What are Psychedelic Mushrooms? 

~ "the most sublime and gracefully efficient access to the expansion of consciousness",  alternatively...  

There are many different species of psychedelic mushrooms, particularly of the type containing psilocybin and psilocin. Two of the most notorious are Psilocybe semilanceata (Liberty Cap or Magic Mushroom) and Stropharia cubensis (a.k.a. Psilocybe cubensis).  

typical specimens

Psilocybe semilanceata (pictured above) is by far and away the most commonly naturally occurring species as far as us Northern Europeans are concerned, especially here in Scotland where the wet, temperate climate can encourage huge numbers some years (e.g. Autumn  2000 and 2001!) [another pic].  

Stropharia cubensis is known for being the easiest species to cultivate.  I have had some success doing this in the past, but otherwise, forages to collect wild Psilocybe semilanceata have yielded such numbers recently that there has been no real need.

Amanita muscaria (Fly Agaric):  The active constituent of most psychedelic mushroom is psilocybin.  Amanita muscaria is distinct from these in that it instead contains muscimol.  Amanita muscaria is more toxic than the psilocybe species, though rarely fatal, care needs to be taken with preparation and dosage.  Famous for its striking appearance, - it's red and white colour and it's over all size (the cap of a single specimen can be 15cm or larger in diameter), it is a mushroom with many ancient and folkloric connections.  It is often associated with elves and faerys.  It has connotations with pagan midwinter, notably the figure of Santa Claus, as well as being a strong candidate for being the ancient Soma referred to in the Rig Veda.  However, despite being a fairly common species, it's contemporary usage is not as prolific as that of Psilocybe semilanceata (- the species that most people will know as 'Magic Mushrooms').  That said, there are people who have ingested Fly Agaric and have more to tell...

More Types of Mushroom...

Some Photographs>>

What are the active constituents?

Apart from the case of Fly Agaric, the primary psychoactive constituents are commonly psilocybin and psilocin.  The ratios vary with different mushrooms.  Psilocin is not stable and breaks down when the mushrooms are dried, which is why fresh mushrooms are stronger.  On ingestion psilocybin is converted into psilocin.  Both chemicals are classed as alkaloids of the tryptamine family.  The chemical formulas are; for psilocybin C12H17N2O4P, and for psilocin  C12H17N2O4. As with many other naturally occurring plant-allies, with mushrooms there are a multitude of other lesser occurring substance which may contribute to a fine balance.

How many do I take?>>  [ ...^]

What are its effects?

Consciousness expansion. Illuminating. 

Legal Status

In Britain the law in not too clear.  Scottish Law is different to English, but in both countries psilocybin and psilocin are controlled substances (i.e. illegal).  However, a famous case in English Law found not guilty in terms of simply possession of 'unprepared' mushrooms.  Quite then what 'preparation' entails is far from obvious, ...drying them?  Well you could argue that they dried naturally.  Putting them in an omelette?  I don't know.  Anyway, you would  have to be pretty careless if that was your chosen method of ingestion and you got caught.

Disclaimer

Mushroom material is for your information.  I'm not inciting or encouraging you to break your national laws.