Psilocybe cubensis: The Most Prevalent Species of Magic Mushroom in the World

Psilocybe cubensis is the most commonly known psilocybin mushroom species in the world. Learn about this famous shroom’s history, potency, effects, and more in this comprehensive guide.

By Connor McElroy Last Updated: January 12, 2024
Last Updated: January 12, 2024
Artwork by: Nguyen Thuy Thuy Ai

Psilocybin mushrooms, also known as “magic mushrooms,” have been used for centuries for their medicinal and spiritual properties. Among the many species of psilocybin mushrooms, Psilocybe cubensis stands out as the most prevalent and widely distributed.

This relatively common mushroom comes in a range of shapes, sizes, and potencies, and it grows on all four corners of the globe (the only exception is Antarctica). It can be found almost everywhere but definitely prefers more tropical regions.

This species is a favorite among cultivators because it’s extremely resilient and can cope with an unoptimized growing environment. Its compliance in artificial growing environments and ease of cultivation has led to the development of several genetic variants (strains) — all with differences in growth characteristics and psychedelic tryptamine levels.

In this article, we’ll be looking at the Psilocybe cubensis species in-depth by looking at the following:

I’ll also be answering five frequently asked questions about Psilocybe cubensis, from what the most potent strain is to whether there are any medical benefits associated with magic mushroom consumption.

What Is Psilocybe cubensis?

Psilocybe cubensis is a species of fungi that produces the psychedelic compounds psilocybin and psilocin. The species contains hundreds of genetic variants (strains) that have been discovered and isolated or created through cross-cultivation in an artificial growing environment.

When ingested, this species is capable of producing profound changes in consciousness, including altered perception, euphoria, and mystical or spiritual experiences that allow users to “look inside themselves.” These qualities are being studied for their effectiveness in therapy for a variety of mental illnesses, addictions, and traumas.  

Psilocybe cubensis Mushrooms

Psilocybe cubensis has been found growing in a variety of different climates and environments in over 30 different countries. It can be found growing in the depths of the Amazon Rainforest, the Gulf Coast of the United States, Mexico, Asia, and even Australia and New Zealand.

This is a pan-tropical fungi species that prefers warm, humid environments. However, it’s extremely tolerant in terms of environmental conditions — growing at both low and high altitudes, in wet and dry climates, and on a variety of different substrates.

The use of Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms for spiritual, cultural, and medicinal use has been documented for thousands of years. The use of this mushroom continues today for its psychoactive effects as well as its potential therapeutic benefits.

Research into Psilocybe cubensis and other psilocybin-containing mushrooms is growing. However, it’s important to note that psilocybin — and thus Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms — are still illegal in many countries.

However, the spores of this species aren’t banned (in most places), and several different genetic samples are widely available for purchase online.

The History of Psilocybe cubensis

Psilocybe cubensis was first discovered in Cuba in 1906. Its psychedelic properties were later identified by Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann and American mycologist Robert Gordan Wasson in the 1950s.

The popularity of magic mushrooms grew rapidly in the 1960s, but a change in drug policy in 1971 halted research into their medical benefits.

In recent years, the potential benefits of psychedelics have been rediscovered, leading to a renewed interest in their therapeutic use.

Let’s get a bit more into the weeds here.

1. The First Written Accounts of Psilocybe cubensis

Psilocybe cubensis was first described by an American mycologist by the name of Franklin Sumner Earle in 1906 [1]. Earle discovered the species in Cuba and listed it as “Stropharia cubensis” — a name that the species would (more or less) hold onto until 1949.

In 1907, Psilocybe cubensis was identified as “Naematoloma caerulescens” in Tonkin (now northern Vietnam) by the French pharmacist and mycologist Narcisse Théophile Patouillard [2]. This caused more confusion with the taxonomic classification of the species. However, in most other accounts, it was labeled as Stropharia cubensis.

The species was first discovered growing in the United States by William Alphonso Murril, who discovered the sample close to Gainesville, Florida, in 1941 [3]. Once again, the species was mislabeled — in this account, it was named “Stopharia cyanescens.

It wasn’t until 1949, when the German mycologist Rolf Singer officially moved the species into the Psilocybe genus, that it adopted its “true” binomial name, Psilocybe cubensis [4].

2. The West is Introduced to Psilocybe cubensis

Although Psilocybe cubensis was found growing in Florida back in 1941, its psychedelic properties weren’t discovered or explored until much later, during the 1950s.

The psychoactive properties of Psilocybe cubensis were discovered when the Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann and American mycologist Robert Gordan Wasson identified the species as a source of psilocybin.

In 1955 Robert Gordan Wasson and his wife Valentina Pavlovna Wasson traveled to Oaxaca, Mexico, to visit Maria Sabina to partake in one of her “magic mushroom ceremonies.” They would later publish an article in LIFE Magazine detailing their experience — this inspired many to seek out psychedelic mushrooms.

During the Wasson’s expedition, they collected samples of the magic mushrooms Maria Sabina used in her ceremonies. In 1956, Roger Heim identified these psychedelic mushrooms as species of the genus Psilocybe — among the samples was P.cubensis [5].

