At our Quality Spore Store, which is recognized as one of the best places to buy psilocybe cubensis spores and as a most trusted source online, our team of mushroom spores experts has watched the exotic mushroom spore industry grow from a handful of trusted vendors, like us, to hundreds of smaller vendors with questionable credibility.

In many ways, we welcome such “competition”, because it means that our industry is growing. But far more importantly, it indicates that on a larger societal level, people are starting to understand mycology and the benefits of taking up a hobby like amateur microscopy and researching how to buy psilocybin spores safely.

Paying attention to mushroom spores fungi safety means that people are interested in learning more about psilocybin cubensis spores viability and about the benefits of psilocybin mushrooms, even if it hasn’t been legalized in their jurisdiction yet. The amateur mycologists and microscopists studying psilocybin spores today are the pioneers of what is quickly becoming a massive social and scientific movement.

Having said that, we’ve seen a lot of buzz lately about people buying their mushroom spores through outlets like eBay or Etsy. While we of course have a certain degree of bias and would love it if everyone chose to shop with us, we wanted to publish a post describing why buying mushroom spores from these platforms is often a bad idea, or at least a road that may lead to certain disappointment, and that’s true whether you shop with us or another vendor with similarly strict quality control requirements.

In other words, we want to be clear that this post isn’t about besmirching other individuals or organizations in our shared industry. We don’t need to do that, because we’re quite confident that Quality Spores will remain a leader in this space for a long time thanks to the quality of our products, great customer service, and affordable prices.

What this post is, however, is something of a PSA. If you’re considering buying mushroom spores on eBay, Etsy, or other marketplaces, you may want to reconsider; there are quite a few things that can go wrong, which will be described below. But perhaps worst of all, you won’t even save any money by taking these risks. We’ve seen prices on psilocybe spores that match ours, and in many cases, are even higher!

Here’s what we’ll be covering today:

Let’s dig in:

Buying Mushroom Spores From eBay or Etsy is a Quality Control Nightmare: Here’s Why You Want to Source Your Spores From a Mycology Lab Instead

mushroom spores quality control lab

If you’ve been working with mushroom spores for any length of time or have been researching magic mushroom therapy benefits, Psilocybe or otherwise, you know that spores are delicate. They’re easily subject to contamination or spoilage if not properly handled—and that includes how they’re handled before they get to you; the internal practices of your spore vendor matter.

A trusted spore vendor such as Quality Spores will source their mushroom spores from a real mycology laboratory. Real “myco labs” have strict requirements for cleanliness, handling, and product testing. In other words, the lab itself has sterility requirements to prevent specimen contamination, and each batch of spore syringes produced are tested to ensure sterility and viability (more on viability later).

When you buy mushroom spores on eBay, Etsy, or other “bespoke” platforms, you have none of these guarantees. The spores you buy could be contaminated, non-viable, in the early stages of colonization if proper care wasn’t taken to suspend them in a non-nutrient solution, or any number of other problems.

Even if you were willing to take these risks, there isn’t much point since these platforms typically don’t offer prices that are better than our own mushroom spore shop or those of other high-quality vendors. So why take the risk? What’s the point?

Authenticity Risks Associated With Mushroom Spores from eBay

Penis Envy Spores
Penis Envy

When we first launched Quality Spores, we knew that there were three main areas of the spore industry that we wanted to focus on, since these were the things that bothered us the most when we were customers, not business owners—we’re amateur microscopists too, you know!

These areas are:

  • Authenticity
  • Customer service
  • Viability

In the next section we’ll discuss viability. As for customer service, you know what it’s like to work with us if you’ve ever placed an order: our goal is to always make sure you’re satisfied, and we achieve that through clear, prompt communication.

So, that leaves us with authenticity to discuss. One of the biggest problems we used to have, and it seems to remain a problem if the many, many anecdotes we’ve heard from new customers have any validity to them (and we believe they do!), is that vendors will claim to have a certain psilocybin mushroom spore strain and, when you receive it, it’s something else entirely.

For mycologists and microscopists interested in taxonomy or researching a specific strain of psilocybin mushroom spore, this—obviously—presents a major problem. You should always get what you’ve paid for, not something similar, not something “kind of” the same, but the actual thing itself.

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For example, there was a spate of fake spores being sold a while back which claimed to be Penis Envy Shrooms or Penis Envy spores, the famed strain supposed to have been developed by the McKenna brothers. This particular strain is always in high demand, because it’s simply wonderful to study in the microscopy lab, and because of its famous background. Thus, fakes abound. One of our pledges at Quality Spores is to always provide our customers with authentic spores of the strain they’ve selected—no compromises.

When you purchase mushroom spores from eBay or Etsy, there’s no guarantee that the individual selling you those spores will actually provide an authentic strain. Sure, they might be mushroom spores, and if you’re really lucky they won’t be contaminated, but are they what you actually paid for? Again, this is one of those situations where the risk just isn’t worth it, especially if taxonomic accuracy is important to you (and it should be).

Viable Spores vs. Non-Viable Spores – The Difference and Why it Matters

buy mushroom spores ebay

Viable spores are mushroom spores which, if given the right set of environmental conditions, could potentially mature into mycelium and fruiting bodies (mushrooms).

