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Psilocybe Mushroom FAQ

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Version 1.2, 1995.


Last update: 04 Jul 1995
HTML: 30 Sept 1996

By nipo@brahman.nullnet.fi (Most of the writing)
& gnosis@brahman.nullnet.fi (Layout, additions)
Thanks to baabo@brahman.nullnet.fi (For shroom descriptions)
& Tatu (For shroom descriptions)
& ppennane@cc.helsinki.fi (For the Tryptamine FAQ)
& dr303@cleveland.freenet.edu (For alkaloid content figures)
& lamont@hyperreal.com (For neuropharmacology)
& All the other net-people who added or corrected info
& Especially our fellow innerspace astronauts

.oOo. Notes .oOo.

This FAQ is far from complete, and we ask those with information to add or fix to contact us. All comments and thoughts welcome.

Schizophrenic alternation between "I" and "we" is due to the file being written by two people, not permanent brain damage from mushrooms. =)

This file is purposely not in the usual question-answer, clearly-divided subsections, everything-referenced, no-cute-ASCII-pics format usually used for FAQs. Instead, it's more relaxed and loose, which in our opinion makes for a much better read. Enjoy!

.oOo. Index .oOo.

  • Disclaimer
  • Updates
  • Foreword
  • Viewpoint
  • History
  • Etymology
  • Chemistry
  • Psychology
  • Legality
  • Botany
  • Mushroom Guide
  • Growing Mushrooms
  • Mushroom Resources
  • Growing Mushrooms
  • Picking Mushrooms
  • Drying Mushrooms
  • On the Dosage
  • Consumption
  • Preparation for the Voyage
  • Music and the Voyage
  • During the Voyage
  • Miscellaneous Questions
  • Further Reading
  • References
  • Endnotes

.oOo. Disclaimer .oOo.

For info only. I hope someday humanity reaches the point where there are no restrictions, laws or censorship. Just read the foreword and get an attitude & altitude.

.oOo. Updates .oOo.

What's new since version 1.1:
  • In "Chemistry"
    • Reorganized and cleaned up
    • Added molecular weight/potency calculation
    • Added molecular formulae
    • Added DEA drug control numbers
    • Minor fix to psilocybin structure [(+) in the wrong place]
    • Comment about serotonin inhibition cleaned up [thanks Lamont!]
  • In "Legality"
    • Sorted everything into a big nifty ASCII table
    • Added information about Canada and the Netherlands
  • In "Mushroom Guide"
    • Format of entries greatly improved
    • New full-scale entries by Professor Peabody (Baabo) added:
      • Panaeolina foenisecii
      • Panaeolus acuminatus, ater, campanulatus, sphinctrinus
      • Psilocybe montana
    • New full-scale entries from Mycologia/Lloydia/Norw J Botany:
      • Conocybe cyanopus, smithii
      • Psilocybe aztecorum, mexicana, stuntzii, subaeruginascens, zapotecorum
    • Serious revision of the following entries:
      • Psilocybe baeocystis, caerulescens, cyanescens
      • Stropharia cubensis
    • Serious revision of a number of entries, esp. Panaeolus spp., by Tatu
    • Quite a bit of information added here and there, too many minor updates for full listing
  • In "Picking Mushrooms"
    • Section from "Field Guide to North American Mushrooms" on identification added
  • Some updates and tips added to "Consumption"
  • In "During the Voyage"
    • Notes on 'emotional rollercoaster' following the trip
  • Added section "Mushroom Resources"
    • Visionary Mushrooms mailing list added
    • hyperreal.com and hemp.uwec.edu added
    • BJ, Conscious Dreams, Fungi Perfecti, HEMP BC and Teonanácatl added to list of companies
  • Added section "Music and the Voyage"
  • Added (big!) section "References"
  • Minor (mostly cosmetic) updates here, there and everywhere.
HTML Version:
  • Nifty HTML-ized tables, lists, etc.
  • Added many hypertext links
  • Redrew molecular structures (no more ASCII graphics) to reflect hypothetical neutral structures
  • Deleted incorrect comment regarding U.S. Federal law.
  • Major revisions to the "Mushroom Resources" section, largely to reflect the presence of the Lycaeum.

.oOo. Foreword .oOo.

FOREWORD:                       THINK!


><><>>><><>><><<<><><<<>>><<>><<>>><<<>><<<><<>>><<<>
                                What is it?
    viewpoint
                          the Ps(i)kedelia^^enTHEOgens(genia)

vokal.BO.lary/nx |BODY|

      [greek]-PSYCHE-DELEIN *humphry OSMOND 1956
              (soul) (show) in his letter to Aldous Huxley
                             "To fathom hell or soar angelic,
                              Just take a pinch of psychedelic."
                                   ion
  ____IN  tokzikat(-/+)  EBRIATION .......  psychotomimetik
                                      ...    psycholytik
      -__--IN- . peak experience alteredstate  EN THE O GEN
                                                    "gOd within"
                                        ekstasis  (theos)
         pharma                                  "be_koming"
         psyk                                     (gen)
         physi                                   => {god is love}
         biol
         soci                   theworld  /\/\/  conciousness
 OLOKI[greekLOGOS:knowledge]

                       physio.GNOMY of (SIKe:DELIA)

  crispvague         im/possibility   spaceufouniverse   2.birth
  Iindividualme      eyeopening       visionsinsights    otherworldly
  heaven&hell        planetmotherearth            beyondwords

       DRUGS?ENTHEOGENS?PSIKEDELIX?SUBSTANCES?

 LSD  Psilocin  harmaline what
 MDMA  Mescaline  ibogaine ever
 CANNABIS  Psilocybin  DMT ...

      entheogens.psychedelics.hallucinogens@non.addictive.non.harmful

     "...a psychedelic drug is one which, without causing physical
     addiction, craving, major physiological disturbances,
     delirium, disorientation, or amnesia, more or less reliably
     produces thought, mood, and perceptual changes otherwise
     rarely experienced exept in dreams, contemplarive and religious
     exaltation, flashes of vivid involuntary memory, and acute
     psychoses."
                                 PsychedelicDrugsReconsidered
                                 Lester Grinspoon
                                 James B Bakalar

 ? n   o[t]i   t   a   n   n   i   c . u   l   l   a . h !
 .   h  a   l  l   u  c   i  n   a  t   i  o   n  .

        sPIRITUAL                     Philo.sophic
         rETINA                              apertures
   "...ie. the product of             "the phleghms of thought
   perceptual processes."                          IN THE BRAIN

. colors magnified                    feelings of strange feelings
.                                     strange feelings
. wavy motion of objects              strange thoughts
:                                     visions/insights
: 2-D visuals
: objects differ                      absence of normal thought
; color/switches
; 3-D objects mutate
| Perceptions not connected           absence of reality
| to the ,real, world
*invisiblelandscapetheothersidedirectaxessunconsciousgodspacelifedeathuf
[Gnosis says: If that fails to make sense, read it again until it does... which may take a while.]

.oOo. History .oOo.

Hallucinogenic mushrooms have probably been in existence exactly as long as humanity. Ancient pictures of mushroom-headed humanoids have been found in caves in the Sahara. Siberian shamans use[d] fly agarics to enlighten the path to the spiritworld. In Central and Southern America use of psilocybin mushrooms (and other hallucinogens) was common until the arrival of Spaniards who spread the Catholic faith with sword and fire and forbade the use.

Spanish priest Bernardino de Sahagun (ca. 1500 AD) on the use of hallucinogenic mushrooms by the Aztecs:

The first thing to be eaten at the feast were small black mushrooms that they called nanacatl and bring on drunkenness, hallucinations and even lechery; they ate these before the dawn...with honey; and when they began to feel the effects, they began to dance, some sang and others wept.... When the drunkenness of the mushrooms had passed, they spoke with one another of the visions they had seen.
On use of alcohol:
If a youth appeared intoxicated in public... he was punished by being beaten to death with stick or garrotte before all other youths assembled there...to serve as an example.
Only old people were allowed to drink the alcoholic beverage pulque. Sahagun has an error in his writings, the mushrooms were not ingested with food:
It is an ancient custom for people to eat mushrooms and these they ate in a trice, as is said. They had had no food exept some cacao drunk the night before. They ate these mushrooms with honey.
The Aztecs (1400-1521) took other hallucinogenic drugs such as tlapatl, mixitl grain and peyotl or peyote, use of which originated from the north of Mexico, where it had been in use since 300 B.C. "Mushroom stones" in which figures under the cap of a mushroom are depicted have been found even from an earlier era (1000-500 B.C.) The purpose of these sculptures is not certain, but these stones may have been religious objects.

The Codex Vienna Mixtec manuscript (ca. 13th-15th century) depicts the ritual use of the teonanácatl by the Mixtec gods. The god known as 7 Flower (his name presented in the pictoral language as seven circles and a flower) was the Mixtec god for hallucinatory plants, especially the divine mushroom, and is depicted with a pair of mushrooms in his hand.

The Aztec also had their god for the entheogens, Xochipilli, Prince of Flowers. He was the divine patron of "the flowery dream" as the Aztecs called the ritual hallucinatory trance.

Mushrooms ingested by the indians were supposedly Psilocybe mexicana or caerulescens and Panaolus sphinctrinus. Stropharia cubensis, which is currently quite popular as it is easy to locate and cultivate, was not introduced to America until the arrival of the Europeans and their cattle. Today indians regard Stropharia cubensis inferior to Ps. mexicana for it grows in dung.

In the beginning of twentieth century interest in psychoactive mushrooms stirred. The teonanácatl was first identified as Lophophora williamsii or peyote, and it was thought that Sahagun had mistaken the cactus for mushrooms. Finally ethnobotanist Richard Evan Schultes and physician Plasius Paul Reko traveled for the mushrooms to Oaxaca, and collected specimens of Panaeolus sphinctrinus. They found out that mushroom ceremonies -- veladas -- were still being held in the area.

A decade after World War II, after long search the mycophile family of R. Gordon Wasson came to little Village of Huatla de Jimenez, and Wasson and his friend Allan Richardson attended a velada held by curandera Maria Sabina.

Information about the mushrooms soon spread. Psilocybin and psilocin were found and their analogues were synthesized. Experimentation with the mushrooms and the synthesized substances began and magic mushrooms were soon part of the 60's 'psychedelic' movement, i.e. every second middle class kid was opening the doors of perception and [ab]using hallucinogenic drugs.

.oOo. Etymology .oOo.

     _     _     _
   / et'e-mol'e-je / 1. the origin and history of words 
The name of the genus "Psilocybe" comes from the Greek words psilos (bare) and kube (head), warped into New Latin to form "psilocybe". Literally translated, this means "bald head", which I suppose comes from their appearance. A rather inaccurate comparison if you ask me, most bald people don't have big pointy nipples on top of cone-shaped heads, even if they're from Remulok, but I digress...

The best known hallucinogens in Psilocybe mushrooms are the chemicals psilocybin and psilocin, which are discussed at length in the next part. There remains a minor controversy about the spelling of their names. Psilocybin and psilocin are both alkaloids (nitrogen-containing substances found in nature), and an effort in the 70's aimed to convert all alkaloid names so that they end in -ine, like cocaine, caffeine, morphine, etc. The names should thus be "psilocybine" and "psilocine"; yet "psilocybine" is used very rarely even in modern authoritative works, and I have seen "psilocine" in print exactly once. If anybody has some idea about the current situation and the Korrekt(tm) spelling, please inform me.

