From Chapter 2: Project Amanita muscaria Microdoses Development
Psychedelic plants crossed my path at a later point in my life. My early adulthood was dedicated to the professional study of classical piano, chemical engineering, and medicine. My prefatory opinions and beliefs on psychedelics were based on erroneous observations made by my mentors and professors. During my fifth year of medical school, my professor, while suturing a patient’s stoma, very casually said to “never try LSD since the option after the reception will be unambiguous. . . . You will grind iron rods of a cage for the rest of your life.” Of course, I believed the professor. Why wouldn’t I? After all, he was my teacher who could skillfully penetrate a patient’s stomach and save his life. I did not seek further clarification. Life in Soviet Russia did not provide a rich palette for openly questioning authority or rank.
One day I decided to quit my warm, cozy position at the Science Research Institute of Obstetrics and Gynecology and follow my childhood dream to go around the world, which had already been blighted significantly due to my stealthy rebellious run-ins with the Soviet authoritarian system. Fate was on my side. The Soviet Union collapsed, and the wind of change brought me to the United States.
Significant life experiences followed. I discovered new culture, new thinking, new artists, and other personalities that were prohibited in Soviet Russia. By immersing myself in a new environment, I encountered culture shock, but I also had the chance to learn new skills and learn more about myself. My own culture has shaped my views, whether I realized it or not, and learning new points of view substantially enriched and refreshed my mind.
In three years, I achieved my American dream--a house, two cars in the garage, chicken in the pot, and a corporate nest egg that generously paid for my expenses. But something was missing in that picture. Several years later, I dropped all that, married my long-haired Bohemian musician boyfriend, and moved to the foggy embrace of Big Sur, California.
The Pacific West graciously offered even more enlightening experiences--yoga and a chorus of Tibetan voices. Later, Timothy Leary, Robert Anton Wilson, Alan Watts, and Terrence McKenna joined these voices. Mysterious stories about the medicinal properties of some plants attracted my attention, and I devoted the next ten years of my life to the dense study of the therapeutic potential of plant psychedelics through my own self-induced experiences and in-depth study of all available material on this topic.
Growing up, I learned to live in the material world and disregarded my ethereal relationship with the universe. The system had me believe that the transcendental world was irrelevant and did not exist. This perspective made the world around me empty, gloomy, and difficult. The world was a dangerous place, and enemies surrounded my motherland. Communism was my only hope. I had to subjugate myself to authoritarian rules in order to survive. My psychedelic experiences had a profound impact on my psyche and liberated me from this dazed and confused state. My first ayahuasca journey was a turning point in my life, so much so that I started going to the ceremony twice a year to experience a sense of calmness, divorced from such influencers as propaganda, ideologies, and politics. I felt a sense of spiritual awareness and tranquility, healing feelings I did not believe existed. During these self-induced journeys managed by trusted shamans, I could observe my psyche without age, gender, given name, culture, language, stereotypes, dogmas, and even knowledge of the species I belonged to. My conditioned view of myself and the universe blew up into a million pieces.
As I tried psychedelic and nonpsychedelic shamanic remedies, I gradually started noticing positive changes in my physical and psychological well-being. The results were far superior to what I had noticed during my years of study, research, and practice in the medical field. I cured serious conditions I could not correct with official medicine. When I tried to share with my former medical colleagues the knowledge I had gained through my study of and experience with plant psychedelics and nonpsychedelic shamanic remedies, they thought I had turned into a charlatan and a quack. They labeled me a substance abuser. I could not convince my fellow medical professionals that the medical training we had received, which was based on specialization and predefined disparate learning modules, overlooked the human body as a whole. Instead, I was met with skepticism, and I was ridiculed.
After studying psychedelic plants for a decade, I created a video podcast in Russian called Radio Psychedelix. It helped me organize my thoughts and provided me with an effective way to release the overwhelming burden I was carrying with all the knowledge I had gained.
Discussions on psychedelic plants, including discussions of medicinal properties, are considered propaganda for narcotic usage and are crimes in Russia. In order to produce my podcast, I had to be creative and hide my real identity. I created a character with a funny voice to convey the narrative and used a pseudonym--Baba Masha, my grandmother’s name, and Some as my last name. The video format was simple: a psychedelic-colored mouth speaking out of blackness, constantly giggling and whispering the incredible adventures of the Psychedelix Kingdom.
Comments on the video podcast had to be shut down the first year. From the start, I was declared a sneaky foreign agent working with a group of trained individuals to infuse insanity among the communities living in Russian-speaking territories. Podcast subscribers had all kinds of questions--had I had sex with aliens and in what positions, and so on. However, Baba Masha Some did not give up. Between giggles and stories about her visits to strange worlds and meetings with spirits, Baba Masha inserted translations of modern scientific articles, chemistry and medical research, book translations, podcasts, and lectures on psychedelics by world-renowned gurus. Camouflaged by jokes and equivocations, my podcast addressed the medicinal benefits of cannabis, ayahuasca, iboga, San Pedro and peyote cacti, magic mushrooms, sananga, rappe, and kambo, among others.
Even though some viewers demanded that I show my face to the public, accept charges for betraying the motherland in exchange for American sausages and drugs, and conduct and reveal the results of my sanity test, the brilliant minds that Baba Masha had translated into Russian had already captured part of the audience. Timothy Leary, Aldous Huxley, R. A. Wilson, T. K. McKenna, Ram Dass, S. Grof, James Fadiman, Rick Strassman, David Nutt, Paul Stamets, J. Rogan, B. Lipton, J. Peterson, G. Hancock, Rick Doblin, and others had already leaked into the consciousness of the crowd, and clearly the layer of “ours” had been marked.
