16 Aug 2022 --- Netherlands-based Microdose Together is unveiling a range of functional teas, which come with a serving of truffles. The Happy Tea is a microdosing drink aiming to help consumers feel the effects of psilocybin – an elevated mood and mental well-being – without experiencing a psychoactive trip.
“We are technically a food supplement product, and people already see microdosing similarly like they see taking vitamins, so it seems like it’s a natural fit. However, our products specifically are more focused on lifestyle and enjoying it socially,” creator of Microdose Together, Sara Budhwani tells NutritionInsight.
“More than ever, especially since the pandemic, people are opening themselves to alternatives to things that no longer serve them, like alcohol and antidepressants.”
Happy Tea aims to impact well-being and offer a mood-enhancing experience with microdosing.
The company offers a “teaspearience” of five different Happy Tea items, which come with a serving of up to 4g Mexicana truffles for microdosing.
“We use Psilocybe Mexicana because it’s the most popular strain and the one we know the most about. We definitely plan to explore other strains and their different effects, something we will focus on more in the future. We work with a very experienced supplier with a long heritage in growing truffles, so we are learning a lot,” she adds.
The company explains Happy Tea is a microdosing drink that can be used as an alternative to alcohol. “Alcohol has been influencing poor social behaviors for centuries. It comes with over 200 health risks and is a substantial cause of poor mental health.”
Research is increasingly turning to the potential of psilocybin, with a study last month revealing microdosing for 30 days reduces symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress.
According to Budhwani, the company faces a lot of limitations. “We definitely don’t have the same freedom that an alcohol brand has, for example. We have to manoeuvre through laws and stigmas that limit how far we can go.”
“A lot of people won’t accept us, like finding payment processors for our website has been a huge hurdle. We have to package our products in a certain way [keeping truffles separate from the tea] that limits the user experience. We recognize that we will have to fight our way through the limitations for a while.”
The company ships across the EU though Budhwani concedes it is an “odd territory.” “Since all European countries are under the Mutual Recognition of Goods Principle of the European Commission, this EU treaty says that if a product is legal in one EU country, it is also legal to sell and ship to all other EU countries.”
Nonetheless, when the customer receives the product, they have to then obey their local laws. There are some countries where it’s starting to get more difficult, she adds.
Getting creative with ingredients
With Happy Tea being a plant-based supplement, Budhwani explains that overall, supplements are not known for tasting great and largely come in pill format. While industry is experimenting with alternative supplement formats such as gummies and direct sticks in a bid to combat pill fatigue, MicrodoseTogether has a particular focus on taste.
“We want people to enjoy their microdose slower, so there’s more of an experience with it.” The company is also eyeing improved taste and functionality, as well as how to best serve it, given regulatory limitations. “We are constantly experimenting and being creative with how we can best combine ingredients.”
The teas are branded as: Mellow Fellow, Morning Shine, Afternoon pick-me-up, Evening Groove and Social Butterfly, with effects ranging from relaxation, anxiety relief, mood boost, focus and sociability.
Changing the wave
Nonetheless, Budhwani says people are “finally” starting to see the potential of psilocybin which is turning the tide in consumer interest. “Mental health is a huge issue. People want to know how microdosing will benefit them, so the more success stories and research that is shared, the more the interest will spread.”
With more members of the public now using the term “psilocybin” instead of the broader term “shrooms,” she notes this is a sign the topic is becoming more mainstream. “Even though psilocybin has always had a strong presence in the rave social space, using it in microdoses socially is still a new discovery for many.”
Industry has been increasingly eyeing magic mushrooms in an attempt to merge the ingredient into the supplement industry. Last month, a team of researchers in the UK last month announced psilocybin works differently from conventional antidepressants making the brain more flexible and fluid, suggesting it may have therapeutic effects on the brain.