Paul Stamets – The Joe Rogan Experience

Key Takeaways

  • “Humans separated from fungi 650 million years ago”
    • We share more in common with fungi than any other kingdom
  • Our best antibiotics come from fungi (i.e. penicillin)
  • 35% of food is directly dependant on the bee pollination 
  • “I think psilocybin should be looked upon as a nootropic vitamin”
  • There’s a hypothesis that as our ancestors cross continents, they ingested different mushrooms/fungi which led to an increase in the size of their brain as well as cognitive output
  • Whatever mushrooms you’re consuming, “Make sure they are certified organic, and please don’t buy them from China”
    • Chinese mushrooms sometimes have up to 2,200 ppm of lead (so 2-3 capsules would be considered toxic)
  • One study found that with just one psilocybin experience, people were 18-27% less likely to commit criminal activities 
  • Microdosing is when you take ~1/10th of a gram of psilocybin/magic mushrooms (a full-trip experience requires 2-4 grams)
    • When microdosing, Paul suggests dosing for 5 days in a row and then taking 2 days off
  • Lion’s mane is a safe and legal mushroom people can use to increase neurogenesis (the growth of new neurons in the brain)

Products Mentioned

  • Check out Paul’s mushroom supplement company: Host Defense
    • MyCommunity (for immune support) and Lion’s Mane (for cognitive enhancement) have been recommended widely across the podcast world

Intro

  • Paul Stamets (@PaulStamets) is a mycologist, author, and advocate of bioremediation and medicinal fungi

Books Mentioned

Mushrooms

  • Mushrooms have the power to heal you, hurt you, kill you, or take you on a spiritual journey
    • 23 primates consume mushrooms, humans being one of them
  • There are about 5 million species of mushrooms
  • 30% of soil is fungal mass (living and dead)
    • Fungi outnumber plants about 8 to 1
      • “For every meter of a tree root, there is a kilometer of mycelium”
  • “Humans separated from fungi 650 million years ago”
    • We share more in common with fungi than any other kingdom
    • The oldest multicellular organism in fossil records is a fungus (2.4 billion-years-old)
    • A fully grown mushroom fossil was recently discovered – it was 1.4 billion-years-old
      • Mushrooms have had their form for nearly a billion more years than humans
  • “Fungal networks are the foundation of the food web”
    • Our best antibiotics come from fungi (i.e. penicillin)
      • Having access to penicillin helped the British and the U.S. win World War II since most soldiers tended to die from infection (the Germans and Japanese didn’t have penicillin)
  • The largest living organism in the world is a mycelial mat at about 2,200 acres in size (about 665 football fields!)

Fungi is Saving Bees

  • Bees are dying off at an enormous rate 
    • Oklahoma lost 85% of its beehives last year (2016-2017)
    • Maryland lost 75%
    • Nebraska lost 60%
  • Deforestation and GMOs are making it harder for bees to prosper
  • One bee can pollinate 1,000 flowers in a day 
    • 35% of food is directly dependant on the bee pollination 
  • Fortunately, Paul discovered that the amadou fungi doubles the lifespan of bees and reduces the deformed wing virus by more than 1,000 fold in just 10 days 
  • Paul is working with Washington State University to fund research to improve bee health
    • Learn more here
    • “Honey bees are the single most important pollinator contributing to a healthy global food supply. Declines in insect pollinators worldwide present a challenge for food security.”

“Magic” Mushrooms

  • There’s a hypothesis that as our ancestors cross continents, they ingested different mushrooms/fungi which led to an increase in the size of their brain as well as cognitive output
    • Studies show that psilocybin (the psychoactive ingredient in magic mushrooms) allows one to “reset” and form different neurological pathways which aid in overcoming fear (and even PTSD)
    • It’s possible that clan leaders who took psilocybin overcame their fear of predators/natural disasters and as a result, had more courage and empathy, both great leadership skills 
      • “I think psilocybin should be looked upon as a nootropic vitamin”
  • One study found that with just one psilocybin experience, people were 18-27% less likely to commit criminal activities 
  • After his first psychedelic mushroom experience, Paul stopped stuttering
  • One Johns Hopkins controlled experiment with psilocybin found that 70% of people had a positive experience while only 30% had a negative one
    • 12-14 months later, the 70% of users who enjoyed their trip found themselves to be kinder and more optimistic
    • The 30% of users who reported a negative experience were not affected in any significant aspect – in other words, they may have had a negative experience but they weren’t negatively impacted 
  • Paul’s friend took magic mushrooms and claims he was able to hear ants walking (despite not being able to hear the waves of the ocean, even though he was wearing a hearing aid)
    • During a psilocybin experience, more nodes in your brain connect and do so in a stronger manner – this is what allows people to experience new levels of cognition
      • “This is why microdosing is the rage in Silicon Valley”
        • Microdosing is when you take ~1/10th of a gram of psilocybin/magic mushrooms (a full-trip experience requires 2-4 grams)
        • When microdosing, Paul suggests dosing for 5 days in a row and then taking 2 days off

Which mushrooms should you eat?

  • Paul recommends eating gourmet mushrooms when you can
    • “All gourmet mushrooms are medicinal mushrooms”
  • “All mushrooms should be cooked” – especially portobello mushrooms 
  • Paul will frequently eat lion’s mane, maitake, shiitake, reishi, and chaga mushrooms 
    • The big stars by far are reishi, chaga, and lion’s mane
  • There’s research showing that the consumption of enoki mushrooms results in a reduction of cancer – “Across the board of all cancers”
  • Whatever mushrooms you’re consuming, “Make sure they are certified organic, and please don’t buy them from China”
    • Chinese mushrooms sometimes have up to 2,200 ppm of lead (so 2-3 capsules would be considered toxic)

Additional Notes

  • Mushrooms were used by our ancestor to carry embers in order to rekindle fires 
  • The rule of natural selection is reproduction: Everything steers towards reproduction
  • Lion’s mane is a safe and legal mushroom people can use to increase neurogenesis (the growth of new neurons in the brain) – Paul’s company makes lion’s mane capsules
    • It also helps with memory and nerve support
      • One study took mice and induced them with a neurotoxin that gave them dementia-like symptoms. After a few weeks of giving the mice lion’s mane mushrooms, the mice returned to near-normal cognitive function.
  • Some mushrooms have antiviral properties – Paul has identified an anti-smallpox and anti-tuberculosis molecule from fungi strains
    • He’s also found 5 molecules that are potently active against the HPV (human papillomavirus)
    • Imagine how many more fungi benefits there are that have yet to be discovered!
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