At Elevate Holistics we get to meet people who’ve had very specific beneficial experiences with cannabis and holistic therapies. And we get to introduce those people (and their knowledge!) to you. Some of these people turn their experiences into passions and livelihoods and awesomely root them in advocacy and helping others. Our own Aspen Jewel recently interviewed one such person — Alice Mangan of AliceCBD Boutique. Alice shared her story and gave us some fresh insight into cannabis compounds, endocannabinoid deficiency, and some other holistic therapies we were excited to learn about. In this post, hear what she has to say about a fascinating mushroom, lion’s mane.

But first, a little about Alice’s story.

Meet Veteran and Registered Nurse Alice Mangan

Several years back, Alice, a veteran and ICU nurse, was living with multiple sclerosis (MS) and disability. “I had already had several diagnoses with chronic major depressive disorder, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, bulging discs and others — what seemed like unrelated things.” She was taking pharmaceuticals, injections even. However, the side effects worsened her condition, and, eventually, hopelessness took over. It was at this time she stumbled across a group of veterans exploring cannabis and other alternative therapies. Their mission was to help prevent the staggering number of veteran suicides. Long story short, she discovered the amazing benefits of cannabis compounds and other holistic therapies. Some scientists and doctors are studying and using these to bring balance back to out-of-whack endocannabinoid systems (ECSs) — including her own! 

Alice played a major role in legalizing cannabis in Missouri. She has helped many people in many ways find healing through cannabis and other holistic methods.

How Alice Discovered Lion’s Mane

At the start of the interview, Alice told Aspen, “At the bottom of it, I think a lot of it's an endocannabinoid deficiency.” She was referring to her health problems. Next she narrated how she came across mushroom therapies like lion’s mane, that helped treat her ECS imbalance.

Alice Mangan (R.N., Veteran): Somehow I stumbled across something on Facebook that asked about being a veteran, if you're on opiates or have chronic pain or chronic depression, PTSD. 22 veterans a day are committing suicide. Completing suicide, not just attempting. And really those numbers are probably skewed because a lot don't get reported. Thomas Mundell, he and 20 other soldiers went with myself. And so we went out to Colorado to look at cannabis as medicine and as an alternative to opiates, to depression, to suicide. And of course they had a few other things. They had a little bit on mushrooms, a little bit on other psychedelics and stuff that we do see now, that even DARPA is putting 27 million into psilocybin and ketamine as options for the military.

Aspen Jewel (Elevate Holistics): I've seen some amazing work with MAPS too. I saw them at the Drug Policy Alliance Conference and I was absolutely blown away. I mean, they described how they're not necessarily tripping but they just take mushrooms all day every day, and it's just kind of like their cannabis. It keeps them happy and lightheaded and it doesn't bring on those heavy, deep emotions.

Lions' Mane in the Woods

Next Alice tells Aspen how she kept seeing lion’s mane everywhere. Even on a walk in the woods while visiting a friend. 

Alice Mangan (R.N., Veteran): Right. And I just kind of stumbled upon … Well, not really stumbled. It kept getting thrown in my face in multiple ways. I feel like the universe kept bringing it to me. The last thing was when I was down at a friend's little mountain, playing in the woods with her. And lo and behold, there's this big white mushroom on the side of the tree and it was lion's mane. I knew what it was immediately because it kept coming across my path, ever since I learned about cannabis. And lion's mane is not psychoactive but it has something pretty cool that I think is going to be a benefit to every human, no differently than cannabis being a benefit. Because of the endocannabinoid system. 

A lot of the neurological things Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, MS, have to do with the brain and the nerves. Same with seizures. They see that our bodies make something called nerve growth factor. But so does the mushroom lion's mane. So to wrap this all with psilocybin is Paul Stamets. Everybody that starts getting into mushroom therapies is going to find out about Paul Stamets. And he has a great video called Fantastic Fungi, where I learned about mushrooms being able to clean up oil spills, where I learned about them being able to heal the body. Lion's mane happens to be one of them.

Lion's Mane and Psilocybin

Then Alice talks about how Stamets recommends using niacin with lion’s mane and psilocybin, a psychedelic mushroom. Their effects can repair the myelin sheath, which is a protective tissue around your nerve cells that is often damaged in patients with MS and other neurological disorders.

Alice Mangan (R.N., Veteran): And he suggests stacking lion's mane with niacin, the old fashioned kind that you used to try and clean up your pee for a test, if you were a user. I wasn't a real user, so I never worried about that. I was using niacin for detoxing, but it caused that prickly heat blushing. That's the kind you want, with lion's mane and with micro doses of psilocybin, when that becomes available and legal. He believes that that's the best way to repair the myelin sheath. Still we're getting protection repair, and then progression because he talks about even collective consciousness. When we raise, the rewiring of our brain, which is what cannabinoids do and what some of these other things like lion's mane or our plant therapy, the stuff that was on earth to heal us, we gain benefits.

Next, Aspen asks about what taking niacin and lion’s mane feels like.

Aspen Jewel (Elevate Holistics): So is it similar to niacin, the way lion's mane makes you feel? Is there any immediate, kind of like how you consume cannabis, do you feel euphoric if you have niacin? I personally feel like I have an all over sunburn. Is there any immediate side effect?

Alice Mangan (R.N., Veteran): So that's what you're going to feel, if you do stack with the niacin. But if you use the mushroom, lion's mane, alone, you don't feel that. I can't tell you what you would or wouldn't feel if you had psilocybin with it but I can tell you with lion's mane alone, you can't feel it. But I have a lot of people that take it with our CBD or CBG tinctures, and they're telling me they're feeling it in days.

I had one person that I sent it to, and I swear that I just got it to her on Monday, and she said her and her wife are already able to tell the effects. They'd used lion's mane before. But I thought it was going to take at least three weeks to start building up in the system, to get that nerve growth factor that's in the mushroom, that our body also makes, to kind of see something but I don't know. I think cannabis helps things just do better, faster anyway, because our body is more optimal … You know.

If you’re interested in trying lion’s mane, check out AliceCBD Boutique in Webb City, MO, or get in touch with her to learn more!

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