Magic Mushrooms for Microdosing: Strongest vs Weakest Strains

by | Apr 26, 2021 | Microdosing | 0 comments

This reseach project worked to establish a system for analyzing tryptamines in various Psilocybe cubensis species cultivars and two examples of, what were thought to be, liberty caps (Psilocybe semilanceata). The data presented below is based on preliminary research and development approaches, does not reflect final data, and needs further peer analysis before being considered more seriously than ‘interesting.’ This, though, represents meaningful, comparative evidence for cultivators, users, and the general public, which will help bring the debate around adequate testing to the forefront. One of the most serious problems in the Cannabis industry is the inconsistency of research and the sequestering of testing as intellectual property. Both our client and we agree that research should not be a proprietary process, but rather an open source technique to ensure ‘apples-to-apples’ comparisons rather than the rampant ‘bench shopping’ for the best outcomes of Cannabis potency testing. Instead, we hope to advocate for a standardized exam that is reproducible, simple, and easily available to anyone who wishes to take it. This information reflects the initial steps in that direction.

Psilocybe spp. HPLC Preliminary Review

Both samples analyzed were dried fruit bodies that were homogenized before being collected in methanol with a warm sonicator bath, filtered, and operated on an Agilent 1100 High Performance Liquid Chromatograph (HPLC) with an attached Variable Wavelength Detector (VWD) inspection array. These extracts were compared to normal curves of Psilocybin (PCB), Psilocin (PCN), and a 1:1 mixture of both from the same run. This was then used to compute sample potency values dependent on the dry weight collected. The existence of Harmane and Harmine (as seen in the graph) is theorized based on published literature. This is a collection of three independent runs, all of which use the same lots of reagents and materials. According to previously posted results, the maximum potency for Psilocybin in Psilocybe cubensis at the time was 0.63 percent by dry weight (Stamets 1996); therefore, our grading scheme positions it in the A-range, and we rated everything else in 0.20 percent ranges (D-range: 0.00-0.19 percent, C-range: 0.20 percent -0.39, B-range: 0.40-0.59, A-range:

There is a wide range of samples available, ranging from ‘established’ cultivars such as ‘Golden Teacher’ and ‘Burma’ to the more unusual ‘True Albino Golden Teacher’ and ‘Star Gazer.’ P. cubensis samples varied from marble-size to finger-width, while the liberty caps were structurally distinct from the ‘cubes. Any tests contained several smaller mushrooms, while others contained a single large fruit body. The ranges of potency were almost as variable. Psilocybin potency levels, for example, ranged from low yet measurable (0.14 percent) to three times the expected’maximum’ (1.98 percent ). Psilocin potency was found in fractions (as predicted) compared to psilocybin, with ranges ranging from below visible limits (0.00 percent) to nearly twice what would be expected of psilocybin in a single outlier. This outlier (HUN) was sent with uncertain ancestry and was resampled several times to ensure it wasn’t a mistake.

There are several factors to consider, including variations seen in various flushes of the same cultivar from the same cultivator, samples measuring well above predicted thresholds, and secret observations such as mushroom size and potency. The final point, which is obscured and will ideally be documented later, lies in a more in-depth examination of the dimensions of the fruit body. Tiny samples, about the size of a marble, about 35mm in diameter (CPAP sample series), were arguably some of the most potent samples examined. Furthermore, repeated flushes of ‘Burma’ and ‘Hawaiian’ were checked side by side and found to have differing potency. Potency levels above predicted ranges may be the result of a variety of factors. The age of the records, which is simply 25 years old at the time of writing, is one possibility; since then, cultivators have mastered growing these species, so increases to the upper ends of potency ranges are very possible. Another result may be due to cell density; certain cells that were found to have the same general proportions were later found to have different properties after being ground. Some samples were even more ‘dense’ and ‘fibrous’ than others, whilst others varied from indigo-blue to off-white. All of these variations necessitate further investigation and documentation in order to better understand and monitor how these aspects affect potency and downstream cultivation.

Putting the spotlight on Caps vs. Stems

A tentative analysis of Caps, Stems, and Caps & Stems was also made among the runs. A division of caps, split at the point of attachment to the stem, was measured separately, as was a distinction of entire (caps and stem) fruit bodies. After being isolated, each was independently homogenized, weighted to 1g, and extracted as previously stated. These extracts were then analyzed and collected along with the rest of the samples. The data points to some distinct realities, the most significant of which is the lack of consistency between caps from different samples; even the Burma from two different flushes yielded two distinctly different sets of findings. Based on this info, I would assume that if you divided all of the fruit bodies into piles of caps and stems and drank the same weight of both, the probability of having a more subdued experience from the caps versus a more potent experience from the stems is high; however, there is insufficient evidence to conclude that stems are more potent than caps. Stems actually seemed to have the least amount of variability as compared to the other two sample forms, but that variability is still very high, at about 50%. It is important to note that variability in potency, while present individually indicating that stems are more potent, is likely to be greater between flushes than between caps and stems of the same flush. More information would improve our ability to address this issue!

Important Restrictions


The poor potency values for liberty caps (0.46 percent) found relative to the 0.98 percent predicted (Stamets 1996) may be attributed to other tryptamines of concern not being available in the system for study, product deterioration, or even an underdeveloped method. We also acknowledge that our approach may not be the best for separating more psilo-like tryptamines (e.g., baeocystin, norbaeocystin, aeruginascin, etc.), and more research with those standard compounds is underway. Also worth noting are the variations in mushroom provided; this variety, seen even inside cultivars, may indicate a large variability in harvests due to unknown factors. A deeper investigation into same-cultivar/different-harvests caps and stems, as well as between cultivars caps and stems, is also underway. There are so many questions we want to tackle, and we appreciate your help and support!