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Psilocybe Mushroom FAQ
by Nipo, Gnosis, Erowid, and Others
v 2.17 - Oct 2011
Erowid Note: This FAQ was not authored by Erowid. It may include out-of-date and/or incorrect information. Please check the version date to see when it was most recently revised. It appears on Erowid as part of our historical archives. For current information, see Erowid's summary pages in the substance's main vault.

¤ Index

  1. Credits
  2. Disclaimer
  3. History
  4. Etymology
  5. Chemistry
  6. Psychology
  7. Legality
  8. Botany
  9. Mushroom Guide
  10. Psilocybian Mushroom Resources
  11. Picking Mushrooms
  12. Drying Mushrooms
  13. Dosage
  14. Effects
  15. Consumption
  16. Preparation for the Voyage
  17. Music and the Voyage
  18. During the Voyage
  19. Warning
  20. Miscellaneous Questions
  21. Further Reading
  22. References
  23. Endnotes





CREDITS
Version 2.17 Oct 2011
Erowid Editing
Corrected "Australian" to "Austrian" for Robert Weitlaner.

Version 2.16 Feb 2010
Erowid Editing
Fixed error regarding LD50/ED50, ratio was reversed.

Version 2.15 June 2009
Erowid Editing
Fixed United Kingdom law section.

Version 2.14 July 2007
Erowid Editing
Clarifying point about psilocin being more potent than psilocybin based on reader question.

Version 2.13
Erowid Editing
M questioned the Aztec's use of S. divinorum. Added note.

Version 2.12
Erowid Editing
KH found an error in the taxonomy given for psilocybes. Although complicated because the world of taxonomy is in a state of active transition, KH's proposed taxonomy was better than the original.

Version 2.11
Erowid Editing
Cody suggested addition of peanut butter sandwiches to consumption techniques.

Version 2.1
Erowid Editing
zhah: Changed Ps. to P. throughout document. Regularized dosage approximations in Dosage section. Edited dosage section "rule of thumb", added Stamets psilocybin dose estimates.
Erowid: Consolidated dosage information into the Dosage subsection, removed dosage discussion from the Mushroom Guide.
Anno: Chemistry section revised: Table of chemicals and reference to Leung 1965 removed.
Anno: Removed erroneous mention of atropine and other problems in the muscaria-type mushroom section.
Jul 2004
Version 2.03
Erowid : Added clarifying colons to species list and noted no source given for "only psilocin" note on C. kuehneriana.
Aug 2003
Version 2.02
Erowid (updated nipo & gnosis email addresses)
Nov 8, 2001
Version 2.02
Erowid (altered slightly the law section for britain
Sep 8, 2001
Version 2.01
Erowid (edits to resources section)
June 5, 2001
Version 2.0
Erowid (html, layout, and 2.0 additions, major history update)
John W. Allen (technical corrections from 1.2 to 2.0)
lorelain (Traducción al espańol)
April 23, 1999
Version 1.2
Nipo (1.2 writing) - updated email address Nov 8, 2001
Gnosis (1.2 layout, additions) - updated email address Nov 8, 2001
Thanks to
baabo@brahman.nullnet.fi (shroom descriptions)
Tatu (shroom descriptions
ppennane@cc.helsinki.fi (tryptamine faq)
dr303@cleveland.freenet.edu (alkaloid content figures)
Lamont Granquist (neuropharmacology)
& all the other net-people who added or corrected info & especially our fellow innerspace astronauts


DISCLAIMER
This FAQ is presented for informational purposes only. We do not advocate illegal activities, but we do believe in the right of the individual to have free access to information and ideas.

This FAQ may be freely distributed for non-commercial purposes as long as it remains intact with full credit attached.


HISTORY
Hallucinogenic mushrooms have been part of human culture as far back as the earliest recorded history. Ancient paintings of mushroom-ed humanoids have been found in caves in the Saharan desert. Central and Southern America cultures built temples to mushroom gods and carved "mushroom stones". These stone carvings in the shape of mushrooms, or in which figures are depicted under the cap of a mushroom, have been dated to as early as 1000-500 B.C. The purpose of the sculptures is not certain, but these stones may have been religious objects.

The Mixtec culture of central Mexico worshipped many gods, one known as Piltzintecuhtli, or 7 Flower (his name presented in the pictoral language as seven circles and a flower) who was the god for hallucinatory plants, especially the divine mushroom. The Vienna Codex (or Codex Vindobonensis) (ca 13th-15th century) depicts the ritual use of mushrooms by the Mixtec gods, showing Piltzintecuhtli and 7 other gods holding mushrooms in their hands.1

The Aztec people had a closely-related god of the entheogens. Xochipilli, Prince of Flowers, was the divine patron of "the flowery dream" as the Aztecs called the ritual hallucinatory trance. The Aztecs used a number of plant hallucinogens including psilocybian mushrooms (teonanácatl), morning glory seeds, Datura (tlapatl or toloache) , Peyote (peyotl), and mixitl grain. They may have also used plants such as Salvia divinorum2. Psilocybian mushrooms were used in ritual and ceremony, served with honey or chocolate at some of their holiest events.3

With Cortez's defeat of the Aztecs in 1521, the Europeans began to forbid the use of non-alcohol intoxicants, including sacred mushrooms, and the use of teonanácatl ('wondrous mushroom', or 'flesh of the gods'4) was driven underground.

In the mid 16th century, Spanish priest Bernardino de Sahagún wrote of the use of hallucinogenic mushrooms by the Aztecs in his Florentine Codex :

"The first thing to be eaten at the feast were small black mushrooms that they called nanacatl and bring on drunkenness, hallucinations and even lechery; they ate these before the dawn...with honey; and when they began to feel the effects, they began to dance, some sang and others wept... When the drunkenness of the mushrooms had passed, they spoke with one another of the visions they had seen."

According to Sahagún, the psychoactive mushrooms which were ingested by the Aztec priests and their followers were always referred to as teonanácatl though the term does not appear to be used by modern indians or shamans in mesoamerica. 5 The varieties most likely to have been used by the Aztecs are Psilocybe caerulescens and Psilocybe mexicana. Psilocybe cubensis, which is currently quite popular as it is easy to locate and cultivate, was not introduced to America until the arrival of the Europeans and their cattle.

During the early 20th century there was dispute amongst western academics as to whether psychoactive mushrooms existed. Though Sahagun had mentioned teonanácatl in his diaries, an American botanist William Safford argued he had mistaken dried peyote buttons for mushrooms. This theory was strongly disputed by Austrian amateur botanist Dr. Blas Pablo Reko, who had lived in Mexico. Reko was convinced that not only did teonanacatl refer to psychoactive mushrooms as Sahagun had written, but that people were still using these mushrooms in Mexico.

In the early 30's, Robert Weitlaner, an Austrian amateur anthropologist witnessed a Mazatec mushroom ceremony (velada) just northeast of Oaxaca, Mexico. After hearing about the dispute between Safford and Reko, he contacted Reko, told him that the Otomi Indians of Puebla used mushrooms as inebriants, and sent him samples of the mushrooms. Reko forwarded the samples to Stockholm for chemical analysis, and to Harvard for botanical examination, but by the time the samples arrived they were too decayed to be properly identified.

The samples had been received at Harvard by ethnobotanist Richard Evans Schultes. Schultes quickly became a supporter of the idea that Teonanácatl did indeed refer to mushrooms and in the Harvard Botanical Museum Leaflets of April and November 1937 he argued against Safford's conclusions and urged that further work be done to identify the mushrooms. In 1938, Schultes and Reko went to Mexico and after hearing reports of Mazatec veladas near Huautla de Jimenéz northeast Oaxaca and collected specimens of Panaeolus sphinctrinus, which was reported to be the primary psychoactive mushroom used by the Mazatecs. They also collected Psilocybe cubensis, Psilocybe caerulescens, and possibly a few specimens of Psilocybe mexicana,6 all of which were deposited in the Harvard herbarium. While P. sphincrinus was identified as psychoactive, only two analysis have since detected indole alkaloids in the species, while hundreds of other analyses have not detected any activity whatsoever. The mushrooms which were examined were probably a mixed collection labeled as one species. 7

The investigations of Schultes and Reko came to an end during World War II, and little more was learned until the early 1950's when amateur mycologist R. Gordon Wasson, and his wife Valentina Povlovna, became interested in the traditional use of mushrooms in Mexico. In 1953 Wasson and a small group travelled to Huautla de Jimenéz where they observed an all night ceremony under the guidance of a shaman named Don Aurelio. Two subsequent trips to Mexico led to meeting the Mazatec curandera Maria Sabina who on June 29th 1955 provided Wasson and his companion photographer Allan Richardson with Psilocybe caerulescens during a Velada.

In 1956, Heim requested help from Sandoz in extracting the active ingredients of the mushrooms. Albert Hofmann, a research chemist at Sandoz, soon isolated psilocybin and psilocin and developed a synthesis technique. Wasson continued to travel to Oaxaca over the next few years, and with Roger Heim published a description of the Mazatec velada and seven varieties of psilocybian mushrooms in the May 13, 1957 issue of Life magazine. Popular information about the mushrooms soon spread. Experimentation with the mushrooms and the synthesized substances began and "magic mushrooms"8 were soon part of the 60's 'psychedelic' movement.


ETYMOLOGY
   / et'e-mol'e-je / 1. the origin and history of words

The name of the genus "Psilocybe" comes from the Greek words "psilos" (bare) and "kube" (head), warped into New Latin to form "psilocybe". Literally translated, this means "bare head", most likely referring to their appearance.

The most psychoactive compounds found in Psilocybe mushrooms are psilocybin and psilocin, which are discussed at length in the next part. The original Greek spellings for these are "psilocybin" and "psilocin" while the Latin spellings are "psilocybine" and "psilocine". Both sets of spellings are used. The Latin spellings are predominant in Europe, while most scholars in the field prefer the Greek spellings.


CHEMISTRY
The primary active ingredients of Psilocybe mushrooms are psilocybin and psilocin, and to a lesser extent baeocystin and norbaeocystin. The ratio of psilocybin to psilocin varies from species to species. The primary difference between the two compounds is that psilocin is unstable, considered to be more prone to destructive oxidation, and breaks down when the mushroom is dried. Psilocybin is thought to last much longer (a 115-year old mushroom sample was found to contain some).

Psilocin More Potent than Psilocybin
The two are equally psychoactive, since one molecule of psilocybin is simply metabolized into one molecule of psilocin. But in terms of weight, we find that psilocybin is less potent than psilocin. Because psilocybin can be thought of as a 'prodrug' (a drug which is not technicall active itself but is transformed into the active drug in the body), the extra mass of the phosphoryl group is essentially dead weight on the molecule. So, if one compares the two, they will see that psilocybin is, active molecule per active molecule, 1.4 times as heavy as psilocin :
              molecular weight of psilocybin   284.3
              ------------------------------ = ----- = 1.391
              molecular weight of psilocin     204.3

So by weight psilocin is around 1.4 times more potent. The formula for calculating total potency of a sample of psilocybin mushrooms, ignoring [nor]baeocystin, is thus:
(psilocybin) + (1.4 * psilocin) = total potency in 'psilocybin units'.

Because this confuses people and Erowid has received questions about this issue, we will restate it again (skip this paragraph if this is very clear to you). One molecule of psilocybin is metabolized into one molecule of psilocin, the chemical that is active in the brain. One molecule of psilocybin weighs 1.4 times the weight of one molecule of psilocin and 1000 molecules of psilocybin weighs 1.4 times the weight of 1000 molecules of psilocin. If a given number of molecules of psilocybin weighed 1 gram, the equivalent number of molecules of psilocin would weigh LESS than one gram. The definition of potency is simply a comparison of the amount (usually measured by mass or weight) of material against how active it is. Therefore, a substance that produces the same effect with less mass is said to be more potent. This is the case with psilocin, because each molecule of psilocin is lighter yet has the same effect as each molecule of psilocybin, it is said to be more potent.


