How to Test Magic Mushrooms: How to Verify Purity & Potency

Stay in control of your psychedelic experience. Discover the essential steps for testing magic mushrooms to verify their legitimacy, potency, and quality while avoiding potential risks.

By Connor McElroy Last Updated: October 20, 2023
Last Updated: October 20, 2023

Making sure your shrooms actually contain psilocybin — and nothing extra — ensures peace of mind and prevents any disappointing or unpleasant experiences. 

Unfortunately, we’ve yet to see a home psilocybin test that will tell you the exact potency of a magic mushroom.

However, through observation and reagent test kits, it’s possible to identify whether or not the shrooms you’re holding actually contain the psychoactive ingredients psilocybin and psilocin — or something else entirely.

In this guide, we’ll show you how to test your magic mushrooms at home.

We’ll also cover the following:

How to Make Sure Your Mushrooms Are Legit

The key to using magic mushrooms safely and responsibly is to make sure they’re indeed “magic.” Here’s how to do it. 

1. Purchase Your Magic Mushrooms From a Reliable Source 

The first step is to purchase them from a reputable and reliable source. Obviously, this is more difficult in areas where magic mushrooms are outlawed, which is one of the biggest problems with prohibition.

Regardless, avoid buying from unknown online vendors that don’t have solid recommendations from friends who have ordered from them in the past, or positive online reviews from other members of the psychonaut community.

2. Checking the Legitimacy of Fresh Shrooms

If you’re collecting mushrooms from the wild yourself, make sure you’re well-educated on the psychedelic species in your area and any potentially toxic lookalikes. Ensure you know exactly how to identify the species you’re searching for. If you’re unsure, it’s important to ask an expert. Most cities in the US, Canada, and Europe have mycological societies you can turn to for questions.

Here are a few ways you can check the legitimacy of fresh magic mushrooms: 

A) Blue Bruising

One of the best ways to check for the presence of psilocybin is to bruise the fresh mushrooms and look for blue staining. The blue coloration is an indicator that psilocybin is present. Although this isn’t a 100% guarantee that the mushrooms are “magic” (some non-psychoactive mushrooms also bruise blue), it’s a fairly reliable indicator when combined with other identification factors.

A Psilocybe cubensis mushroom with blue bruising around the base where the mushroom was torn from the mycelium.

B) Spore Prints

Take spore prints from the caps of fresh shrooms by removing the stem and placing the cap gill-side down on a sheet of paper for a day or two. The spores will drop, forming a print on the paper below. Most psilocybin mushrooms produce purple-black/purple-brown spore prints. The spores can also be observed under a microscope to identify the species.

C) Identification Guides

Identification guides and mobile apps can also help you identify any fresh shrooms you’ve purchased or picked. By looking at cap, stem, gill, and spore features and referring to a guide, you should be able to get a positive I.D. on the mushrooms. 

Related: Mushroom Anatomy 101

3 Popular Mushroom Identification Books: National Audubon Society Field Guide to Mushrooms, Mushrooms of the Redwood Coast, and Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World

3. Checking the Legitimacy of Dried Shrooms

Chances are, you’ll receive a bag of dehydrated or freeze-dried shrooms if you buy them from an individual or online. Dried mushrooms are much more difficult to identify than fresh mushrooms, so you’ll need to be extra careful.

If you want to be 100% sure of a dried mushroom’s identity, you may need to send a sample off for analysis, but let’s be honest, not many people are going to do that. 

Due to the lack of moisture in dried magic mushrooms, spore prints and the bruising test are out of the question. However, you should be able to see blue staining on the stems or caps from bruising that occurred during the harvesting and drying process. 

You may also be able to observe some of the visual features associated with Psilocybe cubensis shrooms, such as cap and stem color, a distinct nipple on the cap, gill color, and the presence of a veil from the earlier stages of growth.

Dried Psilocybe cubensis Mushrooms

How to Test the Psilocybin Levels In Magic Mushrooms

There’s no sure-fire way to test the exact psilocybin levels of your magic mushrooms at home. However, some test kits allow you to identify the presence of psilocybin and, in some cases, a rough estimation of potency.

These tests are never 100% reliable, but they will tell you if the sample you have doesn’t contain any psilocybin or psilocin at all — indicating that the species you have are in fact NOT magic mushrooms and should therefore be avoided.

