“The war against nature is a war against your own biology.”
— Paul Stamets
Paul Stamets (@PaulStamets) is an intellectual and industry leader in the habitat, medicinal use, and production of fungi. Part of his mission is to deepen our understanding and respect for the organisms that literally exist under every footstep taken on this path of life. Paul is the author of a new study in Nature’s Scientific Reports, which details how mushroom extracts—specifically extracts from woodland polypore mushrooms—can greatly reduce viruses that contribute to bee colony collapse.
Paul is the author of six books, including Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World, Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms, and Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World: An Identification Guide, and he has discovered and named numerous species of psilocybin mushrooms. Paul is also the founder and owner of Fungi Perfecti, makers of the Host Defense mushroom supplement line, and it is something I’ve been using since Samin Nosrat recommended it in my last book, Tribe of Mentors.
Paul has received numerous awards, including Invention Ambassador (2014-2015) for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the National Mycologist Award (2014) from the North American Mycological Association (NAMA), and the Gordon & Tina Wasson Award (2015) from the Mycological Society of America (MSA).
The implications, applications, and medicinal uses of what we discuss in this interview are truly mind-boggling, and we get into some of my favorite subjects, including psychedelics and other aspects of bending reality. If you’re interested in contributing to psychedelic science and research, you can do so at MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies), or if you’ve got $100,000 or more to spare, visit me at tim.blog/science.
I hope you enjoy this entire interview, but if you only have time to listen to one part, I recommend checking in at the [56:24] mark to hear how Paul’s first experience with psilocybin mushrooms affected his lifelong stutter. Enjoy!
Want to hear another podcast that explores science and psychedelics? — Listen to my conversation with Hamilton Morris, host of Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia, in which we investigate the mythology of Alexander Shulgin and the difference between poison and a dose. Stream below or right-click here to download.
This podcast is brought to you by Peloton, which has become a staple of my daily routine. I picked up this bike after seeing the success of my friend Kevin Rose, and I’ve been enjoying it more than I ever imagined. Peloton is an indoor cycling bike that brings live studio classes right to your home. No worrying about fitting classes into your busy schedule or making it to a studio with a crazy commute.
New classes are added every day, and this includes options led by elite NYC instructors in your own living room. You can even live stream studio classes taught by the world’s best instructors, or find your favorite class on demand.
Peloton is offering listeners to this show a special offer. Visit onepeloton.com and enter the code TIM at checkout to receive $100 off accessories with your Peloton bike purchase. This is a great way to get in your workouts, or an incredible gift. Again, that’s onepeloton.com and enter the code TIM.
This podcast is brought to you by Audible. I have used Audible for years, and I love audiobooks. I have a few to recommend:
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
The Tao of Seneca by Seneca
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
All you need to do to get your free 30-day Audible trial is visit Audible.com/Tim. Choose one of the above books, or choose any of the endless options they offer. That could be a book, a newspaper, a magazine, or even a class. It’s that easy. Go to Audible.com/Tim or text TIM to 500500 to get started today.
QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.
Scroll below for links and show notes…
SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE
- Connect with Paul Stamets:
Fungi Perfecti | Host Defense | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | YouTube
Extracts of Polypore Mushroom Mycelia Reduce Viruses in Honey Bees by Paul E. Stamets, et al., Scientific Reports — Nature
Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World by Paul Stamets
Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms by Paul Stamets
Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World: An Identification Guide by Paul Stamets
- MykoWeb: Mushrooms, Fungi, Mycology
- Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS)
How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence by Michael Pollan
6 Ways Mushrooms Can save the World by Paul Stamets, TED Talk
