SAN DIEGO — Recent studies have shown psychedelic mushrooms can treat or even cure depression.
Now, more and more moms are coming forward admitting to taking the illegal drug in small doses. It’s called microdosing, and according to one North County mom who does it, it’s growing in popularity in San Diego.
Mikaela, who asked that we not use her last name, knows what she’s doing is illegal. But, she feels so strongly about the benefits of microdosing magic mushrooms, she wanted to share her story.
“It’s so necessary for some of us to be out and forward because we need to move the needle. We need to help give permission to other mothers, to fathers and other families,” said Mikaela.
Microdosing involves taking small doses of the psychedelic drug in various homemade forms, including pills, gummies, even chocolate.
“So a dose that would give you a classic psychedelic effect would be anywhere between a gram to five, six, seven grams and so a microdose is a fraction of a gram,” explained Mikaela.
Mikaela started microdosing about three years ago when she was pregnant with her two and a half your old son, Marten.
She was struggling with alcoholism and says microdosing helped her stop.
“I’ve heard that mushrooms can combat addictive behavioral patterns, so I wanted to approach it head on,” said Mikaela.
Following Marten’s birth, Mikaela struggled even more, saying the anxiety and depression she’s dealt with for years intensified.
She now microdoses on a regular basis.
“What does it feel like,” I asked.
“A glow. An underglow. It makes those emotions to connect with my son and toddler way more readily available and it slows down my desire to react and instead I respond to him,” said Mikaela.
According to Mikaela, her relationship with microdosing isn’t unique, saying there are other local moms from all walks of life doing the same.
Check out the full interview with Mikaela below:
“What’s leading people to want to dose is wanting to be more present in their life and I think that redefines what we think about as a drug user,” said Mikaela.
The stigma behind psychedelics dates back to the 1960’s when mushrooms and LSD were labeled as dangerous party drugs that could melt your mind.
Then, came the war on drugs during the Nixon administration when studies on psychedelics were banned.
Decades later, that’s all changing as more and more studies are being conducted showing psilocybin, the active compound in magic mushrooms, can help with depression.
“Decreases in depression and even in cancer patients decreases in depression and anxiety that are seen six months later,” said Michael Johnson, Ph.D, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research.
While he stands behind the benefits of psilocybin, he cautions, the majority of research conducted is related to macro-dosing sparingly in controlled environments, not microdosing for long periods of time.
“It’s not like we’re seeing them less depressed when they continue to take psilocybin. It’s like you take psilocybin in two sessions under monitoring and you’re feeling better a week later, a month later, six months later. It’s this ongoing therapeutic effect. Contrast that to microdosing. We know almost nothing about microdosing scientifically,” said Johnson.
Johnson worries if psilocybin is misused, it could be harmful or lead to a so-called “bad trip.”
He says education is crucial.
Meanwhile, some question if psilocybin could open the door to drug abuse.
Still, Mikaela and others are pushing to decriminalize it.
Denver was the first city in the United States to do so in 2019, followed by others including Oakland, Santa Cruz and Seattle.
Now, entire states are jumping on board with Oregon voters already approving a measure to do the same.
"There’s also another bill being pushed across the entire state of California called SB 519,” said Mikaela.
SB 519 would allow people 21 and older to hold and share small amounts of psilocybin as well as other psychedelic drugs without fear of arrest.
The bill passed key hurdles last year, but its author, Senator Scott Wiener of San Francisco, put it on hold, saying he wanted to gain more support to ensure its success. He plans to reintroduce it sometime in 2022.
Mikaela is hopeful, saying if the state doesn’t take action, she plans to launch an initiative here in San Diego.
For now, she’ll continue speaking out about how microdosing has helped her.
She often posts about it to her combined nearly 200,000 followers on her Instagram and Tik Tok pages, Mama De La Myco, which means mother of the mushroom.
“I’m a vastly different person for the better. I had no idea this level of happiness or contentment in life would be possible before I found the mushroom,” said Mikaela.
Watch Related: Should psychedelics be decriminalized in California? The debate over current legislation is intensifying