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Mushrooms on a cow pie: Harbingers of a happier planet?

While hiking through the woods one day, I came upon a person crouching in the middle of the trail, examining some small brown mushrooms which had sprouted in the droppings left by a passing cow.

pg8a“Do you know something about mushrooms? I asked him.

“I know something about this particular toadstool,” he told me. “This is Psilocybe cubensis and it’s world famous.”

At that, I pulled my mini-recorder out of my camera bag and asked the stranger if I could record what he was about to tell me for my Reporter column.

“Yes, you can,” he said, “but you can’t use my name.”

“OK,” I replied, “so what about these toadstools?”

“Well, they are known everywhere as magic mushrooms,” he told me. “They contain a chemical called psilocybin which was first analyzed by Albert Hoffman, the Swiss scientist who isolated and studied LSD. These mushrooms are found all over the world: in India, in Russia, wherever you find cow or buffalo pies. People who consume it say the ‘trip’ doesn’t show you pink elephants, but makes you feel loved and ‘cleans your heart.’ So this mushroom typically changes people in a good way and there are studies to back this up. Here in Mexico it’s been used for 3,000 years for sacred and medicinal purposes and was called teonanácatl (God fungus) by the Aztecs. Personally, I think everybody on earth ought to take one ‘trip’ with this mushroom at least once in their lives.”

My informant-in-the-woods went on to say that a microdosis of psilocybin has been found to be very effective in alleviating depression.

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