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Mushrooms vs. Synthetic Analogue


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#1 DonShadow

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Posted 10 April 2019 - 02:21 AM

I'd like to open up a conversation related to the experiential comparison between psilocybin mushrooms and synthetic psilocybin analogues. In recent months I have accumulated many experiences with a variety of mushroom species under controlled circumstances, and have wiped away any residual doubt I may have had regarding the qualitative differences between them.

More recently I have had the opportunity to sample 4-AcO-DMT under precisely the same conditions in which I have been consuming mushrooms. According to David E. Nichols, 4-AcO-DMT is thought to be metabolized into psilocin in the body (though I'm not certain if this has been tested), and should thus, in theory, mirror closely the effects of psilocybin mushrooms.

First I will state that amongst all of the mushroom species I have sampled, there is always one shared similarity, which is the archetype of descent, death, revelation, and rebirth. This pattern is mirrored in the archetypal hero's journey or initiation, the alchemical process, and the fungal life cycle. This seems to be fairly reliably true, as most, if not all of my trips have shared this dynamic. Keep in mind these are simply subjective metaphors that I have found to be helpful in navigating the experience, they should not be treated as doctrine. These metaphors do absolutely nothing to tame the mystery that is mushrooms, which transcend all conceivable boundaries.

Generally speaking, the onset of effects occurs between 30-90 minutes. The "death" occurs at about the 2.5-three hour mark, and the revelation and "rebirth" between 3.5-5 hours. By the 6th hour I am generally back to or near baseline. The death stage is characterized by intense identification with shadow aspects, feelings of extreme fear, guilt, shame or persecutory delusions, and the sense of no escape or complete entrapment. At the lowest point, the feeling of total ego dissolution can be physically sensed as a blending of the physical body with the psyche (decay). The rebirth period is often marked by feelings of emancipation, victory, relief, and heightened sexuality (fructification, sporulation).

The 4-AcO-DMT was obtained by a friend through a Canadian vendor with a good reputation. The dose was said to have been measured at 25mg, though based on what I've read, I believe it must have been higher than this. Most sources I've encountered say that 25mg is roughly equivalent to 3-4g of cubensis, though I would place my experience closer to 5-6g.

____________________________________________________________________

I sat down at my altar and stared at a candle as I normally would do with mushrooms. The first notable difference was in the speed of onset. The symptoms came on very quickly, and the full effects set in by about the 1 hour mark. Despite my desire to remain unbiased, the feeling felt foreign to me. I felt agitated, confused, and restless. At the two hour mark, the effects seemed to plateau and remained unwaveringly strong for at least another four hours, much longer than what is usual for me with mushrooms. The agitation I felt motivated me to blow out the candles and get into bed and just wait it out. The visuals were very intense; they reflected the unpleasantly confused psychological state I was in. Chaotic, flashing inorganic pictures pulsed through my head at a jarring pace.

The kind of imagery that I typically associate with mushrooms was absent. There was no continuity in the images, they remained disjointed, strobing and uncharacteristically non-mycelial. With mushrooms, it is typical for me to experience highly meaningful or relevant imagery that seems to grow, transform and flow in an organic fashion. Surging waves of floral interconnectedness, intergalactic mycelia and immense lightning arcs are common. The mushroom feels soulful, whereas the 4-AcO-DMT, while obviously similar in many respects, felt jagged, cold and aggressive. A thought that kept occurring to me was that I had somehow allowed a grain of sand to enter into my brain and wreak havoc upon my nervous system. To put it extremely crudely, the mushroom is a sine wave, and the 4-AcO-DMT was a square wave.

Please take this with a grain of salt, as I'm sure it will sound a bit hokey to some; I hypothesize that the clear experiential differences that I detected between the synthetic substance and the mushroom were due to the absence of other compounds present in fungi, compounds which work together to create a synergistic, homeostatic experience. If this is the case, I suspect that a dose of pure psilocybin might yield a similar effect to the 4-AcO-DMT. The mushrooms have been engineered through millions of years of selective co-evolution to work upon the mammalian brain in a particular way, and this depends more or less on the presence of all of the compounds offered by the unadulterated fungi. It is as if the mushroom's chemical constitution in a sense "mirrors" the homeostatic function of the well-balanced brain. In which case psilocybin, while indeed having a powerful effect in isolation, may require the "cushioning" of the other compounds to create the soulful, narrative dynamic which is so ubiquitous in fungi. I would be interested to hear if anyone else has done a similar comparison and found the same to be true. Thanks for reading.

Edited by DonShadow, 10 April 2019 - 02:59 AM.