Strange but True: The Largest Organism on Earth Is a Fungus by Anne Casselman, Scientific American
Opisthokonta, NIES Collection
Fungus-Like Mycelial Fossils in 2.4-Billion-Year-Old Vesicular Basalt by Stefan Bengtson et al., Nature Ecology & Evolution
Wm. K. Stamets Co. of Columbiana, OH, Vintage Machinery
- The Evergreen State College
Metarhizium Anisopliae Strain F52 (PC Code 029056), US Environmental Protection Agency Office of Pesticide Programs
MycoPesticide Update by Paul Stamets, Fungi Perfecti
Cordyceps: Attack of the Killer Fungi, Planet Earth
Patents by Inventor Paul Stamets, Justia Patents
New Anti-Viral Compounds from Mushrooms by Paul Stamets, HerbalGram
Project BioShield, Stimson Center
- Fort Detrick, MD
Mycologist Promotes Agarikon as a Possibility to Counter Growing Antibiotic Resistance by Bob Yirka, Phys.org
Smallpox Defense May Be Found in Mushrooms with Steve Inskeep and Tom Banse, Morning Edition, NPR
Cidofovir (aka Vistide), RxList
What is Bioguided Fractionation? by Frederick Williams, Google+
- Cortes Island, BC
- United States Patent and Trademark Office
BP’s Slick Greenwashing by James Ridgeway, Mother Jones
Potential Health Effects of Pesticides by Eric S. Lorenz, Pennsylvania State University College of Agricultural Sciences
- The King’s Speech
- Aircraft Carrier Intrepid
Altered States of Consciousness by Charles T. Tart
The Hero’s Journey: Mythic Structure of Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth by Dan Bronzite, Movie Outline
Thunderstorms & Lightning Safety, Ohio.gov
Axis Mundi, New World Encyclopedia
What Is Synesthesia and What’s It like to Have It? by Laura Moss, MNN
The Glass Bead Game (Magister Ludi): A Novel by Hermann Hesse
- Matthew 4:1-11 (Jesus Is Tested in the Wilderness)
Psilocybe Mushrooms and Their Allies by Paul Stamets
Ganoderma Lucidum (Lingzhi or Reishi): A Medicinal Mushroom by Sissi Wachtel-Galor, John Yuen, John A. Buswell, and Iris F. F. Benzie, Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects
Hericium Erinaceus, an Amazing Medicinal Mushroom by Benjarong Thongbai, Sylvie Rapior, Kevin D. Hyde, Kathrin Wittstein, and Marc Stadler, Mycological Progress
Michael Pollan — Exploring The New Science of Psychedelics, The Tim Ferriss Show #313
Return of the Fungi by Andy Isaacson, Mother Jones
- Aspen Academy of Martial and Healing Arts
Astromycology: The “Fungal” Frontier by Tristan Wang, Harvard Science Review
How Mushrooms Can Save the World by Kenneth Miller, Discover
An Amazing Letter From a Cultivator in Syria, Fungi Perfecti
Wood Chip Fermentation at the Ranch by Paul Stamets, YouTube
Fantastic Fungi by Louie Schwartzberg
Colony Collapse Disorder, EPA
Pesticides Are Harming Bees — But Not Everywhere, Major New Study Shows by Dan Charles, Morning Edition, NPR
Varroa Mites Infesting Honey Bee Colonies by Ric Bessin, Entomology at the University of Kentucky
Companion Planting with the Garden Giant by Alex Taylor, Fungi Perfecti
A Google Scholar search for “deformed wing virus” is concerning.
- p-Coumaric acid
How the Mushroom Dream of a ‘Long-Haired Hippie’ Could Help save the World’s Bees by Evan Bush, The Seattle Times
Will Humans Survive the Sixth Great Extinction? by Nadia Drake, National Geographic
The Complete Tales of Winnie-The-Pooh by A.A. Milne
- Mycological Society of America
- WSU HONEY BEES + POLLINATORS | Washington State University
- North American Mycological Association
- How do you pronounce and define fungi and mycelium? [10:05]
- What makes the immunological resilience of mycelium all the more impressive? [11:07]
- In what way is a mushroom like a fish? [13:13]
- From a genetic or an evolutionary perspective, how should people think about mycelium? Is mycology more closely related to botany or zoology? [14:48]
- Why do antifungal drugs have the potential to be extremely dangerous to humans? [18:14]
- Paul describes a Kafkaesque childhood in Columbiana, Ohio after his family’s business collapsed in the wake of WWII — bringing much of the town with it. [19:16]
- How living in a carpenter ant-infested house made from military surplus scraps combined with Paul’s affinity for vacuuming and curiosity about mycelium to create a natural pest remedy. [22:26]
- If proven so successful, why hasn’t this natural pest remedy been brought to market yet? [34:30]
- Fighting viruses with mycelium in a post-9/11 world. [35:47]
- At what point in the research cycle is agarikon being tested against viruses today? [41:47]
- What happened when top secret test results intended for other eyes only were misdelivered to Paul? [44:08]
- What’s the upside to the United States Department of Defense taking your patent for reasons of national security, or having naysayers argue against your patent’s effectiveness? [46:57]
- As Paul’s mycelium solution for fending off carpenter ants isn’t yet on the market, what does he suggest to people who want to try it today? [50:12]