In 1958, Albert Hofmann was the first person to isolate and synthesize psilocybin — the primary psychoactive compound found in Psilocybe mushrooms [6]. He did this using the mushrooms that Wasson had collected from Mexico. He then tested the substance on himself to confirm that it was indeed psychedelic.

3. The Rise in Popularity of Psilocybe cubensis

With Robert Gordan Wasson’s “Seeking the Magic Mushroom” article in LIFE Magazine and Albert Hofmann’s research on psilocybin released, Psilocybe mushrooms quickly gained popularity.

American psychologist Timothy Leary was inspired by the work of Wasson and Hofmann and decided to travel to Mexico to experience the psilocybin mushrooms himself. Upon return to Harvard University in 1960, Leary and colleague Richard Alpert started the Harvard Psilocybin Project.

The two conducted research looking at the effects of psilocybin on recidivism (the tendency for criminals to re-offend) in prisoners [7]. After reviewing the test subjects 6 months later, they found that the rate of recidivism decreased below 40% — this caused controversy, and Leary and Alpert were subsequently dismissed from their roles at Harvard in 1963.

After being dismissed, Timothy Leary and Richard Alpart (Ram Dass) focussed their attention on “the psychedelic experience” produced by both psilocybin and LSD.

The discoveries and research performed by Wasson, Hoffman, Leary, and Alpert caused an explosion in the use of psilocybin mushrooms (Psilocybe mexicana, Psilocybe cubensis, and Psilocybe semilanceata).

By the end of the 1960s, the popularity of “magic mushrooms” grew so much that several samples of P.cubensis and other Psilocybe species were being discovered across the globe. Research into psilocybin and its potential medical uses grew dramatically until a sudden change put a halt on the substance.

Sadly, on June 18, 1971, Richard Nixon’s “War on Drugs” came into effect. This deemed psilocybin and other psychedelics illegal, and all scientific research into their potential medical benefits came to a halt. Many research papers went missing, and the use of psychedelics became “taboo.”

Fortunately, in recent years the potential benefits of psilocybin, LSD, and other psychedelic substances have been rediscovered. We’re now entering a new age in psychedelics that some call the “Psychedelic Renaissance.”

The Potency & Effects of Psilocybe cubensis

According to Jeffrey K. Aronson’s chapter on “Plant Poisons and Traditional Medicines” in the book titled Manson’s Tropical Infectious Diseases, the average Psilocybe cubensis mushroom contains 10 to 12 milligrams of psilocybin per gram of dried mushrooms [8]. However, the potency of Psilocybe cubensis is variable.

There are hundreds of different strains of P. cubensis, all with different appearance and tryptamine levels.

The psilocybin and psilocin levels in P. cubensis can vary from strain to strain, but the average psilocybin level is around 0.50–0.90%. Some strains, such as Golden Teacher, can produce anywhere from 0.4% to 0.8% psilocybin, whereas other highly-potent strains, such as Penis Envy, can produce upwards of 1.7%.

With this in mind, to determine the potency of a P. cubensis sample, you must know about its genetics.

The Oakland Hyphae Psilocybin Cup is a good resource for checking the potency of a selected P.cubensis strain. However, you should note that the potency of these mushrooms can also be affected by environmental factors.

How a mushroom has been cultivated, or the environmental conditions in the area it was collected from, seem to affect the total psilocybin and psilocin levels in the mushroom. Without laboratory equipment, it’s difficult to know exactly how potent a P.cubensis shroom is.

The effects of Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms come from the active psychedelic compound psilocybin. This compound is responsible for the visual hallucinations associated with magic mushroom consumption. However, there’s more to psilocybin than its hallucinatory effects.

The effects of psilocybin include:

  • Altered perception of time
  • Euphoria
  • Visual & auditory hallucinations
  • Intense emotions
  • Increased introspection
  • Spiritual (mystical) experiences
  • Changes in perception of self
  • Enhanced creativity
  • Increased empathy
  • Increased sociability
  • Improved mood

What’s the Dose of Psilocybe cubensis Mushrooms?

Putting an exact weight on a particular dose of Psilocybe cubensis can be difficult. Due to the varying levels of psilocybin from strain to strain and even between single samples from the same genetics, it can be difficult to know exactly how much of the active compounds you’re consuming.

To work out a rough dose of the species, we must consider both psilocybin and psilocin. According to a research paper on psilocybin-containing mushrooms, the reported average of combined psilocin and psilocybin within Psilocybe species is somewhere between 0.5 to 2.0% — with a median of 1.25% [9]. This is slightly higher than our data suggest, which places the average somewhere between 0.5 and 0.9%. Fresh mushrooms will be the most potent because the psilocin hasn’t had a chance to break down yet.

Psilocin is readily available when ingested, whereas psilocybin isn’t — psilocybin must be converted to psilocin in the body before the effects take place.