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#2 Cuboid

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Posted 10 April 2019 - 03:43 AM

Thank you for taking the time to report on your experience. It was a pleasure to read! I've not had a full on trip in over 20 yrs and never used 4-AcO-DMT but find the subject very interesting indeed. From what I've read of peoples experiences with different species of Psilocybe mushrooms and different extraction techniques I tend to think you are right about other compounds in the mushroom working with the psilocin to produce the 'soul' compatible trip.

Edited by Cuboid, 10 April 2019 - 03:43 AM.

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#3 elfstone

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Posted 10 April 2019 - 06:27 AM

Among the Mazatecs, there is a practice of wrapping newly harvested mushrooms with a banana leaf to protect them from being seen by anyone passing by as they are brought home and placed on the altar. The belief is that the mushrooms will absorb the energy and problems of whomever may lay their eyes upon them and so alter their purity. As a sacrament they must be protected from profane eyes. If nothing else, this practice reduces the opportunity to attribute what emerges in the velada to any extraneous influences by securing a hermetically sealed psychic space for the participants in the velada. Growing one’s own mushrooms thus securely seals the hermetic chamber of the velada.

I have also had the occasion to sample the synthetic homologues of the mushroom and am unimpressed by any of them. Not the same at all. For myself, they just lack the spirit.

Over the course of 44 years of working with the mushrooms, the so-called “death-rebirth” experience has completely dissipated and now I just welcome the drawing close of the divine presence. This currently manifests as the arising of a deep spaciousness, stillness and peace. The divine mind breathes its presence throughout body, heart and mind and awareness flowers into insight and gratitude. Eating the mushroom is a blessed benediction in my life and the lives of my friends along the path. When someone new to this may join us, who has yet to open fully to the divine presence, it can be experienced as something akin to the polar express rolling on through, not unlike the description of Arjuna’s encounter with Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita. Once the divine presence establishes itself in the soul, the real journey begins, which I would characterize as simple service and sacrifice. The ultimate sacrifice, of course, becoming free of the virus of selfishness, which has been laying waste to the planet now for far too long. Let us pray for the end of the collective insanity and the flowering of divine consciousness in every vessel capable of receiving and nourishing it.


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Edited by elfstone, 10 April 2019 - 06:29 AM.

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#4 DonShadow

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Posted 10 April 2019 - 03:19 PM

Thank you for sharing that Elfstone, I wasn't aware of the tradition of concealing the mushrooms in a banana leaf, though I am not surprised to learn about it. When I pick mushrooms or transport them, I don't advertise them or display them, since that would put me at unnecessary risk. I'll usually put them in a sealed glass jar with a desiccant pack if they are dry, or in a paper bag if they are fresh. I do believe however, that the mushrooms instill in one the desire to share them, and part of the process of overcoming my own selfishness (which I openly admit to) has been in helping other people learn what little I "know" when they show genuine interest. Identifying profane minds is not something I have very much experience with, and I don't trust my ego's judgment enough to draw such a polar distinction. I too have many friends who eat mushrooms, perhaps not yet with the same level of devotion as you and your companions, but we are doing the best we can. If opening fully to the divine presence you speak of was an easy task, people would remain as static objects and life would have no struggle, no meaning. I emphasize that the metaphors I've suggested should not be taken as doctrine, but useful narratives to guide one's experience. Indeed the process does develop with consistent effort, thankfully, since it was horribly unpleasant in the beginning.

 

When spores germinate in a region remote from their colony of origin, they can only work with the genetic and material resources at their disposal until they either unite with another colony or exhaust the resources and resume the cycle. When I was in my late teens, I worked as a laborer for a carpenter, commuting a very long distance every morning to work in a physically demanding environment. In the evenings I took paid classes to improve my mental health. When my expenses were paid, I had very little left over for food. I was conditioned to be very stingy with my resources, so I would sometimes draw a line with felt pen on the side of my milk jug to deter my room mates from using it. Many years have passed since then, and now if my room mates need milk, I simply buy a jug of milk and I couldn't care less who drinks it. We all share with each other, and this doesn't feel like a sacrifice. When I'm not working just to make ends meet, the majority of my time is spent healing myself and helping other people in whatever ways I can. My generation is selfish because we have limited material and imaginal resources. This isn't the same kind of selfishness displayed by the affluent.

 

I very much agree that home cultivation is an ideal container. The reason I brought up this topic is because I am concerned that in the future, uneducated people may opt to use synthetic analogues to psilocybin, rather than the mushrooms themselves. In my opinion, this gives too much power to people who are motivated primarily by capitalistic interests. I think it is concerning that the cosmopolitan mushroom, which offers itself freely and cannot be bound by culture, may be subjected to the molestations of the scientific ego, which ignorantly disregards the complexity of nature.


Edited by DonShadow, 10 April 2019 - 05:32 PM.

