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How can I find out if there is psilocybin/psilocin in a mushroom?
Q: Can anyone tell me the most reliable and easy method to test for psilocybin/psilocin in a mushroom? (if any)

A: There are several companies which sell Psilocybin or Tryptamine Tests on the web. These are color change field reagent tests where a drop of liquid is placed on a material, and various changes in color would specify the presence of a tryptamine. Unfortunately, the only one of these that we've seen seemed difficult to read and unreliable (4/2001) though it's quite possible that they will be perfected in the future. This is similar to the Marquis reagent used to identify MDMA related subtances.

The most reliable way to know whether psilocybin or psilocin is in a mushroom, is to analyse it using either Thin Layer Chromatography or Gas Chromatography / Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS). GC/MS is also the most reliable way to test for other drugs such as MDMA, methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, etc.

An example of a company that has the proper DEA license to legally perform drug testing is Drug Detection Lab (DDL). Drug Detection Lab can test samples of virtually any substance sent to them. They ask for the name of the suspected drug(s) present in the sample, and then test for at least 300 possible compounds. Samples are not returned to the sender. Contact DDL directly for details and costs.

Gas Chromatography / Mass Spectrometry: Defined by Thein and Landry:

The most precise procedure for detection of banned substances is a combination of GC and MS. Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry is a two-step process, where GC separates the sample into its constituent parts, while MS provides the exact molecular identification of the compounds. Compounds are separated by GC and are then introduced, one at a time, into a mass spectrometer. As the sample constituents enter the MS, they are bombarded by electrons, which cause the compound to break up into molecular fragments. The fragmentation pattern is reproducible and characteristic, and is considered the molecular-fingerprint" of a specific compound.

Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry is considered to be the most definitive method for confirming the presence of a drug in the urine and is approximately 100 to 1,000 times more sensitive than Thin Layer Chromatography (TLC). Selective ion monitoring has been used to improve the GC/MS results. This procedure is the most costly, averaging approximately $200 per sample to test.

Erowid Resources:

  • Info about identification in the Sacred Mushrooms Vault

  • The Measure of the Mushroom from Erowid Psilocybin Mushroom Vault

  • Erowid Drug Testing Vault for more about analytical methods

    Off-site Resources:

  • Description with photos of Thin Layer Chromatography (TLC).

  • Asked By : KrIpThOr
    Answered By : Sophie, Fire
    Published Date : 8 / 23 / 2001
    Last Edited Date : 8 / 23 / 2001
    Question ID : 2797

    Categories: [ Mushrooms (Psilocybin) ] [ Chemistry ] [ Psilocybin & Psilocin ]

    Ask Erowid v1.7 - Jul, 2005

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