As markets open up and we see an increase in both mushroom availability and diversity, it’s easy to get confused on what kind of psychedelic mushrooms to buy based on what effects you’re looking for.
With dozens of magic mushroom strains available, most people factor in stain and dose as the primary considerations.
But how much do these factors matter? Is there a difference between Golden Teachers cubensis and Blue Meanie cubensis for instance?
The truth is, from an objective standpoint aside from physical appearance, is that we don’t really know for sure. Like anything else, individuals react differently to various forms of stimuli, making it difficult to assign absolute truths when it comes to psychedelic mushrooms, even ones from the same species.
That being said, let’s briefly touch on the two factors listed above to better understand each of them.
A primary factor a buyer considers when buying mushrooms either for recreation or health is the strain of the mushrooms. Different strains vary in appearance, and vary slightly in alkaloid ratios, but differences don’t go much deeper than that as far as studies have so far displayed.
The reason behind this is most mushroom strains available for purchase, tend to be members of the same species. Common varieties available like Golden Teacher, B+, Penis Evny, Albinos, Great Whites, Amazonian, Brazilian, and Blue Meanie for example – despite variations in size and appearance – are all Psilocybe Cubensis strains. They range mildly in psychoactive and alkaloid potency, but generally fall under the same narrow range of 0.37% to 1.30% psilocybin/psilocin per 1g of dried weight – making the differences so minute that they do not qualify as separate species.
Note: 1.30% may seem like a low number, but it’s still considered quite potent when we’re talking about psilocybin/psilocin. Although these elevated concentrations are rare in cubensis strains, make sure you do your research and follow the rule “start low, go slow”.
The potency variances can be either from strain to strain, or mushroom to mushroom from the same strain. For example it’s generally accepted that on average Blue Meanie mushrooms are more potent than Golden Teachers, but individual variances per mushroom or cluster of mushrooms are always possible due to growth and cultivation factors that can result in chemical and alkaloid fluctuations in the mushrooms. From time to time, this can result in a Golden Teacher mushroom being more potent than a Blue Meanie.
Strains can even successfully crossbreed to produce different alkaloid ratios. A good way to look at how mushroom strains vary is to compare them to dog breeds. Most dogs vary in size, coloration, personality, and general appearance. But even with these differences they are all still dogs and can all cross breed with one another under most circumstances. The same is true for cubensis. This of course means that more strains with different potencies are likely to pop-up as demand increases and more crossbreeding occurs.
Now that we have a basic grasp on strains, how do we handle dosing? There are three different types of doses when it comes to taking a psychedelic – microdose, minidose, and macrodose. Each of them produces a different result in terms of effects on the mind and body.
A microdose is defined as a sub-perceptual dose of any psychedelic that does not produce sensory altering effects, but has a metabolic modulating effect that can influence things like mood, concentration, creativity, and social openness. There are even reports of some effects on helping control pain, although further research is needed to understand how this works. For psilocybin mushrooms, a microdose is anywhere from 10mg to 300mg (in rare cases slightly more) of dried cubensis mushrooms which would contain an average of 0.63-0.75% psilocybin content.
A minidose is considered to be a mid-level dose that has crossed the threshold in producing some perceptual effects and sensations but does not generally cause intoxication. In the realm of psychedelics, this can mean some mild tingling sensations, pupil dilation, shifts in perception, reduced concentration, increased neural plasticity, mild visual and auditory hallucinations (tracers) and a down-regulation of the ego – all while maintaining a reasonable level of alertness and consciousness. For psilocybin mushrooms, a minidose is typically 350mg to 1g of dried cubensis mushrooms containing an average of 0.63-0.75% psilocybin content.
A macrodose is anything above 1g-1.5g+ of cubensis. At this dose, most people report more pronounced visual and auditory hallucinations (such as breathing walls), a cross wiring of the senses (seeing music), a dissolving of the ego, increased emotional openness and awareness, fascination with objects, and increased abstract thinking – just to name a few. It is at these elevated doses that modern psychiatric therapies and ancient tribal medicine practices are conducted, as the plasticity of the brain and nervous system are at their peak thanks to reduced blood flow to the amygdala – the part of the brain that controls our physical and emotional defence systems such as ego and fight or flight responses.
We hope you have enjoyed this introductory level overview on how to pick the best cubensis strain for you! Remember that it’s important to do your research before trying any kind of psychedelic substance at any dose. This will help prepare you for your experience and also educate you on what methods and strains may be most ideal for you.
Want to have a look at some of the strains listed? Visit our store page here.
Stamets, Paul (1996). Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World
Passie, Torsten MD (2019), The Science of Microdosing Psychedelics, A Psychedelic Press publication