Mom says microdosing mushrooms makes her a 'present' parent

Tracey Tee said she tried her first mushroom at 44 years old.

August 11, 2023, 2:23 PM

A mom in Colorado is sharing her experience microdosing with "magic mushrooms," an unregulated substance, saying her use of the psychedelic drugs make her a more "present" parent.

Tracey Tee said she tried her first mushroom at the age of 44, when a friend invited her on a camping trip with other moms.

"It was, like, the most beautiful, confirming, joyful experience I'd really ever had," Tee told ABC News' Eva Pilgrim, noting that she felt "relief" taking the drug.

"I guess, relief might be one word that everyone could, like, universally understand," Tee said. "Like, your mood might change to a place where you feel more stable and more in a place of stasis."

ABC News' Eva Pilgrim, left, speaks with Tracey Tee in Tee's Colorado home.
ABC News

Psychedelic drugs, which includes psilocybin, the chemical in magic mushrooms, are "drugs that primarily influence the way the brain processes the chemical serotonin," according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health.

The drugs can "temporarily alter a person's mood, thoughts and perceptions," according to the NIDA.

In recent years, some people have started using psilocybin in particular in smaller amounts, called microdosing. They say it helps with anxiety, depression and even overall wellness.

When microdosing, a person typically takes the drug in one-tenth to one-twentieth of a typical non-clinical dose, according to the NIDA.

"There are some very small studies that suggest that there may be some improvement in mood," said Dr. Stephanie Widmer, an ABC News medical contributor, board-certified emergency medicine physician and medical toxicologist. "There may be, from a psychiatric standpoint, some benefits to microdosing and cycling psychedelics, but it really needs to continue to be further studied."

The NIDA notes that "research to date has not established that microdosing is safe or effective."

A plate of "magic mushrooms" sits on a counter in Tracey Tee's Colorado home.
ABC News

While microdosing is illegal in the United States, Colorado, where Tee lives, is one of two states, along with Oregon, that have fully decriminalized the use of magic mushrooms.

Four other states -- California, Washington, Michigan and Massachusetts -- have decriminalized the drug at the local level.

From Colorado, Tee runs a private, community-based platform called "Moms on Mushrooms" that works to destigmatize and promote the safe use of psychedelics.

Tee said she is especially focused on destigmatizing the use of mushrooms as a coping mechanism for moms.

"I get really frustrated when people say to me, 'Oh, well, like, mushrooms are, you know, 'mommy's new little helper,'" Tee said. "That is not what microdosing is. Microdosing is mommy is present and aware and showing up, maybe for the first time ever."

Tracey Tee, the founder of "Moms on Mushrooms," is pictured at her Colorado home.
ABC News

Tee added that she sees still "a lot of fear" around the use of psychedelics, but noted, "What I've really come to realize is that it's the intention and the why in understanding why you do it."

While some studies have shown that psychedelics can help with mood in some people, other research shows that for some, psychedelics may trigger severe psychiatric episodes.

Other risks include increased heart rate and blood pressure, impaired thought processes, nausea, vomiting and anxiety, according to the NIDA.

Experts also warn that there is currently no data to show that psychedelics are safe to use while breastfeeding or pregnant. And like supplements or other illicit substances, this drug is not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Doctors say that people who are interested in microdosing should always talk to their medical provider first to get an accurate understanding of the risks and benefits based on their specific medical history.

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