Subscribers formed Masha’s first secret group, Radio Psychedelic, on a social media outlet. Masha was admitted as a guest of honor to the underground Russian Central Committee of Psychedelics. She finally made her appearance to an audience in the form of a cartoon with a joint in her hand. She was flying through the universe on a tiny rock covered with magic cacti and mushrooms. Terence McKenna flew by, waving to Masha, from the window of the mushroom ship.
The ice had broken, and Masha had successfully made direct contact with subscribers who supported the work. The first contact had suffered from depression and panic attacks since early childhood. By the time he was twenty-seven, he had tried all possible conventional methods to address his issues, including going through psychotherapy and taking antidepressants, as well as following unconventional paths such as working with various gurus and practicing meditation and holotropic breathing. However, the outcome was not favorable. But after one year of our virtual communication and the use of microdoses of psychedelic mushrooms, this contact was cured of his long-term illness and became my first interviewee for Radio Psychedelix.
After that first published interview, reports of other people’s psychedelic experiences poured in like an avalanche. My audience was growing fast. On March 8, 2018, the government of the Russian Federation blocked Radio Psychedelix. By that time the number of views on the channel had reached a million.
It was a fatal mistake on the Russian Federation’s part. The act of suppressing Baba Masha had the opposite result. Ironically, the government’s blocking of the podcast earned me legitimacy and trust on the subject matter from the young population in Russian-speaking territories. My subscribers encouraged me to open a new channel. Soon, I was contacted with a multitude of reports from my listeners on the use and benefits of psychedelic plants on the mind and body.
A year later, the number of subscribers and viewers on the new channel had tripled. The Baba Masha virus had spread to eighteen channels in the virtual subsoil with live chatrooms, support groups, channels with reports of the effects of psychedelic plants, and live streams for Russianspeaking audiences on all continents. My second YouTube channel was blocked by the Russian Federation on September 1, 2020. By that time, the number of views on the channel had reached 3 million.
Right before creating my Psychedelic Plants broadcast in 2014, my psychedelic search was crowned by iboga, the brain-smashing, seventy-two-hour experience with a blast of information, visions, and insights. There was a recurring telepathic message in all the experiences I had with iboga. “Look for homeopathic doses,” I thought. “Look for homeopathic doses.” And synchronicity kicked in! A few weeks after an iboga trip, a random internet search exposed me to James Fadiman’s book The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide. Bingo! A new word--microdose--entered my life. After reading Fadiman’s work on psilocybin mushroom microdosing, I tried his method myself in two six-month sessions with a six-month break between. The results were astounding. I included this method in my Russian broadcast. Psychedelic microdosing quickly took over Russian-speaking territories, and there were hundreds of cases of depression recoveries among my podcast subscribers.
Soon after, a fifty-two-year-old subscriber mentioned that for several years he had regularly used small doses of dry Amanita for health benefits and was still in good health. My response was very dry and dismissive--“Are you crazy? Are you trying to kill yourself?”
Over the next couple months, I received more reports from Amanita microdosers. A forty-year-old woman was successfully using Amanita muscaria in microdoses to treat systemic lupus erythematosus. Two older people (eighty-two and eighty-seven years old) reported quick recoveries from stroke. Soon, I encountered more people taking Amanita muscaria in small doses with significant medical benefits. However, my obedient brain reacted to AM with the standard skepticism instilled in me--“stay away from this particular poisonous mushroom.”
As soon as I shared my recent discoveries with Amanita muscaria microdosing on my broadcast, sixty-seven more people contacted me and shared similar positive outcomes. Depending on the time of consumption, Amanita muscaria microdosing showed great benefits in certain aspects of calming and energizing the mind and body, as a mood enhancer, and in relieving the symptoms of depression and asthenia. Subscribers also claimed pain-relief properties and that Amanita muscaria microdosing was an extremely potent sleep aid. Personal conversations with AM microdosers--unknown to each other--showed unbelievably consistent data.
I then found myself hunting in the Pacific Coast woods for fly agaric and preparing it with recipes the members of my online community gave me. Yes, I experienced mood elevation, blasts of energy, a prolific workday, and a perfect restful sleep. Then the most amazing thing happened. The Amanita muscaria alcohol extract completely took away the pain from my bulged L5 disk. I was able to go back to the gym and go for long hikes. Additionally, by using Amanita muscaria ointment, I got rid of most of the age spots on my skin.
My personal results combined with data I received from sixty-seven responders were amazing resources. I published this information on my podcast in February 2019. In a few months, I received hundreds of reports that highlighted the health benefits of microdosing AM, the online price of AM skyrocketed in Russian-speaking territories, Baba Masha was declared the responsible party for the Golden Amanita Fever of 2019, and Russian vocabulary was enriched with a new phrase--Amanita muscaria microdose. Businesses selling Amanita products filled the internet.
Dealers were quick to register Amanita products as a brand trade, and new food supplements with Amanita grew like mushrooms. The quality of sold and purchased Amanita is critical and under question in general. Many of sellers are irresponsible and pushing totally unknown powder in capsules, or the previous season’s AM, or AM picked in an environment that is not chemically safe, or AM that has been stored incorrectly and so is moldy, and so on. I have letters from witnesses who work at such facilities detailing hygienic violations such as dirty conditions, AM eaten by worms, and other mushrooms in the powdered end product. I have pages of complains on side effects and negative effects of purchased AM--pimples, allergic reaction, kidney and liver pain, and so on.
In addition, many of these businesses push Amanita pantherina, which has different chemical compounds and is not suitable for microdosing. The results of microdosing Amanita pantherina are 50/50, with many negative effects on mental and emotional health such as weird behavior, depression, and more.