We’ve been using the wrong drug.
I started microdosing (using small doses of psychedelics) in July 2020 and it’s been an incredible journey. As Julianne Keu puts it, it feels like ages ago in terms of emotional development.
Around the same time, I broke up with alcohol. It wasn’t doing me any good. I started getting horrible hangovers and needing lots of it to feel any kind of way. There was no point.
So I got the idea to replace my social drink with microdosing. I experimented with different psychedelics and consumption methods and finally found a pairing that really works for me, as well others. Microdosing is most known for positive individual experiences, but the result of combining the social enhancing psilocybin with social events and activities also has extremely beneficial results. This is the best thing about microdosing, it can be used for both personal and social moments, and continues to work even when you’re not taking it.
Let’s dive into each a bit more.
If you don’t already know about psilocybin, you should. It’s a prodrug known for low physiological toxicity (meaning very little harm to yourself) and low abuse liability (meaning the very low chance of addiction). It works by binding to serotonin receptors in your brain and promotes neurogenesis. Found in magic mushrooms and truffles, its benefits include a sense of unity, a noetic quality, sacredness, positive mood, and ineffability. There have been no serious adverse events that have been attributed to psilocybin when administered correctly, however, taken in macro doses can cause hallucinations that may trigger harmful events. Clinicaltrials.gov is a US government website that lists FDA-approved clinical trials for new drugs, and there are over 50 studies with psilocybin. These studies demonstrate that not only is psilocybin safe to use, but it is also perhaps the ideal clinical psychedelic for treating a variety of mental disorders.
Historically, it’s been used for centuries as sacraments within ancient cultures. For the past decade, it’s been used in therapy and clinical trials, confirming numerous positive results in healing depression, PTSD, anxiety, and more. Countries are starting to make more exceptions for psilocybin therapy use in treating serious health conditions. It got famous in the land of Silicon Valley for being used in microdoses to increase productivity at work. It’s continually being used by thousands of people to personally heal themselves and become better people.
Me being one of them. I don’t have any serious health conditions, but we all experience mental health conditions from time to time. Microdosing has brought me and continues to bring, more energy, positivity, productivity, self-discipline, and happiness to my life. I don’t feel addicted to it in any way, I use it in different capacities depending on how I’m doing. The way I see it is psilocybin’s literal job is to help connect all the wires in your brain so that you can think better, be better, and feel better. It still works even when you stop taking it!
Thinking about all these amazing benefits and how it has little harm on an individual, really makes me think why this drug is illegal in the first place. If you’re familiar with the counterculture movement in the 1960s, you’d understand that there’s a “war on drugs” due to psilocybin and others like LSD, promoting positivity and healthier ways of thinking. (Like realising war is bad and feeling enough courage to do something about it. So higher authorities make it “harmful”…)
The way most people know psychedelics is by consuming them in macro doses, large doses that make people hallucinate and feel intense emotions. The bad stigma with psychedelics stems from this type of use. However, by microdosing, which is taking around 1/10th of a macro or recreational dose, you do not get high, instead, you feel a subtle benefit as it works in the background, and mainly in the brain. Meaning it doesn’t have much of a physical effect.
This is why microdosing is safe while still having incredible benefits. You can microdose in many different capacities. If you think about it, we’re already microdosing alcohol. We don’t get drunk off half a beer, we work our way up, choosing how much loss of control we want to feel. We understand macro doses of alcohol, like a full bottle of tequila, is too much and can cause bad effects. What we don’t really know is how bad this drug really is even in small doses, yet it’s currently on a throne and a very active part of our lives. If we all knew a little more about it, maybe we’d feel more inclined to replace it.
My toxic ex, alcohol.
First, let’s think about what alcohol has brought to our lives. Personally, it’s brought me laughter, a lot of rough hangovers, it’s made me more energetic, but also has made me eat terrible food. It makes me have fun, but thinking about it, those fun moments usually had a lot of embarrassing ones too. I definitely can think of a lot of things I’ve done drunk that I regret.
Not only is it legal almost everywhere, but it’s embedded in our social culture and pressured socially between communities everywhere. The hardest part about giving up alcohol is the social pressure. There are more cases every year of alcohol poisoning deaths in university fraternities. Not only is the drug poisoning, but people everywhere use it as a symbol of status and acceptance. Social pressure to drink alcohol is a serious thing, but I constantly notice how it’s used so jocularly in conversations.
Why do we pressure and accept others to use a drug that’s rated at the top in regards to harm to others and harm to users? (Note where mushrooms are on the list).
Heavy (hazardous) drinking is defined as a quantity of alcohol consumption that exceeds the established threshold value, which is more than:
- 14 drinks per week for men (or >4 drinks per occasion)
- 7 drinks per week for women (or >3 drinks per occasion)
- and 7 drinks per week for all adults 65 years and above
The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism sets this threshold. Individuals whose drinking exceeds these guidelines are at increased risk for adverse health events like liver disease, heart disease, depression, stroke, and stomach bleeding, as well as cancers of the oral cavity, oesophagus, larynx, pharynx, liver, colon, and rectum. Alcohol also promotes problems managing conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, pain, and sleep disorders, and an increase in the likelihood of unsafe sexual behaviour. There is a list of a ton of other facts about alcohol on their website, but some include:
- In 2016, 3 million deaths, or 5.3% of all global deaths (7.7% for men and 2.6% for women), were attributable to alcohol consumption.
