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The Health Benefits of Microdosing Magic Mushrooms

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You’ve probably heard of magic mushrooms, a naturally occurring, popular psychedelic that has been around for thousands of years.

It contains the compound psilocybin, which produces hallucinations in people that consume it. Magic mushrooms have long been used recreationally and religiously, as its advocates often report experiencing spiritual awakenings and meditative states while on a full-on trip.

These intense trips often require more product intake, usually a few grams, to gain the desired hallucinogenic effect. However, more and more Canadians are microdosing magic mushrooms, using a minuscule amount to achieve different but still positive results.

What Is Microdosing?

Microdosing is a relatively new phenomenon. It has gained initial traction across psychonauts or psychedelic enthusiasts and is also attracting researchers, scientists, and business people.

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There is no precise amount yet to what constitutes a microdose with research on the subject still in its infancy. The consensus is that a tiny amount of a psychedelic drug isn’t enough to cause a full trip or hallucination.

Despite having a milder effect than a regular trip, its proponents attest that the practice offers significant benefits to one’s mind and general well-being.

The Health Benefits of Microdosing Shrooms

Despite having been in existence for millennia, research on psychedelics, particularly psilocybin, is still in its infancy due to the prohibition of these substances in countries worldwide.

However, current research has shown promising results. A study in Harm Reduction Journal has elaborated on the many benefits of microdosing psychedelics, including magic mushrooms.

Improved Focus and Concentration

In the study mentioned above, 14.8 percent of participants reported experiencing improved focus and concentration.

 

Another study also reported an increased psychological functioning on days when the participants microdosed. However, there is not much evidence supporting these effects carried over in days when the participants did not microdose.

Creativity

Creativity is one of the main reasons people use psychedelics. Magic mushrooms could produce vivid hallucinations that inspire creativity or spiritual experiences in regular or larger doses.

Many people report experiencing increased creativity even when microdosing. However, many of these experiences remain anecdotal and need to be backed up by further research.

Improved Mental Health

Many people who microdose report doing so due to its capability to help reduce stress and anxiety in their daily lives.

In a 2018 international survey, 21 percent of respondents reported microdosing to self-medicate for depression, seven percent for anxiety, nine percent for other mental health problems, and two percent to aid in stopping or reducing substance use.

Social Benefits

When putting together all the reported benefits of microdosing psilocybin mushrooms, many people observe being more able to cope with their daily lives, especially when handling or facing other people.

This effect could be due to reduced stress and an improved mood. Handling negative feelings more effectively allows people to become more friendly, open, and less irritable in stressful or high-pressure situations.

Despite being a relatively new concept, microdosing magic mushrooms and other psychedelics looks promising, especially in helping treat mental health problems and improving one’s quality of life.

Still, it’s essential to take note of relevant studies as they arise to ensure a more objective view of the practice and minimize any potential harm that may come.

 

Health

Deadly fungal infections a concern in patients post-COVID-19, flu | CTV News – CTV News Calgary

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While fungi are not about to start turning the human race into zombies, like in the HBO blockbuster series The Last of Us, the World Health Organization (WHO) says invasive fungal infections are an increasing threat to human health.

Aspergillosis is one fungal infection common in our environment but, in some circumstances, it can turn deadly. In an average day, most of us will inhale hundreds to thousands of Aspergillus spores with no adverse effects, but for people with weakened immune systems it can cause deadly infections. That includes people undergoing cancer treatments, or bone marrow transplants, but it is now recognized that some viral infections, like influenza (flu) and SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) increase the risk of deadly fungal infection even in otherwise healthy people.

“When these kinds of things happen in the ICU, it can be devastating because even advanced medicines still can’t treat these infections,” said Dr. Bryan Yipp, an intensive care physician and researcher at the University of Calgary.

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“Once many of these infections really get ingrained and take over, clearing them with medications alone, antifungal or anti microbials, can be very difficult.”

Dr.Yipp began studying Aspergillus — a type of fungus that is a common mould — and its connection to viral infections in 2019, following three deaths in intensive care units of patients initially admitted for influenza, but who subsequently died of the fungal infection.

