In the 1960s, there was a phenomenon called the psychedelic revolution. Now there are exotic mushroom spores and exotic psilocybe spores of the cubensis variety.
Perhaps anyone who has listened to music from the era by the likes of The Beatles or The Doors will be familiar with this stage of western history when exotic mushroom spores to grow exotic mushrooms were first being discovered and used!
Marked by a great public interest in psychedelic substances such as magic mushrooms and LSD (particularly among the youths of the time), the psychedelic revolution had a lasting impact on the societal perspective of hallucinogens.
Whether or not the psychedelic revolution can be remembered as ultimately beneficial for modern psychedelic advocates is open to interpretation—while the movement did bring psychedelic substances to the forefront of the American consciousness, it also resulted in strict legislation and stereotypes that have persisted for decades and people interested can examine and research many of the most potent psychedelic mushroom strains.
Fast forward to the present time, and western society is again becoming interested in psychedelics. We’re entering something of a psychedelic revolution 2.0, but this time around it seems to be taking on a more mature, level-headed direction. Instead of the lava lamps and blacklight posters of the 60s, the 2020s are seeing scientists, researchers, neurologists, and medical professionals of all kinds taking an interest in these substances.
Because of their undeniable benefits, psilocybin containing mushrooms have been shown in clinical trials to be an effective treatment for depression, anxiety, PTSD, addiction, and a variety of other conditions. It is this research that is leading the way for decriminalization and, we believe eventually, legalization of psilocybin.
This, of course, is a remarkably different scenario than what happened during and after the “first” psychedelic revolution in the 60s. Today there are psilocybin friendly doctors using mushroom therapy and researchers of magic mushrooms and psychedelics medicine.
If you’ve been researching psychedelics and psilocybin mushrooms, you’ve no doubt come across the phrase exotic mushroom spores. But what does it mean, really? What is an exotic mushroom spore? How does it differ from a “regular” spore? Is it possible to buy exotic mushroom spores for research?
In today’s post on the Quality Spores blog, we’ll examine those topics and more. Let’s begin with getting a grasp on what people mean when they refer to a mushroom spore as exotic:
Understanding the Different Definitions of Exotic Mushroom Spores
Something “exotic” is simply anything from another part of the world. Something that, to the observer, could be considered foreign, unusual, or strange. What a person from the United States considers to be exotic may not be the same for someone from, say, Finland. The reverse is of course also true.
Therefore, exotic mushroom spores are simply spores which aren’t considered to be common, either due to their inherent rarity, or because those particular mushrooms aren’t native to the location of the observer. Using this example, one could describe shiitake mushrooms as exotic, but garden-variety button mushrooms as non-exotic.
The aforementioned is the “traditional” definition of exotic mushroom spores. Of course, the definition changes when we start to include so-called magic mushrooms in the equation!
The vast majority of the time, particularly online where these things are discussed among researchers and enthusiasts, exotic mushroom spores will almost always refer to the spores of psilocybin-containing fungi, not necessarily just any rare or unusual mushroom species. This is the definition we use here at Quality Spores in the majority of cases.
There are other types of mushroom spores to consider; we’ll try and make them clear now. In contemporary, casual language, i.e., language lacking the precision a scientific researcher or professional mycologist would demand, there are four different types of mushroom spores:
- Medicinal mushroom spores: any mushroom spore from a species which is thought to have a medicinal or therapeutic benefit. Turkey Tail, Lion’s Mane, and Reishi are all common examples of fungal species with purported health benefits that often fall under this banner. Note that sometimes “medicinal mushroom spores” can indeed refer to psilocybin-containing mushrooms, especially more recently, as researchers discover more and more therapeutic applications for these species.
- Gourmet mushroom spores: used to refer to the spores of edible fungi. Oyster, shiitake, button, portabella, and so on are all great examples of delicious gourmet mushrooms. Many mushroom growers choose to cultivate these types of fungi using gourmet mushroom spores either for their own enjoyment or as part of a mushroom farming business using an exotic mushroom growing kit.
- Ornamental mushroom spores: any mushroom spore which yields a mature fungi that has no apparent purpose other than aesthetic enjoyment. Ornamental mushrooms tend to be unusually shaped or colorful in appearance, with many gardeners enjoying the complimentary appearance these mushrooms can give to their yards or gardens. Bioluminescent mushrooms (ones that “glow in the dark”) have become increasingly popular in recent years.
- Exotic mushroom spores: already discussed at length—see description above.
As stated previously, exotic mushroom spores usually refers to spores of fungi which, at maturity, will contain psilocybin. But what kinds of mushrooms are those, specifically? And you also need to know where to buy exotic mushrooms or exotic mushroom spores more specifically.
Exotic Mushroom Spores Are Usually From The Psilocybe Cubensis Species
Generally speaking, exotic mushroom spores are from the Psilocybe cubensis species—perhaps the most common (or at least widely available) psilocybin-containing fungi.
