Psilocybe cubensis
Scientific classification
Binomial name
Psilocybe cubensis

Psilocybe cubensis are a psychedelic mushroom whose active ingredient is psilocybin. They belong to the Agaricaceae family. They grow on cow dung (and deer dung in the wild) and bruise with a bluish/purplish color, often still visible on dried stems. In the US, they are sometimes found growing wild in the Northeast and Pacific Northwest. It is used in Mesoamerica, notably by the Chol and the Lacandón Mayans in southern Mexico to communicate with their deities.

It was identified as Stropharia cubensis by F.S. Earle in Cuba in 1904 (hence the specific name). It was later identified independently as Naematoloma caerulescens in Tonkin in 1907 by N. Patouillard and as Stropharia cyanescens by W.A. Murrill in 1941 in Florida novelty. These synonyms were later assigned to the species P. cubensis. It is later founded throughout U.S. Gulf Coast, Mexico, Central America, South America, West Indies, Thailand, Cambodia, India, and Australia.

Its hallucinogenic compounds are:

  • psilocybin
  • psilocin
  • N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT)
  • Psilocin (4-hydroxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine)
  • serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine)
Psilocin, psilocybin, and psilocin were all phosphoric acid esters isolated by Albert Hoffmann in 1958 in a related and less potent species, P. mexicana. Lacandón priests take them in seclusion with "god pots".

Psychedelic mushrooms have rich and varied spiritual significance -- they have been used in religious ceremonies for centuries. The Aztecs reserved them for their holiest ceremonies and called them Teonancatl ("divine flesh").

For a modest psychedelic effect, a minimum of 1 gram dried mushrooms is ingested orally. One gram is usually sufficient to produce a mild effect and up to 5-6 dried grams would be considered a very high dose and would be likely to produce an extremely intense experience. Effects often take effect after approximately 45 minutes and last from 4-5 hours. Hallucinatory effects often occur, including walls that seem to breathe, a vivid enhancement of colors and the animation of organic shapes. At higher doses, experiences tend to be less social and more entheogenic, often intense and spiritual in nature.

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