A safe assumption is that fresh Psilocybe cubensis shrooms contain around 1% combined psilocin and psilocybin. This is the average potency of most strains if they’re grown in a well-regulated artificial environment. Of course, the potency of a P. cubensis mushroom can be far greater or lower depending on the strain and how it has been grown.

Here are the rough doses in dry weight and milligrams of combined psilocybin/psilocin for Psilocybe cubensis:

  1. Low Dose: 1 gram (10 mg psilocybin/psilocin)
  2. Medium Dose: 1.75 grams (17.5 mg psilocybin/psilocin)
  3. High Dose: 3.5 grams (35 mg psilocybin/psilocin)
  4. Heroic Dose: 5 grams or more (50 mg psilocybin/psilocin)

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Microdosing Psilocybe cubensis

Psilocybe cubensis is a popular choice among those looking to microdose psilocybin. The fact that this species can be easily grown in an artificial environment and the abundance of information on potency make them great mushrooms to use for microdosing.

Unlike foraging for wild mushrooms, those that are cultivated tend to produce more stable levels of psilocybin and psilocin — this makes them easier to work with when dividing them up into microdoses. Of course, there’s still a bit of guesswork involved, but creating microdoses with cultivated P. cubensis is far more accurate than using wild shrooms.

So, what defines a microdose?

A microdose is essentially a sub-perceptual dose of a psychoactive substance — a dose low enough that it doesn’t induce any psychedelic effects. After consuming a psilocybin microdose, you may feel slight euphoria and stimulation but no hallucinatory effects.

Most people consume around 50 to 100 milligrams worth of dried Psilocybe cubensis (roughly equivalent to 5–10 mg psilocin/psilocybin) — this is roughly one-tenth of a psychedelic dose. Rather than ingesting this amount daily, most microdosers consume the mushrooms every three to four days.

Many people believe that microdosing with psilocybin-containing mushrooms can enhance well-being and improve mood, creativity, and cognitive function [10]. Some people with ADHD, anxiety, and depression report positive effects from microdosing psilocybin. However, the effectiveness of the practice is variable.

It’s important to note that if you do choose to microdose P. cubensis or any other psilocybin-containing mushroom, you should do so in a controlled environment until you know exactly how the substance is going to affect you.

Where Can You Find Psilocybe cubensis Mushrooms?

Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms grow in several different environments across the globe. They can be found growing in numbers on and around manure patches from livestock in grazed pastures.

Like many mushroom species, Psilocybe cubensis fruits during the autumn months. In most countries, this species will produce mushrooms between August and November. However, in more tropical climates, fruiting may occur as late as January and February. 

The best time to look for these mushrooms is after periods of rainfall. Sunshine after heavy rainfall is often “the sweet spot” for P.cubensis. Checking in and around piles of livestock manure in grazed pastures during these conditions during autumn should prove fruitful.

Farmers will often graze their fields with livestock in rotation. Checking previously grazed pastures that have had the livestock recently removed is good practice. You can find Psilocybe cubensis in pastures that are being actively grazed, but the livestock (cattle especially) can have a taste for the psychedelic shrooms — meaning less for you to find.

Psilocybe cubensis tends to grow in dense clusters. If you find one mushroom, you’ll likely find others close by. If you find a good single sample or cluster, be sure to kneel and scan the area around you — more single shrooms or clusters are likely to be in the vicinity.

When collecting Psilocybe cubensis and other wild mushrooms, be sure to give the caps a good solid tap or two before harvesting. This will encourage the gills to drop some of their spores — securing the patch for the future.

It’s also good practice for your and the species’ benefit to only harvest mature mushrooms. If you see younger shrooms growing, leave them to mature and come back in a few days when they’re ready.

Related Article: Where Do Shrooms Grow? How to Find Magic Mushrooms In the Wild

What Countries Do Psilocybe cubensis Mushrooms Grow In?

Psilocybe cubensis is a pan-tropical mushroom species that grows in several different countries around the world.

It’s unknown where the species originated from, but now it grows in four — possibly five — of the seven continents (excluding Antarctica, North America, and possibly Europe). It’s the most widespread species of psilocybin-containing fungi in the world.

Psilocybe cubensis grows wild in these countries:

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Cambodia
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Cuba
  • Dominican Republic
  • Fiji
  • French Guiana
  • Guadalupe
  • Guatemala
  • Hawaii
  • India
  • Jamaica
  • Malaysia
  • Martinique
  • Mexico
  • Nepal
  • New Zealand
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Southeastern United States Gulf Coast states
  • Tasmania
  • Thailand
  • Trinidad
  • Uruguay
  • Vietnam

Psilocybe cubensis likely grows in countries that aren’t on the list above — these are just the places where samples have been discovered, collected, and documented. There have been reports of Psilocybe cubensis growing in some southern European countries, but these accounts are yet to be confirmed scientifically.

How To Identify Psilocybe cubensis

Identifying Psilocybe cubensis can be difficult for the amateur forager due to the many genetic variations of the species. Several different wild mushroom species also share similarities with P. cubensis. However, there are a few characteristics that can be used to determine the identity of the species in the wild.

