With more and more demand for natural alternatives concerning treatment and care of the brain and whole body, magic mushrooms ( or psilocybin specifically) are becoming a more prevalent topic in today’s world. Whether it be mental, physical, or psychological ailments, mushrooms are gaining interest as an alternative way of healing for many. But what exactly do mushrooms offer in terms of health versus risk? What are, if any, the side effects of taking mushrooms internally both mentally and physically? Have well-respected, substantial, and qualified studies been conducted on their effects and safety? Are mushrooms, or psilocybin products legal to obtain and use in your state? Is an individual able, and for that matter allowed, to grow their own magic mushrooms for personal use? These are all excellent and popular questions that come with the territory concerning magic mushrooms and what they encompass. In this blog, we hope to answer these questions and help anyone interested become more acquainted with magic mushrooms and psilocybin. Including how, where, and why they are used in yesterdays and today’s society.
What Are Magical Mushrooms?
Fungi have flourished and existed on our beautiful Earth for quite some time, possibly more than 2 billion year!. They have developed some impressive evolutions during that time, including many that can either be considered fascinating or frightening to people. And for most people out there, sometimes a bit of both. Some ancient mushrooms grew nearly 30 feet (9 meters) tall before trees existed! For example, a honey fungus that still grows today in Oregon may be the largest organism on the planet, spanning an area of about 400 acres! Oregon scientists studying this particular organism estimate that If you scooped it all up and piled it together, it could weigh at least 7,500 tons and maybe up to 35,000 tons. And not to mention, this particular honey fungus is aged anywhere from 2,000-to-8,000 years old! There are even certain kinds of fungi that can glow in the dark, and a few that turn insects into zombies. Some species are lethal to humans, while others provide us with valuable superfoods. Mushrooms and their magical family members are complex, wonderful examples of Mother Nature and her exquisite creations.
What Exactly Qualifies A Mushroom To Be Considered Magical?
So what exact characteristics qualify a particular mushroom to be considered “magical”? The types of mushrooms containing psilocybin are most commonly known as “magic mushrooms”. Magic mushrooms are among the oldest recreational drugs that human beings have ever used, and what is even more amazing is that they are still actively used today! Mushrooms, or fungus if you will, have been mentioned and referenced throughout our history of civilization thru ancient cave paintings, manuscripts, and constructs. They continue to be referenced in pop culture, music, movies, and many books. Some recent research is not only suggesting, but proving, that magical mushrooms (those containing psilocybin) may have beneficial medicinal properties as well.
Magic mushrooms are often small, and are usually color shades ranging between brown and tan, to a golden beige. At first glance magical mushrooms, or Psilocybe Cubensis by their scientific name, do not look particularly magical. In fact, the scientific name of this little brown-and-white mushroom roughly translates to “bald head,” befitting the mushrooms’ rather plain-looking appearance. But those who have ingested a dose of Psilocybe Cubensis say it changes the user’s world completely. Psilocybin is most commonly found in wild or homegrown mushrooms, and sold either fresh or dried. In the wild, people commonly mistake magic mushrooms containing psilocybin for any number of other mushrooms that are poisonous. Hence the importance of becoming knowledgeable about mushrooms, as well as being able to properly identify them.
The Vast Species Of Psilocybin Containing Mushrooms
Did you know that there are over one hundred and eighty different species of psilocybin containing magic mushrooms?! Latin America and the Caribbean are home to more than 50 species, and Mexico alone has 53. There are 22 species of magic mushrooms in North America, 16 in Europe, 19 in Australia and the Pacific island region, 15 in Asia, and a mere four in Africa. These diverse fungi hail from roughly a dozen genera, but are often lumped together as “psilocybin mushrooms.” Most belong to the genus Psilocybe, including well-known species like P. Cubensis (Gold Top) and P. Semilanceata (Liberty Cap). Psilocybin mushrooms might be so diverse, according to a study in Evolution Letters, because they didn’t inherit the genes behind psilocybin from a common ancestor. Instead they passed them directly among distant species in a phenomenon called “horizontal gene transfer.” Psilocybin could have originally evolved as a defense mechanism, the study’s authors suggest, deterring fungi-eating pests by “altering the insects’ ‘mind’.” Which quite possibly could explain the mushrooms unique characteristics that make it psychedelic.
The other group of magic mushrooms is considerably smaller, but has a rich history of religious use back in time. It consists of one iconic species Amanita Muscaria (think the Mario Brothers Game mushroom), and a few less famous relatives like Amanita Pantherina (Panther Cap). Instead of psilocybin or psilocin, its main hallucinogens are chemicals known as muscimol and ibotenic acid. These “muscimol mushrooms” are related to some notoriously toxic fungi, namely Amanita Phalloides (Death Cap) and Amanita Ocreata (Destroying Angel). They’re generally less poisonous than those killer cousins, but given the high stakes of a mushroom mix-up, non-experts are advised to steer clear of Amanita varieties altogether.
Here is a breakdown of the most common or popular species of magical mushrooms:
- Psilocybe cubensis is on the larger side as far as magic mushroom size goes. It’s also one of the most common. Called the common large Psilocybe, golden cap or Mexican mushroom, it has many different types. The cap is usually reddish brown, with a white or yellowish stem. When bruised or crushed, its sticky flesh often turns bluish. Some people consider this a definitive sign of finding a magic mushroom, but some toxic types of mushrooms bruise as well. It’s usually found in moist, humid climates and grows on the dung of grazing animals like cattle.
- Psilocybe semilanceata or liberty cap is a common psilocybin mushroom. In general, P. semilanceata is found in damp, grassy fields usually populated by cattle or sheep but unlike P. cubensis, it doesn’t grow directly on the dung. It’s a small mushroom, either light yellow or brown, with a very pointed cap. Another psilocybe mushroom, Psilocybe pelliculosa, is often mistaken for P. semilanceata, but its psychotropic properties are weaker.
- Psilocybe baeocystis has a dark brown cap and brownish or yellowish stem when fresh. It can be found in fields in addition to growing on rotting logs, peat or mulch. Nicknames include potent Psilocybe, blue bell and bottle cap.
Not All Mushrooms Are Created Equal When It Comes To Compounds
Each species contains varying levels of active compounds, making them quite vastly unique in potency. Some species contain psilocybin at levels as high as 1.78% on a dry-weight basis, whereas other species contain psilocybin at levels as low as 0.16% on a dry-weight basis, an eleven-fold difference. Furthermore, on the basis of weight, dried mushrooms typically contain ten times as much psilocybin as fresh (wet) mushrooms, due to the reduction in moisture content which occurs through drying. Hence why it is important to understand the variances of psilocybin sources, and their respective amounts when deciding to use or consume internally.
