Our interview today is with one of our readers, a 48 year old Male from South Dakota who took psilocybin, illegally, to help him stop smoking.
Using Psilocybin to Stop Smoking
Thank you for agreeing to provide us with your thoughts today, I know this can be a very personal subject and I want you to know that our readers are privileged to have you talk about your experience with us today.
A: Hey all good sir, I love your site, I’m happy to contribute.
Q: When did you first become aware of psilocybin?
A: I was 12 actually. Way too young right? My older brother and his friends were big dead heads back then, followed Phish on tour for a whole summer. I’d hear them in the basement goofing around all night and went downstairs to check it out; my brother had this steel box that was always locked under his bed, and he always had it with him when his friends were over. Well one day I walked by his room and found the box open on the floor, and I see bags of weed, shrooms. A guy I knew at school was talking about smoking weed and so I was curious. I took a bit of each out of their baggies and brought them to my room. I ate a whole mushroom and thought I was gonna die (laughs)!
Q: Such a shame that so many experiences start that way, isn’t it?
A: Oh man, I was hiding in my room, bed soaked in sweat, too afraid to let my parents know and too afraid of what was waiting in the hall to eat me. It was horrible. The worst part is my brother knew how many shrooms he had in that baggy. So he knew, but he couldn’t do much about it because then my parents would have known too.
Q: So after a rough start, what caused you to go back and try psilocybin again?
A: Well, it was a long time in between. I smoked weed pretty regularly from, like, Grade 11 until I was in my 30’s, and then realized I better slow down, I was getting sloppy. But cigarettes, I guess I can thank my brother for that as well. I stole one out of a pack in his room when I was 13, smoked it in the backyard one night, came in reeking of it (my brother often did, so I guess I just didn’t think about it) and got busted by my mom, and got grounded for like a month. But then I’d bum off of kids at school, and it was helping me with the ladies, so I had to keep going. By the time I was out of high school, no way was I quitting. In my mid 20’s I was probably up to a pack a day, and I felt awful. I was always tired, I had this nasty taste in my mouth and bad breath that was always with me, even if I had just brushed my teeth. I didn’t feel good but I would never admit that it was the smoking, because that meant it was something I had to fix…
Q: But you realized you would have to do something…
A: …right, so my 30’s were spent trying to quit, and then failing, and then trying again. I spent so much money. Patch. Gum. Pills. Sometimes more than one at once, sometimes more than recommended. It was pretty clear that I had to do something but everything I tried didn’t make much of a dent. I’d be back on the smokes, like, a week later. It felt pretty hopeless. So a few years ago I’m watching tv, one of those daytime shows, like Montell, or whatnot. And they’re talking about shrooms being this great cure-all, how it cures headaches, depression, smoking…and I’m like wait what? The doctor they had on leading the talk looked like a real nut, tie-dye shirt under a lab coat, and I’m like yeah, very credible. But he’s quoting studies from real institutions, and real studies, so I’m listening. And this third guest is someone who swears that shrooms (she said psilocybin, I think, and I had no idea what that was at the time) allowed her to stop smoking.
So my gears start turning, and a few weeks later, I reach out to some of my buddies and they hook me up with a dealer, first dealer I’d had in at least 10 years! I didn’t really know what to do, how much to take, how often, you know. So I’m reading up online and get convinced to do it a few times a week, but man, that first time, I’m SO concerned that I’m going to freak again. So I asked a friend to come do it with me and just keep me chill. Turns out the second time wasn’t nearly as bad, and I cut the dose in half. We had a chill time. I still wanted to smoke. But I kept at it, I had bought a few week’s worth. Not much effect after the first few weeks but I did find I wasn’t entirely focused on it all the time.
Q: So you found psilocybin was already helping you mitigate your smoking habit before you saw a therapist. Interesting. So then what happened?
A: Well I’m reading on the internet that having a therapist guide you through your trip seems to help focus your brain on what you’re trying to correct. So I called a guy up and started seeing him. Now he wouldn’t let me take the shrooms in his office, but he was like, whatever you do before you come in here is your business. And then he’d book off the afternoon and I’d hang out in his office. I don’t think he really knew how to keep me occupied for that long! Frankly I don’t even remember much of the discussions we had. But you know, after 4 of those sessions (which cost me A LOT, I remember that!), I went 3 months without wanting a smoke. Like, not at all. I hadn’t been away from a smoke for more than a week in 30 years. Eventually I relapsed but sure enough, this time, one session got me back on the wagon!
Q: Incredible. Are you still going?
A: Oh yeah, one every three months, on the regular. I still get cravings but they’re infrequent and they fully go away every time I go for a session, for at least a few weeks.
Q: So, any takeaways? Advice for our readers? Can psilocybin help them quit, as it has you?
A: Yeah, I mean I wouldn’t have believed in this if you’d asked me a few years ago, but I think it really works. Now there’s a bit more research, it sounds like I should probably switch to a therapist with more experience in treatments while ‘medicated’ but we have a good thing going. Still expensive, and of course, it’s illegal, but man, I feel so much better. I can run 8 miles, I don’t need a golf cart to be able to play 18 any more, I jump out of bed in the morning. It’s so worth it.