According to a lengthy article in FastCompany, mushrooms are seeing a massive surge of popularity in trendy health and wellness circles in a strikingly similar pattern to that of medical marijuana. Certain varieties of mushrooms which traditionally were used for purported anti-inflammatory and immune-enhancing properties, subsequently ignored by much of modern medical science and nutritionists perhaps because of their exotic, psychoactive, and even poisonous associations (although we eat mushrooms, unknown or wild varieties are often perceived as potentially mind-altering, risky, or dangerous, like marijuana once was), and then rediscovered by tinkering hipsters.
FC describes a 21st Century shroom shop on Sunset Boulevard:
The sleek, minimalist storefront boasts a Goop-itized version of a Starbucks menu: coffees and blended iced drinks concocted with almond milk, organic mocha chips, and mysterious-sounding fungi. Featured beverages include blended tonics, elixirs, and shakes made with extracts from medicinal mushrooms that grow on trees, mushrooms with names like lion’s mane, chaga, reishi, and cordyceps.
Sure, these shrooms are trendy and chic, and the varietals have names that sound trippier than most marijuana strains. However, in another parallel with the early medical marijuana market (this time circa a decade or so ago), clinical research on the efficacy of these mushrooms is still quite scarce, and any purported benefits should be looked at with skepticism until much more research is done. That same type of research revealed the power of medical marijuana. Will it do the same for shrooms?
Photo by Andrew Ridley on Unsplash