For generations, humans have employed hallucinogenic mushrooms such as Psilocybe species. Historically, they were an important part of Mesoamerican healing and religious rites. The Aztecs referred to them as teonanácatl, which means ‘meat of the Gods.’
Other forms of magic mushrooms, such as Amanita muscaria, were important in Eastern European and Siberian shamanic traditions. Many scientists believe these mushrooms were also a component of the celestial soma drink stated in the historic Hindu literature Rig Veda. Many more mushrooms, in addition to these well-known examples, exhibit hallucinogenic characteristics. Here is our comprehensive guide, as well as our favorite mushroom spore brand.
Psilocybin mushrooms, sometimes known as magic mushrooms, are a polyphyletic informal group of fungi that contain psilocybin, which when consumed converts to psilocin. Psilocybe, Panaeolus (including Copelandia), Inocybe, Pluteus, Gymnopilus, and Pholiotina are biological genera that include psilocybin mushrooms. Psilocybin mushrooms have been and continue to be employed in religious, divinatory, and spiritual contexts by indigenous New World societies. They are also used recreationally. They appear in Stone Age rock art in Africa and Europe, but they are most renowned in Pre-Columbian sculptures and glyphs found across North, Central, and South America.
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Psilocybin and psilocin are the active ingredients in psilocybin mushrooms. When psilocybin is consumed, the liver breaks it down in a process known as dephosphorylation. Psilocin, the resultant molecule, is responsible for the psychedelic effects. Psilocybin and psilocin enhance users’ tolerance in the short term, making it difficult to abuse them since the more frequently they are taken in a short period of time, the lower the consequent effects are.
There is no evidence that psilocybin mushrooms produce physical or psychological reliance (addiction). The psychedelic effects begin around 20 minutes after administration and can last up to 6 hours. Nausea, vomiting, euphoria, muscular weakness or relaxation, sleepiness, and loss of coordination are all possible side effects.
The effects of psychedelic mushrooms, like those of other psychedelic drugs, are subjective and can vary greatly amongst users. Psilocybin-containing mushrooms’ mind-altering effects generally last three to eight hours, depending on dosage, preparation technique, and personal metabolism.
The first 3-4 hours following consumption are commonly referred to as the ‘peak,’ during which the user experiences more intense visions and reality distortions. Because of psilocybin’s tendency to alter temporal perception, the effects might appear to continue considerably longer for the user.
Mushrooms affect everyone differently depending on:
The effects of mushrooms are felt in around 30 minutes and persist for 3 to 6 hours. The effects are most powerful (peak) within the first 3 to 4 hours.
Mushrooms can alter how you see, smell, hear, taste, and touch (for example, you may believe you can see music or hear colors). Your body may feel extremely weighty or extremely light. You may get the impression that you are enjoying a mystical or holy experience. You may also do the following while ingesting mushrooms:
The effects of mushrooms can be overpowering and frightening at times (a bad trip). If someone is having a rough journey, attempt to reassure them calmly.
If you are pregnant, avoid eating mushrooms. It is unknown how mushrooms influence pregnant women and their developing children. Mushrooms may include other medicines that are harmful to your baby. Combining mushrooms with other drugs or alcohol may raise your chance of developing additional health issues.
Before we get into the numerous forms of psychedelic mushrooms, a little primer on identification is in order. While several varieties of magic mushrooms grow in North America and Europe, gathering them in the wild is dangerous. They can be difficult to diagnose correctly, and errors can result in potentially lethal poisonings.
Furthermore, most locations make it unlawful to collect and prepare psychoactive mushrooms. As a result, readers should consider the material in this article to be strictly instructional. For whatever reason, we do not encourage gathering wild mushrooms.
Having saying that, studying magic mushrooms may be quite rewarding. Over 200 mushroom species have some kind of psychedelic action. The most well-known are from the genus Psilocybe. P. cubensis, P. semilanceata, and P. baeocystis are some frequent examples, which we will go over in depth below.
There are several different Psilocybe species, all of which are hallucinogenic. The indole alkaloids psilocybin, psilocin, and baeocystin are among the active chemicals found in these mushrooms.
Psilocybin is the most well-known and has been the focus of much investigation. According to recent research, it may help those suffering from depression, anxiety, addiction, and other conditions.
Psilocybin is converted to psilocin in the body by a process known as dephosphorylation. It then attaches to serotonin receptors, causing it to have its specific effects on the body and mind.
In 1957, Swiss scientist Albert Hofmann discovered psilocybin from P. mexicana mushrooms. Its molecular structure is comparable to that of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), which Hofmann created some years earlier from another hallucinogenic fungus, Claviceps.
Although less strong than LSD, the effects of psilocybin are similar. They include mood and sensation amplification, changed thinking processes, and hallucinations.
The most prevalent hallucinogenic mushrooms are Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms, popularly known as cubes or gold caps. They are common in the United States and are connected with cattle ranching, frequently growing on or near cow manure. They are also one of the simplest forms of magic mushrooms to grow indoors.
When young, P. cubensis has reddish-brown crowns that lighten to a golden tint. Their gills are light and grey, eventually becoming purple to black. Their spore print ranges from deep purple to brown. P.cubensis flesh can bruise blue when touched, which is one of its identifying characteristics. This trait is shared by many other Psilocybe species.
