What's the main factor in choosing a strain of magic mushrooms?
When choosing a strain of magic mushrooms, the most important factor is strength. Some strains are considered stronger than others, but overall the effects are more or less the same in the Psilocybe cubensis species.
How can you use magic mushrooms for depression?
There's some anecdotal evidence and a small amount of research that suggests microdosing may be the best way to use magic mushrooms for depression.
How can you use magic mushrooms for anxiety?
According to anecdotal evidence and some research, taking a single macrodose might be the best for anxiety. It's the same for addiction and for traumatic brain injuries.
Tips on using magic mushrooms therapeutically?
Be sure to include your doctor or therapist in your decisions to use magic mushrooms, and if you're inclined have a trip-sitter or spiritual guide attend your journey and assist.
We’ve received a lot of questions regarding how to choose a mushroom strain and how to use different strains of magic mushrooms for different therapeutic purposes. Some of you might be using magic mushrooms for depression, others for anxiety, and others might be battling through some existential crisis.
So we took the pleasure of compiling as much anecdotal information as we could from Shroomery and Erowid. This aspect of magic mushrooms is pretty much neglected from clinical research, so we have to preface this by saying that none of the information in this article is backed up by science. It all comes from the anecdotes of the many mushroom users who have come before us.
When it comes to science, we’ve come to understand a little about how different species of magic mushrooms are composed. That’s to say — different strains of magic mushrooms might have different ratios of psilocybin, psilocin and other alkaloids, but we don’t know to what degree this affects the experience. Or how it affects the therapeutic potential.
As we have mentioned a number of times across our blog posts on magic mushrooms, the biological effects of magic mushrooms aren’t necessarily what’s thought to be therapeutic. Rather, the subjective experience is thought to be a driver of the therapeutic potential of psilocybin mushrooms.
In this article, we’ll outline the common effects of some of the more common and most popular strains of magic mushrooms. Then, we’ll talk about how to use magic mushrooms for some of the most common reasons people seek out their therapy. Let’s dive in.
How to choose a strain of magic mushrooms.
When it comes to choosing which strain you’re going to use — and given how little we know about different therapeutic effects — you should mainly be choosing based on strength. Do you want to have a really strong magic mushroom experience; will you be macrodosing or microdosing; would you prefer something a little more gentle?
If there’s one thing that really separates different strains of magic mushrooms, it’s strength. Some psilocybin mushrooms are known for for being more potent than others. You might consider using a stronger strain of magic mushrooms if you’ll be macrodosing. You might also choose a stronger strain so that you have to eat less and therefore avoid any subsequent nausea.
There is some anecdotal evidence that the trips produced by certain strains are different. For example, one user on Shroomery reported having a “unique spiritual experience” using African Transekei magic mushrooms. In another thread, users report that B+ magic mushrooms have a stronger body load and a lesser visual effect.
What you’ll often hear from magic mushroom users is that “a cube is a cube”. This basically means that if it’s a magic mushroom of the species Psilocybe cubensis (most magic mushrooms available in dispensaries are cubensis species), then its effects are more or less the same.
With that in mind, and what we mentioned about the subjective experience being a driver of the long-term effects, then choosing a strain shouldn’t be that hard. Macrodosing and microdosing can both be done with strong and weaker strains, but you might want to consider weaker mushrooms for microdosing to avoid accidental overdoses.
We recommend the following magic mushrooms for stronger journeys:
We recommend the following magic mushroom strains for more gentle journeys:
How to use magic mushrooms for different therapeutic needs.
GIven that the subjective experience means so much, it’s safe to assume that creating a subjective experience conducive to your needs is the best way to use mushrooms therapeutically. It’s also currently the best way to tailor an experience to your needs rather than relying on strain choice.
For example, in one study, it was found that microdosing assisted in alleviating symptoms of depression. In the same study, researchers noted that it sometimes caused acute increase in anxiety or a fluctuation in moods. So if you’re taking magic mushrooms for anxiety, it might not be in your best interest to microdose — but to macrodose instead. The opposite may be true for depression.
In research for the use of psychedelic therapy for addiction, participants typically showed an improvement after a single session, suggesting that a macrodose may be appropriate in this circumstance.
These remain the three most common self-reported reasons to use psychedelics in the therapeutic setting, with the final one being performance enhancement (although this is not strictly therapeutic). And so the advice we’re about to give is not backed by evidence, but culminates from the research mentioned above as well as anecdotal reports on magic mushroom use in therapy.
If you’re using magic mushrooms for anxiety, the best way to consume may be in the form of a macrodose. This involves taking a single, larger dose (1g or above) as a therapeutic session. This is not something you have to do regularly, although it might be (such as once every couple of months).
It’s important to remember that a macrodose for therapeutic reasons should be void of any distractions. It’s not a time to socialise or busy yourself with events. The experience should be in a quiet setting where you have the opportunity to immerse yourself in your mind and your therapy.
To assist with any anxiety that may arise during the experience, it’s good to have a tripsitter or spiritual guidance (such as a shaman) observing you. This might also provide some comfort.
If you’re using magic mushrooms for depression, then there is some evidence to suggest that microdosing may be effective. You can follow either the James Fadiman method or the Paul Stamets method, both of which are outlined in this guide to microdosing magic mushrooms.
It doesn’t mean you can’t use a macrodose every now and then to see whether or not that assists in long-term symptom relief. Again, as this is not backed up by science, it’s all a matter of subjective experience and effects.
The most effective way of using magic mushrooms for addiction may be in the form of a macrodose. As with anxiety, this involves taking a single, larger dose in the context of a therapeutic session.
Following the advice from earlier in this article, it’s pertinent to make an environment that is conducive to therapy during a macrodose. That means no social events, no social media — just time to meditate and focus on your therapy.
For traumatic brain injuries…
We’ve also published an article on how certain athletes have been using magic mushrooms to treat traumatic brain injuries such as CTE. These anecdotes report using sometimes just a single dose of magic mushrooms to bring on long-term effects. That might be all that’s required to see long term symptom relief, or it may need to be a therapy that’s topped up from time to time.
Involving your doctor or therapist.
If you have a serious medical condition such as major depression, a brain injury, life-threatening addiction, or acute anxiety attacks, it’s important not to embark on therapy alone. If you choose to use magic mushrooms as an alternative therapy, it’s extremely important to involve your doctor or therapist — especially if you are taking other medications.
Not only does involving your therapist show your own independence in your healing process, but it also gives you someone to talk to about your revelations and process. Plus, you shouldn’t be diagnosing any conditions yourself or self-prescribing. It’s always important to get a professional’s opinion.
While there may not be a scientific rule book on how to choose a mushroom strain or which strains might be best for certain conditions, we can make certain hypotheses from where we’re standing. On top of this, the way you take magic mushrooms might be more pertinent than the kind of magic mushrooms you’re taking.
Have you used magic mushrooms as therapy? What have you used them for and how did you use them? What kind did you use? We’d love to hear all about it in the comments!