Key takeaways.

  • How is Psilocybin revolutionizing recovery from brain injury?

    Psychedelics like Psilocybin are emerging as powerful tools in the treatment of brain injuries and mental health conditions, offering new hope as effective, proven, and natural interventions—without the side effects of pharmaceutical meds. These substances are being studied for their ability to address previously untreatable conditions caused by brain injury, including neurodegenerative disease, depression, and addiction.

  • Does Psilocybin help with brain injuries?

    Research shows that Psilocybin effectively supports and enhances processes essential for repairing the brain from injury, including reducing neuroinflammation, promoting the creation of new brain cells (neurogenesis), and stimulating the creation of new connections (neuroplasticity). Psilocybin mushrooms are also being used to effectively treat mood and substance use disorders that typically accompany brain injuries, such as depression and alcohol addiction.

  • How are former UFC fighters using Psilocybin to treat brain injuries?

    After long and grueling careers, Ian McCall and Dean Lester turned to Psilocybin to heal from the devastating impact of brain injuries. Their personal stories highlight the transformative effects of psychedelics in overcoming addiction, mental health struggles, and cognitive impairments associated with TBI, providing a beacon of hope for others facing similar challenges.

In the world of contact sports, the physical toll on athletes is undeniable. Studies show a concerning link between head injuries and a fatal brain disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). This disease has affected numerous former NFL players and also raises concerns among hockey players and fighters.

However, a glimmer of hope is emerging from an unexpected source: psychedelic medicine.

Psychedelics like Psilocybin mushrooms are making a major comeback in the Western world. Until recently, psychedelics were prohibited taboos — but now, they’re being researched and considered all over the world for their therapeutic potential.

It’s kind of special to exist in this day and age. Psychedelics aren’t new or novel drugs. Research isn’t looking into their efficacy and safety because they haven’t been around for long; rather, research is being conducted on psychedelic medicines like magic mushrooms because they have long been neglected by medical science.

As psychedelics come out of the shadows and out of prohibition, we’re learning that their therapeutic applications are so wide-ranging, they might have applications in some of our most treatment-resistant, and even incurable, diseases. Diseases like cluster headaches, depression, PTSD, Alzheimer's, and more.

In this article, we’re sharing real success stories of three athletes – former NHL player, Daniel Carcillo, and former UFC fighters Ian McCall and Dean Lester – who have treated their brain injuries with psychedelics, namely Ayahuasca and Psilocybin. Plus, learn the benefits of psychedelics for individuals suffering from TBI, mental health conditions, and addiction.

The tragic effect of traumatic brain injury (TBI) on athletes.

According to researchers at Boston University, former NFL players have shown a high prevalence of CTE, a brain disease caused by repeated head injuries. This includes athletes and veterans. CTE is caused by the accumulation of abnormal protein tau that spreads throughout the brain and kills cells. This is the same protein that is one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease.

CTE is associated with a number of changes, including memory and thought processing problems. It is also associated with changes in personality, such as aggression and impulsivity.

Eventually people with advanced CTE develop dementia. Scarier yet? Symptoms of CTE don’t normally appear until several years after the head injuries, when the disease has progressed.

Furthermore, hockey players may face a 20% increase in the risk of developing this disease for every year they participate in the sport. MMA fighters, who experience violent hits to the head, suffer from TBIs in approximately one-third of UFC fights.

Brain injuries are also associated with higher rates of neurodegenerative diseases and dementia.

Considering the severity of brain injuries, there is an urgent need for interventions that are natural, safe, and effective.

Enter Psilocybin therapy.

Psilocybin therapy cures TBI, addiction, and suicidal ideation for UFC Fighter Ian McCall.

A portrait of Ian McCall, UFC fighter

Over the course of his 16-year career, repeated injuries had left ex-UFC fighter Ian McCall with catastrophic head trauma. He shared that his fighting impacted his mental health, leading to addiction to opiates and alcohol, as well as suicidal ideation.

But McCall also had CTE from repeated blows to the head while fighting. He called himself a "monster" during the interview with Bryant Gumble, a self-proclamation that's a little hard to listen to.

McCall eventually tapped out of his career, but it took him years to seek therapy afterwards. It was at that point that he turned to Psilocybin, the active compound in magic mushrooms.

Ian’s journey led him to connect with Shane Norte, a Native American spiritual healer from the La Jolla Indian Reservation. Norte leads psychedelic ceremonies, utilizing the power of Psilocybin mushrooms to facilitate healing and spiritual growth. Participants share their traumas and intentions while experiencing the profound effects of the mushroom’s journey. The American Indian Religious Freedom Act protects the use of psychedelics in these ceremonies.

There, he held an underground Psilocybin mushroom ceremony, declaring that it was this experience that helped him overcome his depression, addiction, and suicidal thoughts.

Ian’s healing journey with psychedelics allowed him to transform his life. He now takes regulated microdoses of psilocybin to experience subtle cognitive and emotional benefits. He's also coaching Muay Thai and Jiu-Jitsu, and cherishes time spent with his children.

Ian’s story serves as an inspiration, demonstrating that healing is possible even after the darkest moments.

Read: The Complete Guide to Microdosing Magic Mushrooms

Psilocybin therapy treats substance use disorder and mental health for UFC Fighter Dean Lester.

