How to Grow Psychedelic Mushrooms
Well, here it is -- just about all I know about growing psychedelic mushrooms.
Most of this information was taken from a book in the rare books collection at
the University of Texas at Austin entitled Magic Mushroom Cultivation,
published in 1977 and written by Stephen H. Pollock. Anyway, I have used the
rice-cake method described below, and am currently growing my third batch, which
has produced some pretty potent mushrooms! I feel the need to mention that
I'm giving you this information for INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY, and I don't
expect you or anyone else to actually undertake any of the techniques I will
describe below, for to do so may violate certain laws -- and I wouldn't give you
this information if I thought you might do something illegal.
Before I describe the technique I use, I'd like to say that there are many
methods of growing 'shrooms, some more difficult than others, and I am simply
presenting the method which has worked well for me: I've never had a dud batch --
they've always fruited readily, and I've never poisoned myself or others with
contaminated 'shrooms. I should mention, however, that the procedure I describe
is not one which will give maximum yields of mushrooms -- but it does have the
advantage that the growing medium itself can be ingested for psychedelic
effects (see section on Storage and Methods of Ingestion).
Another point I'd like to make is that I STRONGLY recommend getting other
information on mushroom cultivation before starting your own batch. Perhaps
the best book I have seen on the subject is The Mushroom Cultivator by Paul
Stamets. It gives extremely detailed information on the cultivation of
psychedelic mushrooms. I highly recommend that you read this book before
following any cultivation procedure.
which leads me to the....
- A sporeprint from a strain of psychedelic mushrooms.
(make sure it's the real thing, and that it's not contaminated with
anything! Dust, for example.)
- A pressure cooker, any size, but preferably one with 17 qt. (liquid) capacity.
(this is the most expensive item, but it's a necessity. Borrow, rent,
buy, or steal one.)
- 12 (or more) new canning jars, 1 quart size, pref. wide mouthed,
- A box/bag of brown rice -- NOT white rice. Long grain/wild rice might also
be a good growing medium -- maybe even better than regular brown rice, although
I'm not positive about this. I once used a half-and-half mix of brown rice
and Long grain wild rice which worked fine. However, a possible disadvantage
to using the long grain/wild rice is that any contaminants such as
dark-colored molds will be more difficult to spot in the growing medium.
- Something to scrape the spores off the print into the jar.
something like a stiff metal wire with a handle, so you can heat the end
red hot in a flame to sterilize it without burning your fingers. I find
that a probe from a Biology dissection kit works wonderfully.
- A flame source. An alcohol lamp is not hard to make out of a small jar
filled with rubbing alcohol, with a cotton ball as a wick. I suppose you
could just use a lighter, but i prefer making an alcohol lamp -- just make
sure you don't burn your place down!!
- A clean place to store your jars -- should have a relatively constant temp.
(the optimum temperature for starting the 'shrooms is 86 F, but I
have found room temperature to work fairly well). Closet shelves are
fine, in my experience. You want a place that's pretty dust/bug free,
but you don't want the storage area to be airtight, as shrooms do have to
breathe just like any other living organism. Many books recommend making
some kind of superclean box to store the jars in, but I've never bothered
with that. Most sources of information on growing 'shrooms (this one, too)
stress that everything be AS STERILE AS POSSIBLE. However, if you do have
to cut a few corners you should still be successful if you just USE YOUR HEAD!
- optional materials: germ-killing soap for washing hands, alcohol for
sterilizing hands, etc., surgical gloves, dust masks, hair-nets, an
air-filtering machine (Pollenex?), a couple 1 gallon jugs of distilled water,
a spray bottle, bleach.
(As you can see, this is all stuff which will help to make things a bit
more sterile -- definitely recommended!)