.oOo. Chemistry .oOo.

The primary active ingredients of Psilocybe mushrooms are (surprise!) psilocybin and psilocin, and to a lesser extent baeocystin and norbaeocystin. The ratio of psilocybin to psilocin varies from species to species. The primary difference is that psilocin is unstable and it breaks down when the mushroom is dried, while psilocybin lasts much longer (a 115-year old mushroom sample was found to contain some). The two are equally psychoactive, since one molecule of psilocybin breaks down into one molecule of psilocin. But in terms of weight, we find that:

molecular weight of psilocybin
molecular weight of psilocin
=284.3
204.3
= 1.391

So by weight psilocin is around 1.4 times more potent. The formula for calculating total potency, ignoring [nor]baeocystin, is thus:

(psilocybin) + (1.4 * psilocin) = total potency in 'psilocybin units'

Now, here's the structural diagram for psilocybin:

Psilocybin_2D_Structure Psilocybin
C12H17N2O4P
4-OPO4-DMT
4-phosphoryloxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine
1H-Indol-4-ol, 3-[2-(dimethylamino)-ethyl] dihydrogen phosphate ester
CAS #: 520-52-5
DEA #: 7437

In the body, the phosphorus part is chopped off ("dephosphorylated") by the enzyme alkaline phosphatase, turning it into our other friend:

Psilocin_2D_Structure Psilocin
C12H16N2O
4-OH-DMT
4-hydroxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine
1H-Indol-4-ol, 3-[2-(dimethylamino)ethyl]
CAS #: 520-53-6
DEA #: 7438

Psilocybin and psilocin are part of the tryptamine family (indole (C8H7N) & ethylamine side chain). They bear close resemblance to the neurotransmitter serotonin. How these substances work is, I have come to believe, still quite obscure. Primary effect seems to be the inhibition of neurotransmitter serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine aka 5-HT), i.e. a 5-HT2A post-synaptic agonist that mimics the effects to 5-HT to put it in jargon. This is the working hypothesis for LSD-25 at the moment and it's probably true for psilocybin as well. These substances also present some cross-tolerance.

As a good psychedelic should, psilocybin, psilocin and psilocybian mushrooms have low toxicity -- in tests with mice, doses up to 200 mg of psilocybin/kg of body (in average human terms (65 kg) 13 grams) have been injected intravenously without lethal effects. The ED50 : LD50 ratio is 641 according to the NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects; compare this with 9637 for vitamin A, 4816 for LSD, 199 for aspirin and 21 for nicotine. Poisoning, at least physically, is thus not a problem.

Then we have the two other significant indole alkaloids:

Baeocystine_2D_Structure Baeocystin
C11H15N2O4P
4-OPO4-MT
4-Phosphoryloxy-N-methyltryptamine
1H-Indol-4-ol, 3-[2-(methylamino)-ethyl] dihydrogen phosphate ester
CAS #: 21420-58-6
DEA #: None
The monomethyl analogue of psilocybin

Unlike psilocybin, baeocystin is somewhat unstable, and decays noticeably with age. And then we have baeocystin's close chemical cousin:

Norbaeocystine_2D_Structure Norbaeocystin
C10H13N2O4P
4-OPO4-T
4-Phosphoryloxytryptamine
1H-Indol-4-ol, 3-[2-aminoethyl] dihydrogen phosphate ester
CAS #: 21420-59-7
DEA #: None
The demethyl analogue of psilocybin

In other words, baeocystin and norbaeocystin are just psilocybin with one methyl and two methyls respectively lopped off. And unfortunately for all you synthesis experts, while baeocystin and norbaeocystin do not have DEA control numbers they do both come under the Controlled Substance Analogue Act.

When dephosphorylated, they turn into 4-hydroxy-N-methyltryptamine and 4-hydroxytryptamine. All 4 substances are presumed hallucinogenic, but less so than psilocin or psilocybin. Very little work seems to have been done on them (Chemical Abstracts averages a cite a year, with most of them of the variety "baeocystin found in Psilocybe totallyobscuralis"). There has been some speculation on the 'net about them, and a possible correlation between nausea and the amount of baeocystin has been found. We hope to be able to investigate the question further for the next version.

These are just the four "biggies". A whole truckload of other indoles are known to exist in Psilocybe mushrooms. Here's a sample of what was found in a batch of Psilocybe baeocystis, excluding the ones mentioned above:

Indole derivative Amount (microg.)

5-Benzyloxy-3-indole acetic acid 2
N,N-Dimethyltryptamine hydrogen-oxalate [aka DMT] 4
Gramine 40
3-Hydroxyethyl indole 2
5-Hydroxy-3-indole acetic acid 2
5-Hydroxyindole 4
3-Hydroxymethylindole 2
5-Hydroxytryptamine creatine sulfate [aka Serotonin] 4
5-Hydroxytryptophane 2
Indole 4
3-Indoleacetamide 2
3-Indole acetic acid 2
3-Indoleacetic acid ethyl ester 2
3-Indoleacetonitrile 2
3-Indolealdehyde 40
3-Indoleacetaldehyde 2
3-Indolecarboxylic acid 4
3-Indolelactic acid 2
gamma-(Indole)-N-butyric acid 4
beta-Indole-3-acrylic acid 2
beta-(Indole-3)-propionic acid 4
Indoxylacetate 2
Indoxylbutyrate 2
Isatin 2
5-Methoxy-2-carboxyindole 2
5-Methoxydimethyltryptamine monooxalate [aka Bufotenine] 4
5-Methoxyindole 4
2-Methylindole 2
3-Methylindole 4
5-Methylindole 4
5-Methyltryptophane 2
N-Methyltryptophane 2
Tryptamine hydrochloride 4
L-Tryptophane 0.8

[From A.Y. Leung, A.H. Smith, A.G. Paul, "Production of Psilocybin in Psilocybe baeocystis Saprophytic Culture". J Pharm Sci 54: 1576 (1965).]

Yes, Psilocybe mushrooms contain DMT, but in microscopic amounts. DMT is not orally active anyway, so it doesn't do anything.

The effects of psilocybin can be potentiated (made stronger) by taking them with a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI). The potency is roughly doubled, according to most reports. The best known MAOIs are harmine and harmaline from the plant Peganum harmala (Syrian rue). Combining MAOIs and tryptamines is an unsafe activity; not only are there are number of substances you must avoid during use to prevent a serious hypertensive crisis, but the long-term health effects are unknown. If you wish to know more, consult the Tryptamine FAQ. Personally, I doubt it's worth the risk, if you pick or grow shrooms it's easy to get enough shrooms for a double dose.

.oOo. Psychology .oOo.

"Nature's Perfect Entheogen(TM)"

Psilocybin is juuust fine. I've tried several psychoactive drugs, including hash, LSD-25 and psilocybin. Hash usually doesn't do much - sends me into a half sleep with silly thoughts and spacey soundscape added to music... LSD doesn't do it to me either. It's probably OK if you are after low dose recreation -- partying and such... High doses -- too blunt, like a mental power tool. It cracks up open your head; Starring You and Your Brain for 12 hours. Every perception magnified thousandfold -- it's ... it's a bit too intense. !INTENSE! is the keyword. It doesn't accept any apologies or mistakes ... too harsh. I often felt like I had been immersed in some chemical, into a substance so pure and efficient it has no place in nature. Too pure. 12 hours of LSD-25 acid-bath makes you really tired... physically and mentally. But psilocybin, mm-mm, it's juuuuust fiiiine.

Voyage to the spiritworld ... visions and travels, awesome mental hallucinations. It's a direct ISDN-link to the mother earth, forgiving, gentle substance. You hear the chanting of the planet and the spirit of the mushroom. It's a product of the nature, untied to the actions of men and women roaming this planet. Your body disconnected from the circuit, you may often forget it exists. Six hours -- not too short, not too long. Perfect.

It should be noted that like all 'major' hallucinogens, psilocybin can precipitate psychotic episodes and uncover or aggravate previous mental illness. If you're stressed out or depressed, don't take mushrooms; if you have schizophrenia or something, DO NOT take mushrooms.

ACID IS NOT FOR EVERY BRAIN .... ONLY THE HEALTHY, HAPPY, WHOLESOME, HANDSOME, HOPEFUL, HUMOROUS, HIGH-VELOCITY SHOULD SEEK THESE EXPERIENCES. THIS ELITISM IS TOTALLY SELF- DETERMINED. UNLESS YOU ARE SELF-CONFIDENT, SELF-DIRECTED, SELF-SELECTED, PLEASE ABSTAIN.

--Timothy Leary, Ph.D.

I think this applies to mushrooms as well. Mushrooms and acid will open your doors of perception, and once open you can never truly close them again. They are more than a purely recreational drug.

.oOo. Legality .oOo.

Here's a list of the places we know about. Much of this is 'off the net' and may thus be more or less flawed. "Y" means it is legal, "N" means it is illegal, "?" means their status is unclear.

Location 1 2 3 4 5 Notes
Austria Y ? Y Y Y Mushrooms are considered decorative plants and unless attempts to extract psilocybin are made they should remain legal.
Canada Y N Y Y Y If Bill C-7 passes possession of fresh mushrooms and cultures will become illegal.
Great Britain Y Y Y Y N A legislative quirk allows the possession of 'naturally dried' (sun-dried) shrooms.
The Netherlands Y N Y Y Y Even the sale of fresh mushrooms is legal. See "Growing Mushrooms" for addresses.
U.S.A. (California) N N N N N Spores and cultures are explicitly forbidden by CA Health & Safety Code Section 11391.
U.S.A. (Florida) Y N Y Y N Possession of fresh mushrooms if picked 'accidentally' (low quantities) is allowed.
U.S.A. (Oregon) N N Y Y N Even allowing mushrooms to grow on your property is (theoretically) illegal.
U.S.A. (Federal) N N Y Y N
International Y N Y Y N This is the United Nations standard and most nations follow it.
(1) Possession of fresh mushrooms. (2) Possession of dried mushrooms. (3) Possession of mushroom spores. (4) Cultures at mycelium stage. (5) Cultures at mushroom stage.
These laws are based on a balance between the UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, which makes psilocybin and psilocin illegal, and recognition of the fact that the substances occur in nature. For each category:

  • Fresh shrooms: The basic idea is that since shrooms grow in nature, it'd be silly to arrest grannies who happen to have a few growing in their backyard, or who pick them by accident. This hasn't stopped most of the US (except Florida) from banning them entirely. Of course, if you are caught with 3000 Str. cubensis, you'll have a hard time claiming you picked them by "accident".
  • Dry shrooms: Usually taken as proof of intent to consume, and thus illegal. In Britain, "naturally dried" shrooms are legal, i.e. if you leave them on a windowsill by 'accident' it's OK.
  • Shroom spores: Spores contain no psilocybin or psilocin and thus are not covered by regulations -- except in California.
  • Cultures before shrooms appear: Same as above, usually. Advanced mycelia do contain psilocybin and psilocin. With the rice cake method you can grow until the mycelia are complete and then eat the cakes; this way you can trip without ever being in possession of shrooms.
  • Cultures after shrooms appear: Clear intent to consume, and you'll probably get charged with possession with intent to sell as well. However! In some more liberal countries, such as Finland, you might be able to argue that the mushrooms were grown for decorative (ha!) or research purposes. Do not count on it.

