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The Traveling Cannabis Writer and Microdose. Buzz Chat: Psilocybin for Mental Health with Jon Schawartz

The Traveling Cannabis Writer and Microdose. Buzz Chat: Psilocybin for Mental Health with Jon Schawartz

Unlike fruits and vegetables, mushrooms grow from spores and not seeds. Spores are reproductive cells that develop into a new individual without the fusion of another reproductive cell. In simpler terms: a spore is a cell that produces fungi, moss, ferns, and bacteria. 

Spores create mycelium, a network of fungal threads that grow underground but also in places like rotting tree trunks. From the spore turned mycelium is where fungi such as mushrooms grow from. Interesting facts: mushrooms aren’t a fruit or a vegetable, mushrooms are fruiting bodies (a spore-producing organ of a fungus). The underground part of the mushroom is called mycelium, the part that is seen above ground-the stem and cap, are known as fruiting bodies. 

Photo Credit: Psilocybin Alpha

For thousands of years, mushrooms have been both medicine and food (the truth is, real food is medicine). In America, prior to the 1970s, mushrooms of all kinds were praised because of their multitude of benefits, including psychedelics. Today, due to prohibition, only some mushrooms are raved about, while the others are criminalized. 

Because of the psychoactive activity that is associated with psilocybin (the psychoactive compound found in magic mushrooms), magic mushrooms are frowned upon; however, their magic is undeniable, and this is being proven as more research is conducted and released regarding magic mushrooms for mental health

History Facts: Magic Mushrooms as Medicine and Consciousness 

The role of psychedelics like magic mushrooms in ancient medicinal practices and usages is profound. For over 10,000 years, psilocybin has been utilized as medicine; but as we learn more, this figure changes. 

Because spores and mycelium are where mushrooms grow from, considering how long they have been around gives a deeper view and understanding of the history of mushrooms on Earth. Discover Magazine says: 

“The scientific world is in the midst of a decade-long psychedelic renaissance. This revolution is expanding our understanding of one of the most captivating scientific puzzles: human consciousness. Numerous research fields are revealing new insights into how psychedelics affect the brain and which neural processes underly consciousness.”

Here are some findings regarding the history of magic mushrooms as medicine and recent findings for mental and overall health:

  • Archaeologists have provided fossil evidence that shows humans have used psychoactive plants for 10,000 years during ritual ceremonies.
  • It has even been claimed that the psychoactive alkaloids must have played a part in the evolution of consciousness.
  • Psychedelic medicine was enthusiastically advocated by numerous psychiatrists from diverse cultural backgrounds and socio-political contexts.
  • In a 2017 study of psilocybin and depression, researchers at Imperial College London gave psilocybin therapy to 20 patients with treatment-resistant depression, who reported benefits as long as five weeks after treatment. The study found that psilocybin decreased activity in the amygdala, which processes emotions like fear and anxiety.
  • In a small study of adults with major depression, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers report that two doses of the psychedelic substance psilocybin, given with supportive psychotherapy, produced rapid and large reductions in depressive symptoms

In America, the statistics for bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety are reported as: 2.8% of adults have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, 40 million adults have been diagnosed with depression, and 19.1% have been diagnosed with anxiety. The focus of this piece is those three conditions; however, attention should be given to all mental health conditions

Mental Health America reports that 47.1 million people in America have been diagnosed with a mental health condition. With the impact of the pandemic, these numbers have grown. If there was ever a time to legal nature- it’s now. 

Q & A with Jon Schawartz

Jon Schawartz is a Cannabis and Psychedelics Coach, someone diagnosed with: depression, anxiety, bipolar, PTSD, and ADHD, and taught directly by a shaman. He focuses his work and studies on plant medicine and energy. He has direct experience with consuming magic mushrooms for mental health and guiding others. 

Below he provides insight into consuming magic mushrooms for mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder. 

Photo Credit: The University of British of Columbia

Please share your journey into, and experience with, Magic Mushrooms/Psilocybin.

“Magic Mushrooms have been great allies for me over the years. I consider psilocybin to be some of the most effective medicine that I have access to and am grateful for everything that I have learned from Mushrooms.  

They wake me up and make me feel alive. They help me feel connected to everything. They teach me how to listen. They show me the truth, pulling back the veil of day-to-day life. I use them for healing and to gain insight. 

I regularly have a ceremonial dose to reset. It helps me remember all of the things that make me happy and what is good for me and what isn’t. A journey helps me organize my brain. Also, I use Microdoses to integrate what I have learned and to maintain the connection.”

