Psilocybe: A Genus of Magic Mushrooms

Table of Contents (Jump to a section): Introduction, Origins and Studies, Psilocybin Federal Legal Status in the U.S., Common Side Effects (hallucinations), Benefits, Additional Facts

Time to increase our education on magic mushrooms. Introducing genus psilocybe, the family of gilled mushrooms that you guessed it, can be magical mushrooms and grow across the globe. Most species contain psychedelic compounds including psilocybin and psilocin, making them hallucinogenic mushrooms. There is a lot to learn about these psilocybe mushrooms, so let’s dive in.

Genus Psilocybe Mushrooms

Psilocybe fruit bodies are typically small nondescript mushroom with usual dark brown mushroom morphology. Psilocybe are macroscopically characterized by their little to occasionally large size brown-brown colouration with a usually hygrophanous cap. Ecologically, all species of Psilocybe are Saprotrophs, which grow on diverse types of decaying organic matter. Hallucinogenic mushrooms typically have blue-colored reactions when the flesh of the fruit is bruised. These fruits usually experience blood blisters when the skin on their flesh is scratched. The spores are smooth and are in elliptoide to rhomboide to subhexagonal shape. There is an apical germpore.

The name for Psilocybe comes from the Greek words “psilos” (bald) and “cybe” (head), which together means “bald head.” This name was given because psilocybes resemble the coloration and shape of a human skull. Commonly referred to as shrooms or mushies by those who use these mushrooms, psilocybe mushrooms are usually small enough to pick up with your hands.

Psilocybe has long been used by indigenous peoples for spiritual reasons. Shamans of these cultures would use psilocybe mushrooms to induce visions or altered states of mind. In modern times psilocybe mushrooms have been linked to the psilocybin found within. Psilocybin is a psychedelic compound known for its hallucinogenic properties. Not many psilocybe mushrooms contain psilocybin, which is why psilocybe users seek out other types of mushrooms in order to get high.

Psilocybe mushrooms

Origins, 1950s studies, and more about Psilocybin mushrooms

The psilocybe mushrooms were discovered and studied by two guys and assisted by the father of LSD, Albert Hofmann. One of them, R. Gordon Wasson, was a mycologist who thought psilocybin might be the missing link in his theory about how psilocin is metabolized to psilocin. The other guy was a psychologist who wanted to see if they could induce mystical experiences in people, which he believed would help cure mental illness (Roger Heim and Albert Hofmann). They couldn’t get any volunteers for their experiment so they had to settle on themselves as test subjects.

Their first experiments were conducted at home with each one taking psilocybe mushroom tea while the other monitored their reactions from outside the house where it’s safe from an accidental overdose. But when they found out that there are no effects from ingesting psilocybe mushrooms, they decided to go outside and eat psilocybe mushrooms. After that, they really had no idea what psilocybin is or does at all, so psilocybin was just another chemical that seemed to have no effects on human physiology whatsoever.

A year later, the brother of the pyschologist had psilocybe mushrooms mailed to him from the southern hemisphere, where psilocybin containing mushrooms are extremely common. The pyschologist then conducted experiments of psilocybin on prisoners, which was funded by the CIA for some reason. About a decade later pyschoactive drugs gained popularity thanks to hippies and became known for its supposed mystical effects. Eventually psilocybin was known as the ‘magic’ ingredient in pyschoactive drugs and psilocybe mushrooms became famous due to hippies picking them up for fun or tripping with them.

The pyschologist later decided that psilocybe mushrooms seemed like a serious drug that has no effects on pyschoactive therapy and psilocybin was dropped as a therapy drug.

Read more about Albert Hofmann and LSD on our blog about Understanding the LSD trip and accompanying psychedelic effects.

Albert Hofmann

Psilocybin in the United States

Psilocybin and Psilocin are listed as Schedule I drug classes through the International Convention on Substance Use. The most widely used mushroom contains 10–12 mg of psilocybe cubensis, which is 10-12 mg per gram of dried mushrooms. The effects of these psilocybe cubensis mushrooms vary greatly depending on the species / preparation. Moderate oral dosed (12–30 mg) alter consciousness increase introspection and induce derealization, dreamlike states, illusions hallucinations complex hallucinations, Synaesthesia. Adverse reactions include hypertension and exacerbation of prior psychosis. More on the common side effects of the magic mushroom below.

