Episode 34: Bob Weir and Paul Stamets

If you’re interested in the power of mushrooms and the potential for elevation of human consciousness, you won’t want to miss this episode. Mike & Oteil welcome Paul Stamets, mycologist, entrepreneur, researcher, and expert in all things fungi. Also joining the conversation is Bob Weir, legendary Grateful Dead singer and rhythm guitarist. Paul is a treasure trove of scientific information, delving deep into the latest research happening with Psilocybin and other medicinal mushrooms, from treating addiction to PTSD, to stimulation of neurogenesis (what he calls “Einstein mushrooms”) and even COVID-19. Bob chimes in with his own mycelial anecdotes and his predictions about how the world will react to the increasing research around psychoactive mushrooms. As if that weren’t enough, you’ll also hear how Paul became the inspiration for Lieutenant Paul Stamets on Star Trek, an astro-mycologist.


Paul Stamets, speaker, author, mycologist, medical researcher and entrepreneur, is considered an intellectual and industry leader in fungi: habitat, medicinal use, and production. He lectures extensively to deepen the understanding and respect for the organisms that literally exist under every footstep taken on this path of life. His presentations cover a range of mushroom species and research showing how mushrooms can help the health of people and planet. His central premise is that habitats have immune systems, just like people, and mushrooms are cellular bridges between the two. Our close evolutionary relationship to fungi can be the basis for novel pairings in the microbiome that lead to greater sustainability and immune enhancement.

*DISCLAIMER: This podcast does NOT provide medical advice. The information contained in this podcast is for informational and entertainment purposes only. No material in this podcast is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen*


Resources for more information:





You can find Paul on social media: @Paulstamets


This podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. Please leave us a rating or review on iTunes!


Comes A Time is brought to you by Osiris Media. Hosted and Produced by Oteil Burbridge and Mike Finoia. Executive Producers are Andrew Schwartztol, Christina Collins and RJ Bee. Production, Editing and Mixing by Eric Limarenko and Matt Dwyer. Theme music by Oteil Burbridge. To discover more podcasts that connect you more deeply to the music you love, check out osirispod.com



Visit SunsetlakeCBD.com and use the promo code TIME for 20% off premium CBD products


Start your path toward investments that align with your values. Visit www.greenfuturewealth.com and mention “Osiris” when scheduling your free virtual consultation to receive your free investment report.



See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.


Oteil Burbridge: [00:02:43] So when I went to India, we adopted a girl from India, a little girl, and when I was over there, I hadn’t seen Star Trek in forever. And then I saw someone was like, oh, you got to see the discovery one, because I think we were talking about mushrooms. But he didn’t know about you and he didn’t. So when I heard Captain Stamets, I was like, no, really? He said, your full name. I like what I call my actually, I was wishing I could call my brother. He passed away, but I just freaked out, man. And the whole it was crazy. So that blew my mind. And I was already a huge fan of yours, you know, but having. [00:03:24][40.7]

Paul Stamets: [00:03:25] Well, you know, we can talk about that whole back story because I have a lot of information on that kind of fun. [00:03:31][6.1]

Oteil Burbridge: [00:03:32] Sweet! I love it because outer space, and UFOs is my thing, too. We’ve had a Harvard professor on that was talking about UFOs. And I’d like to me they all come together like religion, spirituality, UFOs, tripping, music, like it all is like connected together. So I’m glad you don’t mind talking about the Star Trek part. Now, how do you feel about him being gay? [00:04:01][29.0]

Paul Stamets: [00:04:02] Well, there’s quite a few. About a week before they came, they came out right with the announcement. They called me up and they said, we didn’t ask you a question. We said we never would never ask you whether you were comfortable with the fact that your character, astromycologist Paul Stamets. On Star Trek Discovery astronaut is gay. And and and I laugh. I said, Are you kidding? It’s a badge of honor. I can tell all my gay friends I’ve come out of the closet. Right? So it was it was a funny. So they it was so the whole Star Trek thing happened because Alex Kurtzman and the other writers of Star Trek, they they saw my TED talk. I have a TED Talk and a TED MED talk. I talk about mycelium being an archetype and mycelium and neurons of the brain, the computer, internet, the organization of dark matter. [00:04:55][52.5]

Oteil Burbridge: [00:04:55] Yeah. [00:04:55][0.0]

Paul Stamets: [00:04:56] These idea that these structures, these networks reproduce themselves on different scales of magnitude because networks are a way of nature elaborating. Now, the communication networks, but setting up guilds of matter and guilds of organisms that then create a commonality of knowledge, a body intellect, and so I talk about this a lot in the past many years. So they saw that and they got real excited and said, we’re in the dungeon. There’s 12 of us, we’re doing it, and we’re supposed to do the next Star Trek Discovery series and we’re stuck. And we saw your TED talk and we’re just really excited to talk to you. So they set up an appointment. You know, I I was up in Cortes Island, British Columbia, where I have a place, and I actually built my cabin in celebration of Star Trek Enterprise. And so they called me up and I said, listen, turn on your video recording record, all this, because this is going to be great. And so I showed them my cabin, which is designed combining three elements, Star Trek Enterprise, the bridge, mushrooms, the rafters that have gills, and there’s three hexagons for bees. And I’m really into bees. And so I had so and the organization of the first hexagons, thirty six feet in diameter and then across the two twenty fourth. So the shape of that sort of looks like it looks like a long vessel or whatever. So they called me up and they asked me, listen, do we have any ideas as I go turn on your tape recorder? So and I just I just ripped, you know, on this vein of consciousness. And then towards the end, they said, you know, the whole future of terraforming other planets is using fungi because fungi, the first order to come to land, they munch rocks, they they release minerals for plants and algae follow and fungi and algae came together to form lichens. Lichens are on rocks. It’s a dual relationship between a fungus and a plant. And so when you terraforma the planets, you’re going to use fungi. And I always wanted to be the first Astro mycologist. So I said astro mycologist, and they go “we can use that! Astro mycologist! Oh, my God is perfect for us”, you know? And I said, you know, I always want to be the first astro mycologist, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get there. Right. Because my life span and then they kind of chuckled and snortled in the background. And so after that they go, oh, my gosh, this is so perfect for the next central theme of Star Trek because astro mycologist Paul Stamets. And so they sent me a release and I signed my life away. I mean, I get not a penny for this, but I said, yeah, I said I just did. And that’s probably why they put me as a character right on the freebie. And then so they they they had several more conversations and and of course, they get ninety nine point nine percent of the credit because they built this entire structure upon the foundation of mycelium. But I talked about dark matter, how you can use to go into hyperspace, and these mushrooms with mycelial networks allow you to enter into a different dimension of being. And you can say with that and you can you can simultaneously anywhere in the universe, using a portal of universal consciousness, which with psilocybin mushrooms you enter. So time, time, time, space, then it becomes irrelevant in a sense, because it gives you the ability to connect with the universal consciousness. And then I gave him some other ideas, which I see these ideas come out about every four or five or six episodes. I go there, it is awesome and well and I give him another idea. I really hope that they use and I can tell you a little bit about it. [00:08:59][243.4]

Oteil Burbridge: [00:09:01] I got a prediction. I think you are going to become the actual physical first Astro mycologist, because I don’t know if you noticed that the USA and China and the UAE, which I didn’t even know had a space program, all went to Mars within like three days of each other. There was like a race going on. I don’t know why. I think I know why, but it just it was too close to be a coincidence. You know? [00:09:32][31.8]

Paul Stamets: [00:09:33] It’s more that there’s more than just that. We actually applied with NASA, NASA scientists. We visited the Ames Research Center. We went down there on Astro Mimi in the astrobiologists. And you can’t have biologically plants without fungi, fungi support all plants. And so we met with them. And then about six weeks ago, we made an application for Astro Mycology to the NASA space program and our what they wanted to do, my coauthors on this research project, when they did the heavy lifting, I just kind of come in with the central idea as reference references. I write a few paragraphs, but they’re doing heavy lifting and their concept was to use astro mycology on asteroids. So the Mars stuff, of course, you can ask for mycology as well. [00:10:22][48.9]

Oteil Burbridge: [00:10:22] Yeah, because they want to terraform, you know they want to terraform. [00:10:25][2.5]

