take you, and allow the music to be your tether to the world.
The songs contain no English lyrics at all (and few lyrics in general) during the first 6 hours of the playlist. This is on purpose so the music will not provide any kind of distraction from the important work that’s happening inside your mind, but rather serve as a guide. Says Richards,
“I think of it as a nonverbal support system, sort of like the net for a trapeze artist, if all is going well, you’re not even aware that the net is there — you don’t even hear the music — but if you start getting anxious, or if you need it, it’s immediately there to provide structure.”
As the playlist winds down, you will begin to hear some more recognizable songs with recognizable lyrics, designed to help you transition smoothly back to reality.
In closing, Bill Richards had this to say about the playlist and how it affected his patients:
“It spoke [to them]. It took on meaning in the struggle, the unfolding, the dissonance being resolved. They could understand that that type of classical music is a language about life and human experience. And when you’re in the music, it’s so different from listening to the music.”
Can magic mushrooms help me quit smoking or drinking?
Do magic mushrooms help with cluster headaches?
Are magic mushrooms addictive?
New research is revealing that magic mushrooms could play a role in the future of mental health treatment for Canadians.
After decades of little or no investigation into the clinical potential of mushrooms, scientists are conducting exploratory research into magic mushrooms as mental health therapy, targeting common conditions like depression, anxiety, and addiction.
Some of these studies were so compelling that Health Canada recently granted 24 special medical exemptions allowing Canadians to receive psilocybin therapy.
If you’re excited to learn more about the potential of magic mushrooms as a treatment for some of the most common mental health issues, we’ve got you covered. We’ve created this guide to bring you the most up-to-date information on what we’re learning about magic mushrooms and mental health.
We’ll start with a basic overview of magic mushrooms, explaining what they are and how they work. Then, we’ll talk about some of the latest research we’ve uncovered on the treatment potential of magic mushrooms for depression, anxiety, addiction, and more. We’ll also share what we’ve learned about whether mushrooms are addictive or safe to use.
<Hey Reader! Just want to remind you that we’re not your doctor, we’re not diagnosing you, and we’re not prescribing your magic mushrooms. This article is for educational purposes and should not be taken as medical advice. If you’re concerned about your mental health, please talk to your doctor.>
Let’s get started!
What are Magic Mushrooms?
Magic mushrooms are a family of naturally-occurring psychedelic mushrooms. There are over 180 different known varieties of magic mushrooms, with names such as:
Psilocybe cubensis – the easiest magic mushroom to cultivate indoors, there are now 60+ different strains of P. cubensis.
Psilocybe semilanceata – also known as Liberty caps, they grow commonly all over the world.
Psilocybe azurescens – also known as flying saucers, blue runners, blue angels, or azzies.
Psilocybe tampanensis – they produce yellow-brown, psilocybin-containing truffles.
Psilocybe cyanescens – also known as wavy caps, they grow in Central Europe and the Pacific Northwest.
Psilocybe mexicana – the species of magic mushrooms used ceremoniously by the Aztec people and called “Teonanacatl”, meaning “flesh of the gods”.
Magic mushrooms contain a chemical compound known as psilocybin that gives them their hallucinogenic properties. In clinical research, psilocybin is extracted from magic mushrooms before being administered to patients. This allows researchers to carefully control the dosages of psilocybin received by patients in the study.
Magic mushrooms grow naturally on all six continents, but little was known about them before the 1960s when Westerners first experienced magic mushroom ceremonies while visiting Mexico. Consuming magic mushrooms is known to produce effects that include hallucinations, dilated pupils, relaxed muscles, altered experiences of time and space, altered perceptions of tactile stimulation and sensory perception, and reduced concentration.
How Do Magic Mushrooms Work?
Like we just mentioned, the medicinal or “active” ingredient in magic mushrooms is a compound called psilocybin.
Psilocybin is also known as 4-phosphoryloxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine. It is classified as an indole-alkylamine in the tryptamine family. Other drugs in this family include lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and N,N-dimethyltryptamine, the dream-inducing compound known as DMT or the “spirit molecule”.
On a physiological level, psilocybin in the brain interacts with the serotonin system. It has a high affinity to bind with specific types of serotonin receptors in several areas of the brain, including the thalamus and the cerebral cortex. The thalamus is involved in the regulation of consciousness and alertness, as well as relaying sensory and motor signals, while the cerebral cortex acts as the main site of neural integration and plays a role in sensory, visual, and motor processing.
Some researchers believe that interactions with serotonin receptors in areas of the brain responsible for visual processing are the physiological cause of hallucinations when taking psilocybin, and there’s a growing body of evidence that these same interactions could provide relief for individuals with mental health issues.
Let’s now take a closer look at the connection between magic mushrooms and mental health.
Magic Mushrooms and Mental Health
The connection between magic mushrooms and mental health is an emerging area of science. We’ve seen a few promising studies so far, but there’s a lot more work to be done before we can fully understand the impact of magic mushrooms on mental health.
Below, we’re going to explore and highlight the most significant investigations that have taken place so far into the clinical potential of magic mushrooms for treating anxiety, depression, addiction, cluster headaches, and epilepsy. We’ll give a brief overview of each illness, then highlight the latest research into how magic mushrooms and psilocybin can help.
Magic Mushrooms and Anxiety
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety can be simply described as a feeling of fear or apprehension that may or may not have an environmental trigger. Symptoms of anxiety may include:
Increased heart rate
Generalized feelings of fear and worry
Shortness of breath
Dizziness or feeling faint
Anxiety is part of how humans respond to stressful situations, acting as a precursor to the “fight, flight, or freeze” response to environmental dangers or threats. When we experience life events that make us fearful or nervous, we may experience temporary anxiety.
An anxiety disorder occurs when feelings of anxiety begin to emerge at inappropriate times, and when those feelings are so severe and intense that they interfere with an individual’s daily life and activities. Anxiety disorders are the most common forms of mental disorder, according to the American Psychiatric Association.
Can Magic Mushrooms Treat Anxiety?
So far, there have been just a handful of studies done on magic mushrooms and anxiety.
Researchers started by measuring the anxiety of each participant using the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. Then, researchers administered a dosage of psilocybin to each participant according to their body weight. The State-Trait Anxiety Inventory was administered to patients one, three, and six months after the treatment to measure any changes or improvements in mood.
Ultimately, researchers found that psilocybin treatment resulted in a significant mood improvement and decreased anxiety at both one month and three months after treatment. The effect seemed to drop off by the six-month follow-up, indicating that additional rounds of psilocybin therapy would be needed to sustain the positive effects.
This time, research participants included 51 late-stage cancer patients that were also diagnosed with either depression or anxiety. Participants received two psilocybin therapy sessions with two different dosages – a high dose and a low dose. Patients were evaluated after each session and 6 months after the end of the treatments to assess the benefits. Researchers also rigorously documented the behaviour and mood of patients during the treatment.
Research participants reported significant positive mood changes after participating in the psilocybin treatment and at the six-month follow-up. Overall, 82.6% of participants said that the treatment increased their well-being or life satisfaction either “moderately” or “very much”.
Depression is a mood disorder that causes the affected person to experience persistent feelings of sadness, despondence, hopelessness, and/or disinterest. It is one of the most common emotional disorders, affecting more than 250 million people worldwide.
Some people may be unsure whether their emotional experiences count as depression. It is normal to feel sad, tired, or lonely sometimes in response to challenging life events. Depression becomes a disorder when those feelings persist over time, sometimes even when there’s nothing materially wrong.
Common symptoms of depression include:
Increased irritability or restlessness
Unpredictable mood swings
Erratic sleep patterns
Loss of energy or initiative
Lack of productivity and low self-esteem
Researchers have identified many potential causes of depression, including early childhood trauma, structural differences in the brain, certain medical conditions, and a family history of mood disorders.
Can Magic Mushrooms Treat Depression?
In just the past five years, researchers have learned a lot about the impact that magic mushrooms can have on treating depression.
Addiction sometimes called “substance use disorder”, is a complex mental health issue that can be described as compulsive substance use despite harmful consequences. Addiction is rooted in the dysfunction of chemical systems in the brain that regulates reward, motivation, and memory.
Drug addiction is a major public health issue. Below are listed the ten types of drugs most often implicated in substance use disorders in North America:
Painkillers like oxycontin, codeine, and vicodin
Cocaine and its variants
Benzodiazepines like valium and xanax
Stimulants like methamphetamine and adderall
Sedatives, including sleeping pills like ambien and lunesta
Symptoms of substance use disorder may be grouped into four categories:
Drug Effects – Addicts increase their tolerance to their substance of choice over time. Eventually, they require larger amounts to get the same effects. They may experience withdrawal symptoms when losing access to the drug.
Impaired Control – Addicts experience cravings and strong urges to engage with their drug of choice, often resulting in failed attempts to quit.
Risky Use – Addicts may take risks to acquire or use their drug of choice. They may continue to engage in risky behavior despite knowledge of the potential consequences.
Social Problems – Addicts may find that drug use interferes with their ability to function in society, including holding down a job and maintaining relationships with friends, colleagues, and family members.
Can Magic Mushrooms Treat Addiction?
While no single treatment is appropriate for every person suffering from depression, there has been some evidence that psilocybin therapies could be useful for some individuals trying to quit smoking or reduce their dependence on alcohol.
Studies in this area have been extremely limited so far, but we’re hoping that future research will look more closely at how magic mushrooms can trigger behaviour changes that lead people away from addiction.
