What are Psychedelic Mushrooms?
~ "the most sublime and
gracefully efficient access to the expansion of consciousness",
There are many different species of psychedelic
mushrooms, particularly of the type containing psilocybin and psilocin. Two of
the most notorious are Psilocybe semilanceata (Liberty Cap or Magic
Mushroom) and Stropharia cubensis (a.k.a. Psilocybe cubensis).
Psilocybe semilanceata (pictured above) is by far and away the most
commonly naturally occurring species as far as us Northern Europeans are
concerned, especially here in Scotland where the wet, temperate climate can
encourage huge numbers some years (e.g. Autumn 2000 and 2001!) [another
Stropharia cubensis is known for being the easiest species
to cultivate. I have had some success doing this in the past, but
otherwise, forages to collect wild Psilocybe semilanceata have yielded such numbers
recently that there has been no real need.
Amanita muscaria (Fly Agaric): The active
constituent of most psychedelic mushroom is psilocybin. Amanita muscaria
is distinct from these in that it instead contains muscimol. Amanita
muscaria is more toxic than the psilocybe species, though rarely fatal, care
needs to be taken with preparation and dosage. Famous for its striking appearance,
- it's red and white colour and it's over all size (the cap of a single specimen
can be 15cm or larger in diameter), it is a mushroom with many ancient and
folkloric connections. It is often associated with elves and faerys.
It has connotations with pagan midwinter, notably the figure of Santa Claus, as
well as being a strong candidate for being the ancient Soma referred to in the
Rig Veda. However, despite being a fairly common species, it's
contemporary usage is not as prolific as that of Psilocybe semilanceata (- the
species that most people will know as 'Magic Mushrooms'). That said, there
are people who have ingested Fly Agaric and have more to tell...
More Types of Mushroom...
What are the active constituents?
Apart from the case of Fly Agaric, the primary psychoactive constituents
are commonly psilocybin and psilocin. The ratios vary with different
mushrooms. Psilocin is not stable and breaks down when the mushrooms are
dried, which is why fresh mushrooms are stronger. On ingestion psilocybin
is converted into psilocin. Both chemicals are classed as alkaloids of the
tryptamine family. The chemical formulas are; for psilocybin C12H17N2O4P,
and for psilocin C12H17N2O4. As with many other naturally occurring plant-allies,
with mushrooms there are a multitude of other lesser occurring substance which
may contribute to a fine balance.
How many do I take?>>
What are its effects?
Consciousness expansion. Illuminating.
In Britain the law in not too clear. Scottish Law
is different to English, but in both countries psilocybin and psilocin are
controlled substances (i.e. illegal). However, a famous case in English
Law found not guilty in terms of simply possession of 'unprepared' mushrooms.
Quite then what 'preparation' entails is far from obvious, ...drying them?
Well you could argue that they dried naturally. Putting them in an
omelette? I don't know. Anyway, you would have to be pretty
careless if that was your chosen method of ingestion and you got caught.
Mushroom material is for your information. I'm
not inciting or encouraging you to break your national laws.