Mushroom hunting is another issue. On public property, hunting itself is not illegal, but you're not likely to run into cows in national parks either. =) Some countries like Finland have the legal concept of "everyman's right" which allows, among other things, picking mushrooms on private property, except on fields which once again makes things tricky. But unless you live in a notorious shroom zone -- some areas of Florida and South Wales come to mind -- the odds of getting hassled by farmers, much less getting caught by the police, are practically zero.

If you are caught by the cops, expect to be charged with trespassing and possession of controlled substances. Unless large quantities are involved, you will probably get by with probation and/or a fine. If caught in Florida, you can cite the state laws and have the possession charge reduced or dropped entirely.

The Entheogen Law Reporter has a publication addressing the legal aspects of Psilocybe mushrooms available by mail for $5.00.

.oOo. Botany .oOo.

     .-'~~~-.
   .'o oOOOo`.        "I am ... a mushroom
  :~~~-.oOo   o`.      On whom the dew of heaven drops now and then."
   `. \ ~-.  oOOo.           - John Ford
     `.; / ~.  OO:
     .'  ;-- `.o.'
    ,' ; ~~--'~
    ;  ;               [ASCII stolen from Mescalito Ted]
_\\;_\\//_

Psilocybe mushrooms are:

  • kingdom Protista
    • division Fungi
      • class Basidiomycetes
        • order Stropharia
          • families Bolbitiaceae, Coprinaceae, Cortinariaceae, Pluteaceae, and Strophariaceae
  • basidiomycotina or -mycetes -- Fungi that produce spores on stalks outside the terminal cells.
  • agaricales -- mushrooms with cap & gills;
Commonly used species:
  • Panaeolus sphinctrinus, subbalteatus (benanosis)
  • Psilocybe baeocystis, caerulescens, cyanescens, mexicana, pelliculosa, semilanceata, stuntzii
  • Stropharia (Psilocybe) cubensis
Uncommonly used species [mostly stolen from the Tryptamine FAQ]:
  • Agrocybe farinacea
  • Boletus erythropus, manicus, migroviolaceus, niggerimus, kumaeus, reayi [all (@)]
  • Conocybe cyanopus, kuehneriana (*), siligineoides (?), smithii
  • Copelandia anomala, bispora, cambodginiensis, cyanescens, tropicalis
  • Coprinus niveus, patouillardii, narcoticus
  • Galerina steglichii
  • Gymnopilus aeruginosus, liquiritiae, luteus, purpuratus, spectabilis, validipes, viridans
  • Inocybe aeruginascens, coelestium, corydalna, haemacta, tricolor
  • Lepiota peele
  • Panaeolina foenisecii (%)
  • Panaeolus acuminatus, antillarum, ater, cambodginiensis, campanulatus, chlorocystis, foenisecii, firmicola, olivaceus, papilionaceus, retirugis, separatus, tropicalis
  • Pholiotina cyanapoda
  • Pluteus atricapillus (%), nigroviridis, salicinus
  • Psathyrella candolleana, gracilis, sepulchralis
  • (Almost) all Psilocybe species
(*) Contains only psilocin.
(%) Contains only psilocybin.
(?) Contains unidentified tryptamines (probably psilocin/psilocybin).
(@) Contains unidentified hallucinogens (possibly psilocin/psilocybin). The Boletus genus is very large and very few of them are hallucinogenic; some are known to be poisonous.

Inclusion on this list does not mean the psilocin/psilocybin content is sufficient for psychotropic activity in practical amounts, for example one would need to eat around a thousand Pluteus atricapillus to get off.

The following hallucinogenic species contain not psilocin/psilocybin but atropine, bufotenine, muscimol and similar nasties:

  • Amanita citrine, formosa, mappa, muscaria (*), pantherina, porphyria, regalis, tomentella
  • Pholiota squarrosa
(*) The famed "Fly Agaric" red toadstool with white warts.

Amanita species cause 95% of all deaths from mushroom poisoning. The ones above are (reasonably) safe, the danger lies in correct identification. Death by Amanita poisoning is reportedly an excruciating way to die, since they nuke your liver and the body's own wastes then kill you. Worse yet, the effects only start 3 days after ingestion, and by then it's too late. I would seriously recommend against toying with these; most reports say they're not even fun. If you insist, consult other sources for more information.

.oOo. Mushroom Guide .oOo.

.oO Warning Oo.

"Expert shroomers really know their shit."

--cowboy@jax-inter.net

A printout of this part of the text should provide an adequate check-list for mushrooms in the field, but a good mushroom book with color pictures of the mushrooms, preferably at all 4 stages of growth, is invaluable. The set of GIFs at hemp.uwec.edu may be used as a crude substitute, but a book is easier to carry around... =)

For exhaustingly exhaustive and thoroughly technical descriptions of most Psilocybes, the reader is referred to Singer & Smith: Mycologia 58, 263-303 and Høiland: Norw. J. Botany 25(2), 111-122. These two, along with a dozen lesser references, were primary sources in compiling this.

To check the spore color, take two caps, place one on a sheet of white and one on a black paper, or on a glass plate if you plan to use microscope. Place in a draftless place and wait for 6 to 24 hours. The dust-like stuff on the sheet is the spores. Compare the two papers. For size, you'll need a good microscope... =)

The standard identifying mark of most Psilocybes is that they stain blue when touched or cut; unless specifically noted otherwise, assume all mushrooms listed here do. Mind you, this blueing alone is not sufficient for identification as a non-poisonous and hallucinogenic mushroom!

It is strongly recommended that for the first few hunts you go out with a friend who has hunted before and knows what they look like. While there are no poisonous mushrooms that look like the common Psilocybes, there are a whole bunch that certainly will not get you off, and while not lethal they might well be quite unpleasant. So be careful!

.oO Dosage Note Oo.

The medium adult oral dose, according to Hofmann, is 4-8 mg of psilocybin. Thus, you can estimate doses from the mg/g psilocybin figures found in technical literature. Data for "% dry weight" is the same as centigrams per gram, so just multiply by 10 to get the mg/g figure.

Whenever possible, dosages in both shrooms and grams of fresh material have been given. As a rule of thumb, for dried shrooms multiply the dosage in SHROOMS by two. There is no reliable way of converting weight in grams from fresh to dry, mushrooms contain approximately 90% water (i.e. 10 grams wet = 1 gram dry) but the figure varies from species to species.

The amount of psilocybin varies very considerably from mushroom to mushroom, depending on factors like age, growing conditions, etc. The variation is up to 4x for mushrooms grown in controlled laboratory conditions, and as much as 10x for ones that are not! With a new batch, always start out low.

When reading the data, remember that psilocybin is almost equal in strength to psilocin. On the other hand, baeocystin does not appear to very hallucinogenic, but it is rumored to account for some of the side effects.

.oO Shroom descriptions in alphabetical order: Oo.

It should be kept in mind that mushrooms change appearance as they age and often have different coloration in different regions.

Quick Vocabulary
adnate Gills that are fully attached to the stem
adnexed Gills that are partly attached to the stem
apex Top part of stem (i.e. where it's attached to the cap)
concave Cap that curves 'inward' (like the inside of a sphere)
convex Cap that curves 'outward' (like the outside of a sphere)
evanescent Quickly disappearing veil
fibrillose Stem that seems to be made of fibers packed together
fissure Crack or cleft in cap or gills
HD High dose
hygrophilous Absorbs water easily
hygrophanous Becomes translucent when wet
LD Low dose
MD Medium dose
mg/g Milligrams of substance per gram of *dried* mushroom
N/A Not applicable or not available
seceding Gills that are detaching/detached from the stem
umbonate Cap that is shaped like a knob
viscid Cap covered with sticky coating

And remember, if you think learning these is too hard, try reading Singer & Smith: "Stipe tubular, more rarely subequal, discolors to reddish cinerous, strongly sulcate at apex, glabrous to fibrillose..."

Conocybe cyanopoda
See Conocybe cyanopus

Conocybe cyanopus
(aka Conocybe cyanopoda, Galerula cyanopus)
A small and uncommon but relatively strong mushroom, often found on lawns. Found in the northern parts of the U.S., Canada and northern Europe.
CAP diameter 0.7-2.5 centimeters
color rusty/dark brown to black
appearance convex, nearly hemispherical, slightly expanding, slightly wrinkled at edges
STEM diameter 1-1.5 millimeters
length 2-4 centimeters
color white or slightly grayish
appearance silky, striated
GILLS form not crowded
color dull rust brown, white edges
SPORES color dull rust brown
size 6.5-7.5 x 4.5-5 x 4.5-5 micrometers
shape ellipsoid, distinct germ-pore
DOSAGE fresh grams N/A (LD), N/A (MD), N/A (HD)
mg/g psilocybin 9.30-4.50
mg/g psilocin 0.70-0.00
mg/g baeocystin 0.30-1.00

Conocybe smithii
(aka Galera cyanopes)
This tiny mushroom is scattered among mosses in swamps, boggy areas and ditches. Found in the northern parts of the U.S. and Canada.
CAP diameter 0.3-1.3 centimeters
color ochra/cinnamon brown, darker at edges
appearance sharply conical but expands with age, glistens when wet, hygrophanous
STEM diameter 0.75-1.00 millimeters
length 1-7 centimeters
color pure white
appearance fragile, slightly swollen at base
GILLS form crowded, broad
color ochra/cinnamon brown
SPORES color rust cinnamon brown
size 7-9 x 4-4.5 x 4-4.5 micrometers
shape ellipsoid, small but distinct germ-pore
DOSAGE fresh grams N/A (LD), N/A (MD), N/A (HD)
mg/g psilocybin N/A
mg/g psilocin N/A
mg/g baeocystin 0.40-0.80

Galera cyanopes
See Conocybe smithii

Galerula cyanopus
See Conocybe cyanopus

Naematoloma caerulescens
See Stropharia cubensis

Panaeolina foenisecii
(aka Panaeolus foenisecii, Psilocybe foenisecii, "Mower's mushroom")
A very popular mushroom on lawns, grasses and cattle fields of all kind. Unlike other Panaeolus species it does not grow on dung! Grows from midsummer to first signs of winter. This one's everywhere!!!
CAP diameter 1-3 centimeters
color light brown to dark brown; dries to yellow-brown
appearance broad, bluntly conical to bell-shaped, expanding to convex, broadly umbonate, or nearly plane; surface smooth or cracking into scales in dry weather; hygrophanous but not viscid; chestnut- brown to dark brown or cinnamon brown when moist fades as it dries to dingy buff or tan, often with darker marginal band when partially dry; flesh thin and fragile.
STEM diameter 2-3 millimeters
length 4-10 centimeters
color paler than cap
appearance constant diameter, sometimes with enlarged base, fragile, more or less smooth, white to dingy brownish, often becoming brown from the base upward.
GILLS form adnate to adnexed or seceding, fairly close
color brown to deep/grayish/chocolate brown, faces often mottled and edges paler or whitish
SPORES color violet brown
size 12-17 x 7-9 x 7-9 micrometers
shape lemon shaped, large sprouter
DOSAGE fresh grams N/A (LD), N/A (MD), N/A (HD)
mg/g psilocybin 0.30
mg/g psilocin 0.00
mg/g baeocystin N/A
OTHER Often found with other Panaeolus species.
"Mini-model" of Pa. subbalteatus
Very low psilocybin content and some specimens have none at all.
TASTES HORRIBLE! Tea recommended.

