Mushrooms for medicine.
For thousands of years, humans have purposefully consumed and exploited a variety of plants and fungi known to produce psychoactive effects. From caffeine to tobacco, from coca to opium, from kratom to cannabis, psychedelic fungi are amongst those used for religious and spiritual ceremonies, as well as for treating physical ailments.
The source of this interest? The mushroom extract, its sacred medicine: psilocybin.
Psilocybin: the fungal serotonin.
Psilocybin is a psychoactive alkaloid that has the incredible particularity of having the same molecular structure as our serotonin receptor; these receptors are able to regulate important functions such as mood, memory, anxiety, and depression. In that sense, psilocybin works as a fungal serotonin with various benefits.
Surprisingly, the molecular structure of psilocybin and our serotonin receptors is also found on the skin of certain psychoactive toads and on certain plants as well.
What if this molecular pattern acted as a neurologic key?
Below comparative images of the molecular structures of serotonin(top) and psilocybin.
Because psilocybin has a strong binding affinity with our serotonin receptors, because it is not considered an addictive drug or one that provokes drug-seeking behaviours, it is being researched for its therapeutical potential in treating a variety of neuropsychiatric conditions such as anxiety, addiction, anorexia, OCD, and depression.
Have you ever wondered what happens inside your brain when you’re on magic mushrooms?
Here is an image of neurologic brain activity after consuming psilocybin. Experts say our brain under psilocybin has similar brain activity as during meditation; neurones re-organize as
the blood flow to the default mode network (DMN) diminishes.
Which mushrooms produce psilocybin?
Magic mushrooms can be found in a large range of habitats: mosses, dungs, soils, grasslands, wood debris, in mountains, urban settings, ocean coasts, or arid lands; name it! these inconspicuous organisms are made to adapt.
Four genera of mushrooms are to this day reported to contain psychoactive species: Conocybe-Pholiotina, Inocybe, Panaeolus-Copelandia, and Psilocybe. At Micro Zoomers,
we added a section entitled Hybrid which focuses on all the “engineered” strains.
Keep a close eye on this category, it is growing quickly.
Psilocybe, which translates from Greek to “bald head”, is one of the dominant varieties of psilocybin-producing mushrooms. Psilocybin was actually named after the genus (type) of the specimen it was first isolated from, which was a Psilocybe mexicana.
All Psilocybes are gilled, and usually have a blue bruising flesh, (which is a sign of presence of psilocin). It is agreed that most magic mushrooms have a black to dark blue spore deposit. If you are curious on how to recognize Psilocybes, look into the Stamets rules.
Yet, please remember that it is absolutely not recommended to hunt magic mushrooms in the wild as the odds of running across a deadly species are higher than the odds of finding an easily identifiable magical one.
Mindset, setting and intentions.
Magic mushrooms are powerful and their presence within us can unravel all types of mental states. Before you consume magic mushrooms, have a look at our article to learn about meaningful ways to prepare for your experience. Being mindful and setting yourself intentions helps you be ready for whatever voyage you are about to embark on. Here at Micro Zoomers, we want to make sure you have the best tools to do so; that’s why we are assembling a list of the best magic mushrooms for beginners.
Potency is variable.
Potency refers to the amounts of psilocybin and psilocin present in each magic mushroom.
Potencies, even if measurable by experts, vary not only from one specie to another, but also from one specimen to another. One specimen of Golden Teacher might be a little more intense than another Golden Teacher parent. Magic mushroom growers often report potency levels changing from one flush to another (usually increasing), so even when you think you know what you are growing, it can be an ultimate surprise.
In the same optic, dosage is very personal and subjective to a variety of factors.
While there are many ways one can consume magic mushrooms, the practice of microdosing is one which has gained in popularity these last few years.
Microdosing allows you to explore the magic mushroom’s personality at your rhythm, slowly but surely; it also allows to pick your magic mushrooms in accordance to your need and intention. While some consumers are microdosing for wellness, others are doing so to enhance their day to day performance such as levels of energy or focus.
Best magic mushrooms for beginners.
Surely, there is always a common thread of personality within a similar mushroom species, yet keep in mind, each is unique, and even if it is said a strain is mild, it might feel extremely strong to you. The best way to know which magic mushroom will fit you is to have a look at our 60+ strains.
It feels a bit pompous to claim we know which magic mushrooms are ideal for you, newbie-psychonaut; what we can do though, is exchange and share, from one curious magic mushroom lover to another, in hopes to create an enriching discussions on a subject we truly care about.
In that aim, here is a list of our magic mushroom for beginners based on what we know, what we suspect and what we believe. So read up and let us know what magic mushrooms would be, or are a good match for you and why.
Golden Teacher: The Reliable Guide.
The Golden Teacher, also commonly named Golden Top or Cubes, is the most emblematic of the magic mushroom strains out there. Its popularity comes from its worldwide distribution as well as its amazingly resistant nature and ease of cultivation.
Recognizable by its meaty stem, its vibrant bulbous golden cap, the Golden Teacher can be found growing on dung, worldwide. It is amongst the strains that has played a central part in sacred ceremonies from around the world. The Mixe (Mijes), a tribal group from Mexico who always consume their mushrooms in pairs, respectfully referred to them as “our masters, the mushrooms of the world”, or “the mushroom of reason”. If you enjoy the Golden Teacher, check out his popular subtropical acolyte Psilocybe subcubensis.
As its name suggests, the Golden Teacher has the reputation of being a reliable guide that fosters a state of serenity and open-mindedness. Consumers report a very “manageable and energetic high”, with a strong sense of connectedness and unity. Perhaps because it is considered a smooth-sailing “wisdom-provider”, it is often used for studies on psilocybin. If you are curious to know more, have a look at our article on Golden Teacher and the dream state.
