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Shrooms: Your Guide to The Best Funky Fungi

Brie Lowrey

Shrooms are often painted as wild, hallucinogenic substances that can teleport a person to a dimension filled with bright colors, kaleidoscopes, and delusions, but this perception is only partially rooted in reality. Not all shrooms produce the same effects, and some can actually have significant health benefits. But how do you know which shrooms are the right choice? How long does a mushroom trip last? What can you do to introduce shrooms into your routine? We’ll tackle the answers to these questions and more below.

What Are “Shrooms” and What Do They Do?

The word “shrooms” is generally used as an umbrella term for different types of psychedelic or “magic” mushrooms

Unlike the mushrooms we might eat in a dish, shrooms often contain compounds that can produce psychedelic effects, like hallucinations, distorted senses, and altered states of consciousness, also known as “trips.” The most common psychoactive compound found in these sorts of shrooms is psilocybin, but not all shrooms capable of impacting the brain rely on psilocybin to do so.

Many people turn to shrooms for recreational or medicinal purposes (or both), which isn’t a new phenomenon; many types of mushrooms have been used for centuries or even longer to treat common ailments, promote spiritual exploration, and bring people closer together. 

In fact, some shrooms, like fly agaric (Amanita muscaria), are so ancient that researchers have traced their origins back to the period before indigenous peoples crossed from Eurasia to the Americas via the Bering Straits. That means that shroom use has been around for almost as long as modern human society has!

Perks and Effects of Shrooms

How much truth is really behind the belief that shrooms are good for you? The answer can be complicated: the simple reality is that there hasn’t yet been enough research on many claims related to medicinal or psychedelic mushroom use to make many definitive claims in either direction. 

What we do know, though, is that there are little risks associated with shroom use. We also are pretty sure there are some health benefits to take advantage of, though more studies are likely necessary to help us understand how to best maximize the benefits of shrooms.

Likewise, we also can use centuries of human experiences to shape our perspective of shrooms; they have long been heralded across many cultures for their ability to provide wisdom, open up the mind, and give a person a new sense of perspective.

In terms of what research has to say about shrooms and their benefits, below are some of the big things to be aware of.

  • Antioxidant properties. Many types of medicinal mushrooms have been shown to be powerful antioxidants, which means they can help limit the oxidative stress put on the body by free radicals and other toxins. Oxidative stress has been linked to organ damage and the development of chronic health conditions, so the thought is that by limiting oxidative stress, a person can overall promote good health and wellness.
  • Relaxation. Shrooms like Amanita muscaria contain psychoactive compounds, such as muscimol, that can bind to GABAA receptors in the same way something like alcohol might. A. muscaria is known for its ability to produce sedative, depressive effects, which can help many people unwind and power down.
  • Benefits for mental health concerns. Another common perk of mushrooms is their ability to help people living with mental illnesses (such as depression) find relief from their symptoms. Psilocybin in particular shows potential when it comes to addressing treatment-resistant depression, cluster headaches, anxiety, and even some forms of substance abuse. 

Different Types of Shrooms and Their Benefits

Many studies have attempted to understand the benefits and potential drawbacks of medicinal mushrooms, especially as they relate to treating chronic health conditions. There’s even some evidence to suggest that certain mushrooms may help lower a person’s risk of developing certain cancers – talk about nature’s medicine!

Remember, though, that not all shrooms are created equal; different fungi can have different compounds, only some of which can be capable of producing psychoactive effects. 

To pick the right shroom products for your goals and your needs, it can help to have some idea of which options to look for and which ones to steer clear of. Check out the helpful graphic we’ve created below to learn more about some of the most common types of medicinal mushrooms, their benefits, and what science has to say about their effectiveness.

Are shrooms legal to use? 

Shrooms that contain psilocybin are considered federally illegal, at least in the U.S., because psilocybin itself is a Schedule I Controlled Substance. This means that, in the eyes of the federal government, psilocybin has a high potential for misuse, no accepted medical uses, and can only be safely used under the supervision of a medical professional. 

Whether or not this classification of shrooms is really fair is up to you, but there are fortunately other options for those looking to experiment without breaking the law. Remember our friend Amanita muscaria, the classic red-and-white toadstool mushroom? Its active ingredients are not controlled substances, which means they are not subject to the same restrictions and legal penalties. 

