Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World

Mycelium Running is a manual for the mycological rescue of the planet. That’s right: growing more mushrooms may be the best thing we can do to save the environment, and in this groundbreaking text from mushroom expert Paul Stamets, you’ll find out how.

The basic science goes like this: Microscopic cells called “mycelium”–the fruit of which are mushrooms–recycle carbon, nitrogen, and other essential elements as they break down plant and animal debris in the creation of rich new soil. What Stamets has discovered is that we can capitalize on mycelium’s digestive power and target it to decompose toxic wastes and pollutants (mycoremediation), catch and reduce silt from streambeds and pathogens from agricultural watersheds (mycofiltration), control insect populations (mycopesticides), and generally enhance the health of our forests and gardens (mycoforestry and myco-gardening).

In this comprehensive guide, you’ll find chapters detailing each of these four exciting branches of what Stamets has coined “mycorestoration,” as well as chapters on the medicinal and nutritional properties of mushrooms, inoculation methods, log and stump culture, and species selection for various environmental purposes. Heavily referenced and beautifully illustrated, this book is destined to be a classic reference for bemushroomed generations to come.

The Harvard Psychedelic Club: How Timothy Leary, Ram Dass, Huston Smith, and Andrew Weil Killed the Fifties and Ushered in a New Age for America

This book is the story of three brilliant scholars and one ambitious undergraduate who crossed paths at Harvard University in the winter of 1960-61, and how their experiences in a psychedelic drug research project transformed their lives and much of American culture in the 1960s and 1970s. It’s about the intersecting life stories of Timothy Leary, a research psychologist and proponent of enlightenment through LSD; Huston Smith, an MIT philosophy professor and widely read expert on the world’s religions; Richard Alpert, a Harvard psychology professor who traveled to India and returned as Ram Dass; and Dr. Andrew Weil, a Harvard Medical School graduate who became the nation’s best-known proponent of holistic health and natural foods. These men were all career-driven, linear-thinking intellectuals before their consciousness-expanding encounters with psilocybin mushrooms, LSD, and other psychedelic drugs. After the ecstasy, they all turned from intellect to intuition, from mechanistic thinking to mysticism, from the scholarly to the spiritual, from the scientific to the shamanic. The men of the Harvard Psychedelic Club, each in his own way, changed the way Americans think, practice medicine, and view religion; that is, they changed nothing less than the way we look at mind, body, and spirit.

Mushrooms, Russia and History

This book is addressed to those who love mushrooms, who love the whole rich world of wild mushrooms in the same way that many love the flowers of the field and the birds of the air. Our public is certainly one of the smallest in the English-speaking world, but no matter. We invite all to share our joys, and if few respond, we are not less happy for being few to savor the secret.

We Will Call it Pala

a story for the psychedelic movement made possible with support from Auryn Project

Microdosing psychedelics: More questions than answers? An overview and suggestions for future research

Background: In the past few years, the issue of ‘microdosing’ psychedelics has been openly discussed in the public arena where claims have been made about their positive effect on mood state and cognitive processes such as concentration. However, there are very few scientific studies that have specifically addressed this issue, and there is no agreed scientific consensus on what microdosing is.
Aim: This critique paper is designed to address questions that need to be answered by future scientific studies and to offer guidelines for these studies.
Approach: Owing to its proximity for a possible approval in clinical use and short-lasting pharmacokinetics, our focus is predominantly on psilocybin. Psilocybin is allegedly, next to lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), one of the two most frequently used psychedelics to microdose. Where relevant and available, data for other psychedelic drugs are also mentioned.
Conclusion: It is concluded that while most anecdotal reports focus on the positive experiences with microdosing, future research should also focus on potential risks of (multiple) administrations of a psychedelic in low doses. To that end, (pre)clinical studies including biological (e.g. heart rate, receptor turnover and occupancy) as well as cognitive (e.g. memory, attention) parameters have to be conducted and will shed light on the potential negative consequences microdosing could have.

