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The Beginner's Guide to Psychedelic Mushrooms

psilocybin containing mushrooms
Table of Contents

For many people, psychedelic mushrooms check many boxes: medicinal, spiritual, and recreational. The psilocybin mushroom is known for being a safe, sometimes life-changing recreational and therapeutic substance.

And yet, despite being safe, psilocybin mushrooms feature a large barrier to entry for many people. Misconception and anxiety keep some away from an experience that could be very enlightening.

This article covers some of the basics of psychedelic mushrooms for beginners.

What are Psychedelic Mushrooms?

To begin, what is a psychedelic mushroom? To cover the basics of psychedelic mushrooms, one needs only to understand that they refer to edible fungi with chemical traces of a substance called Psilocybin. It is a hallucinogenic substance that creates a euphoric effect in its users and is often referred to as magic mushrooms.

It is estimated that there are over 200 different species of magic mushrooms worldwide. These fungi can be found on every continent on earth except Antarctica.

They are often called magic mushrooms or shrooms. The term psychedelic was coined by Humphry Osmond, who coined the word “psychedelic” because of the intense effects these drugs have on users.

The term “magic mushroom” comes from the fact that these fungi grow in the forests of Europe and North America and are closely related to other mushrooms (i.e. shiitake mushrooms), however, they are very different due to their chemical composition; they contain psilocybin and psilocin, which give them their psychedelic effects.

Both psilocybin and psilocin are psychoactive alkaloids found in magic mushrooms. These alkaloids bind with the serotonin receptors (5HT2A), which alter our perception of sensory information (vision, sound, and touch).

Types of Magic Mushrooms or Shrooms

hallucinogenic mushrooms

As mentioned above, many types of mushrooms contain psilocybin, here are some varieties below:

Psilocybe Mexicana

Native to Mexico, Psilocybe Mexicana has a long-reaching history of human use dating back to the Mayans. Mushrooms such as Psilocybe Mexicana are considered psychoactive and more than 2,000 years ago, the natives of North and Central America used them. The Aztecs called this species teotlnanácatl and French botanist Roger Heim classified it.

Psilocybe Semilanceata

One of the most widely distributed forms of magic mushrooms, Psilocybe Semilanceata is what many people are referring to when they mention shrooms. The liberty cap, or Psilocybe semilanceata, is a fungus that produces psilocybin and baeocystin, two psychoactive compounds. One of the most widespread psilocybin mushrooms in nature, liberty caps are also one of the most potent.

Psilocybe Cynescens

A widespread species of fungus, Psilocybe cyansecens, grows on all continents and is identifiable by its “wavy” appearance which gives them their nickname, wavy caps. Archaeologists have identified ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs that appear to depict the Psilocybe cyanescens.

Psilocybe cyanescens

Psilocybe Cubensis

This species is probably the most well-known type of magic mushroom. The Psilocybe cubensis species occurs throughout the world and is commonly found on virtually every continent (except Antarctica). Psilocybe cubensis is an easy mushroom to grow yourself at home, and its effects are well documented.

Psilocybe Azurescens

The member of the genus psilocybe is especially common along with Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia’s coasts and has a higher concentration of Psilocybin and psilocin than any other tryptamine-containing mushrooms.

Psilocybe Baeocystis

It is believed that Psilocybe baeocystis contains a high concentration of more than one alkaloid related to Psilocybin, baseocystin, which is the highest concentration. The Common names for this species include bottle caps, knobby tops, bluebells, and olive caps. The term refers to the uneven or disfigured appearance of the mushroom caps.

Psilocybe Weilii

This strain of psilocybe was named after Andrew Weil, the natural health specialist who has made an immense contribution to the field of psychotherapy research. Paul Stamet’s book – Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World – contains the forward he wrote for High Times magazine and his research and dedication to wellness are inspiring to all mycophiles.

Agaric Mushrooms

Agaric mushrooms are sometimes used as a common name for members of the genus Agaricus, as well as for members of other genera; for example, Amanita Muscaria is sometimes called “fly agaric” and is known for its resemblance to Santa Claus and the Nintendo Super Mario Mushroom.

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poisonous mushrooms

What Do Magic Mushrooms Look Like?

