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I'm a CEO who microdoses 'magic' mushrooms as part of my morning routine. It helps me feel more productive and empathetic.

Lauren Crosby Medlicott   

I'm a CEO who microdoses 'magic' mushrooms as part of my morning routine. It helps me feel more productive and empathetic.
  • Kiana Anvaripour, a 42-year-old CEO living in LA, has always been dedicated to feeling her best.
  • When Anvaripour began experiencing perimenopause, she looked to enhance her wellness routine.

This is an as-told-to essay based on a transcribed conversation with Kiana Anvaripour, a 42-year-old CEO and mother of two living in Los Angeles. The following has been edited for length and clarity and reflects only the views of Anvaripour, who is not a medical professional. Psilocybin is illegal in the US federally and in most states. There is no medical consensus about whether it has benefits, including those described below, and the drug comes with risks.

For as long as I can remember, I've been on a quest to feel my very best. As I've gotten older, wellness has become even more important to me, especially in combating the symptoms of my menstrual cycle.

As the mom of two daughters under 10 and the CEO of a creative agency in LA, I want to be a better parent and leader. Sleep, exercise, meditation, and plant-based supplements have all helped me achieve those goals in the past.

I started approaching perimenopause a little over two years ago. Even with my wellness routine, I had this sense of overwhelm as I tried to juggle so many responsibilities. I was open to trying a natural tool to help me navigate this new and frustrating phase in my life. I was experiencing all the symptoms of perimenopause we often hear about: brain fog, mood swings, and trouble sleeping. The list goes on and on. I wanted more support and heard about the wonders of microdosing.

Working in the wellness industry, I had previously researched microdosing with psilocybin and knew of friends, colleagues, and other CEOs who used it for productivity in the workplace. I decided to give it a try.

In California, psilocybin, under the guise of wellness plant medicine, is common and not hard to come by. Some people use it for performance and health, and others have adopted a Cali-sober lifestyle and use it as a replacement for alcohol to wind down. I'm not a doctor or medical expert, and I can speak only to my own experience. My work in the wellness industry means I can try innovative brands at the forefront of plant medicine from trusted sources.

I approached past clients and friends to find a product to try. There are so many things being sold, so I knew it was important to scrutinize the product I would use and the size of the micro-, or even nano-, dose I would take, specifically for health.

They were simply another addition to my whole-body wellness routine. Every day, I wake at 5 a.m., have lemon water, meditate, drink a cup of coffee, work out, eat a high-protein breakfast, and then take my vitamins and a blend of psilocybin in capsule form.

The first time I took a microdose, I didn't feel a difference. Even a couple of days later, I didn't notice a difference. But after a few weeks of consistently taking my microdose, I thought to myself, "I feel great." Within weeks, I felt more focused, calm, and clear. I also felt more present and like the best version of myself. This change I attribute to microdosing.

I have always been health-conscious, but I began following a stricter daily routine after feeling the impact of perimenopause — clean eating, eight hours of sleep, meditation, exercise, and vitamins, plus psilocybin.

At work, I have felt more focused since microdosing. I have communicated goals and needs clearly — no matter where I am in my menstrual cycle.

Female CEOs can do everything male CEOs can do. But as women in business, we have to do it all on top of managing our periods, postpartum hormones, perimenopause, and menopause. We have physiological hurdles we have to overcome that men do not. I've found that microdosing helps me manage these. It's also prevalent in the biohacking and athlete communities.

When I started speaking openly about how microdosing has helped me cope with symptoms of perimenopause, so many other female leaders got in touch to say they felt seen. They had been looking for something to help them with the symptoms of aging.

It not only has had a positive impact on my ability to work but also has improved how I interact with my employees. I feel like I can empathize more deeply with my employees and colleagues.

There has been an apparent increase in people dealing with mental-health problems. You want to listen and be there for your team as a leader. When I feel calm and focused, rather than overwhelmed, I can listen with more empathy, understand, and hold space with my colleagues.

When problems arise, as they always will in business, I start from a calm place to figure out the solution, communicating with my team empathetically.

I don't see it as a magic pill but as part of my wellness routine that helps optimize my mind and body.

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