The study involved 10 research patients with a diagnosis of alcohol dependence. The participants were given 8 weeks of motivational enhancement therapy and received two doses of psilocybin – one after the fourth week, and one after the final week of therapy.
Researchers found that the participants all showed increased rates of alcohol abstinence after receiving the psilocybin treatment. The intensity of their psychedelic experiences during week 4 of the study correlated strongly with a reduction in alcohol consumption during weeks 5-8. These preliminary findings seem to suggest that psilocybin therapies can actually help reduce alcohol dependency in chronic drinkers.
Can Magic Mushrooms Help Me Quit Smoking?
So far, we’ve seen just one small study that investigates whether magic mushrooms could be used to help quit smoking.
This study included 15 participants who had been smoking an average of 19 cigarettes per day for an average of 31 years, with an average of 6 previous attempts to quit smoking. The participants were given 15 weeks of structured smoking cessation therapy, during which they received moderate or high doses of psilocybin. At the 6-month follow-up, a biomarker assessment demonstrated that 12 of the 15 participants had abstained from smoking over the prior seven days.
This study shows a lot of promise that magic mushrooms could be used in the future in therapies that help people quit smoking, even after they’ve smoked for decades and failed to quit multiple times.
Magic Mushrooms and Cluster Headaches
What are Cluster Headaches?
Cluster headaches are not very common, as they seem to affect just 0.1% of the population. Still, cluster headaches are considered one of the most painful and unpleasant types of headaches. They are characterized by intense pain localized around one eye or on one side of the head.
Cluster headaches may occur in cyclical patterns known as cluster periods. A cluster period lasts between one week and one year, during which the patient experiences headaches almost every day, or even multiple times per day. A cluster period may be followed by a period of remission where the individual experiences no headaches for a period of months or years.
Common symptoms of cluster headaches may include:
Severe pain on one side of the head or around one eye
Teary eyes, facial sweating, or runny nose
Swelling around the eye, redness of the eye, or a droopy eyelid
Can Magic Mushrooms Treat Cluster Headaches?
If you’re currently suffering from cluster headaches, the available evidence suggests that magic mushrooms might be the solution to your problems.
One of the first research papers on the medicinal properties of magic mushrooms was written in 2006 by R Andrew Sewell and colleagues at Harvard University and published in the journal Neurology with the title “Response of cluster headache to psilocybin and LSD”.
Sewell and his colleagues interviewed 53 cluster headache patients who had self-medicated using either magic mushrooms or LSD. Their findings can be summarized as follows:
85% of psilocybin users who were interviewed said that taking magic mushrooms allowed them to abort cluster headache attacks at their onset.
52% of psilocybin users reported that using magic mushrooms resulted in the termination of a cluster period and the onset of a remission period.
95% of psilocybin users reported that using magic mushrooms extended their remission period, effectively increasing the length of time between cluster headache attacks by months or years.
The war on drugs in North America began in 1971 and was characterized by the suppression of research into psychedelic medicine and the widespread distribution of misinformation about drugs like psilocybin. This climate has created big misconceptions that need to change if Canadians are going to benefit from psilocybin treatments in the future.
According to Matthew W. Johnson, Ph.D., Professor at Johns Hopkins University and career researcher into magic mushrooms, the biggest misconception about magic mushrooms is that it’s highly addictive.
In fact, Johnson said in a 2019 interview that magic mushrooms don’t really have the same addictive properties as other drugs that are more commonly abused (like the kind we listed under the “What is Addiction?” header in this article). Johnson also points out that magic mushrooms don’t interact with the dopamine system, so they’re not producing a reliable feeling of euphoria or the typical dopamine response you see with a smoker or an alcohol abuser.
Based on this understanding, researchers at Johns Hopkins are now recommending that psilocybin be reclassified from Schedule I to Schedule IV in the controlled substances act. This change would acknowledge its low potential for abuse and accepted medical uses, opening the door to future clinical investigation.
Are Magic Mushrooms Safe?
Magic mushrooms can only be used to treat mental health issues if they don’t cause other kinds of harm. Unfortunately, there are widespread misconceptions about the kinds of harm that magic mushrooms can cause.
A 2011 literature review analyzed pooled data from 8 different studies involving psilocybin administration to assess the short-term and long-term safety concerns. In total, the analysis included data from 110 research participants who received a total of 227 doses of psilocybin.
This review found that more research participants reported pleasurable, enriching, and non-threatening experiences while under the influence of magic mushrooms. While there were some adverse reactions reported, they were generally related to the highest dose conditions and successfully managed using interpersonal support.
Follow-up questionnaires with research participants revealed that none of them had experienced:
Any subsequent issues with substance abuse,
Any persisting disorders of perception,
Any symptoms of prolonged psychosis,
Any long-term functional impairment.
Based on these results, it appears that psilocybin is quite safe to use in the clinical context. This is great news for both clinicians and mental health patients who are excited about the therapeutic potential of magic mushrooms for mental health.
Thanks for checking out our ultimate guide to magic mushrooms and mental health in 2021!
Here’s a quick summary of what we covered in this article:
Exciting new research is showing that magic mushrooms might be helpful in treating a variety of mental health conditions
Research into magic mushrooms and anxiety showed that participants do experience increased levels of well being and life satisfaction after receiving psilocybin therapy
Research into magic mushrooms and depression has found that therapies involving psilocybin do result in mood improvements for patients.
Early experimental results have shown that psilocybin therapies might help to elevate the success rate of addiction therapies, including tobacco cessation therapies and motivation enhancement therapy for recovering alcoholics.
Many people who suffer from cluster headaches have reported significant relief after taking magic mushrooms.
Leading psilocybin researchers say that magic mushrooms and other psychedelics do not share the same addictive properties as alcohol and tobacco.
Magic mushrooms are being used safely in clinical research, with participants reporting generally positive experiences and no long-term negative side effects.
Based on everything we’ve shared here, we’re excited about the future of magic mushrooms as a treatment for mental health disorders in Canada. We hope the next generation of Canadians will benefit from interventions for depression, anxiety, and addiction that harness the therapeutic power of magic mushrooms – a power we’re just beginning to understand.
For most of us who grew up and went to school in Canada — and probably everywhere else, for that matter — warnings about the harms of “drugs” were so pervasive that just reading the title of this article, Long Term Effects of Magic Mushrooms, probably conjures up a bit of fear. Surely these “long term effects” will be bad!
But what does the most up to date research actually tell us about the effects of psilocybin (the active ingredient in magic mushrooms)? Were these well intended warnings we got from our teachers and parents actually based in reality? And is it possible that the long term effects of magic mushrooms might actually be positive?
In this article we aim to paint a more realistic picture of the risks and benefits of magic mushrooms, and to show that the fears we might be carrying about their long term effects are likely unwarranted.
Magic Mushrooms In History
Varieties of magic mushrooms are found growing on every continent on earth (except, obviously, Antarctica), and there is evidence for their use by humans going back thousands of years, in places as widely separated as Mesoamerica, Australia, and ancient Greece.
None of this ancient world use of magic mushrooms automatically rules out the possibility of negative long term effects — it’s probably tricky to detect long term effects when hardly anybody’s living past age 50 — but at the very least the consistent use for thousands of years by cultures around the globe suggests that nobody noticed anything going wrong. It’s a starting point.
And it’s not all ancient history: shamans and healers in the Mesoamerican region use psychedelics in ritual ceremonies to this day, and don’t seem worried about it.
But us supposedly scientific minded folk, we like our studies. So what, if anything, do our studies say?
Short Term vs Long Term
Let’s start with the short term.
By short term we mean the trip itself, or the same day. We have a pretty good idea about the obvious and easy to describe short term effects like euphoria, vivid colours and other visual effects, as well as the potential short term dangers (which are rare, usually related to anxiety or panic, and “successfully managed by providing interpersonal support”).
Long term is harder to define. A recent (2020) study that showed psilocybin’s supposed “long term” positive effect on mood showed that lasting effect by following up a mere one month later! But while that’s interesting, we’re probably less concerned with what happens a month later. We want to know if magic mushrooms will do something to us that only shows up way down the road — perhaps along the lines of radiation damage from too much sun, or heart disease from lack of exercise.
The trouble is that magic mushrooms only entered the awareness of US and Canadian culture in 1957, with the first documented recreational use of magic mushrooms in Vancouver in 1965. That, along with magic mushrooms being mostly illegal since the seventies, has put a limit on how much long term research there can be.
But there is some longer term research.
The Surprising (?) Results of Longer Term Studies
Anyone searching for studies showing negative long term effects from using magic mushrooms quickly runs into a problem: there aren’t any.
In his book “Drugs Without the Hot Air: Making Sense of Legal and Illegal Drugs” (2020), author David Nutt assesses psilocybin to be the least harmful drug, ten times less harmful than the worst drug (alcohol). In their paper, “Psychedelics and Mental Health: A Population Study”, authors Teri S. Krebs and Pål-Ørjan Johansen open with the following claims.
“The classical serotonergic psychedelics LSD, psilocybin, mescaline are not known to cause brain damage and are regarded as non-addictive. Clinical studies do not suggest that psychedelics cause long-term mental health problems. Psychedelics have been used in the Americas for thousands of years. Over 30 million people currently living in the US have used LSD, psilocybin, or mescaline.”