Mushrooms don’t just exist just to get people or animals high, as they have their own lives. And as with all of Mother Nature’s creatures and living organisms, reproduction is at the fore-front. Like other fungi, mushrooms reproduce via spores, which travel by breeze to find a new place to grow. But, mushrooms most often live in sheltered areas on forested floors, where the wind doesn’t blow. To solve the problem of spreading their spores, some magic mushrooms (including the hallucinogenic Amanita Muscaria) create their own wind geniusly. In order to do this, the fungi increase the rate that water evaporates off of their surfaces, placing water vapor in the air immediately around them. This water vapor, along with the cool air created by evaporation, works to lift spores. Together, these two forces can lift the spores up to 4 inches (10 centimeters) above the mushroom, according to a presentation at the 2013 meeting of the American Physical Society’s Division of Fluid Dynamics. How very impressive to say the least, for an organism bound to the ground!
What Is Psilocybin Exactly?
Psilocybin is the main ingredient found in several types of psychoactive mushrooms, making it perhaps the best-known naturally-occurring psychedelic drug. Psilocybin is a hallucinogenic substance people ingest from various types of mushrooms that grow in regions of Europe, South America, Mexico, and the United States. Psilocybin is a hallucinogen that works by activating serotonin receptors, most often in the prefrontal cortex. This particular part of the brain affects mood, cognition, and perception for people. It is also important to note that hallucinogens work in other regions of the brain that regulate arousal and panic responses. Psilocybin does not always cause active visual or auditory hallucinations. Instead, it distorts how some people that use psilocybin perceive objects and people already in their environment.
Psilocybin and psilocin are the two major psychoactive substances which naturally occur in psychedelic mushrooms (or magic mushrooms). Psilocin is biologically active, whereas psilocybin is a psilocin prodrug, meaning that it is converted into psilocin when ingested via dephosphorylation. Factors such as the amount of ingested mushrooms, personal past experiences, and expectations of how the experience will take shape, can therefore all impact the effects of psilocybin. After the gut digests and absorbs these particular magic mushrooms, the body converts it to psilocybin. The hallucinogenic effects of psilocybin usually occur within 30 minutes of ingestion and can last between 4 and 6 hours. Keep in mind though, each person will be affected differently based on the factors named above. In some individuals, the changes in sensory perception and thought patterns can last for several days if not months.
Psilocybin is metabolized mostly in the liver. As it becomes converted to psilocin, it undergoes a first-pass effect, whereby its concentration is greatly reduced before it reaches the systemic circulation. Psilocin is broken down by the enzyme monoamine oxidase to produce several metabolites that can circulate in the blood plasma. Some psilocin is not broken down by enzymes and instead forms a glucuronide; this is a biochemical mechanism animals use to eliminate toxic substances by linking them with glucuronic acid, which can then be excreted in the urine. Based on studies using animals, about 50% of ingested psilocybin is absorbed through the stomach and intestine. Within 24 hours, about 65% of the absorbed psilocybin is excreted into the urine, and a further 15–20% is excreted in the bile and feces. Although most of the remaining drug is eliminated in this way within 8 hours, it is still detectable in the urine after 7 days. Psilocybin is about 100 times less potent than LSD on a weight per weight basis, and the physiological effects last about half as long.
How And Who Are Consuming Magic Mushrooms Containing Psilocybin?
But just how much popularity have magic mushrooms gained over the years, and by whom? In each year between 2002 and 2014, an annual average of 0.1% of people across all ages were considered to be current psychedelic users (meaning they reported use within 30 days of completing the survey). In 2014, 0.3% of the 16,875 adolescent respondents (12 to 17 year-olds) in the US were considered to be current users of psychedelics, 0.3% of the 11,643 young adult respondents (18 to 25), and 0.1% of 33,750 adult respondents aged 26 or older. However, from 2004–2005 (the last year data for this specific question were available), around half of the people who reported trying a psychedelic for the first time used psilocybin mushrooms (out of approximately 67,000 respondents). Although the actual numbers may be greater, as there are most definitely psychedelic users not reporting thru surveys voluntarily.
These days, magic mushrooms are finding broader acceptance and awareness in popular culture. Some people have taken up what’s called “microdosing” with psilocybin, essentially consuming tiny amounts of the chemical. They don’t experience full-blown trips. Instead, they feel a boost in mood and creativity that they believe lowers their anxiety and makes them more productive.The potency of a mushroom depends on the Species, Origin, Growing Condition, Harvest Period, and How Consumed. For example; the amount of active ingredients in dried mushrooms is about 10 times higher than the amount found in their fresh counterparts. Which is a substantial difference when consuming. It’s also important to understand these variances can lead to vastly different end products and experiences. Knowing your source when buying mushrooms containing psilocybin is imperative, as well as knowing how much to physically ingest.
How Much Psilocybin Should An Interested Individual Use?
The appropriate dosage of psilocybin can vary depending on the intended purpose. Psilocybin, like other psychedelics, often evokes conscious awareness of subconscious thoughts and feelings, such as repressed memories, feelings about life circumstances, fantasies, or deep fears. Thus, if someone makes the decision to use psilocybin mushrooms, it is important for that person to be prepared to deal with unusual – and perhaps even challenging – thoughts, images, and feelings in an open and thoughtful manner. It is also best to use psilocybin (or any psychedelic) with someone not under the influence of the substance (a “guide”) who can prevent the user from engaging in dangerous activities. Although psilocybin is considered active at doses around 3-4 mg, a common dose used in clinical research settings ranges from 14-30 mg. Listed below are a selection of psilocybin dosages used in clinical trials and the associated medical condition the dosage was aimed at treating:
- 0.314 mg of psilocybin (oral, per kg of body weight) – Psilocybin produces substantial and sustained decreases in depression and anxiety in patients with life-threatening cancer: A randomized double-blind trial, Griffiths et al., Journal of Psychopharmacology, 2016.
- 0.286-0.429 mg of psilocybin (oral, per kg of body weight) – Pilot Study of the 5-HT2AR Agonist Psilocybin in the Treatment of Tobacco Addiction, Johnson et al., Journal of Psychopharmacology, 2014.
- 0.3-0.4 mg of psilocybin (oral, per kg of body weight) – Psilocybin-assisted treatment for alcohol dependence: A proof-of-concept study, Bogenschutz et al., Journal of Psychopharmacology, 2015.
- 10-25 mg of psilocybin (oral, not proportional to body weight) – 1) Psilocybin with psychological support for treatment-resistant depression: an open-label feasibility study, Carhart-Harris et al., The Lancet, 2016, 2) Psilocybin with psychological support improves emotional face recognition in treatment-resistant depression, Stroud et al., Psychopharmacology, 2018, 3) Effects of psilocybin therapy on personality structure, Erritzoe et al., Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 2018.