Common side effects of the Hallucinogenic mushroom

It is not known how much psilocybin and psilocin are found in a given magic mushroom. Dosing is finally starting to get better as magic mushroom use becomes more common, but it is still difficult to know how long, how intense and what “trip” (good or bad) a person could take when taking the magic mushroom. Pro Tip: try sourcing your mushrooms from the same person. At least initially as you get a better sense as to your proper dose and get used to hallucinogenic effects.

Hallucinogens include auras surrounding light breathing surfaces and afterimages. Higher doses can cause synesthesia and disrupt cognizance over space and time. More complicated open or opened-eyes visual hallucinations are also possible but are usually confused with reality. Using mushrooms also has subjective psychological effects which range from hilarities to elevated anxiety states. Magic mushrooms also dilate pupils. These can dilate vision sight and alter perception of vision and eye perception and can cause hallucinations in open or closed oculars but seldom confuse it. The mushrooms can also be a source of nausea.

As always, we recommend you take proper dosing when starting your journey with hallucinogenic mushrooms. When properly administered and in a controlled environment, it is truly an amazing experience.

Magic mushrooms benefits

Psychedelic uses such as psilocybin produce similar spiritual benefits as meditation or other mystical experiences. A 2006 study published in Psychopharmacology found that users reported happiness and extreme happiness. 67 percent of those who were included in the study identified mushrooms as being the sole most meaningful experience of their life for the participants. Other studies show magic mushrooms decrease depression in cancer patients and treat cigarette addiction better than pharmaceutical products like Chantix. Shrooms have also shown the potential to work as an alternative for psychotherapy. Magic mushrooms’ benefits have been proven to have both physical and mental effects, such as physical effects and longer-term changing personalities from poisoning to the take-away of the mushrooms. Human studies continue to accelerate in this field and it will be exciting to see what the rest of the 20s holds for medicinal and recreational use of magic mushrooms. 

Psilocybe cubensis (p. cubensis) and other variations of Psilocybe Mushrooms

Psilocybe cubensis (p. cubensis), also known as psilocybin mushroom or golden top mushrooms, are a type of psilocybin mushroom that contains the psychoactive compounds psilocybin and psilocin. Psilocybin is classified as a hallucinogen which can produce altered states of consciousness including changes in perception, thought patterns and emotions.

Psilocybe semilianceata commonly known as the liberty cap, is a psilocybic fungus considered by some to be one of the most easily recognised psilocybes due to its classic shape and bright orange color. This fungus is widespread throughout the temperate areas of Europe and North America as well as parts of Asia and Australia. Its occurrence in the Pacific Northwest region of North America has been attributed to human dissemination from European sources.

Psilocybe quebecensis: Also known as psilocybin pisceans, they’re native to temperate regions of North America and Europe.


There is always education and practice needed when starting your journey taking magic mushrooms. We hope this article proved to be another tool in your education for what magic mushrooms are and how to properly start enjoying your psychedelic trips in the future. We encourage you to read more on our blog and be sure to check back frequently as we continue to add more content, features, and products to the site.

Additional Statistics

Factual sentences referenced across top search results:

  • In a Swedish study looking at intoxications by analysis of urine content over a 4-year period covering 103 cases, psilocin was found to be the most frequently observed psychoactive and was found in 54% of cases [23]. (
  • Finally, the ratio of lethal dose to psychoactive dose for psilocybin was estimated to be 1000:1 (Gable, 2006). (

References and Sources:

Fact Checked and Editorial Process

The Magical Mushroom is devoted to producing expert and accurate articles and information for our readers by tapping into psychedelic users, experts, journalists, and growing community. We encourage you to read more about our content, editing, and fact checking methods here. This was fact checked by Corey Riley.

Published by Chris Riley

Entrepreneur building media, tech, and health properties. Join the journey. Twitter Business: @marketplaceRx, @breatheallergy, @SimplyPitch Digital Health:

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