Yes, there are cases of negative effects to be found here and there, but it’s very difficult to find widespread long term negative effects that hold up to scrutiny. The biggest example, the one that comes up the most often, is the idea of “flashbacks”, or, “hallucinogen persisting perceptual disorder” (HPPD). Krebs and Johansen discuss this issue, and though they are here referencing LSD and peyote as well as psilocybin, it’s worth hearing what they have to say.
“In this study, lifetime use of psychedelics and past year use of LSD was not associated with past year symptoms of visual phenomena (‘‘seeing something others could not’’), panic attacks, psychosis, or overall serious psychological distress. Thus, our findings does not support either the idea of ‘‘flashbacks’’ described in extreme cases as recurrent psychotic episodes, hallucinations, or panic attacks, or the more recent ‘‘hallucinogen persisting perceptual disorder’’ (HPPD) described as persistent visual phenomena with accompanying anxiety and distress…. Overall, the validity of the HPPD diagnosis remains scant.”
Evidence of long term harm may yet be discovered, but at this point it’s almost impossible to find any.
There are, however, some interesting positive results.
Long-Term Benefits of Magic Mushroom Use
For example, a study that suggests that psilocybin can have an effect on the personality trait of openness, one of the “five broad domains of personality”, and that the effect of increased openness was stable a full year later.
There is a less robust but still interesting paper that suggests that psilocybin assisted therapy can have a positive effect on the mental health of cancer patients four years later.
Or a 2013 paper where, “21,967 respondents (13.4% weighted) reported lifetime psychedelic use. There were no significant associations between lifetime use of any psychedelics, lifetime use of specific psychedelics (LSD, psilocybin, mescaline, peyote), or past year use of LSD and increased rate of any of the mental health outcomes. Rather, in several cases psychedelic use was associated with lower rate of mental health problems.”
Yes, the group that had used psychedelics at some point in their life in several cases had a lower rate of mental health problems.
There’s even a survey showing some success with using psilocybin to quit smoking, with the results lasting over two years.
Positive results are very easy to find — and more are coming all the time.
What are the Long Term Effects of Magic Mushrooms?
All that said, it’s difficult to give a truly conclusive answer about the long term effects of magic mushrooms. While there are positive studies, a long history of use all around the world, and no research showing evidence of long term harm, nobody has yet done the large scale, long term, high quality studies that would be needed to remove all doubt.
The government of Canada’s website offers that, “Currently, no studies have evaluated the long-term effects of repetitive use of magic mushrooms.” And that’s not completely unfair. Much of the work cited above regarding long term effects is using the best available data, but that data is sometimes old, or self reported and based on surveys. Solid as far as it goes, but not as conclusive as one might hope.
We expect that as the world reopens to the possibilities of magic mushrooms — see for example Oregon’s successful 2020 vote to legalize psilocybin — research will get easier, and we might begin to get the full and definitive picture of their long term effects.
In the meantime, we can say this: the best evidence available today suggests a range of possibilities. At worst there may be no detectable long term effects from magic mushrooms at all. And at best there may be positive ones.
The image from the very top of this post, which we will also leave directly below for convenience is taken from TripSafe – a website for education on psychedelics like shrooms and LSD. It shows that in comparison with virtually every other “drug” known to mankind, mushrooms are the safest and least addictive. We don’t know everything about the long term effects of psychedelic mushroom use, but there is one fact that seems abundantly clear and is supported by virtually all of the research into the subject:
Magic mushrooms remain the safest of all recreational drugs.
Over the past five years, researchers in Canada and the United States have changed the public narrative around psychedelic substances with revolutionary new research into the potential of magic mushrooms as a treatment for depression.
The legal landscape for magic mushrooms is also changing, with several U.S states pushing for legalization or decriminalization and Health Canada having granted 24 legal exemptions for end-of-life psilocybin therapy since August of 2020.
As a result of these changes, Canadians are increasingly curious about the possibility of treating symptoms of depression with magic mushrooms – but can we be sure that it works?
If you’re interested in learning more about the connection between magic mushrooms and depression in 2021, we’ve got you covered. We’ve created this guide to bring you up-to-date on the most current clinical investigations into treating depression with magic mushrooms.
We’ll start with a short overview of both magic mushrooms and depression, defining the terms that are most important in this article. Next, we’ll review findings from five key studies on magic mushrooms and depression to get a better understanding of whether magic mushrooms can really make a difference. Following that, we’ll look at more research that tries to explain how magic mushrooms work in the brain to influence mood and emotions. Finally, we’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions about magic mushrooms and depression in 2021.
Let’s dive right in!
<Hey Reader! We just wanted to take a second to remind you that we’re not your doctor. We’ve done our due diligence in creating this educational article and provided links to every study we reference, but this article is not medical advice and should not be taken as such. If you need medical advice, talk to your doctor!>
What are Magic Mushrooms?
Magic mushrooms are a family of mushrooms that contain the hallucinogenic compound known as psilocybin.
Because of their hallucinogenic properties, magic mushrooms have been used in religious, healing, and divine rituals throughout human history, dating back to at least 6,000 years ago. The Aztec people of Mexico and Central America, who referred to psilocybin mushrooms as “the divine mushroom”, consumed it during religious and civic ceremonies.
Knowledge of magic mushrooms spread around the world during the 1960s as westerners engaged in spiritual tourism trips to Mexico where they would take magic mushrooms in ritualistic ceremonies with indigenous peoples. It was soon discovered that mushrooms containing psilocybin grow naturally on all six continents.
Consuming psilocybin mushrooms has been observed to produce a variety of sensory and emotional effects, including:
Visual and auditory hallucinations,
Altered perception of time and space,
Altered perception of tactile and sensory stimulation,
Muscle relaxation and dilated pupils,
In addition to the hallucinogenic symptoms enjoyed by recreational and spiritual mushroom-lovers, new research has emerged that reveals more about the long-term emotional impacts of taking magic mushrooms (more on this later), including the potential impact for treating depression.
What is Depression?
Depression is a common mood disorder and the world’s leading cause of disability, with over 264 million people affected around the world.
Depression is not the same as occasional mood fluctuations or emotional responses to life’s daily challenges – episodes of depression are often longer-lasting and result in more severe symptoms that may include:
Increased aggressiveness or irritability,
Increased anxiety or restlessness,
Unpredictable mood swings,
Disrupted or erratic sleep patterns,
Reduced sexual desire or lack of performance,
Feelings of despair and hopelessness,
Physical symptoms such as chronic pain, headaches, digestive problems, or chronic fatigue,
Lack of productivity and low self-esteem,
Slowed speech and cognition,
Reduced appetite, leading to weight loss, or increased cravings for food that result in weight gain,
Behavior changes, such as loss of energy or initiative, no longer enjoying favorite activities, self-medicating with harmful drugs or alcohol, and suicidal ideation.
Despite the high number of people suffering from depression in the world today, researchers still haven’t nailed down exactly why some people experience depression and others don’t. Family history seems to play a role, as people with a family history of mood disorders are more likely to develop a mood disorder themselves.
Early childhood trauma, individual variations in brain structure, a history of drug use, and some medical conditions like ADHD or insomnia have all been associated with the onset of depressive symptoms.
Depression on its own can cause a tremendous amount of suffering. If left untreated, depression can worsen over time, potentially leading to substance abuse issues or problems with professional and interpersonal relationships. In the worst cases, individuals with depression may socially isolate themselves and engage in self-harm or suicidal ideation.
All of this is to say that depression is a truly terrible disorder, one that we should be addressing with every tool available to improve the lives of Canadians who are suffering.
Now let’s take a look at how that might be possible with the help of magic mushrooms.
Do Magic Mushrooms Help Depression?
Research into the potential therapeutic benefits of magic mushrooms began in the early 1960s, but came to an abrupt halt in 1970 when the United States Controlled Substances Act listed psilocybin and other psychedelics as banned substances, excluding them from further studies due to a lack of perceived benefits.
Eventually, in the year 2000, after three decades of zero development in our scientific knowledge about psilocybin, researchers at Johns Hopkins University were given permission to administer high doses of psilocybin to healthy and willing participants. The resulting study was published in 2006, opening the door to further investigation into psilocybin, including its therapeutic properties for treating depression.
Research conducted in the past five years indicates that magic mushrooms may be quite effective at treating depression in a variety of contexts, including treatment-resistant depression, end-of-life depression, and major depressive disorders.
Below, we highlight the five most significant studies into magic mushrooms and depression, and what they reveal about the powerful therapeutic properties of psilocybin.
Authors: Robin L. Carhart-Harris, Mark Bolstridge, James Rucker, Camilla M. J. Day, David Erritzoe, Mendel Kaelen, Michael Bloomfield, James A. Rickard, Ben Forbes, Amanda Feilding, David Taylor, Steve Pilling, Valerie H. Curran, and David J. Nutt.
Journal of Publication: The Lancet.
Date Published: July 2016.
Overview: This was one of the first studies conducted into magic mushrooms and depression, led by Dr. Robin L Carhart-Harris of the Faculty of Medicine at London’s Imperial College. The goal of this research was to investigate the feasibility, safety, and effectiveness of using psilocybin as a therapy for treatment-resistant depression.
Key Findings: This study involved 12 patients who suffered from treatment-resistant depression. The 12 patients were given two doses of psilocybin: a 10mg dose to start, and another 25mg dose after 7 days. Researchers observed no unexpected adverse events among the patients, indicating that the drug was well-tolerated and could be safely administered. One week after the second dosage, patients were observed to have reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety, along with a heightened capacity to experience pleasure.
