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Who is Paul Stamets?

A leading name in the field of mycology (the study of mushrooms), Paul Stamets believes in the power of psychedelic and non psychedelic mushrooms alike! He is a mycologist who is passionate about the planet and saving it through mycelium and fungal networks. 

What is mycology?

Mycology is the scientific study of fungi. This includes psychedelic and non psychedelic mushrooms. It also includes yeasts, interestingly. The field of mycology is the one which allowed for discoveries such as antibiotic drugs like penicillin, and cholesterol-lowering treatments as well. 

How did Stamets get started in mycology?

Paul Stamets actually does not have an advanced degree in mycology, but he did study mycology as an undergraduate student. He has contributed a lot to the field. In fact, many of the people who contribute the best information to the field of psychedelic mushrooms are often considered amateurs! 

Stamets has said that his brother was the inspiration behind his dedication to the field of mycology. He has received a few awards in the 90s and in 2013 for his work as an amateur mycologist and his contributions to the field. 

Did Paul Stamets trip mushrooms?

According to the documentary Fantastic Fungi, Stamets had an irreparable stutter when he was younger. He wasn’t able to speak to people he was romantically interested in because of that, and was an insecure guy. Because of this, he was always looking at the ground. What do you find most often on the ground from the natural world? Stamets said fossils and mushrooms. 

One day, Stamets took a heroic dose of psilocybin mushrooms. He was out in the woods, and for some reason he decided to climb to the top of a tree. Unfortunately, he decided to do this at the same time as a massive storm was rolling in, so he couldn’t get off the tree. He hung onto the tree for dear life, looking out onto the horizon and watching the lightning and the rain. Apparently this was a mystical and revelatory experience for him. When the storm passed, he came down from the tree and went home to bed. The next time he spoke to a romantic interest, his stutter was gone. So this experience really cemented mushrooms as a life-changing substance for Stamets. 

What is Paul Stamets famous for?

Paul Stamets has a passionate interest in saving the planet and protecting it for future generations. He says that he has been empowered with the wisdom of mycelium and understanding how ecosystems are dependent on the fungal networks which create the soils that give rise to natural habitats. 

Has Paul Stamets written any books?

Going back as far as 1978, Stamets has written many books about mushrooms. His first book, Psilocybe Mushrooms & Their Allies, is a thorough guide on psilocybin-containing mushrooms. It provides advice for psychedelic mushroom seekers, and seeks to provide deeper understanding about all mushrooms. Stamets followed that theme later in his career, publishing Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World in 1996. His second published book was The Mushroom Cultivator: A Practical Guide to Growing Mushrooms at Home and was published in 1984. Reviews on Amazon state that, nearly 40 years later, it is still one of the best resources on growing mushrooms. He followed up that guide with another, Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms in 1996. 

Perhaps his most famous work, Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World was published in 2005, and spawned (pun intended) a relatively mainstream public presence that continues to this day. He gave TEDTalks about this topic, inspiring many to become amateur mycologists themselves. His most recent book, Fantastic Fungi: How Mushrooms Can Heal, Shift Consciousness, & Save the Planet was published in 2019 and inspired the Netflix documentary of the same name. If you’re interested in mushrooms, it’s definitely a great documentary and worth checking out!

What is Fantastic Fungi about?

This film is characterized by amazing time lapses of mushrooms growing in incredible ways. The time lapses give some perspective on an aspect of nature that’s typically invisible to the naked eye. Not only is this documentary visually stunning, but it puts mushrooms at the center stage. Many mycologists, biologists, and psychedelic researchers were interviewed for the documentary, including Micahel Pollan, Eugenia Bone, and Dennis McKenna. 

The film goes into great detail about mushrooms, the oldest and some of the most resilient organisms on the planet. One of the main ideas of the film is a calling to connect to the organisms that sustain us. For example, mushrooms are basically the digestive tracts of the forest even though they’re barely seen or acknowledged. Mycelium enables ecosystem communication, like the internet of the forest. It also allows for nutrient sharing between different plants. 

What has Paul Stamets shown about mushrooms?

A lot of Paul’s work has been on the myriad of uses mushrooms have for environmentally-friendly solutions to common problems. For example, he has shown how mushrooms can be used to prevent carpenter ants from taking down houses. He has also shown how mushrooms can be used to clean up oil spills or even more recently shown how mushrooms and mushroom extracts can be used to save the bees! 

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