This is the procedure I follow for the rice-cake method of propagating
psychedelic mushrooms. I use this method for a number of reasons. One is
that my first ever batch consisted of 6 jars of manure medium and 6 of the
brown rice medium, I found the rice cakes produced more 'shrooms, and for
a longer period of time than did the manure-filled jars. Rice has obvious
advantages in that it's easy to obtain -- no trekking thru a pasture looking
for fresh cow-shit! Also, the manure stinks like hell when cooked in the
pressure cooker! Perhaps the biggest advantage to the rice cake method is
that when the rice cake no longer produces crops of 'shrooms (about 2 mos.),
you can actually CONSUME THE RICE CAKE ITSELF!! Given, of course, that you
detect no contaminants on the rice cake (molds or bacteria). When mushroom
growth stops, the rice cake can provide a trip for 2-4 people. See the end
of this article for methods of ingesting mushrooms/rice cakes...
PROCEDURE ( i promise! )
- Turn off the air-conditioner in the place you're going to do this. It is
very important to work in a draft-free area. Turning the A/C off will allow
the dust in the room to settle (including the heavier mold spores which can
contaminate your rice-cake medium.)
- Set up the pressure cooker, make sure you read the manual if you have one.
You don't want the damn pressure cooker exploding, or anything like that.
Wash out the pressure cooker for good measure, and also wash the jars and lids.
I wouldn't use a towel to dry them out, though, you'll just wipe germs & dust
back on 'em.
- Wash yourself, too. It's recommended that you wear a long sleeved shirt,
and to pull your hair back or wear a cap or hair-net. I don't think that the
dust mask would be necessary at this point, maybe later, though...
- For each quart-size canning jar, add 1/4 cup brown rice and 1/3 - 1/2 cup
I use the distilled water that you can buy in any grocery store -- I don't trust
tap water. Fill 6 or 7 jars with this mixture, or as many as will fit into
your pressure cooker without stacking or jamming them in there. Place the lids
on the jars, with the rubber UP, and leave the lids very loose.
- Place the jars on the bottom rack of the pressure cooker. I recommend using
the rack, that way the jars won't tip and spill as the water boils around them.
Using the rack also keeps them from breaking from the heat of the burner
directly below them. For a 17 quart pressure cooker, add about 3 quarts of
water, but not so much that the jars start to float and tip over. Again, I use
distilled water for this.
- Now, follow the directions for sealing the pressure cooker. Some recommend
that you rub a dab of cooking oil on the seal, so that it seals properly and
is easier to close and open. Do it right. Do it by the book. Turn the stove
on its highest setting and allow the pressure inside the cooker to build up to
15 lbs. Once the pressure inside the cooker has reached 15 lbs., you want to
maintain it at that level for one complete hour. You may have to turn down the
stove for brief periods so that the pressure doesn't rise to unsafe levels
above 15 lbs. When the hour has passed, turn off the stove and LET THE
PRESSURE COOKER COOL BEFORE OPENING! Also, don't try to rush the cooling
process, as the jars may crack.
- Just before opening the pressure cooker, wash up again, maybe use rubbing alcohol
or put on surgical gloves. Now is the time for dust masks (although I usually use my
shirt to keep from breathing germs on the jars). Long sleeves and a hat or
whatever is recommended because literally millions of germs are falling off
your body at any given moment. Sterility and the absence of drafts are of
utmost importance from here on out...
(some books recommend filling a spray bottle with a 10% bleach / 90 % water
solution and using it to mist the air in the room to further reduce airborne
- Open the pressure cooker and let the jars cool until they're pretty close
to room temp. If you remove the jars too soon, they will crack and you will
have to start over with new jars, so it pays to be a little patient.
You may want to tighten the lids a bit so air/germs can't contaminate the rice
cakes. When the jars cool off, you're ready to go...
- Heat your wire loop/probe/whatever until it is GLOWING RED. Put on your
dust mask or pull your shirt up over your nose and mouth.
- Lift the lid off the jar and set it down on a sterile surface, with the
inside face down. OR let a friend hold the lid for you. Make sure the person
has washed/sterilized his/her hands as well as you have.
- Get out your sporeprint and hold it over the open jar at an acute angle.
