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LSD and Psilocybin Mushrooms (also called ‘shrooms’ – primary ingredient is psilocybin) are the two most common psychedelics.
Most psychedelic users have, at some point, tried both. I tried magic mushrooms first, consuming them in the basement of my fraternity house when I was 19. My first time with LSD was about five months later.
Nowadays, I prefer LSD. It is easier to obtain and more manageable when intoxicated.
Many people wonder, however, about the difference between LSD and Psilocybin mushrooms.
Common questions include:
- Do psilocybin mushrooms feel more ‘natural’ than LSD?
- Are there different visuals?
- Are psilocybin mushrooms ‘safer’ than LSD (or vice-versa)?
LSD and Psilocybin Mushrooms are the two best-known psychedelics to man. Although LSD was popularized by mainstream use in the 1960s, psilocybin mushrooms have been used in shamanistic traditions for centuries.
Like all psychedelics, psilocybin mushrooms and LSD share commonalities in how they affect human consciousness. Common symptoms include visuals, feelings of unity or oneness, and ego-elimination.
But, as anyone who has consumed both LSD and psilocybin mushrooms will tell you, there are also significant differences.
Before I delve into the differences, I want to explain the basic facts of each drug.
LSD VS PSILOCYBIN MUSHROOMS – QUICK FACTS
- Psychoactive in micrograms (millionths of a gram)
- Invented in 1938, first used in 1943
- Derived from ergot, a fungus which grows on rye
- Typical dose is between 100 and 250 micrograms
- Trip lasts between 8-12 hours
- No potential for physical addiction
- Used by traditional societies since 1000 BC
- Typical dose of psilocybin is between 10-40 mg – this equates to roughly 1-4 g of dried mushrooms
- Dozens of different types of mushrooms containing psilocybin
- Trip lasts between 6-8 hours
- No potential for physical addiction
I assume most readers are here to read about the differences in effects between LSD and psilocybin mushrooms.
In other words, “What will I experience when taking LSD vs psilocybin mushrooms?”
Although each personal experience varies, I will do my best to summarize the various anecdotal reports from users.
The following reports may help you to plan for your own experience. Keep in mind, these effects resulted from consuming a moderate dose (LSD: 100-250 micrograms – psilocybin mushrooms: 2-4 grams). Microdosing with these substances (about 1/10th of a moderate dose) will produce different results.
PSILOCYBIN MUSHROOMS VS. LSD EFFECTS
What Are The Effects of LSD?
- More functional within reality. Easier to interact with sober individuals, if necessary. Often leads to a more ‘extro-spective’ experience.
- More likely to remain positive. Fills users with bubbling, positive energy.
- Users report an LSD experience as smoother with less body load than shrooms.
- Pay special attention to set and setting. By controlling for these two variables, you are much more likely to have a great trip.
What Are The Effects of Psilocybin Mushrooms?
- Leads to ego-drop and complete unity of self and the universe.
- Many users feel more of a connection to nature and the earth when on psilocybin mushrooms.
- Constantly on the fence between a good and bad trip – emotions are more volatile and inconsistent.
- Come up is more intense
- Psilocybin mushrooms are more of a ‘mind-fuck’. Users report shroom use as a more introspective experience, completely losing touch with sober reality
- Although it is still important to control for Set and Setting, psilocybin mushrooms have a higher likelihood of leading to a bad place, even if all 6 S’s are controlled for.
I assume most readers are here to read about the differences in effects between LSD and Shrooms.
I also want to include a few quotes I found while perusing various forums.
These quotes provide a metaphorical reference point for LSD vs Shrooms:
- “With acid you feel like your driving the car, with psilocybin mushrooms you feel like you’re in the back seat along for the ride.”
- “Acid feels like you are plugged into the universe while shrooms you feel like an old tree walking through the forest.”
- “Mushrooms are for setting your roots, LSD is for spreading your branches.”
- “Psilocybin Mushrooms are prone to inducing more mentally challenging trips, in my opinion. They are a completely different ballpark in many respects. Mushrooms lack the clarity, the ‘perfectness’ of LSD, but they have a certain quality which often leads to profound introspection… ‘Golden teacher’ didn’t earn its name by chance.”
