When it comes to mushrooms, there are over 200 different species of Psilocybe species. Within these species are hundreds of strains that have been genetically isolated.
The world is currently going through a psychedelic renaissance. Some 80 years after Alfred Hofmann first took an intentional LSD trip, many researchers are looking to mushrooms for their medicinal properties. In the field of psychotherapy, psychedelics are a point of interest for aiding PTSD, OCD, anxiety, and depression.
Unfortunately, despite the research that has been carried out, magic mushrooms are still illegal in terms of cultivation and possession. Spores are available in some locales, but only for purposes of microscopy and research.
With so many species and sub-strains out there, how does one know what to choose? Let’s have a look at 10 of the more popular psilocybe mushroom strains.
Psilocybe Cubensis (General)
In the 1950s, a hobbyist mycologist by the name of R. Gordon Wasson took part in a shamanic ceremony in Mexico. This ceremony had previously not been open to “Westerners” before this and entailed the consumption of Psilocybe Cubensis mushrooms.
Wasson sent samples of these mushrooms to Alfred Hofmann, who cataloged the mushroom’s four psychoactive compounds, namely psilocybin, psilocin, baeocystin, and norbaeocystin.
Currently, there are over 60 different strains of psilocybe cubensis. In general, psilocybe cubensis mushrooms are resilient and are relatively easy to grow (with a few exceptions, such as Penis Envy).
Different strains offer different experiences. Some lend to a more visual “trippy” experience, while others offer philosophical introspection. Before taking psychedelic mushrooms, it is best to research different strains that are available to you to find out which one is best aligned with your trip goals.
If it is your first time sampling a strain, always start with a low dosage and work your way up to a higher dose so that you can get a feel for it.
Golden Teacher Mushroom Spores (Psilocybe Cubensis)
Often when generally referring to “shrooms”, people more often than not tend to mean Golden Teachers. This golden brown mushroom is a very commonly produced strain. It is favored by beginner and experienced growers as resilient, tolerant, and yielding a large amount of fruit. For this reason, they are a strain that is available in abundance. They do, however, take a little longer than most other p. cubensis to produce fruit, but their easy growing requirements make up for this.
Golden Teachers, as their name suggests, have golden color caps, starting light (almost cream) on the outside and culminating in a rich, dark orange-golden center. The cap also is speckled white. The stipe (stem) of the mushroom is thick and white in color.
The potency of Golden Teachers is regarded as medium to high. The experience is reported to lean towards a philosophical mindset, inspiring deep and thoughtful conversation. Although euphoric and relaxing, the trip tends to be shorter and less visual than other strains.
Golden Teacher is also reported to be beneficial for those suffering from anxiety. Anecdotal reports indicate that Golden Teachers have a lasting effect on combating anxiety post-session, allegedly for up to 3 to 6 months.
Penis Envy Mushroom Spores (Psilocybe Cubensis)
The infamous Penis Envy strain of mushrooms is renowned for its potency. This distinctly phallic-shaped mushroom has 50% higher psilocybin content.
The origins of Penis Envy are speculative, but many accounts claim that Terence McKenna, renowned psychonaut and ethnobotanist, found the progenitor in the Amazonian Forest. Steven Pollock, a mycologist and colleague of McKenna, was likely responsible for the discovery of the Penis Envy mutation derived from McKennas’s original progenitor.
Penis Envy is one of the more difficult strains to grow as they only drop about 5% of their spores. They also have a longer growing cycle and produce less fruit than other strains. For this reason, it is a rarer strain. The mushroom tends to have a noticeably thicker white stipe, topped with a proportionately smaller golden-brown cap.
Given the high potency of this mushroom, it is not recommended for beginner magic mushroom enthusiasts. The trip is incredibly intense which begins to take effect after 30 minutes. Users report feelings of time being distorted. The trip is very visual, and users often experience synesthesia.
Albino Penis Envy Mushroom Spores (APE, Psilocybe Cubensis)
Albino Penis Envy is a hybrid mushroom from crossing Penis Envy and Albino PF strains.
For the most part, its physical features are not too unlike Penis Envy. Thick white stipe with a small cap. The coloring comes from the Albino PF, milky white occasionally with a dark blue cap.
APE is reportedly more potent than its PE parent strain, but otherwise, the trip is not too unlike that of Penis Envy, if not a little bit more intense.
McKennaii (Psilocybe Cubensis)
This lab-created mushroom is named after Terence McKenna. It is considered to be quite a potent mushroom. McKennaii was grown specifically to be a large yielding strain, as well as producing intense experiences. As a result, this is a popular strain among growers.
The mushroom has a cream-colored stipe of medium thickness. Its dome-shaped cap has the golden-brown color of toasted marshmallows. In terms of growth, it is a resilient strain that grows fast and has a very high yield, making it a beginner-friendly strain for growers. McKennaii also has one of the more palatable tastes compared to other p.cubensis strains, often having a sweet flavor with a soft texture.
McKennaii is known for its very visual trip and a sense of taking a magical journey through alternate worlds. It is a great mood-enhancer, with users reporting long periods of giddiness and laughter. At higher dosages, the trip has the potential to be very self-exploratory and is ideal for those looking to work through an issue.