- 2 mg of psilocybin (intravenous, not proportional to body weight) – Implications for psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy: functional magnetic resonance imaging study with psilocybin, Carhart-Harris et al., British Journal of Psychiatry, 2012.
The most popular species of psilocybin mushrooms is Psilocybe cubensis, which is usually taken orally either by eating dried caps and stems or steeped in hot water and drunk as a tea, with a common dose around 1-2.5 grams. Mushrooms with psilocybin usually have a bitter taste, so people consume them either as a brewed tea or prepared with a food item. Preparing mushrooms with a food item helps to mask or neutralize the sometimes bitter taste. Some people even prefer sweetness to counteract the bitterness by covering them with chocolate. For those who wish to not eat or chew mushrooms with psilocybin, supplements can be found as well. There are manufacturers that crush dried mushrooms into a powder and prepare them in capsule form.
Are Magic Mushrooms Considered Safe To Use And Consume?
Amid this upswell of research, the old caricatures of magic mushrooms seem to be quickly changing. The U.S. cities of Denver and Oakland both decriminalized psilocybin in 2019, for instance, and similar efforts are now underway elsewhere, including some at the state level. Psilocybin was also recently designated a “breakthrough therapy” for depression by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and in late 2019, a major study found “no serious adverse effects” in 89 healthy volunteers, and no negative effects on cognitive or emotional functioning.
The effects of psilocybin are highly variable and depend on the mindset and environment in which the user has the experience, factors commonly referred to as set and setting. In the early 1960s, Timothy Leary and colleagues at Harvard University investigated the role of set and setting on the effects of psilocybin. Leary and his colleagues administered the drug to 175 volunteers from various backgrounds in an environment intended to be similar to a comfortable living room. Ninety-eight of the subjects were given questionnaires to assess their experiences and the contribution of background and situational factors.
Individuals who had experience with psilocybin prior to the study reported more positive experiences than those for whom the drug was novel. Group size, dosage, preparation, and expectancy were important determinants of the drug response. In general, those placed in groups of more than eight individuals felt that the groups were less supportive, and their experiences were not as pleasant. Conversely, smaller groups (fewer than six individuals) were seen as more supportive. Participants also reported having more positive reactions to the drug in those groups. Leary and colleagues proposed that psilocybin heightens suggestibility, making an individual more receptive to interpersonal interactions and environmental stimuli. These findings were affirmed in a later review by Josten Berge (1999), who concluded that dosage, set, and setting were fundamental factors in determining the outcome of experiments that tested the effects of psychedelic drugs on artists’ creativity.
The Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances assigns psilocybin a relatively high therapeutic index of 641 (higher values correspond to a better safety profile); for comparison, the therapeutic indices of aspirin and nicotine are 199 and 21, respectively. Risk of fatal overdose is virtually nonexistent with psilocybin mushrooms; however, risky behaviors sometimes occur while people are under the influence. Due to the lack of quality control regulations under prohibition and the risk of consuming things growing in nature, there is potential for people attempting to pick psilocybin mushrooms in the wild to accidentally take poisonous mushrooms instead. Similarly, though also very unlikely, poisonous mushrooms are sometimes misrepresented and sold as psilocybin, and these do come with more physical risks, including fatal.
Are Magic Mushrooms Bad For You Or Addictive?
Knowing the actual effects of psilocybin mushrooms, information on dosing, and resources for handling difficult experiences can help prevent dangerous situations, while enhancing their potential benefits. Mushrooms, including those that contain Psilocybin, have been used for centuries by people and for good reason. Researchers around the world are exploring “magic mushrooms” , transformative power to help people quit smoking, lower violent crime, treat depression, calm anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, and trigger lasting spiritual epiphanies in psychologically healthy people. Among regulated drugs, psilocybin mushrooms also have relatively few medical risks. In September 2019, Johns Hopkins University unveiled its Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research. There, scientists plan to evaluate psilocybin as a possible treatment for everything from Opioid Addiction, Lyme Disease, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Nicotine and Alcohol Dependency, and many other ailments.
Magic mushrooms, or psilocybin specifically, is not considered to be addictive nor does it seem to cause compulsive use. One reason being the intense reaction that comes along with using psilocybin can be very physically and mentally challenging. Therefore, causing an individual experiencing such strong feelings to want to limit their use. Another reason is that the human body quickly builds tolerance to psilocybin specifically. So much so that people require much higher doses after only a few days of repeated use, making it extremely difficult to have any effect after more than four days of repeated usage. Also because of the similar brain receptors involved in their effects, cross- tolerance occurs with LSD and psilocybin. Meaning that if someone takes LSD one day, the effects of taking psilocybin the next day will be diminished. Some psychedelics can even help treat addiction to habit-forming drugs like cocaine and nicotine.
Again, the risks from psilocybin are dependent on set and setting and differ from other types of drugs. The consequences of negative or challenging experiences can be minimized by education and awareness of psilocybin’s effects, with particular attention paid to issues around set and setting prior to the experience. Most of the comparatively few fatal incidents reported in the literature that are associated with psychedelic mushroom usage involve the simultaneous use of other drugs, especially alcohol. Probably the most common cause of hospital admissions resulting from psychedelic mushroom usage involve “bad trips” or panic reactions, in which affected individuals become extremely anxious, confused, agitated, or disoriented. Accidents, self-injury, or suicide attempts can result from serious cases of acute psychotic episodes. Although no studies have linked psilocybin with birth defects it is recommended that pregnant women avoid their usage.
Studies And Observations Done Concerning Psilocybin
Because of the expensive and maze-like approval process for research with Schedule I drugs, not to mention the political influence of the war on drugs, studies are limited. Research and studies evaluating psilocybin’s beneficial uses, most often do not receive funding from academic or government institutions. Instead, psilocybin research opportunities rely on non-profit organizations like the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, the Beckley Foundation, the Heffter Research Institute, and public donations. Magic mushroom studies tend to be small, and rely on volunteers willing to take the “drug” which can lead to varied and alternate experiences.
According to an October 2014 study, researchers at King’s College London asked 15 volunteers undergo brain scanning by a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine. They did so once after ingesting a dose of magic mushrooms, and once after taking a placebo. The resulting brain connectivity maps showed that, while under the influence of the drug, the brain synchronizes activity among areas that would not normally be connected. This alteration in activity could explain the dreamy state that magic mushroom users report experiencing after taking the drug, the researchers said.
Interestingly though, magic mushrooms are proving to be good, especially when coupled with meditation or contemplative training. Psilocybin seems to offer some people a route to an alternate view of reality. One in which they shed the limitations of their individual consciousness and embrace a sense of interconnectedness and universality. These “experiences” have shown to be not temporary, but have transformative psychological effects. Some studies even offer insights on how we might minimize suffering and interpersonal strife, giving some people hope in gaining a sense of peace.