There are other kinds of fungi which contain psilocybin at maturity, such as the Gymnopilus, Panaeolus, Conocybe, Inocybe, and Pluteus species, though the most well-known non-cubensis fungi which has psychedelic effects is likely Amanita muscaria.
Interestingly, Amanita muscaria contains no psilocybin, instead relying on ibotenic acid for its hallucinogenic effects. While one certainly could consider the spores of Amanita muscaria to be exotic, the term doesn’t traditionally refer to this type of fungi. This is likely because Amanita muscaria is more or less impossible (or at least extremely difficult) to cultivate, since it has a mycorrhizal relationship with the roots of pine trees.
Having said that, exotic mushroom spores are generally from the Psilocybe cubensis species, of which there are many, many different kinds of strains. If all this talk of species and strains is tripping you up, check out our post describing the difference between mushroom species and strains.
In just a moment we’ll discuss some fo the most common exotic mushroom spore strains of the cubensis variety, but first, let’s pause for just a moment to review the legal status of psilocybin mushrooms in the United States and indeed most of the western world.
Legal Considerations of using Exotic Mushroom Spores to Grow Magic Mushrooms
As you certainly are already aware, psilocybin is illegal in the United States and most jurisdictions throughout the west. Small exceptions exist, such as in New Mexico where psilocybin mushrooms may be cultivated and consumed, but they may not be preserved (i.e., dried). In Oregon, psilocybin may be used by licensed medical professionals to administer psilocybin-assisted therapy.
Other such exceptions exist, but at the time of this writing, they are by far the exception and not the rule. Generally speaking, it is illegal to grow magic mushrooms.
So why the interest in exotic mushroom spores? Why is it possible to order psilocybin mushroom spores from this very website, completely legally?
It’s because the spores of Psilocybe cubensis don’t contain any psilocybin or psilocin. The spores are therefore legal in most states—all, in fact, except for California, Idaho, and Georgia. The spores, as long as they’re never allowed to germinate, will never contain psilocybin. Only as the spore matures into mycelium and a mature fruiting body (mushroom) will it contain psilocybin.
It’s possible for us to sell viable, uncontaminated, completely authentic exotic mushroom spores here at Quality Spores because we trust that our customers will use them for research purposes only. Amateur microscopy is a lovely hobby which is exploding in popularity as of late—studying psilocybin mushroom spores under the microscope is a wonderful way for any mycologist, home researcher, or taxonomist to grow their understanding of fungi.
Microscopy is a topic we’ve discussed at length—suffice to say that psilocybin mushroom spores are wonderful subjects for this hobby or profession, especially since they’re available in so many different varieties.
If, say, you’re interested in studying the spores of a psilocybin-containing fungi which is very potent, there are strains which meet that criteria. How about the spores of fungi which grow to be very large? Or ones with interesting coloration or colonization features?
All this and more is possible with the spores we carry in our spore shop, however, there are several that are particular standouts for beginners. Let’s discuss those spore strains next:
The Best Strains of Exotic Mushroom Spores For Microscopy Research
While we carry dozens of exotic mushroom spores, there are a few which are regarded throughout the microscopy and mycology communities as the most well-known. Excellent for beginners or even experienced researchers who just want to work with something familiar—like an old friend—these strains are generally considered to be Golden Teacher, B+ cubensis, and Penis Envy.
Golden Teacher is perhaps the most well-known and well-loved of all psilocybin mushroom spores. In the wild, this strain of P. cubensis is known for its mild potency, capability of growing under a wide variety of conditions, and trademark golden coloration. Golden Teacher spores, or GT spores, are very popular among beginner microscopists because they’re very easy to work within the lab. They’re also extremely well documented thanks to their popularity, so finding more information about them in books or online is relatively easy.
B+ cubensis is another popular psilocybin mushroom spore strain that is widely available, including here at Quality Spores. This strain originated in Florida, which gives its spores the characteristics of a psilocybin-containing fungi which would flourish in a wide range of temperatures, if found at maturity in the wild. B+ is often noted for its size in nature, with mycologists having documented this strain as being capable of growing very large with repeated flushes.
The Penis Envy strain, humorous name aside, is one of the most popular spore strains because of its rich history and undeniable psilocybin potency.
A favorite among mycologists, the Penis Envy spore strain, or PE as it is commonly abbreviated for obvious reasons, was discovered by none other than Terence McKenna, the author and ethnobotanist known for his books and lectures, which are very popular in the psychedelic community. As the legend goes, McKenna smuggled the first PE spores into the United States after discovering them in the Amazon rainforest.
Some researchers inevitably ask: what are the most potent psilocybin exotic mushroom spores? Penis Envy, described above, is always a likely candidate, however there are several others which deserve an honorable mention: Jedi Mind F*, Albino Penis Envy, and Hero are all very potent exotic mushroom spore strains. Another one of high potency is the RIP Tide mushroom spore.