There are many different types of mushrooms: some that are edible and some poisonous. There is also a specific type of mushroom called Psilocybe Cyanescens, also known as the Wavy Caps, that has psychedelic effects. Here’s more about this unusual type of fungus.
Psilocybe cyanescens is a type of magic mushroom that is found in Europe and North America. Magic mushrooms, also known as psilocybin mushrooms, are fungi that contain the psychoactive compound psilocybin. They are characterized by their wavy caps and are one of the more potent magic mushroom species, with a higher concentration of psilocybin and psilocin than other types of magic mushrooms.
What Are Psilocybe Cyanescens?
The Psilocybe cyanescens, also known as wavy caps, is a potent member of the family of hallucinogenic mushrooms. The genus Psilocybe comes from the Greek words “psilo” and “cybe,” which translate to “bald head.” This term refers to the characteristic appearance of these fungi. Psilocybe cyanescens belongs to a group of psychoactive fungi that contain psilocybin and psilocin. These naturally occurring substances are responsible for the mind-altering experience commonly referred to as a “trip.”
What Is Psilocybin?
Psilocybin is the active ingredient in certain mushrooms and is a large compound found in all types of mushrooms. It is also present in morning glories, and can be found in some plants such as the Mexican magic mushroom. There are over 200 different species of mushrooms that produce different amounts of psilocybin. The active compounds in psychedelics work by binding to serotonin receptors in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, which means it’s responsible for transmitting nerve signals between neurons. It’s involved in regulating our moods and feelings of happiness. The chemicals found in Psilocybe cyanescens attach themselves to serotonin receptors, essentially mimicking its effects on our nerve cells. This results in changes to a person’s perception, emotions and thought processes.
History Of Psilocybe Cyanescens
The mushroom was formally described in the Transactions of the British Mycological Society by Elsie Wakefield in 1946, based on a specimen she had collected at Kew Gardens. She had been gathering the species since 1910. They are known to grow abundantly, sometimes there can be found patches of dozens or thousands of mushrooms.
Psilocybe Cyanescens: Appearance
The physical characteristics of this species include a very wavy or fibrous cap which is caramel to reddish-brown. The caps measure 0.5″ to 2″ across and have distinct waves when they are mature. The stems do not have a distinctive ring and the stem, as well as other parts of the mushroom, can turn blueish or blue-green when damaged or bruised. The odor and the flavor are both farinaceous and bitter. Because of their wavy shape, the gills are visible.
Although wavy cap and galerina marginata are not closely related, Psilocybe cyanescens has been mistaken for Galerina marginata (also known as funeral bell) on numerous occasions, with deadly consequences. The two mushrooms have similar lifestyles and appearances, and can be confused by inexperienced mushroom hunters because of their resemblance.
Both species can grow in proximity to each other and may be easily mistaken for this reason. However, they have different spores and a spore print is crucial to identify the two mushrooms properly. If you are unsure of the identity of a mushroom, it is best to not pick it. There are many look-alikes to poisonous mushrooms, and it is not worth the risk to try to guess. Picking the wrong mushroom can be dangerous, even deadly.
Psilocybe Cyanescens: Habitat And Distribution
Found in Europe as well as the west coast of North America from British Columbia to California, these mushrooms grow in woody areas and decomposing wood chips, preferring conifer mulch, sawdust and shavings. The Psilocybe Cyanescens are found in temperate climates in autumn on lawns with high lignin content, such as those covered with wood chips. These mushrooms typically grow in dark, cool and moist places, with high nutrient content.
Effects Of Consuming Psilocybe Cyanescens
The effects of Consuming Psilocybe Cyanescens vary greatly from person to person and depend on the user’s experience, state of mind, body weight, dosage, tolerance and the surroundings in which they are used. When consumed with alcohol or other drugs, the effects may be significantly altered. The effects of Psilocybe Cyanescens can begin within 20 minutes to an hour after ingestion and may last up to eight hours. The symptoms after consuming psilocybin mushrooms include:
- an altered state of consciousness characterized by heightened sensory perceptions (colors seem more vivid; perceptions of sound, touch, taste and smell are enhanced)
- feelings of relaxation, peace and contentment;
- heightening of imagination;
- intensified thoughts and feelings;
- increased sense of humor;
- increased awareness and appreciation for music;
- spiritual insights;
- a sense of oneness with the universe or with a higher power.
Some people report having negative experiences. They include:
- a sense of detachment from oneself or one’s surroundings (derealization);
- an altered sense of time (e.g., time seems to slow down or speed up);
- fear, anxiety or panic;
- paranoia or feelings of persecution;
- visual hallucinations or illusions;
- nausea and vomiting;
- muscle weakness or paralysis;
- loss of consciousness.
Is Psilocybe Cyanescens Toxic?
There are no known cases of people being poisoned to death by Psilocybe cyanescens. However, there have been a few reports of people becoming seriously ill after consuming large quantities of this mushroom. In most cases, the person recovered fully with no lasting effects. So while Psilocybe cyanescens is not considered toxic, it does contain compounds that can cause serious health problems if consumed in large quantities. Because all the psychotropic compounds in P. cyanescens are water-soluble, parboiling can eliminate psychoactivity from the fruiting bodies.
Is Psilocybe Cyanescens Legal?
The legality of psilocybin varies from country to country. In the United States, psilocybin is a Schedule I controlled substance. The possession, sale and cultivation of psilocybin-containing mushrooms are prohibited.
Psilocybin has been used for centuries in religious and spiritual rituals, and recent studies have shown that it can be an effective treatment for conditions like depression and anxiety. However, psilocybin is currently illegal in most parts of the world. Proponents of psilocybin argue that its legal status should be revisited in light of its potential medical benefits, and some countries have already taken steps to do so.
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