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What are Golden Teacher Mushrooms?

               Those who find themselves drawn to the intrigue and mystique of mushrooms, specifically those belonging to the Psilocybe genus, have undoubtedly heard of the Golden Teacher mushroom. Arguably the most popular and widely known of the Psilocybin variants, Golden Teacher mushrooms have gained widespread appeal as the most welcoming of this nook of the mushroom kingdom. With user reports describing experiences that range from soft and inviting to revelatory and awakening, Golden Teacher mushroom spores earn their namesake well. These mushrooms are part of a class of organisms that have been recognized by multiple cultures as “agents of change” – organisms which, on contact with a human mind, provoke experiences which many regard as providing lessons, prompting changes of perspective and belief, and uprooting old and worn-out convictions and prejudices. With its golden-brown, yellow-speckled cap donned, the Golden Teacher shows its students their own mind, and the world around them, in a new light.

               How did we come across these peculiar little beings? “How did humans discover magic mushrooms?” — this is perhaps the more important question in general. It may be a familiar notion to some entheogenic enthusiasts that the origins of such Golden Teachers began long ago in certain Central and South American cultures, but the specifics may be hazy. Let’s take a look, shall we?

               At Tassili n’Ajjer, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Algeria, thousands of cave paintings, some dating from 10,000 B.C., depict our human heritage in the form of our earliest activities: of hunting, domesticating animals, and other aspects of daily life. However, of special interest here are the paintings depicting magic and religious rituals – one of which depicts a shaman, with the face of a bee, and fists of mushroom silhouettes, and surrounded by mushrooms sprouting from their skin.


The most widely acknowledged candidate for the mushrooms adorning this ancient ancestor? Psilocybe. That’s right: the Golden Teacher mushroom we all know today is one in a long line of messengers stretching back to our earliest human experiences, being a representative of Psilocybe cubensis. The tradition of viewing fungi as teachers, guides to accompany shamans in communication with the spirit world, is one which stretches across both time and geography, as suggested by archeological evidence such as this cave painting and others like it, historical texts, sculptures, and even evidence in surviving languages of ancient cultures. In the Mazatec language, they are known as nti si tho, the Ones Who Leap Forth, in Nahua, as Teonanacatl, the Flesh of the Gods. The “legendary food of the gods,” the “healer of disease” known as Soma in ancient Hindu Vedic texts, has been identified by scholars as likely referring to the Amanita muscaria (though not a Psilocybe species, Amanita muscaria, or fly agaric, has also been widely used in Siberia and other parts of the northern Eurasian continent as a part of shamanic rituals).

               Perhaps the discussion of the effects of Golden Teacher mushrooms, the effects of their relatives, and the reason for a name such as “Golden Teacher,” is best summed up by the words of the legendary Mazatec shaman, Maria Sabina:

“There is a world beyond ours, a world that is far away, nearby, and invisible. And there is where God lives, where the dead live, the spirits and the saints, a world where everything has already happened and everything is known. I report what it says. The sacred mushroom takes me by the hand and brings me to the world where everything is known. It is they, the sacred mushrooms that speak in a way I can understand. I ask them and they answer me. When I return from the trip that I have taken with them, I tell what they have told me and what they have shown me.”

               (Quote from U.S. Forest Service website, “The Mighty Fungi”)


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Golden Teacher Mushrooms: Effects, Benefits & Risks

golden teacher mushrooms


The Golden Teacher mushroom is a well-known variety of psychedelic mushroom that contains psilocybin and psilocin and is grown using mushroom spores. Psilocybin is the main active ingredient in many types of psychoactive mushrooms, and it works by activating serotonin receptors in the brain, particularly in the prefrontal cortex. This part of the brain controls mood, cognition, and perception. Psilocybin-containing mushrooms are often sought after for their therapeutic effects on individuals with various severe psychological disorders.

