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If you are in crisis or contemplating self-harm or suicide, please call 988 or visit 988Lifeline.org, which provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24/7 in the United States. An extensive list of International suicide prevention hotlines can be found there. Remember: You are needed, you deserve to be here, and you are not alone. Reach out, and do not give up.
Having a Challenging Trip?
If you are experiencing a difficult psychedelic event, or still need help processing one, call or text 62-FIRESIDE. The Fireside Project offers free emotional support during or after a psychedelic experience. You can also download their app. Their services are completely confidential, and their staff is rigorously trained, compassionate, and knowledgeable regarding psychedelics. You can also contact SAMHSA’s National Helpline at (800) 622-HELP (4357). Their confidential helpline is available 24/7 in English and Spanish for individuals and family members experiencing emotional distress or crisis.
Additional support resources can be found in the Zendo Project directory. The Zendo Project was founded in partnership with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. Their extensive list of harm reduction resources, emotional support services, and peer support hotlines offer a vast array of tools to help you move through a challenging experience and come out the other side feeling empowered and secure.
Having a Medical Emergency?
If you or a loved one are experiencing a medical emergency and require immediate attention, please dial 911 (USA) immediately.
Are You a Veteran Having a Medical Emergency?
If you are a veteran experiencing a difficult trip or crisis, please contact (800) 273-8255 and Press 1. This will connect you to the Veteran Crisis Line. Their hotline is staffed by experienced personnel, many of whom are also veterans. A trained responder will answer your call 24/7 to help you through a crisis, anxiety, or thoughts of self-harm.
Emotional and Crisis Support for the LGBTQIA+ Community.
Members of the LGBTQIA+ community may face unique and difficult situations during a challenging psychedelic experience. If you need emotional or crisis support, dial (888) 688-5428 or visit LGBThotline.org. Their hotline is designed for people of all ages and staffed by a dedicated team of highly trained volunteers from all parts of the LGBT+ community. They also offer a dedicated line for LGBT+ seniors that you can reach at (888) 234-7243.
Be Wary of Fentanyl-Contaminated Drugs.
The United States is experiencing a synthetic opioid epidemic that has claimed thousands of lives due to street drugs being adulterated with other drugs, such as fentanyl. Fentanyl is an incredibly powerful and deadly narcotic, with doses as low as two milligrams (a dose so small it could fit on the tip of a pencil) being potentially deadly. While it is never recommended to consume any illicit substances, it is critical that you or the people you know test any drugs you may ingest for fentanyl. Several non-profit harm reduction organizations, such as DanceSafe, offer fentanyl testing strips and at-home drug testing kits.
The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider. Some individuals with preexisting mental health conditions should not use psychedelics. Always consult with a trained medical professional about your specific healthcare needs.
Are Psychedelics Legal?
Most classical and non-classical psychedelic drugs are prohibited in the United States under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. This family of chemical compounds are considered Schedule I drugs, the most tightly controlled and generally illegal class. This includes psilocybin (aka Magic Mushrooms), Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), Ayahuasca, Ibogaine, Peyote, 2C-B, Cannabis, and others. Ketamine is also controlled under the same act and listed as a Schedule III drug. Due to the illegal or controlled nature of these drugs, it is not advised that you attempt to purchase, source, or otherwise possess any Scheduled substances, as you may be at risk of civil and criminal penalties.
The information provided on this website is intended for informational and harm reduction purposes only and does not constitute medical or legal advice. Nor is this information, or any journalistic stories, anecdotes, visual or artistic material intended as a replacement or supplement for medical or legal advice. It is important to understand that using any psychedelic compounds from the streets has significant risks and is unlikely to produce the promising results emerging in some clinical trials which involve particular dosing and purity, along with specific, carefully crafted psychotherapy in a safe, controlled environment. Various psychedelics purchased illegally often are adulterated with other, possibly harmful substances, making it difficult and not advisable to self-medicate for PTSD, anxiety, depression, or for the treatment of other mental health issues.
Parents employ many tools to help with raising their children, from educational bedtime books to elaborate Lego sets. However, it may surprise you to learn that one new method to support parents is psilocybin, commonly known as magic mushrooms.
This surge of interest is being driven by exciting new research and clinical trials that indicate psilocybin and other psychedelics may be potent to support better mental health, and, as a result, stronger parenting skills.