It’s important to note that you should never go in search of Psilocybe cubensis —or any other wild mushroom species, for that matter — without a detailed identification guide. Ideally, the first few times foraging should be undertaken with an experienced mushroom forager as well.

With that said, here’s a guide on identifying Psilocybe cubensis:

1. Mushroom Caps

The cap of Psilocybe cubensis is typically 1.6 to 8 cm (0.6 to 3.1 inches) in diameter. Young mushrooms often have a conical-shaped cap that becomes more convex in mature mushrooms.

The color can vary greatly from light yellow and tan to brown — generally becoming paler toward the margin (darker in the center). Some varieties also lack pigment — producing white to light gray caps.

The cap often has a distinctive nipple-like projection in its center, but this is not always the case. The cap’s surface is smooth, often sticky, and occasionally has the remnants of a white veil still attached in places along its rim.

When damaged, the caps produce blue bruising — this is a sign (although not always) of the presence of psilocybin.

2. Gills

The gills of Psilocybe cubensis are closely spaced and take on a light to dark gray color turning purple-brown as the mushroom matures. In young mushrooms, the gills are often partially covered with a white veil that eventually tears away from the stem.

The gills can become mottled (marked with spots or smears of color) as the mushroom matures and sporulates. The edges of the gills where they attach to the cap’s margin are usually white to light gray — at least far lighter than the rest of the gill’s surface area.

3. Stipe (Stem)

The stipe of P.cubensis is typically 4 to 15 cm (2 to 6 inches) in length and 0.4 to 1.4 cm (0.2 to 0.6 inches) in diameter. The stipe is hollow and white in color, becoming yellowish with age. In some variants, the stipe can also produce brownish hues.

It’s typically smooth to the touch and has a fibrous texture. The remnants of a veil can be seen in mature mushrooms and are identified by a persistent white membranous ring. This ring often takes on a brown to purple-black coloration as the mushroom sporulates and the spores stick to it.

4. Spores

Psilocybe cubensis spores are purple-brown in color and sub-ellipsoid. The basidium (the spore-bearing structures) are four-spored but occasionally two or three-spored. The spores are 11.5–17.3 x 8–11.5 µm (micrometers).

The best way to get a positive identification of Psilocybe cubensis is to take a spore print and observe the spores under a microscope — especially if there are similar-looking mushroom species in the area.  

Psilocybe cubensis Look-Alikes

The difficulties with identifying Psilocybe cubensis don’t end with the species’ features themselves. This species has several look-alikes — mushrooms that share some or many of the same characteristics.

It’s important to note that the term “look-alike” is relative to how well you know the Psilocybe cubensis species and how to identify it. If you have learned to identify the characteristics of the species well enough, there shouldn’t be any “look-alikes” — at least not to your eyes.

Here are a few commonly misidentified species:

1. Panaeolus cyanescens (Blue Meanies)

Panaeolus cyanescens mushrooms— also known as “Blue Meanies” — are a highly potent psilocybin-containing mushroom that shares similarities with Psilocybe cubensis.

This species also grows in tropical and subtropical climates in grassland. It’s also a dung-loving species like Psilocybe cubensis. Although they look similar, Blue Meanies are much smaller than P.cubensis mushrooms and have a far lighter cap and stipe.

Luckily, this “look-alike” isn’t toxic. In fact, Panaeolus cyanescens is a sought-after magic mushroom for its super high psilocin levels. This is definitely a good species to learn to I.D alongside Psilocybe cubensis because they often share the same habitat.

2. Panaeolus subbalteatus (Banded Mottlegill)

Another Panaeolus species that shares similarities with Psilocybe cubensis is Panaeolus subbalteatus — commonly known as the banded mottlegill.

This species shares several similarities with P.cubensis and grows in similar countries and habitats — thriving in grassland close to and on livestock manure. Both species are similar in size, but the Banded Mottlegill is slightly smaller.

Panaeolus subbalteatus

The main giveaway between the two species is the gills and spores. Panaeolus subbalteatus has cream-colored gills that turn brown to sooty-black in mature mushrooms. Rather than producing purple-black sub-ellipsoid spores, the Banded Mottlegill has jet-black, smooth, elliptic spores.

This species also produces psilocybin and psilocin in relatively high levels — it may be worth learning how to identify if you’re interested in other psilocybin-containing species that grow in similar areas to P.cubensis.

3. Galerina marginata (Funeral Bell)

Galerina marginata — commonly known as the Funeral Bell — is a highly toxic mushroom species that can be fatal if ingested.

It can be mistaken for Psilocybe cubensis by amateur foragers because it shares a similar appearance, such as a tanned cap, white stem, and similar proportions. However, this mushroom species almost always grow on wood or rotting matter — rarely on dung.

The cap is darker in color and has a flatter shape compared to P.cubensis mushrooms. The stem is typically more slender, and the remnants of the veil appear rust-colored on most mushrooms.

