This article was originally published on Cannabis.net and appears here with permission.
With the growing popularity and acceptance of magic mushrooms, more people of all ages and backgrounds are taking them.
These special types of fungi have many powerful healing benefits ranging from medical to spiritual. Medical professionals have seen how these mushrooms have safely treated many conditions, especially those that are difficult to treat, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, addiction, anxiety, and more.
They can be taken in a variety of ways, such as making them into a tea, eating raw or dried foods, adding them to foods, and even turning them into powder to easily add to foods or beverages.
But there are thousands of magic mushrooms out there, and it’s important to remember that not all of them are considered magic mushrooms. Also, not everyone is safe to take; others can be toxic and can cause a negative, even fatal, experience.
Here’s what you need to know about the many types of magic mushrooms out there.
All edible and healing mushrooms contain psilocin and psilocybin, the main hallucinogenic alkaloids responsible for the psychoactive experience, hallucinations, and potential spiritual activity that occurs when consumed. Others contain baeocystin, although psilocybin is still more widely found.
There are many different forms of magic mushrooms, although those of the genus psilocybe are the most popular and common. In general terms, they tend to have dark spores and gills, and are found in wild areas of the tropics and subtropics.
There are more than 245 different species in this genus, and these are the most consumed:
Psilocybe Cubensis: Cubensis is the most famous type of magic mushroom. Also known as the golden cap, referring to the brown caps or the golden teachers, their caps can reach up to 80 mm wide. As they mature, the plugs tend to flatten. These mushrooms tend to turn blue or purple when the lid or stem has been removed or damaged.
Cubensis are generally found in animal manure, although they can also be easily grown indoors. For these reasons, it is the most widely used type of magic mushroom
Psilocybe semilanceata: Also known as freedom hats, this species is another commonly used psychedelic. They can usually be found in grassy fields where cattle roam. They are usually smaller and their colors can be from light yellow to brown. It has a smaller, pointed lid.
Liberty hats are among the most potent psilocybin mushrooms on the planet. They are not so easily grown indoors, so they are best found in nature.
Psilocybe azurescens: Considered by many to be the strongest magic mushrooms in the world, this is one of the rarest varieties of magic mushrooms, so be prepared for a serious trip if you find some of these mushrooms so special. They can be grown indoors if you already have knowledge of mushroom growing, although you can easily grow them in a garden.
Psilocybe cyanescens: Cyanescens can be easily identified by their unusually wavy caps, so some people refer to them simply as Wavy Cap mushrooms. They are another of the most common magic mushrooms found in nature, usually found in wood chips or mantle. They are difficult to grow indoors.
Psilocybe pelliculosa: Dandruff mushrooms are recognizable by the wide top that looks like a bell. Although they are also hallucinogenic, these species are much lighter than others of this genus. Due to its weak psychoactive properties, people may need to consume more to have good success and mental benefits, although it is also ideal for beginners who are still experimenting with magic mushrooms. Dandruff can be found in clusters or groups in the forest or along trails, especially in coniferous forests.
Psilocybe Mexicana: Named for the country where it is commonly found, this mushroom is another common brown cap. It is also milder than other forms of psilocybin, due to the low levels of hallucinogenic compounds and alkaloids. This mushroom is also known as the Mexican freedom cap and can be found in grass fields that grow alone or in small groups.
Panaeolus cyanescens or Copelandia cyanescens
Copelandia mushrooms are a famous magical mushroom that is not of the genus Psilocybe. Also known as the Blue Meanies, they are given this nickname because their caps and stems can change color to blue or blue-green when bruised. These types of mushrooms are known for their potency, making them suitable for consumers of spicy magic mushrooms for which psilocybe mushrooms are already too soft. In many cases, they may contain up to 5 times more psilocin than strains of P. cubensis.
The genus panaeolus is a very strong type of magic mushroom. These contain more potent levels of psilocybin and psilocin, and there are over 100 different types of mushrooms in this genus. They usually have black spores and are found in cow dung, grass, and forest litter; they also have gills that turn black or gray as they mature, and cone-shaped or bell-shaped caps.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but a summary of some of the popular species of magic mushrooms that you can find when looking for one to medicate or with whom to go out. They come in all shapes, colors and sizes. Note that each has a unique concentration of hallucinogenic compounds, as well as particular effects.
It is not recommended to look for your own magic mushrooms for beginners because many safe and edible species seem variously toxic and deadly. Leave food to professionals or buy at a trusted dispensary.