Mushrooms - P. cubensis (sclerotia)
Citation: PerryHelion. "The Truffles Are Strong: An Experience with Mushrooms - P. cubensis (sclerotia) (exp95369)". Erowid.org. Oct 24, 2020. erowid.org/exp/95369
Legal Psilocybin Truffles In Amsterdam
Having some leftover time at the end of a European vacation, I decided to treat myself to a legal psychedelic voyage in Amsterdam, having done so about ten years prior. I walked into the smart shop expecting to find regular old dried psilocybe cubensis mushrooms, but instead saw some fresh product being sold in 10 and 15 gram quantities. I asked if it was possible to get dried mushrooms and was then informed about the current legal situation in the Netherlands. As silly as this sounds, the actual mushroom (fruiting body of the fungus) is illegal, but not the underground (vegetative) parts of the fungus which are still strongly psychoactive.
I told the proprietor that I normally eat 2-3 grams dried in the US and asked him what dosage to take. He said the conversion is roughly 5:1, but I want to note that based on my experience, there doesn't seem to be a consistent conversion factor, not to mention the fact that potency of psilocybe mushrooms available in the US varies so widely which renders the exercise academic anyway. Figuring that these would be strong I opted for a 10g container thinking that the equivalent 2g of strong mushrooms would provide a full but not overwhelming experience. What I got was one level down from the highest potency – the chart said 15g of that would launch you into deep hyperspace or something along those lines and was recommended for the most experienced voyagers only. I don't recall the name of the type I purchased. That wasn't what I had in mind. He urged me to start by eating half of the container then waiting an hour before finishing the rest. I told him I would, but I felt bad that he didn't believe me. I felt it was a cold and unfriendly businesslike transaction.
Set/Setting/Background digression: I had just finished a 2 week backpacking trip in the Alps and was in good spirits about that, but I experienced quite a culture shock going directly to Oktoberfest in Munich and had an unfortunate incident in which a lot of money was stolen from me. Overall I felt a bit uncomfortable about the prevalence of English everywhere, and how this reflects the reality of American Empire. I usually smoke cannabis a few times a day, but after taking 3 weeks off and exercising a lot I was hit pretty hard by what was available in Amsterdam where I had arrived 2 days prior. In general I'm introverted and introspective. The majority of my psychedelic experiences including the one described here have been solo. This is about 40-50 psilocybin experiences ranging from mild to heavy, 7-10 LSD trips, 3 salvia experiences and DMT once (not solo). In the 9 months preceding this experience I had taken 2-3g of mushrooms 4 times and two hits of LSD once. I was nearing the end of my month long vacation and had no plans or even a place to stay upon my return to the US.
I had purchased the truffles in the morning and I decided to smoke at a coffeeshop before ingesting them. I smoked part of a joint and drank a cup of tea. The truffles also come with a booklet that outlines the basics of set and setting and psychedelic FAQ's for tourists so I read that while I sat there. Then I went to get some orange juice to help wash down the truffles in case the taste was bad. It was a beautiful, warm, sunny day so I headed towards Vondelpark and began to chow down around noon.
I hate eating dried mushrooms and have a weak stomach so I hoped that these truffles would be a nice alternative. Too bad it's no improvement at all, just a different kind of awful. For the first second I thought 'oh, that's not bad' but then as I was finishing that thought it hit me. It's the most vinegary thing imaginable, like the strongest pickle ever multiplied by a factor of at least one thousand. I found it very unpleasant and difficult to eat, and it was good that I had the orange juice. I had endeavored to eat 2/3 of the package and did so. The taste would remain in my mouth for the remainder of the experience and allowed me to gauge my point along the trip's curve.
