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Magic mushrooms is a well-known nickname for all mushroom species that contain the psychoactive substance psilocybin. Magic mushrooms, also known as Psilocybin mushrooms or Shrooms, are probably the most appreciated psychedelic medicine known in the Western world and the microdosing community.
Psilocybin containing magic mushrooms can be found all around the world: there are than 200 mushroom species of them. You may or many not know that after ingesting magic mushrooms, the psilocybin gets metabolized by our body into psilocin, which is the actual active compound that provides the psychedelic effect.
In nature, mushrooms (fungi), are the fruit of a vast network of cells called mycelium. Mycelium has a thread-like structure, and that’s how it can form extensive networks that exchange information and nutrients. For example, in the soil of the U.S. state of Oregon is the largest known fungal network in the world. It extends over an area of nearly 50 square miles (124.5 square kilometers or 1750 soccer fields).
History of Magic Mushrooms
Traditional use of magic mushrooms among indigenous cultures as a messenger of Mother Earth dates back thousands of years. In these original traditions, the plant medicine is always accompanied by a ritual, which gives a much deeper meaning to the whole experience. Psychonauts like Terence McKenna and Graham Hancock have argued that psychedelics—such as psilocybin—may have played a fundamental role in human evolution and history. At least, as far as our self-awareness and abstract thinking abilities are concerned.
Numerous mushroom-shaped figurines and wall paintings in the area of Central America and Chile point that it’s likely that thousand of years ago, the ancestors of the Aztecs were aware of the psychoactive effects of certain types of mushrooms. The significance of these findings is still not entirely clear, but it seems that Magic Mushrooms played a major role in everyday life but were primarily for medical and religious purposes.
The first written evidence of the consumption of magic mushrooms comes from the Spanish conquistadors. When invading the American continent, they noted in their logbooks the customs and practices of the indigenous people. One of the oldest notes found is from the 16th century by a Spanish monk Bernandino de Sahágun:
“Before sunrise they ate the mushrooms with honey, and when this excited them they began to dance, some laughed, others cried. (…) Some sat as if in deep thought. Some saw themselves dying; some saw themselves being eaten by a wild beast, others imagined themselves capturing their enemies in battle. Some believed they had committed adultery and that their skull would be cleaved as punishment.”
The Spaniards didn’t allow beliefs other than the Catholic faith and banned the mushroom rituals, which they said were “primitive and inhuman”. They even put the death penalty on them.
Re-emergence of Magic Mushrooms in Western Culture
Nevertheless, mushroom ceremonies with Native American and Catholic spiritual influences were still being held in South America. The first white person to participate in such a ritual was an American R. Gordon Wasson. In 1955 his search for “the secret of the mushroom” guided him to the Oaxaca region of Mexico—the territory of the Mazatec people. Near the town of Huautla de Jimenez lived the famous healer, Maria Sabina. She eventually invited Wasson and his photographer Richardson to a nighttime ceremony or velada.
Back in New York, Wasson further studied the Magic Mushrooms with French mycologist Roger Heim. Together, they identified seven different hallucinogenic mushrooms. In 1957, Wasson wrote a major article in on these Magic Mushrooms in the American magazine Life, titled “Seeking the Magic Mushroom—Great adventures in the discovery of mushrooms that cause strange visions.” It was published in English and Spanish and hit like a bomb—it was read all over the world and an unprecedented mushroom craze began.
Legality of Magic Mushrooms
Although the ingredient psilocybin is officially banned, it’s currently on legal to possess, consume, and sell magic mushrooms in Brazil. This is because illegal activities in Brazil are required by law to have particular regulations in writing; however, there are none concerning the production nor sale of fresh magic mushrooms.
In the United States however, magic mushrooms are listed as a Schedule I drug, which means that they are considered to have “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse”. Surprisingly, buying magic mushroom spores is legal in most states and Canada (except California, Georgia, and Idaho), as long as you don’t intend to use them to grow mushrooms. Growing them is allowed in New Mexico and several cities, including Denver and Oakland, have decriminalized magic mushrooms. Additional US cities may follow suit and enact their own magic mushroom legislation. Notably, Oregon made history by being the first state in the United States to decriminalize all drugs outright in 2020.
In Costa Rica, the legal status of magic mushrooms is unclear, but psychedelic retreats are available to the public and so far there appear to have been no arrests in Costa Rica due to magic mushrooms.
Although the sale and transportation of magic mushrooms are prohibited in the British Virgin Islands, possession, and personal use are legal. Vendors may even be selling them to visitors without apparent repercussions. Equally, there don’t appear to be restrictions on the consumption of magic mushrooms in Jamaica, and there are even a few shroom retreats there.
In Europe, Austria, Spain, and Portugal have decriminalized magic mushrooms, meaning you can possess small amounts without going to jail. Meanwhile, the Czech Republic has decriminalized the cultivation in small amounts.
In the Netherlands, psilocybin mushrooms are illegal, while on the other hand Magic Truffles that also contain psilocybin and are legal. Except that magic mushrooms are significantly more potent than magic truffles, there is not much difference and both are suitable for microdosing.
In all other countries, magic mushrooms are illegal to possess, grow, sell, and consume.
The effects of magic mushrooms
Many people think that natural substances such as magic mushrooms, cannabis, and mescaline are sacred herbs that can help individuals achieve higher spiritual states. Others consume magic mushrooms to feel euphoric, connected, and have a warped sense of time.
The effects of magic mushrooms take 20 to 40 minutes to begin and can last from four to six hours. Several factors influence the effects, including dosage, age, weight, personality, emotional state, surroundings, and mental illness. The hallucinogenic effects are about the same as LSD, although psilocybin is 200x less potent and has a shorter duration.
