The Science Behind Magic Mushrooms and Their Psychoactive Effects

magic mushrooms and blue bruising

Shrooms possess distinctive features that allow people to differentiate between regular and psychoactive ones. The science behind magic mushrooms and blue bruising is fascinating and could indicate psychedelic properties. 

How exactly do the effects of these specific types of fungi act on the brain? Research has come a long way in the past several decades. There are over 180 species worldwide, and humans are privileged to have a better understanding of them today.

While the sale of spores is only for microscopy and taxonomy purposes, the genetic makeup of the fungi is intriguing. Keep reading to discover how psychoactive compounds work and what happens during the reaction that causes blue pigments. 

Let’s get shrooming.

What is Psilocybin?

Psilocybin is the natural compound in magic mushrooms like Blue Meanies and Golden Teachers. It possesses hallucinogenic toxins that, when consumed, produce various effects in humans and animals. They act on mood, consciousness, and perception.

Different types of shrooms may produce unique sensations that vary between users. The most commonly reported effects are:

  • Euphoria
  • Relaxation
  • Distortion of reality, time, and vision
  • Visual distortions, including seeing colors, patterns, and objects more vividly
  • Auditory distortions, including hearing clearer, sharper, or layered sounds 
  • Heightened emotions
  • Introspection (deep self-reflection)

Scientists need to do more research on the psilocybin compound, but some users have reported side effects like:

  • Insomnia
  • Discomfort
  • Prolonged hallucinations and “flashbacks” 
  • Memory loss
  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature
  • Nausea
  • Numbness

People who use magic mushrooms like Blue Meanies may do it for recreational or spiritual purposes. The practice of consuming them dates back to ancient religious ceremonies and rituals. They were often used for healing, communion, and ceremonial or personal reflection.

How does this fascinating hallucinogenic compound work in the human brain? Let’s take a look at the science behind the effects.

How Psilocybin Produces Its Effects on the Brain


Psilocybin is a psychotropic tryptamine that the liver breaks down into psilocin after consumption. This new compound is responsible for various effects, primarily distorted perception and an altered sense of space and time.

The chemical structure of psilocin is similar to serotonin and influences those levels in the brain. However, it affects noradrenergic neurons more than dopamine receptors, resulting in pleasurable sensations related to reward, arousal, and alertness. 

The reason for the distorted and hallucinatory effects is that the compound slows down some brain and neuron activity. Many users report that consuming shrooms allows them to connect more deeply to their subconscious.

Before we explore the phenomenon of magic mushrooms and blue bruising, let’s look at other compounds that cause psychoactive effects.

Other Psychoactive Compounds in Magic Mushrooms

Psilocybin is the primary psychoactive compound in shrooms, but others are involved in the psychedelic process, too. Scientists only discovered some recently, proving that magic mushrooms are more complex and mysterious than we could imagine.

  • Baeocystin: This tryptamine alkaloid is present in all species of magic mushrooms but gained its name from Psilocybe baeocystis. The first isolation only happened in 1968, when researchers discovered it contains a third of the concentration of psilocybin.
  • Norpsilocin: In 2017, we learned of a new psilocybin derivative that was more potent than its counterpart. Scientists believe it’s a metabolite from dephosphorylated baeocystin, meaning it possesses one less methyl group.
  • Norbaeocystin: A derivative of baeocystin, which recent studies suggest is an intermediate in the biosynthesis of psilocybin. It may contribute more to the holistic properties of magic mushrooms rather than the psychedelic effects.

Humanity has come a long way in researching and understanding these compounds. More studies are necessary to comprehend the extent of magic mushrooms’ effects fully. 

We’ve seen a revival in psychedelic studies, which may become more prominent in the near future. As recently as 2019, German scientists uncovered the mystery behind magic mushrooms and blue bruising. Let’s take a closer look at what it means in mycology.

Why Do Magic Mushrooms Turn Blue?

magic mushrooms go through blue

In general, psychedelic shrooms share similar features and characteristics, helping people identify them over non-psychoactive mushrooms. They have brown caps, stems, and gills. Their spores are purple-black, and their stalks are tough and fibrous.

Blue pigmentation is one of the best indications of mushrooms containing psychedelic properties. The coloring occurs because of oxidation when psilocybin starts breaking down once exposed to oxygen. 

Not all magic mushrooms go through blue bruising. An example is those in the Amanita family that don’t contain psilocybin. It’s also not the only way to identify psychoactive shrooms, but in most species, it’s a clearer indication of whether they’re psychedelic.

Psilocybin-containing mushrooms bruise blue at different rates. Some experience it more easily than others, while a few take longer to change color. It mainly happens when someone cuts or picks the fungi in nature.

Magic mushrooms with blue bruising indicate the degradation of psilocybin, which means less potent psychoactive effects. They must dry out soon after harvest and sit in an airtight container free of moisture, light, and heat to retain their properties. 

Using Science to Pave the Way for Psychedelic Freedom

Although the use of magic mushrooms dates back to ancient civilizations, humanity has only recently begun to understand them fully. Recent research reveals previously unavailable information about specific psychoactive compounds.

As recently as 2020, certain bills have started opening doors for legalizing the medicinal use of psilocybin. Some states have already decriminalized its use. 

Understanding the science of magic mushrooms, blue bruising, and psychoactive compounds is necessary. The outcomes of further research studies could foreshadow more breakthroughs in psychedelic freedom. 

Want to learn more about these magical fungi? Check out our Fungushead blog for informative articles, guides, and exciting facts.


All of the content and images on our site are for informational reference only. The cultivation of psilocybin mushrooms is federally illegal in the United States. We do not promote the cultivation of psilocybin “magic” mushrooms under any circumstances. Do not contact us asking for advice related to this subject. Any products found on this site are for microscopy and taxonomy purposes only. None of the psilocybin mushroom spores we offer are for consumption or cultivation. We do not sell any products containing psilocybin.


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