Use the sterilized wire loop/probe to gently scrape and tap the sporeprint to
get the spores down onto the rice cake. If you can see dark specks fall onto
the rice, you've done it sufficiently -- anything you can see is probably several
thousand spores. A sporeprint the size of a nickel can EASILY innoculate a
- Screw the jar's lid on tightly and shake the jar until the rice cake
breaks up. This will allow the spores to spread throughout the rice medium,
thus increasing the chances for success. A good way to start the process is to
inspect the jars carefully for cracks, invert the jar, and strike the lid
against the heel of your hand. Next, unscrew the lid until it almost comes
off -- this allows for air to get into the jar. I usually just screw the lid
on about 3/4 of a turn -- just enough where it won't fall off easily.
- When you've done this for all your jars, put the jars in a safe, clean
place with a fairly constant temp., a dark place is best. In 3 days-2 weeks
you should see white, fluffy mycelia appear -- looks like white fuzz. Any other
color of fuzz (green, black, etc.) is mold, and the jar should be disposed of.
I'm not kidding about this! Certain contaminants, molds in particular, can
cause illness or even death if you ingest the contaminated 'shrooms. It's
better to be safe than sorry, believe me. Also be on the lookout for bacterial
infections of the rice medium. These will often appear as colored (orange or
pink) runny or clammy looking gunk in with the rice. These should be thrown out
immediately as well. Bacterial infections may also give off a kind of putrid
odor, but of course you should not be taking the lids off the jars at all
during this stage. Now, the rice itself will get very soft as a result of the
pressure cooking, and the initial shaking of the jar may smear gel-looking gunk
all over the insides of the jar. But by comparing with the rest of the jars
you should be able to tell the difference between this gunk and a bacterial
infection. Like I said before, JUST USE YOUR HEAD!!
- This is not actually another step because you're done! Just sit back and
wait for nature to take its course! Shrooms are pretty much maintenance-free
until fruiting starts to occur. It should take anywhere from 2 weeks to 1 month
for the mycelia to completely permeate the rice medium, then it will start
getting these stringy looking or fan shaped runners in the white fuzzy growth.
Mushroom formation is not far off, and the jars should be getting a couple of
hours of light per day -- fluorescent is OK, and natural sunlight is superb, just
make sure the jars don't get too warm. Of course at all stages be on the
lookout for any possible contaminants in the mycelia. By the way, as the
mycelia mature, they may start staining blue in spots, due to bruising, I
think -- so don't mistake this for a mold infection, but keep a close eye on any
change in color from the white coloring. The 'shrooms first appear as tiny
white pinheads and then the caps will darken (in P. cubensis) to a lovely
reddish brown. When the 'shrooms are growing the lids on the jars should be
very loose to allow for air exchange.
Also, mushrooms grow best in an environment with a humidity of over 90%, so if
you think that your 'shrooms may need a more moist environment, one thing to do
is to simply use a spray bottle to spray boiled or distilled water directly onto
the lids of the jars. I find that the moisture condenses inside the jars and
runs down the inside of the jars, moisturizing the mycelia. You could also
VERY LIGHTLY mist the surface of the rice cake if it looks dry. You don't want
things TOO wet, however, as this will promote mold/bacteria growth and actually
inhibit mushroom formation. Another possible method is to replace the lids
with a double layer of paper towel which is misted daily -- although I would
think that not having an actual lid on the jar would invite contamination.
Just my personal opinion. It is important that air exchange takes place in the
storage area -- this becomes more important as fruiting occurs, as the mycelia
gives off CO2 and needs O2. Remember that CO2 is heavier than normal air, so
it might be good to tip the jars a few times a day to let the CO2 dissipate out
of the jar.
'Shrooms are "ripe" as soon as the white membrane connecting the cap to the
stem has broken somewhat, although you don't want to pick them before they have
reached their full size! To harvest an individual mushroom, wash your hands
well -- I usu. use rubbing alcohol, too. Then take the lid off the jar and grasp
the mushroom firmly near the base. You may need to use a pair of sterilized
tweezers to do this, which is what I usu. do -- I avoid placing germy hands
inside the jars. A brisk twisting motion will help to free the 'shroom from
the mycelia. If it is too difficult to harvest them using those methods, you
can clean you hands, wash a small knife (preferably with anti-bacterial soap),
dip the blade in alcohol, flame it for several seconds, then use the tip of the
sterilized knife to cut the mushroom as close to the rice cake as possible.
