What are magic truffles?

Truffles, shrooms and more

14 April 2023

Reading Time: 10 mins

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 psychedelic mushrooms and magic truffles belong to the same Kingdom, fungi, genus of fungi: psilocybe (psilocybe tampanensis, psilocybe cubensis).

Magic truffles have been utilized for thousands of years in shamanic ceremonies for spiritual and ritualistic purposes by certain indigenous cultures in Central and South America, much like Ayahuasca. In modern times, these psychoactive substances are increasingly consumed for recreational use, personal exploration, and even therapeutic applications in countries where they are legal.

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. The term ‘magic truffles’ is used due to their ovoid shape and subterranean nature. In reality, they are sclerotia: a vegetative form that the fungus adopts when natural conditions become harsh, such as during winter. The fungus stores its nutrients in this hibernating growth, which then regrows the following spring. Much like magic mushrooms or their mycelium, these sclerotia contain psychoactive substances that can influence perception, mood, and cognition.

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.

Like many hallucinogenic drugs (LSD, Ayahuasca, Peyote), 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.

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.

Additionally, magic truffles typically contain a lower concentration of psilocybin compared to magic mushrooms. As a result, their effects are often less intense, more subtle, and easier to manage, depending on the dosage and variety consumed. Side effects are also noticeably milder when ingesting truffles.

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.

Where are truffles found ?

They can be found in various countries around the world, in Europe, Asia, and America, but they are most commonly associated with the Netherlands. Locally, psilocybin truffles grow underground in the same habitats as their mushroom counterparts. On the edges of forests, they form symbiotic relationships with specific types of plants, such as grasses and grains, in damp and shaded areas.

What are the effects of psilocybin truffles?

During a psychedelic journey, users experience temporary changes in the nervous system that last between 4 to 6 hours and can vary from one individual to another.

Some users report feelings of intoxication coupled with euphoria, while others claim to experience a sense of connection with divine entities. In essence, the molecule triggers cognitive shifts and heightened emotional receptivity, breaking down psychological barriers.

Psychedelic Effects of Truffles

In most psychedelic trips, brain activity is amplified. Consequently, accounts often cite several of the following manifestations:

  • An alteration in sensorial perception. The psychedelic experience 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.

Assisted therapies

It’s hypothesized that psychotherapy sessions for individuals with depression may be more effective or intense due to the neural plasticity induced by psilocybin. For example, Australia has legalized psilocybin-assisted therapy, as well as MDMA-assisted therapy.

However, research on the therapeutic use of psilocybin truffles is relatively new. Further studies will undoubtedly be required to fully assess their effectiveness, safety, and optimal use.

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 some neurotransmitters 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.

As a side note, psychedelics do not mix well with drugs or alcohol.

A Word of Caution

Healthcare professionals and psychedelic experts have issued a number of contraindications. For example, individuals with preexisting mental or psychiatric disorders (such as a history of schizophrenia) should avoid consuming psilocybin truffles. The same applies to pregnant women and individuals suffering from untreated high blood pressure or severe kidney failure. Those taking SSRIs, a type of antidepressant, should also avoid combining them with the psychoactive molecule. Discontinuing such medication requires medical supervision and tapering, usually overseen by a general physician, psychiatrist, or neurologist.

Lastly, it’s important to refrain from attempting the experience in countries where truffles are illegal. Possession or consumption could result in legal consequences.

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 under the influence of psychedelic truffles 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 for their potential medical-use in treating 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

To plan a psychedelic trip in the Netherlands, it’s important to choose the right moment. Book your accommodation before leaving your home country and pick a calm and comfortable location.

For the tasting, aim for a time when you’re neither too tired nor too stressed, and have no obligations the next day. Get your truffles from a reputable and legal supplier, either a retailer or a retreat, and – as usual – have a trusted person assist you during the experience. Stay hydrated beforehand and avoid driving for a few hours afterwards.

Psilocybin truffles in a bowl

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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.

This differential treatment is due to Dutch law considering them as ‘inferior’ forms of magic mushrooms, as they grow underground and are often less potent.

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 and are not known to be addictive 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, purchasing magic truffles from an online smartshop is legal and regulated. However, this does not mean you can freely bring them back to your home country if possession is prohibited there.

How to dry magic truffles?

Drying psilocybin truffles is pretty simple! Once you have harvested and washed the truffles, cut them into small pieces with a clean knife to avoid any risk of contamination.

Then, spread them out on a tray lined with parchment paper. Make sure that the pieces of truffle are well spaced out to allow for adequate air circulation.

Finally, place the tray in a warm and dry location, avoiding direct sunlight which can damage the mushrooms. Turn the pieces of truffle over every day to optimize the drying process. When they are completely dry, which should take about a week, place them in an airtight container and store them away from light. If you want to speed up the drying process, you can place a dehumidifier nearby.

By Tangerine Retreat's Team.