Psilocybin has the potential to help parents better engage with their kids by reconnecting their adult minds with childlike states, reducing parenting stressors, and, importantly, helping adults to heal generational trauma before they pass it on. Psilocybin also fosters connection, potentially making parents feel less isolated or alone. However, the intersection of parenting and psilocybin requires unique considerations—including stigma and access.(1)
“We don’t get three weeks in the Amazon rainforest to do a retreat,” says Tracey Tee, founder of Mom’s on Mushrooms, or M.O.M. “We don’t get three hours to do journaling and yoga and stuff in the morning. Our healing is in between the car line, ballet practice, and doctor’s appointments. And we have to approach it differently.”
Tee, who was previously doing a live comedy show, started M.O.M. in 2022 to continue to foster community among moms, with psilocybin as a focus topic.
“I’m just surprised at the response,” Tee says, citing the growing M.O.M community. “And I think that’s proof that there’s a need.”
So, how can psilocybin potentially help with parenting, and what does the research say? Parents are turning to psychedelics to help them be more present with their kids, whether during play or in general. A key factor in this increased sense of connection is magic mushrooms’ apparent ability to help adults reconnect with a state of childlike wonder and awe.(1)
Psychedelics, including psilocybin, work their magic, at least in part, by helping our minds to become more flexible or entropic. Researchers have developed a model called Relaxed Beliefs Under Psychedelics, or REBUS, to help us understand this phenomena. When we’re children, our brains are more flexible. We don’t yet have entrenched patterns of thinking. We’re just starting to form our beliefs about ourselves or how the world around us operates, and we’re learning new things constantly that inform those beliefs. We tend to be imaginative and find joy in creating.(2)
Fast forward to adulthood, and we tend to develop rigidity in our thinking. That’s because our minds don’t like disorder or chaos: we prefer predictable outcomes. In normal states of consciousness, we’re generally closed off from changing our beliefs about ourselves or how the world around us operates. One theory is that this is due to rigid brain organization and resistance to change. A result can be that we lose some of that creative joy.(3)
When we use psychedelics, we relax that rigidity, making our brains more flexible. This process is called neuroplasticity. This flexibility opens up new ways of thinking, helping us tap into that aforementioned state of wonder and awe on par with our kids. After a psychedelic journey, when we’re back in a normal state of consciousness, we still have our adult brains, with all their knowledge and wisdom. However, the acute changes in brain entropy may have lasting beneficial effects, including behavior change, reduced stress, and boosted creativity.(4)
If you undertake a psilocybin journey and then return to life as usual, you may enjoy playing more. (And the same may be true for microdosing.)
“I did not like sitting down and doing Legos,” Tee says with a laugh. “It kind of sucks, especially when you’re busy, and you have a list of a million things to do. I hated crafts. I’m not a crafty girl. Psilocybin, however, helps you remove some of these barriers.”
Some research suggests that magic mushrooms may reduce day-to-day stressors like tasks on your mind or the dirty plates in the sink, and, importantly, being a caregiver.
“Most of the women who come through our courses are wanting to be less reactive with their children,” Tee says.
There’s also the issue of anxiety or dread—feelings that can crop up in various ways for parents. Tee says psilocybin helps her find “joy in all of the chaos.”
Magic Mushrooms for Moms: Ending Cycles of Trauma
Psilocybin may have even longer-term benefits for families by helping to end cycles of intergenerational trauma. This is trauma that is passed from one generation to the next, a transmission that occurs through both environmental exposure and changes to our genes.
In other words, if someone grew up in a volatile household, that may be their baseline model for parenting, and so the cycle continues. This is an example of environmental exposure. Additionally, the trauma that occurs in our childhoods, well before we ever become parents, can change the genes we pass down to our kids.
The study of how trauma can cause epigenetic (how behavioral and environmental factors can affect gene expression) changes is still fairly new, and existing research mostly looks at animal models. However, if a parent has post-traumatic stress disorder from growing up in an abusive home, research suggests that their eventual children may have an altered stress response as well. This is possible even if the parent never abuses their children.(5)
“A healthy family environment appears to help lessen the burden of intergenerational trauma.”
Concerningly, research shows that one in six adults has had four or more adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). ACEs are traumatic events or conditions one experiences as a minor. Common ACEs include abuse, neglect, having a parent who is incarcerated, domestic violence, severe childhood illness, surviving a natural or other type of disaster, facing systemic racism, growing up in poverty, and more.(6)
“I am shocked by the amount of childhood trauma that mothers are carrying,” Tee says. “It’s deep. It’s deeply concerning that we don’t talk about what women have had to deal with in their past. And then they’re raising children, and they’re doing their best not to carry that [trauma] on.”
Many women come to the M.O.M. community with the intention of raising their children differently than they themselves were raised, Tee adds. And those good intentions and actions do help. However, some factors are out of our control.