The term Magic Mushroom covers many types of fungi that all contain the psychoactive compound psilocybin. Because there are many different types as mentioned above, there is no single description of what they look like but rather a broad set of features that you might find in a psilocybin mushroom.

For example, psilocybin mushrooms are often long and thin, light brown in color, with button-like tops. Another defining feature is that they ‘bruise blue’ with just gentle contact and generally have black or purple spore prints. Using this description, you may be able to recognize a good batch the next time you are looking to buy psychedelic mushrooms.

naturally occurring psychedelic drug

However, looking for them in the wild is not advised. To the layperson, many mushrooms may look very similar. Since some can be deadly, it’s best to leave scavenging to the professionals.

How Do They Work?

Psilocybe species grow wild in many areas of the world—the psilocybin inside of the mushroom which is converted to psilocin during digestion is responsible for their psychedelic effects.

The human body produces serotonin and other neurotransmitters, which help control moods, emotions, and behaviors. These chemicals can also affect our perception of reality. When consumed in large doses, they produce a range of hallucinations called “psychedelic experiences.” (needs reworking, what are we trying to say?)

Most of the effects of magic mushrooms are caused by the presence of Psilocybin, not psilocin. The liver needs to convert Psilocybin into psilocin before it can produce any effects.

The activation of this receptor doesn’t impact perception but affects other parts of the body – such as the heart rate and blood pressure.

Psilocin & The 5-HT1A Receptors

The 5-HT1A receptor is a subtype of serotonin receptor located in presynaptic and postsynaptic regions of the brain. Magic mushrooms are believed to have their anti-anxiety, and anti-depressant properties due to the ability to bind with this receptor.

Psilocin & The 5-HT2A Receptors

Serotonin 5-HT2A receptors are found throughout the central nervous system, especially in brain region essential for cognition and learning. Promising studies show that 5-HT2AR receptors have antipsychotic and antidepressant properties and studies are being done on their effects on depression, and drug addiction. (

Psilocin & 5-HT2C Receptors

The 5-HT2C receptor is one of the many binding sites for serotonin in the brain. 5-HT2C receptors are claimed to significantly regulate mood, anxiety, feeding, and reproductive behavior. Many studies are underway linking the affect of psilocin and the 5-HT2C receptor.

In addition to magic mushrooms, LSD, DMT, and mescaline are among the second-most common compounds in psychedelics. Some parts of the brain contain receptors responsible for inhibiting the release of dopamine and norepinephrine. The anti-anxiety, mood-balancing, and appetite suppressant effects of magic mushrooms are believed to be a result of this effect. By activating these receptors, the brain’s visual cortex changes.

How Mushrooms Are Consumed

psilocybin mushroom

Magic mushrooms can be consumed in various ways, including eaten raw or dried, mixing them into food, or brewing them into magic mushroom tea. Extracts of psilocybin may also be taken orally or mixed into certain foods, the liquid is often a clear brown color contained in small vials.

Magic mushrooms are usually orally ingested—that’s to say eaten—approximately thirty to sixty minutes before you wish to experience their psychedelic effects. One of the things to know about eating shrooms is that, depending on their age, potency, and the user’s experience level, the actual activation period can vary considerably.

It is always a good idea to secure a safe, comfortable environment for yourself before taking magic mushrooms.

Magic Mushrooms: Are They Safe?

The effects of magic mushrooms have been studied for more than 60 years. According to several large clinical trials that used high doses of magic mushrooms or pure Psilocybin, none of these studies found that there would be any lasting effects on the participant’s health. LD50, the “lethal dose” of a substance, is one of the best ways to evaluate the toxicity of a substance. To determine LD50, animals (usual mice) are given increasingly higher doses of a substance until half of them die. These types of studies are unethical, but they can provide useful insight into compounds’ potential toxicity.

Scientists who searched for Psilocybin’s LD50 found it to be exceptionally high compared to other compounds. Psilocybin has been found to have an LD50 of 280 mg/kg. For magic mushrooms to pose a life-threatening threat, you must eat about 3500 grams of dried mushrooms. Three thousand five hundred grams of mushrooms is a very large amount, it would be almost impossible to eat more than seven pounds of anything, therefore, It is highly unlikely that this dose can be achieved.

