Most Common Types of Psychedelic Mushrooms

Psychedelic, psilocybin-containing mushrooms are not used for cooking, and their flavor is nowhere near as delicious as the above-mentioned mushrooms. However, the psilocybin and related mind-altering compounds in these mushrooms have been used in many ancient and modern societies as a way to expand the mind.

Before choosing the type of psychedelic mushroom you’re going to consume, be sure to read our page on the effects of shrooms and what to expect when you trip. Further, many psilocybin-containing mushrooms are illegal in a number of countries. Please ensure that you understand the laws in your region before obtaining or taking any psychedelic mushrooms or substances.

Safety First! The importance of mushroom identification.

As you are reading these descriptions and potency measurements, keep in mind that these features are averages and subject to variation. Not only does psilocybin content vary wildly between individuals of the species, but misidentifying a mushroom species can be a potentially deadly mistake. Studies have found up to a tenfold difference in potency in mushrooms picked right next to each other. In other words, the averages reported below can be very different from the actual content in a single mushroom. So, start slow and add later if you need.

Worse yet, improper identification of some mushroom species can lead to the ingestion of a species that contains potentially deadly toxins. If not properly treated, the toxins can lead to the life-threatening effects of internal bleeding and related symptoms.

The information here is not inclusive of all physical aspects of the mushrooms that may be important for accurate identification. These are simply broad-stroke features of various species. To learn more about safe and effective identification, proper dosage, and the science behind psychedelic mushrooms, consult Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World by expert mycologist Paul Stamets.

A Note on Potency

All potency information is reported directly from the Stamets book, and are measured on a mushroom’s dry weight. Fresh mushrooms have a much higher weight due to the water. Some mushrooms can be nearly 90% water, so this can drastically change the dosage. Dosage is a complex subject, with many factors involved. Your weight and health can drastically affect the dosage, as well as your personal sensitivity to psychoactive substances.

Common Shroom Varieties

Psilocybe cubensis – “Magic Shrooms”

Psilocybe Cubensis is the most well-known type of psychedelic mushroom due to how easy it is to cultivate and distribute. Often a small, reddish cinnamon brown mushroom as juveniles, but going through a variety of color changes as they mature. This species of psychedelic mushroom is commonly known as magic shrooms, golden cops, cubes, or gold caps.

Active Contents
Psilocybin – 0.63%
Psilocin – 0.60%
Baeocystin – 0.025%
Total – 1.255% 

Psilocybe semilanceata – “The Liberty Cap”

Liberty caps are some of the most potent and widely distributed psychedelic mushrooms. They grow in wet, grassy areas and are known for their bell-shaped cap that with a pointed protrusion in the middle. The caps grow to about an inch in diameter and are typically yellow and brown in color.

This is the type of mushroom that Albert Hoffman, the Swiss scientist who first synthesized LSD, first chemically analyzed to understand its psychedelic properties. He found about 0.25% psilocybin by weight in dried liberty cap samples. However, values as high as 2.37%. This makes the Liberty Cap one of the most potent psychoactive mushrooms.

Active Contents
Psilocybin – 0.98%
Psilocin – 0.02%
Baeocystin – 0.36%
Total – 1.36%

Psilocybe azurescens – “The Flying Saucer Mushroom”

Psilocybe Azurescens is the most potent psychedelic mushroom on this list, as they often contain more than 2% psilocybin, psilocin, and baeocystin by dry weight. They look similar to liberty caps, both of which are frequently found in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States.

With their highly uniform edges, they certainly do resemble a flying saucer. Plus their caramel color and thick mucous covering make them seem like something from out of this world. It has also been noted that this species holds its potency particularly well when dried.

Active Contents
Psilocybin – 1.78%
Psilocin – 0.38%
Baeocystin – 0.35%
Total – 2.51%

Panaeolus cyanescens

Panaeolus cyanescens psychedelic mushrooms are some of the smallest of the bunch, with their caps coming in around 1.5-4 centimeters in diameter. But, that doesn’t mean that these mushrooms don’t pack a punch! Growing in Hawaii, Louisiana, and Florida, this species is widespread through the tropics of the world. Just because this mushroom grows in dung doesn’t mean it stinks. This mushroom is very similar to Panaeolus tropicalis, which is also quite potent.

Active Contents
Psilocybin – 0.85%
Psilocin – 0.36%
Baeocystin – 0.03%
Total – 1.24%