Paul Stamets: [00:10:26] The planet with the planets going around the solar system. But asteroids have the possibility of traveling enormous distances outside of the Ellipse of the planets. And so they’re really looking at asteroids as being a sort of a planetary vehicle for getting out of the solar system. And and so how do you create a sustainable… We can go to Mars, we can go back to the Earth, we get more soil, we can go back and forth, et cetera. An asteroid, your gone. So the idea is, yeah, you don’t have to have a propulsion system once you’re on an asteroid, you just need to choose the right asteroid going in the right direction. And then you can make adjustments if you need to. But that was really an interesting concept to use asteroids as planetary vehicles. And if we do that, we get to have sustainable food. And so our NASA application for astro mycology is centralized, centralized on asteroids that can be, of course, replicated for other other moons. And other planets as well. [00:11:31][64.2]

Oteil Burbridge: [00:11:31] So you’re almost there! Once the application gets approved. [00:11:32][1.4]

Paul Stamets: [00:11:33] I’m almost there. [00:11:34][1.3]

Mike Finoia: [00:11:34] Tell you what, being a writer and TV writer in a writer’s room, what a gift to have you come on and just brainstorm. Oh, my lord. That would be it. That’s a dream come true. I mean, really. [00:11:47][13.0]

Paul Stamets: [00:11:47] Well know Anthony Rapp is amazing. I’m so proud of him. But the first two or three episodes I watched and I just sunk my head in my hands and my friends called me up on Stamets, your reputation is permanently damaged. This guy’s an asshole. And I called up the writers because the first three episodes, my character is really a negative person. I call up the writers going. what is going on? That said, wait, wait, wait. And so it came out that astro mycologist Anthony Rap aka Paul Stamets was a true scientist and when he realized that his invention would be militarized, then his whole attitude was, I don’t want to help the military take advantage of my invention. So then he had sort of this reckoning and I began to understood that the prime directive with a purpose, you know, of Star Trek was is the celebration of diversity. And that’s what I said to the Star Trek writers, that we have the ability of of forming our future with the narratives of today. We can create the models and the scenarios that become an instruction guide, so to speak, a map to a greater understanding of the importance of diversity, the purpose of the importance of the plurality of diversity supports the commons. So we have a better ability and skill sets, just like the guilds of microorganisms. When you denature nature and you lose biodiversity and you lose organisms that might have certain genomic sequences that could break down a pesticide, a hydrocarbon, a toxic waste, enable the flourishing of plants or keystone species. It opens up a whole new vein in sustainability of ecosystems. And we don’t know what those talents are right now because we’re still Neanderthals with nuclear weapons. We just don’t have the full understanding of the importance of each organism and what the skill sets are. So keeping these skills and keeping these biodiverse ecosystems intact, even in Star Trek, even in our ecosystem, is a model for us to have not only survival, but to be able to evolve into a higher state of being, a higher state of consciousness, a higher state of humanity. And this is what I think psilocybin mushrooms do. So they even have an episode of…. Psilocybin mushrooms and after and after, after Anthony Rapp after he… Becomes a very affable, friendly, likable person, so I think that was OK they got that. [00:14:29][161.6]

Oteil Burbridge: [00:14:33] It’s so true though. It’s what it’s what our world needs. It’s like it’s just a profit motive. And it’s like, why would you let any being on this planet not have, like, the best education that it could get? Aside from just food, shelter and, you know, all those things because that person could cure this or discover that, like, you just don’t know the potential is there for our evolution to move forward faster, for us to just thrive way more than we are. We could be creating an Eden instead of just like sucking the fucking planet dry, you know? [00:15:10][36.3]

Mike Finoia: [00:15:10] We can create we could create an Eden in between our our ears to, like, get out of our own way. I think that’s that’s a start. That’s the most important part. And I think that’s been something that’s been extremely exciting for me. And what I’ve been dying to talk with you about, Paul, is the you know, there’s something you said recently. There was people, medicine versus profit medicine. And I absolutely love that concept. You know, in a world where, you know, so many people are kind of handed anti anxieties or antidepressants or something that just sort of mutes them or takes a little bit of the, you know, softens the edges when when really it’s a that’s a plan for them to stay on it for the long term. We’re not changing anything. We’re just softening, you know, the the experience, the idea of kind of taking a dose or a micro dose and, you know, whether it’s in tandem with therapy or meditation, it’s such an unbelievably promising, you know, notion. And it’s amazing that it’s and I’m very excited that it’s getting the attention that it really deserves. [00:16:18][67.9]

Oteil Burbridge: [00:16:20] Finally. [00:16:20][0.0]

Paul Stamets: [00:16:22] Well, it’s you know, it’s a matter for those people listening who have not seen the massive surge and research, there’s over 40 institutions that have approved clinical studies for psilocybin. If they go through what’s called the institutional review boards, they go through, in this case, United States, the FDA and the Canada Health, Harvard, Yale, Stanford, the best universities, medical universities in the world. And in order to get approval, you have to make sure that the substance is nontoxic. Well psilocybin turns out to be one of the most nontoxic drugs ever analyzed that set itself apart from all others, it has to meet a critical need. And Mike that’s what you just alluded to. If you have depression are taking anti depressant medicines, they’re largely ineffective after about eight weeks. And they themselves of dumb you down, I know this from personal experiences in my family, and it has to be addressing and, similar to number two, a critical therapeutic need for which other medicines are are not addressing. So in this case is psilocybin mushrooms have multi thousand year history of use. The other thing which many people may not know well, most of you who have tripped know, it’s a four hour, six hour experience. So that conforms to an eight hour workday for physicians, whereas LSD is 12 to 16 hours. Right. And that’s beyond the eight hour workday. So from a clinical setting point of view, you can bring in a patient at eight o’clock in the morning. They can leave at 5:00 in the afternoon and conforms to the clinical workday of the physicians doing the studies. Things like that have actually have a practical significance value. Moreover. So the. But there’s a lot of the benefits of the clinical studies that I’ve mentioned and I populate a website is unbranded just for scientists and intellectually curious people called mushroom references dot com. So you can go and you there’s like forty eight studies on psilocybin. You can look up so people feel free to go in there and look on the medicinal properties of mushrooms. But the summary take home is treatment of addiction from one psilocybin experience or two. More than 60 percent of people who are addicted to cigarettes are no longer addicted 12 months later, with the most addictive substances known. The other, of course, is the opioid pandemic. There’s lots of studies that are addressing that. Some of these are don’t have I mean for 60 percent of the people to kick cigarettes is extraordinarily powerful. Think about. And then the people who are no longer are suffering from PTSD. And what has come out of the Johns Hopkins studies, one that’s often quoted is 14 months later and going back and speaking to the patient, the family, the friends, their business associates. They see a significant improvement in their attitude. And the patients, when they re remember the experience, the re remembering of the experience has. And with PTSD patients, it’s been theorized that reliving trauma even is very difficult. And the therapists are very skilled at this and trying to unravel and let the patient you know, deal with the trauma by reliving it. Well, that’s a long, long haul. And if it were psilocybin therapeutically under a clinical setting with good therapists, they’re able to leapfrog through years of potential therapy with one four to six hour session. And then the patients in this case, 14 months later, by re remembering their psilocybin session. That was dealing with the PTSD it overlays as being the primary memory that they now remember the resolution of the PTSD, as opposed to being this big dark cloud that’s constantly behind them. So that’s that’s how the PTSD, the addiction, the the there’s these meta studies that my partner, Dr. Pam Cresco, she’s a founder of the Canadian Psychedelic Association you met her Oteil. And she’s been very much have all these meta studies and the meta studies. There are retroactive studies looking at surveys and the one case, the prisoners. And they analyze how you what drugs have you taken and then they dived into the meta study and they found that the psilocybin users had like a 16 to twenty two to twenty seven percent reduction of larceny, burglary and violent crime. Yeah, think of that. Now, association, which can be argued is not causation, but then other studies show one of your your partner has tripped on psilocybin. There’s a statistically significant reduction in partner to partner violence. Oh, that that’s significant. Yeah. So you start looking at these meta studies, you start being able to see that the therapeutic benefits. To psilocybin have many ramifications throughout society. Hey, Bobby. [00:22:03][341.3]

Oteil Burbridge: [00:22:04] Hi, Bob. [00:22:05][0.2]

Paul Stamets: [00:22:07] How are you doing? [00:22:07][0.3]

Bob Weir: [00:22:08] I’m good. I’m doing just fine. Sorry I’m late. I got I was woodshedding. [00:22:13][4.4]

Mike Finoia: [00:22:14] That’s OK. We were just talking to Paul about the Super Bowl, so you weren’t missing anything [00:22:17][3.0]

Oteil Burbridge: [00:22:17] It’s good to see you Bob. You’re looking good, man. [00:22:23][5.5]

Bob Weir: [00:22:24] Thank you. I got a project going on right now. We’ve got a show coming up on Friday evening. And I got to do a lot of woodshedding for this for this show. And the Super Bowl was an excellent opportunity because there was really nothing to watch. So. [00:22:39][14.8]