Structures of Psilocybin, Psilocin, Baeocystin, and Norbaeocystin

Now, here's the structural diagram for psilocybin:

PSILOCYBIN

C12H17N2O4P

4-OPO4-DMT

4-Phosphoryloxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine

1H-Indol-4-ol, 3-[2-(dimethylamino)-ethyl] dihydrogen phosphate ester

CAS #: 520-52-5

DEA #: 7437



Once ingested, the phosphorus part is chopped off ("dephosphorylated") by the enzyme alkaline phosphatase, turning it into our other friend:

PSILOCIN

C12H16N2O

4-OH-DMT

4-Hydroxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine

1H-Indol-4-ol, 3-[2-(dimethylamino) ethyl]

CAS #: 520-53-6

DEA #: 7438



Psilocybin and psilocin are part of the tryptamine family (indole C8H7N & ethylamine side chain). Psilocybin is soluble in 20 parts water, while psilocin is only slightly soluble in water.9 They bear close resemblance to the neurotransmitter serotonin. How these substances work is still quite obscure. Primary effect seems to be the inhibition of neurotransmitter serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine aka 5-HT), i.e. a 5-HT2A post-synaptic agonist that mimics the effects to 5-HT to put it in jargon. This is the working hypothesis for LSD-25 at the moment and it's probably true for psilocybin as well. These substances also present some cross-tolerance.

Psilocybin, psilocin and psilocybian mushrooms have very low toxicity - in tests with mice, doses up to 200 mg of pure psilocybin/kg of body weight have been injected intravenously without lethal effects (that would be 13 grams of pure psilocybin per average human (65 kg / 140 lbs). The LD50:ED50 ratio (dose lethal to 50% of animals divided by the dose effective for 50% of animals) is 641 according to the NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects; compare this with 9637 for vitamin A, 4816 for LSD, 199 for aspirin and 21 for nicotine. According to Leo Hollister, Jonathon Ott, and John W. Allen, one would have to consume their body weight in fresh mushrooms or eat approximately 19 grams of the pure chemical substance to bring on death. As long as Psilocybin mushrooms are properly identified, poisoning is not a problem.

Then we have the two other significant indole alkaloids:

BAEOCYSTIN

C11H15N2O4P

4-OPO4-MT

4-Phosphoryloxy-N-methyltryptamine

1H-Indol-4-ol, 3-[2-(methylamino)-ethyl] dihydrogen phosphate ester

CAS #: 21420-58-6

DEA #: None

The monomethyl analogue of psilocybin



Unlike psilocybin, baeocystin is somewhat unstable, and decays noticeably with age. And then we have baeocystin's close chemical cousin:

NORBAEOCYSTIN

C10H13N2O4P

4-OPO4-T

4-Phosphoryloxytryptamine

1H-Indol-4-ol, 3-[2-aminoethyl] dihydrogen phosphate ester

CAS #: 21420-59-7

DEA #: None

The demethyl analogue of psilocybin



In other words, baeocystin and norbaeocystin are just psilocybin with one methyl and two methyls respectively lopped off. When baeocystin and norbaeocystin are dephosphorylated, they turn into 4-hydroxy-N-methyltryptamine and 4-hydroxytryptamine respectively. All 4 substances are presumed hallucinogenic though some suspect they are less psychoactive than psilocin or psilocybin. And unfortunately for all you synthesis experts, while baeocystin and norbaeocystin do not have DEA control numbers they do both fall under the Controlled Substance Analogue Act.

Baeocystin and norbaeocystin are generally present in smaller quantities than psilocyin and psilocybin, if they are present at all. Very little work seems to have been done with either substance (Chemical Abstracts averages a cite a year, with most being of the variety "baeocystin found in Psilocybe totallyobscuralis"). There has been speculation about a possible correlation between baeocystin content and nausea, but at least one bioassay suggests the effects are quite similar to those of psilocybin and psilocyin.10

These are just the four "biggies". There are many other chemicals present in psilocybin-containing mushrooms, but there has been no in-depth characterization of these other chemicals. Previous versions of this FAQ have included a table listing other chemicals, based on a paper by Leung 1965, but the earlier FAQ author simply misunderstood the meaning of the table and it has been removed.

There continue to be rumors that some psilocybian mushrooms contain small quantities of DMT, yet no chemical analysis that we know of has shown the presence of DMT. If it is to be found, it's in microscopic quantities, and as DMT is not orally active without an MAOI (monoamine oxidase inhibitor), it is quite unlikely to have any noticeable effect.

The effects of psilocybin can be potentiated (made stronger) by taking them with an MAOI such as harmine or harmaline which are found in the plant Peganum harmala (Syrian Rue). This combination roughly doubles the potency of mushrooms, according to most reports. Be extremely careful when combining MAOIs and tryptamines; when using non-reversible MAOIs or large quantities of reversible MAOIs, there are number of substances you must avoid to prevent a serious hypertensive crisis. See Foods to Avoid When Using MAO-Inhibitors, as well as Drugs to Avoid when using MAOIs. Long-term health effects are also unknown. If you wish to know more, consult the Tryptamine FAQ.


PSYCHOLOGY
"Nature's Perfect Entheogen®"11

Psilocybin is juuust fine. I've tried several psychoactive drugs, including hash, LSD-25 and psilocybin. Hash usually doesn't do much - sends me into a half sleep with silly thoughts and spacey soundscape added to music... LSD doesn't do it to me either. It's probably OK if you are after low dose recreation - partying and such... High doses - too blunt, like a mental power tool. It cracks up open your head; Starring You and Your Brain for 12 hours. Every perception magnified thousandfold - it's.. it's a bit too intense. INTENSE! is the keyword. It doesn't accept any apologies or mistakes.. too harsh. I often felt like I had been immersed in some chemical, into a substance so pure and efficient it has no place in nature. Too pure. 12 hours of LSD-25 acid-bath makes you really tired... physically and mentally. But psilocybin, mm-mm, it's juuuuust fiiiine.

Voyage to the spiritworld... visions and travels, awesome mental hallucinations. It's a direct ISDN-link to the mother earth, forgiving, gentle substance. You hear the chanting of the planet and the spirit of the mushroom. It's a product of the nature, untied to the actions of men and women roaming this planet. Your body disconnected from the circuit, you may often forget it exists. Six hours - not too short, not too long. Perfect.

It should be noted that like all 'major' hallucinogens, psilocybin can precipitate psychotic episodes and uncover or aggravate previous mental illness. If you're stressed out or depressed, don't take mushrooms; if you have schizophrenia or something, DO NOT take mushrooms.

ACID IS NOT FOR EVERY BRAIN .... ONLY THE HEALTHY, HAPPY, WHOLESOME, HANDSOME, HOPEFUL, HUMOROUS, HIGH-VELOCITY SHOULD SEEK THESE EXPERIENCES. THIS ELITISM IS TOTALLY SELF-DETERMINED. UNLESS YOU ARE SELF-CONFIDENT, SELF-DIRECTED, SELF-SELECTED, PLEASE ABSTAIN.
-- Timothy Leary, Ph.D.


I think this applies to mushrooms as well. Mushrooms and acid will open your doors of perception, and once open you can never truly close them again. They are more than a purely recreational drug.


LEGALITY
Here's a list of the places we know about. Much of this is 'off the net' and may thus be more or less flawed. "Y" means it is legal, "N" means it is illegal, "?" means their status is unclear.

A: Possession of fresh mushrooms
B: Possession of dried mushrooms
C: Possession of mushroom spores
D: Cultures at mycelium stage
E: Cultures at mushroom stage
Location A B C D E Noted
Austria Y ? Y Y YMushrooms are considered decorative plants and unless attempts to extract psilocybin are made, they should remain legal.
Canada Y N Y Y YIf Bill C-7 passes, possession of fresh mushrooms and cultures will become illegal.
Great Britain N N Y Y NIn 2005, the United Kingdom controlled even unprocessed psilocybin-containing mushrooms.
The Netherlands Y N Y Y YEven the sale of fresh mushrooms is legal. See "Growing Mushrooms" for addresses.
United States
(California)
N N N N NSpores and cultures are explicitly forbidden by CA Health & Safety Code Section 11391.
United States
(Florida)
Y N Y Y NPossession of fresh mushroom if picked "accidentally" (low quantities) is allowed.
United States
(Oregon)
Y N Y Y NEven allowing mushrooms to grow on your property is (theoretically) illegal.
United States
(Federal)
N N Y Y NMost prosecutions in the US are under state law, federal prosecution normally saved for very large busts.
International Y N Y Y NThis is the United Nations standard and most nations follow it.


These laws are based on a balance between the UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, which makes psilocybin and psilocin illegal, and recognition of the fact that the substances occur in nature. For each category:
  • Fresh shrooms: The basic idea is that since shrooms grow in nature, it'd be silly to arrest grannies who happen to have a few growing in their backyard, or who pick them by accident. This hasn't stopped most of the US (except Florida) from banning them entirely. Of course, if you are caught with 3000 Str. cubensis, you'll have a hard time claiming you picked them by "accident".
  • Dry shrooms: Usually taken as proof of intent to consume, and thus illegal. In Britain, "naturally dried" shrooms are legal, ie. if you leave them on a windowsill by 'accident' it's OK.
  • Shroom spores: Spores contain no psilocybin or psilocin and thus are not covered by regulations - except in California.
  • Cultures before shrooms appear: Same as above, usually. Advanced mycelia do contain psilocybin and psilocin. With the rice cake method you can grow until the mycelia are complete and then eat the cakes; this way you can trip without ever being in possession of shrooms.
  • Cultures after shrooms appear: Clear intent to consume, and you'll probably get charged with possession with intent to sell as well. However, in some of the more liberal countries such as Finland, you might be able to argue that the mushrooms were grown for decorative (ha!) or research purposes...but don't count on it.


Several states have implemented "paraphrenalia laws" which outlaw sale or possession of pretty much anything related to the production or use of illegal psychoactives. The laws generally include such things as bongs, pipes, needles, growing equipment, and theoretically...mushroom spores. In reality, these laws are generally used to hassle and confiscate the products of head shops that market to the drug using community. As far as we know there have been few prosecutions of head shops, and no prosecutions of individuals based on these paraphrenalia laws.

Mushroom hunting is another issue. On public property, hunting itself is not illegal, but you're not likely to run into cows in national parks either. Some countries like Finland have the legal concept of "everyman's right" which allows, among other things, picking mushrooms on private property, except on fields which once again makes things tricky. In the United States, it is a crime to trespass on private property which is marked 'No Trespassing'. Unless you live in a notorious shroom zone - some areas of Florida and South Wales come to mind - the odds of getting hassled by farmers, much less getting caught by the police, are reasonably low. But it is certainly possible to run into a irate property owner or police officer carrying a shotgun. In the late 1970's a deputy sheriff shot and killed two mushroom pickers for returning to a field after he told them not to return. He was given an eight year sentence for his crime.

If you are caught mushroom hunting by the police, it's possible to be charged with both trespassing and possession of a controlled substance. In practice, many people are either fined, or simply have their mushrooms confiscated. Unless possession of large quantities, production (growing), or sales are involved, it is likely you will get by with probation and/or a fine. If caught in Florida, you may be able to cite the state laws and have the possession charge reduced or dropped entirely.

Occasionally, when a search warrant is served for other charges (generally production or sale of other scheduled substances) and mushrooms are found, they add possession of mushrooms to the charges. However, it is relatively rare to have possession of personal use quanitites of mushrooms alone lead to prosecution, conviction, and jail time.


