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Discover the Many Types of Magic Mushrooms: Psilocybin Deep-Dive

Suddenly, the world of magic mushrooms is almost as complicated as that of learning about cannabis. Shrooms or “magic” mushrooms have gained traction as a hallucinogenic therapeutic application for several different mental health circumstances such as depression and migraines—particularly when microdosing. It’s not just liberty caps anymore, folks. There are many different varieties and types of magic mushrooms.

Quick tip: One of the most popular types of psychedelic mushrooms you will find today is the Golden Teachers, a variety of psilocybin mushrooms considered to be potent yet mild at the same time. Those looking for a more intense hallucinogenic psilocybin experience often look for a variety of magic mushrooms called Penis Envy (PE) for their suggestive shape. These are considered to be highly potent and much stronger than Golden Teachers. 

  1. How Do Magic Mushrooms Work?
  2. Different Types of Magic Mushrooms
  3. Are Magic Mushrooms Legal in the United States?

How Do Magic Mushrooms Work?

Psilocybin-containing mushrooms, commonly found in magic mushrooms, occur naturally and is ingested for its hallucinogenic properties. These substances belong to the category of psychedelic drugs, capable of influencing all sensory perceptions, reshaping one’s cognitive processes, sense of temporal reality, and emotional experiences. Psychedelics can induce hallucinogenic effects and visual and auditory distortions, wherein individuals perceive or hear phenomena that are either non-existent or profoundly distorted.

The principal component within magic mushrooms is psilocybin. Upon consumption, psilocybin undergoes metabolic conversion in the body, transforming into psilocin, the chemical responsible for its psychoactive effects. Besides psilocybin and psilocin, two further tryptamines — baeocystin and norbaeocystin — could also be present but are thought to be less active than the former two.

Psilocybin and psilocin are classified as psychedelic tryptamines due to their strikingly similar molecular structures to serotonin, a vital chemical messenger in our bodies. Serotonin plays a pivotal role in various functions within our brains and digestive systems, exerting significant influence over the regulation of our moods, sleep patterns, and stress-coping mechanisms. As a result, psilocybin and psilocin interact with the body’s receptors in similar ways to serotonin—with added psychedelic effects.

Dosage Considerations for All Types of Psychedelic Mushrooms

The significance of dosage cannot be overstated when consuming any substance and psychoactive drugs in particular, as it directly impacts the intensity of the experience and the potential health risks associated with it.

The effects of psilocybin mushrooms are generally considered to have a low potential for causing adverse physical health effects. However, ingestion of an excessively high dose can lead to an extremely intense, unsettling, or uncomfortable experience, which may have the potential to cause psychological harm.

The recommended dosage of psilocybin mushrooms varies depending on whether the mushrooms are in their fresh or dried form. Fresh mushrooms, containing about 90% water, typically require a higher dosage compared to their dried counterparts. For instance, if the average recommended dose for fresh psilocybin mushrooms is 20 grams, the equivalent dose for the same variety of dried mushrooms would be approximately 2 grams. This significant difference underscores the importance of understanding and carefully measuring the dosage to ensure a safe and manageable psychedelic experience.

The use of psilocybin very rarely results in life-threatening side effects. However, “bad trips” are possible and can result in paranoia, anxiety, flashbacks, and—at worst—psychosis.

Different Types of Magic Mushrooms

Though they’re both hallucinogenic, the psilocybin trip is notably different than other psychedelics such as LSD, MDMA, or mescaline. And different types of psychedelic mushrooms can cause different effects. 

As you dabble into the culture, you will find there are many other varieties such as Cambodian, Blue Magnolia Rust, Malabar Coast, and Panama, just to name a few. Here are some of the most common mushroom species.

  • Psilocybe semilanceata: Commonly known as Liberty Caps
  • Psilocybe cubensis: Commonly known as Golden Teachers
  • Psilocybe mexicana: Commonly known as Conical Caps
  • Psilocybe cyanescens: Commonly known as Wavy Caps
  • Psilocybe azurescens: Commonly known as Flying Saucer Mushrooms
  • Psilocybe baeocystis: Commonly known as Bottle Caps, Knobby Tops, Blue Bells, and Olive Caps

Let’s take a closer look at each of these types of mushrooms.

Psilocybe semilanceata

Psilocybe semilanceata mushrooms are considered to be highly potent and are characterized by large brown leather-like caps that often are attached to curved stems. Under the cap of these mushrooms, you will find 15-27 narrow gills that quickly turn blue when the shroom stem or cap is damaged or removed. This form of mushroom grows commonly in Europe and North America.

