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Stamets Stack: A Key To Unlocking Cognitive Potential

October 6, 2023

Nikola Straka and Mushroom Tao team

Paul Stamets, a pioneering mycologist and accomplished author, has championed a microdosing approach called the "Stamets Stack." This unique blend combines psilocybin, lion's mane, and niacin, which form a synergistic triad to boost cognitive capabilities and foster overall brain well-being.

Psilocybin is known for its ability to augment neural plasticity and stimulating creativity. Lion's Mane acts as a cognitive enhancer. Niacin (Vitamin B3) helps maintain metabolic balance.

The Stamets Stack has the ability to unlock the full potential of our minds. Without further ado, let's take a better look at this combination.

Who is Paul Stamets?

Paul Stamets is an American mycologist, enterpenuer and author. He is known as one of the mushroom pioneers alongside Gordon Wasson, Terence and Denis McKenna, Mushroom John Allen, and Timothy Leary. 

Throughout his career, he's contributed to the world of mushrooms. He's discovered several new species and come up with innovative ways to grow and nurture mushrooms for food, medicine, and environmental remediation. He has also authored several books about mushrooms, like Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World and Fantastic Fungi.

He has received major awards for his work. National Geographic Adventure Magazine gave him the "Green-O-Vator" award, and he received a President's Award from the Society for Ecological Restoration. Right now, he's living and working in Kamilche Point, Washington, running a company called Fungi Perfecti, which specializes in mycological research and mushroom cultivation.

What’s In the Stamets Stack?

The Stamets Stack contains psilocybin, lion’s mane mushroom, and niacin (Vitamin B3) and is designed to optimize cognitive function and neurogenesis.

The potential benefits of the Stamets Stack include:

  • Reduction in anxiety and depression 
  • Stabilization of mood
  • Heightened creativity
  • Potential regeneration of visual and auditory neurons
  • Diminished irritability
  • Relief from symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Lowered incidence of neuropathy
  • Augmented capacity for socialization and empathy 
  • Reduction in age-related effects on the brain. 

Still, always keep in mind that this protocol has yet to undergo formal medical review or clinical trials to determine its true effectiveness. 

To date, the body of research on microdosing remains limited but promising. A 2013 study, for instance, demonstrated that lab mice conditioned to exhibit a PTSD-like fear response were able to mitigate this learned trauma following the ingestion of psilocybin microdoses.

Many anecdotal reports are posted online, on various platforms like YouTube or Reddit, comprising firsthand accounts from psychonauts and microdosing advocates. The majority claims the same thing: the Stamets stack indeed helps in promoting physical health and mental-emotional well-being.

What is Lion's Mane?

What's commonly referred to as lion’s mane mushrooms belongs to the species known scientifically as Hericium erinaceus. They're particularly popular in Asia, especially in countries like China, India, Japan, and Korea, where they go by names such as hou tou gu or yamabushitake mushrooms.

These mushrooms are not your usual cap-shaped ones like portobellos or buttons; they're more like fluffy clouds with long, shaggy bits that almost make them look like they're furry. Hence the name “Lion’s Mane”.

These mushrooms are indigenous to North America, Europe, and Asia, and are commonly found on hardwood trees. While they're traditionally harvested for culinary purposes, they've gained recent popularity as supplements and in the production of beauty products.

Lion’s mane mushrooms contain bioactive compounds that hold potential benefits for the brain, gut, heart, and skin. For example, hericenones and erinacines are compounds that many believe to have neuroprotective properties. That's why Paul Stamets decided to include this mushroom in his microdosing stack.

benefits of lions mane mushroom

What's the Synergy Between Lion's Mane and Psilocybin?

There's evidence suggesting that Lion's Mane and Psilocybin work together to form a powerful team. As mentioned above, erinacines and hericenones found in Lion's Mane have the ability to spur the growth of brain cells and enhance cognitive function. 

On the other hand, psilocybin has shown promise in enhancing neural plasticity and fostering the formation of fresh neural connections in the brain. When taken together, these compounds may complement each other's effects, resulting in huge improvements in cognitive function, creativity, and overall well-being. Some find this combination helps with anxiety and depression.

What is Niacin?

Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, plays an important role in energy production and metabolism. It's essential for converting proteins, fats, and carbohydrates into a form that cells can use as fuel. Additionally, niacin is necessary for the synthesis of fatty acids, cholesterol, and other vital macronutrients. It supports the function of the digestive system, skin, and nerves while also improving blood circulation.

Some believe that introducing niacin into the microdosing stack amplifies the effects of psilocybin.

On the other hand, while Niacin can improve brain function, taking too much can cause side effects including flushing, itching, and upset stomach. In fact, some advocates decide to leave out the niacin from their microbuses.

old woman

What is the Dose?

The Stamets Stack is a strategic combination of Lion's Mane, Niacin, and Psilocybin. Therefore, we encourage you to follow the recommended dosage:

  • Psilocybin Mushroom Powder: 100mg – 200mg, equivalent to 0.1 to 0.3 grams of dried mushrooms.
  • Lion’s Mane: 50 – 100 mg
  • Niacin: 100 – 200 mg (optional)

What’s the Schedule?

The Stamets Stack follows a specific routine:

  • Days 1 to 4: Microdose.
  • Days 5 to 7: Take a break.

This cycle is repeated for a span of four weeks, followed by a rest period lasting two to four weeks, in order to avoid building up a tolerance to psilocybin.

Keep in mind that if you're thinking about trying the Stamets Stack, we strongly recommend you to do so under the supervision of a trained psychedelic professional, following a schedule tailored to your specific needs and tolerance.

stamets microdosing protocol

Other Microdosing Protocols

If you are still unsure which microdosing protocol is the best for you, check out our article titled "Exploring Microdosing Protocols." There are a few different microdosing protocols, each one offering a unique set of benefits. It's important to be well-informed before deciding what's the best regiment for your specific needs.

Note that the Stamets Stack does not have formal medical approval for improving brain health or treating any specific illness. As a result, this information is offered primarily for educational reasons and should not be used in place of professional medical advice or treatment. Hopefully, in the future, we will have the opportunity to see some promising research studies and clinical trials.

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