So long as you steer clear of shrooms that contain psilocybin, you likely won’t be violating any laws. A. muscaria makes it possible to still experience some of the trippy mental and physical benefits of shrooms without landing into hot water, and there are other legal shrooms to take advantage of for different goals, too.

If you’d rather be ultra safe than sorry, it might be worth it to look into local and state laws that might impact your shroom experience. 

How Long Do Shrooms Last?

Magic mushrooms, including those with psilocybin and things like A. muscaria, typically begin to kick in within about 30-60 minutes. Effects generally peak after an hour or two, and the entire trip will likely last from four to six hours. 

There are, of course, personal and biological factors that can affect how long your shroom experience lasts. The potency of the shrooms in question, the dose you take, and your own metabolism can all influence how strong a trip is and how long it sticks around.

Once your trip has come to a close, you can likely expect the remnants of your fungal friends to linger in your body for about one to three days. Keep in mind, though, that most standard drug tests don’t check for magic mushrooms, and if they do, they’re almost certainly looking for psilocybin. 

If drug testing is a concern of yours, it might be best to choose shrooms that are psilocybin-free or time your trips to leave enough days for your body to purge it from your system.

How to Store Mushrooms Effectively

To keep your shrooms potent and free of rot, mold, or other signs of decay, be sure to take steps to store them properly. How to do so can depend on what sort of shrooms you’re working with and how they’ve been prepared. Below are some general tips to help you get started.

Fresh Mushrooms:

  • Remove any dirt or grime from the shrooms using washed or gloved hands
  • Store shrooms on a paper towel inside of a bag that you can close tightly to block out air
  • Ensure the bag is fully closed to prevent premature decay
  • Store the bag in your fridge and consume your shrooms within about 10 days for the best results

Dried Mushrooms:

  • Store your shrooms in an air-tight container, like a plastic bag, sealable plastic container, mason jar, or vacuum-sealed bag
  • Add a pack of food-safe silica gel to keep things dry
  • Find a dark, cool space to store your dried shrooms for a year or longer

Mushroom Edibles and Other Products:

  • Keep products in either an air-tight container like a jar
  • If appropriate, store your product in a cool place like the fridge or freezer; this is typically ideal for things like chocolates that are prone to melting
  • For other products, find a dry, cool, dark place like a cupboard to stick them in long-term

Shrooms can be funky by nature, but if they show visible signs of mold, have an unnatural or pungent odor, become discolored or slimy, or otherwise seem “off,” it’s probably time to pitch them.

Tips for Using Shrooms Responsibly 

If you’ve decided to embark on a trip of your own, no matter what kind of shroom you pursue, you’ll want to make sure you do it right. While a bad trip may not be fatal or pose any significant health risks, it can still be… well, a bad trip, which can be jarring and uncomfortable to experience.

1. Use the right amount for your body.

The best way to avoid overwhelming yourself is to find a dose that gives you the desired effects without crossing the line. To do that, start with small doses and work your way up as needed. Give your body 60 minutes or more to see if your shrooms kick in before you take any more.

2. Pay attention to side effects.

Things like nausea, paranoia, and other unwanted side effects can usually be avoided through proper dosing, but do take note of them so that you can learn which shrooms tend to work with your body and which don’t. 

3. Talk to a doctor before starting any new medication plan, shroomy or not.

Just as natural medicines like CBD can interact with prescription medications, shrooms can, too. Talk to a medical professional to learn what risks may be relevant to you and discuss how to best incorporate shrooms into your wellness regimen. 

4. Take time to find the right products for your needs and goals. 

When it comes to compounds that can alter your mind, it’s usually best not to cut corners. We understand that navigating the wild world of shrooms can be a lot, and we’re here to make things easier. Don’t hesitate to contact us for a consultation so we can find the right fungi for you.

Shrooms: Your Guide to The Best Funky Fungi
Many people use shrooms for rec or medicinal purposes. Mushrooms have been used for centuries to treat ailments, promote spirituality & bring people together.
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Shrooms: Your Guide to The Best Funky Fungi
August 15, 2023