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The Difference Between Functional & Psychedelic Mushrooms

The Difference Between Functional & Psychedelic Mushrooms

While both functional mushrooms and psychedelic mushrooms offer unique benefits, they differ significantly in their effects and applications. Psychedelic mushrooms are primarily used recreationally and for medicinal purposes (primarily for mental health). In contrast, functional mushrooms are a daily health supplement that offers several physical & mental health benefits. There's a great deal of confusion between the two, specifically regarding their legal status, safety considerations, and potential benefits they offer. So, we're here to set the record straight, once & for all.

What are Functional Mushrooms?

Functional mushrooms, also known as medicinal mushrooms, are a category of mushrooms that possess various health-promoting properties. These mushrooms have been used for centuries in traditional medicine systems such as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurveda. Unlike psychedelic mushrooms, functional mushrooms do not contain psychoactive compounds such as psilocybin.

Types of Functional Mushrooms

There are over 2000 edible mushrooms, and functional mushrooms are just a tiny subset. While there are a few dozen of them, here are the most popular functional mushrooms

  • Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) – a medicinal fungus used in traditional Asian medicine that boosts immunity and overall health
  • Lion's Mane (Hericium erinaceus) – a culinary and medicinal mushroom believed to support brain health, enhance focus, and boost the immune system
  • Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) – rich in antioxidants and traditionally used for boosting the immune system and improving overall health
  • Cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis) – a parasitic fungi that's usually used in Chinese medicine to boost energy, enhance athletic performance, and support respiratory health
  • Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor) – a medicinal mushroom used for its immune-boosting properties and potential anti-cancer benefits

Health Benefits of Functional Mushrooms

Adding functional mushroom gummies to your daily holistic health routine can yield several health benefits; here are a few of those:

Immune Support: Functional mushrooms are rich in beta-glucans and other bioactive compounds that can enhance immune function and help the body fight against infections and diseases.

Anti-inflammatory Properties: Many functional mushrooms have anti-inflammatory effects, which can help reduce chronic inflammation and associated health conditions.

Cognitive Enhancement: Certain functional mushrooms, like Lion's Mane, have shown potential in improving cognitive function, memory, and focus, especially in adults.

Adaptogenic Effects: Functional mushrooms are often considered adaptogens, which can help the body adapt to stress and promote overall well-being.

Are Functional Mushrooms Legal?

Functional mushrooms are legal and widely available in most states and countries as dietary supplements, such as gummies, powders, and even coffee grounds. Because they're non-psychoactive, they have a different legal status than psychedelic mushrooms. However, it's important to note that regulations may vary, and it's always advisable to check the specific laws of your country or region.

Have more questions? Check out our Complete Guide to Functional Mushroom Gummies.

What are Psychedelic Mushrooms?

Psychedelic mushrooms, also known as "magic mushrooms" or "shrooms," belong to a group of fungi that contain psychoactive compounds, most notably psilocybin, and psilocin. These compounds have hallucinogenic effects and can induce altered states of consciousness, mystical experiences, and profound psychological effects.

Types of Psychedelic Mushrooms

While there are thousands of different mushroom species, the ones most reported to have psychedelic properties include:

  • Psilocybe Cubensis
  • Psilocybe Semilanceata
  • Psilocybe Cyanescens
  • Amanita muscaria (Fly Agaric, although not an actual psychedelic mushroom, has hallucinogenic properties)

Effects of Psychedelic Mushrooms

Psychedelic mushrooms are often used recreationally and for medicinal purposes. These most common effects include the following: 

Psychedelic Mushroom Hallucinations: Psilocybin in psychedelic mushrooms can cause visual and auditory hallucinations, altering one's perception of reality.

Altered Consciousness: Magic mushrooms can induce a state of altered consciousness, often described as a "trip." These trips are characterized by enhanced sensory perception, feelings of interconnectedness, and profound introspection.

Psychedelic Mushroom Emotional and Spiritual Insights: Many individuals report experiencing deep emotional and spiritual insights during a psychedelic mushroom experience, leading to personal growth and self-reflection.

Psychedelic Mushroom Therapeutic Potential: Recent research suggests that psilocybin-assisted therapy may be effective in treating mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and addiction.

The main difference between functional mushrooms and psychedelic mushrooms lies in their chemical composition, effects, and use cases. Functional mushrooms offer health benefits without the psychoactive properties, while psychedelic mushrooms induce hallucinations and altered states of consciousness. 

Are Psychedelic Mushrooms Legal?

The legal status of psychedelic mushrooms varies significantly across different countries and regions. Here's a brief overview:

Countries with Legal Psychedelic Mushroom Use

Brazil: Ayahuasca, a brew containing psychedelic mushrooms, is legal for religious and cultural purposes.

Jamaica: Psychedelic mushrooms are decriminalized for personal use.

Netherlands: Psychedelic truffles, which contain psilocybin, are legally sold in certain smart shops.

Portugal: The possession and use of small quantities of psychedelic mushrooms are decriminalized.

Countries with Psychedelic Mushroom Legal Restrictions

Canada: Psychedelic mushrooms are classified as Schedule III substances, making their possession and use illegal except for research purposes.

