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Magic truffles vs magic mushrooms
In the world of psilocybin, it’s crucial to differentiate between magic mushrooms and magic truffles. There are both legal and physiological reasons for this. Firstly, only psilocybin truffles are legal in psychedelic retreats in the Netherlands. And secondly, “truffles” and “mushrooms” don’t refer to the same part of a mushroom’s growth, so it makes sense for them to have separate names. That said, both magic mushrooms and magic truffles belong to the same genus: psilocybe (psilocybe tampanensis, psilocybe cubensis).
Magic truffles have been used for thousands of years in indigenous central and southern American cultures for spiritual and ritualistic reasons. Nowadays, they are often taken recreationally as people embark on journeys of self-exploration.
Are magic truffles the same as the truffles you eat in a restaurant?
No, magic truffles are not the same as truffles you eat in a restaurant. It’s important to not confuse magic truffles with edible black truffles or white truffles. In everyday parlance, when people talk about “truffles”, they’re referring to the edible sort that biologically belongs to the tuber genus.
Culinary truffles are mushrooms that grow underground and are highly sought-after due to their intense flavour and distinctive taste, somewhat like Japanese umami (a unique meaty, savoury taste). Truffles have become very trendy thanks to French chefs like Paul Bocuse and Michel Rostang, but they really are very different from psilocybin truffles, which aren’t particularly in demand for their culinary qualities.
Magic mushroom truffles, on the other hand, are not technically truffles. We use this term because of their ovoid shape and the fact that they grow underground. Magic mushroom truffles are actually the vegetative part that mushrooms use to stay alive when natural conditions become difficult, such as during winter. The mushroom stores its nutrients inside this growth for safe keeping during hibernation, then when conditions improve the following spring, it draws from its reserve to grow back. Both the truffle and the mushroom contain the same psychoactive substance that can have an influence on your perception, your mood, and how you think.
What is psilocybin? What is psilocin?
Psilocybin and psilocin are two chemical compounds that temporarily modify the behaviour of neurones in the brain. They can both be found in magic truffles and other hallucinogenic mushrooms.
Psilocybin is what’s known as a precursor to psilocin. In the human body, psilocybin in transformed into psilocin thanks to naturally occurring phosphates in the body.
In humans, psilocybin and psilocin affect serotonin receptors in the brain. The molecule ‘tricks’ these receptors, which are involved in cognitive functions such as perception, mood, and thinking, to produce a psychedelic trip. The effect varies considerably depending on the quantity taken, the variety of mushroom, and the state of mind of the person taking them.
What are the differences between magic mushrooms and truffles?
Magic truffles and magic mushrooms are both psilocybes, just at different stages of their development. They contain exactly the same psychoactive compounds, such as psilocybin and psilocin.
The important differences between these two types of mushroom lie in their appearance, how much psilocybin is in them, and local legislation!
Firstly, magic truffles grow underground and look more like a lump of soil. Magic mushrooms, on the other hand, look like typical mushrooms you might find in a forest, with caps and stems.
Secondly, magic truffles generally contain less psilocybin than magic mushrooms. Their effect can be less intense, more subtle, and easier to control (depending on the variety chosen and the quantity taken).
Why choose truffles?
Because of the lower levels of psilocybin in magic truffles, the doses they provide are easier to control and induce less radical psychedelic trips. This is the main reason why legislation around magic truffles is somewhat more flexible in some countries like the Netherlands, where magic truffles are legal but magic mushrooms aren’t. In the majority of countries around the world, however, both magic truffles and mushrooms are outlawed.
Magic truffles also have a softer texture that’s easier to chew compared to mushrooms, making them a bit more pleasant to take.
What are the effects of psilocybin truffles?
A psychedelic trip temporarily modifies your cognitive functions, normally for around four to six hours, but this can vary from one person to another. Some truffle takers report feeling drunk and euphoric, while others talk of noticing a deep connection to divine beings. Most psychedelic trips will take you down the following paths:
- An alteration in sensorial perception. This can include visual and acoustic hallucinations (seeing colours and shapes and hearing sounds), and feelings of physical sensations.