The therapeutic potential of microdosing psychedelics in depression

Microdosing psychedelics is the repeated use of small doses of, for example, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and psilocybin, typically for a few weeks. Despite the popular and scientific attention in recent years, and claims by users that it has therapeutic value in affective disorders like depression, little scientific knowledge is available to back this. The purpose of this review was to investigate whether there are scientific grounds to state that this practice could be helpful in the treatment of affective disorders, and safe to use repeatedly. To that end, the literature (PubMed, MedLine) was searched, looking for (controlled) experimental studies with low doses of LSD and/or psilocybin, in healthy volunteers and patient samples. After a selection process and the addition of relevant articles, 14 experimental studies entered this review. Findings show that both LSD (10–20 mcg) and psilocybin (<1–3 mg) have subtle (positive) effects on cognitive processes (time perception, convergent and divergent thinking) and brain regions involved in affective processes. Besides the pleasant experience, increased anxiety and a cycling pattern of depressive and euphoric mood were also found. With regard to safety, it was demonstrated that low doses are well tolerated (in healthy volunteers) and have no-to-minimal effects on physiological measures. While it is yet unclear whether psychedelic microdosing is of therapeutic value for depression, the aforementioned effects on selective processes suggest that low doses of psychedelics could play a role in depression by inducing some kind of cognitive flexibility, which might lead to decreased rumination. While previous studies were conducted mostly in small samples of healthy volunteers, future placebo-controlled clinical trials in depressed patients are required to understand the therapeutic value of microdosing psychedelics, how this differs from therapy using full psychedelic doses, and whether different psychedelics have different effect patterns. The proposed research will give new insights into the potential of future alternative psychiatric treatment forms that are fiercely needed.

Microdosing psychedelics: personality, mental health, and creativity differences in microdosers

Rationale: Microdosing psychedelics—the regular consumption of small amounts of psychedelic substances such as LSD or psilocybin—is a growing trend in popular culture. Recent studies on full-dose psychedelic psychotherapy reveal promising benefits for mental well-being, especially for depression and end-of-life anxiety. While full-dose therapies include perception-distorting properties, microdosing mayprovide complementary clinical benefits using lower-risk, non-hallucinogenic doses.
Objectives: This pre-registered study aimed to investigate whether microdosing psychedelics is related to differences in personality, mental health, and creativity.
Methods: In this observational study, respondents recruited from online forums self-reported their microdosing behaviors and completed questionnaires concerning dysfunctional attitudes, wisdom, negative emotionality, open-mindedness, and mood. Respondents also performed the Unusual Uses Task to assess their creativity.
Results: Current and former microdosers scored lower on measures of dysfunctional attitudes (p < 0.001, r = − 0.92) and negative emotionality (p = 0.009, r = − 0.85) and higher on wisdom (p < 0.001, r = 0.88), openmindedness(p = 0.027, r = 0.67), and creativity (p < 0.001, r = 0.15) when compared to non-microdosing controls.
Conclusions: These findings provide promising initial evidence that warrants controlled experimental research to directly test safety and clinical efficacy. As microdoses are easier to administer than full-doses, this new paradigm has the exciting potential to shape future psychedelic research.

A systematic study of microdosing psychedelics

The phenomenon of ‘microdosing’, that is, regular ingestion of very small quantities of psychedelic substances, has seen a rapid explosion of popularity in recent years. Individuals who microdose report minimal acute effects from these substances yet claim a range of long-term general health and wellbeing benefits. There have been no published empirical studies of microdosing and the current legal and bureaucratic climate makes direct empirical investigation of the effects of psychedelics difficult. In Study One we conducted a systematic, observational investigation of individuals who microdose. We tracked the experiences of 98 microdosing participants, who provided daily ratings of psychological functioning over a six week period. 63 of these additionally completed a battery of psychometric measures tapping mood, attention, wellbeing, mystical experiences, personality, creativity, and sense of agency, at baseline and at completion of the study. Analyses of daily ratings revealed a general increase in reported psychological functioning across all measures on dosing days but limited evidence of residual effects on following days. Analyses of pre and post study measures revealed reductions in reported levels of depression and stress; lower levels of distractibility; increased absorption; and increased neuroticism. To better understand these findings, in Study Two we investigated pre-existing beliefs and expectations about the effects of microdosing in a sample of 263 naïve and experienced microdosers, so as to gauge expectancy bias. All participants believed that microdosing would have large and wide-ranging benefits in contrast to the limited outcomes reported by actual microdosers. Notably, the effects believed most likely to change were unrelated to the observed pattern of reported outcomes. The current results suggest that dose controlled empirical research on the impacts of microdosing on mental health and attentional capabilities are needed.

Unruly Edges: Mushrooms as Companion Species

Human nature is an interspecies relationship. In this essay, Haraway’s concept of companion species takes us beyond familiar companions to the rich ecological diversity without which humans cannot survive. Following fungi, we forage in the last ten thousand years of human disturbance history with feminist multispecies company. Cereals domesticate humans. Plantations give us the subspecies we call race. The home cordons off inter- and intra-species love. But mushroom collecting brings us somewhere else—to the unruly edges and seams of imperial space, where we cannot ignore the interspecies interdependencies that give us life on earth. There are big stories to tell here, and they should not be left to the human triumphalists who control the field. This essay opens a door to multispecies landscapes as protagonists for histories of the world.

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