What are Functional Mushrooms?
When you hear the term functional mushroom, people aren't talking about the white buttons you can find and buy at your local grocery store. They are usually referring to the more rare mushrooms that grow in dense forests, on fallen logs, or even high on the Himalayan plateau on the head of a caterpillar.
These types of mushrooms are known to be packed with antioxidants and nutritional value, with a plethora of health claims for each.
These mushrooms have been used for hundreds of years due to their medicinal properties and superfood benefits. Their rise in popularity is thanks to the intensive research conducted over the years and the increased demand for natural solutions to health.
What Are the Health Benefits of Mushrooms?
Research has shown that eating certain functional mushrooms can help to strengthen immune systems, so your body is better able to ward off illnesses. Some can also be used as a dietary option that is low in calories and high in protein which is great for those who feel as if they are lacking these in their diet, in addition to providing multiple vitamins and essential minerals.
What Mushrooms Are Considered
With the extensive range of functional mushrooms on the market, it can be hard to navigate and find the one that is truly right for you or your product. We have compiled a list below of some of the more popular and beneficial mushrooms on the market:
This mushroom got its name from its fluffy mane-like appearance. Lion's Mane mushroom was traditionally used by Buddhist monks to help focus while meditating.
Supplementing with this mushroom is said to help improve focus and boost your concentration levels and memory.
Cordyceps is another popular mushroom that can be found within worldwide medicine. Cordyceps is a parasitic mushroom that grows on a living host. Cordyceps sinensisspecifically can be found growing on the head of a caterpillar in the Tibetan high plateau.
This mushroom has been used in China for thousands of years by royal and elite families as a tonic for energy, vitality, endurance, and to support a healthy immune system. Most commonly, cordyceps are used to help with energy levels which is why it can be found in natural pre-workout formulas. Using this mushroom as a daily supplement could help lengthen stamina endurance.
Reishi, also known as lingzhi in China, has been an integral part of Chinese medicine for over 2,000 years and was named for longevity and spirituality.
Reishi is known as an adaptogen, a substance in herbal medicine that is claimed to help the body adapt to stress, and works to normalize body processes. Reishi is most commonly used to support healthy and restful sleep, reduce stress, and to boost the immune system.
Chaga is one of the richest antioxidant mushrooms in nature and has been claimed by some to have anti-inflammatory benefits. Having a healthy intake of these antioxidants could help strengthen your immune system.
A fun fact about Chaga is that it was used as a coffee ration back in World War II due to its robust flavor and color. This mushroom generally takes 15 to 20 years to reach full maturity where benefits can be best utilized.
The turkey tail mushroom is a polypore, meaning that the meat, or portion of the mushroom you'd want to consume, grows on its underside. In the wild, it can be found growing on dead fallen trees.
Turkey tail is commonly used in cooking and teas. It contains prebiotics and antioxidants that help with the digestive system.
Welcome to the world of microdosing – the act of consuming small amounts of a psychedelic substance. Many individuals who have integrated microdosing psilocybin mushrooms into their weekly routine report higher levels of creativity, more energy, increased focus, and improved relational skills. Some enthusiasts also report that microdosing psilocybin helps to heighten spiritual awareness and enhance their senses.
Even addictions, such as smoking, can be overcome with psilocybin. Researchers at Johns Hopkins reported an 80 percent abstinence rate among a group of longtime smokers who took psilocybin as part of their cognitive behavioral therapy.
Aside from psychological issues, mushrooms have been found to be “comparable to or more efficacious than most conventional medications” in treating cluster headaches. Many people have experienced extended periods of remission after taking them.
THE HISTORY OF MICRODOSING
While the modern history of psychedelics reaches back to the 1950s, interest in microdosing saw a major revitalization with the publishing of Dr. James Fadiman’s “The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys” in 2011.
The book explores microdosing as a subculture of psychedelic use. it awakened the curiosity and imaginations of millions of people.
Then came the podcast interview by Fadiman with Tim Ferriss in March of 2015.
Ferriss, who rose to fame after authoring the bestseller, The 4-Hour Work Week, has an enormous audience of individuals interested in entrepreneurship, “biohacking,” self-experimentation, psychology, spirituality, and other subjects that predispose them to an interest in the benefits of microdosing.