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#5 Samwise

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Posted 10 April 2019 - 06:13 PM

Great thread. Thanks for sharing Don Shadow, and I appreciate the reflections elfstone.

I have a fair bit of experience with 4-AcO-DMT...nothing like the same degree as with mushrooms...but I also find them distinct. I saw a friend recently and he described 4-AcO-DMT as being more detached and less heart warming than mushrooms. And I think I concur with this. There is something missing I think...4-AcO-DMT can produce beautiful visions, but they seem somehow a bit sterile, and lacking sparkle..it is a similar feeling to when I sampled pure synthetic psilocon fumarate...it certanly "got me there" but there was a sterility or flatness to the visions...they lacked the rich. shimmering, voloptuous, sparkling, light filled visions of and the "drunk on life itself" feeling of the mushroom. Purely subjective, but I also get more of a feeling instructive guidance from the mushroom.

I introduced mushrooms to my ex girlfriend, and she really connected with them and we had a few lovely wild picked P. cyanescens experiences over the course of a winter. Her first experience was particularly special. She had an amazing pencil drawing of a hare that she drew at a time of past depression. It was stunningly realistic. Both the drawing of the hare on the wall, and a hare in her inner vision, accompanied and guided her throughout the experience. I found it curiously hard to gauge how she was getting on during the experience, but at one point when I asked to check she was ok, she murmured it was the most special experience of life, and wished to remain quiet so she could bask in it.

In the Springtime we had a 4-AcO-DMT, 25mg I think, same dosage as you Don Shadow. Well it turned out she was very sensitive to it, and went far deeper, and for longer than I did. She had moved the picture of the hare into the bedroom, so that it might act as a guide as it had before during the mushroom trip. But she looked at it, and nothing. No sense of connection or guidance...just psychedelic chaos. She wasn't comfortable and proclaimed she'd never touch this substance again. When she came down a bit later she was fine, but she definitely wasn't a fan.

So yeah, I very much resonate and concur with your perspective Don Shadow. It has been my experience that 4-AcO-DMT and mushrooms differ markedly, and I also find different species of mushroom to vary in character. I agree that I think secondary compounds in mushroom synergise with and augment the psilocybin in a beneficial way. One of my hunches is tryptophan and the serotonin/psilocybin precursors mushrooms contain alongside the psilocybin. Psilocybin as we know primarily hits serotonin receptors, so its working through your serotonin system. Your body manufactures serotonin from tryptophan, so if you eat mushroom tissue with tryptophan, it follows that you're likely to get a hint of serotonin and psilocybin...with pure synthetic psilocybin, obviously just the latter. Then of course there are other secondary compounds like baeocystin (which according to Dr David Nichols has a different receptor affinity to psilocybin, so likely has distinct effects) norbaeocystin, phenylethylamine and aerueginascin. I also thinking that picking or growing one's own mushrooms, and ingesting the organism from the Earth is a special part of the ritual of the experience.

On a related tangent, I have experience synthetic N,N-DMT as part of some neuroscience research, and this to me felt identical to botanical DMT extract...although perhaps the colours were slightly muted. Comparing synthetic 5-MeO-DMT with vaped Bufo (15% organic 5-Me-DMT), while the Bufo had its own flavour, both substances got you to the same place in my experience, and I think I actually prefer the synthetic. Better for the toads too.

Edited by Samwise, 10 April 2019 - 06:15 PM.

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#6 Mushinist

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Posted 10 April 2019 - 06:57 PM

Thank you Don for sharing the report!

I'm curious if less than 25mgs, maybe 10-15mg range would be anymore enjoyable or if it would still lack the substance of the mushrooms. I agree though that the other compounds present would add to the experience.

Btw I love the analogy of mushrooms being like a sine wave and 4AcO like a square wave, crude but revealing!
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#7 DonShadow

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Posted 10 April 2019 - 11:58 PM

I'm curious if less than 25mgs, maybe 10-15mg range would be anymore enjoyable or if it would still lack the substance of the mushrooms. I agree though that the other compounds present would add to the experience.


It's a good question. I have a friend who had never tried any psychoactive drug until a couple of weeks ago. His first experience was with 16mg of 4-AcO-DMT, and he reported a very pleasant experience. He later upped the dose to 25mg and again had a positive reaction. I'm very curious to hear his opinion of mushrooms, since he will only have had the 4-AcO-DMT to compare. I certainly don't mean to propose a blanket denial of the value of synthetics. I'm more concerned that they may become the norm within mainstream culture.

