Why Are Magic Mushroom Spores Legal?

Amateur microscopy beginners are always delighted when they discover the world of mushroom spores—these beautiful organisms (or pre-organisms, if you prefer) offer a unique look at the beauty and variety of microstructures. There’s really nothing like it.

Beginners are further surprised to learn that spores of the Psilocybe cubensis variety are legal to purchase, own, and study in most areas of the United States.

Note that we say most areas, not all areas. For more information about the location-specific legalities of psilocybin mushroom spores, please check our page Are Magic Mushroom Spores Legal in My State? where you’ll learn more about why psilocybin mushroom spores are illegal in California, Georgia, and Idaho. You’ll also learn about decriminalization efforts, including in certain municipalities within states that otherwise prohibit psilocybin mushrooms and/or spores.

Mature Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms are illegal in the United States, because they contain psilocybin, a Schedule I substance. The immature spores of these mushrooms do not contain psilocybin, and are therefore legal in most of the country.

As you likely already know, psilocybin mushrooms—the mushrooms, not the spores—are illegal in the United States and many other countries. This is because they contain psilocybin, which is classified as a Schedule I substance. Psilocybin mushroom spores do not contain psilocybin, and therefore are legal.

It is, however, illegal to cultivate psilocybin mushrooms from the spores. That’s why Quality Spores only provides spores to researchers taxonomists, and microscopists who intend to use the spores for research and identification purposes only. We cannot and will not provide any information regarding psilocybin mushroom cultivation, and any buyer who mentions their intent to use spores for such a purpose will be denied the opportunity to purchase our products.

In this article, we’ll be discussing why magic mushroom spores are legal in more depth, what to expect when you get a spore syringe, how to store your spores, and more.

But first, a very important note…

The Best Advice Anyone Will Give You: Do Your Own Due Diligence

While the author of this article fully intends to provide readers like you with accurate information (but not legal advice), we all would likely agree that the legal system is monolithic and subject to change, sometimes quite rapidly—remember that the best advice anyone can ever give you is to “do your own due diligence.”

In the context of psilocybin mushroom spores, you should always do your own research. If necessary, confirm with your local authorities that your spore research and possession is legal. Nobody cares about your responsibility to legal compliance more than you do!

If you plan on transporting or otherwise traveling with your spore syringes, make sure you research the laws of where you’re going ahead of time. What’s legal in one place might not be somewhere else. The United States isn’t the only country with laws prohibiting psilocybin in one form or another. Psilocybin mushrooms are also illegal in, for example, Canada, Japan, and Italy, but like the U.S., psilocybin spores are not. But in Jamaica, psilocybin mushrooms and spores are perfectly legal. Everywhere has different laws, so plan ahead—or better yet, don’t travel with your spores.

A woman works on a laptop, illustrating the need to study the difference between psilocybin decriminalization and legalization

It’s also very important to understand the difference between the terms “legal” and “decriminalized.” While people tend to use these terms interchangeably, they’re quite different. Read our article Are Magic Mushroom Spores Legal in My State? to learn the definition of both words and why it matters.

With that said, let’s move on with our discussion about why magic mushroom spores are, generally, legal in most of the United States. It all begins with having a strong understanding of the different stages of mushroom development:

Understanding the Different Stages of Mushroom Development Pertaining to Psilocybin Legality

Mushrooms have a fascinating life cycle. To the uninitiated, they probably seem to just “pop up” seemingly out of nowhere—it’s not unheard of for mushrooms to push through the soil and become visible in just a few hours, usually overnight. In fact, this is where we get the term “mushroomed,” (as in, “the popularity of the internet mushroomed in the late 90s”) which means to increase very quickly.

To really understand why Psilocybe cubensis spores contain no psilocybin and are thus legal, you must first understand the different stages of mushroom development. But before you can do that, you need to know the different parts of a mushroom.

From top to bottom, a mushroom has the following parts:

  • Cap
  • Gills (sometimes called lamellae)
  • Stem
  • Ring
  • Volva
  • Mycelium and hyphae

Let’s take a closer look at each.

The cap of a mushroom is probably its most recognizable part: it’s the convex bit at the top that looks like a little hat, or cap. If you’ve ever wondered what the purpose of that little hat is, mycologists believe that its primary function is to protect the gills of the mushroom.

The gills, located just underneath the cap, are thin, vertical little structures that are sometimes described as looking like protruding lines or ribs. The gills are responsible for producing the mushroom’s spores—the fun part that we’re learning about now. We’ll touch on why and how a mushroom produces spores in just a moment. Let’s finish talking about the rest of the body of a mushroom.

The underside of a mushroom showing its gills, where magic mushroom spores are harvested
The gills of a wild mushroom.

Beneath the cap and gills comes the next part you’re likely to recognize: the stem. Interestingly, not all mushroom types have stems, but cubensis do. The stem of the mushroom is a spongy branch that serves to elevate and support the cap and gills.

Some mushrooms will have a little “thing” attached to the stem, called a ring, which is a covering of organic matter. This is simply a remnant of a membrane that used to be on the gills, which breaks off as the cap grows and separates from the stem. Similarly, the next part of the mushroom, the volva, is also a remnant of a covering that was originally there to protect the mushroom as it was maturing.

Finally, we get to the very bottom of the mushroom, where the mycelium and hyphae are found. This part of the mushroom usually lives underground, and is in fact much larger than the mushroom in most cases (sometimes spanning hundreds of feet and, in some cases, even miles).