Authors: Roland R. Griffiths, Matthew W. Johnson, Michael A. Carducci, Annie Umbricht, William A. Richards, Brian D. Richards, Mary P. Cosimano, and Margaret A. Klinedinst.
Journal of Publication: Journal of Psychopharmacology.
Date Published: November 30th, 2016.
Overview: This study and the next one on our list were published side-by-side in the same issue of the Journal of Psychopharmacology. The goal of this study was to evaluate the treatment potential of psilocybin therapy for patients with a life-threatening cancer diagnosis.
Key Findings: This study involved 51 patients, all of whom were experiencing psychosocial distress following a life-threatening cancer diagnosis. The study investigated the impacts of both low-dose (1 or 3 milligrams per 70kg of bodyweight) and high-dose (22 or 30 milligrams per 70kg of bodyweight) psilocybin treatments. It was found that participants who received a high dose of psilocybin showed a decrease in both self-reported and clinically-evaluated depression and anxiety. Other benefits such as increased quality of life, a stronger sense of meaning in life, greater optimism, and reduced anxiety about death were also reported.
Authors: Stephen Ross, Anthony Bossis, Jeffrey Guss, Gabrielle Agin-Liebes, Tara Malone, Barry Cohen, Sarah E. Mennenga, Alexander Belser, Krystallia Kalliontzi, James Babb, Zhe Su, Patricia Corby, and Brian L. Schmidt.
Journal of Publication: Journal of Psychopharmacology.
Date Published: November 30th, 2016.
Overview: This study was released in conjunction with the previous study in our list. The goal of this research was to evaluate the potential role of psilocybin as a treatment for cancer-related anxiety and depression.
Key Findings: This clinical investigation involved 29 patients who had been diagnosed with cancer and a cancer-related mood disorder – either anxiety or depression. Patients received either a single dose of psilocybin (0.3 milligrams per kilogram of bodyweight) or a placebo. The single dose of psilocybin was reported to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, while lessening cancer-related demoralization and improving spiritual wellbeing. A follow-up was conducted after 6.5 months where it was found that 60-80% of patients continued to show reduced depression and anxiety.
Authors: Robin L. Carhart-Harris, Leor Roseman, Mark Bolstridge, Lysia Demetriou, J. Nienke Pannekoek, Matthew B. Wall, Mark Tanner, Mendel Kaelen, John McGonigle, Kevin Murphy, Robert Leech, Valerie H. Curran, and David J. Nutt.
Journal of Publication: Nature.
Date Published: October 13th, 2017.
Overview: This study of magic mushrooms and depression used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to analyze changes in cerebral blood flow and other physiological markers for patients being treated with psilocybin. The purpose of this study was to investigate the therapeutic mechanism by which psilocybin treats depression and anxiety.
Key Findings: This study involved 19 patients, but the research team was only able to collect quality results from 16 of them. Patients in the study were given two doses of psilocybin 7 days apart – the first one a 10mg dose, and the second one a 25mg dose.
Researchers observed that all 19 patients showed signs of decreased depressive symptoms one week after treatment, though just 47% of participants showed enduring benefits after five weeks. Researchers came up with the term “after-glow” to describe the period after treatment during which patients experienced stress reduction along with improvements to mood and general wellbeing.
Overall, psilocybin treatment was found to produce rapid and ongoing anti-depressant effects. fMRI scans completed after treatments showed decreased cerebral blood flow in the amygdala, the part of the brain responsible for driving the stress response. This reduction in blood flow correlated with reduced symptoms of depression.
Authors: Alan K. Davis, Frederick S. Barrett, and Darrick G. May.
Journal of Publication: JAMA Psychiatry.
Date Published: November 4th, 2020.
Overview: Published in November 2020, this study from researchers at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine is the latest investigatory paper with a focus on magic mushrooms and depression. The goal of this study was to investigate the therapeutic potential of psilocybin for patients suffering from a major depressive disorder.
Key Findings: This study involved 27 patients, but only 24 completed the entire treatment schedule and both follow-up assessments. Participants were administered two different dosages of psilocybin (20mg/70kg and 30mg/70kg) during two separate sessions of supportive psychotherapy. Following the two sessions, researchers conducted follow-up assessments with each patient, evaluating depressive symptoms with the latest diagnostic tools.
This study ultimately found that magic mushrooms were an effective treatment for major depressive disorder when combined with supportive psychotherapy.
Taken together, these studies constitute a strong body of evidence for the therapeutic benefits of magic mushrooms in treating depression. Researchers have clearly demonstrated that patients with symptoms of depression who take psilocybin in the right context are likely to experience a reduction in those symptoms, along with other positive benefits.
In the 2017 study conducted by Carhart-Harris and friends, we saw that psilocybin therapy could lead to decreased blood flow in the amygdala, suggesting a possible mechanistic link between psilocybin and reduced depression. In the next section, we’ll take a closer look at research papers exploring the following question: How do magic mushrooms work mechanistically to relieve symptoms of depression?
How Do Magic Mushrooms Help with Depression?
So far, the available research indicates that magic mushrooms can have a lasting impact when it comes to reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Now, researchers are working hard to develop a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms at work when treating depression with magic mushrooms. Understanding how psilocybin works in the body and the brain to reduce depression will allow clinicians and medical professionals to develop stronger treatment protocols that maximize the potential of psilocybin therapy.
Below, we summarize some of the key findings from current research investigating how magic mushrooms help with depression.
Authors: Robin L. Carhart-Harris, David Erritzoe, Tim Williams, James M. Stone, Laurence J. Reed, Alessandro Colasanti, Robin J. Tyacke, Robert Leech, Andrea L. Malizia, Kevin Murphy, Peter Hobden, John Evans, Amanda Feilding, Richard G. Wise, and David J. Nutt.
Journal of Publication: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Date Published: February 7th, 2012.
Overview: This study, conducted by a team of researchers from throughout Europe and the UK, was one of the first to use neuroimaging to understand the transition between normal consciousness and the psychedelic state. The goal of this study was to better understand how psilocybin works in the brain.
Key Findings: This study used neuroimaging techniques to monitor the effects of psilocybin in the brain for a group of 30 patients. The main finding in the study was that psilocybin decreased cerebral blood flow in the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) and decreased positive coupling between the PCC and the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). The size of this decrease was directly correlated to the subjective hallucinogenic effects of psilocybin.
Activity in the mPFC is known to be elevated during depression, so the deactivation of the mPFC by psilocybin seems to indicate a possible mechanism for relieving depression via psilocybin therapy.
Authors: Rainer Kraehenmann, André Schmidt, Karl Fristone, Katrin H. Preller, Erich Seifritz, and Franz X. Vollenweider.
Journal of Publication: NeuroImage: Clinical.
Date Published: August 22nd, 2015.
Overview: At the time of this study, researchers were already aware that psilocybin therapy seemed to reduce blood flow to the amygdala, potentially accounting for the mood-enhancing effects of magic mushrooms. The goal of this study was to understand more about the influence of psilocybin on threat-processing in the brain.
Key Findings: This study was conducted by analyzing neuroimaging data that was collected from patients during a previous experiment. The analysis ultimately showed that psilocybin decreased threat sensitivity in the visual cortex by activating a special type of serotonin receptor that helps reduce activity in the amygdala. This process suppresses the processing of negative stimuli and enhances the processing of positive stimuli, a mechanism which may explain the mood-improving effects of psilocybin therapy.
Authors: Rosalind Watts, Camilla Day, Jacob Krzanowski, David J. Nutt, and Robin L. Carhart-Harris.
Journal of Publication: Journal of Humanistic Psychology.
Date Published: June 19th, 2017.
Overview: While other investigations into the mechanisms by which psilocybin can moderate depression have focused on neuroimaging techniques, this study focuses on how patients experience the therapy and the long-term emotional impacts that result. The goal of this study was to better understand how patients perceive the value of magic mushrooms as a treatment for depression.
Key Findings: This study involved 20 patients who received psilocybin therapy treatments and were interviewed about their experiences. Patients identified two emotional changes that were brought on by the therapy and believed to help with symptoms of depression:
Increased feelings of connectedness – Patients who previously reported feeling disconnected from themselves, others, and the world, said that they felt a stronger overall sense of connectivity after undergoing psilocybin therapy.
Increased feelings of acceptance – Patients who previously reported avoidant and detached behaviors with respect to their own emotions said that they felt a pervasive sense of acceptance of their emotional state and reported decreased avoidant behaviors.
These findings seem to indicate that psilocybin treatment can produce emotional and behavioral changes that combat symptoms of depression. Patients also reported that while other treatments like talk therapy reinforced their feelings of disconnectedness and habit of emotional avoidance, psilocybin therapy seemed to have the opposite effect.
Authors: Leor Roseman, David J. Nutt, and Robin L. Carhart-Harris.
Journal of Publication: Frontiers in Pharmacology.
Date Published: January 17th, 2018.
Overview: Researchers conducting this study believed that the quality of a therapeutic experience involving psilocybin could be highly predictive of long-term mental health improvements. The purpose of this study was to test this belief using data from patients who received psilocybin treatments for treatment-resistant depression.
Key Findings: This study ultimately revealed a strong connection between the quality of psychedelic experiences in the context of psilocybin therapy and the overall impact on mental health. This finding indicates that clinicians should be able to maximize patient outcomes by optimizing their therapy protocols to deliver a more intense, profound, and psychologically transformative experience.