BOTANY
     .-'~~~-.
   .'o oOOOo`.        "I am ... a mushroom
  :~~~-.oOo   o`.      On whom the dew of heaven drops now and then."
   `. \ ~-.  oOOo.           - John Ford
     `.; / ~.  OO:
     .'  ;-- `.o.'
    ,' ; ~~--'~
    ;  ;               [ASCII stolen from Mescalito Ted]
_\\;_\\//_


Psilocybe mushrooms are:

KingdomPhyllumClassOrderFamily
Fungi Basidiomycota Basidiomycetes Stropharia Bolbitiaceae
Coprinaceae
Cortinariaceae
Pluteaceae
Strophariaceae
  • basidiomycotina or -mycetes - Fungi that produce spores on stalks outside the terminal cells.
  • agaricales - mushrooms with cap & gills;


See Tree of Life web Project.
Commonly used species:

  • Panaeolus: subbalteatus, tropicalis12
  • Psilocybe: baeocystis, caerulescens, cubensis, cyanescens, mexicana, pelliculosa, semilanceata, stuntzii
  • Copelandia: cyanescens, cambodgeniensis
Uncommonly used species [mostly copied from the Tryptamine FAQ]13 :

  • Agrocybe farinacea
  • Boletus: manicus, migroviolaceus, niggerimus, kumaeus, reayi [all (@)]
  • Conocybe: cyanopus, kuehneriana (*), siligineoides (?), smithii
  • Copelandia: anomala, bispora, cambodginiensis, cyanescens, tropicalis
  • Galerina: steglichii14
  • Gymnopilus: aeruginosus, liquiritiae, luteus, purpuratus, spectabilis, validipes, viridans
  • Inocybe: aeruginascens, coelestium, corydalna, haemacta, tricolor
  • Panaeolina: foenisecii (%)
  • Panaeolus: acuminatus, antillarum, ater, cambodginiensis, campanulatus, chlorocystis, foenisecii, firmicola, olivaceus, papilionaceus, retirugis, separatus, tropicalis
  • Pluteus: atricapillus (%), nigroviridis, salicinus


(*) Contains only psilocin. (No source provided)
(%) Contains only psilocybin.
(?) Contains unidentified tryptamines (probably psilocin/psilocybin).
(@) Contains unidentified hallucinogens (possibly psilocin/psilocybin). The Boletus genus is very large and very few of them are hallucinogenic; some are known to be poisonous.

Inclusion on this list does not mean the psilocin/psilocybin content is sufficient for psychotropic activity in practical amounts, for example one would need to eat around a thousand Pluteus atricapillus to get off.

The following hallucinogenic species contain not psilocin/psilocybin but ibotenic acid, muscimol and related compounds:



(*) The famed "Fly Agaric" red toadstool with white warts.

Amanita species cause 95% of all deaths from mushroom poisoning. The ones above are (reasonably) safe. The danger lies in incorrect identification. Death by Amanita poisoning is reportedly an excruciating way to die, since they destroy liver tissue and the body's own wastes then kill you. Worse yet, noticeable negative effects do not begin until 3 days after ingestion, and by then it's too late. (Note - Silymarin found in Milk Thistle seeds is one of the only substances known to protect against a majority of the liver damage caused by poisonous Amanita species, but it needs to be taken immediately after ingestion, long before any negative effects are noticed.) I would seriously recommend against toying with these; most reports say they're not even fun. If you insist, consult other sources for more information.


MUSHROOM GUIDE

Warning

"Expert shroomers really know their shit."
-cowboy@jax.jaxnet.com


A printout of this part of the text should provide an adequate check-list for mushrooms in the field, but a good mushroom book with color pictures of the mushrooms, preferably at all 4 stages of growth, is INVALUABLE.

For exhaustingly exhaustive and thoroughly technical descriptions of most Psilocybes, the reader is referred to Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World by Paul Stamets, Singer & Smith: Mycologia 58, 263-303 and H0iland: Norw J Botany 25(2), 111-122. These three, along with a dozen lesser references (all of them listed at the end), were primary sources in compiling this.

To check the spore color, take two caps, place one on a sheet of white and one on a black paper, or on a glass plate if you plan to use microscope. Place in a draftless place and wait for 6 to 24 hours. The dust-like stuff on the sheet is the spores. Compare the two papers. For size, you'll need a good microscope... =)

The standard identifying mark of most Psilocybes is that they stain blue when touched or cut; unless specifically noted otherwise, assume all mushrooms listed here do. Mind you, this blueing alone is not sufficient for identification as a non-poisonous and hallucinogenic mushroom!

It is STRONGLY recommended that for the first few hunts you go out with a friend who has hunted before and knows what they look like. While there are no poisonous mushrooms that look extremely similar to the common Psilocybes, there are quite a few that are similar enough to fool the novice or foolish....and a whole bunch that aren't psychoactive and might be quite unpleasant. So be careful!

Important Notes

Please see the Dosage section of this FAQ. The following per-species numbers are rough values that hopefully provide some comparison between the different types of mushrooms. Note that wet mushrooms and dry mushrooms can vary in the total amount of water they contain by over 10 times, with the general rule that "dry" mushrooms weigh about 1/10 that of "fresh" mushrooms.

Shroom descriptions in alphabetical order:

It should be kept in mind that mushrooms change appearance as they age and often have different coloration in different regions.

These descriptions, formatted nicely so that you can print them out as a booklet and take it with you when cow-hunting, are now available separately as the "Psilocybe FAQ Mushroom Field Guide". Available at all well-stocked FTP sites!

Quick Vocabulary
adnateGills that are fully attached to the stem
adnexedGills that are partially attached to the stem
apexTop part of stem (i.e. where it's attached to the cap)
concaveCap that curves "inward" (like the inside of a sphere)
convexCap that curves "outward" (like the outside of a sphere)
evanescentDescribes a quickly-disappearing veil
fibrilloseStem that seems to be made of fibers packed together
fissureCrack or cleft in cap or gills
HD"High dose"
hygrophilousAbsorbs water easily
hygrophanousBecomes translucent when wet
LD"Low dose"
MD"Medium dose"
mg/gMilligrams of substance per gram of dried mushroom
N/ANot applicable or not available
secedingGills that are detaching/detached from the stem
umbonateCap that is shaped like a knob
viscidCap covered with a sticky coating
And remember, if you think learning these is too hard, try reading Singer & Smith. "Stipe tubular, more rarely subequal, discolors to reddish cinerous, strongly sulcate at apex, glabrous to fibrillose..."

Conocybe cyanopus

a.k.a. Pholiotina cyanopoda

A small and uncommon but relatively strong mushroom, often found on lawns. Found in the northern parts of the U.S., Canada and northern Europe.
CAPdiameter0.7 - 2.5 centimeters
colorrusty/dark brown to black
appearanceconvex, nearly hemispherical, slightly expanding, slightly wrinkled at edges
STEMdiameter1 - 1.5 millimeters
length2 - 4 centimeters
colorwhite or slightly grayish
appearancesilky, striated
GILLSformnot crowded
colordull rust brown, white edges
SPOREScolordull rust brown
size6.5 - 7.5 x 4.5 - 5.0 x 4.5 - 5.0 micrometers
shapeellipsoid, distinct germ-pore
DOSAGEfresh grams7 (LD), 9 (MD), 11 (HD) (approx. 75-100 fresh small mushrooms or 1-2 grams dried)
mg/g psilocybin9.30 - 4.50
mg/g psilocin0.70 - 0.00
mg/g baeocystin0.30 - 1.00

Conocybe smithii

This tiny mushroom is scattered among mosses in swamps, boggy areas and ditches. Found in the northern parts of the U.S. and Canada.
CAPdiameter0.3 - 1.3 centimeters
colorochre/cinnamon brown, darker at edges
appearancesharply conical but expands with age, glistens when wet, hygrophanous
STEMdiameter0.75 - 1.00 millimeters
length1 - 7 centimeters
colorpure white
appearancefragile, slightly swollen at base
GILLSformcrowded, broad
colorochre/cinnamon brown
SPOREScolorrust cinnamon brown
size7.0 - 9.0 x 4.0 - 4.5 x 4.0 - 4.5 micrometers
shapeellipsoid, small but distinct germ-pore
DOSAGEfresh grams7 (LD), 9 (MD), 11 (HD) (approx. 75-100 fresh small mushrooms or 1-2 grams dried)
mg/g psilocybinN/A
mg/g psilocinN/A
mg/g baeocystin0.40 - 0.80

Galera cyanopes

see: Conocybe smithii


Panaeolina foenisecii

a.k.a. Psilocybe foenisecii, Psathyrella foenisecii, "Mower's mushroom", previously Panaeolus foenisecii

A very popular mushroom on lawns, grasses and cattle fields of all kind. Unlike other Panaeolus species it does not grow on dung! Grows from midsummer to first signs of winter. This one's everywhere!!!
CAPdiameter1 - 3 centimeters
colorlight brown to dark brown; dries to yellow-brown
appearancebroad, bluntly conical to bell-shaped, expanding to convex, broadly umbonate, or nearly plant; surface smooth or cracking into scales in dry weather; hygrophanous but not viscid; chestnut-brown to dark brown or cinnamon brown when moist fades as it dries to dingy buff or tan, often with darker marginal band when partially dru; flesh thin and fragile
STEMdiameter2 - 3 millimeters
length4 - 10 centimeters
colorpaler than cap
appearanceconstant diameter, sometimes with enlarged base, fragile, more or less smooth, white to dingy brownish, often becoming brown from the base upward
GILLSformadnate to adnexed or seceding, fairly close
colorbrown to deep/grayish/chocolate brown, faces often mottled and edges paler or whitish
SPOREScolorviolet brown
size12 - 17 x 7 - 9 x 7 - 9 micrometers
shapelemon shaped, large sprouter
DOSAGEfresh gramsN/A (LD), N/A (MD), N/A (HD)
mg/g psilocybin0.30
mg/g psilocin0.00
mg/g baeocystinN/A
OTHEROften found with other Panaeolus species.
"Mini-model" of Pa. subbalteatus.
This species is not psychoactive, no matter who reported it as so. It was mistakenly identified as psychoactive in a 1990 High Times article by Brolyn. See Allen and Merlin, 1992 for complete research on the effect of this species and its alleged poisoning in three young children and some adults.

Panaeolus acuminatus

a.k.a. Panaeolus rickenii

Grows in horse pastures and rarely on horse manure. From midsummer to the borders of winter. This fragile shroom is quite popular in Scandinavia and northern Europe.
CAPdiameter1 - 2 centimeters
colordark brown/black when wet, dark grey when dry, light brown from the center
appearancecone-shaped, hygrophilous
STEMdiameter1 - 3 millimeters
length5 - 12 centimeters
colorgreyish
appearanceN/A
GILLSformcrowded together
colorgrey to black, white tips
SPOREScolorviolet brown
size12 - 16 x 8 - 11 x 8 - 11 micrometers
shapelemon shaped
DOSAGEmushrooms40 (LD), 100 (MD), 150 (HD)
mg/g psilocybinN/A
mg/g psilocinN/A
mg/g baeocystinN/A
OTHERMakes a good strawberry milkshake!

Panaeolus ater

Fruits in forest clearings and cow pastures from spring to fall.
CAPdiameter1 - 2 centimeters
colordark brown when wet, pale yellow-brown when dry
appearancebell-shaped, spreads until hemispherical, smooth, hygrophilous.
STEMdiameter1 - 3 millimeters
length3 - 7 centimeters
colorpaler from tip, darker from bottom
appearanceN/A
GILLSformnarrowly attached
colorfirst dark grey then black
SPOREScolorN/A
size9 - 14 x 6 - 7.5 x 6 - 7.5 micrometers
shapelemon shaped
DOSAGEfresh gramsN/A (LD), N/A (MD), N/A (HD)
mg/g psilocybinN/A
mg/g psilocinN/A
mg/g baeocystinN/A

Panaeolus campanulatus

Grows in cattle pastures and especially on horse manure, from midsummer to fall.
CAPdiameter2 - 4 centimeters
colorbrown/gray/olive gray when fresh, reddish-brown and paler olive/tan/buff when drier
appearancebluntly conical or bell-shaped, expands very little with age; surface not viscid, often shiny when dry, smooth or finely wrinkled or often cracking to form scales (especially in sunlight); margin hung with small, white, toothlike veil remnants, at least when young; flesh thin and fragile
STEMdiameter1 - 3 millimeters
length5 - 15 centimeters
colorgrey or greyish brown
appearanceequal or thicker at apex, brittle or fragile, slightly powdered
GILLSformadnate or adnexed but often seceding, fairly close
colorfirst grey, blacken with age; edges whitish
SPOREScolorblack
size13 - 18 x 7 - 12 x 7 - 12 micrometers
shapeelliptical and smooth
DOSAGEmushroomsN/A (LD), N/A (MD), N/A (HD)
mg/g psilocybinN/A
mg/g psilocinN/A
mg/g baeocystinN/A
OTHERPsilocybin content evidently varies, some people have eaten over 100 of these with no effects.

