Stacking the Benefits: The Stamets Stack Protocol

If you’ve poked your head around anything mushroom-related over the last decade, you’ll probably recognize the name Paul Stamets – and with good reason.

Paul Stamets is a well-known mycologist and plant medicine advocate, gaining a particular swarm of recognition thanks to his groundbreaking research on the transformative powers of mushrooms. In doing so, he would come to create one of the most popularly-followed microdosing protocols: The Stamets Stack Protocol.

The Protocol

The Stamets Stack Protocol came as a product of Paul’s ongoing research and advocacy regarding the therapeutic benefits of microdosing – where a combination of personal experience and anecdotal evidence would create a protocol many of us microdosers follow today.

The Stamets Stack involves taking three natural supplements in a stacking approach, under the notion that pairing entheogenic with non-entheogenic mushrooms work together to produce a beneficial, synergistic interaction.

The three components of the Stamets Stack include:

  • Psilocybin (100mg – 200mg)
  • Lion’s Mane (50mg – 100mg)
  • Niacin (vitamin B3) (100mg – 200mg)

When taken together as a microdose, these naturally occurring supplements are thought to enhance each other’s effectiveness, leading to stronger improvements in mood, cognitive function, creativity, and overall well-being.

According to Stamets, the Stamets Stack is structured to enhance neurogenesis — a process in which new neurons are formed in the brain. This can improve our memory and learning capabilities, our brain’s plasticity, and even carry out antidepressant effects in the brain.

The Stamets Stack Schedule

Like any good protocol, The Stamets Stack operates on a schedule structure, where you follow a consistent cycle to reap the most benefit and consistency from the protocol.

The schedule follows a 4 days on, 1 day off structure as follows:

  • Day 1: Take microdose stack
  • Day 2: Take microdose stack
  • Day 3: Take microdose stack
  • Day 4: Take microdose stack
  • Day 5: No microdose
  • Day 6: No microdose
  • Day 7: No microdose

And repeat. Continue this schedule for 3-4 weeks, followed by a minimum two-week break, for optimal results and to avoid tolerance buildup.

The Stamets Stack Benefits

According to Stamets, the Stamets Stack is structured to enhance neurogenesis — a process in which new neurons are formed in the brain. This can improve our memory and learning capabilities, our brain’s plasticity, and even carry out antidepressant effects in the brain.

But how?

Both psilocybin and Lion’s Mane are believed to carry neurogenerative properties that boost cognitive function. The unique addition of Niacin (vitamin B3) functions as a vasodilator to further distribute psilocybin across the blood-brain barrier, migrating towards the peripheral/central nervous system, where Stamets believes neurogenesis is most likely to occur.

While the combination of psilocybin and Lion’s Mane is what is thought to carry out the cognitive-enhancing, neuroregenerative effects of the stack, Niacin’s purpose is to temporarily widen the blood vessels and contribute to a better conversion process of psilocybin to psilocin, improving the utilization of the psilocybin in the body where, in turn, the benefits may escalate.

Reported benefits of the Stamets Stack Protocol, according to Paul Stamets himself, include:

  • Enhanced creativity
  • Mood regulation
  • Reduced anxiety and depression
  • Enhanced memory and cognitive activity
  • Increased social ability and courage
  • Promoting neurogenesis
  • Heightened connectivity

It has also been recognized that the use of Niacin can reverse the effects of entheogenic compounds such as psilocybin or LSD by reducing the stimulation of nerve receptors. This reduction method seems to work optimally in the Stamets Stack by optimizing neurological health instead of obtaining a high from it, which in itself may act as an effective anti-abuse agent.

Niacin Apprehension

While all components of The Stamets Stack are considered generally safe, the overuse of Niacin should be monitored attentively. High doses of Niacin can bring unpleasant side effects, especially in those with vitamin B3 sensitivity.

Niacin in substantial amounts will often cause a flush effect, which can cause the skin to redden, accompanied by a burning, tingling sensation that many find unpleasant.

While Stamets believes the flush effect to be an effective indicator of the body metabolizing the stack, some may opt for an alternative substitute to Niacin to avoid these side effects.

Substituting Niacin

While the properties of Niacin in this specific stacking method are difficult to emulate by other supplements, there’s still a variety of different naturally-occurring supplements that can be added to the psilocybin + Lion’s Mane stack that can bring unique benefits of their own.

That’s why we’ve opted for Mucuna in our microdose blends, as a relatively side-effect free way to enhance the benefits of microdosing.

Microdosing with Mucuna

Mucuna is a powerful health-boosting legume that has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine as a way to treat various health conditions.

Mucuna is most commonly known for its uniquely high source of L-dopa, which is a precursor to the feel-good dopamine hormone. Due to its dopaminergic effect, the addition of Mucuna can enhance the mood-enhancing effects of microdosing when included in the stack.

Mucuna is also rich in antioxidants and other neuroprotective agents, which can effectively complement the properties of other ingredients in the stack like Lion’s Mane and psilocybin.

While Mucuna is unlikely to mimic the vasodilation effect of Niacin per se, the addition of health-focused supplements in conjunction with Lion’s Mane and psilocybin can contribute to a more comprehensive stream of benefits within a microdosing regimen.

Although the Stamets Stack Protocol has driven success among psychonauts globally, it is not a substitute for professional medical advice nor does it come without potential risks.

As always, move at your own pace and remember to do all the research you can before integrating a new lifestyle change into your precious routine. If you have any questions, we are here to help in any way we can!

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