Magic mushrooms have been around for a long time. There is even evidence that Aztecs and other ancient societies used them. When foraging was the way of the world, it is no surprise that some people picked and used the mushrooms they found in nature. What they may not have realized were the effects certain mushrooms would have.
People use mushrooms every day. You can find them at the grocery store, packaged and ready for you to use in your favourite recipe. And you may find mushrooms in your yard when you go out on a particularly muggy day.
There are an estimated 14,000 different species of mushrooms. Some are harmless, allowing people to eat them and get the nutrients they offer without consequence. Others may have mild levels of toxicity, leaving those who ingest them feeling ill for a day or two. Some mushrooms are poisonous, and ingesting them can cause severe illness or even death. And others still can give you a unique, spiritual experience.
It’s these mushrooms that can give spiritual experiences that we are going to talk about today. Called “magic mushrooms,” these potent products are known to give users an experience unlike any other.
We’ll look into what exactly makes magic mushrooms “magic” and what you need to know about buying them or foraging for your own.
A Deeper Look at Magic Mushrooms
As we mentioned, magic mushrooms (or “shrooms”) are a type of mushroom that can give psychedelic effects. The reason for this is because this type of shroom contains psilocybin.
When processed and converted in the body, psilocybin can cause a wide range of both mental and physical effects. Depending on your mental state, how much you take, how you feel at the time, and other factors, shroom users may experience:
- Distorted sense of time and place
- Feelings of euphoria
- Red eyes and dilated pupils
- Loss of coordination
This is quite the range of effects. And, as we mentioned, many factors play into the type of experience you are going to have when using shrooms. Before you partake in shrooms for the first time, make sure you are in a good mental state and in a place where you feel comfortable. If possible, have a trusted friend with you as you try them for the first time (though they should not use them during this time).
Buying and Finding Mushrooms: Which Is Better?
If you have tried shrooms and found them to be helpful or that they give you the high you are looking for, you have many options when it comes to procuring them. You can, of course, purchase them from an online retailer like ours, or you can go look for them in nature.
When you buy them from a dispensary, you can buy them in many forms, not just in their raw form. You can find:
These allow you to know exactly how much you are ingesting so you can better monitor your consumption. Taking too much can lead to a negative experience, also known as a “bad trip.”
But let’s face it: Shrooms can be pricey. And if you live in an area where mushrooms abound, why not just go out and pick them yourself?
You can go foraging for your own magic mushrooms if you want to save some money. You can even turn it into an activity to do with friends who also enjoy using magic mushrooms. But before you set out into the woods and start eating the mushrooms you find there, you need to know what to look for.
Your Guide to Magic Mushroom Hunting
The first step in foraging for your own magic mushrooms is knowing where you are going to look. So, where do shrooms grow? They can grow in many different places. But mushrooms, in general, need specific elements to thrive.
You will likely find all mushrooms, including magic mushrooms, in areas that are full of moisture. They are commonly found in areas that combine moisture with low wind and lots of nutrients. You will likely be able to find mushrooms growing:
- In and on tree bark
- In fallen leaves
- Within mulch
- In compost piles
- In grass
If you can find a wooded area, an area with fallen trees or leaves, or even an animal pasture, you will likely find mushrooms sprouting up. You may even find them in your own yard.
Once you’ve chosen your “hunting ground,” it’s time to start looking for mushrooms. This is where things can get tricky.
With so many types of mushrooms, it makes sense that they come in many different shapes and sizes. Magic mushrooms themselves also come in different types, and each type has a different shape and size. In the United States and Canada alone, there are about 22 different types of psilocybin mushrooms.
If you pick the wrong mushroom, you may end up with no effects or even making yourself ill. That is why picking the correct mushrooms is so important. You will want to familiarize yourself with magic mushrooms and their appearance before you head out and start magic mushroom hunting.
Once you know precisely what you are looking for on your hunt, look close to the ground and on trees for them. If you find one, carefully pick it and place it in a basket. It is recommended that people wear disposable gloves when picking mushrooms in the wild to prevent contamination. You should also be sure you wash your hands before and after handling your magic mushrooms.
Shrooms to Look For
Knowing what shrooms you are looking for is tricky. Below, we’ll cover three popular kinds you may be able to find to help you get started on your hunt.
- Psilocybe semilanceata is one of the most popular and widely available shrooms on the market. They are also called “Liberty Caps” thanks to their appearance. They have very slim, wavy stems and a bell-shaped top. They are generally tan or brown in appearance.
