In a world of zoom calls, oat lattes and digital jobs, lots of interesting methods of increased productivity have been gaining popularity. Whilst psilocybin is illegal in the majority of the world, it hasn’t stopped many workers from micro-dosing and using magic mushrooms as a means to improve their work.
It has undoubtedly become a trend. But why is this? And would implementing psilocybin into your office routine actually benefit your output? We’re going to delve into this new trend and flesh out the truth. If Elon Musk does it then it must be good, right? Let’s see.
What are Magic Mushrooms?
Whether you like it or not, over the last decade magic mushrooms have gone from a hated part of the “war on drugs”narrative, to a slightly more accepted medical substance. Psilocybin is certainly proving to have certain benefits. But what are these weird-looking fungi? Well, magic mushrooms, scientifically known as psilocybin mushrooms, are fungi that contain psychoactive compounds, most notably psilocybin and psilocin. These compounds interact with serotonin receptors in the brain, leading to altered perceptions, heightened sensory experiences, and changes in consciousness. Psilocybin mushrooms are found in various parts of the world and have been used historically in religious, shamanic, or spiritual practices. The most well known species include Psilocybe Cubensis, Psilocybe Semilanceata (also known as liberty caps), and Psilocybe Azurescens. In the mushroom world, there are around 14,000 species. 2,000 of these are considered edible, and even less are considered ‘magic’. The effects that people feel on these specific mushrooms have led to their classification as hallucinogens or psychedelics.
The Psychedelic Experience
In the US, there are supposedly 30 million psychedelic users. In addition, the Mill reported this year a similar influx:
“Consumption of “magic” mushrooms and other hallucinogens by young adults nearly doubled over the past three years, a new study has found, illustrating the accelerating pace of America’s “psychedelic revolution” and growing societal acceptance of mind-altering drugs.”
Why do people love magic mushrooms so much? Well, consuming shrooms induces a psychedelic experience characterised by perceptual distortions, vivid colours, enhanced sensory experiences, and alterations in time perception. Users often report a deepened connection to nature, profound introspection, and, in some cases, spiritual or mystical experiences. These effects are temporary and typically last for several hours, depending on the dosage and individual sensitivity. Michael Pollan – considered the kind of psychedelic research – wrote about his experiences in the Atlantic:
“It seemed to me these were the most beautiful leaves I had ever seen. It was as if they were emitting their own soft, green glow. And it felt like a kind of privilege to gaze out at the world through their eyes… A plant’s-eye view of the world—it was that, and for real! But the leaves were also looking back at me, fixing me with this utterly benign gaze. I could feel their curiosity and what I was certain was an attitude of utter benevolence toward me and my kind”
As you can see, magic mushrooms have the ability to change someone entirely – but not necessarily in a scary way, but in a beautiful way. Often people feel rejuvenated and emotionally solved after a trip – for several days or even weeks after.
What is Micro-dosing?
This may all sound a bit too much, like a trip that maybe you’d rather not go on. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. This is where the micro-dose comes in. In recent years, there has been a growing interest in micro-dosing, a practice that involves consuming small doses of psilocybin. Unlike a full psychedelic trip, the goal of micro-dosing is not to induce hallucinations but rather to experience subtle cognitive and emotional enhancements without the profound alterations in perception associated with larger doses. Like lightly feeling the love and euphoria of MDMA, but without the beating heart, gurning and comedown the next day. Micro-dosing typically involves taking a fraction of a standard psychedelic dose, often on a schedule that involves regular but infrequent ingestion. The specifics can vary of course. Whilst currently psilocybin is being explored to treat mental health conditions, Michael Pollan also noted that there are more benefits to magic mushrooms than only the medical ones. He writes:
“As I made clear in my book How to Change Your Mind, I don’t believe medicalization should be the only future for psilocybin, and that people without clinical diagnoses should have access to these substances as well. “
The Benefits of Micro-dosing
So what are the benefits of micro-dosing? Here are some of the reasons why people decide to do it:
Many individuals who practise micro-dosing report heightened creativity, improved problem-solving skills, and increased cognitive flexibility. Some creative professionals, such as artists and writers, claim that micro-dosing helps them overcome creative blocks. Many silicon valley workers turn to LSD and psilocybin as a means to think outside the box.
Micro-dosing has been associated with mood improvement and a reduction in symptoms of anxiety and depression for some individuals. However, research on the subject is still in its early stages, and individual responses can vary.
Increased Focus and Energy
Micro-dosing advocates suggest that small doses of psychedelics can lead to improved concentration and energy levels, making it an appealing option for use in an office environment.
Mindfulness and Emotional Well-being
Users often report a heightened sense of mindfulness and emotional awareness, leading to improved overall well-being and a greater sense of life satisfaction.
Does Micro-dosing Actually Work?
Micro-dosing is becoming more and more common in the workplace to boost morale, creativity and output. However, it seems that it isn’t just as simple as taking psilocybin and then watching your business sky rocket, there needs to be certain foundations in place to ensure the ideal outcome. The company Micro-dose Pro – a dutch based company of course – sells micro-dosing psilocybin packages. These are bought by many companies as a perfect way to begin the process of utilising these substances in the workplace. The slick packaging ensures that EU residents can receive them safely – despite the drugs of course being illegal in these nations. So why is everyone so obsessed with it? Well, there seems to be genuine evidence of the benefits of micro-dosing. Wired writes about the company owner of Morrama – Barnard – and how she used micro-dosing as an attempt to boost her business after a covid-induced dip. They report:
“During this time, Barnard noticed she had a larger appetite, more ideas, a greater desire to be outdoors, and vivid dreams that she could glean meaning from, rather than those that left an unsettling dew on her day.”
There is increased research that micro-dosing helps people think outside their usual mode of thinking, and come up with better ideas. Tiredness and a lack of motivation are two very common feelings to have when working in an office – especially with the monotony of staring at a screen all day – and it seems that magic mushrooms can subtly raise you above those feelings. Maddyness reports that even lecturers and students at Oxford and Cambridge university have found that micro-dosing has enhanced their work. Harvard also reports:
“One recent study used a naturalistic, observational design to study 953 psilocybin microdosing compared with 180 non dosing participants for 30 days, and found “small to medium-sized improvements in mood and mental health that were generally consistent across gender, age, and presence of mental health concerns.”
There isn’t a great deal of ‘official’ research into the benefits of micro-dosing, but that doesn’t mean that people aren’t trying it and shouting about its evident perks. However, there may also be downsides of micro-dosing too, such as a reliance on psilocybin for ideas and energy.
It’s hard to truly know what the hype around micro-dosing is until you try it. However, it seems evident that the trend is growing in popularity and even some very successful people are giving it a go. This includes the likes of Elon Musk (who also is a keen fan of ketamine), and of course the Beatles. Where would the White Album be without psychedelics? It may have never been made. Nonetheless, whilst micro-dosing is a fashion, it seems that it also has more to it than that. The reports are suggesting that using a small dose of psilocybin may actually improve your work life. But what do you think?
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