Mike Finoia: [00:22:40] Exactly. So true. [00:22:40][0.1]

Paul Stamets: [00:22:42] Well, I, I, I was ashamed when President Biden asked for a one minute of silence for the four hundred and forty thousand Americans who died from covid. And there are people in the audience booing. [00:22:57][14.5]

Oteil Burbridge: [00:22:59] Relly? I didn’t hear that. But I also wasn’t watching. [00:23:00][0.8]

Paul Stamets: [00:23:00] I just I was so hurt by that. I said, WTF, where is the humanity and empathy. It doesn’t matter where you are politically. We have four hundred and forty thousand Americans die and you want a moment of silence and people booed. I mean, it is time for us to evolve to a higher state of consciousness, you know, and it’s a lesson on how not to act. And maybe that’s good. Maybe it’s good that we have such a great contrast, because I think it’s a time for the human species to evolve to a higher state of being. [00:23:30][30.7]
Oteil Burbridge: [00:23:31] Yeah, that’s it’s really great that this kind of thing is being revealed. The pandemic has been good for that, because now it’s not just like, oh, it’s your propaganda against my propaganda. It’s like, look, four hundred thousand people died and you just booed. But if it was 9/11 and it was like 2000 something, you’d be all you know. [00:23:52][21.1]

Mike Finoia: [00:23:53] Well, that’s also what happens when you serve a trashcan full of beer to every glass of beer is about seventy five ounces. So it’s you know, it’s it’s like… [00:24:03][10.1]

Paul Stamets: [00:24:03] You know, the great thing, and Bobby, what the dad have done so well and I applaud you for for really setting a standard of cooperation and love and community. And I was a good friend of Ken Kesey and the Kesey family and Kesey’s skill because they look so straight. You know, he loved going out to law enforcement officers and finding commonality of opinion, you know, and engaging them and never does that. [00:24:30][27.6]

Mike Finoia: [00:24:32] Never trust a prankster. Yeah, the dead have really set that, you know, really a higher path of empathy and humanity and kindness. And that’s been a big influence in my life, is to go forward in life with courage and kindness. And if we don’t have to politicize. There are times, we have to step up to the plate. It’s important we do. But so much of us, we can demonstrate by our actions of a better path for people to follow because we can blaze that trail. And the dead, the dead have done that. The dead have done that better than than any social group that I know of. [00:25:11][39.1]

Oteil Burbridge: [00:25:12] Yeah. Thank you, Bob. [00:25:13][0.9]

Paul Stamets: [00:25:13] But I’m prejudiced, so. [00:25:15][1.7]

Oteil Burbridge: [00:25:15] I am too. Why do you think it is that mushrooms create that extra empathy? Is it just how it just interacts with our consciousness? Because, Bob, I know you personally I dont want to speak for you, but it seems to me like you prefer mushrooms over alternative’s. [00:25:32][17.6]

Bob Weir: [00:25:36] Well, yeah, I. I like mushrooms, you know, there’s a lot of time on the road, a lot of times there are a lot of times on the road when I just don’t get enough sleep and, you know, I’m just a stay too busy. I just don’t sleep, you know, wake up too early or whatever. And I love the mushrooms. So if I if I try to counteract that with coffee, that’s going to keep me up. Caffeine doesn’t work well with my system, but the mushrooms, you know, they put a little spring in my step, a little light in my eyes and add about 20 IQ points and and. But beyond that, there’s something about them, as I’m quite sure we’re all aware, that. There seems to be some sort of benevolent, beneficent spirit behind them. That uh. It doesn’t mind humanity and what humanity is up to. And doesn’t have it in for us, and I can’t imagine whatever that whatever the benevolent spirit is, given our history and what we’ve done to this planet is going to be a pretty a pretty accommodating that spirit, whatever it is, is because we’ve not shown it our best and it still seems to like us, um. [00:27:09][93.1]

Paul Stamets: [00:27:11] And Bobby, just before you came on, we’re talking about some of the meta studies and I mentioned several about partner, partner, violence reduction associated with psilocybin use reduction of crime. The other study that came out was among those who have taken psilocybin just one time, one time or more are much more pro environmental and express antiauthoritarian views. They are not so taken by authoritarian figures. And so they do have this greater humanity. I think mushroom’s inherently bring out the good in people. And when you look at crime and or addiction and we all know I have friends who are addicted or have suffered, and it’s not only them, but as their immediate family it’s in the court system and it’s the lawyers and as the the industrial court criminal criminal system that has created a profit motive for turning these victims, who makes their their place in society lower more challenges because now they’re tagged as being an ex-con or something like that. It increases criminality beyond the courts to do that because that throws. These innocent people who are drug users and a bunch of them in a prison system with highly professional criminals, that then because of their victimization, because of wanting to fit into that society, they can be criminalized by the true criminals, you know, a sociopath, a pathological behavior. So what I think this is so important is that they return to a benefit to society is economically so significant, not only sociologically but economically, because then it reduces crime. It reduces the the tension within the family, your neighbors, your community, your your your city, your country, the world. And so I think these are a paradigm shifting substances that can lead to a much more peaceful and creative society. And you mentioned IQ points. We’ve been doing a lot of research specifically on neurons and neurogenesis with psilocybin and psilocybin analogs and now we have evidence of this. We can show that the psilocybin analogs in psilocybin mushrooms. So it’s not just a pure psilocybin molecule. It’s called the entourage effect. We can show that the psilocybin analogs are naturally present in this mushroom code for the genetic expression of what’s called NGF nerve growth factors that stimulate nerve nerves to repair themselves to cause remyelination and regeneration of neurons. These actually cause an increase in neurogenesis, which then as we get older, we start to decline in our cognitive abilities. So it is true that psilocybin mushroom’s, what we’ve seen now in the laboratory and now we’re taken to clinical studies to make these measurements, it looks like and I make the phrase that psilocybin mushrooms, maybe Einstein mushrooms, they actually increase the intelligence of us. And the tragedy of age is these the cyclic reservoirs of knowledge. Our elders then lose the ability of transferring knowledge to the next generation. What would happen if we had millions of Einsteins surviving into their 80s and 90s to be able to pass on this knowledge? It lifts up the next generation to a higher state of knowledge. And that’s why I think these things are really underestimated. And this is why there’s forty four clinical study or institution doing clinical studies showing these benefits and they’re spread out to addiction and depression, anxiety, creativity. Johns Hopkins is doing anti Alzheimer’s clinical studies with psilocybin as I speak. So they’re. Chorus of scientists, all that increase approved by the FDA and other institutions that are supporting the science. So what we’ve known Folklorically, what you’ve experienced, Bobbie, and it may you know, this is not rooted and provable scientific method. And that’s what I think is interesting, is this folkloric use is now substantiated by scientific physiology. The blowback. I think we have to somehow learn to anticipate the blowback and where it’s going to come from and who it’s going to come from. For instance, the fossil fuel industry is not going to be real happy to see, probably not going to be real happy to see this this kind of information get out and and lots of people going in this direction because it makes you environmentally more aware. And that’s not a good thing for their business model. And and so I could anticipate that kind of thing. I could end up anticipate the hardcore Christian right. God bless them, salt of the Earth. But they tend to think of everything as a Satanist cult. And and I’m sure that they they’ve applied that that that that label that nomenclature to to the use of mushrooms. If they haven’t, they’ll get around to it. And who else? [00:32:44][66.5]

Oteil Burbridge: [00:32:45] Pharmaceutical industry. [00:32:46][0.8]

Mike Finoia: [00:32:47] Yeah, I mean, yeah, the Prozac sales folks. Well, they’re just really the pharmaceutical industry are going to want to try to break down the various the various components that are useful components and isolate them. And the entourage of facts be damned. We want to find the uh. They will try to isolate the various components of what mushrooms bring to the table and and offer them in prescription form and of course, will probably be addictive in that case because, for instance, Valerian Root is is real. It is real useful. But once they went after that and made Valium out of it, quite addictive, you know, you take away the if you take away the entourage, the entourage components of of a given substance and isolate one or two elements of it, you start to play with it. You’re playing with fire. But that’s what they know how to do. [00:33:59][68.5]

