Lauded for their profound and uplifting effects, Golden Teacher mushrooms are synonymous with psychedelic culture, shamanic practices, and inner healing.
They’re so much more than a recreational pastime. For the first time in decades, ongoing research shines new light on the therapeutic benefits of magic mushrooms like Golden Teachers.
Even mushroom cultivators (where it’s legal, of course) adore Golden Teacher mushrooms thanks to their resilient and easy-growing nature. Similarly, researchers, hobbyists, and mycologists are enchanted by Golden Teacher spores under the microscope.
But where do these golden beauties come from, how were they discovered, and why are they so popular?
Read on for answers to all these questions and more.
Before we dive in, though, let’s explore GT shrooms, their physical traits, and other defining factors.
What are Golden Teacher Mushrooms?
Also lovingly referred to as Gold Caps, Golden Halos, and Cubes, Golden Teacher mushrooms are just one of over 200 known magic mushroom varieties.
They’re a subspecies of the widely-known Psilocybe Cubensis genus, containing the psychoactive compounds psilocybin and psilocin.
Fungi have been around for millions of years, so it’s virtually impossible to trace their precise origins. Golden Teacher mushrooms are no exception, though they’re thought to originate in Cuba.
P. Cubensis is a pan-tropical species naturally occurring in various countries around the globe. They grow in the southeastern parts of the United States, Mexico, South and Central America, Southeast Asia, and even the Caribbean, among other regions.
Identifying GT Magic Mushrooms in the Wild
Golden Teacher mushrooms are famously known for their wide, golden caps speckled with yellow. They start out cone-shaped and flatten at maturity, with close-set, purplish-black gills that produce spores of the same color.
Their thick, winding stems are pale but, like most psilocybin-containing species, bruise blue when handled. Interested to learn more? Check out our in-depth blog post on identifying magic mushrooms.
Golden Teacher Mushrooms: Potency, Dosage, and Effects
While the first part of their name refers to their physical traits, the second part alludes to the kind of experience Golden Teacher mushrooms offer. Let’s take a quick look at the potency, dosage, and effects of these mycelium miracles.
Unlike their Penis Envy cousins, GT shrooms are mild to moderately potent. They’re one of the more gentle psilocybin varieties. Paradoxically, they’re also revered for the powerful, paradigm-shattering experiences they can imbue.
Of course, it all depends on dosage. Your intentions, mindset, and external setting play a major role, too.
A typical dose of dried Golden Teacher mushrooms is around 1–2.5 grams, but body weight and psilocybin sensitivity are also contributing factors. Here’s a quick rundown of different doses based on the depth of effects you’re after:
- Microdose: 0.25 grams
- Mild: 0.25–1 gram
- Moderate: 1–2 grams
- Strong: 2.5–5 grams
- Heroic dose: 5–10 grams
Always seek expert guidance on finding the right Golden Teacher mushroom dosage and stay within the confines of the law. Psilocybin is still classified as a Schedule I controlled substance under U.S. federal regulations.
Moreover, all mind-altering substances have inherent risks, so seek professional medical advice before ingesting magic mushrooms.
Golden Teacher mushrooms have a reputation for invoking life-changing lessons through transcendental experiences. Trip reports typically describe a sense of profound awe, oneness with the universe, and inner contemplation.
In this dream-like state, euphoria and altered perceptions of space and time often accompany an overall positive, healing experience.
Golden Teachers and Ancient Civilizations
Magic mushrooms like Golden Teachers have featured in rituals, celebrations, and spiritual practices for thousands of years. In Central America, Mayan and Aztec peoples called them “Teonanácatl,” literally meaning “The Flesh of the Gods.”
From Northern Australia and Spain to ancient Greece, Rome, and Egypt, the history of psilocybin mushrooms extends to all four corners of the globe.
The 9,000-year old cave paintings at Tassili n’Ajjer in Algeria include the oldest-known petroglyph depicting magic mushroom use (pictured above). That’s according to the U.S. Forest Service, which further postulates, “The mushrooms depicted on the ‘mushroom shaman’ are Psilocybe mushrooms.”
Perhaps they were Golden Teacher mushrooms.
In his 1992 book Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge, ethnobotanist and mystic Terrence Mckenna describes the Neolithic-era paintings, writing:
“Here are the earliest known depictions of shamans with large numbers of grazing cattle…”
Interestingly, Psilocybe Cubensis varieties like Golden Teacher mushrooms grow naturally atop cattle, buffalo, and even horse dung.
