Social mushrooms inspired the next wave of sober curiosity
Here’s the thing about adaptogens: the best results come from long-term use, and you can’t expect a life-changing transformation from one serving. (We also always recommend speaking with a healthcare professional before adding any functional herbs to your routine.) However, depending on the product’s effectiveness and your personal stress level, a noticeable “buzz” may be experienced.
Namely, if you’re stressed or anxious, you’re likely to feel it the most; whereas if you are already very involved in a social environment, you may not notice much of a difference. After all, that’s the only purpose of adaptogens—they make you feel better to adapt to your environment and restore balance. Many social mushroom products also contain other nootropics (such as canna, caffeine, and guarana) that may offer more immediate effects.
And yes, you can fully consume these functional mushrooms in capsule, tincture, or powder form, but delivery enhances the social experience. “You wouldn’t bring powder and foaming powder to mix into oat milk at a party,” says Charlotte Cruz, co-founder of Alice. But you can easily break off a piece of chocolate or sip a smoky mezcal-inspired mocktail (mezcal is certainly associated with community and ritual in many Mexican cultures). “It’s something delicious to share that you want to bring to the party, and it gives you that ritual,” Cruz adds.
The move toward sober curiosity probably has something to do with it, too—previous Google research shows that “alcohol consumption is on the decline overall” among Gen Z. And as more and more non-alcoholic beverages enter the scene, brands continue to implement innovation with refined, sensory. mixture
“I think people want to feel better,” Klein says of the shift to soft drinks. “They overdid it. They want to feel more connected after the pandemic and in general. And that’s what [functional] mushrooms do: they turn on your brain and help us connect with other people in a way that alcohol doesn’t.”
Kung agrees: “It’s a small incentive. You know, nothing too intense where we’re out of control. Something we can really work on,” she notes. According to Altneu, many people feel more isolated than ever, and “our hearts yearn for more real connection.” So it makes sense that people want to participate in rituals that help them stay present and open to receiving wisdom, thus strengthening their social bonds.
And if these rituals can simultaneously support immunity, brain health, and energy levels over time, that’s definitely a bonus. No wonder people are getting more and more curious.