Panaeolus foenisecii

see: Panaeolina foenisecii


Panaeolus rickenii

see: Panaeolus acuminatus


Panaeolus sphinctrinus

Grows on manure of all kind, from summer to fall.
CAPdiameter1 - 4 centimeters
colorgrey to greyish brown, paler when dry
appearancebell-shaped, usually smooth but sometimes bumpy, not hygrophilous, white scales on the edge
STEMdiameter1 - 3 millimeters
length5 - 12 centimeters
colorgrey, paler from tip
appearanceerect, powdery
GILLSformadnate
colorgrey brown/black, white tips, veil remnants
SPOREScolorN/A
size14 - 18 x 8 - 12 x 8 - 12 micrometers
shapelemon shaped, with germ-pore
DOSAGEmushroomsN/A (LD), 200 (MD), N/A (HD)
mg/g psilocybin1.90
mg/g psilocinN/A
mg/g baeocystinN/A

Panaeolus subbalteatus

Widespread, found in temperate zones including Canada, the northern parts of the U.S. and northern Europe. Grows on grasses, lawns, pastures, roadsides; prefers fertilized or manured soil. Grows in the spring and fall.
CAPdiameter2 - 6 centimeters
colorvariable; brown to reddish/cinnamon brown when moist, fading as it dries to tan/buff/whitish, margin often stays darker when dry
appearancebroad, convex or bluntly conical, becoming broadly convex to broadly unbonate to plane or with an uplifted margin; surface smooth or wrinkled, in age sometimes breaking into scales (fissured), not viscid; flesh thin, brownish
STEMdiameter3 - 5 millimeters
length5 - 10 centimeters
colorbrown to reddish-brown, often dusted by spores
appearanceequal or tapered at either end, hollow but not fragile; usually longitudinally striated throughout
GILLSformadnate to adnexed or seceding, close, broad
colorpale watery brown or reddish brown, darkens gradually to black; edges whitish, faces mottled
SPOREScolordark brown
size11 - 14 x 7 - 9 x 6 - 8 micrometers
shapelens-shaped, with germ pore
DOSAGEfresh grams30 (LD), 60 (MD), 100 (HD)
mushrooms5-10 (LD), 20-40 (MD), 60-90 (HD)
mg/g psilocybin1.50 - 6.00
mg/g psilocin0.00
mg/g baeocystin0.01-0.05
OTHEROften forms tufts of 2-4 fruitbodies.
There are several distinct subtypes of Pa. subbalteatus, this is the most common one.
Pa. subbalteatus bears some resemblence to Panaeolina foenisecii.

Psathyra pelliculosa

see: Psilocybe semilanceata


Psilocybe aerugineomaculans

see: Psilocybe subaeruginascens


Psilocybe atrorufa

see: Psilocybe montana


Psilocybe aztecorum

Found only around Paso de Cortés and Puebla, Mexico, between 3300 and 3700 m elevation. Found in small clusters in open pine woods, fruits in September only.
CAPdiameter1.5 - 2.5 centimeters
colormilk white to yellowish
appearancestarts obtuse to subumbonate, expands to broadly conical; edge of cap may become cracked
STEMdiameter0.2 - 0.4 centimeters
length3.0 - 6.0 centimeters
colorwhitish, possibly with gray discolored portions
appearancefibrous, veil remnants may be visible
GILLSformclosely spaced, broad
colordeep purple brown, pallid/whitish edges
SPOREScolordark dull ochre brown
size11 - 14 x 5 - 8 x 5 - 8 micrometers
shapeelongated ellipsoid, with germ-pore
DOSAGEmushrooms2-3 (LD), 4-10 (MD), 20-40 (HD)
mg/g psilocybinN/A
mg/g psilocinN/A
mg/g baeocystinN/A
OTHERP. aztecorum resembles P. mexicana to some degree and was originally thought to be a variant (var. Longispora). Dosage has been estimated on the assumption that they are equally potent; it is known to be a hallucinogen.
P. aztecorum was among the seven varieties of "magic mushroom" found by Wasson in Mexico in 1955.

Psilocybe baeocystis


Can be found growing on ground bark, wood chips, peat moss and sometimes on lawns. Common on campuses. This popular mushroom appears from fall through midsummer in large clumps. Prevalent throughout the Pacific Northwest. Fruits prolifically from fall through winter.
CAPdiameter1.4 - 5.4 centimeters
colorolive brown to buffy brown, greenish if touched
appearanceedge of cap undulates like a bottle cap or umbrella, a brown spot appears in the center of the cap after drying
STEMdiameter2.0 - 3.0 millimeters
length5.0 - 7.0 centimeters
colorwhite except for yellowish apex
appearanceoften characterized by twisting bends
GILLSformrelatively closed spaced
colordark cinnamon or gray
SPOREScolorgray
size10 - 13 x 6 - 7 x 6 - 7 micrometers
shapecylindrical with tapered corners
DOSAGEfresh gramsN/A (LD), N/A (MD), N/A (HD)
mg/g psilocybin1.50-8.50
mg/g psilocin0.50-5.90
mg/g baeocystin0.10-1.00
OTHERAs the name indicates, it has a higher percentage of baeocystin than other psilocybe mushrooms, however the effects of baeocystin are not thought to be significantly different than those of psilocybin and/or psilocin.
This is the only common Psilocybe for which a fatality, a 7-year-old boy, is known.

Psilocybe caerulescens

a.k.a. Psilocybe mazatecorum, "Durrumbe", "Landslide" mushroom


Found throughout the southern United States, from California to Louisiana and South Carolina to Florida; a Mexican variety called P. caerulescens mazatecorum exists. Evidently unknown elsewhere. Grows on the banks of rivers and streams in the summer during rainy season.
CAPdiameter2.0 - 8.8 centimeters
colordeep green to black, fades with age
appearancecone-shaped when young, expands to convex/flat (never bowl-shaped), smooth and sticky, no nipple, margin of cap lighter/darker than center
STEMdiameter0.2 - 1.0 centimeters
length4.0 - 12.2 centimeters
colorglassy-white to grayish
appearanceeven, hollow, smooth, tough, covered w/hairs, possibly remnants of evanescent veil
GILLSformclosely spaced
colorlight gray to dark brown/black as it ages
SPOREScolordeep purple brown
size6 - 8 x 5 - 6 x 4 - 5 micrometers
shapeelliptic to inequilateral, broad germ pore
DOSAGEmushrooms2-3 (LD), 4-10 (MD), 20-40 (HD)
mg/g psilocybinN/A
mg/g psilocinN/A
mg/g baeocystinN/A
OTHERThe dosage is an estimate; the mushroom is said to be roughly equivalent to P. cubensis.
P. caerulescens was first collected by Schultes and Reko in 1938 for herbarium deposit. It was also among the seven varieties of "magic mushroom" collected by Wasson in Mexico in 1955.
Two varieties of P. caerulescens were among the seven types of "magic mushroom" found by Wasson in Mexico in 1955.

Psilocybe cubensis

a.k.a. Naematoloma caerulescens, "San Isidro", previously Stropharia cubensis, Stropharia cyanescens, Stropharia caerulescens

Found throughout the southern United States, from California to Louisiana and South Carolina to Florida, as well as most of Central and South America, and parts of southeast Asia. Arrived to the Americas with Spanish Brahma cattle from the Philippine Islands. Grows on cow manure or manure-fertilized soil. There are many varieties of P. cubensis and they can grow to very different sizes and their potencies vary widely.
CAPdiameter1.6-8.0 centimeters
colorpure white to light brown, translucent when wet
appearancestarts conical, gradually inverts to convex, then to flat and finally bowl-shaped; has a gold center spot; covered by sticky protective film; flesh firm and white; margin sometimes hung with veil remnants
STEMdiameter0.4-1.4 centimeters
length4.0 - 15.0 centimeters
colorwhite or bluish-stained
appearancemembranous, usually forms a thin fragile ring on stalk which is blackened by falling spores
GILLSformclosely spaced, initially attached to stem but may separate with age
colorlight brown/gray to deep purple/black, edges whitish
SPOREScolordark brown to blackish
size12 - 17 x 8 - 12 x 7 - 9 micrometers
shapesmooth, nearly elliptic, with germ-pore
DOSAGEmushrooms.25-2 (LD), 1-4 (MD), 1-10 (HD)
dried grams0.5-1 (LD), 1-3 (MD), 3-6 (HD)
mg/g psilocybin4.00 - 12.0
mg/g psilocin0.00 - 1.00
mg/g baeocystin0.00 - 0.20
OTHERP. cubensis is common in the Americas and is the most widely cultivated Psilocybian mushrooms.
It was the first variety of Mexican "magic mushroom" collected by western mycologists. Schultes and Reko gathered specimens in 1938 for herbarium deposit. It was also among the seven varieties of "magic mushroom" collected by Wasson in Mexico in 1955.
P. cubensis variety cyanescens, found in Florida, is a sort of albino Str. cub. with very little pigment in the cap.
P. cubensis variety caerulescens, found in Indochina, has cap colored clear yellow in some places.

Psilocybe cyanescens

a.k.a. "Wavy Caps", "Carmel Caps", "Blue Halos", "Potent Psilocybes"


Doesn't grow on dung, but on hardwoods, woodchips, and grass. Inhabits landscaped yards containing ground bark and dwells under Douglas fir, cedar, eucalyptus, and in mulched flower and rhododendron beds. Fruits prolifically from fall through winter along Northern California Coast, the Pacific Northwest, also found in England.
CAPdiameter1.5 - 4.0 centimeters
colorchestnut brown, lightens to yellowish with age
appearancebroad and conves, expands with age to plane or margin uplifted, viscid when moist, margin of cap often stained blue (hence the nickname)
STEMdiameter2.5 - 6.0 millimeters
length3.0 - 8.0 centimeters
colordry whitish
appearancesilky, fibrous, base enlarged and often curved
GILLSformtypically adneted, sometimes seceding; fairly closely spaced; veil remnants may form tiny ring
colorcinnamon color becomes dark brown, edges paler
SPOREScolorpurple-brown/ purple-gray/ purple-black
size9 - 12 x 6 - 8 x 5 - 8 micrometers
shapenearly elliptic, smooth, broad germ pore
DOSAGEdried grams0.25-1.5 (LD), 1-2.5 (MD), 2-5 (HD)
mushrooms1-2 (LD), 3-10 (MD), 5-20 (HD)
mg/g psilocybin3.20-16.8
mg/g psilocin2.00-5.10
mg/g baeocystin0.10-0.50
OTHERGenerally grows in clusters.
The most potent Psilocybe mushroom known.

Psilocybe mexicana

Found only in Southern Mexico and Guatemala. Grows from May to October in the zone between tropical and temperate climates (1500-1800 meters), in open fields or meadows but never dung.
CAPdiameter0.5 - 3.3 centimeters
colordeep ochre to ochre brown
appearancestarts conical, gradually inverts to convex, then flat and finally bowl-shaped; has a central "nipple"
STEMdiameter0.1 - 0.3 centimeters
length2.0 - 8.0 centimeters
colorochre, usually paler than cap
appearancehollow
GILLSformclosely to medium spaced
colorpale gray, whitish edges
SPOREScolordeep sepia to dark purple brown
size9 - 11 x 7 - 8 x 5 - 7 micrometers
shapecompressed, elliptic/rhombic, with germ-pore
DOSAGEmushrooms2-3 (LD), 4-10 (MD), 20-40 (HD)
mg/g psilocybinN/A
mg/g psilocinN/A
mg/g baeocystinN/A
OTHER P. mexicana always grows solitary, but there are usually many others near each fruitbody.
P. mexicana was among the seven varieties of "magic mushroom" found by Wasson in Mexico in 1955.

Psilocybe montana

a.k.a. Psilocybe atrorufa

Grows in low moss on sandy land, roadsides etc. From summer to fall, sometimes in spring, quite popular.
CAPdiameter0.5 - 2 centimeters
colorred-brown, paler when dry
appearancehemispherical, sticky when wet
STEMdiameter1 - 2 millimeters
length1 - 4 centimeters
colorlight brown
appearancecrumbles easily
GILLSformwidely spaced
colorfirst light brown, become purple-brown with age
SPOREScolorN/A
size6 - 9 x 5 - 6 x 4 - 5 micrometers
shapeoval shaped
DOSAGEmushrooms40 (LD), 100 (MD), 200 (HD)
fresh grams5 (LD), 15 (MD), 30 (HD)
mg/g psilocybin0.0 (?)
mg/g psilocin0.0 (?)
mg/g baeocystinN/A
OTHERDespite reports of the psychoactivity of P. montana, chemical studies have found no psychoactive compounds. Both John W. Allen and Paul Stamets report that it is inactive.