Paul Stamets: [00:34:00] Yeah. Yeah. They’re looking for a signal response, know, with a single molecule, the magic bullet, so they can identify and oftentimes have been symptom treated as opposed to a root cause is a mask for the symptoms that I can say that this is a cure or they get approval because now they can measure a down regulation of the symptoms associated with the disease complex. But we didn’t grow up with single. I mean, we grew up with with massive complexity in nature. And we have our receptors are incredibly complicated, especially in terms of our our our neurons. We’re involved in a lot of research right now, specifically a neuro anti inflammatories. We can show that the entourage molecules presence also in mushrooms stimulate neurons at the same time they’re growing. It has a neuro antiinflammatory properties. This is really important, especially with covid right now. And we have been approved and I can announce this, where we have a covert clinical trial ongoing right now, not with psilocybin. We will do that later, but with with Turkey tail and because of the neuro anti inflammatory properties. So its at clinical trials dot gov we’ve entered into phase one. So we’ve got approval by the FDA specifically because we’re able to up regulate immune readiness at the same time modulate the immune response response so you don’t have a cytokine storm. You have to have an overreaction of the immune system that then especially in the late stages of the disease with covid, this is a real problem. That’s why people die from from respiratory arrest or are heart attacks just because the lungs become so gorged because of the expansion of the immune system and then you get secondary infections that can occur, etc.. So there’s a lot the complexity of nature and looking at the complexity of the immune system. Now, there’s a Venn diagram in science where there’s an intersection of the understandings that you can you know, you need to have enhanced immunity that’s modulated so you have a better ability of preventing infection, but then you don’t have the overexpression of immune factors that damage. You doubt that this is the area and field of science that begrudgingly, I think some of the old school conventional pharmacologists are slowly inching towards the idea that multiple molecules can be beneficial. They found this with AIDS, the anti HIV drugs, as a cocktail. That was difficult because the urgency of finding a treatment for AIDS, the multiple cocktail approach is now considered to be one of the standard protocols. [00:36:43][162.2]

Oteil Burbridge: [00:36:44] Is the same principle involved with how you were curing the bee colonies? [00:36:48][3.5]

Paul Stamets: [00:36:50] Yeah, we have a big breakthrough in bees and we just got more evidence two days ago, which I’m really excited about on longevity. [00:36:57][7.3]

Bob Weir: [00:36:58] Did you tell that? Did you tell the story because this is news to my ears and I think it’s important news. [00:37:08][9.5]

Paul Stamets: [00:37:09] Well, this is a fun story, and let me riff for about three minutes on this and let me tell you the story is I, I, I was a beekeeper. I am a beekeeper in a nineteen eighty four. I had two beehives and I had a garden garden, giant mushroom patch in my wood chips in my garden. And one day in July I got to my garden to water my mushroom patch and it’s covered with bees and I see the bees moving the woodchips off on the side and I look really closely and I could see them sipping on little droplets coming from the mycelium. Is it called extracellular metabolites, little sweat droplets. If you see the mycelium, the golden droplets oftentimes on them. And so I thought that was curious. I go back the next day they’re back and the next day for 40 days, there’s a continuous convoy from my beehives to my garden giant woodchip patch I’ve got my garden. So wow this is amazing, they’re probably going after sugars because the mycelium liberates sugars from wood and cellulose. So I put it in my first in the Arrowsmith magazine in nineteen eighty eight, then I put it in one of my books in nineteen ninety nineteen ninety nine. I forgot about more or less. I didn’t really forget about it but I didn’t have the same context. Then my friend Louis Schwartzberg, it was doing a he was a filmmaker, did fantastic fungi in the very popular movie right now and he was doing a filming on pollinators and he said, Paul, you know about colony collapse disorder. And I had heard about it, but he had been interviewing the scientists as far worse folks than people know. Colony collapse is sweeping the entire planet. Beekeepers are very proud. They don’t want to tell the regulators they’ve lost most of their bee hive. So the under-report so the reporting, the USDA, we know are under reports, Oklahoma two years ago lost. Eighty four percent of it’s beehives. Eighty four percent. If you are a herder of sheep or cattle or you had chickens, a lamb, you lost eighty four percent of your flock. You know, it is is incredible threat to worldwide food biosecurity. Now, what has happened is the there’s about five viruses, but the deformed wing virus is the worst. And if you’ve seen my my presentation of the deformed wing virus, the the bumblebees, for instance, it also infects bumblebees, the bees, the way they have no wings. So they just have little sticks. They can’t fly to a thousand hours per day. And bees used to fly for nine days. The honey bee, for instance, that means nine thousand flowers, nine thousand, almost nine thousand cherries, nine thousand apples. This is so important. And now the bee flight is only about five days or four days. So that’s been cut in half. So that’s four thousand five thousand less apples, cherries, almonds, etc.. So the deformed wing virus has restricted the lifespan of the the bees. And now the varroa mite, which came in the United States around nineteen eighty four, is like a dirty hypodermic syringe and they lock on the backs of bees and they inject these viruses into the bees. And so now the bees that are infected, when they go to a flower, they leave these viral particles in the flower and then bumblebees and wild bees come to the flower and they become infected. So now all the bees in the world, it’s been stated, are infected with these viruses is the most immediate threat to worldwide food biosecurity. OK, so I had my story. Louis, talked to me. I got involved with the Bioshield program directly after 9/11. You can Google my name, Stamets and Smallpox and NPR National Public Radio. I had a huge home run with this polypary mushroom cloud garcon and the old growth forest and then the top ten of more than two million samples studied by the bioshield program. We’ve invented press release approved by DOD. We at the home run against bird flu, swine flu and pox viruses using a natural extract of mycelium like those droplets. I was on the garden. I made an extract of mycelium in the laboratory and we we are better than the river virus. I sent off of around acyclovir to big antiviral drug controls. So we hit a home run on that. And so I had that thing after 9/11, but those were in vitro tests. So I heard about the bees. I thought, OK, well, one of these antiviral properties and benefits seeing from these polypary mushrooms that we prove the Bioshield program can help bees survive from viruses. And that was my big epiphany. And I did that. And working with the USDA and Washington State University, like other scientists, get lots of credit on the primary author. An article in Nature, The Nature of Scientific Reports. Only about seven percent of the articles submitted to Nature get approved. So it’s a high bar. Our article still to this day is the top one percent of all articles ever downloaded by other scientists and the nature publication ecosystem. So for the skeptics out there, please go to our article. Extracts of polypore mushrooms reduce viruses in honey bees. And look at what we’ve done, we can reduce viruses in one case, forty five thousand to one with one treatment, putting the extraction to serving the sugar water with all commercial beekeepers, use now the deformed wing virus for about a hundred years. But if you have HIV or any if you HPV, you had herpes and you went to a doctor 12 years today, days later, I guess you have a nearly a thousand times reduction of your virus or with covid you can imagine. Oh, that’s a huge, huge improvement. [00:42:44][334.9]

Mike Finoia: [00:42:46] That’s amazing. [00:42:46][0.3]

Paul Stamets: [00:42:46] So now we’ve correlated that with longevity. So our article now, I think the reason why it’s so so is the top one percent of all scientific articles published in Nature is that with the first time we able to put our natural product is more powerful than a pharmaceutical because of the entourage effect, we activate all these up regulation of immunity that gives your host defensive resistance a much higher state. Being able to with prevent the. The virus from replicating and threatening to become infected, so this narration, I think, continues because I think I found something fundamental to the foundation of nature and that my cellular networks that grow in the forests influence the immunological health of bees, birds, swine, people. How far more does it go? But when we deforrest and cut down the forest removing the menu of food for fungi that can create the gilds of microorganisms that support the homeostasis and the health of the ecosystem. So when we de nature, nature when we de forest, we then reduce biodiversity, especially of the microorganisms that are resonant and underneath every footstep that we take. And I think this is a huge breakthrough in understanding that even then some of the scientists like what was the mode of action? What I want to know, what molecule does what? Well, my favorite quote from Voltaire is don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. The fact that you have this benefit that you can measure, the bees live longer. And this is a animal clinical study. Bees are animals. So we’re out of the laboratory into animals uh the fact that you can demonstrate that there’s an increase now. And we have just this past week, our scientists at Washington State University huge extension of longevity. So we now can get those bees to live longer, survive longer. And so the ramifications of this, I think, are just enormous. And there’s a great door for natural products being reexamined for the complexity of benefits they offer, rather than looking for a simple signal response pathway of one molecule. [00:45:05][139.2]

Oteil Burbridge: [00:45:07] Sounds like it would be huge for covid like if your system is just stronger, you know. [00:45:13][5.8]

