Ozempic & Mushrooms
By Erica Zelfand

As one of the few companies in the psychedelic industry with physicians on staff, we don’t exclude people who take pharmaceutical medications from attending our retreats. This makes us uniquely positioned to identify drug-drug interactions that not otherwise understood or documented.

Lately, we have been supporting more clients on injectable weight loss drugs – medications like Semaglutide (Ozempic, Wegovy) and Tirzepatide (Mounjaro). We have noticed that people on these medications have issues with fully coming into the psilocybin “trip.” 

Here’s why:

How these weight loss drugs work:

Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 agonists) like Ozempic are commonly used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes and obesity. GLP-1 agonists increase insulin secretion, reduce glucagon production, and slow down the emptying of the stomach after meals.

Yes, GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) agonists can slow down gastric emptying, which means they delay the rate at which the stomach contents move into the small intestine. 

This slower emptying of the stomach – also known as “delayed gastric emptying” – delays the process of food passing from the stomach into the small intestine. Note that in all people, the stomach doesn’t actually absorb nutrients. The role of the stomach is to coat the food in hydrochloric acid so that it is more easily broken down. This allows the small intestine to more easily take in the nutrients in the food. By delaying gastric emptying, GLP-1 agonists also therefore delay nutrient absorption.

The benefit of this effect in somebody with diabetes or obesity is that it curbs their food intake. Delayed gastric emptying makes people feel full faster and keeps them feeling full for longer. This allows them to comfortably eat less over the course of the day.

The slow come up

Delayed gastric emptying comes at a price for the aspiring myconaut, however. In addition to digesting food more slowly, the client on a GLP-1 agonist also digests medicinal mushrooms at a sluggish rate.

We have seen this in our clients who use GLP-1 agonists. These folks tend to experience a very long onset time of effects from psilocybin, with muted response. (In other words: It takes longer for the mushrooms to kick in, and when they do, the trip is weaker.)

After eating mushrooms, these folks typically feel little to nothing within the normal “come-up” window. About 75-90 minutes after dosing, they may start to yawn and get watery eyes – signs that the psilocybin experience is beginning. Even as we’ve increased the dosage of mushrooms, the come up in these clients has still been slow, and typically blunted.

The lemon tek solution

After observing muted effects in our clients on GLP-1 agonists, we began using the lemon tek technique. Our rationale for doing so comes from our understanding of the role of the digestive tract in the “activation” of psilocybin mushrooms.

Magic mushrooms contain a biologically-inactive compound known as “psilocybin.” After the psilocybin is processed by the digestive system however, it is transformed into psilocin. Psilocin is an active compound that makes us trip.

People on GLP-1 agonists, however, are not as efficient at metabolizing psilocybin into psilocin. This is because of the delayed gastric emptying and absorption caused by the drug. Rather than relying on their handicapped stomachs to churn through the mushrooms and convert the psilocybin they contain into the active compound psilocin, we recommend a shortcut: the lemon tek.

The lemon tek preparation entails soaking psilocybin-containing mushrooms for about 15 minutes in lemon juice, lime juice, or vinegar. This acidic milieu converts the psilocybin into psilocin. The client then essentially drinks a cup of biologically-active medicine: Their digestive system doesn’t have to convert or activate anything.

The outcomes

We have been very pleased with the effects of using a “lemon tek only” approach to our GLP-1-using clients. Not are our clients happier, but we also have a more efficient approach. The lemon tek technique is a more cost-effective route of administration.

We we have also been pleased with the lemon tek preparation for patients with compromised stomach acid levels – namely those who are on reflux medications like omeprazole (Prilosec). Learn more in this article.