Liberty caps are another name for Psilocybe semilanceata. They are found in open grasslands like as meadows, parks, and lawns across North America and Europe. The caps of P. semilanceata are cream to whitish-gray in color and bell-shaped, with a nipple-like protrusion (umbo) at the top. They feature long, thin stalks and cream-colored gills that darken when the purple-brown spores are released.
The liberty cap, Psilocybe semilanceata, is a fungus that generates the hallucinogenic chemicals psilocybin, psilocin, and baeocystin. It is both one of the most common and one of the most powerful psilocybin mushrooms in nature. The mushrooms have a unique conical to bell-shaped cap that may grow to be up to 2.5 cm (1 in) in diameter and has a little nipple-like protrusion on top.
When damp, they are yellow to brown, with radial grooves that fade to a lighter tint as they develop. Their stipes are long and thin, and the same color or somewhat lighter as the cap. The gill connection to the stipe is adnexed (narrowly connected), and the spores are cream-colored at first before becoming purple to black as they grow. The spores are elliptical in form, dark purplish-brown in bulk, and measure 10.5-15 by 6.5-8.5 micrometres.
The mushroom thrives on grasslands, particularly in wetter places. The fungus, unlike P. cubensis, does not grow directly on dung; instead, it is a saprobic species that feeds on decomposing grass roots. It is widespread in temperate parts of the Northern Hemisphere, notably in Europe, and has been documented in temperate areas of the Southern Hemisphere on occasion. Intoxication with P. semilanceata goes back to 1799 in London, and the mushroom was the first European species verified to contain psilocybin in the 1960s. Many nations make it unlawful to possess or sell psilocybin mushrooms.
Psilocybe baeocystis is a hallucinogenic fungus endemic to the Pacific Northwest, although it has also been discovered growing wild in New England. It may or may not be indigenous to New England. It may have been brought up. The plant is prevalent in garden beds that have been mulched with wood chips or peat moss, as well as in ancient but well-kept lawns. It’s not widely-known, perhaps because it’s tough to produce and doesn’t dry well. It also appears to have a restricted range.
It’s important to note that using the mushroom’s psychoactive properties—or simply intentionally owning the mushroom—is prohibited in most areas. Please research the legislation in your region and use caution. A journey to jail does not seem appealing.
Psilocybe baeocystis spores are (8.5) 9.5-13.7(17) x (5) 5.5-6.6(7.1) m in deposit, rectangular in face view or asymmetric ellipsoid (mango shape) in side view. Pleurocystidia are missing, and the basidia are 4-spored. Cheilocystidia are fusiod with a thin neck and measure 20-30(40) x 4.5-6(9) m.
This species is closely related to the subtropical Psilocybe aztecorum and Psilocybe quebecensis, both of which have crowns that bleach to white when dry.
There are other varieties of magic mushrooms, in addition to Psilocybe species. Many of them, including mushrooms from the following genera, generate psilocybin.
Not all mushrooms in any of these genera, however, are hallucinogenic. Furthermore, some contain just trace amounts of psychedelic substances and are more likely to cause nausea than provide a good experience.
Others might be difficult to recognize and can be mistaken with harmful species. Gymnopilus junonius, popularly known as laughing gyms, is a very widespread species. They grow in groups on tree stumps and logs and have huge golden tops. Unfortunately, they are often confused with potentially lethal Galerina species. Their rusty-colored spore prints are even comparable.
Amanita muscaria, often known as the fly agaric mushroom, is a tough fungus to misidentify. With its crimson and white-spotted top, it is the typical fairy-tale toadstool. Fly agaric has a rich mythological history and is an important element of Eastern European shamanic traditions.
A. muscaria, unlike the other mushrooms in this page, does not contain psilocybin. Its principal active components are ibotenic acid and muscimol, both of which have a strong effect on the central nervous system.
Ibotenic acid works in the same way as the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate. It produces hallucinations but also causes anxiety and convulsions. Experienced users rigorously dry their A. muscaria before usage to avoid these negative effects. This transforms ibotenic acid to muscimol via a process known as decarboxylation.
Muscimol functions in the same way as the inhibitory neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). It depresses the central nervous system, resulting in a drowsiness that some have compared to being intoxicated. It also appears to have neuroprotective qualities, which leads experts to believe it may assist neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s.
Although A. muscaria is relatively easy to recognize, its near cousins are among the most lethal in the fungal kingdom. Amanita phalloides, often known as death caps, contains a high concentration of amatoxins.
They are associated with gastrointestinal discomfort and liver failure, as well as a high death rate. As a result, rather than attempting to collect and cook Amanita mushrooms, it is better to enjoy them in their natural environments.
There are hundreds of different kinds of magic mushrooms, with some being more well-known than others. Because of its comparatively high psilocybin contents, psilocybe species are among the most common and hallucinogenic. Other psilocybin-containing mushrooms are less trustworthy, either because of low quantities of the hallucinogenic chemical or because of identification difficulties.
There are hundreds of different kinds of magic mushrooms, with some being more well-known than others. The active ingredients and effects of Amanita muscaria are rather distinctive. It is ubiquitous and quite easy to identify. Consumers must, however, prepare it appropriately to avoid unpleasant side effects, and misidentification might be fatal.
Because of these difficulties, it is best to utilize only properly gathered and processed magic mushrooms. Furthermore, consumption should take place only in safe and supportive environments and in places where it is legal.
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