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August 1, 2023

Mushrooms 101: A Beginner’s Guide

A comprehensive guide to the benefits, types and uses of adaptogenic mushrooms

If you’re curious as to how functional and/or psychedelic mushrooms can improve mental health, wellness and deliver an enjoyably euphoric mind reset, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, we’ll delve into frequently asked questions about recreational and health-focused mushroom use, the benefits of it, delivery methods, and what you should ideally look for when deciding what’s right for you.

What’s the difference between functional/adaptogenic and psychedelic mushrooms?

Functional adaptogenic mushrooms such as Lion’s Mane, Reishi and others are often used as cognitive and immune support boosters, as well as natural options for reducing stress and anxiety. Used in practices such as Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda, functional mushrooms offer ancient, natural health benefits. Alternately, psychedelic mushrooms, also known as psilocybin mushrooms, contain naturally psychoactive compounds that can induce altered states of consciousness and profound sensory experiences. 

Both adaptogenic and psilocybin mushrooms have been used for centuries in various cultures for spiritual, religious, medicinal and recreational purposes — both separately and in tandem. To sum it up, the main difference between psychedelic and functional mushrooms lies in their psychoactive and adaptogenic compounds and their varying effects on consciousness and well-being.

What are adaptogens?

When you see the term “adaptogens” or “adaptogenic mushrooms” it’s referring to bioactive “functional” compounds found in certain fungi that help the body adapt and respond to stress. Technically speaking, adaptogenic compounds such as beta-glucans and other polysaccharides, work by balancing the body’s the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis (essentially, regulating your stress response system). 

Adaptogens in mushrooms naturally help improve productivity, promote overall well-being and take the edge off of everyday anxiety. Some examples of adaptogenic mushrooms with multiple benefits include Reishi, Ashwagandha, Rhodiola, and Chaga. BLNCD Functional Cannabis Elixirs harness the most beneficial components from a variety of organic mushrooms to deliver a rejuvenating wellness boost and a gentle, uplifting buzz. Containing a balance of cannabinoids, terpenes and mushrooms, BLNCD’s THC and shroom beverage offers two light, effervescent flavor options: “Zen Blend” for a chill, relaxing experience or “Brain Boost” for bright, energetic clarity.

What are some of the differences between adaptogenic mushroom species?

Lion’s Mane:

Lion’s Mane is believed to have potential cognitive benefits that improve memory, focus, and mood.

Reishi:

Reishi is known for its adaptogenic properties, which can help the body cope with sleep issues, stress, and immune system balance. 

Chaga:

Rich in antioxidants, Chaga can help boost the immune system and is said to have powerful wellness and anti-inflammatory properties.

Ashwagandha:

Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that helps the body manage stress, improve energy, and promote cognitive and hormonal balance.

Rhodiola:

Rhodiola is known for its stress-reducing properties and may help improve energy, mental focus, and mood.

How do I know if an adaptogenic mushroom product is high quality?

When you’re seeking a genuine, high-quality product for either wellness or recreation, fruiting bodies are the way to go. Simply put, products claiming to use mycelium (derived from the root system of the fungi) may have different nutrient profiles and lower concentrations of beneficial elements vs. fruiting bodies (the visible part of the mushroom that appears above ground) that offer higher concentrations of bioactive compounds for a superior product.

Where and how do you source your functional mushrooms?

BLNCD sources premium mushroom extract from Papa G’s Organic, a small, family-owned certified organic mushroom grower and wild forager based in southern Indiana. Focused on producing functional and gourmet mushrooms in small batches, Papa G’s Organic delivers a top-quality product that we use exclusively in our functional blends. 

USDA Organic, alcohol-free, gluten-free, non-GMO, corn-free, soy-free, vegan and paleo friendly with no fillers, additives or artificial flavors, Papa’s Organic mushrooms and extracts are 100% made in the USA, always from fruiting bodies. Using a proprietary triple extraction process, their mushroom extracts are made under Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) and certified organic methods and are 3rd party tested.  

What’s the best way to ingest mushrooms, and is it safe?

There are many different types of functional mushroom supplements and products already on the market, such as capsules, gummies, chocolates, teas, tinctures — and in our case, tasty sparkling beverages. Do your research on the benefits of whatever product appeals most to you flavor-wise and effect-wise, and go from there!

As health supplements, adaptogenic mushrooms have a documented history of traditional usage and are considered generally safe for most people. That said, individual responses to mushrooms may vary. Some may experience mild side effects such as digestive discomfort or allergic reaction. If you have any pre-existing health conditions or are taking medications, it’s recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before adding adaptogenic mushrooms to your regimen.

Psychedelic mushrooms that include psychoactive compounds like psilocybin are typically considered safe for consumption when used responsibly, though their legality varies across countries and regions. Check local laws regarding psychedelic and functional mushrooms in your area for clarification.

Are mushrooms legal?

Legally, the status of mushrooms varies by country and region. Check your state and federal guidelines to better understand what is legal and available in your area. In many places, mushrooms are widely available as health supplements, with a new trend toward recreational use. 

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