Psilocybe cubensis

Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms are the most common type of magic mushroom consumed globally. Being found in the US, Central America, Southeast Asia, and Northern parts of South America, this variety of magic mushrooms have large caps ranging as large as 80mm in diameter. The caps of these mushrooms tend to flatten out with maturity. Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms have tightly spaced gills that turn black with maturity. When the stem or cap is damaged or removed, this type of magic mushroom tends to have a bluish-purplish color.

Psilocybe mexicana

Psilocybe mexicana grows commonly in Central and South America and has been used for centuries by indigenous people. Similar in appearance to semilanceata varieties of magic mushrooms, Psilocybe mexicana mushrooms are characterized by a conical or bell-shaped cap typically ranging in diameter between 10-20mm. This variety of magic mushrooms is typically beige with blue or green tones and quickly turns blue when damaged or broken.

Psilocybe cyanescens

Psilocybe cyanescens mushrooms are characterized by wavy caps ranging between 15-50mm in diameter and are commonly grown in North America, New Zealand, Central & Western Europe, and even parts of the Middle East. These mushrooms tend to have a brown caramel-like color that begins to fade as the mushroom dries out. When touched or damaged, the stems, caps, and gills of these mushrooms tend to turn blue due to rapid oxidation. This form of mushroom is known for growing in mulch plant beds which has led to an increase in its growing areas in recent years.

Psilocybe azurescens

Psilocybe azurescens is considered to be an extremely potent variety of magic mushrooms that grows naturally in a small remote area of the west coast of the United States. This form of magic mushroom is characterized by a large cap that looks almost like a saucer hence the common name. The caps of these mushrooms tend to flatten with maturity and offer a caramel brown color when mature, which can also show hues of black and blue. This form of mushroom also has dark gills and white stems that tend to turn blue when damaged.

Psilocybe baeocystis

Psilocybe baeocystis is commonly grown in the Pacific Northwest and offers a conical-shaped cap that is thin and rippled. The caps of these mushrooms tend to range between 15mm and 55mm in diameter and offer a dark greenish-brown hue with electric blue gills. The stems of this variety of magic mushrooms are often chalk white in color and are known to be both curved and straight.

In most places in the United States of America, magic mushrooms are still illegal, thanks to the Controlled Substances Act. This attitude around substance use, however, is starting to change, however. Magic mushrooms are legal in Oregon and have been decriminalized in several other places such as Washington DC. In general, Magic mushrooms have a very strange legality status in the United States. You are allowed to basically legally purchase everything needed to cultivate these mushrooms at home. It becomes against the law when you add these ingredients together to make your own magic mushrooms in most places.

Despite its status as a DEA Schedule I controlled substance, many cities and states have passed laws regarding its use in certain areas. These laws vary from allowing state-wide legalization to making it a low law enforcement priority. As of December 2021, the states that have passed laws concerning psilocybin and psilocybin drug use are listed below:

  • California – In Santa Cruz and Oakland law enforcement has been defunded concerning psilocybin and it has been made the lowest law enforcement priority.
  • Colorado –  Denver has defunded law enforcement concerning psilocybin and made it the lowest law enforcement priority.
  • New Jersey – Reduced the statute of penality for psilocybin.
  • New Hampshire & New Mexico – Passed limited judicial exceptions regarding psychedelics.
  • Oregon – Passed a full legalization and regulation statute along with decriminalizing it.
  • Texas & Connecticut – Have legal working groups studying medical use.
  • Washington – Seatle and Port Townsend have made it the lowest law enforcement priority.
  • Washington D.C. – Magic mushrooms (psilocybin) have been decriminalized.
  • Florida, Hawaii, Missouri, Iowa, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, and Vermont are all actively working on legislation regarding psychedelics.

While cannabis may be taking the limelight, there are many other natural substances that offer great potential in many different realms of health and wellness that are longing to be embraced. As the many therapeutic uses of psilocybin slowly start to reveal themselves, we look toward a future where these types of magic mushrooms can be used for a variety of ailments, from lack of focus to treatment-resistant depression.

Note: Veriheal does not support illegally consuming therapeutic substances like psilocybin magic mushrooms but acknowledges that it transpires because of the current illicit status, which we strive to change by advocating for research, legal access, and responsible consumption. Always consult a physician before attempting alternative therapies.

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