It is important to note that in the past, psilocybin and other hallucinogenic drugs were at the center of a thriving research program. During the 1960s, for example, Harvard psychologist Timothy Leary and his colleagues ran a series of experiments with magic mushrooms called the Harvard Psilocybin Project. Among the most famous was the Marsh Chapel Experiment, in which volunteers were given either psilocybin or a placebo before a church service in the chapel. Those who got psilocybin were more likely to report a mystical spiritual experience. A 25-year follow-up in 1991 found that participants who got the psilocybin remembered feeling even more unity and sacredness than they said they’d felt six months after the fact. Many described the experience as life altering.
Today, there are dozens of studies taking place to evaluate the medical safety and efficacy of psychedelics, including psilocybin. Much of the early research did not stand up to today’s standards, as they often lacked a placebo control group or double-blinding procedures (in which neither the subject of the research nor the investigators knew whether the subject received psilocybin or placebo). Nevertheless, their promising findings have been revisited and spurred a resurgence of new, more rigorous research on the potential benefits of psychedelics for various ailments. Visit ClinicalTrials.gov and search for ‘Psilocybin’ to find ongoing and planned clinical trials involving Psilocybin.
How Common Have Magic Mushrooms Been Found To Be Used By People?
Psilocybin mushrooms are considered one of the most well-known psychedelics, but according to SAMHSA (or the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), which conducts the largest annual national survey on drug use, their use is not at all common. Psychedelic use is so low that several drugs are grouped under the category of “hallucinogens,” which includes LSD, Peyote, Mescaline, Psilocybin (or Magic Mushrooms), and “Ecstasy” or Molly (MDMA). In the United States, the NSDUH (National Survey on Drug Use and Health) suggested that, between 2009 and 2015, around 8.5 percent of people reported using psilocybin at some point in their life. Most people who have used psilocybin, have done so usually at dance clubs or in select groups of people seeking a transcendent spiritual experience. Data from people reporting lifetime use of psychedelics shows similar rates across most age ranges, meaning just as many young adults in the 21st century have used psychedelics as older adults who lived through the 1960’s and 1970’s.
Psilocybin mushrooms have been and continue to be used in indigenous New World cultures in religious, divinatory, or spiritual contexts. Reflecting the meaning of the word entheogen (“the god within”), the mushrooms are revered as powerful spiritual sacraments that provide access to sacred worlds. Typically used in small group community settings, they enhance group cohesion and reaffirm traditional values. Terence McKenna documented the worldwide practices of psilocybin mushroom usage as part of a cultural ethos relating to the Earth and mysteries of nature, and suggested that mushrooms enhanced self-awareness and a sense of contact with a “Transcendent Other”—reflecting a deeper understanding of our connectedness with nature
In medical settings, doctors have tested psilocybin for use in treating Cluster Headaches, End-Stage Cancer Anxiety, Depression, and other Anxiety Disorders. But, as life proves to us all at some point in our lives, with the good can also come the bad. Not everyone will experience a substance the same way. Factors can differentiate between an individual’s chemistry, experience, and awareness of self, therefore leading to different experiences and results.
Magic Mushrooms Known Sides Effects Of The Brain
When you ingest psilocybin internally, your gut then converts it into another chemical called psilocin. This resulting chemical psilocin is what triggers changes in an individual’s brain. Psilocin binds with serotonin receptors in the brain, specifically the 5-HT2C receptor regulating neurotransmitter chemicals that control feelings of appetite, cognition, anxiety, imagination, mood, and perception. It increases activity in the visual cortex, leading to changes in perception and it decreases network activity in the “default mode network,” driving the experience of ego loss.
The mental side effects of psilocybin are generally similar to those of LSD, or Lysergic Acid Diethylamide. These effects include an altered perception of time, space, surroundings, and an intense change in mood and/or feelings. Possible effects of psilocybin include: Euphoria, Paranoia, Peacefulness, Spiritual Awakening, Confusion, Quickly Changing Emotions, and Derealization- or the feeling that your surroundings are not real. Distorted Thinking, Visual Alteration and Distortion, Frightening Hallucinations, and Depersonalization- or a dream-like sense of being disengaged from your surroundings. Psychological distress is the adverse event most often reported after recreational use of psilocybin. This distress can take the form of extreme anxiety or short-term psychosis. The environment factor in which an individual or group experience taking magic mushrooms is proving to show to be important as well. Those who partake in consuming psilocybin in a calm and supportive environment tend to have a more positive transforming experience.
While brain activity generally returns to normal after psilocybin wears off, research suggests some effects can last longer. One study, published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, measured how psilocybin affects five domains of personality — neuroticism, extroversion, openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness. It found “significant increases in Openness following a high-dose psilocybin session. “Openness is a psychological term for someone’s attitude toward new experiences, and is associated with traits like imagination, creativity and aesthetic appreciation. Not only did openness generally rise during a psilocybin session, but in nearly 60% of study participants, it “remained significantly higher than baseline more than 1 year after the session,” the researchers wrote. That was surprising, they added, since personality doesn’t usually change much after the age of 30, especially not like this. “Normally, if anything, openness tends to decrease as people get older,” the lead author of the study said in a statement.
Some people report losing their sense of self while on magic mushrooms. This “dissolving” of the ego is typically short-lived, but may be related to some longer-lasting effects of psychedelics, like the openness mentioned above. And according to a 2017 study published in the journal Neuroscience of Consciousness, temporary ego loss could be beneficial in the right context. “This ‘ego dissolution’ results in a moment of expanded awareness, a feeling in which the mind is put more directly and intensely in touch with the world,” said co-author Philip Gerrans, a philosophy professor at the University of Adelaide, in a statement. “Through this experience it may be possible to re-engineer the mechanisms of self, which in turn could change people’s outlook or worldview. The profound sense of connection produced by this experience has the potential to be beneficial for people suffering from anxiety, depression and some forms of addiction.”
We, as a human race and society, still have a lot to learn about how magic mushrooms affect the human brain. But, thanks to thousands of years of experience and a growing surge of modern research, we have at least learned enough to know it’s probably worth learning more.
Magic Mushrooms Known Side Effects Of The Body
The risks associated with psychedelic drugs such as magic mushrooms containing psilocybin are mostly psychological, not physical. Physically, psilocybin mushrooms are considered one of the least toxic drugs known. Although lethal doses have been determined from experiments in several animal models, recorded cases of death exclusively attributed to usual doses of psilocybin mushrooms in humans are extremely rare. Psilocybin’s effects last around 4-6 hours, with peak effects occurring 2-3 hours after ingestion. These effects include sensory enhancement, a sense of time changing (minutes can feel like hours), real or imagined objects appear to be moving (flowing patterns and shapes) both with eyes open or closed. Known side effects of the body from psilocybin vary, and are becoming more known as research and studies are opening the realm into these magical mushrooms.