WHICH PSYCHEDELIC SHOULD YOU TRY?
Many psychedelic users try both at some point.
However, many say LSD is easier to manage in the beginning. As I mentioned in this article, and in many previous articles, LSD is easier to control and manage than psilocybin mushrooms. It also, on the whole, lends itself to a more positive experience.
Because of the variable and intimidating nature of psychedelics, it is always best to have a positive experience the first time around. I’ve talked to many users who had a poor first-time experience, and thus, refuse to try psychedelics a second time.
So whatever you do, be prepared, do your research, and have a great time.
Imagine that work had taken over the world. It would be the centre around which the rest of life turned. Then all else would come to be subservient to work. Then slowly, almost imperceptibly, anything else – the games once played, the songs hitherto sung, the loves fulfilled, the festivals celebrated – would come to resemble, and ultimately become, work. And then there would come a time, itself largely unobserved, when the many worlds that had once existed before work took over the world would vanish completely from the cultural record, having fallen into oblivion.
And how, in this world of total work, would people think and sound and act? Everywhere they looked, they would see the pre-employed, employed, post-employed, underemployed and unemployed, and there would be no one uncounted in this census. Everywhere they would laud and love work, wishing each other the very best for a productive day, opening their eyes to tasks and closing them only to sleep. Everywhere an ethos of hard work would be championed as the means by which success is to be achieved, laziness being deemed the gravest sin. Everywhere among content-providers, knowledge-brokers, collaboration architects and heads of new divisions would be heard ceaseless chatter about workflows and deltas, about plans and benchmarks, about scaling up, monetisation and growth.
In this world, eating, excreting, resting, having sex, exercising, meditating and commuting – closely monitored and ever-optimised – would all be conducive to good health, which would, in turn, be put in the service of being more and more productive. No one would drink too much, some would microdose on psychedelics to enhance their work performance, and everyone would live indefinitely long. Off in corners, rumours would occasionally circulate about death or suicide from overwork, but such faintly sweet susurrus would rightly be regarded as no more than local manifestations of the spirit of total work, for some even as a praiseworthy way of taking work to its logical limit in ultimate sacrifice. In all corners of the world, therefore, people would act in order to complete total work’s deepest longing: to see itself fully manifest.
This world, it turns out, is not a work of science fiction; it is unmistakably close to our own.
‘Total work’, a term coined by the German philosopher Josef Pieper just after the Second World War in his book Leisure: The Basis of Culture (1948), is the process by which human beings are transformed into workers and nothing else. By this means, work will ultimately become total, I argue, when it is the centre around which all of human life turns; when everything else is put in its service; when leisure, festivity and play come to resemble and then become work; when there remains no further dimension to life beyond work; when humans fully believe that we were born only to work; and when other ways of life, existing before total work won out, disappear completely from cultural memory.
We are on the verge of total work’s realisation. Each day I speak with people for whom work has come to control their lives, making their world into a task, their thoughts an unspoken burden.
For unlike someone devoted to the life of contemplation, a total worker takes herself to be primordially an agent standing before the world, which is construed as an endless set of tasks extending into the indeterminate future. Following this taskification of the world, she sees time as a scarce resource to be used prudently, is always concerned with what is to be done, and is often anxious both about whether this is the right thing to do now and about there always being more to do. Crucially, the attitude of the total worker is not grasped best in cases of overwork, but rather in the everyday way in which he is single-mindedly focused on tasks to be completed, with productivity, effectiveness and efficiency to be enhanced. How? Through the modes of effective planning, skilful prioritising and timely delegation. The total worker, in brief, is a figure of ceaseless, tensed, busied activity: a figure, whose main affliction is a deep existential restlessness fixated on producing the useful.
