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Most of the discussion surrounding psychedelics and master plants centers on their therapeutic uses. This is for good reason, as multiple studies have shown encouraging results in treating PTSD and other challenging mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. Conventional medicine has faced difficulties in effectively treating these conditions.
It’s clear to everyone that the global mental health crisis is getting worse, not better. Enter psychedelics. While the medical community studies these master plants and compounds, results so far are promising in advanced clinical trials for MDMA and psilocybin.
Patients with proper recommendations can now go to Oregon and take mushrooms in a clinical setting, even before the trials are complete. Oregon made it all legal in 2022-23 and the waiting lists are long for the one facility currently open in Portland. More are coming to meet the demand.
Since psychedelics have been ingested outside of clinical settings for decades by people from all walks of life, it begs the question: Can these master plants and compounds transcend the clinic and be used positively by the masses (not just the clinically depressed or suffering)?
The answer is a resounding “Yes.” In this column, I will be covering several areas in which psychedelics are being used outside the clinic. There’s an array of companies and leaders working with master plants and psychedelics in a variety of innovative ways. There also currently exists the beginnings of a revolution of psychedelic research and interdisciplinary work in academia.
The starting point should always be with the plants or fungi themselves. Moving psychedelics out of the clinic and into society may begin with home growing. After all, nothing brings people closer to plants than growing them. It’s a natural extension of anyone curious about getting started with magic mushrooms.
“I come from the perspective that our experience with master plants is defined by our relationships with them,” said Dr. Maya Shetreat, author of The Master Plant Experience. “It’s cultivating connection and intimacy before jumping into bed with them and, in some cases, growing them if legal, learning about their history, lore, and communities of origin.”
The home cultivation of small amounts of psilocybin mushrooms is now available to everyone. You see, the spores of magic mushrooms do not contain any psilocybin and are therefore legal. You can order them in the mail and not have to worry about the DEA busting down your door. The DEA has just issued guidance and confirmed that the spores are legal.
Companies like MYYCO and Magic Bag make it simple for home growers to learn and develop skills. These organizations are B corporations dedicated to doing this work in ways that transcend profits. They are operated by professional mycologists and donate a portion of their proceeds to nonprofit organizations advancing psychedelics in clinical trials, like MAPS.
“The whole point of Magic Bag is to make mushroom cultivation more accessible—give people a chance to grow who might not have the time and interest in becoming seasoned mycologists,” said Evan Henderson, CEO of both companies.
Growers can cultivate both psilocybin and culinary spores with these technologies and easy-to-follow instructions. There are other sources for home growers, like the media company DoubleBlind which has courses devoted to home growing of mushrooms. The lessons learned can be applied to any type of mushroom.
For home growers and practitioners, growing one’s own ensures a dependable supply chain in places with decriminalization. These are powerful compounds, and asserting control over that power by growing one’s own can make users feel safer consuming them. Remember, once the mushrooms are grown, they do contain psilocybin and are not considered legal in most places and not at all by the feds. Be mindful accordingly.
There are other benefits to home-growing mushrooms.
Growing your own can be a good way to start a conversation with a community of like-minded home cultivators. Plenty of websites exist to educate folks and discuss their adventures in forums with other home gardeners. Being in an active relationship with other home growers brings everyone in a closer relationship to the mushrooms being grown. Learning facilitates connection.
Given how mushrooms are captivating humanity at the moment, it’s easy to see this symbiosis effect in action. Mushrooms provide people with relief and inspiration; people propagate more mushrooms. The two feed off each other. When we grow our own, we get closer to the mushroom. And when we eat that bounty, the mushroom gets closer to us.
Many folks in the psychedelic community feel that home growing helps facilitate positive experiences with this powerful psychedelic. Good experiences come from strong relationships and knowledge of mushrooms, safe containers for consumption, and intentionality within the motivation to consume in the first place.
My own experience of home-growing mushrooms has been illuminating. Over several weeks of tending to these fungi growing in my closet, I have felt a parental connection to them. The first mycelium is starting to form at the bottom of the bag. My babies! Another week or two, and they’ll be ready for the next phase of cultivation.
It will take several more weeks or months for the mushrooms to be ready for harvest and drying. In the meantime, we are spending a lot of time together. When the day finally comes for a taste, I’ll be ready to try them within the confines of my own “clinic”—the one at home in my body, mind, and spirit.