Why do certain fungi like Golden Teacher mushrooms have hallucinogenic properties while others don’t?
Experts in the field estimate that more than 14,000 species of mushroom exist. Roughly 200 types of these fungi contain psilocybin. What role does this compound play in nature, and why do only certain mushrooms produce it?
Join us as we delve into the secrets of how the “magicˮ happens.
What Makes a Mushroom “Magicˮ
If a mushroom produces hallucinogenic effects, people typically refer to it as “magic.ˮ
Certain species of fungi produce a naturally occurring subject called psilocybin. When ingested, this chemical induces hallucinogenic effects, and the psychoactive experience may last several hours.
Mushrooms like Golden Teacher, Penis Envy, and Flying Saucer all contain the compound. In earlier decades, people indulged in them for recreational purposes, but current legislation prohibits consumption and cultivation in most places.
How Certain Mushrooms Developed These Compounds
Why do only certain mushrooms produce psilocybin? The answers are mainly speculative, but promising research is underway at Plymouth University.
There are several theories about the chemical’s origins. One that stands out is that producing psilocybin is part of the fungi survival evolution.
The theory asserts that psilocybin impacts the neurological systems of insects and reduces their threat. Some research shows that it curbs the bugs’ hunger levels, so they don’t eat the mushrooms.
Other suggested evidence claims that the chemicals have a more significant impact on insects. With the competitors out of the way, the fungi flourish and absorb all the nutrients they need.
Golden Teacher mushrooms and other variants rely on organic matter for nourishment. In some cases, the fungi thrive in environments filled with competitors like insects.
How Do These Genetics Spread?
If the survival theory is accurate, it leads to another question. How do hallucinogenic mushrooms like Golden Teachers pass these psilocybin-producing properties from one species to the next?
Some scientists propose that fungi organisms have different ways of acquiring DNA than other living creatures. Theories include:
- Fungi may be able to absorb DNA from the environment
- Mushrooms might be able to fuse and share DNA
- The occurrence of clustered horizontal gene transfers
The last option appears to be the most likely, but the subject requires further study to confirm.
Research shows that five distantly related families of fungi produce the compound. Magic mushrooms are spread throughout all continents except Antarctica.
So, whatʼs the link? The evidence is minimal, but the puzzle pieces point to five gene clusters in psychedelic varieties. These DNA components arenʼt available in non-psychoactive mushrooms.
These clusters produce the proper enzymes for making psilocybin. An odd but exciting find from researchers is that these five genes are in the same order relative to each other in all magic mushrooms.
Using this information as a base, some scientists speculate that the genes transfer as a unit. When the properties of mushrooms like Golden Teacher spread to other fungi families, the order stays the same.
Next-Generation Research to Uncover the Roots of the “Magicˮ
Confirming theories is complex. Due to legal prohibition in most places, extensive research on these psychoactive mushrooms is tricky.
Currently, the University of Plymouth is completing groundbreaking studies in the field. To fully grasp the role of psilocybin in nature and its origins, the studies consist of multiple methods, including:
- Field studies
- Microbial research
- Laboratory studies
- Analysis of results
The project involves using CRISPR-Cas9 technology, a next-generation research tool that may revolutionize mycology. It allows geneticists to alter the genomes in the DNA sequence of fungi like Golden Teacher, Penis Envy, and other mushrooms.
The tool gives researchers the ability to manipulate the genes quickly and efficiently. Any mutant mushrooms produced from CRISPR-Cas9 technology make it easier for scientists to discover unknown details about the fungi.
“Magicˮ Mushroom Prospects
What prospects does new information offer about “magicˮ mushrooms?
Thereʼs currently anecdotal evidence that suggests psilocybin may be helpful to the health industry. Some trials conducted showed positive results for treating addiction to cigarettes.
This potential may expand to help curb the use of other substances like:
Research suggests the fungi may assist with conditions like anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Due to legal constraints, it may take a while before fungi like Golden Teacher are considered an appropriate medication.
Shrooms History: Unraveling the Mystery
The history of “magicˮ mushrooms is extensive. Some assert that people even used it during prehistoric times for spiritual or medicinal use. In the last century, these fungi have gained a notorious reputation.
Many scientists believe thereʼs more to the mushrooms than a recreational experience. Some assert that psilocybin must have a role in nature, and discovering its origins is vital.
Once mycologists gather enough information, there’s potential for undiscovered medical advances. Learn more about these fascinating fungi by visiting our blog and uncover interesting facts about the amazing world of mushrooms.
All of the content and images on our site are for informational reference only. The cultivation of psilocybin mushrooms is federally illegal in the United States. We do not promote the cultivation of psilocybin “magic” mushrooms under any circumstances. Do not contact us asking for advice related to this subject. Any products found on this site are for microscopy and taxonomy purposes only. None of the psilocybin mushroom spores we offer are for consumption or cultivation. We do not sell any products containing psilocybin.