STORAGE AND METHODS OF INGESTION:
Avoid crushing fresh mushrooms before storing them. The blue staining that is
common in psychedelic mushrooms is evidence of oxidation -- meaning that the
active ingredients (psilocin and psilocybin) are being oxidized, too -- rendering
the 'shrooms inactive. While refrigeration is recommended, freezing fresh
mushrooms should be avoided, since the expansion of the freezing water in the
cells ruptures the cell walls and thus opens them up for oxidation. Mushrooms
that were frozen while fresh may be an attractive blue color, but they are
Storage of fresh mushrooms should be in a breathable container such as a paper
bag stored in a refrigerator, avoid putting fresh 'shrooms in a ziploc bag, as
they may become slimy or moldy -- ugh! I have heard of people also storing fresh
shrooms by chopping them up and mixing them into honey -- the 'shroom honey is
then spread on bread or whatever and eaten.
There are a few methods of drying mushrooms, although I have found dried
shrooms to be MUCH weaker than fresh ones. One way to dry them is by placing
them on a cookie sheet in an oven on the lowest temp. with the door slightly
open. Simply drying them in sunlight is said to work also.
My main problem with dried shrooms is that in my experience they are not any-
where near as potent as fresh 'shrooms. I believe the reason for this is that
the two psychoactive ingredients (psilocin and psilocybin) are present in equal
amounts in fresh shrooms. BUT, psilocin is an unstable compound compared to
psilocybin, and breaks down readily when exposed to heat and oxygen. The
normal dosage for dried shrooms is 1 - 5 grams, dried. But I have never
had a "trip" from dried shrooms -- only with the fresh stuff. I ate 4 grams of
dried 'shrooms once and only got a buzz -- like being stoned or drunk.
So, I like my shrooms fresh, and of course, I have that luxury since I grow my
own. Whether they are dried or fresh, there are many interesting ways to ingest
them. My current favorite method is to blend 3-4 fresh ones in a blender with
orange juice -- the effects are fantastic and the taste is tolerable. I believe
this is due in part to the fact that the shrooms are almost completely
liquified by the blending process, releasing the "good stuff" into the orange
juice and making it more readily absorbed by the stomach. Some people may say
that the vitamin C in the OJ also enhances the effects, but this may be just a
myth. Another good method, one which I have used to eat
the rice cakes, was to chop the rice cake (or shrooms), and brown them for JUST
a few seconds in butter or margarine before pouring in an omelete mixture.
Mushroom omeletes!! Not only a meal, but a good trip, and a tasty way to
ingest the shrooms! (I happen to dislike the taste of shrooms by themselves)
Yet another method of taking shrooms is to make a milkshake in a blender, and
add the shrooms, you can make kind of a "strawberry smoothie" in this way.
Remember though, that dairy products may delay/block the absorption of certain
substances. Another method of ingestion is to boil the shrooms, fresh or
dried (or a rice cake) in a couple cups of water for about 5 minutes (until
they have sunk, one source says), and then either add a tea bag for hot tea,
or make Kool-Aid with the cooled water (straining out the shrooms, of course).
Sprinkling fresh or dried shrooms (chopped) onto pizza, or into spaghetti sauce
is another treat -- fun for a "shroom party". Since psilocin and psilocybin are
soluble in both water and alcohol, soaking shrooms in any liquor will release
these active ingredients into the liquor, making for a powerfully intoxicating
liquor a la' the way an "Emerald Dragon" is made with marijuana...
I have tried smoking a couple dried shroom caps, but only got the slightest buzz
from the VERY harsh smoke, no real effects to tell the truth.
