Smoking Magic Mushrooms: Good or Bad Idea?

The fictional shaman, Don Juan, prefers to smoke his magic mushrooms — but this method simply doesn’t work. Smoking is probably the least effective and most uncomfortable means of using magic mushrooms — here’s why. 

By Connor McElroy Last Updated: October 18, 2023
Last Updated: October 18, 2023

In short — no, you cannot smoke magic mushrooms for the simple reason that the heat generated by combustion will kill virtually all of the active ingredients before they reach your lungs.

The other reason is that the byproducts of smoking mushrooms are notoriously irritating to the lungs and throat. It’s uncomfortable and ineffective.

In this article, we’ll explore the following questions in more detail:

What Happens When One Smokes Shrooms?

When smoked, the shrooms will not produce any psychoactive effects. It’s possible that very high doses of smoked mushrooms could offer some psychoactivity, but you would need to smoke a LOT for even a mild effect.

The active compounds in magic mushrooms (psilocybin and psilocin) are not heat-stable. High temperatures destroy virtually all of these compounds long before it enters your lungs where they can be absorbed.

There’s a myth going around that magic mushroom smoke will make you blind, but is this true? The answer is no, magic mushroom smoke has never made anybody go blind — this is simply a myth.

Side Effects of Smoking Magic Mushrooms:

  • Ineffectiveness (no noticeable psychoactive effects)
  • Short-term respiratory issues (coughing, throat irritation, and shortness of breath)
  • Long-term respiratory problems (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, bronchitis, lung disease, lung cancer)
  • Heart disease (long-term smoking)
  • Dental issues (long-term smoking)
  • Increased risk of infection

Is Smoking Magic Mushrooms Dangerous?

Yes. Smoking magic mushrooms is not only pointless it’s also hazardous to your health.

Smoking, in general, is harmful to your health. Whether you inhale smoke from burning tobacco, cannabis, herbal blends, or magic mushrooms, you run the risk of developing respiratory diseases. 

Mushrooms don’t tend to burn well, so you’d need to add tobacco to smoke them efficiently. Tobacco smoke contains over 9,500 different chemicals — over 250 are harmful, and at least 79 are recognized carcinogens (substances that cause cancer). 

Additionally, certain microscopic spores produced by molds and bacteria that often live on the surface of magic mushrooms can cause irritation, inflammation, and can even trigger autoimmune responses in susceptible individuals.

How to Properly Consume Magic Mushrooms

So, if smoking shrooms doesn’t work, how should you take them? 

It’s not difficult to consume mushrooms safely, provided you know how to prepare them and understand the principles of set and setting

Some methods are as easy as eating raw shrooms, while other methods involve a bit more preparation but boast better flavors, faster onset times, and a more intense experience. 

Magic mushrooms — especially Psilocybe cubensis — are pretty unpleasant-tasting. Fortunately, several preparation methods can help mask the flavor and get the consumption part of the experience over and done with as quickly as possible. 

If you can handle magic mushrooms’ unique taste and texture, consuming them is as easy as eating them whole — no need to roll them up into a joint, make tea, or cook them into a gourmet dish.

Here are the three most popular consumption methods for shrooms: 

1. Eating Mushrooms Whole

The easiest way to consume magic mushrooms is to eat them whole, either fresh or dried. 

To do this, eyeball or weigh the dose before chewing and swallowing the shrooms with a glass of water. This isn’t a particularly pleasant or efficient way to take magic mushrooms, but it’s effective enough to induce a strong psychedelic experience. 

Improve the shroom’s bioavailability by soaking them in lemon juice for 20-30 minutes before taking them. The citric acid in the lemon juice helps break down the mushroom’s cell walls and starts to convert the psilocybin to psilocin. Mushroom enthusiasts know this preparation technique as “lemon tek.”

Doing this takes less of a toll on your stomach, decreases nausea, and speeds up the onset of psychedelic effects. This simple technique can reduce the onset time from 45–60 minutes down to 20–30 minutes.

Learn how to boost your magic mushrooms with Lemon Tek.

2. Making Mushroom Tea 

Tea is a great way to consume magic mushrooms. By brewing ground mushrooms in hot water for 20-30 minutes and straining, you’re left with a psilocybin-infused liquid that’s fast-acting and kind to the stomach. 

Making magic mushroom tea is easy, but if you don’t know about a few key elements, you could ruin the potency of your precious shrooms. The shrooms mustn’t be left at too high a temperature for too long — this can destroy the psilocybin and psilocin, reducing the potency of the resulting brew. 

When shroom tea is made correctly, the brew is easy on the stomach and extremely fast-acting — kicking in around 20 minutes after consumption. It can also be flavored with herbal teas, lemon, and other aromatics to help mask the earthy tones of the psychedelic fungi. 

If you want to learn exactly how to make magic mushroom tea, check out this article: How to Make Shrom Tea: Step-By-Step Guide

3. Eating Psilocybin Edibles

Psilocybin edibles are becoming more and more common. Products such as the Hero Mushroom Chocolate Bar and Shroomburst Magic Gummies are available to buy online in Canada and some parts of the US. Edibles come in a variety of forms and a range of potencies and provide a hassle-free, enjoyable way to consume psychedelic mushrooms.

You can also make edibles at home. Add magic mushrooms to pretty much any dish, provided you don’t cook them at too high a temperature or for too long — this destroys some of the psilocybin and psilocin. 

Popular shroom dishes include pizza, milkshakes, pasta, and chocolate. 

Remember that the larger the meal, the longer the psilocybin takes to kick in and the less intense the trip will be. If you take magic mushrooms with food, it’s best to fast before eating to experience the strongest possible effects.

To learn more about cooking with shrooms, check out this article: Trippy Cuisine: Learn How to Cook With Magic Mushrooms.