I begin to feel the anticipation and notice unusual thoughts about 20-30 minutes in. Balance becomes altered and legs lose a bit of solidity which is common for me. I head over to sit and lean against a tree by a pond. I begin to let the mushroom take over, paying close attention to my thoughts and the onset of effects. I was vigilant in canceling any potential negative thought streams by reminding myself that I was enjoying a mushroom experience in Amsterdam and that was my goal for the day. I'm mostly watching people hang out and smoke and also families picnicking with their little kids. I like to have music handy on my trips and I try to listen to the small radio I have, but don't like any of what I hear and abandon this for the remainder of the experience. As expected, a wave of nausea creeps up early on but I'm able to breathe through it and it passes with no problem. From then on, stomach sensations were warm and pleasant.
After about T+ 1:30 I feel that the come up is complete and that I've fully crossed over into the altered state. It's early fall and the trees are just starting to change color. I'm feeling restless and I decide to walk around and enjoy the beautiful scenery. It doesn't take long before I lose my bearings, but it doesn't bother me. I venture to the edge of the park and then deciding to check my location I look at a sign with a map on it. The lines representing the walking paths are writhing about like a mass of serpents against a pulsating background. I decide to sit back down.
I find another grassy location by a different pond. Now I can tell the peak is coming on and I can also tell that it's going to be intense. I already had acknowledged at this point that the truffles were significantly stronger than I expected them to be and that the experience was going to be more powerful than anything I had experienced recently although I was certainly prepared for this. In general, the experience and especially this part required a greater application of psychedelic navigation skills than I had planned for, which was fine. Thoughts of all types are whirling through my mind, and I'm suddenly struck with the importance of quieting them and opening myself to the experience. It's the feeling of when the house lights go down before the band comes on - I know that something is about to start and I lay flat on my back. I think 'here it comes' and empty my mind. Almost immediately the OEV's - a rarity for me and something I usually consider quite secondary, but in this case there was no separation of the sensory and psychological elements.
A grid of yellow lines appears in the sky. At first I have the irrational thought that my polarized sunglasses are causing this distortion. This is sometimes true with screens and bodies of water but in this case the notion is utter nonsense. Glasses or not the grid is there, with living pulsating lines outlining geometrical and polygonal figures. A pigeon flies across my field of vision – the lines gently envelop the bird forming a protective circle around it with lines stretching out from the circle tilting and bending as it flies through. But then a roaring plane appears high overhead and the lines scatter off and go out of sight. To me it's obvious what is happening. The lines are real and can interact with living creatures like the pigeon which can sense them. But the sterile artificial destructive plane blasts through the lines and prevents them from forming their protective auras. I start to think about auras and how some people absolutely insist they can see them around people and can detect information from them. Right then I have no doubt about the possibility of that being true and that certain things that are seen on psychedelics might really be there, and only special people can see them without their aid.
Since I feel like the peak has passed I allow my mind to wander a little more and think about my direction in life and things like that which I did not allow myself to think about for the first 2:30-3:00. Then the thoughts I had alluded to about American Empire began to occupy and dominate my train of thought. I thought it was weird that all these people in Holland grew up learning and speaking Dutch, but now they have to put aside their own culture and speak English. They just happened to have a tolerant and progressive stance towards drugs, and then all of a sudden we came in droves and totally highjacked their culture so we could have our drug haven, while we used our wealth and military might to export our culture replacing whatever was there to begin with. I thought of all the atrocities and suffering caused by war, and as I lay there I thought that the United States was as evil as any conquering force in history, not even distinguishable from Nazi Germany. What about Chile and El Salvador and all the horrible things that have simply gotten a free pass from history and no one talks about? I couldn't blind myself to patriotic explanations and from the fact that we engage in pure and simple conquest with a propaganda machine to bolster it and deny what is obvious, well-documented, and in plain sight.
So then I came to what was really the ultimate question: how much blame do ordinary German people from the 1930's and 1940's deserve for what happened? I saw people walking by with baby carriages and imagined German families doing the same thing in the English Garden in Munich. I thought “are these people Nazis?” I wondered if the Swedes and Dutch and others who basically conduct their affairs in English were simply collaborators and capitulators and what level of responsibility they bear. They can't match the military might of the US so they gladly accept the mantle of American language, culture, and economics instead of standing up, gleefully latching on to the beast of global corporatism and feeding on the fringes while being subservient to the master.