Soon after its air date, listeners of Ferriss’ podcast were not only starting to experiment with microdosing; they were discussing it with their own personal networks. Consequently, journalists began writing articles about microdosing, leading to even greater awareness and interest.
Now, tens of thousands of people around the globe are being turned on to microdosing – whether it’s for treating mental health problems, boosting creativity, or giving entrepreneurs new directions.
Please also read “How to Change Your Mind” by Micheal Pollen for more insight into psychedelic journeys and the amazing documentary film, “Fantastic Fungi”.
Much of what we understand about how psychedelics work involves serotonin, a chemical that is among the brain’s most important neurotransmitters. Serotonin affects nearly everything we do, from how we feel to how we process information. It keeps our brains ticking.
Psilocybin shares a similar structure to serotonin, and works along a similar pathway. This is why this substance will have comparable effects when microdosed.
Many antidepressants (called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, or SSRIs) try to make serotonin more plentiful in the brain to make you feel better.
Psychedelics work more directly, by mimicking serotonin. This means that one of their main effects is to stimulate a serotonin receptor called “5-HT2A” located in the prefrontal cortex.
Stimulating the 5-HT2A receptor leads to two important results:
The production of “Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor” (BDNF) which is “like Miracle-Gro for your brain. It stimulates growth, connections, and activity.”
The increased transmission of “Glutamate,” the neurotransmitter most responsible for brain functions like cognition, learning, and memory.
Glutamate and BDNF work together in ways we’re still understanding, but it’s become clear that having more of each leads to many of the benefits that microdosers are seeking.
Psychedelics also cause parts of the brain that don’t usually communicate with one another… to communicate with one another! These unique connections are formed by dampening the activity of an often over-used part of our brain called the “Default Mode Network” (DMN).
The DMN is responsible for an array of different mental activities, including day-dreaming, self-reflection, and thinking about the past or the future. Some studies suggest that depression is linked to an overactive DMN. It’s possible that a highly active DMN causes us to ruminate, over-analyze ourselves, and constantly step out of the present moment to question the past and the future.
This helps explain why these substances could be used to combat depression and anxiety, and also lead to insights and creative perspectives that otherwise remain inaccessible to us.
All of us, at some point in our lives, have experienced a flow state. The surfer effortlessly riding a big wave, the therapist perfectly in-sync with her client, the salesman elegantly working the room…
Simply put, flow is one of the great experiences of being human.
Studies have shown moderate doses cause brain waves to shift toward alpha oscillations, which is also seen in the transition to a flow state.
Psychedelics such as psilocybin imitate the neurotransmitter serotonin when they enter the brain – and we know that serotonin is found in higher levels in flow states. Unlike LSD, however, psilocybin/psilocin appears to interact minimally and only indirectly with dopamine– another neurotransmitter associated with flow states. This interaction may be minimal in the microdose range.
Perhaps most important, psychedelics’ ability to attenuate the DMN can allow our brains to make unique connections between areas that don’t usually communicate. This is crucial for allowing flow states to occur.
Since we know that moderate doses of psychedelics can induce similar effects to a flow state in the brain, it seems likely that a regular microdosing regimen could begin to shift our awareness in the direction of flow.
Ideally, a psilocybin microdose will not cause a substantial change in mood, disposition, or mindset. Instead, its effect will be subtle but present.
WHAT SCHEDULE SHOULD I FOLLOW?
We recommend trying (1) pill or .12g of psilocybin. You can then adjust the amount accordingly after your first usage. Most people find that (1) pill is the perfect amount for microdosing. However; For those who weigh 200lbs or more you may find (2) or more pills are necessary. Note: When you take an amount that makes you feel some changes (most notably drowsiness, the first effect that comes on in a psilocybin trip), roll back to the dose just a little by consuming (¾ or ½) of the Pill by pulling the capsule apart. Then- you will have found your mushroom microdose sweet spot. For most people, morning is the best time because the beneficial effects will last throughout the day, and also because nighttime microdosing could interfere with sleep.
Protocol:Take a mushroom microdose on Day 1 and Day 2 Then do not take a microdose on Day 3 or Day 4 – Then repeat.
Observe the effects throughout this process by taking daily notes in a journal.
