Mushroom Dosages: Feed Your Head

The dosage and intensity of magic mushrooms depends not only on the species, but where it was grown and how it has been handled. For example, there are several different strains of P. cubensis; Thai P. cubensis mushrooms are considered to be stronger and can result in a more intense high, while those found on the Gulf Coast are supposed to be produce a "mellower" high. The psylocybin content in the mushrooms also tends to deteriorate when they're dried, so people ingest more to compensate. Mushrooms are generally sold in the U.S. in eighths, meaning one-eighth of an ounce (3.5 grams), which usually costs around $20. The effects of magic mushrooms will always vary from person to person in addition to from mushroom to mushroom.

In general, people new to taking mushrooms are advised to start with 1 gram of dried mushrooms (the equivalent of about one P. cubensis), wait an hour, and then, based on how they feel, decide whether to take more. Many people do simply chew on fresh or dried mushrooms, but they don't always taste good. Some magic mushrooms are described as having a floury taste, while others are sour or bitter -- eating them with fruit such as strawberries can combat the flavor. People who really dislike the taste and texture come up with recipes for everything from smoothies to chili, although cooking the mushrooms for long periods of time will likely break down the psilocybin and result in a weaker psychotropic effect.

Magic mushrooms don't actually have to be eaten to feel their effects. They can be brewed into a mushroom tea by grinding them, steeping them in hot water and straining the resulting liquid. Proponents of this method claim that this has no impact on the intensity of the trip. Since alcohol and magic mushrooms are often used together, sometimes the mushrooms are soaked in rum or tequila and the liquid used in mixed drinks or simply drunk. People who have tripped on mushroom tea or extract say that they begin to feel the effects quicker than if they simply ate the mushroom. Finally, sometimes the dried mushrooms are ground and packed into gelatin capsules to create mushroom pills. This way, the taste and texture are avoided completely.

Most people simply buy their magic mushrooms. As mentioned above, picking them in the wild is an option. However, some enterprising magic mushroom lovers cultivate their own at home. We'll look at this next.