While the exact mechanisms that underlie the reduction of depression symptoms via psilocybin therapy are not totally clear, researchers have identified several factors that play a role.
We’ve identified that psilocybin acts on special serotonin receptors in the brain known as 5-HT2A receptors. We know that this process seems to decrease activity in both the amygdala and the medial prefrontal cortex, which serves to mitigate the fight-or-flight response and make patients less reactive to negative stimuli (and more reactive to positive ones).
We also know that emotional experiences can play a role in reducing depressive symptoms, especially when patients have high-quality experiences that enhance their sense of connectedness and acceptance of their own emotions.
Still, there’s plenty of additional research to be done before we can fully understand why magic mushrooms seem to work so well for treating depression.
Magic Mushrooms and Depression FAQ
Before we wrap up, we just want to quickly address some of the most common questions that come up during conversations about magic mushrooms and depression.
What is treatment-resistant depression?
The most common treatments for depression include antidepressants like Prozac and Zoloft, along with various forms of psychotherapy. These treatments work for many people suffering with depression – but they do not work for everyone.
You may be diagnosed with treatment-resistant depression if your symptoms fail to improve after receiving psychotherapy or taking antidepressants. When this is the case, a clinician may pursue additional treatment options in hopes of mitigating your symptoms and improving your quality of life.
Which magic mushrooms are the best for treating depression?
There are many different species of magic mushrooms that grow in the wild – so which one is the best for treating depression?
In a way, this is the wrong question.
It isn’t the mushrooms themselves that treat the depression – it’s the hallucinogenic compound psilocybin that seems to produce the positive effects. In most studies, patients are administered a purified form of psilocybin either orally or intravenously without ever seeing a mushroom.
Based on our review of the available research, a dosage of 20-30 milligrams of psilocybin per 70kg of body weight seemed to produce good results for most people.
Can magic mushrooms cure depression?
Whether magic mushrooms can cure your depression depends on a variety of factors, such as the underlying causes of your depression, the quality of your psychedelic experiences, the overall quality of your treatment program, and the dosage of psilocybin that you receive.
While there’s no guarantee that taking magic mushrooms will cause your depression to permanently vanish, there’s plenty of evidence that psilocybin therapy often results in the long-term reduction of depressive symptoms and improved quality of life.
Thanks for reading all the way to the end!
Here’s a quick summary of everything we covered:
Researchers have found magic mushrooms to be effective in the treatment of end-of-life depression, major depressive disorder, and treatment-resistant depression.
Researchers are still unsure of how exactly psilocybin works to decrease depressive symptoms, although several mechanisms have been evaluated and proposed.
The effectiveness of psilocybin therapy depends on the quality of the experience, so there’s plenty of room for clinicians to develop strong treatment protocols that enhance therapeutic outcomes.
Based on these findings, we’re tremendously excited for what the future holds and the incredible potential of magic mushrooms to treat depression and other mental disorders. We hope you are too!
What does the future hold for magic mushrooms in Canadian law?
New research has Canadians increasingly interested in the potential medicinal benefits of magic mushrooms and their active ingredient, the hallucinogenic compound psilocybin. Recent studies indicate that taking magic mushrooms under the right conditions can produce positive personality changes, help treat addictions, and reduce (or even eliminate) symptoms of depression.
We know millions of Canadians are struggling with depression and addictions, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, so what’s preventing more Canadians from taking advantage of the potential benefits of magic mushrooms? For many, it’s the relationship between magic mushrooms and Canadian law.
The legal status of magic mushrooms in Canada is going through a period of intense change, but don’t worry if you’re having trouble keeping up – we’ve got you covered.
This article will explain everything you need to know about magic mushrooms and Canadian law. We’ll start with a primer on the history of magic mushroom laws in Canada, review the current legal status of magic mushrooms in Canadian law, then look into the future and try and predict how Canada will be regulating magic mushrooms in the years and decades to come.
Note: We have to put a disclaimer here and let you know that we’re not your lawyer and this article is not legal advice. If you need legal advice, get a lawyer.
A History of Magic Mushroom Laws in Canada
Very few Canadians had ever heard of magic mushrooms before 1957, when Life Magazine published an article called “Great Adventures III: Seeking the Magic Mushroom” by Robert Gordon Wasson, an amateur mycologist.
In the article, Wasson described his experience travelling to Oaxaca, Mexico and taking magic mushrooms with Mexico’s indigenous people known as the Mazatec. He claimed to be “the first white man in recorded history to eat the divine mushrooms”.
The article served as a roadmap that would lead countless Canadians, Americans, and Europeans to Mexico in the 1960s, in pursuit of the same hallucinogenic and spiritual experiences that Wasson had described.
After these tourists returned home, they began to recognize pasture mushrooms in the local environment that were similar to those they encountered in Mexico – as it turns out, mushrooms with hallucinogenic properties occur naturally on every continent of the world.
Magic mushrooms began to be used in Canada in the mid-1960s. The first criminal seizure of magic mushrooms took place in Vancouver in 1965, when RCMP officers confiscated psilocybin-containing liberty cap mushrooms from a group of students at the University of British Columbia.
Magic mushrooms continued to grow in popularity through the hippie movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Liberty cap mushrooms grew abundantly in the pastures, meadows, and fields of British Columbia, attracting thousands of pickers from across the country.
Pickers would arrive in autumn when the mushrooms were in season, establishing tent cities around the most productive areas and often committing petty crimes like trespassing or property damage to access liberty caps growing on private land. Magic mushrooms were still technically legal in Canada, but the practices around accessing the mushrooms were often illegal or disruptive to the community.
While disruptive mushroom pickers may have created problems for local police, they may not have influenced the development of Canadian Law as much as a single document from the United Nations: the Convention on Psychotropic Substances, 1971. This was an International treaty where 71 states agreed to participate in a worldwide program to limit the availability of psychotropic substances to the general public and restrict the use of psychotropics to medicinal and scientific settings.
The 1971 Convention listed psilocybin as a Schedule I drug, the most restrictive designation possible. Schedule I drugs were characterized as having a high potential for abuse and no known therapeutic value, a description that no longer seems to suit magic mushrooms. Ultimately, the convention on psychotropic substances influenced how Canada, as well as other countries, wrote laws to govern the use of psychotropics. In many cases, complying with the convention meant banning psychotropic substances like magic mushrooms entirely, often without complete knowledge of their effects – either positive or negative.
Predictably, magic mushrooms were prohibited in Canada in 1974, by their addition to the Food and Drug Act – sort of. In fact, the government of Canada added the compound Psilocybin to the Food and Drug Act – not the mushrooms themselves (this becomes important later). Between 1974 and 1979, approximately 350 individuals were convicted under the Food and Drug Act for possessing magic mushrooms.
Then, in 1979, the British Columbia Court of Appeals ruled that possession of magic mushrooms in their natural state (freshly picked and not dehydrated) did not constitute possession of psilocybin. For three years, between 1979 and 1982, magic mushrooms were completely legal in Canada and pickers rejoiced.
But their joy was short-lived, as a 1982 decision from the Canadian Supreme Court would overrule the B.C. Court of Appeals decision, stating that possession of magic mushrooms in their raw form did actually constitute possession of psilocybin. Magic mushrooms were illegal in Canada once again and would remain illegal for decades to follow.
Magic Mushrooms in Canada: What Does the Law Say Today?
Magic mushrooms are still under prohibition in Canada, although recent legislative changes indicate that this could change in the near future. Still, our review of magic mushrooms and Canadian law would be incomplete without a thorough analysis of how mushrooms and psilocybin are regulated in Canada today.
Here’s everything you need to know.
Magic Mushrooms are Regulated Under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
Magic mushrooms are not explicitly mentioned in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA). However, Psilocybin, the active ingredient in mushrooms, belongs to the list of Schedule III controlled substances which includes other recognized psychotropics, such as:
Methylphenidate (Ritalin/Concerta, used to treat ADHD)
Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)
Mescaline (Hallucinogenic, occurs naturally in Peyote cactus)
Dimethyltryptamine (DMT, a hallucinogenic compound produced by the human brain and associated with dreaming)
Possession of magic mushrooms in their natural state is still considered to constitute possession of psilocybin. The CDSA even states that any reference it makes to a controlled substance also includes a reference to any substance containing the controlled substance.
Thus, all of the laws which apply to Schedule III controlled substances may be applied to psilocybin itself or to magic mushrooms in any form that contain psilocybin
Possession of Magic Mushrooms is Regulated in Canada
The CDSA prohibits anyone in Canada from possessing psilocybin or magic mushrooms except as authorized under Canadian law. Medical practitioners such as doctors, lawyers, or veterinarians, may be authorized under the regulations to prescribe psilocybin treatments to their patients.
Patients seeking a prescription for magic mushrooms from a practitioner are required by law to disclose any other acquisitions of drugs in Schedule I, II, III, or IV, along with any prescriptions received for such substances in the past 30 days.
Selling of Magic Mushrooms is Regulated in Canada
The CDSA prohibits anyone from possessing magic mushrooms for the purpose of trafficking them to others.
Importing/Exporting Magic Mushrooms is Regulated in Canada
The CDSA prohibits anyone from importing or exporting magic mushrooms except as authorized under Canadian regulations.
