The Essential Psychedelic Guide by D. M. Turner

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Psilocybin Mushrooms

The Extraterrestrial Infiltration Of Earth?

INTENSITY: 3 to 7 for most experiences.


There are dozens of species of mushrooms which contain the psychoactive alkaloids psilocybin/psilocin in active amounts. 99% of the psilocybin mushrooms I've seen sold on the underground market are the variety known as Psilocybe cubensis (also called Stropharia cubensis), and dosage levels discussed below pertain to this variety. Some species of psilocybin mushrooms contain up to 10 times as much psilocybin by weight as cubensis, producing an equivalent experience at a much lower dose.


The use of psilocybin mushrooms can be traced back thousands of years. In Plants of the Gods, Schultes and Hoffman trace the use of these mushrooms to numerous locations and Indian cultures in pre-Colombian Mexico and South America. The Indians held the mushrooms with such reverence that the Aztecs named them Teonanacatl, meaning "flesh of the gods" or "divine flesh." Sacred objects relating to mushrooms, such as the mushroom stones shown above (see HTML version for graphics - ed.), have been found dating back as far as 1000 B.C.

Terence McKenna suggests that hallucinogenic mushroom use may be much older than 3000 years, with the mushrooms being consumed and worshipped by early forms of humankind. He even suggests that mushroom spores arriving from outer space may have been some of the earliest forms of life and intelligence on our planet. Many scientists feel that life could not have developed on this planet during the 200 to 400 million year period from when Earth's crust cooled until evidence of the first living organisms were found. The theory of "panspermia" has been suggested to account for this. Studies conducted by astrophysicists at the University of Leiden in Netherlands have determined that certain mushroom spores could survive up to 45 million years in interstellar transit. (see Nature - Aug 1, 1985).


Although some users eat just one gram of "shrooms," dried weight, I find this produces little more than threshold effects. Two grams should produce a mild psychedelic high, five grams should produce an experience of similar intensity to a 250 mcg. LSD trip. (Five grams of dried Psilocybe cubensis typically contains about 15 mg. of psilocybin/psilocin.) At 10 to 14 grams I've had experiences which are quite incredible. The potency of different batches of mushrooms varies, usually within a range of +/-10%, although I've come across some strains that were nearly twice as potent as standard. Mushrooms lose potency with age (about 25% in six months.) They will keep much longer if stored in an airtight container in the freezer. Fresh mushrooms should be dried at a low temperature, around 95 degrees F, to preserve their potency.


Mushrooms produce an experience similar to LSD but with a different signature. The mushroom high tends to be dreamy and drifty in comparison to the penetrating brilliance and lucidity of acid. Users report feeling more relaxed on shrooms, sometimes even drowsy, rather than the speedy, edgy feeling common with acid. The average shroom trip lasts five to seven hours, with the most intense and visually hallucinogenic part of the experience taking place during the first two hours.

The content of a mushroom trip is also a bit different than acid, and as with all psychedelics, each trip is a unique experience. Frequently users claim that shrooms put them more in touch with the "mystery," feeling acid to be cold and linear in comparison. With mushrooms I've often felt that I'm in the presence of an ancient teacher, whereas with LSD, it can feel like I'm simply traversing my own mental pathways.

Mushroom visuals can be magnificent on large doses, especially in a pitch black environment. Many people find the mushroom visuals to be more "organic" than acid visuals. The mushroom visuals tend towards rounded forms, and images congruent with nature, while acid visuals are usually more angular, with kaleidoscopic or abstract imagery.

A large dose experience with mushrooms can feel quite similar to N,N-DMT, (dimethyltryptamine) but with much less intensity. The visuals tend to have the same character as DMT visuals, and I find that I easily go into trance, which is frequent with N,N-DMT. The similarity in experiences is not unexpected since mushrooms actually contain long-lasting tryptamines. The chemical formula of psilocin, the active component of the mushroom, is 4-OH-DMT. See the chapter on DMT for more information on this fascinating substance.

This 16th century Aztec statue depicts Xochipilli, the Prince of Flowers. His face stares towards the heavens in a state of ecstasy, and his body is adorned with several psychoactive plants, including the morning glory and psilocybe mushrooms.
see HTML version for graphics - ed.
I also find some negative qualities in comparing the experience of mushrooms to acid. The mushroom experience moves a bit slower than an acid high and tends to be less intense. I find it more difficult to break through to a full-on psychedelic state with mushrooms. And the trip can not be guided as easily as an acid trip.

