Psilocybin is a naturally occurring psychedelic compound that can be found in different species of mushrooms1. It has been used for centuries in traditional spiritual and medicinal practices and has recently gained attention for its potential therapeutic benefits in treating a variety of mental health conditions. In this essay, we will discuss the legality, history, pharmacology, effects, risks and toxicity, and microdosing of psilocybin.
Legality of Psilocybin
In the United States, psilocybin is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance, meaning it is illegal to manufacture, possess, or distribute it. However, there are several cities and states that have decriminalised possession of small amounts of psilocybin, and some states have passed legislation to allow for the medical use of psilocybin in certain conditions2.
The legality of psilocybin in Europe varies by country. In most European countries, psilocybin is classified as a controlled substance, and possession, production, and distribution are illegal. However, there are some exceptions to this.
In the Netherlands, possession of psilocybin mushrooms is technically illegal, but the possession of small amounts for personal use is tolerated. Instead, truffles are legal.
In Portugal, possession of drugs for personal use is decriminalized, and individuals caught with small amounts will not face criminal charges.
In the United Kingdom, psilocybin is a Class A drug, meaning it is considered to have a high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use. Possession and distribution are illegal, but there are ongoing efforts to reclassify it as a Schedule IV substance3.
In general, in Europe, research into the therapeutic potential of psilocybin is ongoing, and there is growing support for reclassifying the substance and allowing for further research.
In Canada, psilocybin is a Schedule III controlled substance, which means it is considered to have a lower potential for abuse than Schedule I or II substances, and some accepted medical use. Possession, production, and distribution of psilocybin are illegal, except for certain limited research and medical use.
Recently, in August 2020, the Canadian Minister of Health granted an exemption under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act for four terminally ill patients, allowing them to possess and use psilocybin for end-of-life therapy4.
Also, in August 2021, the Canadian Minister of Health issued an Interim Order, which will allow for the possession, production, and sale of psilocybin-assisted therapy under certain conditions while the government conducts a review of the substance's classification.
It's worth noting that the Canadian government is currently in the process of reviewing the classification of psilocybin and considering the potential medical uses of the substance, and it's expected that in the near future there might be more changes in the regulations of psilocybin.
The importance of getting professional guidance
Microdosing has gained popularity in recent years as a way to improve focus, creativity, and overall well-being. However, it is important to note that microdosing is still a relatively new and poorly understood field, and there is a lack of scientific research on the effects and risks of microdosing5.
Because of this, it is crucial to seek professional guidance before considering microdosing. A professional can help evaluate your individual needs and determine if microdosing is appropriate for you. They can also help you understand the potential risks and benefits and monitor your progress under the risks and harm reduction framework6.
It's also important to consider any pre-existing mental health conditions or medications you may be taking before microdosing. Psychedelics can interact with certain medications and may exacerbate certain mental health conditions7.
It's also important to find a professional who is knowledgeable about psychedelics and has experience working with patients who are microdosing, ensuring accurate information and guidance.
Additionally, it's important to work with a professional to establish a safe, controlled and consistent protocol for microdosing, as well as to be mindful of the laws and regulations of your country and region, as psychedelics are illegal in most countries.
History of Psilocybin
Psilocybin mushrooms have been used by indigenous cultures in Central and South America for thousands of years. The ancient Aztecs, for example, referred to the mushrooms as "teonanácatl," which means "flesh of the gods." The mushrooms were used in religious ceremonies and were believed to have the power to connect individuals with the spirit world. In Mexico, the Mazatec, Zapotec, and Mixtec cultures have used mushrooms in healing rituals for centuries.
Psilocybin mushrooms have also been used for spiritual purposes in various cultures. Many people believe that mushrooms can help to open the mind, promote self-discovery, and provide a deeper understanding of the self and the world around us. Some people use psilocybin as a way to connect with their spiritual beliefs, while others use it as a tool for personal growth and self-improvement.
In the 1950s and 1960s, psilocybin was studied by researchers as a potential treatment for various mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, and addiction. The studies showed promising results and psilocybin was considered a potential therapeutic agent. However, research on the compound largely came to a halt in the 1970s when it was made illegal in most countries. Recently, there's been a renewed interest in researching the medical benefits of psilocybin, and studies have suggested that psilocybin may be effective in treating a variety of mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, PTSD, and addiction.
Pharmacology of Psilocybin
Psilocybin is a naturally-occurring psychedelic compound that is found in over 200 species of mushrooms, including the Psilocybe genus8.
When consumed, psilocybin is rapidly metabolized in the body to produce psilocin, which is responsible for the psychoactive effects of the compound. Psilocin is structurally similar to serotonin, a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in mood regulation, perception, and other cognitive processes9.
Psilocin acts as a serotonin receptor agonist, meaning it mimics the effects of serotonin by binding to serotonin receptors in the brain. Specifically, psilocin binds to serotonin receptors of the 5-HT2A subtype, which are found in high densities in the prefrontal cortex, the hippocampus, and the thalamus.
The binding of psilocin to the 5-HT2A receptors leads to a cascade of events that result in the psychedelic effects of psilocybin. These effects include changes in perception, thought, and mood. Psilocin also affects other neurotransmitters such as dopamine and noradrenaline, which could explain why it can also affect cognitive processes, motor functions, and the regulation of mood.
It's worth noting that the effects of psilocin on serotonin receptors are not fully understood and more research is needed to fully understand the underlying mechanisms of its action. Additionally, the interactions of psilocin with other neurotransmitters and receptors could also contribute to the complex and diverse effects of psilocybin.