As with any substance, the body can react differently within and for each individual. Based on known studies, there are somewhat common side effects of the body from consuming magic mushrooms containing psilocybin. Common side effects include: pupil dilation (93%); changes in heart rate (100%), including increases (56%), decreases (13%), and variable responses (31%); changes in blood pressure (84%), including hypotension (34%), hypertension (28%), and general instability (22%); changes in stretch reflex (86%), including increases (80%) and decreases (6%); nausea (44%); tremor (25%); and dysmetria (16%) (inability to properly direct or limit motions). The temporary increases in blood pressure caused by the drug can be a risk factor for users with pre-existing hypertension. These qualitative somatic effects caused by psilocybin have been corroborated by several early clinical studies. A 2005 magazine survey of club goers in the UK found that nausea or vomiting was experienced by over a quarter of those who had used psilocybin mushrooms in the last year. Although it’s important to note that this effect is caused by the actual mushroom rather than psilocybin itself.
In one study, administration of gradually increasing doses of psilocybin daily for 21 days had no measurable effect on electrolyte levels, blood sugar levels, or liver toxicity tests. Overall, the side effects of the body in an individual using psilocybin vary between each individual. Personal factors such as differences in chemistry, mental state, personality, immediate environment, and personal experience are examples. If the recreational user experiences issues with mental health or feels anxious about using psilocybin, they face a higher risk of having a bad experience. Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD), sometimes mistakenly referred to as “flashbacks,” is a condition unique to psychedelics, involving perceptual changes lasting weeks or months following the use of a drug like psilocybin. Though exact prevalence is unknown, HPPD is considered relatively rare, with no physical changes or neurological damage associated as the cause.
Psilocybin To Treat Depression
Researchers find that the psychoactive compound in mushrooms may be helpful for patients with severe depression who did not respond to conventional therapy. Discussions are on-going about whether psychological specialists can use psilocybin and similar hallucinogens as a treatment for depression. For the second time in a year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has designated psilocybin therapy, which is currently being tested in clinical trials, as “breakthrough therapy”. An action that is meant to accelerate the typically sluggish process of drug development and review. It is typically requested by a drug company and granted only when preliminary evidence suggests the drug may be an enormous improvement over already available therapy, according to the FDA.
Last year, the FDA granted “breakthrough therapy” status to psilocybin therapy in the still-ongoing clinical trials run by the company Compass Pathways. The company has been looking into psilocybin’s potential to treat severe treatment-resistant depression, or depression in patients who have not improved after undergoing two different antidepressant treatments, according to New Atlas. Additionally, a team of researchers from the University of South Florida discovered that psilocybin can also bind itself to receptors that stimulate healing. Therefore, it’s believed psilocybin repairs and grows brain cells, which could prove beneficial to those who suffer from treatment-resistant depression. This severe form of depression is one that impairs those suffering at the highest level. Treatment-resistant depression is when depressive symptoms aren’t relieved by any tried therapies, including:
- Various medications
- Various talk therapies
- Lifestyle changes
- Alternative therapies
Two very recent studies have looked at psilocybin as a treatment. One study examined the ability of psilocybin to reduce depression symptoms without dulling emotions, and the other assessed the relationship between any positive therapeutic outcomes and the nature of psilocybin-induced hallucinations. The researchers used functional MRI to analyze the brain activity of these people both before and after treatment with psilocybin.
The second study was one where all patients had been diagnosed with “treatment-resistant,” or severe, depression. As part of the research, they received one 10-milligram dose of psilocybin, and another dose of 25 milligrams a week later. Participants were also asked to fill in a clinical questionnaire, wherein they reported their experience. All 19 patients showed significantly decreased depressive symptoms 1 week after the treatment. After 5 weeks, 12 of the 19 patients showed lasting benefits and were therefore deemed to be “responsive” to the treatment. These results were clearly interesting and exciting for researchers eager to learn more about magic mushrooms, or psilocybins, helpful benefits.
The whole-brain analyses performed by the researchers showed a decreased cerebral blood flow in the temporal cortex, including in the almond-shaped amygdala, or the brain’s so-called fear hub, which processes our “fight-or-flight” response. The decreased blood flow in the amygdala correlated with the decrease in depressive symptoms, and the researchers also found increased resting-state functional connectivity, or stability, in the brain’s “default mode network.” An increase in the integrity of this network has previously been found to be associated with depression, so observing this after treatment was deemed intriguing by the researchers.
The Legalities Of Obtaining, Growing, And Using Magic Mushrooms
Indeed, magic mushrooms are having a therapeutic moment. In North America, at least four organizations, each with unique strategies, are working to expand access to psilocybin for anyone with mental health issues, severe or not. These groups hope to undo decades of psilocybin prohibition by removing criminal penalties for possession or cultivation, or by providing access to psilocybin in a therapist’s offices, or both. Psilocybin has been in the news with increasing frequency, as research into psychedelic therapy has grown more and more popular in the scientific community and general public. Some cities and local jurisdictions in the United States, such as the cities of Oakland, Denver, and Santa Cruz have decriminalized psilocybin to varying degrees. Much like cannabis, public perception of certain psychedelics like psilocybin is shifting rapidly. Researchers, Scientists, and the public at large are starting to understand the incredible potential for therapeutic benefits of entheogenic plants.
Although, whether or not such psychedelic therapies will become federally legal is still far from reality. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), psilocybin is a “chemical obtained from certain types of fresh or dried mushrooms.” The mushrooms containing psilocybin are also known as magic mushrooms, hallucinogenic mushrooms, or “shrooms”. In the United States, psilocybin is a Schedule I drug under an amendment to the Controlled Substances Act called the Psychotropic Substances Act. The legality of possessing, growing, consuming, or selling magic mushrooms greatly depends upon where you live. This means that it has a high potential for abuse, has no currently accepted medical use, and is not regarded safe for use. This includes even under a doctor’s supervision. Since psilocybin is a psychotropic substance found in magic mushrooms, this is usually interpreted to mean that the mushrooms themselves are illegal. However, since mushroom spores don’t contain psilocybin, some have pointed to this as an ambiguity in the federal law.
