|Lycaeum > Leda > Documents > How to Grow Psychedelic Mushrooms|
An old document based on a 1977 book.
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.
PROCEDURE (finally!)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! )
HARVESTING:'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 inactive....
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... :-)
MAKING SPORE-PRINTS: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:
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.]
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...