Lion's mane mushrooms are often called a 'brain tonic' because they improve cognitive function and mental health. However, because of their effect on brain health, some people often worry that these mushrooms may cause hallucinations, constantly wondering whether they are psychedelic.
Lion's Mane is not psychedelic; its brain health benefits result from neurogenesis. The bioactive constituents in Lion's Mane can penetrate the blood-brain barrier and stimulate the production of NGF (nerve growth factor), facilitating new brain cell generation.
In this article, we will take a deeper look at how Lion's mane mushrooms operate. Moreover, we will show you why the adaptogenic mushroom differs from shrooms or magic mushrooms, which cause hallucinations.
Lion's Mane Medicinal Mushrooms vs. Psychedelic Mushrooms: What's the Difference?
When people are worried about Lion's Mane mushroom psychedelic effects, they often confuse this functional fungus with psychoactive mushrooms, commonly called magic mushrooms, shrooms, or psilocybin mushrooms.
Shrooms are psilocybin-containing mushrooms that have hallucinogenic properties. Magic mushrooms have been employed in several civilizations for spiritual and recreational rituals.
Psilocybin is a hallucinogen that works by turning on serotonin receptors in the brain. Although there is growing evidence about their potential medicinal advantages for some psychiatric illnesses, such as depression and anxiety, they are most frequently used recreationally. Moreover, psilocybin is illegal(1) in most parts of the United States.
Psilocybin's effects are generally comparable to LSD's. However, they involve profound alterations in mood and feeling and change time and space perception.
Lion's Mane mushrooms do not contain psilocybin, meaning they are not psychoactive. No hallucinogenic substances, including psilocybin, exist in Lion's mane mushrooms. As a result, these adaptogenic mushrooms do not produce any hallucinations and are not regarded as psychedelic mushrooms. They won't give you a buzz, a high, or a giddy feeling.
While the lion's mane mushrooms do help with the treatment of psychiatric illnesses like anxiety and depression, the fruiting body and extracts of the mushrooms produce these results because of the bioactive compounds outlined in the following section.
Read More: See how Lion's Mane fights depression.
Lion's Mane Compounds That Enhance Brain Function
Adding Lion's mane supplements to your wellness routine gives you access to beta-glucans. A research study conducted in 2022(2) verified that different types of beta-glucans improve cognitive function and brain health by acting on the gut-brain axis. Another study conducted in 2020(3) showed that beta-glucan consumption could fight cognitive impairment in patients.
2. Prebiotic Fibers
Lion's mane mushrooms provide prebiotic fibers that facilitate the growth and health of gut bacteria. In addition to improving the immune system and helping the body fight diseases, science shows that gut bacteria are crucial for brain health.
A research study conducted in 2021(4) verified that prebiotic fiber significantly benefits cognitive function. In addition, another study(5) in the same year confirmed that prebiotic fibers could help modulate Alzheimer's disease.
Read More: See how Lion's Mane fights Alzheimer's.
Polysaccharides are complex carbohydrates that promote neurogenesis, or the growth and development of new neurons in the brain. Examples of polysaccharides found in Lion's Mane include heteropolysaccharides and proteoglycans.
Research shows(6) that these Lion's mane compounds have been found to stimulate nerve growth factor (NGF) production, which plays a crucial role in promoting the growth and survival of neurons. As an added benefit, the polysaccharides in Lion's Mane may help fight oxidative stress, boost immune function, and act as a therapy for other conditions.
Read More: See how Lion's Mane promotes neurogenesis.
Polypeptides are chains of amino acids studied for their potential health benefits for brain health. Research shows(7) that polypeptides promote the synthesis of nerve growth factor (NGF), a protein that plays a vital role in the growth of new neurons.
NGF deficiency is associated with cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases, and increasing NGF levels in the brain may have therapeutic potential for these conditions. In addition, Lion's Mane polypeptides have been found to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, potentially protecting the brain from oxidative stress and inflammation.
Read More: See how Lion's Mane fights dementia with its polypeptides.
5. Hericenones and Erinacines
Hericenone, a member of the benzaldehyde class of compounds, has been found to stimulate nerve growth, improving brain health. Erinacines are another molecule found in Lion's Mane extract with nerve cell proliferation effects similar to Hericenone.
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Lion's Mane Mushroom Benefits: What Does The Mushroom Do?
Lion's Mane medicinal mushroom, also known as the "smart mushroom," has gained popularity recently due to its potential health benefits. This unique mushroom has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries and has been found to have several potential benefits, including:
- Supporting brain health and cognitive functions and promoting neurogenesis
- Enhancing immune function
- Fighting diabetes
- Improving digestive health
- Reducing inflammation
- Lowering cholesterol levels
- Potentially inhibiting the growth and spread of cancer cells
- Fighting depressive symptoms
- Improving gut health
These potential benefits of Lion's Mane are attributed to the various beneficial compounds found in the mushroom, such as polysaccharides, polypeptides, hericenones, and erinacines.While more research is needed to fully understand the effects of Lion's Mane on human health, the current evidence suggests that this mushroom may be a valuable addition to a healthy lifestyle.