I've used LSD more often than mushrooms because it's suitable to more diverse environments, and almost always produces the expected results. I've felt mushrooms to be more "sacred," and have reserved them for occasions when a more significant, mystical experience is desired.


HARMALA ALKALOIDS - Harmala combines beautifully with mushrooms to produce a very mystical experience. When harmaline was first discovered it was named telepathine because of its reputation for producing telepathic experiences. These telepathic experiences are supposed to be especially likely to occur when Harmala is combined with psilocybin. I personally haven't experienced telepathy, although I've found the combination quite enjoyable. Following is a report of a friend's Harmala plus mushroom experience.

"The most beautiful and refined interlocking patterns covered the floor, walls, and ceiling of my room. These visuals were so astounding that I would have been more than content with them, but the experience grew even more incredible. I began to feel as though my room was filled with the "spirits" of musicians, artists, and visionaries whose genius had most strongly affected my life. And I felt as though I were amongst friends. This filled me with elation twice as strong as anything I'd felt on ecstasy, and for a while nothing seemed impossible anywhere in the world. Things gradually deconstructed into a slowly swirling astral whirlpool, and beyond. It was by far one of the most amazing psychedelic experiences I've had, and was all there simply by adding the Harmala."

Psilocybin can also be combined with LSD, DMT, or Nitrous Oxide. See the Multiple Combinations chapter.

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Having a good first experience with Psilocybin Cubensis

Note: Drugs aren't for everybody, but if you're going to do them, you should be smart about it.

There are a few important rules for shrooming your first time:

1. Don't do it alone. In the case that you freak out, or think of something stupid, there should be someone there. Plus, oftentimes, you'll want someone else there to talk to or someone you trust to merely be there.

2. Make sure someone else is doing it with you. This isn't a safety issue, but it'll be a better experience for the using individual, as there'll be someone else there who's in on it with you.

3. Find someone to trip-sit for you (also known as a spotter). As the name implies, a trip-sitter is like a babysitter. Ideally, this is someone who has tripped before, be it on mushrooms, acid, DXM, LSA, or some other psychoactive substance (ideally the same substance you're tripping on). You will have to be very comfortable with this person. Remember, you will not exactly be in your normal state of mind, so it should be someone you trust.

4. Trip somewhere safe, somewhere you are comfortable. Under NO circumstances should you go to Six Flags, ingest 8 grams of mushrooms and expect to have a good time. This is a BAD idea. Don't blame the drugs for your own stupidity.

5. Outdoors is usually better than indoors. Nature tends to enhance the experience, that's just how it is. Some people react badly to shrooms in dark, small, or indoor environments, such as a basement, or your buddy's room.

6. Dosage. This depends on a number of factors, such as previous experience, bodyweight, and psychological state. Those who may have done other psychoactive drugs previously, such as LSA, DMT, DXM, or other such substances, may be able to handle larger doses of mushrooms on their first time. This is a matter of personal choice. Also, bodyweight is an important factor. If you weigh 120 lbs, and your friend weighs 260 lbs, you should probably not be doing the same quantity as he is. For example, a heavy guy might take, say, 3.5 grams, and a skinny guy might take 2.5 g (THOSE ARE NOT DEFINITE DOSAGES). I have heard many suggestions as to the safe quantity of the first dose, ranging from 1 gram to 5 grams. I would say 1 to 4 grams, based on how comfortable you feel, your body weight, and your previous experience would be safe and give you the experience you're looking for.

Remember! There are guys who, as a result of mushrooms, lost touch with reality and ended up in mental institutions. If you're going to shroom, be smart, be careful about it, and you could have a really great experience. Due to the nature of the substances involved, no guarantees can be made. These are merely suggestions to try to give you the best chances of having a good experience. Some people just react badly to certain things; I've seen (alcohol) intoxication that looked more like a bad acid trip, so make sure this is something you want to get involved in. On the other hand, shrooms can be a magical and wonderful thing, as long as you're responsible about it. So do something interesting and creative, have a conversation with god, whatever.
Good luck, and have fun!
Note: All information here was gathered from first-hand experience, second-hand accounts, message board posts, other E2 nodes, and other miscellaneous sources I came accross during my own reseach phase.

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