Psilocybe pelliculosa




Psilocybe semilanceata

a.k.a. "Liberty Cap"

Found in northern temperate zone throughout the world. Grows inland up to a thousand miles (1500 km) from the ocean. Northwestern U.S, Scandinavia, the British Isles and western Europe. Very popular in Norway and other parts of Scandinavia. Fruits in grasses and cow pastures, parks and roadsides in the fall.
CAPdiameter5 - 10 millimeters
colorbrown, drying to yellowish brown
appearancesharply conical, small "nipple" on top, never expands, incurved, striated margin, sticky when wet
STEMdiameter2 - 3 millimeters
length6 - 10 centimeters
colorpallid to yellowish or brown, darkens with age, does not bruise blue
appearancewavy and tough, fibrilliose, veil absent or rudimentary, small dark ring may be present
GILLSformadnate or adnexed, slant upwards to almost vertical
colorfirst pale, soon becomes purplish brown
SPOREScolorbrown
size12 - 16 x 7 - 9 x 7 - 9 micrometers
shapeellipsoid, with germ-pore
DOSAGEmushrooms5-10 (LD), 20-40 (MD), 60-90 (HD)
mg/g psilocybin10.0 - 11.0
mg/g psilocin0.00
mg/g baeocystin0.90-3.40
OTHERP. pelliculosa is actually a separate species, but the two are indistinguishable to the naked eye. It grows in sawdust or wood chip piles in forests where lumberjacks have been working. The two can be distinguished by spore size, with P. pelliculosa spores being smaller at 9-13 x 5-7 x 5-7 micrometers. P. pelli. is also weaker in potency, having only 1.2-7.1 mg/g and 0.0-0.5 mg/g psilocybin and baeocystin respectively.
P. semil. contains more baeocystin than most other Psilocybes, which may account for the subjective difference in quality.

Psilocybe stuntzii

a.k.a. Psilocybe pugetensis

Range extends from Bandon Oregon to British Columbia. Found on lawns, in fields and on woodchips (alder) or bark mulch; originally identified growing on the U of Washington campus! Fruits from August to December.
CAPdiameter0.5 - 3.5 centimeters
colorvariable; deep olive-brown to chestnut brown if young, fading to dingy yellow-brown or yelloish buff; margin often tinged greenish
appearancebluntly conical becoming convex to broadly umbonate, plane, or with upliften margin; viscid when moist; margin striate when moist
STEMdiameter1.5 - 4.0 millimeters
length2.0 - 7.0 centimeters
colorwhite to ochraceous brown
appearancebecomes hollow with age, equal or thicker at either end, often curved, not viscid, veil may form fragile ring or fibrillose zone
GILLSformadnate or adnexed, narrow, close to well spaced
colorchocolate brown to violet/black, whitish edges
SPOREScolordeep violet to dark purple
size8 - 12 x 6 - 7 x 6 - 7 micrometers
shapenot quite elliptic, with germ-pore
DOSAGEfresh gramsN/A (LD), N/A (MD), N/A (HD)
mg/g psilocybin3.6 - 0.4
mg/g psilocin0.1 - 0.6
mg/g baeocystin0.0 - 0.2
OTHERThis mushroom is quite similar to P. cyanescens, P. venenata and P. subaeruginascens; however, the latter two do not grow in Northern America. There are also some poisonous Galerina species that resemble P. stuntzii, so be careful. The Galerinas grow in forested areas, not lawns and fields.
P. stuntzii can grow either in clusters or solitary.
P. stuntzii was named in honor of mycologist Daniel Stuntz of the University of Washington. The name P. pugetensis was used by Bob Harris in "Growing Wild Mushrooms", but is invalid.

Psilocybe subaeruginosa

Found throughout Australia and regions nearby. Grows solitary or in groups on soil in forests.
CAPdiameterup to 5 centimeters
color"biscuit brown", darker when wet
appearanceconical with inturned edge when young, becomes convex when older
STEMdiameterrelatively thin
lengthup to 10 centimeters
colorwhite with occasional grey/blue/green blotches
appearanceconical with inturned edge when young, becomes convex with older
GILLSformclosely spaced, may be attached to stem
colorsmoky brown/black
SPOREScolorpurplish brown
size10 - 15 x 5 - 9 x 5 - 9 micrometers
shapeellipsoid, with germ-pore
DOSAGEmushrooms2-5 (LD), 5-13 (MD), 20+ (HD)
mg/g psilocybinN/A
mg/g psilocinN/A
mg/g baeocystinN/A
OTHERAustralian users report that dosage is equal to P. cubensis by weight.

Psilocybe subaeruginascens

a.k.a. Psilocybe aerugineomaculans

Found in some parts of Asia, at least northern Japan and Java, Indonesia. Usually found on horse manure but evidently grows on rotten wood as well.
CAPdiameter1.5-2.5 centimeters
colorwhitish with smoke-brown center
appearanceflat to convex, glabrous and smooth
STEMdiameter1.5-3.0 millimeters
length3.0-4.0 centimeters
colorwhite
appearancetraces of veil may remain as a small ring
GILLSformwidely spaced
colorgrayish brown, edges paler
SPOREScolorviolet brown
size8 - 10 x 7 - 7 x 6 - 7 micrometers
shapeellipsoid, with germ-pore
DOSAGEfresh gramsN/A (LD), N/A (MD), N/A (HD)
mg/g psilocybinN/A
mg/g psilocinN/A
mg/g baeocystinN/A
OTHERModerately potent. There was an attempt to erroneously combine this species with P. venenata.

Psilocybe venenata

a.k.a. Stropharia venenata, "false deadly Psilocybe", "bamboo Psilocybe"


Psilocybe zapotecorum

a.k.a. "Mbey San", "Piule de Barda"

Found only in Oaxaca, Mexico. Grows primarily on soil in swamps.
CAPdiameter6.0-11.0 centimeters
colorochre yellow to brown/purple/black
appearancebell-shaped, becomes breast-shaped; always twisted and asymmetric in shape
STEMdiameter1.0-2.0 centimeters
length10.0 - 20.0 centimeters
colorbrownish (inside of stem lighter or white)
appearancevery fibrous, elastic, often twisted, hollow
GILLSformrather closely spaced, not very broad
colorviolet-purple
SPOREScolorbrown purple
size6 - 9 x 4 - 5 x 3 - 4 micrometers
shapecompressed ellipsoid, with germ-pore
DOSAGEmushroomsN/A (LD), N/A (MD), N/A (HD)
mg/g psilocybinN/A
mg/g psilocinN/A
mg/g baeocystinN/A
OTHERP. zapotecorum is used as a hallucinogen by Chatino and Zapotec Indians.
P. zapotecorum was among the seven varieties of "magic mushroom" found by Wasson in Mexico in 1955.

Stropharia cubensis

see: Psilocybe cubensis

While some European mycologists still refer to this species as Stropharia cubensis Earle, most mycologists now use Psilocybe cubensis (Earle) Singer, the name given it by American mycologist Rolf Singer.

Other psychoactive species



Here is a brief list of dosage information on some other mushrooms. Some Psilocybes that are known to contain no psilocybin/psilocin are included. Descriptions have been purposely omitted, since I don't have enough info for a full-scale description like the ones above; if you are interested, look them up in a guide.

Genus species Shrooms fresh Grams fresh Psilocybin mg/g dry Psilocin mg/g dry Baeocystis mg/g dry Notes
GYMNOPILUS
purpuratus

---

---

1.0-3.4

1.0-3.1

0.1-0.5

---
INOCYBE
aeruginascens

---

---

4.0

0.0

2.1

---
PANAEOLUS
olivaceus

---

---

0.05

0.0

---

---
PLUTEUS
atricapillus
salicinus

---
---

---
---

0.05
2.1-3.0

0.0
0.0-0.5

---
---

---
---
PSILOCYBE
bohemica
coprophila

---
50-200

---
15-100

8.5-9.3
0.0

---
0.0

---
---

---
3


Notes:
  1. Has poisonous lookalikes.
  2. Very similar to P. semilanceata.
  3. No psilocybin or psilocin detected chemically despite reports of successful use as a hallucinogen.



PSILOCYBE MUSHROOM RESOURCES

General Archives



Forums and Web Boards



Growing Information



There are also numerous files described more specialized methods such as different agar mixes, reports of successful growing, etc. For the serious or interested, there is Paul Stamets' excellent book, The Mushroom Cultivator, and McKenna brothers' Psilocybin: Magic Mushroom Grower's Guide written under pseudonyms O. T. Oss and O. N. Oeric, both available through many mail-order companies>.

Companies in the Real World

The vendor area of the faq is difficult to keep up to date, so please don't assume that these are active anymore. There are so many vendors now in 2001 that they vie for position in such lists and its become a difficult management trick to know who to include and who not to. If you have corrections for this list, please send to corrections@erowid.org.

Warning: These addresses have not been checked or verified in more than 5 years. Many have probably disappeared. All addresses should be verified independently. All addresses are in the USA unless otherwise noted.
   BJ                            Str. cubensis or Lepiota peele sporeprints
   #118 10548 SW 8th St.         for $2; Amanita pantherina coming up in
   Miami, FL 33174               the future.
   
   Conscious Dreams              Sells fresh mushrooms (F25/oz), growing
   Kerkstraat 117                kits, spore prints (Str. cub, P. cyan.),
   1017 GE Amstergam             and live cultures.
   The Netherlands               (Phone: +31-20-626-6907)
   
   The DoorWay                    Sells lots of books and a shroom kit.
   P.O. Box 12553                 Send $1 for catalog.
   Ogden, UT 84412-2553           (E-Mail: MELBARBARI@cc.weber.edu)


   Fane of the Psilocybe Mushroom   Send $1 for membership form.
   The Fane                         $5 for "the Sporeprint", their publication.
   Box 8179                         On the web at thefane.org
   Victoria, B.C. V8W-3R8
   CANADA
   
   FMRC                              Florida Mycology Research Center
   P.O. Box 18105,
   Pensacola, FL 32523

   FS Book Company                Does not sell spores, but sells a "Mushroom
   P.O. Box 417457                Resource Catalog" for $15.
   Sacramento, CA 95841-7457      (Phone: +1-916-771-4203)

   Fungi Perfecti                 Does not sell Psilocybe spores, but
   P.O. Box 7634                  everything else is available.
   Olympia, WA 98507              (Phone : +1-800-780-9126 orders only
                                            +1-206-426-9292 other/int'l
                                            Fax   : +1-206-426-9377
                                            E-Mail: MYCOMEDIA@aol.com)
			    
   J.L.F.                         Supposedly sells some rare species ready
   P.O. Box 184-SC                to eat and lotsa weird stuff.  Free catalog.
   Elizabethtown, IN 47232        (Phone: +1-812-379-2508)
   


								   
** Homestead Books               Str. cubensis spores and a book for $25, 
2* P.O. Box 31608                kits ($70), and books/videos about growing.
** Seattle, WA 98103             (Phone: +1-206-782-4532)

   Lux Natura                    No spores, but McKenna stuff and a new,
   P.O. Box 2196                 extended version of "Psilocybin: Magic
   Berkeley, CA  94704           Mushroom Grower's Guide."  Free catalog.
   
** Mushroompeople                Sells books related to mushrooms (including
3* P.O. Box 220                  but not limited to psychoactive ones).
** Summertown, TN 38483-0220     (E-Mail    : NATLAW@igc.apc.org
                                          Voice/Fax : +1-615-964-2200
                                          US Fax    : +1-800-MYCO-FAX)
								  
   Mycophile Books               Just what the name says, and nothing more.
   P.O. Box 93                   Also sell used and rare books.  Catalog $3.
   Naples, FL 33939              (Phone: 1-813-262-3363)
   
   Pacific Exotic Spora          Panaeolus cyanescens and Coplandia cyanescens
   P.O. box 11611                spores.  Very expensive, $40-$75.
   Honolulu, HI 96828
   
   PRL Biosciences               Str. cubensis culture for $40, other equipment
                                 and supplies available.  Free catalog.
                                 (Fax: +1-215-483-4917)
						  
** Psylocybe Fanaticus           OUT OF BUSINESS - Send $2 & SASE for ad (electronic version
4* 1202 E. Pike St.  #783        on hyperreal.org).  Spores come in syringes
** Seattle, WA 98122             making them considerably easier to use.