Then I thought about a baker who lived in Berlin. For many generations people in his family baked bread and he probably just lived a peaceful and non-assuming life. He liked the smell of the yeast and the feeling of the dough on his hands. He sold his bread to Jews and held no hatred for anyone yet he paid taxes to the German government and in some part funded the war machine that killed so many. What should he have done? Should he have just left Germany which had always been his family's home and where he lived comfortably? Where would we have gone and how would he have supported himself? At what point if any was he morally responsible to leave? It wasn't his idea to round people up and slaughter them, and the people doing these things weren't doing them on his behalf. So is he a murderer? Is anyone who pays taxes to the US government a Nazi?
But, I continued to think with my mind racing, then what are the options? Should I go to Canada instead? Their consumer culture is the same as ours. They have corporations and defense contractors that profit from war. The US takes all the blame and condemnation while they simply reap the economic benefits. And what about France? They protest our wars but they participate in multinational trade. And the Swiss claim to be neutral, but isn't the banking system as equally powerful an arm as the military in the conquest?
And then what about the so called opposition? Is Venezuela or Cuba really any better? Certainly not Syria or Egypt. Doesn't the problem all come down to greed and ego anyway? Doesn't the very existence of strong leaders and central governments contribute to the problem by perpetuating the failed and unworkable nation-state system?
This started to become almost unbearable, from a psychological standpoint. Physically I felt fine. I thought that being in the clear psychedelic state would give me the ability to gain insight with detached reflection as it often does for me regarding many subjects. Conversely, I often exercise good judgement regarding how far I will chase down a train of thought and know when to simply let the thread drop. But as you can see I had instead just opened the floodgates to a torrent of complex and powerful thoughts that demanded a resolution, an ultimate answer that could satisfy all the concerns that had been raised and which would set my life at ease on the spot! I knew that psilocybin experiences often prompt me to seek these types of ultimate answers which are always unattainable and had learned that any situation which demanded an answer of this type could only lead to an endless feedback loop of meandering thought and needed to be abandoned. Yet I plodded on anyway. I forged on and felt it was worth it because I knew that I could discover THE truth that would put my life on a clear path and direction if I succeeded.
So then in order to cope, I first of all re-examined the very premise I began with, that of being judged by history. I wondered would it really matter if history “remembered me” as a Nazi and what that even meant? What if people looked back on our generation and viewed people like me as passive but willing contributors to the victims of the military-industrial complex? How has such a judgement by those who may have passed it affected the German baker? So then it was simply a matter of my own conscience outside of any external judgements. Could I go about a bourgeois life in a corporate office knowing that I was just a simple pawn in an evil and destructive system as long as I had a safe and comfortable place to sit and spending money to buy things? Where does the responsibility end? Politicians, arms dealers, polluters, lobbyists, propagandists – sure they're directly responsible but what about a plain old American consumer?
How do you resist? Is taking up arms the only way to confront a power of this nature? Is anyone else simply a coward? Certainly the agendas of terrorist groups aren't any more respectable. Is it enough to write protest music and speak out? Is this just a glorified form of inaction? Can one simply resist by living a simple life free of frivolous excess? Is it true what the Dalai Lama says that simply focusing on inner peace is really a meaningful way to contribute to world peace and societal improvement? Is that just a cop out? Is he just a pawn of the capitalist system posing as a smiling monk? Is he a simple cleric or a political figure with a geopolitical agenda? Isn't he simply a head of state who was deposed and dependent on benefactors? Isn't non-violence just a way of preaching submission to the war machine? Can I take his messages seriously? When is violent struggle justified? Should no one have resisted the Nazis with arms?