4. Protostropharia semiglobata (Dung Roundhead)

Protostropharia semiglobata is a dung-loving mushroom, as the common name suggests — Dung Roundhead. This species is remarkably similar to Psilocybe cubensis, and the inexperienced forager could quite easily misidentify it as a magic mushroom.

This species is described in some identification guides as edible, but others state that it’s inedible or toxic. It’s probably not going to do more than give you stomach discomfort and nausea when ingested, but it’s best avoided.

The cap and stipe are identical to Psilocybe cubensis. However, they are smaller in size, and the cap lacks a nipple-like protrusion. The gills and spores are different from P.cubensis. The gills are clay-brown, and the spores are ovoid but have the same purple-brown color as P. cubensis spores.

The best way to tell the species apart is the gill pattern and the overall coloration of the mushroom. The Dung Roundhead has sparsely packed gills and often takes on a yellow coloration in the cap and stipe. When damaged, neither the stem nor the cap of this species will bruise blue.

5. Amanita phalloides (Death Cap)

A close relative of the red and white toadstool mushroom Fly Agaric, Amanita phalloides is a deadly species in the same genus. It’s also known by the common name “Death Cap,” and for good reason. If ingested, this mushroom can quickly cause liver and kidney failure — leading to death in many cases.

Although this mushroom isn’t as similar to Psilocybe cubensis as some of the other species on this list, it should ingrain the importance of proper identification skills. This mushroom can resemble P.cubensis to the untrained eye, but there are several clear differences, such as the white gills, light cap, and prominent “skirt-like” veil remanence.

Learning to identify a mushroom species by its distinct characteristics is extremely important. Otherwise, you could confuse the “Death Cap” with Psilocybe cubensis.

Can You Grow Psilocybe cubensis At Home?

Psilocybe cubensis is a popular choice among amateur cultivators because it’s a resilient species that can grow well in an artificial environment. Most strains are contamination resistant, colonize rapidly, fruit quickly, and can thrive in an unoptimized environment — making them perfect for home cultivation.

Spores are easily obtainable from vendors such as Sporeworks, Ralphsters Spores, and Spores 101. It’s important to note that although the spores are legal, cultivating them is illegal in many countries. If you decide to cultivate Psilocybe cubensis at home, you do so at your own risk.

The cultivation process for growing Psilocybe cubensis involves creating a suitable environment for mushroom growth. Sterile practices are extremely important, and creating a stable, consistent temperature will improve success rates.

There are several different methods for growing this species, with PF-Tek being the easiest — this method requires little in the way of cultivation equipment, knowledge, or experience. It’s important to note that even with simple cultivation methods, the growing process is delicate and time-consuming.

Several factors can impact the success of a mushroom’s growth. It’s important to select an easy-to-grow strain of P.cubensis and learn how to create the best possible growing environment if you wish to successfully produce several flushes of healthy shrooms.

How To Cultivate Psilocybe cubensis Mushrooms

The easiest way to cultivate Psilocybe cubensis is by performing a technique known as “PF-Tek” — this method is suitable for growing 99% of P.cubensis strains.

Below is a quick run-down of the PF-Tek cultivation method for growing Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms. If you want to learn more about the cultivation process, check out our guide on how to grow magic mushrooms.

Step 1: Preparing the Substrate

The first step in the cultivation process is the preparation of the substrate.

Glass jars should be filled with a substrate such as rye grain, coco-coir mixed with vermiculite, or pasteurized manure. The substrate-filled jars should then be sealed with a piece of tin foil, and the lids should be placed upside down on top of this.

The jars are then placed in a pressure cooker and left inside for 30 minutes once adequate pressure is reached. This will sterilize the jars and the substrate within them. Once the jars have been in the pressure cooker for 30 minutes, the heat should be turned off, and the pressure cooker should be left for three hours so the jars cool completely.

Step 2: Inoculating the Growing Substrate

The next step is to take the sterilized jars and inoculate them with a spore syringe — these can be purchased from several different spore vendors in the United States, Canada, or Europe.

Keeping a sterile environment is key in this step. The room in which you’re going to inoculate the substrate should be completely clean and sealed off from the rest of your house. Your hands and inoculation area should be thoroughly disinfected with isopropyl alcohol — this includes the jars, lids, and foil on top of them.

Using a lighter, sterilize the needle on the spore syringe by holding the flame on it for a few seconds. Once cooled, pierce the foil and inject around 2 CCs of the spore liquid into the substrate. Then, quickly seal the jar by screwing on the lid and sealing it over the top with foil.

Repeat this process with all of the substrate-filled jars until they have all been inoculated.

Step 3: Incubation of the Spores

Once the jars have been inoculated, they must be left to incubate for around two weeks — the incubation time frame can be longer or shorter depending on the strain of Psilocybe cubensis being cultivated.

The jars should be placed in an incubator. There are several ways to build one of these, with the simplest and cheapest being involving two plastic containers and an aquarium heater.

Take two containers (one slightly smaller than the other. Fill around a quarter of the larger container with water and place an aquarium heater in the bottom. Add the second container so it floats on top of the water. Now the jars can be placed inside, and the floating container can be sealed with the lid.