Usually busts related to magic mushrooms occur under state law (unless they’re in extremely large amounts) and most local jurisdictions in the United States ban possession of them. In recent years, though, cities and states have begun to reevaluate their stance on mushrooms. Contrary to popular belief, Denver would not be the first North American locale to decriminalize mushrooms. In 2005, a New Mexico Court of Appeals ruled that growing mushrooms for personal use doesn’t technically count as drug manufacture, so even sprouting psilocybin in your dorm room isn’t illegal. Louisiana also exempts the cultivation of psychoactive plants and fungi “strictly for aesthetic, landscaping, or decorative purposes.” .
States Take Legal Action Concerning Magic Mushrooms Into Their Own Hands
With those victories in hand, mushroom legalization activists are hard at work in other states. Legislators in the states of Oregon, California, and Iowa have introduced bills supporting mushroom decriminalization. The state attorney general recently approved OPS’s ballot title, so they now have until July 2020 to gather about 117,000 signatures. Then, during the next presidential election, Oregon voters will decide if this program is right for them. If voters approve the Oregon Psilocybin Service Initiative in 2020, the state would develop a licensed psilocybin therapist industry and lower criminal penalties for growing or consuming mushrooms.
In many national, state, and provincial drug laws, there is a great deal of ambiguity about the legal status of magic mushrooms, or ones containing psilocybin. There is a strong element of selective enforcement in some places, since psilocybin and psilocin are deemed illegal to possess without license as substances, but mushrooms themselves are not mentioned in these laws. The legal status of Psilocybe spores is even more ambiguous, as the spores contain neither psilocybin, nor psilocin. Hence, they are not illegal to sell or possess in many jurisdictions, though many jurisdictions will prosecute under broader laws prohibiting items that are used in drug manufacture. A few jurisdictions (such as the US states of California, Georgia and Idaho) have specifically prohibited the sale and possession of psilocybin mushroom spores. Cultivation of psilocybin mushrooms is considered drug manufacture in most jurisdictions and is often severely penalized. Although some countries and one US state (Florida) has ruled that growing psilocybin mushrooms does not qualify as “manufacturing” a controlled substance. Overall, it is very important as an individual or business to understand the legalities of psilocybin in the state of which you reside.
Psilocybin Legalities Around The World
Possession and selling of fresh mushrooms and spores (dried mushrooms are almost always illegal) is still legal in many places around the world. But laws from nation to nation are wildly inconsistent. For example, until 2005, it was legal to sell fresh magic mushrooms in Great Britain; spore possession is still legal. The Netherlands, once known as a hotbed for drugs illegal elsewhere, banned the sale of dried mushrooms in 2001 and fresh mushrooms in 2008. But, residents are still allowed to be in possession of small amounts of “magic truffles,” which refers to magic mushrooms that aren’t quite fully developed, thereby skirting the law. Our neighbor Mexico has banned mushrooms completely, unless they’re used for religious purposes.
The United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances (adopted in 1971) requires its members to prohibit psilocybin, and parties to the treaty are required to restrict use of the drug to medical and scientific research under strictly controlled conditions. However, the mushrooms containing the drug were not specifically included in the convention, due largely to pressure from the Mexican government. To reduce accidental deaths related to drug use, improve public health outcomes, care for vulnerable populations, and protect young people, it is important to prioritize education about potential risks, precautionary measures, and reducing harm instead of zero-tolerance policies and criminalization.
History About The Use Of Magic Mushrooms By Our Ancestors
Some historians believe that magic mushrooms may have been used as far back as 9000 B.C. in North African indigenous cultures, based on representations in rock paintings. The art in question shows masked figures holding mushroom-like objects. Other drawings show mushrooms positioned behind anthropomorphic figures, possibly a painted direction to the fact that magic mushrooms commonly grow in dung.
Central Americans were using psilocybin mushrooms before Europeans landed on the New World’s shores. Not surprising, for the fact that magic mushrooms grow well in subtropical and tropical environments. Statues and other representatives of what appear to be mushrooms that have been found in Mayan and Aztec ruins in Central America. The Aztecs used a substance called teonanácatl, which means “flesh of the gods,” that many believe were magic mushrooms. Along with peyote, morning glory seeds, and other naturally occurring psychotropics, the magic mushrooms were used to induce a trance, produce visions, and communicate with the gods. Effectively, the Spanish and Portugese settlers viewed the convulsions, visions, and babbling the mushrooms caused as the natives communing with the devil. The continent was rapidly converted to Christianity, and the so-called pagan ways were lost for many practitioners.
Similarly, rock paintings in Spain created about 6000 years ago suggest that the mushroom Psilocybe Hispanica was used during certain religious rituals near Villar del Humo. When Spanish Catholic missionary priests came to the New World in the 16th century, some of them wrote about the use of these psychedelic substances. In fact, It’s very possible that magic mushroom use by prehistoric cultures began even before that time. Mostly for the possibility that we have just not found the evidence to suggest so yet.
On the subject of myth, settle in for a not so innocent or normal tale of Christmas cheer. According to Sierra College anthropologist John Rush, magic mushrooms explain why kids wait for a flying elf to bring them presents on December 25th each year. Rush explains that Siberian Shamans used to bring gifts of hallucinogenic mushrooms to households each winter. While also keeping in mind that reindeer were the “spirit animals” of these Shamans. Perhaps suggesting that the ingestion of magic mushrooms might just convince a hallucinating tribe member that those animals could fly. Plus, Santa’s red-and-white suit looks suspiciously like the colors of the mushroom species Amanita Muscaria. Interestingly enough which grows, wait for it, under evergreen trees. Boom. Additionally noted, this species of magic mushroom is toxic to people, however it seems to be not so toxic for some wild animals. Siberian reindeer also have a taste for magic mushrooms, according to a 2009 BBC nature documentary. It’s unclear whether the reindeer feel the effects, but Siberian mystics would sometimes drink the urine from deer that had ingested mushrooms in order to get a hallucinogenic experience for religious rituals.
How Magic Mushrooms Made Their Way Into Western Society
It wasn’t till the late 1950s that the Western civilized world got introduced to psilocybin. R. Gordon Wasson and Roger Heim, with help from Albert Hofmann, managed to extract and identify the two hallucinogenic drugs (psilocybin and psilocin). Each found inside the magic mushrooms collected from the Mazatec tribe, which they collected while on an expedition in Mexico. In 1957, a piece with the title, “Seeking the Magic Mushroom” was published in Life magazine, where Wasson detailed his discovery of the mushroom and his findings. Once the drug gained popularity as a psychedelic substance, it became closely associated with the contemporary Hippie culture. Therefore leading the way where magic mushrooms were soon considered to be the gateway to spirituality.