 

 

I have a fair bit of experience with 4-AcO-DMT...nothing like the same degree as with mushrooms...but I also find them distinct. I saw a friend recently and he described 4-AcO-DMT as being more detached and less heart warming than mushrooms. And I think I concur with this. There is something missing I think...4-AcO-DMT can produce beautiful visions, but they seem somehow a bit sterile, and lacking sparkle..it is a similar feeling to when I sampled pure synthetic psilocon fumarate...it certanly "got me there" but there was a sterility or flatness to the visions...they lacked the rich. shimmering, voloptuous, sparkling, light filled visions of and the "drunk on life itself" feeling of the mushroom. Purely subjective, but I also get more of a feeling instructive guidance from the mushroom.

I introduced mushrooms to my ex girlfriend, and she really connected with them and we had a few lovely wild picked P. cyanescens experiences over the course of a winter. Her first experience was particularly special. She had an amazing pencil drawing of a hare that she drew at a time of past depression. It was stunningly realistic. Both the drawing of the hare on the wall, and a hare in her inner vision, accompanied and guided her throughout the experience. I found it curiously hard to gauge how she was getting on during the experience, but at one point when I asked to check she was ok, she murmured it was the most special experience of life, and wished to remain quiet so she could bask in it.

In the Springtime we had a 4-AcO-DMT, 25mg I think, same dosage as you Don Shadow. Well it turned out she was very sensitive to it, and went far deeper, and for longer than I did. She had moved the picture of the hare into the bedroom, so that it might act as a guide as it had before during the mushroom trip. But she looked at it, and nothing. No sense of connection or guidance...just psychedelic chaos. She wasn't comfortable and proclaimed she'd never touch this substance again. When she came down a bit later she was fine, but she definitely wasn't a fan.

So yeah, I very much resonate and concur with your perspective Don Shadow. It has been my experience that 4-AcO-DMT and mushrooms differ markedly, and I also find different species of mushroom to vary in character. I agree that I think secondary compounds in mushroom synergise with and augment the psilocybin in a beneficial way. One of my hunches is tryptophan and the serotonin/psilocybin precursors mushrooms contain alongside the psilocybin. Psilocybin as we know primarily hits serotonin receptors, so its working through your serotonin system. Your body manufactures serotonin from tryptophan, so if you eat mushroom tissue with tryptophan, it follows that you're likely to get a hint of serotonin and psilocybin...with pure synthetic psilocybin, obviously just the latter. Then of course there are other secondary compounds like baeocystin (which according to Dr David Nichols has a different receptor affinity to psilocybin, so likely has distinct effects) norbaeocystin, phenylethylamine and aerueginascin. I also thinking that picking or growing one's own mushrooms, and ingesting the organism from the Earth is a special part of the ritual of the experience.

On a related tangent, I have experience synthetic N,N-DMT as part of some neuroscience research, and this to me felt identical to botanical DMT extract...although perhaps the colours were slightly muted. Comparing synthetic 5-MeO-DMT with vaped Bufo (15% organic 5-Me-DMT), while the Bufo had its own flavour, both substances got you to the same place in my experience, and I think I actually prefer the synthetic. Better for the toads too.

 

Thanks for sharing all of that Sam. Funny you should mention that your ex-partner had a close affinity for the hare, which seems to be a universal motif, particularly during an initial encounter with the mushroom. Perhaps their propensity for tunneling makes them adept guides of the underworld, where they surely would come to know the mycelial landscape intimately! It seems likely that rabbits are mycophiles too, given that they graze in areas where fungi are sure to be plentiful.

 

I didn't know this about tryptophan, but what you say certainly rings true. Maybe the more soulful dynamic of the mushroom is due in part to the varying speeds of onset, duration and intensity of the compounds as they work through the system, each in their unique way. Personally, I don't feel that an attempt at quantifying the experience in this way is somehow taboo or a breach of sanctity, but moreso a way of deepening the understanding of nature's language, in which chemistry obviously plays a part. If deepening our knowledge of every aspect of nature's language can help us protect it, that seems worth all the humming and hawing over chemicals.


Edited by DonShadow, 11 April 2019 - 01:28 AM.

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#8 elfstone

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Posted 11 April 2019 - 10:12 PM

During the 90's when the internet first came online we were all hooking up and the Shulgin tweaks were being passed around in a big way.  My wife and I had the opportunity to try all the top 20 and a few others besides.  At first it seemed novel and interesting, but then it just became repetitive and dull.  The magic was missing for us.  The plants have an ancient morphogenetic field and a lot of accumulated wisdom to impart and they have never disappointed.  Our affinity is deep with the mushroom.  They have shown us things that can only be shared through direct initiatory experience as it is impossible to speak of them and be believed.  Initiation upon initiation seems to characterize their presence.  It has been over 44 years now and they still surprise me.