   Teonanácatl                   $5 for small P. cyanescens Astoria Ossip
   (postlagernd)                 or small P. cyanascens USA sporeprint,
   Postamt 1092                  $10-20 for large P. cy. AO sporeprint.
   A-1092 Vienna                 Add $2 for shipping and handling.
   Austria                       (E-Mail: an148626@anon.penet.fi)
                                 (probably invalid, june 2001)A


Vendor Links: (see Erowid's Vendor Vaults)

Canadian Vendors:


Additional notes:

  1. *1* FMRC: While they do not sell Psilocybe spores anymore, they are still active supporters of the issue and they also put an excellent publication named "The Mushroom Culture".
  2. Homestead Books: Around for a long time, cheap, knowledgeable, and reliable.
  3. Mushroompeople: The best, although not necessarily the cheapest, source for all types of mushroom literature.
  4. Psylocybe Fanaticus: The best known of the 'underground' sellers, with cheap prices, very fast turnaround times, and high reliability. Outside the US, add an extra $10 to your order for shipping & handling.



PICKING MUSHROOMS
Before you leave for the site, remember a few things; clothing, container and energy. So respectively:

  • Take clothing that keeps you warm and dry. If your clothing is inadequate, a day out picking mushrooms can be a real pain.
  • Mushrooms are best collected and stored in paper bags, which allow air movement. Multiple bags allow different species to be kept separated. A basket works well as a holder for the various bags. Some people like a variety of paper cups in a basket so the mushrooms can be easily put into the correct container. Be sure to bring a set of bags and/or baskets for each person.
  • Energy. Mushroom hunting can be really tiresome at times. Take your happiness and food rations with you - you'll probably need both.


Once you have located the site keep it clean. If it is a cowfield, don't leave any gates open or either the owner of the field or the bull of the herd will get you. Try to just do your thing and then get out of there. Don't scream and shout. I wouldn't recommend telling about a site to anyone - it instantaneously creates an "anonymous mmp-site" - and suddenly everyone is there, sooner or later including the cops too.

OK, run around the field... do you find any mushrooms? If none found, you are not looking hard enough. No matter where you go in the fall, there's some sort of mushroom there. You'd be surprised at how well the things can hide themselves. Found - what is it? Whether you identify it or not, put each species into different container - if in doubt - different container or throw it away. There are always two phases in identifying - when picking and when cleaning (or should be). Always check carefully - saves you lot of trouble.


Here's what the Audubon Society's "Field Guide to North American Mushrooms" has to say on the issue:

"Collect mushrooms in a flat-bottomed basket. Take along a roll of wax paper and wrap each species you find; do not use plastic wrap since it hastens decay. This will keep species separate and fresh until you return home. A pocket knife or trowel is useful in extracting mushrooms from the ground; be very careful not to disturb the underground root system more than necessary. Bring note cards with you and jot down pertinent field data. In particular, note the habitat of the mushroom, including what type of tree it is growing on or near; whether it is growing singly, scattered, in groups, or in clusters; any distinctive odor or taste; the color of the cap, stalk, gills, pores, or teeth, and latex, which may change after the mushroom has been picked. Note any color changes when it is bruised. You can also use the note cards to set up spore prints in the field; they will often be ready by the time you return home. If you are absolutely certain of the identification of an edible species, you can clean it in the field. Until you are experienced, however, it is best to take the mushroom home intact; the stalk base is often a crucial identification feature, and cleaning can remove diagnostic characteristics. The more characteristics you can observe, the better chance you have of identifying the mushroom. It helps to have fresh mushrooms rather than old ones, and to collect many specimens of one kind at various stages of growth."



DRYING MUSHROOMS

Fresh



Some people find fresh mushrooms better tasting than dried, and it is also believed that they have higher potency. The current theory is that as mushrooms dry, some of the active compounds oxydize leaving them somewhat less potent. Some also claim that fresh mushrooms produce a more visual experience.

Fresh mushrooms can be stored in tupperware or paper bags in the refridgerator for up to a few weeks.

Drying



  • Air Drying : There are many ways to dry mushrooms. The simplest is to lay down clean sheets of newspaper or typing paper on a table or high shelf; preferably somewhere with good air movment. Separate and spread the mushrooms evenly across the paper making sure they do not touch. After 2-3 days, the mushrooms will be mostly dry, having shrunk to a fraction of their original size (fresh mushrooms are approximately 95% water). The color of the mushrooms will also change as they dry.

    Once the mushrooms appear completely dry, with the stems no longer breaking apart as they do when they're fresh, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. After 20 minutes, turn the oven off and open the oven door a crack. Let the oven cool for about 5 minutes then place the dried mushrooms in the oven on several layers of newspaper, leaving the door cracked open. After 20 minutes, remove the mushrooms from the oven and let cool in open air for 10 minutes.15

  • Silica Gel : Some people use silica gel to help get their mushrooms completely dry. After air drying for several days, putting the mostly dried mushrooms in an air tight container with an open container of silica gel will draw the last moisture out of the mushrooms. Be sure to keep the mushrooms and silica gel from touching.

  • Dehydrators : Dehydrators are a simple way to help dry mushrooms. They can be purchased at any home store, and are relatively cheap. The primary benefit of using a dehydrator is if you live in a very damp area where mushrooms don't ever get dry with simple air drying...the dehydrator should work. Otherwise the main difference is that it speeds up the air drying process.

  • Warm Oven : For the quickest drying, mushrooms can be put into a cool oven (approx. 90° F) with a fan on if possible. Allow to slowly heat for 2 - 6 hours. Careful not to heat too hot as temperatures higher than 160° F can destroy psilocin. Some believe that this method will reduce the potency of the mushrooms.

  • Freeze Drying : This method uses dry ice and a generator to suck out all of the air from the mushrooms. The mushrooms keep their large shape, not shrinking to 10% their fresh size as they will with the rest of the drying methods. Freeze drying does NOT involve putting your mushrooms in the freezer.

Once properly dried, Psilocybian mushrooms should retain their potency indefinitely. One collection of Psilocybe semilanceata from 1861 in England was analyzed and found to be fully potent. More recent experiments have shown mushrooms to remain active for at least 8 years when properly dried and stored.

Once the mushrooms are dry, place them into airtight glass container with a fully sealable lid, and put the container in a dark place. Some psilophiles grind the mushrooms, if you do so, weight the outcome. It is very hard to tell how many mushrooms worth of powder you're taking by just eyeballing a dose. One bonus of grinding your mushrooms is that you can ensure even potency across a large batch. While one P. cubensis mushroom might have a significantly higher potency than another...if you grind them up and mix them together, all measured doses will have the same potency.

Dosage

Dosages vary significantly from person to person, species to species, and mushroom to mushroom. A good recommendation is to start with a low dose, and wait to try high doses until after you've experimented with them a few times. High doses are much, much better in a safe environment while low doses are more functional in social or public situations.

The following doses give a range from relatively low dose to relatively high dose for a few of the more common species of mushrooms. Make sure you know what type of mushrooms you're eating before you decide on a dosage. The most commonly purchased dry magic mushrooms in the United States are P. cubensis.

Speciesdriedwetapprox #
P. cubensis0.5-5 grams5-50 grams0.25-3 big mushrooms or 2-20 small mushrooms
P. cyanescens0.5-3 grams5-30 grams1-6 large mushrooms or 2-14 small mushrooms
P. semilanceatas0.5-3 grams5-30 grams20-120 mushrooms (40 per dry gram)


Psilocybin effects can be overwhelming and unpleasant, especially if you're not relaxed and ready for them. Experienced mushroomers strongly recommend starting with a low dose and increasing the intensity over several trials until one finds the dose they are comfortable with. "Boosting" with mushrooms, taking an additional amount sometime during the trip in order to increase the effects, is generally not considered very successful if it happens after the effects begin to taper at all.

There are people who never go for more than an ultra light trip, and some feel it must be an earth-shattering experience. You'll probably find your dosage somewhere between these two extremes.


Psilocybin / Psilocin Dosages #

Paul Stamets, in Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World , reports that a "manageable dose" of psilocybin/psilocin would be around 0.25 milligrams per kilogram of body weight (mg/kg) and a high dose to be 0.5 mg/kg. A low dose is probably around 0.125 mg/kg. This translates to low dose to high dose range of 10 mg-40 mg for an 80 kg adult.

Confusingly, Hofmann wrote that 4-8 mg of psilocybin is a medium dose, but this is not consistent with more contemporary research or Stamets writings. The current estimates are that medium oral doses are between 10 and 20 mg for most people. Less than 10 mg is probably light and above 20 will be strong for most.

Using the figures from the technical literature for the percent active principal of dry weight, it is possible to roughly approximate psilocybin/psilocin milligram doses from the species and mass of the material. For example, the common species p.semilanceata contains very roughly 1% or 10 mg/g of the active principals psilocybin and psilocin combined, hence a medium dosis of this mushroom is roughly 1-2g dried material for most people, corresponding neatly to the 10-20 mg stated above.

As a rule of thumb, 10 grams of wet mushrooms is the equivalent of 1 gram dry, in other words fresh mushrooms are 90% water. The actual water percentage varies by species and also by how wet the mushrooms are. Fresh mushrooms can go from mostly dry to very soggy and the wet to dry ratio will vary accordingly. When using any new batch of mushrooms, experienced psilocybiphiles strong recommend starting out low since potencies in a single strain can vary so much. Also keep in mind that psilocybin and psilocin are both equally potent and baeocystin may also have strong effects.

EFFECTS
Some people might be familiar with LSD-25. Well they are bit similar, but still very different.


CONSUMPTION
Once ready for a trip after a yearlong meditation in the wilderness, one is confronted with a problem - how to get that dry and unpleasant tasting stuff down?

Honey & spices & water & mushrooms
This one is a bit sweet but does a good job of covering the taste. Take a half glass of warm or cold water, three or more spoonfuls of honey, and according to taste, spices such as nutmeg, ginger and others. Grind the mushrooms with spices into fine powder, mix everything carefully and gulp down.

Mushroom cacao
Get some cacao beans/powder for this one. Warm some water to 40-60 C. Let the mushrooms steep in this water for about five minutes, fish 'em out and add cacao powder and mix well. Or you can grind mushrooms into fine powder. Sweeten with honey, and drink. Another variation is hot chocolate - melt some chocolate in water instead of cacao.

Mushroom tea
Drown some dried mushrooms in warm/hot water, wait five minutes, and drink. If you seriously dislike the taste of shrooms, just drink the water (although you'll lose part of the effect). I find that this is a good way of getting the shrooms down as well though, just dump in a baggy of strong tea and you won't taste a thing. Word of warning: if you leave the shrooms in for too long, they'll expand and mutate into disgusting blobs of slime. Also a nice way of getting some clue of their original appearance, provided the mushrooms are intact.

Mushrooms & orange juice
Blend an appropriate amount of fresh mushrooms and orange juice in a blender. The orange juice masks the taste quite well, the blender chops up the shrooms into tiny chunks so all the psilocybin is digested, and the vitamin C in the juice won't hurt either.

Pizzas
Just add fresh or dried mushrooms on top. Note that eating a lot adds to physical interference.

Shroom powder and liquids of choice
The finer you grind the shrooms, the better this works. Take a piece of paper and fold twice so you have a V-shape, and make a little pile of shroom powder on one end of it. Open your mouth and let the stuff flow in, then drink water/juice/tea/whatever to wash it down. Figure out an optimal pile size, and you can down the shrooms in record time with no taste and maximum psilocybin ingestion efficiency. Just be careful not to laugh or sneeze when holding the paper, otherwise you'll have to lick the carpet to get the powder... =)

Peanut Butter Sandwich
A common technique is to crumble the mushrooms onto a chunky peanut butter sandwich. The peanut butter flavor is said to mask or accompany the earthy taste of the mushrooms well.