- An increase in emotional sensitivity. You experience emotions that you recognise – and others that are new to you – more intensely, and users feel an increased connection with themselves or with others.
- Fast changes in mood, such as euphoria or anxiety.
- Changes to the way you think and your conscious experience. Users sometimes explore more creative thoughts, and deeper introspection and reflections on life.
Sometimes, psilocybin truffles can have unpredictable effects and cause negative reactions in some people, such as anxiety attacks, acute paranoia, and psychotic episodes. People with a history of mental or psychiatric disorders should avoid taking psilocybin truffles.
Are psilocybin truffles therapeutic?
At the time of writing, neither the WHO nor any other international organisation officially recognises the beneficial therapeutic effects of psilocybin truffles.
Nevertheless, the very notion of scientific research is all about pushing the boundaries and investigating what’s beyond what we think we know, in the name of finding ever more effective treatments. This is why there are growing numbers of studies around psilocybin truffles.
Scientists are hoping to demonstrate the therapeutic potential of psilocybin for people with various mental health disorders, especially depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and alcohol addiction. At the time of writing, some studies have already concluded that the active compounds in psilocybin truffles could help to restructure patterns of negative thoughts, improve moods, and increase quality of life for patients suffering with these disorders. The results of the study were at least as effective as chemical antidepressants on some patients.
However, research into the therapeutic uses of psilocybin truffles is relatively recent; many more years of experiments are needed to fully assess their efficacy, safety, and optimal dosage.
Are magic mushrooms a possible solution to depression?
Depression is a psychological disorder that affects nearly 4% of people worldwide. It can be fleeting for some people and chronic for others, requiring medical treatment to control symptoms.
Unfortunately, medication doesn’t always do enough to relieve the suffering of some patients. So, research into how to treat depression is ongoing and the question of psilocybin is firmly on the table, as it influences serotonin receptors and very possibly has an impact on mood levels and emotional states.
Recent studies have shown that psilocybin can be beneficial in treating depression, in particular for patients whose depression is resistant to traditional antidepressant treatment. In one study from 2021 on patients suffering with major depressive disorders, 57% of participants who received two high doses of psilocybin reported that their symptoms had completely disappeared by the end of the six-week period. Meanwhile, 28% of participants in the control group reported a similar result.
Research into the subject is ongoing and more studies are required to assess not just the efficacy but the safety of taking psilocybin as a treatment for depression.
When should you not take magic truffles?
Consuming psychoactive compounds is a very personal choice. In some situations, it’s more beneficial not to take magic truffles and avoid the potential side effects.
Before getting started, it’s essential to think things through and not dive straight in before you’re sure you’re ready. To make things very clear, you must never take psilocybin under duress or constraint. It should remain a very intimate decision, taken only when you know what your motivations are. Fortunately, there are many other ways to improve your wellbeing if you’re not ready or not interested in such an experience.
In terms of health, psilocybin truffles are considered relatively safe for most people. Nevertheless, they can have some unpredictable effects on your mental and physical health, especially if the dose is too high or the environment is not appropriate (if it’s stressful, uncomfortable, or over stimulating, for example).
This is precisely why psychedelic retreats strive to offer participants the supervision of qualified professionals in a controlled environment.
Health professionals that work with psychedelics have listed a certain number of contraindications. For example, people suffering from pre-existing mental health or psychiatric disorders should avoid taking psilocybin truffles. The same applies to pregnant women and people suffering with high blood pressure or serious liver conditions. It’s also the case for patients on SSRI antidepressant treatment.
As a side note, psychedelics do not mix well with drugs or alcohol.
Finally, do not attempt to take truffles in a country where it is illegal. Possession or consumption may lead to criminal sanctions.
What does a psilocybin high feel like?
It’s difficult to give one answer to this question because everyone has a different experience. Your emotional state of mind, life story, and previous experience with psychedelics all significantly influence the spiritual journey you embark upon.