Growing Magic Mushrooms is Regulated in Canada
The CDSA prohibits anyone from producing magic mushrooms in Canada.
How Are Magic Mushroom Laws Enforced in Canada?
The general trend in Canada is that enforcement of drug crimes is declining. The number of yearly arrests for drug-related offences has dramatically dropped by 30% in the last 5 years, as documented by Statistics Canada.
In 2016, police made a total of 95,417 arrests in Canada for drug-related offences, 46% of which were for cannabis possession.
In 2017, the total number of arrestsfell to 90,625 and just 42% were for cannabis possession.
In 2018, the total number of arrests fell again, this time to 84.927, driven in part by the legalization of cannabis in October same year. Still, cannabis-related offences accounted for 43% of all arrests.
There are many other promising developments in these areas, and arrests for possession rarely result in any major penalties for those with clean criminal records.
As a result of these considerations, the courts tend to show leniency to first-time offenders with a clear record, especially in cases of simple possession where the penalty for a first-offence is sometimes just a fine of $250-500.
Magic Mushrooms and Canadian Law: Indications of a Bright Future
Historically, the courts haven’t always agreed on whether magic mushrooms should be illegal in Canada.
What’s also clear is that the Canadian lawmakers who pushed for prohibition were unaware of the medicinal benefits of psilocybin that have been uncovered by modern research into psychedelic substances.
But now that those benefits are coming to the surface, we’re seeing our government and our courts change their stance on magic mushrooms. Just like when cannabis was legalized, we’re starting to see “soft changes” in how magic mushrooms are regulated that could ultimately lead to decriminalization and more widespread usage in the future.
Below, we highlight some of the critical milestones that have been reached in the past five years for the legal status of magic mushrooms in Canada.
Magic Mushrooms are Openly Sold Online
Despite their questionable legal status, magic mushrooms are openly sold online in Canada. Digital dispensaries sell a variety of shroom products to Canadians over 19 years of age, with or without a medical prescription. The authorities know about these dispensaries but have chosen to focus their limited resources on criminal activities involving more harmful drugs.
Vancouver City Council Killed Motion to Crack Down on Psilocybin Sales
The lack of political will to prosecute Canadians for magic mushrooms has never been more clearly evident than it was on September 11th, 2019, in a meeting of the Vancouver city council.
This was when Councillor Melissa De Genova filed a motion with the title: “Deterring and Preventing the Distribution and Sale of Psilocybin Mushrooms and/or Other Illicit or Controlled Drugs Unlawfully Sold in the City of Vancouver”.
Breaking the fourth wall here for a moment, I can honestly say that I have never witnessed any occurrence of a government body who introduced a motion on whether or not it should enforce the de facto laws of the land. Why should politicians need to file a motion that mandates police to do their job? Aren’t the police already mandated to do their job?
The truth is that the police are too busy dealing with the impacts of hard drugs like opioids to bother chasing people around for magic mushrooms, especially now that they’ve been associated with positive health benefits for so many people.
While the practice of cultivating magic mushrooms is technically illegal, magic mushroom spores and growing kits may be purchased in Canada, both in stores and online. It is not explicitly legal to purchase these kits, but nowhere is it prohibited and the kits themselves do not contain any psilocybin.
It may be illegal under 7.1(1) of the CDSA to sell mushroom growing kits, as they will be used to produce a controlled substance, however, the sale of mushroom kits is a common and generally tolerated practice.
Magic Mushrooms Approved for Palliative Patients
In April of 2020, four Canadians in palliative care with terminal illnesses petitioned the Canadian Health Ministry for a legal exemption that would allow them to use magic mushrooms to relieve the depression and anxiety associated with dying.
On August 4th, it was revealed that their request had been granted and they would be the first four people to legally use magic mushrooms in Canada since the Supreme Court decision of 1982, a period of 28 years. Since then, at least 7 other legal exemptions have been awarded for psilocybin use, including at least 1 exemption for a non-palliative case.
Ministry of Health Supports Research into Psychotropics
At the beginning of this article, we talked about some of the research that has uncovered new benefits of magic mushrooms that were previously not known.
The promising results obtained in these studies have led Health Canada to hand out more legal exemptions to health professionals who wish to conduct research and develop therapies involving psilocybin.
In December 2020, Health Canada granted 16 exemptions to a selection of social workers and medical professionals. This gave them permission to possess and use psilocybin themselves, without the risk of legal consequences, for the purpose of developing new treatment protocols for patients.
Growing Magic Mushrooms Could Soon Be Legal for Medicinal Purposes
In the year 2000, the Ontario Court of Appeals determined that Canada’s anti-cannabis laws were unconstitutional because they did not provide an exemption for medical use.
This, the court said, violated the individual’s right to “life, liberty, and security of the person” as outlined in Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The legal precedent established here is essentially that the government shouldn’t prohibit a private citizen from being prescribed a medicine that can improve their quality of life. This designation might not have applied to magic mushrooms six or seven years ago, but with the new research and developments we’re seeing, it sure seems to apply today.
If precedent holds, it could mean that Canadians have a constitutional right to access medicinal psilocybin or even to grow it for personal use.
Magic Mushrooms and Canadian Law: What’s Next?
It appears that magical mushrooms are on the same path to legality that cannabis started on in 2001.
While magic mushrooms are still technically illegal, individuals are rarely prosecuted for simple possession and penalties for first-time offenders usually consist of a fine that costs less than a traffic ticket.
The general trend of drug enforcement is on the decline and government bodies like the Vancouver City Council have voted not to ramp up enforcement activities against psilocybin dispensaries, both online and in the city.
It’s also important to look at what’s happening across the border. Magic mushrooms are still illegal the federal level in the United States, but simple possession has already been decriminalized in places like:
Ann Arbor, Michigan,
Santa Cruz, California,
Magic mushrooms will be legal for use in supervised clinical settings in Oregon as of February, 2021.
In the future, we expect to see more legal exemptions for magic mushroom usage, both for medical professionals who wish to conduct studies and develop treatments and for private individuals who wish to enjoy the health benefits of psilocybin.
More research is now being conducted into the health benefits of magic mushrooms than at any other time in our history. We believe this research will only yield additional evidence of the health benefits of magic mushrooms. As this body of evidence continues to grow, Canadians who claim the constitutional right to access medical psilocybin will start having their voices heard.
If all of the above holds true, the question isn’t “if” magic mushrooms will be legal in Canada one day – but “when?” and “how?”.
One path to legality involves the Federal government choosing to remove psilocybin from the list of Schedule III substances. This could depend very much on how Canadians vote: while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has stated that he won’t consider decriminalizing drugs besides cannabis while he is in office, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh has publicly stated his intention to decriminalize all illegal drugs if elected.
The other path is a successful constitutional challenge, alleging that Canadians have the right to grow and possess magic mushrooms for medical purposes. If we collectively assert our rights to life, liberty, and security of the person, our government should recognize that access to beneficial medicine, including psilocybin, is protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
We receive a lot of emails from our customers asking us about how they should take magic mushrooms to get the best experience:
“What should I eat or drink with them?”
“Should I take them alone or in a group?”
“Are magic mushrooms better inside or outside?”
“Which shrooms give the best trip?” The list goes on. We try our best to give responsible advice and help our customers find the answers to their questions, but there is a really simple truth behind all of it. In fact, we could answer all of these questions (and 100 more) with the same, two-word answer. It depends. You might be rolling your eyes right now, but it’s the truth. The usage of psychedelic mushrooms (often referred to as “magic mushrooms”, or simply “shrooms,”) dates back thousands of years, in cultures as diverse and distinct as the mushrooms themselves. They’ve been used in shamanic ceremonies, vision quests, and ritual rites of passage. More recently (in the past 50 or so years), we’ve seen magic mushrooms enter into the mainstream and find a home in the world of recreational drugs. At the end of the day, there are many different ways that magic mushrooms can be used and enjoyed – whether for recreation, meditation, spiritual growth, with friends or alone. In this guide, we’ve provided you with some general tips – golden rules on how to prepare for your trip, and what to do if it takes a bad turn. We’ve also provided some tips for different scenarios in which you might want to use shrooms, and how to get the most out of them. We hope you find it helpful!