Panaeolus acuminatus
(aka Panaeolus rickenii)
Grows in horse pastures and rarely on horse manure. From midsummer to the borders of winter. This fragile shroom is quite popular in Scandinavia and northern Europe.
CAP diameter 1-2 centimeters
color dark brown/black when wet, dark grey when dry, light brown from the center
appearance cone-shaped, hygrophilous
STEM diameter 1-3 millimeters
length 5-12 centimeters
color greyish
appearance N/A
GILLS form crowded together
color grey to black, white tips
SPORES color violet brown
size 12-16 x 8-11 x 8-11 micrometers
shape lemon shaped
DOSAGE mushrooms 40 (LD), 100 (MD), 150 (HD)
mg/g psilocybin N/A
mg/g psilocin N/A
mg/g baeocystin N/A
OTHER Makes a good strawberry milkshake!

Panaeolus ater
Fruits in forest clearings and cow pastures from spring to fall.
CAP diameter 1-2 centimeters
color dark brown when wet, pale yellow-brown when dry
appearance bell-shaped, spreads until hemispherical, smooth, hygrophilous
STEM diameter 1-3 millimeters
length 3-7 centimeters
color paler from tip, darker from bottom
appearance N/A
GILLS form narrowly attached
color first dark grey then black
SPORES color N/A
size 9-14 x 6-7.5 x 6-7.5 micrometers
shape lemon shaped
DOSAGE fresh grams N/A (LD), N/A (MD), N/A (HD)
mg/g psilocybin N/A
mg/g psilocin N/A
mg/g baeocystin N/A

Panaeolus benanosis
See Panaeolus subbalteatus

Panaeolus campanulatus
Grows in cattle pastures and especially on horse manure, from midsummer to fall.
CAP diameter 2-4 centimeters
color brown/gray/olive gray when fresh, reddish-brown and paler olive/tan/buff when drier
appearance bluntly conical or bell-shaped, expands very little with age; surface not viscid, often shiny when dry, smooth or finely wrinkled or often cracking to form scales (especially in sunlight); margin hung with small, white, toothlike veil remnants, at least when young; flesh thin and fragile
STEM diameter 1-3 millimeters
length 5-15 centimeters
color grey or greyish brown
appearance equal or thicker at apex, brittle or fragile, slightly powdered
GILLS form adnate or adnexed but often seceding, fairly close
color first grey, blacken with age; edges whitish
SPORES color black
size 13-18 x 7-12 x 7-12 micrometers
shape elliptical and smooth
DOSAGE mushrooms N/A (LD), 40-50 (MD), N/A (HD)
mg/g psilocybin N/A
mg/g psilocin N/A
mg/g baeocystin N/A
OTHER Psilocybin content evidently varies, some people have eaten over 100 of these with no effects.

Panaeolus foenisecii
See Panaeolina foenisecii

Panaeolus rickenii
See Panaeolus acuminatus

Panaeolus sphinctrinus
Grows on manure of all kind, from summer to fall.
CAP diameter 1-4 centimeters
color grey to greyish brown, paler when dry
appearance bell-shaped, usually smooth but sometimes bumpy, not hygrophilous, white scales on the edge
STEM diameter 1-3 millimeters
length 5-12 centimeters
color grey, paler from tip
appearance erect, powdery
GILLS form adnate
color grey brown/black, white tips, veil remnants
SPORES color N/A
size 14-18 x 8-12 x 8-12 micrometers
shape lemon shaped, with germ-pore
DOSAGE mushrooms N/A (LD), 200 (MD), N/A (HD)
mg/g psilocybin 1.90
mg/g psilocin N/A
mg/g baeocystin N/A

Panaeolus subbalteatus
(aka Panaeolus benanosis)
Widespread, found in temperate zones including Canada, the northern parts of the U.S. and northern Europe. Grows on grasses, lawns, pastures, roadsides; prefers fertilized or manured soil. Grows in the spring and fall.
CAP diameter 2-6 centimeters
color variable; brown to reddish/cinnamon brown when moist, fading as it dries to tan/buff/whitish, margin often stays darker when dry
appearance broad, convex or bluntly conical, becoming broadly convex to broadly unbonate to plane or with an uplifted margin; surface smooth or wrinkled, in age sometimes breaking into scales(fissured), not viscid; flesh thin, brownish
STEM diameter 3-5 millimeters
length 5-10 centimeters
color brown to reddish-brown, often dusted by spores
appearance equal or tapered at either end, hollow but not fragile; usually longitudinally striated throughout.
GILLS form adnate to adnexed or sececing, close, broad
color pale watery brown or reddish brown, darkens gradually to black; edges whitish, faces mottled
SPORES color dark brown
size 11-14 x 7-9 x 6-8 micrometers
shape lens shaped, with germ pore
DOSAGE fresh grams 30 (LD), 60 (MD), 100 (HD)
mushrooms 5-10 (LD), 20-40 (MD), 60-90 (HD)
mg/g psilocybin 1.50-6.00
mg/g psilocin 0.00
mg/g baeocystin 0.01-0.05
OTHER Often forms tufts of 2-4 fruitbodies.
There are several distinct subtypes of Pa. subbalteatus, this is the most common one.
Pa. subbalteatus bears some resemblence to Panaeolina foenisecii.

Psathyra pelliculosa
See Psilocybe semilanceata

Psilocybe aerugineomaculans
See Psilocybe subaeruginascens

Psilocybe atrorufa
See Psilocybe montana

Psilocybe aztecorum
(aka Psilocybe mexicana var. longispora)
Found only around Paso de Cortes and Puebla, Mexico, between 3300 and 3700 m elevation. Found in small clusters in open pine woods, fruits in September only.
CAP diameter 1.5-2.5 centimeters
color milk white to yellowish
appearance starts obtuse to subumbonate, expands to broadly conical; edge of cap may become cracked
STEM diameter 0.2-0.4 centimeters
length 3.0-6.0 centimeters
color whitish, possibly with gray discolored portions
appearance fibrous, veil remnants may be visible
GILLS form closely spaced, broad
color deep purple brown, pallid/whitish edges
SPORES color dark dull ochra brown
size 11-14 x 5-8 x 5-8 micrometers
shape elongated ellipsoid, with germ pore
DOSAGE mushrooms 2-3 (LD), 4-10 (MD), 20-40 (HD)
mg/g psilocybin N/A
mg/g psilocin N/A
mg/g baeocystin N/A
OTHER Ps. aztecorum resembles Ps. mexicana to some degree and was originally thought to be a variant. Dosage has been estimated on the assumption that they are equally potent; it is known to be a hallucinogen.

Psilocybe baeocystis
Can be found growing on ground bark, wood chips, peat moss and sometimes on lawns. Common on campuses. This popular mushroom appears from fall through midsummer in large clumps. Prevalent throughout the Pacific Northwest. Fruits prolifically from fall through winter.
CAP diameter 1.4-5.4 centimeters
color olive brown to buffy brown, greenish if touched
appearance edge of cap undulates like a bottle cap or umbrella, a brown spot appears in the center of the cap after drying
STEM diameter 2.0-3.0 millimeters
length 5.0-7.0 centimeters
color white except for yellowish apex
appearance often characterized by twisting bends
GILLS form relatively closed spaced
color dark cinnamon or gray
SPORES color gray
size 10-13 x 6-7 x 6-7 micrometers
shape cylindrical with tapered corners
DOSAGE fresh grams N/A (LD), N/A (MD), N/A (HD)
mg/g psilocybin 1.50-8.50
mg/g psilocin 0.50-5.90
mg/g baeocystin 0.10-1.00
OTHER As the name indicates, it has a lot of baeocystin.
This is the only common Psilocybe for which a fatality, a 7-year-old boy, is known.

Psilocybe caerulescens
(aka Psilocybe mazatecorum, "Durrumbe", "Landslide")
Found throughout the southern United States, from California to Louisiana and South Carolina to Florida; a Mexican variety called Ps. caerulescens mazatecorum exists. Evidently unknown elsewhere. Grows on the banks of rivers and streams in the summer during rainy season.
CAP diameter 2.0-8.8 centimeters
color deep green to black, fades with age
appearance cone-shaped when young, expands to convex/flat (never bowl-shaped), smooth and sticky, no nipple, margin of cap lighter/darker than center
STEM diameter 0.2-1.0 centimeters
length 4.0-12.2 centimeters
color glassy-white to grayish
appearance even, hollow, smooth, tough, covered w/ hairs, possibly remnants of evanescent veil
GILLS form closely spaced
color light gray to dark brown/black as it ages
SPORES color deep purple brown
size 6-8 x 5-6 x 4-5 micrometers
shape elliptic to inequilateral, broad germ pore
DOSAGE mushrooms 2-3 (LD), 4-10 (MD), 20-40 (HD)
mg/g psilocybin N/A
mg/g psilocin N/A
mg/g baeocystin N/A
OTHER The dosage is an estimate, the mushroom is said to be roughly equivalent to Str. cubensis.

Psilocybe cubensis
See Stropharia cubensis
The nomenclature of this mushroom remains confused. Europeans and most ethnopharmacologists call it by its original name, Stropharia (Psilocybe) cubensis Earle, which is the name its discoverer R.E. Schultes gave it. However, the American mycologist Rolf Singer reclassified it as Psilocybe cubensis (Earle) Singer, which is what mycologists usually call it. We have decided to stick with Stropharia cubensis.

Psilocybe cyanescens
(aka "Wavy Caps", "Blue Halos")
Doesn't grow on dung, but on hardwoods and woodchips. Inhabits landscaped yards containing ground bark and dwells under Douglas fir or cedar and in mulched rhododendron beds. Fruits prolifically from fall through winter in the Pacific Northwest, also found in England.
CAP diameter 1.5-4.0 (extreme case 7.5) centimeters
color chestnut brown, lightens to yellowish with age
appearance broad and convex, expands with age to plane or margin uplifted, viscid when moist, margin of cap often stained blue (hence the nickname)
STEM diameter 2.5-6.0 millimeters
length 3.0-8.0 centimeters
color dry whitish
appearance silky, fibrous, base enlarged and often curved
GILLS form typically adneted, sometimes seceding; fairly closely spaced; veil remnants may form tiny ring
color cinnamon color becomes dark brown, edges paler
SPORES color purple-brown/purple-gray/purple-black
size 9-12 x 6-8 x 5-8 micrometers
shape nearly elliptic, smooth, broad germ pore
DOSAGE dried grams N/A (LD), 2.0-2.5 (MD), N/A (HD)
mushrooms 1-2 (LD), 3-4 (MD), 5+ (HD)
mg/g psilocybin 3.20-16.8
mg/g psilocin 2.00-5.10
mg/g baeocystin 0.10-0.50
OTHER Generally grows in clusters.
The most potent Psilocybe mushroom known.