Chew & grind
For this one, toss mushrooms into your mouth, chew well and swallow. The most efficient and simple method of mushroom ingestion. Dried mushrooms taste quite a bit more unpleasant than fresh ones.

Other recipes
I have heard about people making mushroom wine or mushroom chili. There are lots of foods you can put mushrooms into, but I'd recommend indulging in culinary pleasures after the trip. Also note that excessive heat breaks down psilocybin and psilocin, so always add the shrooms in after the food is cooked.

As you may have noted, except for the cheese on the pizza, none the recipes contain any milk or milk products. This is because several files and/or books have stated that calcium and/or fermented milk products interfere with psilocybin. Mind you, this is far from sure, if anybody can dig up a reference for (or against) this we'd appreciate it. But scientific proofs aside, the Aztec tradition of not eating before tripping is probably grounded in knowledge of possible adverse consequences, so don't eat too much, just enough to get the shrooms down.


PREPARATION FOR THE VOYAGE
There is a lot one can do to ensure a enjoyable voyage. People often talk about the "set and setting", squaking the three words like bunch of parrots and hardly giving much thought into their meaning. It's probably all the same whether you've ingested super-pure & fresh LSD-25 or nail-polishing fluid if the set and the setting aren't in condition.

Packing
Get into packing a couple of days before the voyage. Load your gear (brain) with everything you think will be useful. Personally I like documents about nature as they are easy to pack (video or TV). Books are fine but bit slower to load. Walking in nature, quiet and peaceful, and meditating ensures I get enough mental energy and happiness along. Try to break the normal circles of work, and if you are stressed, take few more days away from everything before leaving on the expedition. Go easy on your diet. Some fast for the previous week, others don't pay any attention to what and how much they eat. I eat normally until the day before, after which I eat mostly vegetables and fruits.

Place
Clean it up. Get some fresh air into it. Tell all your friends/relatives not to visit, and disconnect the doorbell and take the phone off the wall. Make everything as comfortable as possible. Fresh flowers will blow your mind with their beautiful looks and odors. A stroboscope is also worth a try, especially at 20 to 30 Hz. Lights are probably best low or off (and of white color). Music is so important we've given it its own section, coming up next.

Flight
Loose clothing and something to put on/take off; you'll be lying down most of the time, so pick something you could sleep in. Something to drink - see if your drinks include caffeine or other chemicals. Water is always the best. Some light snacks to eat during the trip, and possibly something to fill your stomach after the trip. Drawing during take-off can be fun, also psychedelic videos. Anyway, for a real "trip" I say: after the takeoff, turn the lights off, turn the volume to the edge of subliminal, and relax & tune into the vibe of the Earth.


MUSIC AND THE VOYAGE
One of the important factors of the setting is music - especially in urban environment music may be necessery to camouflage and change the every-day-soundscape. Music can tingle your imagination in a myriad different ways. Music can take you away, comfort or make you feel unbelievalably good. It can also make you sad, jumpy or angry. Therefore it is very important to make the right choice of music. There is tripping music and there is tripping music - depending on the results one wishes to achieve. I will concentrate on the deeper side; music for shamanic voyages, spacetravels and intense mushroom-magic-trips. I speak from my own experience, thru my own frame of reference, so all of the material recommended might not be on your wavelength - I was often skeptical myself but results often are awesome and surprising. Music you like during your normal states of conciousness is probably not ideal - for instance lots of the ambient done today is not very nice for tripping, but probably ideal listening both before and after the trip. For a voyage try to find music that is calm, not too hectic or fast, not too structured and stays in the background if desired.

Ambient
Lots of music goes under this name today, and it may very hard to find something truly ambient among all those new ambient- techno/dub releases... All time favorites of mine and many others include Ashra Temple, John Cage, Cluster, Brian Eno, Robert Fripp, Steve Hillage, Daniel Lanois, Pink Floyd, David Toop & Max Eastley, Tangerine Dream and Tuu. Many music stores lump these under the heading "New Age" next to stuff like Yanni, bleah... All of these move on the more serious tangents - worth checking out. On the lighter, more techno side of the ambient - try Aphex Twin, James Bernard, FFWD, FSOL, Pete Namlook, The Orb (especially the newer releases), William Orbit, Seafeel, Sun Electric or Terre Thaemlitz for instance.

Ethno
Music from the different cultures around the world and especially music by shamen or music aiming to a religious or spiritual experience - shamanistic drumming, australian dijeridoo sounds or chantings by gregorian or buddhist monks, for instance. "Meditative music" compilations can be excellent. There are huge volumes of this sort of music published around the world.

Minimalism
Especially Terry Riley. Steve Reich, Philip Glass and Lamonte Young have all made "psychoacoustic music", to use a term developed by Brian Eno for his own music. Riley is especially- er.. "beyond words" - something unbelievalable. For connoisseurs.

Silence
Either complete or 'The music of the Mother Nature' - best tripping music for as long there has been humans around to trip. The patter of raindrops falling surpasses just about any music humans can come up with. A must try. Perfect.


DURING THE VOYAGE
Once you are in the air it is relatively easy to forget that you can alter the course of trip. Visuals and thoughts come and go, and everything follows some strangely familiar yet divine and unknown path. So one is left gawking at all this jaw open, as if watching TV. But changing pathways is easy - provided you don't forget it is possible =) Always decide and ponder what you want to see and where you want to go before the experience. A shamanic voyage to the underworld is a snack, as is seeing the future. Usually every tripper forms his own way, follows his own paths, be it for good or evil. Anything is possible!

And remember the immortal words of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:

     _____     _    _  .  .   ___   __    . .  . .   _   ___    _____
    /     \   | \  / \ |\ | /  |   |  |  /| |\ | |  / \  \ /   /     \
   |  | |  |  |  )(   )| \|    |   |--' /-| | \| | (      V   |  | |  |
   | \___/ |  | /  \_/ |  |    |   |   /  | |  | |  \_/   o   | \___/ |
    \_____/   *******************  ********************  ***   \_____/


A GENERAL TOPOLOGICAL EXAMINATION OF THE SCENERY

Minutes after ingestion:

0 Ignition
Usually the first effects of psiloc[ybin/in] are perceivable after ten or twenty minutes. Funny or strange things may pop into your mind. One may feel very relaxed or like jumping all over the place. Next you may feel like you were blasting off, up towards the stars, rising high. Chewing the mushrooms for about ten minutes in your mouth enables the psilocybin and its analogues to enter the brain faster - if the mushrooms are immediately swallowed, it may take as long as 1 hour for the first effects to set in.

20 Acceleration



If you get any physical symptoms, this is when they will hit. You can avoid or at least reduce nausea by not eating very much before the trip and not moving around too much during this phase. Throwing up is uncommon but not unheard of; having a barf bag around, especially on the first few trips, is a good idea. If you find that your body really doesn't like shrooms, a motion sickness pill (Dramamine and similar anti-histamines) beforehand may help. But don't worry about it too much, even if you feel queasy the nausea will end quite quickly.

40 Leaving the atmosphere



One will begin entering the realms of the experience; often the first real signs are simple hallucinations with the eyes closed or in darkness, little colored pixels floating around etc. If one is going to go to the toilet, it should be done now.

70 Flight



1 hour is usually sufficient for the more powerful effects to set in. The body will feel heavy and drowsy.

130 Peak



After two hours the peak of the experience. Often quite awesome.

300 Deceleration



By now one will again start to remember the concepts of normal reality and may feel like getting something to drink and eat, or talk and do some moving about.

360 Touchdown



After about six hours most of the effects have disappeared and sleeping becomes possible.

12h Reality



If you trip at night and fall asleep when the trip is ending, this is when you'll wake up... and the odds are you'll feel GRRRRRREAT!

7d Jet lag



Afterglow of the experience will persist anywhere from few days to several weeks; what you've learned may change your life. Occasionally this learning will be negative and you'll be depressed for a while as you assimilate the fact that you've been wrong about something for all your life, but the depression is never extreme and - cheezy as it may sound - you will be a much better person afterwards.

Surgeon General's Warning: One of the aftereffects of psilocybin (and most all psychedelics for that matter) is "emotional fluctuation", ie. things that would make you a bit happy cause euphoria and conversely things you don't like cause depression. At its worst this is a real manic-depressive rollercoaster, but usually the fluctuations are more positive than negative ("It's Monday morning and I feel GRRRRRRREAT!"). At any rate, this rarely lasts longer than a day or two, so don't worry about it.

Notes on physical interference



In addition to the possible nausea in the beginning, which invariably wears off by the time the hallucinations start, the mushrooms can cause physical or psychosomatic interference. You will feel odd, weird and maybe scary physical sensations like liquid skin or distorted body-proportions. You may feel that you have trouble breathing; you may feel that you've just pissed or shit in your pants; you may feel that you're sinking into the ground or into yourself. If you really start worrying about this, you may start to feel like there are worms crawling inside your stomach, that the roof is about to collapse on you, that the sheet you are lying under is trying to eat you...

Don't panic! First of all, 'serious' effects of this type are quite unusual, but even if they do occur getting rid of them is usually easy. Just remember, nothing has really happened or is really happening, it's just your mind exaggerating and creating things. Learn to relax and distract your thoughts on other tangents at moments like this. A simple exercise you can try to practice thought diversion, no drugs needed:

Lie on your bed in complete darkness, listening to suitable evil/freaky music with headphones. Skinny Puppy and ambient industrial are the classic choices. Meditate or just relax for a while. Then, think about something you have a phobia about: snakes, spiders, skeletons, rats, tornados, earthquakes, even mushrooms. Everybody has something they're irrationally afraid of. Staring at a picture of such a thing beforehand may help. At any rate, you will, in all likelihood, feel yourself to be tipping over and falling uncontrollably. Imagine that you're falling into a bottomless pit filled with the nasty thing. Visualize it. Now attempt to wrench your thoughts to something else. If you can take half an hour of this without ripping off the headphones, you're in good shape.

THE ERASERHEAD SYNDROME
The mushrooms can be fun. One may feel like eating them every day. A - not cool, B - not good. A mental/physical tolerance builds up quite fast: usually three or four times with 7 day intervals cause diminished effect and notably less divine trip. I'd recommend visiting the spiritworld 4 to 10 times a year, for the freshness and divinity of it. Most of us know an acid- or pot-head - a drug abuser. I call acid/ mushroomheads Eraserheads (seen the movie?), as they are often bit paranoid and manic-depressive and dullheaded. It's easy to get bad vibes off the psilos - just do the mushrooms like you'd do alcohol - without respect or any care. So - use the consciousness of turbocharged-monkeybrain we all have. And if you only want to get your brain fucked up there are better substances for that in the world.

Bad trip? What... hey waitaminute, I know - it's that oriental food with rice and peaches and raw tuna innards - No???

Everyone gets anxious or bad feelings during their dives to the seas of collective unconciousness. It's normal, but the magnitude of baddies can be decreased by paying attention to "set and setting." A friend or guide can distract the attention of an tripper to a wholly different direction. A change of room, place, music or lights often helps. Possible bodily discomfort can be eliminated by learning relaxational techniques and breathing exercises. Keeping your body in good condition is not only good for your trip, but also for your life. Generally, it's good to try to trip for living, not to live for tripping.


MISCELLANEOUS QUESTIONS
Q: Can black market 'shrooms be laced with LSD?

A: Yes, possibly, if the local market price for mushrooms is higher than that of LSD (as it sometimes is) and/or if LSD is much more plentiful than psilocybin-containing mushrooms. If the mushroom looks nothing like any of the common psychoactive species, or you are told that one or two small ones are enough to trip hard, it's possible it's laced. Note that at least one dealer, fooled by the urban legend of LSD needing strychnine for binding to the paper, laced his LSD-shrooms with strychnine as well! (PharmChem 1972, vol 1, #7) Thus, either get your shrooms fresh from the fields (cheaper as well) or know what they look like and what the dosage is before buying.

Q: What about Amanita muscaria (Fly Agaric)?

A: A. muscaria, the classic red toadstool with white warts on top, does not contain psilocybin, but a series of muscarinic deliriants. Its effects are completely different from psilocybin containing mushrooms. It is considered by many to be "poisonous" (not very, but deaths have been attributed) and in general the effects are not enjoyed. Avoid.