It should be noted that magic mushrooms can cause some unwanted side effects including nausea, and what people describe as a “bad trip”. While under the influence, it can cause anxiety and paranoia. Accordingly, it is possible to dramatically reduce your chances of experiencing a “bad trip” with magic mushrooms when you take proper care and mental preparation. Set and setting matter, be conscious of where you are and whom you are around before consuming. A magic mushroom overdose has never been reported to have resulted in death, so the risk of harm from magic mushrooms is exceptionally low. There are no long-term side effects from mushrooms, as they wear off once they have been consumed.

Various Effects of Psilocybin Mushrooms

hallucinogenic mushrooms

The Benefits of Taking Hallucinogenic Mushrooms

While there are no FDA-approved benefits of consuming mushrooms, a significant amount of research supports a broad range of potential benefits. Researchers believe that the benefits are due to mushrooms’ ability to increase serotonin levels and help repair brain damage by creating new pathways.

Existing research suggests that mushrooms may be effective in treating patients suffering from depression and anxiety, as well as alleviating symptoms of PTSD. In addition, studies have found that Psilocybin can reduce symptoms of OCD and general anxiety disorder. In recent years, scientists have also discovered mushrooms can help improve mood, reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality.

Adverse Effects to Be Aware of

Due to the hallucinogenic nature of psychedelic mushrooms, they have been known to produce temporary feelings of anxiety, physical discomfort, nausea, and even temporary instances of mental illness that do not typically last longer than the effects of the mushrooms. These undesirable effects are increased when the individual takes a larger dose. Additional short-term effects include impaired motor skills, lack of coordination, and dizziness.

Psychedelic mushrooms can also result in bad trips, which are characterized by feelings of anxiety, fear, paranoia, and confusion. Some people have even reported experiencing hallucinations that are so realistic that they feel as though they are stuck in a nightmare from which they cannot escape. In rare cases, bad trips have been known to lead to serious mental effects such as psychosis.

It is important to note that bad trips are more likely to occur if the individual has a history of mental health issues or if they are taking other drugs besides psychedelic mushrooms. If you experience any adverse effects after consuming psychedelic mushrooms, it is important to seek medical help immediately.

Dangers of Overdosing

Getting the right dosage of psychedelics is an important part of having a positive experience. While overdosing on mushrooms is not life-threatening, it can produce a deeply unpleasant trip. It’s always a good idea to start slow and dose low until you figure out what dosage of psychedelics is right for you.

If you feel uncomfortable or anxious after taking too much, stop taking the mushrooms and wait for the effects to subside before trying again.

You should also avoid taking psilocybin mushrooms if you have a history of mental illness or are currently experiencing symptoms such as paranoia or psychotic episodes — these can be signs that your mind is becoming unstable under the influence of psychedelics.

To ensure a good trip and a safe one we recommend using an experienced trip sitter.

Long-term Effects

There are no serious negative long-term effects associated with psychedelic mushrooms.  Often users report back a positive experience which many account as the most “spiritually significant experience of their lives” and carry the benefits on with them long after any remnants of the substance have left their system.

While instances of emotional distress or panic attacks are sometimes associated with shrooms, they are usually the result of an underlying mental health problem that gets aggravated by the mushrooms. Other potential long-term effects of psychedelic mushrooms include changes in personality, changes in perception, and flashbacks. These effects are generally rare and are more likely to occur in people with preexisting mental health conditions and should not be taken lightly.

Magic Mushrooms: When to Avoid Them

Magic mushrooms are generally safe to eat, but there are a few situations when they should be avoided.

  • Avoid taking mushrooms if you’re on any prescription drugs or have a history of mental illness.
  • Magic Mushrooms can be dangerous if you have a history of seizures, heart problems, or a mental disorder.
  • Magic Mushrooms are not recommended if you are pregnant or nursing.

Avoid taking mushrooms if you’re under 21years old.

  • Never take magic mushrooms with other drugs.
  • If you’re taking any drugs like SSRIs for anxiety, depression, or psychosis, they will likely affect the dose you’ll need. Avoid it when taking antipsychotics and antidepressants.
  • Using the mushrooms in an unsafe or uncomfortable environment will likely be a problem because of the hallucinogenic properties and it’s really important to remember that “Set and Setting” will dictate much about your experience.