What is so disturbing about total work is not just that it causes needless human suffering but also that it eradicates the forms of playful contemplation concerned with our asking, pondering and answering the most basic questions of existence. To see how it causes needless human suffering, consider the illuminating phenomenology of total work as it shows up in the daily awareness of two imaginary conversation partners. There is, to begin with, constant tension, an overarching sense of pressure associated with the thought that there’s something that needs to be done, always something I’m supposed to be doing right now. As the second conversation partner puts it, there is concomitantly the looming question: Is this the best use of my time?Time, an enemy, a scarcity, reveals the agent’s limited powers of action, the pain of harrying, unanswerable opportunity costs.
Together, thoughts of the not yet but supposed to be done, the should have been done already, the could be something more productive I should be doing, and the ever-awaiting next thing to do conspire as enemies to harass the agent who is, by default, always behind in the incomplete now. Secondly, one feels guilt whenever he is not as productive as possible. Guilt, in this case, is an expression of a failure to keep up or keep on top of things, with tasks overflowing because of presumed neglect or relative idleness. Finally, the constant, haranguing impulse to get things done implies that it’s empirically impossible, from within this mode of being, to experience things completely. ‘My being,’ the first man concludes, ‘is an onus,’ which is to say an endless cycle of unsatisfactoriness.
The burden character of total work, then, is defined by ceaseless, restless, agitated activity, anxiety about the future, a sense of life being overwhelming, nagging thoughts about missed opportunities, and guilt connected to the possibility of laziness. Hence, the taskification of the world is correlated with the burden character of total work. In short, total work necessarily causes dukkha, a Buddhist term referring to the unsatisfactory nature of a life filled with suffering.
In addition to causing dukkha, total work bars access to higher levels of reality. For what is lost in the world of total work is art’s revelation of the beautiful, religion’s glimpse of eternity, love’s unalloyed joy, and philosophy’s sense of wonderment. All of these require silence, stillness, a wholehearted willingness to simply apprehend. If meaning, understood as the ludic interaction of finitude and infinity, is precisely what transcends, here and now, the ken of our preoccupations and mundane tasks, enabling us to have a direct experience with what is greater than ourselves, then what is lost in a world of total work is the very possibility of our experiencing meaning. What is lost is seeking why we’re here.
While honey and sugar share similar degrees of sweetness, the differences in the way our bodies respond to them are profound.
Technically, honey and sugar (sucrose) both exist because they are food for their respective species.
In the case of sugarcane, a member of the the grass family (Poaceae) which includes wheat, maize and rice, sucrose provides energy for its leaves and is an easily transportable source of energy for other parts of the plant, such as the root, that do not produce their own energy.
Honey, of course, is produced by bees from the nectar of flowers solely for the purpose of food.
Beyond this obvious similarity, the differences between honey and sugar, however, are much more profound.
First, honey is a whole food and sucrose is not. In other words, sucrose is an isolate – technically only one chemical compound – lifted from a background of hundreds of other components within the whole plant, whereas honey is composed of an equally complex array of compounds, many of which are well-known (including macronutrients and micronutrients, enzymes, probiotics and prebiotics, etc.), others whose role is still completely a mystery.
Even the “sugar” in honey, which we might mistakenly equate (due to caloric and nutrient classification equivalencies) to the “sugar” from sugarcane, is a complex mixture of the monosacharrides (one-sugars) glucose and fructose, and at least 25 different oligosaccharides (which are sugars composed of between two to ten monosaccharides linked together), including small amounts of the disacchardide sucrose, as well as trisaccharides (three-sugars) like melezitose and erlose.[i]
Interestingly, if you were to isolate out the fructose from honey, and consume it in isolation in American-size doses (over two ounces a day), it would likely contribute to over 70 fructose-induced adverse health effects; primarily insulin resistance, fatty liver, obesity, hypertension and elevated blood sugar. But place that fructose back into the complex nestled background of nutrient chemistries we call honey, and the fructose loses its monochemical malignancy to our health. Food is the ultimate delivery system for nutrition. Reduce whole foods to parts, and then concentrate and consume them excessively, and you have the recipe for a health disaster that we can see all around us today in the simultaneously overnourished/malnourished masses who still think a ‘calorie is a calorie,’ and a ‘carb is a carb,’ without realizing that the qualitative differences are so profound that one literally heals, while the other literally kills.