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#9 Samwise

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Posted 12 April 2019 - 09:30 AM

I concur elfstone. In the past I've sampled an extensive range of Shulgin's creations, and while they are all interesting and novel in their own way, I too found them lacking, they felt sterile in some way, for me they lacked the spiritual or magical (and earthy) feel that mushroom experiences are consistently imbued with. And I too resonate with the mushroom's capacity in providing more enduring teachings and mysteries to explore over time.


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#10 DonShadow

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Posted 13 April 2019 - 02:04 PM

Psilocybe subcaerulipes, aka "Hikageshibiretake" or "shadow numbness mushroom".

https://en.m.wikiped...e_subcaerulipes

Endemic to Japan, this psilocybin mushroom was used in a clinical trial to test expressions of obsessive compulsive disorder in mice. Interestingly, the mushroom was found to inhibit the OCD behaviours far more effectively than pure lab-grade psilocybin, which lends credence to the argument that the effects of the mushroom are dependent on the function of a complex array of compounds present in the fruiting body, which itself is a product of millions of years of co-evolution with other plant, animal and microbial symbionts. Additionally, the lab-grade psilocybin caused inhibited locomotion in the rodent subjects, whereas the fungi did not.

Here is a note from the translator of Hofmann's "LSD: My Problem Child", in which he (Jonathan Ott) describes Maria Sabina's opinion of the Indocybin pills provided her by Hofmann and Wasson. Unfortunately, this story which appears in numerous publications never seems to be supported by a reference.

IMG_3584.PNG

Edited by DonShadow, 13 April 2019 - 02:08 PM.

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#11 elfstone

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Posted 13 April 2019 - 11:03 PM

Wasson only had a cursory understanding of the lore of the Mazatec tradition because he was an outsider and never really penetrated deeply into the trust of the confederation of the healers in the Sierra Oaxaca community.  Our friend, Azure, is married to a Navajo and is familiar with the ways of the Mazatec and other indigenous people and because he gives, instead of takes, has been drawn into open collaboration with the Mazatec people.  There is a lot to be learned and this is just beginning to open up.  Insofar as I know, being the only individual allowed to ever film a traditional velada, Oliver Quintanilla and my friend are the only two Westerners with any real expertise on the subject.  Azure is currently building a retreat center in Huatla, construction has just begun, and this contribution to the well-being of the community will undoubtedly open up channels to those who respectfully approach the opportunity to learn directly from the Mazatec themselves.  This is far more interesting and exciting to me than the scientific research.  The traditional lore around the use of these tools has developed over hundreds, if not thousands or tens of thousands, of years of direct experience.  I have now over 44 years of direct experience under my belt.  Taking the mushroom in a room with a "white coat" scientist just isn't on my bucket list, nor ever has been.  Given the opportunity to choose doing a guided session under the supervision of a trained John Hopkins or New York University or Compass Pathways psilocybin therapist or with a traditional Mazatec "chota chjino," such as Natalia Martinez, well, there really is no comparison.  The johnny-come-lately scientific "experts" like to think that "science" is where it is at because of the hubris associated with our own culturally based blind-spot that thinks rationality trumps any other form of knowing.  My friend Azure was recently asked why would he bother pursuing that "hippy shit" in Huatla de Jimenez instead of turning to science.  I can only laugh at such naive ethnocentrism.  My only answer is to offer the questioner a huge plate of derrumbes and then lets have a potentially meaningful discussion about epistemology and the hubris of "science" being the only mode of knowing.


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#12 DonShadow

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Posted 14 April 2019 - 01:39 AM

Thanks for sharing Elfstone. My intention for this post was to demonstrate that the synthetic analogues are inferior to the mushroom. If the language of science can be used to show this truth to others who may lack the experience to know firsthand, it seems worthwhile to try. There may come a day when the mainstream will only concern themselves with the synthetics out of convenience, and the mushroom may be largely ignored, as in the case of modern opiates and the poppy. I don't have a scientific background, so, while it does interest me somewhat, everything I say about the chemistry of the mushroom is just speculation, or possibly even nonsense. I absolutely agree that there is infinitely more depth to be found in tradition than the scientific approach, which is why I've endeavored to learn, practice and share as you have. I may be in the infantile stage in my journey with the mushroom, but I believe I have enough experience to know that science has little jurisdiction in all that I've witnessed. I'm excited to learn more as you choose to share. I'm sorry to hear that Azure received such a mindless insult, that's pretty sad!


Edited by DonShadow, 14 April 2019 - 01:51 AM.