Psilocybe foenisecii
See Panaeolina foenisecii

Psilocybe mazatecorum
See Psilocybe caerulescens

Psilocybe mexicana
(aka "Teonanácatl")
Found only in Southern Mexico and Guatemala. Grows from May to October in the zone between tropical and temperate climates (1500-1800 meters), in open fields or meadows but never dung.
CAP diameter 0.5-3.3 centimeters
color deep ochra to ochra brown
appearance starts conical, gradually inverts to convex, then to flat and finally bowl-shaped; has a central 'nipple'
STEM diameter 0.1-0.3 centimeters
length 2.0-8.0 centimeters
color ochra, usually paler than cap
appearance hollow
GILLS form closely to medium spaced
color pale gray, whitish edges
SPORES color deep sepia to dark purple brown
size 9-11 x 7-8 x 5-7 micrometers
shape compressed, elliptic/rhombic, with germ pore
DOSAGE mushrooms 2-3 (LD), 4-10 (MD), 20-40 (HD)
mg/g psilocybin N/A
mg/g psilocin N/A
mg/g baeocystin N/A
OTHER Ps. mexicana is the original 'magic mushroom' of the Mazatec Indians and the first one discovered by the West. Ps. mexicana always grows solitary, but there are usually many others near each fruitbody.

Psilocybe mexicana var. longispora
See Psilocybe aztecorum

Psilocybe montana
(aka Psilocybe atrorufa)
Grows in low moss on sandy land, roadsides etc. From summer to fall, sometimes in spring, quite popular.
CAP diameter 0.5-2 centimeters
color red-brown, paler when dry
appearance hemispherical, sticky when wet
STEM diameter 1-2 millimeters
length 1-4 centimeters
color light brown
appearance crumbles easily
GILLS form widely spaced
color first light brown, become purple-brown with age
SPORES color N/A
size 6-9 x 5-6 x 4-5 micrometers
shape oval shaped
DOSAGE mushrooms 40 (LD), 100 (MD), 200 (HD)
fresh grams 5 (LD), 15 (MD), 30 (HD)
mg/g psilocybin 0.0 (?)
mg/g psilocin 0.0 (?)
mg/g baeocystin N/A
OTHER Chemical studies have found no psilocybin or psilocin in this, yet reports of its use exist. Caveat emptor.

Psilocybe pelliculosa
See Psilocybe semilanceata

Psilocybe pugetensis
See Psilocybe stuntzii

Psilocybe semilanceata
(aka Psathyra pelliculosa, Psilocybe pelliculosa, "Liberty Cap")
Found in northern temperate zone throughout the world. Grows inland up to a thousand miles (1500 km) from the ocean. Northwestern U.S, Scandinavia, the British Isles and western Europe. Very popular in Norway and other parts of Scandinavia. Fruits in grasses and cow pastures, parks and roadsides in the fall.
CAP diameter 5-10 millimeters
color brown, drying to yellowish brown
appearance sharply conical, small "nipple" on top, never expands, incurved, striated margin, sticky when wet
STEM diameter 2-3 millimeters
length 6-10 centimeters
color pallid to yellowish or brown, darkens with age, does not bruise blue
appearance wavy and tough, fibrilliose, veil absent or rudimentary, small dark ring may be present
GILLS form adnate or adnexed, slant upwards to almost vertical
color first pale, soon becomes purplish brown
SPORES color brown
size 12-16 x 7-9 x 7-9 micrometers
shape ellipsoid, with germ pore
DOSAGE mushrooms 5-10 (LD), 20-40 (MD), 60-90 (HD)
mg/g psilocybin 10.0-11.0
mg/g psilocin 0.00
mg/g baeocystin 0.90-3.40
OTHER Ps. pelliculosa is actually a separate species, but the two are indistinguishable to the naked eye. It grows in sawdust or wood chip piles in forests where lumberjacks have been working. The two can be distinguished by spore size, with Ps. pelliculosa spores being smaller at 9-13 x 5-7 x 5-7 micrometers. Ps. pelli. is also weaker in potency, having only 1.2-7.1 mg/g and 0.0-0.5 mg/g psilocybin and baeocystin respectively.
Ps. semil. contains more baeocystin than most other Psilocybes, which may account for the subjective difference in quality.

Psilocybe stuntzii
(aka Psilocybe pugetensis)
Commonly found in Washington state (U.S.) and British Columbia (Canada). Found on lawns, in fields and bark mulch; originally identified growing on the U of Washington campus! Fruits from August to December.
CAP diameter 0.5-3.5 centimeters
color variable; deep olive-brown to chestnut brown if young, fading to dingy yellow-brown or yellowish buff; margin often tinged greenish
appearance bluntly conical becoming convex to broadly umbonate, plane, or with uplifted margin; viscid when moist; margin striate when moist
STEM diameter 1.5-4.0 millimeters
length 2.0-7.0 centimeters
color white to ochraceous brown
appearance becomes hollow with age, equal or thicker at either end, often curved, not viscid, veil may form fragile ring or fibrillose zone
GILLS form adnate or adnexed, narrow, close to well spaced
color chocolate brown to violet/black, whitish edges
SPORES color deep violet to dark purple
size 8-12 x 6-7 x 6-7 micrometers
shape not quite elliptic, with germ pore
DOSAGE fresh grams N/A (LD), N/A (MD), N/A (HD)
mg/g psilocybin 3.6-0.4
mg/g psilocin 0.1-0.6
mg/g baeocystin 0.0-0.2
OTHER This mushroom is quite similar to Ps. cyanescens, Ps. venenata and Ps. subaeruginascens; however, the latter two do not grow in Northern America. There are also some poisonous Galerina species that resemble Ps. stuntzii, so be careful. The Galerinas grow in forested areas, not lawns and fields.
Ps. stuntzii can grow either in clusters or solitary.

Psilocybe subaeruginosa
Found throughout Australia and regions nearby. Grows solitary or in groups on soil in forests.
CAP diameter up to 5 centimeters
color "biscuit brown", darker when wet
appearance conical with inturned edge when young, becomes convex when older
STEM diameter relatively thin
length up to 10 centimeters
color white with occasional grey/blue/green blotches
appearance traces of veil may remain as a small ring
GILLS form closely spaced, may be attached to stem
color smoky brown/black
SPORES color purplish brown
size 10-15 x 5-9 x 5-9 micrometers
shape ellipsoid, with germ pore
DOSAGE mushrooms 2-5 (LD), 5-13 (MD), 20+ (HD)
mg/g psilocybin N/A
mg/g psilocin N/A
mg/g baeocystin N/A

Psilocybe subaeruginascens
(aka Psilocybe aerugineomaculans, Stropharia caerulescens, Stropharia venenata)
Found in some parts of Asia, at least northern Japan and Java, Indonesia. Usually found on horse manure but evidently grows on rotten wood as well.
CAP diameter 1.5-2.5 centimeters
color whitish with smoke-brown center
appearance flat to convex, glabrous and smooth
STEM diameter 1.5-3.0 millimeters
length 3.0-4.0 centimeters
color white
appearance traces of veil may remain as a small ring
GILLS form widely spaced
color grayish brown, edges paler
SPORES color violet brown
size 8-10 x 7-8 x 6-7 micrometers
shape ellipsoid, with germ pore
DOSAGE fresh grams N/A (LD), N/A (MD), N/A (HD)
mg/g psilocybin N/A
mg/g psilocin N/A
mg/g baeocystin N/A
OTHER This mushroom is known to be hallucinogenic in reasonable doses, but unlike most other Psilocybes it is also toxic and possibly even lethal in higher ones (deaths are known). Caveat emptor!

Psilocybe zapotecorum
(aka "Mbey San", "Piule de Barda")
Found only in Oaxaca, Mexico. Grows primarily on soil in swamps.
CAP diameter 6.0-11.0 centimeters
color ochra yellow to brown/purple/black
appearance bell-shaped, becomes breast-shaped; always twisted and asymmetric in shape
STEM diameter 1.0-2.0 centimeters
length 10.0-20.0 centimeters
color brownish (inside of stem lighter or white)
appearance very fibrous, elastic, often twisted, hollow
GILLS form rather closely spaced, not very broad
color violet-purple
SPORES color brown purple
size 6-9 x 4-5 x 3-4 micrometers
shape compressed ellipsoid, with germ pore
DOSAGE mushrooms N/A (LD), N/A (MD), N/A (HD)
mg/g psilocybin N/A
mg/g psilocin N/A
mg/g baeocystin N/A
OTHER Ps. zapotecorum is used as a hallucinogen by Chatino and Zapotec Indians.

Stropharia caerulescens
See Psilocybe subaeruginascens

Stropharia cyanescens
See Stropharia cubensis

Stropharia (Psilocybe) cubensis
(aka Naematoloma caerulescens, Psilocybe cubensis, Stropharia cyanescens, "San Isidro")
Found throughout the southern United States, from California to Louisiana and South Carolina to Florida, as well as most of Central and South America, and parts of southeast Asia. Arrived to the Americas with Spanish Brahma cattle from the Philippine Islands. Grows on cow manure or manure-fertilized soil.
CAP diameter 1.6-8.0 centimeters
color pure white to light brown, translucent when wet
appearance starts conical, gradually inverts to convex, then to flat and finally bowl-shaped; has a gold center spot; covered by sticky protective film; flesh firm and white; margin sometimes hung with veil remnants
STEM diameter 0.4-1.4 centimeters
length 4.0-15.0 centimeters
color white or bluish-stained
appearance membranous, usually forms a thin fragile ring on stalk which is blackened by falling spores
GILLS form closely spaced, initially attached to stem but may separate with age
color light brown/gray to deep purple/black, edges whitish
SPORES color dark brown to blackish
size 12-17 x 8-12 x 7-9 micrometers
shape smooth, nearly elliptic, with germ pore
DOSAGE mushrooms 2-3 (LD), 4-10 (MD), 20-40 (HD)
dried grams 1-2 (LD), 3-5 (MD), 10-20 (HD)
mg/g psilocybin 4.00-12.0
mg/g psilocin 0.00-1.00
mg/g baeocystin 0.00-0.20
OTHER Str. cubensis is the most important of the psilocybin mushrooms, being common in the Americans and relatively easy to cultivate.
Str. cubensis var. cyanescens, found in Florida, is a sort of albino Str. cub. with very little pigment in the cap.
Str. cubensis var. caerulescens, found in Indochina, has cap colored clear yellow in some places.

Stropharia venenata
See Psilocybe subaeruginascens

.oO Other psychoactive species Oo.

Here is a brief list of dosage information on some other mushrooms. Some Psilocybes that are known to contain no psilocybin/psilocin are included. Descriptions have been purposely omitted, since I don't have enough info for a full-scale description like the ones above; if you are interested, look them up in a guide.