- Psilocybe cubensis and Psilocybe subcubensis, also called Golden Teachers, are usually found in more tropical environments. So, depending on your location and weather in your area, you may not be able to find them. These shrooms have a very classic mushroom look with thicker stems and a sizeable umbrella-shaped top. They are usually light to golden brown in colour.
- Panaeolus or Copelandia cyanescens are also called Hawaiian shrooms. Despite their name, they can be found all over the world. They have long, very slim stems with light brown or grey caps. They are known for being quite potent, making them a popular choice among shroom users and hunters.
Storing Your Freshly Picked Magic Mushrooms
You’ve had a successful magic mushroom hunting trip. You are home now with a big batch of shrooms. You have more than you will use right away. What should you do?
Like cannabis, it is essential to store magic mushrooms properly. Not doing so can cause shrooms to grow mould or bacteria, which can affect your experience and may even become toxic.
Here’s what you should do with your shrooms when you return home from hunting for them.
- Rinse your mushrooms under a gentle stream of cold water to remove any dirt or grime on them.
- Lay them flat on a kitchen towel and allow them to air dry for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Gently pat them dry with another towel to remove any excess water.
- Once all water has been removed, you can place them in an airtight container. In general, your shrooms can last in the fridge for five to ten days after you pick them.
Note that some shrooms will have a shorter shelf life. When you remove shrooms from the fridge to use them, check them over for any signs of mould before you eat them or use them for cooking.
If you have a big haul and are looking for a long-term storage option, drying our shrooms is the better choice. You can do this at home; you’ll just need:
- A wire cooling rack
- Your cleaned magic mushrooms
- A fan
To dry your mushrooms, you should:
- Place them on the wire cooling rack. Be sure your shrooms are not touching.
- Place them in front of your fan and turn the fan on at a very low setting (the breeze it creates should be very gentle).
- Let them sit until they reach a cracker-like consistency. This can generally take about three days.
- Once dry, place your shrooms in an airtight mason jar. You can also add in a food-grade silica packet to help preserve them longer.
- Place the jar in a cool, dark area.
Dried mushrooms stored properly can last about one year. Just be sure you label the jar with the date you picked and dried them and still inspect them before using them.
Though it may be tempting to throw your shrooms into the freezer and skip this entire drying process, this is not recommended. Freezing then thawing out your shrooms does not work the best, and you may be left with soggy, degraded shrooms.
Is Shroom Hunting for Me?
We’ve covered a lot of information on magic mushrooms and how to hunt them. But you may be wondering, is shroom hunting for me?
Though virtually anyone could go out into nature to look for and pick shrooms, it’s not the best option for everyone.
If you have not tried shrooms before, it may be better to purchase a small amount for your first time. This ensures you are getting the right type of mushroom and one that is of good quality. Just remember to start with a small dose your first time and set yourself up for success by using them in a comfortable place and when you are feeling your best.
If you have used mushrooms before but are still relatively new to them, purchasing them may still be a better option. Or if you do decide to go hunting, take someone experienced with you to help guide you.
If you are an experienced magic mushroom user and can easily recognize one when you see one, then huntaway. You can go alone or with friends; just be sure you know what you are picking and take the steps to properly clean and store them when you return home.
Of course, whether you are new or experienced in the shroom world, you can always buy your shrooms online. This can save you time and help you feel confident you are getting the right shroom and a quality product. Plus, you can find other shroom products if eating raw shrooms is not appealing to you.
If you do purchase your magic mushrooms online, make sure you buy from a reputable retailer. Read online reviews from other customers and familiarize yourself with their shipping policies. It is also a good idea to make sure there is a way for you to easily contact the company should you have questions or any problems with receiving your product.
Magic Mushroom Hunting: A Summary
Magic mushrooms, like traditional mushrooms, can be found in nature. They contain one special ingredient that makes them “magic,” however: psilocybin. This ingredient is a powerful hallucinogenic and can cause a variety of strong effects, such as feelings of euphoria, paranoia, and even a distorted sense of time and place.
Though magic mushrooms can be purchased from online retailers and dispensaries, some people enjoy going mushroom hunting. This allows people to find shrooms in nature and pick them themselves. Picking your own shrooms can save money and be a fun activity for those who use shrooms often. But if you don’t know what you are looking for, you could end up with a shroom that isn’t magic but instead makes you ill or worse.
If you decide to hunt your own mushrooms, be sure you know exactly what they look like. If shroom hunting sounds a little overwhelming, there’s nothing wrong with buying your magic mushrooms.