When ACEs occur, they physically alter our stress response via changes that occur along the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. These changes can make us more reactive in the face of future stressors—and that’s just one example of the potential impact. ACEs can have lasting consequences for physical and mental health, especially in adulthood.
The thing to understand is that when a parent has accumulated four or more ACEs, their children are threefold more likely to experience four or more ACEs. And if they do, well, then any grandchildren also have that increased risk of enduring trauma. This is an unfortunate statistic. But we do have some ways of protecting the next generation in our care. A healthy family environment appears to help lessen the burden of intergenerational trauma. For example, we can help foster healthy family environments by working to reprocess our own traumas. Although clinical trials are still in progress, psilocybin-assisted therapy is emerging as a potentially promising treatment for conditions like PTSD and other forms of trauma.(7, 8, 9)
Magic Mushrooms for Moms: Parents Matter Too
Parenting topics often focus on the health and well-being of children, but the health and well-being of parents are also paramount. Healing from trauma can help, but Tee brings up an important consideration about isolation.
“Even as connected as we say we are,” she says, “we are more disconnected than ever. We don’t have intergenerational families much anymore. The tribal model is gone, and the small community model is pretty much gone. So moms are feeling more isolated than ever.”
Psilocybin and other psychedelics can make us feel more connected to others and our children, potentially bolstering the quality of life for everyone in the family. However, turning to psilocybin as a parent isn’t always an easy choice. Some parents worry about facing legal consequences or having child protective services appear at their door if word gets out about their use.
“We come to it with a whole lot more fears, a lot more ramifications,” Tee says. Despite the growing body of research on psilocybin’s therapeutic potential, stigma still exists, and access remains an issue. This is especially true in places where psilocybin hasn’t been legalized or decriminalized. Tee says more education is required to change the stigma and increase access.(10)
“We need to right the misinformation wrongs that have happened in the last 50, 60 years,” she explains. “We need to let that narrative go and step into facts about psychedelics and embrace those facts. I think if we treat this as public education, that will do a ton about releasing the stigma.”
And thus, making potential support available to more parents.
This material is not intended as a replacement or substitute for any legal or medical advice. Always consult a medical professional about your health needs. Psychedelics are widely illegal in the United States, and readers should always be informed about local, state, and federal regulations regarding psychedelics or other drugs.
- Hendricks, P. S. (2018). Awe: a putative mechanism underlying the effects of classic psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy. International Review of Psychiatry, 30(4), 331–342. https://doi.org/10.1080/09540261.2018.1474185
- Carhart-Harris R. L. and Friston, K. J. (2019) REBUS and the anarchic brain: Toward a unified model of the brain action of psychedelics. Pharmacological Reviews 71, no. 3: 316–44, https://doi.org/10.1124/pr.118.017160.53.
- Carhart-Harris R. L., Leech R., Hellyer P. J., Shanahan M., Fielding A., Tagliazucchi E., Chialvo D. R., Nutt D. (2014). The Entropic Brain: A Theory of Conscious States Informed by Neuroimaging Research with Psychedelic Drugs. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 8 (2014), https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2014.00020.
- Herzog R., Mediano P., Rosas F. E., Lodder P., Carhart-Harris R, Sanz Perl Y., Tagliazucchi E., and Cofre R. (2023). Sci Reports. 13, 6224. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-023-32649-7
- Reese E. M., Barlow M. J., Dillon M., Villalon S., Barnes M. D., Crandall A. (2022) Intergenerational transmission of trauma: The mediating effects of family health. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health., 19(10), 5944; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19105944
- Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). (2023, September 21) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/policy/polaris/healthtopics/ace/index.html.
- 6 Shonkoff J. P., Garner A. S., Siegel B.S., Dobbins M. I., Earls M. F., McGuinn L., Pascoe J., Wood D. L. (2012). The lifelong effects of early childhood adversity and toxic stress. Pediatrics. 129 (1): e232–e246. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2011-2663.
- 7 Schickedanz A., Escarce J. J. Halfon N. Sastry N, Chung P. J. (2021). Intergenerational associations between parents’ and children’s adverse childhood experience scores,” Children. 8 (9) 747, https://doi.org/10.3390/children8090747.
- 8 Reese E. M., Barlow M. J., Dillon M., Villalon S., Barnes M. D., Crandall A. (2022) Intergenerational transmission of trauma: The mediating effects of family health. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health., 19(10), 5944.https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19105944.
- 9 Forstmann M., Yudkin D. A., Prosser A. M. B., Crockett M. J. (2020). Transformative experience and social connectedness mediate the mood-enhancing effects of psychedelic use in naturalistic settings. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117, no. 5: 2338–46. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1918477117.