Does Strain Matter?
We receive a number of questions as to whether the specific strain matters for psilocybin therapy. In fact, people become really dogmatic on the topic. Opinions abound and conversations are very subjective. I’m going to try to provide a more evidence and logic-based approach to the topic. And I’m going to discuss how we approach the topic at Satya Therapeutics in a service center setting. And this topic does not consider different SPECIES of psilocybin mushrooms, it exclusively looks at psilocybe cubensis in a psilocybin therapy service center model.
What does the Research Show?
Well, there is no research on how different strains perform in psilocybin therapy. All of the research coming from the medical field is based on using synthetic psilocybin. That means every patient is given the exact same amount of psilocybin–usually 25mg.
Let’s consider what that means for a moment? Pure psilocybin administered to patients results in significant healing. Study after study proves it. And we (at least I) believe the research results. So according to the most objective measure, STRAIN DOES NOT MATTER for psilocybin therapy in a research setting.
Is it possible that a different strain could produce better or worse results? Clearly the research is silent about that. And we will likely never have an answer because the costs and logistics of doing studies will prevent that question from being explored.
What is a Strain Any Way?
If you do a google search on “Golden Teacher Spores” you will get about 4,2000,000 search results! I hear people explain, “Golden Teachers are the best for learning new life lessons.” So my question is, “which Golden Teachers are you talking about?” Are all 4,200,000 the exact same genetics yielding the exact same potency every harvest? It’s like saying “American food is the best.”
Growers know this too. Each spore from a Golden Teacher mushroom will produce a different variation of the genetic. Golden Teachers are part of the psilocybe cubensis species. Psilocybe cubensis has thousands of different variations that include Penis Envy, Blue Meany, Golden Teachers, etc.
Growers also know that even a monocultured strain (homogenous) will have different attributes depending upon the environment the mushrooms grow.
Finally, growers also know that an individual homogenous mycelium culture will, someday, die out. Each successive generation weakens.
So the reality is THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A STRAIN ABOVE AND BEYOND what you have in front of you. One grower’s Golden Teacher is different than another growers.
Why Do Some Strains Make You Feel Different than Others?
Whoa. Does this mean strain does matter? Yes and no. Every psilocybe cubensis has attributes such as psilocybin potency, psilocyn potency, and contains other psychedelic compounds. If you eat a gram of Golden Teacher that is 0.5% psilocybin, and you eat a Blue Meany that has 1.0% psilocybin then you will feel a much stronger effect from the Blue Meany because you ate twice as much psilocybin. WE BELIEVE IN AN UNREGULATED ENVIRONMENT PEOPLE BELIEVE THERE ARE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN STRAINS BECAUSE OF POTENCY.
But I Can Tell the Difference!
I believe that is possible in the context of how many mushroom journeys a person has done. Just as there are people who can tell the difference between two wines grown in Napa, people who do a lot of journey work appear to be able to tell the difference between strains. In order to really know, blind tests would need to be conducted. I suggest those blind tests would need to be conducted with equal amounts of psilocybin. The reality is 75% of the people visiting our service center have never tries a psychedelic before. Most will never do more than a few more journeys in their lifetime. SO FROM THE STANDPOINT OF PSILOCYBIN THERAPY STRAIN DOES NOT MATTER.
Focusing on Strain Minimizes Preparation and Facilitation
If we focus on the strain, then how important is the PREPARATION WORK done by the client? And if we focus on strains, how important is the facilitator?
Often to these questions the facilitator tells me “this is the strain I would use with this client.”
I prefer to simply trust the psilocybin (trust the mushroom). And the mushrooms can always be trusted along with our inner healer. Evidence from our service center shows that the role of the facilitator and the level of preparation means a lot in the outcome of the journey.
Healed is Healed!
The clients that visit us want to heal from serious mental health issues. In many cases psilocybin therapy–regardless of the strain–heals their symptoms. They never ask “WHAT STRAIN HEALED ME.” It makes no difference.
On the other side, when the psilocybin fails to break through because of resistance or drug interactions (the majority of clients are using SSRI’s, or anti-psychotics, or benzodiazepenes, or all of the above) IT IS HIGHLY UNLIKELY THAT STRAIN WOULD MAKE A DIFFERENCE. This is because we can give clients 50mg of psilocybin under State law.
We grow a number of strains so that we can offer clients a choice. To date we have served 87 clients. We’ve gone through four strains, and three different blends of strains. In terms of positive results from psilocybin therapy at our service center, strain has made zero difference.
We operate in a therapeutic model. The story I lay out here may not accurately reflect the other uses of psilocybin mushrooms.