Ultimately I decided that being an independent self-sufficient individual in a meaningful, non-harmful occupation must be acceptable even if you pay taxes that fund the American military. No other conclusion seemed reasonable after I had teetered so close to the edge of nihilism. Violence at the state level simply reflects what the general population truly wants. After all, our desire for material things and energy played out in our highly competitive material culture fuels our military conquest, our endless parade of unnecessary devices and our simple inability to put up with even a tiny bit of discomfort. So much waste is caused by people needing to prove a point to other people. In order to pursue these selfish and material aims, people consciously decide to work for organizations that openly trade in implements of death and destruction. People choose to devote their lives to wasteful and excessive industries and on and on. People make an infinite number of conscious choices which affect the world at large. I decided that I can only be responsible for myself and my own decisions. I can only hope to make decisions that if everyone were to make would result in a greater good. How can I do anything to combat greed and petty jealousy?
I began to think about what occupations are really useful to society and what would have been useful to early human communities and which of those things I could stand to do. It was obvious that I had a pretty strong interest in plants and fungi – knowledge of plants was absolutely essential to the survival and flourishing of early humans and people need to devote themselves to knowledge of the natural world for the greater good. But then again, didn't the Nazis have botanists and park rangers? To what degree are they responsible for the Holocaust? What if they were like many botanists and naturalists – introspective and non-violent people with mystical reverence for the natural world, indifferent to politics and superficial hierarchies and driven to frequent contemplation? Nonetheless, I decided that I would take a seriously look at botany when I got back home to the States.
With that decided I thought it would be a good idea to get moving again. Especially since the peak effects were wearing off (T + 4:00) I wanted to enjoy the relaxed state of the come down by taking a long and pleasant walk. However, once I got outside the confines of Vondelpark I realized that the effects were still fairly strong. Such that being in a heavily urban area made me still feel uncomfortable. I kind of wandered around and got lost for a bit before making my way back to the park. I did a few laps and at this point I was starting to feel better about understanding the layout, which is actually quite simple but had been baffling to me a few hours earlier. At this point I had finally derailed that insane train of thought and was just concentrating on my beautiful surroundings and thinking about my plans for the rest of the night.
That covers the eventful parts. I felt no need to finish the container and I simply discarded the remainder. The come down was very relaxing, very even and drawn out over a few hours. It was a beautiful sunset and the park was filled with young people hanging out, smoking cannabis, playing chill electronic music. Overall a very pleasant vibe and a nice place to be. I smoked another bit of a joint right when it was starting to get dark (T+ 7:00). After dark I was extremely hungry and it felt really good to eat a lot of fresh raspberries and later some pizza. Eventually I walked along a canal and found a small coffeeshop to smoke and hang out in. I fell asleep easily about 11 hours after ingestion.
I don't know if it had to do with the tea and orange juice, or the wet mushy nature of the truffles, or neither, but I had to urinate over and over again. So many times. Normally this isn't a consideration for the majority of a psychedelic experience for me, so it was noticeable because it was really unusual. And it wasn't a simple psychological thing where I just felt like I had to go, I really peed quite profusely. Totally anomalous so I feel it's worth mentioning in case it is somehow a property of this form of psilocybe.
The truffles are strong. I'm a strong advocate for the legal, responsible, and respectful use of natural psychedelics and I was therefore happy to support the local industry and enjoy a thorough exploration of inner space without posing the slightest physical danger to anyone. It was a full, pleasurable, and rewarding experience.
P.S. The experience occurred a few months ago and I've yet to come up with the ultimate answer for the dilemma I thought about or even suitable answers for most of the questions raised, which I still think are valid but extraordinary difficult questions. I thought about it some when I got back to the US, but I realized it wasn't really getting me anywhere so I've mostly ignored it. I did come up with an interesting thought that in part prompted me to write this report because it did make me feel a bit better about the experience as a whole; the Dutch invented international capitalism, so I shouldn't feel sorry for them if the proliferation of that system has temporarily caused their native culture to yield to foreign influences, namely to those who excelled at it and surpassed its creators. I work with wildlife (which involves a little bit of botany), but not full time so if I can work in the natural resources field that would be satisfactory to me. I have to make a living and if it's something that's enjoyable and inherently useful to humanity then that's good enough for me for now and if I'm a Nazi then I'm sorry to the judges of history.
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