Interesting fact: Golden Teacher was first documented from Cuba, thus its original name Psilocybe cubensis, but trade routes of the Spanish missionary expeditions could have carried spore mass from subtropical African islands to the New World, mostly through horse feces.
Also, in the mid-seventies, following an increase of interest in magic mushrooms, travellers brought back Golden Teacher spores to countries like Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador, Columbia and the Amazon.
These strains today carry the names of these places such as the Brazil strain, the Ecuador Strain, the Amazon strain, the Thai Elephant dung, the Burmese Cubensis the Vietnamese cubensis, and the Argentinian strain. Because the Golden Teacher thrives all over the world, it is in a way, a universal strain.
While it is considered of a mild to moderate potency, because this strain has undergone more than a decade of artificial mutation, its appearance and potency can drastically change. With 60 cataloged strains of Psilocybe Cubensis to this day, and many more on their way, we can all agree the lineage of the species is both fascinating and exceptional.
It was an unfortunate intoxication back in 1983, while mistaking Inocybe aeruginascens to the edible fairy ring mushroom Marismius oreades, that revealed for the first time the presence of psilocybin in this specie. What makes this small tobacco-coloured magic mushroom special is that it contains almost equal amounts of three serotonin-like hallucinogenic compounds: psilocybin, baeocystin, and aeruginascin.
Aeruginascin is analog to psilocybin and is also closely related to the frog skin toxin bufotenidine (5-HTQ), a potent 5-HT3 receptor agonist, and has been found exclusively in Inocybe aeruginascens so far.
Jochen Gartz, the German mycologist and chemist who first discovered and named aeruginascin, has shown that it can modify the pharmacological action of psilocybin. This entourage effect, unique to this strain seems to be responsible in fostering a persistent “good trip” experience.
Studies report that consumers (even accidental ingestions), have never reported a “bad trip” after ingesting the species, but rather a usually calm, euphoric state, often with “colorful mystical experiences.”
Gartz says that this mushroom, because of its chemical structure, is unlikely to cross the blood-brain barrier, perhaps limiting risks for psychotic episodes and offering an overall smoother experience.
He believes Inocybe aeruginascens’ exceptional entourage effect should be further studied to help treat conditions such as cluster headaches, depression, and other health disorders. Aeruginascin is still under-researched, yet it is suggested it might be to psilocybin, what CBD is to THC. For this reason, we propose Inocybe aeruginascens as a candidate for a smooth sailing beginner’s trip.
For similar potency and perhaps similar effects, explore its parent strain Psilocybe subaeruginascens. Keep in mind, even if they look alike, it doesn’t mean they have the same personality nor potency.
Psilocybe aztecorum: The “Sleepy Head” Mushroom.
Fruiting from August to October in the high mountains of Mexico, Psilocybe aztecorum is named in honour of the Aztecs also known as the Nahua people. Alongside P. caerulescens and a few other species, P. aztecorum was considered sacred and referred to as teonanacatl, translating to “flesh of the gods”.
The Aztecs consumed these “shamanic species” during religious and spiritual ceremonies called Veladas. They believed the mushrooms could heal the soul, release pain, and free their spirits from evil. Below left, the Aztec Prince of Flowers, Xochipilli, featuring engraved details of Psilocybe aztecorum.
Often described by consumers as a profound spiritual experience, with revelations and deep healing, others describe a very visual experience with an overall pleasant vibrant feeling. Both agree it is a very “body oriented” strain.
After witnessing the effects of these sacred ceremonies on the Aztecs, Spanish monk Sahagún refers to P. aztecorum in his manuscripts as “dormilón”, meaning “night down” or “sleepy heads”. This common name translates well the unique relaxing effects of this particular strain. Let’s remember how subjective our reactions to psychoactive medicine are: while some fall asleep, others fold in laughter or look madly drunk.
The B+ Strain: The Versatile
The B+ Strain is amongst the popular magic mushroom hybrid strains that are at the same time transformative, fun, and performative.
It is said to be a very versatile strain, that can adapt to any situation: you give it an intention, it will gladly follow and help you foster the perfect mindset for it.
The B+ Strain is an elegantly large Psilocybe cubensis hybrid believed to be the result from a genetic union with the very potent Flying Saucer.
Breeding mushrooms is like breeding personalities.
The union of these two psychoactive strains had an intention. It was a way to weave the smooth mood of the P. cubensis genetics to the more aggressive presence of the P. azurescens.
In other words: mixing the adaptable social skills of P. cubensis to the energetic impulse of the Flying Saucer.
With a higher-than-average potency, the B+ Strain is a “chameleon magic mushroom” that is know to foster a warm vibe.
It is often described as a good candidate for microdosing to help improve with wellness or performance, especially with focus, energy, sociableness, and creativity.
The Z Strain: The Booster
The Z Strain also known as Z Cube, is an energizing cubensis hybrid thought to be a genetic isolation of the Golden Teacher.
Perfect for both mind and body, wellbeing and performance, this uplifting strain resonates with energy, clarity, focus, and creativity; yes, yes, you can feel energized and focused.
For all these reasons, the Z Strain is a vibrant, creative choice, and clearly amongst the most appreciated magic mushroom hybrid strains out there.
With a moderate to high potency, its grounding yet energetic boost offers an overall englobing bodily sensation that make him an ultimate favourite for micro-dosing and “tripping” alike.
The Z cube magic mushroom is often regarded as a good candidate for new consumers as it is said to foster a smooth “manageable” kind of high, similar to the Golden teacher.
At higher doses though be aware you will enter a state of visual gymnastics where fractal shapes will be flying all around you.
In that sense, suddenly Z is the first letter of the alphabet.
Stay tuned, we update our list regularly. And please share your thoughts with us in the review section.