The subjective effects of high doses of magic mushrooms include:
- Visuals (both with eyes open and closed)
- Time distortions
- Increased introspection
- Conceptual thinking
- Ego loss
Notably, the intensity and duration of effects produced by psilocybin mushrooms can vary greatly depending on factors such as species and batch, which can complicate standardized dosing information.
Pharmacology of magic mushrooms
The main active substances of the mushroom are psilocybin and psilocin. Only psilocin is proactive but is very unstable and breaks down when you dry the mushroom, while psilocybin can last much longer (a 115-year-old mushroom was once found that still contained it). Psilocybin is a prodrug, which means that our liver metabolized it to psilocin. It then acts at the serotonin receptor to produce the typical psychedelic effects.
Other compounds in magic mushrooms have been discovered over time, including baeocystin, norbaeocystin, and aeruginascin. Thanks to growing interest in the potential therapeutic uses of psychedelics, scientists are investigating magic mushrooms at a fundamental level, figuring out what (other) molecules are in the chemical makeup.
Toxicity & risks of magic mushrooms
Unlike other prohibited substances, magic mushrooms are neither addictive nor physiologically toxic. However, adverse psychological reactions can happen to people predisposed to psychological or psychiatric disorders. Some possible, but rare, negative side effects include:
The therapeutic applications of psilocybin in high doses are promising; PTSD, existential fear in terminal patients and depression are the fields of clinical research yielding excellent results. These are exciting times for the scientists working on this.
Microdosing magic mushrooms
Effects of microdosing magic mushrooms
Risks of microdosing magic mushrooms
Growing magic mushrooms
There are many ways to obtain magic mushrooms. One way is to learn how to grow your own magic mushrooms, which is not hard at all! Why grow your own magic mushrooms?
- They are easy to process and dose
- The chance of side effects, e.g., nausea, is lower than in the case of magic truffles
- It’s cheaper than buying magic truffles
- The psilocybin content is higher in magic mushrooms than in truffles
Learn how to grow Sacred Mushrooms 🍄
(anywhere in the world)
How to prepare your dose for microdosing magic mushrooms—drying fresh mushrooms
To prepare the dose as accurately as possible, we advise drying your magic mushrooms, weigh them, and put them in capsules. Follow these steps to prepare your dose for microdosing magic mushrooms.
What you need:
- Fresh magic mushrooms
- Gauze or strainer
- Cardboard box
- Empty capsules (vegetarian or made from gelatin)
- Electric scale (choose a precision scale that can weigh from 0.01g)
- Electric coffee grinder
- Capsule machine
1. Pre-dry the magic mushrooms
- Tear the stems and caps from the magic mushrooms in half (this will speed up the drying process and prevent molding)
- Place the mushrooms on a paper towel or newspaper
- Direct a fan on the magic mushrooms for approximately two days (avoid using heat sources such as heaters or microwaves for the drying process. High temperatures destroy the psilocybin). The temperature might get too hot and destroy the psilocybin—the active molecule.
Another option is to dry the magic mushrooms in the oven. Set the temperature to max 113 °F (45 °C) and leave the oven on for +/- 48 hours. Because this is a waste of energy, we encourage the fan method!
2. Dry the magic mushrooms further
After the magic mushrooms have been pre-dried, they need to be dried thoroughly to grind them into fine powder.
- Use a moisture absorbing pad for further drying
- Place magic mushrooms in a cardboard box, on a gauze or strainer
- Put the cardboard box on top of a moisture absorbing pad
- Seal the box
- Wait for +/- three days until the magic mushrooms are bone dry. This is important because it keeps them from molding! To check if they are dry enough, they should immediately snap when you bend them.
- Store them in an airtight jar (there are stash boxes or use a Tupperware container or a sealed bag)
3. Grind the magic mushrooms
Preferably, wait until the last flight of shrooms has been dried before you grind them. Grind them into fine powder. This works best using a coffee grinder. Because the different parts of the psilocybin mushrooms can differ in potency, it’s important to mix everything well to ensure a constant potency when microdosing magic mushrooms.
4. Encapsule the powered magic mushrooms
To make microdosing magic mushrooms as effortless as possible, we advise encapsulating them and preparing your microdoses ahead of time.
NOTE: Remember to remove the weight of an empty capsule from the total weight. With most scales, you do it by placing an empty capsule on the scale and pressing “tare”. The scale will then not count the weight of the capsule.
5. Finding your sweet spot for microdosing magic mushrooms
If it’s your first time microdosing psilocybin mushrooms, and you have not found your sweet spot yet, you can prepare several microdoses with different quantities. For example, prepare at some capsules with different quantities, 0.1 gram, a dose of 0.2 gram, and one with 0.3 gram. To find out which dose is your sweet spot, start with the lowest dose. If you feel this microdose is too low, take a higher dose the next microdosing day. Read more in-depth how to microdose.
6. Start microdosing magic mushrooms
Once you have determined your sweet spot, you can fully get started with microdosing psilocybin mushrooms and prepare a larger amount of capsules. If you don’t feel like tinkering with it for a long time, you can use a capsule machine.
Join the ever-growing microdosing community!
- Bauer, B.E. (2019, November 26). Scientists Discover New Compounds in Magic Mushrooms. Retrieved from: https://psychedelicreview.com
- Guzmán, G., Allen, J. W., & Gartz, J. (1998). A worldwide geographical distribution of the neurotropic fungi, an analysis and discussion. Ann. Mus. Civ. Rovereto, 14, 189-280.
- Lüscher, C., & Ungless, M. A. (2006). The Mechanistic Classification of Addictive Drugs, 3(11).