Substrate and potency

An interesting bit of info can be found in the old OSS and OERIC (Mckenna brothers) MAGIC MUSHROOM GROWERS GUIDE (Not the MMGG version blah blah). This book is about the cased rye grain jar tek (not tray - just out of the jar top). The substrate is RYE grain. This is a quote from page 51 from the original book:

"A dose of about 10-12 milligrams of psilocybin, or about 5 g. dry weight of mushrooms, or 50 g. wet weight, is sufficient to harvest the full spectrum of hallucinogenic effects in a 160 lb. adult."

Whoa nelly! Do you see those dosages? Those are about twice the dosages that I would recommend anyone taking. The reason for this big difference in dosage reporting, is that different substrates produce different relative potencies. Paul Stamets reports this little known info in his book, "Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World" on page 110 - "...substrate composition affects potency".

Rye grain is not brown rice. Why should two different substrates give the same result in potency? The answer is that they don't. Many years ago I discovered to my complete surprise - that the little brown rice cubies were stronger than those grown on organic home made compost. Let me tell the story:

When I first started growing, I used many different substrates. The first substrate I used was naturally composted horse manure and pine sawdust (found deep down under a refuse pile at a horse ranch in North Atlanta Georgia - that is why the "pine sawdust" - that is what they use down there - not hay). It produced fabulous full sized specimens - and I had my first trip - excellent. I then got into making my own compost with fresh cow manure - wheat straw and garden gypsum. The shrooms grew large and I tripped hard.

I also had grain cultivation going. Rye grain proved to be a real lousy cultivation grain, and I still don't see what the big deal is about Rye grain. I also grew on brown rice cakes (Pollock style) and had excellent small fruitings, but I was prejudiced against these little ones. I would dry them hap-hazzardly with high heat (before I knew about how heat destroys the alkaloids) and as a result, I was dissatisfied with the trip power - not nearly as powerful as the compost grown. Then one day, I ate a small amount of fresh brown rice cubies. I remember like it was yesterday. I was taking around an ounce (28 grams) or more of fresh compost grown and tripping hard. But this time, I took exactly 18 grams of fresh brown rice cubies. About an hour later I was sitting there - completely stunned. I was totally tripped out - at least as high as I ever got on a lot more of the compost cubies. And, I always carefully weighed my doses of the cubies before I took them.

And then, many years ago I had the opportunity to try some cubies grown on Woodland Park zoo (Seattle) Elephant manure by a dude I met at the Orcas Island Myco Media Shroom conference in 1982. The shrooms were the usual ample sized compost style grown cubies. I tripped on them, but I didn't get the power effect that the brown rice cubies gave.

So in conclusion, If you want the best cubies, you have to grow on the best substrate for potency, and that is brown rice. But of course, this is based on my own experience, and that began over 20 years ago.

Psylocybe fanaticus
March 28 1999