How to Use This Guide
We don’t intend for this entire post to be read in one sitting (although you’re welcome to do that if you’d like!) But rather, as a reference for budding psychonauts to be able to return to, depending on the type of experience they’re trying to create. You will never experience everything magic mushrooms have to offer you in one experience, so we’ve selected a handful of the most common and popular use cases people ask us about, and written little mini-guides for each of them. At the top of this post, you’ll see a Table of Contents, with links to the relevant sections of the guide. We strongly recommend everyone read “Prepare Yourself” and “What to Do if your Trip Goes Dark,” and aside from that just pick the section that seems most relevant to you and the kind of trip you’re looking to have. Enjoy! And remember to bookmark this guide so you can refer back to it easily for when you plan your next psychedelic adventure! Prepare Yourself No matter what kind of trip you’re looking to have, there are some general best practices that should always be observed. These are basic tips more-or-less designed to help you maximize the highs and minimize the lows of your trip by preparing a little beforehand. Let’s get into them: Tip #1: Eat a Light Meal
The psilocybin and other psychoactive components of the mushroom are absorbed through the lining of your stomach as your body’s natural acids break them down in the process of digestion. Roughly speaking, the emptier your stomach is as you digest the shrooms, the more rapidly and intensely you will feel the effects. If you’ve just finished a huge Thanksgiving feast, it’s possible your body will process the mushrooms and fully digest them without even absorbing the psychoactive chemicals. This would completely defeat the purpose. At the same time, if you’re eating the mushrooms on an empty stomach, your body has nothing to process except the shrooms (which possess very little in the way of conventional nutrients), and it can cause extreme nausea, light-headedness, and general malaise (not to mention you might just be hangry), all of which can make the trip unpleasant. For that reason, we recommend “laying down a base” of some light and easily digested food (vegetables, fibres, simple fats and proteins) before taking the mushrooms. Don’t eat too much, but don’t starve yourself, either. Tip #2: Nausea is Normal
An unfortunate and almost universal side effect of consuming magic mushrooms is the experience of nausea. For those who aren’t accustomed to the experience (and even veteran psychonauts at times,) this can be an extremely unpleasant and off-putting experience. The key thing to remember is that the sensation of nausea is a completely normal and natural part of the experience. The psychoactive components of the mushrooms are being rightly recognized by your body as something foreign, and potentially unwanted. Your body doesn’t know you’re trying to trip, and it’s worried you just picked up some shrooms off the ground without knowing what effects they’d have. For this reason, your body’s natural immune-defence mechanisms kick in and will make you feel nauseous (faint, clammy, and like you want to throw up.) Your body is saying “Hey! Those mushrooms you just ate pack a little punch, maybe we should just throw them up and be done with it!” This experience will be further aggravated if you took the mushrooms on an empty stomach (see tip #1), or took a much larger dose than you were ready for (see tip #3.) Assuming you’ve had a decent meal and taken a responsible dosage, a part of your experience will be coming to terms with and working through that sensation of nausea. Close your eyes, take deep breaths, drink water. Find your center, and remind your body that this is something you did on purpose. You may have to suppress the urge to throw-up or feel faint, but just stay calm and breathe through it. The feelings will eventually pass (your body will give up on the fight – “Okay, boss! Your call, but don’t say I didn’t warn you… we’re in for a ride!”) Tip #3: Practice Moderation
This is probably the most important, and most serious of all the tips. Magic mushrooms are an incredibly powerful psychoactive substance, and should not be taken lightly. There are so many stories of people who have underestimated the potency of shrooms and paid the price. Eminem even wrote a song about it. You don’t want to be one of those stories, and neither do we, so pace yourself! If it’s your first time doing magic mushrooms, we recommend starting off with a 1-1.5g dose of a “friendlier” shroom (more on that later), such as Golden Teachers. Does this mean the experience might be underwhelming, and you don’t trip as much as you wanted to? Yes! Does it mean that you won’t end up having a terrible experience and never wanting to do them again? Also Yes! And frankly, we would much prefer the first situation to the second, and I’m sure you would, too. Once you’re familiar with magic mushrooms, you can look to start expanding from there – more intense shrooms, larger doses, etc. Again, we recommend doing this gradually. The psychedelic trip from mushrooms can be extremely powerful, and the difference between a one-gram dose and a three-gram dose can be night and day. Be patient. You can always take more, but you can’t take less (without throwing them up anyway, and we don’t want that.) Respect the shrooms. They will work (if you got them from a reputable supplier.) Don’t go overboard. It is one thousand times better to have a mediocre experience than a bad one. Take our word for it. You’ll thank us later. Tip #4: Buddy System No matter who you are, where you are, or how experienced you are with shrooms or other psychedelics, this is a golden rule which should always be observed. Any time you take magic mushrooms, you should have someone you know and trust who knows about it. It could be a sober friend who’s hanging out with you (this is the safest option,) a buddy you’re taking them with, or at the very least, someone who knows where you are, when you’re taking them and can check in with you. Mushroom trips can be, well, a trip. Make sure you’ve got someone who will be available to talk to you if you feel like you need to. Tip #5: Don’t Mix With Other Substances
It is unwise to mix psychedelic mushrooms with any other intoxicating substance (alcohol, weed, or any other drug.) Tip #6: Make Sure You Have Time Magic mushrooms, depending on dosage, strain, and personal biology can take 3-8 hours to run their course. Make sure you have the time set aside for it; there’s no turning back on your strap in, so clear your calendar beforehand.
What to Do if Your Trip Goes Dark
I’m sure you have heard stories about people on magic mushrooms who’ve had “bad trips.” Magic mushrooms and other psychedelics can be powerful gateways to opening up different and sometimes unpredictable parts of our subconscious. Without diving too much into the science behind it (that’s a subject we’ll cover on another day,) clinical studies have suggested that psilocybin (the psychoactive ingredient in many magic mushrooms,) when it is broken down into psilocin, chemically resembles serotonin, which your body produces naturally. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter linked with (among many other things) your overall mood and level of happiness. This is just a really fancy way of saying that magic mushrooms can affect your mood. Often extremely positively (euphoria, love, openness, etc. are some of the most commonly reported side effects,) but sometimes negatively (mood swings, anxiety, confusion and paranoia.) Although a shroom trip is sometimes likened to a rollercoaster ride with peaks and valleys, and you can’t necessarily control every minute detail of your experience, there are certain steps you can take to help minimize the lows and maximize the highs. Tip #1: Follow our general tips and tricks!
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Preparing properly for your trip and taking the appropriate steps beforehand goes a long way to ensuring a good experience. Tip #2: Have a Happy Place
Happy Place. Literally, or figuratively, can help a lot. If you’re doing mushrooms with friends, one idea is to have a “good vibes” room. You will agree beforehand that a certain room is designated specifically for good vibes. Play happy music, have it nicely lit, and have that be a dedicated space where people can go if they want to be uplifted. This way, if you’re starting to feel overwhelmed with negativity, you can go there a pick-me-up! If you’re taking them by yourself or on a hike, make sure you have a strategy to carve out a similar space for yourself. Find a sunny clearing, or put on some cheerful music (have your playlist prepared beforehand.) This advice may sound a little silly, but again – just trust us: you’ll thank us later. Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Tip #3: It’s Not Forever!
Some users of mushrooms report anxiety associated with the concern that they’re going to be high forever. It might sound ridiculous as you read this now, but it can be a very real concern that can cause very real anxiety attacks. Remind yourself, and have your friends be ready to remind you in case you forget: this isn’t going to last forever – so enjoy it while it lasts! You will come back to normal, the psilocybin will run its course through your body, and this trip will be a memory tomorrow. Have faith in that. You’re not the first person to do mushrooms, and you’re not the first one to worry they’d last forever. Tip #4: Close your Eyes and Breathe
Sometimes the sensation of anxiety is much more physical than mental in nature. The steps that are often recommended for dealing with anxiety in day-to-day life (meditating, deep breathing, relaxing your muscles,) also apply to magic mushroom trips. Often, if you find yourself feeling anxious or agitated, the best first step is to sit down somewhere comfortable, close your eyes, and focus on your own breath as you inhale and exhale slowly and deliberately. That’s it! We hope you found some of this information helpful, and if you have any questions or feedback, we invite you to contact us directly at [contact email], or reach out on Instagram. If you haven’t already, click below to subscribe to our newsletter, where we’ll keep you updated on all of our sales and promotions, as well as when new blog content is published. Until then, Happy Tripping!
Your First Magic Mushroom Trip
So you’re trying magic mushrooms for the first time – congratulations on taking this step! There are definitely some important things to keep in mind:
Read (and re-read) all of the “Planning for Success” and “What to Do if your Trip Goes Dark” tips and follow them to the letter
Start with a small dosage of 1-1.5 grams. You won’t have a completely wild trip this way, but you can always do it again another time, and it is 1000x better to have an underwhelming experience than an overwhelming one your first time.
For your first trip especially, we recommend doing it with friends. Mushrooms can make you feel funny things, and it is often helpful if you have someone with you (especially someone who has done them before) to talk about it.
Stay calm. Who knows where the shrooms will take you – but try to stay calm. Making an effort to keep yourself level will make the overall trip much more enjoyable.
Most importantly: have fun! Enjoy the experience. Mushrooms can unlock so much of the hidden beauty in yourself and the world around you. Enjoy yourself – and let us know how it goes!
The Perfect Hike on Magic Mushrooms
Magic mushrooms and hikes in nature go together like peanut butter and jelly. One of the beautiful and frequently reported effects of magic mushroom use is a deepened appreciation for the natural world around us. This can manifest in many different ways – the simplest way to put it is that people will often see the beauty in everyday things that they’d never noticed before. The patterns of visual hallucinations dance together with nature’s inherent beauty, and you’ll find yourself looking at the leaf for five minutes wondering how you’d never noticed how amazing they are before. These realizations often stay with you long after the high subsides. Nature was always that amazing! Mushrooms just helped you to see it. We do have some tips for enjoying hikes though:
Plan a long hike, or one where you can make comfortable stops to chill for a bit. Your high will last 3-8 hours; if you’ve only got a 30 minute walk planned, you’ll need to go at a very slow pace. Try to find somewhere you can explore for hours.
Go with friends, especially if you’re a novice mushroom user or if the trails present any danger or difficulty. Remember the buddy system!
Pick a safe trail. Actually, don’t go to any trails that present real danger. That seems like a dumb idea.
Take time to stop and wonder. The world is beautiful, but you’ve got to stop to smell the roses.
Take mushrooms when you get there. No driving and mushrooms ever. Take the shrooms when you’ve arrived at your destination, and make sure you have enough time for them to run their course before you have to drive again.