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#13 Samwise

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Posted 14 April 2019 - 05:16 PM

Psilocybe subcaerulipes, aka "Hikageshibiretake" or "shadow numbness mushroom".

https://en.m.wikiped...e_subcaerulipes

Endemic to Japan, this psilocybin mushroom was used in a clinical trial to test expressions of obsessive compulsive disorder in mice. Interestingly, the mushroom was found to inhibit the OCD behaviours far more effectively than pure lab-grade psilocybin, which lends credence to the argument that the effects of the mushroom are dependent on the function of a complex array of compounds present in the fruiting body, which itself is a product of millions of years of co-evolution with other plant, animal and microbial symbionts. Additionally, the lab-grade psilocybin caused inhibited locomotion in the rodent subjects, whereas the fungi did not.

I appreciate where the anti-science perspectives are coming from here, but good scientific find there Don Shadow! What an interesting study and finding Obviously we must be cautious when extrapolating and inferring from animal model studies, but the implications of this are potentially profound!

 

I totally respect and appreciate the desire to adhere to the tried-and-tested ancient traditional approach of the Mazatec...believe me I do...but I am also supportive of and interested in the scientific research on psilocybin...this is making all this translatable to people for whom it would otherwise remain something alien to. I feel (and the scientific evidence backs me up) that one important utility of psilocybin is for the treatment of existential end-of-life anxiety in the terminally ill. And with this in mind, I think it is more likely, and perhaps more appropriate, that a doctor in a white coat administer the psilocybin to terminally ill people, who may not otherwise be (understandably) comfortable with reaching out to a shaman, and it is very likely they would not have the means or even ability to even if they wanted to. So by staunchly adhering to the old Mazatec way, we would by extension limit psilocybin access to many vulnerable people who could considerably benefit from it. I am definitely strongly adverse to the capitalist co-opting of an ancient substance to be spun as a money making treatment, but I also feel it is a good thing that vulnerable people will have better access to it when otherwise they likely would not or could not access it.


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#14 elfstone

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Posted 14 April 2019 - 05:56 PM

I concur wholeheartedly with Sam’s observations on the utility of good science, the pharmacologically pure psilocybin and the opportunity to use it to help those in need.

What a I have said above is based solely upon my personal penchant to open beyond the rationalist paradigm that characterizes our overly Apollonian academia model of reality and the tendency it can induce In some toward thinking that one has the devil by the balls. I am also speaking from my own experience within the halls of academia and the “group think” that emerges when one is confined to a particular paradigmatic model of reality. Having faced down that particular mode of narrow mindedness and having moved totally away from it into the private sector, I sometimes feel the need to call it out for its major blind spot, the hubris that characterizes our Western society generally and which flowers within the halls of academia. It is mostly to raise awareness of the possibility of a deeper reality. As Hamlet asserts, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”


γνῶθι σεαυτόν
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know thyself
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#15 DreamingRaven

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Posted 14 April 2019 - 11:29 PM

As a native american I take from all this a slightly simplistic thought--  it is the nature of the substance. A thing that has no life, like the synthetics, has no part of the great mystery in it. Without Unalvnuhi, the creative force, it is like having a print instead of the oil painting.


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#16 DonShadow

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Posted 15 April 2019 - 12:26 AM

Thank you all for the valuable insights here folks. To me it is a very wonderful feeling to go inward and discover what feels like a novel thought, bring it to the attention of other highly intelligent beings, and watch it be refined into a much better idea.

 

As I go deeper with the mushroom, I think I'm beginning to understand that it encourages this kind of democratic collaboration. I suspect that what I'm witnessing is just a normal social behavior that I haven't experienced much until recently. I'm definitely a bit of a lone wolf, but lately I've been feeling a lot more comradery in both my personal and online life. It's as if the soul that appears during the visit with the mushroom stays with me and animates the world and the people around me. It's easier to explain it as an image; it's as if the mushroom has a living whirlwind inside of it, and that whirlwind comes out and inhabits people, creating useful ideas by generating the same patterns without as within. I didn't feel the whirlwind with the 4-AcO-DMT, it felt more like an aggressive wind that could only move in one direction.



#17 swayambhu

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Posted 15 April 2019 - 02:56 AM

My friend Azure was recently asked why would he bother pursuing that "hippy shit" in Huatla de Jimenez instead of turning to science. I can only laugh at such naive ethnocentrism. My only answer is to offer the questioner a huge plate of derrumbes and then lets have a potentially meaningful discussion about epistemology and the hubris of "science" being the only mode of knowing.


Science is our friend, it is for everyone who makes the effort to understand, and it readily acknowledges its own limitations, almost by definition, which I do not think can be said of any other system.
The best expression of our Western tradition is secular, rational humanism. That is our culture and we should be proud of it and hold it up as the treasure that it is. It does not deny spirituality or the mysteries of being, but it puts in its correct place, as the individual's personal and largely private relationship with reality.
It is essential that we also put in their correct places the more shrill voices of atheism and materialism. They have a place in our tradition, as do all personal beliefs, but they do not define it.
Now, I would not dismiss anyone's beliefs or endeavours as "hippy shit", but in your post, elfstone, I am picking up themes of hidden knowledge, geographically remote, accessible primarily through blood or ethnic affinities, and which to me suggest exclusivity, of which I am very circumspect.