Q: What happens if I combine 'shrooms and other drugs?

A: First, its important to note that mixing strong psychoactive drugs can increase physical risks of health problems and novel combinations should be approached with caution. Users should take into account any medications or supplements they have taken recently. The primary substances/medicines that are known to cause a strong interaction with psilocybin mushrooms are the Mono-Amine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs) that cause a reduced ability to metabolize the psilocybin and can lead to unpleasant or dangerously strong experiences. Also, MAOIs are very dangerous when taken with stimulants.

Alcohol: Variable, usually takes the edge off since it helps you relax. Note that if you're drunk before you eat the shrooms, the mental effects of your drunkenness will disappear as the trip starts. Large amounts will increase the nausea in the beginning.

Cannabis: Nearly always the experience is intensified/lengthened, but a few people claim it actually ends the trip. Smoking is handy during the last few hours to extend the experience.

MDMA/MDA: Known as an "hippy flip" or "MX-missile" (M as in mushrooms and X as in XTC), the experience is highly intensified and similar to LSD & MDMA ("candyflipping").

2C-B: 2C-B: Reported are mixed. Some people have described it as similar to candyflipping without the strong empathogenesis, while others have found the mixing of 2C-B's effects with psilocybin uncomfortable and unsettling. In "The Essential Psychedelic Guide" D.M. Turner reported extremely negative experiences and stated 2C-B + Mushrooms "is a combination not to be messed with." Those who like the combination describe taking the 2C-B after the peak of the psilocybin effects has passed to allow the end of the psilocybin-effects plateau to merge into the 2C-B effects.

Nicotine: Smoking feels good.

Nitrous: Catapulted into outer space for a few minutes.

Psychedelics: Cross-tolerance is usually present to some degree. Combining mushrooms with a psychedelics such as LSD will generally lead to a trip which has some features of each substance.

Q: Shrooms grow all by themselves in nature in zarking cow shit, why is sterility so important when growing them yourself?

A: In nature, there are 17 billion spores of all kinds of different shrooms flying around. As people who've been to a cow pasture will know, most patties will not have Psilocybes, they'll either have something completely different or nothing at all. But in a pasture, there's a lot of shit, and there's a lot of shrooms, so it's enough if 1/100 patties have the right kind.

Now, when you're growing them at home, if you sprinkle spores in each dish and don't give a shit about sterility, you'll have natural conditions and maybe every hundredth jar will get the right shrooms. Needless to say, this is not good, so you must push up the odds of the right shrooms growing by improving sterility.


FURTHER READING
I will not attempt a complete bibliography on the subject, but more of a 'further reading' sort of list.

Carlos Castaneda, Philip K. Dick, Timothy Leary, Terence McKenna, Andrew Weil, Robert Anton Wilson and Aldous Huxley all make fine reading. Peter Stafford's "Psychedelic Encyclopedia" is a classic, as is "Plants of the Gods" by Richard Evans Schultes and Albert Hofmann. Umberto Eco has always been very good when talking about the mind, almost as good as Herman Hesse. And for some attitude - read Byron.


REFERENCES
Apologies for not footnoting everything exactly, you'll just have to bounce around checking the references (or ask us) if you want to know where a specific bit of info comes from.

Allen, John W. 1997a. "Magic Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest." Psilly Publications. Seattle, Washington. 36p. 35b & W photographs, 12 colored plates.

Allen, John W. 1997b. Teonanacatl: Ancient and Contemporary Shamanic Mushroom Names of Mesoamerica and Other Regions of the World. Psilly Publication and RaverBooks. Seattle. 36p. 12 photographs of Mexican species.

Allen, John W. 1998. Psychoactive Fungi in Hawaii. Psilly Publication and RaverBooks. Seattle. 36p.

Allen, John W. And Mark D. Merlin. 1992. Observations regarding the suspected psychoactive properties of Panaeolina foenisecii Maire. In: Yearbook for Ethnomedicine and the Study of Consciousness. vol 1(1):99-115. November.

Allen, John W., Guzman, Gaston and Jochen Gartz. 1998. A Worldwide Geographical Distribution of the Neurotropic Fungi, Analysis and Discussion. Anali dei Musei Civ. Rovereto, Italy.

Allen, John W., Mark D. Merlin and Karl L.R. Jansen. 1991. An Ethnomycological Review of Psychoactive Agarics in Australia and New Zealand. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs vol. 23(1):39-69.

Allen, John W., (Mushroom John). 1997. Magic Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest. Psilly Publications. Seattle. 36p. 35 black and white photographs, 12 colour plates.

Arora, David. Mushrooms Demystified.

Benedict-R-G, Tyler-V-E, Watling-R. (1967) "Blueing in Conocybe, Psilocybe, and a Stropharia Species and the Detection of Psilocybin." Lloydia 30(2), 150-157.

Benedict-R-G et al. (1962) "Occurrence of Psilocybin and Psilocin in Certain Conocybe and Psilocybe Species." Lloydia 25(3), 157-160.

Beug-M-W, Bigwood-J. (1982) "Psilocybin and Psilocin Levels in Twenty Species From Seven Genera of Wild Mushrooms in the Pacific Northwest, U.S.A." J Ethnopharmacology 5, 271-285.

Bigwood-J, Beug-M-W. (1982) "Variation of Psilocybin and Psilocin Levels With Repeated Flushed (Harvests) of Mature Sporocarps of Psilocybe cubensis (Earle) Singer." J Ethnopharmacology 5, 287-291.

Boire, Richard Glen. "Sacred Mushrooms & the Law."

Catalfomo-P, Tyler-V-E. (1964) "The Production of Psilocybin in Submerged Culture by Psilocybe cubensis." Lloydia 27(1), 53-63.

Gartz-J. (1994) "Extraction and Analysis of Indole Derivatives From Fungal Biomass". J Basic Microbiology 34(1), 17-22.

Gartz-J. (1991) "Influence of phosphate on fruiting and secondary metabolism of mycelia of Psilocybe cubensis, Psilocybe semilanceata and Gymnopilus purpuratus." Zeitschrift fuer Mykologie 57(1), 149-154.

Gartz-J. (1989) "Occurrence of Psilocybin, Psilocin and Baeocystin in Gymnopilus purpuratus." Persoonia 14(1), 19-22.

Guzmán-G, Ott-J. (1976) "Description and Chemical Analysis of a New Species of Hallucinogenic Psilocybe From the Pacific Northwest." Mycologia 68, 1261-1267.

Guzmán-G et al. (1976) "Psychotropic Mycoflora of Washington, Idaho, Oregon, California and British Columbia." Mycologia 68, 1267-1271.

H0iland-K. (1978) "The genus Psilocybe in Norway." Norwegian J Botany 25(2), 111-122.

Jokiranta-J et al. (1984) "Psilocybin in Finnish Psilocybe semilanceata." Planta Medica 51, 277-278.

Leung-A-Y, Paul-A-G. (1968) "Baeocystin and Norbaeocystin: New Analogs of Psilocybin from Psilocybe baeocystis." J Pharm Sci 57(10), 1667-1671.

Leung-A-Y, Smith-A-H, Paul-A-G. (1965) "Production of Psilocybin in Psilocybe baeocystis Saprophytic Culture". J Pharm Sci 54(11), 1576-1579.Abstract

Merlin, Mark D. and John W. Allen. 1993. Species Identification and chemical analysis of psychoactive fungi in the Hawaiian Islands. Journal of Ethnopharmacology vol 40:21-40.

Neal-J-M, Benedict-R-G, Brady-L-R. (1968) "Interrelationship of Phosphate Nutrition, Nitrogen Metabolism and Accumulation of Key Secondary Metabolites in Saprophytic Cultures of Psilocybe cubensis, Psilocybe cyanescens and Panaeolus campanulatus." J Pharm Sci 57(10), 1661-1667.

Ohenoja-E et al. (1987) "The Occurrence of Psilocybin and Psilocin in Finnish Fungi". J Natural Products 50(4), 741-744.

Pegler-D-N. Mushrooms Demystified.

Repke-D-B et al. (1977) "Baeocystin in Psilocybe, Conocybe and Panaeolus". Lloydia 40(6), 566-578.

Singer-R, Smith-A-H. (1958) "Mycological Investigations on Teonanácatl, the Mexican Hallucinogenic Mushroom. Part II: A Taxonomic Monograph of Psilocybe, Section Caerulescentes." Mycologia 50, 263-303.

Stamets, Paul. "The Mushroom Cultivator."

Stamets, Paul. Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World. 1996

Turner, DM, The Essential Psychedelic Guide, 1994

Wasson, R. Gordon. "Wondrous Mushroom."


ENDNOTES
1. R. Gordon Wasson, The Wondrous Mushroom: Mycolatry in Mesoamerica (City: Publisher, 1980) [Return to text]

2. While S. divinorum is known to have been employed by the Mazatecs, its use by the Aztecs is uncertain. The question largely hinges on Wasson's identification of S. divinorum with the traditional Aztec sacrement Pipiltzintzintli. Jonathan Ott surveys the issue [Jonathon Ott, Pharmacotheon (City: Publisher, 1993) pp. 382 ff]. While he is clearly sympathetic to Wasson's theory, neither he nor Wasson offer direct evidence that the Aztecs made use of S. divinorum. (thanks, M) [Return to text]

3. While it is sometimes rumored that the Aztecs stored their mushrooms in honey, there is debate as to whether honey will actually preserve the mushrooms. Jonathon Ott states that "embalming in honey is useless for preservation of mushrooms." [Jonathon Ott, Pharmacotheon (City: Publisher, 1993) Notes on Psilocybin Section.] While amateur experimentation has shown that it can be at least somewhat effective, it is not believed that the Aztecs actually employed this technique. [Return to text]

4. John W. Allen, Teonanacatl: Ancient and Contemporary Shamanic Mushroom Names of Mesoamerica and other Regions of the World (City: Publisher, 1997) 3. [Return to text]

5. John W. Allen, Teonanacatl: Ancient and Contemporary Shamanic Mushroom Names of Mesoamerica and other Regions of the World (City: Publisher, 1997) 3. [Return to text]

6. John W. Allen, Personal Correspondence, 1999. [Return to text]

7. Richard Evans Schultes, Descriptions written on herbarium sheets at Harvard. [Return to text]

8. The term "magic mushroom"was coined by the editor of Wasson's Life Magazine article in 1957, despite Wasson's reservations about the term. [Peter Stafford. Psychedelics Encyclopedia. 236] [Return to text]

9. Merck Index, Psilocybin and Psilocin entries. [8110, 8111]. [Return to text]

10. Jeremy Bigwood reports that the effects of baeocystin are not noticeably different than those of psilocybin and/or psilocyin. [Return to text]

11. 'Nature's Perfect Entheogen' is a trademark of Mother Nature Incorporated. [Return to text]

12. Panaeolus sphinctrinus has been reported to be psychoactive, but probably in error. Although Guzmán, Allen and Gartz (1999) include it in their list of neurotropics, only a couple of researchers reported that they found this to be a psilocybian mushroom. Most likely there was an error based on a mixed collection where several different mushrooms were gathered and placed onto a single herbarium sheet as one species. Some people have reportedly eaten up to 250 specimens in a tea with no results. It is improbable that anyone will ever get high from this species. (John W. Allen) [Return to text]

13. Boletus erythropus, Coprinus niveus, patouillardii, and narcoticus, Lepiota peele, Panaeolus accuminatus, antillarum, cambodgeniensis, foenisecii, rickenii, separatus, and tropicalis, and Psathyrella candolleana, gracilis, and sepulchralis have all been removed from this list on the recommendation of John W. Allen. Panaeolus foenisecii (renamed Panaeolina foenisecii due to its unique spore print (Arora, 1979; Allen & Merlin, 1992)) was mentioned erroneously in a high times article. (Brolyn, 1990) [Return to text]

14. Only one collection of Galerina steglichii has ever been found, in a greenhouse by Babos. It did contain psilocybin and psilocin, but probably doesn't qualify as an even "uncommonly used" psychoactive mushroom. [Return to text]

15. John W. Allen, Magic Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest (City: Publisher, 1997) 10. [Return to text]