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Identifying Magic Mushrooms

Identifying Magic Mushrooms

There are over 200 species of magic mushrooms that are spread all over the world. These different species don’t grow under the same condition, so you cannot expect to find them all in one place. They are scattered in different countries and sprout at different times of the year.

What set magic mushrooms apart from so many kinds of mushrooms is their psilocybin content. Psilocybin is a chemical compound that turns into psilocin when metabolized by the body. These chemicals have psychoactive or psychedelic effects that can trigger euphoria and out-of-body experiences by increasing the serotonin levels in the brain. Their effects are can be compared and are similar to that of LSD, but many prefer to use magic mushrooms because they are natural, not to mention, more affordable.

Being able to identify the various species of mushrooms is a useful skill for those who wish to go mushroom hunting, but even more so for those who pick and use magic mushrooms.  Many species of a mushroom look alike. There are some with very miniscule differentiating characteristics that it is very easy to mistake one for the other. For people who hunt and consume mushrooms especially for the purpose of ingesting them, these minuscule differences can mean life or death. You cannot underestimate the effects of poisonous mushrooms. Some of them can cause minor discomforts when taken accidentally but there are plenty of others that can put you in serious danger.

What do they look like?

Things You Need to Know About Microdosing Magic Mushrooms

In order to identify magic mushrooms, you must first know the characteristics that are common to the species. To do this, you need to figure out the genus they belong to. Most psilocybin-containing mushrooms are part of the Psilocybe genus. Their shared attributes are their gilled caps, their purple-brown spore prints, and the bluish stain they produce when bruised. While learning and knowing their similar attributes is already a big help, it is still imperative that you also learn the unique and individual characteristics of the diverse species belonging to the genus. A mushroom-hunting guide can help you immensely with this.

Where do they grow?

Another thing you have to be acquainted with is where these mushrooms grow. The assortment of psychedelic mushrooms favors different habitats. Some of them grow in grassy meadows and forests, others grow along the coast and in sand dunes, some prefer to sprout along roadside trails and garden mulches, while others flourish in cow manure. Familiarizing yourself with where these mushrooms grow can save you from the risk of misidentifying them.

When do they grow?

Although magic mushrooms grow all year round, in general, some species only sprout on certain months. There are mushrooms that grow right before the hottest terms of the year while there are others that are abundant after the rainy periods. They thrive in dark, humid, and consistently damp environments.

If you’re wondering when the best time of the year for mushroom picking is, it is during autumn. Many varieties of psychedelic mushrooms lavishly flower during the season.

What are the methods of identifying them?

In times of uncertainty, you can opt to take photos of the mushroom you find during your hunt and upload it on Internet sites and forums where there is a concentration of people whose knowledge can shed a light. Many members who frequent these pages have information to share. Ask for their opinion.

Perhaps the most important way of identifying and distinguishing magic mushrooms is taking their spore prints. To take a spore sprint, all you have to do is sever the mushroom cap from the stem and place it on a piece of paper, facing downwards. The mushroom will leave a visible print on the paper after 30 or so minutes. If the spore print is a purplish brown and all the other physical attributes match, then it should be of the Psilocybe genus.

There is, of course, the trickier process of checking and analyzing the mushroom strains. This, however, requires extensive knowledge in the nature of mushrooms and more advanced equipment.

Things to Note

The popularity of magic mushrooms these days sometimes makes people forget the fact that they are illegal in most countries. Before going picking, find out what the law in your area says about psilocybin mushrooms and the ensuing consequences. In countries like the U.S and Canada, fresh or dried shrooms are allowed.

As much as possible, do not go hunting for magic mushrooms alone. Take someone with you. Preferably one who has more than amateur knowledge about the fungi. Two heads are always better than one.

Magic mushrooms have been a part of human history. Our ancestors have used them and benefited from their positive effects; you can too.  Control is key. When used cautiously, psychedelic mushrooms can give you the “trip” of your life.

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Can You Smoke Magic Mushrooms?

can you smoke magic mushrooms

Psilocybe cubensis, or what is widely known as magic mushroom, has been a part of the drug culture for thousands of years. Its use dates back to the ancient times where they are used for healing and mostly mystical purposes. Up to this day, magic mushrooms are still popular hallucinogens. The therapeutic and spiritual functions of the fungi made it a value to cultures around the world, especially in terms of spiritual growth.

Psilocybin and psilocin are the components of magic mushrooms that render it psychoactive properties. There are over 200 species of mushroom all over the world that contain these chemicals.