United Kingdom: Psychedelic mushrooms are classified as Class A drugs, making their possession and supply illegal.

United States: Psychedelic mushrooms are classified as Schedule I substances, making them illegal at the federal level. However, some states, such as Oregon and Colorado, have decriminalized or legalized psilocybin for medical or therapeutic use.

Are Psychedelic Mushrooms Safe?

The safety of psychedelic mushrooms largely depends on various factors, including dosage, set, and setting. While psilocybin is considered to have a relatively low toxicity profile, you should approach psychedelic mushroom use with caution. Some essential safety considerations include:

Mindset and Setting: The mindset and physical environment in which a person consumes psychedelic mushrooms can significantly impact the experience. It is recommended to have a trusted trip sitter and ensure a safe and comfortable setting.

Dosage: The potency of psychedelic mushrooms can vary, and it is essential to start with a low dose to gauge individual sensitivity. Gradually increasing the dosage can help avoid overwhelming experiences.

Mental Health Considerations: Individuals with a history of mental health conditions, such as psychosis or severe anxiety, should exercise extra caution when considering psychedelic mushroom use. It is advisable to consult a healthcare professional before engaging in such experiences.

While functional mushrooms are generally considered safe and legal for consumption, psychedelic mushrooms carry legal restrictions in many countries and require careful consideration of safety measures.

You should consult your doctor or healthcare provider before consuming psychedelic mushrooms. The information provided in this article regarding psychedelic mushrooms is for informational purposes only. It should not be taken as medical advice. 

Functional Mushrooms VS Psychedelic Mushrooms: Which One is Right for Me?

Choosing between functional mushrooms and psychedelic mushrooms ultimately depends on your personal goals, preferences, and circumstances. Consider the following factors to determine which type of mushroom is right for you:

Health Goals: If you primarily seek to improve your overall health with Ayurvedic & holistic medicine elements, functional mushrooms may be the better choice. They offer many potential benefits, such as immune enhancement, anti-inflammatory effects, and cognitive support.

Legal Considerations: Check the legal status of psychedelic mushrooms in your country or region. If they are illegal or heavily regulated, functional mushrooms may be a more accessible and legal option. However, it's important to note that the effects of each are drastically different from one another. 

Mind-Altering Experiences: If you are interested in exploring altered states of consciousness, expanding your perception, or seeking spiritual insights, psychedelic mushrooms may be more suitable. Remember that these experiences come with risks and should be approached with caution and proper preparation.

Safety and Risk Tolerance: Consider your mental health, medical history, and risk tolerance. Psychedelic mushrooms can have profound psychological effects and may not be suitable for everyone, especially individuals with a history of mental health conditions. Functional mushrooms, being non-psychoactive, generally pose fewer safety concerns and are safe for most adults.

Availability and Accessibility: Assess the availability and accessibility of both types of mushrooms. Functional mushrooms are commonly available as dietary mushroom supplements or food products. In contrast, psychedelic mushrooms may be more complex to obtain legally.

Personal Preferences: Consider your preferences regarding taste, preparation methods, and desired effects. Some individuals may prefer the earthy flavors and medicinal properties of functional mushrooms. In contrast, others may be drawn to the reflective and consciousness-expanding experiences offered by psychedelic mushrooms.

It is crucial to conduct thorough research, consult healthcare professionals if needed, and make an informed decision based on your unique circumstances. Remember to prioritize safety, legality, and your own well-being when considering the use of either functional mushrooms or psychedelic mushrooms.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are Functional Mushrooms Safe and Edible?

Functional mushrooms are safe and edible when consumed in appropriate amounts and preparations. However, not all mushroom supplements are grown and produced the same way. Some companies cut corners by sourcing from low-quality suppliers and blending the fungi with other ingredients, so it's important to choose high-quality supplements that align with your health and lifestyle. 

Are functional mushrooms a drug?

Functional mushrooms are not classified as drugs in the traditional sense. They are a category of mushrooms believed to have various health benefits and are often used in traditional medicine practices. However, it's essential to note that "functional mushrooms" is broad and can refer to various mushroom species, each with its own properties. They are also commonly referred to as nootropic & adaptogenic mushrooms, as these terms refer to specific effects of the larger mushroom category. 

Who should not take functional mushrooms?

People who are pregnant, breastfeeding, have allergies to mushrooms or are on specific medications should consult with a healthcare professional before taking functional mushrooms. Additionally, individuals with compromised immune systems or those undergoing treatments that affect the immune system should also seek medical advice before using functional mushrooms.

What kind of mushrooms are functional?

The most common functional mushrooms used for their potential health benefits include: 

Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum), Chaga (Inonotus obliquus), Lion's Mane (Hericium erinaceus), Cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis), and Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor). Each has potential health benefits, such as enhancing your immune system, increasing energy, and supporting cognitive function and nerve health.

Can you take too many functional mushrooms?

While functional mushrooms are generally considered safe for most people, it's crucial to follow recommended dosage guidelines. Taking too many functional mushrooms, or any supplement, for that matter, can have adverse effects. Always consult a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen to ensure it is safe for your health circumstances.

Image by Cloudy Design from Adobe Stock

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