How did I get turned onto the benefits of mushrooms? It started with a general curiosity for new mental health solutions. Leading up to 2020, I began noticing first-hand a growing mental health crises across my own family, friend group, and the entire United States. When COVID-19 hit, everything seemed to get exasperated. It was hard to turn a blind eye to people's personal experiences, social media exposure, and the mainstream dialogues. And throughout my own research, I began to gather snapshots of what we have been collectively experiencing over the past five years:
76% of middle-aged Americans report moderate to high levels of loneliness, and research shows loneliness is a more significant predictor of early mortality compared to obesity.
Lee et al., (2018), International Psychogeriatrics
Suicide rates have increased since the year 2000.
CDC. (2018). Increase in Suicide Mortality in the United States, 1999-2018
Depression is on the rise in adults since 2013.
Blue Cross Blue Shield, (2018), Major Depression, Overall Health
During June 24–30, 2020, U.S. adults reported considerably elevated adverse mental health conditions associated with COVID-19. Younger adults, racial/ethnic minorities, essential workers, and unpaid adult caregivers reported having experienced disproportionately worse mental health outcomes and elevated suicidal ideation.
CDC. (2020). Mental Health, Substance Use, and Suicidal Ideation During the COVID-19 Pandemic.
During this time, I happened to overhear a podcast that mentioned the use of mushrooms for mental health purposes, and I was intrigued. I began to do some extra digging (pun intended), and I found that mushrooms have definitely gained significant attention in recent years for their benefits in the mental health field. Here are two ways specific they are being researched:
Psychedelic Therapy: Psilocybin-containing mushrooms, also known as "magic mushrooms," are being studied for their potential therapeutic effects in treating mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Research suggests that psilocybin can induce profound and positive changes in mood and consciousness, leading to ongoing clinical trials exploring its therapeutic potential.
Microdosing: Some individuals claim that microdosing psychedelic mushrooms can improve mood, creativity, and overall well-being. While this area is not as well-researched as full-dose psychedelic therapy, there is growing interest in understanding the potential benefits and risks of microdosing mushrooms.
A 2022 Johns Hopkins Medicine study showed that psychedelic treatment with psilocybin relieved major depressive disorder symptoms in adults that may last up until a year:
“'Psilocybin not only produces significant and immediate effects, it also has a long duration, which suggests that it may be a uniquely useful new treatment for depression,' says Roland Griffiths, Ph.D., the Oliver Lee McCabe III, Ph.D., Professor in the Neuropsychopharmacology of Consciousness at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and founding director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research. “Compared to standard antidepressants, which must be taken for long stretches of time, psilocybin has the potential to enduringly relieve the symptoms of depression with one or two treatments.”
It's important to note that while there is promising research in these areas, much of it is still in the experimental or early clinical trial stages. Their effects can vary widely from person to person, and there may be legal restrictions in some regions, but there is so much promising information across the board.
Learning more about how Psilocybin can be a tool for people's happiness and wellbeing was the beginning of a journey for me--one that would take me to new heights. I look forward to sharing more with you through The Siotha Project blog and my offerings, and I hope we can continue to learn more together. Thanks for reading and sending much care to you and yours.
*The information provided is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you have any concerns about your health or the use of mushrooms for any purpose, consult with a healthcare professional for guidance tailored to your specific situation.