The Psilocybe family is a common-looking, brownish, small-sized mushroom that turns blue or purple shades at maturity or when injured. They usually pass unnoticed by mushroom hunters, because of their frail appearance and because most people don’t know if they’re edible or not. However, some of them are truly magical!
Psilocin and Psilocybin, the Main Active Substances in Psychedelic Mushrooms
They have a powerful action on the sensory system of man, inducing altered states of perception and consciousness. Other magic mushrooms, such as those from the Amanita family, contain other active substances called muscimol and ibotenic acid. They induce a completely different altered state and for many users, a quite unpleasant experience, compared to that of the Psilocybe mushrooms.
Most people don’t understand the true value of these substances for humankind. While getting high on magic mushrooms can be fun, their true purpose is not this.
Psychedelic mushrooms are here to teach us
Their teachings can reveal to us the hidden aspects of the human mind, and more so, the fundamentals of humanity. The rules of the game we call life. This subtle world often remains obscured by our life choices, spent on more mundane affairs. But once we discover our fundamental nature, it turns out to be the greatest treasure we have. And where you add that there’s nowhere to go to find it, but within.
The journey within the deepest corners of our being can be both revealing and scary. Anyone who uses mushrooms to access this state of inward exploration must be guarded by a mature and skilled person, in case of occasional psychic crises.
This being said, let’s begin our magical journey with the most popular psychedelic mushrooms you can forage too.
Foraging for Magic Mushrooms
1. The Golden Teacher
Psilocybe Cubensis is the mother or magic mushrooms that you can forage when mushroom hunting. Also known as the “Golden Teacher” partly due to its yellowish-brown colored cap, but also for the knowledge that it can bring, this is one of the most popular psychedelic mushrooms out there.
Psilocybe Cubensis is spread in some parts of the world. Mostly Mexico, South America, India, some parts of the Pacific, and Australia. While it is illegal in the USA, there are some countries in the world, where it’s perfectly legal to use this mushroom for its psychedelic effects.
One gram of this magic mushroom is said to be enough to induce a psychedelic state. It is considered the best magic mushroom out there for in-depth knowledge of oneself.
2. The Liberty Cap
While “the mother of psychedelic mushrooms” Psilocybe Cubensis is not widely spread around the world, its close relative, Psilocybe Semilanceata is. This mushroom very common to temperate areas of Europe, as well as in North America and Canada.
Smaller in size and more distinguished looking, the Liberty cap resembles very much the Dacian cap, with a nipple-like middle tip.
It grows in grasslands and wetter areas and is one of the most potent psychedelic mushrooms that can be foraged.
According to those who’ve used it, this mushroom can trigger symptoms that include visual distortions of color, depth and form, including visual hallucinations, spontaneous laughter, and delirium. But the experiences can vary a lot from individual to individual.
Some have successfully used this mushroom to quit smoking or even fight depression when conventional drugs didn’t work. Unfortunately, this psychedelic mushroom is not legal in most countries around the world.
3. Psilocybe Mairei
Another renowned member of the Psilocybe mushroom genus, that one can forage in the wild is Psilocybe mairei.
The use of this magic mushroom for psychedelic purposes dates back to prehistoric times. A mural painting recently discovered in Algeria, depicting Psilocybe mairei mushrooms is around 7,000-9,000 years old.
This psychedelic mushroom grows in the rich soils of northern Africa, Morocco, and Algeria mostly, from October through December.
According to the book Entheogens and the Development of Culture: The Anthropology and Neurobiology of Ecstatic Experience, by author John A. Rush, these mushrooms produce macropsia, the visual distortion where objects seem to appear larger than they actually are.
Humbleness and greatness are valuable lessons to be learned from this magic mushrooms.
4. Psilocybe Hispanica
In Europe, these mushrooms have been used for over 6000 years in religious rituals. Proof of which is a mural painting discovered in a cave in Spain near the town of Villar del Humo. Hence the name “Hispanica”.
This mushroom is widely spread through the Pyrenees Mountains, close to the cave, at the border of Spain and France. It is very tiny and grows in the pine forests, in animal manure, oftentimes alone or in groups. Science hasn’t yet completed thorough research on this magic mushroom, so most stories of its use are local folk tales that attest to its psychedelic properties.
Psilocybe Hispanica is considered one of the easiest mushrooms to grow indoors. The wild foraged Psilocybe Hispanica has been reported to be even more potent than Psilocybe Semilanceata by some. It gives a nice clean high similar to Panaeolus cyanescens.
5. Psilocybe Cyanescens
The last of the most representative magic mushrooms of the Psilocybe mushroom genus (there are many more) is the popular Psilocybe Cyanescens. The easiest way to distinguish a cyanescens is to look for the wavy caramel to chestnut-brown or pale-yellowish cap, hence the name “wavy caps”.
It wildly grows on mulch and lignite in the Pacific Northwest, south to the San Francisco bay area, as well as in Central and Western Europe and some areas in Asia and New Zealand. Due to the extensive use of mulch in urban gardening, this mushroom has widely spread in areas where it is not native.
