Knowledge of the miraculous health benefits of mushrooms is slowly but surely seeping into the mainstream.
And two mushrooms leading this charge are lion’s mane mushrooms and psilocybin-containing ‘magic’ mushrooms.
These two shrooms share a remarkable ability: they can increase the growth of new brain cells, potentially offering a way to help people change the neural networks in their brain, which can in turn allow people to alter habits and ingrained behaviours.
Pretty crazy, huh?
What’s even more fascinating is the theory that combining lion’s mane and psilocybin may offer even more profound nerve regenerating effects, making it a potential treatment for conditions such as peripheral neuropathy and traumatic brain injury, among others.
While the science behind the practice is still very young, this article will tell you all you need to know about combining lion’s mane and psilocybin…
To understand why you might want to use both lion’s mane and psilocybin, it’s important to understand the process of neurogenesis.
The powerful effects of both lion’s mane and psilocybin mushrooms on the brain can be partly explained by the fact that both enhance neurogenesis.
Neurogenesis is the process by which new neurons (nerve cells) are generated from neural stem cells and progenitor cells in the brain. It involves the formation, differentiation, and integration of these new neurons into existing neural circuits.
In very simplified terms, both substances can effectively help regenerate and ‘rewire’ the brain.
Neurogenesis occurs primarily in specific regions of the brain, such as the hippocampus, which plays a crucial role in learning, memory, and emotion.
Throughout life, the brain retains the ability to produce new neurons in certain regions, although the rate of neurogenesis tends to decrease with age. This process is essential for various cognitive functions, adaptability, and brain plasticity.
Neurogenesis is a complex and dynamic process that contributes to the brain's ability to adapt, learn, and recover from injury. By influencing this process, both lion’s mane and psilocybin offer a unique way to affect brain function.
What is lion’s mane?
Lion's Mane (Hericium erinaceus) is a type of mushroom that is recognised for its distinctive appearance, which resembles the mane of a lion, and valued not only for its culinary uses but also for its health benefits.
In traditional medicine, lion's mane has been used for centuries in Asia, particularly in Chinese and Japanese herbal practices.
It has gained attention in the west in recent years due to its potential neurological and cognitive benefits.
Unlike psilocybin, lion’s mane is not psychedelic and produces no perception-altering effects.
How does lion’s mane work?
One recent study found that a compound in lion’s mane called Hericene A is responsible for the nerve generating effects of lion’s mane.
Hericene A works promoting neuron projections, extending and connecting to other neurons, ultimately increasing the size of growth cones, which play a crucial role in brain cells sensing their environment and establishing new connections with other neurons in the brain.
When developing our high-strength lion's mane capsules, we use a dual extracting method with both water and alcohol. This process is important because hericenones are only soluble in ethanol.
With each capsule containing a high concentration of 4.8mg of hericenones, our lion’s mane capsules are one of the strongest standardised hericenone-rich extracts on the market.
As well as enhancing nerve growth, studies and anecdotal reports suggest that lion's mane may also improve memory, cognition, mood and digestive health.
What is psilocybin?
Psilocybin is a naturally occurring psychedelic compound found in certain species of mushrooms, often referred to as "magic mushrooms".
When ingested, psilocybin is metabolised by the body into psilocin, which is the active form responsible for the hallucinogenic and psychoactive effects associated with consuming these mushrooms.
Psilocybin-containing mushrooms have been used for centuries in various cultures for their potential spiritual, therapeutic, and recreational effects. They have been traditionally used in religious and shamanic rituals for altered states of consciousness and insights.
Studies suggest that psilocybin-assisted therapy could have benefits for various mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and substance use disorders.
Psilocybin and psilocybin-containing mushrooms are schedule 1 controlled substances in the UK, and being caught in possession of these mushrooms can lead to severe legal punishments.
How does psilocybin work?
Research into the potential therapeutic uses of psilocybin has been growing in recent years.
However, the exact mechanisms by which psilocybin promotes neurogenesis (the formation of new nerve cells) are not fully understood and are an area of ongoing research.
Psilocybin primarily affects the brain by binding to serotonin receptors, particularly the 5-HT2A receptor. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in mood regulation, cognition, and other functions. Some research suggests that the activation of 5-HT2A receptors may be involved in the stimulation of neurogenesis.
Psilocybin also promotes the release of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that plays a crucial role in promoting the survival, growth, and maintenance of neurons.
Some research suggests that psilocybin may have anti-inflammatory properties, and it may influence glutamate neurotransmission, which is involved in various neural processes, including neuroplasticity and neurogenesis.
While promoting neurogenesis is often associated with positive cognitive and mental health outcomes, the overall effects of psilocybin are multifaceted and can vary depending on many factors.
As research into psilocybin continues, we will gain a more comprehensive understanding of how it interacts with the brain and potentially contributes to neurogenesis and therapeutic effects.
What is microdosing?
Microdosing refers to the practice of taking very small, sub-perceptual doses of psychedelic substances, such as LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) or psilocybin-containing mushrooms, with the intention of experiencing subtle cognitive, emotional, or creative effects without inducing a full-blown psychedelic experience or "trip."
Microdosing typically involves taking a fraction of a standard recreational dose, often one-tenth or less, on a regular schedule. The goal is to achieve a "microdose" that is below the threshold for producing hallucinations or major perceptual changes but is still thought to influence mood, focus, energy, and other cognitive functions.
Advocates of microdosing suggest that it may lead to improved creativity, productivity, mood, and overall well-being. Some users report enhanced problem-solving abilities, increased sociability, and reduced symptoms of anxiety or depression.