Genus Shrooms fresh Grams fresh Psilocybin mg/g dry Psilocin mg/g dry Baeocystin mg/g dry Notes
species

Boletus
erythropus 100+ 1

Coprinus
narcoticus 50+
niveus 50+
patouillardii 50+

Gymnopilus
purpuratus 1.0-3.4 1.0-3.1 0.5-0.1

Inocybe
aeruginascens 4.0 0.0 2.1

Panaeolus
olivaceus 0.05 0.0

Pluteus
atricapillus 0.05 0.0
salicinus 2.1-3.0 0.0-0.5

Psathyrella
candolleana 0.04 0.05

Psilocybe
bohemica 8.5-9.3
bullacea 40-200 5-30
cookei 10-25 2-10 2
coprophila 50-200 15-100 0.0 0.0 3
inquilina 0.0 0.0
merdaria 0.0 0.0
muscorum 40-200 5-30
percivalii 0.0 0.0
rhombispora 0.0 0.0
squamosa 0.0 0.0
subcoprophila 0.0 0.0

(1) Has poisonous lookalikes. (2) Very similar to Ps. semilanceata. (3) No psilocybin or psilocin detected chemically despite reports of successful use as a hallucinogen.

.oOo. Mushroom Resources .oOo.

Archives on the Internet

[Deleted. Use Leda. -- Sep 2000, The Lycaeum]

Companies in the Real World

Warning: Some of these are probably fly-by-night companies that may already have disappeared, so be careful. All addresses are in the USA unless otherwise noted.

BJ
#118 10548 SW 8th St.
Miami, FL 33174
Str. cubensis or Lepiota peele sporeprints for $2; Amanita pantherina coming up in the future.
Conscious Dreams
Kerkstraat 117
1017 GE Amstergam
The Netherlands
Phone: +31-20-626-6907
Sells fresh mushrooms (F25/oz), growing kits, spore prints (Str. cubensis, Ps. cyanescens), and live cultures.
The DoorWay
P.O. Box 12553
Ogden, UT 84412-2553
E-Mail: MELBARBARI@cc.weber.edu
Sells lots of books and a shroom kit. Send $1 for catalog.
Fane of the Psilocybe Mushroom Association
Box 8179
Victoria, B.C. V8W-3R8
Canada
Also known as "The Fane", send $1 for a membership form. Issues of their publication "The Sporeprint" cost $5.
Florida Mycology Research Center
P.O. Box 8104
Pensacola, FL 32505
While they do not sell Psilocybe spores anymore, they are still active supporters of the issue and they also put an excellent publication named "The Mushroom Culture".
FS Book Company
P.O. Box 417457
Sacramento, CA 95841-7457
Phone: +1-916-771-4203
Does not sell spores, but sells a "Mushroom Resource Catalog" for $15.
Fungi Perfecti
P.O. Box 7634
Olympia, WA 98507
Phone : +1-800-780-9126 orders only
+1-206-426-9292 other/int'l
Fax : +1-206-426-9377
E-Mail: MYCOMEDIA@aol.com
Does not sell Psilocybe spores, but everything else is available.
J.L.F.
P.O. Box 184-SC
Elizabethtown, IN 47232
Phone: +1-812-379-2508
Supposedly sells some rare species ready to eat and lotsa weird stuff. Free catalog.
HEMP BC
324 West Hastings
Vancouver, B.C.
Canada V6B 1K6
Phone: +1-604-681-4620
Fax : +1-604-681-4604
Str. cubensis syringe w/ instructions $33.95, complete kit $95.65. S&H included, add $5 for delivery overseas.
Homestead Books
P.O. Box 31608
Seattle, WA 98103
Phone: +1-206-782-4532
Str. cubensis spores ($25), kits ($70), and books/videos about growing. Around for a long time, cheap, and knowledgeable.
Lux Natura
P.O. Box 2196
Berkeley, CA 94704
No spores, but McKenna stuff and a new, extended version of "Psilocybin: Magic Mushroom Grower's Guide." Free catalog.
Mushroompeople
P.O. Box 220
Summertown, TN 38483-0220
E-Mail: NATLAW@igc.apc.org
Voice/Fax: +1-615-964-2200
US Fax: +1-800-MYCO-FAX
Sells books related to mushrooms (including but not limited to psychoactive ones). The best, although not necessarily the cheapest, source for all types of mushroom literature.
Mycophile Books
P.O. Box 93
Naples, FL 33939
Phone: 1-813-262-3363
Just what the name says, and nothing more. Also sell used and rare books. Catalog $3.
Pacific Exotic Spora
P.O. box 11611
Honolulu, HI 96828
Panaeolus cyanescens and Coplandia cyanescens spores. Very expensive, $40-$75.
PRL Biosciences
Fax: +1-215-483-4917
Str. cubensis culture for $40, other equipment and supplies available. Free catalog.
Psylocybe Fanaticus
1202 E. Pike St. #783
Seattle, WA 98122
Send $2 & SASE for ad. Spores come in syringes making them considerably easier to use. The best known of the 'underground' sellers, with cheap prices, very fast turnaround times, and high reliability. Outside the US, add an extra $10 to your order for shipping & handling.
Teonanácatl
(postlagernd)
Postamt 1092
A-1092 Vienna
Austria
$5 for small Ps. cyanescens Astoria Ossip or small Ps. cyanascens USA sporeprint, $10-20 for large Ps. cyanescens Astoria Ossip sporeprint. Add $2 for shipping and handling.
The Shroom King
P.O. Box 17444
Seattle, WA 98107
Phone: +1-206-784-9328
Str. cubensis print and a book for $25, above plus compost and agar for $35.
SYZYGY
P.O. Box 619
Honaunau, HI 96726
$15 + $1 (S&H) for a Str. cubensis print on a slide.

.oOo. Growing Mushrooms .oOo.

This is about the only aspect of mushrooms that has been thoroughly covered in text files, so we advise you to consult them. Here are few of the better known and more complete files: There are also numerous files described more specialized methods such as different agar mixes, reports of successful growing, etc. For the serious or interested, there is Paul Stamets' excellent book, The Mushroom Cultivator, and McKenna brothers' Psilocybin: Magic Mushroom Grower's Guide written under pseudonyms O. T. Oss and O. N. Oeric, both available through many mail-order companies, such as FS books. All available on the Lycaeum, except for the P.F. Tek which is available from the Psylocybe Fanaticus web page. And of course a bit of research at your local library won't hurt one bit. Also check out the appropriate forums on the Lycaeum.

.oOo. Picking Mushrooms .oOo.

Before you leave for the site, remember a few things; clothing, container and energy. So respectively:
  • Take clothing that keeps you warm and dry. Fever is not a funny thing during your experience. If your clothing is inadequate, a day out picking mushrooms can be a real pain.
  • Take a container that breathes, preferably two to four different containers. And one set for each picker. Take lots of containers with you, especially if you are unsure or have not found the species - it is easy to put each sort into each container. A basket with a few paper cups or tins is just fine. Paper and cloth bags will do fine, but be wary of crushing the mushrooms during transport.
  • Energy. Mushroom hunting can be really tiresome at times. Take your happiness and food rations with you -- you'll probably need both.

Once you have located the site keep it clean. If it is a cowfield, don't leave any gates open or either the owner of the field or the bull of the herd will get you. Try to just do your thing and then get out of there. Don't scream and shout. I wouldn't recommend telling about a site to anyone -- it instantaneously creates an "anonymous mmp-site" -- and suddenly everyone is there, sooner or later including the cops too.

OK, run around the field... do you find any mushrooms? If none found, you are not looking hard enough. No matter where you go in the fall, there's some sort of mushroom there. You'd be surprised at how well the things can hide themselves. Found -- what is it? Whether you identify it or not, put each species into different container -- if in doubt -- different container or throw it away. There are always two phases in identifying -- when picking and when cleaning (or should be). Always check carefully -- saves you lot of trouble. Here's what the Audubon Society's "Field Guide to North American Mushrooms" has to say on the issue:

Collect mushrooms in a flat-bottomed basket. Take along a roll of wax paper and wrap each species you find; do not use plastic wrap since it hastens decay. This will keep species separate and fresh until you return home. A pocket knife or trowel is useful in extracting mushrooms from the ground; be very careful not to disturb the underground root system more than necessary. Bring note cards with you and jot down pertinent field data. In particular, note the habitat of the mushroom, including what type of tree it is growing on or near; whether it is growing singly, scattered, in groups, or in clusters; any distinctive odor or taste; the color of the cap, stalk, gills, pores, or teeth, and latex, which may change after the mushroom has been picked. Note any color changes when it is bruised. You can also use the note cards to set up spore prints in the field; they will often be ready by the time you return home. If you are absolutely certain of the identification of an edible species, you can clean it in the field. Until you are experienced, however, it is best to take the mushroom home intact; the stalk base is often a crucial identification feature, and cleaning can remove diagnostic characteristics. The more characteristics you can observe, the better chance you have of identifying the mushroom. It helps to have fresh mushrooms rather than old ones, and to collect many specimens of one kind at various stages of growth.

.oOo. Drying Mushrooms .oOo.

.oO Fresh? Oo.

Mushrooms are best when fresh, both tasting better and working better. The freshness affects experiences a lot. The "divinity factor" is enhanced.

.oO Dry? Oo.

Drying mushrooms is easy. There are many ways to do it:
  • The drawer. Put the mushrooms into a drawer on few sheets of paper. Wait 24 hours. Works well on smaller mushrooms such as Ps. semilanceata. If you have silica gel or something similar (captures humidity) I'd recommend using it.
  • The oven. Put the mushrooms into an oven (with the fan on if there is one) with the heat set to 30 to 35 C (~90 F). Wait 2 to 6 hours. Higher temperatures, even 40 C, destroy psilocybin and psilocin.
  • The mushroom dryer. Just follow the instructions. Also easy to build.
  • The freeze dryer. A psilophile's dream come true, the gadget that stops the time on your mushrooms. Read the instructions.

Once the mushrooms are dry, place them into airtight containers and protect from light. Some psilophiles grind the mushrooms, if you do so, weight the outcome. It is very hard to tell how much of a dose there is if the mushrooms are dried and ground. Some mix the dried and chopped or ground mushrooms with honey. Be sure to use a brand that hardens once cooled. Place in refrigerator. Note that mushrooms containing only psilocybin keep their psychoactivity much longer than those containing psilocybin and psilocin or only the latter. Evidently the psilocin breaks up easily and needs refrigeration to be preserved. I have never had to preserve mushrooms over a year so I wouldn't know exactly, but if stored properly the mushrooms stay psychoactive for at least a year.

Especially with strong, large mushrooms like Str. cubensis, grinding is the only way of calibrating doses. With for example Ps. semilanceata, statistics ensure that the sum of 40 mushrooms from a batch will be more or less the same no matter which 40 you pick, but if you're eating only two Str. cubensis caps things are different. Thus, dry, grind, mix and weigh the resulting powder. After a carefully weighed initial dose (which you'll have to guess, aim low), it's easy to measure out smaller or larger doses in the future.

.oOo. On the Dosage .oOo.