I should mention again that once shroom production has really tapered off (and
you'll be able to tell) after 2 - 3 months, the rice cake can be eaten/used, if
you closely examine it and decide that there is no green or black mold
contaminant present. I should note that the rice cake will probably be all
kinds of funky colors -- a mix of white, steel blue, gray, maybe even purple in
places from spores falling on it! I have ingested several scary-looking rice
cakes, however, with no ill effects. Again, USE YOUR HEAD! If in doubt, toss
it out -- it's not worth a trip (no pun intended) to the hospital. A single rice
cake is enough for 2 - 4 people to trip on, although 2 is probably the better
figure. Some of my best trips were on half a rice cake chopped up and cooked
in an omelete! That's what I love about the rice-cake method -- when the shrooms
stop growing there's no waste! Speaking of no waste, if I ever had a rice cake
that I didn't want to risk eating I might use it to innoculate a compost pile
or a pasture full of cow shit by inserting a small piece into each cow-pie or
into the compost pile. Just think of the idea of starting a culture of wild
mushrooms in your area... :-)
This is really easy, just wash your hands well, then take a fresh shroom and
gently twist the cap off away from the stem ( OR, I usually use a sterilized
knife blade to cut the stem off as close to the cap as I can without touching
it too much). Then place the cap, gills down, on a sterile card or piece of
glass. Cover the cap and card with a clean, small container to keep drafts
from blowing the spores away, and to prevent dust/contaminants from settling on
the card/glass. I usu. use a small juice glass for this purpose. Leave the
covered 'shroom cap on the card/glass overnight and, voila! I suggest folding
the card the next day and keeping it in an airtight container (small ziploc bag)
in a refrigerator. I have been told that spore prints will keep for up to a
year in an airtight refrigerated (not frozen) environment. From personal
experience I know that they are still viable after 3 months. Oh, by the way,
try to find some use for the 'shroom cap after you've collected the spores
from it -- it's still psychoactive, so I'm sure you can think of something to do
with it... :-)
APPENDIX: Additional tips for more optimal yields.
Here are some additional tips, based on what I have learned from The
Mushroom Cultivator. One thing which comes to mind is that 86 F is
the best temp. for starting the growth process. Something to remember though,
is that the temp. INSIDE the jars will be several degrees higher than the
surrounding air temp. Growth of the mycelia generates small amounts of heat.
The Mushroom Cultivator tells all about decreasing the temperature at various
stages of growth to promote fruiting (the term they use for mushroom growth).
After reading TMC, I would also advise
building a simple growth chamber. This will serve a number of purposes:
Here's what I recommend: get a styrofoam ice chest, one that's large enough to
hold the 12 jars you've got. I used one I got at Circle K for less than $5
bucks. You may want to line the inside with aluminum foil, to increase the
reflection of light within the chamber, which will be good when you're ready to
expose the cultures to light. At some point you'll need to cut a large hole in
the lid -- cut out as much of the lid as you can, but make sure that you leave
enough of a margin on it so that it still functions as a lid. Then use some
kind of tape to tape Saran Wrap over the hole. Now you have a lid which allows
light into the grow-box, but helps to keep out dust, mold, and other
- it will create a more sterile environment, guarding against contamination.
- it will help keep the temp. high and more constant.
- it will help keep the humidity high and more constant.
- it will provide a place to hide the jars, rather than just having them out
on a shelf in your closet or wherever.
You don't have to mess around with the lid right away, though. TMC suggests
leaving the jars in TOTAL darkness for the first week or two -- even to the point
that they suggest using only a red light to examine the jars for growth and/or
contaminants. The book also suggests NO air exchanges during this initial
growth phase. I guess you could leave the lids loose like I suggested, but
leave the lid on the box.
Oh, by the way, in The Botany
and Chemistry of the Hallucinogens by Schultes and Hoffman, they say that the
medium adult oral dose is 4-8 mg psilocybin. And that dried 'shrooms contain
2 to 4 percent psilocybin -- but this was from a sample of Psilocybe mexicana,
and i think P. cubensis may be more potent.