Magic Mushroom Use: What Are Their Health Benefits?

There are many benefits to taking magic mushrooms. There is no doubt that these psychoactive substances offer large-scale health benefits – supported by substantial clinical trials and decades of research. Early studies in the early 1960s indicated improvements in mental disorders, including schizophrenia, depression, addiction, and existential anxiety.

Today, several studies are published yearly about the therapeutic effects of magic mushrooms and other psychedelics and more students are entering this exciting field.

Medical research has confirmed the following benefits of magic mushrooms:

  • It is a natural remedy that alleviates or prevents cluster headaches and migraines
  • It can actively reduce one’s cravings and addictions to drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes
  • and help support creative thoughts and focus (microdosing)
  • Provides relief from existential dread and anxiety
  • Improves symptoms of generalized anxiety, PTSD, and social anxiety
  • Helps with chronic depression and other mood disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is reduced.
  • in addition to these benefits, psilocybin use has also been used anecdotally for other conditions and applications

Mushrooms for Cluster Headaches and Migraines

Cluster headaches are similar to a migraine, but differ in frequency and duration. They often come and go throughout the day, lasting anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours. A migraine usually lasts much longer and comes once or less per day. Both migraines and cluster headaches can cause significant amounts of pain.

Despite their infancy, studies of psychedelic substances and headaches have shown promising results. Cluster headache research has found that both psilocybin and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) have the potential to treat cluster headaches, which historically had a notoriously poor prognosis for treatment.

Magic Mushrooms That Help Treat Depression

psilocybin for depression

Treatment of chronic depression is one of magic mushrooms’ most promising therapeutic benefits. Researchers from the Beckley Foundation studied the effects of 10 or 25 mg of pure Psilocybin on the symptoms of 12 patients with severe treatment-resistant depression. A follow-up examination six months later found that depression scores had been significantly reduced following the study.

Magic mushrooms can be used in two ways to manage long-term depression: microdoses and in the form of a single or two sessions. The mechanism by which Psilocybin is thought to work for depression involves its effects on 5HT serotonin receptors.

One of the best things about taking psychedelics in small doses over a longer period is that it has a downregulating effect on serotonin receptors. Research has shown how increased binding activity at serotonin receptors (primarily 5-HT2A) can lead to depression. For microdosing, the effect on serotonin receptors is similar to that of regular psychedelics, but there’s another layer to the benefits because you should be able to function like any normal day.

 Magic Mushrooms For Addiction

LSD was effective in treating addictions back in the ’60s, but new research is focusing on ayahuasca. Magic mushrooms are often grouped with these psychedelics because they can interact with the same receptors – the serotonin 5HT2A receptors. A 2015 study found that Psilocybin may help with alcohol addiction if used in therapy sessions. This study involved two sessions involving doses of either 0.3 or 0.4 mg/kg of pure Psilocybin (which is equivalent to around 4 or 6 grams of magic mushrooms)

After the treatment, there was a significant decrease in alcohol consumption and cravings among the participants that continued until the end of follow-up three years later. Another study looked at the impact of Psilocybin on a different addiction – tobacco smoking. Psilocybin dosing for the study was either 20mg or 30mg for each 1 kg of body weight (rounding up to 1-2g of dried mushrooms).

Magic Mushrooms for Anxiety

Research involving the use of mushrooms containing Psilocybin has been happening since the 1960s. Anecdotal evidence suggests that people can reduce or eliminate their anxiety through the help of psychoactive mushrooms over the past 60 years. More recently, a few clinical studies have given us some exciting results in regards to how magic mushrooms might be able to help with anxiety disorder treatment.

A study in 2011 found that Psilocybin (a type of hallucinogenic drug) had a major positive effect on terminally ill cancer patients who had been diagnosed with stress, anxiety, and depression according to the DSM-IV protocol. Each patient was involved in two separate sessions: one with a psilocybin dosage of .2 mg/kg and another with a placebo. These sessions were spaced at least two months apart from each other. A study found that most participants reported significantly lower anxiety levels after a psilocybin dose sustained for up to 6 months.