Mckenna writes further, “The shamans are dancing with fists full of mushrooms and also have mushrooms sprouting out of their bodies. In one instance, they are shown running joyfully, surrounded by the geometric structures of their hallucinations.”
While there’s no hard evidence on the ancient use of Golden Teacher mushrooms specifically, it’s a logical assumption considering the widespread use of the fungi worldwide.
The Modern Discovery of Golden Teacher Mushrooms
The Golden Teacher mushroom species has mysterious origins despite global popularity. The timeline of its discovery amid Western culture’s newfound appreciation of psilocybin goes something like this:
- 1906: The species is first described as Stropharia cubensis by American mycologist Franklin Sumner Earle in Cuba.
- 1907: French pharmacist and mycologist Narcisse Théophile Patouillard identifies it as Naematoloma caerulescens.
- 1939: Ethnobotanist Richard Evans Schultes publishes findings in a Harvard University leaflet on the use of magic mushrooms in Mexico and its effects on the nervous system.
- 1941: American mycologist and founder of the journal Mycologia, William Alphonso Murrill, names the Golden Teacher mushroom species Stropharia cyanescens in Gainesville, near Florida.
- 1949: German-born mycologist Rolf Singer moves it to the Psilocybe genus giving it the name Psilocybe (“bare head”) Cubensis (“coming from Cuba”).
- 1957: Gordon and Valera Wasson partake in a mushroom ceremony in Central America under shaman Maria Sabina’s guidance. They publish their now-famous findings in the May Edition of Life Magazine.
- 1980: Golden Teacher magic mushrooms are found growing wildly in Florida.
Word quickly spread in the psychedelic scene, primarily because these shrooms were different from other known varieties. Their large, meaty structure and elegant, yellow-speckled golden caps set them apart.
Another popular origin story says that Golden Teacher mushrooms were actually Hawaiian PES shrooms renamed by a Dutch grower. According to the account, when the veils break, the entire mushroom can sometimes have a golden-yellowish color, disappearing before maturity sets in.
However, Hawaiian PES and Golden Teacher mushrooms are quite different in appearance, effects, and potency. It’s more likely that GTs landed up in Florida through a type of spore dispersal known as zoochory.
Cattle egrets fly alongside cattle, preying on insects they track through spore-filled cattle dung and vegetation. Upon migration, they carry the microscopic spores to other suitable habitats, sometimes thousands of miles away.
The Psychedelic Renaissance and GT Shrooms
Nixon’s infamous War on Drugs put an end to research on the therapeutic effects of psilocybin. Psychedelics like Golden Teacher mushrooms were effectively demonized along with the likes of Cannabis.
The decades-long hiatus ended in 1997 with a study conducted at the University of Zürich.
Since then, the Psychedelic Renaissance has gained momentum.
Scientists, investors, and legislators are bracing for change as institutions like Johns Hopkins University and New England University bring new evidence to light
Who knows? Perhaps you’ll be able to legally grow and consume Golden Teacher mushrooms in the not-so-distant future.
In 2020, Oregon became the first U.S. state to legalize psilocybin-assisted therapy while decriminalization measures continue to sprout up all over the country. The psychedelic laws are changing, and a new era is upon us.
Many experts believe psilocybin-containing fungi like Golden Teacher mushrooms have the potential to treat a wide range of conditions—from PTSD and treatment-resistant depression to substance addiction, anxiety, and more.
Researchers typically measure the “mystical experience” according to the Hood Mysticism Scale. It seeks to quantify aspects like a sense of unity, sacredness, positive mood, and the transcendence of time and space.
“The research shows that the more intense your mystical experiences, the more likely you’re going to experience positive benefits…”
—Dr. Michael McGee, MD, Author of The Joy of Recovery and Staff Psychiatrist at Atascadero State Hospital in California.
The psilocybin in Golden Teacher mushrooms seems to empower cerebral flexibility that allows for new, healthier patterns to replace old, harmful ones. While more research is needed, the available evidence already looks promising.
Look to the Future with Golden Teacher Mushroom Spores
The history of Golden Teacher mushrooms is entwined with ancient use, modern discovery, and cutting-edge research of psilocybin.
Their physical traits are easily identifiable, while their effects are synonymous with life-changing introspection, euphoria, and oneness.
While there isn’t much to go on historically, Golden Teachers are just as popular as they were in the eighties. Only now, emerging research is proving their potential.
It’s just the beginning, though, and full legalization won’t come without its obstacles.
In the meantime, grab a spore syringe or two at our online store to discover Golden Teacher mushrooms in their glorious spore form.