Lion’s Mane mushroom is currently gaining a reputation for its impressive health benefits.
Studies show that compounds in lion’s mane can cross the blood/brain barrier where they increase NGF (nerve growth factor), which leads to the growth of new brain cells in a process known as neurogenesis.
This remarkable effect of growing new brain cells has also been seen in other mushrooms - notably psilocybin-containing “magic” mushrooms.
Psilocybin is a well-known psychedelic, meaning it has profound effects on perception - including hallucinations - overall brain functioning and consciousness.
But is lion’s mane psychedelic too?
What is lion’s mane?
Also known by the latin name Hericium Erinaceus, lion’s mane is a beautiful mushroom that grows throughout the northern hemisphere.
It’s a large, white, shaggy-looking mushroom that resembles a lion's mane as it grows.
Usually found growing on dead hardwoods, lion’s mane has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries and its production is widespread within Asia.
Lion’s mane is also common in gourmet cooking, with young specimens offering a great steak-like texture when pan-fried.
What does psychedelic mean?
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, ‘psychedelic’ refers to “a drug causing effects on the mind, such as feelings of deep understanding or unusually strong experiences of colour , sound, taste, and touch.”
The term psychedelic is also associated with hallucinations, time dilution, and even loss of self or ‘ego death’.
Classic psychedelic drugs include LSD, psilocybin, DMT and mescaline. Some also include MDMA and cannabis.
Is Lion’s mane psychedelic?
No, lion’s mane mushroom is not psychedelic. It contains no psilocybin and no psychedelic compounds. It will not make you hallucinate, high, buzzed or giggly.
In fact, the most commonly reported effects are
- Clarity of thought
- Enhanced memory
- Decreased anxiety
- Enhanced cognition
- Increased energy
Lion’s mane mushrooms do contain a range of unique (non-psychedelic) compounds that appear to have positive effects on the brain. These include polysaccharides, beta-glucans, and hericenones and erinacines, among others.
Benefits of lion’s mane
Lion’s mane is gaining popularity in the health and wellness world for its neurodegenerative and neuroprotective effects - which may potentially help neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, brain injuries including strokes, and cognitive decline due to aging.
It’s also used to enhance gut health, regulate blood sugar levels, and in treatment for cancer.
Here is a list of science-backed health benefits of lion’s mane mushroom…
- Protection of the brain against neurodegenerative disease
- Reduction in inflammation, particularly in the gut
- Reduction in depression and anxiety
- Enhance recovery from nervous system injuries
- Lower risk of blood clotting and heart attack and stroke
- Control blood sugar and manage diabetes
- Possible anti-cancer effects
- Boost immune function
You’d be wise not to expect instant results with lion’s mane supplements. Clinical studies done with lion’s mane are typically done over at least two months of use.
Is lion’s mane legal in the UK?
Yes, lion’s mane mushroom is 100% legal in the UK. As it’s a non-psychedelic mushroom commonly used in food and traditional chinese medicine, lion’s has always been legal to grow, possess and consume.
There are restrictions against picking wild lion’s mane in the UK, however. The mushroom is protected under Schedule 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which is the highest legal protection available to plants and fungi.
Lion’s mane supplements and extracts are available in the UK. For a list of the 10 best in the country, please see here.
What mushrooms are psychedelic?
Psychedelic mushrooms are mushrooms that contain the compound psilocybin - a psychedelic known for its potent mind-altering effects.
Psychedelic mushrooms that grow wild in the UK include the Liberty Cap and the wavy cap. For more information on these mushrooms, read 5 Types Of Psilocybin Mushroom That Grow Wild In The UK.
Combining lion’s mane with psychedelics
Psychedelics such as psilocybin are showing great promise for helping people deal with mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety and addiction.
Studies over recent years have found that psilocybin produces rapid and long-lasting antidepressant effects, at least partially caused by increasing the number of synapses in the brain, improving serotonin signalling, and increasing production of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) which boosts neuroplasticity and neurogenesis.
Lion’s mane is also thought to exert some of its brain-boosting effects by promoting the production of BDNF and NGF (nerve growth factor) .
This similarity led Paul Stamets, a leading mycologist (fungi researcher), to promote the idea of using occasional ‘micro’ doses of psilocybin alongside regular doses of lion’s mane mushroom (3g/day).
He claims the two mushrooms can complement each other to have synergistic effects on neurogenesis and neuroprotection.
You can read more about the ‘Stamets’ stack’ here: Mushrooms, Neurogenesis, And The Evolution Of Consciousness: What Is The Stamets’ Stack Microdosing Protocol?
Lion’s mane mushroom does have lots of health benefits, particularly the brain, but it is not psychedelic.
It causes no hallucinations, ‘high’ or buzz. It’s 100% legal in the UK and a growing number of people are using it to improve their health and manage disease.
Some people do like to use it alongside psychedelics like psilocybin as it has complementary effects to brain health.
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