The scientific research on the effects and benefits of microdosing is still relatively limited, and more rigorous studies are needed to fully understand its potential effects and risks.
What is the Stamets’ Stack?
If you have looked into microdosing yourself, you may have come across something known as the Stamets’ Stack, which is a protocol for microdosing psilocybin devised by renowned mycologist Paul Stamets.
The basic structure of the Stamets’ stack is psilocybin (from mushroom or truffle), lion’s mane, and niacin.
The regular consumption of these three substances is theorised to not only protect and repair brain cells, but to also generate new ones while forging new neural pathways.
The results are improvements in mental health (including a dampening of the fear response, making one more courageous), cognition, and agility.
Stamets believes that the wide scale use of the stack could be the catalyst to a meaningful step up in the evolution of human consciousness.
Benefits of combining lion’s mane and psilocybin microdoses
Thanks to Paul Stamets’ and his theory, lots of people are now experimenting with the combination of lion’s mane and psilocybin microdoses.
While the practice is a relatively novel area of interest and research and there is limited scientific data available to provide a comprehensive understanding of the potential benefits, proponents suggest that it could offer a synergistic effect, harnessing the cognitive and neurological potential of both substances.
Here are some potential benefits that have been proposed of combining lion’s mane and psilocybin, based on current knowledge and anecdotal reports:
- Cognitive enhancement
Lion's mane and psilocybin have been shown to have neurotrophic properties, promoting the growth and health of neurons. Combining them could potentially amplify the cognitive benefits, leading to improved focus, memory, and overall cognitive function.
Again, both substances are known to promote neuroplasticity, which is the brain's ability to reorganise and form new neural connections. Combining them could enhance the brain's adaptability and capacity for learning and change.
- Mood regulation
Psilocybin and lion’s mane have been studied for their potential to alleviate symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders. Combining them could provide a more effective approach to emotional well-being.
Some individuals report heightened creativity and increased access to insights during microdosing, while lion's Mane's reputation for fostering creative thinking could potentially enhance this aspect of the experience.
Both Lion's Mane and psilocybin have been investigated for their potential neuroprotective properties, which could collectively contribute to maintaining brain health and reducing the risk of neurodegenerative conditions.
- Synergistic effects
The combination of these two substances could lead to synergistic effects, where their individual benefits are enhanced when used together, potentially leading to a more profound overall impact.
It's important to note that while these potential benefits are intriguing, more research is needed to fully understand the interactions between Lion's Mane and psilocybin, as well as their combined effects. Individual responses can vary widely, and the safety and efficacy of this combination require further investigation.
How much lion’s mane should you take
Microdosing with the Stamets’ stack is not too complicated. It involves 5 days of microdosing followed by two days off. On the two days off, you are advised to take lion’s mane and niacin but not psilocybin.
The precise protocol with doses is as follows:
DAY 1-5 (microdosing days)
- 0.01-0.1 gram magic mushrooms or 0.5-1.0 gram magic truffles
- 3 –5g of high-quality dried lion’s mane powder (or 1g of lion's mane extract)
- 100 to 200mg of niacin
DAY 6 and 7 (non-microdosing days)
- 3 – 5g of dried lion’s mane (or 1g of lion's mane extract)
- 100 to 200mg of niacin
The right dose for you will vary depending on numerous factors, including age, sex and weight. When working with any psychedelic, it’s best to start off slow and increase dose as you deem appropriate.
Amazing potential of combining lion’s mane and psilocybin
Paul Stamets believes the combination of lion’s mane and psilocybin holds great promise. He even goes so far as to claim that if the stack was widely available like other health supplements, as well as used widely over generations, its neurogenerative effects have the potential to initiate ‘the next quantum leap in human consciousness.’
Relating to the ‘Stoned Ape Theory’, which suggests that the consumption of psilocybin and other psychedelics has played an important role in human evolution, Stamets sees his protocol as a way to uplift humans into a fresh, more empathetic stage of evolution.
His theory would seem to be backed up by recent discoveries that suggest psychedelics were integral to the formation of Western civilisation and the genesis of Christian values, which directly led to the enlightenment, reformation and industrial revolution.
The incredible book The Immortality Key: The Secret History of the Religion with No Name by Brian C. Muraresku offers more insight on the role of the psychedelic experience in guiding the evolution of human values over time.
In conclusion, the combination of lion's mane and psilocybin holds intriguing potential for enhancing cognitive function, promoting neurogenesis, and possibly even influencing the evolution of human consciousness.
Both Lion's Mane and psilocybin have been associated with the growth and health of neurons, neuroplasticity, mood regulation, and neuroprotection.
While scientific research on this combination is still in its early stages, anecdotal reports and the theories of experts like Paul Stamets suggest a synergistic relationship between these substances.
Neurogenesis, the process of generating new nerve cells, plays a crucial role in brain health, adaptability, and cognitive function.
By combining lion's mane's neurotrophic properties and psilocybin's potential to stimulate neurogenesis, individuals may experience cognitive enhancement, improved mood, increased creativity, and a greater capacity for neural adaptation.
While the potential benefits are promising, it's important to approach this combination with caution.
Individual responses vary, and further research is needed to fully understand the interactions and long-term effects.
Legal and ethical considerations, as well as personal health circumstances, should be carefully evaluated before considering this approach.
As science continues to explore the synergistic effects of lion's mane and psilocybin, we will gain valuable insights into new avenues for cognitive enhancement and well-being, opening doors to a deeper understanding of human consciousness and its potential evolution.
See our range of lion’s mane here.
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