Using Mushroom Spores and The Difference Between Mushroom Spores Varieties

If you’re new to shopping for exotic mushroom spores online – or examining the different mushroom spore varieties and strains, or perhaps even if you’ve been researching these fabulous fungi for a long while, you’ve undoubtedly noticed that most spore vendors categorize spores categories into different “difficulty levels”, which typically include spores for beginners, intermediates, and advanced researchers, as well as identifying the different mushroom spores within each variety and within each difficulty level.

Difficulty Levels in Growing Mushroom Spores

But what exactly do these difficulty levels mean and what do they include? What’s the real difference between a beginner spore strain like Golden Teacher and an undeniably advanced strain like our very own in-house developed cross train, The Hero.

Today, you’ll learn about differences in growing or using mushroom spores.

  • Why the meaning of mushroom spore “difficulty levels” can differ depending on mycological context and who you ask
  • Meanings of beginner, intermediate, and advanced mushroom spores in the microscopy lab, both professional and amateur
  • In some jurisdictions, mushrooms are legal for therapeutic purposes, if distributed by a licensed medical practitioner. Here’s what the difficulty levels mean in those scenarios
  • Examples of common mushroom spores for beginners
  • Examples of mushroom spores for intermediate students and researchers
  • Advanced researcher? We’ll show you examples of the most advanced mushroom spores as well
  • Where to get beginner, intermediate, or advanced mushroom spores legally in the United States for research and microscopy
Magic mushroom spores for beginners

The Labels Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced for Mushroom Spores Can Have Different Meanings

As with so many things in the amateur mycology and microscopy worlds, this is another one of those answers that comes with the it depends caveat.

Sometimes, the beginner, intermediate, and advanced labels can have different meanings with regard to mushroom spores, depending on the context they’re used in.

  • How easy or difficult the spore is to work with in the microscopy lab.
  • How easy or difficult the spore is to cultivate (only relevant in jurisdictions where doing so is legal)
  • As a grade of the psychological effects of the mushroom when consumed legally, such as by a muhsroom assisted therapy patient and/or in jurisdictions where doing so is legal.

We should pause for a moment here to clarify a very important fact: the spores sold in the Quality Spores store, while authentic and viable, are for microscopy and research purposes only. Remember, it’s illegal to cultivate or consume mushrooms throughout the vast majority of the United States. There are exceedingly few exceptions to this rule; it is also important to be well-educated on the difference between decriminalization and legalization. They are not the same thing.

➢ See our article about mushroom spore legality.

Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced Spores Meaning in the Microscopy Lab

Within the context of microscopy, the spore difficulty rating often refers to how easy or difficult it is to work with in the lab. Of course, the quality of your lab will matter—a professional microscopist in a “real” lab will have an easier time than a beginning amateur microscopist in their garage.

The difficulty rating may refer to how robust the spore strain is with regard to contamination. Some strains are just tougher than others, and this is typically determined by their place of origin, although other factors may apply.

Intermediate microscopy spores

For instance, spores from the Amazon region, such as Penis Envy mushrooms spores or the eponymous Amazonian spore strain, are typically more resistant to contamination than spores from geographical areas without as much biodiversity. This is because spores from the Amazon region of the world have to compete with many other organisms for survival, and are thus less likely to succumb to contamination.

Another factor that may contribute to whether a spore is classified as beginner, intermediate, or advanced is how easy or difficult it is to actively study under a microscope. For example, the Albino Penis Envy spore syringe spores are translucent and thus very different to work with compared to the typically dark spores of other cubensis strains.

Difficulty Level of The Golden Teacher Which is Well-Documented

Finally, the difficulty ranking can occasionally refer to how easy or hard it is to research the spore in question. For example, very common spores such as Golden Teachers spores have a long history and have thus been studied extensively by mycologists and microscopists throughout the world; they’re well-documented and third party information is readily available about these strains.

However, some spore strains, particularly those which are considered to be more exotic or rare, may have less information available about them. Thus, these can be more difficult for beginner or amateur microscopists to research, since it will be harder to confirm their findings or have their questions answered in books or on the internet.

Advanced mushroom spores

Meanings of Mushroom Spore Difficulty Levels in Jurisdictions Where Mushrooms are Legal for Therapeutic Purposes

In certain jurisdictions, such as the state of Oregon, mushrooms are legal for select patients who are undergoing mushroom assisted therapy as administered by a licensed medical professional. There are other areas of the world where mushrooms are legal.

In these areas, the difficulty level of the spore strain sometimes refers to the content found within the mature fruiting body of the fungi. A lower content means a lower difficulty. So, beginner strains will have less, intermediate more, and advanced the most.