Magic Mushrooms as a Psychedelic Drug

Despite its notable uses in ancient and modern times, magic mushrooms are still psychedelic hallucinogens, which means that they have mind-altering capabilities when they are ingested. They give the user an “out-of-body” kind of experience, which typically lasts from about three to eight hours. People are drawn to the substance because of the “trip” that it gives them; the “good feeling” that they get when they consume the shrooms. They see vivid colors, experience heightened auditory and tactile senses, and even get the impression of enhanced creativity.

Smoking Magic Mushrooms

The usual method of ingesting “shrooms” is by eating them dried or raw. However, it is also possible to roll them and smoke them in the same way people smoke a joint. There are certain downsides to smoking magic mushrooms. For one, the intensity of the effect is generally lower when smoking them than when they are directly consumed. This is because subjecting the psilocybin ingredient of the mushroom to heat decreases its potency. The effect of the “shrooms” weakens and the “trip” is considerably shorter than usual.

Many users do not advise smoking the mushrooms and consider the act a waste.  According to most, eating them raw still yields the best result. There are other people who choose to smoke magic mushrooms in order to reach a more potent effect; they mix it with other substances like marijuana or alcohol. It is important to note, though, that the effects of taking psychedelic substances are already unpredictable, and consuming them with other chemicals may be a risk to health and life.

Addictive Tendencies

Magic Mushrooms are non-addictive. This made them a prevalent option among psychedelic drugs. With minimal dosage, they are not a threat to health and well being.  In fact, there are studies that claim the capability of shrooms to fight addiction by protecting the brain receptors against the drug’s addictive effects. The craving lessens and then gradually comes to a stop.

However, there is still a high risk for the abuse of magic mushrooms. This is due to the development of tolerance towards the substance. When consumed frequently within a short span of time, the desired effect is harder to achieve with the same doses. Consequently, the user would have to increase the dosage in order to peak.

Positive Effects of Smoking Magic Mushrooms

Several studies show that smoking magic mushrooms have positive effects. Because of the reduced strength of the shrooms when smoked, the shortened “trip” is favorable for people who don’t want to opt for the “full ride.”

True to most psychedelic drugs, smoking magic mushrooms can enhance a person’s mood and send them to a euphoric state. There is also an increased sense of insightfulness and creativity. Some even credit spiritual awakenings to the consumption of shrooms.

When taken properly and moderately, magic mushroom may even present long-term benefits for the user. Surveys have shown that people who control their intake of the psychedelic fungi have a happier disposition, greater self-confidence, and lessen anxiety.

Negative Effects of Magic Mushrooms

The negative effects of smoking and/or consuming magic mushrooms in either their dried or raw form are diverse. They can range from minor to dangerous. Some of the more common effects are a headache, nausea, and dizziness, which usually occur during a “bad trip”. Other more serious side effects can cause damage to a person’s mental health. These include paranoia, anxiety, loss of consciousness, the development of mental illness, and losing grasp of time and reality.  

Continued use of magic mushrooms over time may also have permanent consequences to the user. Since the chemical contents of shrooms affect the brain the most, these consequences are mostly mental and psychological. The user may experience memory problems and constant flashbacks. Panic attacks and schizophrenia are also possible especially among users who already suffer from the disorder.

Minimizing Bad Trips and How to Deal with Them

The type of “high” that people may get from the substance may vary greatly. The effects are unpredictable and several factors play into the quality of experience. Not all hallucinogenic experiences from taking magic mushrooms are pleasant. Some users may experience a “bad trip”. These “bad trips” may be influenced by the person’s mindset before taking the drug and the environment he is in. This is why it is commonly advised to take psilocybin in the company of good friends and in a pleasant setting.

The undesirable effects of magic mushrooms are mostly experienced during “bad trips.”  To minimize the occurrence of these “bad trips” ample preparation is needed. The first consideration is the environment. As a safety precaution, it should be tranquil and safe. It is also best not to take psilocybin mushrooms, or any drug substance for that matter, when in an unpleasant disposition. Bad moods have a great tendency of becoming “bad trips.”

“Bad trips” subside as the effect of the shroom goes down. The most important thing to keep in mind is to stay calm and keep oneself from worrying about it getting worse. Using headphones and eyeshades are also helpful in blocking out any unwanted noise, light, and other external disturbances that may trigger anxiety-inducing hallucinations.

A low dosage of magic mushroom is recommended when trying it for the first time, or taking it after a long time of abstinence. This is to allow physical and mental adjustment to the effects of the shroom.