How long have you been journeying with and guiding others on their journeys with psilocybin? 

“I started journeying with Psilocybin and other Psychedelics in high school. I did a lot of experimenting with little to no guidance and had some very challenging experiences. In other cultures, high school kids can explore this medicine with their families under guidance. I took too much LSD at more than one concert, and after college, I didn’t use psychedelics for years.  

I was introduced to Yage (Ayahuasca) in 2011 while living in Colombia. Since then, I have been sitting with and learning from Taita’s (shaman) all over Colombia. I regularly spend time in the rainforest with Yage, learning from it. My teachers have been working with Plant Medicine for decades and come from a lineage that has been doing this work for hundreds if not thousands of years.

I consider my Taita’s Masters and the most effective healers I know. Taking medicine with them is not the same as eating some mushrooms with your friends on the beach. Over the last few years, I have been using more Mushrooms than anything because they are most easily accessible. I use what I have learned with Ayahuasca and treat Mushrooms very similarly.”

What insight can you share from your expertise about magic mushrooms and mental health conditions?  

“I can talk about my personal experience and what Mushrooms have done for me. Throughout different parts of my life, I have felt depression, anxiety and have also had difficulty focusing. Eating mushrooms and other Entheogens makes my brain work better. They help me create new connections and make it easier for me to focus.  

After a Psilocybin journey, everything is brighter. I can hear, taste, and smell everything more clearly. It gives me energy to live and makes it easier to stay present. I use macro doses if I feel like I want a reset, and use microdoses to help integrate what I have learned and maintain a feeling of connection and flow in my daily life.”

Photo Credit: The University of British of Columbia

Please tell me about your experience guiding those with anxiety, depression, and/or bipolar disorder. 

“I share medicine, but I do not serve it. If you journey with me, I will ask you to serve yourself, and I’ll be there to make sure that you don’t get lost. I will support you if you need help.  

Before I started working with plant medicine, I was diagnosed with depression, anxiety, bipolar, PTSD, and ADHD. I tried many different pharmaceuticals and therapies to treat my conditions over the years, but nothing worked. I wish it was as easy as taking a pill to heal, but it’s not that simple. 

Since being reintroduced to plant medicine, I have been able to effectively treat myself. People with a bipolar diagnosis or that type of brain need to be careful when working with psychedelic medicine. They have to take it slow and be with the right guides who understand the disease and how to treat it. Don’t use psychedelics if you are on antidepressants or any psychotropic medication.”

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In your opinion, from your experience/expertise, can magic mushrooms/psilocybin help treat these conditions?  

“Mushrooms and other psychedelic medicine can help people find the root cause of their depression, anxiety, mania, or any illness. They can show you all of the steps to take to get better, but you have to do the work. If you don’t listen, you probably won’t get better. However, if someone is bipolar, there is a risk of them trying to use mushrooms on their own which may cause a manic episode. I actually don’t believe psilocybin is the best compound for bipolar but can be helpful with knowledge and guidance from an experienced Shaman.”

What does western medicine need to understand about psilocybin for mental health?

“I believe in the entourage effect and think it’s important for people to experience natural Mushrooms. There are other compounds that play a role in the mushroom being medicine. There is a great opportunity to help many people who are suffering. Keep an open mind and learn from good teachers who have experience working with this sacred medicine.”  

Have you experienced medical professionals around the world being more open to psilocybin as a form of treatment?

“Yes, I think the research is undeniable. The studies show that it works, and that is what most Doctors need to see. The medicine is so effective at treating mental health that Western Medicine has to pay attention.”  

Can you point us to research that can help us understand magic mushrooms for mental health? 

“If I waited for the research, I wouldn’t do anything in my life. I know that Johns Hopkins and some others have had some great results: https://hopkinspsychedelic.org/.” 

This article is a repurposed version of the original article- written by the author- and published on Microdose.Buzz, your guide to the business of psychedelics.  

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Author: Veronica Castillo, a Writer, Editor, and Equity Partner from Miami, with a pre-Cannabis and Psychedelics industries background in insurance and human resources. Currently, she is a resident of the road covering cannabis, psychedelics, and plant lifestyles all over the U.S and soon abroad.

IG: www.instagram.com/vee_traveling_veg_canna_writer

LI: https://www.linkedin.com/in/vee-traveling-veg-canna-writer/ 

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Feature photo credit: Axios