In most cases, though, taking psychedelics changes your perception of time. Events can seem to happen much faster or slower than normal. The trip can seem like a dream, full of very personal themes and people you know – parents, friends, even celebrities and fictional characters.
Like with dreams, some parts of what you experience can be unpleasant, while others seem mystical and revealing. As it’s taking effect, psilocybin can bring about a state of euphoria, joy, and harmony with nature or the universe. People tend to feel strong emotions about Earth’s beauty and the meaning of life, transcending everything they know about the world. This feeling can stay on your mind for a long time, even after the effects of the psilocybin wear off.
What effect does psilocybin have on the brain?
This feeling of transcendence encountered during the psychedelic trip can stay on your mind for a long time, even once the effects of the psilocybin have worn off. For example, the feeling of oneness with the environment can last for several months after a retreat. Naturally, this is why psilocybin is being studied as a potential treatment for depression and anxiety.
Mixing magic truffles with other substances
There are countless recipes out there that mix magic truffles with various ingredients.
Take ‘lemon tek’, for example. This method is thought to provide a more concentrated experience by speeding up the digestion stage. The idea behind lemon tek is to use the acid in lemon juice to start breaking down the ground up truffle. This means that when the psilocybin arrives in the stomach, it is already available to permeate into the bloodstream. This process is known as bioavailability.
Some people report that lemon tek brings about faster-acting and more intense experiences. However, this has never been proven.
Planning your magic truffle trip
Magic truffle FAQ
Are truffles that contain psilocybin legal?
In many countries, truffles that contain psilocybin are considered an illegal drug. However, a handful of countries allow – or tolerate – for the possession and consumption of magic truffles, such as the Netherlands and Spain.
Why are psilocybin mushrooms illegal in the Netherlands but truffles aren’t?
In the Netherlands, mushrooms that contain psilocybin were made illegal in 2008, but truffles containing psilocybin are still legal for sale and consumption. The difference in the classification of these two products lies in the fact that truffles are considered ‘lesser’ forms of magic mushrooms, as they grow underground and are often less powerful.
Are magic truffles legal in the USA?
No, magic truffles are currently illegal in the United States of America at a federal level.
However, some states have adopted laws allowing medical or recreational use. For example, Oregon recently decriminalised the possession of a small quantity of certain drugs, including psilocybin, for personal use.
Be careful, though. Make sure you always check recent legislation on the relevant government websites before getting hold of this type of substance.
Are magic truffles safe?
Magic truffles aren’t considered dangerous but they do require a certain level of precaution: the origin, quality, and variety of the truffle should be taken into account. When poorly dosed, they can become damaging and lead to unpleasant experiences.
To avoid becoming a danger to others, always use psychoactive substances responsibly. Avoid any activity that could be dangerous, such as sports or driving, throughout your whole psychedelic trip.
How do you eat magic truffles in Amsterdam?
Taking magic truffles is legal in the Netherlands. There are therefore no restrictions on taking them in a private setting (such as your hotel room or flat). They can be eaten raw or infused in hot water (80°C / 176° F) for 20 minutes and drunk as a tea.
We recommend you start with a small quantity when you first take magic truffles in Amsterdam, to assess your tolerance and the effects of the magic truffles. It’s important to be accompanied by someone you trust who stays sober, for your safety and to prevent accidents.
Can magic truffles make you sick?
Yes, it is possible to feel sick after taking magic truffles, mostly due to the effects they have on the stomach and digestive system.
In some cases, magic truffles can lead to side effects such as nausea, vomiting, anxiety, hallucinations, or mental confusion. These effects are generally temporary and disappear once the effects of the psilocybin wear off.
For people suffering with mental disorders, truffles can also trigger episodes of psychosis or paranoia.
Is it legal to buy magic truffles online?
Yes and no… The answer depends on the country you order from and the country in which you take them. Buying magic truffles online is often illegal – this is the case in France, Switzerland, and Germany, for example.
In the Netherlands, it’s generally legal to buy magic truffles online and the activity is regulated, but that doesn’t mean that you can take them back to the country you live in if possession is illegal there.