But the differences between honey and sugar are not simply based on their respective chemical and nutritional compositions, but also the length of time we humans have had to adapt to them as a source of energy and nourishment.
Honey was the primary concentrated sweetener consumed by humans until after the 1800’s when industrial production of sugarcane-derived sugar was initiated. While the first written reference to honey is found on a 4,000 year old Sumerian tablet,[ii] and depictions of humans seeking honey have been found in cave paintings at in Spain that are at least 8,000 years old, we can assume that our love affair with the sweet stuff graciously provided by the bee goes back much further, perhaps hundreds of thousands, if not millions of years ago.
8000 year old cave painting from the Araña Caves in Spain.
Regardless of the exact date of its introduction into our diet, from the perspective of evolutionary biology and nutrition, it is clear that our body has had infinitely more time to adapt to honey than sugar. It is instructive, as well, that sugarcane is in the same grass family whose seeds in the form of “cereal grains” we now consume in such plenty that, arguably, we are now slowly digging our graves with our teeth (particularly, our grain-grinding molars). After all, we have only been consuming them for 10-20,000 years, and in some cases less than 10 generations – a nanosecond in biological time, even if from the lived perspective of a single human lifespan, or even cultural time as a whole, it may seem like “forever.”
For those skeptics who consider this reflection on the differences between honey and sugar mere theory, there is now plenty of clinical research confirming their significant differences.
A double-blind, randomized clinical study titled, “Effect of honey versus sucrose on appetite, appetite-regulating hormones, and postmeal thermogenesis,” published in 2010 in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, compared the effects of honey or sugar on appetite hormones (ghrelin, peptide YY) and glycemic and thermic effects after a meal, in 14 healthy, nonobese women.
The researchers found that the group given 450 calorie (kcal) honey in their breakfasts had “A blunted glycemic response may be beneficial for reducing glucose intolerance,” and saw positive modulation of appetite hormones, i.e. delayed the postprandial ghrelin response and enhanced total peptide YY levels.[iii]
Another study published in Journal of Medical Food in 2004, which compared honey to dextrose and sucrose, found that natural honey was capable of lowering plasma glucose, C-reactive protein, homocysteine in healthy, diabetic and hyperlipidemic subjects.[iv]
Animal research also confirms that, when compared to sucrose, honey is more effective at promoting lower weight gain, adiposity (fat accumulation), and triglycerides.[v]
Why Consuming Honey Raw Is So Important
Raw honey contains enzymes and probiotics which are destroyed when heated or used in cooking applications. These compounds are of no small significance and contribute directly or indirectly to honey’s many well-known health benefits. Take the active starch-digesting enzyme amylase, for instance, found only in the raw form of honey in a form known as diastase, which is believed to contribute to clearing antigen-antibody immune complexes associated with allergies to pollens, while also reducing mast cell degranulation associated with histamine, and related inflammatory hormone, release linked to allergic symptoms. Also, if it is local honey, it will pick up small amount of local pollen which may help to “immunize,” or desensitize an overly active immune response to these environmental triggers. There is also the enzyme in raw honey known as glucose oxidase, which produces hydrogen peroxide and gluconic acid from glucose. The hydrogen peroxide formed as a result of this enzyme is associated with honey’s well-known wound sterilizing and healing properties.
Honey is also rich in prebiotics, as attributed to some of the oligosaccharides already mentioned (e.g. FOS), and probiotics that contribute to supporting the healthy flora in our gut as well.
Recently, in fact, an abundant, diverse and ancient set of beneficial lactic acid bacteria were discovered within the honeybee gut. Researchers found a collection of 50 novel species from the genera Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium from a single insect. Further investigation of these strains indicated that the association between these bees and the bacteria are at least 80 million years old.[vi] Consuming raw honey, therefore, likely significantly impacts the microbiota within our own gut, and is one way to reconnect to ancient symbiotic relationships with flora that in our modern, sterilized, pasteurized, irradiated, poisoned, cooked, and bleached world, are all but eradicated from our environment, soil, food, and therefore bodies.
