Psilocybe cubensis a species of psychedelic mushroom whose principal active compounds are psilocybin and psilocin. Commonly called shrooms, magic mushrooms, golden halos, cubes, or gold caps, it belongs to the fungus family Hymenogastraceae and was previously known as Stropharia cubensis. It is the most well known psilocybin mushroom due to its wide distribution and ease of cultivation. They can be readily and easily identified by experienced mycologists, and misidentification can prove deadly. Golden caps mushrooms do get their name from their appearance, being a light golden color with a dark brown area in the middle of their umbrella caps. The caps will also have a white ring around the edge, and they will range in size from less than 2cm to over 8cm total. Experienced eyes will notice that they are also smooth, and their bruises turn a dark blue navy color.
Psilocybin is the primary psychoactive compound in golden caps mushrooms. This compound works on the part of the brain responsible for panic and arousal when the user is presented with various stimuli. In contrast to another powerful and popular hallucinogen, LSD, golden tops mushrooms do not always cause the same level of visual hallucinations that LSD does. They do, however, cause large degrees of perceptual changes, both in the user and the world around them, for hours after ingestion.
- One of the primary risks or dangers associated with abusing golden tops mushrooms is the potential to be sold some mushrooms that were misidentified. The inability of most people to differentiate golden tops mushrooms from other potentially deadly look alikes can cause serious illness or even fatalities. Other dangers are attributed to the potency or dosage of the mushrooms ingested.
- The dosage can vary dramatically based on the potency of the golden tops mushrooms, and while many people will brew their golden caps into a tea or other prepared drink, others will incorporate the mushrooms into a portion of food to consume. There are still other users that will dry the mushrooms, then encapsulate them for easy dosing, even mixing them into chocolate bars to consume periodically.
- The potency of the golden caps mushrooms will fluctuate significantly and is rooted in a few different factors. The factors that determine the potency of the golden tops mushrooms include the specific variety or subspecies of mushroom, where it was grown or cultivated, the growing conditions, how mature they were at harvest and how they were then stored, and whether they are being consumed fresh or in a dried state.
- If dried golden caps mushrooms are used, the concentration of psilocybin is increased considerably. This can lead to some problems related to dosing since the concentrations in dried mushrooms will be around ten times the concentration found in fresh golden caps mushrooms. The effects can be considered similar to LSD, though still unique and specific to mushrooms. These effects can include:
- Feelings of peacefulness and unity with their surroundings
- Intensely spiritual experiences and awakenings
- Rapid mood changes
- Derealization, or a consistent feeling of detachment or disconnection from the current reality
- Depersonalization, or a sense of being disengaged from the people around them
- Unfamiliar, irregular, distorted, or new thought patterns
- Enhanced or intensified visualizations, such as colors becoming very vivid, or halos of light surrounding other people or objects
There are also a number of potentially negative effects that users can experience from ingesting golden tops mushrooms, such as:
- Loss of coordination or dizziness
- Yawning or excessive drowsiness
- Wandering focus and the inability to maintain attention
- Muscle weakness
- Strange or unfamiliar sensations in the body, such as humming, buzzing, or vibrating
- A feeling of confusion and anxiety, which can intensify and lead to a panic attack
- Stomachache, upset stomach, nausea, and vomiting, particularly if the mushrooms are ingested as a brewed tea
- Intense and sometimes frightening hallucinations that can cause significant trauma, and lasting psychological damage in some cases
- Increased danger of flashbacks for particularly heavy users, or users with a larger proportion of “bad trips”