Effects of Psilocybin
The effects of psilocybin can vary greatly depending on the dose, the individual, the (mind)Set and the Setting.
At lower doses, users may experience subtle changes in perception, such as an increased sense of wonder and awe, enhanced creativity, and improved mood. Some people report feeling more connected to their environment and a greater sense of empathy towards others. Microdosing, is typically associated with these effects. Microdoses are usually between 0.1 and 0.3 grams of dried mushrooms
At higher doses, users may experience more intense changes in perception, including hallucinations, synesthesia, and changes in thought and emotion. These effects can be overwhelming and can lead to a sense of euphoria or even fear. The individual may experience a sense of unity or oneness with the universe, and may have a greater understanding of oneself and the world around them. These effects are typically associated with macrodoses, which are doses starting from 2 grams onwards.
Psilocybin can also affect other cognitive processes such as attention, memory, and decision-making11. Some people report experiencing a greater ability to focus, while others report that their thoughts become more fluid and less constrained.
The effects of psilocybin can be different for each individual and can vary depending on the individual’s mindset, the setting and on the external occurrences. Microdosing psilocybin is associated with subtle changes in perception, mood, and cognitive processes, while macrodosing is associated with more intense changes in perception, thought, and emotion. It is also important to note that the effects of psilocybin are dose-dependent, and the higher the dose, the more intense the effects will be.
Risks and Toxicity of Psilocybin
It is important to be aware that although psilocybin is considered to be relatively safe, with a low risk of serious adverse effects, there are still some potential risks associated with its use, particularly when it comes to higher doses.
At higher doses, psilocybin can cause hallucinations, changes in perception, and altered thought processes, resulting in overwhelming feelings and can lead to anxiety, paranoia, and panic attacks. In rare cases, high doses of psilocybin can lead to acute serotonin syndrome, a potentially life-threatening condition that is characterized by high fever, rapid heartbeat, and muscle rigidity.
Individuals with pre-existing mental health conditions, such as depression or schizophrenia, should be especially cautious when using psilocybin, as it may exacerbate symptoms. Psilocybin can also interact with other medications, such as antidepressants, benzodiazepine and can lead to increased side effects or even dangerous interactions12.
Psilocybin can interact with other medications and substances, including antidepressants, antipsychotics, and other psychoactive drugs. These interactions can lead to increased side effects or even dangerous interactions. For example, taking psilocybin with an SSRI antidepressant may increase the risk of serotonin syndrome, a potentially life-threatening condition. Additionally, psilocybin can interact with other psychoactive substances, such as cannabis and alcohol, and can lead to increased side effects or even dangerous interactions.
It's important to note that psilocybin can have unpredictable and long-lasting effects, and it's not recommended to use it without proper medical supervision. It's also important to be aware of the potential risks and to be careful when using psilocybin, particularly at higher doses or in combination with other substances. If you have any pre-existing mental health conditions or are taking any medications, it's especially important to speak with a healthcare professional before using psilocybin.
Microdosing Psilocybin (how to prepare and measure the dosages)
The idea behind microdosing is that the low dose will not produce the intense psychoactive effects of a full dose, but will still provide some of the therapeutic benefits.
Preparation and Dosages:
The most common method of microdosing is to use dried psilocybin mushrooms. The dosage should be measured by using a digital scale, this will ensure accuracy. A common dosage for microdosing is between 0.1 and 0.3 grams of dried mushrooms, taken every three days. When it comes to finding the optimal dosage, it's recommended to begin with a smaller dose and gradually increase until the desired effects are achieved. This approach allows for a more individualized and controlled experience, ensuring that the dosage is tailored to each person's unique needs. It is also important to take note of any effects, both positive and negative, as well as any changes in behavior or mood, as this can help to adjust the dosage.
There are different protocols for microdosing psilocybin, some people prefer following Stamets protocol (5 days in 2 out), others prefer microdosing every few days. Some people prefer to take a microdose before starting their day, while others prefer to take it in the afternoon or evening. The optimal protocol will depend on the individual and the effects they are looking for.
Microdosing with psilocybin has been noted to have a range of potential benefits, including improved mood and increased creativity. Some individuals report a reduction in symptoms of anxiety and depression after microdosing. It's also been reported that microdosing can enhance focus, concentration, physical performance and productivity. Additionally, microdosing may help to improve relationships, decrease stress and promote an overall sense of well-being. However, it's important to keep in mind that more research is needed to fully understand the effects of microdosing and the benefits may vary from person to person.
When microdosing, it is important to purchase mushrooms from a reputable source and ensure that they are properly stored to preserve their potency. It is also important to be aware of the potential risks and to be careful when using psilocybin, particularly in combination with other substances.
It is also important to note that microdosing is still considered a relatively new practice, and more research is needed to fully understand its potential benefits and risks. It is also important to keep in mind that the effects of microdosing can vary greatly from person to person, and what works for one person may not work for another.
Finally, it's important to keep in mind that microdosing should not be used as a substitute for professional medical treatment, especially if you have any pre-existing mental health conditions, are taking any medications or have any other health concerns.
DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for informational or educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. We strongly advise you to consult a medical professional before starting any microdosing protocol or using any psychoactive substances. Microdosing Support does not condone or promote the use of illegal substances and is not responsible for any illegal or harmful actions taken by individuals who access the information on this website. The content on this website is for educational purposes only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. Always consult a medical professional before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication regimen.