“It was very much a surprise when people first started identifying the fungus in the lung.  There was a lot of discussion around the table of ICU doctors, infectious disease doctors, asking ‘Was Aspergillosis really the cause of death, or was this just a secondary finding?'” said Yipp. “The pathologists who looked at the samples and the autopsies, were convinced that it was Aspergillosis that was the main problem.”

UCalgary researchers have determined exposure to Aspergillus, a common fungal mould, can lead to a potentially dangerous Aspergillosis infection in people with weakened immune systems.

Working in Yipp’s lab, lead researcher Nicole Sarden, a PhD candidate, isolated the mechanism by which the immune system starts failing to prevent fungal infections.

“In healthy humans. specific immune cells, called B cells, produce molecules (antibodies) that basically tag invaders so that other cells in the immune system, called neutrophils, can recognize them, eat them, and clear the infection,” said Sarden

“But when you have infections with viruses, such as influenza, or if you get COVID, these molecules are no longer present, which means that the immune systems that are trying to eat, and clear the fungi cannot do it because they cannot see it.”

Working with both mice and human blood and tissue samples, the researchers discovered that following a viral infection, neutrophils could identify a fungal infection and surround it but did nothing to destroy it.  

“The virus kills the B cells, no messenger molecules exist, so the neutrophils that would normally attack, the fungus, are blinded. They sit there and don’t know what to do,” said Sarden.

The research team also discovered that reintroducing Aspergillosis reactive antibodies can protect infected mice, leading to hopes a similar treatment will be available in the near future for humans with Aspergillosis infections.

While Yipp and Sarden focused on Aspergillus, it is not the only fungus that can cause serious, or fatal infections. It is estimated fungal infections kill an estimated 1.5 million people worldwide every year. Most of those are due to four different fungi; Cryptococcus, Candida, Aspergillus, and Pneumocystis.  Since the advent of COVID, a previously rare infection of the fungus Mucormycosis has been increasing rapidly in India. It affects the sinuses, brains and lungs of its victims. The rise in Mucormycosis has also been seen in patients who are recovering or have recently recovered from COVID.

Yipp is hopeful the research being conducted at Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine could lead to treatments for these infections as well.

“We have some hunches that that could be a similar mechanism to what we see here with what we have found.” said Yipp. “So we think that this could be applied to multiple different types of fungi around the world.”

The research team, led by Sarden, published their findings in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

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Barrie hospital declares COVID outbreak in transitional care unit – BarrieToday

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Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH), in collaboration with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, declared a COVID-19 outbreak in the Barrie hospital’s transitional care unit on Friday, Jan. 27.

According to RVH, eight patients have tested positive for COVID-19 and have been isolated.

“Enhanced cleaning measures are underway, as well as swabbing of patients and staff,” RVH said in a news release Monday afternoon. 

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Admissions to the unit are on hold at this time, and visitors are not permitted. However, RVH says some exceptions may apply.

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Guidance for diagnosing and managing migraine – News-Medical.Net

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Migraine is a major cause of disability, affecting about 12% of people. A 2-part series published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) on diagnosing and managing the condition with both acute and preventive therapy provides guidance for clinicians. https://www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.211969.

“The goal of treatment of migraine attacks is to provide rapid relief from pain and other migraine-related symptoms, to restore patient function and to prevent recurrence,” writes Dr. Tommy Chan, Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences, Western University, London, Ontario, with coauthors.

“A stratified approach to treatment that empowers patients to choose from different options, depending on attack symptoms and severity, and encourages them to combine medications from different classes (e.g., nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and triptans) for severe or prolonged attacks, is preferred.”

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Part 2 of the review, which will be published February 6, focuses on preventive treatment to reduce the frequency and severity of migraine attacks.

Journal reference:

Tzankova, V., et al. (2023) Diagnosis and acute management of migraine. Canadian Medical Association Journal. doi.org/10.1503/cmaj.211969.

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