The Power Of Psilocybin To Heal Our Minds And Our Bodies

We’re in the midst of a psychedelic renaissance. Compounds that have long been considered recreational drugs by conventional standards are finally being recognized through science as powerful tools for overcoming hard-to-treat health issues like PTSD, depression, addiction, and more.

Today on The Doctor’s Farmacy, I’m excited to talk to my good friend and one of the world’s most renowned mycologists, Paul Stamets, all about psilocybin and how this compound is helping us reimagine our way of treating one of the most important public health crises today—mental illness.

We kick off our conversation by talking about the essential role mushrooms play in our ecosystems. We are more closely related to fungi than to any other kingdom. They make up the most populous kingdom on the planet, with an estimated 3.8 million species. You can’t see most of it—it exists as mycelial networks underground that can spread for thousands of acres, exchanging nutrients, information, and more to help whole ecosystems survive.

From cognition and mood support to energy and stamina, each mushroom species offers a unique range of potential health benefits. But one thing each species has in common is the ability to provide immune support. Functional mushrooms like chaga, reishi, lion’s mane, and maitake contain powerful polysaccharides called beta-glucans, which have been found to help fight inflammation and balance the immune system.

We also talk about psilocybin, a naturally occurring psychedelic compound found in certain species of mushrooms, commonly referred to as "magic mushrooms." Paul and I discuss how psilocybin works at the cellular and neural circuit level to trigger neuroplasticity, which is our brain’s ability to rewire itself in ways that lead to long-lasting shifts in our emotional, cognitive, and behavioral patterns. This process can help resolve deep-seated trauma, alleviate depression, and improve our sense of being in the world. Paul and I also talk about a recent study where researchers found psilocybin to have an antidepressant effect on the brain more rapidly and with longer-lasting results than antidepressant drugs. In this study, psilocybin was found to directly bind to a receptor for brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) that regulates the growth and survival of cells 1,000 times higher than antidepressant drugs.

We also discuss the rapidly changing legal and medical landscape around psilocybin. Dosing of psilocybin can range from microdosing, which is a repeated low dose over time, to macrodosing, which is a single high dose. Paul walks us through the Stamets Stack microdosing protocol and how it has the potential to unlock the effectiveness of psilocybin in the prevention and treatment of psychiatric and neurological disorders. I hope you’ll tune in to learn more.

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