Always start with low doses -- and continue for at least for the first couple of times. Some people might be familiar with LSD-25. Well they are bit similar, but still very different. I'd recommend about 20 Ps. semilanceatas or 2-3 dried grams, 2-3 dry g.'s for Stropharia cubensis, 1-2 dry g.'s of Ps. cyanescens or about 3 g.'s of Ps. baeocystis. Increase the dose step by step, until you find the dose you are most comfortable with. There are people who never go for more than an ultra light trip, and some feel it must be an earthshattering experience. You'll probably find your dosage somewhere between these two extremes. The amounts of psilocin and -cybin vary. An extreme case:
"Me and a friend of mine were in a rave, and both had taken some mushrooms along. Semilanceatas... so at one point we decided to drink some mushroom tea, and both put 20 tiny mushrooms into our teas... I got nearly nowhere.. some funny effects, almost no dilation of pupils, very very light trip. My friend kept saying 'Wow' and 'What a trip', and some friends of ours tried to talk with him. Afterwards he said he didn't understand a word =). He said the trip was so intense it was as if he had consumed 60 semilanceatas."

.oOo. Consumption .oOo.

Once ready for a trip after a yearlong meditation in the wilderness, one is confronted with a problem -- how to get that dry and unpleasant tasting stuff down?
  • Honey & spices & water & mushrooms
    This one is a bit sweet but does a good job of covering the taste. Take a half glass of warm or cold water, three or more spoonfuls of honey, and according to taste, spices such as nutmeg, ginger and others. Grind the mushrooms with spices into fine powder, mix everything carefully and gulp down.
  • Mushroom cacao
    Get some cacao beans/powder for this one. Warm some water to 40-60 C. Let the mushrooms steep in this water for about five minutes, fish 'em out and add cacao powder and mix well. Or you can grind mushrooms into fine powder. Sweeten with honey, and drink. Another variation is hot chocolate -- melt some chocolate in water instead of cacao.
  • Mushroom tea
    Drown some dried mushrooms in warm/hot water, wait five minutes, and drink. If you seriously dislike the taste of shrooms, just drink the water (although you'll lose part of the effect). I find that this is a good way of getting the shrooms down as well though, just dump in a baggy of strong tea and you won't taste a thing. Word of warning: if you leave the shrooms in for too long, they'll expand and mutate into disgusting blobs of slime. Also a nice way of getting some clue of their original appearance, provided the mushrooms are intact.
  • Mushrooms & orange juice
    Blend an appropriate amount of fresh mushrooms and orange juice in a blender. The orange juice masks the taste quite well, the blender chops up the shrooms into tiny chunks so all the psilocybin is digested, and the vitamin C in the juice won't hurt either.
  • Pizzas
    Just add fresh or dried mushrooms on top. Note that eating a lot adds to physical interference.
  • Shroom powder and liquids of choice
    The finer you grind the shrooms, the better this works. Take a piece of paper and fold twice so you have a V-shape, and make a little pile of shroom powder on one end of it. Open your mouth and let the stuff flow in, then drink water/juice/tea/whatever to wash it down. Figure out an optimal pile size, and you can down the shrooms in record time with no taste and maximum psilocybin ingestion efficiency. Just be careful not to laugh or sneeze when holding the paper, otherwise you'll have to lick the carpet to get the powder... =)
  • Chew & grind
    For this one, toss mushrooms into your mouth, chew well and swallow. The most efficient and simple method of mushroom ingestion. Dried mushrooms taste quite a bit more unpleasant than fresh ones.
  • Other recipes
    I have heard about people making mushroom wine or mushroom chili. There are lots of foods you can put mushrooms into, but I'd recommend indulging in culinary pleasures after the trip. Also note that excessive heat breaks down psilocybin and psilocin, so always add the shrooms in after the food is cooked.

As you may have noted, except for the cheese on the pizza, none the recipes contain any milk or milk products. This is because several files and/or books have stated that calcium and/or fermented milk products interfere with psilocybin. Mind you, this is far from sure, if anybody can dig up a reference for (or against) this we'd appreciate it. But scientific proofs aside, the Aztec tradition of not eating before tripping is probably grounded in knowledge of possible adverse consequences, so don't eat too much, just enough to get the shrooms down.

.oOo. Preparation For The Voyage .oOo.

There is a lot one can do to ensure a enjoyable voyage. People often talk about the "set and setting", squaking the three words like bunch of parrots and hardly giving much thought into their meaning. It's probably all the same whether you've ingested super-pure & fresh LSD-25 or nail-polishing fluid if the set and the setting aren't in condition.
  • Packing
    Get into packing a couple of days before the voyage. Load your gear (brain) with everything you think will be useful. Personally I like documents about nature as they are easy to pack (video or TV). Books are fine but bit slower to load. Walking in nature, quiet and peaceful, and meditating ensures I get enough mental energy and happiness along. Try to break the normal circles of work, and if you are stressed, take few more days away from everything before leaving on the expedition. Go easy on your diet. Some fast for the previous week, others don't pay any attention to what and how much they eat. I eat normally until the day before, after which I eat mostly vegetables and fruits.
  • Place
    Clean it up. Get some fresh air into it. Tell all your friends/relatives not to visit, and disconnect the doorbell and take the phone off the wall. Make everything as comfortable as possible. Fresh flowers will blow your mind with their beautiful looks and odors. A stroboscope is also worth a try, especially at 20 to 30 Hz. Lights are probably best low or off (and of white color). Music is so important we've given it its own section, coming up next.
  • Flight
    Loose clothing and something to put on/take off; you'll be lying down most of the time, so pick something you could sleep in. Something to drink -- see if your drinks include caffeine or other chemicals. Water is always the best. Some light snacks to eat during the trip, and possibly something to fill your stomach after the trip. Drawing during take-off can be fun, also psychedelic videos. Anyway, for a real "trip" I say: after the takeoff, turn the lights off, turn the volume to the edge of subliminal, and relax & tune into the vibe of the Earth.

.oOo. Music and the Voyage .oOo.

One of the important factors of the setting is music -- especially in urban environment music may be necessery to camouflage and change the every-day-soundscape. Music can tingle your imagination in a myriad different ways. Music can take you away, comfort or make you feel unbelievalably good. It can also make you sad, jumpy or angry. Therefore it is very important to make the right choice of music. There is tripping music and there is tripping music -- depending on the results one wishes to achieve. I will concentrate on the deeper side; music for shamanic voyages, spacetravels and intense mushroom-magic-trips. I speak from my own experience, thru my own frame of reference, so all of the material recommended might not be on your wavelength -- I was often skeptical myself but results often are awesome and surprising. Music you like during your normal states of conciousness is probably not ideal -- for instance lots of the ambient done today is not very nice for tripping, but probably ideal listening both before and after the trip. For a voyage try to find music that is calm, not too hectic or fast, not too structured and stays in the background if desired.
  • Ambient
    Lots of music goes under this name today, and it may very hard to find something truly ambient among all those new ambient- techno/dub releases. All time favorites of mine and many others include Ashra Temple, John Cage, Cluster, Brian Eno, Robert Fripp, Steve Hillage, Daniel Lanois, Pink Floyd, David Toop & Max Eastley, Tangerine Dream and Tuu. Many music stores lump these under the heading "New Age" next to stuff like Yanni -- bleah. All of these move on the more serious tangents -- worth checking out. On the lighter, more techno side of the ambient -- try Aphex Twin, James Bernard, FFWD, Future Sound of London (FSOL), Pete Namlook, The Orb (especially the newer releases), William Orbit, Seafeel, Sun Electric or Terre Thaemlitz for instance.
  • Ethno
    Music from the different cultures around the world and especially music by shamen or music aiming to a religious or spiritual experience -- shamanistic drumming, australian dijeridoo sounds or chantings by gregorian or buddhist monks, for instance. "Meditative music" compilations can be excellent. There are huge volumes of this sort of music published around the world.
  • Minimalism, especially Terry Riley. Steve Reich, Philip Glass and Lamonte Young have all made "psychoacoustic music", to use a term developed by Brian Eno for his own music. Riley is especially...er... "beyond words" -- something unbelievalable. For connoisseurs.
  • Silence, either complete or 'The music of the Mother Nature' -- best tripping music for as long there has been humans around to trip. The patter of raindrops falling surpasses just about any music humans can come up with. A must try. Perfect.

.oOo. During the Voyage .oOo.

Once you are in the air it is relatively easy to forget that you can alter the course of trip. Visuals and thoughts come and go, and everything follows some strangely familiar yet divine and unknown path. So one is left gawking at all this jaw open, as if watching TV. But changing pathways is easy -- provided you don't forget it is possible =) Always decide and ponder what you want to see and where you want to go before the experience. A shamanic voyage to the underworld is a snack, as is seeing the future. Usually every tripper forms his own way, follows his own paths, be it for good or evil. Anything is possible!

And remember the immortal words of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:

     _____     _    _  .  .   ___   __    . .  . .   _   ___    _____
    /     \   | \  / \ |\ | /  |   |  |  /| |\ | |  / \  \ /   /     \
   |  | |  |  |  )(   )| \|    |   |--' /-| | \| | (      V   |  | |  |
   | \___/ |  | /  \_/ |  |    |   |   /  | |  | |  \_/   o   | \___/ |
    \_____/   *******************  ********************  ***   \_____/

.oO A general topological examination of the scenery Oo.

Minutes after ingestion:
0 Ignition
Usually the first effects of psiloc[ybin/in] are perceivable after ten or twenty minutes. Funny or strange things may pop into your mind. One may feel very relaxed or like jumping all over the place. Next you may feel like you were blasting off, up towards the stars, rising high. Chewing the mushrooms for about ten minutes in your mouth enables the psilocybin and its analogues to enter the brain faster -- if the mushrooms are immediately swallowed, it may take as long as 1 hour for the first effects to set in.
20 Acceleration
If you get any physical symptoms, this is when they will hit. You can avoid or at least reduce nausea by not eating very much before the trip and not moving around too much during this phase. Throwing up is uncommon but not unheard of; having a barf bag around, especially on the first few trips, is a good idea. If you find that your body really doesn't like shrooms, a motion sickness pill (Dramamine and similar anti-histamines) beforehand may help. But don't worry about it too much, even if you feel queasy the nausea will end quite quickly.
40 Leaving the atmosphere
One will begin entering the realms of the experience; often the first real signs are simple hallucinations with the eyes closed or in darkness, little colored pixels floating around, etc. If one is going to go to the toilet, it should be done now.
70 Flight
1 hour is usually sufficient for the more powerful effects to set in. The body will feel heavy and drowsy.
130 Peak
After two hours the peak of the experience. Often quite awesome.
300 Deceleration
By now one will again start to remember the concepts of normal reality and may feel like getting something to drink and eat, or talk and do some moving about.
360 Touchdown
After about six hours most of the effects have disappeared and sleeping becomes possible.
12 h Reality
If you trip at night and fall asleep when the trip is ending, this is when you'll wake up... and the odds are you'll feel GRRRRRREAT!
7 days Jet lag
Afterglow of the experience will persist anywhere from few days to several weeks; what you've learned may change your life. Occasionally this learning will be negative and you'll be depressed for a while as you assimilate the fact that you've been wrong about something for all your life, but the depression is never extreme and - cheezy as it may sound - you will be a much better person afterwards.