Read More: See our detailed guide on the health benefits of Lion's mane mushrooms.
Potential Lion's Mane Side Effects
Lion's Mane mushroom is generally considered safe and well-tolerated, with few reported side effects. However, while it is not psychedelic, and you should not be worried about Lion's mane psychoactive effects, it may have minor side effects, especially when taken in excessive amounts.
Some of the potential side effects associated with taking Lion's Mane mushrooms include:
- Mild gastrointestinal discomforts, such as bloating, gas, and stomach upset
- Allergic reactions in some individuals
- Mild skin irritation or itching in rare cases
These side effects are generally mild and transient and typically resolve independently with time. However, if you experience severe or persistent symptoms after taking Lion's Mane, you should immediately seek medical attention.
In addition, following the recommended dosage guidelines when taking Lion's Mane fruiting bodies and supplements is essential, as excessive amounts may increase the risk of side effects.
Read More: See our detailed guide on Lion's mane dosage.
FAQs About 'Is Lion's Mane Mushroom Psychedelic?'
Does Lion's Mane Make You High?
No, Lion's Mane mushroom does not make you high. It is not known to have psychoactive effects and therefore does not make you high in the way that psychedelic mushrooms and drugs like marijuana or hallucinogens might.
While some people may report feeling more alert or focused after consuming Lion's Mane, this is not due to any psychoactive properties of the mushroom. Instead, it is likely due to the potential cognitive-enhancing effects of its bioactive compounds.
How Does Lion's Mane Make You Feel?
Some people report feeling various effects after taking Lion's Mane, including improved mental clarity and focus, reduced anxiety and depression, increased energy, improved sleep, and reduced inflammation.
Lion's Mane is thought to support the production of nerve growth factors in the brain, which can help to improve cognitive function, memory, and focus. In addition, some research has suggested that Lion's Mane may have anxiolytic and antidepressant effects, potentially helping to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.
Lion's Mane may improve sleep quality and reduce the time it takes to fall asleep. Additionally, Lion's Mane contains anti-inflammatory compounds, which may help reduce inflammation throughout the body.
Read More: See how taking Lion's Mane before bed can benefit your sleep.
Is Lion's Mane Addictive?
There is currently no evidence to suggest that Lion's Mane is addictive. Lion's Mane is a natural supplement derived from a mushroom and is not known to contain addictive substances.
While Lion's Mane is not addictive, it's essential to use it responsibly and to follow dosage instructions carefully. Taking excessive amounts of Lion's Mane may lead to unwanted side effects and harm your health.
Read More: See our detailed guide on whether Lion's Mane is addictive.
Is Lion's Mane A Nootropic?
Lion's Mane is considered a nootropic, a substance that can improve cognitive function, including memory, creativity, and focus. It contains compounds called erinacines and hericenones, which stimulate the production of nerve growth factor (NGF) in the brain.
NGF is a protein that plays a crucial role in the growth and maintenance of neurons, which are the cells that transmit information in the brain. Therefore, the mushroom's ability to increase NGF production makes it a nootropic.
Is Lion's mane mushroom psychedelic? Fortunately, no, it is not. Psychedelic mushrooms, commonly referred to as magic mushrooms, are varieties of mushrooms that contain psilocybin, a psychedelic substance that occurs naturally and gives users a high. Psilocybin is not present in Lion's Mane; hence you do not have to worry about Lion's mane psychedelic effects.
Lion's mane mushroom, however, has many mental health benefits. Studies show that this type of fungi functions as a brain health booster, with each dose you add to your diet providing positive changes in your cognitive function. The mushroom boosts your memory, fights brain fog, gives you clarity, and even fights brain health issues like Alzheimer's and dementia.
Making Lion's mane part of your life is extremely easy—you can use products like capsules, powders, and tinctures. However, while men, women, and children do not have to worry about hallucinations when using Lion's mane mushrooms, the mushroom may have some side effects. However, talking to a doctor before using the mushroom can help avoid side effects.
Have you used Lion's Mane before? What benefits did you enjoy? Let us know in the comment section.
- Is psilocybin illegal?, (1)https://www.justice.gov/archive/ndic/pubs6/6038/index.htm#illegal
- Three Different Types of β-Glucans Enhance Cognition: The Role of the Gut-Brain Axis, (2)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8927932/
- β-glucan attenuates cognitive impairment via the gut-brain axis in diet-induced obese mice, (3)https://microbiomejournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40168-020-00920-y
- Going with the grain: Fiber, cognition, and the microbiota-gut-brain-axis, (4)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8719029/
- The Potential Utility of Prebiotics to Modulate Alzheimer’s Disease: A Review of the Evidence, (5)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8625457/
- Neurotrophic properties of the Lion's mane medicinal mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Malaysia, (6)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24266378/
- Emerging roles of bioactive peptides on brain health promotion, (7)https://www.researchgate.net/publication/329645418
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