Can You Smoke Magic Mushrooms?

Discover the risks of smoking magic mushrooms and learn safe, effective consumption methods to enjoy their therapeutic benefits responsibly.

Overview: Smoking magic mushrooms, while technically possible, is strongly discouraged due to significant health risks and inefficacy. Psilocybin degrades with heat, making smoking an inefficient method. Health hazards include throat and lung irritation, nausea, and potential fungal infections. For safe consumption, oral ingestion methods like eating, making tea, or lemon tekking are recommended. Always prioritize safety to fully enjoy the therapeutic benefits of magic mushrooms.

Smoking Magic Mushrooms: Exploring the Risks and Realities

Among the Aztecs and surviving indigenous groups in Central America, such as the Mazatec people in Oaxaca, Mexico, psilocybin mushrooms have historically served and continue to serve as medicinal and divinatory tools. “Magic mushrooms” are referred to as “Teonanácatl” in the native Nahuatl language of Oaxaca, translating to ‘God’s flesh.’

In modern times, the visions, insights, and healing effects of psilocybin mushrooms have captured the attention of researchers. The resurgence of psychedelic research has revealed the potential therapeutic benefits of magic mushrooms and other classic psychedelics like LSD and DMT in treating various mental health conditions.

Recent clinical trials suggest that psilocybin-assisted therapy can be an effective treatment for treatment-resistant depression, depression and anxiety in patients with life-threatening illnesses, as well as tobacco and alcohol addiction

In light of the psychedelic Renaissance — that is, the recent resurgence of psychedelic research after a roughly 50-year halt — and as more and more people become curious about trying magic mushrooms, many want to experiment with different methods of consuming them to see which works best (How to Identify Magic Mushrooms (A Field Guide)

There are several ways to take mushrooms, including mushroom teas, mushroom capsules, mushroom chocolates, and lemon tekking (soaking them in lemon or citrus juice), but can mushrooms be smoked?

The appeal of a quicker effect or the thrill of trying something new might tempt some people to try to smoke shrooms. Waiting for the effects of mushrooms to kick in can be an exercise in patience, and smoking could be seen as a shortcut. However, although personal exploration of consciousness often involves experimenting with novel consumption methods, smoking psilocybin mushrooms is strongly discouraged due to potential serious health consequences.

While it is possible to smoke magic mushrooms, experienced users and experts warn that risks outweigh the benefits. There is little to no evidence to support the idea that smoking magic mushrooms is effective, and it can come with potentially serious side effects. 

This article examines the risks associated with smoking magic mushrooms and advises caution in light of the promising therapeutic and life-enhancing potential they offer.

Can You Smoke Magic Mushrooms?

In short, yes, it is possible to smoke magic mushrooms, and some users have reported experiencing mild psychedelic effects. However, user accounts shared on platforms like Erowid — an online resource that provides extensive information about psychedelics, including user-submitted experiences — often describe the taste as unpleasant and the overall experience as underwhelming.

Reports range from a strong, alert feeling to mild visuals, but many psychonauts and experts advise against smoking magic mushrooms. One report on Erowid describes the attempt:

“We smoked one fat cap and several stems in a glass bowl. The shrooms were very difficult to light. The taste was wretched! I don’t mind the taste of chewed mushrooms, but burnt was disgusting! I began to feel a strong energy surge... I received no mental trip sensation whatsoever, and no visuals of any sort. Just a strong, alert, awake feeling.” 

Another report notes a slight improvement:

“We felt quite a change and noticed that we weren't tripping as hard as we would have if we had eaten them, but were still feeling the ‘body buzz’ with pleasant mild visuals.” 

An image of several magic mushrooms with wisps of smoke rising from them and creating a surreal and slightly ominous atmosphere, emphasizing the potential risks associated with smoking magic mushrooms.

The Risks of Smoking Magic Mushrooms

Smoking mushrooms poses several issues, starting with the fact that direct exposure to flame degrades the psilocybin content in the mushrooms. Psilocybin is known to be sensitive to heat, and studies have shown that it breaks down in Psilocybe cubensis, a widely known species of psychedelic mushrooms characterized by their golden caps and robust stems, at temperatures above 150°C. For comparison, a cigarette burns between 700°C and 950°C during an inhale.

More importantly, the act of smoking magic mushrooms can result in adverse health effects such as dizziness, nausea, coughing, and irritation to the throat and chest. Furthermore, there is a potential risk of fungal lung infections, as emphasized by Johns Hopkins Professor Matthew W. Johnson, a leading figure in psychedelic research:

“One should NEVER try smoking or vaping shrooms or any other fungus. Fungal lung infections can be fatal. No joke.”