Surgeon General's Warning: One of the aftereffects of psilocybin (and most all psychedelics for that matter) is "emotional fluctuation", i.e. things that would make you a bit happy cause euphoria and conversely things you don't like cause depression. At its worst this is a real manic-depressive rollercoaster, but usually the fluctuations are more positive than negative ("It's Monday morning and I feel GRRRRRRREAT!"). At any rate, this rarely lasts longer than a day or two, so don't worry about it.

.oO Notes on physical interference Oo.

In addition to the possible nausea in the beginning, which invariably wears off by the time the hallucinations start, the mushrooms can cause physical or psychosomatic interference. You will feel odd, weird and maybe scary physical sensations like liquid skin or distorted body-proportions. You may feel that you have trouble breathing; you may feel that you've just pissed or shit in your pants; you may feel that you're sinking into the ground or into yourself. If you really start worrying about this, you may start to feel like there are worms crawling inside your stomach, that the roof is about to collapse on you, that the sheet you are lying under is trying to eat you...

Don't panic! First of all, 'serious' effects of this type are quite unusual, but even if they do occur getting rid of them is usually easy. Just remember, nothing has really happened or is really happening, it's just your mind exaggerating and creating things. Learn to relax and distract your thoughts on other tangents at moments like this. A simple exercise you can try to practice thought diversion, no drugs needed:

Lie on your bed in complete darkness, listening to suitable evil/freaky music with headphones. Skinny Puppy and ambient industrial are the classic choices. Meditate or just relax for a while. Then, think about something you have a phobia about: snakes, spiders, skeletons, rats, tornados, earthquakes, even mushrooms. Everybody has something they're irrationally afraid of. Staring at a picture of such a thing beforehand may help. At any rate, you will, in all likelihood, feel yourself to be tipping over and falling uncontrollably. Imagine that you're falling into a bottomless pit filled with the nasty thing. Visualize it. Now attempt to wrench your thoughts to something else. If you can take half an hour of this without ripping off the headphones, you're in good shape.

.oO The Eraserhead Syndrome Oo.

The mushrooms can be fun. One may feel like eating them every day. A -- not cool, B -- not good. A mental/physical tolerance builds up quite fast: usually three or four times with 7 day intervals cause diminished effect and notably less divine trip. I'd recommend visiting the spiritworld 4 to 10 times a year, for the freshness and divinity of it. Most of us know an acid- or pot-head -- a drug abuser. I call acid/ mushroomheads
Eraserheads (seen the movie?), as they are often bit paranoid and manic-depressive and dullheaded. It's easy to get bad vibes off the psilos -- just do the mushrooms like you'd do alcohol -- without respect or any care. So -- remember what the foreword says, and use the consciousness of turbocharged-monkeybrain we all have. And if you only want to get your brain fucked up there are better substances for that in the world. Bad trip? What... hey waitaminute, I know -- it's that oriental food with rice and peaches and raw tuna innards -- No??? Everyone gets anxious or bad feelings during their dives to the seas of collective unconciousness. It's normal, but the magnitude of baddies can be decreased by paying attention to "set and setting." A friend or guide can distract the attention of an tripper to a wholly different direction. A change of room, place, music or lights often helps. Possible bodily discomfort can be eliminated by learning relaxational techniques and breathing exercises. Keeping your body in good condition is not only good for your trip, but also for your life. Generally, it's good to try to trip for living, not to live for tripping.

.oOo. Miscellaneous Questions .oOo.

Q: Can black market 'shrooms be laced with LSD?
A: Yes, very possibly, if the local market price for mushrooms is higher than that of LSD (as it usually is). If the mushroom looks nothing like any of the common psychoactive species, or you are told that one or two small ones are enough to trip hard, odds are it's laced. Note that at least one dealer, fooled by the urban legend of LSD needing strychnine for binding to the paper, laced his LSD-shrooms with strychnine as well! (PharmChem 1972, vol 1, #7) Thus, either get your shrooms fresh from the fields (cheaper as well) or know what they look like and what the dosage is before buying.
Q: What about Amanita muscaria (Fly Agaric)?
A: A. muscaria, the classic red toadstool with white warts on top, does not contain psilocybin, but a series of muscarinic deleriants. It's also poisonous (not very, but deaths are known) and in general rather nasty. Avoid.

[This is not actually the case. Some Amanita species are poisonous, but the entheogenic ones are not. See the Pharmacotheon (Ott, 1993) for an extremely informed discussion of entheogenic Amanitas and the active principles they contain (ibotenic acid and muscimol). Ott shows that almost all "poisonings" have been accidental ingestions of entheogenic species thought to be edible (in the usual sense). Having never tripped before, people panic, assume they have been poisoned, go to the hospital, and "recover" (i.e. come down) -- J.F.]

Q: What happens if I combine 'shrooms and other drugs?
A:
  • Alcohol: Variable, usually takes the edge off since it helps you relax. Note that if you're drunk before you eat the shrooms, the mental effects of your drunkenness will disappear as the trip starts. Large amounts will increase the nausea in the beginning.
  • Cannabis: Nearly always the experience is intensified/lengthened, but a few people claim it actually ends the trip. Smoking is handy during the last few hours to extend the experience.
  • MDMA/MDA: Known as an "MX-missile" (M as in mushrooms and X as in XTC), the experience is highly intensified and similar to LSD & MDMA ("candyflipping").
  • Nicotine: Smoking feels good.
  • Nitrous: Catapulted into outer space for a few minutes.
  • Other Psychedelics: Cross-tolerance usually present, not much point in taking other psychedelics at the same time.
Q: Shrooms grow all by themselves in nature in zarking cow shit, why is sterility so important when growing them yourself?
A: In nature, there are 17 billion spores of all kinds of different shrooms flying around. As people who've been to a cow pasture will know, most patties will not have Psilocybes, they'll either have something completely different or nothing at all. But in a pasture, there's a lot of shit, and there's a lot of shrooms, so it's enough if 1/100 patties have the right kind.

Now, when you're growing them at home, if you sprinkle spores in each dish and don't give a shit about sterility, you'll have natural conditions and maybe every hundredth jar will get the right shrooms. Needless to say, this is not good, so you must push up the odds of the right shrooms growing by improving sterility.

.oOo. Further Reading .oOo.

I will not attempt a complete bibliography on the subject, but more of a 'further reading'-sort of list.

Carlos Castaneda, Philip K. Dick, Timothy Leary, Terence McKenna, Andrew Weil, Robert Anton Wilson and Aldous Huxley all make fine reading. Peter Stafford's "Psychedelic Encyclopedia" is a classic, as is "Plants of the Gods" by Richard Schultes and Albert Hofmann. Umberto Eco has always been very good when talking about the mind, almost as good as Herman Hesse. And for some attitude - read Byron.

.oOo. References .oOo.

Apologies for not footnoting everything exactly, you'll just have to bounce around checking the references (or ask us) if you want to know where a specific bit of info comes from.

Benedict, R. G.; Tyler; V. E.; Watling, R. (1967) "Blueing in Conocybe, Psilocybe, and a Stropharia Species and the Detection of Psilocybin." Lloydia 30(2), 150-157.

Benedict, R. G. et al. (1962) "Occurrence of Psilocybin and Psilocin in Certain Conocybe and Psilocybe Species." Lloydia 25(3), 157-160.

Beug, M. W.; Bigwood, J. (1982) "Psilocybin and Psilocin Levels in Twenty Species From Seven Genera of Wild Mushrooms in the Pacific Northwest, U.S.A." J. Ethnopharmacology 5, 271-285.

Bigwood, J.; Beug, M. W. (1982) "Variation of Psilocybin and Psilocin Levels With Repeated Flushed (Harvests) of Mature Sporocarps of Psilocybe cubensis (Earle) Singer." J. Ethnopharmacology 5, 287-291.

Catalfomo, P.; Tyler, V. E. (1964) "The Production of Psilocybin in Submerged Culture by Psilocybe cubensis." Lloydia 27(1), 53-63.

Gartz, J. (1994) "Extraction and Analysis of Indole Derivatives From Fungal Biomass". J. Basic Microbiology 34(1), 17-22.

Gartz, J. (1991) "Influence of phosphate on fruiting and secondary metabolism of mycelia of Psilocybe cubensis, Psilocybe semilanceata and Gymnopilus purpuratus." Zeitschrift fuer Mykologie 57(1), 149-154.

Gartz, J. (1989) "Occurrence of Psilocybin, Psilocin and Baeocystin in Gymnopilus purpuratus." Persoonia 14(1), 19-22.

Guzmán, G.; Ott, J. (1976) "Description and Chemical Analysis of a New Species of Hallucinogenic Psilocybe From the Pacific Northwest." Mycologia 68, 1261-1267.

Guzmán, G. et al. (1976) "Psychotropic Mycoflora of Washington, Idaho, Oregon, California and British Columbia." Mycologia 68, 1267-1271.

Høiland, K. (1978) "The genus Psilocybe in Norway." Norwegian J. Botany 25(2), 111-122.

Jokiranta, J. et al. (1984) "Psilocybin in Finnish Psilocybe semilanceata." Planta Medica 51, 277-278.

Leung, A. Y. Paul, A. G. (1968) "Baeocystin and Norbaeocystin: New Analogs of Psilocybin from Psilocybe baeocystis." J. Pharm. Sci. 57(10), 1667-1671.

Leung, A. Y.. Smith, A. H.; Paul, A. G. (1965) "Production of Psilocybin in Psilocybe baeocystis Saprophytic Culture". J. Pharm. Sci. 54(11), 1576-1579.

Neal, J. M.; Benedict, R. G.; Brady, L. R. (1968) "Interrelationship of Phosphate Nutrition, Nitrogen Metabolism and Accumulation of Key Secondary Metabolites in Saprophytic Cultures of Psilocybe cubensis, Psilocybe cyanescens and Panaeolus campanulatus." J. Pharm. Sci. 57(10), 1661-1667.

Ohenoja, E. et al. (1987) "The Occurrence of Psilocybin and Psilocin in Finnish Fungi". J. Natural Products 50(4), 741-744.

Pegler, D. N. Mushrooms Demystified.

Repke, D. B. et al. (1977) "Baeocystin in Psilocybe, Conocybe and Panaeolus." Lloydia 40(6), 566-578.

Singer, R.; Smith, A. H. (1958) "Mycological Investigations on Teonanácatl, the Mexican Hallucinogenic Mushroom. Part II: A Taxonomic Monograph of Psilocybe, Section Caerulescentes." Mycologia 50, 263-303.

.oOo. Endnotes .oOo.

(K) Kopyleft Brahman Industries 1994-1995. All rites reversed.

Please note that 'Nature's Perfect Entheogen' is a trademark of Mother Nature Incorporated.

--                                                      __
Jani "Gnosis" PoijÓrvi      On the neverending quest   /(o\    BRAHMAN
gnosis@brahman.nullnet.fi  for knowledge by identity.  \o)/ +358-0-498797
Created 9/16/2000 18:05:48
Modified 9/28/2000 1:58:58
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