First, let’s define “strongest” as the most potent magic mushroom species containing the highest amount of Psilocybin (4-phosphoryloxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine or “4-HO-DMT” for short).
Psilocybin is the main magic compound in psychedelic trips.
There are two more active compounds in Psilocybin mushrooms, like Psolocin and Baeocystin but they’re not as powerful because they are only a small percentage of psilocybin’s amount and are not as stable, meaning they won’t last or process enough to the point where it can noticeably impact your trip.
Secondly, buyers of mushrooms tend too much importance on the strain when forecasting strength. While everyone and their grandpa will give you their opinion about which strains are ‘strongest’, ‘more visual’, or ‘giggly’, quantitive data and studies are lacking and there are other factors that impact strength.
Factors Proven to Impact Potency
Most growers and psychonauts will agree these are some of the most important things that impact how strong magic mushrooms are.
Most growers will tell you that fan drying at the right temperature is the best way to retain potency. This is similar to the pot where a slow drying process creates a more flavorful and aromatic outcome. The worst way is to dry in the sun which I learned the hard way….. I was hosting a ceremony one night and some shrooms I was storing in the closet got a little moist (to the point where I could bend one without breaking it), so I laid them in the sun thinking a little vitamin D won’t hurt. One hour after dosing, everyone asked for more saying they didn’t feel much. I took 0.5g myself and felt the same. So we started eating more, first one more gram, then more until we had about 10grams each. While I felt got hot flashes, I did not trip. The UV from the sun killed all the potency.
The Fresher the Better..for potency at least. Mushrooms are more potent when they are fresh, even though consuming them dry is usually preferred to reduce the chance of nausea. Even if they are dried, newer mushrooms are often stronger than older ones, all other factors being equal.
How long do mushrooms last? Technically, shrooms will be safe to consume as long as they don’t grow mold or bacteria. But this doesn’t mean the Psilocybin won’t deplete. Potency will degrade over time but storing mushrooms in the right condition will prolong their potency. The best way to store mushrooms to retain potency is to vacuum sealed with a desiccant pack in the fridge or freezer. The less air the less airborne contaminates; the desiccant pack (the little beanbag you get in shoeboxes to keep shoes dry and fresh) will help suck any remaining moisture, and keeping them cold will prevent bacteria and mold from growing. Basically, aim to reduce the optimal environment for mold and bacteria to grow and destroy the psychoactive compounds. Always check under your mushroom caps for signs of mold before consuming because mold itself is a neurotoxin.
Aborts are kinda like the runts of the litter when it comes to mushroom growing. They stop growing very early after sprouting and their caps turn darker in color. To an inexperienced eye, these might seem weak but pound-for-pound potency-wise, they pack the biggest punch.
How Can I Determine Mushroom Strength?
Since most consumers don’t grow their own and instead buy dried mushrooms, their supplier might have inconsistent drying/storing/age factors and the same strain might have different potencies each time.
Here’s a way you can test a small sample before your ‘trip day’: Let’s pretend you have a 12g bag and want to have a medium potency 2g trip but are scared they will be too weak or too strong. Start one or two days before with a small amount (0.5-1g) in a setting where you’re able to easily focus and feel. If you don’t feel anything during the test, then consider taking 3g instead of the 2g you originally planned. But if it the mushroom was super strong, consider taking less than 2g during your trip day.
Keep in mind, most people measure strength based on their subjective experience – not based on the percentage of Psilocybin the strain supposedly contains. And there are more factors, both internal and external that can impact your perceived strength.
How to Increase Strength DURING Your Trip
Have you ever thought “these mushrooms aren’t working” or, “I think I’m done tripping” only to find yourself suddenly back on the peak of the mountain? This is common. The average Psilocybin mushroom trip lasts 5-6 hours with the strongest peak in the middle lasting a couple of hours.
Here are a few ways to increase the strength:
Grind them up – for the fastest onset, create more surface by blending your shrooms in a coffee grinder. This lets more of the mushroom compounds get into your system.
Consuming on an empty stomach – This helps increase the onset time (to as little as 10 mins to start feeling the effect), decrease nausea, and improve absorption.
Mix with hot tea or cacao – Consuming the broadest spectrum of medicinal compounds from mushrooms is only possible through extraction methods and cannot be done naturally by your body (it’s simply not hot enough!). Grinding and mixing mushrooms with a hot liquid for a few minutes before consuming them will do the trick!