Try to find a less crowded hike, and ideally one with no (or very few) children. Being forced to interact with a stranger’s kids while in shrooms is not ideal. Take our word for it.
Last tip, as always: enjoy! You’re in for a treat, and we’re excited for you!
Enjoying Magic Mushrooms with Your Friends
Magic Mushrooms can be a blast when taken with a group of friends. Sometimes your trip will be spiritual, sometimes a little lighter. Sometimes it’s funny and full of giggles, sometimes it’s more serious. Sometimes it’s happy, and sometimes it’s sad. Often, it’ll go through phases of lightness and darkness. This can be a really amazing and powerful experience to share with a close group of friends, and will often result in new levels of honesty and openness that will positively impact and strengthen your relationship forever. Here are some quick tips:
Do it with close friends. The closer you are, the better it will be. Mushrooms can sometimes bring to the surface buried vulnerabilities – and it’s easier with friends than with strangers to lean into that.
If someone in the group is sober, make sure they know what the rest of you are up to. It will be less weird for everyone, trust us.
Do it somewhere safe. This goes for any mushroom trip – but make sure you’re somewhere that everyone feels comfortable.
If someone wants space, respect that. Sometimes, mushrooms make us a little more introverted for a bit. If your friend wants some space to be alone with their thoughts for a bit, respect their desire for space – but make sure they know you’re there for them if they need you.
Be ready to help out. Sometimes mushroom trips have highs and lows. If someone seems like they’re having a bad time (different than if they need space), chip in together to cheer them up and remind them you’re in it together. Things will start looking up for them again quickly.
Don’t mix with other substances. I know we mentioned it before, but really guys – magic mushrooms are sacred, and they are powerful. They should be treated with reverence and respect – and trust us: you’re not going to need anything else. The mushrooms will be enough.
Using Magic Mushrooms By Yourself
Magic mushrooms, when used alone, can be a powerful tool for introspection and can be genuinely transformative. Mushrooms will open you up to new ideas in ways that stick with you for a long time. There have been hundreds of studies that indicate how incredibly powerful these little shrooms can be in the treatment of depression, anxiety, PTSD and so much more. Mushroom trips can also be pretty dark, and that can be kind of scary alone. For that reason, we don’t recommend using alone for first-timers. As the author of this article, however, I can tell you with absolute certainty that the most impactful and powerful trips I’ve had have been solo. And we do have some tips:
Buddy System! Even if you’re alone, make sure someone you know and trust knows what you’re doing, where you are, and when you’re planning to take them. You can ask them to check in with you periodically, or just keep their phone on them in case you need to call. This is a golden rule and should always be followed.
Set an intention. Often, when mushrooms are taken alone, it’s done to provide insight into a specific issue or theme in one’s life. It can be useful to set an intention going into the trip – more or less, what you’re trying to get out of it. Maybe you want insight into how you relate to other people. It could be about your job, or your girlfriend. It could be about the nature and purpose of your life. But if you go into the trip with an intention in mind, and hold it in your mind, they will work around that idea.
Make playlists. Be creative and have fun with it. Make some playlists for yourself to listen to, possibly inspired by the intention you set for yourself in the previous tip. Or maybe you just want to listen to Jimi’s solo on Voodoo Child. Either way, it’s nice to have some music lined up for yourself.
Meditate. There are many different kinds of meditation, but mindfulness meditation can be especially insightful while on magic mushrooms. You can do it alone or with a guided meditation app or video. Again, just trust us on this and you’ll thank us later.
Remain calm. You might, at various points in your trip, find yourself feeling overwhelmed. It’s natural, and it’s a part of the process. Get comfortable, put on a familiar song, practice deep breathing and meditation and find your centre. You can control your experience, even though sometimes you feel you can’t.
Tell us about it! Send us an email or DM about your experience – we love hearing about different people’s stories, and we’d love to hear yours.
Magic Mushrooms as Therapy
There are a number of different studies (it seems a new one pops up every week) that talk about the incredible potential for psychedelic mushrooms in therapy. There are promising studies that showcase their potential in the treatment of a number of different psychological disorders. If your intentions behind using magic mushrooms are therapeutic in nature, we ask you to please consult a therapist first. You can find licensed therapists who incorporate psychedelics into their treatments, and you should absolutely find one and speak with them first before using magic mushrooms for the treatment of clinical issues. We won’t recommend anything further here, as that is the cardinal rule for magic mushrooms as therapy.
Well, that’s it! Thank you for taking the time to read this article (or the parts of it that were relevant to you), and remember to bookmark it for future reference. If you have any feedback, feel free to let us know at [email/insta]. Also, if you found it helpful, feel free to share this with your friends via our social links below. Until next time, happy tripping!
So you want to try microdosing magic mushrooms after reading about its many benefits but you don’t know where to start? Well, you’ve come to the right place! And if you haven’t read about the benefits of microdosing magic mushrooms, then read our blog on how it can change your life for the better.
As defined microdosing is consuming sub-perceptual-unnoticeable-amounts of psychedelic substance. So the goal of microdosing is not to have a large noticeable change in mood or mindset, nor are you supposed to have any visual experiences that you get with a normal mushroom dose.
Dr. Fardiman recommends taking a microdose every three days and in the morning. The reason being it will give you the most energy when you need it the most and because mushrooms could interfere with sleep. However, there are many schedules that you can follow and you just have to experiment to figure out which one works best for you with your daily routines. The second schedule is for the slightly ‘experienced’ person, and that is to take a microdose every weekday (e.g. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday etc.). Specifically, this is perfect for those that want to test microdosing for potential improvements at work. However, it’s important to note that microdosing too often and without a break can produce tolerance and eventually, cause diminishing returns. For this reason, Dr. Fardiman suggests leaving a couple days between each dose. The third schedule is taking a microdose every other day, which amounts to 3-4 times a week.
It’s important to take notes on how you feel during this time so you can track the short-term effects as well as the long-term effects. This can also be used to determine whether you need to change up your schedule or your dosage. Another piece of advice is to potentially take a day off of work or any other pressing responsibilities that you may have. This will give you time to observe and notice any unusual effects before proceeding in a more public environment.
What’s the Best Form to Microdose?
The potency of magic mushrooms vary resulting in an inconsistent psilocybin microdosing experience. On average, the caps of the mushrooms are slightly more potent than the stems as they carry more psilocybin. To combat this inconsistency, the best way to microdose mushrooms is in a powder form. You can do this by grinding dried mushrooms into a fine powder. Remember to weigh the microdose amount before they are turned into a powder. We recommend using an electronic scale for the accurate results. There are a variety of ways to distribute the microdoses for easier ingesting. The first being mushrooms capsules. To do this, you’ll need a capsule filler which allows you to fill many capsules at the same time. The second method is to use micro scoops. Just place your powder in a small container and use a small scoop to measure out your doses.
There are many other ways to microdose besides the pill form. Another popular method is making a mushroom tea with your microdose. It’s easy to make and can be very soothing, especially when mixed with honey.
High-quality products – Here at Shroom Bros, we search far and wide for quality mushroom products. We have high standards and only accept the best to sell on our website. Our specialists know exactly what to look for to get you the best stuff out there. Some of the exclusive areas our mushroom products come from include: Central America, Brazil, Cambodia, Indonesia, and right here in Canada.
Quality control – At Shroom Bros, we go through several steps to make sure that the products you receive are of the highest quality. First, we wear safety gear such as sterile gloves while handling all products. Next, sanitizing shrooms is another important part of our process. While we love our psilocybin trips as well, the fungi that can grow on magic mushrooms is something you actually don’t want! Lastly, you will know that the products you have received from us are sterile because of our air-sealed and tamper-proof packaging. Be sure to reach out to us if your package appears to have been tampered with upon delivery!
Discreet packaging – We understand your need for privacy so we deliver all our packages in discreet packaging. Only the items inside your plain envelope/box will have our branded ‘Shroom Bros’ envelopes inside with our wonderful magic mushroom products. We will also have a discreet return address on the outside of your package. You don’t have to worry about nosy landlords, roommates or family members asking you about what goodies you just received!
Various payment forms accepted – For your convenience, we accept e-transfer, bitcoin or ethereum payments. Once your payment has been approved and received (this usually takes up to 24 hours on weekdays and 48 hours on weekends) we will send out your package with your magic mushrooms right away. These payment forms also further ensure your privacy versus other forms of online payment such as interac transfer or credit card payment.
Fast delivery – We know you want your magic mushrooms fast! This is why we ship all of our packages via Canada Post Priority shipping to reach you within 1-3 business days. If you place your order before 1pm PST Monday-Friday, we will ship your package out the same day! We also offer low shipping rates or shipping is even free for orders over $150. And remember, it’s safer to receive your magic mushrooms online than to go and meet your ‘shrooms guy’. So sit back, relax, and before you know it, your high-quality Shroom Bros products will arrive on your doorstep!
Microdosing mushrooms have rapidly become mainstream in the last couple of years. The topic of psychedelics has been around as late as the 1905s, but it was only until 2011 that it gained a newfound interest. Dr. James Fardiman wrote The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys, which link microdosing with various benefits and normalized the practice to the mainstream public. With cities decriminalizing mushrooms, stories on various Silicon Valley tech execs swearing by this practice to boost creativity and productivity, and many other people who have found that it changed their life, it’s not hard to see why it’s gaining popularity.
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