Paul Stamets: [00:45:13] Well, right now, I heard from the CDC there’s five hundred thousand to a million variants per day of covid every time someone gets infected and there’s mutations. And just a few of those down to the south, the South African variant and these other variants. And now I just got the Moderna vaccine I know it’s controversial. I’m a big believer in vaccines, folks. If we didn’t have vaccines. We’d still have smallpox. And so the people are anti vaxers. This is a is a personal decision. I respect everyone’s personal decision, but follow this logic trail for me. If a vaccine kills one person and saves a million, is it justified? I would say, of course, most people say that one out of one hundred thousand probably still justified. One out of a thousand, probably still justified one one hundred. And kind of close there, folks. One out of 10, not in my family. So I would be against vaccines if they killed one that one person save nine. But everyone needs to do that math to see where their comfort ranges. Smallpox is a clear example. Polio is a clear example that the vaccines are beneficial. So the problem that we have with covid, we have so many reservoirs, there’s so many mutations that are occurring that they’re just announcing that you have to have booster shots are we’re going to have booster shots every month for all the new variants. Yeah. Now, you’re really disturbing the homeostasis of the immune system. I’m really concerned about that. So if we could up regulate immune readiness with these mushrooms that you prevent these it doesn’t matter what the viral the viral variant is. Your immune system is educated on alert and able to produce antibodies quickly because you have a higher state of your immune system with a higher state of readiness. I think this is a pathway that can be an adjunct to conventional therapy. And, you know, and time will tell. So we’re looking at bird flu now because zoonotic diseases. Have you seen my lectures? I would talk about zoonotic pandemics for the past 20 years. We will have another viral storm. We’ve entered in a period of viral hurricanes. We will have H5N1, which is 70 percent fatal it’s not like covid, but, you know, 70 percent fatal with bird flu. These are coming from factory farms because of the decimation of the natural ecosystems. And factory farming is just a perfect microbial launching point or a contagion soup for the spreading of viruses. So this is now not a one off event. We have entered a period, I think, of permanent viral hurricanes and what are we going to do, vaccinate against each one every month? You know, I think there’s there are some evidence that the multiple vaccinations can actually disturb baseline immunity. And we’re in uncharted territory, so we just don’t know. [00:48:10][177.2]

Mike Finoia: [00:48:11] Yeah. And everybody seems to be in this huge rush to get back to whatever they consider to be normal. And that seems to be the you know, we were talking earlier about addiction and how mushrooms can really help with the treatment of addiction. I think our our society has a huge addiction to feelings and a huge addiction to emotions and preconceived notions. Anyone that suffers with anxiety feels anxiety. When you don’t feel anxiety, you are addicted to the anxiety. So you know, the use of psilocybin to help the addictions that we have on our own emotions is is an incredible part that I’d love to to talk with you about, too. [00:48:57][45.5]

Oteil Burbridge: [00:48:58] Thanks for listening. We’ll be right back with more on Comes a Time. [00:49:02][3.5]

Paul Stamets: [00:49:05] We have a new app that Dr. Pam and I co developed with two friends, Ismael and Kaitlin, this quantified citizen its called Microdose dot me its just for the Apple, the Droid version. You can get a free app and it measures anxiety and depression with non micro dosers and microdosers, we have I think about fifteen thousand people have entered into the program. We just were publishing a paper here in the next month or so and then we have a second paper that shows enormous reduction of anxiety and depression, increasing of mood with micro dosing. And we have over four thousand four hundred non microdosers, people who just want to measure their cognitive skills and abilities and whether they’re developing or losing their ability to to remember how to react to the reaction times, those memory tests that we have a four thousand five hundred people, non microdosers and then four thousand plus people microdosing. And the statistical significance is just extraordinary, showing the benefit. And then I realize that emotions and anxiety and mood effects immunity. So I went on to PubMed in The Lancet today and found articles that show, yeah, when people are depressed, their immune systems are actually depressed as well. They’re more susceptible to adverse disease, adverse events from diseases, and they’re less they are less probable degree of a positive outcome using conventional medicine. So and many studies. So there’s a direct tie to the emotional state of being and immunity. And then I realized, well, if you’re happier, you’re more creative. If you’re creative, you’re happier and your immune system then is elevated. Yeah. So I thought, well, what about micro dosing for cancer patients, for people who are facing challenging diseases in combination with conventional therapy? Because by increasing your mood, you’re increasing your readiness to positively react to conventional therapy as a co factor. So I think there’s a direct correlation that this is the evolution of medical science is that if we can get our patients optimistic about the positive outcome, the placebo effect is a real effect. I mean, the outcome is to help the patient. And again, let’s not get lost in the weeds. If you can increase the mood expectation as well as the reality of the micro dosing that could increase the positive outcome of conventional therapy of people fighting cancer. For instance, if you’re depressed, oh, I’m going to die. This is not going to work. But I have to go into surgery. Well, you’re you’re on that slippery slope of a self-fulfilling prophecy. So I think there’s an interesting intersection here between psilocybin use and conventional medicine for treating other diseases. Could be a real eye opener in enhancing the positive outcomes. [00:52:09][184.6]

Oteil Burbridge: [00:52:11] You see that with people like if they’re older people, they’ve been married for a really long time and the partner dies and then the other one dies, like very quickly after that, even though they were fine. But it’s that emotional state. Everything just kind of shuts down. [00:52:26][15.3]

Paul Stamets: [00:52:26] I think all of this all all of us know too many examples of that. [00:52:31][5.1]

Oteil Burbridge: [00:52:32] Yeah, I, I, I keyed in on when you were talking about how I could help with Alzheimer’s and stuff. My dad has dementia. He’s 90, just turned 90 on January sixth. Happy birthday that day. And so I told my sisters that, I said, I think I want a microdose him just to see what happens. I talked, I talked with them about it. And my mom and everybody and I had to I just got off dead company tour and I showed up and I was like, here’s my idea. I just want to give him a little dose and then I’m going to deejay all his old favorite jazz records. Right. So I gave you know, I showed it to my mom. Just look like a little booger. Is that goo stuff. And I said, Mom, do you know? And she she gave me this look and I say, Dad, come on. This is little like what? He just grabbed it, popped it. And I was like, oh, so my nephews were like, how long do you think it’ll take? I said, usually takes me about thirty minutes to kick in like fifteen minutes in there like uh uncle Oteil, I think sometimes I think it’s kicking in. [00:53:41][69.6]

Mike Finoia: [00:53:43] Your dad’s DJ and you are your old funk albums. [00:53:44][1.7]

Oteil Burbridge: [00:53:45] And he was just sitting on the couch like, you know, kind of checked out and it’s just like they could see activity going. So I got the Bluetooth speaker, we hooked up and I just started every time I saw a jazz record label, the album cover that I recognized, I would just start hitting it, you know. Six hours straight. My sisters were blown away. We said we’d never seen him this animated and focused every 20 minutes he was singing. I don’t remember hearing him singing like sing a complicated melodies. Two of these old jazz tunes. Every once in a while he’d look, I go, ladies and gentlemen, that’s called bebop. And then you go back into his thing. You know, it was just like, you know, I was like, wow, this is really real. You could see its computer just like reboot. And it was I mean, he was so happy. They says the best has had in years. [00:54:41][56.7]

Paul Stamets: [00:54:43] My partner is a medical doctor from Canada and she’s collecting case studies. And we recently just got a case study similar to that of a woman and also a woman who has Alzheimer’s or the progressive dementia. And then the daughter decided to microdose her and didn’t want to tell the nurses or tell anyone. And then after about I don’t know how many days it was. Then seven days later, she says, micro dosing. The nurses and the attendants calling the mother is much better. She’s animated, she’s talking, she’s happy. And then she got OK, I’m going to maybe start mentioning this, you know, and so we’re recording this. We have about fifty fifty one say the most profound one, which I think is important. And here I’m going to do a very, very controversial and I might say this with all the proper caveats. So people please do not try this. We only have we have so few examples. But this one potent example, it brings tears to my eyes, just remembering it and retelling it. So with all the property caveats, people consult a qualified medical practitioner. Don’t take this with this story as a roadmap for what you should do. But clinically speaking, I think it’s really important. She had an eight year old son. She has an eight year old son. She wrote me an email. I need to tell you this story. This is not my real name. This is not my real email address. I made it up so I can tell you the story. I have a son who has an extraordinarily there’s a disorder for an expressive disorder where he’s angry, he’s mean, he hurt small animals. He takes pleasure and just doing evil things to hurt and inflict pain. He’s a terrorist with his younger siblings. She actually is afraid of him, of what he can do. And she went to all these therapists. They give him all these drugs is just dumbed him down. She’s at the end of her rope. What do I do? And she implied that she’s afraid that she’s raising a Ted Bundy or Jeffrey Dahmer. She’s raising a monster and she is terrified of her son in desperation. She dosed him with psilocybin, fully aware that Child Protective Services could take her son away, but she had no other no, she’s at the end of a rope. She is living in fear, thw whole family is held hostage. This kid, you could do anything. And so she Dostum and with her herself. And they had this experience. And it was a pleasant experience. It was. It was. Breakthrough had the facts and they went on the next morning, this is going to make me cry. She hears this noise in the kitchen and as he gets up really early, what’s going on? She goes outside, he’s washing the dishes. He’s sweeping the floor. He said, Mom, how are you this morning? How can I help you? He started being nice to his two siblings. He started to stop hurting animals. He had a total change in his personality from this extremely dangerous, sociopathic individual to someone who was kind and caring. And she goes, people need to know about this, you know? And so there is this study on sort of an autism right now that also I think is interesting. So the therapeutic use of psilocybin for children, I think should be very carefully studied by the appropriate medical authorities with the appropriate controls. All those things, of course, in place. But when you start gathering stories like this, you begin to see a theme. And since there are no good drugs for, you know, for except for down regulating these people, I call it the dimmer switch. They turn down the dimmer switch. Yeah. Your child. Not as much of a problem now, but he doesn’t have the personality, the character, the spontaneity factor is he’s really been dumbed down. So I think this is this is a very interesting opportunity for us to create some paradigm shifting medicines that is rooted in psilocybin mushrooms in particular. And so I’m excited about the future. There’s more than 20 startup companies in Canada, the for the past two years trying to exploit, you know, in my mind, trying to exploit from a business point of view, there are economic opportunities at one of these groups called me and I said, you sound like economic opportunities because that’s exactly what we are. Wow. OK. [00:59:40][296.4]

