Nearly every drug loses potency over time in storage, and magic mushrooms are no exception. Unfortunately, while other compounds might simply become less powerful, shrooms can potentially become dangerous to consume if they go bad.
In this article, you’ll learn how to tell if your shrooms have gone bad, what you may be able to do to save them, and how to store them properly to avoid this issue, to begin with.
Why Do Shrooms Go Bad?
Magic mushrooms, like all other plant matter, are prone to mold growth and rot. If bacteria or mold begins to grow on shrooms, they can become dangerous to consume. This is the term used to describe shrooms that have gone bad. They’re no longer safe to consume when this happens.
Even if the mushrooms don’t grow mold or bacteria, the psilocybin — the psychedelic compound in shrooms — will degrade over time. Degraded mushrooms may still be safe to consume, but they’ll be less potent than freshly dried mushrooms.
Generally speaking, mold and bacteria can be issues if your shrooms are exposed to moisture during storage or if they’re stored fresh. Degradation of the active compounds in the shrooms is more often caused by exposure to heat, UV light, or oxygen.
How Long Do Mushrooms Last?
The safe lifespan of shrooms depends primarily on the storage method and the type of shrooms you have:
- Fresh mushrooms — shortest shelf-life (3–5 days)
- Dried mushrooms — moderate shelf-life (6–12 months)
- Microdose capsules — moderate shelf-life (12–18 months)
- Mushroom chocolates — moderate shelf-life (12–18 months)
- Mushroom honey — long shelf-life (2–3 years)
Fresh mushrooms are far more prone to rot and mold growth, so they typically keep for just a few days before they become potentially dangerous to ingest. Storing fresh mushrooms in the fridge in a paper bag is your best option and will give you up to about ten days before they should be tossed. Keeping fresh shrooms in a plastic bag or airtight container will promote moisture accumulation, making mold and rot more likely.
Dried mushrooms almost always keep for longer in storage both in terms of potency and safety. If you keep your dried shrooms away from sunlight and minimize their exposure to heat and oxygen, they’ll retain potency for up to about two years in most cases. Minimizing the moisture in the storage container will help keep mold and bacteria at bay for about as long.
How Do You Store Magic Mushrooms Properly?
The best way to store magic mushrooms is to keep them in a container that minimizes their exposure to oxygen, heat, UV light, and bacterial or fungal spores.
For dried shrooms, an airtight container like a mason jar or ziplock bags with a food-safe desiccant packet can be sufficient for years if it’s kept in a cool, dark place. Some shroom users grind their mushrooms and mix with chocolate to preserve the psilocybin, while others submerge the dried mushrooms in honey for long-term storage.
How to Tell If Magic Mushrooms Have Gone Bad?
Regardless of the storage method and timeframe, understanding what to look for to identify shrooms that have gone bad or are dangerous to consume is essential.
There are four things you should look out for before consuming shrooms that have been stored: visible mold growth, a sweet or unusual odor, spots on the surface, and any signs of discoloration.
If your mushrooms are rotten, throw them out — magic mushrooms aren’t that expensive, so it isn’t worth the risk to consume potentially toxic bacteria or mold.
1. Visible Signs of Mold
Visible mold should be a clear indication that your shrooms are no longer fit for consumption. You might notice fuzzy growth on the shrooms that is white, black, gray, or colored.
Any shrooms that have evidence of mold growth should be discarded immediately, as should any that were stored with the affected shrooms. Mold can be dangerous to ingest depending on the strain, and it isn’t worth the risk.
2. An “Off” Odor
Mushrooms already have a bit of a smell to them. They’re earthy and a little bit musky.
If your stored shrooms develop a pungent, sweet, or funky odor — chances are they’ve been infected by bacteria or yeast. Any off-odors should trigger you to ditch your entire stash, as bacterial infections can be life-threatening in some cases.
3. Soft Spots
Soft spots developing on your shrooms are another sign that they have gone bad. The spots are likely developing bacterial colonies or mold spores. Unfortunately, this means you should discard them.
You can’t save dried mushrooms that have gone mushy due to bacteria or mold. Throw them out.
4. White, Brown, or Black Discolorations
Finally, if your shrooms change color or have areas on the surface that are discolored, you should get rid of your stash immediately. Discoloration could result from bacteria, mold, or yeast, all of which could be dangerous if ingested.
The exception here is a blue discoloration, which is perfectly normal. In fact, the blueing reaction is one of the key methods used to determine that a sample of mushrooms contains psilocybin.
Is It Safe to Use Old Shrooms?
If you inspect your shrooms carefully for the above signs of infection and don’t notice anything suggesting they are potentially dangerous to consume, old shrooms are probably safe. This is especially true if you have stored your shrooms properly and have kept them away from moisture.
Unfortunately, psilocybin mushrooms will degrade over time, leaving you with reduced potency. While eating old shrooms can be safe, they may not deliver the same effects that fresh ones would.
However, it’s crucial that you don’t assume your old shrooms have lost potency. If they’re stored correctly, it’s possible that they will retain nearly all of their active psilocybin. Many users have incorrectly assumed that their old stock has lost potency and increased their normal dose as a result. This is a recipe for a bad trip or an overwhelming experience, so it’s always safest to assume that your old shrooms haven’t lost any potency when you’re dosing.
Wrapping Up: Do Shrooms Go Bad?
In at least one sense of the term, magic mushrooms will go bad over time. They can be subject to mold growth, bacteria growth, and yeast infection, especially if they aren’t stored properly.
If you notice that your mushrooms have a sweet or unusual odor, spots, discoloration, or visible mold growth, you should discard them immediately. Shrooms with these symptoms can potentially be dangerous to consume.
If your shrooms are correctly stored and don’t have any unusual odor or appearance, they may have lost potency during storage. Never assume that they are less potent and increase your dose, but be aware that heat, UV light, and oxygen can all deteriorate psilocybin over time.