Psilocybin mushrooms – Magic Mushrooms Under the Microscope

psilocybin mushrooms


Psilocybin mushrooms, commonly known as magic mushrooms, encompass a diverse range of fungi characterized by their notable content of psilocybin, a potent psychoactive compound. Observing psilocybin mushrooms under the microscope allows researchers to see the presence of distinct spores, gill structures, and hyphae that form a complex network.  and gain insights into their taxonomy and evolutionary relationships.

However, psilocybin mushrooms aren’t only researched for their interesting looks that vary in species.

Research published in 2021 showed how a single dose of psilocybin increases the number of neural connections in a mouse brain by about 10%, thus starting the conversation around the psilocybin therapeutic effects.

Whether you’re an avid researcher or a curious hobbyist, this article opens the door to a fascinating realm: psilocybin mushrooms.

Uncover their potential contributions to mental well-being, satisfy your curiosity about the profound psychedelic experience, and see how you can take a closer look at them.

Psilocybin mushrooms categorization

Psilocybin mushrooms, as a group, encompass various genera (singular-genus, a taxonomic rank in the biological classification system that groups together closely related species), each containing different species known for their psilocybin content. 

There are numerous species of psilocybin mushrooms, estimated to be around 200 or more. Some of the genera commonly associated with psilocybin mushrooms include:

  1. Psilocybe: The Psilocybe genus is perhaps the most well-known and extensively studied group of psilocybin mushrooms. It comprises numerous species like Psilocybe cubensis, Psilocybe semilanceataPsilocybe cyanescens, and many more. Psilocybe mushrooms are known for their distinct features, including a conical or convex cap, gills beneath the cap, and a central stipe (stem). They are found in various regions worldwide and are popular among enthusiasts for their psychoactive properties.

  2. Panaeolus: The Panaeolus genus is another significant group of psilocybin mushrooms. Species like Panaeolus cyanescens and Panaeolus tropicalis are known to contain psilocybin. Panaeolus mushrooms often have a distinct bell-shaped cap, and their gills can be either black or dark brown. They are typically found in grassy areas and manure-rich environments.

  3. Gymnopilus: The Gymnopilus genus includes species like Gymnopilus aeruginosus and Gymnopilus spectabilis, which contain psilocybin. These mushrooms have orange to brown caps and often grow on decaying wood, particularly in forests.

  4. Copelandia: The Copelandia genus, sometimes referred to as “Panaeolus cyanescens complex,” includes species like Copelandia cyanescens. These mushrooms are small in size, with distinctive conical caps and dark-colored gills underneath. Unlikely most mushrooms, Copelandia mushrooms are commonly found in warm, tropical regions, growing on nutrient-rich substrates such as cow dung.

Recently some other genera have come to the radar, such as Conocybe, Inocybe, and Galerina.

Psilocybin mushrooms appearance

It’s difficult to summarize the appearance of psilocybin mushrooms because there are over 200 species found so far.

The cap of psilocybin mushrooms can vary in size and shape. It is often convex or conical when young, eventually flattening out as it matures. The color of the cap can range from pale white, light brown, to dark brown. Some species may also have unique markings or color patterns on the cap. 

As for the gills, they typically have a color that ranges from white to dark brown, depending on the species. The arrangement and density of the gills can also vary. The stem of psilocybin mushrooms is generally cylindrical and can be relatively long or short, depending on the species. It is usually solid and can be smooth or have a fibrous texture. The color of the stem often matches or complements the cap color.

Some psilocybin mushrooms have a veil, a tissue that initially covers the gills when the mushroom is young. The spore color of psilocybin mushrooms can vary, and it is often a key characteristic for identification. 

Depending on the species, spores can be white, dark purple-brown, or even black.

Psilocybin mushrooms distribution

Psilocybin mushrooms have a global distribution, and aren’t limited to a specific region. Mexico is known to have a significant diversity of psilocybin mushrooms, with approximately 53 species identified in the country. They can be found throughout:

  • Canada
  • the United States
  • Europe
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Australia, and associated islands.

Psilocybin mushrooms typically thrive in subtropical and tropical regions, preferring habitats such as meadows and wooded areas with rich humus and plant debris in the soil. They are often found in subtropical humid forests, but their distribution extends to other climatic zones as well.

Psilocybin mushroom effects

The effects of psilocybin mushrooms are primarily due to  the presence of psilocybin and its metabolite, psilocin. When psilocybin is consumed, it undergoes a process called dephosphorylation in the liver, converting it into psilocin. Psilocin is responsible for the psychedelic effects experienced by users.