Mycelium is considered the vegetative portion of a fungus like a mushroom. It is the part of the organism which produces the visible, fruiting bodies that we call mushrooms. The hyphae are tiny filaments that draw in or “suck up” nutrients for the fungus to survive and grow, which includes water and organic matter made up from plants and even animals. Notably, the hyphae aren’t typically visible to the naked eye, but can be observed under a microscope.

In the wild, spores can undergo a process called germination, which—if given proper nutrients, temperature, and light—will result in the growth of mycelium, which can then go on to grow and, possibly, produce mature mushrooms.

From a legal standpoint, this is a key process to understand. Psilocybe cubensis doesn’t contain psilocybin until the spores germinate and produce mycelium or mushrooms. In other words, spores do not contain psilocybin, the Schedule I substance which is illegal in the United States.

With this understanding, now you know why researchers must take care to ensure that their spores do not germinate, or otherwise they may be in violation of the law. While this is unlikely to happen accidentally, it is worth discussing, so we’ll talk a bit more about it in a moment. First, let’s talk about how and why psilocybin spores are stored in a syringe, what you get when you order psilocybin mushroom spores online from Quality Spores.

What’s a Psilocybin Mushroom Spore Syringe?

Four Syringes of Psilocybin Spores for Microscopy Research

If you’ve been looking into mushroom spores for the purposes of amateur microscopy, you’ve no doubt heard the term “spore syringe.” Quality Spores carries many different kinds of spore syringes. But what are they?

A spore syringe is a standard sterile syringe that contains mushroom spores in the barrel. In our case, these are psilocybin mushroom spores. The spores are suspended in a liquid, which is almost always distilled water. It’s very important that the water is “plain,” i.e., doesn’t contain anything else such as nutrients. This keeps the spores dormant and prevents germination (a process we learned about above).

When you’re ready to study the spores under a microscope, you simply attach a sterile needle to the tip of the syringe and carefully depress the plunger, placing a single drop or two onto a microscope slide. The needle can then be removed and the cover (called a Luer Lock) can be re-secured on the syringe to store your spores for further study later.

What’s Included With a Psilocybin Mushroom Spore Kit From Quality Spores?

When you order psilocybin mushroom spores online from Quality Spores, you’ll receive a our microscopy kit, which includes a spore syringe containing 10 milliliters of the spores you chose at checkout, such as our Golden Teacher spore strain or our Fiji Island psilocybin mushroom spore strain, among many others. All spore syringes are individually packaged.

Included in your microscopy kit will be a sterile needle to make placing your spores onto a microscope slide easy and safe.

Can Mushroom Spores Start Growing On Their Own? Is There Any Legal Risk to Owning Psilocybin Spore Syringes?

In a word, no. While a guide to cultivating psilocybin mushrooms wouldn’t be a terribly complex one, a person has to take several distinct steps in order to grow psilocybin mushrooms. Mycologists studying mushrooms—Psilocybe cubensis or otherwise—typically do so under a specific set of circumstances with specialized equipment, growing mediums, materials, and other tools. Even then, the possibility of failure is present.

In other words, while it’s technically possible, it’s very unlikely that your spores would just happen to grow into adult mushrooms accidentally. It would only be possible if the spores germinated—and that’s when you would have a potential problem. As we learned above, mycelium can contain psilocybin (and is thus illegal). However, it is worth noting that even in the wild, mycelium has a relatively low chance of producing a mushroom, since the conditions have to be just right.

Furthermore, since mushroom spores are stored safely in a syringe, suspended in a liquid solution (usually distilled water) without any nutrients, the likelihood of germination is infinitesimally low. This is especially true if the spore syringes are properly stored, which we’ll examine in more detail later on.

To be completely safe, many amateur microscopists will completely dispose of or otherwise destroy psilocybin spores after studying them.

What’s the Proper Way to Store My Psilocybe Cybensis Mushroom Spore Syringes?

The mushroom spore syringes from Quality Spores are quite robust, however, you may wish to follow a few best practices for storage to get the best results.

A microscope and slide where psilocybin mushroom spores could be studied

When your spore syringes arrive, you don’t have to do anything special—if desired, you can start studying them under your microscope right away. However, if you need to store them, the best way to do so is in a cool, dark place. Put them in a small container (or a brown paper bag if you wish), and make sure that they’re kept at a temperature above freezing but below 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Some amateur microscopists recommend keeping your spores syringes in a refrigerator. This won’t hurt your spores, but you may wish to refrain from freezing them—the water in the syringe can expand and break or crack the barrel, which carries the very real risk of contaminating your spores. If refrigerated, make sure that the temperature is somewhere between 35 – 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

We recommend studying your spores within a period of no longer than 12 months.

How Can I Order Psilocybin Mushroom Spore Syringes Online?

Right here!

At Quality Spores, we carry a wide variety of psilocybin mushroom spores for your microscopy needs. We’re proud to carry a superior product, offer the best customer service in the industry, and have worked with thousands of satisfied amateur and professional microscopists, taxonomists, and researchers.

If you’re new to the world of psilocybin spore research, we recommend starting with a strain like B+, Golden Teacher, or Fiji Island. To see all of our strains, please feel invited to start shopping now.

Remember to always follow your local regulations, stay safe, and have fun!

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