#18 elfstone

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Posted 15 April 2019 - 08:06 AM

In an ideal world I also see science as a wonderful tool and the more enlightened practitioners of the art are open minded and tolerant of alternative hypotheses, many coming to the mystical experience through the paradoxes that emerge when studying certain aspects of reality.

I do not believe that the knowledge the Mazatec have is remote or exclusive, rather the contrary, it has been passed by and minimized. They are very humble and open people who genuinely want to share what they know but have never been afforded a context or forum for doing so on their own terms. I see the work that Oliver Quintanilla and my friend, Azure, are doing as motivated by the desire to bring this to a wider audience. Oliver is considering doing a world tour with Natalia to share this with everyone. Nothing remote or exclusive about it.

In regards to “science” and speaking as a professional research scientist trained in application of the scientific method, All I am trying to say is that certain human characteristics among those of us trained in Western science, mostly ambition and greed and a need for recognition, muddy the waters and actually serve to make the medicine exclusively available through creation of a “legal” monopoly and profit from operating within a governmentally regulated “medical” authoritarianism.

In contrast to the exclusivity of the scientific medical model we are currently stuck within, my view is that access to a natural plant medicine is a fundamental human right and should not be curtailed by legal authoritarianism, which it currently is and has been since the Spanish Inquisition. To some degree, because we live inside these societal strictures, we are blind to their roots in colonialism and cultural appropriation. The real “exclusivity” is making the plant illegal to begin with and then forcing everyone to dance to the tune of the collective blind spot that this creates, all the while thinking that we’re doing something good. It is really a bit exasperating to watch and hold one’s tongue while the government funded scientist marionettes dance on their financial strings imagining that the good they’re doing is of their own making.

I have been watching all of this go on since I was 16 years of age, when “The Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970” was proposed by Richard Nixon’s administration and passed into federal law by congress, and, I will admit, my astonished exasperation at the stupidity of our so-called “leaders” remains unabated. Serving as an initiate of the Little Saints, I infiltrated the system in the 1980s, and under their divinely inspired guidance became a research scientist myself. I came to know the director of NIDA, Bob Schuster, who squashed MDMA research, again under the financial pressure of governmental grant giving authorities, such as the DEA. I suspect that Bob eventually felt guilty by the mid 1990s and then decided to make up for his past sins by encouraging Bob Jesse to fund and assist Roland Griffiths in the design of the first psilocybin study at John Hopkins University. I applaud this turn of affairs In the scientific community, but keep in mind that science is never done in a vacuum, it involves governmental agencies, committees, funding sources, etc. it is highly politically charged and in no way “democratic” or “objective.” Human beings do science, bringing not only our talents but all our flaws into the process.

Although I was inspired by youthful idealism and had dreams of doing such research when I first entered graduate school in 1982, the cultural climate under Reagan/Bush and their culture war waged against the youth movement of the 1960s, made it literally impossible. I lived through this terrible era and frankly it was only through the courage of Terence McKenna, who also saw straight through all the bullshit and spoke the truth, that we found some sustenance to maintain us through the late 1970s and into the 1990s. That and the democratization of the psychedelic experience that comes through the ability of the average Joe being able to grow their own Psilocybe mushrooms, thanks again to the McKenna brothers. The work of all the growers here on this forum is also extremely important in keeping the spirit of the thing truly alive. I see the work of Oliver Quintanilla and my friend Azure as really at the cutting edge because it is not dependent on government funding nor the approval of an IRB or any authoritarian power structure rooted in an unconscious colonialism that is so endemic to our society we can’t even see it.

In regard to the comment:
“I am picking up themes of hidden knowledge, geographically remote, accessible primarily through blood or ethnic affinities, and which to me suggest exclusivity, of which I am very circumspect.”

I do see how I could come across that way, indeed, and I am happy to have that pointed out as I do not want to engender any such impression, rather the contrary. So I humbly offer the following thought about all that:

The actual “hidden knowledge” is the lack of historical awareness that is shaping this discussion toward thinking that indigenous knowledge is “hidden” at all - when in reality it has generally been squashed and passed by. Geographical remoteness is being worked upon and hopefully soon resolved by bringing the knowledge forward and affording it the opportunity to be expressed without the filter of our unconscious ethnocentrism interpreting it. The idea that “blood or ethnic affinities” are even a factor is born of the misperception that to honor and respect the indigenous knowledge base is to somehow assume a position of exclusivity when in fact it is just the opposite. The exclusivity has been to steal from the Mazatec people and to even go so far as to take credit for “discovering” something they have been quietly guarding as a treasure for centuries, keeping it outside of the view of the conquerors who have time and time again shown what they do to the sacred. And in regard to being circumspect, I would encourage cultivating humility and open-heartedness in approaching the tradition, setting aside all fear.




