INTENSITY: 3 to 7 for most experiences.
INFLITRATION OF EARTH?
There are dozens of species of mushrooms
which contain the psychoactive alkaloids psilocybin/psilocin in active
amounts. 99% of the psilocybin mushrooms I've seen sold on the underground
market are the variety known as Psilocybe cubensis (also called
Stropharia cubensis), and dosage levels discussed below pertain
to this variety. Some species of psilocybin mushrooms contain up to 10
times as much psilocybin by weight as cubensis, producing an equivalent
experience at a much lower dose.
The use of psilocybin mushrooms can
be traced back thousands of years. In Plants of the Gods, Schultes
and Hofmann trace the use of these
mushrooms to numerous locations and Indian cultures in pre-Colombian Mexico
and South America. The Indians held the mushrooms with such reverence that
the Aztecs named them Teonanacatl, meaning "flesh of the gods" or
"divine flesh." Sacred objects relating to mushrooms, such as the mushroom
stones shown above, have been found dating back as far as 1000 B.C.
McKenna suggests that hallucinogenic mushroom use may be much older
than 3000 years, with the mushrooms being consumed and worshipped by early
forms of humankind. He even suggests that mushroom spores arriving from
outer space may have been some of the earliest forms of life and intelligence
on our planet. Many scientists feel that life could not have developed
on this planet during the 200 to 400 million year period from when Earth's
crust cooled until evidence of the first living organisms were found. The
theory of "panspermia" has been suggested to account for this. Studies
conducted by astrophysicists at the University of Leiden in Netherlands
have determined that certain mushroom spores could survive up to 45 million
years in interstellar transit. (see Nature - Aug 1, 1985).
Although some users eat just one gram
of "shrooms," dried weight, I find this produces little more than threshold
effects. Two grams should produce a mild psychedelic high, five grams should
produce an experience of similar intensity to a 250 mcg. LSD
trip. (Five grams of dried Psilocybe cubensis typically contains
about 15 mg. of psilocybin/psilocin.) At 10 to 14 grams I've had experiences
which are quite incredible. The potency of different batches of mushrooms
varies, usually within a range of +/-10%, although I've come across some
strains that were nearly twice as potent as standard. Mushrooms lose potency
with age (about 25% in six months.) They will keep much longer if stored
in an airtight container in the freezer. Fresh mushrooms should be dried
at a low temperature, around 95 degrees F, to preserve their potency.
Mushrooms produce an experience similar
to LSD but with a different signature. The mushroom high tends to be dreamy
and drifty in comparison to the penetrating brilliance and lucidity of
acid. Users report feeling more relaxed on shrooms, sometimes even drowsy,
rather than the speedy, edgy feeling common with acid. The average shroom
trip lasts five to seven hours, with the most intense and visually hallucinogenic
part of the experience taking place during the first two hours.
The content of a mushroom trip is also
a bit different than acid, and as with all psychedelics, each trip is a
unique experience. Frequently users claim that shrooms put them more in
touch with the "mystery," feeling acid to be cold and linear in comparison.
With mushrooms I've often felt that I'm in the presence of an ancient teacher,
whereas with LSD, it can feel like I'm simply traversing my own mental
Mushroom visuals can be magnificent
on large doses, especially in a pitch black environment. Many people find
the mushroom visuals to be more "organic" than acid visuals. The mushroom
visuals tend towards rounded forms, and images congruent with nature, while
acid visuals are usually more angular, with kaleidoscopic or abstract imagery.
A large dose experience with mushrooms
can feel quite similar to N,N-DMT, (dimethyltryptamine) but with
much less intensity. The visuals tend to have the same character as DMT
visuals, and I find that I easily go into trance, which is frequent with
N,N-DMT. The similarity in experiences is not unexpected since mushrooms
actually contain long-lasting tryptamines. The chemical formula of psilocin,
the active component of the mushroom, is 4-OH-DMT. See the chapter on DMT
for more information on this fascinating substance.
I also find some negative qualities in
comparing the experience of mushrooms to acid. The mushroom experience
moves a bit slower than an acid high and tends to be less intense. I find
it more difficult to break through to a full-on psychedelic state with
mushrooms. And the trip can not be guided as easily as an acid trip.
|This 16th century Aztec statue depicts Xochipilli, the
Prince of Flowers. His face stares towards the heavens in a state of ecstasy,
and his body is adorned with several psychoactive plants, including the
morning glory and psilocybe mushrooms.
Photograph © 1992-1994 Marc Franklin
I've used LSD more often than mushrooms
because it's suitable to more diverse environments, and almost always produces
the expected results. I've felt mushrooms to be more "sacred," and have
reserved them for occasions when a more significant, mystical experience
HARMALA ALKALOIDS - Harmala
combines beautifully with mushrooms to produce a very mystical experience.
When harmaline was first discovered it was named telepathine because
of its reputation for producing telepathic experiences. These telepathic
experiences are supposed to be especially likely to occur when Harmala
is combined with psilocybin. I personally haven't experienced telepathy,
although I've found the combination quite enjoyable. Following is a report
of a friend's Harmala plus mushroom expenence.
"The most beautiful and refined interlocking
patterns covered the floor, walls, and ceiling of my room. These visuals
were so astounding that I would have been more than content with them,
but the experience grew even more incredible. I began to feel as though
my room was filled with the "spirits" of musicians, artists, and visionaries
whose genius had most strongly affected my life. And I felt as though I
were amongst friends. This filled me with elation twice as strong as anything
I'd felt on ecstasy, and for a while nothing seemed impossible anywhere
in the world. Things gradually deconstructed into a slowly swirling astral
whirlpool, and beyond. It was by far one of the most amazing psychedelic
experiences I've had, and was all there simply by adding the Harmala."
Psilocybin can also be combined with
LSD, DMT, or Nitrous Oxide. See the Multiple