Magic mushrooms, also known as shrooms or psilocybin mushrooms, are psychedelic drugs known for their hallucinogenic effects. They grow naturally in the wild, but what do magic mushrooms look like? What do they taste like? What are the effects of magic mushrooms on your brain and what kind of long-term effects can they have? Read through this article to find out if you would like help in identifying the most common magic mushrooms and their effects on you.
What are magic mushrooms?
Magic mushrooms are also called psychedelic or hallucinogenic mushrooms and were first used for religious ceremonies in North America, primarily Mexico, and Central America, and had a resurgence during the 60s hippie counterculture movement. Today they are mostly used recreationally by people who enjoy the trip. Psilocybe cubensis, or P. cubensis, is the most common species of magic mushrooms although psilocybin is found in others. Some of the other mushrooms containing psilocybin are Psilocybe azurescens, Psilocybe bohemica, and Psilocybe semilanceata.
The main ingredient in them is psilocybin, which can affect what you see, hear, touch and smell. They are usually dried out to make what people call shrooms or mushrooms. Psilocybin affects the brain by latching on to serotonin receptors and tricking your body to produce more serotonin.
What do magic mushrooms look like?
Magic mushrooms come in many different shapes and sizes depending on what part of the world they are growing in. Some have caps that are rounded while others have flat tops. The color of the mushroom can range from a bright yellow to brownish orange. They often can look like other poisonous mushrooms so be very careful when collecting from the wild. Let’s break down the features of some of the most common magic mushrooms.
P. cubensis are what people call “gold caps” or “gold tops.” They are tan-brown in color, with a convex cap and lighter-colored, fibrous stems. There is a variety called alba, which has white spores and lighter gills. The caps of the Psilocybe cubensis can be about three inches in diameter, and the stems are typically six to nine centimeters long. They grow on the dung of certain animals, like cows.
When they grow, the caps appear to be covered with what looks like a white dusting of what people call “magic fairy dust.” There are also what is called bearded P. cubensis, which have what looks like short fibers or what people call “beards” on the bottom of their stems. The color ranges from light to dark brown, and they usually grow in what people call clusters.
Panaeolus cyanescens, also called blue meanie mushrooms, look “bluish-black.” They have a dark brown or black cap that is conical to bell-shaped. The caps are described as looking tarnished in appearance, and the stems are robust and thick. They have a cup at the base of their stems that is rusty brown and looks like a scab. The color of the Panaeolus cyanescens can vary from grayish-blue to a dull bluish, gray.
Psilocybe semilanceata, also called liberty caps, are another popular shroom. They have a typical mushroom shape with a bell-shaped cap that is brownish-olive in color. The caps can be described as deceiving because they look greenish-yellow when young and the margin of the cap looks serrated. The gills on Psilocybe semilanceata are grayish-brown, while the stems have a corky texture.
Psilocybe azurescens, commonly referred to as fuzzy blue agave, is blue and they have what looks like a cone-shaped cap that is blue-gray. The margin of the cap looks fuzzy, and the stems are flexuous or wavy.
P. bohemica is bluish-gray and the caps are conical to bell-shaped. The stems appear robust. There can be what looks like an upturned collar at the base of a cup that is rusty-brown.
There are many other psilocybe species and mushroom varieties that we could describe but we wanted to cover the bases of the most common ones and their descriptions.
What do magic mushrooms taste like?
The taste of magic mushrooms is commonly described as musty cardboard, metallic or earthy. When eaten raw, they will have a rubbery texture, whereas, when you eat them dried they will be brittle and can even be ground up into a powder. Most people do not like the taste of mushrooms by themself so they will often take them with food or even make them into tea.
What do magic mushrooms do to your brain?
Magic mushrooms affect the brain by producing hallucinogenic effects. The way this happens is the psilocybin breaks down in your body to psilocin. This ingredient then latches to your serotonin receptors, serotonin being a neurotransmitter that tells your body to react a certain way, and tricks your body into producing large amounts of serotonin which is what produces the psychedelic effects in hallucinogenic drugs.
What are the effects of magic mushrooms?
The effects of what people call magic mushrooms depend on the type of mushroom and dosage. It is important to note that there are what some refer to as magic mushrooms that are not what others consider magic, the magic is in the psilocybin which is what creates the psychedelic effects. In most cases, people who ingest magic mushrooms experience a distorted sensory perception. Auditory and visual hallucinations are common, along with a distorted sense of time. Other effects from ingesting magic mushrooms include ego death, increased feelings of connection and love towards others and nature.
There are some physical effects or physiological effects, that happen to your body when taking magic mushrooms. The most common are pupil dilation, increased heart rate, increased body temperature, nausea, vomiting, and sweating.
Many people experience what is commonly referred to as a bad trip, which can be very intense and even scary. This is often from the psychological side effects. The common psychological side effects include fear, paranoia, delusion, and a fear of death.
To help ensure a positive psychedelic experience, always make sure to check your “set and setting” before tripping. This means making sure you are of the right mindset and in a comfortable setting before you trip. People with mental illness or psychological problems should not trip as mushrooms have been known to worsen them.
Long-term effects for magic mushrooms can include hallucinogen persisting perception disorder or HPPD, and flashbacks. These occur weeks, months, and sometimes years after magic mushrooms are ingested. Flashbacks occur when the person experiences a reoccurrence of some part of what happened while tripping. HPPD usually manifests as visual snow, which is distortions in your vision that are usually clear, black, or grey, and as palinopsia. This means that objects appear in your vision after they have left it.
Magic mushrooms are any mushrooms that contain psilocybin. There are a variety of different species of mushrooms that all produce similar effects by utilizing the chemical compound psilocybin. Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms are the most popular; however, other mushrooms of the genus psilocybe and other types of mushrooms also contain psilocybin. It is best to read up about what each individual species of psilocybin-containing mushrooms looks like so as not to confuse them with other more poisonous mushrooms. When you eat a mushroom raw, it will have a rubbery texture. When mushrooms are dried, they are more brittle and can even be ground up. The taste is often described as very earthy, metallic, or even like cardboard and is not liked by most people. Due to this, many people will put them in or on foods and will even make them into a tea. The effects of magic mushrooms vary from person to person and dosage. Typically there are psychedelic effects, physiological or physical effects, and psychological effects. The common psychedelic effects include visual and auditory hallucinations, an altered sense of time, and a closeness with others and nature. Some of the physical effects include increased temperature, sweating, and pupil dilation. When people experience a bad trip, this is usually due to psychological effects which include, paranoia, delusions, and a fear of death. To combat having a bad trip, we recommend that you are aware of your set and setting before you leave on this mystical experience. We hope you enjoyed our article about identifying magic mushrooms, please use our search bar for any other articles should you have more questions.
References, Research and Sources:
- Why magic mushrooms turn dark blue when picked
- Psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression: fMRI-measured brain mechanisms – Scientific Reports
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 Chris Riley.
Owner, entrepreneur, enthusiast of natural medicine