Paul Stamets, a prominent but controversial mushroom expert from America, is making a call for all of us to start microdosing with psilocybin. It would do wonders for our brains, help solve problems in the world and we would like each other more if we chewed on a little magic mushrooms once in a while. No wonder the establishment is having a look at Stamets. But there is something to it. His ideas may be out there, but desperate times call for desperate measures. In this article, we'll get to know Paul Stamets' ideology and how you can get started with his microdosing protocol yourself: the Stamets Stack.

Who is Paul Stamets?

Paul Stamets is first and foremost a self-taught mycologist. This means that he has become a connoisseur of countless species of mushrooms and fungi from within. And he does so with an incredible passion. For example, Stamets has found a fungus that cures bees of deadly diseases and has his own line of medicinal mushrooms. Stamets is convinced that everything is connected through an invisible global network of fungal threads that he calls the mycelial web. And we face a big challenge. How do we reduce greenhouse gas emissions and give everyone enough food and clean drinking water in a world that needs to accommodate more and more people? According to Stamets, psilocybin can help us tackle these kinds of issues in an innovative way. If you haven't heard Stamets speak before, you're in for some special fun in the videos we're sharing on this page.

Paul Stamets talks about treating bees with medicinal mushrooms.


 Paul Stamets. Foto: Dusty Yao-Stamets |
CC BY 3.0

We also wrote that Stamets is a controversial man. That has to do with the fact that his fascination with mushrooms began with reading a book "Altered States of Consciousness" by Charles Tart when he was 14 years old. The book described, among other things, magic mushrooms containing psilocybin. Not long after, young Paul Stamets ingested his first bag of magic mushrooms.

Stamets’ Mushroom Trip

Stamets bought a bag of magic mushrooms weighing about 20 grams one day for about $25. Without knowing what the dosage was supposed to be, young Stamets walked alone in the woods during the summer and ate the entire bag. This is a huge amount, since expert Terence McKenna always told us that a so called dose for real heroes is already about 5 grams of magic mushrooms… 

Paul Stamets talks about his first magic mushroom trip with Joe Rogan.

After taking his meal of magic mushrooms, he climbs a large oak tree where he has a wide view of a nature reserve in the U.S. state of Ohio. As Stamets climbs the tree, he feels the effects of the psilocybin getting stronger. Then he sees a batch of dark clouds in the distance. He feels no fear, but respect for what nature and the magic mushrooms are showing him. Stamets stays in the tree as the dark clouds develop into a powerful thunderstorm. As Stamets sinks deeper and deeper into the trip, the wind begins to increase and shake the tree. He gets vertigo and holds the tree tightly. Then lightning strikes nearby. Everywhere he looks, he sees fractals, as if the whole world were an electrically charged sea. By now Stamets is soaking wet from the torrential rain and still clinging to the tree like a koala. His experience takes on spiritual forms and he feels like becoming one with the universe.

Then something extraordinary happens. Stamets has stuttered since he was a child and now says to himself that enough is enough. "Stop stuttering now," he repeats this out loud dozens of times as the storm slowly blows over. When the effects wear off after a few hours, he climbs out of the tree and Stamets walks home. The next day, he speaks to a girl on the street whom he had a crush on. For the first time without stuttering.

Neuroplasticity

You are never too old to learn. The phenomenon of neuroplasticity [1] proves this. In fact, your brain continues to learn and unlearn throughout your life. Of course, learning is slower when you are older than when you are young, but you can still learn a language after you retire, or become incredibly good at chess. Your gray matter is not a sponge that only absorbs information until it is full. Through repetition and importance, the brain shapes itself in a way that best suits your life. New connections and pathways are created up there to make information transfer more efficiently. That's why you get better when you do things often. Even when you age a bit.

The fact that Stamets, in his own words, stopped stuttering overnight by chugging a mountain of magic mushrooms, he explains more or less like this. Psilocybin lets you explore all kinds of new connections in your brain [2]. That's why, during an intense trip, you can sometimes taste colors and see sounds, but you also get all kinds of crazy thinking. The mechanism that normally manages the data traffic up there is turned off for a while. Think of it as an employee at the telephone exchange who is on vacation. When you think you are calling your mother, you suddenly have Beyoncé on the phone.

By the way, it is not easy to call Beyoncé after the trip using your mother's phone number. Eventually, the employee's vacation is over and you are correctly reconnected. Building those new pathways in your brain requires training and, ideally, help.

Microdosing with Psilocybin

The idea of microdosing psilocybin is precisely to explore those kinds of paths subconsciously, without actually being under the influence. So you don't have to climb a tree during a thunderstorm to teach yourself to think differently. About microdosing itself we have already written a series of extensive blogs. That information can be found below:

  1. Microdosing Part 1: Magic Truffles
  2. Microdosing Part 2: Ayahuasca Microdosing, is that possible?
  3. Microdosing Part 3 - Peyote & San Pedro
  4. Microdosing Part 4 - LSA Seeds: The Natural LSD?

Where this article goes on to talk about is the practical application of Paul Stamets' ideas. His idea of microdosing with magic truffles or magic mushrooms is that you help your brain to create new pathways without it bothering you. With the right microdose of psilocybin you have no visual effects, but you feel more creative and energetic.

The Stamets Stack: Psilocybin, Lion’s Mane and Vitamine B3

According to Stamets, there is another mushroom that helps with this: lion's mane. This beautiful fungus may be able to help regenerate neurons. However, this research is still in its early stages, so we offer no guarantees. Stamets also recommends combining vitamin B3 (niacin) with lion's mane and magic truffles or mushrooms.

In fact, vitamin B3 plays an important role in the body's energy supply. B3 (niacin) occurs in two forms: nicotinic acid and nicotinamide. Nicotinic acid has a dilating effect on blood vessels when taken in high doses, which nicotinamide does not. That's why you'll see "no flush" on some B3 supplements. This means that you don't get redness or itching from that supplement. Paul Stamets, however, believes that the itching effect due to blood vessel dilation contributes to the effectiveness of lion's mane. Just know that this has not been scientifically proven (yet). Therefore, we do not recommend taking more than 100 mg of supplemental vitamin B3 per day. Too much vitamin B3 in one day is harmful for your liver and for your eyes.

Stamets Stack Dosage

The amount of magic truffles depends on several factors. Use this magic mushroom dosage calculator to always take the right dosage of magic mushrooms and magic truffles.

Stamets Microdosing Protocol

Paul Stamets' microdosing protocol is as follows. Dose 4 days in a row and 3 days not. Combine psilocybin with lion's mane and 100 mg of vitamin B3. Maintain microdosing for up to one month. Then take a two to four week break before repeating for another month.

Microdosing Experiences

There are countless experiences of microdosers on the web and we at the editors have some experience with microdosing as well. Don't expect miracles, but subtle changes in your thinking that can help you with everyday tasks. Mothers say they can raise their children more lovingly and programmers seem to write code more easily with a truffle. Try it yourself with our handy  and experience what it is like to have psychedelics work for you!

Sources:

  • [1] Fuchs, E; Flügge, G. “Adult Neuroplasticity: More Than 40 Years of Research”. doi: 10.1155/2014/541870. 4 May 2014.
  • [2] Preller, K H; et al. “Psilocybin Induces Time-Dependent Changes in Global Functional Connectivity”. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2019.12.027. Biological Psychiatry. 15 July 2020.