Oteil Burbridge: [00:59:40] They’re proud of it. [00:59:41][1.5]

Mike Finoia: [00:59:42] And I want to work with you. Bob, I would love to ask you you know, I’d love to hear your thoughts, because last time you were on when we when we adjourned, you had thoughts of this podcast being what it is, the four of us sitting here talking. [00:59:56][14.0]

Bob Weir: [00:59:57] Right. [00:59:57][0.0]

Mike Finoia: [00:59:57] So I’m really glad to, you know, that it came to that this came true. And, you know, I’m dying to I want to thank you first off for even recommending it. Paul, Bob recommended this talk. [01:00:07][9.7]

Paul Stamets: [01:00:08] Well well, Bobby, if you have a question, I think. [01:00:10][1.9]

Bob Weir: [01:00:10] Well, you know, is an observation actually, given this given the the notion that what we may be looking at is a permanent viral hurricane. It’s caused by factory farming and industrial agriculture and deforestation all of these all these combined elements. You know, the concept of Gaia that the earth is that the earth is, is it an entity much larger than us and and it moves in its own time and stuff like that. But we could be looking there’s there’s a likelihood that we could be looking at the Earth’s immune system, having isolated the problem, that being humanity and and and. OK, well, I guess we’re going to have to just. We’re going to have to deal with this and knock it back a little bit, if not all the way. And the question that that brings up is, is getting on board with with with the Earth. Is are mushrooms, and I think I expect to hear the affirmative from this assemblage, but is getting on board with the with the Earth in and and stopping stopping this this this this regression, this transgression, actually, that the humanity is is is representing. Our is our mushroom’s and in all mushroom’s, not just psilocybin mushrooms but all mushrooms going to be a. A necessary component in doing that, you know, or at least a useful component, I would imagine that if you if you studied, if you studied or, you know, meditation, for instance, to to a to a relatively full degree and and in came of a kind of a natural, unnatural awareness of of all things that that would put you in the in the boat with. With those who were on board, with the with the natural the way that the planet wants to see things unfold. I think you’re right. But I think the evidence for that is what’s happening right now. There’s a worldwide surge in interest in mushrooms. I mean, the awakening right now from the mycelium underground, I think is a it’s a revolution from the underground and Bobby and Oteil, I want you to write a new song about Mycelium being the revolution from the underground for that paradigm shift on consciousness. I think this is the opportunity here. We need a new anthem. Come on, brothers. So but I think what’s happening now, because, you know, so many of us have been lone rangers with great adversity in our lives. I was treated like a leper, you know, and now this sort of this idea is now is happening all over the world. The New York Times just two days ago had a big article. That Fantastic Fungi movie, you know, is the number one documentary on on Apple. [01:04:06][58.0]

Mike Finoia: [01:04:08] Well deserved too. [01:04:08][0.0]

Paul Stamets: [01:04:08] For, many, many months, you know. And so I think there is a you know, the the war on drugs, you know, from from Nixon was a war on the African-American community, is a war on the gay rights community. It is a war on the environmental movement. It was a war on the anti-war movement. You know, Nixon conveniently was able to put us all in the same bucket and use drugs and marijuana as a way of suppressing all these these free these freedoms, freedom movements that not only the right to vote and the right of our individual rights, but our rights to our own consciousness. And so I see this as a consciousness revolution. And when we can show there is an increase to societal benefit in reducing crime and reducing the stress on the courts and the law enforcement and helping the community immunity, I think this is really sort of the Iquito way of creating a paradigm shift. And what I’ve come to realize, you know, from the recent studies that we have and I wish I could share everything that I know about right now, but it’s just so exciting, this idea of increasing neurogenesis and increasing intelligence. We are, you know, two hundred thousand to two million years ago, Homo sapiens evolved from Homo erectus. There’s Neanderthal dunce’s. Also, the Neanderthals came into Europe. Homo erectus was in Europe before Homo sapiens. Only Homo sapiens had one migration and it kind of died off. The second migration was forty thousand years ago. We all came from Africa. This is why racism to is such an absurd thing. We’re all come from Africa. We migrated into Europe within four thousand years of contact of Homo sapiens. In Europe, Neanderthals became extinct. The Homo erectus became extinct earlier than that. But we are not the same Homo Homo sapiens as we were two hundred thousand years ago. I think that psilocybin mushrooms could elicit a a new evolution of a species of humans. And this is our time to take these sacred medicines and this knowledge to be able to actualize the paradigm shift. And Bobby before we came on and we’re talking about Star Trek and the wonderful thing I told the writers of Star Trek is that you show the importance of diversity. You show the importance of kindness, of protecting the comets and the prime directive and not interfering with cultures. You demonstrate a way of being on a higher level that we are right now. Well, we can dream and we have maps. We have the way we can imagine our future. We can actualize our future. And so I’m suggesting that these psilocybin mushrooms and their analogs combined with the context of natural systems and what all that means, we’re at the threshold of creating a new human species species at a higher level of evolution. And I propose it could be called Homo Excelus or something like that, whatever your name you want. But we’re no longer the the apes that we that we used to be. We’re no longer Homo erectus, we’re no longer Neanderthal. We have been so of course I did. Twenty three and me study test, I’m a I think two point seven five percent Neanderthal. So, you know, it may show. My point is that we are we’re at this accelerated rate of increasing our consciousness and our way of being that our way of behaving. But I think this past four, five years are antithetical to that. But I think the pendulum swings. And in contrast, we don’t know now how not to act is clearer now, there’s no ambiguity, you know, that there was before. I think that’s one of the greatest lessons and benefits from these past several years, is we can show you we can see how dark the dark side is and how how not to be like that. At the same time, we have to put our arms out and forgiveness and extension and generosity. You mentioned the Christians might be opposed to this. I’ll tell you a little inside story. I, I teach these workshops. I don’t teach them now because the covid, I’ve had over 2000 students come through and I had this very quiet, nice, gentle man come through. And he waited to everyone was done when I was my little classroom. And he said, I want to tell you something. I’ll tell you why I’m here. I said, Great, why are you here? So I came here to meet you. And I said, really, he said Billy Graham sent me. Mm hmm. I said, what? My mother’s a charismatic Christian. I said really he says, yeah, I’m in the inner circle of Billy Graham and many of us have come to Christ though psilocybin mushrooms. And that we use we use also mushrooms in order to become closer to Christ. [01:09:30][322.5]

Oteil Burbridge: [01:09:32] This is one of the things I wanted to talk to you specifically because I saw that in your movie. [01:09:37][5.4]