One of the effects related to the use of Psilocybe Cyanescens is “wood lover paralysis”, a short term loss of body coordination or paralysis. This effect has been reported with other wood growing magic mushrooms.
6. Panaeolus Cinctulus
Commonly known as the “banded mottlegill”, this psychedelic mushroom is one of the most widely spread in the world. It is a very common magic mushroom in California. And it is also found in Oregon, Alaska, and Washington in the US. It wildly grows in Africa, Europe, Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, and even some parts of South America.
Panaeolus Cinctulus grows in fertilized lawns or gardens and compost piles.
Due to the fact that it contains psilocybin, baeocystin, high amounts of serotonin and 5-HTP, a trip on Panaeolus Cinctulus can be of the empathogenic and aphrodisiac kind, and yet still very hallucinating. If one wishes to experience emotional communion, oneness, relatedness, emotional openness, or feel for all that is around them, Panaeolus Cinctulus is a great teacher.
7. The Laughing Jim
Widely spread across most of Europe, from the Scandinavian Peninsula to the Mediterranean Sea as well as Britain, Gymnopilus Junonius is one of the most beautiful psychedelic mushrooms. It grows in bunches, at the bases of rotting deciduous trees and sometimes conifers and on the ground, from spring to early winter.
The nickname of this magic mushroom is no wonder. According to a member on Shumery.org who tried it: “I did experience the laughter Gyms are known for, which felt hearty and good, but also with a strange tone of madness. I could feel the mushroom laughing through me, and I could hear the collective laughter of all those trippers who came before me. ”
It’s no joking matter, but it is a laughing one with Gymnopilus Junonius.
8. Pholiotina Cyanopus
This rare fungus is known to produce psychoactive tryptamines, making the magic mushrooms list. It grows in most parts of Europe, and across the north temperate and boreal regions of the world, including North America and East Asia.
It’s easy to mistake it for poisonous Conocybe mushrooms, this is why this psychedelic mushroom oftentimes gets overlooked and is underrated.
Little is known about the effects of this magic mushroom, making it the underdog of psychedelic mushrooms. A 2015 study revealed that it contains psilocybin, psilocin, and baeocystin as well as small content of norbaeocystin and aeruginascin.
9. The Fly Agaric
The most commonly depicted mushroom in children’s books and stories, Amanita Muscaria is one of the most widely spread psychedelic mushroom. The lovely red cap with white scales is probably one of the most beautiful and mesmerizing wild mushrooms! A true beauty of the forest!
Amanita Muscaria is very popular throughout the temperate and boreal regions of the Northern Hemisphere. The magic mushroom has been acclimatized in the southern hemisphere, together with birch and pine tree plantations. They say that Vikings have used for the rage and bravery they needed in their raids.
People have experienced a very personal trip with Muscaria. It is not a party drug. Muscaria opens the door to a journey of fixing what is broken inside. Not a feel better drug, but a make yourself better helper. A journey in the unknown of the emotional realms, deep within.
Some of the hallucinogenic effects reported with Amanita Muscaria are: visual distortions (objects appeared to “breathe”), buzzing energy levels, introspection, dissociation from the body, etc.
This magic mushroom also contains other substances in addition to hallucinogenic ones. They are highly poisonous substances, which can be very dangerous to the human body. Amanita mushrooms are amongst the most deadly out there. One can easily mistake an Amanita Muscaria for other Amanitas in her family.
The Healing Properties of Psychedelic Mushrooms
According to the Encyclopedia of Mind Enhancing Foods, Drugs and Nutritional Substances, there are 5 mushroom families, that induce altered states of consciousness. They are: Psilocybe, Conocybe, Panaeolus, Stropharia, and the Fly Agaricus from the Amanita family, that is Amanita Muscaria.
Besides the hallucinogenic properties they have, some studies revealed they have other, less known benefits for mental and emotional balance.
Studies revealed that:
- Psilocybin in Mushrooms can Treat Alcohol Addiction
- Psychedelic Psilocybin Improves Long Term Creative Thinking
- Hallucinogenic Drug Psilocybin Eases Existential Anxiety in People With Life-Threatening Cancer
- Novelty Treatment Alternative for Depression Medication
In addition, renowned universities around the world propose for the active compound in hallucinogenic mushrooms, to be reclassified for medical use.
The available studies on the active substances in psychedelic mushrooms fall short of explaining everything that happens to the human body when we ingest these mushrooms. I personally believe that when science will reveal all the benefits that these magical wonders of nature bring, psychedelic mushrooms will no longer be a taboo, but respected medicine.
The Best Books on Psychedelic Mushrooms:
“the mushroom is similar to your soul. It takes you where the soul wants to go. And not all souls are the same.”Mexican Mazatec healer Maria Sabina in de Rios’ Visionary Vine
This article is for entertainment and information purposes only. We don’t recommend by any means the use of any of the psychedelic mushrooms in this list. In fact, we don’t recommend that you consume any wild mushrooms if you’re not 100% sure of what mushroom it is and how to use it. Mushroom foraging can be really fun but keep in mind that some wild mushrooms can cause death, so please take this very seriously!