Honey’s ability to support the growth of beneficial bacteria was recently demonstrated in a study published in Letters in Applied Microbiology in 2000, where researchers compared the stimulatory effect of honey with sucrose on the multiplication of lactic acid bacteria in in vitro conditions and found “[T]he number of Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus plantarum counts increased 10-100 fold in the presence of honey compared with sucrose.” Animal feeding of honey to rats also resulted in significant increase in counts of lactic acid bacteria.[vii]
The probiotic-boosting properties of honey may provide an explanation for why it is such an effective anti-infective agent and has been proven to heal many gastrointestinal disorders.
A Final Word on The Bee
A full appreciation of honey inevitably leads to a full appreciation of the bee, as well as an awareness of the precarious relationship presently existing between our species. While shallow, the bee’s role in pollination has been estimated to have over several billion dollars of economic value annually. The reality is that we are far more dependent on this insect than it is on us, which is why when we use “pesticides” and various agrichemicals to radically transform the bee’s natural habitat and microbiota, or use antibiotics, feed them high fructose corn syrup, and add other various amendments in its hive, the resulting collapse of immune function, and secondary infections that emerge, we pretend are a novel new disorder whose origins are unknown, i.e. bee colony collapse disorder, much in the same way that we blanket over our own self-poisoning with various idiopathic syndromes that are actually iatrogenic or environmental in origin.
Bee products, including venom, wax, propolis, royal jelly, etc., have been found to provide potential medicinal solutions for over 170 different health conditions (see Bee Products), expressing over 40 distinct beneficial pharmacological actions. This growing body of research should awaken in us greater respect for this sacred insect — even if only for selfish reasons — and when we say sacred, we mean this both entomologically and etymologically, as the word sacred means “to make holy,” and the word holy shares the same root meaning as the words whole and heal.
- [i] Stefan Bogdanov, Tomislav Jurendic, Robert Sieber, Peter Gallmann, Honey for Nutrition and Health: A Review, J Am Coll Nutr December 2008 vol. 27 no. 6 677-689
- [ii][ii] Crane E: History of honey. In Crane E (ed):“Honey, A Comprehensive Survey.” London: William Heinemann, pp439– 488,1975 .
- [iii] D Enette Larson-Meyer, Kentz S Willis, Lindsey M Willis, Kathleen J Austin, Ann Marie Hart, Ashley B Breton, Brenda M Alexander. Effect of honey versus sucrose on appetite, appetite-regulating hormones, and postmeal thermogenesis. J Am Coll Nutr. 2010 Oct ;29(5):482-93. PMID: 21504975
- [iv] Noori S Al-Waili . Natural honey lowers plasma glucose, C-reactive protein, homocysteine, and blood lipids in healthy, diabetic, and hyperlipidemic subjects: comparison with dextrose and sucrose. J Med Food. 2004 ;7(1):100-7. PMID: 15117561
- [v] Tricia M Nemoseck, Erin G Carmody, Allison Furchner-Evanson, Marsa Gleason, Amy Li, Hayley Potter, Lauren M Rezende, Kelly J Lane, Mark Kern. Honey promotes lower weight gain, adiposity, and triglycerides than sucrose in rats. Nutr Res. 2011 Jan ;31(1):55-60. PMID: 21310307
- [vi] Alejandra Vásquez, Eva Forsgren, Ingemar Fries, Robert J Paxton, Emilie Flaberg, Laszlo Szekely, Tobias C Olofsson. Symbionts as major modulators of insect health: lactic acid bacteria and honeybees. PLoS One. 2012 ;7(3):e33188. Epub 2012 Mar 12. PMID: 22427985
- [vii] T R Shamala, Y Shri Jyothi, P Saibaba. Stimulatory effect of honey on multiplication of lactic acid bacteria under in vitro and in vivo conditions. Lett Appl Microbiol. 2000 Jun ;30(6):453-5. PMID: 10849275