The incubator should be left in a dark place and monitored every couple of days. After four or five days, you should see a small amount of mycelium growth. After around two weeks, the substrate inside the jars should be fully colonized with white thread-like mycelium.

Step 4: Fruiting the Mycelium

Once the mycelium has covered the entirety of the substrate inside the jars, they’re ready for “fruiting.”

The fruiting process is where things get more exciting. A simple fruiting chamber must be made from a large clear container. Holes are drilled in the container for airflow, and the entire container is disinfected with isopropyl alcohol.

The container must then be filled with around 1 inch (2 cm) of perlite — this should be moistened with distilled water but not saturated.

Remove the mycelium cakes from the jars and place them on top of the perlite standing on their ends. The fruiting chamber should be left in a warm area and kept humid by spraying the internal walls of the chamber (not the cakes) with a mist bottle filled with distilled water. If your house is cold, you can place a reptile heat mat underneath the container.

After three or four days, small “pinheads” (little mushrooms) will begin to appear. Don’t touch these, as they may stop growing.

Step 5: Harvesting the Mushrooms

In the fruiting chamber, the mycelium cakes will start to bear fruits. The mushrooms are ready for harvest when the veil under the gills breaks — don’t leave them long enough to drop their spores because this can cause the mycelium to cease fruiting.

The mushrooms will mature at different speeds — only harvest those that are ready.

The mycelium cakes will carry on producing mushrooms in flushes — rounds of mushroom growth. After two to three flushes, fruiting may slow down. You can regenerate fruiting by placing the mycelium cakes in ice-cold distilled water for ten minutes before placing them back into the fruiting chamber.

Eventually, the mycelium cakes will succumb to mold growth. At this point, they should be discarded.

Once you’ve harvested your mushrooms, you may not want to consume them straight away. Luckily, Psilocybe cubensis is easily prepared for long-term storage.

How To Prepare & Store Psilocybe cubensis Mushrooms

Once Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms have been harvested either from nature or from a home cultivation setup, they must be prepared properly for storage. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to prepare these mushrooms for long-term storage.

If you plan on using the mushrooms within a few days of harvest, they can be cleaned and stored in a paper bag in the refrigerator for a maximum of 10 days.

Although they don’t last long when stored fresh, drying the mushrooms completely provides a much longer shelf life.

Dried P.cubensis mushrooms that are stored properly in air-tight jars and left in a dark, cool place will last for well over two years. However, after around 12 months, the tryptamines — including psilocybin and psilocin — will begin to break down, altering the potency of the mushrooms.

Drying P. cubensis for storage is relatively easy. They can be air-dried, or better, dried with a dehydrator — these are more effective for larger strains that contain more moisture.

If you’ve foraged the mushrooms from the wild, they should first be cleaned off with a dry paintbrush to remove any dirt or bugs. If you’ve cultivated the mushrooms at home, cleaning isn’t necessary, but you may want to brush any substrate off the vulva (the base of the mushroom).

Once cleaned, the mushrooms can be laid out on a sheet of paper in a dry area out of direct sunlight. Placing a fan and/or a dehumidifier next to the mushrooms can increase airflow and speed up the drying process. If you’re drying using a dehydrator, spread the mushrooms evenly on the trays and set the dehydrator to its lowest temperature setting.

Depending on the size of the mushrooms, they should dry within 48 to 72 hours (air-dried) or 24 hours in the dehydrator.

When completely dry, the mushrooms should make an audible crack when snapped. If the caps or stems bend, there’s still moisture in them, and they should be left to dry out further.

Once the mushrooms are completely dry, they can be stored in glass jars with a few food-safe silica gel packets — this will ensure that the mushrooms remain completely moisture free through storage. The jar should be left in a cool, dark place out of direct sunlight.

How Can Psilocybe cubensis Be Consumed?

Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms can be consumed in several different ways. Consumption can be as easy as chewing and swallowing the mushrooms raw or as complicated as cooking psilocybin edibles such as brownies, gummies, or chocolates.

Here are a few popular methods of consumption for Psilocybe cubensis:

1. Eating the Mushrooms Whole

Of course, the simplest way to consume Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms is to eat them whole. These mushrooms can be consumed both fresh and dry by chewing them up and swallowing them with water. This is an effective way to consume magic mushrooms, but it may not be to everyone’s taste.

Soaking the mushrooms in lemon juice for 15 to 20 minutes before consumption can help improve the bioavailability of the psilocybin — essentially making the onset of effects faster and more intense.

The acid in lemon juice helps break down the chitin (cell walls) in the mushrooms before consumption. This puts less strain on your stomach — meaning reduced stomach discomfort after ingestion. It also makes the active compounds more readily available.

2. Making Magic Mushroom Tea

Magic mushroom tea is a fantastic way to consume Psilocybe cubensis. Making shroom tea is relatively easy and doesn’t consume too much of your time. The benefits of making tea include much faster onset times, reduced nausea and stomach discomfort, and improved flavor — it also means that you don’t have to ingest any organic matter.

