Cubes, Golden Tops, San Isidros

Psilocybe Cubensis aka Golden Top 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. Psilocybe cubensis was first documented in 1906 when it was found growing on cow dung in a pasture in Cuba, thus its epithet “cubensis” meaning “from Cuba”. Studies by the Mexican Psilocybe expert Gaston Guzmán suggest that Psilocybe cubensis aka Golden Tops is actually indigenous to Africa and that this dung-loving specie used horses to travel by boat alongside the Spaniards during the Inquisition; horses followed the conquistadores on land, and the dung did the rest…

Formerly known as Naematoloma caerulescens (1907) and Stropharia cyanescens (1941), Psilocybe cubensis was first identified by Franklin Sumner Earle and named Stropharia cubensis (1904). It was found growing respectively in northern Vietnam and Florida, another example of the optimum proliferation of these dung-loving species.

Psilocybe cubensis is a meaty looking magic mushroom, with a generally dense stem and a large, bulbous, broad golden cap. Commonly called “Golden Tops”, “Cubes” or Golden Halo, P. cubensis is like the mother of all cubensis strains.
Its resistant nature, manageable potency, relatively easy growth and generous fruiting have made him the most popular choice for cultivation. From the Hymenogastraceae family, it is known to grow naturally worldwide in tropical and subtropical areas.
History believes that the trade routes of the Spanish missionary expeditions could have carried spore mass from subtropical African islands to the New World. This explains why Psilocybe cubensis is the only entheogenic mushroom specie carrying an epithet relating to Spanish Catholicism and used by the indigenous people when referring to it: San Isidro, the Spanish Saint of farming.
In the mid-seventies, following an increase of interest in the vision-giving powers of these magic mushrooms, travellers brought back spores to Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador, Columbia and the Amazon; the strains carried the names of their place of origin such as Matias Romero, the Brazil strain, the Ecuadorian, the Amazon strain , the Argentinian strain, and the Palenque strain. This worldwide distribution remarkably increased their accessibility, and thus their popularity.

Today, Psilocybe cubensis is probably the most widely known, cultivated, and consumed magic mushroom strain. Because it is considered to have a moderate potency and has been around for so long, it is one of the most trusted and preferred strains for beginner psychonauts.
Some sub-species of the Cubensis strain include Golden teacher, B+, A+.  And so many more that are considered “hybrids” are descendants passing on the impeccable cubensis genes.

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.

Visual Description

• Cap: 1.5-8 cm broad, convex or flat. Conic-campanulate, frequently with a pronounced central bump (umbo) that remains as cap grows, flattens and darkens when mature. Coloration vary from reddish cinnamon brown, becoming lighter with age to golden brown when mature. Margins are pale yellow or white. P. Cubensis have a hydrophanous nature, their coloration changes throughout their growth accordingly to the humidity levels. Surface viscid, flesh bruising bluish. • Gills: close, crowded, thinner on the sides and larger in the center, around the stem. Adnate to adnexed, coloration pale gray in young age, becoming deep purplish gray to nearly black in maturity, often mottled. • Stipe:40-150mm long by 5-15mm wide. Mostly thicker towards the base. Color is whitish but may discolor yellowish. Bruising bluish when injured. Surface is smooth, dry and may be striated on the upper area. Veil leaving a well-developed, persistent, white membrane ring. • Spore print: dark purplish brown. • Microscopic features: 11.5-17 x 8-11 µ. • Taste and odor: It is said to have a smell and taste similar to fresh ground flour: farinaceous.

Potency Description

Analyses on the potency of P. cubensis vary substantially. 0.50% psilocybin, 0.25% psilocin (Heim and Hofmann 1958) 0.63% psilocybin, 0.11% psilocin (Gartz 1994) Stijve and Meijer (1993) found on a Mexican strain: 15% psilocybin, 50% psilocin strain, and on an Amazonian strain: 15% psilocybin, 33% psilocin. Bigwood and Beug (1982a) found an exceptional 1.3% psilocybin, 0.35% psilocin. Studies shows that potency varies according to substrate composition. Also, mushrooms grown indoors seem consistently more potent than the ones collected in the fields; nutritional factor in relation to the substrate composition and the sheltering of the growth (protection from the damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation) seem to both play a role in making a mushroom more active.

Habitat Origin

Tropical and subtropical. Found worldwide: Cuba, Mexico, Central America, northern South America, southeastern United States , the subtropical Far East (India , Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand), the regions of Australia, Zimbabwe. Grows solitary or in group in the spring summer and fall, with a preference for tropical and subtropical regions.They are saprotrophic: they grow on bovine dung (cattle, oxen, yaks, water buffalo), horse or elephant dung or well-manured grounds. Its zootrophic nature is believed to have encouraged its distribution world-wide (through cattle dung and the bovine industry). The largest fruiting are reported two months prior to the hottest period; in southeastern United States, May and June are the best months for picking, even if they are found until January.

Strain Effects

Consumers report a very "classic" trip with a "manageable: and energetic high: euphoria, feelings of connectedness and unity, introspective and philosophical thoughts, synaesthesia, visual stimulation, and a less ego-influenced perspectives. Its wide distributing and connection to the shamanistic culture of rituals have made this mushroom as well known and appreciated strain. A recent study suspects aeruginascin, a minor component present in Psilocybe cubensis and Inocybe aeruginascen, could be responsible for a “smoother trip”, often referred to as an euphoric state rather than a “bad trip” or dysphoric state. Despite these observations, the pharmacological activity of aeruginascin has remained unexplored.

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