Although dozens of species of psychedelic mushrooms are found in Europe, there is little documented usage of these species in Old World history besides the use of Amanita Muscaria among Siberian peoples. The few existing historical accounts about psilocybin mushrooms typically lack sufficient information to allow species identification, and usually refer to the nature of their effects. For example, Flemish botanist Carolus Clusius (1526–1609) described the Bolond Gomba (Crazy Mushroom), used in rural Hungary to prepare love potions. English botanist John Parkinson included details about a “foolish mushroom” in his 1640 herbal Theatricum Botanicum. The first reliably documented report of intoxication with Psilocybe Semilanceata, Europe’s most common and widespread magic mushroom. It involved a British family in 1799, who prepared a meal with mushrooms they had picked in London’s Green Park. Psilocybin use in Europe is less documented, as more research into the topic needs to be done.
In short, the idea that magic mushrooms have a long, holy history is highly controversial. Some believe that none of this evidence is definitive, and that people are seeing what they want to see in the ancient paintings, sculptures and manuscripts. But, there is confirmed use among several contemporary tribes of indigenous peoples in Central America, including the Mazatec, Mixtec, Nauhua and Zapatec. If we were to take a lesson from this history of mushroom use throughout the history of mankind, it would be the reality that magic mushrooms existed and were noticed. Magic mushrooms will most likely continue to be used in the future, well after current society finds its place in the history books.
Are Mushrooms Legal In California?
Making one of the first big moves toward the legalization of psilocybin is the state of California. Last November, proponents (Decriminalize California) submitted the California Psilocybin Decriminalization Initiative 2020. The California Psilocybin Decriminalization Initiative would legalize and regulate psilocybin mushrooms for medical and therapeutic use, and decriminalize them for personal, spiritual, religious, and dietary use. The Initiative would also decriminalize baeocystin and nor-baeocystin, two alkaloids related to psilocybin and psilocin, which occur naturally in psilocybin mushrooms.
The California Psilocybin Decriminalization Initiative
The California Psilocybin Decriminalization Initiative would help to create a legal framework in which sales of psilocybin mushrooms would be regulated by the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the California Department of Public Health. One in which seeks to “decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms in California by submitting a citizens initiative to be placed on the ballot for the November 3, 2020 election, to the Office of the Attorney General.” The California Psilocybin Mushroom Decriminalization Initiative(#17-0024) did not qualify to appear on the ballot in California as an initiated state statute on November 6, 2018. But, the measure would have decriminalized the use, possession, cultivation, sale, and transportation of psilocybin for persons 21 years of age or older. The Initiative would also enable adults to cultivate psilocybin mushrooms for personal use within their own home and on private property. Even allowing adults aged 18+ to give away mushrooms to other adults for free. Keeping in mind that individuals may not exchange psilocybin mushrooms for money, goods, or services, as such a transaction would constitute a ‘sale’. Individuals wishing to sell psilocybin mushrooms would need to be licensed to do so by the State of California.
The Initiative would have decriminalized psilocybin and psilocin in all its forms. Including all species of psilocybin mushrooms, their respective sclerotia (truffles), and extracts and derivatives thereof. Isolated/synthetic psilocybin and psilocin would also be decriminalized under the California Psilocybin Decriminalization Initiative. Furthermore, the Initiative would decriminalize spores capable of producing psilocybin and psilocin, as California is currently one of only three States in which psilocybin mushroom spores are illegal. California residents and magic mushroom supporters are clearly a reason why the movement toward the legalization of psilocybin therapies is gaining traction.
How Legalization Would Affect Sales Of Psilocybin In California
Psilocybin mushroom sales would not be restricted to ‘dispensaries’ and could theoretically be sold by any licensed business in California. However, on a practical level, some businesses might be unwilling to sell psilocybin mushrooms due to the fact that psilocybin would remain a Schedule 1 controlled substance under Federal law. But, if the California Psilocybin Mushroom Decriminalization Initiative were successful, the sales of psilocybin mushrooms would not be subject to an excise tax. In the case of State-legal adult-use cannabis sales in California, high excise tax rates have deterred consumers from purchasing cannabis legally, thereby diverting sales to the illegal market. The Initiative deliberately prohibits imposing an excise tax on psilocybin mushrooms, in order to incentivize consumers to purchase from regulated, licensed retailers.
Under the Initiative, psilocybin mushrooms would be regulated as a food, and therefore may be subject to local sales tax, depending on the form in which the mushrooms are sold. For example, whole psilocybin mushrooms would not be subject to sales tax, however, a dietary supplement containing psilocybin mushrooms would be subject to sales tax (as is the case with all dietary supplements). Psilocybin mushrooms intended for religious/spiritual or medical/therapeutic use would be exempt from sales tax. Although the tax of a good seems unimportant, for any small business owner the sales tax can determine whether a quality product can prove to be profitable under such strict regulation.
Does The Initiative Decriminalize Psilocybin At The Federal Level?
Unfortunately for those individuals who live in less open minded states concerning magic mushrooms and psilocybin, no. Psilocybin would continue to remain a controlled substance under Federal law. Therefore, meaning that Federal agencies can continue to enforce laws prohibiting the possession, manufacture, distribution, etc. of psilocybin in all states. Even those who have taken actions in legalizing their use in their own state or region. Over the past few decades, despite multiple states passing laws which decriminalize and legalize cannabis, there remains no substantial change to Federal law. Similarly, it is unlikely that this initiative will result in any changes to Federal law pertaining to psilocybin in the immediate future.
Are Mushrooms Legal In Colorado?
Denver may be the first city in the country to decriminalize shrooms, but Colorado as a whole has a right-to-try law. This law allows terminally ill patients to try experimental drugs, including LSD or psilocybin, without getting permission from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to do so. As a result, a small number of people all around Colorado can legally use psilocybin as part of their palliative care. But, in May 2019, Denver Colorado, became the first US city to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms after an ordinance was admitted to the ballot and voted on. This Initiated Ordinance 301 is known as the Psilocybin Mushroom Initiative. The initiative passed with 50.64 percent voting “yes,” and 49.36 percent voting “no,” on a public ballot. Decriminalizing does not mean however that it is now legal to possess shrooms in Denver, have paraphernalia to use them, manufacture them, or to sell them.
Rather, decriminalization would mean:
- To deprioritize, to the greatest extent possible, the imposition of criminal penalties on people who are 21 or older for personal use or possession of psilocybin mushrooms.
- To prohibit the City Council of Denver from spending resources to impose criminal penalties on people who are 21 or older for personal use or possession.
If someone younger than 21 years old possesses mushrooms, they may still suffer serious legal consequences. No one can grow, process, possess with intent to sell, or traffic psilocybin mushrooms without facing serious legal consequences. Arguments against the initiative expressed concern for Colorado’s larger role in making dangerous drugs look safe by legalizing or decriminalizing them. This concern is compounded by the lack of scientific understanding of the potentially addictive properties of mushrooms or what long-term effects from regular use might look like.