To make magic mushroom tea, you should:

  1. Boil a pan or kettle of water and then let it cool down slightly.
  2. Add your chosen dosage of dried and ground Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms to a thermal flask. You can also add a green tea bag, lemon juice, and/or cinnamon sticks to improve flavor at this point.
  3. Let the tea infuse for around one hour before straining off the organic matter. The resulting liquid can then be consumed.

Have a read through this guide on making magic mushroom tea for more detailed instructions and some tips to make the tea more potent and flavorsome.

3. Making Psilocybe cubensis Smoothies

Smoothies are a popular way to consume magic mushrooms. Making smoothies with Psilocybe cubensis is a fantastic way to cover up the earthy flavors these mushrooms tend to have.

The best smoothie combinations include strong flavors to help cover up the mushroom taste. Using a combination of strong-tasting fruits and fruit juices is often the best way to make a decent-tasting magic smoothie.

The process is as simple as it gets. All you need to do is add your chosen dosage of fresh or dried P.cubensis shrooms to a blender along with your favorite smoothie ingredients. The ingredients are blitzed until smooth, and the resulting liquid can be served up into a glass and consumed.

4. Making Psilocybin Edibles

A variety of different magic mushroom edibles can be made from Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms.

The key to cooking with psilocybin-containing mushrooms is to limit the amount of heat they’re exposed to. Pure psilocybin has a melting point of between 220 to 228°C (428–442°F) [11]. However, it’s believed that psilocybin in mushrooms begins to break down at temperatures as low as 80°C (176°F).

Although it’s unclear exactly how much (if any) psilocybin is broken down at temperatures above 80°C, most people try to cook the mushrooms below this temperature or limit the amount of time they’re cooked at higher temperatures.

A good rule of thumb is to limit the cooking time of the mushrooms to no more than 30 minutes at temperatures above 100°C (212℉). Mushrooms cooked for less than 30 minutes at or above this temperature don’t seem to lose much potency at all.

A few recipe ideas that don’t involve high temperatures for long periods are:

You can find recipes for some of these psilocybin dishes in this article: Learn How to Cook With Magic Mushrooms.

Are Psilocybe cubensis Mushrooms Legal?

Although Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms grow wild in several countries across the globe, they aren’t necessarily legal in all of them. In fact, psilocybin — the main psychoactive compound in Psilocybe mushrooms — is a restricted substance in most countries.

Getting caught in possession of Psilocybe cubensis or any other psilocybin-containing mushroom in the United States, the United Kingdom, and most of Europe can land you with some pretty harsh penalties. However, there are some exceptions to this, and laws surrounding psilocybin and other “soft drugs” are slowly becoming more relaxed.


In Canada, the production, sale, and possession of psilocybin mushrooms is illegal. However, it’s possible to get an exemption from Health Canada if the patient shows “serious or life-threatening conditions” that may be treatable with psilocybin.

It seems that the laws surrounding psilocybin in Canada aren’t a priority to law enforcement either. Several “magic mushroom shops” are popping up all over the country, and buying magic mushrooms and psilocybin products in stores and online is incredibly easy.

Although the substance is currently illegal, the laws surrounding psilocybin are very relaxed, and law enforcement prioritizes more harmful crimes over magic mushroom consumption, production, and distribution. We can expect psilocybin to follow suit with cannabis — becoming legal for medical and recreational use in the near future.

The United States

In the United States, psilocybin is illegal under federal law. However, there are a handful of states that have decriminalized or legalized psilocybin under certain circumstances.

Psilocybin-containing mushrooms have so far been decriminalized in 7 US states (or municipalities within the state):

Although the law surrounding psilocybin within these states is more relaxed, the substance is still restricted to some degree. Some states on the list have decriminalized the substance, others have legalized it completely, and some have made exceptions for medical use.

It’s also important to note that only certain municipalities in California, Colorado, Massachusetts, and Michigan have relaxed their psilocybin legislation — meaning it’s not completely legal “state-wide” yet.

Legalization Status


In Europe, psilocybin is illegal in most countries. However, in the Netherlands, the sale and use of psilocybin-containing truffles (magic truffles) are legal. These psychedelic truffles can be purchased across the country in “smart shops.”

In Portugal, the possession and use of all drugs has been decriminalized — meaning psilocybin-containing mushrooms can be owned and consumed freely. However, the sale of magic mushrooms is still restricted.

Psilocybin-containing mushrooms have also been decriminalized in Austria — they can even be cultivated legally, provided that the resulting mushrooms aren’t used as a “drug.”

With all that said, magic mushroom spores are completely legal in most places, including the United States, Europe, and Canada. You can purchase and own spores legally, but as soon as they start to grow and produce psilocybin during cultivation, they become illegal.

Legalization Status

Frequently Asked Questions About Psilocybe cubensis

Some of the most common questions we get asked about magic mushrooms.

