Magic mushrooms are popular and sought-after for their psychoactive chemical compound called psilocybin. This alkaloid is known to alter consciousness and trigger experiences that are out of the ordinary or profoundly spiritual and mystical.
While psychedelic mushrooms have been around for thousands of years, they are still considered illegal in most countries and are not monitored like other pharmaceutical drugs. The prohibition of these psychedelics to prevent recreational use, unfortunately, increases the risk of psychedelic-users ingesting the fake or wrong kind of magic mushroom
Reports of store-bought “magic” mushrooms turning out as typical non-psychedelic mushrooms laced with another hallucinogen, such as LSD, have been circulating the news for recent years. This means that when you buy magic mushrooms, you carry the risk of ingesting an entirely different drug, which can pose a very serious risk.
To spot fake magic mushrooms, it is important to know how to identify the real ones. There are more than a hundred magic mushroom species, and each one looks very different from each other. There are, however, a few distinctive features that these psychedelic mushrooms share, and that are not found in non-hallucinogenic or poisonous fungi.
Identifying Real Magic Mushrooms
Gilled with Purplish brown to black spore prints.
One important feature in determining whether you have a real mushroom that contains psilocybin or a fake non-hallucinogenic mushroom is the spore color. Spore colors change from one genus to another, but generally, magic mushrooms have a purplish-brown to black spore print. Taking spore prints is very simple. Simply remove the cap from the stem and leave it gill-side down on a piece of white paper or foil. Make sure to cover the cap with a glass vessel to reduce airflow and evaporation, ensuring a clearer spore print. After several hours, spores will collect on the paper, and their colors should become obvious.
Bluish bruising reaction.
Another distinctive feature of psilocybin-containing mushrooms is that they often turn blue when bruised or damaged. While there has been no concrete study to explain why these magical fungi’s cap or stem flesh turns blue or blue-green when damaged, many scientists observe that the color appears to arise from the degradation of psilocin into an unknown chemical compound. Thus, the bluing reaction is indicative of the presence of psilocin in the mushroom. As a rule of thumb, the higher the concentration of the and psilocybin and psilocin compounds, the stronger the bluing reaction. Conversely, the lower the psilocybin concentration, the weaker the bluing reaction.
Only all-white psilocybes are albinos and panaeolus, and these kind are extremely rare for street dealers to sell. It is best to avoid mushrooms that are all white and do not exhibit this bruising reaction. It is good to note that the Amanita phalloides, commonly known as the death cap, is an all-white mushroom. And as its name implies, it is a deadly, poisonous fungus sprouting in many parts of the world.
Separable gelatinous pellicle.
A separable gelatinous pellicle is another recurring characteristic that magic mushrooms have. This pellicle is a thin membrane found on the top layer of the mushroom’s cap that could peel off quite easily, even by using your fingers. It is translucent and adds a slimy, wet sheen to the cap.
According to mushroom experts, any species that fulfill these characteristics are most likely a psychedelic mushroom. However, it is still wise to use a field guide to identify the exact species and avoid serious ailments and even death.
Magic mushrooms can be found sprouting all over the world, and their popularity continues to grow by the minute. They are considered one of the safest psychedelics to date as per a global drug survey conducted in 2017. However, as demand increases, we also see an upward trend of fake mushrooms being sold in the markets or streets today. This article will help you distinguish real psychedelic fungi vs. a fake one, and save yourself not only from spending money on the wrong kind but also from very serious consequences.