These mushrooms do not typically induce physical or psychological dependence, making them less prone to misuse and addiction. However, they can create short-term increases in tolerance, meaning that repeated use within a short period can lead to weaker effects.

The onset of psychedelic effects usually occurs around 20 minutes after ingestion and can last up to 6 hours.

Psilocybin mushrooms in medical use

The findings revealed that within-group pre-post and pre-follow-up effects on anxiety and depression were large and statistically significant, indicating significant improvements in symptoms after psilocybin administration.

The study found that abstinence from alcohol significantly increased following psilocybin administration compared to the initial weeks of treatment without psilocybin. These gains in abstinence were largely sustained up to 36 weeks after treatment.

Psilocybin mushrooms legality

Due to their hallucinogenic properties and perceived potential for abuse, Psilocybe mushrooms are classified as Schedule I controlled substances at the federal level. This classification makes possessing, cultivating, or distributing these mushrooms illegal.

The Schedule I designation is reserved for substances that are considered to have a high potential for abuse and have no recognized medical use. As a result, the possession and use of Psilocybe mushrooms are prohibited under the Controlled Substances Act.

Some cities, including Denver in Colorado, and Oakland and Santa Cruz in California, have implemented measures to decriminalize the personal, non-commercial use of Psilocybe mushrooms.

The cultivation, distribution, and commercial sale of Psilocybe mushrooms still fall under federal prohibition and may result in legal consequences. However, the changing attitudes and policies at the local level signal a shift in public perception and the ongoing discussion surrounding the potential therapeutic use of Psilocybe mushrooms.

Related terms


Psilocybe is a specific genus of mushrooms that falls under the larger category of psilocybin mushrooms. This genus comprises a significant number of species, some of the most well-known being Psilocybe cubensis, Psilocybe semilanceata, and Psilocybe cyanescens.

2. Magic mushrooms

Psilocybin mushrooms aren’t the only psychoactive mushrooms know to researchers, they are the most popular. Other mushrooms with completely different effects, such as “Amanita muscaria” and “Claviceps purpurea” can be called “magic mushrooms” as well.


Mushies is a popular slang term for “magic mushrooms” used widely in the USA. People also refer to “psilocybin mushrooms” as “boomers”, “sacred mushrooms” and “shrooms”.

4. Psilocybe mushroom spores

Psilocybe mushroom spores are the reproductive cells produced by Psilocybe mushrooms, playing a crucial role in their dissemination and reproduction. In research, these spores hold significant importance for various purposes. They aid in taxonomy and identification by providing unique characteristics that help distinguish between different species of Psilocybe mushrooms.  Also,  Psilocybe spores are instrumental in cultivation studies, enabling researchers to study the growth patterns, fruiting behavior, and environmental requirements of different Psilocybe species.

FungusHead – See Psilocybe mushroom spores under a microscope

Researchers or scientists studying the chemistry, identification, spore discharge capacity, and distribution patterns of these extraordinary fungi  find our spores to be a great start.

 Through meticulous examination of these spores under a microscope, valuable insights regarding their color, size, shape, and behavior are gleaned, enhancing our understanding of the overall biology of these remarkable mushrooms.

At FungusHead, we provide a comprehensive mushroom spore syringe kit designed specifically for research purposes. Each kit includes a 10cc syringe, meticulously pre-filled with the spore solution of your choice.

Additionally, the kit includes essential tools such as an alcohol swab and a sterile lancet, making sure you have a sterile and controlled research environment.

Browse through our selection of premium magic mushroom spores, meticulously chosen from isolated genetics to offer you the finest material available for your research:

At FungusHead, we are dedicated to providing researchers with exceptional resources that propel their studies forward and unlock the mysteries of this captivating Kingdom.

Discover the finest selection of spores exclusively crafted for microscopy research when you visit our store.

We must emphasize that the cultivation of psilocybin mushrooms is strictly prohibited under federal law in the United States. Thus, we do not support or endorse any activities related to their cultivation under any circumstances. 

Our product range, including psilocybin mushroom spores, is strictly intended for microscopy and taxonomy purposes. Consumption or cultivation of these spores is strictly prohibited.

Please be aware that possession of these spores is illegal in California, Idaho, and Georgia, while it is legal in 47 out of 50 states. Therefore, we are unable to process orders to these prohibited states.


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