Dean Lester shares a similar story to McCall, and Psilocybin was also his psychedelic of choice.

Lester describes the psychedelic experience as feeling so "important," kind of like death. He says that, in the moment, you realize you're not dying, you feel like you have a second chance at your life and that you can do it differently.

Almost miraculously, he stopped using drugs and alcohol after his first Psilocybin experience.

The science behind Psilocybin for TBI.

Can Psilocybin Treat Brain Injuries? | Magic Mushrooms 101 | My Supply Co.

How did psychedelic therapy treat these athletes' TBI-related mental health symptoms?

Past studies have shown that Psilocybin benefits brain function and may help repair damage caused by TBIs. In a 2013 study conducted by researchers at the University of South Florida, rats with TBIs were given psilocybin. The results showed that the rats experienced a significant reduction in brain damage and improved cognitive function.

Other studies related to psychedelic therapeutics and brain injury found that psychedelic medicines like Psilocybin could change how we treat brain injuries by offering a multi-tasking, multi-target approach to reducing neuroinflammation, promoting neurogenesis (new brain cell growth), stimulating neuroplasticity (new connections), and enhancing overall brain function.

For example, Psilocybin famously reverses declines in BDNF and modulates glutamate. While the mystery behind how these two work is yet to be solved, what we do know is that this combination rapidly increases brain connectivity, which is severely compromised in people with brain injury.

In one study, researchers concluded that by stimulating brain plasticity, Psilocybin and other psychedelics increase brain complexity. This property makes them good candidates for disorders like CTE.

What's more, according to the study, the psychedelic experience is the only time the brain ever shows greater complexity than waking life. To put it into context, the brain shows lower complexity during sleep, dreaming, and while under the influence of drugs and alcohol than during waking life.

Apparently, psilocybin makes you more woke than woke.

Speaking of brain plasticity, sometimes less is more when it comes to mental health.

While Psilocybin famously increases connectivity between some brain regions, like your memory center, it actually decreases connectivity in a key part of your brain: your Default Mode Network (DMN).

Your DMN is made up of different brain regions that, together, are responsible for your thoughts and sense of "Self." Psilocybin works in part by shutting down the DMN allows for breakthroughs in mental and emotional healing, addressing the core issues that contribute to conditions such as depression and addiction.

Psilocybin also has the potential to treat mental health issues that arise from TBI, such as depression and substance use disorder.

In 2023, a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial in 104 adults with major depressive disorder (MDD), a 25mg dose of psilocybin plus psychological support was associated with a rapid and sustained antidepressant effects. No serious treatment-emergent adverse events occurred.

These results validated the results from a 2021 randomized clinical trial on Psilocybin for MDD, where 71% of participants had a clinically significant response to the psilocybin therapy at week 1 and week 4. In fact, a staggering 58% were in remission at week 1, and 54% were in remission by week 4.

When it comes to Psilocybin for addiction and substance use disorder (SUD), a 2023 review identified one randomized clinical trial and three small clinical trials assessing the efficacy of Psilocybin combined with some form of psychotherapy in patients with alcohol and tobacco use disorder. All four clinical trials indicated that Psilocybin-assisted therapy was effective for reducing SUD symptoms, measured by a reduction of heavy drinking/smoking days and abstinence rates.

However, there's still a long way to go before we fully understand how this actually translates to the clinical setting. Especially when you consider that a lab setting may not be optimal for a productive Psilocybin journey.

Obstacles to clinical research.

One of the ongoing obstacles of clinical research on psychedelics is the set and setting.

While it's nice to have a full scientific understanding of psychedelics, researchers have admitted that they are less likely to work when administered in the setting of a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

The context of the experience itself is thought to contribute to the healing potential in a substantial way. Intentional, guided psychedelic experiences are essentially more conducive to therapy than clinical administration.

Final thoughts on Psilocybin for treating brain injuries.

What's amazing is that these former athletes, along with millions of people who have come before them, swear by the power of psychedelics — and science is only just catching up.

But it is catching up. And that's something to jump for joy about.

If you'd like to connect with a psychedelic therapist near you, check out our directory of psychedelic therapists in Canada.

We're excited about the potential of psilocybin mushrooms, and we bet you are too. Have you ever used mushrooms to treat a medical condition? We'd love to hear your stories in the comments.

Where to find high-quality Psilocybin mushroom supplements.

My Supply Co. is on a mission to revolutionize your health and take the guesswork out of your journey to optimal well-being. We create pure and potent psilocybin supplements to help you find your peak, whether that's enhancing your physical performance, optimizing cognition and brain health, or supporting your mental health.

Our psilocybin macrodose supplements contain 250mg of Golden Teacher per capsule, a gentle yet potent strain known for its euphoric effects and visuals:

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  • Extended Release: This macrodose supplement is your perfect companion for a gentle transformative journey. My Supply Co.'s Extended Release provides a higher dose than a typical microdose without the worry of a sudden or intense peak. Ideal for parties, outdoor festivals, concerts, camping, or a night out dancing.

If you're looking for psilocybin microdose supplements, we offer three unique formulas combining adaptogens, nootropics, and superfoods with 25mg of psilocybin per capsule:

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