Fungi, including magic mushrooms, can harbor mold and bacteria, posing health hazards when smoked. As a rule of thumb, most experienced users caution against attempting to smoke magic mushrooms, highlighting potential health risks and the likelihood of a disappointing outcome.

Proceeding with Care: Safety Tips for Smoking Magic Mushrooms

If you’re still considering smoking magic mushrooms despite the serious risks and strong discouragement from experts, it is important to proceed with extreme caution.

Typical smoking paraphernalia such as a pipe, bong, rolling papers, grinder, and matches or a lighter can be used. However, magic mushrooms don't light well like cannabis or other smokable herbs. To help with this, you can use smokable non-psychoactive herbs as a base. 

While cannabis can be used, it will intensify the effects of psilocybin, potentially leading to unexpected outcomes, especially if you’re not a regular user of both substances. It's generally not recommended for those unfamiliar with both.

To avoid wasting your supply, use no more than 0.5 grams of dried mushrooms. Grind the mushrooms with a clean grinder and sprinkle them on top of the bowl if using a bong or in a rolled joint if using rolling papers. 

For dosage, it is recommended to follow the golden rule for first-time psychedelic use: “start low and go slow.” Consume no more than 0.5 grams of dried mushrooms and take time between each inhalation to assess how you feel. Remember, despite these instructions, the risks associated with smoking magic mushrooms are significant, and caution should always be exercised.

Smoking other types of mushrooms, such as Amanita muscaria, is more commonly practiced but carries its own significant risks.

Can You Smoke Amanita muscaria Mushrooms?

Amanita muscaria, often mistaken for “magic mushrooms,” is a distinctive psychoactive mushroom known for its red cap and white dots, widely recognized in pop culture around the world.

Unlike magic mushrooms which contain psilocybin, Amanita muscaria contains muscimol and ibotenic acid, inducing subtle sedative and relaxing effects when consumed. While legal in most parts of the world, restrictions exist in certain countries like Australia, the Netherlands, and the UK.

Traditionally used for religious purposes, particularly by shamans in Siberian cultures to induce trance-like states, Amanita muscaria can be ingested after par-boiling to reduce toxicity. However, reports suggest that smoking the dried caps or red cuticle (which can be peeled off the cap) may offer a more enjoyable experience.

To prepare for smoking, the mushroom must be dried until cracker dry, with the gills removed to eliminate unnecessary material. Mixing with smokable herbs like lavender, rose petals, or mint can enhance the smoking blend.

Erowid reports describe a mild buzz without major visual effects, which intensifies with additional use and eventually tapers off. One Erowid report states, 

“There were no major visual effects and not much of a body load, but there was a very nice buzz. After smoking another bowl of the material, we both became somewhat giddy. It still seemed like we were ‘about’ to trip, and the buzz intensified. After about an hour, the effects seemed to taper off a bit. I went to bed shortly after and had some unusual dreams.”

Some users claim that smoking Amanita muscaria can reduce gastrointestinal side effects and create a relaxing experience that is on the gentler side. However, caution is necessary, as smoking anything always poses risks such as throat and chest irritation, potential lung infections from mold, and the absorption of toxins from the habitat in which A. muscaria grows.

Although smoked Amanita muscaria may be enjoyed by some, oral or topical consumption is generally considered safer and more effective. Overall, while some users thoroughly enjoy and advocate smoking Amanita muscaria, it is not widely recommended due to potential health risks and the availability of safer alternatives.

Choosing Wisely: Best Practices for Using Magic Mushrooms

In conclusion, as interest in magic mushrooms grows with the ongoing psychedelic Renaissance, it's crucial to explore safe and effective methods of consumption. The most common and recommended ways to consume magic mushrooms involve oral ingestion. 

Eating mushrooms, making tea by steeping them in hot water, incorporating them into smoothies and chocolates, or using the lemon tek method are all established, safe, and reliable methods. 

Caution should be exercised against unconventional methods such as smoking magic mushrooms due to the potential health risks and adverse effects. A case study of an individual who injected magic mushrooms and ended up in intensive care underscores the importance of prioritizing safety in psychedelic exploration.

To fully enjoy the therapeutic and recreational benefits of magic mushrooms, it is strongly advised to stick to tried-and-true methods of consumption, maintain a positive mindset, and create a comfortable environment for the journey.

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