They also mention something else that's interesting...They say that psilocybin
and psilocin are present in equal amounts in fresh 'shrooms, AND that psilocin
is something like 1.4 times as psychoactive as psilocybin. Given the fact that
psilocin is sensitive to oxidation, and breaks down upon drying (i suppose),
this seems like a probable reason that fresh ones are so much more potent than
dried ones. I have recently discovered a method of drying 'shrooms without
heat, which may help them to retain a potency level similar to fresh ones,
although I haven't tried any of the 'shrooms which I have dried by this method
so I don't know for sure that this is true. What I
do is cover the bottom of a shallow baking dish with a layer of uncooked (dry)
rice -- usually the rice that was left over in the bag from the initial start-up
of the procedure. Then I place a clean paper towel over this layer of rice and
place freshly harvested mushrooms on top of the paper towel. Then I cover the
dish with another clean paper towel and place the dish in my refrigerator. I
find that the rice absorbs all the moisture from the 'shrooms, and they are
completely dried within a week. Be careful not to pile the fresh mushrooms on
top of one another in the dish -- spread them out directly on the paper towel or
they may not dry, this creates the possibility of them getting moldy, which will
RUIN them! Of course, if your refrigerator is unusually humid, the 'shrooms
may take longer to dry out, if at all.
Here is something else which may be helpful. Taken without permission from
Paul Stamets' book, The Mushroom Cultivator. [Brackets] indicate comments from
the author of this file.
PARAMETERS FOR OPTIMAL GROWTH
[Adhere to these as much as you feel comfortable with.
Like I said before, I have obtained satisfactory
results by keeping the jars on a closet shelf from
start to finish. But trying to follow these guide-
lines will certainly lead to better crop yields.]
|SPAWN RUN: [1st stage of growth]
| Relative Humidity|| 90%
| Substrate Temp.|| 84-86 F. |
[Thermal death limits at 106 F.]
| Duration|| 10-14 days.
| CO2|| 5000-10000 ppm
| Fresh Air Exchanges|| 0 per hour.
| Light|| Incubation in total darkness.
|PRIMORDIA FORMATION: [pinhead formation]
| Relative Humidity|| 90+%
| Air Temperature|| 74-78 F.
| Duration|| 6-10 days.
| CO2|| less than 5000 ppm.
| Fresh Air Exchanges|| 1-3 per hour.
[but rememeber this air MUST be free of contaminants such as dust.]
| Light|| Diffuse natural or exposure for 12-16 hours/day of grow-lux type
fluorescent high in blue spectra at the 480 nanometer wavelength.
[I find that a regular fluorescent works fine, but I do try to let
my jars get some natural sunlight whenever possible -- making sure,
of course, that the jars don't get too warm.]
| Relative Humidity|| 85-92%
| Air Temperature|| 74-78 F.
| CO2|| less than 5000 ppm.
| Fresh Air Exchanges|| 1-3 per hour. |
[but be careful not to contaminate 'em!]
| Flushing Pattern|| Every 5-8 days. |
[this means a new crop or "flush" of
shrooms should appear every 5 -8 days.]
| Harvest Stage|| When the cap becomes convex and soon after the partial
| Light|| Indirect natural or same as above. |
[hint: use same as above.]
|Moisture Content of Mushrooms:
8% dry matter
P. cubensis have
up to 1% psilocin and/or psilocybin per dried gram.
[I would estimate approx. double that for fresh 'shrooms]
A quote I recently saw from the Oss & Oeric book reported that a
10 - 12 milligram dose of psilocybin is contained in about .5 grams of dried
shrooms ( approx. 50 grams fresh weight). However, 10-12 mg is a HEAVY dose,
and it's ALWAYS best to start with smaller doses -- you can always take more the
next time you trip. I would recommend then, that you cut this dose in half.
The Oss & Oeric book reports that 2 - 3 dried mushrooms contains approx.
4 mg of psilocybin. For fresh 'shrooms, I think a good dose to start with
would be 3 medium-sized shrooms. What's "medium-sized"? Well, I don't know --
but let's say it's one with a stem that's about 3 inches long and almost as
thick as a drinking straw, with a cap that's about the same diameter as a penny.
Remember when experimenting with dosages, esp. if you haven't tried fresh ones
before, that it usually takes at least 15 minutes before you notice any effects
at all. If the effects don't seem to be very strong, even after 30 minutes or
an hour, I would still advise against taking more. I think one of the dumbest
things trippers do is to try and strengthen their current trip by taking more.
That's just asking for trouble in the form of an overwhelming/bad trip.
Besides, your judgement probably isn't that great in that buzzed state.
I wish good journeys to you all...
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last updated: 11/16/96