Paul Stamets: [01:09:38] Yeah. I was like, wow, I was really surprised, you know, but, you know, I’m spiritual. I’m not religious. I believe there’s a convergence of spiritual spirituality and science right now who could not be spiritual. When you look at the enormity of the universe and what’s happening with astronomy. But I like the reaching across the aisle and saying, yeah, you know, I’ve had high doses psilocybin mushrooms. I’ve had these Christlike experiences. And so but I think that, you know, the golden rule pervades all religions do unto others as you will have them do unto you. And so I welcomed him. That was his way of coming into his religious beliefs. But the fact that they honored psilocybin mushrooms as a Christian sacrament and and it was a very hidden secret. Billy Graham has died. And I know. But this happened. This actually did happen. And so I think it’s also the thing about saving the bees, saving the bees is a number one bridge between conservatives and liberals. So if you want to have a nonpolitical conversation and talk about saving the bees, the farmers want to save the bees, the hippies want to save the bees. So I propose in Washington State to a bunch of the state legislature to testify. I said, listen, tax the Stoner’s to support the bee research because the farmers will be behind it. [01:11:00][82.0]

Mike Finoia: [01:11:02] I’ll pay a bee tax. [01:11:02][0.2]

Paul Stamets: [01:11:02] Oh, yeah, save the bees, tax marijuana. That’s fine with me. So I think this is where we need to build bridges with with humor and kindness and respect. I come from a family of farmers. We had over ten thousand acres of wheat in the eastern Washington and my family farm went to no till farming again against the grain, literally against the grain they’re wheat farmers. And I visited the farm and my cousin, who is in charge of the farm, they had about three thousand four thousand acres at that time. He said, yeah, we want to know till and I got a lot of opposition from this because my crop yields did go down for three years. But now look at my yield, our yields now and our farm. But no till beautiful, beautiful farm, no erosion channels at all. The next door farm conventional in conventional fertilizers that are eroded with huge rivers, little canyons of erosion. And they were addicted now to the fertilizers and the the GMO crops that require the herbicides, et cetera, in order to maintain that system. And so I’m just what I’m saying is that organic agriculture is now showing proof of economic returns and there is just bridging of permaculture to conventional agriculture, to farmers who want to use less inputs and depend more on natural systems. So many conservatives and farmers are very much wedded into protecting nature. They need the right narrative and tools to be able to allocute this. And also the bottom line is that they get more money in their bank account. And if you can prove that, then you’ve won the battle. [01:12:45][103.5]

Oteil Burbridge: [01:12:46] You know, I wasn’t raised religious and I had full on like Star Trek Outer Limits religious experience when I hit bottom at 40 and I’ve ended up studying theology and I’m still a theology geek, even though I do not I’m not a member of any church or denomination or anything like that. But I’ve always thought because I did trip when I was like 17 and had that was my first religious experience not being raised with it. And for the time that I was going to church, non charismatic church, I will say, because I think it’s different for them, it’s different in black church and it’s different and charismatic white churches where they do get to that religious experience thing. But a lot of the other churches I went to, I was like, these people believe it. And a lot of them have sincere hearts. Some of them are just following what they’re told. But I was like, I don’t think they’ve ever I would ask him. I was like, have you ever had, like, something weird beyond just deja vu, which I think is legit but they might write off, but, you know, a lot of them hadn’t. And I thought, man, you know, a lot of these cats should microdose just to see actually what the people that they were following were seeing, what I believe they were seeing. Because there is that component of like, you know, when I first started Tripping as a as a teenager, I would now I realize I was only doing about 50 mics. I was still like a half a hit. And we would just talk and everything came down to like what I landed on after I was like, yeah, everything’s just messed up because of a lack of love, you know? And I never let go of that belief. And now I play with guys that were in the Grateful Dead, like it clearly is a throughput of my life. But like what, Bob what you were talking about, there’s this, you know. There’s this. Benevolent spirit of it, you know what, it’s real and maybe that’s there’s a benevolent spirit of the Earth. And so I want to try to use it as a because I believe a lot of Christians, a lot more Christians are doing it on the sly, just like they smoke weed. I know they are. And it’s a great bridge to to connect with them over actual religious experience, you know? [01:15:10][143.1]

Mike Finoia: [01:15:10] And, you know, like to add on what prompted the conversation, Paul, between Bob and us that led to having you here was I, you know, told Bob that, you know, I’m one of those folks that have been on and off of a antianxiety medication or an antidepressant or a and I have tripped before. And I know that that feeling of love, self love and self acceptance and silencing the critic is a real thing. And I took it upon myself to take myself off of an anti anxiety medication, went through the withdrawals and the brain zaps and the sleepless nights and the, you know, sweating and all of that to bring myself through a microdose a month where I kind of wing and a prayer tried to figure out how to do it and had moments of like, you know, I’m someone who the second my butt hits the couch, the critics like you don’t deserve a rest. You have so much you haven’t done yet and there’s so much you did wrong and blah, blah, blah. And for the first time in probably my adult life, I was able to sit and just relax with myself for, you know, and look at the clock and go, oh, my God, 45 minutes of transcendence just went by, you know, and that’s like what it really brought me. And and I think about how many people I know personally that it would help that are just constantly beating themselves up. And at the end of 2020, we find that one in six Americans has gone to therapy for the first time. That’s 50 million people in the past in the year of this pandemic. So, you know, it’s so important that we bring up and I’d be remiss not to bring it up before, you know, our time is up. But there are micro dosing has kind of become this new term, you know, and a lot of people are kind of, you know, trying it as best they can and not really sure how to do it and so on and so forth. I could personally say that it was something that really gave me the feeling that there is hope. And with you here, it’s extremely important, I think, that we kind of, you know, talk about that, if that’s OK with you. [01:17:20][130.5]

Paul Stamets: [01:17:21] Yeah, well, the reality is, ninety nine percent of the people taking psilocybin were taken from associated mushrooms, irrespective of whether it’s medicalized or not. So the push for the pharma, pharmaceutical psilocybin is profit driven primarily by economic opportunists who I don’t think some of them do, but most of them have are not inspired from the heart. They’re inspired because they see many people making money on marijuana. They want to make money and making money as a as a tertiary aspect of this. For those of us who understand these these substances well and hold them as sacred medicines. So I do think if it is going to be use prescription or is going to be used therapeutically for maximum benefit, we have to standardize that. We have to make sure that they’re safe. So one of the things that I that that burning man, for instance, I don’t popularize this, but you could just imagine people come up to me and they show me mushrooms. I go, I can’t touch it because as soon as I touch them, I’ve committed a crime. And I’ve been really quite impressed with the quality of these mushrooms. There are closed cap. The veils are still attached to the cap, to the stem. They’re golden in color. The the you know, it’s like any economy. Customers have an influence on an increase in quality. But that being said, there is a lot of mushrooms in the so-called underground that are contaminated with bacteria. Bacteria have endotoxins are called lipo polysaccharides that cause inflammation. There can be GI upset because people are trying to make money even in the underground. They’re not motivated by spirituality. Most of them, you know, some of them may have that as window dressing, but there is a need for standardization of natural forms of psilocybin. And there is we all pay a lot of money in taxes. One of my big issues when the psilocybin mushroom undergrounds not paying their fair share back to society, they should be taxed. They’re using our roads. They’re using the post office. They’re using the fire department. You can’t cloak yourself. I’m just doing this for spiritual benefit and just make money. Then your motivations, I think, are, you know, are not in the right place. So standardization is important. Oregon now has legalized psilocybin for therapeutic use. There’s a decriminalization movement, which I applaud. I applaud it with one reservation. And that is something I’m very strongly an advocate of. I think we should leave the peyote for the peyote people. I’m not talking about San Sampedro. I’m talking about the wild harvesting of the peyote cactus. Since it’s so critically important for the peyote people and their journey and their history, I think that we should protect that. We should. Simple possession is one thing, but we should not allow the trafficking of peyote commercially except with indigenous people of Texas and in Mexico, where the peyote hunt is so important for them and their cosmology. When it comes to psilocybin mushrooms, they are used around the world, there’s over two hundred and nineteen species of mushrooms and philosophy. One hundred nineteen are psilocybin active. So whether you’re in Europe or Ireland or to the Mazatec region or down and Peru and Amazonia in Norway, psilocybin mushrooms are growing there. It’s kind of the universal bridge of psychedelics that bridges all cultures. So I think that is may also make some very, very interesting and puts it aside in many ways because it is cross-cultural. And so no one owns a quote unquote patent on this. Psilocybin mushroom use. I went to Peru, I’ve been down to Peru, and I was shocked by the ayahuasca and neon signs. And then, you know, advertising that you get is like tourist traps. You know, I have an issue with that. I think ayahuasca and even though it’s had profound benefits, which I don’t discount absolutely on board with that, I, I am concerned about cultural appropriation because. The advantage of indigineous cultures is they have a continuous use of this uninterrupted and they’ve set up rituals of use that protect people and and with a lot of displaced peoples, we’ve lost many of the rituals that our ancestors practiced. So we need to set up new conventional rituals that use the best of the wisdom of the past to be able not to replicate a Mazatec ceremony. But just like what is a good conventional therapeutic setting. If you’ve never done this before, doing it with another person who’s experienced, there’s a strong advocacy of women, that psychedelic therapeutic community of a man and a woman that are watchers. So it’s just not a man. It’s not just a woman. So you really reduce that anxiety of sexual exploitation or having one dominant figure. So having it was two watchers, most of us who are psychologically stable, we don’t need to have that. But people who are journeying or, tripping for the first time do need to feel protected. One of my books, I have a great chapter I like I euphemistically called it good good tips for great trips and is basically how to set up a set and setting. So stay warm having a fire, having a protected environment, making sure those watchers are making sure that no one can unexpectedly show up and interfere with your experience. I think all those things are helpful to those people who have a need for therapy. They need to have a therapist there. They need to have a professional. And so I think we have to be extremely careful going forward because one person jumps out of that 12 story building tripping on psilocybin. [01:24:09][408.2]