γνῶθι σεαυτόν
gnothi seauton
know thyself

Edited by elfstone, 15 April 2019 - 12:49 PM.

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#19 DonShadow

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Posted 15 April 2019 - 11:51 AM

I greatly appreciated all that you've said above Elfstone, indeed it was a humbling read, but I find the last statement a little bit questionable.

 

"And in regard to being circumspect, I would actually encourage being very circumspect in approaching the tradition as it will serve one well to do so."

 

You yourself have been very open about the Mazatec tradition here, on this anonymous though very public forum. It feels like a double standard to encourage people to take interest and share, only to then turn around and deliver a message that quite frankly incites paranoia. Also, you should not be surprised if many people attracted to such a thing will be very imperfect beings seeking healing for themselves and their kin, go figure. We're trying to save the planet right? Of course the mushroom isn't a discovery of modern western civilization, I don't think anyone here is operating under any such illusions. However, personal discovery and self-discovery is something of a different nature, and discouraging conversation of such seems unnecessary to me, since it is a path of growth and learning. If we're going to talk about discovering the mushroom, how far back do we go? To Mexico? Central Asia? Africa? Other planets? Other star systems? It seems more prudent to suggest that no one ever discovers the mushroom, but rather it periodically rediscovers us. When I first started growing mushrooms, I didn't know shit, but the nature of my curiosity is to look toward the source of whatever it is I'm interested in, and build up from there. Since there is not a lot of information out there about the indigenous history of sacred plants (particularly mushrooms), it is unfortunately not surprising that so many people would share an ethnocentric perspective. Speaking from my own experience, it's actually quite scary to research and discuss these things, particularly when people like Jan Irvin pollute the psychological atmosphere with conspiratorial bullshit. Circumspection will only proliferate this problem.

 

I am willing to test the knowledge of anyone more experienced than myself. As the Mazatec people are presently the living indigenous authorities on the matter, I am incredibly grateful to be shown even a tiny shred of light from their tradition. Still, to think that I am somehow "practicing the Mazatec tradition" is actually quite absurd, since all I really know about it comes from a few books and articles, Oliver's film and all that you've generously shared here. I'm basically a dumb white dude doing a weird form of cosplay alone in my room. Ultimately I don't think it matters though, as I endeavor to remain open to criticism always. Moreover, I believe that the mushroom just does what it needs to do all on its own, as long as it is eaten with humility, respect and the desire to learn and serve. I've heard you mention something along these lines a number of times, and I could be wrong, but based on my reading this echoes Maria Sabina's perspective also.


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#20 elfstone

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Posted 15 April 2019 - 12:27 PM

What was in my mind about being "circumspect" is more along the lines of approaching them with humility and open-heartedness. I had no intention of making anyone paranoid. Looking up the definition, it was indeed a poor choice of words:

 

Circumspect: "Wary and unwilling to take risks"

 

I altered the post to more accurately reflect my actual intention. Thanks for pointing this out, DonShadow! I seem to be creating some misunderstandings here by a poor choice of words that I had no intention to foster. I can sometimes become a bit overly activated about it all and my fingers starting typing like mad and can very easily run away from me!

 

I should also add that I still find I carry some of the suffering of fear and paranoia that we lived through in the 60's, 70's and 80's due to authoritarian governmental agencies prying into our personal lives and trying to shut us down by draconian laws and penalties.  In my youth, I also saw many of my friends being returned home dead after having been drafted and making the ultimate sacrifice for their country in Vietnam, a senseless and stupid political conflict between the prevailing ideologies of the day, capitalism and communism, that was playing itself out in this poor little Buddhist country that had been dominated and oppressed by French colonialism.  LSD served to awaken us from this nightmare and to see it for what it was, something driven by the insanity of our political leaders.  It was really due to this potential awakening of conscience induced by the psychedelics that the Controlled Substances Act was passed as a way to stop this from happening and to actively shut it down.  As a result, I find myself still feeling a bit of vitriol toward any oppressive authoritarian power structure and those operating within it.  I was activated by the injustice of it all in 1968 at the age of 14, and now, at the age of 64, still see things from much the same angle, though I have grown in my ability to manage my response to it.  I no longer hate the sleepers and can see them with eyes of love.  I have learned that with sufficient presence, one can often give a simple command and the sleepers tend to obey it without much question.  

 

Peace to everyone!


Edited by elfstone, 15 April 2019 - 12:47 PM.





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