Microdosing For Concentration, Focus, & Creativity

People often seek out microdoses of magic mushrooms to improve mood, focus and concentration, creativity, and the ability to solve difficult problems.

Microdosing is a form of chemical employment often used by successful business leaders and executives. People microdose to increase their productivity without having any marked side effects. This practice was made famous after it came to light that many successful CEOs and executives working for tech companies in Silicon Valley use microdosing and consider it a factor in their success.enlighteningover

Video: History of Magic Mushrooms

FAQs Magic Mushrooms

The primary psychoactive component of hallucinogenic mushrooms is psilocybin (PY, 4-phosphoryloxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine). Psilocybin is transformed into the pharmacologically active molecule, psilocin, after consumption. The mushroom also contains psilocin, albeit in much lesser concentrations.

Additionally, psilocybin, which the intestines transform into the psychoactive substance psilocin, is showing promise in the treatment of cluster headaches, anxiety, anorexia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and numerous substance abuse disorders.

Everyone has their reasons for taking psychedelic mushrooms. For some people, it is a deeply spiritual experience that connects them to the wider world. For others, it’s about the euphoric effects or simply having fun. And still, more look to psychedelic mushrooms for their vast medicinal and healing potential. 

Psychedelic mushrooms have been shown to provide relief from symptoms of anxiety and depression, making them a potentially valuable source of relief for people with mental health disorders. 

What happens during a “trip.”

The mushrooms’ effects will depend on the batch and the person taking it. From a strictly scientific experience, a “trip” is simply an altered state of mind produced by using Psilocybin. 

The effects of mushrooms peak after about an hour but usually endure for six hours. From the point of ingestion, psilocybin will remain in your system for 48 more hours. 

Sometimes, Psilocybin triggers seizures. The possibility of this side effect is much greater in people who already have seizure disorders. In the event of a seizure, a trip sitter can call for help or prevent you from harming yourself.

Psilocybin can cause psychosis in susceptible individuals and those with a history of mental health conditions. Discuss your desire to use magic mushrooms with a psychiatrist if you or a close family member suffer from a mental health condition.

Psilocybin is federally illegal and a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act. Depending on where you are, there are places that have decriminalized magic mushroom use and have dropped it to the lowest level of law enforcement. Like anything else, be careful and know where you are to avoid problems.

It takes some time for magic mushrooms to start having an effect on the body after consumption. According to research, hallucinatory effects can start to manifest in 20–40 minutes.

Although there are some natural exceptions to this, most users of mushrooms report feeling the effects within one hour.

These outcomes could develop gradually. A person may have mild sensory or emotional alterations at first, followed by increased visual, auditory, or other sensory hallucinations.

Factors such as the weight of the individual their metabolism and their experience all factor in. Another factor is the type of mushroom, its potency, and even its age.

About 66% of the chemicals in mushrooms are eliminated during the first three hours of consumption, according to researchers. Psilocybin is no longer detected in a person’s urine after 24 hours.

How long other compounds will remain in the body or how long the effects of mushrooms will persist is not accurately calculated.

The amount and type of mushroom consumed, as well as a person’s weight and metabolism, may all have an impact on how the body processes these substances.


This website does not promote or endorse the cultivation or use of psilocybin mushrooms. Psilocybin can be illegal and pose health risks. Always check your local laws and consult a medical professional before considering psilocybin use. Content is designed for adults aged 18 and over.

  • Not Healthcare Advice: Consult healthcare professionals for any medical concerns. We do not offer medical advice.
  • Legal Awareness: Users are responsible for knowing and adhering to the laws regarding magic mushrooms in their jurisdiction. We do not endorse illegal activities.
  • Risk Awareness: Psychedelic fungi carries potential risks. Information on our site is based on research and user experiences but should not replace professional advice.
  • Accuracy and External Links: We strive for accuracy but cannot guarantee it. External links are not under our control, and we are not responsible for their content.

The Ultimate Magic Mushroom Strain Guide

Unlock the secrets of the magical world of mushrooms with 'The Ultimate Magic Mushroom Strain Guide'. Learn all about the different psilocybin mushroom strains nature has to offer.



1UpMaps is a community resource that serves as a one-stop-shop for credible information, including a strain library as well as products and doctors/healers who are able to offer trip sitting during or integration therapy after an experience.

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