Sierra Solnick sheds light on real-world consumption patterns of psilocybin

With background in cannabis extraction, NUNM graduate student seeks to ensure safe usage of entheogens.

Sierra Solnick sitting on a stooil talking to a crowd

With the National University of Natural Medicine (NUNM) gearing up to host Research Week from April 29 to May 3, we’re shining a spotlight on the work of our researchers.

Sierra Solnick 

Program: fifth-year, Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (ND); Master of Science in Clinical Research (MSCR)

Hometown: Windsor, Connecticut

What is your background in research? 

Sierra Solnick headshot

With a diverse background spanning research and hands-on experience in healthcare, I bring a unique perspective to naturopathic medicine and entheogens. Over the past five years, I’ve pursued my Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine and Masters in Integrative Medicine Research at the National University of Natural Medicine, conducting novel research through the Helfgott Research Institute investigating the use of psilocybin-containing products in the 2020s. I gained my love for mycology while living in the Atlantic Forest of Brazil investigating ideal substrates for bioluminescent fungi cultivation and hope to continue this passion throughout my career.

I also have six years of experience in cannabis extraction where I learned how to manufacture medical and recreational grade cannabinoid-containing products for a wide range of clients. My unique experience has forged a curious and alchemistic approach to how I will practice and research integrative medicine in the future.  

What are your research interests? 

I am interested in the effects and applications of entheogen use. My current research aims to delve into the real-world consumption patterns of psilocybin outside of clinical settings, shedding light on how individuals are incorporating it into their lives and the various methods they employ to do so. Specifically, we are interested in understanding what products people prefer and how they navigate potential side effects to ensure safe usage. 

How are you putting your research interests into play?

My current thesis is focused on developing an inventory of products and consumption behaviors that can inform the emerging regulatory frameworks. With legalization and decriminalization efforts gaining momentum worldwide, understanding what practices are deemed safe is crucial. 

Why is NUNM a good place to do research? 

I came to NUNM for the research program. It’s the only naturopathic medical school in the country that has one, and that fit my unique goals perfectly. I have the autonomy to create my thesis here and also have the exceptional support of my research mentor. That enables me to be successful.