Decrease distractions – if your mind is using all its might to focus on distractions (e.g. especially if you’re in a public space, trying to ‘keep it together), you’re not allowing yourself to fully submit to the experience and feel the effect. This can even be a subconscious defense mechanism so it’s important to journey in a space free of distractions where your mind and spirit can relax. Wearing an eye mask will block visual distractions.
Music – An essential part of a Psilocybin mushroom journey, the music itself can trigger emotions and memories which can be amplified by magic mushrooms.
Breathwork – Many types of breathwork exist that can trigger different emotions and states of consciousness. To ‘sink into a trip’, we recommend long deep breaths and making sure your exhale is longer than your inhale (e.g. 3 sec in, 4 sec out). Be sure to check with a certified breathwork coach, or doctor, and do-your-own research before attempting this.
Take More (but not too early) – People have different tolerances and things like food can impact onset time. It’s common for the same person to start feeling it 15 mins after consuming on an empty stomach or 1.5 hours if consuming with a semi-full stomach. Also, based on my experience, sometimes it just takes longer for people to feel it and I’m not sure why. Anyways. Most people should wait 1-1.5 hours after the first before taking more and only take up to two doses because continuing to take multiple doses might extend your whole journey beyond the time you want to finish it.
The 8 Most-Potent Strongest Magic Mushroom Strains
There are over 150 species of magic mushrooms that contain tryptamine alkaloids such as psilocybin and psilocin. They include the genera Psilocybe (noted as “P” below), Gymnopilus, Panaeolus, Copelandia, Hypholoma, Pluteus, Inocybe, Galerina, and Mycena. These are the most popular species.
Psilocybe Azurescens is widely considered to be the magic mushroom with the highest concentration of psilocybin and could be considered the strongest mushroom strain on the earth. However, this species of shroom tends to be harder to cultivate and thus, not as widely consumed. Psilocybe Cubensis strains are much more popular due to its ease of cultivation and yield. Cubensis shroom substrains include B+, Golden Teacher, Ecuador, Mazatapec, Penis Envy, Albino, Luminous Lucies, and more.
Ranking by Percentage (%) of Psilocybin
Note that these do not represent average values for widely sampled populations. Just because a mushroom species has some samples that show high or low concentrations does not mean that all mushrooms of that type have levels matching those in this chart.
- Stivje, de Meijer. “Macromycetes from the state of Parana, Brazil. 4 The psychoactive species” Arq Biol Technol 1993 36(2):313-329
- Gartz and Muller. “analyses and cultivation of fruitbodies and mycelia of Psilocybe bohemica.” Biochem Physiol Pflanzen. 1989. 184:337-341
- Stamets and Gartz. “a new caerulescent Psilocybe from the Pacitic Coast of Northwestern North America”. Integration 6. 1995
- Repke D, Leslie D, Guzman G. “Baeocystin in Psilocybie, Conocybe, and Panaeolus.” LLoydia. 1977. 40:566-578
- Beug M, Bigwood J. “Quantitative analysis of psilocybin and psilocin in Psilocybe baeocystic Singer and Smith by high-performance liquid chromatography and by thin-layer chromatography.” Journal of Chromatography 1981 207:370-385.
- Beug M, Bigwood J. “Variation of psilocybin and psilocin levels with repeated flushes (harvests) of mature sporocaps of Psilocybe cubensis (earle) Singer.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology 1982. 5:271-291.
- Beug M, Bigwood J. “Psilocybin and psilocin levels in twenty species from seven genera of wild mushrooms in the Pacific Northwest (USA)” Journal of Ethnopharmacology 1982. 5:271-278.
- Stivje TC, Kuyper TW. “Occurence of psilocybin in various higher fungi from several European countries” Planta Medica 1985 51(5):385-387.
- Heim RA, Hofmann A. “La psilocybine et la psilocine chez les psilocybe et strophaires hallucinogenes.” Les champignons hallucinogenes du Mexique. 1958. 6:258-267. Paris: Editions du Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle.
- Stamets P, Beug PM, Bigwood J, Guzman G. “a new species and a new variety of Psilocybe from North America” Mycotaxon 1980 11:476-484.