How to Use Magic Mushroom Test Kits

  • Step 1: Place a small sample of ground mushroom powder into a glass vial or container
  • Step 2: Use the syringe to inject some of the test liquid into the vial
  • Step 3: Heat 1 L of water to 80–90ºC (~200ºF) and drop the vial into the water
  • Step 4: Wait EXACTLY 15 minutes and pull the vial out of the water
  • Step 5: Compare the color of the liquid to the included color chart sheet. This will tell you approximately how much psilocin is included in the sample

Video Instructions

Do Home Psilocybin Test Kits Work?

Yes. Home psilocybin tests do work. However, they aren’t as accurate as laboratory tests. 

Most home psilocybin tests work with a reagent. These are the most common tests to buy online. They can indicate the presence of psychedelic compounds but aren’t psilocybin-specific — meaning they can produce a positive reaction with non-psychedelic mushrooms. 

Most reagent tests react to all indoles (a class of organic compounds with a bicyclic ring structure called indole). Indole compounds are involved in the biosynthesis of important neurotransmitters like serotonin, as well as some alkaloids and hormones. Psilocybin fits into this class, but so do thousands of other compounds.

Reagent tests can produce false positives (a color-changing reaction) on several different shrooms that are psychedelic, edible, and inedible. They shouldn’t be relied on as a sole means of identifying magic mushrooms. For more reliable results, use several different individual reagent tests to rule out false positives.

Other magic mushroom tests work on detecting the presence of tryptamines. Although there are hundreds of different tryptamine compounds, a positive result usually indicates the presence of psilocybin, psilocin, and other psychoactive compounds when used on mushrooms.

Some tests — such as the Miraculix QTests — are psilocybin specific and provide an accurate representation of whether psilocybin is present. These tests also provide a color chart, which can help determine roughly how much psilocybin is there. 

Although the color chart percentage scale of these tests isn’t 100% accurate, it provides far more insight into the potency of the shrooms than reagent and tryptamine tests. Psilocybin-specific tests are more expensive than general test kits, but they are the most accurate. 

Related: How to Test Psychoactive Substances With Drug Testing Kits

Best Magic Mushroom Tests to Buy Online

There are lots of different test kits available online, some work pretty well, others don’t. We’ve tested a few — here are 3 options we’ve found work pretty well overall.

1. Miraculix QTest for Magic Mushrooms

The Miraculix QTest for psilocybin is the most accurate and informative test for magic mushrooms. The company also offers LSD, MDMA, and DMT test kits.

Dr. Felix Bei developed this kit at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena. It’s the first test on the market that allows you to measure the potency of magic mushrooms by utilizing a psilocybin percentage color chart. 

Miraculix Psilocybin-QTest

The kit has the color chart, chemicals, testing vials, and clear instructions that guide you through the four simple steps required to produce an accurate psilocybin reading.

You can also find the Miraculix QTest bundled with an illustrated field guide, magnifying glass, sterile swabs, and foraging identification tests from Midwest Growkits.

2. Nik Test X — Psilocybin

The Nik Test X for psilocybin is a reagent test “for the presumptive identification of psilocybin in mushrooms.” 

This home test kit doesn’t provide insight into the psilocybin percentages of your shrooms, but it’s a relatively accurate way to test for the presence of psilocybin. A positive result produces a purple coloration when the second ampoule is broken inside the test vial.

Nik Test X-Psilocybin Test Kit

This cost-effective test kit comes in boxes of ten — making it ideal for having around the house when you buy a bag of shrooms or go to a festival. 

3. NarcoCheck ID Test (LSD/Tryptamines)

The NarcoCheck ID Test for LSD and other tryptamines is a broad home test kit for identifying lysergic acid diethylamide as well as a range of tryptamines such as DMT, DET, psilocin, psilocybin, and ergotamine.

NarcoCheck Tryptamine Test

Although the NarcoCheck ID Test isn’t psilocybin-specific, it’s an accurate test for quickly identifying the presence of psychedelic tryptamines. A positive result shows up as light to dark purple. A color chart is provided to identify a positive result, but doesn’t indicate potency, percentage, or tryptamine type.