Under Colorado law, the unauthorized use of a controlled substance, including psilocybin mushrooms, is a level 2 drug misdemeanor. Under CRS 18-18-404, before March 1, 2020, the penalties for the use of psilocybin mushrooms include a fine of up to $750 and up to 12 months in jail. However, if it is your first drug offense, you may be eligible for a pretrial diversion program to have your charges dismissed if you successfully complete a drug education and treatment program. Starting March 1, 2020, the punishment could be probation of up to 1 year, possibly 120 days in jail, and up to $500 in fines. But for a 3rd or subsequent offense, there could be up to 180 days in jail.
Whether Colorado or any other state decides to legalize psilocybin for medical or recreational purposes, the first step in Denver can allow some insight into how the general public will use magic mushrooms when they are not so illicit. Psilocybin abuse is not a widespread drug problem, compared to abuse of alcohol, marijuana, opioids, or cocaine, but thousands of people still use this substance for nonmedical reasons, which may be dangerous. Hence the reason why more research and studies are needed in magic mushrooms safety, and the use of psilocybin specifically.
Can A Person Grown Their Own Magic Mushrooms At Home?
One way to ensure access is for individuals to become psychedelically self-sufficient by growing psilocybin mushrooms at home. The man who did the most to bring magic mushrooms to mainstream U.S. drug culture was a writer and ethnobotanist named Terence McKenna. He had been experimenting with psychedelics since his teen years, but it wasn’t until a trip to the Amazon in 1971 that he discovered psilocybin mushrooms — fields of them, according to a 2000 profile in Wired magazine. In 1976, McKenna and his brother published “Psilocybin: Magic Mushroom Grower’s Guide,” a manual for cultivating psilocybin mushrooms at home. “What is described is only slightly more complicated than canning or making jelly,” McKenna wrote in the foreword to the book.
The increasing availability of information on growing techniques makes it possible for amateurs to grow magic mushrooms (Psilocybe Cubensis) without access to laboratory equipment. Along with states that embrace legalization of psilocybin, magic mushroom cultivation and use is on the rise. Countries and states that remove restrictions would most likely allow the growing and cultivation of magic mushrooms by individuals. But, keep in mind with some restrictions or limitations in being able to do so. One such example is again, the California Psilocybin Decriminalization Initiative. This Initiative, proposed by California residents and mushroom advocates, would enable adults to cultivate psilocybin mushrooms for personal use within their own home and on private property. Although, individuals may not exchange psilocybin mushrooms for money, goods, or services, as such a transaction would constitute a ‘sale’. Individuals wishing to sell psilocybin mushrooms would need to be licensed to do so by the State of California.
Although the prospect of home cultivation may sound daunting, with a little knowledge the process is fairly simple. Here, we’ll make some cases as to why growing your own can save both money and hassle; we’ll also explore the less tangible benefits of personal empowerment and the potential to build community. While under federal law, such activity is currently illegal, with Denver, Oakland and Santa Cruz all having decriminalized psilocybin mushrooms, the possibility of legal home cultivation for personal use may be just over the horizon.
The Cost That Comes With Growing Your Own Magic Mushrooms
Magic mushrooms are one of the most widely used recreational psychotropic drugs because they can be found in the wild or grown fairly easily and inexpensively. If you’re buying magic mushrooms In the US, the cost is about $35 per eighth of an ounce (or $10 per gram). In Canada, where the first magic mushroom dispensaries are opening (though still not technically legal yet), those suffering from conditions such as depression, anxiety and cluster headaches can register to receive encapsulated microdoses of magic mushrooms at an even higher price per gram than those buying illicitly in the US.
By contrast, for $15-$20 you can purchase magic mushroom spores (the mycological equivalent to cannabis seeds) and with the right know-how and a few easily sourced (or, indeed, home-built) pieces of equipment, you could potentially produce well over 100 times the amount of mushrooms you could buy for the same price. Of course, there are additional set-up costs (both in terms of money and time), as well as a level of risk, but some underground growers have reduced these drawbacks by spreading them between a group of like-minded and trusted individuals, effectively setting up self-sufficient magic mushroom collectives.
Magic mushrooms are one of the easiest things to grow in the world – they need a few specific parameters and a bit of patience. The kits that we sell come with a perlite and vermiculite substrate which has had mycelium added to it, which is where the shrooms come from. It’s super easy to activate and begin growing your shrooms; keep reading for a full guide on how to do it properly.
Each mushroom strain has a set of different properties as they’re from different parts of the world. Some are much easier to grow than others, some are much more potent and other produce larger yields than others. They also grow in various different shapes which you’ll notice once they open up. The following photo is of two different strains (Panamerican and B+), which were set to propagate on the exact same day. The Panamerican shrooms has hardly produced any mycelium but larger mushrooms much faster, whereas the B+ has created a layer of mycelium over the entire surface and is beginning to fill up with small mushrooms.
4 Key Factors when growing Magic Mushrooms:
- Lighting: One of the most important factors when growing magic mushrooms is the amount of light that they receive and the quality of that light – they should never be given direct light. propagator.
- Humidity: Humidity is essential, as it’s what activates the mycelium which is where the shrooms sprout from. In order to provide the right amount of humidity, you’ll need to use a small greenhouse
- Temperature: Temperature is another incredibly important parameter; mushrooms generally thrive between 21 and 24°C, so if you want to produce as many shrooms as possible we recommend keeping the propagator right in the middle.
- Hygiene: Hygiene and a clean environment is paramount to growing magic mushrooms. They’re quite sensitive, and they need a clean and sterilized environment – never ever touch them with your hands.
Give your magic mushroom kits the right lighting, humidity, temperature and clean environment and they’ll produce plenty of psychedelic heads. FungusHead has everything you need to grow your very own magic mushrooms, from the kits themselves to products such as heated mats and thermo-hygrometers, as well as full mycological study kits.
Magic Mushroom Cultivation
After anywhere between 7 and 14 days you should start seeing the first few mushrooms appear. From then onwards they’ll start popping up all over – if you check on them a few times a day you’ll probably notice them getting larger, growing a few centimeters a day. They might be ready after around 3-4 days, and after harvesting you’ll need to let them dry for a few more days before being able to study them.
When removing the mushrooms, simply put on some gloves and pinch them between your fingers, twisting slightly – they should pop out straight away. They’re quite sensitive, and wherever you touch them they’ll begin to turn a dark color for a couple of hours. This is normal, don’t worry about contamination or rot.
Once you remove all of the mushrooms, don’t throw away the container – mycelium can stay active for a while longer, depending on the conditions given. You may have a whole new crop of mushrooms after just a couple of days. If you’ve provided absolutely perfect conditions, you may even get three or four decent goes out of just one container.