Magic mushrooms come in all shapes and sizes, but which ones are the most potent? We rank the strongest magic mushrooms by potency.
Psychedelics are having a moment. Once relegated to the fringes of society, these mind-altering substances are now being studied for their potential therapeutic benefits. Among the most popular psychedelics is psilocybin, the main active compound in magic mushrooms. While all magic mushrooms contain psilocybin, there is significant variation in potency between different species. In this article, we’ll list magic mushrooms ranked by potency according to their psilocybin and psilocin content.
But before we begin, let’s refresh our memory on the main active ingredients found in magic mushrooms.
Psilocybin and Psilocin
Psilocybin, found mainly in dried mushrooms, is a prodrug of psilocin. When metabolized by the body, psilocybin turns into psilocin and then causes hallucinations.
Psilocin is most commonly found in fresh mushrooms or lemon tek. Lemon tek is a process that uses lemon juice to convert psilocybin into psilocin. Psilocin is the psychedelic substance in mushrooms that directly interacts with the body.
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The ratio of psilocybin and psilocin is not the same across species, subspecies, or even within groups of the same mushroom. And how they’re balanced influences the effects of the mushroom trip. Some can be more visual, while others can be more meditative.
So without further ado, here at the top six magic mushroom species ranked by potency:
1. Psilocybe azurescens
At the top of our list is Psilocybe azurescens. Dubbed as the world’s strongest magic mushroom, it definitely packs a punch —that is if you can find it. In its natural habitat, this fungi favors deciduous woodlands near the Columbia River in US West Coast.
A strong word of caution, higher doses of the so-called flying saucers can result in paralysis, although it is only temporary. If you're not expecting it, a stich of anxiety may creep in and as we all know, the experience could soon become the opposite of pleasant.
If you’re a fan of intense visuals and profound inner journeys, look no further. Their potency makes these fellas well liked by microdosers —and the popular saying less is more definitely applies to these mushrooms.
Psilocybe azurescens contains a psychedelic mixture of up to 1.8% psilocybin and 0.5% psilocin. While the percentage may not amaze you, it's nevertheless enough to transport you into another realm entirely.
2. Panaeolus cyanescens (Copelandia cyanescens)
Panaeolus cyanescens, also known as Copelandia cyanescens or “The Hawaiian” is frequently mentioned as being even more potent than P. cubensis, with some reports saying it can contain two to three times the amount of psilocybin and psilocin.
Finally, a mushroom you can grow indoors! The intense trip and beginner-friendly nature make these mushies perfect for those just getting into mushroom culture. Often grown indoors from a pre-colonized grow kit, they thrive in dung wherever it's found around the world—which is why Panaeolus cyanescens kits use horse manure as substrate.
These mushies contain approximately 2.5% psilocybin and 1.94% psilocin, making them some of the most potent shrooms around.
3. Psilocybe semilanceata
Psilocybe semilanceata, more commonly known as “liberty caps”, are widely recognized for their prominent nipple-like feature and bell-shaped cap. They are the most widespread magic mushrooms in the wild, growing natively across 17 countries in northern Europe.
These mushrooms are not your average fungi! The psilocybin levels in dried Psilocybe semilanceata samples have been found to be as low as 0.2% and as high as 2.37%. These magical little creatures boast the highest levels of psilocybin ever measured; however, the average concentration is only 1%.
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4. Psilocybe cyanescens
Psilocybe cyanescens, or wavy caps, is a species of potent psychedelic mushroom that's become increasingly widespread due to people using mulch more often to suppress weed growth.
These mushrooms are native to Central Europe and the Pacific Northwest, but they can now be found all over the world. They’re known to prefer environments with woody debris such as chips or gardens but can also grow outside if there are proper conditions (such as plenty of dead trees).
Wavy caps are notoriously potent; they can contain 0.3 to 1.68 percent psilocybin, 0.28 to 0.51 percent psilocin. When lucky enough to find them in the wild, people may discover these mushrooms thriving on trees. The caps are typically small and green before they grow into an enormous patch of wavy brown-colored flesh that retains more potency when eaten fresh as opposed to dried. Although not as intense, dried wavy caps still produce profound effects.
5. Psilocybe bohemica
Psilocybe bohemica is found primarily in the Czech Republic and Central Europe. This region was historically called Bohemia. The mushroom bears many similarities to Psilocybe serbica, which is found in the Balkan region.
When dried, the concentration of psilocybin ranges between 0.11% and 1.34%.
A word of caution for those foraging for these mushrooms —they are easily confused with the Galerina, which is a highly poisonous fungi.
Don’t consume anything that may be dangerous to you!
6. Psilocybe cubensis
Psilocybe cubensis are the easiest magic mushrooms to grow indoors. The majority of the grow kits you can find online come with P. cubensis mycelium.
Because they grow quickly, many researchers study cubensis, and as a result, different subspecies have emerged. This makes the species versatile.
These mushies can be found in tropical climates all over the world. Dried cubensis contain 0.14-0.42% psilocin and 0.37-1.30% psilocybin, respectively. If you purchase grow kits from a commercial source, the potency will be more consistent, making Psilocybe cubensis an excellent choice for beginners who want to be able to accurately dose their experience.
Penis Envy mushrooms are known for their high potency and unique appearance. Compared to other types of Psilocybe cubensis, they have higher concentrations of psilocybin, which leads to more intense and longer-lasting effects.
In fall 2022, Psilly Simon won first place in the spiritual category of the Psilocybin Cup with his own entry, called shiva lingams. The Psilocybin Cup is an event hosted by Oakland Hyphae which tests the potency of entrants' mushrooms to determine the most potent strains during either spring or fall. Simon's strain of mushrooms contains 22mg of psilocybin per gram, making it 30% more potent than the second-place strain and two to four times more potent than regular psilocybin mushrooms. Although this is only one strain, it provides a good idea of the high potency of the Penis Envy strain.
It is important to know that the potencies of Penis Envy mushrooms can vary greatly, even among mushrooms from the same culture. There may be differences of 10%, 30%, or even up to four times in strength. The potency of a mushroom cannot be accurately predicted and studies have shown they can be random and unpredictable. Therefore, it is crucial to keep this in mind if planning to consume them.
Magic mushrooms vary in potency, but all contain compounds that can produce psychedelic effects. Whether you're looking for a powerful experience or just want to expand your knowledge on mushroom trivia, these six fungal species are some of the most potent around!