Much as cannabis has long been baked into brownies and is now flooding the market in chocolates and gummies, psilocybin mushrooms can be put into edibles. Once a niche product, these psychedelic goodies are predicted to be increasingly available as laws around the medicinal and recreational use of mushrooms are relaxed. Homemade edibles mask mushrooms' earthy taste, while commercial edibles may contain just psilocybin extract and no mushroom matter, reducing side effects.
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What are psilocybin edibles?
Exploding in popularity for both therapeutic and personal use and poised on the brink of decriminalization, psilocybin mushrooms are treading the path that cannabis did a few years ago. And much like cannabis, magic mushrooms are being consumed in a range of edibles, which are more appetizing and easier for novices.
Magic mushrooms are traditionally eaten plain, either in fresh or dried forms or brewed into teas. However, their flavor—commonly described as similar to dirt or feet—repels some people. Others don’t like the rubbery, spongy texture of whole mushrooms.
For years people in their kitchens have been making psilocybin mushrooms more appealing: using them as a pizza topping, adding them to pasta dishes, or blending them into a smoothie. Some ingenious psychedelic chefs grind mushrooms into a powder that can be added to a variety of dishes. All of these dishes could be referred to as psilocybin edibles.
But loosening laws mean it will likely soon be legal, and lucrative, to sell mass-produced psilocybin edibles such as chocolate bars and gummies. In some places, it's already started, slightly under the counter.
In Canada, stores and online vendors openly sell psilocybin edibles, usually in microdoses. The drug remains illegal in Canada, although the law is largely unenforced, and vendors hope to accelerate legalization by operating openly.
Still, in the United States, no vendor openly or legally sells psilocybin edibles. They’re available only on the black market.
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Popular shroom edibles
Shrooms have been blended into a wide variety of food and drink products to make ingesting them easier and to improve the experience of taking them for the user. Here are some of the most popular shroom edibles:
Chocolate is one of the most popular forms of weed edibles, and psilocybin edibles will likely follow a similar path. Already, in the early above-ground market for magic mushrooms, several companies in Canada are selling psilocybin chocolate bars (also known as chocolate mushrooms) designed for microdosing.
Many people consume psilocybin mushrooms by brewing them into tea at home.
Eating raw psilocybin mushrooms can cause some people nausea and vomiting, colloquially known as gut rot. The effect is thought to largely be from the mushroom itself, part of its defense against herbivores. The cell walls of fungi contain chitin, a tough, largely indigestible polysaccharide. This leads to stomach pain and nausea. Although some people claim that applying heat to mushrooms, as when you make tea, reduces the psychedelic potency, it also breaks down those chitin cell walls, making digestion easier and reducing nausea.
Consuming mushrooms in a tea also means a faster onset and shorter, more intense trips. Many people use other ingredients, such as herbs or ginger, to mask the mushroom taste or further reduce nausea.
Another popular cannabis edible form—the gummy—is being applied to psilocybin. Some producers extract the psilocybin compound from mushrooms and add that to a liquid they turn into flavored gummies. That means the gummies are produced with no organic mushroom matter, so the consumer won’t experience the mushroom's negative effects, which can range from nausea to muscle aches and cramps.
Psilocybin gummies produced by a reliable manufacturer also have consistent quantities of psilocybin, taking the guesswork out of dosing.
Can you cook magic mushrooms?
Shroom aficionados have long claimed that magic mushrooms shouldn’t be cooked because the heat would degrade the psilocybin and reduce their potency.
However, the pseudonymous Virginia Haze and Dr. K Mandrake, authors of the Psilocybin Chef Cookbook, say there’s no hard evidence that heat does affect the psilocybin content. In their personal experience, the effect is only minimal, and their cookbook contains recipes that require heat or lengthy baking times. Heat also breaks down the chitin cell walls of the mushroom so it can be digested more easily.
However, other people disagree and say you should only expose mushrooms to low heat for short periods.
Are psilocybin edibles legal?
Psilocybin edibles are currently illegal in the US under the federal Controlled Substances Act.
However, the state of Oregon and several cities across the country, from Oakland, California to Ann Arbor, Michigan, have decriminalized psilocybin mushrooms, usually for personal use. This means people won’t face prosecution for using and consuming small quantities of magic mushrooms but usually can’t buy or sell mass-produced edibles.
Oregonians have also voted to legalize the therapeutic, supervised use of psilocybin, with access due to start by 2023. The details are still being ironed out, but the state will likely license manufacturers to produce products, potentially including edibles, which can be consumed at licensed service centers for medical purposes, for example, to treat depression, addiction, or PTSD.
Do psilocybin edibles feel the same as shrooms?
By all reports, psilocybin edibles cause largely similar effects to magic mushrooms consumed raw. But there are a few ways they might feel a little different.
First, some mass-produced psilocybin edibles, particularly chocolate bars, are calibrated for microdosing. On a microdose, you’ll feel happier, energized, focused, and less anxious but won’t experience any psychedelic effects such as distorted senses or hallucinations. But that’s purely down to the size of the dose: usually around one-tenth or less of the ordinary dose. If you ate the entire chocolate bar, you’d get the standard psychedelic effects.
Edibles may also dispense with some of the negative side effects of mushrooms. Gummies often contain just psilocybin and no mushroom matter, so you won’t get nausea or muscle cramps magic mushrooms can cause. Even cooking the mushroom can mean it's easier to digest.
Depending on the form you eat the mushroom in, the effects may come on faster or slower. If the mushroom is in a tea, expect to have a shorter but more fast-acting experience. If you eat the mushrooms as part of a wider meal like pizza or pasta, your full stomach means it will take longer for the psilocybin to hit your bloodstream and brain.
Read here to learn more about how long shrooms last and how long psilocybin stays in your system.
Are psilocybin edibles dangerous?
Psilocybin mushrooms are one of the safest recreational drugs and are also well-tolerated, with only minor adverse effects, by patients in clinical trials. However, they’re not without danger, even when they’re packaged in appealing gummies.
These risks include:
difficulty with dosing: Some forms of psilocybin edibles make dosing easier: you know exactly how much psilocybin is in every gummy or piece of chocolate and can calibrate how much you take. It’s a little trickier to work out the doses for homemade edibles. And with either type, some people will eat more than they should. That’s why people are advised to keep the doses low when making their own edibles so a second slice of mushroom-topped pizza doesn’t catapult them into another dimension.
- Mixing with other substances: Though not much research has been done into psilocybin interactions with other substances, taking other drugs while on shroom edibles can lead to feeling negative effects of both. Read here to learn more about mixing shrooms and other substances.
unsuspecting eaters: The biggest risk from edibles isn’t to the person who bought or made them but rather to unwitting eaters, who might get more enlightenment and hallucinations than they bargained for when they swipe a bar of chocolate. That’s why you should always keep edibles away from other people, especially children, and pets.
nausea and vomiting: Psilocybin mushrooms are known for causing nausea and vomiting. When paired with certain types of food, this effect might increase, and you could be left feeling very sick.