The effects of psilocybin differ depending on factors such as the amount ingested, past experiences, and expectations. The experienced effects could last for several days, if not months, and can include altered perceptions of time, space, and surroundings, sudden and drastic mood or emotion changes, paranoia, confusion, euphoria, peacefulness, spiritual awakening or enlightenment, hallucinations, visual alterations and distortions, derealization, and distorted thinking. These effects can be influenced by the mindset, as well as the physical setting that the individual is in.

The effects of Golden Teacher mushrooms on the brain are similar to those of LSD, and they can alter perception, mood, and emotions, and can cause psychological distress such as extreme anxiety or short-term psychosis if taken without caution and proper research. The environment in which the mushrooms are consumed is a crucial factor in the user’s experience. Those who consume psilocybin in a calm and supportive environment often have a more positive transforming experience.

Research suggests that psilocybin can have long-term effects on personality. A study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found that high-dose psilocybin sessions resulted in “significant increases in Openness,” a psychological term for an individual’s attitude toward new experiences, which can be associated with traits like imagination, creativity, and aesthetic appreciation. In nearly 60% of study participants, openness “remained significantly higher than baseline more than 1 year after the session.”

Golden Teacher mushrooms can also cause temporary ego loss, which could be beneficial in the right context. This “ego dissolution” could change people’s outlook or worldview, and the sense of connection produced by this experience has the potential to be beneficial for people suffering from anxiety, depression, and some forms of addiction.

Physically, psilocybin-containing mushrooms are considered one of the least toxic drugs known. While lethal doses have been tested and determined in animals, there are no records for fatal doses of psilocybin mushrooms in humans. The effects of Golden Teacher mushrooms last around 4-6 hours, with peak effects occurring 2-3 hours after ingestion, and can include sensory enhancement and a sense of time changing.


Therapeutic Benefits: Despite the potential risks associated with their use, Golden Teacher mushrooms have been found to have therapeutic benefits for a range of mental health conditions. Here are some of the potential benefits:

  1. Reduced anxiety and depression: Studies have found that psychedelics, such as psilocybin and MDMA, can significantly reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression in individuals with treatment-resistant conditions.
  2. Improved quality of life: Psychedelics have been shown to improve overall quality of life in individuals with terminal illnesses, by reducing anxiety and depression and providing a sense of connection and meaning.
  3. Increased empathy and social connectedness: MDMA and psilocybin has been found to increase feelings of empathy and social connectedness, making it a promising treatment for social anxiety and PTSD.
  4. Addiction treatment: Psychedelics, such as ibogaine and ayahuasca, have shown promise in treating addiction to drugs such as opioids and cocaine.


Risks: While there are potential therapeutic benefits to using psychedelic substances, there are also risks associated with their use. Some of the risks of using psychedelics include:

  1. Psychological distress: Psychedelic experiences can be intense and unpredictable, which can lead to psychological distress. This can manifest as anxiety, panic attacks, or even psychotic episodes in some cases.
  2. Flashbacks: Some individuals may experience flashbacks, or recurring hallucinations, long after the drug has left their system. These can be distressing and interfere with daily functioning. This is also quite rare, and more common with LSD as opposed to mushrooms.
  3. HPPD: Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD) is a rare condition that can occur after using psychedelics. It involves persistent visual disturbances, such as seeing trails or halos around objects.
  4. Legal risks: The possession and use of many psychedelic substances are illegal in most countries. This can lead to legal consequences, including fines and imprisonment.

In conclusion, Golden Teacher mushrooms are a fairly potent strain of magic mushrooms known for their psychoactive effects and documented therapeutic benefits. However, their use is illegal in many countries, and caution should be exercised when trying them for the first time.


  1. “The Safety and Efficacy of Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy.” American Psychiatric Association.
  2. “Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy: A New Paradigm in Mental Health Care.” Harvard Medical School.
  3. “The Role of Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy in Psychiatry.” Current Psychiatry Reports.
  4. “Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy: What You Need to Know.” Verywell Mind.
  5. “Psychedelics and Mental Health: A Population Study.” PLOS One.
  6. “Therapeutic Use of LSD in Psychiatry: A Systematic Review of Randomized-Controlled Clinical Trials.” Frontiers in Psychiatry.