mushroomsClimate change will take a massive toll on our mental health. As systems fail, pandemics become more frequent, and extreme weather events put pressure on all our systems, we will collectively experience trauma, which is why I believe startups addressing mental health should be part of a climate-adaptation portfolio.

Plants give us everything. The air we breath, the clothes we wear, the materials for the houses we live in, the food we eat to stay healthy and the medicine we take when we fall ill. None of this should be controversial.cialis pilule

Potentially controversial is the recent research finding that plants have consciousness. They can learn and adapt and compete in real time. They remember things. Plant researcher Monica Gagliano’s research spells it out clearly:

While examples of the key role they play in shaping foraging behaviours are widespread in the animal world, the possibility that plants are also able to acquire learned associations to guide their foraging behaviour has never been demonstrated. Here we show that this type of learning occurs in the garden pea, Pisum sativum…We conclude that associative learning represents a universal adaptive mechanism shared by both animals and plants.” - Gagliano, M., Vyazovskiy, V., Borbély, A. et al. Learning by Association in Plants. Sci Rep 6, 38427 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1038/srep38427

But Gagliano goes further to say that plants not only have consciousness, but are portals to spirits who can communicate with humans. She writes about her first-hand experience communicating with plant spirits in her book, Thus Spoke the Plant.

Stepping into the unprovable world of spirituality, Gagliano and others say plants have spirits that can communicate with us and heal us.

She’s not alone in making this claim.

Consider the Peruvian psychedelic tea called ayahuasca. Practitioners say the drug manifests in the form of a goddess, who some call Mother Earth. She helps people reframe their thinking and encourages them to leave bad habits behind.

I experienced this first hand in my own ayahuasca trip. My trip wasn’t pleasant and I wouldn’t call it recreational – it was more like being trapped in a 6-hour horror movie, arguing with multiple menacing entities – but the point here is that I get why people believe plants are a portal to spirits. They are.

Whether or not you believe in the spirits that come with the plants, research consistently finds that using psychedelics (both plant-based and synthetic) can be helpful:

The reviewed studies suggest that the therapeutic use of classic hallucinogens may offer to some patients fast-acting and prolonged beneficial effects after a single dose, producing few adverse effects.

Ther Adv Psychopharmacol. 2016 Jun; 6(3): 193–213. Published online 2016 Mar 18. doi: 10.1177/2045125316638008

Field Trip Health Is Bringing Mushrooms to the Masses

It’s with this in mind that I invested in Field Trip Health, a Canadian company making it possible to use ketamine and psilocybin (magic mushrooms) to treat anxiety and depression.

From the Field Trip website. They're opening centers in NYC, Toronto, and LA.

From the Field Trip website. They’re opening centers in NYC, Toronto, and LA.

This isn’t a spiritual experience overseen by a shaman. Rather, it introduces people to plant-based healing in a way that’s palatable, evidence-based, and accessible. Hopefully Field Trip is one of many companies working to align human and plant interests. We need sane, resilient people to address the challenge of climate change, and we need to enlist all the help we can get.