- Globally, alcohol misuse was the seventh-leading risk factor for premature death and disability in 2016.
- In 2016, approximately 14% of total deaths among people ages 20 to 39 are alcohol-attributable.
- In 2018, WHO reported that alcohol contributed to more than 200 diseases and injury-related health conditions, including suicides.
- From 2010 to 2016, alcohol-related liver disease was the primary cause of almost 1 in 3 liver transplants in the United States.
More research is coming out constantly about how it affects our body, especially the brain. Alcohol-related deaths jumped to the highest level during the Covid-19 pandemic. Not only is it bad for our health, but we grow up learning this drug is fine to use, when in fact, the commercially celebrated alcohol also largely affects our culture and society. Alcohol and slavery often went hand in hand across the economic landscape. The suppression of feminine has been associated with the use of alcohol for many, many years.
What I’m about to tell you will blow your mind and comes from the book “Food of the Gods” by Terence McKenna.
There are ancient stories of men who would beat their wives if they drank alcohol. Dominator-style hatred of women, general sexual ambivalence and anxiety, and alcohol culture largely conspired to the problems we face today. Alcohol and its social institutions create the social space in which this fascination and disgust about women can be acted out without responsibility.
I will make no friends by taking the position that alcohol culture is not politically correct. Yet how can we explain the legal toleration for alcohol, the most distructive of all intoxicants, and the almost frenzied efforts to repress nearly all other drugs? Could it not be that we are willing to pay the terrible toll that alcohol extracts because it is allowing us to continue to the repressive dominator style that keeps us all infantile and irresponsible participants in a dominator world characterized by the marketing of ungratified sexual fantasy? Alcoholism is a condition of ego obsession and inability to resist the drive toward immediate gratifitcation. The social domain in which the repression of women and the feminine is most graphically and brutally realized is that of the drunken episode or lifestyle.
If you find this difficult to believe, think about the extent to which images of sexual desirability in our society are associated with images of sophisticated use of alcohol. Men have always controlled the world, so this actually makes sense. (Terence Mckenna was so ahead of his time. He wrote this in 1992.)
Alcohol has been marketed in ways that shouldn’t be legal. I’ve been working in marketing/advertising my whole career and studied it since 2010, and I can absolutely say that it’s astonishing to believe this drug has been promoted in the way it has.
Alcohol is also part of what Terence McKenna calls the “burn out diet”, which also consists of sugar and red meat. We’ve been training our body to build an immune system capable of so much. This burn out diet is not only responsible for diseases and toxic addiction, but also abuse of the land. It exemplifies, in short, everything that is wrong with us.
Right now is the right time to change the way we use alcohol and psychedelics, especially psilocybin, because it’s critical to changing our social rituals into healthier interactions. Changing your social habits is a first step to changing the world because our culture influences too much of who we become. We are nurtured more than we are born with our values and visions. How different would we be if we were nurtured with more nature?
Climate change, for example, is not a pollution or waste problem. It’s a mindset problem. If we all thought differently about our land, seas, and other human beings, we’d understand how much we have caused the earth to slow down and destruct, and feel more responsible to do something about it.
People are being killed because we listen to the wrong leaders. There is not one man in charge. You are in charge. You can listen to yourself to make decisions and make changes that help the way we connect with ourselves, each other, and the planet. If we continue to pass on the dictatorship style from dictators controlling the world, we will continue to pass on the wrong message. We have the ability to change the entire future of the planet by changing our mindset for the better.
All drugs should always be used in balance. Although psilocybin still has some work to do in regards to more testing and studies, it’s already proving to be way healthier than alcohol. But I’m curious if you looked up any research studies and experimented with alcohol before trying it for the first time? Didn’t think so.
Given that psilocybin has been used in cultures for centuries with no apparent harm gives us hope. There are many theories that claim the story of Adam & Eve is a story of eating psilocybin and gaining self-awareness. Did you know that magic mushrooms grow on cattle poop? How do you think our ancient ancestors got around before the horse and carriage?
Start by implementing microdoses of psilocybin in or before social settings. You’ll drink less, and you’ll start feeling more comfortable with the idea of doing it more frequently. Eventually, you may be able to replace alcohol entirely. Maybe you won’t. Again, the key here is balance. Understand that you have options and should be educated on what is healthy and what is not. Understand that psychedelics are not “bad for you”, alcohol and tobacco are not good for you, and that people are deliberately choosing the wrong drug that has adverse effects on society.
It’s time to diagnose most of ourselves with alcoholism and be open to other natural drugs. Distilled alcohol after all is a synthetic drug, psilocybin on the other hand comes from nature!
“There is no solution to the “drug problem”, or to the problem of environmental destruction or the problem of nuclear weapons stockpiles, until and unless our self-image as a species is reconnected to the earth.”
Happy Tea in Amsterdam is on a mission to bring alternatives to alcohol and awareness to positive social effects of psilocybin. Get in touch with Sara if you’d like to collaborate.