PF Classic (Psilocybe Cubensis)
PF Classic is one of the most well-known strains of psilocybe cubensis. It was developed by the legendary cultivator Robert McPherson. The PF in the name of this strain refers to McPherson’s pseudonym “Psilocybe Fanaticus”. McPherson is also responsible for creating the PF Tek method of growing, which is commonly used by cultivators today.
The cap of the mushroom is larger than other p. cubensis strains and takes on a saucer-like shape. It is rust-colored with a light cream-colored stipe. The veil which holds the spores in place does not tear until the mushroom has matured. This means that cultivators can allow their PF Classic mushrooms to grow fairly large in size. This characteristic is preferable for cultivators who enjoy a clean setup.
PF Classic is a higher potency mushroom, but it is also a good choice for beginners to take. The high is comparable to a marijuana edible, with there being a strong sense of a full-body trip. The hallucinogenic nature plays on the senses, making one’s surroundings very appear and feel incredibly enjoyable.
B+ Mushroom Spores (Psilocybe Cubensis)
The B+ strain of psilocybe cubensis is an all-around beginner-friendly mushroom. Whether you are looking to cultivate or consume it. Some people have speculated that it is not a pure P. Cubensis strain but rather a hybrid created from P. cubensis and P. azurescens.
Developed in Florida by a cultivator known only as “Mr G”, B+ has been one of the best-selling strains for cultivation since the 90s. They are less sensitive to cold temperatures and are known for having consistently large yields. A mature mushroom also contains a huge amount of spores, making it prolific among cultivators.
B+ is a mushroom of medium potency. Users report that this strain leads to a feeling of connectedness with others as well as feeling a deep sense of empathy. It offers a relaxing, almost lethargic experience and is less predisposed to nausea. It is often used by those looking for a more spiritual experience.
The cap is large and caramel in color, while the stipe is white, of medium width, and fairly long.
Liberty Caps (Psilocybe Semilanceata)
Liberty Caps are one of the most commonly found wild mushrooms of the psilocybe genus. This is due to the versatility that allows it to grow in a number of different environments. Although originally found in Europe, it has since spread to almost every continent.
In the wild, Liberty Caps are one of the most recognizable strains of psilocybe mushrooms. Often found in meadows and pastures. It enjoys a damp and cool environment. Unlike many other psilocybe mushrooms, Liberty Caps do not typically grow on animal dung, although it does prefer areas where the ground has been fertilized by dung. Despite being a commonly found mushroom in nature, these mushrooms have proven notoriously difficult to cultivate at home.
The cap has a distinct conical, pointed spear shape. As the mushroom ages, the cap develops furrows from the center of the cap extending outwards. The cap ranges from cream in color to brown, sometimes with olive tones. It is a relatively small mushroom with a very slender off-white stripe.
The potency of this mushroom can vary from one to the next; therefore, it is always best to start with a low dosage. The trip consists of deeply insightful thoughts, although users do report feeling a sense of depersonalization which could be alarming to some. Time and spatial distortions are to be expected.
Wavy Caps (Psilocybe Cyanescens)
Wavy Caps are known for their distinctly shaped wavy caps, as the name suggests. This outdoor-loving mushroom is often found in areas with a woody substrate. Indoor cultivation of wavy caps has some challenges. Firstly it has a long growth cycle and is very temperature-dependent, as it only begins fruiting at colder temperatures. Outdoor cultivation is more likely to yield a successful harvest.
Wavy caps have a symbiotic relationship with human urbanization; therefore, as the global expansion of humans has become increasingly more accessible, this mushroom has spread across the earth.
The wavy pileus that is the most identifiable characteristic of the mushroom is chestnut brown in color. The stipe is white in color, but due to its high content of psilocybin and psilocin, it easily bruises blue when handled.
Wavy Caps are reported to be medium to high potency mushrooms. The trip contains bright, colorful visual hallucinations. Overall the trip is very akin to that of psilocybe cubensis strains.
Flying Saucers / Azzies (Psilocybe Azurescens)
Originally found in Oregan, USA, P. azurescens by Boy Scouts, it was officially classified in 1996 by renowned mycologist Paul Stamets. For the most part, this is a rarer mushroom, growing almost exclusively on the US Pacific West Coast.
Much like Wavy Caps, Azzies prefer colder temperatures, as well as woody substrates for growth. They also prefer outdoor cultivation rather than indoor.
Nicknamed “Flying Saucers” due to the very unique shape of their caps. The cap is also a rich golden color that can grow up to 10cm in diameter. They have a thin stripe which also tends to bruise dark blue with handling.
Psilocybe Azurescens are the most potent mushrooms of the psilocybe genus. They have a high concentration of psilocybin, psilocin, baeocystin, and norbaeocystin – the 4 psychoactive compounds in magic mushrooms. It is estimated that these quantities are two to three times more potent than that of P. cubensis strains. Its high potency makes it a suitable mushroom for micro-dosing.
The vast number of mushrooms in the psilocybe genus can make choosing the right mushroom for you a daunting task. Hopefully, our list has provided you with helpful information. Before cultivating or consuming magic mushrooms, research the legality of doing so in your area so that you don’t accidentally end up on the wrong side of the law.
Additionally, if you are choosing to consume mushrooms, ensure that you start by ingesting a low dosage so that you can avoid any adverse effects.