Continue the process of microdosing for up to 3 months . Take notes throughout the entire process on both short-term, in-the-moment effects, and long-term changes in your mood, energy, and social behavior.
Follow your usual routine while microdosing. You should not change what you do. The purpose is to enhance your day-to-day existence by integrating microdoses into your routine. However, when you try microdosing for the first time, take a day off from work and social commitments. It will give you a chance to observe and notice any unusual effects before microdosing in a more public situation.
Be vigilant in observing the effects of microdosing on the two days off between doses. Many people perceive increased feelings of flow, creativity, and energy the day after they microdose, as well as the day of microdosing. Microdosing every day is not recommended. Psychedelics such as psilocybin produce a tolerance, so you might see diminishing returns after a few days of use – This is why taking days off between doses is recommended. Additionally, the fact that positive effects can be felt sometimes many days after a microdose is a good reason to space out your doses.
Another downside to microdosing every day is normalizing a very potent substance. You can compare it to the use of coffee for productivity purposes. When you drink coffee every day, over time you need to increase the dose to get the same effect. Within a couple of months, one cup turns into two, three, or four cups.
It is best to leverage microdosing as an occasional advantage, rather than a consistent go-to like coffee.
At the risk of oversimplifying, people microdose for two reasons:
To reduce the frequency and intensity of undesirable states caused by various forms of mental illness including
2. To increase the frequency and intensity of desirable states/outcomes:
Improved relationships/increased empathy
For those struggling with depression, anxiety, PTSD, ADD/ADHD, mood disorders and/or addiction (to name a few), microdosing can create a number of positive changes.
Clinical research has shown that larger doses of psychedelics are effective at treating depression, anxiety, and addiction. Anecdotal evidence backs up the idea that a regular microdosing regimen can also have healing benefits for sufferers of various mental health conditions:
“Microdosing doesn’t allow me to be anywhere else but in the present moment. This has helped me tremendously with my anxiety and depression. I am incapable of worrying about what’s going to happen next week, tomorrow, or even five minutes from now. I can function without anxiety for the first time in years. I feel that my attention span is greater, I’m concentrating like never before. When I was suffering with pain I was given a lot of prescription pain pills and was quickly becoming addicted to them. Microdosing instantly helped me stop taking the several pills a day I was taking just so I could get out of bed, and I haven’t touched them since.”
– Microdose recipient
“I have fought depression for some 6-7 years since adolescence, microdosing has, so far, consistently helped me get on with my day-to-day, just as much on no MD days as MD days. This also applies to Social & General Anxiety which has been less severe but experienced for the same period.”
– Microdose recipient
“I overcame my depression with microdosing because I can consistently be productive and happy with it as a creative booster. It also eliminates any anxiety I get because I never used to raise my hand in class. I smoke a lot of cannabis and it’s unhealthy to overindulge. I found microdosing to make me feel the need to be productive so I smoke much less when I microdose and don’t indulge just to smoke.”
– Microdose recipient
“Since microdosing I have come out of my shell. I have become more confident around other people and have formed an intimate relationship with another person where I have had difficulty in the past.”
– Microdose recipient
Many people microdose for personal development. Reports suggest that the practice can improve creativity, productivity, and energy.
The creative benefits of microdosing are linked to the enhancement of flow states. Since microdosing allows you to enter into a flow state with greater ease, you can explore an exciting and rewarding form of consciousness. Countless people microdose to help them solve work-related problems, create new concepts, or simply to reduce procrastination.
Microdosing can also help you outside of the work environment, by improving your social interaction skills, athletic performance, and spiritual awareness.
Aside from the legal risks, one can consider microdosing to be a safe, non-threatening introduction to the benefits of psychedelics.
Given the tremendous safety records of psilocybin, combined with the small dose amounts, microdosing appears to be a safe, measurable way to explore the incredible possibilities that psychedelics have to offer.
As you can see, biochemically and socially, psilocybin is one of the safest substances you can find. It’s much safer than alcohol!
Since psilocybin mushrooms have the potential to amplify your current mind state, we recommend discussing the risks with your physician if you suffer from psychosis, schizophrenia, or severe anxiety, before you decide to begin microdosing. When overdone, microdosing can lead to manic states, which could exacerbate underlying conditions.
(information reference thethirdwave.co)