- As a 10-year solution that only costs about 25 cents to produce, is Paul’s mycelium pest fix perhaps too effective for the liking of those who profit from current, toxic remedies? [51:49]
- When a sincere attempt at disrupting the status quo can’t make it past a boardroom only concerned with “greenwashing” its corporate image. [53:34]
- Paul takes us on the epic “superhero’s journey” that relieved him of his lifelong stutter as a teenager — with the assistance of “about 20 grams of” psilocybin cubensis. [56:24]
- Has Paul had any stuttering relapses since that day? [1:09:47]
- Paul relays a story about what psilocybin did for an aging friend with failing senses. [1:10:14]
- Why does Paul think his superhero’s journey was instrumental in helping him overcome his stutter, and what effects has he witnessed in others on similar journeys? [1:14:35]
- Paul touches on why profit-driven pharmaceutical companies might frown at the therapeutic efficacy of magic mushrooms — in parallel to chemical companies rejecting natural pesticides. [1:16:43]
- Mushrooms are just the tip of the mycelium. Paul elaborates on how fungal biomes operate and why it might be that humans often fear the ephemeral nature of mycelium. [1:18:10]
- Paul talks about the neuroregenerative benefits of lion’s mane and soul’s eye in mycelium over mushroom form. [1:21:40]
- At nearly 93 years of age, Paul’s mother can still beat his brothers at Scrabble — could it be thanks in part to her daily intake of lion’s mane? [1:22:54]
- Paul ponders the effects of stacking microdoses of psilocybin with lion’s mane and what might be used to treat neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. [1:23:44]
- How might such microdosing be administered and supervised in a research setting? Paul explains why this question is timely and shares his reasons for a strategy of filing what he calls “blocking patents” under certain circumstances. [1:27:08]
- Is microdosing sexy — or at least more attractive to people who might otherwise be afraid to try a full dose of psilocybin? [1:29:48]
- What does Paul Stamets believe makes Paul Stamets Paul Stamets? [1:33:50]
- Paul tells us about that time he (politely) used his black belt prowess to change the life of an angry biker. [1:37:08]
- A reminder that kind acts, even in small increments, can move mountains. [1:40:54]
- You are beautiful. [1:42:10]
- In the network of everything, Paul is an astromycologist now. [1:42:59]
- A wide variety of ways in which fungi could help solve human problems — from environmental cleanup to famine relief to space travel. Bonus: the proper way to pronounce mycorrhizal. [1:44:24]
- How a Syrian refugee is teaching others to cultivate mushrooms for food — a skill set that can be passed along and lay the foundation for sustainable biosecurity. [1:47:42]
- Fantastic Fungi and the Wood Wide Web. [1:49:19]
- Why colony collapse disorder is really just a euphemism for a serious problem — though surprisingly the one issue that bridges liberals and conservatives. [1:50:20]
- “Failure is the price of the tuition I pay to learn a new lesson.” [1:56:51]
- Paul’s epiphany for how to save the bees came to him in a dream. Really! Why this might be good news in the midst of the sixth Great Extinction. [2:02:25]
- What can people listening who are not mycologists nor future mycologists do to help save the world? [2:09:51]
- Parting thoughts. [1:15:37]
Posted on: October 11, 2018.
Please check out Tribe of Mentors, my newest book, which shares short, tactical life advice from 100+ world-class performers. Many of the world’s most famous entrepreneurs, athletes, investors, poker players, and artists are part of the book. The tips and strategies in Tribe of Mentors have already changed my life, and I hope the same for you. Click here for a sample chapter and full details. Roughly 90% of the guests have never appeared on my podcast.
Who was interviewed? Here’s a very partial list: tech icons (founders of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Craigslist, Pinterest, Spotify, Salesforce, Dropbox, and more), Jimmy Fallon, Arianna Huffington, Brandon Stanton (Humans of New York), Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ben Stiller, Maurice Ashley (first African-American Grandmaster of chess), Brené Brown (researcher and bestselling author), Rick Rubin (legendary music producer), Temple Grandin (animal behavior expert and autism activist), Franklin Leonard (The Black List), Dara Torres (12-time Olympic medalist in swimming), David Lynch (director), Kelly Slater (surfing legend), Bozoma Saint John (Beats/Apple/Uber), Lewis Cantley (famed cancer researcher), Maria Sharapova, Chris Anderson (curator of TED), Terry Crews, Greg Norman (golf icon), Vitalik Buterin (creator of Ethereum), and nearly 100 more. Check it all out by clicking here.