Mike Finoia: [01:24:10] Yeah. [01:24:10][0.0]

Paul Stamets: [01:24:10] And and blames the legalization or decriminalization, their parents. That’s what happened with the John Birchers. Right. The John Birch Society, the very notorious with some of their children tripping analogy freaking out and they pick it up as a as our lifelong mission to destroy anyone promoting the use of psychedelics. So we have to be very careful about that. [01:24:33][22.7]

Oteil Burbridge: [01:24:34] It’s always if it’s framed as a used as just a party drug, it’s like, come on, man. Like, that’s not that’s not what I ever used it for it. And that was just natural. It wasn’t even pre meditated. We have to do the he the way has been sort of pigeonholed as a as a a party drug or something like that, when when really for for people who use it, it’s is anything but anything but. What am I looking for? What’s the word I’m looking for, you know, is not entertainment, it’s adventure. And but it is a it’s a profound it’s an adventure of a profound sort. And and that has to be has to be understood, I guess, promoted and understood so that this was a patina of of indulgence and stuff like that is is taken away because really. You know, this is not this is not idle. This is not an idle pursuit for for the folks who who were who were involved. [01:25:53][66.7]

Mike Finoia: [01:25:57] No, I shouldn’t say to to echo Bob’s sentiments. Speaking of someone who’s been, you know, on the lawn at a concert, you know, and and having some beers and then, you know, you take off and achieve liftoff. The last thing you want is that beer. You kind of just stand there with your hands in your pockets. Go. And holy cow, here we go. And it’s it’s it’s it’s game time. It’s no longer. And that’s you’re right. A lot of this idea of it being a which also can be very detrimental for a lot of people who think that they’re there for the party and they may be, you know, take a little bit too much or whatever. And then that’s the one who, you know, the bad the bad meal gets 10 more reviews than the good one. [01:26:41][43.1]

Bob Weir: [01:26:41] Right, yeah. [01:26:41][0.1]

Mike Finoia: [01:26:41] Unfortunately. [01:26:41][0.0]

Oteil Burbridge: [01:26:43] It’s what you’re going into it with. You know, like what the times that I use it with dead and company, it’s a really specific reason and that’s connection. [01:26:52][9.2]

Bob Weir: [01:26:53] Yeah. But we when we all connect something telepathic and magical happens, and that’s what I’m seeking. I’m not there to like, oh, wow, man, that’s too you know, I never trip to see crazy stuff. I was never into that have one trip like that where I took three hits and I saw all kinds of I didn’t like it at all. Not to say that there’s no use for that either, but that’s not what I was seeking out of it. I was seeking connection revelation back then as a 19 year old. But now, you know, and I even think I probably not even going to do it. I could see myself, like, not doing it anymore because I want to get there without it. Like, I know the pathway. There’s always that connection, but it’s a convenience, you know what I mean? And when we and I do it for that and then it becomes like especially when it happens over and over again and the whole crowd knows it, you know, they’re like, you know, because that telepathy, that group mind takes hold and it’s it’s going back and forth from us to the audience. It’s not just on the bandstand. It’s like it’s a really incredible thing. [01:28:04][70.8]

Bob Weir: [01:28:04] To be sure. There are also people who are or spliced, heavily spliced in to talk about the connection who have taken no other substances whatsoever. Absolutely. There are also people who are drunk off their asses who were also spliced in. So it’s it’s not a discriminatory sort of situation. There’s still you know, this is the spirit of the endeavor, really, you know, we we are questing there. And I think that may be the elemental thing that brings us all together is that that spirit of quest and and I think we rally around that and if the mushrooms help, why not. [01:29:07][62.3]

Paul Stamets: [01:29:07] The amazing about these mushrooms is that they tend to follow the debris trails of humans and so many of the psilocybin mushrooms, besides growing with cow patties, but the majority of the psilocybin mushrooms are grow on wood, and yet they’re very hard to find, especially in North America and native environments. But as soon as you start chipping wood or using beauty mark or building a house, then these psilocybin mushrooms spring up. And this is why it was so surprising in the 1970s, these mycologists to these university, had never seen them. And then the hippies, the students on campus started picking them out of the wood chips and bring to the botony of the botonists and the laboratory saying, what are these? And mycologist worked out for 30 years. I’ve never seen them before. So it’s interesting. They follow the debris fields of humans and it’s almost like the following catastrophes that humans are creating. And then they then they are reaching up to us. But there’s one thing I really wanted I wanted to share with you as musicians that I think it’s just astonishing. And it was a big epiphany for me in a very obscure scientific paper I’m interested in. I grow lots of mycelium. We grow about 20 thousand kilos of mycelium a week. And my laboratories, all edible mushrooms, folks, not psilocybin, at least not yet. And so I’m really interested in the environmental influences on the growth of mycelium, the light, temperature, oxygen and for years and years. And Bobby, you’ll love this. The dead have been with me in my laboratories since the 70s and is of the scanning electron microscope, Darkstar Terrapin Station. And I like the long ones. So but the research paper is very obscure, looked on sound frequency on the influence of mycelium and they look at higher frequency, different frequencies, et cetera, and they were able to find that low frequency sound waves dramatically increase the growth of mycelium. [01:31:17][129.1]

Oteil Burbridge: [01:31:19] The bass? [01:31:19][0.1]

Paul Stamets: [01:31:19] And enhance the growth mycellium, so I’ve always had this like WORLDBEAT sort of Grateful Dead, just this is music that resonated, that would reverberate in my laboratory as I just did it because of my own personal preference. But now I have a better understanding. But if you think through this that these mycelliel networks underneath your feet, they’re not only digestive memories, membranes breaking down nutrients, breaking down wooden plants for absorption of nutrients and helping plants grow. They’re not only externalize lungs, exhaling carbon dioxide, inhaling oxygen, they’re not only externalized neurological networks that are sensing the ecosystem and navigating through it for the benefit of the comments. But our tribal ancestors, our current musicians today, when you’re playing the bass Oteil you know or or there’s drumming and these these low frequency sound waves are stimulating to mycelliel networks dawned on me that then the tribal communities, when they come together to celebrate a wedding, the birth of a child, a harvest, and there is groups of people that are playing drums, et cetera, these mycellial little networks in nature are listening like strings on a bass, like strings on a guitar, like like strings on a piano or a violin, is that they by messaging to the mycelium via soundwaves. You’re stimulating the mycelium to go faster. And what that is doing is providing more nutrients to the trees or producing fruit, more nutrients and vegetables that are producing crops. So nature indeed is really listening and then being able to have the interface of music to the mycelial networks that are reverberating. I mean, several miles of mycelium per cubic you inch and these are fine threads like the strings on a base and they are reverberating and stimulated by music. This to me is profound. It means that those people that are celebrating nature with music are actually enhancing food biosecurity, enhancing the integrity of the ecosystem. There is a direct connection, I think, between music, mycelium and environmental health. [01:33:38][139.0]

Mike Finoia: [01:33:38] Which would be a perfect time to announce Dead and Company’s next tour. [01:33:42][4.3]

Bob Weir: [01:33:46] Speaking of which I got to get to the studio. [01:33:47][1.2]

Oteil Burbridge: [01:33:48] Absolutely. Thank you guys so much. Like, wow, Bob thank you for taking the time out. Thank you for taking the time, Paul. This is like the best podcast ever. [01:34:00][12.2]

Bob Weir: [01:34:01] Lets pick this back up. [01:34:02][0.7]

Oteil Burbridge: [01:34:27] Bless you guys. [01:34:27][0.1]

Paul Stamets: [01:34:27] Bless you all. [01:34:27][0.0]