Does Psilocybin Affect Women Differently? Here’s What To Know


Again, the answer is maybe. We don’t have robust scientific research on this yet.

While researching topics related to women’s health, I reached out to Natalie Gukasyan, MD, at the Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. My intent is to ask her about her work on psilocybin and eating disorders. That’s when she tells me she’s about to publish a case series on menstrual changes and psychedelics. She sends me the details via email, and I’m giddy over the fact that researchers are looking into this. In her case series, coauthored with Sasha K. Narayan, MD, Gukasyan interviewed three women ages 27 to 34 about their cycles after psychedelic use. Two of the women used psilocybin, so I will focus on their reports.

The first is a 27-year-old with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) who ingested around 1.5 grams of dried psilocybin mushrooms when she was 26. Her period came eight days early. And she noted worse-than-usual cramps and mood swings. Later, the woman microdosed psilocybin and noted a benefit to functioning in the face of her PMDD symptoms, although she did not experience symptom improvement.

Another woman featured in the case series, now 31, was 28 when she ingested chocolate that contained psilocybin and a component of ayahuasca, another psychedelic. This woman had experienced amenorrhea (an absence of a period) for five years. The morning after consuming the psychedelics, her period arrived, and she experienced normal cycles for the next three months before noticing some irregularity again.

A year later, she was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Menstrual irregularity is a common symptom of the condition. She used classic psychedelics again at least a dozen times at moderate to high doses and reported that a third of those instances likely influenced the early arrival of her period. After her PCOS diagnosis, she also reported microdosing magic mushrooms and that while doing so she experienced menstrual regularity.

Excerpted from The Psilocybin Handbook for Women by Jennifer Chesak. Copyright © 2023 Ulysses Press. Reprinted with permission from Ulysses Press. New York, NY. All rights reserved.


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