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All About Psilocybin and Its Related Components

all about psilocybin and its related components

When talking about magic mushrooms, you can’t possibly talk about psilocybin and psilocin, the components responsible for the mind-altering effects of mush. Research on these two started to pick up just recently, and here is a summary of what we know about them so far.

Psilocybin

According to a study published in 2002, psilocybin “is a substituted indoleakylamine.” It is categorized as a hallucinogenic tryptamine and has low toxicity and a small possibility of harming humans. In 1958, scientists were able to produce synthetic psilocybin, thanks to Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann, who obtained the prodrug compound from Psilocybe Mexicana mushrooms in 1957. Albert Hoffman is often considered the Godfather of psilocybin and tryptamine.

psilocybin
Psilocybin molecule.

Psychological Effects

According to scientists, moderate dosages of psilocybin can produce manageable amounts of alterations to your state of consciousness. According to a review of the literature on psilocybin published in 2002, “this state is marked by stimulation of affect, enhanced the ability for introspection and altered psychological functioning in the direction of Freudian primary processes, known otherwise as hypnagogic experience and dreams.”

The psychological effects of this compound can last anywhere from 3 to 6 hours and can include effective activation, visual illusions, distorted sense of time, altered thoughts, and the so-called synesthesia, a phenomenon in which individuals claim to be able to “taste” smells and “see” sounds, for example.

Because of this effect, scientists produced psilocybin synthetically and distributed it commercially worldwide for psychotherapeutic processes. According to reports, no complications were encountered in the therapeutic and experimental applications conducted.

Somatic Effects

Findings regarding the somatic effects of consuming psilocybin remain inconsistent. The only relatively consistent observation is the dilation of the pupils. The rest, including hypertension and hypotension, nausea, heart rate acceleration, and deceleration, tremors, and the like, occurred in only small proportions of subjects.

Therapeutic Effects

A few decades ago, psilocybin was manufactured for experimental reasons. At present, there are still no medical indications for both compounds. However, scientists are looking into using and developing psilocybin for potential use in treating such issues as obsessive compulsiveness, alcohol or drug addiction, PTSD, depression, and the like.

Possible Interactions

It is commonly thought that monoamine oxidase inhibitors, alcohol consumption, and smoking tobacco can enhance the effect of psilocybin.

When you drink alcohol, your body breaks it down to numerous metabolites, and one of those is acetaldehyde. This breakdown metabolite reacts with the biogenic amines that are found inside your body, and this reaction results in the production of monoamine oxidase inhibitors.

Meanwhile, smokers may experience the effects of increased concentrations of monoamine oxidase inhibitors, whose activity in peripheral organs and the brain is restricted by the person’s exposure to smoke.

Psilocin

A metabolite of psilocybin, psilocin is the component that is directly related to the psychedelic effects of magic mushrooms. We say metabolite because this is what psilocybin gets converted to after consumption by a human. In chemistry, this is known as the pharmacologically active form.

Psilocin does not affect the dopamine neurotransmitter (which takes care of the brain’s pleasure and happiness centers), unlike LSD. Nevertheless, the consumption of magic mushrooms has been linked to improvement in the overall mood of people.

Just like psilocybin, psilocin can be produced synthetically. However, such items are hard to find, so people still prefer to just buy mushrooms online or get some from the wild. Shops sell anything from fresh magic mushrooms to spore prints and grow kits. You have substantially better luck finding such products than synthetic psilocin and psilocybin.

Potency

Magic mushrooms, even those that belong to the same species, can vary considerably in terms of psilocybin and psilocin levels. Therefore, they can also differ greatly when it comes to potency.

In general, potency is affected by harvest period, growing conditions, origin, and species. A psilocybin concentration of 1% (10 mg per 1 g) is considered high. You can find this in such species as Psilocybe semilanceata.

Meanwhile, P. cubensis, which is also known as “ordinary” psylocybe and often recommended for first-time magic mushroom users, has a psilocybin concentration of just 0.6%. Take note that concentration percentages tend to be higher in dried shrooms than in fresh ones because of the large proportion is taken up by water in fresh mushrooms. Also, cultivated mushrooms tend to exhibit smaller potency variations than do “wild” shrooms.

Other Related Components

Baeocystin and Norbaeyocystin – Like psilocybin and psilocin, these two are tryptamines. Some scientists believe that they are also present in magic mushrooms, and some disagree. Regardless of whether they do exist in the mushrooms themselves or not, they are surely not as active as psilocybin and psilocin.

Conclusion

Before experiencing the psychedelic buzz offered by magic mushrooms, it is important that you know what they contain and how they can affect your body. This reduces the amount of uncertainty (and thus risks) involved in your experience.