Non-viable spores are the opposite: they’re effectively “dead” spores which will never grow into anything. Mushroom spores can in fact go bad.

Since psilocybin mushroom spores are illegal to cultivate nearly everywhere (the sole exception we’re aware of at the time of this writing in the United States is New Mexico, with some caveats which we discuss in several of our legal articles), you may be wondering what difference it makes—if you’re just going to be studying the spores under a microscope, who cares if they’re viable or not?

It does in fact matter that the spores are viable. Viable spores have different characteristics than non-viable spores, so if you want to study a mushroom spore as close to it would be found in nature, you must have 100% viable psilocybin spores. Many vendors lean on the incorrect notion that it “doesn’t really matter” whether their spores are viable or not, when in fact the truth is anything but. Scientists must have access to viable spores to study if they want to engage in accurate research, so that’s exactly what we provide them with here at Quality Spores.

Price, Shipping, and Packaging Concerns When Buying Mushroom Spores From Non-Specialists

buy mushroom spores etsy

As we’ve already established, there are many risks to buying mushroom spores from eBay or other non-specialist vendors (the worst of which is actually about to be described in the following section). One would think that with all of these inherent risks being present, buyers would at least be incentivized through attractive pricing, but our research has indicated that this just isn’t the case—our prices here at Quality Spores are at parity or, in some cases, even better than the eBay vendors.

Additionally, we accept multiple forms of payment, which eBay or Etsy vendors cannot do. We accept credit cards like they do, but our customers are also welcome to pay us through alternate platforms and currencies, such as Zelle or Bitcoin.

Quality Spores Offers More Ways to Pay

Given our product, although legal in 47 states, we sometimes experience interruptions with our credit card processors. So, as a service to our loyal customers, we also accept other forms of payments including cryptocurrencies, Zelle and Venmo.

We never want you to miss an opportunity to expand your collection of spores, or miss out on discovering something new in your research. And to that end we wrote informative guides on setting up these other forms of payments and show you how easy they are to use. So don’t miss out, always be prepared to keep your studies moving forward.

Shipping and packaging concerns are a reality with non-specialist vendors. Our spores are always shipped in packaging that ensures your syringes will arrive to you safely; breakage of package contents is so rare for us that it’s practically a non-issue. We also take steps to ensure that your spore syringes will remain uncontaminated throughout their journey to your microscopy lab, and our packaging is always discreet. The same cannot be guaranteed for eBay or Etsy mushroom spore sellers.

mycology lab for mushroom spores

During our research, we discovered many vendors on eBay, Etsy, and similar platforms who were purporting to sell liquid cultures. Quality control concerns aside, for many varieties of fungi (such as Reishi or Lion’s Mane) this is fine—but for Psilocybe cubensis or any other psilocybin-containing species, it’s a terrible idea, and in most jurisdictions would be against the law… both for the seller and you, the recipient.

Are you concerned about mushroom spore legality or about are mushroom spores legal read about the laws and regulations. As you likely already know, psilocybin mushroom spore syringes are legal in 47 of 50 states because spores contain no psilocybin. Psilocybin only becomes present (and thus illegal) when the spores mature into the mycelial or fruiting body stages of fungal development; that’s why it’s legal to have the spores but not to cultivate them in any way. Liquid cultures aren’t just spores; they’re maturing fungi in the colonization phase, which will contain psilocybin.

We strongly urge our readers to never purchase liquid cultures of any psilocybin-containing fungi. While there’s a lot going on in the legal framework surrounding psilocybin and future legalization is looking hopeful, that’s not the case yet at the time of this writing—so please always abide by the laws of where you live.

See our article on the difference between liquid cultures and spore syringes for further clarification on this topic.

When You Shop With Quality Spores, You Know Exactly What You’re Getting

When you order your mycology and microscopy supplies from us (or as we stated at the beginning of this post, any other trusted vendor with similarly strict quality control requirements), you know what you’re getting.

When you buy from “some guy” on eBay or Etsy, you really have no way of knowing that the product you’re getting is what you actually want, and as we discussed above, you’re often paying the same price if not more from these “boutique” vendors.

Remember, this isn’t about sullying the good name of our competitors; it’s about making sure that our community gets the best possible psilocybin mushroom spores. We just want to make sure you, the end consumer, is getting a fantastic product—we just happen to believe that Quality Spores is the best way to make sure that you do.

How to Buy Psilocybin Mushroom Spores Sourced From a Real Mycology Lab

We warmly invite you to see our wide variety of authentic, viable, non-contaminated psilocybin mushroom spores.

If you’d like to learn more about fungi, spores, and why amateur microscopy is the best hobby in the world, you may also want to take a look at our 100% free eBook here:

Mushrooms, Psilocybin and YOU ebook by Quality Spores


Get answers to your questions about mushroom spore legalities and discover the long history of our relationship with mushrooms. It is a great primer to get started in the world of mushroom spore microscopy and premium spores.

In addition to your free copy of the report, you’ll also get signed up to the Quality Spores mailing list so that you can receive additional information about amateur microscopy, mushroom spores, and even special coupons, discounts, and important site announcements. You definitely don’t want to miss it!