Whereas James Fadiman is renowned for his general prowess in all things psychedelic, Paul Stamets is the man to speak to about mushrooms. A global leader in fungi research, Stamets has spent a lifetime unearthing the incredible value mushrooms can offer the earth and its inhabitants. As we, as a human race, veer towards the precipice of extinction, this groundbreaking mycologist believes fungi can provide the solution to saving both our planet and our species.
==Storm Silences Stutter==
Born in Salem, Ohio in 1955, Paul Stamets developed a stutter at an early age. This led to a withdrawal from the world and hours spent in his father’s basement laboratory nurturing his research skills. Despite its negative impact, the American claims his stammer caused him to look down often, towards the ground, which prompted his interest in mushrooms.
His first experience with the magic variety took place at 18 years of age and remains an electrifying story in more ways than one. Stamets unknowingly ingested what is commonly referred to as a ‘hero’s dose’, which instigated a psychedelic journey of epic proportions. It was the height of summer, yet a storm was brewing on the horizon. Stamets took to a tree for shelter, climbing high and riding out the waves of thunder and lightning.
He felt connected to the tree, the earth, and the universe as a whole. This enlightenment, combined with a genuine fear for his life as lightning struck around him, allowed him to view his existence in a new light. He told himself repeatedly that he would no longer stutter. When the storm was over, he descended the tree and went home. The next day, he stumbled across a woman he had feelings for, someone who would previously trigger the severest stutter. She asked how he was doing, and he replied without a single pause. His stutter was completely gone, never to return.
==Career Kicks Off==
This inspirational event cemented Stamets’ fascination for fungi. He completed his bachelor’s at Evergreen in 1979 and founded Fungi Perfecti a year later. Still going strong, the company promotes the cultivation and sale of mushrooms for culinary and medicinal purposes. As part of that promotion, Stamets gives educational lectures to fellow enthusiasts and works with numerous scientific organizations to conduct research into mushroom-based technology.
This technology, Stamets believes, can be a valuable tool in tackling the challenges of today and tomorrow, from restoring damaged ecosystems to controlling pests and cleaning up toxins. Aside from our environment, the mycologist also advocates the benefits of mushrooms for physical and mental well-being, citing his mother’s recovery from breast cancer in a 2011 TEDMED Talk as a poignant example.
His pioneering research has led to a number of patents and resulted in the discovery of several new species of psilocybin or magic mushrooms. He has also been on the receiving end of numerous prestigious awards and has published no less than six books dedicated to his field of study, including Psilocybe Mushrooms & Their Allies, and Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World.
==Stamets’ Stacking Formula==
The recent microdosing phenomenon has become something of a subculture of psychedelics, as experts are turning more and more to the power of sub threshold dosing. Stamets is yet another advocate dedicating time and energy to the movement in the hope of discovering its full potential. In fact, he is part of a team conducting the world’s first mobile microdosing study, launched in 2019.
Microdosing involves the regular consumption of mushrooms, LSD, or other psychoactive substances. The only difference being the amount, as roughly 1/10 of a recreational dose is taken to eliminate the high whilst still reaping the benefits. Stamets argues these benefits can be greatly enhanced by adding two more ingredients into the mix, the lion’s mane mushroom and niacin (vitamin B3).
Most microdosers follow a particular schedule, known as a protocol, the most famous of which was developed by the Father of Microdosing himself, Dr. James Fadiman. Stamets’ protocol contrasts Fadiman’s 3-day cycle with the following structure:
- Day 1 - 4 Microdosing days
- Day 5 - 7 Rest days
This weekly protocol is maintained for one month, followed by a two to four week reset. The most significant aspect of Stamets’ recommendation is the unique stack added to the psilocybin.
Firstly, lion’s mane is introduced to boost cognitive ability. Common in gourmet food markets, this particular fungus has been brought to the attention of the scientific community of late due to its neuroregenerative attributes, which simultaneously create new neural pathways and repair existing damage. Secondly, niacin acts as a distributor, delivering the benefits of psilocybin and lion’s mane to the entire body, driving all that goodness towards the peripheral nervous system.
==Spreading the Word==
Stamets is intent on delivering his message to as many people as possible. He believes his stacking formula can improve memory, coordination, vision, hearing, and the ability to learn, while enhancing creativity and well-being, and reducing anxiety. And his life-long study of mushrooms has opened up new perspectives and valuable approaches to help unite people and nature in working together for a better future.