Mushrooms - P. cubensis & Vitamins/Supplements
Citation: Purplepele. "For the Pain of Fibromyalgia: An Experience with Mushrooms - P. cubensis & Vitamins/Supplements (exp68760)". Erowid.org. May 30, 2008. erowid.org/exp/68760
Though not a heavy explorer of psychedelic substances, I long ago renounced lab-generated powders and pills and have been a plant-only person ever since. As a bioregionalist and student of natural healing, I believe that every place offers up a plethora of natural plant medicines, and usually at least one mind-altering medicine of value. In Cascadia, the land of orca whales, salmon, and cedar, the family of Psilocybin mushrooms fits the bill.
For some years I participated in a number of ritualized mushroom circles with the shared intentions of personal and community healing. I learned that if I took two droppersful of kava kava tincture just before eating the ‘shrooms, the gastrointestinal tightness and sometimes nausea I’d experience would never appear. The last time I took any sort of heroic dose was actually at a party, when I downed cup after cup of peppermint-mushroom tea and became prone, transported out of my body to my own world and watched over by an intuitive dog and old friend all night. Thankfully a girlfriend thought to come and ask me if I had to pee and helped me safely to the bushes and back to the fire again. That’s the sort of experience that I consider to be a once-in-a-while very important ‘brain cleanse’, much the same way I like to do seasonal internal body cleansing. That was over three years ago.
Having suffered from fibromyalgia in its many guises since childhood, with what seemed like a respite during my 20s, I was still blown away in my 30s by the searing pain of the combination of fibromyalgia and early menopause. My living, mothering, self-esteem, and material world slipped away as I turned to alcohol nightly to dull my over-amped central nervous system just so I could sleep, and thus function.
Fibromyalgia is a complex syndrome of the central nervous system, which amplifies all sensory input, especially pain. Research is just beginning to unravel the complex abnormal endocrine system and brain chemistry of the fibromite. The complex of neurotransmitters that regulate sleep and mood, including serotonin and melatonin tend to be low, creating long-term sleep deprivation of the deeper cellular-repairing stages of sleep. The lack of restorative sleep leaves the patient achy, stiff and painful, with the pain and accompanying symptoms moving throughout the body and changing moment to moment. Irritable bowel syndrome, another fun pain condition, is more often than not present. Fibro folks feel pain from normal stimuli, including lights, sounds, smells, and chemicals. They’re the proverbial Princess and the Pea people — the body’s electrical system tends to always be set on high, in constant fight or flight.
The other primary common feature of the disease is what’s called ‘brain fog’, or an accompanying lack of cognitive skills, including memory loss during pain flares or episodes, which can last from hours to weeks to months, essentially rendering one nonfunctional and unable to attend to even the simplest tasks of living at times. What all the lack of sleep and pain plus many other seemingly unrelated symptoms (including low immune function) mean is that we usually feel like we’re about to jump out of our skin at the drop of a pin. Not a fun way to live, and a huge frustration to loved ones, who can’t ‘see’ the disability. We fibro folks tend to not go out in public much during flare.
Two years ago, I was gifted with a box of mushroom chocolates for my birthday. Dried Psilocybin cubensis was ground up then mixed into the most decadent organic dark melted chocolate, then poured into tiny ice cube trays to create uniform candies to delight the soul. At my 100 lbs, a whole chocolate would’ve sent me into the nether worlds, so I saved them for a special occasion.
Meantime, as my physical functioning continued to deteriorate, I was forced to stop working and cease participating in many things that make my heart sing, like hours around a music-circle fire (too cold, too stiff, too painful for the next couple days). Then there was dancing. Never the graceful ballerina I fantasized morphing into as a child, and seeming to grow extra feet during any sort of contact-couple dance, I took to rocking out on the dance floor with an extraordinary energy as a 20-something, always after a couple pints of rich microbrew at the chosen venue. It was my workout, a release into an exhilaration that allowed me to blow off steam and get my endorphins running strong. As the fibromyalgia set in, I began to experience afterburn for days. Eventually, the chronic fatigue of fibro slowed down my ability to rock my socks off the way I love, and I began to skip so much of the great music and dancing that I’d always used to unwind.
One night, one of my favorite, not-to-be-missed bands was in town and I was determined to go dance, even if I had to pay in afterpain for days. As the evening approached, I made sure I’d eaten well for fuel and the requisite alcohol absorption. I drank a glass of Emergen-C (Vitamin C, b-complex, electrolytes), swallowed some B complex, and drank a bit of ginseng for increased calm energy. Then I remembered the chocolates. I decided to take a very small ‘homeopathic’ nibble for some stable body energy while dancing, though I didn’t wish to ‘trip’ or be otherwise psychedelically altered. One little bite to melt in my mouth and forget about. By the time I‘d had just one beer, I was relaxed and engaged enough with the music to hit the dance floor.
Danced all night, drank water to hydrate, drove home, went straight to sleep like a baby. Next day, I got up and went about my business as if I hadn’t danced like a fool for hours and hours the night before. The next day after that, I’d already forgotten that I’d eaten the chocolate, danced hard, and I WASN’T IN PAIN. The next few times I got a wild hair to dance, I followed essentially the same protocol. Never any painful afterburn for the days following. Hmmm.
I began to notice this pattern and wonder if in fact the small doses of psilocybin are a natural painkiller. I mentioned this to my friend who experiences intense cluster headaches and he replied, “Oh yeah. Check out the research outline. I find that the ‘shrooms can really head off the pain of my headaches.”
Wow. Most fibromites I know are pharmaceutically medicated with a standard protocol, including: sleeping pills, painkillers and antidepressants. Being chemically sensitive, I simply cannot take these meds. I rely on plant medicines like kava, St. John’s wort, and cannabis, while aiming for exquisite attention to my diet, bodywork, and adequate time outdoors in the sun, which can be nearly impossible in the northern land of the mushrooms during winter. Now I feel like I have a new tool.
Eventually, I had to actually relocate to a drier, sunnier tropical home in order to achieve some real, ongoing relief. I live very isolated and spend much of my time outdoors with the plants. Since moving a year ago, I hadn’t danced but once, and I didn’t have my new medicine. Though the afterburn wasn’t as severe, I definitely was immobile for almost two days.
Coming back to my old home for an extended winter visit has nearly re-crippled my body, as it tends to seize up in pain in the damp cold. Still, I wanted to dance the night away at New Year’s, so I sought out some medicine, as my body told me would be the ONLY way I’d be able to dance at all. A friend had some old cubensis caps, and I ate two. Loaded up on the ginseng, Vitamin C, B, and a good meal. Voila! Danced for nearly five hours straight, which is way too much for my 40-something body now. Thankfully, I didn’t end up in bed for a week, only for two days. I wonder if some of the painkilling constituents were gone from age and improper storage.
Still, I’d like to know if anyone else has experiences with using mushrooms for chronic or acute pain. This may be a whole new world of research during these frenetic, complex times when more and more of the general population—and younger and younger—are looking for alternatives to body-damaging pharmaceuticals for physical pain states.
While I believe ongoing large doses of such medicines can be very taxing on the liver and kidneys for people with sensitive bodies (and certainly not practical for daily use!), my experience and intuition tell me that with adequate nutritional support, this may well be a sort of silver bullet for chronic pain patients when used in very small doses on a daily basis.
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