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What Do Magic Mushrooms Look Like?

Amanita muscaria family of red top magic mushrooms with white stems  

The teenage years are an age of experimentation. Along with experimentation comes the potential for teen drug abuse. Additionally, the human brain is not fully developed until an individual reaches their mid-twenties. Thus, any drug that affects a teen’s brain chemistry can potentially interfere with their future in surprising ways. One drug that may have a lifelong impact on teens is known as psilocybin. Psilocybin is a hallucinogenic compound found in magic mushrooms. How can parents determine if their teen is experimenting with magic mushrooms? First, they must have an idea about what magic mushrooms look like.

Types of Magic Mushrooms

What are the different types of magic mushrooms? Many wild magic mushrooms can be cultivated all over the world nowadays, but are indigenous to specific regions. Some of the most common types of magic mushrooms include Psilocybe cubensis, Psilocybe semilanceata and Psilocybe baeocystis which can be visually distinguished from one another quite easily. Unfortunately, some “magic” mushrooms can be easily confused with poisonous mushrooms or normal, non-psychoactive mushrooms. Thus, parents and teens should defer to an expert about different magic mushroom species.

Psilocybe Cubensis

Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms originally hail from Cuba and were likely the mushroom found by new world settlers in Latin America. When still in the ground, Psilocybe cubensis appears reddish-brown with relatively large caps. These mushrooms may be referred to by teens as “golden teachers.” When dried, Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms may turn slightly blue or lose their red hue. Importantly, these mushrooms tend to bruise easily, turning blue in the particular area where they bruised.

Psilocybe Semilanceata

How can a parent identify Psilocybe semilanceata?  Psilocybe semilanceata may be identified by their large and brown conical caps. Sometimes these caps are bell-shaped rather than conical.  A teen may refer to this species of Psilocybe as a “liberty cap.” This magic mushroom variety thrives in North American and European climates. The amount of psilocybin in Psilocybe semilanceata is extremely variable and ranges from less than 0.003% to 1.15%.

Psilocybe Baeocystis

Psilocybe baeocystis can be identified from other varieties of magic mushrooms due to its notable cap which looks most similar to a bottle cap. This type of magic mushrooms is usually smaller than the other common varieties and is also shaped in a conical fashion like Psilocybe semilanceata. Psilocybe baeocystis mushrooms are usually dark brown, earthy colors and can even be dark blue. This variety typically grows in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. Teens may refer to these mushrooms as “bottle caps,” “olive caps” or “blue bells.” Psilocybe baeocystis, when dried, may appear slightly less blue or even reddish-brown in certain areas.

How to Identify Magic Mushrooms vs. Regular Mushrooms

Beyond trying to decipher the types of magic mushrooms on the internet, it may be difficult for a parent to physically identify magic mushrooms from regular mushrooms. There are more guides online and elsewhere about poisonous mushrooms that contain toxins rather than “magic” mushrooms. Still, parents may wonder how they can identify magic mushrooms? It may be obvious if a parent finds a substance that looks like a dried mushroom in their teen’s room. More than likely, these are magic mushrooms rather than store-bought, edible mushrooms.

Parents can also listen for common magic mushrooms nicknames that their teens may be using as a cover-up in conversation with their friends. Alternatively, if parents have access to their teen’s phone, they can look for magic mushroom nicknames in texts as well. Furthermore, if parents are extremely concerned about their teens abusing hallucinogenic drugs, they can consult with an expert on Psilocybe mushroom species.

Does your teen have an addiction to psychedelic drugs? Are you concerned about their well-being? Call Next Generation Village to discuss treatment options for your teen’s drug addiction and any co-occurring mental health conditions.

Medical Disclaimer: Next Generation Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.


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