Magic mushrooms are all over the place right – in new studies, in the media, and in a growing number of conversations between everyday people. It seems like everyone you meet these days is using them, or curious about them. For those curious individuals, it can seem a bit overwhelming to get started. Where do you buy them? How much should you use? What kind should you try? Today, we have the answer to that last question – let’s take a closer look at some of the best magic mushrooms for beginners.
What are magic mushrooms?
There are two types of mushrooms that are known to produce psychoactive effects: those containing psilocybin and those containing muscimol. While both are considered “psychedelic”, the active ingredients and how they function in the body are very different.
Usually, when people use the term “magic mushrooms”, they’re typically referring to those containing psilocybin. Psilocybin is the main psychedelic compound in mushrooms and truffles. It’s a basic tryptamine hallucinogen, with properties similar to lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and DMT, although the chemical structure and effects are different.
Research shows a common mechanism of action through serotonergic (5-HT) pathways. Psilocybin is a strong agonist at 5-HT receptors which are located within the thalamus and cortex of the brain. The onset of hallucinogenic effects typically kicks in around 20 to 40 minutes after consumption, and they last up to 6 hours. Psilocybin’s threshold for intoxication is approximately 40 mcg/kg of body weight, although it can vary from person to person. In dried mushrooms, this translates to about 2 grams, although some people use up to 7 grams for a good psychedelic trip.
The effects kick in about 30 minutes after consumption and last anywhere from 4 to 8 hours, with a roughly 1-hour-long peak somewhere in the middle of the trip. Visual, auditory, and sensory hallucinations are common depending on the dose, as are feelings of euphoria, connectivity, introspection, and wonder.
Then we have Amanita mushrooms, which contain muscimol. There are several different types of amanita mushrooms, but the most popular are muscaria, pantherina, and citrina. Amanita mushrooms belong to the Basidiomycota family of fungi. They are a highly adaptable mushrooms species that can now be found throughout the world, and it’s closely tied to various deciduous and coniferous trees, commonly found growing under birch and pine.
The high is described as being euphoric, comforting, hypnotic, and dissociative. With strong anxiolytic properties, they have the potential to produce sound and visual enhancement, feelings of unity and joy, dream potentiation, and a strong body high. Hallucinations are not typcial with these mushrooms, unless you take a really high dose. In my limited experience with Amanita pantherina, I would say that’s it is much milder than psilocybin. Even eating the dried shrooms (which I used 10 grams in one sitting), they’re still not as strong as psilocybin, but still very fun.
Magic Mushrooms for beginners – Best Strains
Golden Teachers are one of the most widely accessible types of psilocybin mushrooms, and as such, are often the first strain that many people try. Named after their iconic gold-capped appearance (golden), and for their introspective, insightful effects (teacher), these are an all-time favorite for most psychonauts. The effects are less visual than other varieties, which is another reason they a great option for beginners.
Mexicana mushrooms have been used for thousands of years, but they were first classified by French mycologists in 1955. Some people claim that Mexicanas are less potent than other strains, but research shows that they contain less water than other mushrooms varieties, which make them more potent on a dry weight basis. That being said, my experience with them is that they’re just about as strong penis envys (more on those further down), but the high is very chill and low-energy. Visuals and sensory effects were comparable though.
Rumor has it that Panaeolus cyanescens were nicknamed Blue Meanies after the classic psychedelic film created by the Beatles – Yellow Submarine. They’re very common and extremely popular, because they’re potent and generally easy to get a hold of. Another interesting thing about Blue Meanies is that they are higher in psilocin than other mushrooms, so the effects come on quickly cause our bodies to less work to convert the remaining psilocybin. Some believe that Blue Meanies are up to three times more potent than other strains, but there is little published data to support these claims.
Although Penis Envys are quite strong, I included them in this list because their popularity has grown tremendously over the last few years as more people rush to try shrooms for themselves. As a matter of fact, numerous industry sites as well as medical news today have stated that Penis Envys are currently the most sought-after strain. There are four known varieties of penis evny mushrooms: albino, uncut, number 6, and trans. All produce similar effects, but albino are believed to be the strongest while trans are the least potent.
As far as the amanita mushrooms go, I would opt for the pantherina variety because they are stronger. I know this article is for beginners, but since these mushrooms are not as visual as other hallucinogenic fungi, I would go for the stronger version just to get your money’s worth. You can always start with a low dose to test the waters, and work your way up from there.
A few things to keep in mind
In addition to strains, there are several other things to keep in mind if you’re new to mushrooms. First and foremost is dosing. Regardless of what strain you pick or how prepared you think you are, none if it matters if you take the wrong dose. For example, if someone is planning for a light adventure but they eat 3 grams of mushrooms because they don’t know what they’re doing, they’ll be in for a crazy ride. Similarly, if you’re planning for a hardcore psychedelic trip with full-blown visuals that last all night, but you only buy a gram of shrooms, you’ll be sorely disappointed.
Another thing to consider is set and setting. “Set and setting” is of utmost importance when it comes to having a happy and therapeutic psychedelic trip. The general consensus is that it is best to avoid unfamiliar situations, especially if you’re a novice user, and you should do everything possible to construct a relaxing and safe tripping environment BEFORE you start your adventure.
Included in set and setting, is to make sure you’re in good company. At best, being around bad company or people that make you uncomfortable can be awkward and unpleasant. At worst, hanging out with the wrong people while tripping can become a literal nightmare complete with terrifying hallucinations. Always make sure you trip with people you know and trust.
Magic Mushrooms for beginners – Final thoughts
While this list is a bit short, these are the strains that I would personally recommend to people who are new to the world of magic mushrooms. Some are mild and some are potent, but all are relatively consistent in their produced effects.
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