Having said that, content is not the only determining factor regarding the general potency of the special experience, as advocates of whole fungi therapy. Oftentimes in clinical settings, isolated synthetic mushrooms are used rather than simply having the patient consume whole dried fungi. This is because when isolated, it is far easier to dose accurately, whereas the mushroom itself can have varying quantities of mushrooms within it (leading to the old joke that “the mushroom chooses the dose”).

However, many therapists are starting to recommend so-called whole fungi therapy, which involves the patient consuming the mushroom as it would be found in nature. This is because mushrooms and other also contain many other chemical components which can affect the special experience of the patient.

For example, Golden Teacher is known to cause a calm, contemplative effect in many patients, which is in contrast to other strains that might cause sensations of euphoria, humor, or energy.

Thus, these difficulty rankings are mostly applied to whole fungi therapy in jurisdictions where this practice is legal. It is both a combination of the mushroom content and the overall potency of the whole mushroom at maturity, not just the amount.

Examples of Beginner Mushroom Spores

Beginner Mushroom Spores Varieties

Golden Teacher beginner spores are perhaps among the most popular mushroom strains in the world. These beloved spores are well documented and thus a great choice for beginning amateur microscopists. This strain is well known for its golden caps and thick, juicy stems.

B+ mushroom spores, sometimes called B plus spores or the B+ cubensis are also a strain in the beginner category. This is because the spores look great under a microscope. Ideal for anyone interested in researching spores from the Florida areas, as that’s where this strain was originally discovered in the 90s. Known for its large size in the wild.

Koh Samui Super Strain mushroom spores, otherwise known as KSSS or just “The Koh”, or the Koh Samui super strain are more or less the perfect choice for beginners who want to experience a more exotic study experience. These spores originally come from Thailand and were discovered by explorer, author, and fungi photographer John Allen, who Quality Spores had the pleasure of interviewing.

➢ See our John Allen interview.

Examples of Intermediate Mushroom Spores

Intermediate Mushroom Spore Varieties

Pink Buffalo spores are another John Allen strain, which he discovered in Thailand. There are many rumors about Pink Buffalo mushrooms which you’re likely to find throughout the internet, but as we discovered in our interview with Mushroom John, none of them are true—other than the fact that he did indeed originally discover them while on a photography trip to Thailand. Pink Buffalo spores are a fantastic addition to anyone’s microscopy collection.

White Teacher spores are a great choice for intermediate researchers because they’re a cross strain. The White Golden Teacher is a cross between Golden Teacher and Albino Penis Envy (which you’ll learn more about in the following section). This is a great spore for researchers interested in learning more about hybridization or strains with a high content in nature.

Ecuador Mushroom spores are perfect for researchers interested in exotic strains from high altitudes (we have several “high altitude” spore strains in the Quality Spores shop, with another example being Nepal spores). Ecuadorian mushroom spores are known for their long stalks and caramel caps in the wild, and are a great example of a robust, contaminant-resistant spore strain thanks to their place of origin.

Examples of Advanced Mushroom Spores

Advanced Mushroom Spore Varieties

Penis Envy spores are perhaps the most popular strain in the world second only to Golden Teacher spores. This is because Penis Envy Mushrooms have a legendary status as a high-potency strain in the wild, and also for their historical and novelty value; they were originally discovered by the famous ethnobotanist Terence McKenna.

Albino Penis Envy spores are a cross strain of the aforementioned Penis Envy strain and the PF Albino strain. These APE spores take on a translucent appearance under the microscope and present an excellent challenge for microscopists interested in unusual spores. In the wild, APE is known for its strange, alien-like shape, blue coloration, and fat stem.

Jedi Mind Fuck spores (yes, the “F” stands for what you think!) are one of the most sought-after strains. Beware imitations. We carry Jedi Mind Fuck mushroom spores that are fully authentic, and quite difficult to find. Well known in the mycology community for being an extremely aggressive colonizer in the wild, and at maturity in nature has a high content.

Where to Buy Legal & Authentic Mushroom Spore Syringes in the United States

  • Our spores are always 100% authentic. We’re microscopists ourselves, and thus always shipping “the real deal” is very, very important to us.
  • Our spores are always viable and living. This is important for microscopists interested in studying spores which are fresh and as close to they would be had they been harvested in nature.
  • Our customer service is second-to-none. One of the founding principles of Quality Spores was to provide a better customer service experience than any other spore vendor, and we humbly believe that we’ve succeeded in that goal—and our thousands of satisfied customers would agree.
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