1. What’s The Most Potent Strain of Psilocybe cubensis?

The most potent strain of Psilocybe cubensis is considered to be Penis Envy. However, new highly-potent strains are popping up all the time…

This strain is curious because it’s unlike any other strain of the species. It has a phallic shape (hence the name) and is capable of producing psilocybin levels of up to 1.8% and psilocin levels of up to 1.3% — that’s three to four times more potent than the average P.cubensis strain.

Although Penis Envy is considered to be the most potent strain of P.cubensis, there are some other variants that have done well in the Oakland Hyphae Psilocybin Cup. Most of the strains that produce high psychedelic tryptamine levels do hold Penis Envy genetics.

The Spring 2021 Oakland Hyphae Psilocybin Cup winner produced some truly staggering psilocybin and psilocin levels. The strain “Tidalwave” grown by the cultivator “Magic Myco Fam” won the competition with a psilocybin level of 2.26% and a psilocin level of 1.56%.

2. What’s The Easiest Strain of Psilocybe cubensis to Grow?

Most Psilocybe cubensis strains are relatively easy to cultivate. The species as a whole is contamination-resistant and can grow in less-than-ideal conditions. However, some strains are more suited to the amateur cultivator than others.

The best beginner strain of Psilocybe cubensis is Golden Teacher.

Golden Teacher has been circulating the spore market since the early 80s, and it’s a favorite among amateur cultivators because it’s extremely resilient to contamination. Great yields of medium-sized fruits with average potency can be produced with very little in the way of knowledge, equipment, and experience.

It’s a fast colonizer and fruiter and can withstand temperature fluctuations and contamination (to a degree). Spores for the Golden Teacher are widely available from a variety of spore vendors across the globe.

Although Golden Teacher is the most popular beginner strain, it’s not the only “easy-to-grow” strain of P.cubensis available. Southeast Asian and South American strains tend to be easier to grow because they’re contamination-resistant and can thrive in unoptimized environments.

Here are some other easily cultivated strains suitable for the beginner:

3. Where Can I Buy Psilocybe cubensis Spores?

Psilocybe cubensis spores are legal to purchase and own in most countries. They can be purchased from several different spore vendors across the globe. There are reliable online spore vendors based in the United Kingdom, mainland Europe, the United States, and Canada — many of them ship internationally as well.

If you’re based in the United States, you’ll find Psilocybe cubensis spores available in the form of prints, spore syringes, and swabs at Ralphsters Spores, Spores 101, and Sporeworks.

If you’re based in Canada, you can purchase P.cubensis spores from Spores 101, Spores Lab, and Sporeworks.

If you live in the United Kingdom or mainland Europe, you’ll find Psilocybe cubensis spores at The Magic Mushrooms Shop, Tatanka, and Kosmic Kitchen.

You can also order spores from some of the U.S. and Canada-based vendors above if you live in Europe. However, the spores can take several weeks to arrive (depending on the country).

4. Does Psilocybe cubensis Have Any Medical Benefits?

Psilocybin — the active component of Psilocybe cubensis and other magic mushroom species may have a host of medical benefits. The substance has proved effective in therapy for treating a range of mental disorders, from depression and anxiety to PTSD and addiction.

Studies have shown incredible results when psilocybin has been used in the treatment of alcohol and drug dependency. One study looked at people that have struggled with alcohol and drug addiction. A group was administered psilocybin in addition to Motivational Enhancement therapy. The majority of the group showed significant improvement — retaining abstinence past the 36-week follow-ups [12].

Another study looked into the effectiveness of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy (PAP) for people suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) [13]. The study found that AIDS survivors and combat veterans that had undergone PAP had significantly reduced PTSD symptoms.

Further studies also support the use of psilocybin for symptoms associated with depression and anxiety [14]. There’s an overall push for more funding and future research to find out more about the potential therapeutic benefits of the substance.

Several retreats and centers practicing psilocybin-assisted therapy are popping up in countries such as Jamaica, Spain, and the Netherlands. Research into the potential medical benefits of psilocybin-assisted therapy is increasing daily, and some institutes have gained government funding in the US and Canada to explore the impacts of the substance on mental illness.

5. Are Psilocybe cubensis Mushrooms Addictive?

Psilocybin isn’t considered an “addictive substance” in the same sense as dependence-forming substances such as alcohol, nicotine, opioids, and benzodiazepines. Unlike the latter substances, psilocybin doesn’t activate the brain’s reward pathway.

When the reward pathway is activated, we feel “rewarded.” Substances that activate the pathway have a high potential for abuse because our brains relate their use to that “reward,” — meaning that when we come down off the substance, we reach for more to achieve that sense again.

Seen as psilocybin doesn’t activate the reward pathway in the brain, it doesn’t have the same effect where there’s a “need” to consume more to feel rewarded again.

With that being said, it’s possible to become “addicted” to any substance or activity (working out, gaming, eating). If you enjoy the feeling that Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms provide and have an addictive personality, there’s a possibility that you could develop a dependence. However, this is pretty rare, and very few (if any) struggle with psilocybin addiction.


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