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A Comprehensive Guide to Psychedelic (‘Magic’) Mushrooms: Types and Effects

The world of mycology and psychedelic mushrooms can be both fascinating and perplexing, especially for beginners. With over 200 different species containing psychedelic compounds like psilocybin, psilocin, and baeocystin, understanding the various types of mushrooms and their effects becomes crucial. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the diverse world of psychedelic mushrooms, their classifications, and their effects on the human body.

Types of Psychedelic Mushrooms

Psychedelic mushrooms, commonly known as psilocybin mushrooms, come in a wide array of species and genera. Some of the most prevalent genera include Psilocybe, Gymnopilus, Panaeolus, and Copelandia. While Mexico boasts the highest number of psychedelic mushroom species (53), these unique fungi can also be found in Canada, the United States, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and surrounding islands.

  1. Psilocybe Cubensis: One of the most well-known and abundant varieties, Psilocybe cubensis, often referred to as the “golden cap,” features a cinnamon-brown top with a diameter ranging from 2 to 8 cm. The cap starts with a conical shape and eventually flattens out as it matures. With approximately 60 different strains, each varying in shape, texture, and potency, Psilocybe cubensis is easily recognizable due to its distinct golden colors.
  2. Psilocybe Mexicana: Commonly found in Central and South America, the Psilocybe Mexicana, or Mexican mushroom, sports a small brown cap with a diameter of 0.5 to 2 cm. When injured, the cap of the mushroom turns blue, serving as a distinguishing factor. Known for its mild effects, the Psilocybe Mexicana is favored by some mushroom enthusiasts.
  3. Psilocybe Semilanceata: Often referred to as the “liberty bell,” Psilocybe semilanceata grows in grassy, damp fields where animals graze, but not on animal dung. With a conical-shaped cap ranging from 5 to 25 mm in diameter, this species induces visual hallucinations, heightened reflexes, increased heart rate, and pupil dilation.
  4. Psilocybe Azurescens: Thriving in the northern Oregon Coast, Psilocybe azurescens is known for its high concentrations of psychoactive compounds like psilocybin and psilocin. Its cap resembles a flying saucer, giving it the nickname “flying saucer mushroom.” The effects of this highly adaptive species are usually felt around 30 minutes after ingestion.
  5. Psilocybe Cyanescens: Recognizable by its wavy cap shape, Psilocybe cyanescens, also known as “wavy caps” or “blue halo,” is found in the United Kingdom and North America. Due to its potency, it is widely used among enthusiasts in the United States.
  6. Psilocybe Pelliculosa: Growing in clusters on forest debris, Psilocybe pelliculosa is commonly found in British Columbia, Canada, and the Pacific Northwest regions of the United States. Initially featuring a cone-shaped cap, it develops into a broadly bell-shaped top. This species is known to have milder effects compared to others.
  7. Psilocybe Weilli: Among the rarest magic mushrooms, Psilocybe weilli can only be found in northern Georgia, United States. These mushrooms grow from May to December in areas with red clay soil and pine needles. They are characterized by their unique smell and taste, often described as similar to cucumber.

Psychedelic Mushroom Effects and Safety

Psychedelic mushrooms exhibit similar effects on the human body, including hyperventilation, increased heartbeat, heightened sensory and emotional responses, and drowsiness. The intensity of these effects is directly linked to the concentration of active biochemicals present in the mushroom. However, it’s important to note that identifying and distinguishing psychedelic mushrooms from toxic varieties is crucial to ensure safety.


With a vast array of species and genera, psychedelic mushrooms offer a captivating journey into the world of mycology and altered states of consciousness. By understanding the different types of mushrooms, their effects, and taking necessary precautions, enthusiasts can embark on safe and enlightening experiences. Remember to prioritize proper identification and research, and always approach psychedelic mushrooms with respect and responsible use.

Disclaimer: The use of psychedelic substances is subject to legal restrictions in many countries. It is important to familiarize yourself with the laws and regulations in your jurisdiction before considering the use or possession of psychedelic mushrooms.