Psilocybe cubensis / Mexicana

MUSHROOM CULTIVATION

The two psychotropic species of magic mushrooms containing psilocybin and psilocin, which are hallucinogenic. They are not included on the controlled substances act, and technically not illegal. The controlled substances act does list the chemicals, psilocybin and psylocin though.

The cultivation of these two species is not that difficult. First, you must obtain a wild cultivar - go shroom hunting with someone who is knowledgeable about identification. This is of primary importance. The mushroom is completely white, and the cap should be open. The gills should be a bluish-black. Detach the open cap from the stem and lay the open cap on a sheet of clean white paper. The spores will leave themselves on the paper and you can eat the fruit.

Meanwhile, prepare some agar in slanted test tubes. Being careful not to touch the spores, sprinkle a few spores in each tube and loosely cap the tubes with cork. If moisture forms, loosen the corks or remove them. The moisture will cause mold, an undesirable fungus.

Within a couple of days, the spores will begin to produce mycelia, the next stage of growth in fungus. The mycelia will grow until it covers the surface of the agar. It should be completely white. If the tube contains growth of any other color, throw it out. It's contaminated.

The next step is to prepare a growth medium for the mycelia. Use wide-mouthed Mason jars. Sterilize the jars and lids in a big canning pot. Remove the jars from the water bath and place them upside down on a clean towel. Into each jar, put 1/4 cup of brown rice and 1/2 cup water. You may also add 1/4 tsp of molasses for a longer lasting growth medium. Tighten the lids on the jars and return the jars to the water bath, making sure the water covers the tops of the jars. Cook for 45 minutes, and remove the jars from the water bath, and let cool completely. The jars now contain a cooked, sterile rice cake, in a sterile environment.

You will need to make some sort of needle-nosed tool with a heat resistant handle. (a long pin in a small wooden handle). Sterilize this with heat and rubbing alcohol.

Now you are ready to innoculate the jars with the mycelia. If you are snot-nosed or a mouth-breather, you may want to wear a mask. Working quickly, use your needle-nose tool to cut out a small chunk of mycelia-covered agar. Open one of the Mason jars and drop in the mycelia. Quickly cover the jar and roll the mycelia over the top of the rice cake. Continue working until your mycelia or the jars are used up. A small slant tube should innocualate 6 jars or so.

Leave the lids tightly on the jars for 12-24 hours, however, if you notice moisture on the side of the jar, loosen the lid. In a day or two, you will begin to see mycelia growing over the rice cake. Once again, the mycelia should be completely white. If at anytime you see a color other than white, throw out the jar. It's contaminated. It could hurt you.

It will take 10-14 days for the mycelia to completely cover the rice cake. Be patient. Keep the lid loosely on the jar. Once the rice cake is completely covered, mushrooms will start to fruit. Resist temptation. Wait until they reach full growth and the gills break away from the stems before you harvest. The fruit can be consumed raw, or you can dry the fruit on clean paper.

The rice cakes will continue to fruit for at least a week, sometimes longer. When they no longer produce fruit, you can consume the mycelia covered rice cake. You can also use the mycelia covered rice cake to begin the process anew, avoiding the first step of spore to mycelia growth.

I cannot stress enough that you must have someone knowledgeable about mushrooms identify your beginning specimen. And even more important, at each stage of growth, if the mycelia shows any other color than white, throw it out. IT WILL BE TOXIC.

No matter what precautions you take, the contamination rate will be about 25%. Live with it.

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