Firstly, let’s start by saying that calling the fungi in question hallucinogenic isn’t exactly correct, and making this mistake can actually have a negative effect on your experience with them overall. Take a look at my article HERE which elaborates on the subject and explores the reason why hallucinations do not happen when we take psychedelics.
The experience you’ll go through is very sensitive to subconscious factors which can determine the direction your trip will go in. If you’re convinced that what you’re taking is a hallucinogen, don’t rule out the possibility that that’s the kind of experience you will have, in which content from your subconscious comes forth in the form of hallucinations.
So what should we call them? Psychoactive mushrooms is a correct technical term and includes all fungi which have an effect on our minds, for example those containing psilocybin and muscimol mushrooms (the most commonly known member of the muscimol family). Magic Mushrooms is a commonly used term for these fungi, along with psychedelic mushrooms and – to a lesser extent – sacred mushrooms.
Calling them hallucinogenic mushrooms does no justice to what actually happens during a magic mushroom trip. I’m not talking about visions of another world which are unveiled with the use of psychedelics – it’s not that – but about the amplification of something that, under ordinary circumstances is only casually perceived and transcends the limits of the 5 senses. A poet’s vision of a landscape is different to one an engineer might have: similarly, psychedelic vision and ordinary vision differ significantly. That the mind projects substance and images on what one sees is evident if you compare the visions you have when you’re sad to the ones you have when you’re happy. Same situation but a different state of mind. The literature is full of examples which confirm this – as of course your own experience eventually will.
The question “how should I take mushrooms?” has already found its first major answer: what kind of mental state are you in? What are your expectations? These factors are crucial to what you’ll achieve. Fear, expectation, prejudice, bias.. All of these things can forge the quality of your experience with magic mushrooms in one way or another.
Set & Setting
Another factor of great importance are any psychophysical conditions present, together with the context in which you want to have your trip. Together, these factors are hard-coded into the rules of something called “Set & Setting”, which you can read about in-depth in a single article HERE.
The Substance Itself
Only when you have these clear and necessary premises at your disposal, i.e. expectations along with set & setting, can you come to the question of how to consume the fungi. Fresh or dry? In both cases, the taste won’t be particularly pleasant. It isn’t possible to cook them without the risk of losing a significant amount of the active substance. This alters with temperature and oxidation: for example, if you leave them out exposed to sunlight. Finding fresh mushrooms is a little trickier – they have a brief lifespan, and so they can only survive two or three days in the fridge. Therefore, dried mushrooms are probably the more widely used option.
Before discussing how exactly to consume magic mushrooms, let’s talk about quantity. Here I will be referring to mushrooms of the psilocybe genus, not Amanita Muscaria for which completely different characteristics and dosages must be considered. Psilocybe fungi are a genus composed of dozens and dozens of species, all of which contain varying amounts of the active chemical. The table below will give you an idea of some differences between them. The most widespread are those cultivated at home, almost all belonging to the Cubensis family which boasts a medium to medium-high concentration of the active chemical. Among the most potent we have Psilocybe Semilanceata, which is found most easily in Italy. They are small in size but nevertheless contain a markedly high concentration of the sought-after chemical.
If you’re reading this you probably haven’t tasted these incredible mushrooms, or rather you have tried but had no idea of the dose you consumed. Not to worry. This is where most people start. It’s strange that this happens with a psychoactive substance with which the effect is so tightly linked to the quantity – i.e. the more one takes, the more intense the effect will be. Whether you’ve taken mushrooms before of an unknown quantity, or you’ve never taken them at all, the answer to how to consume mushrooms is the same: sparingly. Why? First you must find out what your individual tolerance level is, for it could very well be completely different to everyone else’s.
What constitutes a small amount for me, could be for you simply too much and cause an excessively intense experience – especially if you have little or no experience. Experience does make more of a difference than you might think in prescinding physiological factors like individual tolerance. Unless you suffer from heart problems or epilepsy, mushrooms are completely safe from a physiological point of view. However, they are extremely challenging on the mind and emotions. The experience is not akin to watching a fascinating psychedelic video. You become the video. Beliefs become distorted and you rediscover yourself without any familiar reference points. In short, it is a kind of madness.
So how many mushrooms should you take? In my book you’ll find a whole host of useful information on how to do it. Naturally, I’d advise you to read the book (which can be found HERE) as well as this blog. Anyway, here is some basic info which will help you avoid any unpleasantness.
Fresh mushrooms are composed of 90% water, and so 10g of fresh psilocybin fungi corresponds to 1g dried. If taking mushrooms for the first time – or if this is the first time you are consciously dosing them out, make sure not to take any in excess of one and a half (dry) grams. If it’s fresh mushrooms that you’ve got your hands on, it’s better to take a little less (so around 12 or 13 grams) because they have a bit of a more potent effect for their relative weight. You can’t do it by eye, remember: you’ll need some digital scales, which you will be able to find for a few euros online. Precision is important, right down to a hundredth or thousandth of a gram. In fact, the latter is probably better because it costs the same. Half a gram of dried mushrooms more or less will make a considerable difference. Remember that the digital scales are of the utmost importance, so don’t go reaching for the ones in the kitchen cupboard!
How to Consume Magic Mushrooms
How do you take mushrooms? The “recipes” you’ll find are many, especially online. Today I’ll give you some simple methods you can understand and follow without difficulty.
My first piece of advice would be to chew well. Afterwards you can drink a sip of water to clean the mouth and swallow the remaining crumbs. The residual flavour can also be removed with a little piece of apple or fresh ginger.
The second piece of advice I’ll give you is to chop up the mushrooms with a little apple, chew well and swallow immediately. You can even leave the apple and mushroom mixture for a day or two as the apple is perfect for conserving the dried mushrooms unrefrigerated (remember this applies only to dried mushrooms). When the moment to consume them arrives, eat everything with a teaspoon. Not only does it work, but it will help disguise the flavour of the mushroom.
For this third pointer, you’ll need a coffee grinder. Take your measured out portion of fungi and mince it until it becomes a fine powder, then pop it in a jar. Add the juice of one freshly-squeezed lemon, just enough to cover the powder. Close the jar and shake it well, then leave the powdered mushroom in contact with the lemon for 20 minutes – 25 at the most – mixing it now and again, then drink it. Add a splash of water beforehand if you like, or after you’ve drunk it to clean the jar. This is called Lemon Tek, which you’ll find more information on online. This method has multiple advantages, the most important of which being that, as well as helping to hide the taste of the mushroom, it kickstarts the process of converting the psilocybin into psilocin. This process is usually otherwise performed by the acid in your stomach and is faster this way, reducing the risk of nausea during the body load phase (when your body is first taking in and reacting to the psychoactive substance).
Emotional at the prospect of your first experience? That’s quite alright. It would be strange if you didn’t worry. Every time is different to the last, every experience an emotional renewal. And so, every time will, in a way, feel like the first.
If you need anything clarified or have any questions, let me know in the comments!
(as always, remember to read the warnings posted HERE!)