What is Psilocybe?
Psilocybe is a genus of gilled mushrooms that includes over 150 different species, found around the world from the tropics to the arctic. Each species has its own set of features that define it, from the size and shape of the cap, to the size and shape of the microscopic spores they release to reproduce. This genus is best known for the species with psychedelic properties.
What is psilocybin?
Psilocybin is a naturally occurring psychedelic compound produced by more than 200 species of mushrooms, collectively known as psilocybin mushrooms. The most potent are members of the genus Psilocybe, such as P. azurescens, P. semilanceata, and P. cyanescens, but psilocybin has also been isolated from about a dozen other genera.
How does psilocybin affect the brain?
Psychedelics are thought of as ‘mind-expanding’ drugs, so it has commonly been assumed that they work by increasing brain activity. But surprisingly, it was found that psilocybin actually caused activity to decrease in areas that have the most dense connections with other areas. These hubs constrain our experience of the world and keep it orderly. We now know that deactivating these regions leads to a state in which the world is experienced as strange.
Other than psilocybin, do Psilocybe mushrooms contain other active compounds?
There are at least four hallucinogenic compounds that have been found in Psilocybe mushrooms. Psilocybin is usually the most abundant. As a pro-drug, it is broken down into psilocin in the body. Psilocin is active, and found naturally in mushrooms as well.
Some species contain the similar compounds baeocystin and norbaeocystin, though at much lower levels. The fungus P. baeocystis, where they were first found, gave these compounds their names.
Does psilocybin interact with any medications or other substances?
Psilocybin interacts with some other medications. These include SSRIs, MAOIs and other antidepressants. Depending on the preparation method, mushrooms can also interact with acids (like lemon juice) and potentiators (like Syrian Rue). Extra research and caution is suggested before combining psilocybin with any other substance, including alcohol and cannabis.
How safe are psilocybin mushrooms?
According to a global drug survey completed in 2017, magic mushrooms were considered the safest recreational drug. Compared to users of MDMA, LSD or cocaine, users of magic mushrooms were five times less likely to require medical attention.
“Magic mushrooms are one of the safest drugs in the world,” says Adam Winstock, founder of the Global Drug Survey and addiction psychiatrist.
Are psilocybin mushrooms addictive? Can I take them every day?
No, and not really. Due to the way that psilocybin impacts the chemical pathways in your brain, a large tolerance is created after each experience. Long after the psychedelic effects subside, 10 to 14 days is required to entirely eliminate this tolerance and retain baseline. A dosage increase of nearly 300 percent is required for a next-day experience, which will likely be less impactful than the previous. However, there is a growing number of individuals who take subperceptual doses multiple times a week. This practice is known as microdosing. This self-applied therapy is usually strictly controlled and used for spurring creativity and even treating anxiety.
What is the difference between strains and species?
Species are the scientific sections that have been created to sort the vast spectrum of mushrooms. The most common species in this genus is Psilocybe cubensis, incredibly popular among amateur growers and familiar to most who have purchased or cultivated “shrooms.” A species name will always include two parts: Psilocybe (often shortened to P.) refers to the genus, and cubensis, for example, refers to the specific species. This can be complicated by nicknames like “Cubes” for P. cubensis and “Elf Stools” for P. pelliculosa.
The genus spans a significant range of shapes, sizes, appearances, potencies and environments. P. cubensis grows on dung in the tropics, while P. semilanceata grows on the decaying roots of grass in subarctic and temperate regions. Both are species of the same genus, but have significant differences, akin to those that separate humans from chimpanzees.
Strains are almost always some type of Psilocybe cubensis, the most common species of artificially-grown magic mushroom. They are referred to by nicknames or labels such as “Golden Teacher,” “Albino,” or “B+.” These are “variants” or descendants of a specific type of P. cubensis that was originally harvested from the wild or selected specifically from artificial cultivation. All of these strains are still restricted by the features that define the species P. cubensis, from the size of the mushroom to potency and yield.
The primary difference between strains of P. cubensis is their appearance and ease of growing. As they are all just different variants, they are as distinct as you are to your sibling: a member of the same family—though not entirely different. One of you will grow faster, one of you will be more robust or resistant to disease, one will be blonde while the other is brunette; but both will share the same parents or “progenitors” of the strain, and the genetics that come with it. (You can explore strains and species here).
What is an average dose of psilocybin Mushrooms?
In most cases, “magic mushrooms” will be encountered in the form of dried Psilocybe cubensis. Doses should always be weighed, as the number of mushrooms is not a reliable metric. An average dose of dried P. cubensis is between one and two grams, while an intermediate dose might be between two and 3.5 grams. Experienced users might try between 3.5 and five grams. Your personal experience and research will help you decide your preferred dosage. A rule of thumb for fresh P. cubensis is to multiply the weight by a factor of 10. Other species of mushrooms and “truffles” have their own dosage indications.
How do I make tea?
For details on making psilocybin tea, visit this link.
What is “Lemon Tek”?
“Lemon Tek” uses chemistry to influence the potency and duration of psilocybin mushrooms. By mixing dried, whole or ground Psilocybe cubensis with fresh or prepared lemon juice, the effects can be accelerated and intensified. Through a mechanism that has not yet been confirmed, the experience has a faster onset and conclusion. The effects are intensified and is often used to make the most of a smaller, available dose. Lemon Tek is not suggested for beginners
How do you pronounce psilocybin and Psilocybe?
According to legendary mycologist and psilocybin aficionado, Paul Stamets, ‘psilocybin’ is pronounced sil-o-SY-bin. However, some pronounce it sy-lo-SY-bin. Psilocybe is pronounced sil-aw-so-pea.
Roderick S. MacDonald
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Whatever. We. Fucking. Want.
It’s expensive. It’s impractical. It makes everything photographed on it look like it took place in the 1970s. So why bother with film?
A few years ago I planned a solo road trip to Haida Gwaii. I drove up in my admittedly unequipped Toyota Echo (thankfully the weather cooperated on my 16-hour drive) and spent the days around my spring birthday staying with a friend in the village of Skidegate.
I took four cameras: two digital SLRs, an instant camera, and a Canon AE-1, circa 1976. It had been my dad’s, and was the first camera I’d ever used. I’d shot hundreds of rolls of black-and-white film with it in high school but for several years it had joined the other vintage cameras I’d collected on a shelf in my bedroom. I figured a trip which I intended to photograph heavily required a little bit of variety, so I dusted it off and shelled out $50 for five rolls of Fujicolor Pro 400H 35mm film for the first time since I’d studied photography in college.
“The more important thing is, we wanted to give people access to the psilocybin experience—and to confirm, or not—that all these things that had happened to us were really happening to us; that it really did seem to open up the doorways to some very strange places. We were looking for affirmation or confirmation of our own experiences.”